Iridion 3D STEAM [REVIEW] | Advance To Steam

Time for some picks from my embarassingly big Steam library, and why not one of the last things you expect to see on Steam, like…ports of Game Boy Advance games?

Yep, sometimes Steam being the de facto more used platform/store doesn’t just lead to lots of unfunny simulator crap trying to meme their way into profit, there’s clearly enough space for it to be used as a cheap, affordable and easy way for publishers to make some money back from their older catalogue, and it’s not really surprising, since the publisher in case it’s Majesco, a surprisingly resilient small publisher that published a lot of crap over the years, and… re-sell it, since they also brought over to Steam the infamous Drake Of The 99 Dragons, reviewed last year.

Though this case…well, cases are still odd, since Majesco basically ported both Iridion 3D and Iridion II from the Game Boy Advance to the PC, with the obvious expectations that come with it, since both games were made to play on a very small screen.

At least Majesco priced these very cheap, which is quite sensible to do, and they end up often on sale, so it’s easy to get the “Iridion Collection” bundle for three bucks.

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12 Days Of Dino Dicember #8: Cowboys Vs Dinosaurs (2015)

It seems i have misplaced my UK DVD, so enjoy this US poster.

“Hinted” at this one in last year’s Dino Dicember, so here it is, the versus match of the millennia, to decide who’s better between gun junkies cattle herders and extinct-not extinct predators.

One i didn’t even had to search for online, as i already owned on DVD as “Jurassic Hunters”, bought alongside a pack of other UK DVD dinosaur movies imports years ago.

What luck!

And another one that people rating shlock on IMDB are being a bit too mean towards just to rake in the likes by fake pretending Jurassic Park quality and bitching how Cowboys VS Dinosaurs didn’t rock their socks off, that or people who genuinely haven’t seen REALLY bad b-movies.

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[EXPRESSO] Contra Returns iOS | Better than Rogue Corps

This isn’t technically new, since it has been available in China for years, but i guess someone at Konami woke from their slumber and figured out they didn’t release it westward yet.

I mean, this is the same company – among OTHER things – that wanted to release 3 Silent Hill games in the same month, cancelled a project involving Junji Ito, Norman Reedus and Guillermo Del Toro, and keeps embarassing itself even with the few things it still peddles as videogames, instead of pachinko and/or slot machines.

Who the hell knows.

And i wanna stress that, because i’m almost surprised by how this is actually decent, fun even, and furious since Konami decide to release that abomination of Rogue Corps and ask full price for it, when the older free-to-play mobile game by chinese developer Timi was miles better.

Sure, it looks cheap, the art direction it’s kept familiar to the Contra bombast even if you can still kinda tell it was handled by a chinese team (as in, it’s solid but kinda generic), but it’s actually proper Contra devoid of bullshit (like overheating mechanic for weapons in a shooter)), and it’s actually playable enough with touch controls, while it supports (and plays better with) gamepad.

There’s the gacha, the power level bullshit and all the upgrading n equipping and shit that comes as standard with the mobile free-to-play model to get you hooked and all the usual crap we fully expect from this business model.

It even leans big into the nostalgia for the olden days, but it actually backs it up on the gameplay department, nothing great in terms of level designs, but considering the trappings of being on mobile and free-to-play, Contra Returns it’s definitely fun enough to waste some time on it.

Didn’t expect that.

[EXPRESSO] Sly Spy/Secret Agent NSWDDL | Rolling Thunderball

Another Switch eShop sale on old arcade games from Data East (as part of the Johnny Turbo’s Arcade releases), another EXPRESSO review.

This time i picked up Sly Spy… never even heard of it before, but it look like it’s gonna be heavy on spy movie cliches and Bond references…for 2 bucks, sure,

And my intuition was spot on, alongside plenty of posters in the background, bearing titles or characters from other Data East games, like Karnov or Bad Dudes, there are plenty of Bond references in it. I was also right in guessing it being a fairly transparent Rolling Thunder rip-off, from the screenshots and description.

While it’s totally that, the game tries to disguise it a bit byt adding some variety, since it opens on a sky.-diving level, has a driving section on a bike with built-in machinegun and a couple of underwater levels where you harpoon sharks avoiding scuba enemies and mines.

