Splash Lake

splash-lake-

Splash Lake

The idea of a bouncing Ostrich with a very sharp beak named Ozzie was enough for me to at least take a look at this game. Splash Lake was released by NEC in 1992 for the Turbo Grafx-16. This puzzle game features an Ostrich named Ozzie who uses his sharp beak to break holes in the bridge he is on causing his enemies to fall, into the lake, where they splash, hence, Splash Lake.

splash-lake-

Check out our few video review with commentary.

Boxyboy

BoxyBoy

Boxyboy

This could be called the Amazon warehouse game. In Boxyboy you control a worker in a warehouse and the overall goal is to push the crates on to the squares with the yellow dots on them. The game was developed by Media Rings and published by NEC on the TurboGrafx-16.

BoxyBoy

Part of the Sokoban series the game starts of pretty easy, but like all puzzle games it gets harder and harder each level. Speaking of levels, Boxyboy features a level editor that allows players to create and then play their own custom levels.

Chew-Man-Fu

Chew Man Fu

Perhaps it is the Japanese equivalent to the Ham-burglar.

Chew Man Fu

 

In Chew Man Fu your mission is to stop this hungry little man from stealing all the worlds’ fried rice and egg rolls. The game plays sort of like Pengo and you have to take out the enemies by firing the balls you place on each of the 500 stages. Developed by Now Productions and published by Hudson Soft and NEC in 1990 you can also find this game on the Wii’s virtual console.

Magical Dinosaur Tour

magical_dinosaur_tour

Pretty much whenever you see the words Magical and tour in something it means educational which for many means boring. This game was released in 1990 so it was before the whole Dinosaur craze, but it would have fit right in if you had a child that really liked learning about Dinosaurs and whom you wanted to punish by giving them this instead of say Ninja Spirit.

magical_dinosaur_tour

So you get to explore a magic area and watch and learn about Dino’s but that is pretty much it. You can watch them living and searching for food and the coolest part is when they roar. The game did not look bad, but it took forever to load and honestly it was one of those games that seems cool when you buy it until it is loaded up and you realize you are in school.

Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective

Sherlock Holmes - Consulting Detective

You don’t have to be a real detective to guess what you do in Sherlock Holmes, Consulting Detective. The game is a hybrid of an adventure and simulated game where you play the famous doctor Holmes as you and your friend Watson solve a series of crimes.

Sherlock Holmes - Consulting Detective

The game takes you around London where you will, interrogating suspects, gathering clues, checking out the newspapers, and eventually presenting all the evidence to the judge. If you did your work correctly the judge will accept your results and the case will be solved.

Keith Courage in Alpha Zone

Keith Courage in Alpha Zone

A very simple game to start off a very interesting console. The Turbo Grafx made its debut with this game as a pack in with the console and showed some a very simplistic game. We already seen stuff like this for its time so it wasn’t nothing new. With games like Final Fantasy 2(4 in Japan) hitting the USA and other RPGs as well, there was no doubt that this title wouldn’t stand against others. In my opinion, I think this game was released just to show off what the Turbo Grafx console was capable of. The game is very simple, although based by an anime, it’s not bad at all. It contains some RPG elements that help it stand out a little bit. There is also a transformation sequence where you turn into a robot and fly around, Not sure how that works as you were a human a second ago and slow as a mother fucker.

The game’s length is decent and will keep you interested until the end which will surprise you in the end and probably leave you wanting for more or maybe a lot less. It’s all about taste in the end, I can’t say this is a title that will keep you coming for it and that everyone will love but I will say this, the game is just your average platformer with RPG elements, the end!

TV Sports Basketball

TV Sports Basketball

In honor of the All-Star Game we bring you this video review of 1990 TurboGrafx-16 game, TV Sports Basketball. Developed by Cinemaware and published by Mirrorsoft the game featured five-on-five gameplay, but no NBA licenses. This meant you got the city names and perhaps some colors that might match, but no team names like the Miami Heat and no famous names like Michael Jordan.

The game allowed you to play against the computer as either a player or a coach and against other players in versus mode. One of the strange things about the game was that it was a full court basketball game with a vertical view. However, when you crossed half-court there would be a short cut scene showing all your players running to the other side as a sort of loading screen.

Shadow of the Beast

Shadow_of_the_Beast_turbo-grafx-16

Developed by Psygnosis and published by Electronic Arts, Shadow of the Beast tells the story of a child kidnapped by mages. This child was transformed into a powerful creature to be used at their will. Years later you learn the truth of your past and set out to kill everyone involved and ultimately your master.

The NEC PC-FX Review

nec-pcfx

The PC-FX, like it’s older and far more popular brother the PC-Engine, isn’t actually a PC of any sort. You’d be forgiven for thinking otherwise – it looks very much like a traditional tower PC and confusingly you will find Youtube videos of people running PC-FX games on PC hardware (using a PC-FX GA card, more on that later) but in reality it’s just a regular console, albeit one that could also play CD+G and photo CDs as standard.

PC-FX_Controller

The PC-FX’s strength was in its ability to play high quality full screen Full Motion Video (FMV) sequences at 30FPS, something that both the Saturn and PlayStation would struggle to reproduce to the same standard. Unfortunately the PC-FX had no other technical advantages over its contemporaries and in an era where 3D was king (regardless of how good it actually looked) the PC-FX struggled and ended up with just 62 games released over its four year lifespan.

PC-FX_BackupMemoryPack

While the console can rightly be considered a commercial failure, it’s still relatively easy to get a hold of. However the majority of the games require some grasp of the Japanese language to be enjoyable making English speaking discussion of the system’s library limited. Due to the PC-FX focusing mainly on RPGs and adventure games, a grand total of five titles can be considered easily playable by anyone – ‘Battle Heat’, ‘Tengai Makyo Karakuri Kakutoden’, ‘Chip Chan Kick!’, ‘Tyoushin Heiki Zeroigar’ and ‘Kishin Doji Zenki: Vajura Fight’. I have ordered them roughly by value, from lowest to highest. ‘Battle Heat’ can generally be found for around the $30USD mark, however prices rise sharply and just keep going – ‘Tengai Makyo’ is about $90USD and the cheapest, ’Zenki’ can be found for around $350USD plus shipping!

