My name's David. I run a bullshit little blog at wastedseconds.com. Since around 2001 when I was unfortunate enough to get married for the first (and last) time and leave the emulation scene I've been a reclusive prick ... something that I've been trying to fix as of recently. I'm 27 years old and have been gaming since before I was really old enough to. I started with the Atari 2600 and an old green screen dual 5.25 floppy Sanyo 8086 4.77mhz computer that I still have to this day, though it's been dead for years. I tend to gravitate more to the games of old than the new shit like Call of Duty, Halo and Gears of War. Give me The Punisher and Galaxy Force II on the Genesis and I'm a happy boy.
Of the systems I own ... that I do almost regularly play ... I have a Dreamcast, PS1, PS2, a happily softmodded Xbox, Xbox 360 obviously, Nintendo, SNES, Gameboy, Gameboy Color, a Virtual Boy that I can't play for more than 10 seconds without getting a headache and worried about looking like more of an ass than I normally do. It's that same reason I don't have a Wii. Gamecube ... Sega Genesis, 32X, a Macintosh SE (though the screen is unfortunately dying. I was using it to occasionally play the old Zork games and Spectre), a Hyperscan ... a fairly capable PC for the times I feel like busting out a PC game and an Acer Aspire One 8.9" netbook that's actually pretty much my main machine since I mostly just type and browse the web. I've been on the internet since about '94, but I was on the bulletin boards years before that on the good ol' 2400 baud modem.
I posted news for such emulation sites as EmuCult, EmuUnlim, Zophar's Domain, Retrogames, PSXEmu, NGEmu ... had an offer to post news on ClassicGaming at one point. Wrote a couple of game reviews for a gaming site called Gamer's Uplink, which has now restarted, so I'm doing stuff on there again. I started in the emulation scene in '97 and, though I haven't been a "public" face or whatever in it since 2001 I never really left at heart. Even though I completely lost interest in it once all the systems worth emulating were emulated to near perfection. It still amazes me that the Atari 2600 emulator Stella STILL gets updates.
But yeah, if there's anything else you wanna know about me just give me a shout.
Just got a Nintendo DS Lite and playing these :
Final Fantasy 3
Call of Duty 4
New Super Mario Bros
Goldeneye Rogue Agent
Elite Beat Agents
Guitar Rock Tour
And I just recently got the DS version of Chrono Trigger. I haven't played this since the SNES days, so it's a welcome change. And it's the first RPG I've played in a long time that's held my attention for more than 10 minutes (Judging from the posts on my blog, you can tell what kind of games I like to play heh).
And I'm buying my friend's Wii off of her so I can play Punch-Out!! when ever the fuck I want to. Other than that there aren't many other games for the system I really care about. I'll eventually get Mario Galaxy or something, but generally speaking every time I walk into Gamestop or something and look through the Wii games, I see almost nothing that appeals to me whatsoever. Same thing with the DS, even though that has a few more games on it that I'm interested in.
As far as other stuff I'm playing, pretty much the PC version of Left 4 Dead. Single player though because #1)None of my friends have a computer capable of running it and #2)I fucking suck at the game, so there's less embarrassment single player.
Bad Dudes for the NES ... oh where to begin. I used to play this to DEATH when I was about 10 years old. Even to this day I still pop it in from time to time just because beating the sh*t out of ninjas who drop soda cans, nunchucks and knives never gets old to me and it gives me a lot of fond memories of when I was a kid. I'm just going to get this out of the way though, the president in the arcade version is "Ronnie" (Reagan) because that's who was president at the time of this game's release. The president in the NES version isn't named (though I could be wrong), but he resembles president George W. Bush. And the arcade version is known as "Bad Dudes VS DragonNinja" whereas the NES version is simply "Bad Dudes". I'm only referring to the American version here.
Well, at least I was when I was 10. Games like this don't need a good story. It's almost always "Someone gets kidnapped, you have to get 'em." It worked for Mario, Double Dragon, Final Fight, Streets of Rage, and it's no different here. A secret service guy who Duke Nukem bears a strong resemblance to tells you the president has been kidnapped. Are you a bad enough dude to save him? Thankfully you can hit Select to skip it, you choose which fighter you want to be (which, there is literally no difference between the two aside from the name), and go. Which was actually absent from the arcade version, I guess player one was Blade and player two was Striker. I have no idea.
