- Feb 9, 2004
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Hey everyone, here is an article I wrote for the newest issue of dwld world issue 3 fan-zine
unfortuatly, due to lack of time, Fireblade hasn't had the chance to do anything with the new issue.
So here it is: the 8-9 page article I wrote for fireblade's fanzine
unfortuatly, due to lack of time, Fireblade hasn't had the chance to do anything with the new issue.
So here it is: the 8-9 page article I wrote for fireblade's fanzine
Quick Plays (working title)
GB/C via fGB32 f-day preview by rlyeh
Article by tekt5
Welcome to Quick Plays, this is a section that I hope fireb1ade will consider including in future issues of dwld magazine, whether written by me or another writer for the fanzine. Basically I will take a large collection of games that are all somehow related (in this case gb/c games) and play them for some odd amount of time, then I’ll write a small review off it. This will allow you, the reader, to be able to see almost a preview of these games and select ones that seem interesting to you so that you don’t have to waste your time trying games you may not like. This issue I will be reviewing a selection of gameboy mono and color games. I will try to include multiple games from as many genres as I can. They will be emulated on the gp32 using rlyeh’s f-day preview fgb32 emulator. Please note that I will rate not only the game but also how well it can be played on the gp32 using Ryleh’s Emulator. Ready or not, here we go.
Battle Arena Toshiden (8/10)
This game is a fairly decent to pretty good fighting game. As far as character selection goes, there are eight different fighters available to you at the beginning. The biggest problem with many fighters on the gp32 is that there just plain aren’t enough buttons. Luckily, as this game was originally designed for a system with only two buttons, that’s not a problem. A and B are the only two you’ll need to worry about. Also, special moves aren't too hard to pull off using the gp32’s thumb-stick. Graphically this game is about as good as it gets for the mono gameboy era. Sprites are nicely detailed and easy enough to see. The game moves smoothly and even looks good when stretched to fill the screen. The biggest thing though that separates this game from the rest of the pack is the ability to knock your opponent out of the arena, scoring you an automatic win.
Blobz (PD) (7/10)
Puzzle – Falling Block
This game was coded by Dave Vanee for one of the Bung coding competitions. It plays out somewhat like Kirby’s Star Stacker. Two blobz fall down from the top of the screen. From here you can rotate and move them so that they land where you want them. There are various colors of the blobz and your goal is to make them land so that you eventually have a chain of four of the same color touching each other. This will make them disappear leaving you more room for more falling blobz. This continues until you run out of room and the pile of blobz reaches the top of the screen. Unfortunately, your highscore will only save if you remember to save the state through rlyeh’s emu.
Colin McRae Rally (8/10)
Booting up this rom file, you’ll be presented with a very ugly, badly designed main menu. Its functionality is fine but the colors they used will just give you a headache. Light gray on light blue just does not work. Getting further on though, the gameplay will pleasantly surprise you. The game is top-down and is focused a lot on sliding and drifting. The courses are narrow and full of turns. While no other racers race with you on the track, you are racing against their times. Throughout the tracks, there are various checkpoints that will give you an idea as to how you’re comparing up with the competition. Believe me though, you will not want any them racing at the same time as you anyway. Despite the great gameplay, some people may still end up hating this game due to its horrible graphics. The developers went ahead and tried making them look realistic and even tried to give the car a ‘3D’ look to it. Unfortunately it just doesn’t look good at all. They’re fine enough to easily play the game but even when stretched to full screen the game really doesn’t look any worse because it was just so bad to begin with. While it still all runs smoothly, I think they would have just been better off with the cartoony graphics of most other gbc games. Now on to sound. While racing, the car’s tire’s will screech and even sound different when sliding across different terrain (pavement, grass, dirt, etc.) And the car’s engine sounds like most other gbc racing titles. There is no music during the races but the menus do have the typical beeping sounds that can be heard as music by some. The worst part of the sound though is the co-driver’s voice. It got digitized so badly that it is almost impossible to make out what he is saying. Luckily, there are signs that show up at the top of the screen showing you what he is really saying. All in all the gameplay easily makes up for the minor graphic and sound flaws making it my favorite racing experience playable on the gp32.
