150 SNES games reviewed

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Re: 150 SNES games reviewed

Post by kerr9000 on Fri Aug 07, 2015 5:02 pm

What with Rare Replay having come out just recently celebrating the companies long history I thought it would be a good time to review a SNES game made by them. Now there are no SNES games on Rare replay with 3 of them it is because Nintendo owns the rights to them these are the Donkey Kong Country games. Now I already reviewed the first Donkey Kong Country so now I guess it is time to talk about its first sequel.



So Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest or as it is known as in Japan Super Donkey Kong 2: Dixie & Diddy was a 1995 adventure platforming video game developed by Rare and published by Nintendo for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. It was released in November 1995 in Japan and America coming here mid-December. Now I wish I could tell a heart-warming tale of my youth in how I waited for this game with bated breath or how I got it and my friends got it and we all played it together but the real truth is it largely passed me by. There used to be a great game shop in my small town and the guy who owned it had a Japanese Super Nintendo Television, it was literally a TV with a cart slot in the top and he had the Japanese version of this in there on it trying to encourage sales, I used to fetch him coffee and check on competitors prices for him and in return he gave me enough cash to get myself a coffee as well and let me play on the games. So I played enough of it there to know that it was good but it launched just after the original PlayStation and everyone was saving and scrambling trying to get their hands on one of those.

It is a shame when the twilight games for one system get shadowed by the arrival of new technology but part of the world of Video games is built on this continual technological progress. I eventually got my own copy of Donkey Kong country 2 as a boxed NTSC American game along with American copies of the other two Donkey Kong Country games but what I used for the purpose of this review was a loose Japanese Cart I picked up about 4 months ago.
A s the title suggests, this is really Diddy Kong’s game, in fact you can’t even be Donkey Kong in it, he has been kidnapped and the plot of the game is that Diddy along with a female companion called Dixie is on a quest to rescue him. 

The gameplay is pretty much the same as in the original but most players will notice that the levels soon increase in difficulty, this would make it a bit tough as a starting point for newcomers but it is ideal for those who have played the original as it lets you sort of carry on enjoying the gameplay without you having to be babied through the start of the game. Diddy Kong’s Quest is pretty much equal in terms of its graphics and audio to its predecessor but really the first one was pushing the machine hard so it would be foolish to have expected any great leaps. The atmospheric orchestrated soundtrack returns, providing catchy and eerie tunes alike. The music is beautiful, I cannot fault it even in the slightest and the graphics are very detailed, with brilliant charter animation and design which is absolutely full of character.

Much like in the first game you get to switch between the games two characters. Diddy is the quicker character, but Dixie has the ability to glide in the air by using her pigtails, which begs the question how in the heck does that work? There are still animals to ride, things to collect and bonus stages to enjoy. If you have played the first game then you know exactly what you are getting yourself into. 

To be honest I really like this game and would have no trouble recommending it, it is a lot better than some of the PlayStation games which people were going wild for at its time of release. A lot of us would probably have been better off enjoying this and biding our time waiting a little longer for the PlayStation but it’s easy to say that in hindsight. I would however recommend the original first unless you already own that as it is a much better starting point and would most probably be a great deal easier to find. If forced to give this game a score I would give it an 8 out of 10, it’s a sold good looking chunk of platforming but it really is a typical by the numbers sequel.

OK so if you want to buy it how much of an investment are you looking at? Well it’s on the Wii U Virtual console for the usual price (I think it’s about £6.50 it’s been awhile since I have purchased a SNES game on there) which if you just want to play it is a fair figure for a great game like this. If you want a real pal cartridge the price for a copy seems to start around £18 but in some cases can be much higher, I have seen actual retro stores try to get up to £40 for a loose cart, boxed versions will usually start around £40 with the condition and price varying widely. If you want to save some cash but still play it on a Super Nintendo and can play imports I have frequently seen Japanese copies on eBay under the name Donkey Kong Country 2 including postage go for around £6 to £7 and with it being a cartoon platformer there is no real language barrier this would probably be my recommendation.
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Re: 150 SNES games reviewed

Post by kerr9000 on Sat Aug 08, 2015 9:43 pm

Game 81



Ok so I kind of feel like I should have tackled this game earlier so I could pace out the WWF reviews but oh well it’s a bit late now (WWF the former name of what is now known as the WWE, World Wrestling Entertainment). So WWF Super WrestleMania is a multiplatform wrestling video game based on the World Wrestling Federation it was released in 1992 for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis. The game was developed by a company called Sculptured Software and was released on the Super Nintendo by the infamous LJN.

Sculptured Software Inc. was a video game developer based in the Salt Lake City, Utah metropolitan area. There area of specialisation seemed to lay in the field of porting games to differing platforms. They were responsible for at least 8 wrestling games as far as I know with the last being WWF Warzone on the PS1. They were responsible for two other 16-bit WWF games, WWF Royal Rumble and WWF Raw, which I will hopefully talk about in the future.
Now I am going to talk about one of my first and biggest issues with this game. Despite being pretty much the same game on both the SNES and Mega Drive with minor differences someone decided that they would give the games different roster’s, I am not sure if there was any real reason for this, maybe they thought it might inspire some people to buy both?

The SNES roster is a little bit larger, with ten wrestlers compared to the mega drives eight. The only wrestlers in both versions are Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage and Ted DiBiase. The SNES version also includes Jake Roberts, The Undertaker, Sid Justice, The Legion of Doom, and The Natural Disasters. The Mega drive version has The Ultimate Warrior, Papa Shango, Irwin R. Schyster, The British Bulldog, and Shawn Michaels. Yes old games didn’t have the dizzying amount of wrestlers you would find in a modern game but why oh why split the number between platforms, surly if you have done the work on the character it wouldn’t be that hard to have them in both versions would it?

It is not like there is mountains and mountains of effort made in making each wrestler feel different, sure they might look different but all wrestlers share the same set of standard wrestling moves slams, suplexes, dropkicks, clotheslines etcetera. There is only a few modes basically a one-on-one mode, tag team mode, and four-on-four Survivor Series elimination style match mode. 

It needs to be remembered that when this came out Wrestling was at an all-time high, the crowd for SummerSlam 1992 was one of the biggest in WWF history. Hopes were high as well due to the fact that we had been treated to WWF Superstars the arcade game followed with the release of WWF WrestleFest in 1991 which were absolutely awesome arcade games. We all felt that with the added power of our 16bit consoles in comparison to the 8bit machines we had left behind we could get something which would not be too far away from these great games and that we would be able to remake some of the best matches we had witnessed recently.

Graphics wise by now days standards the graphics are not up to much but I guess for the time it came out really they were not bad at all the wrestlers look like they're real-life counterparts and everything moves around how you would hope for. As far as sound goes well there really is not much sound, there is the title screen music, and the wrestlers theme music and then the odd grunts and groan. I suppose the best thing you can say is it serves its purpose.

I have made this point already but it needs saying again every wrestler has exactly the same moves as all the rest, there is no reason to have a favourite beyond the fact it is the one you liked to watch as a kid. There are no specials or finishers. Beyond this it needs stating that the way you perform the moves is through button mashing, he who mashes quickest wins, which I guess is not the worst way to handle things but it does mean you will batter the heck out of your pads if you have too many heavy button-mashing. I am not criticising the button mashing blaming it for the game I blame the fact that it all just feels a little soulless, it lacks the sense of fun and tension which you got from the arcade WWF games I mentioned earlier.

Would I recommend this game? Not really I would give it a 4 out of 10. Maybe once this was pretty much the best you would get on a console when it came to wrestling, well at least without importing or waiting till latter in the consoles life span. I am sure rather than spending the £7 this game tends to go for as a loose cart online you would be much better served going in to a shop and looking for a modern wrestling game with at least 3 times the characters, additions we now have like create a wrestler, either that or look into a none WWF related game like Saturday night slam masters or import a copy of fire pro wrestling if you want a good Snes wrestling game and don’t mind paying a little more or going to a little more effort.
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Re: 150 SNES games reviewed

Post by kerr9000 on Thu Aug 13, 2015 3:59 pm

Game 82






Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble! Or as it is known as in Japan Super Donkey Kong 3: Mystery of Kremis Island is surprise surprise a platforming video game developed by Rare and published by Nintendo for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in 1996. The game was the final instalment in the Donkey Kong Country series to appear on that console and it very much sticks to the formula set by the first game. The game was also ported to the Game Boy Advance in 2005 but it had a different soundtrack and added features, I guess this makes it one of the games which added to the SNES based library on that machine making people often refer to it as a sort of portable SNES. Still I am glad it got rereleased like this because I don’t think it got the attention it deserved. I would defiantly argue that Sales of the game were hurt by the release of the Nintendo 64 console, which came out a few months before this game. Sure the original Playstation came out around the time of the second game but that was a rival machine and some people loved Nintendo so much that they wouldn’t jump ship, but this game launch alongside their own ‘’superior hardware’’ this resulted in this game having even lower sales than the previous entry. I must admit though even though it didn’t do the numbers I think it deserves it did far better than one might expect and Nintendo could defiantly consider it a success.
I have to admit I don’t have a big story about how I came to play this game. I don’t think I even had a go on it at release. None of my friends got it, none of the independent shops I knew were letting people play it, heck most of them didn’t even seem to be stocking it. I wasn’t pre-occupied with a Nintendo 64 either as I didn’t get my first one of those till over a year after release and then it was a second hand machine which I sold about another year latter to help fund my second PC for doing college work on (I did get another one not to long after). I guess I was pre-occupied with my PlayStation, I think around this time I would have been hammering Tekken 2 and Kingsfield (This is a game made by the people responsible for dark souls games and can be seen as something of a predecessor to them). I got my first copy of Donkey Kong country 3 as an American version long alongside American version of the rest of the trilogy. I am trying to pin down exactly when in my mind but it’s difficult, I know they were a Christmas present and I remember the gamecube being the console under my main television. My SNES was set up upstairs and I had gotten a good number of retro games that Christmas. Once dinner had been taken care of, I had played with my daughter and finally put her to bed for the night I went and started to play through the games and this session would be my first proper experience of the third Donkey Kong country game.
So in this game Dixie Kong has got a promotion from sidekick status and is the main hero, and her sidekick is her baby cousin named Kiddy Kong. This is something I always found a little weird with the Donkey Kong country games. Mario is the hero in the first Mario, the hero in the second the hero in more or less every game only going missing or getting captured for strange side projects, if he is missing Luigi fills in but is automatically demoted the second his brother is back. In the Donkey Kong games in an actual numbered sequel Donkey Kong is gone and his side kick has become the hero, in a numbered sequel it blows my mind. So you take that knowledge and then when you hear that a third one is coming you sort of go Oh the Kong man will be back and in charge and maybe just to add to it and go one bigger one better he will have Diddy and Dixie tag along. What we got though was a promoted sidekick’s sidekick now becoming the star of the 3RD game with a sidekick of her own. I never really got the Dixie character I know a lot of people complained that Diddy was a product of board meetings on throwing in something that was hip and cool at the time, a cap wearing boom box carrying, dancing down with the kids walking promotional tool and that might be how he started his life but within a few levels of the first Donkey Kong Country he had found a place in my heart, the way I saw him was as a youngster following around and trying to emulate the much bigger older Donkey Kong, he was the shortround to Donkeys Indiana Jones so to speak. Dixie felt like hey lets have a female Kong so we aren’t seen as sexist and girls might like this, maybe other people feel different to me on this and I guess beyond a mild annoyance it doesn’t really alter the game really. Kiddy Kong also feels a little barrel scrappy to me to be fair. Personally I had kind of hoped that they would have gone a little bigger with things, that we would have had some Super Mario 2 (Mario USA) going on with like 4 characters you can select from all with their strengths and weaknesses, so you’d choose 2 to take on your adventure.
OK I am very aware that I have gone a little negative here but let’s just stop and admit that the first game in particularly shocked the living heck out of us all, people assumed it was headed for the N64 and didn’t think the humble SNES could handle something like that, so it’s a bit negative of me to expect giant leaps. What we did get was a series which consistently provided a high level of entertainment and tried to provide more and more content despite the fact it must have been pushing the ever living crap out of the system.
So let’s get on to the positives. The level designs in Donkey Kong country 3 give players more opportunity to interact with the environment than the layouts in the previous games did.
Sure the game still contains the standard mix of platform jumping and enemy killing, rope climbing and barrel blasting, walls and floors to smash, but now there are also switches to pull, rocket barrels to ride in and other little added bits. There are a few forced scrolling stages too, involving mine carts, sleds etcetera which add a great change of pace every now and then. Riding on top of and transforming into animal friends once again comes into play. Rideable animal buddies are once again in the game but there are some new faces added here. One area where I would argue this game improves upon is the bosses they just seem to be that little bit more creativity than those in the previous DKC games did, I would also say in some cases the way you dispatch them is also more interesting but I don’t want to give spoilers here as more people really need to give this third entry a try. It can be argued that the changes I have mentioned on top of the already high quality found across the whole series make this third instalment the best of the trilogy even if it is nothing much more than a cookie cutter sequel with the expected added layer of chocolate sprinkles.
The game has amazing graphics, great sound, bags full of replay value, both in the way there is lots to collect but also in the way that it is so fun to play you won’t care if you have finished it before or not. Do I recommend it? Well that depends do you own the original Donkey Kong country? If you don’t own that game then it is the perfect starting point to this adventure and you can most likely pick it up far cheaper than this game. If you own or have finished that game though and want more then YES get this game, and grab number 2 while you are at it. It is important to mention that the GBA version does have added levels and features so if you are a GBA fan you might want to consider that version. Personally I am glad to own the SNES one as its great to have all 3 games across the same platform. If you want this game it is available on the Wii U for the usual price of a SNES virtual console game but if you want a cart based copy then you will be looking at about £18 to £25 pounds for just the cart (I have seen it as high as £55 in some retro shops) looking at price upwards of £40 for a boxed pal cart. If you have the ability to play imports then the cheapest way to go is to go for a Japanese loose cart of the game which you should be able to find for around £7 on ebay including postage (although people do try and get the same kind of £20 price for these sometimes).
 

I do wonder if demand for this and the other SNES Rare games will increase now with Rare Replay wetting peoples appetites it wouldn't be a bad thing if that game encourages people to look for the Rare games that didn't make it on there for various copyright and space issues. I also hope that the Number One chart position Rare Replay hit along with their general high quality output in the past will give the company a rebirth with Microsoft treating them a bit more seriously and investing. I know a lot of people who made Rare into Rare have long since left but I don't think the spirit of Rare is dead, even if it is treading water on life support at this moment in time, let’s all hope Rare Replays sales can be the start of an attempt at resuscitation.
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Re: 150 SNES games reviewed

Post by kerr9000 on Fri Aug 14, 2015 8:14 pm

SNES GAME 83




Toys was a 1992 fantasy comedy film directed by Barry Levinson and starring Robin Williams one of the in my opinion most talented comedians people have had the pleasure of seeing on film yet even though it hurts me to criticise something staring the man the film was pants. This is not just my opinion though the thing tanked at the box office at the time of its release, despite having not only Williams but an impressive cast in general and a forty three million dollar budget.  The film was criticised for a lack of plot focus and poor direction even to the point that its director was nominated for a Razzie Award for Worst Director. The real thing it proved though was that despite his amazing talent Robin Williams could be in a flop and that his raw talent was not enough to turn any old mess in to gold.

