Broken Bootlegs: Donkey Kong 5

Posted on May 19, 2016 by Erika

Broken Bootlegs is a weekly series covering unlicensed games (also known as bootleg games) for mainly 8-bit and 16-bit consoles. This week’s entry covers one of the more interesting Donkey Kong bootlegs that’s available for the Game Boy Color: Donkey Kong 5: The Journey of Over Time and Space.

At first glance, it might seem like an interesting knockoff which deviates considerably from the Donkey Kong Country and Land series. After reading the Engrish introduction, I got the general idea of the game, Donkey Kong’s friend Sodoma, who takes care of all plant life, was kidnapped by someone who didn’t like what she did. Because there was now no bananas, Donkey Kong lost weight and turned into a monkey and now goes in search for her. Sounds fun, right? It would be if it didn’t have bad control response that other bootlegs are known for.Read More


20XX: A Rougelike take on Mega Man X

Posted on May 9, 2016 by Erika

20XX header

What happens when you take the ideas and feel of a Mega Man X game, add in random levels and powerups, a bit of permanent death, and a season it with multiplayer? You get 20XX, by Batterystaple Games. Bad cooking comparison aside, This game was designed by someone who absolutely loves the Mega Man X series, and it really shows. Even though it’s in Early Access on Steam, the version I’ve played (0.951b) is very solid in terms of gameplay and feel. From what it looks like, the development team is quite receptive on supporting and developing their game. It’s one of those games that have a neoretro design to it that any gamer from the mid-90s would feel right at home with if they were playing on a SNES or PS1 back in the day. Having played several of the Mega Man X series myself back then, 20XX is a really good callback to those days and is just as enjoyable without some of the frustration of a few of the later entries in the X series. Read More


Black Ops 3 Eclipse DLC Impressions

Posted on May 4, 2016 by Erika

Eclipse DLC Soldier Background

First released for Playstation 4 on April 19th, with it coming to PC and Xbox One on May 19th, Black Ops 3 Eclipse DLC is what could be either really fun, or possibly some more of the same from Treyarch’s three-lane system that they use for designing multiplayer. Having recently bought this DLC for the PS4, the regular multiplayer maps still have the same design feel while keeping it fun. while the new Zombies map keeps Zetsubou No Shima keeps it interesting. Since there’s a special playlist that has matches only on the new multiplayer maps and I played a bit on them along with zombies, so here’s my thoughts on them.Read More


Marble Mountain Rolls in | Review

Posted on April 11, 2016 by Erika

Marble Mountain Logo

When I first looked at Marble Mountain, it reminded me of a game that I used to play back in my Commodore 64 days: Marble Madness back around 25 years ago. For people not familiar with that game, the goal was to guide the marble to the exit. Simple, right? With small pathways to navigate and obstacles that deliberately tried to knock you off, along with a very short timer proved many a gamer wrong. Lose enough marbles and you’ve lost the game while probably in a mood to throw a controller due to how difficult the game was. While this game looks deceptively easy to start out in, the difficulty ramps up decently quickly. Thankfully, this game gives some considerations and doesn’t have a lives limit, nor a strict time limit. Billed as combining the gameplay of Marble Madness and Super Monkey Ball (both game series I’ve played before), and giving a cinematic experience of Indiana Jones, Marble Mountain does a good job of conveying those concepts.Read More


Broken Bootlegs- My Experience with Power Joy

Posted on April 6, 2016 by Erika


Broken Bootlegs is a series covering unlicensed games (also known as bootleg games) for mainly 8-bit and 16-bit consoles. This week’s edition is covers my experiences with my first bit of pirate hardware that originally my interest in playing around with bootleg games and hardware: the Power Joy.

It what seems feels a very long time ago, which probably was a little over a decade ago, I was traveling around going to garage sales looking for anything computer or video game-related like I usually do. I eventually happened upon something very unusual: a white device in the shape of a Nintendo 64 controller with a Playstation 1-styled controller that could hook into the former, and a very odd-looking cartridge that was attached bottom of first controller. Nothing else came with it except a cardboard box that had POWER JOY printed on the side. After buying it and taking it home, I found some batteries to put into it, hooked it up to my tv and after turning everything on, I saw a menu that had “64-in-1” at the top of it. I start going though some of the games like Aladdin, Circus Charlie, Karate, Formation Z, and some light gun games, to name a few. Read More


PolyRace races in for a review

Posted on March 30, 2016 by Erika

PolyRace logo-d

PolyRace may seem like a deceptively basic and easy racing game at first glance, but it provides enough variety to be able to play though and try for the best times while not trying to crash and burn. After starting the game up and customizing the controls to my liking, I fired up a training mission to get a feel for the overall game. With a fresh game, the player is limited in their options for choosing hover-cars, difficulty, and track type. As one progresses though Missions, those will unlock, which gives decent variety for running through races.

