Sunday, 22 February 2015

Goodbye 1990, Hello 1991

Hello Sega Game Gear - April saw the arrival of the handheld in North America and Europe.  Although it sold reasonably well it couldn't touch the sales of the Game Boy.

Hello SNES - Nintendos entry in the 16-bit console arena was released in North America. The August release was two years to the week after the rival Sega Genesis.

1990 was the biggest and longest year on my shortlist - it represented the crossover of the 8-bit and 16-bit consoles, some new console manufacturers elbowing in, the emergence of the PC as a capable games machine while the Amiga and ST were still going strong.  Playing through half a dozen RPGs didn't help.  Thankfully, it's all downhill from here on in.

One of my let downs of 1990 was Eye of the Beholder.  I remember it as one of the first games that made me jealous of Amiga owners - an AD&D based Dungeon Master clone seemed right up my alley.  Unfortunately, a turn based tabletop game doesn't translate well into a real-time first person dungeon crawler so it had to get the chop.  Like Dungeon Master (though not as subtle) the enemy creatures roamed in set areas - a group of kobolds wouldn't follow you around a corner for example.  The reaction based combat didn't work for me either.  It did, however, make me appreciated the Gold Box games that bit more.

Another big disappointment was Turrican on the Amiga.  It started out as a difficult but fair run and gunner sporting excellent graphics, sound and gameplay.  The open levels rewarded exploration and offered lots of power-ups and extra lives.  The third planet soured the whole experience for me.  The levels became enclosed, the time limit harsh, extra lives dried up and you had to rely on memorising the level to avoid frequent deaths. 

Looking forward to the 1991 games I haven't played before.  Firstly we have Another World* (or Out of this World if you live in North America).  It's a game that I've always liked the look of but never got around to trying.

Mega-Lo-Mania (also renamed in North America as Tyrants: Fight Through Time) is another game I've always wanted to play.  One of my friends had it on his ST but I only saw it running - I never got to play it myself

Finally, on the RPG front we have the fourth Final Fantasy game and the fourth game in the Pool of Radiance series of gold box games - Pools of Darkness**.  Hopefully this entry will turn out better than the disappointing Secret of the Silver Blades.

* Much to my chagrin, Another World has been deferred to a later date.  I've discovered the best version is on the Sega CD and won't be out for a couple of years.

** Try as I might I really couldn't get into this game.  I didn't like the combat and I couldn't get into the story, which are two of the most important aspects of an RPG.  This is the first Gold Box RPG I didn't finish and I have no regrets.

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