Samurai Aces Episode III: Sengoku Cannon (“Sengoku Cannon” hereafter) is a game of farewells.
It bids a fond farewell to the Samurai Aces series, which is how Psikyo began as a developer. It waves goodbye to Psikyo’s run of arcade-centric shoot ’em ups, being designed specifically for the PSP platform. And, in some ways, as a title developed by X-Nauts after they took over Psikyo in 2002, it’s something of a sayounara to Psikyo themselves, too.
Some of the snobbier shoot ’em up fans out there would also argue that Sengoku Cannon also bids adieu to Psikyo-branded games being “good”, but I’ve actually found quite a lot to like about this curious, clunky shooter. Let’s take a closer look.
Continue reading Samurai Aces Episode III: Sengoku Cannon – Blasting Goodbye
Back in the ’70s and ’80s, players of home consoles weren’t looking for “arcade perfect” — mostly because the home systems of the time weren’t up to it.
Rather, they were looking for a roughly equivalent or perhaps complementary experience to that which could be had in the arcades. This meant that sometimes games underwent a few changes in the transition from the arcade to the home.
A good example of this is Crystal Castles for the Atari 2600, which provides a surprisingly authentic-feeling approximation of the arcade classic, while working within the constraints of its host hardware.
Anyone interested in collecting video games has doubtless run into the issue of certain titles from previous console generations commanding astronomical prices.
There are numerous reasons this might happen — perhaps the game had a very limited print run; perhaps it only came out in certain territories or perhaps it had problems with distribution when it was current.
One such example is Zero Gunner 2 for the Dreamcast, which, at the time of writing, is going for anywhere between £100 and £200 on eBay. Fortunately, there’s a much cheaper way to get your hands on it today: the Switch version, which is available either on its own via the eShop, or as part of the Psikyo Shooting Stars Alpha collection. Let’s have a look!
Continue reading Zero Gunner 2-: Making a Classic Affordable
As we’ve already seen with the three Strikers 1945 titles, Psikyo is a developer that is more than happy to make incremental improvements to a formula rather than radically inventing things with each new game.
There are exceptions, of course, but few can deny that the Strikers 1945 formula worked well and could most certainly support a few more games with a few tweaks here and there. Like, say, changing the aesthetic somewhat.
Strikers 1945 III already transplanted the weighty shooting action from post-World War II to the modern day. Dragon Blaze, also part of the Psikyo Shooting Stars Alpha collection, zaps us into a fantasy world with neon pink bullets and challenges us to survive another stiff challenge.
Continue reading Dragon Blaze: Strikers 1495
There’s an assumption among certain quarters of the gaming community these days that for a game to be “good” it needs to be technically impressive, it needs to be challenging and it needs to have complex, deep mechanics.
Madoris R doesn’t really fulfil any of those requirements, but 1) that doesn’t stop it being enjoyable and compelling, and 2) it costs £4.50.
If you’ve been looking for a Switch game that is ideal to chill out with when you’ve got a few minutes to spare, be sure to take a look at this one. Let’s explore!
Continue reading Madoris R: The House That Switch Built
With apologies to Senran Kagura Peach Ball for shamelessly stealing its Dad joke-tier ninja pun, it’s time to look at another in Sega’s excellent Sega Ages series for Nintendo Switch.
This time around, it’s 1987’s Shinobi, an important game from the relatively early days of Sega’s video gaming portfolio, and a title that doesn’t seem to get talked about all that often these days.
Hailing from the height of the “ninja boom” of the 1980s — a popular culture phenomenon that is regarded to have kicked off with Menahem Golan’s 1981 movie Enter the Ninja — Shinobi remains a solid, challenging game today, and well worth revisiting.
Continue reading Shinobi: Rescue Those Kids? Shuriken!
With the digital revolution, many classic tabletop experiences have fallen by the wayside. But back in the late ’70s and early ’80s, you could count on most households having a copy of Mastermind.
Mastermind was a code-breaking game developed by an Israeli telecommunications expert named Mordecai Meirowitz, and it was based on an earlier pen-and-paper game named Bulls and Cows. The concept is simple: one player develops a code consisting of four coloured pegs, and the other player has to guess this code in as few steps as possible, making use of the codemaker’s feedback.
Codebreaker is essentially a digital adaptation of this game, making use of numbers rather than coloured pegs. It also features an adaptation of the ancient mathematical game Nim, for those who enjoy taking the last chocolate in the box. As a complete game package, it might look a bit limited from a modern perspective, but there’s fun to be had here.
Find a full archive of all the Atari A to Z videos on the official site.