Friday 25 December 2015

A Very Amiga Christmas! 16-Bit Festive Gaming Goodies!

A 16-bit Christmas of Festive Freebies 

Ho Ho Ho, Merry Christmas. Tis the season, etc. etc. Yep, it's that time of year again, and thus the obligatory Christmas themed gaming articles appear online. The problem is, when looking at retro games, they are the same every year - unless some clever so-and-so has created a new homebrew game with a festive spin. Sure, I could cover newer indie games that feature Santa, elves, snowmen and the rest, but there are hardly any new ones and those that do appear are so dire they don't deserve the time spend playing (and writing about) them. Hmm, so what's a guy to do? I know, take a look at games on one of the greatest computers of all time, that's what! 

Friday 18 December 2015

Indie Review - Ghosts 'N Demons (PC)

Ghosts 'N Demons

Capcoms classic coin-op Ghosts N' Goblins has just celebrated its 30th anniversary, so what better way to celebrate this milestone (other than firing up the original in MAME) than to play an indie re-imagining of this classic coin-op? No, I'm not talking about Locomalito's wonderful Maldita Castilla, released in 2012, but a new kid on the block; the not-very-subtly-named Ghosts 'N DemonsPersonally, I've always had a love / hate relationship with the 1985 original (and its sequel Ghouls 'N Ghosts, released in 1988) as, on the one hand, it contains gorgeous pixel art, a great soundtrack and tight, action-packed platforming. While on the other, it's an obnoxiously difficult game clearly designed to strip arcade patrons of their coins. 

Monday 14 December 2015

Indie Review - Plasma Fist (PC)

Plasma Fist - Old School Platforming done right!

I have always been a staunch believer in the gaming ethos of 'graphics do not maketh the game' and there are certainly a lot of indie games that require that mindset in order to engage with them. Plasma Fist, on first appearance, is one such game - a classic platform blaster that has a wonderfully old school 8-bit look that reminds one of Lode Runner or Jetpack

Thursday 5 November 2015

Super Mario Maker UPDATE! Plus, what we still want to see in the game!

Free update is now live!

Hot on the heels of my Super Mario Maker review (here), I wanted to follow up by taking a more in-depth look at the exact features missing from this fantastic game. From missing animations and power-ups to the inability to create sloped terrain, there are certainly some issues that stop Super Mario Maker from being the true Super Mario Bros creation tool it could be. Some are minor, but others are so glaring that they render the opportunity to recreate most of your favourite Super Mario Bros 3, Super Mario World and New Super Mario Bros levels impossible. But just as I was about to post this article, news spread online of a free update from Nintendo that adds new content and fixes. I will cover these first before continuing! Now today, the patch is up for download (or yesterday if you live in the USA). I will take a quick look at what has been added before looking at the features we would like to see in future updates!

Monday 21 September 2015

Review - Super Mario Maker (Wii U)

Celebrating your 30th birthday in style

It has been a long, long time since I have felt as excited about a game release as I have with Nintendo's brand new Mario creation title. Not since the days of my youth have I pre-ordered a game well in advance of it's release date and waited with baited breath for it to turn up on my doorstep, ready to be ripped open (well, very carefully opened anyway, this was a limited edition after all) and thrust into the console without delay. But this is no ordinary game, this is Super Mario Maker

Wednesday 12 August 2015

Nintendo Wii U - My Favourite Current Gen Console & Why You Should Buy One

Nintendo - Still working their magic after 30 years!

This year I have owned and played on all three of the current generation of consoles - Sony's PS4, Microsoft's Xbox One and Nintendo's Wii U. Now, I will be the first to admit that 'modern' games have not be doing it for me for several years now. While, naturally, I still enjoy the smaller indie titles that appear on Steam and other machines (especially the PlayStation Vita), the main 'triple A' titles have left me cold. I have sat down and dedicated time to games such as GTA V, Assassins Creed : Black Flag, Far Cry 4, Drive Club, Forza Horizons 2 and Batman Arkham City, but all of them have felt uninspired, bland and, more importantly, not much fun to play. So, I have generally stuck to a mix of indie games, classic arcade games on MAME, and retro titles on platforms such as the Sega Saturn, SNES, N64, or whatever random console I have purchased that week.

