It’s hard to believe I’ve never written about Sonic 2! Back in the prime time 16bit days Sonic was one of the most prominent characters in gaming. Typically it would be an argument between which console was better: the Sega Mega Drive or the Super Nintendo which led to a further argument of Mario Vs. Sonic the Hedgehog. Which ever was you look at it I believe it is hard to find a definitive answer. Ultimately I look back and laugh on those days that I chose to side with the Super Nintendo because I adore the Sega Mega Drive in 2018. What better game to sit down and discuss none other that Sonic 2.
With the bright green shine of the Emerald Hill Zone grass topped with the crystal blue of the sky, Sonic 2 starts with an absolute bang. Straight out of the staring blocks and I remember at just how vibrant Sonic 2 seemed in comparison with its predecessor; Sonic. Everything seemed more polished from the breakable TV screens, the palm trees, the launch pad springs, bridges and more. Sonic 2 really made a lasting impact on us all back in 1992 with its impressive looks and feel. Even today in 2018 Sonic 2 looks incredible considering its a game that’s over 20 years old. What would the Sega Mega Drive have been without such a powerful game? For me Sonic 2 provided endless challenges: trying to get all of the rings in the Special Zone, trying to keep Tails in check and dodge the merciless obstacles in zones such as Chemical Plant Zone. I could go on.
One of the first noticeable changes in Sonic 2 compared to Sonic was the introduction of Tails. What did you think when you first saw Tails on your CRT TV’s back then? Firstly, we know that Tails is both playable and a non-playable character. Secondly, the difference between the two is startling depending on how you approach it. As a non-playable character Tails is both an asset and a pain in the ass. Tails is great at collecting missed rings, landing on missed TV Screen and killing missed enemies. Typically Tails moves with Sonic so when Sonic jumps Tails jumps shortly after. Arguably you are controlling two characters at once. Whilst this can be a bonus it can often be a burden. Sonic 2. At times Tails frequents death and for me this can slow the pace of the game. Take the Social Stages for example. When Tails crashes the game noticeably drops a few frames. On the grand scale of Sonic 2 this is a monitor issue but one I feel I must mention.
As a playable character Tails is feels much more agile, albeit his legs move like he is slipping on ice. Brace yourselves for some classic split screen action with Sonic on the top and Tails donning the bottom half of the screen. For me the split screen works great!
Along with the introduction of Tails Sonic 2 also saw Super Sonic bursting in to the series. Super Sonic is a lot faster than normal Sonic and can jump a lot higher. Super Sonic can be unlocked by collecting all seven of the Chaos Emeralds then collecting fifty rings on a level. After one quick jump Sonic morphs in to Super Sonic. Alternatively you can pop the cheat in too and voila you’ll be running around Emerald Hill Zone as Super Sonic instead. But we won’t talk about cheating now will we?
There are eleven different level zones in Sonic 2 with each level having two acts. This does not include Metropolis Zone as this has three, Sky Chase Zone, Wing Fortress and Death Egg Zone.
I’ve always found there to be excellent variety in the level designs in Sonic games. Sonic 2 has 11 zones including the final Death Egg Zone in which Sonic battles. If you’re skilled then you should be able to complete Sonic 2 in just over one hour. On top of the awesome level design the music in Sonic 2 is fantastic. To this day the tunes of Sonic 2 are as familiar as any gaming soundtrack out there. What are your thoughts?
Sonic 2 inspired many Sonic games over the years. With the most recent Sonic Mania (PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC) you can utterly feel the Sonic 2 vibe above any of the original Sonic trilogy. What’s more that there Sonic 2 HD is in development. Whilst this is an unofficial Sonic 2 remaster. Gone have the 16bit polygons and incoming the ultra HD fibres of Sonic and Tails. I can appreciate that a Sonic 2 remaster is not for everyone it is clear how much of a lasting impact Sonic 2 had on fans around the world. Check out the trailer to it below. Should you want to try the demo it is available on Windows only at present.
Sonic 2 is a game that we should all be familiar with. It’s hard to say anything remotely bad about it. Sonic 2 packs a punch visually, musically, design-wise and conceptually. Sonic 2 really did help to carve the series in to something magical and it’s refreshing to see the characters live on in more recent Sonic games. Long live the blue hedgehog and his friends.
