December 2008 Archives
Merry Christmas! — Massive ToeJam & Earl Review
25 December 2008 12:00 am
Find a better Christmas game, I challenge you! And there's one caveat: your game of choice can't suck. I assure you, ToeJam & Earl doesn't suck. It's one of the greatest 16-bit games ever. Giving into my own nostalgia, I'd even go so far as to say it's one of the best video games ever, period, especially if you're placing an emphasis on originality. Two Christmas's ago, Nintendo released ToeJam & Earl for the Virtual Console in North America. Since then, it's spread to the PAL and Japanese VC as well. Nintendo did well to time a game that's all about finding and opening presents for the holiday, so I couldn't resist following Big N's lead and providing my largest review yet. Enjoy, and Merry Christmas!
Bees, Peaches, Hellicopters, and Dodgeballs — Four PC Engine Additions
15 December 2008 3:00 pm
Looking at the boxes for the latest entrants into the greatest games list, it's not surprising that they never got released outside of Japan. These titles are wonderfully zany, and back in the day they probably seemed too Japanese to be marketable in the United States. Detana!! Twin Bee is a vertically-scrolling cute 'em up that features a unique power-up system where shooting a cloud releases a bell and then you can shoot the bells to the top of the screen, and enough shots makes them change color—each color representing a different power-up. In Momotarou Katsugeki you play the role of a boy armed with a sword that shoots peaches. The game has a beatiful, mythical art style and also incorporates mild RPG elements, like collecting coins to upgrade your armor.
Don't be fooled into thinking that Mr. Heli no Daiboken is merely just another shoot 'em up. You fly a helicopter with legs that comes standard with vertical missiles and bombs you cay while on the ground. Add to this the free-scrolling levels and the fact that you need to collect crystals and purchase new weapons without any pause in the action and you've got a particularly wild and challenging game. Rounding out this update is Nekketsu Kokou Dodgeball Bu: PC Bangai Hen (better known outside Japan as Super Dodge Ball, its NES incarnation). Think of the NES version only with better graphics, power shots for every character, and an original quest mode where you can recruit captains from rival teams.
Top 10 Beat 'Em Up Games
7 December 2008 00:21 am
One of the regular features I've been wanting to add to the site for a while is a top 10 list for games. Everyone loves top 10s. So with great pleasure, I present the newly improved and revised list for games where you beat up a whole ton of enemies. Hopefully, the top 10 RPGs, shoot 'em ups, etc. will soon follow. I've got the lists; it's just a matter of finding the time to create the pages.
Dragon Quest Joins Top SNES Games — About Time!
6 December 2008 10:50 am

Dragon Warrior had a fine start in North America on the NES; indeed it was the most prolific console RPG in terms of sheer numbers—four installments! But then Dragon Quest retreated to Japan and hibernated there for nine years. It returned to North America in 2001, skipping the 16-bit generation entirely to emerge on the Sony Playstation. The PAL Region didn't get a new Dragon Quest until Dragon Quest VIII for the Playstation 2 in 2006! However, in the RPG-crazed Land of the Rising Sun, Dragon Quest actually thrived during the 16-bit era, outstipping even the Final Fantasy franchise in popularity, so it's about time that these wonderful titles were added to the top games list for the Super Nintendo—or more appropriately in this case, the Super Famicom.

Another four Dragon Quests added to the richness of the Super Famicom RPG library. Interestingly, they appeared in the strangest of sequential orders, complicated by the remaking the original NES versions, creating real sequels, and two different development teams. The original Dragon Questors, Chunsoft, designed the first two releases: Dragon Quest V and Dragon Quest I & II . You can tell that the same developer that handled the originals was at work, even from just the title shots, because the game retains a very classic and old-school RPG look. Chunsoft wasn't in any rush to push the SNES hardware.
A new developer, Heart Beat, took over for the final two Super Famicom games in this series: Dragon Quest VI and Dragon Quest III. Once again, the chonology is a little strange, but what really bewilders me is the absence of Dragon Quest IV. It did get rereleased for the Playstation in 2001 (only in Japan, once again), but it seems odd that the first part of the second trilogy never had a 16-bit outing. Oh yeah, that's right. The first three games are considered the Erdrick trilogy, while the latter comprise the Zenithia trilogy, which only makes the Dragon Quest release schedule for the Super Famicom even stranger. Nevertheless, this is one awesome RPG series, and any fan of emulation should be thrilled that unofficial translations are available at sites like
December 2008 Archives