Sunday, 10 June 2012

Max 330 Mega Chapter 2 - Special Kebab

Well here we go, getting to the meat and oxo cubes now and this set clearly demonstrated the power of Neo Geo.

You’ll see classics, household names and so much bling, they’d make Bobby George throw a tantrum.

Although one in particular will make you think, is this really an arcade machine or an abacus.

All will be revealed as the starting gun is shot and I’ll get the cameras rolling with The Super Spy.

An early Neo Geo game and the plot was about as original as a blue movie.

As a Super Spy, you were sent to wipe out terrorists up to no good in a Japanese skyscraper.

Fists, guns and knives helped you achieve much suffering to the baddies.

It was a fixed camera system and looked similar to another Neo game (Crossed Swords).

I'm comparing the fighting mechanics to Nintendo’s Punch Out (with good reason).

Saving hostages would reap healing items and even other types of guns.

Its main problem was a serious lack of variety in enemies and also a heavy reliance on fisticuffs.

Fairly novel but I’m sure if they made a sequel, like Sidekicks and many others – its problems would’ve been nicely ironed out.

Of course, that's about as likely as a brewery not providing alcohol to a pub chain.

Arkanoid, Breakout or whatever previous or future variation on wall busting, somebody made a strange decision and brought out Pop ‘n Bounce in 1997.

Atari's Breakout came out in 1976....

Yes it really was just a Breakout clone and changed bricks for animals.

Wacky stuff as penguins, hippopotamus, cats and other animals were all cannon fodder.

Some were larger than others and oddly, that reminded me of Taito’s Super Space Invaders.

Power ups were just perfunctory with items to widen your paddle, speed ups and lasers.

There was ATTACK to light up at the top but I can’t remember what the fuck that did.

To try and keep it interesting, barriers started to appear and some enemies were invincible unless you hit a ‘B’omb to blow them up.

The primary problem with this was apart from being as original as an Eastenders storyline was its over-sensitive controls.  The ball was smaller than a tic tac and your paddle just skidded around like a demented penguin.

Sure it was colourful and sort of playable, but very annoying.

Finally, its animated violence was mild, was this because you were destroying cute animals? 

Thankfully this was by Video System and not SNK.

Things start to immediately improve with another Data East gem.

Before Metal Slug, there was Spinmaster.

It was a fairly obscure action platform title and like music – does that automatically make it bad? 

Don’t answer that so we’ll proceed.

Featuring detailed and hugely colourful graphics, great backgrounds, quirky humour, 2P simultaneous play, enjoyable gameplay and brilliant weapons – this was a winner.

If it wasn’t evident already, Data East were responsible for some great Neo games.

Its humour involved cartoon sound effects displayed as words and enemies wouldn’t just die, they’d have their own of biting the dust.  Mummies clearly demonstrated this.

Your staple weapon was a yo-yo (as the title sort of infers) but fireballs, boxing gloves, bombs and super moves also featured.  A charge attack was possible and a cool slide attack too.

Hazards included quicksand, spikes and flame spurts.

A pseudo Indiana Jones minecart section and riding a raft was also present and while nothing new – nice.

On completion of each level, a piece of a map was gained.

Enemies were mainly misters but there was some cool variety with animals and bosses could be large biological beasts and/or vehicles.

I believe the end boss was statue and with each form, was given a new head - Medusa and Cyclops with many others.

My only complaint was that its sound was pretty uninspired but that’s a very tiny quibble.

Forgotten and largely ignored, this was one of the Neo’s very best action games as it clearly showed pixelated brilliance.

ADK made some decent games but never brilliant ones – let me show you.

Aggressors of Dark Kombat – what the fuck?  Kombat?

Did ADK stoop so low they had to nick Midway’s idea with shoving an unintelligent misspelling?

Unlike Midway though this K epidemic made total sense as they were trying to be subtle, clever and beyond using coincidence as read the game’s title again….

Not immediately obvious but surely it is now!

So how did the game hold up?  Well like most ADK efforts, it wasn’t too bad.

It was an odd one to describe as it’s a scrolling one on one fighter fused together.

In other words, the screen scrolled but you could move around the arena so wasn’t stuck to moving left to right.

There’s about 10 chars and nicely, Fuma from World Heroes fame could be selected.

