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Retro Review : The Adventures of Tom Sawyer



SETA - 1989 -  Famicom/NES 

Overview:
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is a standard action platformer, and extremely bizarre interpretation of Tom Sawyer, that strongly resembles Super Mario Bros. In the game, Tom has fallen asleep, and the game itself is Tom’s dream. In it, Becky has been captured by Injun Joe, and Tom must embark on a quest through the games 6 levels to rescue her. You can either play single or multiplayer, the multiplayer being turn based again like in SMB, where you take turns playing as Tom and Huck. 


Gameplay:

From the first level, it’s obvious that the makers of the game tried very hard to replicate Super Mario Bros and other popular games of the time. The main characters even resemble Mario and Luigi; Tom being dressed in a red shirt with blue suspenders, and Huck, dressed in a green shirt with white suspenders, and the game even begins with you having to jump over barrels, much like in Donkey Kong. For most the levels, you must either jump over or defeat oncoming enemies such as pirates and assorted wild life. You can attack by throwing an endless supply of rocks you have hidden in your pockets. The rocks travel in an arch, which means that once an enemy is close by, you will no longer be able to hit them, and must jump over them. Some enemies will drop a slingshot icon, which allows you to attack by firing a shot in a straight line across the screen. It is slightly more powerful then the normal attack, but only lasts a limited time. Enemies will also drop one of three other icons. A “T” icon, which will award you with an extra life if you gather 20, a Skull icon, which erases 10 of your “T” icons, and a Heart icon, that acts like the Star in Mario, granting limited invincibility. 



Remember that time Tom Sawyer fought that giant octopus?

 The game is broken up into 6 levels, 5 of which are standard platform setups, and one, the 2nd level, being an overhead game where you must pilot a raft down the Mississippi river. The other levels consist of a haunted mansion, a cloud world (with a brief flying section), and a forest that has a brief section where you jump along giant mushrooms (another obvious Super Mario reference)
 

The game suffers from some very stiff controls at times, with jumping being one of the main annoyances. Once you jump, you can’t move forward or back, which makes for some rather stiff platforming. This becomes a bit of a problem later in the game, when you are jumping over pits that leave you little room for error, the worst of which being just before your fight with the final boss.  Also, in the raft section, you can move in the air when you jump, but your raft doesn’t move along with you, making it easy to accidentally fall into the water. 

 
Remember that time Tom Sawyer fought Grape Ape?

My last real problem with the game, more of a personal complaint, is how easy most of the bosses are.  Many of them are defeated with only a few shots, and some barely even attack you at all. In fact, the final boss fight with Injun Joe is almost impossible to lose at, with him only attacking once every few seconds, and only attacking by firing a single arrow at the ground. 

 

Conclusion:
While it desperately tries to  be like one of the big boys, it just ends up feeling very dull. I actually enjoyed the cute graphics, and the music isn’t…..too awful…. But the game feels very speedily put together. It often feels either too easy, or annoyingly hard, and never really comes off as an enjoyable game to me. I ended up wanting to beat it out of spite more then anything else. When it comes down to it, it’s just an okay platformer, and with so many better ones on the NES, there just doesn’t feel like a reason to choose this one. 

But, when it comes to other games for the NES based on Tom Sawyer….it could be much worse….

 

Retro Review : Double Dragon



Technos Japan - 1988 - NES

Overview:

Double Dragon NES is the arcade port of the popular arcade Beat Um Up with the same name. In the game, you take control of one of the Lee brothers, either Billy or Jimmy, (also know as Hammer and Spike in the US arcade version), and embark on a mission through the post apocalyptic waste land of New York in search of Billy’s kidnapped girlfriend, Marian. Your goal is to defeat all the members of the Black Warriors, who have kidnapped Marian as ransom in the hopes that you will give up the secrets of your martial arts style for her safe return. 



Gameplay:

Now, while some of the core gameplay remains similar, there are several glaring differences between the Arcade and NES versions of the game. The first, and most obvious difference, is the lack of Co-op play in the game. Due to the limitations of the Nes at the time, the game only allows one player at a time. Co-op is instead replaced with a turn based system, with each player taking over the level after the other dies. Also, instead of having all your attacks from the beginning, you must earn your new attacks by defeating a set amount of enemies. Speaking of enemies, the NES’s limitations strike again, only allowing 2 enemies on screen at a time. This makes the fighting feel very tedious at times, and can grind the pace of the game down to a crawl. To assist you in battle, you are able to pick up weapons at certain points in the game, but the weapons you pick up disappear between screens, making them feel almost useless. 
 

