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Showing posts from August, 2021

Pilotwings: 30th anniversary

Pilotwings (like F-Zero ) was intended to show off the SNES's Mode 7 scaling graphics. Although its visuals hardly impress today, it looked amazing thirty years ago. How much fun it is to play is another question. Watch a video version of this review The game consists of a series of lessons (or Flight Areas), each of which requires completing objectives. Each objective uses a different vehicle, of which there are four: light plane, skydiving, Rocketbelt, and hang glider. You can do them in any order and are shown the objective, controls, and scoring criteria before you begin. When you complete a lesson, you receive a License Number that is actually a password, which I suppose is clever. The first lesson has two objectives. For the former, you have to fly the plane along a predetermined path (marked with green dots) and then safely land it on the runway. You're graded on accuracy, time, angle, and beam. The first instructor, Tony, tells you that you have 45 seconds, but don'

F-Zero: 30th anniversary

Among its SNES launch titles, Nintendo made sure to include two games that took full advantage of the system's Mode 7 scaling graphics. It needed to prove to parents right off the bat that it was worth spending $200 on a new system that couldn't play all the NES games they had already bought. One of those two games was a racing game called F-Zero (the other is Pilotwings ). Watch a video version of this review F-Zero is a great game. It feels like a classic racer (like Rad Racer ), but with the added gimmick of taking damage. When you hit a wall or other vehicle, not only do you get banged around but you lose some energy on your Power Meter. Your top speed decreases if you lose too much power. When the Meter hits zero, your car explodes! Energy can be regained each lap by driving over a special strip. This is called the Pit Row, so I guess in the 26th century, the pit crew refuels remotely from a ship that hovers overhead. Absorb the healing rays of the Pit Row. The game does a

Super Mario World: 30th anniversary

Thirty years ago today, the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) launched in the U.S. Leading its small slate of launch titles was the much-anticipated Super Mario World, which in Japan was called Super Mario Bros. 4: Super Mario World . Video version of this review The SNES was a huge improvement over the NES, which is saying a lot since the NES itself was a revolution compared to the Atari 2600. The sound quality and color palettes mean the games still hold up beautifully in 2021, which is not exactly true of NES games. Granted, it can't do CD-quality music, but the 16-bit graphics have become the gold standard of 2D pixel-based designs and have been imitated in loads of retro titles (e.g., Axiom Verge , Blaster Master Zero , and the Final Fantasy Pixel Remasters). Furthermore, the technical capabilities mean the system can handle many sprites on screen at once without slowdown or flicker. It also has parallax scrolling and the system's signature Mode 7 scaling. Firing

Pro Wrestling: More than a meme, less than a classic

Pro Wrestling was the first and only wrestling game Nintendo ever made. It's become a bit of a cult classic thanks to its victory text: "A WINNER IS YOU." The game is somewhat impressive for 1987 but like many NES games doesn't hold up that well today. First, the good: the game features six playable wrestlers, each of whom has one or two special moves. King Slender, for example, can perform a backbreaker if you press A while grappling. This fact alone places Pro Wrestling well ahead of all the sports launch titles and both early fighting games ( Karate Champ and Urban Champion ). It is by far the best player-versus-player game I've played so far on the NES (though I only played against the computer). Not only are the characters unique, but they have personality and even stats screens that display when you start the game. Several are based on real 80's wrestlers (King Slender = Ric Flair; Giant Panther = Hulk Hogan; Fighter Hayabusa = Antonio Inoki, a famous