Super Buster Bros, Capcom 1992
Well, what a load of balls this game is.
This is a bit like the weather - we've all at some point experienced whatever type.
The fire drill is not to run out of a burning building and meet up at a designated area as it’s far simpler than that.
Visiting countries displaying famous landmarks should not distract your ultimate goal of reducing giant balls with your grappling hook until no more exist on that particular stage.
Ladders can be climbed, blocks can be destroyed and power ups can be got to assist fighting against unnatural bounce and increased ball threat.
The genius behind enjoyment is simplicity and this has it in abundance.
I’m fairly sure that this port commits the flagitious act of forgetting about 2P action.
Fatal Fury, Fatal Fury 2 and Fatal Fury Special, Takara 1993-1994
These ports don’t disgrace and are naturally cut down efforts of the arcade originals.
The chars, moves, backgrounds and sound lack the modest detail and shine of the then ridiculously expensive Geo versions but that’s to be expected.
It’s worth noting that Fatal Fury Special was a 32 meg cart but in comparison, the Neo Geo VHS equivalent weighed in at 150 megs.
We’ll leave it at that...
SimCity, Nintendo/Maxis 1991
1985 saw the birth of Gradius and 1989 is when one of the most famous simulation franchises in existence was unleashed.
If you've never heard of this and don’t know the deal by now, you need to leave the confines of your cave.
Listen to the people, develop a city, reduce crime and environmental pollution to ensure an invasion of economic and commercial growth.
A stereotypical pointy hand is used to control the necessary commands in order to eventually encourage a population that any city would be proud of.
Whether it appeals or not, the ambitious nature has to be given a Mexican wave.
The Terminator, Mindscape 1993
The immediate problem with releasing a video game based on a 1984 sci-fi classic in the 90’s is that nobody will surely give a shit.
After all, the blockbusting sequel was released in 1991, with inevitable pixel adaptations following shortly after including the ‘wonderful’ C64 and Amiga versions…
There was a plethora of awful Terminator games but the Mega CD boasted the best effort as it had kick ass music and a fairly faithful translation of events.
Unfortunately, there was this.
Forget the rack; this is beyond any form medieval torture.
They say that first impressions are paramount and on that score, it lulls you into a false sense of security as the title sequence is just like the film.
However, Brad Fiedel’s famous theme is not so lovingly translated as this chaos was officially composed by lunatics.
The truly horrendous music is somehow drowned out by incorrigible sound effects and muting the telly only halves the torment.
The final rusty nail hammered into your elbow is the playing experience and holy shit mixed with chip fat, you will step on a new rung on the shit ladder.
Kyle Reese goes through the depressing motions throughout cringing side scrolling and driving stages.
In the future, fighting recognisable HK’s and terminators at least makes some reference to the movie but burst my buttons, this is more boring than an episode of Coronation Street and you’ll be reaching for the power switch before a shot has even been fired.
For any sadist that wants to persist and make it to the past, you’ll be shaking your head and twitching with bewilderment.
Reese is now behaving like an asshole by climbing ladders and dashing across rooftops while taking out villains armed with guns, petrol bombs and knives.
Oh yeah, a helicopter endeavours to fire rockets up your booty.
Sergeant Tech-Com DN38416 is surely thinking ‘what the fuck?’
Judging by what happens next, this must be outside the Tech Noir nightclub because the next level is when Sarah and Reese flee from the Terminator in a car.
Okay, that happened.
Police station antics follow with our man fighting released prisoners and murdering officers.
If that doesn't make you laugh, the crippling speech of Reese frequently calling ‘Sarah’ definitely will. If I recall, he only says this once in that scene.
Speaking of which, why didn't Reese warn Sarah that the killer cyborg is more than capable of throwing its voice further than most athletes can toss a discus as the shout of ‘Sarah’ could have easily been the terminator...
The same trick is used by him later when he poses as her mother and locates her at Tiki Motel.
Okay, such ‘faults’ wouldn't allow the film to reach its exciting and unforgettable conclusion but like Elbow, I’m a right Picky Bugger.
Another chase sequence that did happen later lands you at the factory as the terminator pursues Reese while he avoids ‘curious’ obstacles. They eventually reach Sarah who gives the soldier a stick of dynamite which inadvertently kills him.
The next bit is absolutely brilliant as first off, you have to remove the bolt lodged in Sarah’s leg and then after discovering that Reese is dead, prepare for the climax.
The remainder of the terminator crawls after you and after luring and trapping it within the hydraulic press, the classic line of “You’re terminated, fucker!” is spoken and the machine is activated, crushing her nightmare.
The spectacular use of Mode 7, amazing representation and stunning 3D perspective makes you believe that I’m erupting bullshit.
Well, I like a laugh...
This is one of the premier examples of how not to use a fantastic licence.
It is aided by digitised stills to explain where we’re at but considering what nonsense happens during the scrolling action stages, there seems little point.
Not content in been overly difficult, there are also no continues and even if the opportunity was there, why you’d want to pursue this traumatic experience is beyond Cyberdyne.
Smoking crack and drinking petrol may explain actions but does not excuse them.
Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Probe Entertainment 1993
Ha ha ha, ho ho ho and tee fucking hee.
If you enjoy a swift kick in the bollocks by a jockey and his proud stallion, then this is your lucky day as I introduce the gaming equivalent of unimaginable pleasure.
If the first game was ‘good’, then this is the dog’s bollocks.
Oops, remove every word apart from what hangs between a male’s legs and that just about sums up this incredible piece of shit.
You may appreciate a bad game but this takes Bridget Jones and her Edge of Reason to a whole new fucking level.
I now have an abrupt case of violent stomach cramp and been lashed with razor wire is a more entertaining sensation.
As the reprogrammed terminator, you have to retrieve future items. Sorry, my mind is a bit sketchy, when did this happen in the film?
You’ll quickly believe that those responsible need terminating.
The controls are beyond fucking terrible with your commands only responding after a protracted tea break.
This is not rumour, it’s a fact.
Arnie’s jump is intentionally hilarious and can only be described as a puppet on a string or a fucked up marionette. What is going on here?
If Robocop's hop in Data East’s 1988 arcade game was stupid, this is just ridiculous.
When you gain control of the motorbike, this presents a greater problem than Houston. All that I can say is good fucking luck.
The confrontation with the T-1000 in the steel factory is shall we say, ‘interesting’.
After the advanced prototype falls into the steel, it’s a case of what happens next and is not a deleted scene from Cameron’s blockbuster.
Arnie then magically appears on the ground that has to shoot the shit out of the polymetamorphic blighter who retaliates with molten blobs.
When he’s finally taken enough punishment, the place explodes and does Arnie go back to the future to meet up with Marty and Doc?
If it hasn't already, the shrill cry of uncomfortable laughter has now amplified the room.
Do developers set about making up fatuous bullshit to wind people up? I would suggest yes.
When I stayed at a flophouse and/or doss-house, a Probe Entertainment representative in a string vest from beyond the door asked “Hey buddy, did you enjoy either Terminator game, or what?”
This Is Surely A Joke?
Fuck You, Asshole
Fuck You, Asshole.
I couldn't see his reaction but I was later told that he nodded his head with acceptance and walked away quietly…
You’d think that dissecting another would be like twisting a knife into an open wound but thankfully, this improves matters.
T2: The Arcade Game, Probe Entertainment 1994
With this one, a crosshair can be controlled with a Super Scope, joypad or mouse.
The only SNES accessory that can’t be used is a multitap.
A crosshair you say old chap?
Does that mean this is a lightgun game, based on the arcade but with a name to differentiate it from the previous piece of shit?
The answer is yes to all three questions.
Incidentally, this was also done on the NES with Turtles 2: The Arcade Game as the former game had nothing to do with the 1989 arcade that was out at the time.
Getting back to HK, Sarah and John, this is such a relief.
I remember playing the arcade and because the machine gobbled so many coins, I’m surprised it wasn't physically sick.
Random phrases such as ‘Hasta la Vista, Baby’, ‘I am the Future and of course ‘I’ll be Back’ are all spoken by the big man while the machine was dormant.
If you attempted to play the game without enough credit, the big man would scold you with ‘No Way, Jose’.
It’s fun remembering such pointless shit.
The SNES allowed you to sort things out which allowed 2P action so whatever, let’s go.
Although the gun power is infinite, those who are too keen will drain this bar will be punished and only by easing down will force a battery charge. Until then, you might as well paint a crosshair on your forehead.
With activity and intricacy cutbacks, the look of the arcade is admirably captured.
This was on horizontal rails and occasionally stopped for static action.
The enemies are what you’d expect but snakes and flying drones also make an appearance. SkyNet was obviously busy behind the scenes…
Ammo crates can be shot to reveal rocket bombs, bonus ammo recharges and increased firepower.
Just to piss you off, resistance fighters choose to shoot in the vicinity of these crates and any human casualty can be a problem to your health bar.
So you fight in the battlefield, resistance hideout, Cyberdyne and purposeful scenes with the T-1000.
John makes The Terminator put up his hand and swear that he will not kill anybody. In Cyberdyne, you are forced to shoot the shit out of SWAT which I suppose ‘disables’ them.
Maybe he was temporarily using rubber bullets?
Also, mad bastard scientists throw chemical bombs. Err, yeah.
What is good, albeit without the help of Dyson (who doesn't feature at all), John acquires the first Terminator’s arm.
The climax is all authentically liquid metal, in alternative circumstances.
First you have to fend the chopper off while in the SWAT van, then we cool down the threat by blasting the Cryoco tanker and finally, above the steel.
Like all games of this type, it’s very limited but remains satisfying and a million times better than the other abominations.
Incantation, Titus 1996
The year of release meant any desperate shit was churned out and ensured the toilet needed flushing.
A wizard using his projectile firing wand, collecting coins, hopping on platforms and attacking useless bosses sounds and is boring.
It looked better than some but just encourages an unwelcome snooze.
Dragon View, Infogrames 1994
When Joe Public or any RPG historian is asked which SNES RPG he or she fondly remembers playing, what would it be?
Final Fantasy, Chrono Trigger, Terranigma, Star Ocean, Dragon Quest, Breath of Fire or Dragon View?