Now in my typical way, I'm just going to compare this version to the arcade. The arcade version is, in all it's simplicity a great game despite not having aged particularly well. All you really do is go from left to right beating up the bad guys. You have a jump button, and an attack button. If you hold down that attack button your character will catch fire and then you can let go of it to unleash a super punch. And when you press both attack and jump together, he does a spinning kick, not unlike Ryu's Hurricane Kick. Except it more closely resembles Sakura's version of the attack since it doesn't go straight across, it more arcs across the screen. Just to give you people who haven't played it a point of reference. Occasionally, a red ninja will appear and he may have various items. Nunchucks, a knife, extra time (which is completely pointless since you would have to stand there a hell of a long time to run out of time) and a soda can to regain some of the energy you lost. At the end of the level, you fight a boss. Beat the crap out of the boss, your character will raise his fist in the air, say "I'm bad!" and you go on to the next level. And the NES plays the exact same, with some little differences. Like in the second level, you don't have ninjas climbing up the side of the trucks for example, among other things. And the boss' AI seems to have died by the side of the road. For example, the second leve boss, for SOME REASON in the arcade he ALWAYS at least hits me if he doesn't completely take one of my lives period. On the NES however, you stand on the hood of the truck with your super punch ready. The boss will come in jumping up and down. When he gets near you, you punch him with that super punch. Charge it up again, smack him. Rinse, repeat until he's dead. But the gameplay and the experience overall was very well done on the NES considerinng the hardware's limitations. One major drawback of the NES version however is the two player. It's not cooperative. After the first player loses a life, the second player starts. Now, granted, they could've just done away with the two player part of the game completely, but still. It would've been cool to sit there with a buddy going through the game on the NES.
The sound is kinda typical of games like this. You have the various grunts and whatnot from you and the enemies. A few little voice samples here and there, like your character saying "Got it" when he picks up an item. And the previously mentioned victory cry at the end of a round. And I actually really like the music to this game for some reason. On the NES, gone are all the voices except for one. When you beat a level, you hear some sort of overly loud, horrendous sounding "AAAH BA". The first time I ever heard it, I had the volume up somewhat so I could hear the music, which the NES recreates the arcade music rather well in my opinion ... anyway ... I had the volume up somewhat so I could hear the music. And when I beat the first level boss (who is Karnov, who also stars in his own game by Data East), I heard that ... SOUND. Scared the HELL out of me because it was so bloody loud. Anyway ... another noteable sound in the game is the charge up sound your fighter makes when you do the super punch attack. Overall, the only thing the NES version did well in the sound department was the music.
The graphics on the other hand are a completely different story. The arcade version was colorful and detailed and moved along at a good, smooth rate. All the characters looked great, and the stages looked fantastic for the time of it's release in 1988. On the NES however, the colors are washed out, all of the characters are shrunk down to less than half their original size. The detail for the characters and stages are knocked down quite a bit, but are still pretty decent. The animation took a huge hit though. The entire game moves at an incredibely choppy rate. And the flicker ... oh God the flicker. I could deal with ALL those things mentioned previously, but the flicker is almost a game killer to me. And you can't even blame the system for that problem, just take a look at the previous Kung Fu game which plays similarly and later games like TMNT 2 and 3, and Mighty Final Fight.
Overall, the NES version of this game is about as arcade perfect as the system can do. There had to be cutbacks and whatnot, but overall it is a decent conversion of the game. Now on the same note, with all the praise I've been giving the arcade version ... this game hasn't really aged well. Even I can't play through it all the way anymore, when I play it now I play it more for the memories than anything. I could care less that the story sucks because honestly, I would prefer to have as little story as possible in a game for some reason. There's just something about it that keeps me coming back. Maybe it's just moving through the levels beating the crap out of ninjas. :) It's just one of those fun little mindless games that plays GREAT with something like an NES Advantage joystick. It's not going to appeal to everyone, and if you do play this the flicker in the graphics will probably drive you up the wall. But it's definitely one of my little guilty pleasures.
For those of you who don't know what the game is (as I would imagine there is quite a few) here's a basic rundown. The game was released by Konami, and came out for the Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Wii, and Nintendo DS. Now, Konami STARTED the whole guitar in a game thing with GuitarFreaks and DrumMania. Harmonix just simply copied off the formula, improved it and added some extra buttons and behold, we have Guitar Hero.
Rock Revolution, at least for the 360 and PS3 (don't know, nor do I particularly care about the Wii version) plays identical to Rock Band, except it doesn't have vocals support. There's one strike against it. When you bought the bundle, it didn't come with a guitar. Just the game and a drum kit. Now this strikes me as odd, because it was made to compete with Guitar Hero and Rock Band ... and it doesn't have vocals support. And it doesn't come with the guitar. It IS compatible with the guitar controllers from the other games though. But if you have the other games, you probably aren't going to pick this up. I've read that the drum kit is oddly laid out, but I don't have it so I can't really say anything about it. Although it is only about 40 bucks on Amazon, so maybe I'll pick it up for the hell of it.
Now why they would they release a party game like that without support for the vocals and no guitar is beyond me. Stupidity probably. Now let's get into the game itself. The game itself consists of 41 tracks ranging from songs by the Foo Fighters to Pantera, Metallica, Soundgarden, etc etc, and all but two of those tracks I believe are covers. "Paralyzer" by Finger Eleven and "Given Up" by Linkin Park. Now the quality of the covers mainly ranges (It's weird as hell to me to hear a KoRn song without Johnathan Davis singing, let me tell ya) from just outright bad, such as the aforementioned KoRn cover to decent. I actually thought the cover of Spoonman by Soundgarden was pretty good.
