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Developer: Namco(t)
Platform: Arcade/SNES
Year: 1991/1992



After recently purchasing Space Invaders Extreme 2 (AWESOME game btw, demolish it) I felt an itch that only shmups can scratch. That whole sentence was pretty stupid, but this review is just starting and I think I have plenty of time to top myself.

Blanket statement, just about everyone is familiar with Galaga, right? And that they have made lots of different ports and variations of it, right? Well I can assure you this is different from any Galaga game you have ever played. This is based on some characters from a prize game or something like that. Googling Cosmo Gang rendered me with very little info that isn't about this game, and its companion Cosmo Gang The Puzzle- which is a variant of Pac-Attack.
This game is based on Galaga '88, I haven't played the version on the PCE but the arcade version is a lot of fun. Easily my favorite version of Galaga.

Story:
The boss of the Cosmo Gang, Don Cosmo, wants energy. That's all I could really gather from the arcade version.



Gameplay:
It's Galaga. Shoot patterns of enemies and dodge bullets. I think this game is made better by two important things. It's sense of humor and TWO PLAYER. I have never played a Galaga game with the option of multiplayer before. Power-ups are issued in this version by shooting boss enemies. You can grab a shield, a spider-web to slow down enemies, a ship upgrade to double your firepower (no more getting your ship captured!), a black hole to suck up enemies, slow moving bombs, and my personal favorite- a giant clown face that paralyzes the enemy with fear! There are little intermissions with cute animations. I totally DESPISE the bonus stages which derail the game and make me want to quit playing.

Two player mode is fun and competitive. Stealing power-ups is great but I always wonder why add an emphasis on teamwork when being a tool and stealing items is so much more fun.



Graphics:
I love the graphical style of this game, take away the futuristic ship and ugly space bugs and replace them with chunky SD style....alien guys. Everything is bright and colorful, I approve.



Sound:
Simple yet satisfying. Upbeat music and clear voice samples, arcade version is in english.

Overall:
I really enjoy this game and I think it actually surpasses Galaga '88. Buy it, NOT download it, play it with a friend! I hate those bonus stages!
8.5/10 Kirk kicks!!
Photo Photo Photo








Ever since I had heard of the Sega Power Base converter I was always somewhat intrigued by the Master System. But I thought "why bother? Ive never cared about it". But, something took root and I had gotten the fever, Master System fever. I quickly snapped up a few cheap games and I was on my way.



The heat was on, I learned everything I could about this obnoxious black box. It had a spell on me, I wanted the base converter but I noticed that they were just slightly out of my price range. Then I noticed something that caught my eye, the MS/MarkIII converter by Tototek.
-Who is Tototek? Why, they are only one of the finest manufacturers of retro gaming gadgets, most of it probably illegal in some way but whatever I could care less.
-What is a MarkIII? The MarkIII is what the Master System is called in Japan. Just like with the whole Genesis/Megadrive thing. Only the MarkIII is different from the MS, the cartridge slot. It has more pins which means that the Japanese games will not work on an American MS.

UNTIL NOW!

The fact that I could also play MkIII games was the icing on the cake. It couldn't play those skinny card games like My Hero or Robo-somethingorother but those games suck anyways. And I can't use the 3D glasses but that is no big loss either.

While it didn't have the same streamlined appearance as the base converter or other converters like the MasterMega converter or the base converter II, neither of those are capable of playing MkIII games. Function over form in this case.


Serious function over form.

I will get this out there, this thing is extremely ugly. I am not sure but I think the PCB is made out of plastic. It is thick but still, plugging this into my Genesis and then putting a MS game on top of that requires a bit of pressure, I'm worried that without any kind of support on that exposed PCB could result in something getting broken in the future. The MkIII slot is there, but it's in the back. Such an odd place to put a slot.


Awkwardness, thy name is Tototek.

It does the job, even if it looks pretty fugly in the process. Overall I would say that if you are looking into getting some Master System games and can't get just about every other converter on the planet then this is your best bet. The MarkIII compatibility is what gives this one the edge in my opinion.


Constructing the mighty SEGA-TOWER rendered the Master System converter useless, UNACCEPTABLE!








Year:1986
Platform: MSX
Developer: Pony Canyon



Let's be honest, Back to the Future NEVER translated well to games. Why though? I think the easy answer is that the license to produce games are handed out to developers who clearly do not care to put out a quality product. But I think there is another underlying aspect that might not be recognized, the movies should not be made into games. Back to the Future is one of those movies where you go "Oh that scene would make a great game level", it works better for some movie based games (Batman Returns, Ghostbusters*the most recent game*, Aladdin). Lets break down what people want in a BttF game:

THE FUCKING CAR!
THE FUCKING HOVER SKATEBOARD!

That is it! I mean, yeah, the better designed movie games are somewhat decent at ripping scenes that have no real action-intensive qualities and making it fun. Back to the Future really didn't have many scenes like that. I am reviewing Back to the Future for the MSX home computer. Developed by Pony Canyon, who released the bulk of their gaming library for the MSX, but also the NES. The only quality titles from them that I can recall would be Zanac and the Ultima series. Aside from those I really have no idea how good their other games are. How many people do you know that are intimately familiar the the MSX library of games? My point exactly.



