Skeletroy’s new album is here!

The Legend of the Musical Ninja is a collection of video game music spanning from 1987-1997, rearranged to sound like they’re all from the same game. Some imaginary SNES game that has a thrash metal soundtrack combined with traditional Japanese instruments like the shamisen and shakuhachi. I also included links to the original version of each song in this post, so that you might be able to appreciate the changes if you’re not familiar with the songs.

Zone 1 – Edo
Legend of the Mystical Ninja, SNES
Konami, 1991
Composed by Kazuhiko Uehara and Harami Ueko
Arranged by Skeletroy Blockbuster

Original version:

Chinatown
Revenge of Shinobi, Genesis
Sega, 1989
Composed by Yuzo Koshiro
Arranged by Skeletroy Blockbuster

Original version:

Daddy Mulk
The Ninja Warriors, Arcade, TurboGrafx-16
Taito, 1987
Composed by Hisayoshi Ogura
Arranged by Skeletroy Blockbuster

Original version:

Overworld
Little Ninja Brothers, NES
Culture Brain, 1989
Arranged by Skeletroy Blockbuster

Original version:

Tong City
Run Saber, SNES
Atlus/Horisoft, 1993
Composed by Hikoshi Hashimoto
Arranged by Skeletroy Blockbuster

Original version:

Dharmanyo
Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon, N64
Konami, 1997
Composed by Shigeru Araki, Yusuke Kato, Saiko Miki, and Yasumasa Kitagawa
Arranged by Skeletroy Blockbuster

Original version:

Momentum
Jackie Chan’s Action Kung Fu, NES, TurboGrafx-16
Hudson Soft/Now Productions, 1990
Composed by Masakatsu Maekawa
Arranged by Skeletroy Blockbuster

Original version:

Go! Getsu Fuma
Getsu Fuuma Den, Famicom
Konami, 1987
Composed by Hidenori Maezawa
Arranged by Skeletroy Blockbuster

Original version:

Best Room
The Ninja Warriors, SNES
Taito/Natsume, 1994
Composed by Hiroyuki Iwatsuki
Arranged by Skeletroy Blockbuster

Original version:

My Lover
Revenge of Shinobi, Genesis
Sega, 1989
Composed by Yuzo Koshiro
Arranged by Skeletroy Blockbuster

Original version:

Thanks for listening! You’re awesome!

Scripted Gaming – Stella Glow

Hello, internet. Let’s talk about Video Games. Allow me to be perfectly clear. I am a writer. I am not a programmer, I am not a hardcore gamer. The fullest extent of my capability is being marginally above average at Super Smash Bros.  So when I review a game, don’t expect me to talk about gameplay because I’ll only do that in instances where the gameplay accents the story. Like, for example, a Bioware or a Tell Tale game. So it should go without saying, but beware: Here There Be Spoilers. Fret not, I shall leave some details unscathed. And with that being said, welcome to Scripted Gaming and today’s subject is…



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Video Games That Ruled – Sega Genesis Collections pt 5

Click here for part 1!
Click here for part 2!
Click here for part 3!
Click here for part 4!

Golden Axe II (1991, Collection 3)
———————————–
Did you enjoy Golden Axe? You’re sure to enjoy the sequel then. Golden Axe II is a slight improvement on its predecessor, giving you new monsters to ride, an improved magic system, and slightly better graphics and control. The only downside is your enemies’ death screams. In the first game they were melodramatic and funny, but in this one they’re simply grunts. Overall, this doesn’t provide much more than the same action provided by the original Golden Axe, but that’s not a bad thing if you liked the first game.

Shining in the Darkness (1991, Collection 4)
———————————————
Here’s an old RPG that I can see myself playing again. The presentation of the game is really neat, although it still has some issues. The King tells you to go buy equipment before you head to the dungeon, but I couldn’t figure out how to see my inventory until I was in the dungeon, so I ended up buying items I already had. You’ll either need to find some maps online or draw your own, because you’re going to get lost dungeon crawling through first person mazes. As is standard with RPGs of this vintage, level grinding is necessary, but I found this to be a lot more enjoyable than Phantasy Star II.

