Tuesday, 31 December 2019

Super Adventures Games of the Decade: 2010-2019

This week on Super Adventures, one final article for 2019. It's the end of a decade, so I felt like I should probably write something about that.

I've done a 'top games' post once before, but I cheated by using page views to rank the games on my site instead of picking my own list. This time though it's the real deal, my favourite games from the last ten years, and not just for games I've written about on Super Adventures. I did think about doing a specifically 'Best of Super Adventures list', but then I realised that the site's 9 years old, so I'd be an idiot not to save it for next year. Actually a 'Best Screenshots of Super Adventures' post sounds easier, I should do that next year instead.

Anyway, the trouble with 'best of' lists is that they're all wrong. I mean they're all just someone's opinion, and that person likely hasn't played every game released on every system. Plus chances are they don't love all genres and gameplay gimmicks equally either. But I've come up with an ingenious and innovative solution to this problem! I'm going to give you three lists simultaneously: one with my favourite AAA game from a certain year, one with the my favourite indie game from a certain year, and one with the game I should've picked instead. That way I've got all my bases covered and everyone's happy.

Note: for the purposes of this list I'm roughly defining 'indie' as meaning 'doesn't look like the end credits would last for literally half an hour'. Also I couldn't quite capture all the screenshots I needed this time, so I'll warn you now that a tiny handful of the images will be... less than ideal. You'll see what I mean.

Monday, 9 December 2019

Super AiG Screenshots of the Year: 2019

This week on Super Adventures, I've got a page full of screenshots with writing under them for you. Sounds pretty typical for this site, but this time there's a twist: you've seen them all before! There's absolutely no new content here for you!

I usually do my Screenshots of the Year post on New Years Eve, but I didn't see the point in keeping you waiting a few weeks when I'm already done writing about games this year. I'm taking another break, no more games until the end of January I'm afraid.

Taking all these two months breaks has really helped me out though. For one thing it meant I only had half the amount of posts to look through when I was picking out my favourite screenshots. Plus it meant that my short list turned out to be a lot shorter than usual, so I didn't have to agonise over what screens and GIFs made it into the final post. The moral of the story, doing less work is... good?

(If you see a screenshot from a modern system you can probably click it to see the same image in glorious 720p!)

Thursday, 5 December 2019

Super Adventures with the Xbox Game Pass

You might be aware that Microsoft has a fantastic Xbox Game Pass deal right now. New subscribers can join Xbox Game Pass for a single dollar or pound, and get three months access to over a hundred games on PC and Xbox One, plus free months of EA/Origin Access, Discord Nitro and Spotify!

But what you likely don't know, is that I joined it like a week or two too early to get the three months! I only got one month! It's an actual tragedy. (Also I'm not getting paid for all this advertising I'm giving them and that sucks too.)

So this week on Super Adventures I decided to get three months' worth of gameplay out of my one month by playing too many games for not long enough each! I can't do a full post on each of them so I'm going to skip past the part where I try to be funny underneath screenshots and jump straight to the bit at the end where I sum up my first impressions. It's a bit of a change of format, but don't worry it's not going to stick.

I was really rushed last month (and I still am) so a few of these 'reviews' are just going to be me pointing out something funny I saw in the first ten minutes, right before I got bored and quit. You don't have to finish a game to know that it's bad, but giving it a few hours definitely helps and I didn't always do that, so don't take my complaining too seriously. I'm just showing off some of the games I played, because it felt like it'd be wasted opportunity not to.

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Normality (MS-DOS)

Normality PC title logo
Developer:Gremlin|Release Date:1996|Systems:DOS

This week on Super Adventures, I've reached my last proper game post of the year. I mean it's not the last thing I'll be writing for the site, there's another article coming next week, but this is the last time I'll be going through the first hour or so of one game, showing off screenshots along the way. Until next year anyway.

Oh, I'm playing Normality by the way, in case the title stamped up there didn't give it away. The logo jitters around in game and I was tempted to make my image animated to show it off, but then I realised I didn't need another ugly distracting GIF on my front page for weeks. I learned that lesson back when I did that Amiga Fighting Games article.

My GOG orders history page claims that I bought Normality two years ago and I'm sure it's probably right, though what it doesn't know is that I only got the game so that I could write about it here... and then I forgot. Until now! I've only got a vague idea of what the game even is, but the love I've seen it get online put it on my radar and I have a feeling that even if it pisses me off I'm going to get some good screenshots out of it.

The game has a story and puzzles, and if you keep reading you're going to find SPOILERS for the first couple of hours of both. Just so you know.

Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Streets of Rage (Genesis/Mega Drive)

Streets of Rage title screen mega drive
Developer:Sega|Release Date:1991|Systems:Mega Drive, Master System, Game Gear

This week on Super Adventures, I'm playing Streets of Rage on the Sega Mega Drive. Seems weird that it's taken me this long to get around to it, but I was putting it off until I figured out how to screenshot a soundtrack. Turns out that it's all on YouTube though, so you can listen to it there while you read: a link to that thing I just told you about.

But why am I playing this right after playing the very similar Golden Axe? Well, I had this great idea, where I was going to play all three of the games on my Mega Games 2 compilation cartridge. I figured they were so basic I'd get like eight screenshots out of each, but I could put them together to get a full article out of them. Then I saw how long how the Golden Axe section was becoming on its own and realised that my clever scheme wasn't going to work... but whatever, I'm all set up here to play some Streets of Rage so I'm writing about it anyway.

