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Topics - retro junkie

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Nintendo - Switch, Wii U, and 3DS / My Wii U Experience......
« on: December 27, 2018, 09:32:03 PM »
With my Wii dying on me, I felt that the best replacement would be a Wii U. For just $40 I could have replaced my Wii with a Wii. But add $60 and I could upgrade to a Wii U black 32gb model. It is the most reasonable path to go and plus I have the backward compatibility with all my Wii game library. Highly recommend this for anyone that still plays their Wii when it dies.

Received my Wii U the day after Christmas. First game I played was Tatsunoko vs Capcom.  ;)
I ran by my local GameXchange, needed a charger for the gamepad, and picked up Nintendoland 95 cents and Skylanders Giants 95 cents. Grabbed up Bleach for the Wii $2.95. Impressed with the console. Nintendo would have had better success if they had named this something else and avoided the confusion. This console is not a Wii. I know that it had to maintain features so that it could have the previous generation compatibility, but this console is so much more than the Wii. I am looking forward to some of the games that take advantage of the system hardware. Already it was great that Skylanders Giant offered me the option to play on the gamepad large screen and not the TV. Although I understand that not all games give you that choice, it was still awesome. Been watching game reviews and gameplay on youtube. My list is growing. I will make some decisions this weekend on what will be next. The pad is not as heavy as I thought it would be and the screen is very responsive. So far, lovin it.

I think that I am the only one that can enjoy a game system out of its era, or generation. LOL
Especially one that is considered a flop. But remember, just because it "sort-of" failed in the gaming market, does not mean that it is a bad system.

This is the best time to purchase games for this console. Nobody wants the games anymore. LOL

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I kept reading about this game. Watched some youtube gameplay and had to have it. Saw this on Amazon for $10 used with free shipping, sweet. I was surprised by what I have received. Looks in mint shape and unused. I had read that it does not play in the original SNES, only clone hardware. But my SNES is launch hardware, I know, I was there, picked it up personally. This thing works in my SNES, so there has been some kicking and knock out drag out fights goin on here. Two player coop, single player fun! This is from the same folks that brought us Unholy Night, except this was done right, with love.




3
General Discussion / Is this Game New??
« on: December 22, 2018, 11:23:03 AM »
This week I decided to purchase Time & Eternity for my PS3 from ebay. A used one was a few dollars less but being a few dollars I thought "hey" I will go ahead and purchase this game new. That way I would have the booklet and everything. When I received this yesterday, I noticed, there seems to be a couple of hole punches through the bar-code. It has what appears to be the original factory cellophane wrapper, folds, etc.  What is this? Has anyone ever purchase a game that was like this? Everything is crisp and new. It does not look used at all. The only other time that I have seen this is in a used or refurbished game.

I didn't know whether or not to post this in this section. But if we stay on topic, the subject of the packaging, then maybe it will be okay?




4
Retro Gaming and Hardware / Thanksgiving Day Marathon!!
« on: November 25, 2018, 11:02:57 AM »
Meant to post this Thanksgiving night, but.... not sure where to post this really.

5:00AM and it is that time again for smashing, shooting, and blowing your way through game after game! Rules are as follows,
1. Use up all your lives and record your high score, or progress, in a game.
2. Continues may be used and your highest score or progress recorded.
3. After your lives are used up, go to the next game. Mood swings determines your direction.
4. Must stop for food and bathroom breaks. We don't want any health or hygiene issues. (Wives are funny like that.)
Haven't played the game in a while? That adds fun to the challenge.

First stop XBOX 360
Death Smiles: The game is so gorgeous and fun to play. One of the best horizontal shooters. I took a chance and used one continue. I was afraid to go another, ended with 2,508,755.

Tried my digital download of Tempest on my 360. Whoa, well this is so embarrassing. It did not consider my score significant enough to acknowledge I had been playing. Sort-of like that first time, lost that quarter!

Breakfast break, (Elevator music playing, musical ensemble here of sax, horns, and electric piano which is also keeping the beat.)
Okay, I am back.


Esp galuoa 2, Black Label: Japan Import. This is a beautiful bullet hell vertical shooter. Even though I got a score of 9,887,712, I never made it out of the first level. At least I don't think I did. No wait I made to the second level, used only one continue. Bullet Hell shooters are confusing to me. I never know whether I am fighting a boss or a regular guy, you know? Very satisfying play.

Akai Katana: This game reminds me of Progear in its presentation. Another bullet hell shooter, more of a sort-of side scrolling horizontal shmup. Didn't last long but I did manage to score 1,219,059. That might have been by accident. Another satisfying play. Did try it in Novice mode in the end and I don't think my survival was that much improved though I was able to increase my score to 2,723,470.

Geometry Wars: 360 digital download. I so like this better on a my DS. Really bombed out at 18,175.


(What, they might not be able to have the balloons due to the wind? What is the use of having the parade if you can't have the balloons? Don't the Firemen have those round things to catch people? Now I know how Joker must have felt. “He took my balloons.” I can relate.)

SNES, or SFC
Honey I'm home.

Darius Twin: Familiar territory. It was games like this that was the reason I played in the 90's. This is the best Darius game on the SNES console. Been playing this off and on. Ended this with 2,629,900.


(paused* The levels are geared toward one thing and that is to lead you to the boss. Their purpose is to beat you down until you are a whimpering mess when you arrive.)

You want this? Come and get it. Want Earth? Not today. Not on my watch.

(Youtube live, Verizon has the best view of the MACY Parade. No interruptions like the Networks do and augmented reality. So cool.)

Cybernator: Shooting and blasting your way through the enemy contra style. I was short lived in this one. Second stage, meteors got me.

Metal Warriors: This must be the spiritual successor to Cybernator. Same type of game play only this is more intense which makes it more fun. Even though there is some English in the menus, seemingly a lot of the story is in another language on my cart. This is new to my collection, so it is still considered to be new to play. Didn't last through the first level, but it was fun. Get some! Get some! Get some!

Skyblazer: This is a surprisingly good platformer by SONY. The character has Spiderman's ability to stick to walls, which comes in handy. But at times it irritates me when I am trying to get to somewhere and I stick. Password enabled.


Vampire's Kiss: The big bull thing kept butting me into the hole in the ground. Didn't get very far.
Dracula X: Is this the same game? I didn't know. Oops! Aaagggh! Between those blasted bats, lizard men, and me jumping into the abyss on the third level! Now I feel like I must stop Christmas from coming.

Musya-Gousou Jinrai Densetsu: Sort-of an action platformer Samurai type game in a Nightmarish world. I find it hard. And I have to really get into it and play it a lot to get anywhere in it. It looks like not today.

Parodius Da!: Not my day. Did not get past the first stage boss.


Opps! Another break. Gotta help the Wife with fixing the meal so,

More elevator music.....


After our Thanksgiving Day Dinner I spent the afternoon learning how to repair a DS lite. I changed out the top screen and put the whole thing into another shell. I ended up also doing one for my Wife, a Pokemon Yellow.


Getting some funny colors on that top screen. The hinge was broken and cutting the ribbon.



5
Microsoft - Xbox One and Xbox 360 / New Xbox One Digital Only?
« on: November 19, 2018, 09:26:58 PM »
I am starting to see a lot of hub bub concerning the possibility that Microsoft may release an Xbox One that will be digital only and no disc drive. Possible of a program where you turn in your games for a download code. Some of the argument is lower cost for the console. I started thinking about this and wondered, even though the $200 price point was thrown around, what price point would cause to go all digital? What would they have to sell the Xbox One "all digital" before you would lean in that direction? If they could come out with a killer game line up, which, too me, seems lacking at this point, would that tempt some gamers to jump on board? Is the time ripe? Digital download does seem to be a big part of the industry.

What say you?

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Retro Gaming and Hardware / The SwanCrystal Console
« on: October 22, 2018, 12:43:45 PM »
Just thought I would share. Had mine out this past week. Initially designed by Gunpei Yokoi. 15 hours of gaming on a single AA battery. Reflective screen technology. Graphics, gameplay and animation that rivaled the GBA.  This was a 16bit system. It had a short life but it was good while it lasted. It was an RPG gamers dream come true console. Had tons of them, but never left Japan. Even though I do have the Final Fantasy series, I can't play anything but English friendly stuff like fighters, puzzle, and platformers. The Digimon stuff that was ported to the GBA is better gaming on this system, graphics, gameplay, feel. And not everything was ported.

My English Friendly game list:
Digimon Battle Spirit
Digimon: Zero Two
Digimon Battle Spirit 1.5
Battle Spirit: Digimon Tamers
Digimon: Veedraman Verson
Buffers Evolution
Guilty Gear Petite 1
Guilty Gear Petite 2
Puyo Puyo
Puyo Puyo 2
Bust-A-Move
Klonoa: Moonlight Museum
One Piece Swan Colosseum
Lime Rider Keroikan
SD Gundam Operation UC (repetitive shooter action)
Pocket Fighter
Gundam Seed (There is a need to know Japanese to get the most out of the story, other than that it serves as a shooter. I do have the anime movie so I do know sort-of what is going on.)














