There’s no accounting for taste. While some gamers start salivating for cutting edge 3D graphics with the most breathtaking realism, others prefer to let their imaginations fill in the gaps as they explore 2D pixelated worlds. If you’re in the latter camp, Blacknut has a selection of five retro games to bring back some good (or not so good) memories.
It’s hard to talk about retro-gaming without mentioning the Metal Slug series. Initially released on the MVS in 1996, it ignited the imaginations of young gamers who were used to bashing away at arcade machines. Later given a port onto the Neo-Geo, this pure action game brimming with gags and testosterone saw you play as Marco or Tarma (the choice is yours) on a suicide mission where bullets rain down from every direction. Over the course of the game’s six levels, you’ll be tasked with overcoming increasingly powerful terrorists around the world by wiping out every rebel that crosses your path. A mission that’s not as straightforward as it seems given the terrifying horde of enemies that you will face alone, but the going gets much smoother once you get your hands on some weaponry that’s up to the job. In your arsenal: flamethrowers, machine guns, rocket launchers, grenades, laser rifles, and even the famous “SuperVehicle-001”, which is sure to make your enemies rethink their questionable life choices. And for the bravest soldiers: Metal Slug X and Metal Slug 3 can also be found in the Blacknut catalogue!
Double Dragon Trilogy
Mere mention of the name Double Dragon will give some people flashbacks to the stacks of coins gobbled up by the arcade machine. But the tables have turned, because today, all three instalments in the arcade beat’em all series can be found together on the Double Dragon Trilogy that will take you straight back to those smoky ‘80s arcades. The concept, though, remains the same, revolving around street fighting and gratuitous violence. For one or two players, you’ll spend most of your time cleaning the clocks of the street hoods, making good use of your fists and feet, as well as bats, grenades, and generally anything that goes “bang”, that cuts, or otherwise harms your opponents. Whether you’re playing the first, second, or third game, the French studio DotEmu has perfectly conveyed the pixelated heart of the iconic series in a port that is as frantic as ever. But playing with adult eyes (and skills), Double Dragon and Double Dragon 2: The Revenge shouldn’t take you too long to clock. When you reach the third game, Double Dragon: The Rosetta Stone, anyone who hasn’t surrendered can boast that they’ve completed one of the series they never did back in the day. Just goes to show: everything wasn’t necessarily better before!
Baseball Stars 2
Where did you first swing a baseball bat? While American fans could mention just about any place in the United States, European players will probably mention a games arcade and, just maybe, Baseball Stars 2! Despite its cartoony graphics, over-the-top animations and frenetic gameplay, Baseball Stars 2 also has something for tacticians and the true baseball fans out there. For example, the game lets you coordinate your defensive movements while the match is in progress, or view the opposing team’s positions and movements on a little map of the field. That’s handy, especially when you’ve sent the ball to third base yet again, and your batter has just snapped his bat in rage at having swung and missed. But the beauty of baseball lies in being able to turn a game around at any time with a stratospheric homerun. To do so, you’ll need to hit the ball in the right spot at the right time, and give it the right trajectory to end up in the crowd, or even the parking lot. One thing is certain: a little team boogie with the mascot makes all those hours spent training worthwhile!
Have you always dreamed of having your very own dragon and travelling the world on its back?
Well, your dream was made real in 1989, and it’s called Dragon Breed! In this Shoot’em Up developed by the arcade giant Irem and released in arcades in 1990, you play as Kayus, a youngster aged just 15. Armed with a magical crossbow and your dragon of light, Bahamoot, your job is to rid the skies of the henchmen of the King of Darkness, Zambaquous. There’s no point hiding it: there’s a lot of them and they’re all very angry. You’ll often need your invincible Bahamoot to protect yourself from their attacks and to silence the bosses with their tortured, nightmarish appearances. You’ll discover different special powers spread across the game’s six levels, in the form of different coloured power-ups: firing crescents in all directions, devastating lightning bolts, and even hungry clones that feast on your enemies! Of course, you can level up your powers by collecting another orb of the same colour. Making it all the way across this legendary horizontal-scrolling shooter arcade game should then just be a piece of cake!
Released in 1992 on the Irem M-92, R-Type Leo is a spin-off from the iconic arcade series. This shoot’em up with its colourful, detailed environments, was initially developed by Nanao, before Irem added it to the R-Type franchise where it became one of the flagship titles for fans of retro-gaming fans. R Type Leo is set on Eden, where you are at the controls of your trusty R9, a powerful little ship that comes in pink for the girls, and blue for the boys. On this man-made mechanical planet, the central supercomputer named Major seems to have blown a fuse and decided to eradicate all human life from its surface. To resolve this tricky situation, your ship has been specially refitted: gone are the shield module and supercharged shots, giving way to missiles and lasers that bounce at right angles, or that can even be guided and steered! It’s an arsenal that you’ll discover as you advance through the horrors of this ultra-hostile world. Your average gamer might make it to level 4 without breaking into a sweat, but the last two levels are for true professionals. Fortunately for you, you don’t need coins to have another go!