Saturday 26 September 2009

Catacomb 3D

When people talk about "the first First Person Shooter" often the discussion turns to Wolfenstein 3D (unless they're educated and then it usually involves Maze War). This is fine, because Wolf 3D is a great game, but there were FPS games before it. And good FPS games at that, such as...

Catacomb 3D, one of the early works of id Software. Of course it shouldn't really come as much of a surprise that id Software were behind a revolutionary FPS - they did make Wolfenstein 3D, Doom and Quake. What is a surprise is how good this FPS game is, despite having to rely on the wonderous 16 colour EGA palette.

Monday 21 September 2009

Dangerous Dave's Risky Rescue

Remember Dangerous Dave in the Haunted Mansion?... No?... Really? I mean it is freeware these days so there's nothing stopping you from playing it... oh well. This is the sequel.

Dangerous Dave's Risky Rescue, a.k.a. Dangerous Dave III. Despite Dave being a character created by industry legend John Romero, DDRR was made by an entirely different team at Softdisk, because by the time it rolled by in 1993, John Romero, John Carmack, Tom Hall and Adrian Carmack had formed id Software and were making things like Commander Keen and Wolfenstein 3D (and later Doom). Softdisk saw Dangerous Dave as a powerful asset so they made another two games without the Dave 2 team, this and Dave Goes Nutz!. Of course, I'm not entirely sure how powerful they thought the guy was, because despite wielding a shotgun and driving a pickup, the games aren't exactly Mario or Sonic beaters.

Sunday 20 September 2009

Castle of Illusion

Oh look, another Mega Drive classic to add to the pile.

Castle of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse, a game developed by Sega AM7 in order to help maximise the Mega Drive's audience before their blue hedgehog came to town. Minnie Mouse has been captured by the evil witch Mizerabel, and Mickey needs to save her. Personally I'd cope with the loss but then again I'd have got the local police service involved and have this mess sorted out without fairly quickly. And I wouldn't spend 90 years walking about half dressed.

Jump Around 2: Hopping Mad

And now I've covered the sequel, Pocket Monster II, also for the Mega Drive. If I'd known I could have got this done so quickly I'd have bundled it with the last post. Speaking of which, I've managed to match up the second level of that game with the fourth from Mr. Nutz. So I guess this is the first squirrel-related post on Blog Squirrel.

Saturday 19 September 2009

Jump Around

I have a tORP update for you

Yet another Pokémon pirate homebrew, this time it's "Pocket Monsters" on the Mega Drive. I just can't wait to see what the deformed platforming Pikachu turns up in next! This particular pirate wound up on the Super Nintendo as well, and later scored a sequel, "Pocket Monsters II" (though I've yet to cover that). It's not particularly new, but coverage has been so poor that people have been labeling it as public domain for some bizarre reason. Make sure you're not one of them I guess.

Wednesday 16 September 2009


You can't help but admire Sega Saturno - they've given us prototypes of three unreleased games in as many months, even if X-Men 32X doesn't run in any emulators.

Their latest catch, Lobo, a fighting game based on the D.C. Comics anti-hero of the same name. It was due to be released for the Sega Mega Drive and Super Nintendo in 1996, but was cancelled despite Nintendo Power devoting six whole pages to the thing. It's the Mega Drive version that's surfaced first, and though it's largely complete, it's a rather dull and somewhat ugly fighter with a grand total of six stages.

One of the strangest features is rather than making the start button pause the game, it'll switch Lobo's moves between kicking and punching. You shouldn't need to use this method if you've got a six button controller, but the game seems to forget that these extra three buttons exist after the first stage. It also has a very strange "round" system similar to boxing games that in this version reeks of incompleteness. Crazy. On the plus side, the music isn't too bad, and I'm guessing the graphics may have been better in the SNES version. It had the potential to be a decent game, even if it wasn't one of 1996's greatest hits.

Tuesday 15 September 2009

de Blob

"Wii" and "third party" don't seem to mix well. You tend to get this strange hue which looks nice for the first few seconds... until you realise it won't match any of your furniture. But occasionally you get a title such as de Blob, which doesn't really need to match your sofa since it's always changing colour.

