Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Update 9/12 (plus 9/2) - Cowboy Kid, Flashgal, Desert Breaker, Thor's Hammer Trilogy, Pyongyang Racer, Shadowrun, Rolling Thunder, Fatal Fury, Gotcha Force, Hourai Gakuen no Bouken!, Totally Rad, Altered Destiny, Radix

Cowboy Kid is one of those late-generation NES games that barely got any distribution, and as such, is a little pricey to get a hold of on the secondary market. Seriously, I never saw any reviews at the time, and even after years upon years of retro game prowling, never happened upon it once. Anyway, conspiracy theory time - I have no proof of this, but this game almost feels like Konami was trying to make an Americanized version of Ganbare Goemon 2, but was cancelled, and covertly shipped off to another publisher. It just rips it off so closely, and it's such an odd game to make a clone of.

For oddball Sega stuff for this update: In the comic book scene, there's continual growsing that all kinds of superheroes have gotten movies, yet Wonder Woman has been continually neglected. The same thing happened in the realm of video games...with the (kind of) exception of Flashgal. We say "kind of" because it's not an officially licensed Wonder Woman game, but the protagonist is so closely modeled after her that she may as well be. Additionally, a few months back we covered an arcade game called Bullet, a three player run-and-gun that was suspicious similar to Capcom's Mercs, despite predating it by some time. A few years later, they put out a game called Desert Breaker, which patterns itself after Mercs so closely it's almost uncomfortable. Still, if you're going to steal, might as well steal from the best, and it's actually a fairly decent game.

For everyone's that missed the Weekly Kusoge column, we bring you a thrashing of Pyongyang Racer, the browser-based racing "game" that's meant to, somehow, promote tourism to the North Korean capital. And we reach deep back into the realm of the mid-90s shareware scene to dig out Thor's Hammer Trilogy, a very early first person shooter with a fantasy theme. It's...well, it's not Hexen, which is putting it lightly. And the iOS shooter column now covers arena based shooters, including MiniSquadron, Space Miner Blast, Space Junk and XPilot.

As sort of a follow-up to the Leisure Suit Larry update from last week, we've revamped the Shadowrun article to include a new review of the Kickstartered sequel, Shadowrun Returns, which draws heavily from the SNES cult classic rendition of role playing game. It also includes a review of the 2007 first person shooter, which was a fairly decent game, just one that no one in particular wanted.

Gotcha Force is one of the handful of Gamecube exclusive titles by Capcom. It's essentially a kiddie version of Virtual On, a 3D one-on-one robot fighting game, and one that's a lot of fun, in spite of its seemingly juvenile demeanor. Altered Destiny is another Accolade adventure game, essentially the more serious companion game to the Les Manley series posted in last update. It's a huge ripoff of Sierra games, and it's incredibly frustrating in parts, but I've a certain weakness for the sort of low-color, low-resolution artwork that late 80s/early 90s computer games used.

Hourai Gakuen no Bouken! (Adventures of Hourai High School) is a Super Famicom RPG that was fan-translated awhile back. Though an average game in its own right, with glitchy gameplay and a near total lack of balance, it has an incredibly goofy sense of humor that makes it worth checking out. Radix: Beyond the Void hails from the era of Doom clones, though in this first person shooter, you take control of a jet fighter rather than a human. It seems to be mistaken for Descent, but it's a much faster paced, more action-y take on the formula. Totally Rad is a 8-bit NES platformer which capitalized on early 90s jargon, and still manages to be a decent Mega Man-type game.

The latest 500 Word Indies covers Droidscape: Basilica, an innovative iOS action-puzzle game where you trace routes through mazes and control a stop motion animated bipedal robot through a series of traps. Game Club 199X Episode 21 discusses Master of Orion, Microprose's PC outer space strategy sim. And the Best of PC Engine / Mega CD Music column features Annet Futatabi, The Terminator, and Ai Choaniki.

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