Monday, 31 December 2018

My Retro Purchases in December 2018

 I started my retro purchasing on the 3rd by getting 5 Megadrive carts for £5. Four of  them are sports titles though but I cant moan really, The games are Fifa 95, Fifa 96, NHLPHA 93, Olympic Summer games and Mega Games 6 (the one with World cup italia 90, super hang on, street of rage, the revenge of shinobi, columns and Golden axe) it was a lisiting on a face book sales group and in total honesty it is that last cart which is the real diamond in the rough in this little lot

On the 8th of Decemember I went in to a little indy store and grabbed a few bits. I got Virtual soccer for the SNES cart only for £2, Nigel Mansells world championship racing for the snes cart only for £2, Fifa for the megadrive cart only for £1, madden 2000 for the Gameboy Colour cart only for 50p and World Soccer for the Master system complete for £2... Nothing amazing but it was still fun to go and have a look at what they had on offer and bring a little bit of something home.

On the 16th I grabbed two loose SNES carts  from an indy store for £14 for the both of them. I think I maybe have Star Wars somewhere but I am darn happy to get Power Rangers as not only did I love watching it when it came out but its basically a walk along beat em up which is right up my alley.

On the 20th of this month I went to an indy games shop after work and I got Tactics Orge Premium Edition complete for £8 including its art book and soundtrack cd.

While there I also grabbed a cartridge only copy of Rock n Roll Racing for the SNES an all time childhood favourate of mine for £15, despite being a relatily costly one this is proberbly my purchased of the month just because I really love this game and have been after a SNES copy for a long time ( I have a complete Megadrive copy and have had it for years but I just really really wanted it on the SNES

On the 29th I grabbed The Rescue of Princess Blobette for GameBoy cart only for £2 and Game And Watch Gallery for GameBoy cart only for 50pence

So in total I spent £52 on retro games this month which was quiet a suprising amount for me, I really didnt expect to spend this sort of money in Decemember. The thing I am most happy about getting is probably Rock n Roll Racing for the SNES as I used to play that a whole heck of a lot as a kid and its something I have kind of been casually hunting for a long time. I guess by using the term casually hunting I need to explain what I mean by that, basically I have been looking for it without just doing the lazy thing of jumping on ebay and paying whatever I needed to pay to just get it.

Friday, 30 November 2018

My Retro Purchases in November 2018

On the 6th of November I started my months retro purchases by visiting a bunch of charity shops where for the grand total of £7.50 I got 5 complete switch games (Mario Kart Wii, Super Mario Galaxy, Mini Ninjas, Sonic and the secret rings, and Lego StarWars the complete saga) 2 original Playstation games (This is football and F1 World Grand prix) and Tetris 2 for GameBoy, not a bad start to the month at all.





Then on the 12th of the month I grabbed 4 psp games at £1 each from a local charity shop while taking a stroll to get milk, I got medal of honor heroes, medal of honor heroes 2, Socom Tactical strike and Ace Combat X skies of deception, there was another 2 game cases there but some absolute dick had stolen the games they were not anything earth shattering but its just so annoying that people will steal stuff that is being sold for next to sod all and therefore rob charities of cash.

On the 19th I grabbed Time Splitters 2 For Xbox complete for 50pence and Medal of Honor frontline (platinum) for GameCube complete for 50pence from a charity shop. Time Splitters 2 is a game I hold very fond memories of, I got it originally on the GameCube pretty darn soon after its release and its just one of those games that is so much fun particularly if a bunch of you play it together.

On the 28th I spent £3.50 on a cartridge only copy of Rad Gravity for the NES, which I was very happy with because to be honest pretty much anytime you can get a none sports NES title for under £5 is a good time.

On the 29th I  went to a charity shop and got a nice little haul for £2.50. I got Hardcore 4x4 for PlayStation complete, Tomb Raider 2 disc and manual in a CD case with its real cover cut to fit in this, Tekken Tag Tournament (Platinum version) complete for ps2, StarWars Starfighter complete for ps2 and Taito Legends complete for PS2.

So in total this month I spent £18.50 which makes this a pretty small month expense wise, but I am glad with what I have got and that I haven't spent that much on it. I don't think that there is any stand out item that I got but I think in general I got some darn cool stuff and I am very happy with what I spent on it.

Saturday, 17 November 2018

My oppinion on Intelligent Cube and Jumping Flash being on the PlayStation Classic

OK so back to the PlayStation classic and my opinion on the games on it. For a start lets take a look at Intelligent Qube. Well you might have seen this game on the list of PlayStation games on the classic and shaken your head and gone ''what the heck is that'' well if your in Europe like I am then that might be because when the game was originally released here on the PlayStation it was released under the title Kurushi. Now I could lie and pretend that I had owned this game or that I had some story about how it was important to me to try and make this a good post but in total honesty the closest I ever got to this game was sampling it in a PlayStation Demo disc, it was a disc I remember also containing one of the Abe oddworld games but in all honesty all I ever did was have a few little go's on it and its not something that has really stuck with me. I can see why they would put it on the Classic, it was originally published by Sony and apparently it was very very popular in Japan. I guess with the fact that Sony published it would make it easy to get onto the system and well if your going by the idea that you want a full shooter a few RPG's a couple of puzzlers then this would definitely help you reach that kind of quota. I can hardly remember how the game worked so I am not very excited about it at all and I would personally have liked to have seen the space being used by a different title. 

One game I do have fond memories of though which has made it to the PlayStation classic is Jumping Flash, a game in which you play a metal high jumping rabbit in a 3D world. One of the things which makes this game interesting is that it was a very early PlayStation game coming out just after the machines release and has been described as an ancestor of as well as an early showcase for 3D graphics in console gaming. For me this game kind of represents a certain kind of game in a certain state at a certain point in time and this is kind of what I think these Mini Classic consoles are supposed to do, there supposed to capture and represent a particular point in video game history and the feel of a particular machine. It was generally well received by critics when it was released, it was praised for both its graphics as well as its unique 3D platforming game-play. This is a game that I am actually quiet happily surprised to see on the machine, but I can see why some people would argue for something else to take its place, something which has kind of been remembered by more people. There are plenty of games which are not on the machine which I would happily trade Jumping Flash for like Silent Hill and Symphony of the Night but there is certainly a lot of games I would throw off the machine before Jumping Flash.

I think my opinion on these two games probably showcases the real problem with these classic consoles, someone will probably read my opinion and go urgh why does he hold Jumping Flash in high regard and thinks it belongs while trying to get rid of Intelligent Qube, does this man not realize how great Intelligent Qube is and how much it represents the machine while others probably wonder what the heck either of these games are and thinks of Tekken and Ridge Racer when thinking about the PlayStation.

Friday, 16 November 2018

A bit about the PlayStation things I have been doing recently and if I am actually going to get a Playstation Classic?

So I guess with the PlayStation Classic being just around the corner I have been thinking about PlayStations an awful lot recently. For one I found myself setting up a PlayStation 2 so that I could play PlayStation 1 and 2 games but also because I had some equipment I wanted to mess with. I had a second hand PS2 I had grabbed from a charity shop ages OK with all its leads for like £10, and then I had a network/hard drive adapter I had spent like £3 on.  To be honest I had purchased this adapter not realizing I was supposed to have a official disc to set it up. I had an old Hard-drive a 40gig model I had grabbed cheap for, £2 and then I had this memory card with software on it which was supposed to help you use programs on your PS2 so you could burn games to the hard drive and play them. In the end I got it up and running and despite being disappointed that I couldn't burn PS1 games to it I did start going through my PS2 games and putting a few on the Hard drive and showing my daughter a few I didn't think she had played before.

