SegaDoes Podcast V.2, Episode 3: The Mega Drive’s Funky Blend

 

A new month and a new episode of the podcast!

Listen/download it here, you Sega scallywags!

Lots of good games and banter this time around. Budokan: The Martial Spirit, Klax, and the immortal Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker, among several others.

Also, I just submitted the podcast to iTunes. If all goes well with the Apple gatekeepers, then expect to see it up within the next… week or so? That sounds about right.

Leave your feedback and sweet, sweet comments below, as usual. Thanks for listening!

Play Games With Me, Dag Nab It

 

soniciphone

Sonic looks around before firing up Toe Jam and Earl on a browser.

 

Those of you who read my review of Burning Force may have noticed a small inclusion after the score: a link to play the game in your browser via EmuParadise.

“But wait!” you cry. “ROMs are evil, abominable creatures, crafted in Satan’s very own laboratory!”

Eh, I don’t know. I think ROMs are the only way many of these games will survive into the future, but in fairness, they are technically illegal. Which means if you want to play Burning Force or most of the Genesis, Master System, SG-1000, Game Gear, Saturn, Sega CD, and Dreamcast libraries, you’ll have to find an original system, original games, pay out the nose for them, and hope they work longer than a year or two. But hey, it’s legal! Even though you will pay a re-seller for these games and not the original developer/publisher, because the majority of these titles were released once and never again. Still, legal. That’s a load off.

But what to make of playing old games in your browser? This tactic is becoming more and more widespread, and I haven’t heard an official “don’t touch” ruling on them yet. Unless I’m mistaken? Feel free to correct in the comments.

 

officersonic

“But Officer Sonic! I had no idea!”

 

As of February 2017, EmuParadise provides the option to play Genesis, Game Gear, and Master System games in your browser. So going forward on Sega Does, unless a Sega game is available for sale on an online service, I will be placing links to EmuParadise so that you too may try out some Genesis/Master System/Game Gear games for free. I will not be linking to any downloadable ROMs.

Over time, I’ll also move backwards and place links inside the older reviews. I’d love to find a site that features browser-ready SG-1000 games, but no such luck yet.

The original goal of Sega Does was to have folks join me in this quest. That as I play and review the games, readers would play alongside and leave their opinions in the comments. Since I would never encourage anyone to download ROMs, however, this intention died early on. Being able to play in your browser is a perfect, and more convenient, substitute. No looking for emulators or ROMs, just fire up the game and go.

I hope folks out there find this feature useful! Let me know what you think in the comments.

 

DC

Organizing Reviews

 

confusedtails

 

Hey ho, Sega friends! So many of you liked the recent “What’s Next!” post that it got me thinking about the Games Lists. I acknowledge that they are… lacking. I’ve never liked how they look, and yet, I’ve never known how to fix them within the boundaries of my current (basic and free) WordPress account.

Would organizing the reviews by month be better? Let’s say  you go into the Master Games List for the Master System. Instead of a huge string of games under each year, you see 1987 – January, February, etc. When you click on February, there’s a list of games that released in February ’87, complete with official release date and cover art, similar to the “What’s Next!” post.

If not that idea, I’m open to others. As Sega Does enters into its third year, I’d like to focus on making it more accessible and user-friendly. Please let me know what you all think in the comments below. Thanks a bunch!

DC

What’s Next! – October 1990

 

1990 is nearly over. The Genesis/Mega Drive is gaining ground in America. The Master System is alive and well in Europe. The Game Gear has just been launched in Japan. Sega’s schedule is growing more hectic by the year, and it’s only going to get crazier as we venture deeper into the ’90s.

Presented here is the release schedule for Sega games for the month of October 1990. As I review these games, I will include the links to the reviews within the schedule. All release dates are from Japan, unless otherwise noted. If you like this idea of a month-by-month calendar, let me know in the comments below.

 

 

rainbowislandsjp    Rainbow Islands Extra – 10/05/90

 

gamegearjp   Sega Game Gear10/06/90

 

columnsjp   Columns – 10/06/90

 

supermonacogpjp   Super Monaco GP – 10/06/90

 

pengojp   Pengo – 10/06/90

 

rastansagaiius   Rastan Saga II – 10/10/90

 

finalzoneus   Final Zone/FZ Senki Axis – 10/12/90

 

slaughtersportus   Slaughter Sport/Fatman – 10/12/90

 

burningforcejp   Burning Force – 10/19/90

 

arrowflashjp   Arrow Flash – 10/20/90

 

teltelstadium   Tel-Tel Stadium – 10/21/90

 

dynamitedukeus   Dynamite Duke – 10/27/90

 

zangear   Zan Gear – 10/27/90

 

firesharkus   Fire Shark – 10/90 (US)

Pengo

 

pengojp

Those monsters look like they have pastrami-heavy diets.

