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
Do you like to shoot, but also to think? Then you should give Namco’s Galaxian a shot (no pun intended) — it’s a game where attempting to go in all guns blazing will quickly end in failure.
The Famicom version, seen here as part of the Namco Museum Collection 1 cartridge for the Evercade, is a great adaptation of the arcade classic with pretty authentic sound and visuals — and a very authentic challenge factor!
Witness my intergalactic incompetence in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!
The Oliver Twins are, it’s fair to say, probably best known for their Dizzy series of arcade adventures on 8- and 16-bit home computers. But they made a bunch of other interesting games, too.
Super Robin Hood for NES is a reimagining of the twins’ very first commercially successful game, originally released for Amstrad CPC. It’s a fun platformer that gives you a sense of freely exploring an interesting environment, despite it actually leading you on a linear path from start to finish.
Check it out in the video below, read my writeup for more information — and, of course, don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!
It’s time to kick some ass with the excellent NES version of Double Dragon, which as you’ll know if you’ve read my piece on the subject, is deliberately different from the arcade version.
This version, found on the Technos Collection 1 cartridge for the Evercade — number 10 in the collection, if you’re counting — is a solid brawler with some interesting mechanics, and remains fun to play today, even with its numerous rough edges.
Check it out in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!
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.
Continue reading The Tower of Druaga: Persevere, Sir Knight
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.
Continue reading Galaxian: The Thinking Man’s Fixed Shooter
Everyone knows and loves Namco’s Dig Dug — it’s an all-time classic of arcade gaming’s golden age. But not so many people know about Dig Dug’s official sequel.
This is partly due to the fact that it didn’t leave Japan until pretty late in the 8-bit home console era, several years after its original launch — and as such, it got rather overshadowed by most of its contemporaries.
Now, though, we can enjoy it in all its glory on the Namco Museum Collection 2 cartridge for the Evercade retro gaming system. Take a look in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more.
Much like its predecessor, the NES version of Technōs Japan’s classic beat ’em up Double Dragon II: The Revenge is a distinct affair from its arcade-based counterpart.
This was an era of gaming where arcade-perfect ports on home platforms weren’t really possible — so in a fair few cases, developers simply opted to make brand new games that were true to the spirit of the arcade original rather than simply attempting to ape the quarter-munching experience.
In many cases, this resulted in more substantial games that provided an experience with much more longevity for home play — and while it has a few design features that might make modern gamers wince, Double Dragon II: The Revenge for NES is one such example. And conveniently, you can enjoy it in several ways right now: as part of the Nintendo Switch Online NES app; as part of the Double Dragon & Kunio-kun: Retro Brawler Bundle for PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch; and as part of the Technos Collection 1 cartridge for the Evercade retro gaming platform.
Continue reading Double Dragon II: The Revenge – Who Needs Arcade Perfection?
Given the popularity of Atari’s Star Raiders, it’s surprising that Namco never brought Star Luster, its own take on the early days of the space sim genre, to Western NES owners.
Thankfully, we can now enjoy it officially outside of Japan thanks to its release as part of Namco Museum Collection 1, cartridge 02 in the Evercade collection. And good Lord have I ever been enjoying this game; it’s absolutely one of my favourites from the Evercade’s launch lineup, and a game I feel it’s a real shame more people don’t know about.
With that in mind, then, I’m doing my bit! Check out Star Luster in action in the video below — and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!
The shoot ’em up genre is, it’s fair to say, fairly dominated by spaceships. It makes sense — a sci-fi tale allows for pretty much unbridled creativity, taking the player on a journey through the stars into the great unknown, battling off hordes of unimaginable horrors from many light years away.
But the fantasy genre is ripe for exploiting in this way, too; much like the more outlandish side of sci-fi, a lot of fantasy has never seemed too concerned with respecting the usual laws of physics, time and space. And as such there’s no good reason why we couldn’t have just as satisfying a time blasting our way through a fantasy tale as we could if we were behind the controls of some sort of comically overpowered spaceship.
Namco evidently felt this way back in 1987 when they released the fantasy-themed vertically scrolling shoot ’em up Dragon Spirit to the arcades. And then they remembered it was still a very good idea a couple of years later when they released quasi-sequel Dragon Spirit: The New Legend for Famicom in 1989, with a North American NES version following in 1990. And this 8-bit home console version can now be enjoyed by a whole new audience today, thanks to its inclusion on the Namco Museum Collection 2 cartridge for the Evercade retro gaming system. So let’s take a closer look!
Continue reading Dragon Spirit: The New Legend – In Case of Emergency, Use Dragon