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 Blogger: Todd M @The Top Loader
I died. Please hold back the tears because I'm playing Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts on the Super Nintendo and it happens all the time, so if you truly know how this ends you know I will just dust myself off and try it all over again. On your feet soldier because remember you are Arthur a knight in all that shining silver, green or gold armour and you don't want to be left with your pants down with your undies exposed when this first level beats me to the ground because you must face your demons when traveling to Lucifer's realm if you want to keep the peace and order to prevent another system break down. The town is now reconstructed but I still have a purpose in this new life because a demon just broke through the glass and snatched the princess mid flight. I've never felt so alive when I get up and running as Arthur sure seems like he is going to do lots of jumping, just be careful if it all starts to slow down because sometimes there is way too much chaos on screen going round. I don't blame the game - I blame the system - because it can be hard to handle when all these enemies come at me from all angles, but hey .. who am I kidding? It's not that bad even if the processing is in over the Super Nintendo's head, this console has given me so many good times before and I can already tell that these Ghouls n Ghosts are going to give me some more.
Every time I went to my local Video Flicks rental shop I always had to hire the mighty Super Ghouls 'N Ghosts. We always hired two games because the second one came at a cheaper price, not that we had much money to hire out games but we didn't want to waste an opportunity if it was only a little bit more. I could never finish the first level yet I rented it every single time anyway - and I don't know why - since it always gave me so much grief. What it all comes down to is I really had to get better at the game and like the controls it seems to be just that simple. This game asks for nothing less than perfection which I fear will be too much for some people to handle as I often wonder if the creators of this game had Obsessive Compulsive Disorder which is something I am all too well familiar with, but do you know what temporarily stops that? - Two taps with my right hand - but in this game case it's two taps with the B button that will really help with A & Y at your side to really fire off some support. Double jumping has both saved me and killed me at different times as you cannot change the trajectory once you go into the motion, it's a double edged sword that can get out of control and just like my obsessively compulsive tendencies I hope it won't be my eventual downfall.
But enough with all this double dribble as you run through the stages my advice is do not try and destroy everything on the screen because this isn't a game for kill streaks, do what you need to do to move on and worry about what is in front of you and not so much what is around you. The learning curve is steep so pay attention as the layout of the land doesn't always hold its retention. Zombies, flaming skeletons with Weredogs are all in your path and unfortunately Gandalf is not here to help as these wizard's shall make it hard for you to pass. I like how every part of this game always seems to be perfectly laid out, the weapons might change but the placement of the chest are always the same.. just try and avoid the flame. Throw a slow spear or a fast knife but that double angled crossbow feels just nice because throwing a controller won't help as I finally have an axe to grind because twenty years laterI finally get my peace of mind, as I walk the plank and take Arthur to the sea and find out if that second stage was worth the wait. Aim your jumps carefully because just like good comedy its all about the timing and you don't want to miss your landing otherwise you might miss the punch line. Floating like a butterfly seems like how it is meant to be because it always seems to end up underneath me as I see the lightning strike while looking out for the fish that come out from the sea.
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.
It is hard to believe the Super Mario Bros 3 has yet to be spoken about on here. It is one of the all-time classic Super Mario Games albeit slightly different from the original Super Mario Bros but still an absolute diamond of a video game. So much so that Super Mario Bros 3 received a 16 bit upscale for the release of Super Mario Allstars on the Super Nintendo. We could re-live the entire experience in a much better resolution back in the 90s.
Nintendo released Super Mario Bros 3 in 1988 on the NES. Back then the new top down perspective overlooking each world looked stunning and certainly influenced the styles in numerous other Mario game namely Super Mario World and the New Super Mario Bros on the Nintendo DS. So there’s a legacy right? Of course there is. This is a Super Mario game after all and it seems fair to suggest that most Mario game games leave a long standing legacy. Name a series or gaming franchise that is more popular that the Super Mario Bros (including spin offs)?
Super Mario Bros 3 contains eight worlds that Mario must battle though over fifty levels in order to rescue the the pesky Princess. Why pesky? I could not help but feel annoyed with Princess Peach throughout my younger years. I used to wonder how can she be so helpless and why is she constantly getting herself caught? The answer is obvious. Super Mario Bros 3, like many Super Mario games, adopts a classic formula of Hero saving the damsel in distress. Ta da. It works very well and provides an excellent story for Super Mario Bros 3 to build upon. Throw in some amazing Power-ups like the Mushroom, Tanooki Suit, Flower and more and voila.
Amidst the eight world’s are eight big bosses and eight mini bosses that are half way though each world. That seems like a pretty basic fact but it’s a pinnacle part of the game. As a kid I found the mini bosses very difficult which often left my confidence decreasing the closer I got to the final boss (of the world). Don’t forget that Super Mario Bros 3 was the first game to adopt this type of structure: overhead world’s containing two bosses. This holds true in Super Mario World also.
