snes

Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures

First Hour Review

Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures CoverPac-Man 2: The New Adventures is the one and true sequel to Pac-Man! You may be wondering, but wat about Ms. Pac-man, Super Pac-Man, Pac-Man Plus, or Pac-Mania? Nope, none of those have the number two in their name. Pac-Man 2 is the definitive sequel, and it is a side-scrolling adventure game with puzzle elements. How about that. It was released in 1994 for the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis and is quite the departure from the traditional series.

Fourteen years after chomping pills in a dark maze, Pac-Man is now a moody middle-aged blob living with Ms. Pac-Man, Pac-Jr., and Pac-Baby-Daughter. Pac-Man is an independent blob too, as you don't even control him directly! Instead you shoot a slingshot to point out things to Pac-Man and hopefully grab his attention. This doesn't always work though and Pac-Man can get angry pretty quickly. This is pretty much a recipe for complete disaster, so let's start cooking the first hour of Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures.

Aladdin

First Hour Review

Aladdin CoverAladdin for the Sega Genesis was released in 1993 about a year after the film was in the theaters. It was created by the same team that would go on to make Earthworm Jim and features animations drawn by Disney animators. The game was released on a wide range of systems, but the Super Nintendo Aladdin was actually an entirely different game created by Capcom. For all these years I asssumed it was Nintendo's infamous censorship at work because you couldn't use a sword like on the Genesis, but it was simply a different game under the same name (though I wouldn't be surprised if Nintendo still had a hand in swordless Aladdin).

I reviewed the first hour of Lion King back in March and did not have a good experience. Considering both Aladdin and The Lion King were both developed by Virgin Interactive, could I possibly have a similar first hour? Let's get into it.

Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen

First Hour Review

Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen CoverOgre Battle: March of the Black Queen is a console strategy game initially released on the Super Nintendo and then re-released on the Sega Saturn and Sony Playstation. I guess the game is rare but I bought the Super Nintendo version at a rental store when they were going out of business for five dollars (also scored that day was Yoshi's Island). I consider myself lucky, too bad the battery has died since then. The game has seen a bunch of sequels including Ogre Battle 64, which I also own.

Decent non turn-based strategy games are tough to come by on consoles, but March of the Black Queen stands out as one of the first and best in the genre. I'm not so sure how the first hour will turn out though, as the game moves pretty slow. Well, let's just get right into it and find out. I'll be playing the Super Nintendo version.

Ninja Gaiden and Ninja Gaiden

First Hour Review

Ninja Gaiden Xbox CoverNinja Gaiden NES CoverNinja Gaiden and Ninja Gaiden are NES and Xbox games with the exact same name. Ninja Gaiden for the NES came out in 1989 and Ninja Gaiden for the Xbox came out in 2004. I'm not sure why Tecmo and lead designer Itagaki didn't give the Xbox Ninja Gaiden game a subtitle, but it's too late to wonder, because there are officially two games under the name of Ninja Gaiden, just released 15 years apart. In first hour tradition, I will be only playing Ninja Gaiden for one hour, but because they are named exactly the same, I will first play half an hour of Ninja Gaiden for the NES, and then half an hour on the Xbox. This will complicate the review a bit, but I'll try to always make is clear what game I'm talking about.

This is an exciting time for the Ninja Gaiden series, as Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword was released last month for the DS and Ninja Gaiden II will be out in a few weeks for the Xbox 360. Remember, this is a new Ninja Gaiden II, not Ninja Gaiden II: The Dark Sword of Chaos which was released on the NES in 1990. Yeah, Tecmo does it again. I plan on playing Dragon Sword (not Dark Sword) someday as it sounds pretty cool, but this review is all about the first hour of the two Ninja Gaidens. So let's get right down to it. To start, the first thirty minutes of Ninja Gaiden for the NES.

Pocky & Rocky

First Hour Review

Pocky & Rocky CoverPocky & Rocky is a multiplayer scrolling shooter for the SNES and developed by Natsume, the creators of Harvest Moon. It's hard to imagine the guys who made a farming simulator once worked on a fast-paced, crazy hard shoot 'em up. But they did, and here it is. The game has a lot of charisma and character, but it's super tough! I recruited my friend Hylas to help me out, much like I did for Zombies Ate My Neighbors. This game once again proves that two heads are better than one, but is the game really any good? With a name like Pocky & Rocky, how can you go wrong?

Pocky & Rocky is actually the second game in the Pocky series (Kiki KaiKai was a Japanese only arcade game featuring just our heroine Pocky), but the first in the Pocky and Rocky series starring the girl and the raccoon. There's also a new PS2/Wii game called Kiki Kai World (or Heavenly Guardian) that is somewhat of a new sequel to the series, just 15 years later. Well, who cares about those other games, this is all about Pocky & Rocky! Now, let's get it on!

Another World

First Hour Review

Another World CoverAnother World (Out of this World) is a cinematic platformer released on just about every system back in 1991. Now the phrase, "cinematic platformer" gives me shivers because of its sheer potential of awfulness. When I hear those words I think of terrible gameplay and ugly, "realistic" looking graphics. The games are typically rotoscoped to give them a unique graphical style, which usually doesn't bother me, it's more the style of gameplay that makes me experience nasty flashes of nostalgia. If you've ever played the original Prince of Persia games, you'll know what I'm talking about.

