Retro Arcade Game Review: Return of Heracles

Imagine, if you will, a game that encapsulates almost all of Greek mythology in one colourful, fast-moving, joy-stick controlled graphic adventure. Said game also has multi voice music, text, hi-res graphics effects, animation, and the ability to save the game to disk at will. Such a paragon exists, and is currently my favourite computer game despite some flaws that I will point out later. RETURN OF HERACLES (ROH) is a game with much strength and a few weaknesses.

The setting is mythological Greece in the time of the Heroes and the Trojan War. The country and all the lands about are overrun with supernatural menaces and monsters. Zeus, King of the Olympian Gods, has decreed that these menaces-such as the Nemean Lion, the Caledonian Boar, and the immortal Hydra-be destroyed. You enter, controlling one or more heroes (as many as you want up to the total number possible) to get the job done. Your characters, whether they are Achilles, Jason, Odysseus, or one of a host of others, move about the countryside fighting, collecting treasures, buying supplies and getting advanced training.

If all goes well, you and your friends will accomplish the 12 labours of Zeus and get a fabulous reward. If not, you will all die. I think you’ll agree that’s a fair set of alter- natives for a computer game. The game is transparent. The rules explain themselves. Although documentation comes with it, you’ll never have to read it. You can play poorly, but there is no way to do anything wrong. And, unlike certain text adventures where you have to find the right words or you get nowhere, you will always be accomplishing something as long as you just move the characters. The multiple screens with animated sprite graphics (in the Atari version) and accompanying music are strong aspects in ROH. I counted over 30 different sprites (player missiles) involved in the game, and most of them are animated.

Incidentally, your foes are controlled by the computer, and they are also animated, both in terms of moving on screen and in seeming to act with purpose. Having numerical attributes such as strength, vigour, speed, wealth, armour, weapons, the characters also have histories and personalities, allowing the player the true joy of role-playing with them. Although the same sprite is used to represent both Achilles and Odysseus, the two heroes behave in entirely different manners. I tend to get emotionally attached to the wily Ithakan, and try to save him, but I use Achilles as a superhero and just throw him into combat anywhere at any time. Finally, the game teaches Greek mythology. Before you are finished you participate in the Founding of Thebes, the Sack of Roy, and explore the Labyrinth of Crete. You visit the Temple of Apollo at Delphi and climb the slopes of Olympus. You earn either the favour or disfavour of various gods. You have to solve the riddle of the Sphinx. I’d like to say this was a perfect game, but the best I can say is that it’s very good. There are some weaknesses in it that slightly spoil it for me. For the most part they seem to be failures of imagination or minor errors in the research of the game designer.

1. When you’re dealing with gods, monsters, dragons, lions, boars, hydras, and the like, you don’t need to use mice, rats, blobs, and boulders as part of your monster menagerie.

Theseus didn’t have to kill rats to make his way through the Labyrinth of the Minotaur, nor did he have to dispose of any blobs. For the same amount of programming effort, Smith could have included wolves and chimerae as additional monsters; both of which would be true to Greek mythology and to the game’s theme of heroism.

2. There are a few errors in the text that are totally unnecessary. Achilles gained his invulnerability from being dipped in the Styx, not by being burned and then being restored with ambrosia. If you’re going to tell the myth tells it right. Aeneas escaped from Troy so that his descendants could found the city of Rome, not Troy as is said in the text.

3. While Greek mythology is used as the basis of the game, it is often portrayed inaccurately, and with scant attention to the importance of women in it. Helen of Troy and Penelope of Ithaka are no better than puppets waiting to be rescued. Major figures like Medea and Ariadne don’t appear at all. (Actually, Medea is in the game. You can talk to her in Colchis, but she has no active role.) There are plenty of other misconceptions and inaccuracies. Play it as a game, but don’t think that it substitutes for actually reading the myths themselves.

A few other things should be mentioned. Error-handling is superb. I couldn’t make an error with this game, except in judgment. Documentation is excellent. Thirty-one pages that thoroughly explain the game and the unusual names that you will see throughout.

ROH will give many hours of playing pleasure, as you can play the game again and All in all, I highly recommend ROH to everyone who would like a graphic role-playing adventure with an unusual flavour to it.

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Retro Arcade Game Review: Nautilus

Nautilus is a fast action game of sub and destroyer warfare. As captain of the Nautilus you are given the job of destroying enemy cities block by block and capturing the proto-pods that lie inside them. Proto-pods give the Nautilus energy that is vital to the engines, defence and life support systems. Above, the destroyer Colossus moves between shore lines carrying repair crews that rebuild the cities you destroyed.

The Nautilus commander must alternate between destroying cities, picking up proto-pods, and keeping the Colossus from reaching the west shore. The colossus depth charges and Barracuda missiles that lock on to your position and relentlessly pursue you. Between the two shores there is a vast underwater cave system in which you must journey through on your way to destroy the cities. Beware though, intelligent Limpet Lurkers materialize in the depths to hunt you out, and electronic locks are activated at the entrances of caves to slow you down. The game uses one or two players, allowing either the computer or a human opponent to operate the Colossus. Each game has a one to nine minute time limit. Though you have unlimited “lives”, it takes five seconds for both the Colossus and Nautilus to be repaired. The Nautilus has an unlimited number of Thunderbolt torpedoes to deploy, which takes no extra energy to fire.

