Monday, January 30, 2017

8-bit Fridays: The Backlogs - The Launch Edition

Sometimes things work out so that allow you to get things done. For me this weekend spelled a lot of housework, and home projects being worked on, as well as ample time for games. For me that meant 25 games I was able to get though and log in, including 10 that have been collecting dust for a long time. This also meant pulling one system out of mothballs to make sure its working since I haven't had a chance to play it since I moved in mid-2015, and hooking up an unplayed system that I bought nearly nine months ago.

This Weeks Buys:

None to speak of although I do have my hands in a few auctions.

The Play Throughs:

Front Line (Atari 2600) -. Anyway, as stated as previously stated this is a kind of Commando/Ikari Warriors top down shooter, right down to the jumping into tanks and things. It’s an ok game, but the element of shooting in itself is tricky, and the player hit detection is a bit off since my character sprite seemed to get stuck on tree’s while the enemies walked right through them. Not, the best Atari 2600 game but not the worst either.

Burning Soldier (3DO) - This is one of my older buys and the last game I purchased from my local retro gaming store. As you may know from my 3D-Oh-No article I am a bit critical of the 3DO, and this game has been listed among those that seem to typify the downsides of the system. I have to say though that for all the negative reviews and playthroughs I’ve watched, I was actually pretty entertained by this game and spent some time playing it. Basically, it’s a space shooter where all you do is move the reticle to shoot things, and you have no control over ship movement. Or to explain it even more it’s almost like it was meant to be a light gun game but moved to standard controllers. Ok, I’ll admit in writing it sounds boring but it’s actually pretty good due to the fact that it’s a fast moving game and it doesn't give you time to get bored. Based on the shortness of the levels, and game play I’ve had a theory that this may have originally been developed as an arcade light gun game, but sadly Burning Soldier is so obscure and on such an odd system not much is really out there about the game. My biggest complaint, or what I did find funny, is something Mark at Classic Game Room brought up regarding the narrating voice. This is especially unusual when your ship finally gets shot down and the narrator yell’s, albeit very calmly, “I’m hit” honestly its so odd it's actually funny. The narration voice seems a bit out of place and sounds more like the type of voice you would expect for a villain than your character, or narrator, or whatever it is. Alos hearing “Kaisertians” said over and over again is also pretty funny coming from this voice. I have to say though that it wasn't what I was expecting, and it’s actually a pretty good game.

Atari Anthology (PS2) - This is a constellation based romp through some of Atari’s classic arcade and Atari 2600 games, similar to the anthologies I bought for my Xbox One near Black Friday. I picked this one up to have in case I ever decide to install a PS2 into my X-Arcade. Overall it's good and looks and plays well.

Air Combat 2 (PS1) - The first console sequel to Ace Combat actually improves greatly on the games original formula. AC2 shows that the franchise finally stepped away from the arcade and made itself at home on PS1. The game plays and looks beautiful especially considering many PS1 games don't age well, this one seems to overcome that. Still not too crazy about the d-pad to control my aircraft, but that's minor complaint.

Test Drive: Off Road (PS1) - Taking an Air Combat break I decided to sandwich this one in between the two. All three of these PS1 games came together as part of a mini-eBay lot. I actually bought it because the price of Air Combat 2 & 3 ala carte was more expensive than buying this lot. Anyway remember what I said above about PS1 games not always aging well, this is one. It has some fun elements but considering you can barely see the track ahead while your racing it detracts from that. The one plus is that you get to race a Jeep Wrangler.

Air Combat 3: Electrosphere (PS1) - OK, remember how I've been complaining about no analog control? Well, this game has it and it's a bit sensitive but it doesn't take long to get use to. I'm not very sure where they where going with this game. I don't think it's as good as AC2 and it has this whole odd near-futuristic element to it. It also suffers from a bit of PS1-itis graphically. It's an ok entry in the series and I'm glad to finally see analog control available.

