Category Archives: Features

Top Racer: Definitely-Not-Lotus Turbo Challenge

Racing games used to be very different to how we know them today — primarily due to the limitations of the hardware on which they were running.

Instead of unfolding in lovingly rendered, minutely detailed 3D polygonal worlds as most of today’s racers are, they took what we now call a “vanishing point” approach, where the road was drawn using two converging lines to simulate a sense of perspective, and sprites drawn at various sizes were placed along the sides of the track to assist with the illusion of movement and speed.

Of all the racers designed in this way — and there are many, including some developed quite recently! — Kemco’s Top Racer, also known as Top Gear, is one of the finest out there. This is a game that still gets regular play from a lot of racing enthusiasts today — plus now you can enjoy it as part of the Piko Interactive Collection 1 cartridge for Blaze’s Evercade retro gaming system. So let’s take a closer look!

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Mighty Switch Force: Perilous Policing

WayForward have made some great games over the years — and not just in their flagship Shantae series.

One of their most interesting and enjoyable series of games comes in the form of Mighty Switch Force!, which provides a delightful blend of platforming and puzzling with plenty of that distinctive WayForward charm about it.

And it’s easier than ever to jump on board with the series today, thanks to the release of Mighty Switch Force! Collection on Switch, Windows PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. So let’s dive in and take a look at the first game in the series.

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Old Towers: Up and Down and Side to Side

As we’ve seen a few times already, the Mega Cat Studios Collection 1 cartridge for the Evercade retro gaming platform contains some great examples of new games written for classic platforms.

A favourite of many players is Old Towers, another game from the Russian collective RetroSouls, who specialise in high-quality short-form games for old-school systems ranging from the ZX Spectrum to the Sega Mega Drive. Old Towers has appeared on a couple of different formats, but the one found on the Evercade cart is the original Mega Drive version.

Grab your popcorn and get ready for some brain-bending puzzle action, then — it’s time to climb the Old Towers.

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Earthworm Jim 2: See What Sticks

With the positive reception the first Earthworm Jim had on its original release, a sequel was inevitable. But how do you follow something as chaotic and irreverent as Earthworm Jim?

The obvious answer, of course, is to make it even more chaotic and irreverent, so that’s exactly what Jim’s original creators Doug TenNapel, Dave Perry and Shiny Entertainment did with the follow-up. The result is very much a game that feels like it’s throwing absolutely everything at the wall in order to see what sticks… for better or worse.

You certainly can’t accuse it of just being a rehash of the original, though. So let’s take a closer look, thanks to the Interplay Collection 2 cartridge on the Evercade retro gaming system.

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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.

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Yars’ Revenge: This Game Has Bugs

Yars’ Revenge is, it’s fair to say, one of the most well-known and respected Atari 2600 games out there.

Indeed, back in the day it was one of the platform’s best-selling games, being one of several examples from the 1981-1982 period that actually broke a million copies sold. This was, as you might imagine, a pretty big deal back in the early days of video gaming.

It’s enjoyed enduring popularity over the years for good reason. So with it being part of the Atari Collection 2 cartridge for the Evercade retro gaming system, let’s take a closer look at what it’s all about.

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Boogerman: It’s Easy Being Green

It’s easy to write off Boogerman: A Pick and Flick Adventure as a product of its time that’s not worth bothering with today. A 16-bit mascot platformer from ’90s Interplay featuring deliberate grossout humour and “attitude”? Hmm. Not what we might call a winning combination… at least if prejudice is to be believed

I must confess, I never played Boogerman back in the day and indeed don’t remember seeing much about it at all. So my first real experience with it has been the SNES version, which can be easily found today as part of the Interplay Collection 1 cartridge for the Evercade retro gaming system. And you hopefully know by now that one of my favourite things about that platform is the fact it provides us with the opportunity to explore and celebrate some of the lesser-known (or lesser-loved) titles from the land of retro, as well as some of the big names.

So get ready to pick it, lick it, roll it, flick it; we’re heading in for the snotty adventure of a lifetime. Bring a tissue or three.

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Side Pocket: Kissin’ Cushions

Many developers — particularly from the 8- and 16-bit eras — tended to end up primarily associated with a particular type of game. But some, like Data East, proved themselves capable of turning their attention to many different mechanical genres.

Delve into the Data East Collection 1 cartridge for the Evercade retro gaming platform and you’ll find yourself engaging in a madcap chase atop gigantic hamburgers, driving a bouncy bouncy buggy in pursuit of your significant other’s kidnappers, blasting numerous dudes in the face or, indeed, playing a nice, chilled-out game of pool.

You can probably guess where Side Pocket fits in to all that. So let’s take a closer look!

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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.

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MotorPsycho: The 7800’s Best Motorcycle Racing Game

When contemplating video games from years gone by, it’s all too easy to focus exclusively on the “classics” — those defining experiences that went on to have a huge amount of influence on everything that came afterwards.

But the highly influential and historically significant nature of these games means that, by this point in time, most of the things which can be said about them have probably already been said. These days, I personally find it much more interesting to dive into the dustiest of dusty archives and dig out some stuff that, while perhaps not as well-regarded as the “greats” from over the years, might do some unusual, experimental and creative things with established formulae.

One of the best things about Blaze’s Evercade retro gaming platform is that the people behind it clearly understand this. And so, while the Evercade’s Atari Collection 1 cartridge contains established, all-time early ’80s classics like Asteroids and Centipede for Atari’s monstrously popular 2600 console, it also features 1990’s MotorPsycho — a double-whammy of overlooked goodness in that it is 1) a game that will likely be largely unfamiliar to a lot of people today, and 2) it came out on the Atari 7800, a console no-one bought. So let’s take a closer look!

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