Tuesday 31 August 2010

Sonic Blast

Pre-rendered fun for everyone.

We like to forget Sonic Blast exists. As a Game Gear (and Master System title if you're living in Brazil) game released in the extremely late year of 1996, it's always been tarred with the "average" brush and shoved aside in favour of other 1996 Sonic disasters, such as Sonic 3D: Flickies' Island. Sad then that it was actually the last 2D "classic" Sonic platformer with its own set of new levels.

It's an odd game, but surely in these days of endless mediocre Sonic titles we can start caring for it... right?

Monday 30 August 2010


ELFLAND. Oh how the title makes your mind go wild. What could possibly lie beyond this line of text? A fun Christmas-themed game in the style of Super Mario Land? A on old DOS platformer from my childhood whose existence I forgot about until writing this sentence and will probably blog about it in the near future? Of course not... it's an unlicensed NES game from "Tip Top" in 1992.

And wouldn't you know it, it has absolutely nothing to do with elves. It's actually a strange Bubble Bobble clone, without the bubbles or bobbles. The catch this time is to eliminate your enemies by changing colour in a de Blob style manner, and if it had been presented a little better... it might have been quite nice.

Saturday 28 August 2010

ASDER 20-in-1

An update to The Obscure Research Project? Madness.

I'm not all that sure what posessed me to play through this pirate NES compilation, but I did, and and here's the page to prove it. Unlike most compilations it's not just a bunch of stolen games tied to a menu, but is, in fact, 20 completely original titles... well okay some are hacks... but still, not many people will have played these games before.

I don't know Nintendo's history as well as Sega's so chances are there might be a few more hacks included in this compilation. I spotted Crush Roller (or Make Trax) but there might be others so you might have to take this with a pinch of salt and I'll update it at a later date.

Friday 27 August 2010

NHLPA Hockey '93

Yeah I went there. Take a trip to your local second hand game shop or eBay sometime. Have a look at all the sports titles. See how they're sold for ridiculously low prices and watch as you find yourself asking "who buys this stuff". There's no doubt about it, the entire sports genre is the very definition of "shovelware", and it's mostly Electronic Arts' fault for shipping this stuff out annually.

So I picked a game at random to see if the older titles once praised by the press are still worth playing today. This is NHLPA Hockey '93 for the Sega Mega Drive, the second in EA's NHL series. My experience with both Ice Hockey games and the sport itself is quite limited (I think I might have played a demo for a later game on the PlayStation once at a friends' house... that's it), so can an eighteen year old game make me into a fan today? Let's find out (spoilers: it can't).

Wednesday 25 August 2010


Yeah that's right, on the 3DO Interactive Multiplayer. You can hear the cheers of excitement.

Before the Gex series started introducing strange stories and stupid characters there was this, the original 1994 2D platforming game that gave people a reason to buy the 3DO console... until it was shipped to better platforms a couple of years later. But how does the original Gex hold up today?

Sunday 22 August 2010

Snow Bros.

In 1997 the first decent NES emulator, NESticle, was released. Not long after that, people started hacking the first Super Mario Bros. game, sticking everyone and their aunt in the place of Mario and releasing their efforts to the world. At one point I actually had a collection of these, and most were horrible. Problem is, when you start having hoards of hacks being called "xxx Bros." you forget of the real games that copied Mario Bros' naming scheme.

Like Snow Bros., an arcade game released by Toaplan in 1990. It was Toaplan's answer to Bubble Bobble, except it was released four years after Taito's creation and few people cared for it as a result. I, however, think it is a great game. Here's why.

Saturday 21 August 2010

Penguin Land

I don't know about you but when I lay an egg I don't spend my days rolling it around on the surface of the moon. Somebody does though!

This is Penguin Land for the Sega Master System. It's part two of a history of Doki Doki Penguin Land games that nobody remembers (the Japanese name for this game is "Doki Doki Penguin Land: Uchuu Daibouken", and it follows "Doki Doki Penguin Land"). This one had the advantage of being released outside of Japan, though you'll still be struggling to find people who remember it as a classic.

Friday 20 August 2010

Shui Hu Feng Yun Zhuan

what how when why

China, my greatest foe. And my greatest ally. Actually to be honest I don't really know China and it doesn't really know me, but I do know of the products it produces. This is one of them, a Mega Drive beat 'em up under the awkward name of Shui Hu Feng Yun Zhuan. Catchy isn't it?

When I saw this game I couldn't really care less for it, though it was made for an entirely different audience so that might be why. But don't ignore this post. My statistics say you like this weird crap so this might be right up your street, and after playing it, it gets to a few houses on my road too.

Wednesday 18 August 2010


Oh my god what am I doing with my life.

Remember a while back when I played Shaq Fu and claimed that it wasn't as bad as people made out? Well I think it's probably time to show you a fighting game that is truely terrible. That game is "Fatman", or to give it its localised and more disturbing title, "Tongue of the Fatman" (or in the US, "Slaughter Sport"). Hold on to your children.