Toy Commander (Dreamcast) - This had one of the cutest title sequences I've ever seen. It has Windwaker style animation of a little boy flying his toy planes and helicopters around the house, I sight I see regularly in my own house. Toy Commander is a more obscure Dreamcast title, and it's also one of the more inexpensive ones. The game more or less has you using toy military vehicles to accomplish odd “big people” jobs around the house, hitting home the “in the mind of a child” aspect we are introduced to in the title sequence. It's fun to play but also a bit repetitive, and the graphics are on par with other cartoony games of generation 6. FYI, the Dreamcast controller is not ideal for this game. Oh, and the screen saver mode is really cute too.

Armada (Dreamcast) - This is a top down SHMUP with a huge cult following. So I’ll say this, it's a cool concept and one hell of a good looking game, but it's shit to play on a Dreamcast controller. Yes, I will admit it's an awesome game, nonetheless. The POV is of course a bit unorthodox, but I think that contributes to this games mystique. Anyway good alien invader SHMUP, especially on the Dreamcast.

Bang! Gunship Elite (Dreamcast) - This is a space flight combat sim, although whether or not it's related to the famous Elite series of games I don't know, I doubt it, but it has a similar feel. Anyway first mission in and I'm already lost. It is a good looking game for the era, but there's also a lot of blah, blah, blah explaining the missions and the title sequence. Looks good but is hard to play.

ChuChu Rocket (Dreamcast) - This odd Japanese puzzle game always seems to hit top ten list of the Dreamcast's best games. Ok, it is cute but I have no idea what's going on. Apparently it's about redirecting the mice and cats into your opponent's field. Someday I will have the patience for it.

Superman (XBOX) - This was an XBOX exclusive and seemed like DC was trying to redeem itself after Superman 64. Too bad the didn't start with the voice talent. Anyway the graphics are a little bit outdated on this one since it was slightly Gen 5 looking. The other issue is that it's hard to get the knack on controls. Superman flies a bit too much like an airplane rather than...well Superman. This will have to go into the come back to pile since I don't have the patience, and that's really too bad since I'm a Superman fan.

Battlestar Galactica (XBOX) - Although not an XBOX exclusive, this one is well recommended. It's also fairly common and inexpensive. This isn't based on the rebooted series from about a decade ago, but does look and feel more modern than the series late 70’s early 80’s origins. The title sequences and cutscenes look really good, meaning there was a lot of TLC for this game. So yes, not only does it look good but it's a great game as well, on the XBOX controller it plays beautifully, and shares many of the same controls as the previously mentioned Air Combat games, but with a less sensitive analog. BTW, did I mention how nice it is coming back to an XBOX controller from the Dreamcast controller?

Blinx (The Cat) The Time Sweeper (XBOX) - Blinx was a cute little cat who was briefly a mascot for the XBOX. Basically he got two XBOX exclusive games and that was it, even though both were good (or so I've been told). I bought this one because my youngest son fell in love with the Blinx, when he was having a cat phase. Basically, Blinx is a cat that works at the universe's “Time Factory”, and is sent in to fix time related errors and crimes. In the case of this game he goes on a rescue mission on his own to rescue a princess. Before you go thinking this is another Ratchet & Clank, you better think twice. Although a kid friendly game, it's actually a very complex game as Blinx collects combinations of time crystals to accomplish a verity tricks of time like pauses, fast forwards, and rewinds. It's a very colorful nice looking game, and has a great fairytale feel to it.  

Gradius V (PS2) - Back to the PS2 and back to a SHMUP. This is another classic installment of the Gradius franchise. It reminds me of R-Type: Final or Silpheed: The Lost Planet, with the classic SHMUP set against a modern 3D background. If you like SHMUP’s or Gradius then you'll like this one. For me I just really enjoy the way these games where simultaneously kept classic while being reimagined at the time of the PS2 and following. Graphically it's a beautiful game, and fun as hell to play too.

