Tag Archives: Lists

Sonic the Hedgehog Special

This week I’m going to be featuring all the early Sonic the Hedgehog games on the blog.

They’re all Megadrive/Genesis games, except for one on the Sega CD. And they’re all classics, and deserve a set of grabs, showing just show beautiful and colourful they are. And, of course, a few words about what makes them good.

Oh, and these are not the only Sonic games – there are many more, and I’ll be featuring more of them over the coming weeks. Sonic fans be like: “at long last!” ūüôā

Here are links to what was published:

Sonic the Hedgehog, 1991
Sonic the Hedgehog 2, 1992
Sonic Spinball, 1992
Sonic CD, 1993
Sonic the Hedgehog 3, 1993
Sonic & Knuckles, 1994
Sonic 3D Blast, 1996

Enjoy,
The King of Grabs

More: Sonic franchise on Wikipedia
Steam: Sonic franchise on Steam

Sonic-and-Tails

100 Best Level-Grinders Of All-Time

Level-Grinders; Dungeon-Crawlers; Role-Playing Games – whatever you want to call them – they are my (and many other people’s) favourite type of video game.

They allow you to build up your characters via the process of levelling. That is: by gaining experience, which in turn increases your character’s power levels.

Level-Grinders also allow you to hoard virtual items that don’t exist in the real world; accumulate unimaginable wealth in an imaginary world, and solve mysteries while you’re doing it.

Over and over again. For the love of the grind…

So here we go… The 100 Best Level-Grinders Of All-Time

Continue reading 100 Best Level-Grinders Of All-Time

Jonathan Smith’s Classic ZX Spectrum Games

A British programmer/developer who made a name for himself with his very first game, Pud Pud, which was published by Ocean Software for the ZX Spectrum in 1984. Smith was just 17 at the time Pud Pud was released, but was fortuitous in that his pitch to Ocean, and them signing him up as ‘talent’, was all filmed and later broadcast on television in an episode of BBC TV’s Commercial Breaks, which gave him an instant profile to an appreciative audience. Bob Wakelin‘s ace cover art also did Smith‘s early games a lot of good.

Unfortunately Jonathan Smith isn’t with us any longer; he sadly passed away in 2010, but I do know – from having read a few interviews with Smith – that he was very embarrassed about his appearance on Commercial Breaks. Which is a pity because he was great in it. And he really put himself on the map by agreeing to do it. Smith liked to work hard and “keep out of the limelight” as much as possible, and seemed to be a humble man. His work on a series of classic ZX Spectrum¬†games will never be forgotten.

Between 1984 and 1988 Smith programmed 13 games for the Spectrum. At least five of which could be considered ‘all-time classics’.

LISTS: as created by The King of Grabs, in chronological order:

Pud Pud (1984)
Kong Strikes Back (1984)
Mikie (1985)
Hyper Sports (1985)
Daley Thompson’s Supertest (1985)
Street Hawk: Subscriber Edition (1985)
Cobra (1986)
Green Beret (1986)
Terra Cresta (1986)
Hysteria (1987)
Batman: The Caped Crusader (1988)
Firefly (1988)
Hyper Active (1988)

Jonathan Smith
Jonathan M. “Joffa” Smith (1 February 1967 ‚Äď 26 June 2010).

To Infinity And Beyond: The Infinity Engine Games

The Infinity Engine by BioWare is synonymous with great RPGs. You think Infinity Engine, you think Planescape: Torment, or Baldur’s Gate. Or Icewind Dale. All great level-grinding adventures and¬†all published by Interplay in the late ’90s and early 2000s.

Continue reading To Infinity And Beyond: The Infinity Engine Games

10 Best Prince of Persia Conversions

LISTS: as decided by His Majesty The King of Grabs, in order of greatness:

1. Super Nintendo (1992)
2. PC Engine/Turbografx-16 (1991)
3. Commodore 64 (2011)
4. PC MS-DOS (1990)
5. Atari ST (1990)
6. Amiga (1990)
7. Sega CD (1992)
8. Sharp X68000 (1991)
9. ZX Spectrum (1996)
10. Megadrive/Genesis (1993)

And of course there’s always the Apple II original, which is ‘The Daddy’ of them all.

All Hail The Prince of Persia, and all hail Jordan Mechner!

More: Prince of Persia on Wikipedia

All versions of Prince of Persia on The King of Grabs:
Apple II, Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, PC MS-DOS, SAM Coupé, Sharp X68000, PC Engine/Turbografx-16, Sega Master System, Sega CD, Game Boy, Super Nintendo, Nintendo Entertainment System, Megadrive/Genesis, Game Boy Color, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum

Prince-of-Persia-Cover-Apple-2

The Elder Scrolls Series, PC

There’s been approximately four years on average, between episodes of The Elder Scrolls series, and we are currently long overdue an announcement on a follow-up to 2011’s Skyrim. It’s been eight years since Skyrim, and three years since the remaster.

Bethesda are surely working on a new instalment of their flagship, single-player RPG, while at the same time faffing around with online and VR versions of TES.

What I want – as do millions of others – is a The Elder Scrolls VI: Worldbeater… A single-player, openworld grind-fest full of scary monsters and magic. Another great adventure into mountains and dungeons!

So what’s it gonna be? This sequel? Where’s it going to be set? What are Bethesda gonna do to top themselves? Who knows?

