Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Top Five Mode 7 Games

I think we can safely assume the Super Famicom/SNES would've been a big success no matter what it was like - the overwhelming dominance of its predecessor in most territories guaranteed that - but that didn't stop Nintendo from kitting it out with a few bits of special new tech that might end up converting a good few non-believers as well. Undoubtedly the most impressive of these was its 'Mode 7' graphics which even managed to tempt me into a brief foray into Nintendoville from the long-held safety and comfort of my firmly established home in Sega Land.

Many games featured the odd use of Mode 7 here and there, from the new system's launch right up until its demise. Often it was just used for scaley special effects as with Contra 3, Super Aleste, and Super Mario World, while a certain few other games had Mode 7 sections like the vertical stages in Axelay, several stages in the splendid Super Star Wars series, the mine-cart stage of Super Mario RPG, or the overworld areas of various RPG's, and it worked very well, but where I've focused my attention for the purposes of this post is on games that were based around Mode 7 as a whole. There were a few of these and most were racing games. This makes perfect sense of course, as the scaling abilities of Mode 7 were ideally suited to such a genre - simply draw a road in 2D, flip it over, and scroll it really fast! It seemed like a revolutionary step in home racing games but, surprisingly, it wasn't used as much as you might expect. Nonetheless, I've still enjoyed several such games, and have discovered a few previously unknown ones since starting this post as well! Here's a look at the best ones in my view, but which was your fave?

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Lush Food #4

Adventures With Chillies - Part 3

It might have been a few years since I last visited this already-infrequently visited subject here at Red Parsley but my pursuit and enjoyment of spicy food has not been diminished. Quite the opposite in fact - I'm probably more watchful than ever, always hoping to find something I haven't tried before, be that a hot curry, a new chilli sauce, or actual chillies themselves, and just recently I had some luck.

I usually check the chilli section of any supermarket I find myself in, even if it an exercise in futility, more often than not. Sometimes I'm greeted by the welcome sight of Bird's Eye chillies, occasionally I'm fortunate enough to find some Scotch Bonnets, and once I even found what I was told were Naga Viper peppers (though I now doubt this), but this has been the extent of my discoveries. Until, that is, a few months ago when I saw in my local Tesco store a small packet containing some red chillies I hadn't seen before. They were apparently called 'Komodo Dragon' chillies and their packaging warned that they were hot, but was otherwise unremarkable in any way. They didn't need to twist my arm though, so I bought two packs!

Friday, 1 December 2017

Scrolling Fighting Games #15

Splatterhouse (1988)
By: Namco Genre: Fighting Players: 1 Difficulty: Medium-Hard
Featured Version: Arcade First Day Score: 21,700 (one credit)
Also Available For: PC Engine, FM Towns, PC
Download For: iOS

While the type of characters you'll find yourself controlling in most scrolling fighting games are varied, you can generally rely on them having some sort of background in martial arts and the games being based in urban environments, but that's definitely not the case with this Namco classic. Here you play as Rick, a parapsychology student who along with his girlfriend gets trapped in a spooky old mansion in which they had sought refuge from a storm. Naturally, she soon goes missing while he apparently winds up dead. Luckily, amongst the many treats contained within the mansion is a 'Terror Mask', said to contain the spirits of the dead, which attaches itself to Rick's newly-expired corpse. It looks like a hockey mask making Rick look more like Jason Voorhees (coincidentally I'm sure), but it also happens to resurrect him too.

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Film Round-Up #23

I've been watching films for many years now - since my early teens in fact (as far as I remember at least) - and I'm confident in saying there's at least one example from every genre that I like. Usually far more than one of course, but there are a few genres I'm not particularly keen on. One of them is horror. I can appreciate that they hold a certain appeal for many but I just don't find most of them very interesting. I did recently, however, watch a handful of supposedly-good examples to see if my mind could be changed. For one reason or another, here are the ones I went for:

The Mist (2007)

It was an interest in watching this particular film that prompted this post to begin with. I didn't know too much about it except that it's a Stephen King adaptation. Well, and that it presumably featured mist too, and it does indeed, with the murky stuff wafting over a small American town the morning after a large thunderstorm. While getting supplies from a local store with his son, David (Thomas Jane) encounters a panicked and injured man running into the store warning of 'something' in the mist that now surrounds the store and extends an unknown distance beyond. So, stay indoors then, and that's what the rest of them do - barricade themselves in the store while scary creatures try to get them. Scary they are too, Lovecraftian in style and ranging from bird-sized flying bugs to huge monsters, but the emphasis is just as much on the people in the store and how they deal with the crisis - and each other. Conflicts unsurprisingly arise as their situation looks increasingly bleak, mainly thanks to a super annoying religious fanatic, and we get perhaps one of the most shocking endings of any film (a change from the novel by director, Frank Darabont). Occasionally gruesome, occasionally boring, but mostly gripping... 8/10

Monday, 13 November 2017

Memorable Bosses #2

Game: Altered Beast

Here's the towering oaf in his original arcade form...
Despite being fairly original in some ways, Sega's mythical scrolling punch/kick 'em up, Altered Beast, received a rather mixed reception upon its release. It looked pretty good, sounded okay and presented a reasonable challenge, but slightly sluggish controls and repetitive gameplay didn't give it much long-term appeal. It definitely had its good points though, with several aspects still fondly remembered today. The ability to transform (or indeed 'alter') into various 'beasts', for example, was undeniably cool, even if you didn't get to spend as long as you'd have liked rampaging about the place as a werewolf, weredragon, werebear, or weretiger, but another thing many gamers seem to remember most about the game was its bosses. Most of these were large and came in varying degrees of grossness such as the gloopy Oct-Eyes or stinky Moldy Snail, but it was undoubtedly the first of them that everyone remembers the most.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Space Stuff - Messier Objects Part 1

Charles Messier (1730 - 1817) was a French astronomer who spent much of his life identifying various star clusters, galaxies, nebulae, and other notable occupants of our glorious heavens. Ironically, it wasn't even his aim to create a comprehensive list or catalogue of interesting sights - he actually did it purely as part of his efforts to hunt down comets which was his primary goal - but make a list he did, and such was the importance of it and the many discoveries on it, the list of 'Messier Objects' has remained in regular use to this day by amateurs and professionals alike.

