Saturday, 11 November 2017

16 bits, 2 bytes - Tenth Event

Prince of Persia, Arsys 1992

Disney's Aladdin ripped off core elements of Jordan Mechner's classic 1989 original.

Now that's off my chest.

Featuring new levels, superior graphics and tighter gameplay, remake is definitely not best forgotten.

120 real time minutes (upgraded from 60), is how long you have to defeat the jealous Jaffar and rescue the princess.

Sure task can be done in one sitting, but receiving passwords after each stage is most welcome.

Combat can be literally hit and miss, and blocking attacks forces ass back.

Getting forced off a platform can have you fall onto a bed of spikes, or depending on height, will break your back.

Traps and puzzles are usually triggered and solved by stepping on tiles.

Later on, rooms contain conveyor belts and teleporting doors.

Enemies become more proficient in swordplay and vary from women, to knights and fat guards.

Drinking potions refreshes health and can increase hit points.

Eventually, player hops through a magic mirror, tearing soul apart.


Pesky clone later hinders progress by forcing Prince to fall into the fiery pits of hell, where skeletons await.

Shadow is merged with to cross otherwise impassable chasm and after dispatching Ray Harryhausen-esque multi-armed monster, Jaffar must be taken care of.

Defeat master swordsman to rescue princess and become the Prince of Persia.

Port of 1993 DOS sequel The Shadow and the Flame belatedly appeared in 1996.

Narration during cut scenes and several levels were removed from far superior original.

Dragon’s Lair, MotiveTime 1993

Gorgeous work by ex-Disney legend Don Bluth couldn't mask 1983 arcade's despicable gameplay.

8 bit interpretations were predictably more basic and although radically cut down, Amiga, PC and Atari ST looked more like laser disc original.

Remember how fast paced and enjoyable the 1990 NES game was?

You do?

Get help, quick.

Stock platformer has a pretty sluggish Dirk swishing sword and throwing secondary weapons at enemies recycled from arcade.

Environs have little variety and against a fairly strict time limit, levels demand nothing more than to find the exit.

Jumping from platform to platform has baddies appearing roughly where you want to land and touching a boss results in instant death.

Trapped inside a bubble with no means of attack, game intermittently becomes a poor man's Gravitar.

Passwords are given after overcoming unexciting bosses, including snake, bat and of course Lizard King.

Balls A-D stick to numbers 1-8, so for arguments sake, password could be A2 B6 C7 D4.

Sounds like a straightforward alpha-numeric situation, but the reality is sadly not a heinous prank.

Dirk must push balloons into designated underwater pit.

If a ball falls in the wrong place, situation cannot be undone.

When set correctly, you may proceed to the exit.


Honestly, which SICK BASTARD dreamed this shit up?

If description sounded bad enough, the reality is beyond painful.

Final nail in demented coffin is you're given NINE preposterous minutes to complete insanity test.


Space Ace, Absolute 1994

They knew it would be impossible to recreate arcade's lush animation, so instead, they cooked up an excruciatingly bad side scroller, boasting bullshit controls, no restart points and one hit deaths.

In order to the see the credits, an Ace rank must be achieved on every level.

Oh, space mazes can kiss my ass.

Graphics and sound are quite pretty, but experience is still pure Borf.

Battletoads in Battlemaniacs, Rare 1993

At Gyachung-La Fortress, Professor T-Bird introduces the Total Reality Integrated Playing System, creating artificial world ‘The Gamescape’.

Zitz and Michiko Tashoku (daughter of Psicone Corporation’s CEO Yurkio) are nabbed, so Rash and Pimple roll up rescuing sleeves to stop Silas Volkmire from transforming normal world into his own Gamescape.

Essentially a 'slightly' easier remake of the legendarily difficult NES original, Rash and Pimple now enjoy their own set of attacks and combos.

Skeletons, wasplings and pigs can expect to be on the wrong end of OTT ram horns, hammer and anvil.

Unfortunately, baddies can only be taken down via a special attack.

Yep, pummeling them just with fists is a waste of fucking time.

There’s only one scrolling fighting section; as once again, mini-games take centre stage.

