Joe & Mac

Joe & Mac - Super Nintendo - Gameplay Screenshot

This time around Joe & Mac came to my mind especially after I finally found a copy of it for a decent price, in fact I found two copies of the game but only picked one up in my last trip to the flea market. Isn’t that pure kewlness? anyways, if you have played or haven’t played this game, you can have mixed feelings on this one. Lets start with the good stuff, the music is amazing and the animation is great, this game came out during the cavemen fever where there were a lot of cavemen like games hmmm Chuck Rock and Prehistorik Man to name a few. They were fun and all you know but very similar in the end. Joe & Mac has a very interesting history with the later games as well, which I will mention very briefly. The game itself starts off great and very simple but gets a little complicated but not so complicated that it becomes unplayable. The best way to enjoy this game though, it’s with a friend. The co-op is pure win as long as your friend doesn’t suck in the game, and if he/she does well you can have a good laugh after tossing the controller at them.

Joe & Mac - Super Nintendo - Gameplay Screenshot

 

The game feels incomplete at some points especially in the later levels where all you have to go is up a hill and the boss is there…..what great level design….that was sarcasm.. The bosses are also very predictable after a couple of tries at them so don’t hesitate to just stare at them and see where their attacks go. You also have three weapons to help you out which come in handy at boss fights depending of course which boss you are going up against.

Joe & Mac - Super Nintendo - Gameplay Screenshot

 

The game also has some secret places you can go into like save spots or secret levels but you will need to find a key and most of the time you will only find one key which will lead you to pick which door you want to unlock in the map, you can either pick a save spot or a secret level which probably has extra lives or food in it. It’s all up to you! In the end, I recommend this game for everyone who has a friend and wants to play a decent cavemen game. You can finish this game within the hour so don’t get your hopes up for a long game.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7YCdnm1vPN4[/youtube]

Did you know? Congo’s Caper is most notably known as the sequel to Joe & Mac so that means Joe & Mac 2 is actually Joe & Mac 3? Hmmm interesting. I am going to track Congo’s Caper myself which I did played back in the day. I must find more info of this! Until next time!

GAMES TO BUY: CONSOLE EDITION: NOV 30 2010

video Game Store Japan
video Game Store Japan

My theory as to the reason for the lack of good games for the week after Thanksgiving is that companies feel people will be tired of buying after Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Seriously not to dump on anyone’s game but this week the pickings are a slim as leftovers at my house. Anyway I will try my best to bring you something but don’t expect any high scores or anything.

Golden Sun: Dark Dawn

It’s been a long time for fans of the Golden Sun series but finally the follow up is here and Camelot has delivered a good RPG game for your Nintendo DS. Dark Dawn is thirty years into the future and deals with the effects from releasing the golden sun onto the world. You play as the son of the hero from the previous game against a new villain Blados.

The good thing about Dark Dawn is they kept the gameplay of the first and just updated the look to work with the additional features of the DS. You still have the turn based random combat encounters and you can still interact with the environment. There are tons of magic spells to use and over 70 Djinn which are magical creatures based on the four elements that are spread across the world. When you find these Djinn you can add them to any of your characters to add or increase their magic ability.

For those of you that haven’t played Golden Sun or don’t remember the story well there are hyperlinks within the game that reference you to the in-game encyclopedia which will give you information on the backstory. In addition there are hints and hidden messages scrolled on the walls throughout the world to help you keep on task.

All in all if you have a DS and are a Golden Sun fan, a RPG fan or both then this title is worth a pickup.

Buy Worthiness: $$$

Epic Mickey

Even if you aren’t a fan of Disney you have to admit many of their games are beautifully done and fun to play and from the looks of it Epic Mickey continues that trend. The game was created by Warren Spector who you might remember from Deus Ex and System Shock. The game itself is based on various projects, scripts, character and ideas that never quite made it past the creative offices. What this means is that while there will be a lot of familiar Disney sights and characters in Epic Mickey there are also twists and differences alone with new characters and places within the game.

In a nutshell Mickey is kidnapped and brought to a world that has various reimaging of characters. There are a ton of bad guys including a character called Oswald the Lucky Rabbit who is jealous of Mickey’s success. Mickey interacts with the world primarily by using paint and thinner to create, fill in or erase parts of the world. You can also use the paint and thinner to attack enemies, but it is not always effective.

