Arcade Driving Games

November 7, 2013

I recently listed to a Retronauts podcast on arcade racing games, which was great, and you should all listen to Retronauts, but they missed a few games that were interesting to me, so I thought I’d write about them.

Chase HQ (Taito 1988)

I remember Chase HQ fondly, and it seemed to be a really popular game at the time, it would be in every arcade you went to. The beauty of Chase HQ over other games was the fact as well as getting to drive fast you got to chase the bad guys and smash them off the road.

 

Power Drift (Sega 1988)

This is another game that seemed really popular when I was young. It’s really fast paced and fun, with crazy tracks, plus the characters were unique for the time. It could do with a modern version I reckon, something like the treatment that Out Run 2 got, and with online play.

 

Super Monaco GP (Sega 1989)

This game seemed really impressive back in the day, although it doesn’t seem to have aged so well. Still it was fast and challenging, plus the Mega Drive version was great, I wasted many hours on that.

 

OutRunners (Sega 1992)

Like many of the newer driving games this was a great game to play with friends. It captured a lot of the spirit of Out Run but also turned the wackyness up a notch.

 

World Rally Championship (Galeco 1993)

I really like these 2D style racers like this, although they seem to have been forgotten. I recently got the PCB of this and in one way games like this are more playable today that the others in the list as they rely less on the graphics and more on speed and reactions. Mille Miglia is similar, probably even better.

 

Midnight Run (Konami 1996)

This was probably my first exposure to games about Japanese street racing, and in this case it was about the Wangan, or motorway racing. It’s not an amazing game, but I really enjoyed it at the time, and would happily play it again. Winding Heat is like a sister game, but based on Touge, or mountain road racing. One of the best features of both of these games is that they feature traffic, going both ways!

 

GTI Club (Konami 1996)

This is a bonkers game, racing quickly through narrow Monaco streets, finding shortcuts and generally having a lot of fun racing friends. I believe its available on PSN, so its worth checking it out if you have a PS3.

There were loads of other great driving arcade games, this is just a selection, are there any others that you particularly enjoyed?

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Still Alive

June 8, 2012

I know I haven’t posted in quite some time so thought I better put something up. I think the major reason I haven’t been posting is due to work pressures and just generally not having much free time to do anything, therefore there hasn’t been much to post about. I’m hoping to post something useful to my my technical blog, which is currently completely unused, just waiting to get some interesting material.

So what have I been doing then? Well not a lot really, I’ve not been playing many games to speak of, I’ve barely touched any shmups except the odd credit on Gradius 2. The one game I have put more than a couple of hours into the last week is The Last Story, which I got recently.

laststorymain

So far I’m enjoying it a lot, and even though its generally reviewed worse than Xenoblade Chronicles I actually prefer it. Its probably just the style that suits my taste more, it seems more linear and the characters seem more interesting than most JRPGs I’ve played in recent years. I even like the English voices, which is unusual for me, they sound quite natural and funny, if a little cockney, there are also a lot of references to alcohol which amuse me. This might also explain why Nintendo didn’t want to release it in the US.

Ultimately if you want an JRPG for your Wii you could do far worse than this, its also probably better than most 360 or PS3 JRPG’s too. I’ll try not to leave it too long before posting again, I have some things I want to check out, plus I’m keen to try and finish The Last Story.

PSN EU Game Pricing

February 21, 2012

So the PS Vita comes out in Europe today and its always exciting when a new console is released. I kind of hope it does well, as I like the idea of a high powered handheld with decent controls, but its important that it builds a library of decent games quickly.

I do have a bit of a problem with it though, and its all price related. Obviously everyone has heard about the memory card prices, even the BBC mentioned that, but the other problem is the game pricing. I personally don’t think handheld retail games should be more than £30 really, and on a download store I think about £20 is the max, but on the EU PSN they are as much as £45, as detailed here some are even more expensive than retail!

I’ve tried to figure out how PSN Europe decides on PSN games to release and have come up with the handy flowchart (excuse the awfulness, I didn’t put much care into it)that I believe they probably use.

PSNpricing

Densha de Go!

January 1, 2012

I thought I’d do a short post about this series of games that I have been playing the past couple of weeks, the Densha de Go! series. For those that don’t know they are a series of train driving games, which originally appeared in the arcades in the mid nineties. The reason I started playing them recently is that my son is really interested in trains, and I remembered I had Densha de Go! 2 for the Dreamcast so I put it on for him and he absolutely loved it. The main problem with the game though was the language barrier and also that the regular Dreamcast controller seemed too complicated for my son.Densha_de_Go_Controller_PS

This lead me to look for a proper controller, so that it would seem more like driving a train to him, and from my scouring of eBay I found that the PlayStation version was easier/cheaper to get a controller for, so I decided to get one, plus some of the PlayStation games. The games I got are Densha de Go!, Densha de Go! 2, Densha de Go! Professional and Densha de Go! Nagoya Railroad. The PlayStation games are much like the Dreamcast version, although obviously they look quite old fashioned with a fair bit of pop up and very rough textures. That said the game is still fun to play, once you know how. I found this tutorial on YouTube which was very useful indeed:

Very useful tutorial for Densha de Go!

