Category Archives: Gaming

Gekisha Boy

This article is from Retro Gamer. Click the title to hop over there.

It’s difficult being a photographer – just ask our esteemed editor Darran, who has to endure all kinds of nonsense while he’s out taking photographs of birds. Even so, we can’t quite endorse Gekisha Boy as a simulation, because it’s just a bit too out there. Even if you’re running around with a camera in Essex, you probably won’t encounter half of the crazy things that Irem’s opportunistic snapper catches.

What sort of things would those be, then? Well, there are standard things like fights, or common perverts exposing themselves in the street. Then there are more unusual occurrences such as people walking past their own “WANTED” posters and plane crashes. And of course, if you want to get really weird, there are alien abductions and more to look out for. It’s your job to document all of these events, while avoiding hazards which will ruin your shots and make you drop your film.

Gekisha Boy is rightly hailed as one of the best original PC Engine games – the game design was wholly unique at the time and the sense of humour is a great selling point. Crucially, a lot of attention has been paid to the colourful heavily stylised cartoon graphics, as is only fair for a game you’ll have to stare at for long periods of time. It’s very reliant on your ability to memorise a stage, but that’s no reason no to try it out – in fact, the only reason not to is its high price tag. But if money is no object, check out Gekisha Boy – there’s very little like it.

Go to Source – Retro Gamer

 


Earthworm Jim Anthology Available For Pre-Order

This article is from Retro Gamer. Click the title to hop over there.

Earthworm Jim Anthology Available For Pre-Order

It’s crazy to think that it’s been seven years since we last saw Earthworm Jim on our screens, and 18 years since he was in a brand new game. Still, we haven’t lost our fondness for the oddball annelid. Those first two platform games came at a time when everyone had just about had enough of platform games, yet Earthworm Jim and its sequel managed to carve out their own audience with bizarre humour, clever game design and excellent production values.

Earthworm Jim’s sound was a key part of the aforementioned production values, with composer Tommy Tallarico offering music which won awards back in the mid-Nineties. Today, that music is being compiled on the Earthworm Jim Anthology, a remastered double vinyl soundtrack including unreleased tracks and new remixes.

The soundtrack comes with Jim and Snott-themed records, packaged in inner sleeves bearing the familiar heart pattern from Jim’s boxers and the ubiquitous cow print (you’ll get it if you played the games). The gatefold outer sleeve features brand new artwork, and you’ll get a download code for a digital version of the soundtrack too.

You can see the track list for the Earthworm Jim Anthology by clicking here, and preorder on the same page – it’ll set you back €32 if you’re interested.

Go to Source – Retro Gamer

 


Review: Sonic Mania

This article is from Retro Gamer. Click the title to hop over there.

Review: Sonic Mania

Developer: Christian Whitehead / Headcannon Games / PagodaWest Games
Publisher: Sega
Price: £15.99
System: PS4 (tested), Xbox One, Switch, PC

It’s always nice to see game developers embracing the creativity of their fans. Nintendo’s Super Mario Maker was a great example of what could be achieved by doing so – by providing the level design tools previously only available to ROM modders, it made a bunch of money and created a YouTube phenomenon. Of course, the problem was that your play experience was dependent on the skill of the designer, so things could be a bit uneven. Sega has decided to utilise the talent of fans for Sonic Mania, but it has taken a different approach by simply hiring the cream of the crop to lead a development team.

In many ways, the remix culture of ROM modders and fangame creators is the perfect fit for Sonic Mania, as the majority of the game’s 12 zones are heavily reworked stages from the classic 16-bit Sonic games. The changes can be quite large – Green Hill Zone gains a network of ziplines and a cavernous background and Oil Ocean Zone gains submarines to explore. The remaining four are brand new, and range from the film-inspired Studiopolis Zone to the wild west-themed Mirage Saloon Zone. Each stage is large and packed with enemies and obstacles, with plenty of scope for exploration – and you’ll need to look around if you’re trying to find the giant rings which allow you to enter the Special Zone. If you just want to go fast, that’s fine too, but as in the classic games you’ll have to earn your fast times with practice.

