FIRE AND ICE

SNOWBALL FIGHT WITH A COYOTE
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INTRO
As the Amiga’s and Atari ST’s time was coming to an end there were still great games like this one being released. The IBM port of this game didn’t get much attention and the master system version was so cut down it was rubbish and begs the question why they didn’t go with a Megadrive/Genesis version instead!?

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BACKSTORY
So here’s a wacky fucking story for a pretty straight forward game, Suten an intergalactic criminal hides on earth in the desert trying to elude capture. He is being hunted by Glem who tracks him to earth and decides to get one of its inhabitants to do his dirty work for him because he is a giant pussy! He doesn’t want a human as he sees them as stupid and clumsy! Sutens magic is affecting the other simpler animals so he decides to choose a fucking coyote and will help him subtly from a distance.

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GAMEPLAY
You start this side scrolling platformer in the Arctic and move your way through gradually hotter levels until you get to the desert at the end. This is apparently Glems way of gradually getting you ready to take one Suten. Movement is done via the joystick with jump being up, and the button firing little snow balls which is your primary weapon. Other than snowballs you can pick up other more powerful one off weapons from hidden ice boxes around the level and lightning bolts from shooting rain clouds. Shooting enemies freezes them so you can run through and shatter them, but make sure you do this before they thaw You occasionally get a little puppy following you that is invincible and helps by running through baddies but is generally pretty useless. To complete a level you must find all the pieces of a key which number 6 from the enemies and find the exit door. A time limit it is in place which is the sunsets in the background which you get 6.

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IN THE REAL WORLD
In the Arctic throwing snow balls at enemies makes sense but in the jungle or desert what the fuck!? Where is he getting the fucking snow?! Biology wasn’t my strongest subject but I’m pretty sure if you freeze an animal it will die and still be dead even when thawed. Sonic the Hedge Hog was in the same boat all his animal pals were turned against him but he had the decency to break them out of there robot skin and they hopped away, Cool Coyote leaves none alive! That’s how you be cool kids!

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CONCLUSION
This game was the most colourful game I owned apart from Zool and Trolls, the setting sunset in the background was ground breaking for the time. Also the mini map of the world stretched the entire base of the screen with beautiful shimmering water that would load up a good minute before the game was ready, giving you something to look at. The levels had heaps of hidden boxes, weapons and things to do and all the enemies were varied and unique to their levels. The only issue was there wasn’t a save option you had to complete the game with 3 lives and many levels had leaps of faith that would generally have you landing on a bad guy. That being said it can’t take away from such a beautiful a game that is actually fun to play so bring this one back!

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WORTH REPLAYING?

GOOD
Amazing graphics
Nice touches in animation
Awesome world map
Heaps of variety in levels

BAD
Leaps of faith
Your puppy is a half wit
No save option

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Released on the Amiga & Atari ST in 1992, then ported to PC & Sega master system.

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VIRTUA RACING

RACING IN SHAPESLAND
Released in the Arcade in 1992, ported to Sega Genesis/megadrive in 1994.

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INTRO
Virtua Racing was actually designed to showcase a 3D graphics platform for Sega but they felt the results were so good that they turned it into actual game. This game paved the way for Daytona USA and Ridge Racer it started the 3D racing genre, there were 3D racers before but nothing quite like this.

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BACKSTORY
This is an arcade racing game so there is no backstory but if you require one then, you’re an ace driver out to win everything!

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GAMEPLAY
The game consists of 3 tracks all of varying difficulty, Big forest (easy), Bay Bridge (medium) and Acropolis (hard). There were three versions of the game in the arcades, an upright single player, a twin seater and a single seater sit down with hydraulics. All versions had a steering wheel accelerator, brake and flappy paddle levers for changing the 7 gears if you selected manual.

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Also it had a start button and four viewpoint buttons in red, blue, green and yellow which allowed you to swap between four views which was a first for this genre. The races were all closed circuits and were broken into three or so checkpoints which you had to pass with the time you had, once these checkpoints were passed the time would be added for the next checkpoint. So finish the all the laps with the time you have and try and come first.

 

IN THE REAL WORLD
Your back would be fucked in the first 100 meters thanks to the Octadecagon (18 sides) wheels. Big forest the easy track has you starting from the pit lane with the race already underway, how the fuck is that easy?!? Exposed trees, windmill and fucking cows walking up to the side of the road, nice F1 race track! Shit can those cows scoot if you aim your car at them, maybe I should race one of them around the track because their faster than my car, literally.

