Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Kyuutenkai Fantastic Pinball (Saturn)

So, Technosoft (sometimes known as Tecnosoft, for some reason) have made a lot of excellent games, usually with excellent music. One of their better-known titles is the Mega Drive port of Devil Crush, also known as Dragon's Fury. Like Kyuutenkai, it's a pinball game, and a lot of elements from Devil Crush made their way into this game: a main table being three screens high, bonus stage/boss fight sub-tables that offer huge amounts of points upon completion, even some smaller details, like the bonus counter with its two stacking multipliers.

Being on the Saturn, Kyuutenkai has some stiff competition from Kaze's Digital Pinball games, Last Gladiators and Necronomicon, and by "stiff competition", I mean "the best pinball videogames ever". Obviously, it's not as great as those two titans of the genre, but it does at least serve as a worthy follow-up to Devil Crush.
The main (and only) table is, as I said, three screens high. Each screen has a set of flippers at the bottom of it, and the whole table has a nice theme to it, with heaven at the top, earth in the middle, and hell at the bottom. There's lots of things to hit, and gimmicks to activate on the main table, like the angel watching over the middle portion of the table who can be made to shoot laser eyes all over the place, and the little band of skeletal day of the dead mariachis who can be knocked down in hell.
Obviously, the cute fantasy visual style of this game is massively different to the heavy metal album cover-inspired look of Devil Crush, and the bonus stages follow suit: instead of smashing open coffins or fighting multi-headed dragons, the bonus stages are cuter and more imaginitive to boot. My two favourites of the few I've seen are one that takes place on a football pitch where the player has to score 4 goals past the devil goalkeepers and his mummy defenders, and another where you have to use the ball to smash up the contents of a girl's bedroom in a strict time limit.
Although Kyuutenkai isn't as good as the mighty Digital Pinball series nor does it have the excellent music you would expect from Technosoft
, it is still a lot of fun to play, as well as very fast paced and even more addictive. There's also a Playstation version which I haven't played, but I assume it's' pretty much the same as this one.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Motor Raid (Arcade)

Before I start, I should mention something: the actual arcade version of this game comes in a full-sized motorbike cabinet that the player sits on while playing, tilting left and right to steer. I didn't play like that, though. I played Motor Raid via the excellent Model 2 Emulator, using an Xbox 360 controller.
With that out of the way, I'll get on to actually talking about the game. It's a lot like the Road Rash games, but in space and with luxurious and beautiful Model 2 3D graphics. You take part in motorbike races across various planets, and you have the option of attacking your opponents, punching them, kicking them, or clobbering them about the head with your weapon.
There's also a boost meter that gradually fills up as you race. Once it's more than half full, you can double-tap (or on the real arcade machine, I guess you would double twist?) the accelerator to use it. Obviously, the more you let it fill, the longer your boost will last. Less obviously, if you wait for the meter to fill completely before using it, you'll become enshrouded in an energy field and spin your weapon around your head.
There are four main planets upon which the races take place, though you'll only actually race on three of them in a regular game. Your performance in the races decides which planets you visit. I've read online that there's also a fifth planet which appears as an extra fourth race if you manage to place first in all three regular races. Unfortunately, I'm not good enough to make this happen, so I don't know what that extra stage is like.
There's a few characters to pick from, but since I'm not good enough at racing games to really tell the difference, I just pick the default character everytime, a young woman named Robin. After each race, Robin recites the cryptic quote "I won! But I still can't find what I'm looking for...". This is never explained.
In conclusion, Motor Raid is a really great game that you should definitely play, if you have a computer good enough for Model 2 emulation (pretty likely), or you live near a place that has an actual machine (not so likely). It's a shame it never got a home port, but I assume that's because the Saturn had no chance of replicating this game's graphics, and by the time the Dreamcast came along, Model 2 games were starting to be considered "old hat".