The game is simple, you play as a very chubby Marty McFly and you have to avoid cops and birds in 1955. All the while avoid the police by jumping over them or on top of them, Mario style. Remember that in the movie? When Marty jumped onto the police. I don't recall Marty ever getting into a conflict with the police. Another trait of movie games is to insert new content that is unrelated to the film, such as the NES version where you have to avoid bees. Back to the Future is a very bee-friendly movie. No bees were harmed during it's production, therefore it has a wide fanbase amongst bees.

The goal of every level is also simple, get George and Lorraine to hook up at the dance. Every level. I have read that Biff appears; and that you have to avoid Lorraine so she can kiss George at the dance...or something. This game is stupid.



This game is awful. It is the equivalent of one of those Tiger LCD hand-held games. I had a few of those as a kid, Space Jam was terrible. Sonic 3 was terrible. They were all terrible. The sound consists of roughly one "doop" sound. The music of the game is set to some sort of mangled interpretation of Johnny be Good.

The gameplay is extremely repetitive, offering next to no incentive to continue playing, ever. It just isn't fun. It is ugly to look at, ugly to listen to, and ugly to play. I would go on a limb and say that the NES version is far FAR superior to this game. There is no car, no Doc Brown, no jiggawatts, no time traveling shenanigans. This is one of the worst movie games I have ever played, not E.T. bad, but my point is valid. It looks dated even by 1986 standards. Back to the Future has those few key scenes that would in fact make a great game, but those scenes aren't enough to carry it. I still don't understand the logic in making the game like this.

For fun, I give this game a 1/10. I enjoyed it when I stopped playing it.
For crap, I give it Manure/10. I HATE MANURE!!

Photo Photo Photo







Rider Chop
6:28 PM on 09.29.2009

Year: 1996
Developer:Cave
Platform: Saturn, Arcade.
Genre: Shooter



Most people who frequent the site and are anything like me probably look forward to the next snippet of news regarding shooters, maybe it is the next port to XBLA, an original game, indie shooters, the next big arcade hit, a sequel or even oddball stuff like KOF:Sky Stage. Needless to say, I eat up every bit of news I can get. The people who actively follow this stuff are almost certainly aware of the Donpachi series by CAVE, this is their debut game. I remember when I started getting into shooters hardcore I downloaded a LOT of shooters for MAME, I already had Giga Wing for my Dreamcast so that game was like my gateway drug. Of those few titles I downloaded, the one that really grabbed me was Donpachi, I adored this game. It kicked my ass so hard, yet I was utterly addicted to it. It played so differently from the others. It didn't feel like the Psikyo/Raizing/Compile shmups I was used to. Something about it gave it the edge, but what is that edge? Just telling you won't be enough, you will have to download it and play it for yourself. For the sake of this review I will be keeping comparisons between Donpachi and it's sequel Dodonpachi to a minimum. Also, this review will cover my playing experience on the normal/hard difficulties and not the second loop of the game.



Story:
You push the shoot button, uh, there is an enemy and you don't like them. They outnumber you 300-1 so it is obvious that you are the good guy in this whole thing. All I really know from the story seriously is that there is some giant robot bee named Hibachi who I guess is a big shot or something.

Gameplay:
The gameplay is manic, not as manic as say, Batrider or Mars Matrix but it does a very good job of keeping you on your toes at all times. The controls are simple, tap the shoot button to shoot or hold it down to fire a solid powerful beam. Using the beam cuts your speed by 1/2 or more depending of the ship you choose. There is a bomb button, pressing just the bomb button will drop a weaker screen clearing explosion. Pressing it while holding down the shoot button fires a crazy super powerful beam that only fires straight ahead.
There are 3 ships to choose from, type A, B, or C. My personal craft of choice is type A, it is more mobile and fires straight ahead. B type shoots straight ahead while side guns rotate depending on which way you move. C type is extremely slow no matter what firing type you are using, but it's 3 way shot covers most of the screen. Not worth it in my opinion.



This game is a textbook example of a bullet hell shooter, CAVE would go on to trump this game more and more with every new game they put out. One thing always stayed the same though, that signature gameplay style found in this game. Even when I jump into one of their later games, there is always that sense of familiarity from my time with this game. I guess you could say it gives me confidence.

What I love about the difficulty is that it never feels impossible, I have been playing this game almost exclusively for a few weeks now and with the exception of a few very challenging parts nothing about it gives me a feeling of helplessness. It just takes a sharp eye and a fuckton of practice. Every time I play it I can feel myself improving (despite the countless times I have died at that very same spot).

Graphics:
This game looks amazing. While obviously not as crisp and sharp as playing it on MAME it still looks great, bullet patterns are easy to see without straining and that is all I really care about when it comes to stuff like this. Things run at an almost constant smooth framerate, only when the screen is absolutely flooded with enemies and bullets while they are exploding do thing slow down, I would say that besides the slight barely there slowdown when things get hectic it is arcade perfect. There are multiple ways of viewing the game, even giving the option to zoom in, it lowers visibility somewhat but the resolution is higher, making things easier to see. This game set the standard for future CAVE releases, the level of visual polish here is as evident as in any of their other games. A.



