Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Call of Duty 3

Guess what I got for Christmas.

2011 is almost up, and provided the world doesn't end half way through it, 2012 will be the year of Squirrel's great video game catch-up, where I'll be sitting down to review the games I should have played half a decade ago. Because that's the sort of zany bloke I am.

To start, Call of Duty 3. Nope, not modern warfare 3 - a long way to go before I get to that - just 3. A game from simpler times from Treyarch and Activision.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Sonic CD

Shoobedy boo bap.

Another Sonic the Hedgehog game showing up on Blog Squirrel? It's as if I like the series or something. "So much for the obscure", you may say, but in its defence, Sonic CD lives further afield and so doesn't come to visit very often.

More importantly it's been released recently for Xbox Live Arcade, the PlayStation Network, Android and iOS stores, and unlike every other re-release from Sega in recent times, this one is actually worth caring for.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Oil's Well

There's nothing I hate more than crazed trade unionists disrupting my Friday night TV viewing schedule. I spy an opportunity to return the favour.

It's Oil's Well, a 1983 computer game by Sierra On-Line, demonstrating how complex machinery and robotics can replace the working man. Where's the GMB now?! Though... I guess you could be part of the team who builds the machines... and I guess you don't tend to send humans underground to extract oil anyway, so this complex and poorly thought-through political reference is a bit redundant. Still, no reason to postpone that episode of QI, and maybe if he watched it, Chuka Umunna would develop a sense of humour.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

I'm Sorry

For the last couple of years, it's been my dream to bring political satire into video games. Regardless of your views on the state's role in society, I think UK citizens will come far and wide to watch a virtual Nick Clegg hurl Ford Escorts at giant mutant rabbits. It'll get the younger generation interested in the governance of this fine country, and more importantly, will train the populace for when the evil space rodents inevitably invade. You won't get that by diverting union membership fees to the parliamentary Labour party.

But for now, you'll have to make do with an apology. Or rather, "I'm Sorry", an arcade game released by Coreland (now Banpresto) and Sega in 1985. No Sheffield MPs or reliable motors in this one, but you do get to control the late Kakuei Tanaka, 64th and 65th Prime Minster ("Sori") of Japan. It's every man's dream.

Sunday, 20 November 2011


RareWare Central strikes again by releasing another unfinished Game Boy Advance game to the general public.

It's Battletoads, once set to be a remake of the 1991 classic. It's an extremely early and almost unplayable prototype, with much of its content being inaccessible during normal play. The project was scrapped before the team had a concrete idea of what they were actually making so as you'd expect, there's very little to see here. But it'll surely interest somebody, and it's a great way to make yourself deaf.

In other news, I'm a very busy man at the moment, forced to produce broken programs in my free time. You might have to wait a while between blog posts (i.e. more than a week). Don't blame me, blame a wacky higher education system!

Tuesday, 15 November 2011


I need to conserve brain cells, so time for a short break from the Game.com.

For now, Dropzone, a 1984 Atari 800 game published by U.S. Gold. It's yet another thing that caught my eye during my rounds at Sega Retro, and another opportunity to commend the work of the British video game industry twenty-seven years too late. Woo.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Indy 500

A film by George Lucas. With even more aliens and fridges.

Or could it be something worse? Indeed it can - it's Indy 500 for the Game.com! If you feel the need for more abysmal racing experiences in your life, this is the one to turn to. Provided of course you're turning left.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Diddy Kong Pilot

RareWare Central have taken a break from whatever it is they do these days to bring us Diddy Kong Pilot, a cancelled Game Boy Advance game featuring primates in planes. It's what the world needs at this time of economic uncertainty.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Mortal Kombat Trilogy

oh dear

Yes it's Mortal Kombat Trilogy on the Game.com. Sound good?

Saturday, 29 October 2011


Hasbro Interactive are back to kick some bugs in Wild Canyon.

Where would the Game.com be without an Atari license? Well... probably in the same place - a warehouse, not selling. This is Centipede, a 1981 arcade game Hasbro just happened to own the license for back in 1999. But the question is, will it match Frogger?

