Category Archives: Gameboy (Color)

1942 (GBC)


1942 for the Game Boy Color is a fairly standard port of the vertical scrolling shooter arcade game of the same name. Set in the Pacific Theater of World War II, you play an America pilot attempting to reach Tokyo and destroy Japan’s Air Fleet. It’s a rather odd concept coming from a Japanese company, but it was made with a western audience in mind and ended up being very successful.

Obviously, a vertical shooter isn’t going to have very much to talk about. The number of enemies and their flight patterns will gradually get more complicated until it becomes too much, and I die. So, this review is also going to be split with just some random chatting from me. I hope you’ll join me anyway, so let’s go!


1942 was one of the games I grew up on. Originally, I played it on the NES, but that was at my uncle’s house, so I was happy when I saw the Game Boy Color port of the game. Personally, I prefer the GBC version over the NES because it does have a few additions to the game. First, it has actual options that allow you to change the difficulty settings. More importantly, it actually has a password save system, which is quite an oddity for what is basically an arcade game.

You might notice, the game starts on Stage 32. This is because we’re actually counting down as we get closer to Tokyo. I think this is a nice twist on the usual Stage system, because it takes away any guess work over how many stages you have left. So, with that, we take off from our aircraft carrier and head off to war.

The gameplay is quite simple and should be familiar to anyone that has ever played a vertical shooter. You move around the screen trying to shoot down the enemies before they shoot down you. You also have a limited number of specials, which in this game causes you to do a loop to avoid damage. I also want to note that no matter how many times I play this game, I ALWAYS forget which button does which, and ALWAYS end up wasting a loop at the start of the game.

For anyone that has ever played some of the modern Bullet Hell style shooters, this game will probably seem laughable. There are never very many enemies on screen, they rarely shoot more than once, and they mostly die to a single hit. There are some larger planes that show up occasionally, and they do take a few more hits before they explode, but not many hits, and they don’t come very often.

Like most shooters, there are a few power-ups we can get. In order to get them, you’ll have to shoot down the groups of red planes that occasionally fly by. Once you shoot down all the planes the power-up POW is left behind by the final plane. There’s really only 2 power-ups to get, one changes your 2 guns into 4 guns, while the other adds 2 smaller planes to each side of you to add even more firepower.

Really, the only other thing of note in each level is to avoid riding the bottom edge of the screen, because sometimes planes will come up from behind without any warning. If you’re too close to the edge, you’ll probably get taken out instantly before you even see them. Avoid those traps, take down the enemy planes, and before long you’ll manage to land on the next aircraft carrier, completing the stage.

So, from here, each level gets slightly harder. There are more enemies on screen, they sometimes fly more complicated patterns, and might even shoot at you. But otherwise, each level is basically the same as the last. Shoot a bunch of planes, make it to the next aircraft carrier.

Before I get into my random ramblings, we’re almost at Christmas and the end of yet another year. I hope everyone managed to stay happy and healthy this year. Healthy especially, considering Covid isn’t exactly going away. But I don’t want to dwell on that here, just wanted to say Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays to those who don’t celebrate it, and Happy New Year to everyone.

Note: on the left is a power-up to gain an extra loop, which is dropped by a normal looking plane. On the Right, note you can lose the side planes individually if they get hit.

Anyway, you might have noticed I haven’t posted much recently. Not a huge shock from this site. I just want to say it wasn’t entirely my fault. I made that post earlier in the year saying I wanted to get back into writing more often, and I meant that. Unfortunately, my job got in the way and stole any free time I had for a while.

Not to get into too much detail, but management decided to move to a new software, so our entire customer database had to be migrated over. Because of the workflow for this process, it wasn’t really possible to split the work up, and I ended up doing the whole thing myself. From mid-July until late September, I was working 7 days a week, 10-12 hours a day. I don’t intend to complain, because the overtime pay was great, but needless to say, it didn’t leave me much time or energy to really do anything other than work.

It took me a while to recover after that. My first day off afterwards I was basically in shock and didn’t know what to do with myself. I had been working for something like 80 days straight and kind of forgot what it was I did on days I didn’t wake up and go to work.

