Posts Tagged ‘Retro Gaming’

Eurogamer Expo 2013 – Friday: The Social (retro) Network

October 2, 2013
Contrary to the t-shirt line up, I do not in fact work for Atari.

Contrary to the t-shirt line up, I do not work for Atari

“Don’t I know you from the internet?”

This question pretty much sums up my Friday at Eurogamer, and possibly reveals how social networking works in the 21st century. All I know is that I spent the day trying to meet as many people (from the world of twitter) as I could, with reasonable amounts of success. I met some awesome people and wish I’d met a few more, but alas, I had to fit some gaming in there too.

This post is a few snap shots of some of those people I managed to meet and links to what they do in the world of gaming and retro gaming. Naturally most of these meetings (I say meetings, rather me cautiously moving up to people and saying hi, are you *insert name here* from twitter?) occurred in the Replay Zone, see the galleries below. Apologies to a few as well who I didn’t get round to seeing, namely Mark from New Star Games, and Mark and Jamie from The Games Shed, see links at the end!

Gallery 1 – Meeting Ally, Barrie, Jools, Kevin and Krystal

Follow Retro Collect on twitter @RetroCollect or visit their website over at Retro Collect

Follow Krystal on twitter @NinjaVixen or visit her blog over at Vixen Gaming

Follow Retro Asylum on twitter @RetroAsylum1 or visit their website over at Retro Asylum

Thanks to Replay Events for setting up another awesome retro gaming area, and for persuading me to join in with the King of Fighters tournament. I’ll definitely be coming to the Play Expo next year! See some more pictures below of the retro gaming area, a few highlights included the King of Fighters tournament, finally getting to play on a Dreamcast (some sort of tennis game – see pic below), playing a few rounds on Goldeneye and working my way around games I did and didn’t recognise from the world of retro gaming. Good times.

Gallery 2: Replay Zone

Mark and Jamie on twitter @GamesShed and The Games Shed on You Tube The Games Shed

Mark Baldwin on twitter @LambkinDraw who is community manager for New Star Games

Coming up next, Nintendo at Eurogamer. Thanks for stopping by :)

Retro Collectors: Andy – Sega Saturn Collection

September 21, 2013

A while back I featured a post concerning retro collecting, and what systems people thought were the hardest to collect for, the results were interesting.

Carrying on from that (sort of) I thought I’d catch up with an old friend to see how his Sega Saturn collection was doing, I was pretty surprised how much it had grown.

Whilst we snapped away with the camera I threw in a few random questions (to be honest I’m not so good at this journalism/interview malarkey) about his collection. Here they are below, compared to my few games for the Saturn this one is immense (more than a few in there I’d like to get my hands on). Anyway, hope you find it informative, and let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Q: How many games do you have?

A: I have around 130, mostly PAL but with some Japanese games thrown in for good measure, notably X-Men V’s Street Fighter and Street Fighter Zero 3. I have some duplicates of the PAL games, and around 20 demo discs.

Lets just say, they didn't all fit into one photo.

Lets just say, they didn’t all fit into one photo.

Q: Where do you acquire the majority of your games?

A: eBay mostly, some I’ve owned since getting a Saturn back in the day.

The other half! Japanese games in the bottom right.

The other half! Japanese games in the bottom right.

Q: How long have you been collecting?

A: I’d say since the actual release of the Saturn, I’ve been collecting more seriously in recent years but a lot of the games I bought back in the day are still in my collection, it has just kept on growing since then.

Deep Fear, survival horror game released in 1998, the last for the PAL Saturn.

Deep Fear, survival horror game released in 1998, the last for the PAL Saturn.

Q: What’s your rarest game?

A: It’s sometimes hard to define rare, games that sell for a lot of money can appear on eBay quite regularly, so I wouldn’t class them as rare, just sort after or popular. The rarest game in my collection (to me) is probably Deep Fear, as it was the last Sega Saturn game to be released in Europe for the PAL Saturn.

Top 5, who wouldn't want to play a game called Three Dirty Dwarves?

Top 5, who wouldn’t want to play a game called Three Dirty Dwarves?