7
Retro Gaming and Hardware / The Gradius Experience
« on: October 18, 2018, 12:07:42 PM »
I took my fall Vacation this week. Always in October. Been retro gaming and found myself going through Gradius on my SNES. Back in the SNES era there were two games I brought home with my SNES, Gradius and R-Type. Yeah Mario was the pack-in but I wanted to save the Galaxy. At one point I thought slow down was my friend. But go through this game on normal only to be rewarded with a restart in hard mode, stripped down to nothing, bullet hell going on now, faster enemies, and slow down becomes a nightmare. Still this is one awesome game that still packs a punch for me after all these years. It feels so good just to sit back and hack my way through this, again, and again, and again. There are some places in this game I know where to sit and let my "options" do the deed. That is if that nasty scorpion doesn't steel them. I learned a long time ago that you watch your ship and spend your time dodging bullets while holding down, or tapping, the fire button. This game rocks!  8)











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Retro Gaming and Hardware / N64 and its Fighters
« on: September 09, 2018, 02:50:12 PM »
When it comes to fighters the N64 is not known for having any. I think the reason why is because there are no CAPCOM or SNK fighters on the N64 console. This did leave a big void in the “fighter genre” game library of the system. As a retro gamer it is interesting just to look back and play through the N64 library of fighters. I  judged those that are available on their own merit. Can they stand on their own as a capable fighter? One must remember that many of the fighters, of the competing game systems, that they were up against, was also blocky, 2D’ish, and had limited detail in their characters. Looking at the same similar type fighters, two stand out as having set the standard at the end of that generation, Tekken and Virtua Fighter. CAPCOM really is the one who started the fire. SNK made a big impact in the arcades right in the middle of the fight. Standing here at this point in gaming, you take a different perspective when revisiting. There is no shadow of those popular big fighting games intimidating or thumbing their noses at the N64. Street Fighter, Tekken, and Virtua Fighter were the kings in their day.

I love a good fighting game. But I think that fighting games where a phenomenon of 90s. That was the height of their popularity. And I think the driving force behind that, was that period in gaming history. Arcades played a major role as did the gaming systems of that time. There was so much competitiveness between companies to release the best game to draw crowds. Arcades were the experimental proving grounds.

As the ports of fighters came home, and arcades began closing, this led to a winding down of genre. More powerful consoles resulted in a change in the industry and new directions in gaming. Gamers moved on with those changes. A new fighter being released today does not have the same impact as it did back in those days.

I really think that the N64 and its fighters are an acquired taste. What do you think?

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Retro Gaming and Hardware / N64: Super Smash Bros. Review
« on: September 09, 2018, 11:13:45 AM »
This review is taken from a series of reviews I did a couple of years ago concerning the fighters available for the N64.

If there is one thing that Nintendo has accomplished, it is, establishing likable familiar video game characters. Those characters are what has charted the pathway of Nintendo’s success as a video game company. Seemingly Nintendo has built their hardware around the games hosting these characters. Each and everyone of those franchises has their fan base that eagerly waits for the next big game with their beloved characters. It was pure genius on someone’s part to take those characters, group them all together, and place them into a fighting game. You have an instant seller.
ssb3

Yes I purchased the Japanese version. It was a lot cheaper than the US one.

Odd, I have had a difficult time getting into this fighter. One of the hindrances has been, I do not find it as appealing as the previous fighters. Maybe it is just me, but I enjoy these characters in their original gaming environment. Another hindrance has been the difficulty I am finding in learning to control my fighter. The control does not seem as tight as I am accustom to, nor find in other fighters. Maybe it is just the button configuration. Maybe there is an awkwardness in using the characters in a way that I am not familiar. I want to control Samus Aran. But I am becoming frustrated. At first I thought it was the controller, but no, even after changing out controllers I am still having what seems like a slight hesitation, or slugishness, even a floatiness. Maybe some of this is just the N64 controller itself. I end up feeling that I am getting a lot of “cheap shots” from my opponent. That rubs my fur the wrong way when I sit down to a game and this hits me in the face. (No pun intended.) Yes I know this is a beloved Nintendo fan’s dream game which has become a franchise in and of itself. But it just suddenly struck me that maybe this is not a game for everyone. I went into this thinking that it was, ……. surprise. It is fan based, but I see this game as one for the younger Nintendo audience, Family time, or a multiplayer party game. And I think that this is the target audience, and the intent, in the game design. I am not finding it satisfying as a single player experience. But, as in every other game, the key to success is learning to become one with your fighter.



The graphics and stage designs are only as Nintendo can put together, awesome and excellent. The character animations are a joy. In each stage you have different platforms, at different heights, to fight from as well as ringouts to deal with. The stages are familiar as the concepts are taken from each fighter’s own games. The welcome powerups add to the fast pace chaotic fighting. You get a percentage marked against you, and increases, as you are hit. All of this, as a whole, adds to the depth of the gameplay. Making it a deeper game than it might first appear. This is a 2D fighter in a pseudo 3D environment.

This is a game that I personally did not find intuitive in the game’s controls. I think I went into it with expectations that this was just another fighting game with familiar controls. You really have to set back and strip away all of that from your thinking, especially if you are a fighting game fan. Nintendo does its best to maintain each character’s familiar signature moves. This changes the feel of the game as a traditional fighter. And pulling off some of the moves can prove to be difficult in the fast paced gameplay. It becomes a game in which you “learn to play” in order to succeed. And that is not a bad thing. Your approach is the same as with any other new game. You learn how to play it to get the most out of the experience. As a gamer, we do this without thinking all the time. It has a built in tutorial showing you how to play.



Due to the nature of this game in its party design, and gameplay, it became a system seller. No other fighter offers a better simultaneous four player experience on this system. (It almost borderlines Bomberman status in my book.) And largely in part, because of the draw of familiar, and popular, characters from the Nintendo universe it has been another one of those instant Nintendo successes.

I did finally find my fighter and I had fun with this game. Please don’t interpret my review as being negative. I approached this from the perspective of a fan of the fighting genre. Personally I think that if this game had been introduced in the arcades during the 90’s this would have been up there with the best. I rate this game as “system seller.” This game goes to the top of my list of N64 fighters. And that is mainly due to the multiplayer madness.

Mario dressed as Wario with a light saber in the Star Fox stage, priceless.


10
Retro Gaming and Hardware / N64: Fighter Destiny 2 Review
« on: September 08, 2018, 05:23:48 PM »
This review is taken from a series of reviews I did a couple of years ago concerning the fighters available for the N64.

The first thing I notice is the title, “Fighters” has now become “Fighter.” Some legality concerning the name or something? Not sure. This is the second game and you might have high expectations of great improvements. Or maybe something completely new. But what we have here is a well oiled machine. There are noticeable graphical improvements and a more fluid animation in the characters. Added stages and backgrounds. Some of the Fighters are missing and replaced by new ones. The one fighter I learned to use, is missing, and replaced by what looks like a Los Angeles club dancer. Replaced, meaning that, she controls the same and has all of her moves. So, for me, she was easy for me to take control. Not sure if the other new fighters inherited the missing fighter’s moves. Something to discover as the games are played.



But this is the same game, except that it has been tweaked and now has a more polished feel. They basically improved the quality of the experience in the game. I do remember that the first game did not have a story. Guess what? It still does not have a story. Or at least it is not communicated in the game. Maybe in the booklet? I don’t have the booklet. I really don’t need a story, but it does add that umph to a fighter which many gamers find it completes the experience. A story also gives that certain personality to a game in which a gamer can identify with in their imagination. I mention this because they had the perfect opportunity to add a story.



The gameplay is the same. All of the options are the same as the first game. You can still adjust the amount of points for the different throws, knockouts, ringouts, etc. You can still determine how many points needed to end the match. But there is something new to this second game which is an added plus. It is a game mode that reminds me of a board game. Where you land determines who you will have to fight. In this mode you learn new moves and build your character. So you would need to pick the fighter you intend to use regularly. You spin, move forward the number of moves determined by the spinner, fight, win a new move, spin again, repeat. Like a board game.



 This game does have that “Wow” factor. If you do not have the other game, I would recommend this one. But they are both so inexpensive any fan of the genre would probably want them both. Like me, I want them both. In this second installment, the fighters look less chunky with a slight more detail, prettier. (There are still those “awkward” designed characters present.) Game includes 12 characters with 4 to unlock. This is a very good game that is loaded with a lot of fun. This is one of the best fighters on the N64. I give it a big thumbs up and rate it as “Awesome Game.”


11
Retro Gaming and Hardware / N64: Fighters Destiny Review
« on: September 08, 2018, 05:12:04 PM »
This review is taken from a series of reviews I did a couple of years ago concerning the fighters available for the N64.

