Metal Stoker (PC-Engine)

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Most shooters we all know and love have us autoscroll either horizontally or vertically. Metal Stoker is the first one I’ve played that lets you have complete control of your spaceship. Well at least it looks like a spaceship but I think it is supposed to be a tank. I mean, you appear to be on the ground in this game, what kind of spaceship would do that? Seems like a waste of a spaceship to me!

When you first start the game you are greeted by some not so easy to read story. Grey font on a blue background doesn’t work to well for these old man eyes of mine. I like how your objective is to “clear all the zones under various circumstances’. The game starts and I was confused a little at first. Like I said before, this shooter isn’t autoscrolling. You’re just sitting there, chilling while a line of ships come at you.

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My eyes suck. Hard for me to read!

Game play is basic. You have a shoot button and a special button. What the special is depends on what weapon you have equipped. If you find different weapons you press the start button to bring up a mini menu. Here you can see your health, defense, lives left and of course weapon selection.The other button allows you to lock your ship in the direction it is facing. This is super useful on bosses and rooms where you have to go up and enemies come from the top.

This game can be really tough depending on how you play. If you take your time moving around to take out every enemy, chances are you will die more. At least that’s what happened to me. If you push forward while shooting and never stop, you’ll find yourself getting through the levels quickly and safely. Sure you might miss out on a power up, but luckily you can turn around and get it if you choose to do so.Each level has 3 sections which are the “varying conditions” the game mentioned before. Then of course you have a boss fight. Again the lock button is key to winning most of these.

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I like how it lets you know you’re about to die. “Life Worst”

It can also be tricky on where to shoot at enemies. I say tricky but it’s really unfair. For example there are gun turrets scattered about. You’ll have to figure out which angle to shoot them from. Sometimes going in from the left won’t hurt them. You’ll have to move to the top or bottom to cause damage. You can take cover behind a lot of walls and things, but some enemy bullets can come through them still. While your bullets will get blocked. This is another reason I say unfair but hey, I guess it adds to the difficulty?

Overall Metal Stoker is an okay game. It is by no means the best shooter out there and you won’t be missing much if you don’t play it. It does add some interesting twists and there is a learning curve. Check it out if you life retro games and shooters!

Score: 3/5

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Out Run (PC-Engine)

out-run-japanI figured it was time to pick a game in a genre that isn’t in my comfort zone. I’ve never been the biggest fan of racing games other than Mario Kart. The same goes for sports games. But the point of this site is to review all the games for the TurboGraFx-16 and PC-Engine, so I might as well start cracking a few of those out.

I’ve played Out Run in an arcade once and a good friend speaks highly of it. It was released on the PC-E but oddly not here for the TG-16. I’ll be honest. The game is a home version of an arcade game, and it’s a racing game. A pretty straight-forward racing game at that with not much going on. So this might be the shortest review this far on this site.

An arcade ad for Out Run.

An arcade ad for Out Run.

Usually in racing games you have opponents to race against. Out Run says screw that and lets see how far you can cruise in a set amount of time. The amount of time you get depends on the difficulty setting. On easy you get 80 seconds, 75 on normal and 70 on hard. Of course there’s less traffic on the road on the easier settings. I was able to get to stage 3 on easy. The game is about memorization. You have to remember every turn to be able to make the checkpoint to get more time. If you don’t make a checkpoint, it’s game over. Simple as that. After awhile the road will split. This represents a new stage starting. There are quite a few paths you can take.

As long as you are moving your score will continue to rise. You’ll soon see your score rise over a million but you need at least 4 million to make it on the high score list. I sucked and couldn’t do it. You have two buttons, gas and break. You can switch gears once to reach a top speed of 293 mph. Be careful, if you switch gears to early or late you’ll burn out slowing you down. I found switching gears around the 150 mph mark was perfect. Also, don’t start in second gear. It takes a lot longer to accelerate. Crashing is fun as the car flips around across the highway. It doesn’t show the characters in the car as it flips. Maybe they fell out?

SEGA!

SEGA!

