Category Archives: 30 Minute Reviews

Pokemon Pinball (GBC)

Prediction

The year is coming to an end, and admittedly it hasn’t been a very productive year for the site. Only two articles and not a single 30 minute review. I would feel guilty if i left it like that, so here we are pushing out one more article while we still can.

For today’s 30 minute review, I thought it would be nice to check in on an old favorite of mine, Pokémon Pinball. One of the earliest spin off titles for the series, Pokémon Pinball brings all the thrills of catching them all and converts them over to a pinball machine setting. It’s been a while since I last played, so I don’t remember many of the details, but I know you could catch or evolve all 150 of the original Pokémon in this game, though doing so is quite the challenge. But let’s not wonder about it, let’s just dive in and see how well Pokémon Pinball holds up today!

Gameplay

Just like with the original game set, Pokémon Pinball offers up two different Fields to play on, a Red Field and a Blue Field. The layouts of the Fields are slightly different, but more importantly, each Field has different Pokémon you are capable of catching. For no reason other than the fact it’s on the left, we’re going to check out the Red Field first.

When the Field first loads up, the screen in the center of the table will start to cycle through the different areas of the world. This will determine what Pokémon are available for you to catch during this playthrough. I happened to start my game in Lavender Town.

Now it’s time to get the obvious observations out of the way. The table is pretty bare for a pinball machine. The top half of the machine has a set of three Voltorbs acting as bumpers. There is also a Bellsprout that will swallow your Pokéball and spit it back out. Then there’s a Ditto in the top corner blocking a secret hole. I believe this is related to evolution, but I never managed to get him to move. The bottom half of the screen doesn’t really have much at all to interact with. There are the flippers of course, but other than that there’s really only the two Digletts poking out of the side walls to interact with.

Eventually a Pokémon will appear and you’ll be able to start catching it. I’d like to comment on what actually triggers the Pokémon to appear, but I didn’t notice it. Anyway, once a Pokémon does appear, you have only 2 minutes to aim your Pokéball up to the Voltorb bumpers to gradually uncover what Pokémon you have the chance to catch.

Once you uncover all the tiles, the Pokémon will finally be catchable. In my case, we get a chance to catch a Magnemite. To catch it, all you have to do it hit it a few times with the Pokéball. Each time you hit it, the word “CATCH!” will be spelled out below it. Manage to spell out the whole word and one more hit is all you’ll need to finally catch it. One Pokémon down, 149 left to go!

After you successfully catch the Pokémon, a nice bonus slot will appear. The hole has a bit of suction to it, so it’s not that hard to get the ball into it. As soon as you do, the various Bonus rewards will start to cycle until it finally lands on one. I happened to get Pika Power, which causes the Pikachu at the bottom to rapidly jump between the sides and help keep the Pokéball in play.

Before we leave the Red Field, there’s one last discovery I want to mention. If you manage to light up all three of the lights above the Voltorbs it will actually upgrade your Pokéball to the next powerful Pokéball. Now I have a Great Ball. My understanding is that the stronger balls will cause “CATCH!” to spell out faster. Unfortunately I never get to test that out as I lose my last ball shortly after this.

So that’s enough time for the Red Field. Let’s Move on to the Blue Field for a while. Right away you’ll notice that the Blue Field is nearly as simplistic as the Red Field, just with a bit more of a water typing to it. The Voltorbs have been replaced with Shellders, Bellsprout with Cloyster, and Digletts with either a Poliwag or a Psyduck.

One notable difference however is the blue arrow on the top half of the Field. This arrow has a gravitational nature to it, attracting the Pokéball to it and propelling it in the direction the arrow is facing. This makes it much easier in my opinion to actually get the ball up into the bumpers and special areas. It is also a contributing factor in making this Field feel easier and therefor more fun to play on.

I think partially because of this, I managed to not only catch a Pidgey, but actually evolve it too. That’s right! You can actually evolve the Pokémon you catch. Assuming you can keep the ball going long enough. Evolution in the game is actually fairly easy. After activating Evolution mode, which in the Blue Field is triggered by Slowpoke, you have to hit one of the various bumpers and switches marked around the Field.

Once you do, an EXP will appear randomly somewhere on the Field that you need to collect. After collecting 3 EXP, all you have to do is knock the Pokéball into the hole and like magic your Pokémon has evolved. I’m now the proud owner of a Pidgeotto!

After evolving my Pidgey into Pidgeotto, I apparently unlocked a Bonus Stage. Unfortunately, I lost the ball shortly after this and got a game over. So I guess I’ll simply never know what the Bonus Stage looks like.

That’s pretty much all there is to show you for this game. Two Fields where you play pinball and try to catch all 150 original Pokémon. The only other thing I want to point out is the fact that there is a Pokédex on the main menu that will let you see all the Pokémon you’ve managed to capture during your various play times.

Verdict

Price – $9.97

I still have my original cartridge for this one, but a quick searched says you can find the game pretty easily for under $10. It’s a great game, especially for the price, and any Pokémon fan should have it in their collection.

Play Again? – Probably

I’m not good at pinball games. At this point I’m pretty sure it’s obvious I’m not very good at any games, but pinball I feel I’m especially not good at. However, this has a very fun and unique gimmick to it that goes beyond the traditional pinball table. For that alone I’d probably come back to this on occasion.

Total Deaths – You don’t die playing pinball (I hope)

You don’t exactly die playing pinball, but I did go through about 6 full games in just my 30 minute play time. I remember being able to keep a single game going for nearly an hour back when I played more frequently, but my skills have clearly rusted over time.

Fun Rating – 7 / 10

Pinball I think is one of those activities where you either love it or you hate it, and there really isn’t a whole lot of grey area in between. The two Fields are rather simplistic, and on their own would get boring very quickly. It also might just be me, but the Red Field seems much harder and less fun than the Blue Field. In this regard, the game isn’t really anything special and probably wouldn’t even earn a second glance. However, the ability to catch and evolve your Pokémon while playing is what really makes the game stand out. It’s still not a particularly deep mechanic, but with 150 Pokémon to catch, it’s a great incentive to play again and again. In the end, it might be just an average Pinball game at best, but it’s a very fun Pokémon Spin-off.

My high score for the new year!

 

I hope you enjoyed this 30 Minute Review of Pokémon Pinball. If you did, like and follow me on Facebook or Twitter. Also leave your comments, suggestions, and recommendations. If you’re feeling real generous, you can even Donate to help me keep the site going. Thank you for reading, and I’ll see you next time.

 

Tin Star (SNES)

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Prediction

I’m sorry everyone, I have failed you! When I started playing Tin Star, I did it with the intent to beat it and give it a proper full review. Now I’m half way through the game and I’m calling defeat. I simply can’t keep up with the game and it is too much for me to beat without cheating. I know I already use infinite lives cheats to get through most of the games I play, but I draw the line at infinite health. Still, I already have a few hours invested in this game so I’m going to review as much as I’ve seen.

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If you’ve never heard of the game, let me give you a quick introduction. Tin Star is a Western themed game except for the fact that everybody is a robot. You play as the title character Tin Star, the new sheriff ready to clean up the town. Ideally you would play the game with the massive SNES Super Scope light gun, but without that you can also use the regular controller to play. Of course, playing a light gun game with a typical controller has its downsides. But I’m jumping the gun, let’s get to the game and see what it’s all about.

Gameplay

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The game takes place over the course of Tin Star’s first week in town. Before we start each day we get a little bottle shooting practice game. Shoot the bottle and then continue shooting it as it bounces around the screen for more points. It’s a great way to warm up for the day, and more importantly it’s an easy source of cash early on. You’ll need as much money as you can get since you have to pay every time you want to save your progress.

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Now that we’re properly warmed up to the controls, let’s jump into the real story. Tin Star and his companion Mo Crash are waiting to catch the next stagecoach into town when they strike up a conversation is a very googly eyed and manly looking old lady. She recognizes him as the new sheriff in town, to which Tin Star adds a terrible pun about also being the new “Head of Sanitation”, because he’s going to “Clean up the town”.

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After a terrible pun like that, I can hardly blame her for insisting he ride up on the roof with the baggage. In the end it’s for the best since the stagecoach is almost immediately under attack. You’ll have to do your best to shoot all the bad guys as they try to climb aboard and kill you.

