Saturday, November 30, 2013


BY REQUEST!!! Something I threw on Facebook awhile back people seemed to like so HERE GOES!!!

NESquester's ZERO-BULLSHIT Walkthrough of King's Quest I for the max 158 points. If it isn't here, try toying around with shit or go to another better written walkthrough.

Left 1. OPEN DOOR. Up 1. Left 1. BOW. TALK KING. Right 1. Down 1. Left 1. PUSH ROCK from north. LOOK HOLE. GET DAGGER. Up 1. LOOK TREE. CLIMB TREE. Walk up branch. LOOK NEST. TAKE EGG. Walk down branch. Right 1. Take carrot. Up 1. TALK ELF. Up 1. GET BOWL. LOOK BOWL. Up 1. GET PEBBLES. Down 1. Left 1. GET WALNUT. OPEN WALNUT. Down 3. Left 3. LOOK IN STUMP. TAKE POUCH. LOOK INSIDE POUCH. Right 1. Down 1. Enter. TALK MAN. GIVE BOWL. FILL. TAKE FIDDLE. PLAY FIDDLE. Exit. Down 2. EAT HOUSE. OPEN DOOR. Enter. TAKE NOTE. READ NOTE. PUSH WITCH. OPEN CUPBOARD. TAKE CHEESE. Exit. Left 3. Down 1. TAKE CLOVER. Down 1(Fairy). Right 3. CUT ROPE. LOWER ROPE. CLIMB ROPE. Down 1. FILL BUCKET. DIVE. Left 1. THROW WATER. TAKE MIRROR. LOOK MIRROR. Right 1. Up 1. CLIMB ROPE. Left 1. Up 1. JUMP(or 0). Left 1. TAKE MUSHROOM. Right 1. Down hole. Down 1. Left 1. TALK RAT. GIVE CHEESE. OPEN DOOR. PLAY FIDDLE. Down 1. TAKE SCEPTRE. TAKE SHIELD. Left 1. EAT MUSHROOM. Exit. Left 2. Down 3. OPEN GATE. Enter. CLOSE GATE. Left 1. SHOW CARROT. Right 1. OPEN GATE. Left 2. Up 2. Wait. Up 1. TALK GNOME. IFNKOVHGROGHPRM. GET BEANS. Right 2. PLANT BEANS. CLIMB STALK. Up 3. Right 2. Down 1. Right 2. LOOK HOLE. GET SLING. Up 1. Left 1. Wait. GET CHEST. Right 1. Enter. Down 3. Exit. Up 4. Right 1. OPEN DOOR. Up 1. Left 1. BOW. *fini*

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

What Does Being A Gamer Mean To Me?

What does being a gamer mean to me? 

Like any other passion in life, it is a bizarre amalgamation of the best of times and the worst of times. Sounds quite trivial when involving something meant to be fun such as video games right? Earlier this year, I went through the longest drought of my life without once positioning my thumbs onto buttons in that oh so reflexive way due to some serious psychological shit temporarily consuming me but eventually internally reevaluated how important those lovable moving bytes of information were to me and reconnected with them in a way you would a longtime family pet returning home after being lost for a time. 

It hearkens back to the old mafia joke. "Everytime you try to get out, they pull you back in." I have accepted that for better or for worse, they will be a part of my life forever in some form or fashion. Video games and I are practically married. As fucked up and past the point of corny as it sounds, Mario, Sonic, Claptrap, Cloud, & Pitfall Harry have been there for me as a form of entertainment long before and long after the Angelas, Robyns and Melissas of the world. That aspect can be joyous nostalgia or melancholy memoriam where gaming is concerned as I can remember the first time playing Yar's Revenge with my best friend who tragically passed away in 2006 back in '84 just as vividly as I can remember Borderlands 2 being played in the final day of a failed relationship that will haunt me eternally. 

Gaming is what you make of it, just like anything in life. Choose to revel in the positive and try your hardest to never dwell on the negative. From the avid to the casual, a gamer will always find their own path in their quest for fulfillment through our wacky little medium. I like to travel throughout as many genres as I can chew on but can certainly understand why some prefer one type over the other. 

Gaming can also be about opinion. There will be the elitists in every gaggle of geese who think their favorite should be the only game that exists, but pick a hobby, any hobby, and those people exist therein as well. I have my own opinions when it comes to things and I share mine in the form of reviews and social media but pride myself on how I will welcome different opinions and reading others reviews is still a refreshing and eye-opening experience for me. 

Being a gamer can mean making new acquaintances via something as small as wearing a like-minded shirt inside of a mall while grabbing a bite somehow resulting in an hour long conversation and a new life-long pal to raise pixelated hell with. Being a gamer means having a fantastic time no matter the game being in a cart or disc, how many bits it has, or any of that jazz as I have had as much fun hunting for the elusive Pink Tail in Final Fantasy IV as I had getting 1000/1000 on Alan Wake. Why else would a 14 year old me play 250 rounds of Mortal Kombat with my buddies just to play a game of Pong? Simple. I loved Pong and hadn't played it in years. The most advanced fighter on home consoles at the time and we were collectively frothing to play with some beeps, bloops, and blips. 

What does being a gamer mean to me? Tons of things.

Great memories. Sad memories. Life. Love. Loss. Laughter. Friendship. Enjoyment. Passion. Anger. Depression. Rebirth. Children. Mental exercises. Mental exhaustion. Writing. Talking. All of these but most importantly...

It means having a great time everytime you pick up a controller. Whether it is an escape, a time filler, a way to get through the wait at the DMV or Dr.'s office, a public World Record attempt, or just to get some good old fashioned kicks, EVERYTIME, make sure to have a wonderful time while doing it.