Air Combat 04: Shattered Skies (PS2) - And back to the Air Combat games. Picking up in order of where I left off on the PS1 with Electrosphere. This is the first AC title on the PS2 and it returns to the formula we saw in AC2 with current gen aircraft. So why is it called 04 instead of 4, well not because it came out in 04’ like a Madden game but because it's set in 2004 (it came out in 2001). Anyway this is the first AC game to also have a running plotline told from the viewpoint of a man who remembers the war your fighting in, as a boy. This game looks really great, as good as any flight sim on a PC of the era, of course keep in mind this is a console flight sim and not a PC so don't expect over-realistic controls. I will gladly say that the issue of the over-sensitive analog stick in AC3 has been fixed here making for some very smooth play.

Capcom Classics Collection (PS2) - Like oyster crackers between wine tastings I will have a few games to break up the AC games with. This is another one I bought to add to a PS2 I had thought about putting in my X-Arcade. The PS2 was definitely a system that had a lot of these great collections on it, and to me I honestly still believe the PS2 and these collections are where the Retro Gaming movement was developed and turned into what it is. Anyway this disk is loaded with the arcade versions of a lot of great Capcom games like 1942, Commando, Street Fighter and many others. It's a great collection, and all the games are the real arcade deals.

Ace Combat Zero: The Belken War (PS2) - 1,2,3,4,5,0? Set in 00’? Nope. Not made in 00’ either. I guess this is meant to be a prequel to the whole series. Anyway this one is good, not as good as 04, but still a really well done game and very solid. After plugging this one in I realized this game actually came after 5, so I guess I'm playing them a little out of order. Oh, well I did play ^, and Assault Horizon before them all anyway.

Gungriffon: Blaze (PS2) - Another palate cleanser. This is another one in the cool holographic Working Designs Ultra Series packaging like the aforementioned Silpheed. I guess I'm a snob about my walking fighting robot mech games because I wasn't into this one. I mean it had a cool arcade vibe which was great, but the graphics seemed a little more PS1 than PS2 as did the gameplay.

Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War (PS2) - Ok so I guess I played these out of order since 5 comes before 0, but 15 years after 0 on the timeline. Did I mention these games are set in an alternative universe, that's why you'll see Russian aircraft on a United States aircraft carrier. Anyway, this one graphically and play wise is almost identical to 04, so with that said it's a great game. The only downside is that the player aircraft hit detection is a little sensitive. Great game, best plot line of the PS2 era games, intense at times.

Shadow Squadron (Sega 32x) - You know the worst part about hooking up the 32x, is hooking up the 32x. Anyway, finally leaving the systems of generation 6 behind (minus GameCube) I'm traveling back to the 32x and a game that's actually pretty good. Shadow Squadron is one of the 32x’s lesser known titles. It usually is inexpensive which I think gives most people the idea it's not good, but in reality it's pretty awesome. It reminds me of both Wing Commander and Star Wars 32x. It's a fairly impressive space flight combat sim, that is intuitive and fun to play. Glad I picked this one up.

Star Trek: Starfleet Academy (Sega 32x) - It reminds me of the SNES version, bit with some minor plus and minuses. The graphics are better, but text telling you what's going on is lacking. Obviously if you want to play Starfleet Academy as it was meant to be played I would suggest the PC version, which my friend at Star Trek Games has been going through on YouTube for the past few months. Overall, it's a good looking game for the 32x, but a little hard to play and I'd suggest the PC version.

Ok and now for the inaugural event, hooking up the Sega CD. I bought this system at Midwest Gaming Classics nearly 9 months ago and I'm just booking this up for the first time now. Glad to see it works and I can officially declare the $40 I spent on it a good deal.

Star Wars (Sega CD) - I know this one is said to be hard (if not rubbish) but I had to kick it off with a Star Wars or Star Trek game. Ok, I'll have to admit that first of all the Sega-CD graphics for this one are terrible, and I also have to admit everything I've heard and seen about this game play wise is also true. The left and right controls suck and it's impossible to get through the training mission because of that. Good to collect as a Star Wars game, shit to play.