Once the Dark Queen is defeated, we pursue Silas in Battlecopter where his teleporter can be brought down with missiles.

If baddie escapes, expect a slightly different ending.

1994 arcade exclusive (simply called Battletoads), was included on brilliant Xbox One compilation Rare Replay.

Battletoads & Double Dragon: The Ultimate Team, Rare 1993

Straight port of NES game also made it to Game Boy and Mega Drive.

Professor warns Queen’s battleship the Collosus is on its way to do terrible things to Earth.

Rash, Zitz and Pimple can’t be having that, so they pick up Billy and Jimmy at City Hall and take Battlecopter to space.

Design is very much in the mould of Battletoads, as we plough through Queen’s cohorts and take on Abobo, Blag (changed from Big Blag), Roper, Robo Manus, Shadow Boss and the Dark Queen.

Bare-faced Asteroids stages breaks up staple diet action.

Decent'ish' graphics are strangled by hardly any on-screen activity and duller than dishwater music.

Zombies Ate My Neighbors, Lucasarts 1993

A true classic.

Thanks to Dr. Tongue, the local community is beset with monsters and it’s up to Zeke and Julie (single or co-operatively), to save the day.

Levels require players to rescue a quota of human personalities, ranging from cheerleaders, babies, jungle explorers and barbeque enthusiasts.

Once done, the exit door appears.

If every neighbour is killed and/or all lives are lost, it’s game over.

Peeps becoming werewolves when night falls are counted as being dead.

By drinking a potion, players themselves can transform into hairy beasts.

Evil clones emerging from plant pods (Invasion of the Body Snatchers), vampires, Jason Vorhees types wielding chainsaws, vampires, martians, Frankenstein’s monster, dolls and zombies are all out to get you.

To help out, weapons of mass destruction include watergun, plates, explosive soda cans, flamethrowers and bazookas.

Stages count 48, and titles can be plays on famous films.

Seven Meals for Seven Zombies (Seven Brides for Seven Brothers)
Dances with Werewolves (Dances with Wolves)
The Day the Earth Ran Away (The Day the Earth Stood Still)
Nightmare on Terror Street (A Nightmare on Elm Street)

Chopping Mall shares its name with a cult 1986 slasher, but as shopping mall is populated by zombies rather than Killbots, stage pays homage to Dawn of the Dead.

Most bosses have to be killed, while some giant enemies can be ignored.

We get a UFO, giant spider, Tremors style worm and a Titanic Toddler.

Antagonist is disappointing, as the good Doctor is merely a head.

Complete with pink flexible limb hopping about, bonus stage Day of the Tentacle refs Maniac Mansion sequel.

Here's a fairly obscure piece of trivia.

Main characters using trampoline to jump from garden to garden was translated to funny zomcom Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse.

Ghoul Patrol, JVC 1994

Although title doesn't make it obvious, this is the sequel to ZAMN.

At the library, Zeke and Julie read a passage from an old book.

For it to work, ‘it is ghosts and demons time’ must be said in reverse.

‘Emit snomed dna stsohg si ti’ is displayed on screen.


Phrase is actually spelled backwards, not spoken.

So it should be ‘time demons and ghosts is it’.

Anyway, out pops beastie, who along with the help of loyal minions; intends to control all time dimensions.

So plot basically rips off The Evil Dead.


Rescuing formula stays true to original and Medieval Castle, Feudal Japan and Ghost Ship are some of the environments we'll visit.

Guzzling potion now transforms player into a Grim Reaper.

Although sacking off b-movie charm disappoints, follow up is worth checking out.

Syndicate, Bullfrog 1995

Amiga/PC original wasn't particularly gory, but extremely controversial, as success was reliant upon violence.

Principle later found its way onto Jaguar, 3DO and even FM Towns.

Here’s the cyberpunk deal.

Team of four cyborgs are eager to cause destructive mischief on a global scale.

Researching territory, arming, upgrading and agent selection takes place at headquarters.

Complete with wacky hairstyles, new anime style portraits look nice.

Quartet are controlled either individually or as a team and a choosing a Directly Controlled Agent is compulsory.

