I'm really not sure why this game garners the hate it does (when it gets any acknowledgement, anyway). I know it's far from the peak of the genre and it's certainly not without things that would dissatisfy diehard STG players, but when you boil it down, it's… really not doing anything particularly wrong or different from what you'd typically expect. It's slower than the likes of, say, Ikaruga, and much easier than it too, but I think it's really nice to have something that's both an entry point and something you can just suck down in 30 minutes and have a good time, even if said time isn't an exceptional one.
Honestly, I didn't expect much from this game before I turned it on. I’d never heard of it, its box art is pretty ugly, and the developer didn’t exactly have the strongest of careers. But I gotta say, Rat Attack! is a solid game! It takes a simple, tried but true concept and throws so many wrinkles and wrenches into it that it becomes a chaotic yet considered cacophony of hazards, ideas, challenges, and triumphs. Qix is the kind of concept that’s hard to add onto, but I think this game does a really good job of expanding on the idea. Having to juggle dozens of rats while keeping hazards, power-ups, and pad locations in mind makes for a surprisingly tense and exhilarating experience.
It doesn’t have much “meat” on its bones and it still finds a way to overstay its welcome, but Pippols is an overall enjoyable romp that feels pretty fresh even in a genre as crowded as shoot ‘em ups. The lane changing mechanic adds a lot of strategy to what would otherwise be a simple game, and the aesthetics and premise give the game a unique identity that still stands out for its procurement-based mission compared to the majority of its contemporaries that purported eradication as the only solution to their conflicts. Konami was at their absolute peak during the 8 and 16-bit eras of gaming, and this game serves as but one of many examples of why they were one of the big names to look for on the MSX. With fun gameplay and impressive technical flourishes for its platform, Pippols is one of those games that you could bring out and show off to get people interested in the ol’ computer that could.
Austin Powers Pinball
Austin Powers Pinball is an experience that's so minimalist and unremarkable that it almost feels pointless to play. It offers nothing that other pinball games don't and it doesn't make proper use of its license during a time where people were hungriest for it. But beneath it all, it has a degree of value as a fascinating cultural artifact of a time long past and that's pretty groovy in its own way...
The Adventure of Little Ralph
Released in 1999, The Adventure of Little Ralph is a love letter inspired by games that came before it, combining the methodical action of Rastan with the platforming of the original Wonder Boy and the fast pace of Quartet, all wrapped up in an aesthetic that’s filled to the brim with creativity and life...