PC-FX hucards

This doesn’t mean the PC-FX is lacking in quality affordable titles however, just that such games are difficult to play without some understanding of written Japanese. The system has many remakes of classic titles – ‘Farland Story FX’, ‘Der Langrisser FX’, ‘Power Dolls FX’ (the suffix wasn’t actually used as much as I’m making it out to be), original exclusives like ‘Last Imperial Prince’, ‘Miraculum’ and ‘Kokuu Hyouryo Nirgends’ and even games that ended up finding some success elsewhere – ‘Wakusei Kougekitai Little Cats’, ‘Boundary Gate: Daughter of Kingdom’ and ‘Angelique Special’ all ended up with Saturn or PlayStation ports at a later date.

PC-FX_Mouse

Despite the short lifespan, the PC-FX still had a few interesting accessories – the official mouse suited the strategy games well and a memory card could be slotted into the concealed front expansion port if the player found themselves running out of space in the system’s internal memory. The final accessory isn’t actually for the PC-FX, but it is the most interesting – the PC-FX GA I mentioned earlier, is very much like the 3D0 Blaster – a PC card that allows users to play standard PC-FX discs on their computers. The card even included two controller ports to allow the use of standard PC-FX pads as well as s-video and composite out (just like a normal PC-FX) ports. Development software was available to buy (GMAKER Starter Kit and the GMAKER Starter Kit Plus), apparently in an attempt to stimulate interest and production of PC-FX games.

It’s easy to see why the PC-FX failed to generate much enthusiasm at the time – it was under-powered under-supported and expected NEC fans to ditch the vast PC Engine library in favor of a console that had adventure games as far as the eye could see (contrary to some rumors confusion, the PC-FX is not compatible with PC Engine software of any kind). However, as time has generally eroded prices and increased availability, what we now have is a quirky little system that didn’t really do much but did do what it did well. As an owner myself, I struggle to recommend it to others, but on the other hand, I can’t help but look at my PC-FX games and smile.

The Turbo CD Review

The ultimate accessory for video console gaming in the early 1990′s was not the Sega CD – it was the Turbo CD with a Super System Card.  This combination permitted owners of NEC’s TurboGrafx-16 gaming system to access some of the very best games available at the time, whether they were North American or Japanese releases, such as Dungeon Explorer II, Ys Book I and II, Lords of Thunder, and Dracula X.

The Turbo CD with TurboGrafx-16

The Turbo CD attached itself to the TurboGrafx-16 system, and the new world of CD gaming was opened up.  The Super System Card turned the Turbo CD into a Turbo Duo machine, with 256K of RAM (split 64K DRAM and 192K SRAM).  It also provided the most advanced bios for the T16 (version 3.0), which permitted its owners to play the “Super System CD” games.  The extra memory gave programmers the ability to use the entire color palette for their games’ backgrounds, which provided a much richer gaming experience.

So if this accessory was the greatest thing to happen to gaming since the release of the Atari 2600, why didn’t everyone own one?  Well, to begin with, it was an accessory for the TurboGrafx-16 system, which was fighting for ground in the Nintendo vs. Sega console wars, and losing.  It was also BIG, which was odd, considering the Japanese model it was based on (for the PC Engine) was quite small.  Perhaps the North American fascination for big trucks and luxury cars blinded the design team at NEC, since they clearly thought BIGGER was better.  Unfortunately, retailers don’t want giant boxes that are mostly Styrofoam or packaging today, and they didn’t then, either.

With a box measuring 59.5cm x 44.5cm x 26cm (23.4″ x 17.5″ x 10.2″), who had the space to display it, never mind stock it in any significant quantity?  Another reason was that, unlike the Sega CD, which included Sewer Shark, the Turbo CD did not include a game, which meant you had to add a little more cost to the final bill.  That leads us to the final, and most important reason why the Turbo CD did not catch fire in the gaming universe: the price.  NEC priced the Turbo CD at $399, which was a prohibitive price point.  Although the standard System 2.0 Card was included in the package, it only gave access to the standard CD games.  Only by purchasing the Super System Card could gamers access the Super CD titles (like Prince of Persia, DragonSlayer, etc), and this was retailing in the $80-$100 range.

Turbo CD Super System Card 3.0

So let’s review NEC’s market strategy for the Turbo CD:

  1. High price
  2. Basic function unless you pay even more money for an accessory for the accessory
  3. GIANT size
  4. No game

I’m not a rocket scientist, but this combination would spell disaster today for any peripheral’s sales, never mind during the height of the Nintendo vs. Sega console wars!

The TurboGrafx CD original box

So in the end, the Turbo CD was the best gaming accessory no one bought.  Today retro gaming is a both a popular and enjoyable pastime.  If you are a retro gamer with a passion for all things 90s, you simply need to have a TurboGrafx-16 with a Turbo CD system!  Now, if you’ll excuse me, I feel a need for some Lords of Thunder Super CD action coming on – awesome guitar riffs and amazing game play await!

The TurboGrafx-16

Tweeting back and forth with TheSocialGamer about the TurboGrafx-16 led to some serious retro T16 game-groovin’ on my handheld TurboExpress, replaying some Blazing Lazers, Dragon Spirit, and Bonk’s Revenge before calling it a night.

NEC TurboGrafx-16

The NEC TurboGrafx-16 Video Game System.

For those that have NO idea what I’m talking about, the TurboGrafx-16 was a video game system sold in North America by NEC (it hit the shelves in 1989).  It was known as the PC Engine in Japan, where it debuted 2 years earlier (those damn Japanese got all the new game tech!).  This was a killer system in its day: 16-bit graphics capable of 482 colors at once.  It suffered a pretty big drawback, though, with initially only 8K of memory available for the games to work under.  (As a comparison, the Super Nintendo had 128K.)

It came packaged with one game (Keith Courage in Alpha Zones) and one controller (called a TurboPad).  Some awesome games were available for this system, like Blazing Lazers, Neutropia, Order of the Griffon, Bomberman, Bonk’s Adventure, Alien Crush (and its sequel, Devil’s Crush), Cadash, Klax, and Military Madness, just to name a few.  You could hook up an accessory called a TurboTap which would allow you and 4 of your gamer buddies to play certain games (like Bomberman) for serious multiplayer fun.  Oddly enough, there was only ONE controller port on the system.

