A list of all the official Ultimate Play the Game releases, plus known, completed homebrew conversions, remakes, and unreleased titles.
Martianoids was released in 1987 on three different formats: ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, and this MSX conversion. All three are pretty much identical in terms of gameplay; they feature a robot, walking through nine sectors of a scrolling landscape, fighting off alien robots that are trying to destroy a computer you are defending.
The 1987 MSX conversion of Bubbler is arguably better than the Spectrum original because the speed is more consistent during play, which makes it more playable. In fact, it’s a game that borders on being superb, which is unusual for the later US Gold/Ultimate games which are generally considered to be inferior to Ultimate‘s earlier titles.
Pentagram was released for the MSX in 1986, and it’s not really an Ultimate game, in truth, because it wasn’t written by the original Ultimate team; it’s a US Gold game. It’s not a bad game, though, even though it doesn’t have the flair or humour of an authentic Ultimate game.
This 2009 homebrew remake of Ultimate Play the Game‘s classic Alien 8 was created for the MSX2 by Manuel Pazos and Daniel Celemin. The graphics have obviously had a serious make-over and look beautiful, but the gameplay seems to be the same as the original, with noticeable (some might say “game-crippling”) slowdown.
The second Gradius/Nemesis sequel developed and released exclusively for the MSX by Konami, Nemesis 3: The Eve of Destruction is another great ‘bullet hell’ progressive weapons shooter that really shows what the MSX is capable of.
Gradius – also known as Nemesis in some regions – was one of the first progressive weapons shooters to come out in arcades, and it was a big hit in 1985 when it was first released.
This led to the game being converted to many home computer systems, including the MSX, which was programmed by Konami themselves. So the game is unsurprisingly very good; very authentic, and with graphics and gameplay that push the MSX quite hard (I wouldn’t say “to its limits”, because I’m not a marketing a-hole, but it does push first-generation MSXes a fair degree).