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CONCLUSION
I had dreams about this game once I played it for the first time in the arcades and it was the first time I ever payed a dollar for a game. I thought I could actually drive a car after playing this and wouldn’t hear anything else on the matter! When this got ported I couldn’t wait, but I was disappointed, the D-pad just didn’t cut it for a racing game yet I still played it constantly and used my imagination to fill in the graphical gaps.

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Later in life I actually bought the twin version for my home but we moved and I had to sell it because of its size and over all weight! While I had it I loved playing the GP mode (rarely used in the arcades) which ran for 20 laps. I loved watching my lap times fall then go back up when my tyres went off, then stopping in the pits to change tyres. That being said I can’t recommend this to new players, I am looking at it with rose-coloured glasses and even if you could find the arcade version you would just say Daytona was better and you would be right.

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WORTH REPLAYING?

GOOD
Good feeling of speed (except for cows)
Nice elevation on roads
GP 20 lap mode requires pitstop for tyres
Feels great in cockpit
Racing against another player always good

BAD
Polygon graphics are dated
Graphical glitches
Only 3 tracks
Daytona did everything better.

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ROAD RASH 64

LIKE A BASEBALL BAT OUT OF HELL

Released on the Nintendo 64 in 1999.

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INTRO
Since the Road Rash series started back in 1991 there have been many versions of the game over the 8 years leading up to this one. Yet the series now lies dormant and has done so for 15 years, Criterion the maker of Burnout has considered doing another version but has passed on it. The box art depicts a racer about to be hit by what looks like Stone Cold Steve Austin, the game was made by THX maybe they had some character models left over from their WWF games.

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BACKSTORY
You are one of many bikers who take part in a series of illegal street races across the U.S.A.

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GAMEPLAY
The object is to be the first over the finishing line by any means possible so beat beating all opponents and evade the police. Control of your bike is done with the center joystick with the trigger for acceleration and the B button for brake. You can also pull a wheelie and jump over cars and some other obstacles by pressing the A button. Most important though is the fighting and this is all done with the C cursor buttons, there are a lot of moves you can pull off but you will soon get used to them. Other than kick and punch you have a large array of weapons you can pick up as you ride down the road and these can be swung either out front or behind you to take out opponents. You can also do a ‘spoke Jam’ which takes out the other rider immediately. Cattle prod is the only weapon you don’t swing instead you thrust it to you left or right and if you hit an opponent they will get shocked losing control of their bike and hopefully slam into a tree or building.

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IN THE REAL WORLD
I don’t ride bikes but I’m pretty sure that if I pop a wheelie in front of an oncoming car I won’t jump over it, that being said I haven’t tried it. Also if you swing anything let alone a fucking pole cue while riding a motor bike I’m pretty sure you’re going to go down quicker than a two dollar hooker! By the way where is your rider hiding the cue when not using it? If I personally rode up alongside Stone Cold Steve Austin with the intent of knocking him off his bike I wouldn’t take a pool cue I’d take a fucking shotgun!

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CONCLUSION
This is a fun game still to this day it was a reinvention of the series and it’s a pity they didn’t continue with it, every game you play is so random and laugh worthy it’s a real shame it didn’t have a replay option. The only real draw back were the graphics as they were quite basic at best,  even if you had the additional expansion cartridge that boasted HI DEF graphics they were still kind of soft. But 2 player fun is where this game really shines and you forget about the crappy graphics as you beat the shit out of each other down the road. There are rumors of a kick-starter project based on road rash and hopefully it will be based on this game as it was truly the best in the series.

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WORTH REPLAYING

GOOD
Great control of the bike
Heaps of weapons
Kick ass sound track
Awesome 2 Player
Each game so random

BAD
Basic Graphics
No replay option

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VENTURE

SHOW US YOUR WINKY

Released on the Colecovision, Atari 2600, Intellivision and in the Arcades in 1982.

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INTRO
This game was released on many consoles at the time and the game was changed to suit the limitations of each system. The Atari version got the worst rap by reviewers and I can’t help but think because Celeco who actually made this game made it better for their own system the Celecovision! Also as a fun fact while doing research for this review on Wiki the entry claims that ‘Randy Kuntz’ is the world record holder for this game. 🙂 Here is a link. Say his name really fast 10 times in a public place to win a prize!

