Tuesday 29 June 2010

Tetris (Mega Drive)

Because I just know you want to read a review on a game you've played millions of times before.

If you thought Tengen's NES attempt was rare, have a look at this Mega Drive version. Though it was licensed by Tengen (a.k.a. Atari), the majority of this port was handled by Sega. And guess what? Nintendo blocked its sales. Copies of this game are supposedly so rare they've been priced up to $16,000 US dollars, but lLuckily, emulation means we can all play it... but you can also see that it's not worth playing.

Sunday 27 June 2010

B.C. Racers

In 1995 Core Design (who hadn't yet discovered Tomb Raider) hit us with this Mario Kart clone combining kart racing with their Chuck Rock franchise. It was released DOS-based PCs, the 3DO, the Sega Mega CD and the Sega 32X, and as three of the four aforementioned systems bombed in the marketplace, it might have seen a bit more success if it had waited a year for the PS1 and Saturn. But that's what you get for taking risks I suppose.

Friday 25 June 2010

Frogger II

Christ what is he emulating now?

Frogger II: Threeedeep! for the Atari 5200. Yeah... sorry about this. The best version of the game does indeed lie on outdated Atari hardware. This is the sequel to the arcade hit Frogger, except nobody remembers it. I don't think that's right, so I'm blogging about it, because who better to tell than people I don't know on the internet?

Thursday 24 June 2010



Robbo (or "The Adventures of Robbo") for DOS is nothing short of painful. Built in Poland by the group xLand Games (who also did Electro Man and Heartlight), Robbo is a puzzle game that exists solely to taunt anyone who feels like playing it. I have this boxed and had it bought for me in the mid-1990s when DOS games were still cool. Considering I still struggle with it now, it's not really a game aimed at kids. This is Boulder Dash: to the max™

Wednesday 23 June 2010


Just when you think it's gone away, it comes back to make us suffer some more. Yes it's another Sega 32X game - Darxide. This one's notable for being the only Europe-only release (aside from FIFA Soccer '96... which didn't have any region protection) for the console. It was a much hyped 3D shoot-'em-up, one of the first of its kind and supposedly won several awards.

Why I can't say.

Tuesday 22 June 2010


If for any reason you're still in denial that Sonic the Hedgehog was a inspirational platformer, maybe this one can change your mind. Superfrog for the Amiga (and DOS-based PCs), developed by Team 17 in the pre-Worms days of 1992. It's supposedly an Amiga classic, but as with many "Amiga classics" they're only remembered by Amiga fans, unlike your Marios and Zeldas which every gamer can recognise to some degree. So, is having a frog running around a level as good as a hedgehog... or a rabbit... or a duck..?

Saturday 19 June 2010

Turbo the Tortoise

While travelling across the far reaches of the internet, I came across this. Turbo the Tortoise, released for the Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64 and ZX Spectrum in 1992. It was developed by a team called Visual Impact under orders from Codemasters, and features yet ANOTHER anthropomorphic character taking a page from Sonic the Hedgehog (and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles from the looks of things). Don't let the fact it has an empty title screen fool you - this one could still be interesting!

Super the Lion King 2

Donkey Kong Country (on the NES) Returns... though I almost wish it hadn't.

This was dumped... today! Another Donkey Kong Country pirate for the NES, this time featuring... Simba from the Lion King! And three levels!

Essentially it's another clone called "The Panda Prince" in new clothes. There's not much to say about it, aside from that fact it's short, difficult tat that looks and sounds terrible, but it's not difficult to describe. The game feels the need to start off with one of those poorly designed minecart levels that need save states to beat, and after completing that stage there's two very simple on-foot levels and a fight with DKC's Necky. It's clearly based on a more complete version of the game, as is the Panda Prince, but that's yet to show up.

Friday 18 June 2010

Kirby's Star Stacker

Something Nintendo related?! Could it have something to do with their E3 performance?

This is (wait for it), "Kirby no Kirakira Kizzu" (カービィのきらきらきっず) for the Super Famicom, affectionately called "Kirby's Star Stacker". The western world saw this game show up for the Game Boy, but the SNES port/update didn't make it across the waters for whatever reason, meaning it's one of the only Kirby games to be held captive by the Japanese. Make sure you wash your hands after you touch this one - don't want to catch something with all that kanji in the air.

Wednesday 16 June 2010

Global Gladiators

Because it's "way awesome" and a "total blast"

Mick and Mack are back to plug McDonalds in this fascinating platform game called Global Gladiators. Skipping the reasoning behind launching not one but TWO platformers in the same year with the fast food franchise's branding, Global Gladiators was aimed to not only get people into the restaurant, but also to... help kids understand the environment? Are those groans I hear?

Tuesday 15 June 2010

McDonald Land

Where a pound is still a pound.

In the early 1990s, the fast food chain McDonalds felt the overwhelming need to produce video games. This was their first, cleverly titled "McDonald Land". In the US, it's known by the name of M.C. Kids and only saw success on the NES, but elsewhere it was released for far more powerful computers that people don't seem to remember.

Monday 14 June 2010

Toki: Going Ape Spit

Remember Toki? Of course you don't. It was a little arcade release by TAD Corporation about a man rescuing a woman, the twist this time being the man was changed into a spitting monkey. It was big on the Atari Lynx... and every other platform under the sun...

But in 1991 it also saw a release for the Sega Mega Drive under the title of "Toki: Going Ape Spit". The name alone draws people in to see what wonders wait inside. The promise of an enhanced remake of Toki makes a few others excited, though I can't imagine there's a huge fanbase these days (even with that HD remake). Wikipedia's current sentence on the game is as follows: "This version lacks the non-spit power-ups, but it features additional levels and more detailed graphics.", let's see if that's accurate.