That is what being a gamer means to me.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


The Bounty

(Taken from the indiegogo page: LINK BELOW)


      Let me tell you a little about myself, and this project. I'm Dave Vogt; I run Gaming World Wide; a gaming group and website that focuses on charity, information, and entertainment. Beyond that, I hold several gaming world records, and have dabbled in independent game design for years. So, I'm bringing it all together. This title, The Bounty, is a unique, retro styled, high score based RPG. A roguelike with a classic arcade edge. It's meant to challenge the player, and inspire them to push their limits further. You start your game, and delve into the dungeon; everything you do rewards you with points. But there are no shops, no inns, no safehouses. Once you die, you die. You're awarded your score, and return to the title screen. Next time you might do better. Of course, you might end up in different levels this time.  Above all that? The game is being released for free. Featuring custom sprite work by Mike "NESQuester" Wright, we have the highest expectations of this game to bring you back to the old days, in a new way.
     Care to try it now? I've assembled a pre-alpha demo. This is proof of concept only; just enough to get the object of the game across, using all stock middleware RTP assets. You can find and download this demo here.

What We Need & What You Get

So, how much are we looking for? The lower end is $2500. This will cover a bare minimum of development costs such as hardware, software, and staff. Going up to a more desirable $4000 and beyond will get us custom chiptune music, more artwork, and more specialized hardware. Basically, a more awesome final product, and a framework to deliver new level packs and sequels in the future. 
  The perks really involve you in the development. Your contributions will have you designing levels in the dungeons, helping create items, and even becoming a playable character! I'll personally work with you to ensure maximum balancing and playability, so it's a fun and easy way to make a real creative contribution; a personal touch beyond a standard financial funding-for a perk. If you prefer promotional items, those are options as well, of course.
    We're aiming for a release date of December 1st, 2013. This could be delayed; whether there is a huge influx of fan created content, technical issues, or if additional debugging/QA testing is required. December 1st is the goal however, and video diaries will be recorded frequently, keeping you up to date on the progress.
     What if we don't reach our goal? A basic version of the game will be built. The art/music assets will be weaker, QA/bug testing will be limited; but there will be a well playing, quality game to be found!

The Impact

As AAA games get bigger and bigger, players are turning to independent games for those classic experiences the big studios don't bother with anymore. The Bounty is the real deal, with every detail painstakingly built and fine tuned by a world class competitor. To be able to present this experience to the world, free of charge... is beyond explanation. 

Other Ways You Can Help

If you can't contribute financially, there's still plenty you can do to help make this a reality! Beyond indiegogo's sharing tools, you can hype up this project, pass it around to the people you know. Anything you can do is most appreciated.

The Bounty - Indiegogo Page

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

SIDE-QUEST - Vampire Killer

(Vampire Killer, October 1986, Konami)

Metroidvania is a well-known portmanteau celebrating the awesomeness of the non-linear side-scroller popularized throughout the years. Your friendly neighborhood NESquester was pondering exactly how this term came to be coined as Castlevania was a very point A to point B type of experience. More extensive research into the legendary series led me directly into the waiting arms of a title only touched by Japanese and European hands and gave me the exact answer I was seeking. Exclusive to the wildy beloved MSX2 computer platforms, today we are going to sink our teeth into (pun very intended) a footnote in gaming that should be shitloads more popular than it is, Vampire Killer.

Fans would fill Ozarks jugs with all the skeet they could muster if this ever got announced

In a first for me, there is no need to go into my normal spiel concerning the storyline and development team as it is 100% the same crew that worked on the version released one month prior for the NES. Thankfully, they are given full credit here and not the ridiculous shit that they were saddled with during the end of Castlevania in a failed attempt at humor or whatever that was about. Imagine busting your everloving hump for a year of your life only to be tossed the back-asswards moniker of Vram Stoker. I imagine that must be close to how the poor kids in WWE must feel when given their new ring names. See below review for all the goodies!

So far, so kind of the same ol', same ol'.

Not knowing what exactly to expect, the title screen resembles that of the Japanese version of Castlevania. Our hero, Simon Belmont takes the famous walk to the gates of Dracula's castle just as before and the familiar music widens my smile as always. The first screen is territory that has been traversed on countless occasions so it appears that the second game of the Castlevanianseries is just a port named after Simon's whip right?

What in the name of FUCK just happened?


Eenie, meenie, miney, moe it is!

Keys? Treasure chests? Whip upgrades rarely available? Multiple stair cases? What the fuck happened to my Castlevania? Turns out that Vampire Killer is kind of like if you were married to a twin and they tried to pull a switcheroo on you for shits and giggles. The outer shell looks like the person you've come to know and grow older with but the inner workings like personality could never match up no matter the amount of effort went into the hoax. Don't get it twisted however, this is akin to both twins resembling Kat Dennings. Jackpot, my lucky retro gaming friends.

You're welcome.

In order to progress through each level, the skeleton key must be found, identified by its white color as the others to open chests are yellow. Remember being younger before this fangled internet machine gained steam and Nintendo Power debuting having to do things like toss the candle at every single bush in Legend of Zelda for any and all ways to bring everything you had at Ganondorf? Get ready to break some walls until your fingers are numb because that is where the keys are located now in place of food. Once again, we are given six levels of atmospheric good times in gothic Transylvania with three sections per level to conquer. Even if you are the current and reigning champion of the original Konami offering, you will be forced to think outside the box with Vampire Killer. 

George Lucas is the devil! Fucking KNEW it!!!

Another major difference are the new form of puzzles that lie within. Simply procuring the skeleton key isn't a guarantee that Mr. Belmont will advance to the next insanity test he has. Mr. Nagata clearly had a blast with his level designing as sometimes just getting to a wall you think MIGHT have the required key will induce migraines. One stage in particular forces you to fall into a pit (some shit you'd never dream of trying in the original) and plummet a few screens to land safely in front of the wall containing said item. What can make it even more maddening is that the levels are on an infinite loop so more often than not, the player will be struck with that "Deja Vu? Huh? Oh, fuck me running!" feeling. You know exactly what frustratng emotions I speak of. 

