Review: SEGA AGES Ichidant-R (Switch)

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“It’s a puzzlement…” (but a good one!)

ichidant_R coverAh, so that’s what it is – an arcade game that’s neat to play whether online on off, but playing with a friend is better overall when you share the fun. I actually have the Mega Drive import version of SEGA AGES: Ichidant-R ($7.99) here in the collection, but the Japanese was daunting and I’ve not touched it in a few years (Well, I know a little of the language since, but I need to practice more). Thankfully, finally getting the chance to play this (thanks, SEGA!) has made for quite the appreciation for its inclusion in the ongoing SEGA AGES lineup. In a great touch, there’s a Japanese Mega Drive port included in the price, so now I’ve been playing it and having a blast thanks to getting a handle on how to proceed flipping back to the new English arcade version when I run into a mini-game I have trouble with if the language barrier stops progress.

Some will think of the US Sega Genesis and Bonanza Bros., but that was a more  a straightforward side-scrolling shooter with the same quirky art style here (and some major story changes from the Japanese version that changed the main characters from criminals to detectives).

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It’s the 90’s again (time travel works!).

Anyway, Ichidant-R is an arcade game where the same two characters get a medieval makeover and the setting is now changes to a castle where there’s a princess to be rescued. The gameplay also changes into a mini-game filled fun-fest that, thanks to it’s timed nature, keeps the pressure up throughout. While it’s a great game, having a friend to face off with makes this all the more enjoyable. M2 keeps it as the original arcade version, but adds the usual choices of scan lines and screen fit scaling if you want them as well as a few backgrounds to choose from. I played with then off because the game looks better without them, I think – but it’s your call if you like them.

Every mini-game requires quickness and most are fun to play, but the tense time limit sometimes makes figuring out what to do in a few seconds pretty tricky until you calm down and zen out a bit. Here’s a little sample of that to expect. The game rolls out and mixes up quite a few games randomly, but I want to save the fun for you to discover. For newbies, think of it as a Warioware or similar game, bit released long before. Yes, one caveat is the puzzles will get old for those who get too jaded to this stuff, but to me, the fun here never gets old with a game you can go to for some quick fun in short bits. I’d write more, but this one’s a no-brainer because the games adds some cool cleverness to the genre and is a more than recommended buy if you like these these types of games.

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Ray Milland would probably have hated this mini-game (ha-ha)

Score: B+ (85%)

-Review code provided by the publisher

Random Film of the Week: Waterworld

WW water

Uh, hey pal… you’re not gonna DRINK that, are you?

WATERWORLD ArrowMovie memory #1764 (or so): sitting in a packed theater back in 1995 watching the opening sequence to Waterworld as Kevin Costner’s Mariner character urinates into a plastic container, then pours that pee into a dicey-looking filtration system and drinks the results. You’d best believe the bulk of the audience let out a collective “EWWWWWW!” and yes, there was one guy sitting somewhere in the back of the darkened theater who yelled out something about how ice cubes would have made that recycled beverage go down better.

“EWWWWWW!”

Flash forward to me watching the three (!!!) versions of the film in Arrow Video’s packed to the gills (heh) with bonus features triple-disc set and I kind of want one of those funky filter devices just so I don’t need to take breaks when I’m going through my film backlog. For all its expensive sets, Costner’s dedicated performance, some amazing stunt work and a completely and perfectly bonkers performance by Dennis Hopper as its main villain, the film is still flawed in that, “Where’s the beef?” manner when it comes to a few key plot elements. Granted, its ecology past peril theme is a bit more relevant it today’s climate (and yes, that’s a double pun, kids). But there’s no real “science” here if you’re looking for it. Hell,  if the Earth does lose its major land masses underwater as shown here, an overblown big-budget sci-fi action flick isn’t exactly where we’re headed in that watery future, glub, glub.

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Collection Update: One WARP Mystery Solved, One Begun!

WARP Duo

 

Well, now. I knew about the kooky Flopon World on the 3DO for years, but have never seen a copy until a few weeks back when someone pointed to one up for sale on eBay. I let it sit there for a while watching it and hoping the cover would scare the more prudish collectors who might have wanted it off (how you explain two near-naked dudes on the cover of a match-3 variant puzzle game is all up to you, folks!) and I guess it worked. I made an offer and grabbed this for less than I thought I’d be able to. One down and what I thought was the LAST game I needed in my WARP collection (well, except for that legendary Enemy Zero limited edition that I’ve NEVER seen an image of) other than whatever other demos the company produced for the Japanese 3DO magazine than what I have here.

