150 Snes Games at the speed I can handle

Your link to the past. Talk about anything to do with games or consoles from years gone by.
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kerr9000
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Re: 150 Snes Games at the speed I can handle

Post by kerr9000 » Mon Apr 17, 2017 8:39 pm

TOP GEAR 2

Top Gear was one of the first racing games to be released on the Super Nintendo, that's probably one of the reasons I made it one of the early reviews I did for the SNES (it was my 27th review). I wanted to leave it a good while before touching on the sequel but I guess I went and forgot and left it alone for a bit to long, so here I am a long time latter looking at its Sequel Top Gear 2 or as the Japanese would name it Top Racer 2. Again this game was nothing to do with the show of the same name.


Top Gear 2 was released in August 1993 for the SNES about a year after the first one. The original game was only released on the SNES and although Top Gear 2 came out on the SNES first it made its way to both the Mega Drive/Genesis and the Amiga in 1994.


Just like with the first game Top Gear 2 was developed by Gremlin Interactive and published by Kemco (On the SNES at least Vic Tokai published it for the MegaDrive/Genesis but that's not really relevant here).


When reviewing the first game I noted that before making Top Gear as the same developers had created the famous Lotus games which had been released earlier on the Amiga and the Sega Mega Drive and that therefore they had a fair degree of experience in this field, so by this point you'd hope that with having both that experience and having previously worked with the SNES and having produced a very well received racer they would have an excellent base to work from, then again there is the chance they'd just slap a 2 on it and add a token sprinkle of extra content, so if you are so inclined you can play a little game here and try to guess which way this will go.


If you have played the original Top Gear then when you start playing Top Gear 2 you are likely to notice very quickly that this time you do not get to choose a starting car. In the original game you had a choice of four cars to choose from. When you first start racing if you have played the original you will probably find that it feels pretty much the same. Yet it doesn't take long at all for you to realise that there is a lot more challenge here, in the original game it was quiet easy to quickly find yourself in first place again and again its not quiet like that this time around, in this one you have to fight to come in a decent place, I am not saying this is a bad thing however it depends on what your personal opinion is when it comes to a challenge.


The main reason you don't pick a car is because this game is more about upgrading, the higher place you manage to finish in the higher amount of cash you win, and with the cash you win you buy upgrades for your car, ones to make it more durable, to make it steer better, or to make it accelerate faster for example. This does add an extra layer to the game but does it make things better well yes and no. It does add to the game, it gives you more of a reason to race and something to do with the cash you earn, it also makes you feel like you have a career to pursue but there is a fly in the ointment so to speak. The problem is that with how much you earn being connected to where you place it can mean that if you are qualifying but not placing high enough to make enough cash then you can find that you back yourself into a corner where the competitors appear to be more upgraded than you are and you have set yourself up for failure.


If you want to do well overall then you will need to learn to upgrade wisely and consistently so as not to find yourself in a place where you are outclassed by the competition. Yeah if your opponents didn't get harder then this would ruin the whole upgrading idea basically making you unbeatable once you'd slapped on a few upgrades, when you think of it like this its a very hard to implement a system like this and have it work, one way they could have worked around this would be to have you be allowed to enter extra races, for example prize only races which while not progressing the game allow you to earn the extra money you might not have made if you hadn't placed high enough.


The game also features something else the original didnt and thats damage, your car can become damaged and then drive worse and slower, this makes you need to be a little more careful, if this is a good thing or not depends on if you like being careful.


Ok so I realise that I have spent the vast majority of this review comparing it to the first one but thats because its these diffrences which make it a came of its own. Yes the grasphics and sound are roughly the same as the first entry but they have changed enough things to make this more than a cookie cutter sequel, is it better or is it worse? Well that strongly depends on what you want in a racer, do you want upgrades and damage or not? If you want those things try this game if you dont then the first is best for you. I would give this the exact same score 7 out of 10 and just say go for the one which sounds the most like your kind of thing.


When I talked about the original I said that it was cheaper to get the second one with the first one being about £8 for an import or £15 for a UK version (cart only) and I said the sequel would be cheaper, its funny how times change, when I did a little searching for this review I found you can now get Top Gear for the SNES for around £8 for a Uk version and there actually seems to be a lot less copies of the sequel around with the cheapest copy I could find being £15 for a loose cart. I guess it just goes to show how the retro game market can change and flow one way and another.

kerr9000
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Re: 150 Snes Games at the speed I can handle

Post by kerr9000 » Sun May 14, 2017 8:18 pm

SNES Review 117: Zoop
So usually when I am looking to do a SNES review I am thinking about the story behind the review, sometimes its a story about how the game first came in to my life, did I own it as a kid or did I play it at a friends, but I have nothing here, I have to admit that I didnt as far as my memory goes ever see any footage of this game back in the old games magazines of the time nor do I remember seeing it in shops.

In fact the first I ever saw of Zoop was when I brought it for the megadrive basically just because it was cheap, in all honesty I didnt at the time even realise that it was multiplatform, it was in fact very multi-platform as it was on the Game Boy, the Game Gear, the MegaDrive/Genesis, the Atari Jaguar, the PlayStation, the PC (MS-DOS), the Macintosh, the Sega Saturn (only in Japan) and of course because I am talking about it here as a part of my 150 Super Nintendo Reviews project I think you have figured out that it was on the SNES.



So Zoop is a puzzle game and it was developed by Hookstone Productions, a video game company I can actually find very little information about they were a UK-based video game development group which was apparently active from 1994 until around 1998. As far as I can find out they were only ever responsible for this game Zoop, a game called Sentinel Returns and then a game called Ferox which was cancelled before being released. So its not like there is a whole pile of past or future games that were made by the same people for me to compare it to, I guess ultimatly as a puzzle game it will be compared to the likes of Tetris, Dr Mario and the various other puzzlers which have stood the test of time and leap straight into the average game players mind.

Ok so lets try and explain what you do in this game, I will try to keep it basic but I think its actually a rather hard game to explain. You control a triangle in the center of the screen you move it around the center area making it point in diffrent directions. To start with a piece comes in from one of the sides of the screen and if there is a piece in its way it pushes it, your not just watching one part of the screen though, two consecutive pieces will never come in from the same angle,it might come from the left or right or top or bottom of the screen and if a piece falls into the center square, the game is over.

You will notice that your triangle starts as one colour well if you shoot a piece of the same color as your triangle,well then it will be "zooped" (disapear) and you will gain points for this. If the piece you shot is green and your triangle is green then youll destroy it, if the piece behind this piece is green youll destroy that too and so on and so on until you meet a diffrent colour. If you shoot a piece which is a diffrent colour to you, well then you wont make it disapear youll simple turn your triangle into whatever the colour you have just shot is. So if your triangle is green and you hit a green and theres another green behind it and then a red behind that you will eliminate the greens and then your triangle will turn red hopefully that makes sense, once you have played for a handful of moments it soon becomes second nature.

