Thursday, 31 May 2018

Retro Game purchases: May 2018

So I had a bit of a later start this month I didn't grab my first Purchases until the 12th of Ma, so what did I get? Well I grabbed a loose GBA cart of Golden Son the lost age for £6 yesterday. I also got 2 boxed PS1 fishing games for 50p each but mostly got them as the cases look good and I have a few games I want to give nicer cases to. Its always great to get a well loved RPG for such a low amount though so not a bad start at all.
 
The following day I went into a indy shop after work and I grabbed sonic advance 2 cart only for the GBA  for £5. And then on the next day the 14th I grabbed loose carts of Pokemon Yellow and Pokemon Gold for £7.50 each from a mobile phone repair shop that occasionally has a few games.


On the 17th  Diddy Kong Racing Japanese cart only for N64 arrived through my door this cost me  £4 with free postage and was got to go with my slowly growing little collection of 60hz N64 titles. I then visited a shop where I got Shadow Dancer for Master system cart only for £3 and Indiana Jones and the last crusade for Master system cart only for £3

I didn't grab anything else then until a few days ago. On the 29th I grabbed Kwirk for the original Gameboy complete for £10, I thought this was a great pick up especially as not only was it in wonderful condition it also had a plastic cover box on it to help keep it nice. Then I got Final fantasy tactics advance cart only for £5 and Street fighter 2 turbo revival cart only for £5 , the cool thing with this is that I already have the box and manual at home waiting for Street Fighter, they were given to me a month or so ago by the charity shop my daughter works at. There is something kind of nice at getting the chance to reunite a cart with a box.


Then on the 30th I got Super Puyo Puyo for the snes Japanese cart only for £2 and Kirby's dream course for the snes Japanese cart only for £3. I just thought these were really good prices so grabbed them.

I finished the month off today with 2 games arriving in the post these were a Japanese N64 cart of DK64 for £3 and A Japanese cart of Mystical Ninja for £3(Prices include postage), I also went in a charity shop and got Tomas the Tank Engine Hero of the rails complete and sealed for the wii for £1.50.
So I spent £64.50. All in all this is not a bad month I would call it a sort of middling month, even more importantly I have taken far more old clothes and unwanted books out of the house and donated them to charity so I am actually making room not loosing it, I guess that one of the great things about so many of this months purchases having been small handheld game carts they don't take up much room at all.

Sunday, 27 May 2018

150 SNES games reviewed #31: Alien 3

Alien 3 was developed by Probe Entertainment and Eden Entertainment Software, published In North America, Europe, and Japan by Arena Entertainment, Acclaim Entertainment, LJN, and Virgin Interactive.

 

My Alien 3 SNES YouTube Review 

 

It is half-based on the film Alien 3. I have to say half-based because it’s set on the prison planet from the film and Ripley is shaved bald, but then there are a lot of differences between the game and the film. In the film there is one alien and no one has any weapons. In the game this is completely altered. Ripley, the main character, has all the guns from the previouis film in the franchise Aliens and there is a never ending amount of xenomorphs. I guess it is easy to see why they did this. After all, a game where you spend your whole time running away from one super powerful creature with nothing much to defend yourself sounds a lot harder to get right than a game where you spray lead at a never ending assortment of alien scum.


In fact it looks like it has taken until now – almost 21 years later – for someone to have a crack at a game which is based around the idea of being stalked by one single alien from the Aliens films. I am of course talking about Creative Assembly’s game Alien: Isolation, which delivers exactly that kind of experience and it has done a fantastic job of it. It also made DLC based on the original movie Alien, and maybe with its similar one alien killing people set-up it might one day make Alien 3 DLC. Maybe a game that would have followed the film Alien 3 more correctly and still be good and not cost a fortune in research and development just simply wasn’t possible back then – still, I digress.

Graphically, the game is pretty good for the time. Ripley’s sprite is large and for the most part it’s not bad at all. The clothes look right, the basic shape is right but maybe it’s just me but there is something almost alien about her neck and the lack of facial features makes her look a little like Voldemort of Harry Potter fame. There are lots of little cool touches though, like how her gun swings by her side as she’s climbing the monkey bars so I guess maybe I am being a little harsh. The backgrounds are multi-layered for that 3D style look, they are also very detailed. The backgrounds are overly used though with five or six repeated again and again. Add to that there are bits of scenery in the foreground that you can’t see through. Sometimes there are aliens behind these and this means that you need to either run the risk of being harmed or shoot just in case which wastes your sometimes limited ammo.

