Saturday, 11 September 2021

Bat 'n' Ball Games #12

Batty (1987)
By: Elite  Genre: Bat 'n' Ball Players: 1  Difficulty: Medium-Hard
Featured Version: ZX Spectrum  First Day Score: ???,???
Also Available For: Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC

One of the great things about being an 8-bit home-micro owner in the 80s was not only the many cool magazines we got (or our parents got for us), but that the mags often included cover-mounted tapes that featured demos of new games and other bits and pieces. On the odd, rare occasion, however, they had been known to feature a full game! This was a time of celebration and revelry, even if it was often short-lived when the game turned out to be as much fun as shovelling rhino poop without a shovel. BUT!! One game has gone down in legend as being more fun than any kind of poop-shovelling, and that game is... Batty, shockingly! Yes, that's right, 'mounted' on the cover of the October 1987 issue of Your Sinclair was a cassette containing the full Batty game! I mean, it was never going to be another Lords of Midnight but it was still a full game which was obviously wonderful news to us cash-strapped urchins.

Tuesday, 31 August 2021

Film Round-Up #37

Taken Trilogy
(2008 - 2014)
Directed By: Pierre Morel, Olivier Megaton Starring: Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace, Famke Janssen, Forest Whitaker, Leland Orser, Jon Gries, David Warshofsky, Katie Cassidy, Dougray Scott, Xander Berkeley, Olivier Rabourdin, Arben Bajraktaraj, Rade Šerbedžija, Sam Spruell

Certificate: 18 Running Time: Approx 294 minutes

I grew up during an excellent era of action stars on the silver screen. We had Arnie at his peak, Sly during his Rocky/Rambo years, Van Damme, Steven Seagal and other martial-arts wizards, countless more if you had access to Far-Eastern cinema too, but whichever ones you watched, most of them had something in common - they were young and they pretty much only featured in action films. Go forward 25-odd years and we were given a new action star that nobody could have predicted - Liam Neeson, a serious, award-winning actor in his mid-50s? No, it hadn't been a prank, and the middle-aged thespian apparently took to it like a duck to water too. The first we got to see of him in this new guise was Taken, produced and co-written by Luc Besson. It was so successful it probably came as a surprise even to the Frenchman and Neeson himself, and before long there was a trilogy, all centred around Neeson's Bryan Mills, former Green Beret and highly effective CIA agent.

Monday, 30 August 2021

Mobile Games #11

Bloo Kid (2011)
By: Winterworks / Corona Labs Genre: Platform Players: 1 Difficulty: Easy-Medium
Featured Version: Android Also Available For: iOS

I discovered this appealing-looking game quite a while ago now - a couple of years, probably - when I happened to see its sequel on sale in the Steam store. My OCD won't allow me to play that first though, so I had to track down the first game. Happily, I found it's a free (with ads) Android game, and of a type I enjoy a lot, namely a single-screen platformer. As appealing as that was though, it also set off an alarm. Games of this type are frequently a lot of fun but they also generally require quick and precise movements - would that be possible with a mobile game? I now own a Bluetooth game pad but it doesn't seem to work with this game, so I guess I had little choice but to find out how good (or bad) the touchscreen controls were. Let's hope it's the former!

Sunday, 29 August 2021

First Look Amiga #2

Inviyya by Tigerskunk / Polyplay (2021) - Amiga

I don't really have time to keep up to date with most indie/homebrew scenes these days and that sadly includes the lively community of Amiga fans, so I'm sure there are tons of great games/projects that I've missed. Even I managed to stumble on Inviyya though, a new hori shmup which looked frankly remarkable from the screenshots I saw. Happily the kind team behind the game gave me a digital review copy (there is also a superb full physical version available) and, after an embarrassing yet characteristic period of procrastination, I sat down to give it a good play prior to writing a full review. Unfortunately, after working out how to get the game running on the rather complicated WinUAE emulator, I soon ran into some as-yet-unresolved technical issues. Until such time as these issues are ironed out, I thought I'd make a quick post to give my first impressions on what looks to be a corker.

Sunday, 22 August 2021

Film Review #118

Those Who Wish Me Dead (2021)
Director: Taylor Sheridan Starring: Angelina Jolie, Finn Little, Jon Bernthal, Nicholas Hoult, Aidan Gillen, Jake Weber, Medina Senghore, Tyler Perry

Certificate: 15 Running Time: 100 Minutes

You don't seem to see the once-prolific Ms. Jolie in much these days but my wife is a fan (shouldn't that be the other way around?) so this recent HBO novel adaptation was very much on the agenda as soon as it was available. Set in the wild country of Montana, it stars her (Jolie, not my wife) as Hannah, a former 'smokejumper' (someone who is parachuted to the site of a wildfire to provide first response action and advice about directing further firefighting efforts). She is now stationed at a fire lookout tower after three young campers recently died on her watch leaving her traumatised and unsure of herself. Stumbling into her neck of the woods (chortle!) is Owen, a forensic accountant on the run from some hoodlums with his sole remaining child Connor (Little), after said hoodlums whacked his boss and family when Owen discovered some nefarious activity on the part of their boss Arthur (Perry). When Owen is fatally shot, he gives the evidence to young Connor and tells him to run.

