Sunday, September 26, 2010

Retro Review--Haunted House (Atari 2600)

Last week I mentioned that Atari is releasing a remake of their 2600 classic "Haunted House" in October. This week I dug out my Atari Anthology for the PS2 and played through the original. It holds up surprisingly well.

In "Haunted House" you are searching through the haunted Graves Mansion for three pieces of a magical urn, while trying to avoid tarantulas, bats and the ghost of old man Graves himself. On screen you're represented by a pair of eyes that look in whatever direction you're heading. The house is completely dark, and you'll only find the urn pieces by using matches to light up a small area around you and reveal anything that's close. The goal is to collect all three pieces of the urn and escape the house before losing the nine lives you are given to start with. Anytime one of the monsters touches you, you are scared to death and lose a life. You can pick up a magic scepter that protects you from enemies, but since you can only carry one item at a time, you'll have to put down the urn to carry the scepter.

What's great about "Haunted House" is that the base game is simple, and you add incremental levels of difficulty in the nine game modes that are offered. The basic game shows you the layout of each of the four floors of the house, and each floor is a different color. The doors are unlocked, and the main threat you have to worry about is avoiding enemies while looking for the urn. Once you feel comfortable with that, you can turn off the lights completely, which means you can only see walls, doorways and enemies when you have matches lit, or when the odd lightning flash illuminates the screen. If that's not enough, you can add the option of locked doors, that require you to find a key to open. These increased levels of difficulty ramp up the tension (particularly when everything is dark), and the game can get pretty atmospheric, which is saying a lot given the simple graphics and presentation.

For a game that's almost 30 years old, "Haunted House" is a still a fun, creepy game that kids and adults can pick up and play instantly. You can find it in the Atari Anthology for the PS2, or grab it in Microsoft's Game Room for the XBox 360. The new "Haunted House" will be coming out for Wii this Halloween.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Atari's Haunted House Update Launches Sept. 28th For Wii

Holy cow! Everyone who grew up on Atari 2600 remembers the classic "Haunted House" and the iconic pair of glowing eyes that represented the player as they tried to navigate the haunted Graves Mansion. Well, at the end of this month, Atari is releasing a brand new "Haunted House," and it looks awesome. In this new game, you'll play the grandchild of the person who disappeared in the mansion years ago. Looks like fun for the whole family. Now I need to go play the original again--maybe I'll get a review up here on that one soon.

Check out the trailer for the new "Haunted House," which is also supposed to be coming to XBox Live, PSN and PC.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Super Mario Brothers Turns 25 years Today!

How did the folks at Cartridgecade miss this one. I seem to find a lot of links on Facebook through Mike Swaby. And here is one of them now! Enjoy the article.

Had I known earlier I would have thrown a party tonight!

AURCADE: Arcade Locations

I should remind everyone that visits this site, that you should visit and register your local arcade. They are becoming rare and hard to find. Help your fellow retro gaming geeks and lead them to quality arcades. There are too many ticket gambling arcades out there and we need to know where the sweet spots are.

So go to the site today and tell use where the retro gaming goodness is!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Retro Review--Shining Force (Sega Genesis)

I started playing the Sega Genesis classic “Shining Force” on the recommendation of a friend this week, and I'm really glad he turned me on to it. I actually owned its dungeon-crawling predecessor “Shining in the Darkness,” but I had never tried the sequel.

The story involves your character assembling a group of adventurers and trying to stop the forces of darkness from resurrecting a powerful evil being. The opening hour is pretty cool, as you are sent out of town on an adventure, and the kingdom is invaded in your absence. You actually fight your way back in time to see the bad guy make his escape.

What stood out to me immediately about “Shining Force” is that you have a huge party. You can control up to 12 characters, and recruit even more. That's substantially more than most JRPGs (at least that I've played), and it gives a lot of depth to the turn-based combat. Because each class has it's own movement speed, and different attacks have different ranges, there are lots of ways you can approach a battle. I almost felt like I was playing chess when facing off against larger groups of enemies, and much like chess, you can make a few ill-advised moves and find yourself quickly outmatched. When your main character dies, you resurrect in the town church, having lost half of your money. You do keep all earned experience though, so even in losing battles you are grinding levels.

I'm only a few hours in, but I am already hooked on the battle system and the old-school storyline. I'd highly recommend checking this one out. I'm playing “Shinging Force” as part of “Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection” for the PS3, but you can get it on the GameBoy Advance, the Wii Virtual Console, and even the iPhone or iPad (for a ridiculously cheap $3).

Unused Video Games

A link to the big fat blog comic about unused video games:

Friday, September 10, 2010

Cartridgecade Rides Again!

Yeah, so we took the summer off from posting on the Cartridgecade blog--so what?! We were playing retro games all summer, or maybe you didn't hear about the amazing Summer NEStacular Challenge--Super Mario Bros., Metroid and Zelda. All classics, and we played them all summer long.

But you want blog posts, and you want podcast segments. We hear you. We're are re-dedicating ourselves to Cartridgecade over the next few months, so you can expect to get your fix more regularly. So stop crying in your Donkey Kong cereal and go play some retro games.

You know, you could post once in a while, too. Send us a review for cryin' out loud, and save us some work for once.

Mario Dances Swedish Ugly Dance

Brian pointed out to me that we've been seriously neglecting out blog. I'm not going to make any promises, but I'm going to do my best to post here more often. The funny thing is, I've been browsing retro-gaming goodness and completely forgetting about tell you folks about it. So to kick off the more frequent blog posts I'm going to leave you with Mario dancing to the Swedish Ugly Dance. I'll post soon about the film Scott Pilgrim. A film that EVERY retrogaming fan should see!!

Now go watch Mario! dance.

NEStacular Summer Challenge Print

Well the print is done and sent out to the winners of our NEStacular summer challenge. Congrats on the folks who beat Super Mario Brothers, Metroid and Zelda this summer! IMPRESSIVE! Here is a sneak peak at what they won. I'm not sure what else Brian has intended for this print. But enjoy!

Which system do you like best!?