Will Preston

Tag: Streets of Rage

5 Classic games you can finish in an afternoon

by on Oct.12, 2011, under Opinion

Being a gamer can be a full time job at times. No, really. Whilst there are a few major releases each month, there are still the backlog of titles through the years that you’ll end up coming back to on a particularly dull Sunday. Sometimes, you might want to go back to the more retro era of gaming where graphics were cutting edge if they had an extra dimension and voiceovers where unheard of (no pun intended). Here are a few forgotten pieces of gaming grandeur that are not only great examples of electronic entertainment from days of yore, they can be conquered in a couple of hours.

Another World

There's a funny story about how he got into that situation

Cinematic atmosphere in a game was unheard of during the early nineties. When it came to story in a game, you had to read the instruction manual or watch the Saturday morning cartoon. Delphine Software were ahead in the field of cinematic gaming. Another World (or Out Of This World) was the first major title they released. During a lab experiment, Lester Chaykin is inexplicably zapped to an alien planet. Unfortunately this planet is exclusively populated by just about everything that can kill him. From bear-like beasts, to claw wielding blobs to a race of totalitarian hulks, there is never a dull moment. In terms of visuals, the animation is extremely flowing and feels like a movie. Although there’s a password system, you could easily beat this in under two hours. An ambitious game that doesn’t sacrifice gameplay for outstanding presentation.

Fantastic Dizzy

I also forgot to mention that he lives in a tree-top village.

Before all games starting using generic characters in games, imaginations ran wild. One particularly weird creation was an anthropomorphic egg who wore boxing gloves. The Dizzy franchise spanned around ten games and each one followed the exact same plot. Dizzy’s girlfriend (another egg, in case you were wondering) gets kidnapped by an evil wizard and puts a curse on the rest of his family. Why he does this is never explained, but with the twee approach to the game, it’s pretty clear that narrative isn’t going to be it’s strong point. The game is a series of item based puzzles across a large platform jumping affair. For some bizarre reason, Dizzy can only carry three objects at once, leading to a lot of backtracking. But despite this annoying flaw/challenge, the game is pretty big for a platformer with some fantastic and varied level design.

Desert Strike

Back in the day, this was the closest thing to 3D graphics

Subtle propaganda in games is pretty standard when it comes to military themed ventures. The bad guys are never American and everyone you kill is guilty by default. It’s about time someone made a game that made you test your morals to the extreme. But until then, grab that gun and salute a flag. Before Call of Duty blazed away the competition, war games were limited to flight simulators and strategy games. One of the earliest examples of semi-realistic action games was the Strike series. The first game, Desert Strike, is set in a fictional version of the gulf war, with a mock-Sadam Hussein controversially shoved in. Essentially, you pilot a helicopter with enough firepower to destroy an Eastern Bloc country. You’re given a set of missions to complete that mostly deal with blowing up various enemy bases. Other than enemy fire stopping you from doing this, the chopper needs to refuel at the most awkward moments. At moments it fills like juggling an exciting business schedule, but it doesn’t get in the way of the straightforward warfare. You aim the helicopter. You fire your guns. The enemy stops giving you grief. Nothing complicated here.

Streets of Rage

The closest simulation of Millwall you'll ever play

If there’s one genre that seems to have been rubbed out of the modern gaming scene, it’s the scrolling beat em up. Rather than restricting the combat to a mana a mano arena, it’s one man (or two) against a torrent of angry thugs. Streets of Rage was a fantastic example of beating up hundreds of people in one street. Set against a sprawling city and a thumping nineties dance mix (well, a 16bit one at least), you play as one of three policeman dressed to look like the cast of Fame. As you progress through the dangerous urban sprawl, you can use various melee weapons to beat down a series of foes; each of them ranging from spiked punks to ninjas. As far as fighting technique goes, it’s simply a case of punching the person in front of you until he stops fighting back. Whether you chose to use a broken bottle or a baseball bat to speed up this process is totally up to you. If you and a friend have a free evening in, Streets of rage and the other two sequels are a fantastic way to kill time.

Sonic 3 & Knuckles

It'll take you around ten seconds to actually realising what's going on here.

Oh, how mighty the Sonic legacy was back in the age of the Mega Drive. The early Sonic games are probably still amongst the fastest games you’ll ever play. Towards the end of the Mega Drive’s reign, a special cartridge was made for the game Sonic & Knuckles. essentially, there was a slot in the top for combining other games with it to make quote unquote brand new games. The idea flopped and history has never dared to repeat it. The only two games that worked with this idea were Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and 3. The idea was, that you could play as Knuckles in the older games and use his gliding and wall climbing abilities to find secret parts of the game. The only game this worked well with was Sonic 3. Basically, Sonic 3’s story ran straight into Sonic & Knuckles’ story. By combining the two games together, you could play both games in one epic adventure. Not only this, but by taking the perfect path of victory (collecting all 14 chaos emeralds), you were treated to a conclusive level that saw a charged up Sonic chasing Dr Robotnik (his nemesis) across the planet’s orbit. After this you were treated to the true ending to the saga. If you want high adrenaline platform action, take a step back in video game history.

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