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BACKSTORY
You play as ‘Winky’ a tomb raider (before it was popular) out to find hidden treasures in a dangerous dungeon full of monsters.

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GAMEPLAY
Control of Winky is done with the joystick and you use the button for shooting arrows. The game starts with Winky circling the treasure screen a couple of times then proceeds down stairs into the dungeon. The treasure screen shows all the items you have found and question marks for those you haven’t. You start in the hallways which has four rooms outlined with doors leading in and out which most of have two. In this area Winky is only represented as a dot to show the scale of the dungeon and he can’t attack anything. There are huge monsters (compared to Winky) patrolling these halls that will gravitate to Winky when he gets too close.

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Once you enter a room generally three monsters will be moving around in there randomly, they move faster than Winky so be on your guard. If they touch you lose a life, if you shoot one and touch its dead body you will lose a life as well. If you linger to long a hallway monster will appear in the corner of the screen and make a bee line for you. If you leave the room and re-enter it the room will reset and you can try again. Once you collect the treasure and leave the room it is completed and will be filled in, when you have completed all rooms on the level you will advance to the next set of hallways.

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IN THE REAL WORLD
Can’t be said that this wasn’t a happy game, Winkys smiling ear to ear and even the some of the fucking monsters are smiling so why is there so much violence, smiling assassins. If you check out the close up image above does it look like Winky’s is holding his ‘Winky’, that explains his smile! Personally I wouldn’t be smiling if I was walking around hallways with 10 foot bad ass monsters, especially if I had my dick in my hand! Also think about this if you shot an arrow at a skeleton how would that do any damage, think about that for a second, what the fuck are you going to hit? Lastly how does a dead body kill me, really!

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CONCLUSION
This one of the first video games I ever played and the experience wasn’t soured by the fact I had to use the Celeco joystick as shown above, what a fucking mess that was! Every room in the game felt different with lots of types of monsters and room configurations. It gave you the freedom to choose which room you went into next unlike most other games that just lead you along. With dead bodies still being lethal you could block yourself in a room and have to exit and re-enter. The 2 player option let you compete on the amount of treasure that you had collected not just on highscores alone. I still remember to this day being terrified whenever the hallway monster entered the room I was in.

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WORTH REPLAYING?

GOOD
Collecting treasures is a nice change
Allows you choice
Variety

BAD
Monsters move faster than Winky

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KID ICARUS

A LOVER AND A FIGHTER

Released on the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1986.
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INTRO

In the weird as shit category this game takes the cake! That being said this game became a cult classic. What made this game so popular then and now with its legion of diehard fans, hopefully we can shed some light in this article.

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BACKSTORY
You play as ‘PIT’ a young angel that can’t fly and you live in Angel Land, that’s the easy part done now concentrate on the next bit. Goddess Palutena and Goddess Medusa get in a heated argument and Palutena turns Medusa into a monster and banishes her to the underworld. Slightly pissed off by this Medusa gets her Minions to capture the Palutena and imprison her in her own castle (house arrest!). During this attack Medusa’s minions also steal three treasures from the kingdom a Mirror Shield, Light Arrows and the Wings of Pegasus. By taking these treasures she deprived Palutena’s army of its strength and are all turned to stone. Palutena finds you PIT and gives you a bow and some arrows; you escape with these and start your quest to save Palutena and earth.

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GAMEPLAY
At the outset this is a very hard game it is not forgiving and you will die a lot! It is a scrolling platform game and you start it by climbing up shooting your way through the baddies. Control of Pit is done through the D-pad and one button for jump and one button for shoot. Life is measured by a health meter at the top of the screen which will get larger as you buy upgrades from stores, but as for actual lives you only have the one! If you fall down a hole that’s it game over! It does have a password checkpoint function that shows up on the game over screen. The baddies are an odd bunch to say the least, the first are pretty straight forward snakes and Pacman like ghosts. But then you are confronted with flying Groucho Marx faces!

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IN THE REAL WORLD
You would think that Paltuena wouldn’t be a Goddess if she made stupid decisions! This is clearly not the case as she rests the hopes of the planet earth and her own safety on an Angel that cant fucking fly! Humanities hopes lie with a dude that looks like cupid the angel of love and we are lead to believe he is going to become an unstoppable killing machine. It would have been better to have named him PITY because I think the goddess chose him out of pity, shit an Angel that cant fly that’s all they are required to do! Also Groucho Marx disguises flying around what the Fuck, Pit must have got stoned for the trip (literally) to build up some courage!

