Even though I passed a never-ending supply of racers playing Hang-On, my true race was against the clock. I had little room for error, maybe one or two mistakes if I hoped to complete each stage before time ran out. Skillfully managing the throttle and brake, especially when cornering, was the key. Before long I was weaving in between racers and passing them in corners, making good time. Stages lasted about a minute and segued immediately into the next until the five-stage course was complete. In one sitting, it’s about a forty-minute game and not too challenging on the default difficulty. I made plenty of mistakes, often cornering too quickly or misjudging a racer’s proximity, but usually finished with ample time on the clock. When I was in a groove and listening to the hum of the motorcycle, the sounds of passing racers and squealing tires, it became a Zenlike, albeit monotonous, experience. Although my playthrough lacked much excitement, I’m glad to have finally spent material time with Hang-On. It’s an enjoyable racing game that tests one moderation, and patience.
Astro Warrior is, ostensibly, a ten minute game. After devoting multiple hours to it these last couple of days, I finally completed it last night. Understandably, I was over the moon. Developed and published by Sega in 1986, it’s a shoot ‘em up where success was predicated on quick reflexes and memorization. With each session I hoped to reach deeper into space, witness another wave of enemies and figure out how to overcome them, eventually doing well enough to complete the game. While the game was only three stages long the impressive enemy variety kept me on my toes. Inevitably, as failures mounted, I grew frustrated. Power-ups were generated by shooting tiles and I had my preferred arrangement. So, when I prematurely lost a life and reverted back to basics, I angrily hit the reset button. My experiences ultimately resulted in a magical final playthrough and an adrenaline rush that postponed my bedtime considerably. So much for a ten minute game.
Of all the games I’ll play on the Sega Master System, Choplifter will likely be the only one that originated on the Apple II. Designed by Dan Gorlin and originally released in 1982, it’s a side-scrolling shoot ‘em up that emphasizes hostage rescue and accordingly, draws comparison to Defender. In truth, the version I played has more in common with the games I’ve previously written about since it’s actually based on Sega’s 1985 arcade release of Choplifter. Like most of what I’ve played thus far, I found it both enjoyable and challenging. Continue reading Choplifter [Sega Master System] – Review and Let’s Play
Debuting on the Master System in late 1986, just after the console launched in North America, The Ninja is a fantastic port of Ninja Princess, a little-known arcade game Sega released the year prior. Gameplay is of the run and gun shoot ‘em up variety, akin to subgenre classics like Commando and Ikari Warriors, although Ninja Princess predates both; as does its setting, the main differentiating factor between this and many early entries within the subgenre. Despite a run time of about ten minutes, it took me hours and days to complete, resulting in a very rewarding finish! More importantly, I thought it was well designed, enjoyable, and worth my time. It’s the first game I’ve played on the Master System whose quality surprised me, a true hidden gem. Continue reading The Ninja [Sega Master System] – Review and Let’s Play
Black Belt, originally released in Japan as a tie-in to the Hokuto no Ken manga and anime, saw many changes when it debuted outside of Japan. Nearly all traces of the source material, known as Fist of the North Star elsewhere, were removed or altered, save for the protagonist’s gruesome ability to punch foes into exploding bits. With or without the branding, it’s little more than a simplistic beat ‘em up; Sega did nothing to advance the genre, content instead to pump out a clone of Irem’s Kung Fu Master. Boss fights offered a brief glimpse of challenge and fulfillment but the difficulty of some was off-putting without the use of cheats. Continue reading Black Belt [Sega Master System] – Review and Let’s Play
World Grand Prix was one of the earliest racing games on the Sega Master System. It was released in 1986, the year of the console’s debut in the United States, and was developed and published by Sega. I thought it was a simplistic, albeit fun, representation of Formula One, but unnecessary to seek out. Continue reading World Grand Prix [Sega Master System] – Review and Let’s Play
Among the Sega Master System’s library of a few hundred, Ghost House is one of the few games released on a Sega Card. Having little experience with Sega Cards or NEC’s TurboGrafx-16 (another platform that used a similar format), I found it quite novel. That being said, my primary interest lied not with the game’s format but the game itself. I thought it was a visually impressive, zippy action-platformer. At the same time, there was a lot going on that resulted in annoying damage to my character. It was a difficult game so after an hour or so of moderate success, my patience gave and I felt satisfied with what I’d accomplished. Continue reading Ghost House [Sega Master System] – Review