Long live the Sega Mega Drive
Guest Blog by Marco Hibbins @Cultofniche_design
I'm sitting here with my fingers hovering over my keyboard. I'm staring at a blank word document like I'm staring into an abyss. I know what I want to talk about but where on earth do you begin talking about the Sega Mega Drive whilst giving it an ounce of the importance it deserves?
I keep hearing Bane's voice in my head: “You merely adopted the dark... I was born in it! Moulded by it!”
And I was moulded by it! The Mega Drive that is, not the dark. But then the Mega Drive sort of was the dark side. And the devil's always had the best tunes! Or in this case, games!
Sure, there was the NES and I had a ruddy good time on Duck Hunt with the Zapper. The Gameboy too ...even though I was essentially just playing Tetris on a big calculator display that I could barely see in daylight! It was still great fun though and impressive for the time. But the Mega drive? Now that was something else...
I remember the first time I laid eyes on it. It was at a friend's house. His name was William and there, on the carpet just in front of his living room TV was this mysterious, black box. Somehow it looked both slick and futuristic yet rugged and imposing at the same time. Like if Honda had designed a tank. William switched the TV to channel 00 and we were met with static. But then... he reached for the power button on the mysterious console. He slid it to the On position. The static disappeared from the TV screen and for a few seconds... nothing happened. Then all of a sudden, the screen turned white and flooded the darkened living room with light! “SEEEAAAGGGAAAA!” screamed at me from the lo-fi TV speakers! The next thing I know, there's a certain blue hedgehog waving his finger at me and the sound of one of the most glorious chip tune songs ever programmed! Where had this been all my life?! I mean I was only 7, but still!
The Rise and Fall of FIFA Soccer
Guest Blogger: OG Money P @Philipkelly29
Back in 2022, a shock announcement made it's way to the ears and eyes of millions of FIFA Soccer players: EA Sports would lose the license to their immensely popular video game franchise FIFA, ending a thirty year reign with Fifa 23 but will then be called EA Sports FC. How did they get here? To understand this let us look where they started.
FIFA Soccer from EA Games is an incredibly popular soccer video game that offers a realistic experience of the sport. Players can customize their teams and compete in tournaments and leagues to become the top player. The game features detailed graphics, realistic ball physics, and a variety of game modes for single-player or multiplayer gaming. On top of that, players can also participate in online matches against other gamers from around the world. FIFA Soccer from EA Games is a must-have title for any soccer fan.
Soccer games aren’t new. When EA Sports launched on the 15th of December 1993 there were already a slew of soccer titles on across pc and consoles, Amiga had Microprose soccer and sensible soccer, while Super Nintendo had Super Soccer and Sensible Soccer to name but a few. In this era, fans had the chance to see their teams represented as close to the real sport as possible, being able to set up player line ups and tactics provided some depth to what could seem as too simple a genre to provide a fanbase. Even in this early stage of gaming, innovation created competition: Sensible Soccer had personalisation options, it didn’t take itself too seriously though. Alongside actual football teams, players could have fun with fictional teams like Fish FC where you would have cod and haddock as your strikers. As kids playing this for the first time it was very funny and at the time a top-down view the gameplay was tricky to begin with but if you persevered with it became easier to play, score and win! And being able to gain couch co-op bragging rights at your friends' houses. The Striker Video game immediately responded with better graphics and an indoor soccer tournament sales of this title provoked FIFA to include indoor football in FIFA 97.
Interview by Gemma @ Juicy Game Reviews / TheGebs24
So you liked Final Fight and Streets of Rage back in the 90's right? If the answer is "yes" then I think you're going to get a kick out of BitBeam Cannon's upcoming Beat 'em up. If the answer is "no", well you can keep reading because Daemon Claw just might be your cup of tea.
