Tuesday 24 December 2013

Retro & Indie Christmas Gaming

Retro & Indie Christmas Gaming 

So, Christmas is upon us. Where on Earth did the time go? It feels like yesterday that I was playtesting a plethora of jaunty Christmas games in order to prepare an in-depth article showcasing the most enjoyable festive treats for indie and retro gamers. Now one year later, I have been genuinely surprised by the utter lack of anything new to play. 

Monday 23 December 2013

Review - Eldritch (+ Mountains of Madness DLC) (PC)

Don't mess with the librarian!

As anyone who has played Spelunky or any other excellent roguelike (or, more accurately, games with roguelike elements) knows, death can come swiftly and without much warning. You can tread carefully though the world the game presents to you, surveying the area for danger, navigating your way around traps and hazards, scooping up every little piece of helpful loot along the way and, generally, just trying to survive, when, bam! A misstep can land you on an unseen set of spikes, or face to face with one of the most feared adversaries. Death can be sudden and unexpected, undoing all your hard work up until that point. But it is this perception of 'real' danger - the fact that death is final - that keeps you coming back to try again. When a game is a solid and enjoyable experience, randomly generated stages can be the difference between something you will play for a week, to one you will still be enjoying many months later.

Saturday 21 December 2013

Steam Christmas Sale - Loads of Gaming Bargains!

Steam Christmas Sale 2013

The Steam Christmas Sale is now on and, as usual, there are some insanely good bargains on offer. There are far too many to list here, but over the last couple of days I have nabbed big titles such as Deus Ex Human Evolution : Directors Cut for £3.24, Dead Island Riptide for £4.99 and Dishonored : Game of the Year for £10.99, as well as a plethora of indie delights.

Tiny Thief, my latest reviewed game (see, here), is also there for £3.60, making it worthy of your time (at £11.99, they were taking the piss). Every day there are new flash bargains, so be sure to check back daily and grab yourself a shed load of gaming goodies for mere pennies!

Thursday 19 December 2013

Review - Tiny Thief (Android)

Light-fingered fun on your mobile device

Everyone enjoys a rousing tale of a kind hearted rogue stealing food and gold from the nasty rich folk and handing it over to the needy peasants, the whole Robin Hood deal. How much truth is in those famous tales I cannot be sure of, but the message behind them is a sound one - That is is perfectly acceptable to steal from someone if they are a bastard, or have too much stuff to begin with. At least, that's what I think the message is, but I may be mistaken. Anyway, you can relive these valiant tales via an adorable new adventure game on both mobile and computer platforms, courtesy of newcomers 5Ants, and published by Rovio Stars, who you may know from some game that involves firing annoyed birds at pigs or something, I have no idea.

Monday 16 December 2013

Review (Double) - Rofaxan 2089 AD & Nostalgya (Xbox Live Indie)

Xbox Indie Shmup Double Review

There's nothing quite like a good Shmup (or 'Shoot-em-up, for the uninitiated). Easy to pick up and play for a few minutes, but with a difficulty level that will see only the most dedicated and hardcore gamer succeed. The genre has been around since the birth of videogames, and has evolved to incorporate many new mechanics to keep the score chasers happy. They can also be an easy entryway for games developers wishing to bring some fast paced arcade action to the indie scene. The only problem with this is that it can lead to a plethora of copycat and unoriginal titles, displaying a distinct lack of imagination. Logging onto the Xbox Live Indie Channel yesterday, I was pleased to see two new shmups that, from the screenshots, looked to be half-decent, which is high praise considering the abundance of utter garbage on the service. Rather than divide the two games into seperate reviews, I have bundled them together because, well, I am very lazy. 

Wednesday 11 December 2013

Retro Review - Elevator Action Returns (Arcade)

A sequel done right!

The original Elevator Action from 1983 is often hailed as a coin-op classic, up there with the likes of Dig Dug, Galaga, and Donkey Kong, but personally I have never really cared for it. With bland visuals, a slow pace, and incredibly repetitive gameplay, I have always found it a bit, y'know, boring. This is certainly something that I can't level at Taito's 1994 sequel, which took the basic template set in the original and enhanced and improved upon everything to a huge degree. It may have taken over a decade for it to appear, but Elevator Action Returns is bigger, badder and much, much better.

