Reviews Archive
         
         
  Circus Lido  
  Circus Lido is a puzzle game where you control a Gecko who's aim is to eat bugs and then spit them into the nearby plants to be eaten. The puzzle elements are usually focused around the fact that you get abilities from the bugs you have swallowed (a la Kirby), some bugs speed you up, whilst others allow you to navigate the spiked rails for instance, these elements lead to some fiendish brain stumpers, and the password system means that the game never gets too bogged down. Word of warning, don't spend too much on this, the game used to go for obscene amounts of money, but after a whole warehouse of Hu-Cards was reportedly discovered the price nose dived almost overnight from multiple $1000s to less than $100! I feel for the poor guys who bought it before the price drop.
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  Dragon Saber  
  Dragon Saber is a vertical scrolling shoot-em-up which is the 2-player sequel to Dragon Spirit. The game keeps the core gameplay of the original, with emphasis on ground bombing on top of the normal shooting action, but improves on the level design (featuring some much more kinetic stages than those seen in the earlier game), and polishes up the power-up system, as well as including a very welcome, and very fun 2-player co-op option.
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  Bonze's Adventure  
  This Taito arcade port has you playing as a monk traveling through the underworld having to deal with evil spirits and monsters. The game is a platformer, with your main form of attack being coloured spheres which can be thrown at the enemy, these spheres can be powered up in size, and there are different types which have different effects. The game's graphics can look quite unpolished at times, but its a fun title with nice layouts and it even manages to throw in the odd multiple route here and there.
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  Psychosis/Paranoia  
  Here's a weird horizontal shmup which has you shooting your way through your own subconscious in an effort to take back control. The game very much contains the sort of gameplay feel that you'd generally associate with Irem, playing with the sort of methodical, brutal, and clever style seen in games like R-Type, and X-Multiply. Here you get two pods which can be maneuvered around your ship and used for both defensive and offensive purposes, the game is quite tough, but its not too long, though two playthroughs are required for the "good"ending (albeit truthfully there's not a whole lot of difference between the two endings anyway).
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  Newzealand Story, The  
  A port of the classic arcade platform game where you play as a little kiwi with a bow and arrow attempting to rescue his family. Like the arcade original the levels here are huge and mazelike, and commandeering the enemy floating platforms is a fun as it ever was. Unfortunately this isn't the greatest port of the game out there (the music is a little weak for instance), which is why its languishing in the high 70s, but its still a decent version of a very cool game.
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  Formation Soccer  
  This is a solid (excellent for its day) Soccer game which plays a little like Tehkan World Cup, or Microprose Soccer. The passing here is a little weak (you have to choose who you want to pass to buy pressing "run"), but the dribbling control is smooth and responsive, multiplayer is cool, and the aerial ball control is set-up in a way which allows you do some fun and impressive aerial passing.
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  Skweek  
  Skweek is a puzzle game where the aim is to colour all of the blue squares pink by walking over them. As you walk around the stage you need to avoid, and shoot at the enemies, and after a while you start to come across a multitude of tile types which have different effects and require you to use some thought to navigate them. Overall Sweek is simply a fun pick up and play type game.
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  Final Lap Twin  
  Much like World Court Tennis, this is a sports and RPG combination, with you traveling from village to village taking part in Formula 1 races to earn cash and upgrade your vehicle. Separately the racing mode, and the RPG aspects are respectable, though not stunning, but as a package its all pretty good.
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  Legend of Hero Tonma  
  This is a responsive action game from Irem thats packed with energy, has memorable levels designs, and includes some pretty cool power-ups too. Its a lot of fun overall, but the 1-hit kills may be a problem for some.
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  Victory Run  
  Early racing release with Outrun-style gameplay and fairly smooth (for the time) scaling. Victory Run is a long, tough racing game with a lot of locale changes and a decent "car maintenance" gameplay element, its pretty playable though a little dated.
