Another fantastic loader from the Amiga game - Agony. These level loader screens are amazing!
Forget the Queen’s speech, and listen to some true Queen! Whatever your year has been like, it’s time to put one day aside and enjoy life. Have a Retro Christmas all my Friends, Family, Followers and Stalkers….. :D
Merry Christmas from me, Rich, Author of the Retro Review! Have a great day guys and a safe but drunken New Year! :)
Hello and happy Midweek to you all, I hope you are all done with Christmas shopping and enjoying some time to pick up that retro console and play some truly unforgettable games. For your enjoyment today, I am reviewing a sequel to one of the biggest franchises the world ever laid eyes on…
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2:- Turtles in time on the Arcade
Cowabunga dudes! The Turtles are back in action and thrown through time to do battle with the Evil Shredder and Krang’s Foot clan and other bad guys scattered through time and space…past, present and future!
So the game plays pretty much like the original arcade beat em’ up, side scrolling affair with a jump, attack and special attack system in place. You take the role of Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo or Raphael ( or if you had the correct set up you could control all 4 with some friends ). For me the game is pretty much an updated Ninja Turtles one machine, that’s not a bad thing, but it’s a little disappointing. The action moves from left to right with bad guys running in to do battle with your Turtle, again the bad guys are recognised by difficulty due to the colours on their clothing and each different colour has a different ability or attack. Some carry swords, some carry nothing and just punch and kick you with martial arts abilities. The animations have been polished up from the original outing, with a new run ability being added that requires nothing more than to keep walking in one direction before breaking into a run. You can do a shoulder tackle during a run which can take down several mobs in one go, which is a great way to control large amounts of bad guys at one time. You can also perform standard attacks with your attack button, a jumping attack and a super swipe attack that will knock most enemies down and destroy them in one hit. The game is quite big level wise, and you can now throw enemies into the screen ( they come flying towards the camera ) or you can hitch one on your weapon and slam them from side to side, which are both amusing to watch. Pizza acts as your health pick ups again, restoring any lost health along the way. Plenty of action to take you through to end of level bosses, which is nice, nothing worse than an empty level of nothing to do. Bosses vary in difficulty depending on level, from Baxter Stockman as the fly to a strange exploding alien in the Sewer level. Talking of which, there’s a nice few levels that break up the walking levels, such as taking to a surf board and gliding through the sewers battling Foot clan soldiers on their boards, and another elevator based level too.
Graphics:- A really nice cartoon effort here by the designers, trying to recreate the TV show ( the best one, not the shoddy remakes ), facial animations, battle animations and scenery are all done really well.
Sound:- Music and lots of speech samples make this a pleasure to play through, for example in the sewer level there are mines floating in the water, hit one and your Turtle will exclaim “My toes, my toes!” makes for a fun experience.
Overall:- Well you know my stand point on games that have a multi-player mode, and 4 player multi-player mode is way up there on my respect list. Worth grabbing 3 friends, huddling round a machine and playing through as a team, trust me, it’s manic!
Over to my honored guest for a review of an utter classic, if you ain’t played this, you really need to! Take it away Mr. Jonathan Coleman
Speedball 2 on the Commodore Amiga!
The sub-genre of sports games known as “future sports” is a genre I feel has not been explored enough to date. The likes of Mutant League Football from the 90’s, a crap version of Blood Bowl on the 360, or even Fusion Frenzy are some of the duffers that spring to mind. So to call Speedball 2 the best future sport does this gem of a game an injustice. It is however, a brilliant sports game.
Influenced by the likes of the original Rollerball, Speedball 2 expanded on all the foundations the original Speedball created. In the golden age of the early 90’s where the Commodore Amiga was king, the Bitmap Brothers were an English based developer that defined the era, creating classics such as the Chaos Engine. Speedball 2 is arguably the Bitmap Brothers flag bearer, but along with Sensible Software the Bitmap Brothers brilliant Speedball 2 defined the Amiga classics.