The music is one of the things that stands out in Out Run and the PC-Engine ‘s versions weren’t that bad. Not the greatest but passable for the time. Magical Sound Shower is a series staple that a lot love and this version doesn’t disappoint. A neat feature is when the game starts you get to pick between three songs represented by someone changing a car radio. That’s about all there is to it. This version is nothing special and gets kind of boring after while. I’m sure the newer versions are better but you’re not missing anything if you haven’t played it on the PC-Engine.

Final Verdict:

  • Nice graphics for a game in 1987 on a home console
  • Magical Sound Shower is an awesome
  • Gets old after an hour so, at least for me
  • Good home port of an arcade game for 1987

Score: 2/5

 

 

 

Makai Prince Dorabocchan (PC-Engine)

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It’s pretty awesome when you pick a game out at random and it turns out to be something you already know. Makai Prince Dorabocchan has no story so when I took to the internet for information, I found out this little guy is Son of Dracula or better known as Kid Dracula! As with Makai, Kid Dracula never made it out of Japan other than the Game Boy version. People have learned who he is thanks to the internet and has gained quite the fandom. He certainly looks different here on the PC-Engine!

Extreme makeover!

Extreme makeover!

Makai Prince Dorabocchan is a platformer that features cute versions of monsters as enemies. You’ll come across  cute zombies, witches, even flying squirrels that try to poop on you! Seriously, it’s the coiled poop! That seriously caught me off guard as this is a monster themed game and pooping squirrels really doesn’t fit the theme. The first level mid-boss was one of my favorite enemies. A big cute version of the werewolf who will eat you! I thought he looked cool, some real nice attention to sprite detail here.

The controls are standard platforming controls. Button one jumps and button two attacks. You attack with a wand that has a very short range. You have to get pretty close to enemies to kill them but luckily most enemies can be killed in one hit. That is until the later stages. By pressing down and the attack button Makai (is that even his name?) will toss tomato bombs. Yes tomato bombs to fit that cute theme! If you press down he hides in his hat and becomes invincible to most enemy attacks. This includes boss fights although a couple will still be able to hurt you. Once you learn that trick the game becomes pretty easy.

It's poop again!

It’s poop again!

Enemies will randomly drop different colored armor. Each color gives you a different type of extra ability. The red armor was by far the most useful. It allows the beam that shoots from your wand to shoot further. The blue armor allows you to jump higher and I’m not to sure what the silver armor did. Other than giving you extra hit points I couldn’t tell a difference. All armor gives you extra hit points as well and are essential to get anywhere. There are some other power ups you can find like the cleats that allow you to stomp on enemies, a blue cape that lets you double jump, a syringe that freezes enemies (must be some good stuff), and a sword that boosts your attack. These items are limited and go away after a minute or two.

This is a platformer so of course you collect stuff. Here you collect tomatoes but collecting 100 won’t give you a 1-up in this game. These tomatoes are for the boss fights. When you get to a boss all the tomatoes you collected will rain down giving you a nice preemptive strike. I thought that was pretty neat, something you don’t see often in a platformer. Your limit is 99 and even if you lose all your lives and have to continue, you’ll still get to keep how ever many tomatoes you collected. Another nice thing is when you die you respawn exactly where you died. You also have infinite continues and with the ducking invincibility trick, you’ll soon beat the game.

Makai Monsters

If you’re a fan of Kid Dracula or just plain like fun platformers, try this one out. It is pretty easy and short but the gameplay is fun and the graphics are nice. I really like the style of this game. It’s interesting to see these horror movie monsters transformed into cute versions who really don’t look all that scary. If you’re still on the fence I’ll provide a video below so you can see the game in action and decide for yourself!

Final Verdict:

  • Cute versions of horror movie monsters
  • An easy, pick up and play game
  • Can be beaten fairly easily and quickly
  • Ducking hat trick can be abused and makes it even easier

Score: 4/5

 

 

 

 

Dragon’s Curse (TurboGrafx-16)

40967_frontYou would think mixing Wonder Boy and Zelda 2 would result in a fantastic game. Dragon’s Curse attempts to do this and it doesn’t fail, it just crashes about halfway through. What was once fun and entertaining soon became a test of nerves. Sad to say the game won. It beat me. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t have fun before tossing in the old white towel.