Then last night I hit the PSN store and spent around £12 on there and got a load of PS1 games for the vita/ps3/ Vita TV I have. I got Crash Bandicoot 1,2 and 3, Spyro 1,2 and 3, Metal Gear solid, Silent Hill, and Crash Team Racing. Add these to the thirty PS1 download games my PS3 informs me I have on its hard-drive and I guess I now own nearly 40 of these games digitally and that's if I don't want to trouble myself by getting my disc collection out. Now one of the reasons I mention this is because I have been pondering if I should get the PS Classic or not, but when I put all of the above down in writing it doesn't really seem like the best of deals to be honest. If the machine ends up hack-able then this might alter things, or if I was to see some kind of deal on one, heck I might even get excited on the morning of release and run out and get one or decide as an amateur games journalist I just have to have it for reviewing so I guess I wont be overly confident in saying I am not going to be getting one.

My next PlayStation Classic post will be another one looking at a few of the games but for now I just wanted to talk about if I was going to get one or not and what I had been doing recently with one of my PlayStation 2's (Yes I have more than one, because I am a bit of a sad collector who always worries stuff will break one day).

Monday, 12 November 2018

My oppinion on Grand Theft Auto being on the PlayStation Classic and why Id prefer to have parisite eve like the Japanese.

So once again I am going to take a title that has been announced for the PlayStation Classic and seem if it deserves its place on the unit or not, and if it doesn't then what should be put in its place.

OK so I can definitely see why they have put the original Grand Theft Auto on to the PlayStation Classic, after all the 5th entry in the series has literally been a license to print money and has thrust the series in to a position where it is essentially one of the highest earning media products ever. The thing is the GTA brand is now so huge that I can totally see why they want to have it on the system but in reality for me at least GTA is not a PlayStation game, yes yes I know it came out on the PlayStation and that therefore it can be argued makes it a PlayStation game but it doesn't make me think PlayStation in the way that a title like Ridge Racer does. The game is a fun game and I certainly think that lots of people will have fun with it if they pick up the unit but in my opinion when the unit is limited to 20 titles this title is kind of filling a slot which I think something else could better fill.

For an example of a title which I think would fill the slot better I will turn to the Japanese PlayStation Classic list and pick out Parasite Eve and argue that despite the game probably having less name recognition over here that I think it would in fact be a better fit. OK for those who don't know about Parasite Eve it was a game which came out in 1998 it was an action role-playing video game which was developed and published by Square. Strangely it was actually a sequel to a novel which probably helps explain why in my opinion it has a pretty great story. Parasite Eve was to the best of my knowledge actually SquareSoft's first M-rated game,as well as being the first major American and Japanese game development collaboration for the company. So when you think about all of this it actually makes it a pretty darn interesting game historically and Square was very much one of the most important 3rd party companies for the original PlayStation so I don't think it can really be over represented. The story has you following a police officer who is attempting to stop a woman who plans to destroy the whole human race, you explore levels set in New York while using a real-time combat system and several role playing game elements, it game out to a lot of praise. I wouldn't say the game is greatly re-playable once you have finished it, but i certainly think most people would get more fun and time out of going through this once than just occasionally messing around on GTA, after all I have never managed to get the urge to complete either of the first grand Theft Auto's as far as I can remember all I have gotten out of them is 30 or 40 minutes of randomly blowing stuff up and then fighting the police etc.

Sunday, 11 November 2018

My oppinion on Destruction Derby and Final Fantasy VII being on the PlayStation Classic , and the issue with diffrent regions Roms being used on the system.

OK so more information seems to have come out about the Sony PlayStation Classic now that a few sites online have had test units, and apparently Some games are the SCEA versions, and some are the SCEE ones, this in itself seems a little bit weird but to start with lets talk about what I mean by SCEA and SCEE. SCEA are the American versions and SCEE are the European versions, the American Versions usually ran at 60hz while the European versions ran at 50hz this usually meant that American and Japanese games were around 20% faster than there European counterparts. Games were often programmed at 60hz and then essentially forced into 50hz for Europe sometimes with optimization but usually without, this means that basically most of the time the 60hz version is really how the developer intended the game to be, and so in most cases gamers in the know tend to prefer to play the 60hz version of games if they can.As the games on the PlayStation classic are essential just disc/rom files it arguably should have been easy for Sony to just slap the 60hz American versions on every English Language regions machines but it doesn't appear like they have done this, heck you'd think that if they really wanted they could have doubled up the machines memory and put the SCEE and SCEA versions of every game on so that people could have fun looking for differences. So why do some people see this as a big issue? Well basically because people kind of want the best product that they can get for there money, and if you know that you very easily could have been given a better version of a game with it incurring the company providing the units no additional costs then it kind of seems crazy for you to be given an inferior version, does this ruin or damage the credibility and usefulness of the PlayStation classic? Well I guess that depends strongly on what is making you consider buying the unit and your own preferences and annoyances.

With that new information touched upon why don't we look at a few more of the games?

Now one of the games on the PlayStation classic that I am very happy to hear is on the system is Destruction Derby. Now I got that game very early in the machines life and I played it to absolute death, I not only loved the racing but I couldn't stop playing the Bowl where all you do is start in a big circular bowl with lots of other cars and try to smash the crud out of them without your car getting so damaged that it can no longer move. I not only spent a great deal of time playing this on at my own but I also pulled it out at plenty of party's and sleepovers and one of the funniest things was that my mother who wasn't even that keen on driving games managed to set a time that none of my friends could beat and it drove a particular friend of mine absolutely  mad to the point that he tried for 3 hours straight and couldn't even approach her score. I love this game because it gave me a whole lot of fun but even more than that it gave me a memory which I will carry with me forever a memory which is very much

OK now with Final Fantasy VII some people will argue that this or that Final Fantasy would be better, personally I would if I had to pick one and one only Final Fantasy game would have gone for Final Fantasy Tactics just because I love that kind of game but I can defiantly see why this game was picked for the PlayStation classic it is a long multi disc good Japanese RPG and after all RPG's were a very strong part of the PlayStation and this one does tend to hold a very special place in a lot of peoples hearts so I think this is an excellent addition to the PlayStation Classic and is probably one of the games which will make the people who purchase this machine decide to purchase it.

Thursday, 1 November 2018

More about the PlayStation Classic full title list including the diffrences between the Western and Japanese Version. Including my oppinion on Three of the Japanese exclusives

In my previous post I posted the full list of games on the Western PlayStation classic and then went on to talk about two of the games and what I thought about them being on the machine. Something I didn't mention was the difference between the Western and Japanese versions. Well 12 of the games are the same on both regions systems however our Japanese gaming friends will not be getting Cool Boarders 2, Destruction Derby, Grand Theft Auto, Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee, Rayman, Syphon Filter, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six or Twisted Metal. I guess there will be good reasons for this maybe these games were not very popular over there or are not as well remembered by them. The Japanese however do have the following games on there version of the PlayStation Classic.

Japanese PlayStation Classic Exclusives:

Arc the Lad
Arc the Lad 2
Armored Core
G Darius
Gradius Gaiden
SaGa Frontier
Parasite Eve
XI [sái] (Devil Dice)

I already discussed Cool Borders 2 and whether it really deserved a place on the PlayStation Classic or  not but I instantly have to admit that there are a lot of games on the above Japanese Exclusive list that I would very happily swap Cool Borders 2 for.