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As I mentioned earlier, this game is ideally meant to be played with a light gun, but it can also be played with a regular controller like I am. In this case, a cursor shows up on screen which you can control for your targeting. What’s really interesting about this game is that despite being a light gun game, you can actually see your character Tin Star on screen while you’re playing. You can’t control him at all, but it’s odd for a light gun game not to be in first person perspective.

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Tin Star will be jumping all around the stagecoach in true action movie fashion, and after taking out a few waves of enemies you’ll face the game’s first boss, Joe Twiddley. Joe isn’t a particularly hard boss to fight. He’s somewhat fast and agile, thanks in part to his spring legs, but he only needs a few shots before he’s defeated. It is only the first level after all, so you can’t be expecting too much.

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I’m not entirely sure how you unlock it, but sometimes after you finish a stage you’ll be able to do a bonus round. In those bonus rounds, you have to shoot star targets from around a busty female robot as she spins around on a target board. These stars are small, so hitting them is rather difficult, but they are worth a lot if you do. Either way each stage will end with the undertaker assessing your performance and paying you accordingly. You’ll also be brought back to the stage select screen to be allowed to save your game should you so choose. It would be wise to save often, but as saving costs money, you may want to consider risking it.

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Once we get to town, Tin Star does the gentlemanly thing by offering to carry the Old Lady’s bags for her. However, the Old Lady wants nothing to do with him and says she can manage fine on her own. Tin Star is rather insistent about being a gentleman and tries to forcefully take the bags from her. During their disagreement, the Old Lady eventually shoves Tin Star away, causing him to knock over a potted flower which was sitting in the middle of the road.

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Apparently that innocent looking flower was actually Tiny Johnson’s prize geranium. And in true western fashion, Tiny Johnson doesn’t take kindly to people messing with his prized flowers. This whole thing is starting to feel like a set up. However, it looks like there’s no time to contemplate the situation as the mayor informs us of more pressing issues. It would seem the troublemaker Black Bart is currently busting up the saloon. As the new sheriff in town, we can’t just let that happen. So off we go to the saloon, Tiny Johnson will just have to wait.

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Inside the Saloon, the gameplay is a little different than the first stage. This time it is a first person perspective, but we still have no control over the camera angle. Instead the camera will slowly shift from side to side and you’ll just have to shoot all the enemies as quickly as you can. There are a lot of targets, so you’ll have to be quick about it. I also love the fact that a lot of the background items are interactable. You can shoot the bottles off the bar counter if you want. Or if you shoot the piano it will start playing. You can even shoot up the moose head hanging on the wall for some quick entertainment.

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After clearing out the saloon, Tin Star’s attention is quickly drawn to a pretty female robot outside. She seems to be quite taken by Tin Star as well, judging by the hearts that float up past her head. Unfortunately the romance has to be cut short when Mo arrives with some bad news. It looks like some rustlers have tied up Macnulty and they’re stampeding his cattle.

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This stage plays a lot like the first stage on the stagecoach. The screen will then scrolling right along with the action and you simply have to try your best to keep up with all the enemies. And trust me, there are going to be a lot of enemies trying to kill Tin Star. In addition to all the rustlers, you’ll also have to keep an eye out for sticks of dynamite that are randomly thrown at our hero. There are also quite a few vultures that for some reason have taken offence to our hero.

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Once again, do your best to survive the waves of enemies and you’ll be thrown into yet another boss battle, this time with Bareback Jack. We’re still only on the first day, so Bareback Jack isn’t much of a threat either. When you shoot him it will cause him to go spinning, revealing a nice target strapped to his back. Shoot that too and he’ll go for another spin. Just keep the bullets flying and he’ll be defeated without much trouble.

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With the cattle rounded up, it’s time to head back to town. Unfortunately, Tin Star just can’t catch a break today. No sooner do we get back into town do we hear that Tiny Johnson is also in town and out for revenge after we knocked over his flower. Seeing as we’re in the old west, there’s only one way to settle an argument like this, a good old fashioned quick draw.

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The quick draw stages of the game are the most obvious examples of where having a light gun is vastly superior to using the controller. In these stages, you’ll have to wait until the chamber of your revolver shows up in one of the four corners of the screen. When it does, you have to quickly shoot it to draw your gun, and then quickly aim your shot at the enemy. This can be quite the challenge with the controller since its movements are not nearly fast enough or accurate enough for the task at hand. But I don’t have a light gun to play it with, so we’ll just have to do the best we can.

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Tuesday starts out innocently enough. The town is going to be welcoming its first ever train. Back in western times that was probably a really big deal. While I’m sure it has great significance to the rest of the town, Tin Star is such a hero that he’s only happy to hear he’ll be connected to every jail in the territory now. The mayor however seems to only be concerned that the train will be bringing his caviar. I didn’t know robots ate caviar. Maybe it’s like some weird robot fish eggs. But wouldn’t that just be ball bearings? Whatever, we’re getting off topic now.

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Tin Star and the Mayor ride off together to greet the train, but it looks like Black Bart has his own plans for the train. And so we start our first stage of the day defending the train. Even though it was clearly morning just a second ago, it is now dark out as if in the middle of the night. Chronology aside, you’ll have quite a hard time defending the train. Especially since the bad guys seem to have rented out a few of the cars to set up stationary mini guns.

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Death Count: 1

Lucky for us, Tin Star is quite dexterous. He can jump from car to car without much trouble at all. In fact, at times he’ll even be hanging onto the side of the cars with one hand while shooting the bad guys with the other. And there are A LOT of bad guys this time. It’s honestly hard to keep up with just the controller.

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When you finally make it to the front of the train, you’ll have to face off against Black Bart himself. Somehow the fat bastard has wedged himself inside the smoke stack of the engine car. From there he’ll occasionally pop his head out to throw bombs at you. Once again, a real light gun would be much appreciated here. Because you have to shoot Black Bart to beat him, but you also have to shoot the bombs to avoid being blown to pieces.

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Eventually, you’ll have defeated Black Bart and the train will have successfully reached East Driftwood. All thanks to the actions of Tin Star. He deserves whatever reward he wants after that fight. Unfortunately, while we were out defending the train, the Bad Oil Gang went out and started attacking a wagon train in the area. It looks like we’ll have to take a rain check on that reward until after the Bad Oil Gang is taken care of.

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This is another stage like the saloon from the other day where the camera slowly moves side to side and enemies will pop up from every corner of the screen. There’s really nothing more you can do but to shoot as fast as you can and hope you hit everyone.

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After defending the wagon train, a robot named Schemp comes to tell us that Snake Oil is in town looking for us. However, Tin Star seems more concerned about the fact that Schemp looks suspiciously similar to his sidekick Mo. Turns out the two of them are actually brothers.

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And so we enter another of the quick draw stages. These are already starting to get really hard with the controller. It simply doesn’t move fast enough to draw the gun and then center back onto the relatively small target of the enemy before they draw their own gun. But somehow we manage it, and bring an end to the second day in town.

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Snake Oil is unfortunately still alive after our little shoot out the other day, but thankfully he is safely behind bars where he belongs. Of course, Tin Star has the worst of luck, as Snake Oil’s men are already planning to break him out of jail. As the acting sheriff, we can’t let that happen.

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Death Count: 2

This stage gave me no end of trouble. It’s another one of the side to side levels, but with a twist. This time, in addition to the waves of enemies that usually flood the screen, there are also a few enemies that are trying to blow up the jail. The problem is that they are a blink and you’ll miss them type enemy, and missing them is an instant failure for the level.

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Death Count: 13

This leads you to a tough balancing act between the normal enemies and the instant failure enemies. If you focus on the normal enemies, you’ll more than likely miss your tiny window of opportunity to actually prevent the destruction of the jail. However, if you focus too much on the jail, you’ll be shot full of holes by all the other enemies on screen. This stage alone was enough to make me want to quit, but after a handful of attempts, I somehow managed to beat it.

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Turns out the whole stage is kind of pointless in the end. Even if you successfully defend the jail, Snake Oil still manages to tunnel his way out to freedom anyway. In the end we have to chase him down again anyway. So saddle up on your horse Aluminum and go after him!

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Things just keep ramping up faster than I expected. On top of all the bad guys trying to kill you, there are dozens of sticks of dynamite flying through the air ready to explode in your face. These are just such small targets moving very quickly, it’s nearly impossible to hit them. And you can completely forget about hitting ALL of them.

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When you’re not avoiding explosions, you have to keep an eye out for dive bombing vultures. The problem with these guys is that they simply move too fast to react to. By the time you see them and get the cursor over towards them, they’ve already hit you and flown off. Then there’s the fact that they usually fly in groups. After being hit by one, you’ll be momentarily stunned and have no hope of recovering in time to shoot any of the others.

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In the end, you never do manage to recapture Snake Oil. To make things worse, you’re confronted by Bugsy as soon as you get back into town. So get ready for yet another quick draw, all because you knocked over a stupid flower back on your first day in town.

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Death Count: 15

This is probably going to be the last quick draw I can manage with the cursor. The amount of time you are given just isn’t enough anymore to accomplish with the cursor alone. I need to invest in the super scope at some time. Wouldn’t that be a sight? Doing a quick draw with a bazooka!

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The next day starts peacefully enough. Tin Star is bathing, while at the same time insisting to Mo that too much bathing will weaken a man. Also that he can’t wash his hair, because he only takes his hat off on Sunday, and it isn’t Sunday yet. Also I thought everyone was robots, Tin Star is pretty ripped and muscular for a robot.

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Anyway, the peaceful bath time is quickly interrupted by a bunch of Women and Men shooting up the town. At least that’s what Tin Star thought, Mo was quick to correct him that it’s actually the Bad Oil Gang in disguise. Looks like we’re going to have our hands full today as well.

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However, Tin Star is a good guy, and the Good Guy Code says never to shoot women and children. So it looks like Tin Star might be helpless to defend the town at the moment. That’s when Tin Star notices a convenient loophole in the rule. It clearly says not to shoot Women AND children. But these are just women with no children in sight. So grab your gun and start shooting!

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The journey through town is going to be a dangerous one. There are just so many members of the Bad Oil Gang it’s unbelievable. They’re around every corner. They’re on the roof tops. They’re bouncing around on springs. They even have stationary mini guns set up.

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Death Count: 18

With so many enemies, Tin Star is jumping all over the place. Occasionally he’ll be running from rooftop to rooftop. At one point you even manage to dive off a roof and into a water barrel down on the ground. Good luck keeping up with all the action.

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If you somehow manage to survive the journey through town, you’ll face off against the Blousey Bros! These criminals dressed up in flowery dresses and are prancing around between the water barrels trying to hide from you. What makes this so hard is the fact that for some reason there are innocent old ladies also hiding in the water barrels.

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Death Count: 23

If you shoot them while they’re trying to offer you some cake, you’ll end up taking damage for you error. Not only that, but you’ll fail to shoot the real bad guy and end up getting shot by them as well. Then of course there are the instances where two of them pop out of the barrels at once. Throughout the whole game I’ve been complaining that you simply can’t move fast enough to hit multiple targets with the cursor, and this is just another example of that flaw. The only redeeming quality of this boss fight is that it is perfectly patterned. There are no random elements to trick you up, and after enough failures, you eventually memorize the pattern well enough to beat the level.

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After finally making it past the Blousey Bros, we find out that the rest of the gang is busy trying to rob the Driftwood Savings and Loan. What is wrong with this town that there is this much crime?! So we saddle up again and head over to defend the bank now.

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Death Count: 28

This is another side to side shoot out where you can instantly lose at any moment if you fail to shoot one of the bombers. And you know what, I quit now. This is all just too much to keep up with. Are there any people in this town that aren’t criminals? Haven’t I already murdered hundreds of bad guys already? Is it possible that this town is populated entirely by criminals? In which case why am I bothering, I quit!

Verdict

Price – $10.47

It’s not a bad price, and it is a very innovative game. But I would highly recommend only buying it if you have a super scope and a CRT TV.

Play Again? – Maybe

This game frustrated the hell out of me. But I would LOVE the chance to play it with an actual super scope. I can imagine this becoming one of my favorite light gun games if I actually HAD a light gun to play it with.

Total Deaths – 28 Deaths

I’m blaming a lot of those deaths on the cursor. It simply isn’t fast enough or accurate enough to keep up with the action on the screen.

Fun Rating – 7 / 10

Most of my review of this game has been complaining, so I want to take this moment to say that I actually did really enjoy this game. It is hard, and very frustrating, but it is also a lot of fun. I’ve said it way too many times already, but this is a game that clearly needs to be played properly with an actual light gun to get the full enjoyment from the game. However, I do want to praise it for even giving it a controller option of play. Most light gun games don’t even consider the controller as a possible alternative play mode. The action might be a little too much for the cursor to keep up with, but at least they tried. The story segments are also fairly funny, with a lot of fun wordplay. I honestly do wish I could finish this game because I’m curious to see how the whole thing ends. The graphics and animation were also top notch. Everything has a very cartoony look to it, and all the movements are very fluid. It’s also interesting in the approach to the genre. Even though it’s technically an on rail shooter, it’s interesting to actually be able to SEE your character on screen. Usually these types of games would be in first person with the enemies shooting directly at you. In the end, everything blends together to a rather unique and fun game. It’s just unrelentingly hard at points when you’re trying to play with the controller. Even so, it’s not an overly rare or expensive game. Why not pick it up and see if you can make a better sheriff that I did.

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You can keep the town! I don’t care anymore!!

 

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I hope you enjoyed this 30 Minute Review of Tin Star. If you did, like and follow me on Facebook or Twitter. Also leave your comments, suggestions, and recommendations. If you’re feeling real generous, you can even Donate to help me keep the site going. Thank you for reading, and I’ll see you next time.

 

 

Pilotwings (SNES)

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Prediction

Welcome back to another 30 minute review everyone. Today we’re going to be taking a look at a true SNES Classic, in fact it was a launch title here in North America. I of course speak of the wonderful title Pilotwings. The game itself is rather simplistic, but what makes the game so memorable is the extensive use the SNES’s Mode 7 capabilities which allowed 3D graphics on the 2D system. In essence the game was basically a giant tech demo for the then new mode 7 graphics. Nintendo however has a great history with making amazingly fun tech demo games. Just look at Wii Sports. It’s still listed as one of the best games for the system, and that was a pack in game just to show off the new motion controls.

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Anyway, In Pilotwings, you play as an aspiring pilot as you go through various training sessions. But don’t knock the game as a simple flight simulator. In addition to the traditional plane you would expect, you also get to control a hang glider, a sky diver, and my favorite the rocket belt. I feel like I know a lot about this game, but truth be told I think I only played it once or twice at a friend’s house, I really don’t have much experience with the game. So join me as we test our skills and try to earn our pilot’s license.

Gameplay

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Join the Flight Club Now! So for the first lessons, we’ll just be learning the basics of the game. We won’t have access to everything right away, just the airplane and skydiving for now. But not to worry, I’m sure Tony here will have us flying like a pro in no time.

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As we play, we’ll be scored on how well we accomplish each task, and to pass we need to score at least 120 points between the 2 objectives. First we’ll start with the airplane where our goal is simply to land the plane without killing ourselves.

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Death Count: 1

It should be simple enough, we’re already flying straight into the landing strip. All we have to do is follow the markers down and land softly on the ground below. Of course this is our first time flying, so we land a little harder than we would have liked. I think our wheels just fell off… we’re going to have to try that again.

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The second attempt goes much better. We land safely on the ground and score an impressive 90 points on this first objective. That means we’re almost guaranteed to pass even if we completely mess up the skydiving portion. Speaking of which, we should probably get over there now.

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For the skydiving, you start out on the ground as a helicopter carries you up to height while you hang onto a ladder. It’s a very unusual form of skydiving that I’m unfamiliar with. I thought you usually fly up in a little plane and then jump out the side. Anyway, as you’re dropping down out of the sky you need to try to fall through a couple of rings. This sound simple enough, but the skydiver is a bit tricky to maneuver.

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Once you get close enough to the ground, you need to open up your parachute and try to land in the center of the target. Again the controls are a bit tricky here, but I’m sure we’ll get used to it. Somehow we even manage a pretty good landing. We might not have hit the center of the target, but we at least landed within the circle of the target.

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With that I manage to pass the first lessons and get my A class license. So it’s official, I’m now a certified pilot! The skies are open to me now! Of course, that was just the basic training. The lessons are only going to get harder from here.

