Archive for the ‘5DG Plays’ Category

ithcover

System(s)- Game Boy (Also available on: Mega Drive/Genesis, Super NES, Amiga, Amiga CD32, 3DO, PC, Jaguar, Lynx, Atari Falcon, Nintendo DS)

Release Date- December 1992

Rarity- 24%

Price- $4.99

The Humans. What a lovable bunch! Look at ’em up there! Just like you and me. Romance, jealousy, fear, happiness, creativity. Why not make a game about them?!

Oh...

Oh…

Ah-ha! But this game came out nearly 8 years earlier …and has nearly nothing to do with The Sims! Actually, if you’ve played Mario vs. Donkey Kong: March of the Minis or Lemmings, you’ll be right at home with this one. The story goes about how you would think a story about cavemen at the dawn of time would go. They have just discovered tools and you must use these tools as they are introduced to assist you in completing the level such as spears and ropes. You also have your fellow tribesmen to rely on as you can use them as a step ladder of sorts to climb small ledges. At the beginning of the level, the tribal chief will tell you what your goal is. You are then told how many tribesmen are available and how many you need to complete the level. For instance, on the first level you have 12 tribesmen available, but only 4 are needed to complete the task. The others are in reserve just in case someone gets killed.

"You know... we already have these spears here. No need to scale that dangerous cliffside to get another one. We could always make more too... what's that? 'Do it or you'll eat my family,' gotcha."

“You know… we already have these spears here. No need to scale that dangerous cliffside to get another one. We could always make more too… what’s that? ‘Do it or you’ll eat my family,’ gotcha.”

The controls took a little getting used to for me, but after a minute or so, it’s pretty easy. Right/Left on the d-pad moves your little caveman, B is used to select an action, and A sets that action. The Select button brings up a cursor which you’ll move to select another caveman once you get another one into proper position.

"Okay, so I'll be the Y, you guys decide who's gonna be the M, C, and A."

“Okay, so I’ll be the Y, you guys decide who’s gonna be the M, C, and A.”

 

Spear get! On to Level 2 where we use that spear! The spear can be used to fend off dinosaurs, vault over small gaps, or can be thrown. To leap over a gap, you must stand next to said gap, start a meter to set the power of your jump, and watch as your little caveman makes a daring leap over a pit of spikes. Now, you need to throw that spear over to the next caveman, so that he may also make the leap and oh dear I just killed him with the spear.

Sure did!

Sure did!

Verdict: HIGH FIVE

I was really surprised with this game. It’s got a certain charm to it. Maybe it’s the graphics or the little caveman sprites. The cursor and walking speed of the cavemen could be faster considering the amount of ground (or air, in the case of the cursor) they have to cover on each level. Also, the timer on each level seems redundant. You never feel pressured by the timer because they give you an arbitrary amount of seconds that you will not even come close to using all of (711 seconds for Level 1, 826 for Level 2, etc.). But these are minor gripes. There are not many games out there like this one, so if you’re looking for a strategy/platform/puzzle game, give The Humans a chance. The Doctor did…

"It's a game full of humany-wumany, timey-wimey stuff. You''l love it. Is this the face of a man who lies?"

“It’s a game full of humany-wumany, timey-wimey stuff. You”l love it. Is this the face of a man who lies?”

Facebook

Twitter

Thanks for reading!

taiswcover

System(s)- Sega Genesis (also available on Atari Lynx)

Release Date- April 30th, 1992

Rarity- 43%

Price- $4.99

You know what game got the gross factor right? Boogerman. Boogerman: A Pick-and-Flick Adventure. That game grossed you out and had the toilet humor ripe for making a 7-year-old me laugh his butt off in 1994.

"Boogers and toilets! Bahahaha! Comedy gold!" ~Five Dollar Gamer circa 1994

“Boogers and toilets! Bahahaha! Comedy gold!” ~Five Dollar Gamer circa 1994

I suppose that’s what the 90’s were all about. The gross factor appealed to kids like Call of Duty (or the “cool” factor) appeals to kids today. Look at prominent children’s network Nickelodeon. What is the common theme among 80% of its live-action 1990s line up? Slime. That green stuff that was dumped onto children’s heads on You Can’t Do That On Television is the slime in question. It was what likely turned Double Dare hosted by Marc Summers into Super Sloppy Double Dare starring an OCD-riddled Marc Summers.

"Hi, I'm Marc Summers! And welcome to my personal hell!"

“Hi, I’m Marc Summers! And welcome to my personal hell!”

So slime is all the rage and developer Epyx, led by then 11-year-old Timmy Coruthers says “Kids love slime. Let’s make a game with a guy with sweet shades and he fights slime monsters.” Before I begin the review, I feel it poignant at this point in the article to mention that Epyx went bankrupt mere months after the release of this game.

We're taking a trip and Todd's at the wheel!

We’re taking a trip and Todd’s at the wheel!

