Author: kerr9000

SNES Game Review 45: Rival Turf!

When looking at Jaleco’s Rival Turf! (known as Rushing Beat in Japan), it’s important to understand something about it, something which you cant help but think is the entire reason for its existence and its release.I have already reviewed and talked about the SNES conversion of the arcade hit Final Fight. Now as you will probably remember from my review Final Fight woo’d people with its pretty much arcade-quality visuals and sound. It was an epic achievement getting the game to look and play so well on the SNES especially when you take in to consideration the huge difference between the hardware inside coin-ops and home consoles at that time, but sadly as I mentioned when reviewing it not every thing was exactly perfect: the two-player mode that made the arcade original so brilliant was missing due to memory constraints.

This left a demand out there for people who wanted to play a walk along beat em up together and Rival Turf was basically Jaleco’s attempt at filling this void. You will find people who love this game, people who hate it and people who while appreciating it for offering what it offerd at the time
ultimatly now see it as being a game which was average and could be forgotten about as soon as other games came out which filled this void.
Now for some reason the plot of this game was massivly changed from the Japanese version when it was released in Europe and America.
In the Japanese version the plot is something along these lines. Rick Norton the main character is stopped by a man with a gun who informs him that his sister is being held hostage something to do with some video evidence she has in connection to drug dealing. So after this Rick goes on a quest to clear up the streets and try to rescue his sister.
In the Euro/American version well the main character is called Jack Flak and his girlfriend has been kidnapped by a gang called the Street Kings. He asks police officer Oswald “Oozie” Nelson who is his friend to help him to rescue her and basically beat the ever loving crud out of the Street Kings and wipe them off of the streets. I imagine most of this change is down to Nintendo basically wanting Jaleco to remove the reference to drugs as after all Nintendo was quiet picky about what it would and wouldnt allow on its consoles.
I find that the graphics for this game are good when you look at the time at which it was released, they are not really as good as those in Final Fight but you can tell that this is one of the areas where things have been cut back a bit in order to free up the power needed at that time to allow for the two player option. I find the music in this game to be quiet catchy, I am not sure if any of it  is the sort of thing that most people are going to find themselves humming in there day to day life but the music from the first level seems to have stayed in  my mind over the years,  It is one of the video game tunes that I could humm pretty much on demand and this is not because I have recently played this game to review it or because I heard it while recording the footage, I could have done this long before I put the cartridge in the slot to play it again to refresh my opinion ready to do this review.
The game plays well enough but there is also nothing other than the inclusion of a two player mode which makes it shine. There is only a choice of two characters and while they respond well and are easy to control you cant actually do that much, its rather basic in terms of what you can do and this does work against the game as it does start to feel a little repetitive as you work your way through the stages.
In conclusion I would give Rival Turf a 6 out of 10, for a moment I was tempted to give it a 7 as I have a bit of a soft spot for it, mostly due to a lot of good memories of playing it back in the day. In all honesty the game is not as good as final fight but it does of course have the two player mode that final fight lacks. One of the issues is that nowdays your choice is not one simply between this or Final Fight ,  there are all manner of games of this type you can play, there are simply much cheaper options now, in all honesty Rival turf filled a void which simply no longer exists . If your looking for a copy of it a Pal cart will cost you around £8 to £12 online including postage. The game does have some much improved sequels but they are costly. Ok so I originally wrote this review a few years back and it has taken me until now to edit this review and to record a YouTube video, well since then there has been a bit of a cool update to this story. A company called Retro-Bit Europe have released a boxed Snes Cartridge called the Jaleco Brawler’s Pack which is official and contains 4 complete SNES games on one cartridge, these games are Rival Turf and its sequels Brawl Brothers and  Rushing Beat Shura as well as Tuff E Nuff which is a one on one style beat em up. On Amazon this collection can be gotten for £22 new currently and that is certainly the way I would recomend SNES owners to try this game as I feel thats a much better investment as the sequels can cost quiet a lot to track down.