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Lesson 2 gives us a new instructor, Shirley, and the promise that we’ll actually get to use the rocket belt soon. With 3 objectives this time, we now have to score 220 total points to pass. You may also notice we’ve had a change of location. And it looks like there’s now a pool of water surrounding the skydiving target area. But we’ll worry about that when we get to it.

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Death Count: 2

First up is the airplane objective. Once again we have to pass through a few rings on the way to the landing strip. However, we’re not already approaching it head on. So this is basically our first lesson in turning and maneuvering in the air. Unfortunately I couldn’t straighten myself out very easily and we ended up crashing again.

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We might still be able to do this though. So let’s move onto the skydiving objective. This time it feels like we flew up to a much higher altitude, and there were quite a few more rings this time than there was last time. That pool of water is quite intimidating though, it doesn’t leave much room for error.

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Death Count: 3

As I feared, we end up slashing down right into the water. With 2 bad performances already, it’s unlikely that we’ll end up passing this certification. So let’s just start over right now.

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This time around I have an almost perfect landing and get a much better starting score for the plane objective of the lessons. In the skydiving objective I end up missing a few of the rings, which is a bit disappointing. But I have a much better landing. I still didn’t hit the target, but I landed in the target zone outside the water for an easy 40 points.

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Now we finally get to play around with the rocket belt. This is so much fun, but it is a bit hard to control. In this objective, we have to pass through 3 rings before we head back to the target zone for a gentle landing. As fun as this is, I do have a bit of a complaint with the rings. They are a bit hard to spot at a distance since they are just tiny dots until you get close. Only once you get close do they expand out to full size rings.

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Death Count: 4

Once you actually find the rings, passing through them is quite easy. Landing on the other hand is not as easy. Just like with the sky diving, we have to be careful not to land in the water. Unfortunately that’s exactly what we end up doing. I’m not positive, but I don’t think jet packs work very well underwater. That also means I failed the lesson again and have to start over AGAIN.

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So once again we go through and get a good flight on the plane objective for a nice 74 points. Then we follow that up with a great landing in the sky diving objective for an additional 82 points. So it looks like we’re in really good shape to beat it this time. I thought I should take a slightly different approach this time and head for the target by crossing the bridge. That way I don’t have to worry about the water as much. It pays off as I get a fantastic 90 points for the rocket belt section.

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So with my total score of 246, I pass another lesson and get my B Class License. This game is already a lot of fun, even if it is rather challenging. I can’t wait to see what else is in store for me.

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We still have a little bit of time before my 30 minutes are up, so let’s check out Lesson 3. This time we’ll have Lance as our instructor, and we’ll finally be introduced to the hang glider. This time there won’t be a skydiving objective, instead it’s just the plane, rocket belt, and hang glider.

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Death Count: 5

So we start off with the plane. For the first time we actually have to start on the runway and get up to speed to take off. I was a bit hesitant though, and well, I ended up driving off the end and straight into the water… how about we give that one more try.

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Once we’re up in the air, there are quite a few rings for us to fly through this time. We’re actually doing quite a large loop out over the ocean before turning around and heading back to the island. It’s hard to tell since the island is almost never in frame, but I think we might have actually flown a full lap of the island this time around.

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Death Count: 6

The final ring however was a bit deceptive. It has you flying really high into the air right before you need to land. This made me dive too quickly in an attempt to still land on the runway. Predictably, I ended up crashing spectacularly. But no time to worry about that, let’s just move on and see what else we can play with in this lesson.

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The rocket belt level played out roughly the same as last time, except this time we need to touch pillars of lights rather than flying through the rings. This is quite a bit harder to accomplish, but not too hard. Then of course we have to land on a tiny target in the middle of the water. Surprisingly I have a great landing on my first try.

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It’s a nice score, but not enough to allow me to pass the lesson. No worries though, we’ll just go onto the hang gliding objective anyway to at least see what it’s like. To be honest, I’m not really sure what I’m supposed to be doing here. You start by being pulled behind a plane, but then it detaches and lets you off to do whatever you want. Since I have no other indications of where to go, I decide to head straight for that odd pillar of white clouds.

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Death Count: 7

Turns out that pillar of clouds were actually an updraft that pushed me way up into the air. Soon after I was giving my only instructions, try to land without killing yourself. But where am I expected to land? Do I aim for the tiny sky diving target? Or perhaps I’m supposed to land on the runway like a plane? My indecision ends up wasting too much time and I crash land in the middle of the lawn. But that’s ok, we’re out of time anyway.

Verdict

Price – $9.00

It’s a cheap game, so there’s no reason not to add it to your collection.

Play Again? – Absolutely

This game is one of those simple yet challenging type games that are just loads of fun. I will absolutely come back and play this from time to time.

Total Deaths – 7 Deaths

At its core, it is a flight simulator game, so you need to be very careful with your landings. It’s not just going to hand you a “close enough” passing score.

Fun Rating – 8 / 10

This is a really fun game and I suggest everyone should play it at some point. The controls take a little while to get used to, but you can’t deny how much fun it is once you get the hang of it. On top of that, the graphics were quite revolutionary for the time, and in my opinion are holding up well enough for their age. No matter what, it’s hard to properly show depth in videogames, but this game does a good job of it. Even if I did die a few times I knew it was always my fault and I never got mad at the game. From start to finish it was a fun game, and sometimes crashing was the most fun part. Seriously, add this game to your SNES collection and be happy with the purchase.

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Someday I’ll fly free in the skies… Someday…

 

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I hope you enjoyed this 30 Minute Review of Pilotwings. If you did, like and follow me on Facebook or Twitter. Also leave your comments, suggestions, and recommendations. If you’re feeling real generous, you can even Donate to help me keep the site going. Thank you for reading, and I’ll see you next time.

 

The Fantastic Adventures of Dizzy (NES)

The Fantastic Adventures of Dizzy (NES) - Full Cover

A Massive 2 Meg Game!!! (Note: this cover picture alone is 11.6 Meg)

Prediction

The Fantastic Adventures of Dizzy is one of the few NES games I managed to keep from my childhood. Most of the rest of them were either sold off at garage sales, taken by my older brother, or possibly lost entirely. This game however was special, so I always managed to hold on to it. Don’t get the wrong idea, I hated the game as a kid. It was just too hard, so I rarely ever actually played it. No, instead I held onto it for an entirely different reason. For one thing, this is an unlicensed game made for the NES, which in itself makes it very interesting to me. More importantly however was the fact that they packaged it in a gold cartridge. To my knowledge the only other gold cartridge games for the NES are the 2 Zelda games, so it made the game seem so rare.

The Fantastic Adventures of Dizzy (NES) - 01

Now that I’m older, I realize the reason I didn’t like this game was because I didn’t understand what it really was. Back then I thought it was supposed to be primarily an action game with a little bit of puzzles thrown in, similar to how the Zelda series mixes action and puzzles. However, now that I’m older I see that I couldn’t have been more wrong. This game is actually a pure puzzle game which requires you to have an amazing memory. With this new knowledge maybe I’ll be able to make at least SOME progress in the game. There’s only one way to find out, and that’s to dive right in and see.

Gameplay

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Daisy, who I believe is Dizzy’s girlfriend, has been kidnapped by the Evil Wizard Zaks. It’s up to Dizzy to leave the Treehouse Village of the Yolkfolks and save her. If you haven’t already picked up on it, you’ll notice right away that Dizzy, as well as most of the other characters, are anthropomorphic eggs. Honestly I always found that cute and it was one of the reasons I always at least tried to play the game as a kid.

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As a puzzle game, you’ll primarily be picking up various items and bringing them to wherever it is they need to be used. Dizzy’s house acts as a basic tutorial, teaching you to pick up items, like the house key which is for some reason hiding up in the rafters, and to use them on the appropriate items, in this case Dizzy’s door. You might also notice that you can only hold a maximum of 3 items at a time, so you’ll be swapping items regularly. I hope you can remember where you left everything.

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Now that we’re outside, I’m suddenly remembering so much from when I was a kid. Primarily the fact that I had never managed to make it out of the Treehouse Village before, all the spiders always ended up killing me. They’re still very annoying because instead of most games where you take a hit and that’s it, this game gives you constant touch damage until you move away. Thankfully there are lots of fruit lying around to eat and refill your health.

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Thanks to my many years of gaming experience, I can finally make some minor progress in the game. For example I know enough to put the large plank of wood over this deadly spike pit now. Finally I can cross it and see what’s on the other side. Here we can find some weed killer to kill the egg eating plants in the Treehouse Village and explore more.

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And explore we do! With the help of some rope we can swing from platform to platform as we make our way around the village. Here we find the home of another Yolkfolk, Denzil. Thankfully we picked up his house key along the way and can actually see what’s inside.

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Unfortunately it looks like he has been frozen solid somehow. Probably more of the work of the Evil Wizard Zaks! If we want any help at all from him we’ll have to find some way to thaw him out first. And so we venture off into the world in search of more items to help us.

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Eventually I find a mining cave which has a “Dry Match” in it. This might be helpful somehow, we could start a fire or something to free him from the ice. Unfortunately the mine also has a minecart puzzle which ultimately does me in.

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You control the minecart and it’s up to you to guide it to safety. You get very little warning when something bad is going to happen. Instead you need to memorize the whole path until you can do it perfectly. This would take SEVERAL attempts before you can do it successfully. Unfortunately you only have 3 lives, and I wasted them all here. So it looks like that’s where my journey is going to end for now. Perhaps we’ll be back some other time to make another rescue attempt.

Verdict

Price – $22.00

The game isn’t as rare as the gold cartridge would make you believe. However it isn’t quite a discount bin release either. If you’re into puzzle games though it’s definitely worth the price.

Play Again? – Probably

Now that I at least understand what I’m supposed to be doing I might try to actually beat it.

Total Deaths – 3 Deaths

If I ever want to beat the game, that number is going to have to be much higher. This game is definitely a trial and error type game.

Fun Rating – 7.5 / 10

This game was way too hard for me as a kid, and it’s still probably too hard for me now. However, it has the promise of being a really fun game. I’ll always consider this a hard game, but being honest, it really isn’t. It’s a puzzle game first and foremost, so in reality I simply don’t know the answers. If I did know the answers this would be a very fair and probably relatively easy game. It would just take a while before I have any idea what the heck it is I’m supposed to do. There are a lot of different items to collect, and the world is fairly expansive. So if you’re a puzzle game fan, you might just want to give this game a chance.

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Who are you and what are you doing here? This is a Yolkfolk Village, not a People Village!

 

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I hope you enjoyed this 30 Minute Review of The Fantastic Adventures of Dizzy (NES). If you did, like and follow me on Facebook or Twitter. Also leave your comments, suggestions, and recommendations. If you’re feeling real generous, you can even Donate to help me keep the site going. Thank you for reading, and I’ll see you next time.

 

The Powerpuff Girls: Paint the Townsville Green (Gameboy Color)

The Powerpuff Girls - Paint the Townsville Green (Gameboy Color) - Full Cover

Prediction

I loved watching the Powerpuff Girls growing up. The original version, not this weird reboot they have on now. There was just something so fun about it. Especially with the character designs, with their huge eyes and lack of hands they definitely were bug eyed freaks. Even the villains in the series knew this and would regularly call them freaks and pumpkin heads and so on. I think it’s funny that the lack of hands wasn’t even just a design choice, they really had no hands. You can tell because of when they swapped bodies in the episode “Criss Cross Crisis” and Buttercup couldn’t figure out how to use Professor Utonium’s normal hands. She was so used to everything just sticking to her stump that she thought his hands didn’t work right.

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Anyway, I’m getting off topic now. The Powerpuff Girls were so popular that they received a lot of videogames in their time. Each of the girls even got their own solo games for the Gameboy Color. Today we’ll be looking at Buttercup’s game, “The Powerpuff Girls: Paint the Townsville Green”. I picked this game over the other two because of the fact Buttercup is so much more violent than her two sisters. I figured that violent nature would lend itself better to a more action oriented game. It’s just unfortunate that she doesn’t get a higher ranking villain to fight. While her sisters get the iconic Mojo Jojo and Him, Buttercup is stuck with the Gangreen Gang, a group of rowdy teens with severe skin conditions. On the other hand, that’s more people to fight and more butts to kick, so maybe it won’t be all bad. Let’s fly over to Townsville now and see what trouble is brewing!

Gameplay

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The game begins at the Pokey Oaks Kindergarten where the Gangreen Gang has started trouble. Not only that, but they apparently brought the entire population of the Townsville prison with them. These convicts are everywhere, and they don’t have any problems attacking little girls.

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As you fight your way thought the school, you’ll also be collecting dozens of random items along the way. These things are hidden everywhere. In the halls, up in the clouds, even in the air conditioning vents. I don’t know where all this stuff came from, but good luck finding all of it.

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In all honesty, I’m actually a little disappointed with Buttercup’s abilities. In the show, she was never shown to get tired by flying, yet in this game she can only fly for a few seconds before drifting back to the ground. The real crime however is her fighting power. There is a noticeable cool down period between each punch you can throw. Coupled with the short reach of her arms, this makes fighting even weak enemies a challenge.

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She is capable of shooting off an energy attack, however this too is somewhat disappointing. As cool as the attack looks, it actually causes no damage at all to the enemy. Instead it simply freezes them in place for a few seconds. This is very helpful to get your punches in, but it would have been better if it damaged them outright.

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Despite her shortcomings, Buttercup does eventually find and rescue Ms. Keane. Despite being tied up, she’s still a really sweet kindergarten teacher and simply wants Buttercup to ask them nicely to leave. Of course we’ll make them leave, but it won’t be as nice as she wants it to be.

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Outside, we face our first boss fight with a member of the Gangreen Gang, Snake. This basketball court fight is actually rather easy. Snake simply walks back and forth on the court, only occasionally throwing a basketball at our heroine.

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A few good punches, maybe a few energy blasts and Snake won’t be bothering the kindergarten any more. And so once again, the day is saved! Thanks to the Powerpuff Girls….well…only Buttercup since she’s the only one you can play as.

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Or I wish I could say the day was saved. We’ve only taken down one member of the Gangreen Gang. The others are still causing trouble in other parts of the town. Reports are already coming in of vandalism in the subways.

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Once again, the entire population of the prison seems to be freely roaming the tunnels of the subway station. While they’re probably up to no good, they could also very well simply be lost since the station is quite the maze to navigate. One of them seems to be so lost and disoriented that they’ve lost their sanity and now believe themselves to be a bird.

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Even after getting onto one of the subway trains, the villains aren’t exactly the biggest threat to our safety. That goes to pure child like curiosity. Where could the vent on the top of the subway lead to? What treasures can we find up there? Well, the answer more often than not is death by being thrown off a moving subway train because you went up onto the roof of it.

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But it’s late, and Buttercup is tired from her near death experience. The Gangreen Gang will have to wait for another day.

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Verdict

Price – $5.00

It’s a great price for the game. If you’re a fan of the Powerpuff Girls you should pick it up.

Play Again? – Maybe

This one is a bit weird. When I first started playing, I hated it. However as time went on I started to like it more and more.

Total Deaths – 6 Deaths

The game as a whole isn’t overly difficult and most enemies die after just 2 hits. However your attack speed is kind of slow, making it easy to take damage from even weak enemies.

Fun Rating – 6 / 10

I still find it amazing how game companies can fail so spectacularly at implementing basic functionality into their games. I’m not even asking for much, just the ability to attack at a reasonable rate so I’m not being killed by grunts. Honestly there is about a 2 second cool down period between each of Buttercup’s basic punches. I’d understand if it was the energy attacks. Those would be difficult to shoot off back to back. But one of the show’s trademarks are the close ups of the rapid fire punching and kicking combos the girls regularly perform on the bad guys, so the extreme delay not only makes the game hard to play, but departs from the spirit of the source material. If the attacks were better, this would actually have been a very enjoyable game. The art style is very consistent with the show, which is an amazing feat considering the limited graphics of the system. Then there’s the fact that the stages are quite large and have a lot of collectables to be found. It’s a bit skimping on the health items, but that can be forgiven. Even the music I thought was quite good for the system, and fit well with the style of the show. Even the character design was spectacular and fit the style of the show. It’s a bit disappointing that most of the enemies are random convicts, but they are at least done in the show’s style and look semi recognizable from various episodes. All in all it’s an ok game, and one that starts to grow on you the more you play. Like I said earlier, for $5.00 there’s really no reason not to get it if you’re a fan of the show. Just don’t expect to be blown away.