Medusa Heads and moving platforms? Stage designer must've been extra bitter on this day methinks!

Strategy also comes into play as there are a few more weapons Simon has gained mastery of. The pisser however, is if you throw, say, the Axe and don't catch it upon it's return, it is removed from your inventory until you obtain it again. I was less than thrilled about that but then Vampire Killer REALLY sticks it in and breaks it off when there are no extra lives and no continues. Luckily, there are a few bones thrown at you as you can tote around more than one item at a time, which comes in handy. Many new ways to improve Simon's position exists here, such as wings to make him jump higher and boots that add speed. I reckon someone took the month inbetween games to remind Simon that he wears a belt for a reason. Sub-weapons can still only be held one at a time but it isn't that big of a bother as only the Stopwatch and Holy Water are present assisting in using some of the same tricks us old dogs know. Medusa Heads + Stopwatch = NESquester not wanting to immediately atomize the first cute thing he sees. Precursor's to Simon's Quest begin to show up as well such as hearts now used for currency and the scattered merchants closely resemble the old woman sprites from Castlevania II. Buying from them is one of the more bizarre aspects to the game as you stroll up to where they sit and simply beat the piss out of them until they turn red and deal. Well, alrighty then.

"Gonna gimme some goodies or does Simon Belmont have to whip a bitch?"

Castlevania always sported one of the greatest rogue galleries in gaming and nothing has been altered here until the end. Giants bats, Medusa, Mummies, Frankenstein's Monster, and the Grim Reaper all make their valiant returns here to insure that you are needing a new keyboard before long and move about in around the formations we are accustomed to. Dracula himself added an extra stage to his castle just to be a true heel and his first form hasn't changed other than the fight taking place in front of an ominous looking portrait or the Prince of Darkness. Then again, maybe it has nothing to do with him because the figure you're fighting looks more like a zombie with a cape while the painting is rather close to Count Chocula with Great Tiger's gem embdedded between his eyes. Take out the first form and the background comes alive and starts shooting bats at you at an insane rate of fire presumably as revenge for the death of the beloved Wampa Bat in the NES version.

"I vant to eat your cereal!"

The gameplay and presentation aren't that much different though there is definately one MAJOR bitch I have to get out. Vampire Killer requires the player to press up to jump, which can be absolute hell if you're trying to jump near a staircase and Nagata put stairs EVERYWHERE. Many was the time I red raged because when attemptng to jump over an obstacle only to begin my slow climb up or downstairs surely making Dracula cackle his undead ass off if he was watching. That graphics are better by just a bit as the trees look more like trees and the laboratory level simply steals the show. Kinuyo Yamashita's classic soundtrack is unchanged and as haunting as ever insuring great times to be had by all. The challenge is the most difficult aspect to compare as some trials and tribulations take less effort than before and some more. I will state for the record that Count Chocula is a hell of alot easier than Wampa Bat.

The graphics in the lab truly shine.

9/10 NOW I finally understand where the Metroidvania term came from. A sense of exploration not seen since the original Metroid but with the shiny coat of Castlevania over it makes this an instant classic in my books. The one point is due to the up button/staircase misfire but with time and patience, it can be overcome and overlooked as this was head and tails better than most of what was around in 1986. Vampire Killer definately laid the groundwork for countless future titles and should be regarded as right up there with Castlevania. If only THIS was labeled Castlevania II but, yeah, I still need to review that bastard child don't I...

Thursday, July 4, 2013

NESquest - Castlevania

(Castlevania, Konami, May 1987)

Leading up to May of 1987, the Nintendo Entertainment System had experienced a rash of games that were either grey squares of fecal matter (Trojan, Volleyball, Ikari Warriors) or average at best offerings (Gauntlet, Bomberman, Mighty Bomb Jack). Poor Mr. NES needed a title that could help establish its own identity as more than a piece of sturdy hardware that could port a decent arcade game. Konami understood this as well as wished to cement themselves eternally in the good graces of The Big N. The end product was an 8-bit platforming masterpiece that easily stands the test of time and spits in the face of dozens of other games that only wish they could pull off this level of gothic gaming beauty that Konami accomplished. Have a seat under the NESquester learning tree and stay awhile kids, this is Castlevania.

During the Second Quest, the bane of my existence throughout Gradius, the Moai Head, shows his face as an easter egg! Check out the Gradius review for the Konami backstory.

The story behind Castlevania is a much, much darker motherfucker than I had ever envisioned. Nintendo of America, in their neverending quest to censor anything they thought could cause children around the world to piss the bed en masse, removed pretty much the entire story and gave us Americans a vanilla "get to Dracula  using your magic whip and save the day" spiel in the manual. Even with their well-known penchant for censorship, crosses and skeletons are scattered all over the place as well as epic shit like The Count's head flying towards deep space when his first form is defeated. 

NoA's censors must've taken a weed nap during the laboratory stage.

So it goes that the year 1691 marked the one hundred year anniversary of the defeat of Dracula at the hands of one Christopher Belmont. The local township of Transylvania rests easy at night knowing that our fabled fanged badass is no more. However, every one hundred years there is a brief window in time where the power of Christ is weakened within the lands causing men's hearts to begin to turn towards the ways of the Sith. Wow, that would've gone over like a fart in church back in '87. Anyhoodles, the perfect storm came to a head during the annual Easter celebration when a group of the these blackened souls slipped off and broke into the local monastery with their sights set on resurrecting Vlad The Rad by way of black mass. A bolt of lightning shot down from the sky to signal the return of the Prince of Darkness and before the bewildered Transylvanians knew what was happening, Dracula's castle appeared out of thin air and the smell of thousands of people shitting themselves simultaneously in fear permeated the land.

