As a married man with a full time job, I find that I have less and less time to devote to videogames. I love modern games like the Uncharted and Assassin’s Creed series and thoroughly enjoy playing and immersing myself into these worlds. Sadly, I don’t have 40 extra hours a week to devote to such in-depth games on a regular basis. It is for this reason that I have embraced the retrogaming world. Games that one can simply pick up, mess around with for 20 minutes and put down again very much have their place in the gaming world. Simpler games should not be sniffed at!
Hudson’s Adventure Island is a side-scrolling platform game adapted from the arcade game Wonder Boy. It was developed and published by Hudson Soft, released in Japan in 1986, North America in 1987, and Europe in 1992 under the title of Adventure Island Classic. Versions can be found on the NES, MSX, Game Boy, Gamate, Game Boy Advance, Game Cube and PlayStation 2. For this review, I played the NES version.
You play as Master Higgins (Master Wigins in the UK and Takahashi Meijin in Japan), who has travelled to an island in the South Pacific to rescue Princess Leilani (sometimes known as Tina) from the Evil Witch Doctor. Along the way you need to eat fruit that appear out of the ether in order to keep your energy levels up. However, if you get touched by an enemy, you instantly die.
Whilst traversing through forests, mountains and caves, you will find eggs that contain bonus items to help you on your way. These items include:
Stone axes – Which can be used to throw at the enemies
Skateboard – Helps you travel faster
A flower – Double the points you get from collecting fruit
Milk – Fills up your energy bar
Honey – Make you invincible for a limited period of time
However, beware of the:
Eggplant – Takes energy away from you (which is fair enough as eggplants suck!)
There are 32 stages in total spread out over eight worlds. These are further divided up with checkpoints. Once the fourth stage of an area is completed, you must fight and defeat an end of level boss.
It’s easy to look at these videogames nowadays and compare them to modern games, where they will always be found wanting. It is very unfair to do so. So let us compare it to a game that is still revered and remember fondly today: Super Mario Bros (1985). Intially, I don’t think the background graphics are any better or worse than SM3, but I do think it’s the sprite design and colours that separate the two here. From what I have seen so far from Adventure Island, the enemy sprites have little to no animation, a stark contrast to Sm3. Also, unlike the Super Mario Bros.franchise, Adventure Island’s music is very forgettable.
So what of gameplay? Adventure’s Island’s controls are very slip/slidey (seemingly even more so than in similar games), meaning lots of sliding off the edges of platforms and it takes a while to get used to. It is also very unforgiving. You only have three lives, with little chance of gaining more and no continues.
Did I complete the game?
No, at present, I can only get to the third level of world one.
What the critics said:
At present, I cannot find any comptemorary reviews.
“I just didn’t enjoy playing this game and had little desire to put too much time and energy into it. The graphics are good and it is diverting if you have a spare 15 minutes on your hands, but it just lacks charm and for me, the game just feels cheap.”
What are your memories of Hudson’s Adventure Island? I would love to hear your thoughts, and don’t for get to follow and subscribe so that you don’t miss my latest reviews! You can also find me on Instagram: @nicklovestogame.
Normally, fighting games aren’t for me. I have neither the patience nor desire to learn all the moves and master them so that I can spend hours on a single play at the arcades, defeating all opponents who dare to approach the arcade machine. There are, however, a few exceptions to this rule. The Street Fighter, Tekken and Soul Blade franchises have always managed to gain my attention. Tekken 3 is now 23 years old. The question is, does it still hold up?
Tekken 3 is a fighting game, and the third instalment in the Tekken franchise. It was developed and published by Namco and was released in the arcade in 1997 before being ported to the PlayStation in 1998. The arcade version was released for the PlayStation 2 in 2005, and re-released on PlayStation Classic Mini in 2018. Although I have previously owned Tekken 3 on the PlayStation, I chose to review the PlayStation Classic Mini version.
15 years after Tekken 2, Heihachi Mishima has established a paramilitary defence force, known as Tekken Force, to protect his company. Upon searching an ancient temple, they unwittingly release an ancient demon known as Ogre. Ogre proceeds to travel the world killing martial artists. In order to lure Ogre into a trap, Heihachi organises a third Iron Fist tournament.
The game contains 21 characters (11 of which need to be unlocked by completing the game with different characters). Each character has their own unique back stories, endings and fighting styles. There were two characters only available on PlayStation: Dr. Boskonovitch and Gon.