The game also suffers from another old console problem; The difficulty to life ratio. In many arcade ports, the games difficultly remained mostly the same, as did the number of lives that the player received. But, unlike with the arcade versions of these games, once you get a game over, you can’t pump another quarter into the machine and continue playing. Once you get a Game Over, it’s back to start. Now, in a game with no co-op, no blocking, cheap hits, and extremely powerful enemies (THAT CAN BLOCK!) you will find yourself getting killed…a lot….and starting over…a lot….especially in the forest level, when having to face 2 Abobo’s at once…and then another pair soon after…
 fucking Abobo…

The NES version also has a 2 player fighting mode you can choose to play, if you don’t feel like running through a story mode. In it you can either fight the computer, or fight a friend in a 2-D fighting game. But, yet again, there’s a problem. While you have a cast of 6 characters to choose from, you can only be one character…both of you…you both have to be the same guy…



While fun at first, the gameplay limitations quickly get old, making the experience less then exciting. 

Conclusion:

As you can probably guess from my review, Double Dragon NES isn’t a favorite of mine. Trust me though, I don’t take joy in saying that. I adore the Double Dragon series, and the Beat Um Up genera as a whole, but that game is just too flawed to really enjoy. The game is still fun in its own frustrating way, and with some dedication, you can totally beat this game and I’m sure have fun playing it, but it doesn’t feel like a Double Dragon game. It feels stiff, technical, it lacks the balls out, torso punching, brainless fun of the Beat Um Up spirit. Between the lack of Co-Op, the limited lives, cheat deaths, and having to earn your own fighting moves, it just feels like homework… 

But, like I said, you may enjoy the game, so download a rom, or pick it up on the Wii Virtual Console, but I’d recommend spending your cash on a good NES Beat Um Up like River City Ransom or Bad Dudes instead*

*I’m just kidding…don’t buy Bad Dudes…EVER! 


Speaking of Double Dragon,  have you guys played Abobo’s Big Adventure yet?

It’s a free fan game, where you get to play as Double Dragon’s  most famous baddie, ABOBO!

The game is free, fun, and a nostalgia trip. If you’re a old school NES fan, you can’t pass up this game! So, hit the LINK, and enjoy.  

 

Retro Review : Rygar: The Legendary Adventure



Tecmo – (JP/NA)1987 (EU) 1990 - NES 

 
Overview:

 Rygar (NES) is the popular action RPG game where you take control of an unnamed warrior (commonly referred to as Rygar) through a mythologically inspired world, on a mission to restore peace to the land by defeating the evil King Ligar. While adapted from the Arcade version (1986), the gameplay for NES was changed from the Arcade versions side scrolling play, to the Action RPG genera.  

 

 
Gameplay:


In many ways, Rygar’s gameplay holds close to the Arcades side scrolling roots.  The main difference it has, besides the graphics, is that the liner platform style has been replaced with a series of free roaming levels that incorporate both 2-D platforming and 3-D overhead maps. The controls stay about the same in both 2 and 3-D segments; attack with shield, jump, walk, etc. The only thing that changes control wise between the 3-D and 2-D views is that your grappling hook no longer works, though you don’t need it in 3-D mode, so no worries. Enemies will pop up throughout your path, and you can recieve power ups from some of the enemies you defeat. There are 2 types of drop items you get from enemies; Potions, which heal 1 point of health, and Star items that come in 1 or 3 stacks. These star items fill your power gauge, which allows you to use 1 or your 3 spells. Power – Up, which costs 3 points and ups your attack , Attack & Assult, which costs 5 points and causes the screen to flash damaging all enemies, and Recover, which costs all 8 points and heals your health completely. Other than the basic enemies, the game also has 5 Bosses, not counting the Final Boss Liger. With every defeated Boss, you will gain a new special item; the grappling hook being one of them. These items will be crucial for traversing the lands and finding the next path. You will receive each of these special items from the 5 Indoras; colossal, Santa looking Gods of the land that must all be freed to reach the final level. There are other Indoras throughout the land that will give you hints on where to go next.