The TurboExpress handheld video game system (with TV Tuner)

The TurboExpress handheld video game system (with TV Tuner)

What made the TurboGrafx unique was how they promoted their handheld game system.  Most competitors used separate games for the console systems versus the handheld systems (like the NES and the GameBoy).  If you wanted to play Tetris on the NES and GameBoy, you had to buy one NES version and one GameBoy version.  But the TurboExpress (the handheld version of the TurboGrafx-16) used the very same games that it’s parent console used!  The games – called HuCards – fit in either system and played the same.  The TurboExpress even played in FULL COLOR!  Wow, back in the day that was an AWESOME gaming experience.

This is the TurboGrafx-16 with the TurboCD attachment.

This is the TurboGrafx-16 with the TurboCD attachment.

Another nifty accessory you could get for the TurboGrafx was the TurboCD, which allowed you to play the really great CD games that were out there, as well as play music CDs.  It came with a HuCard called a System Card which you put into your TurboGrafx to boost the RAM so the CDs could play (64K).  Another memory card, the Super System Card, gave you an additional 192K, which gave access to the Super CD games.  You haven’t played a 16-bit system until you’ve played Lords of Thunder.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Otz8kIUqN38[/youtube]

So why didn’t NEC rule the 90′s instead of Sega and Nintendo?  There are plenty of reasons that come to mind, such as the aforementioned 8K memory limit and an intially high price on the accessories that made it a gaming system juggernaut (the TurboCD and TurboExpress).  The real T16 killer was that the system was not embraced by 3rd Party developers.  Companies today should look at the history of the TurboGrafx-16 to see what happens when all your innovation and development comes inhouse.  Had NEC been able to bring more developers on board right away, the system would have had a massive library of games and accessories, which everyone knows is the gamer geek’s kryptonite.  Who knows how console game systems would look like today if NEC’s TurboGrafx had dominated the market? Perhaps Sony wouldn’t have been able to get a toehold because the TurboDuo drowned out their sales?  Maybe Nintendo would have skipped past cartridge-based systems right into a disc-based system like the GameCube right away?

Who knows?

Dragon’s Fury

Dragon’s Fury (a.k.a. Devil Crash MD) (1992)

By: TechnoSoft Genre: Pinball Players: 1-2 (alternate) Difficulty: Medium
Featured Version: Sega MegaDrive / Genesis First Day Score: 22,593,300
Also Available For: NEC PC Engine / TurboGrafx-16
Download For: PlayStation Network

Dragons Fury - Devils Crush MD - Gameplay Screenshot

For two years, Devil’s Crush had been thrilling Japanese (and to a lesser extent, American) PC Engine gamers before, unlike its prequel, it finally received a conversion, and it was MegaDrive owners who were the lucky ones to receive it. Handled by Technosoft (famous for the Thunder Force series), it’s a more or less a straight conversion of the Engine game (aside from the unnecessary name change), but there are a few noteworthy differences. Aside from a few small, almost unnoticeable changes, the main table in this version looks pretty much the same as it did on the Engine – everything’s in the same place and everything does the same thing, though the ball feels a little weightier and doesn’t seem to bounce around quite so much.

Dragons Fury - Devils Crush MD - Gameplay Screenshot

As far as I can determine, all the bonuses and scoring techniques also remain unchanged, too. The graphics are slightly different, though. While good in both versions, this version appears less colourful and slightly fuzzier and less defined than the Engine version, and the surface of the table is much brighter here, which makes the colours at least appear to be less contrasted. I actually prefer the graphics of the Engine version by quite some margin but that’s just me. Check out the shots in both reviews and make up you own mind as to which version you think looks better. The music has changed very little during the conversion process, though the sound effects are slightly different (and better) here. Since they are one of this game’s strongest points on the Engine they certainly increase the enjoyment of playing this version, as I’m sure you can imagine.

Dragons Fury - Devils Crush MD - Gameplay Screenshot

One significant difference between the two versions is the bonus tables. There are still six of them here but only two of the ones from the Engine version have survived the transition; the other four are all new. I’m not sure that they’re better but they are probably easier (except for number six which is well ‘ard). Also, this version has an ending! If you can defeat all six bonus tables, you’ll progress to a final table featuring ‘King Dragon’ (or King Demon, depending on which territory you’re in). Defeat him and you’ve completed the game! If you’re like me though, you’ll purposely avoid reaching him in order to achieve the highest score possible.

Dragons Fury - Devils Crush MD - Gameplay Screenshot

Which reminds me of perhaps the biggest difference between the Engine and MegaDrive versions of this great game – the difficulty. This was the version I first played, and it’s the version I’ve spent by far the most time playing, and I’d like to think I’ve become pretty good at it, achieving scores in the nine-figure region fairly easily. This, however, proves a lot more difficult when playing the Engine version. For example, the top section of the table is where high scores can be quickly amassed, and it’s A LOT easier to get there, AND stay there for prolonged periods on this MD version. It’s not that the tables on the respective versions have been designed differently though, nor that this game has been badly converted by TechnoSoft. The ball physics is outstanding on both versions, but, as mentioned briefly earlier, they are slightly different here, which results in a couple of tricks I learnt when playing this version, didn’t work when I started playing the Engine game.

Dragons Fury - Devils Crush MD - Gameplay Screenshot

So there you have it. Both versions are essentially the same. The Engine version is more challenging and looks prettier (in my opinion), this MegaDrive version is easier and louder. Both are amazingly playable, both are as addictive as hell, but this version is the one where I cut my teeth, so to speak, so I’ll always love playing it.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-HEbNw2Kbo[/youtube]

RKS Score: 9/10

Top Ten TurboCD TurboDuo CD Games

Of all the video game consoles I’ve played, the one that holds a special place in my retrogaming heart continues to be that poor doomed also-ran in the Sega Genesis/Super Nintendo Wars: the NEC TurboGrafx-16.

 TurboGrafx-16 with the TurboCD attachment

What makes the TurboGrafx so special to me? Perhaps it is because of my love for a good underdog against the favorite of the great unwashed, perhaps it was the console’s design, or perhaps it was the because of the amazing peripherals NEC offered for their system.  Regardless, it will always be my first choice when heading back to the 90s for retrogaming (yes, I realize it was released in North America in 1989…most of the games came later!) Picking up a TurboCD and a Super System Card was one of my best gaming investments back in the day.  There were some fabulous CD games that I played over the years, some of which I was not able to pick up until a decade later!  Here’s a small list of my favorite TurboCD games, some requiring the Super System Card, some not, but all worth playing!

