Time for our regular quick-fire reviews and impressions of what’s been on the go this week, old and new and a bit of both…
Elden Ring has just about totally consumed me! Notebooks full of stuff to do, drawing maps, studying how to level stuff up, working out how to use a hundred different upgrade item types… even had a good time playing it too! I realise this is everywhere and you’re probably playing it already if you’ve any interest, so just a quick update that about 25 hours in it’s remarkable, it’s becoming slightly less bewildering, and I’ve finally beaten the first big boss. After he literally beat me. Over and over and over!
I had a moment while playing lots more Mushihimesama on Switch this week when I realised I was actually making this bullet-hell nonsense look vaguely like I’d seen the bigger boys doing on YouTube! Progress indeed, albeit a bit inconsistent, and I even went mad and recorded a few seconds of video so I could marvel at the small steps I’ve been taking to not be quite as rubbish at schmups as I’ve been for over four decades now! I’ve had such a great time learning this one, and the number of credits needed to get to the end is slowly reducing too!
There are a few shooters I’m actually alright at already though, and M.U.S.H.A. on the Mega Drive is one of those. Never finished it, but I can still make decent inroads through some of my all-time favourite bosses – especially the pagoda that’s also a tank with a golden skull on the top (also at the top here)! So many great moments, from exhilarating screens full of frantic danger that have you right on the edge of control to some really creative graphical effects, like when the generic sci-fi tiling beneath you drops away piece by piece to reveal a lava-filled cavern below. And that title screen has some of the best music ever to come out of the system!
Also on the Mega Drive, I spent a bit of time playing Super Hang-On, which is a version I’ve never played much of, but it’s a very good one! Apart from what seems to be a bit less going on, this is close to the arcade game and that music really pops here! Moves fast, feels good and still has its visual moments all these years on, but I reckon it might just be a bit harder than the original… And definitely more so than the Atari ST version that I’m most familiar with. It’s a classic regardless though.
That’s about it for this week, so coming up at Retro Arcadia next week we’ve got another motorbiking arcade game, albeit from a different viewpoint, and that’s Toaplan’s wonderful top-down racer Rally Bike. See you then!