MyGamerXP Modern and Retro Gaming Website Wed, 21 Feb 2018 12:07:52 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 Goodbye YouTube Ads Wed, 21 Feb 2018 12:07:52 +0000 Goodbye YouTube Ads

Goodbye YouTube Ads As of today, a lot of YouTube channels (including mine) are no longer eligible for running adverts or even linking to Patreon in end cards (as you need ads enabled to show it). While initially it felt a bit of a blow, I stopped caring about it soon after. In fact, with my new videos this year, I didn't even bother to monetise them while I had the opportunity to. YouTube is a great platform to upload and share videos, interact with like-minded people and build communities. We don't really owe YouTube anything as they give us exposure and a platform to exist on. Hosting video is very expensive, especially on a high-traffic site such as theirs. It's still possible to make a living on YouTube for those that want to, but you have to be good at what you do and genuinely love making videos. You need to be consistent with a regular schedule of quality uploads. Those who are beneath the eligibility threshold of 1,000 subscribers with 4,000 hours (240,000 minutes) "watch time" in the last 12 months won't be missing out on a great deal of income. I must admit that it was quite nice making the odd few pence or even a pound here and there throughout the year, but in all honesty just doing 1 hour of work would earn me more than I've made passively in the last 4 years on YouTube. Those who want to make a living on YouTube, will still be able to make a living on YouTube (through a good business model that goes beyond just simple YouTube Ads). Those who want to do it as a hobby, are still free to do that as well. Don't let this change knock you back, see it as an opportunity to reflect and assess why you do this. If it's for love of making videos, spreading a message, building a community, sharing your passions, then surely not running a few ads shouldn't stop you. Musicians don't learn an instrument to make money, they do it as a way to express themselves creatively. It takes a lot of time, hard work and dedication. The reward is what you create, not what you earn from it. So today YouTube is stripping me and many others of earning a few pounds, so what? It doesn't stop me and it shouldn't stop you either. Create for the love of it and if in a year or so you make a bit of money out of it, hey, that's just a bonus.]]> 0
Let’s Play Fun ‘N Games (Sega Genesis / Mega Drive) Mon, 19 Feb 2018 10:54:59 +0000 Let's Play Fun 'N Games (Sega Genesis / Mega Drive)

Here's a quick let's play of Fun 'N Games for the Sega Genesis and Mega Drive. Due to the style of the game, I felt a let's play would be a better suited format than a review. The video quickly demonstrates the various games and tools that this cartridge offers. Is it "too cool for school"? ... No... no it isn't. I mean... erm... check the video to find out!]]> 0
Top 10 Batman Games Tue, 06 Feb 2018 11:05:55 +0000 Top 10 Batman Games

As I've been a fan of Batman and the Joker since I was about 4 years old, I thought it would be fun to compile a list of my top 10 Batman games of all time. Expect to see a mix of retro and recent games in this list. The only rule I've set myself is to include just one game from a particular series. So with Arkham or Lego, I've limited my choice to just one favourite. This is to try and keep the list interesting and varied, rather than filling it up with 3 to 4 Arkham titles. So here we go...

10) Batman: Return of the Joker (NES)

Batman: Return of the Joker is a bit different to most Batman games as this is more of a side-scrolling shooter. You can fire Batarangs and other types of ammo, plus on certain stages you even equip a jetpack and fly about. It's a lot of fun, even though it doesn't feel like an authentic Batman experience. It's also quite challenging as some enemies attack as soon as they appear on screen, making them tough to dodge and often resulting in you getting knocked back and down to your death. Thankfully though, there are infinite continues and a simple password system in place. The graphics are some of the best I've seen on the NES and with this game developed by Sunsoft, the music is great as well, just like their original Batman game. There was an "updated" version released on the Mega Drive called "Revenge of the Joker", but honestly I think the visuals and sound looked worse than the 8-bit original. I recommend the Nintendo version out of the two.

9) The Adventures of Batman & Robin (Mega Drive)

The Adventures of Batman and Robin for the Mega Drive and Sega Genesis is a two-player action game and a real showcase of what the console is capable of. The graphics, animation and amount of action on screen is incredible. The developers certainly knew how to get the most out of the system. Some may argue that this game deserves to be higher up on the list, but I found it too damn hard, which unfortunately really limited my enjoyment of the game. It's punishingly tough, but it is fun in short bursts and worth a look at if you have a lot of patience or an Action Replay cartridge. Unfortunately I don't have one of those and even though I suck at the game, it's one I keep coming back to.