"Who ordered the whoop-ass fajitas?"

In urgent need of a hero to eradicate this stench from the land, Christopher's ancestor, a strapping young lad named Simon Belmont was given the very whip that tanned Dracy's fanny a century past, the aptly named Vampire Killer. Vampire Killer also happens to be the title of another game in the series for the MSX2 that will be covered with Simon's Quest in the very near future. Realizing that his destiny awaited him, Simon threw on his best leather armor and boots and was apparently too manly for pants and off to fuck up some satanic blood suckers he went!

"And you PROMISE if I do this, I can play Simon Belmont in that up coming Captain N show? SWEAR TO ME!"

I would never forgive myself if I didn't mention the team who slaved to bring us this measuring stick of early NES platformers. Firstly, Akihito Nagata had the task of level designer and what a sadistic fuck this guy must've been! These are some of the most vicious levels gaming has ever seen. Mr. Nagata also went on to produce Metal Gear Solid for Konami as well as VR Missions. Currently, he has delved into television with a critically lauded anime overseas titled "Best Student Concil".

If Mr.Nagata accepts my Facebook friend request, my one question to him would be where the hell these stairs were supposed to lead to.

Secondly, Kinuyo Yamashita in her debut as a video game composer should be credited endlessly as a pioneering female in the industry. To this day, the music she created for Castlevania is remixed and there aren't many more 8-bit scores that are as beloved in the Nintendo's library. Sadly, she was credited as James Banana, a riff of James Bernard, the composer behind the classic 1958 Christopher Lee version of Dracula. Upon completion of her magnum opus, Ms.Yamashita left Konami to work independently creating the music for such games as Power Blade I and II, Parodius, and Megaman X3. If you are brand new to Castlevania (after having just left your underground bunker located in Amish country), then you owe it to yourself to listen to this OST. A timeless classic in every aspect. No bullshit, it's that good.

Crack that whip! Give the past a slip!

Now for the chili on the dog, the actual game itself. Six stages of gothic and horror themed mayhem are the showcase of this landmark pixelated dream. The designs put forth by Mr. Nagata are brilliant in that the stages are wildly different and contain some of the most atmospheric backdrops the NES had seen or ever would see again until the third installment. From the opening scene of Simon entering the castle to the decrepit look of the walls and curtains to the claustrophobic caverns underground, the variation of color schemes from vibrant yet creepy to dark and dismal are awe-inspiring to behold. For its time, the graphics present in Castlevania were nothing short of amazing. The controls are tighter than a gnat's asshole as Simon does exactly what you will him to do. A jumps, B whips, and pressing up with B shoots whatever sub-weapon you are holding. Crack the Vampire Killer at every candle in Simon's way to collect hearts which dictate how many times your secondary offensive weapon can be used. Beauty in simplicity folks. Strategy comes into play with the sub-weapon as unlike the mandatory dagger grab in Ghosts N' Goblins, the dagger here sucks more shit than a colonic after a drunken Taco Cabana escapade. 

Even Death takes a back seat to the Dark Prince. THAT is hardcore.

At the end of each stage are the most memorable set of bosses the planet Earth had ever seen. I recall the playground conversations of ten year old innocence crystal clear proclaiming that any game with Frankenstein and Dracula in it to be the best ever made. An homage to the Universal/Hammer movies of the 50's, the only famous monsters from that era I can see missing are The Wolfman and King Kong. Ironically, Kong was already starring in his own Konami title that was released exclusively in Japan. Even more ironically, they both ended up in the same crossover game Konami Wai Wai World along with Mikey from The Goonies and Moai! Wai Wai was a beyond bizarre fan service that I will definately dive into one day. 

No exaggeration down below. One thousand of THESE.

Onto the legendary status of the game, the challenge. Is Castlevania really as hard as people claim it is? Allow me to put it in as simple a way as possible. You could lock me in an large warehouse that is fully stocked with one thousand Jennifer Connelly clones, all stark naked and vigorously making out with each other and this game is STILL harder than I would EVER be. This cart may as well have been enclosed inside the cover of the fucking Necronomicon. One section of stage five in particular stands out with a combination of Axe Knights and Medusa Heads that would've even made Gandhi lose his shit. If the Grim Reaper doesn't make you become the second coming of Sam Kinison, Dracula himself is going to make you create strings of curse words that sound like a Twista rap. The Count waits passively at the top of his tower, presumably drinking coffee and calmly checking his Twitter while sending his minions after Simon. After his first form is defeated and his noggin shoots towards the stars like Babe Ruth knocked it off, he becomes a mix of the Wampa from Star Wars with an albino bat on PCP and if you're not chucking the boomerang with the triple shot, put the controller down and fix a drink, you're fucked.

"NOW he makes it to the top? Cockblocking pantsless sack of shit!!!"

10/10 An 8-bit orgasm of massive proportions. I honestly busted my ass to find a flaw in this game and all I have is the unforgiving difficulty, which was par for the course in ye olde days. "NES Hard" isn't a myth as Castlevania was one of those titles that turned boys into men and girls into women. Graphics that pushed the limits of the hardware, music that haunts to this very day, and a challenge that is among the greatest out there have earned it the rare full monty. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go hand the Captain N Simon Belmont a towel...

One minute he is Dracula and the next...


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Side-Quest - Abobo's Big Adventure

(Abobo's Big Adventure, January 2012, I-Mockery/PestoForce/Pox Box)

What better way to spend a lazy afternoon is there than with a labor of love crafted by a team of die hard Nintendo junkies that half the world hasn't played yet and the other half is still picking up pieces of brain matter off the floor after experiencing it? Without a doubt, the greatest homage ever to grace our computer monitors, this "side-quest" isn't just any mission, oh fuck no, THIS is Abobo's Big Adventure.

