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Retro Games, Page 2

All-Purpose Retro Things

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NES Cover Art Awesomeness: Mega Man

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This one is tough to explain.  For one, it looks nothing like the Blue Bomber.  That’s just the most obvious part.  Upon further inspection, the drawing is completely crazy.  What are those buildings doing in the background?  Is that a spider-web?  How did things catch fire?  What’s with the gun?

Legend has it that the artist was given a week to do the drawing, with only a vague description of what a “Mega Man” even was.

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Underrated Systems – Neo Geo Pocket Color

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The Neo Geo Pocket Color, what an amazing underrated system. From a selection of great games, to awesome controls, this system is truly marvelous. But, many people don’t know of it’s existence. You may be wondering, “But, what is a Neo Geo Pocket Color?” Well, let’s open up the systems past, and dissect it!

I thought I’d start with the controls – wow. Just wow. The D-Pad/Analog Stick hybrid is absolutely astonishing. It takes a few minutes to get used to it, but it is one of the best control-sticks I have ever had the pleasure to use. The buttons are also pretty nice to use. The only disappointment for me is the Power and Options buttons, as they aren’t as nice (though they are usable).

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The system has an OS to boot to if there is no cartridge present. It has a calender, world time, horo-scope, settings and alarm applications built-in to this device. This is pretty cool, as many other systems at the time didn’t have anything that could compare to this.

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The screen is non-backlit. This is a major complaint, as you have to sit on the surface of the sun to see it. However, if you are playing in daylight, it isn’t that distracting. It has a resolution of 160×152, and the screen is 2.6 inches. Not the best screen ever featured on a handheld, but certainly better than the original GameBoy Advance.

Now, time for games. The Neo Geo Pocket Color only has 83 games, plus the 10 monochrome games from it’s predecessor. This is certainly disappointing, but it still has many great titles available.

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Games that I know are good are Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure, a port of Pac-Man and Pocket Tennis Color. I’ve only been able to play these, and they were …

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Tetris: A Look Back (GameBoy)

Picture of 2 Tetris carts
Left: English Tetris Cart
Right: Japanese Tetris Cart
My English cart is in pretty bad condition, but I got it off of Amazon. The Japanese cart was actually from a car-boot sale!

Tetris is one of the best games ever. Rather than repeat what many people have already said, I thought I’d actually look back at the design of the game, rather than give a review (a normal review wouldn’t actually explain why the game is good, it would just give opinions on 4 main categories that don’t really apply to Tetris). As you probably know, Tetris is an outstanding game, but why is it? Well, time to find out!

There is no plot. So don’t ask about one!

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The music in this game is amazing. It is really catchy, and you could listen to it on loop for hours and it still wouldn’t get annoying. It is so amazing, there are thousands of remixes on YouTube and other video sharing sites.

The graphics are very simplistic. They don’t make your eyes bleed, and they look good for the GameBoy. The game uses 4 shades of grey (at least there isn’t 50 shades)!

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You have to place falling blocks into rows. When you get a full row, you get points and the blocks disappear. If you destroy 4 rows at once, you get a Tetris, and many more points. It’s a very simplistic puzzle game, and it is really addictive.

So, I bet you are now wondering why this game is amazing, and one of the most revolutionary games of all time. Well, I will now explain why this is a great game.

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Note: many people have different interpretations of the Tetris graph. Some believe it is much steeper, some think it is separated into chunks. The graph shown is a simplified

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Underrated Systems – Game & Watch Series

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Now, I know what you’re thinking: “But most gamers who are familiar with the Game & Watch series like them!” (yes, I can read your mind now). But, that’s the main problem with these systems; most gamers don’t know that these exist, especially as the Game Boy overshadows every handheld system imaginable. But, is the Game & Watch underrated? Let’s find out!

One of the main gimmicks of these systems are that these have both a clock, and an alarm built in. It has a game built in as well (obviously). Another main selling point is it’s design; it’s pretty small, and looks cool.

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This is my Game & Watch system. This plays Balloon Fight.

There are many variations of these systems. They don’t use cartridges; instead, if you want to change the game you are playing, you change the whole system. One system has a different game from another. A bit like the classic Pop Stations (but actually worth money, and released by a proper company).

The system I own is Balloon Fight, but most of the systems have an identical control scheme and look. Most have a D-Pad, one action button, an Alarm button, a Time button and a Start button (usually branded as a “Game” button). Some systems (like the Donkey Kong one) have two screens, and act like the DS (the game plays on both screens, and the player can cross over into the other screen).

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The Donkey Kong Game & Watch System

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But, I will now answer the main questions people have about the system; how is the D-Pad compared to modern systems, and is the screen any good? The D-Pad (on my system, anyway) is pretty good, except it has separate buttons, compared to one piece of plastic on most modern …

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Sonic Spinball (16-Bit) Review

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Time to finish off my “review worst games thingy” topic by reviewing Sonic Spinball (the Megadrive version)! Instead of reviewing a game with a bad reputation (even though it may or may not deserve it), I decided to do the opposite and talk about a game that is considered mediocre, and see if it deserves that reputation. Is this game fun? Let’s find out!

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Let’s start with the gameplay; it’s pinball. I’m assuming you already know how to play pinball, but just in case you don’t (and are still living under a rock from Pac-Man 2600), here’s a quick summary: you move a ball in a playing field to score points. To get points, you have to hit multiple targets. At the bottom is 2 plastic bats called flippers. Don’t let your ball fall in the drain!