Now it is a sort of unwritten rule in the world of video games and to be honest this was even more true back in the SNES days that if it is a movie license then nine times out of ten it is going to be a steaming bag of manure. So before this game came out no one expected anything of it after all it was a video game not only based on a film but based on a bad film.

So Toys was an Action game based on the film, developed by Imagineering Inc which was an in house develop for the publishing company Absolute Entertainment. It was released in 1993. In general all the company had ever released on Nintendo platforms was a bunch of games that either had received either very mixed or very mediocre reviews  including a bunch of Bart Simpson based NES games and TV quiz based NES games so as far as I remember expectations were absolutely in the gutter. This being true I avoided it like the plague, I remember seeing it on store shelves for £40 and then less and less and less until it was like £5 in bargain bins and I still didn’t try it. Sure at this very moment I am considering buying one of the apparently worst PS4 games released so far for £5 to see if it’s as bad as people claim but back when the SNES was out I was having to use my pocket money to get games or I was having to ask for them for Christmas, £5 I would have spent on this would have been £5 I couldn’t put towards a game of some actual worth. So here I am now trying this game for the first time years and years after its release. It could be argued that I am going to judge it on nowadays standards as opposed to based on how it stands when compared to games of its time but trust me I will keep what things were like back at the time very much in mind.
Ok so popping it in the first thing you are met with is the intro sequence which is nothing special at all it literally just tells you the story with blinding white and light blue text which seems to come out of a static elephant statue as words written in water. Now one thing they did right was to not try to make the whole film in to a game scene for scene, some parts of a film just wouldn’t really translate to a game as it stands the game basically starts in the last third of the film with you infiltrating the Zevo Toy Factory that is being run by General Leland Zevo.
The kindest thing I can say about the graphics is that they are extremely average for when this game came out, sure I might just have played Donkey Kong Country 3 one of the finest looking game on the SNES but don’t worry I popped a few games in the slot between this and that to cleanse my pallet and still came away with average being the nicest thing I could say. The music's also can kindly be described as average but it is also totally 100% forgettable. The sound effects are best explained with the term mixed bag, sure some of them are kind of nice but others are just plain awful. The controls don’t actually feel bad at all, which is what I usually find is the thing which makes for a bad game. I mean if it’s good to play and can hook you in then average or even bad graphics and sound can be forgiven and/or ignored. 

The basic idea of the game is that you use happy fun children’s toys to try and attack and beat war based toys, so you’re shooting at tanks and helicopters with an elephant head peanut firing gun, or sending spinning tops or toy robot ducks at them. This could be fun, I mean look at other games such as Zombies Ate my neighbours were a wide variety of weapons all have different strengths and weaknesses, but the truth is all of these weapons seem to do nothing to the enemy, it really does feel like you’re throwing peanuts at a tank and hoping it will somehow blow up. In fact on my first go the only thing that seemed to die from my attacks was the walking bombs. On my second go I did get a little bit better, I collected more types of toys and worked out where to stand so I could hit things more than they hit me and I did manage to kill a jeep or two but the cameras you need to get rid of are surrounded by tanks and I literally used everything I had to try and destroy a tank and got nowhere. I even tried to attack the thing I am certain is the camera in case I could just run in destroy it and jog on before the tanks could kill me and that didn’t work. I actually cannot make any progress in this game at all and this sucks the very fun out of what in theory could have been a good fun game.

I have to score this game pretty low and I would not recommend it to anyone unless they are a diehard collector who just wants everything and then I would say make sure you get it cheap.  It doesn’t feel as broken as other bad games I have played like Ultraman and The Rocketeer but I think I actually got less fun out of it and was more frustrated, rocketeer might have been a mess but with effort I made some progress. Bearing all of this in mind and the fact that the main purpose of a game is entertainment I feel I have to give this a score of 2 out of 10. If you’re a glutton for punishment or a collector the cheapest I can find it for online at this very moment in time is £10 for a cart. I paid £4 for my copy, £4 with free postage complete and in fairly good condition my fiancee actually helped me purchase it so here is just a small acknowledgement and shout out for the magnificent lady who helps and supports me with my game collecting and associated hobbies. The copy I got was advertised as an NTSC version which I think might have helped but when it arrived it was PAL. Do I regret buying it? Not really I like to see what exists for a machine both good and bad and at least now I can have my own opinion rather than having to just say ‘’well I have heard its bad’’.

If you want a fun game based around toys then I would strongly recommend Toy Soldiers on the Xbox 360 live arcade which sells for the excellent price of £6.75 , it also has two sequels the first of which I have also tried and loved and the second of which I am strongly considering purchasing. I recommend you look the series up.
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Re: 150 SNES games reviewed

Post by kerr9000 on Sun Aug 16, 2015 10:56 pm

SNES Game review 84



I didn’t own a NES on release for many reasons, but I did get to play on one now and then as my older brother’s friend owned one. At the time when the NES was about I was playing on a combination of 128K Spectrum and Atari 2600. I would put a game to load on the spectrum and play the Atari until it managed to load, this was largely because the spectrum games where better but Atari’s cartridges where more instantaneous. So when I got a megadrive and then a SNES it was amazing to have such an increase in quality alongside that instant ability to play. I had played the NES Mario games but I had never owned them. So when Super Mario All-Stars was announced it was an excellent chance to get four games in one go on one cartridge. I did later get myself a NES and begin collecting carts but that’s another story.

At the time I had played Super Mario brothers and Super Mario brothers 3 but I had as far as I can remember never played Mario 2, on top of that there was Super Mario Bros the lost levels which hadn’t been released in this country before. Amongst my friends that was the part of the package which attracted the most hype, the release of a never before released in the UK Mario game, a game which was supposed to be so hard it had been deemed beyond are abilities. By this point we had all beat the living heck out of Super Mario World the SNES launch title but we couldn’t get enough of it, we all tried to be the first one to unlock every level, the person to have the quickest time in a certain level, we would all find every way possible in which to push ourselves and to challenge our friends. So even before this game came out we were all positively itching to get our hands on this cart to prove our skills to be the first one to conquer it. I find it amusing that one of the key things that made us want this collection was the very reason we never got Lost Worlds in the first place, its brutal difficulty.

I am sure that most people have heard this story before and know that the Super Mario Bros 2 we got was a retrofitted version of a Japanese Famicom (NES) game called Doki Doki Panic. If I was to try and review and rate the Lost worlds on its own it would be a somewhat difficult thing to do. It is at points challenging to a brutal level, to a level where it is almost at times no longer fun. If it had been released now I think it would have been called the Dark Souls of the Mario universe. Also by modern standards this game is almost more of a level pack/piece of DLC than a new game. Even taking it on its own basis and reviewing it as a game for when it came out I think I would end up giving it a 7 out of 10 and saying if you love a challenge add a few points to the score and run and grab a copy, if you hate hard games knock a few off and run away. As it stands though as a piece of a bigger whole I think that it is simply amazing. You can start on the original Super Mario Brothers that most know and love, you can enjoy that grit your teeth on it and then if you feel that your skills have gotten so good you could beat anything then you have Lost Levels to get stuck in to.

Although Super Mario Bros wasn’t the first Mario Bros game it was the first one which held the basics we now consider a staple of the Mario series, scrolling levels, mushrooms and fire flowers, jumping on top of enemies to kill them and jumping on to the flag poles at the end of levels. The music in the game is unforgettable, the main theme is one of those songs which lives in the collective consciousness of most games around my ag, it was and still is a fabulous achievement as a game, some old games I pick up now days and they have not aged well, and while this title might look a little rough around the edges it still plays like an absolute champion, everything else falls by the wayside and it just flys on its pure playability. Everything you learn in the original Super Mario Bros game will see you through most Mario based games. The two games together Super Mario bros and the Lost Levels make the perfect one two punch combo and that’s before you remember that this only accounts for half of the games on this cartridge.

I think more or less everyone had played on Super Mario Bros 3 on a NES and had been amazed, I remember being shocked at what Nintendo managed to get out of the NES with the game, in fact ever since the release of Mario world the debate had raged which was better Mario 3 or Mario World. A port of Mario bros 3 on its own probably would have sold carts to people who had missed the NES and had only got on board the great starship Nintendo with the release of the Super Nintendo and yet it was here as a part of a collection of games. The game is incredibly fun, the introduction of a map screen letting you work out your way through the road would be a staple this title added to the franchise but the game was also the king of the power up. Before Mario had been able to have his fire flower and invincibility star but here he also had the racoon suit, the frog suit, the hammer bros suit, the tanooki suit the P wing. The introduction of the Koopa kids/generals also helped add character to the game. This game sat alongside Super Mario Bros helps to show the evolution of the series. I would argue that this game alone printed on a SNES cart would be worthy of a solid 8 minimum, there are many SNES titles that can’t even live up to part of this game and here it is in a collection.

Then there is Super Mario Bros 2 also known as Super Mario Bros USA. This is the game that Europe and America were given as Mario 2. Like lost levels playing this on my SNES was my first experience of this game. Super Mario Bros and Super Mario Bros 2 had been at times included with a NES so if you knew someone with a NES the odds were high that they would have at least one of these games, this was never to my knowledge the case with Mario Bros 2 so really only people who had gone out of their way to get it had it. All of my friends and people I know knew before the release of Super Mario All Stars that our version of Super Mario Bros 2 was the game Nintendo had blown us off with, the game they had faked for us because of their view of our joypad incompetence, it was viewed to some degree by us as an insult in cartridge form. I am sure others who had sampled it on the NES felt differently about it. From my point of view most of the people who had gotten Super Mario bros 2 in the UK on the NES had not known that it was a different game to the one in Japan, as far as they knew it was Just Mario 2. It was various magazines reporting on the upcoming All Stars Compilation which had explained the origins of the Lost Levels to us and guided us towards some of our feelings.

So what do I think of Super Mario Bros 2/ Mario USA? Well it took it virtually no time at all to grow on me. I started very much with an attitude of ‘’well I have paid for it might as well try it’’ to an attitude of I love this game. It had so much cool stuff going for it the choice of four different characters who all felt different, the fact that it’s the only game in the collection which doesn’t really feel the same, this made it a breath of fresh air. It was cool to have different enemies who were not in the other games and to have a boss who was not Bowser. Yeah it feels a bit weird how you don’t kill things by jumping on their head, all of the vegetable throwing and the sort of Arabian feel to it but I find all of these things eventually become strengths, it is the kooky fun cousin to the regular Mario games, in some ways it might feel less polished and refined than Mario 3 but it has its own style and sense of fun. I think if I had been a NES owner and I could have picked my own Mario bros 2 between this and the lost levels then this would have been the game I would have picked.

Placed together these 4 games make one of the most awesome SNES carts you can find. Super Mario Bros 1 and 3 provide some of the most playable platformers known to mankind, games which have aged like fine wine, Lost levels provides a huge challenge which will either drive you to madness of let the most diehard of players test their skills and Super Mario Bros 2 is the quirky fun different game which you can play when you fancy a change. I cannot recommend this cart highly enough. I would give it a perfect 10 out of 10. I cannot see how you could really do better than this. If you wanted to get this game online then you would be looking at around £15 which I feel is a very good price. I have seen boxed copies go for around £40 if you like to have your games like that. It was also released for the Wii which you can find for as little as £15 sometimes boxed complete if you’re lucky. Either way it’s a brilliant collection.
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Re: 150 SNES games reviewed

Post by kerr9000 on Tue Aug 18, 2015 5:29 pm



SNES Game Review 85  Ranma 1/2

OK so I will apologise in advance, as is often my style this review will be a mix of review, video game history lesson and my memories. So video games have also been a big part of my life, they were when I was a child and they are now but they are not the only thing I am into.  When I was about 4 my Dad started buying these video cassettes of Japanese cartoons for me. He knew that I was crazy in to Transformers so he went to try and find me other things like them what he found me was Grandizer,Guyking, StarAvengers and Danguard Ace. I watched these cartoons and loved them to this day I still do so when I was older and everyone started to get into Manga Home Videos like Dominion Tank police and such I was in my element. We all got into anime films and series and one of the ones I found and particularly enjoyed was Ranma ½.  So when I came across a pal cart with Ranma ½ wrote on it on a flea market I was incredibly excited. I never expected to see a game based on one of the anime I had been watching, I had never seen the game on the shelves in any store, never heard anyone talk about it so it came as a huge shock. I paid for it straight away without trying to ask if they would take less or without working out how I would get through the rest of the week if I spent all of my pocket money in one go. The answer was very simple I needed this game and if I needed any more money for anything else then I’d have to pocket my school dinner money, go without eating at school and tell my parents I had, yes I did this quiet often.

It would be an understatement if I said that when I got home I excitedly popped the game into my Super Nintendo, and played it for a bit. The market I used to get some of my games from was held on a Thursday night, it started at 6pm and I literally ran home and put the game in my SNES and played it none stop until my parents came in my room and told me to turn the damn machine off and get some sleep as it was a school night, this was around 11.30.
I guess this statement in and of itself makes it sound like the game is something great and well it kind of is and it kind of is not. The game is just a standard fighter game in some ways it is sort of just another Street Fighter 2 clone but this time one with Ranma characters. I suppose what you think of this game depends on your tolerance for street fighter clones and also your attitude to Ranma and its characters.

I was shocked that there was a Ranma game on the SNES but the truth is in Japan there were actually 5. The first was a game called Ranma ½: Neighborhood Combat, the game we got was actually a direct sequel to this game. So Did America get the first one? Yes and No Combat Chapter was altered by Irem, it had all of the Ranma characters stripped out of it, the graphics and audio altered and became a game called Street Combat. Now I don’t own Street Combat so I won’t be reviewing it I have however played it and it is dire. To the best of my knowledge it never came to Europe. Japan also got a sequel to the game I am reviewing the Sequel was called Ranma ½: Super-Skill Wild Dance Chapter, this was actually supposed to be released in the USA and possibly Europe afterwards under the title of   Ranma ½ Anything Goes Martial Arts, however the company that owned the rights for it went bust leading to its cancellation. So all we ever really got was part 2 of a 3 part fighting franchise (Japan also got a Ranma RPG and a Ranma Puzzle game).

OK well back to the game. This game looks great. The characters are all brilliant sprites who are instantly recognisable and look just like they do in the anime. It goes deeper then this though the graphics are full of brilliant little touches, you can see the wind blowing in the one of the female characters hair, you can also see leaves moving, light blinking all of which adds so wonderfully to the atmosphere.  The music really fits in well with the game and its graphics, it also I believe really in the correct style for the anime this is based on. The music is really bouncy and up tempo. It really sets the tone for what is a humorous fun game. Every level has its own song adding to the variety. On top of this there are the sound effects. Just like you would expect all of the actions such as punches and kicks are met with the sort of sounds you would expect and on top of this most specials are  accompanied  by what sounds like a  Japanese voice actor screaming the attack name in pretty broken English, which I actually considering the origin of the source material love.

As for the game itself well you get a choice of characters, sure there is not loads of them but they all do tend to feel unique, there are 10 characters to start with and 2 boss characters one of which is unlockable. Each character has their own reason for fighting which will be explained with text and pictures after you pick them. I think this is great as even if you haven’t watched or read any Ranma it helps draw you in and make you feel a connection to the characters, you want to play your way through the fights to see what happens to them, to see if they get a happy ending or not. This actually gives you a reason to try and get better with the characters that you are not that keen on and so adds to the replay value.

