Saturday, 31 December 2016

Super AiG Screenshots of the Year: 2016

It's New Year's Eve once more, so I feel obliged to give you the sixth annual Super Adventures Screenshots of the Year gallery, showcasing some of the most interesting screenshots from the last 12 months of my site! Also GIFs, lots of GIFs.

Clicking the highlighted game titles will take you to the original article so you can see the screenshot in context. If it's a more modern game then clicking the picture itself will likely open it up in its original resolution.

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Batman: Arkham Origins (PC)

Developer:WB Games Montréal|Release Date:2013|Systems:Win, PS3, Xbox 360, Wii U

This week on Super Adventures, a game about punching people at Christmas!

It's been ages since I've played a Batman game, in fact I think the last one on the site was probably Return of the Joker for the NES, back in April 2015. Though it still seems too soon to play Batman: Arkham Origins, because of how similar it is to the other two. In my Batman: Arkham City article I joked that I'd be able to copy/paste parts of my Arkham Asylum post and save myself some work, and here that's doubly true! But it's a Christmas game and I feel like playing it again, so I am.

I love these beautiful tableaux of frozen Batviolence behind the menu by the way. Batman's so gritty in this one with his tactical Bat-armour and his permanent bad mood, that I keep expecting the camera to pan across blood and displaced teeth flying through the air.

This used to be the black sheep of the franchise, due to it not being developed by Rocksteady, and the bugs, and the fact that they prioritised releasing paid DLC instead of fixing them all, but I think Arkham Knight's claimed that position now (at least on PC). There's still a bit of an issue with the multiplayer, seeing as it was switched off forever earlier this month, but I didn't even know it had multiplayer, so that shows how much I care about that.

(Click on the images to view my original full size screenshots. DX11 mode, all settings on full... resolution at 1280x720).

Monday, 19 December 2016

Disposable Hero (Amiga)

Disposable Hero Amiga logo
Developer:Euphoria|Release Date:1993|Systems:Amiga, CD32

This week on Super Adventures I'm finally getting around to playing classic Amiga shoot 'em up Disposable Hero! Not Disposable Heroes, that's a Metallica track from the album Master of Puppets (and a cartoony indie game on Steam).

This has been on my list of games to play since before I even had an actual list of games to play, so it's strange that it's taken me so long to get around to it. Oh right I remember now, I was trying to stick to playing games I haven't seen before, and I used to play the demo of this all the damn time back in the day. Well, probably more like three times, but that's still a lot for me.

You could probably call the game a Euroshmup, as it's by a developer from the Netherlands called 'Boys without Brains' (who were going by the name of 'Euphoria' at this point... I think), but I wouldn't because that's a horrible word. I mean it's ugly to look at and it's ridiculous when you say it out loud. Plus Shmups sound like something you'd find living down at Fraggle Rock.

The developers were also responsible for the platformer Hawkeye, which is one of the games that inspired me to make this site in the first place, way back in 2011. Well its title screen did anyway. All I remember about it now is that it wasn't great, but I'm sure this will hold up a lot better. For one thing it didn't start out as a Commodore 64 game.
  

Saturday, 10 December 2016

The Rocketeer (SNES)

The Rocketeer SNES title screen
Developer:NovaLogic|Release Date:1992|Systems:SNES, DOS

This week on Super Adventures I'm playing a licensed tie-in SNES game! Because I've got more curiosity than sense.

The Rocketeer is based on the 1991 comic book action movie... probably. He has the same logo, the suit looks right and it's got 'Disney' written on it so I'm assuming there's a connection. But I haven't really seen the movie, so I don't know the characters and I've only got the vaguest idea about the plot. I'm coming into this with a good amount of ignorance.

Though one thing I do know is that the SNES version is actually a port of a DOS game and those are the only two systems this particular Rocketeer game came out for. Sega owners missed out this time, though I doubt they were missing much. But hey I'll give it a fair chance to win me over, it might surprise me.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Dungeon Siege III (PC)

Dungeon Siege III title menu screenshot
Developer:Obsidian|Release Date:2011|Systems:Windows, PS3, Xbox 360

This week on Super Adventures, I'm taking a look at the last of the Dungeon Siege games, unless they suddenly announce a new one out of nowhere again.

The first two Dungeon Sieges were developed by Gas Powered Games, but Square Enix decided they wanted a western RPG series and bought the franchise from them, putting Obsidian in charge of making the third game. Personally I'd be more curious to see the game would be like if Square Enix made it themselves, but games like Knights of the Old Republic 2, South Park: The Stick of Truth and Fallout: New Vegas have shown that Obsidian are masters at taking other people's properties and making magic with them.

It seems they're also pretty good at making pretty main menus. It doesn't look so great in a screenshot, but in game it's all animated, with birds flying by in the background, sparkling moonlight reflected in the water, and the logo flag gently blowing in the breeze. In fact I don't even want to start the game any more, I'm just going to sit here and listen to the music and the rain for a bit. It's not the classic Dungeon Siege theme but it'll do.

Also I just noticed that the statue is of the protagonist of Dungeon Siege 1! Well the amber-haired woman with the flaming sword from the box anyway, as you can make your own characters in the DS games.

(Screenshots can be viewed at their original resolution by clicking on them. Not that their original resolution is all that great.)

Monday, 28 November 2016

Super Adventures in Amiga Disk Screens

I feel like Super Adventures has been getting a bit niche lately, so this week I've chosen a subject that likely appeals to basically everyone: Amiga game loading/insert disk screenshots! I've assembled a gallery of work from some of the best pixel artists of the 90s to present their interpretations of a 3½-inch blue square with a label and a metal shutter on.