They're both side scrolling beat 'em ups developed by Sega, but Streets of Rage isn't a coin-op conversion like Golden Axe; it was a Mega Drive game from the start. Though it was ported across to the Master System and Game Gear so I suppose I have to check out those versions as well. Here's another exciting fact about it: the fighters shouldn't have amputated legs on the title screen, that seems to be a quirk of the PAL version I'm playing.

That guy's hair is made of spaghetti in all regions though. Also all three of them always wear gloves that cover their knuckles, despite the fact that the game's called Bare Knuckle in Japan.

Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Golden Axe (Genesis/Mega Drive)

Developer:Sega|Release Date:1990 (1989 in Japan and Arcades)|Systems:Lots

This week on Super Adventures, I'm playing the legendary arcade game Golden Axe! On the Mega Drive!

It might seem a bit strange that it's taken me like eight years to finally get around to Golden Axe as it's fairly well known. Maybe not Mario or Doom tier, but definitely Alex Kidd tier. Higher than Toki, lower than Tekken. Anyway, one of the reasons I haven't played it yet is because when I started this site I was only writing about games I hadn't seen before and knew nothing about, and this is one I know a bit about. In fact it's probably the first Mega Drive game I ever owned. I wasn't very good at it and I've never reached the ending, but I've seen those first few stages at least a half dozen times!

The other reason I've put off writing about it, is what am I going to write? You walk to the right and you hit things, there's not much else to it. I suppose I could mention that the arcade game was created by the team that made Altered Beast the year before. Also, they were apparently going to call the game Broad Axe, after they couldn't use their first choice, but then the president of Sega US noticed that the dwarf's axe in the game looked golden and decided that they were going have to change the title to Golden Axe or else they weren't going to sell it. That's what I've read anyway!

By the way, the kanji in the logo with all the weapons hidden in it, "戦斧", means 'battle axe', which is what they wanted to call the game in the first place. I think Golden Axe is a better name to be honest.

Friday, 8 November 2019

Need for Speed Games Part 4: Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2, Need for Speed: Underground

Today on Super Adventures, I've reached the end of the first decade of the Need for Speed games. We're in the EA GAMES TRAX era now, where every time a new song comes on, the TRAX box slides onto the screen to let you know who you're listening to. Even on the title screen.

This also means we're in the licenced soundtrack era, and the sixth gen console era! And Underground brings us to the era of perpetual twilight, where daytime is banned. Unless it's literally set underground, I don't think they ever say.

Anyway this is it, the last part. After this you won't be reading about any racing games here for a long long time, so enjoy it while it lasts (or endure it for just a little longer). Earlier parts are here, here and here.

(If I don't mention what system a screenshot came from, it's from the PC version.)

Thursday, 7 November 2019

Need for Speed Games Part 3: Need for Speed: Porsche 2000 (aka Porsche Unleashed)

This week on Super Adventures, I've been playing through all the Need for Speed games released during their first decade. Well maybe not all of them, I'm sure there's one I've accidentally skipped, because they just kept making the things! There are more Need for Speed games than there are Bond movies at this point. Well, kind of. It depends on whether you count games like Need for Speed: V-Rally and Over Drivin' Skyline Memorial. Or if you count games like Porsche 2000, Porsche 2000 and Porsche 2000.

Speaking of which, today I'm writing about Need for Speed: Porsche 2000, also known as Porsche Unleashed, or sometimes just Porsche. Once again the US version has the better name, as I don't think a game has any business having '2000' in its title when it actually came out during the year 2000. FIFA 2000 coming out in 1999, that's fine. Death Race 2000 coming out in 1975, that's cool too. But this I don't like.

This is the third part of four. If you want to go back to an earlier part you can find them here and here.

(If I don't mention what system a screenshot came from, it's from the PC version.)

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

Need for Speed Games Part 2: Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit, Need for Speed: Road Challenge (aka High Stakes)

This week on Super Adventures I'm still playing through the first ten years of the Need for Speed series and today I've reached the third and fourth games, Hot Pursuit and Road Challenge (known in the US as High Stakes). If you want to read about the first two games you can find part one here.

I hope you like screenshots of cars and roads, because that's all I've got for you today. They're pretty good cars though. There's a Chevrolet Corvette, a Ferrari F355, a Lamborghini Diablo, another Corvette... all kinds of cars.

(If I don't mention what system a screenshot came from, then it's from the PC version. Unless the game doesn't have a PC version.)

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Need for Speed Games Part 1: The Need for Speed, Need for Speed II

This week on Super Adventures, I've decided to finally write about some Need for Speed. It's the most successful racing game series of all time and it's been around almost as long as Mario Kart, but I haven't written about a single of one them yet!

The trouble with racing games, and the reason I don't write about them much, is that they're all about racing. I mean that's not a problem when you're playing them, many would even consider it a positive, but it makes writing about in detail a bit tricky as all you do is drive down a road, often in circles. Then if you do it right you get to go do the same thing someplace else! I could fill up space by taking lots of screenshots of cars and menu screens, but I'd run out of stuff to say fast as I'm not exactly an expert on the subject.

But I've thought of a clever solution: if I write about lots of Need for Speed games then I don't have to write so much about each one! And seeing as the 25th anniversary game, Need for Speed: Heat, is coming out in four days, I've decided to write four separate parts covering the series' first 10 years, in chronological order, starting with Road & Track Presents The Need for Speed and Need for Speed II!

Friday, 1 November 2019

Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse (PC)

Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse Remake Title Screen PC
Developer:Sega Studios Australia|Release Date:2013|Systems:Win, PS3, Xbox 360, iOS, Windows Phone, Android, OS X

This week on Super Adventures, I'm playing Castle of Illusion! Again!

