Tag Archives: 8Bit

Disney Afternoon Collection review

Many of us were raised on the Disney cartoons of the 80s and early 90s. We’d while away the hours watching the likes of Donald Duck, Darkwing Duck and Talespin. The game adaptations of these cartoons on the NES were surprisingly well put together titles, sporting clever mechanics, tight controls and challenging adventures. Now you can relive your digital adventures with these classic Disney games, or finally get to try them if you missed out. And thanks to excellent emulation with added features, they’re more accessible and enjoyable than ever.

The Disney Afternoon Collection is a selection of nostalgic drenched NES titles from Capcom, including two Ducktales games, two Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers games, Darkwing Duck and Talespin. The six games represent the golden age of 8bit platformers, with smart level design, simple objectives, yet challenging enemy placement and enemy quantity.

The Ducktales title’s standout feature is their non-linear level design, allowing you to explore multiple paths across densely populated levels with a pleasantly surprising amount of verticality. Meanwhile, the Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers title’s challenge you to conquer a level without an attack, instead you must pick up items to throw at enemies or dodge them altogether, making for a unique platforming experience. Darkwing Duck feels far more traditional, with platforming and shooting making the title feel like a Disney branded Mega Man title and offering a refreshing change of pace as well as combat abilities. Finally, Talespin’s side-scrolling shooting from the titular plane offers another nice departure from its bundled brethren, although this is easily the least enjoyable title from the collection, with the slow movement and combat paired with peculiar level design failing to fit with the mechanics. Overall, it’s a brilliantly diverse set of titles that offers unique challenges to test even the most veteran platforming connoisseurs.

However, to help combat the striking difficulty is the rewind function. This allows you to simply rewind time, making an otherwise fatal mistake a mere possible future in your time travelling escapades. It’s a neat feature that we’re seeing more and more with HD remasters of older titles, and it allows these classics to maintain their archaic lives systems while offering a more contemporary checkpoint-esque solution. There is also a save function, but its use is limited per level. In addition, there are visual options to help re-create the look of these titles from their NES days or sharpen them up for modern displays, as well as a Boss Rush and Time Attack mode for those looking for an even stiffer set of challenges. Meanwhile, digital version of each title’s manuals as well as some history and art work, makes this collection more than just a solution for playing these classics on modern hardware but also turns it into a museum piece for collectors.

Being able to play these classics, these points of inspiration for so many titles going forwards, is a delightful treat. They don’t entirely hold up to the nostalgic memory for those who played them back in their original form, but the added extras and the wonderful chip tune tracks are sure to put a smile on your face. Meanwhile, for those less versed in these titles, this is an excellent way to see what all the fuss was about. Indeed, there’s some fun to be had here and the history behind the titles is interesting, but a stiff challenge and some archaic design isn’t going to impress everyone.

Thanks to Xbox and Capcom for supporting TiX

Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight review

Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight is a retro 2D scrolling platformer, and that pretty much says it all.

There’s a plethora of this type of game out for the current generation of consoles – garish looking, 8-bit games with high definition audio, easy to handle gameplay reliant on button bashing and simplistic storylines.

That, however, doesn’t make it great. Sure, there’s the nostalgia of playing a game that harks back to Ghosts ‘n Goblins and the like, but it just feels underwhelming when played on a HD TV!

It’d be perfect for a casual gamer on a mobile gaming platform, wouldn’t feel out of place on the Nintendo 3DS (if it had 3D support), but on the Xbox One, it just feels a bit of a non-event.

The most interesting aspect of the game is actually the 8-bit graphics, more detailed and better animated than fans of the era may expect, but still blocky and occasionally odd looking. The same, however, can’t be said for a soundtrack that seems to meander, with no real sense of urgency.

For scrolling platformer fans, it’ll be easy to get into. Move from area to area, jump, drop and bash away at the buttons to defeat the myriad of bad guys. The same fans, however, will long to play other things, especially in an overly crowded world of emulators, “classic” re-releases and remasters.

Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight may have fans who will embrace this one, but for anyone new to the series, there’s not much to recommend.

Thanks to Xbox and Playism for supporting TiX

Thimbleweed Park is out today

Way back in November 2014 a Kickstarter campaign was launched to get Thimbleweed Park off the starting blocks and into development,  achieving its target was no problem and has finally been released to the masses. Thimbleweed Park is a Mystery game that has a distinct similarity to the X Files, but I’ll let you be the judge of that, check the trailer out below.

