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Sunday, June 22, 2014

World Cup 2014 - Soccer Games

Well everyone is going nuts about World Cup 2014. I was never a big soccer fan....or "football" as it's known throughout the rest of the world. I played AYSO soccer when I was like 6. The coach told me to "stand there." So that's what I did. I stood there and mostly picked the dandylion flowers that were growing at my feet. Every so often the ball would come near me, and I would kick it. I didn't know what way to kick it, but that didn't stop me from kicking it as hard as I could, sending it soaring through the air. Then I would just continue to stand there, picking dandylions or grass. Hey I was told to "stand  there" by the coach, so I obeyed his request. The best part about playing soccer? The oranges and CapriSun juice drinks at halftime and again at the end of the game. I think I even got a trophy one year...well, my team did. Probably a participation trophy....who cares. Soccer sucked. I never got in to it, so therefore I never played any of the soccer games that came out on any of the consoles of my youth.  Before now I couldn't have even told you a single title for any soccer game on any console. So with everyone being pumped about World Cup 2014 in is a series of  soccer game .gif files.....

AWS Pro Moves Soccer (Sega Genesis)

David Beckham Soccer ( GameBoy Advance)
Disney Sports - Soccer (GameBoy Advance)
FIFA '98 (super Nintendo)
International Superstar Soccer (Super Nintendo)

MegaMan Soccer (Super Nintendo)
Soccer (Nintendo)

Tecmo Cup - Soccer Game (Nintendo) 

Ultimate League Soccer (Nintendo)

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Legacy of the Wizard – Holy Hell

System: Nintendo (NES)

Release Date: 1989

Genre: Action RPG/Platforming
Developer: Quintet

Publisher: Broderbund

Anyone who has even played a moderate amount of Nintendo has probably come across Legacy of the Wizard at some point. If you are one of the few who did not play it, or had friends who played it then consider yourself lucky. Some people love this game, and others despise it with the fury of a million suns. Myself? Well I enjoyed it on occasion, but usually ended up getting too frustrated to really make any progress towards beating it.  Oh sure, the music is good, the graphics look pretty, and the game mechanics/controls are decent enough to make playing the game fun, for a while anyway.
            The basic premise of the game involves a family of woodcutters, tasked with defeating an evil dragon who was originally sacked and defeated by the grandfather using the magic “Dragon Slayer” sword.  Even though the dragon is locked away deep underground, the parents fear the dragon is soon to reawaken, and rush to prepare for battle. Each member of the family has special powers, and a unique role in helping out on the quest to
The Dragon.
recover the magic sword, and once again defeat the dragon of their grandfather’s time. This is about as much as I ever read in the manual growing up, because let’s face it, kids don’t want to read, they want to play.
            The part I missed out on was the fact that the sword itself is protected by four sacred crowns. The Dragon Slayer can only be relinquished after all four of these sacred crowns have been collected from deep within the dungeon. As it turns out, each crown can only be collected by using specific family members using their unique abilities. Along the way, special items and weapons can be picked up, either from hidden treasure chests, or from shops buried deep underground. Each item/weapon can only be used by specific family members, and you have to return to the family house on the surface to switch characters, and equip special items. This means that the order in which you collect the crowns is specific. If you don’t travel to a certain area first to collect a specific magic item, you will not be able to access another area of the dungeon later on.
            My biggest problem was the fact that they did not tell you what the order for collecting these crowns were, or what character to use in each area.  The other major headache was the lack of a basic dungeon map. The game gives you nothing. In fact, the owner’s manual actually recommends that the player spend some time exploring the dungeon, and then simply suggests that the player draw their own map. Talk about time consuming. Wait a second…the original Legend of Zelda didn’t have a map system either, and it too was vague on where to go next. That’s right, ZELDA of all games, was just as much, if not more cryptic than Legacy of the Wizard. So why did I like Zelda, and not like Legacy of the Wizard? Well, Zelda had only one playable character, and Legacy of the Wizard gave you five to choose from. With Link you always knew what your abilities were, and you could easily switch your weapons and tools around to best meet your needs for the situation at hand.

So my typical experience with this game went something like this:

            “Hey I think I will play Nintendo”

            “What game do I want to play?”

            “I am tired of RoboCop, and I am stuck on level 4 of Zelda….I know, Legacy of the Wizard….I haven’t played that one in a while, maybe I can finally make some progress this time…


            “Fuck this game! I can’t figure out where to go…I just keep going around in circles. I will never play this game again!”

All these items can be yours...if you can find trhem
            Even with all the online content available today, this game still remains difficult. I have watched walkthroughs on YouTube, and ready through various tutorials and FAQs. Even with all the different maps found online this game just continues to frustrate me. I have been able to progress a lot farther these days than I did as a kid, but the game is still tricky enough that I end up getting frustrated and giving up.  A good example of this can be found in the seeminly simple task of using the gloves to move  certain stones around. You would think it would be somewhat easy, but the controls associated with moving them around is so tricky and awkward that it just made me give up.