Sunday 8 December 2013

Retro Review - Mopiranger (MSX)

The strangely titled Mopiranger is classic top down, arcade style game clearly based on the exploits of a certain yellow dot-munching circle. Coming out on the slightly obscure MSX system back in 1983, Mopiranger was one of many Konami titles to grace the platform, and contains the developer's usual high level of charm and playability.

Tuesday 3 December 2013

Review - Risk of Rain (PC)

In space everyone can hear you scream (in frustration)

Risk of Rain is another new PC indie game that features the ever popular roguelike elements that we are seeing in more and more games of late (hoorah!). Taking the form of a 2D action platformer, you are tasked with the simple goal of escaping a strange and barren alien world via a teleporter located somewhere on the surface. Sounds simple right? Well, no. Hampering your escape are a legion of alien monstrosities, hell bent on your demise (aren't they always?). As with all good games, nothing is quite as simple as it initially appears. After locating your only means of escape from this hostile planet, you are required to activate the teleporter, an action which results in a countdown, during which monsters continuously spawn into existence in order to make your life as difficult as possible. 

Saturday 30 November 2013

Review - Wrack (PC)

The classic 90's FPS is back!! Time to celebra..  oh!

Finally, Wrack is here! You will have to excuse my excitement, but ever since I set eyes on screenshots, and read the blurb about this new indie first person shooter, I have been eagerly awaiting its release. Wrack aims to bring back the classic, no-nonsense action gameplay that we saw back in the 1990's and which has now, sadly, been replaced with long story lines and cutscenes, quick time events and, groan, military and war settings. I have been in contact with the developers, Final Boss, for many months, constantly pestering them (sorry guys) about a release date, and was super excited when I saw that it has finally been released - in unfinished, beta form - on Steam. After obtaining a copy from the generous fellows (probably in a bid to stop me harassing them via email) at Final Boss, I sat twitching my thumbs waiting impatiently for the game to download and install. So, now I have finally experienced Wrack, how does it hold up, and does it manage to recreate the balls-to-the-wall excitement of your Dooms, Duke Nukem 3Ds, Bloods, and Quakes?

Wednesday 27 November 2013

Coin-Op Classics - Three Wonders (Capcom - 1991)

Capcom Threesome!

Three Wonders is an arcade game by Capcom that lives up to its moniker by featuring not one. Not two. Not three. No, wait. Three (sorry). Three games for the price of one. For your shiny quarter / twenty pence you could choose from either Midnight Wanderers, Chariots or, the bizarrely named, Don't Pull, each one offering a very different gaming experience, and - unlike many other x-in-1 games - each one could easily have been released as its own arcade cabinet. 

Monday 25 November 2013

Indie Game Spotlight - Rocky Memphis & The Temple of Ophuxoff

Indiana Jones meets Rick Dangerous

Rocky Memphis is another excellent platformer from the talented Trevor 'Smila' Storey (creator of Monty's Christmas and a whole host of classic 8-bit game remakes). The game takes the template set by the classic platformer Rick Dangerous, throws in some nifty Commodore 64 visuals and chiptune music, then adds an interesting gimmick. Instead of merely trying to reach the level exit, Rocky Memphis tasks you with plundering a huge pyramid of its many treasures in as fast a time as possible.

Wednesday 20 November 2013

Review - Dragon's Crown (PS3)

Back to the old school!

The scrolling beat-em-up doesn't get much love these days, as developers struggle to find new ways to keep them fresh for modern audiences, but in their heyday they were incredibly popular. Capcom were undoubtedly the masters of the genre, and were also responsible for injecting some much needed depth into an otherwise simplistic type of game when they released the excellent licensed Dungeons and Dragons games, Tower of Doom and Shadow Over Mystara. These titles added RPG-lite elements, a decent fantasy storyline, and magic spells and equipment to be used in battle, and proved to be a great success in the smokey arcades of the 1990's. The next big title that would follow a similar path was the sublime Guardian Heroes on the Sega Saturn by the talented folks at Treasure - with a Japanese anime visual style and far more levelling up options and alternative routes through stages - this game remains the pinnacle of this hybrid genre. Then things went quiet... until now. 