This isn't the first time I've thought about writing this article. When I was doing research I found I'd written this on my Cannon Fodder 2 post back in 2013:
 "You know, sometimes I'm half-tempted to make a post just about 'insert disk' screens. A page full of basically nothing but pixelled floppy disks. That's when I'll know I've finally gone crazy."
So bad news, I've gone crazy. Good news, at least I'm getting this over with now. Plus it'll be nostalgic for people who've owned the system, and educational for those who didn't!

Amigas could support hard drives just fine, but most people didn't own them and the games generally weren't designed to be installed, so one of the big differences between PC and Amiga gaming in the early 90s was all the bloody disk swapping. Scroll through a dozen of these pictures slowly and you'll get an idea of what it's like to play an adventure game on the system. Keep scrolling back and forth through two or three of them over and over and that's what it's like playing a fighting game.

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Rod-Land (Arcade)

Rodland title screen
Developer:Jaleco|Release Date:1990|Systems:Arcade, Amiga, Atari ST, CPC, C64, ZX Spectrum, NES, Game Boy, iOS

This week on Super Adventures I'm taking a quick look at arcade action game Rod·Land! I'm tempted now to look up if there's some CSS trick I can use to display the title in color-cycling rainbow text. Though I'm not even sure if I've written it right, as sometimes it's called Rod Land and other times it's Rodland.

Rod·Land is one of the games I used to play as a kid on my Amiga, so I'm not exactly going into this blind. Though I used to cheat the hell out of it back then by pressing the 'Help' key five times and getting infinite lives; one of the few times that 'Help' button was ever helpful.

This is my first time playing through the arcade version though and I can already tell it's not quite the same. For one thing this title screen fanfare sounds terrible; it's all synth brass and clock chimes. Amiga wins this round.

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars (PC)

Broken Sword title screen
Developer:Revolution|Release Date:1996|Systems:Windows, Mac, GBA, PSX

This week on Super Adventures I'm playing Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars. Not to be confused with Shadow of the Beast, Shadow of the Colossus, Shadows of the Empire, Shadow of Memories/Destiny or the Christian Slater/John Travolta movie 'Broken Arrow'. Wow, I haven't seen that film in forever, I should give it a rewatch some time.

In America the game was originally given a different subtitle: Circle of Blood. I guess shadows and Templars just didn't seem as marketable back then in those pre DaVinci Code/Assassin's Creed days. In 2009 it got another subtitle: Director's Cut, as the game was remade with extra content for PCs, phones and the Nintendo systems of the time.

This is Revolution Software's third adventure game, after Lure of the Temptress and Beneath a Steel Sky, but I've also written about In Cold Blood as I'm getting to them all out of order. Plus it's the second graphic adventure I've played this year about the Knights Templar, as I took a look at Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade back in January. There, I think I've just broke the record for the amount of games I've mentioned in an intro! I'll say Monkey Island as well just to make sure, seeing as it's inevitably going to get brought up at some point anyway.

Alright, I'm going to give Broken Sword an hour or two and take lots of screenshots, while writing up what I've been doing and what I thought about it. Same deal as ever.

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1 (PC)

Developer:Felistella|Release Date:2015|Systems:Windows, PS Vita

This week on Super Adventures I'm playing another RPG! But not the pretty 16-bit pixelled kind I'm afraid. I keep promising to play more retro games and yet somehow here I am playing the most modern JRPG on my site so far.

I've got no idea what I'm getting into here, as all I really know about HyperDimension Neptunia Re;Birth1 is that it's a enhanced port/remake of an older game and that it's got a shitload of sequels. Oh, I also know that the characters are the human avatars of game consoles who've all manifested as young women, because... anime.

Somehow I'm getting the feeling this one might be aimed more at blokes than ladies and there may be shameless fan service coming up, but like I said I don't really know. Though I'm feeling a bit guilty for leaving these three hovering in the air for so long, waiting for me to take that DVD off their hands, so I'll select 'NEW GAME' and see what happens.

(Click the screenshots to open them at their original resolution.)

Friday, 28 October 2016

Coded Arms (PSP) - Guest Post

Today on Super Adventures, guest poster mecha-neko's back with another first person shooter for another Friday. But this time there's a shocking twist: it's on the PSP!

Hey, get a load of this!

Coded Arms Title Screen PSP
Developer:Konami|Release Date:2005|Systems:PlayStation Portable

It's Coded Arms, the first Sony PlayStation Portable game on the site! It's a PSP exclusive and it's the very first first person shooter on the system or so I'm told.

I found it for just a buck, all boxed and nice, so I'm going to share it with you!

Saturday, 22 October 2016

In the Hunt (Arcade)

In the Hunt title screen
Developer:Irem|Release Date:1993|Systems:Arcade, PlayStation, Saturn, PC

This week on Super Adventures I'm playing an arcade game, because I feel like showing off some pixels and I figured this'd be a good place to find them. Plus I haven't played a single arcade game for the site all year and I'm running out of time to make up for that.

My first criticism is that it needs more space between the words in the title. It looks like it says "INTHEHUNT", and that's not what it's called!

In  the  Hunt came out in arcades first in 1993 and was ported to PlayStation, Saturn and Windows 95 a couple of years later. It almost made it to Super Nintendo as well, but it was getting a bit close to the system's end by that point, and Irem's game development department departed soon after. The team that made this were apparently already gone by then though, as they formed Nazca in '94. I've already played one game they made as Irem, scrolling beat 'em up Undercover Cops, but they're more famous for what they made afterwards... Metal Slug! Which I'm totally going to play one of these days, maybe.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Grand Theft Auto IV (PC)

Grand Theft Auto 4 title screen
Developer:Rockstar North|Release Date:2008|Systems:Windows, Xbox 360, PS3

This week on Super Adventures I'm having a quick go of acclaimed crime 'em up Grand Theft Auto IV. Though knowing what these games are like, I'll have to put 20 hours in before I really get how it works, maybe more! So I hope you appreciate the sacrifices I make for your entertainment.