There is not a lot in the way of sounds but what is there is good. The gunfire sounds great and so do the screams of the aliens you kill. The game has pretty darn good presentation, a nice opening, I also have to tip my hat to the bits where you log into a computer. They do a pretty good job of making you feel like your chracter is actually using a real computer in the game’s universe and the game over failure screen is also suitably awesome.

What about the gameplay though? Well I find the game enjoyable in small bits but I definitely don’t think it’s a classic or anything. The controls are very good and everything works just as it should which you would think would make this a good game. But sadly there are other issues with the gamplay. I think one of the things the game is lacking is it needs a more detailed map you can easily bring up. Yes, there is a mini map radar thing which lets you know when something is approaching you, but this is more to help keep you from getting hit and doesn’t really help you get around easily. I think what the game really needs more than anything though is a bit more variety. Everything looks the same, you’re always killing the same things, mostly in places that look the same. This game is very time consuming, and can at times be very difficult. It’s easy to get lost and some of the missions seem more complex than they need to be. There are a few alien bosses here and there but they aren’t too hard. The problem is it all starts to feel a bit like a chore at times which is not how a game should feel. I think the maze like quality of the game, coupled with the mission structure, just didn’t quite work in total honesty. I think it would have been better to have strayed even further from the film and offered up something a little more arcade like, something a bit like Konami’s Aliens arcade machine which was primarily a side-scrolling shooter but also had third-person rail shooter parts. Yes, that game possibly soiled the source material even more by introducing blue zombies and other such things to the game but sometimes you just have to say to hell with the plot, let’s roll out the fun boys.
All in all Alien 3 is pretty much an average game so I feel I should give it five out of 10 and simply say it’s not really worth bothering with unless you’re a die hard SNES collector and want every cart you can get, or your a die hard fan of the Alien film series and all of its spin off media. If you’re more of a casual fan of the Aliens universe and you want a good fun retro Alien related game I recommend you get Aliens Trilogy on the PlayStation. It’s a first person Doom-style shooter but it’s brilliant, fun, fast and wrapped in movie sounds and neat touches.

If you do decide you need to own Alien 3 then there are plenty of PAL carts of it about online around the £8 to £10 range with boxed copies starting around the £15 mark. There are several complete copies of Alien Trilogy for PlayStation on eBay at the moment for around the £5 mark including postage. If you own a PlayStation I’d go for that instead for your Aliens retro fix. Oh and if you have a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One then seriously give Alien: Isolation a try, it’s an excellent game.

Monday, 21 May 2018

150 SNES games reviewed #30: Super Mario Kart

Super Mario Kart – what can I say about it that you won’t all have heard a million times?

 

I cant even build anticipation by trying to hold my opinion back until the end and starting this review by talking facts and figures. So let’s just start by saying I love this game and work from there. Mario Kart was developed by Nintendo EAD it came out in 1992 in the US and Japan and 1993 in Europe. It went on to sell nine million copies worldwide. This figure in the end made it the third best selling SNES game overall. If you add this on to all of the sales it has made digitally with its release on both the Wii and Wii U Virtual Consoles then you start to realise what a golden egg laying goose this game has been for Nintendo.


Nowadays everyone knows what Mario Kart is and the announcement of a new version is met with an onslaught of happiness, sales jumps for the platform it’s coming to and a media frenzy. It wasn’t always quite like this as far as I can remember though. When people first got wind of the original Mario Kart the responses were more on the lines of what the heck is Nintendo doing? Sure Mario had been used for tiny cameos in Nintendo sports related titles and such but a babyish looking car racing game, ‘What were they thinking?’ was the sort of question I remember being asked by other kids at school. There was a genuine belief by some that Nintendo had lost the plot. Yet not one kid could manage to keep this opinion after they had played it. A lot of the guys at school did that thing guys at school always seemed to do when presented with something that proved there initial opinion wrong, they denied ever having said a bad word, they claimed that they had been Nintendo’s biggest supporter all along and knew that Mario Kart would be an all time classic from its inception.