Dragon’s Curse is an action platformer with light RPG elements. In short you get cursed by Dragons and you must find the Salamander Cross which is a “powerful antidote” as the game puts it. Your main weapon is a sword but there are sub weapons such as fire balls, boomerangs, and arrows to name a few. Along the way you’ll come across shops that sell new swords, armor, and shields. Be sure to collect every piece of gold you come across. You’ll need it. Other than that it controls like a Wonder Boy game. Nothing bad here.

Main Menu. You select sub weapons here as well.

Main Menu. You select sub weapons here as well.

After a boss fight you get turned into something different. Of course you start as a Dragon who can shoot fireballs. The second thing you get turned to is Mouse-Man who can cling to and climb walls. Third is the Piranha-Man who can swim and last was the Tiger-Man who can swing his sword up and down rather than just jabbing. After awhile you’ll find a platform (usually hidden) that allows you to switch between any form. It would have been better if a button allowed for this as going back to one of these platforms is tedious. Sometimes they are far away. The game lacks any form of fast travel so you’ll be trekking through the same areas often.

Creatures you get turned into.

Creatures you get turned into.

Shortly after becoming the Piranha-Man Dragon’s Curse started to show its true form. I got lost. There isn’t any story other than at the very beginning. I actually had to look up a FAQ to figure out what to do and what you have to do is so darn cryptic. I’m talking Castlevania 2’s “Stand next to a wall with a crystal” cryptic. You have to have the Dragon Armor equipped and have collected 30 stones to be able to cross lava. 30 stones that are a complete and random drop! Luckily I found an area with what seemed to be a higher drop rate. I made a video to better explain and to show the exact location.

I got as far as the Ninja Castle before giving up. The enemies just seemed over powered and death came quickly. I’m sure I played in a role in that. After all I only had four hearts total. And I know for a fact I didn’t have all the swords or different types of armor. Some of the shops are hidden. If you come to a dead end be sure to walk slowly while pressing up. I’ve found some hidden shops and I’m sure there are a lot more I missed. The game just gets so hard and cryptic I got frustrated and gave up.

Dragon's Curse (USA)-004

I know it sounds like I didn’t have much fun with Dragon’s Curse but that’s not true. The controls are simple although using sub weapons is odd. You have to be pressing down while tapping the attack button. The physics are a little slidey. Almost like you are on ice but you’ll soon adapt. The graphics are nice and like most games on the TG-16 they are colorful. I’ve also caught myself humming the music long after I’ve stopped playing. It’s just that huge spike in difficulty that killed the fun I was having with the game. Perhaps I’ll return someday to remove the Dragon’s Curse.

Final Verdict:

  • Nice colorful graphics
  • Catchy tunes
  • Back-tracking gets old fast, no fast travel
  • Big difficulty spike halfway through
  • Some parts are ridiculously cryptic

Score: 3/5

 

 

 

 

*Special PC-Engine CD Review* Double Dragon 2

DD2 Cover

I love beat em ups. They have always been one of my favorite genres since I was little. I’m not sure why but I’ve always loved mindlessly beating the crap out of tons of enemies. Almost relaxing. Perhaps I have some weird anger issues but that’s beside the point. When I found there was a version of Double Dragon 2 for the PC-Engine CD I knew I had to play it. I absolutely love the NES version and upon playing, I discovered this version is based off of the NES release. Only a lot better.

Now before you come at me with pitchforks, as I stated I love the NES version. It was the version I grew up with, the one I mastered. The reason I say the PC-E CD is better is because of the controls. They are so much smoother than on the NES. You can actually clear the platforming parts with ease. I lost so many lives on the NES Double Dragon 2. Those conveyor belts were damn near impossible. You had to be precise. Not here thankfully, they fixed those issues. I didn’t lose one life on any platforming part.

80's Badass during game play, Anime dude in the cutscenes. Makes sense.

80’s Badass during game play, Anime dude in the cutscenes. Makes sense.

Of course the graphics are much better than the NES version, but that doesn’t really mean squat. We retro and smart folks know graphics don’t make the game. But they are nice to look at and this version gets points for that. The music is completely different from what we know and love on the NES. Instead you get CD quality early 90’s rap. If you grew up back then it’ll put a smile on your face. It’s not horrible, it’s more funny than anything and I enjoyed it. I’m sure you could find some of the music on YouTube if you’re curious.