 

Loom for the TurboGrafx-16 TurboCD

I’ve written about the wonders of Loomelsewhere, so I’ll be brief: this game is well worth playing. This is a beautiful game on the TurboCD, with enhanced music and gameplay based upon the original IBM-PC diskette version, but with the better graphic capabilities of the TurboCD.  It does not feature any voice acting, but the story and gameplay is wonderful, regardless. After all, this is a LucasArts adventure game; how can you go wrong?

Prince of Persia for the TurboCD

 

One of the finest platformers ever to grace any gaming system, Prince of Persia for the TurboCD has the same flair as the original, with the added feature of animated cutscenes with voice acting to help propel the storyline.  A little note for those who think Prince of Persia is based on Disney’s Aladdin movie: the original Prince of Persia was released in 1989, and Aladdin hit the movie theatre circuit in 1992.  Hmm…tell me again who influenced whom?

 

Ys I & II for the TurboDuo

Way back in 1987, a game called Ys I: Ancient Ys Vanished was released, and the game was successful enough to not only be ported over to several game systems (including an excellent Sega Master System version), but to also spawn a sequel one year later: Ys II: Ancient Ys Vanished – The Final Chapter. The TurboDuo game Ys Book I & II is a remake of these two games, with better graphics, animated cutscenes, better sound, and, of course, voice acting. Ultimately, the game was considered one of the best games of its genre, with contemporary game reviewers giving it perfect or near-perfect scores. This is another Turbo CD must-have!

 

Bonk 3 for the TurboDuo

Back in 1993, the TurboGrafx CD system was nearing the end of its product life, and one of the last games released in North America for NEC’s gaming system was Bonk 3: Bonk’s Big Adventure. The game was released in both SuperCD and HuCard format, and the game was identical on both, except the CD version had much better audio. Bonk 3 was much like the previous two games in the series, with the added element of being able to play cooperatively with another player – two Bonks for the price of one!

Gate of Thunder for the TurboDuo

 

In 1992, NEC was selling the TurboDuo system in North America, and to help show off just what it could do, Gate of Thunder was added as one of four games on a “pack-in” game CD.  This was a kind of shooter that gamers dreamed about, with incredible action, switchable and power-up weaponry, the ability to tackle enemies from both the front and the rear, interesting level design and compelling gameplay. If all TurboCD games were like this one, NEC would have won the Console Wars!

 

Lords of Thunder for TurboDuo

Billed as a sequel to the impressive shooter Gate of Thunder (albeit in a fantasy setting, not sci-fi), Lords of Thunderis a bold testament to the what a gifted programming team could do with the TurboGrafx CD technology.  Seven levels that you can select from at will (with one more final level available when you complete the others!), awesome power-ups, colorful and imaginative backgrounds and unique enemies…plus killer heavy metal guitar licks on the soundtrack all add up to making this an incredible game!

 

Might and Magic III for the TurboDuo

Once upon a time RPGs were designed so that the player could move throughout the game world at will, either following the overarching storyline or not, and generally staying off the linear express that modern RPGs have become. One such game wasMight & Magic III: Isle of Terra, which was ported to the TurboCD, losing none of its charms on the way. The game was extremely challenging, requiring time spent on outfitting your party, mapping corridors, tracking inventory, and overcoming obstacles, whether those obstacles were monster encounters or difficult riddles to solve, all of which put off the casual gamer. However, those with the gaming fortitude love of RPGs found Might & Magic III: Isle of Terra a game that they couldn’t say “NO” to.

Monster Lair Turbo CD

And neither should you!Some of the marketing decisions that NEC and TurboCD game developers made were considerably suspect. As an example, let me present the North American gameMonster Lair, which would have been much better known (and received) had they used its real name, Wonder Boy III. The Wonder Boy series had its own following, so what possessed NEC to drop the “Wonder Boy” part of the title is a mystery.  Regardless, this game is an excellent platformer, colorful, fast-paced, and imaginative. Another must-have for anyone’s TurboCD collection!

 

DragonSlayer for the TurboDuo

Falcom, the developers who designed the Ys series, returned to the TurboCD console to create another RPG that has made my Top Ten List: Dragonslayer: The Legend of Heroes. This is a good “pick-up” RPG, in that you can get into the game quickly, but it is also highly addictive – very much in the Final Fantasy realm of console gaming. The game plays quickly and smoothly, and has an interesting option of switching between PSG (Programmable Sound Generator) or CD music files, which can affect the game speed. The only complaint I might have with this game is the voice acting quality, but considering the general state of voice acting in games during the early 90s, it’s well within industry standards of the time!

 

Dungeon Explorer II for the TurboDuo

The first Dungeon Explorer game was an action-RPG hybrid HuCard, good enough to make the Top Ten TurboGrafx-16 HuCard Games list. Its sequel, Dungeon Explorer II, was even better, with all the gameplay of the original – a simplified combat and magic using system, outstanding inventory acquisition and deployment, as well as the ever-present theme of dungeon delving – but with the added benefit of CD quality sound.  This game was a showcase on how to use music to enhance the mood by altering to fit the location, sometimes airy and light, and sometimes dark and forbidding. The trouble with finding this game today is its rarity; the PAL version is readily available, but the NTSC version fetches hundred of dollars online.

Dracula X Rondo of Blood

 

I can hear the outcry from TurboDuo gamers: “You forgot the best game of all, Dracula X!”  Well, not really. Dracula X: Rondo of Blood was only an import in North America, and not readily available on the shelves of any retail store.  It is true that it was an amazing game – perhaps the best game of the entire TurboDuo lineup – but as an import, it’s disqualified from the list of best TurboCD games available in North America. Remember, at the time there wasn’t an eBay or Amazon (or even magisterrex.com) to turn to for your games; you either went to the video game store to buy what you wanted or you mailed away for them. My, how times have changed!

Ultimately, any of the games presented on this list are worth buying and playing, and each well-represents the long-past, but never-forgot, NEC TurboGrafx-16 CD video game system!