8) Batman: Vengeance

Batman: Vengeance is another game based on the excellent animated tv show from the early 90s. This particular title takes its art direction from the 4th and final series. Whilst it isn't my favourite as I don't like how they changed the Joker, it's still interesting to see in 3D. This is complimented by the original voice actors such as Mark Hamill and Kevin Conroy, each giving an excellent performance as you'd expect. The boss battles are fun and I found the overall story, broken up into an episode format, a really enjoyable experience that was true to the show. The gameplay does unfortunately suffer from a few camera and control issues, especially during the first-person view when Batman has to use gadgets, but if you can get past these annoyances which come with the majority of old 3D games and if you're a fan of the animated series, you're in for a real treat.

7) Batman Begins

Batman Begins feels like a game that's rarely talked about, but it really impressed me for a licensed game based on a movie. These sort of tie-ins are often terrible as they're rushed for release or lazily rely on the license name to make quick and easy sales. This game is dark, gritty and does a great job of capturing the essence of Batman. It utilises stealth, gadgets, combat, plus fear and interrogation, years before Rocksteady did it with their excellent Arkham series. Batman Begins is not a perfect game by any means, but I was pleasantly surprised and really enjoyed it. The actors from the movie reprised their roles for the voice work, the graphics and character models are good for their time, and I feel like the team who made this game understood Batman and loved working on it. It's well worth trying if you haven't played it before.

6) Batman: The Telltale Series

Batman: The Telltale Series was thoroughly enjoyable despite its flaws. I got a real sense of how it felt to be both Bruce Wayne and Batman, requiring some really tough decision making. I loved how I got to be the Batman I wanted to be, with the game's story adapting based on my choices, like many other Telltale games. It's just unfortunate that while playing this I encountered numerous bugs and glitches that completely broke the immersion, which regrettably is also like many other Telltale games. From volume issues, stuttering animations and large sections of the screen going black, to the game just crashing completely, it was very frustrating at times. If it weren't for these problems, it would have scored much higher on my list. Don't let that put you off entirely though, as it's definitely still worth playing for the story alone.

5) Batman (Mega Drive)

I must admit that this Batman game was one of the toughest decisions to make in this list. The NES version is a classic with great platforming action, wall-jumping and fantastic music, but honestly I just had more fun with the Mega Drive version. I think it's partly down to the fact that visually it's linked closer to the Tim Burton movie, plus it has has the Batmobile and Batwing stages which I really enjoyed. The main downside to the Mega Drive Batman game was that it felt like I spent too much time on the ground doing low kicks to try and avoid damage. There's also no wall-jump in this version, but there is the classic grapple and Batarangs. I would suggest you play both versions of this classic game as they're excellent in their own right. They just weren't different enough to justify two entries in this list when there are so many Batman games to cover.

4) Batman Returns (SNES)

Batman Returns on the Super Nintendo is an excellent side scrolling beat-em-up, ideal for fans of games such as Streets of Rage or Final Fight. This is completely different to the Mega Drive and Sega Genesis version, making it a very pleasant surprise when I first played it. Even though it's based on the movie, I wish they'd incorporated a two-player mode into this game somehow. It's still fun in single player, but it would have been even better with a friend. I love how you can pick up enemies, smack their heads together, smash them into the ground or even throw them into a shop window. Batman Returns is simple in terms of gameplay and some may find it quite repetitive perhaps, but personally I love it and it's a game I come back to time and time again.

3) Lego Batman: The Video Game

While Lego Batman: The Video Game is quite a simplified and comedic action game, the level designs, references, music and characters made this arguably the best 3D Batman game ever at the time. Honestly before this, a lot of people had almost given up on the possibility that anyone could ever make a good 3D Batman game. Infact I loved this game so much, that I held off completing it for ages as I didn't want the experience to be over. Quite hard to explain and sounds a little bit weird maybe, but I thoroughly enjoyed it, went on to 100% complete it and then bought it on the Nintendo DS to go through it all over again. As for the other Lego Batman games, while they're still good, I don't think any of them quite captured the feel of the first game. Branching out into space and flying about is still fun, but I prefer to stay in Gotham with all the Batman characters. I'm also not a huge fan of the split screen mode they added in the later games as it can be quite disorentating.

