Comeback!   Leave a comment

After over a year without any activity, I’m going to start up this blog very soon with some new reviews.  During the previous year I’ve been busy with a new house, but I’ve also collected lots of new games and systems.  I’m also going to slowly proofread some older reviews, organize them more, and add ratings to those reviews that have none.  See you soon!


Posted February 14, 2016 by thebandit2006 in Uncategorized

Rush’n Attack – NES   Leave a comment

NESRushnAttackWhen I first played this game in the arcade as a kid, I thought that it was merely a coincidence that Rush’n Attack sounded just like Russian Attack.  I know now of course that it was purposely a play on words, because the cold war was still a big thing back in the 1980’s.  To be exact it was 1985 that Rush’n Attack was released to the arcades by Konami.  Konami’s 1987 port to the NES doesn’t look exactly like the arcade, but it looks close enough, and it plays just like it.  The early days of the NES were great for arcade ports, but eventually arcade technology left the NES in it’s dust.

Rush’n Attack is a side scrolling action game where you are dropped into enemy territory in order to sabotage their secret weapon.  The weapon you have for the vast majority of the game is a knife.  Yup, they expected you to take out an entire army with just a knife.  There is no life bar either, so one touch from an enemy or projectile will kill you.  You can pick up grenades, bazookas, guns, and invincibility items, but they’re not plentiful, and you’ll only get around three shots, or a very limited amount of time to use them.  The enemy is nearly as badly equipped as you are, as most enemies will just charge into you without firing a weapon.  The occasional enemy will fire a weapon, and some will jump at you.  To defeat the jumpers you will also have to jump, and stab them in mid-air.  The tricky part about this is that you don’t have much control over your jump, so you may land in a very inconvenient spot.  Conveniently for you though is that the enemy wears clothing that tell you what they’re going to do.  If they’re wearing red, then they’ll jump at you.  If they’re wearing yellow, then they’ll fire a gun at you.  Other things to watch out for are land mines, dogs, and enemies shooting from guard towers.

The stage designs are great, and really convey the Russian landscape well, or at least what we think it should look like.  Typical of Konami the music is pretty catchy too.  It’s very easy to control your guy, except that you have to press up on the d-pad to jump, and that’s never a good thing.  Overall Rush’n Attack is a decent game.  It’s not setting the world on fire, but it’s still good.  It keeps score, and it’s tough without being frustrating.  It’s not an absolute must-have, but if you’re a side-scrolling action fan, or an arcade fan then I recommend picking it up if you see it.

Rating – 7 / 10


Posted December 1, 2014 by thebandit2006 in NES

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Star Soldier – NES   Leave a comment

NESStarSoldierI often get Star Soldier for the NES mixed up with Star Force, which is also an NES game.  They play and look very much the same, but this is not a bad thing, because both are great NES arcade shoot-em-ups.  Star Soldier was released in Japan for the Famicom in 1986 by Hudson Soft, and finally brought over to North America by Taxan in 1989.  Star Soldier is actually the first game in series that has games released not only on the NES, but also the TurboGrafix-16, Nintendo 64, PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, and Nintendo Wii.

Like Star Force, this is a vertically scrolling shoot-em-up that takes place in outer space.  One button shoots, and that is enough to take care of both flying targets, and ground targets.  There is no automatic fire, so you’ll want to use a controller that does have automatic fire.  There is no shortage of enemies, and targets to shoot at, and that is what makes the game fun.  It’s a difficult game, and I was only able to get to stage 4 or so, but this is a game that you’ll want to play to beat your high score.  The game is designed with that in mind, because there are plenty of hidden targets that offer bonus points.  Some of these targets will also give your spaceship power ups.  The powerups don’t get too crazy, and are limited to a shot that fires behind your ship, and another that lets you shoot in five directions.  Of course at the end of each stage is a large boss ship.