 Maybe someday I will get around to playing the game all the way through. Oh shit. Who the hell am I kidding? I know I will never have the patience to get through this thing. But that doesn’t mean I won’t occasionally enjoy at least a little bit of gameplay. Right?

Sunday, May 4, 2014

An A to Z look at the Gameboy/Gameboy Color Library

I enjoyed the initial A to Z Super Nintendo project so much, that I thought I would do another one using the GameBoy and GameBoy color. The rules are the same as before: find a game title from the GameBoy or GameBoy Color that corresponds with each letter in the alphabet, only this time I will limit it to five to ten minutes of game-play and write down my thoughts on the game. I will once again try to avoid popular titles whenever possible, along with sports games. Wish me luck.

This one sounds decent just based off the name. So how does it actually stack up? Well, it’s not terrible. It reminds me of Contra in that it’s a side-scrolling military-themed game. And for a GameBoy Color game it’s not too bad, you can shoot in multiple directions, and can even move while crouching. This one may warrant some additional play time.

This game has a familiar title. Maybe I am confusing it with something else like Kid Icarus or something. Either way, Balloon Kid is a generic game. You are a girl named Alice flying around collecting balloons, and dodging birds, fire and spikes. The biggest difference I noticed is that the game plays from right to left instead of in the traditional left to right fashion. Maybe the stages change as you progress, but hey I only played for the required five minutes.

I actually first played this game on the Macintosh SE a number of years ago. I was delighted when I found out it was ported to the GameBoy. There are not a lot of differences between the two versions, in terms of game play. The GameBoy version has a smaller playing field, and the sound effects are different. Other than that it’s still as fun as its Mac counterpart.

Well…a racing game. There are lots of racing games out there. This one appears to take place in a tube or a half pipe, so that’s unique. You can jump over obstacles or you can just opt to dodge them. Not a bad game overall, but one I will probably never play again. R.C. ProAm is far better than this.

If there is anything to say about this game it is that it’s unique. I don’t recall ever playing a game where you are running through a building riding elevators/escalators from floor to floor looking for rooms with a “!” on them. The rooms marked with a “?” seem to hold weapons upgrades. I don’t know what happens when you find all the “!” rooms for the stage. Maybe I will try this again just to find out.

It almost reminds me of the Japanese import on the SNES called The Firemen, but it’s a side-scroller instead of an overhead POV. You are a firefighter rescuing babies in a burning building with multiple floors. Enemies are flames, and toy soldiers that can only be killed using an axe. Overall this is not a bad little game. It’s got a simple concept, and the controls are basic. I may try this one again when I have some time.

With a name like Go! Go! Tank… can I not play it? After five minutes and three games, I am still not sure what the hell I am supposed to be doing. I am a plane that flies around shooting tanks, or I can dip down and pick up boxes with a tail-hook. I don’t know what I am supposed to do with them. Yeah I think there is a reason why I haven’t ever heard of this one before.

What a strange little game. I kinda like it. You are Hammerin’ Harry, some guy that is apparently out to rescue someone. It’s not clear who it is from the opening sequence before the game title, but who cares, let’s get going. Your initial weapon is a hammer. I imagine it to be a giant wooden mallet for the sake of slapstick cartoon purposes, and you are tasked with whacking ghosts with it. You can pick up a cool upgrade, a giant spiked-ball on a chain, but be careful, if you get hit by a ghost, you lose it, and it is back to regular Hammer Time. This game gave me enough in five minutes that I will definitely be playing this one again, just to see what else it has in store.

Hey, remember the Crash Test Dummies from the 1980’s? Larry, and uh…what’s his name? Yeah the comical talking crash test dummies from TV commercials. Those guys. Yeah, they have a game on the GameBoy, and god is it ever confusing. The first stage took me a few tries to complete, and I am still not sure what it is I am supposed to be doing. I jump off a building and am supposed to hit a target on the ground. I don’t know it I need to hit the awnings and balconies on the way down, or if I am trying to avoid them. I tried both and seemed to have failed both ways. Sigh, this game fails.

Just based on the title, I was half-expecting to see something like A Boy and His Blob from the NES. Nope. This game, like A Boy and His Blob, is a side-scrolling platformer, but that’s where the similarities end. This game requires you to control a jelly boy, and you are tasked with collecting cherries oranges and other assorted fruits. You attack by punching with your stomach, but give that up when you acquire some power up that turns you in to a skateboarder that can only jump. There are blind pitfalls, and other dangers that quickly kill you. This game sucks.

 Karate Joe is the reason I do these A to Z challenges. I did not know what to expect when I decided on this title to fulfill the “K” requirement. What I found was a great game on the GameBoy Color. The graphics are great, the game play, despite the controls, is fun, and I found myself playing it for more than the required amount of time. A little research turned up that Karate Joe is actually an unlicensed game. Unlicensed games usually leave little to be desired, but this one is simply superb!

Nothing too special going on with this one. Lufia is your basic overhead RPG game. It reminds me a little bit of Final Fantasy on the SNES or Secret of Mana. This one may be worth exploring a little further to see how it plays out. Who knows….