Graphically, no it's not as good as Rock Band, but they get the job done well enough. But there aren't any character customization options. What you see is what you get. But they didn't decide to adopt the familiar Guitar Hero and Rock Band note lane. Instead of leaning towards you on the screen, which is in my opinion the optimal way for it to be done on a console version of a game like this, the note lane goes straight up and down on the left of the screen. And it's slightly transparent, which, with all the lights and whatnot and movement going on in the background, not to mention the notes themselves are quite small and lacking in detail it makes it a pain in the ass to see what's coming sometimes. You REALLY have to try to ignore what's going on in the background.
And the gameplay, while it is decent once you get used to the way the note lane is handled is actually pretty good. The note layouts for the songs, while not perfect, are pretty good. I can only comment on the guitar because I don't have the drum kit, but it plays exactly how you would expect. The hammer-ons and pull-offs and whatnot are there and work fine, it's got whatever it's version of Star Power is along with a note that shows up as a solid line, once you hit it you have to keep strumming to keep the note.
The career mode for it is totally bare bones. You're a band, you play shows. That's literally it. Obviously you can play the game with your friends. And there is a small amount of downloadable content for it (at least here
is on Xbox Live, I don't know about the PS3). Mostly Pantera songs though, and being that I'm not a big Pantera fan, I could honestly care less. There's a recording studio where you can make your own tracks. BUT you can't play them in the game OR share them with friends. So what the hell was the point?
All in all, there's no reason whatsoever to buy Rock Revolution, even though it ultimately IS a halfway decent game for the money. Rock Band and Guitar Hero have all if not most of the songs in this game, that AREN'T covers, and overall does EVERYTHING better.
Now for the Nintendo DS version.
I bought a Nintendo DS Lite the other day (yeah yeuah yeah, I know that the DSi is out, but I'm poor.) and a bunch of games with it. Some obvious ones like New Super Mario Bros and Final Fantasy III, as well as a few others from pawn shops and whatnot. And then one of the ones I got was the DS version of Rock Revolution.
There is NOTHING about this version of the game that is anywhere NEAR worth it. There are 20 songs in it, ALL covers I do believe. Now in my opinion, that's not a big deal. But the sound quality itself is HORRENDOUS. Somehow, they got a band to cover the guitar and the drums. But not the bass guitar. The bass guitar is much louder than all the rest of the instruments and sounds like it was done on a 5 year old kid's keyboard from Dollar General. Good Lord I'm glad there aren't any Tool songs on this.
Graphically, this game barely qualifies as HAVING graphics. You have a band up on the top screen that barely moves, doesn't even move in time with the music, and is just a couple of still images looping over and over again as the animation. When the singer sings, it looks like he or she is having a seizure. There is nothing that even comes CLOSE to good about the graphical presentation of this game. I think a toddler on crack could come up with a better art style than this. You have male and female versions of each member of the band you can pick, but they all look like they're stoned or on crack. Oh God I think I'm gonna puke.
They can't possibly be serious.
Gameplay ... it's hard for me to tell because I've mainly been playing the guitar on it. You have a guitar in the middle of the screen with a circle around where you would normally strum a real guitar. Then either a down arrow, an up arrow, an icon telling you to tap the screen, or an icon telling you to draw a circle comes down and you do one of those things when the icon gets into the circle. Yes, I know I'm not good at describing this. My experience with DS games is limited. The drums, you have a drum kit on screen with 7 sections to it. At the top of the touch screen, you have a bar, and icons scroll by and you have to hit corresponding drum piece when it reaches a yellow zone. Which is bloody impossible with one stylus. The bass works similarly, you have 4 bass strings, and an arrow goes along one of the strings pointing either up or down and you slide the stylus either up or down. From what I've been playing on the guitar part, even on the higher difficulties it's either boring as all hell or frustrating as sin. You'd think the drums would be a little more interesting, and while they are ... you're only hitting one drum head at a time rather than 2, 3 or more like it's big brother and more well known cousins. Which isn't the game's fault necessarily seeing as how it's using the DS touch screen. The singing, it doesn't matter what you sing so long as you have the pitch right. Which, I do have to commend the game for having that option. You have powerups in the game, which I'm assuming are used like they are in the other ones. To save your ass. And there is one AWESOME one in the guitar part. When you first hit all the special notes, you get a tone. And a purple guitar pick at the top of the touch screen. But don't hit it just yet! Wait ... be patient. When you hit those special notes 2 more times, you can hit that little purple pick and you are "treated" to a closeup shot of the guitarist you picked taking up both screens while the song is playing. Which means you don't have to play this sorry excuse of a game for a few seconds. You can buy things like pyrotechnics and amps and the like from the in game store, but I haven't bothered with it because quite honestly I don't care.
The only real mode to the game that's out of the ordinary is a media player where you can play songs you've unlocked. WHY anyone would want to subject themselves to this is beyond me.
The 360 and PS3 versions, you can get this game for under 20 bucks at most places. If you've got the money to kill and you're like me and like trying out these different guitar and band type games, go ahead and snag it. But if you're content with Rock Band and Guitar Hero, don't bother. They do everything better. I don't know about the Wii version because I haven't played it and it uses the Wiimote or whatever the hell that thing's called instead of the instruments. But if you see the DS version, do yourself a favor and stay away. FAR FAR away. When I said that Konami started the whole guitar videogame thing earlier, I am aware that they were developed by someone else, and Konami published it. But they should've stepped up their game.