Being a relatively early NES release, Star Soldier isn’t going to wow you with fantastic graphics, or sounds.  The graphics are however good enough, and it’s always easy to see what is going on.  About the only times you can’t see what is going on is when your ship flies under the scenery.  That is pretty annoying, because not only can I not see where I am, but I also can’t shoot at all.  As far as the sound goes, there are so many explosions happening that I never really paid much attention to the music, except the catchy tune that plays when you power up your ship to it’s maximum.  There isn’t really anything bad I can say about the game.  It’s a solid shoot-em-up that controls well, and is a lot of fun to play.  It’s recommended for all arcade, and shoot-em-up fans.

Rating – 8 / 10


Posted December 1, 2014 by thebandit2006 in NES

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Xevious – NES   Leave a comment

NESXeviousXevious is one of the very first vertically scrolling shoot-em-ups ever, and it was also one of the best.  It was first released in the arcades by Namco in early 1983, and then published by Bandai for the North American NES in 1988.  I used to love this game in the arcade, but I had forgotten the name of it for a while.  One day I rented Xevious for the NES not knowing exactly what it was, and what a very nice surprise when I discovered that it was a nearly perfect arcade port of an old forgotten favourite.

You control a loan spacecraft, and your goal is to…. well there is no real goal to Xevious except to go for a high score.  One button shoots enemies in the air, and another drops bombs on ground targets.  There are no powerups in Xevious, nor are there any stages beyond the first.  If there are multiple stages in this game, then I haven’t come across any during my entire life.  You never know though, because It is a pretty tough game in that one hit will kill you.  Most enemies are small spacecraft that vary in speed, and aggressiveness.  A lot of attacking happens from the various ground targets, and in fact the only boss type enemies I ever came across are also ground based.  They can be pretty tough, so it’s really satisfying when you defeat them.

Unless you grew up playing the arcade game, you may not appreciate the graphics and sounds in this NES port.  Having played the arcade game growing up though, I can tell you that this looks, and sounds just like the arcade version.  Even the hard difficulty has been carried over.  The only difference that I’ve spotted is that the environments are wider, since the arcade game had a 3:4 aspect ratio rather than the 4:3 ratio of home televisions.  The controls are very responsive and smooth, and that goes a long way in making a great shoot-em-up.  Xevious is recommended for anyone looking for a fun trip down memory lane, or for those curious about the roots of the shoot-em-up genre.

Rating – 8 / 10


Posted November 30, 2014 by thebandit2006 in NES

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Ms. Pac-Man (Tengen) – NES   Leave a comment

NESMsPacManI still find it amazing that one of the greatest, and most famous arcade games of all time started out life as an unauthorized hack of another legendary arcade game.  These games are Pac-Man, and it’s unauthorized sequel Ms. Pac-Man.  Ms. Pac-Man is based of Namco’s Pac-Man, and released to the arcades in 1982 by Bally/Midway.  This NES port was released by Tengen in 1990 for the NES.  The timing of this was very interesting, because everyone was moving on from the early 1980’s arcade games, and focusing on beat-em-ups, shoot-em-ups, and platformers.  I should also note that there are two versions of Ms. Pac-Man on the NES, this one released by Tengen, and another released by Namco themselves later on.  They both have some big differences, so keep that in mind.

There isn’t much to say about the gameplay of Ms. Pac-Man that hasn’t been said before.  You control Ms. Pac-Man, and the goal is to eat all of the dots in the maze.  One tough from the ghosts will cost you a life, but you can temporarily turn the tables by eating one of the four power pellets.  Additions to the original Pac-Man include additional mazes, and bonus fruit that bounces around the maze.  This port of Ms. Pac-Man is similar to the Sega Genesis port in that it contains options to play in even more mazes, and play at different speeds.  I had great fun test my Pac-Man skills by turning the difficulty up.  Ms. Pac-Man even by itself has infinite replayability, and these options give it even more replayability if that’s even possible.