Q: What is your Top 5 in your collection? (Ed – hack journalism at its best)

A: Tough question – these could easily change but at the moment I’d say:

Guardian Heroes

Deep Fear

Panzer Dragoon

Three Dirty Dwarves

Street Fighter Collection

Hardware! Note the sega saturn mouse, virtua stick, action replay cart,  and the 6 player multi taps.

Hardware! Note the Sega Saturn mouse, virtua stick, action replay cart, and the 6 player multi taps.

Q: Are there any more games/hardware you’re currently looking for?

A: I have a check list, there’s a lot more gaps to fill, time and money should hopefully take care of it though. A couple of games I’m still looking to get are Bust a Move 3 and Mr. Bones.

Demo discs!

Demo discs!

Thanks to Andy for letting me take the pictures, for answering my random/vague questions, and for the awesome game of Street Fighter Zero 3.

Link to previous retro collecting blog post > A Quick Question Retro Gaming Collectors

Where in the world is Reality Glitch? (trilby optional)

August 15, 2013
How to ruin a pretty picture in one easy move.

How to ruin a pretty picture in one easy move.

Well, I’m still here, but quite frankly for the last 4 months I’ve been permanently cream crackered, having almost completely forgotten I even have a blog. Now don’t get too excited, I’ll be away from here for a bit longer but I’ll be back for the Eurogamer Expo in September (I’ll be there on Thursday and Friday so come say hi). So, to keep you from getting bored I’ve listed a few of my favourite sites and blogs from around the interwebs (mostly via twitter).

It’s certainly an eclectic mix, and possibly not what you’d expect (?) Either way it’s a nice mix of mindless fun and informative entertainment, and naturally, some retro gaming.

8-Bit Girl

The Games Shed

  • The Games Shed is brought to you by Mark and Jamie and in their own words are two “80′s born die-hard gamers from London, UK”. They’ve built up a spectacular amount of retro gaming videos to share, including news and reviews, challenges, lets plays, interviews and retro gaming collections.
  • Follow them over on twitter @GamesShed or check out their website for more info, http://www.thegamesshed.com/

Rooster Teeth (Achievement Hunter)

  • I’ve only just discovered these guys (better late than never?), they were recommended to me on twitter, specifically for the entertaining (and unique) ‘lets play’ stylings of the Achievement Hunter crew. To be honest it took me awhile to get used to the banter, but it’s incredibly funny to listen to how each of them react to each other whilst playing a game, reminding me of the old days of LAN gaming with a group of mates.
  • Not for everyone, but its first class comedy at times and great general background noise for a dull day at the office, visit http://roosterteeth.com/home.php for more info or follow them on twitter @AchievementHunt

Red Parsley, 1 More Castle, Game Freak Blog (a few of my favourite things)

“Gigantic nerd and gamer since birth! Yt channel name Gamefreakblog. I love games. Part of the Zoomin TV gaming network. My thoughts are not theirs”

“I’m RKS, retro-gaming fanatic (and movie and anime fan). Please visit my blog if you’d like to read my ramblings”

“Like old video games? We do – And we want to become your #1 retro gaming destination on the web”

Retro Nick Radio

  • I’ve been listening to this one for a while now and it’s definitely my favourite retro gaming show on the interwebs. The banter is first class and informative, with a dash of comedy genius once in a while. It does exactly what it says on the blurb “RetroNick Radio is five friends who share the common loves of drinking, talking, and playing classic video games. Tune in weekly!”
  • Follow @RetroNickRadio and tune in live if you can, if not catch up on missed episodes over at http://www.retronick.com/, check out the Caption this Crap! section and leave a comment!

You could call this my ‘top 5′ go-to places if you like, they certainly brighten my day and make life just that little bit more fun. This is by no means a comprehensive list of all the fantastic blogs, sites, and podcasts I visit, or in fact that are out there, as they say, each to their own. If I listed them all you’d be bored stiff.

Keep an eye on my Follow Fridays on twitter, a lot of places not listed will end up there. There’s plenty more out there I’d love to give a shout out too, you guys make being part of the gaming and retro gaming community a pleasure and I thank you all for putting your content out there for us to absorb and enjoy.