Monday, 24 October 2011


Okay, so, 1992/1993 Sonic the Hedgehog platformers don't translate well to the Game.com. Let's try something a bit older.

Frogger. Questions have to be raised when you can buy a 1981 game conversion for the same price as a 1997 one. Surely the Game.com won't have troubles with this... right?

Sunday, 23 October 2011



My uncontrollable, rebellious urges have led me to release a scrapped game. The poorly titled SHPMDBGWL4 Sunshine. If you've been paying attention to my efforts in the last few years, you'll know why it's such a poor title.

There's also an NCFC booth which I dug up. It's here.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Sonic Jam

I haven't caused major harm to my brain in a while. Let's fix that.

Why look, it's Sonic Jam... on the Game.com. Yes, internet legend drx got his hands on an official Game.com emulator and development environment, so now it's possible to play games for this horrible, horrible system without having to exchange funds. As a start in this Game.com marathon I have lined up, I'll be looking at perhaps the most famous Game.com game and the first Sonic game to be released outside of a Sega system. I'm sure Yuji Naka will be proud.

Friday, 21 October 2011


Hardware reviews? On Blog Squirrel? Gasp.

With real life getting in the way at this time of year, it's the perfect time to try something a bit different. This, is a Caanoo. One of the latest entries in the line of open-source GP2X handhelds that nobody buys. I'm forced to use this as part of my course, but you likely won't buy one. Let me explain why that is.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Pokemon Gold Silver

An elusive unlicensed Super Nintendo game, supposedly titled "Pokemon Gold Silver" has been recently dumped. Joy of joys.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Crackdown 2

Because we needed this!

The rest of the world may be interested in the "3"s, but here's a 2. Crackdown 2, complete with plenty of murky browns and dingy blues. A sequel just as pointless as some on offer this winter.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Motor Raid

Time to raid the... motor..?

For those who dislike the Isle of Man comes Motor Raid, one of many Sega Model 2 arcade racers which nobody has played. Forgettable Japanese characters hitting each other with sticks while riding bikes. Just what what we need to quench the Eurozone debt crisis.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Rap Jam: Volume One

Look kids, another game designed by marketing departments

"Rap Jam: Volume 1" a household name no less for the Super Nintendo. Developed by our good friends at 64WD Corporation (..?) and published by Mandingo (...?!) exclusively in the US, it's a half-baked basketball game that nobody remembers. But wait, there's more - there's a selection of rappers and hip hop artists to play as. Yes, you heard that right - the music industry is in on this. What could possibly go wrong?

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Duke Nukem Forever

Because I'm sure you want to read another opinion on this one!

I'm a long time fan of Duke Nukem, so even though this long awaited legend has been almost universally panned by critics for one reason or another, I figured at some point I'd be playing it. And that time is now.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

SAGE 2011: Part 2

The smell of fear.

A second batch of Sonic fangames, to enrich our lives no less.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011


If the Conservatives had their way...

Crackdown, the 2007 Xbox 360 exclusive from Realtime Worlds and Microsoft Game Studios. A game for those who like their Grand Theft Autos served with more guns. It's a game enjoyed by many, though clearly not enough to cause them to post decent screenshots on the internet for me to borrow.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

SAGE 2011: Part 1

It's Sonic Amateur Games Expo time! This year it all seems to be about taking an open source engine and slapping levels onto it, though Sonic fangaming is always a nice topic to follow as often the results top the official works of Sega.

And so, here's a first batch of mini-reviews in Blog Squirrel's limited coverage of the event.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

SpriteHoe 2.0

SpriteHoe has been upgraded. Now it does "intelligent de-resizing", a term I've invented for marketing reasons. There's also been a few minor fixes and... well, that's it really. You can now feed it a sprite sheet that's been poorly resized and it will attempt to reverse the stupidity. It loosely fits in with the grand scheme of fixing the world's sprite sheet problems.