The gameplay is Virtua Fighter-ish in style and feel……. and yet very different. You have two main buttons that have a limited number of moves assigned to them. I thought various moves were being determined by the directional button. And they are, in that I found out that I am inadvertently performing some of the moves by button mashing. (Yes I am, by default, a button masher!) You have access to a move list for each character when you pause the game. The bad, or the good, depends on your perspective, is that you cannot assign any of those moves to controller buttons in the menu. It has already been predetermine as to what you can assign to those buttons. Those things you can assign are, Hirari= auto-avoid, Guard, and U+L which is the upper and lower buttons pressed together, green & blue, a throw. So you have to learn and memorize any of the character moves that are on the list. That, to me, adds some depth and also determines that it will take some skill to be a good fighter. But the unique thing that raises the bar in this game is the point system. This is not like other fighters where it’s two, or three bouts and you win. You win by a set amount of points. Throws, ringouts, knockouts, etc, all give points when accomplished. There are options to adjust the point system and that effects the length of the bouts. You have a life bar which can be reduced, but you can back away and you begin to recover. But you need to watch the clock which calls for strategy. I find this gameplay refreshing and makes this game very interesting to play. This is not a “me too” clone fighting game. The designers stepped out of the norm using some creativity to give us a very different experience in a fighter. And it works. Learning moves and fighting through this game can be a very satisfying experience.



The graphics are on par with Virtua Fighter 2 of the time period. Not as much detail, simpler, but it makes for a softer, maybe fuzzy, appearance to the characters. I’ll admit that they are a little blocky especially if you use a hi-res flatscreen. A flatscreen yields some sharpness in the graphics and things take on a different look. But on a 480 scan tube TV, it is smooth. Animation is also good and smooth. There are some character designs, which I sort of wince at. Maybe it is just the western cultural influence that I have in my brain. There are 9 characters with 5 unlockables. And one of them, is a cow.



You are located up on a very high platform with animated backgrounds, or at least some of the backgrounds are animated. That is where you fight it out with your opponent. A ringout means a nasty fall. The backgrounds look nice and are much more detailed than the characters. Not sure if that works for you. I never noticed. I was too involved with the fight. Using the rumble pak is a nice touch.



The game is an easy pick up and play, I was easily fighting in no time. I think a novice, or a skilled gamer, would get a lot out of this fighter. I found the game fun and satisfying. The only negative is the lack of emphasis on combos. You can string hits together which are combos, but there are no on screen graphics announcing how many. It is sort of missing and you feel it, or it is something I wanted while playing. It has nothing to do with the gameplay. Just puts a little fun edge into it. Like having a spotlight on you that gives you the feeling of accomplishment. Sort of like an award, a brag point. If they had included that graphic splash across the screen, it would have put this game over the top for me. Still, I encourage you to spend some serious time with this game and enjoy yourself. Fighters Destiny does excel in its gameplay. And this game easily sits in my top ten fighters for the N64. (Those slots are filling up fast.) I highly recommend this game, big thumbs up, and rate it as “Awesome Game.”

12
Retro Gaming and Hardware / N64: Mace The Dark Age Review
« on: September 07, 2018, 10:42:01 PM »
This review is taken from a series of reviews I did a couple of years ago concerning the fighters available for the N64.

I love this game and find it hard to put down, yes, addicting. This game is very easy to pick up and play. After two afternoons of playing I found myself easily pulling off, up to, 4 hit combos. And you’ll need to be able to perform those combos in order to get anywhere in this game. The computer offers a good challenge, so it is essential that you learn to dodge, or evade, and do combos. You can’t just mash one button and walk through this. There are also countermeasures, special moves, fatalities, and throws to learn. I found the controls are tight and responsive which always adds to the fun of any fighter. I did experience some slowdown at one point, could have been associated with the character I was fighting, or stage, not sure. Still, it was there. I did not have anyone to help me try the two player mode, so I really don’t know if slowdown is present during that part of the game. There are several modes of play, easy, medium, hard, and very hard. You are not going to just walk through the easy mode without learning some moves first, believe me.



Graphics are very good and exceptional for an N64 fighter. For the time period they were some of the best visuals out there. Detailed character designs are very appealing and a pleasure to behold. They really have that “3D feel” about them. The environments, like every other fighter, are built around the various characters. And each stage is huge, detailed, and has its dangers to avoid while fighting. Some fights, we were all over the place, others I had them backed into a corner. (And some, lets just say, I didn’t like being pushed into those revolving blades, there will be a rematch and revenge.) There are 12 fighters to choose from with hidden characters to unlock. Love the good ole days of unlocking instead of the “down loadable content” monster. You have the option, if you so choose, to turn off the blood and fatalities. I, personally, find the game well balanced, with each fighter having their own strengths and weaknesses. Some fighters have a longer reach, for example, causing you to use strategy. Again there is that motivation to continue learning, building your skills, and experience, in order to advance in the game. I find it a joy as I learn and begin to master some of the fighters. I find myself wanting an arcade stick and buttons. I even hold my controller in that fashion with fingers across the top six buttons, the yellow ones with the blue and green.



I think any novice, like me, or skilled gamer, will find this one hard to put down. It is a good game that is fun to get into with lots of depth. Mace is an arcade to home console port. The game was released by Midway, the same people that gave us Mortal Kombat. Not to say that has any bearing on whether this game is bad or good. The atmosphere here brings to mind Soul Blade. My feelings are that I like this game better than any of the Mortal Kombat games and find the elements more interesting. And I think it deserved a sequel on the N64 that it never got. That is our misfortune. I love arcade gaming and that is what this game is all about. I put this game in the top ten of my list of fighters on the N64. It is a very good weapons based fighter. I give it a thumbs up and rate it as “Awesome Game.” And I recommend it to any one who loves a good arcade fighter. Just prepare to spend some time with this one. That is the only way you’ll get the full pleasurable experience of Mace.


13
Retro Gaming and Hardware / N64: Killer Instinct Gold Review
« on: September 07, 2018, 09:04:41 PM »
This review is taken from a series of reviews I did a couple of years ago concerning the fighters available for the N64.

I spent some time in the arcades back in the 80s and 90s. It is a fact that I started visiting the arcades when pinball was the norm. I watched as the arcade scene changed and evolved into the golden years of the 90s. I watched as that flame burning bright dwindled down quickly into a smouldering wick. The one thing I always wanted to do was to bring that arcade experience home. I am telling you now, this is it.



For some reason I never took note of Killer Instinct in the arcades. I do remember seeing the game there, but I think, at the time, my interests were elsewhere. I do remember purchasing the SNES game and having a great time with that one, still have it, still play it occasionally. But this N64 version, this is arcade gaming that puts a smile on your face.

There are so many options in this game. You have at your finger tips, all kinds of adjustments. And it is a delight in being able to mold this game to your own liking and enjoyment. Game speed, easy, hard, extra hard, blood on or off, training, team, arcade, practice, tournament, etc. In the first session, I sat tweaking the game until I felt comfortable in the way I wanted to get beat up. I tried a few fighters, settled on one, and felt I was up against a challenge. It took a few games, but the more I played, the more I started learning to do moves and combos. The more I was in control of my fighter, the further I advanced in the game. I then started to feel the rush. “Easy pick up and play,” but takes time to master, that is the beauty of arcade games. The game has that certain charm that hooks you into coming back for more, addictive, yes. That is the fun of the arcades.



Love the interactive backgrounds where, at times, you can smash your opponent through something. They look beautiful, awesome, and animated. The whole game’s CGI has that pseudo 3D feel even though it is obviously a 2D fighter. Everything about this game is orchestrated together to give you a delightful experience.



This game is great awesome fun for anyone who loves a good arcade fighter. It is easy to get into and has depth in the mastering of the game. Both novice and skilled will find something to like about this game. I mean, what’s not to like about this game? I know it had its critics when it was released. Okay, they had their chance at fun and blew it. You my friend can start and end this differently. And………. bring a friend. I highly recommend this game. It has the potential to take up all of your time. You have been warned. I give this a very big thumbs up and rate it as “Awesome Game.”


14
Retro Gaming and Hardware / N64: War Gods Review
« on: September 07, 2018, 08:52:06 PM »
This review is taken from a series of reviews I did a couple of years ago concerning the fighters available for the N64.

The same people that gave us Mortal Kombat are the same people that produced this game, War Gods. If you know how to control your fighters in the Mortal Kombat game then you can step right into this game with no problem. Not sure how I feel about that. But then again, if you have played a Capcom game then you are very familiar with any fighter they have ever produced. It was easy for me to step in and play due to my experience with Mortal Kombat Trilogy in my previous review. (Part of the fun in reviewing these games is learning and discovering moves.)



Trying different modes of play, the “very easy” mode is just not with it. Whenever I can play “very easy” mode in a game and use only one move to defeat a fighter, that is a “practice” mode. Every fighting game, that has a “very easy” mode, I have reviewed up until this point has a good “very easy” mode. They have given a little bit of challenge that is good for a novice, or younger gamer, which helps in learning. But this game, I was able to go through 6 opponents with ease, full bar, and then bam, it turns very hard with the fighter using their special moves continuously. Is this game unfinished? The AI stinks. If you try the “easy” mode, you had better know how to control your fighter or you are going nowhere but down. Across every play mode there seems to be a problem with the AI. You have the fighter viciously attacking you with 10 hit combos one minute then just standing there the next taking your hits. My turn now? And it depends on which character you pick just how your opponent reacts, seemingly. There was one character in “very easy” mode that was unbeatable, for me, which was an easy kill in “hard” mode. There was one fighter in the “normal” mode in which I could beat with just throws, and I ended the fights with a full bar. There is such an imbalance in the gameplay, even across the game modes, that it becomes frustrating. There are fatalities which can be turned off, but I don’t think that helps any.



