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Super R-Type Review Rewind

May the Force be with you

The early R-Type series was one of the biggest icons during the shoot ‘em up genre’s younger years. After the success of the original arcade game, Irem followed up with R-Type II in 1989. It featured slightly prettier graphics, more power-ups, and an upgraded wave cannon. Two years later in 1991, the game was remade as Super R-Type for the Super Nintendo-- one of the first games for the system.

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Halo 5: Guardians Review

You now know why I say "Goodbye," you say "Halo"

Once upon a time, Halo used to mean something. Halo was the game which revolutionized the first person shooter genre on consoles, offered mechanics that developers still copy to this day, and was the unparalleled king of multiplayer games outside of PC. There were first person shooters and then there was Halo.

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Hogan's Alley Review Rewind

Training Day

I knew very little about Hogan’s Alley back in its heyday. Judging by the mean-looking gangster fully armed with a gun and grimace on the front cover, I figured that the game must have been some 3D action title featuring all sorts of wanton violence that my impressionable mind just couldn’t handle. However, as the years passed I eventually learned the facts of this game’s less menacing purpose.

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Ninja Gaiden Review Rewind

Tecmo Ninja

When I hear the word "ninja", one thing immediately comes to mind- the 80's. It was an era that was very friendly to ninja culture and the kids that embraced it. Meanwhile, video game developers where busy cooking up games of the same nature in the arcades. Tecmo was one of those developers, and in 1988, they released a brawler of sorts called Ninja Gaiden. A year later, they ported the game over to the NES, but changed the style of gameplay to better fit the style of home console gaming. They replaced the "beat 'em up" theme with a simple action/platformer approach with a bigger emphasis on well-timed jumps and using awesome ninja skills. Tecmo also added a deeper story and a new way to tell it.

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Trampoline Terror! Review Rewind

Jump Around

Developed by Masaya, published by DreamWorks (no relation to the movie studio), and released in 1990, Trampoline Terror was quite the unique title if you managed to find out about it somehow. I’ve got to hand it to the design team-- they had me fooled with this game. Thanks to my youthful first-time impression of the game many moons ago, I always thought I was playing an overhead action title. I had so much fun with the game, that I didn’t even notice that I was really playing a puzzle\strategy game sneakily dressed in an action game’s clothes (more or less). I’m not sure why it didn’t click with me until now-  nearly 20 years later- especially when most of the gameplay elements practically scream “this is a puzzle game”.

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Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain Review

Aim, fire, Fulton. Aim, fire, Fulton. Aim, fire, Fulton. Aim, fire, Fulton.......

Let me ask you a question: How many video game series have, outside of spin-offs, made every game feel like a true sequel? Where every game does not just add a few of tweaks, unnecessary gimmicks, or offer nothing other than more of the same, but provides a strong, natural evolution to the previous entry? Very few fit that bill and if you factor in games which have existed for over twenty years, you are left only with Metal Gear.

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Castlevania Review Rewind

Stalk the Night

For years, the story of Count Dracula has been told many times over, with different spins on how he wrecked havoc on human society and such things.  I dare say that there isn't a person on Earth who hasn't heard of the some point in their lifetime.  So given the popularity of this character, it was only natural that Dracula would eventually be featured in video games, when gaming found a new life on the Nintendo Entertainment System.  And sure enough, in 1987, Konami released Castlevania-- a game that featured a whip-wielding hero on a mission to defend the local townsfolk and stop Dracula's bite for good, or so he hoped.

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Jumping Flash! Review Rewind

Better hop to it.

Ever since the Atari 2600 debuted in 1977, it's been fairly customary for at least one game developer to bring something new to the table just in time for the launch of a new gaming system, or soon after. In 1995, developers Exact and Ultra gave us a little ditty called Jumping Flash-- a game with roots that can be traced back to Exact’s previous 3D platformer Geograph Seal on the Sharp X68000. I remember playing a demo of Jumping Flash back in 1996. After a few minutes of leaping and smashing enemies on impact, I knew I was in love.

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After Burner Review Rewind

Broken wings

Life is full of surprises. Good or bad, they come when you least expect it and can potentially change your life forever. Such was the case when Sega released After Burner in the arcade. Coming complete with a hydraulic sit-down cabinet, the game was the first of its kind to successfully take the boredom out of flight simulations. There were no worries about instrument panels, altimeter gauges, or landing sequences. A short while after its arcade debut, the game went on to be ported to a number of home consoles, including the Sega Master System. Sega’s fledgling franchise was such a big hit, that it even saw a release on the NES. Wait…what?! Surpriiiise! That’s probably what Tengen said once their unlicensed version of After Burner hit store shelves for Nintendo’s own console.

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ActRaiser Review Rewind

Playing God never felt this ethical.

By the time the Super Nintendo was introduced, games that combined multiple genres were nothing new. Games like The Legend of Zelda, Crystalis, and The Guardian Legend were outstanding pioneers of the action/adventure variety. But developer Quintet partnered with Enix to publish ActRaiser in 1991 on the Super NES. Released just 3 months after the new home console, it was one of the earliest post-launch SNES games. Particularly outstanding is that it combines side-scrolling  action with building simulation gameplay elements. Usually, building simulations send me running for the hills because I'm terrible at them. But after spending a little time with the game, I was able to put my fears aside.

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