Street Fighter II PC

Street Fighter II: The World Warrior is a competitive fighting game originally released for the arcades in 1991. It is the second entry in the Street Fighter series and the arcade sequel to the original Street Fighter released in 1987. It was Capcom’s fourteenth title that ran on the CP System arcade hardware. Street Fighter II improved upon the many concepts introduced in the first game, including the use of command-based special moves and a six-button configuration, while offering players a selection of multiple playable characters, each with their own unique fighting style.

The success of Street Fighter II is credited for starting the fighting game boom during the 1990s which inspired other game developers to produce their own fighting game franchises, popularizing the genre. Its success led to a sub-series of updated versions (see below), each offering additional features and characters over previous versions, as well as several home versions. In 1993, sales of Street Fighter II exceeded $1.5 billion in gross revenues, and by 1994, the game had been played by at least 25 million Americans in homes and arcades.The video game console port to the Super NES sold 6.3 million units and remained Capcom’s best-selling consumer game of all time until 2013, when it was surpassed by Resident Evil 5.

Super Mario World Review

Princess Toadstool is in trouble yet again, and it’s up to Mario and Luigi to save her from the clutches of the evil Bowser. Only this time, they have a little help from a friendly dinosaur named Yoshi, whose long tongue is a deadly weapon.

Along with a cape that allows Mario to fly, Yoshi is the main new attraction of Super Mario World, the fourth installment in the Super Mario series. The gameplay is the standard run-and-jump introduced way back in Super Mario Bros., but here it has been refined to an almost heavenly state. Mario runs, flies and swims with an unequaled grace. The controls are easily mastered, and with a bit of practice Mario soon becomes an extension of your being.

The best aspect of Super Mario World, and what makes it the most entertaining, is the challenge of trying to complete the game fully. Most of the levels can be finished in two or more possible ways, and the fun lies in searching for the hidden exits. While defeating Bowser can be accomplished quite easily, discovering all of the secrets of Super Mario World is a formidable task.

The graphics are clean, colorful and detailed, with limited but effective uses of Mode 7 scaling and rotation. The sound is equally as good, with nice touches like echo effects when Mario is underground.

When the Super NES was first announced, fans and critics alike wondered if the new system would be able to continue the success of the wildly popular NES. With the 16-bit Genesis selling very well, some speculated that the Super NES might turn out to be just another Atari 7800 (or 5200 for that matter).

Then it was announced that Super Mario World would be the pack-in cartridge for the system. A smart move for Nintendo, since the previous Mario release, Super Mario Bros. 3, was the best selling video game ever. It also didn’t hurt that Super Mario World turned out to be an excellent game in its own right.

While it’s not quite as groundbreaking as Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World is more fun than any of its predecessors. And that’s what really matters. That, and the fact that it helped to introduce the Super NES, which went on to sell over 20 million units in the U.S.

Rating: 96/100

Buster Bros. Overview

A title that incorporates a variety of genres — namely puzzle, action, and shooter — Buster Bros. is a simplistic (if highly challenging) contest in which players scamper back and forth across a series of non-scrolling screens, firing upward at bouncing bubbles. When a bubble is hit, it breaks into progressively smaller bubbles, meaning the screen can get very crowded at times. Certain levels contain ladders to climb, there’s food to collect for points, and there are a nice variety of weapons (such as double wire, time stop, and dynamite), but the action remains uncomplicated throughout, resulting in a game that is easy to learn, yet very difficult to master. An indispensable two-player mode gives players a chance to compete for high scores or, better yet, cooperate in advancing to higher levels. Adding to the addictive enjoyment of the game are scenic backgrounds (including the Taj Mahal and Mt. Fuji) and a perky musical score.

Bosconian Review (1981 Game)

Similar to the more popular Time Pilot and Sinistar, Bosconian has players in control of a rotating ship that remains affixed to the center of a playfield that scrolls in all directions. The objective is to destroy the enemy’s hexagonal space stations while avoiding or shooting asteroids, space mines and enemy ships. To take out a space station, players must blast its inner core or shoot all six of its gun batteries. The ship fires to the front and the rear simultaneously, radar displays the position of enemy bases, and a color-coded alert system warns players of the level of aggression of enemy attacks, helping make the game a cut above the average shooter of the era. A nifty outer space environment, with voice effects, complements the challenging shooting action.