This all sounds pretty basic but the more pieces you can zoop in one go the more points you score, whenever you zoop the required quota for a level the game will speed up, and then there are special pieces which come into play including a proximity bomb and a line bomb and colour bomb also as the game progresses distracting backgrounds are purposly added in to try and up the challange factor this was used as a unique selling point for the game and was referd to as opti-challenge graphics, I could see some people liking this and it clearly pissing other people off, I found myself kind of falling in to the middle of this sometimes I find it annoying and sometimes my brain just seems to filter it all out for me

The sound effects in the game are kind of cartoon inspired and the music well I think at first it is catchy but soon it will make you want to pull your own ears off, yes it does that good old puzzle thing of seeming to try to be tense when the gameplay is tense but it just doesnt really cut it for me, add on to this that the graphics are just about as basic as they could possibly be, sure everything moves smothly and its quiet a bright game but there is nothing here that tests the system in even the slighest way. I am not going to say that the game cant be fun in small bursts but its just that there are much better puzzle games out there than this, it is fun ismall dozes but its ultimatly a forgetable experiance, there is a reason you hear people go on and on about Tetris and Dr Mario and Bust A Move insted of Zoop. I would give this game a very average 5 and would say not to buy a cart of it unless you can get it for about £5 and then only if you like puzzle games as this is very unlikly to be the game to convert someone who is not a fan of them.

kerr9000
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Re: 150 Snes Games at the speed I can handle

Post by kerr9000 » Mon May 15, 2017 12:55 pm

SNES Review 118: Spectre

Originally Spectre was a Video game for the Apple Macintosh, developed in 1990 by Peninsula Gameworks and published in 1991 by Velocity Development. It was a 3D tank battle game basically something on the lines of the old arcade classic Battlezone by Atari (which came out 10 years earlier in the 1980's), the game did very well for itself which is proberbly why around 4 years latter a SNES version was made. I guess this is a bit of a pleasent change in a way seeing a game make its way from the Apple Macintosh on to the PC after I have coverd so many Amiga games which made there way to the SNES. Well the Macintosh game scored rave reviews.

The SNES version of the game was made by a company called Synergistic a video game developer founded in 1978 who fitting started out by publishing some of the earliest available games and applications for the Apple II family of computers. They continued developing games for various platforms into the late 1990s making 4 SNES games in total this being the second game they made for the platform (the only one I own and therefore proberbly the only one I will be reviewing).

Ok so there is basically no story to this game to explain so I guess I will just have to explain what it is that you do. Well you play the part of the pilot of a tank called a Spectre tank. This is not just any old tank the Spectre can do more than youd expect sure it can fire normal rounds but it can also shoot powerful grenades, it can also do things you really wouldnt expect a tank to be able to do such as jump, and warp into hyperspace to quickly get far away from enemies. Using the Spectre you go from level to level progressing by collecting a certain number of flags while enemy robot tanks attack you, the higher a level you get the more intellegent, quick and strong the enemy tanks get.

The Games graphics although done in a 3D style are incredably basic, the floor is basically a never ending chess board and the only diffrence between levels is the colour of half of the squares (half are always black). You have large geometric shapes cubes, spheres, and pyramids which are all colorful, enemy tanks basically look nothing like thanks though, essentially they look triangular a bit like one of those flipper robots you see so often on Robot Wars.

Other than the enemy tanks, the flag you need to collect, and the various shapes the stages are barren. There is literally nothing else too see, so its quiet a bland game really once youve seen one level you have pretty much seen them all, things might get tougher with enemy tanks being faster or smarter but they never look any diffrent.

The Sound in this game is hardly worth a mention there is some very basic background music that is ominous and fitting I guess but it also is not the best as far as quality goes, its kind of painful. The sound effects are basic in the extreme there are pretty much only like 4 sound effects the sound of your tanks gun firing, the sound of something getting hit and the sound of you getting hit and thats about your lot apart from well there is a robot voice which says game over and level complete and such but it sounds super muffled. All in all though the sound is not much of a selling point for this game at all.

There is one single player mode and four multiplayer modes to choose from. The single player mode I have basically all ready talked about in discussing how the game works, as for the multiplayer well there is one where it's you and a drone vs. a friend and a drone which is basically 2 on 2 capture the flag, a free for all where the winner is the one who destroys the most tanks, a mode where the one who captures the most flags wins and then finally ''Allied Assault'' which is just basically a 2 player co-operative version of the single player mode.

One of the biggest issues with this game is that it came out a whole year after StarWing/StarFox came out, and it compares very very poorly to that game, sure the graphics in starfox might mostly just be diffrent shapes but they are put togther in a wide variety of ways, each level looks diffrent, the enemies look diffrent, the thing is playing this game has just made me think even more about StarFox about how much it did right about how it pieced togther every little element in a way which produced well video game magic, everything just slots togther perfectly to make somthing thats much bigger and brighter than its elements this just doesnt happen with Spectre.

I yet again have to give another game a solid average 5 out of 10, look the game is fun in short doses and doesnt really do anything that badly, but things could just be so much better and there are much better titles for snes collectors and players to buy, sure if you see this for about £5 and want to give it a shot then go for it, but its really not worth going out of your way to track a copy down or paying through the teeth for it.

kerr9000
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Re: 150 Snes Games at the speed I can handle

Post by kerr9000 » Tue May 16, 2017 8:03 pm

Snes Review 118: The Incredible Hulk

I have previously talked about how the names on a box could be the diffrence between you grabbing or not grabbing a game back in the SNES days and there are three names which come in to play with this particular game and I actually want to handle all 3 of them one at a time, I am going to start with Probe because well after all they are the ones who actually programmed this game.

Probe Software was founded in 1984 by Fergus McGovern and Vakis Paraskeva, later being renamed Probe Entertainment, I suppose really there biggest claim to fame in the console world would be the fact that they were responsible for the MegaDrive ports of Mortal Kombat 1 and 2. Its not like thats all Probe did though they infact made over 50 titles on over 10 diffrent platforms one of the nine SNES games they made was the game I am reviewing right now. So do Probe still exist today? Nope not at all, they were acquired by Acclaim back in october 1995 were rebranded with the name Acclaim Studios London which was latter rebranded to Acclaim Studios Cheltenham and which then died along with Acclaim when it went bankrupt in 2004.

The game was published by US GOLD a company pretty much worthy of a whole post themselves, but here I just want to touch on them briefly. Now recently I have been talking and posting quiet a lot about the Sinclair Spectrum and US GOLD is a name most spectrum owners would have known well. U.S. Gold was founded in Birmingham in 1984 as the publishing division for a software-distribution company called Centresoft. Its primary purpose was to republish popular American computer games in the UK and Europe. The problem with them is that although they published a lot of things there success rate was kind of fifty fifty half good half bad, this name on the box actually did the game a lot more harm in my oppinion than having Probes name would have.

