Chrontendo Episode 34 is now out! Head on over to archive.org and download or stream it!
This post is going to be short. Why? Well, I sliced off a bit of my thumb, making it difficult to type. Let's get right down to brass tacks, shall we?
Besides 15 games, there is a mini-history of Atari/Tengen. Or rather, sort of a corporate history of Atari, Atari Corp, Atari Games, Tengen and so on. Since we have our first Tengen game this episode, I felt it best to clarify the backstory behind the two companies calling themselves "Atari" in 1988.
This episodes MVP:
Nintendo's entry into the military simulation genre easily outclasses similar games from Bandai, Irem, Soft Pro and rest. I've already mentioned how great Famicom Wars is; the franchise would only get better in later games, such as Advance Wars.
Also, now that we've covered Famicom Wars, it means the next game scheduled from Nintendo is none other than the Greatest NES Game Of All Time! I can hardly wait!
Other good games this episode:
Notable as the game Mega Man's staff was forced to work on in exchange for Capcom green-lighting Mega Man 2. It's a pretty decent shoot-em-up in its own right - it features a bit more variety than 1943, but is not nearly as creative as R-Type or Salamander/Life Force. It also suffers from an incredibly anti-climatic final boss.
Eggerland: Meikyuu no Fukkatsu
The third game in HAL's Sokoban-like puzzle game, and the first to be release in cartridge format. While some sources conflate this release with The Adventures of Lolo, they are actually two separate games.
Moero!! Pro Yakyuu '88/Bases Loaded II
OK, this is not really a fantastic game, but compared to all the horrible baseball games I've been wading through recently, it's a breath of fresh air. At the least the CPU's batters will not get a great hit out of every single pitch you throw at them.
The bad games:
Soccer League: Winners Cup
So instead of a lame baseball game this episode, we have a lame soccer game. This Data East release doesn't even assign a function to the B button, that's how no-frills it is.
Sort of a pointless tank combat game, notable for only one thing: its rather surprising profanity laced loading screen. Other than that it's a not-very-good take on Namco's Battle City.
Big Challenge! Judo Senshuken
Alright, I couldn't exactly figure out how to play Judo Senshuken. It's a one-on-one Judo game, and looks like it might behave similarly to a Sumo wrestling game. Yet after several failed attempts to produce any sort of noticeable onscreen action by pressing the buttons and dpad, I gave up on this one. Still, just looking at it, I can't believe this game is any good at all.
The majority of games in episode 34, aren't quite "bad" yet aren't quite special enough to be considered "good." Still, there are some interesting games here.
One of the three debut games from Tengen - the other two being US releases of existing Namco games - Gauntlet is a port of Atari's 1985 arcade mega-hit. Missing, however, is the 4-player co-op and the many, many speech samples. The resultant game is ugly and not very exciting, though it served its purpose of giving kids a taste of the Gauntlet experience at home.
Dragon Ball: Daimaou Fukkatsu
After the horrible first Dragon Ball game, Bandai and Tose attempt to redeem themselves with this sequel: a card-based, board game/RPG thingy. It certainly has more aesthetic appeal than the first one, but is still likely to be pretty boring to anyone who's not a huge Dragon Ball fan. (I'll let you in on secret: I am not a huge Dragon Ball fan.)
Mitokoumon II: Sekai Manyuuki
From Sunsoft, this wacky sequel to the 1987 action-adventure game sends the TV show's characters on an around-the-world trip to fight crimes in the wild west, Hawaii, Italy, and so on. Just like the first Mitokoumon game, there's lots of horrible sounding (but technically impressive!), garbled synthesized speech.
Yet another TV show tie-in game, this one features a Kinnikuman character who received his own spinoff anime series and movie. This Human-developed title looks like a Japanese take on King's Quest with a bit of one-on-one fighting thrown in. Tatake!! Ramenman is not the typical Famicom action-adventure game, but is too slow and boring to be of too much interest.
Asteka II: Taiyou No Shinden/Tombs and Treasures
Seeing the names Nihon Falcom and Compile in the credits might get you excited for a moment, but this port of a 1987 Japanese computer game just isn't that hot. HG101 has already gone into sufficient detail about its shortcomings.
The Money Game
The second wealth accumulation/stock market simulator game for the Famicom! It looks a little rough around the edges, but its sequel was considered good enough to get a US release under the name Wall Street Kid.
A super-simple action RPG from Pack-in-Video. It's not bad - it simply lacks anything special to distinguish it from the many other Famicom RPGs of the era. An English fan translation exists.
A unremarkable port of Namco's arcade F1 racing game. The original was noted for its impressive (by 1987 standards) 3D graphics. The Famicom port obviously takes a huge hit in this area, and doesn't bother to add anything interesting in its place.
There we have it. Enjoy! Incidentally, I was trying to pratice a certain amount of discipline in recording this episode and make it a little shorter than average. The final product is around 60 minutes, so this didn't quite pan out.
As always, check it out on Archive.org.