October 14, 2023

31. Let the gas out

Whilst age creeps up on us creating some momentary lapses of memory, we discuss buying clothes, cider brewing, sight reading apps and some modern game woes.

This time we report on Alwa's Awakening (NES), Rogue Declan Zero (Amiga) and briefly on Nightshift, Neon Noir and Maria Renard's Revenge (all Amiga games).

We also have a look at a very difficult game to remember: Unholy Night: The Darkness Hunter (SNES) and Top & Tom 2 (Atari 2600), what a treat!

As usual all this and a lot more in this mid October episode.

0:00:00 2:05:56
  • Alwa's Awakening
    9.99 USD
    | Get it here

    Featuring unique game mechanics distinct from traditional Metroidvanias, Alwa’s Awakening emphasizes puzzle-solving and exploration over combat. Players start without a weapon and must avoid enemies until they find a magic wand, which serves as a short-ranged weapon to defeat enemies and remove obstacles. The game’s open-world design allows for gated exploration, where players must find specific items to progress further, offering a fresh twist on the genre by substituting typical Metroidvania upgrades with new items that change how players interact with the world.

    For instance, rather than a double jump, players might find other tools that aid in overcoming obstacles, such as a brick for solving puzzles or a bubble for reaching higher platforms. This approach to itemization and progression, combined with the ability to tackle bosses at the player’s discretion, enriches the gameplay experience. The inclusion of gems that players can collect to lower boss health points further incentivizes exploration and adds a layer of strategy in preparing for boss fights. Alwa’s Awakening presents a compelling blend of classic adventure game elements with innovative mechanics, making it a notable entry in the Metroidvania genre.

  • Rogue Declan Zero
    7.99 USD - 38.00 EUR
    | Get it here

    This roguelite experience immerses players in the role of Sir Declan, tasked with quelling a demon invasion through procedurally generated dungeons. This Amiga game introduces a refreshing approach to the roguelite genre with a twin-stick shooter mechanic, allowing for dynamic eight-direction shooting. Players start with simpler levels where enemies slowly advance without retaliatory attacks, gradually progressing to more complex stages filled with a diverse array of adversaries, each presenting unique challenges.

    The game intricately combines combat with strategic exploration; players must collect shards from chests to destroy the source of the demons – a portal found at each level’s end. Additionally, the game includes traps, prisoner rescue missions, and a shop system for purchasing vital upgrades such as increased speed and health. This progression system, alongside the need to strategically manage resources, enhances the depth of gameplay, making Rogue Declan Zero a standout title that both honors the Amiga’s legacy and offers a fresh, engaging challenge to the roguelite genre.

  • Unholy Night: The Darkness Hunter
    19.99 USD
    | Get it here

    Introducing itself as a fighting game for the SNES, this game was crafted by former SNK developers known for Samurai Shodown. Released in 2017, it’s a notable attempt to inject the classic fighting game formula into the SNES library. The roster is limited, featuring six characters (excluding the unplayable final boss), each with unique abilities that contribute to the game’s depth. These characters range from Blaze and Kronos to Wurtel, a werewolf-esque fighter, alongside Nightmare and Emily, ensuring diversity in combat styles.

    The game incorporates a variety of modes, including story, player versus player, survival, and practice modes, catering to both solitary and competitive play. A modern touch is added with the inclusion of a gauge system for executing combos, which varies among characters and requires specific conditions to fill, adding a layer of strategy to fights. However, the game’s ambition seems somewhat hampered by its execution; despite the attractive premise and visual appeal, gameplay suffers from choppy animations and a lack of fluidity in controls. This, combined with the challenge of executing special moves and a gauge system that’s tricky to master due to a confusing manual, means Unholy Night: The Darkness Hunter offers an intriguing yet flawed experience for SNES and fighting game enthusiasts.

  • Bot&Tom (was: Top&Tom 2)

    Bot & Tom is an inventive Atari 2600 homebrew game that reimagines the endless runner genre with a unique idea. In this game, players control two mirrored characters, a pair of vehicles, navigating through an endless landscape filled with obstacles. The screen is divided by a horizontal line, creating two mirrored paths that each vehicle must follow. The twist lies in the synchronized control scheme; actions taken with one vehicle directly affect its counterpart, demanding precise coordination to avoid obstacles that differ on each side of the screen.

    The game can be played solo, where a single player controls both vehicles, or in a two-player mode, with each player managing one vehicle. The gameplay is further enriched by a dynamic where jumping mechanics are influenced by an ‘elastic band’ effect, allowing for nuanced control over the jumps. This mechanic adds a layer of depth and challenge, making for an engaging experience. With its simple yet captivating concept, Bot & Tom stands as a testament to the creativity of the Atari 2600 homebrew community, offering both nostalgia and innovation to gamers.