Hello folks. Things have been going a little slowly over here at Chrontendo HQ. I've been subjected to a seemingly endless series of Christmas parties and events, delaying the new episode considerably. But the wait has finally ended and Chrontendo Episode 42 is now available. You probably know what to do by now. For the dazzling 60 frames per second version, head over to Archive.org
, and for the slightly grody-er streaming version, check out Youtube
You might be relieved to know the delays have not been Skyrim
-related (at least not yet.) I have just started Arkham Asylum
recently -- and yes, that's Asylum
, not Arkham City
. I prefer to pay $17 for a video game over paying $60. Thus, I sometimes wait on new games. It's a cool little game, but... DAMN, is that voice work on Harley Quinn annoying! Not being familiar with the Batman cartoons, I don't know anything about the character. Is she really supposed to have this ridiculous Brooklyn accent? I half expected her to shout, "Cheese it! It's da coppers!" when Batman shows up.
In other news, Greg Sewart has finally launched his Genesis chronogaming video series, Generation 16
. It appears the episodes will be a bit shorter than Chrontendo, and also a bit more professional looking; which is to be expected from a legitimate games journalist like Greg.
About Chrontendo 42: it consists of February 1989 in its entirety, 17 games all told. Namely, Tecmo Bowl
bunch of crap
fine selection of games which are very interesting from a historical perspective.
One significant fact about Tecmo Bowl
is that it was Tecmo's first game aimed squarely at the US market. It debuted in the US in February and didn't receive its belated Japanese release until a year and a half later. While Tecmo Bowl
was not the first football game we've seen for the system, it is certainly the best, and one of the most enjoyable NES sports games. It is the polar opposite of EA's 1988 computer game Madden Football
. Tecmo Bowl
's simplicity and intuitive controls are its major strengths.
What else is good in Episode 42? Well...
.... there's always Namco's Wagyan Land
Upon starting up Wagyan Land
, you'll be most struck by its visual style. Bold, flat colors, simple geometric shapes -- there are very few Famicom games that look like Wagyan Land. I just wish the game itself were better. The main culprit is the boss battles.* Remember how Alex Kidd
had rock/paper/scissors boss battles? Wagyan Land
takes that one step further and gives you word game
boss battles. Yes, you need to defeat each boss in either a memory game or a word chain game.
Not quite as flawed, but less ambitious is the Konami/Ultra Games NES port of the 1982 arcade game Q*bert
. Konami (or whoever ported this for them) were able to produce a reasonably good Q*bert
facsimile. The colors are not as bright, and the controls are not as responsive, but it's still heaps better than the crappy ports for the Atari 5200, Commodore 64 and the like.
While not in the same league as Tecmo Bowl
, Konami's Ganbare Pennant Race!
is a decent and slightly unusual baseball game. You read that right, Ganbare
, as in Goemon. One month after Ganbare Goemon 2
, Konami stuck him in a baseball game.
What else is there in this episode? How about:
Friday the 13th
Another one of those games hated by the internet game critics crowd, this LJN release is not as bad as you would expect. At this time LJN's games were being handled by Atlus, who was then contracting out some of the development work. Its not clear who
was actually responsible for developing Friday the 13th
, but it does bear a noticeable structural similarity to LJN's Jaws
. Both games take place in a relatively small game world, in which you may wander around freely. The objective is simply to defeat Jaws/Jason in battle. This is done by moving around the map, killing low-level enemies, collecting items and building up strength. Jaws/Jason also moves around randomly on the world map, and you will encounter them from time to time, but you can't truly defeat them until the last stage of the game. Both games are pretty non-linear and sort of resemble a much shorter and more simplified RPG. Also, they both suffer from "what the hell am I suppose to be doing in this game?" syndrome. They don't really resemble any other game in the NES library other than themselves. Friday the 13th
is not a very good game - it's terribly repetitive- but it is not nearly as awful as you have been lead to believe.
/Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle
The first entry in the horribly confusing Crazy Castle
series, which made the jump to the FDS to handhelds with the second game. Remember Kemco's Donald Duck
, which was called Snoopy's Silly Sports Spectacular
in the US? The same thing happened with this game. Kemco released it as a Disney-related title in Japan, and as a Bugs Bunny game in the US. Later entries managed to add to the confusion by throwing in Garfield, the Ghostbusters and Wood Woodpecker.
