21/04/2017

Virtua Fighter

"Everything you have heard about Virtua Fighter is true. And then some."




We've had a couple of great fighting games in this 1001 list so far. International Karate + and Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting have stood out personally, but this is something quite different. This is the birth of the three-dimensional fighting game genre, and for all its blocky models coloured almost as garishly as possible, Virtua Fighter should never be forgotten for what it gave to the gaming world.

Whether at home or in the arcades, with a punch, kick and defence button next to your joystick, you're all set to beat your opponent senseless in heavy hitting and somewhat realistic hand to hand combat.

I'm looking forward to bashing those buttons.

19/04/2017

Zombies Ate My Neighbors

Extra Bonus Victim!




I knew of Zombies Ate My Neighbors long before I had any idea what the game was about. I had come across the title while looking through lists of available to download .wav music files, back when you had to dial into the Internet in order to see the world as it really was, rather than as it was portrayed in Encyclop√¶dia Brittanica. Guile's Street Fighter theme was more interesting to me at the time, but the title Zombies Ate My Neighbors stuck in my mind.

By that, I mean that I didn't expand upon my zombie knowledge until decades later when I learned it was a run and gun zombie-em-up, and it's not until now that I've even bothered to play it.

Will I be able to save my neighbours before an untimely death? There's no time to lose!

18/04/2017

The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening

Wow! This looks pretty heavy!




Zelda on the Game Boy, you say? That should probably be pretty good, shouldn't it? Cramming an entire adventure into a Game Boy cartridge shouldn't be too big an ask, but there's bound to be some expectations thanks to a certain Link to the Past...

Enough beating around the bush, let's slash the sword with our name on it through all the vegetation in The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening. Is it a spin-off? A side story? Alternate universe? Inspired by? I don't know, but it is different.

12/04/2017

The 251/1001 Milestone Awards

Source // Ars Technica


Good Lord, we've actually done it. We've gone through a quarter of the 1001 list. Haven't played all of them, sadly, and definitely haven't finished many (any?) of them, but what a trip it has been so far. The things we've learned! The sights we've seen! The games we're finally aware of beyond having heard the title, once, in passing!

The arcade still calls to us, but the consoles are coming thick and fast. We're moving into territory that I'm more familiar with, and picking out the top tens of each batch for The Milestone Awards is getting harder and harder.

For The 251/1001 Milestone Awards, we're trying to prune through fifty titles from Super Castlevania IV to The 7th Guest. Which titles will run away with an award? Let's find out.


Continuing with tradition, we start with The Indifferent 5, a list of five games that merely contribute to the mise-en-scene. They're not bad, but they're not scene-stealers either. They are what they are - there for those who want them.

Mega Lo Mania, Sensible Software
The Incredible Machine, Kevin Ryan
Axelay, Konami
Secret of Mana, Square
Plok, Software Creations

I wonder how many of those were untouchable classics to some people...


Now that list was tricky, so this next award is nigh on impossible. In this latest batch of fifty must play video games, which title urges me to ask What Was That 1 Even Put On The List For?


Oh no, wait - this one is easy.

What Was Lemmings Even Put On The List For?

Bloody Lemmings. Ugh.


A 1001 list without 1001 entries is a silly list, so if we've taken out all the Lemmings, we have to plug the hole with something else. What forgotten gems are there that should have been included first time round? Let's find out by shouting You Forgot What?! and listening for a response...





Kirby's Dream Land! How in the name of all that is Holy could you leave Kirby's Dream Land off the list? It's Kirby's goddamn Dream Land for Christ's sake.

Sorry. Childhood favourite.


With that error firmly corrected, we can shove enough quarters into the coin slot to get through the rest of this post. Bring on The Top Ten.


10: Cybernator, NCS Corp
Mechs! Mmmmmmechs!

9: Micro Machines, Codemasters
Wee mini motor racing around the breakfast table. It's genius.

8: Sonic the Hedgehog (2?), Sonic Team
They're basically the same, right?

7: Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting, Capcom
The absurd title caused it to drop a few places.

6: NBA Jam, Midway
It's on fire, and hopefully, you are when playing it too. Not literally.

5: Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, LucasArts
This is how you do point and click games. Trust me, I'm an expert now.