Sound:
I will be honest, the music in this game while good, can be pretty drab. Nothing about it really grabs me. The harder guitar filled soundtrack of Dodonpachi made me feel more on edge and perfectly complimented the action. Here it just seems...plain. I will forgive it though, while the music doesn't get me as hyped as the sequel it does a serviceable job.
The sound effects are meaty and loud and sound perfect. The gun sounds, the little explosions, the BIG explosions. All of it works together perfectly to give the player a very satisfying feeling when they wade through seas of enemies.

One of my favorite things about this game is the announcer. He is the Wing Leader and I guess your commander. He sounds kinda like Erik Estrada and that makes it so much more awesome. He gives the game its personality, I look forward to hearing him encourage me. Dodonpachi dropped the Wing Leader in favor of the uber-generic robot woman voice, lame. He is probably my favorite announcer in a shooter, ever. Such classic lines as:
"Don't you just LOOOOOOVE the sweet taste of victory!?"
"WHOAAA! Look at the size of that battleship! Keep your finger on the trigger rookie!"
"Well lookee what we got here, a multi-assault tank! Watch yourself kid!"
"This is it, enemy headquarters. Let's blow it and get out of here!"
He calls you kid, like you're the new guy on the team. Rookie? I just destroyed hundreds upon hundreds of enemy ships, dodged thousands of bullets and you call me rookie!? He is clearly a badass. I dare not talk back to him, his wisdom knows no bounds. A-.

Overall:
Overall I absolutely love this game. It is a perfect example of the bullet hell genre and a must play for all shooter fans. For a first game CAVE succeeded in making a game that has style, polish, replayability, fantastic visuals and an incredible challenge. I would say this is the perfect place to start if you haven't explored this style of shooter, along with Giga Wing. It is challenging but by no means hopeless. PLAY IT IMMEDIATELY!

I give Donpachi 10 out of 10 Estradas.








Trapped! Trapped! I am trapped in my routine! Get up, go to work, sulk, leave work, come home, sleep, repeat. After dealing with a retarded breakup I now have considerably more time to devote to my often neglected hobby, videogames!! I live in Illinois, and when I was at work one day thinking "I need to go on an adventure, but where? WHERE!? Hope came to me in the form of a radio advertisement for Disc Replay.

Disc Replay is a chain of resale shops specializing in selling electronics, think Media Recyclery only if they didn't suck balls. They have a truckload of used stuff for sale. Consoles, games, CD's, DVD's, and other items. But for this story to make any sense I need to set the stage.

It was my day off, I was so tired of going to work and pretty much feeling shitty. I needed to get out and see something new. So I saddled up with my buddies Austin and Carie and we set off to Rockford, home of Disc Replay and Nickelworld. What is Nickelworld? Well that is why there will be a part 2. So we all get ready, it is roughly an hour long drive to get there from where I live. I had to use a VERY crudely drawn map to get there, and I had to drive on the freeway. A little something to know about me, I get extremely stressed driving new places for the first time, I have never driven on the freeway before. You can imagine how much I hated it. So it turns out we made a wrong turn somewhere, but somehow we made it to where we wanted to get anyway.

Rockford! These people are fucking maniacs. I believe Rockford is one of the biggest or the second biggest cites in Illinois. I hate city driving. I am experienced in driving through clustered downtown shopping type areas before so I wasn't too bothered by it. We easily find Disc Replay, we walk in and I am suddenly overcome by the urge to SPEND SPEND SPEND! It was beautiful. Everything I could want, well, not everything, but a large sum of what I could want under one roof. There was even a 3DO! With games!! I never wanted it and I could care less about it but hey, it was still cool to see it. I was hoping to see a Turbografx or something but no such luck. As soon as I walked in I examined the glass cases, they were filled with all the retro stuff and bam, there it was, motherfucking SEGA CD! Fuck yes!

I promptly got someone to open the case, got the Sega CD (complete with cables and a model 1 Genesis) and examined all the games. I am a huge Genesis nerd so I am always hunting for new stuff. They had a ton of games, two shelves of games, roughly 100 each. The top shelf had all the good games worth getting, the bottom shelf was nothing but sports games. Nuff said. I will just list off my haul:

-Sega CD w/model 1 Genesis
-Kirbys Dreamland
-Kirbys Dreamland 2




Genesis:
-Ghouls and Ghosts
-Alien Storm
-Phantasy Star II
-Phantasy Star III
-Strider
-Alex Kidd
-Shadow Dancer
-6 pack
-Judge Dredd
-Last Battle
-World of Illusion with Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck!! YESSSS

Saturn:
-Panzer Dragoon
-Clockwork Knight

I made out like a bandit. I love that place.








Time:Thursday, May 21st. 10:00pm CST/11:00pm EST.
Summer is here and Movie Night rolls on, this time with something old (Bowie) and something old (Lupin)

First up is Lupin III: Sweet Lost Night from 2008.



Followed by the fantasy masterpiece Labyrinth, David Bowie is so manly.