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CONCLUSION
There must have been a lack of games out for the Nes when this one came out because how they sold teenage boys on a game that involves them playing cupid and collecting hearts in a pink world baffles me! If this came out later in the consoles life I don’t think so popular and in turn been  looked over by a lot of gamers for being too cute. I always found this game eerie and I still do playing it again today maybe a combination of the music and the fact that it has a black background. I do however appreciate the difficulty level more as a grown up and am more patient to get it right. Still haven’t made it past the first level though!

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WORTH REPLAYING?

GOOD
Great music
Good graphics for the time
Good level design
Password save

BAD
Fucking hard!
One life
Wacky baddies makes it hard to lose yourself in the world.

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LOTUS ESPRIT TURBO CHALLENGE

IT TAKES TWO

Released on the Commodore Amiga in 1990.

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INTRO
Awkwardly named game but don’t let that fool you, this was a game changer that would make designers look at how they made racing games from then on. Designed around the Pitstop model this 1 or 2 player game was a sensation, yet it has been forgotten only remembered by those who lived through that time. If you owned an Amiga you had this game.

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BACKSTORY
Make your own one up, this is a driving game dumb ass!

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GAMEPLAY
The goal is simple one car must finish in the top ten of the twenty cars ontrack to progress to the next race. The position you finish your last race in will be reversed for the next race ie: Player 1 finishes 1st Player 2 finishes 3rd : Player 1 starts next race 20th Player 2 starts 18th. There are 32 tracks, 7 easy, 10 medium and 15 hard with varying race lengths and objects scattered across the road in parts such as water, oil, rocks and roadwork’s. On the longer races you will need to refuel which is done by stopping in the pitlane just after the start finish straight, once stopped there you will be shown a screen with mechanics working on your car, once you believe that you have enough fuel push fire to continue with your race.

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You steer your Lotus esprit by moving your joystick from left to right and down acts as your brake. Acceleration has two options either pushing up on your joystick or pressing fire, this you will chose at the start of the game. You can also have computerized gears (automatic) or manual gears that use the opposite button layout to your acceleration ie: forward accelerate, fire button change gears.

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IN THE REAL WORLD
So you and your friend have the only red cars in the field and all the rest are white, so are they all one team against the two of you? Clearly this is the case and they seem to have been celebrating their inevitable victory the night before because today they are all driving like they’re fucking smashed just swaying from one side of the road to the other! Our red cars do have a swish cd player (rare for the time) in them and the dealership seems to have left me with one CD that only has four fucking songs on it! Now this brings me to the race tracks, why the fuck am I racing on race tracks that have fucking roadworks going on and god damn boulders all over the place?!?

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When I stop at the pits (red cars are the only ones that need fuel it seems) why do I get wheeled into the garage to have one mechanic work on my engine and one clean my front left tire, someone put fucking fuel in!

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CONCLUSION
This was one of my favorite Amiga games and best played with friends. The best memories of this game were carving my way through the pack with a friend. You were racing each other ultimately but it felt like you were doing it for the greater good of the team. One thing this game didn’t have which a lot of games have today is rubber banding. If you built up a lead and drove well you would not be disadvantaged by the game pulling your friend up behind you. So you could be in second place until he crashed then you had a chance to get past him. I liked this it made try to be a better driver and if you won you deserved it, nothing like stopping in the pits from second to see your mate just exiting them it made you want to put less fuel in and gamble. It was also the first game I know of that had brake light that blew my fucking mind! If you haven’t played this but want to give it a try, do it with a friend and it will be worth it.

WORTH REPLAYING?

GOOD
Great Two player
Great music
Graphics great for the time
20 cars on track at once

BAD
Swaying opponents can be annoying
No full screen in one player

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MEDIEVIL

SIR DAN HAS A BONE TO PICK

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Released on the Sony Playstation in 1998.

INTRO
A Pioneering 3D action adventure game produced by Sony’s in-house games designers for the first Playstation. Dan Fortesque the main character made appearances in other titles such as Hot Shots Golf 2 and Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale.

