27/05/2017

Sensible World of Soccer

You're a goal-scoring superstar hero.




Eleven vs eleven. Put the ball in the other teams net. Football is simple, isn't it? But with that simplicity, you can commit an entire lifetime to perfecting a single element of the game - to become the best attacker, defender, goalkeeper, manager or to get the most out of coaching or captaining. It's a game that requires luck and skill, strategies and risks, and even an understanding of science and data-driven approaches to problems.

Football, the beautiful game, simply has to have video games that capture enough of all that complexity and yet are still as easy to grasp as the concept of two teams kicking a ball around a park. These days the two giants in the genre are FIFA and Pro Evolution Soccer, but before those series' were yearly entries that captivated millions of gamers all over the world, there was another series by the name of Sensible Soccer.

After a few years of simple soccer titles, Sensible World of Soccer was released, bringing more detail than I bet you could imagine. It's 1994, and you're about to load up a football game with around 27,000 players from 1,500 teams. And it's not a FIFA game...

Let's blow the whistle for the kick off.

24/05/2017

Puzzle Bobble

Where, for some reason, we all Bust a Move.




Ahh, Puzzle Bobble. I don't think I've ever played you. Played plenty of 'homages' to you, a fair few rip-offs, and probably a few adult-themed variations of you, but I don't think I've ever played the original Puzzle Bobble.

Not that there's much difference in any of these games, though, bar the skin slapped on top of them, the sound effects coming out of them and the degree to which the developers have gone power-up mad - thankfully not the case with the original arcade game.

Let's just chill and pop some bubbles, shall we?

23/05/2017

Point Blank

Quota Complete




Doctors Don and Dan seem awfully familiar, but I can't for the life of me place them anywhere in my memory.

I owned a GunCon for the PlayStation and definitely used it for playing some of the Die Hard game, but that can't have been all I got that peripheral for. Did I get it for Time Crisis? Doesn't ring any bells. Did I get it for Point Blank? Again, I'm just not sure I ever owned that.

As you might have worked out by now, Point Blank is a light gun game that made its way from the arcades to the PlayStation and onto the Nintendo DS, and the very astute readers out there will note that I owned a GunCon. Past tense. We're not going to be shooting any television screens this time around - if I've even played this before in the first place.

'You don't need to be serious to be a success' appears to be the mantra for this games development, so let's shoot all kinds of things against the clock for no real reason at all.


19/05/2017

Monster Max

It was a graveyard smash.




I don't have the best of times with these isometric titles, like Knight Lore and, here, Monster Max, but it's been a while since we've seen one, and this one is on the Game Boy, of all things. I've never heard of it, naturally, so we'll dive right in and see how far we get.

Music has been banned and our titular protagonist is a guitarist, so you can already see the conflict that will play out in this game, but how will we go about being able to play some tunes once more?

18/05/2017

Gravity Power

Feel the power! It's a new game, yes it is!


Not appearing... the players. Source // Lysator.liu.se


Asteroids, Thrust, Lunar Lander... remember them? Of course you do. Games where the difference between gracefully flying through a canyon and splatting into the side of it is the well-controlled use of the thrust button.

These games are both fun and infuriating, as mastering them often requires plenty of practice and some knowledge of physics is an added bonus. But, what would happen if you were to split the screen down the middle and let friend battle friend?

Gravity Power would happen.

17/05/2017

Little Big Adventure

No Fun Zone. Dr FunFrock's orders.




Not for the first time in this endeavour of mine have I had absolutely no idea what a game was before playing it, but that's getting increasingly unlikely these days. For the moment, though, games of the past can still surprise me, and Little Big Adventure surprised me.

It's 1994 and from the overactive imagination of the French comes a story - an adventure, if you will - of a lowly hero escaping from a police state to save his planet.

Isometric 2D backgrounds, animated 3D character models interacting above it, and a somewhat freeform environment that allows players to explore on their own, as much as follow any set path. It has enough to at least warrant an "Ok then, let's see what this is all about", so it's time to see what this is all about.

16/05/2017

Tempest 2000

Superzapper Recharged? Yes! Yes! Yes!


Source // Wikipedia


I was unable to play Tempest back when it came up on the 1001 list, and wouldn't you know it, I'm unable to play Tempest 2000 either, an updated and fine tuned homage to the blaster from the past.

Take your... { ... and hammer the fire button as you speed around psychedelic shapes in synesthetic overload.

15/05/2017

Micro Machines 2: Turbo Tournament

"Without a doubt the best Mega Drive game there is."




After you've played a Micro Machines game, you can understand why one of them might make a list of 1001 Must-Play Video Games, but to have two of the series make the cut must mean something pretty special.

If the first Micro Machines merely introduced a frantic, fun-filled racer to gamers, then Micro Machines 2: Turbo Tournament perfected it. It looks great, it demands skill and mastery, and you can play with up to 7 other physical human beings on the same Sega Mega Drive.

8 players. 4 controllers. 2 of which are plugged into the cartridge itself. Just what else have I missed from the 1990s?

13/05/2017

Final Fantasy VI

a.k.a. Final Fantasy III




A long time ago, I was told to get Final Fantasy VII because it was just that good. What did I do? I got Final Fantasy VI because it came with a demo for Final Fantasy X, which was obviously the better purchase - a taste of the past with a glimpse at the future too.

Well, I didn't play too much of either Final Fantasy VI or the Final Fantasy X demo, probably because a tonne of other games were out, all far more advanced than a port of a SNES game from the mid-1990s. I was definitely not the kind of gamer who cared too much about the past back then.

Fast forward to today, and I've got to revisit this game for the 1001 list. Knowing what I know now, I wonder what I'll think of it this time around...

12/05/2017

Earthworm Jim

Cow Launched




Earthworm Jim practically screams the '90s, doesn't he? In what other decade does a super suit fall onto an Earthworm, turning him into a superhero intent on serving some justice to ne'er-do-wells and spending some quality time with Princess What's-Her-Name? In no other decade is your answer.

Charge up your blaster pistol, whip your head back and forth and get ready to launch that cow, because I'm going down to the junkyard as a super worm.