#13 – Flicky

A bird in the hand…is worth less points than six in the hand

Guilty Party – Retro Redress

Crime – not completing the SEGA Ultimate Genesis Collection challenge of obtaining 80,000 points on Flicky.

Redress – get 80,000 points and complete the challenge.

One of the benefits of modern gaming is the selection of excellent retro compilations. Over the last ten years or so, there have been a lot of fantastic collections. SNK Collection (Wii U and PS2), Capcom Remixed and Reloaded (PSP and PS2), Taito Treasures (PSP and PS2) and Rare Replay (Xbox One) come to mind. My favourite though is Sega (Sonic’s in the US) Ultimate Genesis Collection on Xbox 360 and PS3. It was lovingly curated by Sega, who not only included 49 Mega Drive games (two versions of Altered Beast…so you know the compilation is quality) but lots of artwork, interviews, screen size modifications and a pretty menu system.

Nine of the games on Sega Ultimate Genesis Collection were unlockables. To unlock the locked games, you had to complete a challenge on another game. For example, you could unlock Phantasy Star on the Master System by beating the first boss on Sonic 2 with two players. Being the RPG ignoramus I am, that didn’t interest me. No, I wanted Fantasy Zone. It’s one of my favourite Master System games and the idea of playing it on a big screen in my living room fascinated me. I made unlocking Fantasy Zone a priority and set about doing it. ‘”All I have to do”, I said to myself, “is get 80,000 points on Flicky”. How hard could getting 80,000 points be? I told myself that, a quick go of Flicky later, and I’d soon be off to the ’42 inch version of the Fantasy Zone.

I never got to the 42′ inch version of Fantasy Zone. I could not beat that challenge on Flicky despite my efforts…and, as I always do, I gave up. Sega Ultimate Mega Drive Collection got traded in and I forgot about Flicky…until now.

It’s time to face Flicky again and beat the challenge. Sure, I won’t get Fantasy Zone on a big telly…but I’ll get a measure of revenge, the satisfaction of going back and beating something that beat me. If you can’t take satisfaction from beating a challenge on a twenty six year old Mega Drive game, what can you take satisfaction from?

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#11 – Shadow Dancer

Carry on dancing…

Guilty Party – Retro Redress

Crime – Getting to the last boss of Shadow Dancer then giving up

Redress – Play Shadow Dancer again and finally beat that last boss!

I’ve got a great affection for Shadow Dancer, the 1990 follow up to Revenge of Shinobi. Shadow Dancer may not have garnered the critical acclaim of Revenge of Shinobi but for me it’s an important game. I first played it in 2002. At this point in time, I was disillusioned with games and had fallen into a gaming malaise. My only console was a PS2 and I used it solely to play Pro Evolution Soccer. Nothing else.

That autumn, I was getting bored of Pro Evolution Soccer and having been talking to my friends about games, decided to buy some older consoles. One of my pick ups was a Mega Drive 2, Altered Beast (we’ll get to Altered Beast another day) and Shadow Dancer. I wasn’t expecting much from Shadow Dancer – I’d owned the Master System version as a kid and hadn’t been impressed. However Mega Drive Shadow Dancer captured my imagination right away. Several late nights were spent fighting through the Union Lizard army until I finally got to the last boss. Then I stopped playing Shadow Dancer. I can’t remember why I stopped playing, I just quit. Cold turkey.

It’s time to put that right. I’m going back to Shadow Dancer and I’m going to complete it.

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#10 – Garou: Mark Of The Wolves

Hungry like the wolf…

Guilty Party – Retro Redress

Crime – Being a big fan of Garou: Mark Of The Wolves…but only playing as Freeman.

Redress – Play as the other characters and find one I like enough to complete the arcade mode with.

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I’ve always loved Garou: Mark of The Wolves. Early 2007, I started a new job in Manchester and was on a training course in the city centre. Standard 9-5 hours, nothing exciting…until I discovered an arcade at Piccadilly Gardens. The arcade had two video game machines – one was a Tekken 3 unit, the second was  a MAME emulator in a sitdown arcade unit. This machine had every 80’s/90’s arcade game on it and for 50p a go, I was happy to explore all it’s games. Then one day I came across Garou: Mark of The Wolves. I had heard about this great fighting game, a game that hadn’t been ported to home consoles on these shores and I knew I had to try it. I fell in love with it straight away. Beautiful 2D graphics, slick fighting and a character I became obsessed with straight away, Freeman.

