Now Playing: December 2019


The previous three months has been a trying time to find a game I can get into. I succeeded, but the percentage was low. The racing games of Hydro Thunder (PS), Burnout 2: Point of Impact (PS2), and Flatout 2 (PS2) were more of the usual rubber-banding AI opponents that can make for a frustrating experience.

Flatout 2 had the worst of this issue, but the most annoying problem was the destructible track elements that got in the way on later laps once they were destroyed the debris was laying about. Burnout 2’s deal was solely the issue of the AI being perfect. I was having fun even when not winning, but once a certain mountain area track was what I was currently racing there seemed to be no way to progress regardless of the car I selected. Arcade racer Hydro Thunder was fun, but the bare bones presentation and odd decision to lock tracks behind a currency earning progression system was where I fell off of this one.

I then went to portable side of gaming with my DS Lite and PSP. I was hankering for some Puzzle Quest, but Puzzle Quest: Galactrix was too much of a departure of what made the first game so enjoyable. On top of that they added timed puzzle to complete. This is not what I call a fun Puzzle Quest experience. It was an immediate turn this game off moment.

I had the sequel on hand so I inserted the cartridge for Puzzle Quest 2. It was much more of the traditional fun game with additions that are much more welcome. There isn’t any timed puzzled, thankfully. I didn’t complete the game, but at least I had gotten my fill of Puzzle Quest in a more satisfying way.

Medal of Honor Heroes 2 was a first person shooter, as one would expect, but it’s on the PSP. Because of this everything hinges on how good the controls are. They’re…decent. It’s not a quick reflexes style of the recent Call of Duty titles on home consoles. It’s quite plodding to be very honest. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it does mainly suffer from AI that can aim accurately. This is bad when you’re under a time limit to get out of a base that’s going to explode! This is precisely the scenario I was in when I hung this game’s boots up and moved on.

The game I moved onto was a 2019 released game, if you can believe it. It was The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors. Not a new game in practice since the original version was from 1994 on the Super Nintendo. I love the original and this is definitely a worthy improvement. I’m not fond of the two new characters or that you can’t grab and throw the level 1 boss, but otherwise it’s excellent. The game didn’t need a two-player mode, but it’s done well enough with both players sharing the life and blaster (battery in the new version) meters.

Finally, I not only bought The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors in the last month or so, but I was also given Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night by Usagi704 for Xmas. My total new games for the year of 2019 is a big ol’ seven.


Saving Gaming History

Recently I wanted to tackle some outlier games that have been eluding my collection. I didn’t get ones such as Captain America: Super Soldier or Painkiller: Hell and Damnation, but I did get a few others.

The first two games, you can see in the photo directly below, are actually not apart of those games I was trying to find. Medal of Honor: Vanguard and ICO were unplanned pickups. The former was released around the same time on the PS2 that Medal of Honor: Airborne was on PS3 and X360. The latter, ICO, I already have via The ICO & Shadow of the Colossus Collection on PS3. I only got it because I felt the need to save it from the unwashed masses. It’s not everyday you come across a complete copy of ICO on PS2 in good condition.


It’s also not everyday you come across a good conditioned complete copy of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess either. Okay, actually you do. But not the Gamecube version! I’m not much of a fan of The Legend of Zelda as you guys already know, but I still felt a need to save this game as well. It’s another one I didn’t need because I did already have the ubiquitous Wii version.

Here’s the first game which I did go to specifically to find. It’s Sega Arcade Gallery on the Game Boy Advance. It’s a four game compilation of AfterBurner, Space Harrier, Super Hang-On, and (best of all) OutRun! In case you didn’t know these games are all of Sega’s super sweet superscaler arcade lineup. You can never have enough of those!


I finally found Ray Tracers, but I did have to go to eBay for it. The game is easily summed up as a polygonal version of Chase H.Q. and that’s okay by me. Both games were developed by Taito.

Iron Man / X-O Manowar in Heavy Metal was another game that wasn’t really on my wish list. I can see it as a very mediocre game, but in some ways it reminded me of Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project from 2002 in how it plays even though the game I bought was from 1996.