The real name that sold this game at least for me was the Marvel name, now who doesnt know of Marvel Comics creators of Spiderman, the X-Men, DeadPool, DareDevil and of course the Hulk. I am sure I have mentioned this before but I love comics and not just Marvel but also DC and even the lesser well known stuff and most of them are just filled to the brim with stuff that would seem to anyone with any kind of re3asoning factor to be things ripe to put in a game but as most will proberbly know pretty much for every good game featuring a comic book character there has been one featuring a stinker but back when this came out well I was a little eaiser to excite. Ok originally when I purchased this game it was only partially because of the Marvel Comics it was also because this along with other games I have reviewed in the past (Metal Marines and Smash Tennis) were SNES games which some shop or other decided to sell for a low price despite them being new, in this case the price was an outstanding £14.99, as with the other games this meant that not only I got it but pretty much everyone I knew with a SNES got it.

I remember the day I originally purchsed this game, I was in town with a group of friends and we were looking for something to spend our cash on, most of us proberbly had about £15 max and maybe a second hand game or two in our backpacks, pretty much expecting that maybe if we traded both old games and some cash in we could find a deal and get something not to bad. We had been to a couple of diffrent places and then we came to one store all of us ended up going upstairs in the shop (it was either a game or games boutique store my minds a little blank on which it was) and there we were met with a pile of copies of The Incredable Hulk on the shelves brand new in perfect condition with the aformentioned £14.99 label on them. Nowdays this doesnt seem that impressive as decent games end up being cheap a few weeks after release all the time, its £40 one week £30 the next and £20 the week after but I think a lot of that is due to online shops and competition, the market for games was very diffrent back then and when you saw something cheap you didnt really have much time to think about it, so I grabbed it and rushed to the counter as did several of my friends, we had all spent up so we all headed back home and went our seperate ways.

Now they always say that people look at old games through rose specticles, you remember a game as being wonderful as most of its good points stick in the head and you forget the bad bits, well I wrote the following just before playing this game for review. I have very fond memories of quiet a few games but when I stop and try and remember the Indredible Hulk the main thing I remember is crushing dissapointment, I remember the graphics being quiet bright and I remember it being a bit maze like and also that sometimes you became Banner Hulks human form, lots of identical grunt type enemies, I also remember selling it feeling like I had been tricked and that the shop that sold it me knew it was a pile of poo and had thrown the cheap price on to it because they knew that it was the only way they would shift there copies. I remember feeling very bitter about it when in truth looking back now I have no idea why, part and parcel of gaming back then even more so than now was taking a wild stab at whatever games you could get your hands on and after all when Id lucked out getting Smash Tennis and Metal Marines in simmilar deals well you could argue I was due a bad one.

You might be wondering why I decided to buy Hulk again now if my feelings on it were so strongly negative well I was looking for reasonably priced games I didnt own. I had seen the Incredable Hulk in a few indy retro shops for £15 for a loose cart and tottally dismissed it, but when I saw it for £6 online for a loose cart including shipping I began to think about it, I looked up a few reviews and was suprised that it wasnt considerd a stinker, infact when you look at some of the reviews for it well Nintendo Power gave it 3.3 out of 5 and GameSpot gave it 7.7 out of 10, this kind of made me begin to doubt myself. I have always thought that I was a gamer who was willing to give games a fair chance in fact I used to get annoyed with my older brother for dismissing a game if it made him jump too much or there was a maze section or if you had to go a full 5 minutes without killing something, yet here I sat wondering if I had been a little hasty with this game all those years ago, and so with that thought in my mind I decided to buy the game.

Ok so Now I have played the game a whole bunch I am going to cut to the chase and talk about it, first lets start with the story. So basically your the Incredible Hulk and your well making your way through five levels each of which ends with you battling a Marvel Comics villain if you for any reason dont want to know who theses are then drop down a few lines now... Ok you face The Abomination (who appears as a sub-boss in every level), the Rhino, Absorbing Man, Tyrannus, and finally the Leader. Ok I admit this is less a story and more a description of what you do, but I dont have the manual or the box and I am assuming that the whole story thing was left down to a small blurb in these. If you leave the game on the title screen you dont get an intro just every so often it goes to a high score table, and when you actually start the game all you are met with is a very brief comic style cut scene of Banner turning in to the hulk, you do get little bits of explanation between stages but they pretty much amount to ''Hulk beat Villian X so he wanderd off some place else but oh no he fell into Villian Y's fiendish trap''. So for all extents and purposes theres no real story, there are some villians to beat but no massive reason behind it that you get told about at least, there are also no major supporting characters, and certainly no plot twists or anything to make you keep playing. Now I know some might think I am being harsh and that games were simply like that and that I am spoiled by the New Marvel Cinematic Universe and the way it throws all manner of heroes togther but not all super hero games were like this back then at all. I am now just quickly going to compare it to a SNES game I dont own and therefore wont be reviewing any time soon just for some perspective and this game I am speaking of is Spiderman Maximum Carnage. You see in Maximum Carnage not only do you get a whole bag full of Villians but you also get a well told story and you even get absolute piles of Marvel cameos with all kinds of heroes showing up some of them being the typical sort everyone will have heard of like Captain America and others being less well known sorts like FireStar and Cloak & Dagger. Hulk was one of the original Avengers and the dude cant even get a quick walk on from a single Avenger?

Ok so on to the graphics well the Hulk looks pretty darn good, he is big and green and of course he is wearing his trademark shorts. He makes the standerd enemies look small and well when he smashes crates and telephone boxes it all looks pretty convinving. Enemy designs are well the word I would use would be decent, mostly the grunts of this game are well either robots or men in highly armoured sci fi style suits, they look clean and shiny but the probelm is a lack in variety which can make things awfully repetivie feeling, something thats not helped by rather plain and bland backgrounds. As you walk around youll pass piece after piece that basically looks the same so you will end up asking yourself if you have been here before. The bosses all look like they should though

The sound is basically a mixed bag, the music sucks, it basically feels like a short number of very short looping tunes that just feel well like they could be taken from any low budget video game. Now I am darn sure someone will say well what the heck did you expect music wise from something connected to a comic book character Mozart? Well go look up the end credits music from the 1978 Incredible Hulk TV show, I think its called something like "The Lonely Man" it is a very moving sad solo piece of piano music and it would make an awesome midi tune. As it stands though we are stuck with music of the most turd like. (I am happy though as I got to throw an Incredible Hulk TV show refrence into this review). The sound effects are good though Hulk actually sounds convincing with his noises and then you have the sounds of things smashing and crashing and decent gun related noises its just a shame its partnerd up with rubbish music.

Well lets get on to what really sells a game and makes it worth remembering and that of course is the gameplay. Well its an action platforming game with a decent move set, hulk can jump, punch, grab his enemies, toss them, tombstone them, crush them, he can do that super sonic hulk clap you see in the films and comics, he can stomp and after collecting the right pill he can run smashing through things. Oh yeah thats a little gem isent it Hulk picks up pills to power up and regain health, yes I know even otherwise indestructable characters kind of need life bars and the threat of death in games but seriously this game has health pills what wer ethey thinking? The gameplay at first seems quiet fun after all who hasnt wanted to be a super powerd hero and punch people and have the power of the hulk but the issue is that really you have so little to do with this power. The enemies, AI is virtually non-existent, they all run straight at you and straight to there doom, yeah for a little bit its fun to practice all of the moves on them, but soon well when you have punched, crushed, stamped and super sonic clapped one enemy well youve done it to them all it soon simply becomes dull and repetitive. The platform jumping type stuff is also as easy as pie, oh as for the becoming Banner thing thats something you do when your about to die, I guess I had forgotten that over the years. There is no save feature but its not the longest game in the world but your still not likly to see the end as I am affraid boredom will most likly have set in long before then.