I would send the cutest kitten ever to grace the planet Earth screaming over the Grand Canyon to have this in my living room. 

Abobo's Big Adventure was first developed as far back as 2002 by I-Mockery founder Roger Barr, a true NEShead in every possible sense of the word. Side-projects and other ventures caused the games production to come to a halt until around 2006 when Barr, “Pestoforce”, and "Pox" restarted the project from scratch, wishing it to feel like more of an 8-bit game than the previous attempt. The team went through the formidable task (I'd know!) of playing through the majority of the NES library and jotting down a mind-staggering amount of characters they felt deserved inclusion in the game from household names like Donkey Kong and Little Mac down to the unsung heroes of the era such as Kid Niki and Clash At Demonhead's Tom Guycott(!). Debuting the first levels at 2009's SDCC, word of mouth of this insane little game-that-could spread like herpes on a batch of Hulkamania "vitamins". After a few years of lugging a custom-made arcade cabinet around the country to keep the momentum going as well as being friendly, approachable dudes, (I'm looking at YOU Phil Fish), Abobo's Big Adventure was unleashed on the world in its flash form on January 11, 2012 and after awhile was available for free download to both PC and Macs. Enough of this chatty shit, let's get to the meaty part of this 8-bit taco shall we?

"You rang?"

Right out of the gate, the title screen clues you in that this is going to be a one-of-a-kind experience starring all our old friends we hold places in our hearts for and have missed over the years. Hearing the familiar Megaman 2 theme as  the screen scrolls up the Statue of Liberty to reveal our hero will cause anyone who lived through the era to wax nostalgic automatically. For the uninitiated, Abobo was the one motherfucker in Double Dragon you did NOT want to run into. There are white, black, and even green varieties of this monstrosity and the only way I could ever figure out how to beat the unholy bastard was by jump kicking him 15 times. Yes, to this day I remember precisely how many boots to the face it took. World 3 of Double Dragon turned many a' boy to man when two of these terrfying stuffed sacks of moustachioed muscle tore through a rock wall and commenced to whoopin' that ass but good.

The precise moment in DD where you realize you're totally fucked.

Upon pressing start, the scenario of the game is presented as only awesome 8-bit storytelling could pull off, a vibrant little cutscene informing us of everything we need to know going in. The offspring of our protagonist, Aboboy has been kidnapped and Abobo is so pissed about it that he annihilates a small kitten before you can even control him. This sets the tone for the copius amounts of blood on top of the dark humor liberally spread throughout this epic journey.

This could be the only mode in the game, and this scene alone would put it near my Games of the Year. I've waited over 20 years to rip this worthless excuse of a fighter to shreds.

Eight levels are present throughout, each a spot-on mock-up of a different retro game filled to the brim with more NES characters than could ever be listed. No matter how obscure and unknown a title, I promise you there is someone from your personal favorite nostalgic little grey cart buried in there somewhere. To mention every single cameo in this game would require a list longer than sports stars that have penetrated Kardashian twat, so suffice it to say, they are here.

If this is surreal enough to make you triple-take it, the ENTIRE game is like this. It's virtually a playable who's who of the 8-bit dynasty.

The graphics are perfectly represent for the games parodied and even more impressive, the controls are DEAD ON. If you replaced the real Balloon Fighter in his original game with Abobo, it would without question feel exactly the same. It is a testament to the passion the development team had for the source material to have emulated it to this degree. Sound effects are just as incredible and sharp-eared retro fanatics will wear a permanent grin at the little touches they put in ranging from Soda Popinski's laughter to the Excitebiker's revving engines. The toughy to rate here is the challenge as it all depends on how much you played the originals they were based on. If you are a Punch-Out enthusiast like myself who has easily thrown down hundreds of hours dodging and counter-punching, the end sequence may not prove so taxing but if you never spent one minute inside Little Mac's shoes back in the day, I can understand why that stage would just destroy any novice with the quickness.

God of War II's Colossus of Rhodes be damned! THIS is the definition of an epic battle!!!

If that wasn't enough to sell anyone reading to download this about five lines ago, Abobo's Big Adventure is the funniest game of its kind you'll ever have the pleasure to play. From getting to seperate the Urban Champion's head from his torso Mortal Kombat style, Amazon of Pro Wrestling fame taunting you Handsome Jack style through an entire level, or the greatest ending scene a game has ever sported, the laugh out loud moments are as non-stop and rapid-fire as Team Abobo could've possibly thrown them in. Cutscenes are hellacious romps through 8-bit memories and it wasn't above the creators to toss a little non-NES humor around as well. They fuckin' owned me with the Johnny 5 is alive line and that's just one of a butt-sack of tremendous gags.

Words escape me for how awesome these non-stop moments become. Even if stricken with Alzheimer's to the point of forgetting my own name, I'm sure I'll be able to recall Abobo vs Donkey Kong.

The crowning achievement of this magnum opus is the replayability. Every new playthrough will come moments that weren't noticed on previous conquerings. I've beaten this more times than Lohan has been in court this year, but never fail to catch new things, For example when playing the real Contra, I avoid the "L" power-up like Perez Hilton avoids pussy, but picked it up accidentally only to find the fucker fired LEMMINGS across the screen. It's those magic moments that make this the cream of the crop and the measuring stick that retro themed titles that followed only wish they could pull off. Medals are even thrown in the mix for the current gen feel of trophies or achievements and getting them all becomes the most exciting war of attrition between you and your PC controller you'll have for a long time. I found this part of the replayability factor so valuable that if Raptr ever synced itself to emulators and needed someone to come up with achievements for every NES title in the library, I wanna be the guy! #seewhatididthere

No pink hoodie bullshit here, Abobo trains like a MAN.