PC-Engine: Must have games

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

PC Engine

 

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

Gomola Speed:

Gomola_Speed

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

Splatterhouse:

Splatterhouse

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

R-Type:

R-Type

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

Gekisha Boy / Photo Boy:

Photo Boy

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

PC Genjin / PC Kid / Bonk’s Adventure:

Bonk’s Adventure

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

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

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

TaleSpin

Talespin-turbrografx-16-box

TaleSpin

Released by Radiance Software in 1991, TaleSpin follows the adventures of Captain Baloo and Kit Cloudkicker from the Disney animated series. In the game, you are after the lost treasure of Ionia, but an evil Witch Doctor called Watusi stands in your way.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQQ5Ci2ZdxQ[/youtube]

Diablo III Hardware Checklist

Diablo 3

A whole lot of you are gearing up for the release of Diablo 3 tomorrow so besides calling out sick, ditching your date and neglecting your hygiene you want to make sure you have all the necessary items to play, undisturbed in the best possible way. Here is a list of items you just might need or can use for your upcoming day of gaming.

The EON 11-S from Origin PC

Origin-EON-11-S

Let’s start with hardware, yes, obviously you need a gaming system to play D3 and if you have to be at work or at school why not take your gaming with you. The great thing about this laptop is it small, but powerful enough to run the game the way it’s meant to be played and you just might trick your boss or teacher into thinking you brought it in for other reasons. Check out our breakdown of the EON 11-S.

The Diablo III headset from SteelSeries

SteelSeries-Diablo-III-Headset

The last thing you want during your game time is distractions and outside noise. The Diablo III headset is ultra-comfortable and keeps external noises out so you can enjoy only the sounds of the game. With its retractable microphone, you can chat with people in game or using a voice program and not miss a beat. Finally, it just looks cool and its Diablo branded, who wouldn’t want this. Check out our review on the Diablo III headset.

The X-Rocker Pro-Series Game Chair

X-Rocker pro series Gamer Chair

One might think sitting on your ass all day is easy, but it isn’t. Especially for us 30+ gamers you want to make sure you can stay seated for long periods of time without hurting your back or your tailbone. Just like your grand-pappy, perhaps being able to rock back and forth will keep you from catching a clot as you lay the smack-down. Check out the stats on the chair here.

The 30 Widescreen monitor from NEC

PA301W-BK_NEC

Diablo III is like stepping into a movie and just like you want the best movie screen you will also want a top notch monitor for your gaming pleasure. The PA301W features a 2560×1600-resolution screen with a 1000:1 contrast ratio. The screen also features an ambient light sensor that automatically adjusts the display’s brightness based on lighting conditions lessoning eyestrain from prolonged use, which is perfect for the marathon gaming session you will be putting in. Check out the monitor specifications here.

Game On

Now you have the gear and you have a nice quiet place to game. You will want to keep the area cool and clear and have a big waste basket around for all the food wrappers and if possible some recycling because it’s just a good thing to do. Set your phone to vibrate, your instant message status to, “Leave me alone noobs I’m pwning Diablo 3” and leave reality behind. Just don’t end up on the news because you neglected your kid or your house burned down with you in it.

Devil’s Crush

Devil’s Crush (a.k.a. Devil Crash) (1990)

By: NAXAT Soft Genre: Pinball Players: 1-2 (alternate) Difficulty: Medium-Hard
Featured Version: NEC PC Engine / TurboGrafx-16 First Day Score: 18,756,300
Also Available For: MegaDrive / Genesis
Download For: Wii Virtual Console

Devils Crush - Gameplay Screenshot

If you cast your mind back to the first time you noticed pinball videogames, there’s a good chance you’d think of this game. Digital Illusions had some success in the early 90’s with the reaslitic but playable Pinball Dreams and Pinball Fantasies, and sure, Alien Crush was popular, but it was this sequel, which arrived approximately two years later, which really got the genre noticed among the console gaming fraternity. Brought to us by Naxat again, the basic premise is obviously very similar to before. Instead of the evil aliens from the first game, however, this game is based, perhaps somewhat controversially, on the occult! The main table, for there is only one again, is three screens high this time, medieval themed, and is crawling with hordes of satanic demons, dragons, and monsters beyond description!
Devils Crush - Gameplay Screenshot
As before, each section of the main table has its own flippers and is home to its own features. The bottom section, for example, is home to a large skull (who mocks you by laughing every time you lose a ball!), a fire-breathing dragon, a tower, which gives you a blocker if you get the ball through its gate, and several other features. The middle section is dominated by a woman’s face, which the ball can enter for bonus points, and it also gradually mutates into a dragon every time the ball enters a pocket! The top section features a rotating pentagram with eight sorcerers standing around it, and looming over them is the Dragon’s Gate (a large skeletal demon thingy). All sections of the table are also populated by various bugs, soldiers, and scary creatures who wander around helping your score multiplier increase as you destroy them with the ball.

Devils Crush - Gameplay Screenshot

Devil’s Crush, like its prequel, again features bonus tables too – six this time – and the main table is festooned with pockets through which you can enter them (when the pocket is open). On each of the bonus tables, the object is to take out the evil creatures that dwell within. These range from large dragons, skeletal heads, undead knights, and all manner of smaller, but equally malevolent foes. The only way to end this game it to max out the score counter, which, if you can manage it, would be 999,999,990! It’s not as impossible to achieve as you might initially think though, for if you thought there was a lot to do in Alien Crush, then you’ve not seen anything yet! There are even more ways to increase your score here, including various tricks, secrets, and all sorts of ways of increasing your multiplier. Not only that, but there’s now a password option to resume play later too, so I think it’s safe to say there’s plenty to keep you occupied!

Devils Crush - Gameplay Screenshot
Graphically, the game is even more impressive than its predecessor. The dark, gothic, demonic theme is superbly presented here, with excellent definition of the sprites and backgrounds and great use of colours, which are nicely contrasted. The table and monsters are mostly dull greys and browns compared with bright reds and greens for the explosions and various flashing lights. There’s far more happening at once than there was in Alien Crush, too. There’s a near-constant stream of evil beasts of some sort wandering around and they look suitably demonic, though their animation still isn’t particularly impressive. The table itself appears to be based around an ancient castle of some sort, compared to the sci-fi inspired, organic appearance of Alien Crush’s, and looks very much like the kind of place evil is likely to dwell. All this is supplemented by a fantastic soundtrack featuring a mixture of fast, rock tracks and moody, mysterious sounding tunes. Add to this the great, loud, arcadey sound effects, and your ears will thank you for playing this!

