The Castlevania Adventure

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So you can guess that a lot of gamers found this game difficult. There was only 3 lives per each half-stage in the four very long levels. The people who managed to get through the game noted that it was a very vanilla adventure once you take away the harsh difficulty. ~Adam R.

The Castlevania Adventure

In 1989, Konami had great success with two Castlevanias on NES and with another soon on the way. But they also produced an original Castlevania set in a different time than Simon Belmont. In-fact, it’s a prequel game set 115 years before the original.

castlevania the adventure

 It was pretty much the same deal as the original game on NES with a few differences. Like the absence of sub-weapons, and hearts actually restored your life which finally makes sense. You could upgrade your whip, but every hit of damage would drop the power so it was kind of a double negative there.
castlevania the adventure
 So you can guess that a lot of gamers found this game difficult. There was only 3 lives per each half-stage in the four very long levels. The people who managed to get through the game noted that it was a very vanilla adventure once you take away the harsh difficulty.
castlevania the adventure
I never played the original, but I did play the “remake” Castlevania: The Adventure Rebirth for WiiWare. Though looking at comparison screenshots, I think the only thing they remade was the story. Because it wasn’t hard at all, and I enjoyed it.

Castlevania II: Dracula Densetsu II

Hi everyone!  Time for a new post, I’ve gonna highlight a really cool game I got recently called Castlevania II: Dracula Densetsu II aka Castlevania II: Belmont’s Revenge if you get the North American version.

Castlevania II - Dracula Densetsu II

I have the Japanese version of this game so story wise I’m not totally sure what’s going on but based on what I looked up the game takes place 15 years after the first Castlevania game boy game.  Dracula has returned and he has kidnapped Chris Belmont’s son named Soleiyu and turned him into a demon.  Dracula uses Soleiyu’s powers to retake human form so he can rebuild his castle.  So once again Christopher must face Dracula to save his son.

Castlevania II - Dracula Densetsu II

When you first start the game there are four initial levels.  Each level has a unique theme like earth, crystal, plant and air and takes place in a separate castle.  The cool thing is you can complete them in any order you like.  So if you get stuck on one of the large trap rooms you can try out another one.

Castlevania II - Dracula Densetsu II

If you play the Japanese version you will notice that the axe will be replaced with a cross, instead of making the arcing motion the cross moves in a horizontal motion almost like a boomerang when it comes back to you.  This can be very useful as it can go through walls to kill enemies.

Castlevania II - Dracula Densetsu II

My only complaint is I wish Christopher would move a little faster, he seems to be going pretty slow at times especially when you are trying to make a bigger jump or avoid an enemy. Other than that it’s a really fun game!  It looks really good for a game boy game and the music has been done very well.  I haven’t completed the game yet, but if I discover anything else I will let you know.

So make sure if you get a chance to pick up this game definitely do so!  Don’t forget that the Japanese version is still playable on North American gameboys as they are region free.  I’m so glad Heidi from Retro Gaming Blog told me about this game, now I just have to get the other 2 game boy ones in the series

Haunted Castle

Haunted Castle a.k.a. Akuma-Jou Dracula by Konami (1988) – Arcade

Haunted Castle - Arcade

So there I was, messing round with MAME again when I selected yet another random, rather generic-sounding title to try. The resultant title screen was pretty cool and from there followed a brief intro which showed some girly getting kidnapped by a pesky Dracula-like nincompoop, and I also noticed that it was a Konami game. Hmmm, something about this was starting to seem familiar, but before I thought about that too much I started the game.

Haunted Castle - Arcade

At this point, a feeling of unbridled horror soon fell upon me like dark clouds casting their mighty shadows over a once vibrant landscape, but it wasn’t the game’s spooky horror theme that caused this; noo, this was down to the game itself which stunk like a garlic-riddled corpse. Intrigued by this badness, I then looked into it in more detail so I could know exactly what/who I was cussing, paying more attention this time. Then… egads! Sure enough, it was confirmed – Haunted Castle is actually a Castlevania game!

Haunted Castle - Arcade

As someone who largely avoided Nintendo consoles until the mid-90’s, one of several well regarded IP’s I never got around to looking into properly is Castlevania. I know of their glowing reputation though, and I have played a couple briefly, which makes this effort all the more surprising. It takes the form of a scrolling whip ’em up and involves guiding a suitably heroic-looking fellow through hordes of skeletons, bats, and zombies with the object, presumably, of rescuing the aforementioned girly. So far, so familiar.

Haunted Castle - Arcade

 

Aside from some clunky controls and suspicious collision-detection, however, there’s one big problem – it’s ridiculously hard as well. Our hero (Mr. Belmont, presumably) can take a few hits but has only the one life with which to face the infinite enemies which require fairly precise strikes from his whip. Then I reached an insanely tough screen on which chunks from a castle wall fly across the screen, and it gets even harder from then on. When I eventually get around to covering the Castlevania series I’ll take another look at this (once I’ve mentally prepared myself) but for now… uurghhh. And people whine about Ghosts’n Goblins being too tough? Holy crap, I hope the other games are easier!

RKS Score: 1/5

Bucky O’Hare

Bucky O’Hare

Overall Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Bucky O'Hare - NES

Bucky O’Hare was a comic-book character and star of an animated television series that proved to be a popular enough license to eventually lead to Konami producing a video game based on the canon. Concerning the space-faring green rabbit Bucky O’Hare and his ragtag crew of anthropomorphic creature-person heroes and their fight against the dread forces of the toad menace to save the Aniverse.

Gameplay

This one-player game begins with the player controlling the protagonist Bucky O’Hare, whose four shipmates have been captured and stowed on four planets generically named after colors. From an initial stage-select screen, Bucky can tackle the planets in whatever manner he wishes in order to save his comrades before taking the fight directly to the Air Marshal of the frog fighters.

Bucky O'Hare - NES

Gameplay is in the style of a two-dimensional platformer run-‘n’-gun type of title, whereas the A button jumps and the B button fires a blaster. The player can fire directly upward with Bucky’s gun and also fire while crouches. Each level offers their share of pattern-based enemies, precision-jumping puzzles, and fast-paced battle scenarios, all of which end in a nice little boss fight.

Where Bucky O’Hare begins to become somewhat distinctive is in the fact that after each crew member is rescued, you can instantly switch to playing as that character, and scroll through all available cast members by pressing Select. Each squad member has a slightly different weapon (Deadeye’s pistol fires in three directions but at a short range, Jenny has a quick laser that fires from her forehead, etc.) and a special ability activated by holding the B button (Jenny can launch a “crystal ball” attack that the player can control with the directional pad, Blinky can hover for a limited amount of time, etc.). It is this combination of character traits that enhances the challenge of each level as the player must decide which is best for the given situation. What complicates (or makes more tactical, at least) matters is that there are power tokens spread out throughout levels that upgrade each character’s inherent ability, each of which can be upgraded a few times, usually resulting in a longer duration of their particular specialty.

Bucky O'Hare - NES

With the standard platformer formula in place, Bucky adds items and power-ups, character selections, a robust health bar, a smattering of one-ups and continues to go along with a decent password system, and “hidden” levels apart from the initial four offered to form a thorough sci-fi laser-blasting adventure.

Graphics

Bucky O'Hare - NES

The character sprites are big enough to pose distinctive characters against some just-okay backdrops, but in some cases it is the enemy designs that outclass the heroes. For example, there is a portion of the Green Planet (Act 5, specifically, as the levels are divided) when multiple large crafts fly overhead, firing at the character, and all done with minimal flickering and slowdown issues. Then, at the end, a solid boss match with a toadbot who throws enormous boulders that crumble into deadly shards. On that same stage, though, this game shows its occasional “meh” qualities, with running water that is only bothered to be animated at its surface, lending an odd, ethereal appearance as it seemingly hovers a couple feet over the ground, yet landing in it instantly kills the controlled character.

Sound

Bucky O'Hare - NES

This title boasts the usual high-quality Konami effects, many of them recognizable from their library of other NES games (try the Start/pause button in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartridges, or notice the explosion sound of the defeated bosses), along with good background music in place for appropriate ambiance. The skillful renditions reflect painstaking attempt at optimizing what the hardware had to offer, and results in an action-oriented, multi-layered beat throughout.

Originality

While other sci-fi themes had been done before for two-dimensional platform titles, and anthropomorphic protagonists had been seen before, no game was quite like Bucky O’Hare. This does not represent a perfect video game, nor is the experience without its aggravations, flaws, and outright bizarre bits (a spider enemy that drops down from a tree and explodes?!). Nonetheless, this game came late in the support cycle of the Nintendo Entertainment System console, long after Konami had mastered the basics of game-crafting and was able to spin a unique, enjoyable romp here, deserving of a respectable three and a half stars out of five.

Frogger’s Adventures: The Rescue

 Frogger adventures
This was the last batch of games my girlfriend had left over beside one other game I already had played on GameCube. From here on I must obtain PS2 games on my own. Which shouldn’t be too hard since they’re so cheap. So yeah this is the first Frogger game I’ve played since the first game.
Frogger
Obviously I mean the arcade original. I didn’t exactly play it in the arcade. I did play it on some arcade collection disc for some system. I also had a bad version of it on Atari 2600. For such an old arcade game it holds up decently. I don’t mind a game or two of Frogger.
Frogger adventures
Frogger has had many re-releases, remakes, and reboots over the years. This is a more modern take, and it’s very kid friendly. Well at least graphically and story wise. The game-play is a bit old-schooled, and pretty challenging. I also had some problems with the controls, Frogger died many times because I accidentally jumped too far or turned the wrong way.
Frogger adventures
I did get the hang of it after awhile, and mastered the game a bit more. It’s still pretty tough for the demographic they were targeting. It’s got decent levels, colorful graphics, and an ample amount of content. It’s not the greatest game in the world, but I had a lot more fun with the game than I expected.

Score: 7 out of 10

Darkman

Darkman

Overall Rating: 2.5/5 Stars

Darkman

In 1991, Ocean (aka Konami) developed an 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System video game, Darkman, based on the comic-book film released in 1990 starring Liam Neeson in what has become something of a cult role.

Gameplay

This is a two-dimensional platformer, with the standard controls of A to jump and B to attack (in this case, with a short-range alternating punch and kick). There is no crouch for the down button on the directional pad nor any secondary effect for the up button. Having no projectile weapon either, the player (including a second if desired, in turn-taking fashion) controls the protagonist Darkman character through many levels of differing scrolling orientations and types altogether in an attempt to satisfy a loose storyline (the opening menu actually has a separate option to read the story) involving a scientist’s experiment gone wrong and his resulting attempt at seeking vengeance on some goons.

Darkman

Darkman the NES game has both good and bad elements to it. In summary, some good aspects: Innovative stages involving photography and differing gameplay goals, differing characterizations based on Darkman’s ability to take on the appearance (and thus, apparently, the other physical traits) of certain foes later met as bosses, and an overall smooth, pleasing appearance. The bad components: Not-quite-polished physics resulting in overly slippery momentum and odd hit detection (battle is somewhat arbitrary in contact), rather difficult precision-jumping sequences throughout, and just an overall license-grade performance.

Graphics

Darkman

In its defense, Darkman does not look too bad. The visuals are colorful, varied, and detailed, with sprawling backgrounds highlighted by the interactive foreground. The cliche Chinatown is a delight, and the sprite animations are slick, along with action bits like the steerable metal mine-cart rails thingies.

