Saturday, 23 April 2011

Action Puzzle Prism Land (Playstation)

I know i review a lot of playstation games on here, but that's mostly because there are tons and tons of interesting playstation games that are also really obscure! There are quite a few DS games I want to write about too, but I can't take screenshots of those. I might do it without screenshots eventually anyway, because there are a lot of really cool games for DS that hardly anyone knows about. Anyway, here is another playstation game!
It's an arkanoid-like, which you could probably have guessed from the screenshots. To be honest, when I loaded this game up for the first time, and i saw the catboy and the fairy, i wasn't expecting it to be that great. Luckily, i was wrong. It's one of the best arkanoid-likes I've ever played!
What makes it so great? Well, it takes cool elements from other games of the same genre, like power-ups, points bonuses for combos, boss fights, etc., and puts them alongside some really good level design, and it's own gimmick (and biggest draw): the fact that most power-ups don't cancel each other out!
Most of these games have power-ups, but you can usually have one power-up at a time, for example: you get a power-up that makes your bat wider, but if you collect the multiball power-up, it'll go back to it's normal size. In Prism land, most power-ups can be collected together. You can have the elongated bat and the multiple balls and other effects all happening at once!
Not only that, but the power-ups themselves work in cool ways too! For example, the multiball power-up: Instead of just splitting your ball once into three or four, it splits the ball in two every time it hits the bat. And it does this with every ball that hits the bat, leading to balls everywhere. The elongated bat power-up too works slightly differently to most games in that you can collect it more than once, leading to a comically huge bat. And there's more: remote control balls, giant balls, one-use exploding balls and so on. And most (if not all) of them can be used together!
There was also a European release of this, called "Prism Land Story" that can still be bought for very very cheap online. Be warned, though: for reasons beyond my ability to discern, the morons who localised it removed the ability to save high scores or progress. Great work, idiots.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Top Fighter 2000 MK VIII (Mega Drive)

There are a lot of unlicenced fighting games. There was a fairly lengthy article/review
round up of a bunch of NES ones on the old insertcredit site. As a subgenre, it doesn't have
a great track record. With the exception on Kart Fighter on the NES, most of the ones I've
played have been practically unplayable. Top Fighter 2000 MK VIII shuns this long held
tradition, though, by actually being fairly fun.
You know it's going to be good when you see the intro (or, if like me, you are impatient and
skipped theintro, when you see the character select screen): The roster is made up of
characters from 6 different games, plus real life! Really! The whole roster is Ryu (Street
Fighter), Geese Howard (Fatal Fury), Kyo Kusanagi (King of Fighters), Goku (Dragonball Z),
Ryo Sakazaki (Art of Fighting), Cyclops (X-Men) and real life human beings Michael Jordan
and Mohammed Ali! I don't know if there's any last boss or endings or anything, because I'm
rubbish and can only win 2 or 3 fights. I'm going to assume there aren't any, though.
All the fictional characters are ripped straight from their respective games, while the two
sportsmen are semi-original sprites. Semi-original as while they are obviously newly drawn
for this game, all their animations are just traced over Lucky Glauber and Heavy-D from King
of Fighters 94's American Sports team.
Some of the stages look familiar too, though I can't tell if they're all stolen or just some
of them. Or if they're ripped directly from their original games or just copied by sight.
One or two also have a similar graphical style to backgrounds seen in other Chinese Mega
Drive games, like Shui Hu Feng Zhuan for example. Some of them are animated though, which is
a nice bit of quality for a bootleg game.
As for how the game plays, it's alright. The game only uses one punch and one kick button,
the characters all have both specials and supers (which is extra cool, since most official
fighting games on the mega drive didn't have supers!).
The specials and supers don't always work when you want them to, though. And sometimes they'll just happen of their own accord, too. I hate to lower my standards for a certain
kind of game, but in this case, i'm going to say it works well enough for what it is.
Even with its flaws, it's still leagues ahead of your typical unlicenced fighting game, plus
the gimmick of having a bunch of heroes, a villain and two sportsmen in the same game is a
nice novelty too.
As for sound, it's pretty good. No horrible tortures of the MD's sound chip to make your
ears bleed, and a fair bit of speech, too. The one that sticks out most being cyclops'
famous "OPTIC BLAST!". Amusingly (and inexplicably), the music for Ryu's stage is the Mighty
Morph'n Power Rangers theme.
One last thing: If you want to play this, you'll probably have to resort to a rom. There was
a guy selling actual cartridges of this and a bunch of other unlicenced Mega Drive games on
ebay, but he got shut down, proving yet again that copyright lawyers are nothing more than
that robot putting up the "NO FUN ALLOWED" sign from that old Sonic comic.

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Fatal Fantasy VII, Again

Just posting a funny curiosity: remember "Fatal Fantasy VII", the weird yaroze fangame thing? The opening menu for that is actually a nice little homage to the menu from this old Japanese demo disc for the real Final Fantasy VII!