Category Archives: Little Bits of Gaming Main Menu

RollerCoaster Tycoon

RollerCoaster TycoonTitle Screen

Little Bit of History:  Released in 1999 for PC – RollerCoaster Tycoon is a construction and management simulation based in numerous theme parks. Designed and programmed by Chris Sawyer.

Little Bit of Plot/Story: No real ‘plot’ to talk of here – you are just given a chunk of land, some cash and the research team to help you develop, design and build your very own theme park. Build rides, attractions, shops and coasters. You can even design and create genre specific scenery and rides, you want a horror, cowboy, space theme along with various others? Well you can  – make enough money and meet mission requirements so you can move onto the next park. You can even download fan made content and parks/rides, some based on world famous attractions from around the world. You can create your very own Disney World.

Little Bit of Character: There are no characters in the game – just random customers who will enter your park looking to be entertained and amused. Though you can rename any of the characters to whatever you like, so you can name your punters after your friends and family… then make then throw up after going on crazy coasters.

RollerCoaster Tycoon

Little Bit of Influence: RollerCoaster Tycoon was not the first game in this genre – but it was the best of the lot (until the sequel). It went on to become a successful franchise with four main games and several spin-offs.

Little Bit of Memories: It was my older brother, Rob who first introduced me to this game and I admit, at the time, I was not too impressed with it. I just found it slow, dull and uninteresting. But the more I played, the more RollerCoaster Tycoon grew on me – as I learned the building mechanic, as I became more familiar with the micro managing – I soon found myself becoming a big fan and before I knew it, I’d sunk hundreds of hours into this game creating some of the most insane theme parks and roller coasters ever created.

Little Bit of Playability: RollerCoaster Tycoon is just as playable now as it was eighteen years ago. I still enjoy losing myself in its charm and deep management gameplay. Though I much prefer RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 over the original, it still holds a special place in my gaming heart. If you like theme parks, roller coasters and games – you’ll not find a better place to quench your thirst than RollerCoaster Tycoon and its sequel… and to a slightly lesser extent the third game – but stop after that, you’ll thank me later.

RollerCoaster Tycoon Box

I love roller coasters and theme parks so much that I have decided to start my own theme park blog; 0 to 4gs. Its early days yet as I’m tinkering with the style, etc – but feel free to check it out – more content coming soon.

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Double Dragon Is 30 Years Old

Released into arcades in June 1987 – Double Dragon became a big hit for publisher/developer Technōs. It was the first arcade game I ever completed and today, the game still sparks off fond memories growing up as a gamer in the 80s.

Right here – I’m going to take a look at the entire Double Dragon franchise over the last 30 years as well as some of the more infamous ports and spin-offs the series has offered us for three decades.

Double Dragon

Double Dragon

Telling the story of brothers, Billy and Jimmy Lee. Double Dragon was a simple beat em’ up with a simple plot. Bad guys called The Black Warrior Gang turn up, punch Billy’s girlfriend -Marian in the stomach and kidnap her. Playing as Billy or Jimmy… or both with a friend – you had to fight your way through four stages of various enemies and bosses. You’d even find numerous weapons to use in your fight to save the girl. The final stage is the gang’s hideout where you eventually come up against the gang’s leader, Willy. Take out Willy, save Marian and you are a winner… except if you played 2-player where an unexpected twist has brother fight against brother.

Double Dragon was a smash hit and was soon ported to pretty much every game’s machine in the late 80s and early 90s. The NES, Master System, Game Boy, Atari Lynx Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum and Amstrad CPC all had their own versions of the game. There was even a port on an unlicensed cartridge for the Mega Drive released in 1992. But the cream of the crop, top of the heap was the Atari 2600 port – it was… interesting.

Double Dragon 2600

The success of Double Dragon meant a sequel was inevitable, but who would know the franchise would still be alive 30 years later?

Double Dragon II: The Revenge

Double Dragon II

The sequel, Double Dragon II: The Revenge was released in 1988 and to be quite frank – it was more of the same with a few bells and whistles. This time around The Black Warriors Gang and their leader, Willy don’t kidnap Marian. Willy outright murders her in cold blood. So of course Billy and Jimmy set out for revenge. Double Dragon II: The Revenge really is little more than just a graphical upgrade. The gameplay itself remained the same, save for a few minor tweaks and improvements. The game even re-uses a lot of the same enemies from the previous game.