Sound

Darkman

The music is slightly annoying, though it does get better, and the effects are standard fare for platform play, with the “bloops” and “swishes” of jumping, sliding, and the occasional “biff” for punches and kicks.

Originality

This video game certainly does contain some creative, innovative ingredients, such as the trio of levels the player must endure as each of a series of different masked-on characters, or the PokemonSnap-like photo portions. These interesting additions, however, do not make up for the general lack of spectacular development consistently present. The enemies are either simplistic and easy or nightmarishly difficult, and the variance in levels seems to give the idea that the creators preferred quantity over quality in their gameplay elements. Even considering its timeframe, it looks a little worse in context; by 1991, the NES was entering the latter years of its life cycle, and many of the issues in Darkman should have been able to have been conquered in its making. Overall, it turns out as an average effort; at least that makes it better than many other licensed games, and good enough for two and a half stars out of five.

Gradius 2

gradius_2_famicom
We begin with an awesome game for the Famicom/NES. The game was never released here in the States and boy did we miss out…. Nevertheless, the year is 2013 and we have many different ways to enjoy this game. Whether it’s through an emulator, NES reproduction, or the original Famicom title, we will have the same awesome experience. Lets get started!
gradius_2_famicom
The music is quite good for this game. It keeps you on your toes for real! Believe me, Konami knows their 8-bit music! The sound effects are improved from its predecessor so your ears will be happy to hear the retro-tunes and sound effects the game has to offer.
gradius_2_famicom
The game has some beautiful graphics. They are top notch for the time and you will not get confused on where to go. Be sure to enjoy all the scenery as long as you keep smashing the buttons constantly as the levels are packed with non-stop action.
gradius_2_famicom
The gameplay is just wonderful! The controls are just top notch and very responsive. You won’t be disappointed but beware that the game does offer a high level of difficulty. It’s so Konami for the game to have a level of difficulty. All of you whiners, get out while you can.
Gradius 2 -FC
The game is just as enjoyable from beginning to end. If you have the guts to play through it and come back again for another run, you have been warned. As I mentioned before, the game is difficult and will only get more difficult as you go further in the game but it’s so satisfying to come back to.

To conclude, the game is just amazing and should be in your collection even in rom form. This is sadly one of the many gems we missed out on. Be sure to pay your respects to the old shoot’em up games as they are packed with beauty and wonderful challenging gameplay.

Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster Busts Loose

Tiny Toon Adventures

Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster Busts Loose

This game took everything that the previous games did well and took it to another level. An amazing game and a true pick of the week is Tiny Toons -Buster Busts Loose-. The game is mainly a series of shows that you play through as an actor. You will find yourself in different levels such as the Acme Academy or a haunted house. The gameplay is quite entertaining as you can make Buster run by pressing the L or R buttons on your controller. Be careful when using this technique as if you do it in the wrong place, the consequences will be deadly!

Tiny Toon Adventures

The graphics of the game are quite good. They match scenes from the cartoon and are well made. Konami made sure you were playing a Tiny Toons atmosphere kind of game. All the characters look how they are supposed to look and the scenes are a joy to watch. With such a colorful and vivid game, there is nothing to hate about it. The sound is another winner as you will be familiarized with tunes related to the cartoon. Not only that but some remixes of them are quite inspiring and brings you to the moment of the game you are actually playing. There is no way you should play this game on mute! Just sit back and enjoy the tunes!

Tiny Toon Adventures

The game showcases the usual Konami bad ass options as you’ll only get the true ending by beating the game in hard. Konami used to do this to all of their hit games back in the day to make sure you lived up to their expectations. This game can be quite tough especially in stage five but you’ll be able to go through with enough practice and patience. After all, it’s just another one of those fun games that can stay quite fun even at its hardest moments.

OG Staff playing the game!

Twin Bee

Twin Bee

So this week we have some Twin Bee. I know I’ve talked about this title way too many times but it’s always nice to come back to it. This is the classic shooter you need to have in your collection. Nintendo made it very easy to have this in your Wii or 3DS although I do suggest you pick up the original Famicom port of it. Why? Because it kicks ass! There is nothing like the original! So without further adieu, here is Twin Bee in a nutshell.

twin bee

The music of this game is pure classic! There may only be one theme song on it but it’s only that one that makes it a classic. You can even find places like Youtube packed with remixes of the theme song. The sound effects are as simple as any shooter of its time. Truly enjoyable.

twin bee

The graphics are pure and simple. The game does a good job on making you feel like you are in the air. You fly through islands and even shoot down pineapples that shoot seeds at you. Yes, there is a lot of different weird enemies in this game. Another reason why it’s unique. Gotta love how your flying ship looks like as well. A total array of beautiful yet creative creatures.

twin bee

The game is great to come back to. You can always get together with a friend and play two players at the same time. The game is quite challenging! You can’t get enough of it especially after you get through it once. You get a more difficult second run. Care to challenge it?

The game overall is amazing. I would recommend it to any shooter fan that’s looking for something simple and fun. Games like these are also brought into new generations especially with the release of the 3D classics Twin Bee for the 3DS. Be sure to check it out if you have a 3DS. The game is quite affordable and even comes in the most generic pirate carts. There are so many ways to acquire this one that I won’t even go further. Just go get it and enjoy a good time!

Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse

Castlevania III - Dracula's Curse - NES - Gameplay screenshot
This is said to be the best Castlevania for the NES and I do agree with that for once. It’s probably the most complete Castlevania for the 8-bit console. I wouldn’t say otherwise because there isn’t much competition to begin with. You have a humble first game and a total turn around in the sequel. Finally, Konami releases a nice gem to finish off the series before moving to the SNES. Anyways, this game kicks ass in many different ways!
Castlevania III - Dracula's Curse - NES - Gameplay screenshot
The Castlevania series has always been a hit because of their wonderful sound scores. It doesn’t matter which game you are playing, you’ll familiarize yourself with the music in no time. The tunes on this game are no different. They are amazing and memorable. The music motivates you to get through the level and find that evil fiend Dracula. Hands down!
Castlevania III - Dracula's Curse - NES - Gameplay screenshot
The graphics are one of the best for the NES. They are as detailed as they can get. You can’t get much for the 8-bit console but then again, some of the most memorable games are for this same console. The game will be a joy for your retro loving eyes.
Castlevania III - Dracula's Curse - NES - Gameplay screenshot
The gameplay is one of the best. The game will challenge you along the way but you’ll have new allies to help you as well. Be sure to know the basics and be able to balance your team in order to get through the game. The controls are very responsive and don’t disappoint. Difficulty has always been a factor on Castlevania games. Konami did a great job at balancing the difficulty level. You won’t find it impossible but it won’t be an easy ride!
Castlevania III - Dracula's Curse - NES - Gameplay screenshot
The game is always great to come back to and play on such holidays as Halloween. It’s a classic and classic ultimately mean that you can come back and enjoy it time and again! Ready to hunt for vampires again?
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OiW-vy0ZdAA[/youtube]
The game itself is a perfect addition for your collection. You can’t say much of the negative side of the game because there isn’t much. Maybe trying to fuse the Castlevania 2 features within the game would’ve revolutionized it although other games did it already (Faxanadu, Zelda 2) But it definitely would’ve been welcomed.

Pooyan

Pooyan was a Stern/Konami collaboration for arcade release in 1982. It’s considered a classic among the old-school gamers, although it seems most people I’ve spoken to have never heard of it or played it. It was ported to the Atari 2600 and just about every computer in the ’80′s, but I remember the arcade version well.

Pooyan - arcade - gameplay screenshot

The gameplay is simple, as you are a mama pig trying to defend her piglets (pooyan) from jerk-ass wolves who (as we learned from kid’s tales) love nothing more than to eat some sweet pork. Normally, she would just hide behind the brick walls of her house, but it seems the Masons are on strike and can’t build her a house quickly enough. She then takes what she learned from the Porky Pig/Robin Hood cartoon and fashions herself a bow and unlimited arrows.

The game repeats two screens, but as in the case of most older arcade games, the levels get faster and more difficult as you move along. The first screen has the wolves on top of a cliff and they’ve mastered the use of the helium balloon. They will ride them down off the cliff’s edge and if they reach the bottom, will climb a ladder on your side and eat you and the piggies.

Pooyan - arcade - gameplay screenshot

You have two weapons: The arrows, which are dull as shit, as they can’t pierce the wolves’ fur but can pop the balloons and (SPLATTER ALERT!) will send them to their deaths. Or, you can toss huge pieces of meat at them, which are heavy enough to bring everything down to Earth. Where does she get the supply of meat? No one’s talking, but I don’t see any of Mama’s red-headed stepchildren present. The second screen has the wolves riding up the cliff via balloon, and you will take the same defensive actions. The only difference is if enough wolves reach the top they will push a huge boulder on top of you, basically tenderizing their dinner. There are a bonus screens where you do similar actions for points, but just toss the meat.

Pooyan - arcade - gameplay screenshot

The graphics are fine, nothing special. Very colorful, and you can tell what everything is. The music is very cute, with some classic tunes being heard during gameplay…some music you will recognize.
A simple, but eventually hectic game, with just the one joystick and one button. Easy to pick up and play on MAME if you get the chance. Very unique and quirky gameplay, and I think you’ll find yourself addicted. Highly recommended, and you don’t have to put a lot of time into it, as most games will probably last you 5-10 minutes.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ByIl9QQmeM[/youtube]

Overall 9/10

Contra: Hard Corps

 

contra-hard-corps-gameplay-screenshot

Contra: Hard Corps

Let me start by saying that while this is a true, crazy Contra game, Hard Corps was a bit of a disappointment.
The good parts: You can play as 4 different characters, which would be great for the replay value….if it were possible to actually finish the game the first time.

contra-hard-corps-gameplay-screenshot
The graphics are absolutely beautiful (as expected); there are some cool cut-scenes; heat-seeking-missile guns are always a good thing; there’s enough variation in bad-guys to make it interesting; the bosses are many and very well designed……

contra-hard-corps-gameplay-screenshot
Here’s the problem: Where the earlier Contra games (arcade and console) are notorious for their difficulty and 1-hit kills, at least there is a high fun-factor in overcoming the challenges and looking for the patterns…. Hard Corps does not have this. Here’s why:

contra-hard-corps-gameplay-screenshot
Whenever you shoot something, which is constantly, your enemy explodes in a beautiful shower of fireballs. The problem……..it’s so huge and bright, you’re constantly being cheap-killed by a stray bullet!!! The normal dexterity needed to play these games are normally reserved for AD&D 2nd Edition Thieves (Yep, I’m old). I get that. But, when you can’t see what you’re trying to dodge, it just takes all the fun out it. I’m not freaking Daredevil! (2nd nerd drop..I’m done)

contra-hard-corps-gameplay-screenshot
If you’re a fan of this genre, or a Contra completist…go for it. It has all the juicy goodness of awesome weapons, cool music, huge bosses, robots, and great controls. But for me, I’m going back to Contra III, for the SNES….and that’s saying something, because I’ve always been a ‘Sega over Nintendo’ guy.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TfwnSPK48TU[/youtube]

Overall: 6/10 solo 7/10 co-op

TMNT 3: The Manhattan Project

TMNT 3 - The Manhattan Project - NES - Gameplay screenshot

TMNT 3: The Manhattan Project

Hello shell brains! This week we have a real treat for ya. The Turtles are back in their third entry through the nostalgic 8-bit world. TMNT 3: The Manhattan Project took the great beat ’em up concept of TMNT 2 and made it even better. With each turtle holding their own unique skill, bigger levels, better sound, and tougher bad guys this entry is surely to be remembered. Lets take a look!

