Super Nintendo/Auper Famicom reviews....

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Illusion of Gaia Quintet/Enix/Nintendo
Super Nintendo was THE system for RPGs. Enix was almost as popular as Square (Final Fantasy series) in that system's selection of Japanese RPGs. I haven't gotten too terribly far in it, but I like it lots. Gaia is an action RPG, like Zelda, which instantly appeals to me. You are Young Will, a "shabby boy" who misses his long-lost explorer father. Will isn't an overly macho character, which is good: He hits bad guys with his flute (!) which he'll also use to play certain magic songs at points in the game. He's also telekenetic n acquires more powers as he goes. So far ya get two cute girls, Kara and Lilly who tag a long w/you (but they stay outside when you go into the dungeon to fight. boo). Since Kara is a princess, you know the girls will have plenty of arguements w/each other. (hee hee) Characters are typically super-deformed and cute, except fer the gross bad guys. The gfx are simple 16-bit but very nice w/goodly amounts of parallax and transparent clouds n stuf. I really like the classical-themed music. The story isn't as dramatic as Square's are at first, but it gets involving and you get into it. Something about a comet with strange magical effects and a legend about a child who kin use the Dark Power to save everyone. (hmm..that wouldn't be Will, would it?) Will gets to explore lost cities, like the Incas which is a nice touch. Since it's action-orientated, you don't mind playing parts over and over agin. It's a good RPG and I hope to stay wit it n finish it n then lots more.

Super R-Type Irem
Oooh! Maybe my fave 16-bit shooter at the moment. The R-Type games are very Gradius-esque, but much better n go far beyond. Amazing, it's a pretty old (1991) Super Nintendo shooter w/very little slowdown. It's a pretty slow-paced game, but gameplay is very tweeked, tight, intense n hard. OK, it's pretty dam frustrating...but then you can't stop playing...arg! N maybe I'm mascochistic, but it is fun. There is TONS of stuf onscreen n it's got the most baddies onscreen I've seen in a 16-bitter save Gunstar Heroes. A lotta the time is spent trying to figure out how to progress past this thing or another, kinda puzzlelike. GFX go from barely-better-than-8-bit to amazingly complex for the SNES. Character design is fanfrickingtastic wit kewl enemies. Your ship is really cute and it looks kinda like a ballet slipper from the bottom. Power-up system is kewl, with a lil spherical orb-bot that attaches to you (or flies off in front if ya tell it to--you kin even fire it at enemies!) to increase your firepower in myriad and destructive ways. Oh, oh! If you hold the B-button down, your laser will charge up, increasing in potential power the longer you hold it, and when released, will fire a great big bolt or a buncha supa-powerful scattershots. Too kewl! The intro, like the orb-bot is pretty reminiscent of Gaiares, but better. I luv the disco, house n techno music soundtrack (yes, it sounds appropriately cheezy) and the fab sound fx. I'm not quite sure where this fits in with the other R-Type (arcade) games (between 1&2?). I really want 3 for SNES. Also, check out the R-Types collection for PlayStation, but maybe that's only on import outside of Japan. (Also the all-new polygonal R-Type Delta) I think I have to go play R-Type right now!

Top Gear Kemco
I wanted a cheap, fun 16-bit racing game so I got this. You and a friend race split-screen style against 18 other cars over many tracks like New York and Rio. It's fast, has nice graphics and fun. There are nice extras like a nitro button, pitstops and the ability to choose from 4 cars (1 more than Sega Rally!) all in a sorta Acura NSX/Ferrari mold. Your headlights come on in the dark, your brake lights light up when you brake and your driver pops up lil thought balloons like "Move that Wreck!" or "Let's Go!". Best part is the sub-Erasure synth-pop soundtrack. The only sucky part is that you can't turn the split-screen off for 1-player mode, but it's still great fun.

Mariopaint I'm making my own funky music tracks and animations with it. I got the idea from the Irdial Records Mariopaint album. I've been posting them here at Linna's Listening Room. Mariopaint comes with a mouse (and mousepad!) and is pretty limited but fun. I wish you could choose better sounds. You kin write in Japanese in it! (Kana mostly and the manual has a character guide) Its a classic program and Nintendo gets respect for coming out with it. I got SNES especially for Mariopaint. Really! (Sega made one with Sonic. I never used it)

Gradius III: Konami
This classic series continues. You may know and love this side-scrolling space shooter. Nemesis was the same thing (I never figured out the difference). Great powerups and choices of ship configuration. Kewl graphics and sound. Levels, enemies are kewl and bosses rule! (They call 'em "Mayors"...yes, they do include Marion Barry and Rudy Giuliani...kiddin!) It is kinda slow tho, and there is massive annoying slowdown in places.

Dion Vic Tokai
Dion is my one Super Famicom game. It is one of my favorite 2-d space shooters and way better than Gradius. There are very few better shooters in the 16-bit world and Dion comes close to Taito's massive Saturn shooters. The graphics are the best for 16-bit and the music is is heroic and cheesy. It's a top-down shooter and you fly a Gundam-lookin mech instead of a spaceship (not that it makes much difference). You get powerups as you accumulate points which means ya gotta blow everyone up (good idea!) and the weapons are massive, bizarre and powerful. The "smart bomb" equivalent lets loose a big barrage of big silver missles that blow up most everything on screen. Its kinda slow-paced (cept when it makes your robot go to warp speed at points) but there are tons of funky mean enemies. There is slowdown sometimes but it's not too bad. It's pretty hard and hardcore (for me) and the levels are long, bosses and sub-bosses mean. Very recommended (if you kin find it, please buy it!) and it never leaves the cart slot for long. I luv this game!