Once again, the game was ported to pretty much every popular games machine at the time but sadly, no Atari 2600 port.

Double Dragon 3: The Rosetta Stone

Double Dragon 3

1990 saw Billy and Jimmy Lee return and this time – they are joined by Sonny (whoever that is). Yup, this sequel brings with it several new ideas to the Double Dragon franchise. Not only is it simultaneous three player but the graphics have been given a complete overhaul and several new moves have been introduced. The plot this time involves the Lee brothers and Sonny (still no idea who he is) having to travel the globe in search of the titular Rosetta Stones. Starting in the United States before heading to China, Japan, Italy and finally – Egypt.

The game also featured a very unwelcome addition. You know how modern games have those dreaded ‘micro transactions’ – those things developers include to milk every last penny out of the player? Well Double Dragon 3: The Rosetta Stone had this feature long before they became the norm today. This game featured item shops on the levels where you could buy new weapons, items, power-ups and even new characters… only you had to use real money to buy these and each item would be the same cost as a single credit. So if you wanted to make any progress in the game, you’d have to spend some serious real cash. This feature was removed from the later Japnese version due to negative feedback.

And yes, there were ports to the numerous gaming machines at the time too. Plus there was an alternate game called Double Dragon III: The Sacred Stones released for the NES in 1991. This was not a port of the arcade game, but instead a whole new game made just for the NES and yes – this is where the whole ‘Bimmy’ thing started too.

Super Double Dragon

Super Double Dragon

This one was an exclusive for the SNES and fourth game in the franchise… though not actually Double Dragon IV – that explanation is coming up later…

The plot of this one is – well, there is no plot. Lead programmer; Muneki Ebinuma revealed in 2004 that this game was never finished before it was released. Super Double Dragon was supposed to feature cut-scenes telling a story. The story involved Billy and Jimmy investigating a criminal organisation known as the Shadow Warriors. The gang has been kidnapping various martial artists. Billy and Jimmy were tasked with fighting their way through seven stages as they rescue the missing martial artists before facing the gang’s main boss – Duke who was to have been revealed as being a childhood friend of the Lee brothers… but the story a lot of the game mechanics were never included in the final product due to time constraints.

Super Double Dragon is a very impressive beat em’ up in many ways. The fighting mechanics are pretty awesome as not only can you punch and kick, but you now have a block button and if you block just as you’re being attacked, you’ll grab your enemy in an arm/leg lock and continue to beat the crap out of them too. The weapons have been improved and updated over previous games too and some of the scenery is interactive. But you can also tell that the game is unfinished and lacking in so many areas – plus its painfully slow and sluggish. Its a shame because you can tell there is a great game here. The Japanese version (Return of Double Dragon) differs slightly and is ‘better’ than the Western version and I’d recommend playing that one instead if you can find it.

Double Dragon V: The Shadow Falls

Double Dragon V

By the mid 90s – any and everyone was trying to cash in on the massive success of Capcom’s Street Fighter II. There were suddenly one on one, tournament fighting games everywhere and Double Dragon wanted in on the action too. Double Dragon V: The Shadow Falls was released in 1994 and based on the animated Double Dragon TV series that aired around the same time. It was pretty standard stuff, Street Fighter II only not as good.

Double Dragon

Double Dragon Neo Geo

Yup, its just called Double Dragon and no its not a remake of the original. This 1995 released game is yet another Street Fighter II wanna-be. Inspired by the movie version of the game (so a game turned into a movie which is then turned into a game) as it takes plot elements, characters and locales used in the movie. This was also the last Double Dragon game made by original developers – Technōs before they went bust.

Released for the arcades, Neo Geo CD and Play Station. This Double Dragon ended up being a disappointment as it just didn’t measure up to the sea of similar (and better) fighting games around at the time. Plus, Double Dragon fans were thirsty for a proper Double Dragon game – not another Street Fighter II clone.

Double Dragon Advance

Double Dragon Advance

The franchise lay dormant from 1995 until 2003 when Double Dragon Advance was released for the Game Boy Advance. This one was a remake of the original arcade game, only given a graphical overhaul as well as update the move set to include fighting mechanics taken from some of the series’ sequels over the years. The plot is the same as it was in the original with you taking on the gang that kidnapped Marian. Four new stages have also been added to the original ones as well as several new enemies to punch and kick. This was the kind of game fans of the series had yearned after for several years and Double Dragon Advance is a pretty damn good Double Dragon game – well worthy of the name.

Double Dragon Neon

Double Dragon Neon

A modern retelling/reboot of Double Dragon released in 2012. This game is very tongue in cheek as it really plays up to its 80s setting and uses self-parody as its main source of humour. Yet it still manages to retain that classic 80s arcade feel and this one is definitely a must for any old school Double Dragon fan. Not an easy game to get on with at first – but once you unlock a few upgrades and get used to the fighting mechanics, this game is a pure blast full of retro goodness and gameplay.

Double Dragon II: Wander of the Dragons

Double Dragon II Wander

A remake of the original arcade game Double Dragon II: The Revenge – Double Dragon II: Wander of the Dragons is awful. I made the mistake of thinking this was a sequel to Double Dragon Neon… its not. This game is a clunky, unresponsive, and just an absolute mess. Its ugly to look at and even uglier to play. Not worth your time at all and is an insult to the Double Dragon name.

Double Dragon IV

Double Dragon IV

Okay – so now things are going to get confusing. This game released in 2017 is the official fourth game in the Double Dragon franchise. Released twenty seven years AFTER Double Dragon 3: The Rosetta Stone and twenty three years AFTER Double Dragon V: The Shadow Falls. But it gets worse as Double Dragon IV is not even a sequel to Double Dragon 3 (either version) but in fact a direct sequel to the NES port of Double Dragon II instead. Confused yet?

As you can see for the screen shot, Double Dragon IV goes for a retro style and look based on the NES versions of the original games. The plot is pretty simple – The Black Warriors Gang from the original two games team up with an all new gang called The Renegades to finish off Billy and Jimmy Lee once and for all. In typical Double Dragon fashion, you punch and kick enemies in the face and take out bosses spread over several different stages. A distinctly average Double Dragon game that leans too much on nostalgia and not enough on gameplay.

1987 – 2017

So there you have it – three decades of face punching action from Double Dragon.

Double Dragon Logo

But before I end this retrospective, there are a few other Double Dragon games and spin-offs I want to give quick mention to.

1989s U.S. Championship V’Ball (aka; Super Spike V’Ball) for the NES featured both Billy and Jimmy Lee as playable characters. Arcade game WWF Superstars from 1989 had Billy appear in a cameo role. Battletoads & Double Dragon which was released in 1993 was a crossover game featuring characters from both titular franchises. 2002s Rage of the Dragons released for the Neo Geo is a one on one fighter that features Billy and Jimmy Lee as playable characters. And in 2013, Double Dragon Trilogy was released for  iOS, Android and Steam – a collection of the first three arcade games with a few minor tweaks added.

Well that’s me done then. Thanks to Billy and Jimmy Lee for the gaming memories. – I’m off to play some Double Dragon Neon.

Double Dragon Neon Characters.jpg

GTA V: Judgement Day

Who doesn’t love Grand Theft Auto V? And who doesn’t love the James Cameron flick – Terminator 2: Judgement Day?… well me. But that is not the point, because a fan of both with a hell of a lot of time on their hands had melded the two. Using a heavily modded version of Grand Theft Auto V to recreate Terminator 2. Okay, so its not the entire film which runs at a a little over 2 hours. This fan made GTA film is just over an hour long. But it does hit all the major scenes.

Using audio taken directly from the movie to tell a more condensed take on the film. This GTA version is pretty damn impressive and even recreates the opening credits and every memorable scene from the movie right up to the ending.

Full credit goes to Kramer’s Media for this impressive feat. You can watch GTA V – T2 right here…

Red Dead Redemption 2 Officially Delayed.

Well, I did write the following article in March…Could Red Dead Redemption 2 Be Delayed Until 2018?

After looking at all of Rockstar’s big game releases over the last decade or so, I proved how each and every one of them has been delayed and pondered whether RDR 2 could follow suit… and now it officially has. As Rockstar themselves have confirmed right here.

Red Dead Redemption 2 is now set to launch Spring 2018 on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. This outlaw epic set across the vast and unforgiving American heartland will be the first Rockstar game created from the ground up for the latest generation of console hardware, and some extra time is necessary to ensure that we can deliver the best experience possible for our fans.

