Jelda II

I am not big on cockpit-view flight games of any kind, but this game has a very pleasant aesthetic and I enjoyed it a bit just to see how the scenes changed throughout the game. As expected, it’s a bit sluggish as it’s trying to render even these simple graphics, it is how I remember every flight sim of the day. But it has a certain charm. Not a bad way to have spent thirty minutes. Don’t think I’ll be rushing back to it, but I won’t say I’ll never try it again.

Punch Ball Mario Bros.

Now this is a fairly odd one. It is definitely Mario Bros., but at the same time, kind of different. The main premise of this game is, instead of jumping, you throw a ball at your enemies to flip them over. Then you can kick them off the level like usual. You can still jump, but that’s not the way to kill your enemies. Although kind of counter-intuitive, there is only one button active in this game, so you have to learn the timing to make sure you’re jumping when you want to jump, and throwing when you want to throw.

The coin level on phase three is nearly the same. The same selection of baddies try to attack you. The fireballs come out at level three. Your partner in crime – Luigi, is also available for the fight. So there is a lot of familiarity in this game if you’ve played Mario Bros. before.

But sometimes there are surprises, too. For example, the top and bottom platforms on level 5 move, which is something you really need to take into consideration when an enemy may stay on the platform longer or shorter than expected depending on the direction of the movement. Another example, instead of a coin coming along after you kill every enemy, a single coin appears at the top of the screen. However, it doesn’t move, and if you don’t get the coin after each enemy, you lose the opportunity to collect that enemy’s coin.

Another unique point about this game is that it runs in 400-line (high-res) mode. This is the first arcade classic (albeit with a big twist) that I’ve encountered where you can choose to run in 400-line mode.

Woody Poco

Tonight I tried out Woody Poco. I had been under the misconception that you played a woodpecker, but actually you play a wooden boy. It seems to be an adventure game where you can save your progress as you go. It’s a bit hard because I sometimes run into enemies that can kill me in one hit, so I’ve only explored about eight overworld screens, but the game is so far quite fun and shows a decent amount of depth.

The overworld is bright and vibrant but can turn dark and dangerous at night. At one point, shooting stars attacked me but later in the game I found some kind of cross and a helmet, so perhaps that is protecting me, or maybe the shooting stars only appear on certain screens.

From the overworld screen, so far, there are two other kinds of screens to be accessed – underground holes and buildings. You can buy, sell, give, or trade items in different locations that help you progress through the game. Many stores say they only serve women, so I am guessing you need to find someone else on your quest who complements you in your journey and you can then go back to previously inaccessible locations.

There haven’t been many kinds of enemies, but one in particular was kind of interesting – the old men. By default they are jolly and blue in color, and they only bump into you and hurt you a bit, taking a bit of your money in the process. But if you try to attack them, they turn violent and bright red, becoming incredibly powerful. They will charge at high speed and kill you. So they’re just something to put up with, it seems, not fight against, but maybe later you can get revenge.

It’s another game with 400-line graphics (640×400) and FM sound, the graphics look quite good compared to the previous game I was playing (Euphory), but the music is similarly short and repetitive.

Euphory

Ventured into an actual RPG this time.It’s called Euphory. Even before I played, I noticed some major differences to most games I’d played and introduced on the X1 before. This game was designed for the Turbo series and above, so it utilizes 640×400 resolution at 24kHz refresh rate, a big jump in hardware and disk capacity requirements. It also leverages the FM sound modulation instead of PSG, so it has more of a melodic sound than most previous games.

That said, the graphics look clean, but not incredibly impressive, and the music is really simple so while the hardware makes it sound distinct from the PSG experience, the end product isn’t that impressive.

But it seems like a pretty good game. Much more an RPG than Dragon Buster was, in this game you name your character, buy and sell weapons and character power-ups, manage an inventory, can explore the world freely instead of linearly, etc. Doesn’t have the traditional stats, though. The underlying story is you need to find a cure for your mother’s illness, although I assume it involves some far more sinister scenario once you get deep enough into the game.

There is a good variety of background imagery, it seems. It also allows you to explore underwater as well as on ground. One really unique feature is that you can play two players simultaneously – the brother and the sister – as you make your way through your quest.