There have been articles right here on Destructoid previously about Rock Revolution, just do a search. You will probably find better written stuff there about it. :) I'm just giving my opinion. I wouldn't have even bothered to write this up if I hadn't have played the train wreck that is the DS version and wanted to save some curious person the trauma that I've gone through. I actually feel like less of a person for having played it. I wanna go to Konami's offices and find the interns who did the DS version and asked them how the hell such a thing could ever see the light of day.
I'm mainly just rehashing sh*t from my personal blog onto here with additions and edits, except for the previous Altered Beast thing because the power was out for 3 days due to a huge storm and my getting the game in the mail the same day the power came back on. And I ran into a slight snag with this one being that I'm a n00bish f*cking bitch. Decided to repost it on the day that I actually WANTED to post it.
I honestly have no idea why Destructoid's CBlogs does this ... but this is the best I could do for the box art. :)
Back in the 16 bit era, they had half-assed releases of several astonishing arcade games to the home consoles. Some worked out, such as the original Outrun, Afterburner, Altered Beast, etc etc … others didn’t fair so well. Especially to the Genesis. As much as I love this system, they had some terrible arcade ports.
Sometimes I buy these ports just to see how bad they really are. Such is my reasoning for buying Galaxy Force II. The first time I’d ever heard of it, I read a review of it on Sega-16.com (which I highly recommend you go to if you’re a Genesis, Sega CD and/or 32X fan).
So I decided to try something. I hopped onto eBay, found Galaxy Force 2, and ordered it. Then I downloaded the arcade ROM and played it. Just like someone would have back in 1988 or so ... just without the downloading of the ROM and using Final Burn Alpha to run it because my Acer Aspire Netbook doesn't run the game worth a damn in MAME. Now I know that I’m missing a great major part of the arcade experience not being in the humongous sit down cabinet that moves and whatnot, but there aren’t any arcades around me that have the game. So I’m making due with what I’ve got.
F*ck I wish I could find this!!!!
The arcade game is balls to the wall awesome. I love sprite scaling games, Outrun, Space Harrier, Afterburner, Power Drift. I love them all, they have a certain charm about them that got completely lost with polygons. The SNES definitely got it right with me with games like Super Mario Kart and F-Zero. Sure, the SNES ones haven’t aged very well, I can’t really sit in front of them and play them for hours on end like I used to, but they’re still fun in short bursts. Even though F-Zero doesn't feel anywhere near as fast as it did in '92 the first time I played it. And Mario Kart feels like it's moving at about 10 miles per hour. But arcade sprite scaling games of the 80's never get old to me.
But the arcade Galaxy Force II, in my humble opinion, is balls to the wall awesome. The graphics are gorgeous, even if there’s a little bit of draw in off in the distance that tends to snag a few cheap hits against the walls from time to time. the sheer sense of speed and that constant “oh sh!t I'm gonna die, oh sh!t I'm gonna die” feeling you get when wading through the enemies that fill the entire screen in their numbers is awesome. I wish I could find an arcade around here that had that game, or even better, buy one. It’s just that good.
This is a shot from my favorite level of the arcade version so far.
The sound and the music add to the experience as well, the constant explosions of the enemy crafts, your co-pilot telling you about turns (sometimes a bit late unfortunately). The sound of your missiles flying through the air and connecting with various enemies on the screen. Oh man I love it.
Now one thing I did know about the Sega Genesis when I ordered the game, it doesn’t have support for sprite scaling. They have to kind of cheat and redraw the sprite bigger and bigger and you get closer to it (or the other way around obviously). It worked fine in Outrun and other games of that nature. And it worked fine in the original Afterburner, even though there was quite a bit less going on on the ground than there was in the arcade and near perfect 32X version.
But Galaxy Force II on the Genesis, while it is a halfway decent game in it's own right, is a train wreck of a port. Everything took a huge hit from the graphics to the sound. No more sense of balls to the wall speed, no more having more enemies than you can handle rushing you all at once. No more of the Star Wars type ships that loom over you menacingly. And the flicker. Oh God the flicker. It makes it almost unplayable. When you first put the cartridge in and get to the title screen, you think “Okay, no problem.”, you head into the options screen, and, naturally because the Genesis only had a 3 button controller at the time of it’s release compromises had to be done with the controls. That’s alright, I expected that.