TMNT 3 - The Manhattan Project - NES - Gameplay screenshot

The music is nothing but sensational! The game itself has an upbeat sound in each stage which helps you stay focused and joyful at the same time! The game itself has amazing sound and does a great job at it. There is even a voice recorded sound that you hear when you beat a stage. All the classic tunes are revamped and remixed for a fresh new look and probably the best turtle experience on the NES.

TMNT 3 - The Manhattan Project - NES - Gameplay screenshot

The game looks even better than its predecessor. The NES was already in their final years of existence so by then, games were pretty good looking. Every stage is vast and enjoyable. The bad guys look even more dangerous than before and the backgrounds look as enjoyable and makes you wish you were there! Totally exquisite sight for sore eyes.

TMNT 3 - The Manhattan Project - NES - Gameplay screenshot

The gameplay is even better than the one before. When you pick a turtle, they will have their own unique skill. You have to use their skills accordingly in order to get through the levels with ease. Of course, I do stick with Raphael’s special move for boss fights. You might wanna do the same :p Furthermore, the difficulty makes it a challenge but not so much of it to make you throw the controller across the room. Beating the hordes of Foot Soldiers has never felt so enjoyable though. Play with a friend for a true radical experience, that’s for sure!

TMNT 3 - The Manhattan Project - NES - Gameplay screenshot

When it comes to a turtles’ beat ’em up, you can’t go wrong with any of them. You can play through them over and over within a time period and never get bored. It’s always fun especially with a friend so the replay value on this game is completely high! I totally dig this ^_^
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yaHFwzKXesk[/youtube]

So to conclude, there is nothing more to say except that it’s a must have for any video game fan. Of course, if you are collector, it’s a must have. Beat ’em up fanatics should also dig this one up. The list goes on and on! There is no going wrong with this game! Play it with a friend, alone, with your pet, whatever works. Just get dude! Have a cowabunga week ^_^’

The Adventures of Bayou Billy

The Adventures of Bayou Billy

Overall Rating: 2/5

The Adventures of Bayou Billy-NES-Gameplay-screenshot

In 1989, Konami released a Crocodile Dundee-inspired title for the Nintendo Entertainment System called The Adventures of Bayou Billy. Hyped as a beat-’em-up that also featured driving and shooting segments, it was thick in Louisiana flavor and unrelenting in its action, even receiving some exposure on the promotional cartoon series Captain N: The Game Master.

The plot centered around our protagonist, Billy, going after swamp-mod hoodlums in pursuit of a girl, Annabelle Lee. How did it fare on the 8-bit scene, and why did it appear on Captain N’s show? Let’s dig in and find out.

Graphics

The Adventures of Bayou Billy-NES-Gameplay-screenshot

The backgrounds were snazzy and seemed to be taken right out of New Orleans. The characters themselves were large and fairly detailed, considering the platform. In some areas, though, the Adventures could use improvement. For example, the driving stages had cloddy-looking cars and a clunky method of lobbing grenades at planes (yes, grenades at planes). Other times, the game was susceptible to be choppy and slow when overloaded with action, but otherwise was a passable romp.

Sound

The Adventures of Bayou Billy-NES-Gameplay-screenshot

The developers clearly wanted an emphasis on the effects, considering the voiceover of the title, The Adventures of Bayou Billy! There were only a scant few other instances of voice work in the game, but for an 8-bit title, any digitized voice work is great. The music was lively and fit the theme, while every hit and blow was keenly effected.

Innovation

The Adventures of Bayou Billy-NES-Gameplay-screenshot

This one tried to set itself up as being revolutionary, since some portions were driving, some were beat-’em-up, and some were shooting; however, in the end, Bayou Billy suffers from the disease of trying too much at once and not doing any of it excellently. Sure, it was okay, but the driving scenes were not as good as Rad Racer, the shooting scenes were not as fun as Hogan’s Alley, and the beat-’em-up scenes were not on the quality tier with Double Dragon II. The developers could have looked to Battletoads for a quality example of how to seamlessly blend different types of experience within the same basic storyline, but Bayou Billy crumbles under its own weight.

Replay Value

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYkChIGEI9c[/youtube]

And now we come to the reason why this game earned notoriety and an appearance on Captain N: It was overwhelmingly difficult! Rumor has it that the Japanese release was too easy, so for the international version they gave the enemies triple the life energy and lowered the ammo on shooting levels. Despite having practice modes for each of the three types of Bayou Billy levels, the entire ordeal is still excruciating and nightmarish. Only hardcore gamers should bother seeking this one out for its ardent, horrifying difficultly level. All others can safely stay away, leaving this to score a mild two stars out of five.

X-Men for Android

[youtube id=”o8d8_SFupeI” width=”633″ height=”356″]

Right off the bat I loved that the game was polished a little extra for the HD screens found on many android phones. The game looks clean and clear while staying true to its classic roots. You can select from the same six members of the X-Men and their controls, moves and powers are all the same. ~J.A. Laraque

X-Men for Android

If you were an arcade gamer in the 90’s there is no doubt you played the awesome X-Men game by Konami. Released in 1992 there were two main versions of the arcade cabinet, the small two-player version and the massive six-player version. Obviously, the six-player version was the best allowing the full team to battle against Magneto and his evil mutants.

X-Men-Android-Gameplay-screenshot

Now you can play this classic on your android. Here is the official description from Google Play:

Experience the classic 1992 X-Men arcade game on the go! Choose from some of your favorite classic X-Men characters including Cyclops, Colossus, Wolverine, Storm, Nightcrawler, or Dazzler. Fight your way through hundreds of Sentinels and battle classic super villains such as Pyro, The Blob, Wendigo, Nimrod, The White Queen, Juggernaut, Mystique and the Master of Magnetism himself, Magneto!

-Battle evil with up to 4 of your friends using the multi-player feature over WiFi!!

-Open Feint integrated with both leaderboards and achievements! Challenge your friends!

X-Men-Android-Gameplay-screenshot

Right off the bat I loved that the game was polished a little extra for the HD screens found on many android phones. The game looks clean and clear while staying true to its classic roots. You can select from the same six members of the X-Men and their controls, moves and powers are all the same.

X-Men-Android-Gameplay-screenshot

The joystick is not as good as I would like, but those used to playing with touch pad controls will not have too much of an issue. The video and sound is the same as the arcade cabinet and there is Wi-Fi multiplayer as well as leaderboards, however, you have to use Open Feint, which I do not care for. In addition, there is no cross-platform multiplayer so no playing with your Apple friends.

Overall, for only 99 cents on Google Play, X-Men is worth a pick up for any retro gaming fan.

Thanks to Pixel Freak for the video review.

Gyruss

Gyruss-NES-Gameplay-screenshot

Gyruss

Overall Rating: 4/5 Stars

In early 1989, Konami released an 8-bit video game cartridge for the Nintendo Entertainment System console under their Ultra Games label that would prove to a singularity among the typical shoot-’em-up choices available to a player: Gyruss.

Gameplay

Gyruss-NES-Gameplay-screenshot

Gyruss is a one-player game. Although it exists within the shooter genre, it neither scrolls horizontally nor vertically; instead, this is a “tube shooter,” somewhat like the classic title Tempest, with a fixed viewpoint that provides a faux three-dimensional feel. The player controls the ship by rotating it around a ring formation, always facing the center. Enemy ships not only move around in circles also, but also at different depths, sometimes as far out as the player-ship, while other times so far away they appear as just a couple pixels in the center of the screen.

Gyruss-NES-Gameplay-screenshot

There are two control modes offered, A and B. Control Mode A ensure that pressing Right on the directional pad always moves the ship to the right, no matter which vertical half of the screen the ship is on. In other words, if the ship is at the bottom center of the screen, and the player presses Right until the ship is fixated at the three o’clock position at the right center of the screen, the ship will stop there, at which point the player must start pressing Left to continue the ship’s movement rotation around the screen. While it is nice that the game provides a steering mode that prevents the cognitive dissonance of a D-Pad direction only being “correct” half the time, the effect of each pause halfway up the circle is jarring, and Control Mode B is preferred, in which a continual, smooth motion of the ship is achieved, and pressing a direction on the D-Pad will always go clockwise if pressing Left and counter-clockwise if pressing Right.

Gyruss-NES-Gameplay-screenshot

Of course, there is much more to this video game than simply providing the tube shooter experience, though it is significantly notable for that accolade, considering it is the only example of such a game for the NES. The loose plot, explained in a single frame if allowed past the title screen, only says “Mankind must rid the universe of evil. It’s a death defying risk, and only a hero can succeed.” A foreboding, humanoid figure appears in the background against the starfield as a backdrop to this ominous text.

Gyruss-NES-Gameplay-screenshot

Play proceeds throughout the solar system that human beings are familiar with. Beginning with Neptune, and proceeding through each of the other planets (even Pluto, which must be during a portion of its orbit that takes it inside Neptune’s), the player is aiming to arrive at the Sun for the final showdown. Each planet has a few fairly short levels, that conclude with a boss fight, and then a bonus stage afterward for points.

In order to defeat each “warp” or wave of enemies, the B button fires the blaster cannon, with a maximum of two shots on the screen at a time. Earning a weapons upgrade enables double-fire, which is obviously a great boon to success, and can be achieved by blasting the two side barriers off a bonus orb before hitting the orb directly. The A button fires a special weapon, of which the player only has a limited amount and most slowly earn more throughout the game. This blast plows through everything in front of the player, towards the middle of the screen, and includes eliminating certain objects and projectiles that the normal blaster cannot get rid off.

Gyruss-NES-Gameplay-screenshot

The majority of the obstacles to victory consist of groupings of enemies that fly in, dance around in some form of pattern, then make their way to the middle of the screen. Much like Galaga, a handful of groupings will all form together, and should be dealt with before they begin coming back and dive-bombing toward the player. In fact, similar to other shooters such as even Sky Shark, shooting down all the crafts in a particular squadron before they reach the middle garners bonus points.

Besides the alien spacecraft are other challenging deterrents to deal with, such as asteroids and solar fireballs to dodge, along with the lasers and other weapons fired by various enemies. Some weaponry utilized, like the homing solar flare fireballs used near the end of the game, actually slightly veer toward the player as they come from the center of the screen, placing an enhanced demand on reflexes and reaction time.

Gyruss-NES-Gameplay-screenshot

There are about forty levels in all, with a brief ending afterward before a “second quest” begins. The Konami code is intact, if the player wishes to begin with 30 lives, instead of the usual three extra. Thanks to the deft programming skills of the development staff at Konami, Gyruss proves to be a slick, fun, very enjoyable 8-bit video game. As a shooter, it is a very distinctive title, and although not as tortuously difficult as some, with or without proper endings, still offers a worthy playthrough for shmup fans. That being said, this is not a game for everyone: It is so different that many will balk at its strangeness and simply never quite “get it.” Gamers have tastes, and some may fall in love with this selection.

