Posts Tagged ‘five dollars’

solarstrikerbox

Source: GameFAQs

System: Game Boy

Release Date: February 1990

Rarity: 21%

Price: $3.99

I’ve passed this game up numerous times when shopping around for games to play. For some reason Solar Striker was never very eye-catching to me. I just imagined it as some cruddy space-shooter game that probably sold for $20 brand new upon release. But I recently discovered that Solar Striker was a 1st-party game developed by Nintendo R&D1. What other classically legendary games was Nintendo R&D1 responsible for? Go ahead and take a look at the Wikipedia page for Nintendo R&D1 and see for yourself. There’s too many to list here.

They also developed and created the Game Boy itself. Whoa. (Source: giantbomb.com)

They also developed and created the Game Boy itself. Whoa. (Image source: giantbomb.com)

Learning that, I had high hopes for this game. This was the only shooter of its kind developed in-house by Nintendo, so I was excited to experience their one-and-only take on a classic genre. I hoped to find out if there was a reason Nintendo never made another game like this. Was it was so great that no follow-up could ever top it? Or was it so bad it was doomed to live in the obscurity that I rescued it from. Well… this is Nintendo we’re talking about here. If it was good, they WOULD have made a sequel to it. My hopes have slightly diminished.

Seeing "Nintendo" next to that copyright date gives me the warm 'n' fuzzies.

Seeing “Nintendo” next to that copyright date gives me the warm ‘n’ fuzzies.

As soon as the start button is pressed, the game begins. No backstory to learn, no opening cutscene, nothing. This was the (almost) 80’s! That’s what the instruction manuals are for!

30 seconds of reading and some imagination in 1990. 15 minutes of opening cutscenes in 2014. (image source: eBay)

30 seconds of reading and some imagination in 1990. 15 minutes of opening cutscenes in 2014. (image source: eBay)

The game plays like your everyday basic vertically-scrolling shooter. Both A and B fire your lasers and the control pad moves your ship up/down/left/right. Nothing complicated here. That said, that’s the only real issue with this game. It’s not very complicated. It’s a very simple game. Scroll up, shoot enemy ships, and rack up points. That’s what games in this era were all about! Forget the backstory! Let me blow stuff up! I’m like a kid playing Grand Theft Auto for the first time! Pew, pew, pew!

Don't forget getting that double laser. Double lasers rule!

Don’t forget getting that double laser. Double lasers rule!

Verdict: HIGH FIVE

It helps that, despite its simplicity, it does what it does well. The controls are great, the framerate and speed are good, and even the music is fun. Just like Mole Mania, this game is an overlooked gem in the 1st party Nintendo library. I think for $3.99, this is the maximum you should pay for this game. It’s relatively common and there’s not a whole lot to it, but it’s amazing nonetheless.

Not all things that are simple are bad. (image source: quickmeme)

Not all things that are simple are bad. (image source: quickmeme)

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mmbox

Source: GameFAQs

System: Game Boy

Release Date: January 1990

Rarity: 25%

Price: $0.99

One of my earliest gaming memories involves playing Excitebike on the NES. My friends and I would use the edit mode to create the wackiest tracks we could to see if we could out do each other. It all came to a head when one of us (probably me) made a course of nothing but large hills. They take forever to get up if you don’t have enough speed. Of course as close as these hills were put together, building speed was impossible. This led to a course of nothing but grass patches and the eventual demise of Excitebike in our NES gaming rotation.

It wasn't exciting anymore.

It wasn’t exciting anymore.  (Source: Wikipedia)

I bring up Excitebike because it seems quite the inspiration for Motocross Maniacs. This game was published by Ultra Games, a subsidiary of Konami, created to skirt Nintendo’s early limits imposed on 3rd party developers as to how many games they can release per year on Nintendo systems. Those crafty bastards.

Like Excitebike, Motocross Maniacs is a side-scrolling dirt bike racing game in which you race against the clock to finish the course. The controls are similar. A to go, B for a nitro boost, left and right tilts your bike on jumps. There is also a mode that adds in a computer controlled opponent. Unlike Excitebike’s drones, you are actually competing against him instead of dodging what are essentially moving obstacles.  The courses are actually pretty challenging, even early on. Not only do you have jumps and hills to contend with, but also loop-de-loops. This adds a really neat dynamic to the game. Some of these loop-de-loops require skillful timing to get on to. Your nitro boosts are limited (rather than Excitebike’s turbo button) and are often required to hit these loops. In fact, nitros are required to make pretty much any jump.

This jump is impossible to make without nitro.

This jump is impossible to make without nitro.

This issue left me frustrated as hell. The game’s 4th course (as pictured above) is all about jumps requiring nitro boosts. Problem is, if you run out, you get stuck. I often had to restart the game or wait for the timer to run out so I could try again. I was getting frustrated with the game until I realized something. There is a strategy at work here. Some jumps you have to use nitro on to complete… but you don’t have to complete all jumps. There are multiple paths through the course. The trick is finding a path that works best for your nitro conservation strategy. This added another cool layer to the game that I hadn’t noticed right away (courses 1-3 allow for liberal use of nitro boosts). Only problem is, as of writing this, I still haven’t found out that strategy and am stuck on course 4. I haven’t given up hope yet.

