Archive for the ‘Super NES’ Category

Pilotwings – Super Nintendo   1 comment

SNESPilotwingsPilotwings was a groundbreaking game for consoles that was a launch title for the North American release of the Super Nintendo in 1991.  The thing that was groundbreaking was the simulated 3D graphics made possible by the Super Nintendo graphic chip’s special ability called “Mode 7.”  Mode 7 allowed developers to rotate and scale graphics.  The graphics were all flat, but when used properly Mode 7 was able to display some very impressive 3D visuals for it’s day.  Pilotwings was built around showing off this Mode 7 mode extensively, and it did a particularly great job of it.  I remember being very impressed by it in 1991 when I rented it.  I figured that 23 years of technological advances would not be kind to Pilotwings, but I was surprisingly wrong.

Pilotwings is basically a collection of mini-games that show off the Super Nintendo’s Mode 7 graphics.  It’s kind of like how Wii Sports was designed to show off the Wii’s new capabilities.  The games in Pilotwings all involve flying in some way.  You get to skydive, fly an airplane, fly a hang glider, use a jet pack, and even do some helicopter rescue missions.  Each mission is judged on numerous variables such as accuracy of your landing, time taken, targets hit, and so on.  If you accumulate enough points on one set of missions then you’ll move on to the next set of missions.  After four missions you do the helicopter rescue mission.  The missions are very simple.  When skydiving you try to fall through target rings, and land closest to the target landing spot.  In the plane missions you fly through rings, and try to land your plane.  With the jetpack you again try to maneuver through rings, and then land.  The hang glider has you hitting air thermals, and then landing.  The helicopter missions have you shooting targets, and the landing to rescue the hostages.  Although the missions are extremely simple sounding, one wrong move and you’re toast.  Trying to beat your own personal scores is very addicting, and you’ll even when you crash land you’ll still be having fun.

Any of today’s games that involve flying will use analog controls, but despite not having analog controls, Pilotwings controls exceptionally well.  I’ve never done any of this stuff for real, but everything controls the way I *think* it would in real life.  It takes a delicate touch to control each game, and it’s just a lot of fun trying to get everything to go perfectly.  Speaking of perfect, the sound is perfect.  The rush of the air going by as your skydiving is awesome, and it changes pitch depending on how fast you’re falling.  The sounds of the airplane engine, and tire squeal when you land could be mistaken for real life.  The music is very relaxing, and suits the relaxed atmosphere of the game perfectly.  The graphics are very smooth, and that is the most important thing when playing games like this.  Things obviously look pixelated, but that’s mainly when things are up close while you’re landing.  You’ll be so into this game that you won’t even notice that.  Pilotwings may be a bit on the short side, but you’ll have lots of fun trying get a perfect 100 on everything.  Recommended for everyone.

Rating – 8 / 10

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Posted August 31, 2014 by thebandit2006 in Super NES

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Home Alone – Super Nintendo   Leave a comment

SNESHomeAloneHome Alone for the Super Nintendo has all of the ingredients for a disaster.  It’s based on a movie, and it was published by THQ who were infamous for releasing really bad games back then.  When you go into a game with such low expectations then there is a chance you’ll be pleasantly surprised, and I was kind of pleasantly surprised by this game.  It’s not great mind you, but it’s not too bad, and surely not as terrible as I was expecting.

Home Alone of course was the surprise hit 1990 comedy starring Macaulay Culkin.  The game was released for the Super Nintendo shortly after it’s launch in 1991.  I’ve read that each version of the game is completely different for each console, and the Super Nintendo version is a side scrolling platformer/scavenger hunt.  You play as Kevin McAllister, and it’s your job to collect all of the family’s valuables while avoiding the robbers.  The valuables are found in dresser drawers, cupboards, and other places throughout the house.  Once you fill your backpack with six items, you drop them down a chute to the basement.  Your defenses against the robbers include such weapons as your default squirt gun, and weapon pickups such as baseball, and slingshots.  You can lure the robbers pre-set traps such as thumbtacks on the floor, or you can trigger large objects to fall on their heads.  The movie had loads of inventive traps for the robbers, and I feel that this game missed a huge opportunity by having so few traps, and also not being able to place the traps yourself.  Spy vs Spy for the NES allowed players to place their own traps, so there’s no reason Home Alone couldn’t have done the same.  Once you’ve dropped enough valuables in the basement, you’ll retrieve a key to the basement where you’ll make your way through bats and rats on your way to the vault, so you can lock up the family’s treasures.  After this you’ll go to another wing of the house where the valuables are replaced with Kevin’s toys.  These are the only stages in the game.