 

 
For the most part, Rygar is a rather solid game. The fighting is standard platform button mashing,  and the enemies come at you in droves. The enemies do respawn at random, and at a rather quick pace, so you well feel swamped at times.  The game allows for quite a bit of exploration as well thanks to the Grappling Hook item. Rygar has many hidden areas that can only be accessed by throwing the hook up and hoping for a hit. Though, while very handy, the Grappling hook can sometimes be a liability. The Grappling hook is used by pressing up and attack, and also by holding down and attack, which allows you to repel. But, if you happen to be on an area where the ground is thin enough to repel, and you try to duck and attack, you’ll find yourself stuck hanging from a ledge and open to enemy cheap shots.



Rygar also does a good job of blending it’s 2-D and 3-D sections. When you enter certain doors, you will be transported to an overhead map, where you will have to battle huge tank like beasts and odd tree creatures.  While the controls can be a bit stiff here at times, and timing your jumps can be a bit tricky, these sections offer a good break up in gameplay, and also have one of the more challenging Dungeon sections (Battling the Dorago boss in the 3-D section was a favorite part of mine)

 

 
Rygar tip: The World is your trampoline

    One of Rygar’s more entertaining features, is that you have the ability to jump on any enemy without taking damage. You also don’t deal any damage by jumping either. You just bounce. Bounce and bounce and bounce and bounce. You can even bounce on the games Bosses. You are vulnerable when you jump though, so try not to have too much fun.

 

 
While a good game, I do have 2 big problems with Rygar. One of my problems with the game  comes from it’s leveling up system. Like in many games, you level up by defeating enemies and level Bosses, and with each level you gain strength and a bonus health bar.  The system itself is fine, but by the time you get to Ligers floating Island, the last level, the leveling up becomes easy, and once you gain the highest level, the final Boss becomes way too easy. I honesty barely remember fighting him. When the Mini-Bosses feel like more of a triumph than the Final Boss, it just doesn’t sit right with me. My biggest Problem though, is the lack of a save feature. Rygar isn’t an extremely long game by any means, but it does take a few hours to complete, and without a save feature or codes, it means one long game session, or an overheating NES. And nothing hurts a retro gamers heart worse, than turning off an unfinished game without being able to save.



 
Conclusion: 


While it has some problems, Rygar still stands out as one of the NES’s must play Action RPG’s.  The game has a great soundtrack, colorful graphics and simple yet fun gameplay that will hook you hard, and fast.  While the game isn’t always clear in what to do next, you’ll pick up on it fast, and have fun exploring along the way. Rygar really has this charm about it that makes it a fan favorite, and a retro gaming must.  I would definitely recommend you give Rygar a look, be it ROM or cartridge. 



……seriously though, what the hell is wrong with this thing?

 

Retro Review : Game & Watch collection DS



Nintendo - 2006 (JP) 2008 (NA) - DS

Overview:

Alright, so technically this isn’t a “Retro” review since the game came out in 06, but it’s contents are retro so my title remains valid! Anyway, moving on.
 Game & Watch Collection is just what it sounds like. It’s a collection of 3 classic Game & Watch titles produced by Nintendo, and available for purchase as a reward on clubnintendo.com. The 3 games chosen are from Game & Watch’s Duel Screen titles, which makes sense, since the DS was based off those very systems. The collection includes Oil Panic, Donkey Kong and Green House. All 3 games still include the A and B versions of the games and the Alarm Clock functions. 

Gameplay:



Oil Panic - 1982

In Oil Panic, you take control of a Gas Station attendant on the top screen. Your job is to move him left to right collecting oil that drips from the pipes above. You can only carry 3 drops at a time in your bucket, and must periodically travel to either the left or right window to dispose of the collected oil. On the bottom screen, your friend is holding a large oil drum, and will run around the bottom floor in a panic. The game play comes from timing your dumping right, and getting it into your friends drum. If you miss though, you will accidentally dump oil on one of the 2 Gas Station customers standing under the windows. Dumping oil on either customer, or missing a drop from the ceiling will result in a lost life. One feature of Oil Panic is that in this game, you have 4 lives instead of the usual 3, which helps lighten the games difficulty slightly. 




