Category Archives: NES

The Tower of Druaga: Persevere, Sir Knight

The Tower of Druaga is an important part of gaming history — yet it’s also a game that has somewhat divided opinion over the years.

Back in its native Japan, it was widely loved and appreciated for its revolutionary nature at the time of its original release; in the West, however, it was lambasted for its slow pace, obtuse mechanics and monstrous level of difficulty.

Regardless of your feelings on it, you can now play the Famicom version as part of the Namco Museum Collection 2 cartridge on the Evercade retro gaming system. So let’s take a closer look, and see why this game is so important.

Continue reading The Tower of Druaga: Persevere, Sir Knight

Galaxian: The Thinking Man’s Fixed Shooter

For quite some time — particularly during the crossover from the 8-bit to 16-bit home computer and console eras — shoot ’em ups were regarded as the “dumb” side of gaming; critics often thought we could “do better”.

These days, of course, the more discerning gamers among us will, of course, be able to recognise that 1) there are a wide variety of different types of shoot ’em up out there, many of which are intricately designed works of mechanical artistry, and 2) they’re absolutely not as mindless as some people might like to make them out to be. And, moreover, they haven’t been for a long time.

Not sure about that? Look back on Namco’s Galaxian, originally released to arcades in 1979 and ported to a wide variety of platforms over the following years. The version we’re primarily concerned with today is the Famicom version from 1984, which you can now enjoy worldwide as part of the Namco Museum Collection 1 cartridge for the Evercade retro gaming system.

Continue reading Galaxian: The Thinking Man’s Fixed Shooter

Super Robin Hood: Feared By the Bad, Loved By the Good

The Oliver Twins are an important part of British gaming history, and Super Robin Hood is a particularly noteworthy title — its original incarnation on the Amstrad CPC was the duo’s first commercially successful game, and the first of many games Codemasters would publish for them.

The version of Super Robin Hood we find on the Oliver Twins Collection cartridge for Blaze’s Evercade retro gaming system is a substantial reimagining of this game rather than a note-for-note remake. The original Amstrad CPC version came out in 1986 while the twins were still at school, whereas the NES incarnation found on the Evercade cart hit the market in 1992. This was after the boys had decided to do this programming thing full time — and after they’d really figured out a few things about what makes a solid game from a design perspective. At least their poor old CPC didn’t have to work 23-hour days any more!

While the twins’ myriad Dizzy titles are their more well-known work, there’s a lot to like about Super Robin Hood — particularly this later reimagining. So let’s take a closer look!

Continue reading Super Robin Hood: Feared By the Bad, Loved By the Good

Double Dragon II: The Revenge – Who Needs Arcade Perfection?

Much like its predecessor, the NES version of Technōs Japan’s classic beat ’em up Double Dragon II: The Revenge is a distinct affair from its arcade-based counterpart.

This was an era of gaming where arcade-perfect ports on home platforms weren’t really possible — so in a fair few cases, developers simply opted to make brand new games that were true to the spirit of the arcade original rather than simply attempting to ape the quarter-munching experience.

In many cases, this resulted in more substantial games that provided an experience with much more longevity for home play — and while it has a few design features that might make modern gamers wince, Double Dragon II: The Revenge for NES is one such example. And conveniently, you can enjoy it in several ways right now: as part of the Nintendo Switch Online NES app; as part of the Double Dragon & Kunio-kun: Retro Brawler Bundle for PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch; and as part of the Technos Collection 1 cartridge for the Evercade retro gaming platform.

Continue reading Double Dragon II: The Revenge – Who Needs Arcade Perfection?

Exploding Fist: The Way Fightin’ Used To Be

Like most game genres, fighting games went through a period of experimentation and flux in their early days as developers and publishers attempted to figure out the “best” way to do things.

In the days of 8-bit home computers and consoles, we saw a variety of different games attempting to simulate martial arts with varying degrees of realism — and certain elements of these early titles can be traced all the way forwards to today’s most competitive fighters.

One early, influential title was Beam Software’s The Way of the Exploding Fist. This is best known in its home computer incarnations for Commodore 64 and 16, BBC Micro, Amstrad CPC and Acorn Electron, but there was also supposed to be an NES version. For one reason or another, this console version never saw the light of day, but more recently Piko Interactive managed to rescue this prototype, clean it up a bit and release it to the public. And now you can enjoy it on the Evercade retro gaming platform as part of the Piko Interactive Collection 1 cartridge. Let’s take a look!