Once you get into the game itself however, everything plummets downhill. The opening of the arcade game is massive. Your ship starts off docked in a field of other ships in a hangar. You launch and there's everything from asteroids to waterfalls and lava in your way and you're constantly being raped by the enemies. On the Genesis it’s almost a completely different feel. It’s just a vast emptiness with an occasional few crafts that fly in your way. Almost no evasion is needed whatsoever. On the arcade you're constantly flying this way and that to avoid God knows what, and once you penetrate the enemy forces, you fly into a cavern in the side of a mountain, or through a waterfall and it's all pretty f*ckin' epic looking. On the Genesis however, when you penetrate the enemy forces, instead of, for example, flying through a waterfall, your ship stops, you see a washed out image of what you're flying into, then you’re “treated” to a floor and ceiling devoid of any kind of detail with the occasional enemies on the floors and whatnot. The turns themselves aren’t even challenging. You just kind of stay in the center of the screen and move left or right to avoid enemy shots you see coming from a mile away. The arcade had a lot of areas where you chose whether you wanted to go left or right, and those areas in the Genesis are completely gone. The fire level or lava level or whatever you want to call it is one of the most impressive stages from the arcade with these monstrous geysers of fire shooting straight up and even more flying across the screen in loops along with the enemy ships and various other environmental hazards to contend with. On the Genesis, none of that comes into play. The lava is merely a barebones orange and red strip that sways a llittle bit, the geysers aren’t dangerous at all, it's just a comparatively horrible looking flickering red sprite sticking out of the "lava". It’s just f*cking painful.
Here is the elegance that is the arcade version that came out in 1988.
And what followed on the Sega Genesis in 1991.
The audio got a hit as well, the main blasters instead of the sci-fi sound they have in the arcade … they’re reduced to this pathetic “pew pew pew” sound. The rockets, although grainy sound pretty good. The music is actually halfway decent, but still nothing compared to the arcade. It doesn’t suck you in and make you want to play it. If you hear the arcade version from across the room, you’ll think “What’s that.” and investigate if you didn’t know what it was, and it would help you want to play the game. On the Genesis however, it doesn’t make you want to play the game. It seems like it’s more there just to have something there.
The game controls just fine with the controller, especially since the Genesis 6 button (I don’t use the 3 button for anything, too uncomfortable) is the single best controller ever made for any console in my opinion. But the game PLAYS slowly, monotonous and boring since everything took such a massive hit.
It’s almost like they just took a Sega Master System game, went through the slight rounds to make it 16 bit Genesis capable, and released it. Now, I know that Galaxy Force II, despite the fact it was released in 1988, up until the 32 bit era of consoles was impossible to port. They just shouldn’t have even tried on the Genesis itself though. They should’ve saved it for the Sega CD because that added a Mode 7 sprite scaling capability. There still would have been losses, but not so much as there was here. And don't give me any crap about the SNES having sprite scaling capability and possibly doing this game better. As awesome as the SNES is, t's just entirely too slow to handle a game like this and it more than likely would've only been marginally better than the Genesis version. Ignoring the obvious fact that this was a Sega game in the arcades. As I said before, up until the 32X and the 32 bit systems after it this game was pretty much f*cking impossible to port to much of anything and at the same time making it worth playing.
If you’re curious about this game, go ahead and get it. I think I paid 11 bucks for it with the case and manual and everything. It's probably cheaper for just the cartridge. Now to my credit, I had originally written this prior to it's release on the Wii's Virtual Console because I heard Chad's less than enthusiastic (but ultimately correct) mini-review of it on RetroforceGo, even though I think he should've tried out the bloody awesome arcade version. :) I thought to myself "Ah f*ck people are gonna think I f*ckin' ripped off of him or something". I don't want people thinking I wrote this to go with Retroforce's recent say about it. hehe
But if you have access to the arcade version, that’s the one to play. No, it's not the best game in the world, but if you're standing there at an arcade pop a in a quarter, it's a hell of a lot of fun. Or you can just do what I did and snag a ROM and play it through MAME or Final Burn Alpha. Now, yes, I am aware that it got re-released on the Sega Saturn and the Playstation 2, and I’m sure they are EXCELLENT conversions. But I don’t have them. So I can’t comment. And this is yet another game that would've gone PERFECTLY on Sega's 32X system.
I know it reads like I’m just bashing this game to no end, and I am. Compared to the excellence that is the arcade version, this is a train wreck. But on the same note, despite the fact that the game doesn't have as much going on and is quite a bit slower, this is one of my favorite games of it’s type for the Genesis. I give this a play probably 2 or 3 times a week just to watch myself f*cking blow up right before I would beat the game. And now that it's on the Wii's Virtual Console, it's easy as all hell to get, even if ... what is it 800 points? If I'm right on that, 8 bucks for a f*cking ROM with no awesome artwork or anything to go with it and without that f*cking tank of a Genesis "box" in your hands, buy something better like one of the Sonic games or Beyond Oasis or something if you're into buying ROMs.
If only they would release a port of the arcade on the Xbox Live Arcade. I'd snag that sh*t up in a heartbeat.
But I think it's just wishful thinking.
No, I'm not trying to plug my current blog post ... but it's more ignorance as to how Destructoid works. I started my previous post about a game a few days ago, keeping it private to add to it and that like ... and it's saying that I added the same day as the post BEFORE it. Hell no. I like to span things out and make sure it's the way I want it. So the PREVIOUS post regarding Galaxy Force II on the Genesis was STARTED on that date, but was finished and posted a few hours ago. :)
This is the FIRST time I've EVER played Altered Beast on a REAL Sega Genesis. No emulation or re-releases here. The real thing, and that's the only reason I'm writing this because I'm sure everyone and their mother has played this at one point or another. Especially if you're my age and you were a Sega Genesis fan back in the day.