This could be down to the fact that the list contains many of the biggest, brightest, and best-known (and therefore most popular) objects to be found. Indeed, many of us will have grown up seeing or hearing about a lot of them, myself included, without ever knowing what they are or even what they're called. There are 110 objects in Messier's catalogue too, which means simpletons like me often forget about some or get others mixed up, so I figured it might be worth listing them here. The first such post is therefore thus. The pics should all be 1200x900, hope you like them :)

M1 / Supernova Remnant
"Crab Nebula"
M2 / Globular Cluster

Monday, 6 November 2017

Computer Platform Games #8

Wanted: Monty Mole (1984)
By: Peter Harrap / Gremlin Graphics Genre: Platform Players: 1 Difficulty: Medium
Featured Version: ZX Spectrum First Day Score: 2,555
Also Available For: C64

I'm not sure if systems having their own gaming mascot has ever really been that big a thing outside of the world of Sega/Nintendo and their rivalry but when I was young I always used to consider Monty Mole as the Speccy's unofficial mascot. Some might go for Miner Willy over Monty but the latter had more games and I was for some reason much more familiar with him at the time, so I went for him even if some of his games did appear on rival systems. He was created by Peter Harrap, at the time a 'fresh face to Spectrum programming', and Wanted: Monty Mole, sometimes just known as Monty Mole, was his first adventure. From the title I had assumed he was some sort of cat (or mole) burglar on the run but no, apparently he's just looking to snaffle some coal from the local mine for the 'bone chilling Christmas ahead'. No one wants to see him frozen solid so let's grab that coal bucket and get collecting!

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

The Nintendo Switch - One Year On...

It has now been one year since Nintendo first revealed details of their new console, the Switch, and eight months since its actual release. To be honest, I had largely forgotten about it for many of those months, partly on account of seeing/hearing almost nothing about it in social media and the like. Chatter has recently picked up a little owing to Super Mario Odyssey's release though, so I figured I'd take another look at it and see if there is yet justification for me to get one.

Since my last post on the subject I've actually had the chance to play around with a Switch a little and it's definitely a nice bit of kit. I found the detachable bits of the main controller a little small for using on their own but apart that it's real nice. As expected, Mario Kart 8 is a lot of fun, especially when racing against a friend, and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is absolutely stunning and will almost certainly go down as an all-time great. I've already been hearing similar things about Mario's new adventure too. I thought it looked a bit stinky from the early shots/videos (I don't like that there are parts set in the 'real world') but it's great to hear such glowing reports so far. I have only had the chance to sample the two games though, so what else is there?

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Top Five Movie Moments #8

#8 - Independence Day (1996)

You know, if you stop to think about it, there really aren't as many alien invasion films around as you might think. There are probably many reasons for this - the need for a sizeable budget, for example, but just as important for me are the need for a tense build-up before the inevitable invasion, and human characters that you actually like and can engage with. I imagine it's difficult to strike the right balance but one film that seemed to do just that was Independence Day.

Sure, it wasn't terribly realistic and many outside its home country disliked all its jingoistic flag-waving 'America saves the day' cheesiness, but what's wrong with that? It's an American film for goodness sake! Its teaser trailers did their job superbly leading up to its release and when the time came to actually watch it, we found likeable stars, some appealing support characters, and of course those ground-breaking special effects, and the result was... aweeesoommmeee!

Well, not everyone thought so I guess - there are always a few spoilsport buffoons who moaned about the story and the plot-holes and the blah blah blah, but for most of us it was a dazzling visual spectacle and enormous fun with plenty of memorable scenes and set-pieces. Here are the five that stand out the most to me:

Spoiler Alert: the Top Five Movie Moments featured here obviously assume that you've seen the film in question or don't mind knowing about its most prominent moments so don't come whining to me if they ruin a film that you haven't seen yet!

5... "They're using our own satellites against us."

Obviously we are expecting the aliens to be evil malevolent exterminators, you know they're going to attack and bring mankind to its knees - the producers of the film did absolutely nothing to hide this, but this scene was the moment in the film when most of the characters found out too! David (Goldblum) had already worked this out but he had to use his ex-wife's influence to interrupt a presidential conference before he could make the leader of the free world aware, and the rest of the US by extension.

Following an amusing conversation between David, his ex-wife, and his father about how the former once punched the President (but he wasn't the President then so it was okay) while they're waiting for him:

President (entering the room, seeing David): "I don't have time for this."
Constance: "Two minutes, Tom."
David: "I told you he wouldn't listen."
Constance: "David, you have to tell him... DAVID, TELL HIM!"
David: "Uh, I know why we're having satellite disruption."
President: "Alright, go ahead."
David (drawing a crude diagram to illustrate his point): "Let's say that you want to coordinate with spaceships on different sides of the Earth. You couldn't send a direct signal, right?"
President: "You're talking about line of sight."
David: "Yeah, that's right. Exactly. The curve of the Earth prevents it. You'd need satellites to relay that signal in order to reach each ship. Well, I found a signal hidden inside our own satellite system. They're using our own satellites against us, and the clock is ticking..."

(David turns his laptop around to show a clock counting down ominously...)

Monday, 23 October 2017

Bomberman Series - Part 14

Bomberman World (1992)
By: Irem Corp Genre: Maze Players: 1-4 Difficulty: Medium
Featured Version: Arcade First Day Score: 158,900 (one credit)
Also Available For: Nothing

For our next visit to Bomberland we return to the arcades - a place our explodey friends have visited surprisingly few times over the course of their careers, and only once prior to this release. Like the previous effort, Bomberman World is again brought to us by Irem and should prove very familiar to fans of the first game. It's actually little more than an update, although I guess you could say that about several games in the long series. The backstory sees the return of the heinous King Bomber and, after briefly trying to reform himself, he has 'reverted to his evil ways' and deployed robot armies across the world. These idiotic clankers have now taken control of the UN building so the Bomberman Brothers (who apparently number four now - White, Red, Yellow and Blue - as the game is four-player) begin their 'ultimate battle to save the world from an evil takeover'. That's jolly decent of the pyromaniacal imps.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Retro News - New MegaDrive Brawler!

Paprium by Watermelon Games (2017) - MegaDrive

Everyone knows Streets of Rage 2 is the greatest scrolling fighting game of all time so it's somewhat surprising that there have been so few clones, tributes, or sequels to Sega's undisputed masterpiece over the intervening years, official or otherwise. Yes, there was a direct MegaDrive sequel, generally considered to be a step back, and there have obviously been many further examples of the genre, but none that attempted to duplicate SOR2's distinctive style (or if they did it wasn't particularly successful!). We did get the crazy Beats of Rage but not much else has emerged from the retro scene that I'm aware of. Now, however, that has changed and then some, for arriving very soon is this oddly-named example from Watermelon Games, the same team responsible for Pier Solar, surely one of the most best known of all homebrew releases.