When they say “Slime World” my goodness do they ever mean it. It dominates the screen! You, your enemies, items, take up tiny fractions of the screen. It would be better if this slime environment was… well… anything other than what it looks like in this game. Walls, ceilings, floors, and the foreground are all the same ugly solid shade of green. This is Boogerman’s dream vacation.

taiswscreen1+2

But as history tells us, graphics do not make the game. Unfortunately this game doesn’t have any of the components to make a competent game. This is barely a game. It’s a game in the sense that the Genesis I put it in was able to play it. Controls: bad. Sound: bad. Fun: none. The portion of the game I played merely had our “hero” Todd. Wander aimlessly through a cave maze until he found the exit. No story, no reason why. Just a Point A to Point B bore.

Verdict: BARGAIN BIN

Normally I’d put a game like this into The Landfill, but TAISW didn’t really anger me as much as it put me to sleep. There’s not much to this game and not much to say about it. I keep reading that the Atari Lynx version is superior in every way, but I imagine that’s like saying your Math 201 lecture is more stimulating than your Math 101 lecture.

Well... sometimes Math classes can be okay.

Well… sometimes Math classes can be okay.

Join me in an adventure (25% less slime) on my Facebook page and Twitter page!

As always, thanks for reading!

26629_205286049603444_436038555_n

System: Genesis

Release Date: August 14th, 1993

Rarity: 10%

Price: $0.49 (hell yeah!)

I’ve never fancied myself a “fan” of fighting games. I like them, but I don’t get into them as much as some of my friends who are into the competitive gaming scene. I think it’s because I’m not very good at them and I don’t have the commitment to sit there and practice.

Hour 9 inside the Street Fighter IV practice arena.

I’ve always liked simple, easy to learn fighting games. King of Fighters ’95 on the Game Boy is a perfect example. It had two buttons. But it used those two buttons to their full potential. Which brings me to Eternal Champions. Eternal Champions has three buttons. You’ve got your punch, kick, and block. Cool. Yeah. Block is such a great button. Block is such a great button that your computerized opponent uses it the ENTIRE FRIGGIN’ TIME AND NGJUNDg4rty54yEGVIBND5rhy54trEGVth54tehIOIE31235r34gtrf32qD!!!

OK, take a deep breath. Breathe in... and out. Calm down, FDG.

OK, take a deep breath. Breathe in… and out. Calm down, FDG.

OK, so more on that in a second. Let me just say, that this game looks ugly. Even by Sega Genesis standards. All the environments look like they were designed in a freeware bitmap editor. I’m not saying I could do better (I can’t), but good lord.

Pictured: Winner: Mrs. Johnson's 3rd Grade Computer Art class competition, December 1992.

Pictured: Winner: Mrs. Johnson’s 11th Grade Computer Art class competition, December 1992.

These characters are nothing noteworthy. Just picture what superheros looked like when they were designed in the 1990s and congrats, you put as much effort into the character design as these guys did! Bright colors, tight spandex, it’s easy to confuse a few of these guys with certain WWF (WWE if you’re picky) wrestlers circa 1993.

Either the 4th best character in the game or a former WWF World and Intercontinental Champion. I get them confused sometimes.

Either the 4th best character in the game or a former WWF World and Intercontinental Champion. I get them confused sometimes.

There’s probably a story to this game, but everything else about this game is so-by-the numbers I just assume it’s about an ancient evil (probably Asian) who wants to destroy the world and the Eternal Champions pummel each other for the right to pummel him.

Ta-da!

Ta-da!

How does the game play? Well, I played this game two different ways. I played some of the single-player stuff and I played the game with a friend, Kelly Mankoski, who is a professional fighting games player (literally!). I will now break down each experience via pictures.

This pretty much sums up the single-player experience.

This pretty much sums up the single-player experience.

And the 2-player experience…

That's me on the right.

That’s me on the right.

Don’t get me wrong, just because I got my backside handed to me doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy this portion of the game. Playing any game, good or bad, with a friend can make the experience slightly better. But unfortunately the single-player A.I. is so terrible it’s not even close to fun.

Verdict: BARGAIN BIN

Yes, the game was slightly made better when playing with someone else, but then you realize you’re sharing a miserable experience together. Everything about this game is bland. This is your typical generic fighting game that got pumped out at a time when Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter were all the rage and everyone wanted to try to bottle some of that sweet, succulent arcade fighting action. The 50 cents I spent on this would have been better spent by getting lost in the couch cushions.

Money well spent!

Money well spent!

I’d like to thank Kelly Mankoski for suffering through this game with me! He would like to give a shout out to his sponsor GRAPSF.com and GrandLAN Gaming Center located in beautiful downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan!

Like the article? Of course you didn’t! Tell me what you hated on my Facebook page, my Twitter, or even send me an e-mail at fdg_scott@fivedollargamer.com!

As always, thanks for reading!

EDIT: Comments from Mr. Mankoski himself!

While I only spent an afternoon with the game while Five Dollar Gamer and I explored it for the review (not counting the endless hours I had mashing with it when I was but a wee lad) it definitely didn’t seem quite up to par when it comes to the competitive scene.

