One of the interesting things about fully exploring retro gaming is discovering the subtle differences between different versions of a game.
Back in the early to mid ’80s, there were sometimes quite significant differences between the various platforms’ take on an established game. This was due to a combination of factors: most frequently it was down to the technical limitations of the host platforms, but sometimes it was due to the programmers responsible for the ports not having all of the resources they needed, and consequently having to do the coder’s equivalent of holding things together with sticky tape.
Namco’s port of its classic arcade title Dig Dug for the Famicom — easily accessible today as part of the Namco Museum Collection 1 cartridge for the Evercade retro gaming platform — is a good example of (probably) the former. Either way, it’s a distinctive version of Dig Dug that is well worth playing, even if you’re well familiar with the arcade original!
Continue reading Dig Dug: Diggin’ Dirty
One of the nice things about modern, curated compilations of games from old platforms is that they provide an opportunity for “lost” classics to finally get an audience.
In many cases, “lost” classics were completed and reached a full prototype phase, but just never ended up getting duplicated and distributed to the public. Sometimes this is understandable; at other times, it’s a bit of a mystery.
Aquaventure for Atari 2600, which you can play not only in Atari Flashback Classics but also as part of the Atari Collection 1 cartridge on Evercade, definitely falls into the latter category. This game is good, so why didn’t it get released?
Continue reading Aquaventure: The Game That Deserved a Release
Fun fact: I have the manual for the original Atari Lynx version of Checkered Flag framed in my toilet.
For a certain period during the Lynx’s lifetime, Atari eschewed booklet-style manuals in favour of posters for the games with the instructions on the back. My wife liked the art on Checkered Flag’s instructions sheet — which I somehow still had despite having not owned a Lynx for a good ten years or so — and so we put it up on the wall. Consequently, every time I’m having a poo I get to read those instructions for the umpteenth time.
Believe me, I am now intimately familiar with how to play Checkered Flag effectively — helpful now that it’s been rereleased as part of the Atari Lynx Collection 2 cartridge for the Evercade — and the fact that, in Atari’s own words, the winner of each race is rewarded with “a trophy and a big hug”. And, in a surprisingly progressive, inclusive step for a video game on a failed console from 1991, the manual also takes care to note that said big hug is “where the driver’s gender becomes important”. Oh, also there’s some racing game action in there, too, I suppose; let’s take a closer look.
Continue reading Checkered Flag: Where the Driver’s Gender Becomes Important
Dear old Atari. They captured lightning in a bottle in the early days of video games with the 2600, then struggled to recreate that sort of success ever again. It certainly wasn’t through lack of trying on the tech front, though.
The Atari Lynx was one of their more impressive efforts, providing the first 16-bit handheld gaming platform with a backlit colour screen, hardware scaling and distortion. It even had a decent selection of games for it, but as was always the case with post-2600 Atari, its marketing was a complete disaster and as such the system remains largely forgotten by most gaming enthusiasts today.
Except for the folks behind the Evercade, of course, who have brought us not one but two collections of Atari Lynx titles for the diminutive retro gaming platform. So let’s take a look at one of the games from the Atari Lynx Collection 1 cartridge and see whether or not these forgotten titles have anything to offer to the modern gamer!
Continue reading Malibu Bikini Volleyball: Beach Body Ready
Helicopters are cool. At least they used to be in the ’80s and early ’90s. I’m not sure we’d get a TV show where the helicopter was the star today.
Anyway, with how fashionable helicopters were in this time period, it’s not surprising that we got a fair few video games where helicopters played a leading role. And one such example was FireHawk, developed by the Oliver Twins and published by Codemasters and Camerica in 1991 as an unlicensed cartridge for the Nintendo Entertainment System.
It’s not one of the Oliver Twins’ better-known pieces of work, but it is a fun time. And, as luck would have it, we now have easy access to it as part of the Oliver Twins Collection for the Evercade retro gaming platform. So let’s take a closer look!
Continue reading FireHawk: Lafia Strike
One of the most delightful things about the modern video game scene is the fact that a lot of developers are willing to go back to classic hardware and make new games.
In doing so, they can create games that feel authentic thanks to their working within the limitations of the original host platform, but which perhaps incorporate some more modern design sensibilities that the gaming community as a whole has figured out over the years.
Xeno Crisis is an unapologetically old-school arcade-style shooter, designed specifically for the Mega Drive and ported to a variety of platforms. That original Mega Drive version is also available as part of a double-game cartridge (alongside the excellent but very different Tanglewood) for the Evercade retro gaming system, and it’s that version specifically that we’re looking at today.
Continue reading Xeno Crisis: 16-Bit Mayhem
Despite being the franchise that pretty much defined a whole genre, the Double Dragon series has had its share of troubles over the years.
One particularly troubled installment was 1992’s fourth game in the series, known as Super Double Dragon in the West, and Return of Double Dragon in its slightly enhanced Japanese release. This Super NES-exclusive title suffered from an all-too-common problem in the games industry that we still see to this day: the developers being forced to rush the game out before it was completely finished.
Even the enhanced Japanese release was missing some of the material that was originally supposed to be in the game, but for now it remains the definitive version of the game. Lucky that we now have easy access to this version thanks to the Technos Collection 1 cartridge for the Evercade retro gaming system, then, isn’t it?
Continue reading Super Double Dragon: An Unfinished Symphony
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!
Continue reading Top Racer: Definitely-Not-Lotus Turbo Challenge
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.
Continue reading Old Towers: Up and Down and Side to Side
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.
Continue reading Earthworm Jim 2: See What Sticks