2) The Adventures of Batman & Robin (SNES)

The Adventures of Batman and Robin is easily one of my favourite games to play on the Super Nintendo. Not only because it's incredibly faithful to the animated TV show in terms of its visual style, but because it captures the feel of it as well. Much like Batman Returns, this is completely different to the Sega Genesis and Mega Drive version, being slower paced and with a stronger focus on gadgets. The level design, character interaction, graphics and animation all make it feel like an interactive episode. Sure, there isn't any voice acting in this due to the hardware limitations, but it has aged really well. It's very challenging, which may put a few people off, but to me it feels more fair than the Mega Drive alternative. This game will take several attempts to learn different mechanics as there's a lot of variety between levels. It's not perfect, the Batmobile section in particular is a bit ropey, but overall I consider this to be the best 2D Batman game available at the moment.

1) Batman: Arkham City

Of all the Arkham games, Arkham City was my favourite. If you're a fan of Batman, it's likely you've played these already, but if not, start with Arkham Asylum and enjoy the ride. This game built upon everything that made the original so amazing and opened up the environment with various side missions and objectives. There was also the opportunity to play as Catwoman, which added a new perspective and her combat style and story sections were a cool addition. She even had her own Riddler trophies to collect, in areas that weren't accessible to Batman. Even though the most recent Arkham Knight game is bigger and features better graphics thanks to it being released on a next-generation console, I feel that Arkham City was the most enjoyable experience, with the best combination of main villains to fight and overall story, where Batman was pushed to his limits.
Do you agree or disagree with this list? I'd love to hear about your favourite Batman games in the comments below. If you enjoyed this video, please hit the like button and consider subscribing and as always; thanks for watching and I'll see you in the next video!]]> 1
Haunting Starring Polterguy Review (Sega Genesis / Mega Drive) Tue, 31 Oct 2017 10:55:54 +0000 Haunting Starring Polterguy Review

Haunting Starring Polterguy is a unique title for the Mega Drive and Sega Genesis. Whereas typically in games it’s best to avoid troublesome ghosts, in this you get to play as one! After being hit by a truck while on a faulty skateboard, the kid you play as (Polterguy) decides to seek revenge on the manufacturer and his family, known as the Sardini’s. I’m not sure why he wasn’t just looking where he was going, why he didn’t decide to target the lorry driver instead or why Vito (the Father) looks like Alan Partridge on the European cover art, but I guess it doesn’t matter too much. The game explains the basic premise with typical early 90s “radical” attitude. Bart Simpson was all the rage back then and while Bill and Ted tried to teach us to all to “be excellent to each other”, it’s much more fun to be mischievous. You’re given a quick tutorial of how to interact with objects and scare the family, and this is what the game is all about. At the bottom of the screen you have an “Ecto Meter” which keeps track of all your ectoplasm. Over time, this depletes slowly, but you can collect more for each time you scare a family member as they leave the room. The goal is to cause all of the Sardini’s to run out of the house screaming and have a lot of fun doing so. The sheer number of objects you can interact with is really impressive. Once you’ve scared everyone out of the house, the Sardini family move into a new home and you get to do it all over again. There’s 4 in total to play through with a boss at the very end. Each house has a different layout with new objects to interact with. You won’t get a chance to use all of them in your first playthrough, which is what gives this game it’s core replay value. Trust me, you’ll want to try and see everything! Where this game doesn’t do so well is when you run out of ectoplasm. Unfortunately it takes you to an underworld dungeon where you must collect more ecto to refill your meter, avoiding enemies or you will die. This is the only way you can die, even though you’re technically dead already…?! You can also find some power-ups here later on which can prove useful, such as items to distract the family dog, replenish your ecto meter or leave a super scary gift for the family. The worst part of these areas is the jump mechanic. For some reason if you jump too near a wall you bounce away from it which can be really frustrating. The final boss exists in this area at the end of the game and the aiming and hit detection for that is also painful to endure. The controls in general are quite “floaty”, but this is forgivable seeing as you play as a ghost. One other thing some people may find slightly annoying is that when you scare a family member out of a room, you have no real control over which exit they take. Sometimes they can keep going back into the room they were previously in, but they will eventually go a different way if you persevere. Interestingly, there is a 2 player mode. You must take it in turns to try and scare the family out in as quick a time as possible. If the times are the same, the winner is based on points. The only areas you play alongside each other is in the dungeons, but I guess it’s still an interesting feature if you have a friend over, as you’ll get the opportunity to see more object interactions in one playthrough, provided they don’t just copy all your movements. There’s not much in the way of music, possibly due to the fact that there’s a lot of sound effects which play a more important role. The main focus here is obviously the gameplay, graphics and animation which this game does really well. It’s very impressive for a 16-bit isometric title.]]> 0
Eternal Champions Review (Sega Genesis / Mega Drive) Tue, 10 Oct 2017 15:50:03 +0000 Eternal Champions Review