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Other than that it remains basically the same. game. The controls other than being smoother are the same as the NES. When you face right button 1 punches and button 2 kicks behind you. If you’re facing left the buttons are reversed. Pressing both buttons at the same time lets you jump and perform various jump kicks. The type of kick seemed random. I couldn’t figure out how to perform each individual kick. The sound effects deliver and are on point. You feel like a badass punching baddies in the face hearing those action movie sound effects.

This was waaaay easier than the NES version.

This was waaaay easier than the NES version.

There are also fully animated cutscenes between each stage. While the dialogue is all in Japanese it’s pretty easy to understand what is going on. It seems to follow the same Double Dragon plot: Maria got kidnapped and must be rescued. I’m not sure if you have to fight your brother to the death in this version. I didn’t have a friend to play with sadly. I played the game on easy and surprisingly it lets you play through the whole game. It doesn’t stop you and tell you to raise the difficulty after a couple of levels, which was pretty awesome. Be sure to raise your lives and continues in the options as well!

DD2 Cutscenes

 

Overall, if you enjoyed the NES version be sure to give this a try. The PC-E CD version brings everything you love about the NES version (other than the music) and improves it. The controls are so much smoother, I honestly can’t get over it. All those years of playing on the NES and then playing on this…it’s just amazing. Even if you haven’t played Double Dragon 2 but love beat em ups you need to give this a try. It’s a shame and honestly baffling why this version never made it outside of Japan. At least there are ways to play it today. My the times we live in!

G-R-A-S-P, PC-Engine CD style!

G-R-A-S-P, PC-Engine CD style!

Final Verdict:

  • Nice big colorful sprites
  • Early 90’s rap music
  • Smoother controls compared to the NES version
  • Nice Anime cutscenes
  • Platforming areas are much easier to do than on the NES

Score: 5/5

*Special PC-Engine CD Review* Ginga Fukei Densetsu Sapphire

Ginga Fukei Densetsy Sapphire CoverDue to my absence, I have decided to do a couple special reviews. This sites main focus is to provide a review for every TurboGrafx-16 and PC-Engine game, but since I’ve been slacking I’ll review a couple of PC-Engine CD games! Who knows, I may toss them in here and there from now on. First up was a random choice, Ginga Fukei Densetsu Sapphire! I had no idea what the game was when I picked it and because the game is in Japanese, I really don’t know what’s going on with the story. But that doesn’t hinder the game play at all!

Ginga Fukei Densetsu Sapphire is your typical shmup (shoot em up) with some amazing visuals and sounds! You can definitely tell this is a step up from your normal PC-Engine game. There is voice acting although it is in Japanese, colorful Anime cutscenes, and some fantastic music thanks to the use of a CD-ROM. There isn’t much English in the game, but my take on the story is you’re some kind of female futuristic task force. Each lady gets there own ship, and of course each has their own unique firepower. There is even a difference in speed between the four. Stay away from the green ship, it’s super slow.

I say futuristic, but what's up with this in the opening cutscene??

I say futuristic, but what’s up with this in the opening cutscene??

Once you pick your pilot it’s off to shoot things! The controls are simple as they are in most shmups. Hold down a button to shoot continuously, and the other is your special. Sapphire puts your eye and twitch reflexes to the test but it’s not super overwhelming. I’ve seen some shmups where it seems like every inch of the screen has an enemy or bullets whizzing by. That is not the case with Sapphire although it isn’t a cake walk either. On the normal difficulty setting I could only get to stage 3. When I set it back to easy I was able to make it to stage 5. Pro Tip: Raise your continues to 9 in the options as well.

A scrolling maze area!

A scrolling maze area!

Some enemies drop power ups represented by a floating “P”. Let them float long enough and their color will change so you can get a different type of gun. After getting just one power up, you’ll get a gun at each side of your ship. There’s a neat little strategy involving these ships. If you encounter a bunch of enemies on the screen, do not shoot. Just dodge. Once the guns are glowing hit your shoot button and the guns will zip around the screen taking out enemies and rack you up some points!. The stages aren’t that long and consist of a mid boss and end level boss. There are some interesting enemies in this game. The paintings that contain dragons in them or the mannequin head that transforms into a skull stand out.