Here are links to The Elder Scrolls series on The King of Grabs:

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (2011)
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (2006)
The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (2002)
The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall (1996)
The Elder Scrolls: Arena (1994)

More: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Elder_Scrolls

Arena PC 06

Daggerfall PC 31

Morrowind XBox
Battling with skellingtons.

Obilivion PC 38

Skyrim Remastered PC 011

10 Best Manic Miner Conversions

LISTS: as decided by The King of Grabs, in order of greatness:

1. XBox 360
2. Game Boy Advance
3. MSX
4. Commodore 64
5. Amstrad CPC
6. SAM Coupé
7. Amiga
8. BBC Micro
9. Oric
10. Dragon 32

Of course, nothing beats the ZX Spectrum original.

See also:
Manic Miner in the Lost Levels – a homebrew dl for the Nintendo DS

All hail to Miner Willy and to Matthew Smith.

More: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manic_Miner

10 Best Spy Hunter Conversions

LISTS: as decided by The King of Grabs, in order of greatness:

These are just an opinion, but please do feel free to comment with your opinions. Unless you’re a comment spammer. In which case: do feel free to f*ck off…

Bally Midway‘s classic Spy Hunter is a brilliant overhead race game with guns and bumping cars and speed boats and chasing helicopters, and general high-speed excitement.¬†It is such a good game that it has been converted to pretty much every gaming system known to man.

Here’s our rundown of the top 10 Spy Hunter conversions…

1. Nintendo Entertainment System < Probably the most fun
2. Atari 800 << Better than most
3. Commodore 64 <<< Entertaining
4. ZX Spectrum <<<< A fun conversion
5. ColecoVision <<<<< Pretty good
6. Amstrad CPC <<<<<< Reasonable
7. Atari 2600 <<<<<<< Basic
8. BBC Micro <<<<<<<< Forgettable
9. Apple II <<<<<<<< Rubbish
10. PC MS-DOS <<<<<<<<< Utterly terrible

And, of course, not forgetting the utterly brilliant arcade original.

More: Spy Hunter on Wikipedia

Spy Hunter Amstrad CPC 01

Stephen Crow’s Classic ZX Spectrum Games

Game designer Stephen J. Crow made some seminal games for the ZX Spectrum, starting with Laser Snaker in 1983 and Factory Breakout in 1984 for Poppy Soft.

Crow then produced two smash hit classics for Bubble Bus Software with Wizard’s Lair and Starquake, both released in the same year, 1985. He then went on to create Firelord and program Zynaps for Hewson in subsequent years.

This five-year burst of creativity, from 1983 to 1987, showed a young designer quickly becoming confident of his coding and graphical skills and gradually improving his game design craft from game to game.

It could be argued that Wizard’s Lair is a clone of Ultimate‘s classic Atic Atac – and in some respects that is true – but what Crow¬†did was¬†actually unheard of… He actually improved on Atic Atac with Wizard’s Lair… Maybe not in terms of¬†overall¬†gameplay, because Atic Atac is Ultimate‘s best game, but he did manage to cram more interesting features and special effects into his version of the overhead/room shooter than Ultimate did in theirs, and the gameplay was different enough to be unique.¬†The ammo system in Wizard’s Lair is a bit frustrating, true. And the game is quite difficult to make headway in too. Crow, though, was working out some clever game design skills and inadvertently breaking new ground as he went with Wizard’s Lair.

Arguably Steve Crow‘s ‘magnum opus’ was Starquake, published by Bubble Bus Software in 1985. Controlling a cute walking head, waddling around a maze of colourful caverns,¬†Starquake was given a unique twist with Crow‘s unusual take on platforming and shooting. Starquake also got more interesting the deeper you went into the game, and with its teleport and core puzzle game mechanic was graphically very interesting and varied too. At least for a 48K Spectrum game…¬†Starquake is easy to play, but tough to beat. Like all of Crow‘s games.

Firelord, published by Hewson in 1986, proved to be¬†Crow‘s last full game as programmer and auteur designer of a¬†ZX Spectrum game. Beautiful graphics, combined with subtle, clever gameplay, with a maze/shooting element. A lot of people didn’t get it, but Crow still managed to show his prowess at Spectrum game design.

Special mention must go to SC‘s programming and graphical contributions to Hewson‘s hit scrolling shooter, Zynaps, the following year.

From 1986 through to 1988 Crow also worked on a number of conversions for Hewson and Graftgold. Pretty much all ZX Spectrum conversions of games from other systems, like Uridium, Netherworld and Eliminator. Finally Crow created the graphics for Probe Software‘s tank shooter Heavy Metal in 1990, then moved on to pastures new.

LISTS: as created by The King of Grabs, in chronological order:

Laser Snaker (1983)
Factory Breakout (1984)
Wizard’s Lair (1985)
Starquake (1985)
Firelord (1986)
Zynaps (1987)

Starquake even made it to the Atari ST in 1988 via Mandarin Software.

Wizard's Lair ZX Spectrum 58

10 Best Intellivision Games

LISTS: as decided by The King of Grabs, in descending order of greatness:

1. Treasure of Tarmin
2. Tower of Doom
3. Cloudy Mountain
4. B-17 Bomber
5. Lock ‘n’ Chase
6. Stadium Mud Buggies
7. Chip Shot Super Pro Golf
8. Bump ‘n’ Jump
9. Auto Racing
10. Dracula

More: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intellivision

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