The variety isn’t bad at all, but the main bulk is still on-foot levels and it’s basically Rolling Thunder, with a limited amount of ammo for the gun and the deliberate inability to just shoot upwards. Same sidescroller formula, plus the ability to shoot while jumping, use fists and kicks when you’re out of bullets, minus the ability to enter doors to replenish ammo. You can also fire a powerful golden gun-rifle when you get all pieces from fallen enemies.

And like Rolling Thunder, while there is some challenge involved, it’s way more about memorization of the often unfair level design through multiple quarters inserted into the machine and out of your pockets.

It’s alright, all things considered, but i don’t recommend spending more than 2 bucks on it, since it’s a very short experience from an era of design best left in the past.

[EXPRESSO] Super Star Path NSWDDL | Match-3 Shooter Mess

After quite enjoying Bot Vice, i decided to check out the others games the spanish DYA Games had on the Switch eShop, and this one got my attention, especially because of the concept, a mixture of puzzle game and 2D spaceship shooter.

And it was on sale for 1 buck.

Basically, it plays like a standard 2D spaceship shooter (down to the vertical scrolling), but the aliens and obstacles are placed in a still grid like they’re puzzle pieces, so shooting a row of aliens of the same color triggers a chain reaction, making nearby aliens of different colors crystalize into unbreakable blocks. Defeated aliens also leave behind gems, emeralds (3 for stage to collect) and upgrades, which can be used to buy more spaceships and upgrade their stats.

This… until you reach the level’s boss, then the pace speeds up considerably, the puzzle elements are thrown away all together, and you can use autofire. You’ll need it, since the bosses are fast and hit hard even at the beginning, throwing bullet hell style projectile patterns, quite jarring, even when you know it’s coming and you bought/upgraded better ships…it just feels like a different game, and i feel it’s done to just pad the longevity out a bit, as you have only 6 levels, each longer and featuring some specific obstacle/damage.

Problem is arriving to the bosses themselves it’s more a matter of luck than anything else, due to badly randomized level layouts, which result in many runs where you simply can’t do anything to avoid dying, trapped by the enemies patterns to be crushed by the scrolling in a way or another.

Shame, because the idea is nice, but for how short lived this game is, it’s mostly a frustrating, unbalanced pile of aggravation more than anything else. Disappointing.

P.S.: Also, don’t bother tackling the final mission unless you have ALL the emeralds, because even if you manage to kill the boss… you will die anyway if you don’t already have all the emeralds. No, the game doesn’t make it clear you NEED to get them all to even finish the game, it just says that you need to get them all, implying they’re important to the story and in general to the game, in the How To Play section.

Fuck you too, Super Star Path.

Please never pull shit like this again. Just don’t.

[EXPRESSO] Bot Vice NSWDDL | Cyberpop Lane Cabal

Bot Vice’s story is basically a nostalgic mash up of 80 and 90s, with the animesque character designs, the heroine sporting a tank top, attitude and a bionic arm with weapons (heck, the application’s icon is a reference to Alita Battle Angel), as she fights an army of animal themed cyborgs at the orders of the villain, ready to blow up the Nakatomi Building (and quote Terminator, Robocop, AND Beavis And Butthead, because), symbol of the decadent cyberpunk Bot City.

Surprisingly, alongside a nice retrostyled soundtrack you get voice acting for the cutscenes (which could have been shortene), and decent voice acting as well, fitting the whole “self-aware, shameless reference spouting” glut so typical of this sub-set of retro indie games. It comes off as cute, but thankfully Bot Vice it’s also a very tough “gallery shooter” in the style of Cabal and Wild Guns, as in you move around the bottom of the screen, shooting and rolling to avoid enemy fire, collecting special weapons with limited ammo and also using taking cover, which can be destroyed.

And it is tough, quite merciless, even at the beginning, so you’ll need to master moving around, rolling and using cover, as each level is a short but intense battle arena, culminanting in a boss fight. Oddly, the game puts an overall time limit for you to finish all stages in, despite the stages being short and not that numerous, even more as the game doesn’t detract the time spent re-trying stages.

The developer Dya Games managed to do a lot with the “gallery shooter” setup, making for an intense, short but sweet experience, quite challenging and with enough replay value, thanks to its arcade perfect setup, extra difficulties and a bunch of extra missions.

Recommended, even more when it goes on sale.