Boulder Dash EX is an updated version of the classic Boulder Dash, developed by Vision Works and published by KEMCO in 2002. And it’s not bad at all.
With Elden Ring currently wowing gamers I thought I’d take a look at the series that began FromSoftware‘s journey into the action RPG genre, and that would be King’s Field – released in Japan only in 1994 for the Sony PlayStation – and, to be honest, it couldn’t be any further removed from Elden Ring in terms of presentation…
I’ve played a lot of RPGs in my time, and I would go so far as to say that it’s my favourite genre of video game, but King’s Field came as a bit of a shock to me. Yes, King’s Field was an early 3D RPG on the PlayStation, releasing the same year as the PS1 was launched, but it post-dates Ultima Underworld by two years and is archaic in comparison.
This Atari 8-bit conversion of David Crane‘s classic Atari 2600 platform game is subtitled the “Adventurer’s Edition” because it contains a whole new second level that becomes available after you complete the first.
Activision‘s 1984 sequel to Pitfall! – Pitfall II: Lost Caverns – was again designed and programmed by David Crane. This time, though, the cartridge had a custom display processor chip inside, which allowed for improved visuals and continuous four channel music (the Atari 2600 is normally only capable of two channel sound).
Gameplay is similar to Pitfall!, although in this follow-up the world you can explore is much bigger than previously and is made up of eight screens in width, by 27 screens in height, making 216 screens in total. When you walk from one screen to another the new screen scrolls smoothly into view.
FTL and Software Heaven‘s classic Dungeon Master was available on the Amiga in two different forms. Initially it was only available for Amigas with 1MB of RAM, and wasn’t available for the Amiga 500 (which only had 512kb of RAM) for quite a while, which gave Atari ST owners bragging rights for this amazing game for a few months.
While Gauntlet: The Third Encounter is an admirable effort on the Atari Lynx, it has to be said that it really isn’t Gauntlet. Not the Gauntlet that we know and love anyway…
Which isn’t a surprise when you take into account the fact that this game didn’t start out as Gauntlet – it was called “Time Quests and Treasure Chests” and was developed by Epyx, and was later turned into a Gauntlet game by Atari for “brand recognition purposes”.
Gunple: Gunman’s Proof was developed by Lenar and published by ASCII Corporation in 1997. It was one of the last games to be released for the SNES and was only ever released in Japan. An English fan translation does exist, though, which means that non Japanese speakers can enjoy this wonderful game.
In essence, Gunple could be described as ‘Zelda with guns’ or a ‘Wild West Zelda‘, because – graphically – the game does have a lot of similarities to Nintendo‘s classic A Link To the Past. In fact: some of the background graphics, in my opinion, appear to have been lifted from the aforementioned Zelda game, which in reality is no bad thing.
Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle is a 1989 platform game released for the Sega Megadrive/Genesis. It was developed in-house by Sega as a competitor to the Nintendo Mario games, which were hugely popular at the time.
The 1994 sequel to StarTropics, Zoda’s Revenge again features the red-haired hero, Mike Jones, only this time he’s on a time-travelling adventure searching to find a series of puzzles shapes called “Tetrads”.
These Tetrads are actually a nod to Tetris, and in the Virtual Console re-release of StarTropics II their names have been changed to “Blocks”, probably to avoid any legal problems. But anyway, I digress…