Monday, April 30, 2007
Advertise on Retro 247 Games
The cost is only $20 for a whole month. No hidden extras, no maximum page impressions etc. The banner will appear on every main page (30+ in total and growing each week) on the right hand side. We'll even host the banner for you.
More information can be found HERE
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Horace and the Spiders
Good old Horace is back in a remake of the ZX Spectrum classic "Horace and the Spiders".
This remake features lovely big bold colourful graphics, 2 different game modes and an online high score table. The game is quite tough but so was the original - just how I like it!
Grab Horace and the Spiders HERE
Monday, April 23, 2007
Operation Wolf remake with Lego!
What a fantastic idea and truly original for a change!
Operation Block is an Operation Wolf remake but with Lego characters. You can read more about the development of the game over at http://retroremakes.com/forum2/showthread.php?t=6681
Looking forward to this one :)
Friday, April 20, 2007
Retro Recurring: New Super Mario Brothers
For some time now, handhelds have shown themselves to be mainstream console gaming’s last bastion of retro-orientated gaming – even the super trendy Sony PSP sports 80’s arcade compilations and a Lemmings conversion as a launch title.
The Nintendo DS, despite its somewhat revolutionary approach to control via the touch screen interface, is also continuing to uphold Nintendo’s “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” gameplay sentiments with New Super Mario Brothers – a 2D Mario game in 3D. Confused? Relax, pull up a toadstool and I’ll tell you about it…
New Super Mario Brothers pulls every modern technology trick in the book (though, happily, largely ignores the touch screen in favour of traditional d-pad control), but tries to remain entirely faithful to Mario’s classic left to right, two dimensional platforming exploits. So, even though each and every character, block and powerup is a fully-fledged 3D model, the view of the action never alters from a classic side-on viewpoint, making this the first true 2D Mario adventure since 1992’s release of Super Mario World on the SNES (or perhaps 1995’s Yoshi’s Island depending on your beliefs).
As you may guess, the game looks absolutely gorgeous. Clean, crisp models, vibrant colours (even on the scabby old pre-Lite DS) and fluid animation abound, with a clearly deliberate return to classic Super Mario Brothers visual fare. Green fields to potter through beneath blue skies, towering mushrooms to clamber up before pulling down the level’s flag and disappearing into the little castle at the end – it’s all here, renovated from its 8 bit origins but treated with all the respect and tactility you’d expect Nintendo to lavish on its most important and well-loved IP.
So it looks the business, but how does it play? Utterly brilliantly, as it happens. As mentioned earlier, we see here gameplay largely unchanged since 1985. Nintendo have certainly played around with Mario’s physics a little – he’ll slide more to a stop after a long run rather than stopping immediately, and feels a little less floaty in his jumps (that’s probably what 20 years does to you), but the whole world reflects these changes, meaning you’ll never feel robbed of lives by an unfair system.
Meanwhile, though Mario still kicks shells, squashes goombas, bounces off bullets and collects enlarging mushrooms and fire flowers, there’s a little more going on here to reflect the needs of a more demanding generation of gamers. Welcome, then, Mario 64’s triple jump (great for scaling new heights) and wall kick (fantastic for preventing untimely pit deaths). Three new powerups also join the fold – a blue shell that turns Mario into a koopa-esque creature who can retreat into his body, skimming across surfaces knocking out foes in exactly the way they do to him. The tiny mushroom shrinks Mario to only a few pixels high, making him unable to kill most foes but able to jump far higher and enter small gaps to uncover secrets. Conversely to this one, the jewel in the crown of new gimmicks – the giant mushroom, a huge, unwieldy spore that flops across the ground and, when collected, will make Mario fill the screen, smashing his way through absolutely anything in his path – enemies, blocks and pipes alike – earning extra lives as he goes. This Mushroom Kingdom Godzilla fantasy never really gets old, and is guaranteed to wow your friends (or scare them to death in multiplayer!).
The game is navigated by a map screen, which can be wandered around, and have stages attempted from, at will (a lá Super Mario World again). Staying true to past outings, expect the usual devious alternate exits to many levels in order to discover new routes and levels (two entire worlds in fact being hidden – think small…), with actual 100% completion of this title taking a very long time indeed. However, played simply from start to end with no frills, this isn’t the longest or most challenging game ever, and therein lies the only criticism. This ain’t no Mario 3; Mario veterans can expect to be through this thing in a matter of hours, with most levels being easily completed on the very first attempt with a bit of care.