I've had a Genesis on and off since about '93 (yeah yeah shut the f*ck up. I was and still am poor.) and I've NEVER actually OWNED this game. Hell, I've never even PLAYED this game in it's true Genesis form. Sure, I have Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection for the Xbox 360, and there are TWO versions of that game. You could technically say I do own it that way, but to me it doesn't really count. I've played it through emulation countless times, though the only time I've ever beaten it is on the arcade version because you can just keep putting in coins and beat the f*cker because I suck at just about every game I play. But me personally, it feels a lot better when I have to have the cartridge sitting there staring at me begging to be played on a controller that actually f*cking WORKS. Yeah Xbox … I'm looking at you with your useless directional pad.
Let's get started with the box. Now box art to me is mostly a lost art. Remember the art to those old games? Oh man, most of them were great weren't they? And Altered Beast is no exception. There's the awesome painted wolf with all the various monsters surrounding him. Basically saying “Yeah, I'm a bad ass.” Then the title of the game in that kickass font. Then at the bottom which was the magic for 1989 “16-BIT CARTRIDGE For use with the Sega Genesis Video Entertainment System”. Hell yes, and even today that still means something to me because there's something about those 16 bit games that was mostly lost once games started heading into the 32 bit era, but that's neither here nor there right now. You turn the box around to check out the screenshots and whatnot and you read :
“Enter a time when men were warriors and Gods ruled the world. A time of good against evil, a place of danger. Summoned by Zeus to rescue Ahtena, you will infiltrate the Underworld with the power to transform into mythical creatures with supernatural strength.”
Level 1 : Become a savage Werewolf and use teeth and nails to shred your enemies to pieces. Capture three of the elusive Spirit Balls and you'll be transformed into a ferocious, fireball throwing werewolf.
Level 2 and 3 : Take flight as a Weredragon and use fiery force to fry the followers of Neff. Creep across slippery crevasses inside a deep cavern as the crafty Werebear.
Level 4 and 5 : Stalk the gates of the Underworld fortress as a maneating Weretiger, a predator with no pity. Inside the inner-sanctum call on Golden Werewolf's might to demolish Neff, the demon – forever.”
Now to me, that is one hell of a good intro the game if you're staring at it at the store shelves. Especially in 1989. You look at those 3 screenshots on the back, and at the time you didn't see anything like it. Compared to what we were used to from the Nintendo and Sega Master System at the time … this was f*cking incredible. Unless you stood the arcade version and this just from those still shots side by side, there was virtually NO difference.
Now, I'm as passionate about the manuals as I am the box art itself. Manuals used to be so incredible, sometimes I'll pop out the manual for a Genesis or Nintendo game and just read THAT. Even if the game is terrible. Now everything is explained in game for the most part and your manual is 4 or 5 pages just telling you what not to do with the disc and what buttons to push.
The manual for this game is pretty cool. You open it up, and while I'm not going to type it all out here … you get a basic rundown of the game overall story and what you're supposed to do with some small, black and white screenshots to guide you along. Even when I was younger, if I had the manual I would read it before I ever popped the game in because I'm just a dork like that. So these little glimpes of the game are great to me. They go through and explain every aspect of the game and describe every level, every transformation, and every enemy. And each enemy is hand drawn with a little paragraph describing what they are what they do. And the “Helpful hints” part at the very back telling you about a few little tricks like “If the Spirit Balls float off screen, they're gone forever.” … no sh*t.
Now that I'm done reading the manual, I take the cartridge out of the case, pop it in the Genesis, (there's no “digging the Genesis out” for me. It's proudly hooked to my TV more often than my 360 is) and turn it on. Grip my 6 button controller in hand because the 3 button is too bulky in my opinion so I always make the second player use it when I can get a friend to play it with me. I hit start and hear the second most famous line to the game “Rise from your grave”. Zeus is on screen telling me I have to save his daughter, and my tombstone rises out of the Earth. Then my character apparently pissed off that HE has to go and get this chick BEATS his way out of it as if to say “Get off your Godly ass and do it yourself!” and the screen starts to scroll slowly to the right and I start beating up zombies and all sorts of other baddies. I collect all the Spirit Balls I need, then eventually meet Neff in his normal form shooting lightning at me. F*cking wuss. Then I hear the line that I will always remember to the day I die. The horrible, almost Double Dribble-speak “Welcome to your doom!”. Ah yeah, sh*t's on.
I'm not going to go through every level of the game, because to be perfectly honest it doesn't change much. You walk to the right beating up monsters and baddies, and you face the end boss. That's about it.
The gameplay in this game is not fast paced by any stretch of the imagination. Hell, it's not even that GOOD to be honest. What holds it for me is that the enemies are very well drawn in that beautiful pixel art. Sure, the graphics have been beaten out, but there's a certain look to Altered Beast and the original Golden Axe I love for some reason. The end bosses, are large and menacing looking until you realize they all have maybe 5 frames of animation total and run off of a strict script that they would likely do whether you were there or not. And did you remember the description from the back of the box about the first form, the Werewolf? I'm not using teeth and nails to shred enemies to pieces you lying bastard!