Saturday, 21 August 2021

Lynx Games #2

Gauntlet: The Third Encounter (1990)
By: Atari Genre: Maze / Run 'n' Gun Players: 1-4 Difficulty: Medium
Featured Version: Atari Lynx First Day Score: 44,816
Also Available For: Nothing

When I was younger I loved the two Gauntlet games. I had them on a compilation (I forget which now) for my Speccy, and my local arcade had the full-on four-player version of the first game there for years, so I had lots of opportunities to do my Gauntleting. They were very high-profile games too, but it wasn't until years later I realised... where the hell was Gauntlet 3? Well, as it turned out, there were two different takes on a third game in the series and neither was anywhere near as high-profile as the first two. One was made by Software Creations for the 8 & 16-bit home micros and was not very Gauntlet-ish. The other was developed by Epyx and released only on the handheld console they developed - the Lynx. Would it prove to be any more Gauntlety than the weird home micro offering? Yes it would, as it turns out, but it's still far from a typical Gauntlet game.

Monday, 9 August 2021

Game Art Gallery #2

Most of my fellow UK retro gamers will probably remember the various Psygnosis adverts that appeared in magazines like C&VG and Ace back in the late 80s and early 90s, and for a majority of us they will be something we remember fondly. I've recently been looking into these in a bit more detail and found a few that I'd never even seen before. After careful consideration, I posted my Top Five a few months back, but there were some tough choices and the ones that didn't make the list deserve to be seen too. I therefore now present what I believe to be the complete Psygnosis adverts gallery! Well, the ads in this style at least, but I'm probably wrong anyway (grunkle). I've also tried to tidy/touch up some of the images too. Hope you like them, and let me know of any I missed :)


Thursday, 5 August 2021

Film Round-Up #36

As you may remember, I did a round-up of Sandra Bullock films a few months back, but round-ups here at Red Parsley generally consist of five films and I accidentally watched six. I therefore had little choice to watch four more films featuring the lovely Virginian and post another round-up here! This wasn't a hardship if I'm honest - she's not exactly tough on the eyes after all (snigger!) - so behold, here's another selection of films starring or featuring this mighty appealing actress:

The Net (1995)

This is one of those ones I knew of in its day but never got around to watching, so this was my first time! As the name may suggest, it's a 'techno-thriller' starring Ms. Bullock as Angela Bennett who is a systems analyst who lives through her computer (yes, that was even possible in the mid-90s!). When a friend sends her a spooky hacker program, however, she thereafter finds herself targetted by a ghastly group of cyberterrorists who have stolen her identity, planted a fake one where she's a junkie hooker, and are chasing her for that magical 3.5" 'floppy' that houses such important data. Placed firmly in the 'English bad guy' role is Jeremy Northam as the main hoodlum chasing Angela (after quite literally 'pumping' her for information, obviously). Despite the understandably-outdated computery stuff though (or even partly because of it!), this was looking like a decent thriller at first. Bullock plays the out-of-her-depth-loner well as she suddenly finds herself with no home, money, or anything else, and she remains as likeable as ever in the process. Sadly, no one else stands out and the plot does go downhill somewhat in the final act, so it's left to its radiant star to just about ensure this one is still worth a watch... 6/10

Sunday, 25 July 2021

Nintendo 64 A-Z

The poor old N64 has many detractors in the snobbier parts of the retro community, and I can kind of see their point(s) to a degree, but there are many good things about Nintendo's 64-bit system too. I've always been a fan of it in any case - it's home to a few of my very favourite games so how could I not be? This list will include those and hopefully all other games released for it. Up next is:

C is for...

California Speed (1999)

Although a product of some big names (Atari/Midway), this one is quite obscure to many since it was only released in the US for some reason. It does seem worth some attention though - it's an ultra-arcade-style racing game and there are lots of courses with many having some very unique or even bizarre sections.

Wednesday, 14 July 2021

Bomberman Series - Part 15

Super Bomberman 2 (1994)
By: Hudson Soft  Genre: Maze  Players: 1-4  Difficulty: Medium
Featured Version: Nintendo SNES  First Day Score: 38,500
Also Available For: Nothing

I was a big fan of Bomberman right from the first game of his that I played, namely Super Bomberman for the SNES, so it was a significant surprise when I found out years later that there ended up being four more games in the series! The fourth and fifth games were only released in Japan so I kind of have an excuse there, but the second and third ones? How did I not hear about them? I blame the pesky magazines of the day which must have failed to cover them. Yes, that must be it. Hmm, anyway, this of course means I've never played this particular Bomberman game before, nor any later games in the SNES/SFC series, which makes them among the few games in the traditional style I've not played. Happily, things looked very familiar from the moment I started it. There is of course a silly backstory to facilitate the action, this time involving the 'Five Dastardly Bombers' who apparently want to take over the universe - an ambition that has prompted them to take over five worlds.