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BACKSTORY

Sir Daniel Fortesque head of the Royal Battalion the best in the Kings army, a position that is more of a desk job than anything hands on. His previous victories lived on via the King and Daniel himself and expert bullshit artist. In 1286 the Evil Sorcerer Zarok returns from Exile pissed off and bringing all his buddies from the dark side to wipe out the kingdom. The King orders Daniel to lead the army that will attack the undead army.

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Daniel is killed seconds after the conflict starts from his own arrow which he miss fires hitting himself in the eye. The King embarrassed by Dan’s piss poor showing embellishes the truth of his death spreading the rumor that Dan went down going one on one with Zarok. A huge tomb is erected for Dan and he is laid to rest a hero. Years later Zarok returns and begins raising the dead for his new army and who happens to be dead as well our old mate Dan. So Dan’s back as a skeleton to take on Zarok and live up to the bullshit.

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GAMEPLAY
The game is set in the 3rd person perspective with you controlling Dan from the camera mounted behind him that spins around as Dan changes direction. Dan can jump, run, swing weapons (Huge variety), throw Knives and use magic. When using your main weapon you can either do a normal attack or a power attack that does increased damage to your enemies. You can also use a shield to block but this will damage your shield over time and it will need to be repaired. Solving puzzles are common and platform sections mix this up as you traverse the levels to reach Zarok.

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IN THE REAL WORLD
Moving past the fact that you need muscles to lift anything especially the huge fucking weapons that are in this game and the fact that nothing is holding his bones in place, we can continue. Enemies on the first stage are pretty much all zombies that have their whole bodies intact, yeah their green but they work. So Dan must be a little pissed when he comes back with only one fucking eye! In a 3D world no less and you with no depth perception, just fucking great! Why out of all the people brought back from the dead you the only one who wants to do the right thing and save the kingdom? Maybe the kingdom is full of arseholes, so join up with the baddies and make them your bitch! Dan may have been famous but if his skeleton is anything to go by he was as ugly as shit, yet another reason to run amok killing everyone in the kingdom.

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CONCLUSION
This was a great game which was quite advanced for its time, looking back it is still quite fun to play with lots of things to collect and heaps of weapons to collect. The only major gripe is that the camera gets mixed up now and then. This was common for this these 3d games of the time. But when attempting platform jumps over cliffs you need the camera to be on your side. Try turning 180 degrees and run towards the camera and you’ll be looking at yourself for 2 seconds before it swings around allowing you to see where the fuck you’re going.

WORTH REPLAYING?
GOOD

  • Nice 3D world.
  • Good mix of platforming and adventure sections.
  • Cool Bosses.
  • Awesome FMV cutscenes.

BAD

  • Dodgey Camera angles.
  • Graphics dated.

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EARTHWORM JIM

FISH FOOD HAS A GUN

First Released on the Sega Megadrive/Genesis & Super Nintendo in 1994.

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INTRO

A run and gun platformer that was designed for the Megdrive/Genesis and ported to the Snes was a huge hit in the day that many people still have fond memories of. Are they warranted or was this a missed opportunity that could have lead to a huge franchise.

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BACKSTORY

A space suit falls from the sky and Jim our angry little earthworm climbs in and BAM he can move around like a human. Thankfully a gun came with the suit so he can let out all that built up frustration; it’s hard being a worm you are constantly getting stepped on! The suit has room for his worm head to hang out the top in place of a human head. Jim is on a mission to save the princess whose name is actually ‘What’s-her-name’ from a group of baddies that want his suit for their own.

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GAMEPLAY

This game plays in the old 2D scrolling model that allows Jim to run, jump, hang, crouch and climb all around the level. Jim has what looks like a futuristic laser gun that fires like an Uzi (that looks and sounds awesome) to take out his foes, this gun has 1000 bullets to start with and more ammo can be found around the levels. He can also pull his worm body out of the suit and use it to whip to take out enemies as well. Most levels end in a boss fight with some pretty weird characters. If the controller lays idle for an extended amount of time Jim will start posing or doing things to keep himself interested such as pull out his gun spin it around and end up shooting himself in the face (he won’t incur an damage from this).

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IN REALITY

Jim is a worm, granted in a human body suit so why is he chasing after a clearly human princess, has he always had a thing for inter species strange? As you travel through the Junkyard your basic two enemies are Crows and Dogs, Crows ok fine they liking eating worms but Dogs come on! Have you ever seen a dog eat a worm, I haven’t unless it was in a piece of shit, see dogs prefer their own shit over worms! There is also a cow in the first level, why is there a cow in a fucking junkyard?!