One of the big things that I noticed that can make things interesting is how race courses are seed generated. For people that aren’t familiar with seed generation, for this game it’s a six character set that is used as the basis for generating every race course. In this case, two letters, two digits, and two letters are used for generation, thus keeping variables limited, but not to the point of where courses are repetitive on play-through at least. With choices of desert, Arctic, and continental terrain types, courses are filled with valleys, hills, mountains, cures, straight lines, and obstacles like trees and rocks to avoid. Taking a note from the F-Zero series, the hover-car has a shield which limits how much punishment it can take at one go. Thankfully, it automatically regenerates after a time of not taking any damage, but something like a head-on collision with a mountain will make the hover-car crash and burn.

Read More


Broken Bootlegs- Experiences with Wisdom Tree

Posted on March 24, 2016 by Erika

Wisdom Tree logo

Broken Bootlegs is a weekly series covering unlicensed games (also known as bootleg games) for mainly 8-bit and 16-bit consoles. This week’s edition covers a few of the unlicensed games I’ve played for the NES and Game Boy that were produced by Wisdom Tree.

A long, long time ago, in an early-90s era far far away, I was starting to realize how fun Game Boy and Atari 2600 games were, and my parents were mostly careful that I didn’t play anything overtly awful or violent. Being brought up in a Christian household, my mom tried to make sure I stayed innocent enough and she’d shop at the local Christian Bookstore every so often while taking me with. I usually got to go to Funcoland either before or after we spent time in the store so I didn’t complain too much. I remember one day that the bookstore had an NES set up with a couple of different Biblical-themed games and I was pretty much glued to them while mom browsed around the store. It’s bible-themed so it’s ok, right? Right. The three games that really stood out were Joshua & The Battle of Jericho, Exodus, and Bible Adventures. Read More


Broken Bootlegs- Somari

Posted on March 10, 2016 by Erika

Somari title screen

Broken Bootlegs is a weekly series covering unlicensed games (also known as bootleg games) for mainly 8-bit and 16-bit consoles. This week’s edition covers possibly one of the most well-known bootlegs out there: Somari!

As briefly mentioned in the first entry of this series, Somari is not only is a bootleg of one game, Sonic the Hedgehog, but also redone to star Mario! Developed by Hummer Team, known as Someri or Somari Team for this release, is standard fare of their in-house conversions of 16-bit games to the Famicom. Things are similar enough, while having that A+ bootleg quality one would expect from Hummer Team. With that said, it’s a mixed experience while playing the game. It starts off with the Sonic 1 title screen with Mario’s face plastered on it, which was actually nicely done. While playing, I’ve noticed that the physics were a bit off, just like with other Hummer Team games, which can make timing some jumps and attacks a bit difficult. Fortunately though, is that Somari can spindash! While not cannon to the original Sonic, this does help out during a play-through and can make the game a little easier. The stages are similar to the source material, which is also good, but if you’re expecting something right out of the original game, then you’re in for a surprise. Read More


Broken Bootlegs- Pocket Monster Famicom

Posted on March 4, 2016 by Erika

Broken Bootlegs is a weekly series covering unlicensed games (also known as bootleg games) for mainly 8-bit and 16-bit consoles. This week’s edition covers an entry that some people may not be familiar with, but people are quite familiar with in regard to the source material: Pocket Monster!

Several years back while scouring eBay for reasonable-priced bootlegs or prototype games, I happened upon a YH-4126 4 in 1 cart Super Game, advertised with Pokemon Yellow, Blue, Silver, and Red. For $25, I thought I’d try my luck and see if I could get my hands on either infamous Pokemon Red or Pokemon Gold games. After waiting about a week, it finally arrived and was really excited to try it out to see if it would even work. Much to my dismay, it didn’t work in my NES with the pin converter, but I got lucky as it somewhat worked in my Famicom. After turning it on, I tried a few of the games only to see that they’re small sprite hacks of games like Little Nemo and Wacky Races. One game stood out though, as when selecting Pokemon Yellow, it went to a game called Pocket Monster.Read More


Super Galaxy Squadron EX | Review

Posted on February 26, 2016 by Erika

A shmup can be categorized as a “you vs the world” shoot-em up that’s hard as hell and can often be rage inducing. Super Galaxy Squadron EX really isn’t  that rage inducing but its still a shump.  Super Galaxy Squadron EX, following along with it’s original counterpart, is a much more forgiving vertical shump, when compared to say, the infamous Touhou series by ZUN. Before I get into how easily someone can get into the game, here’s a little bit on the game- Super Galaxy Squadron EX is a remastering and rebuild of Super Galaxy Squadron. In both games, a truce was forged after a war between the United Interstellar Federation and the alien race Tau Ceti. After an attack on a neutral world by the Tau Ceti, the Super Galaxy Squadron is mobilized to take out the threat and eventually take on the Tau Ceti’s space armada. Players take on the roll of a fighter in the Super Galaxy squadron and face a mass of enemy forces much greater than their own. The game plays from a top down perspective and features all of the hallmarks of the shump gametype; health, hyper shots, and ship upgrades all appear in the game. Read More