Like any respectable fighting game it had a nice variety of characters from the blonde goddess to the old wizard and even an intriguing cyborg. Each character has their own stage to be sure you wont be stuck always looking at the same few backgrounds however, that is not counting when you’ll be smashing your face on the controller because you can’t beat the first opponent in the single player mode. The characters themselves even have a good selection of normal and special moves. They have various projectile and movement based special moves that can send a nice fireball or knife towards your opponent at varying speeds depending on which button you input the command with. You can even send you yourself flying towards the opponent with a fantastic dive kick! As far as normal attacks are concerned you have your basic low hitting moves and nice long range pokes that may possibly be used to control your space on the screen or even anti-air a foe bold enough to take to the air. Last but not least the game even has a throw system in place if you just cannot find any other way to break your opponents defense.

So lets see does it have what it needs to be a competitive fighting game? Characters. Check. Stages. Check. Special moves. Check. Variety of pokes. Check. Throws. Check. Combos? This is where the game starts to get a bit muddy.

While i was able to figure out some sequences of attack to keep my opponent(FiveDollarGamer) where I wanted him I wasn’t having much luck in terms of scoring much more than a single hit at a time. There were times I thought I may have found a combo but, because the game doesn’t have any sort of combo counter who can be sure. Maybe he was just trying to strike back and therefore was unable to block my follow up attacks. The same tactics did not seem to apply when fighting the CPU opponents. Like other fighting games you end up simply getting thrown out of your next move meaning it’s probably not a real combo. This isn’t even taking into account my inability to combo into or out of special moves. Maybe it was the cheap 20 year old Sega Genesis controller I was using. Maybe it was my lack of practice or lack of skill with the precision this game requires. Maybe it’s just a piece of doo-doo game created to ride off of the popularity fighting games had in the 90s. Who can really be sure?

Granted combos aren’t everything but, even as a more footsie based game(where you fight simply by moving in and out of range while poking with your attacks and hitting your opponent with one of your own if he whiffs one of his) there didn’t seem to be much depth. Only a couple of pokes with each character seemed viable and most of the time it seemed like if you found the single one that beat your opponent they wouldn’t be able to do much to get around it.

So, like Five Dollar Gamer I agree you should probably let this one remain collecting dust in the bargain bin. You may be better served springing for that copy of MK2 priced at $1.99. At least you’ll have nostalgia to keep you company.

 

System: NES

Release Date: November 1988

Rarity: 20%

Price/Location: $3.99/Gaming Warehouse (Grandville)

July 11th, 2012

Dear Journal,

Today I went in to the local game shop to purchase some games for my new blog. I picked out a lot of neat games, seven to be exact, but one game really caught my eye. It’s called Super Team Games! It looks like a really fun game! I’ve never seen any other Power Pad game aside from World Class Track Meet, let alone played one. I think a game as unique as this one will make a fun addition to my fledgling blog. But for right now, I’m going to play another fun-looking game I picked up called Dewy’s Adventure!

July 22nd, 2012

Dear Journal,

Well, Dewy’s Adventure was a bust. But what else can you expect from a Wii game that cost $3? I really want to play Super Team Games, but I finally managed to track down an old Nintendo game I’ve been looking a long time for, The Guardian Legend! I want to space out the different systems I play games for a bit, so Super Team Games is going on the back burner for the moment. I hope The Guardian Legend turns out alright, considering how hard it was to find.

August 2nd, 2012

Dear Journal,

The Guardian Legend turned out really fun! It was well worth the trouble of tracking it down! Something odd happened though when I went to put it away. I went to set it on my NES shelf and Super Team Games was sitting in the spot where Guardian Legend was sitting previously! It freaked me out for a second, but I realized I had been really sleepy when I cleaned up my game room. Still, why would I put Super Team Games on the shelf, but leave the other games in the bag? Chalk it up to a lack of sleep, I guess!

August 14th, 2012

Dear Journal,

So I think someone is messing with me. I came down to my game room to work on my Game Boy games article, when I noticed something strange. Super Team Games was sitting on my chair! My girlfriend’s father is always pulling jokes on me, so I just chalked it up to him playing a prank. Strange thing is though; I never mentioned anything about the game to him before. Maybe it was a coincidence.

September 2nd, 2012

Dear Journal,

Ugh, gotta love summer storms right? Unfortunately the power went out and the circuit breaker is in the basement. I’ve been avoiding the basement since last week since I found Super Team Games sitting in my NES! I knew this was no prank that someone was playing! I was the only one home and I had JUST got done playing Bad Dudes! I walked upstairs to grab a Diet Pepsi and came back down and there it was! Then today, when the power went out, I mustered up the courage to go down there… and the red NES light was on and blinking. How?! The power was out!

September 10th, 2012

Dear Journal,

I took my NES to get repaired. I don’t know if it had anything to do with my NES being on while the power was off, but better safe than sorry. I came home to find my Power Pad sitting on the couch! I could have sworn I left it at my dad’s house up north! I need to take a break from playing games in my game room. I’m gonna start a new segment on the blog where I play a hacked ROM version of Super Tecmo Bowl. That will suffice for now.

September 15th, 2012

Dearest Journal,

I’ve been having some strange dreams lately. The children on the box art of Super Team Games came to life. They started throwing logs at me. Each night the logs get closer and closer. I’m afraid to sleep tonight.

September 18th, 2012

Oh God, Journal,

I had been up for 3 straight nights. I must’ve nodded off because I had another nightmare. This time the Super Team Games children had me hooked up to all these wires in some kind of laboratory. The room was a bright white. They were forcing me to play some kind of nightmarish version of their game. I was being forced to use the Power Pad to make someone who looked just like me run down a track made of souls and leap over hurdles made of bloody bones. If that wasn’t freaky enough, when I woke up I was wrapped not in my blanket, but the Power Pad.

September 30th, 2012

Dear Journal,

Things have been going great! The dreams have stopped, the freaky occurrences have gone away, and I’m a lot happier! I’ve gotten back to writing for my blog! I had a little assist from my girlfriend on this one, but it was the first time I went into the basement in almost a month! Baby steps, you know! Hahaha! Of course you don’t! You’re a non-sentient book of paper! Oh, it’s 5:30! Time for my meds!

October 7th, 2012

Greetings and Salutations, Non-Sentient Book of Ground-up Wood Pulp!

Didja know what’s fun? Playing airplanes in the middle of the road! But those stupid big loud metal things that roll down them don’t like it when you do. One shouted “Put some pants on freak!” So I went onto the roof instead! Strange as it may sound to you, NSBGUWP, I can’t fly! Super Team Games said I could! Especially if I used the Power Pad as a cape! Then it suggested my REAL superpower was SUPER LUNG STRENGTH!So it told me to fill the tub up and test it out. Super Team Games said I should bring the toaster with me, just in case I get hungry.

October 8th, 2012

Enough of this. I need to PLAY this game if I am going to get over it. I got everything hooked up and ready to go. I turned it on. Don’t let the cutesy graphics fool you, this game is a monster! I selected “Super Obstacle Course” because if I’m going to conquer this game, I’m going all the way. Our first event is “Log Hop” I start running as fast as I can. I leap over the logs with gusto, nothing standing in my way. I am going at what I think is a torrid pace… until I see my opponent has an enormous lead on me. It’s discouraging, but I press on, hoping to gain ground later. This event smoothly transitions into the Belly Bump Ball. At the speed I’m going I send the ball flying! This may not be so bad! I can finally catch up! But I slip! I lose momentum! The ball is barely moving now! I’m fading! My legs are weak! I’m out of breath! Drenched in sweat! Done. The game has beaten me. Journal, Super Team Games is a force to be reckoned with. No game, retro or modern, has given me the workout this one did. You have to be in tip-top shape to succeed. It was a wake-up call. In a sense, I respect this game.

Final Verdict: HIGH FIVE

In all seriousness, this game kicked my ass, but it is quite the workout. Everything about this game is technically functional, but you have to be in shape to play it for an extended amount of time. This isn’t like World Class Track Meet where the events were short and sweet. The sprints on this last quite a bit. That first “Log Hop” event was 2 straight minutes of full-blast sprinting speed. If you want a good workout, forget DDR, forget Wii Fit, and forget P90X. Get yourself an NES, a Power Pad, and a game that defines evil workout, Super Team Games.

Facebook!

Twitter!

Steam!

Thanks for reading!

 

Release Date: Summer(?) 1993

System: Game Gear

Rarity: 35%

Price/Location: $2.99

I’ve stated before that I wouldn’t play movie-based games for the blog, but I felt I had to make an exception in this case. 1.) This game was only released on one system. 2.) That one system was the friggin’ Sega Game Gear! Yes, the Game Gear was semi-popular in its day, but imagine if they released a game based on The Avengers movie over the summer, but it was a Playstation Vita exclusive. It’d raise some eyebrows. The history behind this game is interesting though and it explains some things. Sega and New Line Cinema teamed up for some cross-promotion action. Sega helped finance the film in exchange for some writers and producers to help create a game. The game ended up finished and available for sale before the movie wrapped up filming. As a result, the movie features several scenes where the game based on it appears.

It wasn’t a mere cameo. It was a freakin’ PLOT POINT!

 

I don’t remember much of the movie (I watched it all of once many years ago). It remains fresh in my mind as a joke amongst my friends however because it’s a “Rob Schneider movie” ala South Park.

Rob Schnieder is… a SURF NINJA!

With that said, I don’t know if these opening cut scenes are true to the movie, but then again, I don’t really care. I want to know how this game plays. How does it play? …surprisingly good. I was shocked by how decent this game is. Maybe calling it a good game would be too generous, but the controls are operable. A to jump, B to attack. You can press a different direction on the D-pad to do different attacks. You can also go into the pause menu to use support characters or purchase weapons and health. You can also get a “helpful hint” from the boy in the movie with the Game Gear.

His 1st hint for me was “Finish levels quickly.” I did not request future advice from him.

There are some bad parts to it (like you already didn’t assume). First, even though I mentioned the controls were good, the jumping mechanic takes a bit of getting used to. You have to hit the jump button, let go of it then press and hold it again to do a higher and longer jump. This wouldn’t be too much of a problem if the window of time you had to do this wasn’t so small. It’s sent me falling to my doom a few times because what I thought was going to be a nice big jump, turned out to be a short hop into the water. Also, the character sprite size in relation to their environment is way off. The environments are featured prominently and look nice for a Game Gear game, but the character sprites look tiny and indistinguishable. I wish I could find a good screenshot to illustrate what I mean, but you would actually have to play the game (or at least look at it on a Game Gear screen) to get the full effect.