If only I’d known about this for review a bad game day…

September 27, 2012

Ryu’s Grandad squares off against Jason Statham in Human Killing Machine

“Worst game ever? Human Killing Machine, Capcom. Seriously, look it up. I have a copy of it on disk, given away by Amiga Power, I believe.” @GuyFawkesRetro

The above tweet peaked my curiosity, I boldly replied “Worst game ever? I have a sudden urge to try it.” And so I did. As you know I recently reviewed Yolanda! for review a bad game day, however if I’d known about this one it would have been a serious contender. I actually felt like playing Yolanda! after this, in fact, I felt like playing Rise of the Robots just to wash away the memories.

Luckily for Kwon, Igor’s rifle is out of bullets.

You play as Kwon, who is apparently strong. You have to knock down (no K.O’s here) your opponent a number of times to win, your first battle is against Igor, once you’ve defeated him you then fight his dog (I’m assuming) which in my mind is just plain mean. I didn’t get much further than that, the collision detection is terrible, the controls unmanageable, and the poor animation lets down the relatively good graphics and backgrounds. At points I had no idea how or what I was doing to hit the opponent as the controls didn’t really match with anything on the screen.

As adverts go it’s pretty effective, it screams “Buy it, or we’ll cut you”.

A couple of player comments from Lemon Amiga:

“A clone of Street Fighter. Strangely, they took the Amiga version with its bad animations as reference and not the arcade version. So you got the same gameplay as SF, but executed even worse.”

“Often described as the next best thing (or something like that…) on many games-mags previews at the time, this soon revealed itself for the unforgivable, unplayable, Tiertex-developed utter disaster it actually was. If you played it for more than 10 minutes and survived, congratulations: that sure was a big task…”

Anyways, if you must see more, see below for the game on YouTube, someone has kindly played through the whole thing. Also good luck to @GuyFawkesRetro on twitter, who is on the search for the ultimate bad game…. (I think you may have found it?)

Review A Bad Game Day: Yolanda

August 8, 2012

Review a bad game day presents…

Greek? Roman? Viking? Playboy? Yolanda’s fashion sense is as terrible as the game play!

Yolanda

System: Amiga

Design: Steve Bak

Genre: Platformer – Single Screen

Released: 1990

Publisher: Millennium

Today is review a bad game day, a day I’ve been dreading. Mainly because I’m not only bad at reviews of good games, I’m even worse at writing reviews of bad games! Confused? Then we’re off to a good start. I had a few choices for this review, all on the Amiga, Rise of the Robots (1994) for one, a game called Graffiti Man (1987), and Battletoads (1992), another disappointing arcade conversion for the Amiga.

Storyline, not much to do with the game methinks…

However, the game that stuck in the back of my mind was Yolanda (1990), no matter how many bad games I started to remember playing this one always seemed to be at the top of that list. You play as Yolanda, the mortal daughter of Hercules, cursed by a jealous Hera because of her beauty, the only way to lift the curse (any man Yolanda falls in love with will die) is to repeat the 12 tasks of Hercules. To be honest on the box this sounds like a pretty neat idea for a game.

Be quick, fiery death awaits you…

The game play is platform based on a single screen, and as soon as it starts it looks like it could be quite an enjoyable game; platforms in place, check, enemies present, check, protagonist standing heroically, check. However, a few seconds after the level starts the platform beneath you either gives way or bursts into flames. Um, right… try again? Sure, why not. Level re-starts… hey wait… this isn’t the same lev….. Poompf. Arrrgghhh!!! (Ed – expletive replaced with generic sound of frustration). This is pretty much a summary of how most of the game will go for any player, novice or pro. You have to learn quickly that you only have a few meager seconds to move off of the platform you start on otherwise you will instantly perish in fiery style.

One of the easier levels, easier in that I managed to complete it.

However, once you’ve mastered the initial ‘avoid fiery death’ you have the rest of the level to deal with. The objective for each level is simple (although I’m still not sure how any of it relates to the 12 tasks of Hercules), you must reach the exit door, which initially appears as a creature of some kind and then changes to a door once you’re on the move. The phrase easier said than done has never been more relevant in this game. Two main reasons are the poor controls (once you’ve jumped you cannot maneuver or change direction) as well as the terrible collision detection. Once you’re hit by an enemy you will die instantly, and the level re-starts, but as mentioned before, it is not always the same level.