Super Mario Kart received positive reviews across the board no one seemed to have a negative word to say about it. Apart from Sega that is, who tried to use it in their adverts to show Nintendo to be some kind of slow, old-fashioned baby toy compared to their sleek, fire-breathing Mega Drive (the advert were Mario Kart is running on the side of an old caravan. This now seems crazy because Mario Kart is not a slow game)
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Mario Kart is often credited with creating the cart racing genre. More than this though it was the game that gave people a sense of confidence that Nintendo could achieve anything they tried after the first Mario Kart game. If Nintendo had told you they were making Mario’s Bungee Jump Massacre you would just nod and go: “They know what they are doing.”

For those of you who haven’t played the original Mario Kart, the young and hermits, I will quickly talk a little about the game itself. In Super Mario Kart the player takes control of one of eight Mario characters, each with different qualities – high top speed, good acceleration, great handling. All of them are basically equal but lend themselves to certain play-styles. In the single player mode players can race against computer controlled characters in multi-race tournaments trying to win the gold, silver or bronze cups. There are power-ups found on the track, you pick up flashing boxes which then give you one of several power-ups – a red shell which acts like a heat seeking missile, a banana skin which causes anyone who drives over it to skid out, etc. The screen is always split in two with one half showing you racing and the other showing a map. The graphics are not necessarily amazing for the time, they are however colourful and full of character. This is not just some carting game with Mario and co thrown in it, you actually feel like you’re driving through the Mario game lands and this is one of the game’s greatest advantages. The music is brilliant, you can hear noises related to your driving – the car engine, the tyres skidding – but they are always nice little background touches never interfering with the great music that plays.

I just cant fault this game. The SNES version is still brilliant. I wasn’t going to review this game so early on but recently I brought my third copy of this game. I got a Japanese cart for £5 loose and ever since the day I got it I have put it in to my machine and had 20 minutes on it every single day. Some games age badly but this is still brilliant and I feel sure I could put this in the slot 20 years down the line and still feel the need to play it, for this reason I can not help but give it 10 out of 10.

If you want Mario Kart the news is good in that It is still available on both the Wii U and Wii Virtual Consoles and is well worth the cash. With a bit of effort you should be able to get a PAL cart of this for about £17 or a boxed copy for around £40. It’s super popular but it sold by the shed load so there’s no shortage of copies.

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

150 SNES games reviewed #29: The Magical Quest starring Mickey Mouse

 

Mickey Mouse was the best known character in the whole world, but back in the late 1980s/early 1990s, Mario was just about everywhere – and not just in his video games.

 

He had his own cartoon series, The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!, and then it spiraled from there to the point he had his own action figures, stuffed toys, shirts, candy, and even a breakfast cereal. At one point in time you couldn’t do anything without seeing Mario.


On the other side, Mickey Mouse in comparison wasn’t seen as much. Sure he was on t-shirts and at Disneyland but he wasn’t quite as up front and in your face as he had been. Television channels tended to air the more modern Disney cartoons of the time such as DuckTales, Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers, TailSpin, Darkwing Duck, and such.

Disney teamed up with Capcom and brought a fair few titles to the NES, most of which are considered classics, such as DuckTales. Disney’s relationship with Capcom didn’t end with the NES though. Eventually the union brought us the game I am going to talk about today The Magical Quest starring Mickey Mouse (known in Japan as Mickey’s Magical Adventure).

The game is a bright, colourful platformer with the player taking on the role of Mickey. It’s part of a trilogy released by Capcom although we Europeans only got two out of three games (in fact, Japan was the only territory to see the third one, at least until they got GBA remakes). You move in the same sort of fashion as in most typical platform games, and you can defeat enemies  by jumping on them but you can also attack them by grabbing blocks and other stunned enemies spinning them around in Mickey’s hands and then using them as a projectile.

One of the gameplay features this game is most known for is the ability to find new outfits for Mickey, which give him different special abilities. For example, you get to play as firefighter Mickey who can use his hose. Sometimes this feeds into puzzles as well as being an option for attack. For example you might have to put out a fire to progress. It reminds me of the Mega Drive title Kid Chameleon, which seeing as I love that game is not a bad comparison at all.

The graphics are great, full of colour and character. The sound is cheery and matches the overall feel of the game. The controls are good – I don’t think they are quite Mario good, but they certainly more than do the job. When it comes to complaints some people would bring up the fact that The Magical Quest is quite an easy game, but that’s understandable since it stars Mickey Mouse. Capcom clearly knew a lot of kids would be playing this, so if it was Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels-hard it would have just led to mass complaints and screaming children. It’s not completely unchallenging, there are a few skills and basic patterns to learn and it’s kind of nice to find a game which focuses on the fun and doesn’t penalise you for anything. You have unlimited continues, when you die you start again with a full set of hearts and don’t lose any of your coins.