The sound consists of a few generic explosions and a sound that is apparently your beefed up character hitting so hard he makes a “woosh” sound with the occasional grunt and scream when I constantly die and whatnot, along with “Power. Up!” when you grab one of the Spirit Balls. The few pieces of speech in this game will plant themselves into your soul and you'll never forget them though. The music on the other hand is awesome. From the start of the game it helps you get into it, from the first few notes when Zeus is on the screen to the upbeat “GO GET 'EM! KILL THE F*CKERS!” music that plays when you morph into one of the different forms throughout the game. I even found myself humming it to myself when I was at a club near me drunkenly trying to make my way through the crowd of college kids listening to a sh*tty 80's cover band. I got quite a few weird looks out of that, but oh well.
I did play the arcade game a few times back in the day, and for the time it was incredible for what it was. Great graphics, great story, great sound. Playing it nowadays when you have excellent games like Golden Axe 3, ANY of the Streets of Rage games, The Punisher, etc etc this game hasn't aged very well at all. You have to use a lot of imagination, which is the best way to play this game to me. Imagine yourself as this warrior going through beating the hell out of zombies, leeches, multi-headed wolves and the awesome huge first boss Aggar and you'll be fine. I just got done playing it a few minutes ago and I got killed off by the second level boss, and I plan on hooking up my trusty Game Genie and going through it again cheating my ass off just to get that f*cker Neff. The strange thing is, fighting HIS final form, the bigass rhino lookin' thing is actually the easiest boss in the game to me.
All in all, if you can get the chance to play this in front of a real Sega Genesis, f*ckin' do it. Especially if you have a friend to play it with you, there's very little weirder than seeing a green Werewolf running around shooting fireballs. ;)
I originally had this on my Wasted Seconds blog, but I decided to put it on here, though it is modified a bit. This is mainly just my personal thing, but I'm sure there are other people like this too. And yes I bleep out my curse words. I don't know why. :)
You've seen them before. You walk into Wal-Mart or Target or whoever you go to, and you see this on the shelf for (usually) 20 bucks.
But I got it anyway just out of sheer morbid curiosity. And God was it horrible. I could not find ONE redeeming game out of this. And I tried. I really did. And all it is is just they stuffed a bunch of their previous game collections into one.
You know for a FACT going in when you buy this, there's going to be maybe ONE game that's merely "bad" instead of "Oh God, I'd rather rip out my spleen than play this". Most people complete ignore these, but not me. For some reason I have it in my head just to see how utterly f***ing HORRIBLE these are. Sometimes it's multiple LEVELS counted as seperate games of some horrid Galaga ripoff shooter with graphics that look like they were done by a 5 year old, all counting as the seperate games. Others are light versions of Flash games. Not to mention thousands of Sudoku variations and hundreds and thousands of other stuff I personally could give two sh*ts less about.
I don't know what the hell is wrong with me in getting these. One of the Sega Genesis games I'm thinking about getting is Action 52. Yeah, I have the ROM with the emulator and blah blah blah but it's just not the same. I want to play this crap on the real thing. The cheapest Buy it Now on eBay I could find was 26.95 plus whatever shipping is, and that's just for the cartridge itself. Next up is a factory sealed version of the game for about 60 bucks, but I'm not spending that much. And I'm not enough of a collector to really give a rat's ass one way or the other if it's factory sealed. But this game ... even the packaging. I wish to God I would've seen this in the store back in the day. With my young mind at the time, I would've bought into the advertising for it. "Holy cow, 52 games? I want!" But if you look at the back of the box, you'll notice a strange lack of screen shots for any of the games ...
The front of the box.
Hmm ... looks kinda fishy to me.
Now back in the day, you didn't really have much power to find screenshots. I'm sure that magazines didn't cover this, or if they did they probably ripped it apart. But thanks to today, you have the ability to find screenshots of a few of the games. Maybe even Youtube videos. Now the Sega Genesis and Sega CD has some GORGEOUS games. Some of them, they REALLY pushed what that limited color palette could do. A total of 512 colors to choose from, and can display 64 of them on the screen at once. Look at games like Outrun, Comix Zone, Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Beyond Oasis. The Sega CD version of Eternal Champions somehow managed to push it up to 256 colors on the screen at once with trickery, and whether you like the game or not ... it looks great and really showed what the hardware could do. You can see a review of the game and an interview with the designer Michael Latham at Sega-16.com.
Here's a few screenshots from Action 52 (courtesy of Sega-16 of course) :
The game select screen ...
This actually looks pretty cool, obviously an After Burner ripoff though.
In this still shot, the car actually looks pretty good. Even though everything else looks like crap. And I'm sure there's a catch somewhere.