Note, of course, that it's difficult to get perfect results with simple games. Mario's limbs will be removed from Super Mario Bros. thanks to the lack of detail, but if you've got an image that's reasonably complicated there should be no troubles. Either way, I needed this feature once so someone else is bound to.

Friday, 9 September 2011


The Japanese are on top of world affairs.

Cal.50. Or Caliber Fifty. Or Caliber.50. Or Cal. Fifty... a 1989 arcade release by Seta. Massacre the Vietnamese enemy soldiers for kicks. Who needs politics?

Wednesday, 31 August 2011


Logger, a 1982 British arcade invention by Century Electronics. It's Donkey Kong, but worse in every conceivable way. Fantastic.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011


Remember that totally radical time we had in the 90s?! Dude those times were gnarly, when we hung out and caught some waves or something.

Wouldn't it be awesome if like, a video game could totally sum up the experience. Like 1994's Skitchin' for the Sega Mega Drive. It's like, "skating" and "hitching a ride", but too x-treme to deal with Gs.


Sunday, 21 August 2011

Dead Rising 2: Case 0

Time for something new(er). Dead Rising 2: Case 0, a downloadable prequel to Dead Rising 2. Join Chuck Greene on his merry adventures through the land of murky reds and loading screens.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Jr. Pac-Man

Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man conceived a child. Think about that. Or don't.

"Jr. Pac-Man", here to make your day as one of the many Pac-Man arcade sequels. This one's from 1983, and thankfully, it's not at all similar to Pac & Pal.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

So I'm sure the fans were crying out for a NES port of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. I mean who wouldn't be - clearly the superior graphical and sound capabilities of the Super Nintendo pale in comparison to those of the prior generation.

Well check it out, your wish has been granted in the form of this unlicensed "port" from China. It's aLttP, but with 100% more screeching home-made NES audio to ruin your day. And worse scrolling. And worse graphics. But tossing these points aside for a moment, this is a fairly accurate port of the third Zelda outing. It just needs to be played on mute.

If I were a younger man I'd dissect this game in detail but for now, this is Blog Squirrel's pathetic attempt at raising awareness of this game. Inspiration for my handful of daily visitors.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Black Widow

Something to play after you find the computer room.

Black Widow, an Atari invention from 1982. It has spiders in it.

Friday, 12 August 2011


The IBM PC is 30 today. Forget those riots, the troubles in the financial world or whether Bert and Ernie should be wed in holy matrimony, chicks dig the celebration of outdated computer hardware, and Blog Squirrel is built to please the ladies.

And here's a pathetic attempt at marking the occasion, though marking the occasion at all could be considered pretty pathetic. DONKEY, one of the first ever PC games, if not the first. Just the thing you want to see after a nearly a fortnight of silence.

Friday, 5 August 2011


I'm two thirds into a computer games programming course. Perhaps it's time to release some of my work to the general public...

Introducing "SpriteHoe", sprite sheet trimmer for the modern age. Built in Java to prove I can do something a bit more meaningful with my life, it takes a bad sprite sheet and guts out what it deems is wasted space. I'm sure it'll be useful for something.

More details here. You'll need the Java Runtime Environment in order to get it to work, but I would hazard a guess 95% of the people reading this are already equipped.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Tiny Toon Adventures 3

Another soul saved.

Look, it's Tiny Toon Adventures 3, an unlicensed Mega Drive platformer from the far east which has been recently dumped and tailored to the needs of emulators by the folks of Sonic/Sega Retro. It's mediocre!

Monday, 25 July 2011

Streets of Rage Remake

You'd think, what with my stint as leader of a fangaming website, the topic of fangaming would pop up more often on this blog of mine. Well, your non-existent wishes have been granted.

...for this is Streets of Rage Remake, fangame extraordinaire. Born among us eight years ago, slaughtered at the hands of Sega's legal team, it stands as a figurehead of all things mighty in the world of fangaming. Oh and it's probably the greatest beat-'em-up of all time, but who cares about that?

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Squirrel's Guide to Image Formats: Take 2

Hurray for more Sonic 2 screenshots!

