- Desert Strike Review (Sega Genesis/Mega Drive)
- Help Me Create More Retro Gaming Videos
- Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle Review (Sega Genesis/Mega Drive)
Posted: 19 Feb 2015 07:52 AM PST
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d8_OGpjZgSkAfter the success of previous mature titles such as Road Rash and F-22 Interceptor, Electronic Arts launched what was to be another great new franchise. In 1992, Desert Strike: Return to the Gulf hit the shelves and took the world by storm, due to both it's overall quality and controversy surrounding the subject matter.You see, some people felt that it capitalised on the recent Gulf War, impersonalising it through the use of heavy weapons. There were also reports of Veterans burning copies of the game in protest, which when you look at games today shows just how far the boundaries have been pushed in terms of war, realism and entertainment.But let's not focus too heavily on desensitisation in media and public perception for this video. Instead, let's take a look at what's on offer here;
"Get to the Chopper!"As you heard at the start of this video, Desert Strike has one of the best sounding intros for the Mega Drive (in my opinion anyway). It really gets the blood pumping, preparing you for action and excitement! Although… that doesn't quite reflect the pace of the game.The sense of urgency only really comes from limited resources; most notably the fuel. Your Apache Helicopter comes loaded with a machine gun and two types of rockets which vary in quantity and power. The balance is good here, it feels fair, and additional fuel and ammo can be found via the map screen.
GameplayDuring gameplay, you navigate each level with freedom to explore and carry out the order of certain objectives. This approach helps Desert Strike feel less linear and allows for flexibility and strategy that can affect the difficulty.For example; in earlier missions you must seek and destroy the enemy radar system. In later levels it's not a set objective, but in doing so it can weaken their forces giving you an advantage. This can be crucial to survival as your helicopter cannot take much damage, so planning and efficiency is key.Thankfully, there is a password system in place should you need to continue progress or restart a level, as save states weren't very common back then.
Graphics & SoundAs the name implies this game does take place over desert land, so there isn't much in terms of different locales. You will see sand… and lots of it! I often find that desert or ice levels in games are a bit dull, but somehow Desert Strike manages to keep things interesting. The game is displayed from an isometric perspective with wonderfully detailed graphics. Little buildings, trees, camps and outposts scatter the landscape. The pixel art here impressed me back then and still does today.As far as sound goes it's a bit of a mixed bag, but not necessarily for bad reasons. The intro and cutscenes are good, but there isn't any music during the missions. All you can hear is sound effects such as your helicopter, gunfire and explosions. This, mixed with the lack of a HUD (Head-Up Display) actually makes the experience more immersive.
A Few Minor IssuesThere are a few minor issues that make this title not quite perfect. Such things as targeting enemies can be a little tricky at times and some people may wish for a bit more variety in the level locations, but nothing here prevents Desert Strike from being a well polished game. Later instalments do offer more variety, but this was my favourite in the series.Have you ever played this game? If so, please let me know what you think of the game and your experiences in the comments below.
Posted: 16 Feb 2015 03:07 AM PST
Have you seen my latest video reviews for classic retro Sega Mega Drive and Genesis games? If not, you can check them out here. It's all part of my continuous goal to keep creating better content about the games I love.I've had some really positive feedback so far and I'm trying to improve each one I make. It's something I have a lot of fun doing and I can't wait to create more! I have a huge list of games I want to cover, not just for the Mega Drive / Genesis, but for SNES, NES, Master System, PlayStation, N64, Dreamcast and loads more! There's years worth of content - and that's purely talking about the reviews and retrospectives. That doesn't even begin to cover all the other great game related videos I want to make.This is all a hobby, some fun, an interest and enjoyable way of spending my free time. At the moment I can't commit to a set schedule, although I aim to make roughly two of these videos a month. I'd like to do more, but that is pretty much my maximum capacity for the moment and this is where you come in... how you can help!
Become a Patron of MyGamerXPI've recently signed up to a website called Patreon, which allows supporters to contribute to projects on an ongoing basis. My videos will always be free, this just works more as a kind of tip jar, where you can offer thanks through a small donation per video - if you want to.
What do I get out of it?Well, in addition to the usual videos, you can be rewarded with exclusive extras, all of which are detailed on my Patreon page. More will be added over time, so keep checking back for updates.