Broken Bootlegs- Street Fighter II

Posted on February 24, 2016 by Erika

Broken Bootlegs is a weekly series covering unlicensed games (also known as bootleg games) for mainly 8-bit and 16-bit consoles. This week’s edition covers two different versions of one very well-known game and thus, some more well-known bootlegs: Street Fighter II: The World Warrior for the Famicom and Street Fighter II Rainbow Edition for Arcade

One of the more curious games I found out there back when I was really getting into NES and Famicom games a good decade back was a game that I thought never had an 8-bit release: Street Fighter II. Having played the hell out of back in the early to mid 90s at the arcade and on the SNES, I thought I’d give this game a try. I’m greeted with a still from the opening cinematic of two people brawling, with it scrolling up until the title screen pops up in all it’s 8-bit glory. Having never heard of Yoko Soft back then, I wondered if that was possibly an unknown official port, or some Chinese knockoff. Read More


Broken Bootlegs- Windows 98 Famicom

Posted on February 11, 2016 by Erika

Windows 98 Famicom 01

Broken Bootlegs is a weekly series covering unlicensed games (also known as bootleg games) for mainly 8-bit and 16-bit consoles. This week’s edition is something a little bit more obscure than other bootlegs out there: an emulation of Windows 98 for the Famicom.

It's a MS-DOS  prompt-that doesn't work!

It’s a MS-DOS prompt-that doesn’t work!

At first glance, one might wonder how a developer might be able to replicate a 32-bit operating system onto an 8-bit system, and the sad thing is that it’s not possible to do that and have anything work. “Booting up” the cartridge will show an AwardBios startup screen from which the BIOS setup screen can be launched from if the A or B buttons are pressed quickly enough. That screen will only stay for a few seconds before automatically rebooting. Eventually, a login screen pops up  to which one can “log in” with the pre-entered, non-alterable credentials. After being brought to the desktop, one can use the d-pad to navigate the mouse though the various items on the desktop and start menu. Upon further investigation, into these programs, one will notice that even though it’ll bring up what appears to be the programs and images, nothing can be done with them at all except to exit out of things to return to the desktop. Worse still, there’s no audio that accompanies this cartridge at all, making the volume slider on the taskbar utterly useless.

Whether or not that these design choices were intentionally made to get a shoddy emulation of Windows 98 made for the Famicom, it’s still interesting to see this out there in the wild. Surprisingly, there also emulations of Windows 2000 and Windows XP out in the wild and are possibly based off of each other. If it included something like Famicom BASIC within the programming, then it might be something interesting to acquire. Sadly though, it’s not included nor is there any known keyboard support for this. Unless you’re a hardcore bootleg collector for Famicom games, I would not recommend acquiring this “game” to play.

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Dropping in for a review: Gravity Rush Remastered

Posted on February 11, 2016 by Erika

Gravity Rush Remastered

Flying onto the Playstation 4, Gravity Rush Remastered brings a fresh look to the gravity defying 2012 PS Vita game. The game starts off with an opening cinematic of a tree of which after the player taps the apple a number of times, it falls down into an open space eventually falling and rolling down, starting the opening credits followed by tutorial episode. After gaining control of the female protagonist she realizes that has no memories and finds herself next to a mysterious cat. After exploring her way about, a man drops down grabbing her for help save his son from the storm, saying that she has powers and that she can help him. In trying to save him, the game shows how shift gravity in order to rescue him. From there, the mysterious girl runs away as the father and son blame her for their house being destroyed. Shortly after, the girl finds a crow similar to her cat and decides to chase after it. The tutorial finishes up with the mysterious girl saving an officer, and smoothly progresses into how the game’s combat mechanics works by fighting the game’s enemies known as Nevi.

While learning how to fight, the player is introduced to being able to perform a basic kick attack, evade enemy attacks, and perfor air kicks while floating and flying around. Known as Gravity Kick, it will come handy while trying to defeat some of the airborne Nevi. As the story progresses,  the player is introduced to purple gems, which can be collected to upgrade your character’s abilities. The upgrade system works similar to some RPG mechanics of collecting a certain number of gems to level up any number of things about the character, including such things as affecting Gravity Gauge drain/recovery, strength of attacks, or special abilities. Gravity Rush Remastered does a very good job of handling the way it shows the player on how game mechanics work without being either slapped on or just plainly in the way of gameplay.