Devils Crush - Gameplay Screenshot

Gameplay-wise, like Alien Crush, not everyone will enjoy playing this, simply because it’s pinball, but those who do play it will discover one of the most immediately entertaining games ever! This is without doubt the best pinball game I’ve ever played on a console or computer and even puts many actual pintables to shame, too! There is again an option to choose between fast and slow ball speeds and on fast, which should be everyone’s choice really, the ball can sometimes rocket around the table at awesome speeds – reactions are everything here. The ‘tilt’ option is also present once more, and ball physics and play mechanics are flawless too – this is a game that takes genuine skill and lots of practise to be proficient at. There’s a hell of lot of demons to keep you occupied (a near infinite number, in fact) and a great many targets to hit and objectives to meet, and the length of time you play for is more or less entirely dependent on your competence rather than your luck.

Devils Crush - Gameplay Screenshot Most pinball videogames have tried to be authentic pintables rather than taking advantage of the limitless creative potential that computers and consoles offer. Alien Crush was the first to try something different, and Devil’s Crush upped the ante ten-fold! Naxat have produced a frankly remarkable game here, and one that remains the definitive example of its genre, as well as one of RKS’s all-time favourite games. It’s as simple as pinball should be, but at the same time has so much more to it. This game should, theoretically, last you forever.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Axe0DKqdtZc[/youtube]

Top Ten: TurboGrafx-16 HuCard Games

TurboGrafx-16

When gamers look back at the heyday of the Genesis/NES wars, NEC’s TurboGrafx-16 is often overlooked.  That’s a darn shame – as big a shame today as it was back in the 1990s, as the TurboGrafx video game system had some quality games that are still fun to play today.  Just for kicks and giggles, here are what I consider the Top 10 huCard (in no particular order) games for this forgotten system.  One more caveat: the CD games aren’t on this list – they’re for another day!

Bonk’s Adventure / Bonk’s Revenge / Bonk 3

bonks adventure
What can you say about this classic game of caveman versus his world.  How can you not like a character that gains enormous health and power from eating giant, meaty bones or who dispatches his enemies by smacking them with his granite-like head?  I’ll always like the first game the best simply due to its original charm, but the others in the series were gold, too, so they’ve been bunched together as some of the best games ever for the T-16 system!

 

Blazing Lazers

blazing lazers
How about a game that filled the screen with non-stop arcade action – alien ships coming in wave after wave of attack runs, but dropping just the right kind of power-ups to keep your thumbs mashing the pad until defeating each level boss and getting a breather?  Yeah, that’s what I thought, too.  Blazing Lazers was AWESOME.

 

Neutopia / Neutopia II

neutopia
Wait a minute – is this game a Zelda game or not?  Well, it sure played like Zelda, even if it just “borrowed” elements of the classic NES series.  Jazeta strapped on his sword and shield and searched for the eight Medallions that would spell defeat for Dirth, the wizard with a bad attitude.  Charge up the Fire Wand and help Link Jazeta burn his way to success!

 

Military Madness

military madness
Tell me again why we’re fighting the Axis-Xenon scum for the right to control the Moon?  Who cares – this was a turn-based strategy wargame for a console system…and it didn’t suck!  The game’s victory music still pops unbidden into my thoughts (atmostly appropriate times).

 

Alien Crush / Devil’s Crush

alien crush
I never thought I’d sit in front of my television and play a pinball game for hours, but that was before Alien Crush showed me what a good pinball game looked like.  And Devil’s Crush upped the ante even more.  Great graphics, speed, table feel…these were some great pinball games.

 

Bomberman

bomberman
Who wants to play a five-player TurboGrafx-16 game and blow up all your friends?  If you had a TurboTap and enough TurboPads, this game was the ultimate multi-player game for the T-16 system.  Of course, if you had NO friends, the game had a decent single-player mode, too, which, considering many gamers in the 90s didn’t see the sun until the Millennium Bug scared them into going outside to forage for supplies, was a good thing.  By the way, if you had two TurboExpress handheld systems you could link them and play head-to-head.

 

Splatterhouse

splatterhouse
Did you ever want to put on a hockey mask, pick up a weapon, and lay a beating down on the hapless evil denizens of a haunted house?  Don’t worry about your psyche, so did everyone else.  Lots of gore (not as much as the Japanese version, though) made this a controversial game and gave it a cult following even before its release.

 

Cadash

cadash
Another super RPG for the TurboGrafx-16, Cadash gave the player the opportunity to play a fighter (heavily armoured and packing a mean damage rating), a mage (with magical firepower), a priestess (a decent fighter who can heal herself), or a ninja (a FAST little guy with the ability to reign death by shuriken from afar or use a spread fire ability to burn enemies to ash).  The game had plenty of Zelda II elements (shades of Neutopia!), and remains a T16 collector favorite to this day.

 

Dungeon Explorer

dungeon explorer
Long before there were MORPGs letting gamers explore virtual fantasy worlds together, your choices for multiplayer RPG action were slim. Until Dungeon Explorer arrived, that is, with the ability to play with up to four more of your friends (using the TurboTap).  You could even save your progress with a password save game feature!

 

The Legendary Axe

legendary axe
This game was hard.  And I know I wasn’t alone in thinking this when it came out.  It was also a visual/audio masterpiece that garnered a Video Game of the Year honor from VideoGames & Computer Entertainment.  A game that redefines an entire genre (the platform sidescroller) deserves to be on any TurboGrafx-16 Top Ten list!

 

Honorable mentionJ.J. & Jeff

jj-jeff
OK, I played Leisure Suit Larry when it came out, and loved the infantile humor, but up to J.J. & Jeff, I never saw a steaming pile of defecation in a video game before.  Although the North American version of this game was much tamer than the Japanese version (no public urination, for example), it still had some punch to shock and titillate the North American puritan audience.

 

Have a different Top Ten TurboGrafx-16 list?  Leave a comment with your favorites – and don’t forget to say why!

Blazing Lazers

Gunhed - Blazing Lazers - Title Screen

Gunhed a.k.a. Blazing Lazers (1989)
By: Hudson Soft / Compile Genre: Shooting Players: 1 Difficulty: Medium
Featured Version: NEC PC Engine / TurboGrafx-16 First Day Score: 1,699,100
Also Available For: Nothing
Download For: Wii Virtual Console

The late 80’s was an exciting time to be a gamer. When the PC Engine was released, the early titles for it were like Holy Grails to most Westerners. Games that we could only gaze at longingly in C&VG and the like. One of the most tantalizing of these was Gunhed. Month after month we would read Julian Rignall and chums rave reviews and general hysterics regarding the new power-house console and for many it was torture. This was the time gamers realised that Japan was now getting the a lot of the best stuff first. For those gamers who couldn’t afford to pick up one of the imported consoles and games that some companies were now offering (at inflated prices, of course), it would be a long time before any of these new games could be enjoyed. I finally got my PC Engine in the mid-90’s and Gunhed was one of the first games I sought out for it. I’d waited a long time to sample the amazing game I’d been reading about. Was it worth the wait?