Actually I've got a vague memory of playing this once before and not liking it much. I've beaten Vice City and San Andreas (and I came so damn close to finishing GTA 3) but I didn't get on with this one for whatever reason. Probably something to do with the combat; I've got another vague memory of arguing with someone about the shooting being the worst thing ever, while they tried to convince me that the driving physics were worse.

The game came out the same year as sandbox rival Saints Row 2 (which I really liked) and one difference between the games I've already noticed is that Volition know how numbers work. Rockstar on the other hand have given their sixth game the Roman numeral for 'four'. Well really it's the eleventh game on the Grand Theft Auto series, if you include the two GTA: London mission packs, the Stories games on PSP and Grand Theft Auto Advance, but I'm happy enough to consider them outside the main series.

Unlike its predecessors GTA IV has multiplayer, which I'm not going to even try. I'm not going to use iCEnhancer to prettify it either; this is pure, straight out of the box, vanilla single player GTA.

(Screenshots can be clicked to view them in their original resolution, but I'm warning you now it's not great.)

Friday, 7 October 2016

The Beast Within: A Gabriel Knight Mystery (MS-DOS)

Gabriel Knight 2 Beast Within title screen
Developer:Sierra|Release Date:1995|Systems:PC

This week on Super Adventures I’m playing a game that was requested in March this very year! It only took me six months to get around to a request for once; I'm very proud of myself.

The Beast Within is second game in the Gabriel Knight trilogy, following on from Sins of the Fathers, so I'm just going to call it Gabriel Knight 2 from now on. The Gabriel Knight trilogy is interesting as each game represents one of the four eras of 90s adventure games:
  • Gabriel Knight 1 is a classic 2D style point and click adventure from 1993, enhanced with early 90s advances like voice acting and 256 colour scanned backgrounds.
  • Gabriel Knight 2 was released two years later in 1995 and jumped right in to the short lived multimedia FMV fad, where game developers discovered that good actors and real sets are really expensive and video looks like ass when you compress it to fit on CDs.
  • Gabriel Knight 3 came out right at the end of the 90s in 1999, during a time where you either made your game with polygons or you picked up your coat and got out. Turns out that the relatively expensive 3D environments and game pad controls weren't a good match for the increasingly niche genre though.
  • Finally there’s Gabriel Knight 4, which doesn’t exist... because Gabriel Knight 3 killed adventure games. Actually the truth is that the genre was already on the way out, so at worst its famous cat fur moustache puzzle merely helped hammer a nail or two into the coffin. And the genre eventually rose from the dead so it didn't even do a good job of that.
Due to its high video content Gabriel Knight 2 originally came on a ridiculous 6 CDs, which isn't actually so bad when you had Amiga adventure games coming on a dozen floppy disks. It's definitely not an issue for me as the version I bought online has zero disc swapping! I just had to download it as 7 separate files because I was too dumb to get it from GOG or Steam. The game's not supported by ScummVM by the way, but I'm sure DOSBox can handle it.

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Parasol Stars (TurboGrafx-16)

parasol stars title screen
Developer:Taito|Release Date:1991|Systems:PC Engine, Amiga, Atari ST, Game Boy, NES

This week on Super Adventures I've chosen the wrong game to play, because what can I say about Parasol Stars? You play a dude with an umbrella who keeps on beating up enemies and taking their lunch until you run out of credits, stages or patience. Unless you have a friend playing too, then there's two dudes with umbrellas, and matching dungarees.

I suppose I could mention that it's actually Bubble Bobble III, except it says that on the title screen above, so you already know that. Also this TurboGrafx version was published by rogue game localizers Working Designs, but I don't think there's much scope for them to inject their idiosyncratic humour into this one, seeing as there's probably like six words in the game and they're already in English.

There's a good reason why I'm playing the TurboGrafx version instead of the original arcade game, and that's because there isn't one. Unlike the first two games, this was for home systems from the start. I always used to play the Amiga version and I always used to suck at it, so I'm curious to see if I do any better on a two button controller instead of a one button joystick.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Dungeon Siege II (PC)

Dungeon Siege 2 title menu screen
Developer:Gas Powered Games|Release Date:2005|Systems:Windows

This week on Super Adventures, I'm playing the second Dungeon Siege! In the grand tradition of RPG sequels, and indeed sequels in general, they've taken the name and put a number after it to form the title Dungeon Siege II.

I've played and beaten this before, but just like with Dungeon Siege all I've retained from the experience is a vague memory of liking it. This is why you should always write down every aspect of the games you play to an internet blog, to save you the trouble of having to ever play them again. I am curious to see how this holds up though, as dragging Dungeon Siege 1 into the harsh light of 2016 revealed that it's not quite as fun as I once thought it was.

First thing I've noticed: it doesn't have Dungeon Siege's awesome animated menu screen, and that makes me sad.

(You can get the original sized screenshots by clicking on the tiny ones.)

Friday, 16 September 2016

Dinosaur Detective Agency (Amiga)

Dinosaur Detective Agency title screen
Developer:Maximum Effect|Release Date:1993|Systems:Amiga

This week on Super Adventures I had a sudden urge to play Dinosaur Detective Agency for the Amiga, and I'm as confused as anyone about it.

I'm surprised I even remember the game, as if you add up the number of minutes I've spent playing the game they'd be less than the number of years since I last booted it up. In fact I was expecting the hero to look more like Sam Spade than Sherlock Holmes. Naughty game, encouraging kids to smoke pipes.

