Category Archives: Retro

Theme Hospital: Retro

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Theme Hospital was developed by Bullfrog Productions and published by Electronic Arts in 1997. The aim of the game is for the player to design and manage a hospital. Like most of Bullfrog’s games, Theme Hospital is permeated by an eccentric sense of humour. The game is the thematic successor to Theme Park, which was also produced by Bullfrog.

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The player has no direct control over the patients that wander the hospital, although gameplay largely centres on influencing their actions in one way or another. The player does, however, have the ability to pick up any staff member in the building and move them to a different area and to expel any patients from the hospital. The player may also force the patient into taking a chance of possible cure at the risk of killing the patient and rearrange the queue of each of the rooms in the hospital.

Each level consists of an empty hospital to plan and design, with set goals in the fields of financial attainment, patients cured, percent of patients cured, and hospital value. Holding negative funds or allowing sufficient patients to die will bring about losing requirements. When the goals have been met the player has the option to move on to a new, more elaborate hospital with tougher winning conditions and more diseases present. The final level in the game, ‘Battenburg‘ consists of an enormous, yet somewhat awkward, hospital with all the diseases and rooms in the game present, all disasters frequent and very high winning requirements.

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Crazy Taxi: Retro

imageCrazy Taxi is an open world racing game developed by Hitmaker and published by Sega. The game was ported to the Dreamcast in 2000. The main objective of the game is to pick up customers and take them to their chosen destination as quickly as possible. Along the way, money can be earned by performing stunts such as near misses with other vehicles. The player is directed to a destination by a large green arrow at the top of the screen. The arrow does not adjust based on obstacles, but rather points in the general direction of the destination. Once the player arrives near the destination, they must stop within a specified zone. When the destination is reached, that customer’s fare is added to the player’s total money earned. Ratings are then awarded depending on how long the player took to complete the journey. If the customer’s timer runs out before the player reaches the destination the customer jumps from the taxi.

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Players can select three, five or ten minute settings, or the Arcade Rules used in the original coin-op version of the game. In the three time-limited settings, play continues for the designated period of time, after which the cab automatically stops and no more points can be scored. Under Arcade Rules, the player starts with an initial time limit of one minute, which can be extended through time bonuses earned for quick deliveries. Console versions of the game also feature a mode known as Crazy Box, a set of minigames that feature challenges such as picking up and dropping off a number of customers within a time limit, bowling using the taxi as a ball, and popping giant balloons in a field.

The arcade version of the game includes one stage, and an additional original stage was added for the console versions. Both stages are based in sunny coastal California locales, with steep hills and other strong similarities to San Francisco. The player has a choice of four drivers and their cabs, each of whom has slightly different attributes.

Hogs of War: Retro

Hogs of War was developed by and published by Infogrames for the PlayStation and PC in 2000. The game is set in a First World War-era where anthropomorphic pigs engage in combat.

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The gameplay is a turn-based tactics game where players take turns controlling individual members of their squad of hogs to engage in combat with the opposition, similar to Worms. Each turn, a player takes control of a single squad member in a third-person perspective to move around the map including jumping over terrain and swimming over bodies of water yet can only engage in combat when stationary. Each turn has a set time limit that ends if the timer counts down to zero, the player skips their turn, a weapon or ability is used or if they have accidentally injured themselves such as walking into a mine field or falling from a high surface. Other hazards include bodies of water that while can be swam in, is damaging to nearly all types of soldiers that drains health as they swim. If a teammate is knocked into water by an opponent, they will automatically swim to the nearby shore line. While difficult, it is also possible to knock hogs off the map resulting in instant death. If all health is gone and the player is on land, they will fall over with a last comical remark before exploding.

The tune for the game is John Philip Sousa‘s Liberty Bell March. The design of the game is discussed in the book The Game Maker’s Apprentice, which is co-authored by the lead programmer of the game and has a foreword by one of the game’s designers. Voice over work was provided by comedian Rik Mayall shown in the following clip.