I didn't mean to, not originally. I just wanted to grab a couple of screenshots for my article about the Mega Drive game, to show what the remake looked like by comparison. But it turns out that they've remade a lot more than just the graphics, so I decided to give it its own article instead.

I've had this one lying around my in my Steam library unplayed for three years now, ever since they cunningly manipulated me into buying it by announcing it was going to be taken off the store. Sure it was almost certainly going to be put back on eventually, but what if it wasn't? I could've missed my chance to ever play the game! (It came back seven months later).

This Castle of Illusion first came out in 2013, 23 years after the original (and 6 years before now) and it was the last game to be made by Sega Studios Australia. They'd been around for about 10 years by that point and had been known as Creative Assembly Australia for most of it, developing games like Medieval II: Total War and London 2012 - the officially licensed game of the 2012 Olympic Games. Not a whole lot of platformers though, unless you count a port of the 2D Sonic games to the DS, so that's not massively encouraging. But hey the other Creative Assembly came out with Alien: Isolation out of nowhere and everyone loves that except me, so maybe this is actually really good!

Monday, 28 October 2019

Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse (Genesis/Mega Drive)

Developer:Sega|Release Date:1991 (1990 NA)|Systems:Mega Drive, Master System, Game Gear

And the Super Adventures award for 'Ugliest Title Screen of 2019' goes to... that picture up there. Sorry Keio Flying Squadron 2, your title screen may be pretty ugly, but you've been outdone by this indistinct grey mess.

This week I’m playing Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse, known in Japan as I Love Mickey Mouse: Fushigi no Oshiro Daibōken. Me, I’m indifferent to Mickey Mouse. I never watched his cartoons as a kid and I didn’t play his games, so he’s always been roughly on the level of Ronald McDonald in my mind. But as far as Disney logo symbols go, he’s second only to the Sleeping Beauty Castle!

Castle of Illusion is the first game in the Illusion series, which is pretty much four games and a remake, and I've never played any of them! Well okay, I've probably put a couple of them on for five minutes each, but I've got no nostalgia for them. On the other hand, I did play another Mickey Mouse Mega Drive platformer for the site a few years back called Fantasia, which was... not good. I can't blame Mickey for that though (plus it was by an entirely different developer), so I'm going to give him another chance to win me over here.

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

Indivisible (PC)

Indivisible title screen logo
Developer:Lab Zero|Release Date:2019|Systems:PC

Hey, guess what I'm writing about on Super Adventures this week! Okay maybe the title screen makes it a little obvious, but I didn't see it coming. Here's a life hack: get amazing friends who'll occasionally drop a brand new game on you with no warning or explanation.

The least I could do in return was write about it, and I'm all about doing the least I can do, so here's my review of Indivisible, the latest game by the makers of Skullgirls. I don't know much about Skullgirls as I only play fighting games when I feel like mashing buttons and being humiliated, but I do know it's got some fancy cartoon animation so I'm coming into Indivisible with the preconception that it's going to look fairly pretty as well. I also know it's a bit of an action RPG inspired by Valkyrie Profile, but other that that I'm fairly clueless about it.

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Jackie Chan's Stuntmaster (PSX)

Jackie Chan's Stuntmaster title screen
Developer:Radical|Release Date:2000|Systems:PlayStation

This week on Ray Hardgrit's Super Adventures, I'm playing Jackie Chan's Stuntmaster on the original PlayStation! Hang on, that's not right, I'm sure the box called it Jackie Chan: Stuntmaster. Where'd this 's' come from? Is he the Stuntmaster or is Stuntmaster his?

There's no 's' anywhere in the US version, and in the UK it shows up in the game and the manual but not on the box. This is the opposite of important or interesting, but it's definitely weird.

Anyway, Stuntmaster was developed by Radical Entertainment Ltd (not to be confused with Ritual Entertainment), who also made games like Mario is Missing!, Power Piggs of the Dark Age and The Simpsons: Hit & Run. Sadly their days of making their own games ended in 2012 when Prototype 2 underperformed and now they just support other Activision studios. At least that's what Wikipedia told me.

But here's a fact for you that no one can nick from Wikipedia: this was one of the first PlayStation games I ever owned, because it came with my beautiful little second-hand PSOne. It's also the second Jackie Chan game I owned, after Jackie Chan's Action Kung Fu on the NES, but they're far from the only games with his name on. There's a bunch of them on the MSX, there's a couple of surprisingly gory Mortal Kombat-inspired arcade fighters, there are two based on the Jackie Chan Adventures cartoon, and there's even two on the XaviXPORT console.

Wait, what the hell's a XaviXPORT?

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

Pinkie (Amiga) - Guest Post

This week on Super Adventures, it's guest poster mecha-neko's turn to play a game! I can't be expected to write about all the games all on my own, there are about 10,000 of the bloody things... added to Steam each year. Plus if anyone can find the good in an old Amiga platformer starring a naked pink worm man with no teeth or elbows, it's him. I hope.

Pinkie Amiga title screen
Developer:Data Designs, Scott Williams Games|Release Date:Winter 1994|Systems:Amiga

Hello everyone! How are you doing?

I love a good mascot game, don't you? I'm in the mood for an obscure-as-heck Amiga mascot.

Say 'Hi!' to Pinkie, a brave new kind of hero!

Don't you just love him? Look at this happy guy! He's bounding from a platform, cheesing all the baddies off and having a right ball. We're sure to be having some good times jumping around on things together!


Thursday, 3 October 2019

Hybrid Heaven (N64)

Hybrid Heaven menu screen
Developer:Konami Osaka|Release Date:1999|Systems:Nintendo 64

Super Adventures is back again! It's only going to be around for eight weeks before going back into hibernation over the winter, but I'm going to be writing about so many games. Like, maybe even eight of them.