That’s the ultimate goal isn’t it? To create the perfect video game. Is Super Metroid that game? Did the Super Nintendo host some of the the most perfect Video Games? Very few video games are considered as such, and even then it is of course only opinion. There is no fact in a critic’s verdict, whether it’s print/online. People often forget that, and it is of course the same for you; we’re all critics after all. But there is the matter of consistency to take into account, which is where one of my ‘perfect’ game choices gets a unanimously positive critique/public view: Super Metroid. For those that have played through Yoshio Sakamoto’s action/sci-fi magnum opus, I may be wasting my words on you; but I’m confident you’ll read on to either nod/shake your head at this ‘critic’.
Super Metroid is as perfect as a video game can be. With its super sci-fi intro, a dark atmospheric tone is set from the get-go. This never dissipates but, even more impressively, increases or decreases depending on the location/situation. The elevator ride down to Ridley’s lair is a prime example; I don’t think a 16-bit videogame had ever given me goosebumps before. The crisp, fluent visuals complement the soundtrack perfectly, and of course vice versa, the soundtrack often giving the perfect nod of anticipation for the next section. A great example of this is the descent into Brinstar; it fades in superbly, and sets the tone for the action packed section up ahead.
Then there is the learning curve; which is seamless in its execution. It’s no different to previous games in the series in that you start with a simple blaster, but the aforementioned visuals and power of the SNES not only leaves enough subtle hints, but also develops the mind-set that success is dependent upon. Add to that the perfect pacing, an average play through of roughly ten hours first time around, which might not sound like much, but like many a Nintendo classic, it’s highly likely you’ll return for at least a second run through. Add icing to the cake in the form of one of the best and most memorable video game endings ever, and you have an instant classic.
Now I’m sure you’ve heard all this before, in some form or another. I believe Super Metroid is not a perfect video game just for its vision, production and execution, but more than that. Back in 1994 when it was originally released, I was 13 years old. Video Games were already a big part of my life, and had been for 8 years, and games such as Super Metroid only served as a positive aid to my lateral thinking, evaluation, puzzle solving, and general acumen.
Over 20 years on, it not only stands the test of time, but has indeed got better with age. Super Metroid is not just technically brilliant, but still technically brilliant, even to this day. And with the beauty of virtual console, it is already being passed on to further generations. That, for me, is perfection.
Guest Blogger: Kevin @Agent_Prince
The Legend of Zelda A Link to the Past is a game that has resonated with me for years. It’s one of those titles that embeds itself within your gaming core through and through. Why is this? Perhaps it is the vast nature appeal of the Hyrule with all of the bright colourful sprites that pop up all around Link’s quest? Perhaps it is the storyline of one hero taking on all evil? Perhaps it’s the dungeon crawling with room after room of traps, enemies and puzzles that kept my interest for all these years? We could ask these questions all day long. One thing is clear though: The Legend of Zelda A Link to the Past is one of the Super Nintendo’s finest games. That was true back in 1991 and this is true as I write this in 2016.
A Link to the Past adopts one of my favourite perspective’s of the 16bit era: The top down perspective same as was used in The Legend of Zelda on the NES. As a young girl, before I even knew what Video Games were I used to love drawing top down pictures of fictional houses and ships. My drawings were always full of colour and secret rooms much to the same as A Link to the Past is. As an adult I look back on this and it comes as no surprise that The Legend of Zelda A Link to the Past taps right in to that part of my childhood. More often than not Video Games can trigger a memory like this for us gamers. That is part of the buzz, the intrigue and the enjoyment and that right there is a pretty powerful concept. A Link to the past really invokes the Nostalgia in me and I find that incredibly overwhelming.
Guest Blog Post by Todd McDonnell @ The Top Loader
I like Bubsy. Why on Earth would I talk about Bubsy Claws Encounter of the Furred Kind (SNES)? Is it armageddon, are the Woolies invading? Yes, I said it here in an open forum. I'm not spinning any yarn here as there are no strings attached, I just hope the room doesn't clear as Bubsy bounces in from the foreground when the title screen loads up. YouTube is a wonderful thing, I've learnt so much about games and consoles that I had never heard about or knew much about before.. for example I never really knew how universally disliked Bubsy seems to be? I have a question mark lingering over my head and I can understand why Bubsy has an exclamation point printed on his shirt after hearing about all the bad things said about him in retrospect. Not that I let a review sway my decision on anything, whether it be a movie or a game. I often search YouTube to find people and their stories that I can connect with or relate too and I could never find a connection for Bubsy.. no matter how hard I looked, so maybe I'll send out an SOS as I dive into the deep end because remember bobcats can't swim and our furry friend looks like he needs some help as he throws up the white flag as he sinks to the bottom. He seems to be in trouble and these Woolies are giving me the willies, but fear not they can't do too much harm with yarn.. right? I say let them have it as you bounce right on top of them since these guy's are not going to wrap you up in wool anytime soon even though there are quantities of yarn surrounding me as these space invaders are here to grab it for themselves. Whoever has the wool, has the power and it is a race against time to save the Earths supply.