If you like fun platform games I would urge you to try this game. It’s a brilliantly uncomplicated slice of fun. It might be a little easy, and it might be a touch short – in fact, its length is the only real thing keeping me from giving it a huge score. All things considered I think I need to give this game a 7.5 out of 10.

If you’re after the game I tend to see it going for around £10 for the cart, although big warnings have to be given about the fact that the second one is rarer, and if you want to play the third SNES one you’re going to need to go down the import route. One way around this is to go for the Game Boy Advance remakes. They are more or less the same games with a few extras thrown in and they might be a little cheaper and easier to get your hands on (Plus you can get a European version of number three for the GBA).

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

150 SNES games reviewed #28: Ryan Giggs Champions World Class Soccer


Ryan Giggs Champions World Class Soccer was the game I played a little last night as well as early this morning. It is obviously a football (soccer) game and it was released on the SNES as well as the Mega Drive. It was developed by Park Place Productions and published by Acclaim.

 

My Champions World Class Soccor YouTube Review 

 

You might not have heard of Park Place Productions largely because they were a bit of a bright light that burnt out very quickly. They were founded in 1989 and in 1993 they had become the largest independent developer of computer games. They had  130 developers making 45 games for 14 different publishers. At the end of December 1993 the company collapsed spectacularly. Basically they didn’t hit some targets they had been set by publishers and as a result of this they were denied payments, pulled out of contracts and literally left Park Place Productions up the creek without a paddle.


The first thing to note is that the whole Ryan Giggs thing is a bit of a con. The UK release featured a picture of the player on the game box and the cartridge label but any real connection to the guy or inclusion of his name ends there. The German version featured a player famous to them Sepp Maier, and the French featured a team likely to interest them, Paris Saint-Germain. None of the three have anything to do with the game beyond the box art and cartridge label though so from now on sod Giggs I will be referring to this as Champions World Class Soccer (or CWC Soccer if I get lazy).

Modes of play included in the game are the standard type, exhibition match and tournament mode. There are the obvious options to turn certain things off and mess with how long the matches last etc but nothing out of the ordinary.

The game’s presentation is pretty decent. There is a TV announcer talking about the match before it starts – talking as in text along the bottom of the screen, but the text is pretty cool. It mentions which team you are and what is good or bad about you. For example I got something on the lines of the following for my first match: “England have always been good at defence but there shooting record is a little unpredictable”. The in game graphics are pretty much the bog standard average football game graphics from this point in time so I don’t have a lot to say about them, they don’t make or break the game.

I like the fact that there is a big blue star around the character you are in control of. It is very easy to know who you are and then there is a button which seems to exist just to help you do little tricks either dribbling the ball around your feet, turning backwards for a second or shooting forward quickly – well, quickly for this game. Unfortunately this is the point at which my review has to get a little bit sour I am afraid that personally I feel that the gameplay is bad. The game is slow, both passing and shooting are hard and frustrating to the point you’ll soon find yourself turning the air blue.

Sometimes it takes a few seconds for your character to become properly attached to the ball like you do in most football games. You will have ran on to the ball and it just wont end up under your control so you’ll be running backwards and forwards hoping it attaches to you and then a computer controlled player will just run straight up and claim it with no problem or pause in proceedings.

In my opinion this game is the worst SNES football game I have played so far. I like the TV start, I like the fact it makes it obvious who you are but I don’t really like the controls or the gameplay. It also didn’t give me my any of my demands such as great goal scoring animations or a voice shouting “Goal!”. I would give this game four out of 10 . It’s not unplayable but there are much better games out there for your cash. If you decide that you simply need this game to live the good point is it will cost you only £4 or £5 to buy it online and get it posted to you.

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

150 SNES games reviewed #27: Top Gear


Top Gear (or as our friends in Japan would know it, Top Racer) is a racing game for the SNES. It was developed by Gremlin Graphics and published by Kemco.

 

It was one of the first racing games to be released on the SNES, so when it came out it was immediately popular. Everyone I knew back then seemed to have either this or Exhaust Heat with the lucky and truly dedicated having both. Top Gear and its two sequels – Top Gear 2 and Top Gear 3000 – were created by the same developers as the famous Lotus series of games which had been released earlier on the Amiga and the Mega Drive. It is important to note before anyone gets too excited this game has no connection to the TV show with the same name.



