Author: kerr9000

150 SNES games reviewed #9: Super Goal! 2 (aka Takeda Nobuhiro no Super Cup Soccer)

I have plainly admitted on most days it has been a case of stick my hand in the box, and providing the game is not the same genre as one I have played in the past few days, I play it and then talk about it.

I did things a little bit differently this time, I actually picked this game out. I didn’t pick it out because of the game itself, I picked it out because it represented something I want to talk about.

Nowadays we live in a very much ‘Coke and Pepsi’ world when it comes to football games. There is FIFA and there is PES and more often than not that’s as much choice as you have – one or the other. Back in the days of the SNES there was a lot more choice than that. Sure, there was FIFA and there was International Superstar Soccer (the game which eventually became PES) but there was also a lot of other games. Loads of companies would try their hand at the football genre and this is something I miss. Choice is a good thing and the more options one has when it comes to games the better I feel it is.

So today I have been playing Super Goal! 2 (or as it’s known in Japan Takeda Nobuhiro no Super Cup Soccer) by Tose which was published by Jaleco. The first Super Goal made it to these shores but the second one was only brought out in Japan and the US as far as I know (there was at least one further sequel in Japan).

Now in my hour or so of playing I learned a few things, one being it ain’t so bad. Sure the computer seemed to get away with fouling me a lot even in the penalty box without it giving me a free kick or penalty every time, apart from once. I also found it pretty hard to score goals but then I am not the best at these sort of games. The important part is I got into it, I was enjoying myself and never once did I stop and say ‘boy. don’t I wish I was playing FIFA’. To all intents and purposes this game provided a perfectly entertaining spot of football. There were all the options you’d expect – exhibition, season, penalty practice. You can pick whichever country you want to be and you can choose the formation you play in. Of the pad’s four face buttons, one seems to be a hard shot, one a soft, one a high shot and the other passes to whichever player has pass flashing above his head.

Back in the day this game seemed to get a lot of scores in the range of six to seven. Nintendo Power gave it 3.1 out of five. I tend to agree with this basic score range. What do I actually want from a football game on the SNES, you might ask? Well, I would like it to be a little easier to score but more than anything what I really wanted was a little piazazz, a little bit of flair. I want to hear “GOALLLL” shouted when someone scores. I want to see a close-up of a player screaming “Yes” or punching the air. I suppose that’s one of the problems with having a lot of options, it makes you want more. Nowadays when the only choice is largely FIFA or PES (unless you want a wacky game like Super Mario Strikers, etc) you don’t tend to ask for as much. Maybe that’s why both of them can come out every year and ask for another £40 with just a handful of new bells and whistles added to the previous year’s model.

I got this game in a bundle of Japanese carts, I think it was five carts for £10, and to be honest looking on eBay you can get this game Japanese for £3.60 including postage. If you want a US copy it will cost you a little more, around £10.

150 SNES games reviewed #8: Power Moves (aka Power Athlete)

Rule number one if you are going to try to make money by copying another game is to make sure you get a copy of the game you’re trying to copy and play the living daylights out of it.

Sit and analyse it. Try to see why it is so popular, and what your game needs to contain in order to attract the same amount of fans.

Why am I talking about this? Well basically because the game I have been playing is Power Moves, one of many of the games which came in the wake of Street Fighter II. When playing this game though I am reminded far more of the original (less famous) Street Fighter.

Power Moves – known in Japan as Power Athlete – (at least on the SNES, the Mega Drive version was renamed Deadly Moves) came out in 1992 and was developed by System Vision and published by Kaneko. It came out towards the end of 1992, many months after Street Fighter II, which I add because I want everyone to know this key fact.

The one player mode on this game is basically the same as Street Fighter. You get no choice of character you are simply made to play as one guy, in this case an almost Americanised looking Ryu clone with the name Joe. Truly there can be no mightier martial arts name than Joe, maybe his last name is Bloggs? But I digress. You are Joe, you do an energy move from your hands out in a straight line (we all know it as a fireball, just like the original Street Fighter), though the motion to do this is over-complex and therefore a pain. There are only three buttons – one punch, one kick and one jump – if you are very close then the kick button also doubles as a throw. I did somehow manage to get Joe to do another move, it was sort of a two-handed dragon punch which went much more diagonal than the ones we are used to.

Even on the middle difficulty the game comes is hard, and this is where the game has a little flair of originality. You don’t start with a full life bar, you start with a bit and by beating opponents this bar grows in size as do other bars you can see which represent your strength, speed and defence. You can choose who you want to fight next out of all of the enemy characters but some outclass you by having much longer bars. If you wanted to you could fight and beat an opponent multiple times in order to fill your bars and make your future fights against other enemies easier. You have a set amount of continues, which I think increase as you win fights or at least it seemed that way to me.

At first I found the game so hard that I was almost going to give in, but then it just seemed to click. I got into the rhythm of the game and managed to beat opponent after opponent with very little trouble and this was without repeating fights in order to level up my bars. I only repeated one fight and that was just to see if it would let me. It only took me about 20 minutes though and once you’ve finished the game nothing changes you can still only be Joe in single player and apart from going into the options and upping the difficulty there is no reason to ever play the single player mode ever again, which is a big disadvantage when you compare this game to other games from this period in time.

In the two player mode you can be Joe and any of enemies except for the final boss, which is a bit of a shame as Mega Drive owners got the chance to play as him in their version of the game.