The returning characters were:
Anna Williams – Younger sister of Nina Williams, she was placed in suspended animation after the second Iron Fist Tournament. Before the third tournament she was reanimated. She follows Nina into the third tournament in a bid to help her regain her memory and to stop her from becoming an assassin again.
Heihachi Mishima – Head of Mishima Zaibatsu and grandfather of Jin Kazama, he arranges the third Iron Fist Tournament to lure Ogre into the open.
Lei Wulong – A respected detective, Lei has entered the tournament to investigate the disappearance of the martial artists masters.
Nina Williams – After failing to assassinate Kazuya Mishima in the last tournament, Nina was forced to become a test subject for cryogenic experiments. She has been reawakened by Ogre’s powers and plans to assassinate Jin Kazama.
Paul Phoenix – Frustrated by letting victory in the previous tournament slip from his grasp, he has renewed his training. He is determined not to let victory escape him this time.
Yoshimitsu – Leader of the Manji Clan, Yoshimitsu and his clan act as a modern day Robin Hood abs his Merry Men. Upon learning his friend Dr. Bosconovitch needs Ogre’s blood to survive, he has entered the tournament to help the man who once saved him.
Bryan Fury – A cyborg kickboxer who plans to kidnap Dr. Bosconovitch for his creator Dr. Abel.
Dr. Bosconovitch – Elderly genius scientist and friend of Yoshimitsu. Currently imprisoned by the Mishima Zaibatsu.
Eddy Gordo – Eddy seeks to avenge his father who was killed by the “Organsiation”, and were also responsible for him being thrown in jail. By winning the Iron Fist Tournament, he hopes to take over the Mishima Financial Empire and use their resources against the “Organisation”.
Forest Law – Son of Marshal Law, he was persuaded to enter the Iron Fist Tournament by Paul Phoenix where he can prove himself to his father.
Gon – An unlockable fighting dinosaur.
Gun Jack – Third in the series of the Jack robots. He has been sent into the tournament to retrieve the memory data of Jack 2.
Hwoarang – Hwoarang has two motives for entering the Iron Fist Tournament. The first is to defeat Ogre who killed his mentor, Baek. The second, is to defeat Jin, who he had previously lost to in a fight.
Jin Kazama – Jin is Jun Kazama’s son. He was trained by his grandfather, Heihachi, and seeks to defeat Ogre in order to avenge the death of his mother.
Julia Chang – Adopted daughter of Michelle Chang. She has entered the tournament to rescue he mother who has been kidnapped by Mishima Zaibatsu.
King II – A protege of the original King, who was killed by Ogre, King II wishes to become a professional wrestler and take over his mentor’s orphanage.
Kuma II – Son of the original Kuma, he is Heihachi’s loyal bodyguard.
Ling Xiaoyu – Ling is a huge fan of amusement parks. She wishes to win the Iron Fist Tournament to raise enough money to build an amusement park in China.
Mokujin – A 2000 year old training dummy who has been brought to life by Ogre’s release.
Panda – Xiaoyu’s pet and bodyguard.
Tiger Jackson – A disco man with an afro. Basically, a palette swap of Eddy Gordo.
Ogre – The God of Fighting, he is a mysterious humanoid who is immortal.
True Ogre – Ogre’s true self.
Ok, let’s not beat around the bush. This game is awesome! There really is no disputing that statement. I remember when this game came out. I was blown away by the graphics. Although nowadays, it looks a little rough around the edges, I still think it looks great and, graphically, has held up.
The basics of the game are easy to learn. Advance, retreat, left punch, right punch, left kick, right kick, jump etc. However, this is a 3D game, so you are able to side step into the back and foreground. If you’re close enough to the opponent and perform a throw, your character will perform different throws depending on which way your opponent is facing. During the fights, you are able to access the move manual which shows you how to perform a large array of moves, which is handy for beginners.
As well as the standard Arcade/Story Mode and Two Player Vs. Mode, there are several other modes which really add to the replay value of this game:
Team Battle Mode – Each team chooses four players in a winner stays on fight. The first defeat all characters in the other team wins.
Survival Mode – Choose a character to fight with and see how many fights you can win consecutively. You gain back a little bit of energy after each fight, but not much. You cannot change the difficulty setting, time limit or number of rounds. There is no option for Player 2 to join.