Description

Welcome to Thimbleweed Park. Population: 80 nutcases.

A haunted hotel, an abandoned circus, a burnt-out pillow factory, a dead body pixelating under the bridge, toilets that run on vacuum tubes… you’ve never visited a place like this before.

Five people with nothing in common have been drawn to this rundown, forgotten town. They don’t know it yet, but they are all deeply connected. And they’re being watched.

In a town like Thimbleweed Park, a dead body is the least of your problems.

Features

• From Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick, creators of Monkey Island and Maniac Mansion.
• A neo-noir mystery set in 1987.
• 5 playable characters who can work together… or get on each other’s nerves.
• Not a walking simulator!
• Satisfying puzzles intertwined with a twisty-turny story that will stay with you.
• A vast, bizarre world to explore at your own pace.
• A joke every 2 minutes… guaranteed!*
• Casual and Hard modes with varied difficulty.
• English voices with English, German, French, Italian, and Spanish subtitles.

*Not a guarantee.

Thimbleweed Park is on the Xbox Store now, should you wish you could always download the soundtrack HERE for a small fee.

 

The Disney Afternoon Collection coming soon to Xbox One

Do you have a soft spot for late 80s early 90s Disney cartoons and their respective games on the 8 and 16 bit systems of yore? Many of us here at TiX towers do, so when Capcom announced their Disney Afternoon Collection a little earlier on today, we all got rather excited.

The Disney Afternoon Collection will feature the classic games Darkwing Duck, Duck Tales, Duck Tales 2, Tail Spin, Rescue Rangers and Rescue Rangers 2, in all their pixelated glory but at the crispness of 1080p, coming out on the 18th April on Xbox One.

Review

Reagan Gorbachev is as ridiculous as you’d expect it to be considering it’s name. You play as US president Ronald Reagan and General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev, captured during The Reykjavík Summit on 1986 by military extremists. The two must put aside their distrust of each other and work as a team to escape their captors.

In order to escape the extremists you must switch between both Reagan and Gorbachev to utilise their unique abilities. Certain doors are locked and can only be opened by a specific person, denoted by their colour. Meanwhile, Gorbachev can also hack computer terminals. Levels are also typically setup with puzzles and traps that require the use of both characters independent in order to proceed, such as pressure pads that opens doors. As such you’ll need to frequently switch between the two, which can be a bit frustrating if you’re playing alone as the friendly AI isn’t as responsive as the unfriendly.

Enemies patrol each level, some armed with guns whilst others just use their fists, and whilst it’s possible to sneak past many of them, violence is often the more efficient and safer choice. When not controlling one of the characters, the AI steps in, responding to your orders to follow and stop and reacting to threats, however, their reactions are slower than that of your enemies’ and yourself, often meaning the character’s death, and it only takes one of you to fall for that level to be failed. placing each character strategically and maintaining control of the one likely to face an adversary is certainly the best option – or bring in a friend to play via local coop – and both characters are well equipped to deal with threats.

Reagan Gorbachev 1

As Reagan you’re equipped with a katana and can slice and dice anyone you come across, Gorbachev meanwhile has a poison dart blowpipe for attacking at range, although with a slight delay whilst the poison takes affect. It certainly encourages you to switch between the two to deal with different combat situations, but either world leader can still knock an enemy out if they get behind them, so you’re never really cornered. Furthermore, weapons can be picked up and used and range from silenced pistols, assault rifles, grenade launchers and even rocket launchers powerful enough to destroy walls. Using what you find to best deal with a level’s layout and enemy placement is the title’s primary challenge and source of enjoyment, and figuring it out is certainly fun.

It’s all very reminiscent of the original Metal Gear titles on the NES, with it’s top down view, 8bit graphical and level layout aesthetic, and the on-site procurement of weapons with the option for stealth. And it works well to offer different options in completing a level. And with a timer and online leaderboard highlighted at the end of each level, you’ll certainly feel compelled to re-try levels and find the most efficient way through.

Reagan Gorbachev 2

It quickly becomes very challenging, though, with levels getting bigger and more complex, filled with enemies and traps. The traps punish those not paying attention but are creative and useful once you do conquer them, even to the point of offering an alternative way of dispatching the enemies on a level. However, the enemies themselves pose the greatest threat and some poor design makes them even deadlier. You can survey the area before moving forwards by holding X and moving the camera with the analogue stick, however, you’re restricted to how far you can look. This frequently leads to situations where long corridors house a group of enemies at the end that you simply don’t see coming, introducing a frustrating trial and error process to figuring out a level.