Gunhed - Blazing Lazers - Gameplay Screenshot 1

Before being a frenetic PC Engine shmup, Gunhed was also apparently a movie. Set in the year 2038 in and around some sort of post-war ruins where a renegade computer system, Kyron-5, is causing havoc. Luckily, one lone hero discovers a GUNHED (Gun UNit Heavy Elimination Device), a large ‘mech’ type device (of the sort our Japanese friends seem so keen on), which he restores to working order and must then pilot against the defences of the computer complex. On the surface at least, this takes the form of a fairly standard vertical-scrolling shmup. It’s set over 9 stages or ‘areas’, some of which are set in space, others over planets (which must make the Kyron-5 ‘complex’ as big as a solar systems!), and all are crawling with countless, highly varied enemies. Some of these are ground-based or scenery-mounted gun emplacements and the like but most are aircrafts or ships, and they range from small and fast to large and lumbering, but all are more than capable of taking you out!

Gunhed - Blazing Lazers - Gameplay Screenshot 2

To combat this onslaught of evil you must use your ‘Gunhed Star Fighter’. Luckily it can be powered-up as the near pea-shooter-level cannon it’s initially equipped with is of little use. Even more luckily, the stages in Gunhed are awash with maybe the most frequent power-ups I’ve ever known in a shooter! Some enemy ships drop a numbered capsule which replaces your main weapon. Among them are huge, screen-covering lasers, homing lasers, multi-directional shots, and wave shots. There are also lettered capsules which grant your ship with a secondary power-up, These include shields, homing missiles, a drone type device called a ‘Multibody’, and ‘Full Fire’ – enhanced fire for your main weapon. Lastly and even more common are small, purple ‘gel capsules’ which increase the power level of any given weapon.

Gunhed - Blazing Lazers - Gameplay Screenshot 3

One of the reasons this game was so revered upon its release is down to its technical prowess. The fact it was co-developed by the designers of the PC Engine itself, Hudson Soft, goes some way to explaining this but it doesn’t detract from the ‘wow’ factor this game exudes, particularly when you consider it was one of the earliest games for the system. The graphics are outstanding throughout with a large variety of sprites, both in size as well as design. They don’t really have a lot of animation but there is often so many of them on the screen and the screen often scrolls so fast, it really is amazing that there’s no slowdown or glitches of any kind. The sound is also of a high standard with some fantastic, memorable music, and some nice (if quiet) speech.

Gunhed - Blazing Lazers - Gameplay Screenshot 4

As any shmup fans knows, however, all the window dressing in the world doesn’t necessarily make a game great, and excitement over being shown what a flashy new system is capable of can often conceal a game’s design flaws. The fact that Gunhed is such a fantastic game, therefore, is testament further still to its greatness. Unlike a lot of shmups, however, especially the arcade ones which Gunhed mimics so well, this game eases you in slowly and the increase in difficulty is very gradual the further you get. As you might expect, things do get really tough towards the end of the game though, with all manner of aliens, guns, and lord knows what else, out to get you, but the sheer frequency of power-ups means this isn’t one of those ‘one-life’ games where it’s impossible to continue when you lose your power-ups. Just look at the screenshots here – every one except the first has at least one power-up capsule floating about!

Gunhed - Blazing Lazers - Gameplay Screenshot 5

As mentioned, I was late to the party as far as this game is concerned, and yet not only did its visuals and music still impress when I finally played it, but even more apparent was how polished and arcade-like it was. The PC Engine was most famous for the quality of its arcade and arcade-style games, and it was titles like this that cemented that reputation. Admittedly I haven’t played them all (yet) but Gunhed must surely rank as one of the best shmups on this system, possibly any system.

RKS Score: 9/10

Alien Crush

[youtube id=”VpuO_XKRMd0″ width=”633″ height=”356″]

I think it’s safe to say that the Alien movies were something of an inspiration for the visuals this game, though! Still, if you’re going to be influenced by things, it might as well be the best things, right? ~Simon Lethbridge

Alien Crush

Pinball has diminished in popularity a great deal since the advent of videogames, and pintables are now rarely seen anywhere but decent sized arcades and specialist retro establishments, but thanks to the entertainment medium that saw their demise, they can continue to live on! Which brings me, in a typically long-winded RKS stylee, to Alien Crush. I’m a bit of a pinball fan and I frequently venture into my local pizza restaurant, which is the only place for miles that still has any pintables, but pinball videogames, in my view, too often tried to accurately emulate proper pintables rather than taking advantage of the fact that they are no longer governed by the sometimes-restrictive rules of pintables. That is until Alien Crush came along.

Alien Crush - Gameplay Screenshot 1

Released by Naxat Soft exclusively on the PC Engine, Alien Crush is an original, not to mention supremely playable pinball game that would be completely impossible for an actual pintable to replicate. Its table, you see, is viewed from an overhead perspective, is two screens tall, and is awash with many scary alien creatures and devices! The bottom section of the table is dominated by a large alien creature with many eyes (which looks like the queen from the awesome ‘Aliens’ movie). All around it are various smaller aliens poking their heads out and insect-like creatures scurrying across the table occasionally, tempting you to destroy them before they scamper away, and further down the table on either side of the flippers are two cocoon things that act like bumpers, but if you hit them enough times they will open setting loose the evil monsters within!
Alien Crush - Gameplay Screenshot 2
The top section of the table has two main features. In the top-left is a brain, which doesn’t really do much besides flash every time the ball hits it, but if you can get the ball right around the side and top of it, a blocker will appear between the flippers. The brain also opens up occasionally to unleash some horrific alien beasts. On the right of the screen is what appears to be a large mollusc or squid-type alien, into which you can also shoot the ball for points. Between these two objects at the top of the screen are three vertical dividers. Passing the ball through them turns lights on and off, and below them are three bumpers whose positions are determined by a mystical eye at the side of the screen. There are of course further aliens abound here too, to further complicate matters!
Alien Crush - Gameplay Screenshot 3
The last feature of note in Alien Crush is the existence of several bonus tables. These can be reached by shooting the ball into one of the pockets situated around the table, which are usually aliens mouths or something, when the arrow pointing at them is lit. The bonus tables are all one screen in size and the object of them is generally to destroy all the aliens that reside on them. There is one that’s devoid of aliens, however, and they are replaced by lots of bumpers arranged in various positions. It is of course possible to amass considerable points on these tables, but, as every pinball connoisseur should know, everything on a pintable does something, and there are countless ways to amass huge scores on the main table too.
Alien Crush - Gameplay Screenshot 4

