Quality reviews of computer and video games, from Pong and Pac-Man to present.

10 / 24 / 2014



Welp, another Helloween. Let's get scurry.

10800 Zombies (PC, 3/5) is a free little indie game that kind of transmogrifies Doom into a 2D platformer, though I'm not actually sure that was by intent. Another good freebie is The Simpsons: Treehouse of Horror (PC, 3/5), a fan-made OpenBOR follow-up to the Simpsons arcade game that's pretty well put together. Haunted House (Atari 2600, 2/5) and Uninvited (NES, 3/5) aren't free but probably no one will care if you download them. Haunted House is about the best stab at a horror game that the Atari 2600 can handle, while Uninvited is part of the cult favorite "Macventure" series along with Deja Vu and Shadowgate. It gets less attention than the other two even though the NES port was released last in the series and has the most polish and (IMO) the best structure.

10 / 20 / 2014



HOGAN! WE COMIN' FOR YOU N ... oh hullo. We keep on working our way toward the belt today with World Championship Wrestling (2/5), WWF King of the Ring (1/5) and WWF Steel Cage Challenge (1/5), all for NES. I'm thinking arcade games next time. THIS NEW WORLD ORGANIZATION OF WRESSLIN' BROTHER!!!

10 / 10 /
2014



BROTHERJACKDUDE!!! For some reason I got a yen to kinda do a fly-over of older wrestling games. After this first crop, I'm already starting to regret the idea.

WWF Wrestlemania (NES, 1/5), WWF Wrestlemania: Steel Cage Challenge (SMS, 1/5) and Tecmo World Wrestling (NES, 3/5). THAT BEEFY JUICY TASTE!!!

10 / 4 / 2014



Pokeymans? Pokeymans?! We're only about 15 years late to the party with Pokemon Red/Blue/Yellow/Green/Burnt Umber (Game Boy, 3/5). Also, along the theme of major Nintendo franchises we've been ignoring for some reason, Super Smash Bros. (Nintendo 64, 4/5)

9 / 29 / 2014



How now, gasman. Gettin' all medieval Europey today with Dragonsphere (PC, 3/5), AKA that freebie in your GOG account that you never bother playing, and Torchlight (PC, 3/5), which is where some Diablo devs split off and formed their own company doing the same thing. Similar to when the main group of Goldeneye/Perfect Dark devs went rogue from Rare and made Timesplitters, except with loot grinding this time.

9 / 7 /
2014

Another Turbografx port of a Sega arcade game today, this time Shinobi (2/5). And Pitiri 1977 (PC, 3/5), an odd indie platformer game that hardly anyone seems to have played.

9 / 2 / 2014



Pretty much how life works if you're a heterosexual male tbqh.

Wall Street Kid (NES, 2/5) is from Sofel, they of the odd gambling-RPG hybrid Casino Kid. This one is more of an odd time-management ... well, I guess it's a gambling game too, though with all the insider trading going on your chances are a lot better.

In keeping with the theme of 80s excess, how about the Turbografx 16 port of Outrun too (3/5). Make a fortune investing in Yapple then plow your Ferrari into a tree, live the American dream.


8 / 27 / 2014

Fire Emblem (NES, 3/5) was the world's introduction to Marth and his peppy theme song. Well, it was Japan's introduction, Nintendo would hide the series there for almost 15 years even though it was pretty much the template from which console SRPGs were born.

Then we got some Gemfire (Genesis, 3/5). Which I suspect was Koei's attempt to have their own Fire Emblem-ish game, but half-hearted as they just absolutely could not part with their dense, unwelcoming menu systems.

8 / 21 / 2014



So I had planned to include Chaos Seed (SNES, 3/5) with the last update originally, but by happy circumstance, I remembered that I had Dungeon Keeper (PC, 4/5) floating around from a GOG sale in the interim. They're conceptually similar, but the gameplay is real different ... and interestingly enough, Chaos Seed came out almost a year earlier. Dungeon Keeper puts you in the shoes of eeeevil, though, while Chaos Seed casts you as a misunderstood monk whose case probably isn't being helped by the hundreds of troops he's slaughtering.

