Puzzle games have always been popular. Humans clearly enjoy the mental challenge of solving a puzzle as well as the competitive challenge of solving it faster than a friend or opponent. One would presume that many puzzle games such as Tetris (1984), Columns (1989), Pipe Mania (1989) and Shanghai (1986) were cheap and easy to produce. Their popularity stems from the personal challenge as well as the fact that they are easy to learn but difficult to master. As the complexity of video games increased, how could game creators use the ideas from previous puzzle games and expand them for modern gamers of the 1990s? One answer was Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine.
Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine is a falling block puzzle game and can be played in single or two-player mode. It was developed by Compile Co., Ltd. and published by Sega. It was released on the following platforms:
Mega Drive and Game Gear in 1993
Master System in 1994
Sonic Mega Collection for the GameCube in 2002
Wii Virtual Console in 2006
Sega Mega Collection Plus for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox in 2004
Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in 2009
Microsoft Windows in 2010
Nintendo 3DS in 2013
For this review, I played the version found on the Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection (2009).
On the planet Mobius, Dr. Robotnik, Sonic the Hedgehog’s arch nemesis, has created a Mean Bean-Steaming Machine in order to turn the peaceful inhabitants of Beanville into evil robots. Once he has his army, he intends to ensure that music and fun disappear from Mobius forever…what a miserable bugger!
The game is similar to Tetris (1984) and Columns (1989), in that blocks, or in this case two coloured beans, fall from the top of the screen. As they slowly descend, you must decide where to place them before they reach the bottom. You can rotate them in order to place them vertically or horizontally, as well as changing which order the coloured beans are placed in.
When beans of the same colour are either on top, below or either side of another bean of the same colour, they form a link. When you link four or more beans together, they will disappear allowing earning you points and allowing beans that were above them to fall directly downward. The more beans you make disappear, the higher your score. The game ends when either you or your opponent’s dungeon is completely filled with beans.
To make this game more challenging, if you make more than one set of coloured beans disappear in a chain reaction, for example, then ‘refugee’ beans appear above your opponent’s screen. They will eventually fall and block your opponent from matching beans together. These ‘refugee’ beans can be made to disappear by matching four or more of that same-coloured beans whilst the ‘refugee’ beans are directly above, below or adjacent to the matching ones.
How Does It Handle?
The game is very easy to learn, and the controls are simple. A practice mode is available, but you really won’t need to bother with this unless you are a younger or more inexperienced gamer.
The graphics won’t blow you away, but they don’t need to. They are perfect for what this game is. They are bright and colourful, and beans are easily distinguishable.
The in-game music is very good. I particularly like the descending riff. I don’t know whether this riff was intentionally created to accentuate the fact that the beans are falling or whether this is a coincidence. Either way, I liked the music for this game.
Be warned, this game is not walk in the park! It is a tough game, and will take time and a multitude of continues to beat it. Luckily, the creators give you infinite continues and offer a password system so that you don’t need to keep going back to the beginning.
I’m not really a fan of these types of games but the more I played it, the more I enjoyed it. Its fun and really comes into its own in two-player mode.
Did I Complete The Game?
No, I couldn’t get past the 8th stage.
What The Critics Said:
Computer & Video Games:“…is as addictive and frustrating as the game it’s based on, the famous puzzler Tetris. The beans are a lot cuter and colourful than a bunch of bricks, and you also have to compete against the computer, which plays on a screen next to you; this makes the game even more difficult to complete. The graphics are bright and colourful, although not too adventurous, but it’s all good, obsessive fun. Overall 90%”.
GamePro:“Despite a lot of similarities to Tetris, Columns, and other classic puzzlers, this game is no has-bean. The offensive strategy makes it especially fun when playing against a friend. Games of this kind seem few and far between for the Genesis, so fans of this genre should find Mean bean Machine a match made in heaven. Overall 4.375/5”.
Mega: “Don’t let the seemingly innocuous exterior and simplistic appearance put you off. Mean Bean Machine is a devilishly addictive game which even haters of all stings Sonic-related will love.” Overall 90%”.
“Bright, colourful with quirky music, this game is a lot of fun and particularly comes into its own in two-player mode. However, it is just too darn difficult in single player mode for the casual gamer. If you’re a fan of these sorts of puzzle games will love this game. If not, it is still worth a place in your collection.”
What are your memories of Dr Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine? 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.
 Tipping, A., Computer & Video Games. (January 1994). Issue 146:93.