Home Alone doesn’t have the graphic polish of other Super Nintendo games.  Part of this is being a first generation Super Nintendo game, but most of is low budget vibe you get from the entire game.  It doesn’t look much better than NES games.  The music is kind of cool though with upbeat tempos, and some classical tunes as well.  The controls are nice and responsive, and that goes a long way into making the game fun to play.  Sadly the fun is short lived though due to the game’s very short length, and shallow game play.  I surely wouldn’t go out of my way to get Home Alone, but it’s at least playable, and you can do a lot worse on the Super Nintendo.

Rating – 5 / 10

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Posted August 29, 2014 by thebandit2006 in Super NES

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U.N. Squadron – Super Nintendo   Leave a comment

SNESUNSquadronThings sure have changed in the past 20-25 years as far as video games go.  Back in the early 1990’s, game companies would make games for home consoles artificially hard in order to increase their replayability.  In other words, the games were short, and they didn’t want you to beat it on a rental.  U.N. Squadron from Capcom for the Super Nintendo in 1991 is one tough game.  It can be so much fun at times, but frustrating design choices hurt it.

U.N. Squadron is a side scrolling shoot-em-up where you pilot one of three planes in an effort to destroy the enemy.  I don’t have the manual, so I don’t know the story, and the story isn’t given throughout the game.  That’s fine for a shooter, because they’re just meant to be played for fun, and not for the story.  The enemies are modern military types such as other planes, helicopters, tanks, and anti-aircraft units.  Your default weapon is just a weak machine gun type of thing, but at least it fires automatically for a few seconds after you press the button.  This way you won’t have to hammer on the fire button over and over.  Instead of enemies dropping new weapons for you to use, you can acquire more powerful weapons RPG-style.  You can level-up your default machine gun by defeating formations of red enemies, and collecting the blue thing that they leave behind.  Defeating enemies, and clearing a level will net you cash which you can spend on acquiring special weapons, and new aircraft.  The special weapons are in limited supply, and include such things as bombs, and weapons that wipe out all enemies on screen, or within a particular radius around your plane.  The bombs are especially important, because you’ll need to tend with a lot of ground enemies.  Also in RPG-style is that the stages aren’t played in a sequential order, but instead you choose your stage from a map.  Enemies can also approach your plane from this map, and you’ll be forced into a mini-stage.

The controls in U.N. Squadron are very responsive, and the game play is overall pretty good.  Your plane has a health meter which will deplete to near zero if you get hit, but it’ll partially regenerate if you manage to not get hit again for a few seconds.  From a technical standpoint U.N. Squadron can be fun, and that quality carries over to the decent, but a bit too cartoony looking graphics.  The music is pretty decent too, but just like the graphics, it’s oddly cheery.  What makes the game extremely frustrating at times are ridiculously hard end bosses.  I’ve played this game for a while, but I’ve never been able to defeat any end bosses beyond the first stage, and the bosses in the mini-stages.  If you die from the end boss, you’ll have to replay the entire stage over again.  Also of major annoyance is that there are way too many enemies who attack you from behind, but yet I was never given any means of defense from these enemies except dodging them, and hoping they fly in front of my plane.  Even if you manage to make it past the second set of stages, you’ll only have a limited amount of continues available to you.  I’ve been playing this game on the “easy” setting, but there are “normal”, and “hard” settings to choose from as well.  I doubt anyone normal could finish this game on “normal.”  I just play the game to get a high score, but damn it to hell the game doesn’t display your high score at the end of the game!  This is all a shame, because U.N. Squadron is a quality title that just needed a tweak in it’s brutal difficulty in order to become a must have game.  If you are good at these shooters, then give U.N. Squadron a try.  For the rest of us, it’s not a bad pickup, but don’t overspend for it.

Rating – 6 / 10

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Posted August 28, 2014 by thebandit2006 in Super NES

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Road Riot 4WD – Super Nintendo   Leave a comment

SNESRoadRiotI’m not sure how many people remember Road Riot 4WD in the arcades, but it was a terrifically fun 1991 arcade game from Atari.  It is a racing game where you drive a dune buggy type of vehicle.  My local arcade had a version that had two sit down cockpits connected side by side.  One neat thing that I liked is that when you got shot by an opponent, there was a loud bang, and a rumble could be felt from the seat.  It was great fun.  When I recently found this Super Nintendo version, I was pretty excited to play this game again.  I know the Super Nintendo couldn’t emulate the whole steering wheel, cockpit, and rumble thing, but the Super Nintendo was really great at duplicating the graphics, and sounds the the arcade games at the time.  What a disappointment it is to find out that the Super Nintendo version released by THQ in 1992 is among the worst arcade to home conversions that I have ever seen in my whole life.

