Games #11 Streaker (ZX)

StreakerZXSpectrumLoadingScreenDeveloper: Bulldog Software
Publisher: Mastertronic
Year: 1987
Players: 1
Played Before: Yes
Also on: Amstrad, MSX
Progress: I almost managed to get dressed!

Something a bit more obscure than usual this time and perhaps not even particularly good (what’s new?!) as I take another look back at a feature of my childhood. Not, in fact, running about with nothing on, although I’m up for it if you are, but a game about a poor unfortunate diplomat who finds himself being mugged by intergalactic ne’er-do-wells. Early on, we can tell that Streaker is a bit of a misnomer, but the inhabitants of planet Zuggi aren’t to know that and it falls to you to help Carlin get his clothes back and find a way off of this wretched planet.

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Games #10 Firefly (ZX)

FireflyZXSpectrumLoadingScreenDeveloper: Special FX Software Ltd (Jonathan Smith, Karen Davies, Keith Tinman)
Publisher: Ocean
Year: 1988
Players: 1
Played Before: Yes
Also on: Commodore 64
Progress: Flipped the switch!

Hot on the heels of Gothik, we’re off on another adventure into the years of my youth spent gazing lovingly at the Spectrum’s 15-colour output. I was late to this particular party, getting Firefly in September 1991 on a free tape with Sinclair User issue 115. With the legendary Jonathan Smith’s involvement and Special FX’s reputation for quality, Firefly can’t help but promise impressive graphics moving at speed, backed up with gameplay purity.

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Games #9 Gothik (ZX)

GothikZXSpectrumLoadingScreenDeveloper: Paul Hutchinson, Drew Northcott, Gavin Raeburn
Publisher: Firebird
Year: 1987
Players: 1
Played Before: Yes
Also on: Amstrad, C64
Progress: 4th stage

Here we have the usual tale of a benevolent soul enslaved and in need of rescuing by a passing warrior. The respected druid Hasrinaxx has been taken prisoner, his body divided into six parts and hidden away in towers full of monsters. It’s a little difficult to resolve this problem yourself when you’ve been left in this state and two paracetamol and a lie down in a darkened room are hardly going to do the trick. It’s down to your choice of warrior, a manly man or a manly lady, the former more resilient and better with arrows, the latter possessing better magic ability, to see what we can do about battling through the towers, piecing the druid back together and returning peace and contentment to the land.

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Mastering The System #47 The Terminator #48 Terminator 2: Judgment Day

TerminatorHeaderMasterSystemSent from the future to track down and destroy one retro gamer in the 21st Century, The Terminator requires just your tea, your slippers and your Master System. Prepare for the rise of the 8-bit machine.

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Welcome To Bonus Stage! #3 Street Fighter 2 (Arc)

WelcomeToBonusStageStreetFighter2TitleScreenDeveloper: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Year: 1991
Players: 1-2
Also on: Ooh, lots of places. Even the Spectrum. Don’t play that one.

Ah, Street Fighter 2. There’s little left to be said about this genre-defining game, though I haven’t seen much written about its bonus stages, so this seems like an ideal time. Three different stages feature, all extensions of the main gameplay of bashing the crap out of whatever stands before you. This time, it’s inanimate objects, because what says you’re the strongest woman in the world more than punching a car repeatedly, infiltrating an industrial facility to smash tumbling barrels or risking your clothing and body hair to destroy some flaming oil drums?

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Games #8 64 de Hakken! Tamagotchi Minna de Tamagotchi World – Part 1

TamagotchiWorldNintendo64TitleScreenSystem: Nintendo 64
Developer: AI
Publisher: Bandai
Year: 1997
Players: 1-4
Also on: N64 exclusive

Ever fancied adopting a Tamagotchi and evolving it through four forms by winning points from playing mini-games to feed it, clean it and keep it happy, while simultaneously stitching your opponents up to prevent them doing the same, all via the medium of a 4-player board game? Of course you do. Direct comparison with Nintendo’s board game behemoth, Mario Party, is inevitable and I don’t expect anyone else on the planet to agree with my preference for Bandai’s digital baby raising sim, but come with me as I try to explain why it is that I love visiting Tamagotchi World.

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Games #8 64 de Hakken! Tamagotchi Minna de Tamagotchi World – Part 2

TamagotchiWorldNintendo64Screen8Here we are at part 2 of this joyous exposé of my favourite video-board-game game, Tamagotchi World on Nintendo 64. In this part, I’ll explain the mechanics of the game, the choices and interactions available to players, as well as what happens in the mini-games. If you’ve missed what I’m passing off as a review or explanation as to why I enjoy this game, it’s over at part 1, and I recommend you read that first.

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Mastering The System #46 Castle of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse

CastleofIllusionMasterSystemTitleScreenDeveloper: Sega
Publisher: Sega
Year: 1990
Players: 1
Played Before: Yes (Mega Drive)
Also on: Game Gear, Mega Drive
Progress: Completed

The evil witch Mizrabel has abducted Minnie with the intention of stealing her looks and making Minnie ugly. As appearance is everything these days, we can’t allow that to happen, can we? Mizrabel can only be overcome using the power of the seven gems of the rainbow, guarded by the Masters of Illusion, so Mickey heads off to Mizrabel’s castle to relieve her of some shiny rocks and retrieve his girlfriend.

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Short hiatus

Thanks for stopping by. You may have noticed that the last article I published was in March.

This site isn’t dead or abandoned.

At the moment, I’m working full time and also in the 2nd year of a 3-year Masters degree, both of which are heavy on thinking and writing, and take priority.

I’m sure you’ll understand that this leaves very little time and/or energy to write about games to a level of quality which I find acceptable to publish. I like to publish full length reviews explaining why I did or did not like certain aspects of the games, so a few quick paragraphs doesn’t satisfy me.

I do have a few draft Master System reviews kicking around which aren’t ready yet and I am trying to incrementally add to them during commutes, so hopefully these will see the light of day very soon.

These are the Master System games I’ve rated most highly of the 45 I’ve reviewed so far:

American Baseball
Argos no Juujiken
Bubble Bobble
Golden Axe Warrior
Sonic The Hedgehog
The New Zealand Story
Woody Pop: Shinjinrui no Block Kuzushi

Give them a read if you need something to do.

Follow me on twitter @tinpotgamer if you want to and I’ll post there when I update. I’m not about to give up on the Master System review project just for the sake of real life!

Meanwhile, keep playing and enjoying games and I hope to see you back here soon.

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Mastering The System #45 Arcade Smash Hits

ArcadeSmashHitsMasterTitleScreenDeveloper: Images
Publisher: Virgin Games
Year: 1992
Players: 1-2
Played Before: No
Also on: Master System Exclusive
Progress: Stage 6 (Breakout), 27,587 (Centipede), 34,700 (Missile Command)

I’ll admit to not being a huge fan of ports of the most well-known arcade games. Quite often, the primordial gameplay doesn’t make for hours of satisfying entertainment. Disc-based compilations have usually attempted to get around this by offering more games and flashier graphics, yet this still doesn’t mask the puddle-deep mechanics and provide the value you’d want for around £40 a pop. The easiest option at that point becomes including an emulator to demonstrate the original experience and then pairing that up with improved versions. Here, we have a meagre three facsimiles of classic Atari arcade games: Breakout, Centipede and Missile Command.

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