Latest Reviews

  • Review Fatal Fury Special (Virtual Console / Neo Geo)

    Is it really all that special?

    There's no question that Fatal Fury 2 was quite a step up in quality from the original, but it seems SNK still wasn't completely satisfied with the game and decided to release an upgrade in the form of Fatal Fury Special. Rather than start from scratch, they basically took Fatal Fury 2, added in the ability to play as...

  • Review Zaxxon (Virtual Console / Virtual Console Arcade)

    One for the history books, but not for everyone

    In 1982 Sega made a little gaming history with Zaxxon: the first 3D arcade game to use an isometric perspective – even more shockingly, it used sprite-based graphics at a time when 3D games were pretty much all being done with vectors. Whilst Zaxxon got a lot of attention due to its flashy graphics...

  • Review Sonic & Knuckles (Virtual Console / Sega Mega Drive)

    Lock-on, baby

    It's widely known that Sonic and Knuckles (S&K) started out as the latter half of Sonic 3, but development constraints forced SEGA to split the game in two, putting S&K onto an innovative Lock-On cartridge that, when combined with Sonic 3, pieced the game back together into its original state. Now, with the announcement that...

  • Review Princess Tomato in the Salad Kingdom (Virtual Console / NES)

    A Virtual Console vegetable medley

    After making several appearances on various Japanese personal computers and then being ported to the Famicom system, Hudson decided to bring the unique vegetable-themed text adventure Princess Tomato in the Salad Kingdom over to American NES gamers. The game was obviously quite a change of pace from the majority of...

  • Review Yume Koujou Doki Doki Panic (NES)

    Super Mario Bros. 2, minus the Super Mario Bros.

    Depending on who you ask, you're likely to hear quite a few different variations on the story of how Yume Koujou Doki Doki Panic came to be. Some say it was originally intended to be a Super Mario Bros. game but ended up taking on a life all its own at the hands of video game developer extraordinaire...

  • Review Ghoul Patrol (Virtual Console / Super Nintendo)

    Bustin' makes me feel alright, I suppose

    When it came time to follow Zombies Ate My Neighbors, LucasArts decided to go with a third-party developer. Using basically the same gameplay engine as the one found in Zombies, the developer was able to successfully create a game that looked and played very similarly to the original release called Ghoul...

  • Review Ai Chō Aniki (Virtual Console / TurboGrafx-16)

    Possibly the maddest shooter of all time

    Thanks to Nintendo making imports available on the Virtual Console, you've probably come across Chō Aniki: a shooter on the PC Engine in the same mold as Gradius and other side-scrollers, but with some rather unconventional enemies and a lot of muscles. You may be less familiar with this sequel, which was...

  • Review Shadow Dancer: The Secret of Shinobi (Virtual Console / Sega Mega Drive)

    Shinobi Joe is back, and this time he’s brought his dog

    Shadow Dancer started out life in 1989 in the arcades as the sequel to the ever-popular Shinobi, which was a sizable hit for creator Sega. In the same year the company also released the rather excellent Revenge of Shinobi as an early title for the fledgling Mega Drive/Genesis. It strayed from...

  • Review Final Fight 3 (Wii Virtual Console / Super Nintendo)

    Is the third time the charm?

    Final Fight 3 came along fairly late in the Super Nintendo's lifespan, but that certainly didn't bother fans of the series who were looking for one more heavy dose of beat-'em-up action. Capcom decided it was time to spice up the gameplay some and the end result was something that would appeal to classic fans of the...

  • Review Batman Returns (Super Nintendo)

    Merry Christmas, Mr. Wayne

    The release of Batman Returns was perfectly timed at the peak of Konami's SNES development and during a high point in Batman movie history. The festive feel of the game was slightly out of sync with its Spring '93 release date, but it was completely fitting in regard to the source material. Konami had already mastered a...

  • Review Space Manbow (Virtual Console / MSX)

    Old school shooting fun on the PC standard that wasn't.

    Don't feel bad if you've never heard of the MSX. It was an early-80s Microsoft-driven initiative to create a hardware standard for home computers to transform software development in the same way that the VHS standard transformed home video: by removing the need to develop for multiple hardware...

  • Review Sunset Riders (Super Nintendo)

    Bury me with my SNES

    Just for a moment, cast your thoughts towards Saturday matinee Western films and reel in all of their imagery of the Old West. Picture in your minds the characters deftly dodging stampeding cattle, guiding their trusty steed as it gallops alongside a runaway train, chasing down a stagecoach, gun fighting in uncouth taverns and...

  • Review Blaster Master (Wii Virtual Console / NES)

    It's a blast!

    We saw a lot of legendary titles come out of the 8-bit era of gaming, but probably none quite as ahead of its time as Blaster Master. The game combined so many different gameplay ideas into one amazing adventure that offered up more playability than probably any other title of its kind at that time. There was platforming, exploration,...

  • Review Ironclad (Virtual Console / Neo Geo)

    A rare Neo Geo CD gem comes to the Japanese Virtual Console

    You can be forgiven for not having heard of Chotetsu Brikin'ger (often referred to as Ironclad Brikin'ger on the web) as it's one of a handful of Neo Geo CD titles that was never released in MVS cartridge form for arcades or outside of Japan (though according to message boards this VC...

  • Review Alex Kidd in Shinobi World (Virtual Console / Master System)

    Does Sega's original mascot go out with a bang or a whimper?

    Poor Alex Kidd. The pint-sized, big-eared wonder never really caught on as a mascot, although it was not through lack of trying on Sega's part. Alex appeared in a number of games featuring vastly different forms of gameplay and, with this last throw of the dice, Sega tried to pair the...

