Category Archives: Reviews

Seikima II: Akuma no Gyakushuu

Reviews
Seikima II - Title Screen
Hardware: Famicom
12/25/1986 (Japan)
聖飢魔II 悪魔の逆襲
Seikima II: The Demons' Counterattack
One of the earliest examples of a licensed game based around a Japanese band or musician is Seikima II: Akuma no Gyakushuu. Now this isn't part two of a game called "Seikima", the band itself is called "Seikima II". The intended pronunciation is "seikimatsu", which means "end of the century". The kanji used in the band's name as the ones in that word, but rather those for "holy", "starve", and "demon". This is all short for the phrase 聖なる物に飢えている悪魔がII(ふたた)び蘇る (seinaru mono ni ueteiru akuma ga futatabi yomigaeru), or "Demons starving for that which is holy are resurrected once again". Continue Reading

8 and 16 Bit Rhythm Land

Reviews
Rhythm Land - Take A Break
Hardware: Famicom, Mega Drive
02/21/2019 (Japan)
8ビットリズムランド/16ビットリズムランド
Columbus Circle has been responsible for both brand new and revivals of unreleased and out of print software titles on the Famicom and Super Famicom for a little while now. The Rhythm Land series of games marks their entry into the world of brand new Mega Drive releases, which is something that the console has not seen in a very long time (if you're not counting home-brew stuff). Rhythm Land are retro rhythm games released in two distinct versions: 8 Bit Rhythm Land and 16 Bit Rhythm Land. The first for the Famicom, the second for the Mega Drive. Continue Reading

Dracula Densetsu

Reviews
Dracula Densetsu - Title Screen
Hardware: Game Boy
10/27/1989 (Japan), 12/15/1989 (US), 09/28/1990 (EU)
ドラキュラ伝説
The Legend of Dracula
Castlevania: The Adventure
Support from Konami of Nintendo's handheld Game Boy console came quickly, and with titles from recognizable franchises early on. Castlevania was the first of such franchises, releasing right around six months after the platform itself.  Being the first real mainstream portable system, the early days of the Game Boy were a bit of a wild west. A lot of the releases tended to not be optimized for portable game play in one way or another. Castlevania: The Adventure/Dracula Densetsu didn't necessarily have that problem so much as it seemed to have been designed by people who didn't really understand what qualities made the previous Castlevania games good. Or at the very least, their appetite for trying something new and different with the series was just a little too great. Continue Reading

Akumajou Dracula

Reviews
Haunted Castle - Title Screen
Hardware: Arcade
02/1988 (Japan), 09/1988 (US), 11/1988 (EU)
悪魔城ドラキュラ
Devil's Castle Dracula
Haunted Castle
The era in which a popular game franchise practically had to have an arcade installment was coming to a close in 1988, but it wasn't over yet. It still was common for a game to establish itself as a hit in the arcade, and then have either a compromised or completely different game appear as the home console port. Castlevania/Akumajou Dracula was one of most notable exceptions that wasn't developed by Nintendo, having already had two successful entries on the NES/Famicom Disk System. That was apparently the magic number to make someone at Konami think that it was about time for an arcade game. Alright, fine...technically the first arcade Castlevania game was VS. Castlevania, which was released in American arcades in 1987. I'm not going to count that though, simply because it was just Konami test marketing NES games (there were other Konami VS. arcade games as well) in arcades before the home versions were released. It was the NES Castlevania game inside of an arcade cabinet, with some adjustments to make the game more difficult so that it could take as much of your money as possible. Continue Reading

Juuouki

Reviews
Altered Beast - Title Screen
Hardware: Arcade
06/1988 (Japan), 08/1988 (US)
獣王記
Chronicle of The Beast King
Altered Beast
While Altered Beast is not Sega's entry in the beat-em-up genre (that honor goes to the Master System/Mark III Hokuto no Ken/Fist of the Northstar game), it is the first entry into the genre for them using an original property. Sega was already known for their high quality arcade games (at least on average) at this point, but they were entering into a genre that had some real heavy hitters in recent years (most notably Nekketsu Kouha Kunio kun/Renegade and Double Dragon, both from Technos Japan). Would Altered Beast innovate in the brawler genre the same way Sega had innovated with some of their other arcade games? Continue Reading
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