What’s cool is how you use the paint and thinner effects everything from the quests and items you get to even how Mickey looks and acts. If you use a lot of paint it is considered good and your appearance matches that. If you use a lot of thinner it is considers bad in a sense because you are destroying things and thus you change over time to Scrappy Mickey, while not necessarily evil this is considered the lesser choice.

Overall, this games plays like a platforms mixed in with an RPG and the paint and thinner aspect not only is cool but works well with the Wii. This one looks like a winner and is worth a look.

Buy Worthiness: $$$$

Broke Friday

Nintendo wins this week which isn’t saying much considering. I know most of you will be broke after Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but these two games are still worth a shot if you have the cash. Next up is the countdown to Christmas so stay tuned for more Games to Buy.

Superfrog review

superfrog

Every 16-bit platform of yesteryear had their own unique best selling point. Quite often being a platformer game for that matter. Two main ones – SNES and Genesis had Mario and Sonic games respectively. Both very different to each other yet both awesome in their own ways. So, when others back in the early 90’s had tons of fun breaking their pads playing those, don’t think that I didn’t… Actually I didn’t as I had an Amiga 500 and neither SNES nor Genesis back then. That said I was not a sad bastard looking enviously at other people’s machines hoping to be invited for a game or two. Hell, no! I had my own ace down my own sleeve and it was no worst to the earlier two… In fact in some ways it could be considered a superior game!

In the heavenly year of our Lord, 1993, on Amiga and a mere year later on PC, widely known back then Developer forward slash Publisher – Team17 – of (currently Worms titles but then…) Project-X, Apidya I & II, Alien Breed I & II, Body Blows & Body Blows Galactic fame, amongst other great games, released a true gem – an answer to Sonic & Mario that Amiga owners needed and thrived for (and PC owners did not give a damn about as they had Wolfenstein 3D). That year a legend was born…

Project F? Nah…

Superfrog - a frog that every toads wants to be and also coincidentally an Amiga title screen...

The game leaves you in charge of – surprise, surprise – Superfrog – a once prince turned into a green hero on a mission to save his loved princess from alzheimer & dementia driven hands of each superhero’s of the era arch villain – the Mad Witch. Well, can’t tell you what was her exact name but she was a witch and was bad judging from an awesome intro that the Amiga version greets the player with.

Well, putting the story aside as it’s obvious it was not the story that gave Sonic & Mario their deserved fame – Sperfrog could be considered to be quite generic example of the platformer. Could be, but it wasn’t… Both PC and Amiga versions look and play virtually the same with an earlier mentioned difference of Amiga outing having an incredible cartoon-style intro drawn by once famous Eric Shwartz.

Is it a bird!? Is it a plane!? Nah… It ain’t!

And this is were the fun's at... Well, this and some more...

The main game is divided between five levelsForest, Castle, Circus, Pyramids & Ice – each built out of four stages and then there’s also a secret Space stage and a Moon level. I’ve mentioned Mario & Sonic games before as I’d like to use them as examples or even standards here, that I would then compare Superfrog to. It’s not going to be an easy task and I would not wanted this piece of writing to end up as a review of those two games, so I will mix and match some colorful screenshots here so it appears as if I’m still reviewing widely unknown Superfrog… Nah! I’m just fu… I mean playing with you all, it’s still gonna be a Superfrog review…

Because what made Mario & Sonic great is what makes Superfrog an underrated contender that should’ve been a champion amongst all three. Both console titles had beautiful graphics, excellent and well thought through level design, loads of collectibles and tons of fun to add to it all. How does our toad-face friend stack against them? I’d say he’s got some serious ground to defend and I don’t see him losing to any of the games in any of the fields mentioned…

You gotta face the facts! The game is AWESOME-tastic(tm)!

There are only three Rules of Survival(tm) in Superfrog... Or one three-pieced rule... If it moves or is sharp or you have no clue what it is - it will most likely kill you!

