Mr Driller

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Mr. Driller

Love it or loathe it, Dig Dug is (correctly) regarded as an all-time classic arcade game and, despite being converted to a large number of home systems, it has not been one of the franchises that Namco has furnished with a large number of updates or sequels. It received a rather anonymous second installment in 1985, but the series wouldn’t be revisited for another fourteen long years.

Originally intended to be Dig Dug 3, the transition during its development to Mr Driller also included a change in the protagonist. The hero of Dig Dug was Taizo Hori but taking his place here is his son, Susumu Hori! As the highest ranked Driller in the world, he was the first one the panicked people called when the cities became overrun by mysterious colored blocks rising from underground…

Mr_Driller_Sega-Dreamcast-

This flimsy, and largely unnecessary, premise does of course set the scene for another colored/shaped blocks puzzle game. Once you’ve chosen between a 2500ft or 5000ft challenge, the arcade mode throws you straight into the action with Mr Driller falling on top of a huge pile of colored blocks. He can drill in all four joy-pad directions and doing so causes drilled blocks to vanish. As he drills down, untouched blocks may fall downwards if the blocks supporting them are drilled. This can of course result in Mr Driller getting crushed and losing a life.

It’s not quite as hard as it sounds though as falling blocks shake for a split-second before falling, giving you a precious chance to get out of the way. Falling blocks also stick to non-falling blocks of the same color if they touch them, forming larger blocks. There’s only four different-colored blocks as well, so some blocks can get pretty big!

Luckily, larger blocks are destroyed from a single drill-strike, much like single blocks, and any four or more falling blocks of the same color will vanish once they land. This can of course cause big chain-reactions so it’s best to make sure none of them land on your head! Speed is of the essence for more than one reason too.

Mr_Driller_Sega-Dreamcast-

Mr Driller has an ever-decreasing air supply so he must drill strategically but quickly. Air capsules are readily available which top up his supply by 20% but sometimes they’re tricky to reach. They are often near brown ‘X’ blocks. These take five drill strikes each to destroy and also take away 20% of Mr Driller’s air, so it’s not really worth breaking one except in an emergency. Mr Driller can clamber up blocks either side of him, but only if they are one block high. This is invaluable for reaching air capsules or escaping falling blocks, but sometimes it’s not enough!

As well as the arcade mode, Mr Driller players also have access to a survival mode and a time attack mode, both of which are fairly self-explanatory. The basic gameplay doesn’t change a great deal, but it doesn’t need to either. I don’t think I was alone in finding Mr Driller a rather unlikely release by Namco on the fancy new Dreamcast, but any initial disappointment soon faded.

It may look like a game that could’ve been hosted by a console from the previous generation, perhaps even the one before that, and it’s not even particularly original, but Namco ensured Mr Driller had it where it counted. It’s bright, colorful, and loud – the music and sounds effects are great. But more importantly, it’s just immense fun. And addictive. Very addictive. If you haven’t dabbled before, Mr Driller comes highly recommended.

Bravoman

Bravoman

How to describe Bravoman, it is a platform slash beat em up game that is a parody of Japanese Tokusatsu and video games. So just think, if we sometimes laugh at crazy Japanese video games, this game, developed by Now Production and published my Namco, laughs at those types of games which will make us laugh at this game.

So the plot, well using my comic book knowledge it is like a strange version of Hal Jordan and Green Lantern. A normal man who works at an insurance company encounters and alien named Alpha Man who gives him a metal rod, a fork and a coin, kind of sounds like a Macgyver setup, and this allows him to turn into Bravoman. His mission is to stop the evil Dr. Bomb who gives him a… you thought I was going to say bomb didn’t you. Dr. Bomb has an “end the world weapon”, whatever that means, that will, er, end the world.

So that is the setup, check out the video for a full review.

Galaga

Those on the ausretrogamer bandwagon will be aware that I LOVE Galaga! Namco’s vertical shoot’em up trapped me in its tractor beam back in 1981 and hasn’t released me yet.

galaga

Some 30 plus years ago, while waiting for relatives to arrive at Melbourne International Airport, I noticed a tabletop machine nearby. Upon gazing at the screen, I saw a little triangular ship shooting at formations of alien spaceships streaming from the sides of the screen. My first thought was, “wow, a souped-up Space Invaders”. Once I dropped in two 20 cent pieces, I immediately realised – this was no Space Invaders. This was way better! You could shoot multiple times (as long as you had the finger dexterity), your ship could be captured in a tractor beam, and there were challenge stages to rack up those high score points. To put it mildly, I was hooked.

galaga

So, what was it about Galaga that got this child hooked all those years ago? Galaga was, and still is, an uncomplicated vertical shoot’em up with the right mix of challenge and entertainment. Blasting those pesky alien spaceships gives a great sense of satisfaction.

For those unfamiliar with Galaga, here is the low-down on this beautiful game: You control the ship at the bottom of the screen, firing at Galaga enemies, moving left and right to avoid their fire and kamikaze attacks.

galaga

The enemy spaceships fly onto the screen from the left or right side. Unless you can shoot them all while forming, they assemble in the centre of the screen – just like in Space Invaders. As you play the game, you quickly learn the formation patterns and can anticipate when and how the spaceships will fly out onto the screen.

