Thursday, March 30, 2017

8-bit Fridays: The Diaries - March 24, 2017

Well here we are, after several weeks I’m finally getting the chance to write another 8-bit Friday’s entry. It’s been a tough one since the weekends have been hectic for a number of reasons. Here we are though with a proper weekend and a few games played through, even though a new backlog is building all over again. Also, in case you didn’t know this series of articles will be lending their name to my new website. With any luck perhaps it will be up with that in a few weeks.

This Weekends Buys:

Break Out (PS1) - In the past I covered Missile Command, Asteroids, and Galaga: Destination Earth, and in upcoming weeks I will be covering Pong, Frogger, and Space Invaders all of which are Atari reboots for the PS1 following Hasbro Interactive's purchase of Atari in 1998. I’m not sure how many old Atari classics where rebooted for the PS1, but so far the six I have listed plus this week's buy, Break Out seem to be it, if I’m wrong please correct me. I don’t know why I started picking these up, but I just thought it would be interesting to see what they were all like as a point of comparison in game development.

Final Fantasy (NES) - This is the game that started it all. I’ve been trying to hunt this one down CIB for a few years now and have always been bid out of getting it in auctions. So after checking to make sure it wasn’t on the 3DS or Wii U virtual consoles, I finally decided to suck it up and just buy the loose cart.

Carrier Command (PC-DOS) - Carrier Command, much like Warhawk on the Playstations and the recently reviewed Silpheed, is a game with an interesting lineage. I bought this particular version since I have it’s semi-obscure reboot/sequel on XBox 360 Carrier Command: Gaea Mission. If you haven’t heard of either game be sure to look it up it’s a pretty interesting and different gameplay premise.

This Weekends Plays:    

Stinger (NES) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ - Stinger reminds me a lot of the Fantasy Zone games. It has that same cartooney happy go lucky, yet still a SHMUP feel to it. Basically like in Fantasy Zone you fly an odd looking little spaceship, fight what appears to be food and you get your power ups from acorns of the ground, as well as oranges that enemies drop. It's an odd but imaginative little game. It controls well, and is fairly quick to learn, so no real surprises here. The animation is also extremely cute especially the spaceship getting a halo and going to heaven when you get killed.

Street Fighter II (SNES) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ - If there is one thing that's pretty clear it's that there are a million Street Fighter games out there on many platforms. This one is pretty par for the course, it looks good, controls well, and it's entertaining.

Silk Worm (NES) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2 - A few months back I covered an SNES game called Firepower 2000 a unique and somewhat obscure SHMUP on the SNES. At that time I mentioned it was an OK game, and that it had an NES predecessor Silk Worm. After a few months of looking I finally picked Silk Worm up on eBay for a very good price. Playing it today I can say I'm very impressed, and that it's a far better game than is SNES successor. Silk Worm allows you to play as a Jeep or Heli and transverse the horizontally scrolling SHMUP in the air or on the ground. In the air via the “heli” it reminds me of the old arcade and Vectrex game Scramble, and on the ground in the “Jeep” it reminds me a bit of Moon Patrol. To say the least it's a fantastic game on the NES, and a joy to play.

Destination Earthstar (NES) ⭐️⭐️1/2 - This is one of those NES games I would run into everywhere. So I finally decided to just go ahead and buy it and see what it was all about. To say the least it's a game that requires a bit of patience, since (without instructions) it's a little unclear what you're doing. I found myself traveling slowly between sectors and eventually doing combat with Imperial Shuttle rip offs from Star Wars (Star Wars ripped off in a video game how unusual). Per a few play throughs I watched after playing this it looks like you eventually get to a H-scrolling level, but to be honest I just kind of felt like putting it down in the space screen. Anyway graphics wise this game has the look of a ZX-Spectrum game mixed with NES, it's an odd combination of color pallets graphically. Originality wise I can give it props for combining a space game with an H-scrolling SHMUP, but each of those two elements on their own are too similar to other games like Star Raiders and a lessor R-Type. Control wise it has a lot of weakness in the space portions that makes combat hard.

Front Mission (DS) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1/2 - This one came pretty highly recommended, both in its DS and standard console forms (usually PS). Anyway it's not bad for a Turn-Based game, although you know I prefer RTS’s. Anyway this is a mech franchise from Square-Enix so it's neck deep in dialog and plot, so get use to being annoyed between play with dialog. Overall though it's fun to play, fast to pick up, looks pretty good on the DS, and controls well even occasionally sneaking away from the stylus.

Army Men: RTS (PC-GoG) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️- I have this one on PS2, but as I’ve mentioned before RTS’s and consoles just don’t feel right together. So when a GoG ad for Army Men: RTS caught my eye I was all in. It may not be Command & Conquer, but it is true to the quirky nature of the Army Men franchise, the only thing missing is the plastic army men with it in the box. This one is pretty easy to pick up, and is pretty intuitive to any RTS player control wise. Visually it stays on par with the rest of the Army Men games, and blends with the franchise well although to the newcomer they may look a little dated.     

Special Mentions:

Although I haven’t been able to breeze through a huge portion of games the past few weeks I’ve been able to dedicate some blocks of time to individual games.

Final Fantasy XV (PS4) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ The weekend of 3/17 - I have had an on again, off again relationship with the franchise. I bought FF8 on PS1 last year and only played it for a little bit, later I invested into the iOS version of FF7 but found it hard to play on my iPad. When FF15 hit stores back in November of 2016 it had me intrigued,  but considering I had just picked up Battlefield 1, Titanfall 2, and COD: Infinite Warfare the game got back burnered to my Christmas wishlist but never bought. After getting my PS4 last month I decided to pick this one up, since FF has always been a franchise more closely associated with PlayStation. To say the least although never really getting into Final Fantasy games before, I really liked this one. It also partially guided my decision to buy FF1 on NES this week. I’m not going to get into detail on this or review it since I want to play it a bit more and come back to talking about it. But to say the least it has my attention so far and I look forward to sharing more about it.

Here is a brief play-through I have up on YouTube

No Mans Sky (PS4) ⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2 The Weekend of 3/3 - No Mans Sky has been patiently sitting on my backlog list since the end of September 2016, waiting for me to get a PS4. So when the PS4 arrived and I was able to set it up it’s no surprise NMS made its appearance very quickly. Now I’ve commented on NMS before, and having read about it and watched playthroughs I had a pretty good idea what the game was about. So when playing it the isolation didn’t shock me too much. I will admit that it’s a hard game to form an opinion about since there are a lot of things to like and dislike about the game, however no one can argue that it lacks uniqueness. I think NMS might be another game I review more in depth later.

Unchartered 4: A Thief's End (PS4) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ The Weekend of 3/3 - This is a underrated but much beloved game on the PS4, and came as the pack-in with my PS4. Of all the games I have on the PS4 it’s the one I have spent the least amount of time on, but that in no way is a reflection on the game itself, since in the limited time I was allowed to play it I was pretty impressed. Again I may touch on this one later.

Hopefully, in upcoming weeks my website will go live, and I will push through my backlog of games. Until next weekend everyone.


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