Hang on, does that say "1993" down there? Wow, what are the chances of this coming out the same year as 'Jurassic Park'? To be fair dinosaurs were already plenty popular before the movie, so I wouldn't say this is cynically cashing in on a fad. Because if they were he'd be riding a skateboard like Radical Rex.

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Star Trek: The Next Generation - A Final Unity (MS-DOS)

Star Trek: The Next Generation - A Final Unity title screen
Developer:Spectrum HoloByte|Release Date:1995|Systems:DOS, Mac

This week on Super Adventures I've been celebrating Star Trek's 50th anniversary by playing games that basically have nothing to do with the franchise, but that ends here with something a whole lot more relevant.

Sure it would've made more sense for me to play the Star Trek: 25th Anniversary adventure game, but I already have so that's put a wrench into that great idea. There is an entirely different 25th Anniversary on the NES, but I've played that too. So it comes down to this, and that's probably for the best as I've had this game sitting in my attic for so long that I've forgotten what it is or where it even came from. Have I even played it? Probably, once, but who knows?

All I know is that Spectrum HoloByte is a great name for a game developer, and it's a shame that this is one of the last games released with it on the box. They'd bought up MicroProse a couple of years before and by '96 all their games were released under that brand instead (including Trek games Birth of the Federation, Generations and Klingon Honor Guard). Then a few years later Hasbro bought Spectrum HoloByte (at this point known as MicroProse) and closed the studio, but they were in turn bought by Infogrames Entertainment, who acquired their assets and the Atari brand in the deal and renamed the company to Atari Interactive, before renaming themselves to Atari, SA. This shouldn't be confused with Atari, Inc. which is the name they gave to developer Infogrames, Inc. (formerly GT Interactive). There was also arcade game producer Atari Games, which formed when Atari, Inc. (the original one) split into two after the video game crash, but Infogrames never got its hands on that. It eventually ended up as Midway Games West until it was dissolved, with its IPs acquired by Warner Bros.

Game companies, man. It's starting to make sense to me why this never made it to Steam or GOG.

A Final Unity came out in 1995, a full year after 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' ended and about six months after the movie 'Star Trek: Generations', so it wasn't the most timely TV tie-in. Still it's nice that they waited until the game was finished, as quality's always better than synergy (for the player anyway).

The game isn't supported by ScummVM so I'm going to install it to a directory called "STFU" in DOSBox and cross my fingers. I'm sure it'll be fine though. In fact DOSBox is probably more likely to run the game than your average DOS PC, and with far less messing around with memory managers.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Consortium (PC)

Developer:Interdimensional Games|Release Date:2014|Systems:Windows

This week on Super Adventures I'm celebrating Star Trek's 50th anniversary by playing games with some connection to the series. Today I'm sharing screenshots from the first few hours of CONSORTIUM, a game that likes to SHOUT its name all over its Steam page. What does this have to do with 'Star Trek'? Well... I've read a few people say it's a bit like 'Star Trek: The Next Generation', except on a plane. And that's pretty much the only link.

Consortium's one of those Kickstarter success stories, though they didn't quite bring in millions. Or even hundreds of thousands. But what they got was apparently enough to finish an ambitious first person, guns and chats, RPG type of game, which is cool because that's one of my favourite genres.

This is a heavily story based game so I'm inevitably going to be spoiling a lot of things you might not want spoiled here. Though its description claims that "the story unfolds based largely on your actions," so if that's true I'm only spoiling one possible outcome! I won't give away the answer to the game's big mystery though, assuming I even manage to solve it.

(You can make screenshots moderately more visible by clicking on them.)

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Robotrek (SNES)

Robotrek title screen
Developer:Quintet/ANCIENT|Release Date:1994|Systems:Super Nintendo

Today on Super Adventures I'm still celebrating Star Trek's 50th anniversary by playing games with some tiny tiny link to the franchise. In this case it's just one word and I think you know which.

Well, half a word to be precise. There's just enough of a gap in the middle of that logo for doubt but I assure you that it's called Robotrek, and it's another JRPG! So this is going to take me a little longer to write about than Ice Trek a few days back, but I'm willing to make this sacrifice for you. In fact the game was requested a while back, but I never write down the dates so I don't know when. I've narrowed it down to some time between last week and 2011 though.

Of course the only way to fairly judge an RPG is to play it all the way through, learn how combat evolves and see if the story progresses through to a satisfying ending. So it's lucky for me I don't fairly judge games, because I've got other things to do this week! But I'll give it until the end of the first proper boss at least, to get a good idea about how it plays and show it off.

Monday, 5 September 2016

Stardew Valley (PC)

Stardew Valley title screen
Developer:ConcernedApe|Release Date:2016|Systems:Windows, Mac, Linux

This week on Super Adventures, my Star Trek 50th Anniversary Celebration drags on to day four with a game that's only one word away from being called Star Trek Valley. This was actually a surprise gift from a friend who was aware I was planning a 'Star Trek' week so there may be other secret connections to the venerable sci-fi franchise... but I doubt it.

I've never played Stardew Valley before, or read a review, or watched a Let's Play, but I do know a couple of things about it: first, it's very similar to the Harvest Moon games, which bored the crap out of me last time I tried one, and second, it's the first 2016 game on my site! I'm visiting the present day for the first time in a long while, though you wouldn't know it from its SNES-era pixelwork.

But unlike your typical SNES game this was put together by just one guy: a bloke called ConcernedApe (aka. Eric Barone) who did the programming, writing, art, music... basically everything. So hopefully the things he's good at make up for the things he's not. Unless he's good at everything, in which case I already hate him.