Back to the game for a second, because we’ve finally come to our first password. These show up every 4 stages and let you start your game from that point. They don’t save any score or extra lives or anything, it’s just a checkpoint.

I still remember when I first got this game. Between the passwords and the continues after a game over, I managed to beat the whole game within 24 hours. My parents got mad a bit because they felt it was a waste of money if I could finish the whole thing that quickly, but I didn’t see it that way. I knew what the game was, I was happy to have actually beaten it, and I played it semi regularly after that.

Death Count: 2

In fact, I still do play it occasional. Whenever I want just a few minutes of arcade fun, this is one of a handful of games I turn to. Don’t get me wrong, it’s hardly a groundbreaking game. But it’s still fun in its simplicity. Oh, and we finally have our first death on Stage 26. Lasted longer than usual this time. Of course, I end up dying in nearly the exact same spot 2 seconds later, but whatever.

Stage 26 is also special because it gives us our first “Boss Battle”. For some reason, we’re not allowed to have our helper planes for this battle, since they ditch us just before the fight. However, they’re not really needed anyway. The enemy plane is quite big, taking up most of the screen, but it is taken out with only a handful of shots.

Death Count: 3

So back to my ramblings. It took me a little while to recover from all that overtime, and honestly, I just haven’t been playing as many games lately. For the most part, I’ve swapped over to manga and anime for the last couple of months.

Death Count: 4

Nothing really unusual. Reading One Piece and My Hero Academia, even though I’ve already watched both animes. I’m also finally watching Dragon Ball Z. I saw maybe 80% of it when it was airing on Toonami, but never in order. So even though it’s 50% power up screaming, I still feel I need to watch it properly. I’m also watching the old Lupin the 3rd anime, which is still fun today.

Death Count: 5

That said, it’s always in the back of my mind that I should be writing more articles. Not that I have a huge fan base on here or anything, it’s always been more for myself anyway. But I do want to play more classic games. I also really need to finish Final Fantasy VII. I know my articles are only about halfway through the game, but my gameplay is right up until the final boss. Maybe another hour and I will have FINALLY beaten the game a second time in my life, after having started and quit about 30 times.

Death Count: 7

Well, I finally got a game over on Stage 23, so how about we end it here. Not quite 30 minutes of gameplay, but I don’t have much more I wanted to talk about right now. So, if you’ve stayed with me through this, thank you for letting me ramble for a little while. Hopefully this will get me back in the writing mindset and I’ll see you again soon.


Price – $78.47

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! This thing is going for $78 now?! Glad I held onto it all these years. Hell, I even have the cardboard box and manual, I could probably get over $100 if I wanted to sell it. The NES version is still cheap, at only $14.64, so maybe look at that one if you want to buy a copy for yourself.

Play Again? – Occasionally

I’ve already said this is one of my go-to games when I want to kill a few minutes. There are obviously better shooters out there, but this one is fun in its simplicity, and holds some special nostalgia for me.

Total Deaths – 7 deaths

I’m actually kind of surprised I lasted as long as I did. Even without it being a Bullet Hell, I’ve very out of practice for shooters. That said, I did manage to beat it as a kid, so it’s not particularly difficult in general.

Fun Rating – 6 / 10

I’m giving it a fairly low score because, while I enjoy it, I’m not blind to the fact there isn’t anything particularly special about it. I do also have to point out the music in the game, if it can even be called music. There are a few little jingles at the beginnings of the stages, but during most of the level all you get are random beeps that aren’t much better than Space Invader noises. There’s definitely a melody it’s TRYING to keep, but I have a hard time calling those sounds “Music”. Other than that, it’s a fairly standard shooter. The Game Boy Color port does add some improvements in the form of that password save. However, I can’t really claim that is worth the $78.47 price tag is seems to have now. Seriously, I can’t get over that, I was expecting it to be a $5 bargain bin game by now. So yeah, if you want to play this game, maybe look for the NES version. But if you’re willing to shell out that much for the GBC version, you’ll be happy with the few additions it offers.

How are you $78 now?!

I hope you enjoyed this 30 Minute Review of 1942 (GBC). 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.


Pokemon Pinball (GBC)


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!


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.


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.


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

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


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!


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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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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.


Spanky’s Quest (Gameboy)

Spanky's Quest (Gameboy) - Full Cover


Ok, so enough with the educational games for a while. Instead, let’s let the inner 12 year old out and explore the game Spanky’s Quest. I’ll be honest, I have never heard of Spanky’s Quest, and I only ever stumbled upon it while browsing for games to fill my still tiny Gameboy collection. But the second I saw it my inner 12 year old just had to have it. Just look at it! It’s a game about Spanky the monkey who must save the world with his magic balls. If you’re not snickering inside at that description then you clearly didn’t have a childhood.

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On a more serious note, the game is made by Natsume, the same company that made Harvest Moon. So I have high hopes that this is a good game. As far as gameplay goes, I’m not sure what to expect. The description on the box makes it sound very action oriented. But the pictures kind of remind me of Bubble Bobble, making me lean more towards action puzzle. There’s only one way to find out for sure. Let’s jump right in and see how magical Spanky’s balls really are.


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The gameplay is like nothing I’ve ever played before, and it has a bit of a learning curve to it. Spanky does indeed have a magic ball, which is his main method of attack. But it’s not as simple as just throwing it and killing your enemies. First, Spanky will throw the ball into the air in a small arc. If you want to do anything with it, you’ll have to position Spanky under the ball and bounce it on his head as it grows larger and larger.

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When you’re happy with the ball’s size, you can convert it into an attack to kill the enemies. However, the power and style of the resulting attack changes depending on how big you made the ball before attacking. It could be as simple as the tiny ball you start with, which is all you really need to kill the enemies. Or you can grow it until it explodes on contact, taking out small groups of enemies at once. Of course, whenever you can manage it, you’d probably want to grow it to the largest size for a huge splash of damage which takes out a wide reach of enemies as it falls.

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As for the actual gameplay, I was mostly correct with my Bubble Bobble analogy earlier. The game is broken up into stages, each with unique layouts and a handful of enemies. The only goal is to kill all the enemies before they kill you. A simple enough goal which can be much easier said than done thanks to the unique attack mechanics. Thankfully, the enemies don’t have any kind of hunting AI and instead move in simple, predictable patterns.

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The stage designs themselves were also quite varied. Many of the early stages where small, self contained areas to get you used to the mechanics. But they soon became larger and more stylized. Some were meant to be cute by looking identical to the enemies you were fighting. Others were more challenging with their confined spaces, giving you little room for error. My favorites however were the vertically looping levels where enemies would disappear off the bottom only to reappear on the top.

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Upon reaching the 16th stage, the change in soundtrack was my first warning of an impending boss fight. But I can’t say I was fully prepared for that boss to be a giant pineapple. Dwarfing Spanky in comparison, this massive fruit will do everything he can to crush you. And unlike the previous enemies, he actually does appear to have some tracking AI, so he will follow you around the stage. He’ll also take several hits to kill, and it’s difficult to grow the ball to a decent attack size with him chasing you. Get your hits in when you can, and before you know it you’ll have beaten the first boss, and cleared the first tower.


Price – $10.50

It’s not a bad price for such a fun game. There’s also an SNES version that will only cost about $20.00. I’m actually considering tracking a copy down after having played the Gameboy version.

Play Again? – Most likely

It has its learning curve, ever game does. But once you get past the unusual attack style, it’s actually a very enjoyable game. Plus how many games have you fight a giant pineapple?! I’d love to see what else happens to Spanky.

Total Deaths – 13 Deaths

I like the way this game handles lives and continues. Dying in a stage will respawn you at your starting position, but the stage never stops. Enemies will still be in the same positions they were when you died, and dead enemies will remain dead. If you lose all your lives however, you’ll get a game over and have to use a continue, which seem to be infinite. This again is rather lenient, starting you at the same stage, but all the enemies have now respawned.