Time Attack Mode – Compete against the clock to complete all stages. Again, you cannot change the difficulty setting, time limit or number of rounds. You cannot change characters when continuing and Player 2 cannot join.
Tekken Force Mode – This beat ‘em up style mode sees you fight your way through several levels battling the Tekken Force. Although it was a nice idea, this mode falls a bit flat in practice. It’s a poor man’s side-scrolling beat ‘em up.
Practice Mode – Pretty self-explanatory.
Tekken Ball Mode – This is great fun. It’s beach volleyball, but using fighting moves to hit the ball. The stronger your attack, the more power the ball absorbs until it finally hits someone, dealing them a devastating blow, or until it hits the floor.
Theatre Mode – This mode allows you to re-watch all the FMV sequences that you have unlocked in the game.
You’ll have hours and even weeks of enjoyment out of this one. I’ll say it, this game is amazeballs! My favourite character to play with is Hwoarang. Some of his kick combinations are phenomenal, and I throroughly enjoy kicking my little brother’s butt with him.
Did I complete the game?
Yes, I unlocked all videos, modes and characters
What the critics said:
Allgame: “It’s loads of fun with quick and deep gameplay that’ll keep you, your friends, and most of the gamers in this genre busy for weeks and months on end. Overall 4.5/5“.
Computer and Video Games: “Fantastic! Own the arcade at home, plus a whole bunch of new features and characters. Overall 5/5”.
Edge Magazine:“Edge’s only – slight – reservation is that those who have played Tekken 2 to the point of exhausting all enthusiasm for the game may not find this new version initially appealing. Those prodigal sons should persevere, as even a short sequence of bouts will bring the reward of instant addiction. Make no mistake, the master has returned. Overall 9/10”.
Entertainment Weekly: “Building on its predecessors (both all-time PlayStation best-sellers), the latest version has crisper graphics and speedier martial-arts animation. Watch the characters sidestep, punch, and kick in their beautifully detailed costumes, and you’ll think you’re performing in a ballet choreographed by Jackie Chan. Overall A”.
Game Informer: “Tekken 3 is just plain awesome. Tekken 2 is still one of my favorite(sic) fighters, but 3 just puts it to shame. There are so many unique fighters like Lei, King, Gordo, and Hwoarang that can be played by anyone; but only a select few will be able to master their fighting styles. It is a shame though that the 1-player Arcade mode can still be beaten on Easy set at one round, but the Force Mode does make for some very interesting and entertaining 1-player fighting. Of course, 2-player mode is where Tekken 3 is at. Spend a night unlocking the characters and a lifetime battling it out with your friends. If you only buy one fighting game this year, make it Tekken 3. Overall 9.5/10”.
GamePro: “There’s no arguing that other games will try to topple Tekken 3, but that’s a tall order to fill. Trust us-Tekken 3 is the best fighting game ever. Overall 5/5“. 
Game Revolution: “All in all, Tekken 3 ranks as one of the best console fighting games ever…If you have a PlayStation, and you love fighting games, the decision to buy this game is a no-brainer. If you’re still dropping quarters in the arcade version, forget it, just get the home version. With everything that the arcade version has and more, this is one of the few times that a console game outshines its arcade counterpart. Overall 4.5/5”.
GameSpot:“Not much stands between Tekken 3 and a perfect 10 score. If the PlayStation exclusive characters were better and Force mode a bit more enthralling, it could have come closer to a perfect score. Needless to say, Tekken 3 is the best PlayStation game to come along in a long time, and this one won’t be topped anytime soon. Overall 9.9/10”.
IGN: “Tekken 3 on the PlayStation is the most well-rounded fighting package on the market. Not only does it provide an excellent fighting game, but the extra modes and practice features make it the benchmark for fighters to come. The only gripe that we’d have with it is that Namco’s set the bar so high that we shudder with anticipation and dread over what the designers’ll have to do to top this. Overall 9.3/10”.
Next Generation: “There is no better fighting game, on this system or any other. It’s clearly superior to the previous games in the series and a stunning value for Tekken aficionados. Overall 4.5/5”.
Best Fighting Game – 1998 Best of E3 Game Critics Awards
Fighting Game of the Year – 1998 Gamers’ Choice Awards
Best Fighting Game of the Year – Video Games Awards
“Great graphics (with the exception of a few shaky parts) and great gameplay, full of unique characters and storylines. There is plenty here to keep you coming back for more time and time again. The game has aged very well and still feels fresh.”
