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Games #44-57 and Another System

#44: Lord of the Sword – Sega Master System.  This game reminded me a bit of Simon’s Quest.  It’s a side-scrolling adventure game, where you’re free to find your own way, and where townspeople give you various quests.  Unfortunately, it has limited continues and no save game/password ability.  I played this one for a decent bit of time, exhausting all of the continues and actually feeling that I made some progress in the game.  Unfortunately, the movement is slow and sometimes awkward ((Just like Simon’s Quest…)), combat isn’t very responsive ((Just like Simon’s Quest…)), and there were a ton of cheap hits from hard to see or avoid enemies.  Three pixels of a caterpillar sticking up above the grass just isn’t fair.  Wolves that lunge at you the moment they appear on screen so fast that you can’t even swing your sword to hit them just isn’t fair.

#45: Choplifter – Sega Master System.  This game was one of my favorite arcade games, and the SMS version is one of the most faithful to the arcade version.  (Choplifter on the 7800 and 5200 are both faithful to the original home computer version.)  So many quarters spent in the Silver City Mall…

#46: Kenseiden – Sega Master System.  This game plays like a samurai Castlevania.  With pot-bellied monkeys that are foaming at the mouth.  I gave up at the first boss, because it seemed like there was no way to avoid being hit by it, since it was too tall to jump over and flying too low to duck under.  I think if you hit it at just the right moment, you’d be safe as it passed through you, but I never quite got the hang of it.

#47: Rambo First Blood Part II – Sega Master System.  It’s like Ikari Warriors.  But with Rambo.  And without enemies that dance when they’re killed.

#48: B.O.B. – Sega Genesis.  “Robots are cool.”  “But gamers want edgy characters with attitude these days!”  “We can make a robot with an edgy attitude.”  “Do it!”  It’s got a well-animated robotic ant for the main character, and the selection of weapons and sub-powers is interesting, but that doesn’t really matter, since the game takes place in generic sci-fi industrial zone or generic sci-fi cave zone.  If there’s anything beyond that, I didn’t see it.

#49: Bubble and Squeak – Sega Genesis.  Colorful, charming, and bizarre.  This is a platform game with a few puzzle elements to it.  You have to get the kid Bubble and his giant blue cat friend Squeak to the barber pole in each level.  To do that, you’ll have to have the cat throw the kid into the air, have the kid kick the cat into a whirling ball of doom, and shoot stars at penguins with baseball bats or flying one-eyed piggy banks.

#50: Decap Attack – Sega Genesis.  You’re a mummy that can punch things with a face in its chest, and throw its head at enemies.  I think that’s about all there is to say on this one.

#51: Atomic Runner – Sega Genesis.  “The Deathtarians just killed my father and kidnapped my sister, so it’s time to get all Terry Fox on their asses and RUN RUN RUN!”  Might have been better if the game had a sense of speed or momentum.  But nope.  It’s more like a slowly scrolling horizontal shooter where you’re stuck on the ground.  You don’t even turn around when you press backwards, instead, you moonwalk.  To turn around, you have to press a different button, which leads to lamost instant death.  Who knew the Deathtarians would be so evil?

#52: Target Earth – Sega Genesis.  Mecha suits?  No.  Just…  No.  Oh yeah, one life and no continues.  Thankfully, I didn’t intentionally buy this game, it was sent to me by mistake when I ordered Trampoline Terror.

#53: Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle – Sega Genesis.  If “Generic Platformer Game” were in the dictionary, this would be the example they’d use.  And to think, Alex Kidd was Sega’s mascot before Sonic.

#54: Puggsy – Sega Genesis.  Raccoons steal a giant slug’s space ship and he’s out for revenge.  Revenge entails picking up barrels and seashells and kicking fish at parrots.

#55: Wonder Boy in Monster World – Sega Genesis.  A side scrolling action RPG adventure game, in the vein of Zelda II or Ys, but brighter and more colorful.  It’s a bit strange that the game starts off by telling you that monsters have invaded Monster World.  I’d have thought that monsters were already there…  Anyway, it’s a definite uphill from there, and I think I’m going to continue playing this game at some point.

I also hooked up my Philips CD-i.  The CD-i came out in the early 90’s, and was one of the first CD based systems.  Since it was one of the first CD-based systems, you get a lot of “CD-ROM” games for it, and I mean that in the worst sense.  Remember the days when games were pre-rendered CGI sequences or FMV scenes with short bits of “Photorealistic” nonsense in between?  The CD-i was full of that sort of thing.  It also had unresponsive controls, a high price tag, and an uncertain identity that left consumers unsure whether the system was meant to be an educational device or a game machine.  An interesting side note is that the CD-i grew out of a collaboration between Nintendo and Philips, for a CD-ROM extension for the Super Nintendo.  The add-on fell through, but Philips somehow ended up with the rights to produce a Mario game and several Zelda games.

#56: The 7th Guest – Philips CD-i.  Ooh, spooky.  This is what happens if you mix a ghost story with a copy of Games magazine.  This game is undeniably important in the history of gaming, but the gameplay itself did not survive the test of time.  I have to wonder how long it took them to render all of the 3D graphics in the game, given that an iPhone can probably do it in real-time today.

#57: Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon – Philips CD-i.  Zelda for the CD-i.  The legendary Zelda for the CD-i.  I have now played it.  It’s a lot like Waterworld.  Many people have said very bad things about it, but when you finally see it, your expectations are so low that you’re surprised that it’s really not that bad.  Okay, there’s plenty about it that is bad.  The cut scenes are just painful, the animation is bad, the voice acting is bad, the script is bad.  Character animation is choppy.  The control is a nightmare ((Up to jump, button 1 to attack, button 2 to use special weapons, enter doors, and enter the item select menu, and a third button on my controller is unused…)) and its often difficult to see what surfaces are walkable or not.  You have to hit money with your sword to pick it up.    The difficulty is annoying, with lots of cheap hits that steal tons of hearts.  But, having said that…  The levels are beautiful.  The backdrops all look like they’re hand-painted, no tiles here.  The core gameplay idea is good, where there are limited areas available to you from the world map, and more areas open to you as you explore or get more items.  Each zone has several rooms, some of which have items or people to talk to or exits that open up other zones on the world map.  The zones are typically about five or so screens wide.  The enemies are well-drawn and detailed.  Even without the flaws, though, I have a hard time believing that this would have been accepted as a Zelda game.  It doesn’t look or feel like a Zelda game, not even Zelda 2.  But with a different princess, this could have had a chance.


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