Steller Fire (Sega CD) - Is that Michael Dorn narrating? I was pretty excited when I saw this was a Dynamix game since I have a lot of good memories of their stuff from the PC era. so starting out this game freezes up at the drop of a hat, not load time, just a crashing freeze. I had to restart it several times. After all that waiting what I received at the end wasn't worth the wait, basically a reimagined version of the Jaguars Hover Strike. Roaming around on a flat surface getting attacked by pterodactyls, what's that all about?  

Fahrenheit (Sega CD) - That intro! We are in the full blown stink of FMV magic aren't we? Anyway there aren't many firefighting games and with my firefighting heritage I said, what not? Seems to have the positions down pretty well. Anyway, this is like a firefighting maze game where you search for someone potentially stuck in a burning house. My father who was a Chicago Fireman would say that the fire is unrealistic since smoke would turn everything completely black, but being a videogame and a movie of sorts, you can't exactly have realistic smoke. Anyway, I do salute them for the effort on this game it's not bad for an FMV game. It's probably the first Sega CD game I've played I can recommend looking into. BTW, I bought this and the next game at Midwest Gaming Classics as well.

Tomcat Alley (Sega CD) - Fitting after all the Air Combat games I played today I end the Sega CD with this. So remember I was just talking about Burning Soldier on the 3DO? This game isn't much different, just with FMV and prettier backgrounds. Looking at it I thought it would be a bit like US Navy Fighters on the PC, but it's not even close. Not bad, but also not good.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

8-bit Friday's: The Backlogs - 2016's Unplayed

It's been a while since I've done an 8-bit Friday, and even longer since I've done a backlog posting. To be honest the end of 2016 left me with a large load of unplayed games, despite not buying much in December. Again as before with previous backlogs the games span multiple systems, and multiple months, not only still encompassing some of the unplayed games from previous backlogs but buys that occurred after as far back as late August. To say the least a light schedule and three day weekend during which some cold, rainy and icey weather occured helped bolster my chances of getting to many of these games, although there are still more than a few I didn't get to.

This Weeks Buys:

It's been a long time since I bought additional games due to the old pocketbook still recovering from Christmas

Front Line (Atari 2600) - My only buy this week is an obscure Atari 2600 title, but one of two on the system with this name since there was a later game called Frontline. I guess dropping the space made it all cool? Anyway this is a Coleco arcade port of a game that is somewhat reminiscent of Ikari Warriors, leading me to suspect that franchise is a spiritual successor to Front Line. Of course what I like most about this game is the fact that it comes in the Coleco white cartridge which I have many fond memories of as a kid since the white carts came with the Coleco Gemini, and for me featured two favorites Donkey Kong and Venture.

This Weeks Plays:

Golgo 13 (NES) - I had come across it on several occasions in my local retro gaming store but always passed it by. Then about two or three months ago I heard a discussion on the game during a Retronuats podcast on censored games, and I decided I'd pick up a copy to see what all the fuss was about. To be honest what I found was something reminiscent of Rolling Thunder but with the advantage of interacting with NPC's, and an overall plot that went beyond just shooting up bad guys. I will admit there is some extra care given to some of the female characters, but nothing all that sensational. Overall though it's an ok game, but I find some aspects of it frustrating like the fact that you can't kneel and shoot despite that fact that many enemies can.

HyperZone (SNES) - F-Zero meets Space Harrier, meets Klax? I don't know how else to describe this game but it's pretty fun, and far more satisfying to play than I thought it would be from the play throughs I've seen. Great game, very colorful, and far more original than you would think.

Super Battletank (SNES) - This is one of those ports of a PC simulator that's actually pretty well done, since the graphics look good and the controls are well ported to the SNES controller. Game play is about what you would expect for a PC sim of that era with mission briefings, maps, and of course a lot of time spent just getting to where the action is which boring for a game console game, but in the hands of a sim player it's worth giving a try.

