Kenichiro Fukui is a composer that few likely know off the top of their head. He began his career as a member of the Konami Kukeiha Club in 1990 under the moniker "Funiki Fukui". The first game he worked on was Sunset Riders in 1991, but he only did the sound effects for the game. His first full composition job was Konami's light gun arcade game Lethal Enforcers. He worked on a few more arcade games at Konami, including 1992's GI Joe with Tsutomi Ogura and 1993's Violent Storm with Seiichi Fukami.
Continue reading Composer Compendium: Kenichiro Fukui
Vapor Trail is a vertically scrolling shooter originally developed by Data East for the arcade in 1989. Kuuga: Operation Code "Vapor Trail" is the game's full Japanese name, with the title being changed to Vapor Trail: Hyper Offense Formation overseas. Telenet Japan secured the rights to port the game to Sega's Mega Drive, publishing through its RiOT label for release in 1991. At the time, Telenet also had a North American subsidiary named Renovation Products, who handled the overseas Genesis release in the same year.
This original game spawned an arcade trilogy from Data East. The second game in the Kuuga series is Wolf Fang: Kuuga 2001, and the third is Skull Fang: Kuuga Gaiden. Both of these sequels were ported to the followup of the Genesis, the Saturn. Wolf Fang expanded to Sony's PlayStation, and even took a modern leap to the PlayStation Network, for a PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable release. Wolf Fang switched genre completely when it changed into a run and gun and platforming hybrid; however, Skull Fang returned to the scrolling shooter mechanics of the original.
Continue reading Psychotic Reviews: Vapor Trail
Normally when I do a review I beat the game and then go about reviewing my experience with it. With RPGs it makes sense, since I'm investing at least two dozen hours into the recent ones I've been playing. Sega Rally Championship can be beaten in less than ten minutes. Its an arcade checkpoint racing game, one of the best of them in fact. I remember in the mid to late 90's when arcades died down to the point where it was basically nothing but these checkpoint racers, fighting games, and NFL Blitz. That was about it in my hometown, and by that time we had already lost one of the two arcades here.
I never did play Sega Rally Championship in the arcades, I did play a ton of Hydro Thunder. In terms of Sega I played more Daytona USA. Anyway, now I have a Sega Saturn, and Sega Rally Championship is one of the absolute cheapest games for the system. I paid $4 for my copy, and it was complete with an excellent, non broken case! But is this game cheap for the wrong reasons, or the right reasons? There's only one way to find out!
When you first start the game you have a menu of choices like the arcade mode, time attack, options and other normal console game selections. Time attack is just setting a course record and then racing the ghost. Once you're in the arcade mode you can choose whether or not to practice individual tracks, or jump straight into the race. There are only a grand total of three tracks in the entire game. Now it makes sense why the game is only ten minutes long. There are also only really two cars to choose from, with each car having an automatic or manual transmission option. There is a third unlockable car though.
Once you get that picked you're off to the races! In order the tracks go Desert, Forest, and Mountain. Each one is harder than the last. Even though Mountain is smaller than Forest it is jam packed with quick turns that can throw you off and have you crashing into the walls repeatedly. Desert is designed as the easy track to help you get used to the game mechanics. The first time you play the game don't be surprised if you get a Game Over on Desert, this game is a bit harder to master than most racers.
Drifting around Medium, Hairpins, and Fades are absolutely essential. Even on some of the Easy turns you'll need to do a bit of drifting. Don't worry, the game literally tells you what kind of turn you're getting close to and how long it is. The ones you have to be even more careful on are the turns where the announcer says "Maybe" at the end. He's not lying, "Long Easy Right... Maybe" might just make you hit the wall hard.
The music in the game, at least the Saturn port, is just there. Its good but its there as a background noise instead of something to bump the speakers to. There's a lot going on in this game in terms of audio, so not having too much too much to focus on at any one time seems like it was a smart move overall. The bad part is that the Saturn port of the game has music played by Joe Satriani, and its just there in the background.
If you do get a game over, well, then you're treated to the greatest game over screen in the history of gaming. Its so nice that it just makes you want to keep playing not because you're angry, but because it kept you happy. This game is not trying to rub your failure in your face and make you feel worthless because you couldn't get to that checkpoint in time, it makes you want to try again!
To really beat the game requires mastery of it. These three courses are much deeper than they appear, and memorizing the layout is only one half of the equation. The other half is learning how to properly take these memorized turns and practice it until you can do it in your sleep. Actual execution is just as important as track memorization. These two features mesh well together and working on perfecting turns and the drifting mechanics after memorizing track layouts is actually fun and rewarding when switching between modes like ghost racing in Time Attack.
Sega Rally Championship is a game worth every penny. Even though it can be beaten in a few minutes it will take hours to master, and almost every second will be enjoyable. Any annoyance is pressed onto yourself for not having perfect control. If you have a Saturn and haven't picked this up and played it, and are mildly interested in racing games or arcade games in general, this one is worth every single penny and then some.
When it comes to retro arcade sticks there are a few which everybody knows about, the NES Advantage, Super Advantage, Sega's Genesis Stick & Saturn Stick, and then the Capcom Fighter Power Stick. But, it has been 20 years since this bulky controller has released so does it hold up?
You'll just have to stay tuned and find out!
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