Tag: Retro

SNES Game Review 42: Bubsy in Claws Encounters of the Furred Kind

Bubsy in Claws Encounters of the Furred Kind, or just Bubsy for short  (Yamaneko Bubsy no Daibōken to our Japanese friends)  is a platform video game released by Accolade in the early 1990s.
The designer Michael Berlyn apparently came upon Sonic the Hedgehog and loved it so much that he began to play it for 14 hours a day in order to find out what made it a good game in the hopes that he could leach the best bits of it out and regurgitate them into his own game, apparently he did this for a week, now that might sound like a lot of hedgehog loving, its a wonder no one called the RSPCA.

The game was developed and released for the Super Nintendo and the Megadrive, with each version basically the same  (The musics a little nicer on the SNES and that’s all really) Just like Battletoads Bubsy actually managed to gain enough attention to get a cartoon pilot made that didnt go on to a series.
 So even with a quick look at the game you can see the sonic Connection so why the long name Claws Encounters of the Furred Kind? Basically to spoof the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind, You see the plot of the game is that Bubsy the bobcat must defend the wool of planet earth against alien invaders. I feel stupid writing this in a review I cant believe someone actually wrote it as a plot to a game and then had it released with this plot and name like they were happy with there work.
A lot of complaints have been brought up about Bubsy over the years the fact that its to fast and things literally jump right in front of you causing the game tom be slowed down a lot by death after death. Then there is the fact that Bubsy’s powers were kind of supposed to be based on a cats and yet he seems to be able to fly, well fly is maybe a strong word to paraphrase buzz light year he ”falls with style”.
What is often forgotten is that Pre-release anticipation for busby was very high, the game received incredibly aggressive marketing, Bubsy was pushed as being the next big thing it was said that it would rival the likes of Sonic the Hedgehog and Super Mario. Bubsy won Electronic Gaming Monthly’s Most Hype for a Character award in 1993. The hype didn’t disappear instantly with its release either it even managed to achieve some decent reviews Electronic Gaming Monthly gave it an 8 out of 10. Sure it did get some lower scores but the real backlash against the game seemed to happen much latter, it was like the polar opposite of a film like for example the rocky horror picture show which had reasonable success but over the years has become more and more loved growing to an absolute cult classic. Bubsy seems to have become more and more hated.
So I suppose the obvious question is do I hate Bubsy and do I hate his game?  The game has a sence of humour each level is introduced by some sort of play-on-words spoken by Bubsy in a typical cartoon voice: “what could possibly go wrong?”, or “did I mention I don’t like heights?” yes some of it comes of as a little bit cheesy but its a good chucklesome kind of cheesy.
My main complaint with Bubsy’s main complaint is one I have already touch on he far too easy to kill. You can be killed by the slightest touch of a n enemy  or you’ll run straight into an obstacle before you even really get chance to see it, yes this is  frustrating but I dont believe that this small thing is a complete game breaker. You get a lot of lives and bubsys gliding ability can keep him up above a lot of trouble. I have to admit though that the speed in this game does not work as well as sonic, bubsy needed a move like sonic’s spin so that he could just roll into a ball or something and batter anything that ran in to him. If you only had to worry about the pitfalls and not the enemies while running/ rolling like this then it would help a lot.
Visually, I really like the game its bright, I find its sprites to be pleasant and detailed. Bubsy’s animation is great but its like to much attention was paid to him, the enemies and some of the other visual elements dont seem to quiet live up to his quality.
In answer to the question, I kind of like Bubsy but I do see his game as being just above average, its a 6 out of 10, it was over hyped back in the day and some people fell for this hype but then it seems to be part of an almost never ending back lash that paints it as far worse than it is. I think the truth lies in the middle
The game is not brilliant but it is not awful either, its one to go for if you have exhausted all of the more popular platformers on the Snes and you still haven’t had enough. I would however first advice that you consider getting a megadrive and sampling some of the better platformers it has to offer first.
If you want Bubsy for the Snes with a bit of effort you should be able to find a Pal cart for around £7, but if you own both a SNES and a megadrive I would tell you to actually go for the Megadrive version you can get the cart for as little as £3.50 including postage.

Snes Game Review 41: Killer Instinct

I wasn’t really sure what I was going to review as my 41st SNES review…several games nearly made there way into the SNES to instead be pulled away at the last instant. I have tried to keep things as messed up as possible for reasons of variety and surprise, so I have jumped from games launched early in the machines life then to late games and backwards and forwards pinballing all over the place. Sometimes though there has been a degree of method behind my madness and this is the case here. Today I am going to talk about Killer instinct the reason being that I have laid a small subtle amount of groundwork for this, first I made sure that I had already talked about Street Fighter 2 the world warrior because its the ground stick every other fighting game ended up  judged against back in the day and I also made sure to talk about Super Battletoads.

