Double Dragon II: The Revenge (Evercade): COMPLETED!


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You know something? I’ve never been a big fan of Double Dragon. Sure, it’s OK. And yes, it’s one of the first arcade games I ever completed in an arcade (well, in a shed in a field), I don’t understand the reverence. It doesn’t have the fun of TMNT, or the style of Streets of Rage, or the depth of River City Ransom. But here we are.

The main reason for playing it was because my daughter wanted another two player game to play through after Wizard Fire and this was just there on my Evercade. Is it OK that she likes games where you punch people in the face? That’s fine, right?

So we played through it, used a billion credits on the end boss because that’s what happens in arcade games so they can extract the maximum number of ten pees from your pockets, and watched the ending. Hurrah?

Pokémon Brilliant Diamond (Switch): COMPLETED!

Once more it was time to play a digital cock-fighting game! I mean, that’s basically what it is, right? With a plot, of course. A plot which is the same in every single Pokémon game: evil organisation (usually with a non-evil front) want to capture Pokémon for $reason so they can get Ultimate Power or something. All while your 10 year old avatar is rapidly rising from having a single feeble creature to being King Of All Pokémon Trainers and has to save the world at the same time.

This game is the same, in most aspects, as all the others I’ve played. Sure, this retains the 3/4 overhead view of the Nintendo DS original (and looks a lot like the recent Link’s Awakening remake) rather than have a fully 3D environment like Pokémon Sword, but that doesn’t change the gameplay at all. In fact, in battle screenshots you’d be hard pushed to tell which of the Switch Pokémon games I was actually playing.

Importantly, it doesn’t matter about being almost the same. Being almost the same actually works because the formula is sound and so remains fun, and it’s only really the catching and fighting Pokémon that you want from these games, is it not? Change that too much and you might break it.

So I beat all eight gym leaders, defeated Team Whoevertheyareinthisone, took on (and walked over) the Elite Four, and then trounced the supposed “champion”. It was all very easy, but I had a nice time and there’s more that opens up to do after the end credits, so although I’ve completed it, I’m not done with it just yet!

Wizard Fire (Evercade): COMPLETED!


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The sequel to Gate of Doom, apparently. Well, it’s obvious when you play but not so much from the titles of the games. Although they’re called Dark Seal and Dark Seal II in some regions so I suppose that makes sense. It also doesn’t say “I’m the wizard!” any more, which instantly loses it a million points.

It is a bit better in terms of clunky-flickeryness, and the magic system is improved: Previously it seemed random which effect you’d get but now it appears to be linked to which character you choose. Gameplay is almost identical though, but levels are worse designed and the final few are just throw hundreds of baddies at you just to make you give up your (real) money. Ha ha suckers! I can just press Select!

We again played it in co-op, and enjoyed it a moderate amount, but it’s really not as good as other similar games.

Gate of Doom (Evercade): COMPLETED!


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“I’m the wizard!” it shouts as you choose to be the wizard when you start the game. Stupid, but it stuck in our house.

I wasn’t the wizard though, my daughter was. I was the knight. In this scrolling fighting game, not completely unlike Golden Axe or Gauntlet III, each character has different skills but as you die one hell of a lot regardless it doesn’t really matter that much. Yes, it’s a coin-muncher but as it’s on the Evercade the coins are simply pressing the Select button so it’s a bit cheaper that at the arcade.

Not that I ever played it at the arcade, because I’d never even heard of it until I saw it on this cartridge.

It’s OK. Very flickery, probably pushing the hardware a bit too much with the big sprites, but it’s mindless killing and there’s nothing wrong with that, right?

Tumblepop (Evercade): COMPLETED!


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I’d never played this before, but it’s a nice little arcade game in a similar style to Parasol Stars or Super Snow Bros – a single screen two player game where you clear out baddies by sucking them up into your hoover and then spitting them out before they escape.

It’s not very hard, nor is it very long, but it was fun and had some nice big bosses. It was probably made easier as I played it in co-op with my daughter, and of course being an arcade game you can just keep sticking virtual ten pees in until the end.

Castlevania: Bloodlines (Switch): COMPLETED!