Ratchet and Clank: Retro

imageRatchet & Clank was released in 2002 for the PlayStation 2. In the game, Supreme Executive Chairman Drek plans to take pieces from other planets across the Solana Galaxy and create one new planet for his people, the Blarg, whose planet has become polluted and uninhabitable. Aside from the two protagonists, the game also introduces Captain Qwark, who appears in the following games, as both enemy and ally.

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The game offers a wide range of weapons and gadgets that the player must use to defeat numerous enemies and solve puzzles on a variety of different planets in the fictional Solana galaxy. The game also includes several mini games, such as racing or lock-picking, which the player must complete to proceed. The game was positively received by critics, who praised the graphics and variety of gameplay, along with the comic and humorous style to the sci-fi story.

The game introduced features such as the ability to purchase items, weapons, and unlocking gadgets as the game progresses, which have become a staple of the series in following games. The first in this series does not feature the upgrade system of experience earned for enemies killed, instead the player may purchase stronger, gold versions of select weapons using a combination of hidden Gold Bolt items and regular bolts. Check out this funny tv spot,

Mr. Moskeeto: Retro

The player controls a small mosquito,named Mr Moskeeto, who has taken up residency in the house of the Yamada family, life-sized humans that serve as the protagonist‘s food source in the game. The goal of the game is to stock up on blood through the summer so that the mosquito will survive the winter ahead. The player is tasked with sucking blood from specific body parts of the family members without being noticed. If the player is not careful, the human will become stressed and eventually attack.

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The game is made up of a series of stages which must be unlocked in order by completing each previous stage. Players can choose their own path though each stage. At the start of each stage is a briefing detailing the room where the stage takes place, the victim and areas on their body from which blood can be sucked, and any prevalent dangers. The rooms in each stage are fully explorable. Each room has items hidden in obscure places which can bring various benefits.

Super Mario Sunshine: Retro

Super Mario Sunshine: Retro game of the day

imageSuper Mario Sunshine, developed by Nintendo Entertainment Analysis and Development and published by Nintendo for the GameCube. It was released in October 2002 across Europe. It is the second 3D Mario platformer, following Super Mario 64. The game takes place on the tropical Isle Delfino, where Mario, Princess Peach and five Toads are taking a vacation. A villain resembling Mario, known as Shadow Mario, vandalises the entire island with graffiti and Mario gets blamed for the mess. Later on, Mario is ordered to clean up Isle Delfino, while saving Princess Peach from Shadow Mario. Mario cleans up the island with a device called Flash Liquidizer Ultra Dousing Device or FLUDD for short.

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When Mario first acquires FLUDD he can spray and hover using its nozzles, it can be upgraded later in the game to extend functionality. The rocket nozzle, which blasts Mario up high into the air and the turbo nozzle, which lets Mario sprint at high speed on land and water and break down specific doors. Mario can also ride Yoshi later in the game, who can eat fruit and squirt the juice of that fruit. This juice can be used to dissolve orange generators acting as obstacles, and briefly transform enemies into platforms for Mario to step on. The color of Yoshi and color of its juice depends on the type of fruit last eaten.

There are 240 blue coins and 120 Shine Sprites. Each level consists of eight tasks, which may be played again at will once they are completed. Once the player has collected enough Shine Sprites, a new level is available at Delfino Plaza, either by the acquisition of a new ability or a plot-related event. Of the 120 Shine Sprites, 24 are gained by collecting and trading Blue Coins at a rate of 10 coins per sprite. Gameplay proceeds in this fashion until all of the Shadow Mario-related missions are completed, which unlocks the level containing the final boss. Check out this crazy tv spot!

Gran Turismo: Retro

Gran Turismo: Retro game of the day

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With yesterdays exciting announcement from Sony about the release of its latest incarnation of Polyphony Digitals long running racing simulator series, Gran Turismo 6 for PS3, we thought it only right that today’s retro game of the day was the original.

After five years in development Gran Turismo was published by Sony Computer Entertainment and released in 1997 for the PlayStation console. A year later the game’s development group was established as Polyphony Digital. To date has spawned over 10 spin-offs and sequels.