Friday, 13 October 2017

Film Round-Up #22

There's something very 80's about treasure hunt films in my mind. I'm not quite sure if that's because there were a lot of them or if it's just because there were a few notable examples that stuck in my mind (most likely the latter), but for some reason I had far less interest in the genre by the time Jon Turteltaub conjured up the first National Treasure film some years later. Many apparently were interested though, as it was successful enough to spawn a sequel, and both were recently recommended by a friend, so I set aside my apathy and watched them. My main question prior to this, however, was: could they be as much fun as their 80's forebears?

National Treasure (2004)

Leading the impressive cast is the usually-dependable Nicolas Cage as Benjamin Gates, a historian and cryptologist who has long believed in a story from his childhood about a great treasure hidden by the Founding Fathers and Freemasons; a treasure he may have found the first clue to the location of. As you might expect, the clue just leads to another clue, and then another, all of which are followed confidently and enthusiastically by Gates who is joined by his sceptical father (Jon Voight), friend Riley (Justin Bartha), and Dr Abigail Chase (Diane Kruger) of the National Archives who is roped into helping. As skillful as they may be at deciphering the cryptic clues and secret codes and following the trail they lay out, however, they'll have to hurry as not only have they attracted the attention of the FBI (led by Harvey Keitel) but there is also an 'evil' group chasing the booty at the same time, led by Ian Howe (Sean Bean) who has less noble plans.

Friday, 6 October 2017

Computer Shmups #5

Silkworm (1988)
By: Tecmo / Virgin Genre: Shooting Players: 1-2  Difficulty: Easy-Medium
Featured Version: Atari ST  First Day Score: 74,500 (with a wonky control pad)
Also Available For: Arcade, NES, Amiga, Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC, ZX Spectrum

Okay, so technically this one isn't really a computer shmup as it was actually an arcade game originally, and also appeared on console owing to an apparently-not-well-known NES conversion. However, in my experience it's far more well known, in the UK at least, for its home computer conversions, both 8-bit and 16-bit versions alike. I enjoyed a decent (if rather slow) version on my trusty Speccy but even then I couldn't help but cast the odd envious glance or two in the direction of the colourful Atari ST and Amiga versions fuelled by their 16-bit power. I guess I got distracted by other splendid games though, as when I finally had the chance to own/play one of them, I never got around to it, and to this day I've still not played it on either machine. Time for Red Parsley to rectify another oversight!

Sunday, 1 October 2017

First Look TV Show #2

Star Trek: Discovery (2017)

It sure is a good time to be a sci-fi fan at the moment - no sooner do we get an all-new Star Trek-style show to investigate in the shape of The Orville, but mere weeks later we get a brand new actual Star Trek show as well! Discovery had seen much controversy prior to its premiere this past Sunday though, mainly due to distributor CBS's decision to broadcast it exclusively on their subscription streaming channel in the show's native U.S. while the rest of us get it on Netflix (tee hee!), but many fans had also determined from press releases or trailers that they didn't like some aspect of the show, dismissed it as 'shit', and vowed never to watch it. I can't remember any show getting so much sheer, irrational hate (and unlike most people these days I don't use that word lightly either) before even reaching our screens but happily for me I'm not stupid (well, not that stupid) and have therefore been eagerly awaiting it!

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Memorable Adverts / Flyers #3

Cybernoid by Raffaele Cecco / Hewson Consultants (1987) - Various Formats

If you were the owner of an 8-bit home computer here in the UK during the mid-80's, particularly a Spectrum, it can't have been long before you played one of Raffaele Cecco's games. He didn't develop many but the ones he did bestow upon us were warmly received, at least partially on account of the splendid colourful graphics he squeezed out of the humble Speccy. One of the most celebrated of his games was Cybernoid, a flick-screen shooter which featured swarms of irritating aliens as well as plenty of obstacles to test your timing as well as your trigger finger.

Why is it memorable?
Like most of the best adverts of the day it was hand-drawn. Sadly I don't know the name of the talented artist in question but it was certainly an eye-catching piece of work, arguably even more so the game itself or the many glowing reviews it received in magazines of the day (a whopping 96% in Crash!). As with many other adverts around that time (such as Driller which I looked at previously), it's drawn in a wonderful 70's sci-fi style and shows a cool-looking red spacecraft zooming over an alien installation of some kind towards the 'camera', an explosion behind it obscuring the starry background. Even the 'futuristic' font was cool. It made you want to get stuck in straight away which is exactly what it any good advert should do.

Friday, 22 September 2017

First Look TV Show #1

The Orville (2017)

I don't normally do these posts for TV shows but the arrival of a new sci-fi show is always something to herald as far as I'm concerned and I've had my eye on this one for a while. Like most sci-fi fans, I had some minor reservations but it was looking good from its trailers so I was cautiously optimistic. For those who don't already know, it's the brainchild of Seth MacFarlane, creator of Family Guy amongst many other notable achievements. He's renowned as a bit of a sci-fi geek so the passion will undoubtedly be there, but he has also cast himself in the lead role of Ed Mercer, the new captain of the Planetary Union's mid-level exploratory vessel, the U.S.S. Orville. There has been a question mark over his live-action acting ability for a while, never mind his leading man potential, so I was curious to see how he did, and how appealing the show is generally as well.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Speccy Homebrew Games #2

Circuitry (2017)
By: John Blythe / Rucksack Games Genre: Platform Players: 1 Difficulty: Medium
Featured Version: ZX Spectrum First Day Score: 368k

Splendid loading screens always make a game better...
When I first started this feature a few months back I thought I was pretty lucky to find a single-screen platformer to start it off - they are one of my favourite types of game after all - so imagine how happy I was to find another such example just recently! This one was made by John Blythe, a.k.a. Rucksack Games, using Jonathan Cauldwell's Arcade Game Designer and casts you as Nan'O'Bot, a tiny robotic AI which you must use to infiltrate the mainframe of Revanox, the R&D branch of military contractor SecuriCorp, and save as much of their data as possible from a rogue AI activated by a heinous hacker before Revanox cut their losses and pull the plug. This is done by hopping around twenty appropriately-themed single screen stages, each of which features two 'data packets' which come in the form of floppy discs (both 3.25" and 5.25" varieties) or cassettes. Hopefully these are just symbolic though - I'd hate to think of an R&D dept using such outdated storage media nowadays!

