Tuesday, December 13, 2022
Sunday, December 11, 2022
Friday, December 9, 2022
Friday, December 2, 2022
Thursday, November 24, 2022
Wednesday, October 26, 2022
Meteor Mess 3D, the three-dimensional fan remake of Maniac Mansion, has been released after fourteen years of development.
You can get the game, as well as a manual, cover, and DVD overlay if you'd like from their downloads page.
Wednesday, October 19, 2022
Super Mario Land was a platform game for the original monochrome Nintendo Game Boy portable video game console. It was the first game in the Super Mario Land subseries as well as the first game in the Super Mario series to be developed by Gunpei Yokoi’s Research & Development 1 rather than Shigeru Miyamoto’s Research & Development 2. The result was a Super Mario game different than any that had come before, as well as everything that came after.
In the game, Mario travels to Sarasaland where he rescues Princess Daisy from an alien known as Taranga. Even though the formula is pretty much the same with Peach switched with Daisy and Bowser switched for Taranga, some of the play mechanics are very different. This makes the game feel fresh, even thirty-three years after it was first released.
Most of the power-ups are familiar to Super Mario fans. There are mushrooms that cause Mario to grow if he is small. 1-Up mushrooms, which grant an extra life, have been replaced with 1-Up hearts due to the fact that the monochrome graphics would make it hard to distinguish between different mushrooms. The power-up change that changes the way the game plays is the power of the flower. In this game, flowers give the power of superballs rather than fire. They can be used in the usual way, to kill enemies. However, they can also be used to collect coins. Mario can shoot them into areas that he can't reach, allowing him to collect coins in passages that only small Mario would normally be able to reach.
Another change in the gameplay comes in the water level. Instead of swimming, there is a Mario-sized submarine named the Marine Pop that's used instead. The submarine can shoot missiles as well as collect coins, which gives the level the feel of a horizontal shooter rather than a platformer. The horizontal shooter aspect is only used again in the last stage, with an airplane known as the Sky Pop. I really wish that they'd use the vehicles again, as I really enjoyed the two shooter levels. I do not mind the traditional underwater levels, but I actually found it more fun to power a submarine through them rather than swim.
The game was only officially released in monochrome for the Game Boy, however, there is a fan patch named Super Mario Land DX that turns the game into a full-color Game Boy Color game. This patch adds color to the game and changes the sprite graphics to more closely match other games in the series. It is very well done.
Super Mario Land is an excellent game that deserves to be played. If you are able to play the game using the Super Mario Land DX fan patch, such as playing the cartridge on the RetroN 5 with the patch loaded from an SD card, I highly recommend playing the game this way. However, if you are only able to play it with monochrome graphics on the Game Boy cartridge or on the Virtual Console for Nintendo 3DS, the game is still worth playing. The gameplay mechanics that are unique among Super Mario games, as well as fun music, tight platform mechanics, and great level design, make this one a must-play.
4½ out of 5
Tuesday, October 18, 2022
Saturday, October 15, 2022
Friday, October 14, 2022
Sunday, October 2, 2022
Saturday, October 1, 2022
This review was previously published on Jupiter Beagle on October 13, 2008.
The Tell-Tale Heart is a 1953 animated short film by Columbia Pictures, directed by Ed Parmalee. It is based on the famous short story of the same name by Edgar Allen Poe. This is a really spooky animated short, and it is the best adaptation of an Edgar Allen Poe short story I have seen in any medium.
The system runs on a Zuiki Z7213 system on a chip with a 1.3 GHz quad-Core Cortex-A7 central processing unit, a 500 megahertz dual-core Mali-400 ARM graphics processing unit, 256 megabytes of random access memory, and 4 gigabytes of flash storage.
The system comes with one two-button controller. The Japanese version contains fifty-eight games, while the international versions contain fifty-seven. This console has some of the best games of the 16-bit generation and is easily the miniature console that packs the best games in its library. It is truly quality over quantity, although the international versions have a lot of games that are still in Japanese.