 Andromeda, ‘Genesis ProReview – Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine’. (January 1994). Volume 6, Number 1:58.
 Dyer, A., Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine. Mega. (January 1994). :48-9.
For better or for worse, game creators are always looking to innovate with video games. They strive to make games more realistic, and to give gamers a feeling of awe and wonderment when they first see the game. They want the experience to be immersive, drawing the gamer into an imaginary world of escapism. Sometimes, the innovations are ground-breaking and the game in question is revered by creators and gamers alike, going down in history and regularly being referred to as “the game that broke the mould”. Sometimes, however, the game is a dud. Sometimes, creators try too much too soon before the technology has been fully realised, affecting the gameplay, sound and graphics, leading the game to be panned and unappreciated in the annuls of video game history.
Broken Sword 3: The Sleeping Dragon broke the mould of the format of the games that went before in the franchise. The question is: Is the game a dud or is it hailed as a giant leap forward in adventure gaming?
Broken Sword 3: The Sleeping Dragon is a single-player adventure game developed by Revolution Software. It was published by THQ in Europe and The Adventure Company in North America. It was released on Microsoft Windows, Xbox and PlayStation 2 in 2003. It is the third instalment of the Broken Sword series. For this review, I chose to play the PC version.
The story begins a few years after the events of Broken Sword 2: The Smoking Mirror. We find that Nico Collard and George Stobbart have parted ways. George has returned to the US to continue his career as a lawyer and Nico is still that hungry journalist we met during their first outing.
It is a dark, stormy night in Paris. Beneath the city, a clandestine meeting is taking place. We are given little information other than a moment in time of great significance is drawing near. An individual known as the Preceptor sends his minions on an important mission…where failure will result in Armageddon!
Next, we find George on a chartered flight, flying over the jungle in the Congo. His pilot is unable to evade an oncoming storm and the plane crashes.
Back in Paris, a software consultant by the name of Vernon Blier is working at his computer. In the background, the news is reporting occurrences of extreme weather around the globe.
Broken Sword 3: The Sleeping Dragon is the first and only game of the series to break away from the point-and-click style of gameplay. The game itself is more action driven. You can control your character making them walk, run, and creep, and there is an introduction of a new action menu. When you near something or someone that you can interact with, a little animated star-type cursor will appear on that something or someone. At the same time, a symbol will appear in the bottom right screen where there is a template of four buttons in the shape of a diamond. You have the choice to click which action you wish to take. There are also instances in the game where you need to time your actions precisely, else you may die and have to restart the action scene.
How Does It Handle?
Straight away I can tell you that judging by the way the game is designed, it is clearly created with a controller in mind. When playing on the PC and using a keyboard, the game feels awkward and clumsy. I was unable to get my PC Controller to work with the game but that may simply be down to my technological ineptitude. Eitherway, it shouldn’t be that difficult to switch to a more game-friendly way of playing.
One rather annoying aspect of the game is that you cannot seem to skip conversations that you previously have had. When a game relies on revisiting characters to see if new questions have appeared, this becomes tiresome.
The graphics look great. This is the first instalment of the series where Broken Sword moved into 3D graphics, and thankfully they did a great job. The characters do not look polygonal at all, the backgrounds are detailed and well designed. Oddly, when the camera gets a bit too close to Nico, it seems she has a bit of a pig nose reminiscent of Christina Ricci’s character in Penelope (2008) (I may be exaggerating here).
Even though the game contains voice actors, the subtitles appear in different colours, signifying that a different person is speaking, which is a nice touch. It would still have been nice to have the name of the individual talking or a little portrait box indicating who is speaking.
Occasionally, there is a convoluted puzzle like when you need to use an iron bar to break some silver coins out of a laminated book cover (I know, right?). There is also a lack of inventivness in the puzzle department. On several occasions, the puzzles are simply the same tired moving crates and square boulders around in a grid to climb over a wall or onto a ledge.
Did I Complete The Game?
What The Critics Said:
Adventure Gamers: “An amazing, brilliant story, at times told with such directorial excellence as to bring out emotions normally reserved for Final Fantasy. Gorgeous, eye-popping cutscenes. Infuriatingly stupid puzzle design at nearly every step of the way. Broken Sword: The Sleeping Dragon is a game of breathtaking (sic) highs and ridiculous lows, and thankfully the highs definitely outnumber the lows (moreso(sic) if you’re better at crate puzzles than me, which apparently shouldn’t be too difficult). The bold attempts to innovate and push the adventure to new places are generally successful and quite welcome. Overall 4/5”.