10/10 Don't rub your eyes or rush to come down off of whatever hallucinogen you may have taken this morning with your coffee, that is the fabled perfect score that only Metroid and Super Mario Bros have received since I began reviewing. As a game, Abobo's Big Adventure is nearly perfect. As a love-in for The Big N, it surpasses anything you've ever seen before or since. If you've never taken the time to marvel at this jewel of a game, put down the Blops2, Halo, and Mass Effect for a day and prepare to have your brain blown right through your ass. The bar has been set and it would take a modern day miracle for anyone else to come close. Abobo's Big Adventure deserves to go down as one of the greatest games in any decade, any genre, and on any system.

If you make it to this screen, get your seatbelts locked and prepare for the ride of your fucking life.

Oh, and by the way, if you're light on cash or have no way to the game store, it's FREE!!! NO EXCUSES!!! 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

SNESquest - Actraiser

(Actraiser, 1990, Enix)

(My pick for Review A Great Game Day awhile back. Special thanks to Eric Bailey for helping me with the confidence to do it again.)

As much as I cavetch about horrendous games and throw virtual rotten tomatoes ad nauseum, today, I'm going to share with you cats and kittens one of NESquester's favorite titles that I never have had the chance to speak of before, Actraiser.

Many moons before the amalgamation of genres we see today such as Borderlands and Mass Effect, Actraiser was a pioneer in the genre-mashups. One part overhead simulation, one part action game that has made many an expert's hands sweat, Actraiser was one of the earliest SNES titles and being the huge Square & Enix (to the kiddies in school, at one time, they were as different as Microsoft and Sony) fan I was, bought it on a whim and every penny and then some has gotten its mileage.

It is so hard to discuss the magnum opus of Enix action games in short form as there is no doubt this could hit 5 pages before I realize it. What do you wish you know about? The graphics? For 1991 and even quite a bit beyond, from the lush planetscapes, the unforgettable crystal dragon, to the final boss battle, the graphics are flawless. How about the sound? Oh, baby, how about it! This soundtrack is one of the greatest on any system, any year, any day of the week. It legitly sounds as if they snuck a tiny orchestra in each cart, it is THAT tremendous. Is it any fun? Actraiser boasts one of the highest replayability scores in history. Once a year without fail, I strap on my blue winged helmet, grab my trusty heaven sword, and get to whipping on some Tanzra booty. Another wonderful part is between the sim and action sequences, neither of them feels too long so you don't spend the action sequences muttering, "Okay, enough of this crap, time for the sim," and vice versa. Lastly, the story. Magnificent. Your character is basically God (I didn't make the game folks), who brings an angel with him to help make the world a better place for people. The emotional attachments you'll gain for a lost, hungry boy named Teddy and a disease ravaged man you send rain down to "cry for" are moments that will stick with you for a lifetime. The angel communicates and explains to the confused deity as the story goes why the humans are doing certain things and acting certain ways like causing wars and the like. A truly touching and fascinating game from a human emotion perspective and beautifully written.

Actraiser was a spiritual successor to another lauded Enix title, Soul Blazer, which had its own sequels. Actraiser 2 was released a few years later but without the simulation sections and an even more ramped up difficulty, paled in comparison to its original. If you've never played Actraiser, by all means, make it a point to play it at least once and you'll be rewarded with a very challenging, thought-provoking, true gem of a game.

NESquest - Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!!

(Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!, Nintendo, October 1987)

(An unpublished work for Retrocade that was finished awhile back as a 'fan appreciation' review but shortened due to page limits. One of my top 10 favorite games of my life and one of the few reviews typed off the top of my head with zero note needed. I hope you cats dig it.)

Long before his trademark facial tattoo, memorable cameos in comedic flicks, and going public with his penchant for cannabalism, Mike Tyson was not only the undisputed champ of the boxing world, but the bane of everyone who went against him in 8-bit land. Spinning off from two earlier arcade hits, Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!! is such a timeless classic that if you know of anyone who hasn't played it, e-mail me and we'll see about gathering up your oblivious pal, a sturdy chair, strong rope or wire, and a NES.

The game introduces us to an assuming, young up and comer named Little Mac, who appears to be the offspring of Ralph Macchio and Olive Oyl. Accompanied by his trainer, Doc Louis, this poor play on words of a delicious McDonalds stalwart decides the only way that he is going to become the best in the world is to take on boxers roughly six times his size. The journey from his first fight to the showdown with "Kid Dynamite" Mike Tyson is nothing short of a complete blast.

Mac is given three rounds each bout to dispatch a pre-arranged set of foes on his quest to three titles, Minor, Major, and World. In the same vein as Batman, it is the rogues gallery that truly steals the show. By far the most massive sprites the NES had seen to that point, truly giving each character that Mac faces off with an unforgettable amount of character and expression. Being 1987, there are quite a few stereotypes brought to the forefront that will make you wonder if the game would be deemed racist if released today but, hey, these were different times and as a kid can honestly say that I never wondered whether Great Tiger was hindu or muslim, he was simply Great Fucking Tiger.

A health bar is present as well as meters for stars and hearts. Each fight begins with a preset number of hearts and you lose one for a successful block and three if your opponent lands a shot. If the heart count hits zero, Mac flickers pink with fatigue and is unable to throw a punch until dodging a few punches and turning normal again. The stars represent the number of Super Uppercuts in his arsenal, Mac's special move that is thrown by pressing start. Gaining the stars can be tricky and require getting in hits at precise moments that take a bit of practice to reveal. This in itself lends to the tremendous amount of replayability that Punch-Out!! offers as I have personally played this esteemed title for 25 years and will still uncover new tricks and strategies.

