SEGA AGES Phantasy Star: Pretty Much, Perfection

sega ages logo

And quite well, in this case (Ha and ha-ha).

As soon as I heard that Phantasy Star was making a return as a digital exclusive on the Nintendo eShop, there went that not needing to ask for a review code stuff. Yeah, I  immediately bought it outright (it’s a mere $7.99) because back on the Sega Master System, it was the first JRPG I played and it’s been a game I’ve gone back to a few times, the last being om the Game Boy Advance where we got three of the first four games squeezed onto a single cart (to mixed results). Yes, I still have that one in the library, but I’m not even going to bother comparing it to what’s here (just yet) because once you fall down the Phantasy Star rabbit hole (Rappy hole?), you’re not coming up for air anytime soon.

 

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Capsule Reviews: Mega Cats, MagiCats, and Other Critters of Note

Yes, we’re playing a bit of mega-catch up here, but it’s a weird and wild season on a few fronts and staying in an entertaining mood is quite tricky when the walls and floors are moving constantly. Anyway, here’s a few quick takes and hearty Holiday Gift Guide recommendations, kinda retro games division. Buy them all if you’re into what they bring to the table:

little-medusa-sega-box Little Medusa (Sega Genesis/NES/SNES): Mega Cat Studios has been pumping out some truly excellent retro content for those who still own either original hardware or the means to play cart games on those newer retro consoles. Little Medusa is a tough little number that will have fans of the classic puzzler Kickle Cubicle grinning and grimacing in equal measure as they play through this colorful, challenging update to the Irem arcade and later, NES hit.

As Artemiza, a young goddess transformed into a Gorgon by the escaped Titans, you’ll need to turn enemies into stone using her steely (stony?) gaze and quickly push them into place in order to clear five tricky levels of increasing difficulty. This one works best if you’ve a trusty, well-used controller or a new one that’s super responsive. Like plenty of classics from the 8 and 16-bit era, expert players can whip through this in a lazy weekend, but the thrill of a good game is always having it handy no matter how many times you’ve beaten it, so all hail Mega Cat for getting this out in physical form at a few price points so that collector side is satisfied.

Score: B+ (85%)

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The C64 Mini: Some More Retro For Your Early Gamer Gifting (Or Yourself)

C64 mini boxed

Remember kids, when you retro-trip, wear proper headgear. Falling too hard can be a hazard to your gaming skills. Or something like that.

 

Remember that C64 Mini post from a few months back? Well, the system is now available and it’s got a fair enough price point ($79.99 US) to recommend if your tastes roll towards the old school and you don’t mind a few quirks from the old days of gaming.  There are a bunch of these mini-consoles out already or coming out this year and next thanks to Nintendo’s success with its shrunk-down NES and SNES systems, so we’ll see how well each does among gamers, collectors and anyone just looking for a simple to get into gift for that special someone.

 

 

Yeah, yeah, the emulation only crowd is chuckling away at these to some extent as they cut themselves a nice slice of Raspberry Pi. But if people who just want a fuss-free gift or just aren’t tech savvy enough to grab some sort of emulation device and swipe ROMs off the internet with relish, I say let them spend their money as they please especially if it makes them happy.

EDIT: Ah, I see one issue I’d read about elsewhere has been addressed. This is a good thimg:

 

 

-GW

 

 

Sega Genesis Classics Switch Bound This Winter

Sega Genesis Classics Switch

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Oh, yeah. It’s SO on this Winter on the Switch.

Hot on the heels of the SEGA AGES™ titles announced last week and set to launch during the Tokyo Game Show, SEGA continues a winter of bringing great classics to the portable Switch. Retro fans can now finally play the Genesis Classics collection on their way to school or work, in their lunch break or basically anywhere on the go! SEGA Genesis Classics has over 50 retro favorites to experience across every genre: arcade action, shooters, beat’em ups, puzzlers and hidden gems, with a raft of modern features. Exclusively for the Nintendo Switch players can now compete in same-screen local coop mode and use each Joy-Con individually if desired. Familiar features like online multiplayer, achievements, mirror modes, rewind and save states are all part of the collection for everyone to revisit and enjoy.

The physical edition of SEGA Genesis Classics is now available for pre-order from U.S. retailers. Details of the digital pre-order will soon be announced.

On one hand this was wonderfully inevitable, but on the other, it’s a case where some stubborn Sega or Nintendo-only diehards will need to pipe down and accept what’s going to be a superb deal when all is said and done. Remember, Sega games new and old have popped up on Nintendo’s systems for quite some time after the company got out of the console business.

I’m guessing that “winter” release timeline means before the end of the year, but I’ll err on the side of “sometime between December and next March” just to be on the safe side. Between this and the upcoming Sega Ages collection, it’s certainly going to a great time for Sega and its legion of loyal fans. Yep, I have this set already on other consoles and PC but it’s still a triple or quadruple dip so that nostalgia thing spreads like fresh butter on hot toast.

-GW

Review: Sega Genesis Classics (PS4)

Sega Genesis Classics PS4Since you’re in a hurry, here’s the short version: Yes, Sega Genesis Classics is worth the $29.99 just for the JRPGs alone, but you’re getting a whole lot of other okay to really decent to superb games for that price. Here’s something to consider before you more jaded gamers turn up your noses at this latest Sega compilation that yes, has most of the same old games you’ve either played to death in the past or just have little to no interest in. Every day there’s likely someone trying out a retro game of some sort and those who’ve never tried anything on the Genesis are going to be very well served here.