So has my oppinion of this game actually changed? Yes it has, before I thought that it was a bad game however on replaying it and reflecting on it I instead have to say that no it is simply a very average and forgetable game, If I had to give it a score I would once again give it a 5 out of 10, this being the third 5 I have given makes me feel like I am stuck in a nightmare of the average, what I wouldnt give now to play either a gem or to sink my teeth in to something that truly sucks. If you must buy this game then look to pay about the same that I did for a loose cart but I would instead strongly advise you to use this money instead to pick up the first season of the old Incredible Hulk Tv Series which is about £5 on Amazon. For now I think I am just going to go and listen to that sad walking away music again while I toss this cartridge deep into my games cupboard and walk on by.

kerr9000
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Re: 150 Snes Games at the speed I can handle

Post by kerr9000 » Wed Jun 14, 2017 8:37 am

SNES Review 119: The Simpsons Bart's Nightmare
This might be a strange way to start a review but I want to talk about my memories of old games. Now when some people think about retro games they kind of jump to what are considerd the best of the best games the cream of the crop the Mario Worlds, the Links to the past but when you think back to gaming in your child hood the memories are far more mixed. We all struggled with certain games the kinds that angry reviewers would jump on now, we all had this one game we were stuck at a certain point on, and we all had the game we kind of just shoved in the slot everytime we needed to kill 5 minutes and didnt really know what we wanted to play, well for me that game was The Simpsons Bart's Nightmare.




The funny thing is that I have always die hard considerd this a SNES game, in my head it was only on the Super Nintendo, but the truth is it wasnt an exclusive or anything it was on the MegaDrive as well and both versions were developed by Sculptured Software, a Utah based developer which would latter be swallowed up by Acclaim and who sadly no longer exist. They were proberbly best known for Super Star Wars on the SNES and a whole bunch of WWF games in the early 1990’s.

The games plot is pretty simple, Bart Simpsohn is trying to write a essay for school and he falls asleep. While asleep Bart dreams that the pieces of paper his essay are written on have blow out of the window, and that he needs to try to collect as many of them as possible in order to complete the assiggment and get the best grade he can. Each piece of paper has basically found its way on to a windy street but Bart cant just pick them up, nope he has to jump on them and when he jumps on one he will be met with a choice of two coloured doors with each door leading to a diffrent dream scenario, a diffrent world with a task he must complete in it and if he manages the task he wins the page.

Ok so as for how this game plays you have a sort of main stage called Windy Road, this is the road the pages are blowing up and down. You can walk in either direction but the truth is theres not any real way to know if your near a page or not so you just pick a direction and wander and wander hoping you will soon find a page sometimes it feels like its taking forever. The game clearly likes to show that it is familiar with the show and it does a good job of making you feel like this is a part of that world, you will be attacked by bouncing heads of Jebidiah Springfield, Principal Skinner will walk towards you and he will force you into a suit, Lisa will play her saxophone and if the notes hit you it will reverse your controls, the school bullys will come along and try and get you and bart can even find his skate board to speed himself up. It is in this central world though that you actually take damage, if your hit here you loose Z's and if you loose them all you wake up, and sometimes this bit drags on and gets so boring youll simply loose Z's by bumping into things because half of your brain has turned off while playing the game.

Once you finally jump on one of the bits of your essay though then things change a whole bunch, you are taken to two doors, pick a door and you get to try your hands at one of the mini-games/stages. One stage is a bit of a shoot em up and see's you flying through the skies as Bartman firing your slingshot at enemies until you reach the boss, another see's you become the might Bartzillia who must go smashing through the streets wrecking havic with his flame breathe and lazer eyes, who must climb the tower and displace King Kong Homer. You also get to be Bart in what can best be described as an Indiana Jones Parody and you get to enter the world of Itchy and Scratchy and have them try to murder you. If you fail at any of the mini games its not game over but in some ways its worse as your bumped back down to windy street to look for a bit of paper again.

I have to not only give respect to the fact that this game seems to show a good degree of knowledge about the Simpsons as far as both characters and refrences go, but this game also looks the part, I cant complain about the graphics in the slightest. When this game is good oh boy is it good but then when its bad its just plain boring. I dont very often get to say this but Bart's Nightmare is a heck of a Marmite game, go all around the internet, look in diffrent old publications, ask people and you will see a whole bunch of diffrent oppinions on this games some will swear it is pure trash, others will say its mediocre and yet others love it, still enjoy it and want to defend it. So just incase you havent gotten my oppinion from reading this review I will lay it out here nice and plain and simple, I think the game is a 7 out of 10, I love it, I want to tell everyone to run out and grab it but I can not help but admit that the game is absolutly full of flaws. What you have here is a mini game collection that is held togther with a sort of hub stage (windy street), now the mini games are very fun and intresting in my oppinion and quiet a few of them could quite easily have been spun out in to intresting full games of there own but as they stand in this package they just get dragged down by an overly long overly annoying hub stage. You feel like your having to push yourself through windy street constantly to get to the good bit and in the end you cant help wishing that you could just jump straight to being bartman or bartzillia and its never a good thing when your wishing sections of a game away.

kerr9000
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Re: 150 Snes Games at the speed I can handle

Post by kerr9000 » Thu Jun 15, 2017 8:14 pm

Snes Review 120: eton mess no joe/Tommorows Joe

So eton mess no Joe is a boxing manga which came out in 1968 latter on itturned into an anime series, then a movie and obviously as I am talking about it in my series of SNES game reviews it was turned into a SNES game . A translation of the title would be Tommorow's Joe but outside Japan it is also referred to as Champion Joe, Rocky Joe or even just Joe. The SNES game was developed by Wave Corp and published by K Amusement Leasing two companies I have never even heard of, I tried to research Wave Corp and the information was almost none exsistant it looks like all they have made is Joe based titles, K Amusment Leasing dont seem to be doing anything much past this game either, still lets not worry about that and lets look at this game. This was a Japense only release so you either need a convertor or a modified SNES to play it.

Basically the game is an arcade style boxing game, the game is 2d and is played from a side on view, you can move backwards and forwards and you only actually use two buttons, one button punches the other button makes you put up your guard. To be perfectly honest it looks like a SNES game a good quality SNES game even with nice big sprites and great presentation with its intro/attract sequence full of manga but it plays like a NES title. If you play the one player story mode then you play the role of Joe Yabuki, the stories protagonist, but if you decide to play two player then you both get to choose from a whole bunch of boxers, the whole having to be Joe thing doesnt bother me as hey lets face it in Super Punch out your always Mac, it works for a boxing game when the story is that kind of Rocky type set up where your the underdog going after the title.