We are very sorry for any disappointment this delay causes, but we are firm believers in delivering a game only when it is ready. We are really excited to bring you more details about the game this summer. In the meantime, please enjoy this selection of new screenshots from the world of Red Dead Redemption 2.

Red Dead Redepmtion 2 Image 2

Red Dead Redepmtion 2 Image 3

Well there you have it, straight from the horses mouth. No RDR 2 until at least spring 2018. Its a bit of a blow for all RDR fans everywhere – but hardly unexpected given Rockstar’s track record with delays. Still, at least they have given us some new images to look at which I’m sharing right here.

Red Dead Redepmtion 2 Image 4

Red Dead Redepmtion 2 Image 5.jpg

Looks beautiful.

Red Dead Redepmtion 2 Image 6

Red Dead Redepmtion 2 Image 7

Just a shame we have to wait even longer now. But I just know the extra time will be used to make the game as polished as they can. I can wait…

About That ‘Red Dead Redemption 2’ Leaked Image… Its Not

Pretty much any and everyone eagerly awaiting the release of Rockstar’s sequel/prequel to Red Dead Redemption has gone crazy over the leaked image that has been doing the rounds recently.

Wild West Online Image 1

Its Not What You Think

I’ve read articles that have analysed the image over and over. “That’s definitely a young John Marston.”, “That’s Armadillo. It just looks different because its a prequel.” and so on. Some sites have compared the image to the official trailer released last year and made direct connections as proof that the said image is definitely from Red Dead Redemption 2.

There is a slight problem with all of these articles that are making these comparisons. That ‘leaked’ Red Dead Redemption 2 image is not from Red Dead Redemption 2 at all. In fact – the image comes from an all new game called Wild West Online being developed for the PC and there are other images too.

The Wild West Gets Social

Wild West Online will be an open world PvP MMO game. A countdown on the official site is promising more info in a few days but some features of the game are already known. Being inspired by Rockstar’s Red Dead RedemptionWild West Online will give players the chance to explore an open world map all while forming a posse of other real players. You can also decide to either defend or break the law as you try to make a name for yourself and your fellow cowboys or you could just sit around in a saloon and play some cards.

612 Games, the developers of Wild West Online are made up of some of the talent behind games like Crysis and League of Legends are set to launch a Kickstarter at the end of this month to help fund the project and include stretch goals for an added bonus. Yet even without the Kickstarter campaign, the team say that they are already so far along in development that the game will see a release later this year regardless of the Kickstarter.

While the game takes in main inspiration form Red Dead Redemption – particularly the multiplayer/online element. The development team want to bring a very different game with this MMO and that it won’t be a typical grind-fest and repetitive quests and promise a very different MMO with more variety and depth. It seems there will be more to the game than just being a cowboy as you can forge an alternate career and specialise in various vocations such as a gatherer, prospector or even a farmer. Then use your wares to inject fuel into a player-driven in-game economy.

Gathering resources and even building camps will be a big social aspect of the game that will be coupled with a crafting system which will rely on discovering new creations, recipes and weapons. All will help build and grow your posse as you add more and more real life players. The team also say the game will be more story, character, and gameplay-driven than other MMOs and they are working on a unique progression system that will add depth and keep players coming back for more.

The Good, The Bad And The Lawless

If you do chose the wrong side of the law path for your posse, then you will soon find yourself becoming a wanted gang. As you earn wanted starts and the infamy of your gang grows, you’ll find yourself being sought out by bounty hunters, sheriffs and deputies all played by real people. Rivalries will be formed between the right and wrong side of the law as the intricate gang system in the game starts to grow with each new player.

The developers are promising many, various way to break the law and become a known outlaw if you wish. From simple robberies and bigger bank heists to outright murder. As you and you gang raise their lawless profile, you’ll find that you will become exiled from towns – and this is where you can set up your very own bandit hideouts and where the previously mentioned resource system will play a big part. As you’ll be able to build and upgrade your hideout trough the course of the game.

Its looking and sounding great. Seeing as Rockstar seem to have no intention of bringing either the original Red Dead Redemption or its sequel/prequel to the PC – then this game seems the be the closest PC gamers are going to get to a multiplayer wild west game.

