Avenging Spirit

Avenging_Spirit

Avenging Spirit

When it comes to classic/retro gaming, most people would probably be amazed at just how many truly great, obscure classics there are out there that they’ve not only never played, but likely never even heard of. And so, as part of my ongoing Retro Ministry, I intend to reacquaint folks with some of these forgotten gems over time. As comes with the territory, these entries will not be about the bigger, more popular games that a lot more people know about. No, instead, these will strictly be focused on games that are rare, but awesome.

Avenging_Spirit

First up, we’re going to look at a little number called “Avenging Spirit”, or as it was known in Japan, “Phantasm”. Avenging Spirit was originally an arcade game by Jaleco, who also brought you such classics as Astyanax, the Bases Loaded series, and the Rushing Beat series. With Avenging Spirit, however, you had a game that was a bit ahead of it’s time and rather unique in it’s approach. It was, at it’s core, another action/platformer type of game, similar to Mario, Mega Man or Contra. But where AS really stood out, was also the “gimmick” that made it incredibly fun. The plot can be summarized as follows: You’re a dude who was walking his girlfriend home one night, when you are ambushed by villainous agents, who kidnap your girlfriend, and shoot you down, leaving you for dead. You come back as a ghost, and your girlfriend’s father, a research scientist specializing in spectral phenomenon, wants you to try and get his daughter back, as she’s being held for random to ensure her father’s aid in nefarious plans.

Avenging_Spirit

So that’s the basic setup. You play as a ghost, and while you have the awesome ability to possess enemies to use their powers, the catch is that if the body you’re inhabiting dies, you have a limited amount of time to possess another body, otherwise your energy will dissipate, you’ll pass on to the “Other Side”, and your mission to save your girlfriend will have failed. So while you get this bad ass ability to basically play as a wide assortment of various characters with all sorts of weapons and powers, you’re also challenged by your spectral limitations. And when I say you can possess enemies, literally, you can take over and play as pretty much every enemy type in the game, except for the bosses. Naturally.  As you can see above, you get an energy bar for your ghost, which goes down every time you leave a possessed body, as well as a life-bar for the enemies you possess at the bottom of the screen.

Avenging_Spirit

Different enemy types also give you varying speed, strength, jumping power, etc., in addition to their unique weapon. Of those enemy types, as mentioned, for a game from 1991, you get a pretty healthy selection to choose from. They include, as seen above, nefarious 1930s mobsters complete with pistols, and feisty Amazon women who look suspiciously like classic Wonder Woman, who use their raw power to punch waves of force at you.  You can also play Rambo-esque commandos with machine guns, ninjas who are very agile and throw stars, goofy wizards with magic wands, a baseball player complete with a bat, a robot, an invisible man, and even a fire breathing DRAGON (probably the coolest thing you can play in the whole game).

Avenging_Spirit

You have to use these awesome abilities to make your way through six stages, all while smashing the shit out of enemies, and possessing some at your leisure to accomplish this. Each stage has a boss, of course, and naturally, especially considering it’s an arcade game and wants our quarters, they aren’t easy. You are also tasked with collecting 3 keys in stages 2, 5 and 6 (random I know), which are used at the end of the game to rescue your girlfriend, as if beating the game wasn’t enough. And just to really stick it to you, if you DON’T get all the keys in those stages, you’ll actually be unable to rescue her at all, and even though you can still beat the boss and defeat the bad guys, you’ll actually get a bad ending (SPOILERS). So trust me, you wanna get those damn keys!

Avenging_Spirit

The game was also ported a year later in 1992 to the Nintendo Game Boy. Having played both versions, with obvious “downgrades” to graphics and such, the game holds up remarkably well, and I honestly can’t see too much different in the port. The Game Boy version seems to retain most of the enemies, all the stages and bosses, and plays basically the same (if not actually a little bit tighter than the arcade original). Sadly, Avenging Spirit was ONLY ported to the Game Boy and nothing else, which is too bad, because looking at that screenshot above, I could really see it having been great on NES in full color, not to mention being a no-brainier for the 16-bit Super NES. It’s actually a similarly odd case to another obscure arcade gem, Tumble Pop by Data East (which I’ll cover later), that was also ONLY ported to the Game Boy.

Avenging_Spirit

 

Damn Game Boy got all the luck. And while I did have a Game Boy as a kid, I didn’t get one until, I do believe the Christmas of 1993, and I never actually heard of this game until I was an adult. I just think it would have made a great NES game, and I would have had a higher likelihood of perhaps seeing at my local rental store and actually getting to play it as a kid. I only lament this, mind you, because while I love this game as a kid, you know how much more open and enthusiastic about everything you were as a child….I absolutely would have been nuts about this game back then.

Avenging_Spirit

Then again, there’s a very long list of games I never got to play or even heard of as a kid that I wouldn’t discover until my teens at least, when internet was more prevalent. Real damn shame, that. BUT, all things considered, the Game Boy version that we did get is a great port of the game, and is actually available for download on the Nintendo 3DS eShop. You can also apparently get a version of the arcade original for iPhone, though personally, I just simply couldn’t see playing old school side-scrollers with those fake touch-screen “buttons” they try to get away with. Me, I need a real controller in my hands! Of course there are “other” means to find and play the arcade version if you wish, and considering that’s how I got to play it, I’ll just say that if you know what I’m talking about and can, by all means enjoy! You’ll be glad you did.

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.