The two problems above don’t even come close to the major issue this game has, which drops the playability down into a minus score. If you’re lucky enough to time a jump properly, and avoid any enemies, you may still not make it. Without any clues to guide you, platforms will disappear or burst into flames as soon as you land on them, leading to certain death. (Ed – meh, more like instant death ‘every’ time). Each level is like this. You have to memorize and learn the traps and pitfalls of each level, some of which can be completed but most (if not all) seem virtually impossible due to their randomness.

Sometimes there is a fine line between a game being difficult, and a game being unplayable. I believe the controls and buggy game play of Yolanda land it squarely in the latter. Every level needs to be learned, every jump timed perfectly, every platform memorized. However, even if you do all this some levels are just impossible to complete, alongside the random level select it makes the game very hard to play and very very frustrating.

Yolanda advert, good advertising can make or break a product, well, it worked on me.

When I first played this (budget version, £7.99) I really looked forward to it, the blurb and the box art sold the game to me, even the title screen and music I remember fondly. The title screen artwork and the music remind me a lot of The Great Giana Sisters, which I really like. The graphics aren’t so bad either, however, none of these elements can make up for the fact the game is terrible. I personally don’t think it went through enough, if any, play testing, otherwise I think they would have gone back to it and created a half decent platformer. For a commercially released game it feels poorly made and unfinished, I’m surprised it received reviews of above 20% back in the day.

Thanks for reading this review, take a peek at some of the links below for more information on Yolanda! Given some of the original retail prices for this game I’m glad I paid the £7.99 rather than the £24.99.

Information:

Lemon Amiga page for Yolanda, game info and screen shots.

Reviews:

Review of Yolanda from Amiga Action 12 (Sep 1990)

Game Rating: 70%

Cost: £19.99

Review of Yolanda from Amiga Format 15 (Oct 1990)

Game Rating: 49%

Cost: £24.99

Review of Yolanda from The One for Amiga Games 38 (Nov 1991)

Game Rating: 4/5

Cost: £7.99

YouTube

Yolanda game play (only if you really want to)

Sim City

February 18, 2012

Sim City

Date: 1989

Publisher: Infogrames

Developer: Maxis

Played on: Amiga 500 (emulator)

Only rediscovered this one the other week. I used to spend hours building up a nice big awesome city, only to get bored with all the high living and in turn start to destroy it, with that lovely drop down menu of ‘natural’ (Monster?) disasters. A few earthquakes, floods, tornadoes and monster rampages later my city would lay in ruin. Good times.

To be honest I never really understood how to play it properly, the taxes, the budget, the graphs and charts… I’m not sure anyone else really paid attention to those things either? (I’m prepared for correction). It was mostly down to common sense and guess-work on my part, industrial areas to manufacture things, commercial areas to set up business, utilities etc etc, and residential areas for the people who will work in and help run your city. Joining these places with power lines and roads seemed pretty obvious and the occasional helpful prompts kept everything else in check.

Playing this the other day was a small taster of how long I actually used to play this for, only an hour as opposed to hours. I’m hoping I still have the saves somewhere of the city I built up to cover most of the area of land you were given. The game has simple graphics, sound and controls, using the mouse to select and place your buildings from an easy to use interface of icons. However, the game play itself is still just as addictive as it was over 20 years ago. You’re driven to make your city as nice as possible, not because there’s a great ending to the game, a reward or level to complete, but to ultimately destroy the city you have created and nurtured from its beginning. No-one wants to destroy a city that’s already rubbish.

The motivation to build a brilliant city and then the option to destroy it makes Sim City still very playable. The game play is timeless, and as I’ve said before it doesn’t take realistic graphics to make a game great, and Sim City is a fine example of this. On a side note, I believe destroying the city is more of an option than a necessity, even though it’s the one I found most appealing. I’m sure the statistical and political side to the game can also come into play at some point, I wonder if anyone has reached an end to the game where destruction didn’t occur?

The pictures show my little city of ‘Somewhere’ (I was too lazy to think up a cool city name) in its early stages, through to a monster attack, then some earthquakes which destroyed the nuclear power plant, throwing the city into chaos. The mayor (or ‘me’) at this stage had already fled and was jetting off to a tropical island.

The disasters add an extra exciting depth to the game play, alongside the more serious aspects of running a city with the taxes and budgets, both of these elements increase the challenge you face when building your ultimate utopian paradise (especially when playing the game properly – ahem).