I really like the graphics. They are comparable to CD console games of that time period. And I think they touch on the N64 capabilities. The characters look so good, a lot of detail, even though they seem to be somewhat stiff at times in their animation. Character design is poor among some of the fighters. For example, the witch doctor looking guy would have looked better with a pair of jeans instead of that skirt wrap. And the Egyptian guy should have been wearing baggie beach or cargo shorts. Just slight improvements, I know, but could have went a long way in making those fighters more appealing in their appearance. At least that is my viewpoint.



I liked a lot of the environments. They are very detailed and colorful. You fight in an arena like area that gives you the feeling of 3D . And you can move around this with some limitations and always be facing your opponent. There is no ring out, you are kept in the fighting circle by an invisible barrier that you can be slapped up against and cornered. There was no interaction with any of the environments during any of the fights. Interaction could have added so much to the gameplay.



There are a lot of elements here that could have worked if only the game had been tweaked. Not sure of what they were attempting here. All I ask is for some consistency and balance. I feel that the only way someone could actually like and enjoy this game is in the two player mode. That is where you would get the most satisfaction. And that is if both have equal skills and are familiar with the Mortal Kombat button scheme. I wanted to like this game, really I did. There were those moments when the AI acted civil and that was when I actually had some fun. So I did have some fun with this one and I enjoyed that particular game time. But it is too unpredictable, at least that is my experience. I don’t want to stand on the other side of the ring waiting for the clock to click down the time wondering if my opponent is going to move. And that did happen, it was at 67 seconds before we engaged. I am not sure which mode of this Game is best to play, hard, normal? Someone that is very skilled in playing Mortal Kombat could possibly find some challenge and fun in one of the modes of this game. They range from “very easy” to “very hard.” And I am sure that there are those gamers out there that really like this game, fans even. As I increase in my skills with Mortal Kombat, I will possibly return occasionally to this game. But for right at this moment, this game just does not have what it takes to keep my attention. But at the same time the more I play this game the more I like it. It kind of grows on you. So I have mixed feelings about this. And my rating could change the more I play. Presently I am going to rate this game as, “I’m glad I only paid $5 instead of $60.” Totally unfinished!!


15
Retro Gaming and Hardware / N64: Fist of the Flying Dragon Review
« on: September 06, 2018, 09:57:01 PM »
This review is taken from a series of reviews I did a couple of years ago concerning the fighters available for the N64.

This is a real treat. I grabbed this up during this series of reviews. Rarely do you see this game up on ebay. It is called SD飛龍の拳伝説, translated literally as “SD Legend of the Fist of the Flying Dragon.” And it is the second in the series of what was called “Flying Dragon” on the N64 in the US. In my opinion, this should have been the game that was released in the US. Maybe Flying Dragon was just a bone they threw us and we did not bite. We suffered and did not know it. This game is so good. I literally cannot stop playing this game, fun, fun, fun.



The first thing that you will notice is that this cart is Super Deform mode only. The Virtual mode is gone. All of the enhancements, improvements, and extra features are all focused on the SD game. The gameplay is really 2D, whether you are in single or two player mode, the evading gives a little feel of a 3D arena. There are more characters, some hidden and more treasures, or items, to win, collect. The control seems tighter and responsive. Gameplay feels fast and fluid. Gameplay moves are the same as the first game. Fighter moves are easy to get into and become comfortable with.



After playing the first game I was very familiar with the moves and control. So it was very easy for me to jump in and begin enjoying the fight. The hindrance, was not knowing the Japanese language. I can compare menus with the first game and can guess my way through some things. But things that deviate from the other game takes away from the experience. Under the circumstances, that can be expected. What is missed is some of the RPG elements, but as a fighter it shines, in single or two player mode. If you own the first game, menus seem similar, so with a little work and some writing, diagrams, drawings, hard thinking, you can make a lot of it work. Don’t own the first game? English friendly? I think you can hit and miss guessing your way through the menus and be fighting in no time at all.



I, at first, felt that I was unqualified to judge whether this game was a very easy pick up and play. Since I am familiar with the gameplay of the first game. Then I had someone, which has not played the game before, challenge me in the two player mode. No problem, no worry, success! This is easy for a novice to pick up, casual gamers, and even someone who is seasoned. If you don’t know Japanese, as a one player it is limited, you are left with unlocking new fighters and collecting stuff. Don’t get me wrong, it is still fun in the single player mode. The fighting is fun. As a two player vs mode, this is were it really shines, rocks, and makes itself a great stand alone fighter. VS is good. It is so easy to pick up the moves of the fighters and you’ll be doing combos in no time. Did I say this game is fun? Too bad it is not in English. The RPG elements would give the gaming experience such depth in gameplay.

If you have an N64 and love the genre, I highly recommend this game. And I will have to rate it as “awesome game.”


16
Retro Gaming and Hardware / N64: Flying Dragon Review
« on: September 06, 2018, 09:40:58 PM »
This review is taken from a series of reviews I did a couple of years ago concerning the fighters available for the N64.

I am not sure why there are two game modes, unless the creators could not make up their mind? There is a "super deformed mode" and what is called a "virtual mode." The virtual mode has more serious looking characters and is more of a Virtua Fighter type gameplay. The various modes of play and options are plenty. It is like two games in one.



The name of the game is Hiryū no Ken Twin or Twin Fists of the Flying Dragon as it is known in Japan. A casual gamer would probably just dismiss this and throw it aside. One who digs a little deeper would find their diligence graciously rewarded. Hidden beneath the surface are some concepts that will make you wonder, “Why didn’t someone think of this before?” And I am referring to the single player SD mode. Certain RPG elements have been added to the story mode to build your fighter’s skills and strength, increasing in levels. You get “treasures” that you are able to equip to your fighter. This is only available in the super deformed mode. There is motivation in trying to collect all the different treasures, which can be used with your fighter. You can use these to build your own fighter. And this becomes the focus of your gaming. There are a lot of gamers that would be put off by super deformed mode and opt for the virtual mode, and they would be missing something very special. You continue to work your way through tournaments, which to some, would seem repetitious. But that is some of the side effects in the elements concerning RPGs, the grinding. It is in the fighting where you win the treasure items and level up. You level up the items so they become more powerful in their use. In the store you can purchase and sell items involving credits you receive from fighting. You can even trade items with other players in a multi player game.



In the virtual mode you have a more serious looking fighter with the choice of a 2D or 3D gameplay. Your choice affects your gameplay. And it is a very solid fighter. It is in character design and gameplay reminiscent of the other fighter’s of that time period, mainly Tekken and Virtua Fighter. One fighter even reminds me of a Street Fighter character, hmmmm, how did they do that? You fight to advance in ranking which is determined by how long it takes you to defeat the gauntlet of fighters until you take on the end boss and win. If you bail before the end boss you will obviously get low ranking. You will need to visit the practice mode and learn to control your fighter before getting anywhere in this mode. Or it will be handed to you what your opponent kicked around the screen for how many seconds it took him. A novice will not get anywhere fast. I find this game very challenging and fun.



Graphically the game is simple and cartoony in the SD mode, yet there is detail in the fighters. SD means super deformed and it does remind you a little of anime in that respect. The virtual mode has more detail in the fighter’s and the backgrounds. And they compare well with Tekken and Virtua Fighter of that time period. Both games, because they are two different type games, have a host of options, practice, multi player, tournament, circuit mode. Circuit mode is recommend.



I honestly don’t understand the ratings that this game received from reputable game magazines at the time it was released to market. Some gave it a 3 out of 10. Maybe it was the Japanese flavor of the game, which it has, and I like. Seemingly this one slipped in under the radar, or many believed the magazines and opted to avoid this title. The sales were low. I would say that this cart is loaded with fun, two games with different objectives, a very neat package. There is a lot here for the single player to dig into and fun for two players. I would recommend this to a novice advising them to stick with it and you will be very rewarded. If you are a gamer who loves the genre, you owe yourself at least a try, if you own an N64. I give this game a very big thumbs up and rate it “Awesome Game.”


17
Retro Gaming and Hardware / N64: Transformers Beast Wars Review
« on: September 05, 2018, 09:47:30 PM »
This review is taken from a series of reviews I did a couple of years ago concerning the fighters available for the N64.

This is definitely a fan based game. I often got the impression many years ago, that gaming companies spent most of the money on the licensing of the characters, rather than on the game engine development for games of this sort. Only fans of the series would be able to get deeply in, and love this game, or appreciate it. And it might depend on the age group for that to happen. Fighting games, that are popular, are usually those in which the company has spent some time developing the fighting engine and creating their own fighters, such as the popular franchises.