Famicom Jump Eiyuu Retsuden
Bandai and Tose combined forces with the manga periodical Weekly Shōnen Jump
to create this game, which tosses in tons of manga characters into a middling action RPG. Characters from Fist of North Star
, Dragon Ball
, Saint Seiya
, City Hunter
and many others make appearances. Famicom Jump
stands, along with Konami's Wai Wai World,
as one of the first fan service video games.
Tom Sawyer no Bouken
/Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Ye cats! Someone made a Tom Sawyer video game? Not unexpectedly, Seta chose not to adapt the novel, but instead used a dream sequence set-up in order to inject Tom into a standard sidescrolling platformer. The terrible graphics, music and level design sink Tom Sawyer
to the level of kusoge
Oh, and for those of you who notice that I occasionally add in-game appropriate music during the game's intro segment -- no, I did not use Rush's "Tom Sawyer" for this game. Because "Tom Sawyer" is a terrible, terrible song, Geddy Lee's charmingly dated synth drones notwithstanding. Does anyone have any idea
what that song is supposed to be about? "Today's Tom Sawyer/He gets high on you/And the energy you trade/He gets right on to the friction of the day." Does this mean anything at all? What exactly is the "friction of the day" and how does one "get right on" it? Did Rush write this song by stringing together a bunch of random five word phrases? (Probably, yes).
Oh wait, never mind. This is a Rush song, so it's probably some Ayn Randian nonsense about how society oppresses the Übermensch.
Can you believe it? More Japanese adventure games!
Yamamura Misa Suspense: Kyouto Hana no Misshitsu Satsujin Jiken
More cherry blossom intensive murder mystery excitement from Taito and Tose. This is the second game in the series, and improves upon its predecessor by adding in a dynamic action bar. That is, instead of always showing the same actions (talk, move, etc) the action bar is context sensitive. Only the useful icons will appear at any given time. Progress, I guess.
Yet another game based on yet another historical Chinese conflict. This time, we have an adventure game, taken from some manga you've probably never heard of.
The orignal Hydlide
is one of the most widely derided games on the NES. Hydlide 3
could be considered a bit of an improvement, since it offers such things as character classes, towns, shops, NPCs, and so on. Later in 1989, it was released for the Mega Drive/Genesis as Super Hydlide
. I've always felt Hydlide
had a worse reputation that it deserved. The original computer Hydlide
was one of the very first JRPGs, so it can be forgiven for a being a bit primitive. The US release was severely delayed, however. In fact, it came out only a few months before the US version of Super Hydlide
. By mid-1989, it must have seemed incredibly archaic.
And in case you're wondering, Hydlide 2
never had a console port.
An ugly, supernatural themed RPG.
Wizardry II: Llylgamyn no Densetsu
It's called Wizardry II
, but this is really a port of Wizardry III
. This version is not as soul-destroying as the original US computer Wizardry III
, but its still not exactly a lot of fun to play. Unless you like spending hours wandering down many, many identical corridors inside maze-like dungeons, fighting lengthy turn based battles every four steps.
Bandai Golf Challenge Pebble Beach
Yet another generic golf game. This one distinguishes itself by being a US only release. Developed by Tose.
Tama & Friends - 3 Choume Dai Bouken
A simple sidescroller based on a cute kitty cat. Later, there was also a Tama & Friends anime.
The pack-in game for the Hyper Shot, a machine gun shaped light gun from Bandai. The gun is cool looking, but the game is incredibly boring. It simply involves shooting aliens, one at a time, with each alien taking about 20 shots to go down.
Here's an odd one. Developed by Aicom (Amagon
, Legendary Axe
), Flying Hero
is an inferior looking remake of the earlier Sega Master System game Megumi Rescue
. We saw Megumi Rescue
in Chronsega 6, but if your memory fails you - it was an Arkanoid
style game in which you rescue people trapped in a burning building.
OK, that covers it. With any luck, Episode 42 will cram in all of March, so it'll be a bit longer than normal.
And to soothe any hard feelings for you Rush fans out there, I'll leave you with some video footage of a prog-rock drummer is actually very creative and interesing. Perhaps you can eventually wean yourself from the empty showiness of Neil Peart.
Until next time, don't forget to check out Chrontendo 42 on Archive
*To all you would-be grammar Nazis: it's called synesis
. Look it up.