Monday, August 10, 2015
A major advantage the Genesis had over its predecessor (the Master System) is third party developer and publisher support. One of the kings of third party developers in that era was undoubtedly Konami, and boy did they know how to develop games on the Genesis. Watching this game in action, you might mistake it for an SNES game with one of those fancy extra processor chips packed into the cartridge. Nope, this is just the raw power of the Genesis being manipulated in the hands of the once great Konami. The graphical effects are stunning for the time, and really bring the arcade experience home. Sprite scaling and rotation are more than common place here.
Presentation aside, my love of this game comes from late night co-op play during summer sleepovers at my best friend’s house. Though I haven't played it since those days, it has really stuck with me through the years, as we were able to get a lot of play time out of this title. Hard Corps features split paths and multiple endings. There is even a hidden area with a series of arena battles (check out the Castlevania remixes here!) that can lead to a quick and humorous game ending.
As with any Contra game, it's not for the weaker game players out there. This game is hard, and to be honest I have never been great at Contra, so thank god for those Konami codes. A cheat in this game unlocks 70 lives.There are also level select and weapon unlock cheats.
If you have a buddy that loves classic games, I suggest you pick this up and give it a go. This is number 7 on my personal list, but without a doubt this is one of the most impressive games on the system, and perhaps one of the most impressive games on a 16 bit home console.
Sunday, August 17, 2014
Somehow EA managed to get another spot on my top ten list. This company used to put out some really fun games back in the day. Though the entire trilogy was great on the Genesis, number 2 was always my favorite.
If you have never played a game in the series, it kind of plays like a Gran Turismo, with combat added in. You grind through races in order purchase new bikes. Races look and play great considering the hardware they were developed for. The game uses some programming tricks to create a scaling effect, and it works out nicely. Win or lose all races end with a more often than not humorous cut scene. The music while nothing amazing, fits the racing atmosphere perfectly. During races you will engage in combat with other riders. You can kick, punch, club, or chain your enemies (granted you have stolen one of said weapons at some point in the race). There are also police officers that will harass you as well. If you crash your bike near an officer, you will be caught by them and the race will end. Other obstacles include animals, road signs, traffic, and cross streets. One of the cool features, is that if you wreck your bike you must run around on foot until you get back to your bike. You can actually make a sprint for the finish line and win the race on foot, if you are close enough. The game also sports a two player split screen mode.
I didn't own this game when I was younger, but I have lots of memories of playing Road Rash II at friends houses in split screen, or renting it from the video store. There was always a great rush in chasing your friend, finally closing the gap with the thud of your club knocking him from his bike. This game definitely has an RPG feel to it, and I am sure I have poured countless hours into its wonderful rolling hills, and stateside scenery. A true gem.
Friday, May 17, 2013
I am not a big fan of sports games. For me there are two exceptions though. The first being games that have RPG elements. Road Rash and Gran Turismo come to mind. And the second exception is games that aren't centered on simulation, but rather fun themes and mechanics. Super Baseball 2020 fits my latter preference perfectly.
Game play is very arcade like (which makes sense because it actually is a port of an SNK arcade game). The sprites are large and cartoony, done in an anime style. All the graphics are all very colorful. Things are very detailed including menu screens that have a lot of work put into them. Everything is always in motion and there are a lot of cool effects to appreciate, that you would expect from an arcade title, but not a home console title. The presentation of this game reminds me of Street Fighter Alpha three, where everything just feels exciting and loud. The music is pretty good, and the sound effects are top notch, featuring of course a lot of robot themed voice samples.
This game is great because it can be appreciated by fans of the sport and/or general gaming fans. I have no interest in the sport of baseball, but I could play this game for hours. This is one of the few games I played mostly with my family rather than my friends. Knowing the basic mechanics of baseball you can jump right into this game and start playing. Though I had more experience than my family members, they were able to have fun playing with me because there really isn't much of a learning curve. There are power ups and strategies to strive for which keep the game fun, but they are all easy enough for casual gamers to pick up on.
Super Baseball 2020 is still a fun game to play today, and I think it would be a really great title to reboot on the WiiU. I would love to relive all the fun I had back in the 90's with this title.
Saturday, April 27, 2013
It was hard for me to choose which Sonic game was going to make my list. The first game in the series I owned was Sonic the Hedgehog 2. It had come as a pack in with my Genesis model 2. Sonic 3 had a lot of cool features and was visually impressive, but I hadn't spent as much play time with it as I did the first two titles. In the end it came down to the most important factor. What game was the most fun. For me it was the Original Sonic the Hedgehog.
I never owned this game during my childhood, but one of my best friends did. I'm sure that is where a lot of us have our best gaming memories. Late night sleep overs and after school couch sessions at a good friends house. We played this game taking turns at my friends house. He also let me barrow it for an extended period of time on more than one occasion.
I think I fell in love with this because it was very colorful and fast paced with a memorable sound track. It seems to be the most colorful in the series. I love the parallax scrolling backgrounds. Stage one's background looks so distant, yet detailed, and lively. The game play was fun and the stages felt like they were built around obstacles and unique enemies, where as the sequels tried to push the visual factor, speed, and zany loops and pipes.
If anything can ring in the feeling of gaming nostalgia it got to be that famous "S-E-G-A.." chime, played as you booted up the game.
I was never really good at the Sonic games, and I'm not sure I've beaten any of them without cheating. The great thing about these games though is the difficulty is very balanced. I could make it very far into these games before calling it quits. I really liked how they handled the characters life. You collect rings. When you get hit your rings go flying every where and you have a chance to grab a few before they go bouncing off the screen. as long as you can keep control of at least one ring you'll manage to stay alive, unless of course you fall into a pit, then it's instant death.
I'm sure a lot of people would have a Sonic game higher on their list. They are great games, but I just had more fun with other titles. The Genesis certainly had a great library of games, so it's no knock on Sonic.