150 SNES games at the speed I can handle

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kerr9000
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PostRe: 150 SNES Games at the speed I can handle
by kerr9000 » Wed Feb 07, 2018 6:39 pm

SNES Game review 71: Cybernator

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The game I am going to talk about now is Cybernator or as it was known in Japan Assault Suits Valken. It was a sort of robot mecha run and gun game which was released for the Super Nintendo in 1992.
In its day it was a popular game which lots of people knew about but not so many realised that it was a part of a series of games and that it was the indirect prequel to a game called Target Earth in America and Assault Suit Leynos in Japan which had appeared on the Megadrive/Genesis in those territories but not in Europe. So Cybernator would be our first look at what you would call the Assault Suits series

Cybernator was localized and published overseas by Konami. So it is often just referred to by us British gamers as a hit Konami game from the SNES days. It was actually created by Masaya the software division of a company called NCS which stands for Nippon Computer Systems. They have made and published quite a few games but not many which have been big over here, so in this case the Konami name was probably a huge boost to Cybernators sales.
Now robots and mecha suits were supper popular when this game came out, a whole generation of kids had grown up on transformers and go bots and had started moving in to the more anime related shows involving robots and battle armour. So I remember this game being treated as if it was a dream come true by most of the people I knew.
Ok so I will give a brief version of the plot. The game takes place in the future, a future where Earth's fossil fuels have begun to run out. A large scale war has begun for control of the remaining resources, and for territory including ownership of the moon. The two warring governments, the Axis and Federation are both very advanced, advanced to the point where they have the technology at their disposal not only to go into space but also to create giant space stations and orbital weapons platforms. You play a soldier who pilots a Federation Assault Suit (The Cybernator of the title). The Assault Suit has a bulky humanoid shape and is equipped with a variety of weapons. Your main mission is to destroy the most power mech in the Axis army’s forced it is called Bildvorg.

I can’t be certain but I don’t think the story changed that much between the original Japanese version and our version Cybernator but I do know that there was some degree of censorship, for one a suicide scene was removed.
My first impression of the game was that it had pretty good graphics a well-fitting soundtrack but that it was a darn difficult game. I know that this put a few friends off of the game but I don’t think it is ridiculously hard, it’s one of those games that feels tough but rewarding. Every time you have another go you seem to get a better feel for it and more of an idea of how best to face its challenges. The more you look at the game though the deeper you realise the graphical touches run, there is a lot of destroyable scenery and it just has such good atmosphere it really pulls you in to the sci fi world it supplies. The controls do take some getting used to I will admit, but once they click with you they click. The mech, movement might surprise some who come here expecting Conta, these mechs are powerful, but heavy. So it’s a slightly slower game which is more likely to be won through tactical shooting as opposed to blipping all over the screen gunstar heroes style. Can’t see anyone going as far as having the music from the game on their MP3 player or anything but it does fit the game really well.

You have to remember that with some of these old games you don’t have passwords or save states so this adds to the challenge it means you need to devote the time to one sitting this bad boy, either that or you’re going to have to keep your SNES plugged in and keep coming back to it praying no one has banged the console

Part of the reason I have chosen to review Cybernator now is because it is being released on the Wii u’s virtual console and for the price they are asking I think the game is a good buy. So what would I rate it well I guess I’d give it a 7.5 out of 10. If you wanted to play this on the Snes though what would it cost you? Well I have had my copy so long I can’t remember what I paid for it or where I got it from but having a look online you’re doing well if you can get a cart for about 10 quid and if you look around sometimes you can get a boxed copy for about 20. Personally I’d go for a cart but it depends on how much you have and how you want to play it/keep it.

Last edited by kerr9000 on Mon Feb 12, 2018 2:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PostRe: 150 SNES Games at the speed I can handle
by kerr9000 » Wed Feb 07, 2018 6:40 pm

SNES Game Review 72: Starwing AKA StarFox

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I had been meaning to play this game for quite a while but it was one game I could not play on my usual modified Snes, the reason for this is that running the Pal cart I own at 60hz causes issues. Most Pal carts played on a 60 hz machine will just play as if they are the 60hz version but there are a few exceptions (some Pal versions had things done to reduce the drop in speed and if you play them on a NTSC machine will be even faster than the American/Japanese counterparts for example) In the case of StarWing though the issues are not good for anything other than a quick laugh…for some reason if you play the pal Starwing cart on a 60hz machines your wings are independent from your space craft and there are various other glitches. Sometimes this makes me wish I had an American version of this game but in all honesty I grew up with it playing the way it does at the speed it does so If I fancy a go I simply pop out a standard unaltered 50hz machine.

The way around this is to add a switch to your modified console allowing it to go between 50 and 60hz at the flick of a button, Like I have with my Master system 2… but I have always preferred just swapping base units with the SNES.

So I set my SNES up and thought back to the first time I tried Starwing, and then I thought even further back to the first trickle of information we got on it, screen shots and bits of blurb. I remember lots of people being very excited for it, it’s also one of the games I can remember the system being sold with. Love it or loathe it the game is a big deal historically speaking because it is the very first SNES game to feature the Super Fx chip. The Super FX chip wasn’t the only special chip that made its way into Super Nintendo cartridges but it does have the distinction of being the most well known chip.

Ok so first things first the graphics really haven’t aged that well, what was once revolutionary is now kind of cumbersome and this might in fact put those who haven’t played it before off but I would advice that people stick with it as I find the overall effect of the game somewhat charming. The music is brilliant in my opinion but I also enjoy all of the other sound effects, the laser noises the sound of your wings bashing against things but most of all the cartoon language everyone speaks… Whenever anything is said the words will come up on the screen and let you know what is being said but you will hear it said in this kind of computer nonsense language so it will go ‘’Bluuurbaaa blurrrrrb blurb’’ and then on the screen it will say ‘’go get em fox’’ or something to that effect and I think this actually helps more than proper digitised voices would, it just seems to fit the game and give it the feeling that your looking into a different world a world where walking talking fox, frog and bunny people are the norm. The presentation on the game is brilliant the game is set up wonderfully with the way your ship is launched at the start of the game being one of my favourite starts to any Super Nintendo game.

StarWing in my opinion boasts a variety of excellent stages. Not only that there is some replayability there because you get to pick your route to the end of the game. One of my highlights is when you find yourself in an asteroid field littered with drifting asteroids and enemies suddenly appearing, it gives you that starwars feel as you slip between the floating rocks and try to hold your own. The game also features some really cool bosses, rock crushing robots, giant spiders and all of them are introduced by the soundtrack fading away, an alarm sounding and then a perfectly crystal clear digital voice informing you of the “Incoming Enemy.” The bosses have weak points that you will need to work out but some of them also have multiple forms. Even when you have worked out how to beat them you will always tend to feel that you could do it quicker next time, that maybe you could do it without taking as much damage. You never feel like you have been cheated you always feel like every hit you have taken is your fault, like you could do better , that you should be able to fly a perfect mission if you just practice enough.

I have to admit I love StarWing I always have, yes the graphics have aged badly but I don’t believe that the heart and soul of the game have aged at all, I believe they are priceless. I personally would give StarWing/Starfox 8 out of 10. The game seems to go for between 6 to 10pounds for a cart and I think it is more than worth this, but there are a lot of copies out there and with some time and effort you may even be able to get a copy for around 5pounds.

Last edited by kerr9000 on Mon Feb 12, 2018 2:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PostRe: 150 SNES Games at the speed I can handle
by kerr9000 » Wed Feb 07, 2018 6:40 pm

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I try to keep a certain random nature to my selection of games I review, mostly as I don’t want it to be platformer after platformer after platformer but I do have a sort of master plan when it comes to certain titles. I don’t plan exactly when I will look at them but I know I want to lay a certain amount of ground work, this might be to make sure I have already brought up the company or to make sure that I have talked about the genera in general. In this case I made sure that before covering this game I had looked at a variety of scrolling shooters as I thought this would help to illustrate just how much I like this game. So I looked at Super Strike Gunner / Strike Gunner S.T.G, U.N. Squadron and Acrobat mission just to give an brief example of the kinds of scrolling shooters that were on the system (I am aware there was a lot more).

The game I am going to talk about today is Axelay (known as Akusurei in japan). It’s a highly regarded side scrolling shooter published by Konami for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. The game was released on September 11, 1992 in Japan, later in that month it came out in North America, and then made its way to Europe the following year. Now the SNES’s main rival the MegaDrive Genesis always had a good reputation for scrolling shooters with titles such as Thunder Force 3 and 4, Aero Busters, Darius 2. Axelay was really considered as the Super Nintendo’s chance to prove that they could go toe to toe with the megadrive in one of its strongest areas.
So as I have already made apparent Axelay is a sci-fi scrolling-shooter but it’s so much more than that the game features both top-down and side-scrolling shooting stages but it does even more than that the developers really went to town trying to find ways to use the console's Mode 7 techniques to dazzle people with rolling backgrounds which make the game seem far quicker than it actually is. The game seems to drip with effort though so much thought seems to have gone in to everything from the backgrounds and standard enemies to the amazing bosses this game, nothing seems to have been wasted and every idea feels like it was pushed as far as they could push it at the time.

Unlike Acrobat mission which can be fun but feels a little bit repetitive Axelay never seems to fall back on rehashing enemies and encounter again and again to stretch itself out. You always feel like you’re being met with novel threats, dealing with new foes, facing unexpected environmental hazards. Yes the game might not be massively long but every second of it is enjoyable and it is extremely replayable, the controls are tight and responsive, your ship does just exactly what you tell it to and when you die you always feel like it is your own fault which is exactly how a game should feel.

While I wouldn't go putting the games soundtrack on my phone and listening to it on the bus in the context of the game it is awesome and really sets the tone for the gameplay. I think the game was overlooked. If you complete the game twice in a row you will receive a message informing you of a sequel but to this day there has been no follow up to this game and this is a crying shame. If so much was gotten right with this game first time around to the point that it appears in some top twenty SNES games lists just imagine what we would have seen in a sequel that built from the foundation of this one.

I would give this game a very Solid 8 and this is coming from someone who has a bit of a hit and miss relationship with scrolling shooters. If you want to try it well it is on virtual console and is easily worth the price but for those of you who prefer the physical you will find yourself paying somewhere between 18 and 25pounds for just a cart. Maybe this is because of its positive reputation or because it didn’t sell as well back in the day as it probably deserved to but I do think it is worth the price. If I didn’t own it though I think I would go down the virtual console route myself. If you want to drop cash on a Super Nintendo scrolling shooter though this is the one I would do it for.

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PostRe: 150 SNES Games at the speed I can handle
by kerr9000 » Wed Feb 07, 2018 6:41 pm

SNES Game Review 74: Dirt Trax FX

A lot of people tend to pick sides when it comes to consoles, rather than weighing up the strengths and weaknesses of all sides they will merely decide which they want to support and use certain easy learned arguments to justify their choice. When Sega coined the term blast processing they were actually referring to was the fact that despite a lot of its other flaws and issues the megadrive had a much faster processor than the Super Nintendo. The Nintendo had a Ricoh 5A22 processor running at a max of 3.58 MHz in comparison to this the main Processor in the megadrive/genesis was a Motorola 68000 running at 7.6 MHz.

