Thursday, June 30, 2011

Gonna Be A Top Shot Hero

Remington Top Shot isn't really much of a game. It is more of a shooting range simulation. The cover advertises it as “interactive target shooting” which is accurate, but I have to wonder why the word “interactive” was required. Surely there aren't CD's out there being sold “non-interactive target shooting.” What would that even be? Twelve audio tracks of guns being fired and shell casings hitting concrete floors? The back of the case bills it as “a game for gun enthusiasts,” which tells me that 1998 was a sad time to be a gun enthusiast that could not afford to shoot a real gun or go to a real shooting range.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I Return To Samus With Metroid II

I have a weird history with the Metroid series in that most of my life I had no history with it. In spite of the fact I've loved nearly every non-linear platformer in the Castlevania series over the years, Metroid had somehow eluded me. One day I saw a cheap copy of the original Metroid for NES in a used game store, and I decided to give the series a try. In spite of some of the game's general oldness, repetitively designed environments, and password-based save system, I really got into. I liked it enough that I actually beat it, making it one of the very few NES games I've ever completed. I went on play through Super Metroid, Metroid Fusion, and Metroid Zero Mission, in that order. I consulted my Metroid loving friends, and they almost unanimously told me not to bother with Metroid II: Return of Samus, and the only reason I ended up purchasing it was because of the low price.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

I Miss When Sonic Only Had Triple The Trouble

Back in the 90's there were quite a few Sonic The Hedgehog games that not many people played. No, I don't mean Knuckles Choatix or Sonic's Schoolhouse. I am referring to the various Sonic games for the Game Gear and Master System. These 8-bit versions of Sonic were something like second-class citizens compared to the Genesis titles, but considering they were released for a portable system and a dead console, it's not hard to see why. Sonic The Hedgehog Triple Trouble is the fourth Sonic game for the Game Gear, the second that wasn't a port of a Genesis game, and one of many developed by Aspect, the people responsible for that terrible Game Boy version of The King of Fighters '95. Based on the quality of this game, I think I'll lay the blame for that game on Takara.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Tales of Tales of Phantasia

The release of Tales of Phantasia on GBA may have been the second of multiple remakes/re-releases, but it was the only one that actually made it to the US. It's the first game in the now massive Tales series, and is in some ways indicative of the problems with timing the series has had in the states. The SNES version came out near the end of that console's life cycle in 1995, and spending the time to translate and release it in 1996 at the earliest probably didn't seem like a moneymaking opportunity. I'm not sure why, but the Playstation version never made it over here either, so it's sequel, Tales of Destiny, became the first Tales game to come out here.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Buck Rogers: Countdown to Doomsday

During the “console wars” of the 16-bit era, one of the major complaints about the Genesis was its lack of RPGs. Sure, it had the Phantasy Star series and the Shining Force series, but it never had the sheer volume of RPGs that the SNES had. One thing it did have were more western-style RPGs, such as the much more pen-and-paper RPG influenced version of Shadowrun, and the subject of this post, a port of SSI's Buck Rogers: Countdown to Doomsday. The original PC version is based on the pen-and-paper Buck Rogers XXVC universe, and the Genesis version released a year later was an interesting case of compromise between deep RPG roots and console usability. I am probably one of a very small group of people in my generation whom has treasured childhood memories of Buck Rogers.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Shatterhand: Exploderobot

When I asked a friend what game I should play, he told me Shatterhand, and I thought he was just making shit up. As it turns out, Shatterhand actually exists, and it's a neat little NES action game from Harvest Moon creators Natsume. In Japan it was turned into a licensed game for on of their many Power Rangers-like shows, Super Rescue Solbrain, but it was an original IP with some hilarious box art. It's a typical looking guy with a plain white t-shirt, but he's got these goofy sunglasses you'd only see in the 90's and his hand is tearing away to reveal he's a robot or something.