Super Battletank 2 (SNES) - See the above but with minor (and I mean minor) improvements. All I can say is the one thing I do wish they had added was and Al tank crew in your own tank, since in the real world controlling a tank is never a one man job.

Firepower 2000 (SNES) - One of the SNES’s more obscure yet highly collectible SHMUP titles. To me it reminds me of an updated version of the NES’s Iron Tank, or Jackal in which you control a vehicle in an environment similar to that of Commando. I will admit it is a pretty tough game, but I attribute part of that to the controls which can be restrictive as far as movement and weapons firing. Admittedly it does have an arcade feel to it in textures, play and sound effects which is enjoyable. As I understand it though the game was never ported from an arcade title and was actually meant to be a sequel to Silkworm which appeared on the NES. Looks like I have another NES title to hunt down.

Super Nova (SNES) - This H-scrolling SHMUP is part of the Darius franchise of games, as you can tell quickly from fighting space fish. Much like its fellow Darius games this one is hard as f*ck, and requires serious memorization just to get out of the first level. Graphics wise it's on par with many other games of its genre.

Blazeon (SNES) - After playing Super Nova playing the slower paced Blazeon was a pleasure, although at times Blazeon is a little too slow. Blazeon reminds me of a slower paced R-Type, but with a kick-ass soundtrack going on in the background. I will say that Blazeon despite not being one of the top SHMUP’s on the old SNES, is still pretty good.

Madden NFL 97’ (SNES) - I mentioned this one before as a win from the Retro League’s "Fan of the Month", and how I wouldn't have thought the SNES would have received a Madden title in the N64 era. But it does exist, and being the owner of Madden 92' through 94' on the Genesis you can see how these games incrementally improved year after year in graphics and complexity of game play. Playing a quick football game is always fun though, but not something I would commit to all day by playing a whole season. As I said though it's interesting to see these games evolve and this is just one step on the Madden path to where we are now.

With that said my SNES backlog is caught up, now on to the PS3

Defiance (PS3) - No this isn't another Star Trek game, and that would be "Defiant" by the way. This game took about 4 hours to install and update, which to me is a very extreme load and update mix for a modern game so it had to be good or I would have melted it in my fireplace. Anyway the game itself reminds me of Halo mixed with a little Fallout, although the alien invasion element and multiplayer/career mode mix reminds me of Destiny. Overall though I can really bets describe it as being completely original and really doing its own thing. The one major thing that does remind me of Halo though is the games EGO system that is a bit Cortana like since it's personal to the player character, and appears as a hologram.

Anyway as I may have previously mentioned this game is based on a TV show of the same name that use to be on the SyFy channel. I never watched it myself, although I always wanted to check it out but never got around to it while it was on and it's not on Netflix. I do know that the game features at least two of the shows main characters in what could best be described as camoes at the beginning of the game, but as far as other show references and characters as you can conclude I don't know.

The game plays pretty well, and has some interesting features and to be honest I'm surprised it wasn't a bigger seller. My only major complaints are that the EGO system never shuts up and repeats herself over and over to the point of being a bit irritating, the hit detection while on a vehicle is a bit odd, and enemies take and incredibly amount of damage before finally dying. I also need to mention that despite its age the game has a pretty active multiplayer community which was really unexpected to find, and leads me to believe this game has a cult following, which is a good sign as far as its quality. Going for next to nothing at GameStop you might want to pick it up and try it for yourself since love it or hate it you'll only be out a few bucks and you may find yourself a little surprised.

Ace Combat: Assualt Horizon (PS3) - Playing a lot of other Ace Combat games I guess I had higher expectations for this one. To be honest though the tutorial mode of the first mission drove me nuts and I had to stop playing since it kept taking over control of my aircraft on me. It is an awesome looking game though, and is definitely like its modern arcade big brother Mach Storm. Perhaps on a day where my annoyance level is lower I will return to it.