Sunday 17 November 2013

REVIEW - Waimanu (Nintendo DS & GBA Homebrew)

Flightless wonder

I'm a sucker for any game featuring penguins (or ducks for that matter). I don't know why, but from Penguin Adventures on MSX and Penguin Land on the Master System, to the gluttonous shenanigans of Yume Penguin Monogatari on the Famicom, I have found the flightless fowl to bring a delightfully cute air to any game. Waimanu - named after a prehistoric form of penguin - continues this trend by featuring a super cute blue penguin with an apparent affliction of gigantism, such is the monsterous proportions of his forehead. Despite this handicap, he still manages to star in his very own homebrew puzzle game on the Nintendo DS and, more recently believe it or not, the Gameboy Advance. Waimanu is a single screen puzzler with a top down maze view, much like the original Sega penguin arcade game Pengo, released in 1982, in which you must push blocks of ice - and later bales of hay, or rocks , depending on the backdrop - into the enemy blobs that patrol the maze. Pushing a block will cause it to slide in that direction until it hits another block or the sides of the maze and, should any enemies stray into its path they will be squished - the annilhilation of all on-screen foes resulting in victory.

Monday 11 November 2013

Retro Review - Saturn Bomberman (Saturn)

It's Da Bomb! (sorry)

Before I start this review I feel I must admit to you, dear reader, that I have never really been a huge fan of Bomberman's exploits. If you were to believe the hype, then Bomberman is truly a multiplayer experience that has no rival. A multiplayer party game that will not only have you and your friends in fits of ecstatic glee, but will also gain you a huge following of new friends, all eager to experience the life affirming joy these games have to offer. As it stands, I think they're, y'know, alright. 

Sunday 10 November 2013

CAPCOM - Dodgy DLC, Over Pricing, and why they need to change.

I recently read an article online stating that Capcom are suffering financial difficulties and don't have the funds to enter the next generation of consoles. Many years ago this news would have filled me with a deep sadness and may even have inspired me to rush out and buy all their new products as a sign of support. But, unfortunately that is no longer the case. For Capcom have been asking for this for a long time now, and many lifelong fans will simply stick up their middle finger and mutter "serves you right".

Tuesday 5 November 2013

Retro Review - Psychic Killer Taromaru (Saturn)

Too rich for my blood

Psychic Killer Taromaru - a rough approximation of its original Japanese title of Shinrei Jusatsushi Taromaru - is a bit of an oddity, being both an extremely obscure title, yet also well known in Sega Saturn fan circles thanks to its status as one of the rarest and most expensive games for the system. Of course, rarity is no measure of quality - many of the rarest games are ones that did not sell very well upon their original release. So, is it worth paying over £200 for an original copy? Well no, of course it isn't. No game is. But is it worth checking out for those of you with a 'special' Sega Saturn, or a decent Saturn emulator?

Saturday 2 November 2013

Retro Spirit Games Halloween Special 2013

Be afraid.. be very afraid

So, Halloween is upon us again once more and, if you listen very carefully, you can almost hear the sound of game journos rushing to compile a list of games to play on this spooky celebration. If you close your eyes and use your imagination, you can easily predict what these lists will include - is this a special kind of black magic being practiced on this ghoulish holiday, or the predictable nature of these lists that materialise in October / November of every single year? 

Sunday 27 October 2013

Fantastic FPS Roguelike DELVER receives massive upgrade!

Back, and better than ever!

Back in December of 2012, I discovered an insanely addictive, first person RPG by the name of Delver. It was the work of one man, Chad Cunnigan, and was for sale on his website for the measly sum of £5. This small outlay entitled the purchaser to the alpha version of the game, with free updates when they appeared. I absolutely adored Delver, thanks to it's charming pixellated visuals, atmospheric soundtrack and incredibly absorbing gameplay - you can read my full review here. I noticed a few months ago that Delver had appeared on Steam, after a successful greenlight campaign - well deserved in my opinion - but I thought nothing of it as I already owned it. Well, imagine my intense excitement when I saw some screenshots a few days ago showing Delver with a funky new visual style. I found my original email I received upon purchasing the game 10 months ago and, low and behold, I had a steam key and a newly updated version ready to download.