It’s a bit like 3 Count in that respect, another nod towards 3 Count was that on some arenas, weapons were available (actually thrown) to dish out alternative punishment.

Apart from the obligatory punches, kicks and special moves, you could grapple and hop over your opponent, sidestep and running offered variations.

There’s a Crazy gauge which when charged allowed a super move.

What was odd is that instead of blood, on hitting chars a brown substance came from their mush.  It can only be described as vomit?

No best of three bouts here, after one round it’s winner takes all.

The sprites were ok but animation was nothing special.  The arenas did look nice with some decent little touches.

It’s neither a bad or good game.  Having said that, at least it had a go at been interesting.

Super Dodgeball was fighting volleyball er dodgeball.

I was toying with what to class this as.  Sport or action but I settled with action.

Choose a team (consisting of three) and off you went.

Technos did a good job with big, bold and colourful chars, nice backgrounds and fun gameplay.

As this was an arcade game, it was OTT.

User friendly controls made this an entertaining ride.

Believe me, this was not like the Ben Stiller film.

I’ve spoke of Nam 1975 at length already so I’m not going to retrace my steps.  In brief it’s very much like Cabal but with a war theme.

Another ADK effort was Blue’s Journey and was another early Neo game.  This was an action platformer and starred the char Blue.  What a wonderfully originally name?

Yes it’s the journey of Blue but in essence, it could also be the future exploits of Blues from Yier Kung Fu….

You could shrink to make you faster but you couldn’t attack in this state whereas in normal size, the opposite existed.

Attacks included throwing enemies and chucking whirlwinds, exploding acorns and other shit.

Again, this was an odd arcade game as it included a shop.  Why?  BTW, flowers were currency.

Enemies were cute and tacky and this wasn’t particularly good.

Graphics were fair to acceptable and the scenery did improve.  I recall the music being repetitive and highly annoying.

Magician Lord was a far better effort and was remembered for featuring a variety of playable chars.

It was essentially an action game but it was those chars that made it interesting.  Power ups meant metamorphosis from the title’s namesake to a demon and ninja.  All had their own unique abilities and attacks.

Enemies types were at a premium and most bosses weren’t exactly big but were definitely odd.

Gameplay was fairly decent and rather fairly tough.

Backgrounds improved enormously and it was largely an attractive looking game.

It really reminded me of the Amiga classic Shadow of the Beast.

The point of it was to collect spellbooks?

I tentatively say it deserves to be a classic.

Crossed Swords was a in your face action game and as mentioned, it was similar to The Super Spy.

Very basic stuff here, force your wireframe medieval char to slash his way to victory against an enemy and repeat.

Enemies did improve, as did the graphics but became more boring than watching an England penalty shoot-out.

There was a sequel but was a CD exclusive.  It was the same sort of game but did boast necessary improvements to the original as there were different chars to choose from, more enemies and bosses.

It was visually better and enemies ganged up on you.  You fought enemies in the original one on one.

Perversely, I reference this to Golden Axe on the C64 but this was a Neo Geo so hugely unacceptable.

A variation on Rampage was King of Monsters.  Same sort of thing - after choosing your beast, kick the shit out of each other.

While swinging your claws, backgrounds were eminently destructible and as well as worrying about your immediate foe, military vehicles clearly had a problem with you too.

Two monsters could also take on the computer.

This system was also used in the first Fatal Fury.

The sequel was more of the same but was far prettier with a greater variety of enemies and action being more frenetic.

Various other shit tried to prevent you (and your mate) from reaching each boss.

While these became familiar, unlike Crossed Swords though, this actually kept you awake.

Before the ultimate run and gun game – Metal Slug, SNK warmed up with Cyber-Lip.

This could’ve been so much better but frustratingly it can only be described as mediocre.

It was of similar ilk to Contra but the enemies were terminators in human clothing, aliens or armoured vehicles.

The bosses were mainly biological.

It looked nice enough and with some great animation but it was a sprint rather than a marathon.

There was some really irritating narration stating the absolute obvious like “Look Out Behind You” and “Look Out Below”.

YES WE KNOW.

On hearing that for the umpteenth time, it get’s beyond fucking annoying.

Weapons included the usual clichés including, flame bursts, three way shots, rapid fire and grenades.