The game consists of 8 opponents which Joe must defeat one after another. Each one must be knocked out in the first round or Joe will have to begin the fight again, well as long as you have the continues to do so (you only get 3). Apparently all of these characters come from the manga which I guess if your a fan of that it would really help you eak a little more entertainment out of this game. The first two opponents are an absolute cake walk just keep punching before they punch and youll walk them easily enough but come the third opponent boy does that difficulty curve aim itself straight towards the sky.

Both you and your opponent can move left and right across the ring but not forwards and backwards your stuck on one plane with steppiong back being the only escape option at your disposal. So you punch, block, and dodge each other until one of you knocks the other down three times.Most likly youll enjoy this despite finding it limted when fighting the first two guys but then youll find that the third guy just seems to have a larger reach than you and youll wonder what stratergies you could use against him, youll think maybe I could circle him or if I block he will pause, then you realsie you cant circle only move back and forwards and that if you block it still hurts you and it doesnt really help.

I really really wanted to like this game, the game has excellent presentation, I love the big chunky sprites and the music but its just so bare bones and budget feeling. I spent £3.50 on this game so I dont have a lot to moan about but I wonder what it cost new as basically if this cost the same as a genuine first party classic like Super Punch Out or Mario World or anything like that then I would haev felt super robbed paying top dollar for this, maybe just maybe the connection to the manga roped people in and they were so happy to be playing the role of one of there heroes that they were a lot more figiving with this game than I am?

I think I am stuck reluctantly giving this game another 5 out of 10, dont get me wrong I really like some things about it but then it comits some major sins in my oppinion and you could spend your money much more wisly.

kerr9000
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Re: 150 Snes Games at the speed I can handle

Post by kerr9000 » Sat Jun 17, 2017 9:39 pm

SNES review: 121 Pro Sport Hockey


When you think about the Super Nintendo and who developed games for it the names that come to the front of your mind are most likly to be Capcom, Konami or Nintendo themselves, so if I was to tell you I can name a studio who developed around 25 games for the SNES who isent one of those names you would be wondering who I was talking about right? You might even start to throw out random guesses but I bet very few people would come up with the name I am about to drop and thats because the name is Tose and they are often referd to as being a ghost developer.

Tose Co., Ltd also called Tose Software is a video game development company based in Kyoto, Japan. It is mostly known for developing Nintendo's Game & Watch Gallery series, and for making a whole bunch of Dragon Ball games, and the Legend of Starfy series but they have actually developed or co-developed over 1,000 games since the company started back in 1979. A lot of people are proberbly wondering right now why they havent heard of Tose before well thats because they are virtually never credited in the games themselves.This is best explained by looking at a few quotes from Masa Agaride Tose's US Divisions Vice President "We're always behind the scenes," "Our policy is not to have a vision. Instead, we follow our customers' visions. Most of the time we refuse to put our name on the games, not even staff names." This is why I called them a ghost developer earlier.

I have found that with a lot of the developers I have talked about in the past they either just shut down at some point, got absorbed by a bigger company or are now some tiny little company making mobile apps or games but not Tose. you might have heard of the last game they worked on after all it was Paper Mario Color Splash for the Wii U, yes the game was made by Intelligent Systems but Tose provided environment art support for them.

The game I am going to be talking about today is Pro Sport Hockey, known in Japan as USA Ice Hockey obviously it is an ice hockey video game. It was released for the Nintendo Entertainment System and Super NES in 1993 only coming out in Japan and America missing us here in Europe all toghther, the version I have been playing is the Japanese one, basically because it was the one I managed to get my hands on. I have often said that I have found myself getting games due to the name on the box or the cart and in this case the name that dragged me in was Jaleco a name I was always fond of hearing back in the Super Nes days but in this case all they did was to publish it, I knew of Tose but had no idea of there involment with this game. As far as I knew back in the day there was only the odd NHLPA game on the snes and back then I was more using the Sega Mega Drive for my hocky fix, playing EA Hockey and mostly trying to get into fist fights on it more than actually really playing the game to win.

Back when I started this project trying to review 150 SNES games the 9th game I reviewed was Takeda Nobuhiro Super Cup Soccer /Super Goal 2 which was also made by Tose and the funny thing is playing this I instantly thought back to that game and back to that very review. The funny thing is I can pull a whole quote from that review and if you exchange the refrence to football in to an ice hockey oneand exchange the word Fifa for NHLPA Hockey it sums up how I felt playing this ''I also found it pretty hard to score goals but then I am not the best at these sort of games, the important part is I got in to it, I was enjoying myself and never once did I stop and go boy don't I wish I was playing Fifa, to all intents and purposes this game provided a perfectly entertaining spot of football.''. The game felt very much like an Ice Hockey version of Super Goal 2, the music the control, the art style I guess this just goes to show that some studios do have a very tangable style, unfortunatly I can level all of the same complaints I levelled at that game at this one. It is a very functional game which is fun but really feels one step away from greatness, it just needs a little something extra to throw it over the line in to classic territory and make me strongly recomend it.

The game has a good sense of speed, the controls tend to feel good, if slidy but heck its an ice based game so that was to be expected, the graphics are nice and bright the music is kind of catchy but it just feels like it needs those extra few touches. Now as far as I know there are no fist fights I certainly tried repeatidly ramming in to people to provoke them. Apparently the game has a sophisticated fatique system in place to simulate players getting tired but in practice I didnt see anything that proved this, it also had real players and real teams but to a video game fan like me who doesnt care much about the actual sport this didnt add much but I guess for some this would add to the overall experiance. So what would I rate this game well to be honest I would give it a 6 out of 10, which is actually better than it seemed to score back in the day (it got things like 2 out of 5 and 50% ish marks), I spent £3 including postage for my Japanese cart and if you can get it for around this price and have the ability to play import games then what the heck go for it, just dont spend much more

kerr9000
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Re: 150 Snes Games at the speed I can handle

Post by kerr9000 » Sun Jun 18, 2017 5:51 pm

SNES Review 122: Astral bout

Sougou Kakutougi: Astral Bout is a Super Famicom/Japanese SNES game which was based on the various forms of fighting styles found in the Japanese mixed martial arts promotion Fighting Network Rings (think of an early version of something like the UFC ultimate fighting championship). The game was developed by a company called A-Wave, a company who I couldnt find much out about at all, they made a Gameboy game called Koro Dice and they either made or just published a game called Astro Fang: Super Machine on the NES (some sources claim they developed and published it others claim they just published it), and then they made Astral bout and its 2 sequels. I have no idea if they still exist in any form I would imagine from the lack of info that they dont. Astral bout was however published by King Records Co., Ltd a Japanese record company, founded in 1931 which still exists today, it is now one of Japan's largest record companies not to be owned by a multinational entity, and its headquarteres are in Tokyo.