The good points are that the game feels very fast. I hadn’t played it for a fair few years and when I started playing it this morning I was very surprised at how fast it felt. It is also very bumpy in a way which is kind of hard to explain, but it is worth noting because I remember back in the day a few people I knew couldn’t play it because when it was in motion it made them feel sick. I love it as it actually helps to make you feel like your in there racing. But it’s important to note before anyone goes out and pays for this game, it might be worth looking for some footage on YouTube so you can see if it affects you.

I lost my first few races which meant instead of progressing I kept seeing the starting screen again. But I soon realised I wasn’t paying proper attention to my gears. You don’t get to choose a car or buy add-ons for it, or to even mess with its handling and tires. If this is something that is important to you then your probably better off with Exhaust Heat. Once I started paying attention though I soon found I was up there fighting for pole position again and again. This is when the game began to get really fun, but just when I thought I had seen it all, when I thought I had it in the bag, that’s when things changed a little bit.

I’d noticed there were pit stops but I had never seen the need to use them, sure I had got a little bit tight on fuel at times but there was always just enough to see me fly past the flag in first. You see short races don’t  really require a pit stop and refueling, but the lengthier ones will see you come to an abrupt halt half-way around the track in one of your later laps if you’re not careful. This adds a whole new level of strategy to proceedings as you begin to have to think about when to have a pit stop, how long to stay in the pit, sure you can see your position getting worse while you’re being filled up but you know that in the longer races if you don’t fill up then you’re going to come to a stop and lose. Whole races can be won or lost based on your judgement of when you should pull in for a pit stop or how long you can put it off.

The graphics are good for the time. The screen is always split even when you’re playing on your own. In this case there is a computer rival in charge of a car on the bottom half of the screen. I like the music in this game, it might not be technically brilliant but it is fun. It fits its purpose of pumping you up for the races brilliantly and makes a change to all those games back then which suffered from having no sounds in game apart from that farting rumbling engine sound which used to be popular. I would give this game a good solid seven out of 10. It is a fun game but I miss having a choice in terms of what car to drive and the options to tune it up and buy upgrades. Basically this game just seems like a very big slice of arcade fun not that that’s a bad thing, but you need to keep that in mind if you’re thinking about getting this.

A lot of times when I have seen this game online its been about £8 for an import cart or about £15 for an PAL one, with a boxed copy being as high as £30. I only paid £3 for my cart. The sequel does seem to be a little cheaper and easier to get your hands on though (I will get around to reviewing that sooner or later).

Monday, 7 May 2018

150 SNES games reviewed #26: Prince of Persia

Today’s game is Prince of Persia. Prince of Persia is a fantasy platform game, originally developed by a guy called Jordan Mechner and released in 1989 for the Apple II system.

 


At the time the game was held in high regard. People claimed it represented a great technological leap forward in terms of the quality of animation used in video games. As with most games which do extremely well it was soon ported to just about anything that could cope with it. The SNES version was done by Arsys Software, a company set up by former Technosoft staff members. It was published by Masaya in Japan and Konami in both the US and Europe.

I was thrilled when I originally played a home computer version of this game but the thrill had faded a little bit by the time I played the SNES version. Have you ever played a game and decided that it had the basics down right but that it just lacked something? That there were the bare bones of a classic in place but that the project needed fleshing out? The graphics are plain but the movement is still impressive. For those who have played the original its important to note that the SNES version is in fact longer, consider it sort of a director’s/extended cut. Instead of the original 13 levels, this version has 20. In the original you had one hour to complete the game but this has been increased here to two hours due to the added length. It is great to see so much added to this conversion in terms of gameplay, and it helps make this game worth considering if you have already seen what it has to offer on an earlier release on a different platform.