Monday 10 August 2015

Review - Eternum (PC)


Hot on the heels of my review of the excellent 80's arcade game, Baluba-Louk No Densetsu, comes a follow up review. This time I take a look at a brand new indie game that takes a great deal of inspiration from Able Corp's wonderful platformer, as well as a huge nod to Capcom's Ghosts 'N Goblins series. This inspiration is immediately apparent, in fact, the developer has referred to the game as an unofficial sequel to the Ghosts 'N Goblins games, with the hero being no other than Arthur the knight himself. Now an old man, Arthur is on a purely selfish quest. Instead of rescuing his beloved, he is now on the hunt for magical orbs that grant the owner eternal youth. I am not sure why Arthur is alone - clearly his damsel in distress wasn't as into the relationship as he was and has done a runner in the interim. You have to feel sorry for the guy, especially considering how brutally hard the challenges he faced to rescue her were.

Tuesday 4 August 2015

Retro Review - Baluba-Louk No Densetsu (Arcade)

The original Tomb Raider

Ok, arcade fans! I am here once again to bring you another obscure coin-op gem that deserves your attention. This time it's the turn of the catchily titled Japanese game Baluba-Louk No Densetsu (just rolls off the tongue doesn't it!). Released way back in 1986, Baluba was another colourful 2d platform, collect-em-up, in a very similar vein to the Tehkan classic, Bomb Jack - one of my all time favourite games! Playing as a cute little explorer dude, your aim is to move around the small underground stages grabbing every single treasure chest, while avoiding the brightly-coloured beasties that patrol the stages. 

Sunday 26 July 2015

Retro Review - Pokemon Snap (Nintendo 64)

Gotta Snap 'Em All

Pokemon.. Ah, Pokemon. Gotta catch 'em all etc. etc. Yep, you guessed it, I am not a fan. As a lifelong loather of all things anime, I found Pokemon about as appealing as a final demand letter from a debt collection agency. But I am clearly in the minority as it's a worldwide phenomenon that shows no signs of going away. Kudos to the creators, though, for finding a way to fleece kids the world over for 20 years now, as they attempt to acquire every one of the ever-expanding bestiary of irritating critters. Anyway, I recently found myself in possession of a Nintendo 64, and in between games of Goldeneye and Wave Race 64, I decided to try out Pokemon Snap (purely to check it worked, honestly). I never thought I would end up inexplicable hooked to the damn thing, playing it for days on end - even starting a new game so I could watch my girlfriend do her own play through.

Monday 6 July 2015

Review - Letter Quest : Grimm's Journey (PC / Mac)

Casual gaming finally wins me over

I have never once considered myself a casual gamer - I would scoff at the 'noobs' playing gibberish like Farmville and Candy Crush, guffaw at the naivety of so-called gamers who wasted their time playing touch screen nonsense on their mobiles and tablets - titles usually involving nothing more complex than swiping your finger across the screen. But now I may have to reassess my views (well, not entirely, Candy Crush is still an abomination) due to one title, Letter Quest : Grimm's Journey.

Friday 26 June 2015

Instant Remedy - Insert Disk 2 - Amiga Remix Album Out Now!

Instant Remedy - Insert Disk 2

Great news for fans of high quality remixes of classic videogame soundtracks : Instant Remedy's brand new album, Insert Disk 2 is now available for your listening pleasure! A follow up to his self titled debut album, Insert Disk 2 focuses on remixing classic Amiga game music, rather than those of the Commodore 64. The first album is one of my favourite videogame remix albums due to it's high quality production, thumping beats and and modernised versions of some of my favourite C64 melodies, so I was very excited to hear there would be an Amiga follow-up, and I have not been disappointed. 