The default controls are a little strange, especially given the fact that there is a jump button instead of just pressing up, this can be changed in the options but if you want to change it then you will need to do so every time you put the game on. The characters are very responsive and the attacks are easy enough to do. The attacks are a little limited in comparison to something like Street fighter 2 as you basically only have a strong attack and weak attack button. Like mortal kombat blocking is assigned to a button as opposed to just pressing back. This does make this a somewhat simple fighter but the game does benefit from the way it sticks so well to its license and makes the most of it. It’s a fun game which although it is not going to change the world is worthwhile if you like fighters or if you like Ranma. This is a game on its own account not some awful street fighter 2 clone.

I am really struggling to give this game a score, it has its strengths and its weaknesses to the point that it has made me bump out my first quarter score so here it goes 6.75, it is a fun game, it’s not a bad fighter but it’s not brilliant, if you want a fighter which is not a Street Fighter, a Mortal Kombat or a Killer instinct you could do a lot worse than this. So if you do want this, well the best way I have seen to get it would be from ebay, the copies I have seen selling in England have been most often ridiculously expensive for what it is but if you look at pal copes from other European countries you can get it for about £15 including delivery. I guess if it’s worth it or not comes down to how much you like fighters and if you’re looking for a new one you don’t have.
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Re: 150 SNES games reviewed

Post by kerr9000 on Thu Aug 20, 2015 8:34 pm

SNES Game review 86: Race Drivin



Sometimes part of reviewing games is about buying things to review. I am going to review 150 SNES games I said, instantly I was met with people asking if I would be reviewing this or that. Now if I was using emulators and illegally downloading games then I could review anything but I made a few early decisions including that I was going to play on an actual system using real cartridges playing with a real joypad. There is no glorious story of how and when I came in to contact with this game I simply brought it purely to review it and one of the key reasons it was picked was due to its price, I paid £3.69 for the Pal Cart and postage which I guess in a way already tells a bit of a tale of what I am in for.

So as you will have already guessed from the photo above the game I will be reviewing today is Hard Drivin. Hard Drivin was originally an arcade game but it made its way to a fair few consoles in the case of the SNES it was programmed by Imagineering Inc and published by THQ.  I have touched on Imagineering recently so will just bypass talking about them besides there name is hidden away in the odd credit line with THQ and Tengen (the creators of the arcade version) being the names seen on the cart and in large print in the game. 
THQ Inc. is a company I am sure many of you will be familiar with for a number of reasons now I might be wrong but I think this could be the first time I have mentioned them so here is a quick bit of information on them. THQ was a former American video game developer and publisher. They were founded in 1989, they developed products for video game consoles, handheld consoles, and personal computers. Their name stood for “Toy Head-Quarters”, they had offices in North America, Europe and Asia.

The company published both internally created and externally licensed content and they would later become very well known for the likes of the Saints Row series, the Red Faction series, and others. Although they had some titles which were making gang busters levels of money others were literally losing more cash than you could imagine. This is why after several years of financial struggles THQ declared bankruptcy in December 2012 and its assets began to be liquidated the following month, with several properties either being acquired by other developers. 
Loading this game I was automatically reminded of an Amiga game I used to play called Stunt Car Racing, as both are sort of polygon based racers with stunts in them, unfortunately all comparisons end there. Think about all of the things you want from a racing game, get a pencil and a piece of paper and make a list. Now I am almost certain that my version and your version of this list of needs would be very different but I am sure that both lists would contain ‘’a sense of speed’’. This is where this game instantly falls down I swear that a child could make a better sense of speed with simplified car drawings in a flick book. Now day’s people moan if a game doesn’t manage 1080p with an almost constant 60 frames per second frame rate. Now I am not mathematician so I haven’t worked out the exact rate at which this game runs, if I was to put it on an emulator and run some tests maybe I could do it, but instead I will just talk about the way it feels. It feels like the game lurches from a slow 5 frames per second to an absolutely crippled 3 frames per second. Yes the graphics are for the time kind of advanced in the fat that it’s a 16bit system using polygon based graphics without any special on board chips as far as I know however the graphics are still bad and as basic as can be. Squares everywhere flat square cows by the square roadside lots of very plain backgrounds lots of green and grey. I think really in truth we just were not ready for what they were attempting at the time. It would have been better to have had simplified graphics and to have tried to keep some of the spirit of the arcade machine.

On to the gameplay more. Well to start with you can pick one of 4 cars, 3 have a manual transmission where you’re responsible for changing the gears and the remaining 1 is automatic but beyond this I cannot tell any real difference in how they handle. Ok so you have picked your car the next thing is to pick your track, well there is not a lot to think about as there is a grand total of 3 to choose from. There is an Autocross track where you just drive then there is a Stunt track, with jumps, and loops. Lastly, there is what is called the Super Stunt track, in this track you go around diagonal corners and drive up on to a raised road you can fall off. The screen itself is sort of split into 3 parts the bottom shows you the cars dashboard, you can see your hands on the wheel and they move the way you’re telling the car to move on the pad and the speed and RPM dials move but this is actually the largest part of the screen. At the top you have the bit above your head in the car and you can see a part of a mirror and then your score and best and lap time are displayed on the upholstery. The actual view of what you are doing, your actual game window is in the middle and it’s a slit which takes up about a third of the screen real estate if that.
This game could be fun with the stunts and the jumps but they have decided to make it sort of over realistic, if you go for a loop or a jump and don’t do it at the perfect speed and land it exactly your windscreen cracks and it puts you back to try it again.  This is where they needed to make things a bit looser a bit less true to reality, this is a game people and a games main reason to exist is to be fun, having to be 100% precise to land a jump going just at the right angle just at 35 miles per hour to see a perfect realistic landing is not fun. Sure maybe the first time you manage to actually do it there is a sense of pride but what most people honestly want to do in a game is to floor it and hit that son of a bitch at 90 and land with a bounce the other side and carry on, we all want to pretend to be Evel Knievel not the amazing practical driver. If you want a game that actually makes you feel like good old Evel then I recommend you look at the Joe Danger games as they have gotten the feeling spot on.

Ok so what about the games music? Well in honesty there really isn’t much, you could say that there's 5 pieces in the game, the title, the name input screen music, the car selection screen music, the instant replay music and the game over theme but most of them are little more than short jingles of several notes. As for sound effects there’s a crash noise and there is an engine noise which sounds like it’s been taken from the Atari 2600 version of pole position.

Ok this is quite simply one of the worst games I have reviewed for the SNES it doesn’t do the system any justice at all. I would score this game 2 out of 10. If you are crazy enough to want it then you should with a little bit of looking be able to find a copy in the region of £3.50 to £6 including postage but please spare yourself.  Look at the free PC version of the previously mentioned Stunt Car Racer for a far better time http://stuntcarracerwin32.bravesites.com/  or look up one of the other decent SNES racers I have reviewed like TopGear, PowerDrive or Exhaust heat for example.
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Re: 150 SNES games reviewed

Post by kerr9000 on Fri Aug 21, 2015 6:39 pm

SNES Game review 87: Kevin Keegan's Player Manager 



Whenever a sim related game seems to come to a console I always hear terms on the lines of ‘’oh it’s been dumbed down for the console retards.’’ The truth is yes some things will have to be altered when bringing a game or type of game which has previously relied on the use of a mouse and a keyboard with over 50 keys on it on to a system which uses a joypad with a d pad and only around eight buttons. This doesn't always have to be a bad thing though there are certain games which have made the jump from PC to console which I have really enjoyed. One example would be Sim City, I actually prefer the SNES version, another example would be the original X-Com Enemy unknown, I think that worked really well on the original PlayStation.

Now Kevin Keegan's Player Manager was based on Player Manager a game released in 1990 for the Amiga, Atari ST and PC. Player Manager was the first game to combine both managing and playing. The engine used for the actual football playing part of the game borrows heavily from the match engine used in the Kick Off which was developed by Dino Dini and Anco Software, who also created Player Manager. The best way to describe it is as a very light and quick kick about. The ball doesn’t stick to your feet like in some games, you actually need the skill to move with it, overall it feels very basic and out of your control, it feels sort of like a NES game but really the playing is not supposed to be the focus of this game, it’s a management game that happens to let you play the games as well, at least that’s the way I see it.

This is one case where I wish things had been dumbed down more, when putting the cart in and trying to play it without a manual it really becomes a game of guesswork, a bit of clicking here and there and I soon managed to play a match. You see one of the big draws of this game was supposed to be the fact that you could manage and you could play, but they certainly didn’t dumb things down that much, and they certainly didn’t think that anyone might one day pick this game up without a manual. I am there trying to play the game and I am met with icons. I find myself clicking one thing to see what happens finding myself on another screen full of icons, being met with a dead end in one case and then seeming to come full circle with the frustration growing. Eventually I managed a few matches and to make a little progress but the game really has not aged well. I wanted to just watch the games be played and make the behind the scenes decisions but couldn't work out if this was possible.

I try to review games fairly taking in to account when they were released and trying to sample as much of the game as possible but in this case I just found it all frustrating. I didn't enjoy what I did play and I just wanted to put it down straight away and load up one of the various much better football management games I have on my PC. If you’re not worried about having the newest of the new then you can get a football manager game through steam for a couple of quid. I feel bad giving this game a score, I mean at the time on the SNES if you wanted a football management game it was kind of a case of like this or lump it, forced to rate it though I would give it a 3 out of 10, I really didn’t rate it. I can say though if you have a SNES and are looking at collecting games then unless you can get a copy with a manual it might be worth giving this one a miss and getting a football management game on a different system. I paid £1 for my cart from a pawn store so I don’t feel like I have lost much. If you do want a cart of this a pal cart tends to go for about £5 online including postage but copies with a manual are usually quiet a lot more. Honestly give this game a miss.
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Re: 150 SNES games reviewed

Post by kerr9000 on Thu Aug 27, 2015 9:30 pm

SNES game review 88: Super Return of the Jedi





It is an interesting time to be a Star Wars fan. There is a brand new movie starring pretty much all of the actors from the original trilogy plus some new faces coming out this Christmas but there is also a new big Star Wars game Star Wars battlefront to look forward to on PS4, Xbox One and PC. I was reading about a special limited edition PlayStation 4 that is being released featuring a fully customized PlayStation4 and DualShock4 wireless controller inspired by Darth Vader, a copy of Star Wars Battlefront and a voucher containing download codes for four classic Star Wars games Super Star Wars, Star Wars Racer Revenge Star Wars Jedi Starfighter and Star Wars Bounty Hunter. So what has this got to do with reviewing SNES games? Well Super Star Wars is a SNES game, yes I have already reviewed it but it’s still exciting to see it get re-released on a modern format but its more than that it’s the possibilities its release opens up. There were 3 games in the Super Star Wars trilogy as well as a game based on the first three Indiana jones films released so if the one is coming out surly this opens the door for the others. If a SNES game can be released on the PS4 what is to stop SONY approaching other third party developers who had titles out on the SNES and offering them the chance to put them up for sale in SONY’s PlayStation store?

Obviously this excited me but more than that it convinced me it was the perfect time to review another game in the Super Star Wars trilogy, now I know what you’re thinking, Ok he is going to review Super Empire Strikes Back (or at least you would be if I didn’t throw the title of my review up above my review) but there is a certain bitter sweet thing I have to admit here and that is despite the fact that I really love the game and I am a diehard Star Wars fan I don’t actually own a copy of it and as I said I would only be reviewing games I owned and could play on actual physical hardware well yep you’ve guessed it I jumped to the next one Super Return of the Jedi.

Originally I played Super Return of the Jedi very close to its release because an older friend of mine was a diehard star Wars fan, he collected the old figures (as I also did) he had the posters in his room and he waited patiently for more Star Wars be it film or book or game. We had spent so many hours together watching the films, playing the old Atari 2600 games and talking about it that I guess he felt he needed me to be a part of his experience so on the very day he got the game he rushed over and we jumped in to it.

The main thing to take note of about the third and final SNES adaptation of the original Star Wars trilogy is that it is very much more of the same if you have played either Super Star Wars or Super Empire Strikes back then really what you are getting is more of the same. I think there are a lot of tweaks and a lot of layers of polish added to this game in this way it reminds me of another game, I have talked about another third part to a Trilogy and that is Donkey Kong Country 3. You can see clearly in places that the game is more refined than its predecessors but in being a sequel based on what you could call an upgraded engine it wasn’t as original and as hard hitting as the first in the series. People were generally surprised that Super Star Wars was as great as it was but they walked in to Empire and Jedi expecting nothing less. Just like in the case of Donkey Kong country 3 I feel this game was a little bit shadowed by the PlayStation, sure this game came out about five months or so before the PlayStation but it was to some degree shadowed by the new machines hype, I knew people who were busy selling their Super Nintendo stuff in an attempt to be ready to make the jump to the next generation of machines and these people didn’t stop to look at what was coming out in the here and the now.

Much like in Super Star Wars this game has excellent presentation. The game succeeds in recreating the atmosphere of the film just as well as its prequels did, it has all of the same little touches the opening text crawl the wonderful 16bit rendition of John Williams’ classic music there are also areas in where this game excels above and beyond its predecessors. A much larger cartridge was in fact Super Return of the Jedi came on a 16-Megabit cart which is twice the size of the cart used on the original Super Star Wars. The game needed it as well with far more playable characters, more levels and even more effects.

Something a lot of people talk about with this trilogy is the difficulty, they are often referred to as hard games. In fact when it came to the original I think there was a definite issue with its difficulty curve, with the game seeming to have some rather hard levels early on before you had properly gotten to grips with it there was also some climbing in the game where one bad move could see you screaming as the last fifteen minutes of gameplay was torn out from under you and these issues seem a lot less present in Jedi, strangely to me at least it feels like a much easier game. 

In conclusion, do I think this is a better game than Super Star Wars and what kind of score do I think it deserves?  This is a tough question to answer as a sequel it is very much a case of bigger better more and that should make me instantly go yes its better so I guess from that point it is yet I don’t think I can give it a higher score or recommend it over Super Star wars so I find myself stuck giving it the same score 8 out of 10. These games are ideal when treated as parts of a bigger whole. If you want to sample this game it is available on the Wii’s virtual console however if you would like a physical copy unless you’re lucky and find it out somewhere in the wilderness you will be looking at paying about £15 to £20 for a loose pal cart or around £40 for a boxed version. There are certainly far worse games you could spend your cash on.
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Re: 150 SNES games reviewed

Post by kerr9000 on Tue Sep 01, 2015 11:24 pm

Game 89






Ok so it feels like time for a little bit of Disney Magic so I figured I would give Pinocchio a try. Pinocchio was developed by Virgin Studios London with assistance from Walt Disney Feature Animation it was also a pretty late game being released in 1996 near the end of the Super Nintendo’s lifespan. I remember the game getting reviews back in the day with a crazy range of anywere from 40% to 80% I never got to play it back then as I didn’t know anyone who got it, I guess they were put off by the wild range of review scores and decided to settle on something a little more of a solid bet, either that or they had moved on to the PlayStation. 