There is one particular Galaga enemy ship that is special – these enemy spaceships take multiple hits before they are destroyed. If you do not destroy them, they can fly down the screen towards you and release a tractor beam to capture your ship. To free the captured ship, you must destroy the captor Galaga while it is attacking you, if you fail, your captured ship will be destroyed. When you free your captured ship, it will dock alongside your current ship, and you are thus rewarded with a dual firing weapon of mass destruction.

galaga

These dual ships are especially handy for blasting away enemies during challenge stages. With your dual ship you can clear stages quickly and collect some nice bonus points. Speaking of points, every 20,000 earns you an additional life (ship); and as the game increases in difficulty, every spare ship counts.

Galaga remains a firm favorite in the gaming community, especially to those who grew up in the 80s. Since dropping in those coins all those years ago, I can safely say my affinity for Galaga has not subsided one bit. Long live Galaga!

GraphicsThe star field is realistic enough to make you feel like you are flying through deep space engaging in some enemy fire.

90%

SoundPew Pew sound effects never sounded any better.

90%

PlayabilityInsert coins, move left or right and fire. Couldn’t be any easier, right?

93%

LastabilityGalaga enemy spaceships have been fired upon ever since 1981. You do the maths on the lastability of this seminal shooter.

95%

OverallWhen it comes to old school vertical shoot’em ups, Galaga is at the top of its class.

95%

 

 

 

arcade-game-galaga

Manufacturer: Namco
Year: 1981
Genre: Shoot’em Up
Number of Simultaneous Players: 1
Maximum number of Players: 2
Gameplay: Alternating
Control Panel Layout: Single Player
Controls:
– Joystick: 2-way (left, right)
– Buttons: 1 (fire)
Sound: Amplified Mono (single channel)

 

 

Blast Off

Blastoff - namco - arcade - gameplay screenshot

Blast Off was released in Japan in 1989 and is the sequel to the space shooter Bosconian which was released in 1981. Created by Namco this game is pretty much the typical vertical space shooter in where it is you versus and army of enemies, however your ship is armed with some pretty badass weapons.

One thing that is a little different is your ship can switch weapons and while that in itself is not unique, what is, is the fact that dependent on the color of the laser you select you can shoot behind you.

Blastoff - namco - arcade - gameplay screenshot

Here is the weapon rundown:

The Red color features two lasers in a spiral pattern

The Blue color features one laser straight ahead, one behind

The Yellow color features one laser straight ahead, one left, and one right

The Green color features two lasers diagonally forward (one to the left and one to the right), and one straight behind.

In addition, you can hold down the fire button and the ship will fire off a powerful spherical laser. As you can see in the short video you have to have your twitch factor at a high level or you will die pretty quick, but honestly it is not as hard as some of the classic space shooters, I just suck that bad.

Weird Games: Katamari Damacy

katamari_damacy-ps2-gameplay-screenshot

Forget the big bang theory or intelligent design, the world was made by rolling a big ball of junk together and creating stars. Well, at least that is how the cosmos is recreated after it is destroyed. Katamari Damacy is a mix between a puzzle game and an action game as you play a prince who has to collect various fallen parts to recreate the cosmos your father, King of All Cosmos destroyed.

katamari_damacy-ps2-gameplay-screenshot

How did the moons and stars get destroyed? By binge drinking of course. After this event you have to roll around a magical ball called a Katamari that collection objects that will allow you to create a star once it becomes large enough. The game was released for the PlayStation 2 in 2004 and was created as a result of a school project affiliated with Namco.

katamari_damacy-ps2-gameplay-screenshot

Along with the main story there is a side story about a family whose father is an astronaut and as a result of the drunken destruction of the King is unable to go to the moon. Meanwhile his daughter can sense that the prince is trying to recreate the cosmos, but in the end they all get rolled up in the Katamari to make the moon. What a twist!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ciKPiw6Sc50[/youtube]

The gameplay is simple, but can get frustrating. The idea is to collect items smaller than the ball, but there are larger objects that can hit the ball knocking off your collected items and slowing your progress. The goal is to collect enough items to grow your ball large enough and turn it into a star. There are secrets to be found in the game as well as a two player mode that has you fighting to see who can collect enough objects first. The game also features a great soundtrack, so as weird as it might be it is worth checking out.

Arcade classic Donkey Kong Junior is turning 30

One of video gaming’s most unlikely heroes is turning 30.

Donkey Kong Junior

Arcade classic Donkey Kong Junior is turning 30

Donkey Kong Junior had some big shoes to fill in 1982 as the sequel to Nintendo‘s first hit game, Donkey Kong. In a unique role-reversal, Mario was now the villain of the story as the son of the original antagonist fought through a maze of jungle vines and moving platforms in an effort to save his father.

According to trademark filings, Donkey Kong Junior first appeared publically on June 30, 1982. The suffix in the title was spelled as “Jr.” in Japan but “Junior” in North America. Later home releases moved toward the shorter version, appearing as “Donkey Kong Jr.” Despite the original longer version of the name the shorter suffix is the most common spelling of the game title worldwide.

Donkey Kong Junior Arcade

“I remember Donkey Kong Junior getting a lot of attention in the arcades,” said Mark Kiehl, the all-time high score champion on the arcade classic. “People were excited about a sequel to Donkey Kong.”

