Mastering The System #44 Woody Pop: Shinjinrui no Block Kuzushi

WoodyPopMasterSystemTitleScreenDeveloper: Sega
Publisher: Sega
Year: 1987
Players: 1
Played Before: Yes
Also on: GameGear
Progress: Not very far without continuing!

During the 1980s, Breakout clones were ten a penny and appeared absolutely everywhere, some available for nothing on home computer demo tapes and disks, others on consoles for £40, but the aim of them all is generally the same; move a paddle or bat to juggle a ball to break a wall full of blocks and move on to the next screen where similar action awaits. So, Woody Pop. Yes. No giggling at the back. It’s a Breakout clone. Big, sturdy, extendable bat. Balls flying all over the place. That sort of thing. Oh, stop it!

Continue reading

Posted in Mastering The System | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Mastering The System #43 Rampage

RampageMasterSystemTitleScreenDeveloper: Sega
Publisher: Sega/Activision
Year: 1988
Players: 1-2
Played Before: Yes (Arcade, Spectrum)
Also on: Atari 2600, Atari 7800, Atari ST, Amiga, Amstrad, Arcade, Commodore 64, Lynx, NES, ZX Spectrum
Progress: Stage 8

Hot on the heels of Paperboy, this is another Midway classic of which I have fond 8-bit memories and spent many hours performing ad-hoc demolition while stuffing my face with televisions, cash and terrified ladies. Players make their choice from three giant monsters; George the gorilla, Lizzie the lizard not entirely unlike the one in the Chewits advert and… the other one that’s a wolf… (it’s Ralph, I just checked) who are children that have been mutated by various means. They don’t have different stats or anything, so pick your favourite and go about smashing the town up block by block until the national guard succeeds in halting your, yes, rampage.

Continue reading

Posted in Mastering The System | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Mastering The System #42 Paperboy

PaperboyMasterSystemTitleScreenDeveloper: Tiertex
Publisher: US Gold
Year: 1990
Players: 1
Played Before: Yes (Arcade, Spectrum)
Also on: Amiga, Amstrad, Arcade, Atari ST, BBC, Commodore 64, Game Boy, Game Boy Color, Game Gear, Lynx, Mega Drive, NES, ZX Spectrum
Progress: Wednesday (Easy St)

I have fairly good memories of Paperboy, particularly the Spectrum version with its forgiving difficulty and less aggressive obstacles. I didn’t ever play the arcade version on a proper machine, so came to it later in emulated format to be crushed by its unfriendly nature, a trait typical of Atari’s contemporary arcade games. As someone who spent a few years performing the titular task, I wonder if the Master System conversion will turn out to be a Sunday Sport or more of a Daily Mail.

Continue reading

Posted in Mastering The System | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Mastering The System #41 The Ninja

TheNinjaMasterSystemTitleScreenDeveloper: Sega
Publisher: Sega
Year: 1986
Players: 1-2
Played Before: No
Also on: Master System Exclusive
Progress: Stage 4

The Ninja is either a sequel or update to Sega’s 1985 arcade game Ninja Princess. In fact, the in-game map is designed to the same template. It contains a mix of player-driven and auto-scrolling stages, some of the vertical shooter variety and other horizontal scrollers where hopping from log to log on a river or dodging stampeding horses are the order of the day. The Ninja can essentially be described as an Edo period version of Commando mixed with a little bit of Frogger.

Continue reading

Posted in Mastering The System | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Mastering The System #40 Golden Axe Warrior

GoldenAxeWarriorMasterSystemTitleScreenDeveloper: Sega
Publisher: Sega
Year: 1991
Players: 1
Played Before: No
Also on: Master System Exclusive
Progress: Completed (with help of a map)

Our old giant adversary Death Adder (minus points for lack of traditional equals sign in his name) has gone bonkers again and stolen the kingdom of Firewood’s nine protective thingymajigs. It’s a video game, you can guess the rest. Does Sega’s Zelda clone give me the horn or are we looking at a missing Link? That’ll make sense if you’ve played it or read on.

Continue reading

Posted in Mastering The System | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Mastering The System #35 #36 #37 #38 #39 Tennis Games

Wimbledon is here, which means a media bombardment of strawberries and cream, rain stopping play and the tragic mess of a jug of Pimm’s with half a pound of fruit and veg in it. As the vast majority of the UK’s population who couldn’t care less about tennis the rest of the year prepare themselves for two weeks of self-assured fist clenching and the sight of the Alien queen-resembling Judy Murray at the sidelines, it must be time for tennis. I’m awful at it, so let’s put down the racquet and pick up a Master System controller as I fumble my way ineptly into the British top ten. Come on, Tim!

Continue reading

Posted in Mastering The System | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Mastering The System #32 Columns #33 Dr Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine #34 Klax

MatchThreeMasterSystemEvery gamer at some point in their life must have played a match-three puzzle game, whether it’s one from Compile’s ubiquitous and absolutely barmy Puyo Puyo series, the more recent iPhone hit Candy Crush or one of the thousands of others released in the last thirty years. The general format is that there’s a well, usually six columns wide into which coloured icons/faces/blobs/animals/iced gems fall and your job is to manoeuvre them so that at least three of the same colour are touching. They will then disappear and anything above will drop down, hopefully creating matches and resulting in more points. There are variations on this; Taito’s Puzzle Bobble/Bust A Move, Magical Drop or even shoot-em-up stable Cave’s Uo Poko all feature different control schemes and methods but a similar underlying theme. The Master System received three such puzzle games, all with different play mechanics, reviewed here for your enjoyment.

Continue reading

Posted in Mastering The System | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Mastering The System #31 Double Dragon

DoubleDragonMasterSystemTitleScreenDeveloper: Arc System Works
Publisher: Sega
Year: 1988
Players: 1-2
Played Before: Yes
Also on: Amiga, Amstrad, Arcade, Atari 2600, Atari 7800, Atari ST, Commodore 64, Game Boy, Game Gear, Lynx, Mega Drive, MSX, NES, PC, ZX Spectrum
Progress: Completed

The Black Warriors have kidnapped Billy Lee’s girlfriend, Marian. Team up with another player as his brother Jimmy and take on the gang over four stages. Do they still have what it takes to get the girl or are these two grizzled fighters long past their prime?

Continue reading

Posted in Mastering The System | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Mastering The System #30 TransBot

TransBotMasterSystemTitleScreenAKA: Astro Flash (JP)
Developer: Sega
Publisher: Sega
Year: 1985
Players: 1-2
Played Before: Yes
Also on: Master System Exclusive
Progress: 194,500 points

TransBot is fairly well known among Master System owners. It seems to me that everyone I know who owns the console has also been in possession of this game at some point. Surely that’s a testament to its high quality and proves it’s a must-have. TransBot is actually a shoot-em-up and nothing to do with gender discussion in android society. Let’s save the planet!

Continue reading

Posted in Mastering The System | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Mastering The System #27 Bubble Bobble, #28 Rainbow Islands, #29 The New Zealand Story

TaitoTaito’s big mid-’80s three, although not a trilogy, are often remembered by gamers of the era as being linked. These three fantastic arcade platformers, each with their own distinct styles, eventually found their way to the Master System. Let’s find out if these conversions blow thousands of bubbles, paint the whole world with a rainbow and erm, shoot frozen whales in the face as well as the arcade originals.

Continue reading

Posted in Mastering The System | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments