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Fantasy Zone Review Rewind

Cute but Deadly

After seeing the incredible success of Konami's shoot-'em-up Gradius, Sega sought to create an arcade game that could rival it. So in 1986, game designer Yoji Ishii (Flicky, Outrun, NiGHTS) came up with a concept that combined the whimsical sensibilities of Twinbee with a giddy samba-esque soundtrack to create Fantasy Zone. As a lighthearted take on side-scrolling shooters that later cemented the "cute-’em-up" subgenre.

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Hang-On & Astro Warrior Review Rewind

Motorcycles and space battles- together for the first time.

There are certain games that I’ve played combo cartridges that leave me wondering why they were sold as standalone releases in the first place. I found myself asking that question after playing the Hang-On/Astro Warrior compilation. I mean, don’t get me wrong- it’s nice to have both games on a cartridge. But neither one held much weight when all was said and done. Even so, I was still able to come away with some goodwill toward it. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for Astro Warrior, but I’ll touch on that shortly. So, without further ado, let’s get to it.

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Thunder Blade Review Rewind

Blue Thunder

There comes a time in every reviewer's life when they have to push themselves to review a game.  It's not because the game is so near and dear to their heart that they find it difficult to be objective and honest. Nor is it because the game turned out to be unexpectedly challenging and keeps the reviewer on their toes. On the contrary, some games can be cringe-inducing because you can barely make it past stage one and they just aren’t very fun. Thunder Blade was such a game for me. I held off for months from reviewing this in part because it was so frustratingly difficult that I had to just walk away from it for weeks at a time. When I finally made it to stage two, my will was already broken.

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R-Type Review Rewind

In space, no one can hear you flicker.

When R-Type showed up on the arcade scene in 1987, it was a force to be reckoned with. Thanks to its razor-sharp graphics and techno-organic alien atmosphere, the game quickly became considered to be one of the best shoot 'em ups (SHMUPs) of its time, rivaling the popularity of the Gradius series. With this arcade gem's success, it was only logical that it should be ported to every major home console, right? In theory, yes, but in reality, it saw a release on only two video game systems compared to being ported to at least eight personal computer systems at the time. Of the scarce home console releases, the Sega Master System saw a port of R-Type in 1988. Although faithful to the arcade version in terms of content, the game takes a nosedive when the action gets heavy.

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