Tag Archives: gameplay

short;Play: Soldam

I love Rod-Land. So when I discovered there was a sequel in the form of a puzzle game, there was no way I wasn’t going to be all over it.

Soldam for Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 is actually a remake of an earlier Jaleco arcade title that, indeed, was the official follow-up to Rod-Land, despite not really having much to do with it beyond a similar aesthetic.

It’s a superb falling block (well, fruit) puzzler with some unique mechanics I haven’t seen anywhere else ever since. So let’s play it some, shall we? Check it out in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more.

Double Dragon: Defining the Brawler

Every gaming genre out there has that one title that helped to codify — if not establish — conventions that would continue to be followed for many years to come.

For the beat ’em up genre, that game was Technos’ Double Dragon, a title that is widely regarded to have kicked off something of a “golden age” for the genre with its innovative mechanics, simultaneous two-player action and large, chunky sprites. It also got an NES version developed by Technos themselves which doesn’t get talked about nearly as much. Which is a shame, because it’s an interesting game and most certainly isn’t just a straightforward attempt to ape the arcade machine on limited hardware.

Fortunately, we can now enjoy this intriguing take on a classic in a couple of readily available ways if you don’t have an NES to hand: via the Double Dragon and Kunio-Kun bundle released for modern consoles by Arc System Works, and as part of the Technos Collection 1 cartridge for the Evercade retro gaming platform.

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Atari A to Z: Zaxxon

Early arcade ports certainly varied quite significantly in quality, and opinion appears to be a bit divided online as to whether or not Ron J Fortier’s Atari 8-bit take on Sega’s classic Zaxxon is “good” or not.

Well, “good” or not, that’s what we’re taking a look at today — and it turns out there are two slightly different versions of the game out there. (I discovered after I made the video that these are due to there being a 16K cassette version and a 48K disk version — in the video you’ll see the disk version first, followed by the more limited cassette version.)

Enjoy this take on a classic in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

Atari A to Z

Battleship: B4 U H8

Remember Battleship? ‘Course you do. It’s the game parents use to teach kids about grid references, and a game that, despite being regarded as an all-time classic, has all the tactical depth of playing “Guess What Number I’m Thinking Of”.

Do you remember the 2012 movie, though? It had Rihanna in it. Also aliens. And there was a video game adaptation for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, developed by Double Helix and published by Activision. Both were pretty roundly panned by critics at the time of original release for being seemingly stupid ideas that had very little to do with the source material they were supposedly based on.

With the seventh generation of video game consoles rapidly entering “retro” territory, you can now pick up unpopular, poorly received, critically maligned titles like Battleship for less than a fiver. And you know how much I love a good unpopular, poorly received, critically maligned title, particularly when you can divorce it from its original context and enjoy it on its own terms. So let’s take a closer look at Battleship.

Continue reading Battleship: B4 U H8

Atari A to Z Flashback: Maze Craze

If you’ve ever called your local bobby to come and sort out some youths in your neck of the woods, only for them to turn up four hours later well after they were actually needed, Maze Craze may provide some explanation.

Apparently coppers like nothing more than getting lost inside randomly generated city blocks with varying degrees of invisibility, desperate to make their way to the exit on the eastern edge of the district before the robbers they’re supposed to be catching actually catch them instead.

Okay, Maze Craze doesn’t make a ton of sense, but since when has that mattered for Atari 2600 games? Check it out in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more.

Atari A to Z

Final Fantasy Marathon: Aria of Sorrow – Final Fantasy III #9

After making it to “the surface world”, only to discover the whole thing appears to be a seething miasma of darkness, the Warriors of Light set out to figure out what’s really going on.

Before long, they encounter the mysterious Aria, who seems to understand the situation, and she agrees to help them. The crystal’s light, it seems, can purify the land of darkness… but there are those who seek to oppose the light at all costs!

Enjoy the latest episode in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more.

Atari ST A to Z: Shufflepuck Cafe

Hitting a thing back and forth across a playfield in an attempt to get it past your opponent is a fundamental of gaming — after all, Pong is one of the original video games!

It’s interesting to see the numerous twists that there have been on the formula over the years, though. One of the most beautifully presented is Broderbund’s Shufflepuck Café, a game that sees you descending the smoky stairs into a sci-fi cantina in the hopes of reaching a telephone. But between you and that phone are some of the meanest Shufflepuckers in the galaxy — and they want to play.

Enjoy the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

Atari A to Z

short;Play: Test Drive Unlimited

I latched on to the Test Drive series pretty early in my life, because it allowed child-Pete the opportunity to pretend that he was driving a real car. This is something that child-Pete was very excited about.

The series has experimented with a variety of different structures and formats over the years, but it finally became what child-Pete (and adult-Pete) always wanted it to be with the advent of 2006’s Test Drive Unlimited, released for PlayStation 2, Xbox 360 and PSP.

Check out the Xbox 360 version in action in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

The Immortal: How To Kill Your Wizard

If you are a glutton for punishment, or just feel that modern video games are a touch on the easy and/or fair side for you, it’s high time you checked out Will Harvey’s classic 1990 title, The Immortal.

As it happens, at the time of writing it’s just become easily accessible in not one, but two different places: you can now play the NES version as part of a Nintendo Switch Online subscription, and the Mega Drive version appears as part of the Piko Interactive Collection 1 cartridge for the Evercade retro gaming system.

It’s the latter version we’ll be focusing on today, but expect similar amounts of death in both. Roll up your sleeves, and let’s get mortal.

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Atari A to Z: Yogi’s Great Escape

Yogi Bear is, it is said, smarter than the average bear. He was certainly smart enough to find himself in several licensed games for a variety of home computer platforms in the early ’90s.

Here’s the Atari 8-bit version of Yogi’s Great Escape, a platform game that we’ve previously seen on the Atari ST A to Z series already. While technically inferior, the 8-bit version actually plays quite a bit better, with tight controls and clear mechanics that make it surprisingly enjoyable to play.

Enjoy the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more.

Atari A to Z