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Sadly, Ginga Fukei Sensetsu Sapphire is one of the most expensive games for the PC-Engine CD. I couldn’t find any on eBay now, but I’ve read stories about them going for $400+. That’s ridiculous! It seems people are also making fakes of these and tossing them up on auction sites. Luckily there are ways to spot fakes. I found a guide here. There is a cheaper route as well. If you must physically own this game there is a PSP version in the Galaxy Fraulein Collection that runs anywhere from $50-$70.

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I do recommend playing this game. Be it by hunting down a copy (if you’re Scrooge McDuck) or by other means. It is a beautiful shmup with some awesome early polygon work, mixed with some big sprites. The explosions are delightfully blocky and I love it. The music delivers and helps add to the game play and with some practice, you’ll get further each time you play. And don’t be ashamed of putting it on easy. There is still a challenge even on easy mode. Heck I barely made the high score list but I still had fun. What are you waiting for! Go! Emulate! Have Fun!

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Can you beat my pathetic attempt at a highscore? Post your scores in the comments!

 Final Verdict:

  • Fun game with easy to learn controls
  • Interesting cast of enemies
  • Nice blend of polygon and sprite graphics
  • Fun for shmup fans both old and new

Score: 5/5

The Legendary Axe (TurboGrafx-16)

????????????????????????Launch games are basically laughed at now before they are even released. As soon as a launch game is announced prior to a consoles release the internet is already buzzing with “LOL Launch game” and other snark. Usually these games get ignored and ripped apart in reviews. Luckily, back when I was a kid in the 80’s launch games were celebrated. The 80’s and 90’s had some of the best launch games in my opinion. Super Mario Bros. is one of the most revolutionary games ever created and it was a launch game for the NES. Sonic the Hedgehog blew everyone’s minds with its “Blast processing’ and colorful graphics. Well it just so happens the next game I chose to review was one of the TurboGrafx-16’s launch titles, The Legendary Axe.

You play as Gogan who sets out to rescue his friend Flare. She was selected by the Cult of Jagu to use her as a sacrifice to the almighty Jagu. Gogan was out studying warfare and once he learns of Flares kidnapping he of course must rescue her. Now that we have the ever important set up, we can play the game! The Legendary Axe is an action-adventure platformer with simple controls. You have a jump and attack button. It controls pretty good… .well platforming can be tricky, but once you adjust to the physics you’ll soon have it down. Gogan, for some odd reason reminds me of Brandon Fraser in Encino Man only Gogan is rockin’ red dread locks.

Legendary Axe, The (USA)-004

Stoney?

You attack with an axe of course. There is no fancy axe swinging here, just one short, forward swing. You can’t aim up but you can duck down and swing. This comes in handy when you fight bigger creatures like the golems. There are power ups to make your attack stronger. The long bar at the top of the screen represents your axe’s power. At first the bar is empty but as you collect power ups, it will grow. When you attack the meter drops but will refill if you’re not attacking. The higher the meter the stronger your attack is.

The item in the middle raises the power meter.

The item in the middle raises the power meter.

There are only six zones in the game and each zone has two acts. The levels are your typical platformer levels. Caves, jungles, and ice levels etc. The enemies are even more generic. Giant spiders and bugs. Oh and you can’t forget such classics as bats!! Members of the Jagu cult will appear throughout levels and are basically mutated caveman-pumpkin heads. They are quickly disposed of as are most enemies in Legendary Axe.

The boss fights are humorous in the “I’m a big bad man fighting nature” way. Not only do you fight two, I repeat, two grizzly bears at once but one boss encounter is actually two big boulders! I was actually laughing that the creators thought two boulders simply rolling back and forth would make a great boss fight. The giant, fuzzy, floating- purple eyes boss fight in Zone 3B gave me trouble and sadly I could not continue on with the game.

Taking down grizzlies and balls!!

Taking down grizzlies and balls!!

