Posts Tagged ‘NES’

For a few years I’ve been hearing about this game called Retro City Rampage. When I read about the game and took a look at the screenshots the first thought that popped into my head was “So this is what the Grand Theft Auto games would look like if they were on the NES.” Being the Grand Theft Auto fan that I am, I was rather intrigued with what Retro City Rampage had to offer. I couldn’t wait to play this game. It took a few years and a lot of patience, but it has finally arrived on Xbox Live Arcade. After about an hour of amusing gameplay I came to the conclusion that Retro City Rampage may have some elements of a Grand Theft Auto game, but GTA it is not! It’s actually much better than that.

PROS:

Grand Theft Auto Elements
While Retro City Rampage is not a complete GTA clone it does however have some elements of a typical GTA game. Jacking vehicles, the law meter, and the fun ability of causing absolute mayhem. The world of Theftropolis basically looks like what the early Grand Theft Auto games looked and played like before going the three dimensional route GTA 3. The top down perspective is a nostalgic blast from the past plus a lot of fun to explore. I took my character (simply named “Player”) and traveled the city streets scouting out locations and enjoying the old school 8-bit scenery as well as rampaging through the streets in my car running over helpless pedestrians.

Tons Of Video Game and Pop Culture References
Retro City Rampage is a hodgepodge of various video game and pop culture references mixed into one exciting game. While exploring the city of Theftropolis I came across some great references including Back To The Future, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, The Legend of Zelda, Saved By The Bell, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Super Meat Boy, Pitfall, and so much more. These references I mentioned are only the tip of the iceberg of what Retro City Rampage has to offer. One moment found myself donning a sword and shield like Link and walked through the streets bashing random civilians and trimming down bushes.

Over The Top Humor
The laughs are by the dozens, and I couldn’t help but laugh at the all the mayhem I was causing here in Theftropolis. Keep in the mind that the game is in fact one big comedic parody. While I was getting chased by the cops I passed by a sewer, and all of a sudden the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles jumped out and chased me. I then pulled out my pistol and took them out, while on the run, netting me an achievement and five Gamerscore in the process. Priceless. Jumping on the heads of civilians while killing them and scoring points ala Super Mario Bros. Very funny. I even found a “Hot Coffee” (a reference to Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas) shop during my travels which drew a chuckle out of me. While causing mayhem I couldn’t help but laugh at all the over the top references and humorous things I could do, and the best part is that the game’s unique humor will never get old.

CONS:

Difficulty Spikes
Anyone remember that pain in the ass level on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game on the NES with the electrical seaweed. Well it’s back once again. When I saw the level I said “Oh shit. Not again!” Well that’s only one of quite a few difficulty spikes that take place during the main campaign. At times I felt that some of the missions I participated in were rather easy or just right, but every so often I have to do a mission where I’ll end up dying a lot. I think that maybe a better idea would’ve been to ramp things up slowly in the difficulty curve instead of shocking players at points.

No Checkpoints During Longer Missions
Some of the missions in Retro City Rampage can be quite long having multiple parts to complete. Well what do you think happens if you unfortunately die during that mission? Well…you start over. Ok, most retro games had this which at times was very frustrating so it should be no surprise to me that it would be in this game. Maybe I’ve become too accustomed to checkpoints in the more modern games. Well, it’s time for me to start memorizing once again so that I don’t accrue a ton of deaths.

IN CONCLUSION

For all the years I’ve had to wait, Retro City Rampage was worth it and then some. It feels nostalgic, and it has some moments of Grand Theft Auto, but it’s so much more. It’s a parody with tons of references along with some of the punishments that some retro games had. Even the options screen has some retro options in on screen presentation. The most important aspect is that Retro City Rampage is a fun and entertaining game with tons of missions and challenges that will keep the average player busy for hours. I will suggest downloading the demo first before making the purchase, because if you don’t understand the references then your going to have trouble enjoying the game.

Developer: VBlank Entertainment
Platform: Xbox Live Arcade
Players: 1
Price: 800 Microsoft Points ($10.00)

So I’m sitting around playing Dead Space 2 last night and something hit me. No it wasn’t a thought, but a severe numbness in my right hand. For the past couple of years I’ve played it off as nothing, but recently it returned once again. It’s become quite a hindrance as of late happening a couple of times a week. Usually I would just press the pause button and shake it off and then continue playing a few minutes later, but I begin to think about if there is something wrong with me. Maybe it was time that I found out.

I know that I’m completely healthy, and that I have no lagging injuries. So I decided to go online and look it up. My first thought was Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. I hear about it quite a bit lately, but I figured that this can’t be what I’m experiencing. As I started reading about it on Wikipedia I realized that it does mention “numbness of the thumb, index, long and radial half of the ring finger.” This is exactly what I was going through. Could I be in the early stages of CTS? Could it possibly be arthritis? I hope not. To me arthritis is something that old people go through. I’m not that old. I’m 38 for Pete’s sake! I’m not even close to experiencing my mid life crisis yet.