Donkey Kong - 1982

In this adaptation of the Arcade hit, and brings several variations to the original game play. In the G&W version, Donkey Kong still throws barrels, but instead of staying in a stationary position, he moves back and forth while throwing them. The barrels come at a more rapid pace then in the arcade, which makes timing your jumps very important. A short while into the game, metal girders will begin to appear on the second floor. These girders will swing past randomly, and will make your jumps more difficult to time, since touching one of these will end your players life. Back tracking and jumping will quickly become a common theme for you. To defeat Donkey Kong, you must make your way to the forth level, move right and pull the level to activate the crane to the left, then leap to the crane when it swings towards the edge of the floor. If you time this right, you will remove the first of 4 keys that keep Donkey Kong on his platform. Once all 4 are removed, DK falls and the player receives a point bonus, but of course, missing your jump will cause you to lose a man. This is one of the more difficult and fast paced of the Game & Watch series, and is a personal favorite of mine. 



Green House - 1982

Your job in Green House is to keep your 4 flowers safe from a legion of hungry Spiders and Caterpillars with the help of your trusty spray pump. You must rush from on floor to the other with the aid of a ladder, and continuously attack the bugs as they appear.The Caterpillars will attack on the top screen, while the Spiders will repel from the ceiling of the bottom screen. The Caterpillars will travel across the vines leading to the flowers, and can be defeated by one spray from your pesticide pump. The Spiders on the other hand will attack from the corners, slowly traveling down from their webs. Unlike the Caterpillars, they can’t be killed, only pushed back and temporarily halted. Once a flower is eaten by the bugs, it will return to life, but you will lose one of your 3 lives. Once all 3 are lost, the game is over. 

 

Conclusion:

The Game & Watch series holds an important place in gaming history. These were some of the very first handhelds in Gaming, and revolutionized gaming’s accessibility to its fans. With their simple and addicting play, the Game & Watch series were a huge hit, and were of course the forefathers to the GameBoy and DS consoles. This collection offers 3 of the more challenging and difficult entries in the Game & Watch line, and can still be played and enjoyed by fans and newcomers alike. While this game is hard to get your hands on, and the original systems are a bit expensive now, if you are ever given the opportunity to play one of these classics, do so. 

Retro Review : Batman



Sunsoft - 1989 (JP) 1990 (NA) - NES

Overview:

 Batman is a side scrolling action game based (very loosely) off the 1989 film. You play as Batman and must battle through 5 stages on a hunt for the Joker. The majority of the games levels and villains have no connection to the film, with it’s main connection to being the showdown with Joker in Gotham Chapel’s bell tower. 

 

Gameplay:

Like I mentioned before, the game play has very little to do with the film. The story is shown through a series of cutscenes that are often paired with images of the Joker delivering lines that do little explain what’s happening. While not the most informative, the animated cutscenes are rather impressive graphically.  When it comes to the game play, Batman is a pretty standard action platformer. Your attacks consist of punches; standing, crouching and jumping. You also have 3 sub-weapons that you are able to select from; the Batarang, a harpoon gun, and a throwing star that splits into 3 when thrown. The sub-weapons all draw from the same ammo, which you can collect by defeating enemies. You can carry99 max, and each weapon uses a different amount; batarang takes 1, gun takes 2, and throwing star takes 3. The enemies will often drop 1 of 3 items when defeated. Either ammo, a B symbol which gives you extra points, or a heart that restores 1 bar of health. Batman also has a wall jump ability, which is one of the games stand out mechanics. It is similar to the one used in Ninja Gaiden, except you don’t cling to the walls as well. This mechanic is essential in the levels and mastering it is a must; especially before the last level. 



The wall jump isn’t the only thing that makes Batman feel similar to Ninja Gaiden. Many of the games enemies are reminiscent of Gaiden’s as well. The enemies vary from small robot drones, to thugs with guns and flamethrowers, and even include giant enemies; including one that looks like ED-209 from Robocop. The enemies don’t feel very “Batman” for the most part, and this is especially true of the boss fights. The bosses include giant samurais and robotic squares that fire lasers at you when you are near them, and even the final boss fight with Joker makes little sense in the realm of Batman.