 

Mostly because the Game Gear itself has a crappy screen (Note: This is a Game Gear emulator screenshot. That’s why it doesn’t look like barf).

Verdict: HIGH FIVE

Call me crazy, but I liked this game. Maybe because it surprised me because it wasn’t totally terrible, but it’s certainly playable, and kind of enjoyable. It’s not even close to the best game ever, but it’s pretty good action-platforming… uhh, action. If anything, it’s likely a case of the game being better than the movie it’s based on!

Surf on over to my Facebook page and give me a like! Or, stealthily make your way over to Twitter and follow me (but preferrably not like a ninja)!

Thanks for reading!

Release Date: October 1989

System: NES

Rarity: 16%

Price/Location: Gaming Warehouse (Grandville)

(Note: The fact that Episode 21, of all numbers, is a casino game episode is pure coincidence. Wish I could say I planned that…)

The first time I ever stepped foot in a casino was about 3 years ago. I went with my girlfriend and her dad. On the way there (about an hour-and-a-half/2-hour trip) I joked about how I would “re-define beginners luck.” I walked in with $100 and walked out with over $5000. I thought, “This casino thing is easy! I guess I got a leg up because I actually know when to walk away!” My view was skewed. I thought winning at the casino was going to be a given every time I went. It didn’t help that on the following trip I turned $100 into about $400. I was hooked. I loved going to the casino.

If only my friends would give me money every time I shook their hand.

The harsh reality of the casino soon sunk in… just in time for one to open 25 minutes from where I live. I’ve been there more times than I care to admit, but I’m over casinos now. I no longer have the desire to go. I’ll tag along or play on someone else’s money, but I’m not going to be the one initiating these trips. I still like card games though, like poker and blackjack and stuff. Casino video games are a different story. It’s rare that I find one that stands out. I played one on my Grandma’s PC  when I was a kid and thought it was really cool (the name of the game completely escapes me and research turns up nothing). Your opponents were colorful characters who would taunt you when you made moves. So when I saw Casino Kid, I was curious as to what the gimmick was. There had to be some kind thing that set this game apart from standard casino games, especially with a name like Casino KID.

Legitimate screenshot.

After struggling to get the game to even work (a 72-pin connector replacement is in order after this ordeal) we are presented with our plot: You play as the Casino Kid (not actually sure they said his name) and you have to work your way up the ranks to become World Casino Champion… or something.

Sums it up better than I can.

This has to be the worst casino ever. You’re essentially entering the casino as a rookie. You’re supposed to be going up to the tables to play and get better, but the dealers WON’T PLAY WITH YOU UNTIL YOU GET BETTER. Seriously, imagine you walked into your closest casino with $1000 in hand, and every single staff member there KNEW you had never played a casino game before, but they refuse to take your money because you’re not skilled. It’s either the most generous casino or the stupidest.

This is the kind of stupid stuff they’ll say to you instead of separating you from your money.

You’ll have to find the ONE dealer in the casino who will play Blackjack with you in order to start your quest to become Ultimate Gambling Hero. Once you do… it plays exactly like any other blackjack game you’ve ever played. Seriously, there is nothing special or unique about it. She’s an old woman and she’s fairly easy to beat. At one point I beat her on 8 straight hands. The 1st one she won after that streak, she says to me “Heh, that wasn’t a smart move was it?” I’m like “Bitch, you’re awfully cocky for someone, nay, a PROFESSIONAL CASINO DEALER who just lost 8 straight hands of blackjack to A KID WHO HAS NEVER PLAYED BLACKJACK BEFORE!”

“F*** you, sonny! I’ve been playing blackjack since before you were born… which was apparently 14 years ago.”

After you double your money on some blackjack, you’re told to seek out a man who wants to play poker with you. After searching for him, he declares the game is 5 card draw, and you jump into the game. This guy is slightly more challenging than the old woman, but in the same way 2×2=4 is a more challenging math problem than 2+2=4. At a random point in the game he declares he will go all-in if you will too. It wasn’t even a desperation moment for him. I was only winning like $1100 to $900. I beat him easily and moved on to my next opponent… another old woman dealing blackjack.

“We rule this f***ing casino, you young whippersnapper!”

Verdict: BARGAIN BIN

The RPG look of the game at first gives you a vibe that this may be something different, but it’s all a sham. This is nothing more than your average casino game in RPG clothing. It has a stupid premise and boring gameplay. A true gambling RPG would be a cool idea, but this game is not it. By the time I got to the 3rd dealer, I didn’t care about becoming Heavyweight Card Game Master, I just wanted to cash my chips and go home.

Thanks for reading!

System: Super Nintendo

Release Date: September 17th, 1996

Rarity: 53%

Price/Location: $4.99/Epic Electronics & Gaming

(Note: As I’m typing this, I’m watching Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers on Netflix for inspiration. Hoping it works!)