In the early 1990’s Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat dominated the fighting game genre, inspiring many developers to try and replicate the successful formula. Sega’s attempt was Eternal Champions, which feels like they were aiming for a happy medium by incorporating the best of both franchises, but was it any good? Let’s find out in this review… It’s clear from the start that this game was not a quick or lazy attempt. Unlike many fighters from around that time, this one has a fairly decent story, with each character having a meaningful backstory and purpose. The basic premise is that the Eternal Champion needs to restore the balance of good and evil, taking nine individuals from various periods in time who were killed before they could have a positive impact on the world. Only one can be resurrected with the knowledge of their fate and how to prevent it, so they must all participate in this tournament for a chance to come out victorious and fulfil their destiny. This was an excellent idea as it allowed for a diverse range of characters and provided a foundation of unlimited possibilities for new ones in future sequels. My personal favourites were Larcen Tyler and Midnight. If you take the time to read through each biography, you’re likely to want each one of them to succeed, which is a shame as there can only be one. The graphics are really impressive. While some may find the art style to look a little “grainy”, this was a method used to add more depth, light and shade to overcome the Mega Drive’s graphical limitations. Everything has a nice level of detail with large sprites and plenty of frames of animation to give it a fluid look and feel. In terms of sound the intro music is fantastic. It’s a theme which has stayed with me for years and has aged fairly well. Definitely something I’d like to learn on guitar one day. Sound effects are solid enough and the music is a bit mixed on certain stages, but overall very good. So what about the gameplay? Well, first off, this game is hard as nails! In all my years of owning this, I’ve never had the skill (or patience) to complete it. I had a quick try while working on this review and no, I still couldn’t finish it. I have completed the original Mortal Kombat trilogy of games, Killer Instinct and Street Fighter 2, so I like to think I’m not too bad at fighting games for a frame of reference. For controls, Eternal Champions utilises the six-button pad in the same way as Street Fighter, with light, medium and heavy attacks, holding back to block. One unique mechanic in this game is inner strength, presented as a Yin Yang at the top of the screen next to each player’s health metre, which limits the amount of special moves you can perform so you can’t just spam your opponent with them. This can be difficult to keep track of in the heat of battle, but fortunately can be turned off in two player mode if you’re not a fan of it. If you’ve only got the traditional three-button pads, you’re going to have a hard time as you’ll need to use the start button to toggle between kicks and punches for your A, B and C buttons which is far from ideal. Do yourself a favour and invest in two six-button pads if you haven’t already. Multiplayer mode is where I’d advise you to spend most of your time. There’s the aforementioned two player mode where you can toggle various settings, including the option to enable replays which I was impressed by. You can also fight in the battle room, allowing you to select from various hazards which is quite fun (This is also available in the single player mode) and you can even setup a 32 player tournament if you’re having a party, gaming event, or you’re slightly insane. You may be wondering where Eternal Champions takes it’s inspiration from Mortal Kombat, seeing as so far it looks and feels more like Street Fighter with it’s slightly cartoony art style, button layout and fighting mechanics. Well, this game has stage fatalities, which is calls Overkills. For some reason this non-gory game takes a bit of a dark turn if you happen to be standing in just the right place as you take that final blow. It’s a pretty rare occurrence in the natural flow of combat and I’m not really sure why they felt the need to add them, other than to be a pretty cool and unexpected surprise. It’s a bit gimmicky, some people may argue they’re a little out of place, but as someone who grew up on the Mortal Kombat series as a kid, this was a fun addition for me. Eternal Champions is an easy recommendation for the Sega Genesis and Mega Drive, despite it’s difficult and cheap AI in single player mode and it’s inner strength mechanic. There’s a lot more fun to be had with friends, thanks to the ability to toggle settings, view stats and setup tournaments. It’s a real shame Sega chose to ditch this series completely for the sake of Virtua Fighter. A good game, but I’d have loved to see how far they could have taken this series. For those interested, a sequel was released for the Mega CD which made numerous improvements and there was even a few spin-offs which weren’t so great. My friend Kim Justice did an excellent mini documentary which goes into more detail, which you can view here. If you enjoyed this game, beat the Eternal Champion or played a full 32 player tournament, let me know in the comments below!]]> 0
I’ll Be Attending PLAY Expo 2017! Mon, 02 Oct 2017 14:31:37 +0000 MyGamerXP at Play Expo 2017