Caesars Palace Overview (Synopsis and Features)

Caesars Palace for Game Boy features four games of chance on one cartridge: blackjack, video poker, roulette, and slots. Begin the game with a credit of 1,000 dollars and use your chips wisely to increase your bankroll. Select each game from an overhead view of the casino floor, using a pointer to click on your favorite gambling title. The screen will then switch to a first-person view of the selected game. Both video poker and slots offer a choice of machines, three for slots and five for video poker, which differ in the wager amounts or the symbols needed to create matches. Caesars Palace does not include a save feature, so your progress will be lost each time the system is switched off.

Features
Choose from four gambling titles
Begin each game with 1,000 dollars in chips
Includes three slot machines and five video poker machines

Defender Review (1980 Game)

As the first side-scrolling shooter, Defender is one of the most influential and most popular games ever created. Even though it was deemed by some as too complicated due to its unique five-button control system, it shares honors with Pac-Man as the highest grossing videogame of all time, earning more than one billion dollars in revenue. Gameplay involves piloting a ship around a mountainous alien landscape while rescuing humanoids and shooting (right and left) at landers, mutants, bombers and other enemies. The ship is equipped with smart bombs and hyperspace, and a scanner positioned at the top of the screen helps players track offscreen enemies. Colorful graphics, explosive sound effects, and intense shooting action makes Defender challenging and loads of fun.

Bubble Bobble Review (1988)

Bubble Bobble is a game you play once, and *need* to play again, and again, and again. It doesn’t matter if you’ve finished it before – heck! The adventures of Bub and Bob, the dinosaurs, are among the best challenges ever offered to the gaming world. What intrigues me is that the game, so simple in design, can captivate my attention for so long.

Bubble Bobble brings with it a fabulous challenge. The puzzles in Bubble Bobble are all based on the same concept – trapping an enemy within a bubble and then bursting that bubble. It may sound simple, but the strategy behind breaking bubbles becomes more and more evident as the game progresses.

And the music! The music is definitely something you’ll remember forever as it gets imbedded in your brain in a good way! It’s a pretty catchy tune.

There’s power-ups too. Bubble gum, running shoes, and more enhance your characters, while items appear that do a myriad of things, from destroying all enemies on the screen to advancing the frolicking young Bub and Bob a level (or several!).

What really makes Bubble Bobble great, is that it truly is a game for all ages. The simple concept is easily within reach for younger players, and still offers a challenge to older ones.

Graphics

Bub and Bob look too cute. The enemies look neat as well, specially the giant boss at levels 50 and 100!

Sound

If there’s one major thing that’s memorable about Bubble Bobble, it’s the music. Once you hear it, it’s with you forever!

Enjoyment

Fun for all ages!

Replay Value

Have played it over a dozen times, and always go back for more!

Documentation

Standard NES instruction booklet. The game is pretty self-explanatory, however. Once you start playing, you can get the hang of it in minutes.

HardBall! Overview (1987 Baseball Game)

Bob Whitehead’s Hardball! comes to the Atari ST. Whether playing this computer version of America’s favorite pastime by yourself or with a friend, you must decide who will be the Home team and who will be the Visitor. Also, you can choose to play with or without a designated hitter.

Harball features eight different kinds of pitches: offspeed, change-up, curve ball, screwball, sinker, slider, fastball! and fastball. A fastball! is simply a faster version of a fastball. After selecting a type of pitch, you can decide whether to pitch inside, outside, high or low. After the ball is hit, you will take control of a fielder, each of whom can catch or pick up the ball and throw it to any of the bases. As the game goes on, the pitcher will get tired; a fatigued pitcher is less likely to throw a strike.

On offense you can swing the bat, run bases, bunt, steal bases and hit fly balls, line drives, grounders and homers. When a player first steps up to the plate, some of his statistics will be displayed on screen.

