Thursday, October 21, 2010

Skyblazer... I can't believe I forgot Skyblazer!

The other night I was having a few drinks at the bar with a friend, and I let it out that I've got a little blog going where I replay classic SNES (and maybe NES) games.  We got to talking and he wanted to contribute some ideas.  I trust my friends, but this is why I didn't want to tell anyone about my blog.  Before I know it, I'll have all my buddies giving me a list of games to review and they'll all think I'm picking favorites when I choose a game.  However, this time I didn't regret it.

I pulled out the iPhone and showed him the site.  He liked it and started to mention games I should play.  He recommended Secret of Mana, Chrono Trigger, Lufia, and Megaman all before I could stop him.

"Look man, I'm just trying to put those games out that I played and enjoyed that weren't popular.  I'd like people to know what they missed out on."  I then started to tell him that my next game was going to be E.V.O. The Search for Eden.  He told me that game sucked.  I was just about ready to end the conversation and play some pool when he brought up Skyblazer.  He kept going, but I told him to stop.  They're my creative juices and I'd rather not throw his oranges in with my kiwi.

This game has all the best elements of a side scrolling platform (maybe lacking a little in storyline).  First off, the control for this game is fantastic.  It's as smoothness is right up there with Super Castlevania.  The graphics are simplistic, yet not disappointing.  The music is a bit redundant, but nonetheless engaging and appropriate.  This game plays itself.  I was just taking videos and screen shots and beat the first world before I even realized it.

Skyblazer was published by Epic/Sony Records games in 1993. These guys also released Utopia: The Creation of a Nation and Live in Power Bowl: TM Network (Japanese only).  I wouldn't call the other games ground breaking, but I haven't played them yet either.

The box art looks like Nuclear Man beating up a bunch of robot monks.

The bosses are creatively designed.

Seeing the sprites should give you an idea of how smooth the game is.

The game has such a variety in game play from level to level, that I couldn't just pick one or two videos to sum it up.  You'll have to see for yourself.  This game is a truly undiscovered gem, probably due to the retarded looking box.  I could imagine if the box didn't look so stupid, this game would have become a strong series, comparable to Megaman, Metroid, or Zelda.

If seeing this review made you want to play the game, it's going pretty cheap on Amazon.  Honestly, at a price less than a pack of cigarettes, this game is a steal.  Do yourself a favor and play it as soon as possible.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Debate on How to do Retro

I've been having this debate with a friend for some time about nostalgia and why we would choose to play Stealth over Halo Reach.

He tells me that true nostalgia is about the overall feeling of the sharp cornered nintendo controller in your hand. The way a game slows down when more than three things are moving at once. That sort of forced "bullet time" which kind of gave you the edge to defeat the enemies. The opportunity to see that zombie eating your fellow Stars team member and when the tension is at it's highest, having to wait three more seconds while the disc loads.

While I can't disagree with that, I have a different interpretation of nostalgia. Sometimes, playing an older game the limitations of technology prevented a designer from realizing his actual dream. I purchased two (Wireless) Logitech Cordless Rumblepads and an HDMI cable. This way, I can download roms (legally of course) of the games I used to own and replay them on my flat screen TV with scaleX or super eagle graphics upgrades. Super eagle is nice! It makes an 8-bit game seem 16-bit. The game has more vibrancy and life. The game plays as it was meant to be played, without delay or graphical glitches.

Moreover, I am not forced to fight against my own bodily functions and personal life, because emulators allow you to save the state of the game in that exact spot at any time. This way, if you're tired you can go to sleep and beat Super Mario tomorrow, or after work. Not to mention that bumping a Nintendo could mean your game is over with, bumping a computer does not have that effect at all.

So Neo, the choice is yours:

The new school upgrade to old school games...
Or the true old school experience in it's original glory and frustration.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

New Logo

What do you guys think of my new blog logo?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Stealth for the Super Famicom - Lost in Translation

Firestriker, was a sweet game that got overlooked, but some of the best games you've never heard of were literally unheard of because they weren't being talked about in your language.  I could not find a copy of Stealth in English, but I'm not going to let a little thing like literacy bother me.  I found the Japanese version and had at it.

If you don't understand the menus, that's fine, but the action should be pretty obvious.

I have no idea what is being said, but I figured out how to play.

You lead an elite squad of army commandos against the Viet Cong.  Your mission (or so I've read) is to destroy their missile caches.  I don't know if the Viet Cong really had missiles or not, but it makes for good game play.

Fortifying missiles with five dudes behind barrels... SRSLY?!?!

Since I can't read any of the names, I made them up:

       Sargent Leader Guy - Squad Leader

       Chief Raging Bullets - Sniper

       Fatty Donuts - Demolition Expert

       Steve Bushemi - Bullet Magnet

       Crazy Ryu Rambo - Combatives Specialist

       Nerdy BigNose - Radio Operator

Once I figured out how to play the game was actually really awesome.  You walk through the wilderness, killing Viet Cong and innocent farmers, none of which said anything I understood.  I really felt like I was getting the feeling of what it must have been like for American soldiers in this war.  I think it's possible that the villagers were supposed to be giving me tips, but it was all wing-dings to me.