Fun Rating – 8.5 / 10

My inner 12 year old might have picked the game, but I can say I thoroughly enjoyed it for what it was. The graphics and sound were great for the system. And the gameplay was fun, and quite addicting. I felt I had to remove half a point because of the attack system though. While it is very original, it can also be rather annoying by tacking on unnecessary hassle to the usually simple mechanic of attacking. With some practice, it becomes manageable, so I didn’t want to be too hard on it. Plus the silliness of the whole concept helps offset that annoyance. Honestly, after that boss fight with the giant pineapple I’m already thinking of when I can find the time to finish this game for a full review. I love games with a good sense of humor like this, and I can’t wait to see what else might be in store for Spanky!

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Someday I’ll play through all those towers… Someday…


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Monster Rancher Explorer (Gameboy Color)

Monster Rancher Explorer Cover


I remember when there was a 3 way power struggle between Pokémon, Digimon, and Monster Rancher. They all had similar themes of using monsters to fight for you, and at the time each had their own dedicated followings. Since then, Pokémon obviously has become one of the most successful videogame franchises of all time. Digimon is still holding its own, and seems to be picking up a little lately. Sadly, the whole Monster Rancher franchise seems to have just dropped off the face of the earth, with me having never played a single one of the games.

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I remember hearing about the Playstation version of Monster Rancher. Unlike Pokémon where you just find the monsters in the wild, I remember you were able to put in music cds and the game would search them for different monsters. I thought it was such a cool idea, and put a nice 4th dimension to the game. I wanted to play it, but for some reason I never got around to actually getting it. Obviously it left a lasting impression on me and I’ve always held at least some hope for the franchise. I’m not sure how such a mechanic would work on the Gameboy color. It would probably have to be left out entirely, but I’m still excited to finally play a Monster Rancher game.


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Hold on a second. What’s going on? Where are the monsters? Where is the ranch? And who put a puzzle game in place of my RPG?! This isn’t the game I signed up for. After a bit of research, it would seem Monster Rancher Explorers isn’t actually a Monster Rancher game at all. It’s actually a remake of an older game named Solomon’s Key, just with a few Monster Rancher references scattered around to make it sell better.

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Honestly, I’m a bit upset that I STILL won’t be able to play a Monster Rancher game, but I’m going to have to get over that for the moment and review this game for what it is, and not what it isn’t. What it is is a pretty solid puzzle game actually. You play as an explorer named Cox as you try to climb a puzzle filled tower to fight some legendary monster named Nada who resides at the top. The basic goal of each of the levels is to first collect the key and then head to the exit. You accomplish this by creating and destroying boxes for you to jump on.

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You need to be careful because there are monsters roaming around too. On rare occasion you will be able to shoot them, but that’s very rare from what I’ve played. The other method I found is to remove the boxes from under them and watch them fall to their death.

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There’s also a pink ghost girl that shows up occasionally. I’m not sure what triggers her, who she is, or what she does. But she seems to be a special collectable for the level.

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Every 5 levels seem to have a brief scene to fill in the thin story, and level 10 even has a boss battle. I’m not used to having boss battles in the middle of my puzzle games. The blue crab monster Selketo is on the top level of an otherwise empty room. You have to build stairs to climb your way up to him and break the platform out from under him. He doesn’t make it easy though, as he rains what look like icicles down on you. Keep moving and keep building, and before you know it, he’ll fall to his doom.

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Continuing up the tower, the levels progressively got harder. After level 15 someone said something about restoring saucer stone fragments into a saucer stone to seal monsters. Maybe there will be some actually monster ranching in this game after all. But my 30 minutes are up, so maybe I’ll have to check that out some other time.


It’s kind of deceiving to call this a Monster Rancher game when it’s not. It’s not even a spin off title, it’s just a shameless remake of a classic game. Looking past this however you’re left with pretty good puzzle game.

Price – $5.95

It’s actually a pretty fun game. If you’re a fan of puzzle games, this is a nice one that won’t break the bank.