Even with the recent failure of Driv3r, I still continue to play the original on my PC and recently, the gbc version. Upon downloading it, I figured it would be some lousy attempt at porting the playstation classic to the gbc, (a la Grand Theft Auto) I was pleasantly surprised. The developers actually had the limitations of the gameboy in mind and remade it as a top-down racer. Amazingly though, the cities of Miami, San Francisco and New York all faithfully made their way almost exactly as they were on the original. (as did the title music) and even most of the missions, although thankfully they didn’t bother including the annoying tutorial/test in the parking garage. The sounds in this game are all respectable and sound as they should. Engines sound like engines, crashes like crashes, sirens like sirens and so on and so forth. The background music isn’t bad but if you find it annoying there is an option to turn it off. The graphics are nice and clean and easily visible. The creators didn’t try to go overboard. Grass is one shade of green; water is one shade of blue and so on and so forth. (again) Even once you beat the game there is still much to do. The take a ride mode is included allowing you to use any car you’ve used in the main game and just cruise around the city of your choice and doing what you want. After that are the numerous high-score based mini games. These include checkpoint, (racing around the city following a trail of traffic cones) get away, (loosing a cop whose trailing you as fast as possible) pursuit, (chase down and ram another vehicle till it is destroyed without destroying your car) and survival. (running away from a never ending squad of cops as long as possible) Unfortunately, the game only saves by password in the main game and will not save your highscores. Luckily, save states are a great workaround.
Elevator Action (9/10)
Elevator action was and still is once of my favorite platform games of all time. I originally played the NES version and fell in love with it. Unfortunately, I can’t seem to get it working on any gp32 NES emu’s without graphical problems, It may just be a bad dump but I don’t know. Anyway, when searching through a nice site full of ‘fun goodies’ to try on the new fgb32, I noticed there was a gb version of elevator action. I figured it was just a black & white version of the nes game. I was wrong. Instead of a port, it was a remake and a very good one at that. I actually ended up enjoying it more than the original. You play the role of a secret agent; you must infiltrate a building filled with a maze of elevators and escalators. Your objective is to collect some ‘secret documents’ hidden in various doors marked with a ‘!’ and then escape to the bottom of the building where your get away ride is waiting for you. Along the way you will also find doors marked with a ‘?’ that contain various weapons and even extra lives. You may also find air vents that will allow you to crawl down a few floors unnoticed. Unfortunately, there are many henchmen out to get you and stop you from completing your mission. You can dispatch of them by either traditional methods such as shooting or jump-kicking them. Or go the crazy way by squashing them under an elevator or by shooting a lightbulb so that it falls on their heads. The graphics are nice and detailed and make very good use of the gameboy mono’s very limited color palette. Sounds are ok, nothing to be proud of nor to be ashamed of. Overall it’s a very great action platformer and is perfect for pick up and play gaming as well as playing for hours at a time.
Elevator Action EX (9/10)
Well, not much to say about this game. The gameplay is exactly the same as the gameboy mono version. It is pretty much just a sequel, not always a bad thing. First off are the biggest differences. First, the game has now been colorized; this makes it a little prettier to look at but really doesn’t do anything to the gameplay. Second, your health bar is a little bigger. Finally, the levels are designed a little differently and are actually a little more challenging. Now on to the minor differences; the first minor difference soon noticed is the inclusion of two new agents. You can now play as either Mike, (a colorized version of the original no-named agent) Sarah, (a female agent) or Guy. (an army clothed man with glasses and bigger boobs than the female agent) Unfortunately, playing as different characters doesn’t change the gameplay at all. The next difference seen is the inclusion of a bald tuxedo wearing man who talks to you at the beginning of each level. Next difference is a roulette type thing added to the ‘?’ doors. Now, when you enter them, the weapon icon up top will start shuffling through all the various power-ups and will stop when you come out of the door, ending on the weapon or health upgrade you will receive. The monochrome version would just randomly select a power-up as soon as you entered the door. Other differences include a slightly different intro to the levels and the fact that the shotgun doesn’t knock enemies backwards when you shoot them, they just die on the spot. Unfortunately, It seems to run a little fast on fgb32 (f-day preview).