He could be insulting my mother for all I know.
Me love you long time.
Oh noooooo.... to boku.

Unfortunately, this game never came out in the US, and I haven't seen a translated version in my searches.  I think that if you want to play this one, you'll have to bite the bullet and either learn Japanese or just fill in the dialog with your own flavor.  For example, after you beat the first level, there's a bunch of Japanese and then it says "Yes or No"?  I chose yes and this black guy up here joined my party.

I'm not sure how to rate the game, but it is definitely playable.  Maybe just drink a few beers first.

Monday, October 11, 2010

FireStriker... I just can't put you down

   Last time I blogged I (re)introduced you to the old SNES cart Firestriker.  In this installment, I'll show you the boss fights as well as a preview of my next blog.

Oh, I gotta hurry up and beat this guy, I've got a turtle head peaking out!

The third boss is a total flamer.

Every time I try to get close to him, he just throws up this emotional wall!

I'd like a video of me beating the boss, but to do that I'd have to actually beat the boss.

   While researching Firestriker, (which you can buy for like $4.00 on Amazon by clicking this link) I found the company Hect which made this game, made another game that never came out in America that looks damn amazing.  Stealth puts you in the shoes of a squad of US soldiers during the Vietnam war.  This turn based I was going to check out Illusion of Gaia, but this game is a must see for me.  Here's a sample of what Stealth has to offer.

The box art for Stealth
   I'm not really sure how historically accurate this game will be, but I'll let you know if the USA wins in this one or not.

(Re)Discovering old SNES games: FireStriker / HolyStriker

My friends and I were getting pretty drunk a while back, and playing old video games.  We definitely weren't randomly playing games from a thousand ROM pack downloaded from uTorrent or LimeWire, because that would be illegal.  So for this story, we bought a box of 1,000 old games at a garage sale and we were playing those.  So FBI, if you're reading this, you can move onto someone else's blog.


We found this game called Holy Striker that was still in Japanese (and I just happened to have a Super Famicom laying around).  We played that game for the rest of the night and much into the next morning.  All this despite the fact that we had no idea what the storyline was since it was still in Japanese.

A while later, I found out that this game did come out in America as Fire Striker.  I'm posting this gem for you, because I honestly think a lot of you will have never seen this pretty awesome game.

Title Screen, don't know what multi mode is...
Reason for using a fiery pinball as a weapon
Gameplay videos captured with SNES9X and encoded with Super (from eRightSoft).

The opening screen and the first level

The first boss, tricky guy is strong on the front side

If you still have your SNES and you're looking to play a game you missed out on as a kid, try and find a copy of this game someplace.  It's definitely worth the time.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Final Fantasy: Mystical Quest. . . I just don't know

The Final Fantasy series is probably the longest running successful series of RPG games to date.

I remember playing the first one for the NES and being enthralled.  When Final Fantasy 2 (4 if you lived in Japan) came out, I was awestruck.  The storyline was so deep and well developed.  The classic battle between Kain and Cecil over Rosa.  The awkward allience between Kain and Golbez to gain the crystals for dominance and revenge.

The game really had what it took to withstand the test of time.  Having played more than a few RPG's since, I can say this game left a mark on me.

Haven't played it?  Been living under a rock?  Are you too young to know what records look like?  Check it out at

A year later (1992) the SNES released a sequel to the FF series with the subname Mystic Quest.  I was 11 years old at the time and still thought Thunder Cats were sweet.  I bought the game played it through, and I remember enjoying it (just like Thunder Cats).  A few weeks ago, I was feeling nostalgic and gave FF:MQ a shot.  I played it all the way through and beat it.  Overall, I'd have to say that the game had all of the elements I'm looking for in an RPG, but something felt off about it.  I'd say it's something like playing the Cliff Notes version of a real RPG.

If you need to figure out what I'm talking about I've got a few screen shots of the last boss battle that might help you understand.

Default intimidating final castle name...

Default boss is waiting for you in an alternate space universe...

Default boss gives you plot twist right before fight...

Default boss taunts you while you fight him...

Default boss changes his form during battle...

Default boss changes his form again...

Default boss continues to change his form until the last fight is actually boring...


So, if anyone has played this game before, I encourage you to tell me what you thought of it, because frankly I have no clue if I hated this game or if I loved it.  It's the peanut butter and pickles of RPG's.

Hacking 101

You want to hack. . . start smoking Marlboro Reds.

I don't know why it's all sticky?

I found a quarter on the ground the other day.  When I went to pick it up, it was covered in something really sticky and gross.  Even though I didn't want to have that nastiness on me, I felt that I had to keep it for all the trouble I went through.

I hate being poor.