You might remember that I said that in the early days of the SNES Rare released very little, so really they jumped straight from Battletoads in Battlemaniacs to this game and Donkey Kong country. These games were made using the expensive workstations they had funneled all of there NES game profits in to.
So Killer Instinct is a fighting game developed by Rare.  Published by Midway and Nintendo, it was originally released as an arcade game during the summer of 1994. I remember seeing this in the arcades it caused a massive fuss, people flocked to it. When it was announced that it would be coming to a home system the first thing everyone I knew presumed was that it would be coming to some kind of ”next gen” system or that it would be a massively cut down shadow of its former self. So the  following year when it was ported to the SNES every ones jaws collectively hit the floor, there was cheering shouting and the usual unfortunate fan boy prodding of Megadrive/Genesis owners, some of which tried to counter the argument for format superiority with the fact that Eternal Champions: Challenge from the Dark Side was exclusive to the mega CD.
Some people would look at or play Killer Instinct and look at it from the point of view of it being a street fighter or mortal kombat clone and sure it has a little in common with both of these titles, if anything I would say it is kind of the middle point between the two in terms of style and playability. Killer Instinct was far from just a clone though, it had graphics the likes of which had never been seen in a home console game but there was more to it than that though it actually has a few game-play elements that were unique to fighting games at the time of its release some of which have been adapted by other games. (Similar ideas might have been tried in other games but KI is the one that made them well known).
Instead of fighting enemies in best-of-three rounds bouts, each player has two life bars. The player that depletes both of the other player’s life bars first wins. The game also introduced “auto-seconds”, which allows players to press a certain sequence of buttons to make characters automatically perform combos on opponents. Also featured in the game are “combo breakers”; special moves that can interrupt combos, for anyone who has been playing a fighting game and found themselves stuck in a life bar smashing sequence of hits that they just cant get away from combo breakers are and were a god send.
The graphics at the time were amazing, they haven’t aged brilliantly though, street fighter 2 has definitely aged better in this regard, but the sound in this game is out of this world, and not just out of this world in terms of games music it is actually brilliant music in its own right which probably explains one of the reasons that the game originally came with a CD called Killer Cuts featuring its music. To this day I still have a track from this disc on my phone so that I can listen to it when I travel.
I think that the game still more than has the quality of gameplay needed to drag you in, sure people will say there is only 10 characters and that once you have finished it with all of them there is not a lot to do, and yes this is kind of true but if you have two pads and a friend or two this game can last forever. You can get along playing it in a button mashing manner but if you want to see all that the game has to offer then it takes a lot of time and skill to see everything all of the combos, all of the finishers. Yes there is only 10 characters but there is no palette swapping they are all fully independent characters with there own move sets and fighting styles and each one of them has a story behind them.
Even given all of the years that have gone past I find myself needing to give this game a high score… I think I need to give this game an 8, its just that good. I have two copies of this, one is American and the other is English, they are both carts only unfortunately.. I wish I had a complete copy just so I still had the Killer Cuts CD.. last time I had my hands on a copy of the CD was at my brothers, he let me rip the disc and listen to it, but then he put it back in his car so he could listen to it while driving, unfortunately he was living in a rough area and someone set his car alight and well the car the CD and everything else in it turned in to a burned and melted wreckage.
If you want a copy of this game will only cost you around the £6 to £10 mark for a cart only, you can get a boxed copy for around £25 to £35 unfortunately very few of them seem to still have the Killer cuts disc in them.
Killer Instinct of course was followed by a sequel, the 1996 arcade game Killer Instinct 2, there are rumors that a SNES port of this was finished but never released, this may be true as other games were dropped towards the end of the machines life for fear they wouldn’t sell with different versions going on to become N64 games as well. For examplethe original Starfox 2 was left pretty much finished but unreleased at with some of the ideas from it becoming taken to help make+ Lylat Wars, and Killer instinct 2 was released on the N64 with the title Killer Instinct Gold). The Killer Instinct brand has been revivived by Microsoft who now own rare but they had used an other studio Double Helix to make the game, with apparently a tiny bit of advice and ideas from Rare. It kills me to think that KI is continuing to exist but Rare are busy making Kinect games and hats for Avatars.

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.