Author: Pedz

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.

Retro Monday – Super Castlevania IV

Super Castlevania IV is the fourth entry in the mainline Castlevania series, though it’s a pseudo-remake of the original Castlevania. It was released on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in 1991 in Japan and the US, but around a full year later in Europe. Super Castlevania IV was made and published by Konami.

SCIV is an action platformer, and follows in the style of previous Castlevania games, though more like 1 than 2 and 3, as 3 has branching paths and 2 is more metroid-esque. The game sees you in the role of Simon Belmont, the protagonist from Castlevania’s 1 and 2 trying to take down the dark lord Dracula in his castle. The thing with the older Castlevania games, unlike the newer more Metroid style games, is you aren’t in the castle for the whole game, you go from level to level making your way to it, which adds a lot more variety to it in its locations that aren’t really in the later games. The best addition to the game though is the 8-way directional whip, it makes it much better being able to aim your whip in these directions instead of trying to jump and get the perfect hit on an enemy. It’s simply easier, more user-friendly, and also makes for a more fun experience. The actual gameplay itself is generally fun, though it can be tough especially when having to start so far back in the level when you lose all your lives it is somewhat of a massive frustration, the knockback you get when getting hit by enemies is also a right pain, but when you do finish a level and then beat the boss, you feel like you’ve really earned the win.

Visually the game looks great, I like the sprite works and the enemies look really rather interesting, some are a bit generic, but they all fit into the game well and suits its feel and theme. The music is also great and sets the atmosphere for each level well, there’s also variety in the music. I also like that while there is original music in the game, so great tracks, like Vampire Killer and Bloody Tears make an appearance in the game.

Overall I’d say this is one of the best traditional CCastlevaniagames, I find it hard to decide between this and Rondo of Blood, but this does have the benefit of the 8-way whip. Either way, you must play this game if you’re a fan of games, that’s right games in general. It holds up well to this day and should at least be played by anyone with a passing interest in retro games.

Verdict: Highly Recommended.