Anyway, if you want a more moderate challenge, go with Dungeon Keeper, and if you want to defend a cave from General Cartman Lee then give Chaos Seed a spin.

8 / 6 / 2014


So normally I like to do at least 2 reviews per update, but it's been a hectic month and all I've got for now is Dust: An Elysian Tail (PC, 4/5). Was gonna pair it with Chaos Seed but I only just started that and it looks hecka complicated, so we're just firing what we have here. Anyway, Dust was surprisingly good and might just scratch a Symphony of the Night sort of itch.

7 / 8 / 2014
 
Introducing a new series of articles to the site ... Real Journlolism! Well, Real Editorials for now, anyway. They can be found at the top of the "Other Articles" link, over there <--
 
I've managed to go two decades and a few different websites on the internet with pretty much zero hate mail whatsoever, but I would imagine these new pieces are what's finally going to change that at some point here. Oh well. Our first topic -- I think we all pretty much agree that "games journalism" has a problem with being too soft on AAA titles, but are they too soft on indie games too? Spoiler: Yes.
 
7 / 3 / 2014
 
 
 
 
A midsummer night's acid trip. Antichamber (PC, 2/5) tries to combine a trippy world and arbitrary game rules with logic puzzles, and I didn't feel it worked out too well. LSD: Dream Emulator (PS1, 3/5), on the other hand, doesn't try to be anything more than an Experience, maaaaan.
 
6 / 29 / 2014
 
 
 
Art imitates life imitates art ... I think.
 
Crawlin' through jungles with Far Cry (PC, 4/5) and Rambo (NES, 2/5). Far Cry was a pleasant surprise and even has a nice-looking game world for 2004. Rambo ... well, you expect movie licenses to copy the hot gaming trends of their time pretty blatantly. You don't really expect an action movie to copy Zelda, though.
 
6 / 25 / 2014
 
New New New World Order! It's a rasslin' day with WCW vs NWO Revenge (N64, 4/5) and Guacamelee (PC, 3/5). The former maybe the best wrestling game of the 64-bit generation, and the latter another one of those hyped-to-hell indies that let me down once again.
 
Semi-related update: This is amazing
 
6 / 15 / 2014
 
It's a Double Fine Double Feature today. Somehow I missed that Costume Quest (PC, 3/5) was a Halloween themed game, or I would have saved it for October ... oh well, it's been a month and a half, we gotta upload something here. Then there's Stacking (PC, 3/5) , which will probably be the only game ever that combines Russian stacking dolls and a Victorian silent movie setting.
 
5 / 3 / 2014
 
 
 
Rounding out the Fallout coverage with New Vegas (PC, 4/5) and Fallout Tactics (PC, 2/5) today. I think that covers the whole series with the exception of that weird console action game they snuck out back in the PS2 / OG Xbox era.
 
Updates may be a bit on the thin side all through summer. Doing a lot of traveling and a good chunk of that is going to be camping far from the madness of civilization. Not a total shutdown, but slower than usual.
 
4 / 24 / 2014
 
Today we're exploring the deep, mysterious and derivative boundaries of outer space with Oddplanet (PC, 2/5) and Lunar Leepers (Apple II, 2/5). Ain't nothin' new in the cosmos.
 
4 / 19 / 2014
 
 
Next on ESPN, full contact nightgown wrestling. Manos: The Hands of Fate (PC, 3/5) could have been embarrassing, but it turned out OK. The Super Spy (Arcade, 3/5) was one of SNK's weird riffs on Punch-Out for the Neo Geo, turning it into some sort of a long semi-adventure type of thing.
 
4 / 14 / 2014
 
I don't even know what's going on today. Faerie Solitaire (PC, 3/5) and Sexy Parodius (Arcade, 2/5). 
 
4 / 8 / 2014
 
Another update already since things have been so slow for awhile ... was traveling all last week with only my Android tablet and I can't get anything done on that thing.
 
