Category Archives: Retro

Musgravian Musings - Six Months Later, Things are Looking Up for SEGA Forever

Hello everyone, and welcome to Musgravian Musings, a little space of my own where I can do some non-review reflections on recent game releases. In general, the featured games are ones that have caught my interest in some way or another, and will tend to be games that I didn't (and won't) review. This time, we're circling back around to check out how SEGA's SEGA Forever initiative is doing now that a half-year has passed. The June 2017 launch was embarrassingly poor for a number of reasons, some of which I outlined in a previous edition of Musgravian Musings. While SEGA could have thrown in the towel like certain other established publishers who put out poor-quality ports this year, the company has stuck to its guns and worked hard to improve things. Things are indeed better, but by how much?..

After digging a little deeper into obscurities for the last couple of releases, SEGA has gone back to one of their tried and true 16-bit franchises for the latest addition to the SEGA Forever line-up. The Streets of Rage series has lain dormant for a very long time now, but in its heyday, it was one of SEGA's most successful action brands. To this day, I still consider Streets of Rage 2 to be one of the very best side-scrolling beat-em-ups ever made. But we're not here to talk about the sequel. Well, not yet anyway. No, today we're looking at the original Streets of Rage [Free], a game that may be lesser than its follow-up but still packs a pretty solid punch. Happily, SEGA has given the game the finest treatment we've seen for a new SEGA Forever release yet...




I have to give SEGA some credit. One of the many points where I felt that the initial line-up of SEGA Forever titles was lacking was in the selection; they were all games drawn from SEGA's 16-bit platform, and only two of the games were new to iOS gamers. Subsequent releases have mostly stuck to Genesis games, plus a few updated versions of prior SEGA iOS releases. But the Genesis games in particular that have been selected are certainly eclectic choices that demonstrate an affection for the deeper cuts from SEGA's 16-bit library, and that's pretty cool. It reassures me that in spite of the numerous issues that have plagued SEGA Forever, the project is a work of passion. Because honestly, who else but a SEGA super-fan would choose to release something like ESWAT: City Under Siege [Free] ahead of better-known titles like Streets of Rage 2 or Gunstar Heroes?..

When it comes to SEGA and their 16-bit library, game re-releases tend to fall into one of three categories. First, there are the games that are always included: Sonic, Golden Axe, Altered Beast, and the like. Then, you've got games that are often included, but not always. Phantasy Star 2, Ecco the Dolphin, and Shinobi 3 are examples of this group. Finally, there are games that SEGA only seems to include if they're being very thorough. Sometimes it's because they're tricky to emulate, other times because of rights issues, and still other times where the reason isn't clear at all. Beyond Oasis [Free] used to be part of this group, but it feels like it's slowly moving into the second category instead. Its presence here relatively early on in the SEGA Forever initiative is a good example of its improving fortunes...

The latest SEGA Forever release is upon us, and like many of the releases so far this one was already released on iOS several years ago before being pulled due to compatibility issues. Space Harrier 2 [Free] is a game of some historical significance as it was one of just two launch titles for the SEGA Genesis's debut in Japan, but it's also a firm reminder that the SEGA Forever celebration of the company's history remains steadily focused on one particular period of it. The emulation is solid enough and it's a decent game that is well-suited to touch controls, so nostalgic SEGA fans could do a lot worse than throwing a couple of bucks at it. Any appeal beyond that group might be a tough sell, however...

SEGA is a company that has made its mark in multiple arenas, but perhaps none so much as the arcades. They took a little longer to get going than some of their fellow members of the arcade royalty, but by the mid-1980s they were starting to hit a stride that wouldn't slow until arcades themselves did. They achieved that through a variety of means. Sometimes it was pure technological spectacle. At other times, it was through clever gameplay innovations. But SEGA also knew how to recognize a good thing and make their own spin on it, a skill shared by all of the very best arcade game makers. The 1989 release of Golden Axe [Free] was a fine example of that, combining a few popular trends into one slick, enjoyable gaming experience...