Blog post by Gemma @ Juicy Game Reviews / TheGebs24
Guest Blog Post by @ The Every Gamer
Michael Jackson, the King of Pop. For as long as I have lived, he was huge; his music has and will become eternal as well as his oddities. Even after death, he’s still a star in the music industry, but when he was alive, you knew who he was. In my opinion, for someone who isn’t a fan of pop music, I have no issues with most of his music and I like most of them. Fun fact, I have a segment of ‘Who is it’ for my ringtone as a joke. Anyone can be inspired by Michael Jackson, but there can only be one Michael Jackson, I don’t think we’ll get someone like him again…can we?
Anyway, if he can do music, he can have his own movie, and somehow he only had the one, he only needed the one, and it’s one I actually grew up with. Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker, based on one of his (not-so) original dance moves that make you remember him. Released in 1988, it’s mostly an anthology movie of…to be honest, a bit of ego-stroking on Jackson’s part, mostly music videos, some odd moments, but the memorable part of the film is the last segment, Smooth Criminal and it’s just awesome. I mean the scene where he actually sings the song and that part is filmed well, the rest of it. Joe Pesci is just a guilty pleasure.
Did you know that Michael Jackson may have liked video games? I mean, he worked on SONIC 3 AFTER ALL AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Anyway, there were home computer games based on the movie…SEGA’S ARCADE GAME IT IS!
Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker, developed and published by Sega with audio-visuals made by Triumph International, it was released in 1990. The game was produced and designed by legendary…Michael Jackson; eh, he can do music, he can do movies, he certainly can do games, if only he was alive, he could have finally made Half-Life 3.
Let's party like it's 1995 again! Well if you were a gamer in the 90's then you'll be familiar with the 16bit console wars between the Super Nintendo and Sega Mega Drive (Sega Genesis in North America). What an era! With classics like the Streets of Rage franchise, Sonic, Final Fight, Turtles in Time; we had it all on the SNES and Sega Mega Drive. Now even though the 90's is long gone we were graced with the release of Starfox 2 in 2017 with the launch of the SNES Mini Classic. Who'd have thought that in 2017 we would be seeing a brand new SNES game release?
Now in 2018 it would appear that 16bit game development is in full force on the Sega Mega Drive. I reached out to the developer; Matt of Big Evil Corporation to talk to him about his new Sega Genesis game: Tanglewood. A brand new side scrolling adventure game whereby we take the role of Nymn, a young fox like creature whom is scrambling to get back to his pack:
Spider-Man has always been my favourite Marvel Comics character and with Spider-Man Homecoming just getting a release it seemed fitting to talk about 4 Spider-Man video games you must play. It was Marvel UK’s US Spider-Man reprint comics that led to my love of the character 25 years ago. Spider-Man is of course one of Marvel’s most beloved creations. Over the years, Spider-Man has become more of a marketable figure outside of comic lore; the new movie Spider-Man Homecoming will be the 6th in just 15 years. The same can be said for video games, with 30+ releases across almost every platform in the last 35 years. Here I recommend 4 of Peter Parker’s best single player releases; heavy on the mythos, and not a Marvel vs Capcom game in sight.
Spider-Man: Maximum Carnage:-
The early 1990’s gave birth to two major new villains for both Spider-Man and Peter Parker: Venom and Carnage. Venom (aka disgraced journalist Eddie Brock) quickly became a fan favourite. After terrorising Peter and wife Mary-Jane Watson in some of the comic’s most haunting scenes, he was even given his own series for a time. Once the murderous offspring Carnage (aka serial killer Kletus Cassidy) came on the scene, Venom became a good guy of sorts. Determined to stop this symbiotic progeny, a truce was called with Spider-Man in order to stop Carnage. And so began the huge comic book crossover that was Maximum Carnage, and the SNES/Sega Mega Drive title it inspired.