The Arc the Lad games are basically games which consist of tactical battles and basic RPG elements, as far as I know they didn't ever come out over here but I do remember one of my best friends having a Japanese import of the first game, and the games have certainly been downloadable in English on the PSN store. I actually quiet like these games and I would have enjoyed seeing one of them on the Western PlayStation Classic and to the best of my knowledge they both actually reviewed quiet well. It is also interesting to note that the inclusion of the first two Arc the Lad games on the Japanese system means that the Japanese version actually has two games in the same series something the Western version cant brag.

Armored Core is a third-person shooter mecha video game developed by FromSoftware who are probably best known now for being the developers of the Dark Souls games. and released in 1997. The game is the first in the Armored Core series a series which not only made a name for itself but has also gone on to include around 20 games. Given how much love Dark Souls gets I think it would have been cool to have this game feature on the Western version of the PlayStation Classic

I don't want to get into the other games right now I will save those for a latter post but personally I think I would have possibly preferred if we had gotten the same titles as the Japanese but I guess a lot of that is down purely to my own possible preferences.

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

My retro Game Purchases for October 2018

OK so my retro purchases started on the 1st of October when I got a copy of Mytran Wars for the psp in a case with its manual but with the cover missing for  £1.99.  I also walked into a charity shop and managed to get the Japanese soundtrack to Metal Gear Solid (the first one) for 50pence, not exactly a game but id still class it as a retro game collection item.

On the 4th I Visited an indy shop and had a little spending spree. I got Final Fantasy Tactics for GBA cart only for £8, 2 unofficial and 1 official PS1 memory cards for 50pence each, Go Vacation complete for the Wii for £3 and ford street racing LA duel complete for psp for £1.

On the 7th I went into a branch of CEX and grabbed two psp games both complete for the combined total of £3 these games were Modnation racers and everybodys golf 2

On the 11th I grabbed a complete Japanese copy of Ghost Busters for the megadrive for £10. It seemed a darn good price and a pretty excellent time to grab it given what month it is.

On the 12th I went to a pawn store I sometimes visit and for £11 I managed to grab 4 loose N64 carts, WCW NWO Revenge, Ridge Racer 64, Ready to rumble boxing, and NBA hang time and then 3 boxed complete original Xbox games, Spider-man 2, House of the Dead 3 and 007 from Russia with love.

On the 14th I got Capcom Puzzle World for the PSP for £3.50 from an indy game shop, I had seen this before but never paid much attention and certainly didn't realize it had the Pang/Buster Bros games on it.

On the 16th of October I went in to a charity shop and I managed to grab Metal Gear Solid 3 complete for the PS2 for 50pence and Resident Evil 4 special edition complete for the PS2 for 50pence

On the 17th I got 6 football games for the PS1 all complete for £3 for all of them. Sure football games are not worth much or the most interesting thing in the world but they all have perfect discs and I just couldn't leave them.

On the 30th I went to a few charity shops and managed to grab a complete copy of resident evil for the GameCube for £1 and a complete copy of Smackdown vs Raw 2007 for psp for £1.

Finally on the last day of the month I grabbed a few bits and pieces from a pawn store. I grabbed MX Superfly complete for the GameCube for £1, International Superstar Soccer cart only for the SNES for £2 and 3 original Xbox games for 50pence GoldenEye Rogue Agent, The Chronicles of Riddick Escape from Butcher Bay, and Midway Arcade Treasures.

So in total I spent £53.99 this month on Retro Games which is a pretty slow month for me but in fairness the last few months I have tried to curb my spending a little bit and with Christmas fast approaching I dont expect things to really change, but who knows, if something good jumps in front of me then I am most likly going to grab it. I suppose my favourate purchase of the month is my Japanese copy of Ghost Busters for the MegaDrive not only because its an awesome game but also because its the exact same region/version I grabbed as a youngster so its very nostalgic for me.

Monday, 29 October 2018

The PlayStation Classic full title list annouced and my oppinion on two of the games on it and if they belong on the system.

So the full list of games for the upcoming PlayStation Classic has been announced and I thought that was worth talking about, in general it feels like there is a sense of disappointment in the air people have been asking questions like where is Medievil? Where is Silent Hill? where is Spyro, where is Crash  and why is there not a single Tomb Raider game on this thing? I guess one of the issues though is that the PlayStation was a massively popular machine with a huge catalog of games for it and no matter what games were put on the machine some people were always going to end up disappointed. What do I personally think about things though? Well first I will list the games and then I will spend the rest of this blog talking about one or two of them with the idea being that by the time this machine launches that I will have talked about all of them at least a little.
  • Battle Arena Toshinden
  • Cool Boarders 2
  • Destruction Derby
  • Final Fantasy VII
  • Grand Theft Auto
  • Intelligent Qube
  • Jumping Flash
  • Metal Gear Solid
  • Mr Driller
  • Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee
  • Rayman
  • Resident Evil Director’s Cut
  • Revelations: Persona
  • Ridge Racer Type 4
  • Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo
  • Syphon Filter
  • Tekken 3
  • Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six
  • Twisted Metal
  • Wild Arms

OK so I know a lot of people will probably be a little surprised at the inclusion of Battle Arena Toshinden but I actually really enjoyed the game when the PlayStation originally released and I think the double one two beat em up punch of Tekken and Toshindon was a really strong point of the original consoles launch but I do find it a little strange we got Toshinden 1 and Tekken 3 instead of getting for example Toshinden 3. I do see how they might have wanted this mini console to have a similar beat em up double punch but I think that given the consoles long life and high game count they perhaps could have come up with a bit of a better two punch combo here. The truth is though I kind of like the games inclusion on this classic system but I can understand it not being other peoples cup of tea.

OK so that leads me to Cool Boarders 2 known in Japan as Cool Boarders 2: Killing Session for those who haven't played it well its basically a snowboarding video game which is part of a series which was largely exclusive to the PlayStation. So why are we getting the second game in a series and not either the first or even the 3rd or the 4th or Cool Boarders 2001 which was an American Exclusive? Well the second game builds upon its predecessor's features with the addition of trick competitions, as well as there being more unlockables, with 7 snowboarders, 18 snowboards and 10 courses to compete on. Sure the games after kind of have even more added to them but they are not made by the original developer so Cool Boarders 2 is the fullest game offered up by the original developer and perhaps the reason it was chosen. In all honesty I enjoyed the Cool Boarders games enough back in the day but its not really something I see as an essential title which encapsulates the essence of the original PlayStation console.

Monday, 22 October 2018

SNES Review Sunset Riders

When I first started my Super Nintendo 150 Reviews series I had a whole bunch of rules, the main two were that I was only going to review games where I owned the actual cartridge, and I was going to review them on actual hardware. I stuck by these 2 rules firmly for the entire 150 reviews but then as I came up to my 152nd review I decided I was going to loosen up a little, I had achieved my objective after all so why not relax a little bit. So for my 152nd Review I used the Everdrive my wonderful Fiancee had gotten me for Christmas and I reviewed an unfinished prototype game using the Everdrive to play it on actual real hardware. After this I proceeded to review a few more unreleased games but then I decided hey why don't I review some of the games I always wanted to review but couldn't either find, afford or ones where I just couldn't justify spending like £80 just to review a game.