Er, Dragon View? What the fuck kind of a name is Dragon View?
Yeah, it’s definitely not one you’d instantly remember. This was the sequel to Drakkhen (which I'll cover at a later date).
This is flat pack on its side as weapons, chars, villages, gabbing and battling baddies all feature.
A monk permits healing and saving while a wise man advises.
It wouldn't be a RPG without a shop and the currency is Jade to buy whatever.
You can also chance your arm and purchase mystery items from a shady merchant within the town.
Combat is real time which is less irritating than the random alternative.
Fighting takes place either when you’re travelling to pastures new in some weird 3D perspective or while you’re pottering about in a new place.
It’s almost like controlling some shitty driving game and enemies target you hidden amongst a scattered cloud. Yeah, it’s just what you’d expect…
Whatever, it’s nice that you are in control of your fighting destiny.
I can’t really say too much more apart from it has drab and depressing music with mediocre visuals.
I’m guessing this will take a good few hours to plough through, probably with multiple boss encounters but if the music doesn't put you off, its mind-numbing gameplay will.
Batman Returns, Konami 1993
To paraphrase a famous music compilation, Now This Is What I Call a Film Licence.
The intro explains what we already know using various stills set against an authentic theme.
In essence, it’s a Final Fight rip off (with a needless driving stage) and automatically signals it should be pretty good.
It’s so well done, you can practically feel Gotham City’s atmosphere.
All the significant action scenes and scenery are brilliantly recreated as Batman smashes his way through the Red Triangle Circus Gang.
Baddies who are seen only very briefly in the film are cleverly integrated as bosses such as the stun gun guy holding Selina hostage and the machine gun toting organ grinder.
Catwoman and Penguin naturally cause a headache for Bruce Wayne’s Caped Crusader.
The presentation shines further as each stage effortlessly links the story and boasts accurate script quotes such as “Burn Baby Burn”, “Gotta go, girl talk” and “You’re not the Mayor.”
Konami even took the time to reproduce the Penguin’s ‘long dart’ where bats emerge from his umbrella that forces the terrified Ice Princess to fall from the rooftop.
Also, you can even pull the piece of wall from behind and use it against the stun gun guy.
The Mega CD version featured far superior driving, brief scraps and a fine soundtrack but the presentation was pale in comparison to the SNES as a progressive story didn't accompany.
As long as it’s taken for what is, disappointment is a country kilometre away.
Street Racer, Vivid Image 1994
This was released on a host of platforms and Mode 7 tracks separate it from the rest.
It does succeed in being slightly different to the typical Mario Kart clone as the chars are moderately comical including a sumo wrestler and Frankenstein’s monster.
Gameplay is finishing first; asking questions later but each participant can use their own form of violence as a weapon to scupper their nearest rival.
The K.O bar strongly suggests that CPU and/or human opponent’s interest in the race can be ended prematurely.
In golfing terms, this falls somewhere between a par and a birdie which means at least it’s worth a swing.
Fighter’s History, Data East 1994
This franchise infamously landed Data East in court with Capcom as the former was accused of ripping off a fighting game that nobody has heard of.
As far as ports go, this is less impressive than a drunken sheep attempting to clear a broken fence.
Super Aleste, Toho/Compile 1992
While this sounds harsher than the intake of cigar fumes, the misconception of believing this was the first game in this shmup franchise could be forgiven.
Like Parodius, the MSX gave birth to Aleste in 1988 and several others followed.
Blazing Lasers was a highly praised and similar looking blast fest released on the PC Engine in 1989.
Essentially, this vertically scrolling shooter hasn't changed much, apart from the obvious inclusion of special effects.
Your craft can gladly collect numerous firepower including multi-shot, laser, circle and scatter.
Missiles also aid retaliation against the enemy masses.
Unlike R-Type and many others, pods are unavailable unless you collect the spread weapon.
Arsenal can be powered up to increase bullet intensity and can even be set to behave differently.
If that wasn't enough, nukes are always handy to unleash...
Mode 7 can be expertly used by way of zoom, scaling and mind warp.
Apart from backgrounds subject to general wobble, the best example is contortion during a boss fight.
Music has a sort of dance like quality and suits proceedings. Sprites are perfectly acceptable but backgrounds can be incredibly plain.
Before each boss fight, the narrator introduces each bunch of pixels but strangely, the alien language in English is practically incomprehensible.
What’s the bastard point in saying something if nobody can understand it? You can guess but can never be sure.
I can’t speak for the US and/or PAL version but I do remember the Japanese effort having a pointless mini section which allowed you to Mode 7 the shit out of an object.
When you really ‘zoomed’ out, a gazillion of them could be seen.
It remains an unexplained mystery of the universe.
This was a fine entry and also qualifies in been an amazing achievement as sprites packed the screen with minimal slowdown.
Secret of Evermore, Square 1995
Call me crazy, but I reckon this is more famous for the cover art dominated by Thraxx, an unfriendly and toothy oversized ant thing.
It’s definitely memorable and therefore, iconic.