Reagan Gorbachev 3

Additionally, targeting enemies to shoot can easily backfire, as the auto-targeting will lock on to the nearest enemy on the map rather than the nearest enemy within the same room or corridor, often leading to you spotting an enemy and frantically trying to target them before they shoot you, only to instead target a someone harmless in the room next door. You can switch targets easy enough but in a pinch it’s not ideal, and with the aforementioned camera surveying issue you can’t see the threats coming a lot of the time.

Reagan Gorbachev is an odd premise but a welcome one, it’s interesting and pleasing to see this kind of crazy storytelling and situation in a modern title; it harks back to the days of yore on the Commodore 64. However, poor targeting and camera controls makes this a frustratingly challenging title that distracts from the otherwise fun use of stealth, action and puzzle solving.

Thanks to Team2Bit and Xbox for supporting TiX.

Mega Man Legacy Collection review

Capcom have a habit of pulling on your nostalgia heart strings, earlier in the year an HD re-release of Resident Evil took us back to Nintendo’s Gamecube days and now an enhanced collection of Mega Man games takes us back to Nintendo’s very first home console, the NES. However, does the Mega Man Legacy Collection trade on nostalgia alone or do these classics still hold up today?

Marvellously Mega Man can fairly comfortably sit amongst todays platforming elite. With the Mega Man series being such a huge influence over the genre, much of it’s legacy survives in modern titles anyway, allowing the Blue Bomber to feel right at home in a new era. Moreover, the recent explosion of indie developed, retro stylised titles also aid in the battle against incongruity.

However, the Mega Man titles deserve the lion’s share of the credit for holding up against contemporaries, these are platformers that have been expertly crafted with outstanding level design and enemy placement, built around challenging the player consistently and fairly throughout their adventures. There’s a reason these titles are considered timeless and beloved. For the uninitiated, the Mega Man formula follows the Blue Bomber on a side-scrolling platforming and combat adventure culminating in boss fights against fellow robots. Each stage can be attempted in any order, and once you defeat that stage’s particular robot master you gain their weapon.

Mega Man Legacy 1

The Mega Man Legacy Collection includes the first six Mega Man titles, all of which are greatly admired and remembered. Here they return in all their original glory, despite a subtle crispness added to the sprites these are precisely the same games that shipped all those years ago. This includes bugs, instances of slow-down, screen transitions and general oddities. The collection is running on a new engine that houses the original code completely intact and unaltered, a move that for lesser games would prove risky, potentially alienating new comers and disappointing returning veterans blinded by nostalgia, but with Mega Man’s timelessness this simply reinforces their quality.

However, the new engines does add some new tricks better suited to modern players. With the press of a button a menu screen appears allowing you to remap the controller, switch between widescreen and the original aspect ratio, as well as add CRT filters to really emulate the games’ original forms. However, the key addition is the ability to save anywhere and reload from that point. Each title offers up a stiff challenge that takes practise and patients to master, the ability to save and reload rather than lose precious lives and continues is a wonderful addition as well as a relief.

Mega Man Legacy 2

Additionally each title has a collection of concept art you can peruse, as well as a juke box of all the iconic chip-tunes from the series; it’s a real celebration of the Mega Man brand. Leaderboards and replays are also present, allowing you to compete against friends and foes for best completion times, as well as witness the playthrough themselves via the replay feature. Finally, a comprehensive set of challenges are also available that pit you against a timer and/or a finite set of lives as you work your way through different levels from each of the games strung together under a theme. It’s overflowing with content.

Indeed this collection is a testament to Mega Man. The quality of the level design, the platforming and combat, the catchy chip-tunes and the charming 8bit visuals, alongside the title’s bugs, glitches and oddities all perfectly preserved, make this a collection any fan must own. New comers are in for a stiff challenge but also a fascinating look at a bygone era of gaming that set the scene for many of today’s greats. Certainly they’ll be some put off by the difficulty, and some may question the reasoning behind keeping elements such as the slow-down when things get hectic, but it’s precisely these things that make Mega Man the experience that it is, Capcom clearly respect the original games and their fan base, resulting a wonderful collection of superb platformers.

Thanks to Xbox and Capcom for their support 

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