Verdict: HIGH FIVE

And it’s because I don’t want to give up that I’m scoring this game as a high-five. I’m actually compelled to try to figure out how to tackle this course. It’s frustrating in a good way. I love when a game can challenge me not because of frustrating level design or poor gameplay, but because I haven’t properly formulated a strategy to beat it.  I feel like I’ve definitely got my dollar’s worth out of this game.

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apcover

System: Game Boy

Release Date: May 5th, 1991

Rarity: 57%

Price: $0.80

If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you may have seen where I decided not to review Atomic Punk for Episode 29. That’s because, after playing it, there’s not much I could say about it. It’s another Bomberman game. Please don’t take this to mean it’s a bad game! I really like Bomberman games, it’s just this one is not all that different from other Bomberman games. The upgrade store seems to be the big difference. Check it out if you’re jonesing for a Bomberman experience on the Game Boy (assuming you’ve already played Wario Blast, my preferred Bomberman Game Boy game).

cover

System: Playstation (also available on Game Boy Color/Advance, Nintendo 64, Sega Dreamcast)

Release Date: December 11th, 2000

Rarity: 46%

Price/Location: $0.99/Gaming Warehouse

If you went to middle school in the late 90’s-early 2000’s, you either had or wanted a Razor scooter. It was a genius invention! A scooter with roller blade wheels! Just be the top-selling student during your schools’ magazine subscription or candy bar sales contest and one could be yours!

"Alright, Ladies Home Journal, you're my key to sweet, scooty goodness!"

“Alright, Ladies Home Journal, you’re my key to sweet, scooty goodness!”

So naturally, as with any wildly popular intellectual property, a Razor Scooter video game was commissioned! Yeah! Can’t get a Razor Scooter of your own? Then live vicariously through this game for only one-third of the price (not including price of Playstation system… which combined would have made it way more than an actual Razor, but I digress)!

Our title screen, complete with totally hip and funky abstract art.

Our title screen, complete with totally hip and funky abstract art.

Very quickly I realize that this game is nothing more than Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater on a scooter. Choose a level, get your list of objectives, complete as many as you can in 2 minutes, bake at 425 degreees, rinse, repeat, let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

More like Tony Hawk's Pro SCOOTER?! Amirite? Ugh. Sorry.

More like Tony Hawk’s Pro SCOOTER?! Amirite? Ugh. Sorry.

But surprisingly, the game isn’t completely terrible. I was very surprised how well the controls function and how smooth it feels… kind of like THPS. The graphics are forgivable because pretty much everything looked like ass in this genre and x-treme sports games aren’t notable for their gorgeous graphics anyway.The soundtrack is… okay. The music seemed slightly hard for a game with such a young intended audience, but the lyrics are clean. The characters are pretty hilarious, because they’re all obviously kids, but they sound like adults, especially when you guide one of them off a building and they yell as they fall to their doom. This happens a lot on one level as the play area is spread over several skyscrapers.

Would not be surprised if she had a smoker's cough.

Would not be surprised if she had a smoker’s cough.

Verdict: BARGAIN BIN

Yes, I did say the game was surprisingly un-terrible, but it is still a nearly carbon copy of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. Maybe if it did something unique to separate itself from the popular franchise, then I would reconsider. But as it is, for the same price, you could just pick up one of the first two Tony Hawk games and have a similar experience. There’s not much else I can say about it really. For now, Razor Freestyle Scooter will have to remain 2nd prize in the school sales contest.

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wskbox

System: NES

Release Date: June 1990

Rarity: 49%

Price/Location: $3.99/Game Changers

Let me just say this: If I was as good at making stock market moves as I was in this game, I wouldn’t be living in the smallest bedroom of an apartment I share with two friends. This game has given me unrealistic expectations of the beginner’s learning curve in the world of stock trading. I am shocked and appalled that such a game that can leave such an impression even left the testing phase! This is why the economy is in the crapper, people! Wake up and smell the crushing debt! How many people played this game as children and grew up to be reckless stock traders on the mean streets of Wall? This is nothing more than an economy crasher simulator!

And yet, all I see are dollar signs. I feel my wallet thickening. I hear the roar of the Ferrari in my garage. I smell victory. I can taste SUCCESS!

And yet, all I see are dollar signs. I feel my wallet thickening. I hear the roar of the Ferrari in my garage. I smell victory. I can taste SUCCESS!

This game is a scam! I made it big with investments in Carnivore Cruise Lines, Yapple Computers, Rattel Toys, and Boing Airlines! I diversified the HELL out of that stock portfolio! My wife was so happy over the buttloads of money I was making! My family loved that I was wise in my investments! I had it all! But here’s a newsflash: NONE OF THOSE COMPANIES ACTUALLY EXIST! I couldn’t translate my success into the real world! I had to take a guess with mere facsimiles of the companies in this game! Where was my assistant giving me hot stock tips? She was nowhere to be found in the real world!

I'm so alone!

I’m so alone!

I’ve lost everything because of this game! Girlfriend: GONE! Car: GONE! Life: OVER! I write this review as a message to the masses! A warning, if you will! Spread the word: this game is nothing more than hopes and dreams! It teaches you to be fast and loose with your money! Get my message to Fox News or CNN! Someone! Preferably presented by a middle-aged white woman who has never played the game before. Anyone will do!

Was I the best, Prisila? WAS I?!

Was I the best, Prisila? WAS I?!

Verdict: BARGAIN BIN

Oh, and the game was kinda boring too.

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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?”

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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.

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