Whatever your opinion on that, I doubt even Square would disagree that when compared to Final Fantasy or Chrono Trigger, this remains one of their more insignificant bookmarks.
Public opinion chortles at obscurity as this deserves to be smothered with superlatives.
A bird’s eye perspective is rightly favoured over horizontal exploration as you will pay to rest, buy, sell and trade items at any given opportunity.
Prudent players will exorcise the necessity of scavenging areas and finding hidden items.
Random battles are not obligatory as while you’ll inevitably bump into trouble, this is mainly down to personal decision.
An RPG without a menu screen is like a John Woo film missing leather clad motorcyclists and guess what?
Opening up a typical screen ensures more options than a restaurant menu with all the immediate statistical ingredients are here to observe such as details of current level, weapon, items and equipment.
During battle, you can expect to wield swords, spears and axes.
Combat is driven by a reliable system and works more effectively than predicting the outcome of flipping a double-headed coin.
Instead of a team of three, you have an army of two as a wolf sidekick assists.
Digging about inside this autopsy reveals alchemy.
Upon natural progression, the use of certain ingredients becomes fruitful and brings fresh and feisty magical awareness. It also highlights the importance of searching and finding items at will.
This is a genuinely superb adventure crammed with an admirable array of enemies, chars, bosses and landscapes.
Even with a hangover, graphics dare to look in a mirror without the risk of offending the translucent substance and is backed by a great soundtrack provided by Jeremy Soule.
Fans of Neverwinter Nights, Elder Scrolls and Guild Wars will already be more than aware of his obvious talent.
Success requires many hours of hard graft meaning a marathon is required rather than a sprint to see how this 24 meg monster ends.
In short, ignore the exploits of Tsunao and Gary at your peril as this is a journey that anybody should get his/her teeth into.
Power Instinct, Atlus 1994
There isn't really much to sing about here as another mediocre port from a not particularly great arcade franchise with chars, moves and less than ten backgrounds guarantees it will fall off most radars.
Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, Square 1996
Now this sparkles and is pulled straight from the top drawer.
Mario makes the slightly surprising and ambitious move from iconic platformer to stat obsessed, mushroom munching beast.
As with the final Parodius, this was another cart to be equipped with the SA1 Chip.
Help Mario and a bunch of other chars to find the Seven Stars so the reconstruction of Star Road can take place.
Joe & Mac 2 asked for seven rainbow stones so what a curious coincidence.
Nintendo decided to let the masters take control of matters and under the watchful eye of Mr. Miyamoto, the outcome is rather stunning.
The adventure is from an isometric viewpoint rather than the typical top down perspective and thankfully, doesn’t spring a leak.
Like Evermore, battles are chosen and by way of giving them a headache.
Enemies are a wonderful mix of old and new, together with cameos from many other regulars.
Bosses are feisty beasts and defeating them will bring stars to your eyes.
The menu screen is typically packed with words and options which allow you to fuss over best weapon, armour, accessory and equipment for whatever chars your team consist of.
It also of course makes clear of level, health, coinage and status.
When available, you can also switch team members and trademark bad guy Bowser becomes an ally. Yeah, that’s definitely one for the scrapbook.
You bumble about this magnificent world by talking to various Mario chars and choosing which area to explore from the world map.
Classic hi-jinks such as crossing chasms using floating platforms, travelling via pipe and hitting item blocks are all necessary with the famous shell attack and temporary invincibility ensures Square haven’t forgotten that this is a Mario game.
After a victory, you gain experience points and coins. If you are lucky enough to level up, a mystery bonus item can be chosen as well as learning a new technique.
As members of the Mushroom Kingdom are in RPG land, HP without the sauce is used and coins are used to buy items, weapons, equipment. When eyes start to droop, you can take a well earned overnight snooze.
Items or weapons that are surplus to requirements can be sold at the respective shop.
Graphics are naturally superb featuring rendered char models, special effects and an assortment of backgrounds that all ooze colour and style.
Humour can even be appreciated during numerous animated sequences.
Music is a combination of classic ditties and original compositions which is a pleasure to your listening tackle.
Keen listeners can also occasionally hear the sound of Final Fantasy...
If it played like an accident prone mongrel, all that visual and aural gloss would almost seem a waste but Square have covered more bases than a game of Rounders. This plays like a traditional RPG while showering the player with Mario attributes.
It’s an adventure bigger than most and simply must be experienced as the charm refuses to buckle.
Gemfire, Koei 1992
This is another title that isn't exactly highlighted in folklore.
I present a tactical war strategy which involves choosing from a scenario (with its own story) and deciding on your party.
Once recruited, you need to feed and pay your troops in order for an invasion to become a reality.
It involves plotting your battle manoeuvres and tactics on the map which then prompts you to move in and overpower the opposing army.
Units hoping to help out include archers, horseback and soldiers.
The basic premise is an old footballing cliché, it’s attack against defence.
All in all, this can hardly be considered a gem and reminds me of Cinemaware’s Defender of the Crown.
Captain Commando, Capcom 1995
Aside from all their many excellent qualities and achievements, in the 80’s and 90’s, Capcom recruited an army of classic scrolling brawlers. Whatever they did with these, they always managed to do it right.
