So that malware warning from last weekend - sorry about that! Our site was hacked, unfortunately, but while we got it cleaned almost immediately, Google likes to keep sites blacklisted for an extra few days for good measure. But everything is up and back in order, so hooray!
As a follow-up to our massive Mortal Kombat feature, we have another massive look at another incredibly important early 90s fighting game - Sega's Virtua Fighter, the progenitor of Tekken, Dead or Alive, Soul Calibur, and so very, very many others. It's one of those series that was always more popular in Japan than elsewhere, and it's easy to forgot how prolific it was back in the early Saturn days, where it was not only considered the killer app, but also spawned a number of "CG" art discs that were nothing more that pictures of the game's characters. Yet the game has maintained a faithful following, mostly for the incredibly skill that is required to truly master its mechanics.
Anyway, we're never quite timely around here (which is mostly my fault), but LucasArts was closed down by the Disney overlords a few weeks back. To commemorate their passing, I've published the review of Grim Fandango, their last original adventure game title (Escape of Monkey Island was technically their last, though it was a sequel, and honestly not the best of their titles.) This was previously only in the Guide to Classic Graphic Adventures book, but I hope to post some more of these in the future. The game really is quite brilliant, despite its interface issues, and some recent developments with the program ResidualVM make it easily playable on modern machines.
Unrelated to much of anything else is an article on Time Gal, the laserdisc game that's basically Dragon's Lair with a time-hopping green haired anime lass. It's mostly known for its Sega CD conversion, which actually isn't too bad compared to the system's port of Dragon's Lair, but like many it originated in the arcades, where it looks much, much better.
Of the regular features, the (finally) updated weekly kusoge is Franko: The Crazy Revenge, the dreadful/hilarious beat-em-up from Poland that's about as juvenile as they come. The 500 Word Indies article has several new entries, including the pixel artwork survival horror game Home, the puzzle game Little Inferno, and the Abuse-like side-scroller/action game Rework the Dead: Evil. Episode 17 of the Game Club 199X podcast discusses Blue Stinger, the Dreamcast launch title, a survival horror game developed by a partnership between the East and the West. And the latest iOS Shooters page covers twin stick shooters Pew Pew, Isotope, Critical Wave, Particle Wars, and Last Line of Defense, many of which are (of course) inspired by Geometry Wars. Also take a look at the Dark History of JRPGs series over on the blog, an ongoing examination of some of the early Japanese role-playing games on home computers, which haven't really been covered anywhere before in English.