Rally X, as you probably guessed, is about driving around a maze, collecting flags, and avoiding enemy cars. You have a radar on the right that shows where your car is and where the flags and enemy cars are, but not the layout of the maze or where boulders are. But you’re not totally defenseless, you can fart out some smokescreens to befuddle the other cars, but it depletes your fuel meter. Run out of fuel or crash into something you can’t collect and you lose a car. So it’s part Pac Man, part Radar Ratrace, and part… smokescreen.
I didn’t really play this game that much. It’s kind of fun for a little while, and trying to increase your flag multiplier to get a high score without running out of gas is a fair challenge, but the arcade I found it in had several games that were more fun.
When the CD-ROM medium was still the new technology, folks wondered how developers would be able to fill up so much space. The answer, more often than not, seemed to be with video clips. And with video clips the content is pretty limited.
This game is about trying to break into the stand-up comedy business. A more noble goal there isn’t! But it’s not going to be easy. See, comedy’s all about timing, they say. So you have to try and weasel your way up the comedy ladder and schmooze with patrons of the comedy club you’re working in. “How?” you may ask. Easy! Click on them!
What you end up doing in this game is clicking on someone, then they’ll give you a little monologue that’s supposed to be funny. Then, assuming you clicked on the right person, you’ll get a comedy item. Get all the items and you get your big break! Talk to someone out of sequence and you get sent to the basement where you get to play some game or other to get back on the first floor and try again.
This game is a pretty big waste of time. If you do decide to play it for some reason, though, I can tell you that the game is mercifully short. This game is so bad that the only media I can find is some that I created myself, but I promise this game exists, and isn’t really worth your time.
It’s actually kind of hard for me to talk about games that are created primarily to spread a message. Regardless of the message I can’t help but be interested in it because it’s a game, so I’ll end up playing it for a bit. And since this game is hosted on a site called ‘Kentucky Fried Cruelty’ it’s pretty obvious what the message is.
Super Chick Sisters is a pretty blatant rip off of Super Mario Bros. In fact, the plumbers make an appearance, they’re unable to save the day because they were injured while playing with their new game system (a Wii, natch). So it’s up to two chickens to go after the Colonel for his business practices.
The game is really pretty generic. You run more or less to the right, rescuing chickens and getting bits of trivia from concerned citizens who are inexplicably standing everywhere. You can get a powerup that makes you bigger. And you fight lots of Colonel Sanders-themed… things.
In all, the game was pretty bland. I only made it to level 2 before throwing in the towel. There just wasn’t a lot of game here, just a message with a couple of cute mascots.
Pokemon was a worldwide phenomenon. Still is, really. At least the influx of licensed crap has died down. Of course, I still bought my fair share of it, though I shied away from some of the lamer offerings. But when I saw the Pocket Pikachu get marked down to $5, I decided to see what it was all about.
The Pocket Pikachu is little more than interactive pet. You wear it on the belt region of your pants where it acts as a pedometer. As you walk around on your daily doings you put steps on your meter, which will gain you watts. Watts are what you give Pikachu to make it more friendly with you. You can also use them to play a game where you gamble your watts for yet more watts. You can also play with your Pika, watch it take a bath, take a nap, or whatever. But the real hook is that the game has an IR port on the top. Pokemon Gold and Silver were put out for the Game Boy Color, which you may remember has an IR port on it. You can starve your mouse and instead give the watts to your Game Boy game to get prizes. It’s all about selling the accessories, kids.
I played this thing a lot. I fed my Pikachu, I played with it, I got lots of prizes for my Game Boy monsters, and after exactly 730 continuous days I put it away for good. Not because the battery was dead, but because I decided that playing a game every day for two solid years was enough.
I don’t really do well at the point-and-click adventure games, but I like them a lot for some reason. I suppose it’s the inner masochist in me, or maybe it’s just that I like puzzles, even ones I can’t solve, as good brain exercise.
This particular game puts you in the shoes of Scott Anger, a detective in some kind of 1940’s-ish setting. A woman in dire straits comes in and pleads for help in finding out who killed her husband and why. So you, as Scott and late with the rent, agree to help.
One thing that is still pretty impressive to me is that this game runs in full screen with fully acted scenes, which doesn’t seem too impressive today, I’ll admit, but this was back in the DOS days, when Full Motion Video was ridiculously rare in games, and usually just in a corner of the screen. The only caveat, the game ran in 256 colors which, as you may know, is far less than the number of colors in the world. This makes the game look a little weird at first, but honestly, I didn’t really notice after a while. I was blown away by the story and trying to figure out whodunit.
Regrettably, though, I just caved after a few weeks. I kept running into dead ends and overall just made a lousy detective. I tried to bribe the cop with hair from the barber shop floor, I ate the doughnut, and lost all of my money at poker. But I did find the diamond in the sink and then promptly get killed. So I hit the walkthough and tied up all my loose ends. I saw the ending and was pleased. Until I found out years later that there are multiple endings. Even that wouldn’t be too bad, except that I don’t have a computer that will run the game any more. And so it sits, waiting for me to cobble together a system capable of playing its particular brand of brain-locking puzzles.
Somehow I managed to miss out on the whole ‘Bubble Bobble’ thing until many years after the machines had disappeared from the arcades and the surviving NES systems turned into little more than grey paperweights. Though I did hear about it. Just about every book that I bought or was given that was about ‘How to Win’ at Nintendo games mentioned it, and offered stratagems to guide me to victory. But still, to this day, I’ve never seen a copy of the game for the NES in the wild.