A bunch of Sierra's deep, deep non-adventure back catalog from the Apple II days. Apple Cider Spider (2/5), BC's Quest For Tires (2/5) and Cannonball Blitz (0/5) all basic action games. The most interesting game of the day might just be Grapple (2/5), a game so obscure I can't find anything about it on the interbutts at all. Just a few ROM sites that carry the image but know nothing about it. I actually had to blow the dust off my old Youpoop account to make a gameplay video of it.
 
4 / 6 / 2014
 
Couple of PC oldies today. Times of Lore (2/5) is one of Chris Roberts' first games, and Wasteland (3/5) is the progenitor of the Fallout series. 
 
3 / 28 / 2014
 
Two CD-ROMs from the Last Days of Adventure Games - Escape From Monkey Island (PC, 2/5) and Lighthouse (PC, 3/5)
 
3 / 21 / 2014
 
 
 
♪ Samurai ... and nin-jer-y .... kill together in per-fect ... har-mo-ny! ♪
 
Kenseiden (Master System, 2/5)  is a samurai action game that seems like it was Sega's attempt to clone / one-up Castlevania. Didn't quite work out though. Inindo (SNES, 3/5)  is a very interesting (but sometimes frustrating and unpolished) blend of a bunch of Koei's game elements from the 90s.
 
3 / 15 / 2014
 
Today, two of the best space combat games for MS-DOS: Silpheed (4/5), one of the few Japanese computer games of the period that got ported to the West, and X-Wing (4/5), LucasArts' first PC game using the Star Wars franchise (believe it or not) and possibly the finest space dogfighter of the mid-90s. 
 
3 / 12 / 2014
 
Just a quickie update with a couple of ancient arcade games since I've got a pile of Werk on my plate right now. They're good ones, though. Qix (4/5) is a rewrite of a review that was literally like two sentences before. Buck Rogers: Planet of Zoom (3/5) is one of Sega's early Super Scaler games, kinda like an early version of Galaxy Force. 
 
3 / 6 / 2014
 
 
 
Whew, I'm tired. No wit left in the tank. Today, full-contact basketball and soccer - Bill Laimbeer's Combat Basketball (SNES, 1/5), Nekketsu Street Basket (NES, 2/5) and Nintendo World Cup (NES, 2/5).
 
2 / 27 / 2014
 
 
 
Today, an Indie Game Roundup ... in that I want to spray them all with Roundup. Well, that's a little too harsh ... I think they all started off with decent concepts but tripped up somewhere on the way to release.
 
Fez (PC, 2/5) has become notorious mostly because designer Uncle Phil Fresshhhh ragequit the industry when the vulgar commoners dared to speak disdainfully of his work on the Internet-Machine. But Uncle Phil also forgot to add challenge and seemed to think everyone on Earth owns a smartphone.
 
A Virus Named TOM (PC, 2/5) is an interesting modernization of the Pipe Dreams style of action-puzzler, but one boner design choice kinda ruins the whole thing. Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken (PC, 2/5) aims to revive the style of classic rotoscoped action games like Out Of This World and Flashback, but is made in Flash, adds some ill-advised jetpack levels and generally doesn't quite get there.
 
2 / 23 / 2014
 
Whoops, I forgot that I was going to add The Dark Crystal (Apple II, 2/5) and Gelfling Adventure (Apple II, 2/5) to the last update. Then I was going to post yesterday but I was forced to submit to a KFC Fapout - eat a bunch of chicken strips, have a fap then collapse for 3 hours. Anyway, they're the same game, Gelfling is just a repurposed version made more easy and less disturbing for little kids. Both based on the creepy Jim Henson Muppet movie of the '80s.
 
2 / 21 / 2014
 
Today the first two LucasArts adventure games ever made - Labyrinth (Apple II, 3/5) and Maniac Mansion (PC, 4/5). Labyrinth is indeed based on the 1986 movie starring David Bowie as a wizard, Jennifer Connelly as jailbait and Muppets. Maniac Mansion was Ron Gilbert's first outing and really impressively complex and well-designed for a 1987 release. 
 
