Red Parsley’s Favorite Games: Part 7

Christmas morning, 1990… finally I got my hands on Sega’s 16-bit powerhouse. I played each game as I unwrapped them and the first one was… Golden Axe! Famously billed by Mean Machines magazine as ‘arcade perfect’ (it’s not), this was one of the best of a decent selection of launch titles for the MD and, after Revenge of Shinobi, my favourite. Not only was it a top conversion of their hit arcade game but Sega also kindly included an extra level and a new play mode called ‘Duel Mode’, which saw the player take on a succession of ever-tougher enemies, to prolong the admittedly short hacking action. A superbly playable game with a great soundtrack, and immense fun for one or two players.

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Arkanoid

Arkanoid may have been released a full decade after Breakout but the simplicity of both games means neither really requires a huge amount of computing power. Indeed, while the graphics here are tidy and colourful there’s nothing really noteworthy about them and there’s no music at all, just a few sound effects, but none of that really matters with a game like this, which is still regarded as the pinnacle of its genre. There’s good reason for its reputation too. It was always amazingly playable and that remains the case today.

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Steve Jobs 1955-2011: Technology pioneer worked in the early days of Atari

Jobs and Wozniak would later pair up to work on Atari’s 1976 release Breakout, the ball-and-paddle brick-breaking game that has been cloned a million times over, from 1987’s arcade hit Arkanoid to countless Flash-based clones on the internet today. Offered a bonus by Atari if the number of chips that could be eliminated from the machine, Jobs offered to split the bonus with Wozniak, who worked for days on end to reduce the design to such a degree that Atari was unable to figure it out and had to redesign the circuit board over again. Despite the fact that Wozniak did the work, Jobs took most of Atari’s bonus money for the project without Wozniak’s knowledge.

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Kino One Review

Despite not being incredibly original and at times feeling slightly repetitive (some stages do drag a bit), one can’t help but notice the amount of care and polish poured into the thing. It features more than enough levels, impressive end bosses, different difficulty options and even comes packed with cute faux arcade flyers. Besides, the control scheme that effortlessly lets players cloak, use smart-bombs and shoot everything in sight works like a breeze and helps Kino One become a most addictive fun little high-score chase.

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Game Gallery: Arkanoid

As with many games of its time, Arkanoid was born in the arcades, but the version I spent by far the most time playing is this fine conversion for the Speccy. It doesn’t look quite as nice, as you might expect, but it’s got it where it counts. All stages and features from its arcade parent have been squeezed into the 48k of memory and mercifully it’s even a little easier, awarding the player with four lives from the start rather than two. Having said that, I still doubt that I could’ve finished this game without the aid of the ‘PBRAIN’ cheat. So, thanks to that splendid bit of foresight by the programmers, I can present all 33 rounds of Arkanoid!

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