Funds are acquired by conquering territories and used to buy numerous guns, upgrading body parts (chest, legs, eyes, heart and arms).

Persuadertron device that brainwashes humans and controls drones can be made more effective via upgrades.

Coloured bars of Adrenaline, Perception and Intelligence represent speed, shot accuracy and reaction to enemy threat respectively.

Moving direction mixes shit up.

For example, having Adrenaline on the right increases walking speed but drastically reduces health regeneration.  Whereas moving it to the left, permits faster healing, but movement is sloth like.

Be sure API levels are topped up, or upgrades won’t kick in.

Weapons at your disposal include uzi, laser, mini-gun, shotgun and gauss gun (like a rocket launcher).

Some eat ammo more than others, so it’s best not to be wasteful during assassination missions.

In line with Nintendo's then friendly family policy, flamethrower is replaced by a chiller gun.

On the surface, port is good, but...

Redrawn 256x224 graphics look piss poor in comparison to 640x480 original.

Command prompts (now icons), do a remarkable job of looking nothing like what they’re supposed to be and controls are unnecessarily convoluted.

What really puzzles is the absence of mouse support.

Cannon Fodder did, so what the fuck man?

In any case, agents react very slowly to instructions.

With no cursor, friendlies and hostiles are automatically highlighted when facing them.

Not ideal.

Group switching weapons can affect everybody or just leader of the pack.

Also, only the DCA can pick up and drop stuff.

Sheep following the shepherd will regularly get stuck behind obstacles, so you're often forced to hit ‘select’ and switch to single control.

Great AI.

If you lose sight of ‘persuaded’, they’ll wander off to destination unknown. 

This becomes a monumental issue when mission requires to escort them to the exit

Best advice is do not bother, unless forced to do so.

Here's the deal breaker - you CAN'T save anywhere.

So as a peculiar compromise, password system has a really bad fucking habit of NOT recording funds, upgrades, equipment and agent’s name.

To compound situation, recommencing mission has game bunging you at some generic restart point.

All you can be sure of is that completed missions are remembered.

NBA Jam, Iguana Entertainment 1994


Spiritual successor to Midway’s earlier basket brawl arcade Arch Rivals had fully licensed teams and featured digitised ‘at the time’ NBA stars.

In fact, it was the first ever licensed sports game.

Up to four dunk hungry dudes could participate and with every quarter costing a credit, arcade ate money like nobody’s business.

That's cheeky, but nothing compared to Double Dragon III: The Rosetta Stone, as purchasing tricks, energy, weapons and power ups from item shop cost real money.

Robbing fucking bastards.

Unsurprisingly, smash hit came home to Game Boy, Game Gear and Mega Drive.

Mega CD looked near on identical to cartridge counterpart, but boasted better music and improved player roster.

So how did SNES version fare?

Ignoring rights issues over character line-up, the main difference is sprites aren’t digitised and don’t grow and shrink as they move around the court.

Inhuman dunks are available once Turbo gauge is filled and crude FMV provides half time entertainment.

Soundtrack is pretty catchy, but there's only a few speech samples, hardly any sound effects and bizarrely, no in-game music.

If gameplay sucked, this could kiss my rim, but two-on-two action kicked fucking ass.

Providing whichever type of multitap adapter is owned, 4P action was the icing on the cake.

Secret characters such as Bill Clinton, NFL Quarterback Warren Moon and Mortal Kombat motion capture actor Sal DiVita can be accessed by entering simple codes.

Arcade update Tournament Edition permitted half-time subs, updated team roster, had new modes, specials and techniques.

Saturn, Game Gear, 32X, PS1 and Game Boy tasted court, 1995 conversion yapped more, had improved visuals and retained 4P action, but still failed to include in-game music.


Secret celebrities included Prince Charles, basketball legend Larry Bird, Fresh Prince and hip hop friend Jazzy Jeff.

Jaguar version featured Atari’s Vice President of Software Development Leonard Tramiel.

Captain America and the Avengers, Mindscape 1993

Before going bankrupt, Data East only released three licensed Marvel games.