Obviously it’s based on the classic Disney cartoon of the same name and well it’s easy to tell that as soon as you put the cart in the machine and turn it on.  After the usual logos you would expect you are met with a picture of a book with Pinocchio written on it and a cool midi rendition of the song ‘’when you wish upon a stat’’. You can tell that Disney had its hands in the making of this game as Pinocchio is a very good looking game, featuring plenty of colours, lots of sprites and beautiful animation the game moves like a dream, it is about as close looks wise to a cartoon as you could imagine a game would be at the time. Pinocchio's music is basically composed of midi versions of songs from the film it’s very basic but also sounds good and really fits the mood, there are also voice clips and sound effects.

For me though it is the gameplay where Pinocchio begins to fall on its ass a bit. Basically it is a platformer. You run and you jump and you try not die. Now nothing in the controls feels horribly wrong but nothing feels brilliant either it comes across as a very by the numbers sort of thing. The game does sod all when it comes to explaining anything to you, it just leaves you to guess and hope. For example nothing tells you that you have to press up to enter arches or that you need to use sign posts to fling yourself in to the air.

This also extends to the mini games there is a Simon says style mini dancing game where you copy what the computer does so you see the things you’re supposed to copy wave the left hand then right foot and you work out which button will make you do the same but with some of the animations you click on straight away and go oh it’s the lower left limb so I will press left and down but then the dancers your copying spin in place and your left wondering what the heck to press to copy them, this then descends in to a trial and error process of trying to press anything or nothing until you do what it wants you to, this is not fun.

The game would be easy if it wasn’t for it plain just not giving you any idea of where you’re supposed to go. It made me Jiminy cricket and put me on a platform in the middle of nowhere with no explanation and after falling off a few times and wondering what the heck I was doing I just decided to murder any and all insect life that flew near to my platform with a few lamps on and this turned out to be the answer, this is what it wanted me to do, it wanted me to become the cricket serial killer, thanks for the heads up on that one game.

This game is basically a pretty but dull game, if it was on another system it might have got an easy pass but look at the machine we are talking about here the Super Nintendo. The SNES was released alongside one of the best 2D Platformers of all time. I think this game gets a 5 out of 10, it is though a dull game, it’s so neither good nor bad that it is in some ways totally boring, is it better than the last Disney Game I reviewed beauty and the beast yes, is it more frustrating though because it feels like it could have been more? Hell Yes. Give this game a miss and just watch the film. If you are burning with a desire to own it though a cart only pal version tends to go for between £6 to £10, sure you will see some rip of merchants trying to get more for it but you shouldn’t have any issues finding it in that price range, again though there are much better uses of your cash.
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Re: 150 SNES games reviewed

Post by kerr9000 on Fri Sep 04, 2015 11:23 pm

Game 90






In the days of the SNES and Megadrive you would get cases where a game was released to both systems sometimes with very little difference maybe a tweak here or a tweak there to take advantage of the hardware but occasionally you would get two totally different games with the same name.

I know I only just talked about a Disney release but I couldn’t help myself but talk about this game. I guess in part it was because in doing so I would get the chance to talk a little bit about the Megadrive. Growing up I was one of very few kids who managed to have both a Megadrive and a SNES in a lot of cases people would make a decision between the two and would then live with that choice. Sometimes this would involve swearing that the other machine was utter garbage and that you wouldn’t want anything on that other 16bit piece of trash if somebody paid you to have it. Sometimes however it would just be a simple case of the persons parents didn't think that there child needed two different consoles and just were not willing to listen to the reasons why there kid had asked for a Megadrive one Christmas and then a SNES the next. 

The rough split between the machines between my friends was an even fifty fifty split. I however considered myself the lucky one. One Christmas I got a Megadrive after having asked for it and then when the next Christmas drew near my mum sat me down and asked me what I wanted I told her if it wasn’t too much I would like a Super Nintendo. Sure my mother stopped me and asked me why, but she didn’t judge me or refuse to listen she sat there and listened to my explanation. I told her that although the systems were very similar and offered the same sort of power and experience they both had games which were exclusive to that system because of who made them and that unlike my friends who swore blind loyalty to one machine I wanted to be free to get the games I wanted for both machines even if it meant I got less overall.  It was this simple fact of owning both machines that ended up making me sort of the go to guy amongst my group of friends for video game recommendations and argument solving, if it wasn’t for this I don’t think I would be writing video game reviews now.

So when Aladdin was due out there was a choice to be made go for the Megadrive or Super Ninteno version. Usually if a game was multi-platform the easy decision would be to go for the SNES version as I doubt few people would argue with the fact that usually in these cases nine out of ten times the SNES would have slightly better graphics and much cleaner music. The games I enjoyed my megadrive for tended not to be multi-platform titles but were instead games which never saw the light of day on the super Nintendo such as Alien storm, cyborg Justice Road Rash etcetera. Here there was a kind of rare case of same name different game (It did happen from time to time Shadowrun being another example).

Ok so the Megadrive version was a Disney software, Virgin Games co-production and in fact when you look a little closer and read around a bit you’ll find that some of the names that worked on this game are people who would go on to form Shiny Entertainment (Including David Perry)  and bring us the hero known as Earthworm Jim, who was a real funky guy/worm. If you have played the MegaDrive Aladdin and Earth worm Jim games you will definitely see a connection in there style now it has been pointed out to you.

The main gameplay though is what you would expect from a 2D platformer, you jump and climb your way through levels and fight with either your sword or by throwing apples you have collected as a long range form of attack. It’s simple, but fun. This could get boring quiet quickly if not for the fact that the game is an absolute festival of colour with little in jokes hidden, the level design is also great. The game is well polished, the beauty of it is really in the little details here and there one example being if you put the pad down and leave Aladdin to it he will role and an apple along his arm and flipping it up much like he did at one point in the film. So that’s an obvious question for a game based on a movie how close does this game stay to its source material? Close enough would be my simple answer. It doesn’t follow the film action for action, it does however follow the basic plot but what it does do is flesh it out with extra bits which work well for the game. Aladdin might add levels that aren’t directly based on what happened in the movie but it’s easy to see why and in all honesty they are fun and don’t hurt the story, one such example being a level based on the insides of the lamp. I also can’t help but add that there are lots of great megadrive versions of various songs from the film and these really help set the mood, in fact I found myself humming some of them again and again, this left me wanting to watch the film again and in my opinion served as the perfect companion piece. If I was in the process of trying to review 150 megadrive games I would most likely give Aladdin a score of around 8 out of 10 but that’s not what I am doing here at all, I am talking about it in comparison to the Super Nintendo version. Back when these games were released the general opinion from experts who viewed things with as little bias as possible seemed to be that the Megadrive version was the superior one, but is this really true?

So the SNES version of Aladdin is also a 2d  platformer this game however was developed by Capcom and just like with the Megadrive version there was a particularly famous person involved in its creation in this case it is the games designer Shinji Mikami. Yes Resident Evil Shinji Mikami. Both of the games came out in 1993, in the same month in fact.

Aladdin on the SNES is a pretty traditional platformer as far as things go. You can run, duck, jump and once again you can throw apples but one thing this game is lacking is a sword, which seems to have lost it instant cool points when it comes to a lot of peoples opinions. In truth I don’t have an issue with the lack of a sword after all Aladdin really didn’t use one that much in the film did he, after all his introductory song in the movie was basically about being fast and avoiding things ‘’One jump ahead of the hitman’’ and all of that.  The apples you throw stun enemies and you can actually get rid of them in the old familiar platformer way, trying to push their head into their neck with your feet from a vertical position (Jumping on them). 

The lack of a sword here and the characters the agility gives it a different feeling to its megadrive counterpart. As Aladdin you can bounce off certain objects and enemies in order to reach places you otherwise wouldn’t get to. For me this game feels at its best when you keep up a quick tempo of going from jump to jump moving constantly forwards, it kind of makes you think of some of the scenes in Aladdin and in this way matches there pace.
The graphics are good but I don’t think the animation is equal to its megadrive counter part, but still it’s a nice bright good looking game. It is far too easy and to short though, you will have finished this game and seen all it has to show you while your megadrive playing counterpart is still ploughing there way through there version.

Even though the Snes version of Aladdin has its good points I just feel that the MegaDrive one is a better game, mostly because of the length and not the sword (who really thinks a game is better just for being able to stab people?). Thankfully though we don’t live in an either world where you have to choose one or the other. Fanboy logic is stupid at the end of the day all systems and all games have their strengths and weaknesses and if you limit yourself from sampling more things because they are on a certain machine or were made by a certain company then ultimately all you are going to do is hurt yourself. I give SNES Aladdin a happy 7 out of 10, it fails to get more mostly because it has a lack of lasting power, it however kicks the heck out of the other Disney games I have reviewed in the recent past Pinocchio and beauty and the beast.

If you want to sample this game then due to the license surrounding it you’re going to have to go for a Cart really, most of the ones I have seen for sale have gone for around £12 to £15 with boxed copies fetching a little more. A boxed copy of the MegaDrive version will set you back £10 to £15 roughly, in all honesty if you have both machines I would start there but if you can afford both or see both going cheap then you can’t really go wrong with either of them they are both darn fine games… On a side note this really makes me think once more that I wish Nintendo had adopted Sega style plastic games cases it would make the collectors life much easier.
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Re: 150 SNES games reviewed

Post by kerr9000 on Tue Sep 08, 2015 8:46 pm

Snes game review 91

If I was to say Sports based Video game to you what would you think about? Maybe Football/Soccer or Tennis would be the first to come to mind, or if your American maybe it would be what us Brits like to refer to as American Football. Lots of sports games have a long history in video gaming after all one of the first popular video games was basically a bat and ball simulation.

Today I am going to be talking about baseball. Baseball has had a long virtual history but it was around 1978, when people got there first real baseball video games. Atari came out with Home Run for the Atari 2600 and then on the Philips Videopac G7000 (AKA the Magnavox Odyssey 2) there was the game titled Baseball! Every console going would have some form of primitive baseball game with them slowly evolving title after title until more was included in them and they better represented the actual sport.

 I would argue the 16bit era was where things got really good. There was somewhere around the region of twenty different baseball games released in the USA with even more being released in Japan, we might have only got some of these but considering it was a sport not really played here we didn’t do too bad. A lot of people probably don’t realise how deeply connected Nintendo and the world of Baseball is, a little interesting piece of trivia here but when he died the former president of Nintendo Hiroshi Yamauchi left behind a 55 percent stake in the Seattle Mariners a stake which Nintendo still fully own to this day as far as I know.



The game I am going to be reviewing today is Cal Ripken Jr. Baseball. It was both programed and published by Mindscape and released in 1982. For those unfamiliar with Mindscape they were a studio which got running in 1983 but died in 2011, originally they started out making a lot of educational software but branched out in to more entertainment based products as well. For me the real highlight of the company was creating Moonstone: A Hard Day’s Knight an action role-playing video game for the Amiga featuring lots of lovely blood and guts but I am not here to talk about that I am here to say ‘’Lets play Ball’’.

The game features two modes of play. First you have the exhibition mode which is basically where you just play one match for the fun of it either against the computer or against a human player, then there is the main bread and butter of the game the season mode, where you pick a team and then play twenty games against the computer. You are given a password after each game so that you don’t have to do the whole thing in one sitting. There are three different stadiums but they don’t really effect gameplay

Each team has different players with different stats but in all honesty it doesn’t seem like the stats make that much difference to me, everyone seems to be pretty equal with no visual clues showing me some one is faster or a better catch, they all seem as good as you control them to be.  Each player looks exactly the same except the uniform they wear for their team, I guess this is not that surprising given the age of the game and the technology available, after all a few generations or so back and everybody would have been represented by a few squares, or at best a stickman. Cal Ripken Jr. is the only character with the proper name of a real player. All of the characters have names with some of them being either an altered version of a real players name or somebody’s attempt at turning a pun in to a name. This doesn’t tend to bother me as I am a very casual fan of baseball, I will watch some if it comes on but I don’t know players names or really care if the names are real or fake in a video game but it is something to keep in mind if fake names are likely to put you off.

The Controls are simple. When batting, the B button swings the bat, the A button bunts, and the Y button is used to control runners on base and when pitching the B button throws a pitch, the Y button is used to pick off runners, and the select button can change the position of the infielders and outfielders. The B button plus a direction throws the ball to the corresponding base so right for first base up for second base and so on. 

The game's graphics are a bit simplistic but can’t really be faulted I would say they are on par with what I would expect for the time of its release. Let’s face it there were two ways you could try and make the graphics on a sports game back then one was as realistic as you could manage and the other was to go for the cartoon fun style, this game picked the more realistic style and did the best it could with it, I am not sure at that time I would have gone down that route but they made it work the best they could. The sound is Ok, the sound effects themselves are all pretty good and there is even some nice speech thrown in at times but there is this sort of annoying repetitive tune playing but they must have known it wasn’t up to much as it is kept very low and in the background with all the other noises being much louder.

The computer plays very well and there are no difficult settings so if you’re not very good at the game you will find yourself getting hammered, In my first game for example the computer hit three home runs in the first inning and then went on to catch my best attempt at a home run with an ease, in fact more or less every time I would get excited thinking I had made a great hit the computer would manage to catch me out with ease which almost made me weep. I would think that you would need to throw some serious hours into this game in order to be able to beat the machine on a regular basis, even then I don’t see it being any walk in the park. 

Where I really enjoyed this game was in multiplayer. I and my daughter had a bash at it playing each other and it was really fun, which does make me think that if you could turn down the computers difficulty a bit so that it was a little less super human there would be a lot more fun here.

Ok so I can give Cal Ripkin Jr Baseball as semi recommendation. When played with a friend this game can be a great little blast of fun with each game lasting around the 30 minutes mark it makes it a nice slice of fun for a quick go here and there I am going to give this game a 6 out of 10 Mostly for its multiplayer but I do feel like I might need to return and reassess this score when I have played a few of the other Baseball games I own.

Ok so if you’re desperate to own this game how much are you looking at paying for it? Well I kept my eyes open and trawled through various sites and managed to get a Pal cart for around £3 with postage from the looks of things if you were desperate and wanted a cart now then you'd end up paying about £10, I would strongly advise you skulk and wait it out, and who knows I might review a better baseball game soon.
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Re: 150 SNES games reviewed

Post by kerr9000 on Sun Sep 13, 2015 6:51 pm

SNES GAME review 92



Well I know that the last game I reviewed for the SNES was a baseball game and that hitting one again so quickly might seem a little stale but if you just play along here I have my reasons.

The game I am looking at now is Nolan Ryan's Baseball known in Japan as Super Stadium.  Now this game only came out for the American/Canadian market and Japan. The American version is obviously endorsed by the baseball player Nolan Ryan, who I know absolutely nothing about and who I have to add has no real bearing on this game at all. It has no licensing from any Major League Baseball team or Association which means that Nolan Ryan is the only real name you see here. The thing is though once you actually start the game the players can best be described as sort of little cutesy anime type characters so it really doesn’t matter in the slightest, this is something I will come back to though.

The game was made by a company called Affect which you most likely won’t have heard about before largely because they tended to primarily make games for the Japanese market which were released through various different publishers. This was one of their first games apparently with them producing games from 1990 to 2008 at which point they transitioned in to producing web based applications. Romstar Inc. published the game in America they were a video game distribution company based in Torrance, California that started operating in 1984.  Interestingly they were the original American distributors for SNK games (before SNK of America was founded in 1987). They bit the dust in 1992 though with various key members of staff going on to form mobile phone based games companies.

