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.