Now I know probably NONE of these games are going to be any good because they've stuffed so much into it that there aren't going to be any full fledged games on there. I'm guessing it's probably the monotonous endless mess that keeps going and going. But I could be wrong ... there could be endings for them. But it's probably like the ending for Rampage on the NES. *shudder*
I'm not going to do an opinion of Action 52 as a whole because I don't have the physical cart. But I decided to snag the ROM because that racing game had my somewhat curious. And I played it. It's called Daytona ... and it's quite possibly the worst racing game I've ever had the chance to play. The sense of speed is ... gone. Period. I've seen Tiger LCD games moves faster than this. The car itself has a total of 3 frames of animation. What you're seeing in the screen shot is what's there.
A PC game that I snagged recently is another bad game that, for some reason, I have a guility pleasure to play. Even though for some odd reason I have NEVER gotten past the damn .... I think it's the 3rd race. Here's the game.
Yes. The title is that long. Midnight Outlaw : 6 Hours to Sunup. Though it doesn't quite have the title like "Midnight Outlaw Illegal Street Drag Nitro Edition"
Here's an overall synopsis of the game :
"Push the pedal to the limit; make your powerful engine tear up the night air; let your rubber burning; speed over the streets to win money and respect. Get big bucks for your skill. Cash all your experience in to alter your machine for higher rate performance."
"This race simulator injects adrenaline to your blood like nitrous to the booster of your car. You are expected by 11 realistic 3D locations. Midnight Outlaw: 6 Hours to Sun Up takes you through the Pacific coast, mountains, commercial district, highways and more. When the sun goes down and up to it rises you can free an outlaw inside of you to subdue more than 50 tracks, plus all the 1/4 mile challenges. And remember all this time adrenaline is in your blood."
And the following features that I ripped from Amazon:
* Experience an adrenaline rush as you accelerate through 11 realistic 3D locations, including the Pacific coast, mountains, commercial district, highways and more.
* When the sun goes down, unleash your inner outlaw and tame morethan 50 tracks, plus all the 1/4 mile challenges you can handle.
* Cash in your skill. Go ahead, put your wallet where your reputation is. Earn big to customize your street machine for peak performance.
* Live the dream. Raceto win then watch 55+ cut scenes and nearly 30 minutes of cinematic movies unfold your next mission and racing victim.
* Rule the night streets in Adventure Mode, 1/4 Mile Challenges, Chase Mode, Escape Missions, 'Go To' Competitionsand Wild Races where any street is yours for the taking.
* From midnight 'til dawn the adrenaline is on! Tear up the night with 8 hot vehicles.
* You build 'em from scratch then race 'em for cash.
* You've gotnitrous in your veins. Fuel your need for speed as you outmaneuver cops determined to bust up your race.
* Tune your car for maximum street performance. Explore thousands of wicked after-market engine and body combinations. Now you've got it all-speed and style.
Regarding the cutscenes, the game is from a company called Babylon Software distributed by Valuesoft. The cutscenes are just pre-rendered characters who move stiffly with horrible voice acting. It tries so hard to be like Need for Speed Underground 2 and fails miserably.
And the driving mechanic in the game isn't even THAT bad, though the cars feel kinda like elephants on roller skates. Even the tiny little hatchbacks.The music is .... passable. Nothing to make me turn the volume up or down either way. There are a total of 3 different car sounds, and while they don't sound great they're just kinda "meh".
Graphically, it looks like a high resolution Playstation 1 game. Which, a lot of PS1 games still impress me today, so that's not exactly a BAD thing to me. Here's a quick screenshot.
One thing I do like about it ... you can just go into free run and just tear through the city, which isn't HUGE, but it does give you enough to do. If you're into bad games, pick this one up. I picked this up on Amazon for $4. And you wanna know the sad thing, shipping was $3.99.
For some reason, I've always GOT to play the games that get completely bashed just to see how bad they really are. Same thing with movies. I have probably close to a hundred of those Digiview dollar DVDs ... and there's some crap there. Now, mind you, I do play the good ones too. I play Quake Live and Quake 3 Arena. I'm getting ready to delve into Final Fantasy 9, I love Katamari Damacy and Beautiful Katamari. I play Gears of War once in a blue moon ... I just bought Outrun Arcade on Xbox Live recently and played it for HOURS.
There are SOME games that are just merely bad PORTS. Take Galaxy Force 2 for the Genesis as an example. It's NOT a bad game by any means to me ... I love it. It's just a train wreck of a port from the arcade because consoles back then just didn't have the power. The same thing with After Burner, Super Monaco GP, Altered Beast, Mortal Kombat, T2 : The Arcade Game etc etc all for the Genesis. Let's not kid ourselves, GREAT games, horrible ports. Then there are horrible ports of horrible games that are in a category all their own. Time Killers on the Genesis anyone? The NES and Super Nintendo had their train wreck ports too (anyone remember the SNES version of Final Fight? Or the original Mortal Kombat? Or maybe Rise of the Robots? Okay, Rise of the Robots ... I don't think that's a port ... but damn was it a disappointment.), but the Genesis is my system of choice.
I'm going to keep playing these dead horrible games, or sit down front of a movie like "Shaolin Deadly Kicks" or "Dual of the Tough", down a few 40's of King Cobra, laugh and say "What the F*** were they THINKING?!?!"