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CONCLUSION

I so badly wanted to do this review so I could play this game again, like most people I had really fond memories of this game. But after playing this game for about five minutes around the time my ammo ran out I remembered the pain. First of all you’re in a suit that can allow you to move like a human so why the fuck do I spend the first level bouncing around awkwardly on tyres?!?! This level should be later in the game, I haven’t even had time to get the characters moves down yet.

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The backgrounds at first look cool but you find as you bounce around they hide unseen dangers such as spikes and leaps of faith which there are way to many of in the first level. Where Jim is limited by platforms Crows seem to travel around freely and even attack you from underneath  the ground you are standing on, fucking frustrating! The controls are also very restrictive by today’s standards and a prime example of this is the fact that you can’t jump and shoot at the same time.

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You start with three lives and you can find more along the way but there is no save option or password save so you are expected to grind through this quite hard game in one sitting. It was games like these that would have you leave your console on indefinitely as you went to play outside at the request of your parents. Thank god those days are over (I left home years ago!). Jim was one of the first characters that felt REAL like he was actually living in my console, all of those animation’s he did where amazing and I think that’s why I think we all love this game so much. Jim was an awesome character that just happened to be in a crappy game.

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SHOULD THIS BE REMADE

It was remade in 2010 and no it shouldn’t have been.

Thumbs-down-ggb

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ALEX KIDD: IN MIRACLE WORLD

BIG EARS & BIG FISTS

Released on the Sega Master System. Date of release 1986.

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INTRO
Alex Kidd was Sega’s first attempt as a Mario killer, they ended up dumping his ass and pinned their hopes on Sonic the Hedgehog. So what went wrong and why is his name foreign to most new gamers?

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BACKSTORY
You play as Alex Kidd (well duh!) a child that was stolen from his family as a baby by an evil lord. For some reason you end up on a mountain learning “Shellcore” an ancient art that makes you strong enough to break stone into pieces. One day on a walk you find a dying man who tells you that the heir to the throne of Radactian (Igul) and his fiancée have been abducted and that you are his half-brother, making you are part of the royal family. So it’s up to you to get him back and save Radaction.

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GAMEPLAY
This is a scrolling platformer like Super Mario Bros except unlike Mario bros it doesn’t always scroll to the right; you actually start by going down then right in just the first level. Left and right on the D-Pad control your movement with down allowing you to squat, button 1 to jump and button 2 to punch. As in Mario bros you break bricks by punching them and these hide valuable items for you to collect. The items found in bricks range from money bags in two sizes (big and small) and special items. Special Items include a ring that shoots a ray across the screen destroying any bricks and enemies in its path, an extra life and a reaper that kills Alex on contact, so run!

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At the start of most levels you will enter a shop that you can buy amongst other things a motorbike and helicopter (depending of the layout of the level.). Boss fights consist of a best of three game of paper, rock, scissors. Like Mario of the day you couldn’t save games so you had to start from the beginning when you died, there was however an undocumented code that allowed you to continue indefinitely once you died.

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IN REALITY
OK you find out that you have a family that you never knew of and your half-brother (that you have never met) has been abducted, will you risk your life to save them? Fuck no! Did they search for you when you were abducted? If they were still searching for you they probably wouldn’t have been abducted in the first place! Personally I would turn up and introduce myself to mum and dad (the queen and king) and take my rightful place as the next heir to the throne!

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In this fantasy world there are dragons and a big ass octopus and that’s fine but motorbikes and helicopters seem a little out of place. The dragons did look surprised as I shot past them at 150 on my Kawasaki! So you punch your way through the level and finally get to the boss fight to be confronted with a game of rock, paper, scissors what the fuck. I’ve got massive fucking fists, he’s going to know my move every time, that’s bullshit!! Punch him in the face and end this bullshit game!

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CONCLUSION
I owned a master system and this game was every bit as good Mario. It had better graphics, way better level design, heaps more to do and collect. There always seemed to be something new to be found every time you played this game, it was very deep for a platformer that bordered on an adventure game and maybe this was its downfall. Mario bros was simple, go right as fast as you can collecting coins and getting maybe three different types of powerups reach the flagpole, rinse and repeat. Alex on the other hand had different ways to traverse, shops, over 10 different items to buy with different attributes and boss fight that were just odd.