So what brought me to this game now, well the first thing is that it came out the same year as Cal Ripken Jr Baseball so it’s not like one was later in the systems lifespan and had the advantage of improved techniques, both of these games came out at relatively the same time and yet they tackle things in a slightly different way with Cal Ripken trying its best to look as realistic as it can and this game going for a more cartoon based feeling.
Nolan Ryan's Baseball is fairly straightforward to play. When you are the pitcher, you press a button to pitch the ball, the direction you press will affect the type of throw push down to make it go faster, up to make it go slower, and left or right to make it veer to either side. Bating is very simple in that you press a button to swing but its timing that is the key. It is still not easy to hit the ball but it is a heck of a lot better than in the last title I played. The game also seems to run a lot faster with the average game taking half the time, not only does this make it faster to get through games but it makes it more exciting making it more likely that you will play for longer. Unless you’re a baseball game pro you are still likely to lose the majority of the time but they will be much narrower more realistic loses and as such it won’t feel like getting better is an imposable journey. I also found fielding much easier, in this case I even caught the odd batter out which made me feel a lot better.

One almost off topic question that runs through my mind is how much did Nolan Ryan get paid for this, I know a lot of sports games will have the name of some player or manager stapled on to them in the hopes that it is a road to profit but beyond his face on the cart box and start up screen he simply has sod all to do with it at all, making me prefer the Japanese title super stadium. The teams make me laugh as they simply have letter names the first team I picked was called T team and had players such as CHAD, HERB, RON and OLAF set to play but I could swap them for benched players with names like CHUK,KIRK and DOC. 

I really like the cutesy graphical style the game has,the more I play it the more it grows on me and added to it is some music which although not amazing is cheery and whimsical, I think it puts you in the right mood especially when you have the nice digital speech that comes with it starting by announcing ‘’lets play ball’’ and then going on to tell you when there had been a strike or when someone is safe.

Ok so I can gave Cal Ripkin Jr Baseball as semi recommendation. Saying that when it was played with a friend it could be good and giving it a 6 out of 10, now I don’t feel like this game is the best thing ever but I have to admit I found it just that bit more fun, it was quicker and I liked its style, it was equally as fun to play in multi-player but was a fair bit better as a one player game. Still I feel like there must be better out there, so all of this considered I give Nolan Ryans Baseball a 7 out of 10 and at the moment I would call it the one to get.

Ok so if you’re desperate to own this game how much are you looking at paying for it? Well first things first it didn’t get an English release so you need to be looking at well either an American or Japanese import, meaning you will either need a foreign machine , a modified SNES or an adaptor. Bearing that in mind how much should an NTSC cart cost you? Well I couldn’t find any copies for sale over here as far as American carts went but you could buy a loose cart and pay for it to be posted here for about £10, I however did find a Japanese copy online for about £4 selling in this country and being a sports game I don’t think the language barrier would be too much of an issue. 

Ok for now that’s it with the baseball titles, but I will come back to them as I am sure I own at least another two.
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Re: 150 SNES games reviewed

Post by kerr9000 on Sat Sep 19, 2015 11:33 pm




The game I am going to be looking at today is Kid Klown in Crazy Chase,it is the second title in the Kid Klown series, the first being Kid Klown in Night Major World which was on the NES and I can not really comment on itf its a good or bad game and wether this is a worthy successor or not as I have never played it. The truth is when In 1994, Kemco released this SNES game in 1994 I had no idea that it was a sequel all I knew was that it was a bright sort of childish looking game which seemed to have a very animated style to it. 

The original NES game does have an interesting story to it though which is worth sharing. The game that would come to be known as Kid Klown in Night Mayor world actually started life as a Mickey Mouse game in Japan, it was called Mickey Mouse III: Dream Balloon and came out in Japan in September of 1992 for the Famicom. Due to copyright issues this game apparently couldn't be released in other parts of the world so rather than just shrug and accept a loss in profits it was re-skinned and turned into the tile known as Kid Clown in Night Mayor World and released to the American regions for the NES in 1993. It never got an official release in Europe. This explains why I didn't realise Kid Klown on the SNES was a sequel.

OK so now the partly relevant trivia is out of the way on to the game. The game opens with a slideshow letting you know the story, here it is in brief, Blackjack, the evil space pirate, has kidnapped Princess Honey of Klown Planet. He has decided that he will hold her hostage and that if anyone wants to see her again then they better give the throne over to him. Now for some reason the King determines that Kid Klown is the man to rescue his daughter. Kid Klown sets about doing this by accidentally in slapstick fashion crash landing his ship. 

Despite how it might look on the box or when glancing at screenshots Crazy Chase is not your typical 2D platformer it is instead an isometric running game. The levels have you running diagonally from the top-left to the bottom-right of the games screen. Blackjack the main villain has placed a bomb at the end of each stage and it’s your objective to reach the end before the burning fuse runs down. Ok so this sounds easy in theory but in practice not so much. There are all manner of things that have been placed to stop you ranging from spikes on the ground, rocks that drop from the air, axes that appear to be tossed at you from off-screen and all kinds of other environmental hazards that alter from stage to stage.

I very very much wanted to love this game, I found myself instantly falling for its visuals, the bright and colourful cartoon style the awesome sprites, the choice of isometric viewpoint which gives it a 3D appearance that really helps to make it visually a one of a kind game on the system, yet the fact that the characters themselves remained beautiful 2D sprites free from the latter 3D polygon horrors we would bear witness to in true early 3D games. You cant help but feel the level of care and attention that so obviously went into the animations and expressions of Kid Klown, they make you want to like the character and liking him makes you want to like his game.

Certain elements of this game began to remind me more and more of an other game I reviewed what seems like almost a life time ago and that is Bubsy the bobcat in Claws Encounters of the Furred Kind. This is mostly because of the animatons that happen when you come in to contact with different hazards For example if you get Kid to run over a bunch of spikes then he will hop around on one foot in pain, At first these animated reactions come across as refreshing and you could argue that they add more character to the game and are better than simply having your sprite flash but just like bubsy and his death animations they soon start to outstay there welcome as they do as much for breaking down the pace of the game as they do for making you like the characters

The bit that grinds my gears the most when it comes to this game is not only do you have to make it to the end of the level with some health bar intact and ahead of the fuse wire but you also have to collect  four playing-card suit icons (A. Heart, Diamond, Club and Spade), these are found inside balloons, balloons I was originally avoiding as sometimes when you pull them you get some of your life bar refilled and sometimes you get coins or a suit icon but you also get hurt as a balloon turns into a bowling ball and lands on you or lifts you in to the air only to drop you on your ass taking vital life away from you.

While the controls are as simple in principal with  the D-pad controlling where you go and how quickly you do it and pretty much every other button making you jump, does make the game easy just to pick up and have a bash at the isometric  3D appearance makes judging depth and distance a huge pain in the rear end at times, so not only does this lead to frustration as you hit bushes your certain you should have been able to jump it can also make grabbing the balloons which might contain suit icons at times very annoying leading to you having to play the same level again and again in a loop just to grab what you need to finish it. They should have dropped this card collecting idea you might be thinking but the truth is that they only made 5 stages for this game, so if you could blow through them merely by surviving then everyone would have finished this game in there youth long before there fish fingers and chips were on the dinner table.

In conclusion, I really really wanted to like this game not only are the graphics and sound very pleasing it also tries something which at the time was very new and different. Many games then or now fall in to the habit of simply copying what is currently popular so it is always refreshing to see something a little different, to know that there are more than just two or three templates being used to make cookie cutter game after cookie cutter game but unfortunately for all its strengths and difference this is just a mediocre game. I find myself having to award it the middle of the road score of 5. If you really want to play it then you can generally find a UK cartridge for around the £6 to £8 region which is fair but there are better things you could spend your cash on.
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Re: 150 SNES games reviewed

Post by kerr9000 on Tue Sep 22, 2015 10:05 am



Fatal Fury: King of Fighters otherwise known as Garō Densetsu Shukumei no Tatakai which translates to Legend of the Hungry Wolf: The Battle of Destiny is a head-to-head fighting game released by SNK for the Neo Geo arcade and home platforms in 1991. As a youngster I played this in the arcades on one of the red Neo Geo multi slot cabinets and loved it, I brought its megadrive port upon its release in 1993 and eventually for a while a few years later I actually owned a Neo Geo AES home system and this game (along with other 4 games). The important thing to realise is that the Neo Geo AES cart was exactly the same as the arcade machine (Neo Geo Arcade machine carts are referred to as MVS carts but there is no real difference between playing an MVS or AES cart they hold the exact same game one is just made to plug into an arcade system and the other a home system). I didn’t play the SNES version till much latter.

Over the years some people have looked at this game and kind of dismissed it while saying something on the lines of oh sheesh another street fighter 2 wannabe, yet others have loved it, an important thing to remember is that the game was designed by Takashi Nishiyama who was the creator of the original Street Fighter game. Fatal Fury was never a copy of street fighter 2 Nishiyama envisioned it as being a spiritual successor to the original Street Fighter it wasn’t pieced together by copying street fighter 2 as it was in fact being developed at the same point in time as Street Fighter II. So the obvious question everyone will have at this point is, well is it as good as street fighter 2 or what? 

Well the gameplay follows the usual formula of one on one fighting games from this time period, basically you play against the computer in a best two-out-of-three contest. You move with your dpad/stick but unlike street fighter 2 and its 6 attack buttons covering 3 different strength versions of punch and kick here you only basically have 3 three attack buttons one punch button, one kick button and a button for throws. Each of the characters in the game has their own special attacks that are performed by inputting specific commands and combinations many of them being the same sort of motions you would find in street fighter 2 however here they are much harder to pull of demanding exact procession.

The main problem with this version lays with the conversion. When you look at street fighter 2 people have called the SNES version a perfect conversion which while it is not true you could see how people would think that it is. Unless you have a SNES and an Arcade machine running side by side it wouldn't be easy to point out any major differences, yet while the home Neo Geo AES version is an exact replica of its arcade counterparts the other ports were no way near so lucky.

If your used to being able to play the arcade/story mode as pretty much anyone in the line up of characters featured in a game then your in for a surprise here as in this mode you only get to pick from one of three fighters Terry Bogard a cocky baseball hat wearing american street fighter out to revenge his fathers death, Andy Bogard his younger brother who has a far more graceful Japanese fighting style and Joe Higashi A Japanese Muay Thai fighter and friend to the Bogard brothers. This in and of itself is not a huge problem although it does cut down on 1 player replay value, it is also true for both the original and this port. The story is also not going to win any awards you are either one of the Bogard brothers or there friend and your entering the martial arts tournament to beat everyone else so that you can face off against the man who killed your father/friends father and that's as complex as it gets. Makes sense for the two brothers after all if someone killed your dad you'd probably want to at least kick there ass and murdering him probably wouldn't be that far from your mind, you can imagine the whole you killed my dad now die speeches that would be made yet Joe's reason feels a little lacking ''erm you yeah I was told you killed my friends dad I am going to kill you'' doesn't sound quiet as epic or likely don't get me wrong I have liked some of my friends dads over the years but id be more likely to buy them a beer and comfort them or phone the police for them than go try to win a whole martial arts tournament and kill a man in cold blood for them maybe I am not as loyal as some or maybe I just don't like the idea of serious prison time and being grabbed in the night during my sleep for a surprise type of naked cuddle by a fellow inmate. Still the point is less playable characters doesn't just mean less playable characters it means less stories, less endings, less variation.

On the Neo Geo this game had an interesting mechanic where there was two lanes of play an upper and a lower, you could switch between them to avoid projectiles and such and this gave the game a unique flavour this however is missing from both the SNES and Megadrive ports which really does the game a disservice. The game looks fine with nice sprites and a wide variety of opponents and decent sounds and music but it is all very forgettable when put by the side of street fighter 2 which is a darn shame. You can find some enjoyment here but it will be limited you'll most likely struggle with the specials, and when you get to the last boss the broken mechanics will have you pulling your hair out as he cheap shots you again and again, still those used to SNK fighters will be a little more used to bosses who seem to have near god like status so will be used to repeatedly having to retry at that point. I feel really bad that I have kept brining up street fighter 2 while discussing this game because I feel the Neo Geo version at least offers something that is very much its own game, however with this SNES version and how things have been cut down it feels a lot worse and it doesn't surprise me that a lot of people would have played it and gone ''ahh its another street fighter 2 knock off''

I do think this game is much better in multiplayer with friends, when both of you have the same handicap of hard to perform specials it just feels a lot more competitive than you struggling to pull of some form of fireball and the computer repeatedly doing them with ease.

I am a big fan of SNK fighters but this is not the place to start a love affair with them, at least not on this console. I find myself having to give this game a 6 out of 10 on the SNES and would only recommend it if you really want a new fighter and have lots of the better ones already. I would also say that if you have more modern systems and just want the game as opposed to a SNES cart for your collection that you look at ways to instead play the Neo version (which I would score as around 7.5). I am sure it has been released on various online stores for more modern machines (PS3 and Wii certainly) and can also be found on the SNK Arcade Classics Vol. 1 compilation which was released for the PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, and Wii. If you need a SNES cart for some reason then the cheapest Pal ones I have seen were around £15 and its also worth noting that Fatal Fury 2 and Fatal Fury special also hit the SNES which I wont be reviewing as I don't own them but I tend to remember them as being much improved.
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Re: 150 SNES games reviewed

Post by kerr9000 on Wed Sep 23, 2015 11:09 am

SNES game review 95: Tiny Toons Adventures Buster Busts Loose



For anyone who has lived under a rock for years and doesn’t know what it is Tiny Toon Adventures was an American animated comedy TV show that was broadcasting from September 14, 1990 through October 31, 1994 it was a collaborative effort between Steven Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment and Warner Bros.  Basically it’s about a newer younger generation of Looney Tunes characters who are being taught at a place called Acme Looniversity by the classic Looney Tunes characters of old, Buggs Bunny, Daffy Duck etcetera. I thought it was a great show but that’s not what I am here to talk about I am here to talk about its Video Game adaption Tiny Toons buster busts loose, now buster is a blue rabbit who can basically be thought of a sort of Buggs Bunny Junior type character. Now more than likely some people will have already groaned putting two and two together and having followed the process of thinking oh it’s a licensed game therefore it must be cack, well let me add a few more numbers to this sum which might change your mind the game was both developed and published by Konami. 

Ah Konami, forgive me for getting side tracked here but back in those days Konami was a company name and box symbol which brought joy in to the hearts of games, you would see there logo and be pretty darn sure that if you picked that game up you were in for a jolly good time. This is a reputation they had earned by being responsible for a great list of games originally on the NES such as the first three Castlevania games, Contra, and then Turtles Tournament Fighters, Turtles in Time, Lethal Enforcers, Sunset Riders, Zombies Ate My Neighbours, and Legend of the Mystical Ninja. You may or may not be aware but there have been conflicting rumours and articles stating that Konami have possibly cancelled all triple A game development very recently apart from Pro Evolution soccer with indications that there future may lay with Japanese gambling machines and the mobile phone market. I think this makes there past titles even more important because it may well be that looking to the past will be the only way you will be able to sample there best, so is this some of their best?


The whole game basically takes place in a Hollywood studio. Each stage is in its own different movie setting, I actually love this idea because it gives a great sort of plausible idea for the variety of stages a game like this needs to be fun. Fun is something this game certainly tries for at every turn its graphics are not only very good for the time but they are also very true to the cartoon. Every sprite is colourful and brilliantly animated. The game has a humorous charm to it which is infectious especially when you have been playing a lot of modern games and got so used to all of the dull greys you see in a lot of now day’s big money franchises.