The DKJ arcade unit went on to sell 30,000 machines in North America and see releases on every major home platform of the day. It also saw a great deal of exposure on television as one of the key games in a nationally aired arcade game contest, a breakfast cereal and even a Saturday morning cartoon short as part of the Saturday Supercade series on CBS.

Donkey Kong Junior Mini Arcade

In the later 1980s, Junior was among the list of launch titles for the very successful Nintendo Entertainment System. The game was part of a short-run reissue arcade game from Namco in 2005 included alongside the original game and Mario Bros.

“To this day it’s still a staple game for collectors and retro arcade operators to own,” Kiehl added. “It had a lot of staying power.”

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1KrrnBJ0Vs[/youtube]

Take a look at the video montage to experience some of the mainstream media love given to young Donkey Kong Junior in the early 1980s and post your thoughts and memories of the classic arcade game below.

Sigma Star

So here we are finally back with another entry of Retro Game of the Week. This time around we have a very interesting title. Not only is this an RPG, but it’s a shoot ’em up with RPG elements. You can’t get any better than this!

Sigma Star - Gameboy Advanced - Gameplay Screenshot

Music

The music fits the game with its sci-fi soundtrack. You get the feeling that you are playing a game with weird unknown worlds and awesome action gameplay. The game does deliver great sound effects as well as very dramatic tunes. There is not much more to say about the music except that it fits the game just right.

Graphics

Sigma Star - Gameboy Advanced - Gameplay Screenshot

The graphics are GBAs standard. The usual SNES feel of the game in a portable game delivers with success. You get to fly around with scenery similar to R-type and enjoy the beautiful scenery. When you are not on your ship, you are walking around exploring the beautiful planets during your missions. The graphics aren’t the most groundbreaking but they are sure pretty.

Gameplay

Sigma Star - Gameboy Advanced - Gameplay Screenshot

The gameplay is quite enjoyable. The main idea of the game is to fly with your ship and shoot down other ships. In the process, you gain experience and eventually level up. This is very important as you will make your ship more powerful as you level up. The game works as an RPG since you walk around exploring different areas when you are suddenly summoned to your ship in order to battle a swarm of enemies. Once you defeated all of them, you are sent back to where you were in your mission. The game develops quite well and keeps you interested in a story involving a soldier betrayed by his own people only to join forces with the enemy. There is a lot more to it that I don’t want to spoil as usual.

Replay Value

Sigma Star - Gameboy Advanced - Gameplay Screenshot

As with all RPGs, you are left with a story that you’ll eventually finish and try to give it another shot. The point is that to replay this game might be a good and a bad idea. The good is that you can play this game at your own pace while the bad is that you get to play the exact same game over and over. Do you really want to do that? That is the weakness of playing RPG games, especially long ones. It’s all up to you.

Conclusion 

Sigma Star - Gameboy Advanced - Gameplay Screenshot

To conclude, this is a game that will make you want to pick up more shoot ’em up titles especially if they are combined genres. The RPG elements helps it keep interesting and as weird as the game may play, it ends up working in really good ways. The game is fun, interesting, and very well worth it. I suggest you pick it up and give it a shot! Until next week!

Pac-Land

pac-land

While considered part of the Pac-Man series Pac-Land was a completely different style of game that brought us an early look at a gameplay style that would later become common place. Developed by Namco and released in 1984 Pac-Land showed us a completely new world we had never seen before.

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

Turbo Views, originally premiering on YouTube in December 2008, covers games for the TurboGrafx-16 and Turbo Duo video game system from 1989 – 1993.

The goal of the series is to eventually review EVERY American released TG-16 game as well as numerous on-camera “extras,” home-brew, prototypes and PC-Engine games that never made it overseas.

 

John Master Lee: Raptr

Raptr Logo

Name: John Master Lee

Title: Vp of Marketing

Company: Raptr

King_of_Kings

Favorite Classic Game: King of Kings

Why is this game your favorite: “It’s a rare turned-based strategy game that only came out in Japan. It was published by Atlus and Namco in 1988 on the Famicon. It was the first time I was completely absorbed into the gameplay in a way that went being just a fan. It got me thinking about game design,

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4uyJK7gWgQ [/youtube]

I learned Japanese (because I couldn’t read the text otherwise!), and I never went back to board games since. It was the first time that I realized how deep and complex a game can be back on the NES.”

Rolling Thunder

Rolling Thunder - Arcade Gameplay Screenshot

Rolling Thunder (1986)
By: Namco  Genre: Run ‘n’ Gun  Players: 1  Difficulty: Medium-Hard
Featured Version: Arcade  First Day Score: 86,120
Also Available For: Nintendo NES, Atari Lynx, Commodore Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC, ZX Spectrum
Download For: Wii Virtual Console

Good old women, you can always rely on them getting themselves into some sort of trouble, can’t you! In the case of this mid-80’s Namco classic it’s Leila Blitz, an agent of Interpol’s espionage unit, Rolling Thunder, who’s gone and got herself abducted by a highly mysterious society called Geldra. Now it’s down to you as Albatross, a fellow Rolling Thunder agent, to defeat Maboo, leader of Geldra, and rescue her before she’s ravaged or something else equally dastardly. This involves making your way through ten stages filled with apparently infinite hooded ‘Maskers’ as well as several other kinds of enemies. The stages are all based in various parts of New York and are split into two groups of five – after you’ve completed the first five stages, they’ll repeat but with more numerous and more aggressive enemies.

