After much blood, sweat, tears, screaming, crying and general unpleasantness, Chronturbo Episode 3 is finally here. This is the first "new look" episode in the Chrontendo family: the first step in an overall makeover for the series. Any changes will be (at least initially) limited to superficial things. Eventually, we see some updates to Chrontendo and Chronsega, as well.
As always, the connoisseur may download impeccable 60 frames/second h.264 versions on Archive.org, or stream the 30 frames/second version on Youtube. Naturally, various flicker effects are lost in the 30 fps version.
So what's changed in Chronturbo Episode 3? There are new opening and closing sequences, for one. The little introductory sequences for each game are also redone, though they remain relatively unchanged. I've added new graphics when a caption appears onscreen. Also, there is the aforementioned auto-ducking. Well, it's not literally auto-ducking, but I am adjusting the game sounds to be louder when I'm not talking, so the music can be better heard. A number of games this episode have some pretty decent music, so its best that we should be able to hear it.
Chronturbo 3 is the first "full" episode of Chronturbo, with 16 games released from January through March 1989. As I mentioned earlier, the pace of releases for the PC Engine starts to pick up dramatically in 1989. Furthermore, NEC was able to do what Sega could not with its Master System: induce third party publishers to release game for the system. This episode features a mere four games from console creators NEC and Hudson. The rest are from outside companies, include seven publishers releasing their first game for the console: Irem, Data East, Sunsoft, Pack-in-Video, Face, Aicom, and Taito.
Still, the two best games end up being from Hudson.
|This raises interesting questions about the food supply in underground dungeons.|
It's a cool hack and slash game, and feels like a distant ancestor to Diablo. The music, in particular, stands out as catchy and memorable. DE is probably the first really good game from Atlus to be released in the West. What a shame that the US version had such amateurish looking cover art.
|Why, NEC? Why!?!?|
By early 1989, military tactics games were quite common on the Famicom. We've already seen one such game, Gaia no Monshou, in Chronturbo Episode 2. Much better is Hudson's take on the genre, Nectaris/Military Madness. It closely resembles Daisenryaku and Famicom Wars in its conception. On top of the basic "move your units around kill stuff" gameplay, Hudson threw in a plot about a radical group on the moon threatening to nuke Earth, as well as an in-game manual.
|Why did I feel a sudden twinge of solitary sadness creep over me?|
Other Good Games:
|It's not great, but it's miles better than Tiger Heli.|
|Hanii takes a bit of inspiration from R-Type here.|
|We have a lot of aggressive tigers this episode.|
The first Capcom-developed game on the PC Engine, SonSon II is a cute little action platformer in the Wonder Boy in Monster Land mode. I've already discussed it in some detail.
Space Adventure Cobra: Kokuryuuou no Densetsu
|The most modestly clad woman in the whole game.|
|This screen shot depicts the mental image most people got when they thought of NYC back in the '80s.|
The Bad Games:
|The cars in F-1 Pilot feature hilariously over-sized side mirrors.|
Only five games from Chronturbo 3 were given US releases. Due to what must have been a serious clerical error, one of those games ended up being Deep Blue. I'm sure this game has its defenders due to its unusual play mechanics. It plays unlike most other games in the genre. Deep Blue overwhelms you with enemies but gives you a rechargeable health bar. In theory this sounds very intriguing, but actual game is so boring and repetitive that it approaches kusoge levels of badness.
Ganbare! Golf Boys
|The main advantage PC Engine golf games have over Famicom golf games is the extra shades of green.|
The first PC Engine golf game is a bit better than Ganbare! Golf Boys. It also happens to be the system debut from Data East. There's nothing here we haven't already seen on countless Famicom golf games, but at least the music is pretty nice.
Shiryou Sensen/War of the Dead
|Another game where the cover art makes it look 1000% cooler than it really is.|
|Before you judge, please remember that graphics aren't everything.|
|The entire game looks exactly like this screen shot.|
Kaizou Chounin Shubibinman
|Hey kid! Behind you!|
P-47: The Freedom Fighter
A port of a Jaleco arcade game, released by Pack-in-Video on the PC Engine. P-47 is about the most uninspired, generic shoot-em-up you could imagine.
What's next on the schedule? Let's see... oh, yes! It's Chrontendo 45. And then, we will probably move on to Chronsega 8, which will see some major changes to that series.
Until then, don't forget to check out Chronturbo 3 at Archive or Youtube!
Awwwwww hell yeah. This is how you should start a week.
I don't think I would've taken you for a Woods fan, Dr. S
Thank you. I don't say it enough, Dr. Sparkle, but then you very much for your dedicated efforts. Superb coverage.
You should get on Twitter, so we can properly @ you when we talk about how awesome you are.
I would just like to chime in with the chorus of my fellow sycophants and say that you, Dr. Sparkle, are a demigod of badassery. And a very skilled blogger to boot. Don't ever leave this plane of existence until you've completed your sacred task on earth.