To my frustration, this is something that SNK never really got the hang of.
Captain Commando and his superhero cronies could easily be from the Marvel or DC universe but are purely a Capcom creation.
If you precede Ninja, Baby, Captain and Mummy to ‘Commando’ then you have your chars.
In the arcade, Ninja and Mummy were called Ginzu and Mack respectively.
Take to the streets and batter everything until Scumocide is a mere memory.
Of that name, that’s more absurd than a baby controlling a robot, right?
‘Cap Com’ is what the first three letters of the game’s title spell and is nothing more than a subconscious and narcissistic coincidence as Capcom actually started off trading as Capsule Computers.
This was an admirable conversion featuring 16 megs, nice graphics and probably all the levels.
Okay, 4P action on the SNES in a game of this type is as improbable as seeing a fish not swimming but did at least achieve the bear minimum.
Doom, Sculptured Software 1995
Even in the early 90’s, a PC could display textures and produce 3D standing on its finger.
So what the fuck gives as the SNES and this dimension jump don’t exactly go hand in hand.
Courtesy of the Super FX 2 chip, it looked good and had virtually every level, but that’s when the honeymoon ends as things moved choppier than unpredicted waters.
Although the music felt more out of place than a vegetarian dining at a carnivore’s banquet, it was pretty cool.
Sensible Soccer, Sensible Software 1992
Football is a funny old game. Those who remember Microprose Soccer on C64 will more than concur.
Anyway, that was the genesis of Sensible Soccer and around the same time, Kick Off was its nearest challenger.
As we are talking ball retention, Super Sidekicks is surely the most unrealistic kick about ever made with punching and flying knees all commonplace.
If any youngster took inspiration from SNK’s violence fest, they would see more red than a pissed off bull and more bars than a dedicated publican.
This is still regarded as one the best games of footie around because of its smoother than silk gameplay.
Choose from a host of national and club teams and take part in a match as serious as you want it to be. You could even create your own team by way of the custom team function.
Pitch conditions could also be set and expanded on its forebear that included dry, icy, normal or muddy.
A number of formations also exist but that’s really where brief fussiness ends as this is essentially an easy pick up and play version of the beautiful game.
Of course it looks basic now but I prefer this over Pro Evo or Fifa any day of the year.
Aero the Acro-bat, Iguana Entertainment 1993
A boring and unoriginal platform game and the makers must have been battier than the protagonist if they thought this would shake the world.
Aero primarily attacks by air drilling, jumping on heads and flapping wings, while exploring stages such as the circus, Fun Park and museum.
Levels mainly required you to complete a task ranging from finding platforms, jumping through hoops and getting keys.
Snore, snore. What? Oh sorry, I must’ve dozed off due to how truly absorbing that sounds.
This game is so lazy, challenges repeat and some acts of yawn just need you to move from left to right until you can go no further.
Okay, that’s what most games of this ilk require but they are more interesting...
A bonus stage sees you gradually descend into a tank going through ‘rings’ and Pilotwings has my permission to attack and dish out necessary punishment.
While this is mostly awful, it plays okay and a nice variety of organ bombardments don’t exactly make your ears bleed. There are even brief excerpts of classical music too.
Unfortunately though, even riding a rollercoaster cannot stop watching paint dry a more exciting alternative than playing this.
Aero the Acro-bat 2, Iguana Entertainment 1994
After the first game, they were brave to release a sequel. Regardless, socks really needed to be pulled up for this to hold any sort of interest.
There are definite improvements as they did away with those mind-numbing objectives, cranked up the overall graphical quality and intermissions now flesh out the story involving Zero the Squirrel with crazy Ektor the clown and his not so magnificent flying machine.
How can the same shit happen to the same mammal twice? Well that’s what Aero will be thinking as he somehow manages to get trapped inside a magician’s box and from then on, it’s the same tedious business as usual.
The settings range from disco fever, dungeon and a bell castle that at least all look above average and you even get to snow board.
Whatever, this is still a pretty good excuse to fall asleep with a controller in hand.
Puzzle Bobble, Taito 1995
Taito’s bubble busting franchise appeared on every home console that wasn’t invented, never mind on the ones that were.
It needs the briefest introduction as no other is necessary.
Bubble blowing prehistoric cuties Bub and Bob control a contraption and attempt to clear a screen of bubbles where familiar baddies hide from the original classic static screen platformer before they breach your line.
I don’t have enough fingers to count the amount of clones that have appeared on arcade, console, mobile and tablet but suffice to say, there were a few...
Cannon Fodder, Sensible Software 1994
The Amiga original was a thoroughly capable and entertaining action war strategy cum shmup and was rightly raved about.
For whatever reason, the lyrics of the famous ditty are MIA and this instrumental piece just isn’t the same without them.
I suppose it was due to censorship…
Regardless of this curious omission, war has indeed never been so much fun.
Control a small squad of grizzled soldiers (via joypad or mouse) and sink your teeth into a juicy charcoal broiled steak.
Like the Amiga original, the graphics are like a loyal guard dog, they do their job.
Apart from occasional music bursts (that frequently repeat), the sound is fairly anonymous but gunfire, kabooms, with screams from animals and humans alike are suitably relevant.