Streets of Rage (1991, Collection 4)
————————————-
As good as the Golden Axe series is, this is the beginning of a great series of beat-em-ups. A lot of people like to compare Streets of Rage directly to Final Fight, but as I played through the game I got the feeling like this is a great mashup of the best parts of Final Fight, Golden Axe, and Double Dragon in particular. While I don’t feel like this game is quite on par with Final Fight due to the small sprites and inferior graphics, it’s more than a match for Double Dragon and feels like a better version of it. There are some really great bosses in this game, and unlike Golden Axe, actually require some thought to figure out their incredibly aggressive attack patterns. After playing through the two Golden Axe games, I was slightly disappointed with the lack of the ability to run. This disappointment quickly went away due to the ability to grab an enemy, jump behind them, and deliver a belly-to-back suplex. Streets of Rage is a lot of fun, and is a neccesary part of any Genesis beat-em-up fan’s collection.

Phantasy Star III (1991, Collection 5)
—————————————
I’ll be honest, it’s taken so long for me to get this article out because of this game. Phantasy Star II left somewhat of a bad taste in my mouth, and I was apprehensive to continue with the series. My fears were almost immediately put to rest, as this game is a marked improvement over its predecessor. While Phantasy Star II looked like a Master System game on the Genesis, Phantasy Star III looks like it was made for the Genesis. Character sprites, while not much larger than before, take much more advantage of the console’s color pallette, as do the backgrounds. The game mechanics have been tweaked, and meus have been refined. The battle system is much more fair than before, it’s much easier to level your character initially as you won’t be going back to get healed every two fights. The story is immediately engaging, and begins on your wedding day. Being a video game, I can’t see how anything could go wrong…

Wonder Boy in Monster World (1991, Collection 5)
————————————————-
I LOVE THIS GAME. Wonder Boy in Monster World is my favorite Genesis game of all time. It’s an action platformer, some would say in the “Metroid-vania” style (I wish I knew a better term for this). Back in the day, I tried out almost every Genesis game on emulator (sshhh, don’t tell anyone). I’d play either until I lost all my lives and was asked if I wanted to continue, or if I got to the end of the first stage/world, making my time with each game a short one. I played through this game entirely. I was hooked on the gameplay, the art style is great, and the levels are all varied and interesting (except the ice level, which turns into hair-pulling frustration). Sonic may have been Mario’s lead competing mascot, but I feel like this is the “Super Mario Bros 3 of the Genesis”…although it could be argued that it’s the Genesis’ Super Metroid. It’s THAT good, and it’s the perfect game to usher in the “modern age” of the Genesis.

As always, we’re going to stack these games up with the prior ones to see how everything looks. I feel like the scales of awesome are tipping more and more in favor of the Genesis, now that programmers have had three years to figure the system out. I’m hoping that this trend continues, and the garbage from 1988 and ’89 become distant memories. New games are in bold, and the handy color chart returns.

Collection 1
Collection 2
Collection 3
Collection 4
Collection 5
Sonic Hits Collection

Awesome (I will play these again. Definitely recommended)
——–
Shadow Dancer: The Secret of Shinobi
Streets of Rage
Wonder Boy in Monster World

Good (I will play these again. Recommended)
—–
Golden Axe
Crack Down
Bonanza Bros.
Alien Storm
ESWAT: City Under Siege
Golden Axe II
Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair
Phantasy Star III

Average (I might play these again. Somewhat recommended)
——–
Gain Ground
Fatal Labyrinth
Decap Attack
Shining in the Darkness
Phantasy Star II
The Revenge of Shinobi

Boring (I will never play these again. Only recommended if you’re a big fan of the genre)
——-
Altered Beast
Columns
Flicky
Sword of Vermilion

Awful (I will never play these again. Cannot recommend to anyone)
——
Space Harrier II
Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle
Galaxy Force II
Super Thunder Blade

Next time I’ll finish 1991 (finally!) and jump into 1992 with Sonic the Hedgehog, Toejam & Earl, Kid Chameleon, Bio-Hazard Battle, and Streets of Rage 2.

Video Games That Ruled – Sega Genesis Collections pt 4

Click here for part 1!
Click here for part 2!
Click here for part 3!