It was at this point that I decided that I wanted to take a good long look at the game Sunset Riders. What drove me towards this game was the fact I had found some tickets to get half price admission to The American Adventure theme park in the bottom of a bag while doing a spot of deep cleaning, the weird thing about this is that The American Adventure closed years ago. This got me to thinking about the times when I would go there as a very young kid in jeans, a wrangler jacket with a Sheriffs star on it, a gun belt around my waist carrying a set of matching plastic pistols and a white cowboy hat. This was the start of me thinking that cowboys were perhaps the greatest thing ever which was only proven even more true when I was shown the films of the Duke AKA John Wayne, and then I saw the Young Guns films which made me want to be an outlaw like Billy the Kid. It was when I was almost at cowboy fever pitch that the MegaDrive/Genesis version of Young Guns dropped into my life courtesy of Santa Clause one fine Christmas morning, I have to give my parents a huge shout out here not only did they always keep the magic of Christmas alive but they always did there best to makes sure that I could darn good presents not just by spending money but also by listening to what I liked and making very good decisions.

I have to admit that I don't actually remember when I got the Super Nintendo version but I do remember being surprised as all heck when I loaded it up and on the title screen you could see four heroes on horseback and then when I pressed the start button and I had a choice between Steve, Billy, Bob and Cormano I just felt absolutely spoiled for choice. Bob became my go to character, it was a mix between me really liking the shotgun weapons spread and the novelty of him not having been in my MegaDrive version.

So if you haven't played Sunset Riders it is basically a scrolling shooter game where you move largely from left to right making your way through the level to reach your bounty, an individual you have been hired to take down in a blaze of glory. You can get two  power-ups  along the way, these come in the form of sheriff's badges with one of them increasing the speed as which you can fire and the other basically making you dual wield, so your character instead of having a six shooter or a shotgun will have two pistols or two shotguns at there disposal for double the damage and double the fun.

The games graphics and sound although not arcade perfect are just about as close as you could expect and give the game a darn charming and fun atmosphere, the music is great for getting you in to the right mood to play the game and for making it feel even more action packed. Even more important than this though are the controls. Yeah they might be simple with there basically being three buttons one to shoot, one to jump and one to slide, but they feel awesome, they are super responsive and your soon doing exactly what you want the very second you want to do it. This means that if you get shot or get blown up by dynamite your never cursing the game itself your instead only cursing yourself and become determined that with a bit of practice you can get better and make less school boy errors.

If I was to give Sunset Riders a score out of 10 then I would have to give the game a 9 or even 10 out of 10 the game is simply a joy to play especially in two player. Some people might argue that with only 8 stages and its arcade nature that there is very little replayability or reason to return to the game but I would argue that with the games sense of fun and its charm its easy to return to the game for a quick enjoyable blast no matter how many times you have finished it, its just a great game to dip into for a bit and enjoy yourself. The game is very very expensive even for a cart only version so I cant help but recommend that people either look for it on Virtual console style services or that you look into investing in something like an Everdrive.

Sunday, 21 October 2018

Snes game review:40 Acrobat Mission

So once again I am doing a review of a SNES game which started out life as an arcade machine before being converted, which you would think means once again I am going to be talking about things that were left out and changes that were made but no the main difference here is that the game I am talking about today is probably one you have never heard of as it was only released in Japan. I cant remember ever having seen or played the arcade machine so I am just not going to worry about that and judge it based on its self and to a least some degree its competition on the SNES.

When I tell you that the name of the game is Acrobat Mission you will probably say what kind of name is that for a game? Is it a game where you are an acrobat, some kind of platformer but no it is a vertically scrolling shoot 'em up

The first thing I noticed was that as the game began the story scrolled up the screen and I could read it, yes its a Japanese game but literally all of the language in it, the options, the story is in English which makes it pretty cool for importers.

To start with the graphics looked colourful but basic, in fact you could almost believe that you were playing a NES game, add to that the fact that I pressed all of the button and only one of them actually seemed to do anything and that was shoot, the next thing I tried was holding down the button assuming that there would be some kind of charge attack and well nothing happened. I carried on playing it not really expecting much from it then as things went on it hit me this game ran at a nice speed, even though the players ship seems to be a really basic sprite a lot of the enemies seem to be larger and more detailed. Then I began to collect power up's and found that not only did they effect the way my ship fired they also allowed me to do charged up shots if I held the button, and the bombs I collected actually appeared on the ship and disappeared once I worked out the button which you have  to press to fire them (So in the end there are 2 buttons to use). When you die, which you will because it is a reasonably tough game, instead of instantly exploding or disappearing your ship actually sort of limps along with steam coming out of it, while this is happening your  still in control and can steer your burning space ship, you can in fact steer it into something so that when it explodes you can take enemies with you, I found this to be a really neat and interesting little idea.

The graphics are not the best but there is a lot of variety it puts Super Stirke Gunner I played about 10 days ago to shame in this area. It also has large bosses the first is a large battleship which is so long it is actually about four screens in length and covered in guns. The bullets It fires are larger than your ship and it can be tough because it tracks your movement and shoots at you.An other interesting little fact is that you don’t die if you physically touch enemy ships, sure if you run in to bullets your screwed but you can fly through enemies and get away with it. There is also space debris which can get in the way of your ship and your shots, this is something I like sure its another simply touch but the beauty of this game is all of its simple touches.

OK as for the bad side, by shoot-em-up standards this game has a very limited selection of weapons pick ups, there is the standard shot and then two or three special shots you can get by picking up letters, compare this to the absolute tonne of weapons in other shooters at the time like UN Squadron and its a little disappointing.

Another problem some people have with the game is how short it is, this game relies on being very hard after the first 2 levels to kind of prolong the game, there are only 5 stages and when you think that this game was at one point a full priced retail game that seems to be just a little short of what I think would be a fair number.

I would give this game a hearty 7 out of 10, its not perfect but it was a very pleasant surprise. Unfortunately its not available either as a Pal cart or American but with its heavy use of English and the fact  that it ran on both a modified machine and a very simple converter this is not a bad game for someone who wants to start importing or at least it would be if you could find a cheap copy, the only copy I can see online at the moment is like £25, I brought this from someone as a package deal 7 Japanese carts for £14 all of which apart from this were sports games.

Saturday, 20 October 2018

Snes game review 39: James Pond Aquatic Games AKA James Pond Crazy sports

So you have your Sonic's and your Mario's then there are all the sort of lesser known platforming heroes some of which are in games which could rival the likes of the above others who are in games that are poor pale imitations.

If you owned an Amiga there were certain characters you were bound to know and love, one of these was James Pond, he was a well loved star of several games but they wernt Amiga exclusive in fact I think all of them ended up being on the megadrive /Genesis and the super Nintendo got everything apart from his first game (James pond 2 operation Robocod, was released on the SNES with the name Super James Pond, almost ignoring that there was a previous game)

Now you might think that I am going to be talking about Super James pond or its sequel Operation Starfish but actually the game I am going to be talking about today is The Aquatic Games or Super Aquatic Games as it is known as on  the Super Nintendo. Basically this game took the character of James Pond and used him to front  an aquatic-themed parody of the sports mini games joystick wigglers like Konami's Track & Field.

This game is the only James Pond title not to be a platformer, you cant help but think that the programmers had the idea that they could spin the character off in to other genres and in doing so might help him to grow in fame and begin to approach Mario levels.
The First thing I noticed when booting this game up was that I knew the opening music, I more than knew it, it was something I have found myself humming before and then it hit me it was a particularly cheery 8 bit version of Ode to Joy (from Beethoven's 9th). I have to say this was a good start as I put a smile on my face before I had even pressed a button.