Granted, this collection is missing a few titles found on other collections (notably, the PC version which not only has a few more games, it allows users to mod and add other games as an option), there’s online play that’s not quite flawless and a rewind feature that can make certain titles too easy to beat. That said, as an introduction to a classic console, it’s quite the deal at the end of the day.

Sega Genesis Classics PS4_01

Wait. If you leave the phone off the hook, you can’t call your friends over for some couch co-op action! Oh, you need to make more friends? Okay, then.

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The C64 Mini: That Retro System (The Kids Perhaps Don’t Have A Clue About) Is Back

theC64_LOGO_Black

 

(Thanks, The C64!)

 

Yeah, yeah, I know some of you are ogling these images and video in this post with a raised eyebrow, but hear me out.  Sure, ethical issues aside, you can emulate away or go fiddle with a Raspberry Pi or some other device to run Commodore 64 games these days. But for those folks who aren’t tech savvy or just want a simpler means of playing those classics, the C64 Mini (set for a North American launch on October 9) will be right up their alley provided the price point is perfect and the console plays well enough for anyone interested to snap it up.

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Now you can play a bunch of C64 classics and have your kids looking truly perplexed because they only recall Nintendo as “inventing video games” as I overheard recently. Yeesh.

Anyway, for an off the shelf console, the C64 Mini is pretty loaded, I’d say (but you’ll have to read below the jump to find out what’s in the box):

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Review: Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back (PS4)

Bubsy Box“Wait. Accolade is still around?”  That’s the first thing that popped into my head as I fired up Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back on my PS4. About ten minutes in, the second thing I thought was that Accolade was not only alive and well, they’d somehow created some sort of time vortex where mid-level mascot character Bubsy came back to the gaming scene with newly polished visuals but the same old gameplay that’s guaranteed to frustrate some players while entertaining a handful of others.

In other words, veteran speedrunners or kids who like a challenge will very likely love this latest “2.5D” entry in the series. However, those who expect something along the lines of the superbly sublime retro-ness of Sonic Mania or Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap may find this a tough ball of yarn to swallow. While it’s got its share of issues, it’s not a terrible game by any means. just one that needs some fixing up. Yep. it’s another one of those gems where patience is key, practice helps out a great deal, and it’s probably another case where a post-release patch or two will help things out greatly.

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Tower of Samsara on Kickstarter: Get This Unique Platformer Well-Funded

Tower of Samsara KS 

Welcome to Tower of Samsara

 

The wheel of life runs indefinitely. Just like the path that you’ll take through the planets of our solar system living your adventure and making your choices so you can build yourself to reach nirvana.

 

 

So many Kickstarters, so little time (and money)! That said, Martelo Nero’s interesting-looking indie game Tower of Samsara has enough going for it that I shot a few dollars its way as soon as the funding went live. It’s been a few days since and guess what? A Vita version has been announced as a stretch goal. Hmmm. Time up up my pledge, it would seem. The stylized visuals and karmic elements of the gameplay noted on the KS page are what lured me in, and with time to go before pledges are all taken and a 2018 release date, it’s a hopeful sign that ToS is climbing its own tower to its goal.

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Review: Electronic Super Joy (Wii U)

ESJ Boxart1Platform: Wii U

Developer: Michael Todd

Publisher: Michael Todd Games

MSRP: $9.99

# of Players: 1

ESRB Rating: Shut Up & Dance!

Official Site

Score: A (95%)

ESJ screenshot+(3) 

Prepare to dance a lot and die even more in Michael Todd’s excellent retro platformer, Electronic Super Joy, out now for the Wii U. The game is both a throwback and a keeper, one that will test your skills while making your brain bubble and fingers tingle long after you’ve put down that controller. The game is a pixel-packed near-perfect hard as hell and absolutely hilarious as it hits you on the head with assorted wacky text as you’re trying to concentrate on completing a level. The game works on a pure “shut up and PLAY!” level where the music (by EnV) and simple visual style hook you in and you find yourself learning the basics for a few quick stages before all hell breaks loose. Continue reading

Extreme Exorcism: This Ghost-Busting Retro Game Will Haunt Your Every Move

Extreme Exorcism Logo
 

Until a few minutes ago I’d never heard of NYC-based Golden Ruby Games. Now I want to be their best friend or something like that. The indie developer’s upcoming PC (and hopefully console bound soon) Extreme Exorcism is yet another one of those inspired “retro” games that looks to give fans of both single player and co-op games something to grin about. While this teaser trailer is way too short, it certainly made me smile and want to see more:


 

The gameplay seems straightforward, but EE’s AI happens to be programmed to repeat the controller moves you’ve made to dispatch each enemy when the next one appears. This means even “perfect” players who can clear the initial few maps will soon
find themselves dealing with enemies that are as good as they are in higher numbers. The longer it takes you to dispatch that next ghost, the harder it becomes to get rid of the next one. I’m gathering the game will drop enemies onto maps one at a time at first, as it’s going to be a rage-fest for players who let themselves get overwhelmed when things get trickier.

Anyway, a handful of screens below. Keep an eye peeled for this one as it’s still in development and there’s no concrete release date. As far as publishers go, Ripstone Games is getting it out and I’m hoping we see a PS4 and Vita version with the possibility of a Wii U port down the road. As usual, we shall see.

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