Monday 15 April 2013

Classic Game - Impossamole (C64 / Amiga)

Impossamole is a game I have always loved since first getting my hands on the Commodore 64 cassette way back in 1990 – the year of the games release. I recall seeing it advertised in Commodore Format magazine and immediately wanting to buy it, as well as being blown away by the graphics for the 16-bit Amiga version. However, as I was only 10 years old and had just been given my very first computer, a lovely C64, I was more than happy to stick to 8-bits (for now). 

I remember it clearly - I spotted the game on the shelf of our local computer store, and immediately asked my father if he would get it for me. Being a generous chap he obliged and on the journey home I sat reading the back of the cassette inlay and ogling the screen-shots, eager to start playing. I had already enjoyed the previous installments of Monty Mole's adventures, Monty On The Run and Auf Weidersehen Monty, so I was keen to see what new adventures awaited our short sighted rodent hero. Here, Monty was kitted out in a Superman style costume, with flowing cape and a flame thrower in his hands. How could this not be awesome?

Saturday 13 April 2013

Classic Game - SonSon 2 (PC Engine / TurboGrafx-16)

SonSon 2 is the sequel to the classic Capcom arcade title from 1984. Developed by NEC Avenue (under license from Capcom) this sequel never saw an arcade release and was only released on the PC Engine – or TurboGrafx-16 as it is know in the USA and Europe – in 1989. Whereas the original was a forced scrolling affair that had you moving your little monkey boy between different planes to shoot at the approaching enemies – a strange combination of horizontal shmup and platform game, SonSon 2 is more of a standard 2D platform adventure. Like its predecessor, SonSon 2 is clearly inspired by the Chinese novel 'Journey to the West' – more commonly recognised in the West from the tacky 1960's TV show, 'Monkey'. You play as Son Goku and must rescue your buddies from an unknown monster. As the game is entirely in Japanese, this is as much as I can tell you.

Friday 12 April 2013

Retro Rubbish - Magic Carpet (C64)

Not all retro games are worth remembering

Some memories are best forgotten. Being kidnapped and held hostage in a foreign land perhaps. Or being beaten unconscious by hooded men weilding bamboo canes. Both of these pale into comparison to the total horror of experiencing Magic Carpet on the Commodore 64.

Well, if the game is so arse-achingly awful why are you writing about it? I hear you say, in my head. Well the simple fact is that this abomination will be forever etched into my subconscious as it was the very first computer game I ever owned – not counting Game & Watch LCD hand helds. My old man bought me a brand spanking new Commodore 64 in 1990. It was the Light Fantastic pack that came with a light-gun and a few games such as Army days, Gangster Town, and Batman The Caped Crusader. He also purchased a copy of Outrun, and Magic Carpet. I had no idea that the C64 was pretty much obsolete by this stage, but I am so glad I had a chance to experience all the 8-bit home computer games such as Monty On The Run, Boulderdash, Bounder, Jack The Nipper and Creatures as well as being able to purchase games for less than £2.

Wednesday 10 April 2013

REVIEW - DOUBLE DRAGON 2 : The Wander of Dragons (XBLA)

Kicking Ass... Nope, just Ass!

You know a game is going to be bad when you see or hear very little about it during the run up to its release. The recent The Walking Dead : Survival Instinct is proof of this. So I was quite surprised to see a remake of Double Dragon 2 on XBLA this morning, I had heard rumours about one being produced but had not seen any videos or previews of the title. I was still excited to try it out, though. After all, the arcade original, and the excellent NES version were, and still are, great fun to play.

Tuesday 9 April 2013

Awesome Amiga games on your PC - The Easy Way!

Emulation is a wonderful thing. Regardless of your stance on the legal side of it, you have to admit that it is a fantastic way to archive and remember the classic games of yesteryear. With prices for many original copies of old titles skyrocketing, many would never get to experience them without the many excellent emulators available out there. Now, it is even easier for PC users to experience the joys of Commodore's 16-bit machine.

The guys over at have lovingly turned all your Amiga favorites (and many you may never have heard of) into easy to run .exe files for your PC. While I am not sure of the legality of this, I do know that they have done a sterling job, and it makes running Amiga games an absolute doddle. With no loading times, instant joypad support (my Xbox 360 controller works a treat), visual filters and compatibility with all versions of Windows, enjoying Amiga games has never been more straightforward.

Monday 8 April 2013

Obscure Retro Gems - Whizz (Super Nintendo)

Whizz is a quirky isometric platform game that was released in 1995 on the Amiga and PC, then later on the SNES (in 1996), and the Sega Saturn and Sony Playstation (in 1997). There is supposedly an Amiga CD32 version. It is hard to find any trace of it online, yet people argue that it does exist and can even be downloaded. The version I am focusing on here is the Super Nintendo version. Released super late in the 16-bit console's lifespan, in 1996, it was overlooked by most SNES owners. But thanks to wonder of emulation, no game gets left behind. So I implore you to take Whizz for a spin and see what you missed out on first time around.

Thursday 4 April 2013

Classic Console - Nintendo Game Boy


Whilst growing up I was lucky enough to own all 3 popular hand held consoles at one point or another. I remember playing Sonic The Hedgehog, Wonder Boy, and GG Shinobi on the Game Gear's bright colour screen. I can picture sitting on the living room floor of our old family home, tucked behind a sofa so I could be near to the power socket, playing Batman Returns and California Games on Atari's behemoth, the Lynx. But most of all I remember Nintendo's monochrome legend, the Game Boy. Like every other kid on the planet I owned one – even having a ridiculous carry case for it, complete with shoulder strap – and it went everywhere with me. It was like an extension of my own body, much like the way people seem to treat mobile phones today, except this was strictly for gaming only. And boy, what games they were. While the other two handholds had some great games, the Game Boy was my weapon of choice. I would play Super Mario Land and Revenge of The 'Gator religiously, and God forbid anyone should try to prize my cherished console from my hands while in the middle of a game.

Classic Game - Amazing Penguin (Game Boy)

Cutesy puzzlers and single screen arcade games are the perfect match for hand held consoles. When done well they offer short bursts of fun and head-scratching action that's perfectly suited to gaming on the move. Games like Amidar, Qix, Tetris, Bomb Jack, Bubble Bobble, Catrap and Boulderdash are all great examples of this. And so too is Amazing Penguin.

Developed by Natsume and released in 1990, Amazing Penguin is an exceptionally fun single screen arcade puzzler starring a cute Arctic bird wearing a beret. Why he is wearing such inappropriate head wear is unexplained, but I would imagine if he were a human character he would be called something very different from 'amazing'. It would still begin with an 'A' though.

Wednesday 3 April 2013

REVIEW - Retro Racers (PC)

Retro Racers is a brand new top down racing game with an extremely retro look and feel. Clearly inspired by games such as Super Sprint, Micro Machines (due to the toy-like appearance of the cars) and Amiga combat racer 'Nitro', Retro Racers goes back to the fundamentals of the racing genre. Simply race around a course consisting of various twists and turns, beating your rivals to the finish line. The tracks are littered with power-ups that increase your speed or acceleration, improve your handling, or give you a nitro boost. The cars feel responsive, if a little weighty, and it offers up some basic entertainment for the duration of its 18 courses. There is a split screen two player mode too which is good fun if you can find someone willing to share the space in front of your keyboard. Gamepads are supported, of course, seeing as they are absolutely essential for any self respecting PC gamer these days.