Edge Online: “Extravagance was one of the signatures of the graphic adventure: extravagance to bring them in, and a cracking story well told to keep them. Both tenets of the Broken Sword series remain intact here, and that’s all the devoted fans could have wanted. A fairytale (sic) comeback. Overall 9/10”.
GameSpot: “Even if Broken Sword can at times be frustrating to play, it’s a joy to behold. The graphics sure aren’t cutting edge, but the attention to detail, vibrant colors(sic), and smooth animations give the game its own attractive style. (The “idle” animations of Nico repeatedly brushing her shoulder or stretching are odd and distracting, though.) The wonderfully elegant and evocative soundtrack varies from bold fanfares to jaunty comic bits to pensive piano interludes to suit the locales and situations. The voice-overs really bring the game to life, too. By and large, the actors are really acting here instead of just lazily reading their lines like you find in so many games. Unfortunately, the voice-overs highlight the game’s biggest flaw, a major sound bug. Occasionally, dialogue can cut out, a character will make two statements at the same time, or two characters will speak over each other entirely. This bug can ruin the mood or make it hard to know what on earth is going on when you miss vital dialogue.
It’s a shame problems like that mar Broken Sword: The Sleeping Dragon. With its blend of cinematic style, 3D immersion, sharp writing, and likable characters, this is otherwise an adventure game that does the genre proud. Overall 8.1/10“.
IGN: “Cartoonish graphics, incredible voice acting and an engrossing story all make this a game to look at, that is – if you can get past the horrible interface and somewhat repetitive block puzzles. Finishing the game also has a reward associated with it, in addition to the impressive ending. This is something far too few PC games do. The ending left it open enough for the next incarnation of Broken Sword – the adventures of George and Nico. I just would ask one thing of the developers – please improve the interface and skip the block puzzles! Those are the two things preventing this from being the perfect adventure game. Overall 8.4/10”.
Game Chronicles: “Adventure gaming is alive and well thanks to designers like Revolution and publishers like The Adventure Company. Broken Sword: The Sleeping Dragon is a stunning achievement in interactive entertainment. With a solid story, engaging characters, stunning visuals, and delightful dialogue, this is one adventure you simply won’t be able to tear yourself away from. This is a must-own title for anyone looking to relive the golden era of adventure gaming Overall 9.2“.
Eurogamer: “In many senses The Sleeping Dragon is a leap forward for the genre. The actual play mechanics, the interface and the visuals are great, but you’ll be wishing Revolution and THQ had invested as much time and effort polishing the narrative and puzzle element to the same high standards. We’re in no doubt that it tried, but we can’t lie just because we think Charles is a good bloke. We’re caught in two minds, ultimately. One says we’re excited to be talking about a largely uncompromising adventure game that does much to revive a dead genre, the other is that we’re gutted that it’s populated with cast hired from Stereotypes Anonymous that should have been subjected to the firing squad at the concept stage. There’s much potential here, but Cecil and co. have some work to do before they can awaken The Sleeping Genre. Overall 6/10“.
“It’s great to have another Broken Sword game to add to the franchise. The game looks awesome, the music is cool and the story is…ok. However, the controls are awkward when playing on PC, and I didn’t like the move away from the point-and-click style of controls. I also found some of the puzzles montonous and tiresome. I just didn’t enjoy this game as much as I enjoyed the previous instalments in the series.”
What are your memories of Broken Sword 3: The Sleeping Dragon? 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.
Enemies vary in strength and difficulty, these include standard German soldiers, experimental soldiers and the undead.
How Does It Handle?
The story, although fantastical, is engaging. The AI, as with lots of games of this era, still needs work. The controls work well, although, with the more stealthier missions, it’s not always easy to see whether you are in the enemies line of sight.
The graphics look a tad polygonal now but when the game was released it looked awesome. There is plenty of detail in the scenery to help immerse yourself in the cave.
If memory serves, there’s not much music in this game. However, the diegetic music of the old gramophone records really draws you into the game. This was a nice touch by the creators.
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.
How Does It Handle?
Modern critics argue that the game doesn’t hold up to today and I have to agree. 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.
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 music isn’t that much to write home about. However, the creepy gothic organ music during the cutscenes is pretty cool.
Shining in the Darkness and Golden Axe Link?
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.
