Holy Diver

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This game features unlimited continues, which is nice cause you are going to need them. ~Alana Dunitz

Holy Diver

Today I’m featuring a really cool Famicom game that you should definitely check out if you have a chance.  It’s called Holy Diver, and no it’s not the song by Dio. (I honestly don’t know that song but everyone on twitter kept mentioning it when I brought up this game)  ** correction! It is based on that song! So crazy!** Holy Diver was actually recommended to me by Parodius Duh on the Famicom World website.  I’m definitely glad that I listened to him cause this game is pretty awesome!

Holy Diver

When I was playing the game, it felt like a mix between Castlevania, Getsu Fuma Den and threw in some Mega Man just for fun.  The company with the crazy idea to release a  game like this was Irem, the same company that put out Spelunker II, Lot Lot and Kickle Cubicle.  Holy Diver hit the shelves in April of 1989, but of course it never saw the light of day in North America.

Story

Story wise there was no manual or anything with my copy so I wasn’t too sure cause you just get tossed right into the action of the game.  So I did some online research and found a few different versions of the story.  One guy had the manual but couldn’t read Japanese so he made up a story based on seeing 666 in the text.  He thought your character was sent to save the world and had to kill the devil.  Luckily I soon found a translation of the story right from the manual…

Holy Diver

“Resurrected-The Legend of the Holy Magic King’s Justice

It is the 666th year of the world of magic. The Black Slayer, Demon King of the Underground Dark Empire, has extended the world of darkness and weakened the power of King Crimson whose wisdom has guided the world of magic for generations.

The 16th Crimson Emperor Ronnie 4th entrusted his two infant sons, Randy and Zack, to his faithful servant Ozzy. The three escaped the forces from another dimension in the hope to bring light back into the world.

Holy Diver

The next 17 years were difficult but Randy, Zack, and Ozzy devoted themselves to the cause of Holy Magic Justice. The Black Slayer had further extended his empire over the countryside and the interdimensional forces were even more powerful. Randy needed to find the Royal Coat Of Arms of the Crimson to battle the demons. He set out alone to carry out the will of his surrogate father Ozzy who had passed away. Thus begins the Legend Of The Holy Magic King’s Justice.”

Hmm wonder if Ozzy is supposed to be Ozzy Osbourne and Zack is like Zakk Wylde. It definitely does have catchy music!  Anyways so you basically battle demons, that’s enough of a story for me.

Gameplay

This game features unlimited continues, which is nice cause you are going to need them.  It’s definitely not the easiest game I’ve ever played, but it’s challenging in a good way.  I love how with your magic you have projectiles, just like if you were using the mega buster in Mega Man.  If you had to do close combat with punching, this game would be impossible to beat!  It definitely tests your reflexes, those enemies are fast!

Holy Diver

I’ve recorded myself playing through the first level of the game (this is the first time I’ve ever played).  Notice at the end what happens when you beat the level boss.

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Spelunker

Spelunker

I got this game for like .99 a while back.  Thought it was worth the  money just for the cool light on the cartridge:) Lights make everything better!  The game is Spelunker made by irem according to the game case, but when the title screen loads up it says Broderbund Software….

Spelunker

There isn’t much for controls, directional pad moves from side to side, A jumps and B uses your drill.  Thing is it’s insanely easy to die, jump down a couple pixels to far, you are dead and you will be dying a lot.  Check out my gameplay video…

It’s kind of frustrating, so I’m going to need a lot more practice and figure out what to do so I don’t keep dying constantly.  At least it was only .99 cents!