GAROU: MARK OF THE WOLVES_20170618212004

I love playing as Freeman. Sinister, violent serial killer with special moves named after heavy metal songs? That’s an easy sell to me. Problem is, I’ve never tried to buy anything else. Since I started playing Garou, I’ve always played as Freeman. In that arcade? Freeman, on my lunch breaks and after work. Xbox 360 version? Freeman, offline, online, all the time. So now I’ve got the PS4 version, I want to redress that short sighted mistake. I want to play as the other characters and learn more about this great game. What I’ve done is just experience one aspect of a great piece of art, kinda like buying Master of Puppets and just listening to Battery on repeat.

It’s time to play as the other characters and find out what the other characters are like. Will I find one I like more than Freeman? What can this redress teach me about Garou? It’s time to find out…

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#9 – California Games

California dreaming….

Guilty Party – Retro Redress

Crime – Assuming California Games is one of the best games on the Master System…despite the fact I haven’t played it for nearly ten years.

Redress -Replay California Games, event by event, to see if it is as good as I remember.

Ever hear the term ‘rose-tinted glasses?’ The game I think of when I hear that phrase is California Games. I loved it as a kid and have actually called it one of the Master System’s best games as an adult. However…I haven’t played it in years, back at the height of my retro game collecting in 2008/09. Since then, my game playing horizons have expanded…I’ve played great games that have made me re-evaluate what I want from gaming…GTA V, No More Heroes, Castlevania, Burnout Paradise, Fire Emblem Awakenings…the list goes on. Does California Games hold up after playing all these games? Was it ever that good to begin with?

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#8 – World Cup Italia ’90

Express yourself, it’s one on one…

Guilty Party – Retro Redress

Crime – hating World Cup Italia ’90…yet not being able to remember if he’s played a full match on it.

Redress – Play a full match on World Cup Italia ’90 and give it a fair chance.

If you ever ask me what I think the worst games of all time are, I always bring up World Cup Italia ’90. It’s often the butt of my jokes on Twitter and I will savage it to anyone who dares bring it up. The thing is though… I actually can’t remember finishing a full match on it.  I remember disliking WCI90 as a kid but I haven’t played it in donkey’s years. Surely it’s unfair to make fun of it, given these circumstances?

It’s time to give World Cup Italia ’90 a fair chance. Is it as bad as I remember? Or did my impatient younger self just not appreciate it?

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#7 – Mario Kart 8

Kartache

Guilty Party –  Retro Redress

Crime – Not winning the 200cc trophies because I found it too hard and gave up

Redress – win all the 200cc trophies in four days

I’m a big fan of Mario Kart and have beaten most of the titles in the series, but the 200cc series on Mario Kart 8 have me stumped. So stumped that I stopped playing Mario Kart 8 completely. However, with all the talk over the new and improved Switch version, it’s time to dig the Wii U out again.

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#6 – Columns

Sometimes, you have to make some time in your life for a game…

Guilty Party – Retro Redress

Crime – never playing Columns for more than ten minutes at a time.

Redress – Spend an hour playing Columns

Ah Columns…of all the games on the (enormous) Redress list, Columns is one I tend to forget about. See, I like Columns and do play it a fair bit…but only for five, ten minutes at a time. I always treat Columns as a ‘starter’ or a warm up for other games I own. I take Columns for granted – it’s always happy for me to halfheartedly play it for ten minutes, then move on to something more ‘exciting’. Columns is that person who doesn’t complain, goes with the flow and always appreciates my fleeting attention. Can you imagine Breath of The Wild doing that? Hell, Animal Crossing would shout at you for treating it like that!

Well, I’m going to change that. Today I’m going to spoil Columns. I’ve dedicated an hour to just playing Columns. No distractions, no plans to play any other games…I’m giving Columns some special time. I was going to light some candles too, but I’m prone to falling asleep on my couch at night…I don’t want the headline ‘Man burned to death playing Columns’’ to be my epitaph…

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