Sunday, July 31, 2011

Best of the Something: Championship Karate


The best part to start complaining about Best of the Best Championship Karate by Electro Brain for the Genesis has the be the back of the box. First of all, the screenshots appear to have been made by taking pictures of a television, so you can already tell the quality of this game must be very high. The graphic design is also quite bad, with a giant wall of text off to the left. The writing makes it sound like it was made by some people that sure liked the kung fu movies of the eighties. This is cemented by the fact it says it is about a tournament called the “Kumate.” Obviously, they were going for “Kumite,” like in the movie Bloodsport, but even that movie was weird in it's choosing to name a deadly fighting game tournament something that translates to “sparring.” I don't know much about Japanese, but I'm fairly sure a “kumate” would have something to do with bears.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Pryzm Chapter One: The Dark Unicorn


I don't think there a lot of games that have made me laugh out load right there in the store, but considering what you see above, Pryzm Chapter One: The Dark Unicorn  definitely did. It's just a clusterfuck of weirdness that you just don't see anymore. I wouldn't be surprised to hear an NES game described as “a game where you play as a unicorn that uses magic to save enemies that have a plague” because that was a time when games were abstract and weird stories were invented to market games, but for a PS2 game from 2002, it's quite jarring. Unlike NES games, that weird story actually describes the game pretty well.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Dick Tracy's Least Absurd Incarnation


One day I will write about Dick Tracy for Genesis, but that day is not today. I don't know what happened to my copy of the game, so I'll just have to repurchase it. While the superior version, programmed by Sega, is a game I have such fond memories of, in the mean time I'll have to make due with this NES version from Bandai, which was programmed by Realtime Associates, whom have been around for a long time but never made anything noteworthy. I wanted to like the game because Dick Tracy is cherished, though inexplicable, part of my childhood, but the whole thing is just sloppy.
 
 










One of a few games that were seeking to capitalize on the 1990 Dick Tracy film, the NES one isn't fun. At least the concept for the game was ambitious. On paper it seems really neat. You play as the titular detective, and it is your job to solve the case, find the responsible criminal, and bring him or her to justice. There are multiple suspects, and you have to figure out which is responsible by traveling through an open world and discovering clues. Sometimes when going from place to place you need to deal with random enemies. When investigating an area, you need to show restraint and you can't just go shooting everybody you see.
 
 










So, I guess if someone were to do an NES demake of L.A. Noire, it might be remarkably similar to Dick Tracy. The problem with all the game's lofty goals is that it just doesn't work, and maybe it would have never worked on the old NES hardware. The game is split between overhead GTA-style traveling and standard 2D side-scrolling sections. While the amount of freedom allowed is impressive, there is just know way to figure where you actually need to go. The driving is awkward and you always feel like you are on rails even though you have complete control over where you go. You can fire a gun straight forward from the car to deal with other cars, and you can get out of the car and walk around in order to enter buildings and have better control over shooting, which is useful for dealing with the snipers on building tops.
 
 










In the side-scrolling sections, which are generally pretty small, you have to deal with enemies and find clues. If an enemy is unarmed, you have to punch them out, because if you shoot them you'll lose health, which is more annoying than interesting. Tracy has the usual skills of crouching and jumping, which you need to do in order to climb stairs, unlike the more logical Castlevania method of walking on them. While it is nice that you are able to shoot straight or at an upward or downward angle, because there are many enemies at different heights throughout the levels, it would have been nice to have been able to shoot vertically.
 
 










The combat isn't very fun. It is difficult to the drop on enemies and kill them without taking a hit, and that is frustrating because Tracy has very little life, and the game has no extra lives or continues, though it does have a password system to skip back to the various cases. Maneuvering seems sluggish and the Tommy Gun upgrade is just the same gun but it wastes ammunition faster by spraying a bunch of bullets when it doesn't take make to actually kill an enemy. A game that mixed the investigation/text-adventure format of Portopia Renzoku Satsujin Jiken with a more action-based exploration style could have been really interesting, but Dick Tracy isn't successful at either of those things, so I'll just stick to the arcade-style action of the Genesis game.