Gameplay is a fun little mix of reflex and pattern recognition. First timers may be able to button mash their way past Glass Joe but will be shocked to find that Von Kaiser will shove those same blueprints right up their ass. This game is about timing and finesse and without either, be ready to spend alot of time kissing canvas. The balance in Punch-Out!!'s challenge is astounding as each fight gradually depends on that much more skill to advance. As a youngling in elementary when it was released, I can say that this was the first legend of the playground and can't remember trading tips nearly as much with any other game prior. Before Nintendo Power, there were just hive collectives of young boys who traded off the timing needed to twart Bald Bull or the blocking to counter the Macho Tornado Punch. Ah, simpler times.

Between rounds, Doc Louis gives advice and does what he can to keep Little Mac warmed up. To anyone who may find a rotund older gentleman suggestively rubbing a seventeen year old's tiny shoulder, it's shitloads better than the blatant blowjobs in between rounds of Ring King. I'm not joking, go play a round of it. Doc's tidbits can range from the useless to world-changing as I'd never have known about the Don Flamenco one-two trick if I didn't pay attention to my trainer. These interludes are the only time you're not treated to the game's tunes, which by the way are exceptional.

As for Mr. Tyson himself, think boxing's equivalent to Darth Vader. No matter who you are or what you've done, you're are utterly screwed the first hundred or so times you face him. The only way Little Mac can recoup any money is by advertising sponsors on the bottoms of his boots because within two seconds, Tyson is throwing lightning fast uppercuts that put you on your ass if they so much as graze you. Last ninety seconds of this legendary barrage of badass and things get only slightly easier. As with all things in life thought to be impossible, Tyson can be conquered with enough resolve and patience to learn the patterns he presents. Take my word for it, if you get your hand raised against this titan of the NES, that rare feeling of extreme accomplishment that will wash over you is worth every KO endured to get there. The mark of a masterpiece.

Grade: A

NESquest - Elevator Action

(Elevator Action, Taito, August 1987)


Have you ever heard whispers of a legendary game out there that you've never played? One day, the moment of truth arrives, you procure a copy of what is sure to be a masterpiece in your collection for years to come, pop that sucker in and get to work. Sometimes, it can be pure magic akin to scoring with that legendary hottest woman in the club. Other times, it can feel something like said hottie in your bed revealing that she has a much larger dick than you do.


Originally released by Taito in 1983, the arcade port of Elevator Action didn't hit the Nintendo Entertainment System until August of 1987. The gist of this little gray square of dookie is that a master spy/secret agent/badass named Otto aka Agent 17 must infiltrate 30 floor towers built by rich eccentrics with a penchant for elevators and escalators and grab secret documents while avoiding a ton of Judge Doom lookalikes. For such a master infiltrator, I find it hilarious that we all know his real name in addition to the fact that Otto is the only person in the game not dressed in all black.

What makes this a festivity of feces you may wonder? Let's start with the fact that Taito had two years to master the quirks of NES programming and the absolute best they could muster was a game that harkens back to the Atari 2600 in terms of quality. As all of us fellow retro fanatics are aware of, graphics never make or break the fun and replayability of a game but during a time when gaming was trying to evolve, there was no excuse for the graphics to be this poorly executed in the very same month that saw the debut of Metroid and The Legend of Zelda.

Surely with eye-candy that could be the NES version of "Plan 9 From Outer Space", the controls couldn't be as awful right? Wrong, they are SPECTACULARLY awful. Otto jumps in a motion so choppy that it forced me to recall the days when the internet would stream video via dial-up though Windows Media Player 1.0. As if the poor guy's dignity wasn't already shattered enough, when he does slowly "jump" he throws his ass rather invitingly in the air. Mix that in with the way he vigorously humps the rope as he enters the building and we have ourselves a not-so-subtle cocktail from programmers who may have been more bent on alternate lifestyle humor than, you know, making an actual playyable game to take pride in.

While riding down the abundant elevators and escalators, baddies are trying to make life difficult, but there are a few ways to fight back. A straight out gunfight is preferrable once you get past the idiocy where you can't crouch inside elevators and must press up again to stand if ducking to fire. Other mechanics can be utilized such as trapping them under the elevators (strangely causing them to die Pac-Man style) or shooting a light fixture to land on the enemy's head. No lie, I spent an hour trying to land a light on an antagonist's noggin to no avail, so I wouldn't recommended it. The main goal as you traverse the bizarre buildings is to enter every red door you see and snatch up secret documents. Miss a single briefcase and when you hit the ground floor, the game really sticks it in and breaks it off sans lube by shitting you right back to the very top to go through 8-bit hades all over again.

Enemy A.I. is somewhere between the Keystone Cops and Three Stooges in terms of acumen and the only time they seem to have any wherewithal is if you linger in a stage too long. It would be infinitely more exciting if they started out from the get-go by going batshit as you can go through half the building before seeing that "action" thingy mentioned in the title. Make it to the bottom and Otto rides off in what appears to be a child's first big plastic car and rides off to the next building. We don't even need to go over the sound as there is one song on a 7 second loop the entire time that will make you dive for your My Music folder before sterility kicks in. Effects are just as hideous and are the worst on the NEs since the fabled Action 52 cart. Marvel as your NES spits out bleeps and blips that even our friend the 2600's sound chip would've been embarrassed about.

With such tremendous ports already made for the system such as 1942, Gradius, and Popeye, this felt like an unlicensed cart. Lazy, uninspired, and a mockery of the not-so-bad original arcade game.

Grade: F

(No, I'm not changing the format of the reviews. This is my work from Retrocade Magazine Vol.2, Issue 1 in its unedited full form. Today will be a collection of work done outside the site before the new material drops. I know alot of you haven't seen this and I think it is one of my best so enjoy!)