MyGamerXP at Play Expo 2017 I'm happy to announce that I will be attending PLAY Expo in Manchester on Saturday the 14th of October. The event itself runs for the entire weekend and is a great day out for fans of retro gaming, cosplay, upcoming indie games (demo games and talk to the developers!), arcade units, pinball machines, board games and more! The highlights include:

Nintendo 64 GoldenEye 20th Anniversary Panel

"To mark the 20th Anniversary of GoldenEye, we are delighted to welcome five of that original group to talk about the creation of this seminal shooter. The Q&A, hosted by Paul Drury and Martyn Carroll of Retro Gamer magazine, will end with an opportunity for audience members to take on the makers of the game in a multiplayer deathmatch, with prizes".

Psygnosis Panel and Q&A

"We're very excited to be able to announce that we will have a panel talk and Q&A with a number of former Psygnosis team members at PLAY Expo Manchester this October. Psygnosis was formed in 1985, was acquired by Sony Electronic Publishing in 1993 and became SCE Studio Liverpool. The studio closed in 2010 but during their lifetime Psygnosis created and published many iconic games - from 16-bit classics such as Lemmings and Shadow of the Beast through to the massive Wipeout franchise on the PS1 along with G-Police and Colony Wars. A number of former employees will be joining us for the panel - confirmed so far are Mike Clarke, Martin Linklater, Chris Graham and Mike Kaiser with more to be added".

Retro Gaming

"We know one of the biggest draws for attendees to PLAY Expo Manchester is the retro zone so this year we are going to make it even bigger! Last year we ran close to 400 machines across the retro zones - this year we're going for 500 making it the biggest ever collection of retro machines at any UK gaming expo! As well as more retro consoles and computers we'll be bringing back the handhelds section and expanding the classic PC games zone that we introduced last year. Our retro zone is a time slice of the past 40 years of games which will be featuring a number of consoles and computers, each running a selection of the best games for each system. So whether you’re Sinclair, Commodore, Nintendo, Sega, Sony or even an Xbox fan, there will be something for everyone. And of course we’ll have a selection of games for each system too, so if you can’t choose Manic Miner over Decathlon or Gran Turismo over Metal Gear Solid, don’t worry as our event staff will be on hand to help you find your favourite game at PLAY Expo Manchester".

Arcade Games

"Arcade video games conjure up nostalgic memories of childhood for so many people, be it fighting with your friend over who was going to be on the left-hand buttons on Mortal Kombat, or who got which gun while shooting zombies in House of the Dead. PLAY Expo Manchester will help you relive memories like these at with a selection of classic arcade machines for you to play on with every one set to free play. Finally, no pockets weighted down with ten pence pieces! Amongst the titles on show will be some of the must-have classics like Pac Man, Donkey Kong and Space Invaders as well as the more modern favourites like Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat and Daytona USA. And of course every machine is set to FREE PLAY so no need to pockets of change! We will have over 100 arcade machines at PLAY Expo again this year - will your favourite be one of them?". For more details on what's going on at the event, check out their website: Below is also my coverage from previous years, including photos: I met loads of great people I talk to on YouTube and Twitter there last year and I hope to do the same this year. I'll post on twitter for more information on the event date and leading up to it.]]> 0
OutRun Review (Sega Genesis / Mega Drive) Wed, 31 May 2017 09:45:25 +0000 OutRun Review for Mega Drive and Sega Genesis