One thing that has carried over from the arcade is that you get a choice of 11 tracks.  Before you race you get to select from the 11 tracks that are set in different geographical locations such as Africa, Australia, Mexico, The Middle East, and Akron, Ohio (why?)  Each track has a “host” driver who stereotypes that particular region.  The music to go along with each region is really well done.  Sadly the track selection screen with it’s politically incorrect humor, and cool music is the highlight of this game.  The game play itself takes place on a split screen similar to Super Mario Kart.  Unlike Super Mario Kart however, you can barely see what’s coming up in front of you.  The framerate is also in the single digits.  You would think that maybe the framerate is low, because the graphics look nice, but the graphics are horrible.  The controls are also way too touchy.  Even the lightest of touches on the control pad will send your vehicle off the road, and into a roadside obstacle, or have you flipping end over end.  All vehicles can shoot other vehicles, but everything looks so horrible that I can’t even tell if getting hit even matters.

It’s pretty obvious that you should avoid this game.  It’s a very lazy effort by THQ.  It’s hard to believe that Road Riot 4WD was released one month after the much more superior Super Mario Kart.  Pick up that game, or one of the Top Gear titles instead.  Road Riot 4WD is very worth of receiving the worst score that I’ve ever given to a game to this date.

Rating – 2 / 10

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Posted August 27, 2014 by thebandit2006 in Super NES

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Tetris 2 – Super Nintendo   Leave a comment

SNESTetris2Here’s a game that you may not have heard of.  It’s 1994’s Tetris 2 from Nintendo for their SNES.  The original Tetris is a classic, and it inspired many many many clones, ripoffs, and sequels.  Tetris 2 has some elements of the original Tetris, but I find it plays more like Sega’s Columns games.  Tetris 2 is really a mixed bag, and your enjoyment of it depends on if you can get anyone to play multiplayer with you.

Like the original Tetris, block descend from the top of the screen, and it’s your job to position, and rotate them in order to clear other blocks.  Some of the descending blocks have the same shapes as the original Tetris, and some are a bit different.  The segments of each block can contain multiple colours, and there is a reason for this.  Unlike the original Tetris where you had to make a row of blocks, in Tetris 2 you have to eliminate “bomb” blocks.  You do this by making a horizontal, or vertical line of three colours including the bomb block.  When you do this these blocks will disappear, and other blocks on top may fall as they do in numerous other Tetris games.  You can speed up the process by eliminating the blinking bomb block.  When you do this all other bombs of the same colour will disappear.  If you eliminate all of the bomb blocks, then you move on to the next stage where there are slightly more blocks to clear, and it’s slightly faster.

In the normal single player mode you try to aim for a high score. I found this mode to be incredibly boring after a while.  Part of the reason is that the difficulty does not increase fast enough.  Another part of the reason has to due with the game itself.  You see when you make a mistake in Tetris 2, and bury one of the bombs you were trying to clear, you can sometimes put yourself into a nearly hopeless situation.  You know you’ve screwed up, but yet you try your best to get to that bomb.  My efforts were futile when this happened, and I would spend 10 minutes with the playfield slowly building up.  It’s just agonizing.  In the game’s defense you can choose which stage you want to start on, and you can choose the speed of the game.  My suggestion is to always choose the fastest speed, or else you’ll be really bored.

In the puzzle single player mode you are given only an extremely limited amount of blocks to work with, usually between 1 and 5, and you have to use these blocks to clear all of the bombs.  The stages are set up in a way that the piece you are given will set off a chain reaction if positioned correctly.  There are 100 stages in all, and I found this mode to be better than the normal mode.  People who like games like this will like this mode.  I found it amusing for a little while, but like the rest of the game, it can get repetitive.

What saves Tetris 2 is it’s very fun multiplayer mode.  In this mode you compete side by side with another player, or the CPU.  Whoever clears their bombs first is declared the winner.  You can make life difficult for your opponent by eliminating the blinking bombs, or by creating a chain reaction.  Doing this will send a piece onto your opponents board that will drop very quickly, giving them a lot less time to figure out where to put it.  Each player’s playfield is actually a fish aquarium, and you can also drain some water from their aquarium which makes the pieces drop faster.  If you win a game, you get a fish in your aquarium, and I found that kinda neat.