The fifty-seven games in the international versions include Air Zonk, Aldynes: The Mission Code for Rage Crisis, Alien Crush, Alright! Gateball, Blazing Lazers, Bomberman '93, Bomberman '94, Bomberman: Panic Bomber, Bonk's Adventure, Bonk's Revenge, Cadash, Castlevania: Rondo of Blood, Chew Man Fu, China Warrior, Cho Aniki, Dragon Spirit, Dungeon Explorer, Evil Sword Necromancer, Fantasy Zone, Galaga '88, The Genji and the Heike Clans, Great Demon World Village, Galaxy Police Legend Sapphire, Gradius, Gradius II: Gofer's Ambition, J.J. & Jeff, The Legend of Valkyrie, Lords of Thunder, Military Madness, Moto Roader, Neutopia, Neutopia II, New Adventure Island, Ninja Gaiden, Ninja Spirit, Parasol Stars, Power Golf, Psychosis, R-Type, Salamander, Spirit Warriors Spriggan, Snatcher, Soldier Blade, Space Harrier, Splatterhouse, Spriggan Mark 2: Re-Terraform Project, Star Parodier, Super Darius, Super Momotarō Electric Railway II, Super Star Soldier, Victory Run, and Ys Book I & II.
The Japanese version contains the same game list except for Salamander and with the addition of Far East of Eden II: Manji Maru and Heartthrob Memorial.
As with the other mini consoles, I’ll be looking in-depth at the above games in the future, and the links will be updated accordingly. This console has finally put the TurboGrafx at the top of the heap. The emulation is excellent and the console is packed with great games. I recommend the Japanese version as the two exclusive games are excellent and the arcade version of Salamander is now available through Hamster's Arcade Archives. If you modify your console to accept other games, you will get the most out of your console because a lot of these Japanese games have unofficial English fan patches.
Note: The USB wall plug is not included. Make sure you use one that is 5 volts, 2 amps (2000 mA). There have been reports of the system bricking itself if the wrong plug is used.
5 out of 5
Friday, September 30, 2022
For the next 20 days leading up to Halloween, I’m going to review some of my favorite horror-themed entertainment. To start the 20 Days of Halloween Celebration, I decided to review one of my all-time favorite films, Little Shop of Horrors. This film is based on an off-Broadway musical that itself was based on a low-budget cult-classic black and white horror film.
The film stars Rick Moranis, who plays a nerdy florist who works at a florist in a poor neighborhood. The owner, Mr. Mushnik, is about to close the shop due to weeks of little to no business when it is revealed that Seymour bought a strange plant to try to improve business. He names the plant Audrey II, after the other employee of the florist, a girl who Seymour has a huge crush on. The strange plant brings in a ton of business from curious people coming in to see it.
Remaking the film into a musical seems like a strange choice, but it works well. The movie is made very tongue-in-cheek with over-the-top acting, and unrealistic 1950s and 60s era American ideals. The musical actually makes all this campiness a lot of fun. The music was written by the famed musical duo of Howard Ashman and Alan Menken, who would later write the music for the Disney animated films Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin. The music is written in the style of 1960s rock and roll and is incredibly memorable. A song sung by Steve Martin, who plays Audrey’s abusive dentist boyfriend, easily steals the show.
Fans of the original musical will be somewhat sad to know that the ending has changed here to something movie test audiences found more satisfying. In the process, one entire song from the musical is omitted from the movie and is available only on the movie’s soundtrack. However, if you want to see the original ending there are DVDs available with deleted scenes with the original ending on them. For most people, this won’t be an issue, as the new scene in question does work quite well to end the movie.
The music is wonderful and the casting is great. There are plenty of cameos of Saturday Night Live and SCTV alumni throughout the film. The movie is over-the-top and very campy, but as it is based on a low-budget horror film it works out well. If you’re a fan of musicals or horror comedies, you owe it to yourself to see this movie.
4½ out of 5
Tuesday, September 27, 2022
After years of licensing the right to make retro consoles of their systems to AtGames, with varying results, Sega opted instead to design and manufacture the Sega Genesis Mini themselves. The emulation was handled by M2.
The system runs on a Zuiki Z7213 system on a chip with a 1.3 GHz quad-Core Cortex-A7 central processing unit, a 500 megahertz dual-core Mali-400 ARM graphics processing unit, 256 megabytes of random access memory, and 512 megabytes of flash storage.
Outside of Japan, the system comes with two three-button controllers. The Japanese version comes with one six-button controller. It comes with forty games for the Genesis system. These games are excellently curated, as most of the games rank among the most fun games for the Sega Genesis.
