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.
Continue reading Double Dragon: Defining the Brawler
The platform game genre has been around for many years at this point, and, like most other types of games, it has gradually increased in complexity as time has passed.
That hasn’t always been for the better, however. While the shift to 3D with titles such as Super Mario 64 was praised as a huge leap forwards for gaming as a medium, as time continued to tick onwards, a lot of developers felt the need to continually increase the things a player had to think about while they were playing. Eventually we ended up with Rare’s Donkey Kong 64, a game that, while not bad as such, had diluted the simple pleasures of the genre so much with its myriad collectibles that a lot of people bounced right off it.
So sometimes it’s nice to return to simpler times. Times when platform games unfolded on a single screen at a time, and required you to do nothing more than reach a particular point, collect all the things on screen or, perhaps, paint every inch of the level in a particular colour. Enter Super Painter from Retro Souls, part of the Mega Cat Studios Collection cartridge for the Evercade retro gaming platform.
Continue reading Super Painter: Simpler Times
How do you improve on a classic formula? It’s a question many artists have explored over the years, and an easy answer for a lot of them seems to be “add more stuff”.
Atari’s Breakout is an immensely influential game, which subsequently begat Taito’s wonderful Arkanoid and all manner of other imitators from over the years.
French developer Titus Interactive observed that most Breakout clones over the years stuck rigidly to the “paddle at the bottom, single screen of blocks” formula. So in 1988, they set out to make something a bit different. The result was Titan, a title that has been newly resurrected for modern audiences thanks to the Interplay Collection 1 cartridge for the Evercade retro gaming system.
Continue reading Titan: Break Out, In and All Around
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!
Continue reading BurgerTime: The Original Foot Lettuce
Namco really were trailblazers back in the early days of gaming; so many of their titles were true pioneers.
Much of the vertically scrolling shoot ’em up genre as it exists today owes a lot to 1983’s Xevious, for example. Xevious established or at least popularised genre conventions such as making use of different weapons for different targets, regular confrontations with powerful enemies and dynamic difficulty scaling.
Namco’s port to the Famicom became one of the system’s first “killer apps”, selling a mighty 1.26 million copies — and it still plays great today. And wouldn’t you know it? You can play that 8-bit console version on the Evercade retro gaming system thanks to the Namco Museum Collection 1 cartridge. Let’s take a closer look!
Continue reading Xevious: Are You Devious Enough?
It’s always interesting to return to the very earliest examples of a particular genre, just to see how things got off the ground in the first place.
As you’ll know if you’ve read my feature on the history of the beat ’em up, which formed part of the Senran Kagura: Estival Versus Cover Game feature here on MoeGamer, Renegade is where the fine art of punching things in the face really got started so far as video games are concerned. But how well does that original brawler hold up today?
With equal parts trepidation and curiosity, I slid my Technos Collection 1 cartridge into my Evercade retro gaming system, and prepared for what would hopefully be some button-mashing fun.
Continue reading Renegade: Birth of the Brawler
We talk quite a lot about “video game auteurs” these days, and how modern technology allows game designers to realise their visions like never before.
This sort of thing has been going on for quite some time, however — and in some respects, it’s even more impressive when a developer clearly expresses their creativity through a work from the earlier days of gaming.
Such is the case with The Adventures of Rad Gravity, a 1990 release for NES developed by Interplay, designed by Brian Fargo (of Bard’s Tale and Wasteland fame) and published by Activision. Oh, and no need to brave the second-hand market to find a copy any more, either — it’s part of the Interplay Collection 2 cartridge for the Evercade retro gaming system.
Continue reading The Adventures of Rad Gravity: Creative Vision
Dig Dug is one of those retro games that is an established classic, but which relatively few people seem to be aware actually got a rather enjoyable sequel.
Most of this is likely due to the fact that the 1985 arcade original was only released in Japan, and the game wouldn’t come West until the 1989 release of the NES version. And, well, good luck to any mid-’80s 8-bit arcade-style game releasing in the same year that gave us Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse, Phantasy Star II, SimCity, Populous, Mega Man II, Golden Axe and an early incarnation of Windows Solitaire.
Still, that doesn’t mean Dig Dug II should be consigned to the dustbin of history by any means. It’s fortunate, then, that we can try it out for ourselves on the Namco Museum Collection 2 cartridge for the Evercade retro gaming system! Let’s take a closer look.
Continue reading Dig Dug II: Bring Out the Drill
Data East may be a slightly lesser-known company than the big hitters of the 8- and 16-bit era, but they still put out some cracking arcade games during this period, many of which got home ports.
One fine example is Burnin’ Rubber, which is also known, depending on where you are in the world and what platform you played it on, as either Bump ‘n’ Jump or Buggy Popper.
It’s a top down racer that predates Bally Midway’s better-known classic of the genre Spy Hunter by a full year, and you can play an official modern rerelease of the NES version right now on the Evercade retro gaming handheld as part of its third cartridge, Data East Collection 1. Let’s take a closer look!
Continue reading Burnin’ Rubber: Let’s Bump ‘n’ Jump
One of the great things about the Evercade retro gaming handheld is its unofficial mission to bring a variety of overlooked, underappreciated or unlocalised retro gaming titles to a worldwide audience.
The publishing partners who have signed up to distribute their games on the platform are seemingly more than happy to jump on board with this philosophy too — and this is especially evident with the two Namco Museum Collection cartridges, which not only provide the classics we expect to always see on such compilations like Pac-Man and Dig-Dug, but also some lesser-known titles, some of which never officially left Japan on their original platforms.
Part of the reason for this is the Evercade’s initial focus on retro home consoles, whereas Namco’s own Namco Museum releases have historically tended to focus on the arcade side of things. And so, we come to Star Luster, a 1985 release for the Famicom that never came West. Until now!
Continue reading Star Luster: Namco Does Star Raiders