Finally, I picked up a new copy of the 2008 Special Edition of Rambo 4. Yes, I do already own the Extended Cut. However, I was disappointed that the commentary track was cut out of that version. This one has exactly what I was missing.


Warp Zone Trax

Four months ago Usagi704 and I had visited this out of town gaming store called Warp Zone. Once again we had made a trip down to this place where I picked up more games not on my wish list.

First up was a much lesser known Super FX chip game on the Super Nintendo called Dirt Trax FX. It’s a dirt bike racing game developed by Sculptured Software and published by Acclaim. Believe it or not I did remember playing this game at the time it was released in late 1995.

Next up is a Game Boy Advance title that you’d be forgiven for thinking it was on the Genesis. Sega teamed up with THQ for this 2002 edition of The Revenge of Shinobi which clearly didn’t go over as well. It was released the same year as the PlayStation 2 version of Shinobi.

Here’s actually a game I did have on my wish list sometime ago. I removed it because I didn’t ever expect to find it. The Game Boy Advance version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: Battle Nexus is more of a 2D stealth game. It seemed to be similar to Splinter Cell’s outing on this same platform (another game I never found and removed from my list).

And finally I picked up an import Japanese Game Boy release of The King of Fighters ’96. This was the same one Usagi704 had received earlier this year.

That do it for this time. Check the photo below and have a good one!


Ultra Street Fighter: The Movie


This is my game purchases for the month of June. I didn’t get any digital titles because, you know, Team Hardcopy. However, it was tempting to get Dungeon Explorer, a TG-16 classic, for $1.20 off of PSN.

What I did get was a spur of the moment purchase of Street Fighter: The Movie for the original PlayStation off of I was watching this video from Game-Rave. I was reminded of the two other times in high school I bought and then eventually sold this Street Fighter game. This time it’s in my collection for good.

The other game I also bought in the same order as SF: The Movie is Watch Dogs. I know, I know. It’s a bad game, but I’m a sucker for its hacking premise despite it’s basic implementation of it.

I was able to also pick up Ultra Street Fighter IV at Best Buy. It was another unplanned purchase, but not overall as I was going to get it once the price was right. At $20 it was.



Complete In Box Fridays: Street Fighter II & Mortal Kombat II


This is Complete In Box Fridays week number seven coming at you. Last week I talked about the DS title by Atlus called Steal Princess. Also check out the full assortment of CIB Fridays articles in its category.

This time around I’m going to talk about a pair of 16-bit fighting games for the Super Nintendo. They are Street Fighter II Turbo and Mortal Kombat II.

When it comes to the genre I played the most, if not exclusively, during my high school days it was certainly was fighting games without a doubt. This was especially the case during the 1990s given that the genre itself had exploded in popularity thanks to Street Fighter II. I, like a lot of people at the time, were hooked. I guess you could compare it to the first-person shooter craze of the last five years. When these games arrived on the home consoles of the time they were rarely, if ever, 100% accurate to the arcade version, but many were close.

While the first outting for Street Fighter II on the SNES was very good, it did have an odd voice pitch difference depending on the strength of the punch or kick button used when performing a special move. Of course, the rest of the limitations were usually the typical cutting of some frames of animation and the like. When the port of Hyper Fighting was released they not only did a better programming job on the SNES version, but they also had more memory alotted to the cartridge. Gone was the difference in voice pitch and overall a great experience. Having the ASCII Pad didn’t hurt either.

I think everybody knows about the gimped Super Nintendo version of Mortal Kombat at this point. I don’t remember it bothering me all that much, but I’d be lying if I still wasn’t a little disappointed. I was eagerly anticipating the sequel and this became much more so once I saw the screenshots in a GamePro preview which confirmed the inclusion of all of the arcade violence that made Senator Kohl’s blood boil. Sure the names of the fighters weren’t in the life bars and the sound was a bit muffled, but otherwise it was an exceptional follow-up to what had been a disappointing home conversion.