This was one of the reasons for the invention of the Super FX chips. The first version of the Super FX chip, is clocked with a 21.4 MHz signal, but an internal clock speed divider halves it to 10.7 MHz. Now the main reason that the Super Nintendo often seemed to produce more graphically impressive games had nothing to do with its processor it was due to its superior memory. So with an FX chip in place the Super Nintendo has the upper hand in all areas.
Star Fox/Wing uses the chip for polygon rendering but this wasn’t all it was capable of Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island uses the chip for advanced graphics effects, sprite scaling, stretching, and for multiple foreground and background parallax layers to give a greater illusion of depth.

Now as you have probably guessed I have gone in to this kind of detail because the game I have chosen to talk about is a game with a Super FX chip in it.

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The game I am going to talk about today is Dirt Trax FX it is a racing video game developed by Sculptured Software and released by Acclaim Entertainment for the Super Nintendo in 1995. Usually I would try and hold my opinion back and build a case for if the game is good or bad but right out of the bat I have to admit that I find the game terrible.

There is no story but then it is a racing game so you don’t really need one all you need to know is that you are racing on motor bikes on dirt race tracks against other racers. So on the face of it a motor bike racing game with a super FX chip in there to handle the graphics sounds like a decent idea. After all if a megadrive can handle a bike game as great as road rash with both lower memory and processing power then the sky should be the limit for a super fx game on the SNES shouldn’t it?

There seems to be a fair selection of tracks but they are all unmemorable, the game chugs along at about 15 frames per second. The game just seems to have no real sense of feeling to me, yes they have aged badly and I never played this around release so maybe that effects my oppinion but its just got no charm at all. The music doesn’t sound very good at all, it's incredibly repetitive. The only positive thing I can really say about it is that it is neat how the music changes depending on if you are in the lead or if someone is ahead of you. The sound effects are nothing to shout about at all, just the kind of throw away thud noises you would expect.

Honestly, I hate to say this, but in my opinion this game is a complete waste of space, the graphics and sound are just not impressive in any sense of the word but worse than this it’s just not playable or fun. I have however seen some fan reviews claiming this is a good game, heck even Nintendo power apparently score it as a 3.58 out of 5. Personally for me I would generously give it a 2 out 0f 10. I got this game from a market stall for what I thought was a very impressive 3quid.

Now I always try to tell you how much a game is regardless of if I would recommend it or not and at this moment in time the cheapest cart only copy I could find online was 15quid and I also saw copies of the game cart only up for as high as 55quid. I heartily recommend you forget this game even exists, that you never try to play it and that you never try to track it down unless you’re simply trying to collect every retro game ever. I just can’t believe that this thing had a Super FX chip in it, what a waste of silicon.

Last edited by kerr9000 on Mon Feb 12, 2018 2:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PostRe: 150 SNES Games at the speed I can handle
by kerr9000 » Wed Feb 07, 2018 6:41 pm

SNES Game Review 75: Another World AKA Out of This World

So I have said a few times that I am following a rough plan with my reviews and this is the point where the plan has fell down a little. When I reviewed Flashback I made sure that I had already played prince of Persia but said I couldn’t play Another world as I didn’t own it and I would only be reviewing games I owned so that I could test them on my actual hardware. To my embarrassment today I opened a cupboard and there right in front of my face there were two super Nintendo copies of Another World, one complete and one which was just a cartridge, so here I am reviewing Another world. (This shouldn’t happen again as I have now took a full inventory of all the Super Nintendo Titles I own).

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Another World, actually had a different name in every main region. Another world was its European name where as in America it was known as Out of This World and in Japan its name when translated would be Outer World. So why did the name change? Well basically in America there is a very popular soap opera called Another World, so it would have been the equivalent of a game being called EastEnders and being launched here in the UK with its name unchanged.
Another World is a cinematic style sort of platformer action-adventure game which was designed by a man called Éric Chahi in 1991 for Delphine Software. It was originally developed for the Amiga and Atari ST but following all the praise and success it found the game was quickly ported to pretty much everything under the sun that could run it. The game is so popular that it had a 15th Anniversary version made for the PC and then went on to have a 20th Anniversary addition released on many modern consoles, so in this case some of you might already be aware of this game.

Chahi apparently was impressed by the flat-colour animations that the Amiga version of Dragon's Lair and decided that he could use vector outlines to create a similar sort of effect which would require much less disc space. He started trying to do this using a polygon routine he wrote for the Atari st, he then decided to move development over to the Amiga and took advantage of its capabilities to create rotoscoped animations with the polygons. He used video recordings of himself performing various actions to help produce the main characters animation in the game. There was a lot of work put into this game and you can really tell.

The graphics although looking dated now still look very impressive when you think about the time period they came from, what is even more impressive is that the SNES version to my eyes looks no worse at all despite what sounds like a lot of penny pinching The Super NES version was programmed by a lady called Rebecca Heineman and the following quote shows the effort she had to go to in order to work around Interplays tight budgeting "Since Interplay wouldn't pay for a Super FX chip, I found a way to do it with static RAM on the cart. Interplay wouldn't pay for the static RAM either, so I ended up using Fast ROM instruction. Interplay wouldn't pay for a 3.6 MHz ROM either. So, frustrated, I shoved my block move code into the DMA registers and use it as RAM running at 3.6 MHz. It worked. I got fast block moves on slow cartridges." I first played this game on the Amiga and upon booting up the Snes cart for the first time I didn’t notice any real difference. Even now they still impress me.

The game plays very much like prince of Persia at first you’re running and jumping but soon you gain a laser gun. You would think that from this moment on it is going to be all blasting and killing but actually it is not. There are a lot of puzzles in this game, even when you’re fighting it’s more a case of brains and reactions being tested hand in hand, it makes for a unique but frustrating at times game. Frustrating because 3 enemies might attack you and they all die with even 1 hit but then so do you. A miss timed jump you die, a bad deicison you die, shot in the back you die. You are going to watch yourself die again and again but slowly you will work out what you did wrong and what you will do differently next time. That’s my only real complaint about this game the fact that the majority of your progress is based on a system of trial and error, in some ways it feels like it has a connection to the old point and click style of game, which at one point it nearly ended up being (While searching for a publisher for the original version at one point a company agreed under the proviso that Chahi altered Another World so that it was a point and click based game).

If you want an all-out blasting action game then I don’t recommend Another World in the slightest, if however you want a game that will make you think, a game that will test your reflexes and tell you a story then I highly recommend it. In fact I would go so far as to give this game a nice solid 8 out of 10. Should you buy the Super Nintendo version though? Now that is a hard question. Looking online you can expect to pay around the 10 to 15pound mark for a Snes cart or around 20 to 25 for a boxed version and yet. In comparison the Another World - 20th Anniversary Edition as a digital download is around 6 to 8pounds on all modern consoles and in fact if you’re a PS+ owner you can download the game and play it on your PS3, PS4 and PS Vita at this moment in time for the low low price of 1.95. I recommend trying it in this way.

Last edited by kerr9000 on Mon Feb 12, 2018 2:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PostRe: 150 SNES Games at the speed I can handle
by kerr9000 » Wed Feb 07, 2018 6:41 pm

SNES Game Review 76: Blackthorne AKA Blackhawk

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If I was to say Blizzard Entertainment to you as part of a phrase association exercise then I expect most people would turn around and say WarCraft or maybe Diablo. The company is older than that though, they originally concentrated primarily on the creation of ports on the behalf of other studios before beginning development of their own software in 1993 with the development of games like Rock n' Roll Racing and The Lost Vikings. These are both games I would love to review and discuss but unfortunately I do not own them (I have the mega drive version of Rock and Roll racing but not the SNES). I do however own Blackthorne. Blackthorne or Blackhawk as it was known as in some European countries is a cinematic platformer video game developed by Blizzard Entertainment. It is often compared to titles such as Prince of Persia, Another World and Flashback which I have already discussed. Blackthorne was released for the SNES and MS-DOS in 1994, with a version with enhanced graphics and a higher colour palette hitting the Sega 32X in 1995.

I will obviously be talking about the SNES version but the differences from version to version are pretty much not worth talking about, if you enjoy it on one platform you would enjoy it on all. As a side note I have often used blackthrone in discussions as an argument for why the Sega 32X simply was not worth its price tag. A 32X would cost you £169.99 in England on release and as far as blackthrone goes all this would get you over the SNES versions was pretty much a few extra on screen colours leading to a picture which although slightly better no one would realistically see any difference in unless you happened to place a SNES and a Megadrive complete with 32X both running the game side by side.

Ok so now I am done with a bit of company history and cross platform trivia let’s get on to the game itself. Where Blackthorne steps away from similar games, such as Prince of Persia, Another World and Flashback, is that in Blackthorne the main character is always armed, straight away from the start you are armed and ready to kick ass. Pressing the B button will cause your character to draw his shotgun, from here you have two options, one is to simply Press A, if you do this you will just shoot your straight forward however if you tap the R button you can aim backwards over your shoulder and blow away anything behind you. It is very rare that a move looks and feels as simply stylish in a video game as this does, every time you use this move you will feel like you are a bad son of a gun, in fact you will find you. This isn’t the only interesting little bit of innovation, if a bullet is heading your way or you just want to hide you can press up on the dpad and you sort of step back in to the shadows to hide or avoid things. The enemies will hide as well though, this helps as it feels more like a real firefight as opposed to just a regular old game, and they are also armed to the teeth with machine guns and robotic spider mines. So you need to get the timing right so you can duck into the shadows avoid there bullets and then pop out and fire before they manage to hide themselves. The game is not all combat based though, there is a fair share of simple puzzles, key collecting and platforming. You have to make some Prince of Persia style chasm leaps.

As for the graphics well they are very atmospheric, the game starts off with you in a mine and the place looks pretty depressing it looks dark it looks damp and uninviting. There are slaves who are wearing ragged clothing it really sets the atmosphere well the game has the feel of a sort dark comic book. I don’t think it is visually as impressive as some of the other games of its type, for example I like the style of Another world/ Out of this world much more but what we have here fits the game. The sound is somewhat disappointing the music is acceptable but some of the sound effects really will get on your nerves after a while.

In conclusion I like this game but I don’t think its flawless or anything, in fact I think some of the similar games I have already reviewed are better but I would still give it a good 7 out of 10. Now should you buy it for your SNES? Well to start with I would tell you that in 2013 the game was added to Battle.net as free download which can be played on your PC emulated through DOSBox, practically any pc you’re going to have will be able to run this without using even an ounce of its power. You could either use this to play the game or failing that at least demo it to see if it’s the kind of thing you’d enjoy getting hold of for your Super Nintendo. If you feel the need to own the game well the cheapest pal cart I could find for it was 27quid, even looking at imports only seemed to shave a few pounds off it. Considering some of the things you could get for your SNES for less I think your money would be better spent elsewhere.

Last edited by kerr9000 on Mon Feb 12, 2018 2:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PostRe: 150 SNES Games at the speed I can handle
by kerr9000 » Wed Feb 07, 2018 6:41 pm

SNES Game review 77: Beauty and the Beast

Almost everyone knows that there were some amazing Disney games back in the old days. During the 8bit days almost everything Disney related came from one study and that was Capcom. They gave us the excellent platforming master piece Duck Tales, the fun megaman style DarkWing duck game, chip and dale rescue rangers and then moving on to the SNES they gave us the Magical Quest starring Mickey Mouse, the Snes version of Aladdin, Goof Troop. Eventually though when Capcom’s exclusivity contract for Disney games on Nintendo systems came to an end Disney games began to come out which were developed and published by different studios so today we will be looking at one of those to see how it holds up.

