Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Golden Axe II

Well it's a better idea than removing status bars. We don't all use netbooks.

Golden Axe II, one of many sequels to Golden Axe. Released exclusively on the Sega Mega Drive in 1991, it's a sequel few seem to remember these days, but those who do recall its existence also pair it with the fact it's pretty much identical to the original game, and in many ways worse. Most therefore look towards Golden Axe III for salvation, but I'm here to ruin your day with number 2. Because I'm crazy like that.

Monday, 27 September 2010

You got Green Hill Zone in my Sonic Crackers

I'm sure you're all fans of Sonic Crackers!... no? I don't blame you, but I've been fascinated by this one since I first saw it mentioned in an old copy of the Official Dreamcast Magazine.

Anyway it might have taken a decade, but Selbi of Sonic Retro has actually turned Sonic Crackers into something interesting. Sort of. Now you can play through a very dodgy rendition of Green Hill Zone, with extremely broken collision and other glitches. But hey, it's pretty much the first notable Sonic Crackers hack, and that's a start right?

Crack Down (Mega Drive)

I've put Nintendo on the firing range a few times for their obsession with re-releasing the same old tat (Urban Champion) time and time again, but since the Virtual Console's birth in 2006, news of first-generation NES re-releases are now few and far between. Sega, on the other hand, have made great strides in trying to take Nintendo's place in the "re-release wars", flushing out yearly Sega Mega Drive compilations comprising of their early 16-bit releases. Logic states you should release the older games before the newer ones, but Sega often seem to get a bit bored by about 1992 and move onto a new system to fill with Eccos and Golden Axes. And they don't like touching their other consoles.

Crack Down is one of the many first party Mega Drive games that Sega seem to love. Originally a 1989 Sega System 24 game (I'd be reviewing that version if it were emulated properly), it was brought to the Mega Drive in 1991. But does anyone really care?

Friday, 24 September 2010

Grand Theft Auto IV


Hey Niko Bellic, you "eastern European" Bosnian war veteran out to hunt down other Bosnian war veterans while fighting against Russians, Albanians and Italians... welcome to America! Why are you here? Because... erm... well... it's Grand Theft Auto IV, the 2008 spectacular aiming to prove for the fifth time that Liberty City is a great place to live, and we're too frightened to change the setting. According to Metacritic this game is two points away from perfection, and as I love other GTA games, it had to be one of my top purchases when getting an Xbox 360. Yet something doesn't feel right about this one...

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Wacky Races (NES)

Out of all the Hanna Barbera shorts produced in the 60s and 70s, Wacky Races stands out as being one of the only franchises that lends itself well to video games. So as you can imagine, the bigwigs have tried to make it into a Mario Kart clone to steal cash from kids. But the franchise hasn't been damaged too much - the Dreamcast game was nice and the Game Boy Color game ended up being a fairly big deal.

But that's not to say it hasn't had its fair share of garbage. Perhaps the weirdest adaptation of the franchise is this 1992 PLATFORMER for the Nintendo Entertainment System. Though it is indeed fair to say that perhaps the NES couldn't handle a third-person perspective racer, by 1992 there was a perfectly capable SNES console that Atlus could have supported. Instead they chose to tie it to an inappropriate genre to catch the last waves built up by Super Mario Bros. 3.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Commander Keen (GBC)

Yeah I'm running low on ideas.

A younger, more naive me had this game bought for me as a Birthday present not too long after it was released. Feeling that my eleven-year-old self was smarter than Nintendo's hardware manufacturing and marketing divisions, I had come to the conclusion that this would run on my Game Boy Pocket. It didn't. But it did run on my Game Boy Advance when I picked one of those up in the coming months.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Commander Keen 5: The Armageddon Machine

It frightens me that in this day and age there are still people out there who claim to be "gamers" that haven't played Commander Keen. To these people: what the hell is wrong with you?

Back in the day, Commander Keen was by far one of the best games on the planet... and other planets for that matter. Having since ventured onto the internet it now ranks in my books as not only being a great set of platformers, but also some of the finest examples of 16-colour EGA graphics ever known to man. No game before nor afterwards has topped the Commander Keen series (especially the latter half) while working with these limitations. As I've said before, it did such a good job that it took my nearly ten years for me to realise its palette was 1/16th the size of later DOS platformers.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Rock n' Bolt

At the time of writing I've played roughly half of the SG-1000's library. It's not overly surprising why Sega's first console failed - 90% of its games library came from Sega themselves. Nobody supported this thing!

Even Rock n' Bolt here which started life of as one of Activision's creations was ported to the console by Sega. I looked at this one on SMS Power and instantly came to the conclusion that it was tat... before playing it and realising it isn't.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Hocus Pocus

Often when you read people reminiscing about their DOS-based childhoods Hocus Pocus is conjured up during conversation. It doesn't make much of an impact, but it does result in a few nods of approval.

And indeed, Hocus Pocus played a minor part in my childhood too, but the difference is... I've never seen its appeal. Granted I've never been into the whole "magic" "fantasy" thing - I have a feeling that even the earliest of firearms could puncture a dragon's face, but Hocus Pocus always struck me as a very bland platformer that performs worse than games made three years before it. It's one of the few games out there that manages to be overrated and underrated at the same time.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Bio Menace

The good data type Char of MFGG fame raised a interesting point the other day. There's no Bio Menace posts on Blog Squirrel. That's can't be allowed to continue.

Bio Menace for DOS computers is perhaps one of the greatest platform-shooters of all time. While many American kids with their Nintendo Entertainment Systems ran around the flickering and predictable worlds of Mega Man, cooler British kids such as myself were guiding sunburned men with mullets through sixteen colour cities, shooting aliens and saving equally red citizens. You didn't get that on Nintendo... though at the time you didn't get anything on Nintendo here until it was obsolete.