So obviously this game is a sort of wrestling fighting game, the closist thing to this most people will have proberbly played on the snes is something like one of the WWE games. There are eight different fighters to choose from in this game, I cant tell you any of the characters names as they are in japanese but basically you have a professional wrestler, a boxer, a karate expert etcetera. So you pick the character you want to use and then you take on each fighter one by one until you prove that you are the best. Now for a Super Nintendo game this title does not do a bad job of trying to capture the idea of mixed martial arts. Eachof the fighters has there own moves list which does its best to make them feel like they belong to there discipline. So for example the wrestler will do slams and armbars, where as the boxers move set will be largly based on punches, the kick boxer will have lifting knee blows and heavy kicks you get the idea, it doesnt take long at all to find out which one of the fighters is the best fir for you and to get used to there particular move set.


The graphics are pretty much average and exactly what you would expect for a relativly early Super Nintendo game. The enviorments are rather bland, the characters are easily identifiable and the animation is decent but its nothing to really shout about, the graphics fit the game but thats about the best I can say. The music and sound effects could also best be described as functional, they are simply average and work but thats about all. You attack your opponent and at the end of each round you get to see how many points each of you have scored, I assume that if you dont knock the enemy out after so many rounds or get knocked out yourself then things will be settled by these points but this never actually happend during all of my time playing. I started out trying to play as the Karate based character but after a match or two I just found that me and him were not the best fit, then I tried with the Wreslter and found that I did much better, this is when I really started to enjoy the game, before I even realised that any proper time had passed I had completed the game. The truth is though that the replayability is limted as far as things go with the one player mode, you can try to complete it with every character and theres a practice mode but thats about it, of course the game has a two player mode which providing you have a buddy into this kind of game then it can be kind of fun but with 8 characters it is slightly limited. I do think that if I had tried this game back when it was fresh and new then I would have been a lot more impressed with it, but it hasnt aged greatly if you want an example of something wreslting related which has aged much better then I would go for Saturday Night Slam Masters.

As it stands I would give this game a 6 out of 10, its fun enough but it is ultimatly forgetable, it does make me wonder how much was improved in its two sequels as I think that with a little bit more on offer choice wise and a bit more presenation this game could have been a true contender. I spent £3.50 on this game and I think if you can get it for something around this figure then its well worth taking a look at it.

kerr9000
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Re: 150 Snes Games at the speed I can handle

Post by kerr9000 » Mon Jun 19, 2017 8:07 pm

Smash TV

Nine reviews or so ago while reviewing Total Carnage I said the following ''I really wanted an excuse to come out with the gem ''Big Money, Big Prizes'' which you may realise is of course from the game Smash TV, a game I really love, I love it because basically it is based of the Arnie film The Running Man, which is not only a film I adore but is also based loosely of the book The Running Man which was written by Stephen King one of my favourite writers of all time. I don't own Smash TV though''.


Well I guess when I said that I was kind of tempting fate as I recently walked in to a local indy store and they had a Pal cartridge only copy of Smash TV and were asking £12 for it. Now this is going to sound kind of silly but I remember back when I was a kid everyone owned Smash TV and you just couldnt get rid of it, the thing was practically worthless, the kind of worthless were if you tried to trade it in for another game it would only get you about £3 of that game so really you were better off keeping it just incase you ever might just possibly one day want to play it again, so I have no idea how when or why I got rid of my original copy, but knowing me I got a good deal for it. The funny thing is though despite liking this game I havent brought a copy while I have been collecting because I just havent seen it for a low price, even £12 seemed to much for me but I managed to talk them down to £10 so I ended up buying it.



Ok so in both my Total Carange review and the above quote from it I have set the scene as far as this games story goes, so just to quickly recap the story is that your a contestant on a game show where they are trying to kill you and if you can survive and kill the enemies then you get money and you can win toasters and cars and stuff. Smash Tv was originally an arcade game in 1990, which found itself ported to the Megadrive/Genesis, Master System, Game Gear and obviously the Super NES as I am talking about it here. Its also made its way to various classic game compilations and download services. The arcade version was created by Eugene Jarvis and Mark Turmell for Williams and its a sort of well kind of sequel to the game Robotron: 2084 which was also produced by Jarvis, sequel in spiritual terms that is. The SNES conversion was handled by Beam Software, they did an excellent job of converting the game, basically if you like the arcade game then you will like the SNES game as apart from a few cut corners and a bit of Nintendo style censorship it is very much the same game. Beam Software kind of got brought and sold and moved about and renamed Infogrames Melbourne House, then Atari Melbourne House and finally Krome Studios Melbourne, the trail of them releasing games goes kind of cold around 2007 though with several sources saying the studio finally died in 2010.



In terms of gameplay the game is fairly straightforward, if you have played a twin stick shooter in the past 30 years anything from Robotron to the Geomotry wars games then you will know excactly what you are getting. Yes the SNES doesnt have a second stick but its 4 face buttons are placed in such a way that by pressing either one of them or a combination of two at a time you can shoot at every possible angle. The game is fast fun and responsive and most importantly it has the best quality any arcade style game can have and thats the ability to be easy to pick up while being difficult to master but overall feeling fair. Yes the game is hard and it slams you pretty darn har, there is also no wimping out and picking an easy difficulty here as it is actually pretty darn tough on all of the three difficulty settings available. Also you cant complete the game by playing it on easy mode as when you choose this mode you get a shortened version of the game featuring only the first stage with a few less enemies, so this sucker should have really just been called practice mode.


I played the living heck out of this game as a kid and never managed to finish it. You need to remember that this game was born in the arcades and so it was designed to make money, so really the quicker it could get you killed the more pennies it would grab, the bosses in particular are complete bullet spunges who just when you think you have them beat start shooting even more determined to take you down with them. If you want a challange then you have one here, its also a great co-operative two player game. Speaking of other players while I was playing this game my 15 year old daughter walked in the room, she was soon having a go herself and then I practically had to tear her away from it just so I could actually go to bed, and the very next day she was asking if she could go in my room to play the SNES and try and do better on Smash TV. Another sign of how good this game is would be the fact that I am going to sort out one of my other SNES pads so me and her can play it toghther sometime, which is high praise given the fact that some of these games get tossed into the bottom of a draw after I have reviewed them not to be pulled out again for who knows how long.



Ok so for those who are really into the graphics and sound in games how does Smash TV stack up? Well graphically the game is pretty simple with the main player characters and the regular enemies not being much more advanced than stick men, but the game really does flood the screen with them, and there tiny size just helps to make the large boss characters all the more impressive, but yeah this certainly is not the game to use to show of the SNES's graphical grunt work. I find the music to be very basic but also very catchy, I have caught myself humming it when away from the game which I think always says something good about a piece, its basic but it suits the mood of the game perfectly. Speaking of sound one of the most impressive things about this game sound wise is the digitised voice samples they really help with the games feel and atmosphere , little snippits like hearting the host say “Good Luck! You’ll Need It!” really add to the game.


