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Retro Monday Game 94 – Apocalypse!

Apocalypse was a ‘multidirectional shooter’ (or as we call them usually to call them now ‘Twin Stick Shooter’)  game for Sony’s PlayStation. It was made by developed by Neversoft and published by Activision. It was released in 1998 and was the second game that was created by the Neversoft.

The game was picked via a poll of three games over on GRcade. The three games were picked by Preezy.

Another game I knew nothing about. Which seems to be quite the common theme at the moment.  Well, I have to admit, that the Playstation era visually for me, just isn’t very nice, it hasn’t aged particularly well. Obviously, it will depend on the stylistic choices made and the aesthetic of the game, but a lot that I see or play just don’t hold up. This is one of those games. It isn’t helped that I’m playing it on a 4K TV making it looks worse. For the time I think it would have been held fairly highly, and while the visuals aren’t amazing, when I re-adjusted to them, but the 4th level I was really digging the look of the game and in general prefered the game after the first level. I enjoyed my time with this, it’s not massively different to similar titles before it, when I was asked ‘what kind of game is this?’ in the stream, I said it seems similar to something like Smash T.V. but not as hard. It has different things to Smash TV, there are points where the camera angle changes and there are platforming sections, but it’s nothing that hasn’t been done before. It’s a fun game, and for me, that’s what matters. A game doesn’t need to reinvent the wheel to be fun and enjoyable, which I think a lot of people forget nowadays and expect some kind of revolution at all times.

The sound is actually pretty good, the first level I admit I wasn’t a fan, I thought it just sounded odd. I think the music picks up from there on. with music that suits the levels, and on occasion you come across a billboard and on it is a video from a music video which can be from several bands. The ones I happened to see/hear were not something I knew, bar ‘System of the Down’ and ‘War?’ and I thought maybe on was ‘Pantera’ well, it wasn’t. The sound effects were all well done too, the various weapons all had their own unique sounds which were distinct from each other and the explosions were very loud and explosion-y. BUT, the voice acting of Bruce Willis – yes, Bruce Willis the actor – were underwhelming, the quality wasn’t the issue, it was more than he sounded like he couldn’t really be bothered with it and it just seemed half-arsed. On top of that, the dialogue through the stages was repeated way too much you heard 90% of what is going to be said by Bruce by the end of the first stage. It’s a shame as it could’ve been so much more than what it was if there were more lines recorded and Brucey actually had an interest in it.

Verdict: Recommend.

If you’d like to take part in voting for the games or even  picking the games yourself, take yourself over to the GRcade forums and pop into the Retro Monday thread and just post to show your interest. Not just that, you can watch the gameplay live over on Twitch where it’s streamed at 9pm on a Monday evening.

 

Retro Monday Game 93 – Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins!

Back in 80/90’s Nintendo were seeing great success in general, but the Super Mario Bros, in particular, was massive, Nintendo was also having great success with the Game Boy, so why not bring the series to that platform? Well, they did in 1989 with Super Mario Land, they followed it up with Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins. It came out in 1992 in Japan and 1993 for the west. The game wasn’t actually created by Shigeru Miyamoto who created the Mario series but was in fact created by Hiroji Kiyotake.

The game was chosen via a poll of three games that were selected by Super Dragon 64 on GRcade.

This is a game that I am familiar with. I loved it back as a kid and I still love it now. I’ve played it to completion a few times and I still think it’s a great game. I’m also still always amazed by how this game looks in comparison to Super Mario Land. Super Mario Land looks very very different, whereas Super Mario Land 2 actually looks like a Mario game. It does look a little off when playing on the GBC as it wasn’t a proper Color game, but on the monochrome screen, it was lovely as the colours weren’t off. Anyway, the game starts off with Wario (yes, this is the first game Wario was in) taking over Mario’s ‘house’ and you are on a journey to get it back. here are six different themed areas with 3 levels each where you have to get a golden coin and when you have all six you can unlock the door to take on Wario. The worlds themselves are all distinct from each other and have some lovely variety. For example, the first world I went to was a giant tree that I climbed, I later went to space and then a Scary Pumpkin. The bosses are a all well suited to the areas too, there’s no Bowser or Koopa Kids here. As I said they are suited to the theme of the area. So in Space, you fight an Alien, in the Pumpkin a Witch.