Colossus will drop depth charges and one barracuda missile at a time. Quick reflexes are a must, though, as the Colossus moves between the docks on the east shore to the deployment area on the west at roughly twice the speed of the Nautilus. Colossus gains points for each city-block repaired, and Nautilus for each destroyed. To aid the Nautilus, there is a support helicopter which is constantly bent on damaging Colossus. If Colossus is damaged, the ship is automatically returned to base, then repaired and deployed. The game has nine challenging skill levels and a handicap option which governs the amount of points the Colossus receives, between 10 and 80, for each city block repair. To the beginner, this game is enjoyably frustrating, as even nicking a cave wall will send you crashing to the bottom. With a little persistence, though, you’ll soon find that you can handle even the tightest squeeze.

The graphics are the highlight of the game, with a beautifully scrolling split screen showing the progress of both the Nautilus and Colossus. The underwater world is an excellent concept, creating an exciting adventure in which to explore and play, something that typical single screen arcade games lack. The Nautilus and Colossus are well portrayed on the screen and the sound effects are quite good. Documentation comes in the form of a small but thorough seven page booklet. It gives a player everything he needs to get going, except strategy notes. There is also a small bug in the program which sometimes places an not movable and not destroyable barracuda missile on the ocean surface. Since the Nautilus needs only to go around it, this does not affect the playing of the game to any great extent. Otherwise, Nautilus is very well designed and written.

Truly, Synapse has produced another top rate game with outstanding graphics and intense action.

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Retro arcade games

Lets go back to the wonderful world of 1980s…when Madonna rocked the charts, washed jeans and sweat shirts made the fashion statement, addictive gaming crazed the gizmo fads. Retro gaming can defines as a hobby of playing and collecting computers, video and arcade games. Retrogaming is also known as classic gaming, old-school games. Interestingly, in United Kingdom players who passionately play it are called retro gamers and America known as classic gamers or old school gamers.

Although, at present we will find these games brainless and simple amidst high-tech gaming technology, but these seventies and eighties they were in rage then.

These games are usually played on original and modern hardware through emulation or ports.
Some of the most popular retro games produced back then in 1980s were Commodore 64, MSX, ZX81. ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, and the Nintendo Entertainment System.

Xbox and PlayStation features several retro games by Electronic Arts, Sega and Atari. There’s also “plug-and-play” units that look similar to a game controller and feature built-in games.

If you fancy playing classic games, then there are many sites which offers popular old-school games like Pacman, Space Invadors, Mario World, Bubble Bobble, Donkey Kong. Flurry of excellent retro games are released every year. These games are so good that they deserve every bit of your attention.

Extraordinary effects, superb graphics and superb sound quality make these games of 80s everyone’s favorite. Also available are high powered portables and with game downloading services on new consoles.

Innumerous sites recreate the magic of old school and offers a chance to users to sign-up and free downloading of games. Old games like Contra old-school franchises has are back again with the with fresh installments. And they have lived up to the expectations of millions of fans from across the globe.

To get your free download of great retro arcade classics click here

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Played to Popeye complete. Nintendo 1982
Video Rating: 5 / 5

Retro Stylin With Arcade Game Rentals

Renting arcade games can be one of the best options for entertainment, whether you need them for a party, a trade show, a fundraising event or a corporate event, addressing to people all ages and tastes. You can use arcade rentals to make your kids party one that he will never forget- the children will have a point of attraction and they can have a lot of fun. Your trade shows booth can be the best if you use the arcade game to draw the visitors and to add some color to your corporate video or TV show productions. Of course, renting arcade game units is the most profitable choice for your budget and for creating the maximum effect of fun and relaxation.

Arcade games have a video display, a set of controls such as buttons, joysticks and the coin slot; they are in fact coin-operated games, programmed for a certain game and especially equipped for playing it. Renting arcade games can offer you an adrenaline rush completely different to most present console games, which have a complex play and a strong story. The choice is not an easy one, because the arcade game rentals companies have a large variety of games for you, from Speed Pitch to Bungee Run, from video games to pinball machines.

By investing in a arcade game rental unit, it can give you the chance to experience some great gaming experience, testing your playing strategy and keep you in suspense until the end of the game. That is why the arcade game rental companies make sure that your gaming experience or your additional tasks for organizing the event will not be affected in any way, because they offer full services. This includes full support in logistics, basic transportation, the installation, the operation support, even uninstalling of the arcade game rental system you choose and cleaning off the area.

The only thing you have to worry about is making sure that everyone will have the chance to play the game on your arcade rental system. You can opt for arcade game rentals on a short term if you have a party or on a long term for your trade show booth or carnivals, it depends on the occasion. The game rental company can provide you with an expert whom will guide you in choosing the right arcade game rentals for your desired event and all the additional activities related to the arcade games.

Colin writes about various gaming topics ranging from arcade game rentals to board game related subjects. For more writings by him, visit: Gaming Entertainment


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