Longevity is, however, nicely enhanced by the multiplayer angle (single game card compatible for those with limited cash). Apart from the expected “dash around the levels smacking your mate round the head and stealing his stars” stuff, a large amount of DS Mario 64’s minigames are available as multiplayer outings, and some of these have the potential to last for ages. Case in point: I spent most of a 3 hour train journey from Manchester to Kent last week having the mother of all Reversi tournaments with a friend on New Super Mario Brothers’ bobomb-based version of this classic board game.
Just like Reversi, in fact, it becomes apparent with this latest Mario update that sometimes, it’s the simple things in life that are the most enduring. For me, this notion is perhaps the essence of retrogaming, and it’s great to see that the big companies are not yet ignorant of this fact. With so many classic franchises being defaced and ruined on an almost weekly basis in the often exclusively technology-led mainstream, it’s reassuring to see a contemporary offering that, by and large, gets it utterly right for a change. Welcome back, Mario.
Copyright © 2006 Peter Michael Gothard
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
What to play this week
Remake of an old NES classic action/puzzle game. Guide the 2 penguins to opposite sides of the cage. Also has a great level editor so you can create your own levels.
MORE INFO AND THE DOWNLOAD HERE
A remake of Sega's original 1982 arcade game Pengo.
This updated version includes power-ups, a combo system and more enemies.
MORE INFO AND THE DOWNLOAD HERE
I've mentioned this before in the blog so if you haven't played it yet, you really should do. Based on "Secret Agent" from 1991.
MORE INFO AND THE DOWNLOAD HERE
Sunday, April 15, 2007
Review - Crusaders of Space 2
You could say it’s a scrolling shooter – except it doesn’t scroll. Perhaps a Space Invaders inspiration? Except…enemies don’t so much “invade” as hang back in constant long-range attack.
Basically, it’s something of a hybrid concept in space shooters – a fixed-screen battle with scroller sensibilities, if you will. The player’s ship is only moveable left and right so, hemmed in at the very bottom of the screen, the need for accuracy (and, often, just pure luck) is paramount as streams of bullets flash across the play area, only avoidable by a quick flick of the mouse in one of the two possible directions.
Mouse control, in fact, is another interesting factor in Crusaders of Space 2’s success, allowing subtlety or rapidity of motion as and when required, with a real fluidity of movement on the ship at all times. Further, with the only other commands in the game being firing of the primary laser weapon and a secondary missile, the entire game can be controlled with the convenience of the mouse, making piloting the ship such a delightful no-brainer one can quickly commit all concentration to the battle in hand.
And what a battle. Beginning with little more than a single shot pop gun and weak missiles, one wonders how on earth this game is to be survived, as barrages of enemies swoop in to take increasingly merciless pot shots at your lone, underpowered craft. Progress is slow and painstaking until finally - and delightfully - after five levels or so, another peculiarity of this game is presented – the upgrade system.
Imagine the usual R-Type style weapon upgrades except with permanent effect (remaining even after the loss of a life), and a choice of what to add next via an “upgrade points” system. Alawar have added such a range of choice in upgrades that there truly are defined routes through these decisions: should you upgrade weapons first, and if so, should this be the power of the standard straight forward laser, or extra (but weaker) diagonal shots instead? Or should you use points to upgrade the ship’s armour capacity (slightly useless since in-game armour bonuses are so rare) but in doing so unlock the eventual health regeneration feature (invaluable)? Alawar have clearly taken a nod from RPG titles such as Final Fantasy X, and combining this “levelling up” philosophy with a retro-styled space shooter is nothing short of genius, adding immense replay value as well as the satisfaction of total control over your playing style.
The graphics and sound are as polished as the concept. Sumptuous, well-rendered backdrops of space, landscapes and eerie bionic machinery perfectly compliment professional, realistically animated enemy sprites. The player ship itself is a highly detailed polygonal structure which even tilts subtly left and right as it moves. A 16 million colour palette is used to the full, with glorious streams of purple, green, red and yellow laser fire burning and glowing their way across the screen, overlapping to create new and wonderful hues. Explosion sounds are meaty and boisterous, ammo powerups engage with a satisfying “ker-klunk”, and all this is backed up with a quality techno-based soundtrack that, while only offering a few tunes, is pleasant enough to provide satisfying, unobtrusive battle accompaniment.
Criticisms? Often it’s necessary to play ten or more levels before the game autosaves, and with something as inherently “pick up and play” as a space shooter, this necessity to put in the hours can sometimes frustrate. There’s also the rather odd fact that, though there are six ships to collect as the game advances, each vessel differs only in aesthetics. Though it’s possible to select any of the available ships at each visit to the upgrade screen, they all handle in exactly the same way, with no variation in speed, weapons load-out or defence capability. Regardless, it’s still pleasant to change once in a while, but one wonders if Alawar originally had more involved plans for the extra ships.