Before the 1990s, RPGs were a niche genre in the video game world. They take a lot of time and effort to play, and not everyone has the patience or desire to attempt such gargantuan games. However, those that do play RPGs cherish every moment of their journeys through fantastical universes. They take great care in building up their warriors and magic users in order to defeat hordes of enemies. Phantasy Star was one such RPG which was highly praised by critics, even though it did push the Sega Master System to its limits. The successor to the Master System, the Mega Drive, offered the creators of Phantasy Star II more to work with.
Phantasy Star II is a single-player RPG developed and published by Sega. It was released for the Mega Drive in 1989, but it wouldn’t reach North America and Europe until 1990. It was later re-released on the Sega Saturn and Game Boy Advance as part of the Phantasy Star Collection, and the Dreamcast as part of the Smash Pack Volume 1. In 2005, an updated remake was released in Japan for the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Portable. For this review, I played was the Mega Drive version on Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection (2009) on the PlayStation 3 (also available on the Xbox).
The game is set 1000 years after the events of Phantasy Star and takes us back to the Andromeda galaxy and the Algo star system. Orbiting the Algo sun are three planets: Palma – where the government reside; Mota – once an arid desert planet that has since been transformed into a tropical paradise; and Dezo – an inhospitable ice planet.
The Algo star system has prospered under the control of Mother Brain, a computer that regulates the climate, and is responsible for terraforming Mota. However, Mother Brain has started malfunctioning, producing increasingly strong monsters. One night, Rolf (our main protagonist) awakes from a nightmare, where a young girl whom he doesn’t recognise is battling a demon. It is suggested that this girl is Alis from Phantasy Star. After being informed of Mother Brain’s malfunction, Rolf, along with Nei, a humanoid with cat-like features, sets off to investigate why Mother Brain has seemingly turned against its creators.
Phantasy Star II is first video game to use a mega 6-bit cartridge. This enabled the designers to create the largest world yet seen in a video game. They have dispensed with the dungeon crawling parts of the game (much to the chagrin of many who love dungeon crawlers), and have focussed on the overworld views when trawling through the dungeons.
How Does It Handle?
They have still yet to fix the fighting menu. Annoyingly, you still need to scroll through the menus to target individual monsters which is tiresome.
There are two further irritating aspects to this game which I would have hoped they’d have resolved by now. The first is that many of the names of the plethora of spells you are able to use do not indicate what type of spell it is. The manual doesn’t have any information on this either, so you need to experiment during battles to find out what the oddly named spells do.
“That’s part of the fun!”, I hear some of you cry. Not really. One would assume that a magic user would know what the spell was they were using. Hopefully this will be resolved in Phantasy Star III.
The second irritating aspect is that you do not have a combined inventory, so you need to constantly scroll through the menus in order to exchange items between your fighters. Its exasperating!
As expected, the overall graphics have been improved, creating three very distinct worlds. The sprites in the overworld maps are more individualised and are brightly coloured. The dialogue screens have also been greatly updated to anime-style character screens.
The battles screens are greatly improved. Firstly, you can now see your characters attacking animations, and the enemies are more varied and detailed. Sadly, they decided to take away the scenic backgrounds and replace them with a blue grid. I’m not sure what the thinking was behind that decision.
Music & SFX
I don’t really recall much about either. They clearly aren’t very memorable.
Did I Complete The Game?
Yes, it felt like a slog at times, and needed a walkthrough on occasion.
Dragon: “The animation, especially for battles, is superb. There are over 50 spells available. Even weapons and armor can give benefits to characters beyond their normal effects. For example, special armor found in one dungeon allows the wearer to cast a healing spell every so often. The battle system enables more than one type of creature to attack and allows the characters to attack specific creatures instead of idiotically going after one creature at a time. This game is definitely a winner. Overall 5/5”.
Electronic Gaming Monthly: Martin – “RPG’s aren’t my thing., but this one has a monstrous quest anyone can get involved with and lost in…I wish the battle scenes were on landscapes instead of boring blue grid, but all in all PS2 is presented well. Overall 8/10”.
Raze: “Large combat sprites, wonderful scenes and backdrops. Great in-game effects and unobtrusive background music. A challenging quest packed with gameplay. Overall 90%”.
Video Games and Computer Entertainment: “It’s very user friendly, with a simple but extensive menu system, and a battery back-up that allows you to save numerous games in progress. The plot advances quickly, providing a constant stream of new subplots…Phantasy Star II is a complex and eminently enjoyable game that will give you more variety and challenge for your buck than any other video game. Overall 9/10”.
Zero: “Phantasy Star II is definitely not just any old thing. In fact, it’s just about everything you could want from this kind of game – big (very big), involved, exciting and challenging. Overall 89%”.