Pixels are judged on how they play and on that score; it should be given the Victoria Cross.
As the mechanics are more basic than an abacus, this simply can’t fail.
Troops are commanded and controlled by a glorified mouse pointer with weaponry fired at the push of a button.
Armoury is rat a tat tat, with rockets and grenades also at your disposal.
There isn't a great deal of enemy variety but at least things don't get ridiculous as soldiers, tanks, turrets and choppers are all intent on lining your lungs with lead.
Artillery can also be entered to either mow down or ensure that the enemy rests in pieces.
When plotting a strategy, using the map function helps and if necessary, separate your team members to surprise and outfox the enemy.
You will traverse backwards and forwards over terrain such as snow, dirt, forest and underground. You will be also forced to wade through deep water and avoid quicksand.
There are missions aplenty and obvious parodies including Bridge over the River Pie and Sewers Canal are clearly demonstrated.
Surprisingly, the slight visual gore wasn't censored for the SNES but the original Amiga game attracted controversy as it offended and outraged many.
During the title sequence, it even stated that it was not endorsed by the Royal British Legion.
The humour is darker than an eclipse and respect is shown to heroes and more importantly, to those lost in service after the completion of each level.
Okay, it’s undeniably repetitive, but you’ll never tire of taking out the enemy, razing enemy buildings to the ground, rescuing hostages or protecting civilians.
The Blues Brothers, Titus Software 1993
John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd as Jake and Elwood Blues respectively in John Landis’s 1980 musical comedy was a rooting tooting hoot.
In 1998, Blues Brothers 2000 further proves that you should just leave things alone...
On the other hand, this game is a right rooting tooting yawnathon.
After you’ve chosen either brother, you set about collecting vinyl which is used against surplus stock enemies, while climbing ladders and avoid hazards, all with the purpose of reaching the jukebox at the end of each stage.
There is so much to dislike including annoying ‘rock and roll’ speech, the look of a bad Amiga game and ‘hulking’ up, which is about as pointless as smoking an unlit cigarette.
The authenticity of events is emboldened when you ride a flying dragon.
I suppose the music is pretty recognisable but what a total waste of pixels.
King of the Monsters and King of the Monsters 2, SNK 1992 and 1994
The battle to discover which monster deserves to rule the roost is on as you literally smash and grab on your way to proving just who is badder than the bad.
Visuals have suffered the shrinking ray and the grappling animation is unintentionally amusing with a distinct lack of frames.
The retention of fairly crazy music and 2P co-operative play in the sequel is always a good thing.
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Bits Studio 1994
Well unscrew by bolts and what the heck?
The purpose of the monster’s stumbling existence is hidden away at Victor’s laboratory as I have no fucking idea.
How about this?
After a few liveners, confidence leads him to dance the night away at the local nightclub and when the birds clearly aren't biting his worm, he decides to drown his sorrows with a crate of the good stuff and a stifling hot curry.
After awaking with a hangover more aggressive than most, actions are quickly regretted.
One thing’s certain; you are less popular than the plague and everybody wants you dead.
What has this poor bastard done?
If he is run out of town, surely a career in comedy should be pursued as he would have most in stitches.
People attack with pitchforks, swing swords and throw shit out of windows as this witch hunt has got way out of control.
It’s plausible that you can fight back with a probable assortment of handheld weaponry and in order to progress, you need to collect items.
In addition, music may be moodier than a hungover gorilla but that’s when my guesswork ends.
Rival Turf!, Jaleco 1992
This is the first in a trilogy of scrolling beat ‘em ups which get progressively better.
I’ll handle each separately so let’s pound some heads.
Choose from either brawler and take to a variety of settings including street, stadium, jungle and port while dishing out your own brand of violent justice.
Each stage has various sections so at least there’s something different to look at while hammering those attack buttons.
This unfortunately boasts crap sound and animation so clunky that it would disgrace 8 bits.
Still, 2P action makes it fun but this is more dated than the dinosaurs.
Brawl Brothers, Jaleco 1993
Well the first went down about as well as swallowing salt water so hopefully this will be slightly more agreeable.
It’s no longer either/or as a case of who as multiple chars are now available (five to be precise).
So the char choice has improved and thankfully, the overall graphics and sound have also enjoyed an upgrade.
Areas maintain the idea of having different sections to each but there are very strange things that linger in the air.
This time, cartoon bubbles can be seen showing the effect of your fists such as ‘Crash’ and ‘Spak’.
Spak? What the fuck does that mean?
After some stages, a boss is defeated and in turn rescued, who then becomes a player but there’s one problem, he was ALREADY selectable.
The logic behind this remains unknown.
The Peace Keepers, Jaleco 1994
We reach the final game and this has a story, numerous cut scenes and bombards you with dreary dialogue.
Some fruit loop called Iago dabbles in altering genetic code with the side effects resulting in mad bastard mutants. You must stop him before his army takes over the world
Oh shit, better get to it then.
Initially, this goes backwards but then goes forwards as you have a choice of four chars but expands to six as you progress.