Unlike the Sega Genesis port, the NES port of Ms. Pac-Man keeps the arcade style graphics, and they look really accurate.  Unfortunately that comes at a cost of having to have the maze scroll during game play.  You will get used to it quickly though.  The sound effects aren’t quite the same as the arcade, but they sound pretty close.  The most important part of any Pac-Man game is the control, and this version nailed it perfectly.  To sum it all up, this may be the definitive version of Ms. Pac-Man, and even to this day it can be enjoyed by everyone.

Rating – 9 / 10


Posted November 30, 2014 by thebandit2006 in NES

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Rolling Thunder – NES   Leave a comment

NESRollingThunderMany games released today give you freedom to play the game as you see fit.  For example there are many ways to complete missions in the Grand Theft Auto series, and some games such as the Elder Scrolls series will take things even farther than that.  Rolling Thunder is as far from that type of game as you can get.  This was first released in the arcades by Namco in 1986, and then ported over to the NES and released by Tengen in 1989.

Rolling Thunder is a side-scrolling action game where you control an secret agent whose mission is to blast away the enemy in an attempt to rescue another kidnapped agent.  It plays like many side-scrolling action games for the NES as you use one button to fire your gun, and another button to jump.  Pressing down ducks, and pressing up and jump will make your character leap up to a balcony, or whatever else is above you.  Rolling Thunder is a tough game for many reasons.  For one thing, your character isn’t much of a multitasker.  You can’t jump and shoot at the same time, nor can you walk and shoot.  You also can’t shoot at enemies above you, nor do you have much control over your jumps.  Other things that make it a tough game is the limited supply of ammo, although you can pick up additional ammo.  You die by either getting shot once, or by getting touched by an enemy twice.  I think that if I was the one kidnapped, I would rather have the guys from Contra try to rescue me rather than this chump.  Your character may have his shortcomings, but you can compensate for them by the way you play the game.  You have to play the game slow, and methodically.  You’ll have to take cover, and make your shots count.  There isn’t much room for error at all, so you’ll have to play it like you would play a modern Tom Clancy game.  Above all though, you have to memorize the levels completely, because the enemy is really cheap, and can hit you even while off-screen.

The graphics are very plain, but at least the character sprites are nice and large.  The music, and sound effects are a bit bland, but at least they won’t annoy you.  Your character might not be the most mobile character ever, but at least the controls are responsive, and consistent.  The game does keep score, so even if you aren’t very good at the game it’s still fun to play to beat your high score, or to see how far you can make it.  There is a password system, so you could finish the game if you’re persistent enough.  Overall this is wouldn’t be a bad game to add to your collection if you’re up for a real old school arcade challenge.

Rating – 7 / 10


Posted November 24, 2014 by thebandit2006 in NES

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Wave Race 64 – Nintendo 64   Leave a comment

N64WaveRaceThis may sound like marketing speak, but if you want some help in getting passed the soon to come winter blues, then look no further than Wave Race 64.  I never played this game until I picked it up recently, and what a great find it was.  Originally it was a launch title for the Nintendo 64 released by Nintendo in 1996.  This must have been quite the looker back then, because even 18 years later it remains very playable, fun, and nice to look at.

Wave Race 64 is an arcade style jet-ski racing game.  You weave your way around buoys, and race against three other opponents.  Some buoys have to be passed on the left side, and others on the right side.  If you pass a buoy on the correct side, then a bar will be added to your maximum speed up to a maximum of five.  If you miss a buoy, then you will lose some of your maximum speed.  If you miss five buoys in a race, then you are disqualified.  Luckily the buoys are very clearly marked, and it is a lot of fun weaving your way through them.  I was very impressed at how Wave Race 64 handled waves.  Not only do they look really good, but the physics behind them is very impressive, especially for a game released in 1996.  You can skip across small waves, and the larger waves will make your jet-ski catch air.  Courses are relatively realistic.  Some courses such as Marine Base are dark and stormy, and have a lot of waves.  Others such as Sunny Beach are set in a sunny tropical environment, and have smaller waves.  Obstacles include small islands, wharfs, and the occasional ship wreck.  In addition to the races, there is a stunt mode where you go through rings, and perform stunts off of jumps.  Luckily it’s a completely optional mode, and doesn’t have any affect on the races themselves.

