Retro Reviews

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gaming has seen many generations and evolutions since its creation. We have seen games come from their humble beginnings of a line or a square, growing to a collection of pixels brought together to represent basic shapes and characters all the way through to motion captured actors and massively detailed vistas all in the name of video game entertainment.

We here at JoypadAndMe want to remember where our love of video gaming came from, what lead up to the games that we have on our current systems. With franchises spanning generations now it can sometimes mean that to know where a story or a character came from, you need to cross the generation gap.  Some of us even collect old consoles and games. The retro gaming genre is ever-growing and in the thousands and thousands of games out there are many gems, some well-known and some relatively hidden to the masses. We would like to shine a light on some of these games and maybe help you relive fond memories or possibly even open your eyes to what has gone before. Either way, we hope you enjoy our Retro Reviews section.

Keep checking back as we continue to add to this section with new retro reviews. If you know of a game you would like to see us review then please leave a comment below with the game title and the platform or console it is on.

armored-core-retro-reviewArmored Core: PlayStation 1

Before From Software rose to prominence with modern-day critical marvels Dark Souls II and Bloodborne, they first conceived and pioneered the Armored Core series back in the fifth generation of gaming, and brought it to the PlayStation in a time when the console’s controller posed some issues. To me, this game addressed those issues in some style, and brought to gamers a lot of entertainment in the process; including myself. For the time, the visuals of this game were extremely impressive. Aside from having very few visible glitches (something very rare in early PlayStation games), its conceptual design quite diverse, taking place in a wide variety of locations, such as oil rigs, deserts, city streets and futuristic enemy bases.

Hogs Of War Retro Review LinkHogs Of War: PlayStation 1, PC

The retro market is growing steadily over the past few years with gamers reliving their youth or new gamers wanting to experience some classic games…..and some not so classic. We here at JoypadAndMe with the help of our resident retro reviewer, Steven Tench, like to give you a look back at some games from the halls of retro gaming goodness. Some are true classics, some are underrated games that need a second look and then there are some personal favourites thrown in as well. This time round Steven shares his thoughts on a PlayStation 1 title that some gamers might have missed in such a large catalogue of titles. Hogs Of War by Infogrames is a bacon toting title for those of you that like some humour thrown in with you gaming. Pigs with Bazookas! Yes its as crazy as you are imagining but is it any good? does it hold up in this retro gaming world?

Luigis Mansion LinkLuigi’s Mansion: GameCube

Released as a launch title for the GameCube after undergoing an extremely in-depth and long-winded development cycle, Luigi’s Mansion took on a much darker and grittier tone than anything seen in the Super Mario series prior, featuring Mario’s brother Luigi as the main character as he traverses through a creepy mansion, wielding nothing but a vacuum cleaner to clear the house of a ghost infestation in the style of Ghostbusters. Going on to become the best-selling game of November 2001, and garnishing a great deal of critical acclaim, the game has rightfully earned its place among the best of Nintendo’s repertoire, and is a game I have personally come back to again and again.

F-Zero: Super Nintendo

One of the two original launch titles for the Super Nintendo in Japan, F-Zero has proved to be one of the most influential titles on the system, being one of the first to incorporate Mode-7 graphics to allow for 3D rendering. Though Super Mario Kart would arrive a year later and eclipse the popularity of this game, it is not without it’s merits, and has remained a cult classic to many gamers. Aside from the visuals being particularly advanced for the time, it also has a surprising amount of conceptual diversity, with each of the fifteen courses in the game containing their own colour schemes, scenery and style, and even soundtracks; some of which are extremely catchy. Debatably, it’s even a lot more diverse than Super Mario Kart was.

Plok: Super Nintendo

Reborn out of an abandoned arcade game entitled Fleapit, Plok was a traditional 2D platformer typical of the type of game that Nintendo would most frequently publish at the time. It’s a pretty enjoyable game, and wonderfully weird in conceptual design, as many of Nintendo’s own efforts were. Interestingly, Mario and Donkey Kong’s creator Shigeru Miyamoto expressed a strong interested in working on the game himself, but in the end, Nintendo simply chose to publish the game in Europe. Designer Ste Pickford suspected the reason behind Nintendo’s ultimate reluctance was that they thought the game was too similar to the upcoming Yoshi’s Island for Nintendo to want to work on both.

Grand Theft Auto Vice City: PlayStation 2, XBox

Following on from the immensely successful Grand Theft Auto III, Rockstar decided to take the Grand Theft Auto franchise back into the 80s, and to Vice City, making for one of the most critically acclaimed games of the sixth generation, winning several gaming awards and being so far the only Western game to appear on Famitsu’s top 100 video game games of all time, ranking at number 76. A firm favourite in many a gamers collection, Vice City was a force to be reckoned with when it was released back in 2002. Even today it holds a special place in many a gamers memories. Steven takes a look at this classic title as he adds Vice City to his retro reviews.

Wipeout: PlayStation

One of the original PlayStation 1’s most iconic titles has to be WipeOut. This adrenalin fuelled, speed freak of a futuristic racing game stunned and amazed many a gamer with its fast paced action, 3D graphics and world-class sound track. One of the true classic titles that should be in any PlayStation gamers collection. Fans both old and new became addicted to this futuristic title and its subsequent sequels proved to be some of the best games on many a PlayStation console and handheld device even to this day. Our resident retro reviewer takes a look back at this classic futuristic behemoth that is Wipeout.

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Castlevania Symphony Of The Night: PlayStation, Sega Saturn

Symphony of the Night is often regarded as the commercial and artistic pinnacle of the entire Castlevania series. At the time of its release, 2D gaming was going out of fashion, and 3D gaming was considered the next best thing; the future of the industry. For a lot of people, Symphony of the Night served as a reminder that traditional 2D side scrolling video games can still be played and enjoyed regardless of what style might be the more popular.

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Psychonauts: PlayStation 2, Xbox, PC

Released fairly late in the sixth generation of gaming in North America in mid-2005 and in Europe in early 2006, it garnished critical admiration, earning several awards but was sorrowfully met with commercial failure, Psychonauts now holds cult status among fans. It’s highly enjoyable to play, it’s funny, it has an amazing story and its level of uniqueness is extraordinary. It’s not often enough that games like Psychonauts come along.

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The Legend Of Zelda Majora’s Mask: Nintendo 64

Considered to be the black sheep of the series, Majora’s Mask offered a very different video gaming experience to that of it’s legendary predecessor, The Ocarina of Time. As well as being an enjoyable game, it also excels in story on a level that most games didn’t at the time and even on a level that most games don’t today. Loved by fans of the Zelda franchise as well as a much loved and collected game by Nintendo gamers, Majora’s mask holds a significant place in many an N64 owners collection.

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Adventure: Atari 2600

Developed in 1979 by Atari and Warren Robinett, Adventure provided the catalyst needed for developers to create some of the greatest video game series ever made, including the Legend of Zelda and The Elder Scrolls.

Our retro review guru otherwise known as Steven Tench takes a look back in time at the classic adventure tale called……erm……..Adventure!

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Bosconian: Arcade

Bosconian is a multi-directional, multi-scrolling, free-roaming arcade shooter that deserves a second look and one that Steven Tench our resident retro enthusiast wanted to look into further.

Please leave a comment or your views on the subject. All views gladly welcomed.

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