Review: Sonic Mania

You can play as Sonic and Tails, either of them individually or Knuckles, and all of them have their characteristic abilities – Tails can swim and fly, while Knuckles can glide, climb and access exclusive routes by smashing through walls. Sonic has a new move, the Drop Dash, pulled off by pressing and holding the jump button during a jump. When Sonic lands, he’ll gain a burst of acceleration and roll off in the direction he’s facing. It should be very useful in the Time Attack mode, but will require practice to deploy effectively.

The best thing about Sonic Mania is that it addresses one of the weakest aspects of the original games – the boss fights. The new ones in Sonic Mania are exciting but more importantly, they’re inventive. Without wishing to spoil too much, the new Studiopolis Zone has one in which you have to watch the TV weather report in the background to know what Robotnik’s next attack will be. Others have you battling in a lift, limiting your jump height, or fighting as a miniaturised Sonic. These can put up a real fight – we’re pretty good at Sonic games, but some of the tougher bosses (especially Oil Ocean Zone’s main boss) made the possibility of a Game Over screen worryingly real.

Visually, the game has been designed as if it were for the Saturn, rather than the Mega Drive. Though the stages have been cribbed from a variety of games, it’s clear that work has gone into bringing the various art styles together. Sprites have fantastic animation, with more frames than the Mega Drive originals, and the colours on screen are far beyond what the 16-bit machine could have displayed. In limited cases, low-polygon 3D models are even used to spice things up a bit, but these are mostly reserved for the game’s brand new Special Zone.

Review: Sonic Mania

In the Special Zone, you’ll chase an emerald-carrying UFO while collecting blue spheres to speed up and rings to extend your time limit, but avoiding hazards such as bottomless pits and spiked balls. Sonic’s handling here definitely requires some getting used to and getting all seven emeralds will test your skills as a result. The “Blue Spheres” bonus stages also returns from Sonic 3 & Knuckles. There are 32 of these, and completing them unlocks additional bonuses such as techniques from older games.

Heavily invested Sonic fans will be pleased to know that the game is full of awesome nods to the history of the series – scrapped enemies finally get their day in the sun, long-forgotten characters show up in the most unexpected places, and at least one spin-off  forms a key part of the game. Even the Master System and Game Gear Sonic games, which tend not to get a whole lot of love since they were developed outside of Sega, get their own references.

Review: Sonic Mania

The “greatest hits” approach to Sonic Mania’s content serves the game very well – it reminds you just how good those original games were, with the changes ensuring that you’re not just retreading old ground. It also highlights the quality of the brand new content, as it fits right in with the classic stages and concepts. In fact, the weakest areas of the game seem to be those rare points where too few changes have been made to the classic stages. Maybe that’s just familiarity talking, mind.

If you’re a big Sonic fan, this game has been developed for you by people like you, so you’ll love it. For everyone else, it’s a very good platform game filled with fast action, plenty of secrets and gorgeous sprite work, and comes highly recommended.

In A Nutshell

Thanks to an intimate understanding what made the 16-bit Sonic games so good, the Sonic Mania team has created an excellent platform game which delivers new thrills and nostalgic comfort in equal measure.

Score: 92%

Go to Source – Retro Gamer

 


Modernised N64 Pad Finds Kickstarter Success

This article is from Retro Gamer. Click the title to hop over there.

Modernised N64 Pad Finds Kickstarter Success

You’ve probably never heard of the Retro Fighters control pad for the N64, and we could hardly blame you for that – the Kickstarter campaign to make it has barely been up for a day. However, it has already smashed its $13,000 funding goal with 29 days to go.