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The game I am going to be talking about today is beauty and the beast. Now it’s important for me to say that this film is kind of important to me for many reasons. Before I even knew her my fiancé had gained the nickname Belle, maybe from her love of books but however she gained it what is important is that it had gotten to the point where people used it more than her actual birth name. So when I met her I met her as Belle, add in to it the fact that I am a large hairy guy and you can imagine the name I soon gained around some of her friends. This has kind of led to it becoming our film, it’s a film we both enjoy despite having wildly differing taste in films, I usually want to watch something involving zombies or werewolves ripping in to flesh and she enjoys something a little bit more light and frothy so when we just want to put something on neither of us will hate this is the film. So to this end I know the music and the lines far more than any adult male should. So with that said I am either going to be biased because of my love for the film or as sometimes happens I am going to be one hell of a picky git and expect miracles from this game because of the name and license attached to it.

The game was programmed by Probe Software who started out producing games in the days of the spectrum and the commodore 64. They no longer exist today, they were brought up by Acclaim and became Acclaim Cheltenham (they were a British video game studio located in Croydon) but they died when Acclaim declared bankruptcy in 2004. Probe was responsible for developing Mortal Kombat and Mortal Kombat II for the Sega Mega Drive and then Extreme-G and Extreme-G 2 for Nintendo 64. They were also well known for successful licensed games such as Die Hard Trilogy and Alien Trilogy all of these are games I have played and more importantly enjoyed so going in to this I was hoping beauty and the beast would be yet another example of them doing the almost impossible and producing a good licensed game.

Starting with the intro to the game although the story is told mostly in static images they are very fitting and combined with the excellent 16bit rendition of a piece of the films music it really sets things off well. The music is actually this games biggest strong point, pretty much all of it is based on songs from the film. It’s like the lyrics have been stripped away, the then the raw melodies have been recreated in a midi format and then remixed slightly to fit the needs of the game, sometimes this is a case of making them a little bit more repetitive so that they can be easily looped without it being too obvious. The games soundtrack is easily up there with anything that Capcom did musically unfortunately I don’t think anything else here lives up to the music.

The graphics are decent, the main character sprite and the sprites for the important characters are all well done, the backgrounds seem to have a fair amount of layers however they have a very cut and paste feel about them, if the gameplay was amazing this wouldn’t be an issue. In fact nothing presentation wise is an issue with this game, it has the music you want, it has graphics that would be more than satisfactory, where this game really falls flat on its behind is in the gameplay department.

Story wise Beauty and The Beast has you playing as the Beast. The intro tells the story well but at the beginning you see Belle run off in to the depths of your dangerous castle which seems to be filled with bats, rats, evil candles, and other things that clearly want to kill you, so yeah it has changed things a bit from the film as beasts castle was never filled with generic video game lower caste baddies but you can see why it is here. The problem is that despite how powerful and impressive the beast is supposed to be he can so easily be killed by one or two bats. The main villain here though is beast’s bad controls. For a start there's some pretty serious lag between when you press the buttons on your controller and when Beast actually does what you have told him to do. You can run you can jump you can slash, and you can roar which doesn’t actually seem like a bad move set for a game of this type. The issue here though is that you need to sort of decide to do something 2 seconds before it needs doing in order to hit your enemies or to make the right jump, sure you adjust to this but with the enemies being faster than you basically you end up having to work out where things are and then think about it far more than you should need to. When your hit or you fail to do what you were trying to do you always want to blame the game and its awful lag and over powered minions. In short this game just is not very fun.

I looked at a few review scores for this game from back in the day around its release and couldn’t believe how wildly different some of the scores happened to be. One German magazine gave it an amazingly bad 35% yet there was an American magazine which scored this game at 90%, it’s hard to believe that they were both playing the same game, in fact it is hard to imagine anyone giving this game anything approaching 90%. I would score this game 4 out of 10 and it only gets that score because of its soundtrack. I recommend that unless you’re a massive fan of this film and feel the need to try this game that you just leave it be. If you feel that you need to get your hands on a cart though well an English cart only version seems to go for between 14 to 18quid, the cheapest import cart I could see was a Japanese one going for around 7quid. This is definitely a case of just watch the film.

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PostRe: 150 SNES Games at the speed I can handle
by kerr9000 » Wed Feb 07, 2018 6:41 pm

Game 78

One of my favourite sayings of all time is ‘’you can’t polish a turd’’ Yes it might be immature, but there is a plain straight message there and it clearly states that if something is bad it is bad no matter how much you try to clean it up and persuade people otherwise. I have used this phrase in the past when talking about a countless number of games, I have basically claimed that the engine sucks or that it is too broken and that it is basically beyond help. Well I was reading about the game I am going to review today and I found out a few interesting bits of information and one of them really surprised me.

The game I am reviewing right now used the same game engine as the Wayne's World video game. That should be enough to make me run in fear, to make me refuse to even try the game, after all I did try Wayne’s world when I was a kid and it was one of the most awful things I had ever played, a real turd that I felt was without any real merit at all. Then again though I also played this game as a kid and really enjoyed it, without even realising its connection to the evil one. I won’t be reviewing Wayne’s world basically because I am fortunate enough not to own it, however I will give a very brief summing up of its major issues as they will help me in explaining what has been fixed in the game I am reviewing. Wayne’s world had annoyingly long levels with no real direction, you wander aimlessly hearing the same music repeat and repeat with annoying sound effects and enemies which seemed to hit you before you had realised exactly what they were, the controls also seemed a fair bit off, all in all it was a terrible move license with no redeeming qualities at all. In fact it is one of the games you often hear being referred to as the worst on the system (If it is not the worst well you’d certainly be hard pressed to argue it wasn't in the top 10% of worst games for the system).



The game I am reviewing is B.O.B or as it is known in Japan Space Funky B.O.B. The game was developed by Gray Matter Inc. (the creators of Wayne's World) and Foley Hi-Tech Systems. It was published by Electronic Arts and released on the Sega Mega drive/Genesis and the Super Nintendo, obviously it’s the SNES version I am talking about but they are actually of about equal quality. To be honest I had never heard of Foley Hi-Tech Systems but reading up on them it’s not surprising, they were only ever involved in 10 games only 3 of which actually managed to make it to market. So a game by the makers of Wayne’s world and a studio who started far more than they finished doesn’t sound like the best start really does it?

Playing it now I can see the connections to Wayne’s world in the basics of the game but they got so much right this time. First the levels are much much smaller which would sound bad on one level because you’d think it would cut down play time but nope this is countered by the fact that there are a lot more of them. So we have swapped long boring levels you get lost in for lots of small short faster levels which gives the game a totally different pace and feel.
The story is as simple as can be B.O.B. who can best be described as a sort of robotic antman, ruins his dad’s car and crash lands on a planet covered in domes. He enters a dome and there are enemies in it, so he has to battle his way through them to try and find a new means of transport so he can get home on time.

The graphics in this game might not be the best you’ll see on the system but they are full of detail. B.O.B. himself is full of character, one of the best examples is when he moves along an overhead pole, literally as he moves you can see every one of his fingers move along the pole, you’ll see him blink and swing, it gives it a nice cartoon feel. In fact the entire game seems to do its best to try and feel like a cartoon with the graphics and the sound effects. The music is unfortunately repetitive, it pretty much just consists of about three tracks. This is something it unfortunately shares with Wayne’s world but at least the sound effects are far less wretched.

Another interesting bit of trivia about this game is that in 2008 the source code of the SNES version became available as it was found on a hard drive that someone purchased via ebay.

So do I like B.O.B.? Well I think you can tell from the review I do rather enjoy the game, it is no masterpiece but considering the game it shares its engine with it is a surprisingly decent game. I would give this game something around 6.5 out of 10. Its fun in short bursts but it’s not the sort of thing that sets the world alight. If you really want to try it then I have seen copies of the cart go for around the 8pound point, with box copies not being that much higher. For anyone that owns a PSP it is also worth noting that it is on the EA Replay disc alongside the SNES version of Syndicate, Ultima VII, wing Commander and a bunch of megadrive games so this might be a good way to sample a whole host of 16bit games for a very reasonable price (I find it important to note though that some people complain about a few of the games soundtracks having been altered due to copyright issues.)

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PostRe: 150 SNES Games at the speed I can handle
by kerr9000 » Wed Feb 07, 2018 6:42 pm

Game 79

Sometimes when you look back on certain video games they remind you of more than the game sometimes they will remind you of a time, a place or a person. A lot of the games I have reviewed and talked about have connections like this. Combatribes for example reminds me of a local Pizza parlour in my home town. The main reason for this is because they had it in there for a long time, it was pushed in the corner and you’d stick a few twenty pence pieces in it and see how far you could get while you were waiting for your pizza to be made, most of the time this would be after having seen something in the local cinema. The cinema is gone now as is the arcade machine but the pizza parlour is still going strong but every time I pass it I look in that lonely corner and sigh wishing there was still an arcade machine there.

The game I am going to talk about today though doesn’t remind me of a time or a place it reminds me of a person, a friend. This particular friend had a love of RPG style games that seemed to have no limit, he was the first one to get and play all of the final fantasy games, secret of mana, etcetera. Most people would quickly see what he had gotten and after listening to him excitedly go on and on about it or after him turning up at their house with it singing its praises well let’s just say they would be buying it as soon as possible. One game though he just couldn’t seem to get anyone interested in, I have to admit on first glance even I couldn’t see what it was that attracted him to it. After sitting and watching him restart the game in front of me though it wasn’t long before I was asking for a go. The game was ShadowRun.

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I had heard a little bit about the original Shadowrun the pen and paper role playing game but when it came to that kind of thing the people I knew where generally into citadel miniatures Warhammer 4000. I still have never played the original roleplaying game of Shadow run so I won’t be comparing this game to it nor have I ever done but knowing this at the time did give me a rough idea of what to expect.

Ok so the story goes a little like this it is 2050 you play a guy called Jake Armitage, an information courier who is shot supposedly dead and taken to the morgue. You wake up on the slab with a sore head and no idea of who you are. Your basic mission throughout the game is to try and work out who you are and what happened to you. You’re in a world with guns which are basically based on sort of current technology, but there are orcs and trolls, not the dumb kind who walk around naked holding spears and axes, no these guys wear leather jackets have shotguns, pistols, uzi’s, hacking computers and hire themselves out as thugs, protectors, hackers, killers etcetera. I won’t spoil any more of it than this but this gives you a basic idea of the world this game is set in and your place within it.
Ok so to get a few things out of the way this is not a graphically impressive game for a start the sprites are small, sometimes rather lacking in detail but there is often quite a lot of enemies moving around on screen shooting all over the place so you can kind of see why.

The levels of animation on the sprites are also at times rather limited and there are issues of repetition with sprites and the portraits used for faces when you are speaking with people being reused again and again. I can see why some people would be put off by this but it would be a shame if people were to judge it based on appearances and not try and get in to it.

The music is decent and easy enough to listen to, but it’s not impressive not when compared to some of the beautiful RPG soundtracks that found their way on to the SNES but it fits and it doesn’t annoy so it works.

The game almost feels like you should be playing it with a mouse, its part RPG but then there is also at times a sort of point and click element to it. You highlight doors or cupboards and select options like ‘’look’’ ‘’open’’ etcetera. You also do the same sort of thing when interacting with individuals picking what you want to say. The talking with people part is handled quiet interestingly there are various topics of conversation that you can use these form a database which can be made larger through picking up new terms from the people you talk to. So, to explain this, imagine that you talking with a person and they mention a club ‘’the purple banana’’ then the name of this club if it is highlighted will go into your topics database, and you will able to ask anybody that you meet about the club by selecting ‘’the purple banana’’ from your list of topics (this club is not really in the game but it helps me make my point without spoiling anything). This actually makes you feel you have a lot more freedom than in some games when it comes to talking to other characters, there is a lot of un-needed answers added in just to make the world feel real and I appreciate the effort that’s gone in to this.

