Solomon's Key


Source // Wikipedia

The first time came across Solomon's Key was reading its entry in the 1001 Video Games book. The author of that entry makes it clear that Solomon's Key will kick your arse from the start, and won't stop kicking it at any point.

Games were harder back in the day, that is fact, don't try to argue with it. Solomon's Key takes the piss.


The real driving simulator.

Source // Hardcore Gaming 101

Back in my childhood I had two racing games for the Game Boy, F1 Race and Race Days. They weren't played too much thanks to the likes of Super Mario Land, but I enjoyed how simple they were. The road ahead would bend and straighten out in front of you, and all you needed to do was keep your car in the middle and avoid whomever was in your way.

What I wasn't aware of until much later was that I hadn't got a clue about the racing game to popularise this gameplay - OutRun. Although it's not a racing game according to its designer, which makes sense seeing as you don't have any competitors out there on the road. 

So what do you have? A time limit, a death wish and a blonde to impress. Time to put the pedal to the metal.



Father of X-Com.

Source // Wikipedia

Like many abstractly named games, I didn't have a clue what Rebelstar was about until researching it. After researching, I sat a thought "All of that? On a ZX Spectrum?"

There is only one game that you'll probably be aware of that will help me explain Rebelstar, and that is X-Com. It doesn't matter if you think about the recent releases or the earlier X-Com classics, so long as you have that style of game in your mind, you'll know what Rebelstar is all about, because Rebelstar is X-Com

Not 'like X-Com', 'is X-Com'. Developed by the same guy, Julian Gollop. Rebelstar is X-ComOn a ZX Spectrum.


Ikari Warriors

To survive a war, you gotta become war.

Source // Arcade Museum

With the run I'm on recently I genuinely thought Ikari Warriors was another space shooter, but then I remembered that, no, what I'm thinking of was Ikaruga.

Ikari Warriors is a vertical shooter set in a jungle full of bad guys hell bent on killing us before we fulfil our objective. If it looks like Commando with a Rambo skin, it's because it largely is Commando with a Rambo skin. Even the name Ikari comes from the Japanese title for Rambo: First Blood Part II.

Take one popular film, apply it to one popular game, what do you get?



You spin me right round, baby, right round, off the edge again, straight over the cliff...

Initially, I thought Spindizzy to be something to do with the Dizzy franchise of video games, and so expected to see some sort of egg man roaming about the place, doing whatever it is he does. That's not what I got, because Spindizzy has nothing to do with Dizzy, and there's not a whole lot of spinning going on to make you dizzy.


Kid Icarus

I'm Finished!

Source // Wikipedia

I first heard of Kid Icarus when Kid Icarus: Uprising was doing the rounds for the Nintendo 3DS. I had no idea what it was about - still don't - let alone that it's origins were on the NES many decades before.

As is obvious from the title, you are a kid called Icarus Pit, and your challenge is to find three ancient treasures in order to save Angel Land. Sounds simple enough.


Bubble Bobble


Source // Wikipedia

I have definitely played Bubble Bobble in an arcade, on an actual arcade machine, with bloopy blingy lights and sounds an- no, wait, no, I'm thinking of Puzzle Bobble. The one with the bubble cannon. Yeah, that's right. Sorry. We're going in blind ladies and gentlemen.



Nothing like Centipede or Snake.

Source // OPCFG

The name threw me off, it must be said. What do you think a game called Salamander could possibly be about? If there's no cartoony reptile bouncing around some kind of platformer then there's going to be hell to pay. What's that? Sequel/Spin off to Gradius? Oh. You had my curiosity, but now you have my attention...

We've heard this before: Salamander is a side scrolling space shooter, but what else does it do? If it spawned from Gradius then I'm expecting some good times ahead - ignoring all the stupid mistakes and deaths that will inevitably come my way.