Friday, 31 January 2014

Blue's Journey - SNK Neo Geo AES - 1990


It’s fitting that my first game of the decade should be for the first console released in the 90's.  The Neo Geo AES was a console version of the Neo Geo MVS arcade machine.  The cartridges contained the same PCB that slotted into the arcade hardware so the games were identical.  This meant you had arcade quality games you could play in the comfort of your own home.  All was not a bed of roses, however, and the Neo Geo had a couple of issues.  The biggest stumbling block was the price – in the US a basic console with one controller and no games cost about $400 while each game cost upwards of $200.  Secondly, you only got arcade titles which are limited by their very nature.  There were no strategy, RPG, adventure or similar releases available for the AES.  None of this prevented me from wanting one.

The attract screen of Blue’s Journey tells the story of the planet of Raguy.  It has been invaded by the evil Daruma Tribe who are consuming the planet’s resources and polluting the atmosphere.  You take control of Blue who has been tasked by Princess Fa with saving the once peaceful planet.  I have to say it's a bit weird having all the friendly characters dressed up as insects (or are they hybrids?) but maybe that's just me.  

The game plays as a colourful cartoon platform game that Japanese gamers seem to love.  There are, I believe, five levels to work your way through.  Each level has a time limit and ends with a boss fight.
 
Blue has the ability to jump and to shrink in size to reach otherwise inaccessible areas.  He also has the ability to stun enemies by jumping on their heads or wielding his almighty….leaf!  Stunned enemies can be picked up and used as projectiles.  A second player can take control of Princess Fa who has the same abilities as Blue.

During his journey across Raguy there are many flowers to be collected.  These are used as currency to buy special items in the shops and houses that are can be found on his travels.  Certain plants can’t be picked up and must be hit.  These reveal items such as weapon upgrades or special abilities.


Blue's Journey has charming visuals and quality audio to encourage you to buy more credits.  It also doesn't want you playing too long so gets very difficult very quickly.  It's an addictive game but not the most original.  I have played many platform games for this blog and this borrows features from a few of them.  There are recognisable elements from Wonderboy in Monster Land and Super Mario Brosfor example. Would I have paid $200+ for Blue's Journey?  Probably not, but it's still good enough to get on my blog.

Example gameplay....

6 comments:

  1. I love this game, one of my favourites on the Neo Geo :) I particularly like the noise when you shrink down :P

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's definitely a quality game. I've played a few Neo Geo games before but never came across this one. It was a nice surprise :)

      Delete
  2. I do have some fond memories of this game from my early days of messing with emulators. A platformer on the Neo Geo was also quite a rare thing.

    ReplyDelete
  3. True. I think to the uninitiated the Neo Geo is mostly known for fighting games and the Metal Slug series. Finding little known gems like this is a bonus

    ReplyDelete
  4. If little known Neo Geo gems are your bag, check out Zupapa! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's already on my list for 2001 :p

      Delete