It is still playable but this makes it even more challenging. Also I forgot to add that both elevator action and elevator action ex both look fine when stretched to full screen.
Evel Knievel (7/10)
At first glance Evel Knievel looks much like the PC game elastomania. Upon playing the game you notice many similarities between the two. Although they do look and play somewhat the same, they are really two much different games. However, fans of elastomania should still enjoy Evel Knievel. It is best described as a side view racing game. Though, there actually isn’t anyone you’re competing against. The goal is to make it from the starting point of the level to the finish before you run out of gas or destroy your bike. There are 25 levels in the game. These are split into 5 different locations each with 5 tracks. Completing all tracks in a location will bring you to a special event where you have to make a certain big Evel Kneivel style jump, such as jumping a couple of SUV’s or some port-a-potties. Should you fail, you just continue on. Succeed and you are rewarded with some extra points. When you first start the game you have 4 of the locations open to you. These include Las Vegas, Las Angeles, San Francisco, and London. The fifth is a forest-like area with dirt tracks, unlockable by completing all of the tracks in the first for locations. All of the locations look different and have a different feel to them. You’ll be racing anywhere from Beverly hill’s rooftops to the fisherman’s wharf to the London underground to Venice Beach. At the begging of each race you get to tune your bike to fit the track. Remember that even though you can make your bike perfect in every category, (Speed, Acceleration, Braking, Rotation, and Wheelie) the better your bike is, the faster it will go through gas. Along the way you will find various pick-ups such as gas, health (in the form of chicken legs), extra bikes, and checkpoint flags. You obtain some damage by landing too hard on only one wheel or you can get a lot of damage by hitting your drivers head against an obstacle (which also causes you to go back to your last checkpoint) ruining your bike will cause you to loose a bike. You have 5 bikes till you get a game over. Luckily, you’ll then get a password that is automatically typed in for you when you go to enter it in. There is also a practice mode where you can go around a special track doing whatever you want with unlimited lives. There is a glitch here though. Even though you get to tune your bike before practicing it will have no effect once you start riding. No matter how you set your bike up, you’ll always be riding the default average bike. I can verify that this is not a bad rom because it did this on the original cart I used to own as well. Graphics are good and look nice, although pixeally when stretched to full screen. The sound can be annoying and music sounds exactly like the gbc GTA games. Not surprising as Tarantula Studios make both. Overall it’s a pretty descent game that should keep you entertained for some time.
Hungry are the Dead (PD) (6/10)
This game was also coded for a bung coding competition. It play’s out a little like an advance wars turned survival horror game. Your car breaks down in the middle of nowhere near a small house. The house just so happens to be surrounded with the living dead. You also happen to have a pistol with you. During your turn you can perform up to four actions. Walking one space counts as one action, aiming counts as one action, and shooting counts as one action. During your turn you may use any combination of the four or just end your turn right away. The zombies can each do two actions during their turns. I have no idea how many levels there are as I suck and can’t even beat the first level. The graphics look something like those found in pokemon or survival kids. As far as I can tell though there is no sound. If you’re any good at turn-based strategy give this one a try. Else, look away.