The graphics are not amazing nor is the sound, the story is interesting if clichéd at points but the world they have built up around the game feels big and real, if you can get past how basic it looks on the surface and get your head in the game, get your heart in to the story then you have an incredible game here. I feel very comfortable giving this game a very hearty recommendation and scoring it 9 out of 10. It only loses out on perfection due to its lack of graphical and audio polish and a bit of repetition but none of its issues can hold it back once you have found yourself deep in its clutches. It is also quite a long game so provides a good ratio of bang for your buck. An English cart typically seems to end up going for around the £35 to £40 price point which is a lot, I haven’t even seen a boxed one in I don’t know how long, but if you can play American games you can with some searching cut that price down to around £25 and this is a rare case when I would say its worth it (Also to my knowledge there has never been a digital virtual console version of this on any system). As a side note if you don’t want to invest so highly in this game either because it’s a fair bit of cash or your worried that it won’t be your thing there are some new PC shadowrun games available on steam which are very much in the style of this game. Shadowrun Returns and Shadowrun Dragonfall are both about £11 each but I have seen them go down to as low as about £4 during steam or humble bundle store sales so if it sounds interesting keep your eyes open.

So what happened to my friend who introduced Shadowrun on the SNES to me? He has moved to America now and no longer plays Video games. I don’t get to talk to him that often as he is busy with his work and family but I will always think back and remember him as that excited guy who couldn’t wait for RPG’s to come out, who would buy some of them in Japanese and just plough his way through them the best he could and I will never be able to play a shadowrun related game without thinking of him and smiling.

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PostRe: 150 SNES Games at the speed I can handle
by kerr9000 » Wed Feb 07, 2018 6:42 pm

SNES Game Review 80: Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest AKA Super Donkey Kong 2: Dixie & Diddy

What with Rare Replay having come out just recently celebrating the companies long history I thought it would be a good time to review a SNES game made by them. Now there are no SNES games on Rare replay with 3 of them it is because Nintendo owns the rights to them these are the Donkey Kong Country games. Now I already reviewed the first Donkey Kong Country so now I guess it is time to talk about its first sequel.

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So Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest or as it is known as in Japan Super Donkey Kong 2: Dixie & Diddy was a 1995 adventure platforming video game developed by Rare and published by Nintendo for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. It was released in November 1995 in Japan and America coming here mid-December. Now I wish I could tell a heart-warming tale of my youth in how I waited for this game with bated breath or how I got it and my friends got it and we all played it together but the real truth is it largely passed me by. There used to be a great game shop in my small town and the guy who owned it had a Japanese Super Nintendo Television, it was literally a TV with a cart slot in the top and he had the Japanese version of this in there on it trying to encourage sales, I used to fetch him coffee and check on competitors prices for him and in return he gave me enough cash to get myself a coffee as well and let me play on the games. So I played enough of it there to know that it was good but it launched just after the original PlayStation and everyone was saving and scrambling trying to get their hands on one of those.

It is a shame when the twilight games for one system get shadowed by the arrival of new technology but part of the world of Video games is built on this continual technological progress. I eventually got my own copy of Donkey Kong country 2 as a boxed NTSC American game along with American copies of the other two Donkey Kong Country games but what I used for the purpose of this review was a loose Japanese Cart I picked up about 4 months ago. As the title suggests, this is really Diddy Kong’s game, in fact you can’t even be Donkey Kong in it, he has been kidnapped and the plot of the game is that Diddy along with a female companion called Dixie is on a quest to rescue him.

The gameplay is pretty much the same as in the original but most players will notice that the levels soon increase in difficulty, this would make it a bit tough as a starting point for newcomers but it is ideal for those who have played the original as it lets you sort of carry on enjoying the gameplay without you having to be babied through the start of the game. Diddy Kong’s Quest is pretty much equal in terms of its graphics and audio to its predecessor but really the first one was pushing the machine hard so it would be foolish to have expected any great leaps. The atmospheric orchestrated soundtrack returns, providing catchy and eerie tunes alike. The music is beautiful, I cannot fault it even in the slightest and the graphics are very detailed, with brilliant charter animation and design which is absolutely full of character.

Much like in the first game you get to switch between the games two characters. Diddy is the quicker character, but Dixie has the ability to glide in the air by using her pigtails, which begs the question how in the heck does that work? There are still animals to ride, things to collect and bonus stages to enjoy. If you have played the first game then you know exactly what you are getting yourself into.

To be honest I really like this game and would have no trouble recommending it, it is a lot better than some of the PlayStation games which people were going wild for at its time of release. A lot of us would probably have been better off enjoying this and biding our time waiting a little longer for the PlayStation but it’s easy to say that in hindsight. I would however recommend the original first unless you already own that as it is a much better starting point and would most probably be a great deal easier to find. If forced to give this game a score I would give it an 8 out of 10, it’s a sold good looking chunk of platforming but it really is a typical by the numbers sequel.

OK so if you want to buy it how much of an investment are you looking at? Well it’s on the Wii U Virtual console for the usual price (I think it’s about £6.50 it’s been awhile since I have purchased a SNES game on there) which if you just want to play it is a fair figure for a great game like this. If you want a real pal cartridge the price for a copy seems to start around £18 but in some cases can be much higher, I have seen actual retro stores try to get up to £40 for a loose cart, boxed versions will usually start around £40 with the condition and price varying widely. If you want to save some cash but still play it on a Super Nintendo and can play imports I have frequently seen Japanese copies on eBay under the name Donkey Kong Country 2 including postage go for around £6 to £7 and with it being a cartoon platformer there is no real language barrier this would probably be my recommendation.

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PostRe: 150 SNES Games at the speed I can handle
by kerr9000 » Wed Feb 07, 2018 6:42 pm

SNES Game review 81: WWF Super WrestleMania

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Ok so I kind of feel like I should have tackled this game earlier so I could pace out the WWF reviews but oh well it’s a bit late now (WWF the former name of what is now known as the WWE, World Wrestling Entertainment). So WWF Super WrestleMania is a multiplatform wrestling video game based on the World Wrestling Federation it was released in 1992 for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis. The game was developed by a company called Sculptured Software and was released on the Super Nintendo by the infamous LJN.

Sculptured Software Inc. was a video game developer based in the Salt Lake City, Utah metropolitan area. There area of specialisation seemed to lay in the field of porting games to differing platforms. They were responsible for at least 8 wrestling games as far as I know with the last being WWF Warzone on the PS1. They were responsible for two other 16-bit WWF games, WWF Royal Rumble and WWF Raw, which I will hopefully talk about in the future.
Now I am going to talk about one of my first and biggest issues with this game. Despite being pretty much the same game on both the SNES and Mega Drive with minor differences someone decided that they would give the games different roster’s, I am not sure if there was any real reason for this, maybe they thought it might inspire some people to buy both?

The SNES roster is a little bit larger, with ten wrestlers compared to the mega drives eight. The only wrestlers in both versions are Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage and Ted DiBiase. The SNES version also includes Jake Roberts, The Undertaker, Sid Justice, The Legion of Doom, and The Natural Disasters. The Mega drive version has The Ultimate Warrior, Papa Shango, Irwin R. Schyster, The British Bulldog, and Shawn Michaels. Yes old games didn’t have the dizzying amount of wrestlers you would find in a modern game but why oh why split the number between platforms, surly if you have done the work on the character it wouldn’t be that hard to have them in both versions would it?

It is not like there is mountains and mountains of effort made in making each wrestler feel different, sure they might look different but all wrestlers share the same set of standard wrestling moves slams, suplexes, dropkicks, clotheslines etcetera. There is only a few modes basically a one-on-one mode, tag team mode, and four-on-four Survivor Series elimination style match mode.

It needs to be remembered that when this came out Wrestling was at an all-time high, the crowd for SummerSlam 1992 was one of the biggest in WWF history. Hopes were high as well due to the fact that we had been treated to WWF Superstars the arcade game followed with the release of WWF WrestleFest in 1991 which were absolutely awesome arcade games. We all felt that with the added power of our 16bit consoles in comparison to the 8bit machines we had left behind we could get something which would not be too far away from these great games and that we would be able to remake some of the best matches we had witnessed recently.

Graphics wise by now days standards the graphics are not up to much but I guess for the time it came out really they were not bad at all the wrestlers look like they're real-life counterparts and everything moves around how you would hope for. As far as sound goes well there really is not much sound, there is the title screen music, and the wrestlers theme music and then the odd grunts and groan. I suppose the best thing you can say is it serves its purpose.

I have made this point already but it needs saying again every wrestler has exactly the same moves as all the rest, there is no reason to have a favourite beyond the fact it is the one you liked to watch as a kid. There are no specials or finishers. Beyond this it needs stating that the way you perform the moves is through button mashing, he who mashes quickest wins, which I guess is not the worst way to handle things but it does mean you will batter the heck out of your pads if you have too many heavy button-mashing. I am not criticising the button mashing blaming it for the game I blame the fact that it all just feels a little soulless, it lacks the sense of fun and tension which you got from the arcade WWF games I mentioned earlier.

Would I recommend this game? Not really I would give it a 4 out of 10. Maybe once this was pretty much the best you would get on a console when it came to wrestling, well at least without importing or waiting till latter in the consoles life span. I am sure rather than spending the £7 this game tends to go for as a loose cart online you would be much better served going in to a shop and looking for a modern wrestling game with at least 3 times the characters, additions we now have like create a wrestler, either that or look into a none WWF related game like Saturday night slam masters or import a copy of fire pro wrestling if you want a good Snes wrestling game and don’t mind paying a little more or going to a little more effort.

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PostRe: 150 SNES Games at the speed I can handle
by kerr9000 » Wed Feb 07, 2018 6:43 pm

Game 82: Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble!

Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble! Or as it is known as in Japan Super Donkey Kong 3: Mystery of Kremis Island is surprise surprise a platforming video game developed by Rare and published by Nintendo for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in 1996. The game was the final instalment in the Donkey Kong Country series to appear on that console and it very much sticks to the formula set by the first game. The game was also ported to the Game Boy Advance in 2005 but it had a different soundtrack and added features, I guess this makes it one of the games which added to the SNES based library on that machine making people often refer to it as a sort of portable SNES. Still I am glad it got rereleased like this because I don’t think it got the attention it deserved. I would defiantly argue that Sales of the game were hurt by the release of the Nintendo 64 console, which came out a few months before this game. Sure the original Playstation came out around the time of the second game but that was a rival machine and some people loved Nintendo so much that they wouldn’t jump ship, but this game launch alongside their own ‘’superior hardware’’ this resulted in this game having even lower sales than the previous entry. I must admit though even though it didn’t do the numbers I think it deserves it did far better than one might expect and Nintendo could defiantly consider it a success.

