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Bust-A-Move 2 Arcade Edition Review

bam2_boxPlatform: Arcade, Playstation, Saturn, N64, Gameboy
Released: 1996-1998
Developer: Taito/Probe
Publisher: Taito/Acclaim
Digital Release? Yes, but only on the Japanese PSN (of PS1 version)
Value: $3.50-$10 (disc/cart only – all platforms), $7-$15 (complete, all but N64)/$25 (complete N64), $30-$40 (sealed)

Bust a Move 2 Arcade Edition was a popular title released on the Sony Playstation, Sega Saturn and N64. While the concentration of these systems was to move gaming into 3D, Bust a Move was a game that kept its feet firmly in the 2D realm, and it still does to this day. All versions are ports of the very popular arcade game and all versions are arguably fantastic ports, bringing that vintage arcade experience home. For this review I’ll specifically be covering the Playstation version.

bam2ae_2I have always enjoyed the Bust a Move series. I have played the majority of the entries on home consoles and arcades. The most memorable game from my younger days was Bust a Move 2. This was literally in every arcade in my area. It ran on Taito’s F3 hardware and could be found in dedicated arcade cabinets and later the Neo Geo cabinets which were becoming increasingly popular. Bust a Move 2 was one of those arcade game where I would literally watch the demo screen over and over again even after I ran out of money to sink into the cabinet. There was something rather hypnotic about watching, maybe because I have always had a fascination with arcade puzzle titles, or maybe its because I’m a utter fan boy for Taito games, especially the Bubble Bobble games of which this series is a spin off from.

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Written by jamalais

April 29, 2015 at 4:38 pm

Now & Then: Mortal Kombat 3

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Mk3

Switching It Up

mk3_1A 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.

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Die Hard Trilogy Review

Die_Hard_Trilogy_CoverartPlatform: Playstation, Saturn, Arcade
Released: 1996
Developer: Probe
Publisher: Fox Interactive
Digital Release? No
Price: $3.92 (PS1)/$15.99 (Saturn) – Disc Only, $5.49 (PS1)/$24.99 (Saturn) – Complete, $14.95 (PS1)/$62.97 (Saturn) – Sealed according to Price Charting

Die Hard Trilogy was released in the early days of the Sony PlayStation and was generally well received. We were all excited for this because 3D was becoming big as developers looked to leave the 2D style of game in favour of the blocky 3D models.  Also this is Die Hard, one of the coolest film franchises ever, so why wouldn’t people want to play this? Well time has passed and the dust has now settled. Is this game really as good as we remember, or has it gone the way of the film franchise?

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Written by jamalais

April 2, 2015 at 11:00 am

Alien Trilogy Review

Alien_Trilogy_boxPlatform: Playstation, Saturn, Arcade
Released: 1996
Developer: Probe
Publisher: Acclaim
Digital Release? No
Price: $5.75 (PS1)/$11.64 (Saturn) – Disc Only, $14.47 (PS1)/$21.99 (Saturn) – complete, $74.99 (PS1)/$34.99 (Saturn) – Sealed according to Price Charting

Alien Trilogy was developed and released in 1996 as the bigger budget, larger team, and more experienced group making a full scale Doom clone alongside the presumed B-Team at Probe Software.  That other team was set to make Die Hard With a Vengeance to release alongside the film and eventually widened scope to release the Die Hard Trilogy.  Two games, each with its own take on large popular franchises in the 20th Century Fox vaults, and trying to hit it big.  Did Alien Trilogy succeed by cloning the more popular franchise and game genre?  Find out after the jump.

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Written by jamalais

April 1, 2015 at 3:23 pm

Podcast: Alien Trilogy and Die Hard Trilogy Game Club

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The better title for this episode was probably “Because 90’s”, but either way Fred and Jam tackle six massive movies made into two interesting games by one single studio.  Both released in 1996, Probe Software’s Alien Trilogy was a re-writing of three movies in one single genre (Doom clone) whereas Die Hard Trilogy was a compilation of three different genres (3rd person shooter, light gun shooter, and driving game) based on each game.  The results are interesting and stems some interesting conversation on these powerhouse trilogies.


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Written by Fred Rojas

April 1, 2015 at 11:00 am

Alien Trilogy Quick Look

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This month’s game club is Die Hard Trilogy and Alien Trilogy, two short “trilogy” titles released by Fox Interactive in the 32-bit era. We have already looked at one of the games, Die Hard Trilogy, and here for you is the quick look of Alien Trilogy

Written by Fred Rojas

March 5, 2015 at 11:00 am

Policenauts Review

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policenauts_boxPlatform: PC-9821, 3DO, Playstation, Saturn (Japan Only)
Released: 1994-1996 (depending on platform, Japan Only)
Developer: Konami
Publisher: Konami
Digital Release? No
Price: Unavailable, game never sold in US or UK

Fred’s Take

Building off of what Kojima had started in Snatcher, I feel that Policenauts is an attempt to revise the mistakes and setbacks of that original attempt and create a spiritual successor that flows more like a game.  Technically, I guess that’s what Policenauts is, unfortunately the solution appears to be making it a point-and-click adventure and adding in more (and more frustrating) shooting sequences.  While I have to commend the efforts by having a more genuine story – although the similarities to the first two Lethal Weapon films is undeniable – that flows naturally and keeps you intrigued, this game has so many walls to break through to get to that story that it’s best read in a walkthrough or watched on YouTube.  For this reason, and the countless other reasons that prevent most of us outside of a Japanese speaking region, I can’t recommend Policenauts as a coveted loss treasure we never got.

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Written by Fred Rojas

February 26, 2015 at 3:50 pm

Mini Podcast: The Legacy of Shinobi

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shinobi_post

For this week’s mini podcast Fred tackles the Sega franchise Shinobi, and more specifically the Joe Musashi games from the earliest years of the franchise.


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Written by Fred Rojas

January 31, 2015 at 3:14 pm

Retro Game Night: Crypt Killer and Mad Dog McCree

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This week for Retro Game Night we go all light gun shooters (yes, they can be captured and streamed).

First up is arcade 3D shooter Crypt Killer, which was horror themed and moved from arcades to Saturn and the PS1 (Saturn version shown).  Sorry about the sound on the game being much louder than my voice, it was live and no one told me.

Next up is the 1990 “classic” Mad Dog McCree, one of the first laserdisc arcade games that was almost perfectly ported to the Nintendo Wii.  Here it is in all its glory (and in 720p!)

If you want to check out Retro Game Night, we do it every Friday night at 11:30 pm est on our Twitch channel (twitch.tv/gh101).  You can also follow us for random live broadcasts and check that page for our ongoing replay of Resident Evil HD Remaster on the PS3, which comes to the US on January 20.

Written by Fred Rojas

January 10, 2015 at 12:12 pm

Retro Game Night: Die Hard Trilogy and Arcade

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This week for Retro Game Night it’s a double header from the greatest Christmas movie of all time: Die Hard.  When the PS1 and Saturn launched Fox Interactive released a series of trilogy video games from its properties, one of which was Die Hard Trilogy, combining a 3rd person isometric shooter for the original film, an on-rails Virtua Cop style light gun shooter (controllers work too) for the second film, and somewhat of a Crazy Taxi clone for the third film.  We play it here (in HD) to give you a taste of all three.

Then, around the same time Sega decided to release its arcade brawler Die Hard Arcade (which started life as Streets of Rage 4) exclusively on the Saturn.  With no other ports (thanks to Sega’s publishing and distribution rights) and a so-so version on MAME, this is truly the only plug-and-play home port of the game.  Check it out.

Written by Fred Rojas

December 27, 2014 at 2:17 pm

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