The game offers a good, if basic, story and a good degree of challenge. You won’t be finishing this game quickly. In fact you will probably make slow, steady progress punctuated with bouts of swearing. I  praise the game for its atmosphere and challenge but there is also a lot I have to say about the things that bug me. My main gripe with the game is that at times the controls feel kind of skiddy. Now we’re not getting into awful control territory here like Ultraman but they’re just not as crisp as I would like them. Often you will need to stop running before you run off a ledge and fall to your doom. You just feel that little bit too skiddy for my liking meaning often you’ll end up turning the air blue as you plummet to your death. The game is also more or less silent and although the movements in the game look impressive there could be a lot more flavour added in to the graphics. When it comes to presentation it just seems like a very bare bones production which is a shame. I guess after having seen the Konami name on the European box I had sort of expected a Konami level of presentation. That’s the thing when you put someone else’s logo on your product by having them publish it for you. It can act as good publicity as people can be pulled in by a well known name, but it can also come as a curse as those names and logos come with a reputation you then find your product having to try to live up to.

There are other games though that came out after this title which I feel used this game as a stepping stone and in doing so managed to offer a much fuller, richer experience, and you might be better off spending your hard earned money on one of these. (I won’t name them as I plan on eventually reviewing one or two of them.) I think influences from this game can still be seen in some games today, I think there is a definite case to make that this game was an incredibly important piece of software which helped shape so many titles which followed in its wake, much in the same way as Super Mario Kart helped to birth seemingly a million character-filled go kart racing games. Prince of Perisa’s DNA can be felt in more places than I can name, tunnelling its way through action platformer after action platformer. Of course as most people are aware the Prince of Persia name has lived on well into the more recent gaming environment with an awesome trilogy of games carrying the name and some of the original DNA appearing on the PS2 , Xbox and GameCube.

I would give this game seven out of 10. It can be frustrating but it is also incredibly rewarding. Every time you play you will get a little bit further, you will solve another puzzle or you will work out where you are supposed to be going just before you die. It has a very strong just one more go quality. I do think you need to think long and hard about the kinds of games you like before purchasing this though. If you don’t mind slowly making progress and learning from your mistakes then you will benefit more from the game, if you like instantaneous rewards and a game you can very easily make quick progress in then this probably is not the game for you.

My copy of Prince of Persia is a loose Japanese cart which I managed to get for a couple of quid a few years ago. If you really wanted to give this game a go you would be looking at paying between £15 to £25 for a PAL copy, depending on how lucky you are and if this game has a box and manual or not. I have seen a few boxed US copies going for as little as £13 if you have a converter or modified or import system.

Sunday, 6 May 2018

150 SNES games reviewed #25: Ultraman

Ultraman is a fighting game based on the TV series Ultraman: Toward the Future. It was originally released in arcades by Banpresto and Bandai but was then ported to the SNES (It was also ported to the Megadrive two years later, but this version only came out in japan).

I knew before I started this game was considered to be legendarily bad. That it was one of the games to own titles such as ‘worst game ever’, ‘worst game on the SNES’ and various others, which basically amount to say this game is an utter turd.



However, one thing which is annoying about a lot of gamers and even the games media is people talk about games like this without ever having played them. In much the same way that when you ask most people what’s the worst game ever they will throw out answers like E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial on the Atari 2600 or Superman 64 without ever having seen the cartridge in real life.

So with the above said you will probably get the point that even if a game has been called bad by almost everyone and every media outlet out there I still like to put it in my own cartridge slot or CD draw before I am willing to comment on it. I have played E.T., I have played Superman 64 and now I have played Ultraman. I would like to be able to tell you that some of its awfulness is just the product of ever expanding urban legends, that people tried to one up each other with tales of its awfulness and in doing so exaggerated some of its issues. But unfortunately everything that has ever been said about this is true – it is awful.



So to run you through how my time with the game went I will give you a quick explanation. I put the game in and it loaded up the music was OK the presentation wasn’t too bad at all but then I got to the gameplay. For those of you who don’t know who Ultraman is I will give you a basic idea. Imagine a one man power ranger team, where instead of getting in a giant robot if enemies turn big, the dude just turns big himself and that’s pretty much all you really need to know. So you see a scene of him growing and then it’s time to fight. At first you see Ultraman facing off against a monster and you see the power bars with names on under both sides of the screen, your’s on one side the monster’s on the other, and that makes you think we are in the land of Street Fighter II clones again. If only it was a good or even average Street Fighter clone.

Ultraman controls like he has some kind of serious impairment. The way he moves backwards and forwards is clunky. You can never seem to back off quick enough, even though you can do a sort of backwards cartwheel. You can run forward quite fast. The game makes you realise things which are brilliant in the likes of Street Fighter II which you took for granted could have been far, far worse. The jumping in Ultraman is controlled with one of the pad’s face buttons, but it’s so floaty that jump attacks are hardly worth bothering with. In fact the only point to jumping would be to jump over the enemy to gain yourself a bit of breathing room. Of the other three face buttons, one is a punch, one is a kick and the third is your special move button. This is when things get a bit complicated.

