Archive for the ‘Genesis’ Category
Writers Notes: In an attempt to make my comeback in game reviewing I wanted to get nostalgic again and revisit the first video game review I ever wrote. But since film and game developers seem to love to remaster everything, I thought I would jump on that bandwagon and re work my old review. Enjoy and hopefully you will see more content from me soon. Today I am going to revisit the 16-bit hit Shadows of the Beast II on the Sega Mega Drive developed by Reflections Interactive and published by the late Psygnosis. I decided to return once again to this brutally challenging game and see if I still remember how to play through what is a relatively short experience (if you know what you are doing).
Rocket Knight Adventures came out during the apex of Genesis/Mega Drive game design. Developed by Konami with roots in the Contra franchise, this cute possum with armor and a jet pack was a charming action platformer. Unfortunately given main character Sparkster’s mascot status and the trends on consoles at the time, this is probably one of the best games you’ve never played. Join Fred and Jam on a journey through a true Sega classic.
Platform: Sega Genesis/Mega Drive
Digital Release? No
Other Games in the Series: Sparkster: Rocket Knight Adventures 2 (Genesis/Mega Drive), Sparkster (SNES – yes, it’s a different game), Rocket Knight Adventures (2010 – technically a sequel to Rocket Knight Adventures 2)
Value: $13.51 (cart only), $29.99 (complete), $78.00 (sealed) – per Price Charting
Rocket Knight Adventures is one of those games that you’ve probably heard of but never played. Those that did play it generally spoke very highly of the experience and I found most other people say, “yeah, I really need to get round to trying that.” Now I personally have a lot of nostalgia for this game. This was one of the very few games I received for my birthday that was to my knowledge brand new. But more importantly a game for me and not my brothers. I had no idea what to expect when I unwrapped this game. But I immediately popped the game into my Mega Drive, heard that sweet Konami tune and lets just say things just got better and better from there. Now this is our game club for April and its time to revisit and see if it’s just as great as I remember or if it was one of those titles that looked better through my younger gamer eyes.
Rocket Knight Adventures is this month’s game club and a highly regarded part of the Genesis/Mega Drive library. Not only does it show off the hardware tricks that Konami was famous for but it’s also tough as nails. Having never played it, Fred jumps onto his console (and with a web cam so you can see all his goofy faces while playing) to make a first attempt at conquering it. Does he succeed?
Switching It Up
A lot happened both in the talent pool of Mortal Kombat players and in the game design overall between the release of Mortal Kombat II and Mortal Kombat 3 (MK3). For starters there was a mass exodus of on screen talent due to royalty disputes, so almost no one from the original two games returned for the third release. In addition, Boon and his team were trying to turn Mortal Kombat into a viable fighting game with things no one had ever seen before and mechanics that could compete with the massive rush of fighters in arcades. The game was completely Americanized, with all hints of Eastern influence including symbols, locales, and the soundtrack completely absent without a trace and instead replaced by urban stages, 90s hip-hop soundtracks, and cyborgs replaced the signature ninjas. These locations were now composed of pre-rendered 3D backgrounds and the character sprites were almost totally digitized as opposed to the digitized/hand drawn hybrid of the previous games. Along with it came an overhaul of the controls, including combos and a “run” button to address rightful claims that defensive players ruled the previous title. It’s all one giant 90s metaphor but that doesn’t change the fact that MK3 (and it’s update Ultimate MK3 or UMK3) stands as the moment I felt the series went into the mainstream fighter territory. Couple this with the fact that it was on just about every console that existed at the time, still dominated arcades, and had more content than rival Street Fighter II could ever dream to do with its iterations and I see why it’s creator Ed Boon’s favorite. Mortal Kombat 3 definitely upped the ante.
Platform: Mega Drive and PS2 (Japan Only), English translation available on XBLA (360), PSN (PS3), and Virtual Console (Wii)
Released: 1994 (Japan only), 2012 (English Translation)
Developer: Westone (English port handled by M2)
Digital Release? Yes
Price: $8.00 (Wii), $9.99 (XBLA & PSN – part of Monster World Collection)
The Wonder Boy/Monster World series is one of those unappreciated darlings in gaming that has spread its love across various Sega consoles and even arcades but never reached it’s height of popularity in the West. So I guess it made sense that the series swan song, titled Monster World IV, was released on the Mega Drive in Japan only. It was not until 2012 that a official English re-release came out on services like XLBA and PSN, which is the version I will review here. [Editor’s Note: There is a fan translation of the original game released by DeJap in 2000, that site can be found here. Our review does not account for or evaluate this fan translation.]
Platform: Arcade, microcomputers, NES, Master System, Game Gear, SNES, Genesis/Mega Drive, Xbox/Gamecube/PS2/PSP (part of Midway Treasures)
Digital Release? Yes, it had a digital release on XBLA (360) but was delisted in Feb. 2010
These days there is a good chance any gamer is familiar with the “twin stick shooter”, a concept where you move with the left stick and shoot with the right. Back in 1982 when fantastic game designer Eugene Jarvis premiered the concept in Robotron: 2084, it was unlike anything we had ever seen. The merits of that game, and what it brought to video games, cannot be denied and if you want an idea of how Robotron played you need look no further than recent neo-retro release Rock Boshers Dx. It wasn’t until almost a decade later, in 1990’s fantastic Smash TV, that Jarvis along with a talented team at Williams created one of the most addicting arcade games from my youth. Set in the year 1999 – oh how we thought so much was going to change with the year 2000 back then – Smash TV has you and potentially one other person shooting it out in a room-to-room TV studio playing the most violent game show of all time (Running Man anyone?). It takes the building blocks of Robotron: 2084 and brings it into the nineties by giving you a second player, having you kill tons of humans instead of rescue them like in Robotron, and of course you’re doing it all for cash prizes to selfishly grow your wealth. I loved it then and I love it now.
Primal Rage was one of the more notable Mortal Kombat clones in arcades in 1994. The popularity of this Atari Games fighter secured multiple ports to the home consoles of the time, a true cross-gen title that was on most portable, 16-bit, and 32-bit CD consoles. GH101 looks into the history, gameplay, and home console versions of this dinosaur brawler.