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Well, that sounds like exciting gameplay (not). In the previous article, I stated how I despise this game. And I do. That is because of the terrible controls. I don’t mind the game being different, and “not a platformer”, as long as the game controls well, and is fun. But, they messed up this game too much for it to be enjoyable.

Casino Night Zone is 100 times better than this game, and it’s built into an already great game! It may not be a pinball game, but it’s much more fun to play, and less tedious!

There is a story, but it’s basically nothing. The back of the box says that “Dr Robotnik’s latest fortress is a giant pinball machine!” and Sonic needs to destroy it. That’s it. According to Wikipedia, there is a bigger story, but most players won’t get to hear it. It’s basically saying Tails and Sonic fly into the scene (I assume on the

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Is Pac-Man (Atari 2600) really that bad?

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Keeping with the theme of my last two articles, it’s time to tackle another poorly rated game. The arcade Pac-Man is probably one of my favorite Coin-Op games. But, the 2600 home port is something to be desired. As I’ve found with both ET 2600, and Sonic ’06, bad games aren’t really as bad as many say they are. But, we’re only half way through the bad game list. Here is my “review worst games thingy”, with the game Pac-Man: on the Atari 2600!

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The gameplay is very similar to the arcade game. But, if you’ve lived under a rock for at least 30 years, here is a recap: you eat pellets, travel around a maze and avoid ghosts. There are bigger pellets, that turn you super. This means you can eat ghosts.

But, porting an arcade game to an inferior system never ends well. In this game, Pac-Man eats wafers, the game only displays one ghost at one time so the ghosts flicker, and a poorly designed maze. But, we all expected modified graphics and level layouts. But the ghost flickering is not excusable.

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But, I can’t really complain about the game as much as other games (say ET, or the next game that I will review next week). The reason is that there is another Pac-Man game on the Atari 2600. This game is Ms Pac-Man. If you really wanted a Pac-Man game on the 2600, just go for Ms Pac-Man.

However, this is a review of Pac-Man 2600, and not Ms Pac-Man. Is this game fun? The result is similar to Sonic ’06, and ET: the games are fun, but only when reviewing, Let’s Playing, or with a friend. You wouldn’t go back to play this game, as there are better games. But, it’s still …

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Is ET Really the “Worst Game of All Time”?

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When browsing the internet for games to avoid, you will find many people who will say E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial for the Atari 2600 is the “worst game of all time“, and you should avoid at all costs. But, is the game really that bad? Let’s find out!

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Let’s start with the graphics. For the 2600, it is pretty good. While everything looks green, it isn’t blinding, and you wouldn’t have moaned back when it was made. I will say that I prefer the simpler graphics of other 2600 games, because they are more streamlined. But this game isn’t that bad.

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There is no music, except the title screen music that is pretty ear-grating. The sound effects are mediocre; when you walk around, it is just noise. But, the noise isn’t that bad, as it is at a pitch that isn’t deafening.

The gameplay is pretty good, especially as the game was rushed. The objective is to collect three pieces of a telephone, so ET can call home. The pieces are randomly scattered throughout pits. If you walk too much, you will run out of energy and “die?”. It’s not explained what happens when you run out of energy, ET just collapses.

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To get out a pit, ET uses it’s neck to levitate out of a hole. It makes no sense, but what did you expect? Avoid the other people, as they will steal your phone pieces. When you collect three pieces of the telephone, you have to call home when nobody is onscreen.

So, the answer to the question: Is ET really the worst game of all time? I’d say no; while the game is mildly fun, it’s not a masterpiece. But, it is not as bad as other games. (Crazy Bus anyone? What about Big Rigs?) …

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Crash Bandicoot Review

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Crash Bandicoot is counted as one of the most influential video games of the original PlayStation era. Crash had many great games during his hay-day, but the multiplatform games (that came afterwards) were mediocre. But, this article is only about the first game. Was it as good as Mario and Sonic? Let’s find out!

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Crash Bandicoot is a 3D platformer that was created back in 1996. This game was developed by Naughty Dog (they would continue developing the games until 1999). This games codename was “Sonic’s Ass Game”, meaning they wanted to make a 3D platformer to rival the 3D Sonic that was in development hell.

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Crash Bandicoot is set on 3 islands that are south-east of Australia. These islands are all owned by Dr Neo Cortex, the villan of this game. With help from Dr Nitrus Brio, he creates a Evolvo-Ray that turns animals into beasts with superhuman strengths. He wants to make a peaceful bandicoot named Crash into the leader for his army. Cortex uses a “Cortex Vortex” to put him under his control. It doesn’t work (what a surprise) and Crash escapes. Cortex decides to use a female bandicoot instead of Crash (this bandicoot is named Tawna). Crash has to save her.

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We all know how this story goes. Care to sing along? “Princess Peachy is captured, Mario save her! Same with the Crash, just bash Cortex!” (not the best song ever, but sums up my reaction to the story). This is very similar to Mario and Sonic. An evil scientist capturing animals is Dr EggButNik, and saving a female character (in this case a female bandicoot) is Mario. Could have been a little more subtle, but oh well.

Instead of starting with gameplay (that will be left to the end, as I’ve got a lot to say), let’s start …