Speaking of those bosses, none exactly stood up as you had some okay aliens, an ED-209 and an awful snake thing, right out of space invaders.

While fun, it was guilty of being fairly simple and no boss really offered any great challenge and before the end boss, you had to fight them all again.

I was prepared for a fantastic end boss but instead was given a huge disappointment.

Ninja Commando by ADK was an interesting sounding effort as it was a vertically scrolling action game.

It looked very similar to Capcom’s Mercs but of course this was with ninjas. There were some cosmetic differences as apart from the main firepower available, you could turn into an animal.

The bosses were nice enough and their lifebar went down the RPG route as it was represented by a number.

Strange highlights included a Samurai warrior, Egyptian headdress (with snake arms), a robot dinosaur and ballet dancing sumo wrestlers.

Backgrounds ranged from jungles, battlefields, and Egyptian and Ninja enclosures. 

It was fun, active and fairly attractive so not a bad egg.

Really it would have made more sense to call it Time Commando as you travelled through the ages but that would have confused matters and SNK wouldn’t have been happy as they had an earlier game called Time Solider.

Isn’t this virtually the same concept though?

Next we have more ninja hi-jinks from ADK with Ninja Combat.

This is about as mindless as you can get and truly a brain-switch off.

It was undeniably excellent fun as it was a scrolling shoot ‘em’ up (on the floor and w/o a spaceship).

You mashed the fire button, unleashed special attacks, jumped and did whatever was necessary in defeating numerous enemies and bosses.

Various handheld weapons could also be used to help your cause.

At some point, you defeat an enemy which after destroying a boss, you learn they were under a spell and they become a playable char.

Kagerow was just testing your power and Gembu was deceived…

This had quality voice acting and raised a chuckle or two.

The new chars (a total of four) didn’t play much different but did have unique attacks like whirlwinds, lazers and fisticuffs.

Bosses were fairly standard but became odd later as you fought a two-headed suited monster holding a large missile.  BTW the heads were upside down.

Others were a guy will long hair and arms and the end boss was pretty nice if not very difficult as he started off as floating being, then his head grew and became part of a giant.

Waste of time going for its arms as they just grew back.

So overall, it was good and was up there with the most active Neo game (certainly of this type anyway).

Shock Troopers was a high-end looking game, much in the mould of Commando and Mercs et al.

Play through as solo or in team battle mode (you could only swap chars in the latter mode).  There were eight chars to choose and that’s pretty epic for this sort of game. Once chosen, lock and load and let’s go.

It was standard vertical fare but did go isometric to mix things up.

Its sequel 2nd Squad looked even better due to rendering but didn’t play as well as action was often interrupted due to pretty awful slowdown.

This was more down to bad programming and Saurus and not the tech guts of Neo Geo.

Four chars this time and jumping into tanks always helped matters.

Bosses were definitely bigger, badder and meaner but apart from that, it was the same game but beefed up.

Quality stuff but it’s a shame there was so much slowdown in the sequel as this nearly ruined things.

Top Hunter was SNK’s stab of bettering Data East’s Spinmaster and was also a great game.

Roddy and Cathy both had extendable arms and could throw enemies and jump into fore and backgrounds.

It was really pretty to look at and like Spin, humour was used.  For example, stars forming around enemy heads, getting toasted and also waving white flags were common place.

Pointless bonus stages saw you ride a skateboard to get points.  Sigh.

Levels were based on the elements such as Earth, Wind and Fire.

The boss was this pirate guy who used various vehicles and when defeated, he’d escape until next time.

It was large, colourful, great to play and boasted some very good bosses and like Spinmaster – superb end boss too.

A joy to behold!

After King of Fighters, Metal Slug is probably the most famous franchise the Neo Geo had to offer.

In fact, I’d say it was very famous throughout the world as it continues to have new games on various formats from the Game Boy Adavnce to the touch screen lovely that is the DS.

I’m saying these new games are great or anything but still, churning out and keeping the SNK name going like a Friday the 13th series is just tip top with me.

It’s just so brilliant on more levels than a Final Fantasy character as it oozed awesome hand-drawn graphics, faultless animation with more frames than a ten pin bowling tournament, excellent settings, classic weaponry, an epic score and a very famous central vehicle.

