Although at the time of writing a lot of people are super-excited for the impending PC release of Phantasy Star Online 2, the series as a whole isn’t anywhere near as well-known as the heavy-hitting classics of the RPG genre.
Indeed, Phantasy Star as a whole has always been something of a niche interest series — perhaps in part due to the majority of its “golden age” being released on platforms that were not typically renowned for their role-playing games.
The first game in particular is very interesting to return to, especially when you consider its original release date as a contemporary of the first Final Fantasy and the second Dragon Quest. And the Sega Ages version for Nintendo Switch is the definitive way to experience it — so let’s explore that now!
Following on from my article about it, I felt compelled to show the wonder that is G-LOC to all of you.
If you’ve never encountered this game, it’s one of the later Super Scaler games from Sega in the arcades, and until the recent Sega Ages release for Nintendo Switch, it has never had a particularly good conversion to home consoles.
Now though… whoo. You have to tear me away from this damn game. Enjoy the video below, and subscribe on YouTube for more.
Sega’s G-LOC Air Battle is my favourite arcade game of all time — not that I had that many opportunities to play it as a child, sadly.
We don’t really “do” arcades here in the UK anywhere other than the seaside, you see, and thus, growing up in a small village that was a considerable distance from the nearest seaside resort, I only ever got to play a lot of arcade games when we went on holiday. This, naturally, led to me judging a lot of domestic holiday destinations based on what arcade machines were readily accessible.
G-LOC is a game that immediately caught my attention on a family trip to Newquay in Cornwall. I dropped a quid in it for three credits, sat down and prepared for action. And from that moment on, I was in love.
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.
An unstable economy might not sound like it would make the setup for a compelling video game, but Fantasy Zone is here to prove you wrong!
To be fair, the premise is little more than a justification for the fact that all the enemies in the game drop coins that you can use to upgrade your ship; Fantasy Zone is instead much better known for being one of the progenitors of what came to be known as the “cute ’em up” subgenre, alongside Konami’s Twinbee.
First released to arcades in 1986 and subsequently ported to a variety of different platforms, Fantasy Zone has been a beloved part of Sega’s back catalogue for many years now. And, at the time of writing, the recent Sega Ages version for Nintendo Switch promises to bring it to a whole new audience. So let’s take a closer look at that particular incarnation of this colourful blastathon!
Remember Columns? Remember how we talked about how chilled out it was, and how it didn’t want to stress you out? Yeah, you can forget all that with its direct follow-up.
Columns II is an example of an approach to sequels that was popular for a short while in the late ’80s and early ’90s: the provision of an experience clearly geared towards expert players, and a distinct case of “the same, but more so, and way harder“.
While Columns wanted everyone to relax and have a fun old time matching coloured gems, Columns II does everything in its power to stress you out at every opportunity. And I both love it and hate it for that!
Say the words “minigame collection” to a modern-day gamer and chances are they will roll their eyes and say something about shovelware, perhaps the Wii.
But we’re not about that sort of negativity here on MoeGamer, particularly because I know that minigame compilations can be an absolute ton of fun, and there are numerous great examples from throughout the years.
One such example is Ichidant-R, the sequel to Tant-R, which in turn was a bizarre spinoff of Bonanza Bros. And wouldn’t you know it? Sega just happens to have released Ichidant-R as part of its excellent Sega Ages collection on Nintendo Switch. Let’s take a closer look.
Trivia of the day: the shiny red car in the original OutRun is not, as many people assume (and as both numerous sites on the Internet and some incarnations of the game’s original manual claim), a Ferrari Testarossa; it’s just a car designed to look uncannily like a Ferrari Testarossa — in other words, it’s a thoroughly unlicensed knockoff.
The fact that the car in OutRun is almost-but-not-quite a Ferrari is probably why this first game in the series has been so widely ported and still remains relevant today, while the officially Ferrari-branded OutRun 2 and its expanded quasi-sequel OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coastremain tragically trapped in licensing limbo.
The original OutRun has been ported to enough platforms to make the original Final Fantasy and Ys games blush over the years, as well as putting in occasional guest appearances in games such as Shenmue 2 and Yakuza 0. The latest direct port at the time of writing is for Nintendo Switch as part of the Sega Ages collection and is the work of emulation maestros M2, so let’s once again put our foot to the floor and get driving.
The Nintendo Switch has seen a real renaissance for classic-era Sega.
The launch of the Sega Ages collection on the platform has brought a host of the company’s most beloved titles to a whole new audience. Even better, these releases have brought these titles up to date with modern conveniences without sacrificing what made the originals great in the first place; a true example of “enhanced retro” at work.
The latest title from Sega’s golden age to get this treatment is Virtua Racing, so let’s take a look at where this influential title came from… and how the Nintendo Switch incarnation honours its legacy.
It’s a double feature today, as the two games in question were bundled together as Sega Ages 2500 Vol. 6 on PlayStation 2 in Japan, and indeed remain as a single “unit” in the Sega Classics Collection we got here in the West.
Bonanza Bros is a staple inclusion in most people’s Mega Drive libraries — indeed, it’s tended to find its way into most of the Mega Drive compilations for subsequent consoles over the years, too — but Tant-R may well be new to you, since prior to the Sega Classics Collection release it was Japan-exclusive.
The Sega Ages versions of both games don’t radically reinvent anything to the same degree as Tamsoft’s take on Monaco GP, but they remain solid games in their own right. So let’s take a closer look.