Rather than spend “real” money on the US version I opted for the Japanese game. It was a whole lot cheaper. And there is surprisingly a big difference in the gameplay. For some reason they made changes to the US release. The Japan version is so much different in feel and gameplay than its US counterpart, (My Daughter owns the US version). And I believe the Japan version to be the better game. The original version causes you to use strategy against your opponents. Having a very big playing field, something that the US version does not have, the need to maneuver your character, adds to this concept. I have stood back, or flew around, at an extreme distance and shot at my opponent until he was knocked out. Not very deep gameplay, I know. But this does not always work, and not with every character. Sometimes I have flew in, landed, and slugged the opponent. There are a few moves to be learned and as with the Super Robot Spirits game, certain moves spark that certain dramatic animation for the move. And of course you have three different modes to transform back and forth at will. Graphics are blocky for the Transformers and that works well. Each has the likeness and bears the colors of their respective Transformer character. All of the Transformers are the same size which can be an issue with some fans. The arenas are nothing but a flat plain with the background rotating around the outside rim. You tend to hit an invisible wall when you reach the end of the playing field. 3D gaming with everything kept simple.



I had read many times that this is a bad fighting game. I have been playing it through using Cheetor. It was difficult at first, controls are just not intuitive. And it did seem that when fighting against certain characters I had to use a different strategy other than just shooting from a distance. The game does feel a bit unfinished, a lot of potential left undone. Needs to be tweaked very badly. (The thought, could have been awesome, comes into my mind.) But I did, sort of, enjoy the short trip through once I got the hang of it. I usually spend my time in the flying mode zig zagging and circling my opponent. While playing, there was that desire and want for more moves to each character’s mode, kept pushing different buttons & nothing, and I did not like the difficulty in aiming my weapon. You use the green and blue button for transforming. The directional pad is not used and the four yellow buttons are the attack, with the right shoulder being your special move. Depends on which mode you are in the Z button is jump. This is not an easy pick up and play game and that works against any enjoyment until you catch on. Once you wrap your head around understanding the control for your fighter, it can be an enjoyable gaming experience. That is why my conclusion is, one would need to be a diehard fan to press in and discover this detail. My recommendation is to search the net for button controls. I got the idea when playing that this was a quick push to market. A hopeful easy cash cow for any popularity to the Beast Wars TV series? It just feels that way.



Overall I am glad to have Beast Wars in my N64 collection. And in spite of my negativity above, I might pull this one out occasionally. But my main problem with that idea is I easily forget the control scheme and need to relearn. I need to try different characters to find a favorite. Even though it is simple, limited as a fighter, and a far cry from the present day Transformer games, there will be some gamers that will really like this. I am thinking, if you are a fan of the series then this would be your game on the N64. Another one of those games on the N64 with a limited appeal and two player mode being the better experience than the single player. Non fans may pull this from the shelf occasionally, and that is a big maybe, hmmm… depends. With mixed feelings, I don’t think the game is that bad, but I must rate this game, “Glad I only paid $5 instead of $60.” This game is unfinished.


And maybe that is because I saw potential. One example is, I wished that the direction pad could have been used when you was up in the face of your opponent. It could have been utilized for special moves in combination with the attack buttons. That would not have been hard to do. Just needed a little creativity. I wanted more from this game.

18
Retro Gaming and Hardware / N64: Dark Rift Review
« on: September 04, 2018, 09:48:34 PM »
This review is taken from a series of reviews I did a couple of years ago concerning the fighters available for the N64.

It has been a while since I’ve played this game. Don’t really remember what diverted my attention. From what I remember it is a very enjoyable fighter. The game is very easy to get into, a very easy pick up and play. I purchased this game back in 2009 as a used game. I am thinking that this game was released at the end of 1996, not sure. Everyone’s praise was geared toward the popular fighters on the PS1 and Saturn. I would think that this game would have gotten lost somewhere in that big ocean. Because I think it would take a lot to impress, especially among a crowd of well known franchises.


Awkward as this may be, using the N64 controller, seemingly, all of the buttons on the controller are used. Sadly there is no emphasis on combos. (I love combos.) Even though moves are easy to pull off in a Virtua Fighter-ish way, and you can get in several different hits tapping one button before you are rudely countered by your opponent. I find it difficult to string anything together. Using button combinations sometimes only results in a slight pause in between each button. Almost like it is loading the assigned move for that button. ( Broken, but sometimes you can make it work.) Easy combos would have upped the fun factor. Instead you are left with a strategy of moving in, get several hits, and evade. If you can get more hits in, you had better do it. And do learn to evade because some of these opponents will cut you to shreds. On the plus side, controls are simple and easy to learn. To me, Dark Rift really doesn’t stand out and distinguishes itself with any uniqueness. And I say that just because it plays like a mixture of VF and Tekken. But having that style of gameplay is really not that bad of a thing. Some may feel right at home and not know why.



Dark Rift, to me, really doesn’t have interesting character designs when placed up against any competition. And that is the way it sort of compares with a lot of fighters on the N64 too. Maybe it is just me. Some may love the character designs. Anyway, the fighters have a blockiness, but yet there is detail, more so, than what you might expect. The level of detail are reminiscent of the first Tekken and VF 2, and yet not quite there. The animation in the fighters is very smooth and fluid.



The backgrounds are greatly detailed, or maybe we should say backdrops. You could even refer to them as paintings. And you seem to be fighting on a plain that is endless. You can never encounter the background. Meaning, there is no interaction with the backgrounds or your surroundings. You could run for days after your opponent, literally. I really tried that, never made it to any boundaries. It makes you feel that you are in a very spacious endless arena. The combination of everything does manage to give you a 3D fighting experience.


It is a weapon based fighter, with no visible option for blood. (Evidently aliens don’t bleed.) And no fatalities. Each fighter has their own distinguishing weapon. And their moves relate to that particular weapon. The lighting and special effects distinguishes the game and sets it above the average fighter of that day. I do think that in “Normal Mode” the AI is a bit too easy. I consider myself a lousy gamer and I was able to beat the characters in the first two stages, three matches, without losing. I didn’t feel challenged until the third stage. Average amount of moans, and groans, during a fight with scaling in, and out, of the screen, depending on how close you are to your opponent.

I think I have played this game at the wrong time. Should have played this game first before all the other reviews. Playing some of the other fighters on the N64 has taken some of the “POW” out of Dark Rift for me. I have developed some mixed feelings. I still find this game good simple fun. And it has its own feel, atmosphere, and gameplay, which is what gives it that slight edge. I guess you can look at that from two different perspectives, either in a good way or a bad way. Regardless of any of the negativity I have mentioned above, it is very enjoyable playing. And I will admit that it might not be for everyone. A novice gamer would be able to jump right in and find the controls intuitive. Still, there is enough here, if you learn the moves of your choice fighter, to give an experienced gamer some good gaming. I will say, try it, and I will rate this game, “Great Game.”


19
Retro Gaming and Hardware / N64: Mortal Kombat Trilogy Review
« on: September 04, 2018, 09:33:28 PM »
This review is taken from a series of reviews I did a couple of years ago concerning the fighters available for the N64.

Disclaimer: I have never played a Mortal Kombat game until this one. I purchased this one especially for this series of reviews and impressions. In the past I never had an interest in the games. When passing the games in the arcade they always looked dark and gloomy to me. The graphics looked unattractive. The blood and guts were never a draw for me either. So I paid them no attention. I was always a “King of Fighters, Virtua Fighter, Street Fighter” sort of guy. I never was that violent. I would rather just kick, beat, and pound someone senseless than to rip something out of them. Ummm………yeah, something like that.


This being my first experience with the Mortal Kombat franchise I am heading into this with no bias expectations. I have no idea as to what is missing in the game so there will be no disappointment, or crying. I have the impression that the fatalities, blood, guts were the center of their popularity, controversy, praise, and criticism from the beginning. That was their selling point, right? Although I feel that everyone, through the years, finally got over that. So the big question in my mind is, by turning off the blood, fatalities, and such, is there a real fighting game underneath?



To all button mashers, “Move along, these are not the droids you are looking for.” You want to, and need to, learn the character moves, that is the only way you are going to enjoy and have satisfaction in playing this game. There is no way you are going to get anywhere just mashing buttons. That is the way this game is designed. A novice is going to need to press their way out of their relaxed mode of play and develop some skills. And I think there is enough here to motivate. There is a real fighting game underneath all the blood and gore. Search through and find a character which appeals to you, try them out, then buckle down and get to work. You will enjoy the rewards.


The backgrounds, I personally find a bit disappointing. There could have been more animation, better use of colors, with things going on, needs a bit of activity, that would have made the environments more interesting, for me. Some stages you are busting through floors, I like that. My head went through every one of them. So there is that type of action. But I understand the backgrounds, this is classic Mortal Kombat, and this is the way it looked from the beginning, the way it is supposed to be. I understand that this particular release of the series was not released to the arcades but only to home consoles as, sort of, an update to Mortal Kombat 3. I have no idea if it succeeded in that goal. After all, this is all three of the first games crammed into one, right? I am baffled by the criticism that the N64 version received. But presently this game is not competing against anything, other consoles, or arcade releases. Nope, they are not here in this room with me. We are just considering whether it is a viable fighting game for the console. So…what we have here is a very solid game for the N64 of the Mortal Kombat franchise.