Puzzle game. Kinda reminds me of Tetris, in that you have to move blocks, only this time you are a little blob moving blocks left and right either by pushing or pulling on them. The blocks themselves are already stacked on the ground, and it’s your job to un-stack them all individually so that each piece is on to the ground level. But don’t squish yourself, or let a block fall more than two levels at a time. Not a bad little game, but it gets old quickly.

Good luck figuring this one out
Definitely not what I was expecting. I figured with the word ‘Ninja’ in the title, it would resemble Ninja Gaiden or something more like Karate Joe. Nope. This is more like an RPG, in that it’s an overhead view game. I didn’t figure out that you can equip your weapons by pressing start and assigning the sword or throwing stars to either A or B. It made it a lot easier to fight the enemies I encountered. But I am not sure what I need to actually do.

Contra for the Game Boy console. Nothing more, nothing less.

Yup...Contra on the Gameboy, a.k.a. Operation C

Palamedes is another Tetris clone. Your objective is to toss a single large dice at the ever dropping rows of dice coming from the ceiling, matching numbers one through six to destroy the individual pieces. If the levels of dice blocks reaches you your game ends. The biggest problem is that the playing field is too small, so you usually end up dying really quickly.

There must have been a lot of people wanting to capitalize on the Tetris craze. Quarth is a very Tetris-like game. Only instead of dropping blocks in to place, you shoot blocks up towards falling pieces, trying to make a square or rectangle. If you make one, the piece disappears. Clear enough and you move on to the next level. Simple, but fun. I can see myself playing this one a few more times.


As you already know, I hate the Resident Evil games. So why am I using Resident Evil Gaiden for my R requirement? I don’t know, but I can tell you that porting a game like Resident Evil on to the Game Boy Color console is just a horrendous idea. The controls are as bad as ever, and the game play is far more complicated than it needs to be. This game should have just been a simple side scrolling shoot-em-up. Not this nightmare of complexity and unnecessary button-mashing.

Wow what an awful game. This turn-based board game pits you against cockroaches. I am not sure how to actually play, and ended up dying a whole bunch of times. Maybe if I could stomach more than the required 5 minutes playing it would start to make a little more sense, but that’s not happening. This game is suck!

Hmmm. Well, this game isn’t awful. It took me a few tries to figure out that you can’t kill any enemies unless you pick up the ball or box and throw it at them. You can’t jump on them, and there is no true attack move. As near as I can tell this game is about collecting a whole lot of items. I don’t know what they are supposed to be, but they look like a diamond in a box. This one may be worth playing in to a little further, but I don’t see myself rushing to do so.

Universal Soldier is a basic side-scrolling contra clone. The biggest difference being that you can only shoot in one direction. You can pick up weapons upgrades along the way to boost your fire power. I did find it interesting that
the game has two jump maneuvers. One by pressing the A button, and the other is by pressing up on the D-pad. I know of no other game where this is duplicated. Overall this is not a terrible game. I will have to give this one more time.

Not exactly sure what the hell this is. Is it a racing game? Is it an early Grand Theft Auto style game? I am not entirely sure what I am supposed to be doing. Am I supposed to be picking up the wrenches? Is there a point to any of this? After 5 minutes of driving in circles, all I can say is….this is pointless.

Is this a porno or a video game? Based on the title it sounds more like a porno title than a video game. Only one way find out….
Wendy can turn the world upside down
Well, it’s not a porno. In fact this is a delightful little gem. Wendy is your basic platformer with a simple twist. You can jump and reverse your
gravity so that you can walk on the ceiling. This game is definitely worth some further investigation. I think I will enjoy it. Nice graphics, and decent enough music.

Well I finally found a clone of the NES game Excitebike, the only differences are that Xtreme Wheels has better graphics, and you are on a bicycle instead of
a motorcycle. The best way to show what this game is like is to link to a YouTube video of me playing it….enjoy…

*Note – I did not read any instructions, and played this game blind.


This one sounds interesting. It’s either going to be some kind of bizarre RPG, or it might be….well anything. Who knows.

Well, this game is pretty awful. As far as I can tell the game puts you in control of an intergalactic space fly. I am not entirely sure what the point is, but I can tell you that it gives you 4 lives, and you will burn through them really quickly. Here check out another link to a video of me performing badly at this game, and decide for yourself…

Well, it’s made by Konami according to the start up screen, that’s promising. Well it looks like Lord Contaminous is up to his old tricks and is trying to destroy the Earth. When will that guy give up? OK 4 areas to choose from….I will pick “Oil Area”

OK time is up. So Zen – Intergalactic Ninja is your basic side-scrolling
platform beat em’ up game. Nothing too special about it, but not a bad game. I may have to play this one a few more times, and check out the other 3 stages to see what it’s all about.

I decided to also do a game title from the 0-9 title category, since they technically exist. So what you get now is the bonus game 720 Degrees. Yeah this game was also available on the original NES console, and to be honest the NES version is better. The GBC version is scaled back with awful graphics.

Well, that’s it. The end. This took months to finally complete, but it was worth it. I discovered some great games that I have now added to my collection.  My favorite one being Karate Joe. Until next time….game on!