On my first go I managed to punch and kick the monster until its energy bar was depleted. This was a chore as there was basically only two kinds of punch – a straight punch and an uppercut style punch – and two kicks – a straight kick and a little jumping fancy kick. Yes, there are no crouching attacks, and different kicks or punches don’t seem to happen if you hold back or press the button for longer or anything, so basically there are four standard attacking moves – six if you count the fact you can chop or kick while in the air (I say if you can count as these will hardly ever hit anything). So ‘finish him’ shows up in the enemy’s depleted energy bar, so I hit him a lot more, and he hits me back lowering my energy. I press the special button and a sort of fireball attack is launched which hits him but doesn’t do anything much. Five minutes latter he has beaten my bar down to zero. Do I carry on like he has and wait for him to ‘finish me’? No, I collapse on the floor and die. So I continue and the same happens again, and again, and again…

At this point it’s safe to say I was very frustrated. I knew I was going to have to do one of two things. I was either going to have to open the manual or I was going to have to dive online. Now something is wrong when you feel the need to run for help during what to all intents and purposes is the first stage of a video game. It turned out the answer was halfway through the manual. There’s a meter in between yours and his which shows how much special energy you have and also displays some choices. As you gain more energy you can choose other special moves. You actually have four of them and when it says finish him only one thing will kill the enemy and that’s to hit them with the fourth special move.

So with this knowledge in hand I again did battle with the first monster. I wore down his energy bar and then hit him with the move and bam, he blew up, job done. I soon learned the problem is you need to beat the enemy up quiet a bit to fill your bar so there’s basically no point using the special moves apart from to use the fourth one to blow up the enemy. Because if you do use the other ones all it will mean is that you’re dancing backwards and forwards kicking an enemy while it says finish him waiting to gain the needed energy, giving it a chance to kill you.

That’s the main problem – the enemies have better reach than you do. They also seem to move more quickly than you do and they can kill you by simply depleting your energy bar without having to do any fancy rubbish to see you off. Add to this the fact their attacks seem to be very quick and damaging, and you can see your plight. When you win it often isn’t because of how good you have been its because the random gods of chance shone in your favour. In one match against an enemy he can breath fire at you again and again, as well as hitting you before you can even reach him. Then in your next match he can seem to just stand there while you approach and punch him in the face again and again. It just feels less like the enemies have any real AI and instead some dice are being thrown in the background the results of which tell them to attack, to shoot fire or to just sit there like a lemon
.

Apparently there are about eight monsters in the game but I couldn’t get past the fifth. Its reach was just too good. It kept shooting fire and I didn’t have the patience to wait for it to keep rolling lemons. Add to this the fact you get a limited amount of continues. You get about two but I did notice myself gaining an extra one due to points/score at one stage.

The graphics in game are rubbish – basic backgrounds, awful sprites – but this could be overlooked if the game wasn’t such a sluggish random mess. As it stands I have to give this game two out of 10. It’s basically broken but kind of has some degree of playability hence the fact I haven’t given it a one. It is by far the worse SNES game I have played during this little experiment of mine, and I can’t remember playing anything else this bad back in the day. I do own another game which was frequently referred to as the worst game on the SNES so we will have to wait and see how that measures up.

If you love bad games or your some kind of sadomasochist who is rubbing their nipples at the thought of playing this then I better give you the lowdown on how much it costs. My copy was £5 from a charity shop boxed with manual and that still feels expensive. The cheapest PAL copy I could find online was £5.99 but it looked like a bear had attacked the front label. There was a boxed copy or two for £15 but seriously buy some good games with that money instead. Or if you’re really that into pain at least save up a bit more and pay a good looking woman to whip you or something. At least, unlike with Ultraman, the view will be nice while you suffer.

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

3 Super Nintendo Game Reviews that are just a little bit diffrent.

OK so having reviewed 151 SNES games I figured that rather than jump into another commercial release for review 152 I would instead look at a few rom hacks and even a home-brew game.


 My Mario Kart R Review




My Oh No More Zombies Ate my Neighbors Review




My Jet Pilot Rising Review