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Showing posts from June, 2022

Star Fox 64: 25th anniversary

Twenty-five years ago today, Star Fox 64 was released in America. It surpassed its SNES predecessor, Star Fox , in every way. Star Fox 64 is an on-rails shooter. "On rails" means that your ship always moves forward along a pre-determined path, like a roller coaster. Within this path you can move around on the screen using the d-pad. You can speed up briefly by holding ←C or slow down with ↓C (the N64 controller has a C button in each orthogonal direction). Speeding up uses a boost meter, which needs a few seconds to refresh before you can boost again. The main gameplay element is shooting enemy ships with your laser (press A). Holding the button down for a second charges the laser. Charging has the added advantage of locking onto an enemy and doing splash damage to those next to it. The game records how many ships you destroy on each level and uses the total to create an arcade-style ranking, where you input your name for eternal glory (my best score so far is an unimpressive

Lode Runner: Brick-breaking, gold-grabbing puzzle platforming

Lode Runner has a lot in common with Spelunker . Both were originally computer games published in the early 80's. Both are arcade-style platforming games in which you collect treasure. Both were ported to the NES in 1987. And both NES versions were published by Brøderbund! Lode Runner is the better game, although that's not saying much. Each stage of Lode Runner consists of various platforms connected by ladders and horizontal ropes. To beat a stage you must collect all the heaps of gold coins lying about, then exit via a ladder that appears at the top. The game has a lot in common with Wrecking Crew and BurgerTime , especially in the fact you must constantly evade enemies that home in on you, and you can't jump . Your only defense is to create a hole in the brick floor to the left (press B) or right (press A). It's not clear by what mechanism this occurs: a gun? A magic wand? Definitely not a shovel. Anyway, the enemy often walk into the holes you make. While an enemy

Spelunker: Is this the worst NES game?

Spelunker on the NES may be the worst video game I've ever played. It was originally released for the Atari computer in 1983 and then the Commodore 64 in '84, and it shows. By the time it came to the NES in 1987, it was very dated. Spelunker is a platforming adventure game in which you explore a cave, picking up keys and other items. Proceeding to the next section of the cave (stage) requires getting the keys to open the red and blue doors. Hazards stand in the spelunker's way, such as rocks, ditches, and piles that shoot steam. Falling in a ditch or getting blasted with steam kills the spelunker instantly. He can pick up bombs and then use them (press ↓ and B) to blow up rocks obstructing his path. You have to run away or the explosion kills the spelunker, too! There are only two enemies: bats that poop on the spelunker, which kills him , and a ghost that keeps showing up and giving chase. The ghost can be defeated with your gun, called the Phantom Blaster (press B). When