For a launch title The Legendary Axe delivers. Sure it’s no Sonic or Mario but the cheesy action will make you feel manly. Like a man of the land taking on nature. The graphics are nice but nothing special. Same with the music. The controls are easy to learn thus resulting in a nice experience. With some patience you’ll soon master the levels. If I stuck with it more I’m sure I could take down the boss on 3B but I’ll be honest, I rage quit. Perhaps you have the skills and patience to take down the Jagu Cult and rescue Flare!

Final Verdict:

  • easy to learn controls
  • nice graphics and some interesting boss fights
  • epic grizzly fights
  • limited attack

Score: 3/5

Goodnight sweet Stoney. (I couldn't beat these guys)

Goodnight sweet Stoney. (I couldn’t beat these guys)

 

 

 

Alice in Wonderdream – Fushigi No Yume No Alice (PC-Engine)

Alice in Wonder Dream

Platformers were all the rage when I was a kid. Some will argue they are still popular but other than Mario and a couple other Nintendo games, they are no where near as big as they was back in the 90’s. Back then platformers seemed to be the go to when making games. Be it a fat plumber, a speedy hedgehog and even a Pencil, as long as you could run jump and collect things we were happy. Over in Japan they decided to go with this formula and toss in Alice. You may have read the Alice in Wonderland book in school or most of us watched the Disney classic. Alice in Wonderdream is a pretty interesting but lazy take on the story we all know.

Did you ever hear the expression “use your words not your fists”? Well Alice takes that saying to heart. She attacks her enemies by yelling at them. This is represented by some Japanese text that flies out of her mouth. Holding down the attack button charges her scream which of course is a stronger attack. You can also jump on enemies heads which I found to actually be more effective and kill them quicker.

I wonder if she is cussing at them?

I wonder if she is cussing at them?

The reason I called the game lazy is because the backgrounds and even the level designs are repetitive. The first world is the Forest and has four acts. In act two it already felt like I was playing the same level. Just slightly rearranged enemies. They toss in characters from Alice in Wonderland like the cards, the White Rabbit, and some dodo birds. I can’t tell you what’s going on with the story. The text is in Japanese, which I cannot read. My take is that Alice was sleeping and some super spooky demon messed up her dream and now she has to try to wake up. Take that with a grain of salt as that was completely made up off the top of my head.

Super spooky demon guy!

Super spooky demon guy!

Even the boss fights seem to repeat every two levels! Granted I didn’t play the game all the way through, but what I saw repeated often. First you fight some ghosts followed by an alligator. Both can be defeated quicker by jumping on their heads rather than trying to scream at them. You’ll soon be fighting them again but with a color swap. Another reason why I think the game was lazily done. After you complete a world the White Rabbit will appear and ask you to pull his finger. Okay maybe he doesn’t but it certainly looks that way! You will also receive a book which is when the game gets a little interesting.

When you pause the game and hit button 1, you will bring up a menu that contains the books you have collected. I only managed to get a red and blue book. Judging by the menu size I assume there are three more. The red book reveals items that are hidden throughout the levels. The screen turns dark and items will appear for a limited time. You can use the books as long as you have enough magic. The blue orbs at the bottom of your screen is your magic meter. Some items you can find restore magic and health. Some will even extend your life and magic meters. The blue book simply allows you to jump higher. I forgot to mention that the power meter determines how strong your scream attack is. Hold it down to make it stronger. Hold it to long and Alice gets tired.

Fushigi no Yume no Alice (Japan)-003

There isn’t really any more to say about Alice in Wonderdream. Sadly, this is one of those games that look amazing by the screen shots but turn out to be bad when you play them. A risk we gamers from the 80’s and 90’s took often. We didn’t have internet reviews back then and we relied on magazine reviews. And lets face it, not every game got reviewed back then. Even though the story and menu are in Japanese it is 100% playable by non Japanese readers. The graphics are really nice and colorful. They did a great job in that department. It’s just a shame they took the lazy route with this one. It could have been much more.

Pull my finger!

Pull my finger!

