Archive for April 2014

RBI Baseball 2 – NES   Leave a comment

NESRBIBaseball2Back before they started adding the year to sports titles, we had the sequel to RBI Baseball called RBI Baseball…. 2!  Instead of being a straight up port of Namco’s Japanese baseball game, Tengen tweaked the game’s engine, and made some changes.  The result is one of the more realistic NES baseball games.

The first major change comes from the graphics.  The short and chubby players from the original RBI Baseball are replaced with more realistically proportioned players.  The animation is much improved, although I find that the players kind of run a bit flamboyantly.  The game play is mostly kept the same from the first game.  The controls are still as responsive, and easy to use as ever.  It’s harder to hit home runs now, but it was way too easy to hit them in the first game, so this is a welcome change.  It also tells you how far in feet that the home run traveled.  The Major League Players Association license is still in place, but this time all teams, and full rosters are included.  You can even set your lineup before the start of the game.  The music is more subdued now, but it’s way more varied.  It’s easy to listen to, and there are a couple of catchy tracks.  On the downside the CPU is as lousy of an opponent as ever.  Their bad fielding leads to a lot of triples, and even inside-the-park home runs.

RBI Baseball 2 is a great baseball game, and it’s recommended, but it’s sequel RBI Baseball 3 adds a bit more to the mix, and I’ll be reviewing that soon.  RBI Baseball 2 is based on the teams, players, and their statistics from the 1989 season, so if you want to relive the 1989 season over again, this is your game.

 Rating – 8 / 10

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Posted April 29, 2014 by thebandit2006 in NES

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Donkey Kong Jr. – NES   Leave a comment

NESDonkeyKongJrNintendo’s arcade game Donkey Kong Jr. is the sequel to their popular Donkey Kong game.  There are some big changes in this sequel, starting with the characters.  In this game Mario has kidnapped Donkey Kong, and has him locked in a cage.  You control Donkey Kong Jr., on a mission to rescue his father.  So Mario goes from being the hero in the first game to being the villain in this game.  Donkey Kong goes from being the villain to being the damsel in distress.  Donkey Kong’s son is the new hero.  Imagine Nintendo turning Mario into a bad guy today.  They did it back in 1982 though, and it’s a neat twist.  This game was ported to many different consoles, but the NES version looks to be one of the best, if not the best.

Despite being a launch game for the Famicom way back in 1983, this NES version of Donkey Kong Jr. keeps all of the stages from the arcade game.  It kind of plays similar to the original Donkey Kong in that you can walk, jump, and climb up things.  Instead of ladders though, you climb up vines and chains.  You can tell Mario is a bad guy in this game, because he cracks the whip in order to rile up your enemies.  Those enemies are birds, electrical sparks, and something that looks like a living bear trap.  In the first three stages you just have to reach Donkey Kong in order to pass the stage.  In the fourth stage you have to push large keys up chains, and push them into the eight locks holding Donkey Kong in his cage.  After the four stages are completed, they are repeated at a higher difficulty level, and ultimately you’re going for a high score.

Donkey Kong Jr. was a lot of fun back then, and it’s a lot of fun still today.  There are two difficulty settings to chose from, but I choose the easiest setting, so I can play longer.  The graphics, and sounds in this NES port are very close to the arcade version, with the only major difference is that the stages are wider due to the arcade monitor being vertically oriented.  Donkey Kong Jr. is a must have for all old school arcade fans, and this NES version is the best that I’ve seen.

Rating – 8 / 10

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Posted April 27, 2014 by thebandit2006 in NES

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Donkey Kong – NES   Leave a comment

NESDonkeyKongEveryone should know what Donkey Kong is.  It’s one of the most successful early arcade games from 1981.  I mostly played the Atari 2600 port when I was growing up, so years later when I got a chance to play the NES version, I was really impressed.  The NES version was originally a launch title for the Famicom in 1983.  The Famicom of course is what the NES is called in Japan.

In this game you have to rescue your girlfriend Pauline who was kidnapped by the ape Donkey Kong.  The old Atari 2600 version only had two of the arcade’s four stages, and this NES version has three of the stages.  Memory was really expensive in the early 1980’s, so the amount of memory that early NES games had was low in order to make them affordable to home consumers.  Therefore there wasn’t enough memory to include all four stages.  The stages that are included are all very faithful to the arcade version.  The stage that got left out was the cement factory stage.  In stage one you walk across beams, and up ladders while trying to avoid the barrels that are being rolled at you by Donkey Kong.  Stage two involves some platform jumping, and elevators.  Donkey Kong throws at you what looks like springs.  Stage three is the stage where you loosen rivets on a structure by having Mario walk or jump over them.  This stage has flames that you must avoid.  If you pass all three stages, the stages then repeat, but the difficulty increases.  There are two skill levels to choose from before you start the game as well.