First I'm playing an N64 game called Hybrid Heaven. It's one of those games that I've been meaning to check out for years, but it's finally completed the arduous climb to the top of my 'to play' list. It made it just in time as well, as it's the game's 20th anniversary this year, though that's true of a lot of N64 titles. In fact my half-assed research on Wikipedia tells me that about a third of the system's games came out during 1999. Then after 2000 the console dropped like a rock for some reason (PlayStation 2).

Hybrid Heaven wasn't exactly the N64's biggest hit, but I don't feel like it can be that obscure, at least not to people who owned the system. I think it's probably one of those games that lots of people have heard of but not necessarily played themselves. It's one of the few carts my family had for the console back in the day and I even I haven't played it, though my brother did spoil the twist for me.

The game was nice enough to give me two title screens to pick from for my screenshot up there, but I decided to go with the one with menu options on it instead of the one with the Twin Towers filling the screen... because it gives me an excuse to talk about the resolution!

A few N64 games offer a 'high resolution' option if you've got the Expansion Pak installed, which doubles the resolution to 640x480. Or at least that's what you'd expect it to do, but it was apparently more like 480x360 for most games (or even less in widescreen). Hybrid Heaven seems to be one of the few N64 games that actually does something close to proper 640x480... but I've heard that the frame rate's terrible in that mode so I'm going to leave it on standard definition.

Saturday, 17 August 2019

Ion Fury (PC)

Ion Fury logo
Developer:Voidpoint|Release Date:2019|Systems:PC, Mac

This month on Super Adventures, I've only got the one game for you, and it's been reviewed and streamed by everyone else already! In fact it was in Early Access for months, so a whole chapter of it's been around for everyone to play for ages. What I should've done is hang on for a couple of decades until the game's properly retro and write about it then, but I'm impatient.

Ion Fury is the second Duke Nukem spin-off starring Shelly Harrison after 2016's Bombshell, except not really as the character never actually turned up in any of the Duke Nukem games she was intended to appear in. This worked out for 3D Realms though as it means they got to keep her when they sold the rest of the Duke IP to Gearbox a few years back. They can't make Duke Nukem games anymore but they can make all the Bombshell sequels they want. Or a prequel in this case.

Bombshell was a top down shooter, but this is a bit more like Duke Nukem 3D. In fact it's a lot more like it, as it was made using the Build engine that powered the last of the great 2.5D games like Duke 3D, Shadow Warrior and Blood. Why did they go back to such an archaic game engine? Same reason that Baldur's Gate got an expansion made recently in the Infinity engine I guess: because the developer had already updated the engine for new systems and knew people were nostalgic for it (Voidpoint is run by the guy who made the EDuke32 source port). Plus they wanted to.

I'm immune to nostalgia though, as I never really left the 90s (or the 2000s). In fact I played a few levels of Doom II, Quake and Duke 3D while I was waiting for the final version to go live and the download to start, so all it has to do is be better than them and I'll be impressed.

Thursday, 1 August 2019

Escape from Monkey Island (PC)

Escape from Monkey Island pc title screen
Developer:LucasArts|Release Date:2000|Systems:Windows, Mac, PlayStation 2

Super Adventures is going on another break (sorry about that), but first I'm going to finally fix a gaping hole in my site. I wrote about Curse of Monkey Island in 2013, two years later I followed it up with Secret and Tales, and then two years after that I played LeChuck's Revenge. Not the recommended order I know, but if I always did what people recommended I wouldn't be playing Escape from Monkey Island at all. It's been another two years since I played a Monkey Island game though, so I have to play Escape now to continue the pattern!

This is the fourth of the games and for the better part of a decade it seemed like it was going to be the last of them. It wasn't though, which is fortunate because it would've been a bit of a depressing note to leave the series on. Not that Escape from Monkey Island is outright hated by fans, in fact it got good reviews, but it's often considered to be the weakest of them.

It's not the only classic adventure game sequel to suffer after the switch to 3D though, as there's also Broken Sword: The Sleeping Dragon, Simon the Sorcerer 3D... actually it'd be quicker to name the ones that pulled it off. Uh, Sam and Max: Save the World maybe? The transition from being the prettiest 2D games to the ugliest 3D games with the worst controls didn't go well for them, but the game design seemed to go downhill in general. Even the reasonably well liked Gabriel Knight 3 gave the world the cat hair moustache puzzle that killed adventure games forever. Or maybe they died off because increasing budgets due to 3D visuals and voice acting made them increasingly unprofitable. Could be a bit of both.

Speaking of things disappearing forever but then actually coming back a while later, Super Adventures is taking the next two months off, so I've given you a few more screenshots than usual to keep you going. If you ration them out, one screenshot a day, it should get you most of the way through. But if you find yourself thinking 'When is this damn post going to end???', then don't worry, I'll shut up just as soon as I've achieved something on the second island.

This will of course mean there'll be SPOILERS for the events up to that point. Oh, and for the earlier games as well.

Wednesday, 24 July 2019

StarTropics (NES)

StarTropics title screen
Developer:Locomotive, Nintendo R&D3|Release Date:1992 (1990 in NA)|Systems:NES

This week on Super Adventures, I'm thinking about how much StarTropics' title screen reminds me of the title screen of Metroid. They've got the same 'text floating in front of a twinkling starfield' look. Though Metroid has fewer palm trees.