Not only do the waves look impressive, but the course designs all look great.  It’s a very colourful game, but yet somehow it still looks realistic enough to really suck you into the environments.  It also sounds good too with a mellow soundtrack, nice splashing sounds, and a nice roar of the jet-ski engine.  There is an announcer, but they don’t say a whole lot except to update you on the how you’re doing in the race.  It controls well too, as it’s easy to make subtle adjustments as it is to make sharp turns.  About the only negative comment I can make about the game is that I wish there were more than eight courses.  Unlike a lot of newer games, the majority of them are unlocked from the start, and the other two are there if you want to tackle the harder game modes.  Besides that, I can’t think of anything that could make this game better.  Definitely a must have for the Nintendo 64.

Rating – 9 / 10


Posted November 17, 2014 by thebandit2006 in Nintendo 64

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Cruis’n USA – Nintendo 64   Leave a comment

N64CrusinUSABack in the mid 1990’s, racing games were making their transition from scaled 2D sprites to full on 3D polygonal graphics.  The popular racers of the day were Daytona USA, and Ridge Racer.  Midway released their own racing game called Cruis’n USA in the arcades in 1994, and Nintendo published it in 1996 in order to compete with Daytona USA on the Saturn, and Ridge Racer on the PlayStation.  Cruis’n USA was a fun arcade game, but this Nintendo 64 port is really poorly executed.

Cruis’n USA is similar to other arcades games of it’s time in that you drive through checkpoints before you run out of time.  You can select to run one of the 14 courses, or run them all in order from the west coast of San Francisco to the east coast of Washington, D.C.  There are no car upgrades, no drifting in order to get turbo, and in fact there is no turbo at all.  You just hit the gas, take the corners, avoid the traffic, and not only race the clock, but also race the CPU opponents to finish first.  I typically love these types of racing games.  You can just pick up the controller, enjoy the scenery, and race.  The car handling, and physics of arcade style racing games is meant to be more fun than realistic.  Cruis’n USA was on the right track, but it’s ruined by poor controls, and physics.  You can use either the analog controller, or the d-pad to steer, and I can’t figure out which is worse.  Both oversteer terribly.  The first few tracks are fun, and you won’t even notice the wonky controls, but just wait until you get to some of the twistier tracks, and you won’t be able to stay on the road.  Adding to the difficulty is the inconsistent framerate, and iffy collision detection.  You can change the difficulty of the computer opponents, and win quite easily, but it feels like a cheap win considering I look like a drunk driver.

Some things that I do like are the vibrant colours for the tracks, but unfortunately the backgrounds repeat for too many of the tracks.  The sound is pretty poor as well with some of the worst music I’ve ever heard in any game.  One of the tracks even sounds like someone’s having sex.  These awful songs also get stuck in your head like that one cheesy hit that comes along each summer, and gets overplayed to death.  The sound effects are pretty good except for the fact that your car becomes nearly silent at top speed.  The actual design, and theory behind the game is great, but it badly needed more time to refine the car handling, physics, and framerate.  I really wanted to like this game, because I usually like arcade driving games, but there’s just so many other better driving games for the N64, and I’ll be getting to those soon enough.

Rating – 5 / 10


Posted November 16, 2014 by thebandit2006 in Nintendo 64

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Spy Hunter – NES   Leave a comment

NESSpyHunterIf you’re looking for a really tough old school driving game, they don’t get much tougher than 1987’s Spy Hunter from Sunsoft on the NES.  It’s a top down vertically scrolling combat driving game that was originally released to arcades in 1983 by Bally Midway, and while I never personally played the arcade version, I can see from pictures that the arcade game had a steering wheel, gas pedal, and gear shift.  The NES never had those accessories, but despite that the port to the NES is very playable, and it’s fun.