Monday, June 20, 2011

XIII: A Well-Drawn Forgotten Classic

Firmly placed somewhere on a hypothetical list of games that I love that could really use a sequel is XIII. It is a thoroughly enjoyable, albeit somewhat flawed, experience and the fact that its developers, Ubisoft Paris, have been working making games like Just Dance and Michael Jackson: The Experience. I accepted a long time ago that a sequel would never come, but finding out that the game's creators have had success making shit like that is like twisting that was stuck in me eight years ago. I can't blame Ubisoft for not making a sequel to a game that apparently didn't make them much money, but it is still pretty depressing.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Herpy Derpy Hungry Dinosaurs

I was looking for a random SNES game to write about, so I skimmed through a list of games and landed on Hungry Dinosaurs because it had a funny name and I've never heard of it. It was released in Europe under that title, and as Harapeko Bakka in Japan, but was never released in the US. It is a fairly mysterious game to me because I couldn't find much information about it online. All I really know is that it was developed by Magical Company and was published by Sunsoft. I couldn't find out much about Magical Company either, and all I know is they were around for about ten years and started out by porting Fatal Fury to some Japanese home computer. They never made any games I've heard of.

Greendog: The Beached Surfer Dude!

Nobody makes games like Greendog: The Beached Surfer Dude! anymore. It seems increasingly rare that a game company takes a wacky subject and runs with it. I guess games are just too expensive to do something risky these days. Greendog is a 2D platformer for the Genesis released in 1992. It was developed by the Sega Technical Institute, Sega of America's group of programmers that created Comix Zone and Kid Chameleon, as well as assisted on various Sonic titles and Die Hard Arcade. The team was eventually fell apart with the cancellation of Sonic X-Treme, their Sonic game for the Saturn.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Game Boy Donkey Kong Makes Me Feel Foolish

Donkey Kong for the Game Boy is a deceptive game. A friend of mine left his copy of the game at my house a while back, but I didn't bother actually playing it because I've played Donkey Kong on the Atari 2600, the NES, and in arcade, and I thought “what is there really to see in another port?” So, yesterday I purchased a Game Boy Player because if something is capable of playing Game Boy games, I want to own it, and when I plugged it in my friends told me to put in his copy of Donkey Kong because he wanted to see his save game. I thought “what could there be to save in Donkey Kong? Does he have a really good high score or something?”

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Duke Nukem In COLOR!

In celebration of the release of Duke Nukem Forever, I thought it would be nice to write about one of the many Duke Nukem games made by not 3D Realms during the 14 years it was in development. This one is the simply titled Duke Nukem made for the Game Boy Color in 1999. Don't let the box art fool you, this game is not a port of Duke Nukem 3D, which clearly would not have worked on the meager hardware, it is actually something of a remake of Duke Nukem II. You know, back from when Duke was one of the PC's better 2D platformers.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Things Donkey Kong Will Leave Off His Résumé

I wasn't sure what to write about today, but then a friend, whom I assume hates me, sent me this. Now, a logical person would think that, after seeing this video, I would be inspired to play Donkey Kong 64. In this case, logical people would be wrong, because when I saw this I didn't think about how terrible the game is, I thought about the only Donkey Kong related thing that is more terrible than Donkey Kong 64. Those of you unfortunate enough to have experienced it already know what I'm referring to, The Donkey Kong Country CG cartoon from the late nineties. The idea of a DKC series doesn't seem all that bad, it's a series with some quirky characters on a colorful backdrop, but anyone who has seen the series knows that it was not well executed.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Chakan: The Forever Man

When I first decided to write about Chakan, I figured it would be a quick and simple article. Sure it's a weirdly dark action platformer for the Genesis and Game Gear, but it was only one game that was only ported once, so how complicated of a history could it have? As it turns out, this undead pilgrim-looking guy has had a lot of behind-the-scenes drama. Chakan began life as an indie comic book that, as far as I can tell, was never particularly successful. Someone at Sega must have been a fan, because in 1992 it was adapted as a video game. The Genesis version was the first game developed by Extended Play Productions, who went on to exclusively make FIFA games for the next five years and then dissapear. The Game Gear version was developed by an unnamed Sega internal studio.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Wolfchild: A Werewolf With Laser Fists

Wolfchild is an action platform game by Core Designs. They are most known as the original developers of the Tomb Raider series, but before that they made games like this and Chuck Rock. It was originally released on the Amiga, but was ported to all the major consoles of the early nineties. The version I played was the one for SNES. It's a pretty unremarkable game mechanically, but it is memorable for the odd core mechanic and hilarious art design.