Nintendo Download Highlights: Vol 23

This week’s Nintendo Download includes the following featured content:

Nintendo eShop 

The legend of zelda

The Legend of Zelda™ – Celebrate the Nintendo eShop “8-bit Summer” series with this smash-hit adventure, originally released on the NES™ console in 1987. Help Link™ restore the Triforce, rescue the princess and thwart Ganon’s evil plans. (For Nintendo 3DS™)

NES Open

NES Open Tournament Golf™ – This classic NES game from 1991 – now available for Nintendo 3DS as part of the Nintendo eShop “8-bit Summer” series – lets you challenge another player in Stroke, Match and Tournament modes. (For Nintendo 3DS)

Heroes of Ruin

Heroes of Ruin™  (demo version) – Enter the Elder Forest using a customized character from one of two classes – Vindicator or Gunslinger. Discover fierce villains, optional side quests and the ability to link up with friends through local or worldwide multiplayer. (For Nintendo 3DS)

Family Tennis 3D

Family Tennis 3D – This casual tennis game features eight playable characters and six different courts, all packed with variety. Start with the Tournament mode to unlock everything in the gallery, then try the minigames. (For Nintendo 3DS)

Game of the Weekend

Sakura Samurai - Art of the Sword
The “Game of the Weekend” program is featuring   Sakura Samurai: Art of the Sword™. For a limited time this precision sword-fighting game is available at a special price of $4.99. Offer is valid from 9 a.m. Pacific time on Friday, July 6, through 9 p.m. Pacific time on Sunday, July 8. (For Nintendo 3DS)

Also new this week:
•  Akari by Nikoli (Nintendo eShop)
•  Topoloco (Nintendo eShop / Nintendo DSiWare™)
•  3, 2, 1… WordsUp! (Nintendo eShop / Nintendo DSiWare)
•  Let’s Create! Pottery (WiiWare™)
•  2020 SUPER BASEBALL (Virtual Console™ for Wii™)

Air Zonk

Air Zonk a.k.a. PC Denjin Punkic Cyborg (1992)
By: Red Company / Hudson Soft Genre: Shooting Players: 1 Difficulty: Medium
Featured Version: NEC PC Engine / TurboGrafx-16  First Day Score: 1,184,160
Also Available For: Nothing
Download For: Wii Virtual Console

Air Zonk - PC Engine - Gameplay Screenshot
As the era of the game mascot came to pass the PC Engine was at its peak, so it’s no surprise to find that it was the recipient of its own platform hero in PC Kid (or Bonk, as he was known in the US). He was an amusing character, and the star of some outstanding games, but apparently Hudson decided he had uses beyond that genre. But how do you adapt a prehistoric platform game starring a caveboy into a shoot ’em up? Well that’s easy – make him a cyborg! Whilst probably a cynical ploy to make PC Kid ‘cooler’ in the wake of Sonic’s rise to fame, it also facilitated a shmup with great potential. The primary antagonist here remains the same as in the PC Kid games – King Drool. This time he has sent forth legions of maniacal robots to take over the world. Having discovered his plan, Zonk and the rest of ‘Team Cool’ set out to stop him at any cost!
Air Zonk - PC Engine - Gameplay Screenshot

Before beginning play you must choose one of the three originally monikered difficulty levels – Sweet, Spicy, and Bitter. The most immediately noticeable difference between them is the number of lives you start with (on ‘Bitter’ mode you start with one, for example!). You must then also choose a ‘Friend’, but more on them later. Once that’s out of the way, you’re off! As you’ve probably guessed, you play through Air Zonk as the titular cyborg himself whose many talents apparently include the power of flight. Using this helpful ability, he must progress through the five horizontally-scrolling stages, taking out King Drool’s robotic minions as he goes, which range from the formidable to the truly bizarre! The stages they populate are almost as varied too and include Toxy Land, Cyber City, Rockin Stadium, Deep Blue, and Land of Drool.
Air Zonk - PC Engine - Gameplay Screenshot
Considering it’s a shmup derived from a series of platform games, it should come as little surprise to find that Air Zonk has its fair share of original features. Among these are Zonk’s rather odd ‘friends’. There are ten of them and you get the option of choosing one of them before you start, or alternatively you can opt for the ‘auto’ option that lets the computer choose for you. During play, you’ll occasionally encounter small yellow smiley faces which appear when some enemies are destroyed. These are merely worth a thousand bonus points each, but collecting five of them within a certain amount of time results in a larger smiley face appearing (wearing shades of course – nearly everything in this game has to be wearing shades or it wouldn’t be ‘cool’). If you collect it, your chosen ‘friend’ will appear and fight beside you! They act much like the ‘options’ from Gradius – i.e. they follow you around the screen and fire their own weapons. The best part, however, is if you collect a large yellow face whilst already accompanied by a friend, Zonk and said friend will merge and, for a short time, form an indestructible hybrid creature/device with much fiercer firepower!

Air Zonk - PC Engine - Gameplay Screenshot
In addition to the highly helpful ‘friends’, there are eight, somewhat unorthodox projectile weapons available for Zonk to use. These include homing missiles, a short range but powerful electric beam, flying metal jaw things, spinning boomerang things, eight-way lightning shot, flying boxing gloves, explosive playing cards, and something that shrinks Zonk down into a smaller form who can fire a multi-direction homing shot. On all but the ‘Bitter’ difficulty mode, Zonk also has the ability to cause significant damage to any enemies close behind him by using an after burner of some sort. It’s extremely short-range but is a big help in certain situations. On top of that, Zonk has the ability to fire an R-Type style charge shot. If the button is held down long enough, a smart bomb will drop onto the screen and take out all non-boss enemies too.
Air Zonk - PC Engine - Gameplay Screenshot

The attempt here to make PC Kid/Bonk ‘cooler’ is about as subtle as a sledgehammer but, whilst a little reminiscent of some other strange/cute shmups like Konami’s Parodius and Sega’s Fantasy Zone, it’s still pretty amazing what Hudson have achieved with Air Zonk. Purely from a technical standpoint, this could well be the finest game on the PC Engine! The backgrounds are varied and detailed, and some stages have more than one, but it’s the sprites that impress the most. There are a huge number of different enemies which are colourful and full of character, and many of them are pretty big too, particularly the bosses! Talking of whom, I’ve seldom seen such a peculiar bunch of bosses. They range from mechanical dinosaurs that split in two, heaps of rubbish, and even a giant amoeba type thing! The trusty Engine must be working its socks off to keep it all running smoothly but from the outside it seems to handle it all with no trouble at all! Zonk himself looks suitably ‘cool’, as do his ‘friends’, and their weapons are both original and satisfying to decimate the beautifully drawn enemies with.
Air Zonk - PC Engine - Gameplay Screenshot
The technical splendour isn’t just restricted to the graphics either. Each stage has its own memorable tune and the effects are loud and varied. This remains almost certainly my favourite soundtrack on the system and it makes great use of the Engine’s sound chip too. I particularly like the music for stage two! The game understandably takes a lot of inspiration from the PC Kid games, such as stage and enemy design, and they have been incorporated excellently – just look at the screenshot to the right! Everything about Air Zonk is of a very high quality and it’s sometimes hard to believe it’s all just on one standard Hu-Card! However, extraordinary technical achievements are all very well, but what if the game played like a football match between two teams of fifty retards? It would be entertaining to watch but somewhat frustrating to take part in, right? Well, happily that’s not the case!
Air Zonk - PC Engine - Gameplay Screenshot