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Film Review #101

Colossal (2016)
Director: Nacho Vigalondo Starring: Anne Hathaway, Jason Sudeikis, Dan Stevens, Austin Stowell, Tim Blake Nelson

Certificate: 15 Running Time: 110 Minutes

Tagline: "All she could do was save the world"

While amazingly popular in Japan since the fifties, giant monster films have never really seemed to catch on around the rest of the world for some reason. Indeed, the genre is even known by its Japanese name - kaiju - but that doesn't mean us Westerners don't get the odd example here and there. The latest one is Colossal, an original effort from acclaimed Spanish director/writer Nacho Vigalondo and stars Anna Hathaway and Jason Sudeikis as Gloria and Oscar respectively, childhood best friends who are suddenly reunited when the former moves back to her home town after being booted out by her latest boyfriend Tim (Stevens) for being an alcoholic waster. Oscar now runs his dad's old bar and invites Gloria to work for him, and after closing time the two stay up drinking with his buddies until morning, with Gloria usually engaging in some sort of drunken tomfoolery that she later regrets, if she even remembers it at all.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

First Look Xbox #1

Mojo! by FarSight Studios / Crave Entertainment (2003) - Xbox

Since I've been collecting for the original Xbox, a lot of the games I've encountered have been ones already familiar to me - I'm sure you all know the big hitters as well as I do - but it's finding the more obscure titles like Mojo! that I've enjoyed the most. It cost me a mere £1.50 so it was undoubtedly a bargain and I was really looking forward to giving it a try. It's a platform/action/puzzle game which places you in command of a ball of some sort, much like the splendid Kula World. The objective here, however, is a bit more destructive than it was in the PS1 classic, but also somewhat simpler - just destroy all the colourful cube blocks on each stage by rolling into them. You have to change the colour of your ball to match the blocks you want to destroy using special 'infuser' transformation things but there isn't a great deal more to it really. Sounds like it could be a lot of fun!

Friday, 1 September 2017

Awesome Nature #20

Type: Marsupial Lives In: South-West Australia Conservation Status: Vulnerable

Most of Australia's creatures have become famous over the years due to how unusual they are, but the Quokka is apparently different. Hardly anyone has even heard of it for some reason, even though it's just as worthy of attention as any of the rest. They kind of look like a cross between a wallaby and a wombat, with large hind legs/feet to hop around on and also a short, broad head, but being around the size of a domestic cat, they are more agile than both creatures and can even climb trees. Perhaps their obscurity is more down to how few of them there are. Destruction of their habitat as well as introduced species such as foxes and dogs has seen their population drop to around the 15,000 mark, all of which are found only in the extreme south-west of the Australian mainland as well as on a few small islands. Their plight doesn't seem to bother them too much though - just look how happy they seem!

Why It Is Awesome: It's always happy!

Friday, 25 August 2017

Arcade Racing Games #6

Big Run (1989)
By: Jaleco Genre: Racing Players: 1 Difficulty: Medium-Hard
Featured Version: Arcade First Day Score: 580,300
Also Available For: SNES, Amiga, Atari ST

Not the most inspiring of title screens...
During the years driving games first became popular in arcades (i.e. following OutRun's release), it seems like developers felt they needed little more than a gimmick to make their mark in the genre. Jaleco's effort was the somewhat ambiguously-named Big Run but the gimmick they opted for was to base it on the Dakar-Paris Rally. It may well have been the first such game to be based on the gruelling event in fact (although a similar claim has been made of Victory Run for the PC Engine which came out a couple of years earlier), but was it enough to earn it a spot at the head table, so to speak? Well, I think I recall being reasonably impressed with it back then on the only occasion I briefly encountered it, but how does it fare after a proper play-through thirty years later? It doesn't make the best of first impressions with possibly the drabbest title screen of all time, but things could only get better from there, surely? I was certainly pretty hopeful at least.

Friday, 18 August 2017

Game Music #3

The time of the 16-bit console wars was a glorious time to be a gamer. The die-hard Sega and Nintendo fans spent more time arguing the virtues of their chosen system with their each other than they did actually using their chosen system, or so it often seemed, and the subject of these arguments included just about every single aspect of ownership. Everything from tech specs and graphical prowess to individual games were discussed, but one subject I often found myself focusing on was the respective audio abilities of each company's powerhouse.

It was a topic worthy of discussion too, in my opinion - both systems had distinctive yet quite different sounds. Sega's MegaDrive made use of the Yamaha YM2612, an FM sound synthesiser chip which could produce some cracking synth choons, while the Super Famicom was armed with Nintendo's S-SMP, a sampler that could pump out some impressive orchestrations with a highly recognisable style. One of the most common arguments I heard from Ninty fan-boys, in fact, was regarding the supposed superiority of the SFC's and how the mere MegaDrive would be hopelessly lost trying to replicate them, and I often felt compelled to concede this particular point.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Indie Games News/Previews #10

Racing Apex by Lucky Mountain Games (2017) - PC

Those of us who are old enough to remember the birth of 3D gaming will no doubt have a fondness for the earliest examples with their chunky polygons, crude textures, and scenery pop-up galore. Even in their rather limited forms they were still jaw-droppers in their day, and it seems the talented folk of Lucky Mountain Games recall them as fondly as anyone, for they have been hard at work making the forthcoming Racing Apex, a super-arcadey racing game based on some of those very pioneers. The example that appears to have most keenly influenced them, at least visually, is Sega's seminal Virtua Racing, but there is much more here than we had in the Model 1 stonker back in 1992.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

TV Shows #15

Terra Nova (2011)
Created By: Kelly Marcel, Craig Silverstein Starring: Jason O'Mara, Stephen Lang, Shelley Conn, Christine Adams, Allison Miller, Landon Liboiron, Naomi Scott, Ashley Zukerman, Rod Hallett, Alana Mansour

Certificate: 12 Running Time: 44 Minutes (per episode), 13 Episodes

Tagline: "There is no paradise without sacrifice."

