Saturday, 28 June 2014

J.J. & Jeff (TurboGrafx-16)

J.J and Jeff title screenJ.J and Jeff title screen
Today's J game is... Turbografx-16 platformer J.J. & Jeff! Though it's possibly more notorious under its Japanese name of Kato-chan & Ken-chan.

The game was originally loosely based on a Japanese TV series called 'Fun TV with Kato-chan and Ken-chan', which was a problem when it (eventually) came time to localise it for North America, as no one there had ever heard of the series. So the two unknown Japanese comedians were taken out and replaced with... two unknown characters based on no one at all. To be fair it probably worked out much cheaper this way if Hudson Soft were paying Ken Shimura and Cha Katō for their likeness.

I should probably warn you now that the game's got a reputation for toilet humour, so it might not be a good idea to read this while you're eating. Then again it's only going to be 80s cartoon pixel graphics so how bad can it be?

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Star Wars: Jedi Knight - Dark Forces II (PC)

Star Wars Jedi Knight title screenStar Wars Jedi Knight title screen
Today's 'J' game is Star Wars: Dark Forces II - Jedi Knight, or whatever order those names go in. Either way there's definitely a title beginning with 'J' in there somewhere and that's what's important. As usual I'm going to play it for an hour or so, take some screenshots, talk about how it plays and so on. It'll be cool

Jedi Knight is the second game in the Jedi Knight series (not to be confused with the Gabriel Knight series), coming two years after 1995's Dark Forces. I'm not sure why they dropped the original title for the rest of the games, but I have a theory that it's got something to do with the fact that Star Wars fans are obsessed with lightsabers. In fact I believe it's universally acknowledged that the only objective flaw in the near-perfect TIE Fighter (the greatest of all Star Wars games) is the fact that you can't roll down a window and lean out of the cockpit with a sword, slicing up passing capital ships and space jousting with X-Wings.

Sure people liked being able to run around as more of a Han Solo type as he went across the galaxy blasting things with his blasters, but Han Solo with a lightsaber is what they really wanted. So from this point on LucasArts made certain to put the word 'Jedi' on the covers in big letters, making it absolutely clear to potential customers that yes, you will get to swing one of those glowy swords around in this one.

(Some of the following screenshots will expand if you click them, some won't. It's an exciting mystery!)

Monday, 23 June 2014

Jazz Jackrabbit (GBA)

Jazz Jackrabbit GBA title screenJazz Jackrabbit GBA title screen
Today I'm taking a look at Jazz Jackrabbit, for the Game Boy Advance. Despite the name it's actually not a port of the original PC game, though you'd be forgiven for thinking otherwise as that's a perfectly normal reaction to seeing two different games with the same bloody title.

Yeah it turns out that they made three of these games in the end, but I didn't learn about this third one until recently, so it's apparently not all that memorable. For a while the world was getting a new Jazz Jackrabbit game every four years, but this managed to derail that tradition and sent the series crashing right into a metaphorical wall.

I've never played this before and I haven't checked the reviews so I don't know yet whether it was a tragic end or a mercy killing, but I'm trying to stay optimistic. Well reasonably optimistic anyway, I don't expect it'll be as good as Jazz 2.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream (MS-DOS)

I Have no Mouth and I Must Scream title screenI Have no Mouth and I Must Scream title screen
I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream, now there's a proper sci-fi story title right there. It's the kind of name that lodges in your brain and demands curiosity. Plus someone requested that I play the game, so I might as well give it a look.

IHNMAIMS is a graphic adventure challenging the player with "profound ethical dilemmas dealing with emotionally charged issues including the horrors of insanity, selfishness, rape, racism, paranoia, genocide, and the dark rivers of human emotion that surge beneath the civilized surface of us all." The intention was to create a game that players could not possibly win, to preserve the story's nightmarish mood. So it's going to be a lot like a ZX Spectrum game then I guess.