The original N64 pad is a famously divisive design, thanks to an odd three-pronged configuration nicknamed the “trident” by fans. It certainly introduced some good ideas, such as the rear-mounted Z trigger in the centre of the pad, but it was a confusing design for newcomers and a very bulky device. Worse yet, the controller has long-term reliability problems – the analogue sticks tend to loosen significantly over time as plastic is worn away during regular operation.

The Retro Fighters pad adopts a layout similar to that of the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller, with B and A buttons in place of the right analogue stick. The C buttons have been enlarged for games which use them heavily, and the rear shoulder triggers are both Z, compensating for the move from its location in the centre of the pad.

If you want a Retro Fighters N64 controller, it’ll set you back $20 with an estimated delivery date of November 2017. Larger pledges will not you exclusive posters, T-shirts and your name in the manual. Extra colour options will be made available as stretch goals are reached.

For more information or to back the campaign, head over to the Retro Fighters Kickstarter campaign page by clicking here.

Go to Source – Retro Gamer

 


Atari & Jeff Minter Working On Tempest 4000

This article is from Retro Gamer. Click the title to hop over there.

Atari & Jeff Minter Working On Tempest 4000

In one of the most surprising pieces of retro-related news we’ve had for some time, it’s been announced that Atari is set to unveil Tempest 4000 shortly – and Jeff Minter, developer of Tempest 2000 and Tempest 3000, is handling development.

Tempest 4000 is due to be unveiled at the massive Gamescom show in Germany later this month, and Atari has said that it will be released for current generation consoles and PC in the holiday season of 2017. The game is set to offer three game modes – Standard, Pure and Endurance – as well as 100 levels, online leaderboards, a Nineties-inspired techno soundtrack and 4K visuals.

If you’re scratching your head and thinking “what’s the big deal?” you may have missed the public and very acrimonious fallout between Atari and Minter back in 2015. The dispute centred on Minter’s excellent PlayStation Vita shoot-’em-up TxK, which Atari felt was a violation of their Tempest copyright. “There is nothing remotely ‘original’ in TxK and in no meaningful sense can TxK be described as [Jeff Minter’s] ‘own independent creation’,” Atari claimed in a letter sent to Minter’s lawyer. In one of many tweets on the subject, Minter claimed that he “could never have imagined one day being savaged by [Atari’s] undead corpse” and was “beyond disgusted.” The result was that planned conversions of TxK to other formats never saw release, although the original Vita version remains available to buy.

The dispute appears to have been well and truly put behind the two parties, however. “At the end of the day, video gamers always win,” says Jeff Minter in the press release. “I am very happy to work with Atari again to bring a long-awaited sequel of Tempest to our legion of fans and a new generation of gamers worldwide.” Atari COO Todd Shallbetter was effusive in his praise for the veteran coder too, saying “We’re thrilled to be able to work with Jeff Minter again, someone who is a legend in the industry and has made a huge impact on the history of video games.”

If Tempest 4000 is anywhere near as good as TxK, we’ll be utterly thrilled. We gave the game a whopping 96% in a review back in 2014, which you can read by clicking here.

Gamescom 2017 is set to open its doors two weeks from now, so expect more details soon.

Go to Source – Retro Gamer

 


Matt Fisher

This article is from Retro Gamer. Click the title to hop over there.

Matt Fisher

Name: Matt Fisher
Location: UK
Favourite Game: Anything Kirby
Favourite System: Game Boy

I started gaming with our old Atari ST but my true love will always be the Game Boy. Looking back the hardware hasn’t really stood the test of time but the library is timeless and will always be the staple of my gameroom/studio.

I’m a collector and YouTuber but I’ve also worked in the video game industry with SEGA… I also used to write reviews for the old retrobate section that were riddled with spelling mistakes (thanks to Retro Gamer for heavily subbing them before any were published).

If you like retro gaming videos with a slant towards the UK market and Game Boy games then find us on YouTube under ‘Pomelo Pictures’.

Go to Source – Retro Gamer

 


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