  • Review Street Fighter Alpha 2 (Wii Virtual Console / Super Nintendo)

    Stunning achievement or a conversion too far?

    No company in the storied history of video gaming has tried harder to not create a true sequel to one of their hit games quite like Capcom did with the myriad releases that followed their hit fighting game Street Fighter 2. Not only did they create a number of tweaked releases of game itself, but they...

  • Review Star Wars: Rogue Squadron (Nintendo 64)

    "I've lost Artoo!"

    A long time ago (around 13 years to be precise) in a galaxy not so far away, and when Nintendo 64 hardware was still fresh off the factory production line, LucasArts released Shadows of the Empire. Unfortunately for Star Wars fans everywhere, it was a pretty average affair, with only the Battle of Hoth level proving to be truly...

  • Review Rock n' Roll Racing (Super Nintendo)

    Are you ready to rock?

    While Rock & Roll Racing began life as a direct sequel to their original RPM Racing release on the Super Nintendo console, the guys at Silicon & Synapse decided to amp things up a bit for their new racing title. They added in a classic hard rock soundtrack, some unique race announcing from Larry "Supermouth" Huffman,...

  • Review Earthworm Jim 2 (Virtual Console / Sega Mega Drive)

    Groovy!

    After creating the excellent Earthworm Jim videogame and subsequently making an awesome cartoon based on it, it was quite logical that Interplay would not give up on the franchise just yet. Not too long after the cartoon, they released Earthworm Jim 2, which was intended to be even better than the original game. As Queen Slug-for-a-Butt was...

  • Review The Combatribes (Virtual Console / Super Nintendo)

    A beat 'em up that packs very little punch

    There was a time when Technos ruled the beat-'em-up genre of fighting games during the 8-bit era with their Double Dragon and River City Ransom titles, but sadly the 16-bit generation wasn't as kind to the company. Once Capcom's Final Fight hit the scene, there was little room left for any other...

  • Review Stunt Race FX (Super Nintendo)

    Racing: Super FX style!

    In 1993 the Super FX-enhanced Star Fox brought 3D visuals to the SNES with great effect, so it was a no-brainer that further games would follow. The second game to use the wonder chip came a year later in the form of Stunt Race FX, a cutesy 3D racer from Nintendo that featured a variety of tracks with slopes and bumps across...

  • Review Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire (Nintendo 64)

    Lurking in the shadows lies a foreboding adventure

    The anticipation surrounding the launch of a new console is among the most exciting moments in a gamer's calendar, and one of the most notable hardware changeovers was between Nintendo's SNES and N64. The significance of the N64 generation is not only the enhancements afforded by an extra 48-bits of...

  • Review Shanghai II: Dragon's Eye (Virtual Console / Sega Mega Drive)

    A history lesson in the failure of PC-to-console ports.

    Activision was the first to sell a mahjong solitaire (for lack of a better term) game for IBM PCs and Apple Macs in 1986 under the name Shanghai. They even got the programmer of the original game -- which was created on University of Illinois mainframes -- to do the programming and create...

  • Review Secret of Evermore (Super Nintendo)

    A challenging but rewarding RPG experience.

    After having success with their Secret of Mana release outside of Japan, Squaresoft decided to try a different approach with their next action RPG release Secret of Evermore. While Japanese gamers would get the true sequel to Secret of Mana in the shape of Seiken Densetsu 3, US gamers were treated to what...

  • Review A Boy and His Blob: Trouble on Blobolonia (Virtual Console / NES)

    An innovative gameplay idea that's beginning to feel a bit dated.

    There's no denying that the original NES release of A Boy and His Blob brought some fairly unique gameplay ideas to the table when it was released in 1989. David Crane, who'd already seen success with his Atari 2600 hit Pitfall, brought a few ideas from his classic and combined it...

  • Review Super Mario Kart (Wii Virtual Console / Super Nintendo)

    Back to the good old days before the blue shell from hell

    Less than a year after the Super Nintendo was launched, our pals at Nintendo had the bright idea of taking the Super Mario World universe and squeezing it into a kart-racing game. It sounded like a crazy idea at the time, but they managed to pull it off with style and create an almost...

  • Review Street Fighter II': Champion Edition (Virtual Console / TurboGrafx-16)

    A very solid, albeit unknown port of the Capcom arcade fighter.

    After seeing releases on both the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis consoles, Capcom figured they could capitalize one more time with a release on NEC's PC Engine system in Japan. While the game was considered a very faithful port of the arcade hit, waning sales and licensing issues kept...

  • Review Indiana Jones' Greatest Adventures (Virtual Console / Super Nintendo)

    Another fantastic movie trilogy gets another fantastic game

    By the end of 1994, Sculptured Software had already created two SNES games based on the Star Wars games, and were hard at work on a third. But of course movie fanatics noticed something - Star Wars already had a lot of representation, but where was everybody's favourite archaeologist?...

  • Review Ninja Gaiden (Virtual Console / Virtual Console Arcade)

    The original, but possibly not the best.

    Ninja Gaiden is a game best known to many as a series of action-platformers that started out on the NES and has continued into the present day on the current crop of HD systems as a 3rd-person action game. It's worth remembering that it started out as an unforgiving beat-em up in arcades and thanks to Tecmo's...

  • Review Fighting Street (Virtual Console / TurboGrafx-16)

    Proof that some memories are best left in the past

    Before Street Fighter 2 became all the rage in arcades and one of the most popular fighting games in the world, it began life as an overlooked arcade title called Street Fighter, which saw the light of day way back in 1987. While the title was far from the monster hit its successor would become, it...