4: UFO: Enemy Unknown / X-COM: UFO Defence, Mythos Games, MicroProse Software
The business management simulator you didn't know you wanted.

3: Doom, id Software
DOOM.

2: Super Mario Kart, Nintendo EAD
Such a fun part of my childhood and it still holds up.


What, then, could possibly top the list? What game filled me with so much joy that nothing else could compare - not even Super Mario Kart, which is incredible? Well, Nintendo EAD is on form once more, because the number 1 spot belongs to The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. No contest. Clear winner. Don't even try to argue.



To finish up, we must mash together The Top Ten with the current best of the best to form The Topper Than That Top Ten list - the ten best games from the 251 we've seen so far. The Oregon Trail seems so far away now that we're at The 7th Guest, and we're still only 1/4 of the way through this 1001 list. It's going to get tough picking out my top picks, but here are the current champions.



10: Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, LucasArts
Other LucasArts titles might get all the praise, but this is where I want to spend time gaming. You know, if I was forced to play point and click adventures.

9: UFO: Enemy Unknown / X-COM: UFO Defence, Mythos Games, MicroProse Software
Don't take it seriously and it's a blast.

8: The Oregon Trail, MECC
250 games preceded it, and it's still in this best of the best top ten. How? How?!

7: Bomberman, Hudson Soft
I just see his name and all those childhood multiplayer sessions come right to the front of my mind.

6: Tetris, Alexey Pajitnov
What will topple Tetris? It's slipping down the list, but we're still waiting for that one piece...

5: Super Mario Bros., Nintendo R&D4
Slipping, but it's a go-to game for good times.

4: Doom, id Software
It's just so iconic, isn't it? Whether you're good at it or not, you've got your memories of it.

3: Super Mario World, Nintendo EAD
Yoshi, nooooo!

2: Super Mario Kart, Nintendo EAD
Absolute winner. It just had the sad fortune of being around at a time when a certain other absolute winner was...

1: The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Nintendo EAD
This absolute winner. It just screams SNES to me, and I can't believe I've not played it until now.


Would you believe I'm a devotee to Sony, their hardware, their exclusives? How my tiny little gaming brain has changed thanks to this list, eh? Recommending Nintendo title after Nintendo title. Well, they're probably going to be staying there for a while, so we'll have to wait and see what the next batch of games contains.

It begins with a title by the name of, ooh, what was it now, The Legend ooooffff... Zelda.

Ah nuts.

11/04/2017

The 7th Guest

Feeling lonely?




Having not had a computer for my early childhood, there is no possible way that I'd have caught The 7th Guest in all its original two CD glory - a game so big and detailed that not even the vast storage space of a single CD could contain it.

Joking aside, this game was one of the first pieces of media to really push for consumers to buy CD-ROM drives and welcome the future, and for video gaming (according to developers Trilobyte) that meant mixing pre-rendered 3D backgrounds with live action characters.

Kind of like Return to Zork, I guess, but better. Personally speaking.

We are a disembodied spirit in a spooky old house. What horrors will we witness? What secrets will we uncover? What will we rate the acting out of ten? Let's dive right in.

06/04/2017

The Settlers

Project 'Settlers': To create an economy simulation without it being boring.


Source // Wikipedia


In most games where the victor is determined by the greatest military force, you're not tasked with managing a whole lot beyond where your units move, what they do, and how to pay for them to be developed in the first place. Juggling resources is often a case of asking yourself, 'do I have enough of Resource X? Yes? Good'.

Not so in The Settlers, for in order to dominate your neighbours in war, your must grow your mighty empire from the ground up, and everything needs something from somewhere else. Builders need to be fed, but fishermen need their huts to be constructed, and both will get on with their tasks as best as they can - if the required resources eventually get to them via your road networks.

Your carefully laid out road networks.

You did think about the road network, didn't you?

04/04/2017

Secret of Mana

You Idiots!




The problem with embarking on a challenge like this is that the sheer scope of some games means I'll never get to really know what they're about, because I'll never have the time in the world to sit down with them for hours and hours and hours on end, especially if they're Role Playing Games like Secret of Mana.

The world is in peril, an epic quest is thrust upon you, how will you manage to vanquish evil and save the day? I'll never know...

30/03/2017

Plok

I've been diddled again!