I think there's one thing that all modern, future-set movies and TV shows can agree on, and that's the inevitable demise of our environment owing to our own stupidity and shortsightedness. This is also the case with the version of earth found in Terra Nova. The brief time we spend in the show's vision of 2149 reveals a world much like the one we're headed towards. Human greed and recklessness have continued unchecked and our world is now an overpopulated one ravaged by pollution and environmental issues. As a result, people need to wear breathing units while outdoors, and there is also a strictly-enforced two-child-per-family rule. Things are not looking good for our near future, never mind longer term. As if in answer to these problems, a temporal rift is discovered that leads back to earth's Cretaceous Period where the air is clean and the landscape unspoiled.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Single Screen Platform Games #16

Manic Miner (1983)
By: Bug-Byte Software Ltd Genre: Platform Players: 1 Difficulty: Medium-Hard
Featured Version: ZX Spectrum First Day Score: 11,800
Also Available For: Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, C16, BBC Micro, Dragon 32, MSX, Oric 1, Memotech MTX, PMD 85, Sam Coupe, Amiga, Game Boy Advance

Okay, time for another Red Parsley embarrassing confession. I am of course highly familiar with Manic Miner, the towering masterpiece of Matthew Smith, and have played it before, but I've never really played it properly on its home turf. I think I even completed one of the other versions but the Speccy original has been sadly neglected by me. Thinking about it now I genuinely have no idea how I missed it in its day, what with the game's already legendary status and all that. Its release came before I joined the ranks of the home computerers but you would still think a game this popular would find its way to me anyway, even a few years later, but no. I don't recall seeing it on sale and I'm pretty sure I never saw magazines going on about it excitedly either. It really is quite strange looking back but the end result was that I, a self-professed Speccy fan, wasn't even aware of one of its most recognised, landmark titles until many years later.

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Top Five Amy Adams Outfits

I seem to have found myself on a bit of an Amy Adams kick lately. Not due to her aesthetic qualities you understand - she's a very talented and engaging actress and most of her films are pretty superb too, generally - but it's impossible to avoid acknowledging that she's also a very beautiful woman. I also, coincidentally, found myself accidentally perusing pics of her online (chortle!) and noticed that she often has a tendency to wear somewhat eye-catching attire to her various premieres and award ceremonies and the like as well. Here are (possibly) the five best:

          5... Vanity Fair Oscar Party, 2015

Friday, 28 July 2017

Indie Nuggets #5

Ghosts'n Demons (2013)
By: BonusJZ Genre: Platform / Fighting Players: 1 Difficulty: Medium-Hard
Featured Version: PC First Day Score: 41,800
Also Available For: Dreamcast, WonderSwan Download For: Android, iOS

Capcom have often seemed a little reluctant to return to the Ghosts'n Goblins series over the years which is a little strange considering how popular the original arcade games were. Sure, we got SNES and PSP sequels (of sorts) and a couple of spin-offs in the Gargoyle's Quest and Maximo games but not many 'proper' sequels, especially when you consider how hugely popular they are. Just think of the potential for a proper full-on new adventure on one of the current systems - whether an indie-style 2D game or a flashy 3D example, it could be the most awesome thing ever! Sadly, nothing major seems to be forthcoming but they did release a little-known entry in the series on the WonderSwan called Makaimura, and thanks to talented fan BonusJZ, it had now been coloured-in and released on PC (and Dreamcast) for everyone to enjoy!

Monday, 24 July 2017

Non-Retro News - New Racing Game From Sega!

To be honest, I don't often pay all that much attention to Sega these days. It's a pretty sad thing to admit but they've been slowly declining for some time which is a sad thing to see too. Every now and then, however, some news from them reaches my ears and breaches the security measures meant to filter out the mundane. One thing that's likely to do that is news of a new Sega arcade game.

We've already had a similar announcement from them last year regarding Daytona 3 Championship USA which was mighty welcome - not sure what happened to that actually, the only news since then that I've heard is that they've now dropped the '3' from the title - but anyway, the latest news coming from Sega's arcade division over in Japan is also about a racing game, but this time we're getting a brand spanking new one!

As far as I'm aware, Sega haven't even revealed any screenshots yet nevermind in-game footage, but they have released a few details. It will be called Sega World Drivers Championship and is based on what is apparently the most popular form of motor racing in Japan - the Super GT touring car series. They have already visited this series before with the appropriately-named Sega Super GT (a.k.a. Scud Race), so I guess you could consider SWDC a 'spiritual' sequel to their famously-unconverted mid-90's racer, and like that game it carries an official license which means it will feature all the teams and cars from the real Super GT series including the mental Toyotas, Hondas, Lexuses, Subarus, and Nissans you may (but probably have not) seen on TV hacking around various circuits.

Friday, 21 July 2017

Film Round-Up #21

Crocodile Dundee (1986 - 2001)
Directed By: Peter Faiman, John Cornell, Simon Wincer Starring: Paul Hogan, Linda Kozlowski, John Meillon, David Gulpilil, Reginald VelJohnson, Hechter Ubarry, Juan Fernández, Charles S. Dutton, Jere Burns, Jonathan Banks

Certificate: 15 Running Time: Approx 298 minutes

Fish out of water films are usually quite a reliable source of mirth and one of the most famous ones when I was growing up was Crocodile Dundee. Apparently born of star Paul Hogan's desire to establish an Australian folk hero and inspired by real life 'bushman' Rodney Ansell, Mick 'Crocodile' Dundee was a beer swilling, bar fighting, croc wrestling master bushman and survivalist and all round man's man. Apparently raised by Aborigines and now hailing from the tiny, remote Australian bush town of Walkabout Creek, he has somehow managed to catch the attention of a New York newspaper who want to do a story on him. Enter the reporter sent to get the low-down - Sue Chartlon (Kozlowski) - who just happens to be a blonde hottie ripe to be impressed by Dundee's manliness, obviously. It wasn't just her who fell for his charms though - the first film was a big hit, quickly earning its stars worldwide fame (and fortune, presumably).

Sunday, 16 July 2017

3D Platform Games #1

Ninpen Manmaru (1997)
By: Tamtam / Enix Genre: Platform Players: 1 Difficulty: Medium
Featured Version: Sega Saturn
Also Available For: Nothing

Most retro gamers these days love the Saturn, and with good reason, but in its day owners were crying out for more 3D games, specifically some of the 3D platform games that owners of the PlayStation and N64 had been enjoying. As it turns out, it was receiving at least a few of them, it's just that us poor old Western gamers didn't get to play them! One example that has gone on to prove quite popular with collectors in the intervening years is Ninpen Manmaru. Unsurprisingly for a Japanese exclusive, it's based on a manga/anime series which stars Manmaru, a trainee at a ninja school. He is a blue bird of some sort, perhaps a penguin, while the other students consist of foxes, raccoons, monkeys, and dogs, many of whom you see in the game's intro and frequent cut-scenes. I can't tell you what they're about of course, but it seems that it's down to Manmaru to do... something.

