It would be nearly three full years between the release of Formula 1 97 and Bizarre Creations’ next game — and that next game was quite a change in style!
Having proven themselves in the racing game sector with the two PlayStation-based Formula 1 titles, the company turned its attention to Sega’s new Dreamcast console and two new projects. One of these, Metropolis Street Racer, would prove to be Bizarre Creations’ breakout hit. But don’t sleep on the other, because Fur Fighters is a fascinating game that is well worth your time — even if it’s not what you’d typically expect to see from the company!
And for those who don’t have easy access to a working Dreamcast, there’s even a PS2 version that came out a year later with some significant improvements such as cel-shaded visuals and full voice acting. It’s that version, subtitled Viggo’s Revenge, that we’ll be focusing on for today.
Tokyo Highway Challenge for Dreamcast is an interesting game, as we’ve previously talked about. On paper, it sounds like it should be really boring — all you do is race around the same stretch of Tokyo highway night after night after night — but in practice, it’s a really enjoyable and interesting twist on the racer genre.
At least part of this is due to its unusual race structure, which takes some cues from fighting games, of all things. Rather than simply beating your opponent to a set destination, you need to defeat them by emptying their “Speed Points” bar. You achieve this by staying in front of them and, essentially, proving your superiority at this whole racing thing.
If you’re unfamiliar with various takes on sports games over the years, you might not think that “arcade-style” is a descriptor one could readily associate with golf titles.
But there have been numerous great examples of top-notch arcade-style golf games throughout gaming history. And one of my absolute favourites of all time is Tee Off, a game put together by little-known Japanese dev Bottom Up and published by Acclaim. Not only is it a super-fun golf game, it has a fantastic soundtrack that sounds like something out of Sonic Adventure, as well as a full-on second game mode based on “gate ball”, or Japanese croquet.
The racing game genre is one area of gaming where, outside of graphical and performance improvements, I suspect it’s always felt quite difficult to innovate.
After all, the fundamental concept of “two or more things moving in the same direction at high speed, with one attempting to get somewhere before the other one in order to receive some sort of reward” has been around pretty much as long as human civilisation. So what else can you do with that?
Well, says Tokyo Highway Challenge (aka Tokyo Xtreme Racer, aka Shutokou Battle) for Sega Dreamcast, why not rethink the fundamental means through which a winner is decided? Let’s take a closer look at how that works.
Triangle Service is not exactly what you’d call a household name in the shoot ’em up sector, but over the years they’ve been quietly beavering away to produce some enjoyable, addictive games.
Probably their most well-known output is their Zeal series, which consists of XIIZeal (actually a port of a PS2-era shoot ’em up called XII Stag), ΔZeal (pronounced “Deltazeal”, not “Trianglezeal”, as I referred to it for a long time), Trizeal and Exzeal — but you may also have stumbled across their more unusual titles such as Shmups Skills Test and Minus Zeroat some point in the past.
Today we’re going to take a look at Exzeal, released for Xbox 360 as part of the Shooting Love. 200X compilation (which, pro-tip, is not region-free in its physical incarnation, unlike many other Xbox 360 shmups — including its stablemate Shooting Love. 10-shuunen) and subsequently for PC via Steam.
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.
There was a period in my life where I happily devoured every single JRPG I came across to the exclusion of almost all other types of game.
To be perfectly frank, I’m pretty much back in that situation now after a few years of feeling “obliged” to play the big triple-A games that everyone was talking about, but I still primarily associate my early 20s with “my JRPG period” — or perhaps more accurately, “my first JRPG period.”
Returning to the fold a number of years after my original JRPG binge has allowed me to both appreciate how the genre has changed and evolved over the years, and see the older titles I loved so much first time around in a new light. So with that in mind, let’s look back at a classic long overdue an HD remaster.
This article was originally published on Games Are Evil in 2013 as part of the site’s regular Swords and Zippers column on JRPGs. It has been edited and republished here due to Games Are Evil no longer existing in its original form.