StarTropics is fairly well known among people who aren't me, but I never played it myself. In fact I thought it was a SNES game until I looked it up. I'm still not sure how it plays, but if I had to guess I'd say it was probably going to be a little like that Secret of Evermore game I wrote about in January. The two games definitely share one thing in common: their titles both start with the letter 'S'. Also they were both developed with a Western audience in mind and never got a release in Japan. They even left it off the Nintendo Classic Mini Family Computer (aka the Famicom Mini) despite it being one of the 30 games that came with the NES Classic in other regions.

It was produced and written by a Japanese game designer though, Genyo Takeda, who was apparently also responsible for a: putting battery backed-up save RAM in the cartridge version of The Legend of Zelda and making that a thing, b: sticking an analogue thumbstick on the N64 controller and inspiring Sega and Sony to do it too, and c: holding the Wii back so that it was a generation behind the Xbox 360 and PS3. He became the manager of Nintendo's hardware development division in 1980 and didn't retire until 2017, so he was a fairly influential guy during the entire history of video games. Plus he produced Punch-Out.

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Spirits of Xanadu (PC) - Guest Post

This week on Super Adventures, guest poster mecha-neko has gone to the trouble of redefining the word 'Friday' in order to write about a spooky first person shooter on a Wednesday without changing his old banner image. This is the level of commitment we both have to providing you with words about video games.

Feels like it's been a while since I've done an FPS Friday. Ray told me about a 'short' game that he'd recently finished, and if a game is so short and so good that Ray can finish it, it's gotta be worth having a look at.

So I'm going to play one of itch.io's Featured 'Action' games, Spirits of Xanadu.

Spirits Of Xanadu PC title screen
Developer:Good Morning, Commander|Release Date:2015|Systems:Windows, Mac, Linux

See, told ya!

Thursday, 11 July 2019

Breath of Fire (SNES)

Breath of Fire title screen SNES
Developer:Konami|Release Date:1994 (1993 in Japan)|Systems:SNES, GBA

This week on Super Adventures, I'm taking a look at classic Super Nintendo RPG Breath of Fire! It was originally known as Breath of Fire: Ryu no Senshi in Japan, which translates to 'Dragon Warrior'. Though they couldn't call it that in the US because Enix had already claimed the name five years earlier when they used it for Dragon Quest. JRPGs are confusing.

I've seen a lot of Capcom games and I've seen a lot of JRPGs, but I can't think of many times I've seen a Capcom JRPG before. In fact I half expected to see Squaresoft's name appear when I started it up... and then it did, because they were the ones who localised it for North America. They never quite got around to releasing it in Europe though.

In fact the game didn't reach Europe until the Game Boy Advance port made its way here in 2001. I guess they'd grown a little more confident that the game would find an audience by that point, seeing as we'd bought enough copies of Breath of Fire II, Breath of Fire III and Breath of Fire IV. I was fairly sure that the game had to exist somewhere, as you don't typically make sequels without first making an original, but it's obscure enough for me. I've never played it before and I don't know anything about it. I'm expecting dragons though.

The game's likely going to have a story as well, and I'm going to go through the first few hours of it, taking screenshots, and whining about things as I go, so this article will contain SPOILERS. I won't be playing any longer than that though, because RPGs are like really long and I've got other things to do today.

Thursday, 4 July 2019

Keio Flying Squadron 2 (Saturn)

Keio Flying Squadron 2 Saturn title screen
Developer:Victor|Release Date:1996|Systems:Saturn

This week on Super Adventures, I'm writing about more Keio Flying Squadron! The alien bunny girl adventures continue.

The first Keio Flying Squadron is a shoot 'em up on the Sega Mega CD that by some miracle got a release in Europe and America. I already showed that one off last week. Then Keio Flying Squadron 2 came out three years later on the Sega Saturn and somehow also got translated to English, though I'm not sure it ever made it to the US. Finally there was a side-story party game on the PlayStation called 蘭未ちゃんの大江戸すごろく慶応遊撃隊外伝. That one never made it out of Japan.

Out of curiosity I checked the Japanese version of Keio 2 and it turns out that the title text completely obscures the background in the original game as well. Someone spent ages drawing that!

Here's some more exciting trivia for you: Victor Entertainment got out of game development in 1996 so this is one of the last games they ever made. I'd tell you about their other games, but I've never heard of most of them. Banana, ROM² Karaoke, UltraBox 5-gō... oh Legendary Axe, that sounds familiar. I have no idea what it is, but I recognise the name.

Thursday, 27 June 2019

Keio Flying Squadron (Sega Mega CD)

Keio Flying Squadron title screen
Developer:Victor|Release Date:1994 (1993 in Japan)|Systems:Sega Mega CD

This week on Super Adventures, I'm playing a shoot 'em up on the Mega CD!

I haven't really written about a Mega CD game since Popful Mail six years ago, and it's been a while since I've played a shoot 'em up as well. The trouble with shoot 'em ups, is they're either really hard, in which case all I end up writing about is the various ways I got my dude exploded, or they're really easy, in which case all I write is "I'm still shooting at things," and "I'm kind of bored now."

But I figured I should give you at least one proper old-school side-scrolling shooter this year, so I went with the game where you play as a girl wearing a 1960s Playboy bunny suit in 1860s Japan. I checked a list of games I've written about so far, and it's an under-represented sub-genre.

Oh here's some trivia for you, straight from Wikipedia: the December 1994 issue of Sega Pro CD magazine included a demo disc for the game that ended after the first level. But you can use a level select cheat to skip past the part that sends you back to the title screen and keep playing it to the end, because they secretly included the entire full game on the disc.