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Is that George Jetson? What are you doing in Townsville?

 

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Bonus Trading Cards

This game has a large selection of trading cards you can find in the levels and trade with people using the link cable. I thought it would be fun to share all the ones I found with you here.

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Blossom Buttercup Bubbles
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Mojo Jojo Gangreen Gang Him
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Roach Coach Ace Rainbow The Clown
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Professor Utonium Big Billy Boogie Man
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Sara Bellum Little Arturo The Mayor
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Brick Snake Talking Dog
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Volcano Mountain Grubber Boomer
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The Rowdyruff Boys Fuzzy Lumpkins City of Townsville
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Princess Ms. Keane Utonium Family
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The Powerpuff Girls Butch Townsville City Hall
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Utonium Chateau Townsville Dump Townsville Art Museum
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Sedusa Broccloid Emperor Evil Cat

 

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I hope you enjoyed this 30 Minute Review of The Powerpuff Girls: Paint the Townsville Green. If you did, like and follow me on Facebook or Twitter. Also leave your comments, suggestions, and recommendations. If you’re feeling real generous, you can even Donate to help me keep the site going. Thank you for reading, and I’ll see you next time.

 

Urban Champion (NES)

Urban Champion (NES) - Full Cover

Prediction

There are a lot of great fighting game series out there nowadays like the Mortal Kombat series and the Street Fighter series. Then there is my favorite fighting series, Marvel vs. Capcom. There’s just something so satisfying about watching Spiderman punch Phoenix Wright in his face. Anything to stop hearing him yell OBJECTION! But no matter how different the fighting game, they always have one thing in common. They all have lots of combos and special attacks and the likes. Those have always been so hard for me to remember and pull off, so it’s nice to go back to simpler fighting games before all that. That’s why today we’re going to be looking at Urban Champion for the NES.

Urban Champion (NES) - 01

I remember loving Urban Champion back when I was a kid. I mostly remember loving the fact that it was one of the few games I was better than my brother at. Of course that meant my older brother would end up beating me up in real life afterwards, but that’s the price you pay as a younger brother sometimes. Anyway, I still love this game and I’ll occasionally come back to play it for a few minutes of fun. So join me as we look at a classic fighter from the NES days.

Gameplay

As I mentioned, this is a very simplistic fighting game. You don’t have combos or special moves or anything like that. You don’t even have a health bar technically. You do have a stamina gauge, but that’s more of a time limit than anything. There aren’t even multiple characters or anything to choose from, instead you play as the Blue Haired Guy on the left and you’re fighting the Green Haired Guy on the right.

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As for attacks, it’s all very simple, but can become very strategic if you let it. You have 2 hand positions, either up by your face, or down by your stomach. You also have 2 attacks, a weak attack and a strong attack. The weak attack has the benefit of being faster, while the slower stronger attack has the benefit of sending the Green Haired Guy tumbling. All you have to do is keep punching wherever he isn’t blocking, either the face or the gut, and you win.

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Now, without a health bar, you might be wondering how you actually win a fight. Well it turns out this is more of a turf war than it is a battle to the death like other fighting games. As such, all you have to do is knock the other guy off the curb and off your turf. Of course a single defeat isn’t enough to stop this up and coming street thug from coming into your turf. So you need to show him the ultimate humiliation and send him flying down an open manhole. Then everyone will know who’s boss around here.

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There are a few things thrown into the game to make it a bit more interesting. One thing to look out for is the residents of the buildings you’re fighting in front of. Not all of them are too happy to see a street fight taking place right in front of their house, so they’ll do what they can to break it up. Mostly this means dropping potted plants out the windows in hopes it hits one of you in the head. This will leave you quite disoriented and be an easy target for the other fighter.

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Occasionally, the residents will even do the responsible thing and call the cops on the two of you. But they’re too lazy to actually get out of the car and stop you, they’ll just do a drive by to break things up. Just look innocent until they go away. These police drive bys are actually really annoying. They are completely random, and it essentially resets the fight. It doesn’t matter that one more punch and you would have taken control of the block. Nope, the police had to drive by and now you are both starting over in the middle.

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As a classic arcade style game, there’s really no story to any of it. This also means there’s no real end to it. You just keep fighting and fighting until you can take no more. This will probably come sooner than you expect actually. That’s because each new challenger gets a brand new set of three blocks before taking a dive into the sewers. You however only ever have the three you started with. After two loses, that manhole will just stay there taunting you until finally you fail and fall into it yourself. And just like that a new urban champion is crowned.

Verdict

Price – $10.00

It’s not a bad price for such a fun game.

Play Again? – Absolutely!

I’ve already said that I occasionally come back to this game. Admittedly that is for a bit of nostalgia, but it’s also because it’s a fun game.

Total Deaths – 3 Defeats (and 1 Swim in the Sewers)

I’ll admit that I didn’t play a full 30 minutes. I only played a single play through. But I got all the pictures I needed for the article, so that was good enough for now. I ended up lasting about 15 minutes before my game over.

Fun Rating – 7 / 10

It’s a really simplistic game, but at the higher levels you can really add some depth to the combat by actually paying attention to the blocking and timing your attacks properly. Or you can just have fun throwing punches wildly and hope something hits. Either way it’s a fun game to break up your afternoon with. The single player game is ok, but it really is a game best played with a second person. Either way, pick it up and add it to your collection, you’ll be happy that you did.

Urban Champion (NES) - 12

DOUBLE KNOCK-OUT!!!

 

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Taz-Mania (SNES)

Taz-Mania (SNES) Full Cover

Prediction

If you’ve read some of my other Looney Tunes articles, you might already know that Taz is my favorite of the bunch. You might also know that growing up I owned a Sega Genesis and not a SNES. Naturally I owned Taz-Mania for the Genesis and it was one of my favorite games. Admittedly it wasn’t a great game, just a fairly generic platformer, but I loved it because you got to play as Taz. I didn’t recognize most of the other characters and enemies since it was based on the show, and I could rarely remember when it was on, but that’s ok, I loved it all the same.

Taz-Mania (SNES) - 01

You might have noticed by now that I’ve decided not to play the Genesis version and instead play the SNES version today, and here’s why. While the cross platform games are usually the same game, just with minor adjustments to accommodate the system, I’ve heard the SNES version of Taz-Mania is actually a completely different game. I’ve tried to avoid any details beyond that fact so I can go into this game blind. But like I already said, the Genesis game wasn’t great, so I’m hoping this one is better. So let’s see how well they did with my favorite Looney Tunes character.

Gameplay

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For starters, the game is completely different than the genesis version. The genesis version was a 2D platformer staring Taz with the simple goal of making it to the end of the stage. The SNES version however is more of a 3D racing game similar to Rad Racers or Outrun. However, calling it a racer isn’t exactly correct. Racing games usually have other racers, rankings, checkpoints, laps, and various other details that come with the whole racing package. Taz-Mania for the SNES has none of these things. So instead I feel it more proper to call it a running simulator, since all you’re doing is running around in a loop until time runs out.

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As for the actual objective of the game, your goal while running around the track is to catch several little yellow Kiwi birds that are also running around the track for some reason. It’s a simple enough concept, but it is incredibly difficult to pull off. The Kiwis move very randomly, jumping over Taz, speeding off, or occasionally turning around all together. Combine that with Taz’s T-Rex like reach, and the task can be downright impossible.

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In addition to the Kiwi, the road is also full of a wide range of obstacles for Taz to avoid. The most common and annoying obstacles are probably the various vehicles sharing the road with Taz which will flatten him like a pancake. There are also trucks you have to avoid when crossing the street at the various intersections, or they will also be more than happy to hit and run our Tasmanian friend.

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Beyond the bad drivers, there is also a pterodactyl which will pick Taz up and bring him back to the starting point, and thus further away from the Kiwis you where trying to catch. Thankfully you can wiggle free from the winged beast to minimize the damage. Let’s hope you do, because if you get pulled too far back, you might just encounter a female Tasmanian Devil which seems to be madly in love with Taz. Getting caught by her is an instant game over and you’ll have to start the whole level over.