Sunday 13 June 2010

Alfred Chicken

More birds. What could be better?

Here's a game that keeps showing up, Alfred Chicken, a 1993 game developed by Twilight Games. One of the many titles trying to take advantage of the mascot wars catalysed by Sonic the Hedgehog. Because who needs blue hedgehogs when you can have red chickens?

Thursday 10 June 2010

Krusty's (Super) Fun House

I still think it's a stupid idea to make a game titled "The Simpsons Game". Not because it's a terrible idea, but there's also twenty-one other Simpsons games. Did we forget about those? Granted, the first batch, published by Acclaim, have mostly been forgotten due to poor marketing or the fact they weren't built to last, but when EA got the license they were plugging things left right and centre. A bit of imagination wouldn't have gone a miss!

Oh well. Here's a one that neither sucked nor was hyped to death. Krusty's Fun House, currently the only title in the "series" where Krusty the Clown takes centre stage. Barely relates to the TV show these days but still a nice platform puzzler. But I smell a rat.

Tuesday 8 June 2010

Wacky Wheels

A Mario Kart clone, run for the hills

Developed by a company known as "Beavis Soft" and published by the one and only Apogee Software for DOS computers in 1994, Wacky Wheels one of many kart racing games that strangely showed up not too long after Super Mario Kart on the Super Nintendo. What a coincidence that so many companies decided to release this style of kart racing game at the same time...

Monday 7 June 2010

Awesome Possum

Good god.

Tengen's back, releasing stupid games in 1993 with "Awesome Possum... Kicks Dr. Machino's Butt" for the Sega Mega Drive. Borrowing heavily from Sonic the Hedgehog (and maybe Bubsy the Bobcat?) Awesome Possum adds its own... environmental... theme to get kids engaged in things they can't change. It's painful excuse for manufacturing hundreds and thousands of plastic cartridges and boxes. A game who's mere existence goes against what it was trying to achieve.

Sunday 6 June 2010

Space Fantasy Zone

Because everyone likes the TurboGrafx-CD... right?

Here's a strange period of Sega's history. So strange in fact that it doesn't even feature Sega, it features NEC Avenue and two of Sega's franchises. During 1990/1991 NEC thought it would be fun to combine the gameplay of the arcade hit Space Harrier with the other arcade hit Fantasy Zone, creating the TurboGrafx-CD hit... Space Fantasy Zone. How clever.

But as fine as the idea was, it never made it onto the market. A prototype did make it onto the internet though, so let us indulge in this hybrid and see if we can save the planet.

Saturday 5 June 2010

Star Goose

Because apparently everybody knows the bird is the word.

Came across this one accidentally. It's a shoot 'em up called Star Goose, released in 1988 for DOS computers. It also showed up on Amiga and Atari ST computers... though they're all essentially the same thing.

Birds, tanks, space and collecting round coloured objects for no particular reason. This sounds very familiar.

Friday 4 June 2010

An Acorn Electron Special

All that talk about the BBC Micro reminded me of a forum post from about a year ago. I set about emulating the entire library of Acorn Electron games I've "inherited" to see if they've stood the test of time. Most haven't, but it's still worth taking a look.

So, presenting The Wonderful World of Squirrel's Acorn Electron! I'm sure you'll find it gripping... unless you read it last year.

I've cleaned up most of it from its original MFGG incarnation so now it's slightly more descriptive and employs a novelty rating system. I can't say it was a pleasant experience playing these things but I doubt I'll need to touch them again in the near future.

Thursday 3 June 2010

Doctor Who: The First Adventure

I've never used a BBC Micro before... just hope I don't have to do it again.

This is Doctor Who: The First Adventure. Except it isn't... because the first adventure was aired in 1963... better not tell the developers that. 1983 was the year of the first video game outing though, and Doctor Who: The First Adventure is surprisingly not that bad for a BBC Micro title. Unfortunately "not bad for a BBC Micro title" doesn't equate to "a great game", because the BBC Micro was not a great system, but curiosity won in the end and I just had to give it a go.

Wednesday 2 June 2010

Pokémon 4-in-1

Time for a tORP update.

Just a small one for The Obscure Research Project this time. Pokémon 4-in-1. It was a compilation I was going to do a while back but never bothered. Nowadays I have a lot more time on my hands so I can flush some stuff out. It's also the reason this blog is seeing more activity.

As far as pirate originals go, this one isn't too shabby, though it does have some stupid additions.

I should probably give tORP a better name since I've started to filter the non-pirate stuff into this blog these days. For now though, live with it.

Fantasy Zone (NES)

What am I doing

I'm a big fan of Fantasy Zone. I learned about it too late of course, but nevertheless it's a happy little shoot 'em up with a great soundtrack. It first showed up on Sega System 16 arcade hardware in 1985, got itself a few sequels on the Sega Master System and Sega Mega Drive, dropped off the face of the earth and re-appeared in Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing earlier this year. It's popular among Sega fans... so what's it doing on a Nintendo system... twice? Guess we'll have to find out.

Tuesday 1 June 2010


Twist it, pull it, flick it, spin it, bop it. Oh even better, Boppin'.

No it's not a piece of plastic by Hasbro, it's a piece of video game coding by Accursed Toys. It's what Doctor Who wanted you to buy - Accursed Toys' only commercial product first released for the Commodore Amiga in 1992. Sadly for them, the Amiga game didn't sell that well, so it was brought to DOS in 1994... after Doom. Don't you just hate it when games become a victim of circumstance?