Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Overrated! #8

Destruction Derby (1995)
By: Reflections / Psygnosis Genre: Racing Players: 1-2 (via link-up) Difficulty: Medium
Featured Version: Sony PlayStation First Day Score: 108
Also Available For: Saturn, PC

Unlike the poor old Saturn, the PS1 had a good few decent titles available at launch, including some that did a great job of showing off what the system could do. One of the more popular was Destruction Derby, a vehicular combat game developed right here in spiffing Blighty! Sadly, this was not enough to win my favour, and it wasn't even to do with my strong Sega allegiance as the Saturn got a version too! Indeed, as boring as it might be, I didn't like the game at the time, simply because I didn't enjoy playing it much. I was clearly in the minority though, for it was enthusiastically received by gamers of the time, many of them eager to impress all-comers with their fancy new consoles, and the series is fondly remembered today as well, so I thought it was high time I went back for another, perhaps less scornful look.

Sunday, 28 June 2020

Top Five PC Engine Racing Games

Although it certainly didn't start as such, this has almost turned into one of the old 'comedy' Top Fives I used to do. The main reason for this was down to how difficult it turned out to be to even find five half-decent racing games for this usually-excellent system. I know the mighty PC Engine is hardly known for this genre - its legendary status is more to do with its outstanding shmups and platformers - but I still didn't think I've have as much trouble as I did. So, I guess you should probably instead consider this the Top Five Least Crap PC Engine Racing Games instead!

Special Note: This list does not include overheard/top-down racing games as they are different enough and numerous enough to have their own list.

5. Power Drift (1990)

If I'm honest, I've never been the biggest fan of Power Drift, at least compared to other Super Scaler games, and porting it to the Engine was ambitious, but it's actually not too bad. It does deviate from the arcade version a little in that it basically gives you a championship mode in place of the arcade mode, meaning you have to work your way through the courses rather than just choose any you like. It works quite well though, and it's technically quite impressive, all things considered. It does suffer from the same faults as the arcade version (or what I always perceived to be faults anyway) - namely, the undulating log sections of track often making it hard to see where you're going, and the large cars making it hard to overtake (or be overtaken). But that does at least mean it's a good conversion I guess, and it's pretty good fun to play now and then too. The graphics are probably about as good as you could expect too, although the music isn't so great, but this could easily have been a lot worse, as some of the other versions were.

Friday, 26 June 2020

New Arrival - C64 Mini!

Okay, this one isn't really an ultra-new arrival. In fact, if any evidence was needed of my apparently-unavoidable procrastinistic (is that a word?) tendencies, it's that this 'new' arrival was received from my lovely wife as a birthday gift - eleven months ago! Fear not, I have used it quite a bit; it's just the posting about it here part that I'm somewhat behind on, but better late than never?!

She actually bought if for me due to a mix-up. She thought she had heard me talking about the C64 a lot and bought if for me based on that. All I can think of is that she heard me talking about the N64 (she wouldn't know the difference), but whatever the reason, I am actually glad she made the mistake because, even if there was an N64 Mini, I've played most of the top games on that console extensively, whereas my Speccy allegiance in the 80's means I've played very few of the C64's most renowned titles. I had of course originally intended to rectify that issue here, but while I have played some well-known as well as some less-well-known games on Commodore's brown breadbin since then, I have not really done so to anywhere near the extent I had intended. Perhaps this mighty gift will be the catalyst?

Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Film Review #115

Becky (2020)
Director: Jonathan Milott & Cary Murnion Starring: Lulu Wilson, Kevin James, Joel McHale, Robert Maillet, Amanda Brugel

Certificate: 18 Running Time: 100 Minutes

Tagline: "There once was a little girl..."

New film releases have been somewhat thin on the ground this year for obvious reasons, so you would think any that do somehow make it out would be heralded far and wide. However, this one came out a few weeks ago (according to Wikipedia at least) and I haven't heard a single peep about it! Oh well, luckily I happened upon it anyway, and I quickly found a premise that appealed to me. It stars Joel McHale and Lulu Wilson as Jeff and Becky, a father and daughter attempting to reconnect after the death about one year earlier of their wife/mother, although this desire seems to be more Jeff's than Becky's who is upset, angry and still grieving. Jeff takes Becky to the family's lakeside cabin where he has also invited Kayla (Brugel), his new girlfriend, and her young son, for he has apparently decided a good way to reconnect with his daughter and help her get over her mother's death is to tell her he's planning to marry Kayla. This goes down about as well as you might expect and Becky legs it into the woodland surrounding the cabin.

Monday, 8 June 2020

First Look Arcade #2

Gee Bee by Namco (1978) - Arcade

My hunt for so-called 'brick-breaker' games has revealed many examples to me. I've not even heard of some, like this one which was released way back in 1978 - only two years after the progenitor itself, Breakout. Sadly for me, it's an arcade exclusive (not that there would've been much to convert it to anyway), and like many such games it uses a paddle to move the bat so I can't play/review it properly, but it seems pretty innovative for its day. It looks and plays a little more like a pinball game than a Breakout clone too. There are bumpers, channels at the side for the ball to fall down, a twirly thing and lights to turn on, etc, but there are also numerous bricks and not one but two paddles (one at the bottom of the screen, the other about halfway up), and the object at least appears to be to take out all the bricks. It's hard to say for sure as, 1) it's extremely hard to play the game with a control pad (even one with an analogue stick), and 2) the bricks seem to replenish themselves every now and then. It must be bloody hard though, even with the correct controller, as the ball gets really fast quite quickly, but it's definitely an interesting title, especially considering its age.

RKS Score: 3/5

Saturday, 6 June 2020

Sabbatical or Retirement?

It seems like forever ago but I started this blog almost exactly ten years ago now. As I've probably mentioned here at some point during that time, it was my wife's idea. She doesn't like videogames much, you see, and was fed up with me burbling on about them. I don't remember doing it that much but she suggested I start this blog anyway, and get my gaming fix that way instead of bothering her.

So that's exactly what I did, and it has occupied a sizeable slice of my free time ever since. In all that time, I have posted something at least once every calendar month, usually many times, but that's until now. As the few regular visitors here may have noticed, it has now been over three months since I've posted anything. That doesn't mean I have fallen victim to a certain virus pandemic that's doing the rounds, I'm happy to say, but it has been a cause of concern for me nonetheless.