Tuesday, 1 March 2016

#6-8: SEGA Arcade Classics(?)

Not too long ago, I acquired the PS3 version of SEGA Mega Drive Ultimate Collection (Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection for Americans). I mainly bought it to play the Shining Force and Phantasy Star series, but there are many other MD games I've never really cared about on there. Emily attempted to remedy this by picking three games in a row from the collection.

The first is Alien Storm, a simple brawler that I knew little about. Unusually for the genre, it also includes numerous shooting-gallery style sections, which are a neat break from the usual gameplay, if not particularly deep. The three characters seem extremely similar, so there's not much replay value there. Health packs are scarce, so reducing damage in every situation is important. Instead, there are plenty of Energy pickups; this allows you to use your full-screen attack but it also seems to have a passive strengthening effect on your normal attacks.

The game has 8 stages; on my first attempt I reached 6 but the gauntlet of bosses followed by an autoscroller finished me off. To compromise (the only brawler I'm any good at is Golden Axe) I changed the settings down to Easy and enabled a turbo-fire option which makes the shooting galleries trivial. I'm glad I did; while it was definitely a little too easy for me, the final boss took almost 2 minutes straight turbo-fire to destroy, which would have ruined my mashing finger. In summary, a decent brawler, but nothing special.

Next up was Tip Top (Congo Bongo to some). Technically Emily didn't pick this one, but I tried it out at random and guessed it would be very short, and I was right. Essentially, it's a lot like Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Jr., except the perspective is isometric. One slightly different mechanic is that you can either climb onto blocks or jump; climbing is slower but consistent, whereas jumping is very difficult to judge correctly and will bounce you back if you hit the side of a ledge. There seem to be miscellaneous other ways to score points, like jumping off collapsing blocks, but the main way is to just keep progressing.

There are four boards with various hazards, and the gameplay loops after the fourth, though they add more enemies and so on. You've seen this set-up before. Again, it's not a particularly stand-out game (the home versions bombed horribly for some reason) but there's nothing really wrong with it other than the terrible sound. Play it if you're bored of Donkey Kong, I guess.

Third comes ESWAT: City Under Siege. This game is aggressively terrible and you should never play it. Nothing about it is fun. It's far too difficult, the graphics and music aren't any good, and it's too long for what it is. Bizarrely for a run and gun, it's also confusing in dull ways.

No, I haven't beaten it yet. I'll add another paragraph when I do.

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