Thursday 24 October 2013

REVIEW SPECIAL - Crash Bandicoot 1, 2, and 3 (Playstation)

A new hero arrives

Long before Naughty Dog brought us the dark and emotive exploits of a man escorting a young girl across the zombie filled ruins of America, or the cinematic, over-the-top adventures of Nathan Drake in Uncharted - or even before Jak & Daxter finally bested Mario in the 3d platformer stakes - they gave us a certain crazed bandicoot named Crash. This wild eyed, slightly insane, furry critter would go on to star in a multitude of sequels and inevitable spin-off titles created by many different developers, but his debut, and its two sequels on the original Sony Playstation, heralding the start of a new style of platforming game, as well as finally giving Sony a mascot to stand proudly alongside Mario and Sonic. 

Monday 21 October 2013

REVIEW - Donkey Me : Raiders of the Lost Ark (PC)

I hate snakes!

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Well, if that is the case then Donkey Me must surely be on its knees with a mouthful of the original Donkey Kong arcade game, as it's so close to Nintendo's giant Ape's 1980 adventure that I am surprised Nintendo's lawyers haven't tried to shut down the developer's site. I am glad that this hasn't happened, though, as Donkey Me is a fantastic homage to the original platform game, but also manages to inject its own identity by expanding on the original formula and adding the graphical style and sounds of the fantastic Indiana Jones movies (so that would be Lucasfilms' lawyers added to the mix then).

Friday 18 October 2013

Smooth McGroove - Amazing Acapella Renditions of Retro Videogame Soundtracks

Groove is in the heart

If you love retro game music as much as I do and haven't heard of Smooth McGroove, then you really need to head on over to YouTube post haste and check out his fantastic Acapella renditions of classic videogame soundtracks.

There are loads of instantly recognisable classic tunes here, with plenty of Zelda and Final Fantasy Themes as well as Mario, Street Fighter 2, Castlevania, Sonic, Mega Man, Phoenix Wright, Kirby and even Tetris making an appearance. Even Smooth's cat, Charl, gets involved in the videos and is as adorable as Mr. McGroove is talented.

Wednesday 16 October 2013

REVIEW - Rogue Legacy (PC)

When I first heard about Rogue Legacy my heart skipped a beat, after all, here was another 2D non-linear platformer, with RPG elements and, best of all, randomly generated levels - or roguelike as it is generally known - A winning combination. So when it finally arrived I was super excited to unsheathe my sword and head into the castle to do battle with a collection of hideous evil minions.

Sunday 13 October 2013

Retro Review - Dashin' Desperados (Mega Drive / Genesis)

Three's a crowd

Dashin' Desperados is a peculiar game indeed. Essentially an on-foot platform racing game, you are put in the boots of a cowboy named Will who must race against a rival gunslinger who goes by the name of Rick. The point of this competitive racing? Why, to get laid of course - what greater accomplishment could there be? For waiting at the end of each course is a slut named Jenny. I have deemed her to be a slut due to the fact that she doesn't seem to care who wins the race and will happily make out with the victor. She also starts each race by beckoning the two cowboys with a sultry "come on", while showing off her cleavage in a low cut dress. I think she just wants a threesome, but is hoping the two guys take the initiative.

Friday 11 October 2013

REVIEW - Volgarr The Viking (PC)

I do enjoy a good hack and slash adventure, and have done since I first clapped my eyes on Taito's epic Rastan coin-op way back when I was a wee nipper. Navigating a 2D fantasy world, wielding a mighty sword to do battle with hideous beasts has always had an extremely appealing lure. As much as I enjoy my platforming action involving cute anthropomorphic characters, bright sunny forests to explore and coins / apples / gems (delete as appropriate) to collect, there is something captivating about a darker realm, with volcanoes, temples, graveyards and dragon's lairs. Rastan still remains one of my favourite arcade games of all time, and while many games have attempted to reuse this winning formula, I have never found anything to beat it for satisfying my 2D hack and slash itch. So it was with gratuitous levels of excitement that I approached Volgarr the Viking, after all, it has all the correct ingredients to match or even (gasp) beat Rastan as the chop-em-up 2D platformer of choice.

Tuesday 8 October 2013

Retro Review - Mole Mania (Gameboy)

We're going deeper underground!

You have to feel sorry for poor old moles, not only do they have to contend with appalling vision, but they also risk getting beaten over the head with a shovel by an irate farmer every time they pop their fuzzy little heads above ground. As if this weren't bad enough, poor old Muddy Mole, star of this cutesy puzzle game on Nintendo's Gameboy, has to deal with his entire family being kidnapped by the oddly named farmer, Jinbei. Quite what a grown man wants to do with a load of mole pups is beyond me (probably best not to dwell on the possibilities), but the spiteful old bastard now holds them hostage and it is up to you to rescue them.

Saturday 5 October 2013

REVIEW - Maximus Action Carnage (PC)

War is Hell

Maximus Action Carnage is a amusingly titled retro shoot-em-up from Bruno R. Marcos, author of the impressive Arcade Game Studio - a program that allows users to create their very own arcade style games. A vertically scrolling shoot-em-up (sorry, Shmup) with a war theme, MAC is clearly based on Capcom's classic 1985 coin-op hit, Commando. The year is 1942 and the Japanese Army have invaded and conquered South-East Asia. With the Allied forces retreating or having surrendered to the Japanese, it is down to one last soldier, a man who refuses to give in, who refuses to stop fighting. That man is you, Maximus Malone.

Wednesday 2 October 2013

Retro Review - Die Hard Trilogy (Playstation)

Yippie-Ki-Yay (obviously!)

People often claim that something can be so bad that it is actually good. I, personally, have never really agreed with this statement, as I usually find that if something is, indeed, bad, then it usually is best avoided. However, I think I may have found the exception to this in the form of Die Hard Trilogy on the original Playstation - a game that constantly makes me laugh out loud (sorry, LOL .. sigh) due to its terrible graphics, completely gratuitous and ridiculous gore, comic voice acting, or liberties taken with the source material. Yet it's a game that I keep coming back to. 

Monday 30 September 2013

REVIEW - Pac-Man Championship Edition DX + (XBLA)

Wakka Wakka Wakka

Still officially one of the best games on XBLA, as voted by me, Pac-Man Championship Edition DX (Phew!) is one the greatest updates to a classic game ever created, as well as being more addictive than the tastiest of crack rocks. I have ploughed many, many hours into the 2010 release, shunning such trivial necessities such as sleep and food in order to spend hour upon hour munching dots and ghosts to a psytrance soundtrack. Now, 3 years later, we have some fresh new DLC to devour like the gluttonous Pac-Man whores we all are. 

Saturday 28 September 2013

Retro Review - Guru Logic Champ (GBA)

Time for some more Japanese insanity now with a ker-azy puzzler on the Gameboy Advance. Guru Logic Champ's rather generic title belies the quirky characters and lunacy contained within the game. Once you have been introduced to the zany duck-like 'Champs' that make up the main protagonists, you are treated to some bizarre cartoon cutscenes that tell a story of how other oddball duck things from another planet have come to wreak havoc - but it would appear their idea of havoc is simply causing mild irritations such as stealing the tap from a public water fountain, or the battery from someone's kitchen extractor fan. So, how can you help these unfortunate souls return their lives to normality? Why, by performing block based puzzles in order to reveal a small picture of course!

Thursday 26 September 2013

Review - Verminian Trap (PC)

Here is another new arcade style game from the talented Locomalito. I am a huge fan of his work as his games take me back to the smokey arcades I spent a great many hours in during my youth, thanks to the retro aesthetics that perfectly ape the look and sound of classic coin-ops like Ghosts 'N Goblins and 1943. His most recent releases, including the excellent Gaurodan, have been old school shoot-em-ups, and now he turns his talents to a top down maze blaster. 

