Archive for November, 2009

Retro Game Review! SMS, Fantasy Zone

Ah, this one brings back some memories.

One of the less well known sideways scrolling shooters, fantasy zone is not only easy enough to finish, but pleasurable enough to make playing the whole game a warm experience, with only the odd moment of rage.

Fantasy Zone025So, what’s the big deal, I hear you ask?

Well. Fact is, Fantasy Zone manages to do what very few shooters of this era ever managed to do – make each successive level and each successive boss more and more interesting.

This is fairly mainstream thinking nowadays, but back then, designers, especially designers of games like this, thought that making the game increasingly difficult was enough.

Read on…but beware, there are a few spoilers, as screenshots from the whole game are included.

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Just In: Crazy Kong Grandstand – rare handheld

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That's crazy alright!

What is it?

Crazy Kong LCD pocket Arcade Game by Grandstand.

What’s it do?

It’s got an alarm, watch, stopwatch and date/day functions. Ah, yes, and it’s a game.

What’s the game?

In a word: It’s HARD.
Here goes -

The object of the game is for the boy [boy? isn't that cruel?] to climb to the tower and escape before he is defeated by the monsters.
If the boy is caught by one of the monsters, a chance is lost. You get four chances (boys) before the game is over.
There are six monsters in the game:

Big foot: If the boy stays in the starting position too long (7 seconds), big foot will appear and kick the boy forward one space.

Frankenstein
: Frankenstein rauses his arms up and down. If he catches the boy, the boy is defeated and a chance is lost.

Dracula
: Dracula moves up and down and changes back and forth from a bat to Dracula. If Dracula catches the boy [you guessed it] a chance is lost.

Sea Monster: The sea monster moves up and down. [You know what's coming next so I won't bother copy typing it.]

Mummyman
: [No, seriously. It says Mummyman right here. Really. Anyway] Mummyman moves back and forth and       rolls [that massive space typo is ACTUALLY in the manual] rolls boulders down the steps at the boy. [bit harsh isn't it?] If a boulder hits the boy, the boy tumbles down and is defeated. And [wait for it....!] a chance is lost.

Skeletonman
: [obviously these two are best of friends in the old erm..tower] Skeletonman attacks the boy with his knife. Skeletonman can push the boy back with thrusts of his knife. If skeletonman throws his knife, [come on everybody, join in!] the boy is defeated and a chance is lost.

Enough from the manual anyway. If you want to read the rest of this comedy book, you’re going to have to buy it, or come round to Rewind Towers. I promise we don’t have any mummymen or skeletonmen. Maybe the odd bigfoot.

Moving on.

What seems to be competing with a Nintendo Game and Watch, seems to be more like an episode of Takeshi’s Castle. With so many ridiculously hard challenges, it’s either obsessively hard, or, plain laughable in gameplay. I have no idea whether you can actually complete it. I most certainly can’t. The manual suggests of a “perfect score” of 2000. I managed to get 153.

But, fellow retro fans, that’s just the thing. It doesn’t matter. It’s a piece of gaming history, and that’s enough.

Back Story

Believe it or not, there is one. Crazy Kong was in fact first an arcade game. It was “similar” (read into that what you will!) to Nintendo’s Donkey Kong. The game was then ported (loosely!) to the handheld electronic game, which is “similar” (again, read what you will) to a Nintendo Game and Watch. Oddly enough, the company named Falcon later released a handheld sequel to this, called Crazy Kong Jr (read into that what you will!). Crazy Kong was also ported to the Spectrum and C64, which is why you may have heard of it.

Funny Final Fact

The monkey on the box, is not in the game. What??

I Want It!!

Come get it then.

Retro Game Review! SNES, F-Zero

Are you ready?

Are you ready?

If the thought of a “zero gravity racing game on the SNES” sounds about as exciting as stabbing yourself in the ear with a spoon, then you might want to read on. Not, I might add, due to my sadistic tendencies, but because this game is an absolute gem.

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Will Zelda Spirit Tracks be any good?

