Month: January 2014

NES

Donkey Kong Jr.

The game plays remarkable similar to the original, yet with a new twist. Instead of being a short Italian dude with concrete shoes, you’re a monkey that can barely jump but can grab hold of vines, ropes, and chains. The game has a few levels to enjoy and can be replayed for high score record keeping if you’re into that.

Read More
Game BoyHandheld Games

Dark Arena

Perhaps the most forgotten of the whole flock of GBA FPS – apart from perhaps the too late for the party Ice Nine – this is was actually the first FPS announced for the handheld. It’s also the only GBA FPS that isn’t a port or continuation of an existing shooter series, or without any conceivable tie to a movie (Ice Nine was based on the film The Recruit but the licensing fell through). This fact probably didn’t help Dark Arena reach a wider audience, but it’s hard to feel too sorry for it, due to the fact it’s a rather turgid effort all round.

Read More
NES

Kung Fu

Beat ’em ups seemed to be released every week in the late 80s/early 90s with some legendary titles like Golden Axe, Double Dragon, Streets Of Rage, and Final Fight at the forefront. These and every game like it owe everything they are to Kung Fu. The first of it’s kind, they made it count (unlike Dk Jr Math) and it spawned more games that ate quarters than can be mentioned in one review. The lead programmer, Takashi Nishiyama, went on to Capcom where he was the head of a little game named Street Fighter. He could’ve been quite content with his legacy left at that but the guy went on to even greater heights when he was hired by SNK and designed a cutting edge contraption called the Neo-Geo System Board. This mad professor of gaming could’ve stopped THERE but what did this under-appreciated genius do as an encore? He created every major SNK fighting IP as he went along. Yes, the head programmer on Kung Fu is responsible for all-time heavyweights Fatal Fury, Art Of Fighting, Samurai Shodown, & the epic King Of Fighters franchises. Quite the fucking résumé no?

Read More
Editorials

A Call to Restore FMV Games

Dependent upon their source, any one of these weirdly enjoyable titles could undergo the same revisionism, provided the hardware was capable of actually running them. Some of these games were likely shot on tape, a limited resolution format that condemns the footage to a lifetime of sub-HD quality. Others, especially the professionally crafted efforts like Wing Commander IV, could have utilized 16mm film, or maybe 35mm. The resolution potentially awaiting those titles is still unavailable in the home, but even at the current standard of 1080p, they could be dazzling.

Read More
Nintendo DS

San-X Land: Theme Park de Asobou

These action mini games are just about the only fun you’ll have playing this game at all, unless you get your thrills from puking rainbows and sparkles on to fluffy woodland creatures and furniture with animal faces on them. Each of the action mini games can be played on easy, medium or hard, and even on hard they aren’t hard, not in the least bit. Of the 8 character specific games, I’d have to say that Tare Panda’s is the most entertaining. It’s a balancing game where you must stack pudgy pandas on top of one another without all of them toppling over.

Read More
Modern PC Gaming

Homefront

Though Homefront is not really an adaptation to the interactive medium of writer John Milius’ previous work (Apocalypse Now, Red Dawn), you can see their ehem influence throughout the game’s story and setting. The world is intricately and brutally realized and I was itching to join the fight. In short order, my bus was rammed by a Resistance cell in order to secure me, the all-important pilot, for their mission. Unfortunately, the the game’s mechanics immediately got in my way.

Read More
Editorials

Pining for the Days of Weird Video Game Football

Now we only have a few outliers. Backbreaker Football and BCFX (to a lesser extent, the enjoyableBackyard Football series as well) are effectively it for this generation. Publishers avoid anything sans license, and thus, we’re stuck with only a handful of options. While few would want to relive the likes of the SNESMonday Night Football, doing so reveals an interesting mechanic that lets players break free for huge gains in a 2D, button mashing mode. Mike Ditka tried stopping gameplay while the QB selected a receiver. Pro Quarterback gave a shot in the arm to visuals via digitized sprites.

Read More
Super Famicom

Super Fire Pro Wrestling Queen’s Special

Released in June of 1995 on the Super Famicom (and apparently there was a PC Engine CD version released in February of that year), Queen’s Special was unique in that it was an officially licensed Fire Pro game. Besides the joshi games, all Fire Pro games, from the first one on the PC Engine to the last one released on the PS2 even here in the US (I’m not counting that little XBLA loser) have been unlicensed games. Sure, the characters would strongly resemble real life wrestlers, but they had no official permission to have them in the game. However, these were different. And they were officially licensed from All Japan Women’s Pro-Wrestling.

Read More
Game BoyHandheld Games

The Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle 2

The graphics of the game are quite good. Things look how they are supposed to look and you won’t run into objects you think are part of the background. Even people with vision problems like myself were able to detect the scenery quite successfully. Even the enemies look how they are supposed to look and that’s a very well done task by the developers. I do have to mention that the big headed bird Tweety was made bigger than its size but that’s understandable as you are playing a portable game and won’t recognize him if you see him

Read More
NES

Dragon Power

Obviously this was back well before Dragon Ball Z got popular along with a handful of other anime programs, so the rather curious decision was made to change many of the actual references to Dragon Ball. Even the titular objectives – Dragon Balls – was changed to ‘Crystal Balls’. There are a lot of things I did not remember from this game, only that there was a very loose connection between this game and Dragon Ball Z, starting with the main character named Goku.

Read More
DOS GamesPC

Softporn Adventures

The game’s cover features three nude women and a male waiter in a hot tub. The hot tub is actually that of Sierra’s owners, Ken and Roberta Williams. From left to right, the first woman is Diane Siegel, On-Line’s production manager. The second is Susan Davis, On-Line’s bookkeeper and the wife of Bob Davis, the creator of Ulysses and the Golden Fleece. The waiter was Rick Chipman, an actual waiter from a local restaurant, The Broken Bit. The woman on the far right is Roberta Williams. The ad was considered somewhat scandalous at the time because of the degree of nudity displayed.

Read More