Air Conflicts: Vietnam (PS3) - In the realm of aviation the Vietnam War was in interesting time, it was a war that saw everything from World War II aircraft in operation to modern aircraft which still serve our military, to aircraft that exist now from the lessons of Vietnam. For an aviation nut like myself Vietnam based flight sims give me the opportunity to fly this huge range of aircraft in combat. Air Conflicts: Vietnam although limited by console controls does take a nice stab at this covering everything from Air Force and Navy combat fixed wing aircraft to Army combat helicopters. It may not be hyper realistic, but it is entertaining and even, dare I say it educational. This is my first entry into the Air Conflicts franchise, and to be honest it has me interested in getting some of the other titles in the series.

On to XBox 360

Dark Star One: Broken Alliance (360) - This is a little known space combat flight sim that has simultaneously been highly acclaimed and criticised. But, in spite of both factors it has also been a title that has remained relatively obscure on this system since space flight combat sims seem to be a thing of the past on most major consoles. The game itself looks pretty good and is easy to pick up, even if it is a bit light on story. The missions are short and fairly to the point and won't leave you disappointed if your longing for the days of games like Wing Commander. I personally have no beefs with this game myself, although I do think the graphics could be a little better, but overall they are though good and don’t detract too much from the game. Another nice feature about this one is that due to its obscurity it’s also pretty cheap to find on eBay my version, which believe it or not is a PAL version, worked well on my NTSC XBox 360 and TV, and came completely new with shrink wrap and outer sleeve.

Operation Sylpheed (XBox 360) - Although not directly related to the Silpheed titles that appeared on the Sega-CD, and PS2, this game is openly acknowledged to be a spiritual successor to that franchise. In this game Square-Enix leaves behind their JPRG comfort zone and enters the world of space flight combat sims. Although you may be skeptical, this is actually an incredibly well done game and the gameplay itself won’t leave you disappointed, and dare I say it I think it’s better than the any Wing Commander game. I’ve actually applied some real world air-to-air combat techniques to this game and had some accurate outcomes, which is something you can't always say about console based flight/startfighter sims. Outside of actual gameplay Square-Enix has a pretty compelling story going on with regards to the games overworld, which is on par with some of their more famous Final Fantasy plot lines in which we see broken friendships, love, betrayal, and super-baddies looking to destroy the Earth. I’m liking this one so far, too bad the title was totally obscure.

Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation (XBox 360) - Once the opening cinematics ended and the actual game cinematics began I was surprised to suddenly find myself looking at the original arcade cinematics but obviously a lot better looking. The call to scramble, the F-16s taxiing onto the runway, and the takeoff sequence are all there but look about a thousand times better than the old Namco System 21 version. Even as the game actually starts you find yourself encountering bombers and fighters in a similar manner as the original arcade version. Great game, and excellent story line.

Now onto the GameCube

F-Zero GX (GameCube) - This has been in my backlog a long time and in my wishlist even longer. I will openly admit that the GameCube is one of my favorite Nintendo consoles, but being of the same generation as the PS2, and XBOX, it’s very hard to find those completely unique titles for it unless they're Nintendo exclusives. I’ve also been a long time fan of the F-Zero franchise too dating back to some great memories of playing it on the SNES, and with this particular game I now have all the F-Zero games. Of course I’m keeping my fingers crossed we finally see an entry on Nintendo’s upcoming Switch console. Anyway, as far as this game it looks great and is also a joy to play and connects nicely to the games past entries. Being a gen 6 game the 3D graphics finally reached a place where the cars, and gameplay are truly breathtaking and it's still easy to recognize all of it from the first SNES incarnations years before. The only thing that is a bit of a let down is the soundtrack, which is somewhat lacking since when I think of F-Zero years before on the SNES I always hear that phenomenal music playing through my head. Overall though for what may possibly be the last F-Zero game ever this one does its gen 4 progenitor proud and ends the franchise on a high note. Now onto the even harder task of looking for additional GameCube games.

