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
I love me some Qix, and it’s a game I developed quite an early fondness for thanks to the Atari 8-bit version I grew up with.
There’s an Atari 5200 version that is almost arcade-perfect available, but the Atari 8-bit edition went in a slightly different direction, making itself more distinctive and unique to the 8-bit platform in the process.
Enjoy my rusty Qix skills in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!
At the time of writing, the world is gearing up for a fourth official installment in the Bubble Bobble series.
Wait a minute, I hear you ask, fourth? What happened to the third? I don’t judge you too harshly for asking this question; I know some people who weren’t even aware that Rainbow Islands was the second Bubble Bobble game, so for you to be unaware that there had already been a third one is entirely understandable.
It doesn’t stop it being a huge shame, however, because 1991’s Parasol Stars: The Story of Bubble Bobble III is a wonderful game; one of my all-time favourite single-screen “kill ’em all” platformers, in fact, beaten only by Rod-Land. And yet, for various reasons, very few people either know it exists or remember it.
Continue reading Parasol Stars: The Bubble Bobble Everyone Forgets
One of the nice things about the two Taito Legends compilations on PS2, Xbox and PC (and the separate PSP release, which acts as a kind of “best of” compilation containing elements of both) is that it includes both well-known games and more obscure affairs.
One such example of the latter is The Electric Yo-Yo, an unusual Taito America game from 1982 that is so obscure that it doesn’t even have its own Wikipedia page (shock!). If Giant Bomb’s rather bare-bones page on the game is to be believed, it seems that it wasn’t all that well-received back in the day — but if there’s one thing I’ve learned in MoeGamer’s lifetime, it’s that it’s always worth considering something on its own merits, devoid of its original context and popular reception.
And y’know what? I kinda like The Electric Yo-Yo. I mean, sure, it’s kind of infuriating and I’ve hurled some deeply offensive language at it during my time with it… but I still kinda like it.
Continue reading Taito Essentials: The Electric Yo-Yo
New Zealand, as beautiful a country as it is, is not a place that gets a lot of attention. I mean, it’s tucked away down there right in the corner of the map where everyone forgets about it.
However, back in 1988, the country left a sufficiently lasting impression on one of Taito’s programmers that, upon his return from holiday, he wanted to make it a setting for a new arcade game.
The result was The New Zealand Story. And it’s one of Taito’s most interesting games.
Continue reading Taito Essentials: The New Zealand Story
I have a major soft spot for single-screen “kill everything” platformers. Every day I mourn that Rod-Land isn’t more readily available to play on modern platforms… and it’s not just because I have a thing for Rit.
No, I’ve always been a fan of this kind of game, ever since Bubble Bobble, and if anyone was the absolute master of this subgenre, it was Taito. As such, the two Taito Legends collections on PlayStation 2 make frequent appearances in my game rotation, just so I can enjoy games like the aforementioned Bubble Bobble and its sequel Rainbow Islands at any time.
What if someone were to make a new game like this, though? How might that turn out? Well, wonder no longer!
Continue reading Whip! Whip!: Smells Like Taito
Humblest greetings to you, Internet denizen, and a hearty welcome to another episode of The MoeGamer Podcast, featuring my good self and a spicy pepper-chomping Mr Chris Caskie of MrGilderPixels.
The MoeGamer Podcast is available in several places. You can subscribe to my channel on YouTube to stay up to date with both the video versions of the podcast and my weekly videos (including the Atari A to Z retro gaming series); you can follow on Soundcloud for the audio-only version of the podcast; you can subscribe via RSS to get the audio-only version of the podcast in your favourite podcast app; or you can subscribe via iTunes. Please do at least one of these if you can; it really helps us out!
Or you can hit the jump to watch or listen to today’s episode right here on MoeGamer.
Continue reading The MoeGamer Podcast: Episode 26 – Vanishing Point
Well now. Here’s one that doesn’t get talked about all that much: one of SNK’s earliest games, and a title believed to be the second ever fixed shoot ’em up, after Taito’s genre-defining classic Space Invaders.
In fact, Ozma Wars, developed by Logitec (no, not that one) and published by SNK in 1979, ran on the same Taito 8080 hardware that powered Space Invaders, was available as a conversion kit for Space Invaders machines, and even made use of the same coloured overlay on its black and white display to bring a bit of vibrancy to the visuals.
What’s more, it provides a thoroughly interesting early shoot ’em up experience that is markedly distinct from Taito’s title. Let’s take a closer look.
Continue reading SNK Essentials: Ozma Wars
Mid to late ’80s Taito were good at a lot of things, but one thing they were particularly good at was iterating on an established formula and bringing it more “up to date”.
Probably the most famous example of this is Arkanoid, a game which took the incredibly simple concept of Atari’s Breakout — hit ball with paddle to destroy bricks, repeat until screen clear or player displays sufficient incompetence — and enhanced it with “enemies”, powerups and a wide variety of different levels.
Well, as Arkanoid was to Breakout, so Volfied was to Qix. At least this time around they ripped off their own game…
Continue reading Taito Essentials: Volfied
It wasn’t unusual to see lightgun shooters adapted to the 16-bit computers of the late ’80s and early ’90s. However, you didn’t tend to see a lot in the way of lightgun peripherals.
You did, however, see a lot of these games making use of mouse control to simulate aiming a gun. Some of these made use of a clear, obvious mouse cursor, allowing for precise aiming, albeit at the expense of a certain feeling of “authenticity”. Meanwhile, some, like Ocean’s solid adaptation of Taito’s Operation Thunderbolt, provided the interesting twist of making where you were aiming invisible until you fired — much like a “real” lightgun would behave.
While the ST struggles to provide a completely authentic arcade experience — particularly in the sound department, as always — Operation Thunderbolt is actually a pretty solid port, and its unusual aiming mechanics make it surprisingly satisfying and addictive to play, even today.
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