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There are also the environmental hazards to worry about. In typical fashion, Taz can easily run into any of the trees and signs that line the side of the road. Hitting any of these, even at low speed, will cause Taz to compress into an accordion in true cartoon fashion. While the collision is bad enough at slowing you down, what I found truly annoying was the fact that the accordion reaction wasn’t a simple animation, you actually have to control Taz and make him bounce up and down like an accordion before the effect will wear off and you are able to get back to the road.

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On top of that, even the camera is fighting against you. It simply follows behind Taz as he runs, which is basic enough for a game like this. However, the draw distance is terrible. You have almost no time to react to anything coming at you which resulted in me being hit by nearly every car and bus coming at me. There are also times when you run up hills which causes the screen to go almost completely blank. Even if the draw distance was better, you still wouldn’t be able to see anything coming at you, and again I usually got hit by a car I couldn’t see coming at these points.

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Not everything on the road is trying to kill you. Occasionally Digeri Dingo will ride up next to you on his motorcycle and offer you a package from Acme. Sometimes it’s a simple bone, other times it’s a piece of meat which will heal Taz right up. However, the contents are random and not always so nice. For example, you could potentially get a stick of dynamite or quite simple a punch in the face from an extending boxing glove. So maybe I was a little quick to claim not everything is trying to kill you.

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If by some chance you happen to catch the allotted number of Kiwi before time runs out, you will have successfully filled Taz up. Now stuffed with food, he will fall asleep right there on the road. However, since Taz generally swallows his food rather than chewing it, all the creatures he managed to eat will simply escape from his stomach as he sleeps. With his belly once again empty, Taz needs to find more food, and so the game continues on the next level with the same gameplay and a few new obstacles thrown at you. And you repeat this over and over and over again.

Verdict

Price – $5.00

I actually bought this on e-bay as a bundle with the Daffy Duck: The Marvin Missions game I reviewed already for $15.00 after shipping. Now that I’ve played both of them, I think I was horribly ripped off.

Play Again? – Probably Not

This game simply wasn’t very much fun. I was raging most of the time I was playing and staring at the clock waiting for my 30 minutes to be up.

Total Deaths – 4 Deaths

You actually do get a decent amount of time per level, and there are ways to get more time like eating the red birds that occasionally fly by you. But you only have a few lives and no continue, so I doubt I would ever manage to beat it normally

Fun Rating – 2 / 10

Overall, this game simply isn’t much fun to play. The concept is too simple, and yet the application was surprisingly horrible. The Kiwis were such small, fast targets that is was nearly impossible for Taz to catch them. The grabbing mechanic was just so imprecise and I usually felt I grabbed the kiwi out of pure luck rather than any skill. Other times I wasn’t sure if I grabbed them at all because again, they are such small fast targets they could easily slip away in the same time it takes to register eating them. Then there were annoyances like Taz not automatically recovering after taking damage. I have never before seen a game that would let me stay down forever unless I picked myself back up. Not only that, but once you recover, even touching the obstacle at no speed at all will still result in a body crushing collision. Tack on the crappy draw distance, and occasionally frustrating camera and you’re left with a game that simply isn’t any fun at all. I also want to note that you have to hold the up button the whole time to make him run. After a while that started hurting my finger since you’re still trying to turn left and right while keeping your forward momentum. Bottom line, avoid this game. It wasn’t any fun at all to play, and even with Taz as the main character I somewhat regret buying it. The genesis version might not have been great, but I’m glad I grew up playing it instead of this. I’ll have to review that game as well at some point just to show you SNES owners what you were missing.

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Oh Taz… someday i’ll find a good game with you in it.

 

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The Adventures of Mighty Max (Genesis)

The Adventures of Mighty Max (Genesis) - Full Cover

Prediction

I remember loving the Mighty Max series growing up. Sure it was just another one of the many glorified marketing campaigns for the newest line of toys, but so were a lot of good things from the late 80’s – early 90’s. I even remember owning a bunch of the toys and they were my favorite toys ever at the time, even if they were basically Polly Pocket for boys. That is until my older brother sold them on me at a garage sale. It was at that moment that I simply dropped all interest in the series, because some wounds just never heal.

Mighty Max (redesigned logo) Mighty Max - Temple of Venom (Open)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anyway, now that I’m older, I’m sad to say that I have almost no memory of the series beyond the fact that I once loved it. I do have a vague memory of Might Max having a magic hat or something that let him travel through time I think. I’m not sure how that is going to translate over to a video game, so I’m not really sure what to expect going into this one. No doubt there are going to be lots of different stages that are seemingly unrelated thanks to the time travel aspect, but I can’t really guess much more beyond that.

Gameplay

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The game starts with no introduction or explanation in any way of what you’re doing. Just a still logo splash screen and then right into the character selection screen. You get to play as the title character Mighty Max, some black haired girl who I have no memory of, or that red headed kid that not only do I have no memory of, but I can’t even identify if they are a boy or girl. Given these amazing selections, I think I’ll stick with Max.

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Continuing the theme of no explanations, you’re shown the front of max’s house where apparently the different rooms relate to different stages of the game. It seems to make no difference, but I’m going to start on the first floor which seems to relate to the “Volcanic Level”. You’re given a quick look at some of the enemies you’ll fight, and I can’t help notice one of them is a penguin. Why a penguin?

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He jumped up to collect the rings just barely visible at the top of the screen

As the level starts, you’re still given no indication of what you’re actually supposed to be doing, which left me aimlessly wandering around the stage. However, not knowing what I was doing wasn’t even the first thing that annoyed me about this game. That would have to go to the jumping mechanics. For some reason, max is capable of jumping what must be the equivalent of 50 feet up into the air. I know the jumping in games is usually exaggerated for playability, but this is ridiculous and actually somewhat disorienting.

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Then comes the next annoyance that is Max’s completely useless weapon. It seems to be some kind of ping pong ball shooter. And like a real ping pong ball shooter, it’s not lethal, just slightly annoying. So it doesn’t kill any of the enemies, it just stuns them for a moment. Before long they’ll get right back up and continue tormenting you.

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(Left) Can’t jump through overhanging ledge (Right) Can jump through long platform just above it

The bad game design continues with the platforms themselves. Like many games, a lot of the platforms are semi-solid. What I mean by this is that you can jump up straight through the platforms, and then land standing on the top of them. Not all of the platforms are like this however. That’s fine; many games have only select platforms being semi-solid. However, this game gives no indication of which is which. One platform you can jump through, and the next nearly identical platform you can’t. It made it really hard to navigate without knowing if I can or can’t actually jump up to the platform above me at any given time.

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Now that we’ve spent enough time wandering around and finding how the programmers failed on nearly every level of game design, I think I’ve finally figured out what the actual game is supposed to be. You see that tiny little arrow in the top right corner next to the score? That’s actually an indicator to our goal. Scattered around the world are a bunch of little garbage cans we need to find and collect.

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After we find one of the cans, the arrow will now start pointing to the portal somewhere else in the level. Just bring the garbage to the portal and throw it in. Then you’ll have to go find the 4 other identical garbage cans and do the same thing with them. Once you collect all 5 of them, you can jump into the portal too and finally end the level.

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Oh, but wait, there’s more. Once you pass through the portal, you aren’t taken back to your house. No, you continue onto the next part of this same area. The layout is different, but otherwise it is the same exact thing. You randomly collect garbage and throw it in the portal.

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No I’d rather just stop playing now

And then you do that again, and again with the next parts. Once was more than enough for this nonsense, but having to do it multiple times is beyond annoying. I never did finish the volcanic stage, but I just know the other stages will have the same stupid gameplay, just with a different background and different enemies. None of which make any difference in the long run.

Verdict

Price – $4.50

Even for this low price I don’t think it’s worth it. Maybe if someone was PAYING you to play it, you might enjoy it.

Play Again? – NOOOO!!!

I could barely make it through the 30 minute review. I wanted to quit playing the whole time.

Total Deaths – 18 Deaths

I have no idea how anyone is expected to play this without dying 100 times. At least there isn’t really any penalty for dying, and you get lots of continues.

Fun Rating – 1 / 10

I’ve played some bad games before, and I usually still enjoy playing them on some level. It’s kind of the same feeling you get watching B-Horror Movies. This game however couldn’t even pull off any “So bad it’s good” charm. Nearly every aspect of the experience was honestly horrible. The game mechanics were the worst I’ve ever seen. There are no in game instructions on what you’re supposed to do. Even knowing what to do, the game simply isn’t fun. Your weapon is useless against the enemies. I honestly can’t think of a single thing to praise about this game. Don’t waste your money on this piece of trash, it’s not worth it.