What are your memories of Tekken 3? I would love to hear your thoughts, and don’t for get to follow and subscribe so that you don’t miss my latest reviews! You can also find me on Instagram: @nicklovestogame.
There is something inherently violent about humans, there really is no way to ignore it. Archaeological evidence of mass graves where the occupants show signs of sharp and blunt force trauma, and historical records of battles throughout history attest to this. This may be why gamers are drawn towards to violent games. Although, it is not so much the killing but the hero fantasy that we seek. We are never going to take on an entire castle of baddies using only our guile, sharpshooting and hand to hand combat skills in real life (thankfully), so we immerse ourselves in artifical worlds. Some may think there is something wrong with that. I say, what’s wrong with a little hero fantasy every now and them?
Return to Castle Wolfenstein is a first-person shooter, and a reboot of Wolfenstein 3D (1992). It was developed by Gray Matter Interactive (Nerve Software developed the multiplayer) and published by Activision. It was released for the Microsoft Windows in 2001, Linux and Macintosh in 2002, Xbox and PlayStation 2 in 2003, and Steam in 2007. I chose to review the Microsoft Windows version.
It’s 1943 and World War II has been raging for four years. The Nazis have uncovered an ancient demon named Henrich who has been trapped deep underground in a magical prison for 1000 years. They’re also developing a super soldier capable of destroying the allies and winning the war. You play as US Army Ranger William Blazkowitz who is charged with investigating the Nazis’ SS Paranormal Division and stopping their evil plans.
The missions consist of assassinations, data retrieval and sabotage. Some of the missions rely on stealth and your mission is over if you are spotted, which adds an extra layer of difficulty and breaks up the action nicely. It’s quite a long game, with some of the missions being quite lengthy for the time. There are plenty of authentic World War II weapons to choose from as well as fictional weapons such as the Tesla gun. Along the way, you will find ammo, armour and health packs to restore you weapons and health.
The story, although fantastical, is engaging. The graphics and sound effects are good for the time, but the AI, as with lots of games of this era, still needs work. Enemies vary in strength and difficulty, these include standard German soldiers, experimental soldiers and the undead.
There is not much replay value here but the multiplayer addition was critically acclaimed.
Did I complete the game?
I am adamant that I completed this game when I first played it after its release. However, this time around, I couldn’t get defeat the final boss.
What the critics said:
Computer Gaming World:“If all you want to do is blast your way through countless Nazis and zombies, then this game is probably for you. But if you want a deep, engaging storyline with surprising twists and turns, this probably isn’t for your cup o’ tea. Overall 3.5/5”.
Eurogamer: “Return to Castle Wolfenstein is a worthy addition to the stable of id Software affiliated shoot ’em ups. The single player game is average to good and takes quite a while to finish, but the game really earns its salt by shipping with a first class multiplayer element. Overall 8/10”. 
Game Revolution: “But in all, Return to Castle Wolfenstein is not what it could have been. As a story it’s utterly bizarre, as a sequel it’s sub-par, but as a stand-alone game it’s very good. The simple truth is that regardless of the detractions, killing Nazis will always be fun…always. There are few times that you can play a game and feel you made the world a better place. Wolfenstein 3D was one of those times. If the world isn’t any better after playing Return to Castle Wolfenstein, at least it might brighten your day. Overall 3.5/5”.
Gamespot: “In a weird inversion of the typical shooter model, Return to Castle Wolfenstein features an amazing multiplayer component coupled with a good if somewhat underwhelming single-player game. Then again, fans of id Software’s previous 3D shooters should be familiar with this model. But honestly, Return to Castle Wolfenstein is well worth buying for the multiplayer game alone, so the fact that you get a solid single-player game in the box can only be considered a bonus. Overall 9.2/10”.
IGN: “The single player campaign is certainly decent and will hold people’s interest long enough to get them accustomed to the various weapons in time to jump into multiplayer. It’s not quite the revolutionary trip back to Castle Wolfenstein that people may have been hoping for, but that’s no reason to discount it, as it is nothing less than a solid and satisfying experience. But it’s no doubt that the real value in the title falls on the multiplayer which is definitely one of the most enjoyable experiences I’ve had in quite a while. It all adds up to a really fun game that fans of the genre will love to get a piece of. Overall 9/10“.
