Posts Tagged ‘high five’

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).

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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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.

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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!

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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?

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