Sega Power:“Long-awaited sequel to the MS RPG. With a massive quest set over different worlds and four characters to control, you should be thankful for your battery back-up! Overall 5/5”.
“Graphically, a great improvement on the first, with an engaging story and plenty of action to keep you quiet for many hours. They just need to sort out that poxy battle menu! RPG fans will love this game!”
What are your memories of Phantasy Star II? 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.
Every once in a while, a game comes along and raises the bar for video games everywhere. In the 70s there was Space Invaders, Pong, and Asteroids. In the 80s you had Pacman, Super Mario Bros. and Tetris. In 1991 Street Fighter II hit the arcade and was an instant hit with people lining up to spend their pocket money for a few minutes of intense action.
Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting is a competitive fighting game developed and published by Capcom for the arcade and released in 1992. It is part of a sub-series of Street Fighter II games along with Street Fighter II: Championship Edition, Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers, Super Street Fighter Turbo, and Hyper Street Fighter II: The Anniversary Edition. I will not be reviewing each sub-series instalment individually, so they will all be lumped in together. For this review, I revisited Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting version that can be found of the SNES Mini.
Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting was also ported to the following:
1992 – Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC, Spectrum ZX and PC (DOS)
1994 – CPS Changer
1995 – Game Boy
1997 – Master System
1998 – Saturn and PlayStation
2004 – Mobile
2006 – PlayStation 2, XBox and PlayStation Portable
2018 – PlayStation 4, XBox One, Nintendo Switch and Windows
According to Street Fighter “canon”, Ryu won the first tournament by defeating Sagat. During the battle, Sagat was badly injured by Ryu, hence his chest scar, and suffered a mental breakdown. Later, the story seems to have changed a bit. Now, Sagat was winning the fight quite easily. When Ryu had been knocked down, Sagat offers a hand to help him up. Ryu, possibly affected by the darker nature of his martial art, takes advantage of this show of mercy and performs a Shoryuken to Sagat’s chest. Ryu goes on to win the tournament. Sagat melts away, is recruited by M. Bison and joins Shadaloo (Shadowloo – a powerful and deadly criminal organisation).
So, we find ourselves entering a second tournament. Who are the competitors?
Ryu is the champion of the first tournament and a student of Shotoken karate. Dedicating his entire life to martial arts, Ryu has no home, no family or friends. He wanders the globe testing his skills against other fighters.
Ken is also a student of Shotoken karate, but has a huge ego to match his fighting ability. In recent years, Ken has not been training as hard, and is not as sharp as he used to be. A challenge from fellow student Ryu prompts Ken back into action and he enters the tournament.
E. Honda is the greatest sumo wrestler of all time and has received the highly prestigious title of “Yokozuna” (Grand Champion). After hearing that the world doesn’t consider sumo wrestling a true sport, he has entered the tournament to prove himself.
Guile is ex-special forces. He was captured and imprisoned, along with co-pilot Charlie, during a mission to Cambodia (or Malaysia depending on which information you read). After months of imprisonment in the jungle, they escaped and began their long trek back to civilisation. Along the way Charlie died, and Guile has been seeking vengeance ever since.
Chun-Li is an undercover Interpol officer secretly tracking a smuggling organisation known as Shadowloo. The trail leads to the tournament in which she enters, believing that one of the Grand Masters (Balrog, Vega, Sagat or M. Bison) is responsible for her father’s death.
Blanka is somewhat of an enigma. From the rainforest of Brazil, he is the source of reported sightings of a creature that is half-man, half-beast. Recently he has been found wandering into cities and fighting whoever dares to confront him.
Zangief is a proud Russian. He loves his country and he loves fighting! One of his favourite pastimes is wrestling bears, hence the scars all over his body.
Dhalsim has spent a lifetime dedicating himself to yoga. He has a disciplined mind, but now he wishes to enter the tournament to test his fighting skills. Proving himself will help him gain a higher state of consciousness.
Balrog (based on boxer Mike Tyson) is a former Heavyweight boxing champion who has been banned from the ring for disobeying the rules. He is very strong and very aggressive, and fights in the streets of Las Vegas for money. He is also bodyguard to M. Bison.
Vega is a nobleman by birth, and has spent time blending Ninjitsu with skills learnt while he was a matador. He has been nicknamed the “Spanish Ninja”.
Sagat was once labelled “King of the Street Fighters” but has since lost this title due to being defeated by Ryu in the first tournament. Skilled in Muay Thai boxing, he plans to regain his title in this tournament.