Friday, 7 July 2017

Film Review #100

Deadpool (2016)
Director: Tim Miller Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Ed Skrein, T.J. Miller, Gina Carano, Leslie Uggams, Brianna Hildebrand, Stefan Kapičić

Certificate: 15 Running Time: 108 Minutes

Tagline: "Wait 'til you get a load of me."

Ever since this recent deluge of superhero films began, most of them have been heavily hyped and eagerly anticipated by fans regardless of which characters were involved, but I don't think this has ever been more the case than it was with Deadpool. I of course knew little about him prior to the hype assault; I'd barely even heard the name before in fact, but it quickly became apparent that he is beloved by his many fans. This is most likely because he's a superhero for 'grown ups' in that he is more of an antihero who makes copious use of profanity, sexual references, and employs extreme violence, usually by way of swords and a variety of firearms, while going about his vigilante-related duties, many of which are carried out in an unusually jovial fashion and injected with lashings of adult humour as well.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Retro News - The Console That Never Was!

As I have no doubt mentioned here more than once previously, my favourite period in gaming is definitely the mid-80's to the mid-90's (roughly), with the odd exception. I have many wonderful memories of this era and most of my favourite games and systems (including, or some might say especially, the arcades) come from it, and it's also where much of my focus goes when planning features for this very blog.

One of the most prolific developers at this time, in arcades as well as on home systems, was Taito who had been one of my favourites ever since my parents had bought me the awesome Taito Coin-Op Hits compilation for my Speccy. In fact, I'd even say they were second only to the mighty Sega in my affections in those days; their generally spiffing titles were nearly always worthy of attention, and I remember thinking on more than one occasion about how cool it would be if they had their own home console. It might not sound terribly realistic for a mere software developer to have their own home system but that's exactly what Sega had done with the Master System, as had SNK with their monstrous NeoGeo 'Advanced Entertainment System'. I still never thought it might actually happen though, so it came as a great surprise to discover not too long ago that they very nearly did have one!

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Wonder Boy Series - Part 2

Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap (2017)
By: Lizardcube / DotEmu Genre: Arcade Adventure Players: 1 Difficulty: Medium
Featured Version: PC
Also Available For: PS4, Xbox One, Switch

Whatever name you might know it by, and it has had a few, Wonder Boy 3 (as I've always known it) is one of those rare games that seems to be universally loved. Not everyone has played it - it was only available on the Master System and PC Engine in its day after all - but those who did were forever taken by its considerable charms and have remained loyal fans ever since, eagerly extolling its virtues to any gamers unfortunate enough to have never been touched by its brilliance. Unsurprisingly, therefore, us fans were more than a little intrigued to hear news of a fancy new remake from those splendid fellows at Lizardcube and DotEmu as well. Would it be a fitting tribute to a much-loved classic or a ghastly desecration fit only to soil its memory?

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Film Round-Up #20

I recently had the opportunity to see an old favourite film of mine for the first time in lord only knows how many years. It was still splendid, I'm happy to say, but it also gave me the idea to seek out what might hopefully be some similarly entertaining films of the same type - i.e. road-based dramas/thrillers - for my latest film round-up. My selections included another old favourite I'd almost forgotten about and I also squeezed in three examples I've never seen before. Check them out :)

Duel (1971)

Though most well known today as Steven Spielberg's first feature, for me Duel has always been the film I stumbled upon on TV when I was a kid that so thoroughly captivated me, and in the process, I suspect, caused my life-long love of films generally as well. It weighs in at a trim 89 minutes and the premise is just as slight - ordinary salesman guy is stalked by large mysterious truck across long, barren desert roads - but it's the atmosphere it builds and sense of mystery that makes it such a gripping film. The trucker, for example, is never seen, and the reason for him (or her, I guess!) terrorising the driver is never discovered, leaving us just as bemused and scared as he is. The choice of vehicles was great too. The driver doesn't have a monstrous muscle car that could easily outrun the truck, and the truck itself is suitably intimidating. Dennis Weaver was also well cast in the central (and almost only) role of the mild-mannered driver slowly being driven crazy by the deranged trucker. It loses none of its impact watching it again today either which is high praise in itself. Still one of the best road-rage movies around... 9/10

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Random Game I've Never Heard Of #13

Hachoo! (1989)
By: Jaleco Genre: Fighting Players: 1-2 Difficulty: Medium-Hard
Featured Version: Arcade First Day Score: 54,400 (one credit)
Also Available For: None

Bless you, Jaleco, looks like you're coming down with a bug of some sort there. Chortle! Yes I know, I'm very humorous, but the rather odd name given to this arcade-only release is not meant to represent a sneeze - it's actually meant to be a Bruce Lee-style kung-fu cry. You may now have begun to suspect, therefore, that Hachoo! is a game involving unarmed combat of some sort and you would be correct in that assumption, for it is indeed a fighting game; a scrolling one, no less, in the finest traditions of Double Dragon and Final Fight and all of those kicky punchy mostly girlfriend-rescuing escapades. Unlike those, this one is set in ancient China, and the basic back-story reveals, via a series of still images in the attract sequence, the reemergence of some sort of scary (and blue) demon creature. Naturally, you are selected (along with a near-identical twin in two-player mode) to stop this ghastly oaf in his tracks and cast him back into the fiery chasm from whence he came.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

First Look PC #4

Project CARS (Pagani Edition) by Slightly Mad Studios / Bandai Namco (2015) - PC

Driving games have always among my favourites and it has pained me to miss out on some of the more recent ones. One that has looked as good as any in recent years is Project CARS but I don't own any of the consoles it's on and I was far from confident my PC would be able to handle it. An opportunity to find out came recently, however, when Steam offered a special cut-down version of the game for free! It is this, the Pagani Edition. I imagine it is meant as a kind of playable demo for the full game but however it was intended it was a nice surprise. Even more of a surprise, though, is that despite its apparent minimum system requirements exceeding the abilities of my PC, it actually works very well!

Monday, 29 May 2017

Film Review #99

A Walk in the Woods (2015)
Director: Ken Kwapis Starring: Robert Redford, Nick Nolte, Kristen Schaal, Nick Offerman, Mary Steenburgen, Emma Thompson

Certificate: 15 Running Time: 104 Minutes

Tagline: "When you push yourself to the edge, the real fun begins."