I have to admit I don’t have a big story about how I came to play this game. I don’t think I even had a go on it at release. None of my friends got it, none of the independent shops I knew were letting people play it, heck most of them didn’t even seem to be stocking it. I wasn’t pre-occupied with a Nintendo 64 either as I didn’t get my first one of those till over a year after release and then it was a second hand machine which I sold about another year latter to help fund my second PC for doing college work on (I did get another one not to long after). I guess I was pre-occupied with my PlayStation, I think around this time I would have been hammering Tekken 2 and Kingsfield (This is a game made by the people responsible for dark souls games and can be seen as something of a predecessor to them). I got my first copy of Donkey Kong country 3 as an American version long alongside American version of the rest of the trilogy. I am trying to pin down exactly when in my mind but it’s difficult, I know they were a Christmas present and I remember the gamecube being the console under my main television. My SNES was set up upstairs and I had gotten a good number of retro games that Christmas. Once dinner had been taken care of, I had played with my daughter and finally put her to bed for the night I went and started to play through the games and this session would be my first proper experience of the third Donkey Kong country game.

So in this game Dixie Kong has got a promotion from sidekick status and is the main hero, and her sidekick is her baby cousin named Kiddy Kong. This is something I always found a little weird with the Donkey Kong country games. Mario is the hero in the first Mario, the hero in the second the hero in more or less every game only going missing or getting captured for strange side projects, if he is missing Luigi fills in but is automatically demoted the second his brother is back. In the Donkey Kong games in an actual numbered sequel Donkey Kong is gone and his side kick has become the hero, in a numbered sequel it blows my mind. So you take that knowledge and then when you hear that a third one is coming you sort of go Oh the Kong man will be back and in charge and maybe just to add to it and go one bigger one better he will have Diddy and Dixie tag along. What we got though was a promoted sidekick’s sidekick now becoming the star of the 3RD game with a sidekick of her own. I never really got the Dixie character I know a lot of people complained that Diddy was a product of board meetings on throwing in something that was hip and cool at the time, a cap wearing boom box carrying, dancing down with the kids walking promotional tool and that might be how he started his life but within a few levels of the first Donkey Kong Country he had found a place in my heart, the way I saw him was as a youngster following around and trying to emulate the much bigger older Donkey Kong, he was the shortround to Donkeys Indiana Jones so to speak. Dixie felt like hey lets have a female Kong so we aren’t seen as sexist and girls might like this, maybe other people feel different to me on this and I guess beyond a mild annoyance it doesn’t really alter the game really. Kiddy Kong also feels a little barrel scrappy to me to be fair. Personally I had kind of hoped that they would have gone a little bigger with things, that we would have had some Super Mario 2 (Mario USA) going on with like 4 characters you can select from all with their strengths and weaknesses, so you’d choose 2 to take on your adventure.

OK I am very aware that I have gone a little negative here but let’s just stop and admit that the first game in particularly shocked the living heck out of us all, people assumed it was headed for the N64 and didn’t think the humble SNES could handle something like that, so it’s a bit negative of me to expect giant leaps. What we did get was a series which consistently provided a high level of entertainment and tried to provide more and more content despite the fact it must have been pushing the ever living crap out of the system.

So let’s get on to the positives. The level designs in Donkey Kong country 3 give players more opportunity to interact with the environment than the layouts in the previous games did. Sure the game still contains the standard mix of platform jumping and enemy killing, rope climbing and barrel blasting, walls and floors to smash, but now there are also switches to pull, rocket barrels to ride in and other little added bits. There are a few forced scrolling stages too, involving mine carts, sleds etcetera which add a great change of pace every now and then. Riding on top of and transforming into animal friends once again comes into play. Rideable animal buddies are once again in the game but there are some new faces added here. One area where I would argue this game improves upon is the bosses they just seem to be that little bit more creativity than those in the previous DKC games did, I would also say in some cases the way you dispatch them is also more interesting but I don’t want to give spoilers here as more people really need to give this third entry a try. It can be argued that the changes I have mentioned on top of the already high quality found across the whole series make this third instalment the best of the trilogy even if it is nothing much more than a cookie cutter sequel with the expected added layer of chocolate sprinkles.

The game has amazing graphics, great sound, bags full of replay value, both in the way there is lots to collect but also in the way that it is so fun to play you won’t care if you have finished it before or not. Do I recommend it? Well that depends do you own the original Donkey Kong country? If you don’t own that game then it is the perfect starting point to this adventure and you can most likely pick it up far cheaper than this game. If you own or have finished that game though and want more then YES get this game, and grab number 2 while you are at it. It is important to mention that the GBA version does have added levels and features so if you are a GBA fan you might want to consider that version. Personally I am glad to own the SNES one as its great to have all 3 games across the same platform. If you want this game it is available on the Wii U for the usual price of a SNES virtual console game but if you want a cart based copy then you will be looking at about £18 to £25 pounds for just the cart (I have seen it as high as £55 in some retro shops) looking at price upwards of £40 for a boxed pal cart. If you have the ability to play imports then the cheapest way to go is to go for a Japanese loose cart of the game which you should be able to find for around £7 on ebay including postage (although people do try and get the same kind of £20 price for these sometimes).

I do wonder if demand for this and the other SNES Rare games will increase now with Rare Replay wetting peoples appetites it wouldn't be a bad thing if that game encourages people to look for the Rare games that didn't make it on there for various copyright and space issues. I also hope that the Number One chart position Rare Replay hit along with there general high quality output in the past will give the company a rebirth with Microsoft treating them a bit more seriously and investing. I know a lot of people who made Rare into Rare have long since left but I don't think the spirit of Rare is dead, even if it is treading water on life support at this moment in time, lets all hope Rare Replays sales can be the start of an attempt at resuscitation.

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PostRe: 150 SNES Games at the speed I can handle
by kerr9000 » Wed Feb 07, 2018 6:44 pm

SNES Game Review 83: Toys

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Toys was a 1992 fantasy comedy film directed by Barry Levinson and starring Robin Williams one of the in my opinion most talented comedians people have had the pleasure of seeing on film yet even though it hurts me to criticize something staring the man the film was pants. This is not just my opinion though the thing tanked at the box office at the time of its release, despite having not only Williams but an impressive cast in general and a forty three million dollar budget. The film was criticized for a lack of plot focus and poor direction even to the point that its director was nominated for a Razzie Award for Worst Director. The real thing it proved though was that despite his amazing talent Robin Williams could be in a flop and that his raw talent was not enough to turn any old mess in to gold.

Now it is a sort of unwritten rule in the world of video games and to be honest this was even more true back in the SNES days that if it is a movie license then nine times out of ten it is going to be a steaming bag of manure. So before this game came out no one expected anything of it after all it was a video game not only based on a film but based on a bad film.

So Toys was an Action game based on the film, developed by Imagineering Inc which was an in house develop for the publishing company Absolute Entertainment. It was released in 1993. In general all the company had ever released on Nintendo platforms was a bunch of games that either had received either very mixed or very mediocre reviews including a bunch of Bart Simpson based NES games and TV quiz based NES games so as far as I remember expectations were absolutely in the gutter. This being true I avoided it like the plague, I remember seeing it on store shelves for £40 and then less and less and less until it was like £5 in bargain bins and I still didn’t try it. Sure at this very moment I am considering buying one of the apparently worst PS4 games released so far for £5 to see if it’s as bad as people claim but back when the SNES was out I was having to use my pocket money to get games or I was having to ask for them for Christmas, £5 I would have spent on this would have been £5 I couldn’t put towards a game of some actual worth. So here I am now trying this game for the first time years and years after its release. It could be argued that I am going to judge it on nowadays standards as opposed to based on how it stands when compared to games of its time but trust me I will keep what things were like back at the time very much in mind.
Ok so popping it in the first thing you are met with is the intro sequence which is nothing special at all it literally just tells you the story with blinding white and light blue text which seems to come out of a static elephant statue as words written in water. Now one thing they did right was to not try to make the whole film in to a game scene for scene, some parts of a film just wouldn’t really translate to a game as it stands the game basically starts in the last third of the film with you infiltrating the Zevo Toy Factory that is being run by General Leland Zevo.
The kindest thing I can say about the graphics is that they are extremely average for when this game came out, sure I might just have played Donkey Kong Country 3 one of the finest looking game on the SNES but don’t worry I popped a few games in the slot between this and that to cleanse my pallet and still came away with average being the nicest thing I could say. The music's also can kindly be described as average but it is also totally 100% forgettable. The sound effects are best explained with the term mixed bag, sure some of them are kind of nice but others are just plain awful. The controls don’t actually feel bad at all, which is what I usually find is the thing which makes for a bad game. I mean if it’s good to play and can hook you in then average or even bad graphics and sound can be forgiven and/or ignored.

The basic idea of the game is that you use happy fun children’s toys to try and attack and beat war based toys, so you’re shooting at tanks and helicopters with an elephant head peanut firing gun, or sending spinning tops or toy robot ducks at them. This could be fun, I mean look at other games such as Zombies Ate my neighbours were a wide variety of weapons all have different strengths and weaknesses, but the truth is all of these weapons seem to do nothing to the enemy, it really does feel like you’re throwing peanuts at a tank and hoping it will somehow blow up. In fact on my first go the only thing that seemed to die from my attacks was the walking bombs. On my second go I did get a little bit better, I collected more types of toys and worked out where to stand so I could hit things more than they hit me and I did manage to kill a jeep or two but the cameras you need to get rid of are surrounded by tanks and I literally used everything I had to try and destroy a tank and got nowhere. I even tried to attack the thing I am certain is the camera in case I could just run in destroy it and jog on before the tanks could kill me and that didn’t work. I actually cannot make any progress in this game at all and this sucks the very fun out of what in theory could have been a good fun game.

I have to score this game pretty low and I would not recommend it to anyone unless they are a diehard collector who just wants everything and then I would say make sure you get it cheap. It doesn’t feel as broken as other bad games I have played like Ultraman and The Rocketeer but I think I actually got less fun out of it and was more frustrated, rocketeer might have been a mess but with effort I made some progress. Bearing all of this in mind and the fact that the main purpose of a game is entertainment I feel I have to give this a score of 2 out of 10. If you’re a glutton for punishment or a collector the cheapest I can find it for online at this very moment in time is £10 for a cart. I paid £4 for my copy, £4 with free postage complete and in fairly good condition. The copy I got was advertised as an NTSC version which I think might have helped but when it arrived it was PAL. Do I regret buying it? Not really I like to see what exists for a machine both good and bad and at least now I can have my own opinion rather than having to just say ‘’well I have heard its bad’’.

If you want a fun game based around toys then I would strongly recommend Toy Soldiers on the Xbox 360 live arcade which sells for the excellent price of £6.75 , it also has two sequels the first of which I have also tried and loved and the second of which I am strongly considering purchasing. I recommend you look the series up.

Last edited by kerr9000 on Mon Feb 12, 2018 2:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PostRe: 150 SNES Games at the speed I can handle
by kerr9000 » Wed Feb 07, 2018 6:44 pm

SNES Game review 84: Super Mario All-Stars

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I didn’t own a NES on release for many reasons, but I did get to play on one now and then as my older brother’s friend owned one. At the time when the NES was about I was playing on a combination of 128K Spectrum and Atari 2600. I would put a game to load on the spectrum and play the Atari until it managed to load, this was largely because the spectrum games where better but Atari’s cartridges where more instantaneous. So when I got a megadrive and then a SNES it was amazing to have such an increase in quality alongside that instant ability to play. I had played the NES Mario games but I had never owned them. So when Super Mario All-Stars was announced it was an excellent chance to get four games in one go on one cartridge. I did later get myself a NES and begin collecting carts but that’s another story.