I re-wrote large parts of this guide I made a year or two ago, partly to reflect the new blog skin (other pages will get a similar treatment in the coming days), and partly because despite claiming to host things forever, Imageshack felt the need to drop some of the images. The guide is "better" now, and although it probably still won't satisfy the hardcore technical people, it was always more of a visual demonstration rather than a lesson in computer science. I use these pages to combat MFGG stupidity.

In other news, we're partying like it's 2007 with Chrip Squirrel, the "official" Twitter account of myself (guess which names were already taken). Feel free to follow - it's effectively a condensed version of this blog but some like condensation. Like distillation plants.

Monday, 18 July 2011

FZ 2006 II

I thought the MAME project was in a bit of a mess.

But nope, they're still adding things. Like FZ 2006 II, something fairly important which slipped under my radar. It's a Korean bootleg, and I'll let you guess what it's a bootleg of. Answer after the jump.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

The Pit

The best place to punch Liu Kang in the face.

Or not. It's The (other) Pit, an unrelated 1982 arcade game released by Taito. Sporting a hideous title screen and a forgettable history, it's one of many early 1980s games that will never be unearthed if it weren't for blogs like these. And what better way to follow up two high definition Xbox 360 reviews?

Friday, 8 July 2011


There's nothing I like better than polluting search results. The more times you find Blog Squirrel through Google, the higher up the index it shall rise, to forever deter those who seek advice on bushy-tailed rodents.

But now there's another method - the "+1" mechanism Google rolled out a couple of months ago. It's an opportunity to show the world that you think Blog Squirrel has gnarly potential... though seeing as this site doesn't average masses of hits a day, it'll be lucky to see any activity at all. But there's no harm in experimenting, so behold, an experiment.

And if it fails to prove any point at all as is probably the case, you can guarantee I'll remove it without warning several months down the line. And for the record, it's at the bottom right of this post. And all posts.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Sonic Generations

Demo reviews?! Witchcraft!

Yes, it's Squirrel's bi-annual Sonic-rant-o-thon, where this time I dissect the latest blunder in the once great Sonic the Hedgehog series - Sonic Generations. Bet you're as ecstatic as I am.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Pinball FX 2

Pinball! Another case of Blog Squirrel catering for the masses. It's a game so old that's it's out-grown the concept of pins, and, judging by the fact there's only one big pinball table manufacturer left, it's thoroughly disliked by the world's population. There was a time a pinball table was more valuable to a man than a newborn child... how times have changed.

Yes, it's now the norm for children to have the higher priority in life, even if you don't get points for hitting them with metal balls. But even though we don't live in an age of bumpers and slingshots anymore, Pinball still lives and breathes among us in the form of 2010's Pinball FX 2 for the Xbox 360. Will it inspire a generation of neglectful parents like years long past?

Monday, 27 June 2011

Master of Darkness

Hey look it's Aku-... erm.. "In the wake of Vampire"... supposedly not a Castlevania game at all.

And I'm sure you'll believe that. This is Master of Darkness for the Master of Systems - the Sega Master System. Also available for the Sega Game Gear if you prefer cramped conditions and dead AA batteries. Dracula has plunged nineteenth century London into darkness and it's up to "Dr. Ferdinand Social" to sort him out. Will he ever learn!?!

Thursday, 23 June 2011

E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial

Dun dun duuun.

Atari 2600 time! And what better way to go than to pick one of the supposedly worst Atari 2600 games out there - E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial, released in 1982 by Atari. This one almost killed an industry, in the process making sure the likes of Quaker Oats never strayed from making breakfast cereal again. But is it really as mind-bogglingly terrible as they say?

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

Hey look it's Akumajō Dracula X: Gekka no Yasōkyoku. Rolls right off your tongue. And hey, it's also the third Castlevania game I've reviewed this month... I guess I've become a fan of the series or something!

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. The "big" one. The Castlevania game which despite its name, has nothing to do with music. Originally a 1997 PlayStation 1 game, before becoming a butchered Japanese Sega Saturn one, it's since worked its way into the world of Xbox Live Arcade and subsequently into the hands of Squirrel.

