Retro-Bit Generations: Part 1

So last year Nintendo released the NES Classic Edition, a console with 30 NES games packed into it.  I was pretty bummed when I wasn’t able to get one, but it sounds like a lot of other folks weren’t able to get it either.  I really hope I can get the SNES Classic Edition that they announced would be coming out this year, but I’d better not get my hopes up.  Personally, I think how Nintendo handled the NES Classic Edition is one of their biggest mistakes they’ve made.  Well, maybe not as big as the Virtual Boy or having the N64 be cartridge only.  So out of frustration, earlier this year I bought an off brand retro console called Retro-Bit Generations.  Why?  Because it had a lot of games on it that interested me more than what was on the NES Classic Edition, like Kickle Cubicle, Captain Commando, etc.  What can I say?  I’ve always liked the weird non-mainstream stuff.  So all this week we’re going to take a look at the console and the games on it.  This thing has over 100 games on it, so yeah, it’ll take us five days to go through it all.  So let’s begin!

So how is the console itself?  Well, the main part can fit in the palm of your hand.  It’s easy to hook up to a TV and has one button for power.  It comes with two controllers with the longest cords I’ve ever seen, which is good I guess.  The in-game menus to select titles lets you save your progress and toggle options, so that’s nice, too.  The emulation for these games seems to be almost spot on, which is good because when I got the Genesis Flashback console, the music was messed up on all the games.  But I say the emulation is almost spot on because on the Capcom NES titles on this thing, they don’t play all the music, just the bass line.  Which is weird since all other NES titles from other companies work just fine.  The only other main problem I have with the game is the controllers.  Some have said they have a delay to them, but I think what the problem is, is that you have to mash the button hard and square in the middle to activate it.  It works fine for games where you don’t have to push buttons much, but for shooters, it’s darn near impossible to play.  It’s a shame, too, because if I could get some good controllers that would work on this thing, it would be a halfway decent little console.  Anyway, let’s start looking at all the games on this thing.

10-Yard Fight

This is an early NES football game, and I think it was in arcades, too.  It was made by Irem and was one of the early ‘black box’ NES games.  I’ve never been a big fan of video football games, but I found this one pretty easy to understand.  I could do pretty well on offense, as long as I did running plays.  But I was horrible on defense!

1942

I’ve always appreciated the simplicity of the arcade game, but the NES version I found horrible.  Unfortunately, the NES version is what’s on here.

1943

But on the contrary, 1943 is one of my favorite shooters even to this day.  And I think the NES version is pretty good, too.  It’s such a shame that the emulation on Capcom games on this console cuts out the music other than the bass line, because the music in this one is very memorable.

2048

Some of the games on here aren’t classics, but new games that look like they were bootlegs using NES and SNES hardware, mostly from a company called Piko Interactive.  Most of these games aren’t very good, but this one is an exception, as it’s actually kind of fun.  It’s a puzzle game where you slide boxes around by using the d-pad.  Each box has a number on it, and if you can match boxes, they’ll add up and turn into a box with a new number on it.  If you slide boxes around without matching, they’ll add a new box to the field, and if the field is full and you can’t make any more matches, the game is over.  This looks like it could be a fun little mobile game (and I bet it is, too).  But I actually enjoyed this simple little puzzler.

Alfred Chicken NES, GB, and SNES

This is a 2-D platformer starring a cartoon chicken.  I rented the game on the SNES (called Super Alfred Chicken) back in the day and didn’t find it very fun.  Interestingly enough, the NES and GB versions are a bit more playable (the GB version lacks color and is zoomed a bit closer to the characters due to the lower resolution).  But none of the three games are that great.

Arguna

Another Piko Interactive original.  You must escape from a top down viewed dungeon maze filled with monsters.  The action plays like a Zelda game, as you defeat slimes and goblins with swords and bows and arrows.  Hit detection is terrible, though.

Apocalypse II

In this space shooter, rocky planetoids grow and hone in on you, so it’s nearly impossible to last more than a few seconds.  I don’t know what Apocalypse 1 was like!

Argus

It’s a vertically scrolling shooter on the NES where you can shoot air targets and bomb ground ones like Xevious, but this one isn’t very good.

Astrohawk

It’s an Asteroids clone but everything moves super fast so it’s impossible to not get hit.  You can pick all sorts of power-ups, though, like shields and three way shots.

Astyanax

In the NES version, you play as a teenager who has been sent to another world to save a princess, and automatically gets armor and an ax.  The intro is very anime-ish.  I think there was an arcade game, too, but was unrelated to this game.  There are so many enemies flying around in this NES game that there is so much flicker and it’s hard to tell when you can attack and jump.

Avenging Spirit

This is a Game Boy game from Jaleco and I think it’s considered a hidden gem and was even on Virtual Console.  You are a ghost and can possess people to get through 2-D sidescrolling platform stages.  You can possess guys with guns, ladies who can jump high and use whips, and even fire breathing dragons!  It’s a somewhat fun little idea.

Banishing Racer

For having such a menacing title, this is actually a cutesy little platformer.  You are a car with eyes and are dying in a junkyard, when a fairy comes and brings you back to life.  So now you must drive left to right and jump over trucks with googly eyes.  I think I’d like this game better if it wasn’t one of those ‘get hit once and you die’ kind of games.

Bases Loaded 1 & 2 (NES), and Bases Loaded GB

Bases Loaded was a series of popular baseball games from Jaleco.  I’m not a big fan of baseball, but I’ve actually found many baseball video games quite fun.  I remember playing a Bases Loaded game on the NES at a friend’s house and enjoying it.  I love how the two NES games on this console try to look all realistic and the GB one has cute, squatty characters!

Bashi Bazook: Morphoid Masher

I don’t remember this game on the NES, but it seemed like a pretty ambitious project from Jaleco.  It’s a 2-D platformer where you jump and use your sword against mutants and explore maze caves and enter doors to talk to people.  The thing I didn’t like about this game was jumping was horrible.

Battle Squadron

Another Piko game, it’s a 16-bit vertically scrolling shooter with sprites so big it’s hard to avoid anything.

Battle Unit Zeoth

In this horizontally scrolling shooter on Game Boy, you play as a mech.  But you can’t fly.  Instead, you jump really high and can press the button to boost, like how you do in Balloon Fight or Joust.  I just hate it when they make the difficulty of a game higher by futzing with the controls.

Big Run

This 16-bit racing game from Jaleco plays like Rad Racer, except not as good.  And Rad Racer wasn’t that great of a game to begin with.

Bionic Commando

My friend and I rented this game as kids, took turns playing the stages, and beat it.  I don’t know how we did that, though, because I played this game recently and it was HARD!

Rival Turf, Brawl Brothers, and Rushing Beat Shura

In the US, this group of side scrolling SNES beat ‘em ups were packaged as unrelated games, but in Japan, they were part of the same series called Rushing Beat.  Rival Turf let you pick from two characters, but the game wasn’t very good.  I love the box art for Rival Turf, as it shows two snot nosed kids trying to look all tough.  Brawl Brothers let you choose from five characters, and was a bit more playable.  But it still had annoying maze-like sections.  I love how the playable female character has a button that just makes her flex her muscles.  The final game in the series from Jaleco was called The Peace Keepers in the US, but here we get the Japan version called Rushing Beat Shura.  It only has four characters to choose from, but it’s the most playable game of the three.

And that’s all for now.  Stay tuned tomorrow for another batch of games on this console.  –Cary

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