Final Verdict:

  • Repetitive level design
  • Alice in Wonderland characters seem tossed in
  • Repetitive boss fights complete with lazy color swaps
  • Kill enemies by screaming in their faces

Score: 2/5

 

Aero Blasters (TurboGrafx 16)

Aero Blasters

 

It’s that time again! Time to compare a TurboGrafx-16 game to a port on a different console. Aero Blasters is actually a game I’m familiar with. As soon as I started playing I knew I was playing a early version of Air Buster. Air Buster was the second game I got on the Sega Genesis and one of the few shmups I’ve managed to complete. This review will be like my Ninja Ryukenden review complete with screen shots to compare!

There is no story, it’s just straight into action. You take control of a jet that is equipped with a single gun. Holding down button one allows for a steady stream of bullets while holding down button two releases a blast that kills all enemies on the screen. You will have to wait for the bar at the top of the screen to refill before you can use the blast again. The controls are exactly the same on the Sega Genesis and the graphics really aren’t that much different. Just some very minor differences. In most cases the Genesis version had more background detail.

WM Boss 1 Compare

It didn’t take me long to notice that the TurboGrafx-16 version is the more difficult version. In the Genesis port there is an options menu that lets you raise your lives and continues. I maxed these out every time I played Air Buster. But on the TG16 there is no option to do this. All you get is two lives and five continues and believe me these will go fast! By the time I reached level two I had used two continues! Compared to the Genesis version I wouldn’t have even used one and only died once on the first level. They definitely made the game easier on the Genesis.

WM Level 3 Compare

Some parts of Aero Blasters are just plain unfair. I’m assuming that is because this version is more based on the arcade original and as we all know, most arcade games were designed to eat our quarters. On level two Mechanized Cave for example, there’s a high speed area in which you zoom down tunnels. This part is doable on the Genesis, but on the TG16, I couldn’t pass it! Luckily there are some cheat codes for the Tg16 for more lives and a level skip. I’ll share those at the bottom of this review. It’s obvious they knew the Tg16 was too hard and made it much more easier on the Genesis. I’m not saying the Genesis version is simple, it’s still fairly tough but with enough practice you’ll be able to beat it. Unlike the unfair Tg16 version.

WM Level 2 Compare

Both Aero Blasters and Air Buster only have six levels. They have the same power ups as well. Random big yellow containers float by. Once shot power ups fly everywhere. They are your typical shmup weapons. Some are heat seeking missiles or two guns that float beside you adding to your firepower. Be sure to collect the orange P’s as they add another bullet stream to your jet. These are probably they most important power up to get. You’ll be mowing down big bosses in no time!

I’m more partial to the Genesis music. Only because I’m more familiar with it. The TG16 music isn’t bad, but I personally prefer the Genesis. Some of the later levels have some of the greatest music on the Genesis in my opinion. The arcade music of course is the better out of all the versions but again I still prefer the good old grungy sound of the Genesis. Seriously, listen to some of the music on YouTube. I promise it will not disappoint!

WM Boss 2 Compare

Overall, I’d say stick with the Genesis version here. It’s still challenging but not cheap. I still can’t believe I couldn’t beat level two on the TG16. Of the two levels I got to play, the level designs were slightly different than on the Genesis. One sweet thing the Genesis had over the TG16 was a glove. Yes an actual glove that you could send off for. It helped you “because the action is fast and furious. And the game is hot.” I actually owned this back then and wish I still had it. It did nothing more but to make you feel cool. But yes, if you want a darn near impossible experience play Aero Blasters on the TG16. If you want a better more enjoyable experience with rocking tunes, play Air Buster on the Sega Genesis.

I wish I still had my glove.

I wish I still had my glove.

Final Verdict:

  • A hard as nails schmup
  • Genesis version is more fair than the TG16 and has better music
  • No glove offer on the TG16
  • Other than the difficulty and minor graphical differences, they are identical

Score: TG16: 2/5 Genesis: 4/5

Cheats:

Extra Lives: Right-Right-Right-Select on the title screen

Level Select: Enter the extra lives code first, then hit button one 10 times to start at level 2. To start at higher levels, Press button I once more for each level above 2. (i.e., 11 times to start on level 3, 12 times for level 4, etc.) To complete the code, press Select, Select, Run.