Without a doubt it's possibly the greatest Castlevania game ever made, and also a well kept secret, because not one person from around here bothered to mention it at the time. Too busy with that third dimension I suppose!

Thursday, 16 June 2011


This can do for a title screen.

Kiloblaster for the IBM PC and its compatible buddies back in the days when SI prefixes were cool. It's a simple shooter published by Epic MegaGames and yet another Squirrel childhood classic. It's also one that appears to have something against Mega Man. What joy.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Haunted Castle

Hey look it's Akumajō Dracu- HAUNTED CASTLE. Following that last Castlevania review I felt the urge to go hunting for the other three games that share the same Japanese name. Bad idea.

This is perhaps the worst Castlevania game in the history of the series, which probably explains why it doesn't use the Castlevania brand name. There may be 3D or Game Boy releases that beat it on the crap scale, but you can expect this one to be near the top.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Space Manbow

You know, if they'd equipped the Nintendo Revolution with specs which were fit for the time period, maybe we wouldn't be seeing "Wii U"s.

Or maybe everyone would benefit if there was more SPACE MANBOWs on Nintendo systems. Originally released in 1989 for the MSX2, it's one of those Konami shoot-'em-ups nobody remembers, except those who do, and it's here once again to rock your world.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Akumajō Dracula

Hey look it's Akumajō Dracula. Which Akumajō Dracula? Well, it's not the first game (a.k.a. "Castlevania"), it's not the arcade game (Haunted Castle) and it's not the MSX2 game (Vampire Killer), it's...

...Akumajō Dracula for the Sharp X68000, released in 1993. Yes, it's the fourth game in the series to share the same Japanese title, and it's entirely different to the other three. Confused? Join the club.

Sunday, 5 June 2011


Hey so you know what Pac-Man, that maze game with a yellow circle eating other yellow circles needs? A Tetris-esque spin-off of course!

Oh look here's one, Pac-Attack from 1993. Also known as Pac-Panic, through fears Europeans would interpret this as gang violence or something. It's one of the few Pac-Man spin-offs that's amazing in its own right, though I say this having not played the majority of them.

Friday, 3 June 2011


If B.A. Baracus broke out of the A-Team and formed his own country, completing the citizenship test could mean you'd be classed as a...

And what greater privilege could you have than sharing a name with this 1981 arcade game by Namco? Bosconian is yet another great early arcade game that has evaded my attention for three decades. There's too many of these, and yes, it is another review inspired by Classic Game Room.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Rez HD

If only the atagonist of Gex broke out of the TV realm and became the title of an unrelated game...

Oh look, he did. It's Rez, or more specifically, Rez HD, the 2008 Xbox Live Arcade release. Ported to the system by HexaDrive... who haven't really done anything since, published by Q Entertainment who have done many things since, it's an on-the-rails shooter that has a nasty habit of not being bought.

And doesn't it look pretty?

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Top Fighter 2000 MK VIII

Fighting games generally aren't my style, but they soon become my style when one allows Muhammed Ali to punch Michael Jordan in the face.

It's Top Fighter 2000 MK VIII, unlicensed tripe for the Sega Mega Drive. What happened to the seven earlier versions? Who knows, who cares. Apparently it's a pretty awful game but they said that about the other two as well. Will this one break the trend?

Much better

Slightly edited default templates are boring. Now Blog Squirrel has a heavily edited one. Generally I think it's an improvement but whether I'll keep those web 2.0 diagonal lines is a different story.

Feel free to point out gaping flaws. Things might break in old browsers... but you shouldn't be using old browsers.

Monday, 30 May 2011


All good things come to an end. Except this was never a good thing, and it hasn't technically come to an end. Fan favourite The Obscure Research Project, founded in 2006-ish by myself... isn't going to get any bigger, though you might have guessed this already. It's reached the end of its natural life and I probably won't be updating it anymore. I don't know if it did its job but hey, rest in peace you badly named mess. Keep reading for the autopsy.