Graphics

Gyruss-NES-Gameplay-screenshot

Gyruss is a good-lookin’ little vidya game. The action is frenetic and fast-paced, complete with Konami’s signature visuals, even down to the small yellow-and-orange circular-oriented explosions that can be seen elsewhere in such NES cartridges as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game. Solid ship designs and fancy beam weapon visuals aside, what may be most admirable of Gyruss is the crazy amount of sprites, for an 8-bit hardware machine at least, that it manages to juggle on-screen all at the same time. Granted, this comes with some flickering issues, but surprisingly minor, and without slowdown. The bosses are honestly a letdown at times, being somewhat small and not quite intimidating, but the strictures of the characterization were likely limited by the tube theme—which, in itself, is a graphical feast that mostly makes up for other nitpicky flaws. There is something very appropriate about a shoot-’em-up that strives to make the player feel as though they are shooting through space toward an ultimate destination.

Sound

Gyruss-NES-Gameplay-screenshot

The soundtrack is great. Really, it is a Konami work, so the usual high quality can be expected, complete with the familiar Pause sound effect. The background tunes get away from the period rock of something like Base Wars or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: The Manhattan Project, and settle into a motif more apropo of the setting at hand, fast-paced enough to keep adequate adrenaline pumping, with skillful composition that will never distract by its badness.

Originality

If one were to look too closely, one would have to frown and conclude that Gyruss is not entirely innovative: The “space shooter” trope has been endlessly retread for decades, down to the spacey designs of pattern-flying enemy squadrons that dive-bomb at a double-firing protagonist against a shooting-starfield background effect. It is, almost exclusively, the tube element that makes this an original, creative entry in the NES canon of gaming.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9BF4img_CyM[/youtube]

The most critical of observers could also say that Konami did not seem to try as hard with this one; the level-by-level execution is fairly straightforward, even with some quirky variety at points like the level without enemies where the player only needs to dodge incoming objects. The ending consists of a modest animation and one line of text (note: to be fair, the version on the Famicom Disk System is longer and less stripped-down). However, to purely take on a gaming perspective, that of a fan of video games, that of a human being with a controller in hand ready to take on the villains of the galaxy, that of purely sitting down in seeking a fun way to pass the time, Gyruss deserves its rating of four stars out of five. The five-word review goes like this: This is a great game.

Crime Fighters

Crime Fighters - Konami - Arcade - Gameplay Screenshot - Flyer

Crime Fighters

This is one of those games that were much more fun in the past then it was today. Crime Fighters is a beat em up in every sense of the word. In this Konami fighter, you play the role of an undercover cop who really just rushes into gang territory and beats the living hell out of everyone. Honestly, I don’t even know how you are considered undercover when you just walk up and start beating down people.

Crime Fighters - Konami - Arcade - Gameplay Screenshot

The cool thing about this game, at least at the arcades was it was four players like Teenage Mutant Ninja turtles. Depending on how many were playing more enemies would be on the screen at one time. Crime Fighters plays a lot like Double Dragon, your main attacks are punches and kicks and you can grab enemies and preform attack as well.

Crime Fighters - Konami - Arcade - Gameplay Screenshot

Another different thing about Crime Fighters was the health meter. In the four player version when you added money you would get a certain number representing your health and it would slowly count down like Gauntlet (perhaps it was your undercover power).  The only way to gain health was at the end of a level after beating a boss. I think this could make the game seem like you are getting a lot of health, but later on some of the enemies and bosses are cheap and just continue to tick away your health.

Crime Fighters - Konami - Arcade - Gameplay Screenshot

Speaking of cheap, one of the issues I had was with picking up weapons. Now the guns were over powered and once you had one you owned until you were out of bullets, but the knife and pipe were semi useless specifically because when you first picked them up you would like show them off and during this little animation an enemy could hit you causing you to drop and lose the item. Again, maybe it has to do with being undercover, I dunno.

Crime Fighters - Konami - Arcade - Gameplay Screenshot

So like most side scrolling fighting games the key is not to be surrounded. Most of the standard enemies were easy to take out, but later you had big muscle bound dudes that could smack you around or pick you up and slam you. The worst are the ninja guys who would counter almost all your attacks and really drain your life. Here is a pro-tip, don’t scroll too far when fighting a ninja or a big guy or more might come out or you might reach the boss, trust me, mixing the ninja and a boss is horrible and you will lose a ton of life.

Crime Fighters - Konami - Arcade - Gameplay Screenshot

I also like the United Nations of bad guys in Crime Fighters. You had greasers which were white guys that looked like a 60’s gang, a dock worker that was either a huge black or white guy, the Kung Fu thug which was a Chinese guy and the best enemy name ever,  Hispanic, seriously, the enemy name was just called, Hispanic and they wore tank tops and always used a knife. I know my Miami readers would get a kick out of that.

Crime Fighters - Konami - Arcade - Gameplay Screenshot

As said the game can be frustrating especially when you get a team up of hard enemies like the Dominatrix, hit-man and a boss. Speaking of bosses, they just were weird. You had bosses that looked like Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees to the stereotypical end boss, which comes out of a limo with a machine gun. If you make it all the way to the end, you can fight all the bosses at once, which I really think was a last ditch effort to grab more quarters from you.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qrBY3NuC6Y[/youtube]

All in all Crime Fighters gets boring because all you do is mash punch and kick against the same type of bad guys over and over. Also, with the cheap attacks and counters it just gets frustrating even when you are not spending real quarters. However, kneeing enemies in the balls and hearing that bell sound makes it all worth it. This game reminds me of a mix between Double Dragon and Renegade and that in itself is good enough to give it a go.

The Simpsons Arcade Game

The Simpsons Arcade Game is now available on XBox Live, and the first-ever home console release of the 1991 quarter-muncher is every bit as fun as you remember.

The Simpsons Arcade Game - Xbox live - Gameplay Screenshot

One of a long series of four player side-scrolling beat-em-ups that Konami put into arcades around this time, The Simpsons allows players to fight as HomerBartMarge or Lisa as they attempt to rescue baby Maggie from the evil Smithers.

Younger fans of the iconic Simpsons franchise should note that this classic arcade game was developed at the very beginning of the television series.  Some of the characters will look different than they do today and all of the references in the game pull from the earliest episodes of the show.  Sideshow Bob appears in one stage to help you out, Smithers is a tough guy, Bleeding Gums Murphy is alive and the rabbits from the Life Is Hell comic strip appear several times.  In those days that comic strip was Matt Groening‘s biggest success story to date.

The Simpsons Arcade Game - Xbox live - Gameplay Screenshot

Fans who remember pouring every quarter you had into the arcade game will be thrilled.  The game is exactly as you remember it from start to finish with straightforward controls and even the full demonstration mode, complete with the annoying-yet-classic “waaa waaa waawaaa waaaa!” scene with Bart and Lisa.

Several fun unlockables are also available for those who finish the game with specific characters.  The Japanese ROMset is available for play along with character bios, a neat but brief look at the development timeline and original advertising materials for the arcade game, a sound test and more.

The Simpsons Arcade Game - Xbox live - Gameplay Screenshot

Some achievements are easy to get and some will take time.  Longtimes fans of the Simpsonsseries will laugh at some of them as well.  The “Tastes Like Burning” achievement I gained by hitting Smithers with one of his own bombs forced me to pause the game for a moment to laugh, which brought up a neat pause menu drawn inside the old Simpson television set.

Online leaderboards not only show scores but also how many continues those players had to use to obtain them, adding a little credibility to such a scoreboard as part of a multi-continue game.  If you really want to try and show off there is a one-life “survival mode” as well.

The Simpsons Arcade Game - Xbox live - Gameplay Screenshot

Overall, The Simpsons Arcade Game is just pure fun.  Fans of the original arcade game will like it for different reasons than the younger Simpsons fans who may never have seen it, but they will all like it.  At 800 Microsoft points (about ten bucks) it’s a steal as well.

Don’t have a cow, man.  Download this one right away.

Patrick Scott Patterson has been a gamer since 1981, acting as a writer, technician and world record holder on several game titles. He has appeared numerous times in the yearly editions of Guinness World Records: Gamer’s Edition. In addition to writing here, Patterson has also written for Yahoo!, Twin Galaxies, VGEVO and Gameroom Magazine, and is always looking for unique and positive news to report from the video gaming world.

The Castlevania Adventure

The Castlevania Adventure - Gameboy - Gameplay Screenshot
This time around I will discuss Castlevania for the Gameboy. This title is quite old but interesting overall. The game does show age as soon as you play it, I mean it moves slower than other Castlevania games but that’s mainly because of the limited capabilities of the handheld. The game is tough at times but not impossible to beat. You can expect classic castlevania action in this one as it’s similar to the NES counterparts.

The Castlevania Adventure - Gameboy - Gameplay Screenshot
Be ready to get used to slow gameplay though. Also, be careful with letting your vampire hunter fall because he will fall like a brick. The usual monsters are in this one, bats, big eyes, and more bats. I recommend this for anyone who wants something similar to the NES and needs a blast from the past. For others, I don’t because it could disappoint you more than make you enjoy it. Luckily, it’s a very affordable title so don’t you worry, your pockets will still be filled with monah. That’s all for now, until next time!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VzEeWzLQa7w[/youtube]
One last tip, don’t get hit as you will lose your strong whip and that really wears you down and defeats you more quickly in the end. Good luck!

Famicomfreak is a classic gaming writer and collector you can view his main blog here – Retro Gaming Life

Tiny Toons

Tiny Toons - Konami - NES - Gameplay Screenshot
I actually played the pirate of this game but fell in love with it nonetheless. Tiny Toons for the NES is how a very funny cartoon converted to a console should have been done. Konami did a lot of things well in this game which went up through the SNES era but that’s another story. Tiny Toons is your average platformed that can turn a hell a lot better if you love the cartoon as the familiarity is uncanny for such a game. You’ll see characters from the series all over the place. The story of the game is very simple, Babs Bunny has been kidnapped and it’s up to Buster and the rest of them to save her. They will have to go through six awesome levels filled with enemies you may have seen in the cartoon DUH!

Tiny Toons - Konami - NES - Gameplay Screenshot
The game is very interesting as you can pick a partner from the duck(Plucky), the Tazmanian devil (Dizzy), and the cat (Furball) to accompany you on your journey. This is key as each character has their own ability therefore they will be useful in different ways on each level. Some of them are more useful than others so it’ll take you at least one run through the entire game to figure out what level each belongs to. It doesn’t make any difference since if you already went through the game once, you already know and figure out everything you need to know in order to beat it so take your best guess!

Tiny Toons - Konami - NES - Gameplay Screenshot

The levels are very easy if you figure the patterns and what not. You can probably get through the game in less than an hour but it’s fun over all. The music is quite good as well as it familiarizes with the cartoon’s at some points not all of course. To conclude, this game is very easy to pick up and play which can be very good for people who aren’t ready to learn new gaming styles and to through hour-long tutorials. Yes, this is the power of retro gaming at its maximum! You better believe it!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3fJkSynewmA[/youtube]

The adventures of Batman and Robin

Snes-adventures-of-batman-and-robin

I was looking forward to this game, after playing a lot of mediocre to poor ones this week. I had heard good things about it, and was a big fan of the 90′s cartoon, for which it was based. Konami put this out in 1994, around the time they changed the name of the cartoon from Batman: the Animated Series. The cartoon was very good to exceptional, and if they didn’t screw up that feel, we would have a winner.