Friday 13 March 2015

New Toejam & Earl game in development! Kickstarter project needs your help!

Bring back the funk!

Whatup Yo? Erm...? Well, I was going to start with an amusing string of 'urban slang' as part of an introduction to this piece, but I suddenly realised how uncool I am and that I would end up sounding like Jessie from Breaking Bad ("Gatorade me, bitch!"). Anyway, gamers from the 16-bit era will know all about Toejam & Earl! Released on the Sega Mega Drive way back in 1991, this funky, exploration game was a breath of fresh air in a world populated by platformers and fighting games. A roguelike at heart, TJ&E tasked you with wandering around the cartoon landscape attempting to find pieces of your broken space ship whilst avoiding a selection of some of the most bizarre enemies ever seen in a videogame - rogue dentists, possessed mailboxes, giant hamster wheels and stampeding nerds to name but a few. Adding to the madness were unopened presents which, when opened, could grant you useful items such as speed-giving super hi-tops, extra health, icarus wings, or money. They could, unfortunately also contain deadly items such as enemies, rain clouds that would follow you, zapping you with lightning, or even instant death. The random nature of these presents, along with the randomised levels and ship piece placement resulted in a game with plenty of replay value. The two player split screen - which allowed both players to wander off and do their own thing - sealed the deal and Toejam & Earl went on to become a cult hit. 

Friday 6 March 2015

Amiga Homebrew - Fire 'N Ice (Solomon's Key 2)

Underrated 8-bit puzzler gets 16-bit port

A new homebrew game for the Commodore Amiga is always reason to celebrate and this brand new port of a classic, yet little known, NES game is no exception. While many old school gamers will be familiar with classic platform puzzler Solomon's Key, not that many people realise that Tecmo released a sequel in 1993, entitled Fire 'N Ice, exclusive to Nintendo's 8-bit console. Released late in the life of the NES, Fire 'N Ice failed to make much impact as most people had moved onto the SNES. This makes finding a copy of the game difficult and very expensive these days, but thanks to emulation this doesn't stop you from playing it on your PC / PSP / Xbox or whatever other system you enjoy running emulators on (you naughty person!). Now you can also enjoy the game on your Amiga, as lone developer Hukka has ported it to everyone's favourite 16-bit home computer!

Tuesday 17 February 2015

REVIEW - Don't Die, Mr. Robot! (PlayStation Vita)

"Spoiler : You Will Die!"

Sometimes the simplest things in life are the best - from a slice of bread fresh from the oven, to a cold beer on a hot day. This philosophy is carried across to the world of videogames, which is why classic 80's arcade games have such a strong following some 30+ years after their original release. While complex titles involving the use of more buttons than you would find in a helicopter cockpit have their place in gaming, it is the no frills, one or two button, easy to pick up & play titles that keep us enthralled for years - Just look at the roaring success of Rovio's Angry Birds and Namco's sublime Pacman Championship Edition DX for proof of this. Now there's another title that can be used as a perfect example of the 'simple = good' mantra - Infinite State Games' Don't Die Mr. Robot! on the PlayStation Vita.

Thursday 8 January 2015

Commodore Amiga Special - Modern Amiga Gaming - Gotek USB Floppy Drive

Modern Amiga gaming 

Gotek USB Floppy Drive Special

Recently I have been having a long overdue Amiga revival! For those of you who don't know (have you been living under a rock?) the Amiga is a 16-bit home computer made by Commodore and released way back in 1985. While originally released as a high end computer for business use (yawn) it wasn't long before it became known as a gaming machine thanks to its fantastic graphical capabilities and fun software. A couple of years later the most famous model of Amiga, the Amiga 500, was released and it cemented Commodore's machine as a home gaming platform bar none - It took PC games many years to catch up to the same level!