Itchy & Scratchy in Miniature Golf Madness (8/10)
How do you make an over-used sport game original? Turn it into a platform game and add the Simpson’s version of Tom & Jerry to it. Think it won’t work? Surprisingly, it does. It is actually kinda hard to explain the gameplay. You play as the cat and must get your golf ball from the tee to the hole in as little shots as possible. Walking up to the ball and pressing up will enter swing mode. Hold B to power up your shot and release when ready to hit it. These aren’t your typical mini golf holes though. They are filled with traps (hint: don’t shoot your ball into any hole without a flag) puzzles, enemy mice that attack with dangerous objects such as chainsaws, and weapons to help you dispatch of the pesky mice. Some holes might have you shoot your ball onto one side of a seesaw, you then must jump on the other side to launch your ball up to another platform. On others you’ll have to time your shot to knock your ball onto a moving platform. The graphics are pretty nice and the sounds are ok. The only thing really hurting this game is how hard it is to time your attacks against the mice. With the baseball bat I always seem to swing too early or too late and then the mouse kills me with his gargantuan chainsaw. Once you get the timing right, this game will offer you a lot of fun and good times.
Iron Hike (PD) (8/10)
Well after completing almost all of the Mario games playable on the gp32, I was yearning for some more platforming action of the same style. I was very happy when I stumbled upon Iron Hike while searching through the PD Roms archive. The gameplay is very much alike but still different enough that it can be considered it’s own game. Although it probably wouldn’t pass of as a commercial game. The major difference in the gameplay is the fact that the game doesn’t include the big Mario/small Mario mushroom way to go about health. Instead, you just have a life bar at the bottom of the screen and can pick up health points throughout the level. Also, there is no run button. You only run at one speed. Graphics are both hand drawn and ripped from various Mario games. They both look good together and somehow give the game both an original and a familiar look. Sound is almost non existent and the background music can easily get on your nerves. Overall if you enjoy Mario games (as many of us do) you will find Iron Hike entertaining for at least a few days.
Mario Golf (9/10)
I will tell you right off the bat. I can’t stand how nintendo has been “whore-ing out mario into every video game genre known to man” That’s probably why I never liked Mario Golf for the N64 or the latest GCN outing. That’s why I was very skeptical when my brother offered to sell me his Mario Golf cart for $5. At the time I figured what the hell and bought it anyway. I ended up loosing it. I saw the rom later and figured I get it as I was actually looking for a good gp32 mini-golf game since I figured it was just a port of N64 version (which had mini-golf). I didn’t find the mini-golf I was looking for. What I did find however was a very good golf game that actually had as little to do with Mario as possible for a Mario game. The main game actually centers on you as a budding young golfer determined to make it big. You can choose between four ‘skins’ to represent you (2 male, 2 female) Your biggest wish is to play a round with the greatest golfer ever, none other than… Mario. (go figure) This game actually has an rpg like element in character development. For every round you play, you get experience points. Various amounts of experience allows you to level up. Each level up will allow you to gain a skill point in one of various categories; drive, height, shot, area and control. When you feel ready, you can enter a tournament or challenge the club pro at any of the four golf courses. After that you get can go on a trip to mushroom kingdom and eventually challenge Mario. Along the way there are many various mini-games and training sessions you can complete to raise your skill. Graphics look very nice and the colors fit with the overall tone of the game. Music is also great. Some of the best sound I’ve heard in a GBC game. It’s very upbeat and cheerful and changes depending on various shots you may have to take. (ex: birdie putt) Overall, this game is very good and will be on my SMC for a long time. Hell, maybe I’ll even try and find my original cart soon.
Mario Tennis (9/10)
After enjoying Mario golf so much, I checked this game out as well. I was hoping for that same RPG like main game as in Mario Golf for the GBC. That’s exactly what I got. This time you are a new student at a Tennis Academy. You must make your way up the school ranks so that you can eventually join the school’s varsity traveling team. Eventually, you’ll travel to the Island Open and even to the Mushroom Kingdom to play the world’s greatest tennis player… Mario. (He’s just a very multi-talented man isn’t he …although I heard he sucks at baseball) Anyway, you can also team up with your roommate and play doubles games. As with Mario’s handheld golf outing, you can also play various mini-games and training exercises to boost your stats. Graphics are much like the golf game as well is sound and the music. I actually like it a little better than Mario Golf but I find most tennis games to be more fun anyway.