Tuesday 24 September 2013

Cassiopei - Experience almost instant loading C64 games on original Hardware!

The long wait (for games to load) is over

Fantastic news for fans of Commodore's wonderful 8-bit home computer, the C64, as a new device called the Cassiopei will soon let you load all your favourite cassette games in the blink (or at least a few blinks) of an eye.

The Cassiopei is a brand new device that is soon to be released at the HCC Commodore gebruikergroep in Maarssen next month, and will hopefully go on sale to the general public soon after that. Plugging in to the C64's cassette port, the Cassiopei allows the user to load games up to 50 times faster than the original cassette (if it would load at all.. sigh). It contains 8Mb of internal flash memory on which to store your favourite games and programs in .prg or .tap format, with the ability to load whatever you want onto it via a USB connection. The only downside is an inability to use .d64 (disk) images, as the Cassiopei is connected via the cassette port, but as most games came on tape as well as disk, this shouldn't be too much of a problem.

Sunday 22 September 2013

Review - I Am Level (PC & Android)

8-bit bounce!

What a change a coat of 8-bit paint can make! There are many games that, while often fun to play, fail to build any excitement due to bland presentation or visuals that lean too far towards the casual / kiddie market. But with a charming or retro aesthetic, a casual game can suddenly be exceptionally appealing. Taito's classic arcade maze game Cameltry is a good example of this, and now I Am Level - a game I have been looking forward to since laying eyes on it back in June - is here, proving the same point.

Friday 20 September 2013

Retro Review - Crime City (Arcade)

Do you feel lucky? Punk!

As a huge fan of Taito's arcade games of the 80's and 90's, not to mention the platform run & gun genre in general, I was delighted, yet also surprised, to discover Crime City only recently. Released at the end of the 1980's, Crime City puts you in the non-regulation shoes of a plainclothes detective on a mission to rescue the city's major and put an end to the huge crime spree sweeping the city. A cliched plot devoid of any originality whatsoever, this theme carries over into the game itself, which plagiarises  pretty much every platform action game that came before it, as well as many popular movies of the 1980's, most notably the Lethal Weapon series - the two main characters are a black and white detective named Tony Gibson and Raymond Brody respectively.

Wednesday 18 September 2013

REVIEW SPECIAL - Road Rash Series 1991 - 2003


I have always had a love-hate relationship with the Road Rash series. From the moment I was first wowed by the motorbike racing game on the Mega Drive way back in 1991, to right now, mere moments after an extended playing session incorporating multiple iterations on different platforms, I have found it a frustrating, yet addictive, experience. The series focuses on a motley bunch of oddballs, outlaws and degenerates as they participate in illegal motorbike races across California to earn cash and have the kind of fun that can only be achieved by breaking the law and the bones of your opponents. You qualify each race by placing 3rd or higher, and money earned can be used to upgrade your existing ride or purchase new bikes.

Monday 16 September 2013

Retro Game Music Quiz (Android)

Test your knowledge of retro gaming tunes!

Here's a quick little time waster that will put your memory of retro game music to the test. Retro Game Music Quiz is a free App, available from the Google Play Store, that tasks you with correctly guessing (well, remembering really) the title of 8-bit and 16-bit games from listening to a very short snippet of the game in question's soundtrack.

Friday 13 September 2013

REVIEW - Castle Of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse (PS3)

16-bit Magic for 2013

Nostalgia is big business these days. We have seen many HD re-imaginings of fondly remembered games of yesteryear hit the modern platforms in recent years, from Spelunker HD and Elevator Action Deluxe, to the more recent Superfrog HD, the excellent (albeit, flawed) DuckTales Remastered and the disappointing Flashback HD, now it is the turn of sublime Mega Drive title Castle of Illusion. The original game from 1990 was a cutesy platformer that was a runaway success due to its gorgeous cartoon visuals, catchy music and well designed levels that saw you navigating a library, forest and worlds made of sweets and toys. It was excellent, deserving all the praise and attention it received and it still holds up well today. Now 23 years later Sega have seen fit to produce a modern reboot, but can a simple cartoon platformer hold its own in this day and age, especially with competition from original titles like Rayman Legends?

