Sonic The Hedgehog Triple Trouble

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This is a nice enough portable rendering of Sonic, but it fails to deal with any of the issues that have always been present in the series. ~Simon Reed

Sonic the Hedgehog Triple Trouble

Sonic is not a character I have ever really warmed to. I prefer my platforming to be precise and skillfull, with new challenges introduced throughout. Sonic, however, seems to be purely about running fast and letting his (usually lovely looking) backdrops become a blur. That’s not something I can really abide by.

Anyway, that’s my feeling about Sonic, and most of his games. Triple Trouble doesn’t change this mindset, but if you’re a fan I suppose it’s a pretty good effort, especially for a Game Gear game.

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It starts with a little cutscene with Sonic chasing Knuckles, who has taken some gems. Tails bring up the rear (i’m saying nothing). Eggman (or Dr Robotnik, whatever), then appears, and holds a gem. Nothing more is explained. Whether you end up having to take on two enemies in the game is a mystery.

Next, the title screen pops up with Sonic’s face. A smaller Knuckles appears and laughs like a dick. This was obviously before he wimped out and became a good guy, letting in freaks like Shadow into the increasingly cack Sonic enemy cast.

sonic_the_hedgehog_triple_trouble

I chose to play as Sonic instead of Tails in this play-through by the way. I don’t think I need to justify my choice.

Great Turquoise is the first world. It is neither turquoise or great, but whatever. Basically, it’s Green Hill Zone. You can easily rush your way through to the boss stage, and I only really noticed two things during my dash.

First is that the water in the game is very odd, with weird flickering dots appearing on top of it. Not particularly easy on the eyes. The other is that no matter how many rings you hold, when you get hit you only drop around 5, meaning that the difficulty is a little higher than a Mega-Drive Sonic title. It also robs you of seeing the rings cascading in every direction – personally one of my favourite little touches of the series.

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The Boss for the first set of levels is a flying turtle thing. You start in a pool of water, with the fight eventually reaching ground level. It’s tough to hit the boss in this part as he’s high off screen. You just have to spring up and hope you hit him, instead of the other way round.

After sending him to turtle-robo hell you’ll see Knuckles on top of a cliff. He laughs like a dick (again) and roasts you with a wall of fire. How he set up such a thing I have no idea, especially as it seems to come out of nowhere.

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Sunset Park is the next stage, and is a solid but unspectacular world, full of slightly unfair deaths. Spikes, flying hammer bees and exploding platforms are all frustrating obstacles, but you can scrape your way through eventually.

The boss for this world is an even bigger pain though. Set on a moving train you have limited control of your character and must hit a gun firing directly at you. What’s worse is that you have to start the whole level, which is slow (for a Sonic game) and boring, from the start if you die.

I think i’ve seen enough from those two worlds though. Basically, it’s as I said in the introduction. This is a nice enough portable rendering of Sonic, but it fails to deal with any of the issues that have always been present in the series. Oh and one last thing – Sonic The Hedgehog: Pocket Adventure on Neo-Geo Pocket is much, much better than this.

Pengo

 

Pengo Cover

I probably should have liked this game more than I did. Pengo is an overhead maze-puzzler, and I generally love these games. The ability to use my brains (for once) in a video game, add a little action, sprinkle in some cutesy characters and music, normally would equal “retro arcade goodness”. But, here’s why Pengo didn’t really do it for me:

Pengo Cover
Sega put out Pengo, a cute red penquin, in 1982. I remember this being rather popular, but for whatever reason didn’t give it much of a look. Set in a maze of ice-blocks, the goal is to kill all of these blob-like creatures, called Sno-Bees…even though they could have just used bees, I guess…or called them “Sno-blobs”…not really getting this. Anyway, you push-slide the blocks around, which will shatter when they hit something…preferably a blob. After you kill one (there will be 3 on-screen), another will hatch from an ice block and you’ll continue smashing them until they stop hatching, usually around 8-10. When the level first starts, the blocks from which the blobs hatch will briefly “flash”, allowing you to destroy those blocks, if you wish, before they hatch, making it easier to finish the level…..in theory.

Pengo Gameplay screenshot
Here’s my problem: The blobs don’t move like the slow-asses I’ve seen in the movies. Matter of fact, it seems like they’re actually faster than me. They melt-through my ice-block weapons on the way to me, and I can’t tell you how many times I was waiting behind a block to shove and they started melting it before I had a chance to use it. I was literally spending all my time running for my life, and just tossing ice randomly. I haven’t panicked this much in a game since the first night of Left 4 Dead. I’m sure there are plenty of people out there that have “mastered” the game, but holy shit, it was tough for me. The controls just seemed a bit off, which added to the frustration.

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There are a lot of ways to gain points in the game; obviously killing blobs, but also there are 3 diamond blocks on every level. These are indestructable and make for a good weapon, but if you’re able to line the three up, you’ll receive bonus points. Again, I don’t know how you’d ever have time for this…good luck. Also, the quicker you finish a level, the more bonus you receive…capping off with 5000 points if you do it under 20 SECONDS!!!! Christ….
I do love the animation and music, and I’m sure this is a well-loved classic…..but I don’t.