Fun Rating – 8 / 10

Admittedly, I was a bit annoyed that this wasn’t a true Monster Rancher game. Thankfully I am also a fan of puzzle games, and this one was actually pretty good. What I played never felt too hard. And the puzzle itself has a good blend of timing and strategy. I actually really enjoyed myself with this game.

Play Again? – Probably

Even if it’s not really a Monster Rancher game, it’s still a pretty solid puzzle game. Plus right when I stopped it seemed like I might actually be able to collect monsters after all. I’m kind of curious to see where this game goes.

Total Deaths – 14 Deaths

In general none of the levels so far were very complicated. There’s a little bit of a learning curve at the beginning, and each level might take a try or two before you figure it out, but nothing drastic yet. You only get 3 lives to challenge the tower, but there is no game over. Instead you are sent out of the tower back to town. From there you can reenter the tower at the exact level you left off on making the lives system seem totally unnecessary.

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Don’t stick your tongue out at me!


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Quarth (Gameboy)


Quarth was one of the games I bought during my recent expansion of my classic Gameboy library. I bought it because the cover looked kind of cool, and because it started with a “Q”. Really, how many games start with a “Q”? That makes this game like super rare and unique, right?

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My inexplicable fascination of the letter “Q” aside, it did look like a cool game from the cover. It’s got a little spaceship like space invaders, but it’s also got falling blocks like Tetris. It’s a weird combination, and I’m not sure what to make of it yet. However, both of those games are amazing classics, so I can only imagine their love child should be just as much fun.


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As I guessed, the game does feel like a combination of space invaders and Tetris. You play as a ship at the bottom of the screen while blocks fall from the top. Unlike Tetris, you’re not trying to arrange them in any way, also unlike space invaders, you’re not destroying the blocks either. Instead the objective is to add blocks to the shapes until they create a 4 sided shape. At which point the blocks will disappear.

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While simply making squares and rectangles from the different blocks will get you through most of the game, there are some advanced strategies if you can pull them off. For starters, the shapes don’t have to be made from single starter blocks. If they’re next to each other and you can form a 4 sided shape out of them together, they will all disappear together. They don’t even have to be fully filled in. if you can make a four sided shape and still have a gap in the center it will still count.

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You can also intentionally build up the blocks into HUGE blocks for a bigger score. If you make it big enough, you might even get a power up from your efforts. Hell if I know what they do, but you get them, and in the end, isn’t that the most important part.

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Just don’t get over ambitious. If the blocks reach the bottom line, it’s game over. For the most part, it’s pretty easy to stay ahead of the blocks. It’s only at the really later levels that it actually got hard. Honestly, accidentally over building one side of a shape and needing to take extra time to smooth it out were usually the cause of my downfall.

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That’s pretty much all there is to say about Quarth. There are multiple different ships you can pick from, but they don’t seem to play any differently. The colors might be a little different, but the gameplay seems to be unchanged.


I love this game, and it’s actually really puzzling that it didn’t catch on as well as some of the other classics like space invaders and Tetris. I guess it is a few years newer than those games, having been released in 1989 compared to Tetris in 1984 and Space Invaders in 1978, so maybe it’s just a timing issue. The gameplay was simplistic but just as much fun as any other classic arcade style game. Even the music was rather enjoyable, though not nearly as memorable as some others I’ve heard. To sum it up, it was a great game. If you’ve never played it, give it a chance. I’m sure you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Price – $6.00 well spent

Fun Rating – 8 / 10

This love child of Space Invaders and Tetris has definitely lived up to my expectations.

Play Again? – Absolutely!!

This game has such am amazing arcade charm to it. I have no regrets for having bought this, and I’m sure I’ll be coming back to it from time to time just as much as I would any other arcade classic.

Total Deaths – 4 Deaths

My longest run lasted roughly 15 minutes before I finally died. The combination of the increased speed and over shooting eventually did me in. It’s really fun, and I think most people should be able to easily survive quite a while.

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What does “Quarth” mean anyway?


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