The forty games include Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle,Alisia Dragoon, Altered Beast, Beyond Oasis (known as The Story of Thor: A Successor of The Light outside North America), Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse, Castlevania Bloodlines (known as Vampire Killer in Japan), Columns, Comix Zone, Contra: Hard Corps, Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine, Dynamite Headdy, Earthworm Jim, Ecco the Dolphin, Eternal Champions, Ghouls 'n Ghosts, Golden Axe, Gunstar Heroes, Kid Chameleon, Landstalker, Light Crusader, Mega Man: The Wily Wars (known as Rockman: Mega World in Japan), Monster World IV, Phantasy Star IV, Road Rash II, Shining Force, Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master, Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball, Space Harrier II, Street Fighter II: Special Champion Edition (known as Street Fighter II Dash Plus: Champion Edition in Japan), Streets of Rage 2, Strider, Super Fantasy Zone, Thunder Force III, ToeJam & Earl, Vectorman, Virtua Fighter 2, Wonder Boy in Monster World, and World of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck.
Mega Man: The Wily Wars was released on cartridge in Japan and Europe. North America only had access to Mega Man: The Wily Wars on the short-lived cable-based subscription game download service Sega Channel.
In addition to the forty listed above, the Sega Genesis Mini also includes two new ports of arcade games. The Darius port was developed by M2 and Hideki Konishi, while Tetris was a solo effort by M2. The Tetris port is based on Sega's arcade version. This is a new port and not the one that had an extremely small print run in the 1990s due to Nintendo holding the video game console rights for Tetris at the time.
The Japanese version of the system, the Sega Mega Drive Mini, also contains forty classic games and two bonus games. However, the game list is slightly different. It comes with Alisia Dragoon, Assault Suit Leynos, Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse, Columns, Comix Zone, Contra: Hard Corps, Darius, Dyna Brothers 2 Special, Dynamite Headdy, The Game's Crown Collection, Ghouls 'n Ghosts, Golden Axe, Gunstar Heroes, The Hybrid Front, Landstalker, Langrisser II, Lord Monarch, Monster World IV, MUSHA, OutRun 2019, Party Quiz Mega Q, Phantasy Star IV, Puyo Puyo 2, Puzzle & Action: Tant-R, Rent-a-Hero, Road Rash II, Rockman: Mega World (known outside Japan as Mega Man: The Wily Wars), Shining Force, Slap Fight MD, Snow Bros, Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Sorcery Saga I, Space Harrier II, Street Fighter II Dash Plus: Champion Edition (known as Street Fighter II: Special Champion Edition outside Japan), The Story of Thor: A Successor of The Light (known as Beyond Oasis in North America), Streets of Rage 2, Strider, Super Fantasy Zone, The Super Shinobi, Sword of Vermillion, Tetris, Thunder Force III, Vampire Killer (known as Castlevania Bloodlines outside Japan), World of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, Wrestleball, and Yu Yu Hakusho: Battle to Unite the Demon Plane.
As with the Nintendo Mini consoles, I’ll be looking in-depth at the above games in the future, and the links will be updated accordingly. With this mini console, it is like a return to the days of old since Sega has once again rivaled Nintendo. The emulation is excellent and the console is packed with enjoyable classic games. Whether you get the Sega Genesis Mini or the Sega Mega Drive Mini, you'll get tons of enjoyment.
5 out of 5
Beetlejuice is a film by the master of the horror-comedy, Tim Burton.
It features a newlywed couple who die in an accident as soon as they move into their new home. Before the couple even realizes they are dead, their home is sold. The new family, the Deetzes, moves in and turns out to be quite the opposite of the folksy attitude of the deceased couple. They decide that they want to scare the Deetzes out of their home but turn out to be too nice to do so. They decide to hire a self-proclaimed “bio-exorcist” named Beetle Juice, who turns out to have his own ulterior motives for helping them out.
The cast is brilliantly cast. Michael Keaton is perfect as the wise-cracking, foul-smelling undead con-man Beetle Juice. Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis are the kind, folksy, newly-dead couple. Jeffery Jones and Catherine O’Hara are wonderful as the pretentious Deetzes. Winona Ryder plays probably the most memorable role of her career as Lydia Deetz, the daughter of Charles Deetz, a gothic girl who has an obsession with the morbid.
The musical score by Danny Elfman is wonderful and is very memorable. The film also contains a memorable song and dance comedy routine to the tune of Day-O (The Banana Boat Song). It happens so abruptly and is so delightfully strange, but somehow manages to not feel out of place.
