Pacing the Cage

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

Archive for the ‘SNES’ Category

Five quick-hit reviews

Posted by ptcgaming on May 4, 2009

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“River Raid” (Atari 2600/1982/Activision)
Overall score: 3.5
“River Raid” to this day is one of my favorite Atari 2600 games. The graphics are outstanding for that console, the sound is exceptional and having to worry about refueling adds an extra challenge. Too bad that challenge gets a bit repetitive after awhile.

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“Bases Loaded” (NES/1988/Jaleco-TOSE)
Overall score: 4
“Tecmo Baseball” and “RBI Baseball” might come close, but this was the best baseball franchise on the NES. The TV-camera batter/pitcher screen and great animation (including the “phantom glove” catcher) were great, as was the speech (any spoken dialogue was a gift on the NES). But am I the only one who thought this game was pretty tough?

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“Keith Courage in Alpha Zones” (TurboGrafx-16/1989/Hudson Soft)
Overall score: 2

Even fantastic 16-bit graphics couldn’t prevent this from being the worst pack-in game for any console – ever. While the graphics are great, the¬†music on this Mario/Zelda/Gundam hybrid is too repetitive, and the gameplay is boring. There are some really good titles for the unappreciated (in North America) TG-16, but this sure isn’t one of them.

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“F-Zero” (Super NES/1991/Nintendo EAD)
Overall score: 3.5
How they get the screen to keep up while racing that fast is beyond me. Nevertheless, “F-Zero” is fun and challenging at the same time. Of course, it’s best when played with a friend. The controls take a little getting used to, but once you get the hang of them you’ll enjoy this one a lot.

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“John Madden Football ’93” (Sega Genesis/1992/Looking Glass Technologies)
Overall score: 4.5

This is by far my favorite “Madden” ever. I remember the days before passing cones and football IQ, when passing windows ruled the world. I recall some intense Thurman Thomas vs. Barry Sanders battles, diving catches and cheesy touchdown dances. This game even looks great, and the players move and act like real football players do. This is the one game I wish I had held on to over the years. Sadly, I did not.

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Posted in Atari, Genesis, Madden, NES, Reviews, SNES, TG16 | Leave a Comment »

The Evolution of Donkey Kong

Posted by ptcgaming on May 1, 2009

Clockwise, from top left: "Donkey Kong" (arcade, 1981); "Donkey Kong Junior" (arcade, 1982); "Donkey Kong 64" (N64, 1999); and "Donkey Kong Country" (SNES, 1994)
Clockwise, from top left: “Donkey Kong” (arcade, 1981); “Donkey Kong Junior” (arcade, 1982); “Donkey Kong 64” (N64, 1999); and “Donkey Kong Country” (SNES, 1994)

 

For the man responsible for such series as “The Legend of Zelda” and “Star Fox,” it all started with a carpenter, a damsel in distress and a very large ape. “Donkey Kong” (1981) was Shigeru Miyamoto’s first video game creation, one that has spawned several sequels and remains a Nintendo staple even today.
The premise of the original “Donkey Kong” was simple: Donkey Kong kidnapped a woman (now known as Pauline), and it was up to a carpenter named Jumpman (now known as a plumber named Mario) to save her. Two sequels were spun off the original: 1982’s “Donkey Kong Junior,” still to this day the only video game where Mario plays the villain, and 1983’s “Donkey Kong 3,” a game more practice for the Orkin Man than a platformer (You actually have to spray bugs with bug spray).
There was then a lull in new DK video game production until 1994, when “Donkey Kong Country” was released for the Super NES. DKC was the first game in the series not produced or directed by Miyamoto (it was developed by video game developer Rare), but was still revolutionary in its use of pre-rendered 3D graphics. Also, the series took on a new format by switching from a static-screen design to side-scrolling levels, more along the lines of the “Super Mario Bros.” series.
In 1999, Rare released “Donkey Kong 64” for the Nintendo 64, a full-3D platformer similar to “Super Mario 64.” This was the first game to require the N64’s Expansion Pak, which provided more RAM for enhanced graphics and environments.
In between DKC and DK64, several other titles in the series were released for both consoles and handhelds, including: “Donkey Kong Country 2” (1995); “Donkey Kong Land” (1995); “Donkey Kong Country 3” (1996); “Donkey Kong Land 2” (1996); “Donkey Kong Land 3” (1997); and “Diddy Kong Racing” (1997).

Posted in Arcade, Evolution, Game Boy, N64, SNES | 1 Comment »

Our Favorite Games II: Star Fox

Posted by ptcgaming on March 31, 2009

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Platform: Super NES Released: 1993

“Star Fox” pushed the envelope in the 16-bit age. Console video games weren’t known for their 3D capability. In fact, the Super NES console couldn’t handle a game so complex. So what do you do to fix the problem? Well, you build custom hardware into the cartridge, of course!

Thus, the Super FX chip was born. This powerful microprocessor, the first 3D graphics accelerator readily available for home console use, was built into “Star Fox’s” cartridge.

“Star Fox” was developed by Nintendo EAD and Argonaut Software. Shigeru Miyamoto, father of “Donkey Kong,” “Mario” and “Zelda,” was one of the game’s main designers. It was a 3D space shooter (Nintendo’s first 3D game ever) with a third-person perspective. You navigated your Airwing through several levels, and the difficulty was determined by the path you chose. In the game, which takes place in the Lylat system, Andross has attacked Corneria, and you control Fox McCloud in an attempt to thwart Andross and his army. “Star Fox” has seen its share of sequels made for later Nintendo consoles, even finding itself on the DS, where online play was an option.

Posted in Favorites, SNES | 2 Comments »

Our Favorite Games: Donkey Kong Country

Posted by ptcgaming on September 17, 2008

Platform: Super Nintendo Released: 1994
Donkey Kong Country changed the way we looked at the primate’s franchise. He was no longer a single-screened platformer, he wasn’t involved with anything to do with Mario and he wasn’t designed by his creator, Shigeru Miyamoto. But it still managed to sell more than 9 million copies, making it the third-biggest-selling SNES title ever behind only, well, that Mario guy. DKC utilized pre-rendered 3D graphics to create its outstanding-looking world. Donkey Kong and his partner, Diddy Kong, were on a mission to get DK’s bananas back from King K. Rool. You had to make your way through six different worlds to accomplish this in a side-scrolling format. Collecting 100 bananas along the way got you an extra life (sound familiar?), as would finding the four letters that spelled “KONG.” Both Donkey and Diddy (long before Diddy was Diddy) were both on-screen at the same time, and you could be either one. To switch to the other character you just had to “tag” him. Despite its popularity when released, DKC has become the focal point of some criticism, with some calling the game one of the most overrated of all-time.

Posted in Favorites, SNES | Leave a Comment »