Back in the late 80’s, cartoons seemed to be based solely around the idea of grabbing everything a 10-year-old thought was awesome and merging them together into a force of protagonists who fought overtly evil bad guys who try to take over the world for no more reason than because it’s there. It worked well enough for a while, endowing us with gift like Transformers, He-Man, and erm, Dinoriders, before we all got totally sick of it and the too-cool-to-care 90’s emerged.
Clash Force is sort of like traveling to a world where this never happened, and an endless stream of colourful robot-animal hybrids continued to beam into our television sets and game consoles. It also harks back to a simpler time for games, gifting us straightforward running-from-left-to-right, shooting everything that moves, and kicking the odd bosses’ face in as you move from forests to deserts to caves. It’s a simple arcade affair to be sure, but sometimes that’s all you need.
Happy New Year! To celebrate something new, New Retro Games style, we take something old, and make it new. The 1992 gameboy game Super Mario Land 2, is just such a candidate today. It was the shroom-addicted plumber’s second outing on the vintage Gameboy console, and a pretty decent one to boot. As much as I loved the game, though, a complex platformer was hard to see on the tiny screen, especially thanks to the lag/blur effect every time you move– which was always.
Luckily, now there’s a colourised mod to the ROM of the game that also fixes the lag/blur issue runs on making everything less ear-tearingly blurry. Nor does Luigi have to remain in Mario’s shadow, either, as he’s now a playable character. It’s-a about time.
Enter: Super Mario Land 2 DX.
As my hillbilly cowboy roundhouse kicked yet another boar rider off the edge of a cliff to his untimely death, I couldn’t help but think “this is weird.” More importantly, I also couldn’t stop thinking “this is awesome.”
About 4 years in the making, with a fourth and final chapter in the works, World’s End is an excellent – and I do mean really excellent here – strategy/tactics RPG that mostly flew under the radar: a crime that must be now corrected before karmic disaster befalls us all.
A title that serves as both an expression and description of gameplay, I Am Overburdened is, in principle, about everybody’s (non)favourite part of RPGs: having too much loot and struggling to juggle what to keep and what to ditch.
Should I go for those +5 gloves of nail-biting or stick with my powerglove of uncanny referencing?
The game doesn’t exactly deliver on this promise, per se, though. Funnily enough, this is a far better outcome: instead resulting in a fast paced arcade-roguelike-ish affair with an extremely streamlined loot system and minimal inventory tetris. Unlike its namesake, I am Overburdened is a simple pleasure to run through, albeit (for a commercial release) a relatively short one.
Nightkeep is, well, as its indiegogo page puts it: “an action RPG platformer inspired by such classics as Castlevania Bloodlines, Demon’s crest and a variety of JRPGs” – yes, please. Ture, it’s yet another retro-style game wearing its influences strongly on its sleeves, but the demo here is polished enough in its own right that Nightkeep looks to be shaping up to serve an interesting mixture of platforming action.
Ever thought Harvest Moon or Stardew Valley were good but suffered a distinct lack of Orcs? Well, you’re in luck my friend, as Orcish Inn has increased the Orc content by a mere infiinty%.
Orcish Inn’s goal is similar to those games, but, instead of farms and marriage, the action here is about as self-explanatory as the title suggests: you’re an orc, and you want to build an inn. That’s it. But it will take a long time as you must, quite literally, build it from the ground up, all while the spectre of winter creeps forward.
Despite being a pre-alpha demo, Orcish Inn’s concept is already surprisingly fleshed out, with enough to keep you busy for a while. Don’t think of it as leisurely busywork , though. Although the game calmly tells you “there is no hurry,” this is immediately followed by a threatening “except for winter, where you will likely starve and freeze.” Oh. Right.
Welcome to a new featurette – a more in-depth series of retrospectives where we dig up old coverdisk games from our dusty basement and take a look at these forgotten heroes of digital history. And of course- their modern legacy and remakes. Remember Titus the Fox, Cosmo the Alien, or Baron Baldric? No? You soon will! Welcome to The Lost Cover Disks.
In a world… where everything is full of empty polish factories and teleport puzzles… In a world… where upgrades were not always upgrades… In a world.. where you kind of look like Robocop but not really… An Electro Man will rise. But then also die in one hit.
That’s the basic premise behind Electro Man, an early 90’s shareware game that littered many obscure coverdisks of the day. The awesome graphics belied the mediocre gameplay, enough so that the game was relatively well-respected at the time. As it turns out, the hindsight of nostalgia doesn’t hold up so well, however.
Do you remember Test Drive 3? Probably not – despite being part of a now relatively known series. Chances are that you missed out entirely on the third part in the now long-running racer, as Test Drive 3: The Passion (full, sensual title) was a rather unremarkable game. It was a dam hot mess almost impossible to control, unless your preferred driving style was “schizophrenic robot”, though the early 3D lego block graphics were pretty cool for the time.
Despite everything, Test Drive 3 was damn awesome – but not for the reasons you might think. Naturally, in a game about race cars, racing is the last thing you want to do. Iinstead, Test Drive 3 was all about what was happening outside of the road, which logically makes it one of the greatest driving games of all time.
Do you remember Baldies? No,no – not the equally obscure band.,. the real-time strategy/disturbing Deliverance-style inbreeding sim from 1995? Still no? Well then, wWelcome, my friend, to a game where bald men fight to the death and also sometimes breed in a Battle Royale style sim game. Welcome.. to Baldies.
That’s right, someone thought it was a good idea to make a game exclusively revolving around bald men who live, work, and uh, procreate together. How? Just go with it. Also, be prepared for a fair bit of slaughtering their neighbours on the menu, because in the 90’s, it wasn’t entertainment unless mass extinction was the ultimate goal.