Thursday, 20 May 2021

First Look Amiga #1

International Truck Racing by Zeppelin Games (1992) - Amiga

I was actually looking at a different Amiga game when I happened to see this one - an overhead racer featuring trucks? I've seldom been one to pass up an overhead racer so I promptly sought this out to see if it was any good. Strangely, despite trailer-less trucks on the title screen (just like real life truck racing), the examples in the game are all towing sizeable trailers behind them. This unsurprisingly makes the racing a bit trickier as each vehicle is rather large. On top of that, your own 'rig' (though not any of the other five racers, it seems) has a damage-meter as well as finite fuel which means regular visits to the pits are required. You do get to choose which truck you want to use but there doesn't seem to be any difference between them performance-wise, so I guess it's just a case of picking your favourite colour (sadly there isn't a green one) and putting your foot (or indeed finger) down.

Wednesday, 19 May 2021

Film Round-Up #35

Back to the Future Trilogy
(1985 - 1989 - 1990)
Directed By: Robert Zemeckis Starring: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Thomas F. Wilson, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover, Mary Steenburgen, James Tolkan, Claudia Wells, Elisabeth Shue

Certificate: PG Running Time: Approx 343 minutes

A couple of weeks ago now I decided to do a 'Top Five Movie Moments' post for the original Back to the Future, and in order to do 'research' for this I thought it was best to watch it again. This was of course just an excuse to... well, watch it again! It must be one of my top ten most watched films of all time already, and was also one of the first films I watched many times along with Star Wars and No Retreat, No Surrender. Unsurprisingly therefore, I enjoyed it immensely this time as well. So much so, in fact, that I ended up watching the sequels too, which I rarely do as they never quite did it for me the way the original does. I mean, I enjoy them for the most part, but more because I get to spend more time with the great characters from the first film rather than them being great films in their own right. I suppose they are at least good films, they just pay the price for being sequels to a far greater film. Anyway, however possibly-foolish this opinion may be, I figured I might as well make a brief post here about them here! To that end, I present:

Sunday, 2 May 2021

PS4 Purchases #12

Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap by Lizardcube / Dotemu (2017)

Any observant regular visitors here might remember that I've posted about this game before. Indeed, there was a preview and a review of the Steam version that I've had for many moons, but when a game is as wholly wondrous as this one, the prospect of a physical copy to keep for many ages of our world is a mighty appealing one. I had this PS4 version on my Amazon wishlist pretty much since I had the Steam version, and then, to my not inconsiderable delight, I received it as a gift for my last birthday! Its 'main' cover is typical of the lovely new artwork found in the remade game. It still looks delightful and I can now look at it whenever I want. But I soon discovered the game comes with a reversible cover, the other side of which features some nice, rather more CGI-ish artwork. Upon opening the case, however, there was something else I noticed before I discovered this alternative cover.

Monday, 12 April 2021

Neo Geo Games #2

Magician Lord (1990)
By: Alpha Denshi / SNK Genre: Platform/Fighting Players: 1 Difficulty: Hard
Featured Version: SNK Neo Geo MVS First Day Score: 32,040 (one credit)
Also Available For: Neo Geo AES & CD (ports), PS2, PSP, Wii (on compilations)
Download For: Wii Virtual Console, PSN, Xbox Live

Although the Neo Geo is generally known these days for its one-on-one fighting games, shoot 'em ups, and perhaps also the skillish Metal Slug series, the first run of games for SNK's powerhouse was actually a bit more varied. One of the many standout titles was Magician Lord, a shooty-platformer which takes place in a probably-ancient land called Cadacis which has become consumed with chaos and evilness again after many years of peace. This is all down to a foul sorcerer known as Gal Agiese who has escaped from his magical prison and wrought havoc upon the land. The only hope for the fair people of Cadacis is some guy called Elta who is apparently the 'last descendant' of the much-fabled Magician Lord of old who previously vanquished the heathenous Gal Agiese and his demonic buddies. Quite why he's the last descendant, though, I don't know, maybe he's impotent.

Friday, 26 March 2021

ColecoVision A-Z

Several consoles appeared in the early 80s which were intended to compete with, even supplant the mighty Atari VCS. The effort by Coleco Industries was pretty decent, but sadly their... umm, vision I guess, was thwarted by the 'great videogame crash'. Here, over time, I will take a look at all the system's games. This is one of five posts to that end and features all games beginning with letters K through M:

Ken Uston's Blackjack-Poker (1983)

Okay, I've no idea who Ken Uston is and I don't really have any interest in poker. Nor, I wouldn't have thought, did this title suit the usual Coleco demographic. As far as I can tell, though, it plays a reasonable enough game of blackjack, and probably poker too, and supports up to four players, so if card games are your bag, baby...