Spelunker

 

R-Type Dimensions

r-type-dimensions

If there was one thing I would not expect to do on a next-gen console, is to play games from the older generation. Boy was I wrong! Even though I do own a SNES and a Master System 2, I still happily play old and new titles on my Xbox Classic, the 360 and the Wii. The 360 and the Wii offer access to their exclusive online stores, and amongst the titles on there are a lot of old games from the older consoles. With that said, a lot of companies lately are remaking classics (and doing quite a faithful job of it as well!) Enter R-Type Dimensions.

r-type-dimensions

My past experiences with the R-Type games weren’t overly immense. A brief stint at a Timezone in Sydney back in the 80’s , the rental-to-almost-purchase on the Master System 2 in the early 90’s, and a sequel on the SNES (R-type 3). A frustratingly hard game? Some could say that, but I’ll go with exuberantly challenging. For those who don’t know what R-Type is, it is a side-scrolling shooter, think 1942 but with a side-on perspective. The storyline is that there’s the evil Bydo empire invading the universe, you are a pilot of a small ship sent to stop this evil.

r-type-dimensions

Okay, not much to it really, but this is the kind of game, where the storyline doesn’t mean a thing, and gameplay is where it matters. R-Type Dimensions is a faithful remake to the original game on the arcade. The graphics have been enhanced to a more modern (3D) feel, and I’ll be honest, they (IREM who were the original creators of R-Type, Tozai, and SouthEnd) did an amazing job of keeping the remake faithful to the classic, also by including an option to swap between HD and Classic graphic mode flawlessly, as the High-def visuals were rolled over onto the originals (Plural, yes, it includes R-Type I & II).

r-type-dimensions

The game was, and still is very challenging, getting to the point that many levels can not be passed easily unless you have 1-3 seconds of invincibility after you die, and a new ship appears. You have multiple power-ups, one of them infamously is your satellite, which is mounted to the front or rear of the ship, and can be jettisoned at will and returned back to the front or the rear of the ship. With the usual speed-ups and missile power-ups, you will find interesting methods on attacking the hordes of enemies, and figuring out how to defeat each end-level boss without losing 50 or so lives.

r-type-dimensions

Speaking about the lives, there is also an infinite mode, meaning you have unlimited lives to plow through the game with. The challenge there I suppose is to see who can finish the game with the least lives. There is also a co-op mode which would be beneficial for plowing through such a hard game.

On the XBLA for 1200 Microsoft Points, some would argue that the price for title like this is questionable. R-Type Dimensions is definitely a title for those who appreciated the original on just about any platform since it’s release.

4.5 out of 5

Pros:
– extremely loyal remake to the original
– ability to swap between new and old graphics
– challenging

Cons:
– Price may be questionable
– Plenty of moments where you could lob your controller across the lounge room from frustration

Kickle Cubicle

Kickle Cubicle

Kickle Cubicle

Format- NES

Genre- Puzzle/Action

Kickle Cubicle. It’s not a name that exactly rolls off the tongue.

I was worried I wouldn’t be able to give this one a proper review actually. My copy seemed to freeze every time I reached the third level, but fortunately an enthusiastic puff of the cartridge connectors saw it bought back to life.

Kickle Cubicle

You playing as the titular Kickle (a pale baby with earmuffs), going around grids freezing enemies and using them as climbing blocks, etc. It’s a bit like the Adventures of Lolo.

Added elements of interest are thrown in as well of course – such as roving enemies that need to either be dispatched or avoided, springs, and walls that are impossible to get around.

Kickle Cubicle

Pretty standard puzzle ingredients then, but it’s all done with a colourful art style and a bouncy soundtrack, helping it to lift it above your average puzzler.

There’s something quite refreshingly odd about it as well. The opening world is named ‘vegetable land,’ yet apart from veg circling you in celebration at the end of a stage there isn’t a sight of produce anywhere else. Plus, a tomato is spotted in one level – rookie error Irem.

Kickle Cubicle

The boss fights and the cutscenes are also a sickening broth of the saccharine and cutesy, but they are certainly endearing. Although how Kickle manages to jump from cloud to cloud in one cutscene, yet can’t jump over a small river in game is beyond me.

This is a pretty solid puzzle actioneer, all told. The whole thing is done with enough style and user friendliness (a helpful password system is in place) to make you keep coming back for seconds – I may even attempt to finish it one day. That’s a high recommendation indeed.