In addition to the graphics, the sound and music are also great and help make this game fun. The sound effects such as the running and jumping of Buster Bunny, the noises when you get hurt or fall or die they all feel like cartoon noises they are all the sorts of things you’d expect to hear in a LoonyToons cartoon and this actually helps it to feel like a valid extension to the show as opposed to the cheap cash in some shows and films get. The fact is you can guess that you are in for a real aural treat the second you hear the super title screen rendition of the show’s theme tune full credit here to both Nintendo for the quality of their machines abilities and to Konami for making the most of them. This them sets the mood perfectly and it’s not all the game has going for it, the sound in general is super clear and unlike in a lot of games of this type it doesn’t become overly annoying or repetitive there are no horribly digitised bits of dialogue spouted again and again.

If you grew up with the show you should recognize some of the music that is in the game but even if you didn’t you will be able to easily recognise that the theme tune from the start is reworked and made to fit other themes latter in the game, for example in a wild west stage the theme has been given a western feel and then latter there is more wild west inspired music which just fits the level so well you can’t help but smile. In fact every time a tune even gets close to running the risk of getting overly repetitive the game changes up and give you a different one to listen to. This game actually feels like a labour of love, like the people who made it wanted to make something which could stand proudly alongside the show.

I absolutely love this game, I like the sound the graphics, the stages, the bonus stages the atmosphere but it has one big issue I can’t help but mention and that is that as awesome as this title may be, it is very short. There are only Six stages which once you have finished there isn’t much reason to come back t, yes there are multiple difficulties to try but you don’t gain anything for finishing it on any of them. This does affect my final score which is an 8, it’s a brilliant game I highly recommend but you need to know it is not going to last you as long as you might have hoped, if this game was longer I would score it higher, to my knowledge it is definitely the best Loony Toons related game on the system it kicks the stuffing out of Tazmania and Road Runner's Death Valley Rally, at this point I can’t help but think if only the Loony Toons had made some kind of Konami SNES based contract/agreement with Konami making them responsible for all of their games ala the Capcom/Diseny NES situation things might have been a bit better for the toon ones.

Ok so if you want to add the cart to your collection how much is it going to cost you?  Well not much at all, there are loads of cart only pal copies of it out there selling for around £6 to £8, I would highly recommend you give it a bash.
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Re: 150 SNES games reviewed

Post by kerr9000 on Mon Sep 28, 2015 6:49 pm

SNES GAME review 96 Cool Spot




So if I was to say 7UP to you then I imagine most people would quickly think of the soft drink, it might not be as famous as Coca Cola but it did manage to have not one but two mascots. In Europe we got a little guy called Fido Dido while America got Cool Spot. Cool Spot was essentially just a little red dot with arms, legs, a mouth, and sunglasses. British video games developer Virgin Interactive's American studio produced a platform game starring the mascot known as Cool Spot in 1993 for the Super NES and Mega Drive/Genesis (it was also ported by other teams to the Sega Master System, the Sega Game Gear, the Game Boy, the Amiga and DOS in 1994). This was the same studio who would go on to do Disney’s The Lion king and the Earth worm Jim games and some of their DNA can clearly be seen in this game.

If the idea of a Soft drink mascot fronting his own game sounds weird to you then you only need to remember that during this sort of time frame it wasn't all that unusual to have a products mascot appear in a game Colin Quaver, Ronald MacDonald, Chester Cheetah all of them managed to have a game, some of them had multiple games in fact. The funny thing really though was that we still got Cool Spots game despite him not being our mascot over here and with not many European’s having a clue who he was, in fact the European version of the game had most of the references to 7UP removed so we ended up with a game fronted by a Mascot we didn’t know, not really trying to sell a product to us which is sort of weird.

Cool Spot is a single-player platformer where you control Cool Spot, he can jump, and he can attack by throwing soda bubbles, he can also cling to and climb various things. So what is the plot, what is his mission? Well you have to rescue the other spots who happen to look just like you, they have been caught and trapped in cages, cages you will find at the end of every level, in order to free them though you have to collect a certain amount of spot icons which are littered through the levels. You only have so long to do this and of course you have enemies trying to stop you, but there are also plenty of things to help you, for one you can take several hits, your health is
monitored by an onscreen image of Cool Spots face that gradually bends forward and eventually falls from its position indicating how close to death you are. The game has check points which are flags which will save your progress through a level if you happen to die but in the old fashioned style of a lot of games there is no save function so you need to set aside some time to do this bad boy in one go. If you collect enough spots though you will enter bonus stages in which you can collect letters to give you continues.

As far as the games graphics go well you’d think that spot wouldn’t be much cop in some ways what with him just being a dot an all, but they must have worried that this would be the case as they have really gone the extra mile trying to put personality in to the little fella. He moves smoothly, he has waiting animations, pain animations, he is quite literally never completely still at least part of him is always in motion, this might just be him snapping his fingers or puling a face but it works wonders. If you like 16 bit games then you will most likely like this. There are lots of varied levels and enemies they clearly put a lot of thought and care in to this far more than you would have maybe originally thought with it being a game based on a soft drink icon.

The sound is also an area this game excels in with a sort of jazzy score, yes it can be a little repetitive if you happen to pause the game but if you’re playing and into the action then it fits the game well
The game isent massive but it is enjoyable, Spot controls quite well. He is responsive,and can be guided to where he has to go with relative ease most of the time. His ability to shoot bubbles is awesome as its not just a fire left or right thing, you can infact fire in absolutely every direction you can push on the pad. The controls aren't totally perfect however though. Instead of being allocated a button to run spot just starts running after a few steps if you keep holding the direction down. Now this is no sonic the hedgehog, you can’t just run through everything, if you try that you’re going to die and you’re going to die fast. So you have to keep being mindful to stop and slow yourself down so that you can use the awesome multidirectional shooting mechanic to take out the enemies before they get you. The jumping can also be a little bit painful at times, it’s just well for example it wants you to jump from balloon string to balloon string but if you’re not lined up pixel perfect then spots not grabbing it for you. This is not that big of an issue it just makes a few jumping sections feel a little more painful than they need to.

Overall I would give Spot a big 7 out of 10, fitting really with him being the mascot of 7up. If you really want to try this game then you’re looking at around £6 to £8 for a cartridge which is more than fair for what it is. There was also a sequel on the megadrive but it never came to the SNES. I could have spent more time comparing this and the megadrive version but they are both very similar games if I was to weigh them both up and recommend one version to you over another then I would say get the Megadrive version in a rare case it has slightly better music and it also plays a little better (I’d give it an Cool but if you don’t have a Megadrive the SNES one is still a good game.
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Re: 150 SNES games reviewed

Post by kerr9000 on Sat Oct 03, 2015 11:47 am

SNES Game Review 97: WWF Royal Rumble




Well this is going to be my second WWF based SNES review (WWF the former name of what is now known as the WWE, World Wrestling Entertainment). So WWF Royal Rumble was a multiplatform wrestling video game based on the World Wrestling Federation it was the sequel to Super Wrestlemania which I have already reviewed. It was once again made by Sculptured Software Inc and released by the infamous LJN who other than mentioning just now I won’t really be talking about as it is ground I have touched before, but basically this game is made and developed by the same people who did the last entry in the series.

It was released for both the Super NES and Sega Megadrive. Like its predecessor but in this case the Megadrive version hit about 3 months later, once again despite being pretty much the same game it was decided that they would give the games different roster’s, I am not sure if this was maybe because they thought it might inspire some people to buy both or because of changes in the WWF and in who was important at the time, after all 3 months could be a long time back then with wrestlers moving to WCW or mid-carders moving up in to more main event status. Either way the two versions share seven wrestlers: Bret Hart, The Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, Razor Ramon, Randy Savage, Crush, and  Lex Luger. Then each version has 5 exclusive wrestlers. On the SNES people got to play with Ric Flair, Mr. Perfect, Ted DiBiase, Yokozuna and Tatanka. Whereas on the Megadrive/Genesis there was Hulk Hogan, IRS, Jim Duggan, The Model and Papa Shango. Who got the better deal kind of depends upon how much you value the individuals involved. I like the fact that the SNES version got Ric Flair, Mr. Perfect, Ted DiBiase as they were all excellent heel characters but I have to admit if they were removed I wouldn’t really miss either Yokozuna or Tatanka. As for the megadrive version well it’s kind of cool to see Hulk Hogan and Jim Duggan as strong hero types from that period, and I also have a lot of respect for The Model so it’s nice to see him in a game. The strange thing is that IRS and Million Dollar man found themselves on oppersit sides of the format.

Yes once again I am here pointing out that old wrestling games didn’t have the large amount of wrestlers we are used to receiving in a modern game so again the same question I asked before about Super Wrestlemania can be asked. If they were going to do the work on all those characters why split them between platforms but this could be due to all sorts of things such as the size of cartridge they were trying to fit it on or again offering unique reasons for people to buy it on more than one format.

So with this only coming out a year later than Super Wrestlemania lets stop worrying about format differences and look at what was done to improve the game over its previous entry, was anything changed or was it just a quick cash grab? Well while WWF Royal Rumble still has the old bang/tap the buttons on your pad like crazy with the faster person winning grappling style this time they added an on screen meter to show how it was going. As small as this sounds I think this was a great little addition, you could now see if you were going to win or lose a grapple and it would make you try that bit harder. Steel chairs could now be found outside the ring and used which as small as it might sound at the time was a cool addition. Also after knocking the referee unconscious, the player can now use illegal tactics such as choking to get the advantage. In the last entry in the series wrestlers could only enter the ring from the left or right side but now you can roll into the from the bottom part of the screen, meaning far less bouts being ended by count out. More moves were added to the basic move makes the game feel a bit less repetitive. It’s not a bad little list of additions even if some of them are quiet subtle.

For me the main draw of this game is in the title, basically it is the fact that there's a Royal Rumble mode. I always loved watching the royal rumble every year when I was young, thirty men enter only one man leaves the winner usually with the promise of a shot at the title at the next Wrestlemania. It wasn’t always the winner who was the coolest though, it was great watching who would eliminate the most people who would last the longest, who would be the quickest person eliminated. I could talk for hours about my favourite moments from Royal Rumbles over the years including the moment when one of the bushwhackers marched to the ring jumped in got immediately knocked out and then marched back to the dressing room without missing a beat. There are of course some amazing things about the rumble this game cannot hope to emulate. You never really knew who would run to the ring next in a royal rumble, sometimes it would even be someone you hadn’t seen wrestle in a long time, or a surprise guest but in this game it is obviously one of the 12 playable characters, and that’s the other thing it’s only a 12 person rumble not a 30. Also there is only ever a maximum of 6 people in the ring at a time. Once you hit that magic number no one else will enter until someone has been eliminated to free up a space. I can see why this happens and to some degree wrestling games still do it now. There are of course a limited number of characters the console can handle at one time without it either causing slow down or just making things far too chaotic to play. For those less versed in the way of the Royal rumble it’s basically a multi competitor event where instead of pinning opponents you eliminate them by throwing them out over the top ropes, the winner being the last man left in the ring. Personally I think this mode alone actually adds buckets more to this game than the past entry in the series. I remember as a kid playing this game again and again with my brother and I honestly think for the time it wasn’t too bad. Sure it has been surpassed now, there was the excellent Royal Rumble game on Sega’s Dreamcast and then of course pretty much every modern wrestling game has a rumble/battle royal mode now but at the time this was a really neat little addition.

The graphics are pretty decent for the time, and the wrestlers although some of them don’t look quite right, Yokozuna for example does not look anywhere near big enough in comparison to other wrestlers. The important thing though is that you can tell people apart and you never get confused about who is who so the graphics are at the least highly functional. The Sound is average, all of the expected wrestler grunting is here with probably the best audio being the wrestler’s theme tunes which are all here in accurate midi style.

Would I recommend this game?  Well I certainly think that there are better efforts on the machine and I would probably try to push you to something like Saturday Night Slam Masters first, but I also recognise this as a big step up from its prequel, I recognise the strength of its royal rumble mode for short bursts of fun, and I recognise the effort they went to in order to improve it. I would give this game a 6 out of 10. Should you actually go out and buy it though? Well with all of the carts of it I can find hugging the £10 to £15 price range and how much this type of game has advanced I would find it hard to recommend a purchase unless you’re dying for a new SNES game. As I said before with Super Wrestlemania you would be much better served going in to a shop and looking for a modern wrestling game with at least 3 times the characters, additions we now have like create a wrestler, and online play. In fact you can walk in to somewhere like CEX and find a copy of something like Smackdown Here comes the pain, Or one of the other early PS2 WWE Wrestlers for under £3 and you would probably get a great deal more fun from them. So really that would be my recommendation in this case, although it’s certainly fun to see how much WWE/WWF games have changed and developed over the many years they have been released.
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Re: 150 SNES games reviewed

Post by kerr9000 on Tue Oct 06, 2015 10:03 pm

Game 98 Asterix



Astérix is a 1993 platform game for the SNES it was both made and published by Infogrames, there was also NES and Game Boy versions of the game but as far as I know these were made by a Spanish company called Bit Managers (they were still published by Infogrames though). The games are based on the comic book series Asterix. An interesting little fact about This game is that it was only made available in Europe so it’s one of the few SNES games to be a European exclusive, basically because most of the other regions would have sat there going ‘’who the heck is Asterix?’’
Having grown up watching Asterix animated films I have a lot of love for the world that’s contained within them, I have always been a big fan of the characters contained within it especially Asterix’s best friend the big chubby but mighty Obelix. This is where the game gives me my first mighty kick to the testicles as the story for the game is basically that Obelix, has been kidnapped by the Romans, and it is up to you as Asterix to save him and bring him home to your village. This game came out in 1993 one year after Konami brought out an Asterix arcade game and arcade game that I was very fond of for many reasons. It was based on the same French comic series but you got to play as either Asterix or Obelix, in a final fight style 2d walk along beat em up filled with awesome graphics full of charm. Now it might seem harsh to judge a SNES  game against an arcade machine but remember in 1992 we had seen an almost arcade perfect port of Street Fighter 2 the world warriors so we had seen what the SNES was capable of given the right people for the job.

So stick with me here, I turn on the game and find I have to be Asterix, it’s not so bad, then I learn it’s a 2D platformer fair enough there have been some darn good ones especially on the SNES but then I see the graphics and I am not exaggerating here this game could essentially be recreated on the master system graphics wise, the sprites are small and rather basic, the backgrounds are also pretty darn basic just enough colours and shapes to make out some sky with white clouds and grass and a bit of water, the foreground is better but once you’ve noticed how basic the background is you can’t really unsee it. Having played the Master System Asterix game from two years before this I actually think it has a better Asterix sprite.
To be fair to the games graphics there are a fair amount of different enviroments including the Gaul forests, the Swiss Alps, Egypt and of beign an Asterix game Rome.  

The real problem with this game is that Infogrames did not bring a single new idea to the gaming table. So what you have here is a basic 2d platformer with basic graphics. There are cool little visits from characters like Dogmatix or Cacofonix, who will do  something to help you against the Romans for example Dogmatix will bite the nearest solider on the bum taking him out of the action, its animated well and raises a smile
Asterix starts off easy as anything but as it goes on it can get quiet challenging in places, sometimes it is in fact a little frustrating, this can be due to the placement of enemies and the unsureness of how it wants you to proceed. Add on to this that unfortunately there are some occasions of flawed collision detection and you have a bit of a flawed game here. The music is pleasant enough but some of the sound effects are very basic. Overall this game feels kind of well like a budget title.