Game information and Reviews:

Sim City on Lemon Amiga here!

Original magazine review from Amiga Format 6 (January 1990) here! Sim City scored 92%

Review from Amiga Resource Vol 1 No 4 (Oct 1989) here! They scored the game 19/20

Retro Adverts from Amiga Power

October 13, 2011

Amiga Power 14 June 1992

 Retro Adverts

 

Amiga Power

 
After putting up some retro adverts from Amiga Action I thought I’d have a good look through my favourite Amiga magazine from back in the day, Amiga Power, and do the same here! One thing I noticed about the Amiga Action adverts is how many of those games I didn’t actually own, even though I read the magazine and remember seeing the adverts for them. Whilst flicking through Amiga Power I noticed most of the games adverts were either of games I own, or had at least played… is this a coincidence? I just happened to buy and play games because they were in my favourite magazine? Certainly raises a few questions about the power of advertising!
 
Either way, I was happy to be influenced to buy and play some of these games in the adverts below, I remember every single advert here and own most of the games, one of my favourites (see above) is Fire and Ice, it’s a great advert with a great illustration of the hero cool coyote. A few of my other favourites from the list include; Moonstone (more for the game than the advert), Premiere, the manic Wizkid and the weird and wonderful advert for Harlequin, which, like Premiere, was also the box art for the game. These adverts had a distinct influence on the games I bought, alongside the usual previews, reviews and word of mouth. 
 
Hope you see a few adverts you remember and that they spark similar memories, it would be great to know which adverts you remember from gaming magazines back in the day, Amiga Power was certainly my favourite Amiga magazine and has clearly been an influence on my Amiga gaming choices and collection.
 
 
Amiga Power was definitely my favourite Amiga magazine on the market, it was funny, informative and had a really informal tone which I think made it the most appealing out of all the Amiga mags available. A few of my favourite writers were Dave Golder,  who now works on the awesome SFX Magazine (follow him here on twitter),  Stuart Campbell and Jonathan Davies.
 
Amiga Power (or AP for short) was a monthly magazine about Amiga computer games. It was published in the United Kingdom by Future Publishing, and ran for 65 issues, from May 1991 to September 1996 (From Wikipedia). Please see the full-page on Amiga Power using this
 
Please also visit Amiga Magazine Rack for more Amiga magazines and adverts!
 
Couple of bonus pics I’ve found which can be seen in the gallery above (last two pics)! The Amiga Power team in all their glory, and my entry in The Last Resort section of the mag, asking for help on the game Simon the Sorcerer, this is before you could look things up on the internet. Natch. Thanks to Rich Pelley for answering my question.
 

Stop making an egghibit of yourself… Treasure Island Dizzy

February 3, 2011

Treasure Island Dizzy

Genre: Puzzle/Platformer

Year: 1989

Publisher: Codemasters

Disks: 1

Music: Allister Brimble

Ah Treasure Island Dizzy, eggcellent game, you might even say… eggquisite? Ahem. I could crack plenty of those yolks but I eggpect I would lose those few loyal readers I have, and fear they would be poached from me to another blog. Right, all out of my system. Previously I reviewed Spellbound Dizzy, a game I actually don’t like that much, however I thought I’d take a look at the first Dizzy game I ever played, and made me into a long-term fan of the series. Treasure Island Dizzy was the first of the series to appear on the Amiga, but certainly not the worst by a long shot.

The graphics are cute and colourful (as expected) and by todays standards I could probably whip up similar looking sprites and backgrounds in Paint. However, this is one ofAlways good to be on top of things... the first things that attracted me to the game. The game starts with Dizzy trapped on an island, his only means of escape is to solve the usual array of puzzles as well as collect 30 gold coins to secure his passage off the island and to freedom. A simple scenario. The graphics are well drawn and look polished, despite the simple look of the backgrounds and characters. The puzzles are generally simple and follow a logical course, although can be frustrating at points if you leave certain items behind and have to move back and forth to get them.

The gameplay is challenging, not only do you have to solve all the puzzles, as well as collect all the coins, the challenge is more so as you have to complete the game with the single life you are granted at the start. No continues here and mistakes can be pretty deadly.