The arcade version of OutRun was created by the legendary Yu Suzuki and AM2 team at Sega who've been responsible for the likes of Shenmue, Virtua Fighter and Daytona USA. The game featured sprite-scaling technology seen in many other popular titles they developed such as Space Harrier, After Burner and Hang-on, and was playable in both upright and sit-down style cabinets. In fact it was one of these sit-down units that made me fall in love with the game. Physically being sat in a basic replica of the car that moved about as you drove was an amazing experience. It really helped this game stand out and I'd love to own a real arcade cabinet of it one day. For the time being though, I'll have to make do with the home conversions. Unlike most conventional racing games, you're competing against the clock rather than other cars. Along the way the road often splits in two, where you're given the choice of which direction to take, affecting the areas you drive through, how challenging the race is and what reward sequence plays at the end. This offers a lot of replay value as you're likely to want to experience each route and try to beat your best time... or your opponent's. With the limitations of the Mega Drive and Sega Genesis hardware, they're not able to achieve the sprite-scaling technology of the arcade, however I feel this version is a good compromise. The colour pallette looks a little darker, but the way the cars and roadside objects scale is fairly good, considering it had to be achieved using a completely new method of delivering different sized sprites, especially when compared to the Master System release which is understandably a lot more "choppy". In terms of music, these renditions are also fairly authentic, with an additional track provided called "Step on Beat" which is unique to this version. Personally I'm not a huge fan of this track and much prefer listening to either "Passing Breeze" or "Splash Wave" as these are so iconic to the series. Gameplay, of course, is the most important factor and OutRun on the Mega Drive does not disappoint. Each of the 15 possible environments are present from the arcade original and the experience feels very authentic. As mentioned previously, the direction you take as the road splits affects the challenge, with the left route typically being easier than the right. You're also able to amend the overall difficulty in the options menu if you wish to make things easier or harder, including a faster "Hyper Mode" which you can unlock by completing the game on "Pro" difficulty, or with a cheat by pressing "C" on the controller ten times on the main menu, before going into the options settings. The only real downside to OutRun for some is the limitations of the arcade gameplay experience. Other than doing each race, exploring the different routes and trying to beat your best time, there's not much else to do, so if you're looking to play something with more of a career mode, different courses and opponents to compete against, I'd recommend games like Super Monaco GP or Road Rash. As for OutRun on the Mega Drive and Sega Genesis, I feel it's a solid conversion of the original arcade game, ideal for quick pick-up-and-play and competing against friends for the best time to completion. If you're looking for a more faithful version, I'd recommend either Sega Ages Volume 1 for the Sega Saturn, which is almost identical, OutRun on the Nintendo 3DS or possibly playing the version within Yakuza 0 (Zero) on the PlayStation 4. Personally, I'd go with the Sega Saturn version if I had one.]]> 0
Power Up Pins Review Thu, 13 Apr 2017 17:01:24 +0000 Power Up Pins Review

Power Up Pins Banner Recently I received some amazing pins from a company called Power Up Pins who create their own uniquely design enamel and engraved pins around gaming, geek and popular culture. I don't often collect this sort of thing, but on a trip to Disney World in Florida a few years ago I got pretty hooked on their designs based on classic characters and rides. Since then I kind of caught the bug and as I was really impressed with these, I thought I'd do a review. Disclaimer: I'm not sure if I need to put one of these, but for transparency; I have not been paid, sponsored or endorsed by Power Up Pins to do this review. All thoughts and opinions here are my own and not influenced by the company and/or it's affiliates in any way. Power Up Pins Selection The first pins that really stood out to me were the pink and green kind of "his and hers" skulls with headsets and the various game controllers. So far they have focused on Nintendo, Xbox and PlayStation, but I have been told they will cover Sega in the future as I've been bugging them for a while to do these. As soon as they make those (hopefully Master System, Mega Drive, Sega Saturn and Dreamcast controllers, plus the Game Gear and possibly even a Dreamcast VMU), I will certainly be wanting to add those to my collection. The company is still fairly new, so they are adding new designs on a regular basis (it seems to be monthly at the moment), plus since getting my pins, they've added an awesome arcade cabinet that I really want. It's probably worth mentioning that they have also started doing patches, stickers and other jewellery based on their designs, plus different types of pins too, but as you can tell gaming is where I'm at with most things! If they cover super hero stuff in the future though, I may be tempted. More Power Up Pins Examples In terms of quality, I was really impressed! I have quite an eye for detail which puts me off buying a lot of POP! Vinyl Funko figures online as I hate it when paint spills over or seeing weird marks that should be there. With Power Up Pins, each one that was painted had no over-spill, no weird markings, chips or scratches. The engraved ones were also nicely polished with no defects or sharp edges. I really appreciated the level of quality with these. They came exactly how the appeared on the website. At time of writing, the pins sell for £6 each with free 1st class (signed for) shipping on orders over £15 for the UK, with additional options for Europe and Worldwide. I would feel more comfortable at a £5 each price point, but that's just a personal thing as ideally I like to own quite a few pins as a set rather than just owning a select few. The shipping offer certainly helps. More of my Power Up Pins If you're looking to get someone a gift that's a bit different, I think these pins are pretty cool for anyone into gaming, similar to the mini console keyrings, pads, etc. I think once they offer more variety in terms of Sega styles too, I'd like to incorporate them in my Patreon rewards for those who support my YouTube channel and website, or random giveaways (maybe in a retro "Sega vs Nintendo" themed event). I love the art style/design of these and I look forward to seeing what else they do in the future! If you're interested in seeing more of what Power Up Pins have to offer, check out their website at or @PowerUpPins on twitter.]]> 0
Golden Axe Review (Sega Genesis / Mega Drive) Wed, 12 Apr 2017 10:42:54 +0000 Golden Axe Review for the Sega Genesis and Mega Drive