Capcom and the video gaming world cannot help to bow down to its Rocket Launcher and Heavy Machine Gun.

After the fourth game, (officially Metal Slug 3), it was taken off SNK and developers preferred to tread the path of recycled laziness.

It threatened to ruin a legacy of unblemished genius and tarnish the masterclass of perfection in pixels.

How is this so, well that’s in a bit.

The original was in fact made possible by a bunch of Irem boffins that after releasing In the Hunt and Gunforce 2, former employees left to form Nazca Corporation in 1994 and that my pixel puppies, is who created the first Metal Slug in 1996.

It did not bear the SNK name until Metal Slug 2.

These employees is likened to the split of a rock band as these disgruntled members were clearly pissed off at the frontman and after flashing the fingers, went onto to form their own group.

This gels as SNK acquired Nazca in the same year.

It showed too as the excellent graphical style was very similar to Gunforce 2.  I believe this was the last game these Irem honey bunnies actually made before creating Nazca.

Let’s stay with Gunforce 2 as it wasn’t only its graphics that are clearly evident in Metal Slug as you also rescued hostages, had a ‘Metal Slug’ and even super ‘Metal Slug’.  The death screams of baddies sounded remarkably identical.

The similarity train didn’t grind hit a switch track there either as enemies, settings, weapons and music looked and sounded strikingly indifferent too.

It was stop start too as like most other scrolling action fests of this nature, you had to clear a certain amount of enemies (usually the same type) before being able to progress.

Oh, I skipped Gunforce like a boring and irritating cut scene as it wasn’t very good.

So Metal Slug is practically a frame for frame, pixel for pixel near identical recreation of Gunforce 2?

Well not really, as Slug would be far superior and really, I wouldn’t settle for anything less as it was created on superior hardware.

Nazca would delightfully exploit this tech spec power.

Many could be forgiven that these graphics were unique and largely to the untrained eye, they were; unless you played Gunforce 2 of course…

So that’s the precursor and origin wrapped up, let’s get into this – the Metal Slug series.

The graphics was the first thing that struck you harder than a baseball bat to the love spuds – just so intricate and heavily detailed.

That’s how they looked and they moved with fluidity to equal any high-end million billion polygon a second 3D beast.

Everything that moved had great personality and humour and this was at a huge and gargantuan premium here.

Human enemies would scream, run away like cowards, sound alarms, have a drink, crawl, casually have bonfires, desperately try and pump water to prevent their vessel from sinking, abandon ship after an epic fail, roll snowballs and more.

You and they could also die in sometimes amusing ways such as incineration and electrocution.

Other regulars saw heavy artillery which boasted some impressive firepower and many other different types such as aliens and mummies.

As essential as the Metal Slug itself was a sub boss who appeared in every game (apart from Slug 5).  He was a very tough psychotic and nippy soldier who was armed with a machine gun, whip and an endless supply of grenades.

He taunted you with giggles, “C’mon boy”, “Go home to mummy” and when defeated “See you in Hell”.

In Slug 2, he would comically meet his demise by becoming the meal of a killer whale.

It was actually quite funny to see them in action but not for long, as you’d attempt to swiftly blow them away.

This extended to the protagonists too as they would laugh and radio in to presumably give a progress check.

Who to?  Who knows and who cares?

Sweating and breathing cold air showed further personality.

Characters weren’t initially selectable but more became available as the series evolved such as Fio and Eri.  Apart from a sprite and sound, there was no difference.

The main point of it wasn’t original but as it was so wonderfully executed, you just simply didn’t care.

The plot was practically redundant but involved General Morden and his army of cronies.  They’d even turn ally in later games.

Arsenal included Heavy Machine Gun, Rocket Launchers, grenades and Shotguns.  Virtually all were spoken on collection in typical emotional statements.

At close range, a melee attack saw you swipe with a stumpy dagger.

Weapons could be got from shooting crates but typically were acquired from rescuing Shaggy prisoners who left all manner of useful items, before running off like idiots.

These shaggy beings could also perform hadokens.  Bonkers!

More bonkers than that - a monkey with an Uzi?

Pointless as it was, these ‘prisoners’ would be totted up and award you with bonus points on completion of each mission.