(Click the images to view them at their original resolution! They won't look much different though to be honest.)

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Ice Trek (Intellivision)

Developer:Imagic|Release Date:1983|Systems:Intellivision

This week on Super Adventures, my Star Trek 50th Anniversary Week continues with Ice Trek!

Chances of this having anything to do with 'Star Trek' aside from the name seem kind of slim, but it gave me an excuse to get an Intellivision game on my site at last. Now I get to make a new category for it on my 'Console Games' page!

The low detail nature of the game means that I can (and will) go crazy with the GIFs this time, but some of them might get a bit flickery. Game developers loved flickering back in the 80s. Just giving you a heads up.

Saturday, 3 September 2016

Stargate (SNES/Mega Drive)

Stargate SNES title screen
Developer:Probe/Tantalus|Release Date:1995|Systems:SNES, Mega Drive/Genesis

This week on Super Adventures I'm still celebrating Star Trek's 50th anniversary by playing games that have some vague connection to the series. This one's got 'Star' in the title, it's set on another planet, and it's based on a long running movie/TV franchise, so it's ticking lots of boxes. In fact the 'Stargate' TV spin-offs were often the closest you can get to proper 'Star Trek' without getting sued by both CBS and Paramount.

But Stargate the game is an adaptation of the original 1994 movie that kicked the franchise off, released a year after the film for Super Nintendo and Genesis/Mega Drive consoles. That's the SNES title screen you're looking at up there, with its narrow resolution and extra colours, but I'll be getting around to the the Sega version as well eventually.

'Stargate' isn't a particularly great film, but it cheats by having an iconic theme by Bond composer David Arnold powerful enough to make scenes of extras walking across a desert outside of Yuma, Arizona feel like the most epic sci-fi adventure since 'Return of the Jedi'... which used the place for Tatooine now that I think about it. Anyway, if there's one thing that absolutely works about that movie it's the music, so of course the game drops it entirely, replacing it with a title theme that sounds like it's been borrowed from an Amiga game. It's not all that bad though really, here have a YouTube link if you're curious.

There'll be movie SPOILERS below this point, so stop reading here unless you've seen it or don't care.

Friday, 2 September 2016

Redshirt (PC)

Redshirt title screen
Developer:The Tiniest Shark|Release Date:2013|Systems:Win, Mac, Linux

This week on Super Adventures I'm celebrating the 50th anniversary of 'Star Trek' by playing a new Trek game each and every day! Or at least that was the plan, until I remembered that a: most of my readers don't want to see seven Star Trek games in a row, and b: I don't have seven Star Trek games I haven't played already. Also most Star Trek games are crap anyway!

So instead I'm playing seven games with a some kind of tenuous connection to the venerable sci-fi franchise, mostly just games with 'Star' or 'Trek' in the title to be honest, starting with recent indie game Redshirt by miniature microstudio The Tiniest Shark (aka. Dr Mitu Khandaker-Kokoris).

I know next to nothing about this game, but one thing I do know is that it's a sci-fi themed satire simulating Facebook... in space! So I'm not exactly the target audience, as I quit the site about the same time it started asking me what schools I went to. I ain't got no time for nosey websites. These days the closest I come to social networking is occasionally remembering to put site updates on Twitter (follow @RayHardgrit on Twitter for site updates!!)

I've seen a few of them 'Star Trek's though, so that's got to help.

(Click the screenshots to expand them to exciting new dimensions).

Friday, 26 August 2016

Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers (NES)

Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers NES title screen
Developer:Capcom|Release Date:1991 (90 in Japan and NA)|Systems:NES

This week on Super Adventures, I'm celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Super Nintendo by playing a NES game!

Nah, not really. The SNES didn't come out where I live until 1992 so I've got nothing to celebrate yet. A NES game showing up on Super Adventures is kind of an event in itself though, because for whatever reason I haven't played one since way back in April. Of last year.

In the West this came out a few months after Super Mario Bros. 3 and a few months before the Super Nintendo, so I expect the developers likely knew what they were doing by this point (especially as it's made by Capcom!) But it's one of those games that's managed to slip by me entirely, so I've no idea what it's like or even what people think of it.

In fact I'm fairly sure I've never seen an episode of the Chip 'n Dale cartoon either, though if you showed me a picture of the characters I'd recognise it instantly. I'll even be able tell you which of them's Chip and which is Dale in a minute as the game starts off by asking me who I want to play as.

Friday, 19 August 2016

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl (PC) - Guest Post

Today on Super Adventures, I dragged my old friend mecha-neko back and made him write another guest post for you! We used to get a first person shooter a month out of him, now we get one every two years. It's fine though, he added more words to make up for it.

'sup.

Developer:GSC Game World|Release Date:2007|Systems:Windows

I'm guest poster mecha-neko and today I'm going to tell you all about a game I'm not too familiar with called S.T.A.L.K.E.R.. I played it once, a hundred years ago, but my memories are hazy. It's the perfect time for me to stalk once again!

(Since I've got a brand new GeForce 9600 GT! graphics card, these images are presented in super high-res. Click to make 'em big.)

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell (GBA)

Splinter Cell title screen game boy advance
Developer:Gameloft Srl|Release Date:2003|Systems:Game Boy Advance, N-Gage

This week on Super Adventures I'm finally taking a look at a Splinter Cell game! Just not the one you want.

GBA Splinter Cell came out around five months after the Xbox original and I don't see a subtitle on it so I'm presuming it follows the same plot. But have they turned it into an isometric action game or a platformer? It's a mystery.