Taito is one of the most historically significant companies in gaming history, and that is almost entirely due to Space Invaders. The 1978 pioneer of shoot-em-ups kicked off a genuine worldwide craze, and Taito watched their coffers fill with cash hand over fist. Plenty of great games followed, but none would have the impact or financial success of Space Invaders. Taito helped create the arcade scene with that game's focus on achieving high scores. Sadly, the company never quite got the swing of making home games, and their relevance diminished right alongside the arcades they helped to build in the first place. They weren't even able to hold onto their crown in the shoot-em-up genre for very long, but to their credit, they kept right on swinging anyway...

Hello everyone, and welcome to Musgravian Musings, a little space of my own where I can do some non-review reflections on recent game releases. In general, the featured games are ones that have caught my interest in some way or another, and will tend to be games that I didn't (and won't) review. This time, we're looking at the handful of retro releases SEGA just put out under the marketing umbrella of SEGA Forever. SEGA had been planning this initiative for a while, so it's obviously something they put some thought into. I just wish that showed better in the end results...

RPG Reload File 102 - 'Dragon Quest 3'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the regular feature where it was Earth all along. In each file, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store's past to see how it's doing in the modern day. It's a chance to revisit old favorites, reflect on their place in the overall library, or simply to take a deeper dive than our reviews typically allow. As a distant descendant of Ortega, I choose the games that appear here, but if there's something you really want to see, don't be shy. You can offer up suggestions by posting in the comments below, by tweeting me at @RPGReload, or by heading on over to the Official RPG Reload Club thread in the TouchArcade forums. You might not see your suggestion soon, but it will be added to the master list for future consideration...

'Planescape: Torment' Review - What Can Change the Nature of an App?

Oh. Really? Another one of those old isometric dinosaurs got released on iOS? No. I am sorry, but that's wrong. THE old isometric dinosaur that devours and spits out other isometric dinosaurs is finally out for iOS. Fresh off solid remasters of Baldur's Gate [$9.99], Baldur's Gate II [$9.99], and Icewind Dale [$9.99], Overhaul Games is back with the magnum opus of the CRPG world Planescape: Torment [$9.99], and yes this terrible thunder lizard still has teeth. Much commentary of this recently revamped game is devoted to how the upgrade was handled. As many of you, dear readers, may not be very familiar, I will also be unwrapping my personal experience with the actual content of Torment. Even though I have been an avid gamer through the decades, this was one I did not get the chance to play back in the day (I blame Diablo II, personally). Now given the chance to remedy this grave personal flaw, I present to you my humble take on a giant of the industry. ..

Capcom announced early this month that they'd be bringing mobile ports of four of their classic arcade games to the App Store, and each week since then they've followed through with that promise. Things kicked off with the release of 1942 Mobile [$1.99] two weeks ago followed by Ghosts'n Goblins Mobile [$1.99] last week. This week the trend continues with Wolf of the Battlefield: Commando Mobile [$1.99], more widely known as simply Commando, which arrived in the App Store early this morning. ..

Like anyone who has been playing games for any length of time, I've seen so many endings that they barely even register in my memory anymore. But I distinctly remember the Saturday one summer in high school when I finally finished Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts. My friend owned the game, and I had dabbled with the game here and there over the couple of years leading up to that moment thanks to the occasional loan. It was something I had originally written off as being too frustrating to care about, but I was staying at my buddy's house that weekend and he was out for the day. Lacking other options, I sat down and played through the whole thing (twice). It's an incredibly difficult game even for its era, but there's a certain rhythm to it that will carry you through once you learn it. And to be perfectly honest, it's probably the easiest game in the series that started with 1985's Ghosts 'n Goblins...

My big beef with Capcom, as a mobile fan, is that I never really know what level of effort to expect from them. I consider them responsible for some of the finest ports to iOS (Monster Hunter Freedom Unite, Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies) and some of the worst (Mega Man Mobile, Mega Man X). Since the games they choose to port are selected from their excellent library of classics, it's hard not to get excited when they announce something new is coming. But somewhere in the back of my brain, I worry that we're going to end up with another unreasonably poor effort. Such was the case when Capcom recently announced that they would be bringing four of their arcade classics to the platform. Well, the first one is here, and I'm happy to say that we got the good Capcom this time. While it's not perfect, 1942 Mobile [$1.99] is a very good re-creation of Capcom's classic vertical shoot-em-up, with all that implies...

