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Silpheed Review Rewind

Feel the need for Silpheed.

When Game Arts released Silpheed on the Sega CD in 1993, the game was frequently compared to Star Fox; the latter usually winning over critics more than the former. Being released within 6 months of Star Fox and featuring a similar visual theme of polygon graphics, Silpheed was sometimes written off as a mere knock-off of Nintendo’s successful three-dimensional shooter. A somewhat misguided conclusion considering that Silpheed was originally released on the PC platform in 1986, pre-dating Star Fox by seven years.  It was also criticized for being too simplistic with its 2D shooter mechanics against the pseudo 3D background. But a deeper look into the gameplay of Silpheed (and some honest hindsight) reveals a game that stands on its own and delivers a fairly unique experience rarely had in home console gaming at that time.

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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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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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Captain America and the Avengers Review Rewind

Some assembly required

As a small fledgling in the first grade, I liked comic books superheroes, but I wasn’t nearly as familiar with them as I am now.  Sure, I knew about guys like Superman, Batman, and Spider-Man.  But for the most part, I had only a limited understanding of the world of comics and heroes within them. One fateful day in 1991, I walked into an arcade at the local mall and I saw a bright new Captain America and The Avengers cabinet.  Immediately, my interest was piqued.  So I quickly pulled out two quarters and so began my formal education of Marvel superheroes. The game was later ported to a number of home consoles, including the Sega Genesis.  Now Marvel enthusiasts everywhere could enjoy having The Avengers assemble on their television screen.

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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 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 had already been broken.

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Thunder Force III Review Rewind

Lightning strikes thrice.

A while back when I officially started collecting retro consoles and games, I swore that I’d never become one of those elitists in the gaming community who always makes a big deal about his vast, all-encompassing knowledge of video games; at least not in public. However, in my own mind, I was the master of all things retro.  Well, that all came to a screeching halt in recent years thanks to Wikipedia when I discovered that, aside from owning the fifth game in the series, I knew next to nothing about the Thunder Force saga.  As I learned of its existence on Sega's 16-bit console, it became painfully clear that I had barely gotten my toes wet with Technosoft’s  bread and butter.  How I missed it back in the day, I will never know.  But after playing Thunder Force III, I soon realized that there was a whole ocean I was missing out on: the Genesis was the system for shoot-‘em-ups.

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3D Sonic the Hedgehog Review

The most ‘90s gaming character out there, now in futuristic 3D.

It’s fascinating to go back to the original Sonic the Hedgehog after so many years and so many new entries in the series. These days, everyone wants to convince you that Sonic is a game all about speed. Without it, it’s simply not the same – not like the original titles on the Genesis. What the original game has reminded me of is that Sonic is a platformer first and foremost and a game about speed second. Very rarely does Sonic hit breakneck speeds in his debut; more often than not he’s taking calculated jumps in a sidescroller that’s merely more mobile than the one that features his Italian plumber counterpart.

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Sonic Boom Announced for 3DS and Wii U

Western studios Big Red Button and Sanzaru Games will tackle the Japanese mascot for Nintendo's consoles.

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3D Galaxy Force II Review

A Star Fox clone this is not.

Looks can be deceiving, particularly in the case of 3D Galaxy Force II. After watching a bit of footage of the game, I thought I was in for a fantastic Star Fox-like experience, piloting through space, taking down enemies and battling epic bosses at the conclusion of each level. While these are things you’ll do throughout the game, it never exhibits the finesse of the Star Fox series and the imprecise controls ensure that most players aren’t going to get much out of this particular 3D Classic.

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Thunder Force II Review Rewind

Thunder rumbles on the Genesis.

If there was one thing that Techno Soft did very well in the 16-bits days, it was shoot ‘em ups.  It all started when they created Thunder Force in 1984. It was released on the NEC PC-8801 and several other Japanese home computers at the time, but never saw the light of day in the US.  The game featured an overhead free-roaming viewpoint and the goal was to destroy the enemy’s shield generators, using your main shot for air targets and the bomb shot for ground targets in each stage. While it’s tough to gauge the game’s popularity from back then, it apparently did well enough to warrant a sequel.  So Thunder Force II was released four years later for the Sega Genesis in 1989, making it the very first shoot ‘em up on the system.

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