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

Outcast: Second Contact (PC) - Guest Post

Today on Super Adventures, I've managed to drag guest poster mecha-neko back again so I get to take the week off! This also means that he's the one who'll be checking out the first few hours of that semi-recent Outcast remake, which makes sense seeing as he's the one who wrote about the original game way back in 2014. It's possible he's even remembered enough about it to make comparisons.

Hello there!

Five years ago, I wasn't as kind as I could've been to a game called Outcast, a PC action-adventure game about a man with a shiny visor and the orangest shirt in the multiverse travelling to another dimension to stop the Earth blowing up.

Outcast Second Contact title screen
Developer:Appeal|Release Date:November 14th, 2017|Systems:Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Now, for PC, PS4 and Xbox One, Commander Cutter Slade is back! Why? I honestly have no idea.

Fancy a look?

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Judge Dredd (Arcade)

Judge Dredd arcade title screen
Developer:Midway|Release Date:Never|Systems:Arcade

This week on Super Adventures, I'm playing an arcade game that never made it to arcades. They came really close though, had four prototype cabinets built and everything. Unfortunately the responses from people who played it weren't great and the game was scrapped instead of reworked because the developers didn't have much faith in it either.

I bet the guy who made that Judge Dredd head was happy with his work though, as it's impressing the hell out of me. First I assumed it must have been a sculpture, as you can imagine what a 3D rendered Dredd face would've looked like in 1992, but it's apparently an actor wearing prosthetics. You can see a better photo of the makeup (and the other side of his face) on the artist's DeviantArt page if you're curious.

I thought about playing this one ages ago when I was trying out all those other Judge Dredd games, like Judge Dredd, Judge Dredd and Judge Dredd, but I wasn't really keen on writing about an unfinished prototype back then so I skipped over it. I figured I had enough on my plate trying to play every video game that exists without also worrying about the ones that don't. But the game didn't go away, it got into the back of my mind and made itself comfortable, so here I am doing my past self's job for him to finally cross it off the list.

Sorry the screenshots aren't very sharp this time, they were too tiny at the original resolution and too big doubled. Not that they're supposed to be sharp, you're supposed to be viewing them on a fuzzy CRT. In fact this is the most authentic my site's ever looked!

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

Deadly Premonition: The Director's Cut (PC)

Deadly Premonition The Director's Cut PC title screen
Developer:Access Games|Release Date:2013  (original 2010)|Systems:Windows, PS3, Xbox 360

Good news! Super Adventures has finally returned to give you a new game post every week for the next two months. Unless you're reading this two months after it was posted, in which case I'm sorry but you just missed it. Go read Sci-Fi Adventures for a bit instead.

This week I'm playing Deadly Premonition, which is a game I bought for money just so I could write about it for you! Then I forgot all about it and left it sitting there in my Steam library unplayed for four years, but that just means it's even more retro now. It's also fairly notorious and I've heard a lot about it. Well, I've seen it mentioned a lot anyway; I've tried to avoid exposure to any actual info on the story or how it plays.

Though I did read on Wikipedia that it currently holds the Guinness World Record for the most critically polarising survival horror game, which is a really specific world record. Plus it also spoils that the game's a survival horror! I'd gotten the impression it was some kind of adventure game, a bit like Shenmue maybe. I checked Metacritic and the review scores do go all the way from 20 to 100, so now I'm curious what I'm going to think of it. I don't typically enjoy survival horror much, partly because I don't give a damn about horror or survival mechanics, but if survival horror fans dislike the game then maybe it's more my kind of thing? I am the world's biggest and only Resident Evil 5 fan after all.

I already like the rainy title screen, despite the annoyingly short guitar loop. I'm less keen on crashes though, so I've installed the DPFix patch by game fixing legend Durante in the hopes that it solves more problems than it causes. It does at least give me some graphics options to play with, but I've decided not to push the visuals too far above vanilla.

The game is pretty story driven and features a mystery, so I should warn you there'll be SPOILERS below as I go through the first few hours of the gameplay writing text under screenshots. Though I won't give away anything major, because explaining a detective's deductions in my own words seems like effort.

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Super Adventures in Amiga Fighting Games

This week on Super Adventures I'm writing about fighting games on the Amiga! Lots of fighting games, a dozen in fact! Why? Because I'm taking a two month break from Super Adventures after this and I wanted to give you something that takes at least that long to read.

Plus the more of them I play, the less I have to write about each of them, which is good because I am the last person who should be writing anything about fighting games. The only technical terms I know are 'special move' and 'block' and I've had really limited success ever doing either. Though Amigas and I have something in common, as they suck at fighting games too! And not just because of the one-button joystick and floppy drive.

So far this sounds like a lot of reasons why I shouldn't be playing these games, but I think there must be some good screenshots hidden in them somewhere, maybe even some good gameplay. Plus it's given me an excuse to create that nightmare crossover between IK+ and Human Killing Machine's title screens up there.

Anyway, here are 12 fighting games in vaguely chronological order:

Thursday, 21 March 2019

SiN Episodes: Emergence (PC)

Developer:Ritual|Release Date:2006|Systems:PC

This week on Super Adventures, I am finally getting around to playing SiN Episodes: Emergence! To be honest the only reason it took me this long is because I decided to hold off buying it until it was really cheap on Steam, and then that never happened. Until it finally did. I even got a free copy of SiN with it, which I fully approve of. More sequels should include the first game as a bonus... even if it is a little bit censored and doesn't include the expansion (unlike the version sold on GOG).