The characters in this game are (I haven’t listed Joe as I have already talked about him):

  • Warren: A  wrestler from Hawaii who looks just a touch like a grey-haired Hulk Hogan wannabe.
  • Reayon: The token female, clearly she is ‘inspired’ by Chun-Li.
  • Vagnad: A huge wrestler with an odd skin colour, he looks like he should be the boss of the game to me. He reminds me of a less weird version of the boss from Street Fighter IV. (Apparently in some of the manuals and information released on the game he was described as a survivor of the Holocaust.)
  • Buoh: A kabuki-style fighter. He teleports all over the screen and attacks with his hair. He earns bonus points in my book for not seeming like a complete Street Fighter rip-off.
  • Gaoluon: An acrobatic Chinese martial artist, who uses a pair of curved blades both to slash you and to throw at you.
  • Baraki: A tribal warrior who shoots flames like Dhalsim while making noises and spinning across the screen Blanka-style.
  • Nick: A street dancing matador. His fighting style uses a combination of break dancing alongside quick slashes with a knife, clearly he is meant to represent this game’s Vega.
  • Ranker: He is (in the SNES version at least) the non-playable final boss character. He comes across as being a big, army-style guy. Imagine an Arnold Schwarzenegger character who can throw energy across the floor and do a punch equivalent of Chun-Li’s rapid kick move.T

To be honest I cant see anyone bothering much with the two player on this. Not when you could play all manner of other fighting games, it’s not like we were lacking them back in the day, nor are we now really.

I would give this game four out of 10, its not an awful game but there are so many other better beat ’em ups out there. If you want to try this game I think you will need to import it. I haven’t seen an PAL copy but I am sure the Mega Drive one came out over here. I have seen lots of US imports for about £10 for the cart, and a few Japanese ones for £5. I was lucky and got my copy recently for £3.50 with free postage. Personally, I would invest you money elsewhere.

150 SNES games reviewed: #7 Krusty’s Super Fun House

No TV series makes it past 20 series without someone realising it has the potential to sell a lot of other stuff by association.

The Simpsons was a largely adult-humoured comedy which children seemed to become obsessed with. So it was no surprise when the Bart vs. this and that games started to pour on to the NES. It didn’t even take the programme being around long for it to begin to happen. Bart was the main Simpsons character who was focused on when it came to games, so when a Krusty the Clown game was announced it almost took me by surprise. I can’t remember who had it first, but it seemed to be one of those games that almost all of the SNES owning guys at school got hold of.

What neither I nor the rest of the guys knew back then was that Krusty’s Super Fun House originally was not a Simpsons title at all, it was a game called Rat Trap. So whatever you think of the game you cant really call it a rushed cash-in on The Simpsons’ name, as the game was completed in its original form long before The Simpsons was attached to it. Acclaim, bought the finished game and decided to make a large return on it they would make alterations and turn it into a Simpsons vehicle. This made it the first Simpsons game not to feature Bart as the central character (although he does appear in it).

Rat Trap was developed as an Amiga game, and non-Simpsons versions of the ROM/disk image can be found for those interested in that kind of thing. Whether the game ever saw any kind of limited release in its original Rat Trap form, I have no idea, maybe it was and that’s how its ROMs ended up online, or maybe it was leaked by someone close to it. What was originally intended to be an Amiga game ended up having the Simpson’s license added and then ended up being released for the Amiga, DOS, Game Boy, Game Gear, Master System. SNES and Sega Mega Drive. From a business stand point I cant say I blame them, the more machines it is on the higher sales potential it has, which is something a lot of companies seem to have forgotten nowadays while they try to court exclusivity deals and pay cheques from various system owners.

The main goal of the game is to slaughter the rats by leading them to what I can best describe as semi-automated killing machines. Back then no one saw anything wrong with the murder of cartoon rats. I can only imagine what would be said if something like this came out now – PETA would have a field day. After all they already think that in order to become raccoon Mario, Mario takes his super knife and slices his way into a live racoon pulling its guts out with his teeth, which until they put the idea in to my head I merely thought it was magic, or that he slipped on a raccoon onesie and gained new powers due to mental illness (wouldn’t you be ill if you saw bullets with talking faces and dinosaurs who could eat things twice their size?).

To get the rats into the killing machine, Krusty needs to do a bit of puzzling, lifting up blocks and putting them in the right place for example. The graphics and the way this works has a bit of a Lemmings feel to it, which is no bad thing in my opinion (I just wish it was a little more like Lemmings).

Krusty is also armed with a small supply of weapons in the form of custard pies or balls. These have no real use when it comes to the rats but there are other characters around such as snakes which will attack Krusty and he can use these to defeat them. Strangely, there are massive parts of levels the rats never even go near, and in fact they couldn’t even reach if you messed up, but you can explore these areas and kill the enemies there, for points I guess. To finish a level you need to kill all of the rats and then return to the starting door to hear a little jingle and then move on to the next one. Sometimes the level will be made so you can’t just go back and you need to go forward and then around to get back, beating the enemies in your way to get there.

The graphics are bright and functional, if not amazing. The Krusty sprite looks good but the fact he is constantly smiling seems a little strange given the Krusty we now know and love. I guess this game came out quite early in The Simpsons’ run so Krusty was a little more child-friendly back then, and he hadn’t been fully characterised as the alcoholic, only in it for the money scumbag we all know and love.

The game is functional and at times fun, but I really believe no one would even bother to play or look for it now if it was not for the attached Simpsons license. I score this game five out of 10. It is just plain average. So average that at times it hurts. I am sure I enjoyed this more when I was younger. I rate this game much higher as an example of good business decisions than as a game.

I paid £3 for my NTSC cart of this game not long ago, but looking online £8 seems to be about the going rate for it in either PAL or NTSC. So for once I am actually showing you a game you can get without needing either a import machine or a wad of cash.

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