The ultimate objective was to ride in the game’s namesake; the Metal Slug - a comical and highly powerful tank which was armed with a rocket and a Vulcan cannon.

In later games, other Slugs (sometimes insane) included camels, planes, submarines, elephants, choppers, spaceships and walkers.

Once in, grenades and the other more powerful enemy firepower could only bring harm.  You could obtain gas refills as it was naturally drained by enemy fire and you could launch a suicide shot to dish out maximum damage.

I’ve previously already touched on that this suicide ability could also be used in Ikari Warriors….

Like the character graphics, the backgrounds are among the most detailed you’ll ever see in two dimensions.  It was a pixel intense beauty.

Largely static, it was necessarily sexy and when required, the animation was subtle and suave.

Scenery ranged from jungles, bases, snowy terrains, mountains, outer space, alien bases, temples and graveyards.

You even take charge of an anti aircraft gun on a boat – great.

Left to right was usually the way forward but action could revert to vertical scrolling too so watch out, as it was one of those games where scrolling kills you.

The expected large obstacles in the way at the end of each level were suitably gob-smacking and were mainly large military beasts but they would later become biological and from another world.

Aside from the general good humour throughout, you could become other states such as fat, become mummified and a shuffler.

Piling on the pounds would prompt ‘whooah big’ and meant you became slower but you did shoot ‘fatter’ bullets.  Becoming the undead allowed a torrent of blood but you were really at a disadvantage.

Metal Slug 2 really saw the series come alive as it featured more enemies that weren’t just human and mechanical.

I’m going to skip Slug 2 and dive straight into Slug X.  X was mainly the same game and apart from some new enemies and time of day settings, the main improvement was to vastly reduce the sequel’s slowdown as it was pretty bad.

Everything was so much better than before and the humour improved too.  Bosses were moved about and other subtleties ensured that this was a proper upgrade.

This is when ‘other’ types of enemies were introduced such as mummies and aliens (also mummy dogs in X) and when Mars People were first introduced.

Bosses were far more intense such as airships, a boat on wheels, submarines and extra-terrestrial encounters.

Slug X was a far superior game as the slowdown in 2 was fairly awful.

To me, Slug 3 was the show stealer and from thereafter, future additions were just plain lethargic in their execution.

It was truly an epic and was virtually the old SNK’s swansong for the Neo Geo.

Nothing changed in what you had to do, but how you did it was nothing short of startling.

For the first time it featured a choice of routes, more enemies than ever before, more slugs, the best graphics, awe-inspiring animation, more balls and more guts.

Before moving on, let’s speak about those routes.  Each level (apart from the last) had a branching path which opened up new enemies and even Slugs but ultimately led to the same boss.

SNK guaranteed they went out with a scream rather than a whisper.

Let’s rock and roll.

Kicking things off was a shipwrecked beach but instead of taking it easy catching some rays bang, bang time with crabs, later moray eels had to be dodged, boats and jelly fish.

The boss was a giant crab with a large tank cannon mounted on its back.

Next was a deserted space shuttle site populated by zombies.  When you became a member of the undead, the animation was just ridiculously good.  Curing yourself was simply achieved by collecting some meds.

Eventually you came to the boss which began with large eyed alien things then it became strange as the real boss was an illuminated dome which attempted to squash you with huge gravestones.

A nice underwater stage next as off-screen, you popped on your scuba gear and went for a swim.  Next you infiltrated a base littered with laser shooting sentries and saw the return of the enemy soldiers.  The boss was a huge robot with movable arms.

You’d move on to the Aztecs next with man-eating plants, flying bugs and mummies made a welcome return.  A large obstacle that can only be described as a giant mask blocked your path from the final challenge.

The last mission was a game in itself and I thought, when was it gonna end.  Like all good things, it eventually did.

You began with a choice of Slug – plane or chopper, and then be prepared to age many years…

A scrolling shum up, a plethora of bosses, new enemies and set pieces – this had it all.

It wasn’t all new material as recycling was used but nevertheless, it got fresher than a squad of players preparing for a new football season.

Even when SNK recycle, they somehow use enough nous to make that terrific.  

Recycling began as bosses from the first Slug made an appearance and after destroying the final boss from the first game.  This is when it really kicked off.