I find that I cant help but give this game a hearty 8 out of 10, sure its not perfect but it is darn playable, and as far as co-op shooters go it might just be one of the best on the SNES. Its funny though how this game now seems to be a bit of a pain to get ahold of when I can remember people using it as a door stop back in the day and the second hand shelfs and bargain bins being full of it but I guess it just goes to show you never know how hard or easy it will be to grab something tommorow if you dont get it today. If you want a cartridge only copy around about £10 like I spent is proberbly the best you can aim for and it might take a bit of waiting and looking as plenty of people seem to be asking for around £18 to £25 for even loose carts are they actually getting that for it? Who knows but if you want to just play the game then do look on Xbox live arcade and compilation discs you might save yourself a few quid or bang a few extra retro games for you cash in the process, which root youy go though all depends if your more a collector or player either way I recomend that you give this game a bash.

kerr9000
Posts: 2315
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Re: 150 Snes Games at the speed I can handle

Post by kerr9000 » Thu Jun 29, 2017 7:20 pm

Snes review 124 The hunt for red october

Given the fact that my blog kind of darts from being very game based to very film based it will come as no suprise to say that I have seen the film The Hunt For Red October after all Sean Connery is in it which I usally find to be a very good reason to give any film a bash. One of the laws of video gaming which was laid down by magazines and word of mouth when I was a kid was to never give a movie license any attention or any of your hard earned pocket money therfore I hardly even computed the fact that there was a Hunt For Red October game back in its day. As an adult though I have taken a bit more of a if you can find it cheap why not give it a bash sort of outlook and it has actually led me to a few good games some that were even better than the films they were based on. I for example hated the Bond Movie Quantum of Solace and yet I really enjoyed the Quantum of Solace xbox360 game even if it was basically Gears of Bond. So recently when I saw a cartridge only copy of The Hunt For Red October in an indy game shop I thought why not give it a bash £5 is a good price for pretty much any SNES game isent it?


So have you ever had that thing where you get an image in your head of what a video game is going to be like before you have ever played it? I guess this is harder now with so many adverts and stuff but I have to admit that in all of my years to the best of my memory I had never seen any video or screenshots or even read about The Hunt For Red October so I had kind of built it up in my mind, I had decided what it would be like, and in honesty I was pretty sure it was going to be a simulation game. There is a Megadrive game called 688 Attack Sub which is a submarine simulation in which you complete missions, its very slow quite text heavy and you have to look at maps, sonar scope readings, co-ordinates, its one of those games that you basically have to take a day off to really get in to, some find it deep some find it boring, well I was expecting this kind of thing with a Sean Connery Sprite on screen and well the plot of the movie. Well if you want something on those lines then you need to look to The Hunt for Red October on the Atari ST, Amiga, Apple II, ZX Spectrum, MSX, Commodore 64 and IBM PC as that is a combination of submarine simulator and strategy game so what did the SNES get?


Well the SNES got a shoot em up, a shoot em up made by Beam Software where instead of a space ship you have a sub, alter the graphics just slightly and you could almost think your playing any old left to right spaceship game but is it a good or bad game? I find this a little harder to answer than I would like, You see the first time I put it on I was so shocked it was a quick game to pick up and play that I kind of liked it, then when I played it a bit more it seemed rather limited but then I found myself picking it up to play it again to see if I could do better, if I could get further.


So does this game follow the story from The Hunt For Red October or even recreate the same atmosphere as the movie? The short answer would be not in the slightest. The Hunt for Red October started out as a Tom Clancy book with the following being a rough version of its story. The Soviet Union made a new special submarine called the Red October, the big deal about it being that it is capable of traveling across the ocean without being detected. If you think about it a sub with missiles and this capability could seriously mess up the world and so the captain of the Red October, Marko Ramius, realizing this decides to steal the submarine and defect to the United States (seriously taking it from one super power to another would not have been my plan I would have sunk the crud out of it.) So he has to take the sub while the Soviet navy tries to stop him, while worrying about possible KGB spies onboard worrying about if he can get the United States government to trust him. Now for all I know the instruction manual could paint a wonderful picture, heck it could have a whole breakdown of the novel in it but as far as the game goes well before the first mission your told your objective is to escape from the Soviet Union and safely reach the United States and this is all you get as far as an actual in game plot goes. You get missions none of which sound that much like anything I remember from the film and well thats that.


Ok so to break the game up into its components the graphics can best be described as bright but simple, it really doesnt feel like a heap of effort was put into them. Your sub is blue, the sky is blue, the water is blue, the ocean is quiet empty really apart from some mines, rocks and enemy subs which are also blue, although I am happy to admit they are a lighter shade of blue so you never get confused. As for the ships themselves,there is a bunch of diffrent enemy vehicles, including battleships, long submarines, short submarines, and helicopters, all of which are not all blue but deffinetly stick to a sort of blue, green silvery grey sort of colour scheme, although if you manage to get a few missions in and onto a bonus section you will be treated to orange fighter planes so there is that to look forward to. The missiles are pretty much just grey blobby lines that move along, the explosions also really are not exciting, it just feels like things are lacking well some flair. It was clear that this game wasnt able to be realistic so id have just sodded trying and given the game a bit more flavour, Id have made the Red October sub red so it stood out more, added in some more impressive explosions maybe tried to get some mode 7 style rotating in there but hey that is just me. Oh there kind of is one gimic and thats the bonus stages, you see they are not left to right scrollling affairs like the rest of the game there basically more like light gun levels you control a crosshair on the screen and shoot the things which are either scrolling along the screen or heading straight for you, and if you have a super scope you can use that to play them.


I actually really liked the music when I started playing the game, I find it quite fitting but I well I just wish it was longer and there was more of it. You see at first it sounds good but then you realise its just one or two very short looping tracks which at first sound pleasent but then begin to bore there way into your head in an unhealthy manner.


Like the music the gameplay can also be accused of being repetitive. You control the Red October, which is sent on various “missions”, all of which basically boil down to going right and shooting or avoiding everything. you might just reach the end of the level and thats that or youll reach somekind of base you need to blow up but its all pretty much the same. You get pretty much attacked from every direction battleships and helicopters drop bombs from above, enemy submarines will fire missiles horizontally at you, and you even have missile firing bunkers on the sea bed, add to this rocks and mines getting in the way and youll find youself weaving all over the place like a drunken pilot in order to survive. To combat this you have four types of weapon you have the straight horizontal missile, the straight up missile, the bombs/depth charges you drop, and the arching missiles. All of these weapons are limited but you get more by picking up an icon which not only gives you more missiles but also replenishes some of your health its a sort of all purpose pick up instead of individual repair kits and bullet packs ecetera.


The Red October sounds powerful right? Well maybe it is but its still very challanging, you'll have to avoid mines which dont even seem to affect enemy ships and then the missiles fired at you and bombs dropped on you and then subs and ships basically trying to take you out by simply ramming you. The main and i mean main thing that makes this all a bit of a pain in the rear though is the fact that you dont have lives, this is a one life one game kinda game. If you fail a misson there is no going back to the drawing board via a continue scene and starting again oh no sunshine your going to see your sub explode and then see a shot of it sunk on the bottom of the ocean then be told its game over and dumped back on the title screen, a title screen with no options or practice modes or any luxuries at all just a chance to press the start button and start everything again from scratch.You think that sounds harsh well add to that the fact your sub is not repaired between missions so get through a mission by the skin of your teeth and you could well be starting the next one a single hit away from death how unforgiving is that?