Air Zonk is enormous fun to play through – there’s never a dull moment with the game always providing something weird or interesting to see, including some very creative enemies such as robots with magnets on their heads, which draw Zonk closer to them! The collision detection is good here, and fair too – if Zonk only receives a glancing blow then he’ll merely lose the weapon he was using instead of dying, but even when you do lose a life you don’t have to restart the level, and the power-ups are encountered frequently. It’s not a perfect game – the weapons aren’t particularly spectacular and there’s not much ‘explosiveness’ about the proceedings, but I suppose it’s not really that kind of game. There’s no major problems with the game though, with the only real issue being that it’s all over a bit too soon – there are only five stages and some of them are pretty easy so it probably won’t last you too long, but it’s a hell of a game while it lasts. It’s original, and full of character and, unless you object to the cute, colourful graphical style, this must surely rank among the best, not to mention most unique of the crowded Engine shmup milieu.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4HBNQpBakj4[/youtube]

Retro King Simon is a 36 year old guy from England, and likes lots of stuff, including retro videogames, movies, and anime. You can check out his blog here – Red Parsley.

RKS Score: 8/10

 

 

 

Bionic Commando: This week’s Classic Download

bionic commando gameboy

Fans of the classic GameBoy version of Bionic Commando will be able to purchase this classic on the 3DS, Virtual Console and Nintendo eShop. The Game Boy version of the NES classic BIONIC COMMANDO arrives on Nintendo eShop to take you on a daring action-packed mission. As Rad Spencer, use your high-tech grapple hook and assault rifle to infiltrate the enemy’s stronghold in order to rescue Super Joe. You can be the difference between war and peace. Are you ready for the challenge?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RKruS1WISiQ[/youtube]

F-Zero X

F-Zero X - Nintendo 64 Gameplay Screenshot

F-Zero X (1998)
By: Nintendo EAD Genre: Racing Players: 1-4 Difficulty: Medium
Featured Version: Nintendo 64
Also Available For: Nothing
Download For: Wii Virtual Console

Despite being a highly accomplished racing game, the original F-Zero was perhaps most highly regarded for its admittedly impressive technical prowess. When news of a full sequel (F-Zero 2 was more like a ‘data-disk’) on Nintendo’s brand spanking new 64-bit powerhouse emerged, mouths began to salivate at the prospect of what wonders might befall gamers. However, when it finally arrived it wasn’t as instantly mind-blowing as many gamers were expecting. After the bar-raising the original did, a similar advancement was expected here, but the graphical detail was actually notably inferior to most of the other N64 games that had been doing the rounds, nevermind markedly better. This was apparently done on purpose by Nintendo so they could achieve a constant silky-smooth frame-rate of sixty frames per second. Their decision wasn’t met with much enthusiasm at first though. Was it worth the risk?

F-Zero X - Nintendo 64 Gameplay Screenshot

Questionable graphical detail notwithstanding, if there’s one thing that F-Zero X is, it’s bigger. Bigger and better than F-Zero in pretty much every area. The objective remains the same – to win races – but the courses over which this is done really are something else. One of the few criticisms levelled at the SNES game was that the courses were all completely flat. That situation has been rectified here and then some – I’m pretty sure there’s not a single flat course to be found in F-Zero X! They are all suspended high above the surface of their respective planets and their features range from gently twisting roads with slopes and the usual chicanes and hairpins to full-on roller coaster-style courses full of downhill plummets, uphill climbs, huge banked corners, corkscrews, massive ramps, loops, tunnels and everything inbetween!

F-Zero X - Nintendo 64 Gameplay Screenshot

The single player game modes available here include Grand Prix, Practise, Time Trial, and Death Race, and a majority of your time will most likely be spent on the first of these (in single-player, at least). Grand Prix’s are contested by thirty racers, each with their own distinctive ‘machine’, over one of the leagues. There are initially three available – the Jack, Queen, and King Cups, with each of them consisting of six courses. Points are awarded after each race based on your finishing position, from first down to thirteenth, and successfully winning the three initial leagues will open another one, the Joker Cup, which has six more courses. There is also a fifth and final league – The X Cup – but unlocking this takes a bit more work. It’s worth it though as it’s a test for even the most talented of racers as its courses are randomly generated each time you race so there’s no opportunity to learn them first!

F-Zero X - Nintendo 64 Gameplay Screenshot

The Practise and Time Trial modes are self-explanatory, although it’s worth mentioning that the latter lets you race against staff ghosts. This way you can see if you’re better at any given course than the people who actually designed it (and I’m sure a few obsessed individuals have devoted a lot of time to this pursuit)! The Death Race takes place on a basic course and sees the aggression level of each of the thirty racers cranked up a notch! Using your machine’s meagre attack moves (it can charge to the left, right, or perform a spin), the object is to take out as many opponents as you can while they all try to do the same to you (and each other). Another criticism the original game received was its lack of a multi-player mode. This is another area in which F-Zero X bests its forebear thanks to its fantastic Vs Battle mode where between two and four racers can compete at once.

F-Zero X - Nintendo 64 Gameplay Screenshot

One of the first things you’ll notice about F-Zero X is that it’s fast. Very fast. The Dash Plates make a welcome return here, as does the Super-Jet (or ‘Boost Power’ as it’s now called) and, unlike F-Zero where you only got one boost per lap, you can now use them as often as you want after you’ve completed your first lap. Each time you use it drains your machine’s energy though, so keep a plentiful supply of this by visiting the pit areas regularly. It seems that the various pilots have modified their machines since the last game too. They are faster anyway but you also now have the option of changing your engine settings by altering its top speed / acceleration ratio too. This combined with frequent use of the Dash Plates and your Boost Power, especially in conjunction with one another, can see your speed reach quite staggering levels, even hitting four figures on occasion (my current speed record is 1,527kph!).

