Recently, there has been talk between Sony and Microsoft about implementing cross-platform gaming. Though no sort of agreement has been reached yet, and there is only speculation as to what these talks have consisted of, even the slightest notion that these two video game giants have taken the idea into consideration is HUGE! The climate for console developers has drastically changed over the course of time, and while Nintendo still goes its own way, it does so without feeling the need to get into squabbles or spend millions in advertising to inflict insult upon its competition. But, as we all know, this hasn't always been the case.
As a child of the 80's, I remember these targeting ads well and can look back today and see their overt influence over the console choices made by my classmates and I. The feud that Nintendo and Sega started was hotly contested and equally debated on the playground in my day. Nintendo's dominance in my community was so pronounced that no one dared to admit to owning a Sega console for fear of ridicule. What gaming system you owned or didn't own could have socially ruined you among your peers. If you owned a Sega, no one wanted to come over to your house because they couldn't bring their games over, and there wasn't a chance that you could swap games for a few weeks (...sometimes to never have your games returned, but that's another matter all together). In reality, it was a somewhat milder form of bullying, and let's be honest, it still exists among some fanboys/fangirls today.
Continue reading Call Me Traitor
I know that some of you are probably disappointed that this isn't a glowing review of Crackdown on the XBox 360. I'm sure that's a great game, but having never played it, I'd like to talk about another game of the same name released on the Sega Mega Drive & Genesis by Sage's Creation in 1990 & 1991 respectively. Crack Down is a port of the original 1989 arcade title of the same name that was developed by Sega for their Sega System 24 arcade board. The game was also ported to the Commodore Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, DOS, ZX Spectrum, the Wii Virtual Console (PAL & Japan only), and most recently (2010), the Genesis/Mega Drive version was made available on Steam.
Continue reading Banana's Rotten Reviews: Crack Down
Pre-owned Madden football games are everywhere. When you have a series that has been churning out a title every year for twenty years, there are a lot of discarded games to be peddled at flea markets or garage sales. With a massive supply built across almost every console for gaming generations now, the previous editions of Madden football have an almost nonexistent resell value. Outside of this mass production, there is one title that is not common and is one of a number of sports titles that hold value for collectors. John Madden Football Championship Edition was a rental store exclusive released in 1992 for the Sega Genesis and it is the Holy Grail of Madden Football games.
Continue reading The Holy Grail of Madden Football Games
Beyond Oasis is an action/adventure game developed by Ancient for the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive. It was released quite late in the system's lifecycle, late 1994 for Japan and 1995 everywhere else. Since Ancient was founded by Yuzo Koshiro, it also includes a soundtrack composed by him. This is most likely Sega's answer to The Legend of Zelda mixed with some Mana series, since there are many similarities in gameplay design, puzzle solving, and progression.
Continue reading Psychotic Reviews: Beyond Oasis
Ah, the 16-bit era. The two major systems in North America during those years were home to amazing shmups, RPGs, platformers, fighters and pretty much every other genre. What title would finally hold the honor of closing out the retail market? What magnum opus could serve as the cross-platform release to end the glory days of 2D gaming? The answer, surprisingly, was Frogger.
Frogger, of course, had been a hit when it launched in arcades in 1981. In the years afterward, it would be ported to every computer and home console imaginable. According to Wikipedia, for example, there are over 20 Frogger clones for the ZX Spectrum alone. There was certainly not a frothing demand for a Frogger game when Majesco and Hasbro collaborated to bring the game to the Genesis and SNES in 1998, but that is exactly what they did. By most counts, Frogger was the final retail release for both of these systems.
The Genesis and SNES versions, respectively
The two games are actually quite different in terms of graphics and playability. The Genesis port of Frogger is widely hailed as one of the best ports the game has ever seen, and though it fails to really take advantage of the Genesis hardware, it is extremely faithful to the arcade version. It offers no high score tables, no difficulty settings or other options, but it is nonetheless Frogger.
My copy of this game shows how cheap the Genesis packaging had become by the end of the Genesis lifespan. Long gone, of course, were the clamshell cases...but this is even cheaper than the slide out cardboard games from the latter half of the Genesis run. Theres also a lot of red border and text surrounding the box art, something which detracts significantly from the look of the packaging. From the pictures available of the SNES box (I dont have a copy), it looks like there is a little more uniformity with the rest of the library.
Even Frogger himself looks depressed by this shoddy port
The SNES box art may have been the best part about that release of the game, as not only are the updated graphics a travesty for the eyes, but the control and sound are a mess as well. It seems that the folks at Majesco wanted to make a different version of the game for each console but it is hard to imagine what they were thinking with the SNES port.