In summary, Crusaders of Space 2 holds true to traditional space shooter ethics, combining sub-genres with relative ease. Add to this a twist of RPG player development, with graphics and sound of the highest quality, and Alawar are onto a real winner. Most definitely recommended.
Score - 9/10
Friday, April 13, 2007
All New Gibbage.co.uk
A quote from the site:
From now on, every penny of profit this site gains will be plugged directly into funding future independent game projects. That doesn’t mean me hacking together some rubbish code while slurping on caviar you’ve kindly provided, that means hiring professional artists and coders to make interesting, high-quality, funny, funky and brilliant games for you to enjoy.
The sort of games independent developers should be making, instead of endless grotty Match-3s.
What that means, eventually, is me ringing up a struggling band of developers somewhere and saying “Hey! I like the look of what you guys are doing over there. It’s fresh and funky and innovative and exciting. Here’s an envelope stuffed full of cash. Go full-time Indie and do something amazing with it.”
Now that sounds like an excellent idea to me and Dan must be applauded for setting it all up. Why not help out all Indie Developers and buy a T-shirt or even donate some money to the cause.
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
What's new on Retro 247 Games
Just a quick run down of all the new stuff added to Retro 247 Games over the last week.
In the Online Retro Arcade we have Kung Fu, Flash Sonic and Lunar Lander.
In the Windows game section we've got Scavenger and Rage of Magic II.
In the Mac game section we've also added Rage of Magic II
In the Freeware game section we've got Bernard & Hank: Springtime Again and Swarm Racer
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
The general idea is to take your ship into the giant space hulk Icarus and get the key orbs to the sector exit. The game starts off easy enough and introduces you to the different elements/enemies at a managable rate. The game is also story driven which works well and never gets in the way of the action.
There are plenty of different game modes to play with. I started with the Easy mode which turned gravity off and gave me unlimited fuel. When playing like this the game reminded me of Alien Breed. However, play the game with gravity on and limited fuel and it's a whole new ball game. It's harder to get to grips with but in no time you'll master it.
More info about Scavenger including screenshots and the demo can be found Here
Monday, April 09, 2007
Superior Interactive have just posted some new screenshots of their 2 up and coming games Stryker's Run and Quest. Both games are for the PC.
Read more on the Superior Interactive Blog
Thursday, April 05, 2007
Review of Bonbon Quest
This game seems rather generic until the realisation hits that, a lá the original Mario Brothers or Bubble Bobble, the screen doesn't have boundaries – basically, if you walk off the left, you come back in on the right, and similarly with the top/bottom.
This means that, as well as engaging in tricky head-bouncing navigation of enemy-infested clusters of sweets, it’s always necessary to sit back and consider how to access some seemingly unreachable areas. Often, by falling off the bottom of the screen, you can reach an area up top, or bouncing off an enemy off right can, if timed correctly, end up in being catapulted to a platform up left. It’s compulsive stuff, and many levels take the system into fine consideration with some devious tests of skill.
To match its sweet-collecting premise, the game looks and sounds suitably kiddified, with huge, nicely animated sprites and colourful backdrops working together to create a comical Halloween theme. Skeletons, ghosts, bats and spiders all trundle around on fixed courses, patrolling the large amounts of sweets, collection of which is required to complete a level. Even platform game clichés are nicely affected by the spooky atmosphere, with pumpkins acting as springboards to higher platforms and cauldrons teleporting Artemus and Hannah around the level. Mysterious, but strangely upbeat, background music punctuates the theme of each new world, ranging from castles to forests and graveyards. Everything just oozes cute, and is sure to appeal particularly to younger gamers.
Bonbon Quest is a solid, no-nonsense piece of platforming “collect ‘em up”, offering a generally slow-paced blend of thought and action. With more than enough levels to keep a player occupied, and a constantly fresh challenge as the levels become more complex, the process never becomes truly tired. While originality is perhaps questionable, Bonbon Quest reproduces a classic platform approach with relatively modern quality. With its simple gameplay, entertaining and bold graphics and nicely pitched difficulty level, this game seems a perfect choice for the younger gamer, though that isn’t to say everybody shouldn’t give it a look.
Download the demo version of the game Here
Copyright © 2006 Peter Michael Gothard
Monday, April 02, 2007
A brand new show will be coming to Channel 146 called Sumo Gamer.
The show delves in to the world of gaming, with reviews and news on consoles and up coming games, and much much more. There's also going to be a Retro Gaming section.
More details can be found at www.myspace.com/sumogamer