Despite this Final Fight clone not holding up so well more than 20 years on, it’s devotion to its source material is still commendable. Panels from the actual comic are used to tell the story as you progress through simple yet challenging waves of bad guys and bosses. Despite being a Spider-Man comic, Maximum Carnage did feature a strong supporting cast of heroes such as Captain America and Iron Fist. These can be called upon as special moves should you feel overwhelmed in combat.
The stages, scenes and characters all appear as if taken direct from a comic book. This gives Maximum Carnage a sense of authenticity and respect to its continuity, despite its gameplay frustrations.
Guest blog post by Todd M @The_Top Loader
Get over here -----> Welcome to the 90's baby because I'm having fun n' games playing Mortal Kombat (released in 1992), but what version? That has been the topic of my childhood. Who had the best version, who could beat their chest the loudest in this primal rage that surprisingly escalated over just a few drops of blood? It came out on everything you could possibly think of, Master System, Gameboy, Game Gear, PC... you get the idea I literally could go on and on (until I run out of consoles to name) but the real test of might came down to just two consoles - the mighty Mega Drive and the Super Nintendo. The simpler time's of the 80's were gone with our Commodore 64's and their, 8's with their ,1's and don't forget to press play on tape as I watch the true fanboys get all fired up like a Scorpion fatality as they enter the console tournament looking for blood (which is truly where the battle begins) and where the movie version of Shang Tsung would famously say - "it has begun" - while Ed Boon's literal voice as the original game announcer now tells us to "Fight!!" The 90's were Excellent if not a little Dan Forden Toasty as I ripped out hearts and gave the kiss of death as my opponent went up in flames in the face of a burning skeleton's defeat as they dropped down to ashes because didn't you know you weak pathetic fools - I've come for your souls ! .. and so forth. That was Mortal Kombat, the gameplay was decent but let's be realistic here it's the gore that people came for. There were violent videos games before Mortal Kombat but they weren't in the mainstream and were never as popular because - lets face it - everybody pays more attention to the cool kids. Its funny being a parent now and thinking I don't think I would want my kid playing Mortal Kombat X .. but back when I was at that wise old age of ten I knew it all. I knew what was right and I knew what was wrong, hey I may have not bought Super Castlevania IV when I had the chance ..but in my defence I didn't now I was wrong at the time. My brother liked Excalibur with capes and crap like that but one thing we both loved was ninja's and the whole Eastern Kung-Fu scene because guess what? We both loved - Mortal Kombat - finally, we agreed on something.
Throw in a coin, select a player, choose your destiny while watching this klassic character line up that includes my personal favourite Sub Zero as he swings back and forth with his cold blue hands to the perfectly selected music beat while waiting patiently to controversially rip off your head right before we "Fight!!" Kano throws knifes and spins on a dime but what do you expect from a guy that lives for a life of crime because he won't hold back when ripping out someone's heart straight from their chest as it would Finish Him!! ..or her. No time to pause for a moment in this game (which can be frustrating) so you will have to use one of the other klassic digitized characters to release more effective green screen effects if you end up on the wrong side of Scorpion's famous harpoon attack, just don't teleport past Sonja Blade and panic while she flexes her reversed matrix style scissor kick as they both can burn you aliveafter they input the the right button combination before the fatality timer finally runs out. Liu Kang still kicks around while throwing projectiles in your face until Wham Bam! Van Damme .. hey he wasn't in the game, well he was supposed to be but he pulled out to do something else so here's Johnny.. Cage ! What a cool name, he's the complete package and this movie star has a secret weapon that's a real ball breaker and not the kind that you would find in his pants which does not work on Sonja Blade because of what's not in her pants - ironic - but with all this flippin' and floppin' all over the place I forgot to mention Raiden the God of Thunder who looks like he just come off the set of Big Trouble in Little China. You may think I'm going off track here but have you ever have wondered where the inspiration for Raiden came from? Watch the Three Storms in this movie because as I played Mortal Kombat for the first time it hit me like a bolt of lightning needed for the 1.21 gigawatts .. what the hell is a Giga.. wait, what? - wrong movie - sheesh now I'm really getting off track here so let's get back in the DeLorean to take me back to where I was before I made this alternate typing time line. Raiden is a parody verified by the words of Ed Boon himself from one of my all time favourite movies, hey.. who else thinks John Carpenter would have been a perfect match to direct and write a MK movie? It's a perfect blend of East meets West with western digitized character sprites and oriental backgrounds that felt like they were lifted straight out of a Kung-Fu scene with Eastern mystical mythologies including a four armed general monster Goro and shape shifting Lo Pan .. I mean Shang Tsung.. as the final bad guy with a story so far left out of Outworld about Elder Gods and Earth realm Sacred tournaments I can hear the words of Jack Burton echoing "I feel like a little bit of an outsider here"...because we are and I don't care because we all know that all he wants to do is go get his truck back.
Guest Review by Lamar @ Every Gamer Review
Another day, another product placement game and which company wants to sell themselves onto our video games? 7 Up! A fizzy drink that a lot of people may have drank in their lifetime, including me. To me its lemonade in a can…or just lemonade in general. But for those who don’t know (somehow), 7 Up is a fizzy drink with a flavour of lemon and lime. Well that’s it, it’s been around since 1920 and was sold in 1929 as Bib-Label Lithiated Lemon-Lime Soda before eventually changing it to 7 Up in 1936. Wait what does this have to do with Cool Spot? The giant red guy with a pair of sunglasses on and kick ass white sneakers!
Filler aside, how do you sell a fizzy drink, especially to the young generation in the radical and embarrassing decade of the 90’s? Use a mascot of course, and for 7 Up, we have Cool Spot and I don’t know anything about him since in the UK, we had Fido Dido. In fact, he was supposed to have his own game too but unfortunately, due to Kaneko U.S shutting down, the game was cancelled, though you can download a ROM of this lost game. But back to the other game I’m taking a look at Cool Spot, developed by Virgin Games and published by Virgin Interactive and was released in 1993 for the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis and in 1994 for the SNES and other consoles in the US and Europe, with the Amiga, MS-DOS and Sega Master System ports being released exclusively in Europe.
Cool Spot, and his friends have been captured by someone who wants to show them to the world to prove that Cool Spots do indeed exist. So you are Cool Spot, but you’re different, and when I mean different, I mean you weren’t caught by this person. So Cool Spot the…Red Spot, go save your friends…I guess. This is a retro game and stories didn’t matter, especially for a game that’s selling you citrus flavoured carbonated liquid.
Guest Blog by Kevin K @Agent_Prince
Forget the current resolution wars between Call of Duty on PS4 and Xbox One; this one intellectual property added to the already-brutal console wars of the 90’s, and is still diversifying to this day. I remember having brutal arguments with friends when I was 13 years old, defending my choice at the time.
Having experienced both from start to finish, is there a definitive answer as to which is best? Let’s see which one truly is the diamond in the rough. (Sorry).
First of all, Aladdin on both SNES and Sega Mega Drive were published and developed independently, the former by Capcom, due to its Disney licensing rights with Nintendo consoles at the time. It is a simple, enjoyable and often challenging 2D side-scrolling platformer, with some of the crispest visuals to ever appear on the platform, with a great, faithful soundtrack. Although not the longest of games, every level plays out at pretty breakneck pace, as you vault from posts in the ground and swing from those stuck out of walls, Prince of Persia-like.
Capcom also used the Super Mario method of bad guy disposal: jumping on them. This version was the first hit game of designer Shinji Mikami, of Resident Evil/Vanquish fame, and it is indeed the level design that is Aladdin’s greatest attribute. The traversing of obstacles flow effortlessly when negotiated with the desired precision, in order to get all the health-increasing gems and 1-ups. It’s a game to perfect as well as conquer, with the charm and essence of the movie all wrapped up in a nice few hours of entertainment.