In 1989 Golden Axe was released in the arcades and was a great success. Makoto Uchida, who previously worked on Altered Beast, was said to have wanted to create a game that was inspired by Double Dragon and his love for the Conan films. With SEGA's mission to offer an "arcade at home" experience, it wasn't long before it was ported to the Sega Genesis and Mega Drive. As far as home conversions go, Golden Axe is incredibly faithful to the original with only a few minor differences. Obviously the graphics and sound take a bit of a hit, but the art style is very similar. The enemies no longer stay on screen when they die and the classic ending has changed, but overall the Mega Drive version is impressive with the addition of an extra stage after the original final boss and a duel mode for 2 players. When I was younger I grew up watching Ray Harryhausen movies such as Clash of the Titans and Jason and the Argonauts, which mixed with my Uncle introducing me to Warhammer and Dungeons and Dragons, made me want to experience these kinds of adventures myself. Golden Axe was the first game I remember which allowed me to do this and I absolutely fell in love with it. The ability to play it co-operatively with a friend significantly added to the enjoyment and over the years I've found myself coming back to this time and time again. You can choose to play as Ax Battler (the Barbarian), Tyris Flare (the Amazon), or Gilius Thunderhead (the Dwarf). Each of these are slightly different with Tyris being physically weaker but with more potent magic, Gillius who is physically stronger but lacks punch with his spells, and Ax Battler being somewhere in between. My choice was always Gilius the Dwarf. The basic premise of the game is to defeat Death Adder who has captured the King and his daughter while in possession of the Golden Axe. This adventure has you traversing on the back of a giant turtle, flying on the back of a giant eagle, going through villages and castles while fighting giants, skeletons and beasts which you can even ride to help take on your foes. One such rideable creature is called the "chicken leg", which is a bit strange, and is actually featured in the Altered Beast game. There's nothing better though than jumping onto a dragon and breathing fire on your enemies! At the end of each level and sometimes in between, you'll come across little gnome things with sacks which you can punch and kick to steal their magic and health potions. Each character has a different magic meter, which as you store more magic potions, increases the potency of your spells. These can be very fun to watch, especially when maxed out as you destroy everything on screen. As mentioned previously, the graphics and music for the Mega Drive and Genesis version is impressive for such an early title. In terms of controls, I've never had an issue with them, but I guess by today's standards the characters can feel a little bit slow and sluggish if you're not doing a lot of charge attacks. Of course, this game isn't perfect. The AI can be really dumb sometimes, walking off ledges and it can be frustrating when you're caught in the middle of them attacking from both sides. Fortunately the basic AI can be exploited to your advantage, so it's not all bad. Overall, with nostalgia aside I'd say this game has aged reasonably well. It's simple side-scrolling beat-em-up action is ideal for quick playthroughs with a friend, and as a single player experience it still holds up quite well due to its enjoyable fantasy setting. Sure, it's not quite up to the same standard as Streets of Rage 2, but it's certainly better than Altered Beast in my opinion.  ]]> 0
The Terminator Review (Sega Genesis / Mega Drive) Tue, 21 Mar 2017 10:30:50 +0000 Terminator 1 Sega Review