Together with numerous bosses, Iago’s experiments include lab rats, mutants, ninjas and robots.
Super moves can produce light shows and naturally dish out extra damage.
Backgrounds are again generally varied as a desert, airport, cavern and the falls all have different sections.
This is decent stuff but the animation is fairly terrible featuring much twitching.
Another game of exactly the same ilk with mutant intent was SNK’s Mutation Nation.
I held off mentioning the following for each as I’d just be repeating myself so here it is.
You can verse each other off in any game and providing you have a multitap, Peace Keepers features is capable of handling 4P intensity.
Take your cotton socks off to Option and you’ll notice the sensible and the strange.
First off, 2P hit detection can be turned off which is fine but in order to hear in-game music, you have to turn it on.
Wow, it reminds me of the 8 bit days when you usually had to choose one or the other.
Despite some shortcomings, there are worse pixels of this type out there and with each having 2P action, Jaleco can’t be faulted for that.
Saturday Night Slam Masters, Capcom 1994
The biceps are bulging and testosterone is definitely flowing as you must destroy the other knuckle heads who dare to question your might in the ring.
Well that’s made wrestling sound really exciting hasn't it?
This ridiculous sport has made another lucrative movie career for The Rock and even Steve Austin has appeared in a select few bombs
Tears for Fears may say it’s a Mad World but I on the other hand would say the world has gone mad.
Okay, let’s use ropes for something other than skipping and we certainly won’t be painting on this canvas.
Under your careful control, each of the ten chars are aiming to be crowned Champion of the World in the CWA Crash Carnival.
Modes of Single or Team Battle Royal are available and of the ten beefcakes, Jumbo could be related to Zangief and the Great Oni is here.
Without teaching anybody to suck eggs, Royal is 2P simultaneous action against the CPU.
Although he shares the name, this Oni is unrelated to his counterpart in Super SF4 Arcade Edition.
Also, outside of Final Fight, Haggar makes his first appearance in another game.
There have been many wrestling games translated to pixels and this is one of the better efforts.
Although this purports to be a global event with locations such as Sydney, New York, Hanover and London, arenas are practically identical apart from canvas colour.
Chars and destinations also repeat as you have to defend your title to be truly victorious.
It’s quite good fun grappling geezers with typical swipes and slams but gets boring pretty quickly.
In 1993, Capcom brought out one of their trademark ‘upgrades’ for arcade halls with Muscle Bomber Duo Ultimate Team Battle.
I'd strongly suggest that SNK’s 3 Count Bout remains a forgotten entry and featured weapons and ridiculous special moves.
A few months ago, Game magazine ran an extensive feature on the history of wrestling games and failed to include 3 Count Bout. I contacted them to point out this omission but my spot was never acknowledged…
Did I really expect a response? If I'm honest, probably not but it would've been nice.
The Legend of the Mystical Ninja, Konami 1992
We now have a crazy, but wonderful adventure starring Goemon and his eccentric sidekick Ebisumaru. Outside of Japan, they are known as Kid Ying and Dr. Yang respectively.
The plot is virtually pointless but it involves rescuing Princess Yuki from the loopy Otafu army who are a dab hand at counterfeiting.
This is a great mix of action, adventure with a generous dollop of quirkiness and charm, archetypal of Konami.
Singular or co-operative play is available but 2P is highly recommended as the quest for rescuing Miss Yuki begins.
There is a village to each area which you wander around and talk to chars, enter shops and buy items.
Although you are restricted to 2D movement, there is some freedom to move around the area.
Think of it like a typical scrolling beat ‘em’ up.
Although this is apparently the safest area of each stage, threat is very much a reality as eccentric locals can happily remove vitality.
You can also participate in fairly pointless but fun mini-games (especially in the amusement park) that probably bring item rewards. I distinctly remember breaking wind in a bath and whoever’s sharing it, becomes embarrassed.
It all adds to the quirky humour and makes things all the more entertaining.
Initially, Ying and Yang fight back with a stick which can grow in length and later, yo-yos, shurikens and bombs can be acquired.
Coins are dropped by defeated enemies and currency can be used in the typical way or as a throwing weapon.
Before entering an action section in 2P, you are given the option if you want to go it alone or work together to ensure safety.
I don’t think you can leave each other for dead and a piggy back can be achieved where one moves, t’other attacks.
When they crawl, they are animated to look like caterpillars. Whether that was intended or not, it’s quite amusing.
Main action sections are fixed left to right or vice versa movement but enemies pose a greater menace.
The spirit of Parodius and Japan in general is captured with Karakasa and Tengu mask as enemy and background can be seen respectively.
At some point, there’s even an octopus that looks suspiciously like one from another franchise…
Bosses are not as bonkers as the ultimate shmup farce but eyebrows should be raised at ‘what am I fighting?’
A ghost girl spinning plates, a guy with a mask balancing lanterns and a kite filled with ninjas are obstacles that Messer’s Yin and Yang will have to overcome.
Completing a zone usually rescues a char who give thanks and hints at what happens next. A sweeter than sugar sequence then develops the story nicely.
The need to be tighter than a new pair of shoes is magnified as O-Edo Travel Agency requires you to spend a few quid in order to progress to new areas.