Snes-adventures-of-batman-and-robin 2
Good news! I start play and find they incorporated the fantastic animation, as well as music from the series. It’s more than a typical scrolling action/platformer that gives you plenty of things to do to mix it up a bit. The first level pits you against The Joker, as you’re invited into his Funhouse for a rescue mission. You’re given a number of Bat-toys incuding the Batarang/rope/stars/goggles, etc…Luckily, they give you a reason to use your gadgets, and they’re not just for show. You fight, jump, and Batrope your way through his puzzles until you reach the first boss, a huge toy soldier! After that, Joker puts you on a runaway roller-coaster and tosses bombs at you. If you make it through that, you’ll face the Clown Prince, himself.

Snes-adventures-of-batman-and-robin 3
There’s probably a dozen levels throughout facing all of your favorite Arkham-escapees; Catwoman, Penguin, Two-Face, Riddler, and more. They each have their unique levels that makes it seem like a bunch of mini-games. Again, it looks beautiful, plays well, and the music makes you feel like you’re playing inside an episode of the series.

The adventures of Batman and Robin - SNES - gameplay screenshot 1
Two negatives on the game; Robin is barely around, and doesn’t really do anything, so if you thought this would be a kick-ass co-op, you’d be wrong. Secondly, and most importantly, THERE’S NO VOICE!! Everything is in text! I could just imagine how good this game would have been had I been experiencing the great Mark Hamill taunting me as The Joker instead of having to read, “HAHAHAHA! Follow me into my funhouse, Batman!”

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eNA9f4OBXe4[/youtube]
Just saying, if you’re going to do it…do it right.

Obviously, I’m pleased with the game, and if you have your old SNES sitting around, pick this up. It’s Bat-astic!

Castlevania 2 Belmont’s Revenge

Castlevania 2 - Gameboy - Gameplay Screenshot

We always had lots of great games to remember from the old gameboy library and this one is no different. Konami was savvy enough to see their mistakes on their first title for the gameboy and work on it. Castlevania 2 Belmont’s Revenge brings you a very improved gameplay experienced and a very memorable adventure. The music if you have heard it has been used in Castlevania titles from today and that just shows you it’s that good. It really is!

Castlevania 2 - Gameboy - Gameplay Screenshot

There are lots of things to like about this Castlevania. First of all, you can start the game from four different levels so the game won’t feel very linear for once. The gameplay is your usual kinky wiping and jumping procedures and the enemies will be more familiar if you played the first gameboy Castlevania. The game does bring out an enjoyable enough experience so that you will have the will to come back for more. The game is not that easy so it’s suggested for moderate players that won’t get mad and throw the gameboy against the wall when they get their asses handed to them.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2dollw8pMtM[/youtube]

Overall, this game brings out a better improvement as well as better music and graphics. If you disliked the NES counter part even though I don’t see why you would, this is the game for you. It is not that expensive so getting a copy of it shouldn’t be a problem but if you are a very cheap person then emulation is your answer. Until next week!

TMNT IV: Turtles in Time

TMNT Turtles in Time

This was the first ever SNES title I ever got with the good old console and what an awesome ordeal! The game is just amazing and prove how close consoles were getting to the arcade machines we praised so much in the early 90s. The only thing the game is missing is the four player feature which would have made it a perfection of all perfection for the SNES. Anyhow, this game gave me endless hours of fun. I can play it over and over without getting bored.

TMNT Turtles in Time
Konami made sure you played their games to the death. The only way to see the real ending is to beat this game in hard, you have no other choice. Unlike today’s games, this was what gaming was all about. The game is full of amazing gameplay and great animation. This game started to show what the SNES could do and what the Genesis couldn’t do. Speaking of the Genesis, the game completely changed with another story but similar gameplay. The game was fun as well but in my personal opinion, the SNES rules on top.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BDq1EczJ5M0[/youtube]

 

What else to say about this gem? the game has some interesting options like changing the turtles colors from the cartoon to something called comic. Each turtle has their own strengths and weaknesses. Picking up this game will cost you at least 20 dollars loose but if you are as lucky as me, you will find a CIB copy for 2 bucks. Har har har! Until next time!

Castlevania

 

Castlevania_NES_box_art

Castlevania

Castlevania had to start somewhere and the NES took care of that. With three installments on the classic 8-bit console, Castlevania took flight into one of the most successful franchises ever. This game was considered a horror genre and a bad ass game back in the NES era. There was really nothing like it back in the NES era and that’s why it kicked ass. You were a vampire hunter off to kill Dracula, how bad ass can you get? All you have to kill Dracula was your whip, talk about kinky! Anyways, the game itself is a masterpiece and the most challenging of the three in my opinion.

Castlevania - Nintendo - Gameplay Screenshot 1

 

The gameplay is your usual hack and slash action with the help of some of the most classic Castlevania items ever like the cross or the holy water. These are the signature items that would help us reach Dracula but in the end it would only be up to our kinky whip to tame the vampire beast. The gameplay does deliver a very satisfying experience but you will find problems while jumping in the air as that’s when you are more vulnerable to damage and a quick death due to the amazing gravitational pull when you fall. Other than that, it’s a very playable game. The musical score is what became your typical classical horror Castlevania game, quite scary by the 1980s gaming standards but nothing to worry about today unless you are scared of 8-bit music.

Castlevania - Nintendo - Gameplay Screenshot 2

The game difficulty’s is what makes some people run away in panic. The game is hard, but not hard enough that you should quit and let Dracula win. You will be challenged by many monsters and will have to come up with your strategy to beat them. You can’t ask for any more hard core playing than this. This game is Castlevania at its toughest! Will you take the challenge? I hope so!

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

Overall, this is just a trip back to a game that started a long running franchise and it has only gotten better. I do prefer the 2D counterparts rather than the 3D style games out for the next gen consoles and even one for PS2. Castlevania works best at its 2D gaming style with RPG elements, that just makes it work. We have to thank Symphony of the Night for such a great Castlevania trend that is still going strong and enjoyable to this day.

Goonies

Goonies - Gameplay Screenshot 2

Goonies

This time around, we have a true classic for the Famicom/NES. Goonies was a side scroller like no other for its time. It had very unique items and collectibles as well. I mean why in the world would you need to use an space suit? nevah! Anyways, the game is challenging at times and follows the story well sort off. You do start off at the house where the bad guys were in. You also get a fat guy that keeps shooting at you but you never see that dirt bag old lady at all.

Goonies - Gameplay Screenshot 1

The levels are pretty simple. Just beat up a rat and get the bomb. Place the bomb in the door nearby and get what’s inside. You must find three children and a key to be able to exit the level. Make sure you also pick up the items in the doors, well you’ll have to anyways because you need to blow them all up. The levels take you through an underground level and sewers as well. It’s a pretty fun game overall! The ending is also worth it all the way! You must beat this game!

With simple gameplay and a great fun factor, this game is a must play for any retro gamer. It’s very odd it was never released in the US even though it was based on a US released movie…

I never really got into Goonies 2 as well which was released here in the US because it just didn’t felt like a Goonies game. I’m not saying it’s a bad game, I just should probably give it another chance. Anyways, since there is not US release I suggest you buy one of those multicarts which are really common and have a very good chance of coming with the Goonies game in it. If not just play the rom!

Ads From The Past: Retro Rewind

Street Fighter 2010 NES ad
When Street Fighter 2 was taking over the world Capcom took the opportunity to try to sell a crappy game with its name. Street Fighter 2010 -The Final Fight- was the result. The game is quite difficult and can be very tedious especially if you don’t have any patience. 

 

Classic video game ads
I gotta say I rather enjoy the ads where they showcase a lot more games in just one page especially if they aren’t that good to begin with.
Ninja Spirit ad
Ninja Spirit for the Turbo Grafx is well kinda of bland. I just don’t understand why the Turbo Grafx ads were so unappealing. They deliver a message but why does the background of every ad I have seen so far for a Turbo Grafx game the color white. Where these guys trying to save on ink? I sure hope not….
Nightmare on Elrm Street ad
For such an awesome movie this was such a horrible game. Leave it up to LJN to screw things up over and over again. Enter Nightmare on Elm Street for the NES. The game is at least somewhat playable and beatable if you have the patience for it. I dare you to play through this one!

Konami Handhelds ad

Konami sure took advantage of the handheld craze back in the day. They released many handhelds from their favorite titles. I was lucky enough to find a TMNT handheld to add to my collection but I’ll surely be looking out for these ones.
Toys r us ad
Here we have a nice ad from Toys R Us. They carried everything back in the day. I remember how they used to have their consoles for you to play the latest games on….Those were the days….
Starship Hector NES ad
This one is based on the game Starship Hector for the NES. The game was released by Hudson Soft so you can expect it to be something above average. Hudson Soft always delivered great games you know.

Phelios & Burning Force Genesis ads

Continuing with the Sega trend, we have yet another ad from it. The ad is very simple and has a nice look. The Pac-Man dude helps with giving the ad some attention. As good as the cover art may look, I’m sure these games are just your average Sega titles but I could be wrong.
Pictionary NES ad
Making crappy games interesting was a huge part of video gaming back in the late 80s and 90s and this is just one of the bunch. I’m not saying the game is horrible but it’s not something I would play on a daily basis or in a session of retro gaming goodness. The ad itself portrays it as a game that anyone can pick up and play although if you were smart enough to not buy into the ad, you’ll be good. For the rest of you, run for your lives!
SNK Video Games Ad It mainly shows off some of the good titles from SNK before they dumped Nintendo and decided to go up against them. There is one title on this ad that I think should be in anyone’s list, care to guess? The answer is Crystalis!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Teenage Muntant Ninja Turtles - Title Screen

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1989)
By: Konami Genre: Fighting Players: 1-4 Difficulty: Medium
Featured Version: Arcade
Also Available For: NES, PC, Amiga, Atari ST, C64, Amstrad CPC, ZX Spectrum
Download For: Xbox 360 Live Arcade

I was in my early teens around the time the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles phenomenon hit the world and it confused me. Ninjas are cool, sure, everyone knows that. But ninja turtles? I thought they were stupid. Turtles can’t even hold any weapons, they have flippers! I couldn’t stand how popular they were. Even my best mate, Luke, liked them! Oh well, they were engrained into popular culture, there was nothing I could do about it. Of course, various games based on their exploits followed. Some were good, others weren’t. As I remember it, the most popular one was the arcade offering from Konami, but it wasn’t until a recent Luke visit that I actually played this game for the first time ever. Did it suck as much as the stupid characters it was based on, or was it actually half decent?

Teenage Muntant Ninja Turtles - Gameplay Screenshot

The story is pretty much the same as every other scrolling fighter – someone gets kidnapped, you (and possibly a friend) have to rescue them. In this case, villianous master ninja, Shredder, leader of the nefarious Foot Clan… umm… clan, has kidnapped buxom news reporter and friend to the Turtles, April. Just for good measure they then also kidnap the Turtles rat sensei, Splinter. It’s then up to you to battle through the Foot Clan’s ranks and rescue April and Splinter before they do questionable things to them. First step: choose a turtle to play as. Their leader, Leonardo, is armed with two Katana swords, Michelangelo uses nunchaku’s, Donatello is equipped with a bo staff, and Raphael makes use of a pair of sai’s. Each of the Turtles has slightly differing attributes such as speed, reach of weapon, etc.

