It’s Ridge Racer month here on MoeGamer, and you didn’t think I was going to let Reiko Nagase slip by unnoticed, did you?
First appearing in Rage Racer’s CG intro (or perhaps Rave Racer’s attract mode, depending on who you want to believe) but shooting to prominence in Ridge Racer Type-4, Reiko Nagase is as much an iconic part of the Ridge Racer franchise as its exaggerated drift handling and memorable soundtracks.
She’s also one of the first examples of a “virtual idol” in computerised entertainment, helping to lay the groundwork for future success stories in this field such as Crypton Future Media’s Hatsune Miku and friends.
Continue reading Waifu Wednesday: Reiko Nagase
After the success and critical acclaim of Ridge Racer, it was only natural for Namco to want to build on the series.
It went about this in a number of ways, including a three-screen arcade release for a more immersive experience as well as a spectacular “Full Scale” variant in which you sat in an actual car (a Mazda Eunos Roadster, to be specific, in a pleasing callback to Ridge Racer prototype Sim Drive’s predecessor) to play a version of the game on a massive projection screen with real car controls, functional instruments and fans blowing wind in your face — a setup which Ridge Racer 7 would pay homage to in one of its title screen CG sequences many years later.
A sequel was inevitable. Ridge Racer 2 followed its predecessor a year later, featuring new tracks, new music and the facility for up to eight people to play simultaneously by networking four two-player cabinets. This was then followed in 1995 by a home port in the form of Ridge Racer Revolution for PlayStation.
Continue reading Ridge Racer Revolution: The One That Would Probably Be DLC Today
The technological constraints of old video games often led to some highly creative experiences.
In logical or narrative terms, these games would often make very little sense whatsoever, but taken from a strictly abstract, mechanical perspective, they had the potential to provide extremely compelling, addictive experiences.
One such example was 1983’s Zoo Keeper, a game developed by Keith Egging and John Morgan from Taito’s American division. This game clearly drew influences from a number of popular Eastern and Western games such as Qix, Donkey Kong and Frogger, ultimately leaving it as a rather intriguing and underappreciated title with a strong sense of its own identity.
Continue reading Taito Essentials: Zoo Keeper
Magical Drop III, first released in 1997, is widely regarded as the best installment in Data East’s series of frantic puzzlers.
The series as a whole is noteworthy in that it provides a distinctly more fast-paced take on what is typically regarded as a relatively sedate genre, but Magical Drop III took the core mechanics established in its early incarnations, polished them to a fine sheen and created one of the most addictive puzzle games of all time… not to mention the origin of the “Fairy Bounce” meme.
Magical Drop III got released on all manner of platforms, but today we’re primarily concerned with the European PlayStation release, which includes a port of the Saturn version, itself somewhat rebalanced from the arcade and Neo Geo versions, as well as a port of Magical Drop Plus 1!, an enhanced version of the first game in the series that was originally released in the West as Chain Reaction.
Continue reading Puzzler Essentials: Magical Drop III
Elevator Action is an established classic of the ’80s arcade scene, and saw a wide variety of ports to most of the popular computer and console systems of the period.
While the original game is still relatively well-known today, many people remain unaware that Taito followed it up with an official sequel in 1994, some eleven years after the original game’s release.
These people are, of course, also unaware that Elevator Action Returns is an absolutely awesome game, even from a modern perspective.
Continue reading Taito Essentials: Elevator Action Returns
Cleopatra Fortune is an arcade game from 1997, developed as a collaborative effort between Taito and Natsume.
It’s a falling block puzzle of the type that was fashionable throughout the 16- and 32-bit eras in the mid-to-late ’90s. But despite having a touch of Tetris about some of its mechanics, it’s an altogether unique experience. And, moreover, unlike some of the more well-known names in the puzzle genre, particularly in recent years, it’s not one that’s been endlessly cloned, reskinned and recycled.
It is, however, brilliant.
Continue reading Puzzler Essentials: Cleopatra Fortune
Although rather less active than it once was, Cave was once an extremely prolific producer of some highly varied and creative shoot ’em ups.
Some of their series — such as DoDonPachi, Espgaluda and Deathsmiles — managed to attain mainstream appeal, or at least the closest thing an arcade-style shmup can get to “mainstream appeal” in this modern age. But others are largely unknown for one reason or another.
Muchi Muchi Pork very much falls into this latter category.
Continue reading Shmup Essentials: Muchi Muchi Pork