Slight tweak to the formula, but still our regular quick-fire reviews and impressions of what’s been on the go at Retro Arcadia this week, old and new and a bit of both…

Still dabbling with everything that’s pre-installed on The Amiga A500 Mini, as well as everything that isn’t! Vertical steampunk shoot ‘em up Banshee is still the pick of the latter bunch – just so glad to be playing it properly after missing out for all these years! And the same is true of Battle Chess, which first I didn’t buy because I couldn’t play chess, then when I could and eventually got it for the Atari ST, it turned out to be for the 1040 model rather than my 520 – what you get for not reading the box! Anyway, this one is included out of the box and it’s what I always dreamed it would be, which is an animated game of chess, but I’ve enjoyed a good few games of that too! Apart from that, just enjoying playing a bit of a lot of Amiga games on there for the time being, but will try and settle on something to report back on next time.

While I was watching some bigger boys playing this month’s bullet-hell of choice, Espgaluda II, I got into researching the ridiculously complex scoring mechanics offered by the ridiculous number of console game modes in the Nintendo Switch (originally Xbox 360) release. And from there I’ve spent most of the week playing its Black Label mode, effectively adding chaining for score and a shield meter, which absorbs a bit of contact from a bullet and gives you a chance to take evasive action. That puts it somewhere between standard novice mode (although it also has its own which I did clear in one credit) and the insanity you meet a few levels in to the original arcade mode, but more than just an additional learning (or scoring) experience, I really love the more forgiving chaos it delivers, and the thrills keep coming the more you play!

When I reviewed Gremlin Collection 1 on Evercade VS recently, Actua Soccer was one of my personal highlights, especially once my fingers remembered the workouts it used to give them when it first arrived on the original PlayStation! Like many of its contemporaries, graphically its once-groundbreaking primitive 3D might now be a challenge to some eyes, and I can guarantee its insane camera angle switching will be to all, but it’s easy to stop it looking like a mid-nineties techno video and stick to one you like, revealing a really fun old-school footie game. Everything’s on a couple of buttons, and while some of the AI can be a bit wild, you’ll be scoring some stunners and scrambling around like a mad thing in front of your own goal in no time!

I can see Elden Ring becoming a big open world I can dip in and out of rather than having any compulsion to torture myself through its ever more dangerous campaign of sorts. At least until I’ve explored everything to the extent I have the first third or so of the world, and then by default am so overpowered that my patience isn’t being tested by a series of boss fights that are increasingly becoming secondary to my enjoyment. And after about fifty hours I am still really enjoying it!

I did fancy a bit of a break from Elden Ring all the same, and when that happens it usually involves Resident Evil 4 or a visit to Silent Hill! I went with the latter this time, and for the convenience of playing on the big TV in the living room went for a relative speed-run of Silent Hill 3 on the Xbox HD Collection. I’m mostly playing on autopilot now, but much like Elden Ring, the main attraction is spending some time there, rather than any great attachment to its convoluted story and clunky gameplay! And it’s always especially nice to spend some time in the rollercoaster operator’s hut in the Lakeside Amusement Park – my happy place!

Finally this week, the wonderful ZOSYA entertainment have only gone and released a ZX Spectrum racing game from out of nowhere! It’s not the second volume teased by their last one either, the absolutely staggering Travel Through Time Vol. 1: Northern Lights, but a new one by the name of Rubinho Cucaracha. And that’s the name of your driver, who’s competing for some kind of vehicle combat European championship all over the continent. It’s a bit Road Rash meets Chase HQ with old-fashioned racing cars, and while it lacks some of the polish of Northern Lights, its racing feels even better! Another really special game from the undisputed new masters of the machine!

That will do us for this week’s spotlight, but just time for a preview of what’s coming next week, when I don’t think we’ve got any more reviews to come, so normal service resumes with a deep dive into the Atari 7800 for a change, and Desert Falcon. See you then!