If you really like Asterix or Platformers then feel free to give this game a bash but there are a lot better games out there. I would give this game a 6 out of 10, it’s functional, enjoyable but was never going to set the world on fire. If you want to try this game a loose cart goes for around the £10 to £13 price range. I would add though that if you’re a multi format collector you could probably get a copy of the Master System Asterix boxed for this price and I feel it is in fact a much better more enjoyable game (Never thought I would be recommending a Master System title over a Super Nintendo game) I would happily give that game a 8 out of 10 and a heavy recommendation, actually talking about it is making me wish I still had it.
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Re: 150 SNES games reviewed

Post by kerr9000 on Fri Oct 09, 2015 7:11 pm



SNES Game Review 99

So the game I have been playing is Family Feud, it’s based on a well-known American Quiz show, in fact you will have most likely have been watching the British version of it Family Fortunes on and off for years. The basic premise of the show for those who don’t know and therefore for this game is that two families compete to try to name the most popular responses given to survey questions in order to win. Now I have to admit that this is a bit of a weird one to review for a whole host of reasons. One being that it is an American game, asking you questions which might at times throw you culture wise for example ‘’Name a dish which you are sure to find at every PotLuck dinner’’ now I have heard the term before it’s basically a dinner where everyone brings something they have prepared to the hosts house but this just illustrates the fact that the questions are aimed at the market it was released for.

Ok so you are probably wondering at this point how you answer do you select from options or…? Well you answer by using your control pad to navigate a virtual keyboard and type the answer you want to give out, basically making the possibilities endless, add on to this that you need to spell the word or term correctly and that’s spell it correctly according to the Americanised spelling of the word. Now maybe I suck but I got my first five or six questions wrong even thinking and spelling American style for example I had to name something that someone would like as a present if they were an outdoors kind of man and I said Rifle as well we know Americans love their guns. Rifle wasn’t actually a valid answer knife however was.

So one of the important questions to raise about this type of game is how many questions is there, as with this kind of thing if the question count is low and starts to quickly repeat then the game is of very little worth well surprisingly this game has around 4,000 which is actually a lot especially when you consider the fact the latter Playstation one version only apparently has 1500. I guess they lowered the number to add in digitised speech and such. You won’t find anything like that here, sound wise you have some twee midi music in the background with a buzz noise for when things are wrong and a clap noise. The graphics well its largely static screens with your cartoon family just standing there, my personal favourite sprite is the Asian old man Harry Hill look alike, although I am also partial to the guy on one family who looks kind of like Chuck Norris. There is this clapping animation that I actually find really funny. Basically your sprites stay perfectly still there faces don’t change and they don’t move apart from their arms and hands which move backwards and forwards clapping erratically for some reason it makes me think they are all dead and being operated puppet style like the film weekend at Bernie’s.

Playing this on your own is as dull as dishwater, it is a little bit better with a friend but to be fair you’d probably have more fun just watching Family Fortunes and guessing along and seeing if your guesses are right or wrong. I basically knew going in to this that I wasn’t going to be blown away, I was just curious to see how they handled things, do I think it could be better? Well I guess I would have gone for offering a screen full of answers people could choose from instead of typing the answers out but maybe that would make it a little too easy and remove some of the pressure. This is one of those things where it’s hard to rate as we now have games like this which work better on modern smart phones. I have sat and watched my fiancée play all kinds of mobile scrabble and quiz show games which are free or cost literally pence which knock this out of the park. 

This is most definitely a case where it’s only worth it if you just want to see what it is like or you are trying to collect any and every SNES cart you can get your hands on. I wouldn’t have bothered buying this myself if not for the fact that it was £3 including postage costs so I wouldn’t really recommend it as a purchase to anyone. I feel a bit mean giving it a score as it really is a product of its time but as it stands playing it now I would give it a 2 out of 10. If you desperately need this game I have seen a few copies on ebay selling from America where they want about £3.50 for the game and then £3.50 postage to the UK but remember you need either an American system, a convertor or a modified console.
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Re: 150 SNES games reviewed

Post by kerr9000 on Fri Oct 16, 2015 5:49 pm

Snes Game Review 100 Rainbow Bell Adventure




Ok so for my one hundredth SNES review what have I picked? Well I have picked Pop'n TwinBee: Rainbow Bell Adventures, or as it is known in Japan TwinBee: Rainbow Bell Adventure. I had all kinds of ideas for what I should do for my one hundredth review if it should be specially or normal and in the end I think I just decided I should pick a game and get down to it or it would never happen. One of the interesting bits of trivia about this game is that it wasn't released in the USA at all, it was strictly speaking a Japanese and European exclusive, something which didn't really happen that often in terms of the SNES. Usually it seemed like a game would get a Japanese release which might then see it get an American release which would only then filter down to us if it had done OK in both of these previous markets. Why this game skipped the US I have no idea at all. 

So other than obviously the Japanese version being in Japanese is there any differences between it and the version Europe got? Well actually there are more than you would expect. The level order in the Japanese version is a little bit more open allowing you to choose at poits what stage to do next, some stages have alternate exits, similar to Super Mario World allowing paths to be drawn that otherwise wouldn't open up. In the European version, though the order is laid out for you in a strictly linear fashion, you simply finish a level and then move on to the next one.There is dialogue between Dr. Cinnamon and the main characters Light, Pastel and Mint (the Pilots of Twinbee, Winbee and Gwinbee) at the level select screen in the Japanese version but this was cut from the European version for some reason. The European version uses passwords to save your progress where the Japanese one offers a battery back-up as well as the choice of using passwords. And last but not least the Japanese version has multiple endings depending on the player's performance (which the game rates) the European version just has one set ending. Now I might be wrong but to me I feel that a lot of this has to do with the way a bright colourful game like this was perceived in Europe, if its bright and silly looking here then its seen to be kids’ stuff, the Japanese are different though they tend to see a bright cartoony style as just one of several legitimate choices for how a game or animated film can be, I think they thought we would see the game as childish so they stripped out some of the more adult challenge and story based aspects and maybe they had a point in doing it. I got this game on release as a present I actually asked my parents for. A lot of my friends didn’t even give this game a second thought, they saw the graphics in magazine previews and pretty much straight labelled it babies stuff. I on the other hand have always been in to things like Anime and know that even with the brightest of colours and the cutest of looks sometimes there can be a lot more than just that held within.

Now there are probably three types of people reading this, the first will be those who already know about the game and want to find out my opinion, the next will be those who have never heard of the title or the characters leaving the last group those who will know that the characters belong to Konami, who will know who Twinbee is but will be going wasn't he that ship from those vertically scrolling shooter games. Well the quick answer is that yes Twinbee was from a series of shooting games in fact one of these games was on the Super Nes one year before Rainbow Bell adventures.

Pop'n Twinbee the snes game was in fact the sixth game in the TwinBee series and a direct follow-up to an arcade game The European version of this snes game was the first TwinBee related game to be localized for the European market. You might ask why I am not reviewing that game first, well there is a simple answer to that question and its the fact that I don't own it. Not to get too sidetracked but alongside sega's Fantasy Zone game Twinbee is pretty much the game responsible for the creation of the "cute 'em up" sub-genre of shoots. Its a shoot em up space ship shooting game with beautiful cute colours, upbeat cartoon style music and, snippets of voice acting I wont review it do to my rule of not reviewing things I don't own on the SNES but I will say its a delightful breath of fresh air that brings a smile to your face as you play it. I only mention it because this is one of the things that really made Rainbow Bell Adventures a surprise, you see with there being a whole series of shoot em up games featuring these characters it was a real shot from left field to see them suddenly release a platform game instead of doing what everyone expected and quickly rehashing a quick SNES sequel to the title from the previous year, you know minimum effort maximum cash style. So old Konami definitely get a bonus point from me here for doing something different.

Ok so let me play story teller here and give you a brief idea of the story (in game this is told to you via the intro sequence). So there are these ''Rainbow Bells'' right and somehow these bells keep the peace throughout the whole galaxy, they seem to do this by keeping a green haired princess alive. So all is good right? No as an evil scientist and his troopers steal the Rainbow Bells and take over the world. You play as the previously mentioned Twinbee, Winbee and Gwinbee and you have to stop him. Yeah its not about to win any book of the year awards here for story telling but its good enough to give you a reason for what your doing.

So you get to choose between the three character Twinbee the blue one, the pink Winbee the pink one, or the green Gwinbee the green one. They are all pretty much the same in how they move and how they control but there are some small differences. First and most importantly there is a charge punch move you can do and there is also the ability to charge your ship so you can shoot off at whatever angle your pressing at the time you release your jets, well the charge-up times are different Winbee charges her flying ability quickly but is slow to charge her punch, Gwinbee charges his punches quickly but takes a long time to charge up his jets, and Twinbee is the middle ground character his punch and flying ability have a medium charge making him the most rounded character. There is another minor difference between them but I will get to that in a little.

The game is absolutely chock a block full of different power-ups, something it takes from its shoot em up heritage. Your basic moves include both a punching attack and jumping, the jumping itself can be used as an attack as you will harm enemies by landing on top of them. Power-ups though come in the form of various coloured bells which appear after you have defeated an enemy. Obviously different colours give you different things. One coloured bell will give you a laser gun power-up another will give you a character dependant physical weapon with Twinbee getting a hammer, Winbee getting a whip, and Gwinbee getting projectile baby rattles. Then there is a bell which will give you a shield, a belle which gives you a mini ship which will follow behind you and a belle which will give you time limited invincibility. 

OK so the basic idea in most levels is to find and enter the exit gate. This is no simple keep going right and you'll find it thing like in some games though or at least not all of the time, sure In a few levels, finding the exit is rather straightforward, but in others it can involve a whole lot of exploration. Then every so many levels you are met with a boss. There are the above mentioned bells to pick up for power ups but there are also score related bells which you can sort of consider the equivalent of Mario's coins. You will need to use your charge moves to either blow through a wall or to fly up in to the air. Something in this game I love but is actually pointless is the fact that if you charge up and rocket in to the air again and again eventually you can reach all the way in to space, there is nothing to do up there other than let go and see yourself plummeting downwards but the very fact they allow you to do this without putting some invisible ceiling in place or making you die if you go to high feels very liberating, its like they knew people would want to try it.

The graphics in Rainbow Bell Adventure are so darn cute but its more than that they are so full of colour that there a visual treat especially if you have played a lot of Xbox 360 grey chest high wall shooters recently, if you go from something like that back to Rainbow Bell it will just lay you on your ass and make you think back fondly to the good old 16bit era. The playable characters have lots of animation to them, they feel like they positively pop to life on the screen this coupled with the music just brings everything to life. The music is light and bubbly while also being fun and upbeat, I cant say that you will leave the game humming it but it certainly does put you in the right mood to enjoy this kind of game.

I think the game controls like a dream, its quiet simply awesome, it doesn't just control well its also so much fun to rocket around and bounce off walls and see what tricks you can do. The game is very fun but I also feel it works best in small bite sized chunks, I would advise you to play four or five levels jot down the password and then come back to it rather than trying to do all 33 in one sitting. I know that compared to the likes of super Mario World 33 doesn't sound like a very high number and well its not. If you were to attack this game with a I must complete it attitude you would knock it out of the way very quickly but that would ignore how fun this game is.

So what would I score this game? Well I think I would give it a nice solid 8. Its a nice fun game, its a bit different but I do think that it could do with being a little longer, I do think that some of the things that were removed from the Japanese version were removed to the games detriment and I do think that there are better games out there even if this is a darn fine game. How much are you going to spend if your considering this game though? Well the cheapest I could find at the moment was an English cart only copy for £20 with people asking up to £40 for a loose cart in some instances, a Japanese loose cartridge is closer to £10 but of course you'll need a modified system or a converter, its not like the in game text or anything is really needed so you could easily play and finish a Japanese copy. It might be worth looking at wrongly labelled auctions as I actually got my copy cheaper due to someone listing it as the previous Pop'n Twinbee game (they gave the name of that game but a picture of this cartridge).
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Re: 150 SNES games reviewed

Post by kerr9000 on Tue Oct 27, 2015 6:30 pm

SNES REVIEW 101  



It’s not so long ago that I reviewed the SNES platformer Buster Busts loose a platformer based on the cartoon Tiny Toon Adventures made by Steven Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment and Warner Bros. So I will try not to spend to long going on about this being a licensed game and where the license came from as I am reviewing another Tiny Toons related game.  Over here (and in the rest of Europe) the game I am reviewing was called Tiny Toon Adventures: Wild & Wacky Sports in the American markets it was called Tiny Toon Adventures: Wacky Sports Challenge and in Japan it was known as Tiny Toon Adventures: Dotabata Daiundoukai. It was released in 1994 for the Super NES and was once again both developed and published by Konami.

So this is a license but once again it’s a license being made by Konami who we must remember back in the SNES days could more or less do no wrong they were one of the prize producers for the machine making hit after hit. Also in case you haven’t guessed by the Wacky sports name this game is basically a quirky game featuring lots of little sort of ‘’sports’’ based events and as most people will know Konami were responsible for one of the most well-known multi sports games of all time Track & Field( or Hyper Olympics as it was known in Japan).

For those not familiar with Track and field it had very simple gameplay, based on quick repeating button presses, but what it really managed to do was to open the flood gates and set the basics down in stone for a whole bunch of games that would follow it, it was essentially the start of the multi sports button bashing sub-genre. It laid down all of the basic ideas that would go on to be seen in this type of game. The NES version of Track and Field was very well-received, and also sold well. Surprisingly Konami did not make a proper direct SNES follow up instead they would wait until the N64 which would get International Track & Field 2000 (as well as a winter Olympics based game which worked in much the same way).

Now personally I see this as a kind of crazy off shot of the Track and Field series, yes it can be a bit silly and a bit kiddy but it is a very fun party type game that is great fun when played with a second player but it’s also worth noting that it's one of the few SNES games to support the SNES Multitap , and if you have one of these and enough pads then four of  you can play against each other at the same time.

So to start with if you’re playing on your own you choose a Tiny Toon from Buster, Babs, Plucky, or Dizzy and then you go through a bunch of wacky events and compete for the gold. It's kind of like Track and Field but with Tiny Toon characters and less obvious sporting events. There is a big variety in the events and there all wacky. There are around twelve events, I won’t list all of them for you, but here is a quick sample to show you the kind of things you will be doing, there is weightlifting, the chicken dash, bungee jumping and ice cream throwing.

The way to win is basically to score the most points, if you’re playing on your own then the computer will take control of the other tiny toons. Hampton the pig will tell you the rules of each event before they start. After the event the points gets calculated and you find out who has won that event and who has come second and so on. Once you have completed all of the events for your current game the overall winners are announced and you will get to see who has won the Bronze, Silver and Gold medal.

The main drawback with this game is that once you get the hang of most events well it really is not too hard to beat the computer, the game soon becomes boring as a one player game however grab a  friend or hopefully three and this just see’s the fun ramp up.
 