Tuesday 10 September 2013

Obscure Retro Gem - Pieces (Super Nintendo)

There ain't no party like a jigsaw party!

A videogame adaptation of a jigsaw puzzle sounds like an extremely dull prospect, right? Well surprisingly, no, it transpires that it can actually be damn good fun. Pieces (or Jigsaw Party as it is known in Japan) is a puzzle game that simply tasks you with putting the correct pieces of the picture in the right places - I am sure you all know how a jigsaw puzzle works. 

Sunday 8 September 2013

Review - Mechanician Alex (Xbox Live Indie)

Imitation is not always the sincerest form of flattery

Mechanician Alex is a new platformer on the Xbox Live Indie Channel. Taking heavy inspiration from the single screen platform games of the 8-bit home computer era - most notably the ZX Spectrum's Manic Miner and Jet Set Willy - Mechanician is simplistic 2D jumping action in its oldest form.

Wednesday 4 September 2013

Review - The Chaos Engine Remastered (PC)

..and the point of this would be?

We are seemingly swamped with remakes, remasters and reboots these days. From the recent DuckTales Remastered, Flashback and Superfrog HD, to the forthcoming (today no less) Castle of Illusion reboot, we retro gamers are really being catered for. While the quality can often vary, it is always interesting to see what developers can do with their old franchise to bring it up to modern standards and what new ideas they have implemented to, hopefully, improve on the classic formula. It is, of course, a double edged sword, as high expectations from loyal fans can often lead to the title in question being heavily criticised, often unfairly. 

Tuesday 3 September 2013

XBOX Live End of Summer Sale - Grab some great bargains on XBLA!

Today marks the start of the End of Summer Sale on Xbox Live and there are some really good deals on offer that I wanted to bring to your attention. With a varied selection of decent games and up to 75% reductions, there is definitely something here for everyone. With no deadline set for the end of the sale, I recommend heading over as soon as you can and seeing what catches your eye.

Monday 2 September 2013

Retro Review - Banishing Racer (Gameboy)

I like driving in my car!

Anyone who enjoys retro videogames (and I assume you wouldn't be reading this if you didn't) knows that the weirdest and wackiest games usually come from Japan – this is just considered a fact of life. You can always rely on the Japanese to produce a game with a bizarre storyline, strange characters and settings, and crazy game mechanics that will have you looking vacantly at the screen and thinking, WTF? ('text speak' purely used there to appeal to the 'youth market')

Saturday 31 August 2013

Retro Review - Automobili Lamborghini (Nintendo 64)

Tiredness Kills! 

For those of you outside of the United Kingdom, or the non-drivers among you, 'Tiredness Kills!' is a government sponsored advertising campaign to make drivers aware of the perils of falling asleep at the wheel. While playing Automobili Lamborghini probably won't result in any fatalities, it will certainly alert you as to how easy it is to doze off mid-drive. With the exceptions of Ridge Racer 64, Beetle Adventure Racing and (possibly) V-Rally 99, Nintendo's 64-bit console is not really known for great road racing games. Instead poor N64 owners are 'treated' to a library of titles consisting of sluggish gameplay, poor frame rates and the usual blurry textures the system is infamous for.

Wednesday 28 August 2013

Review - Rise of the Triad (2013) (PC)

The Horror, The Horror!

Wow, what can I say? To call this a disappointment is an understatement! I am sure you have already seen the score at the bottom of this review, so let's not beat around the bush here... This new Rise of the Triad remake is utter shit. It is an abomination that not only should never have been released but has now forever sullied the ROTT brand. What Apogee software were thinking allowing, unknown developers, Interceptor to release this is beyond me. I - and I am almost embarrassed to say this - actually enjoyed the terrible Duke Nukem Forever more than this travesty. 