The first thing I noticed when I put the game on, aside from how cheap that menu text looks, is how good the opening theme is. It's like they swiped it from a Bond movie; it has vocals and everything! It's a bit disappointing that they didn't awkwardly work the word 'Emergence' into the chorus, but they found a place to include 'sin' at least. Here, have a YouTube link so you can listen to it yourself: What's the World Come To?

SiN Episodes also managed to disappoint console owners by never being ported, and PC owners by only ever getting the one episode. The mid-2000s episodic gaming experiment really didn't work out so great for first person shooter sequels built on the Source engine. That said, I'm sure Valve's Half-Life episodes sold a hell of a lot better than this did.

The original SiN had the misfortune of being released just two weeks before before the groundbreaking Half-Life and being entirely overshadowed by it, then the exact same thing happened with Emergence when it came out three weeks before the massively hyped Half-Life 2: Episode One! The game launched on Steam back when the store was practically empty and still didn't sell enough for even one more of its nine planned episodes to enter development. But the SiN series truly died when developer Ritual was acquired by MumboJumbo shortly afterwards and sent to casual game development hell for eternity instead.

Content warning: this article contains a screenshot of a model in lingerie. A 2006-era real-time 3D model.

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Super Panda Adventures (PC) - Guest Post

This week on Super Adventures, guest poster mecha-neko has returned to write about a game with the best title. It's literally 'Super Adventures', except with a panda in it! Now I just need to find a science fiction movie called Ray Hardgrit's Sci-Fi Cat Adventures so I can manipulate him into to writing my other site for me as well.

Also I realise that this was published on a Wednesday, not a Monday, but mecha-neko has a fondness for his banner and I didn't have the heart to tell him he couldn't use it. I guess you could read it on a Monday if that works better for you.

Hello everyone! I hope the new year is treating you well!

Hmm... hands up who'd like to see a brightly coloured platform game about a loveable panda!

Developer:Paul Schneider, BlueEagle Productions|Release Date:23rd April 2013|Systems:Windows

With a title like that, how could I possibly resist?

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Space Station Silicon Valley (N64)

Space Station Silicon Valley title screen n64
Developer:DMA Design|Release Date:1998|Systems:Nintendo 64, PlayStation

This week on Super Adventures I'm playing Spacestation Silicon Valley! Or Space Station: Silicon Valley, as it's written in the manual. The PlayStation version claims that it's called Evo's Space Adventures but I think it's lying.

The first thing I've noticed about the game is that there's an inflatable spaceship on the title screen, not a space station, and I don't appreciate this blatant attempt to mislead me. Plus it keeps orbiting the letters and I couldn't decide on the best time to take the screenshot. I tried to catch it in good place but I'm not sure I managed it.

I feel like I should pad this intro out with some interesting trivia taken straight from Wikipedia, so here's a couple of Space Station Silicon Valley facts for you:

First, the game's by Scottish developers DMA Design (now called Rockstar North), who are famous for the Lemmings and Grand Theft Auto series. In fact a lot of the people who worked on the game went on to create Grand Theft Auto III and kick off the 3D sandbox mayhem genre, so I guess it was a good thing this didn't sell enough to get a sequel. We could've ended up in the bad even worse timeline where we didn't get Sleeping Dogs, The Saboteur or Saints Row.

Second, it's no surprise it didn't sell well considering it came out in 1998: The Year of Good Games. Sure the N64 didn't get ports of Resident Evil 2, Unreal, Half-Life, Thief, Baldur's Gate, Fallout 2, Pokémon Red/Blue, Starcraft, Grim Fandango, Sonic Adventure, Metal Gear Solid etc. that year, but Nintendo fans did have Banjo-Kazooie, Body Harvest, Star Wars: Rogue Squadron, Turok 2 and Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time competing for their pennies (and Nintendo's marketing budget).

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Darkwing Duck (Demo) (PC)

Darkwing Duck title screen PC
Developer:Headcannon|Release Date:2019 (or never I suppose)|Systems:Windows, Mac, Linux

This week on Super Adventures, I'm playing Darkwing Duck! Not the NES game, I played that already way back in the first year of my site. In fact it was so long ago that I'm scared to check what I wrote about it. Probably best to forget I told you about it actually. (It's not the Game Boy or Turbografx game either by the way.)

What this is, is a 1 level prototype demo thing inspired by the NES game, developed as a pitch to Capcom and then released to the world for free last month when that didn't work out. There's so many amazing AAA games in my Steam backlog, so many indie games fighting for exposure on Steam and Itch.io, and yet I'm spending my time playing a game that won't ever exist.

The demo was developed by at least one of the people who worked on the similar Sonic Mania, though it uses the Headcannon Game Engine instead of the Retro Engine. Incidentally the original Darkwing Dark on the NES was basically built on Mega Man's engine, so there's some Wikipedia trivia for you I expect my past self completely neglected to mention in his article back in 2011. In fact I bet that article is just him spending like 30 minutes failing to beat the first stage, whining a bit about it being too hard and then quitting.

Speaking of running into unexpected challenges, for classic platformers I usually display my screenshots at exactly double the resolution to keep them sharp, but the game has too wide a resolution for that so I had to decide whether I wanted to leave the screens tiny, make them a fuzzy mess, or crop them. Or make the site wider. I figured that cropping them would be the least painful of those options so I went with that, but if you click an image the original uncut screenshot will pop up.

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Metroid Prime (GameCube)

Metroid Prime title screen Europe
Developer:Retro|Release Date:2003 (2002 NA)|Systems:GameCube, Wii

I'm trying to figure out what the game's moody title music reminds me of. I think it might actually be Deus Ex, but I feel like it could turn into Perfect Dark at any moment. Not a bad place for a theme to be.