Bill Bryson has been travelling all over the world and, as detailed in his many superb travel books, has experienced all manner of wonders during his time in places like Africa, Australia, his native US, and all around Europe, so I suppose it's a little ironic that the only film about his travels (to the best of my knowledge) is based on perhaps the least exotic of them all. He is portrayed by Robert Redford and we catch up with him in New Hampshire where he has been living with his British wife Catherine (Thompson) for twenty years after a decade or so living in the UK. Now in his 60's he is effectively retired but also somewhat restless, and after a short stroll on the Appalachian Trail which passes near his home, he suddenly decides he wants to hike its entire length.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

PC Engine Shmups #11

Metal Stoker (1991)
By: Face Genre: Shooting Players: 1 Difficulty: Medium-Hard
Featured Version: NEC PC Engine / TurboGrafx-16 First Day Score: ???,???
Also Available For: Nothing

Only five minutes ago (okay, a few months ago) I finally got around to playing Granada properly after all these years, declaring it in the subsequent review a highly original title, the likes of which I've seldom encountered. And now, such a short time later, I've found another extremely similar game, and one that was released the same year no less! I'm not sure who came up with the idea first - Wolf Team with their MD (and X68000) tank 'em up or Face with this Engine exclusive - but the similarities are more than a little surprising. I'm not sure if that includes the back-stories as Face's game was only released in Japan. The limited in-game text simply advises you to 'master the controls of the custom CS-05' and also casually mentions that your assignment is to 'clear the indicated zones under various conditions'. What this amounts to, however, is very similar to your objective in Granada - blow the crap out of everything that moves, and some things that don't too!

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

First Look PSN #8

Alien Spidy by Enigma / Kalypso Media (2013) - PlayStation Network (PSN)

Spiders aren't anything new to the games world - I've reviewed one of my favourite examples at this very blog in fact - but I'm still surprised they don't feature in more. They do after all possess some unique abilities which are ideal for puzzley platform games, and that's exactly what this multi-format release from a few years back is. The featured arachnid is apparently an alien who has crash-landed on earth (as revealed in a few nice cut-scenes) but neither the slightly vague story nor Spidy's other-wordly origins really affect the gameplay which mostly involves skillful use of aforementioned talents. The stages are standard 2D side-scrolling affairs and it's your job simply to get Spidy to the end of each one which is mostly achieved by swinging around on webs.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Film Round-Up #19

Some could be forgiven for thinking me crazy for braving five Jennifer Aniston films back when I... umm, braved five of her films. I mean, she looks absolutely delightful, usually a bit nippy too (someone turn on the heating for the poor girl), she is a great comedic talent, and is a very decent actress when given the right material, but let's face it - few of her films are better than average. You may therefore think me certifiably insane for watching another five of them! Perhaps I am but what can I say? She definitely has a certain charm, or perhaps two certain charms (sorry!) but let's hope some of the films I chose this time are just as charming...

The Switch (2010)

If you're anything like me you may be wondering just what the rather vague title to this one alludes to. The answer to that can be found in the friendship between the two main characters, Kassie (Aniston) and Wally (Jason Bateman), long-time best friends. Their friendship is threatened, however, when Kassie decides she wants to have a baby via artificial insemination, and at her 'conception party' Wally drunkenly spills the sperm sample of her hand-picked donor, so decides to replace it personally. Sounds like a recipe for trouble (amongst other things - chortle!), although he doesn't even remember doing it the next day. It probably just sounds like another silly rom-com, and it does seem like one at times - the ending is super obvious right from the off, for example - but the premise does actually add something to the story rather than just being a gimmick and gives the stars the chance for a few more dramatic scenes as well as the more light-hearted stuff. It's hard not to question Kassie's decision as Wally does but it helps that both Aniston and Bateman are very likeable. Better than expected... 7/10

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Simulation Games #1

Pilotwings (1990)
By: Nintendo EAD Genre: Simulation Players: 1 Difficulty: Medium
Featured Version: Nintendo SNES First Day Score: ???
Also Available For: Nothing

Despite playing the crap out of my SNES in my younger years I never really had that many games for it. One of the classics I kept meaning to get around to playing at the time, and in the intervening years as well, was Pilotwings but for one reason or another I didn't actually manage it until recently. Better late than never, I usually think in these cases, but I wasn't so sure here. Pilotwings was after all a flag-waving advert for the SNES's famed Mode 7, an early attempt at producing 3D graphics on home systems, and most early attempts at anything in games don't tend to age very well. Then again, F-Zero still kicks arse so hope remains while the company is good. It's also a game notable for it's almost total lack of violence. Okay, you can crash stuff but you can't shoot and certainly can't kill anything, with your objectives simply being to fly stuff well. I guess that makes Pilotwings a simulation game, albeit in a unashamedly arcadey way. It was a bit of a rare and precious gem all round for console gamers then.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Top Five Films For 2017

Deary me, I'm a bit late this year with my now-tradition look at the five films I'm most looking forward to over the coming year. So late, in fact, that one of them is already out (only just though, and I still haven't seen it) - oops! Well anyway, it's looking like a pretty good year, especially for comic/superhero fans with two DC efforts and three from Marvel. Will the DCEU finally be able to make up some ground on the relentless Marvel leviathan? There are also a few good (looking) sequels, remakes, and even some all-original films on the way. It should be an entertaining year for film fans anyway, with a lot to choose from. These are probably the five I'm most looking forward to seeing. What are your choices?

5. Alien Covenant (May)

The franchise remains a treasured one for many but the Alien series been through the wringer a bit over the years. It's still only the first two films that are really good isn't it? I rather liked Prometheus too, personally, but many didn't so I imagine this sequel may well be approached with caution by them. I'm looking forward to it though, especially as it sees Ridley Scott's return to the series for the first time since the original, waaay back in 1979. It looks quite similar to that classic too, except it mostly takes place on terra firma: brave explorer finds room full of eggs, face-hugger says good morning, alien bursts out of chest, many others get picked off one-by-one, etc. I can't imagine too many were expecting much else though, and as long as it's done well I'm confident it will be spiffing. (see official trailer here)

Friday, 21 April 2017

1,000th Post!

