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')