Reviews Archive
  Doraemon-Nobita's Dorabian Night  
  Only just making the list we have Dorabian Nights, an inoffensive platformer that has you playing as Doraemon, a fat blue cat who's a popular character in Japan. You get a lot of the normal platform tropes and level designs, as well as a plethora of different guns that you amass as the game goes on. All in all its a solid, though often unremarkable game that whilst sometimes coming across as being a little too sedate, offers some staple gameplay, a decent length and reasonable presentation.
  Break In  
  Here's a pretty decent Pool game with respectable presentation, and a nice number of game modes. Its nothing that hasn't been seen before, but its fun, and does everything to a pretty good standard. This should keep Pool playing PC-Engine fans happy.
  This is Taito's update of their old arcade game Qix. In the game you have to claim a certain percentage of each stage by cutting out sections of it piece by piece, being careful to avoid the multitude of enemies. Like all the best puzzle games its a simple but ultimately compulsive premise.
  Columns is your general block falling puzzle game, you have to match three squares of the same symbol in a line or diagonally to remove them from the playfield and gain points. This is a decent enough version of the popular game, with colourful graphics and respectable sound. Sadly 2-player mode is only supported when playing the game on the PC-Engine's handheld counterpart, the GT/Express.
  Naxat Open  
  Naxat Open is a golf game that utilises a birds-eye view. The usual elements are here, with the gameplay involving aiming against wind resistance, and pressing the button at the right time on power and accuracy meters. Its just a solid game where everything is polished, and presentation is fairly nice.
  Keith Courage in Alpha Zone  
  As the original pack-in for the console, this was most people's first experience on the Engine. Keith Courage is a platform game which alternates between slower, platform focused levels where you play as a boy, and more frenetic, action focused levels where you're kitted out as a robot. The game has an odd stop-start nature to it, but the robot stages are pretty fun when you get the hang of the controls, with a lot of action and some cool boss fights.
  Tricky Kick  
  This is a puzzle game where the aim is to kick all of the matching animals into each other without getting yourself stuck. Its a smartly designed puzzle game that is light on accessible action, but heavy on no-nonsence head-scratching puzzle solving.
  Here's an odd, quirky shooter where you control a slinky-like object which sticks to walls and ceilings and can be powered up with a number of features (extra fire-power, speed-up, extra health etc). The game feels a little unpolished at times, but its a very unique experience, and has some fairly nice art design, with colourful backgrounds and some interesting zodiac themes.
  Armed Formation F  
  Armed F is a fun vertical shmup which gives you floating pods that can be maneuvered to fire in front of you, or behind with the touch of a button. The levels here are of the cramped variety, meaning a lot of precise flying is required, and the floating pods lend an element of tactics to everything.
  Maerchen Maze  
  This Alice in Wonderland-themed game is a top-down run n' gun with a higher than average focus on jumping elements. Instead of merely shooting the enemies dead, and avoiding getting shot yourself, in this game the shots shove the enemies (and you) backwards, so you have to knock bad guys off the platforms to properly deal with them. The gameplay here works pretty well, with a lot of last minute dodges and frantic scrambles to get away from the edges, the control is nice and responsive, and many of the boss fights are memorable.
  Interesting puzzle game from Japanese company "Face". Here the aim is to place cards on a grid to make poker hands horizontally, vertically, and diagonally, each type of hand gives you a certain amount of points, and each stage has a points requirement which must be reached to proceed. Before delving into the library of the PC-Engine I'd never actually heard of Face, they seem to be a 3rd party company who never strayed from the PC-Engine, and whom didn't seem to last very long. Face's games, whilst sometimes flawed, are always worth checking out, and usually have some nice ideas and concepts in them. Ryukuyu is no different, having an odd concept which actually works much better than you would think, it can become quite compulsive after a few plays.
  World Court Tennis  
  This is a sports/RPG amalgamation from Namco where you can either choose to play a straight game of Tennis, or play a quest mode which has you traveling from village to village buying upgrades and earning money from winning random encounters, all striving to defeat the "Evil Tennis King" who's been plaguing the land. The Tennis gameplay here is cutesy, pick up and play stuff, and is decent fun on its own, the RPG mode is simplistic but helps to add some extra longevity.
  Puzzle game from Taito where you have to shuffle blocks around so that they are next to other blocks of the same type. This is a good version of the popular puzzle game, and even includes some of its own additional modes not found in other versions, such as a frenetic mode where the blocks fall from the top of the screen, needing to be gotten rid of before they quickly pile up and fill the screen.
  Alice in Wonderdream  
  Another game from Face, this platformer is like a cross between NES Mega Man and the original Super Mario Bros. You get to fire projectiles and do a charge shot (a la Mega Man), but can also jump on the heads of enemies, and have to deal with a lot of momentum (a la SMB). The levels are a little more Mega Man in their nature, with lots of tough platform jumping, ladders, and the odd vertical sections here and there, but you really need to utilise the head stomp move properly to get anywhere. The gameplay also has a few of its own tricks, such as abilities (chosen by pressing start) which allow you to search for hidden items, or jump higher, these are indispensable for stocking up on health, or making difficult sections easier, and believe me you want to use everything you can as the game can be a little brutal at times. Definitely a game for those wanting some proper challenge!
  A very popular puzzle game in its time, Klax has you stacking tiles in groups of three of a kind. In the game you need to catch each tile before it drops, and then flip it onto one of the stacks, you can also hold back some tiles to drop later (which adds some tricky maneuvering). The game is one of the most ported titles out there, but the PC-Engine version is one of the best of the original versions, retaining the arcade's voice clips, and some very precise control.
  Alien Crush  
  The first of Naxat's genre re-defining pinball games on the Engine. Alien Crush gives you a memorable alien-themed table, and the new gameplay mechanic of teleporters which send you to other mini-tables each with their own objectives. The game is great, but honestly its sequel pretty much does everything better. Still its nice to have another great option when you feel like you need a break from Devil's Crush.
  Makai Prince Dorabochan  
  Here's a platformer starring a character people may know from the SNES game Spike McFang. The game gives you a wand to hit enemies with, as well as an unlimited supply of tomatoes to lob, and power-ups which provide you with additional abilities such as projectiles and a double jump, You can also duck at the last minute here to make yourself invincible (this is what the collected tomatoes are for). Overall its a flawed game, with sometimes makeshift graphics but its fun, has some original ideas, and isn't short of charm.
  Cyber Core  
  This is a very nice vertical scrolling shooter that's reminiscent of games like Xevious, and Dragon Spirit. Like the two aforementioned games this utilises two plain shooting, you can always either fire forwards to shoot enemies in the air, or bomb ground targets with your secondary weapon. The game has a pretty cool bug theme, with your spaceship taking many elaborate insect-like forms, and the gameplay is fast, smooth, and responsive.
  Power Drift  
  Here's a pretty decent port of a great Sega arcade racing game. Power Drift has you racing your big buggy down twisty, turny roads and huge roller coaster-style ramps and dips. The port is far from perfect but it still manages to retain much of the original fun.
  Atomic Robokid  
  This is a kind of platform and shooter hybrid where you fly a little robot around a variety of different stages, some linear, others maze-like, whilst dispatching the enemies with a number of different weapons. The game plays well and pits you up against some impressively sized bosses, this version has also been tweaked a little (there's now a health bar instead of 1-hit kills) to make it easier and more accessible than the original arcade game was.
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