As a mid-1990’s elementary school kid, I was all about the Power Rangers. When my friends and I wanted to play Power Rangers at recess or in the backyard, it was always a battle to see who was the Red Ranger (a scenario made easier when Rocky was introduced as the new Red Ranger). I remember the pure elation I felt when getting the Power Rangers Game Boy game for Christmas. This was sensory overload for a kid my age. Power Rangers + video game = HOLY BALLS THIS IS AWESOME!

I couldn’t mash the Start button fast enough at this screen.

By the time middle school came around, there were a completely new set of Rangers in Power Rangers Turbo (one of which was a kid who looked younger than me, which was somehow uncool in my mind) with new stories and enemies. Power Rangers Zeo was the beginning of the end for me as far as my Power Rangers fandom was concerned. Zeo came between MMPR and Turbo. I not unfamiliar with the Zeo characters, (they’re made up of characters that came about in later MMPR seasons) but by this time, I was more a casual fan than the rabid fan I was as a younger child.

You’re just not the same!

I am not surprised to realize I didn’t know about a Power Rangers Zeo video game. As stated before, my fandom was slowly dying and the hype for the Nintendo 64 was ramping up (the 64 would be released about a week after this game was released). Before I jumped into the game, I feared what this game would be: likely a Mario Kart clone. Well… it is. Power Rangers Zeo: Battle Racers plays almost exactly like Mario Kart. Just like Mario Kart you can choose from a number of racers made up of good guys and bad guys alike.

In this race, the three primary color Rangers take on The Rocketeer and C-3PO’s bastard offspring.

The thing about most Mario Kart clones is that they tend to suck more often than not. This was my initial thought here. But after a few races with a bit more twists and turns (the 1st track is just a rectangle) I was warmly greeted with tight controls and strategic gameplay. You see, your vehicle comes equipped with some kind of cannon blaster. You get 5 shots per race, but you cannot refill them during the course of the race. Figuring out when to use them is key. Do you use it at the beginning to get an early lead? Or do you hold off until the end as a safeguard to any final lap slip-ups?

Clearly the strategy here was the former. It… didn’t always work out so well for me. Using all five shots on the first lap is akin to *insert premature ejaculation joke here.*

So far, so good. The early tracks have a nice balance of challenge and strategy. The challenge factor ramps up rather evenly over the course of the game eventually climaxing with some brutally difficult tracks towards the end. I did a lot of losing towards the end of the game. It felt a lot like the Special Cup courses on Super Mario Kart. Your timing on cornering and when to use weapons needs to be spot on. The big problem with this game lies within the fact that all the race series are linked together. It’s not like Mario Kart where you select a cup with 4 tracks. Once you complete a series you are immediately ushered into a new one and all the points you earn in each series are totaled up at the very end to declare a winner. Also, depending on your character’s turning ability, the timing of the automatic drift kicking in can seriously throw you off, especially in later tracks with longer, wider turns.

I often felt like that kid from Tokyo Drift. I crashed A LOT.

Verdict: HIGH FIVE

I am very surprised by this game! I ended up really enjoying it. It’s got almost next to nothing to do with the actual Power Rangers (meaning nothing would feel out of place if the Rangers were replaced with other characters), but if you’re going to do a Super Mario Kart clone, you gotta do it right, and I feel they did a decent job here. It’s not a perfect game, not at all, but I feel I could have done worse with a Mario Kart clone.

Case in point. F*** this game.

Episode 20 has morphed into completion! I have a Facebook where I post some stuff sometimes. I also have a Twitter where I read things from people I follow. Join me on both! Let’s communicate, k?

Thanks for reading!

System: Super Nintendo

Release Date: October 1991

Rarity: 36%

Price/Location: $0.99/Gaming Warehouse (Grandville)

I know next to nothing about Ultraman. I know of Ultraman. I know Ultraman is ultra popular in Japan. But I don’t know if he has a lot of appeal outside of Japan, namely America. I don’t know anyone who would call themselves a fan of Ultraman (and if I do know someone, they certainly haven’t mentioned it). After playing this game and looking up a bit on what Ultraman was all about I can’t help but think that he would have fit in alongside several live-action Japanese shows (dubbed and re-done for American audiences), and ones inspired by them, that were popular in the mid-1990’s.

It also would have lead to several 9-year-old kids calling him a Power Rangers rip-off.

Unfortunately the timing was poor for both this game and a show based on this incarnation of Ultraman as far as a U.S. audience goes. Ultraman for the SNES was released in 1991 and an Ultraman TV series ran in the U.S. for about 3 months in early 1992. Both of these came out before the Power Rangers took the U.S. by storm in 1993. It could be reasonable to think that because of the relative obscurity of Ultraman in America today and this Super Nintendo game for that matter, that this game was not exactly a classic. But I’ve discovered some great games so far that weren’t exactly popular. Could Ultraman be any different? Will America ever learn to love Ultraman?!

Probably not! (2 people will get this joke)

Ultraman plays like your typical fighting game like a Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter. But there’s no character select or 2-player mode. You play as Ultraman and you must defeat each monster in a 1-0n-1 battler to move on to the next level. Sounds pretty simple, and it is at first. The first two enemies are practically a cakewalk once you get the controls down. To defeat your enemy, you must deplete their health bar until it reads “Finish.” That’s when you hit them with a Level 4 laser blast! Level 4 laser blast?! What’s that?!

