Wednesday 31 July 2013

Retro Review - Chuck Rock (Mega Drive / Genesis)

What shall we call this guy who chucks rocks?

The imaginatively titled Chuck Rock puts you in the, no doubt incredibly stinky, loincloth of the knuckle dragging titular hero. Chuck is a neanderthal man with a penchant for lobbing great hunks of stone around the place. Handily for him this skill will come in rather handy as he sets off to rescue his fair maiden from a boxing glove clad dinosaur named Gary. Nonsensical plot devices aside, Chuck Rock is a standard 2D platformer which sees you traversing such prehistoric locales as swamps, grasslands, snowy mountains, and underground caverns. There is even a delightful trip into the insides of a large reptile in store for our hero. As well as being able to pick up rocks of various sizes Chuck can also use his rather substantial belly to good use, butting away the reptilian foes as they come close. He is also surprisingly nimble for a fat man, able to perform a jumping kick to take down any flying foes. The rocks can not only be used as a crushing weapon, but can also be used as a shield to protect Chuck from air projectiles or bouncing boulders. They can also be used as handy platforms, allowing Chuck access to higher platforms that might otherwise elude him. 

Monday 29 July 2013

Homebrew Review - Alter Ego (NES - PC - Android)

Time for the old Switcheroo!

Alter Ego is a wonderful little homebrew platform puzzler that first appeared on the ZX Spectrum in 2011 (yes, 2011!). Now, fans of brain scratching single screen platformers can enjoy the switching action on PC, Android and even the awesome 8-bit NES.

Based on the idea popularised in Binary Land, Alter Ego has you controlling two characters at the same time. Your main fellow is a little white chap who looks a little similar to Bomberman. The second is his 'alter ego', a black shadowy version of himself. When you move your character left or right, this shadow form will move in the opposite direction (but not up or down - in this case he will copy you). You have a limited number of 'switches' at your disposal per level which, when used, swap the two character's positions. The alter ego is invulnerable to the roaming skulls that patrol the stages and can walk in mid-air so this allows you to move him to areas the main character cannot access. Once there you switch characters and continue as the white character. Using this tactic, you must collect all the little square collectibles to complete each single screen stage. It's an extremely well executed mechanic and one that becomes familiar within minutes of playing the game.

Wednesday 24 July 2013

Retro Classic - Buggy Boy (Commodore 64)

Let's Offroad!

As everybody with at least half a working brain knows, gameplay is more important than graphics. If there is anyone out there who still needs convincing of this, then I would submit to them this absolute gem on the Commodore 64. Over the years racing games such as Gran Turismo, Forza, Grid, Dirt and others have come and gone - leaving behind nothing but rapidly fading memories (if any at all), but this simple title remains one I can return to, over a quarter of a decade later, and still enjoy.

Tuesday 23 July 2013

TOP 10 - Best Looking Games Consoles

Throughout videogame history there have been a ludicrous amount of machines released - many of which have had numerous different cosmetic revisions over their lifespan. These machines have come in all shapes and sizes - from hulking behemoths that resemble something seen on a 1960's Russian Submarine, to sleek pieces of technology that are so small you could easily lose them down the back of the sofa. We have seen consoles decked in faux-wood panelling, and ones with hardwired controllers with leads so short that the user had to have the damn thing on their lap. Some manufacturers have nailed the design of a console first time around, while others have released revised versions after listening to consumers complaints (or maybe after sobering up in some cases). 

Thursday 18 July 2013

Retro Game - Dick Tracy (Mega Drive / Genesis)

Return of the Mac

Dick Tracy has to be one of the shittest names for a comic book hero I have ever heard. Seriously! Not only does he have a shocking name, but he also wears a bright yellow mac and hat. I guess tastes were very different back in the 1930's when Tracy first made it onto comic book stands. His popularity has obviously lasted over many decades however, as he has received video game adaptations on every system you can think of – from the 8-bit home micros, consoles and handhelds, to the 16-bit generation (Mega Drive and Amiga), as well as the PC and even mobile devices. The adaptation I enjoyed the most (I still have nightmares about the heinous NES version) is the Sega Mega Drive version from 1990.

Monday 15 July 2013

REVIEW - Shadow Warrior Classic Redux (PC - Steam)

Who Wanta Some Wang?

Juvenile, and racially dubious humour aside, I am extremely excited to tell you that the classic PC FPS game Shadow Warrior, has been given the update treatment by 3D Realms and released on Steam. Duke Nukem 3D recently received this honour, and was a must-purchase for anyone who enjoys the frantic and exhilarating action of old school first person shooters. Shadow Warrior is a very similar game to Duke Nukem 3d, replacing the blonde, gun-toting meathead with a wise-cracking oriental man wielding a sword and shurikens.

Friday 12 July 2013

Obscure Retro Gem - FRAMED (PC, DOS)

The great escape!

Framed is an obscure DOS platform game from 1995 that not many people have heard of, let alone played. Essentially a clone of the famous Dizzy games, made famous on the 8-bit home computers of the 1980's, Framed puts you in the shoes of a Joe Everyman, who has been locked up for a crime he did not commit. Having no confidence in the legal system that put him away to begin with, he decides he must escape, and find the real perpetrator of the crime so he can clear his name.

Wednesday 10 July 2013

REVIEW - Game Dev Story (Android / iOS)

Games Development 101

Now, let's be honest. All of us gamers have, at some point or another, wished we were making games. Maybe you are a developer – in which case, well done, you lucky bastard – or maybe you just love games and wish you had the ability to make all those wonderful ideas you have swimming around in your head a reality. Well, now you can, and without all that inconvenient hassle, such as having to study and work really hard. Now, even a knuckle-head like you can run his or her own games company and produce wonderful games. All thanks to this excellent mobile game by Kairosoft.

Monday 8 July 2013

Review - ACTION 53 - Function 16 Volume ONE - NES Homebrew!

Don't Panic. There is no sign of Cheetahmen here!

Fantastic news for fans of the wonderful 8-bit Nintendo console. NES dedicated website 'Infinite NES Lives' have released a brand new NES cartridge featuring a large selection of homebrew NES games. Riffing on the name of the infamous Action 52 game,  Action 53 Function 16 Volume ONE "Streemerz Bundle" (to give it its full mouthful of a title) brings together many popular NES homebrew games that have surfaced over the last few years and slaps them together as a complete package for the first time. 

Friday 5 July 2013

Classic Game - System Shock 2 (PC)

Shock, Horror! It's another fantastic 1990's PC FPS!

Amazingly, considering that first person shooters were my genre of choice throughout the 1990's, I have never played System Shock 2. Shocking (excuse the pun) I know, but true. I am not sure how I managed to miss this classic game, but I can only assume it was because I was too busy with university, drinking and girls to have noticed it. That, or maybe I was hooked on my new Sega Dreamcast. Anyway, regardless of my shameful negligence, I have finally gotten around to experiencing this ground breaking title, and boy, am I glad I did.

Thursday 4 July 2013

Commander Video - New retro Bit.Trip Runner game

Great news for fans of Commander Video's retro shenanigans contained in Runner 2 (Future Legend of Rhythm Alien). Gaijin Games have created a brand new game staring the titular hero that focuses purely on the retro vibe.

Using the 16-bit look, as well as the awesome chiptune soundtrack, of Runner 2's fantastic bonus stages, Commander video takes the same great gameplay and brings it to your browser.