Just in case I was misremembering that this was one of the good linear Castlevania games, and my thoughts on Vampire’s Kiss were based on warped memories, I decided to give this a go. It’s on the Switch Online Mega Drive collection too so it wasn’t difficult figuring out a way of running it.

And, I was completely right. It is so much better than Vampire’s Kiss it makes that game look like a dodgy c-tier “Dracula’s Castle” knock-off and not a legitimate title in the series at all. Bloodlines (or “The New Generation”, if you prefer) is faster, slicker, more varied, longer, less frustrating, and much more fun. The bosses are excellent, there are all sorts of nifty graphical effects that the Mega Drive can’t do except it can – tilting towers, sprite scaling, splitting the screen up and shunting bits of it around, and so on.

I played through as Eric Lecarde – the one with the trident – as I think I played as Mr Whippy last time, and the reach of his tool (careful now) makes certain sections much more doable – he can stab baddies on platforms above him, for a start.

I’d probably go as far to say that this is the best linear (rather than SOTN style) Castlevania game. Yes, even better than Super Castlevania IV.

Puyo Puyo (Switch): COMPLETED!

Yes, it’s essentially the same game as Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine, which I completed a couple of days ago. But this one has cute Japanese character voices and cuter graphics and no stupid fake Sonic enemies.

Other than that, though, it was no different to play. I didn’t find the end boss as difficult, but that’s probably luck and/or practice rather than it being easier than the Sonic reskin.

M.U.S.H.A. (Switch): COMPLETED!

Until this appeared on the Switch Online Mega Drive collection thing, I’d never realised that “MUSHA”, “Aleste”, and “Musha Aleste” are the same game. I’d never played any of them before, either.

It’s a vertically scrolling shooter with big robots and great music and impressive graphics. And it’s hard. And I completed it, eventually.

The bosses were, mostly, much easier than some bits of the actually levels, it turned out. Aside from the “final”[ref]Spoiler: it’s not final.[/ref] one with the almost unavoidable things that stick out of the wall, with the walls already having become really narrow!

Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine (Switch): COMPLETED!

Just in case I didn’t have enough games to play already, and I have a copy of this already on my Switch in the Sega Mega Drive Collection thing, I decided to play the one in the new Sega Nintendo Online collection. No, I don’t know either.

I’ve played it before. And completed it before. But not for a while.

Mean Bean Machine is just a reskin of Puyo Puyo, and I have to say, I prefer Puyo Puyo. This Sonic themed version is full of the stupid badniks from (presumably) Sonic the Comic and/or one of the cartoon series and I don’t like them. That makes no difference to to the gameplay of course, but still.

The game was really easy until the final three opponents, where the speed is just too fast. Robotnik himself, especially, seemed to fill my well (careful now) before I had a chance to even drop a few beans, so it was only by blind luck I managed to nail him in the end, I’m sure.

Quest Arrest (Evercade): COMPLETED!


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OK, the bad points out of the way with this first. The graphics are poor (yes, it’s a Game Boy Colour game, but still), the writing is awful and it is full of bugs. There’s no end of swearing which doesn’t even work in context, and the JRPG style fighting system is random and broken (not least because your health bar doesn’t physically change half the time, even though the value of it does). What you have to do is vague and often doesn’t make sense. Every time you change location it pauses the game and pops up to tell you where you are. There are spelling mistakes galore.

It very much feels like a “my first game” project by someone younger than the material they’re producing would be aimed at. It’s all f-this and kill that and murder the other without any of the dialogue to surround it.

It’s not big and it’s not clever, sorry.

But, if that is indeed the situation with its creation, then the output is laudable. There’s a lot going on here and although much of it is unsuccessful there’s a good base behind it. In fact, if the text was just edited well, perhaps made adult in context rather than adult in content, that would fix most of the issues I had with it.

Aside from that, the main aim of the game is to deal with (either kill or arrest) all of the members of some gang causing problems in the local area. Once you’ve done that, you can take down Athena, their boss, who is a badly signposted twist in the story. It’s a short game, and apart from the randomness and occasional inability to see what is a door and what isn’t, not especially hard. I just with it was a bit more toned down and polished.