Defeating the Nazi’s always feels fun and for the most part so is this game. I like the story, I like the graphics and I like the variety of missions. Unless you play multiplayer, there isn’t much replay value, but the game is long enough to certainly justify the purchase.
What are your memories of Return to Castle Wolfenstein? I would love to hear your thoughts, and don’t for get to follow and subscribe so that you don’t miss my latest reviews! You can also find me on Instagram: @nicklovestogame.
Altered Beast was one of the first 16-bit games I played as child and I have idealised memories of how good the game was. The question is…how will I feel revisiting it after 25 years?
Altered Beast is a side-scrolling beat ‘em up with some platform gaming elements. It was developed and published by Sega, and released in the arcade in 1988. It was later ported to the Master System, PC, NES, Atari ST, Mega Drive, ZX Spectrum, MSX, Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC, Amiga and MS-DOS. It was later released in the Wii Virtual Console, Xbox and PlayStation. For this review, I played the Mega Drive version.
“Rise from your grave!” commands Zeus, as you emerge from your tomb. You play as a Roman Centurion who is resurrected by Zeus (I know Zeus was a Greek God and the Roman equivalent was Jupiter, but let’s overlook the mythological inconsistencies). Your mission is to rescue Zeus’ daughter, Athena, (Minerva for the Romans) from the evil Demon God known as Neff who has taken her to the Underworld.
You must punch and kick your way through graveyards and caverns to reach the Underworld, all the while fighting numerous undead minions and monsters. In order to meet and defeat the end of level bosses, you need to collect three orbs which increase your strength and eventually morph you into anthropomorphised animals such as wolves, bears, tigers and dragons, each with unique abilities.
The game is tougher and more frustrating than I remember. The screen scrolls slowly from left to right automatically, meaning you have no choice but to advance. The controls are sluggish and your punching and kicking range is so small that you need to get very close to the enemies. They are quicker than you and so can kick your arse pretty easily. Modern critics argue that the game doesn’t hold up to today and I have to agree.
The graphics are clearly, early 16-bit. The sprites and backgrounds would be cleaner and more detailed if this game was released a few years later. Having said that, I still think the games looks good. The creepy gothic organ music during the cutscenes is pretty cool too.
In a previous review, Shining in the Darkness, I discussed the possible links that suggest Shining in the Darkness and Golden Axe were in the same universe, due to the presence of Gilius Thunderhead, the green dwarf. During this review, I noticed that the Chicken Stingers, are identical (except for the colour palette change) to some of the Bizzarians in Golden Axe. Does this mean that Altered Beast is also set in the same universe as Shining in the Darkness and Golden Axe?
Did I complete the game?
What the critics said:
Mean Machines Sega:“Altered Beast is a spot-on conversion of the coin-op. The trouble is, the game wasn’t exactly a smash-hit – it’s a very simply beat ‘em up with only five levels. The gameplay is very samey, and it doesn’t take long to get all the way through the game. Overall 67%.”
Sega Pro: “For its day, it was amazing – speech, smooth scrolling and lots of playability. However, its finest hour has truly passed. Overall 74%”.
The Games Machine: “Altered Beast turns out very close indeed to its arcade origins, complete with two-player mode. The main characters and enemy sprites look ever so slightly washed out, but the detail is all there, and background graphics are spot on. Overall 87%.“
Sega Power:“However much you enjoy the coin-op, give this one a miss. Poor scrolling, jerky animation and limited gameplay. Overall 2/5”.
“Does Altered Beast deserve the accolade of being a classic title? There are many video games that acheive the accolade as a ‘classic’ but not all of them are worthy of title. Having revisited Altered Beast, I can say that the concept was great, but the execution was lacking. The game is too short, the controls too sluggish and frustrating, and the graphics should have been better. I think this game is better remembered than played.”
What are your memories of Altered Beast? I would love to hear your thoughts, and don’t for get to follow and subscribe so that you don’t miss my latest reviews! You can also find me on Instagram: @nicklovestogame.
 ‘Review: Mega Drive – Altered Beast’. Mean Machines Sega. (October 1992). Issue 1:137.
 ‘Sega Software Showdown – Altered Beast – Mega Drive.’ Sega Pro. (November 1991). Issue 1:19.
 ‘Review – Altered Beast’. The Games Machine. Issue 19:17.
 Jarrett, S., ‘The Hard Line – Altered Beast’. Sega Power. (April 1991). Issue 23:52.