I don't dislike sneaking around in games but I do hate it when failing stealth leads to absolute disaster, so even though I've played a lot of the Splinter Cells I didn't play them very long. All I remember about them now is nice looking shadows and a man on the radio yelling at me for ruining everything. But I played them long enough to know that the generic funky spy music coming out of this GBA game right now isn't normal. Tom Clancy games are supposed to be about serious people on serious business! Not that I'm complaining, it's nice that it's cheered up a bit since its console days.

Alright I'll give it a couple of levels, sharing my thoughts as I go, and once I've played enough to satisfy my curiosity I'll finish off with a block of words that looks very similar to a review.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Comix Zone (Genesis/Mega Drive)

Comix Zone title screen
Developer:Sega Technical Institute|Release Date:1995|Systems:Genesis/Mega Drive, GBA, Windows

This week on Super Adventures, I'm playing a game that was requested roughly... I'm guessing four years ago. I got to it eventually, that's the important thing.

I don't know why I've been putting off playing Comix Zone for so long, but I'm thinking the fact that it's bastard hard might have something to do with it. I didn't want to start it up, get my ass kicked, and quit on the first level. Not for this game, it's far too pretty for that.

The game was ported across to systems like PC and GBA, then later emulated on others, but it's mainly known as being Mega Drive/Genesis game released towards the end of its days. The concept actually came from an Amiga demo video from 1992 called "Joe Pencil Trapped in the Comix Zone", but Amiga owners never got to play the final game! An Amiga version would've bombed in '95 though, and the Mega Drive didn't exactly rake in the cash either. I guess it was just bad timing, releasing such a two dimensional game at the point where everyone was going crazy over polygons.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Super Adventures Top 50 Games So Far (Not really)

This week on Super Adventures I've decided to do something different and come up with a list of the top 50 games on my humble website so far! I'm up to about 1110 games on the site, so there's plenty to choose from at this point.

But I've been doing this for five years without giving out any scores and I can't remember what half the games are like any more, so ordering them based on my opinion of their quality would be a: impossible and b: boring. Plus knowing me there'd be a lot of modern games up at the top, mostly about shooting things in first person or shooting things in a sandbox, and that list would impress exactly no one.

So instead I've let you folks pick the games for me, using the laziest method available: checking their view counts. Basically this means that it'll be a list of the games that have done abnormally well on search engines or gotten linked on forums, with older posts having a huge unfair advantage. It also means that the list is entirely pointless, but at least it won't be predictable! And this way if Zelda, Skyrim and Dark Souls don't make the top ten, you've got no one to blame but yourselves.

I get to post some pictures and show off some games, you get a glimpse at what I'm seeing behind the scenes, it all works out for everybody!

Monday, 25 July 2016

Animorphs (GBC) - Guest Post

This week on Super Adventures, legendary guest poster mecha-neko returns out of nowhere to show off a Game Boy Color game about people who turn into animals going around catching animals so that they have more animals to turn into, or something.


Animorphs Game Boy Color title screen
Developer:Runny-Fun|Release Date:2000|Systems:Game Boy Color

What's up, docs? I'm guest poster mecha-neko who is a cat. You're tuned into Super Adventures in Gaming, where I'm gonna play Animorphs, an RPG on the Game Boy Color.

Be warned that this post contains flashing animations, and gratuitous images of a cheap cash-in title based on a kids book.

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Breach & Clear: DEADline (PC)

Breach & Clear Deadline title menu screen
Developer:Mighty Rabbit|Release Date:2015|Systems:Win, Linux, Mac

This month on Super Adventures, I'm playing Unity 5-powered special forces sequel Breach & Clear: nnLINԷ. Uh, I mean Breach & Clear: DEADline, or perhaps just Breach & Clear: Deadline; I'm getting conflicting information on that and as usual the logo's in all caps so it's no use.

As the name hints, this is the follow up to tactical counter-terrorism game Breach & Clear, though I'm sure it has very little to do with tactical counter-terrorism game Deadline, and I'm doubly certainly there's no connection to "authentic hotel maintenance simulation" Breach & Clean. I can detect a little Call of Duty influence though, as the game's gone from modern warfare straight to... hnng... zombies.

Zombies man, it's always the fucking zombies. Why is it never wizards? Breach & Clear & Dragons: Origins, it could totally work!

I'm coming into this entirely blind, as I've never seen the game, I didn't play it in Early Access, and I know next to nothing about it. In fact I went to do my normal research, looking for some stuff to write up here, and it seems that neither Wikipedia or MobyGames have an entry for it. So if you've ever wanted to add a game to either site and leave a semi-permanent mark on history, now's your big chance!

But one thing I do know about the game, and this is something you should definitely be aware of, is that a friend of mine worked on it. So I can't promise I'll be entirely fair in my assessment of the game. But this site's about showing games off as much as it is about my opinions, and I can still do that while being biased. So if you decide to carry on reading, keep repeating to yourself "This guy's predisposed to be nice to the game," in your head the whole time, and then ignore all my conclusions.

(Click any screenshot to expand it to twice its current size!)

Saturday, 2 July 2016

BioShock (PC)

BioShock logo
Developer:2K Boston & 2K Australia|Release Date:2007|Systems:PC, Xbox 360, PS3, OS X, iOS

This week on Super Adventures I'm playing Irrational Games' System Shock successor BioShock! Well okay they were called 2K Boston (and 2K Australia) at the time, but they changed back right afterwards. Speaking of names, you'd think that if they were going to play around capitalising the S in the middle like that, they'd put some clue in the logo so people would know about it. 'BIOSHOCK', there you go, I even kept it upper case.

I actually had something else written for this paragraph, but then 2K suddenly announced that the first two BioShocks are getting an shiny new release with new models, better textures and directors commentary, and PC owners get the upgrade for free! It's like they waited for the exact moment I started to replay the game so they could ruin all my plans. I was tempted to delay writing this until September and take the next few months off, but then I realised that I'm more curious about whether the original experience still holds up. I'm also curious to learn whether I'm still sick of the game, or if it's been long enough now that I can find the fun again.