As an interesting footnote, Frogger received a near-simultaneous release on the PlayStation and PC as these 16-bit versions. These versions place Frogger in 3D perspective and offer a lot of interesting additions to the game. The PS1 port is especially worth a look, if you are a fan of Frogger (it even spawned a sequel).
Platforms: Sega Genesis, Various Other Platforms
Release Date: August 1989
Genre: Beat 'em Up
Number of Players: Up to 2 Players at same time
ERSB Rating: N/A
"Rise from your Grave" The first words of the game Altered Beast for the Sega Mega Drive & Genesis, still rings into my head whenever I plug my Genesis in and hit the button. I was first exposed to this classic side scrolling beat 'em Up gem by my uncle who had the first generation Genesis. If you had one of them, you usually had this game that was one of the first releases for the Genesis. When I was young, I never could get passed the 4th or 5th stage even though I had watched my uncle beat it through many times. Leave me alone I was only six!!
The story starts off kind of strange. Basically you're a dead Roman soldier that gets resurrected by the man, the myth, the legend, one and only, Zeus himself. Before you can even smell that fresh air, you are told to go rescue his daughter. He is Zeus and he can't even rescue his own daughter? You must seek out Neff, Lord of the Underworld, to claim your prize.
As you start the game you look like any other normal old-school Roman stud. You can use two options to bust your way through the levels, kick and punch. You can also jump which can be useless. There is also a button combo, down and punch, which lets your lay on your can and punch up to get the flying creatures. As you stroll through the levels you will run into brown and blue two headed lions or wolves or something. When you kill the blue ones, a "Power-Up", yes it even says it, will come out and if you get it, you will change in appearance slightly. Your muscles will get pimped out and you continue on. When you get three of these blue Power-Ups, you will turn into an "Altered Beast" I guess you could say. The first stage is a wolverine type thing, second a green dragon and so on. Each can shoot or do something unique to that creature. Once you are in your beast character and you encounter Neff in the level, you will engage in a boss battle to win that level. Most are easy enough and are pretty sweet and fun to take on, specially the second level with the freaky eye thing that sends eyes out all over the screen. But overall the game lacked any depth and was very quite linear, gain three Power-Ups and go kill the boss. Very few other things to do and the lack luster on the side fighting really didn't jump out and make you want to play it all day. Another flaw was that it was fairly short in length. With a good sit down you could finish it with out much trouble in a hour or less.
Sound and Graphics
The sound for Altered Beast was for the most part outstanding for its' time. It had voices which few games did at that time. In fact this was one reason why it was such a hit at Arcades. Talking on games back in the day was really a stand out feature to sell the game. The graphics were on the fair side with most 16-bit games looking similar.
Altered Beast: Guardian of the Realms was released on the GBA in Nov. of 2002
Project Altered Beast for the PS2 was canceled in the US even though it was released in Europe and Japan. What a shame!
Altered Beast can be found on the Virtual Console for the Wii and XBLA for XBOX 360.
Tiger Electronics released a hand held version in 1988.
Overall I would in fact recommend the game Altered Beast to anyone who likes a good Beat-em up game or is a fan of classic Sega games. It can be found at good prices, usually $5-6 dollars and is worth the hour or so you will stick into it. I personally believe you will enjoy this game and love taking a chance to replay one of the older great games out there.
Xenon 2 was one of my staples back in the University days, although then I played it on a pc. Now I've got the Mega Drive version I find it's almost identical, from the pounding Bomb the Bass track Megablast to the Super Nashwan firepower upgrade that's totally useless.
The game is a vertically scrolling shooter, with just about everything including the scenery being an enemy. Find yourself trapped in a cave and as the screen scrolls to the bottom and no way to back out and you've lost a life. As is common with most of these shooters the enemies arrive in predetermined waves and always fly the same pattern, which means that to extract the best out of the level you have to play it and play it and play it so that the patterns become second nature.
Each swarm of enemies destroyed creates bubbles on screen that when collected translate into money that you can then use for upgrades, some of which can be found floating around various levels anyway.
There's a real knack to getting the best firepower for each level and the game restricts you to what you can carry, for example you can't have both side and rear guns, but you can have an insane amount of front facing weaponry. Some of the levels have a plethora of side attacking enemies, some come from the rear.
Each level ends with a boss fight, and it's really only here that the game shows any break from swooping attack patterns as the bosses, whilst usually stationary, can actually aim and take proper shots at you. Each one has it's own weakness to be discovered, and once you do it's pretty straightforward to repeatedly exploit this until it explodes into a mass of bubble coins.