(SPOILER ALERT:) Joker has lightening powers…..




Much like in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game from Konami, it feels like the makers of the game didn’t really have an understanding of the subject material outside of the main concept. This of course doesn’t make this a bad game. The character graphics and level design are rather diverse and full of detail; although the game’s pallet choices sometimes makes the level blend into a uniform hard to read mess. The fighting is rather smooth and intuitive, and the platforming sections feel very natural.  The game actually requires some strategy and thinking as well, and victory often requires you to discover and memorize enemy patterns. The game does have its troubles from time too time; with some of the boss fights seeming to resort to punch until dead and the occasional enemy cheap shots. The game can also frustrate at times since many of the bosses seem overpowered; especially the one before the Joker, that honestly looks like the Shredder from TMNT.

 

Conclusion:

While not exactly what I would call a Batman game, Batman for NES is a pretty fun game in its own rights. It’s a solid action platformer that is challenging and  engaging. While short at only 5 levels, it supplies you with a decent amount of depth and game play. While not exactly what I would call an A title, it is definitely worth a play. If you are a fan of the action platform genera, Batman is a must play. 

 

Retro Review : Hudson’s Adventure Island (Takahashi Meijin no Bōken Jima)



Hudson - 1986 (JP) 1988 (NA) - Famicom/NES 

Overview:

In Adventure Island, you take control of Master Takahashi (Master Higgins in the US version), named after Hudson’s beloved PR man Takahashi Meijin. The story is pretty standard for a retro game; your girlfriend Tina has been kidnapped by the evil Great King Kyura.To get her back, you most conquer the games 8 areas consisting of 32 levels. This game is quite infamous among gamers for it’s incredible difficulty and was believed by many to be unbeatable. The game is full of quick enemies, pit falls, and areas that depend on precision movement on the part of the player. The game is also famous for giving you only 3 lives and no continues to do this.  


 

Gameplay:

Adventure Island  is a straightforward platformer in many ways. It has a similar feel to the original Super Mario bro’s in its overall play. It has 8 worlds with 4 levels each. The level structure is also similar, in that you can only travel forward, no back tracking allowed. Unlike in SuMari though, jumping on enemies will result in your death, so you must avoid or kill them to proceed. Your main weapon in the game is a stone axe that Master can throw in rapid succession at the enemies. However, you don’t start with a weapon in this game, and if you die you will lose whichever weapon you have at the time. You can find weapons either placed along the levels path or hidden in eggs. Other then the stone axe you can find a hidden fireball attack, that can not only defeat enemies but the tripping stones and boulders that get in your way as well. Like I mentioned before, items can be found in eggs throughout each level. Some eggs are hidden and can be uncovered  by throwing your weapon along your way. If your weapon stops in midair, go to that spot and jump. This will either uncover a hidden egg or, on rare occasions, a hidden lift that will take you to a bonus level full of fruits that will both regain your stamina and give you bonus points. Some of the eggs hold bonus items that add to your score, or extra lives, and some even contain the hidden character Honey. Honey is a fairy that will follow Master for a short time and grant him invincibility as long as her music plays, much like the Power Star in SuMari.
Also, hidden in some of the eggs, is a favorite item among fans of the game; the Skateboard
.

Once you touch this item, Master will throw on a helmet and begin to skate forward. You can speed up by pressing right, and slow down with left, and you can still use your jump and attack as well. Once you make contact with a rock or enemy, Master will be thrown from the board, but he won’t die. The upside is that the board adds speed and can act as a shield against one hit. But, the board will not stop going forward once you begin riding it, and sometimes will cause you to ride straight to your death. Use this item wisely.  

Not all eggs are helpful though. For lucking in some, is the eggplant.

Once you uncover the eggplant he will begin to follow you, and slowly drain your stamina bar the whole time he is out. Once uncovered, he can’t be ditched or avoided so you must focus on collecting all the fruit you can. 



I mentioned Stamina above, and in Adventure Island Stamina plays an important role.

