osmic Star Heroine has been floating around out in the void for almost a year now, but it totally flew under my radar. With the plethora of retro-styled games out there, that’s easy enough to happen these days. Yet, for a SNES style RPG with influences of Chrono Trigger, one of my all-time favourite JRPGS, it’s still surprising that it only just emerged in my airlock recently.
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.
A lot of big name games companies get flak for shutting down otherwise impressive fan projects. Once ever so often however, a fan game manages to avoid the DCMA banhammer and get official endorsement. Street Fighter x Megaman is one such fan game.
Coming out in 2012, it’s surprising how something both so retro-orientated and high profile could pass us by all these years, but sometimes that’s the joy of the internet. This indeed exists, and you can download it right now. And it doesn’t cost a cent.
A few days ago – just in time for Christmas – we spewed out some of our best game picks from the blog. Now that the turkey carcasses have been picked clean and the hangovers have cleared (somewhat), it’s time to dip into Santa’s secret stash for more goodies from the past year or so…
New Retro Games’
Part 2: The Christmasing
We played a lot of games this year. Some of them we even wrote about! We generally shy away from too many “best of” listicle style articles, but figured this holiday day is a good time to sit back with a hot cup of mulled beer or flask of vodka and reflect on what a year of games it has been.
New Retro Games’
This isn’t a objective list, just our favourite picks from each category of game we’ve covered. As a basic ground rule, we are favouring fully playable, complete and more recently covered games. Unfinished games (beta, demos, etc) remakes, enhanced editions and the like won’t count unless unless they offered a new and complete playing experience on their own terms.
Without further ado…
Zenodyne R is a retro style 90’s inspired vertical shooter, where memorising bullet patterns is the order of the day. It’s highly derivative – following pretty standard conventions of the decade such as different ships to choose from, powerups and large boss encounters. And, apparently, starting the name of the game with one of last three letters of the alphabet (see: Xydonia, Z-Exemplar)
Spend some quality time with underwater mercenaries and those giant sharks from Deep Blue Sea: Welcome to Depth of Extinction. A tactical 2D XCOM wannabe of sorts,
A tactical 2D XCOM wannabe of sorts, Depth replaces everyone’s favourite psychic murderous aliens with emotionless killer robots. It’s about as barebones as a roast turkey after thanksgiving, or a piece of otherwise inedible KFC after a drunken night out, but like said example foodstuffs, Depth is equally as strangely compelling.
I spent far too many hours having “just one more go”: a fully fleshed and well-stuffed Depth of Extinction is a game I’d happily chow down on.
Back in the day the platformer was king, basking in its divine gory and conveniently ignoring the death throes of the adventure game genre. Companies churned out generic side scrolling run ‘n’ gun after generic side scrolling blaster like there was no tomorrow (remember Halloween Harry? Anybody?). Then Doom came along and filled the genre with a buckshot full of lead, turning it into a fine red mist: the FPS had arrived.
I mean, sure, Doom wasn’t the first first-person shooter, but it just so happened to sit its tainted demonic ass right on top off a major turning point in gaming, opening the world to the FPS as a mainstay; kicking off the death knell of the platformer in the process.
But… what if things were different?
Mini-Doom provides an unerringly good look into an alternative dimension where an early 90’s Doom came out that bit earlier and instead started life as a sidescrolling platformer.
CyberShade is a Doom Mod that converts the already-retro Doom to a even more retro experience by converting it to a 16 color palette to great effect. A psychoactive alternative to the sober original, it really turns the hellish descent of the original into a colourful trip into Google’s failed robotics venture.
(like) Mad Max had managed to get himself out of the desert and into a macabre industrial plant; but you’re no savior. You will be the
judge, jury and executioner as you Khmer Rouge the last remains of humanity.
If you want a vision of Butcher, imagine a cyborg stamping on a human face for 20 levels. You may be a barely discernible slab of pixels, but there’s no meatbag you can’t tear limb from limb.