You have a ton of fighters to choose from. You can have up to 8 people sitting around playing together in a fighting tournament. Place on top of that, arcade gaming. (I have so got to get an arcade stick for my N64.) For those “single mode vs computer” gamers, even though this game has a “very easy” setting and a “novice” mode, both of those are not going to help you enjoy this game where you can just whizz through. This is not for casual gamers. Casual gamers really do not enjoy a game the way it was intended, if the truth be told. There is a lot of fun and enjoyment here to be had. This is one of those games in which you can sit down and sink your teeth into, master it. Fast, furious, tight gameplay, they nailed it. This game makes me want to purchase Mortal Kombat 4 for my N64 now. I will give Trilogy a thumbs up and rate it, “Awesome Game.”

20
Retro Gaming and Hardware / N64: Deadly Arts Review
« on: September 03, 2018, 08:28:21 PM »
This review is taken from a series of reviews I did a couple of years ago concerning the fighters available for the N64.




So……hmmm……production values, let’s talk about that for a moment. You got to have production values to produce a good game; Or at least to end up with something half way decent. You would think that they would have goals to shoot for. And one would at least come close to meeting those targets, right? As I sit here playing this game all week, I continuously look at the cart reading, and rereading, the name Konami. The name Konami does not go with this game. At least not the Konami I use to know. In my mind Konami had a reputation of putting out top notch games until now. My bubble popped.



I really want to like this game. I really do. The intro is comparable to the intros of other fighting games of that day, CD quality IMO. But is that as good as it gets? I find the graphics appealing. And the character design? I almost have this feeling that I have seen some of these fighters before. Maybe popular games have influenced the artists involved? The fighters have a simple anime style artwork look about them. I really like that. The snow stage I find as a favorite. You have an interaction with the stages, the backgrounds, by throwing your opponent crashing through a wall or some object in that stage, or they, throwing you. I like that. I somehow find myself thinking that maybe this will get better the more I play.



There are some good concepts going on here like the “create a fighter” mode. You name and decide how your fighter looks. Then your fighter learns moves from the opponent. Gradually, through many fights, which have to be wins, you become a skilled fighter. Not sure, if at some point, you will be able to use that fighter in the main game. I have seen in a review that you can. There were thoughts, at first, wondering if I would be able to endure just to find out.



My main complaints about this game is the gameplay, total frustration. The controls seem so non responsive, sluggish, haphazard; it is really hard to put into words. Gameplay can kill a game rather quickly. And that is the biggest problem with Deadly Arts. If only this game would have been finished, because that is what it seems like, unfinished. No polish. It had come to mind that maybe this game was untested and shoved out the door. The moves are not anything to get all worked up over as none of them are over the top, just hits and kicks, simple martial arts moves. No finishing moves, or long string combos. Emphasis is on how you fight, the technique, which is very different from other fighters in the genre. And I like bringing new ideas to the table. Confusing if you are used to arcade style gameplay. You have a limited number of moves for each character and some of those moves are difficult to pull off. Using configuration D for the control pad gives you access to those difficult moves as they are assigned to certain buttons. Setting the bout time to 30 seconds is also a plus. If the time runs out each side is given a score based on fighting technique, amount left in your life bar, etc. This can work to your advantage if you strategize. I have had almost nothing in my life bar but was graded high on my fighting and won the bout. Making these adjustments has given me a more satisfying experience with this game. But how many gamers will work their way to this point just to play a game? Casual gamers will jump off at the first bump in the road. Unlockables include, stages, fighters, and extra body parts for the “create a fighter” mode.



I purchased this game especially for this series of reviews not knowing what to expect. I ended this game time with an appreciation for this game which is not how it started. I actually started to have fun. I wonder, did Konami ever redeem themselves after releasing this game? As a gamer I have standards. When you pick up the controller for a fighting game, you should feel “at one” with your character. The game should be designed in such a way that if I fail, I know and feel it was my fault. I should feel some since of accomplishment as I continue to play and advance in the game. It should be easy to pick up and play. If you have tight, fun, responsive gameplay, you have a winner. I don’t care what the complaints are with graphics and sound, gamers will still be playing. I will still be playing. Deadly Arts does have its moments, and I get it, what they were trying to accomplish, but it is not enough. This game had such potential. And I rate this game as, “I’m glad I only paid $5 instead of $60.” It is totally unfinished. And I am conscious of the fact that some people actually like this game a lot, and are fans. And I will admit, it does grow on you the more you play.


21
Retro Gaming and Hardware / N64: Super Robot Spirits Review
« on: September 03, 2018, 06:34:40 PM »
This review is taken from a series of reviews I did a couple of years ago concerning the fighters available for the N64.

This is defiantly a fan based fighting game. I think it is  based on some anime series, Super Robot Spirit, Super Robot Wars, that I am not familiar with except through this game. If you love the Gundam type mecha franchise and own an N64 then this game may be for you. I am under the impression that there are not that many carts available, being that, the game sold under 10,000 copies at its initial release. Or? Maybe there were a lot of copies that went unsold. Who knows? It was only released in Japan. Famitsu list it in the top selling N64 games in Japan as #80. Which was only 8,919 carts sold from 1996 through 2003. That really gives a bad impression on how well the N64 game did in Japan. With that many copies sold, the question comes to mind, “Is it a bad game?”



The game is in Japanese, but it being a fighting game makes it easy to get into. Your only loss is not knowing what is going on in the story mode, which is the mode highlighted when the game boots up in the start menu. Move down the menu until you see the number 64. This would be the mode which is the gauntlet, single player, fighting mecha after mecha until the end boss, Judecca. Right under the story mode is the “VS” mode. It appears that there are only 10 fighters to choose from and several of those must be unlocked.



This is really a 2D game, in gameplay, in a pseudo 3D environment. Backgrounds in the game lack imagination. The mecha units are polygonal in design which works well for the characters. They are suppose to look like robots anyway, right? The graphics, not having a lot of detail, are colorful, simple, and clean, animation is smooth. Each Gundam type mecha character is easily recognizable by their own unique design and individual color palette. I find the control responsive and tight. Each fighter has a common kick and punch with their own signature special moves. Some of the special moves are determined by how full the energy bar. That bar fills as you engage your opponent. And you are not limited to fighting just on the ground. Any time you want, you can take it to the air with the right shoulder button. I like this. It adds so much to the gameplay.



I find it a nice little fighter in the list of things available for the console. The game is easy to pick up and play. Moves are easy to learn and initiate. I find the fights fun and engaging. I haven’t watched any of the anime series, so I am not that familiar with the characters, or story. Even though I don’t know who they are, I still find it a fun and enjoyable game to sit down to and get into the action. It is a simple fighter with big chunkie ginormous mecha. Whats not to love? Even though I have had this a short time, I still cannot beat that end boss Judecca. But I will. To answer that question I posed at the beginning, no it is not a bad game. It may not be for every gamer, but if you love the genre and have this thing for big mecha, you owe it to yourself to pick this up. It is really not that hard to find or that expensive, even for a CIB copy. I am glad to have this in my N64 library. How do I rate this game? I am going to have to place this up there as being “great game.”


22
Retro Gaming and Hardware / N64: Clay Fighter 63 1/3 Review
« on: September 03, 2018, 05:40:09 PM »
This review is taken from a series of reviews I did a couple of years ago concerning the fighters available for the N64.

The novelty of the humor wears thin very quickly for me. I do get it, the joke, but it is just that, it’s over after the first play through for some reason. Maybe it is only me. Now the only question is, is there really a fighting game underneath the surface?

The graphics are goofy, cartoony, and have the look of claymation. The animation matches that idea with a lack of smoothness reflecting a choppiness. Which is what you get with a clay animated cartoon, etc. The fighters do look good and the backgrounds are very detailed, well designed, and creates the proper mood. What you have is a 2D fighting game in a pseudo 3D environment. Some of the illusion of 3D is that you end up fighting behind an object in some of the environments. In some stages you also crash through doors and walls ending up in another room or place. Similar to a Final Fight or Streets of Rage game.



I recommend running through the characters and find one that you can get into and enjoy playing. I found a good fighter that appealed to me, Earthworm Jim. It is always good to find a character that you can become one with in order to get the most out of any fighter. You start with 9 fighters to choose from with 3 unlockables. There are three punch buttons and three kick. That is weak, medium, and hard for both. From that, with the help of the direction button, you piece together combos. You won’t use any of the other buttons except for codes.



There are five fighting game modes, cookie, normal, whoa, dude, and psycho. What bugs me about this game is that in cookie and normal modes there seems to be no challenge. I went through both modes without losing a fight. Then when entering whoa the difficulty level is turned up at a surprising notch. And I am not sure if it might not be the opponent which is making it hard. I easily pounded the clown in dude mode, but the bunny hit me like a freight train. A combo of 487 hits?! Come on! Then I just change to a different fighter (Earthworm Jim at this point) and learn a few of his combos and I blow through dude mode like it was nothing. But if your opponent gets the upper hand because you forget your combos, your toast. Once you have this knowledge of the game, it causes me to say that this game becomes too easy in the single player mode. At first, you will spend a lot of time in the normal mode, mainly learning to put together your combos. If you don’t, you will not get anywhere beyond the normal game mode. That makes the emphasis of this game totally on combos in single player. And there are throws and even claytalities to learn. The game really has more of a balance to it in two player gameplay.