What you thought was Morden is in fact an imposter and Mars People have kidnapped the real one so it’s after those pesky other worldly beings.

Whatever char you chose also gets kidnapped by an unwelcome beam and then another takes over and beckoned by your enemies, you take the challenge by jetting off in a rocket.

An unexpected and great sequence follows as you and others launch to space.

Now it’s a vertically scrolling shoot ‘em’ up with the madness of alien life.

After destroying Slug 2 and X end boss(es), you break in to it and more shooting commences.

It’s all new now and you’re knee deep in alien territory now.

Regular left to right occurs and War of the Worlds tripods stand in your way and after freeing Morden, another boss in an alien dome shooting large plasma balls.

You eventually come to your mate and before he’s freed – you have to take out alien clones of him; after which - zombies return…

A bit further and you escape the ship in the Metal Slug as the vacuum sucks you out.  The true end boss makes itself known in a large floating alien head with its brain on show.

After much firepower, it yields and that’s finally Mission All Over.

It’s surely the most epic level in any game of this type and if I was critical, some of the backgrounds were a little basic and constantly repeated but that’s been hyper critical.

Metal Slug was ported to many machines and as always, only the Saturn versions felt and played right.

Regardless, the PS2, Wii versions et al where the only ports that were affordable.

I own Metal Slug Anthology and I’m sure it’s not just me as there’s a very minute pause between jumping which hampers gameplay…

Metal Slug 4 and 5 are the recycled junkies I speak of and were not by SNK as they’d sadly gone bankrupt.  Instead, they were published and developed by a combo of Noise Factory and Mega Enterprises.

All they did was recycle many and most things from previous games and the new stuff didn’t light my fire.

It did inject some new factors such as new Slugs, weaponry and obviously bosses but still wasn’t enough and was never the same.

Okay, it’s Metal Slug so of course it’s still fun but the SNK wow factor had departed.

If you’ve never played Metal Slug, you haven’t lived and seriously need to.

Capcom’s Final Fight was cloned by many video gaming companies and SNK was no different and try as they did, they never achieved the giddy heights of Capcom’s seminal scrolling fighter.

To me, it was never a graphics or any other technical issue, but more because they just weren’t active enough.

In my opinion, Final Fight is a rip off of Double Dragon but that’s another debate.

Still, none were particularly bad but were just the nearly men compared to Capcom and their whole men.

I’ll interview each and eventually the decision will be made on who got the job of having the tag as the best of the rest.

It’s half past tick tock and my first candidate is due.  Right on cue, Burning Fight raps on the door.

It’s a blatant rip off of Final Fight and didn’t really hide the fact as it followed the same premise.  Enemies had names and energy bars…

Smack people with fists, feet, weaponry and a beat a boss.  It was ‘different’ enough to escape law suits up the arse.

It was perfectly playable and decent enough looking but nothing special.  Its highlights were the backgrounds which could be nicely detailed.

The speech was muted and an early form of screen scaling was used as enemies emerged from the background so that’s something.

There wasn’t much variety in the enemies and like all Neo games of this type – it just wasn’t busy enough.

Bosses were amusingly gay and awful.

At the time, it was the trend to fight all the bosses again.  For whatever reason, I thought it was cool to do that but now, it’s just lazy.

Verdict – Don’t call me, I’ll call you.

Eight Man was a superhero in Manga comics so it was unusual it’d eventually become a video game as this was created before The Beatles became big.

It was okay and had decent action as power waves were used instead of bunches of fives to destroy robots and other variations.

I’ve seen worse end bosses and ok for a fairly obscure title.

Verdict – Final para in correspondence will read “Your record will be kept on file.”

After a sip of water, my mood is worsening but things can surely only improve?

To try and turn the tide, it’s the appallingly titled Robo Army.

Now this was far better, but considering what went before – that wasn’t too difficult.

Obviously, this was fighting robots and even dared to be decent as you had the ability to morph into a vehicle when you felt the need for road rage.

Graphics were good, enemies were meaty and also fairly varied.

The usual elements existed such as using handheld weaponry of course featured.

Various mechanicals and animal variants mixed it up.  It featured regular enemies such as spiders, other robots and winged things.

I remember bosses included a robo ape and a copper.

