Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Sonic: Street Fighter and Kart Racer

Sonic The Hedgehog. A name synonymous with video games. In particular, the character was synonymous with a classic platformers. So, to hear that Sonic had his own fighting game on the Sega Saturn is quite a shocker to the uninformed. Yes children, Super Smash Bros. Brawl wasn't Sonic's first foray into fighting games. Sonic and his sidekick Tails were plugged into a build of Sega's arcade fighting game Fighting Vipers by one of that game's character designers. This caught the eye of both game design legend Yu Suzuki and Sonic creator Yuji Naka. With Naka's blessing, Suzuki created Sonic The Fighters a few years before Nintendo's Super Smash Bros. was released on the Nintendo 64 console. It saw a limited release in American arcades, and was slated for release on the Sega Saturn, but alas, it never saw the light of day. Damn shame too, cause the concept and Sega's history of great arcade games would have made it the stuff of legend.

This isn't to say that Nintendo was the only one guilty of "swagger jacking". Sega released Sonic Drift, a kart racing game featuring characters from the Sonic The Hedgehog universe a full two years after Nintendo released their now legendary Super Mario Kart. Drift was a blatant ripof of Mario Kart, and Sega fanboys ate it up. That game spawned a sequel, also for Sega's portable Game Gear console. This wasn't Sonic's last racing game, as the character was known for having blazing speed, Sonic Drift is important because it kinda made Sonic's fans take notice of the character's speed in a situation that fit it better than a traditional action game. Sonic's next racing game, Sonic R, was another Mario Kart clone, but with one important difference. With the exception of two characters (Amy and Dr.Eggman/Robotnik), the game is a foot race. this gave the player a Sonic The Hedgehog racing experience, which was kinetic, frantic, and at times, great fun.

Sonic's been quite the random guy over the last few years, and hasn't had a good game since the Dreamcast was popping. Hopefully games like these keep the quirky, fun side of Sonic's spinoff games alive, and we can forget Shadow The Hedgehog. Man that game sucked.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Happy Birthday Pac Man (or should I call you Puck Man)

Everybody knows somebody who knows Pac Man's "history", so I won't get into all of that, but I will give you a few nuggets of info that many may not have known.

- When Pac Man was initially released in Japan in 1980, it was called "Puck Man". Aren't you glad they decided on a name change.

- Jr. Pac Man, Super Pac Man, Pac Man Plus, Baby Pac Man, and Professor Pac Man were all unauthorized spin offs created by Bally/Midway. All those unauthorized games led to Namco pulling the plug on their relationship with Midway.

- A Mexican dude named Carlos Borrego won the Pac Man World Championship in 2007. Strangely enough, none of the people who have world records in Pac Man competed in the tournament. Therefore he's not the champ to me.

- The Atari 2600 version of Pac Man was over manufactured, and was one of the causes for the video game crash of 1983.

- on a personal note, Pacmania is the best game in the series in my opinion.

- Pac Man and Mr. T had two things in common: they both had epic ass cereal and a great cartoon. Pac Man's show was on ABC while Mr. T's was on NBC.

- Not content with cereal, There was Pac Man canned pasta from Chef Boyardee.

This ends my random smattering of Pac Man info. Happy birthday little yellow guy, my life is better because you were a part of it.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Double Dragon: Jumpkicks Homeboy...JUMPKICKS!!!!!!

The 80s - Arcades were the business back then. so many classic games were born from the rise of Video Arcades. one such game was Double Dragon from Japanese developer Technos Japan. the game took the classic damsel in distress storyline and gave it a Martial Arts spin. The game became a major hit and spawned a series of ports for multiple systems. Activision published ports for the various Atari systems, including the 2600, Tradewest handled the NES version, and Sega took care of the Master System version.

Each home version was a little different because of the differences in the hardware. For instance, the NES version didn't have two player co op, but it featured an experience system that gave players new moves as they progressed through the game. The Master System version featured co op gameplay, and more enemies on screen at a time. the 2600 port was great looking for a 2600 game but the 7800 version featured some pretty ugly graphics, even for the 7800. Over time, even more ports of the original Double Dragon popped up. One of the more recent was the XBLA version that was pretty arcade perfect.

While several sequels and spin offs were made for multiple consoles, one thing remained constant: The original Double Dragon was and is a classic.

Random nugget of info: The NES version of Double Dragon had within it one of the first one on one fighting games on that system. Several games preceded it.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Disney Games On The NES: Man These Games Were Great!!