There are some frustrations I find with this game. I do not like the hopping that I find myself doing, just to get near my opponent. You both end up in a chase across the whole stage. With some of the combo hits you find yourself knocked across the area only with the need to hop back across. In the fighting you sometimes end up behind an object in which you cannot see either fighter. When you beat the game you are only treated to rolling credits. No points awarded, no name save, no nothing other than game over. Well, you are not totally empty handed. It does give you a code to use on the gamepad. I find the highlight of this game is Earthworm Jim as a controllable fighter. That alone makes the game for me. But when it comes to re-playability, once you open up the three fighters and get all the codes, there is no motivation for me, other than using my fighter. If it had the points for rating my fighting, that could have made the game a little deeper. Not sure if this game is for everyone though. And I am referring to the overall package. There is some fun here, but some gamers might not take it seriously as a fighter. What I am saying is that the game itself has a limited appeal. It is an easy pick up and play with no difficulty in learning combos and moves. But two player is where this game has its moments. Consider the single player mode as practice. With all its flaws, I am going to rate this game as, “good game.”

23
Retro Gaming and Hardware / N64: KarugaKids Review
« on: September 03, 2018, 05:23:12 PM »
This review is taken from a series of reviews I did a couple of years ago concerning the fighters available for the N64.

This game was only released in Europe and Japan. If you have the NTSC N64, then you do not want the PAL version, it would be slow on your NTSC N64 system. You want the Japan version. And surprisingly the Japan version has plenty of English so that negotiating the menus will be no problem.



I have often read discussions on the net concerning the viability of 2D games on the N64. It caused me to wonder if they actually knew that 2D meant two dimensional gaming. From games like this one I can come to the conclusion that the N64 is very capable in delivering a 2D experience. I just think everyone was too busy wanting to cash in on the 3D craze back then. Even though this game’s colorful graphics seem geared toward children, very juvenile, there is some heavy fighting going on here, and simple fun. You can even choose a line art mode. The graphics then will look like chalk drawings, really weird.



I am trying to learn some of the moves, because this is not exactly Street Fighter. Some have drawn parallels and compared it with a likeness of a weaker Marvel vs Capcom. Hmmm… not so sure about that…. though I can see where they are coming from. There are three kick buttons and three for punch, with a special, or magic, move. The buttons for each are weak, medium, and strong. Using the direction button with any of these buttons produces several alternate moves for each button as it usually is with other like fighters. (I am getting so pounded by the robot. I don’t like him.)



The game is wacky and yet one of the better fighters for the system. This game made me want Street Fighter Alpha on the N64. It made me want that because I can see that it was possible to have a CAPCOM game on the N64. RakugaKids is an incredible game. If you like fighters, then this will cause you to scratch your head, wondering why CAPCOM never stepped into the N64 ring. This game was a very welcome entry for Konami, a classic for the system. How did they get it right here and lose their way somewhere in Deadly Arts? Different team of programmers and designers?



This is a fun game. Not too deep, yet simple and enjoyable to play. Easy to get into. Character designs may not be to everyones liking. Some gamers may be put off by it. Enough to not consider the game seriously. Even though that is so, I still recommend this game. And would have to rate this game as, “awesome game.”


24
Retro Gaming and Hardware / N64: Xena Warrior Princess Review
« on: September 03, 2018, 05:02:25 PM »
This review is taken from a series of reviews I did a couple of years ago concerning the fighters available for the N64.

This fighter is based on a 1995 TV series of the same name. If you haven’t guessed, this is a fan based game. I went into this game with a bit of reluctance and caution. Maybe a lot of skepticism too. After all, games based on movies, or TV shows, the majority of the time, crash and burn because they are quickly and sloppily programmed, cheaply thrown together, and stamped with a license. I guess the makers are hoping to get enough cash, before the word gets out, to maybe break even, or make a slim profit. There have been a lot of stinking bad games in video game history that bear this shame. Does this game deserve to be thrown into that ugly pot? That is the question I want to answer for myself.



At the opening there is a synopsis of a storyline which has the intent to give you a reason for fighting in this game. There is really no story mode, which would have been nice being that it was based on a TV series. From the moment you turn the game on, you are treated to nicely detailed graphics. The fighting arenas are big, roomy, and nicely laid out, but no interaction with the backgrounds. And this game is definitely 3D fighting. You are given a sort-of three quarter slightly overhead view and this enhances the 3D feel of the game. I know what you are thinking, fear not, the fighters are big, not tiny. And the fighters are very good likenesses of the characters they are portraying, though the details are somewhat fuzzy, or blurred. Considering the time period, they look nice and are very recognizable, so, I can live with that. Each fighter has their own unique signature weapon and moves. One of the achilles heel of the game is that the variety of moves are limited in number. You have two buttons each for kick and punch, weak and strong. There are several moves, that are determined by the directional button, when engaging kick or punch. Punch is usually the weapon move, whether it be a spear, sword, etc. And there is a special move for every character. There are no finishing moves, no points given for your fighting, only a, you won, or, you lost. Nothing over the top, just plain fighting, something like you would see in an adventure game or action RPG. It feels like it has been extracted from one of those type games. One big feather in this game”s cap is the option of, a three or four player brawl. You can team up or fight each other. This is where one button becomes useful, the targeting button. It is useless in single and verses mode. No need to target in those modes. And that is one thing I like about this game, your fighter is totally focused toward the opponent, so you don’t get lost in the 3D. There’s nothing worse in a 3D game than trying to get your character to face your opponent so you can hit them. And you’re getting beaten in the process.



I find it easy to learn the moves and control the fighters. And I have developed a like for certain fighters because of their moves and control. Finding favorites in a game gives it a plus for me. There seem to be small combos that you can learn to perform. The game is easy to get into but it is not that deep of a fighter and that is due to being limited in your variety of moves and not much to do after that other than fighting. It doesn’t take long to master the single player mode, that is if you are playing on easy, so I would think that the four player brawl is where this game would shine, a simple fighting party game. Starting in easy mode is a good place to learn to control and use your fighter. And the control seems tight, which is another plus.



FINAL THOUGHTS:
This is one of those games that might not be for everyone. So I find it hard to recommend. It is one of those games that falls into three categories. You either hate it, love it, or it is an acquired taste. My thoughts before I even turned this game on, was, this is going to be trash. I had prejudged this game based on other licensed games I had tried before. I never watched the TV series and yet I found myself liking this game. So I don’t think you need to be a fan. This game became an acquired taste for me. Being a weapon based fighter, it is not “Mace The Dark Age,” but I found it enjoyable. If you don’t mind a mindless simple very playable fighter then you will find this good gaming. This one took me by surprise. My rating for this game is, “good game.” Not great, not awesome, but good. I think fans would greatly enjoy.




25
Retro Gaming and Hardware / NES- The State of Retro Gaming 2018
« on: September 03, 2018, 01:05:04 PM »
There was a time that retro gaming took the form of running to the yard or garage sales. Dropping by the local pawn shop or flea market. Even the local mom & pop media type stores carried the game carts. We were after that game we missed and if we found it complete with box and manual, we were elated. Gradually people were dumping their childhood by cleaning out their closets, attics, basements only to find a desire to return years later trying to catch a glimpse of those memories. There is that generation of gamers that understand. But there have been other generations, since then, that have entered the world of gaming which did not experience that era. They have found bits and pieces only in the virtual console services. Over the years many have found satisfaction in emulation, either home PC, phone, or some hacked portable. In those early years you had to find the original cart to experience the fun on the original hardware, the way it was meant to be. But we have entered a period that it has become harder and harder to find those gems of the past. Many have found the value of those games in the market place. As a result they have priced many games out of the reach of the average gamer. It has become a collectors market.

China, who don't mind the business of pirating, has found that market profitable. It started as a trickle and has become a flood. Clone systems of the real thing like the NES was just the beginning. The NES clones, at the beginning, were very limited in their compatibility with the real games. But over the years that has changed, with only a hand full you would find unplayable. Graphics and audio quality is still problematic. Not only will you find clone systems plentiful, but you will see reproduction game carts, boxes, and pamphlets, or included manual. Much looking like the genuine article.

There are the multi carts which may include anywhere from 4 to over 600 games. They can include original NES games and also hacked games. They may be, for example, all of the Mega man games on one cart.

The recent release of the Nintendo Mini in a limited run left many gamers angered. But China saw the opportunity and responded to fill the gap to Nintendo's bumbling and dropping the ball. The China market released their own Minis with not just 30, but, we're talking, 500 to over 800 games in the same size package, or foot print. And you can pick one of the China clone minis up for as low as $16.95 free shipping.