Rolling Thunder - Arcade Gameplay Screenshot
Our hero, Albatross, tackles all of these stages on foot and is initially armed with a simple pistol which can of course hold a highly unrealistic number of bullets, but they’re not infinite. Many parts of the stages are multi-tiered and Albatross can leap up to and down from different floors (a nice idea later ‘borrowed’ by Shinobi), and he’s often forced to by strategically-placed obstacles. Most of these sections feature doors and it is from these that many of the enemies originate. Handily, you can also enter the doors to hide from the hoodlums for a while too (not for too long though – you’re on a pretty tight time limit!). Some of the doors will, upon entering them, award you with bonuses such as extra time, health, etc, and some appropriately marked ones will also top-up your bullet supply or award you with a machine-gun and relevant bullets which can also be topped-up.

Rolling Thunder - Arcade Gameplay Screenshot

A vast majority of the enemies are ‘Maskers’ who look like multi-coloured Klan members and it is the colour of their outfits that determines their strength and attack patterns. There are also several other kinds of enemies such as ape men, ninjas, and mutant bats and they can all cut Mr. Albatross’ mission short in a hurry. He has a life-meter which is halved upon contact with an enemy but if he is hit by enemy fire, death will be instant. Most of the Maskers can shoot at you while others prefer to throw grenades, and some of them take more than one hit to put down. If you somehow manage to run out of bullets, you’ll only be able to fire one (very slow) bullet at a time, but luckily ammunition is rarely scarce so you can generally pepper the screen with bullets wiping out lots of Geldra scum without concern. It’s worth pointing out though, that the enemies regenerate and if you were to stand still there would be an endless stream of them wandering onto the screen so it’s best to keep moving!

Rolling Thunder - Arcade Gameplay Screenshot

I have some great memories of this game. I spent a lot of time playing the Speccy version after receiving it as part of the Giants compilation but I always found it pretty tough going and I don’t think I progressed much further than the second or third stage! I was therefore pretty surprised to find that this arcade original is actually a little easier! It plays superbly too – Albatross controls well with his movements flowing together nicely. You’ll need fast reflexes to do well here but there’s rarely a death that isn’t your own fault (although it’s annoying that you can’t fire while jumping). It is a little repetitive though – the graphics are nicely detailed (Albatross looks pretty cool!) and the music and effects are decent enough, but the basic stage design varies little, much like the enemies. It’s definitely an addictive game though, with some great ideas (like the hiding antics!). Rolling Thunder is deservedly regarded as a classic but it has aged a bit now. That said, it remains a very enjoyable, fast-paced platform shooter with a great atmosphere throughout.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YwxBeN-8DzI[/youtube]

RKS Score: 8/10

Ridge Racer

Ridge Racer - Playstation - Gameplay Screenshot

About 2 weeks after the launch of the PS1 in the USA, a buddy of mine who bought about every console in those days, said “We need to get the new Sony console. I read great stuff about how good it looks. Plus, we can link them up!” I was still pretty heavy into my Genesis, and didn’t know if I wanted another console, but after playing Ridge Racer at the store, I was sold.

Ridge Racer - Playstation - Gameplay Screenshot
A launch title (Namco 94-95), with 7 other games (I bought 2, and will talk about the other tomorrow), Ridge Racer truly felt like an arcade game. The graphics were a huge step up from my Sega product, and with the nifty music blaring on my 26 inch RCA (still have it), I finally had a good-size monitor to enjoy the 3D-goodness.

Ridge Racer - Playstation - Gameplay Screenshot

In Ridge Racer, there were the usual game modes, Time Trials and easy/medium/hard. You raced with 12 cars, trying to beat them (to unlock) and your previous low times. The music pumped throughout, and in a new twist, you could take out the game CD and put in music of your own while still playing. The different cars didn’t vary much, and they seemed to control about the same…except for the elusive Black Car.

Ridge Racer - Playstation - Gameplay Screenshot
The Black Car was the Holy Grail of the game. After you defeated the other modes and cars, you were able to take on the evil one. If you could defeat it, you would own it. Namco’s version of The Crossroads. One of the most difficult ‘bosses’ I ever faced, the only way to win was to run a perfect race…meaning if you scraped a wall, or skidded too much on a turn, the sumbitch would pass you and you’d never catch up. I put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into that challenge, and still fondly remember the day of victory. With the powerful engine and control of The Black Car, you could improve your times even more.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hPw8-A-k8M0[/youtube]
Other goodies included turning around and driving the tracks in mirrored-look, as well as changing your driving view.

Overall, it was a special game that was needed at that time. The console that (in my opinion) was the biggest jump in technology from the previous ones started off with an almost-perfect arcade port. It was beautiful and it was fun. It may not stand the test of time with a ton a sequels that were pumped-out, but will always hold a special memory for me.

Ridge Racer

Ridge Racer - Title Screen

Ridge Racer (1994)
By: Namco Genre: Racing Players: 1 Difficulty: Medium
Featured Version: PlayStation
Also Available For: Arcade, PlayStation 2 (as part of compilation)

Every now and then, you’ll get an arcade game that takes the world by storm. Everyone, everywhere is talking about it, playing it, or talking about playing it. Ridge Racer was one of these titles. When it was announced as a launch title for the PlayStation, its fans went into hysterics. “We can now play the best racing game of all-time in the comfort of our own homes!” they all exclaimed with glee. It arrived – they all bought a Playstation and a copy of it, played it for a couple of hours, and realised that Ridge Racer was far from the best racing game of all-time, after all. A valuable lesson to us all then, that good arcade games do not always make good home console games.