Street Fighter II Turbo goes for a lot less than I would’ve expected for a complete copy. Listed at $12.67 I think most used prices will be more. It is a bit difficult to find, but then again I’ve never had to look for either of these games since I still own the original copies we bought in the early ’90s. Mortal Kombat II is more of the price I’d expect with it currently listed at $20.

Thanks for taking this trip down 16-bit memory lane with me and before you go, check out the gallery below. Click on any photo to double size it. Have a great Friday!




R-Type Revengance: Tournament Edition

Back in the early 1990s a lot of the games I enjoyed were Midway arcade titles. When it came time to port them to home consoles Acclaim were usually the ones to do it. I had a Super Nintendo and Smash TV became Super Smash TV, Mortal Kombat II surprised us all with its major improvements over the first game’s conversion, and NBA Jam: Tournament Edition had a larger roster and battery saves.

This brings me to the Game Boy and its many ports of Midway games namely NBA Jam. At the time I had the original game for it and the controls were odd with Turbo on the Start button. Not the most comfortable way to play. Sadly my recent purchase of NBA Jam TE didn’t change this or help with using passwords. At least the roster was larger.

R-Type is the notoriously difficult shoot-’em-up from Irem. Upon a port to the Game Boy the original cartridge had both R-Type I and II. A number of “DX” releases of black and white games were colored when put out for the Game Boy Color. R-Type DX was one such title. It had R-Type I and II in color and had a “combined challenge” (as Giant Bomb put it) for R-Type DX.

I’m not much of a shoot-’em-up fan, but I look forward to getting my ass kicked by this cart nonetheless.


On a side note, I accompanied Usagi704 to GameStop the night he picked up his copy of Metal Gear Rising: Revengence. Here’s some video footage of it.

MKII Hype of 1994


Back in the early ’90s I was a big fighting game fan. I’m less so these days, but at that time I took note of all of the fighting games I saw: the good, the great, and the definitely not-so-great.

Mortal Kombat was one of those games that came along and while the game wasn’t very good it did make an impact by amazing us gamers with its over-the-top violence. It’s tame by today’s standards, but back then a game with even a fourth of the gore just wasn’t done.

I never played much of the fighters in the arcades themselves. I usually just watched and I have quite a few memories of matches from Mortal Kombat II in 1993. I was much more of a player of these titles once they came to the home consoles.

We had an SNES at the time and, of course, as is with kids, they need to justify the version they had and I remember doing this with MK1 despite knowing that even I was disappointed in the lack of a blood code. The game still played good and looked and sounded the best over the Genesis version.

Because of this I was really excited once I saw that blood was confirmed for the SNES version of MKII in the first preview in the August ’94 issue of GamePro. This was the same issue which has this game on the cover featuring the awesome Raiden arcade cabinet sideart.

In the following month’s issue a second preview was published. This time it showed screenshots with the blood which was promised. I remember pouring over this preview many times getting hyped for the game’s release.

The October issue had reviews for all four versions of the game with the SNES version getting a perfect score.

I had saved up for this game ahead of time and on release day (Sept. 9, 1994) my mother had said she’d take my brother (usagi704, surprise ;)) and I out to get it. I remember being antsy and wanting to go and eventually we left in the van going to Video Game Exchange (now It’s About Games). We bought MKII for the SNES and a copy each of it on Game Boy. The former cost $75 and the latter was $35. And people think games being expensive is a new thing…

Thanks for reading and for more you can check out the very previews and reviews of Mortal Kombat II that I referred to from my old GamePros below.

* First Preview of MKII in GamePro (August ’94)
* Second Preview of MKII in GamePro (September ’94)
* Reviews of MKII in GamePro (October ’94) SNES/GEN pg1 | GEN/GG/GB pg2

Fun With Fighting Games


Since the release of Street Fighter III 3rd Strike Online Edition and Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection, I’ve been playing them quite a bit, but not because I own them. Thanks to Usagi704 he’s been my competition lately in mainly 3rd Strike and Mortal Kombat II.