I am looking forward to a new Chron series. However, this will likely leave you numb after a proper episode, so take it on your own risk. How about ChronTOSE?
Also, will Chrontendo finish as soon as you hit Sunday Funday, the last release for the NES? Or will you continue with some homebrew games that have been released and published, such as Battle Kid or Nomolos: Storming the Catsle? That isn't a typo, that's the name of the game.
Be wary of the world of Homebrew games, as a good number of them could be mistaken for either Kuso-ge, that is, Japanese for "shitty game".
Suffering from a sinus infection, and this completely turned around my mood. Awesome!!!!!
I'm very happy to see another chapter on perhaps the most interesting 8/16 console ever :). I am catching up with chrontendo, but in this one I can comment on "real time".
When reviewinv Hanii you mention that turbo controllers were available on its release date, the truth is that the standard controllers had turbo capabilities from the start, with off/turbo when pressed/full turbo positions on the two action buttons.
I enjoyed very much the Cobra segment, last year I played both Cobras on original hardware and they are very fun and have superb atmosphere, at the ending of the first one you have a "dialogue maze" in which you fight the mental control of the big bad, this makes the game unwinnable if you do the "try everything in turn" method.
Great work as always doctor. I must admit the sound track snippet you went with for the new Chronturbo intro could not have been more appropriate.
Speaking of dungeon crawlers, let alone first person ones. I know these were a very popular genre that still, regrettably, exert their influence on RPG's today. Yet, whenever I see one I have to wonder where the appeal lies.
Think about it. Going through square grid mazes and fighting monsters though a static menu like interface is like the most unimaginative person in the world's take on creating an electronic conversion of a board game.
No need to take advantage of the possibilities or powers of the computerized medium, no, nevermind gameplay mechanics, level design or all that. Just a straight faced conversion of paper mazes and still pictures of monsters which you fight using menu commands that might as well read "throw dice".
No wonder the average RPG design card today still reads F- when you look at how wrong a foot the entire genre started off on.
The 60 fps h.264 version's sound is out of sync again when watching via QuickTime, it's fine with eg. VLC.
Oh, and pilot really is an alternative term for F1 drivers.
I don't know why anyone would think I'm not a Woods fan. All I do every day is hang out in the forest and get high and stroke my beard contemplatively. It's the perfect soundtrack.
ChronTOSE? That's basically what Chrontendo already is! GDRI lists around 120 or so games for the Famicom/FDS. And that's just the ones we know about. They are far and away the predominant force on the Famicom. While homebrew games are interesting, I think covering those would expand the scope of the Chron- series further than I would like.
If I said that turbo controllers came out the same time as Hanii, I must have muddled what I was trying to say. That wasn't what I thinking. Whoops.
Leon - obrigado. (That's about the only word I know in Portuguese.)
Awesome, more Chrontendo/Turbo/Sega/.
I discovered this series about 3 months back and have since worked my way through every edition (I think, maybe just most of them)
This is my favourite ongoing internet thing right now.
By the way, the cover art for Dungeon Explorer might not have done much to sell the game to its target audience of north american toddlers. But upon closer inspection it might be considered quite artistic by art connoisseurs.
It certainly would not look out of place as a cubist piece adorning corporate walls nestled amid other divisive works such as a flat coloured balls and random lines.
Kamiboy - That's a very generous assessment of the Dungeon Explorer box art. I'll admit that it does have an Art Brut/Naive/Grandma Moses sort of vibe to it. Or maybe it was someone trying, and failing badly, to give it a comic book cover? Either way, I despise the DE box art. I wish I knew what the story was behind choosing that illustration.
Mr. Sparkle, like I said in your previous blog post, please, PLEASE consider saying this.
When a game by TOSE, ISCO, Micronics, or anyone else who qualifies to be called a "Japanese Contract Developer™" pops up in hopefully Chrontendo, it'd be fucking amusing to hear you speak out "If you have kuso-ge problems, I feel bad for you son. I have 99 problems, but a Japanese Contract Developer™ isn't one". A reference to the popular 99 Problems rap song, but I imagine you saying "isn't one" as opposed to "ain't one".
Good doctor, some of the stuff hanging on the walls of my place of work make that Dungeon Explorer cover look like a masterpiece. What it is it about corporations and terrible art? It is hard to imagine anyone paying for such garbage.
Anywaste, if you are interested in knowing a bit more of the behind the scene workings at the North American side of NEC which contributed to the system being stuck in limbo you should listen to the two Victor Ireland segments of the podcasts linked below.
omg that game is epic, here is another epic retro game Helicopter Game
wanna toast some undead butts? Zombie Games Like SAS Zombie Assault
The Scary Maze Game at scary-mazegame.net
Dude.. I am not much into reading, but somehow I got to read lots of articles on your blog. Its amazing how interesting it is for me to visit you very often. -
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