Words are hard to come by when Plok is on the screen. The 1001 entry for this title mentions how everyone and their dog wanted their own mascot, a la Sega and Sonic, but Plok came to that particular party too late. So late that he might as well have been lost to history, but here he is, walloping fleas with his giant cartoon fists...

Just what is going on here?

29/03/2017

Frontier: Elite II

WARNING: Undercarriage down.


Source // Wikipedia


Ten years after Elite comes its incredible sequel, Frontier: Elite II. How do I know it's incredible? Not by playing it, that's for sure...

Cast your minds back to that E3, when No Man's Sky was announced with an impressive trailer that promised the Universe. I was hyped. You were probably hyped too. And then somewhere, at the back of the hall, an old guy shouted, "Hey, that's like Frontier!"

Want to be a space trader? You can! Want to be a fighter pilot? You can! Want to wreak as much havoc as you can before getting blown out of the sky, only the sky is space and it's full of Newtonian physics calculations that require you to have a degree in astrophysics in order to get anywhere? You can!

Frontier is about to become one of my biggest love/hate games...

27/03/2017

UFO: Enemy Unknown

a.k.a. X-COM: UFO Defense




Did I mention Laser Squad was like X-COM back when I wrote about Laser Squad? I must have. I don't like going back over old posts unless absolutely necessary - probably because of all the typos I'd find - so I'll assume that I did mention the similarity.

It's an obvious similarity, really, when X-COM: UFO Defense, or UFO: Enemy Unknown, is essentially a sequel to Laser Squad - if not in terms of plot than in terms of gameplay. That means equipping your soldiers (or forgetting to) and carefully heading (or blindly running) into dangerous, alien-infested territories, only this time we've got global politics, base building and resource management to deal with as well.

Say hello to our squad. Say goodbye to half of them...



22/03/2017

Sam & Max Hit the Road

Greetings from the USA.




If you were to ask me what Sam and Max look like, I could at least bluff some knowledge of the two - a dog and a rabbit. What do they do? Maaaaaybe cops or something? I don't know too much about them beyond that.

So, it was about time I finally saw who they were in Sam & Max Hit the Road, a point and click adventure that sees our heroes search for some escaped carnival attractions. Seeing as Sam and Max are part of the 'Freelance Police', that must surely mean there's more to the story than meets the eye.

Can we find out what's going on without looking up too many hints this time? Haha. Ha. Hhhyeahh...

17/03/2017

Syndicate

Observing. Going. Assassinate.






Do you have a business that requires, uh... protection? Do you need some competitors, shall we say... dealt with? Have you got enough funds to construct your own cyborg death squads to travel the globe and brainwash the locals into caring about you and nobody else, using lethal force whenever necessary?

If the answer is yes, then you should probably get your hands on Syndicate, a real-time strategy title that sees you order fully armed rubber coated cyborgs in a variety of missions that will hopefully conclude with your complete control of the planet.

I must say, it sounds like quite the setting, doesn't it? A grim future where business is conducted with bullets and terrorism goes hand in hand with taxation and taking control of the populace. Consider me interested.

16/03/2017

SimCity 2000

The Citizens are Revolting



Source // Wikipedia



Let's just get this clear if I haven't already mentioned it. The idea of SimCity is great. Fantastic. What better way to light up the imagination than allowing gamers to watch their creations get built and develop in front of their eyes?

The top down, circuit board looking SimCity has been redeveloped into the genre-defining SimCity 2000, a game with everything you expect from a city builder of this era, and then some more things you forgot about.

What it does is great, but there's always a 'but'...

15/03/2017

Ridge Racer

It's Ridge Racer. Riiidge Raceeer!






It has to have been around twenty years since I last played Ridge Racer on the beloved PlayStation. While the arcade original has all the graphics and the framerates and whatnot, it is the PlayStation port (in the form of the Platinum re-release, if memory serves) that I picture when tasked with imagining what Ridge Racer is.

Graceful (ish) drifting, bright colours and patented loading screen mini-games in the form of Galaga... I can't wait to race around some ridges.



14/03/2017

Return to Zork

Simply Gruesome.





"Return to Zork? Return to Zork? As in, the Zork? That text adventure from way back when? Are we going to be going through another text adventure in the mid-1990s?"