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  Gradius  
  A classic mid 80s arcade shooter and one of the most important games of its genre. Its a credit to Gradius' enduring gameplay that it still manages to hold its own quite well even going up against the far newer shooters of the 'Engine's library. Sadly there's quite a bit of noticeable slowdown here, but all in all this is a very good version of the game, it even has its own exclusive level specifically designed for PC Engine which really helps to make this version of the game well worth owning.
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  Puzzle Boy  
  Don't let the makeshift graphics shown here dissuade you from what is a very smart and well set out puzzle game. Puzzle Boy (known as Kwirk for its western released Game Boy outing) has one simple objective; reach the exit, to do this you have to push blocks, make bridges, and twist rotating barriers in the right order. Its a nice premise and the game is just a very accessible and fun experience.
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  F1 Circus  
  Here's a fast and exhilarating top down formula 1 racer that looks good, keeps you on your toes, and provides some respectable customisation options for the era. I spent some time with all the different iterations of the game and personally I felt that this, the first game in the series was actually by far the most playable on PC- Engine as later games seemed to get harder, and more unforgiving with each new release.
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  Sidearms: Hyperdyne  
  The only console conversion of the popular Capcom arcade game, PC-Engine Sidearms recreates the look and feel of the arcade game with consummate ease (shame about the missing 2-player though). The game is a shooter which allows you to fire both forwards and backwards (each has a dedicated button), as well as letting you switch on the fly between a bunch of different weapons by pressing the run button. Difficulty wise this is pure quarter-munching brutality though, you've been warned!
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  Time Cruise  
  This is Face's attempt at creating a pinball rival for the Crush games, they make a good go of it, but just fall short of Devil's Crush in the polish and presentation stakes. Here the theme is time travel, we have multiple table sections joined together in all directions, and each part of the table includes a time machine which needs to be fixed, fix it and get the ball into the time machine and it teleports you to one of many mini-games where you can win an extra go. The mini games have a lot of variety, ranging from a golf style game, to games reminiscent of the old marble-in-a-labyrinth game. Overall this is a unique and original Pinball game that fans should totally lap up.
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  Download  
  Download is an over-the-top scrolling shooter with a cool cyberpunk-esque style and excellent, small, detailed pixel artwork with a lot of pastel colours. The gameplay is fast and pacey, revolving around you constantly grabbing changing power-ups in order to top up your health and secondary weapons, its an exciting game, and there's some Engrish here which even gives the mighty Zero Wing a run for its money!
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Power Sports

 
  This is Hudson's answer to athletics games like Konami's Track and Field. The events here are done well, and are numerous, with all the classics you'd expect well represented as well as some new original ones. Outside of that the graphics are good, and the all important multiplayer options are there, making for a great party game.
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  Batman  
  Once you've gotten past the crushing disappointment that Sunsoft actually decided not to make a glorious, exclusive Batman-themed action game for the 'Engine like they did for every other system (and in fact if previews were anything to go by intended to do here too), you find that this is at least still an entertaining game in its own right. PC Engine Batman is essentially a maze game where you walk around the levels doing objectives such as picking up items, or cleaning graffiti, you can shoot at the enemies to stun them, and power-ups help you along the way, its a methodical, unassuming and sometimes compulsive game.
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  Racing Spirits/Racing Damashi  
  Here's a good 2-player motorbike racing game from Irem. The game has lots of courses, some pretty nice graphics with a lot of colour and some smooth movement, different weather conditions affecting your bike's control, and there's pit stops and parts management too. Gameplay wise the bikes handle well, you get a boost which adds some extra exhilaration to the proceedings, and the CPU riders offer good competition.
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  Tatsujin/Truxton  
  Tatsujin is a solid, tough vertical scrolling shmup from genre stalwarts Toaplan. Graphically it all looks very nice, gameplay wise it can be a little frustrating at times but it also manages to be quite compelling, and you'll always feel like having just one more go. As a port its very good (definitely a little better than the Mega Drive version I would say). Its usually very overpriced but if you find a good deal for it snap it up.
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