Now in talking about Super Aquatic games I have to admit that some of these issues are not really raised in relation to the game but to the whole genre at that time...  theres only so much you can do when its bang buttons like mad till you win or loose, it tires your fingers you get blooming scared you will break the pad. The game does nothing to teach you how to play it so you end up spending so much time just messing around working out what you are supposed to be doing, sure in the day you would have had the manual and that would have helped but it wouldn’t have been that hard to put some in game instructions, some text on the screen before an event ? All of the games are really basic and despite my best efforts I couldn’t come anywhere, I admit I didnt hammer the pad as hard as a kid would have done back when this came out but who really wants to risk breaking a joypad from an old system when the number out there is finite ?

I loved the 3 James Pond platformers as a kid, I found them funny charming and enjoyable, I even enjoyed picking up the DS re-release of the second one so the problem here is I was and am invested in the character I think James Pond rules and if you cant manage to sell a spin off to someone who clearly loves the original franchise then you are clearly barking up the wrong tree.

Its just a shame, the games bright, has good music but just doesnt deliver, it feels souless and shallow and well I feel I need to give it a 2.5 out of 10 ….a sad sad day for James Pond. At first I thought that it didnt even hit these shores as all the copies I saw were American and between the realms of £10 to £15 add to the fact that a modfied machine wont even play it without a heavy duty Datel Universal Adaptor and well its expensive, but then I realised that in the UK it was called James Pond Crazy sports on the snes and its about a £8 to £10 pal game, its still not worth it

Friday, 19 October 2018

SNES Review 38: Road Runner's Death Valley Rally AKA Looney Tunes: Road Runner

What is in a name? I often find it funny when the name of a game gets changed from region to region, sometimes there are legal reasons sometimes they just think a particular name will help something sell better to a certain group of people. Here we have a game known in Europe as Looney Tunes: Road Runner, in America as Road Runner's Death Valley Rally,and in Japan as  Looney Tunes: Road Runner vs. Wile E. Coyote. The game is based off the Looney Tunes characters Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner, maybe the name has something to do with the cartoons popularity or image in each region who knows. What I do know is I probably like Japans title the best as Wile E. Coyote is the star of the show in my mind. Sure we are supposed to like Road Runner but why? Because he runs away a lot and makes cheeky little meep meep noises? I cant help but relate to Wile the guy/animal who is just trying to do what is expected of him, who is trying to eat, to survive and keeps having life backfire in his face.

I kind of walked in to this game expecting a mediocre game, largely because it is made by SunSoft and its a Looney Tunes game, so I was judging it a little bit based on my thoughts to Tazmania which I played a while ago.

The graphics are pretty decent, they have a fair degree of character in them but don't get bogged down with to much detail, the sprites for Wile and the runner are cool and the graphics automatically remind you of the old cartoon while still managing to be clear and not get in the way of the game itself. If I have one major gripe in this area however it is the fact that the backgrounds are the same throughout the entire level, this does make things seem a little more boring at times than they perhaps should but I guess its not the worst thing in the world.The sound in this game is a little hard for me to judge sound effects wise there is very little, there's the typical skidding noise, a jump noise, a pecking noise, the odd meep meep and a few noises associated with things attacking you. The music for the levels well it sits right on the middle of the fence between being catchy and annoying to the point that I cant even come to a conclusion if I like it or hate it....all I can say is you wont find yourself doing a Mario and humming any of this latter when you have moved away from the console.

The gameplay is kind of what you'd expect your the runner and you run, Wile is constantly after you and you are trying to escape from him. So each level has you running past obstacles, making jumps and trying to find your way until you reach the finish, usually at the end of the level there will be some quick confrontation with Wile for example in the first level he chases you with a steam roller, you win and you get to see him beaten usually in the end somehow by one of his own devices in typical comic fashion. The ways that he tries to stop you may change but the strategies and weak points are always pretty easy to work out and adapt to on the fly. The largest flaw is that the gameplay is repetitive, which gives you no incentive to play the game for extended periods. The speed at which the game can move sometimes because an issue as things fly past without giving you adequate time to deal with them, it was almost enough to make me wish that I was playing a Pal copy on a Pal machine to see if the usual drop in speed pal games can experience helped. Knowing other games I have set aside to review though I know that this is an issue quite a few platformers bumped into, some of them could really have used a good long play on the sonic the hedgehog games to look at how they deal with this issue.

Road Runner: Death Valley Rally is an average game in every single way. It just leaves you with a feeling of complete and utter averageness, its not good enough to remember nor is it bad enough to laugh at or get mad at, it just exists in the middle neither good nor bad. 5 out of 10 all day long. If you want to try it a Pal cart will fetch you about £10 you might get an American for closer to £5 but strangely the Japanese copies I have seen have been more money, maybe people don't realize that its the same game or maybe not may came out over there, who knows sometimes the retro video game market is a beast with no rhyme or reason.

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

What have I been doing with my time and why are the posts here so few and far between

I am not a big fan of having to do these why am I not posting very much posts but I feel that every so often they are kind of important. I guess part of it has just been that I have been a little bit busier than I would like in my personal life, but there is a little bit more to it than just that in this case, in this case I have also spent a decent amount of time doing some editing work on a podcast/

I edited the last two episodes of the GRcade podcast as well as editing a sort of bonus episode. If you are interested in hearing me and many other talented individuals talking about the video game world then you can either look up the GRcade podcast on Iplayer or you can click on the following link

This is not the first time I have been involved in a Podcast, I used to produce and edit the podcasts for a site called ONM Haven and even carried on doing them after the places downfall, but to me the GRcade stuff is much more important and is a big step up. For one on ONM Havens old Podcast Podcast Zero, I was the only real participant it would either consists of me talking on my own or at max me interviewing one person. The GRcade podcast is a much more group related podcast which although harder to edit is ultimately in my opinion a lot better product and as a person who can at times be socially awkward I think its a great thing for me to be involved in. The editing I have done on these few episodes though has taken up a fair amount of time and has therefore kind of limited my posting here, so I wanted to mention it.

So what does the future hold? Hopefully more Podcast related work as well as hopefully a few more YouTube videos, I have to admit though in all honesty I find this part of the year a bit of a complex time for me. I am not very into Christmas largely as things get a lot more stressful, so if my output here is to increase much then it will probably either go down again around Christmas or you wont see much of an improvement till next year.

Sunday, 30 September 2018

My Retro Purchases September 2018

My monthly retro purchasing started on the 3rd of the Month when I spent £22 on a small bundle of games from an indy place. This bundle consisted of Lemmings for the Philips CDI complete, lego harry potter years 1-4 complete for the wii, trauma center second opinion complete for the wii, prince of persia the forgotten sands complete for the wii, blazing angels complete for the wii, trauma center second oppinion complete for the wii, pokemon stadium n64 cart only, Banjo kazooie for n64 cart only, snowboard kids for the n64 cart only and DiddyKong racing for the n64 cart only.  I kind of consider the CDI game as the jewel here in a way not because of worth but because of the fact its not that often that I actually come across games for this system.

On the 5th I managed to grab Vandal Hearts for PS1 for £15 complete. I don't often like to pay much for PS1 games but its a game I have wanted to own for a long time. I remember playing it when younger I am pretty sure I never owned it and that I had simply rented it or lent it from someone. The funny thing is that despite now seeing this as a very good Fire Emblem clone I had actually played this long before I even knew what Fire Emblem was. The simple truth is that I had dived on this now because I got the feeling that if I didn't jump on it now it might have ended up becoming one of those games you remember but can simply never get your hands on again without paying an absolute ransom.

On the 9th of September just after work I grabbed The Cyber Shinobi, Strider, Bank Panic, Alien Storm and Arcade Smash Hits all for the Master System all cart only for £8 which I was pretty darn happy Alien Storm particularly is a personal favorite of mine.