Remember when Capcom had the Disney License? Most new gamer wouldn't, but us gaming vets remember being kinda geeked out whenever Capcom released a game based on a Disney cartoon. In my opinion, Capcom was one of the kings of the 8-bit system generation, and one of the reasons why was their licensing agreement with Disney to make games based on several of their more well known characters. It started off with a surprisingly tough game starring Mickey and Minnie Mouse. Mickey Mousecapade was ahead of its time in it's dual-character control mechanic. The success of this game led to Capcom releasing an NES game based on Disney's hit cartoon series DuckTales. In the game, you control Scrooge McDuck on his quest to retrieve a series of treasures from around the world, and in one level, on the moon. DuckTales was such a hit it spawned a sequel, and is still considered a favorite among gamers. Capcom followed the first DuckTales game with what could be arguably one their best NES games (and that's saying a lot) in Chip and Dale's Rescue Rangers. this game featured two player co op gameplay (which was a novelty back then), a few of the mechanics borrowed from Super Mario Bros. 2, and that vintage Capcom toughness. it too spawned a sequel and is still immensely popular to this day.

Capcom made a few other Disney games, including the great Magical Quest Starring Mickey Mouse, but they soon lost the Disney license. This explains why none of them are on the Wii's Virtual Console service.I suggest you dust off that NES in your attic and go hunting for all of Capcom's Disney games on the NES. They're old school gaming greatness that I higly recommend.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Yeah Buddy...This Is Gonna Be Random.

I couldn't think of a damn thing to write about today, so I figured this would be a smattering of random stuff I either know because of or discerned from playing video games.

First, I knew what would happen in the Disney movie Aladdin (minus all the singing Genie stuff) from the video game Prince of Persia. I found it quite ironic that the film adaptation of the Sands of Time story arc in the Prince of Persia storyline is being distributed by Walt Disney Films. I just hope this movie is better than most of the other movies based on video games.

Secondly, some subject matter just doesn't make good video games. For example: with a little tweaking, Dante's Inferno made a great game. Meanwhile, somebody thought a video game tie in to The DaVinci Code was a good idea, and they failed miserably. Another example, video games based on the Bible. The Bible games released on the NES by a company called Wisdom Tree were epic fails on an ridiculous level. I'm sure they were so bad they led many kids to atheism.

Finally, I've learned one truth because of Video Games. Pirates will lose to Ninjas every time. I mean, lets be real, how many really good games have had a pirate in the starring role? Jack Sparrow ain't beating Ryu Hayabusa in a fight either. So there, Ninjas > Pirates.

I know this was super random, but hell, I've always been this random; you know you love it.

Friday, May 7, 2010

McKids: Pain Disguised As A Burger Ad Disguised As A Video Game

We've all seen the wave of product placement in current gen games, but did you know that this wasn't a new trend? As a matter of fact, it's been going on since video games have been around. From the Kool-Aid Man games to those Burger King games for the Xbox, a lot of companies have used video games to peddle their wares to the masses. McDonald's was no diferent, and their first attempt was a surprisingly good, infamously hard platformer for the NES called McKids. McKids was a run of the mill Mario 3 clone that features some of the toughest gameplay this side of Ghosts and Goblins. For some players, this would undoubtedly scare them off, but it attracted surly bastards like myself who like their video games harder than old breast implants. if you like getting your ass handed to you by a Happy Meal ad, then I suggest checking out McKids.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Yeah, Bungie Made Games Not Called Halo...

With news of Bungie's publishing deal with Activision making headlines on Video Game sites all over the net, I remembered a time when Bungie was a little game developer making first person shooters for the Mac. Oh yeah, if you didn't know, Bungie created what is regarded as the father of the now legendary Halo franchise. Bungie's early history primarily includes the first person shooter Marathon and it's sequels, a real time strategy series called Myth, and Oni, a third person action game for a variety of platforms. After Oni's release, Microsoft acquired Bungie and from there Bungie's next project, a first person shooter called Halo was turned from a multiplatform release to the "killer app" for Microsoft's upcoming Xbox console. The rest is history, but imagine for a moment if Microsoft hadn't bought Bungie; the ramifications of that move would have been immense. Halo would have been available on the Playstation 2, Gamecube, and Xbox. The Xbox probably wouldn't have sold nearly the number of units it sold without that game as a showcase for the hardware. Most importantly, there would probably be no Xbox 360. The bigwigs at Microsoft have a lot to think about with Halo ending and them not having Bungie in their back pocket, especially considering they have another system to think about soon. So, if you're an Xbox fanboy, thank Bill Gates for buying Bungie in 2000, it gave you something to be a douchebag about.