We’re now fully immersed into 1991, the same year the Super Nintendo was released. Do any of these games come close to the greatness that is Super Mario World? Short answer: no.

Fatal Labyrinth (1991, Collection 2)
————————————-
Fatal Labyrinth is an RPG, specifically a top down dungeon crawler. This is a similar style to Diablo, which would be released 5 years later and is a much better game. You run around in a maze, battling monsters and collecting weapons and armor. This game is fairly tough, and if you don’t know what you’re doing you may end up dying very quickly. No, scratch that. Even if you know what you’re doing, it’s still incredibly easy to die. The biggest problem is how often your attacks miss your enemies. A room with 3 or 4 enemies can easily give you a game over, even when you know you’re powered up enough to defeat them. You regain health by walking, but everything is turn-based. If you take a step, so does your enemy. If you’re lucky you can run away and heal yourself, but I can almost guarantee that you’ll have an encounter with a few snails, start screaming “hit him!” because 6 attacks in a row missed, and end up having to start all over again.

Galaxy Force II (1991, Collection 2)
————————————-
Galaxy Force II is a third person space shooter. When this game started, I thought “Hey, this looks kind of neat, like what Star Fox might be like in 1991”. Then I began playing, and thought “Wait a second, this is just Super Thunder Blade in space”. And it’s just as bad. Possibly worse. You constantly fire a machine gun that doesn’t hit anything, but at least you still have the heat seeking missiles like Super Thunder Blade. Two years later, and this type of game still feels like a tech demo. Just stay away from this one, it’s not worth your time.

Alien Storm (1991, Collection 3)
———————————
Now here’s an interesting take on the beat-em-up genre. Alien Storm throws away traditional techniques like punching, kicking, and jumping (really, like you’re going to take out a hideous monster with a jump kick?) and gives you a Ghostbusters-style proton blasters. Instead of having a ghost trap, you light them on fire with a bazooka, and if they’re strong enough you’ll pull a pistol out and shoot them in the head a few times before igniting their bodies. Each level is broken up into two segments: the beat-em-up part, and a second portion which is normally a first person shooter style. In level 3, the second part turns into a horizontal shooter. If you’re looking for a beat-em-up with some grotesque enemies and unique twists, check out Alien Storm.

Decap Attack (1991, Collection 3)
———————————-
Decap Attack is a platformer that, along with Titus the Fox, is (in)famous for being a pseudo-sequel to Kid Kool on the NES. The big difference between Kid Kool and this game is that Decap Attack is actually playable. The main character Chuck D. Head has an interesting jump, where you can keep tapping the button to make him float to the ground. However, the real draw for this game is collecting a head for Chuck, which he can then use as a weapon to throw at enemies. This is a decent game with bright colors and decent music, but after I defeated the first level boss I was told that I hadn’t found “the most important item” and that I should search every nook and cranny in the level. Not actually knowing what the item I was supposed to find was, I went back through the level, ultimately leading to my death. This might be a fun game if you know what you’re doing, but I can’t say I enjoyed it enough to want to play it again, searching through the first level with a fine-toothed comb to find an undescribed item.

Flicky (1991, Collection 3)
—————————-
Flicky makes 1991 feel a lot like 1983. Flicky is a very simple platformer in the Mappy style, where you run along a series of platforms trying to avoid enemies. In this case, Flicky is a blue bird who is trying to rescue smaller birds from cats. The goal is to get them all to the exit, and you get a bigger score bonus if you rescue more of the smaller birds at once. You can knock the cats out temporarily by throwing the objects that are scattered throughout the level. Cats will kill you if they touch you, but they’ll simply break the chain if they touch one of the smaller birds you’ve collected, forcing you to retrieve the birds you’ve just lost. This isn’t a bad game, but it’s very simple by 1991 standards.

Well, it looks like we’ve regressed a bit. This has been the worst group of games I’ve gone through since the first group, although thankfully these games didn’t sink to those depths. As always, I’m going to put these on the awesome-to-awful scale to see how everything stacks up. New games to the lists are in bold text. And since things are getting a little confusing to keep track of, here’s a handy key to the collections.