**Don’t get the stamina bar confused with a health bar.**

In the game one hit from an enemy will kill you, no matter how high your stamina is at the time.The stamina bar plays 2 important roles, it allows you to take a hit from the tripping stone without killing you, only removing a few points, and it tells you how close you are to death. You see, once this bar is empty, Master runs out of energy and dies. It’s very important to collect all the fruit you can to keep the bar from hitting zero. If you find a milk bottle, it will fully replenish your bar, so anyways be on the look out. The Stamina bar can almost be thought of as the games time limit.  

As you may be able to tell simply from the description so far, Adventure Island is an incredibly challenging game full of dangers and many ways to die. The ever decreasing Stamina bar doesn’t allow you to take your time in the game, so you must always be on the move. The enemies are often placed in ways that force the player to make precise actions. Many of the enemies come at you in waves and patterns that can make the smallest slip up deadly. Most of the boss levels are full of enemies including spiders that act as moving walls. These segments require a mix of precision jumps and dodges and can quickly wear even the most pro retro gamers will down instantly. And of course, the limited 3 lives given make completion a near impossible feat.

But…there is hope…
 

At the end of level 1-1, right before the goal, there is a hidden egg. Inside the egg is the Hudson Bee logo. If you obtain the logo, you will be able to use continues as long as you remember to hold right and press start at the Game Over screen.

Without this trick, even the most veteran of gamers would be hard pressed to conquer all 32 stages. 
 
The one kind action the game has taken is in the boss fight.
 

You’d imagine that with a game this hard, the boss fights would be near Herculean tasks to complete. But, if you can defeat the first boss, then the next 7 should be fairly easy. Great King Kyura seems to need the levels to be as hard as they are to make up for the fact that he, himself, is a tremendous puss. To defeat him you simply stay in front of him, jump, and throw your weapon at his head. He does attack by throwing a fire ball very few seconds, but these are easily avoidable. The only thing that changes in between each fight is the number of times you have to hit him. That’s all. 

Although the boss is a pushover, simply getting to him will prove to be one of the most difficult retro gaming feats you will ever take on. This game does not play fair, and will take little pity on you.

 

Conclusion:

This game is not for the faint of heart. This is truly one of the hardest games I have ever played. (to this day I have only reached world 5-3, then again I myself only learned about the continue trick a year ago :P ) Although it is hard, it is still a very fun game. The characters and enemies are cute, and the game has a very child like spirit to it that can really hook the player. Despite it’s sometimes frustrating difficulty, I always find myself playing it again and again, and always have fun when I play.

So, if you want a real challenge, then I’d recommend  taking on Hudson’s Adventure Island. Be patient, stay focused, and remember the patterns, and just maybe, you can rescue Tina and be one of the few that sees the ending with their own eyes. 

 

(Not so retro) Retro Review: Retro Game Challenge



Indieszero -2007 (JP) 2009 (NA)- Nintendo DS


Overview:

For fans of all things 80’s when it comes to video games, there is no better game then Retro Game Challenge. Retro Game Challenge is based off the hit Japanese tv show Game Center CX staring comedian Shinya Arino. In the game, the Demon Arino ( an evil version of Arino that materialized in his DS due to his frustration at losing retro games) challenges the player to play several retro styled games and complete specific challenges. He does this by transporting you back to the 80’s, transforming you into a child again, to play retro games with a younger version of himself. Young Arino acts as comic relief and as support for your difficult challenges. Young Arino also purchases game magazines that you can read for tips and cheats to help you beat the games. While the games aren’t real retro games, they are all heavily inspired by them and feel like classic NES games. 


 
Gameplay:

The only way I see fit to describe the game play is to go through each individual game and describe each one and the game it is inspired by. So I will.

Cosmic Gate
 

Cosmic Gate is a shooter game influenced heavily by Galaga. In it, you pilot your star fighter by moving left and right and with it, battle a hoard of space insects, know as Insektors. Much like in Galaga, the enemy insects enter the screen in waves from either the top or sides of the screen. Also like in Galaga, they attack with either lasers or by attacking you in a kamekaze rush. Lets face it, this game is basically Galaga (nothing wrong with that though) Though the game does have many elements that set it apart from Galaga. Every once in a while you will encounter flashing enemies. Some of these enemies carry an item that will make your ship more powerful by making every 3rd shot you fire a missile that can cut though all the enemies in its path. The game also has a bonus mode where you must travel through an asteroid belt shooting as many as you can, and receiving bonus points based on the number you destroy. As the title indicates, the trick to beating this game fast is to utilize Cosmic Gates. You can open these gates by defeating flashing enemies that open gates when defeated and enter the gates by shooting them several times. Using these gates will advance you several levels ahead. Just like Galaga, the game is a polished shooter that draws you in fast, and has very addictive gameplay. 