Teenage Muntant Ninja Turtles - Gameplay Screenshot

The Foot Clan themselves comprise a majority of the Turtles’ enemies through the game. They all look the same aside from the colour of their hoods and trousers, with the colour denoting their method of attack. Some of them carry big hammers, some of them throw dynamite, some can grab you from behind, others just punch and kick. They are joined on the odd occasion by robots. Having never really watched the TMNT show, I can’t really say if robots featured in it, but there’s a few of them here and they’re generally a mere nuisance rather than being formidable opponents, although some of them do possess the ability to hit you with an electric whip! The various bosses are taken from the show however, and include Bebop and Rocksteady (an agressive pig and rhino respectively), Dr Baxter Stockman (a mad scientist type), Lieutenant Granitor, General Traag, Krang (a small alien with a bumbling humanoid suit), and Shredder himself.

Teenage Muntant Ninja Turtles - Gameplay Screenshot

There are five stages, or scenes, to battle through here, covering such ground as an office block, city streets, sewers, and of course the Technodrome itself (the base of Krang and Shredder). Some of the stages are also split into several sections each too, and the Turtles even face a fast-scrolling section on skateboards at one point, taking on similarly equipped Foot Clan hoodlums and even missile-launching helicoptor gunships! There’s a pretty nice variety between the stages, graphically speaking, and there’s some decent static cut scenes between stages too. As mentioned earlier, a large percentage of the enemy sprites look the same except for differences in colour, and the animation on all sprites is fairly unremarkable, but it’s certainly not a horrible game to look at by any means. As far as the audio is concerned, I personally found it pretty annoying, what with the Turtles theme tune featuring prominently in different forms and various catchphrases from the show, but I’m sure it would be appreciated by fans.

Teenage Muntant Ninja Turtles - Gameplay Screenshot

The only problem this game has really is one that is so common within the genre – a lack of offensive moves. There is just an attack and jump button here which kind of limits how many manoeuvres you can perform, although you can press them both together for a (pretty unspectacular) special move. As mentioned though, there’s not many scrolling fighters that do have a sizeable roster of moves so it’s not too much of a problem, and the game does have an ace up its sleeve though – simultaneous four-player action! I guess it would be weird to create a games based on a team of four and not allow them to fight together, so kudos to Konami for incorporating it. I haven’t personally played the game in four-player mode but I can imagine, whilst being a bit chaotic and cluttered, it’s probably a truckload of fun too.

Teenage Muntant Ninja Turtles - Gameplay Screenshot

So, given my dislike of the subject matter, it’s a little annoying to find that this is a pretty decent quality scrolling fighter, and that in itself makes it a precious commodity, especially when you take into account the four-player mayhem it offers! It has its faults, and I’m sure fans will enjoy it more than I did, but it’s a solidly playable effort – entertaining in short bursts for a solo player, great fun with multiple players.

RKS Score: 7/10

Super Contra

Super Contra - NES Box

Super Contra

The contra series was the game to play back in the day for many reasons. One of them being for its great replay value and another was for the great challenge and level design. I can’t explain how satisfying destroying everyone in your way feels but if you played the game, you know what I mean. This game is a must play for any NES player or Nintendo player overall because it’s just that great. The challenge can make you want to stay away from it but it only takes some practice and the “S” weapon to kick ass with ease. I myself I’m still trying to beat the game without losing any lives which is a very tough task to complete but I’ll do it eventually after all practice makes perfect.

Super Contra - NES Gameplay Screenshot

Super C has some of the craziest bosses around including aliens and Helicopters and more aliens well if you played it you’ll see all of them. One of the more interesting things about this game is the so called Konami code that’ll give you 30 lives for those of you who die a lot. I highly suggest playing the game without the code since it’ll give you a challenge to accomplish man I can’t remember how many times I died practicing levels with this game but now I can go through it with ease. Well that’s about it if you want a challenge and best of all play it with a friend then pick up Super C at your local thrift stores or try ebay if you don’t want to travel. The price range for this game is 15-20 dollars so expect to pay that at least. Until next time!

POD: King Kong’s Queen Kong

King Kong 2 - Ikari no Megaton Punch - Title Screen
As I was playing this game I decided to take a break and check out the demo gameplay that is shown. I was also introduced to what the story is behind this game. King Kong 2 is probably one of the more fun smashing games for the Famicom. The story should make you want to smash even more especially when Queen Kong is taken away! Oh NO!! Behold some snapshots of the intro:

King Kong 2 - Ikari no Megaton Punch - Storyline Screenshot 1

King Kong’s heart is pounding faster more and more!!

King Kong 2 - Ikari no Megaton Punch - Storyline Screenshot 2

Those bastards have taken Queen Kong. Lets go teach them a lesson.

King Kong 2 - Ikari no Megaton Punch - Storyline Screenshot 3

Never mess with an ape on mating season!

King Kong 2 - Ikari no Megaton Punch - Storyline Screenshot 4
Now to have revenge on the world! Go King Kong GO!

G.I. Joe

G.I. Joe Arcade Screenshot - Title Screen

G.I. Joe

Sometimes you can look back at something you liked as a child only to find out it was not as good as you remember. Honestly, I don’t feel that way about G.I. Joe the cartoon, but I do feel that way about the arcade game.

Produced by Konami in 1992, G.I. Joe the arcade game was based on the toy and the cartoon of the same name. For the time the game had pretty awesome graphics and looked almost as good as the animation. The game was run and gun with the camera placed behind the Joe as you constantly ran toward your target. You could choose from four Joe’s, Duke, Scarlett, Roadblock and a Snake Eyes who could talk for some reason.

Your mission was to take out a ton of Cobra troops and you only had a machinegun with unlimited ammo and limited rockets to do so. As said the game had you always looking forward and you could only move to the left and right and had crosshairs to shoot at the onslaught of troops and vehicles. The good thing is most of the bad guys had no problem running past you and most of them did not shoot.

You can easily recognize many of the Cobra troops in the game from Vipers to B.A.T.S including vehicles. There are three missions and the first mission his broken into three parts. In part one you are in an oil field and face Tomax and Xamot in tank/helicopter hybrids. The next mission has you on an airfield and you face a rocket resistant Metal Head. Finally, you head to Cobra’s weapon plant and face the Baroness in a huge green bomber. The second mission starts out in a jungle where you face Major Bluud at the end. Next, you find the secret Cobra base and take on Destro. The end comes on Cobra Commanders giant aircraft carrier.

The gameplay is nothing new. You began with a standard machine gun and about three rockets. As you took out soldiers, vehicles and buildings, you could earn health, more rockets and an upgrade to your machine gun making it auto-fire and increasing the size of the crosshairs. If you were hit, you would lose your powered up gun and when you died, you would be given three rockets again. The arcade version allowed you to continue right where you died like most arcade games do. In G.I. Joe, it really did not matter if you killed everyone or just those in your way, but since you could not jump, you had to sometimes shoot obstacles or vehicles coming right at you.

Again, the gameplay itself was not special, but the use of sounds and animation from the television series made it a hit at the time. I always wondered about all those troops and vehicles that got away, but I guess that is how the Joe’s stayed in business.

Konami Announced Silent Hill: Downpour

Silent Hill Downpour logo
Silent Hill Downpour logo

Fans of the survival horror series rejoice the eighth game in the series is set to be released this fall. Silent Hill makes its return to the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 will a brand new story, updated graphics, gameplay, and a soundtrack by acclaimed composed, Daniel Licht. Here is a sample of the music.

Silent Hill Downpour Music Sample

The story follows Murphy Pendleton, a convict on his way to prison when his transport bus crashes just outside the fabled town of Silent Hill. Stranded and alone in the woods just on the outskirts of Silent Hill, Murphy will not only have to find a way out, but fight for survival.

Along with the updated graphics and music, Silent Hill: Downpour reveals a new, expansive environment that is similarly claustrophobic and where the player is never truly alone. In the screenshots below, you can not only see the incredible new graphics, but also get a sneak peek at two new areas in the town, The Diner and the Devil’s Pit.

Obsolete Gamer was able to speak to Konami about the upcoming game.

Obsolete Gamer: Why the decision to go with a convict this time?

Tomm Hulett – At the start of each game we try to consider “what would be an interesting thing to see in Silent Hill.”  Other games have touched upon normal people who have done bad things, or innocent people stumbling on events much bigger than themselves.  But a prisoner is a person you would expect to have a lot of baggage for Silent Hill to exploit.  We felt this was an interesting premise that fans could speculate on as they awaited the game.  I wouldn’t say it was a deliberate attempt to “play a badguy” necessarily, but we did have discussions around whether or not people would/could relate to such a character.

Obsolete Gamer: Can you give us some information on the new gameplay and side quests within Silent Hill?

Tomm Hulett – In previous games, in order to progress the plot you might have to do some elaborate fetch quest puzzle involving artifacts or photographs or what have you.  And the clues involved might tell some side story that had little to do with the actual story (except tying in thematically perhaps).  The side quests could be viewed similarly.

Devin Shatsky – We’ve basically taken that notion that Tomm described above , and expanded it upon it exponentially.  We have this huge city at our disposal, yet in the past, it was comprised primarily of locked doors .  We wanted to give players a bit more incentive to search around, and check those doors without facing a constant barrage of discouraging locks.  This gives the player a greater sense that they are “exploring the town” and then rewarded with these mini-stories.  We’ve been very careful to keep these immersive enough to make the player feel like they’re still a part of the main story, yet separate enough that they aren’t forced into completing all of them in a linear fashion to reach the ending.

Obsolete Gamer: What have you taken from previous Silent Hill games and added to this one?

Devin Shatsky – We’ve borrowed elements from just about every past Silent Hill game in some form or fashion.  During pre-production we did (and still do) a lot of research in the fan forums, review sites, etc. for each game in the series, and we apply what we’ve learned from those past games into certain areas of Downpour as well.  The main goal being to do it in a way that pays respect to the past games and what we’ve learned from them, as well as trying to innovate where appropriate.

Super Castlevania IV OST

Super Castlevania IV OST

If you haven’t checkout my review on Super Castlevania IV go see it now. SCV4 was one of my favorite games on the SNES and it featured a ton of great tracks. The music sounded great for even today, but back then it was really incredible.

Super Castlevania 4 OST

 

The game features a number of remixes of themes from previous games and many new ones. The Castlevania soundtrack is one of the best in the gaming industry.

Super Castlevania 4

Super Castlevania 4 box
Super Castlevania 4 box

Super Castlevania 4

You know you have a great game when it is fun to play years later and that is exactly the case with Super Castlevania IV. Created by Konami, CV4 was the first Castlevania game for the SNES. It was released on the Super Nintendo in late 1991 to high praise by both fans and reviewers.

Going Japanese

Super Castlevania 4 Statue
Super Castlevania 4 Statue

Before we get into my replaying of the game let’s talk about the Japanese version. In Japan the series is called Akumajō Dracula that officially translates to Devil’s Castle Dracula. There were also a number of changes between the Japanese version and the American version including the use of crosses on top of the tombstones, the misspelled name Dracura on the tombstone in the title video was changed to unreadable text.

There were also some level changes which made me a sad panda including changing pools of blood from red to green, removing the blood dripping from the title screen and changing the topless statue in level 6 of the game. Strangely enough the monster called Medusa remained topless however her nipples were removed, how kinky.

