The Last Arcade is The Rough Cuts series on any sort of retro gaming news, reviews and goings on . I’m personally not a huge gamer at all, I’m non existent as far as modern games go too. Partially not interested and partially I just don’t have the time. But I’m a sucker for some nostalgia, and I’m very fond of the games I played in my youth, something I thought would fade into the sunset….until the advent of youtube and James avgn Rolfe about eleven years ago and an explosive interest in old school gaming and homebrew culture.
It seems as big an industry in and of itself as when it was in its hey day, I remember reading recently upon re-release of the nes classic, it actually outsold its modern counterparts. What does that say? Less is more? Is it like any sort of hobby, be it model planes or train sets, collecting old comics? Or is it guys my age passing on things to their kids? Or all of the above? Needless to say its here to say, and be it emulation, homebrew, or just plain collecting its here to stay, so why not capitalize on it, have some fun and indulge a little?
Id also like to hit some pinball and some events via video, once I commit to a format but for now, I’ll go with what I got. I own at the moment, a Sega Genesis an all time fave system from way back, and a modded nes and snes classic. I also have a hyperkin retron hd for nes, but it doesn’t play the games well at all sad to say. ( review another time)
I tend to think for convenience sake I will stick to a raspberry pi type emulator in the future for anything else, I do have some old games downloaded on my xbox, which resides with my daughter at their mothers house.I may be interested in an Atari as well, but I admit I’m actually overwhelmed by what I do have,600+ on the nes and at least 120 on the snes.
One thing I do notice as a negative, is having all of these games at my fingertips devalues them alittle. I play one die , switch off next game,and so on. The genesis is an exception because its the actual system; I have a few games but only when time and money really allow.
So I picked an nes and snes game I have never played, and a genesis game I owned as a teenager. I spent about forty minutes which each one to get a feel ( I suck at these things today and collected a few thoughts on them.
1.Journey To Silius, Sunsoft 1990
I vaguely remember an issue of Nintendo power years and years ago covering this game. Apparently this may have been originally supposed to be the terminator but for whatever reason sunsoft lost the rights and was redone.
In any case I don’t recall if it was a sleeper hit like sunsofts blaster master was, it wasn’t the hit their batman was either. And its too bad, It really had some great potential. Its a basic side scroller platform blaster with more in common with mega man than contra. youre some dude named jay who wants to avenge his fathers death in a sci fi sort of back drop, fairly standard plot stuff for an 8 bit side scroller.
Its a nice game to look at , good use of the nes limited color palette interesting backdrops and some impressive parallax scrolling. you get some various weapon upgrades throughout the level variations of your basic gun which seems to be the only weapon with unlimited ammo.
One very pleasant surprise about this game: the music. for the two levels I managed to survive, the music is outstanding ,some of the best 8 bit music ive ever heard and its a shame on that alone this wasn’t a franchise. I recommend it solely to listen to or go on youtube and listen to the soundtrack when you can.
its also a difficult game but it feels like it shouldn’t be because enemies are fairly spaced apart throughout the level. I think its either
I just suck
there seems to be an ‘off rhthym’ to the timing and flow of the action
theres a hair line clunk to the controls just to throw you off.
I don’t know but it does seem to make it more frustrating than need be, but I feel its fair enough. if you get far in this game you earned it. if you can find it its worth a look, it could have been with some minor tweaks sunsofts answer to mega man for sure.
The Terminator was released on the sega genesis in 1992 by virgin software and programmed by probe( same guys who brought the mk series home to sega ).It had a different version on the sega cd which many considered superior, and it certainly was sound wise, but this game is no fluke in that department either.
Of the three old school games I’m looking at here, this was the only one I had played way back when I was fourteen or fifteen and when I saw a copy available at miller places Game On, I had to grab one and revisit. So a few things:
Firstly its very short. Four stages adapting events from the movie or events the movie implied like the first stage future war sequence where you blow skynets core and head to the time displacement chamber. You get a technoir sequence a police station raid stage( both of which have you shooting cops…is this terminator or gta?! Objections aside you cant kill them, just knock them down and they get back up after a few seconds.
Second, the music like journey to silius is awesome. probably not as awesome but an awesome 80’s inspired techno ish soundtrack which gets the mood across well.
Third, the difficulty. I am admittedly not the gamer I was , if I ever was at all, and I may not be the best judge in this department but, I think this games ranges are from fair to impossible. The controls are , like silius have a slight clunk to them past the first stage, you really have to understand how the shotgun functions with the extended animation of it before really making a go at this. Beat a stage and you are treated to a 16 bit digitized set of stills from the movie. By todays standards they are grainy as hell though not bad by segas standards, largely due to its onscreen palette.
Now, for the sake of the review I spent a good objective two hours spread sparsely throughout the week with this game, and in time I was making it to the final stage with no issues, but couldn’t remember how to beat the final stage. I had done it as a youth, but my motivation is definitely considerably less than it was back then.The stages go quick, they are fun ,but unless you are a fan or had good memories of it way back when like me, you can make a pass at this. Sunsofts Batman on genesis is a little more engaging in variety and stages, a better purchase if you can find it.
For the record, I didn’t get to this guy. Shit I didn’t get even close. By all accounts Axelay is awesome, especially in the visual department. Had I played this when I was younger I would’ve loved it I loved space shooters of any variety horizontal or vertical, but I forgot how difficult they can be even on an easy level. Plus again my basic skills and reflexes have waned significantly I’m finding.
The other problem I had is this is modded, and I had no frame of reference as to how to play or operate the controls when I say I got obliterated fast I mean it and it was frustrating to the point after twenty minutes a clip I had to walk away
This was put out by Konami in 1992 on the snes, and is in the vein of their lifeforce and gradius games, a series while excruciatingly hard, I always loved. Now graphics are top notch , the music and sound is above and beyond, and I think the controls are smooth especially when I figure them out!
I intend to go back to this a few more times, I do have to recommend anyone who loves the genre play this game; its probably technically the best of the three I reviewed here,though my fave so far has been journey to Silius, which I got as far as the second stage boss, I’m gonna keep at it.
The Last Arcade is also a face book group, small and intimate but fun. I run it with my old friend Jason and if anyone here reads this and is interested please look us up. Ill be using this platform here and there in the future, reviewing one game or system at a time , and maybe doing episodes on the upcoming podcast, possibly a periscope or two when I take field trips to the retro shops near me. I also have the Cradle of Aviation museum in garden city which has a whole floor of old games and machines to mess with too, so the last Arcade series is just beginning.
With that, I hope you enjoyed these quickie reivews I tried to find the sleeper games of the time and you continue to enjoy the blog, which I believe will grow soon enough. The next post I intend to discuss concerning this subject will be on hyperkins Retron HD a Nintendo system that plays off their old cartridges.
Until then Citizen G signing off!