Tag Archives: MSX2

Space Manbow, MSX

Space Manbow is an original MSX2 release from Konami. It first came out in 1989 and it ‘wowed’ home users with it fantastic graphics and smooth scrolling. Unfortunately it was never released outside of Japan.

Despite that, Space Manbow has garnered many admirers over the decades, and it is looked up on with great respect. It’s fairly easy to find and to play. BlueMSX is a brilliant emulator. You could try that.

Note: what is curious about this game is the title. Your ship is named after a fish called a “Mambo“, but Konami decided to change that to “Manbow“. You could say that something has been gained in translation in this case, rather than lost.

More: Space Manbow on Wikipedia

The Treasure of Usas, MSX

Back in 1987, Konami‘s MSX2 release, The Treasure of Usas, wowed everyone with its ace graphics, colourful sprites and smooth movement. It really showed that the MSX2 was a machine to be reckoned with.

Usas is a weird mix of platform game and RPG, although the role-playing elements are very light. But you can in fact play any one of two different characters (WIT or CLES) and build their vitality, speed and jumping prowess as you go, which is somewhat unique and interesting.

The Treasure of Usas even has pretty decent boss battles (for a platform game), although it is no Super Mario World in that respect.

More: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Treasure_of_U%C5%9Fas

Firebird, MSX

Known in its native Japan as Hi no Tori Hououhen, and Firebird in the West, this 1987 Konami release for the MSX2 is a vertically-scrolling shooter of some repute.

Firebird is based on a very popular Japanese Manga series (Hi no Tori, or “bird of fire” or “Phoenix”) by Osamu Tezuka.

Firebird is a very tough game to master and is quite simplistic by today’s standards, but was significant at the time and has a cult following still now. Worth a play if you can find a copy.

More: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hi_no_Tori_Hououhen_(MSX)

Ganbare Goemon, MSX

Ganbare Goemon is the MSX predecessor to the amazing Super Nintendo game Legend of the Mystical Ninja, created by Konami.

If you play this great little MSX game you can see the seeds of the Super Nintendo hit – exploration, with mini-games and variations in gameplay.

And this MSX version is well worth seeking and playing if you’re a fan of the Goemon series of adventures.

More: Ganbare Goemon! Karakuri Dōchū on Wikipedia

Quarth, MSX

Originally released in arcades in Japan in 1989, Quarth became a cult hit when it was released for the MSX2 in 1990.

Quarth is basically part vertically-scrolling shoot ’em up, and part Tetris.

You control a ship at the bottom of the screen and must shoot blocks up into descending rows of other blocks, to create squares and rectangles. Creating the correct kind of shape with your fired blocks allows the descending blocks to be destroyed, thus giving you points and time to make more points.

When the blocks reach the bottom, the player’s ship is squashed – or “Quarthed” – and the game is over.

Two players can also play simultaneously on single or split screens.

And – just like TetrisQuarth is a compelling and challenging game. So much so that it has been re-made by Konami many times, for various different modern devices.

Note: Quarth is sometimes known as “Block Hole” outside of Japan, although I recommend giving that ridiculous name a wide berth when talking about this game.

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


Head Over Heels, MSX

The MSX got a pretty much perfect conversion of Head Over Heels, although I’m not sure who the person was who converted it.

Colin Porch isn’t mentioned, so I wonder if it was Jon Ritman himself who did the MSX conversion. I will have to find out…

The MSX version had colours that were slightly more vivid than the ZX Spectrum and C64 versions, and – depending on which MSX you were using – it also ran faster too.

Of all the 8-bit computer versions, the MSX version runs the fastest and has the most responsive controls.

More: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Head_over_Heels_(video_game)

Head Over Heels on the King of Grabs:
ZX Spectrum versionCommodore 64 versionAmstrad CPC versionMSX version, Atari 800 version, Atari ST versionAmiga versionPC version, Head Over Heels Week


SD Snatcher, MSX

SD Snatcher is a great, futuristic, level-grinding RPG that was first released on the MSX2 (in Japan only) in 1990 by Konami.

The game was co-written by Hideo Kojima (of Metal Gear fame) and features overhead exploration sections, and first-person combat sections. In combat you can target individual parts of your enemies, which allows the player to erode away their capabilities.

SD Snatcher came with a cartridge that enhanced the MSX’s sound capabilities, and was also one of the first games to utilise floppy disks on the system (the game came on three).

A Dutch fan team (called Oasis) made an English translation of SD Snatcher in 2014, although I’m not sure if the patch is freely available or not.

It is worth installing and playing though, because SD Snatcher is one of the best MSX games ever made, and a worthy RPG in its own right.

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

Aleste 2, MSX

Aleste 2 is a stand-out title on the MSX2. It has superb, colourful graphics, and challenging, fast-paced shooter gameplay. Developer Compile subsequently made a name for itself making distinctive scrolling shoot ’em ups. This was one of their early attempts at 8-bit bullet hell.

More: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aleste_2