Thursday, 23 April 2009

Time Travelling Ducks

And to think I was going to profit off that idea. I had dreams of rendering our good friend Quackers on real video game hardware of the future under the impression that it was a totally original endeavour. Families could have sat around their no doubt super high definition television screens and gaze in awe as a bird-tank hybrid manipulated the space time continuum and blurted out random lines of garbage.

and then Techokami pointed out this


"Drat" I said with my chuckling dog as my poorly made aviation vehicle made an abrupt and unanticpated landing.

Yes it seems I was beaten. Known in the US as "Socket", in the EU as "Time Dominator" and everywhere else as "Socket: Time Dominator", this little platformer featuring a time travelling duck came to the Sega MegaDrive in August of 1993. The developer "Vic Tokai" is to blame. Seems they were responsible for a multitude of average, forgettable titles in the 1990s. Several steps up from shovelware, but you wouldn't invest in a console for their titles.

The game follows Socket the time travelling duck as he uh... travels through time to uh... beat some alligator... thing for some reason. Okay the story doesn't matter. It's a platformer whose rounds are split into four sections; a high speed round where, you guessed it, Socket runs about at a high speed, a standard platforming part, a platforming labyrinth of sorts and a boss. The game was considered a rip-off of Sonic the Hedgehog. The early 90s magazine "Sega Zone" gave it a fantastic 0% based solely on this fact, however, it's not a bad game in the slightest.

The thing about Socket is that nothing is balanced. The high speed zones are easy, the labyrinth zones are painful. Socket himself will actually lose health over time... it's just little things like that that ruin the experience. The graphics however are quite nice (though granted, Socket doesn't look much like a duck but I blame whoever designed the character for that one). Reminds me of Zool. I like Zool. Music isn't too bad either and it's more challenging than Sonic which is good for me.

It's certainly one of the better Sonic knock-offs though. It hasn't aged amazingly well and the company who developed it are out of the video game business nowadays, but it's good to see there are others on the same thought patterns as me. Even though I'd have done a better job. You don't give time travelling ducks stiped T-shirts and hats. That's just dumb.

But Socket in SHPDMBGWL4 4?

Well yeah, obviously

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

A blast from the past

So, Super Mario & Sonic 2; we meet at last.

You see, back in the days when I first discovered pirates there weren't too many known Sonic ones about. There was Somari, and Sonic 6 and Sonic Adventure 7 and... well quite a few I guess. But during my travels on the now defunct Sonicology I came across this masterpiece, then undumped. It was obvious it was a hack (a Chip & Dale: Rescue Rangers 2 hack in fact) but what remained inside was unknown. Just a mystery screenshot like the one above.

That was, until about 12 days ago when the ROM got dumped.

Needless to say it's not a very good hack. In fact, with more playable characters than levels... it's pretty broken. Not to mention the Sonic sprites are laughably poor. Mario ones are from Super Mario Bros. 3. It's just squirming with originality!

Though I had forgotten it existed, it's always good to see new dumps. Speaking of which, there's a prototype "Mike Tyson's Intergalactic Power Punch" hanging about now too. It's not one of 1992's big hits, lets put it that way, and it certainly wasn't when it wound up as "Power Punch II" later on.