Initially the lovechild of nine dutch students, de Blob was released for the PC a few years ago as freeware. The deal was simple; paint de city by running over de people and slamming into de walls, while avoiding de INKT police. It was an interesting concept, so interesting in fact that the rights were picked up by THQ, who got developer Blue Tongue Entertainment to spice it up for the Wii, making a pleasant change no doubt from Blue Tongue's usual supply of licensed shovelware. Luckily de Blob Wii has managed to improve tenfold on its PC counterpart, and has proved to be a good reason to turn my Wii on for the first time in months.

Sunday 13 September 2009

tORP 3.0

It was my Birthday two days ago, and I was going to post this closer to that date but sadly 110mb's servers thought it would be fun to break. Again. But now that it's not being stupid...

tORP 3.0: Now with 100% more CSS positioning

The Obscure Research Project now has a fancy new layout (well, "fancy enough" anyway - I wasn't attempting to win any web designer awards). Could be worth a look, though not so much if your browser isn't a fan of web standards. Lots of pages have been re-written and there's been a heap of fixes HTML/CSS wise too. I've also saved about a megabyte of space by optimising images. Hurrah.

Articles such as Sonic Jam 6 now have a lot more meat on the bones. Back when that article was first written the only Mega Drive emulators that would support its brother, Super 1998 Mario 2, were crazy ones like HazeMD, but since Kega Fusion took it under its wing, we can start making baseless theories about timelines and whether Mario protects the tube stopper in Hidden Palace Zone.

Despite claiming that I probably wouldn't cover this game, I've gone ahead and made a Pocket Monsters Red NES article. I went about as far as I can go without having to teach a Pokémon gardening skills, but comparing this thing to the Game Boy classics is a job for more "intense" Pocket Monster fans. At the end of the day, if devoting Wiki pages to LM4 is deemed acceptable by the Pokémon community, I can't see how tearing this NES game apart isn't.

tORP is also the first site to have a nice comparison between both versions of Pocket Monsters: Go! Go! Go!!. Awkward naming schemes both on the Pikachu and the Smurfs sides of things has meant this game has been documented quite badly by the internet. But hey, I made the same mistakes too, hence why I've re-wrote it.

V.R. Fighter vs Taken2 is now a lot more presentable. Dunno what was up with me a year or two ago but I was really writing some tripe. It's looking like a decent meal now. There's plenty of other re-written pages as well, including Rocman X/Thunder Blast Man and Sonic the Hedgehog 4 and of course the promised Tiny Toon Adventures 6, which I've matched up with its Game Boy counterpart.

Some pages aren't going to be brought to the new world of tORP however. I saw no reason to keep the outdated Mortal Kombat II for NES, nor any reason to keep the StarFox 2 SNES/Sonic Crackers articles when other sites are doing a much better job at covering those games.

So, have fun with this I guess and feel free to post feedback (though don't expect fixes for old browsers). If your browser can pass The Acid2 Test you should be fine, and all the main browsers do.

Wednesday 9 September 2009

Super Runabout

The Dreamcast's 10 years old today in North America (and it would have been 10 in Europe too if it wasn't for that last minute delay), and what better way to celebrate that fact than review some seemingly random Dreamcast game of years long past.

Today's pick, Super Runabout. A frightening game, because recently I found out it was part of a series. Released in 2000 by Climax Entertainment, Super Runabout came to the DC between the release of the godsend that was Crazy Taxi and the period where Grand Theft Auto 3 made waves on Sony's console. Not a particularly great time for a game that fared lower than Sega's efforts, because GTA3 raised the standard far beyond what Super Runabout could have achieved. It's like if you released a FPS game that was worse than Wolfenstein 3D just months before Doom came along. Bad luck, or a rubbish business plan?

Sunday 6 September 2009

Speedy Gonzales: Los Gatos Bandidos

I've been re-writing my Sonic the Hedgehog 4 page on tORP, which requires actually playing the Speedy Gonzales game it was based off rather than just making guesses about the game like before. I suppose it's a bit sad, because more people on the internet seemed to have played the pirate hack featuring Sonic than the official, untouched Speedy Gonzales game.

Developed by Sunsoft and published by Acclaim for the Super Nintendo, Speedy Gonzales: Los Gatos Bandidos is a platformer involving the cartoon mouse on his quest to save other cartoon mice from some cartoon cats. As you can guess, it's a "fast" platformer and takes a few ideas from Sega's Sonic the Hedgehog series, hence why it was such a good match to throw Sonic in and market it as Sonic 4 for the SNES.