So there you have it.  Tetris 2 is actually a compilation of a mediocre game, an average game, and a pretty fun game.  Graphics and sound aren’t important in a game like this, but for the record the graphics get the job done, and some of the music tracks can be catchy.  Overall it’s a very hard to judge, but I had such a good time with the multiplayer mode that I’m going to have to recommend it anyone who can find someone to play against.  If you’re just interested in a single player game, well you can do better.

Rating – 8 / 10

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Posted August 26, 2014 by thebandit2006 in Super NES

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Art of Fighting – Super Nintendo   Leave a comment

SNESArtofFightingSNK’s legendary King of Fighters series actually contains fighters from numerous other SNK fighting games.  Fatal Fury was SNK’s first one-on-one fighting game, and Art of Fighting released for their Neo Geo in 1992 was their second.  Art of Fighting was ported over to the Super Nintendo in 1993, and I was pretty excited when I found a copy.  I knew that it wasn’t going to be quite as polished, or sophisticated as the more modern King of Fighters games, but I expected better than this.

Art of Fighting is similar in style as the Street Fighter series.  In the story mode you choose from two fighters, and you fight your way through your opponents in search of your kidnapped sister.  If you want to choose from the other eight fighters then you’ll have to choose either the practice mode, or the two player mode.  Not having a regular non-story arcade mode in which you choose from any fighter is a serious omission.  As far as game play itself, Art of Fighting uses a four button control scheme.  One button kicks, another punches, another button is for a strong attack, and the fourth button is for taunting your opponent.  For the first time that I’ve seen in a fighting game, taunting your opponent actually has a use, because it will take away from their “spirit” gauge.  That spirit gauge allows you to do special attacks such as throwing projectiles, or doing a multi-hit combo.

Besides the lack of choice of fighters, the problem with Art of Fighting for me is that it’s just nothing special.  The pace is a bit too slow, the controls are a bit too sluggish, and the characters aren’t very interesting.  It’s all kind of bland.  The fighters are a large size, and detailed enough, but the colours look off.  The music isn’t anything special either.  Overall Art of Fighting is not a bad game.  It’s just an alright game, and it’s an okay pick up if you have a friend to play against.  With other great fighting games on the Super Nintendo such as the Mortal Kombat series, Street Fighter 2, and Killer Instinct, you can now see how this game doesn’t stand out.

Rating – 6 / 10

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Posted July 16, 2014 by thebandit2006 in Super NES

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Street Fighter II: The World Warrior – Super Nintendo   Leave a comment

20140508_195125There are five different Street Fighter II games out there, so it can be a bit confusing without a bit of research.  Street Fighter II: The World Warrior was the first Street Fighter II game, and it was released in the arcades in 1991.  The version on the Super Nintendo was released in 1992, and it was Capcom’s greatest selling game of all time up until Resident Evil 5 finally surpassed it in 2013.  After it’s huge success a lot of competitors stepped up to create their own one-on-one fighting game.  Some were great, and many others have been forgotten about.

Of course Street Fighter II is a 2D one-on-one fighting game.  You choose from eight fighters, and you fight through the other seven fighters before you take on the four boss fighters.  It uses six buttons, with two being light punches and kicks, two for medium punches and kicks, and two for heavy punches and kicks.  Naturally the lighter attacks are quicker and give less damage while the heavy attacks are slower and deal out more damage.  The triggers on the SNES controller are a bit tricky to use, so I just mapped the medium attacks to the triggers, because I hardly ever used them.  There are special attacks in this game such as the hadoken and shoryuken.  However there are no super combos which are those attacks that you fill a super combo meter with.  Those attacks were introduced in Super Street Fighter II Turbo.

I was never the biggest Street Fighter fan, but I had a lot of fun playing this game.  The game play is simple, the controls are responsive, and there are difficulty settings for all skill levels.  It’s a really easy game to pick up and play.  The characters, and especially the backgrounds look great.  The sound effects are nice, and have a lot of bass to them.  The music is alright, and it’ll probably bring back a lot of memories to those who played this 20 years ago.  To those people who did play it 20 years ago, I can say that the game play is still really fun.  I wouldn’t recommend that you go out of your way to hunt down this particular version with so many other Street Fighter sequels out there, but if you do see this game for a couple of bucks then pick it up.

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Posted May 8, 2014 by thebandit2006 in Super NES

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