Tuesday, 28 June 2022

Alien Storm (Arcade)

Alien Storm arcade title screen logo
Developer: Sega | Release Date: 1990 | Systems: Arcade, Mega Drive, Master System, Atari ST, Amiga, C64, CPC, ZX Spectrum

This week on Super Adventures, I'm playing one of Sega's classic arcade titles: Alien Storm! Man, I don't like it when title screens peer back at me like this. The creature that eye belongs to seem to have problems of their own though, seeing as they're floating around space in a chunk of debris. Somehow I get the feeling they deserved it.

I remember seeing magazine ads for Alien Storm and thinking "Damn that looks crazy." Or maybe they were Alien Syndrome ads; I always get the two games mixed up. In my defence they're both Sega arcade games with gross looking aliens that ran on a System 16 board (or close enough) and were ported to everything. Anyway, I didn't really get around to playing either of them in the end, so I'm curious to see if this is going to be anything like the image I've got in my head.

One thing I'm pretty certain of is that this isn't going to be a long game. I usually try to show off the first hour or so of gameplay in these articles, but I have a feeling I'll run out of game before then so don't be surprised if I spoil the ending. Also don't be surprised if I can't actually reach the ending due to being terrible at it.

Wednesday, 8 June 2022

Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi (MS-DOS)

Developer:Origin|Release Date:1991|Systems:DOS, Windows, FM Towns

This week on Super Adventures, I'm playing PC space sim Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi, which is somehow only the second one of these games I've played. I covered the original Wing Commander back in 2014, but my site's been utterly Wing Commanderless since then.

The Wing Commander series was Chris Roberts' first space saga, coming before the Starlancer games and Star Citizen. In fact it came before the X-Wing series, FreeSpace, Star Fox... even Sonic the Hedgehog (though that last one's not actually a space sim as far as I'm aware). This particular Wing Commander game was old enough to almost get ported to the SNES and Mega Drive/Genesis... but it wasn't. In fact it's the only one of the mainline games to never get a console or handheld port. It did get a release on the FM Towns computer at least, which was well suited to the game considering that it's basically a 386 PC.

I have played the game before, a long time ago, but I don't remember playing very far, probably because it kicked my ass. And this would've been back when I was actually getting some space sim practice! It'd be fair to say I'm a little rusty right now, but I'll give it a fair shot and see if I can at least earn the right to fly the second type of spacefighter.

SPOILER WARNING: I'll only be playing the first few missions and I won't spoil anything that comes after them.

Friday, 20 May 2022

Katana ZERO (PC)

Developer:Askiisoft|Release Date:2019|Systems:Win, MacOS, Switch, XBOne

This week on Super Adventures, I'm playing Katana ZERO, a game I know next to nothing about. It might star Zero the Kamikaze Squirrel for all I know, or maybe it's 100% sugar free. I just saw it there on Game Pass and figured I'd give it a look.

Wikipedia claims that it's a 2D action platformer, which sounds good. Though it also says it's made in GameMaker Studio 2 and that doesn't seem so great... at least that's what I thought before I did the research and learned that Hotline Miami, Undertale and Deltarune were all developed in GameMaker. So I guess I should fix my broken assumptions and raise my expectations.

I definitely didn't expect this neon title screen to feature a gentle melancholy bluesy piano track. The game's described as being neo-noir and right now I can believe it. It might also have a bit of a story to it but I'll try not to spoil too much of it for you as I play through the first hour or so.
 

Saturday, 30 April 2022

Alien Breed (Amiga)

Alien Breed title logo amiga
Developer: Team17 | Release Date: 1991 | Systems: Amiga, CD32, MS-DOS, Android, PS3, PSVita

This week on Super Adventures, I'm finally taking a look at classic Amiga run and gun survival horror Gauntlet 'em up Alien Breed! I've put it off for ten years, because it's bastard hard and I suck at it, but it had to happen eventually.

It was made by developer/publisher Team17, currently better known for the dozens of Worms sequels they've made, and for keeping Epic's game store stocked with free games. Alien Breed was their second game (after Full Contact) and their first to be a full-price release. Though it did get a budget re-release, named Alien Breed Special Edition 92. Or maybe Alien Breed '92: Special Edition. It's something like that. Either way it's an interesting choice of title, considering that the movie Aliens: Special Edition was released just a little earlier...