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Gran Turismo is based on the racing simulator genre and uses two different modes, Arcade Mode and Simulation Mode. In the arcade mode, the player can freely choose the courses and vehicles they wish to use. Winning races unlocks additional cars and courses. In simulation mode the player is required to earn different driver’s licenses in order to qualify for events, and earn credits, trophies and prize cars. The credits can then be used to purchase additional vehicles and for parts for tuning. Gran Turismo features 140 cars and 11 race tracks, long with their reversed versions.

Eternal Darkness: Retro

Eternal Darkness: Retro game of the day

20130514-220755.jpgEternal Darkness is a survival horror video game released for the GameCube. Developed by Silicon Knights and originally planned for the Nintendo 64, it was released November 2002 in Europe. It was the first video game published directly by Nintendo to be rated M for mature by the software rating board.

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Eternal Darkness’ plot revolves around Alexandra Roivas, who is investigating the mysterious murder of her grandfather Edward Roivas. While exploring his Rhode Island mansion, she discovers a secret room containing, among other odd items, a book bound with human skin and bone. When she reads this book, The Tome of Eternal Darkness, she experiences a scene in the life of Pious Augustus, a respected Roman military commander in 26 BC. Pious is led by mysterious voices to an underground temple, where he chooses one of three mysterious artifacts. The artifact transforms him into an undead warlock, the Liche, and makes him slave to one of three Ancients, powerful godlike beings whose Essences are incarnated as the artifacts. As the plot unfolds, it becomes clear that Pious is attempting to summon his Ancient into this reality, while the powerful fourth “Corpse God” Mantorok is bound on Earth already, apparently helpless to stop it. If this summoning came to pass, the Ancient would feast on the bodies and souls of all living beings, and cast the universe into the horror of eternal darkness. The game utilises sanity effects to enhance the gameplay.

Though not a commercial success, Eternal Darkness was widely praised, winning the Outstanding Achievement in Character or Story Development award at the Annual Interactive Achievement Awards long with numerous other awards.

The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask: Retro

The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask: Retro game of the day

imageThe Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, released Nov 2000, developed by Nintendo for the Nintendo 64. Majora’s Mask is the sixth game in the series, set in Termina it is an alternate version of the usual series setting of Hyrule. The Skull Kid has stolen Majora’s Mask, a powerful ancient artefact and under its influence he causes the moon to fall towards the Termina. Link, the stories protagonist, travels back in to find a way to stop the moon from destroying the world.

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The gameplay of Majora’s Mask expands on that of its predecessor, Ocarina of Time. While it retains the concept of dungeon puzzles and ocarina songs it introduces character transformations and the restriction of a three-day cycle. Transformations are based around using three Masks which, when worn, allow Link to become different creatures. Each form, Deku Scrub, Goron and Zora feature their own unique abilities. The second addition, the three-day cycle, imposes a time limit of three days game-time into the mix. Link can return to the first day by playing the Song of Time on his Ocarina, he can also slow down time or warp to the next morning or evening by playing variations of the song.

Majora’s Mask runs on an upgraded version of the engine used in Ocarina of Time but required the use of the 4MB Expansion Pak. The use of the Expansion Pak allowed for much greater draw distances, accurate dynamic lighting, more detailed texture mapping and animation.

Super Mario Bros. 3: Retro

Retro game of the day

imageWell what can I say, this possibly the first game that I actually completed and I mean actually completed not the usual ‘Oh yea I completed that game’ just to show off in the playground. Super Mario Bros. 3 was developed and published by Nintendo for the NES and is the third game in the series, the clue is in the name. Released in 1991, in Europe, the game focuses on Mario and Luigi who embark to a quest to save Princess Peach for a change.

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Mario and Luigi battle through eight worlds in an attempt to restore order to the Mushroom World. This version of Mario introduced brand new power-ups which could augment their abilities, establishing several conventions that have also been featured in later titles of the franchise. Completing stages allows the player to progress through the overworld map and to succeeding worlds. Each world features a final stage with a boss to defeat. The first seven worlds feature an airship controlled by one of the Koopalings, while the player battles Bowser in his castle at the end of the eighth world.

Super Mario Bros. 3 also included a multiplayer option which allowed two players to co-operatively. Through this mode players can also access several minigames, including a remake of the original Mario Bros. arcade game.

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