2 / 16 / 2014
 
Dragon Warrior IV (NES, 3/5) might have been the most unfair review on the site. Welp, not anymore. Indie devs please form an orderly queue over there -> to petition for the vacancy.
 
What the heck let's make it an RPG day with indie dungeon crawl The Legend of Grimrock (PC, 3/5), a throwback to the Dungeon Master and Eye of the Beholder days released a couple of years ago.
 
2 / 12 / 2014
 
Fappy Fapentine's Day! What more appropriate way to celebrate the holiday but with a pervy Japanese game. Wonderful Pink (PC, 3/5) is from the same gents that brought us the suprisingly playable Tifatan X; this too is surprisingly playable, but this time more of a Metroidvania type game. It's also a game that they charge Monies for even though it swipes at least half of its assets from other games, which is apparently totally legal in Japan. I gotta move there. 
 
Also - Amiga strip poker games for no apparent reason. Cover Girl Strip Poker (2/5) tries a little harder than the average strip poker game of the time, but it's still crummy. Does have some hubba hubba ladies though. Teenage Queen (3/5) might be the only enjoyable strip poker game ever made - great art style and actually plays a halfway decent game of poker to boot.
 
2 / 7 /2014
 
Images are intermittently not displaying - seems to be totally random which ones and on what pages (the title bar is out as I write this - yeeks!) 
 
Talkspot is doing a server upgrade/move until the 14th, so I assume it has something to do with that. Problem may linger until then ... nothing I can do, sorry. Please bear with us :(
 
2 / 7 / 2014
 
 
 
King Graham don't play when it's time for cards. Actually, an eclectic mix of games today with Golden Nugget Casino (GBA, 2/5), Hoyle's Book of Games (PC, 3/5), Hoyle's Book of Games 2 (PC, 2/5) and Hoyle's Book of Games 3 (PC, 3/5).
 
1 / 31 / 2014
 
 
 
Come on baby don't be shy .... Robocop's your kind of guy! So the Robocop remake is coming out in a couple of weeks. This update is not a celebration of that fact; Hollywood is about a decade past the point where they should have stopped trying to "reboot" everything that was ever once even mildly popular and started coming up with some new ideas.
 
Nevertheless, we'll take an excuse to dig up some old Robocop games. Robocop 2 (Arcade, 3/5) is almost entirely different from the first arcade Robocop, blending in a beat-em-up style while still retaining the shooting action. Robocop vs Terminator (Genesis, 3/5) really should have been so sweet, but somewhat generic and clunk design relegates it to merely being sorta OKish.
 
What, you wouldn't buy all that for a dollar? ... Well, there's more! How about the full Robocop trilogy for the Amiga - Robocop (0/5), Robocop 2 (0/5) and Robocop 3D (2/5). All those 0s might seem a little harsh until you learn that Ocean made all of these games.
 
1 / 30 / 2014
 
Looks like they fixed the image loading problem when using the talkspot.com URL. Hooray! But I'm still changing the URLs over anyway just to be safe, since problems sometimes reappear here down the road. I'm just doing it more slowly now.
 
Big update coming here pretty soon ... it's that Robocop ... dance 'till you drop.
 
1 / 28 / 2014
 
Uh oh ... Talkspot with another "service improvement" that breaks stuff that was working just fine before. This time it's images not displaying on any link that uses the old "platoscavern2.talkspot.com" address in the URL ... which is like every single one on the site not on this news page. You can actually get the images to display again on any given URL by manually changing the "platoscavern2.talkspot.com" part to "platoscavern.com", but I don't expect anyone to actually do that. I'll have to go through and change the links on all the index pages, which isn't difficult, but will probably still take the rest of the week to get to all of them. Sorry :(
 
1 / 28 / 2014
 
 
Man, the DS has been accumulating a pile of dust, huh? Good year or so since I've played anything on it. Back in circulation today with Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth (3/5). This game reminded me that there's absolute heaps of interesting detective/mystery games on the DS I haven't played yet, so of course I paired it with ... Scooby-Doo Mystery for SNES (2/5). It actually does an impressive job capturing the little details and vibe of the show, but I think they blew the whole development budget on that and forgot to add gameplay until the last minute.
 
