Monday, November 29, 2010

That Game is So Hard

How many times have you heard that about an NES game? I was reminded of that line when I did an interview with No Apologies last week. I was speaking with Darrel Taylor and a few games came up.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
If you've ever played the original for the NES (and I don't mean the four turtles at a time walking around the street version) you know how hard it can be to make it through this game. All the side scrolling platforming in the sewers loaded with respawning enemies can be a bear. Not to mention, when you get low on life, you're listening to the loud beeping health reminder, go topside and get taken out by the rolling top view enemies of the streets. I always remember dropping the first three turtles like flies and then being VERY careful with the last and final turtle of the game.

Top Gun
Seriously, do I even have to point this out? How many of you can land the jet on the air craft carrier? We all have talked about it. I may have done it once or twice in my life. When I got to that point, I handed off the controller to the kid who could land it. And usually it was that kids only claim to fame. Any other game and he was terrible. But landing that plane? He could do it in a heart beat.

Honestly, I never got past the first screen of this game. It's just ridiculous and rage inducing. And that all I really can say about it!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Retro Review: Splatterhouse (TurboGrafx-16 / Wii VC)

"Splatterhouse" is one of the classic games from the TurboGrafx-16 console, and it was the one game that made me pine for that console (even though I never actually ended up getting one). Nintendo brought the game over to their Virtual Console, and now everyone with a has a chance to check out the game.

For those that don’t remember, "Splatterhouse" was an arcade game that was ported over to the TurboGrafx-16 console. The game put players in the role of Rick, a parapsychology student that went into a supposedly haunted house called West mansion with hi girlfriend Jennifer. They get attached by strange creatures, Jennifer is kidnapped and Rick is mortally wounded. Rick wakes up some time alter, having been revived by the “Terror Mask” (which looks a lot like Jason’s hockey mask), and he sets off to save his girlfriend.

The gameplay is straight beat ‘em up-style, with Rick punching and kicking his way through floors of hideous monsters. He can also pick up weapons along the way--2x4’s, machetes and the like. The game is very graphic, even in it’s “censored” TurboGrafx-16 version on the Virtual console, which replaces some of the more disgusting elements. There are six levels that culminate in boss battles, and the bosses are some of the more unique ones you’ll see in a beat ‘em up. One of my favorites is the second boss, which is basically a haunted room right out of "Evil Dead 2," where the furnishings themselves attack you. The final level features an interesting twist that I will let people experience for themselves.

"Splatterhouse" still holds up pretty well as a beat ‘em up in my opinion, and with the remake slated to arrive for the 360 and PS3 later this month, it’s a great time to revisit this old classic. I have heard that the original will be an unlockable in the new game however, so you may want to hold off on the Virtual console version us you plan on picking up the new game, as I’m not sure if the unlocakble version will be the original arcade game.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Steampunk Arcade Cabinets

Many of you know I enjoy steampunk art and any sort of functional art. When I was googling steampunk cabinets today, I came across this steampunk arcade cabinet. How cool is this!? Would look great in my studio don't you think? Here's the article:

Friday, November 5, 2010

Review--Haunted House (2010)

So I mentioned a little while back that Atari was updating the 2600 classic "Haunted House" after almost thirty years. I picked the game up a couple weeks ago, and I have been having a lot of fun with it.

In the 2010 version of haunted House, you play as one of the grandchildren of Samuel Silverspring, the protagonist of the original game.

You can choose to play as either his grandson Jacob, or his granddaughter Silvia. Samuel disappeared thirty years ago, and the grandkids get a strange letter that leads them to head to Graves Mansion to find out what really happened to granddad.

Like the original game, "Haunted House" has you exploring a creepy mansion and trying to put together the pieces of a magical urn (as well as solve the mystery of Samuel's disappearance). Much of the gameplay takes place in the dark, and players have to find light sources like matches, candlesticks and flashlights to help light their way and (in the case of the flashlight), fend off the ghostly enemies that populate the mansion. There are several floors to explore, with many rooms in the mansion requiring keys that must be found in the various chests, desks, dressers and other containers that are in different rooms. Along the way you face ghosts, bats and other supernatural creatures that can literally paralyze you with fear, as well as drain your health.

The controls in "Haunted House" are pretty simple, as you use the nunchuk to navigate, and tasks like opening containers, scrolling through belongings and using light sources are assigned to various buttons. When a ghost or other enemy freezes you, shaking the Wiimote will get your character to snap out of it and get moving again. Everything works well together, and even younger kids should be able to pick up the controls in a relatively short amount of time. The game also offers checkpoints in the form of fireplaces that, once lit, will serve as a save point should you die. Those looking for additional challenge can ramp up the difficulty, where enemies are more deadly and

What I liked most about the game is the sense of creepiness that you immediately feel by being plunged into darkness. Even the cartoonish graphics don't dull the sense of panic you feel when you run low on light sources and can hear ghostly moans or approaching footsteps in the vicinity. It's fun and scary at the same time, a perfect combination for younger players, and still really enjoyable for adults. You can also play two-player local co-op, so if it's a little too creepy for your little ones playing alone, you can always jump in and help.

I am really happy with the new "Haunted House," as the game keeps the spirit of the original and builds on the simple gameplay without changing too much. You can grab the Wii version on disc for $20 (like I did), or get the PC and XBox 360 downloadable version for $10. Either way, it's well worth the money if you enjoyed the original, or are looking for a fun and spooky family game.

4 out of 5 Don't Be Afraid Of The Darks

You should also check out the game's official website,, as you can play the original Atari 2600 version of the game there for free!

Which system do you like best!?