Different NES exclusive of same name, the not particularly well received one-on-one fighter Avengers in Galactic Storm and

Choose from Cap, Iron Man, Vision or Hawkeye, and kick the ass of Red Skull's army of super villains.

Sprites may be knee high to a grasshopper, but screen enjoys more action than your usual 2P scrolling fighter.

Shmup and underwater sections break up archetypical biffing and boffing.

Blam! Krak! Smash! and Plam!

Aside from regular baddies, we have to tame mid and end bosses, such as Whirlwind, Sentinel, Living Laser and finally Red Skull himself.

Differences between Mega Drive port are superficial, but unlike its nearest rival, cut-scenes are presented as a snazzy comic strip.

Spider-Man and X-Men in Arcade's Revenge, Software Creations 1992

Game opens up in New York, as Spider-Sense (sounding like a distorted fart), helps web crawler locate and disarm bombs.

Spidey learns Arcade has kidnapped Gambit, Storm, Wolverine and Cyclops.

In no particular order, characters must overcome two Murderworld stages, littered with unique enemies, hazards and bosses.

Less than up for an ass kicking are Carnage, Master Mold, Apocalypse, Juggernaut, Rhino, Shocker and a giant Selene.

Compared to fellow mutants, Storm is tasked to swim her way out of underwater mazes.

Ultimate responsibility falls to Spider-Man to destroy Arcade's grinning robot, and once defeated, physical baddie nukes abandoned building.

Graphics are incredibly dated and music is a mixed bag of bullshit.

Without sounding like a geek (ahem), explosions and gunfire samples sound nigh on identical to Konami's Axelay.

Spider-Man and Venom: Maximum Carnage, Software Creations 1994

At Ravencroft, a maximum security institution for the study and incarceration of the criminally insane, Carnage escapes.

Ultimate insanity cuts Shriek free so she can join him on the slaughter circuit.

Black Cat, Dagger, Cloak, Morbius, Firestar, Captain America, Iron Fist, Doppelganger, Demogoblin, Deathlok and Carrion form an impressive cast.

1P only Final Fight clone is fun at first, but combo potential is emptier than a virgin's sex life.

Ignoring a modest selection of bosses, human army comes in the form of Linda, Andy, Steve, Terry, Billy, Rick and Marshall.

Etc etc.

Superhero majority assist when hidden items are found and gimmick gets a huge thumbs down from me.

Soundtrack was written by Green Jelly and thrown in for unlicensed measure is an interpretation of Black Sabbath's The Mob Rules.

Venom/Spider-Man: Separation Anxiety, Software Creations 1995

Despite title, story follows meat of comic Venom: Lethal Protector.

Life Corporation kidnap Venom and removed five symbiote spawn from alien suit, but father escaped before children could destroy parent.

Venom teams up with his old foe to cure 'game's subtitle'.

2P sequel features thugs, members of the Jury (foundation's elite guards), and soldier types without facial features.

Once item is left by enemies, Captain America, Hawkeye, Ghost Rider and Daredevil can be summoned a limited number of times.

Graphics are worse than predecessor and succeeds in being even less fun.

X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse, Capcom 1994

Mutants are imprisoned on Genosha and forced to work by a brutal army and robot Sentinels.

Charles Xavier sends Cyclops, Wolverine, Psylocke, Beast and Gambit to gather information and prevent Apocalypse from putting sinister four horsemen plans into action.

Characters must complete their own missions and focus then switches to the Genoshan forest.

After kicking Apocalypse's ass, we think it's all over, but Magneto has other ideas.

In preparation for the final battle, skills are tested against Omega Red and Juggernaut in the Danger Room.

Climax aboard orbiting space station Avalon features Exodus, unpleasant mutant clones and Master of Magnetism.

Other bosses fought in entertaining romp are Tusk, numerous Sentinels and Brood Queen.

Pulling off Cyclops' Optic Blast is the same combination as a certain Hadouken.

Marvel Super Heroes: War of the Gems, Capcom 1996

As port of 1995 arcade Marvel Super Heroes would be practically pointless, we got a mediocre slice of alternative pie.