F-Zero X - Nintendo 64 Gameplay Screenshot

There’s quite a lot to F-Zero X for an arcade-style racer but it would all be for nothing if the widely-criticised graphics kept gamers away. Personally though, I can’t see what all fuss is about! I asked earlier if Nintendo’s decision to sacrifice graphical detail for increased smoothness and speed was worth the risk. Well, in my opinion it was an excellent decision. The backgrounds may well be somewhat sparse but they are colourful and varied but that’s not hugely relevant anyway – the on-track action is so eye-meltingly fast, you’ll barely even get a chance to look at the backgrounds unless you come off the track and plunge into them! That said, it is impressive to see the horizon rolling around as the track meaders all over the place, or to be staring straight at the ground as you plummet down a collossal ramp (see the Fire Field screenshot!).

F-Zero X - Nintendo 64 Gameplay Screenshot

In addition to being really fast, each race is chock-full of action. The N64 throws the thirty racers, each in their own distinctive machines, constantly jostling for position, around the courses with apparent ease. A mere six of them are available to use at the start of the game (including those from the first game) but winning the various leagues gradually unlocks the remainder, each of which has differing grip, boost power, and body strength. They all look really nice too (plus you can change their colours!) and you can quickly build up genuine rivalries with many of their pilots, some of whom are more agressive than others. The game has a fantastic atmosphere which is helped considerably by the awesome rock soundtrack, featuring wailing guitars and thundering drums, and the courses that share names (but little else) with those in the SNES game are also graced with superb remixes (yes, including Big Blue!). It’s those courses though, that keep you coming back to the game.

F-Zero X - Nintendo 64 Gameplay Screenshot

Any game featuring jet-powered hovercars racing over tracks in mid-air is likely to feature lavishly-designed courses, and the opportunity here enabled the designers to really go to town! To this day, F-Zero X still features the best-designed courses I’ve ever raced on. Each of them is distinctive and memorable, and they really are thrilling to race on, something helped by the extremely precise controls afforded by the N64’s splendid analogue controller. Everything is so smooth and zooming along, weaving in and out of the other racers with pixel-perfect accuracy is exciting and great fun. There are also four difficultly level and, thanks to the X Cup, you’ll never run out of new courses to race on! The game builds up a fantastic sense of competition too, but there’s not really any one thing that makes this such a great game – it’s just a perfect blend of everything. Still probably the greatest racing game I’ve ever played.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-zcvM0b9VE[/youtube]

RKS Score: 10/10

MegaMan X to the Virtual Console

Megaman x gameplay screenshot

Power up that Mega Buster, the classic 1993 Super Nintendo game, MegaMan X is coming to the Wii via the Virtual Console for 800 points.

Hundreds of years after his death, Dr. Light’s final creation is discovered. Released from his capsule by Dr. Cain, “X” is born into the world of the future where robot rebellions are a thing of the past. But when Dr. Cain tries to implement Dr. Light’s designs into a new series of Reploids, something goes horribly wrong. Now, the future lies on the brink of destruction and X must use all of his newfound powers and abilities to hunt down the maverick Reploids and their leader, Sigma, before the human race is wiped from the planet!

Megaman x gameplay screenshot

The game is available now.

 

Atomic Runner

Atomic Runner - Gameplay Screenshot 1

Atomic Runner a.k.a Chelnov (1992)
By: Data East Genre: Run ‘n’ Gun Players: 1 Difficulty: Medium
Featured Version: Sega MegaDrive / Genesis First Day Score: ???,???
Also Available For: Arcade, X68000
Download For: Wii Virtual Console

Having recently looked at an ‘on foot’ vertical scrolling shmup in Elemental Master, this seems like a good opportunity to look at a horizontally scrolling game of the same type, and it’s a game that got off to a some- what dubious start. Originally released as an arcade game titled Chelnov in 1988, it seemed to take its inspiration from the Chernobyl nuclear incident! After surviving a catastrophic explosion at a nuclear power plant, Chelnov, a coal-miner, finds himself highly irradiated and the recipient of some new abilities. Seeking to harness his new abilities for their own questionable ends, an evil organisation attempts to capture him. In order to evade their clutches, Chelnov must fight, using his abilities to defeat the organisation. Needless to say, this story didn’t really go down too well, particularly in light of the game featuring Soviet iconography too!

Atomic Runner - Gameplay Screenshot 2

After the furore of its Japanese arcade release, the game saw quite a few changes upon its MegaDrive release four years later. Now known by its original subtitle of Atomic Runner, the story was changed to a more formulaic alien invasion-type scenario which saw Earth’s major cities attacked and their residents mercilessly slaughter- ed. Hiding in an underground laboratory, Chelnov’s dying father explains that the aliens have been on Earth before and designed an ‘Atomic Suit’ for the Pharaoh’s. Using the design-schematics found in an ancient pyramid, he was able to build a suit which provides Chelnov with super- human strength, agility, and apparently the ability to throw various weapons out of his hands! Using these handy features he must do his best to rid the world of alien scum!

Atomic Runner - Gameplay Screenshot 3

Anyway, now that all that multi- story shenanigans is out of the way, onto the game! Whilst more of a run ‘n’ gunner than an out-and-out shoot ’em up, the focus of Atomic Runner is still very much on shooting, and unlike most run ‘n’ gunners, it uses forced-scrolling more akin to a traditional shmup. However, the seven levels do feature various platforms around which Chelnov can jump, and some parts even feature (admittedly limited) multiple routes. There are twenty different kinds of standard enemies populating the levels, including both mid-level and end-level bosses, and they must all be either avoided or eliminated in one of two ways – either by using Chelnov’s energy weapons or by jumping on their heads, Mario-style, believe it or not!