Many of the consoles, or systems, have their nuances, but they still sell to a niche market hungry for those retro delights. With the advent of built in games or multi carts, it has become very easy for someone with an appetite for the old NES magic to acquire possibly the  complete library of games requiring almost no space for storage. In the newer generation of gamers there is no desire to own those older consoles of the past. There is no nostalgia in it for them. They were not there. It is easier to just walk in and purchase the clone. For others that remember, and was there, they may find the convenience of the China stuff welcomed. They are wanting their kids to experience what they did at that age. (Or the clone is one of those things that your Grandparents purchase for you, not knowing it is not the genuine article.) Whatever the case may be, it sells. And it has effected the whole gaming scene. It has clouded and made it a field of deception in the collectors market when looking for the "real thing." One now has to collect with much caution when purchasing. There are those positive and negative aspects of the flood. And it keeps pouring.
My own experience is that, I enjoy playing with this sort of stuff. Right now I am hyped for a Final Fantasy 7 cart that I am eagerly waiting for at my mailbox.  :)) It is a fan made hack and contains the whole story of that RPG that was made for the PS1 long ago. And it looks great, like the other Final Fantasy games on the NES. I have even ordered a box designed for this game.

26
General Discussion / Roms, Emulation, and Nintendo
« on: August 11, 2018, 02:11:31 PM »
In light of Nintendo’s present activities, I would like to discuss this matter from a different perspective. I have read so many boohoo snot slinging reactions this week. I will admit that many years ago, I know it has been over twenty, I did attempt some emulation. It did not satisfy or keep me interested. If anyone knows me well they know I love being able to hold the physical cart in my hand and push it down into the real, or clone, machine. Chasing down a copy, scraping the money together and bringing it home, is just part of the experience for me. Not much into digital copies of games, but, time to time, I have purchased old Gameboy games on my DS and 3DS from Nintendo’s store. I still search ebay for a bargain on old cart SNES, Gameboy, GBA, DS, and Sega Genesis games.

 With that being said,

 After all these years of emulation, rom downloads, suddenly Nintendo comes out like a bear and a lion trampling down the free rom sites beneath their feet.

 What motivated, or prompted this sudden move? Why now? Why throw cash out at something like this at this time?

Did they finally realize with the release of the minis that there is gold in those old games? It is odd that this happens after the reaction of gamers toward the mini sales and its success. They have hesitated for some reason in the retro gaming access concerning the Switch.

Are they about to launch something for the Switch and in order for it to be successful they need to clean house? Or are they, after all these years, finally woke up to protect their properties?

Are there any thoughts on this? Has anyone heard or contemplated what Nintendo is up to?

27
Retro Gaming and Hardware / Gamerz Tek's 8-Bit Boy
« on: August 04, 2018, 11:03:58 AM »
I am having a NES revival at the moment.

Been diving in over my head in playing NES games on my 8-Bit Boy. Just thought I would share some of my experience with this thing.



First I would like to make this very clear, this thing is not portable in the way that we think portable. Meaning it is not something you put into your pocket. (Unless you have some cargo pants that I don't know about.) But it is portable on a long trip if you are retro and want some of that NES on the go.



This thing comes in a nice bag that will keep the dust away. You also get an HDMI cord, two NES controllers, a two-controller adapter, two screen protectors, one system stand, and AC adapter/charger.



Feels great in your hand and I think that is because of the way it has been designed. It seems to be made to be held. I keep wanting to feel shoulder buttons, but they are not there.



Aspect ratio you can change on the fly. Play your NES the way you want. I would say if you are that concerned, you wouldn't be using a clone system. I prefer full screen. It doesn't bother me to have that little stretch. (Fat little Mario running around.) Really it doesn't look all that bad. Some games it is more noticeable than others. This works with it being hooked to your flatscreen TV too.



With the adapter, you can invite a friend to play along on those two player games. It works with the system whether you are playing using the 8-Bit Boy screen or with your big screen TV.





And the games look good even with their old fashioned blockiness. There seems to be some Anti-Aliasing going on to give a smoothing effect. I think that is good being that you are playing this on a HD TV. The games are going to look dated no matter what you do because they are retro. They come from a different day and age in gaming history. And some people love them, like me, because of their simplicity and addictiveness.



The neat little stand that came with it is a great added bonus with the kit. When you are playing with someone else from just the system or the TV it serves its purpose well. (It has a full size HDMI output.)



I have had trouble adjusting to the button layout. When you are running and want to lean your thumb to jump, or shooting and want to lean your thumb to throw a bomb, (man I missed) awkward. Only a gamer will understand that sentence. The rapid fire buttons don't work for me either.



The battery icon seems to be a complaint to a lot of people. It stays there on the screen whether it is just the system in your hands or on the TV screen. I personally find no problem with it. I did notice it a lot at first but I only think about it now if I need to save and it is getting close to running out. It is helpful to me and I understand why it is there.

Now for the bottom line.
I think this is good to kick back somewhere in the house, take to a friend's house, or a road trip. It is not something you will carry around like your 3DS. I enjoy the large 7" screen. The games look really good on it. And I wish I had a SNES portable with a screen like this. I will use my 8-Bit Boy just hanging around the house.
One thing to really keep in mind is this system is formed around a SOAC, it is a clone system. Meaning that the colors and sound of the original games are not going to be the same as you remembered. There will be distortion as with all clone systems. This thing is no different even though it boasts 97% compatibility. I do not have a complete set of NES game library to test their claims. But I have been satisfied with the games that I do have. Their 8 bit systems do a good job with their hardware emulation IMHO.
Although responsive, there is a difference in the feel of the buttons on the system and their controllers. Their controllers seemed to be highly sensitive. And I haven't had any problem playing any game.
Battery life, I have no idea because I haven't timed or tested that angle of the system. I rarely do unless it is very noticeable. So I do not know if 6 or 8 hours is the norm. It would be effected by the game you are playing as usual.
So... yes.... I like this big awkward thing. It is a handful and I find it very hard to put down. I just keep playing. It just feels right. I smile over the two speakers for a mono system, good volume. It does have a headphone jack too. The hardware does what it is supposed to do the best that it can under the circumstances. The games are why we play. Thumbs up here. Good show Gamerz Tek!

If it dawns on you the size of this system by the photo below, then you have found your mojo.



A link to their site. Also available at Amazon.
https://www.gamerztek.com/

28
Retro Gaming and Hardware / Lime Green DSI
« on: July 15, 2018, 10:53:30 AM »
Saw this on Ebay for $9.89 from Japan. Something like $5 to ship. A lime green DSI. Listed with non working "L" and "R"  buttons. Received it yesterday. Very good clean condition. I got the buttons working by blowing air into the cracks around the buttons while working them a bit. It is the Japan version of course. I downloaded an app that translates. Was able, by using the camera on my phone, to turn off the wifi to extend battery life. Also to make other adjustments. The gui layout is different from the US version. Caught me by surprise. Makes a good little carry around for a lot of good DSI games. I usually use the XL version while at home. I have just one other small DSI, red. One that I purchased years ago that was open box, brand new, $30, free ship. I love finding these little bargains, makes my day.





29
General Discussion / New TV- A Stop Gap
« on: June 02, 2018, 07:21:38 PM »
My old 32inch Vizio's screen was showing signs of being worn out. Across the top there were clouds, grey blotch areas, and also in the right bottom corner. it was starting to darken in those areas and become more noticeable. The TV had been used 20 hours a day for the last 7 years. Lets face it the life of the bulbs inside are coming to an end.

So I have spent the last week online reading reviews, after reviews, after reviews. I don't know why I do that. It stresses me out every time. Every name brand has their lemons. And the people that receive them are more vocal about their dissatisfaction than those who are pleased.

My biggest problem is that within the next year or two 4K will become the new standard in over the air broadcasting. It will be a totally different signal, and experience, that will need a compatible tuner on the TV to receive it.

So I do not want to throw money on a 4K TV at this time until they come fully equipped to receive that signal. So as a test, and as a stop gap, I purchased a TCL Roku 32inch TV, only $138. A test in figuring out if I want to go the way of a Roku 4K when the time comes. My Family and I are big Roku users. So it just made sense. I also use an outdoor antenna. Streaming and over the air is the only way we get our media entertainment. The Roku TV's are supposed to be very cordcutter friendly.



I like the EPG showing several hours of programming. I am receiving 50 channels. The tuner is better than the one on that old Vizio. After having it up for only two days I am impressed and satisfied. Presently I am thinking very hard about that future TCL 4k Roku TV unless other options open up. In two years you never know. Right now we are loving it. Not sure how user friendly this would be if no one had ever used a Roku. The handbook that came with the unit was very vague. It barely got you up and going. Definitely need the downloadable user handbook that it mentions in very fine print at the bottom of one page.

30
Retro Gaming and Hardware / My Present Top 10 on the N64!
« on: May 08, 2018, 07:35:47 PM »
Present Top ten, in no discernible order, even though Bangai-O is now playing.  ;)

Bangai-O
Ridge Racer 64
Star Fox 64
Sin and Punishment
Bust-A-Move: Arcade
Robotron 64
Wipeout 64
Hydro Thunder
Goemon's Great Adventure
Kirby 64

This list can change suddenly, in a mood swing, or on a whelm, even though almost half of these are written in cement.

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