I've been writing and posting here at Red Parsley for a long time now - about seven years in fact. A lot more has happened in this seven years than most of the seven years that preceded them, mainly on account of being married which has been my 'relationship status' for eight years now. My wife struggles to tolerate my interest in gaming, even when it doesn't involve the expense of buying all the latest consoles and games, most of which I have very limited interest in. It was, however, rather ironically my wife who suggested I start this blog.

I can't even remember why now - it can't have been because I bored her with game talk or hogged the TV playing all my old classics - it's very unlikely I would've gotten away with that! Oh well, whatever made her suggest it, I did indeed start this very blog all the way back in 2010. I doubt she expected it to last very long; I'm not sure I did either to be honest - I've got a history of getting really into something only to lose interest just as quickly - but here I am still going all this time later.

Monday, 27 March 2017

Film Review #98

Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice Ultimate Edition (2016)
Director: Zack Snyder Starring: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Jesse Eisenberg, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, Jeremy Irons, Holly Hunter, Gal Gadot

Certificate: 12 Running Time: 181 Minutes

Tagline: "Who will win?"

Despite my undeniable appreciation of the masses of superhero films we've had in recent years (or most of them), I've put off watching this one for a while now. This is mainly on account of the DC fanboys who I've learned are among the whiniest, most immature group of fans I've encountered. Okay, I guess not all of them, but many of them are apparently unable to tolerate the consistently poor reviews and feedback received by this highly-anticipated meeting of their two most treasured characters. Many blamed Rotten Tomatoes for their supposed 'Marvel bias' (despite the fact that they're merely a review aggregator and don't actually review films themselves), and these and their many other tantrums on social media soon became so overwhelming that they overshadowed the film itself for me.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Too Old For Retro?

So, I was walking along the other day, as I often am, when I went past a retirement home. Peering momentarily through the window revealed a sight familiar at many such establishments - a variety of old people sitting in big comfy chairs watching whatever nonsensical bullcrap happens to be on the television at the time which may or may not be numbing them to all of life's ills and easing their passage out of our world, or possibly even compelling them to hasten their departures.

An old person...
Nothing unusual there I agree but it did remind me of a discussion I once had with my best buddy Luke. He postulated, and I agreed, that the world of video games, even just the ones we would call 'retro' nowadays, contains so many titles that, short of winning the lottery or something else equally improbable, we simply won't have time to play most of them, perhaps ever. There might be one golden opportunity to do so, however, and that is when we retire. At the time we had the conversation, Luke and I were confident that we would still be very much into retro gaming by the time we reach our retirement age, which is likely to be around the 70 mark by then, and that we would relish the opportunity to spend our days catching up on old classics, but my recent epiphany while out walking made me question that. I mean, will we really still care about playing old games then? We will be getting on for the year 2045 by then and who knows what wonders may be around?

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Puzzle Games #22

Quarth a.k.a. Block Hole (1990)
By: Konami Genre: Shooting / Puzzle Players: 1-2 Difficulty: Medium
Featured Version: MSX2 First Day Score: ???,???
Also Available For: Arcade, Game Boy, NES, X68000, NEC PC-9801, Master System (unofficial)
Download For: Wii Virtual Console

Near enough every game over the years has been fairly recognisable as belonging to one particular genre or another but there have also been quite a few hybrids too. That is, games that result from the fusion of two or more often very different genres. Some of these have been pretty weird but I can't think of many stranger unions than a block falling puzzler and a shoot 'em up, but that's exactly what we have here courtesy of Konami! No doubt there is some peculiar back-story intended to explain the weird set-up but since most versions of the game were Japanese exclusives (all but arcade and Game Boy I believe), it's hard to say. All I can tell you is, it places you in control of a somewhat bulky blue spacecraft located at the bottom of the screen (you actually get to choose between four craft but it makes no difference) which apparently achieves flight by way of an angel attached to either side!

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Film Review #97

Jack Reacher (2012)
Director: Christopher McQuarrie Starring: Tom Cruise, Rosamund Pike, Richard Jenkins, Jai Courtney, Werner Herzog, David Oyelowo, Robert Duvall, Joseph Sikora

Certificate: 15 Running Time: 130 Minutes

Tagline: "The law has limits. He does not.

I'd never heard of the Jack Reacher books I must confess but there is apparently a whole series of them (some 21 so far). They are centred around the titular character who was a Major in the US Army Military Police Corp until he suddenly quit, instead choosing to live on the road as a drifter, taking odd jobs when and where necessary, and occasionally helping out in suspicious or dangerous situations. This is the first such film to be based on those books and stars Tom Cruise as the hero in question who is called upon by James Barr (Sikora), a former US Army sniper who has supposedly just shot and killed five people on a peaceful riverside in Pittsburgh. However, although he knows of Barr from his time in the army, Reacher isn't friends with him, isn't sure why he has been requested, and has no interest in clearing him.

Friday, 10 March 2017

Splendid MegaDrive Music #5

Thunder Force 2 (1989)

My new job sadly doesn't leave me as much spare time as my last one did, and that in turn means I have less time to do blog stuff, but one of the perks is that I can listen to music all day. Naturally I've therefore spent much of this time listening to stonking game soundtracks, and one that I find myself returning to often is Thunder Force 2, probably the most neglected installment of the celebrated Thunder Force series. Tomomi Ohtani's synth-rock soundtrack contains lots of great choons but I think my favourite is the one that accompanies the first side-scrolling stage. It's called 'A Ray of Hope' (in the X68000 version at least - the MD's tracks don't have names) and is quite awesome. Check it check it! :)

(full Thunder Force 2 review here)

Special Note: I didn't record this great tune myself, I'm just an admirer, so all credit to, firstly the original composer, and secondly the YouTube user who uploaded it!

Friday, 3 March 2017

Single Screen Platform Games #15

Baluba-Louk No Densetsu (1986)
By: Able Corp Genre: Platform Players: 1-2 Difficulty: Medium
Featured Version: Arcade First Day Score: ???,??? (one credit)
Also Available For: NES

Since starting this feature, all the way back near the time I started the blog itself no less, I've been surprised by just how many candidates are out there. There are still at least ten more I intend to cover eventually, so it's perhaps a bit odd that I've opted to take a look at this little-known mid-80's example next. The reason it's odd is because it's not strictly speaking a single-screen platformer at all! That is to say, its many stages are not confined only to the size of a single screen - each one is actually nearly two screens wide and scrolls accordingly - but they play very much like the typical single-screen plaformers I, and perhaps you, know and love, so it's still well worth covering here if you ask me.