Post-Christmas Mail

I am wishing you all the very happiest of new years.  I hope 2020 so far has been eventful in the best way possible and that you all had a lovely holiday season.  Of course, I ordered a bunch of things online before Christmas rolled in, but as you might expect, things were very late arriving.  I’ve just started receiving packages again within the last week or so, and I have a smattering of things to share with you.  For some reason, the local pickups have been very, very few and far between over the past month or two so I’ve more or less been buying exclusively online.

First up is a Game Boy game simply called Looney Tunes.  I saw someone streaming this and immediately wanted it for myself.  I was really impressed.  The game looks absolutely gorgeous and each level sees you playing as a different member of the Looney Tunes crew.  I actually ended up popping this one in over several days to play again and again and can’t wait to sit down with it and try to finish it.  I got stuck on the Road Runner level so far.

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Speaking of the Road Runner, I found a copy of that game for the Atari 2600.  This is one of the first 2600 purchases I’ve made in a long while, and it was inspired by revisiting the NES game again for a high score challenge across December of 2019 (I lost, by the way.)  This is a really plain version of the arcade game and is exactly how you might expect an Atari port to look.

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I kept hearing really great things about Bravely Default for the Nintendo 3DS, and although I don’t do a lot of portable gaming, I thought I’d try to snatch it up sooner than later.  I think there might be another game in this series in the works for the near future (maybe for the Switch?) that I’ll have to keep my ear to the ground for.  This copy came with the English and French manuals a la Canada, and a Club Nintendo card.  I wish Club Nintendo was still a thing.

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When I was looking for some Master System games on a site I’ve been frequenting lately, I happened to notice that they had a US version of Nightshade available.  Just when I think I’m done collecting for NES, these deals on games I’ve heard so little about keep coming up and I can’t help myself.  Nightshade does look interesting, like a point and click game mixed with some action, so I hope I like it.  The Quest of Ki is a unique puzzle platformer that uses special kind of jumping mechanic to get your character around the levels.  Everything looks very floaty and fun!  It looks like a great time waster with some interesting twists on tradition for the genre.  I also need more English-friendly Famicom in my life.

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And now into some Sega!  As usual, I found lots of games loose or with no manuals, so I’ll start with those.  First up is Strider for the Sega Master System, which looks quite interesting by the state of the cover art.  In terms of box art for the system overall, this is  the most realistic portrayal of a human being that I’ve seen.  Even still, there’s something really funny about it that I can’t quite put my finger on.  I was also disappointed by James Bond 007: The Duel.  It looked like such a cool game by what I found online prior to buying, but unfortunately it doesn’t work well in NTSC systems!  This is the second time I’ve made this kind of error lately, but there are so many lists out there that contradict one another that it’s never really clear whether it’ll work or not until you have it in your own hands.  What happens is that a lot of visual artifacts that show up in a matter of seconds once you get old Mr. Bond moving around… they crowd the screen and make it impossible to play.  I’m still feeling sad about it.

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Up next were two other games that came sans manual.  The first is Chuck Rock, a visual abomination of a game.  It’s a platformer with no music from what I can tell, but other iterations of the game are supposed to be decent.  I’m not too sure about this port, but I’ll give it a try nonetheless.  Aztec Adventure is supposed to be a maze/puzzle game with lots of different levels to try out, and I think you can hire other characters to fight alongside you.  It’s one of the first Master System games and is pretty plain visually, but there’s a good game in there somewhere.  I just know it.  Both of these games were in reasonably good condition on the front, but Chuck Rock has a big water stain on the back.  It was dirt cheap, so I didn’t mind. I’d like to find some replacement art for some of my more battered games one of these days.

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Cyborg Hunter is a port of a pretty neat-looking game that was also available on the Commodore 64.  It reminded me of something like Zillion that involves some exploration and some puzzle solving as well as action-platforming so hopefully it’s something like that.  Any game involving winged robots that are mildly irritated by laser fire are winners in my books!

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Kung Fu Kid is one of the three martial arts titles I’ve been trying to track down after accidentally purchasing The Ninja, and then Black Belt.  Kung Fu Kid is a side-scrolling kick ’em up and looks really charming, falling somewhere between the aforementioned games and something like Alex Kidd in Shinobi World.  The box art and manual are pretty beat up as you can see here, but the game seems to work just fine.  Of the Master System games I found this time, this is the one I think I’m most excited for just based on the aesthetic alone.

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Last but not least, I finally found a copy of Golden Axe.  Now, I know what you’re thinking.  Why on earth would I want a port of a game on an inferior system when there are more excellent Sega versions available?  Well, maybe I like a far slower framerate and downgraded graphics, hmmm?  Honestly, the price was right and I couldn’t pass up that tiny-faced man for my shelf.

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And that just about does it for this time around.  Lots more Master System and a little bit of everything else to fill in some gaps was the name of the game here, and that has been a great trend over the past few months.  I have more things coming in the mail and I have my eyes on the local classifieds like a hawk, so here’s hoping for some new discoveries soon!

Thank you very much for reading!

-GG

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