The Mushroom and Fire Flower make an appearance too, though the Super Mario’s design is different more than likely due to the lack of colour to differentiate from Big Mario as the was no colour. Hearts replace Green Mushrooms again I think it’s due to lack of colour and being able to easily see the difference. On top of it, you have a new power. It’s a Carrot. It makes Mario a Playboy Bunny… Ok, it doesn’t, but it does actually give him Rabbit Ears. These are used in a similar way to the Raccoon tail in Super Mario Bros 3. They aren’t exactly the same, you can’t run and fly with them, they similar in that you use them to slow your descent by tapping on holding jump. Holding it slows your fall, but tapping slows your fallrate even more, which comes in handy.

The music is great also, with a lot a variety again, sound effects are also on par. It seems like a lot of effort went into it to differentiate it from Super Mario Bros, yet retain the overall feel of a Mario Bros game. You can see that I’m really into this game, maybe nostalgia is playing a big part in that and I don’t personally have many qualms with it, other than the game is a little too easy for 99% of it. I died maybe once or twice and then I got to the final level and lost 40+ lives. It’s a massive difficulty spike. It’s still a very good level, but the middle section, for me at least, was very tricky, but I got there in the end.

Verdict: Recommend.

If you’d like to take part in voting for the games or even picking the games yourself, take yourself over to the GRcade forums and pop into the Retro Monday thread and just post to show your interest. Not just that, you can watch the gameplay live over on Twitch where it’s streamed at 9pm on a Monday evening.

Retro Monday Game 92 – Hybrid Heaven

Hybrid Heaven was a game with an unusual blend of genres action/adventure and RPG for the Nintendo 64 that was made by Konami and released in 1999. Its design was in hope that it would create a new style of RPG Battle System.

Chosen by the community of GRcade via a poll of three games chosen by Jenuall.

Well, I had not heard of this game before. I knew literally nothing going into it other than what was said in the Retro Monday thread which was basically it’s an oddity.

Now, having no clue what is going on you’re treated to a few cutscenes of a naked guy doing various things in what appears to be a flat (apartment,) then getting a visitor, then going to a subway station and getting shot. You then play as the shooter. I still have no idea what is going on at this point, it’s really odd. The gameplay proper starts when you enter a facility and here is where the hybrid gameplay in that you explore in a 3rd person view and you have a similar kind of stand still to aim and shoot to actually shoot things, then, you also get into fights. Fist fights, I must add. Here’s where there’s the real mix in genre, you fight things and have a bar fill to select your attack, and the enemy can Step – meaning the can step aside and take no damage, though if they get hit they take all the damage, or they can Guard – which makes you take less damage or, you can counter 0 simply avoid the hit and smack them back. You can also bloc, step and counter the enemy attacks.

The fights take place in small rooms where you can move around the 3D space, and remember the bar you want to fill to attack, the bar is for the power you use, you want it full and the fastest way to get it to fill is to stand still. I find it’s best to move away as fast as I can and just wait for a bit, rinse and repeat. You also learn more attacks, you can even grapple and learn different moves via that too. Neck Thrown, Body Slam, there are a few that I saw myself. You also level up, like an RPG, but you also level up your body parts – left leg, right leg, torso, right and left arms too, not only that, your body parts have separate levels for attack and defence.

The sound was decent too. The very beginning cutscenes has some sinister music happening and when you’re travelling around the facility you’re in there’s this music, but it’s more atmospheric than anything and it really fits a sci-fi soundscape. During fights, the music is again the low key, but it really adds to the tension and I think it’s really well implemented as it really suits the slower paces of the fights and it adds weight to the situation that you are in. The Sound Effects carry weight to them and punches and kicks are meaty, the only odd SFX to me is the gun, it kinda sounds like a weird water drop or something, where I think it’s meant to be pew-pew.

Verdict: Recommend.

If you’d like to take part in voting for the games or even picking the games yourself, take yourself over to the GRcade forums and pop into the Retro Monday thread and just post to show your interest. Not just that, you can watch the gameplay live over on Twitch where it’s streamed at 9pm on a Monday evening.

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