The game is inspired by the short story of the same title, written by legendary sci-fi author Harlan Ellison 29 years earlier. But his name isn't just up there to sell copies. Nope, his name's up there because Harlan Ellison has the ego of ten men; he even put his own face in the box art! Actually he took an active role in the game's development, writing up the initial treatment of the game with writer David Sears, and polishing the dialogue after the game was in a playable state, so there's a fair chance that it'll be well written at least.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Incoming Forces (PC)

Incoming Forces logo
Today's game is Incoming Forces, the sequel to Incoming by Rage Software, the people who brought the world Hostile Waters and a whole lot of football games before finally evaporating into mist in January 2003. Apparently Go! Go! Beckham! Adventure on Soccer Island wasn't the cash cow they'd hoped for.

I played Incoming for the first time a few days ago, so it seemed like a good idea to play this one as well while the earlier game's still fresh in my mind. Unfortunately though Incoming doesn't seem to be the kind of game that stays in the mind, but I'll try my best to compare them anyway.

(Click the pictures to expand them to a slightly less retro resolution.)

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Illusion of Time / Illusion of Gaia (SNES)

Illusion of Time europe title screenIllusion of Time europe title screen
I have no idea what happened to all the SNES games this year. A year back I must have been playing a new Super Nintendo game for the site every other week, but somehow I've managed to avoid writing about one for over seven months straight (aside from like seven screenshots worth of words in my Genocide 2 article) and I don't even know why!

Well I'm fixing that right now, by taking a look at a classic Super Nintendo game, Illusion of Time. That's what it's called in Europe and Australia anyway, though you might know it better by the US title: Illusion of Gaia. You could also call it Soul Blazer II I suppose if you wanted to confuse people, as it's part of a trilogy of SNES RPGs by Japanese developer Quintet that ended with Terranigma (or Granstream Saga if, like author Douglas Adams, you consider the definition of 'trilogy' to be more of suggestion than a rule).

Monday, 9 June 2014

Incoming (PC)

Incoming PC logoIncoming PC logo
Near the end of last year I had a look at Rage Software's Hostile Waters and seeing as I liked it someone mentioned in a comment that I should try playing their later 2002 game Incoming Forces as well. Because according to them, it lets you do a lot of the same things "without having any fun".

Now I like pointlessly subjecting myself to hours of frustration and tedium as much as the next guy, but Incoming Forces is a sequel and I'm curious about what the first game's like, so seeing as I just bought them both in a bundle I figured I might as well play the original 1998 Incoming first. Don't worry though, I've saved the other game a space so it'll show up soon enough.

Friday, 6 June 2014

Deus Ex: Human Revolution (PC) - Part 2

Click to jump back to part one.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution (PC) - Part 1

Due to overwhelming demand (one person almost asked for it) I've decided that the final 'H' game is going to be... Deus Ex: Human Revolution! But why does this get shoved down the alphabet when my article on Invisible War appeared earlier in the year under 'D', you may be wondering in your brain. Well, it's so I can play them in order, like duh.

Actually the order of the games isn't necessarily so straightforward, as although this is was the third Deus Ex game released, it's actually a prequel set 25 years earlier in the timeline. But as prequels go, will this be another Snake Eater or will it be an Arkham Origins? More importantly, which game am I implying to be the bad one out of those two? Perhaps we'll never know.

Human Revolution was released on PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in 2011, but it received a Director's Cut two years later to accompany the upgraded Wii U version. I'll be sticking with the original version though, mostly because it's what I've got sitting in my Steam library right now (but also because I want to whine about the original boss fights at some point).

(Clicking screenshots will bring up a slightly higher resolution version for you to scrutinize.)

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Hexen (MS-DOS)

Hexen title screen PCHexen title screen PC
Today on Super Adventures I'm looking at the second game from Raven Software's Heretic series. It wasn't my original plan to play Hexen so soon, but after playing Heretic I had a sudden irresistible urge to see how the two games compare while the other is still fresh in my mind.

This is actually the very first PC first person shooter I ever played, my introduction to the genre, though I played it way back when games were still loaded from the DOS prompt so I've forgotten more or less everything about it. I do remember that it came out at the end of 1995, about eight months before Quake and just three months before Duke Nukem 3D, so the Doom engine it's built on would be looking a bit dated very soon.

Unlike Heretic, this managed to escape PCs and went on an exciting two year journey to the world of consoles, eventually making it over to the N64, PlayStation and Saturn in 1997, where its 2.5D graphics likely didn't look any less dated.

Semi-Random Game Box