The basic premise of the game is to go between stations, without breaking the speed limits but arriving on time and aligning the train correctly on the platform. This sounds pretty boring but it really is addictive and quite a bit harder than it sounds. The best games to start with out of the ones I have seem to be either Densha de Go! Professional or Nagoya Railroad, as both of these have a very useful map which shows upcoming speed limits, stations etc. On the first two games you have to memorise the route which is obviously much more difficult.

There are many other games in the series, and I’d like to maybe try Densha de Go! 3 for the PS2 once I have played the ones I have. There is a very useful forum which has information about the games and controllers, its well worth a look. I hope this has been useful to someone as its and interesting series, it would be nice if Taito would bring the iOS version to Europe, although I understand it would be a big job to translate.

Have a great 2012

January 1, 2012

This is just a brief post to say happy new year to everyone, I hope 2012 is great for you all. I’m hoping to have a good year and have a number of things I want to achieve, both professionally and for fun. I don’t have any particular resolutions, just the usual stuff like do more exercise, drink less wine etc. On the other hand I do want to make more effort to finish things, both in terms of video games and programming projects.

My wife is already planning to us to have a year of de-cluttering the house, so I’m a bit nervous about what will happen to my games collection, although I am planning to buy more digital content this year as space is a premium. I will hopefully add a new post later today about something I’ve been playing, but in the meantime Happy new year!

November Gaming

November 21, 2011

I haven’t updated this blog for a while so I thought I’d put something up about what I’ve been doing gaming wise recently. The most major thing is that I bought a 3DS when the price dropped in August, and generally I like it, although I haven’t bought any 3DS specific games yet, I’ve just been playing DS ones. On to what I’ve been playing though:

Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker (DS)

Dragon_Quest_Monsters_-_Joker_Coverart

The week that Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2 was released in the UK, Tesco reduced the price of the first game to £4.99 online, so I picked it up to get a taste of the series. Essentially its a cross between a regular Dragon Quest game and Pokemon, in that you capture and train monsters, so that you can improve them, and therefore capture more impressive monsters. The game is surprisingly good fun, even if its probably aimed at younger players, the 3D world of Dragon Quest is brightly coloured and the presentation is what you would expect of a Dragon Quest game.

Infinite Space (DS)

Infinite_Space_Japan_Box_Art

I won’t say much about this but its basically a tactical space game from Sega, which has anime style visuals. Kat Bailey from Roleplayers Realm has talked about it a number of times on the podcast, but if I’m totally honest I didn’t find it that interesting, which is surprising as I like tactical games and anime style space opera.

Halo Reach (Xbox 360)

Halo-Reach

If someone asked me about my favourite games then there would be little or no chance I’d mention the Halo series, but the fact is I have bought and played through them all apart from the first one. Reach has been sat on my shelf for a while and I fancied something fairly mindless so I cracked it open last week, and finished it a couple of nights ago. I enjoyed it, it was good fun and I imagine I might play the fire fight mode every now and then, but if you don’t like Halo then it won’t convert you.

Do-Don-Pachi Resurrection (Xbox 360)

dodonpachi-resurrection

This game was recently released in the UK by Rising Star Games in Europe, and its the latest title in Caves DonPachi series. In short its a fairly typical Cave shmup, with the crazyness turned up to 11. There is an awful lot going on at once, the graphics are great and the sound pounding, if you like this sort of game then you really need to pick it up. Its also worth noting that its apparently region free for North American users.

Tatsujin (Arcade)

Tatsujin_(flyer)

Tatsujin or Truxton as its known in the west is an old classic Toaplan shooter. Its quite funny that I was playing this back to back with Do-Don-Pachi Resurrection and its amazing how two shooters can be so totally different. For a start everything feels fairly slow in Tatsujin, at least until you pick up all the speed ups, and there are few bullets on screen. That said it feels significantly more difficult, whereas in DDP the bullet patterns just spread across the screen in Tatsujin they really try to shoot you down with fast direct bullets. I like the game, although prefer the sequel, both are hard going for me, with their long stages, and restart points, but I guess that’s not surprising given Tatsujin translates to expert.

This next month I’ll try and start Xenoblade Chronicles, which has been sat on my shelf for a few weeks.

I thought that it was finally time to do some blogging about what I have been doing development wise recently and as I had been pretty lax about posting content on my this blog, so I though I’d start a new one, level1developer.wordpress.com. This one new blog will be focused on information related to software development, whereas this one will continue to be about video games and other things I get up to. Hopefull I will get time to update both, we’ll just have to see how it goes.