Continue reading Exploding Fist: The Way Fightin’ Used To Be

Log Jammers: Less Wind, More Log

One of the most common arguments in favour of pocket-sized handheld gaming devices is that they’re eminently suitable for bite-sized nuggets of gameplay that will keep you distracted for a few minutes at a time.

The Evercade retro gaming platform is no stranger to this concept, with plenty of the games across its complete library ideal for a quick rag on while you wait for your Pot Noodle to finish festering, your significant other to get out of the bog and/or Amelia Watson to start streaming. And many of these “quick hit” games can be found on the eighth cartridge in the library: Mega Cat Studios Collection 1a compilation of “modern retro” titles where today’s developers make new games for yesterday’s systems.

A fine example is Mega Cat’s self-developed Log Jammers, an exceedingly unsubtle homage to Data East’s Neo Geo title Windjammers, originally released for NES in 2017 and now available for fun on the go thanks to the Evercade. Grab your axe and let’s get rolling!

Continue reading Log Jammers: Less Wind, More Log

Dragon Spirit: The New Legend – In Case of Emergency, Use Dragon

The shoot ’em up genre is, it’s fair to say, fairly dominated by spaceships. It makes sense — a sci-fi tale allows for pretty much unbridled creativity, taking the player on a journey through the stars into the great unknown, battling off hordes of unimaginable horrors from many light years away.

But the fantasy genre is ripe for exploiting in this way, too; much like the more outlandish side of sci-fi, a lot of fantasy has never seemed too concerned with respecting the usual laws of physics, time and space. And as such there’s no good reason why we couldn’t have just as satisfying a time blasting our way through a fantasy tale as we could if we were behind the controls of some sort of comically overpowered spaceship.

Namco evidently felt this way back in 1987 when they released the fantasy-themed vertically scrolling shoot ’em up Dragon Spirit to the arcades. And then they remembered it was still a very good idea a couple of years later when they released quasi-sequel Dragon Spirit: The New Legend for Famicom in 1989, with a North American NES version following in 1990. And this 8-bit home console version can now be enjoyed by a whole new audience today, thanks to its inclusion on the Namco Museum Collection 2 cartridge for the Evercade retro gaming system. So let’s take a closer look!

Continue reading Dragon Spirit: The New Legend – In Case of Emergency, Use Dragon

Mappy: Your Move, Cat

Mappy is perhaps not one of Namco’s most well-known arcade games from the early days — here in the West, anyway — but it’s still one that the company frequently acknowledges and pays tribute to.

Many of the cars in the Ridge Racer series feature “sponsorship” by the series, for example, and the first Mappy title, which we’re concerned with today, was successful enough to spawn several sequels. There was even an animated series made in 2013 as part of Namco’s ShiftyLook initiative, but sadly this is no longer officially available.

Whether you’re a longstanding fan of the series or a newcomer, you can now enjoy the original Mappy’s NES port as part of the Namco Museum Collection 1 for the Evercade retro gaming platform. So let’s take a closer look!

Continue reading Mappy: Your Move, Cat

Double Dragon: Defining the Brawler

Every gaming genre out there has that one title that helped to codify — if not establish — conventions that would continue to be followed for many years to come.

For the beat ’em up genre, that game was Technos’ Double Dragon, a title that is widely regarded to have kicked off something of a “golden age” for the genre with its innovative mechanics, simultaneous two-player action and large, chunky sprites. It also got an NES version developed by Technos themselves which doesn’t get talked about nearly as much. Which is a shame, because it’s an interesting game and most certainly isn’t just a straightforward attempt to ape the arcade machine on limited hardware.

Fortunately, we can now enjoy this intriguing take on a classic in a couple of readily available ways if you don’t have an NES to hand: via the Double Dragon and Kunio-Kun bundle released for modern consoles by Arc System Works, and as part of the Technos Collection 1 cartridge for the Evercade retro gaming platform.

Continue reading Double Dragon: Defining the Brawler

The Immortal: How To Kill Your Wizard

If you are a glutton for punishment, or just feel that modern video games are a touch on the easy and/or fair side for you, it’s high time you checked out Will Harvey’s classic 1990 title, The Immortal.

As it happens, at the time of writing it’s just become easily accessible in not one, but two different places: you can now play the NES version as part of a Nintendo Switch Online subscription, and the Mega Drive version appears as part of the Piko Interactive Collection 1 cartridge for the Evercade retro gaming system.

It’s the latter version we’ll be focusing on today, but expect similar amounts of death in both. Roll up your sleeves, and let’s get mortal.

Continue reading The Immortal: How To Kill Your Wizard