Gameplay tried to be interesting as at some point you’d descend on a rope.

Verdict – Short-listed

So with my mood slightly improved, things are looking up and who or what is this?

I’m not sure if the next game was a cruel joke, but if it was – I’m certainly not fucking laughing.

It looked about as good as a crappy Megadrive and/or SNES game.

Its only saving grace is that it wasn’t by SNK and by some piece of shit called Wave.

The Legend of Success Joe is a scrolling fighter and is legendary among SNK fans as it was so visually and audibly stunning…

Its sound was tinnier than rattling a box full of coke cans and it played admirably bad.

Simply put – the worst Neo Geo game ever (even worse than Riding Hero) and probably has a depraved and evil cult following.

It was so insulting for this to even appear on such a monster of a machine which no doubt who saw this thought – this is Neo Geo game and what a piece of shit all the other games must be.

Okay, every machine has its bombs but this threatened to create a nuclear disaster with its greatness.

If anyone gave a toss, this was its premise.

Beat a few baddies up.  Enter a boxing ring, fight an opponent and repeat.

Anything else?  Nope!

I’m surprised the Neo was able to comprehend this diarrhoea covered insult.

Verdict – Memo reads, suing Wave for causing anybody who played this to suffer a mental and physical breakdown.  Oh and the Supreme Court also orders Wave to cover all therapy and medical expenses.

Well after that, somebody is going to shit out a game that would draw insult to a Spectrum.

We shall see with Mutation Nation.

Corny sounding title but never mind as this was even better than Robo Army.

It’s so-called as the enemies mutated into aliens…

Familiar gameplay but at least you could charge and unleash various super moves.

In conclusion, graphics were nice, it was fun to play and a different take on enemies can only be good as some bosses struggled their way to be memorable.

A crawling bug thing and doppelganger floaters were bright lights.

Verdict –The selection process is wide open.

It’s twenty two o’clock and after a long hard day, there’s just one set left.

Could it get the job – well let’s have a skeg at the Sengoku franchise.

This is definitely the most interesting as it was based around samurais and had cool scenery and enemies.

You could change into different chars and apart from weapons, you had firepower too.

Different weapons could be in your hand at will.

Other chars included ninjas and a dog.  The animal was good fun as you could shoot throwing stars.

Scenery was typically interesting as apart from the regular city theme, when things went mystical - clouds, paintings and running horses all appeared.

The samurai theme occurred before bosses which led to some nice encounters.

The sequel was more of the same but looked a lot more attractive (not that the original was a tug boat of course).

As before, you were transported to other worlds and this is when the backgrounds got really nice.

Bosses were vastly improved and most took various forms before dying.

One oddity was a large skeleton thing that attacked with a spoon full of water.

You even rode a gee gee against numerous backgrounds.

The final game was definitely the best looking and had some great animation.

I was expecting the worse as this was around the time that others 'helped' SNK.  This help was given by Noise.

Four chars were selectable and all had different weapons and moves.

The best one was Sengoku 2 though.

Verdict – Start on Monday.

It really puzzled me why Capcom scrollers were so active as in comparison, SNK’s couldn’t have held many more than five sprites at a time.

They should have all been like Ninja Combat which could be the busiest of all.

So Capcom wins hands down in this type of genre.

There were miscellaneous game like Nightmare in the Dark and Zupapa and these are best described as Bubble Bobble and Rodland games but with some differences.

Zupapa by Face involved you catching little friends and throwing them to batter enemies into submission.

Usual stuff, kill all enemies and progress to next screen.

Cutesy graphics, fun to play, varied enemies and good bosses.

Worlds included dinosaurs, toys, Japan and a theme park.  Each screen had a different background and of course, enemies were suited to each world.

Wait a mo, those worlds remind me of Rainbow Islands?

Nightmare in the Dark also featured static screens and had a gothic theme.

To kill in this one saw you turning enemies into fireballs and throwing it to warm things up.

You carried a lantern…

This bizarre title was by something I’ve never heard of - Eleven/Gavaking.

Despite this, good stuff.

Again, graphics were nice so three cheers all round.

That completes the second chapter and next time we'll shoot stuff, dodge bullets and be generally amazed in doing so.

Finding and dusting off my trumpet, it's gonna be great.

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