BioShock's part of an exclusive club, as it's a game I actually finished once, though I can assure you that you'll be getting no spoilers from me. Well except for the first few hours of the game, I'll be spoiling all of that like crazy, but I'm not even going to hint at any twists it may or may not have. Because I hate it when people do that.

(You can click screenshots to view them in super 720p-o-vision, which was a fairly impressive resolution back in 1960.)

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Freelancer (PC)

Freelancer logo
Developer:Digital Anvil|Release Date:2003|Systems:PC

This week on Super Adventures I'm having a go of PC Elite 'em up Freelancer. I've been meaning to write about this on my site for years but other games kept taking its place in the queue and it eventually got shoved to the back burner. But I played this game to completion back when it was new and I'm hyped to finally get around to jumping back into the Sirius Sector for some simulated space combat.

The game's by Digital Anvil, founded by Wing Commander developer Chris Roberts, who's probably better known these days as the man space sim fans keep throwing money at in the hopes he'll someday give them Star Citizen. Microsoft bought Digital Anvil in 2000, a few months after buying Bungie, but Freelancer escaped Halo's fate of becoming Xbox exclusive. Instead it remained PC exclusive, which still kind of sucks for console owners. If the Dreamcast could handle Starlancer, I bet the newer consoles could've managed the sequel.

Like Star Citizen, Freelancer promised a lot of ambitious features, like a dynamic galaxy with fluctuating stock prices, supporting thousands of players at once! And then the final game had a static galaxy supporting 128 players. It supports exactly 1 player these days, as the official servers were shut down 5 years after release, but I'm sure fans are still running galaxies of their own. It's all irrelevant to me though as I'm only going to be checking out the single player.

(Click the screenshots to gaze upon them in their full 1280x960 majesty).

Friday, 10 June 2016

Simon the Sorcerer (PC)

Developer:Adventure Soft|Release Date:1993|Systems:PC, Amiga, CD32, Acorn, Android, iPhone

This week on Super Adventures I'm taking a quick look at classic PC and Amiga adventure game Simon the Sorcerer. It's also got the subtitle The Original Adventure on my box, but I'm not calling it that.

According to Wikipedia:
Simon the Sorcerer or Simon the Magician, in Latin Simon Magus (Greek Σίμων ὁ μάγος), was a Samaritan magus or religious figure and a convert to Christianity, baptised by Philip the Evangelist, whose later confrontation with Peter is recorded in Acts 8:9–24.
But that's entirely irrelevant as the game's got nothing to do with him. This is an entirely unrelated Simon who performs completely different sorcery.

I've played Simon the Sorcerer before, I've even beaten the thing (with the help of a walkthrough), but it's been a while and all I remember about it now is the pitiful Swampling inadvertently poisoning Simon with his terrible cooking, and the theme song. Here, have a YouTube link to the theme so you can permanently burn it into your own brain as well.

I'll be playing the PC CD XP release through Scumm VM, just so you know. It's still pretty much the 1993 game as far as I know, and is likely exactly what you'd get from GOG.

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Saints Row (Xbox 360)

Developer:Volition|Release Date:2006|Systems:Xbox 360

This week on Super Adventures I'm going to fix an obvious omission on my site that's been bothering me for two years. I've written about Saints Rows 2 to IV, but I've completely overlooked the original game in the series! No I'm not talking about Grand Theft Auto 3, but I understand your confusion.

I'm a big fan of the Saints Row sequels but I've only played the first game once back when it was new, and only long enough to think 'wow, this is familiar'. The impression I've been getting from others is that the game was pretty much a practice run for Volition, a generic GTA: San Andreas clone without the personality the series developed later, so now I'm going to play it properly and see how true that is.

By the way, the game's 10 years old this August, and the console it was released on was discontinued in April, so that means it's officially retro! Maybe. Either way it's a pleasure to finally introduce the Xbox 360 to Super Adventures (even if I'm only doing it because this bloody game didn't get a convenient, easy to screenshot PC release like its sequels).

(Clicking the images will make them big, so you can see all the nice H.264 video compression artefacts).

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Punky Skunk (PSX)

Punky Skunk title screen
Developer:Ukiyotei|Release Date:1998 (96 in Japan)|Systems:PlayStation

This week on Super Adventures, I'm playing another mascot platformer! Because they take less time than trying to figure out a strategy game or get anywhere in an RPG and I'm trying to keep these posts coming out weekly.

Punky Skunk's been on my 'to play' list for a long while now, so long that I can't even remember if I ever knew what it is. I do know that the internet hates it though, as poor Punky's turned up on Game Informer's 'Worst Character Names' list, EGM's worst mascot list and IGN's 'Great Games With Silly Names' article... as an example of a game that really does suck as badly as its title suggests.

To be fair you know you've hit the bottom of the mascot barrel when you've reached 'skunk'. No one wants to play as a skunk, punky or otherwise (that's why Pepé Le Pew never got a game). Also the title screen isn't exactly giving the best first impression. All the dithering and scruffy lines makes it look like they scanned it in but didn't have time to clean it up afterwards. It's basically the same as the box art though so I suppose Punky's face is meant to look like it's been scribbled in a notebook.

Okay I'm going to keep playing until I've beaten the first boss, or died trying, or gnawed my own hands off, whichever happens first.

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Dungeon Siege (PC)

Dungeon Siege title screen
Developer:Gas Powered Games|Release Date:2002|Systems:Windows, Mac

This week on Super Adventures I went and did that thing I wasn't supposed to do and played another RPG! I've got nothing against the genre, they just take so much time and so many words.

