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Showing posts from January, 2023

Rival Turf: A middling Final Fight clone

Rival Turf, stylized on the cover and manual with an exclamation point (like Jeb Bush's failed 2016 presidential campaign), is an early SNES beat-'em-up created by Jaleco. Games published by Jaleco were generally sub-standard, and Rival Turf is no exception. It was a bald attempt to capitalize on the success of Capcom's arcade hit Final Fight . The photo art on the box and manual is infamous. Rival Turf is inferior to Final Fight (FF) in every way except one. Unlike FF, Rival Turf supports two players at the same time. FF was a popular arcade game, but (as I noted in my review ) the home version disappointed many fans because it omitted one of the three character options and, crucially, was single-player only. What made FF so popular in arcades was the ability for two players to play together. Rival Turf's sole achievement is including this feature. The two character choices are carbon copies of Cody and Haggar from FF. One is beefy (Oozie Nelson), the other slight (Jac

Zelda II: The Adventure of Link: The "black sheep" is good

Like some other NES classics, the sequel to the groundbreaking  Legend of Zelda goes in a different direction from its predecessor. It's still an action-adventure game, but the overhead perspective has been exchanged for side-scrolling platforming. Zelda II has the reputation of being the series' "black sheep." However, it holds up well against most other NES games. Featuring a world map with random encounters, experience points, and a menu of magic spells, Zelda II is the closest the series has ever come to being an RPG. The choice to use side-scrolling makes sense when you consider that other successful action-adventure games of the time, such as Rygar and Metroid , were side-scrolling platformers. Zelda II doesn't feature much platforming by comparison. There are a few lava pits to navigate, but no platforms suspended in the air. Jumping is more important in the sword-based combat system that is central to gameplay. Link can slash his sword at eye level or

Metroid II: Return of Samus: The hunt for flying jellyfish

The second entry in the Metroid series arrived on the Game Boy at the end of 1991. It offers a more linear experience than the original , as Samus moves deeper and deeper into the cavernous SR-388 hunting Metroids. Although not as compelling as the original (let alone  Super Metroid ), Metroid II is a strong entry for the Game Boy. The plot of Metroid II is that Samus has been tasked with exterminating every last Metroid on their home planet of SR-388. A tracker at the bottom of the screen displays how many remain, beginning at 39. Periodically, after she has slain a certain quota, the screen rumbles as if there were an earthquake. Each time this happens a new downward path opens where there used to be lava. There are ten underground areas, plus the planet's surface where Samus's ship has landed.  The basic Metroids, called Alphas, are easy to destroy with missiles. These are not the same Metroids from the original. Apparently the classic Metroid is a larval form! Metroids meta