This is the “Glass Joe” fight.

You see that meter in the middle there? That meter will charge up as the fight goes on. You can use your laser at any point during the fight, but it resets the charge. Only a level 4 will finish your enemy off, however, so you won’t want to use it late in a fight when his health is low, rather than reading “Finish.” One thing that got me a couple times is your health and your enemy’s health will both slowly recharge if neither get hit for a while. During my playthrough, my enemy would have a meter reading “Finish” only for my Level 4 laser blast to reach him just as he recovered a sliver of health. This caused him to not die, but merely get knocked back down to “Finish.” It was quite frustrating.

I saw something similar to the above quite often because of it.

This game strangely has more in common with Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out than another side-view fighting game. The timing and strategy required to avoid enemy attacks and get hits in requires you to be focused quite a bit. Mashing buttons will get you nowhere fast, especially after the first two guys. The problem with this though is sometimes your timing needs to be somewhere in the neighborhood of perfect.

I don’t see what nice houses has to do with this game’s controls.

Example: When your enemy fires a laser of their own (because that’s what giant Japanese lizard monsters do) you cannot avoid it by jumping or ducking. You will get hit and you will get laughed at. You must perform AN ACTION BACKFLIP or AN ACTION SOMERSAULT! This is done by pressing down and left or down and right depending on the direction you are facing. Sounds easy enough, right? Like I said, timing on this is everything. More often than not, you will dodge most of the laser, then get hit by the tail end of it when you snap back up. It was quite frustrating.

I saw something similar to the above quite often because of it.

Whoa, deja vu.

Verdict: BARGAIN BIN

The game gets progressively harder as you go on, as it should. The problem is how difficult it gets. It is not an easy game. Perfect timing, the flawed laser/finish system, and the fact that some enemies move WAY faster than you do keep it from feeling fair. I’ve said many times in the past about other games that I felt that the difficulty of a game was because of my lack of skill and that I could become better with practice. Here I feel it’s because of how imbalanced some fights can be. I can’t describe the anger I felt when I finally got an enemy down to “Finish” in a close fight where I’m almost finished myself, only for my L4 laser blast tink off the sliver of health he’d recovered as the blast traveled towards him. This was a game I really wanted to like because it showed so much promise early on, but later levels proved to be an exercise in frustration.

Again, what do difficult workouts have to do with this game?

Ultraman is getting deported back to Japan! Migrate on over to the land of Facebook and Twitter and tell me how lame the jokes in this article were!

Folks, I ran into a bit of a problem a few months ago. You see, during one trip out looking for games for the blog, I ended up buying several Game Boy games. Normally this wouldn’t be a problem but this was after I had already done a few Game Boy articles. I couldn’t help it! I love Game Boy games! Since I already had a backlog of other games as it was, I decided to lump these games together into a GAAAAAAAAMMME BOYYYYYYYYY SPECIALLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!
(If I knew Photoshop, I’d put a fancy “Game Boy Special” logo here. But I don’t so… pretend?)

So, for each one of these, I’ll do the usual Release Date, Rarity, Price, and Location Purchased (not System because… well… Game Boy Special) and I won’t go too in depth with them for the sake of brevity. I got like 5 of these. It would take forever. People don’t read this because they got a lot of time on their hands. They read it because I bug them about it until they do.

Anyway…

Mole Mania (now available on the 3DS eShop)

Release Date: February 1997

Rarity: 28%

Price/Location: $2.99/Play-N-Trade

I actually purchased this about 2 or 3 weeks before it was released on the eShop. I was very surprised to find out who made this game. Judging by the cartridge, I could tell this was at least published by Nintendo, hence why I picked it up. I had never heard of this game. BUT! This game was developed by Nintendo. As in… SHIGERU MIYAMOTO HIMSELF WORKED ON THIS GAME! The guy who created Mario! How in the heck did I never hear of this game? It’s a pretty interesting action-puzzle game. You go in and out of the ground to avoid obstacles and enemies while moving from room-to-room. It’s a fun game, some solutions will make you scratch your head, and if you don’t have a Game Boy, it’s available for download on the eShop!

Verdict: HIGH FIVE

WWF Betrayal

Release Date: August 7th, 2001

Rarity: 19%

Price/Location: $2.99/Play-N-Trade

This game sucks.

Verdict: BARGAIN BIN

TMNT II: Back From the Sewer

Release Date: December 1st, 1991

Rarity: 34%

Price/Location: $2.99/Play-N-Trade

This is the sequel to the TMNT game I did wayyyyyy back in Episode 6. Remember that? Remember how awesome I said it was? This one is just as good! This one doesn’t have the level select like the 1st one did, but it does have a similar character select to the original NES “classic.” You can’t switch turtles on the fly, but you can switch after each level with their current amount of health remaining intact. So if you switch out Mike for Donatello, and he only has 1 bar of health, he’ll have 1 bar of health when you use him later. My only complaint about this game is the walking animations for the turtles. They walk like a little kid who has to pee walking on his tip-toes to the bathroom so he doesn’t wake his parents. Otherwise, the game is just as good as the 1st one, maybe slightly better because of the slightly varied levels (auto-scrolling skateboard level!).