Basically, set in the year 2105 - Speedball 2 is a cross between American Football and Ice Hockey where, over two halves, nine players annihilate another nine players scoring points along the way by throwing the ball into the opponent’s goal or hitting specific targets on the playing arena. Your team is the brilliantly named “Brutal Deluxe”. As you start out in the second division with a bunch of average Joes, you coach and enhance your squad or can choose to dabble in the transfer market and bring in some of the brilliantly designed players. Before you know it you are mowing down any team you face, winning the top league and dominating the cup competitions.
The rule book is well and truly thrown out the window and violence is where it’s at, injure the other team’s goalkeeper? Nice work! Have four of the opposing team carried off by a robotic stretcher? Well done! A great capture of the imagination and at a time where Mortal Kombat was in its infancy this kind of mild violence was great harmless fun back then.
The controls are perfectly suited to a joystick and one single button. You pressed the fire button in possession of the ball and you throw it short, hold it down, you lob it high. Without the ball a press of the button launches your player into an impressive tackle/barge or jump if the ball is high. These controls are simple but perfectly effective, especially for 1991.
The sound is sublime, from the non-intrusive menu music to the voice sampling of “Get Ready” at the kick-off to a vendor in the crowd iconically yelling “ice cream! Ice cream! ”. The graphics are ace too, the character animations are spot on and you can tell some of your players apart just by appearance. Speedball 2 did not need lush colours and details, as the arena of a future sports is suitably shiny blue and futuristic as you would expect, with the players in shiny metal suits.
The gameplay is where it is at with Speedball 2 and this is what makes classic games such as Tetris and Skool Daze stand out – you don’t buy them for the graphics – it is the all-important gameplay. Speedball 2 has a superb fast paced ticky-tacky feel to it, not dis-similar from another classic, Sensible Soccer, and with the inclusion of strategic power ups such as speed boosts, freeze the opposition and shield/strength boosts and you truly have a varied individual piece of gameplay heaven.
Speedball 2 has appeared on a catalogue of formats, the Amiga, the Megadrive/genesis, NES, Gameboy and even remakes on the current Xbox and Playstation and I-Phone. I do feel Speedball 2 is finally getting the recognition and love is richly deserves but outside of Europe Speedball 2 did not get the kudos it deservedly merits. Do we want Speedball 3? I, for one would love it, especially with today’s online gaming capabilities and 3D game engines, for those that have played Halo’s Grifball mode, imagine it on a grander scale with power ups. If an FPS approach does not suit then the safer bet for Speedball 3 could be a Fifa Soccer style of game, add in the Havok engine and the possibilities are endless. But if it were to happen is it guaranteed success? I highly doubt it as would much of America get misty eyed over speedball 2? I think not. Is it Europe who are most appreciative of this Halcyon era and Bitmap Brothers classic that is Speedball 2?
Graphics: Not Important. But does everything it needs to very well, great character animations.
Sound: Awesome voice samples, iconic sounds.
Overall: King of its day and still holds up today. A true Gem Long may it reign supreme. Brutal Deluxe style!
Here is a bloody lovely loading screen from the Amiga game, Agony. Each level loading screen was unique and just as good as this one, but this is one of my fave’s, so I am sharing it with you guys! - Enjoy, and have a great weekend!
Gooooooooooooooooood morning Retro-Hogs! How are we all doing this fine and frosty week? Personally, I am loving this minus weather, it’s fantastic, starting to feel an awful lot like….well you know the rest. So if you are feeling blue, I can assure you, you don’t feel or look as blue as today’s review hero!
Sonic the Hedgehog on the Sega Master System!
Well, it’s about goddamn time, I hear you shout in unison! Well I know, but having Sonic at the beginning of the Review’s life cycle would have been a little lame, ya know? Mario had his trilogy reviewed way back when anyways. So…is there a plot I hear you ask? Well of course there is my dear friends…and here it is!
Sonic must prevent the evil scientist Doctor Ivo Robotnik (“Doctor Eggman” in the Japanese release) from taking over South Island, by collecting the seven Chaos Emeralds and freeing the animals Dr. Robotnik has trapped inside robots
And there you go, easy and simple. Have to say I do prefer the name of Robotnik over Eggman though. Anyway, on with the show…
So you take control of our little blue field forraging friend in a sideways scrolling environment. You can run left and right, jump, spin and duck. Along the way you will find power ups that can help you along the way, these include speed up shoes, bonus gold rings and invincibility. Along the way you collect golden rings similar to Mario’s gold coins, but alongside granting bonus lives they act as a safety blanket in a way.
