Sunday, May 5, 2013

Update 5/5 - Hang On, AB Corp, Buck Rogers: Planet of Zoom / Zoom 909, Comix Zone, Holosseum, Double Switch, Satan's Hollow

We've been covering a lot of Sega games recently, mostly to prepare for the upcoming Sega Arcade Classics Volume 2 (release date: totally unknown, because I have to finish the Castlevania book one first). First up is Hang-On, Yu Suzuki's motorcycle racing game, which spawned a handful of spinoffs that are basically part of the same series despite having different names. (I heavily suggest checking out the sadly overlooked/unported Racing Hero as a good follow-up to the series.) As an accompaniment piece, we're also featured AB Cop, a more futuristic, combat-oriented take on the sprite-based 3D motorcycle racing formula. And Buck Rogers: Planet of Zoom (AKA Zoom 909 is essentially the first in Sega's super scaler series, with remarkable sprite graphics that demolish practically every other arcade game out in 1982, even though from a gameplay perspective, it's easy to see why a better game like Space Harrier is far more widely recognized.

We're also finishing up coverage of some more beat-em-ups and fighting games. Comix Zone was developed for the Genesis by the US-based Sega Technical Institute, where an artist is sucked inside his comic book and has to pummel his creations. It's an incredibly creative game, though short, and incredibly difficult. There's also Holosseum, a rather awful fighting game that exists solely for Sega to do something with the hologram arcade cabinets the company had developed for the FMV game Time Traveler. The whole thing loses its purpose when played on MAME, but the game's kinda bad anyway.

Onto other things: Double Switch is essentially the follow-up to Night Trap, the infamous FMV vampire-trapping/voyeur game. The cast of characters and story is totally different, starring Corey Haim and the lead singer from 80 band Blondie, but the gameplay is practically identical. And Satan's Hollow is Bally/Midway's attempt at a Space Invaders clone, though with a more demonic theme. The two 500-Word Indies features include The Adventures of Shuggy, an unfortunately overlooked puzzle platformer from the same guys that brought you Gateways, and A Tale of Two Kingdoms, a rather stunning looking adventure game that works as an ode to Kings Quest.

Finally, the Hardcore Gaming 101 Presents: Sega Arcade Classics Vol. 1 book is on sale at Amazon for less than $18. I don't set when/where these sales happen, and I don't see the price dipping much further, so if you've been waiting to pick it up, now's the best time to do it before the price goes back up! B&W edition is also on sale for $9, which is a dollar off the normal price.

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