Paradroid – C64

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Little Bit of History: Written by Andrew Braybrook, developed by Graftgold and published by Hewson Consultants. Released in 1985, Paradroid was a very “unusual” but original game for it’s time. A meeting of shoot em’ up and strategy in a Sci-Fi scenario.

Little Bit of Plot/Story: Set on a spaceship overrun with droids, you control a special droid called the “Influence Device” and you must destroy all other droids on the ship. Starting with the low droid number of 001, you can destroy or even take over the other droids. Each droid has it’s own number with higher numbers meaning stronger more difficult droids you can become.

Little Bit of Character: There are no real characters, just hundreds of differing and numbered droids.

Little Bit of Influence: There are plenty of similar styled games available on IOS and Android. Paradroid also spawned variations and different ports on the game like: Paradroid Competition Edition, Heavy Metal Paradroid, Paradroid 90 and Paradroid 2000. Along with several fan made remakes and updates. The original Paradroid on the Commodore 64 is often hailed as one of the best and most original games on the system.

Little Bit of Memories: I have very fond memories of this game as it was something very different for the time. Picking and choosing which droid you should attempt to destroy or take over, having to think before you acted really offered a refreshing change and something original to enjoy.

Little Bit of Playability: It’s a bit clunky and sluggish by today’s standards and some of the other versions and even fan made remakes play smoother. But at it’s core is still a great action/strategic game worth revisiting in any of it’s versions.

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OutRun – Arcade

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Little Bit of History: Designed by SEGA legend Yu Suzuki, developed & published by SEGA and released in 1986. OutRun was a pioneering arcade racer and often remembered as one of the best arcade games ever made.

Little Bit of Plot/Story: No real plot. Just you taking your girlfriend in a Ferrari Testarossa for a high speed drive across some very pretty scenery.

Little Bit of Character: No real characters either as the two occupants of the car have never been named.

Little Bit of Influence: Pretty much any and every modern racing/driving game today. OutRun may not have been the first game of it’s style, but it was the one that laid the foundations for the genre today. OutRun also went on to spawn sequels and spin offs itself as well as the game being ported to pretty much every home console/computer at the time.

Little Bit of Memories: The graphics blew me away at the time and seemed so “realistic”. The speed the game moved at was just as impressive and really gave a great heart pounding, palm sweating experience. The music was also very memorable and even allowed you to choose what musical track you wanted to listen to while racing via an ingame FM radio. Also, I recall that awesome sitdown cabinet that would react to the action on screen.

Little Bit of Playability: Yes, still very playable today and a great arcade classic. Or you could try one of the more modern OutRun games with OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast being a personal favourite. But if you can get a hold of the arcade original I say give it a go while listening to some Magical Sound Shower.

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DOOM – PC

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Little Bit of History: Released in 1993, developed by id Software and published by GT Interactive. DOOM (yes, it’s supposed to be spelt in all caps) was the follow up to id’s Wolfenstein 3D and set the foundations for the FPS genre from that point onwards.

Little Bit of Plot/Story: You play as an unnamed space marine fighting hell spawned demons that are invading the Mars base you have been posted to.

Little Bit of Character: Aside from the unnamed space marine (commonly called “Doomguy” by fans) you would cross paths with various enemies like: Hell-possessed soldiers, Demons, Imps, Cacodemons, Lost Souls and Spectres.
There were also end of episode bosses like: Barons of Hell, a Cyberdemon and a Spiderdemon.

Little Bit of Influence: Well this is DOOM, while not the first FPS, it certainly was the game that made the FPS genre popular with everything released for years after being a “DOOM clone”. Plus DOOM became it’s own franchise with sequels, spin-offs, a board game and even a live action film.

Little Bit of Memories: I still recall the first time I ever saw this game on the PC and how amazed I was. The graphics were like nothing I had seen before and unbelievably bloody and gory. The kick-ass music still resonates with me today. I also recall this game introducing me to the mod community for the first time and being able to play all new levels created by regular players and even all new game modes…Simpsons DOOM anyone? This game was also one of the first I recall that featured online play.

Little Bit of Playability: Still a massively enjoyable game today, with it’s selection of weapons and easy to play style. It’s not a complex game at all, but sure is satisfying as hell. Plus you can download perfect ports on modern day consoles now. I urge anyone to try it out. It’s mindless nonstop shooting action at it’s best.

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Gremlins 2: The New Batch – NES

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Little Bit of History: Released in 1990, an action/platformer developed and published by Sunsoft. Based on the film of the same name. Gremlins 2 was quite an adventurous NES title and pushed the limitations of the console with it’s graphics, impressive cutscenes, audio and overall scope.

Little Bit of Plot/Story: You played as Gizmo in full-on John Rambo mode, armed to the teeth battling your way through several levels based on the building from the movie. Fighting your way to take out all the Gremlins in the Control Room.

Little Bit of Character: As well as the infamous and playable Gizmo. You would cross paths with rats, bats, various evil Gremlins…and giant bouncing tomatoes? Plus appearances in cutscenes from Billy Peltzer and Kate Beringer. Even old man Mr. Wing would appear in the form of a shop where you could buy items and weapons, even though he died in the film.

Little Bit of Influence: Not really many games today that use this style anymore. But there have been other Nintendo Gremlins based games since including: Gremlins Unleashed – Gameboy Color, Gremlins: Stripe vs Gizmo – Gameboy Advance and Gizmo: The Game – Wii.

Little Bit of Memories: While I never had a NES growing up, an old school friend did so I got to play the game occasionally. I still remember those well drawn and animated cutscenes as well as the music, but Sunsoft games on the NES always had great music.

Little Bit of Playability: I don’t know, I can’t find the cartridge (private joke)…
But I’m sure it’ll still be a good way to pass some time today. So: “check it out one time won’t you?”

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The Great Giana Sisters – C64

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Little Bit of History: This title has a very interesting history. In 1987, German developers Time Warp Productions wanted to port Nintendo’s Super Mario Brothers to the Commodore 64. Nintendo would not allow other platforms to use their Mario IP. So Time Warp Productions went on and made the game anyway but changed the main characters. The game was withdrawn from shops by publisher Rainbow Arts at Nintendo’s request, making a boxed copy of the game rare today.

Little Bit of Plot/Story: You play as Giana, who suffers from a nightmare in which she travels through 32 dungeons full of monsters. Collecting ominous diamonds and looking for her sister Maria. If the player completes all 32 dungeons, Giana will be woken from her nightmare by her sister.

Little Bit of Character: Single player has you playing as Giana, whereas an alternating 2 players option as the second player taking control of Maria.
Enemies are not named, but consisted of: owls, deadly insects, flesh eating fish and rolling eyeballs.

Little Bit of Influence: This game did spawn an official sequel called: Hard N’ Heavy, but it was altered to avoid further legal issues with Nintendo. There was even an unofficial sequel called: Giana Sisters II which was a hack of the original. But ironically, despite Nintendo’s disapprovement of the blatant ripping off of their IP Super Mario with the original game. Subsequent official sequels were made like: Giana Sisters DS and Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams both released on Nintendo’s handheld DS system.

Little Bit of Memories: Not having a NES growing up (but a friend did) meant I did not get chance to play Super Mario Brothers that often. So having our very own version, even if it was a rip off, was a welcome addition. I also remember the controversy the game created and it’s removal from sale.

Little Bit of Playability: If you enjoy playing Super Mario Brothers today then you’ll enjoy this game too. It retains that classic Mario style but also does things just a little bit differently to keep you entertained.

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