On my systems I play the former on the PS2 via the Street Fighter Anniversary Collection where my main character is Ken. His Super Art III is wicked and is very easy to link into from several of his others moves. I haven’t been all that great, but I’m having a great time with a game that I shunned from for far too long.

In the latter game of MKII I still bust out my original copy on the Super Nintendo. My two best characters are Raiden and Kung Lao. They helped me best one of Usagi’s better characters in Kitana. I can’t get her to work as well for me, though. Now he comes at me with Scorpion and I still haven’t worked out how to exactly shut his offense down. Sub-Zero and Liu Kang are my back up characters.

I get more free games. This time it’s thanks to the PlayStation Store itself. Back to the Future – Episode 1: It’s About Time is currently available for free to all until the 27th.

Shattering The Burnout Blues


I want to start of by quickly mentioning that I’m a bit bummed by the recent announcement by Ubisoft. They decided, after previously saying it wouldn’t likely get a retail release in North America, to make the Prince of Persia Trilogy available on Blu-ray coming March 22nd. At $40 I could’ve saved some of the money I spent on importing it. Oh well not much I can do now. Time for new stuff!

First up is a few new games bought off of the PlayStation Store. They had a sale for 11 games last week and three of them, Soldner-X 2: Final Prototype, Shatter, and Peggle, were ones I’ve been interested in. It’s too bad they didn’t also offer a deal on Rocket Knight.

Also locally I picked up Burnout 2: Point of Impact for PS2 and a third Game Boy Advance SP. This time it’s blue and in great condition.



Finally I did a trade-in only order with eStarland. I have 35 Atari 2600 games and eight of them were about $1 or more. So those were the few I shipped off to them.

Plaque Attack @ $1.05
Frostbite @ $1.20
Oink @ $2.00
Pressure Cooker @ $3.50
Raft Rider @ $4.00
Wall Ball @ $10.00
Shuttle Orbiter @ $17.50
Rubik’s Cube @ $25.00

Hopefully all of these cartridges still work since I didn’t have any system to test them on beforehand. I do expect to lose out a little bit on Shuttle Orbiter because the cart was broken in two spots, but does look like it can still fit in fine.

Thanks for reading.

X-Men & The Devil Inside


Since my last blog post of almost a week ago I partook in playing quite the number of quick pick up and play games.

First up was the pinball game Devil’s Crush via the Virtual Console. It’s a bit more difficult to score high when you don’t know the exact rules of the game, but I’m slowly understanding them. My current best score is 11,436,200.

After a quick game of NBA Jam Tournament Edition on the SNES against Usagi704, who easily won, we played a number of matches over the last few days in Street Fighter II Turbo and Super SFII on the same system. I used an old ASCII controller which still works great except for the Start button. I get around that by flicking the slow switch on and off quickly. I thought our best matches were Usagi using Sagat vs. my Guile. He also gave me some excellent tips for using Vega which I was able to put to use right away.

However my favorite game of the week has to be when I bought the newly released X-Men arcade game from the PlayStation Store. This 6-player 1992 Konami beat-’em-up classic is a bit shallow when compared to other games at the time within the same genre, but it’s a bunch of fun when playing it with friends!

The X-Men game also comes with trophy support of which I was able to get all 12 in the matter of the first 24 hours. It’s easily finished (making for my 42nd game this year – full list) in around 25 minutes, but the whole playing with friends thing really makes the $10 price tag money well spent. If Konami plans to release more of their arcade games this way, I’m hopeful they’ll eventually make their 4-player G.I. Joe arcade game available.

Lastly I bought two games meant as gifts for my niece and nephew. The former will get Spyro: Season of Ice for GBA since I don’t know what games you get for girls. A collect-a-thon seems good enough.

The latter chose nothing over Sonic Rush last year, which was fine by me, but he didn’t need to whine about it like he did. Hopefully the GBA game Justice League Heroes: The Flash will go over better this time. However I will have my revenge. I’m planning on making him think he’s getting Sonic Rush again and inside will be this game instead. A hearty laugh it shall be indeed. I’m evil, I know.

Happy holidays!