Monday, January 14, 2013

SIDE-QUEST - The Misadventures of Flink

(Flink, 1994, Psynosis)

Welcome to Bizarro Land ladies and germs! Today we take a giant outside the normal love-in for The Big N and go as far in the other direction as we possibly could go. That's right, I feel like as awkward as a Vogue model inside of a Golden Corral buffet but the challenge was presented to review a Genesis game and I never pass up a challenge. Time to roll up the proverbial sleeves and get cracking with a quirky little gem, The Misadventures of Flink.


Released in 1994 by Psygnosis(currently SCE Studio Liverpool), Flink was brought to us by the same team that developed the cult hit platformers Wiz 'n' Liz and Lionheart and the influence shows. While the Sega CD version was released worldwide, we in the States never got the Genesis port. It certainly isn't the easiest game to find and a used copy can command up to $60 on Ebay. That being said, let's gather around by the fireplace and go over why my never having played this game is a damned shame shall we?

"I can barely ride a bike and you want me to take on a fucking WIZARD?!?!?!"

After a rather annoying and unskippable intro, the game introduces you to the vibrant world of Imagica, where that Canadian-American Wainwright dude that sings horrible shit like "Going To A Town" and "I Don't Know What It Is" apparently kidnapped four esteemed wizards and trapped them inside crystals strewn across the land. One could sit and ponder how four Gandalf-level badasses were tricked by one skinny singer who left his manhood behind a long time ago into a trap but it won't change the game's storyline whatsoever, so don't waste time. The evil mofo of Imagica is actually named Wicked Wainwright and by capturing the Yodas of the world, broke a seal where evil demons were kept, thus insuring he would have an easier time ruling the land. What he didn't count on was an unassuming apprentice named Flink stepping up and growing a set of truck-sized balls to save the day. Normally, I'd dog the protagonist if he had a bowl cut and looked like the kid from the old television show Eight Is Enough, but the fact that he is a young understudy who has spent most of his life exclusively pouring through magic books and not seeing much of the world, Flink has a bit of a wide-eyed charm to him. The premise is simple enough, release your masters from the crystals and the door to Wainwright's lair opens for a final showdown with evil.

How can I not adore a game where I have to hop onto a dude's exposed brain to beat him?

Now for the meat of the taco, the game itself. It starts as a run of the mill platformer, using the tried and true method of hopping off of the heads of the bad guys to dispose of them. Right off the bat, the presentation of Flink blew me away. The enemy sprites are fantastically large sprites complete with facial expressions and character. The levels themselves I also found spectacular for the time, which leads me to believe Psygnosis was a very graphic driven company. They could've simply thrown grass at the bottom of the forest stage but it comes complete with twigs, leaves, and the feeling of being surrounded by the ambience that comprises a forest. The backdrops as well were not skimped on as you'll find something different everytime you pause to take in the world of Imagica. At one point, I even found a tree in the background with a face, which deserves a gold star in itself. Stages are also tremendously designed as well, from a mine cart section straight out of Indiana Jones to a metaphysical sort of stretch that has to be played to be believed. The music can be repetetive at points but seeing as it is a port of a CD based title I can't give it too much shit with a clear conscience. After a bit, you find that there are quite a few ways to destroy everything in your path as Flink can pick up rocks, treasure chests, and even other enemies and fuck shit up on a fairly large scale with enough practice. No hit point meter or life bar is present so if you get hit, it is akin to Sonic in that your magic will fly out of you to be picked up all over again. Get touched with no magic in your meter and that's a life gone.

Unless you have the memory of an elephant, have yourself some pen and paper handy.

Magic you say? OH, DO I HAVE SOME KICKASS NEWS FOR YOU! For 1994, the use of magic in this game was nothing short of amazing. Don't expect Eye Of The Beholder level shit but for a platformer, it is unbelievable. Thirteen different ingredients are scattered across the land and it is up to Flink to figure out what combinations perform which action. Hint scrolls do a great job of pacing the learning period as you go about your travels so luckily you won't be using hours of trial and error like the alchemy pot in Dragon Quest VIII. A total of ten spells can be created with the results varying from offensive lightning bolts, shrinking, and creating a platform to cross gaps you may spend a few lives trying to jump before figuring out the shit wasn't happening. This was my favorite part of the game bar none as Flink is supposed to be an apprentice and having to learn as you go and really work at figuring out what spells to use in what situation certainly translates a feeling of a kid who may be in over his head magic-wise but by the end of it all, an Omega-level kickass wizard. Another intresting twist is the ability to go back to previous levels with spells you didn't have before and reach critical items that were impossible to obtain before. The only true gripes I have are the learning curve when it comes to jumping on the enemies and the fact that the game is longer than a horse cock with no saves or passwords. What I mean by the jumping mechanics is that when you land a hit on top on an enemy, you'll bounce off him in a manner that if not careful, will send you screaming off a cliff or into an endless chasm, so it takes quite awhile to get the hang of it all and even near the end, I had issues with having the world in the palm of my hand only to bounce like a jackass right into a lava pit.

The "oh shit" look on his face when he first hops in the mine cart was a legit spit-take.

9/10 I was skeptical when given this assignment as any Nintendo based reviewer would be because if I rate it too low, I'm just being a "fanboy" and if I rate it too high, I'm a traitor to The Big N. Plain and simple, I'm a gamer who can appreciate every color of the rainbow and thought Flink was a magnificent title deserving of alot more praise and recognition than it got. Innovative magic system, some of the best graphics of any 16-bit game and a mix of replayability and challenge that kept me coming back for more that a puppy that keeps being kicked away. Flink is the very definition of a hidden gem.