On the 27th I got a few N64 games just loose carts. I spent £6.50 and got 1080 snowboarding, Forsaken and Wrestlemania 2000 which Is pretty good going as far as I am concerned.

On Friday the  28th I managed to grab 007 From Russia With Love for the GameCube Complete for £3.50, Mario and Sonic Olympics for Wii complete for 95pence, and Mario Strikers charged for wii complete for 95pence with the added bonus of also having a Wii Mario Kart disc in the box of the later. All in all I wouldnt consider this a bad little haul at all.

 I ended my month of retro purchases by buying Spiderman 2 complete for the GameCube for 50pence from a charity shop on the way to my fiancee's place, which in fairness as its an excellent game and a good price is a pretty good way to end the month.

If my mathematics skills are correct then I spent £57.40 this month on retro games which although quiet a calm month by my standards it is also quiet a lot more than I spent last month. In general it is a month I am pretty happy with. I guess I would have to call the star buy of the month Vandal Hearts partly because I think it was a great deal and partly because its one of the things I purchased with the most personal meaning behind it. What will I get next month? Well I guess time will tell.

Friday, 28 September 2018

Its funny what used to scare me I now love.

''And I don't think the world is sold, On just doing what we're told, I feel something so right Doing the wrong thing, I feel something so wrong, Doing the right thing, I couldn't lie, couldn't lie, couldn't lie, Everything that kills me makes me feel alive''  OK so I don't often start blog posts by quoting song lyrics but it seemed like in this case it might be the best way, you see what I am talking about today is how so many of the things terrified me as a kid went on to be things that I loved. You see there is something kind of cool about being scared a little bit, something about it which makes you feel full of energy and makes you feel alive.

I remember being young and two things I would see or at least hear in my house absolutely terrifying me these two things where the War Of the Worlds music and in particular the noise of the Martians there cry which I can only describe in text as some form of loud cry which if I was to try and write it phonetically would probably be written something like this OOOOOOOOLAAAAAAAAA. It wasn't just the cry of the Martians though it was the whole thing the description of the cylinder unscrewing the crash of the heat ray. My dad would play this while I was in bed and I can remember laying under my blankets up in my bedroom trembling at all of these sounds. Yet as an adult I really love the War Of the Worlds and it has had a lasting effect on me but its not the only thing that has.

War of the Worlds wasn't the only thing which would frequently scare me at night as a young child the other thing I remember scaring me silly and causing me to panic in bed, the other thing was Michael Jackson's Thriller. The music might have contained some creepy lyrics at points and sure the video was pretty darn scary but the bit that really got me was Vincent Price's part of the song when he says the following.

 Darkness falls across the land
The midnight hour is close at hand
Creatures crawl in search of blood
To terrorize y’awl’s neighborhood
And whosoever shall be found
Without the soul for getting down
Must stand and face the hounds of hell
And rot inside a corpse’s shell
The foulest stench is in the air
The funk of forty thousand years
And grizzly ghouls from every tomb
Are closing in to seal your doom
And though you fight to stay alive
Your body starts to shiver
For no mere mortal can resist
The evil of the thriller

 I am not sure if it was the words or the way he said them or even his miniacal laugh afterwords but it used to make me scared out of my tiny little mind, but the really funny thing is that this is actually what introduced me to Vincent Price and now he is actually one of my favourate actors I find such delight in watching his films, in seeing him perform in each and everyone of them, for not only do I find him to have been an incredible actor but he also seemed to have such a love for his craft that his joy is somehow infectious.

So I have already talked about sounds which scared me but there's one more that I can think of and  it is the Alien who laughs at you in the attract mode in the Arcade game Rolling Thunder. His laugh is awesome but he actually used to scare me as a child, I'd go to the American Adventure theme park and to one of the arcades which had that machine in it and I'd basically try not to look at it and run past before the Alien face came up and laughed so that I could get to the games I liked. Once I got a little braver I loved Rolling Thunder. I still do think that its an absolute belter of a game even if it is a little bit on the tough side. 

So I leave you with these parting words   
A little terror now and then should be savored my most ghoulish friends.

Friday, 21 September 2018

Some of my current thoughts on the PlayStation Classic

OK so I already did a post about the possibility of a mini PlayStation console back during June 2017 but since then what once was a fantasy has actually turned out to be something which is coming up on the horizon in fact it should be out by Christmas. If you want to read my previous post before I start getting in to things then I will make this as simple as possible by dropping a link here.

To quote from my original article  ''Imagine a PS TV ,now instead of it being black imagine it receiving a redesign, imagine it in classic PlayStation grey, imagine it looking like a shrunken original PlayStation complete with original logos and everything but with A hdmi port and all the modern trimmings. Now think about what it would be like if instead of giving it all kinds of settings options and download channels and such you replaced all of this with a user friendly game selection screen and a choice of around 15 classic PlayStation one games and you market the heck out of it just before Christmas appealing heavily to those of us who lived through the original PlayStation years.''

Well what has gone and happened? Several days ago Sony announced that  they will be releasing a miniature PlayStation which will be released on the 3rd of December 3 this year in the US and Canada. I was a little off with the numbers as I had predicted 15 games and Sony has bettered this by telling us that the system would come with 20 games on it. I kind of talked about the games that I thought would appear on the console, it wasn't a list of dream games it was more of a list of games I had come up with while thinking about memory restrictions and other boring serious issues this list consisted of Tekken 2, Battle Arena Toshinden 2, Ridge Racer Revolution, WarHawk, Air Combat, Rayman Krazy Ivan, Loaded, CastleVania Symphony of the nigth,  Parapa the Rapper, Gran Turismo ,Twisted Metal, Vandal Hearts, Suikoden and Wild Arms. So far though Sony have only announced 5 of the games that will be on the machine and these are Final Fantasy VII, Jumping Flash, Ridge Racer Type 4, Tekken 3, and Wild Arms. So basically I got it right with Wild Arms and I was right to say there would probably be a Tekken and a Ridge Racer on it but I am actually surprised to see Sony offering up newer arguably more complete titles in this series. I also think the inclusion of Final Fantasy VII shows that I was wrong in thinking that they would look at titles which would take up a less storage space in order to keep costs down, here we have them sticking a multiple disc game on the machine and one which I think rightly deserves its place on a mini console, I am just very happily surprised there not skimping on storage. I guess to see exactly how close or far I end up being with my predictions will take a bit of time, so here I sit waiting to see what other titles they add to the list and if there is any more cross over with my own list.

When I stop and think about things now though there is one certain little disc which will have been a lot of peoples first experience of the PlayStation and in fact to me is as quintessential part of PlayStation  history as any game you can think of and this disc is Demo One. You see a lot of people really wanted a PlayStation and saved up for one and simply couldn't afford to buy a game at the same time, so would end up spending weeks or even a month simply messing around with Demo one, not only playing the demos of things like loaded but also watching the music video which showed off quick flashes of various games on the console as well as playing with the controllable manta ray or T-Rex, and using the V-CD player application which would put up trippy on screen visuals when you put your own music CD's in to the console. I doubt we will get to see anything like this but to me DEMO ONE was such a huge part of the PlayStation that I would like to see it included at least in part on the PlayStation classic just to make things authentic.

Thursday, 20 September 2018

I think everyone should try and make a short film at some point in there life.

I think everyone should try and make a short film at some point in there life. OK I know that might sound a bit weird while also sounding a bit like a copy of the old line ''everyone has a novel in them''. OK as cliche as it might sound I am going to explain why I am saying it.

