Thursday, 19 December 2013

Single Screen Platform Games #11

Wani Wani World a.k.a. Trouble World (1992)
By: Kaneko Genre: Platform Players: 1-2 Difficulty: Medium
Featured Version: Sega MegaDrive / Genesis First Day Score: 52,500 (one credit)
Also Available For: Nothing

I doubt many gamers would argue that the best and most influential example of the single-screen platformer was Bubble Bobble. Near enough everything about Taito's game was close to perfect but one of the many things that made it so appealing was the cute characters it featured. Being so popular was bound to attract imitators though, and that's exactly what this here Kaneko release appears to be at first glance - little more than a blatant clone. It, however, is not. Well, not specifically of Bubble Bobble anyway, for inspiration seems to have come from several sources. The main characters definitely look familiar - a small green dinosaur for player one and a similar pink example for player two, and their ultimate objective is predictable, but the stages that lay before them are notably different to those found in Bub and Bob's classic adventure.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Film Review #58

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
Director: Joe Johnston Starring: Chris Evans, Tommy Lee Jones, Hayley Atwell, Hugo Weaving, Sebastian Stan, Dominic Cooper, Neal McDonough, Derek Luke, Stanley Tucci, Kenneth Choi, Toby Jones

Certificate: 12 Running Time: 124 Minutes

Tagline: "When Patriots Become Heroes"

Back before Marvel got bitten by the big-budget movie bug which has surely swelled their coffers considerably, there was only one of their many characters I'd seen in 'live action' form and that was Captain America. Back when I was a young whipper-snapper I accidentally discovered a film bearing his name on TV. It was released in 1990 and starred Matt Salinger as our hero but I don't really remember much about it now except that I enjoyed it. I'm sure it would make me laugh a great deal today and make me wonder what on earth I ever saw in it - a quick investigation reveals that it was absolutely slated, even back then - but it did at least introduce the character to me which meant I was more interested than usual when I heard about the impending arrival of this shiny and expensive 'reboot' (chortle).

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Golf Games #6

Wonderputt (2011)
By: Damp Gnat Genre: Sports Players: 1 Difficulty: Medium
Featured Version: PC Flash First Day Score: 117,554
Also Available For: Apple iOS

I suppose Flash games have been around for a good while now but they've never been something I've had much desire to look into. However, I recently heard about a mini golf-based example which I couldn't resist casting my peepers over. That game, unsurprisingly, is Wonderputt which features one large, isometrically-viewed 'course' of 18 holes. The whole thing is visible at once - around half of the holes occupy smaller sections of it with the remaining holes becoming available (giggity) upon completion of some of the earlier ones by way of morphing sections of landscape. The controls are extremely simple too - place the mouse cursor within a couple of inches of the ball and a 'shot arrow' appears which can be moved around the ball to aim and moved closer or further away from the ball to determine the power of your shot. Sounds like a pretty sweet idea!

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Arcade Shmups #19

Tiger Heli (1985)
By: Toaplan / Taito Genre: Shooting Players: 1 Difficulty: Hard
Featured Version: Arcade First Day Score: 45,830 (one credit)
Also Available For: NES

Shoot 'em ups have long been one of my favourite genres and one of the reasons for this must surely be down to the sheer number of them available which means even the pickiest gamer will be able to find some they like. The vast majority of them fall into one of a handful of sub-genres and as I cover more and more games here at Red Parsley I'm starting to think the most numerous one of these is what I've come to call the 'Flying Shark' game - vertical scrollers set over earth-like landscapes (usually rural scenarios) and featuring non-futuristic enemies including as many ground-based examples as airborne, or often even more, and most commonly various sized tanks that often appear from hidden locations.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Gravity Games #3

Space Taxi (1984)
By: John F. Kutcher / Muse Software Genre: Action Players: 1 Difficulty: Medium
Featured Version: Commodore 64 First Day Score: $182.77
Also Available For: Amiga

One of my favourite games in my early days of Dreamcast ownership was the splendid Crazy Taxi. I bought it on launch day and spent countless hours scooting largely ungrateful oafs around the various locales the game-world offered. I remember thinking what a simple-yet-addictive idea it was and was surprised it hadn't been done before. It turns out, however, that it had been done before - quite a long time before, in fact. Indeed, I was recently made aware of this unusual title released way back in the early years of the C64 which is kind of the same thing. But not in 3D, obviously. And the fact that it's set in space. And that you 'drive' a flying taxi. Apart from that it's the same game! Almost.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

TV Shows #4 - Part 1

24 (2001 - 2010)
Created By: Joel Surnow & Robert Cochran Starring: Kiefer Sutherland, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Carlos Bernard, Elisha Cuthbert, Dennis Haysbert, James Morrison, Reiko Aylesworth, Kim Raver, D. B. Woodside, Penny Johnson Jerald, Roger Cross, Gregory Itzin, Cherry Jones, Jude Ciccolella, Louis Lombardi, Xander Berkeley, Annie Wersching, Sarah Clarke, Glenn Morshower

Certificate: 15 Running Time: 42 Minutes (per episode)

Tagline: "I'm federal agent Jack Bauer, and today is the longest day of my life."

In the last post for this feature I took a look at a superb example of the kind of TV show I don't like; a kind which was prevalent around that time and which came close to causing me to swear off TV altogether. Even if you like(d) the type of show in question though, few could praise their quality or production values which were generally very… TV like. Only to be expected I suppose - the gap between the worlds of the small screen and silver screen were vast then, and it was always very obvious which you were watching. Just as all hope seemed lost, however, the turn of the century apparently brought with it a change in tide when an ambitious new show called 24 arrived.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Computer Platform Games #6

Dangerous Dave (1990)
By: John Romero / Softdisk Inc Genre: Platform Players: 1 Difficulty: Medium-Hard
Featured Version: PC First Day Score: 24,800
Also Available For: Apple II

If you're visiting this fine blog on purpose there's a good chance you know the name of John Romero. That's right, he was the talented fellow behind Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, and Quake amongst others but he's been making games for much longer than that. One of his first notable titles was Dangerous Dave, a simple platform game consisting of ten main levels and four bonus levels through which you're in control of Dave, as surprising as it may seem. The stages apparently make up the 'hideout' of someone called 'Clyde' who could well be a pirate judging by the game's original full title - Dangerous Dave in the Deserted Pirate's Hideout - but all you need to know is: you need to find a gold cup on each level, then look for the exit doorway to access the next, presumably with Clyde's booty in tow.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Top Five Systems I Want

I've been rather fortunate over the years as far as gaming is concerned. I've always had my preferences and allegiances but I've still owned most systems at one time or another, and still do in many cases. However, there were always going to be a few exceptions - in some cases simply because I didn't want the systems in question, but in other cases because of other reasons, usually money (bah!). Some of my most desired systems remains realistically out of reach (short of winning the lottery or something equally unlikely) but here they are anyway:

5. Fujitsu FM Towns

This was one of the numerous new system introduced to me by C&VG, although for some reason it earned far less space than the others. Perhaps that was because if was released in Japan only but it was real! Anyway, for many years all I knew of it was its name, the fact that it looked cool, and that it had the first CD-ROM I'd ever seen. Years later, however, I learned that it was a PC-based system but that it also played host to some pretty sweet games of its own too, including a lot of splendid arcade conversions, ports from other systems, and even a few titles unavailable elsewhere including the almost mythical Rayxanber and probably numerous other hidden gems I don't even know about. Sadly, however, I think this is one dream that will never be realised - most of the games cost a fortune, never mind the actual system. Boo hoo! :(