Saturday, January 18, 2014

Game Hunting EP 10 - Vacation Hunting !!!

Welcome back to another Final Boss episode of Game Hunting, but this time things are a bit different...

I'm currently on vacation with the family visiting the Inlaws, and I figured since I didn't bring any retro games with me to review why not hunt for some ? Now don't worry I'm getting plenty of gaming in on the Gold 3DS XL with Zelda A Link Between Worlds. Now I could have just downloaded a classic title off the Nintendo eShop with its great selection of hits but that's too easy.

I decided to go into unfamiliar territory and Retro Game Hunt in Sarasota Florida. Upon arrival in Florida I scoped out Craigslist and found some great deals.... and some not so great (people think eBay is a price guide). While looking again on the second day I kept coming across an Craigslist posting for what looked like a Retro Gaming shop called Sparky's. The shop seemed well stocked according to the posting but….. one can never be too sure and the location was only 7.5 miles away which in Florida is equal to down the block, well not really but it is close. I grabbed a set of expensive keys from the Inlaws and shot out on the unknown roads to hunt down some games !! 

Twenty minutes later and I was in the parking lot of the shopping center that is home to Sparky's, Sarasota's Newest Retro Gaming Shop ! I say Newest as it's only been open a couple of weeks. The shops owner Sergio greeted me as I walked in to the large retail space and mentioned that they were still getting the layout down and stock moved on to the floor but I saw plenty of things that grabbed my attention before the door closed behind me. 

First thing that drew me in was the large selection of Retro Consoles displayed openly on the back wall. I was excited to see so many consoles N64s, PSOnes, GameCubes, Dreamcast, Genesis and more. After eyeballing the consoles condition and pricing I knew I had found a legit Retro Game Shop.

My attention moved to the closest display cases which were well stocked with many key NES titles like Ninja Gaiden, Super Mario, and both 8-bit Legend of Zelda classics all labeled with very fair prices. Next I scoped out the SNES carts to see what I might play on my most recently acquired console (read here) thats waiting for me back in New York. Sparky's had many tempting Super Nintendo titles but not the ones I was looking for and with good reason, apparently I had missed Super Castlevaina, Chrono Trigger and a bunch more "must owns" by only a day as another hunter had come in and bought up the most sought after carts. Damn you faceless competitor !!!!

Once Sergio saw I was very interested in all the stock I introduced my self and we got talking all things retro when suddenly he disappeared into the back and returned with a Neo Geo AES System with a copy of Garou Densetsu 2 aka Fatal Fury 2. I resisted the urge to pull out the credit card and not try and stuff a Neo Geo console in my wife's carry on bag.

In the next display I saw a few Game Boy Advance systems priced to own and generation one DS and 3DS handhelds. Game Boy and GBA games also had the very tempting prices I was getting comfortable seeing and I found myself again wanting to buy up half the stock. Games like Super Mario Land 1 & 2, Pokemon Yellow and Zelda DX are just a few of what was calling out my name. Gamecube, PS2, N64 & the Genesis titles were as well not helping narrow down my decision making.

Sergio was even nice enough to pull out some more new stock outta the back and I ran my hands over more great NES classics from my childhood like Willow, Ultima and the all too familiar Ikari Warriors (read here)  and even some more tempting Tengen Black carts like Guantlet and Pacman. I even saw another old favorite of mine on the Atari 2600 "Dark Caverns". More recent generation console games like Xbox, Wii and Xbox360 games lined the front cases but we all know my style. A very nice large selection of Retro reproduction controllers is also displayed along the wall.

Surrounded by so many great items it was hard to make a final purchase but…...ultimately I was offered some deals I couldn't refuse. A complete Original Sega Genesis at the great price of 30 bucks and a SNES Super Game Boy and Mega Man 2 on Game Boy for 10 dollars made this drive well worth the gamble. I look forward to returning in the year and seeing how the shop has grown and hopefully ill score some of those choice SNES titles next time.

If you live in the Sarasota area or just passing thru on the way to Tampa be sure and stop by Sparky's for some Retro Gaming goodness and say hi to Sergio.  Sparky's is located at 5856 14th St. West Bradenton FL 34207 call for Hours @(941)243-3987

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Saturday, January 11, 2014

Rambo First Blood Part II….. A Tale of Blood Thirsty Buddists !!!

I was excited to do our FIRST EVER Sega Master System game Review and I picked Rambo First Blood Part II a game I remember seeing at Toys R Us and playing briefly at my friends house as a kid, but when I finally sat down to play it…… well Lets just get started.

In 1986 Ashura was released for the Sega Master System in Japan aka the Sega Mark III, the game had you and a optional friend take control of Ashura and Bishamon two Buddhist Monks that must take arms to set their fellow Buddhists free from a a military enemy of some sort that has kidnapped them… because why I don't know and why would monks take up machine guns and explosive composite bow ???? I mean in the 36 Chamber of Shaolin films Master San-Te just uses Shaolin Kung Fu to take on military forces, which we all know could beat even Super-Sayian-Mega-Zord-Vampire Hitler … But whatever its Sega's Party soo yeah thats the Original game but….

Also in 1986 Sega aquirred the Rights to Rambo and wanted to capitalize on the success of the second Sly Stallone film Rambo First Blood Part II which had just been released in '85. Instead of building a whole new game from scratch Sega took their Popular Bloody Buddhist Game Ashura and repurposed it with very minimal changes. In no time at all we here in North America had Rambo First Blood Part II on the Sega Master System. 