-tip 1- some of the medium asteroids have 1-ups in them.
 -tip 2- if you fire off screen in the first level 50 times without hitting any enemies, something cool appears

Robot Ninja Haggle Man/ Robot Ninja Haggle Man 2

  
Haggle Man is an action platformer that borrows inspiration from several games including Mario Bros and Ghosts & Goblins. In it you play as Haggle Man, a robot ninja, and must save the kidnapped princess from the evil Chingensai. The game progresses to the next level after you defeat all the enemies on screen followed by the boss. Haggle Man can attack by jumping on enemies or using his shurikens. You can also collect power ups from defeated enemies, including scrolls. If you collect 3 scrolls, one of your 3 companions will enter the screen and use a special attack. Just like in Ghosts & Goblins you have an “armor system”, meaning you can take 2 hits before you die. One of the most interesting elements of this game is using the doors for strategy. The levels are full of doors that hide items, and enemies. These doors come in 3 colors and when you enter one door, all the doors of that color open as well. If there are any enemies in front of the doors when you open them, they are defeated. You can also hide from enemies in the doors. Every once and a while, opening a door will reveal the boss, allowing you to attempt to defeat him early. Haggle Man 2 plays exactly like the first, with a few changes. You can hold the scrolls and save them for later, the boss enemies take more hits to kill, and the game has more levels. The difficulty is also increase slightly. Both of the Haggle Man games are great action plateformers that have surprising depth when it comes to the strategy can use to advance in the game.

-tip 1- if you enter the doors in reverse order (exp C-B-A ) you will regain your health.
-tip 2- their are hidden items in some of the levels that you can find by throwing shurikens.  

Rally King/ Rally King SP


Rally King is an over head racing game where you compete in 4 races in the hopes of taking home the grand prize. There are 19 enemy drivers to compete with in the game. Bumping into one of them will cause you to take damage and can also cause you to spin out if you aren’t careful. 
 Each of the 4 tracks has hidden short cuts, different terrain (snow, dessert, etc) and hidden bonus items. The tracks may also have traps like water puddles, tar, ice patches and even sand storms that will cause your car to skid out if you hit them. Every once and a while you will also encounter bonus cars on the track that will either give you extra points or extra health. Rally King Sp is a special edition version of Rally King released by the Inokichi Cup Chicken Noodle company as a limited edition prize cartridge ( that Arino just happens to win). The only real difference between Rally King and SP is that some of the terrains have been switched (ice becomes dessert etc). That and in between every race you are treated to an advertisement by the Inokichi Cup Chicken Noodle company. As retro Racing games go, this one is a fun play with some clever ideas behind it. Although in my opinion, it doesn’t really have enough to give it much replay value, and is far out shined by the other games in the collection. 

-tip 1- you can preform a drift by letting go of the gas, turning and hitting the gas again. DO it long enough and you’ll get a speed boost.
-tip 2- you can get a speed boost by hitting the gas in between the 3 and 2 during the countdown.  

Star Prince
 

Star Prince is the second space shooter in RGC, although this one plays more like Hudson’s Star Force  then Galaga (both are shooters that revolutionized the genera with their respective releases).  In Star Prince you can pilot your star ship in all directions on the screen, and must do so to avoid the numerous enemies that are out to destroy you. You can of course use your blaster to attack the enemies, but can also grab powerups that can give you a spread shot or more powerful beams. You can also absorb enemy fire and create a force field by holding the fire button. Much like Star Force, the game allows you to rapid fire to attack enemies. If your finger speed isn’t up to task, Arino will let you use a controller with a Rapid Fire button; though if you use that you can’t use the charge shield and will have to switch buttons. No big deal, but something to keep in mind. Like I said before, the game has a wide variety of enemies, unlike Cosmic Gate. The enemies come at you fast and attack in a variety of fashions. One of the enemies, a large ship that attacks by adding pieces to itself, is identical to Rarios from Star Force, and can even be defeated for a huge bonus in the same way. Each stage has a massive mid boss as well that will attack viciously. At the end of each stage is a huge boss ship that must be defeated by attacking its cores with dodging its constant attacks. This is one of my favorite in the collection. It has great difficulty and tons of replay value. It really feels like a perfect successor to Star Force and other retro shooters of the time. 