At the time I had played Super Mario brothers and Super Mario brothers 3 but I had as far as I can remember never played Mario 2, on top of that there was Super Mario Bros the lost levels which hadn’t been released in this country before. Amongst my friends that was the part of the package which attracted the most hype, the release of a never before released in the UK Mario game, a game which was supposed to be so hard it had been deemed beyond are abilities. By this point we had all beat the living heck out of Super Mario World the SNES launch title but we couldn’t get enough of it, we all tried to be the first one to unlock every level, the person to have the quickest time in a certain level, we would all find every way possible in which to push ourselves and to challenge our friends. So even before this game came out we were all positively itching to get our hands on this cart to prove our skills to be the first one to conquer it. I find it amusing that one of the key things that made us want this collection was the very reason we never got Lost Worlds in the first place, its brutal difficulty.

I am sure that most people have heard this story before and know that the Super Mario Bros 2 we got was a retrofitted version of a Japanese Famicom (NES) game called Doki Doki Panic. If I was to try and review and rate the Lost worlds on its own it would be a somewhat difficult thing to do. It is at points challenging to a brutal level, to a level where it is almost at times no longer fun. If it had been released now I think it would have been called the Dark Souls of the Mario universe. Also by modern standards this game is almost more of a level pack/piece of DLC than a new game. Even taking it on its own basis and reviewing it as a game for when it came out I think I would end up giving it a 7 out of 10 and saying if you love a challenge add a few points to the score and run and grab a copy, if you hate hard games knock a few off and run away. As it stands though as a piece of a bigger whole I think that it is simply amazing. You can start on the original Super Mario Brothers that most know and love, you can enjoy that grit your teeth on it and then if you feel that your skills have gotten so good you could beat anything then you have Lost Levels to get stuck in to.

Although Super Mario Bros wasn’t the first Mario Bros game it was the first one which held the basics we now consider a staple of the Mario series, scrolling levels, mushrooms and fire flowers, jumping on top of enemies to kill them and jumping on to the flag poles at the end of levels. The music in the game is unforgettable, the main theme is one of those songs which lives in the collective consciousness of most games around my ag, it was and still is a fabulous achievement as a game, some old games I pick up now days and they have not aged well, and while this title might look a little rough around the edges it still plays like an absolute champion, everything else falls by the wayside and it just flys on its pure playability. Everything you learn in the original Super Mario Bros game will see you through most Mario based games. The two games together Super Mario bros and the Lost Levels make the perfect one two punch combo and that’s before you remember that this only accounts for half of the games on this cartridge.

I think more or less everyone had played on Super Mario Bros 3 on a NES and had been amazed, I remember being shocked at what Nintendo managed to get out of the NES with the game, in fact ever since the release of Mario world the debate had raged which was better Mario 3 or Mario World. A port of Mario bros 3 on its own probably would have sold carts to people who had missed the NES and had only got on board the great starship Nintendo with the release of the Super Nintendo and yet it was here as a part of a collection of games. The game is incredibly fun, the introduction of a map screen letting you work out your way through the road would be a staple this title added to the franchise but the game was also the king of the power up. Before Mario had been able to have his fire flower and invincibility star but here he also had the racoon suit, the frog suit, the hammer bros suit, the tanooki suit the P wing. The introduction of the Koopa kids/generals also helped add character to the game. This game sat alongside Super Mario Bros helps to show the evolution of the series. I would argue that this game alone printed on a SNES cart would be worthy of a solid 8 minimum, there are many SNES titles that can’t even live up to part of this game and here it is in a collection.

Then there is Super Mario Bros 2 also known as Super Mario Bros USA. This is the game that Europe and America were given as Mario 2. Like lost levels playing this on my SNES was my first experience of this game. Super Mario Bros and Super Mario Bros 2 had been at times included with a NES so if you knew someone with a NES the odds were high that they would have at least one of these games, this was never to my knowledge the case with Mario Bros 2 so really only people who had gone out of their way to get it had it. All of my friends and people I know knew before the release of Super Mario All Stars that our version of Super Mario Bros 2 was the game Nintendo had blown us off with, the game they had faked for us because of their view of our joypad incompetence, it was viewed to some degree by us as an insult in cartridge form. I am sure others who had sampled it on the NES felt differently about it. From my point of view most of the people who had gotten Super Mario bros 2 in the UK on the NES had not known that it was a different game to the one in Japan, as far as they knew it was Just Mario 2. It was various magazines reporting on the upcoming All Stars Compilation which had explained the origins of the Lost Levels to us and guided us towards some of our feelings.

So what do I think of Super Mario Bros 2/ Mario USA? Well it took it virtually no time at all to grow on me. I started very much with an attitude of ‘’well I have paid for it might as well try it’’ to an attitude of I love this game. It had so much cool stuff going for it the choice of four different characters who all felt different, the fact that it’s the only game in the collection which doesn’t really feel the same, this made it a breath of fresh air. It was cool to have different enemies who were not in the other games and to have a boss who was not Bowser. Yeah it feels a bit weird how you don’t kill things by jumping on their head, all of the vegetable throwing and the sort of Arabian feel to it but I find all of these things eventually become strengths, it is the kooky fun cousin to the regular Mario games, in some ways it might feel less polished and refined than Mario 3 but it has its own style and sense of fun. I think if I had been a NES owner and I could have picked my own Mario bros 2 between this and the lost levels then this would have been the game I would have picked.

Placed together these 4 games make one of the most awesome SNES carts you can find. Super Mario Bros 1 and 3 provide some of the most playable platformers known to mankind, games which have aged like fine wine, Lost levels provides a huge challenge which will either drive you to madness of let the most diehard of players test their skills and Super Mario Bros 2 is the quirky fun different game which you can play when you fancy a change. I cannot recommend this cart highly enough. I would give it a perfect 10 out of 10. I cannot see how you could really do better than this. If you wanted to get this game online then you would be looking at around £15 which I feel is a very good price. I have seen boxed copies go for around £40 if you like to have your games like that. It was also released for the Wii which you can find for as little as £15 sometimes boxed complete if you’re lucky. Either way it’s a brilliant collection.

Last edited by kerr9000 on Mon Feb 12, 2018 3:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PostRe: 150 SNES Games at the speed I can handle
by kerr9000 » Wed Feb 07, 2018 6:44 pm

SNES Game Review 85 Ranma 1/2

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OK so I will apologize in advance, as is often my style this review will be a mix of review, video game history lesson and my memories. So video games have also been a big part of my life, they were when I was a child and they are now but they are not the only thing I am into. When I was about 4 my Dad started buying these video cassettes of Japanese cartoons for me. He knew that I was crazy in to Transformers so he went to try and find me other things like them what he found me was Grandizer,Guyking, StarAvengers and Danguard Ace. I watched these cartoons and loved them to this day I still do so when I was older and everyone started to get into Manga Home Videos like Dominion Tank police and such I was in my element. We all got into anime films and series and one of the ones I found and particularly enjoyed was Ranma ½. So when I came across a pal cart with Ranma ½ wrote on it on a flea market I was incredibly excited. I never expected to see a game based on one of the anime I had been watching, I had never seen the game on the shelves in any store, never heard anyone talk about it so it came as a huge shock. I paid for it straight away without trying to ask if they would take less or without working out how I would get through the rest of the week if I spent all of my pocket money in one go. The answer was very simple I needed this game and if I needed any more money for anything else then I’d have to pocket my school dinner money, go without eating at school and tell my parents I had, yes I did this quiet often.

It would be an understatement if I said that when I got home I excitedly popped the game into my Super Nintendo, and played it for a bit. The market I used to get some of my games from was held on a Thursday night, it started at 6pm and I literally ran home and put the game in my SNES and played it none stop until my parents came in my room and told me to turn the damn machine off and get some sleep as it was a school night, this was around 11.30. I guess this statement in and of itself makes it sound like the game is something great and well it kind of is and it kind of is not. The game is just a standard fighter game in some ways it is sort of just another Street Fighter 2 clone but this time one with Ranma characters. I suppose what you think of this game depends on your tolerance for street fighter clones and also your attitude to Ranma and its characters.

I was shocked that there was a Ranma game on the SNES but the truth is in Japan there were actually 5. The first was a game called Ranma ½: Neighborhood Combat, the game we got was actually a direct sequel to this game. So Did America get the first one? Yes and No it was altered by Irem, it had all of the Ranma characters stripped out of it, the graphics and audio altered and became a game called Street Combat. Now I don’t own Street Combat so I won’t be reviewing it I have however played it and it is dire. To the best of my knowledge it never came to Europe. Japan also got a sequel to the game I am reviewing the Sequel was called Ranma ½: Super-Skill Wild Dance Chapter, this was actually supposed to be released in the USA and possibly Europe afterwards under the title of Ranma ½ Anything Goes Martial Arts, however the company that owned the rights for it went bust leading to its cancellation. So all we ever really got was part 2 of a 3 part fighting franchise (Japan also got a Ranma RPG and a Ranma Puzzle game).

OK well back to the game. This game looks great. The characters are all brilliant sprites who are instantly recognisable and look just like they do in the anime. It goes deeper then this though the graphics are full of brilliant little touches, you can see the wind blowing in the one of the female characters hair, you can also see leaves moving, light blinking all of which adds so wonderfully to the atmosphere. The music really fits in well with the game and its graphics, it also I believe really in the correct style for the anime this is based on. The music is really bouncy and up tempo. It really sets the tone for what is a humorous fun game. Every level has its own song adding to the variety. On top of this there are the sound effects. Just like you would expect all of the actions such as punches and kicks are met with the sort of sounds you would expect and on top of this most specials are accompanied by what sounds like a Japanese voice actor screaming the attack name in pretty broken English, which I actually considering the origin of the source material love.

As for the game itself well you get a choice of characters, sure there is not loads of them but they all do tend to feel unique, there are 10 characters to start with and 2 boss characters one of which is unlockable. Each character has their own reason for fighting which will be explained with text and pictures after you pick them. I think this is great as even if you haven’t watched or read any Ranma it helps draw you in and make you feel a connection to the characters, you want to play your way through the fights to see what happens to them, to see if they get a happy ending or not. This actually gives you a reason to try and get better with the characters that you are not that keen on and so adds to the replay value.

The default controls are a little strange, especially given the fact that there is a jump button instead of just pressing up, this can be changed in the options but if you want to change it then you will need to do so every time you put the game on. The characters are very responsive and the attacks are easy enough to do. The attacks are a little limited in comparison to something like Street fighter 2 as you basically only have a strong attack and weak attack button. Like mortal kombat blocking is assigned to a button as opposed to just pressing back. This does make this a somewhat simple fighter but the game does benefit from the way it sticks so well to its license and makes the most of it. It’s a fun game which although it is not going to change the world is worthwhile if you like fighters or if you like Ranma. This is a game on its own account not some awful street fighter 2 clone.

I am really struggling to give this game a score, it has its strengths and its weaknesses to the point that it has made me bump out my first quarter score in a review so here it goes 6.75, it is a fun game, it’s not a bad fighter but it’s not brilliant, if you want a fighter which is not a Street Fighter, a Mortal Kombat or a Killer instinct you could do a lot worse than this. So if you do want this, well the best way I have seen to get it would be from ebay, the copies I have seen selling in England have been most often ridiculously expensive for what it is but if you look at pal copes from other European countries you can get it for about £15 including delivery. I guess if it’s worth it or not comes down to how much you like fighters and if you’re looking for a new one you don’t have.