Another World is known as Out of this World in the United States. Much like Indigo Prophecy/Fahrenheit, the game is renamed for some stupid reason that leaves people confused and wondering whether the stone is the sorcerer's or the philosopher's. Either way, the game supposedly influenced Fumito Ueda, who went on to create Ico and Shadow of the Colossus. So at least this game was good for something, but let's check out the first hour of Out of this World to see if it can properly defend itself and (in my opinion) the thankfully lacking genre known as the cinematic platformer.

I'll be playing the 15th Anniversary Edition for the PC released in 2006. The game features higher resolution graphics and more detailed backgrounds.

The Lion King

First Hour Review

The Lion King CoverThe Lion King was the video game released to accompany the Disney movie of the same name. Games based on movies were nothing new in 1994, especially Disney tie-ins, but this is actually my first movie game review. It was released on literally every platform available at the time, including three Nintendo (NES, SNES, and Game Boy) systems and three Sega (Master System, Genesis, and Game Gear) systems, undoubtedly a feat unequaled by any other game.

Really the only reason I'm reviewing The Lion King is because of the saying: "March comes in like a lion, out like a lamb." If you're unfamiliar with the adage, it basically means March will open up with bad weather and end calmly with Spring fast approaching. Here in the upper-Midwest though, lots of snow typically begins and ends the month. Where's our lamb? Back to the review though, here's March roaring in, now I have four weeks to find a game about lambs... could be tough. Anyways, let's get right into the first hour of The Lion King (Super Nintendo version).

Tecmo Super Bowl

First Hour Review

Tecmo Super Bowl CoverTecmo Super Bowl is a classic football game for the NES. With the real Super Bowl airing tomorrow night, I've decided to post my first hour review of Tecmo Super Bowl a few days early. This won't be a typical review though, as I've played the game to death, I'm going to perform some Super Bowl predictions with the 17 year old game and pit the New England Patriots against the New York Giants. This is tomorrow's Super Bowl matchup but obviously these teams are very different than what they were when this game came out, so don't place any bets off the outcome!

Post-game results: Tecmo Super Bowl predicted the winner! Not even Madden picked them right!

A little about the game before we get started, Tecmo Super Bowl was the sequel to... Tecmo Bowl, and though that game was very good, Super builds and improves on the original in nearly every way. We now have 30 man rosters instead of 20 and Tecmo Super Bowl also featured 11 men on each side of the ball for every play, where Tecmo Bowl only had 9. It also was one of the first games to use real players and real teams, quite the feat back then as they were breaking new ground (actually, quite the feat now too since EA has a crappy monopoly on the NFL and the NFLPA). Anyways, Tecmo Super Bowl is a great game and I have some wonderful childhood memories of it.

Doing a little research, I've found something interesting: there are only a few players in the game that are still active (five to be exact), and two of them are playing in the Super Bowl on Sunday! Junior Seau played for the San Diego Chargers in Tecmo Super Bowl and now plays for the New England Patriots; and Jeff Feagles played for the Philadelphia Eagles and now is the punter for the New York Football Giants! That's pretty amazing the longevity these guys have (and the great timing of their careers).

Let's get to the game now, here's the first hour of Tecmo Super Bowl and a pre-enactment of Super Bowl XLII. By the way, I am well aware I can download updated ROMs with current rosters but I'm trying to review the original game just like it was meant to be played. In my commentary though I'll replace the old timers with their current counterparts, just to make things... interesting.

The Lost Vikings

First Hour Review

The Lost Vikings CoverThe Lost Vikings was released in 1992 and was one of Silicon & Synapse's first games. Never heard of them? They are now known as Blizzard Entertainment, the developer of many, many good games that end in Craft. Anyways, The Lost Vikings was released on the Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis, and various other systems throughout the years, and gives gamers nowadays a really interesting look at the early history of Blizzard. The game itself can be described as a puzzle platformer, where you have to use the different abilities of three Vikings to solve puzzles, defeat enemies, and progress through the game's levels. My minute-by-minute update should help describe the game better. I will be playing just the first hour of the Super Nintendo version of The Lost Vikings, so let's get right to it.

In case you're a World of Warcraft veteran, you may recognize the three Vikings: Erik the Swift, Olaf the Stout, and Baleog the Fierce. They all make a cameo appearance in Uldaman, an ancient dwarven complex that serves as a mid-level dungeon. If you play as a Horde character you can even kill them for some unique items!

Kirby Super Star

First Hour Review

Kirby Super Star CoverKirby Super Star is kind of like the old-school equivalent of The Orange Box. You put down your $50 and you get a whole collection of great games. All of these games are basically running the same engine and feature the same graphics and generally the same gameplay, but yet are distinct and can individually be recognized and enjoyed. This is Kirby Super Star, easily the best Kirby game in its long and colorful career (well, until Canvas Curse came along).

Anyways, as you can see by the cover of the game, Kirby Super Star features eight games. Now two of these are just simple minigames but the other six are more or less Kirby games we all know and love but done in different styles. A few of these games could actually stand on their own too but as a collection it really feels like you're getting your money's worth (so much so I actually own two copies of this game, long story).

I'm not going to have time to play all eight games in one hour, but I'll try to get to as many as I can. So let's start the review.

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