The Atari ST version of Screaming Wings is, as we’ve seen elsewhere on this series, kind of poop. The Atari 8-bit version, meanwhile, is a superb shoot ’em up with just a couple of annoying little features here and there.
Based heavily on Capcom’s classic 1942, Screaming Wings puts you in the pilot’s seat of a Lockheed Lightning over the Pacific as you attempt to blast down a variety of enemies who want nothing more than to sink you into the briny ocean in a flaming ball of death.
Sometimes it’s nice to have a chill-out game that doesn’t make any particularly difficult demands on you. And the Wii is a great console on which to explore that sort of experience.
One of the best games in the Wii’s library in this regard is the delightfully unusual fish-poking simulator Endless Ocean, which tasks you with exploring the deep blue sea in search of the aforementioned fish, sunken treasure and all manner of other goodies. It’s a thoroughly pleasant time!
The Dizzy games are great, and one of the best things about them is that they don’t get too stuck in a formula. Sure, the best known games are the arcade adventure installments — but there’s plenty of other interesting Dizzy games, too.
One of my all-time favourites is Kwik Snax, which combines elements of Bomb Jack and Pengo to create an arcade-style experience with its own distinct feel that I’m very fond of.
Red Max! It’s nothing to do with Blue Max, if you were wondering, though I was always curious about that back in the day.
Nope, instead Red Max is a top-down sci-fi motorbike adventure in which you drive around a spaceship in an attempt to defuse mines, fix reactors and wake up hibernating crew members. It’s very hard, but it has great music, a beautifully rendered dashboard panel and a tiny view window.
This is it! The final game in Atari Flashback Classics — and it just happens to be one of the most legendary games for the Atari 2600. It’s Howard Scott Warshaw’s all-time classic Yars’ Revenge!
This was one of the all-time best-selling games for the Atari 2600, and with good reason: it was original, it was enjoyable, it was fun and interesting to play. No, it might not look like much today — and indeed looked a bit like something was going horribly wrong with your console even back when it was current — but it’s got that special fun factor where it counts.
When we first heard that Steven Spielberg was making a game, I think the last thing anyone expected was a physics puzzler for Wii. And once that had been revealed, I think the last thing anyone expected was for it to be really good.
But Boom Blox is both of those things — and I’d go so far to say it’s an essential part of any Wii library today. Offering a wealth of fun and exciting things to do for both solo players and groups of friends, this is physics puzzling done right — and not a sodding Angry Bird in sight.
Darts! One game, one hundred yen. I’ll try it once. Except it wasn’t one hundred yen, it was twenty quid, and it offered quite a variety of different darts-related experiences for your money.
Darts video games have never really taken off, aside from as minigames inside other games (hence the Shenmue reference above) but for a while a number of developers tried to make them work. John Lowe’s Ultimate Darts for Atari ST, brought to us by Gremlin Graphics, was a solid effort — and presents far less risk of accidentally impaling the cat or puncturing a loved one than real at-home darts.
The Atari Program Exchange label played host to some really interesting, creative games — as well as some useful pieces of software. At least, they were useful pieces of software back in the day; for the most part, APX games have held up a bit better!
Quarxon is a great example of what this label really offered. By focusing on user-submitted programs rather than corporate mandated projects, we got a whole host of weird and wonderful things to experience — including this neato competitive shoot ’em up with a rather interesting ruleset!
For the various Atari Flashback consoles over the years, Atari included a number of “hacks” of its classic games that were decent enough to be considered full sequels.
One such example is Yars’ Return, a follow-up to Howard Scott Warshaw’s classic Yars’ Revenge. This first appeared on an Atari Flashback console in 2005 and has continued to be distributed on Flashback consoles and in compilations like Atari Flashback Classics — complete with a bug that developer Dennis Debro fixed about a decade ago — ever since. You can even buy a cart copy from Atari’s “Atari XP” initiative now, too.
Kenta Cho’s shoot ’em ups can be a bit of an acquired taste, but let yourself get wrapped up in them and you’ll have a whole lot of fun.
A great way to do that is to have a play around with Wii title Blast Works, which is an adaptation of Cho’s game Tumiki Fighters — and also includes several of Cho’s games as unlockable extras. It’s a satisfying game with some thoroughly unusual mechanics in its own right — then once you’ve mastered it you can build your own with some of the most comprehensive editing tools you’ll ever see on console!