Time for our regular quick-fire reviews and impressions of what’s been under the spotlight at Retro Arcadia this week, old and new and a bit of both…
A ten hour trial of the new F1 2022 came to Xbox Game Pass last week, and of course it was incredibly slick and polished and pretty fun too, but I can do without all of the F1 lifestyle rubbish getting in the way of the races, and honestly I’d rather be playing F1 Racing Championship on PS2, which isn’t stuffed to the gills with fuss. I’m grateful for the chance to try it though, and as an F1 fan I found the race day experience to be incredibly realistic, and it’s all as deep and authentic as you want it if that’s your thing. It’s just not really mine.
Okay, regular viewers will be pleased to hear that I’ve finally (marginally) expanded my gothic horror fighter horizons and taken my Morrigan to Night Warriors: Darkstalkers Revenge on the Capcom Fighting Collection on Nintendo Switch! This one’s the second in the series, adding an optional but welcome auto-block, chain combos and new stackable Super Moves which offer a new layer of strategy about how and when to use them. There’s also two new characters as well as two playable bosses from the first game, but now I’m actually getting to grips with Morrigan rather than just leering at her, I’ll come back to those later. Apart from that, the biggest change is the smoothness of everything, from the absolutely stunning animation to the combat itself. This is a really special game!
Over on the Amiga A500 Mini, I’ve mostly been attracted by two not dissimilar shiny things that both stink less the more you play them. First though, the same might also be said of International Truck Simulator, a top-down truck racer that I’ve always had a soft spot for on Commodore 64 despite it being a bit crap! It’s even more crap on the Amiga, with accelerate on the up control which means a wrestling match every time you turn a corner. The size of the trucks compared to the road also makes overtaking a wrestling match, but for all of that, as well as the solid black boxes representing everyone’s trailer, I kind of like this one too!
Back to the others, we’ve got two very average running (or plodding) and gunning arcade adventures, although the first of them, The Godfather, is also one of the best looking games I’ve seen in my limited Amiga experience so far! The first section in particular offers an absolutely stunning, almost painterly representation of primetime gangland New York, with a ton of detail and atmosphere. The gameplay itself is like a boring take on Robocop though, occasionally switching to a first-person crosshair view. Worth experiencing for the art style though. While Flash Gordon cartoon spin-off Defenders of the Earth doesn’t quite meet those graphical highs, it does have a really colourful suitably cartoon style and it’s all a bit more exciting to play (but not that much!) as you explore Ming’s fortress shooting robots and stuff! I came across it reading some old magazine reviews, but by coincidence my friend Nick Jenkin recently reviewed the Spectrum version, and I’m pretty sure the Amiga version won’t be far behind if you want to see it in action! (Update from the future – it’s here).
I was recently writing an upcoming piece on the Midway Arcade Treasures compilation on PS2, and while there are sadly problems with the way the majority of those 24 games are presented, Toobin’ takes what are mostly minor issues to a whole new level, with a bizarre interpretation of what are, admittedly, already slightly convoluted original controls that now end up occupying every single button on the controller! Fortunately, by the time Midway Arcade Origins came along on PS3 and Xbox 360, they’d come up with a far more elegant solution, with a nice replication of the arcade controls that allow for both accessibility with some of them and more advanced play with all. Meaning you’re going to be racing through the score gates down the crazy rapids of a bunch of increasingly hazardous rivers in your inflatable ring with the greatest of ease, and once you get it, it’s a blast! Great looking game, loads of creativity and loads of fun. Still love it!
Finally, not a game but an old gaming thing! I recently realised I was missing the June 1985 issue of Computer & Video Games magazine, and thankfully with a bit of patience I was eventually able to pick up a copy in excellent condition for a not outrageous price on eBay. Nice issue too… Airwolf, Roland’s Rat Race, Cauldron and Wizadore adverts that would have ended up cut out and on my bedroom wall had I bought it at the time. Game of the Month is Starion, a wire frame 3D space adventure, and there’s also reviews for Dambusters, Spitfire 40, Entombed, Mama Llama, Ice Palace and all sorts more. Big features on the upcoming Frankie Goes to Hollywood and Minder games too, and loads of type-in listings and that regular nerdy adventure games bit too. Good read!
That’s going to do us for this week, but in case you missed it, don’t forget to check out our big new post on Atari’s 1983 Star Wars arcade game, as well as its Atari ST port and some sequels! And next Wednesday we’ll still be hanging around the arcades, but a decade and a bit later when we’ll be rediscovering one of my all-time favourite beat ‘em ups, Alien vs Predator. See you then!