Deadeus (Evercade): COMPLETED!

For something that looks like Pokémon on the Game Boy, boy did this take a turn. It’s a Game Boy game, set in a little village, with a nice beach and a church and a school and a library, but there’s a dark and sinister secret that the locals don’t want to talk about. And you and your friends have just started having nightmares about it.

With just three days until An Event, you have to get the truth out of people. Or, you can just leave town. In fact, it seems there are a number of different endings available to you, of which I found four. Two of which involve you dying,

It’s an unusual little game, and some bits don’t quite work (like the school only offers three classes and you just turn up to lessons when you fancy it), but the story is compelling and some of the shocking events on the third day are genuinely pretty shocking.

And you can dig up a dead cat. What’s not to enjoy?

Foxyland (Evercade): COMPLETED!


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This isn’t quite what I was expecting. You see, I’ve seen Foxyland (and several sequels) on the Switch eShop and PSN, and this isn’t quite that. It’s actually a Mega Drive version of the game, which had different levels.

It’s a basic platformer, where you have to collect a number of gems on each short level as well as optionally collect cherries (get enough and you get an extra life). Foxy can only jump and double-jump, and there’s various baddies, spikes, traps and falling blocks that kill him. Every few levels you get a boss fight, of sorts, and later levels get a bit bloody tricky both because of the difficulty but also some have puzzles involving switches.

It’s probably not a game I’d have bought otherwise, but it was nice enough.

Cosmic Spacehead (Evercade): COMPLETED!

Although I own this on the Mega Drive, I don’t think I’ve ever played it. But with it being on the Evercade, as with many other titles, I’m rectifying that. And. completed it, of course.

The game is split between a Lucasarts-style point and click adventure game (there’s even a reference to Lucasarts in the form of a cave painting) and a platformer, with simple platforming sections wedged between each location.

With simple puzzles and no difficult platforming, it didn’t take me long to reach the end. As you’d expect, using a joypad to point-and-click isn’t ideal, but you can cycle through actions with the buttons to save manually selecting them with the pointer which helps. I like the art style, and although the backtracking was a bit of a pain I enjoyed it overall.

Castlevania: Vampire’s Kiss (Switch): COMPLETED!

Vampire’s Kiss is A Bad Game. I’ve no idea why Konami decided to dump this poor Super Castlevania IV followup on the Castlevania Advance Collection because it’s neither a GBA game nor is it a “metroidvania” style game. And it’s rubbish.

I’m trying not to represent it badly because it isn’t the same genre as the other three games on the collection, and it’s several years older, but no – it’s just no fun to play. It’s short, it has about three near impossible sections but the rest is pretty easy, and it plays really, really slowly. It does, however, look incredible, especially early on in the game, and the fact it’s a Super NES game makes that all the more impressive. It’s just a shame it’s way too clunky to go with it.

I mentioned Super Castlevania IV partly because that game is so much better than this, although it doesn’t look as good. It’s also linear, and also slow, but it’s much more fun to play. Vampire’s Kiss is just bobbins,

Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow (Switch): COMPLETED!

And that’s it. The Unholy Trinity of Game Boy Advance Castlevania Games, all completed.

Once again, I found this easier than I remembered. Something else I had obviously remembered wrongly was that I’d thought this was the best of the three games, but in fact, this time around I think I enjoyed Harmony of Dissonance more. A combination of the dash moves, the double castle and the lack of the silly “broken up map” of Aria of Sorrow, perhaps.

That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy this, though, as I did. Very much. It’s still better than 99% of other games and even better than most other Castlevania games. It’s so slick, so well put together, and just so playable it can’t be anything but – but – but, I liked Harmony more. Tch, eh? Yes, this one has even better graphics and Soma doesn’t have Juste’s Ready Brek glow, but still.

Nudity? On a Nintendo platform? Won’t someone think of the children?

100%ed this one too. But now I’m sad that there’s very little chance the three Nintendo DS Castlevania games aren’t likely to appear on the Switch (unless they edit all the second screen stuff out somehow), and of course the series has been dead for years. Boo.