I have very mixed feelings on The Hunt For Red October for the SNES I am pretty certain if I had tried this back in the day I would have hated it but now I simultaniously like it while also seeing a lot of faults in it and having the desire to call it average. It feels like one of those games which had some good basic building blocks but was just missing something, something which kept it from greatness. I would give the game a 6 out of 10, and qualify this by saying its average but for me at least that enjoyable kind of average as apposed to the dull average, you could certainly do a lot better but you could also do a lot worse. I have seen plenty of people trying to get £20 or so for a loose cart of this game and its certainly not worth that, I wouldnt recomend going over £7 personally.

kerr9000
Posts: 2315
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Re: 150 Snes Games at the speed I can handle

Post by kerr9000 » Fri Jun 30, 2017 5:19 pm

SNES Review 125 Actraiser


Now what if I was to tell you that there was a game which took the core ingredients of something like Castlevania and Sim City and mixed them together? Sounds a little bit strange doesn't it but that's exactly what Actraiser did, it was 1 half action mixed with 1 half god sim now usually I would string things out and try to wait to the end to give a verdict but I cant help but turn around and instantly say that the game is overall amazing, I wanted to give myself a treat to play for my 125th SNES Review but I also wanted to talk about a game which I feel is missing from the upcoming Mini Classic SNES and this firmly ticks both of those boxes (I will also touch upon why I think they didnt look at putting this game on the system).

ActRaiser known in Japan as Akutoreizā) was developed by Quintet. Now this is the first time I have touched upon Quintet in my review series so I just want to stop and talk a little bit about them. Actraiser was actually there first game, they were a Japanese video game developer, founded in April 1989 with there name being taken from musical terminology. In the world of music a Quintet is a group consisting of 5 members it was used here as there name referring to the 5 elements of game design which they laid out as being planning, graphics, sound, programmers and producers. They were at there most active during the 1990s, when they had a very strong relationship with Enix (Who are not part after there merger of the company referd to as Square Enix), and really are best known for the games Soul Blazer, Illusion of Gaia and Terranigma, which is often referd to as "Soul Blazer Trilogy", one of which I own and will be reviewing at somepoint. The current status of Quintet is unclear but evidence suggests that it rather quietly died around 2000 to 2002 which is a cracking shame, one would imagine that SquareEnix hold the rights to this game although with only one sequel which was released a very long time ago I wouldn't hold out for any more entries to the series.

OK so lets start with the plot, the story in Japan follows God, altered in America and Europe to The Master in his fight against Satan which was altered to Tanzra in Europe and America. These alterations were done because Nintendo of America had a strict policy regarding game content in the early 1990s which prohibited things which might be considered offensive including religious themes and plotlines. The game and its story is so seeped in religion though that this papering over things doesn't really alter anything you might be called The Master but when you travel the globe in a palace situated on the top of a cloud, accompanied by your little angel companion slaying demons, performing miracles creating life and hearing the prayers of your followers you would have to be pretty dumb to not work out who you are and whats going on. The basic story is that you had your behind handed to you by Tanzra and his lieutenants (all of which are based on real life religion or mythological creatures) so you retreated to your sky palace to tend to your wounds but now after several hundred years your back and you need to beat Tanzra's lieutenants one by one to free the people, then you need to answer the people prayers to power up enough to wipe the evil from the land. This is probably why the game wasn't chosen to be put on the Mini Nes Classic, after all we are at a time when people seem to be even more easy to offend particularly when it comes to religion, so it was probably a much easier and safer route picking something not so grounded in the biblical.

With there being two different types of gameplay in this game I guess I need to look at each of them on its own and then talk about how they feel sitting side by side each other. I will start with the platforming combat based sections. The easiest thing I can say is that they are very good, the weapon-wielding combat and the platform jumping feels very straightforward with good clean responsive controls and tight gameplay, you never feel like the controls are letting you down or that your being asked to do anything which is not possible you feel totally in control and you feel powerful. You run, you jump and attack your way through forests, caves and castles and you just simply feel that your right there in the game. There are apples which refill your life meter, and 1ups to grab and at the end of every stage there is a boss battle against a beast and like I said before there mythical so your going to see things like Centaurs and Minotaurs all in all its not to dissimilar to Super Castlevania IV a game I have previously praised.

So what about the god sim part of the game how does that play? Well its fun, simple and kind of laid back. It controls easily, its obvious what you have to do, its fun to play but compared to the above platforming and battling its just really chill, you control a little angel character who controls the direction you build in, your attacked by little devil characters as you build but you can shoot them with your angel they will however keep coming back, to stop this you have to guide your villagers to the lair they are coming from and then they will seal this. Once all the monster lairs are sealed and you have made the people happy they will ask you to banish the evil from there land and you will go back to a platforming level. The two styles of play mesh really well together as one is more frantic and the other is more relaxing, going from one to the other really breaks up the flow and stops things from feeling repetitive. In a lot of games were they tried to do more than one game type at a time it led to you just getting a game which didn't really have any strengths but both parts of this game could stand perfectly well on there own, infact Actraisers only sequel (on the SNES as well) decided to get rid of the sim part and just try to build on the platforming.

Something I need to talk about with Actraiser is the sound or to be more precise the music. The games score was composed by Yuzo Koshiro, yes that Yuzo Koshiro famous for his work on the Revenge of Shinobi and the Streets of Rage series. The game came out within six months of the SNES's launch and in my opinion it proved more than any other game the audio potential of the machine, with a Soundtrack CD being released in Japan. A medley of the music from Actraiser arranged by the original composer was performed live at the second annual Symphonic Game Music Concert in Leipzig, Germany, yeah its that good, I would say its right up there with the likes of Zelda A link to the past.

Just a quick note about graphics before I some things up, although I will admit that your main character sprite is quiet basic I think overall the graphics present in this game are rather good, you have lots of rich colours with multilayers backgrounds and large bosses, the game has a very good style to it and although its not the best looking game its very functional and I feel it has aged well. The thing is everything within this game just gels together so well, when you have frantic levels you have frantic music, when things are calmer the music is calmer, everything just blends together perfectly and this is why I have to do something you wont see me do very often and that is to give this game a solid 10 out of 10. The copy I have is actually from my own childhood, its a Pal copy and its still got its box and manual, if you want to try it the bad news is the game does tend to demand a price, its usually around £30 for a loose pal cartridge you could get a Japanese cart only copy on the cheap but there are quiet a few diffrences with the game from region to region in terms of difficulty but also you will miss out a bit with the language barrier but you could possibly muddle your way through. This is one game though where I would say sod it its worth every penny, its worth noting the game did make its way on to the Wii Virtual console so it could raise its head again for either the New 3DS or Switch and that would be a cheaper way of experiancing it.

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