SNES game review 44 Mortal Kombat

SNES Game review 44 Mortal Kombat
My game today is Mortal Kombat the arcade fighting game developed and published by Midway (in 1992) It was subsequently released by Acclaim Entertainment for just about every home video game system that existed back then. It was a massive seller and was one of the few competitors for street fighter 2’s crown in a market which was usually filled with awful semi functioning clones. It started a whole series of games but more than that it actually spawned a successful film adaptation in 1995. It sparked a great deal of controversy though for its depiction of extreme violence and bloodshed by using realistic (for the time) digitized graphics. This game was involved in several hearings on video game violence the results of which resulted in the introduction of age-specific content description ratings for video games. This game certainly changed the world of video games.

When mortal kombat came it came riding a huge train load of hype, at the time nearly all games were released on a friday but mortal kombat just had to break the trend it was released on a monday which was dubbed Mortal Monday… No matter how long ago that was I still remember it for one reason and that’s the fact that the man who owned the local games shop agreed to give a select number of his loyal customers the game on the friday before that. My brother was one of them, he brought the megadrive version and we spent the entire weekend before its release playing it.. Its not uncommon now to get the odd game a day or maybe two before release because it has been posted out and arrived early but back then this was more or less unheard of.
Eventually I decided to get the snes version when I saw it at a greatly reduced price. Now a lot of people would expect the snes version to be an improvement and maybe the graphics were a touch clearer but if anything the gritty quality of the megadrive version actually helped to give it a certain grind house feel and if anything covered some of the blur present in the sprites a little and that’s before you even got to the infamous blood code. On both the snes and megadrive versions of mortal kombat when you put them in the machine they would load up and one of the first things you would notice was the absence of blood. For the mega drive there was a simple code you could input which would switch on the gore, unfortunately the snes version simply did not feature this and no button combinations or joypad caresses would get claret flowing.
A snes magazine in the uk actually ran an april fools which tried to make its readers believe that the blood was in there as well as an option to play as the boss characters but that the cart needed extra weight adding to it to make all of this obtainable. What they told you to do was glue a one pence piece on to the top of your cartridge before going through a combination of button presses which would open some kind of debug menu. I remember that even after they had admitted it was all a giant wind up I would come across seconds hand copies of the game in various stores and markets which still had a penny firmly glued to the top of them. The funny thing is there were kids at school who swore on there life that they had gotten into this debug menu and then promptly denied ever having said it latter. Now the game mortal kombat often gets compared to is street fighter 2 and yes I admit street fighter 2 is better for combos and has several other advantages but I think MK has enough of its own qualities to warrant its place in the fighting fans collection. Personally I love the characters and there back stories sure people will argue that sub zero and scorpion are essentially palate swaps but there portrayal as mortal enemies from warring clans and just how cool they both were in general was more than enough to make me not care. In some ways it can be said the graphics haven’t aged as well as more basic sprites but I don’t know something about them appeals to me and kind of reminds me of old kung fu films I guess its down to your personal preferences. One thing I loved with Mk was the music and sound effects the beat in the various songs just got you in the mood to rip somebodies head off and the sounds being cried out such as scorpion shouting ”get over here” just had an epic quality to them. I find the game greatly playable but not without its limits, the way I see it is as an excellent starting block for a franchise and I can’t help but give it a 7 out of 10. (I give the mega drive a 8 out of 10 though it just feels more tailored to the system and I guess I am just ”loyal to the gore” (bonus points for anyone who knows where this quote comes from)
If you want to play the game on your SNES it is going to cost you around £10 for a pal cart or about £20 for a boxed copy, if you own a megadrive you might want to consider getting a copy on that instead. I also dont want to give anything away but you might want to look at the prices of other games in the series as well.