Unusually for a game of this type there is actually a story. Montana Max who if you haven’t seen the show can basically be described as a super-rich brat, think richy rich but a wanker, well for some reason probably the fact he is bored has decided to hold a sports contest with weird events. As a prize Max has offered a Million to the winner and each of the 4 competitors has their eyes on the money because they each have an individual dream that they need it for, if you want to find out if there dream comes true or not then you will need to pick that person and finish the game.

Both the sound effects and music fit the game well, there are cartoon boing noises when someone messes up for example. The music is nothing you are really going to listen to outside of the game but it does fit its purpose well, for example the music during the races has the right kind of beat to it to get you in the mood to work like mad to try to win. The sounds are clear and feel like they were taken directly from the cartoon, the theme tune is also used even though it is without lyrics obviously. The graphics in this game are nice and bright, they are pretty good for the SNES and look and feel a lot like those seen in Buster Busts Loose, these two games certainly can sit side by side as good companion pieces when you think about the fact there made by the same company, for the same machine and feature the same cast. The graphics and sounds together certainly help set the mood for this game and make it feel a lot like the show it is based on.
So I have gone through almost everything, what kind of a game this is, its story, the sound and graphics so that leaves the one most important thing and that’s how the game plays. In my opinion the controls are nice and easy, they are all explained to you prior to the events. The characters all play exactly the same which is no bad thing as it means no one is in any way at a disadvantage well not unless they have ended up with the last pad you have left in four player mode and it happens to be a awful 3rd party piece of tat (Let’s face it back in the SNES days this was a situation you would often find yourself in, popping round someone’s house for a game, being the last one there and having to nurse your way through a game or two with a crappy pad, and even if you did get one of the good pads you’d have to put up with the moans of the poor soul who didn’t)

The controls are good and responsive but like a lot of games of this type you better darn well have strong thumbs because during some of the events you will find yourself having to batter two buttons as fast as you possibly can in order to win, there is also the argument that if you get in to this with some real gusto then your probably not doing your pads buttons any big favours. That's if you want to win and get a very high score.

This is one of those games which I think it is a little hard to rate, after all you have to look at the game in two ways, you have to look at it as a single player game and a multiplayer. As a single player game it’s a fun little distraction but you will soon tire of it, and to this degree it is a little hard to seriously recommend it. If however you own a multi-tap and enough decent pads and regularly have friends around who enjoy playing 16bit games with you then this is an ace title to slap on in the middle of a gaming night, few rounds of bomberman, some Mario kart, followed by winner stays on street fighter and then chuck this on for a while before moving on to something like NBA Jam and it will be fun all round. I think I would give this game a 7 out of 10 but I only recommend it for purchase as a multiplayer title. So if you want this game how much are you looking at paying? Well the average price for a loose cart version of it tends to go for between £15 to £20 and there is very little saving to be made in going for an import copy, it’s not cheap and if you’re going to be playing it on your own its simply not worth it, but as a multiplayer game I think it’s worth it. What did I pay? Well my fiancé got it me along with Cool Spot, Asterix and ClayMates for the awesome price of £23, so I have to thank her for this one.
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Re: 150 SNES games reviewed

Post by kerr9000 on Tue Jun 07, 2016 10:31 pm




So it has been a fairly long time since my last SNES review. Some of it is the fact that I got a new job and found myself with less free time than I had before but I guess a big part of it was also because I had review more than 100 games and felt like I had hit some kind of mile stone, it seemed like after reviewing a nice interesting title for review number 100 anything after would be a bit of a step down.  I did consider just letting this whole thing die after all 100 reviews is a lot of reviews and there are other things I wanted to talk about, modern games, the megadrive, politics, philosophy and economics but at the end of the day I said I would review 150 SNES games so I want to review 150 SNES games even if it takes me till this time next year. So here is review 102 and apologies for the long wait.

Now it might have turned up in some of my conve

Now it might have turned up in some of my conversations or in previous blog posts but I am a very big fan of the 1950's Horror comics and beyond that horror in general. This all started with my exposure to several films when young, soon films turned to comics, and comics turned to books and this is how I came to find my self reading the work of several authors including the likes of Richard Matheson and Stephen King. Now days it wouldn't be that huge an issue to find a game being made with the involvement of some kind of horror director or writer but back when I heard that a SNES game was being made based on a film which was apparently based on a sort of horror short which I had read it was actually kind of exciting, sure the very fact it was based on a film should have started my spidey sense tingling but I was less jaded and cynical back then.

The original ''The Lawnmower Man" is a short story which was written by Stephen King and originally published in the May 1975 issue of a US magazine called Cavalier, later it was included in King's 1978 short story collection Night Shift, which is where I found it a good ten years latter. I dont want to spoil it for anyone who hasn't read it but I will simply say this it is a little tale with connections to sort of mythical beings and has no futuristic science to it. Beyond some kind of weird ZX Spectrum game with an RRP of £3.99 or less I dont really see how back then the idea of this story could make a game, at least not a proper game on a 16bit system.

My excitement died pretty much when I saw The Lawnmower Man the film. Sure the film is named after the Stephen King short story of the same name, but it basically has pretty much sod all to do with it. Again I dont want to spoil something you have yet to experience but I will give a brief idea of what the film is about. The film is about a simple minded gardener and a scientist who decides to experiment on him, using a combination of drugs and Virtual Reality exercises/games. The film had some interesting CGI in it and some decent ideas but overall was a very run of the mill average movie. It was no wonder that it was originally titled Stephen King's The Lawnmower Man, but this ended when King managed to successfully sue the producers and have his name removed on the basis that his story and this film basically had sold all in common.

So on the outside of it a man being trained with VR games doesn't sound like a bad set up for a game does it? Well the reviews for it back in the day were kind of all over the place with some claiming it to be absolutely crap while the odd one praised it like it was some kind of proto Mario 64 but I think the general consensus was that it was an incredibly average game.
The game is basically composed of different parts, there is a platformer, then there is  a  3-D first-person flying game with a lot of mode 7 thrown into the mix, but there are also some levels where your flying in a sort of ship or driving along on a futuristic bike where it is basically a horizontal or vertical shooter. The main issue is that the platformer is OK if incredibly pedestrian and average where as the 3D mode 7 heavy stuff rather than being the icing on the cake or the jam to separate the layers and mix things up a little is more like the brussel sprouts you were made to eat as a child if you wanted your Christmas pudding, that  is if your Christmas pudding was a only just edible none exciting Christmas pudding. The shooter bits are not to bad but nor are they too good, everything is kind of average but you still feel basically grateful that they tried to break things up and mix genres and elemnts togther to keep you entertained.

If you want to know what the platforming bit is like well imagine a sort of amateur run and gun Contra/Turrican kind of thing, you shoot stuff, you jump around, you pick up bigger and better weapons to shoot even more things with

When you first see the mode seven bits you will be a little impressed and be like ''oh wow something different, this doesn't look bad'' but soon this will turn into ''oh great one of these bloody bits again''. These bits basically involve shooting at wire frame enemies avoiding there shots and trying not to crash into stuff, it could potentially be exciting but you realise all to soon that none of the enemies could hit an elephant with a Rocket launcher, there AI is simply more brain dead than almost any you will have faced before, and lets remember in 1977 the Atari 2600 a machine with only a 1.19mhz processor managed to show competitive functional AI in its tanks in the video game cart known as Combat (one of the first 9 games released for that particular system). . Not much of a gameplay rating here, that's for sure. And also, the enemies, even in the last few levels, have the worst AI ever. If anything will get you in these sort of bits its more walls than enemies. I would have scrapped these bits as novel looking as they are and concentrated on doing my best to ensure the other bits were more enjoyable, but I guess they figured this stuff was what would stand out the best when printed in magazines and is what would sell the game.

The sound is pretty basic even if I find the music strangely funky and appealing in a way I cant quiet understand, the controls are decent, there are no real major major bug bears with this game beyond what I have mentioned but the way it feels when you play it you cant find yourself saying anything kinder than either the generic ''yeah its average'' or ''at least they tried something'' So I think it is pretty clear that I would give this game 5 out of 10. Would I recommend a purchase? Only if you can get it for around £5 and really fancy something you dont already own. I have had this knocking around in my collection so long I have no idea when or where I got it but looking online, looking about you can get a cart for around £5 on Amazon and if you like trying new things then give it a shot you might like it more than I do.
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Re: 150 SNES games reviewed

Post by kerr9000 on Tue Jun 07, 2016 10:32 pm

Snes Review 103




Well I was going to review a Disney based game but then decided to pick the title I have ended up reviewing instead, there is a trivia based connection and I will get to it. So the game I am going to talk about is Uniracers perhaps better known to some of you under the title it was released in Pal regions under the name Unirally.
 

It was created by DMA Design and Nintendo of America for the SNES and was released in North America in December 1994 and in England on April 27, 1995. For those not in the know DMA was a british video game developer which I suppose first really stepped in to the limelight with the game Lemmings, After developing Unirally for Nintendo, DMA Design was set to most likely become one of their main second-party developers, but this didnt happen largly it is said because of Nintendo's disapproval of Body Harvest. So what did DMA go on to do instead? Well in 1997, DMA released Grand Theft Auto (They are now known as Rockstar North) and I think we all know how that went. So what we have here is a Unicycle racing game made by the future makers of grand theft auto now if that doesnt sound weirly intresting to you then nothing will.
 

OK another important little bit of trivia here which is relvent to this review Unirally was actually made to test out the ACM (Advanced Computer Modelling) which would be later used in Donkey Kong country which proberbly explains some of this games graphics, it kind of has what I would now consider the looks of a Xbox 360 Xbox live indie title. what do I mean by this? Well, the unicycles all have a great physical 3Dness about them, as do the actual twisting pipes which serve as your racing courses and it all travels at a wonderful smooth and fast rate, in fact it could be argued it is one of the best games on the SNES for giving a real sense of speed to its gameplay. However it needs to be pointed out that a lot of the backgrounds and menus are very bland and don't seem to have had a lot of time or effort pushed into them. I firmly believe that if this son of a bitch wasn't so damn playable then it would have just been left as a interesting little tech demo and thank god it wasn't as I played the living crap out of this as a youngster.
 

Again I have to both note and congratulate those involved in the speed of this title and in the fact that there is no slowdown. The race tracks have various colourful patterns on them throughout each course, highlighting the fact that a piece of track is covered in oil, is a run-up to a loop-the-loop, or is the final stretch of the race, this means that you are given a visual indication of how to handle your unicyle. This works really well despite the games very rapid pace most likely because there is very little else to distract you. This is not to say that the game is devoid of character though , yes the level might lack it but the Uniracers themselves don't know there are no riders these are strangely sentient cycles that actually have personalities, as you play you will notice that they use there seats as if they were there heads, they throw looks behind them if an opponent is drawing close, the victor does a sort of happy dance after winning and losers either seem to be crying or simply seem to topple over and toss themselves to the ground. This actually kind of led to some issues of its own. Shortly after the game's release, DMA Design was sued by Pixar . Basically Pixar felt that the unicycle design and the characterization of the was copied from their1987 short film Red's Dream. DMA seemed to see it very diffrently with one of there develipers Mike Dailly, stating that "The problem with Pixar was that they seemed to think that any computer generated unicycle was owned by them." . DMA Design actually lost the lawsuit, and as a result, Nintendo had to terminate production of further Unirally cartridges. How do I feel about this? I think well I think its bullshit really, I don't think Pixar should have won the lawsuit because well the idea of humanised vehicles has existed for year and been used by loads of people and I dont think it is enough to warrant a victory in a court of law but oh well it happened.
 

This game is one of those games were it is a complete victory of gameplay over everything else, the sound is decent but not outstanding, the graphics are in some ways good but in other ways basic but the gameplay is for me at least a solid 10 out of 10, the controls are so simple that anyone can play it and yet there is a real sense of being able to always get a little better a little faster in your times, if you play it with a friend then its a great heated competition. The game simply excels at controlling well, doing everything you tell it to when you tell it to and letting you know that any cock up is completely down to you. I cant help but score this game 10 out of 10 no matter what. I think it is some of the best fun you can have on the snes and there is nothing else quiet like it. A loose cart of it should cost you around the £10 mark and I would recommend you buy this as soon as possible because there is nothing else quiet like it on the system and reviewing this has been one of the highlights of this whole series of reviews.
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Re: 150 SNES games reviewed

Post by kerr9000 on Tue Jun 07, 2016 10:33 pm

SNES REVIEW 104

Well I haven't touched a Pinball game for the SNES since I reviewed Pinball Fantasies (which as I mentioned in my review was a port of an Amiga game)also ported to the Super Nintendo). At the time while listing a few other pinball games on the system (not the one I will be talking about today) I basically said that for your pin-balling needs you'd be better of looking at the megadrive well will this game change my opinion at all? I guess you will have to read on to find out.



Well the game I have been playing is Super Pinball: Behind the Mask a pinball simulator for the SNES that was released in 1994 in North America and Japan (I cant find any details on a European release, yet there seem to be pal copies being sold from various European countries so maybe it was just never brought out in the UK). It was made by a company called KAZe  a video game developer whose headquarters were/are in Aoyama, Tokyo, Japan. Founded in 1987, KAZe is mostly known for developing various pachinko and pinball video games. In fact the last game they were involved with to my knowledge was a pinball gameShin Megami Tensei Pinball: Judgement which was released in 2006, published by Atlus. As far as I know they still exist they have just diversified into areas such as the development of Web sites,  IT consultation and the cell phone industry. My favourite game they are responsible for would be a Japanese PS1 exclusive Power Rangers Zeo: Full Tilt Battle Pinball, a game I actually menttioned in my Pinball Fantasies review, when I wrote that review I had no idea Super Pinball Behind the Mask even existed but learning it did and who had made it I was obviously excited especially as it only cost me £2 for a loose cartridge of it including postage.
OK so to get in to the game a little bit Super Pinball: Behind the Mask features three different tables, a clown based one called "Jolly Joker", a pirate one called "Blackbeard and Ironmen", and a fantasy one called "Wizard.". All of the tables are shown in a way where you can see the whole table on the screen without the need for any scrolling. The issue however is that all of the tables are basically very straightforward and there design while very functional doesn't really show any real imagination. The ball physics are good, the controls are pretty much perfect but Its just not that interesting in the long run I am afraid. The graphics are functional but not exactly amazing, and the sound is well its a mixed bag they effects are good but the music gets very annoying very quickly. There is very little to the game other than trying to get the best high scores you can get but then there is no battery backup so unless you want to go old school and grab a pen and paper there is no real way to know if you have managed to improve in the long run. I guess I have ended up at the same point I did when I reviewed my last SNES pinball game, I cant call it a bad game, I can recognise that it does some things well but ultimately in this particular genre of games your just much better of looking at what the Megadrive has to offer.

Having rated Pinball Fantasies as a 6 out of 10 and feeling that while decent this game is not as good, I feel I have to give it the very average 5 out of 10. No its not a bad game, but there are a lot better games out there. I have seen a fair few copies of this on ebay and in other places but they are seldom being sold from inside the UK, if you want a pal copy they seem to be going for about £8 after postage with Japanese copies being closer to around £6, but then as these are coming from outside the UK there is the extra waiting and such and I just dont think this title is worth it. If you see one for as cheap as I did then jump on it, it is after all a perfectly playable game just not something to get excited about or go running to try and find. If you get a chance to try  Power Rangers Zeo: Full Tilt Battle Pinball then I would strongly recommend that you do.
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