The Terminator was released by Virgin Games on the Sega Mega Drive and Genesis in 1992. Licensed games have always been a bit of a gamble; they're often average at best, but there are some exceptions like Aladdin which is one of my favourites on the system. I still have the game cartridge that my cousin owned back in the early 90's, but is it any good? Let's take a look in this review... The game opens with a title sequence similar to the style of the iconic movie. Playing on a PAL Mega Drive, the music is great, but it can sound slightly too fast on a Sega Genesis. This is due to the European version running at 50Hz instead of 60. Thankfully, if you're choosing to play this on an emulator, there is an option to set it to PAL mode. You play the entire game from the perspective of Kyle Reese, starting out in the future armed with an unlimited supply of grenades to lob at your foes. While this feels very awkward to start with, and laborious as you make your way through the initial corridor full of Terminators, it's not long before you're able to find a gun and start making some real progress! While you can soak up a lot of damage, I still used to die a lot on the first level when I was younger by trying to clear everything out. The trick is just to ignore your health bar and keep pushing through. Occasionally enemies drop health pick-ups when your on your last legs, so don't worry, just endure the pain. As an introduction, the first level sets a good standard with plenty of action, great music and visuals which fit the style of the movie. Setting off the explosion and having to escape the base within the time limit, provides a real sense of tension, even if you're experienced with the maze-like layout. From there, you're taken back to the present, which... is now the past seeing as it was set in the 1980's. This is where the game gets a bit more linear and easier as you make your way to the Tech Noir nightclub. Thankfully, the action is still enjoyable, blasting enemies away, but it doesn't quite capture the same level of excitement of the first stage. Here you get to fight a Terminator boss at the end, but he goes down relatively quickly in three short bursts of fire. The third level has you escape the police station which comes with a few frustrations. Sure, you're fighting more of the same enemies, but it's their random placement that can get annoying. For example; on the stairs it can be very hard to take them out as you can't jump and shoot, so you're almost guaranteed to die. There's also a drop through the roof later on where you've got to be quick or that's another inevitable death. At the end, you fight the Terminator again, but the same method applies from the previous level. It's okay, but nothing special. The fourth stage is the final level. Yes, you heard me right; just 4 levels. This is arguably the biggest problem with the Terminator; it's far too short! Licensed games often have strict budgets and short timeframes for completion, but seeing as this came out 8 years after the original movie's theatrical release, I struggle to understand what the rush was all about, if that was the case. My guess is that it was to somehow coincide with the VHS release of Terminator 2: Judgement Day, as I assume they couldn't get the license for latest movie, but that's just my thoughts on it. There are no enemies here, it's just you versus the Terminator in a tricky level with plenty of dead-ends and ladders that are sometimes obscured by the background. This is possibly the most frustrating part of the entire game. For some reason you can't shoot the Terminator when he starts crawling on the ground, he randomly appears in places that don't make sense, and you can't really jump over him. The worst part about this is that while you can take a lot of shots to the face, you only have one life and no continues. So if you get trapped in a corner and he walks into you, that's it... you're dead... and you have to start from the very beginning again! One method I found to help avoid some of the frustration was to try and keep the Terminator on screen when he is behind you, as once he goes off-screen he can spawn randomly in front of you which makes things tough as you can't jump over him very easily, or at all. So, this keeps him behind you and avoids any nasty surprises. That is, apart from dead ends. So this will take you a few attempts. So overall the action is fun, the graphics are good, the music is great, but the game is really short. On your first experience it might take you a few hours to complete it, but once you know where to go and what you're doing it can take around 15-20 minutes. If the developers had more time, it would be great to know how this game would have turned out. After such a promising start, you can tell they were passionate about this project. I understand it may have been difficult to create an in-depth game of a movie with such a simple story, but possibly alternating between between Kyle and the Terminator as playable characters, or just more enemies, larger levels, and more objectives would have existed. It certainly feels like more time was spent on the first level than the others. For those interested, it is worth noting that the Terminator game on the Mega CD and Sega CD is different to this version, with more levels, shooting action and a really impressive soundtrack. I certainly hope to cover that in the future! As for the Terminator on the Sega Mega Drive and Genesis, would I recommend it? I'd say yes if you're a fan of the movie or if you like to play action games in short bursts. The quality of what exists is good and fun to play, there's just not much of it. Pick it up if you find it cheap. As long as you know what to expect, you shouldn't be too disappointed.]]> 0