As the manager of your team, you can substitute players, exchange positions, adjust fielder alignments, switch hit and call intentional walks.

The perspective in Hardball! is from four different camera angles: manager’s decision screen, pitcher/batter screen, left field view and right field view.

Platform Publisher Developer Year
Apple II Accolade, Inc. 1987
Apple IIGS Accolade, Inc. 1987
Atari 400/800/XL/XE Accolade, Inc. 1985
Commodore 64/128 Accolade, Inc. Accolade, Inc. 1985
Commodore Amiga Accolade, Inc. 1986
IBM PC Compatible Accolade, Inc. 1985
Macintosh Accolade, Inc. Distinctive Software, Inc 1986
Sega Genesis Ballistic Accolade, Inc. 1991

Activision’s Shanghai II – Review (Old Computer Game)

If there is a secret formula for success in creating an “ultimate” computer game for any given genre, Activision may have latched onto it. One can almost peer into the minds of the creative team which spawned Shanghai II. With the success in 30 different formats of their 1986 classic, Shanghai (with total sales of over 500,000 units), how could so successful a game ever be trumped?

This reviewer believes he has discovered the secret formula used by the creative team which created Shanghai II. There is no doubt that it all started with a meeting of the creative minds at Activision. Relax now and imagine them sitting around the conference table, brainstorming…. “Well, let’s include some new tile sets. Like the ones on all the BBS networks.” (They did. Beautiful VGA graphics  present tile sets which are both artful and amusing. Different sets include playing cards; fantasy with all of the men, monsters and armor; sports; “wooden block” letters and numbers just right for youngsters; flags of the world; animals; and the stylistic Hanfuda design. Each of these different sets of tiles has its own unique qualities which do not always directly translate to the suits of crak, barn, and coin (plus winds, season, flowers and dragons) of the original Mah Jongg tile set.
Fortunately, fully illustrated on-line tile set information is there to explain these nuances with but the click of the mouse, so as to assist players in determining matches. Unfortunately, there is no easy way for players to “create their own” tile sets, but that didn’t stop all of the players of the original Shanghai, now, did it?) “Wait, we can do better than just make more tile sets. Let’s animate them, too!” (They did. Remove a pair of cats and the claw marks slash across the tile. Remove the One of Coins and it drops down a swirling well. The seasons change, the winds blow, fans open and close, fish splash  about, the crowd cheers at football, and the dragons come to life. While not every tile is animated, enough are present to add true spice to the play of Shanghai II. The animations are mercifully short, dispersed enough to avoid becoming a nuisance and compelling enough to make onlookers stare on into the monitor well beyond their normal attention span. Shanghai II, like Wing Commander, has excellent “over the shoulder” draw to it.) ‘And sound. Don’t forget about sound support.

Some nice music, some ‘take away’ tile sounds, you know…?” (It’s got those, too. Unfortunately, we’ve heard complaints from others of, and ourselves experienced, a buzzing sound when playing on AdLib and Sound Blaster cards. Since sounds were one of the last things added to the game before its release, the rush work becomes apparent. Roland owners will be a trifle miffed to find out that only the music part of the sound support is available to them, while the tile removal sound effects can only be heard through their PC internal speaker. Still, if one can get past these glitches and programming limitations, there is some lovely music and clever tile removal sound effects. Admittedly, the music quickly becomes repetitive and might best be left set to play only at the end of the game, but a simple click of the mouse remedies all.

Tile sound effects include angelic harps, dragon’s roars, kitties meowing, bamboo clacking, winds blowing and more.) “Right, but I’m tired of the same old tile layout. Let’s do some new ones. The  Chinese calendar would give us a spiffy theme. You know, the twelve animals, one for each year.” (So now there are thirteen layouts. In addition to the original Shanghai “dragon” layout, there is one layout for each animal on the Chinese calendar. Interestingly, this includes another, different, dragon
layout. Some of these are easier, and some are harder than the original layout, and all of them  will take a bit of getting used to for veterans of the original Shanghai layout. Still, the core of Shanghai Ii’s success can be directly attributed to these multiple, layouts, as they inject new diversity into the  game, extending its replay value to unimaginable limits.) “Okay, there are twelve new layouts, but everybody likes playing with blocks. How about a ‘design  kit’ to make your own piles-o’-tiles?”
“Perfect.” (Gee, everyone liked building with blocks as a kid, didn’t they? Now with Shanghai II, players will find themselves playing with them all over again on their computer. This reviewer