Atari 2600/7800

Pete Rose Baseball (Atari 7800) - So one down, nine more to go to a complete collection of Atari 7800 original titles. So what about this one, well I will start off by saying that it's a good looking game, and reminds me of the Bases Loaded franchise by Jaleco. As far as gameplay though that's a different story, no matter how you pitch the ball gets hit, and your fielders are nearly impossible to control and none of them catch or retrieve the balls automatically, a feature that was somewhat common in other games of this era. To say the least this isn’t an Atari 7800 game that will be scoring high in my book.

The Challenge of Nexar (Atari 2600) - This a silver labeled Spectravideo game. It reminds me of Star Wars meet Tempest as things that look like Tie Fighters come chasing down a tunnel after you and you must blow as many of them up with your crosshairs as possible without them hitting your crosshairs killing you. There are also these things that look like box kites which I’m guessing are suppose to be some sort of boss or mini-boss since they get a special sound effect and you have to destroy them before they sneak past or you lose a life, also destroying them moves you to the next level. Believe or not it's fun as hell, and just a joy to play especially with the CX-78 joypad. This is the type of game that made most of us love the Atari 2600 way back when, it’s just straight up fun without a lot of thinking.

PlayStation 1

Asteroids (PS1) - This is another PS1 era reboot much like Galaga: Destination Earth which I've mentioned before, and that was also part of Hasbro’s and Activisions overall cash grab for old franchises in the late 90’s early 2000’s. Although not the classic, this version is fairly entertaining and I could easily see it as an evolutionary step in the modernization of the game, since most of the original concepts are still in place. Graphically the game looks good even if it can be a bit dark. The 3D effect on the asteroids does have an added effect of realism, even if the backgrounds are a bit cliche. This isn't a bad reboot, and it's a fairly inexpensive title to pick up.

Missile Command (PS1) - Again as mentioned above another reboot, this one from Hasbro. This game offers a traditional mode that looks and feels like an updated version of the classic, but also an Ultimate mode which has a small story line to go along with it. As is the case with many of these reboots the graphics are ok, but not the finest and the game play is a bit oddly planned since one of the at risk cities is always off screen making it hard to defend. So it's not the best reboot but the traditional mode is pretty entertaining.

Darklight Conflict (PS1) - This is a slightly obscure PS1 title and as you know I like I obscure games. Anyway this one has a very odd plot in which a US Navy fighter pilot is abducted by aliens, genetically modified and now fights for them (since they're supposedly to be "the good guys"?), thank goodness the story mode is non-existent. Overall it's a pretty good game, and I like the fact that it takes the time to show you how to use your fighter. Graphically it's one step above the Star Fox's SNES polygonal graphics, but you can make out what stuff is pretty easily and the game also has a nice arcade feel to it especially sound wise.

Air Combat (PS1) - This is the first of the Ace Combat titles to come to consoles from its Namco arcade roots. I will be writing more on this franchise later. Essentially, this is meant to be a port from the arcade version, and it's not bad since the graphics are generally on par. My biggest complaint is that the game doesn't let me use the analog stick, which would feel more natural in this type of game. Along those same lines the game is also a bit NES Top Gun feeling, in that movement feels somewhat restrictive and not as realistic and flowing as it's arcade progenitor. Obviously, despite that it's a good game and is a fairly good console flight sim for that era, and it's easy to see why it got sequels and launched a franchise.

Tiny Tank (PS1) - This is one of those obscure PS1 games with a cult following. It starts out odd in the intro sequence, and goes from there. It's a pretty entertaining title and reminds me of Twisted Metal meets Descent in its control and gameplay. The maze stuff eventually gave me a headache and I had to stop playing it, but it's a good game that I will return to later.

Well, 22 games on 8 platforms over a three day weekend isn't bad right? I still have a small pile of PS1 games, as well as a big pile of PS2 titles to get through, and games from a few other systems to push through yet. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that can be next weekends goal but I'll have to see.