Okay, maybe that’s a slight exageration, but it’s true to some extent – at least as far as some of the games that don’t receive any or many substantial improvements / additions are concerned. That unfortunately, is where this port of Ridge Racer falls down. Of chief concern is the number of courses on offer here: one. Okay, it’s a good course, and a pretty big one, but even for an arcade game, one course just doesn’t cut it. Some fans of this game defend its appalling number of courses by claiming that Namco had a very short amount of time to develop it, having to rush it out in time for the PlayStation’s launch. This may be true, but I don’t think it’s the real reason – Ridge Racer Revolution – the sequel to this game, is not a significant improvement, after all, and Namco had plenty of time to get things right with that one.

Ridge Racer - Car select screen

As mentioned though, the course is more than half decent in itself. It is quite a large one and takes you from the city over bridges and through tunnels past such views as a construction site, mountainsides and a beach. Before racing on it, you must choose a car, and there are four available. Actually, one nice feature of this conversion is that while it is loading, you can play a single-screen version of Galaxians. If you manage to shoot all the aliens before the game loads, the quota of cars is trebled. Regardless of how many cars are initially available (all of which are fictional), each has differing attributes – acceleration, traction, handling and top speed all vary from vehicle to vehicle, and the usual manual or automatic transmission can be selected. With the car selected, it’s onto the race.

Ridge Racer - Gameplay Screenshot 1

Races are contested against eleven computer controlled opponents (you always start at the back of the grid, of course), with the difficulty level you select determining the number of laps of each race and the top speed of the computer-controlled cars. The highest difficulty setting also sees night races introduced and adds a small, more challenging section to the main course, and later on, some races are also contested over mirrored or reversed versions of the course. In the last race, you’ll have the opportunity to race the mysterious black ‘Devil Car’ which is the fastest in the game. Beat it and you’ll have completed the game, as well as having gained access to the black car yourself. The only other play mode is the time trial where you must try and beat the best lap times for the course in its various configurations.

Ridge Racer - Gameplay Screenshot 2

Graphically, Ridge Racer is impressive for an early title. Aside from a slight reduction in background detail and polygon count, it’s damn near arcade perfect. A helicopter follows your car around the course as you race, and after the race, you can watch a replay of your performance as seen from the helicopter. Races start at different times of the day like sunrise, midday or dusk, so some nice lighting effects and colours can be seen throughout, and the cars look nice, though they can’t be damaged. The in-game view can be switched between a front bumper mounted camera and a behind car camera. The ‘techno’ music selected for the game will probably be awesome or terrible, depending on your taste. It consists of six ‘bangin choons’ which you can choose from before racing. I suspect though, that even if you like this kind of music, they will begin to grate after a while. The composer obviously thinks highly of them though, as there’s a ‘music player’ feature on the option screen which shows cars racing around while the music of your choice plays. Luckily, the music featured here is not mandatory. In a fairly innovative feature, you can put your own music CD’s in your PlayStation and listen to them for a while instead. Sounds effects are completely forgettable and the engine sound is awful (lawnmower?), and unfortunately, an annoying commentator rambles on throughout each race too, saying the same stuff all the time (such as “Wow, what a start” regardless of whether you made a good start or not!).

Ridge Racer - Gameplay Screenshot 3

As for the gameplay… it’s a bit of a mixed bag really. The cars handling style has obviously been retained from the arcade version, i.e. ultra loose and power slidy. In fact, this game may well be the inventor of the now famous and much copied power slide, but it sure as hell didn’t perfect it first go! It’s hard to explain, but when grip is lost the car will most often start pivoting left and right around a central point of the car until your speed decreases substantially and you can start accelerating away again. It’s ridiculous, annoying, and completely unrealistic. Yes I know this is an arcade racer and realism is not the order of the day here, but some sort of basis in reality wouldn’t go amiss. Another annoying aspect of gameplay is that contact with other cars or the side of the course, even if it’s slight, results in a severe reduction in speed, and once you’ve hit one once, particularly as far as the roadside barriers are concerned, it’s very easy to keep bumping them, thereby ruining any chance of a decent finish. This obviously gets very annoying after a short time. Having said that, the challenge on offer here isn’t really befitting a game with one course – you’ll win the first race within your first three attempts to very little fanfare. But those (fairly major) points aside, Ridge Racer, as limited as it is, is very enjoyable for a day or two before it becomes boring. Of course, a two-player split screen mode would help matters, but there’s none of that here either!

Overall, Ridge Racer was an enjoyable arcade game, but is unsuitable as a home game without a radical overhaul, which this conversion has not received. There really is very little to return to here, after the first few days – the desire to improve lap times is something that prolongs the lifespan of most driving games, but when that game only has one course, it’s not nearly as attractive a proposition. When this first came out, I’m sure it had a big ‘Wow’ factor – after MegaDrive and SNES racing games, it was a genuinely impressive sight, but it didn’t take long before there were some decent alternatives – Gran Turismo, Colin McRae, Total Drivin’, Test Drive 4 & 5, Toca Touring Cars, Porsche Challenge, Need For Speed and many others are much more enjoyable driving games, and much more worthy of your time. It’s a shame too, there was real potential here. If Namco added just a few more courses, this could’ve been a half-decent game. If they tinkered with the car-handling, it could’ve been even better. Later games in the Ridge Racer series showed what was possible on the PlayStation – the stupidly-named Ridge Racer Type 4 has 8 courses and a two-player mode, for example, and is a great racing game. This original is not.

