Pacing the Cage

All about old-school video games. Reviews, lists and more.

Archive for December, 2008

Why you may not have heard of the original Street Fighter

Posted by ptcgaming on December 27, 2008

If you’ve never played (or even heard of) the original “Street Fighter,” you’re not missing much. And yeah, that’s Ryu vs. Sagat, old-school style.

Capcom’s first foray into what would blossom into the explosion of a gaming genre back in 1987 was, well, clunky. That’s the best way I can describe the original “Street Fighter.” By saying it’s “clunky.”

I mean, the controls are about as responsive as a hibernating bear, movements aren’t all that crisp and it’s only enjoyable for long periods of time unless you have this infatuation to play as Ryu all the time, since he’s the main guy you fight with (unless you’re Player 2, then you get to be Ken all the time. And yes, all his moves are the same.

Now don’t get me wrong, this monstrosity introduced us to some SF staples, such as fireballs and such, as well as some other characters that would show their faces in the later “Alpha” series (Sagat is the main boss in the original, by the way. He gets his chest scar here). But “Karate Champ” on the NES was more responsive and perhaps more fun to play. And the only popular non-computer home console it was available on early in its life was the ill-fated TurboCD, which should tell you something. At least the arcade versions graphics look good (pictured above).

The idea of the game was straightforward: Beat everyone up so you can fight Sagat and finish the game. Yep, that’s it. Just like in just about every 2D fighter ever made. Really.

Most of the quirky elements from this game were fortunately fixed by the time “Street Fighter II: The World Warrior” came out. There were more people to fight with, the graphics and music were even better and the controls were much better. But hey, if you want to see Ryu in his red-headed glory, take this little nugget for a spin and see how far Capcom went between “Street Fighter” and its still-popular sequel.

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Character File: Solid Snake

Posted by ptcgaming on December 26, 2008

In his early glory, Solid Snake wasn’t quite as appealing as he is in “Guns of the Patriots.”

First appearance: “Metal Gear” (MX2 computer/NES, 1987/1988 )

Sometimes it’s hard working alone. But when you’re in charge of completing a set of covert operations it can be cool (or so I’d like to believe). Well, at least Solid Snake makes it look cool.

Long before PlayStation 3 owners were wowed with the cinematic presentation that is “Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots,” Snake was just a rookie spy for FOXHOUND in the original “Metal Gear.” And since then, he’s continuously fought to get his hands on the Metal Gear weapon.

Snake, whose real name is “David” early on, is the creation of Hideo Kojima. His early appearances and spin offs were on computers, home consoles and handhelds before really taking off in the “Metal Gear Solid” series during the PlayStation generation. He’s destroyed the Metal Gear, rescued kidnapped prisoners and more over the years. Putting all the “Metal Gear” titles together tells the complete story of Snake’s career. Snake helped make the “Metal Gear” series one the founders of the stealth-game genre.

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Retro Game Review: Pit-Fighter

Posted by ptcgaming on December 22, 2008

What fighting games looked like before steroid testing.

Platform: Arcade
Released: 1990
Developer: Atari Games

Background:
“Pit-Fighter” was, well, I don’t know what exactly to call it – strange, risque, a cross between professional wrestling and a Jean-Claude Van Damme movie – I really don’t know. Strangely, though, this pre-“Street Fighter II” 2D fighting game was actually revolutionary – it featured digitized characters modeled after real-life actors. In fact, “Pit-Fighter” (gasp!) looks better than some of the latest fighters do. I remember first playing this game in a convenience store near the house I grew up in, and even then that guy in the leather mask seemed a bit odd to me.

Graphics: 5/5

I know, I know. But you have to understand I’m comparing this game to others that came out around the same time, so then it looks great. But the digitized character modeling, along with a crowd that actually looks like people, was the closest thing you got to realistic in 1990.

Sound: 2.5/5
There are a lot of generic sounds in this game. Otherwise, nothing much to write home about. While the graphics were top-notch, the sound was anything but.

Controls: 3.5/5

The arcade configuration was a joystick and three buttons (punch, kick, jump). Pressing all three face buttons at the same time resulted in your character performing a “super move.”

Gameplay: 3/5

You can pick from three fighters – Buzz, Ty and Kato (or Larry, Curly and Moe if you want them to be) – and each has its own fighting style. Then you have to fight eight opponents, capping off with a final match against the “Masked Warrior.” Meanwhile, people with knives or sticks would sometimes interfere with your match. And in a multiplayer game, all playable characters had to beat the tar out of each other to decide who fights the “Masked Warrior,” since only one person has the unfortunate opportunity – er, ultimate chance – to face the final match. By the way, don’t stay in the crowd too long – they’ll throw you back in!

Overall: 3.5/5

Using the composite of all the scores above to get this score can be misleading. Why? Because this game really isn’t that good. While looking back at how great it was for 1990, I still can’t defend this one today. I mean come on, have you actually played this?

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