What about "Let's Play's" and Pick-up Videos?These won't count. The Patreon page is strictly only for what I deem as quality content - something that has required effort to produce. Pick-up and Let's Play videos are nice and can be entertaining, but I feel these should be treated as supplementary content. So if you pledge $1 per video (for example), it won't count for these types of videos. They will just come as a free extra.
I have more questions!Then please e-mail me, leave a comment below, or contact me on twitter. I'll be more than happy to answer any of your questions. I want to be as clear and transparent as possible.
How Will This Help?Any contributions made will help make more videos in numerous ways. Any amount, large or small, will allow me to purchase new games, new equipment, or even take time off work to create these instead. That would be the dream! It's not essential, and as I've said before my content will always be free! This is just an idea to help make better content on a more regular basis.I'd really love your support and to hear your feedback (good or bad) in the comments below. Please let me know what you think of this idea or if you have any important questions.You can view my Patron page at www.patreon.com/mygamerxp
Posted: 09 Feb 2015 07:38 AM PST
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5IUiOWXYIvIIn the early days of 8-bit home consoles, Sega tried to establish their own mascot to rival Nintendo's Super Mario. What they came up with Alex Kidd; a franchise that had a few ups and downs over the years, but is often fondly remembered as the "built-in game" of most people's Master Systems.Alex Kidd in Miracle World was a great title, but after that there were some arguably poor decisions made in trying to put him into different games - something I may save for another video at a later date. For now, we're going to look back at his first and only outing of the 16-bit era; Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle for the Sega Mega Drive and Genesis.
Rock, Paper, ScissorsThe game's plot is nothing special - a common trait of many side-scrolling adventure titles from around that time. You play as Alex who lives on Aires; a planet which is controlled by his brother King Igul. After hearing a rumor that his long-lost father, King Thor, is still alive on Planet Paperock, he travels there to look for him.The world stages are varied, offering a number of collectables and hidden areas. Whilst this game won't blow anyone away with its graphics, the simplicity does carry a certain level of charm, which is enough to make it pleasing to look at.Enemies can be defeated using Alex's punches and kicks, as well as a range of power ups and vehicles. I used to love the motorcycle, pedicopter and pogo stick, as they offered a nice change of pace during each level.
Janken!One element that I feel does affect this title's popularity is the use of Janken - which is essentially a game of "Rock, Paper, Scissors". For various items and boss battles, skill is pushed aside for a system that relies purely on chance, resulting in you succeeding... or dying and having to restart the entire level again.The game can be challenging enough due to the fact that Alex Kidd dies in one hit and starts the game with fairly limited continues, but this frustrating and cheap tactic makes completing it either fairly straightforward or nearly impossible depending on your luck.It's a real shame as Janken didn't frustrate me too much as a kid. Games generally were a lot less forgiving in the past as a way to increase longevity. The old me would just shrug his shoulders and start again, but nowadays I find it harder to overlook it - and I think other gamers would do too. Especially newcomers who aren't armed with a good measure of nostalgia.As far as controls go, it's not quite perfect there either. They are responsive and the collision detection is fair, but the surfaces seem to act as if they are coated in a slippery surface, which can make some platforming action a little tricky.
Alex Kidd in Today's WorldDue to this game's rather weak reception and the development of their much cooler mascot Sonic the Hedgehog, Sega haven't released another Alex Kidd title since. He hasn't been forgotten though, as there has been the odd reference and cameo appearance in games such as Shenmue and Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing.Whether or not you should pick up this game is a tough question to answer. For me personally, it holds quite a lot of nostalgic value. Me and my sister had a great deal of fun playing this when we were little. As a collector, Alex Kidd does have some importance in Sega's history, so for that reason I would pick it up if you haven't already. As a gamer experiencing this fresh though, it can be challenging and fun, but some of the key elements that rely purely on chance… well… they may grind a little bit. So I think the decision will depend on your patience and accepting the Janken gameplay flaw going into it.
Your ExperiencesHave you ever played this game? If so, please let me know what you think of the game and your experiences in the comments below.If you enjoyed the video, please click on the like button and subscribe... and as always; thanks for watching!
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