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Advent of Mega Man's Recent Fall


With the recent cancellation of Mega Man Legends 3, the last known Mega Man game to currently be in production, a lot of people have realized that the Mega Man franchise isn't doing too well. While it seems a bit alarmist to declare that Mega Man is dead, it is plain to see that he isn't doing as well as it was twenty, ten, or even five years ago. While this is a great blow against the prospects of charming games everywhere, and undoubtedly a dick move on Capcom's part, I'm sure we'll see more blue bomber some day.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Off On A Tangent: 100 Posts


It's weird to think that this is the 100th post on Poverty Game Night. When I started this about four months ago, I didn't know if it was going to last a week or if I was going to make more than a couple of posts, but somehow I've made it this far. I've started a few creative endeavors and followed through on far fewer. So, I find it bewildering that I've written about approximately a hundred games, produced approximately a hundred pages of pure text, and taken approximately eight hundred (though many were not used) screenshots. I've even been able to write about some games that I really love and stretch my creative muscle.

I Just Can't Wait To Be Lion King


The console versions of The Lion King are considered by most people I know as classic platformers, or at the very least, 16-bit games that they are nostalgic about, and I'm not entirely sure why. Granted, the movie undeniably invokes remembrances of joy from those of us who were young in the 90's, but the games just aren't all that great. Today I played the Genesis version of the game, just because it was there and I was bored, but when it came around time to write, I decided to play the Game Gear version by the forgettable Syrox Developments, because it seemed like an appropriate time to compare the portable version, which I've never played, with the Genesis version that I remember from my childhood.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Obligatory Shaq Fu Post


I don't need to tell you, random person that lived through the 90's, that Shaq Fu is a bad game. Still, it is a notoriously bad game. If it weren't for the existence of Kazaam, I could easily declare it the lowest point Shaq's career. It is even lower than “What's Up Doc? Can We Rock?,” or possibly anything from his four solo albums. But anyway, everyone knows Shaq Fu is terrible, so what angle can I come at this and still make it entertaining? For one, I purchased the Game Boy version of the game. For two, I beat it.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Exciting Sport of Faceball 2000


Faceball 2000 doesn't feel like a game as much as a tech demo.  It is a port of the Atari ST game, MIDI Maze from Xanth Software F/X.  Unusual for the time, the various ports of the game were done by the original developers and not farmed out to a different developer.  Xanth never really made any other games, so I guess the union of balls and faces was their passion.  Okay, that's enough of the obvious sexual references for the article, so on to explaining the actual game.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Shadow of the Beast II


I have a weird story about Shadow of the Beast. One time I was playing random roms at my brother's house while he was on the phone with a friend of ours. Our friend hears the sounds coming from the stereo and asks “are you playing Shadow of the Beast?” My brother asks me, and I say that I don't know because I didn't even stop read the title. So, our friend goes on to describe the game, and as it turns out I was in fact playing Shadow of the Beast. I promptly forgot about the game because it wasn't interesting any in way, and that is probably how I unwittingly purchased the game's sequel, Shadow of the Beast II  for Genesis.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Low G Man Is Not A Half-Life Mod Featuring Lil Jon


I friend of mine purchased Low G Man: The Low Gravity Man for me for. . . some reason. I guess just to see me write about it and add to the poverty collection. He probably chose this game in particular because it cost two dollars and it has oddly simple box art. Low G Man is a 1990 NES game developed by KID, the people responsible for Burai Fighter and partially responsible for Mendel Palace. Oddly enough, the game's most unique feature isn't the gravity.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Fun'N'Games'N'Shit


I am thoroughly disappointed by Fun'N'Games.  When I saw the game sitting on the shelf it seemed like something right up my alley.  It appeared to be another game like Art Alive! for the Genesis, but with extra non-painting modes like Mario Paint.  It even was capable of using the Sega Mega Mouse, which I don't have, but that's cool, right?  I've never come across one of these non-games that I couldn't squeeze some fun out of by doing some weird shit.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Milon's Secret Castle Full of Money and Honey