designed two new layouts in about an hour, one a castle with a courtyard, the other in the shape of his initials, A. E. Of course, the real fun is not only in creating layouts using the 144 blank computer “tiles,” but also in tearing them apart through actual game play. Diversity piled upon diversity,  enjoyment in designing layouts and enjoyment in tearing them apart. Shanghai II touches that responsive chord where complex minds can embrace simple “toys” like building blocks/tiles and lend wonderful credence to the expression, “men will be boys.”) “But we’ve got another entire game design to add. We’ve been calling it ‘Dragon’s Eye’ and…” “Is it like Shanghai?” “Well, yes and no. One player tries to build a pile of tiles in the shape of a small dragon while the other tries to ‘slay’ it by removing matching tiles. Here, let me show you. I’ve got this Mah Jongg set right here….” (This new game was then developed and is what really puts the “II” in Shanghai II. After several playings, this reviewer still isn’t sure he’s got all of the subtleties to this interesting variation on Shanghai, but it is certainly easy enough to learn. The hard part, however, is to master Dragon’s Eye. That will take even those who enjoy such “mind” games as Mastermind or Host a Mystery some time to figure out. Admittedly, it has been more fun than frustrating, trying to learn all of the ins and outs of Dragon’s  Eye, and it seems a bit easier for beginners to commence as the Dragon Master, rather then the Dragon Slayer.)

“Oh, great! Can’t you see it now? A super-tournament game where players try to beat all the puzzles in the least amount of time. We can even add a ‘Hall of Fame…’ to give them something to shoot for.” (Sure enough, they did that, too. Tournament games are now “campaign games” consisting of  defeating each of the twelve new puzzles. In addition to these, between every three games comes an interlude playing Dragon’s Eye. Thus, there are sixteen games to complete to finish the tournament. To assist players who cannot finish a puzzle, the “Find a Match” and “Shuffle Remaining Tiles” help keys can be used, albeit with a time penalty (a very large one, in the case of reshuffling tiles). Like running a marathon, most players will be more rewarded by actually finishing a tournament, rather than setting their goal on winning it by setting the lowest time in the Hall of Fame. Still, the immediate goal of finishing even a single puzzle reminds one of a Chinese dinner. Both end with a fortune cookie, and it’s not long before you’re hungry for more.) “You know, all this sounds great, and I think we can do it. But the reference card is gonna be a nightmare.” (That’s the truth! At six “pages” long, it’s more like a complete rules summary than a quick reference card, and to make it worse, it’s all in small text devoid of useful illustrations. By contrast, the on-line support is superior to the reference card in most respects. The very length of this game aid almost entirely eliminates its  usefulness, but players are fortunate in that Shanghai II isn’t that complicated a game to begin with, so “muddling through” the first attempts at its many new features can be easily accomplished with
little reference to the documentation required). “Sounds like we’ve got our work cut out for us delivering the goods on this project. I wonder what marketing’s angle will be?” (A ball bag? Yep! Along with the 3.5″ and 5.25″ disks, Activision has included a little bag. Inside the bag are a couple of good-size marbles, one black and one white. Once players stop rolling them around in their hands like Captain Queeg from The Caine Mutiny, they usually read the little card included in the bag mentioning that these are “the eyes of the dragon.” What will those marketing types think of next?)
“Who cares? Hey, guys, ever have an idea so good you couldn’t wait to play it…?” (Ideas like that happen to garners all the time. This time, the garners are fortunate that the work is done and now they can relax enjoy playing Shanghai II either solitaire or with a friend. Even with some flaws in  execution, the concepts in scope and grandeur that sired Shanghai II are those worthy of the highest praise. Well done, Activision. Well done.)