Dungeon Siege has gotten a bit of a reputation for being a game that basically plays itself, but I've got fond memories of it. Well, I've got a vague memory of being fond of it at least. I've beaten the game, but the only thing I can recall after 14 years is that the steampunk goblins were cool. So I plan to keep going in the game at least long enough to run into those guys.

You know I still get surprised when I'm reminded this got an movie adaptation, though I can very much believe it was nega-director Uwe Boll who made it happen. 'In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale' came out five years after the game, in actual cinemas, with folks like Jason Statham, Ron Perlman, Ray Liotta and Burt Reynolds collecting paychecks for their participation. Boll really was on a mission to ruin the chances of us ever getting a decent video game movie back then, releasing three of them in 2007 alone ('Dungeon Siege', 'Postal' and 'BloodRayne 2'). He's slowed down a bit since then, but that hasn't saved us from 'In the Name of the King 3: The Last Mission'.

(Click any image to see the original sized screenshot. The game can apparently support more modern resolutions, but I’ll be playing at 800x600 because I want to give you a fighting chance to read the on screen text.)

Saturday, 30 April 2016

SiN (PC)

Sin title screen
Developer:Ritual|Release Date:1998|Systems:Win, Mac, Linux

This week on Super Adventures I'm taking a look at SiN, the first actual game by Ritual Entertainment. Or 'sin' according to the box, title screen, menu, intro etc. (the manual just calls it Sin).

I used to play a lot of first person shooters back in the 90s (and every other decade), so if I haven't seen the full version of something, chances are I've at least played the demo. But SiN apparently slipped right by me. All I know about it is that it starts in a bank, I don't even know if it's 3D like Half-Life or 2.5D like Doom (though in my head I'm imagining it looking like Duke Nukem 3D).

Part of the reason I never got around to it might be that when the game came out it wasn't exactly firing on all cylinders. The game was full of bugs, it took minutes to load levels and save games, and a lot of people didn't even get sound. But now it's full patched up and it even runs on modern PCs! I hope!

(Click the screenshots to view the images at 800x600 res! I was playing in fake 3dfx mode so it's the best I could get.)

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Syndicate (MS-DOS)

Syndicate title screen
Developer:Bullfrog|Release Date:1993|Systems:PC, Amiga, Acorn, Mac, PC-98, 3DO, Jaguar, CD32

This fine Wednesday on Super Adventures I'm having a go of one of Bullfrog's most classic games, Syndicate!

It's about time as well, because for the last five years or so the only Bullfrog games I've had on my site have been Hi-Octane and Genewars. No Dungeon Keepers, no Theme Parks, and nary a single Populous (not even going to try working out the plural of that... or how to play it).

Syndicate and I have met a few times over the years, but we've never really got on. I'm not sure why, maybe I've been misunderstanding some aspect of gameplay, maybe it's just not my thing, but I've always found it to be finicky, frustrating and bloody difficulty to get anywhere in. Every now and again though I find myself wanting to give it another chance, because I love its particular remix of the 'Blade Runner' dystopian aesthetic and I'm always up for a bit of ultra-violent cyberpunk tactical action. But every time I load it up I end up putting in a cheat and firing Gauss guns at cars for a bit before turning it right back off again.

For some reason I always thought that the Amiga version was the genuine article and all others mere reflections, but this was actually the first Bullfrog game designed first for PC. Works for me, I got it off Origin a short while back when they were giving it away, so I'm all set up to give it another shot.

Friday, 15 April 2016

Kaze Kiri: Ninja Action (TurboGrafx-CD)

Developer:Naxat Soft|Release Date:1994|Systems:PC Engine Super CD-ROM²

This week on Super Adventures, a game called Kaze Kiri: Ninja Action that came out in Japan and nowhere else.

I'm not sure I've played a Naxat Soft game before so I've no idea what to expect. Maybe it'll be an incredibly slick showcase for what the humble PC Engine can do in the hands of experts, maybe it'll be an unplayable piece of crap, I can't even guess. It's a Super CD-ROM² game so it has the potential to be at least as good as Castlevania: Rondo of Blood, but I won't be getting my hopes up.

One thing I know for sure is that I hate how long it takes to get to the title screen. First you have to wait through a flickering five second movie countdown and then another ten for the title to form. C'mon game, I've got ninjas to kill or maybe play as!

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Sword Coast Legends (PC)

Sword Coast Legends title screen
Developer:n-Space + Digital Extremes|Release Date:2015|Systems:Windows, Mac, Linux

This week on Super Adventures I'm playing a few hours of shiny new RPG Sword Coast Legends! Well it's pretty new, as it came out in October 2015.

I'm really curious about this one as it's the first proper Baldur’s Gate-style 'Dungeons & Dragons' RPG since Obsidian's Neverwinter Nights 2 a decade ago. The thing is though, it's by n-Space, the people who brought the world games like Mary-Kate and Ashley: Crush Course and Hannah Montana: The Movie, when they weren't busy porting first person shooters to the DS. But Dragon Age: Origins director Dan Tudge joined the company to lead development on the game, and that's got to be a good sign. It also means I'll likely be typing 'Dragon Age' a lot.

Sadly it seems like n-Space may have been better off on their path they were on, as this was their last game. After 22 years of game development, the company closed down last week.

Oh I should mention that I'm only playing the single player campaign. A big deal was made about the game's innovative multiplayer Dungeon Master Mode, which lets one player guide a group of others through their home-made dungeons, so be aware that it exists and I'm just ignoring it. Because I do that.

(Remember: clicking images will display higher resolution screenshots.)

Semi-Random Game Box