Your eyes do not deceive you. There is, in fact, a new episode of Chrontendo available for your viewing pleasure. If it's any consolation, this episode is absurdly long. Longer than Chronsega 8. A little over an hour and 50 minutes. This is mostly due to the 1989 arcade roundup, which is a good 50 minutes or so by itself.
The exciting news is that Youtube is now supporting 60 FPS videos in the 720p and 1080p formats. At the moment, this option is only available in Chrome, and, apparently the Nightly version of Firefox. If you click on the gear to choose your desired resolution and see a "60FPS" next to 720p, then you know your browser supports it. Episode 48 may be found on Youtube here.
A downloadable 60 FPS version will be available on Archive.org in the near future.
1989 was a banner year for coin-op games. It was the year beat-em-ups took over arcades. We'd already had Double Dragon, a massive hit a couple years prior. But '89 saw the release of Golden Axe, TMNT, Final Fight, and so on. It wouldn't be long before Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat created a fighting game mania that swept beat-em-ups into the dustbin of history, but for 2-3 glorious years beat-em-ups were the kings of the arcade.
|The glory days of beat-em-ups
Aside from beat-em-ups, we have a number of interesting shoot-em-ups, most notably Zero Wing and XMultiply. Also, puzzle games, such as Klax, Atari's polygonal 3D sci-fi racer, Stun Runner, Capcom's peerless action game, Strider, and many others.
As for the Famicom/NES, the results are a little less promising. Episode 48 covers the tail end of August 1989 and most of September. There were a lot of US only games in September, so we cover half this time and will pick up the rest in Episode 49. At this time, there were really no US companies developig NES games, so instead we get treated with stuff from the UK (Rare and Zippo) and Australia (Beam Software.)
In terms of notable games, we mostly have two Japanese-developed ports of successful US computer games: Kemco's Uninvited and Pony Canyon's Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar. Uninvited the third and final of the three Icom Simulation games released for the system. LIke Shadowgate, it is noted for its colorful, unfair, and frequent deaths.
Ultima IV: Quest for the Avatar was once a serious contender for "greatest RPG ever made." Today it feels like one of the better old school RPGS: better than Wizardry but still sort of tedious. The gimmick here is that instead of just killing everyone, you need to morally improve your character. This is mostly done by killing lots of monsters, but also by giving gold coins to beggars you meet in town. Pony Canyon's port gives it a Dragon Quest inspired makeover.
On the flip side of the coin, we have a few US-only pieces of crap. Hi-Tech's Hollywood Squares (developed by Rare) and LJN's Sesame Street ABC (from Rare associates Zippo Games.) Both are quickly knocked off pieces of crap that are best ignored, though Sesame Street is actually a little brazen in just how little content it gives you: a mere two minigames.
To reach the deepest depths of horrible game design we must turn to Beam's Bad Street Brawler. A port of a computer game released under several names, including (the Lou Reed inspired?) Street Hassle, BSB is game design at it's laziest. A tediously repetitive single-plane beat-em-up, BSB almost cruises by just on it's weirdness. Aside from the fact that the protagonist looks completely different in-game than he does on the title screen and the between-level illustrations, BSB has trench coat clad flashers giving you powerups, and gorillas attacking you with bananas. Character designs have been radically altered from the computer version; what was originally a little old lady throwing a purse at you is now a very short circus strongman throwing dumbbells at you. Unfortunately, all this wackiness can't distract from the sheer monotony and frustration of the game.
Japanese game design at its wackiest. Another game in Coconut's Pachio-kun series, American Dream dispenses with pachinko entirely and instead gives you an pseudo-RPG where you conquer New York by playing slot machines. (gambling tip: slot machines are for old ladies and scrubs. Don't play slots.) American Dream finds itself in the unfortunate category of games that are both apeshit crazy and boring as hell. Hardcore Gaming 101 covered this one a few years ago.
Gekitou Pro Wrestling!!/Tecmo Wrestling
Tecmo had some very popular sports series, such as Tecmo Bowl, but their wrestling game never took off. Its most notable feature is the announcer doing nonstop commentary.
Marusa no Onna
A high quality Capcom adventure game, based on the popular Juzo Itami movie, A Taxing Woman. Capcom would release another Itami related game later in 1989.
Also a high quality adventure game, developed by Natsume. This is another game based on the novel Nansō Satomi Hakkenden, though the samurai of the novels have been replaced with young singing 'idols.'
This the third time we've encountered this Chinese themed shoot-em-up. It's still not very good.
Jordan Vs Bird: One on One
Milton Bradley hired Rare to port the EA computer game to the NES. Inferior sequel to the much loved One On One, with Micheal Jordan swapped in for Dr J.
Ochin ni Toshi Puzzle Tonjan!?
Oddball puzzle game mixing Sokoban, mahjong tiles and pigs.
Racer Mini Yonku: Japan Cup
Not even a real racing game. Konami and Tamiya bring you this game about racing little electric toy cars.
Tanigawa Koji no Shogi Shinan III
The final game we'll see to bear the name of the famed shogi master Tanigawa Koji.
Next up: I'll be unveiling a couple miscellaneous vids, unrelated to gaming. Then it's onto the new Chronsega.