Once upon a time, there was a fairly popular Java-based online RPG named Wyvern [Free]. It began its life in 2001 and ran for 10 years before its server was shut down in April of 2011, much to the sadness of its devoted players. It took some legal wrangling, but its creator Steve Yegge was finally able to secure the rights to bring the game back, and he's opted to do it on iOS. Inspired by 1980s PC RPGs, Wyvern has something of a vintage look and feel to it, and it's anything but beginner-friendly. If you're okay with that, however, you'd be hard-pressed to find a deeper MMORPG experience on mobile...

Are you bummed about Nintendo making a new Mario game for mobile when you really just wanted to play the old ones? Well, Capcom has heard your pleas. Not for Mario, though. That's Nintendo's thing. Capcom has its own 8-bit hero, and they're going to be bringing all of his NES adventures to mobile next year. The company has just announced that Mega Man 1 through Mega Man 6 will all be released on iOS and Android next year. So far, they're only announced for Japan, but they're coming really soon: January 6th, 2017. I can't imagine any reason why they wouldn't release these games worldwide, and it's not like there's a lot of translation to do, so we could be seeing these not long after the start of next year...

Developer Quantum Sheep has earned a strong following over the years in the TouchArcade forums thanks to a combination of making great games, his sensible love of tea, and being a friendly, fluffy sheep. While the developer has been working hard on a few projects for iOS, it's been a little while since its last release on mobile. But that doesn't mean there's nothing Sheep-related for you to put in your own stocking, friends. Quantum Sheep has put together and released a bundle containing all three Air Supply games for the low price of $1.99. Since Air Supply - SOS [$1.99] usually sells for $1.99 on its own, it's like you're getting the other two for free!..

Hello, friends. Now, I know you're mostly here for the latest in iOS news and reviews, with a side order of mobile in general. Indeed, I and the others at TouchArcade do our very best to provide you with all kinds of stuff to read about the world of mobile gaming. But what do we do when we're not playing and reporting on the newest mobile games? Well, in my case, I do some writing for my personal site, Post Game Content. It's basically where I put my writing that concerns non-mobile gaming. The Shadowy Consortium that rules with an iron fist from the penthouse floor of TouchArcade Towers felt that my most recent set of articles on Post Game Content might be of interest to our readers, so here we are...

Chances are good that if you know any Japanese RPGs at all, you know Final Fantasy [$7.99]. It's also quite likely you've at least heard of Dragon Quest [$2.99], even if you haven't played it. Chrono Trigger [$9.99] and Secret Of Mana [$7.99] are both quite well-known worldwide, as well. It's not surprising, then, that Square Enix has diligently ported almost every one of those games to mobile over the last several years. With only a few holes remaining among their world-famous titles, however, Square Enix is probably going to have to dig a little deeper in their back catalogue if they want to find new candidates to port. This year we've already seen a lovely remake of Final Fantasy Adventure in the form of Adventures Of Mana [$13.99]. Perhaps it's fitting, then, that the next unexpected selection comes from the other series that started on Nintendo's Game Boy...

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload. This week, we're continuing our little monthly project looking at the history of handheld RPGs. That means that we will not be taking a look at a specific RPG from the App Store's past this time around. Last month, we looked at the early years of mobile, pocket computers, and the RPGs that came with them. While the pickings were a bit thin early on, a great deal of the modern mobile gaming culture was born from that period. At the time, however, it proved to be very little threat to traditional handheld gaming, which was about to hit its biggest boom yet. This month, we're looking at the first and biggest part of that equation, a system that initially seemed to be a desperation move on the part of Nintendo. As we know, things turned out rather differently from what most expected...

'Final Fantasy 9' Review - Celebrating The Series In Style

I had often wondered if we were going to see Final Fantasy 9 [$20.99] on iOS. As the only installment of the PlayStation 1 trio without a PC port, it was going to take a lot more work to get the game going on other platforms. At the same time, it's also the lowest-selling among its PlayStation peers, and while it seems to be generally more well-liked than Final Fantasy 8 these days, it's hard to say how well Square Enix would be able to financially justify what would have to be a high-effort port. Well, I guess the numbers must have finally worked out, because not only is Final Fantasy 9 now available on iOS, the quality of the port is well beyond my expectations. This is a great RPG from one of Square Enix's best eras, and it's been given an exceptional amount of care in the transition to mobile...

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