Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Games of the Year - 2011

Remarkably (for my standards), I've now posted reviews of over 400 games here at Red Parsley, covering many systems and genres, popular and obscure titles alike. I've still barely even scratched the surface of most of these of course, and my 'to do' list contains well over 400 more titles, but I've still played a lot of good and bad games over these (almost) five years. Here is a list of the finest examples from my second year of blogging. Seems like such a long time ago now...

10. Hellfire by Toaplan (1990) - MegaDrive/Genesis

Jaz Rignall of C&VG/Mean Machines used to rave about this one, a rare example of a horizontal-scroller from Toaplan, but I never really thought it looked like much. Then I played it and discovered one of the smoothest and most well designed such games yet seen! It's tough but I still can't stop playing it. (full review here)

9. Qwak by Team 17 (1993) - Amiga

Released by Team 17 during their glorious Amiga years, Qwak is a type of game that appeals to me a lot. It's a single-screen platformer, it has amusing/cute characters, it has lots of collectibles (including fruits), etc, and yet I didn't even play it until the review! It's never too late to discover a game this fab though. (full review here)

8. Arkanoid by Taito (1986) - Arcade

Ahh, Taito... If it wasn't for their splendid Arkanoid, would the 'brick breaker' have died with Breakout? Possibly, but either way I'm sure glad they conjured it up! Their powered-up interpretation of Atari's classic is now perhaps better known and loved than the game it was inspired by, and deservedly so. (full review here)

7. LocoRoco by SCE Japan Studio (2006) - PSP

There aren't many games that have the power to make me buy their host console just so I can play them but that's exactly what LocoRoco did. Just some screenshots of it, in fact! Happily, despite the significant outlay, I definitely wasn't disappointed either - this is still the happiest game I've ever played... (full review here)

6. Cosmo Gang: The Video by Namco (1992) - SNES

I knew little of this one when I selected it for review but I was quickly taken in by its charms, being to Galaga what Parodius is to Gradius - basically a cute/strange version of the same thing! Fans of cute/strange Japanese games like me will love it then, and with good reason - it looks, sounds, and plays superbly! (full review here)

5. Mayhem in Monsterland by Apex Computer Productions (1993) - Commodore 64

Like many games to be released right at the end of a system's life, Mayhem in Monsterland wasn't nearly as successful as it deserved to be. It was arguably the first arcade/console quality platformer on any home computer and is truly jaw-dropping for a C64 game. An amazing achievement. (full review here)

4. Power Strike by Compile (1988) - Master System

Better known to some as Aleste, this vertical-scroller was a technical revelation on the Master System - it chucked dozens of sprites and weapon effects all over the screen with nary a hint of the sprite-flicker that so blighted other MS games. This helped make it the best, most frenetic blaster on the console. (full review here)

3. Chase HQ by Taito (1988) - Arcade

Ask gamers what their favourite arcade racing game of the 80's is and many would say Out Run, but those that don't will surely say Chase HQ. Released a couple of years later, it actually bettered some aspects of Sega's classic, and gave the player more to do, too, soon becoming a classic in its own right. (full review here)

2. Final Fight by Capcom (1989) - Arcade

Somehow I missed this one on its original release and Streets of Rage become my scrolling brawler of choice but, when I did finally play Capcom's game, the reason for its popularity was immediately obvious - kicking the crap out of hordes of street punks and hoodlums has rarely been as satisfying as this! (full review here)

1. Revenge of Shinobi by Sega (1989) - MegaDrive/Genesis

This was one of the first MD games I ever saw running and it absolutely blew me away at the time, making me very aware of just how much more powerful the console was. Technically awesome and super-slick to play, this is arguably the finest game to bear the Shinobi name and is still fantastic today. (full review here)

Best of 2012 coming soon!


  1. I know this makes me a bad person, but I've ignored Hellfire since it was released simply because I don't like the look of the main ship. OK, so I don't like the looks of the rest of the game either, but the ship is the main offender, in my opinion.

    Also, I've been meaning to try some version of Chase HQ for ages due to it being made by the folks at Taito, and every gamer worth his or her salt knows Taito used to make rad games. I think I may go with the PCE port simply because of its unique/weird cover art...

  2. I know what you mean regarding Hellfire - it's definitely not a looker, at least from screenshots, but it's very smooth and the weapon system and stage design is fantastic. Bloody hard though!

    The Engine version of Chase HQ was well received as I recall but I haven't played it myself. My favourite home version is the Speccy one which is remarkable considering the machine it's running on. Of course, these days the Saturn version would be the most faithful...

  3. Hello? Is this thing on? (tap tap)

    I thought I'd take the liberty of watching the site, since it seems to be recommended by some of my blogging peers. Hope you don't mind!

    Also, I really enjoyed Hellfire when I was a teenager. Not the prettiest of games, as Bryan pointed out (of COURSE it's not, it's Toaplan!), but it's surprisingly addictive and viciously tough. For all its enhancements, Hellfire on the Turbo Duo seemed kind of toothless by comparison. My only serious complaint is that Hellfire was the kind of game that BEGGED for omni-directional fire, but had to make due with that clumsy directional switch button instead.

  4. Hi Mr. ArugulaZ, glad to hear word is getting around about my humble blog! :)

    I never played the PC Engine version of Hellfire to be honest, but my favourite games mag of the day used to rave about the MD version to I soon picked it up. I agree that it's not the best looking game ever (athough it looks - and plays - better than the arcade version in my opinion) but the design is fantastic. I personally really liked the weapon system too, I found it one of the game's best points. Great game anyway though, I'm glad some of us can look past its average visuals :)

    Thanks for stopping by, hope you enjoy more of my posts :)