Lets say Sonic is booming his way around the level and gets struck by an enemy or a spike, usually you would lose a life and start from the last check point right?…well these rings act as a safety barrier and if you get hit you lose your rings ( which if you are quick you can re-acquire some of them ) and carry on your way…get hit again with zero rings however and it’s a life lost. I kinda like that system to be honest, gives you a second wind to recover and carry on.
I am quite impressed with the game in all aspects, Sega did a great job in making it almost as bold as it’s big brother, the Megadrive’s version of the game. The graphics are not quite as good but hell, you’d expect that from an 8 bit machine trying to copy a 16 bit game. The game is smooth, responsive and has a nice learning curve to it. Starts out pretty easily but will push into a more tricky game as you progress.
Creatures you encounter along the way can be defeated using jump on the head technique ( careful of spiky bad guys ), or sonic can rev up and spin into them at high speed and knock them out. This causes the creatures trapped inside to become free once more. Quite sweet to see little bunnies and birds running/flying to freedom! You will even encounter boss fights at the end of acts which see Dr Robotnik trying his best to thwart your efforts to recover the emeralds and defeat him, imaginative fights but quick to pick up the tactics for victory!
Graphics:- A Solid effort from Sega here, it had a lot to live up to as it’s big brother was steaming at full speed, but this effort has little problem in keeping up. Nice bold colour scheme, a good pace which really gives the illusion of speed and each enemy sprite and main character have been re-created to the letter. Great job!
Sound:- Again there’s not much difference between the 2 versions yet again, with the main sonic theme blaring away as you play and all the in-game sound effects are present and correct as well.
Overall:- It’s a Sega classic, so if you have not played this game before then you really should do. It’s the game that every Sega owner should have somewhere in their games library. And it’s so readily available these days too, download it onto your Wii console, grab it on a Gameboy advance, pick it up in the bargain bins or car boot sales….just….get it!
Super Starwars select screen from the ever so versatile Super Nintendo Entertainment System, giving it’s full title :D
Hello my Retro-Holics, how does this fine frosty Thursday find you? I am hoping the answer is…AWESOME! Today I showcase the Megadrive with a great Disney plat-former….
World of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck on the Megadrive/Genesis!
Well lets start off with the plot then shall we folks? Yes, I thought you’d agree with that, here it is then!
Whilst preparing for a magical act, Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck discover a magical box. However, this turns out to belong to an evil magician who sends Mickey and Donald to a magical world. Mickey and Donald must now work together in order to find a way back home.
Thats the plot then, nice and simple but does it play well?…in a word YES, yes it does. The Disney influence is in your face from the moment you start up the cartridge, showcasing many different Disney features ( the caterpillar from Alice in Wonderland can be seen in the very first screen in the game ), other Disney franchises such as Aladdin, Little Mermaid and more can be seen featured in some way during the game. The cool feature that stands out in this game is the 2 player co-op mode, which opens the game up into a much more fun experience than the dare I say, dull single player mode. But lets face it folks, anything seems dull when you are going it alone compared to grabbing a friend and playing with them ( steady! I see where your minds were attempting to go there! ).
The first thing that grabs your attention are the details and bright vibrant colour palettes, and of course the animation! My God this game is gorgeous to behold, it truly is. From walking, running, jumping and swishing your magic cape, it’s like playing a cartoon. Essentially this game is a plat-former, and a very well designed one it is too, you will encounter many bosses that grant you new powers when you defeat them…the first is a magic carpet of your very own to use on certain levels. Attention to detail is amazing and the artists obviously know how to animate and make a Disney game great in the looks department. The game scrolls from left to right, up and down in some levels also, puzzles to work out such as which platforms to stand on and when to do so and how long to stand on some ( which crumble if you stand too long ). Enemy sprites will turn into cute little animals and plants when you swish your cloak over them ( And this is your primary attack method ). I think this little gem would appeal to most age groups, yes even you adult types sitting there thinking…you’ll never get me playing that….well in front of your football chums, no….but grab someone and link up on Co-op and BOOM! there goes your evening!