Superfrog’s graphics literally squeeze out everything that’s possible out of vanilla Amiga computers whilst keeping a solid framerate of 50 screens per second in a resolution of 320×256 on Amiga and 320×240 pixels on PC. Genesis by standard displays its games at 320×224 and SNES does at 256×224 pixels resolution. So, Amiga and PC do offer slightly higher resolution than Genesis and noticeably higher than SNES. But wait! That’s not all…

Arguably SNES displayed the most – 256 colors on the screen at once in its games and Genesis64, whilst Amiga in most cases only 32. Superfrog and mastermind geniuses of evil – Team17 – behind it however, managed to pull as much as they could out of hardware and the game runs at 64 colors, as well as Genesis titles do. Those colors are so smartly picked, mixed and rotated though that it looks as if there were many more… So, in theory whilst being similar to Genesis it does look bit less colorful than some of SNES games do. But I shouldn’t judge the book by it’s cover… And I shall not judge the games purely by their visuals either! …Today.

Amiga offered the highest resolution out of all platforms… Well, so what!? It still lost in the long run…

It's so cold that I froze my frog off... WOW! That comment is just SO lame...

Both console classics are well known for their ingenious level designs… Mario’s are smartly laid out and often require skills of the Dark Side’s degree and loads of patience and repetition to complete. And Sonic’s are built with speed of gameplay in mind. Superfrog is more on the earlier one’s side. The stages are vast and filled with many monsters (well, I wouldn’t wanna call those cute creatures monsters but they kill you, so I can’t settle just for cute either), traps, collectibles and switches and also often require for a player to reach within the earlier mentioned Dark Side of the Force to stand a chance at beating each of the latter levels… You will find plenty of hidden areas as well, especially in Castle and Pyramid levels and discovering all will not be an easy task at all – so Superfrog holds a lot of re-playability to it.

In gameplay area Superfrog does not lack either – there’s something new introduced with each stage so it continues being involving and whilst it’s easy to pick up and play it’s hard to master and VERY hard to beat! So, finding all of the secret areas and collecting all the treasures (gold, crowns, coins, fruit, etc. and my most favourite drinks of all time – Lucozade Orange – Hell yeah!) will surely take a lot of both – time & effort. There are no warps to latter levels as in Mario games, so you have to complete the game stage after stage but there is a password system and those can be won using collected coins in an arcade like mini games between levels… There’s also power ups that offer unique abilities to our hero – like flying or throwing green goo-ish looking creatures of a yo-yo-like characteristic at the enemies… Sounds odd? Well, play the damn game! You’ll love it anyway and also you’ll know what I’m talking about here!

The technique is to jump over the sharp bit… Or kneel down below it. Or Die. It’s really a game of choice!

It's not gambling if you KNOW that you ain't gonna win!

It’s real hard to summarize it all (and more that I did not mention not to spoil the game), to depict Superfrog as being a truly AWESOME game. I’m afraid that you’re just gonna have to take my word for it. And judging just by it, screenshots and maybe a feel for adventure you will give Superfrog a try… Because when you do, you won’t regret it! It’s a unique and challenging game (with one of the first ad-in-game placements – Lucozade Orange yo!) that could’ve been Amiga’s answer to Mario and Sonic if only the platform and game were half as popular as the two main 16bit consoles were… Sadly Superfrog whilst being moderately successful never reached the attention it deserved and was a hugely underrated production. If things were different I may have been writing here about Superfrog III – Revenge of the Toad or Superfrog VII – Frogs in Space but we won’t know that as the game never really got a chance to stretch its wings…

Sonic-speed transport system as presented by ACME. Sounds

This is the end... My froggy-friend, the end... The screenshot does not show the end though but to know it you would have to play it, you know...

Rick Dangerous & Rick Dangerous 2

Rickdangerousbox

No time for love, Dr. Jones…” Well, in here there’s always plenty time for passionate and long lasting love, classic video game love that is!

Rick Dangerous – Amiga title screen Rick Dangerous II – Amiga title screen

Anyway, when there’s no Dr. Jones somebody has to step in and take his place and be that smart heroic persona that saves the day, in style. This is exactly where Dr. Dangerous comes in… Well, I’m not sure he’s a doctor but with that kind of surname he bloody sure should be!