PC-Engine: Must have games

The PC-Engine console, a collaboration between Hudson Soft and NEC, was released late 1987 in Japan and mid 1999 in North America. NEC changed the name in the US to the TurboGrafx-16. The US unit also had a facelift, it was bulkier (and uglier) compared to its smaller, sleeker Japanese counterpart.

PC Engine

 

If you were one of the lucky ones to have this cult retro console, or one of its variants, here are 5 must have games you need to add to your collection:

Gomola Speed:

Gomola_Speed

Play as a segmented caterpillar-like creature that has to encircle food in order to exit each level. As you work your way around each area, you pick up new body segments which makes you longer, and have the ability drop bombs that attract the enemy bugs which are then stunned. This is a superb title that mixes strategy with puzzle elements to great effect.

Splatterhouse:

Splatterhouse

 Parapsychology students, Rick and Jennifer, set out to investigate paranormal activity at West Mansion. This arcade conversion remains faithful to the gloriously gory coin-op. The American version was sadly censored upon release. The Japanese version is the one to get.

R-Type:

R-Type

Irem’s legendary side scrolling shoot’em up is regarded as one of the PC-Engine’s most accomplished arcade conversions. This was the PC-Engine’s ‘killer app’. The premise was simple, pilot your R-9 fighter to wipe out the evil Bydo Empire. R-Type was split into two HuCards – so if you want the complete game, you will have to buy both.

Gekisha Boy / Photo Boy:

Photo Boy

 This is the most original and innovative game on the PC-Engine. Photo boy is a budding paparazzo tasked to earn points by taking photographs of newsworthy happenings throughout several different environments. Using the on-screen crosshair, you must take snaps of various objects and events while avoiding obstacles. Think of Paperboy with a camera and you have Photo Boy.

PC Genjin / PC Kid / Bonk’s Adventure:

Bonk’s Adventure

Nintendo had Mario, Sega had Sonic. Although not as famous as these two, NEC had PC Genjin, or as he was known in different regions,  PC Kid or Bonk. You play a cave boy going through prehistoric lands head-butting dinosaurs.

Some notable games that just missed out (and I do mean, just !) on making this list: Parasol Stars, Street Fighter II: Champion Edition, Bomberman’94 and Devil Crash.

If you have never played on the PC-Engine do yourself a favour and hunt one down – or find someone that does, and give these games a whirl.
YOU WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED !

R-Type

Format: HuCard
Developer: Hudson Soft / Irem
Released: 1988 (Japan) / 1989 (US)
Genre: Shoot’em Up

 r-type-pc-engine-box

Irem’s legendary side scrolling shoot’em up is regarded as one of the PC-Engine’s most accomplished arcade conversions. This was (and still is) the PC-Engine’s ‘killer app’.
The game-play is simple, pilot your R-9 fighter to wipe out the evil Bydo Empire.

R-type-pc-engine-gameplay-screenshot-

 

Your R-9 fighter is equipped with a small gun which can only shoot down the smallest of enemies without firing several shots. But, if you hold down the fire button long enough, you can load up your shot so it releases a massive burst of energy, eliminating all but the strongest enemies in its path.  To assist in bringing down tougher Bydo enemies (and help you get further in this tough game), there are souped up weapons that can be collected along the way, like the diagonally firing lasers and the mega powerful circular red laser. When combined with the homing missiles and orbs that protect you, your R-9 becomes a Bydo blasting behemoth.

R-type-pc-engine-gameplay-screenshot-

 

There aren’t enough superlatives you could use to describe how great this game is. From the music, to the graphics, the stage layouts, the enemies – they are all perfect in this coin-op conversion. Even the difficulty is spot on (it’s tough) ! This is as close to a perfect horizontally scrolling shoot’em up you can get on the PC-Engine. Do not miss it !

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S9BicddeXdg[/youtube]

GraphicsAs close as possible to arcade perfect.