Donkey Kong offers timeless fun.  The controls are simple, and responsive.  The NES version isn’t exactly like the arcade in terms of graphics, and sound, but it’s really close, and you probably wouldn’t even notice the difference unless you played the two games back to back.  Besides the port of the game in Donkey Kong 64, this NES version is probably the best version of Donkey Kong you can find.  It’s a must have for old school arcade fans.

 Rating – 8 / 10

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Posted April 26, 2014 by thebandit2006 in NES

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Star Strike – Intellivision   Leave a comment

Star Strike on the Intellivision could have easily have been called Star Wars, since this game was clearly inspired by the Luke Skywalker Death Star mission in the original Star Wars movie.   However it is called Star Strike, and it was released back in 1982.  The plot of Star Strike is that aliens are aiming a super weapon towards Earth, and it’s up to you to destroy this weapon before the they have a chance to use it.

The viewpoint of your ship is from a third person perspective.  Similar to Star Wars, you pilot your spaceship through this huge weapon, and you have walls on each side.  Like the Death Star, this weapon also has a blatantly obvious weak point.  It has five weak points to be exact.  You must drop bombs on each of these weak points as you pass by them.  If you miss one of these weak points, it’s not the end of the world, and you’ll just have to wait for it to pass by again.  You can’t wait too long, because as you are playing your score is dropping.  If it drops to zero, then the alien’s weapon will fire on the Earth, and it’ll be destroyed.  Out to stop you are enemy spaceships that will engage you in a dogfight.  You can move your ship in all directions, and can also open fire on the enemies once they get in front of you.  If you hit one, you’ll gain some points.  If you get hit, your ship will descend for a bit until you are able to regain control.  If your ship is too low to the ground when you get hit, then you will crash, and it’s game over.  If you do regain control of your ship, one of several things may be damaged.  Damage has caused my ship to move slowly in a certain direction.  It’s also caused my guns to misfire, and it’s also damaged the sound indicator that tells me when one of the “Death Star’s” weak points are coming up.

The controls in this game work very well.  There are several difficulty options to chose from.  The lowest difficulty setting can be beaten by anyone.  The second lowest is the one I had the most fun with.  Harder difficulty settings make it tougher by taking away the sound indicator for the weak spots.  Other difficulty settings don’t allow you to miss even a single weak spot.  So there is a difficulty setting for everyone.  While Star Strike is not my favourite Intellivision game, it is a solid one.  It’s not an absolute must have game, but pick it up if you can find it for real cheap.

 

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Posted April 25, 2014 by thebandit2006 in Intellivision

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Trials HD – Xbox 360   Leave a comment

Trials HD is a very popular downloadable title for the Xbox 360.  The series actually goes back to the year 2000.  I remember back then it was playable on website using Flash and Java technologies.  The Trials series is based on an actual motorcycle sport called motorcycle trials.  This sport involves riding your motorbike over large, and difficult obstacles.  This 2009 version for the Xbox 360 is a great version of the game, and upgrades the graphics significantly from the old Flash based games.

The controls for Trials HD are simple in theory.  Left trigger is the brake, right trigger is the gas, and you move the analog stick left or right to shift your rider’s weight.  You don’t actually get to steer your bike in this game.  Your goal in this game is to ride your motorbike through an obstacle course in the shortest amount of time.  The courses are made up of jumps ranging from a bunny hop all the way up to Evel Knievel style jumps.  How you position your rider’s weight on the bike will determine how far, and at what angle your jump is, and of course it’s important to balance your rider for the landing.  Sometimes you won’t get a ramp, and you’ll have to use a combination of acceleration, and shifting your rider’s weight in order to smoothly make your way onto a beam, a small box, stack of pallets, and even more difficult objects.  Often times the courses end up being a puzzle to solve.  These can get pretty frustrating, but the course has checkpoints after each difficult section, and the game allows you to continue over and over until you get it.  When you want to restart from a checkpoint, there are no load times at all.  This can make the game pretty addicting when you’re trying to get past a course, or beat one of your friend’s best times.

Besides the time trials part of the game, there are also these miscellaneous Olympic style events such as how far you can leap off of your bike, or towing a trailer bull of explosives.  There is also a track editor, but it’s mostly for those who have the patience to make a track.  Disappointingly you can only share your created tracks with those on your friend’s list.  Since none of my friends made tracks, this mode ended up being useless to me.  They should have really made tracks accessible to all on Xbox Live.  There is no multiplayer, but this it’s actually a neat game to have on at a party.  Whenever someone is playing, and is having trouble beating a level, there is no shortage of people who want to take over, and try to help you out.

