Sunday, August 28, 2011

Update 8/28 - Might and Magic (pt.1), Muchi Muchi Pork, Bushi Seiryuuden, Esper Dream, Jackal, Isle of the Dead, Akane the Kunoichi, Gimmick!

I expected to wake up without power after being in the path of Hurricane Irene, but it appears the worst of it my area has been some downed branches, so that means I can actually update this fine Sunday afternoon! The biggest article we have is a feature on the Might and Magic series. I've wanted to cover more early CRPGs around here, and this one is plenty long running. Currently the first six out of the main nine series are covered - there are numerous spinoffs (including the Heroes of Might and Magic series, itself a successor to King's Bounty), which won't be covered in this particular article, though if anyone would be willing to take up the mantle I would gladly be interested in posting it!

There's actually a lot of shorter articles to get up this update: Muchi Muchi Pork is a Cave shooter from about four years ago that was ported to the Xbox 360 a few months back. Back earlier this year when I was working primarily on the adventure game book, I played a lot of this during my breaks, and ended up enjoying it a lot more than I thought it would. I wish I could've gotten it up sooner, because all of the main import shop appears to be sold out and the second hand market is already inflating the price on this one.

More Konami 8-bit stuff too: Jackal, best known as the game where you ride in a jeep and run over little guys; and Esper Dream, two Famicom action-RPGs. The first is an interesting experiment, while the second I have no reservations calling one of the best RPGs on the system. Most games of the era have aged rather poorly, what with their slow battle systems and tedious grinding, but Esper Dream 2 is remarkably quick and surprisingly fun, with some excellent graphics and music courtesy of the VRC6 chip, the same one found in Akumajou Densetsu (Castlevania III). Another rather innovative RPG is Bushi Seiryuuden, a late release by Game Freak for the Super Famicom, which trades the usual JRPG combat in favor of a side-scrolling (though still turn based) format.

Also up is Gimmick!, one of Sunsoft's last games on the Famicom. I was searching for this during my trip to Japan, but the only copies I could find were over 10000 yen, so I just gave up and purchased the 600 Sunsoft Memorial version on the Japanese PSN. (I did however get lucky and found a boxed copy of its sorta partner Game Boy game Trip World for about 900 yen though.) It's a brilliantly designed, cutesy game with a fantastic soundtrack, though it gets ridiculously hard as it goes along.

I've also been wanting to cover more XBLIG stuff, since there are now some great games on the service that tend to get lost in the shuffle, so this update we have Akane the Kunochi, a decent 2D action platformer. Finally, we've got the fifth part of the 21st Century Pinball article up, and Your Weekly Kusoge is Isle of the Dead, a schlocky FPS/adventure game hybrid which was developed for shock value alone.


  1. I sure like to give the Esper Dream games a try, they sound interesting from what I just read.

  2. Did you check up the Super Famicom version of Might and Magic II (subtitled "Book II")? The port job was seemingly done by Starcraft, but unlike the Japanese home computer versions, it's a faithful rendition of the original, and includes several graphical changes presumably done for the Japanese market, with all the character portraits done in a manga-like style, and the battles portrayed very much like Dragon Quest.

  3. Oh, that's pretty neat! The author probably though they were the same. I snapped a few pics and put in a small write-up. I noticed an option where you can input a code from Might and Magic I to import data - I wonder which version ths might be from? I'm assuming the computer versions since they were done by Starcraft, since they didn't do the FC version?

  4. man I always wanted to ride in a 'jump' in Jackal ;P

  5. I just want to say that you guys at HG101 have really been pumping out a massive volume of high-quality articles recently. I saw the list of updates on the HG101 Facebook page today, and nearly fell out of my seat.

  6. That's great! I was looking for an article on M&M just two weeks ago.

    Hope it's OK to post some corrections for that article here:
    John -> Jon (Van Caneghem)
    streamle -> streamline (?)
    whith -> with
    seperate -> separate
    occuring -> occurring
    occured -> occurred
    clerics and magic -> clerics and magic users (?)
    ar -> are
    Pharoah -> Pharaoh (twice)
    enviroments -> environments
    VII> -> VII

  7. @Carl, thanks, we try! We've still got a backlog of stuff to post we're working though, and Deus Ex just came out, so...yeah.

    @Anym, thanks for the typo fixin'!

  8. I found Trip World at a flea market in Houston, amazingly. It's pretty fun, but usually very expensive. A recent listing on eBay for the Euro version went for about $114!!