90%

SoundYour ears will thank you.

90%

PlayabilityEasy to pick up and play, but tough to beat and master. The difficulty is just right.

93%

LastabilityYou will be playing this for years to come. All side-scrolling shoot’em ups are judged against this game.

94%

OverallIf you have a PC-Engine, this is your killer app. Go and get it !

93%

10 Yard Fight

10-yard_fight.cover.front

The 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) home video game console was known for, among many other things, some of its quality sports titles. From the quirky violence of Super Dodge Ball to the Bo Jacksonian heroics in Tecmo Bowl, many titles offered fans a playable rendition of their favorite sport. Such high-quality legacy was not always the case, though; in 1985, as one of the 18 original launch titles for the machine’s North American release, included was an early American football simulator named 10 Yard Fight.

Gameplay 

10 Yard Fight - Title Screen

There is a two-player mode, though the second player seems to retain the A.I. cheats. Otherwise, this is a football game (American football, specifically, and not a soccer cartridge) that seeks to emulate the classic pigskin pastime. Two teams of nine players each play two 20-minute halves, with the seconds accelerated in classic console style, in one of five difficulty levels, ranging from High School to Super Bowl.

On defense, the player selects one of the defensive players designated A or B by using the corresponding button. Then the ball is snapped, and the player will try to tackle the eventual receiver or ball carrier, either entangling him directly or diving toward with the A button. On offense, the player has two backs on either side of the quarterback, who is in shotgun position, and a man in motion. This motion player serves as the primary receiver once the ball is snapped, with the A button going to him; otherwise, the ball can be pitched with the B button to one of the flanking backs, who can then either run with the ball or pass to the primary with A. Once a receiver has the ball, the player will try to weave diagonally up the open field to evade would-be tacklers, even shimmying back and forth to possibly shake any playing holding onto the carrier.

That, really, is most of the game. There are very few actual rules intact: Out of bounds applies, as does the four-downs for ten yards system, and crude extra points are “kicked” by pointing toward the goal posts and hitting A after the snap. There are even interceptions, which can potentially occur very frequently, since there does not seem to be any sort of height dimension; if the defender is in line-of-sight of the flight path of the ball, they might just intercept it. Beyond the excitement of such interceptions, play just continues as expected, the winner being whoever has the most points when time expires.

Graphics 

This is definitely, obviously a very early NES title, with its hyper-pixelation dominating simplistic visuals. The field looks bland, the players are pixel people, the text is basic computerized font work, and the overall presentation is not spectacular at all.

Sound 

10 yard fight - NES - Gameplay Screenshot

There is no background music, the sound effects are minimal, and the only flourishes are the quick little melodies when something happens like a first down or interception. When these quick micro-songs do happen, they occur with only a few notes, no depth to speak of, and without sophistication.

Originality 

In a historical context, 10 Yard Fight does have a place: This cartridge was certainly ahead of prior Atari attempts at a console football game, but still looks terrible in comparison to the Tecmo Bowl series, or even other almost-decent titles such as John Elway’s Quarterback. The entire gameplay feels like the programmers were stuck with the assignment of creating an American football game yet knowing that they could not quite pull it off, but had to meet a deadline.

Three examples of the flaws that results: First, the interceptions does not happen as they do in actual football, where the defender can run afterward, but instead stop play and simply revert to the other team having possession at a specified point every time; secondly, the vertical scrolling is off, as the field seems to roll underneath the players running in place, rather than actually simulating movement down field; and, lastly, the NES console would later gain some notoriety for its slowdown and flickering problems when too many sprites were on-screen, yet here are well over a dozen on every play, with the inevitable constant sprite-flickering as a result. Was this a trailblazer for later, better football video games? Sure, but it still deserves a one-star rating out of five.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zlNqtY76ho0[/youtube]

Overall Rating: 1/5 Stars

Eric Bailey is a retro gamer on a crazy quest to write  a quality review for every single American-released NES video game over at NintendoLegend.com.