Tag Archives: mechanics

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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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.

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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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The Brainies: Furry Balls

As we’ve seen a number of times already at this point, Blaze’s Evercade retro gaming platform is home to a wide variety of obscure titles that many people probably haven’t played — and which certainly haven’t been rereleased many times over the years.

Some great examples can be found on the two Interplay Collection cartridges, which include not only games that are associated with Interplay themselves, but also titles hailing from developers that subsequently ended up under the Interplay umbrella.

Interplay Collection 2, for example, plays host to a rather entertaining puzzle game featuring small, round, furry creatures. Let’s take a closer look at The Brainies, also known in some territories as Tiny Skweeks or The Tinies.

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Warpman: Another Lost Namco Treasure

Probably the best thing about Blaze’s Evercade retro gaming platform is the fact that the releases so far have specifically eschewed hugely well-known retro titles in favour of hidden gems, lost treasures and just plain previously unlocalised titles.

A great example of this can be seen on the Namco Museum Collection 2 cartridge. Have you ever heard of Warpman? Chances are, unless you collect Famicom games, probably not; it’s a 1985 Japan-only sequel to a fairly obscure 1981 Namco arcade game called Warp & Warp, also known as Warp Warp for its North American release.

Warpman (and, by extension, Warp & Warp, which it closely resembles in gameplay terms) is a particularly interesting game, because it introduces a specific mechanic that, today, is more commonly associated with a later game from a completely different company. But Namco did it first! So let’s take a closer look.

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Asteroids 7800: Besteroids?

I was never a huge fan of Asteroids back in the day; I always found the “turn and thrust” controls to be a bit of a challenge to deal with.

That hasn’t stopped me from playing numerous versions of this arcade classic over the years, though, including the Atari 2600 version, the Atari 8-bit version (which was subsequently ported to the 5200), the Atari ST version and two versions of the arcade game. And over time, I’ve come to appreciate this game a lot more than I did as a kid.

One version I’d never had the opportunity to play with, though, was the Atari 7800 incarnation. Now, thanks to the Atari Collection 2 cartridge for the Evercade retro gaming system, I can enjoy this version — which has quickly become my favourite! — any time I want. Hooray!

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Mana Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy – Making the Grade

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For most people, a “good” RPG consists of some combination of a compelling story, solid combat mechanics and satisfying progression.

Many RPGs have stuck with the conventional “experience and levels” system over the years, simply because that is a proven progression mechanic that works well, offers continual rewards for continued play and tangible improvements in your characters over time.

Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis did something a little different, where character combat effectiveness was directly tied to your engagement with the game’s core alchemy system. And its sequel Mana Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy follows suit — but rather than simply rehashing the previous game’s mechanics, it adds an interesting new twist. Let’s take a closer look!

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BurgerTime: The Original Foot Lettuce

Ah, the early ’80s — a time of exploration and experimentation in the world of video games. What subject matter would make for a good game — and particularly, what would make a good arcade game that would encourage people to part with all the small change in their pocket?

In 1982, Data East came up with BurgerTime, an unusual game that casts players in the role of chef Peter Pepper (no relation to his near-namesake who, it is said, once picked a peck of pickled peppers) and tasks them with making burgers by… uh… walking on them.

Does it make sense? Absolutely not. Is it fun? Yes. Is it monstrously difficult in both its original arcade and NES incarnations? Hell yes. And you can enjoy the latter version as part of the Data East Collection 1 cartridge for the Evercade retro gaming system, too. So let’s take a closer look!

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Mana Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy – One Must Fall

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So far in our exploration of Atelier, we’ve seen a series that is keen not to be seen as stagnating.

Each new game has reinvented itself when compared to its predecessor in one way or another, with the alchemy, progression and combat mechanics all differing from one game to the next — with some games being more drastically different than others.

Mana Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy continues the trend of its two predecessors so far as its combat mechanics are concerned, which is to refine the systems introduced in Atelier Iris 3: Grand PhantasmSo let’s take a closer look at how you fight in the latter years of the Al-Revis Academy!

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Food Fight: Cream Pie Action

If there’s one thing that Atari consoles have excelled at over the years, it’s bite-sized, monstrously addictive arcade-style experiences.

The woefully underappreciated Atari 7800 “ProSystem” was definitely no exception to this rule, with the majority of its library consisting of excellent arcade conversions. One of the most beloved games in this regard was Food Fight which, while perhaps seemingly not the most technically impressive 7800 game you’ll ever see, is definitely one of the most enjoyable and addictive.

Atari 7800 games haven’t seen many rereleases over the years, unlike those of its older brother the 2600, but all that’s changed with the advent of the Evercade retro gaming system — now you can enjoy Food Fight to your heart’s content thanks to the Atari Collection 1 cartridge!

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