Thursday, 27 June 2019

Gaming Flashbacks #3

Ask ten different retroheads what their favourite Atari arcade game is and you will be guaranteed two things. Firstly, that everyone will have an answer, but also that you'll probably get ten different answers. They had so many classics, from the early years with addictive coin-guzzlers like Breakout, Asteroids and Centipede, up to what in my opinion was their heyday in mid-to-late 80's with innovative titles such as Paperboy, Marble Madness, STUN Runner, and the marvellous Escape From the Planet of the Robot Monsters, but my vote would usually go to Gauntlet.

It was originally released way back in 1985 and, over the intervening years, I've played just about every version of it to have seen release. The first version I played, though, and still probably the one I've spent the most time with, was the stonking conversion the Speccy received. Despite being a pesky multi-load game it was indeed a fine version of what was already considered a classic. It offered simultaneous two-player action - an option that was duly pursued enthusiastically by myself and friends. As wonderful as the Spectrum was, though, it did sometimes struggle as a result of its meagre 'spectrum' of colours (chortle!), and as a result, the colours of many of the sprites and backgrounds are different to the arcade original. This kind of thing was standard with conversions on the 8-bit micros, naturally, and some enemies such as the ghosts and demons were the correct colours anyway, but one that wasn't was the 'grunts' which were originally brown, but here they were... pink!

Friday, 21 June 2019

TV Shows #20

Cobra Kai Season One (2018)
Developed By: Josh Heald, Jon Hurwitz, Hayden Schlossberg Starring: William Zabka, Ralph Macchio, Courtney Henggeler, Xolo Maridueña, Tanner Buchanan, Mary Mouser, Jacob Bertrand, Gianni Decenzo

Certificate: 12A Running Time: 22-36 Minutes per Episode, 10 Episodes

As I'm sure you don't need me to tell you, there have been a lot of reboots and belated sequels to old classic films and TV shows in recent years. Some have worked, others have been disasters, so when Cobra Kai was announced I suspect "Here we go again!" was the reaction of most people who cared enough to have one. It is of course based on the Karate Kid film series of the 80's, primarily the original movie which arrived a mind-crushingly vast 35 years ago, and that was a bit of a worry. It is a precious film to many who grew up with it, after all. One of my friends counts it as his favourite film of all-time, for example. Even more concerningly, the new show would be centred around the two leads from the original movie - Ralph Macchio as Daniel LaRusso and William Zabka as his enemy and rival, Johnny Lawrence.

Sunday, 16 June 2019

Sega Game Gear A-Z

It didn't take long for Sega to jump on the handheld bandwagon, and their effort was pretty much a balance between the Game Boy and Lynx. A lot of its games were Master System conversions, but it also received a decent amount of original titles, especially in its native Japan. Here I will be looking at them all:

K is for...

Kaitou Saint Tail by Sega (1996)

Like many GG games, this one is based on a manga/anime series and was only released in Japan. It's therefore not super-easy to follow but is basically a collection of mini-games (tile-matching, etc) set around an overworld town/field. Probably one for fans or collectors only. The presentation is nice though.

Thursday, 13 June 2019

Top Five Elephants

Few of the wondrous species that inhabit our increasingly-abused planet are as vital to the continued health and longevity of its ecosystem and general environment as elephants. These colossal trampers have been around since not too long after the dinos got obliterated by a giant asteroid, and they've flourished ever since. Well, until our idiotic species came to prominence and started wiping them out, anyway. Here are the five most notable types to have trumpeted their way across the land:

5... Asian Elephant

The pipsqueak of the elephant family is this smallest-but-still-large variety, averaging around 2.6m tall and weighing in at around 3-4 tonnes. It's found in Asia, believe it or not, and is easily recogniseable in pictures due to its smaller ears. It's often also known as the Indian Elephant but is actually found across much of the Sub Continent and South East Asia, even making it to islands such as Sri Lanka and Borneo. Despite having been exploited by mankind since pretty much forever,as well as being considered sacred by some countries, we are still apparently doing our best to cause its extinction, mainly through destruction of its habitat.

Sunday, 9 June 2019

Run 'n' Gun Games #8

Green Beret a.k.a. Rush'n Attack (1985)
By: Konami Genre: Run 'n' Gun Players: 1-2 (alternate) Difficulty: Medium
Featured Version: Arcade First Day Score: 37,050 (one credit)
Also Available For: NES, Famicom Disk System, MSX, BBC Micro, Commodore 64, Commodore Plus/4, Atari 8-bit, Amstrad CPC, ZX Spectrum (ports)
Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS, Xbox 360 (on compilations)

Although very popular at the time, and converted to every format under the sun, I'd still only played Green Beret on my trusty Speccy prior to this review. I didn't really like it too much back then either, even though I had it on disk for my mighty +3 which meant I could have it up and running within 30 seconds or so. Despite this, for no readily apparent reason it popped into my head spontaneously the other day, so I figured I'd give it the once over here as part of my run 'n' gun feature. This may make some people's eyes widen in shock but I would say it still counts as a run 'n' gunner - you do run around platforms taking out never-ending enemies after all. There isn't much in the way gunning though, I must admit, with the nameless stock military dude under your control here (we'll call him Gavin for review purposes) apparently preferring bladed weapons. So, it's a run 'n' stabber then? That's good enough for me!