When I was sixteen I wrote, directed, acted in and did stunt work for a short film which I had called 'The Evil that Men Do''. I am really sad that this short film no longer exists. You see lots of young wiper snappers don't realize how hard it actually used to be to back up stuff like this. Nowadays if you made a short film and wanted it to get exposure then you'd slap it on YouTube, this wouldn't only help to get it out there and get more possible views but it would also mean that it existed online and you could come back to download it again if for some reason you lost the original. You can also get a whole bunch of different types of storage and easily and cheaply make copies either to pass on or for preservation purposes. My short film existed on one cassette, which was taken to various places and shown, a back up was never made and eventually as life moved on this got lost.
OK so I am sure plenty of people don't even know what short films even are well a short film is basically any motion picture which is not long enough to be considered a feature film. If you want to look at what official bodies say on the matter then any film shorter than 50 minutes qualifies as a short film as far as the Sundance Film Festival is concerned, while any film with a run-time under 40 minutes is eligible for the shorts categories at the Academy Awards. To my knowledge the shortest short film to really be taken seriously was an animated short film called Fresh Guacamole which has a running time of 100 seconds it is the shortest film ever nominated for an Oscar it was nominated in 2013 for Best Animated Short Film. Not all short films are made in the pursuit of glory though, they can in fact be made for a great many reasons, a lot of students will be asked to make some form of short film to demonstrate what they have learned during a academic course, other people will be trying to use a short film to demonstrate what they could do with a feature length movie if the time and funds were invested, they might basically be trying to use this film as a bargaining tool.

For a famous example of a short film which had a purpose you can look at Within the Woods which is a 1978 horror short film written, directed and produced by Sam Raimi, yes that Sam Raimi the guy who would go on to not only make the Evil Dead films but also go on to direct 3 Spiderman films started it all with short films.(Within the Woods wasnt his first short film he had previously made one called Clockwork). Raimi cast his friends and produced the film for $1600. It was shot on location in a remote cabin in the woods.

When the film was finished Raimi convinced a local theater manager to screen the film alongside The Rocky Horror Picture Show, this short helped Raimi to get the larger budget needed to make the movie The Evil Dead (1981). The film was the first in the Evil Dead franchise, and launched the careers of both Lead Actor Bruce Campbell and Raimi himself.
My short film might not have led on to a full length film or any form of success but I have so many good memories of not only making it but of showing it to people, even now long after it has been lost I think back fondly of it , making that short film has given me a whole host of warm memories. This is the main reason I think that everyone should attempt to make a short film, because I think it is a wonderful exercise that will give you not only a whole host of experiences and new skills but it will also give you a whole host of hopefully good memories and lets be honesty good memories are what really makes for a good life.

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

The Halloween movie Canon Jigsaw Part 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers

OK so in my last Halloween blog post I talked about Halloween 4: The Return of Michael ending my post by talking about how the film ends with Loomis sinking to the floor sobbing after witnessing Jamie in a costume like Michael wore as a young boy after having stabbed her adoptive mother, and how this lead us to believe that for one reason or another be it something in her blood, the trauma she had suffered or some kind of curse passing from her Uncle when they touched that Jamie would become the franchises new killer. So did Jamie go on to take Myers place? Well judging from the fact this fifth film in the series is called Halloween 5: The Revenge Of Michael Myers, I think we can safely assume that the answer to this will Jamie be the new evil is a firm nope, no she will not.

Halloween 4 is basically a normal continuation to the 5th film its just the fact that the 4th ended with a sort of teaser for something that wasn't followed through on. The main reason for this is that Halloween 5 was rushed into production without a finished script, and also Halloween 4’s writer-director duo Alan McElroy and Dwight Little decided not to return for the sequel. Apparently they didn’t believe that they could improve on there previous film but to they did assume that their Halloween 5 replacements would follow what they had set up at the end of Halloween 4 and explore the idea of Jamie having somehow inherited Michael’s evil.

The first screenwriter hired to write the screen play for Halloween 5 Moustapha Akkaddid did actually turn in a screen play which used the idea of Jamie having become evil. However this script got thrown out and a new one was put in place which smoothed over the end of 4 explaining Jamie hadn't killed her step mother and putting Myers plainly back in the seat as main and only Villain of the series. Its interesting to note that Donald Pleasence the actor who played Dr Loomis found this supremely disappointing, telling Fangoria magazine, “I think they should have gone along with the fact that the little girl is now totally evil. I was disappointed that we now discover she did not kill her mother at the end of the last film.”

To simplify the events of the 5th film without giving the ending away I would explain its plot with the following. After lying in a coma for a year, Michael Myers wakes up and makes his way back to his hometown so that he can continue to try and kill his niece, Jamie, who due to the trauma of her past experiences has been confined to a mental institution. Dr Loomis suspects that there is a psychic link between Michael and Jamie and so he joins up with Sheriff Ben Meeker to try to use this in an attempt to stop Michael.

To be honest the film does connect to the last entry in the series pretty well in all honesty even if it decides to tie up and cut of several loose ends in a way which allows the series to return to the path most predictable, but given how the last major swerve from this path Halloween 3 season of the witch was treated its not all that surprising. You know its funny how when you look at films there is often more than one movie, there is the movie which was made and released and there is the one which is cast in to the shadows, the one which could have been but never got to live. While I enjoy Halloween 5 I cant help but think that in this case the more interesting film was the one which never got to live beyond a script.

Saturday, 1 September 2018

My GameBoy Advance Experiances: Fire Emblem

OK so this is the first in a series of posts about my favorite games on the GameBoy Advance. I dont intend to do full reviews more just to talk about the games in general and how they came into my life and the effect they had on me as a gamer. As a massive fan of the 16bit consoles like the SNES and the Megadrive  its probably not that surprising to find that I am also a great fan of the GameBoy Advance what with it basically being a sort of pumped up portable Super Nintendo. I have written a lot of things about the SNES and the Megadrive in the past and have hardly ever stopped to talk about the GBA so it seemed like a perfect time.

When I talk about the SNES and the Megadrive it is often very hard for me to think about and remember all of the details about where I first saw the games or where I originally brought them from, I really need to stop and ponder and the truth is sometimes I can remember and sometimes I cant. The good side about talking about newer consoles is that I am not having to think back to my childhood. Not only is it longer ago but I also didn't pay as much attention to what I was doing back then, I was like most kids always rushing to the next thing and didn't really take a second to smell the roses. I am hoping that with these GameBoy Advanced titles my memories will be much fresher and I thought well why not get them down before they are ravaged by the tides of time.

I cant tell you the date that I got my favorite GBA game but I can tell you the day of the week I purchased it, which I think is pretty darn impressive. It was a Thursday and heck I can boil it down to even the rough time of day. It would have been somewhere between 6pm and 6.30. It was while the GBA was still current and it was gotten from a local second hand market which used to run every Thursday 5 minutes away from my house in my local towns market place/center. The market would open at 6pm and I would providing I wasn't working always be there on the dot and it would take approximately 15 minutes to rush around all of the stalls, so even if I was late or I had been haggling on the price of something I would always have looked at everything on it and either be ready to leave or at least ready for a second look around by 6.30. The day I got Fire Emblem there was a stall which had a whole load of GBA games, every game was £5 and nearly all of them were cartridge only, in fact the only one which wasn't was Fire Emblem, which was in fact complete and in a very good condition. I basically purchased Fire Emblem because I knew without a shadow of a doubt that if I thought it sucked I would be able to trade it in somewhere and make a profit or get a lot more than £5 in trade credit. It seems really strange to say this now as basically after getting the game home I have never let it out of my sight. As soon as I tried it I loved it, it instantly reminded me of two games I had played before one of them being a Japanese PS1 copy of Final Fantasy Tactics and the other being konami's Vandal Hearts.

