Tag: Retro Monday

Retro Monday – Command & Conquer: Red Alert

Command and Conquer is a real-time strategy (RTS) game series that is split into three different universes. Today we are looking at the Red Alert universe, specifically Command & Conquer: Red Alert. It was released in 1996 for PC and 1997 for PlayStation. It was made by Westwood Studios and the series is still ongoing with Red Alert 3 coming out for PS3 and Xbox 360.

The game starts with a cutscene that shows Albert Einstein going back in time to kill Hitler in 1924 stopping the Nazi’s rise to power. Unfortunately, this causes Russia to become more powerful and instead they start a war.  As said above, Red Alert is an RTS and that entails building various buildings which in turn gives you better buildings, that can give you a map, certain vehicles, special weapons, Tesla coils and so on.

The things you build can also grant you better troops. You start off with rifle men and grenadiers, but later you can get more types, like rocket men, who fire rocket launchers. Each troop type has its benefits over certain things – rocket troops are more effective than rifle men for taking out vehicles, you also have a harvester which gathers your resources with which you use to build. It’s the same with vehicles, some are better for taking out a variety of enemies.

I played this thinking the design would be too archaic to be as enjoyable as newer more modern, better functioning RTS games, but it’s actually still good to play. Although you don’t – at least to my knowledge – get the hotkeys that you get nowadays, and the fog of war is broken, as when you reveal a part of the map it stays revealed, but it plays well enough and is engaging to boot. The acting is bad during the mission briefing cutscenes, but I think it’s pretty fun – the good kind of bad. The gameplay is more simplistic, but it’s smooth and fun, while still making you think about what you are doing, and, from memory it get’s more difficult later on, where unit management and resource gathering is key to success.

Visually it’s pretty decent, everything is recognisable, you can easily tell your troops, vehicles and the terrain apart, and so on. The UI is pretty simple, you just have the a bar on the left with boxes in which the building stuff takes place. Musically there’s some really good stuff there, the sound effects are pretty good, with the gunfire sounding OK, and then people’s death screams sounding well. The actual music itself has some really good guitar riffs and some nice sinister sounding music fitting for war and music styles in between.

I must add that I did have one problem, that was irritating more than anything. It didn’t really affect the game, but the game on my monitor went slightly off the screen. It meant that there was a little missing on each side of the game, so for me where it may say ‘Destroy the enemy’  it would say ‘stroy the enemy’. As I said, not game affecting, just a little annoying. Luckily, the stream was the full game and didn’t have this problem.

Verdict: Recommended

Join Pedz for Retro Monday on GRcade’s Twitch channel every week, and vote on what he plays next on GRcade

Retro Monday – Plok

Retro Monday review PlokPlok was is an action platformer made by Software Creations for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System.  It was published by different companies in different regions and came out in 1993.

Why did I choose Plok as the game for this week? Well, it’s something I played a little of as a kid and had fond memories of the brief time I had with it. The memories were nothing specific, just that I liked it. Now, going back to after 20 odd years and seeing the game still has massive bags of charm with fun gameplay is a joy.

The gameplay itself is pretty groovy, you play as the titular character Plok and have to jump, punch and kick your way through levels. The punch mechanic is similar to Rayman, in that you throw your limb and the enemies to kill them. only in this, you get four attacks as you use each limb as a projectile. One cool thing is certain targets you hit will make your limbs not return to you and instead go to a clothes hanger and you have to get them back. In one level I had to use three of my limbs in this way but didn’t get them back until I found a power-up, which not only gave me a gun but also when it ran out I received all my limbs. Speaking of power-ups, I only had three but they were varied. One was a boxer, that let you punch indefinitely. Another had a sort of blunderbuss that had a shotgun-like spread shot and the last was a flamethrower which came in really handy.

Musically the game has a pretty sweet rock-inspired soundtrack, and it has some nice variety in its styles, like having a different feeling soundtrack when you play as Grandpappy Plok, I was told on the stream that there’s a rumour that when Shigeru Miyamoto heard the intro music he believed it came from a SNES with a custom chip. You then have the visuals which ooze charm, they’re vibrant, well detailed, and all-around well made. The levels are fantastic, the sprites are simply glorious. It has to be one of the best looking SNES games I have seen.

Verdict: Highly recommended

Join Pedz for Retro Monday on GRcade’s Twitch channel every week, and vote on what he plays next on GRcade

Retro Monday – U.N. Squadron

Hi everyone. I’m here to let you know what I thought of U.N. Squadron after a week or so’s break.

It was made by Capcom and was originally an arcade game that came out in 1989. It was later released on consoles, and the version I’m playing was released on the SNES in 1991 (and 1992 in Europe).

We’ll start off with the basics. It’s a side-on side scrolling shooter – think R-Type or Gradius – but with a more modern skin than the futuristic space battle of those aforementioned games. You can pick between three characters, of which I have no clue as to what they do other than changing the portrait on your HUD.

You take down enemy helicopters, planes, tanks, gun emplacements and all that jazz. It doesn’t really do anything special and I don’t think it stands out from the crowd when it comes to its genre. One thing that is different to the usual is a levelling system, as you pick up power-ups that give you experience to level instead of getting power-ups that give you different weapons. You also don’t have one-hit deaths, instead you have a health bar and you don’t lose your level when you die. You also have a map screen to pick where you go next, kind of like Bionic Commando, but you have vehicles that move towards your base slowing progress, more so when they get there as you have to beat the vehicle’s stage to carry on with normal progression.

Visually the game is a mixed bag. The sprites are rather nice, but the backgrounds just seem a little bland. It’s probably as there’s going to be points where the game gets really busy, but I would say overall it’s pretty nice to look at. Musically it’s pretty good too. The music is really catchy and the first level has a sort of sinister undertone to it. I think the nice beefy sound effects elevate the action.

Verdict: Recommended

Join Pedz for Retro Monday on GRcade’s Twitch channel every week, and vote on what he plays next on GRcade

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