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Also Mario was after “The Princess” simple and straight forward, whereas Alex was after a Prince called fucking “Igul” who’s a guy with a shit name. What teenage boy wants to rescue another boy?! This was the first game I had on my Master System and I loved it and I can’t help but think that it might have still been around today if it had a few tweaks before its release. So Mario won and I think it can be summed up by something Steve Jobs said ‘Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication’.

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DOUBLE DRAGON

FISTS OF LOVE

Released in the Arcades. Date of release 1987. Versions on most systems.

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INTRO

This game inspired an army of side scrolling beat em ups, long before Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat and Tekken this was your best option to let out your teenage aggression (bar getting in a real fight, but they just hurt).

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BACKSTORY

You play Billy Lee (1 player) or Jimmy Lee (as the second player) two martial artists out to rescue their common love interest (?) Marian. So where is she? The Black Warriors Gang that’s where! Point of interest is that barely any of them are black. You must fight your way to the Black Warriors hideout (which is pretty elaborate) take out the leader and get back your communal girlfriend.

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GAMEPLAY

On this fight through four different levels (slum, factory, woods and gang’s hideout) you have a range of moves to take out the opposition. You start with two lives that are each broken up in to four sections making up your health bar. Lose all your health or run out of time and you die. At your disposal you have basic punching and kicking but along with that you have combo moves such as head butt, jump kick, reverse kick and head grab with knee to the face. In two player mode you can grab an enemy from behind and have your mate beat the shit out of him, but be warned the enemy also has this move. Along with your moves there are a few weapons to be found along the levels which include Baseball bats, whips (old beat em ups loved whips), knives, dynamite, barrels, boxes and boulders. This was also one of the first games to introduce places for where the player could fall of the screen in such things as potholes, rivers and spiked pits.

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IN THE REAL WORLD

So your girlfriend is just minding her own business outside your house when your local M60 toting gang leader turns up, gets one of his lackeys to punch her in the ovaries (he doesn’t want to have to put his gun down) and takes off with her only leaving you with a quick glimpse off her white panty as a memory. So let’s look at all the possible scenarios shall we. First she may owe this guy money, so fuck that let her pay her own debts! Second this could be her Yugoslavian father quite annoyed at the fact that two brothers have been tag teaming his teenage daughter, so he brought the family around to bring her back to his gaudy house. Or maybe he saw something he had to have and just took it, let’s go with that so we can continue.

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So our two heroes emerge from the garage head off on their quest. Now they have a sweet ride in their garage why not just drive there and say the hassle?! OK FUCK IT we’ll walk, exercise and all that, the first thing you notice is that for a badass gang they are pretty light on for guns, no one has them bar the leader. If he didn’t buy that big ass gun for himself he could have bought many guns for his followers stopping this fight in its tracks pretty early. With the change from his gun purchase he did buy some knives and dynamite (?) for his guys.

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Which brings me to the next point, he has a FUCKING GUN and it’s not a pistol, it’s a fully automatic machine gun! So let’s say you beat up the fifty or so goons to make to him only to be looking down the barrel of a huge fucking gun, what do you do now home boy? Using lightning fast karate you defeat the boss only to find that Marian the bitch can’t decide who to be with, so you two brothers have a fight to the death (blood is thicker.. goes straight out the window) to win the affections of Marian, who seems quite fine with this I might add. I think the real enemy in this game is Marian!

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CONCLUSION

I have such fond memories of frequenting my local Milkbar (do these exist anymore?) putting twenty cent pieces on the top of the machine to get my chance to have another go at that gang. I recently played this game again before this review and I was surprised by how much slow down there was in the game. Once you got more than two enemies on the screen at once it bogged right down, this due to the nature of the game happened frequently. I did like the fact you could take weapons and objects all the way to the end of the level to help in the boss fights. It did shit me on the other hand that you could fall in a gentle stream and die losing a precious life! I have such fond memories of this game that I think it’s better to leave it there with them. There are multiple versions of this game available today but as for the original maybe you should pass. If you are too young to know of this game it’s a pity but you just had to be there!

 

WORTH REPLAYING?

GOOD

  • Detailed backgrounds
  • Fun two player
  • Good music
  • Heaps of different moves

BAD

  • Slows down constantly
  • Becomes boring once elbow is mastered
  • Bullshit deaths from falling off the screen

Thumbs-down-ggb

 

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