Atomic Runner - Gameplay Screenshot 4

It is however easier, not to mention far more entertaining, to blast the crap out of them with energy weapons, and there are six kinds: Laser (which you start the game with), Boomerang, Light Ring, Spiked Balls, Morning Star, and Homing Missiles. Each of them has differing rates of fire, range, and power, and you can only have one of them at a time. Each is more suited to certain parts of certain levels but they appear frequently so you can chop and change between then as often as you like. Each weapon can also be powered up, and in three different ways, by collecting ‘UP’ icons. These come in three colours – yellow increases shooting range and bullet speed, red increases bullet size and destructive power, and blue increases bullet count and rapid-fire ability. If you repeatedly die on the same part of a level, a super-power-up appears which increases all three of these attributes fully, in one go. Other power-ups include one which increases Chelnov’s jumping height, and two for bonus points – one for two thousand, and one for five thousand.

Atomic Runner - Gameplay Screenshot 5

These power-ups are usually found being carried by the flying skull/spider things, who drop them when shot, and the scenery features flaming torches which also release them. When Chelnov loses a life he will lose all power-ups collected so far, but luckily they are plentiful so it doesn’t take too long to power back up again, and each level has numerous restart points too. That doesn’t mean that this is an easy game however – given the forced-scrolling nature of the game, Chelnov’s movement around the landscape is a little limited. He can shoot in eight directions as he runs through the levels and you can marginally increase and decrease his speed as he goes by pushing forward or backward on the controller, and he can jump also straight up or forward, but that’s about it.

Atomic Runner - Gameplay Screenshot 6

The levels are set over a diverse range of landscapes and are one of the most appealing aspects of this game. They are titled Atomic Laboratory, Mutant Plant Zone, Mayan Jungle, Egyptian Desert, Treasure Room, Siberian Snowland, and New York, and all look fantastic – this is among the prettiest run ‘n’ gunners I’ve played with regards to the backgrounds and scenery graphics, and the sprites, weapons, etc, aren’t half bad either. The music is pretty decent too, with some tunes being more memorable than others, but it’s all very nice, presentation-wise. It does occasionally seem like the collision detection is a bit off and Chelnov sometimes seem a little sluggish to respond to a command, but there’s no major problems. Having said that, it is possible to get trapped behind an item of scenery and crushed by the scrolling! But that’s the key to this game – practise. Enemies often appear from behind you, so if you stay to the left of the screen you’re likely to die often, but play it enough, get used to controlling Chelnov, and learn the enemy patterns, and it proves to be a challenging and reasonably fair game. There’s not too much else like Atomic Runner around, and for that reason alone it’s interesting, but it’s a very playable, if sometimes frustrating game regardless, and well worth a try.

RKS Score: 7/10

Points Make Prizes

Nintendo ClubWhen Microsoft launched the Live Arcade, I was very sceptical about the Points system. While in theory it makes transactions easier, being forced to buy in set amounts puts the purchaser at a disadvantage. It saves them money on organising small credit card transfers, and lets them keep your money for longer. Nintendo then adopted a similar scheme for the Wii, which did not amuse the hardcore Nintendo fans.

Like a lot of Nintendo users, I am a Club Nintendo member and have been frustrated by the service for a long time. First there was the short length of time the good stuff was available. But then, did I really need a Zelda statue or a storage rack shaped like Mario’s cap? (Ignore that small voice from inside me; I call him the Collector and often have to over-rule him). Then came the announcement that points earned from visiting the website (a massive five per day) and adding games to your collection would expire.

I lost a fair few points at the end of that fateful first month, but when I purchased a Wii I had enough left to trade in for some Wii Points. I had even been lucky to pick up some extra points from second-hand purchases. Fair enough, Nintendo set the exchange rate quite high and in its favour – 4 Club points to 1 Wii Point. That makes each first-party game with the little silver panel to scratch off worth a staggering 62.5 Wii Points. But then came the trials and tribulations of actually purchasing the Wii Points, with only a limited number of “cards” available each day.

So it’s scratch, type, print out, point and press to fill out the form with that little string of numbers that represents virtual cash. And what did I do with my new-found wealth? Invested in two of the Art Style titles, Cubello and Rotohex. With the Wii’s rapid start-up time I can be playing them in seconds, enjoying the style and the pure gameplay. Getting them for “free” does not change my opinion – this is the sort of pick up & play title that Wii Ware is made for.

Wii Points Card

The scheme is undergoing a re-design, with the cards now branded Nintendo Points and available in different amounts. But once again, the corporate decision is to make life more difficult for the user. Yes, the Points can now be used on DSi or Wii – but once they are allocated to one machine they cannot be transferred. The region locking had already put me off the DSi to some extent, anyway. Of course, that small voice is back to tell me that I will miss out on DSi exclusives such as Wario Ware Snapped (announced at GDC 2009 and making use of the built-in camera) and the next wave of Art Style games. The other big announcement at GDC – the system update allowing games and channels to run from the SD card – is very welcome. It makes me more likely to invest in Virtual Console titles.

Why oh why haven’t Nintendo released a new Duck Hunt title for Wii? If ever there was a title crying out for an update, it’s that one. Or at least find a way to make a Virtual Console version work!

 

Alien Crush

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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

Star Fox 2

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Star Fox 2

After the success of Star Fox on the Super Nintendo both Argonaut Games and Nintendo were excited to get to work on the direct sequel. As development began, the buzz was spread to a number of media outlets and everyone was waiting for its release in 1995. The Japanese version of the game was finished and was in the debugging and final beta stage when it was decided to hold the game back because of the upcoming release of the Nintendo 64 and their wish to release a updated version of the game which we all know become Star Fox 64.

Star Fox 2 - Screenshot 3

The story goes that after Andross’s defeat at the hands of the Star Fox team he returns to the Lylat system, home to Star Fox and his team members for revenge. Andross has his sights once again set on Corneria and brought along new battleships and bad guys to help him. This time around, Fox’s team has new Arwings to fight against the Andross forces and a new Mothership as a home base. One of the coolest things about Star Fox 2 was that you could play as six different characters.

Star Fox 2 - Screenshot 1

There was to be as playable characters, Fox McCloud, leader of the Star Fox team. Falco Lombardi, the loud mouth pilot who is a hotdog and does not like Fox very much. Peppy Hare, mentor to Fox. Slippy Toad, childhood friend of Fox and two brand new recruits, Fay, a white poodle with a pink hair bow and Miyu, a tomboyish lynx.