M. Bison is a mysterious but powerful man. He is the leader of the criminal organisation Shadowloo and the ultimate boss that must be defeated to ensure victory.
Street Fighter II can be played in one or two-player modes. In one-player mode, once you have selected a fighter, you must battle your way through all the other opponents before fighting the Grand Masters: Balrog, Vega, Sagat and M. Bison. There are eight difficulty settings allowing for less experienced players to practice on easier settings. Each character has their own motivation for entering the tournament, and in order to see each character’s own unique ending, you need to defeat the game on at least level six (as I recall but I may be wrong).
Each character is distinct (although nowadays some argue a little stereotyped) and has their own individual fighting styles, except for Ken and Ryu who have the same Shotoken fighting style.
How Does It Handle?
Like all great games, Street Fighter II is easy to play but difficult to master. Once the fun of the one-player mode has been exhausted, Street Fighter II really comes into its own with a highly addictive two-player mode. All over the world, you can be guaranteed to bump into people who have memories and stories about rainy afternoons and late nights with friends playing into the the early hours of the morn. Additionally, during one and two-player modes, you can increase the fun and challenge even more by turning the time limit on or off, and increasing or decreasing the speed of the game.
The fights take place all over the world with beautifully illustrated and animated backdrops. The characters are highly detailed and are easily recognisable.
Music & SFX
The music is memorable, with each fighter having their own distinct tune. Some, annoyingly, get stuck in your head. Many of the phrases from the fighters such as hadouken, yoga flame and tiger uppercut have be one part of our everyday lexicon.
Did I Complete The Game?
I have completed the game in the sense that I have finished the game with all 12 characters and have seen their respective endings. However, I have not defeated the game with all 12 players on the hardest setting.
What The Critics Said:
Edge Magazine: “If you own SNES SFII it’s still a tricky decision whether you should buy Turbo: at current import prices, probably not. But if you’ve yet to be introduced to the genteel art of street-fighting, and have a few pounds to shed, SFII Turbo is the one to get. Overall 9/10“.
Gamepro:“Despite the minor quibbles with the AI of the computer, the repetitive crowd-noise effect, and the removal Re-Dizzy Combos from CE mode, SF II Turbo is worth every penny for its boss and speed features alone. Overall 5/5“.
Nintendo Power:“This game is a must have for all Super NES players who like action and competition. Overall 4/5“.
Electronic Games:“For those looking for a good fighting game, Street Fighter II is the best to date. Capcom should be proud. This translation has no equal. Overall 94%“.
Superplay:“Faults? Well, as a one-player game it’s superb, but inevitably has its limits – it’s the two-player game that makes it so great, even trouncing Super Tennis for laughs and general lasting interst. Overall 94%“.
Super NES Buyer’s Guide: “Spectacular graphics, great animations and realistic sounds make this a great game to get! Overall 9.3/10“.
Electronic Gaming Monthly: Steve: “All the moves, graphics, gameplay and sounds are rolled into a 16-Meg cartridge that will do anything but disappoint fans of the arcade original or fighting games in general. Awesome! Overall 9.5/10“.
N-Force: “The smooth animation’s poetry in motion, it’s martial art! Apart from minor control problems which will be remedied with the new joypad, this is everything you could ask for. If you’ve got a SNES you’ve got to get a copy. It’s the game of the year! Overall 96%”.
Megazone: “Street Fighter II is already and undoubted classic on the arcades and this classy conversion will be a smash hit for the Super Nintendo. Overall 95%“.
Best Game of the Year (All Games Systems) & (SNES) – Electronic Gaming Monthly’s Best and Worst of 1992
Best Video Game Ending (All Systems) – Electronic Gaming Monthly’s Best and Worst of 1992
Joint winner of Best Video Game Babe (All Systems) – Electronic Gaming Monthly’s Best and Worst of 1992
Hottest New Character in a Video Game (All Systems) – Electronic Gaming Monthly’s Best and Worst of 1992
Best Trick That Didn’t Work (All Systems) – Electronic Gaming Monthly’s Best and Worst of 1992
According to Wikipedia, Street Fighter II won several more accolades, but as of yet, I have been unable to find the original magazines to verify.
“Memorable characters, memorable music, and fab gameplay. SFII has multiple difficulty levels, plenty of different characters to use, and a competitive two-player mode, giving this game huge replay value. SFII remains close to the hearts of gamers everywhere.”
What are your memories of Street Fighter II? 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.