That was more or less my initial reaction upon seeing Return to Zork in the list, before tracking it down and seeing that, no, actually we're not going back into the realm of text adventure, but are witnessing its evolution into point and click.

Though we've done a few point and click games already, so I guess we're seeing the Zork series evolve into point and click... such an important event that the developers have gone all out with their graphics budget to show it.




Look at that. A nod to the first game, from 13 years earlier, within the first minute of this game. The rest of the game can't look this good, can it?

10/03/2017

Daytona USA

Rolling Start!!



Source // Den of Geek


How could I not know of Daytona USA? Literally, how could I have not come across this game in any form, at any point in my gaming history? It's the racing game that did 60fps texture mapped polygons and did them pretty damn well. When it is in motion, Daytona USA looks fantastic - bright and colourful, and arcadey without being offputting. When it's a still image, it doesn't look like it came from the early 1990s.

Daytona USA may only offer a basic racing game, albeit one with drifting, damage and slipstreaming, but it's one I want to dive right into and play right now.


02/03/2017

Ecco the Dolphin

Underwater escort missions? My favourite!





I certainly didn't come across Ecco the Dolphin in my childhood, but when and where I did finally see it is anyone's guess. P2 remembers it from her youth, which must go to show how much street cred she has over me when it comes to retro gaming.

Ecco the Dolphin is not what it may first seem. Not by a long shot. I thought Doom had a weird plot, but this one might just trump it, for you play as the titular Ecco on a quest to save see life from being harvested by aliens. And if that's not insane enough, you travel through time to do so too.

I thought it was just a relaxing platformer of sorts. How terribly wrong I was.

01/03/2017

Gunstar Heroes

Your journey ends here!





Sometimes it feels like there are an alarmingly high number of games on this 1001 list that I just don't know anything about. I don't think the number is that high, but I don't even know of Gunstar Heroes in passing, so I'm going into yet another game blind as a bat and seeing where I end up.

In this one, we play as Red or Blue Gunstar in a side-scrolling shoot 'em up run and gunner to gather a handful of crystals before the big bad robot known as Golden Silver uses them to wreak havoc on civilisation. We'll enlist help from Professor Brown and we'll fight General Grey's efforts to thwart us.

Yeah.

Based on the plot synopsis, it's no wonder I know nothing about this game...

28/02/2017

Doom

To Quit is to Lose.



Source // Wikipedia


In the late 1990s if I recall correctly (very early 2000s otherwise), I was at yet another cousin's house. He was younger than me and I was barely into double digits, but he really wanted to play a game on the computer that I hope his father got for himself, rather than his young and impressionable son because that game was Doom.

I don't remember much of it at all. I don't even remember playing it myself. Perhaps I only just watched. Whatever happened, Doom didn't leave a lasting impression on me, certainly from that encounter, and yet I - like many gamers I'm sure - know all about Doom, no matter how much we've played it.

It's time to grab our shotguns, chainsaws and BFG's because we're about to go to Hell.

25/02/2017

Maniac Mansion: Day of the Tentacle

Ding!





When I saw Maniac Mansion: Day of the Tentacle creep up the 1001 list as its turn grew nearer, I knew I'd have to be prepared for a bit of frustration and a lack of progress. These types of games just aren't my favourite, but once again, a friendlier remastered version is available to play, so I should at least be able to marvel at the artwork if nothing else.

It's a bit of a negative outlook, that, but we'll see where it takes us.

22/02/2017

Cannon Fodder

"War has never been so much fun"





Though the name gives a few clues, I really had no idea what I was in for with Cannon Fodder, from the same sensible minds behind previous 1001 titles Wizball and Mega Lo Mania.

A strategy by way of a shoot 'em up, or maybe a shooter by the way of strategy, Cannon Fodder sees you point your privates in the right direction across multiple missions and locations, where permadeath is just a bullet away. And yet it's cartoony and humorous; a satirical approach to war and violence.

It's about time I found out what fighting on the front line is all about.

21/02/2017

Myst

Read a book, people.





Before this quest of mine, I knew that Myst was important to video game history and that it was going to be quite the adventure when it came time to playing it. That was about all I knew, save for that it was a puzzler of some sort, and that it'd be unlikely I'd make it very far.