Snorkel, a valuable piece of kit...

However, because of this, there is pure satisfaction when completing this game as it is more than a trial at times. In this gamers opinion, the only downfall of this title is the music (let’s be honest, Dizzy games never really hit the mark with effective music? – begin debate…?)

The music was composed by Allister Brimble, who had worked on many other popular Amiga games including Alien Breed (1991) Mortal Kombat (1993) and Superfrog (1993), which all make great use of atmospheric and dramatic scores to bring the games to life, which is odd in this instance as I feel the music comes across as extremely (see – no egg joke) repetitive and just a little irritating in Treasure Island Dizzy. He also composed the music for other Dizzy titles such as Fantasy World Dizzy (1991) and Spellbound Dizzy (1992).

This is a gem of a game with some great and interesting puzzles, nasty traps and one particular nod to one of my all time favourite movies. Pleasant graphics and fun game play this isThis guy will take you for everything you've got, git...

by no means the best or greatest of Dizzy games on the Amiga but is certainly a classic and a great introduction to the series. The single life makes it a challenge and if you don’t like the music, turn it off! Simple.

One of the elements to Treasure Island Dizzy which can make the game very entertaining is the cheat codes (listed below), usually employed when I’ve forgotten a really obvious puzzle and then attempt to crash the game by taking Dizzy to areas of the game the developers didn’t intend you to go to.

Enter one of the following codes during game play to activate the corresponding cheat function.

Effect and  Code

Flight mode – icanfly 

Invincibility – eggsonlegs

High jumps – eggonaspring

Magazine Reviews:

Zero 5 Magazine (March 1990) gave Treasure Island Dizzy 78%

Amiga Longplay: Treasure Island Dizzy

Please go to the Yolkfolk.com for all your Dizzy needs and wants.

Treasure Island Dizzy has appeared in many other conversions, notably on the Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, MS-DOS,  NES and the ZX Spectrum.

Great Scott!!!

October 31, 2010

Great Scott!!!

 

A short note and update in the world of Reality Glitch Online. Not only is this a year for some awesome anniversary’s (Mario and Back to the Future both celebrating 25 years) but it is a year ago today that I also started my blog.

My first post was on October 31st 2009 and was Dune II for the Amiga 500, follow the link to take a look!

Dune II Review (Amiga)

I still have the scribble sheet somewhere with a list of names and titles for the blog. Most of them involved the word retro somewhere along the line and the word gaming, however as I had no idea what I really wanted to write about I didn’t want to corner myself so early in the game!

Reality Glitch Online seemed to be nice and non-committal to any particular section of entertainment, allowing me to explore the usual array of games, movies, TV, theatre and of course retro gaming. Almost shortened it to RGO but thought I might get mistaken for RKO Pictures, silly me.

Still it’s been a great year, plenty to celebrate even in the face of adversity at some points, throughout I have stuck to one of my main goals and that was to keep this blog going. At the risk of this turning into a ‘Dear Diary’ moment, I started out with some bold goals (I think it was to post twice a week) amounting to 8 posts a month and 96 posts for the year, sadly I didn’t reach these dizzy heights of posting, but I’m hoping in this case it was quality over quantity!

Over the year I’ve managed to accumulate a larger back log of retro consoles and games, including a SNES and a NES (one was free, thank you Emma) and the other was £3 from a car boot sale. On top of this a menagerie of Amiga and Sega Mega Drive games, most of which also came from car boot sales, between 50p and £1 a game, you’ve really got to route through huge amounts of stuff to find those bargains.

Below are a few tips gathered from my own experience and from the interweb on blogging, in case anyone else is insane enough to start one:

1) Set aside time on a daily basis to write to improve style and voice. This could be as little as 30 minutes of writing or a single page.

2) Beat your self-doubt and inner critic. I have both and they often run rampant.

3) Connect with readers – I always see this as responding to comments, being open to feedback and tips and constructive criticism.

4) Promote your blog, double posting and spamming not advisable. Also promote and connect with others at least 3

Guybrush Threepwood

Happy Halloween :)

times a week.

5) Ask some questions on why you’re writing and what you’re writing. How will the reader react or benefit from reading your posts.

6) Avoid too many rants (unless of course that’s what your blog is about I guess) I prefer upbeat and helpful posts that leave me feeling informed and positive about something.