The gameplay was to be different as well and was to work a lot like a real-time strategy game. You start off with your overview map which shows Corneria on one end and the Andross base on the other. In-between is a series of planets. The overall goal was to protect Corneria, liberate captured planets, defeat all enemy forces then enter the Andross base and defeat Andross.

Star Fox 2 - Screenshot 4

How this worked was Corneria itself had a life bar and enemy fighters would attack the planet as well as missiles fired at the planet from captured planets in the system and you directed teams of two fighters to intercept both the enemy forces and the missiles. During these fights the game played much like the original Star Fox. In those battles, you could fight normal fighters, bosses and the Wolf Squadron (Andross “Fox” team).

When you went to liberate planets you would transport down and your goal was to destroy the generator in the Andross base which prevented them from firing missiles at Corneria. Overall, it sounded pretty cool because you had to think about your actions and who to and no to attack.

Now while the game was never officially released there were emulated versions made from the Japanese version. There were rumors that Star Fox 2 may be released for the Wii Virtual Console, but so far that is where it stands.

Ghosts ‘n Goblins on Nintendo Virtual Console

capcom logo
capcom logo

I’m back from CES 2011 just in time for Capcom’s release of Ghosts n Goblins on the virtual console. The 1985 arcade smash hit is now available on the Wii for only 800 points. Relive the fun and frustration of guiding Arthur to his bride to be as he takes on the hordes of hades along the way.

In addition to GnG the Capcom game EXED EXES is also available today on the virtual console. This vertical scrolling shooter was also released in 1985 during the rain of the twitch shooter games. The goal hear is to doge the bullets and collect the fruit.

Enjoy!

Faxanadu OST

Faxanadu box
Faxanadu box

Faxanadu came out in 1989 by publisher Hudson Soft, it is an RPG where you main goal is to defeat the Evil One. After being away from home for an untold amount of time you return to find your homeland pretty much abandoned. The Eleven King asks you to kill the Evil One because somehow that will lower unemployment and balance the budget.

In a nutshell the Evil One came to earth via meteorite (take that Superman). The Evil One transformed the Dwarves into monsters and had them attack the Elves who were all nice and peaceful living on the World Tree before this all went down. There is only one thing that can kill the Evil One and that is the Dwarven kings sword, too bad he swallowed it before he was transformed into a horrible and hard to kill monster.

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Games I have never beat: Faxanadu

Faxanadu box

I was in the prime of my NES gaming. I was just getting into RPG’s and one of my friends came over and gave me this game. I thought to myself, why would he give me this, then and then I figured it out, he couldn’t beat it. I was all set to do what he couldn’t and then I started it up and discovered I could not beat it either. Looking back now it is sad because I really can’t remember why I was unable to beat this game.

Faxanadu came out in 1989 by publisher Hudson Soft, it is an RPG where you main goal is to defeat the Evil One. After being away from home for an untold amount of time you return to find your homeland pretty much abandoned. The Eleven King asks you to kill the Evil One because somehow that will lower unemployment and balance the budget.

Thanks to NES Guide for the Video

In a nutshell the Evil One came to earth via meteorite (take that Superman). The Evil One transformed the Dwarves into monsters and had them attack the Elves who were all nice and peaceful living on the World Tree before this all went down. There is only one thing that can kill the Evil One and that is the Dwarven kings sword, too bad he swallowed it before he was transformed into a horrible and hard to kill monster.

The game play was mainly side scrolling and you had to travel between various towns where you could talk to people, buy things and take on quests. There were also dungeons where you fought monsters and could find treasure. The hero himself could walk and jump and there were ladders to climb. In addition to your sword you also had armor, magic and various other items you needed to either get to a specific spot or in order to open something.

The graphics reminded me of the early Castlevania for the NES. The music was interesting to in it was memorable from the starting theme to the music played when you enter a church. One of the bad things was Faxanadu used a password system that had a long code you had to write down and if anyone remembers the Nintendo had an issue with its connectors where if something happened it could totally mess up the numbers and letters on the screen. Perhaps that is why I was unable to beat it.

I plan to give this game another shot and once I do will do a full review. The good news is for those of you with the virtual console you can play Faxanadu right now.

Games to Buy: Console Edition: Nov 21 2010

video games store
video games store

A new name and a new way of doing our weekly report on games coming out the following week. With so many games out there the fact is some will be worth the cash and some will not be. Beyond that some games may be worth picking over the others and so we have come up with a dollar sign rating system. One $ means it can wait until it’s in the bargain bin and five $’s means you should be waiting in line to purchase it.

This week we have a good mix of new games and classic games being released, in fact pretty much every game is either a follow up of the old or a remake of an old game. This is just more proof of how important classic games are. So sit back enjoy the trailers and commentary and get your wallet warmed up.

Gran Turismo 5

With over 1000 cars and 71 courses to choose from Gran Turismo 5 is a racers wet dream. Sure, there has been a ton of delays for this game but with the way it looks now it seems to be worth the wait. Of course you will be able to race basic cars from Honda and Ford, but you will also be able to get behind the big boys like the Lamborghini Murcielago and McLaren F1. A ton of brand new tracks have been added including the Top Gear test track and many more tracks offering night driving and the new dynamic weather system. All in all if you are a racing fan or just a car aficionado and have a PS3 then you have to pick up this game.

Buy Worthiness: $$$$

Donkey Kong Country Returns

I have to bow to the Wii on this one because I loved the original DKC and this version looks incredible. Donkey and Diddy are back and you have never seen two apes go through so much for some bananas. The game is as massive as it is beautiful offering various lands including a jungle, beach, ruins, caves and a forest. As with the classic Donkey Kong Country the environment matters from knowing where and when to jump to the assortment of enemies on the screen and in the background.

This game brings back all the love and frustration of the original. Honestly, if you are not a pro platformer or haven’t played DKC before you might have a hard time because this game is tough. The mine cart level alone can drive you as crazy as Ninja Gaiden did me. In addition, even the boss fights will not be simple and it takes timing and recognizing the right pattern to win. However, it is totally worth it and with the visuals, the music and the awesome controls Donkey Kong Country is a must have for fans of the series and platform game lovers.

