Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Famous Faces: Super Sidekicks 2

There was always something very exciting about recognising a famous face in a game. Or perhaps Genki is just a train spotting Norris? But there was great in trepidation the first time the Ruud Gullit look a like was spotted in Super Sidekicks 2. Perhaps it was the way SNK had gone the full monty and animated his dreads aswell as the deft flicks. The game itself plays as arcade football gameplay at its most refined. Simple to pick up and play but takes time to master. Adds the distance shot to the equation requiring lightning reflexes. Also features cards and injuries, so protecting your star player is a must. Few flashes of the Euro 88 magic from Ruud and you'll be well on your way to the final complete with the over the top celebrations. Not quite matching Gazza's dentist chair of Euro 96. Call me biased, but the English do the best dentist chair impressions on the football pitch...

Friday, 27 January 2012

Goikenmuyo Anarchy in the Nippon

Programmed by ex-members of the Virtua Fighter team, Goikenmuyo has a yankee style, biker gang feel to it a la Crows with characters varying from high school students to a house wife via a wrestling-loving English teacher. But its the business card collecting salaryman who is the real star of the show with his sneak through your legs and perform the 'kancho' special move. Also has a character edit mode for you to design your own fighter. Some good backgrounds such as on top of a building with lots of kanji advertising hoardings or down by the river. The title means 'your opinion is worthless'. Fair enough in Genki's case.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Famicom Mukashi Hanashi Series

We recently came across the Famicom Mukashi Hanashi Series (or Famicom tales of old times Series) for the little known Famicom Disk System. Some beautiful sound and graphics give plenty of encouragement to scholars of Japanese to persure them further with the simpler Hiragana script. Being big Monkey men we couldn't resist Saiyuki. Based on the Chinese classic A Journey to the West, here we join Monkey on his first five chapters travelling to India. The usual suspects of the priest, Pigsy and Sandy all pop up and both text and graphics are used to depict the action as players use basic commands to progress such as talk, take or look. Learning a little each day (and its often a little in the case of Pigsy and Monkey.) Lovingly drawn with soothing chip tunes.
Here is the fine advert for it that aired in Japan:

We excitedly await the next installment in the series in Shin Onigashima arriving. Only twenty odd years too late....

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Otomedius X for Excellent

Since the Dreamcast is resting happily in retirement (for now at least...!) The XBox 360 has taken on its mantle of retina ruining, bullet-hell shooters. Konami has a real flair for such shooters with its tongue in cheek visual gags and gaggle of girls that given Otomedius X a Doujin feel in terms of characterisation, but with triple A production values. Its hard to think of anything else but gorgeous, not the prequel, but just down to the beautifully coloured 3D backgrounds and warming lighting effects. Simultaneous three player blasting is a real hoot. Kudos to Microsoft for flashing its hardcore tattoos and making a machine for the masses alongside the arcade posse with a pocket full of hundred Yen coins.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Undiscovered Gems: Xandras Big Adventure (Whirlo The Bubble Boy)

The Super Famicom has more platformers than commuters on the Yamanote Line first thing but Xandras Big Adventure true classic platformer stands head and shoulders above the rest like an NBA player on the same train. Xandra is on a mission through the mystical land of Valkyrie to get medicine for his sick son. The main character looks like a green jelly baby but some of the gameplay is so ingenious and fresh, even after so many platform releases on the SFC. Tragically overlooked in the West. Xandra carries a tiger fork with which to attack enemies, but remains vulnerable if it gets stuck in the ground causing frantic panic to unwedge it. The star level is particularly remarkable as the platforms appear and disappear from view in a Tanabata inspired journey through the stars. This is the pure essence of gameplay that endeared fans to the format and many still wander the gaming scene in search of a return to such heady days. Bravo Namcot.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Where Anime meets Gaming: Hajime no Ippo

Japanese gaming and animation have cross pollinated for decades, but as hardware has caught up many games play like an anime episode with speed lines and super human powers done justice on both the big and small scenes through cut scenes. In Hajime no Ippo Treasure tred the tightrope between the two media with all the panache you'd expect keeping the balance firmly on action and giving players the power in their fingertips to be the champ. The gym in which to train is the ring: always challenging as its always fair - knock downs are always because you just didn't keep your guard up well enough. Action is viewed by two boxing gloves giving an unrestricted view of your hard knock opponent. Deserving of a wider Western audience with such glorious gameplay. Wonderful interpretation of the boxing world which holds your gloved hand to get you trained up ready for the big bruisers. Treasure: we wear your badge with pride.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Made in Japan: Kikikaikai

Few will forget their first blast on Kikikaikai. The initial barrier was to be able to pronounce it to the local importer in the pre-internet days. And despite being just the early nineties, few gamers were sufficiently cross-pollinated with games of its ilk to understand the ensuing chaos. Not that it requires understanding with fast paced shooting fury the order of the day. Yet a randy raccoon tanuki friend that can deflect shots with his tail did raise a few eyebrows. The Shinto inspired Japanese blaster draws on mythology as necks extend inexplicably and one eyed umbrella ghosts hop past. Cultural references aplenty all in a luscious sprite based world driving gamers on to see more. Unrelenting pace as you the priestess battle against all the evil of underworld armed with nothing more than a purification branch. A Super Famicom classic.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Genki Game Packs

Genki Greetings!
A few recession busting game packs to save a Yen or two and get a new collection off to a flier. Super Famicom fans that can live without the boxes can pick up some real bargains. But the hardest bit may be to give up the collecting instinct!
Happy Genki Gaming!

