Archive for the ‘Game Gear’ Category
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: 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.
Fred and Brian unbox a mystery Gamecube 10-pack that could have any game in it. Check out what they find. Fred also notes a handful of Game Gear games he picked up for coverage in the upcoming weeks.
Platform: Game Gear (there is a European Master System version) – For the hardcore, the Japanese MSX version is worth looking up.
Released: 1991 (worldwide)
Digital Release? No
Price: $3.75 (cart only), $15.00 (complete), and $15.00 (new/sealed) per Price Charting
Psychic World is one of those old Sega games that just seemed to get lost in time. Originally called Psycho World, in Japan on the MSX computer, the game was brought over to Europe in 1991 and renamed the more suitable Psychic World. The game was released on the Master System and Game Gear, for this review well be delving into the Game Gear version (which did come out in the US). This was probably one of the first Game Gear games I ever played next to the original Wonder Boy.
Psychic World is set in the year 19XX. which no matter how you write that on paper now sounds like it’s in the past, even though the setting of this game feels far into the future. I guess the game developers thought we would enjoy the 20th century so much we wouldn’t want to leave it so they started sticking Roman Numerals at the end.
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.
This week Fred and Jam are throwing around fighters of the 90s (that aren’t Street Fighter II or Tekken, we did a show for those already). In the 1990s, the fighter genre was the most popular type of game available (like First Person Shooters today), and among those that have withstood the test of time there were plenty of others that played the field. From Mortal Kombat to Soulcalibur you had plenty of arcades (and home ports) to drink your quarters in arcades.
This week we are talking about the Sega Game Gear (Project Mercury), Sega’s first portable console that took on the Gameboy head on. While it didn’t come close to winning, the Game Gear still stands as the longest running competition for a Nintendo portable. We also bring in special guests Jason and Mark (from Retro Game Geeks) to talk about beloved titles from the early 90s.
This week Chip Cella (@CaptinChaos) and Andy Urquhart (@damien14273) from the Agents of Shieldcast join Fred to discuss retro titles featuring Marvel Characters. They learn that the distinction of titles early in gaming were almost nonexistent and perhaps Marvel having Disney behind it may actually be a good thing. Listen on true believers!
This week Fred goes solo to celebrate Doom‘s 20th Anniversary and the Mega Man series. Keji Inafune’s legacy may live on through Mighty Number 9, but when he was a young new college grad Capcom employed him to create one of the most beloved and long running franchises of the company’s history.
Also if you want more Doom coverage, feel free to check out our podcast on Doom clones.