Collection 1
Collection 2
Collection 3
Collection 4
Collection 5
Sonic Hits Collection

Awesome (I will play these again. Definitely recommended)
——–
Shadow Dancer: The Secret of Shinobi

Good (I will play these again. Recommended)
—–
Golden Axe
Crack Down
Bonanza Bros.
Alien Storm
ESWAT: City Under Siege
Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair

Average (I might play these again. Somewhat recommended)
——–
Gain Ground
Fatal Labyrinth
Decap Attack
Phantasy Star II
The Revenge of Shinobi

Boring (I will never play these again. Only recommended if you’re a big fan of the genre)
——-
Altered Beast
Columns
Flicky
Sword of Vermilion

Awful (I will never play these again. Cannot recommend to anyone)
——
Space Harrier II
Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle
Galaxy Force II
Super Thunder Blade

Okay, things aren’t looking so great after the first 20 games, but next time tip the scales slightly more in favor of awesome with my favorite Genesis game, as well as a few other really good ones. I’ll continue further into 1991 with Golden Axe II, Shining in the Darkness, Streets of Rage, Phantasy Star III, and Wonder Boy in Monster World.
Click here for part 5!

Video Games That Ruled – Sega Genesis Collections pt 3

Click here for part 1!
Click here for part 2!

I’m back with some more Genesis games. This time we’re going to finish 1990 and begin 1991, a year that these Genesis collections really seem to glorify with 14 games representing Sega’s output in 1991.

ESWAT: City Under Siege (1990, Collection 3)
———————————————
ESWAT is an action platformer where you play the part of a cop in the future. This game is pretty cool, with large, expansive levels to traverse your way through. The graphics look good, the level design is well done, the music is fantastic, and you can fire your gun upward to fight enemies (as opposed to the Shinobi games where you can only fire left and right). The bosses are well designed, and feel less cheap than in most of the previous Sega games. ESWAT is definitely a game to check out if you like the Rolling Thunder/Shinobi style.

Sword of Vermilion (1990, Collection 3)
—————————————-
Sword of Vermilion is an RPG that doesn’t quite seem to know what it wants to be. The town sections are traditional top down style. Walking on the map is done in first person view. Battles are in real time, fought on an isometric plane. Boss battles are in a side view. With the exception of the town section, none of these are done well, and the archaic/unfinished mechanics of the town sections keep even them from being all that interesting. No stats are shown when buying weapons or armor, so buying new weapons either involves guesswork or a trip to GameFAQs. Check this game out if you like old RPGs, but at the same time, don’t really expect much. Or play Phantasy Star II, that’s probably a better option.

Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair (1990, Collection 4)
————————————————–
Sega seems to take a strange approach with some of their games. They’ll make a game, then they’ll develop two sequels for it: one in the arcade and one for home consoles, then they’ll port the arcade game to the console as well so it seems like the third game, but could actually be the second depending on your point of view (see Shinobi). In Wonder Boy’s case, however, it’s the debate over the third and fourth games. Wonder Boy III: The Dragon’s Trap is a completely different game for the Sega Master System, and in my opinion is a much better game.

Monster Lair is a platform based, forced scrolling shooter that incorporates the game style of the original Wonder Boy with the shooter style of games like Gradius or R-Type, complete with powerups that change your shot. Each level is broken down into two sections: a platform section, and a true shooter section where you ride the back of a big pink monster. This is a pretty fun game that, once again, attempts to take the Wonder Boy series in a wild, new direction from its previous iteration.

Gain Ground (1991, Collection 1)
———————————
Gain Ground is a top down run-and-gun game that gets better the more you play it. The goal is to defeat all the enemies on screen, or reach the area marked “exit”. You start out controlling a character that throws spears, and sets the game off in a somewhat wrong direction. When that character dies you are put in control of a different character, this one having a gun. Gain Ground immediately gets more fun at this point. As you play through the levels, you’ll see icons representing more characters that you can control. Each character has different attacks, like grenades or fireballs. One downside is that the game seems to move a little too slowly, and you’ll blame some of the times when you die on this. If you take the time to get used to this, it’s really a pretty fun game.