Speaking of ignored systems, wasn't I supposed to be adding a Sega Saturn section in 2014? Yeah, well ... this thing has been nothing but Techmulogical Differences for some reason since I got it. I only have one game, that won't start. I tried that SSF emulator, that won't run the game either. I tried some ISOs to test it to see if it was the disc and THOSE won't run either. So Saturn is still way up in the air here. No clue what's even happening.
 
1 / 25 / 2014
 
Sega's "Super Scaler" arcade games of the '80s were remarkably ahead of their time. I've always loved these things and I'm happy to see them getting some attention with this new series of 3DS enhanced re-releases. Today's reviews of Galaxy Force (3/5) and Thunder Blade (3/5) are the original arcade versions though, since I am a Poor and don't have a 3DS.
 
1 / 20 / 2014
 
Today we move from the theme of "objectifying women as sex objects" to "strong independent women." Some of whom just happen to have physics-defying jubblies. 
 
Of course we're all familiar with that recent snuff-porny Tomb Raider reboot, but before they went all out with that they tried simply remaking the original game back in 2007 as Tomb Raider: Anniversary (PC, 3/5.) Then, for a dose of inspiring multiracial tween grrrrl powar, we have The Cheetah Girls (GBA, 2/5). I picked this up thinking it was maybe a long forgotten spinoff of The Cheetahmen, but it turns out it was just some show on the Disney Channel about a decade ago. Still, for this type of license it's a surprisingly kind of ambitious fusion of a very basic adventure game for kids with Parappa-esque rhythm sequences.
 
1 / 16 / 2014
 
Today we go back to the days of Skinemax and watching the scrambled Playboy Channel for 15 minutes to see a green boob float by with Softporn Adventure (Apple 2, 2/5) and the original Leisure Suit Larry (PC, 3/5). Actually, when the Playboy Channel first started out the audio wasn't scrambled and you could see an awful lot through the fuzz ... once parents got wise to that it got locked down into the soundless Occasional She-Hulk Boob version most of us who were adolescent males in the 80s/90s probably remember. Those were the days when these two games could get the computer pulled out of your room along with the TV too ... if only parents could have seen what Japan would cook up over the next couple of decades!
 
1 / 10 / 2014
 
Who were the ones that they put in charge ... ninjers, thieves and lawyers! Today we have Mark of the Ninja ... it's quasi-"indie" ... it's hyped to hell and back ... it gets impossibly high review scores ... it's from the Shank developers ... it's a 4/5? It's the best 2D stealth game yet? Huh.
 
Oh and uh ... this 1981 arcade game Thief (2/5) that was a minor entrant in the Maze Chase Craze in the wake of Pac-Man. Best known for its looping cassette tape audio rather than the gameplay.
 
1 / 6 / 2014
 
♫ "Because you're mine ... Spec Ops: The Line!" ♫ (PC, 3/5). That, and 2012's other middlebrow critical darling FTL (PC, 3/5). Both interesting, both flawed. We're also only a year-and-some-change behind the times now! Exciting.
 
1 / 3 / 2014
 
Welcome to the 2014 Zone! Get ready!
 
We're starting off the New Year by cleaning up some Old Shiz. Nightmare on Elm Street (PC, 2/5) was actually supposed to be included in the Halloween update - I picked it up just before but never got a chance to actually play it. Also, about the oldest graphical adventure game there is - Mystery House (Apple II, 1/5). Which means we've also got a new review section for the new year - the Apple II! I'm thinking it's going to be just one page for the whole series - the E, C, +, GS and whatever else there was. Can't remember 'em all offhand, elementary school Computer Lab was a long, long, long time ago.
 
 
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