Guest Blog by David Morley
My older brother grabs the good controller. It’s the enhanced one as it’s been used more and it’s not as rigid apparently. “Hold on, let me get comfortable.” EA Sports it’s in the game! The early nineties were hard, a lack of money for my parents being the main issue. So when my oldest of two older brothers bought me a Sega Mega Drive for my birthday and gave it to me early. It was a big moment.
It’s 1993 I’m about a week away from my fourteenth birthday and forever being lifted into 16bit gaming heaven. A back story for my gaming knowledge previous to this day would be the commodore 64, my friend Paul’s bedroom and a Peter Beardsley manager game called… wait for it: Peter Beardsley’s International Manager. I recall the day like it was yesterday; the brand new Sega Mega drive box with images of the games that you could buy like Hang On, Sonic the Hedgehog, Italia 90 and Columns, pictured on the back. My first ever game was, of course, Sonic the hedgehog. The little spiky- haired dude who would refuse to jump lava in the marble zone levels consistently for about a week. The SEGA start up title blasted out and I was addicted.
Even now, that little blue Sega intro is etched on my brain forever, instantly transporting me back to that moment in time. Out of the box, the Mega Drive was instant gaming. My older brother showing me how it’s done, his skills came from spending his time in the very place from where the Mega Drive evolved. Driven by the arcade generation before it, the games were in now in your home and on your television. There is a show on streaming platforms which charts the history of gaming. I urge you to check it out.
Some Retro Games suck! That's right, there are some video games that completely missed the mark when it came to impressing gamers. This is not a good thing clearly. I want to be fully immersed in a game if I pop a cartridge in my Super Nintendo. I don't want to be struggling to get to even ten minutes of gameplay. Sometimes we have to admit defeat: some retro games suck. Here are five retro games that I feel are not worth your hard earned cash or valuable play time.
Shaq Fu (1994)
Imagine a famous basketball player becoming a character in Street Fighter 2. Now imagine that game game being absolutely awful in every way. Back in 1994 Shaquille O'Neal appeared in his very own 2D fighting game on the Sega Mega Drive and Super Nintendo. If this wasn't torture enough Shaq Fu also found its way on the Sega Game Gear, Amiga and Nintendo Game Boy in 1995.
What makes Shaq Fu such a terrible game? Not only is the idea of Shaquille O'Neal becoming a legendary fighter a terrible one the gameplay is simply awful. The moves were very difficult to execute making gameplay feel more like a button mashing contest than a game based on skill. Not only that the punch and kick sound effects were incredibly dull. Multiply the button mashing with the dull, out of context sounds of kicks and punches and you pretty much have Shaq Fu. The music is also very painful and does nothing to heighten the experience of this wannabe fighting game. Luckily Shaq Fu does not grace my very own retro game collection, it would only serve to taint it.
The dust has finally settled. Not only are we getting a Sega Mega-Drive Mini (Genesis mini in the US) in just over 3 months’ time, we now already know all of the games that come with it. 42 titles, 13 of which are exclusive to the west.
As good news as this all is so far, there are reasons why the Sega Mega Drive Mini is both essential and, er, not. Starting with the good; Sega really seem to be aiming to get things right. M2 are handling the conversions, and given their expertise in that field it’s a sure-fire sign Sega aim to knock Sony’s lacklustre Playstation Classic out of the park.
The choice of games also heralds quite a few tasty surprises. Castlevania: Bloodlines, Mega Man: The Wily Wars and Contra: Hard Corps are among the rarer and desirable classics on offer, as well as a very welcome return of Road Rash 2. Who knew Sega and EA even still talked?
The console itself, at 55% the size of the original classic, certainly looks the part. Much like Nintendo’s mini editions, Sega’s effort looks aesthetically pleasing on the eye. It will come bundled with the traditional three-button controller, with support for the Retro-Bit six-button option, but hopefully Sega will listen and include a six-button as standard. Some of the games of course will demand one anyway.
On the downside, many of the titles are a case of same old, same old. Sega have been releasing various Genesis/Mega Drive collections since the PS2 era, with the latest edition only being made available on Switch last December. No less than 24 titles (57% no less) make a reappearance on the Mega Drive Mini.
But no one can argue that regardless of how many times they are released, many of these titles were key to the Mega Drive being a success. From Alex Kidd to World of Illusion, The Mega Drive Mini certainly looks to be worthy of our money and time. And so, in no particular order, here are the five inclusions I’m looking forward to the most.
If you’d have told me that a Sega Mega Drive game would be released in 2018 a few years back I would have told you that you were wrong. If you’d have also told me that that Sega Mega Drive game was going to be developed on original hardware like most other Sega Mega Drive games I would not have believed you. Well it happened and it happened in the form of Tanglewood. In an era where console gaming is dominated by the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch; it’s hard to believe that an actual Sega Mega Drive cartridge was produced on original hardware. One man is responsible for such an achievement and his name is Matt Philips. Matt is responsible for single handedly developing Tanglewood after successfully securing Kickstarter funding. Is Tanglewood a tangled-mess of a game though? I’ve been playing a lot of the game over the past week after being sent a press review cartridge.
Nymn is our fury fox like creature. Tanglewood starts with Nymn sound asleep only to waken being all alone. In an interview I did with Matt earlier this year he had this to say about Tanglewood:
“Tanglewood is a fantasy platforming game staring Nymn, a small creature who is lost from home. Nymn must try to survive each dangerous night alone in Tanglewood, by using his skills of evasion and trickery to escape the monsters that lurk in the dark.
“… The characters were designed as otherworldly, but fox and meerkat were the two main inspirations for Nymn. I wanted something that looked terrified, but was nimble and quick to escape danger. We experimented with many facial expressions and head shapes to get that scared and cautious look. The lore of the world involves another extinct race, that used to hunt down the Djunn for food whilst riding some of the monsters in game, but since they all passed away Nymn and his kind were able to live in relative peace - as long as they disappeared underground at night”
Tanglewood is simple yet extremely effective. If you choose to miss out on Tanglewood then you’ll be selling yourself short.
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.
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.
Retro Game Reviews. Mega Drive, Super Nintendo, Sega Dreamcast and more
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