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The most welcoming screen of the whole game!

 

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WWF Wrestlemania (NES)

WWF WrestleMania (NES) - Full Cover

Prediction

I haven’t actually watched wrestling in quite a while. In fact I remember when it was I stopped caring about it. It was right around the time Vince McMahon bought all the other wrestling companies and started fighting with the World Wildlife Foundation over the rights to the WWF website. Because everyone knows people care more about grown men fake fighting each other than saving endangered animals. Thankfully the World Wildlife Foundation didn’t back down and the WWF eventually became the WWE.

WWF WrestleMania (NES) - 01

Anyway, back on topic. I’m not too excited about this game going in. I’ve never had good experiences with wrestling videogames. The mechanics are always just so weird compared to more traditional fighting games. On the plus side, this game does have some of the classic big names of wrestling that even a non-fan like me can appreciate. You’ll get to play as wrestlers like Macho Man Randy Savage, André the Giant, and of course the cover character, Hulk Hogan. At the very least there might be some good nostalgia with those big names.

Gameplay

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To start out and get used to the controls I thought I’d do a simple exhibition match with Hulk Hogan and Macho Man. As expected, the controls are a bit odd. Or more specifically, the limited NES controller simply can’t do everything you want it to do with only the 2 buttons. I figured out the basic punch and kick, but macho man was pulling off things like flying kicks that I have no idea how to do.

Even if I could figure out the controls, something else caught my attention and was really distracting me, that something being the music. The soundtrack would cycle through its small selection of songs, some of which I vaguely recognized but can’t think of their names off the top of my head. Then out of nowhere “Pomp and Circumstance” starts playing and I have no idea how to take it. For those of you who might not recognize the name, “Pomp and Circumstance” is the song that plays at nearly every graduation ceremony as the students are walking up to get their certificates. Why they thought that would be good wrestling music is beyond me.

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Either way, I don’t fare too well during these couple practice rounds, but whatever, I’ll try out the full tournament. While I’m at it, I figure I’ll pick the strongest of the fighters since I need all the help I can get. Of course that means I’ll be playing as André the Giant. No one beats him unless he lets them as part of the show. True to his name, his sprite towers over the other wrestlers, and he does feel really strong in comparison to Hulk Hogan.

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As strong as he is, that doesn’t help the bad controls. I might be able to knock the other guy out, but that doesn’t mean anything if I can’t manage to pin him. I pressed every button combination I could think of to try and pin him, but nothing worked. There are only 2 buttons and the D-pad, so there aren’t really a whole lot of options to be cycling through. Eventually, despite my beating the Million Dollar Man senseless, the match ended in a draw. The second time around I did manage a pin. Unfortunately I have no idea what button combination I pressed to do it, so I’m still stuck.

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The only other oddity I want to point out before wrapping things up are the weird objects that randomly fly across the ring. I saw crosses, hams, fireballs, and I think a few other things just all of a sudden go zipping across the top edge of the ring. I don’t know what they do or how to pick them up, but I certainly didn’t expect to see them.

Verdict

Price – $4.75

I can’t say I’m really surprised at the cheap price of this game.

Play Again? – Probably not

There are some big names in this game that make me want to play out of nostalgia, but I’ve just never understood the mechanics of wrestling games.

Total Deaths – 4 Loses

The matches are pretty short. And there are only 6 wrestlers to choose from, so even a full tournament shouldn’t last more than maybe 20 minutes. Not that I’d ever make it to the end of a full tournament.

Fun Rating – 3 / 10

Maybe if I knew the controls better I would like it better. As it is however, the game boarders on being unplayable. But then even if I DID know the controls the game is very simplistic and still wouldn’t be all that great. Maybe if you’re a huge wrestling fan it would be better, but for the more casual fan like me there isn’t much of a game here to enjoy.

WWF WrestleMania (NES) - 10

You just don’t see pixel art like this anymore. Thank god!

 

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Pac-Attack (SNES)

Pac-Attack (SNES) - Cover

Prediction

Our One Year Anniversary here on the site is just around the corner. It’s amazing, I know, somehow I’ve managed to keep typing gibberish about videogames for an entire year. Anyway, to bring the year to a close, I thought I’d go full circle and review another non-traditional Pac-Man game. In this case, that game will be Pac-Attack for the SNES.

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Pac-Attack looks like it’s going to be the love child between Pac-Man and Tetris, two of the biggest names in classic gaming. Considering Pac-Man and the ghosts are going to be thrown into the mix, I’m guessing this game is going to be taking more of a Dr. Mario approach to the gameplay rather than a more traditional Tetris game. Even with that mindset going in, I’m not entirely sure what to expect from this game. So let’s just jump on in, shall we?

Gameplay

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As expected, the gameplay is a variant of Tetris. But there are a lot of things that set it apart from the traditional formula. For starters, there is only a single shape to the blocks being dropped. Every block is an “L” shape made up of 3 tiles, though the exact composition of those blocks is random. Each block will be made of a combination of regular tiles, ghosts, and on occasion Pac-Man himself. Naturally, the blocks will appear at the top of the screen and slowly fall to the bottom, during which time you can move and rotate them into whatever position you feel is best.

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Of course, making lines out of entirely L shaped blocks would be child’s play. The challenge comes from the fact that the ghosts don’t count towards the blocks in a row. You also can’t clear out the ghosts even if you manage to fill a whole row with them. Instead, you have to wait for Pac-Man to come and gobble them all up. Unfortunately, you have very little control over Pac-Man after you place him on the block tower, so you’ll have to place the ghosts strategically for him to eat them all.

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Another interesting change is that the blocks are not solid like they are in most Tetris games. What I mean by that is that each of the 3 tiles making up the block is an individual tile and will fall with gravity after the rest of the block is placed. This has some advantages, like not needing to wait for the long skinny block in order to fill in a gap, any piece placed will naturally drop to the lowest point possible. This unfortunately has the downside that if you trap a ghost, you have to work your way up from the bottom to free him, you can’t simple clear the row out above him.

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With all its changes though, the end result is still the same. Eventually the screen will fill up with tiles until there’s no room for any new blocks. It always starts out so innocently, trapping a single ghost where you couldn’t get him. Then while trying to free him, you trap another, and then another, and before you know it the ghosts have taken over the screen and the inevitable is at hand.

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In addition to the traditional survival mode, Pac-Attack also features a puzzle mode of play. In puzzle mode, the mechanics are largely the same, but the objective is slightly different. Each of the 100 puzzle levels starts with a unique set of tiles already on the board. Your goal is to clear the board of all the ghosts using a limited number of Pac-Mans. The blocks that fall still appear to be randomized, so you’ll have to think of the best way to line up the ghosts for Pac-Man to eat them.

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If you do it right, most of the levels can be completed with the first Pac-Man. However, the random nature of the blocks can make some of the levels more difficult than they need to be. You’re allowed to try as many times as you like however, so a second attempt might give more favorable results. Personally, I like the puzzle mode better than the survival, but that’s just me. You’ll have to try it out for yourself and see which one you like better.

Verdict

Price – $8.00

It’s a very reasonable price for a fun game. No reason you can’t add it to your collection.

Play Again? – Probably

I’m not very good at these types of games, but as this site has proven, I’m not very good at many games. Still, it was a fun game and I would enjoy popping it in every now and then for a few minutes entertainment.

Total Deaths – 6 Deaths

I only played one game of survival, so the rest of these failures were in puzzle mode, where I spent most of my time.

Fun Rating – 7 / 10

There are a lot of Tetris variants out there, and this one certainly has its charm. The gameplay is fun and addicting while also providing a decent mental challenge. I’ll admit that it’s not my favorite variant, mostly due to the fact that the individual tiles will fall to the bottom after being placed. It makes the game very difficult to recover from once you make even a single mistake. However, the unique challenge of trying to gobble up ghosts while also trying to form lines of blocks in an interesting twist on the classic formula. For the price, there’s no reason you shouldn’t at least give this game a try, you might just like it.

Pac-Attack (SNES) - 14

I never knew the ghosts actually had feet…

 

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