Six infinity gems control the force of Time, Space, Power, Reality, Mind and Soul.

It is said he who gets grubby mitts on all will rule the universe.

Adam Warlock calls upon Earth’s mightiest heroes to prevent them falling into the wrong hands.

Spidey, Cap, Wolverine, Iron Man and Hulk all have different abilities and can be swapped after every stage.

Not all locations (including Dr Doom's Castle, Egypt, Brazil, Alaska and Mt. Vseuvius) contain gems, hence why new areas open up.

Once got, equipping gem gives licence to exploit its power.

Bosses include Sasquatch, Magus, Nebula and Thanos providing final challenge.

Sprites are largely watered down versions of CPS-2 and gameplay is cumbersome.

Music lacks oomph and why the fuck does Wolverine fire a silencer pistol every time he scores a hit?

Wolverine: Adamantium Rage, Bits Corporation 1994

After receiving a mysterious message about the Weapon-X program, Logan travels to Canada to find out more.

Game begins in the Weapon-X laboratory and almost immediately, all hell breaks loose.

Japan, Nightmare World, Tokyo and several parts of Hellfire Club await.

Before getting to inevitable boss encounter, action adventure forces player to cleave through specific quantity of enemies.

Cut scenes are pretty good and boss variety cannot be faulted.

Lady Deathstrike, Geist, Destroyer Program, Bloodscream, Cyber, Tri-Fusion (Marble, Shard and Shiken), Crystal Dragon, Fugue and Black Queen.

General fodder include guard droids, numerous types of the Hand, roof cannons, mercs, broodlings and soldiers.

Only a basic claw attack exists, but protagonist can also monkey swing, jump, cling to walls, punch and kick.

Acceptable visuals are beset with messy colours and tinny synthed music combines bizarre elements of hip hop.

Make no mistake, this game blows harder than a cock hungry hooker.

Story makes no fucking sense, as Deathstrike tells Wolverine that Shinobi Shaw (who isn't even a boss) wants him dead, but reason is never divulged.

Confusingly, end boss is Hand leader Great Beast.

Using claws often leads to you getting hit, as connection with blade tips must be to the pixel, or strike will be ineffective.  So if you and bad guy are sharing the same space, Wolverine has to run away like an asshole.

Did anybody play test this fuck stain?

Unlike Wolverine on NES, at least damage isn't taken when claws are used.

However, your greatest enemy isn't awkward controls or even ridiculously tough boss Tri-Fusion.

Nope, it's Elsie-Dee.

Not that game or manual tells you, but stages must be completed within half an hour.

Bearing in mind regaining 10 per cent of health takes 60 seconds, you'll be spending a long time standing around doing absolutely nothing.

It doesn't matter about energy or lives remaining, time demon will hand ass an automatic game over.


Also, time keeps on running, even after death.

What a wonderful game.

Mega Drive version delivers further punishment.

Clutching a photograph, Logan vows to 'find out what went on'.  At Weapon-X facility, he breaks free from cryotube, breaks handcuffs he never wore, dons suit and game begins.

I haven't got a fucking clue what's going on.

Handled by Teeny Weeny Games (which later became Perfect Entertainment), this did away with forced enemy clearance and focused more on exploration.

Apart from starting place, we embark on a nightmarish mission of forest, lunar hallucinations, the Inner Circle and dungeon beneath New York City.

Protagonist can double jump, roll and lunge, but cannot grip ceiling.

Bosses tell a different story, as Sabretooth, Albert (nasty robot clone of Wolverine), Bloodstream, Shinobi Shaw and Lurker lie in wait for the truly patient.

Cyber only appears during cut scene and this time, poisoned scratch sends you to the big black.

Those who somehow fight to the bitter end will meet Fitzroy.

Health recharges slightly quicker, but enemies drain vitality way too fast.

LSD's relentless approach is shown via bar on-screen and reaching a certain point resets situation.

When the inevitable happens, robot only takes a life, which I can live with.

Graphics fall short, stage length hums of inconsistency, level design induces nausea, controls are appalling and animated screens fail to explain story properly.

Despite some improvements, this was fabulously horrific.

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