Graphically, the game is a real treat, especially considering this was an early Engine game. I think it’s safe to say that the Alien movies were something of an inspiration for the visuals this game, though! Still, if you’re going to be influenced by things, it might as well be the best things, right? The sound, too, is decent enough. There’s the choice of two tunes before playing – Lunar Eclipse and the splendidly-named Demons Undulate, and the sound effects are suitably befitting of the game’s style. Gameplay-wise, there’s not really much more you could ask for. As with any pinball game, the most important thing is the ball physics, and happily that’s top-notch here. Movement around the table is reliable and impact with enemy sprites is rarely too unforgiving. There’s even a ’tilt’ option for added realism! As you might expect, this is an awesome game for ‘score attacks’ too. New ways of achieving bonus points are seemingly discovered every game – I’m still finding new tricks and devising new techniques all the time! Overall, yes, some could argue that Alien Crush has been superceded now (by its own sequel, for one!) but it still plays a pretty mean game of pinball and is well worth a bash.

RKS Score: 7/10

Dragon Egg

DRAGON EGG - Title ScreenDragon Egg! (1991)

By: NCS Genre: Platform Players: 1 Difficulty: Easy-Medium
Featured Version: NEC PC Engine / TurboGrafx-16
Also Available For: Nothing

One thing I love about delving into the mysterious realms of Japanese gaming is discovering another of the many hidden gems that were, for some bizarre reason, never released outside of their native territory. It’s not without its frustrations either, though. This is mainly down to problems presented by the language barrier. Some games, RPG’s for example, are pretty much rendered totally unplayable as you might imagine, but sometimes even relatively simple platform games like Dragon Egg can’t be fully understood either. The game is perfectly playable and features little text beyond the intro sequence, and yet the premise behind the game remains a mystery. It seems some terrible creatures were summoned by a dark power and let loose upon a peaceful land but I couldn’t be certain. All I can tell you for sure is, there’s a little girl and she has a backpack, and nestling atop this backpack is an egg.

DRAGON EGG - Gameplay Screenshot 1

Standing between her and the presumed banishment of evil and the restoration of peace to the land are six side-viewed stages, each comprising of severalsections. These stages are set in a variety of locations including a forest, a castle, a desert, and even a space station of some sort (complete with teleporters of course), and they are all filled with evil monsters such as skeletons, ogres, pigs, blobs, and flying trolls and insects, as well as lots of traps and obstacles such as moving/collapsing platforms, fire, and force-fields. All of these enemies and some of the traps deplete our young heroine’s life meter (represented by hearts) but fortunately she is fairly agile and can jump around the multi-tiered stages quickly to avoid many of them, and to retrace her steps if she falls down from a high section, for example. She has a more interesting way of dealing with the many monsters though.

DRAGON EGG - Gameplay Screenshot 2It is here that we return to that egg nestled in her backpack, and indeed the egg of the title. To begin with she, perhaps rather unwisely, uses the egg itself as a weapon, bashing the enemies with it until they die, leaving behind a coin. Some random enemies, however, will leave behind a power-up instead. Once you’ve collected two of them, the egg will hatch into a baby dragon. Now when she thrusts him towards the enemies he scorches them with his fiery breath! Collect two more power-ups and he leaves her backpack altogether and becomes big enough for her to ride on his back. At this stage he can spit small fireballs which are enough to deal with most enemies but he can be powered-up even more to fire bigger, more powerful fireballs and even offers improved jumping abilities. Other power-ups can occasionally be found laying around here and there but can more reliably be purchased in mid-level shops with the coins gathered from defeated enemies. These include a ‘cure’, which replenishes her health, another heart to extend her health capacity, a shield, and several others.

DRAGON EGG - Gameplay Screenshot 3

So, I’ve no idea who this little girl is or why she’s carrying a dragon egg around, but luckily it doesn’t detract from the enjoyment of the game, and enjoyable itis too. The stages are nicely designed and fairly varied in their appearance and everything is fairly cutesy as you probably guessed. The music and sound effects are nice and the sprites and backgrounds are nicely drawn too – there’s even a wibbly graphics effect like a water version of Thunder Force 3’s fire stage! It’s great fun jumping around the stages and spitting fireballs at all and sundry too, the controls are tight and responsive and there’s seldom an unfair death. In fact, that’s probably the games’s biggest problem. Not that it’s fair I don’t mean, unfair games are annoying as hell, just that it’s a touch on the easy side. Neither is it a particularly big game and could be comfortably finished inside 30 minutes. It’s a lovely little adventure while it lasts though. It looks and sounds nice, and is very enjoyable to play though, but just make sure you set it on ‘hard’!

RKS Score: 7/10

Turbo-Grafx 16

TurboGrafx 16
TurboGrafx 16

Turbo-Grafx 16

If you owned a Turbo0Grafx 16 you were either loved because you had one or hated because you had one. During the early console wars of the late 80’s the TG16 came on the scene. Released in 1989 by NEC the Turbo-Grafx 16 featured an 8-bit CPU and a dual 16-bit CPU. What this mean was it could display more colors than the NES however, the TG16 definitely had its problems.

First off was the cost, at a whopping $399 (CD version) the price was out of the range of those looking for a console system. In addition the TG16 launched with limited titles and only offered one controller. (You had to pay for a Turbo Tap to add more controllers) In Japan sales went well, but in the U.S. and Europe the TG 16 lagged greatly behind the NES and Sega Genesis.

To be fair one of the reasons there were a lack of third party software releases for the Turbo-Grafx 16 was due to Nintendo anti-competitive practices which pulled tricks like requiring exclusive contracts and other tactics making it hard for third party software developers to release titles for both or all three systems.

With that said if you asked anyone who owned a TG16 what they thought of it they would tell you it was the best system out there. With games such as Bonks Adventure, Chase H.Q., R-Type and my personal favorite, Ninja Spirit those willing to spend the cash did have some pretty awesome titles to show off.