At the time of writing, the world is gearing up for a fourth official installment in the Bubble Bobble series.
Wait a minute, I hear you ask, fourth? What happened to the third? I don’t judge you too harshly for asking this question; I know some people who weren’t even aware that Rainbow Islands was the second Bubble Bobble game, so for you to be unaware that there had already been a third one is entirely understandable.
It doesn’t stop it being a huge shame, however, because 1991’s Parasol Stars: The Story of Bubble Bobble III is a wonderful game; one of my all-time favourite single-screen “kill ’em all” platformers, in fact, beaten only by Rod-Land. And yet, for various reasons, very few people either know it exists or remember it.
Continue reading Parasol Stars: The Bubble Bobble Everyone Forgets
One of the nice things about the two Taito Legends compilations on PS2, Xbox and PC (and the separate PSP release, which acts as a kind of “best of” compilation containing elements of both) is that it includes both well-known games and more obscure affairs.
One such example of the latter is The Electric Yo-Yo, an unusual Taito America game from 1982 that is so obscure that it doesn’t even have its own Wikipedia page (shock!). If Giant Bomb’s rather bare-bones page on the game is to be believed, it seems that it wasn’t all that well-received back in the day — but if there’s one thing I’ve learned in MoeGamer’s lifetime, it’s that it’s always worth considering something on its own merits, devoid of its original context and popular reception.
And y’know what? I kinda like The Electric Yo-Yo. I mean, sure, it’s kind of infuriating and I’ve hurled some deeply offensive language at it during my time with it… but I still kinda like it.
Continue reading Taito Essentials: The Electric Yo-Yo
New Zealand, as beautiful a country as it is, is not a place that gets a lot of attention. I mean, it’s tucked away down there right in the corner of the map where everyone forgets about it.
However, back in 1988, the country left a sufficiently lasting impression on one of Taito’s programmers that, upon his return from holiday, he wanted to make it a setting for a new arcade game.
The result was The New Zealand Story. And it’s one of Taito’s most interesting games.
Continue reading Taito Essentials: The New Zealand Story
At the time of writing, people are getting seriously excited for PlatinumGames’ next release, Astral Chain — and with good reason!
As the release approaches, we’re starting to learn more and more about the game: what we can expect from it, what sort of experience it will be and what its main inspirations are.
In the latter case, an interview by Polygon reveals that a particularly strong influence on director Takahisa Taura was an obscure 1983 release from Namco, developed by the creator of Pac-Man. I give you Libble Rabble.
Continue reading Namco Essentials: Libble Rabble
Sometimes there are games that aren’t the most fun to play today, but remain significant from a historical perspective nonetheless. SNK’s 1986 title Athena, in both its arcade and NES incarnations, definitely falls into that category.
Acting as a spiritual predecessor to Psycho Soldier but having pretty much nothing to do with it — the “Athena” in this game is supposedly a distant ancestor of the “Athena” in Psycho Soldier, so it’s not even the same character — Athena is a monstrously challenging platform action game that does a lot of interesting things… and a lot of frustrating things!
Let’s take a closer look.
Continue reading SNK Essentials: Athena
Athena’s name is magic, mystery is what you see.
Her crystal is the answer, fighting fair, to keep us free. She’s just a little girl with power inside, burning bright. You’d better hide if you are bad, she’ll get you!
She’ll read your mind and find if you believe in right or wrong…
Continue reading SNK Essentials: Psycho Soldier
In the same year as the excellent Vanguard, SNK’s 6502-based “Rockola” hardware played host to an altogether different kind of game.
Fantasy was a rather unusual game. Eschewing the usual spaceships and aliens in favour of a distinctly more “human” setup, the game actually made an effort to tell a story as it progressed. An extremely simple story, yes, but exceedingly ambitious considering this was 1981.
HOW ARE YOU? I’M FINE, THANK YOU. AAAAAAHHHHHH.
Continue reading SNK Essentials: Fantasy