But! Fortunately the fine folks at Taito saw fit to release it on the Game Boy with some… enhancements.
So Bubble Bobble is about two guys who were turned into dinosaurs and then had their girlfriends kidnapped. They, as dinos, have the ability to blow bubbles to trap enemies, and then pop the bubbles to take out the foes. You have to use this bubble blowing ability to make it down through 100 rooms full of deviously-placed enemies, wind currents, and just plain mean level design to get your girls back and turn back to normal.
Yes, it all makes perfect sense… I guess.
You’re going to notice that the theme song is ridiculously catchy. If you’re not careful, it’s going to get stuck in your head and won’t leave for days. The other thing, which isn’t immediately obvious, is that the game likes to mess with you.
See, the thing is, you can finish the game the ‘traditional’ way: plowing ahead and beating all 100 levels. This is no small feat, and if you do so you’ll get the ‘bad ending’ if you’ve died more than zero times and if you don’t have a second player. Yep, you don’t get the best ending unless you finish the entire game without dieing, and in a game where you die in one hit, this is a bit of a challenge. Now, there are hints that tell you all about it, but the thing is, to get them you have to make it to certain milestones without dieing. Then you’ll get the chance to enter a secret room. In the secret room is a wall decorated in some odd symbols, looks kind of like just background art. Turns out that it’s a coded message that tells you how to finish the game properly. So you have to make it to at least level 20, get in the secret room, decipher the coded message, and then know that you have to finish all 100 stages without dieing and have both players in play at the endto get the ‘true’ ending. I don’t have that kind of perseverance, but I can totally understand the motivation. If I was making a game and had complete control, I’d screw with the player too.
The game is called ‘Old and New’ for a reason. In addition to the original arcade mode, there’s a revamped mode. It’s basically the same but with updated graphics, updated music, and the ability to continue where you left off. This is pretty handy, but still ridiculously hard. But with the advantage of unlimited continues and the ability to call in the second player in the 11th hour so you can see the ‘good’ ending, I was able to finish the ‘New’ part of the game and experience what those ‘How to Win’ books were talking about all those years ago.
The further you go back in arcade games, the simpler they got, and they don’t get a whole lot simpler than Sheriff. You, the sheriff, stand in the middle of the screen surrounded by bandits. You have to use your trusty six-shooter to kill the bandits without yourself getting plugged. Sound fun yet?
I probably wouldn’t even know about this game, except that it’s an unlockable in the first Wario Ware game. But that still blows me away. Complete arcade games from yesteryear are available as unlockable bonus content in newer titles. That’s just mind-bogglingly awesome.
For a long time you could hardly walk down the street without tripping over Pac-Man games, sequels, remakes, clones, and spin-offs. They were all pretty much the same: guide your pac-person around a maze, eat all the dots, avoid the monsters (unless they’re blue, then you eat them too), and generally try to keep doing this until you get tired, run out of lives, or crash the game.
The main difference here is that the maze is kind of tilted down so it looks more 3-D, and your Pac can jump (but the monsters can, too, don’t worry). Other than that, it’s the same as the old standby.
I’ll be honest, I saw this game at a local grocery store and was completely enthralled by the demo. I mean, Pac-Man, in pseudo 3D, jumping around! Yes! Double yes! Unfortunately, I was unable to weasel any quarters out of my mom that day, so I didn’t get a chance to play it. Then the store closed and I wouldn’t get a chance to play the game again until several years later. Once I finally did, the game was only just kind of ‘Meh.’ But Pac-Man can jump, which is nothing short of amazing since he doesn’t even have a neck, much less anything to actually ‘jump’ with.
Do you know how to play horseshoes? If you went to my elementary school you would. Apparently people play this well after they’ve graduated from holding the edge of a parachute and walking around in a circle. Who knew?
Shuuz is an arcade game of horseshoes. You take your position, roll the trackball back and then forward to kind of simulate the motions of actually tossing horseshoes, and then points are awarded. Score more than your opponent and you win.
Yeah, it’s every bit as fun as it sounds. Once. After that you’re going to be finding something else to waste quarters on. It’s not like a real game of horseshoes is all that fun either, so as they say, your mileage may vary.
Shoot ‘em ups always were a little odd to me. The premise of just about all of them is that there’s some kind of conflict and the last hope for the good guys is to send out a lone, highly maneuverable yet incredibly fragile ship of some sort to go up against the thousands upon thousands of enemy forces, destroy them all, and win the day. ‘Improbable’ doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface on the tip of that iceberg.
Life Force pits your ship against some kind of gigantic alien life form, flying around inside it and blasting it until it stops moving. Though I’ve heard that the story is that you’re trying to eliminate some kind of infection in said gigantic alien life form, but the ending shows pretty conclusively that you blew the sucker to tiny bits (assuming you didn’t choke at the last minute).
I’ve already suspended enough disbelief to be OK with the fact that you can pilot a ship or two made out of eggshells and scotch tape into an orifice of a huge space organism. But you kill a gigantic brain in the very first stage, that usually pretty much means insta-death for most organisms that actually have them. And the stage with the Egyptian ruins where you have to fight what looks like a mask that got separated from its mummy? At that point I quit trying to rationalize it.
But the game is fun, despite its nonsense, or perhaps because of it. I lose track. But I did play this game for hours upon hours, and not only because it was the only game in the house for a time. It was genuinely fun, and I managed to get just a little further each time I played it. It’s like the game was baiting me, stringing me along with its tantalizing carrot.