This week on Super Adventures I'm playing Metroid Prime, the sequel to the legendary Super Metroid! Well, kind of. It came out the exact same day as Metroid Fusion and I think that's considered to be the older twin (it even claims to be "METROID 4" when it starts up.) So I guess this is Metroid 5 then?

It's definitely not the fifth game in the timeline as they've slotted it in between Metroid and Metroid II for whatever reason. I didn't realise the Metroid games had enough of a story to require making interquels, but that's probably because I rarely finish the things. Plus it's been six years since I've played any of them and my memory's pretty fuzzy. Though at the time this was released fans had actually been suffering through an eight year gap between games, as the series skipped the N64 era entirely. The series also skipped the Wii U afterwards, fading away again despite the run of continuous Metroid Prime sequels and spin-offs.

Developer Retro Studios were responsible for the three main Metroid Prime games but after putting out the non-HD remake compilation Metroid Prime Trilogy for the Wii in 2009 they've been keeping themselves busy making Donkey Kong Country sequels instead. Though it was announced last month that they're taking over development on Metroid Prime 4! Is that a good thing? I wouldn't know, I haven't even played this first one yet.

Okay I'm going to play Metroid Prime for an amount of time somewhere between 'barely giving it a fair shot' and 'enough to bore the hell out of everyone reading', and take screenshots along the way. There will also be writing under these screenshots because... I don't know. Maybe I like writing about video games? No, that doesn't seem right.

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

Populous (Amiga)

Populous Amiga title screenPopulous Amiga title screen
Developer:Bullfrog|Release Date:1989|Systems:It's been on a few

This week on Super Adventures, I'm playing the legendary god game genre pioneer Populous, by equally legendary developers Bullfrog!

It's one of Bullfrog's earliest games, only the third one they made, which you can tell from that old school frog logo in the bottom left. I don't remember ever seeing that before, but I've played this game so I must have. Unless it was Powermonger that I played... they're pretty similar looking and it's been a while.

One thing I'm sure about is that whatever it is I played, I couldn't figure out how to play it and I turned it off after 10 minutes of frustration. I guess I was too busy not seeing the cute little frog logo that I didn't notice that big 'Tutorial' button over on the right either. This time though things are going to be very different! I'm going to stick with it for at least 20 minutes before giving up in frustration.

Populous started out as an Amiga game and I've always assumed it didn't stray much further, as it seems like the kind of game that would be considered too mouse driven and weird to make it onto consoles. But nope, Populous was ported to absolutely bloody everything. Well, the Acorn Archimedes, Apple Mac, Atari ST, FM Towns, PC-98, MS-DOS PC, IBM PCjr, Sharp X68000, Master System, Mega Drive, SNES, Turbografx-16, Nintendo DS and Game Boy anyway. Makes me wonder what the NES did to be left out.

Just listing all those systems took long enough so please don't expect screenshots of each of them. Or screenshots showing off any actual gameplay either. I can promise you only a title screen and shots of all my little dudes getting wiped out for reasons I can't even comprehend.

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Giant Machines 2017 (PC)

Giant Machines 2017 title screen
Developer:Code Horizon|Release Date:2016|Systems:PC

This week on Super Adventures I'm playing Giant Machines 2017! At least I hope that there's something in it I can play and it's not just a virtual museum dedicated to really big trucks. Not that there's anything wrong with that, it just wouldn't give me anything to write about (because I'd turn it off after two minutes).

Whatever it is, it seems to be the very first title by Polish developer Code Horizon, who are apparently better known for making Gold Rush: The Game (the first realistic gold-mining simulator, according to their website).

The game(?) was a Christmas present from a friend, and by that I mean he bought a mystery bundle and gave the contents away to anyone who wanted them. Sadly no one wanted Giant Machines, but I've adopted it and given it a home in my Steam library where I hope it'll be comfortable. Neglected, but comfortable.

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Secret of Evermore (SNES)

Oh damn it's Super Adventures' 8th birthday today! I didn't write anything for the site all last year but I'm fairly sure those 12 months still count towards its age.

I gave writing about games a long rest because it became too much like work to me and I was so done with this site that I couldn't even get one post finished a week anymore, but I've managed to slowly regenerate my interest in playing games in the meantime thanks to my time off. In fact I've decided that the break I took worked out so well that I should take more breaks, more often. So this year I plan to take a two month break every two months!

Unfortunately this does mean that I have to give you two months of game articles each time or else I'm not actually taking a break from anything. So it is with deep regret that I inform you that Super Adventures is now back (for two months).

Developer:Square|Release Date:1996 (1995 NA)|Systems:SNES

This week on Ray Hardgrit's resurrected Super Adventures in Gaming I'm playing Secret of Evermore, which I'm fairly sure isn't a spiritual successor to Secret of Monkey Island.

All I know about it is that it's an action RPG on the SNES by Squaresoft... made in America... with music from Jeremy "Elder Scrolls" Soule. So that's a bit unusual. This was actually the only game ever developed by a Square team in the US, which sounds like a bit of a warning sign but probably isn't. They briefly considered making a sequel to the game in fact, until it was decided that it was time to jump ship from the sinking SNES.

The US only got one more Square RPG on the SNES after this, Super Mario RPG, and us folks in Europe didn't even get that for some reason. Evermore was only the fourth Square RPG to ever get a release in PAL regions, after two Mystic Quests and Secret of Mana, and the next game we got was Final Fantasy VII on the PlayStation.

Okay I'm going to play the game for a couple of hours, write about what happened, then finish with a bit of a review at the end. Even though I've got no business reviewing a game I've only played a couple of hours of.

Semi-Random Game Box