Monday 16 August 2010

Pipe Mania

If you've not played Pipe Mania before there's clearly something wrong with you. Perhaps you should do the world a favour and jump of a bridge - we don't need you in our society, you haven't connected bits of tubing together in an unconventional manner to redirect sludge.

My Pipe Mania, the one that I remember and love, is the DOS version. It's been released in numerous formats for numerous systems, sometimes under the title of "Pipe Dream", but the DOS copy is, as far as I'm concerned, the best. Most versions either underperform on the hardware, look or sound awful or screw up the formula, whereas the DOS game has none of those issues. It's great.

Sunday 15 August 2010


You like the SG-1000 right? Come on, everyone likes the SG-1000. The SG-1000 is clearly the king of 1000-related SGs. Not convinced? Well observe this seemingly random SG-1000 game I've picked for you today.

Orguss. Based on an anime I have never watched (nor do I ever intend to watch for that matter). Except you wouldn't really know that unless you did your research, and for the benefit of this review and my anti-anime views, we'll assume that it's a standard space shooter with no ties to anything, like its spiritual sequel, TransBot.

Friday 13 August 2010

X-Men: The Ravages of Apocalypse

This is not a joke.

In 1997 Zero Gravity Entertainment were given the rights to produce an X-Men first person shooter built off the Quake engine. The two franchises don't really mix but nevertheless here lies X-Men: The Ravages of Apocalypse for Windows and DOS based PCs.

It's a barrel of laughs, and I wouldn't have known about it if it weren't for Kotaku of all places.

Thursday 12 August 2010

Ms. Pac Man (Master System)

Don't know if you've ever played the Sega Mega Drive version of Ms. Pac-Man, but if you have, it doesn't take long to realise that the controls are broken. Despite having the wondrous power of the Mega Drive's 16-bit Motorola 68000 processor at their disposal, Tengen weren't able to make Ms. Pac-Man respond to d-pad presses, rendering the game unplayable.

But what of its Master System cousin? Was it any better?

Tuesday 10 August 2010

SAGE 2010: Part 2

SAGE Harder

Some games have shown up fashionably late at the SAGE 2010. Time to have a look at them (and some of the ones I didn't look at before).

The Ninja

You don't hear much about ninjas anymore do you? Back in the 1980s, it was all the rage. Even more so if you put some reptiles into the mix.

The Ninja was one of the Master System's earliest of titles, and it shows. It gets into everything, being included in numerous compilations and re-released half a dozen times for the three people who want it. It's essentially the Sega System 1 arcade game "Sega Ninja" retooled significantly with added scrolling and removed females, and I bought it for a couple of quid a few years ago.

Sunday 8 August 2010

SAGE 2010

Have you heard that Sonic Colours theme tune announced not too long ago? Do yourself a favour - conserve your brain cells and don't go hunting for it. You see, the problem with Sonic Team is that despite their name, they can't really make a good Sonic game anymore. My theory is they keep flushing out new experiments as they attempt to appeal to the Japanese (who have never really liked Sega or Sonic), rather than focus on the other, bigger markets that are quite happy with the design choices made back in the early 1990s.

But that's why we have the Sonic Ameteur Games Expo, or "SAGE". People come from all over the world to release Sonic the Hedgehog fangames, many of which like to trump Sega's efforts. Here's a run-down of the stuff Squirrel likes this year.

Saturday 7 August 2010

Zool (Master System)


Why the Master Sytem version? Why not? Who else is ever going to give a damn about a watered down port from 1993? If you wanted to play Zool properly you'd pick up the Amiga version, or the SNES one, or the Mega Drive version (which I tried to pick up a few years ago but apparently the store only sold second hand boxes).

I do own the Game Boy version though, and that wasn't too shabby considering the console's limitations. Let's see how the Master System fares.

Friday 6 August 2010

Fantasy Zone: The Maze

Or in this case, the significantly worse title of "Opa Opa".

"Y'know what would make Fantasy Zone better?", said one of the many figureheads at Sega of Japan's board meetings in 1987, "PAC MAN". And so Fantasy Zone: The Maze was born, the runt of the litter (though kids today didn't even know Sega used to keep spaceship-shaped pigs). People either don't like this game or don't know about it, so I guess who better than myself to bring it to the light?

Wednesday 4 August 2010

The Lucky Dime Caper

Time for Master System games! The first is the poor man's Quackshot, The Lucky Dime Caper starring Donald Duck. One of many Dinsey-themed games released in the early 1990s to convert Nintendo users to Sega fans, this one only appeared on 8-bit Sega machines, with its partner of crime appearing on the Sega Game Gear. But is it any good?

Tuesday 3 August 2010

If you too would like to link to Blog Squirrel

Here's a set of 88x31 buttons. The type the internet uses... for some reason (I mean really... 31 pixels tall?). For some reason I made ten.

Maximise those hits.

EDIT: And now have 20 more, seeing as they're so easy to make.

Halo 2600

I thought it was a Flash game, turns out I'm wrong!

Halo, perhaps the most memorable first person shooter of the last decade, has been brought to the Atari 2600, the most memorable console of the early 1980s.

The frightening thing is... it's actually quite good.