Last edited by kerr9000 on Mon Feb 12, 2018 3:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PostRe: 150 SNES Games at the speed I can handle
by kerr9000 » Wed Feb 07, 2018 6:44 pm

SNES Game review 86: Race Drivin

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Sometimes part of reviewing games is about buying things to review. I am going to review 150 SNES games I said, instantly I was met with people asking if I would be reviewing this or that. Now if I was using emulators and illegally downloading games then I could review anything but I made a few early decisions including that I was going to play on an actual system using real cartridges playing with a real joypad. There is no glorious story of how and when I came in to contact with this game I simply brought it purely to review it and one of the key reasons it was picked was due to its price, I paid £3.69 for the Pal Cart and postage which I guess in a way already tells a bit of a tale of what I am in for.

So as you will have already guessed from the photo above the game I will be reviewing today is Hard Drivin. Hard Drivin was originally an arcade game but it made its way to a fair few consoles in the case of the SNES it was programmed by Imagineering Inc and published by THQ. I have touched on Imagineering recently so will just bypass talking about them besides there name is hidden away in the odd credit line with THQ and Tengen (the creators of the arcade version) being the names seen on the cart and in large print in the game.
THQ Inc. is a company I am sure many of you will be familiar with for a number of reasons now I might be wrong but I think this could be the first time I have mentioned them so here is a quick bit of information on them. THQ was a former American video game developer and publisher. They were founded in 1989, they developed products for video game consoles, handheld consoles, and personal computers. Their name stood for “Toy Head-Quarters”, they had offices in North America, Europe and Asia.

The company published both internally created and externally licensed content and they would later become very well known for the likes of the Saints Row series, the Red Faction series, and others. Although they had some titles which were making gang busters levels of money others were literally losing more cash than you could imagine. This is why after several years of financial struggles THQ declared bankruptcy in December 2012 and its assets began to be liquidated the following month, with several properties either being acquired by other developers.
Loading this game I was automatically reminded of an Amiga game I used to play called Stunt Car Racing, as both are sort of polygon based racers with stunts in them, unfortunately all comparisons end there. Think about all of the things you want from a racing game, get a pencil and a piece of paper and make a list. Now I am almost certain that my version and your version of this list of needs would be very different but I am sure that both lists would contain ‘’a sense of speed’’. This is where this game instantly falls down I swear that a child could make a better sense of speed with simplified car drawings in a flick book. Now day’s people moan if a game doesn’t manage 1080p with an almost constant 60 frames per second frame rate. Now I am not mathematician so I haven’t worked out the exact rate at which this game runs, if I was to put it on an emulator and run some tests maybe I could do it, but instead I will just talk about the way it feels. It feels like the game lurches from a slow 5 frames per second to an absolutely crippled 3 frames per second. Yes the graphics are for the time kind of advanced in the fat that it’s a 16bit system using polygon based graphics without any special on board chips as far as I know however the graphics are still bad and as basic as can be. Squares everywhere flat square cows by the square roadside lots of very plain backgrounds lots of green and grey. I think really in truth we just were not ready for what they were attempting at the time. It would have been better to have had simplified graphics and to have tried to keep some of the spirit of the arcade machine.

On to the gameplay more. Well to start with you can pick one of 4 cars, 3 have a manual transmission where you’re responsible for changing the gears and the remaining 1 is automatic but beyond this I cannot tell any real difference in how they handle. Ok so you have picked your car the next thing is to pick your track, well there is not a lot to think about as there is a grand total of 3 to choose from. There is an Autocross track where you just drive then there is a Stunt track, with jumps, and loops. Lastly, there is what is called the Super Stunt track, in this track you go around diagonal corners and drive up on to a raised road you can fall off. The screen itself is sort of split into 3 parts the bottom shows you the cars dashboard, you can see your hands on the wheel and they move the way you’re telling the car to move on the pad and the speed and RPM dials move but this is actually the largest part of the screen. At the top you have the bit above your head in the car and you can see a part of a mirror and then your score and best and lap time are displayed on the upholstery. The actual view of what you are doing, your actual game window is in the middle and it’s a slit which takes up about a third of the screen real estate if that.
This game could be fun with the stunts and the jumps but they have decided to make it sort of over realistic, if you go for a loop or a jump and don’t do it at the perfect speed and land it exactly your windscreen cracks and it puts you back to try it again. This is where they needed to make things a bit looser a bit less true to reality, this is a game people and a games main reason to exist is to be fun, having to be 100% precise to land a jump going just at the right angle just at 35 miles per hour to see a perfect realistic landing is not fun. Sure maybe the first time you manage to actually do it there is a sense of pride but what most people honestly want to do in a game is to floor it and hit that son of a bitch at 90 and land with a bounce the other side and carry on, we all want to pretend to be Evel Knievel not the amazing practical driver. If you want a game that actually makes you feel like good old Evel then I recommend you look at the Joe Danger games as they have gotten the feeling spot on.

Ok so what about the games music? Well in honesty there really isn’t much, you could say that there's 5 pieces in the game, the title, the name input screen music, the car selection screen music, the instant replay music and the game over theme but most of them are little more than short jingles of several notes. As for sound effects there’s a crash noise and there is an engine noise which sounds like it’s been taken from the Atari 2600 version of pole position.

Ok this is quite simply one of the worst games I have reviewed for the SNES it doesn’t do the system any justice at all. I would score this game 2 out of 10. If you are crazy enough to want it then you should with a little bit of looking be able to find a copy in the region of £3.50 to £6 including postage but please spare yourself. Look at the free PC version of the previously mentioned Stunt Car Racer for a far better time http://stuntcarracerwin32.bravesites.com/ or look up one of the other decent SNES racers I have reviewed like TopGear, PowerDrive or Exhaust heat for example.

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PostRe: 150 SNES Games at the speed I can handle
by kerr9000 » Wed Feb 07, 2018 6:46 pm

SNES Game review 87: Kevin Keegan's Player Manager

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Whenever a sim related game seems to come to a console I always hear terms on the lines of ‘’oh it’s been dumbed down for the console retards.’’ The truth is yes some things will have to be altered when bringing a game or type of game which has previously relied on the use of a mouse and a keyboard with over 50 keys on it on to a system which uses a joypad with a d pad and only around eight buttons. This doesn't always have to be a bad thing though there are certain games which have made the jump from PC to console which I have really enjoyed. One example would be Sim City, I actually prefer the SNES version, another example would be the original X-Com Enemy unknown, I think that worked really well on the original PlayStation.

Now Kevin Keegan's Player Manager was based on Player Manager a game released in 1990 for the Amiga, Atari ST and PC. Player Manager was the first game to combine both managing and playing. The engine used for the actual football playing part of the game borrows heavily from the match engine used in the Kick Off which was developed by Dino Dini and Anco Software, who also created Player Manager. The best way to describe it is as a very light and quick kick about. The ball doesn’t stick to your feet like in some games, you actually need the skill to move with it, overall it feels very basic and out of your control, it feels sort of like a NES game but really the playing is not supposed to be the focus of this game, it’s a management game that happens to let you play the games as well, at least that’s the way I see it.

This is one case where I wish things had been dumbed down more, when putting the cart in and trying to play it without a manual it really becomes a game of guesswork, a bit of clicking here and there and I soon managed to play a match. You see one of the big draws of this game was supposed to be the fact that you could manage and you could play, but they certainly didn’t dumb things down that much, and they certainly didn’t think that anyone might one day pick this game up without a manual. I am there trying to play the game and I am met with icons. I find myself clicking one thing to see what happens finding myself on another screen full of icons, being met with a dead end in one case and then seeming to come full circle with the frustration growing. Eventually I managed a few matches and to make a little progress but the game really has not aged well. I wanted to just watch the games be played and make the behind the scenes decisions but couldn't work out if this was possible.

I try to review games fairly taking in to account when they were released and trying to sample as much of the game as possible but in this case I just found it all frustrating. I didn't enjoy what I did play and I just wanted to put it down straight away and load up one of the various much better football management games I have on my PC. If you’re not worried about having the newest of the new then you can get a football manager game through steam for a couple of quid. I feel bad giving this game a score, I mean at the time on the SNES if you wanted a football management game it was kind of a case of like this or lump it, forced to rate it though I would give it a 3 out of 10, I really didn’t rate it. I can say though if you have a SNES and are looking at collecting games then unless you can get a copy with a manual it might be worth giving this one a miss and getting a football management game on a different system. I paid £1 for my cart from a pawn store so I don’t feel like I have lost much. If you do want a cart of this a pal cart tends to go for about £5 online including postage but copies with a manual are usually quiet a lot more. Honestly give this game a miss.

Last edited by kerr9000 on Mon Feb 12, 2018 3:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PostRe: 150 SNES Games at the speed I can handle
by kerr9000 » Wed Feb 07, 2018 6:46 pm

SNES game review 88: Super Return of the Jedi

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It is an interesting time to be a Star Wars fan. There is a brand new movie starring pretty much all of the actors from the original trilogy plus some new faces coming out this Christmas but there is also a new big Star Wars game Star Wars battlefront to look forward to on PS4, Xbox One and PC. I was reading about a special limited edition PlayStation 4 that is being released featuring a fully customized PlayStation4 and DualShock4 wireless controller inspired by Darth Vader, a copy of Star Wars Battlefront and a voucher containing download codes for four classic Star Wars games Super Star Wars, Star Wars Racer Revenge Star Wars Jedi Starfighter and Star Wars Bounty Hunter. So what has this got to do with reviewing SNES games? Well Super Star Wars is a SNES game, yes I have already reviewed it but it’s still exciting to see it get re-released on a modern format but its more than that it’s the possibilities its release opens up. There were 3 games in the Super Star Wars trilogy as well as a game based on the first three Indiana jones films released so if the one is coming out surly this opens the door for the others. If a SNES game can be released on the PS4 what is to stop SONY approaching other third party developers who had titles out on the SNES and offering them the chance to put them up for sale in SONY’s PlayStation store?

Obviously this excited me but more than that it convinced me it was the perfect time to review another game in the Super Star Wars trilogy, now I know what you’re thinking, Ok he is going to review Super Empire Strikes Back (or at least you would be if I didn’t throw the title of my review up above my review) but there is a certain bitter sweet thing I have to admit here and that is despite the fact that I really love the game and I am a diehard Star Wars fan I don’t actually own a copy of it and as I said I would only be reviewing games I owned and could play on actual physical hardware well yep you’ve guessed it I jumped to the next one Super Return of the Jedi.

Originally I played Super Return of the Jedi very close to its release because an older friend of mine was a diehard star Wars fan, he collected the old figures (as I also did) he had the posters in his room and he waited patiently for more Star Wars be it film or book or game. We had spent so many hours together watching the films, playing the old Atari 2600 games and talking about it that I guess he felt he needed me to be a part of his experience so on the very day he got the game he rushed over and we jumped in to it.

The main thing to take note of about the third and final SNES adaptation of the original Star Wars trilogy is that it is very much more of the same if you have played either Super Star Wars or Super Empire Strikes back then really what you are getting is more of the same. I think there are a lot of tweaks and a lot of layers of polish added to this game in this way it reminds me of another game, I have talked about another third part to a Trilogy and that is Donkey Kong Country 3. You can see clearly in places that the game is more refined than its predecessors but in being a sequel based on what you could call an upgraded engine it wasn’t as original and as hard hitting as the first in the series. People were generally surprised that Super Star Wars was as great as it was but they walked in to Empire and Jedi expecting nothing less. Just like in the case of Donkey Kong country 3 I feel this game was a little bit shadowed by the PlayStation, sure this game came out about five months or so before the PlayStation but it was to some degree shadowed by the new machines hype, I knew people who were busy selling their Super Nintendo stuff in an attempt to be ready to make the jump to the next generation of machines and these people didn’t stop to look at what was coming out in the here and the now.

