Author: Pedz

Retro Monday – Michael Jordon: Chaos in the Windy City

Michael Jordon: Chaos in the Windy City, was a Super Nintendo Entertainment System game that came out in 1994 and was made by Electronic Arts and as usual in the EU it came out in 1995 and was published by Ocean.

Yet again it’s a Retro Monday where the game in question I haven’t played, honestly, I haven’t even heard of it until it was put in the thread for people to vote on. MJ: CitWC is an action-platformer where you take the role of the titular basketball star and Make your way through varying levels trying to rescue your teammates who have been abducted by the Evil Dr. Max Cranium, to what ends I don’t know. I only got to the 3rd part of the Dungeon levels, so didn’t get very far,  but I did get the gist of the game from my brief time with it.

You run and jump through stages, with a basketball taking out the enemies, which are zombies, spiders and other things. Did I mention that the Zombies heads have been replaced with basketballs? It’s a cool twist with the zombies taking their ball heads off and throwing them at you. There are other cool touches like baskets being throughout the levels that you can slam dunk your ball into that will do various things like, clear the enemies, give you coins, or power-ups. Talking power-up’s, they seem to be different types of balls, you can get ones that home in on enemies, or split into 3 balls, or even a bowling ball which seems to kill enemies in 1 hit. The game is actually pretty decent, it’s not a bad game at all, but where I was enjoying it at first, by the time my hour was up, I had grown bored of the game. There is nothing inherently wrong with it, but something didn’t quite mesh right. It has the makings of a good platformer, but the levels I played were a little bland in their design.

The levels and sprites all look OK, they’re neither good nor bad, and Michaels animation seems fine to me. The problem is I didn’t get to get out of the one area, so I don’t know how much variety there is in the visuals being as I saw only the dank looking dungeon area. Musically, the game is ok, it does its job, but is ultimately forgettable and a little tiresome after some time. I thnk it’d be worth looking into the game, and maybe with more varied later stages, my interest would come back.

Verdict: Neutral.

Retro Monday – Star Wars: Dark Forces

Star Wars: Dark Forces is an FPS shooter that came out on Dos (PCs,) Playstation and Macintosh. It was made by LucasArts and came out in 1995.

As I said, it was a First Person Shooter that was very much like Doom, and by that, I don’t mean it was a Star Wars with Demons and Hell. I mean that it simply plays like Doom, and has a very similar feel to it.  It was great fun gunning down Storm Troopers and getting the plans for the Death Star to take to the rebels. It played really well, but I have to admit that I used Dark XL Mod that made the game run like a more modern day shooter, as an example you can aim properly with your mouse instead of the keys on a keyboard.  The game has a lives system, you have 3 in which to complete your mission, if you lose all 3 you start from the beginning, differing the other game that I mentioned, where your lives are unlimited. Another thing the game seems to have are pick ups, I don’t mean the usual you pick up a weapon and it adds to your ammo, I mean that items that have will have some benefit to you, an example being I picked up an  item and it was Thermal Goggles for a while before that I complained about not being able to see, as some of the areas of the 2nd level were too dark, and the goggles helped me, but allowing me to see in those areas.

It also has a lot of soundbites from Star Wars, with Storm Troopers calling you rebel scum, as well as saying other things. It’s unfortunate that there aren’t many different sound bites used as it gets quite repetitive quite quickly. Then you have the music for the levels itself, from what I played it was serviceable but entirely forgettable, there was nothing wrong with it, it just didn’t stick with you in any way. Visually it’s good to look at, though, from what little I played there wasn’t too much variety in the areas.

It’s worth nothing that if you want to complete the game you cannot do so with the Dark XL mod, you can play to a certain point and then the game will continually crash, so you’d have to finish it through DOSbox. I would still say play it with Dark XL to get the most out of it, even if you have to finish it off without it, it’s a good game and more need to play it.

Verdict: Recommended

Retro Monday – Kirby’s Block Ball

Kirby’s Block Ball is a spin-off game from the Kirby platforming series. it was made for the Nintendo Game Boy in 1995, it came out later in Europe in 1996 and it is was made by Hal Laboratory.

The game is an action game with a pretty simple premise, you move along a small paddle and hit blocks with a ball. Think Breakout. It’s more complex than Breakout though, it has paddles on the top and bottom for a start and your ball can change into a full-size Kirby with timing a button press precisely and it’s an ability that lets you break blocks that you normally wouldn’t be able to break. Later stages and boss stages include paddles on the sides of the stages too. It’s also more varied in the stages too, unlike Breakout where it’s basically hit a ball at blocks until you lose all you balls, this game adds enemies, bonus levels, obstacles and more, there’s also power-ups, that help you break more blocks and do a variety of things. I only got to try the Spark powerup, which breaks certain blocks and also continues through several blocks at a time, whereas normally you’d break one block and the ball will bounce back.

The game is fun to play, basic, simple, but jolly. I think it works really well, it has a really good ‘one more go’ feel to it, it’s also a perfect game for quick pick up and play. It’s interesting, taking something that’s been done before, but adding a lot of unique and interesting concepts to it. Visually the game is alright too, the sprites are all good, but obviously being a GameBoy game where you hit blocks, it’s a little bare, there’s not much to excite the eyes. Then there’s the music, it’s great, but there’s so little variety, it’s unfortunate that they used the same track for every stage as changing it up would have been much better.

Verdict: Recommended.