As the release date for the new Zelda game on the DS, “The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks”, comes ever closer, the question many are asking is “Should I bother?”.

We’re forgiven for our skepticism. After all, the last Zelda release on the DS, “Phantom Hourglass” was, well, too gimmicky. Shallow plot. Repetitive gameplay. And most importantly, too short. I, and many other traditional RPG fans and Zelda fans alike were left disappointed.

But, instead of analyzing what we didn’t like about Phantom Hourglass, I’m going to take a guess based on the information out there about the latest offering.

Read the rest of this entry »

Packing Games to Survive the Mail!

Big Big Big topic here for any game collectors, as promised a post on this subject.

I get a lot of games sent to me in the mail, and I’d say probably 50% of them are invariably packed with almost no protection at all. Out of those, probably half have suffered some crush injury as a result. You can’t blame the postal system for this – they have a job to do, and I truly think they do it well. Fact is, your packet should be able to survive being at the bottom of a mail sack, with possibly even another mail sack on top of it. SNES and Gameboy games just aren’t designed for that sort of punishment.

I have been shipping games now for some time. Initially I had some teething problems with a few different packing techniques I tried, but I have settled on one which, to date, has resulted in no reported damage in the mail ever. I’m not here to gloat about it – I’m here to inform. This is how I would like my items to be packed when they arrive at my door please!! Read on..

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Removing price labels on games the easy way

If I were to ask my buyers what the most annoying thing about buying a rare high priced SNES game is, the answer would probably be that it gets crushed in the mail. More about that later though.

The second most annoying thing about buying a rare high priced SNES game is the price labels or other annoyances that shops have a habit of adorning the boxes with.

A sticky label adhered to printed cardboard is not the easiest thing to remove. Add to that almost 20 years of settling and most often the print and adhesive have “become one”.

Fear not, fellow collectors. In my quest for answers I have accidentally come across a miracle solvent for the removal of labels on just about any surface. Read on! Read the rest of this entry »

Retro Game Review! SNES, Super Aleste

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Shooters have been around as long as consoles. It’s fair to say everyone has their favourites, many rooted deep in their younger years, with memories of propping up arcade cabinets watching their friends load the 10p coins into glowing slots while sitting on ripped faux leather seats with stains from coke, beer or worse. You can almost smell it.

Super Aleste (E)_00014

Times inevitably had to change. By the early nineties, arcade machines were the last resort of the bored or inebriated. Most of us were tucked up at home on the sofa, playing on our favourite consoles, on a new generation of games.

However, the shooter did still make the odd appearance on the humble console, but they rarely caught on. Only very occasionally did any such game stand out from the crowd. Super Aleste is one such game.   Read the rest of this entry »

“Fake” Game and Watch parts

While on the subject of game and watches, this is something I’ve been mulling over for a while.

What the superb gameandwatch.ch rightly point out, theres a spate at the moment of people completing their game and watch using non original non authentic parts.

I can fully understand what the fuss is about. As a collector and trader, A game and watch in a non original box is pretty much a fake game and watch. It certainly isn’t worth the £50+ (very + in some cases!) that the original in the original box would fetch.

But, to play devil’s advocate for a moment. What’s the big deal? If I bought a game and watch and wanted a replica box to display it with, well, it’s hardly taking any business away from Nintendo is it? And I’m happy, and I’m hurting nobody. You can’t deny the ingenuity of the manufacturers of these replica parts.

Furthermore, I myself sell some replica parts. Replacements for cart slots, or new capacitors. What’s the difference?

So I suppose, when it comes down to it, I feel personally that the line has to be drawn here: Don’t sell reproduction/non original merchandise without declaring it as such.  It is fairly possible to detect the originals from the “fakes”, certainly for a seasoned trader like myself.

Beyond that, I don’t think it hurts anyone.

Just in: Blackjack game & watch

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Getting one of these in usually causes me to lose several hours while I play with it. It’s one of the more addictive of the game and watch series for me at least. Not that I’m in any way a compulsive gambler!

This one is in really nice condition though – I like it. Some collector’s going to be very happy!

Check it out here

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