You see, there are puzzle games that keep things focused, and there are puzzle games that are Myst, and I'm really not very into puzzle games that are Myst...

17/02/2017

NBA Jam

Boomshakalaka





Previously, I mentioned how I've probably played more of Street Fighter: The Movie than any other version of Street Fighter, and that's because it was the only game in the series that my PlayStation owning cousins had. They had a few other games in general, of course - much better games - one of which was an incarnation of NBA Jam, if I'm remembering correctly. If I'm not, I don't know what it was...

NBA Jam takes the sport of Basketball and turns it up to 11, but not in the sense of taking things 'extreme' or whatever, but of making the players and their plays larger than life. The series turned heroes into superheroes and fast action into blisteringly quick games of high scoring tension.

I have not played a game like this in quite some time, and I'm looking forward to doing so once more.

15/02/2017

Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting

How you doing, Ken?





Ah, Street Fighter. Long have I known of your characters, hummed your theme music, mocked your catchphrases and yet rarely have I ever sat down and played a game of yours for any length of time. It's usually a round or two here and there, and the game I've probably played the most could well be Street Fighter: The Movie.

This isn't that, though. This is regarded as the peak in the Street Fighter II series. This is Street Fighter II' Turbo: Hyper Fighting and I'm looking forward to pulling off a Hadouken or two because I like to set my expectations quite low and be easily impressed when exceeding them.

10/02/2017

Dune II

I wanna really, really, really wanna zigazig ah





I've watched Dune. Definitely once, but maybe twice. At one point in time, I had a replica prop gun from Dune. Not a highly detailed hero prop, more a block of painted resin or whatever it was. That square looking handgun that Patrick Stewart had if memory serves. Anyway, I'm somewhat aware of Dune, but haven't got a clue about Dune II.

From the developers who would go on to create Command & Conquer, a series I am aware of, comes the real-time strategy title that introduces all kinds of gameplay mechanics to the genre. Dune II is perhaps the grandfather of RTS, certainly in a form familiar to me, and yet I know diddlysquat about it.

Probably involves a lot of spice, though...

07/02/2017

Ultima VII

I shall be your companion... your provider... and your master!





Somewhere, many years ago, I caught sight of Ultima VII on YouTube - one of the versions at least. I don't know whether it was The Black Gate, Forge of Virtue, Serpent Isle or The Silver Seed, but I am definitely aware that Ultima VII is an interesting looking top down role playing game.

The 1001 list expresses this title to be the peak of the Ultima series, with designer Richard Garriott holding it as one of his favourites - though with two parts, each with an expansion, there's a lot of Ultima VII that players should find something to like, right?

Let's dive right into The Black Gate and see what's what.

03/02/2017

The Incredible Machine

Gooooold-berg. Goooooold-berg.





Just what is so incredible about The Incredible Machine? I've no idea - I haven't heard of it or its numerous sequels and spin-offs at any point in my past.

The Incredible Machine is both a puzzle and a toy box that focuses on Rube Goldberg-like machines, having you arrange a set of given objects onto the field of play in such a way that they interact with each other to produce results like smashing a fish tank or dunking a basketball.

This is going to tax my brain, I can feel it.

02/02/2017

Virtua Racing

GO!



Source // Wikipedia


Time for yet another 'never have I ever' kind of introduction, for never have I ever played Virtua Racing, to my knowledge, in any form, at any time. I know of Virtua Fighter and Virtua Tennis, so I guess sticking Virtua in front of something probably means Sega made a game of that something at some point?

I like racing games. I don't consider myself anywhere near an expert at them, but I know enough to get me through at least a few races. Might explode along the way, depending on the game, but I'll manage. As such, I'm looking forward to seeing what Virtua Racing is all about.

31/01/2017

The Lost Vikings

"A new concept in video gaming"





There is more I know about the actual Vikings than there is about the fictional cartoon characters to be found in The Lost Vikings. That's an easy thing to say, though, when what you know about The Lost Vikings is that there are - one assumes - some Vikings who are lost.




I couldn't tell you anything about this game before going into it, so I was pleasantly surprised to find that the introduction cinematic of sorts doubles as a demonstration of each character's abilities - abilities that, like they showed while out hunting for food, you'll have to use in unison in order to make it through this puzzle platformer.