Rick Dangerous – Level 1 – Amstrad CPC – Running away from a falling boulder, Indy style…

I realized I cannot review Rick Dangerous without taking a look at Rick Dangerous II – as these games are like Star Wars – sure, you can watch one and have fun but until you’ve seen them all you know nothing of the dark side… Or until you’ll push some LSD with magic mushrooms and few nicely rolled fat spliffs, but that’s just sliding a bit to much of topic here… ^__^

Rick Dangerous – Level 3 – C64

Games of the dark side (I should trade mark that statement!) that Rick Dangerous 1 & 2 surely are, were developed by Core Design and Published by Microplay in 1989 & 1990 respectively, on most major systems of the time – Amiga, PC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum & Amstrad CPC. And even though these computers all had different capabilities and limitations the game plays equally awesome on all of them and only benefits from slightly higher resolution and bigger sprites in better colors on more advanced ones.

Rick Dangerous II – Level 3 – Atari ST

The adventures take place in undisclosed early years of the 20th Century where you’re in control of British chap going by the name of Bond, James Bond. I’m sorry, I must have been stuck on the game’s similarities to a certain movie series – of course you play as somebody else… Jones, Indiana Jones. Ehm… I mean… Dangerous, Rick Dangerous! That’s more like it! Anyway, the similarities of Rick and Indy are many and they’re more than obvious – both Rick & Indy are adventurers seeking forgotten treasures and fighting bad guys for a living, and also they both sport hats & brown leather jackets, so popular in the early 1900’s. Now, that’s enough to become an heroic icon in my books!

Rick Dangerous – Level 2 – ZX Spectrum

As Rick, in both games, you’re bound to go through hundreds of screens – most of time each being a separate part of a bigger level – of blood, sweat and tons of swearing. Rick Dangerous with its hellish unforgiving laugh-in-a-player’s-face difficulty makes other tough games look like a kindergarten toys. In fact there were times when I thought that the game was punishing me just for playing it! Not many games have that kind of, ehm… …incentive to them, but that said it actually works quite well as inspite of being hard as my auntie’s cookies are – Rick holds tons of “just one more screen and I’ll go to bed” gameplay to it.

Rick Dangerous II – Level 2 – PC DOS – PC outing of RDII could work in two different graphic modes – CGA and VGA, with pallettes of 16 and 256 colors respectively, even though the game never really used all 256 colors.

Each level consists of numerous places and ways that your character can part with his life, and for that matter – he will! Constantly, time after time, playthrough after playthrough! Rick Dangerous is one of those games that back in the days of its release caused joystick manufacturers to see huge increase in profits. Not that there were so many users playing it and wearing controllers out but if others reacted to the game similar to how I did – their joysticks also ended up in pieces thrown at the wall. All of them, one after another, in one sitting… Yeah, I know, that was pretty stupid & lame… But so was I.

Rick Dangerous – Level 4 – PC DOS – CGA mode…

You are not helpless however – you have your wits, charm, adventurers 6th sense and also if the earlier ones are not enough – a gun & some explosives to help you go through each area. Both, bullets and explosives are limited though, so you’ll find yourself often stuck between an easy way to complete a difficult task or an unknown that may end up fatal because of you not having any means of defense. The sooner you’ll learn how to properly utilise and save these tools of the adventurers trade the sooner the game will grow on you as you’ll be able to complete a stage without dying in same spot more times than you have fingers… And toes… Put together.

Rick Dangerous II – Level 4 – C64 – Commodore most definitely sported the best looking and most playable out of the all 8bit outings…

I realize that these two games are tough as a year-old doughnut and tend to bring tons of frustration where its not necessary, but maybe it’s because they hold a serious challenge? And challenge is what’s pushes me more and more until I beat the basta… I mean game, until I beat the game! I don’t know the exact reason, but even though Rick Dangerous is as difficult as passing a whale on a toliet – through tears of anger and pain – it will no doubt grow on anyone who’ll spend time learning it’s gameplay mechanics & all the quirks. It’s not a game for everyone as on times it feels as if the Developers took pleasure in laying out incredibly tough obstacles just to see the player fail numerous times but it is a game for everyone to try and see if they’re up to the challenge.

Rick Dangerous II – PC DOS – Rick’s first experiences with ACID… He never listend in school when kids were tought just to say “No”…

Quick Note: I don’t know of any places that the game could be purchased other than eBay but if you just wanna give it a quick whirl, see how it plays, you can always find it either on Abandonia for PC or Planet Emulation for all other platforms, as Rick Dangerous is now considered abandonware. Also below you’ll find intros for both titles – they’re not much but they’re there nonetheless.