I reached out to Mike and Corey, BitBeam's masterminds, for exclusive access in to Metro Siege and Daemon Claw. What they gave me, far surpassed my expectations. They allowed me the following interview (which I hope you'll enjoy), a first access play of Metro Siege on my Amiga 500 Mini and exclusive commentary in to the games' development. Before we take a deep dive in to the interview here is an overview of what Metro Siege and Daemon Claw are about, from BitBeam's very own, Mike:
"For Metro Siege, BitBeamCannon is teaming up with PixelGlass and Enable Software to deliver a 2 player co-op beat em up for classic Amigas and many modern platforms.
The team's goal is not just to make the best beat em up game for classic Amiga, but to make a brawler that can stand its ground against all of the greats of the genre, whether they be in the arcade or on consoles.
Beat Em Up's have always been the favorite of Metro Siege's lead designer, and this results in one of the most sophisticated combat mechanics in any beat em up, with the most fun elements collected from many of the games he's played over the the decades.
Metro Siege provides a large assortment of basic attacks, aerial attacks, combo attacks, back-attacks, low attacks, dash-attacks, super-attacks, grabs and throws to let each player mix things up and play in the style they want to play in the moment. On top of this, Metro Siege ads even more combat options in the way of blocking and counter-attacks. Holding attack and back will block basic attacks. Blocking strong attacks like jump-kicks will reduce damage, but players will be knocked back a bit, requiring a second or two to recover.
Once skilled enough to initiate your block a split second before the moment of impact, you'll automatically parry the enemy attack and perform a special counter-strike, dealing bonus damage to the enemy wile also earning back a bit of health and special attack power.
On top of this already robust mix of fighting options Metro Siege let's you enjoy throwing enemies into each other and multiple ways to hit them while they're down. There's a risky knee or elbow drop to deal heavy damage to a fallen foe, but if they get up or roll out of the way, or you just miss your mark, you'll slam yourself into the pavement, taking damage yourself and leaving yourself temporarily vulnerable as you recover.
The final playable character is not yet revealed, but Metro Siege will offer three distinct character to play as, each offering a different move set and playing style to further add to the variety and replay value.
This demo includes the first 3 mostly complete levels and the first full boss fight scene, but behind the scenes many more levels are in varying degrees of partially implemented.
Metro Siege has been in development for over 3 years, but don't worry, that doesn't mean it will take the team a year to make each new level. Now that the games engine and tool set are fully developed progress on filling in the unfinished content is drastically faster. That said, because each member of the team has their own day job to deal with and fluctuating available hours on any given day, they can't yet give an estimated delivery date for the full game. The best thing to do in this regard is to follow BitBeamCannon on social media for all the latest updates so you can easily track their progress".
Posted by: Gemma @ Juicy Game Reviews / TheGebs24
It's the comeback of the most famous duo of PixelHeart: Alice and her little sister! After having saved their mother from a tragic end, the two sisters will try to defeat the terrible villain of the mountains this time.
You can find on our website two limited editions containing the game cartridge, a manual and a certificate of authenticity.
We guarantee that our Retro Gaming Games are as close as possible to the quality of the packaging of the games of the time. We use professionals to manufacture each of our products.
You will have the choice between two versions: a MEGADRIVE version and a GENESIS version.
500 copies of each will be available on our website.
You can can pre-order here:
About the game:
The big bad of the mountains has captured Alice and her sister's mom, help them save their mother!
Each of the sisters have their own power, Alice can change her size by jumping on the magic mushrooms. Her small size will allow her to pass through narrow spaces, but be careful because she won't be able to jump very high or very far! Alice's sister can send bullets to repel enemies or break rocks. Go through the levels and solve puzzles by activating the right lever, the right switch, and by finding the coloured keys to open the different doors. Beware of the various enemies!
Posted by: Gemma @ Juicy Game Reviews / TheGebs24
A Hedgehog called Sonic
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.
Retro Games that SUCK!
Blog by Gemma @ Juicy Game Reviews / TheGebs24
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.
Guest Blog Post by Kevin @Agent_Prince / Agentprince
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.
Blog post by: Gemma @ Juicy Game Reviews / TheGebs24
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.
Blog post by Gemma @ Juicy Game Reviews / TheGebs24
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.
Retro Game Reviews. Mega Drive, Super Nintendo, Sega Dreamcast and more
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