Much like in Super Star Wars this game has excellent presentation. The game succeeds in recreating the atmosphere of the film just as well as its prequels did, it has all of the same little touches the opening text crawl the wonderful 16bit rendition of John Williams’ classic music there are also areas in where this game excels above and beyond its predecessors. A much larger cartridge was in fact Super Return of the Jedi came on a 16-Megabit cart which is twice the size of the cart used on the original Super Star Wars. The game needed it as well with far more playable characters, more levels and even more effects.

Something a lot of people talk about with this trilogy is the difficulty, they are often referred to as hard games. In fact when it came to the original I think there was a definite issue with its difficulty curve, with the game seeming to have some rather hard levels early on before you had properly gotten to grips with it there was also some climbing in the game where one bad move could see you screaming as the last fifteen minutes of gameplay was torn out from under you and these issues seem a lot less present in Jedi, strangely to me at least it feels like a much easier game.

In conclusion, do I think this is a better game than Super Star Wars and what kind of score do I think it deserves? This is a tough question to answer as a sequel it is very much a case of bigger better more and that should make me instantly go yes its better so I guess from that point it is yet I don’t think I can give it a higher score or recommend it over Super Star wars so I find myself stuck giving it the same score 8 out of 10. These games are ideal when treated as parts of a bigger whole. If you want to sample this game it is available on the Wii’s virtual console however if you would like a physical copy unless you’re lucky and find it out somewhere in the wilderness you will be looking at paying about £15 to £20 for a loose pal cart or around £40 for a boxed version. There are certainly far worse games you could spend your cash on.

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PostRe: 150 SNES Games at the speed I can handle
by kerr9000 » Wed Feb 07, 2018 6:46 pm

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Ok so it feels like time for a little bit of Disney Magic so I figured I would give Pinocchio a try. Pinocchio was developed by Virgin Studios London with assistance from Walt Disney Feature Animation it was also a pretty late game being released in 1996 near the end of the Super Nintendo’s lifespan. I remember the game getting reviews back in the day with a crazy range of anywere from 40% to 80% I never got to play it back then as I didn’t know anyone who got it, I guess they were put off by the wild range of review scores and decided to settle on something a little more of a solid bet, either that or they had moved on to the PlayStation.

Obviously it’s based on the classic Disney cartoon of the same name and well it’s easy to tell that as soon as you put the cart in the machine and turn it on. After the usual logos you would expect you are met with a picture of a book with Pinocchio written on it and a cool midi rendition of the song ‘’when you wish upon a stat’’. You can tell that Disney had its hands in the making of this game as Pinocchio is a very good looking game, featuring plenty of colours, lots of sprites and beautiful animation the game moves like a dream, it is about as close looks wise to a cartoon as you could imagine a game would be at the time. Pinocchio's music is basically composed of midi versions of songs from the film it’s very basic but also sounds good and really fits the mood, there are also voice clips and sound effects.

For me though it is the gameplay where Pinocchio begins to fall on its ass a bit. Basically it is a platformer. You run and you jump and you try not die. Now nothing in the controls feels horribly wrong but nothing feels brilliant either it comes across as a very by the numbers sort of thing. The game does sod all when it comes to explaining anything to you, it just leaves you to guess and hope. For example nothing tells you that you have to press up to enter arches or that you need to use sign posts to fling yourself in to the air.

This also extends to the mini games there is a Simon says style mini dancing game where you copy what the computer does so you see the things you’re supposed to copy wave the left hand then right foot and you work out which button will make you do the same but with some of the animations you click on straight away and go oh it’s the lower left limb so I will press left and down but then the dancers your copying spin in place and your left wondering what the heck to press to copy them, this then descends in to a trial and error process of trying to press anything or nothing until you do what it wants you to, this is not fun.

The game would be easy if it wasn’t for it plain just not giving you any idea of where you’re supposed to go. It made me Jiminy cricket and put me on a platform in the middle of nowhere with no explanation and after falling off a few times and wondering what the heck I was doing I just decided to murder any and all insect life that flew near to my platform with a few lamps on and this turned out to be the answer, this is what it wanted me to do, it wanted me to become the cricket serial killer, thanks for the heads up on that one game.

This game is basically a pretty but dull game, if it was on another system it might have got an easy pass but look at the machine we are talking about here the Super Nintendo. The SNES was released alongside one of the best 2D Platformers of all time. I think this game gets a 5 out of 10, it is though a dull game, it’s so neither good nor bad that it is in some ways totally boring, is it better than the last Disney Game I reviewed beauty and the beast yes, is it more frustrating though because it feels like it could have been more? Hell Yes. Give this game a miss and just watch the film. If you are burning with a desire to own it though a cart only pal version tends to go for between £6 to £10, sure you will see some rip of merchants trying to get more for it but you shouldn’t have any issues finding it in that price range, again though there are much better uses of your cash.

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PostRe: 150 SNES Games at the speed I can handle
by kerr9000 » Wed Feb 07, 2018 6:46 pm

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In the days of the SNES and Megadrive you would get cases where a game was released to both systems sometimes with very little difference maybe a tweak here or a tweak there to take advantage of the hardware but occasionally you would get two totally different games with the same name.

I know I only just talked about a Disney release but I couldn’t help myself but talk about this game. I guess in part it was because in doing so I would get the chance to talk a little bit about the Megadrive. Growing up I was one of very few kids who managed to have both a Megadrive and a SNES in a lot of cases people would make a decision between the two and would then live with that choice. Sometimes this would involve swearing that the other machine was utter garbage and that you wouldn’t want anything on that other 16bit piece of trash if somebody paid you to have it. Sometimes however it would just be a simple case of the persons parents didn't think that there child needed two different consoles and just were not willing to listen to the reasons why there kid had asked for a Megadrive one Christmas and then a SNES the next.

The rough split between the machines between my friends was an even fifty fifty split. I however considered myself the lucky one. One Christmas I got a Megadrive after having asked for it and then when the next Christmas drew near my mum sat me down and asked me what I wanted I told her if it wasn’t too much I would like a Super Nintendo. Sure my mother stopped me and asked me why, but she didn’t judge me or refuse to listen she sat there and listened to my explanation. I told her that although the systems were very similar and offered the same sort of power and experience they both had games which were exclusive to that system because of who made them and that unlike my friends who swore blind loyalty to one machine I wanted to be free to get the games I wanted for both machines even if it meant I got less overall. It was this simple fact of owning both machines that ended up making me sort of the go to guy amongst my group of friends for video game recommendations and argument solving, if it wasn’t for this I don’t think I would be writing video game reviews now.

So when Aladdin was due out there was a choice to be made go for the Megadrive or Super Ninteno version. Usually if a game was multi-platform the easy decision would be to go for the SNES version as I doubt few people would argue with the fact that usually in these cases nine out of ten times the SNES would have slightly better graphics and much cleaner music. The games I enjoyed my megadrive for tended not to be multi-platform titles but were instead games which never saw the light of day on the super Nintendo such as Alien storm, cyborg Justice Road Rash etcetera. Here there was a kind of rare case of same name different game (It did happen from time to time Shadowrun being another example).

Ok so the Megadrive version was a Disney software, Virgin Games co-production and in fact when you look a little closer and read around a bit you’ll find that some of the names that worked on this game are people who would go on to form Shiny Entertainment (Including David Perry) and bring us the hero known as Earthworm Jim, who was a real funky guy/worm. If you have played the MegaDrive Aladdin and Earth worm Jim games you will definitely see a connection in there style now it has been pointed out to you.

The main gameplay though is what you would expect from a 2D platformer, you jump and climb your way through levels and fight with either your sword or by throwing apples you have collected as a long range form of attack. It’s simple, but fun. This could get boring quiet quickly if not for the fact that the game is an absolute festival of colour with little in jokes hidden, the level design is also great. The game is well polished, the beauty of it is really in the little details here and there one example being if you put the pad down and leave Aladdin to it he will role and an apple along his arm and flipping it up much like he did at one point in the film. So that’s an obvious question for a game based on a movie how close does this game stay to its source material? Close enough would be my simple answer. It doesn’t follow the film action for action, it does however follow the basic plot but what it does do is flesh it out with extra bits which work well for the game. Aladdin might add levels that aren’t directly based on what happened in the movie but it’s easy to see why and in all honesty they are fun and don’t hurt the story, one such example being a level based on the insides of the lamp. I also can’t help but add that there are lots of great megadrive versions of various songs from the film and these really help set the mood, in fact I found myself humming some of them again and again, this left me wanting to watch the film again and in my opinion served as the perfect companion piece. If I was in the process of trying to review 150 megadrive games I would most likely give Aladdin a score of around 8 out of 10 but that’s not what I am doing here at all, I am talking about it in comparison to the Super Nintendo version. Back when these games were released the general opinion from experts who viewed things with as little bias as possible seemed to be that the Megadrive version was the superior one, but is this really true?

So the SNES version of Aladdin is also a 2d platformer this game however was developed by Capcom and just like with the Megadrive version there was a particularly famous person involved in its creation in this case it is the games designer Shinji Mikami. Yes Resident Evil Shinji Mikami. Both of the games came out in 1993, in the same month in fact.

Aladdin on the SNES is a pretty traditional platformer as far as things go. You can run, duck, jump and once again you can throw apples but one thing this game is lacking is a sword, which seems to have lost it instant cool points when it comes to a lot of peoples opinions. In truth I don’t have an issue with the lack of a sword after all Aladdin really didn’t use one that much in the film did he, after all his introductory song in the movie was basically about being fast and avoiding things ‘’One jump ahead of the hitman’’ and all of that. The apples you throw stun enemies and you can actually get rid of them in the old familiar platformer way, trying to push their head into their neck with your feet from a vertical position (Jumping on them).

The lack of a sword here and the characters the agility gives it a different feeling to its megadrive counterpart. As Aladdin you can bounce off certain objects and enemies in order to reach places you otherwise wouldn’t get to. For me this game feels at its best when you keep up a quick tempo of going from jump to jump moving constantly forwards, it kind of makes you think of some of the scenes in Aladdin and in this way matches there pace.
The graphics are good but I don’t think the animation is equal to its megadrive counter part, but still it’s a nice bright good looking game. It is far too easy and to short though, you will have finished this game and seen all it has to show you while your megadrive playing counterpart is still ploughing there way through there version.

Even though the Snes version of Aladdin has its good points I just feel that the MegaDrive one is a better game, mostly because of the length and not the sword (who really thinks a game is better just for being able to stab people?). Thankfully though we don’t live in an either world where you have to choose one or the other. Fanboy logic is stupid at the end of the day all systems and all games have their strengths and weaknesses and if you limit yourself from sampling more things because they are on a certain machine or were made by a certain company then ultimately all you are going to do is hurt yourself. I give SNES Aladdin a happy 7 out of 10, it fails to get more mostly because it has a lack of lasting power, it however kicks the heck out of the other Disney games I have reviewed in the recent past Pinocchio and beauty and the beast.

If you want to sample this game then due to the license surrounding it you’re going to have to go for a Cart really, most of the ones I have seen for sale have gone for around £12 to £15 with boxed copies fetching a little more. A boxed copy of the MegaDrive version will set you back £10 to £15 roughly, in all honesty if you have both machines I would start there but if you can afford both or see both going cheap then you can’t really go wrong with either of them they are both darn fine games… On a side note this really makes me think once more that I wish Nintendo had adopted Sega style plastic games cases it would make the collectors life much easier.

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