7) Develop your story telling ability and think about your writing voice – how the reader can hear you.

 

Most of all enjoy what you are writing, and set yourself realistic goals.

Thanks for reading and hopefully plenty more posts to come soon :)

Hope everyone is having a great weekend and Happy Halloween!

Amiga Classic Reviews: Mortal Kombat

July 16, 2010

Mortal Kombat

Developer: Probe Software

Genre: Arcade Beat ‘em up

Release Date: 1993

Publisher: Virgin Interactive

Copyright: Midway/Acclaim Entertainment

Ah, Mortal Kombat. What self respecting 12 year old doesn’t crave gore, violence and fatalities in their gaming experience, and even if you didn’t, the much cooler looking ‘K’ in combat would have sold it to you.

Created by Ed Boon and John Tobias, Mortal Kombat was released for the Amiga by Midway and Probe Software after being converted from its much more successful and shinier looking arcade counterpart. For me it was the fighting game of choice on the Amiga (although not difficult considering the competition of the poor excuse for a conversion that was Street Fighter II) and although favourable, other fighter attempts such as Body Blows and Body Blows Galactic still didn’t quite do it for me.

Although MK lost some of its shine on the transfer to the Amiga it lost none of its excellent game play experience, introducing gamers to fatalities, a selection of unique finishing moves which provided high levels of blood and gore. My original big box version even carries a 15 rating sticker, although its so small I think they hoped no-one would really notice and would buy it anyway.

The scenario is the usual caper, an array of fighters from various backgrounds and martial arts abilities compete for their lives against a greater foe, in this case Shang Tsung. All combatants have their own back stories and reasons for being there. You begin by selecting your fighter to start (Scorpion or Johnny Cage for me) and work your way up the tournament ladder, fighting the other characters, as well as yourself, endurance rounds and finally the bosses. There are also mini games in between certain bouts, where you attempt to break the joystick by wiggling it frantically from side to side in order to break through a number of materials to prove your strength, working up from wood to diamond.

In all honesty, I was impressed with the graphics when I first saw them (ah, impressionable youth) and they were very different to what I had seen from Street Fighter II. The characters were developed with digitised sprites based on actors, as opposed to the more ‘cartoony’ graphics in the aforementioned Street Fighter series. Seeing how they digitised the actors was awesome and very interesting, something I think I saw in an episode of Bad Influence, and really impressed. Since seeing the arcade version I can of course make a more informed judgement on the graphics, the arcade characters are beautifully animated but the Amiga version seems to have lost some of that shine, and looking closely edges are poorly drawn and seem rushed in places.

I love the sounds and music for this game, right from the usual sound effects of martial arts combat (someone smashing a water melon with a sledge hammer) to the eerie yet funky background and menu music. The effects and music increase the tension and atmosphere and certainly bring the characters to life. I don’t usually go for game related music, but I don’t deny there are some classic tunes out there based on them, and the Mortal Kombat theme is one of them I like listening to, so much I even have the track on my iPod (check it out below) I just like listening to how they managed to fit all those names into some sort of… song?

Playing this game again certainly brought back some good memories, and although the controls are nowhere near as easy to use on the one button joystick compared to a joy pad it was fun learning them all again. Another slight nitpick is that the characters all share the basic punches and kicks, but they do each have unique specials and fatalities. The single player game is good but nothing ever compares to 2 player, and I certainly never grow tired of Scorpion’s “get over here” and uppercut combo. I always remember to keep an eye out for the shape flying across the moon on the bridge level and recall finding Reptile for the first time. I think I even found Reptile harder to beat than Goro and Shang Tsung.

A great game all round and a highly successful series of games which followed, Mortal Kombat II introduced some awesome new characters and made some vast improvements to the game over its predecessor. Pretty good conversion as far as the Amiga goes, but considering the poor competition of Street Fighter II and Body Blows this easily comes top.

Check out some of the reviews below from back in the day.

Amiga Format 55 (January 1994) 74%

Amiga Power 33 (January 1994) 86%

CU Amiga (December 1993) 93%

And if you haven’t quite had enough yet check out the Amiga Longplay video below!

More Amiga Longplay videos can be found on YouTube and other Recorded Amiga  games can be found here!


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