During each level and again at the end you're able to visit the shop to buy and sell upgrades and it's vital that you make the right choice here - buy a side shot on a level where everything happens behind you and it makes for a very frustrating experience indeed.
The game is quite short, taking about and hour to play to the end, but the memorization required to achieve anything like a decent high score is phenomenal and will take many more hours.
I'd thoroughly recommend it to anyone wanting to play a simple shooter that doesn't require the reflexes of todays shmups, and fancies a bit of 80s electronica as background. A word of warning though, the only music track is Megablast, and after about 30 minutes of playing it my kids told me to 'turn that damn noise off'. I expect they'll be shouting at me to get off their lawns next.
Sonic 3D Blast, also known as Sonic 3D: Flicky's Island, was released for the Sega Genesis in November 1996. In this game, Dr. Robotnik has discovered birds called Flickys, these birds are from a different dimension and have the ability to travel to different areas through large rings. Robotnik decides to turn the Flickys into robots and use these abilities to help him find the Chaos Emeralds so he can use their power to conquer the world. Later Sonic arrives on Flicky Island and is shocked to find that all the Flickys have been turned into robots, he then decides that he must stop Robotnik and rescue the Flickys.
Continue reading Retro Review: Sonic 3D Blast
Pier Solar and the Great Architect is an entirely new Japanese style RPG currently in development for the Sega Genesis by Watermelon Development, a group who is dedicated to breathing some new life into the long dead console by releasing some new and original content.
Continue reading A Look Ahead: Pier Solar and the Great Architect
In 1989, at a time when the NES was increasing even more in popularity, Sega, who already had some popularity in the United States with the 8-Bit Master System, and Arcade games such as Altered Beast and After Burner II, released a video game console that was meant to take on Nintendo's NES, the Genesis, which became one of the greatest 16-Bit consoles of all time.
At the time of it's release, Sega's main success was in the arcades, and overseas in the UK, where the Master System was extremely popular. On October 29, 1988, Sega release the MegaDrive in Japan. About a year later, on August 14, 1989, Sega release the Genesis in the United States. Sega pushed the Genesis on American consumers with the classic "Genesis does what Nintendon't" commercials. Those who paid the money for the system got the system, controllers, hookups, and the arcade port of Altered Beast. Many of the games released at launch were arcade ports and sports games. These include: Strider, Pat Riley Basketball, James "Buster" Douglas K.O. Boxing, and Michael Jackson's Moonwalker. The graphics of the system made people question why they were still playing on the old 8-Bit NES. Some kept their Nintendo's, and some took the leap into the 16-Bit era. Early in the Genesis' lifetime, Sega released a peripheral for the system called the Sega Power Base Converter. This peripheral slid into the cartridge port of the system an allowed the user to insert Sega Master System games into the converter, giving it backwards compatibility with practically all Master System games, and game Cards.
As the years went on, the Genesis saw some fierce competition coming from Nintendo, with their Super Nintendo Entertainment System, and NEC's TurboGrafx-16. Sega held on, however, and gained even greater popularity with the release of the game Sonic the Hedgehog. Sonic was, as most today know, a blue, bad ass, in-your-face hedgehog, and was much more fierce when compared to Nintendo's little Italian plumber, Mario. Also, Sega was able to beat out Nintendo with one fighting game, Mortal Kombat. While the Genesis version of the game didn't look as good or sound as good as the SNES version, the Genesis version had full blood, and no censored fatalities.
As the Genesis passed into the 32-Bit era, Sega tried to keep up with the graphics of the more advanced systems. They began to push the games to their graphical limits, and even released a couple of add-ons to make the system more powerful. The first of the two was the Sega Mega CD, released in Japan in 1991, and released in the United States in 1992 as the Sega CD. As the name states, this add-on was a disc drive that attached to either the bottom of the model 1 Genesis or on the side of the model 2. The add-on also enabled the Genesis to play audio CDs. Most of the games on the Sega CD were crappy FMV (full motion video) games. Some of the better ones, however, were Sonic CD, Snatcher, The Terminator, and Mortal Kombat. Mortal Kombat on the Sega CD featured the same Genesis graphics, but arcade sounds, speech, and music. Later on, in 1994, Sega released the Sega 32X, which was inserted into the cartridge port of the Genesis, could play all of the regular 16-Bit games, and also had its own line of 32-Bit games such as Mortal Kombat II, Knuckle's Chaotix, Star Wars Arcade, Doom, and Virtua Fighter. These add-ons are infamous for their low amounts of killer titles, and extremely high prices at launch.
In closing, Sega made their greatest benchmark on the video game industry with the Genesis, and many gamers of today swear by the old Blast Processor. This system gets a 8/10.