Trials HD is a whole lot of fun, but it’s not perfect.  I personally find that the controls are way too touchy.  Sometimes even a modest amount of throttle will send your bike into an unrecoverable wheelie.  Other times trying to shift the weight of your rider will make your bike topple over, or have it end up on it’s back wheel once again.  The touchy controls are mostly noticeable on the really tough levels.  I preferred the easier levels as I found that they were faster, and more exciting with a lot of jumps.  Later levels are slower as you methodically try to make your bike climb over objects.  The game plays very smoothly, although the graphics are a bit dark.  The music in this game is repetitive, but that’s not a big deal as you can turn it off.  This game is only $10 on the Xbox Live Marketplace, and for that price the game is a must have.

 

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Posted April 24, 2014 by thebandit2006 in Xbox 360

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Beyblade – Sony PlayStation   Leave a comment

3..2..1.. let it riiiiiiiip!  Beyblade for the original Sony PlayStation is based on the Beyblade series of toys, cartoons, and manga.  I don’t know much about the cartoon or manga, but I do know that the real life Beyblade involves two spinning tops called “Beyblades” inside of a dish or bowl type thing called a “stadium.”  The player with the top that spins the longest, or stays inside the stadium longest is the winner.  The PlayStation game of Beyblade is exactly the same thing.  However some things in life should not be made into a videogame.

There are two types of modes in Beyblade.  In the tournament mode you take your created player, and their customized Beyblade, and fights in a series of matches.  You gain experience points, and you gain Bey points in which you can shop for different Beyblade upgrades.  Free Battle mode are just exhibition matches, although you can choose from characters in the TV series, and you can choose your opponent.  You can also play two player in this mode.  The actual matches start out with a meter that you try max out with timing a button press.  The higher the meter, the more spin you have.  More spin equals more momentum, and the laws of physics would say that you have a better chance of knocking your opponent out of the stadium.  You can also guide your spinning Beyblade by moving the left analog stick.  Apparently there are special attacks, but it seems like I needed more experience points to gain access to those attacks.

It all sounds kind of cool in a way.  Gaining experience, upgrading your Beyblade, special attacks, etc.  None of this matters much at all, because everything depends way too much on sheer luck.  Most of the time your opponent will spin himself right out of the ring.  It’s really easy to spin yourself out of the stadium too.  I upgraded my Beyblade, but I didn’t see much of a difference.  In fact I once laid down my controller, and just let my Beyblade spin on it’s own without my input, and I won two matches in a row.  That’s kind of like how real Beyblade would play out too.  The game’s terribleness extends to the graphics, and sounds too.  The stadium is extremely crude looking, and sometimes it’s hard to figure out where the wall openings start and end.  There aren’t many music tracks, so the music is repetitive.  The announcer though.  Wow!  The announcer’s speaks in “Engrish”, makes the same comments over and over, and over again, and the sound has too much reverb.  It’s so bad that it’s fantastic.  I can imagine his voice drove parents crazy back in 2002 when their kids wanted this game.  I do not recommend you get this game for your kids, or for yourself.

 

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Posted April 23, 2014 by thebandit2006 in PlayStation

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Space Battle – Intellivision   Leave a comment

From 1980 Space Battle is a real-time strategy game for the Intellivision.  I never knew that RTS games were released back as far as 1980, but the Intellivision keeps surprising me with really sophisticated titles for it’s time.  The goal of Space Battle is to defend your base from invading alien forces.  You are given three squadrons of ships, and you can command them to seek out the enemy, return to base, or once they have engaged the enemy, you can jump into battle for yourself.  When you do this the screen switches from the radar screen to a screen inside the cockpit of one of your space craft.  From here you aim your shots at the enemy, and try to avoid incoming fire.  If you get shot, then you lose a ship from that squadron, but continue fighting with your remaining ships.  Meanwhile the computer will be fighting your other battles for you.  This may or may not be a good thing depending on your skill level.

Space Battle is surprisingly very playable, and very fun.  Issuing commands to your squadrons is easy as pie when you’re using the overlay for your Intellivision controller.  It’s also neat that you are able to see exactly how many ships are in squadron while on the radar screen.  Controlling your aiming when in battle is also really easy, and it’s a lot of fun to shoot down one alien, and see it’s debris collide with other alien spacecraft.  There are 5 difficulty settings to choose from.  The two slowest difficulty settings are pretty easy.  The middle one I was able to complete, but completely stressed me out that it was so close.  The highest difficulty setting kicks my ass, and I can’t figure out how to beat it.  In other words, you will have no trouble finding a difficulty level to suit you.  I initially didn’t like this game, but after I found out how to change the difficulty level, I was able to have some real fun with it.  Space Battle is a very cool game for your Intellivision, and I’ll recommend it.

 

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Posted April 22, 2014 by thebandit2006 in Intellivision

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