While this numbness in my hands has been an issue there is something else that concerns me. My interest. Lately, I’ve seen a sharp decline in my interest when playing a game. That’s not normal for me. Some nights when I hop online I just stare at the screen. Part of this has to do with either I have no idea what I want to play, or all of a sudden I’m just not interested. With that in mind I wondered whether there was a Cialis or Viagra type of pill for gamers who have a lack of gaming interest, or is the solution simply a six pack of Mountain Dew and a large bag of Doritos. Sadly, the junk food and beverage solution will only lead to obesity, and that’s clearly not in the cards for me.

So here I sit writing this article, and begin to contemplate whether it’s time to put the controller down for good. I’ve been gaming since I was a little kid growing up during the ’80s. The days of the going to the local video arcade, or just playing at home on the Atari 2600 where my imagination really took over especially when objects on screen looked like various geometric shapes. Those were the days when I was playing games that included Pac-Man, Galaga, Dig-Dug, Robotron 2084, Gauntlet, Space Invaders, Defender, and countless others. I was in love with the technology even though these edgy visuals of yesteryear are very low tech compared to today’s high definition standards.

Thirty years of gaming sure is a long time. Sometimes it still feels like only yesterday when my parents brought home that Atari 2600. Plenty of consoles have come and gone after that humble beginning. The NES, Master System, Genesis, Saturn, Playstation, Dreamcast, Playstation 2, Xbox, and currently the Xbox 360. Consoles that featured a plethora of games that still trigger plenty of happy memories. Getting the high score, warp zones, epic boss battles, saving the princess, saving the world, racing to the finish line, blast processing, cheat codes, flawless victories, fatalities, tales of souls and swords, warriors needing food badly, beating up prostitutes with baseball bats after they filled my needs and raised my health, that laughing dog, a plumber, a hedgehog, a Solid Snake, a Master Chief, achievement unlocked. All these moments and more were fun and exciting, but all good moments at some point and time must come to an end. Is that end coming soon?

With a new Xbox console set to arrive later this year I started to think if I still have one more console generation left in me. Back in 2005, I said that the Xbox 360 would probably be my last console. Eight years later I’ve revisited that statement I made. As I begin to approach the unavoidable age of 40 in 2014 I think to myself whether I still want to be playing new video games. Do I still have it left in me to take on new adventures? What about starting to play a new franchise or two? Can I still compete online? What about the numbness in my hands? Maybe I make that final decision and make 2013 the end of the road. Maybe I just play the games I have until my Xbox 360 says no more and shuts down forever. One thing is for certain. I don’t see myself playing games at 50. I just won’t be able to keep up with those young whipper snappers in Call of Duty: Whatever.

For now I’m going to enjoy what this year in gaming offers while hoping that the numbness in my hands don’t ruin it. By E3 this June, I’ll know if my gaming road continues for one last run, or ends in retirement.

When I was a kid. my parents bought the Atari 2600. A few years later they bought my brother a NES. This made some rough times for me because I had to go to his room just to play games like Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda. I needed a system of my own so I grew up on Sega. The Master System, Genesis, and even the ill fated 32X were a part of my early years. Now I get to relive a part of my childhood and adolescense everytime Sega releases their old school classics on Xbox Live Arcade. Long Live Sega!

The latest edition of the Sega Vintage Collection brings six classic games from both the arcade and home consoles. One of the games (Monster World IV) never made it to American shores until now. There’s Alex Kidd in Miracle World which is the first game I picked up when purchased the Master Sysytem. The hard as nails Revenge of Shinobi. The old school motorcycle racer Super Hang On. Finally, three classic games from the Monster World series minus Wonder Boy 3: The Dragon’s Trap. Yes, I’m not the only one in the community complaining about this one, because that game was awesome. Each of these games are emulated perfectly (Super Hang On is sadly showing it’s age), and with added achievements for that extra replay value which really suits the achievement whore in me.

Considering the fact that I’m pretty good at these games I jumped in a little to overconfidently early on only to get my ass handed to me. I realized that when you haven’t played a certain game for a long period of time (in this case many years) it takes a little time to get your bearings again. After an hour, I was just about back on track timing wise for all of these games except for Revenge of Shinobi which was still kicking my ass. All six games are still as much fun as I remembered them. However, if there was anything I wish Sega could omit it would have to be the “Paper, Rock, Scissors” boss battles in Alex Kidd, because they were just stupid and pointless.

Some people may hate it and rather have these games lay to rest, but I love the old school games. Sega’s Vintage Collections are both fun and nostalgic. Next week comes the Golden Axe and Streets of Rage games, but I’m not going to buy them due to the fact that I already have these games on Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection. In the end, I would recommend this collection for all the old-school retro fans who love Sega. I found plenty of entertainment here for a long time and so should you.

Publisher: Sega
Platform: Xbox Live Arcade
Players: 1
Price: 800 Microsoft Points ($10.00)