-tip1- attack “rairos” at his core as fast as you can for a big bonus
-tip2- make sure you attack the terrain and find all the letters for a bonus, and keep your eyes out for hidden extra lives

Guadia Quest 


Guadia Quest is RGC’s answer to the great retro RPG’s like Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest, where the game gets much of its inspiration. In the game, you take control of a party of 3 warriors. A Knight, a Fighter and a Mage. You are sent on a quest from the king to save the kingdom from a dark force that has reemerged to threaten the land once more. The game is a straight forward RPG. You buy items, level up, learn skills, find weapons, and explore the surrounding villages and dungeons. The main thing that Guadia Quest brings to the table is the ability to have some enemies join your party to assist in battle.These creatures are called, what else, Guadias. When you encounter one, you can battle it or attempt to make a pact. If you choose pact, then defeating the Guadia will make it join your party. During battles Guadias will unleash a powerful attack every few turns. You can only have one Guadia at a time, so always be on the look out for stronger Guadias. The game has surprising depth, in both gameplay and story, and feels like a full RPG. This is a can’t miss for old school RPG fans. 

-tip1- Naga Pint and Naga Wing will be very handy to keep around. Make sure to keep a good supply of both.
-tip2- The Guadia Game Master Arino is in the game somewhere, but beware. He hold a terrifying power. 

Robot Ninja Haggle Man 3
 

Haggle Man 3 is the last game you receive in RGC.  Unlike the previous two Haggle Man games, 3 plays almost identical to Ninja Gaiden (though thankfully not nearly as difficult). In the game, you are no longer rescuing a princess, but stopping 3 sacred relics from being used to open 3 demonic wards. You must travel through 3 stages and defeat all new enemies, and some familiar faces, in an attempt to reclaim the 3 relics and stop the chaos. At the end of each stage, you must defeat a huge boss that has attacks based on the type of relic used to open its ward. You must attack the bosses 3 faces to defeat them, the whole time avoiding their powerful attacks. You are still joined by your 3 previous companions, and are now also joined by Haggleman Lady, a mysterious new ally. In the game you still have the ability to use Shurikens, but now attack with a sword instead of jumping. You can also find a number of sub weapons similar to those in the Ninja Gaiden games.The game also incorporates a system in which you collect special gears that, when equipped, give you enhanced powers such as high jump, or more rapid sword strikes. You can acquire some of these gears in special shops where you can also purchase sub weapons and extra lives. You must collect nuts that act as the games currency (reminiscent of the later Mega Man games) and use them to purchase the shop items. Although not as hard as Ninja Gaiden, the game is still a big step in difficulty when compared to the rest of the games and serves as one last big challenge. The game plays smooth and really brings you back to the fast paced action games of old. It can score some cheap kills on you sometimes, but it’s the kind of game that you really want to see to the end. 

-tip1- attack walls with shurikens; some of them hide items
-tip2- proceed with caution, the enemies are tougher then before 



Conclusion:

Game Center CX is my favorite show, so it only makes sense that Retro Game Challenge is my favorite game on the DS. The idea of playing games within games is brilliant. The retro  homages and the inside jokes throughout the game are great and full of nostalgia. The story is fun and keeps you engaged the whole time. And of course, the selection of games is great and gives you so much to choose form.I honestly couldn’t recommend any game more to anyone that’s a fan of retro video games. I only wish that the game hod sold better so that they would release the sequel here in America. But, there is always hope. If you are a true lover of retro games, I can’t say it enough, BUY THIS GAME! And make sure you check out Game Center CX, the show that started it all. 

I know this was an extremely long review, but thanks for sticking it out and getting to the end. I hope I have helped you make a decision on this game, and sincerely hope that you will give it a try.  


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