The title screen was changed to show off the Master Systems graphical power with an amazing color packed shot of Rambo taken from the Movie posters, it defiantly impressed me then and now.The games main character sprites were changed to look more like Rambo and in turn Bishamon was changed to a character the manual only describes as Rambo's partner Zane …Sure Zane you remember Zane from the movie…. No the Cartoon….no the chewing gum… Who cares it's CO-OP baby !!! And man will you need it, this game is HARD !! It may look similar to NES titles like Ikari Warriors or Commando but man this one is gonna take a lil practice for me. I had originally thought of doing a "Finisher War Journal Entry" on this one but once I sat down to play it for the first time I realized I hadn't allotted enough time for the harsh Sega learning curve.

You start off on a jungle level much like SNKs Ikari Warriors but while both games allow you to move in eight directions Rambo can only shoot in Five ? It took a few attempts till I got used to the whole pulling down to back up and shoot at the on comers trick. I started out trying to run and gun but that got me no where…. NO Literally NO Where !!! I got about "one screen" up the first handful of times I played this, I was overly embarrassed and frustrated. The Trick to Rambo is slow and steady taking out enemies that are the most immediately threatening while allowing the others to wander off screen. Some larger threats like tanks can but easily avoid by walking right past their line of fire. The speed at which you move is annoying but more so is the rate of fire of your supposed M-60 Machine gun, now I'm no Marine but I'm pretty sure a M-60 shoots more than TWO bullets at a time. The Master System does such a great job packing in all the enemies and colors and fine details that it leaves you the capability to fire only two shots at a time which is a harsh trade off but the game does look better then the other games I mentioned earlier on the NES. Oh and the SOUND !!! This game has some of the greatest music that was available at the time on 8-Bit consoles. 

If you can manage to make it past the first screen then you will need to master your alternate weapon "the Bow", fire it at the huts which hold the P.O.W.s that you are here to rescue. On the back of the Box it says they are in concentration camps and you must "Blow those Camps" I'm as shocked & appualed as you. In exchange for either the freedom or the blowing the troops throw you power ups like the question marked can that kills everyone on screen ? Yeah it leaves me questioning whats in the can? The thankful lads also restock your arrows which is good since the game requires them for two things the first as I mentioned is the Huts as that is the only way to free the hostages and secondly the End Bosses or Gates more accurately. The end of each stage brings Rambo face to face with a gate similar to Capcoms Commando. I was confused on how to pass the gate the first time I actually got up to one and wanted to kill myself when I couldn't blow it open and died at the furthest point I had gotten in 30 mins. The goal is to stay alive until you kill the required amount of enemies and then the gate flashes requiring that you fire one arrow at it for it to explode and then you may pass on to the next stage. Be warned as you pass on into the next area, the game offers no continues but does reward you with an extra life at each stage and the 2nd Player can join in at anytime only in the first two stages.

Get Up Slacker !!

Read for your self "Blow those Camps"
Either Sly's on 'roids or thats a tiny tank.

In-between each stage you are treated to a film shot showing Rambo in different scenarios, the graphics here are also altered from Ashura which orginally displayed landscapes and Buddhist statues. The game has Six Levels that I have not been through but have watched footage of in long plays on YouTube and I can say the that the Stages vary nicely in style and color unlike some old NES titles and the Gun and Arrows power ups do get better later in the game. The whole game can be beaten in 25 mins if you have the abilities. Im not gonna ruin the Final Boss for you but it is VERY similar to Ikari Warriors. Sega doesn't disappoint with a text ending like many games of the era. The ending treats you to one last shot of a nice looking Rambo graphic firing his M-60 into the air screaming as the P.O.W.s cheer on their angery hero.

A PAL European version was released entitled Secret Command and interestingly enough has the Aushra & Bishamon names but uses the Rambo and Zane sprites. It also features the Ashura title music with a slightly changed Screen Graphic.

I am deffinatly going to keep at this one until I can say "I beat it".
I strongly suggest Downloading this on the Wii's Virtual console as each region has its approiate version available to them, and here in N.America the Ashura version is also available under imports.
Click here to read the recent Master System article.

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"Ma' I did it I beat the first screen !!!!"

Friday, January 3, 2014

Game Hunting EP 9 - Nintendo New Year !!

Happy New Year !! Im sure 2014 will be a great year for New games But ! One things guaranteed that the Retro Gaming will be better even better as More consoles slide closer into the Retro Category.

I hope you all had a Awesome Holiday and took full advantage of other the collectors being broke due to last minute shopping, I know I did ! And scored an amazing deal on Christmas Night , lets take  a look shall we.....

I hope you enjoyed checking out the new acqisitions with me and by the way….
I did have a SnowDay after all !

Soon Ill be showing you guys and gals how easy it is to MOD the SNES to play Super Nintendo and Super Famicom games… But !!Till then I have one more video for you.

I also picked up a Factory sealed copy of F-Zero on the SNES at Video Games New York so sit back if you dare as I do the horribly unthinkable …. and OPEN IT !!! Yes!!!!  Thats right you can't stop me Im insane ….

Don't be afraid to open those sealed games they were meant to be played just take care of them collect to play not pay. I hope you all have a great 2014 and please share your Hunting treasures with us in the comments or on instagram and twitter @Finalbossnyc.