RKS Rating: 4/10

 

Street Fighter X Tekken: Teaser Trailer

Street Fighter X Tekken
Street Fighter X Tekken

If you love crossover fighting games then next year is going to be grand. Not only do we have Capcom versus Marvel 3 to look forward to, but a Street Fighter crossover with Tekken. This game was first announced at Comic-Con and will involve both the Capcom and Namco staff.

Now for those of you use to the 3D environments of Tekken you will have to adjust to the 2D mechanics that will be used in this game. Fighting will be more Street Fighter like than Tekken with moves like Ryu’s hadouken being available. In addition you will be able to team up with fighter from both series in tag play and you will have the ability to pull of super combos that combine power attacks of your team members.

As for this video you only get a bit of animation and nothing else, but we can tell you that a few playable characters have been named including Ryu, Chun Li and Akuma from Street Fighter and Kazuya, Nina and Devil from Tekken.

Currently there is no direct release date, but the game will be available for both the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 consoles.

Nacho Pintos: Frugal Games

Frugal Games logo
Frugal Games logo

Name: Nacho Pintos

Company: Frugal Games

Profession: Game Designer / Developer

Favorite Classic Game: Pac-man

Quote: I’m not a person with ‘favorites’. It’s always hard for me to say which books, films, songs or people I like most, or have been the most influential, because their memory and my perception of them varies wildly over time.

However, I re-play Pac-Man every time I stumble upon a new version/clone/homage/reworking of it. I can’t help it, it’s so perfect, so seminal. All ‘collect-everything’ games started here. The setting is absurd: colored ghosts, yellow dots, a pizza-like avatar… That’s what I miss most in current games, and what keeps me going back to classics: no ‘realism’, just a different, weird gameworld, with different rules, set up with very scarce resources, and yet it works and is addictive, balanced, brilliant. Unique.


Bio: Frugal Games is me, doing design and programming, and Pedro Pacheco (http://unosetenta.com) doing all-things-visual. So with just two persons, we had but to turn resource scarcity into a virtue. Our mission is making small games filled with great ideas (a 120 hour epic FRPG in 4 DVDs wouldn’t be frugal, would it?) We both love how simple, small games from the past felt so big and vivid in our minds, and we want to recreate that feeling. It’s not about nostalgia or love for retro-things, but to bring back the imagination of the player into the equation of gaming.

Project: Flee, for Android devices

Project Info: Flee is an obsessive recreation of the LCD handhelds that were so popular in the 80’s, like the Game&Watch series from Nintendo: one game in one machine, in your hands. We’re both in our early thirties, so these devices were our first contact with portable digital videogames. That’s where our player days started, and that’s where our videogame-maker days begin.

For me the most crucial design target was to make the player feel that he’s holding in his hands one of those devices, forgetting that it is actually a state-of-the-art smartphone. This led to the two most-highlighted (by the press) features of the game: the device gets dirtier the more you play (you can clean it if you want), and the effect when pressing the screen (to reveal the hidden graphics behind) – I would like to develop on the concept of aging user interfaces in the future. But Flee is not just these two gimmicks, there’s actual gameplay inside.

On Mode A (most LCD handhelds had two game modes) you control the main car and have to avoid the obstacles, along 30 levels of devilish difficulty: cars that move at different speeds, rabbits that weave from lane to lane, almost impossible car-labyrinths… We wanted the game to be very, very difficult and fast. On Mode B, the player controls the hordes of rabbits that approach the main car, which now moves on its own, through 18 levels; there were many ideas for more game modes but these turned to be the most meaningful. Furthermore, you can play both modes at normal or Turbo speed. There’s also a game manual that meticulously mimics those of the 80’s.

We added features unseen in old LCDs: a game ending (on mode A, level 30) with a misteryous hidden message, a 20-song soundtrack that emulates the car’s radio (after finishing a level, you hear the radio tuning to a new station while a new song fades in) and a global Scoreboard using the Scoreloop service for Android.

Atari’s Pac-Man

Atari Pacman box art
Atari Pacman box art

On May 22, 1980 Pac-Man was released in the arcades of Japan where surprising enough it did not garner a warm reception. At the time more action oriented shooters such as Space Invaders were the games of choice, but when the game made its way to the states it became a monster hit and a worldwide icon.

Created by Namco the original title was Puck Man, however, the name was changed because it was felt ill-mannered children (and adults) would change the “P” to an “F” and we all know what that spells. In addition the artwork and cabinet design was changed to fit a style that could be sold to the masses.

Pac-Man’s success came from the fact that it was different than a shooter. It appealed not only to a wide age group, but made the jump to female gamers, something even the great Space Invaders could not do. Though the challenge of eating all the dots on a small maze seemed simple enough most players never made it past level 20. In fact there are 255 levels in the game and only a few have seen the 256th kill screen.

Pac-Man was ported to pretty much every computer and console system of the time and many copies, unauthorized squeals and bootlegs have been made for it. Pac-Man also made its way into merchandising, food and even its own cartoon. Pac-Man is truly one of the most famous video games on the planet.