Sounds great - in terms of both concept and music - so let's get pillag-playing, let's get playing.

27/01/2017

Sonic the Hedgehog 2

Miles per hour. I get it.





I couldn't tell you when or where I first played Sonic the Hedgehog 2, and because I couldn't tell you that, I perhaps shouldn't say words to the effect of 'I thought it was better than this'...

This Sonic sequel is definitely fast and full of... rings... and stuff, but it doesn't quite seem to be the Sonic the Hedgehog 2 that exists in my head. Maybe I'm merging memories of different Sonic titles into one, I don't know.

I do know that the best way to see what's up is to get my hands wrapped around a controller, though, so let's lace up our bright red shoes and kick it up a gear or two.

26/01/2017

Mortal Kombat

Fight!





Back in the day, I would lose horribly to my cousin in Mortal Kombat II, I believe it was. No amount of button mashing would work, and I'd be left wanting to play Mario Kart instead, where I at least stood more of a chance at actually competing.

Fast forward... decades now... and I get the chance to play Mortal Kombat, that infamous video game nasty where blood and guts and decapitations caused every videogamer 'concerned' citizens to demand action to be taken in censoring or at least alerting people to the violence contained within gaming.

It is because of Mortal Kombat that games are rated these days, such was its impact, but does that make it a good game? I'm going to play the censored SNES port to find out (and probably the Mega Drive port too).

Oh, and one more goal - I want to finally pull off a fatality for myself...

25/01/2017

Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis

I've got a good feeling about this.





Once in a while, I'd hear about Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, thinking it was an old game but having no idea exactly how old. Heck, I imagined it as anything other than a point and click adventure, such was my knowledge of it.

I don't know why I didn't associate a Lucasfilm franchise with a genre made famous by Lucasfilm Games/LucasArts, but there we go. We can't all be geniuses. Genii? We can't all be smart.

A much loved, classic character, in a point and click adventure. It's a sentence that resulted in some small amount of concern, it had to be said, but I dove right in regardless and I am so glad I did.

23/01/2017

Flashback

A-ha.





I do not have good times with these types of games. Prince of Persia, Another World and now Flashback - an ironic title, perhaps. No amount of fluid animation and nice visuals can alter the fact that I just don't ever feel in control of what I'm doing and therefore have a bad time of things from the start.

By that, I mean that the control schemes these games put out are simple enough, but to me, they just feel off and plodding and wrong, and each and every mistake I make just feels like someone is laughing at my incompetence.

Only I can laugh at my incompetence, y'hear?

20/01/2017

Axelay

Good luck.





For the longest time now, I've always gotten Axelay confused with ActRaiser. They're nothing like each other, by any measure you can think of, but their names would always blur together in my mind and I'd then fail to remember what they were each about.

I can't fail anymore - I hope - having played both very clearly distinct and not at all related games, with Axelay taking the form of a visually and technically impressive space shoo-ugh, blimey, you just can't get away from these space shooters, can you?

18/01/2017

Super Mario Kart

Suck it, DK.





Along with the (often) previously mentioned Super Mario All-Stars, my cousin's SNES was home to another Mario classic - one that was probably played more than All-Stars - Super Mario Kart.

There is no point in reading any further.

You know how good Super Mario Kart is. You want to play it right now. Go on. You should.

If you want a little bit more to read, though, do continue.

17/01/2017

Cybernator

After penetration, deploy the Assault suits.





Cybernator surprised me. I had no ideas going into it what it would be about, and it turns out that you're piloting mechs. In space. And not the stupid, overly designed, dazzlingly coloured mechs that I'm frankly put off by, but grungy, militaristic, 'realistic' designs.

It was - on the premise alone - something I absolutely had to get stuck into, and I hoped that the gameplay was just as inspiring.

13/01/2017

Desert Strike: Return to the Gulf

I want to see my children grown, but your plans might cause the end of all the world.





Back in the day, I remember playing - maybe even owning - Soviet Strike for the PlayStation, an Apache helicopter'em up where you were a one-chopper special forces unit destroying everything from the sky.

Truth be told, I've seen a few videos of that for the sake of nostalgia and I appear to remember more about the intro video and voice acting than I do about the actual game, but that's memory for you, and we're not even talking about Soviet Strike here.