Metal Walker (7/10)
The story starts late in the 21st Century. On an island that was once a large scientist research base. It takes place 50 years after a terrible accident left the island in ruins. Left as a pile of ruins and rubble, people began to call the place the “Rusted Land”. You were fighting some metal buster’s with your father, the next thing you remembered, you awoke in the house of a friendly woman and her family. They had found you unconscious and had nursed you back to health. You then set out on a journey with your meta ball (a robot who will help battle for you) to find your father. Thus starts your adventure. The biggest difference you will notice that sets this game apart from the standard RPG is the battle system. It is actually a lot like a game of pool. Your meta ball appears in a rectangular battle field along with the enemies. To attack them you must ram into them, you can also through various items onto the battlefield. These include capsules and scanners. If you can successfully knock an enemy into the scanner, it will scan them and you will get ‘blueprints’ for a capsule. You can later go to a shop and get these scan’s turned into capsules. Capsules can do anything from giving you health to given you the advantage during a battle. Be careful though, as your enemies can also pick these up once you throw them into the battle. The games graphics are ok but the colors and patterns are very vibrant which I find annoying although others might not. Sound isn’t too hot but not bad (as with many GBC games). Overall though, it’s a very nice RPG once you get into it.
Monkey Puncher (8/10)
When searching through my favorite gbc roms site, this game caught my eye (probably because of the strange name). I downloaded it and gave it a whirl. Upon starting the game, you can instantly see the heavy Asian influence. Anime monkey’s with boxing gloves fill the opening sequence and starting the game will give you a selection between a boy and a girl. The description of the boy is something like ‘he is a boy and can go to school’. “WTF???” The girl’s description isn’t much better, something like ‘she is a girl and is better than boys’ and you’re like “WTF???” all over again. You can then choose between two rooms to live in, an Asian inspired one or a more modern looking apartment room. The story starts with your father and brother or sister (depending on if you chose the boy or the girl) being kidnapped by a ‘gangster group’ named Saru who illegally controlled the Monkey Puncher Association. You decide to become a monkey trainer so you can enter the Monkey 1 Grand Prix Tournament and save your family (anyone know how that quite works out?) The game opens with you saying exactly this “Darn I hate Saru. I will become a monkey puncher trainer to save my father and [sibling’s name]” You are then greeted by a hobo looking man with a cane named Fred. Who says he will help you and “You need a monkey. Here is a monkey. He needs a name. His name is Freddy.” He proceeds to give you a book that will help you train the monkey and then leaves. The book told me that first I have to feed and befriend my monkey, So I fed him a banana. He seemed happy so I decided to call him over. He responded to the sound of his name by crawling over to me and biting me. I then fed him a biscuit and called him again and he walked over to me. I let him rest for the day. The next day I fed him some curry and then called him over and trained him by doing sit ups. He repeated my actions and leveled up. While the beginning of this game can be very slow and tedious, I actually ended up enjoying the game very much. (and I don’t really like virtual pet games) The animations and graphics are surprisingly good and show off your monkey’s feeling and emotions very well. The sounds are nice and the background music is very catchy and sounds a little like some of the music from Harvest Moon GBC games.
Pocket Bomberman (8/10)
When Hudson decided they wanted to take bomberman into a different kind of adventure, they plopped him into a platform game. I was skeptical at first, but it works out surprisingly well. Playing it feels both familiar yet new. If you liked the old bomberman, you’ll probably like this. Even if you didn’t like the old, the new may be that push into the bomberman universe. To pass a level you must kill all the enemies and then get to the door. After you beat a few levels you fight a boss, beat the boss and you’ll get a password and continue onto the next world (5 in total). During the levels you will also find various blocks that can be destroyed and may contain power-ups. The power-ups can do anything from upping your bombs’ firepower to giving you the ability to lay multiple bombs at once and even a speed boost. Even when your done with the main game you can play the jump game. In this mode bomberman will always be jumping and you must try to reach the top of a tower filled with enemies and even mini-bosses. The music and sound effects are just like any other bomberman game. While the graphics are a little tweaked to fit with the side view style gameplay, colors are clear and they didn’t try to add too much detail to the game.