Verdict: HIGH FIVE

Mercenary Force

Release Date: October 1990

Rarity: 22%

Price/Location: $0.99/Gaming Warehouse (Grandville)

This was an interesting looking game. I had never heard of the developer (Meldac) or the developer (Live Planning), but they came together to create a pretty fun game. You start by purchasing from a selection of 5 characters with your starting pool of money. Some mercenaries cost more than others, so you’ll have to spend wisely. Then you go out into the field. It plays similar to a side-scrolling shooter like R-Type. Each merc has their own shooting pattern. Some shoot straight, some shoot diagonally, some shoot straight up-and-down. You’ll have to strategies your hiring of these guys to maximize your bullet spread. You can collect money throughout the level to re-purchase a merc, should you lose any. This game can be quite difficult, but it doesn’t come from cheapness. I felt this game could be winnable with skill building. A very surprisingly good game.

Verdict: HIGH FIVE

Power Quest

Release Date: December 1998

Rarity: 26%

Price/Location: $4.99/Play-N-Trade

I thought this was a cool looking game, so I took a chance on it. Kinda glad I did. It’s a fighting/RPG hybrid. It takes place in the near future (I guess) where “modelling” is all the rage. “Models” are what they call these R/C robots they fight with, so “modelling” is what they call the act of fighting with them. Kinda weird, but whatever, the fighting is really not bad for a Game Boy game. The controls are simple, but hard to master. It’s kind of like the Othello of Game Boy robot fighting games. BUT! It’s got a crappy password system. It’s not quite as bad as the one in Guardian Legend, but for a game released at the end of 1998, there’s no reason why it couldn’t have battery backup.

Verdict: HIGH FIVE

Yay! That clears out my backlog of Game Boy games! Like the page at Facebook or follow on Twitter! Thanks for reading!

System: Nintendo 64

Release Date: February 10th, 1999

Rarity: 47%

Price/Location: $3.99/Gaming Warehouse (Grandville)

I love racing games. Whether it’s more of a simulation like Forza Motorsport or more cartoony like Mario Kart, the racing genre has been one I’ve always held near and dear to my heart. It’s also the genre I tend to be the most picky with. Why do I like Forza over Gran Turismo when they’re essentially the same game? I don’t know, because… ummmm… ahhh…

Here’s hoping your ADD kicks in right now and you forget about that question.

So Penny Racers is one of those games I always looked at and went “Huh. I like racing games. This is a racing game. It’s even got ‘Racers’ in the title! And those cars are so cute! How bad can this game be?” As with every other game, I bought this one used and it caused me a little trouble at the start. You see, as I started playing the game, I noticed a distinct lack of music. The sound effects, although slightly annoying, were perfectly functional. My first thought was “What kind of cheap-ass game is this with no music? Was there seriously no money in the budget for a sound composer?” Where was the music?!

 

Listen, it’s not like I’m asking for this guy. Just get me SOME music.

Well, I found my music… in the options menu… that I failed to go through… like I normally do with a new game. Looks like the previous owner didn’t like the music in this game. I don’t see why. While it’s no Mario Kart, it’s hardly grating. If anything, the sound effects should have been turned off. So enough about the music, what of the game? Well, for starters, the game… certainly looks like a Nintendo 64 game: a slightly fuzzy, colorful, polygonal assortment of graphics. The controls aren’t bad. It’s certainly playable. There are a few issues I have with the gameplay though. Bumping into another car, is like running into this:

It’s like you’re racing against 5 of these.

It seems almost unavoidable when rounding corners. Merely bumping another racer can send you from 1st to last. Equally as frustrating was navigating the menus. When you come in the top 3, you get to steal a part from someone in the bottom 3. A fine idea that you don’t really see much in games today. The problem comes when trying to equip your new item. The menu system is just so confusing and item installation is located in the settings menu. Just imagine you’re playing Call of Duty and to equip your new weapon you just unlocked, you had to back out of your game, go into the options menu, select settings, and all of a sudden you’re presented with the option to equip your gun. This is like if you had a frozen pizza and you had to walk through your bathroom to put it in the oven located in your garage.

GET OUT! YOU DON’T BELONG THERE!

Unfortunately it appears a memory card is required to save any parts you earn. Weird, because it appears track times are saved on the game cart itself. I lost what little progress I made by turning the system off. Ahh well.

Verdict: BARGAIN BIN

Maybe it’s because I really am picky, but I had a hard time getting into this game. The environments, while colorful, also manage to be quite bland. What a feat. The game is kind of easy, but as stated before, one bump into another racer is the difference between winning and finishing dead last. The part swapping is cool, but the odd placement of the menu to do so lessens the coolness by a significant factor. Why part swapping had to be buried in the settings menu instead of being given its own menu is beyond me. I can’t really recommend this game, but it’s not completely terrible. Enjoy at your own risk.

You know what’s not buried improperly behind several menus? My Facebook and Twitter pages! Check ’em out and leave me some feedback and suggestions or whatever you want to say!

Thanks for reading!