Monday 26 August 2013

Retro Review - Super Morph (SNES)

Chemistry 101

Some games are instantly fun, others take time to build up a momentum, hooking the player along the way. On the other hand, some games are instantly recognisable as utter balls, but others can lull you into a false sense of security, dragging you in with charming, cartoony graphics, bouncy music, original game mechanics, and enjoyable gameplay before grinding you down over time until you can no longer bare to look it in the face ever again. As if you couldn't guess by this long-winded intro, Super Morph falls solidly into the latter category.

Saturday 24 August 2013

REVIEW - DuckTales Remastered (PS3)

Life is Like a Hurricane...

DuckTales A-Whoo-oo! Come on, you know you have the insanely catchy tune playing along in your head now. To say I was excited by the announcement last year that the NES classic, DuckTales, was to be remastered in HD for a whole new audience would be a huge understatement. In fact, it's slightly disconcerting just how excited I was, far more so than 33 year old man should rightly be about a Disney game starring cartoon ducks. Childlike glee aside, it's always great to see classic games of the 8 and 16-bit era being revamped, but the expectations from retro gamers such as myself can often be too much for the modern remakes to live up to. Nostalgia is a powerful emotion, and rose tinted spectacles can often lead to any reboot being unfairly dismissed as unworthy of the original. So how does closely DuckTales Remastered stick to the original formula set by the 1989 original and can it stand on its own webbed feet in 2013?

Thursday 22 August 2013

Coin-Op Classics - Blood Bros.

Arcade game review - Blood Bros

'We going straight to the Wild Wild West'

Sometimes the most old fashioned plotlines are the best. Blood Bros puts you in the dusty boots of a cowboy and indian.. sorry, Native American, duo on the hunt for the baddest outlaw in the West - the, rather blandly monikered, Big Bad John. To track him down and bring him to justice, our heroes are seemingly required to mow down an entire country's population of cowboys, bandits, gunslingers, india.. Native Americans (sorry) and anyone else who is keen to be killed for no good reason.

Monday 19 August 2013

TOP 10 - 2-Player Retro Games To Play With Your Partner

It Takes Two...

I have been lucky enough to have been blessed with a wonderful girlfriend who is also a gamer. Though, obviously, not the borderline obsessive retro gamer I am proud to be, she appreciates games no matter their age or graphics, and enjoys watching me play story driven titles as much as playing the fun 2-player games alongside (or against) me.

Over the years we have played many titles, both old and new, some of which we played through to the end, others just for short bursts. While many games have kept us entertained, the following 10 games are the ones we have enjoyed the most, and the ones I would recommend to anyone else out there who wishes to enjoy retro gaming with their better half.

Friday 16 August 2013

Retro Review - Bounder (C64)

Rubber Ball, Come Bouncing Back To Me...

Back in the days of the 8-bit home micro computers, a game could be made based on absolutely anything - regardless of how mundane. There were games about a dustbin man (sorry, "refuse collector"), someone mowing their lawn, collecting shopping in the supermarket, and even a simple tennis ball bouncing along. That last one is, of course, Bounder, a successful top-down bounce-em-up from Gremlin Interactive - the same fellows that brought us the excellent Monty Mole series. 

Wednesday 14 August 2013

Coin-Op Classics Special - Mr. Do (Arcade)

Get down with the clown!

Forget Digger, put aside your love of Dig Dug and wipe away those memories of The Pit, for Mr Do is where it's at for all your retro subterranean arcade maze adventures. Mr Do on Super Nintendo is a port of the classic coin-op by Universal that was released way back in 1982 - the time of early character based arcade games like Donkey Kong, Pac Man, and Dig Dug. 

Tuesday 13 August 2013

New issue of Retro Gamer OUT NOW for subscribers!

Retro Gamer Issue 119

Just a quick post to let all you retro gaming fans know that the new issue of Retro Gamer magazine is out for subscribers, with it hitting the shops in a few days. My copy came this morning and I immediately liked the Q-bert cover.

This months edition features articles and features on the following:

  • Atari Jaguar - 20 Years On
  • Top 25 SNES games
  • Super Castlevania IV 
  • Counterstrike 
  • The History of Cannon Fodder
  • A Bluffers Guide to Puzzle Games
  • The Making of Deactivators
  • Zepplin Games
  • The Spectrum 128K