The story of the Atari 2600 port of Pac-Man was that it was developed by Todd Frye and released in 1982. The game sold over 7 million copies though over 12 million were manufactured. The port was criticized for not staying true to the arcade from the graphics to even the sound of Pac-Man munching away on dots. Critics and fans alike felt the game was rushed and poorly developed with many asking for refunds for their purchase. In the end Atari took a huge financial hit on Pac-Man second only to the disastrous E.T. Many believe this failure coupled with E.T.’s lead to the downfall of Atari and the video game crash of 1983.

Classic Gaming Beauty Pageant

Ever hear the saying; “Don’t be fooled by a pretty face”? In this case that “pretty face” can put you in intensive care quicker than a Dragon Punch. ~J.A. Laraque

Classic Gaming Beauty Pageant

We asked our fans on the official Obsolete Gamer Facebook Page which classic gaming heroine was the sexiest. We received a number of responses and now we will showcase some of them here. Let’s take a look at some of the lovely ladies of classic gaming to see if we can find a clear winner.

Beauty Pageant

Princess Toadstool

Princess Peach from Mario

With golden blond hair, big sky-blue eyes and rosy-red cheeks it’s no wonder Mario is willing to go anywhere in the galaxy to save her. As princess of Mushroom Kingdom, Peach takes her job very seriously and is even willing to battle to save her land. Her beauty and grace are unmistakable, she clearly owns the evening gown competition, but she is much more than just another pretty face. Peach is also an avid go-cart racer and excels in golf, tennis, soccer and even brawling. She is clear royalty that brings a lot to the throne.

Ms. Pac-Man

Ms Pacman arcade side

Nothing beats a full figured woman and Ms. Pac-Man carries the perfectly round look better than anyone else in history. While it is true the lovely lady spends most of her time eating she is constantly on the run which balances it out. Her strong suit is the swimsuit competition because she refuses to wear much else besides a pink  pumps, silk gloves and a lovely bow. Don’t get any ideas guys, Ms. Pac-Man is married and has a child. Honestly would you want to date someone who is constantly being pursued by ghosts?

Samus Aran

Samus Metroid

Sometimes a man wants a strong woman, someone who can handle herself in battle; someone who can kick your ass, that woman is Samus Aran. This battle beauty spends most of her time in her battle suit blasting away the badies in Metroid, but there is a softer side to ol’ Sam. When not blowing away anything in her path, Miss Aran loves to read war strategies and weapon tech manuals. She lost a few points for refusing to compete in the evening gown or swimsuit competition but her answer to what would she do if she won the pageant was clear and to the point, she said: “I’d keep doing what I’ve been doing all my life, saving the world.”

Tyris

Tyris Flare Golden Axe

Originally Tyris was not part of the pageant, but when a sword-wielding, red-haired amazon asks to be included you better not say “no”. Brawn and beauty are in perfect harmony with this video vixen. In Golden Axe, Tyris battled against the horde to seek revenge on Death Adder for the murder of her parents. Now Tyris is a swimsuit model and military consultant. That’s an A+ resume.

Princess Zelda

Princess Zelda

This noble beauty believes in the more traditional role of fantasy princesses. Zelda spends most of her time either in a magically induced sleep or trapped in some dungeon waiting for a hero to save her. Being a lady of stature and prestige she refuses to show herself in anything beyond her royal gown, but we still like what we see. Zelda understands the key to being saved is looking good and patience, lots and lots of patience.

Chun Li

Chun Li Street Fighter anime

Ever hear the saying; “Don’t be fooled by a pretty face”? In this case that “pretty face” can put you in intensive care quicker than a Dragon Punch. Chun Li is a competitor be it in Street Fighting or beach volleyball, she doesn’t like to lose. Being the first lady of fighting games has put a target on her head and Ms. Li wouldn’t have it any other way. She loves to show off her silky smooth legs and powerful thighs, but that is just a trap. If you are not careful you will quickly become a victim to her lighting fast kicks. Chun has no problem using her brute force to get what she wants, she rather kick you than kiss you which is why many of the judges are voting 10.

Jill Valentine

Jill Valentine Resident Evil fan art

If you were to date this woman and Valentine’s Day came around it would be in your best interest to give her the world. I mean not only is Valentine her last name, but she kills zombies for a living. You have to love a woman with a gun who knows how to use it and with her lock picking skills you will never run out of ammo. Now some have called her the weaker link in team Resident Evil, but that is far from the truth. Her strengths lie in her versatility. Jill is proficient in many different weapons and her puzzle solving skills are top shelf. Ms. Valentine dazzled us with her numerous wardrobe changes. We asked her, “Why do you love to show off all your different types of clothing?” Her response was, “Do you have any idea what I had to do to get these clothes?”

Lara Croft

Lara Croft - Tomb Raider

When out raiding tombs and treasure hunting it is important to have the total package. Lara Croft is the total package. She has the brains to solve the most mind numbing puzzles and the athletic ability to run, jump and swing her away across the most dangerous environments. She is an expert marksman and a Rhodes Scholar and she has a pair of assets that are second to none. Ms. Croft defines pageantry competing and excelling in all categories she is the epitome of classic gaming excellence and beauty. Clearly if there is a winner amongst this fine field of females it is Lara, she would have won even if she did not give us all a share in her latest treasure find.