Something Old, Something New

The story of Castlevania pretty much remains the same. You play as Simon Belmont the legendary vampire hunter that has come from a long line of vampire hunters. It has been 100 years since Dracula has roamed the earth and his alarm clock just went off.

The Super Nintendo allowed a lot of cool changes to the Castlevania series over its predecessors. One of the first notable changes was the eight directions Simon can swing his whip allowing more flexibility. Second you could keep your whip out to use it like a shield and a weapon to slowly kill the monsters. More whip fun included being able to latch onto grappling points to pull Simon up or down and swing from place to place.

This game featured sub-weapons like the knife, cross and holy water that you could find by destroying Dracula’s Bed Bath and Beyond candles. You would need to collect hearts which represented your ammo for those weapons. There were also power-ups for your whip as well as normal items like health replenishment and one that killed on the enemies on the screen.

Setting the Stage

Super Castlevania 4
Super Castlevania 4

What really made this game stand out was the improved level design. Not only were the graphics improved, but the things going on within the level were new and exciting. Some of the coolest things were the room which rotated when you attached your whip to a grapple point. Another awesome stage was where you ran across wooden planks that would fall with the entire room spinning behind you. It was level design such as this that made the game so fun to play.

I loaded up Super Castlevania and it took me back to my teenage years. It only took me a moment to get use to the controls again and even though you cannot make moves like you can in SOTN it was pretty easy to control Simon. In SCV4 you could control the way you jumped and moved even in midair which was handy since there were tons of bats, birds and ghosts in the way ready to knock you to the ground.

If you are a veteran of pretty much any jumping platform game then Castlevania would not seem too hard. A lot of the challenge came when you never played before and did not know what to expect, but that is half the battle. There were a number of close jumps and run and gun sections of the game that put your skills to the test. As for the bosses, most of them had an easy pattern that after a few tries became real easy.

The Sound of Death
[mp3player width=600 height=100 config=fmp_jw_osg_config-xml.xml playlist=super-castlevania-iv.xml]
The music from this game was just awesome. It sounded great back then and still today with many remixes from previous Castlevania games. The music just fit so well with the stages and did not get boring or annoying. If you want to listen to more tracks from this game head on over to The Music Hall and listen to the Super Castlevania IV OST.

Final Thoughts

Super Castlevania 4
Super Castlevania 4

The game had a mix of feeling long and short at the same time. There are 11 stages in all and if you never played before the game seems long, but if you run and gun through the game it can seem pretty quick. The monsters including the bosses were mixed in from various sources including horror movies, Greek Mythology and the bosses you would expect Dracula to team with like Frankenstein and The Mummy.

As for difficultly the only hard part was not being knocked off a platform by a bird or bat. Honestly, besides that even Dracula himself was not hard to put down. The key is keeping your health high and swinging your whip at as many walls as you can because there are a ton of hidden rooms and secret items to help you out.

You can of course play Super Castlevania IV on any emulator or you can get it on your Virtual console. Overall the game is fun to play and the soundtrack will have you humming the tunes while laying the beat down. I give the game an overall score of 9.0 out of 10.

Classic X-Men Arcade coming to XBL and PSN

Xmen Arcade 1
Xmen Arcade 1

Long before I became a crack head for X-Men versus street fighter I fell in love with the X-Men arcade game. I use to spend tons of money (for a kid) on this game because it was just that fun. The large arcade cabinet with multiple screens and six player action was the best and many games followed that lead after its success.

Sure some gameplay elements were strange like the fact you could only do your special attacks a few times. Most of the time you were punching and kicking and taking advantage of a downed opponent, but with the ease of the standard cannon-fodder enemies it wasn’t a big deal. When you went up against bosses (like the Brotherhood of Evil mutants) that was the time to let loose and use your special powers. The boss fights were fun with the little dialog they would say before and after the fight.

When playing with six people the action go crazy. There would be a ton of bad guys on the screen and the bosses were even tougher. In the end you went up against the master of magnetism in an epic final battle.

Now you can relive all that action on your Playstation 3 or Xbox 360. Konami and Marvel will be launching X-men arcade on the Playstation Network and X-box live this fall. The game will support 1-4 players locally and 1-6 players online and best of all just like the arcade people can jump in the game at any time.

All the original characters are there, Cyclops, Colossus, Dazzler, Nightcrawler, Storm and Wolverine and the original graphics and sound has been preserved. However, there are new Hi-Def heads up displays, menus and leaderboards. You can create online matches, change the difficultly, choose how many people you want to play and who will be the host.

We should have more pricing information and release dates soon, but since this is the feed if you get the scoop first post it here and let us know.

Jay Boor: Konami

Konami logo

Name: Jay Boor

Company: KONAMI

Profession: Head of Public Relations

Favorite Classic Game: HERZOG ZWEI

Quote: Herzog-Zwei is one of my all-time favorite titles for a number of reasons. It was the first-true real-time strategy game, and it debuted on the SEGA Genesis – it wasn’t even a PC title! At the time, Technosoft probably thought they had just developed a really fun two-player war-action game. Little did they know that they were the first to lay the foundation for all future RTS games to come.


New Console Releases: October 3rd Report

Video Games on shelf
Video Games on shelf

October is a great time, you have Oktoberfest, Halloween and… well that’s about it, but you also have new releases for your favorite consoles. Unfortunately, November is normally a big month for games and because of this October seems to get the shaft, let’s see what we can dig up that might be worth you hard earned (or not) cash.

Just a disclaimer, these are not all the games that are coming out nor are they top picks based on their score from other sites. This is Obsolete Gamers or more correctly, J.A.’s picks for games coming out this month.

October 3rd

It seems as if I misspoke because this week of the month has a pretty hard hitting release line-up. I hope you have some extra cash on hand.

Enslaved: Odyssey to the West

It’s all about team work and in this case that truthisum is taken to the extreme. This action adventure games pits two main characters against, well against everything. You have to fight, run and transverse the landscape to make your way to freedom and if one of you dies its game over.

NBA 2K11

Ah, the war of the NBA games is back and just like the HEAT, 2K has stacked the deck by bringing in Michael Jordan to be on their team. Now the question is will the mix of MJ and the playstyle of 2K win out over Elite.

NBA Elite 11

EA Sports it’s in the name change. NBA Elite takes a different approach by redesigning key features of its game in hopes of bringing a different experience to basketball game fans. There is no doubt the game will be well done, but in the war of the court who will come out on top? Oh did I mention you get NBA Jam with this game and only if you purchase this game?

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow

If the world was coming to an end Alucard is the guy I would want bashing heads with me in those final days. However, I will take a Belmont as well and in this 3D version of the classic Castlevania series we step into a new world that brings a cool and new dynamic to the game. Don’t worry all the classic whipping and Dracula bashing is still there and the environments are beautiful and well done. If you loved any of the Castlevania series this is a must have.

Def Jam Rapstar

It was only a matter of time before we got a Rap version of the karaoke-style games. With the release of DJ hero I knew it would be forthcoming and if there is one company to release a “band” game its Def Jam. Rapstar lets you rap long with a long list of Def Jam superstars including Redman, Method Man and Salt n Pepper. I got to see this game at E3 2010 and it looks like a load of fun partially with two people rapping together. I can’t wait for the YouTube videos.

So we are changing things up and will be bringing you a week by week breakdown of new releases so look out for next week’s review of games being released for consoles. The week of October 10th looks good as well; I hope you get your homework done.

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night OST

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night OST

Today in the music hall I’d like to share with you one of my favorite soundtracks. Castlevainia has always had good music even back to the Nintendo days. I remember many of the memorable tunes from Super Castlevania, but when SOTN was released on the Playstation I was hooked.

Castlevania Symphony of the Night OST

 

Not only was it such a great game, but it has incredibly well composed music that I still listen to today.

You can purchase the full OST here.

Sexy Parodius

Sexy Parodius box

Sexy Parodius

I’ve played a lot of strange games in my time, but it has been a while since I have constantly yelled out WTF during gameplay. Sexy Parodius is an arcade shooter made by Konami and from the research I did is the fifth and last in the series. Sexy Parodius is a parody of the Gradius series with a lot of strange enemies, bosses, oh and sexual innuendo.

Sexy Parodius screenshot
Sexy Parodius screenshot

Now my version was not in English, but from what I was able to tell an evil octopus is taking items from different people and it is your job to get them back. You can choose from a team of characters including sexy bunny sisters Hikaru and Akane, Takosuke the Octopus, Koitsu the stickman.

Sexy Parodius screenshot
Sexy Parodius screenshot

Some characters have a normal looking ship while others, like stickman, ride a paper airplane. As stated this is a side-scrolling shooter so your main job is to avoid enemy incoming fire and take them down. However, the enemies can be everything from flying foxes to cows being flung out of a jar that says milk. At the end of each level you come up against a boss and once you defeat it you can move on.

Sexy Parodius screenshot

In the video I only completed the first level, but from there it get’s, uh, sexy. The enemies and bosses change to things like skimpily clad women and it makes me wonder why would you want to shoot that.

Sexy Parodius screenshot

Sexy Parodius is one of those games that would be even better drunk or perhaps that is how the game was imagined, I don’t know. Sexy Parodius was released to the arcades in 1996 and ported over to the Sony Playstation and Sega Saturn. In 2007 it was ported to the PSP.

Time Pilot 84

Time Pilot box art
Time Pilot box art

Time Pilot 84

Released in 1984 by Konami, Time Pilot ’84 was the sequel to the 1982 arcade hit Time Pilot. TP84 is an over the top view four-way side scrolling shooter where you pilot your spaceship over many different time periods taking out as many bad guys as possible. Strangely enough unlike the original in TP84 you do not know what time periods you are traveling to. After taking out a certain number of enemies you will face the level boss and once you defeat it you advance to the next level.

Now your ship can only take one hit so dodging is the name of the game. The various enemies come from all sides and you only have two weapons. Your first weapon is a standard blaster that can take out most enemies, but you also have missiles that can destroy the bad guys your normal blaster cannot. While you can fire your missiles blindly if you face an enemy that requires a missile to take out a lock-on targeting window will appear over it allowing you to take it out even if it turns away from you.

This was pretty much one of those games that you either were really good at or it ate all your quarters within five minutes. Though there are a lot of different shapes and colors to the enemies you face they pretty much all do the same thing. Hand eye coordination was the key like with many games of the time if you had it you could rank up a high score like Samanth Johanik who scored an impressive 463,300 points or you could be like me who can’t even get off of the second stage.

If you want to play Time Pilot you can find it on many flash game websites.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Arcade Game

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arcade machine
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arcade machine

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Arcade Game

It’s the summer of 1989 and if you are an old fart like me you were totally into the TMNT cartoon that began airing a few years earlier. One day I stepped into my favorite arcade and there in the premiere section was the awesome full-sized, four-player game. I remember the first thing I heard was the theme song straight from the cartoon in perfect stereo sound.

Even if you aren’t in your thirties like me chances are you saw the TMNT game in your local arcade because it had a long and successful run. There were two versions, the four-player one and the two-player version. With both you could pick from the four famous turtles, but with the four-player one you could play as the full team.

TMNT was the epitome of beat-em-up games, your goal was simple, beat the Shredder and Krang and take out the Tecnodrome. However, the game starts out with April, the yellow jump suited lady friend of the team being kidnapped and you having to save her.