Blackthorne (a.k.a. Blackhawk)

Have you ever dreamed of being a lone marauder/renegade whose only true friend was his faithful gun and whose purpose in life was to kill everything that moved within the shooting range? I bet you did… And I know that I haven’t, you psychopath! ^__^ But I don’t mind acting as one in a video game, especially in one as awesome as…

Blackthorne title screen

It was developed by Blizzard Entertainment (currently of Diablo, Starcraft & WOW fame) and released on multiple platforms by Interplay Productions in 1994. And 1994 was a GOOD year! Not only for me finally realizing the obvious difference between men and women but also for games and gamers alike. There were more active gaming platforms than ever before or after, and the sheer amount of games released at and around the year of 1994 left players witch many gems to pick from which was good but also caused Blackthorne to go by largely unnoticed…

And I have been preparing to write this review all my life… Or last five minutes… Whatever.

I’ve decided to try a bit different approach and instead of telling you what is the game’s current state of affairs genesis, I’ll include a video intro, so you can see it for yourself and then proceed with reading…

Now, since you’ve went through this quite decent intro, we can continue… ^__^

Blackthorne (a.k.a. Blackhawk – European title) is like Flashback on steroids. On some levels it’s a better game as it’s more action oriented and easier to follow in terms of both plot and puzzles, on others it lacks depth and genuine „WOW” factor of earlier mentioned production.

Blackthorne screenshot

I went through Blackthorne like a hawk goes through freshly caught rabbit – with blood on my claws and madness in my eyes. I didn’t follow the back story much though but I had fun regardless, which would not be possible in Flashback that was heavily story driven. Anyway, a character that player controls has a wide palette of on-screen actions with which he has to go through each level killing good and bad alike. He can run, roll, jump whilst standing or running, shoot in various directions, throw grenades, use objects or hide in the comforting darkness of shadows. When hidden he cannot be targeted or seen, so it’s a good idea to use this to your advantage.

Blackthorne screenshot

The game’s filled with little puzzles but they are really nothing that would either catch your attention or cause you to stop to think things through. They’re more like common sense – you have to remember not to use all the grenades at once because three or four screens from where you are there may be a door that needs removing with carefully placed explosives and such. Simple stuff! That’s good though cause Blackthorne does not claim to be a thinking man’s game – it’s a simple arcade/action platformer with loads of shooting and on-screen blood. Really, what’s best in video games!

Blackthorne screenshot

The game looks slightly different on each of the platforms it was released on due to specific limitations & capabilities of those gaming architectures. Gameboy Advance being the most stripped down and Sega 32X the most feature rich versions. Fortunately they all play exactly the same. And that’s good because there’s not many things that say “Relaxing Sunday Afternoon” like putting a bullet through a head of an unknown defenseless guy chained to the wall… Or so I heard.

Blackthorne screenshot

All in all, Blackthorne is not a game you’ll remember for being the most innovative or having immerse story behind it. No, it won’t happen! You will remember it as a game that provided you with tons of fun and mindless slaughter in the name of whatever… Cause it’s not the reason that counts here, it’s the act of doing it… And body count. ^__^

Blackthorne screenshot

…and one last thing to remember: in the beautifully red color stained World of Blackthorne we NEVER give up!

CDW Nintendo – Earthworm Jim

Black nintendo DSI
Black nintendo DSI

Coming to your DSi today is the classic game Earthworm Jim. This platform action shooter came to fame on the Super NES though it was released almost a year earlier for the Genesis. You play as Jim an ordinary earthworm until you come in contact with the super powerful cyber-suit that turns you into a superhero. When Jim finds out Psy-Crow’s evil plans he sets out to stop them and save the lovely Princess What’s-her-name.

Here is the official release information:

Earthworm Jim
Publisher: Gameloft
Players: 1
ESRB Rating: E10+ (Everyone 10 and Older) — Cartoon Violence, Comic Mischief
Price: 500 Nintendo DSi Points
Description: The classic action platformer you used to play on the Super NES system is back in a remake that offers the essence and core game play of the original, plus a never-before-seen feature available exclusively on the Nintendo DSi system. Play as the grooviest earthworm in the galaxy. Run, gun, swing from hooks with your head, launch cows, bungee jump and rocket through speed levels in a dozen crazy universes. Earn bonuses with facial-expression-based challenges that track your face using the system’s built-in camera. Put on a smile, frown or make a variety of other faces to mimic Jim.