The clock is now ticking and Bubsy's tail is all Ready, Set .. GO!! I mean what could possibly go wrong? Bubsy hits the ground running as you gain some sonic type speed leaping over water in a single bounce straight onto a crate of banana peels only to regain your balance to find yourself thrown forward by the end of a boot and who says Bubsy isn't funny with all this dark humour lying around as it now fades to black when the day turns to the night of the bobcat with a bounce here and a bounce there Bubsy is truly everywhere and as he hits the sky remember don't ride the coaster of death on this cracked track for too long as this is all happening too fast and we are already past the bridge to fur and I really should mention by now that Bubsy is afraid of heights so be careful when traveling to the west by train as I would suggest he treads carefully when you suddenly stop. It's now operation Bubsy drop as he is chased by the cheese wheels of doom near the rolling rocks because we are well past the forbidden plummet as you now find yourself trekking through the woods while sailing on rafts and climbing the high trees and I still have no idea what I am doing in all these bonus stages all the while thinking out loud "Hey I thought I saw Elvis back there" until you now finally slow down to the final frontier as we say farewell to the big Woolie style mammoths in this double header as Bubsy walks like an Egyptian right into the back of a limo. Take a Break. Roll the credits. Somebody call 911 because WOW what a great time I just had ! .. where is this terrible game I keep hearing about? I don't remember jumping any sharks, admittedly out of context it all does sound a bit strange.
Guest Blog by Todd M @The Top Loader
Cowabunga! Too soon right? Well before talking video games let me first take you back in time so I can paint you a picture of my childhood, even without the help of any renaissance painters. If you look up close you will see images of four pizza eating turtles carrying around a half shell - oh and did I mention - they have a splash of green. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were walking talking ninja stars and it was turtle-mania as they defined my generation's pop culture. Sure there have been other properties that have come and gone in and out of our screens over the years, even the likes of the still popular Pokemon came out of the wild to take a good shot to reach the same heights of the turtles at their peak popularity.. but slightly missed, maybe they should've equipped the X accuracy. Their faces were everywhere as they left their turtle tracks behind for generations to follow in the years to come. It's hard to explain to anyone that wasn't there how big they were at the time. For me personally the turtle effect was unmatched, I had the lunch box, I collected the coins, the cards, and even had the costume, I ate their strange tasting ice cream and I vowed never to take shredders advice and dine on turtle soup, I had the board game - that broke - bought the figurines and of course the video games. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time on the SNES is one of the pinnacle Super Nintendo titles.
Sit down, turn off your turtle-comm and eat a celebratory jelly bean pizza - no wonder they were green - and let's kick shell as the Tm-N-T explode onto the scene like their Dynamite. But there's more explosions than that to look out for since Krang straight away has his eyes set on you and he is beaming, and so am I because I am playing Turtles In Time. There were games before and after this one but for me this is what I come back to the most. Playing in the back yard was one thing but playing the arcade game made me feel like I was right there in the action with them. Many of my favourite characters from the cartoon made the jump into sixteen bits as it includes Leatherhead, Metalhead and lets not forget ol' tin faced Shred head himself, but lets not get too far ahead of ourselves as there are many minor characters to get in the way in your travels as The Foot were made for walking and that's just what they will do, so be careful as they were built to come right after you.
Waggle that stick and press my buttons as these mousers have a mind like a steal trap but I certainly don't have any Alley Cat Blues because, man I love being a turtle. April's evening news shows us that The Statue of Liberty is at stake as Krang the bloated bean bag swiftly comes in and fly's away with it. A class in action is called as we are dropped at the very top of a construction building swatting fly's that bother me as Baxter tries to terminate the turtles but, since he blows we continue working our way down through the streets but can't seem to catch a break even when surfin' those sewers. The Rat King is hiding out at the back of the sewer and luckily for Splinter himself he is only to be seen making a cameo as he encourages you to hurry up and attack a case of some killer pizzas turned monsters, sounds like a plot from an old 50's movie but this is the New York city sewer after all who knows what lies beneath as you keep digging because eventually you will stumble across the Technodrome.
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 McDonnell @TheTopLoader
As I type I can hear a lot of loud noise coming through the internet. Have I forgotten something? I take a moments break to see what all the commotion is about. Street fighter II turned 25 and everybody's celebrating as though they were aboard one of Ken's party boats. I sit and think - has it been that long since it was 1991 - well I've done the math and apparently math doesn't lie. Should I stop typing.. as everything that needs to be said about this game has been said. I don't need to tell you again how great it is, that would be an obvious statement. Then it hits me, and no it wasn't one of Sagats Tiger Uppercuts .. again - I realize that everybody is talking about this game because, everybody - from my generation at least - has a Street Fighter story, and guess what so do I.
Street Fighter 2 ? For me it Begs the question: If this is the second game then where in the world map was the first? I had always heard of the myths surrounding the original Street Fighter - was it even real? I had never seen or heard of it before. Later on in life i did find out that it did in fact exist as I finally got a chance to play it, and how this game got a second game made based on the original is beyond belief. How do you go from a laggy, unbalanced un-fun waste of time to arguably one of the best and most important fighting games in the history of video games? This time however, Capcom lined up its quarters ready to play again and won because this new challenger certainly got it - Perfect.
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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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