Often my reasons for selecting old games for purchase is completely arbitrary and stupid. Sometimes I'll buy a game because it has a goofy title, but most often I throw down my dollar on a game simply because I've never heard of it. In this case, I bought Milon's Secret Castle because its label was in nice condition. This wasn't my only reason, of course. It is a Hudson game, and as someone who hasn't really played many Hudson games, I felt like I should give one of their older NES title a try. The name of the game sounded vaguely familiar, but I couldn't place it. As it turns out, I had not only seen the game before, I had played it, or at least a hacked version, as a built in title for the Power Games, though not for much time.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Blades of Vengeance: An Intense Battle With Unbelievable Evil


When looking through Genesis games at a used game store today, a friend of mine decided to purchase Blades of Vengeance simply because under the title was written “Intense Battle With Unbelievable Evil.” Quite frankly, that description was worth dropping the two US dollars. It just sounds like it would be kinda fuckin' metal, and that seems like it would be entertaining. The game was made by Beam Software in 1993 for the Genesis. Beam Software has made quite a few games, but the only one I've ever actually played is the SNES version of Shadowrun, which was pretty neat.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Street Hoop: Magic On The Blacktop


Street Slam is three on three street basketball game for the Neo Geo.  It is basically the lovable Data East Corporation's response to the popularity of NBA Jam.  Street Slam is the name of the North American version in which teams come from various US cities, but the European version is known as Street Hoop, and in Japan it was given the most hilarious title of Dunk Dream.  In both of these versions the game is international, starring teams from various different countries.  While the over-the-top basketball game concept may not have been original, the game is still very charming and fun to play.

Gotcha! The Sport! The Exclamations!


In spite of the two exclamation points in the title, Gotcha! The Sport! is not a very exciting game.  Compared to other NES game I received from my brother’s trip to a retro game expo, The Mafat Conspiracy, this is downright dull.  Considering it is a game from LJN I guess I should just be thankful it isn’t a complete unplayable mess like all of their licensed Marvel games.  I first heard about this game in Chrontendo, but when I was handed the cartridge I couldn’t remember it at all.  You’d think a paintball based light gun game would be more memorable.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Torchlight


Thanks to Steam’s absurd summer sales this year, I’ve picked up Torchlight for a tiny amount of money.  The most frequent way I’ve heard Torchlight described is as “a single-player Diablo to hold you over until Diablo III” and that is pretty accurate. It was created at Runic Games by some of the Diablo games’ key staff, with the express goal of creating a spiritual successor.  There haven’t been many action RPG’s in the mold of Diablo lately, and far fewer have been as successful as Torchlight.  I guess the market has moved on to the more consistently profitable MMO’s , but there is definitely a charm and a lot of fun to this type of game.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Metal Slug's 1st Portable Mission


I have a lot of respect for the Metal Slug series, but I could never spend a whole lot of time with it. Initially this was a financial problem, as the difficulty the game mixed with my frugal nature made dropping tokens into game that could kill me five seconds in a risky decision. When emulators came around, the Metal Slug games were something of a short term distraction. They are ruined by free play, because it removes any incentive to get good, and I always end up mindlessly running through the game. It has given me an appreciation for the art and the spectacle, but not finesse of actually playing.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Golgo 13 in The Mafat Conspiracy


My brother recently to some sort of retro game expo, so I told him to bring me back something cheap that he's never heard of. This is how I came into possession of The Mafat Conspiracy for the NES. I had never heard of the game either, but as it turns out that it is the sequel to Vik Tokai's Golgo 13: Top Secret Mission. In Japan, that title was called Golgo 13 Episode 1: Twilight of the Gods, and this one was Golgo 13 Episode 2: The Riddle of Icarus. While the original game is fondly remembered for being relatively Mature for an NES title and for generally being strange, it must not have sold particularly well for Vic Tokai to have decided to remove the Golgo 13 branding from the packaging. It's not surprising considering the obscurity of Golgo 13 in the US.