You kind of can't blame me for originally thinking that Fire Emblem was like Tactics and Vandal Hearts as despite the fact Fire Emblem was a long running Nintendo franchise this original GameBoy Advance Fire Emblem was the first to be officially sold in Europe and America. The even funnier thing to admit though is how comfortable I was with the idea of selling the game if it didn't live up to my standards when now I think id sooner sell half of my collection than loose this title. The game became a lot more than just a game to me it was the start of me loving the entire series. I waited with baited breath for the GameCube version to come out and I have waited for every Fire Emblem game since that one with the excitement of a child waiting for Christmas day. Its a series I have introduced to my daughter and we now both play it comparing strategies and experiences. The only proper Fire Emblem game I have missed was Sacred Stones, which unfortunately every time I see it in the wild is counterfit and the one time I tried purchasing it online I received a bootleg, fortunately it was a fully functioning bootleg which I both got a refund for and was allowed to keep for my trouble, this means I have played it on the original hardware but it also leaves it as the sort of missing piece in my tale.

As far as the games worth now and its place in my collection well I didn't really click on to how important it had become as a game outside of my own personal love for it until the time when I had grabbed the Wii Fire Emblem (which I got on its day of release from Tesco for £35). This was kind of the point when I noticed wow quiet a lot of people seem to want the previous games in this series I better not let the ones I have slip out of my clutches. I actually had my original copy of the GameCube Fire Emblem sort of stolen and had to buy another which is the reason I never ever let people lend my games anymore but I guess that is a story for another time.

Friday, 31 August 2018

My Retro Purchases August 2018

My retro purchasing didn't start until the 9th when I grabbed  Street Fighter Alpha 3 Max for the PSP complete for £3 from an indy games store. The following day I grabbed 3 PS1 games complete for £1 each. they were Scooby Doo cyber chase, Pacman World, and Croc 2. I got these from a charity shop and was very happy with them especially Pacman World and Croc 2.

On the 12th I visited an indy games store where I picked up 3 N64 games for the total price of £4.50 cart only , they were Nagano winter Olympics 98, Forsaken and Fighters Destiny. I also grabbed a complete copy of TopGun combat zones for the GameCube for £2.

On the 19th after work I went into Game where I purchased MegaMan Starforce Dragon complete for £3.99 its actually quiet a pain in the butt game to track down the last time I saw it for a not stupid price it was £15 in CEX but the copy there looked like a dog had tried to eat it which is a far way away from this almost perfect copy.

On the 22nd I went in to a charity shop and found a promotional copy of Tomb Raider Legend for the PS2 which cost me 50pence. I really like getting promo copies of things just because you don't see them as often and there just something a little bit different.

On the 24th I grabbed Ken Griffey Major League Baseball cart only for the N64 (USA Version) for £2 from a pawn store. Its actually pretty darn unusual for me to find import games in a place like this. I am not even sure if they even knew it was an import.

This was by my standards a very slim pickings month, after all I only spent £18.99, but to be fair I am actually proud of that fact.that I didnt spend very much. I have a fairly large collection and I have been trying to insure that I don't simply buy things for the sake of buying them. My favorite purchase of the month is proberbly MegaMan Starforce Dragon just because its something I really didn't expect to get. It is a little weird to note that its the first month for a long time where I haven't actually gotten anything for the SNES or Megadrive or older. I wonder if next month will be any different.

Monday, 27 August 2018

The Halloween movie Canon Jigsaw Part 4: The Return of Michael and the possible start of something new

OK so after Halloween 3 which had no real connection to the earlier films for Halloween 4 the producers very quickly turned back to telling the story of Michael Myers. Jamie Lee Curtis was unwilling to return to the role of Laurie Strode, so this meant that her character was killed off. This is where I have to say something which might prove a little bit unpopular and that's the fact that I really did not give a monkeys that Jamie Lee Curtis didn't return.I know this might annoy some people but as far as I am concerned Strode is not the main nemesis for Michael, I see Dr Loomis as the main force which stands against Myers. As long as we have the excellent Donald Pleasance in a Halloween film then I am a very happy fellow, in fact despite loving Halloween 3 to pieces I still wish that somehow there could be a little bit of Loomis in that one. To me he is very much the Van Helsing of the series an expert in the war against evil and a main foil for our villain.

I guess before I go into what Halloween 4 is I should have a quick shout out about what it could have become. I have heard rumors that if the whole anthology film idea of each Halloween being about something different had worked that this film would have been a ghost related movie, finding evidence for this seems to be hard though. What it is easier to find evidence for though is that at one point when Carpenter was more connected to the film they wanted to bring Myers back as a spirit. The idea was that Haddonfield the film series setting has decided to ban Halloween and not allow cinemas to show horror films or kids to trick or treat and that somehow this would bring Michael back as a spirit that he would be reborn in a pumpkin field as some spirit of vengeance. On the one hand this sounds a little bit silly and also a little bit close to Nightmare on Elm street but then I guess its no sillier than a guy who can be killed again and again and seem to somehow come back and have only been in a coma or knocked out.

OK so lets leave behind what could have been and instead focus on the film we got. So lets start at the start with the most basic of questions. What has Michael been doing since the second one? Well he has been sat in a comatose state for ten years since the explosion at Haddonfield Memorial Hospital, so not very much at all to be fair. It is while Michael is being transferred to Smith's Grove Sanitarium by ambulance that he wakes up after hearing that Laurie Strode, who died in a car accident, has a daughter. So I guess lesson learned right here if your ever around a comatose serial killer just keep your mouth shut just in case anything you say could wake them up and start the whole thing again. Ok If you want to watch the film without having it spoiled I recommend you walk away now as although I am not going to give away every beat of the film I will spoil the ending as well I cant talk about the movies place in cannon without doing this.

OK so lets get back to talking about this movie. So where was I? Oh yes Michael being Michael kills the ambulance personnel, and makes his way to Haddonfield in search of his niece Jamie. Dr. Samuel Loomis basically gives chase and its pretty much business as usual for the pair Michael killing and Lommis telling people Michael is evil while trying to track him down so that he can stop him. All in all as far as I am concerned its more of the same as far as the franchise goes, it takes on board the first two Halloween films while ignoring the third which with this once again being the story of Michael makes perfect sense.

Near the end of the film just before Michael is ''finished off'' Jamie touches his hand, then when things have apparently gone back to normal after the events her step mum goes upstairs to run her a bath, at this point though Jamie attacks old mummy dearest. Loomis hears screaming and starts to race up the stairs before stopping dead in his tracks about midway. We see why he has stopped, there at the top of the stairs stands an emotionless looking Jamie who is wearing a clown mask, holding a pair of scissors in her hand, her costume covered in blood looking pretty much like a young Michael had when he killed his older sister Judith, Loomis raises his gun to shoot her but is stopped. The film ends with Loomis sinking to the floor sobbing leading us to believe that for one reason or another be it something in her blood, the trauma she has suffered or some kind of curse passing from her Uncle when they touched that Jamie will become the franchises new killer. Would this change of killer ending go on to be an important piece of cannon or not? Well I guess you need to wait for my next post to find out, well unless you have seen all of the movies which given there age I am going to guess you most likely have.