I guess I was wrong, as a few days later I see Flopon P!, a PlayStation game not listed as part of WARP’s output on GameFaqs… which has the WRONG cover image for Flopon World, by the way. I have NO idea what game is pictured other than to say it’s on the Flopon World disc as one of at least four games, so perhaps it’s a demo disc I’ve never seen? Anyway, the PlayStation game was published by Asmik in 1995 and the serial number SLPS 00032 just may mean that not counting demo discs, it was the 32nd PlayStation game released in Japan. But I think that numbering system went off the rails at some point. While it doesn’t have the WARP logo on the package or in the manual (and I don’t have the spine card to check if it’s there), both WARP and Asmik have copyright info on the game and the late, great Kenji Eno’s name is in the manual’s credits page. Hmmmmm… perhaps this was a co-production and thus not an “official” WARP game? I need to find this out, as it’ll make those who collect the few games made by this defunct company run out and track this one down. I think this one only cost me about six dollars, so that’s a steal and a nice addition to the library.

Omega Boost 1995/1996: A Work In Progress Before Some Big Changes…

Omega Boost Demo 0 OB_Cyber Head Logo OB_WIP Omega Boost Demo TS OB_HTP screen OB_HTP_SC2 OBS2 OBD_Cockpit View Omega Boost Demo 1

PC_Vol.2Well, now. That wasn’t hard or annoying after all except for two things. One quick download of an emulator, some fast configuring and popping in the demo disc I have here and boom – pictures of the first of three Omega Boost demos that appeared on Japanese PlayStation Club discs from 1996 to 1999. The game went through some major changes in those three years, but even as a 30% complete version in these shots it’s pretty darn interesting from a technical standpoint.

I believe the demo runs at 60 frames per second, it has three selectable viewpoints (first person/cockpit/third person), a full 360 degrees of freedom and is pretty fun overall for what it is. Granted, I took these screenshots at the library while dinking around on a keyboard because I didn’t bring a controller with me (oops) or else there would have been about 30 more images here. I also didn’t tinker with the visual settings on the emulator to make the game prettier because I like the look of many early PlayStation games.

Finally, I need to find out who made up Cyber Head, which seems to be the development team behind the first two builds. Based on some other games I’ve played, it seems that in the early days of PlayStation development, a few studios didn’t mind sharing talent to help each other out as the new hardware was being explored to see what it could really do. Hmmm… I smell a longer story here at some point. I wonder if there’s anyone still around from those days with some helpful info?

GOG.com Gets A Harlan Ellison Classic (Finally)…

Well, well, well… I haven’t played I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream in about 15 years, but it’s definitely one of those games that sticks in the corners of your brain long after it’s been explored. Based on Harlan Ellison’s 1968 Hugo Award-winning story, this is an adventure game geared for adults that’s pretty unsettling and requires quite a bit of brainpower to make it through some of the trickier bits. Ellison himself appears in the game as the voice of AM, a not so benevolent supercomputer (OK, more like a slightly too malevolent supercomputer) that decided to put the last few remaining humans through the wringer in more ways than one. Best of all, gog.com has it now for a mere $5.99 and yes indeed, you sure look as if you need to be scared half to death this weekend.

Look at the bright side, though… at least you’ll be safe at home when you’re freaked out of your skin…

You KNOW You NEED A Vacation When…

hazy_parisPlaces you’re been to turn into warped versions of themselves even in the photos you’ve taken. Of course, this is what both real Paris and Hell Paris look like after a few drinks (actually, Hell Paris ALWAYS looks like this, and remember… there’s no beer served in Hell at all despite what some of those signs you’ll come across say).

In short, I really need a vacation, but first I need to be able to PAY for a vacation. I’m working on that, or at least trying to make more money in general. If I can’t go somewhere fancy, it’s at least good enough to pretend at somewhere local and appropriate in its selection of diversions.

OK, OK… I could just go back to Hell for a bit, but I think they’re starting to notice I keep popping up for the free hot buffet and leaving right before the mandatory floor show experience. Hey, that key I found on the street happens to fit the exit door AND gets me in the front gate when I wave it at the guard, so I may as well use it while I can, right?

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Dinking Around With DOSBOX: Anvil of Dawn Lives!

I’d been tempted to muck around with replaying some old DOS games for a long time, but I’ve been so busy that I kept putting it off until a few days ago when I dug out DreamForge Infotainment and New World Computing’s ancient classic Anvil of Dawn to see if it would still work. Of course, even on Windows XP (Vista, 7 and 8 are quite awful for my classic gaming needs), thanks to some automatic upgrades, the old disc will install, but not run properly (no sound and a major error in that no onscreen text pops up in dialog boxes, meaning it’s impossible to talk to NPCs, making the game unplayable because you can enter, but not exit conversations). Anyway, I’ve used DOSBOX and one or two other programs in the past, but not on my laptop, so it was time to give it go… Continue reading