Alien Breed 92 isn't really a special edition however, more like a remix. In fact it's basically a stand-alone expansion pack, with twice the levels of the original and tweaks made in response to feedback, and I expect that if anyone were to ask if you'd played Alien Breed, it's the special edition they'd actually be thinking of. Or maybe they'd be thinking of that Alien Breed: Evolution game from ten years back, I dunno.

I'm going to check out both the Amiga games, original and special edition, to see how different they actually are, and I'll be giving them about an hour each. Though by 'an hour' I really mean '20 minutes', because time works differently when you're being hounded by a relentless murderous swarm of unfriendly extra-terrestrials.

Friday, 15 April 2022

Superliminal (PC)

Developer:Pillow Castle|Release Date:2019|Systems:Win, MacOS, PS4, XBOne, Switch

This week on Super Adventures, I'm playing SUPERLIVINAL.

I played a demo of this ages ago and made a mental note back then that I should write about the full game sometime, because it's interesting and worthy of attention. Well, that's what I thought at the time anyway, maybe I'll hate it now. Maybe the demo was the only good bit and it's all downhill afterwards. It happens sometimes!

A few years before that demo there was a tech demo, and that had the name Museum of Simulation Technology, but I think the title they went with in the end suits it better. Plus it's got the word 'super' in there, and that's always a plus in my book.

Anyway, I have a vague memory of how the game starts, but I'm sure I'm eventually going to reach some gameplay weirdness I don't expect. I mean I hope so, as it'll be a shame if it just repeats the puzzles in the demo over and over. Oh, I should probably warn you that I'll be giving a few of the puzzle solutions away. Only a few though, I won't be going through the whole game.

Thursday, 31 March 2022

Awesome (Amiga)

Developer: Reflections | Release Date: 1990 | Systems: Amiga, Atari ST, FM Towns

This week on Super Adventures, I'm looking at classic 90s shoot 'em up Awesome, which was suggested by the folks on my Discord. They realised I'd gotten caught in a bit of a rut last year, playing so many great games, and felt I should bring Super Adventures back to its roots. Its roots of me trying to figure out what the hell I'm doing in some obscure old Amiga game.

You can tell that the game came out before the internet was a thing as Awesome is not a Google friendly title. It says on the box that it has an awesome t-shirt included, but search for 'awesome t-shirt' on image search and you'll be scrolling for a long while before you find it. That's a bit of a difference from Reflections' earlier game Shadow of the Beast, which has a very Googlable name. One thing the two games have in common is the box art, which was a painting by frequent Psygnosis collaborator Roger Dean. You could tell Psygnosis games right away at this point because they were the ones that looked like Yes albums. Edit: none of that is true, the cover is actually a painting from John Harris called MASS: The Building of FTL1, painted about 10 years earlier in 1979.

Alright I'm going to play this for an hour or so and I hope you like GIFs because I'm in the mood for some moving pixels.

Tuesday, 15 March 2022

Super Adventures in the itch.io Bundle for Ukraine

We interrupt your regularly scheduled Super Adventures with a look at just a few of the billion games included in a new charity bundle hosted by itch.io. Here, have a link to the bundle so you know what I'm talking about:


The description on the site claims that there's almost 600 video games here and it seems that about half of them have never appeared in any previous itch.io charity bundles. I had a scroll through to see if there were any names I recognised and I saw things like SkateBIRD, Baba is You, Backbone, GNOG, Wandersong, A Short Hike, CrossCode, Celeste, Superhot, Minit, Glittermitten Grove, Super Hexagon, Sundered: Eldritch Edition, 2064: Read Only Memories, and GoNNER. Here, you can check for yourself with this handy website that someone smart made: randombundlegame.com.

Fortunately guest poster mecha-neko has volunteered to do half of the writing here, so the article will be covering more games than I actually have time to check out! I mean seriously, the bundle ends in just a couple of days and I need to get this published while there's still time for anyone to buy it.

Semi-Random Game Box