Buy Worthiness: $$$$

Splatterhouse

If you love beating the holy hell out of demons and monsters then this game is for you. The folks over at Namco Bandai have taken a bit longer than expected to release this game and they have gone through some troubles, but all in all the new Splatter house looks to be a fun game.

The game pretty much is a reboot and you play as Rick who was murdered when his girlfriend Jennifer was kidnapped by the evil Dr. West. As you lay dying a demon mask bonded with your body brining you back and now the two of you need each other. Rick needs the masks power to make his way through the horde to his girl and the mask needs rick to feed it the blood of pretty much anything.

The visuals look really good and the game is more than just blood and guts, though that is most of what it is. There is also a puzzle component to the game and you have to take time moving through some levels. However, what makes the game is the gore and you can pull of spectacular murder moves on your enemies and use the environment to take them out as well.

All in all if you liked the original and have a flair for eviscerating people then this game is worth a pick-up.

Buy Worthiness: $$

Honorable mentions

We have a bonus this week, two classic games that are sure to give you some enjoyment.

Crazy Taxi

The incredibly fun taxi driving game from the Dreamcast is back. Choose your driver and transport your passenger across town in the craziest manner possible. This game is loads of fun and it’s good to see this Dreamcast game coming to the 360.

Worms: Battle Islands

War on an epicly small scale, take control of your worms and battle against your friends using tons of different warfare tactics. Believe me, don’t let the cute voices and visuals fool you. In Worms you have to have some strategy or you will be…err worm food.

Low Balance

So that’s this week’s top buys. We will be back next Tuesday with another rundown on what games to buy.

Super Castlevania IV OST

Super Castlevania IV OST

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

Super Castlevania 4 OST

 

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

Super Castlevania 4

Super Castlevania 4 box
Super Castlevania 4 box

Super Castlevania 4

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

Going Japanese

Super Castlevania 4 Statue
Super Castlevania 4 Statue

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

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

Something Old, Something New

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

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

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

Setting the Stage

Super Castlevania 4
Super Castlevania 4

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

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

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

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

Final Thoughts

Super Castlevania 4
Super Castlevania 4

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

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

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

Classic Capcom games coming to the Virtual Console

Capcom Arcade Classics
Capcom Arcade Classics

Smile Wii fans; soon you will have more classic video games coming to your console to make up for the lack of decent modern games. All joking aside Capcom has announced a lineup of their most popular classic arcade games to be released on the Nintendo Virtual Console.

This winter you will be able to play many of the old-school classics, six in all including:

1942 – This classic vertically-scrolling shoot ’em up is perhaps Capcom’s finest moment in the pre-Street Fighter era. Spawning a million clones and re-appearing throughout the history of gaming, 1942’s biplane action needs no introduction. And now, for the first time on the Wii, the original and best version.

1942 game screenshot
1942 game screenshot

Black Tiger – Fight your way through colorful, action-packed levels in this 1987 arcade classic. Explore huge, sprawling levels as a powerful barbarian, seeking to defeat menacing bosses.  Plus, upgrade your character with one of the first inventory and power-up systems ever built.

black dragon game screenshot
black dragon game screenshot

Commando: Wolf of the Battlefield – Experience the Capcom arcade game that spawned a multitude of clones as the original Commando comes to your living room courtesy of the Virtual Console Arcade. Take control of Super Joe and shoot your way—in all eight directions—towards the enemy’s territory, using grenades to wreak havoc with enemy placements in this seminal genre creator.

commando game screenshot
commando game screenshot

EXED EXES – A retro classic from Capcom’s arcade line-up in 1985, Exed Exes is a vertically-scrolling shooter that’s sure to bring back fond memories. Dodge bullets! Collect fruit! And go for high scores in the most furious sci-fi insectoid shoot ’em up ever made.

exed exes game screenshot
exed exes game screenshot

Ghosts ’n Goblins – Ghosts ‘n Goblins is a classic game that packs a heavy punch (and lance). Experience the smash arcade hit from 1985 as you help Arthur defeat hordes of monsters in his attempt to rescue the princess. The first (and possibly only) game in which taking a hit reduces you to your underwear.

Ghosts ’n Goblins game screenshot
Ghosts ’n Goblins game screenshot

SONSON – Experience the original adventures of the Monkey King in this action-packed side scrolling adventure. Rapidly switch between different levels of play to shoot dangerous enemies in the face! A truly original concept, this quirky, old skool arcade classic has been a rare find in the west since its arcade debut in 1984. Until now!

sonson game screenshot
sonson game screenshot

The Obsolete Feed will be bringing you more information on these releases and pricing as more information becomes available.

Games Coming Out August 2010 For Consoles

PS3 vs Xbox 360 vs Wii
PS3 vs Xbox 360 vs Wii

It use to be August was the last change to get out and do what you really wanted to do for the summer before school started up again. Today, many of us stay inside because the sun burns. (It really really burns) Good thing the console market knows this and releases a ton of great games for the last summer push.

Castlevania: Harmony of Despair – Aug 1

It’s like multi-player dungeon crawling. True in this version of the famous Castlevania series you do see the entire map, you know where the traps and enemies are and you know where the boss is, but the fun it making your way to it. HOD received mixed reviews original and now in its XBL form it’s still receive mixed reviews, but even with the gameplay changes it still has the heart of Castlevania and is still a fun play.

Earthworm Jim HD – Aug 1

If you don’t know who Earthworm Jim is turn in your classic gaming card. This remake of the 1994 side-scrolling classic as been updated graphically and in its gameplay including a four player co-op mode. It still has all the cow loving, earthworm eating fun of the original with a fresh coat that will bring a smile to any XBL arcade fans face.

 

 

Madden NFL 2011 – Aug 8

Full disclosure I never liked the idea that EA had a monopoly on the NFL gaming franchise, but with that said it looks as if the simpler, quicker, deeper plan behind Madden 11 might bring in the few fans that aren’t playing it. Some may think it a step back, but let’s face it people don’t want to need a degree to play a game and in our instant gratification world the fast we get to the good parts the better. The improved online play and animation is also a nice touch and really shows that EA wanted to make important changes and improvements to their game. As I said I prefer competition as well, but Madden NFL 2011 looks pretty good and even I might give it a go.

Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days – Aug 15

Guns, bullets, a girl and a dog it seems. Dog Days is the sequel to the original and features improved gameplay over the original as the boys are on a mission to save a loved one. I agree with what Kane said; “She better be worth it.”

 

 

 

 

 

Mafia II – Aug 24th

As one person put it; “It’s GTA4 with class.” Mafia II immerses you in the world of the 1950’s criminal underworld with an open world map meaning you can go pretty much anywhere you want at any time. However, by sticking to the storyline you move your way up the ladder as you complete missions from drop offs to raids on rival gangs.

Metroid: Other M – Aug 29th

One of the best games of all time is back and fans of the Wii couldn’t be happier. Samus is back and she brought some cool additions with her like the morph ball and her visor which can scan the new lush environments found in this latest game. Everything fans of the series love is still there from careful puzzle solving to menacing boss battles. Simply put, if you have a Wii you have to get this game.

Ghouls N Ghosts

Ghouls N Ghosts splash screen
Ghouls N Ghosts splash screen

Ah, the game that made me break one of my many Sega Genesis’s. Ghouls ‘n Ghosts was released to the arcades in the spring of 1988. Maybe by Capcom, it was the popular sequel to the 1985 arcade smash Ghosts ‘n Goblins.

In Ghouls ‘n Ghosts the heroic knight Arthur must once again faceoff against the demonic hordes of Loki. After an attack on his kingdom Arthur’s lover, the lovely Princess Prin Prin, is killed along with many innocent civilians. To avenge the death of his love and restore her soul and the souls of the others Arthur will have to take down the big man Loki himself.

Ghouls ‘n Ghosts plays pretty much like Ghosts ‘n Goblins it is a platform run and gun type of gameplay meaning you have to always be on your toes firing away at the enemy and  avoiding traps and pitfalls. Luckily this time around Arthur can fire upwards and while jumping fire downwards which is a must in this game. In addition Arthur has an array of weapons at his disposal including a mega axe, a golden sword and even golden power armor.

Ghouls N Ghosts screenshot
Ghouls N Ghosts screenshot

When Arthur jumps in certain spots on the map a treasure chest will pop out of the ground. If Arthur destroys the chest he can find two things. First is an evil magician who turns him into a duck. As the duckyou are pretty much undead chow because you have no armor or weapons. The best thing to do is avoid any enemies until the effect wears off.

The second thing that can appear from the chest is Arthur’s golden armor. The golden armor allows any weapon Arthur currently has to gain a charged power up move that unleashes a special attack. Sadly, the golden armor works just like the normal silver armor where as if Arthur is hit it will break apart leaving him pretty much naked.

Once you work your way through five levels you discover you need a special weapon in order to defeat Loki. This restarts the game and you must fight your way through the same five levels and back to Loki’s chamber.

The game is extremely fun to play, but it can be very unforgiving at first, but once you learn your jumps, attacks and timing you can make it through the game without too much trouble. I can say this now, but when I first played it I had an awfully hard time and ended up punching my poor Genesis to death.

Ghouls ‘n Ghosts had some great music composed by Tamayo Kawamoto. The bosses were well designed along with the levels making sure your twitch level was high. In addition to great arcade success GnG was ported to several systems including the Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, CP System, Commodore 64, X68000, Sega Saturn, PlayStation, SuperGrafx, Sega Master System, Mega Drive/Genesis, Virtual Console, ZX Spectrum.

CDW Nintendo Frogger Returns & Kirby Super Star

Nintendo logo in grey
Nintendo logo in grey

This week Nintendo gives its classic gaming fans two cool games to sink their teeth into. For the DSi there is Frogger Returns which takes the arcade classic and adds in new graphics and challenges. For the Virtual console comes the SNES hit Kirby Super Star where you take everyone’s favorite pink puffy hero on an adventure to stop the awful King Dedede.

Here is the official info:

Frogger Returns
Publisher: Konami Digital Entertainment
Players: 1
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)
Price: 500 Nintendo DSi Points

Description: Frogger is coming to a Nintendo DSi system near you! Frogger Returns takes the heart-pounding challenge of arcade Frogger and moves it into the next dimension. Classic top-down 2-D game play is updated with colorful 3-D graphics, a new perspective, new levels, new enemies and game-changing power-ups to dodge and use. Four stages take the original journey of Frogger from highway to home through a new adventure. Use multiple modes to attack your top scores, race against the clock or just get Frogger to his home pad.

Kirby Super Star
Original platform: Super NES
Publisher: Nintendo
Players: 1-2
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)
Price: 800 Wii Points
Description: That awful King Dedede is at it again – he’s stolen all the food in Dream Land. It’s up to Kirby™ to get it back and ultimately save Pop Star from being overtaken. In what may be the most diverse adventure yet for the round, pink hero, Kirby journeys through six main games and two minigames, finishing with the ultimate showdown in The Arena. Each game offers its own story and style of platforming action, as well as unique environments and an assortment of enemies. Swallowing an enemy allows Kirby to copy the abilities of that enemy, granting him the power to perform special attacks and giving him a new hat to don. In a strategic twist, Kirby can now give up an acquired ability and use it to turn an enemy into a helper. The helper will follow Kirby around and automatically fight as his ally or offer a second player the chance to join in the game by controlling it. There’s never a dull moment as Kirby dashes, flies and swallows enemies in his battle against King Dedede, Dyna Blade and Meta Knight.

Classic Download Watch: Nintendo

Nintendo logo
Nintendo logo

This is a new feature to Obsolete Gamer to bring you information on classic gaming downloads for your favorite consoles from 360 to the PS3 to the Wii. Today you can download a couple of cool games for the Wii and the Nintendo DSi.

First up for the Wii Virtual Console, Mega Man 4 which was released in 1992, it plays mainly like the previous Mega Man games except it added the charge blast to your weaponry and there are tools to obtain in order to reach specific areas on some stages. You can purchase MM4 for 500 Wii points.

For the Nintendo DSi you can now download Donkey Kong Jr. In this arcade classic Donkey Kong’s son has to rescue dear old dad by swinging his way past crows and alligators to reach Mario’s cage. You can purchase Donkey Kong Jr. for 200 DSi points.

As more classic games are available for download we will bring information on them here.