While any class will do, a more expensive package will bring a bonus of a greater life bar.
Backgrounds are a nice concoction of inside and out featuring islands, castles, amusement parks, mountains and waterfalls.
Audio is an innocent variation of Japanese whoopings and gentle serenity. When things take a more ‘serious’ turn, music can suddenly change to complement the mood of the current situation.
It’s not the largest game but quality shines through just like sunlight does through a window.
In short, you simply can’t go wrong with this one.
Chuck Rock, Core Design 1992
As the band plays, Chuck must Rock on.
This is an unoriginal and fairly generic platformer featuring a salad dodging, beer guzzling ug with a very restricted vocabulary.
‘Unger Bunger’ and ‘Uh Oh’ are the only phrases this over intelligent Neanderthal can muster.
Barrel belly uses his gut to ‘bounce’ enemies away and a rock can be used to either kill or reach higher platforms.
He will stop at nothing to rescue his woman from dinosaur bully Gary Gritter.
Our man can also ride prehistoric types such as Pterodactyls and Diplodocus.
Hostile intent comes from spiders, bats, jellyfish and less friendly dinosaurs.
Environments are what you’d expect that include snow, caves and dinosaur graveyards.
It’s the usual thing, get to the end of a stage and repeat.
The general nature and humour has been captured from the Amiga original, featuring bosses who have clearly feasted on one too many dinosaur steaks and poodle kebabs.
The sequel, Son of Chuck was made for the Amiga and ported to various Sega consoles but decided against the SNES.
Junior stepped into the protagonist’s boots who used his club to deal damage instead of his father’s pot belly (who has been kidnapped by a rival vehicle manufacturer).
You’d immediately think of a male Bam Bam and you’d be right.
Another game of a similar theme on the Amiga was Titus’s Prehistorik in 1991.
We already know about Joe & Mac but the ‘older’ generation may remember the yo yo antics of Trogg the caveman in 1984, originally for the BBC and/or Acorn Electron.
You don’t? Well Frak! me.
Hit the Ice, Taito 1993
Well what are you waiting for? Why don’t you face off?
Arguably, this is more of an excuse to have a scrap than boxing.
Rightly or wrongly, violence is a huge draw for spectators and I suppose most will be disappointed if somebody doesn't stick one on an opponent.
The film Goon starring Seann William Scott is surprisingly good.
1P vs 2P, 1P vs CPU and competing in a Tournament are all obvious essentials in this arcade port.
It plays an okay, albeit a bit sluggish and importantly, you can punch at will.
I can already hear the crowd roar.
Wolfchild, Core Design 1992
Before the introduction of mainstay CD games, the Amiga used to dominate the glory of animated sequences.
A scientist researcher type is kidnapped by Draxx so enter daddy’s son Saul.
How about this for a coincidence? The antagonist in Barbarian was Drax.
He activates Project Wolfchild at a computer and becomes the experiment in order to fight back against the nasty Chimera organisation.
The transformation didn't even impress me at the time and looks particularly crude now.
Anyway, people may have wet themselves over it.
In comparison, Another World was a proper example of a great spectacle.
Despite my reservations, the SNES, Megadrive, Master System and Game Gear didn't have an intro of any sort.
The Mega CD version ripped up the form book and featured an expanded and variation of the original.
This game is fairly inoffensive and just a light-hearted action platformer, with a bit of animal thrown in.
Saul starts off as a desperate human but when he collects a certain power up, the roar of a wolf allows him to kick ass.
It’s the usual shit, defeat enemies and bosses, progress to stages including temples, alien bases and jungles until you can do more.
The audio is perhaps the best aspect and I suppose I’ve seen worse visuals.
I don’t think many could deny that the idea smacks of Altered Beast.
Super Tennis, Tokyo Shoseki 1991
Forget the deliberate mirror image of Smash Tennis and controversially, even Mario Tennis, the true racquet ‘em up king will never be dethroned from the umpire’s chair.
Singles, doubles and circuit options are available, as is the choice of various cutesy chars and lawn, hard or clay surfaces.
As this is a very early SNES game, it is hampered by very primitive graphics but still doesn’t deserve a volley of abuse.
With rain never interfering with play, the simple mechanics ensures it never double faults.
Sparkster, Konami 1994
This is kinda weird and here’s why.
The original was a Mega Drive exclusive called Rocket Knight Adventures. The same console had a sequel called Sparkster: Rocket Knight Adventures 2 in 1994.
I suppose we can only call this a spin-off and at least the slight confusion was consistent as the Mega Drive sequel and this aren't identical.
You are an opossum, a crazy looking rat thing who is well squeaked off when a king kidnaps his girlfriend and makes his getaway on a spaceship.
For a marsupial, he is a load lot of fun to control as launching vertically, boosting in various directions and using his tail to hang about is all in day’s work.
Along with this manoeuvrability, the Boomer sword comes in handy to dish out punishment to an assortment of mammals and huge robotic bosses.
What some may remember is becoming part of a boxing match in space.
The graphics and colours impress, as do the aural pleasantries and because it’s also enjoyable to play, this will not be flushed down the toilet.