Friday, June 10, 2011

2 B A Cloud Master

Fuck Cloud Master. It is absolutely no fun to play. For those of you that don't know, and hopefully that is all of you, Cloud Master is a side-scrolling shooter for the Sega Master System. It is a port of the Japanese arcade game Chuuka Taisen by Taito. It was ported to the Famicom and various other Japanese home computers, but the Master System version is strange because it was only released in the US and EU for the Master System and not in Japan on the equivalent Sega Mark III. Even so, there was nothing particularly different about this version.

Link's Awakening DX and 3DS Virtual Console

I have a weird history with The Legend of Zelda series. I've played a lot of the “main” Zelda games, but I never beat any of them. I know it's weird, but I never fell in love with the series like so many people, and I've probably put more time into Landstalker and Alundra than the Zelda series as a whole, though I never finished those games either. My group of friends and I recently played through The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures on a ridiculous 4 Gamecube, 1 Wii, 4 Game Boy Player, 5 television setup, but that's a story for another day. I'll just say that I'm pretty sure it was the first Zelda game that I'd ever beaten, and that's kind of sad.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

River City Ransom EX: Even Ransomer

River City Ransom is a tough game to write about because it is hard to stop playing it. I didn't actually play the NES game when I was a young kid, but I was one of the many people that discovered it later on emulator. It's a rare game because it has really good fighting physics, a lot of depth for a brawler, and it is downright fun. I recently picked up the 2004 remake, River City Ransom EX for the Game Boy Advance, for only a few dollars. I'd heard mixed opinions on it from friends, but for the price I figured it was worth checking out.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Eternal Champions: A Fate Worse Than Death

The popularity of fighting games in the 90's has more than a few pitfalls. As primitive as the early Street Fighter games were and as much as I don't like Mortal Kombat, I have to admit they became the basis of 2D fighters because they got the core of the game right. Most of the games that tried to capitalize on their popularity superficially recreated the games they aspired towards, but messed up the formula. Eternal Champions  was Sega's attempt to make a 2D fighter, and it is definitely one of those games that doesn't really understand what makes fighters good.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Dr. Chaos: His Doctorate Is Not Actually In Chaos, That Is Just His Surname

I don't know where to start with Dr. Chaos because it is such a strange game. It is an action-adventure game developed by a company called Marionette, whom as far as I can tell hasn't made any other games that people in the US have heard of. In Japan it was released on the Famicom Disk System, published by a company with one of my favorite names, Pony Canyon. Of course, in the US it was released on cartridge for the NES, so it was one of those games that you could save in the Japanese version, but had to remember passwords for the US version. One thing that was surprising to me was that the box art for the US and Japanese version were basically the same, and it pretty much depicts the stuff that is in the game, which I think is rare for a 1988 NES game.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Star Wars: Flight of the Falcon

Sometimes after playing a particularly bad game I take a sick pleasure in discovering the company that developed it has went out of business. Pocket Studios did nothing but contribute to the glut of terrible licensed games for the Game Boy Advance. As it turns out, Star Wars: Flight of the Falcon  was the studio's final game. I think the main problem with this game is that the developers failed to realize there is a difference between what the GBA hardware can do and what it can do well.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

An Art Alive Exhibit

Art Alive is generally remembered as “Sega's Mario Paint,” which in spite of the fact it came out a year before Mario Paint is pretty much accurate. It's not like Sega invented the idea of a console art program anyway, I mean, wasn't there that dinosaur coloring game for NES? Art Alive wasn't as robust as Mario Paint, and it didn't have a mouse, but it was a decent little paint program. Instead of talking shit for a few paragraphs like I usually do, I'll just display some of the wonderful art I made using this game. I hope to see some detailed interpretations and critiques in the comments.