Overall 5/10

Mega Man

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Even with the bigger screen, things feel crowded and you’ll end up face to face with a lot of robots with no room for comfort. This game feels bothersome at times but hey it’s Mega Man, it can’t be that bad right? ~Luis Zena

Mega Man

Mega Man on a Sega console was something we never were lucky enough to experience but for some apparent reason we got Mega Man for the portable handheld, the Game Gear. What minds though this would make up for not bringing the better installment to the Genesis console? I’m not sure but the more I think about it the more it became certain why the Dreamcast failed. But enough about other Sega consoles, we are talking about the Game Gear. I frankly loved this console although I felt it was missing the RPG touch. I did managed to play a very good quality US released RPG and that was rare for the handheld. I even picked it Retro Game of the Week a year ago or so. So lets get started, the game is your average Mega Man game although the Game Gear screen does a better job than the Game Boy one in the portable business especially for a Mega Man game. Even with the bigger screen, things feel crowded and you’ll end up face to face with a lot of robots with no room for comfort. This game feels bothersome at times but hey it’s Mega Man, it can’t be that bad right?

Mega Man Game Gear - Gameplay Screenshot

The game is a compilation of Mega Man 4 and Mega Man 5 bosses and battles. That’s not bad at all since they had some interesting robot masters to begin with although everyone else felt they were already running out of ideas (Mega Man 9 and 10 proved you wrong suckers!) The game does feel at times that it was changed to try to make it into a different Mega Man game but did that to no avail. The game just feels like a shattered down NES Mega Man title and that’s all there is to it. I don’t say that in a bad way it’s just that Mega Man games on portables had their disadvantages mostly due to the screen size and with the crowded monsters and so-so sound, it just doesn’t cut it.

Overall, this game brings you a portable Mega Man and that’s about it. It’s not a new experience but can be a good experience if you look over the flaws which every game has anyways. You will battle your robot masters and do so not only in a hostile environment but with added difficulty. Make sure you don’t get game over because your game will really be over. This game is great as a collectible and for a night of rage and cursing.

Crystal Warriors

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Be sure to use the INN to save your game and yes this is one of the few Game Gear titles that has a battery packed in to save your progress. It wouldn’t be fun to use a long password system you know. ~Luis Zena

Crystal Warriors

This time around I have another Sega title from their long gone portable handheld. Crystal Warriors is yet another of the few RPGs for this handheld. This one is an strategy title and a very simplistic one. It plays a lot like their famous Shinning Force series, and has a very moderate difficulty. At times, you will have monsters try to gang up on your weakest ally so you will have to be on your feet the whole way. Making sure everyone is healthy and healed is a crucial part of your strategy as your enemy will be looking and ganging up on certain allies to weaken you.

Crystal Warriors - Sega Game Gear

The game has different scenarios and once you get passed the first one, you will go to the town and heal up and hire new allies as well. Don’t worry though, you will gain gold from your battle so you will be able to afford quite a bit of allies on your way. Be sure to use the INN to save your game and yes this is one of the few Game Gear titles that has a battery packed in to save your progress. It wouldn’t be fun to use a long password system you know. The game has a very good sound score and the graphics are well, Game Gear graphics. I suggest you use your Game Gear with AC adapter to be able to play this game because it’ll take you a while to get through it. Using batteries is a no-no!

Crystal Warriors - Sega Game Gear

So that’s it you strategy fans, if any of you come across this wonderful game, pick it up! Ebay has the game for about 24.99 on average so hunting for it should be a more affordable solution(I bought my copy for two dollars last week). That’s all for this week, hope some of you got some retro gaming session ideas! Until next time!

Defenders of Oasis

Defenders of Oasis - Box

This week I have a real treat and probably a game many of you didn’t knew about. Defenders of Oasis is a Dragon Warrior(Quest now) RPG that involves a kingdom going at war. It’s the cliche storyline but wasn’t this what the games were and still are about back then. Who cares about a cliche story when you have such fun gameplay. This game is challenging in many factors but mostly in battle. I got killed five times at the first dungeon before I was able to get past it….yeah it’s a challenge at least for me.

Defenders of Oasis - Screenshot 1

Furthermore, the game has decent music and good graphics for a game gear title. I suggest playing it with an emulator if you are having trouble looking at the game gear screen. I personally like playing it on my good old blue game gear rather than an emulator but that’s just me. After all, this game will cost you around fifteen dollars if you buy it off ebay but if you have the extra cash, I suggest picking it up.

Defenders of Oasis - Screenshot 2

To wrap things up, this game is nothing that great but also nothing that bad. It’s your typical RPG with RPG elements and RPG “stuff”. The characters also have Anime style characters which was something interesting back in the day.This game is a must have for any old RPG fan though, it’ll keep you entertained. There are not that many RPGs for the Game Gear to say the least and it’s a real shame….