 

pengoeu

Global Warming 2099

 

PLAYERS: 1

PUBLISHER: Sega

DEVELOPER: Coreland (port by Sega)

GENRE: Arcade

DIFFICULTY: Moderate

RELEASE DATE: 10/06/90 – (JP)

                                               1991 – (EU)

 

When placed next to the in-depth racing of Super Monaco GP and the appeal of puzzle action on-the-go with Columns, Pengo is a poor choice for the Game Gear’s launch. A port of the 1982 (!) arcade game of the same name, Pengo‘s maze hijinx belong back on the SG-1000, not on an advanced handheld system. Unless you really get a thrill from pushing ice blocks into walking blobs, the game’s appeal is limited.

 

pengo-u-001

That booger’s giving Pengo the ol’ side eye.

 

As the titular penguin, you’re tasked with clearing out the malevolent Sno-bees from the many ice mazes. The best way to kill the Snobees is to crush them with ice blocks. Within certain ice blocks, however, are Sno-bee eggs. These egg-filled blocks flash green at the start of each round and are best crushed immediately. If any eggs remain in the maze after a Sno-bee is killed, it will hatch and a new Sno-bee will take its place. Once a maze is clear of Sno-bees, it’s on to the next round.

 

pengo-u-000

Ladies and gentlemen, the Pengo Players!

 

Any Sno-bees that aren’t killed quickly become real buttholes. They break ice blocks, move more quickly around the maze, and are just more difficult to kill. Each round has three unbreakable diamond ice blocks that will stop the out-of-line Sno-bees dead in their tracks. Also, if any Sno-bees are next to you when you’re near a wall, you can push the wall to stun them, then step on them without consequence. If there’s only one Sno-bee remaining after 45 seconds or so, it will hightail it to a corner of the maze and disappear.

 

pengo-u-006

You were leaning against the wrong wall, Mr. Sno-bee.

 

As with most arcade games of a bygone era, the purpose of Pengo isn’t to beat it, but to gather as many points as you can. The quicker you beat the level, the more points you’ll receive. Killing more than one Sno-bee at a time will also provide you with extra points, as will linking up all the diamond blocks together, either horizontally or vertically. 30,000 points nets you an extra life, which you’ll need if you want to traverse forward and keep the Sno-bee population down.

 

pengo-u-003

A chorus line of mooning Pengos is your reward for beating the level in 50 seconds.

 

The Game Gear port accurately replicates the arcade version’s gameplay, but the visuals have been considerably compromised. I know sprites have to be made smaller due to the Game Gear’s tinier screen, but everything from the characters to the environments has this squished, uncomfortable look. The colors aren’t as sharp as the arcade’s either, which makes no sense given the Game Gear’s expansive palette and the arcade game’s advanced age.

 

pengo-u-004

Pengo protests his cramped living conditions.

 

And why did Sega wait until the Game Gear to release a version of Pengo? Several Atari consoles received Pengo ports in the 80s, but for some reason, the SG-1000 and Master System failed to see one. Perhaps Doki Doki Penguin Land and Penguin Land – both inspired by Pengo, though considerably more enjoyable – were enough penguin action on their respective systems.

 

pengo-u-005

The Antarctic really is disgusting when you look at it this way.

 

The best classic arcade games – Pac-Man, Galaga, Frogger among others – might have different styles, but they all share addictive properties that make the player want to keep playing. Pengo lacks said properties. Save for some added Sno-bees, each round is the same as the one before it. No tempo change, no additional elements, just basic block-pushing repeated until poor Pengo’s flippers are numb. I didn’t out right hate my time with it, but I’m not surprised Pengo‘s all but forgotten today.

 

pengo-u-007

Not sure what’s happening here, but at least Pengo’s getting a break.

 

Every console launch has a game (or games, depending) that doesn’t belong. A game that would never succeed outside of the launch window, but because early adopters are desperate to play anything, they’ll buy it. Pengo fits comfortably into this slot for the Game Gear. If you’re not a racing fan and Columns‘ falling-block antics weren’t your cuppa, your only other option was a port of an eight-year-old arcade game that’s only fun for a few minutes. Take that, Nintendo?

 

C-