SNK Essentials: Ozma Wars

Well now. Here’s one that doesn’t get talked about all that much: one of SNK’s earliest games, and a title believed to be the second ever fixed shoot ’em up, after Taito’s genre-defining classic Space Invaders.

In fact, Ozma Wars, developed by Logitec (no, not that one) and published by SNK in 1979, ran on the same Taito 8080 hardware that powered Space Invaders, was available as a conversion kit for Space Invaders machines, and even made use of the same coloured overlay on its black and white display to bring a bit of vibrancy to the visuals.

What’s more, it provides a thoroughly interesting early shoot ’em up experience that is markedly distinct from Taito’s title. Let’s take a closer look.

Continue reading SNK Essentials: Ozma Wars

Around the Network

And so another week draws to a close and we all slide inexorably onwards towards our inevitable deaths.

We may as well enjoy the intervening days, weeks, months and years then! This month I’ve been doing just that with a fine selection of SNK shoot ’em ups plus my continuing adventures in the world of Death end re;Quest.

Let’s take a look at what you might have missed.

Continue reading Around the Network

Atari A to Z Flashback: Dominos

Dominos, another black and white title from Atari’s early days, surprised me by not at all being what I expected.

I was anticipating a fairly faithful adaptation of the tabletop game Dominoes — which wouldn’t have been altogether difficult to put together even with the rudimentary technology of the time — but instead I got a rather enjoyable, addictive two-player game in the vein of what we now know as the Snake genre.

While most people are familiar with Snake from its late-’90s Nokia phone incarnation, the idea of one or more players moving around a field and leaving an impassable trail behind them has been around since the earliest days of video games. Dominos was a very early example, following the genre progenitor Blockade by just a year. As such, it’s very simple in execution… but that doesn’t stop it being fun, particularly alongside a friend.

Find a full archive of all the Atari A to Z videos on the official site.

Death end re;Quest: Where Does the Game End and the World Begin?

One of the most interesting things about Death end re;Quest is the fact that it gradually evolves over the course of its duration, with new mechanics and structural elements being continually introduced throughout the first distinct “part” of the game.

Today we’re going to take a look at part of the game’s overall mechanics and structure: specifically, the part of the experience that allows you to explore and advance the overall story. We won’t be discussing the narrative specifically today — just how it’s presented and how the game hangs together.

It’s one of Compile Heart’s most interesting games, even before you’ve unlocked everything — so let’s take a closer look at one of its coolest aspects.

Continue reading Death end re;Quest: Where Does the Game End and the World Begin?

New Game Plus: Medicine for a Verdant Land

Thus far our playthrough of Atelier Rorona DX’s New Game Plus mode has been going swimmingly, with one out of the three years down without breaking a sweat.

From here, things start to get more interesting and challenging… or, well, at least they might if you didn’t have all your nice upgrades from first time around. Instead, on a second playthrough and beyond the main challenge comes from getting all the playable characters up to standard, grinding friendship levels and triggering the events necessary for the endings you’d like to see.

Hit the jump to see how our first tentative steps into the second year of Rorona’s career went…

Continue reading New Game Plus: Medicine for a Verdant Land

SNK Essentials: World Wars

The loose “trilogy” of vertically scrolling shoot ’em ups from SNK’s early days that began with Alpha Mission and Bermuda Triangle finally concludes with 1987’s World Wars.

Sometimes erroneously described as a reskin of Bermuda TriangleWorld Wars offers an interesting blend between the gameplay elements of its two predecessors, and manages to carve out an identity for itself as an enjoyable, addictive shoot ’em up in its own right in the process.

Alpha mission start! Launch all ZIG!

Continue reading SNK Essentials: World Wars

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