SNES Game Review 42: Bubsy in Claws Encounters of the Furred Kind

Bubsy in Claws Encounters of the Furred Kind, or just Bubsy for short  (Yamaneko Bubsy no Daibōken to our Japanese friends)  is a platform video game released by Accolade in the early 1990s.
The designer Michael Berlyn apparently came upon Sonic the Hedgehog and loved it so much that he began to play it for 14 hours a day in order to find out what made it a good game in the hopes that he could leach the best bits of it out and regurgitate them into his own game, apparently he did this for a week, now that might sound like a lot of hedgehog loving, its a wonder no one called the RSPCA.

The game was developed and released for the Super Nintendo and the Megadrive, with each version basically the same  (The musics a little nicer on the SNES and that’s all really) Just like Battletoads Bubsy actually managed to gain enough attention to get a cartoon pilot made that didnt go on to a series.
 So even with a quick look at the game you can see the sonic Connection so why the long name Claws Encounters of the Furred Kind? Basically to spoof the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind, You see the plot of the game is that Bubsy the bobcat must defend the wool of planet earth against alien invaders. I feel stupid writing this in a review I cant believe someone actually wrote it as a plot to a game and then had it released with this plot and name like they were happy with there work.
A lot of complaints have been brought up about Bubsy over the years the fact that its to fast and things literally jump right in front of you causing the game tom be slowed down a lot by death after death. Then there is the fact that Bubsy’s powers were kind of supposed to be based on a cats and yet he seems to be able to fly, well fly is maybe a strong word to paraphrase buzz light year he ”falls with style”.
What is often forgotten is that Pre-release anticipation for busby was very high, the game received incredibly aggressive marketing, Bubsy was pushed as being the next big thing it was said that it would rival the likes of Sonic the Hedgehog and Super Mario. Bubsy won Electronic Gaming Monthly’s Most Hype for a Character award in 1993. The hype didn’t disappear instantly with its release either it even managed to achieve some decent reviews Electronic Gaming Monthly gave it an 8 out of 10. Sure it did get some lower scores but the real backlash against the game seemed to happen much latter, it was like the polar opposite of a film like for example the rocky horror picture show which had reasonable success but over the years has become more and more loved growing to an absolute cult classic. Bubsy seems to have become more and more hated.
So I suppose the obvious question is do I hate Bubsy and do I hate his game?  The game has a sence of humour each level is introduced by some sort of play-on-words spoken by Bubsy in a typical cartoon voice: “what could possibly go wrong?”, or “did I mention I don’t like heights?” yes some of it comes of as a little bit cheesy but its a good chucklesome kind of cheesy.
My main complaint with Bubsy’s main complaint is one I have already touch on he far too easy to kill. You can be killed by the slightest touch of a n enemy  or you’ll run straight into an obstacle before you even really get chance to see it, yes this is  frustrating but I dont believe that this small thing is a complete game breaker. You get a lot of lives and bubsys gliding ability can keep him up above a lot of trouble. I have to admit though that the speed in this game does not work as well as sonic, bubsy needed a move like sonic’s spin so that he could just roll into a ball or something and batter anything that ran in to him. If you only had to worry about the pitfalls and not the enemies while running/ rolling like this then it would help a lot.
Visually, I really like the game its bright, I find its sprites to be pleasant and detailed. Bubsy’s animation is great but its like to much attention was paid to him, the enemies and some of the other visual elements dont seem to quiet live up to his quality.
In answer to the question, I kind of like Bubsy but I do see his game as being just above average, its a 6 out of 10, it was over hyped back in the day and some people fell for this hype but then it seems to be part of an almost never ending back lash that paints it as far worse than it is. I think the truth lies in the middle
The game is not brilliant but it is not awful either, its one to go for if you have exhausted all of the more popular platformers on the Snes and you still haven’t had enough. I would however first advice that you consider getting a megadrive and sampling some of the better platformers it has to offer first.
If you want Bubsy for the Snes with a bit of effort you should be able to find a Pal cart for around £7, but if you own both a SNES and a megadrive I would tell you to actually go for the Megadrive version you can get the cart for as little as £3.50 including postage.