The story presentation is different from what I’ve experienced with other action/adventure games and instead of  in-game dialogue cut-scenes, the game is presented with manga-style storyboards to progress the game. In addition to that, the cell-shading that was used for the game gives off a very strong anime-feel to the game. Reinforcing that feel is the musical score, which can be quite atmospheric while wandering around, or can aid in the urgency in a situation such as an enemy battle.

The controls take a little bit of getting used to, but they’re easy to use once the player gets the hang of things. One large thing I noticed while playing is that the game is very forgiving with mistakes. Falling off of the map into the void or perishing from an enemies will spawn you at the nearest safe spot without any penalty. After coming across the same officer that I saved earlier, he gives her the name Kat since there’s a cat tagging along with her. Looking back on the story thus far, the protagonist, Kat, is someone without memory trying to figure out what the heck is going on and who she is. It’s really sad to see that someone has to deal with that while dealing with Nevi and others that cause trouble throughout the game. Gravity isn’t hard, nor too easy to play, but it’s quite easy to pick up and get into while also good enough to play in bursts. With that said, it isn’t easy to put down, as it draws the player in to keep playing to see what happens next.

While easy to get into for new players, it’s just as easy (if not easier) for people that have played this on the Vita, as BluePoint Games did an excellent job porting over Project Siren’s work over to the PlayStation 4. The controls are mostly the same, including being able to use the PS4’s gyroscope movement to control Kat while in the air, making it a very smooth transition for previous players. In addition to that, the game’s visual quality got an overhaul and upgrade so it not plays at 60 frames per second (compared to the Vita’s 30fps), but looks better overall in hi-definition. One other feature that players may enjoy is the fact that all of the downloadable content that was available for the Vita version is included in the core game, giving additional story missions and costumes to collect. Even if you’re not a veteran player, Gravity Rush Remastered is really fun to get into and play for hours on end. For those that don’t own a PS4 but have a Vita, the original Gravity Rush is still a very fun game to buy and play in it’s own right. For people that do own a PS4, this game makes for a nice addition to the library for any one that enjoys playing action/adventure games. With how I loved playing through Gravity Rush Remastered, I can’t wait for the sequel to come out later this year.

Gravity Rush Remastered is now out on the PlayStation 4.


Gravity Rush Remastered Impressions

Posted on February 9, 2016 by Erika

Gravity Rush

Remastered and ported over by BluePoint Games, Gravity Rush Remastered (also known as Gravity Daze in Japan) is a very faithful port of the original 2012 PSVita Game. For those not familiar with the game, the player finds themselves dropped into the world of a character that has no memories and is able to control the gravity around her. Kat, the name eventually given to her, must now explore a world that she’s not familiar with as she tries to figure out who she is. Story is beautiful told though graphic novel-like sequences that are decently short, which pushes story progression along quite well. During the game, Kat is able to alter gravity around her to where she can fly though the air, defy gravity so she can walk on vertical services or even upside down, and use those powers to launch special attacks. Those abilities are limited only by a meter that drains on ability use, but  after a short time of inactive use, it’ll quickly recover to full.  As Kat journeys though this mysterious world, she’ll be able to collect crystals to upgrade things like her health, reduce gravity meter drain, or strengthen attacks.Read More


Broken Bootlegs- Super Mario World Famicom

Posted on February 3, 2016 by Erika

Super Mario World Famicom

Broken Bootlegs is a weekly series covering unlicensed games (also known as bootleg games) for mainly 8-bit and 16-bit consoles. This week’s edition is the appearance of one of the more well-known bootlegs out there, a pirate port of Super Mario World for the Famicom!

Due to poor jumping physics, expect this to happen quite a bit

Due to poor jumping physics, expect this to happen quite a bit

Developed by Hummer Team and released in 1995, this bootleg did something that Nintendo developers said that couldn’t be done: giving Mario a dino companion on their former flagship 8-bit system. Surprisingly, the development team did a somewhat decent job in recreating the experience of playing the game so that it’s actually playable. Surprisingly, features and items like Yoshi, Fire Flower, and Cape Feather all work just about as they did on the original game. The music is mostly faithful to the original tunes, though some of the instrument choices can be a bit hard on the ears. Unfortunately, but understandably, the level layouts that were put into the game were either partially or completely redone, and enemies were either not included or replaced with another to help with system slowdown due to too many objects on the screen at the time. One such enemy replaced is the giant Bullet Bill replaced with a series of three Podoboos. As for system slowdown, this is most noticeable while playing though the Ghost Houses, as at times, the screens are quite populated with Boos.Read More


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