Survival Kids (10/10)
After I first read a review for survival kids I was immediately interested. The game was described as a combination of Zelda, Harvest Moon, and Lord of the Flies. The first two of which happened to be my two favorite games I owned at the time. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the game anywhere. I pushed it aside in my mind and ended up finding it on EBay 5 years later brand new with a price of $12. Needless to say, I immediately purchased it. I played it for 7 hours straight the day it arrived. The next day, I learned it hadn’t saved. After a few tests I realized the battery save inside the cartridge was dead. Luckily, I had had so much fun with it the day before that I wasn’t too disappointed and got it for use on my GP32. Anyway, enough of my sad life, onto the review! The game starts with a 10 year old kid going on a cruise with his/her dad for his/her 10th or so birthday. During the seemingly peaceful night on the boat a storm rises up and capsizes you. You wake up the next morning on the beach of some Island with no one else from your cruise. From there on out it is a survival of you wits and skills (and a handy hut you find, not to mention a fresh water stream in the running through the island). The game looks a lot like Zelda in terms of the view and the graphics. Various areas of the Island look different and Most of the Items and animals are easily recognizable. One of the biggest parts of this game is exploration and Item collecting. Each day you’ll want to go out and find food and any items that may be useful. The include but are not limited to; sticks, jagged rocks, vines, dry grass, and almost anything you may find in the wilderness. Any of these items can be combined to form objects that are either useful or useless. You can make a fishing pole, a bow and arrow, fire, or even baseball gear (a stick and a round stone), The possibilities are plentiful. You’ll also be able to kill wild animals or go fishing for food (just make sure you have a fire to cook it over) once you have some sort of weapon. Food does spoil over time so don’t hang on to eat for too long. Once you finally have a grasp of living off of your surrounding you can start to go exploring. The island is huge and you may need certain items to have access to various areas of it. Day changes to dusk and eventually to night and you’ll want to find some place to sleep. Also, various weather events affect the game play. A hurricane you force you to find shelter for a few days while rain will make your character sick and not want to go anywhere if you don’t make an umbrella out of a giant leaf. The game has around ten different endings. I haven’t ever beat the game personally but some of the endings vary from building a raft and escaping to fixing a broken radio and calling for help and more. While this game isn’t too great for quick 5 minute sessions it is still very enjoyable. I eagerly recommend it to any fan of the Zelda or Harvest Moon Series and even to those of you who aren’t
Xtreme Sports (9/10)
Well, after the fun times I had playing Mario Golf + Tennis with its combination of Sports and various RPG Elements, I was very Pleased to find out about Xtreme Sports. I was very skeptical about this game before I downloaded due to the name of the game. Yes, they did spell extreme with just an ‘X’. For anyone else out there who is into any form of alternative/action sport (skateboarding, snowboarding, surfing, bmx, etc.) you know how much we hate when people use the word extreme. Despite this, the game is a great arcade sports game that is good for both pick up and play games and long sessions. The story also happens to be pretty corny. You start by choosing to play as either Guppy (female) or Fin (male). The couple happen to be ‘extreme sports’ enthusiasts and find out about a contest being held on… get this… ‘Xtreme Island’ by the ‘Xtreme Cola’ Company. Anyway, you two decide to enter to win the tournament and split the earnings if one of you comes out victorious. The main game consists of five different sports; Skateboarding, In-line Skating, Surfing, Street Luge-ing, and Sky-diving. Throughout the game there are many different challenges for each of the events. These can range from racing to stunt contests, collecting flags, and even any combination of the three. Completing the challenges will earn you medals. Once you get enough medals you will open up other areas of the island for you access. Besides the main game you can just practice and roam levels you’ve already unlocked. Each of the five sports are unique and feel different when played. Graphics are very cartoony and have a little of an anime flair to them. Sounds are a little above average and get the job done. The background music also nicely sets a mood for the game and various events.