Bonanza Bros. (1991, Collection 2)
———————————-
Bonanza Bros. is an action platformer, and is Sega’s spiritual sequel to Activision’s “Keystone Kapers” on the Atari 2600. While in that game you took on the role of a police officer trying to stop a bank thief from making his escape on the rooftop of a building, you play the role of the thieves in Bonanza Bros., attempting to collect tresures scattered throughout the building while dodging and shooting police officers. This game is a lot of fun, especially in 2 player as you both team up to ransack the various buildings. Sure, you can try to compete for points, but if you’re going to make it through some of the later stages you’ll have to help each other out.

Once again, the games this time around were better than last time, and are pretty consistent in quality. As always, I’m going to put all of the games into the 5 categories of the awesome-awful scale. Please note that these are based solely on my opinion, and may change to a different category as more games are introduced.

Awesome (I will play these again. Definitely recommended)
——–
Shadow Dancer: The Secret of Shinobi

Good (I will play these again. Recommended)
—–
Golden Axe
Crack Down
Bonanza Bros.
ESWAT: City Under Siege
Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair

Average (I might play these again. Somewhat recommended)
——–
Gain Ground
Phantasy Star II
The Revenge of Shinobi

Boring (I will never play these again. Only recommended if you’re a big fan of the genre)
——-
Altered Beast
Columns
Sword of Vermilion

Awful (I will never play these again. Cannot recommend to anyone)
——
Space Harrier II
Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle
Super Thunder Blade

Next time I’ll continue with more of 1991 with Fatal Labyrinth, Galaxy Force II, Alien Storm, Decap Attack, and Flicky.
Click here for part 4!

Video Games That Ruled – Sega Genesis Collections pt 2

Click here for part 1!

After a somewhat disappointing start, we’re back with 5 more games from Steam’s Sega Genesis collections. At the time of this writing, I have purchased the Sonic Hits collection as well as the other Genesis games not in bundles, so this is going to turn into an 11 or 12 part series.

Phantasy Star II (1989, Collection 5)
————————————–
Phantasy Star II is a sci-fi RPG. It is punishing, difficult, needlessly complicated at times, and a lot of level grinding is necessary. You’re going to spend a fair amount of time hovering around the first town, fighting mosquitoes and ants, and having to go get healed every 2 battles or so. It’s at this point that I realized that old RPGs don’t hold the same charm for me that they did in the 80s and 90s. I’d love to play a remake of this game, and can recommend it to RPG fans. The futuristic setting is different enough to keep things interesting, even though the game doesn’t stray very far from old school RPG traditions.

The Revenge of Shinobi (1989, Collection 5)
——————————————–
The Revenge of Shinobi is an action platformer, and if you couldn’t tell by the title, is a sequel to 1987’s Shinobi. This is a decent game, with lots of power-ups to collect, different types of ninja magic, and large, expansive levels to fight your way through. However, cheap enemy placement really brings this game down, to the point where having knowledge of upcoming enemies doesn’t really help much. For example, there’s a short underground section in the first stage where several ninjas attack you by appearing via rotating walls. I tried several times, but couldn’t get through that section without taking a hit or two. While this isn’t a great game, it is a fun one, although somewhat frustrating.

Crack Down (1990, Collection 1)
——————————–
Crack Down is a top down run-and-gun game, where your objective is to plant time bombs in marked locations and then make your escape to another marked location. There are robotic soldiers trying to stop you, and they increase in both number and difficulty as you progress through the levels. The unique feature to this game is that you can dodge enemy fire by clinging to the walls, although this won’t work on the enemies carrying flamethrowers. If you like Gauntlet/Alien Syndrome style action with a bit of stealth thrown in, Crack Down is the game for you.

Shadow Dancer: The Secret of Shinobi (1990, Collection 1)
———————————————————-
Shadow Dancer is an action platformer, and like The Revenge of Shinobi, is also a sequel to 1987’s Shinobi. Both of these games were developed at roughly the same time, with Shadow Dancer being released as the arcade sequel, while Revenge of Shinobi was a console exclusive. So which one is the “real” sequel? If you’re going according to fun factor, it’s this one. It also has brighter colors, the enemy placement doesn’t feel nearly as cheap (leading to much more enjoyable gameplay), and you even have a companion dog that you can sic on your enemies!