Dig Dug review

Dig Dug in-game
Dig Dug in-game shot

Dig Dug review by Honorabili

One Sentence Review:

“Pop that monster!”

Overall Score:
9 out of 10

Overview:

Dig Dug consists of you being this blue man in a white suit that digs your way underground to kill monsters in tunnels. You do this by impaling them with an air pump that has like a tip like Scorpion’s weapon in Mortal Kombat (weird, I know but it’s cute!). You them pump the little monsters with enough air until they pop like a balloon. The game keeps progressing as you kill more monsters and there are none left in that level. Each level is progressively harder (especially when multiple enemies come at you at once).

You can get an extra man every 20000 points and you can pick up fruit in the middle of the stage when you kill enemies in a spectacular way, accelerating your 1UP rate.

The original game keeps going for 256 levels with the remake having about 400 levels.

The game is available on most Ataris, the Intellivision, Apple II, Commodore VIC 20 and c64, for PC, NES, gameboy, Wii, and the TI-99/4A. The remake is also available under Namco Classic Collection Volume 2 for Xbox, Gamecube, and the PS2.

Fun Factor:

I always thought it was a trip to fill up cute little monsters with air and watch their belly burst. If you’re braindead like me then you will love this kind of action. As the game will become much harder later, you will have to react instantly to the onslaught of monsters and have to adapt to using the terrain to your advantage and tricking the game’s A.I. by timing your attacks. You will sometimes have to run like a little bitch for your life and that can be fun to do especially in an old game! Fun Factor gets a score of 1o out of 10.

Difficulty Versatility:

Dig Dug is a challenging game. It’s from an era where if you wanted to get a high score you had to be a good gamer. Continues? Never heard of them. You put in a quarter and you got a set amount of lives. If you lost them all, you had to pay again to replay from the beginning. If you like your games easy then Dig Dug is not a game for you. If you like a game where the A.I. will eventually come at you from every direction, really fast then this is your game. You do get one more life though every 20000 points.

The first levels are easy and the game constantly keeps acccelerating in diffuculty. There’s no way to alter that but the game is challenging enough as it is. Difficulty Versatility gets a score of 9 out of 10.

Value:

Since this game is so old now, most people will probably play the emulated (usually MAME) version which you can get for free.

The PS2 Namco Classic Collection version is now out of print and not available online. You can track it down either by calling your local game stores or finding it through ebay.

The Wii version you can probably get online from their store for probably a few dollars.

Overall, since you can either play this game for free or for a few dollars for the PS2 or Wii version, Value gets a score of 10 out of 10.

Replayability:

Most classic arcade games are highly addictive/replayable, unless you find them too hard/frustrating for you. You can pretty much set your own goal as you what you want your experienced with this game to be, whether to get to whatever number of level or whatever your high score will be.

Myself, I find this game fun and I often wonder to what level I can get to the next time I play. Considering I’ve played this game thousands of times since the 80s and I still play it, the game is a classic and very replayable. I give replayability a score of 9 out of 10.

Sound:

The sounds mainly consist of hearing the dragon roar (whistle) and your pump that fills up the cute monsters and pops the living hell out of them. For an old game the sounds are really well done and I think Sound deserves a score of 1o out of 10.

Music:

The music is so simple but it’s so catchy. The music is interactive in the sense that the little jingle will only play whenever your guy is walking. Mega64 makes fun of that fact and made a video where they go around harrassing people with it! Here is a video showing that:

It’s catchy and it keeps you playing this hectic little game. For a few simple notes, it’s a classic. Overall the game has like 4 little melodies but the main melody is the one that you will hear the most. Music gets a score of 10 out of 10.

Graphics:

The graphics look pretty cute for this old game and they are actually great. It’s fun watching the monsters blow up like a balloon and then POP! Graphics get a score of 10 out of 10.

Stability/Reliability:

This game actually has 2 bugs.

If you get to the end of the game, the game has a kill screen where you are basically stuck because the game will not progress any further. This happens when you get to the last level of the game (level 256) and beat it.

The other bug happens if you drop a rock on an enemy while you are pumping it with air and snuff it. It basically makes all enemies disappear making the level unbeatable but the work around is to trigger another rock to fall.

Other than those two bugs, mainly the rock one (because most people will NOT get to the last level), the game is rock solid. Stability/Reliability get a score of 8 out of 10.

Controls:

The controls are simple. Up is up and so forth, and the fire button always triggers the harpoon gun/pump which lets you kill enemies. Other than that you walk into the ground to tunnel and you make rocks fall by leaving a tunnel under it (to try to trick a monster into getting crushed). Controls get a score of 10 out of 10.

Performance:

The game runs flawless whether you play it on an arcade machine, emulation (MAME, etc), or on a console remake of it. If only all games could run as well as old games! Performance gets a score of 10 out of 10.

My history with this game:

This is one of the first games where I was impressed by an arcade game, specifically Namco and Atari. I remember seeing this around the same time I first played Ms. Pacman, another arcade favorite of mine. I’ve played Dig Dug over 1000 times, literally. It’s not as popular as the Pacman games but among the arcade community, it’s always a classic.

If you’ve never played Dig Dug, you are missing out on a major arcade game that is a corner stone for arcade gaming history. Go play it and stop reading this.