You can control Mickey or Donald in single player, but in Multiplayer you and a friend control them both, at the same time. You can solve puzzles as a team, allowing your team mate to stand on your shoulders to access higher platforms for example. They both have different skills too, where as Mickey can crouch under objects, Donald would have to find an alternate route, so it’s all about the team work here, which is great!
Graphics:- Well what can I say that hasn’t already been said? The artists here clearly have loved putting this game together, and there is a lot of love gone into the animation, character and level design and the palette, it’s just awesome.
Sound:- Again, here we have a very bouncy Disney style music track that really has you bobbing your heads along with the tunes. The sound effects are nice too and inserts of speech from Mickey and Donald complete the ensemble, just sweet!
Overall:- I would recommend this game to anyone who A) Loves plat-former games and B) Loves playing co-op with their mates, it’s simple really….get it, play it, love it!
Ahhh hello my Retro Heads, and how is this chilly but sunny December Monday finding you all? - Good I hope! Well today I am reviewing a follow up to the SEGA classic, Shinobi….
Shadow Dancer on the Arcade!
This is the second in the series of Shinobi games that was released into the Arcade scene, and yes….there is a plot…bwa ha ha ha…read on!
A terrorist group is planting numerous time bombs throughout the city. You take control of a ninja master accompanied by a canine partner, sets out on a mission to dismantle the bombs and destroy the criminal syndicate behind these acts.
Bombs in the city, original eh? Anyway thats the plot, but is the game actually any good? Well between Shinobi and this one, I prefer Shinobi, but that is personal choice. You begin your missions in an air port and you must fight your way across several small levels to reach the first boss….who is almost a carbon copy of the first boss in Shinobi, same mechanics in the fight, similar look etc….zero points for originality here. The various bad guys you fight in mission one are your bog standard learning curve targets. Some throw knives from a distance, or shoot at intervals from behind crates, some have arm guards on and you have to time your shots with them ( think along the lines of the big guys with swords from Shinobi and you’ll see what I mean ). With some enemies your dog will begin to bark, and by crouching down and hitting your attack button your faithful canine will leap on the bad guys forcing them into a standing or prone position for you to knock em out with your Shuriken. Attacks are limited to Shuriken ( Upgraded by finding bombs to flaming Shuriken ), a sword swipe when bad guys get too close for comfort, magic attack and of course your little doggy friend. So yeah, pretty much a carbon copy of Shinobi then….The gameplay is smooth, with scrolling from left to right as your trajectory for reaching the end game. Leaping up onto crates and platforms again serves to find bombs and kill enemy characters that are otherwise unreachable with jump and Shuriken combinations. There are 4 missions in total with comprise of several mini missions, and also mid level bonus stages. Remember the mini game in Shinobi where you threw Shuriken at oncoming Ninja?….guess what?….it’s almost the same thing! only this time, they are jumping down a tower instead….lovely!…but lazy.
Graphics:- The Dev team have done a reasonable job on the graphics but so much of it feels like we have seen it all before….oh we have….on SHINOBI!!!! *Mutter Mutter*, the scrolling is nice enough and the characters are drawn well, and you can’t help but feel attached to your little fur ball friend.
Sound:- Standard SHINOBI sound effects throughout, but the music is pretty nice and Ninja’ry….yes I know that’s not a word, but hey, it sums it up pretty well.
Overall:- As good as the game is, it’s just a re-skinned Shinobi and there’s no getting away from that. Sad that a company as big as Sega were for producing quality games, had to be so damn lazy on this release. To be this Lazy….takes AGES!!!!! apparently. Stars deducted for this reason alone….such a shame….shame on you SEGA!
Happy Sunday everyone, I don’t usually do weekend posts but this one caught my eye, this is such a cool bit of film work that I had to include it to widen the audience this should get. For anyone who knows Jenny Lorenzo from the Geekgasm web show, this is well worth a watch….why on the Retro Review?….oh go check it out, you’ll understand! Now feast your eyes upon
The Hunger GameRs