Columns (1990, Collection 2)
—————————–
Columns (or “Diagonals”, as I’ve come to call it) was Sega’s answer to Tetris after they lost the console rights. They had developed a version of Tetris for the Genesis, and a few copies were made available, but the infamous Tetris scandal left Nintendo with one of gaming’s first killer IPs and left Sega empty handed. Desperate to find something they could compete with, Sega developed Columns. This game is okay, but there’s really no comparison to Tetris – it’s like steak vs. cat food. If you’ve never played Tetris, you might get some enjoyment out of this one, but it’s a really simple puzzle game that offers virtually none of the strategy that Tetris provides.

So, where do all these games rank on the scale of awesome to awful? Things were definitely better this time around than the first, and this trend will hopefully continue. Once again, I’m going to put them all into 5 categories. Please note that these are based solely on my opinion, and may change to a different category as more games are introduced. New games to the list are in bold text.

Awesome (I will play these again. Definitely recommended)
——–
Shadow Dancer: The Secret of Shinobi

Good (I will play these again. Recommended)
—–
Golden Axe
Crack Down

Average (I might play these again. Somewhat recommended)
——–
Phantasy Star II
The Revenge of Shinobi

Boring (I will never play these again. Only recommended if you’re a big fan of the genre)
——-
Altered Beast
Columns

Awful (I will never play these again. Cannot recommend to anyone)
——
Space Harrier II
Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle
Super Thunder Blade

Next time I’ll finish up 1990 and begin 1991 with ESWAT: City Under Siege, Sword of Vermilion, Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair, Gain Ground, and Bonanza Bros.
Click here for part 3!

Video Games That Ruled – Sega Genesis Collections pt 1

The Sega Genesis was a video game console from the fourth generation of gaming. Released in Japan in 1988 as the Mega Drive, it was released in North America as the Sega Genesis the next year. Sega was Nintendo’s main competitor in the late ’80s and early ’90s, and both the Genesis and Super Nintendo Entertainment System are regarded by many as classic gaming’s crowning achievements. I know the library of the SNES inside and out, it’s my favorite system of all time. However, I never had a Genesis, so I missed out on a lot of classic games. I did play some of them via various collections like on the PS2, or through less…legal methods (you put it together, it’s fine if you get rid of it in 24 hours), but now I’m going to make an attempt to rectify this with Steam’s Sega Genesis/Mega Drive Collections. They’ve released 5 collections so far, each including 10 games. I bought all of them, and intend to write a paragraph or two about how each game holds up in 2013/14. Also, instead of tackling them in the collections they’re presented in, I’m going to go through them 5 at a time in a somewhat chronological order (by year shown on the title screen, then by which collection the game is in) to get a better representation of the progression of games for the console.

Altered Beast (1988, Collection 1)
———————————–
Welcome to your doom! If you’re familiar with the Genesis at all, you should also be familiar with this game. Altered Beast is a single-plane beat-em-up, and is remembered fondly by Genesis fans. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same. It looks nice, but is a pretty boring game. All of the characters and backgrounds are nicely detailed, but the controls are sluggish and the action is fairly unengaging. The “turn into a beast” mechanic is neat, but getting the power ups feels like busy work. A better, albeit much simpler example of this style of game is Kung Fu on the NES. Rise from your grave…or don’t bother if you don’t want to.

Space Harrier II (1988, Collection 1)
————————————–
Get ready! Space Harrier II is a third person shooter. The scrolling effects are done fairly well, but that’s about it. Lousy music, terrible hit detection, and boring gameplay make this quite a forgettable game. I can at least recommend Altered Beast to people, you might like it…but I don’t see how anyone can enjoy this game.

Super Thunder Blade (1988, Collection 2)
—————————————–
Super Thunder Blade is another third person shooter, although it’s only marginally better than Space Harrier II. It solves the problem of poor hit detection by giving you guided missiles, but that really just turns it into a “hold the fire button down and dodge” kind of game. And this works well until the second level, where I found the giant stone pillars nearly impossible to dodge. One big advantage that Space Harrier II has over this one is that the controls don’t seem so slow. It feels like your helicopter has a lot of weight, and as such it takes a second for you to move in the direction you’ve intended.