Guest Blog by Ell Dee @Every Gamer Review
All of the Role Playing Games (RPGs) that I've played are pretty much unconventional so far...well mostly The Mother series. I've been wanting to play normal RPGs for a while and I got my eyes on Dragon Quest because Akira Toriyama (I love Dragon Ball Z). So this was a game I was waiting to play because I couldn’t get it on Wii Virtual Console but I don't have the Wii. So last year I asked Santa for this game on Wii U Virtual Console and Santa gave me it...on Christmas Eve. Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars (スーパーマリオＲＰＧ Sūpā Mario Āru Pī Jī), developed by Square (now Square Enix) and published by Nintendo (for the Super Nintendo) and was released in 1996 in Japan and in the US. Somehow Europe missed out on this. Why? Because of our PAL technology, it was considered far too difficult to convert it to PAL. Another reason is that it would have taken far too long to translate it to different languages. Didn't stop Harvest Moon and Secret of Mana stopping by so what's their excuse? Oh, the graphics.
So what's the story behind Super Mario RPG? Bowser kidnaps Peach and Mario goes to save her and the world revolves around a golden sun but suddenly, a giant sword crashes down on Bowser's castle and sends Mario, Peach and Bowser flying in different directions. When Mario goes back to the castle, he finds the sword who is called Smithy, as he’s unleashed his gang to cause havoc. So Mario has to go and stop the Smithy gang with the help of some friends he meets on the way, including Mallow, a cloud boy who thinks he's a Tadpole, Geno...DA BOSS! Bowser and Peach. This is when Geno comes into play. Due to the devious plots of the Smithy Gang, the Star Road has been broken so Mario and his friends must collect seven pieces of the star pieces to fix the road. Overall story is simple; it's a Super Mario game after all. It also has humour and I giggled at a few, though the majority of the humour is mostly kid-friendly but good enough for that demographic.
Guest Blog by Kevin K @Agent_Prince
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise has been going through a massive resurgence in the last couple of years, coinciding with the purchase of the rights by Nickelodeon. This has led to the production of a great new animated show (which is now on season 4 and it’s rather good), toys, merchandise, and a return to grace in its originating comic book medium.
With the upcoming Activision/Platinum Games collaboration imminent, what better time than to recommend 4 of the best Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles games of all time, each one representing one of the team. Cowabunga dudes!
Michaelangelo = TMNT the Arcade Game (Arcade, 1989)
Video gaming at its classic best. Back in 1989, this style of arcade was everywhere: Scrolling beat em ups. What was cool was the original cabinets allowed for 4 players on screen at once, for the full team experience. It was challenging.
In typical coin-op style you had little health that soon depleted, having to part with your cash for more credits. That might sound terrible, but such was the appeal of kicking the crap out of Foot Soldiers and the supporting bosses such as Bebop, Rocksteady, even Krang, it is tough to walk away because kicking butt is what the Turtles are all about. Like Michaelangelo, TMNT Arcade is fun in short bursts, but just simple and repetitive.
Guest Blog by Todd M @The Top Loader
There are so many games I can talk endlessly about, memories and stories are constantly running through my head. But today, I'm going to do something a little different. I grew up never owning a Sega Mega Drive and in recent years I've been able to go back and buy classic games that i never got a chance to own before. So here today I'm gonna take it to the streets to play a series of games that I have always admired from a far, a franchise that I may not have the most knowledge about and honestly most likely won't be telling you anything new , what a salesman I am huh. But, what i can tell you will be my most recent impressions of - The Streets of Rage.
How do you talk about a franchise that you are not that familiar with? Well you have to shoot from the hip or in this case punch from the waist up since that's what Axel seems to do a lot here as I watch his bare knuckles turn to flames. It may have the word street in the title but this is certainly no 1 on 1 fighter. What do I see when I first start to play? Well firstly I hear an awesome soundtrack, I've never been in a situation where I've been unsure whether I should be fighting.. or dancing since it compels me to do both. Sega really came out swinging and I was left dancing, but since i see a flurry of enemies heading my way I'm sure punching out a few combos wont hurt anybody - except maybe the bad guys - which is a good thing here because this is a Beat-em-up and it's pretty straight forward. For the most part anyway as sometimes you go up and down while throwing bad guys in the air and on the ground. There is a good balance of enemies that aren't too hard but aren't that easy, until you learn their pattern of course which is a must if you are to defeat some of the harder bosses like the very agile and bouncy twins - where's Chun Li when you need her?
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As my Youtube Channel was built around my love for retro gaming I decided that it was time to honour that passion through blogging. Here I review anything from the retro gaming world.
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