As far as I can tell the game is just one endless stage where it’s your goal to drive as far as you can.  You get points for driving faster, but then you risk hitting other vehicles.  You can shoot enemies for points, but you risk crashing into their wreckage, and not to mention you will be penalized for shooting civilian vehicles.  You can’t go too slow either, because enemy vehicles will catch up to you.  The best advise I can give to you is to drive as fast as your skill allows you to, and try to earn as many points as you can.  This is what really old games were all about anyways, and that is going for a high score.  Being an arcade game, it is really difficult in order to free up the machine for the next player to play, or for you to put in another quarter, because despite the difficulty it is a lot of fun.  There are a few helpful powerups that can be earned by driving into the back of a semi Knight Rider style.  The powerups include missiles to destroy helicopters.  Smoke screens, and oil slicks take care of enemies approaching from behind.  Apparently you can transform into a boat if you reach a certain part of the game, but I was never able to do this, because I’m terrible at this.

Despite my terrible Spy Hunter gaming ability, it is still addicting to play.  It looks nice, it plays nice, and the music sounds like it came from a James Bond movie.  The games are pretty short, or at least mine are, so don’t expect this to be the next Skyrim.  It’s just a simple, old school arcade game, and recommended to fans of those games.

Rating – 7 / 10


Posted November 6, 2014 by thebandit2006 in NES

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Whip Rush – Sega Genesis   1 comment

GENWhipRushI’m a big fan of the Sega Genesis, and I’m also a big fan of shoot-em-up games.  When you combine the two of them, what could possibly go wrong?  In this case absolutely nothing, because Whip Rush is friggin’ sweet!  It’s one of the earlier shoot-em-ups on the Genesis released in 1990 by Renovation Products.  Whenever there is a Renovation Products logo on a Genesis cartridge, good times usually follow.

Whip Rush is a shoot-em-up of the side scrolling variety.  The story is that mankind has pretty much used up all resources of every planet in our solar system, so three ships are sent out to seek new land to colonize.  The ships never return, and a race of aliens attack Earth.  In typical shoot-em-up fashion there is one spaceship that can stop the aliens, and that is the Whip Rush piloted by you.  The storyline isn’t exactly original, and neither is the game play.  Unoriginal games are fine by me as long as they are good ones, and Whip Rush is a good one.  Your ship starts off with a weak weapon that fire straight ahead, but at least you’re able to hold down a button on the Sega Genesis controller to automatically fire.  You get your standard powerups such as a laser beam, heat seeking missiles, etc.  What you really want to pick up are the two mini ships that fly along with your spaceship.  These mini ships not only increase your attack ability, but you can also position them to fire up, down, or behind your ship.  This is very important, because although most enemies will attack you from the front, there are parts of some stages will scroll up, or backwards.  Some enemies will attack from behind as well.  The difficulty in Whip Rush is 16-Bit tough, but it never feels cheap.  If you do die, you respawn right where you died.  You will have to start at the start of the stage if you lose all of your lives though.

The graphics aren’t going to blow you away, but they get the job done.  The parallax scrolling is really well done for such an early Genesis release.  The music is really great, and some of the tunes will get stuck in your head long after you’ve stopped playing.  The sound effects include those distorted sounding explosions that are unique to the Sega Genesis.  If you’ve played enough Genesis games you’ll know what I’m talking about.  Your ship also controls very well, and you’re able to manually control your ship’s speed without picking up speed powerups.  Overall Whip Rush may not be original at all, but it does everything right, and it’s a lot of fun.  Definitely recommended for shoot-em-up fans.

Rating – 8 / 10


Posted November 4, 2014 by thebandit2006 in Sega Genesis

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