Golden Axe (1989, Collection 1)
——————————–
Now THIS is a beat-em-up. Before the rivalry of classics like Final Fight and Streets of Rage, there were games like Double Dragon and Golden Axe. These vastly improved on the model set by Altered Beast by changing the view to an isometric perspective, increasing your area of mobility. Also, combos were added to vary the playing experience. You could slash, run, jump, grab, and throw your enemies. The addition of selectable characters, each with their own different appearance and magic, is a very nice touch. The enemies aren’t just mindless punching bags, either. They’ll often run at you from the edge of the screen if they know that they’re lined up with you, so a bit of strategy is necessary when approaching them. Some of them will attack while riding on monsters, and if you hit them you can take control of the monsters, giving you an offensive advantage. The storyline, while simple by today’s standards, is good enough to convey that you’re traversing on a quest, rather than simply playing through levels. For example, with the exception of the progress screen/map, you don’t actually see the giant turtle or the giant eagle, but the map serves its purpose as a storytelling mechanic.

Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle (1989, Collection 2)
——————————————————-
Maybe this one’s my fault for expecting Sega’s equivalent of a Mario game, but I pretty well instantly disliked this one. The only time the words “controls” and “good” should be in the same sentence describing this game is if the word “not” is there as well. Everything feels floaty and slippery, and playing rock-paper-scissors (or “janken” as it’s known in the game and, incidentally, in Japan) to be able to buy items is ridiculous. When you go into a store, you should be able to go to an item and just buy it, not have to pay to play a random game of chance to the death.

In short, time has not been very kind to 1988 Genesis games, if they were ever actually good in the first place. They all seem very “tech demo” to me. 1989 hasn’t fared much better so far, with the only one of these early Genesis games that I can recommend to Sega newbies being Golden Axe. It may be showing signs of age, but is still a very fun game, especially with 2 player co-op action. So where do all these games fit in the grand scheme of things? Instead of giving scores, I’m going to put each game into one of 5 categories. Please note that these are based solely on my opinion, and may change to a different category as more games are introduced.

Awesome (I will play these again. Definitely recommended)
——–
nothing yet…

Good (I will play these again. Recommended)
—–
Golden Axe

Average (I might play these again. Somewhat recommended)
——–
nothing yet…

Boring (I will never play these again. Only recommended if you’re a big fan of the genre)
——-
Altered Beast

Awful (I will never play these again. Cannot recommend to anyone)
——
Space Harrier II
Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle
Super Thunder Blade

Next time I’ll finish 1989 and dive into 1990, with Phantasy Star II, The Revenge of Shinobi, Crack Down, Shadow Dancer, and Columns.
Click here for part 2!

Binaridiculous 01 – Video game input devices – a subjective history

Grant and Jimmy of The Isometric Perspective go FULL NERD in this new, technology-centric, podcast series.  Not wanting to shock our listeners’ systems too much, the first episode is about the evolution of the video game controller.

Check out this episode

History of Video Games, Part 2

Isometric Perspective’s Grant B. takes his look into video gaming history! He also killed that audio demon in an epic off-screen duel…

History of Gaming, Part 1

Isometric Perspective’s Grant B. takes a look into gaming’s history! It wasn’t always high-def pixels and junk!

The Isometric Perspective #17 – Portable Gaming

Skeletroy, Grant, JimmyTR, and Graham the Re-Animator talk about portable video game systems and the potential future of handheld gaming.

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The Isometric Perspective #01 – Favorite Generations of Video Game Consoles (part 1)

The Isometric Perspective is a discussion about video games. In this episode, Skeletroy takes you on a quick trip through all of the different generations of video game consoles, and poses a question for next time.

When That Ruled The World 1: 11/02/2012

What was Your First Video Game Console Experience?

Jimmy TR & Tom Fyrehart talk about their first experiences with video game consoles, the international video game market, & all things in between!

Theme song – “Happy Ever After” by The Senseless – used with kind permission.

Adver-tainment! : Episode 1

Skeletroy takes a look at some Sega ads, a comic starring Meat Loaf, and shows you how to draw Spider-Man.