TMNT arcade screenshot
TMNT arcade screenshot

You start off in a burning building fighting foot soldiers which came in a variety of colors and flavors spouting all types of different weapons from guns, to swords to sonic fans. The idea was to overwhelm you as the foot would try to flank and surround you to attack from all sides.

One of the cool things about the game was you could use the environment to your advantage. You could hit street signs and coin meters to send them flying at the foot. There were also cans that if hit wouldsmoke and then explode. You could also throw some bad guys again the wall where they would smack into it and slowly slide down. The bad news was all this could be done to you as well.

TMNT arcade game box
TMNT arcade game box

In the game you had the choice the four turtles which each had their own unique traits. Donatello had a long range but a slower attack, Raphael and Michelangelo were very fast, but had a short reach and the leader Leonardo was pretty balanced between speed and range.

As for controls it was pretty easy which was good because this was a button mashing boot-camp of a game. You had only two buttons jump and attack, but you could press jump and attack together to do a special move be it a jumping swing attack or like with Raphael a rolling attack. You could also throw the foot over head and if attacking a foot in front of you and another snuck up from behind you could pull of a quick back attack to send them flying.

Back to level one, after making your way through the building and avoiding things like the falling bolder down the stairs and those awful robots, you find April cowering in a room sounded by the foot. After taking out the foot a drill capsule comes up from the ground and Rocksteady, the mutant rhino, attacks. He isn’t too hard to beat with his machine gun and slow kicks, but after you do the Shredder appears to steal April away from you once again.

You continue on into the streets fighting more foot and come across the only way besides beating the level to replenish your health, pizza. Soon after your snack you face Bebop, the mutant warthog which I always found harder with his sonic pulse gun and charge attack. I also found myself falling in the sewer which by the way took a bar of health.

With Bebop down you move to the sewers, but this familiar territory is filled with more foot and biting robots provided by Baxter Stockman who you fight as the levels boss. Then it’s back topside for another street level and then the rematch where you fight Bebop and Rocksteady together. This fight can be tough, but you if you keep your distance and use quick attacks it’s not too bad. Also you can separate them and when you both charge you jump and watch them crash into each other.

With April safe it’s time for revenge which takes you toward the Tecnodrome. On the way you fight a horde of foot soldiers and rocket across the streets in a jet powered skateboard before the turtle van cashes and you find your master, Splinter being carried away.

To get Splinter back you face one of the cheapest bosses in the game, at least in my opinion. The first stone warrior you come across can easily cost you several rolls of quarters. Not only can he trap you in the corner and repeatedly knock you down, but he also can turn your face to toast with his flamethrower. Did I also mention he has a ton of hit points? After you finally lay the smack-down on him you rescue splinter and then it’s off to kick some Tecnodrome ass.

As expected the Tencodrome is packed full with foot soldiers and tons of traps like lasers, freeze rays, robots oh and another cheap stone warrior. However, this stone warrior isn’t half as bad and even though he is sporting a rocket launches he is easily defeatable. Now it’s just you and the two final bosses.

Khang the pink brain of the team comes out from behind an energy screen in his makeshift body firing lasers from its eyes and kicking you if you get close. Stick and move is the key to this fight and soon his robot body will be scrap, but as Khang exclaims while he flies away; “I’m invincible!”

Finally its Shredder time! Shredder is a master swordsman so his sword attacks are fast and deadly. He also has powerful kicked that can send you flying out of your shell. To add to this he can also split into two creating a clone of himself that is just as powerful. Finally he has his mutant ray that can turn you back into a normal turtle effectively one shotting you.

I’ve found the key is to keep them together and take em both out. Soon both their helmets come off and the fight is over. The Tecnodrome is destroyed and you are left to wonder if you will see Krang and the Shredder again, the answer is yes.

TMNT is one of those arcade games that is still fun to play today. It was released for many consoles including the NES though for the NES it was called TMNT 2 because the first TMNT game was god awful and I will not speak on it. If you want to know about it check out this video from the Angry Video Game Nerd.

If you are felling nostalgic you can get TMNT the arcade came on X-box live. Trust me, if you haven’t played this game you need to. TMNT is truly a classic; it had everything a gamer could want. Pure fun, pure excitement, pure turtle power!

Gyruss

Gyruss Arcade
Gyruss Arcade

Gyruss review by Honorabili

One Sentence Review:

“My favorite video game from my early youth”

Overall Score:
10 out of 10

Overview & my history with this game:

This review is specifically for the arcade and c64 versions. I haven’t played the other versions and I know the NES one is different (includes bosses, different music, etc.)

This was the first Konami game I ever saw or played, although it’s not their first game. People were impressed with Pacman but this was the first game that showed me that video games were going to be the future. This is the first game I remember having upgrades and also the concept of getting a “perfect”. This was the first game I played that had bonus stages too.

You take the role of a starship fighter pilot trying to fight your way to earth. The entire solar system has been taken over by a legion of enemy fighters and space stations. Your lone fighter will get swarm attacked by a pack of enemy fighters that will come at you in a specific attack pattern depending on what squadron you’re fighting and what planet you’re traveling to next. Your ship rotates around the center of the screen as you fight your enemies and keep flying forward. You start at Neptune and travel in order of the planets until you make it to Earth.

Gyruss Perfect
Gyruss Perfect

Not only are fighters coming at you at a fast rate but you have to deal with the projectiles they sometimes fire at you, passing asteroids, energy barriers that can rip you apart, and space stations that spawn at the end of a stage. Everything in this game kills you with one shot. If you get touched by an enemy ship or any other object, you instantly die.

At the end of the level, when there are a swarm of enemy fighters circling in the background, 2-3 enemy space stations will appear, one which, if you haven’t picked up the upgrade yet, will make two beams circle around the screen and land on your ship once you kill it, giving your weapon twice the width in spread.

If you kill a certain grouping of enemies in a specifically quick manner and leave no survivors the game also awards you with bonus points. This matters in this game, actually, because you get bonus lives based on your score.

The game loops when you beat it until you run out of lives.

This game has always made me think of the movie The Last Starfighter. In my mind, as a child, I imagined that it took place in that universe and the main character was fighting his way back home.

Gyruss is available originally for the Atari computers as well as 2600 and 5200 consoles, the ColecoVision console, the Commodore 64, and for the NES. The game got rereleased for Playstation, Gameboy Advanced, and Xbox Live Arcade.

Fun Factor:

Gyruss is a ton of fun and my favorite early shooter game. It’s a lot of fun to hear the swarm sound of a group of fighters jumping out at you in a really fast pattern and you blasting away as much as possible trying to kill them all and gain the bonus points while keeping them from ramming you or shooting you as well.

You can see how intense the action is in the following video:

Fun Factor gets a score of 10 out of 10.

Difficulty Versatility:

There is no way to change the difficulty but the game is challenging enough for most gamers as it is. The longer you play it, the harder it gets. The enemies will attack you more often in each passing stage. Overall, the game is tough near the later stages but it’s still playable.

Since you can’t change the difficulty that hurts it but it’s hard enough for most players. I give Difficulty Versatility a score of 7 out of 10.

Value:

Most people will just play this on M.A.M.E. these days so basically the ROM is free. Technically, you’re not supposed to play ROMs unless you own the game already.

The link to download the c64 emulated version is the following from c64.com.

I couldn’t easily find the Playstation and GBA versions for sale as they might be out of print.

Since most people will play the emulated versions, I’d give Value a score of 10 out of 10.

Replayability:

I’ve been playing Gyruss since the early 80s and I visit it often when I’m in a retro arcade/c64 gaming mood. The mix of the music, retro sounds, non-stop gameplay keeps me having fun even though it’s been many years that I’ve been playing this gem. It’s hard for me to get tired of the gameplay. Replayability get a score of 9 out of 10.

Sound:

The sound effects are super retro and they’re brilliant. My favorite sound effects are the blast of the main gun, the teleportation sound from when you warp to the next stage, the gun UPGRADE sound (oh god yes), and the explosion when one bites the dust. The rest of the sounds are great and sound like a perfect blend of retro arcade.

Sound gets a score of 10 out of 10.

Music:

The music to Gyruss is a simplied and sped up version of Bach’s Toccata and Fugue is D minor:

To me classical music in games, especially ones with a ton of action is pretty epic.

Music gets a score of 10 out of 10.

Graphics:

For an early 80s game, this game looks simply amazing. Most of the enemies for the main stages look the same but the enemies for the bonus stages look unique depending on which bonus stage you are doing. The game looks like a total evolution over Space Invaders. Graphics get a score of 10 out of 10, considering this is a 1983 game.

Stability/Reliability:

Since the 80s I’ve never seen this game crash or get stuck once, not even after playing it for ours on my old c64. Stability/Reliability are perfect and get a 10 out of 10.

Controls:

On all versions, the controls are really simple. Left rotates you in that direction and right rotates you in that direction. Fire just fires for all versions. Nothing fancy or confusing there.

For the arcade version, the ship will rotate in the direction of where you have the joystick pointed towards. If you keep it towards the top and you keep pointing up, the ship will just stay there once it’s topped out there.

For the c64 version, it’s a little different. Left moves you counter-clockwise, and right moves you clockwise, no matter what.

Controls can’t get simpler than that. Controls get a score of 10 out of 10.

Performance:

Perfect performance, even when the game just came out. Performance gets a score of 10 out of 10.

Conclusion:

Gyruss is a classic arcade game that should be played by everybody, especially retro arcade gaming junkies!

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Castlevania Lords of Shadow

Castlevania Lords of Shadow logo
Castlevania Lords of Shadow logo

Castlevania Lords of Shadow

To call yourself a classic gamer you would have to have beaten at least one of the old Castlevania games. In my opinion if you didn’t beat both Super Castlevania and Symphony of the Night your classic gamer resume is seriously lacking.

However, there is a new generation of gamers out there who may have heard of Castlevania but never really played it and that is the audience Konami is targeting with their upcoming title, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow.

LOS introduces us to Gabriel whose wife was murdered and is on a quest surrounding two holy masks that are infused with special powers. LOS doesn’t follow any specific Castlevania timeline and it is not yet clear if Gabriel is related to anyone from the Belmont clan, but he does have the trademark chain whip and use of daggers and holy water.

Castlevania Lords of Shadow logo
Castlevania Lords of Shadow logo

From what we learned a change in gameplay with LOS will be that platforming and navigating the in-game environment will be more important than ever. Our hero will be using his whip to latch onto object and pull himself from place to place when he’s not scaling the walls of castles and the faces of cliffs.

Now what immediately stands out are the graphics, the in game visuals are incredible, not only are they stunning but they move fast and fluid. LOS will be using the Mercury Engine which Konami hopes will bring them frames of 30 or higher. Add to that over one hour of cut-screens with one being over fourteen minutes long that unravel the story giving you a cool, engrossing cinematic experience.

LOS will also feature stylized QuickTime sequences that the developers tell us will be different than how they have been used in the past, but unfortunately we do not have any more information than that at the moment.

It’s not just graphics either; did we mention that within the numerous cut-scenes will be Hollywood talent voice actors from icons like Patrick Stewart?

This definitely is a game to watch even if you never heard of Castlevania and the good news is it will be released for both the X-Box 360 and Playstation 3 this year. As more information is released we will bring it to you including a full review once we get our hands on the finished product. In the meantime check out the Castlevania: Lords of Shadow trailer.