SHORT LIST 3 - October 1996
|BUBBLE BOBBLE COLLECTION
The biggest thing currently happening in the bright future world of video games at the moment is - well, with the possible exception of majorly-hyped Doom sequel Quake - retro gaming. The games (and machines) of the past are getting a new lease of life as the new state-of-the-art consoles devote their time to precisely recreating the primitive thrills of vintage arcade games and wrinkly home computers like the Spectrum. Examples this month include the cute platform larks of the Bubble Bobble Collection, which features the neat but slender original (still fun in two-player mode, though) alongside Rainbow Islands, still one of the mightiest games ever created. The third game in the trilogy (Parasol Stars) is inexplicably omitted, but it wasn't as good as Rainbow Islands anyway.
Acclaim, £tbc, Playstation, Saturn, PC CD-ROM
RETURN OF ARCADE
Microsoft's attempt to jump the bandwagon sees them almost perfectly cloning four classic arcade games (Dig Dug, PacMan, Pole Position and Galaxian), previously seen on the Playstation's Namco Museum series. They aren't quite the absolutely precise copies of the original code seen in the rest of these releases, but they're more than sufficient to stir all the old memories and thrill newcomers.
Microsoft, PC CD-ROM
NAMCO MUSEUM 3
Sony and Namco UK are really dragging their heels over the release of this series of big-in-Japan compilations, featuring some of the biggest arcade hits in history. The Japanese are moving on to Volume 4 while we wait for the official release of Volume 1 nine months later, but in the meantime your friendly local importer will be more than happy to sell you the latest in the line, featuring flawless translations of Galaxian, Dig Dug, Pole Position 2, Ms PacMan, Phoxon and Tower Of Druaga.
Namco, Playstation, import (UK soon)
GRADIUS DELUXE PACK
The seminal shoot-'em-ups of the Nemesis series are also only currently available on import, but hopefully Konami will have the common sense to get their fingers out and sell British gamers this collection of the first two titles. Nemesis was the first game to introduce the idea of selectable power-ups, but the historical significance is the least reason to get yourself a copy of these fantastic blasts.
Konami, Playstation, Saturn, import (UK soon)
WORLD OF RETRO
Want to know more about the wonderful and frightening world of retro gaming? Take a trip to HMV's Level One in London's Oxford Street, where an exhibition will be taking place from October 21 to November 2 as part of HMV's 75th anniversary celebrations. A wide range of vintage games machines will be up and creaking, with panels of experts and veteran coders on hand at a special Retro Open Evening during the exhibition to answer all those questions you've been dying to ask about Miner Willy Meets The Taxman since 1984. At the end of the exhibition there'll be an auction of all the kit in aid of the Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy Trust, at which you can do good for poor unfortunate children while simultaneously adopting a streetwise gangsta stance by claiming to be into "old skool" gaming. Bangin'.