Five Fantastic Saturn Shooters Pack

The Saturn is renowned for its superb shoot em ups and these five will get plenty of playtime: Gradius Deluxe Pack, Cotton 2, ThunderForce Gold Pack 1, Ultimate Parodius and Layer Section (Saturn Collection.) The individual selling price of the games totals £129 making for a healthy saving to spend on another fine shooter.

Nine Nice PSX Shooters Pack

A bumper bundle of joypad busting shooters that combined would cost over £150 if bought individually. Each has an individual review on the site. A fine collection booster or gets a shooters fan journey on the Playstation off to a dream start: Sol Divide, The Rail Loaders TRL, Bokan To Ippatsu Doronbo (The Best), Raiden Project (The Best), Sonic Wings Special (Best), Strikers 1945 II (Superlite), Night Striker, Philosoma and Dezaemon Plus.

Six Sizzling Super Famicom Action Pack (Cart Only)

A fine array of action titles: Ghost Sweeper Mikami, Final Fight Guy, Super Star Wars, Nosferatu, Super Mario Kart and Raccoon Rascal. A few of the finest titles to grace the system really full of fun and frolics. Each reviewed separately if you want to read us drool over them. Enjoy!

Capcom SNK Playstation Fight Pack

The pack consists of Capcom vs SNK Millennium Fight 2000 Pro, Samurai Spirits IV, Samurai Spirits Fencing Pack and Real Bout Garou Densetsu with separate selling prices of £80. Superb mechanics and covers the big two on the system of Capcom and SNK admirably.

Dreamcast Fight Pack

The pack includes: The King of Fighters 99 Evolution, The King of Fighters Dream Match 1999, The King of Fighters 2001, Street Fighter Zero 3, Capcom vs SNK Millennium Fight 2000 and Garou Mark of the Wolves. With a separate selling price of £80, this is quite a bargain for the 2D fight fan and covers the big two on the system of Capcom and SNK admirably.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Sengoku Blade: Life on the Water Margin

Not quite choc-a-block full of ninja's but set in a sumptuous, feudal setting non the less as Psikyo lets its imagination run a bit amok. The ninja count doesn't score Sengoku Blade down either in the shooter sequel to the arcade cracker Sengoku Ace. Classy shooter set in Edo period Japan but with mechanised adversaries such as Shinto temple ships, Noh devil masks, and white wolf faced ships. Has the option to choose arcade mode without the anime cut scenes and in game speech. Some real characters to choose from too with a Water Margin style monk complete with wooden beaded necklace or perhaps a samurai helmeted mechanical robot, each having their own unique pod such as the monk's hawk. With such attention to characterisation its no wonder the bonus disk is so packed with fan art. Some great smart bombs such as firing giant Chinese characters out. The backgrounds are luscious and as detailed as the sprites especially the cliffs of China with Buddha statues. The music is appropriate too with some lovely koto notes to shred your nerves further still. Selectable difficulty from Monkey to Very Hard, but thankfully power ups lost on the previous life can be rescued if you're brave enough.
The bonus disk also includes arcade posters for Sengoku Ace, Gunbird and Strikers 45 as well as fortune telling with great advice like 'drink milk everyday.' A belting game. Anything that stirs up memories of the Water Margins of Lanshanpo couldn't be anything else in Genki's eyes. Hats off to Psikyo or risk a shuriken slicing it off.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Ninjas R Us: Iganinden Gaou

Genki is a firm believer that despite recent attempts to rectify the situation, there just aren't enough good ninja games out there. Perhaps it was a trip to Nikko Edo Mura that did it? There ninja appear and disappear like confetti, or should that be sakura blossom...?
Anyway those doubting you can't beat a ninja should look no further than Nichibutsu's ninja number Iganinden Gaou which redresses the balance involving slicing your way through ancient Kyoto with obligatory mystical powers. Classic, old school gaming. With ninjas. What more could you ask for?

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Ganbare Neo Pokekun

Not too many have sampled the delights of the Neo Geo Pocket. I mean at the time it faced awfully stiff competition from the GameBoy Advance. But those with a soft spot for all things SNK knew, to paraphrase the Borg, "Resistance is futile" and soon snapped up a system. With a bit more Ganbare and a few more Pokekuns, Genki remains it could have carved a tidy niche. Granted not quite the sales of a Nintendo handheld, but when you are talking such a large market, 5% ain't bad.
Anyway to the chase: Ganbare Neo Pokekun is a fresh title in which you trigger certain events to keep Neo Pokekun happy - if you are successful he rewards you with a mini game. These include Shinobi, Star Wars, King of Fighters and Galaxian tributes amongst many others. Look out for a Megaman look a like and a guy with a party popper up his backside calling to visit. One of the best titles on the system and import friendly to boot.
Maybe it was just the styling of the system which didn't agree with commuters on the Yamanote line...? SNK: we salute you!

Friday, 6 January 2012

What's Shenmue?

Genki recently came across this bizarre bonus of a demo and promotional disk which had somehow slipped under our radar previously. Its hard to deny the draw of Shenmue and it summarises alot that was right in Sega HQ with its realistic gaming world. (Besides alot that was wrong in the vast expense attained in producing the game...) In Whats Shenmue Ryo is seeking out Mr Yukawa from Segas HQ to quiz him on the games content. Poor Mr Yukawa looks a bit stressed as he is found getting some shut eye in his office surrounded by unsold Dreamcast consoles. Bless him. But what a fine (if slightly quirky) way to introduce the delights of Shenmue.
Sega we salute you.