More details of the game will be released soon, stay tuned to the official Wild West Online site.

Sources: playwwo.com, pcgamer.com.

Three Maps For State Of Decay 2… And Maybe More Later?

2013s State of Decay from developer Undead Labs was an unexpected hit. To be honest, I was bored of the whole zombie sub-genre of gaming as zombie fatigue began to set in, the undead blighters were everywhere. But it was State of Decay that provided the shot in the arm I needed. A great mix of action, crafting, base management, RPG and open world exploration. The game had its problems in terms of frame-rates and minor bugs – but what was there was an amazing experience to be found.

When Undead Labs officially announced State of Decay 2 last year, the palms of my hands began to sweat in anticipation and I have been eagerly trying to soak up any information on the sequel like a thirsty sponge. It all began with the teaser trailer shown at E3 in 2016.

While Undead Labs have remained tight-lipped on a lot of the details for State of Decay 2, they have been slowly teasing us with concept art and screen shots over the last few months while they are hard at work polishing and perfecting the sequel to one of the best zombie survival games made so far.

But in a recent post on the Undead Labs official blog, the developers have spilt the beans on what we can expect to see in terms of maps for State of Decay 2. If you were expecting a map that could rival the first game – then you are in for a lot more then you bargained for as State of Decay 2 will feature three maps and each of those maps will be (at least) the size of the map from the original game.

We are launching with THREE maps. Each roughly the size of the original. You should expect to see slightly different environments, definitely different landmarks and locations, different layouts lending themselves to different strategies, unique home sites, and even different mission types.

Sounds bloody great. The map of the original was not really the biggest or most detailed open world map ever created, but it was damn good fun to explore as you learned your way around in search of resources to keep your community of survivors alive and even searched for new places to set up a home-base.

But why are we getting three maps in State of Decay 2?

Well, primarily, because it makes the game more fun. It really feels like you’re moving from one small town to another, and creates a tremendous sense of immersion. And perhaps counter-intuitively, it makes the world feel even bigger. You know how on one map (even one three times the size as the original game’s) the longer you play, the more you start feeling deju vu with every mission? That’s less of an issue with separate maps.

If you played the original State of Decay, then you’d know how important scavenging for items and searching for fellow survivors was. So what happens to all of what we have built up in one map if/when we move to another?

The intent is for us to be able to take all of our people, and everything in our supply lockers and rucks. We’ll have all the vehicles parked in our home site parking spaces, along with whatever’s stored in the trunks. We’re also going to get at least a partial refund on what we sunk into building our facilities.

So any and everything you have striven and risked your life for in one map will be carried over to the next one – creating a seamless transition and allowing you to go from map to map without loosing all of your prized possessions or characters you have grown an affinity with.

I also must point out that the blog states they will be ‘launching’ with three maps. So does this mean there will be more than three maps post-launch possibly offered via DLC? This is sounding better and better.

Undead Labs have promised that more details on State of Decay 2 will be revealed in June at E3 this year, including a release date and gameplay footage.

Red Dead Redemption 2 Release Date Leaked?

Quite possibly the biggest game of 2017 is just a few moths away from release. The only problem is, we don’t know exactly when Red Dead Redemption 2 is due to hit shops as developer – Rockstar are infamous for playing their cards close to their chest.

Details of the game are spare to say the least and the interwebs is alight with fans scouring any and every detail they can to find any morsel of small information about the upcoming title. But it may just be that UK based retailer – Base have let a rather large cat out of the bag…

Base are currently taking pre-orders for Red Dead Redemption 2 and have a release date of 26th September. That day is a Tuesday (to save you checking) and Tuesday is normally the day when new releases hit shops. Plus September is in the Fall season, which is the only date revealed up until now via Rockstar themselves. It all adds up.

Rockstar themselves have neither confirmed nor denied that this is the official release date… yet. It could just be a mistake and maybe Base are just taking a wild stab in the dark – or maybe they have accidentally let something slip that they were not supposed to? Is it worth booking a week off work right now or maybe wait until an official announcement?

Red Dead Redemption 2 is set for release 26th September… possibly…

You can watch the teaser trailer for the 157th time below because whenever anyone writes an article on Red Dead Redemption 2, they have to include the same teaser again. Its the law!