Beetlejuice is a comedy classic. The music is great, the comedy is wonderful, and all of Tim Burton’s trademark nightmare-like sets and creature designs are here. If you haven’t seen it yet, take the time to watch it.
5 out of 5
Sunday, September 25, 2022
The film follows Marvel’s oldest property for which they retained the film rights at the time. The film follows Steve Rogers, a sickly thin boy from Brooklyn in the 1940s. When the United States joins the Allies in World War II, Steve Rogers is a man, but his frail sickly body prevents him from being enlisted. He tries to enlist five times with five different addresses, but he is marked 4F – unfit to serve – at each examination. His childhood friend “Bucky” Barnes warns him to stop falsifying his information in trying to enlist, as it is a criminal offense that could result in prison time.
Steve ignores his friend’s advice and is caught during his next attempt to enlist. Thankfully, he was caught by a German scientist named Dr. Erskine who recognizes that Steve is a good man who wants to enlist, not for the satisfaction of killing, but to prevent the Nazis from bullying the world as he has been bullied his entire life. Steve becomes the second person to be given Erskine’s super soldier treatment after a Nazi soldier named Johann Schmidt was given the treatment prior to the point when Dr. Erskine fled to the United States. The treatment amplified what is inside people, turning Johann Schmidt into the villainous Red Skull and turning Steve Rogers into the virtuous Captain America.
Captain Rogers proves that he is more than a marketing tool when he saves his friend Bucky, and soldiers from other Allied units, from deep within enemy lines.
Red Skull has been building up Hydra within the shadows of the Nazis, an organization named after the Greek legend. The group is intent on taking over the world, including Nazi Germany, and imposing the Red Skull’s rule over all of humanity. To combat the Red Skull, Captain America forms an elite group named the Howling Commandos from a group of rescued soldiers, including his friend Bucky Barnes.
He also has help from Agent “Peggy” Carter, of the top-secret war agency the Strategic Scientific Reserve, or SSR, who develops feelings for Steve Rogers over the course of the film. Her character will later be further developed in her titular short film and television series, but Agent Carter already shows herself to be a fantastic asset to the SSR here, as she kills the driver of a car from many meters away.
The film is a fantastic adventure and a modern take on the adventure serials of the 1940s, much in the same vein as Raiders of the Lost Ark before it. It remains one of the best films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and is well worth watching at least once, if not multiple times.
5 out of 5
|Agent Carter One-Shot Review|
1½ out of 5
|Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Arcade Game Review|
Wednesday, September 21, 2022
|Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Review||Fall of the Foot Clan Review coming soon|
Thursday, September 15, 2022
The big Ryu ga Gotaku Studio reveal is that Like a Dragon 8 is coming in 2024. It will feature the same turn-based RPG gameplay as Yakuza: Like a Dragon (Like a Dragon 7). Surprisingly, it will feature two protagonists: Ichiban Kasuga and Kazuma Kiryu. Yakuza 6 (Like a Dragon 6) was supposed to be his swan song, so it will be interesting to see what prompted the now silver-haired Kiryu to return to the action.
Wednesday, September 14, 2022
Like a Dragon: Ishin!, the Yakuza samurai spinoff with Yakuza characters as mostly real-life figures from Japan's Meiji Restoration during the Edo Period, is getting a remake for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5.
Even better news, it is coming to the west with an official English translation. The original game was released for PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4, however, it never left Japan.
It will be available worldwide in February 2023.
Tuesday, September 13, 2022
The presentation is excellent. It has moments of cinematic action, which are very reminiscent of the Uncharted series. Many are quick-time events that provide precise button pushing, but the prompts stay on screen for a while, so, thankfully, they aren't a challenge. The visuals are quite realistic, even in the original PlayStation 4 version. The textures and models in the remastered version are improved and sometimes changed, especially Peter Parker who is completely redesigned. The former actor for the face of Peter Parker, John Bubniak, has been recast to Ben Jordan (no relation to the paranormal investigator). This was done to better match the facial performance capture of Yuri Lowenthal. Both versions are excellent. I, personally didn't notice a difference in the facial movements of either actor, but your perceptions might be different than mine. The rest of the actors are excellent as well, especially Watanabe's voice actor, Sumalee Montano. Her vocal performance helps a lot in making Yuri Watanabe a compelling character.