No, we're talking about the game that had to come out before Soviet Strike could even be conceived, Desert Strike: Return to the Gulf, and I have a feeling it's going to be good.

Or good enough. I'm not sure really. Maybe I just have feelings for attack helicopters...

12/01/2017

Contra III: The Alien Wars

Let's attack aggressively.





Contra has quite the reputation for being really rather difficult, and so seeing Contra III: The Alien Wars creep up the 1001 list as more and more games before it got played was somewhat daunting. Thankfully, though, I had no reason to worry, because it looks great and has options for adjusting the difficulty.

The planet is - as is often the case in video games - under attack from aliens, so we better single handedly see to that with all manner of weaponry and plenty of skill.

Sorry, Earth. Once again, this won't end well for us...

11/01/2017

Pinball Dreams

Tilt, flip, it's all in your mind.





I think it's safe to say that everyone who had Windows around the millennium played the version of Full Tilt! Pinball that was bundled with it. I know I did - it was a nice break from Minesweeper, and if you got into a stride you'd find yourself saying 'ah, just one more go...' more times than you should have.

Pinball Dreams is a different game, though, but it's still pinball and it's still worth a look.

09/01/2017

Alone in the Dark

"I have freed hellish forces and now the price must be paid."





I never imagined Alone in the Dark to be so bright and colourful. It's plot certainly isn't. Jeremy Hartwood has committed suicide, though some people think there's something else going on at his mansion, and a couple of them are prepared and determined enough to find out first hand.

You play as either Edward Carnby, the private investigator, or Emily Hartwood, Jeremy's niece in a fixed camera 3D survival horror game that, as I said, is bright and colourful.

What's going on here?

04/01/2017

Final Fantasy V

Kweh!





I had to skip back through the 1001 list to double check I hadn't missed any, but no, it turns out that the first Final Fantasy title worth playing in the series is Final Fantasy V, and I know absolutely nothing about it.

I know about the series, but I've watched far, far more than I've played, and no matter what my views are playing them now, that's probably not going to change - but who knows?

Let's crack on with Final Fantasy V, where we're going to gather up a load of crystals, get real life jobs and kick anything that doesn't belong in this world out of it.

Simple.

03/01/2017

Micro Machines

Remember if it doesn't say Micro Machines, it's not the real thing!





While I'm not entirely sure whether I had physical Micro Machines when I was a kid (I must have had some), I definitely had one of the games, but not the original Micro Machines, hailing from the dawn of the 1990s on the NES, and spreading far and wide in the years following.

Whatever version I had (probably V3 on the PlayStation), I played the hell out of it. There was never a moment where throwing tiny little cars around tracks made of crumbs on the kitchen table - or across perilous metal ruler bridges between the workbenches, or bouncing over the sand dunes of the sand pit - was a dull choice: of course you wanted to do all of that because that's exactly what you'd do with the real toys.

So it comes as no surprise that I'm looking forward to seeing the roots of this series, back on the NES.

02/01/2017

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

Da daa daaa daaaaaa.





Gah, this game is bloody good, isn't it? I mean, like... just, wow.

These were not my first impressions of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. I can't really remember my first impressions, or when they were, though I suspect the SNES was yesterday's news when I first heard of A Link to the Past. I just wasn't into that kind of game back then, and as gaming developed I aligned myself towards Sony, away from Nintendo.

That meant away from the Mario games, away from the Metroids and away from all of the Zelda titles. While I've seen a whole bunch of these series and know a fair bit about them, I've never sat down to play them myself until now, really, and all I can say is... wow.

01/01/2017

The Legend of the Mystical Ninja

No Close Ups!





Had it not been for this 1001 list, I probably wouldn't have ever come across The Legend of the Mystical Ninja. I don't rate ninja's too highly, and when it comes to SNES titles beginning with 'The Legend of', there tends to only be one name mentioned, and it's not the Mystical Ninja.

Kid Ying and Dr Yang are having a bit of trouble with a ghost lady, and that trouble can only be solved by wandering around town looking for grey cats to turn your measly stick into a much more useful yo-yo, hurling it into the townsfolk until they drop enough coins for you to gamble them away on mini-games to distract you from having to find and deal with a ghost lady.

In other words,