Tag: Retro

SNES Game Review 46: F-Zero

so here is a review of F-Zero well its more story about it than a review but you get reviews everywere …so instead step into this semi review, semi chunk of my life.

I remember walking home from comprehensive school, must have been in one of my first years there. At home I had a Megadrive and an Amiga 500 as well as all of the other usual stuff youd find in a boys room at that time, TV, CD player, poster of a good looking singer you had a crush on. I didn’t really think much of school so Id be out of that gate the second I could. There was a system whereby we would walk the kid who lived the closest out of our group to his door, usually passing a sweet shop on the way, and then the next kid and so on and so on. In the end there would be only me and my friend Andrew left.  Now Andrew had almost always been in my life, the early years of gaming were mostly based around him coming to my house to play on my spectrum and Atari 2600 or me at his playing on his  Commadore 64. Now we would walk to a crossroads were my house lay down a path on the left and was towards the right so we would part there but for a solid 3 months I didn’t go home straight away. No I crossed over the road and went in to our Local CO-OP. This wasn’t a CO-OP for food, it was a large store it had all sorts in it, sheets, toys, and all manner of stuff but for a while it had a Super Nintendo Demo unit, one of those consoles under a dome with the pad sticking out so you could have a go. In this Demo unit they had FZero. No one I knew at this point owned a SNES and no one would till the Christmas of that year, but I used to go in there every day after school and play FZero basically until they got fed up of me and chased me off.
So yes Fzero was the very first Super Nintendo game I ever got to sample and I knew one thing from the first time I played it and that was, I needed to get a Super NES. The problem was I had only just gotten a Megadrive for the Christmas that had passed so I thought asking for one for that Christmas would be seen as ungrateful, besides I knew my mum she had probably already started buying stuff in advance, no I was going to have to wait it out for over a whole year.
Christmas came and I got lots of stuff but didn’t get a SNES, but lots of my friends did, and I was soon visiting them playing on their machines and enjoying it, but nobody got FZero. From the day they removed the Demo Unit from the shop till the next time I would end up playing on the game which had awoken me to the wonders of the Super Nintendo to the day I would hold it in my hands was probably separated by probably a year and a half. I got the SNES a year after a lot of my friends, but even then I was the only one to have both a SNES and a Megadrive, all of the others stuck firmly to one camp and defended their choice day in day out with every fibre of there being.
It is probably the greatest complement I can pay to the game to say that it was worth the wait and that it was the machine that made me buy a SNES.
For those of you who haven’t played it and as a recap for others here is a little information. F-Zero is a futuristic racing video game developed by Nintendo EAD and published by Nintendo. The game was released in Japan as one of the two launch titles for the machine. The game takes place in the year 2560 and can best be thought of as a sort of futuristic Formula One you can choose to play as one of four characters each of them having their own particular hover car. The player then races against computer controlled opponents in fifteen tracks divided into three leagues.
F-Zero is acknowledged by critics to be the game that set a standard for the racing genre and the creation of the futuristic sub-genre. F-Zero wasn’t just a good game though it was an early example of what the SNES could do with the use of the graphical mode called “Mode 7”. This graphics-rendering technique was an innovative technological achievement, it helped show that the Snes could perform certain tricks which other consoles would struggle with (Mode 7 is a graphics mode on the Super NES that allows a background layer to be rotated and scaled on a scanline-by-scanline basis to create many different effects.) This game showed that the SNES wasn’t just a powered up console it was a new machine which had brought new technology and innovation to the table.
The graphics, the sound the sense of speed everything in this game seemed to be designed to get you hyped, to get you playing filled with excitement not just for the game but for the very future of this machine and this is something I feel it did well. It was an easy game to pick up but a hard one to Master. Even to this day there are races on this game which will make you feel like your blood is boiling, like you are travelling at 5000mph, it is quite simply that good.
I Would give this game a solid 9 out of 10 and I have seen it sell for around the 10quid mark online although it can go for more, if you own a Snes and you don’t own it buy it. I hate the fact that since the cube version Nintendo just seem to have left this game series to rot, the only reminder being the fact you can buy it on Virtual console, some would say Wipeout out did it, but while I love wipeout as well I think there is always room for More Fzero (the studio that did Wipeout has since died but members of it have reformed as a new studio to make a game which is a follow up in spirit if not in name)

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.