Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Games from my childhood

I still treasure the moment I saw the first PC enter my house.

I don't remember if it was a 286 or already a 386. I remember it was around '89/'90 so it would make me...a 3/4 year old kid.

It was a strange machine that could do so much more than my TV!

Besides being able to write my first letter to Santa on the PC I could also start playing games!

I only got my first console a couple of years later so my first contact with videogames were the PC...with MS-DOS.

That mighty OS!

First I've played in black and white. Then it was zooming from EGA to VGA in a blink of an eye.

But as mighty as the OS was the most stupid button ever invented and put on a PC: the TURBO button.

At first you could actually noticed the difference between having the button pressed or not. But then it meant nothing.

It was when I got my 486. And then upgraded to 486 DX. And then to 486 DX2!!!!!

The the Pentium PCs came and all truly changed.

But before these last changes I've played a lot. Simples games, more complex games, huge games, short games...But they always fit on a disk.

We could put a couple or more games into a disk. Then we started needing 2 or 3 disks for a single game...when I knew I was playing The Lion King that came on 9 ARJ compressed disks!

After that there was the CD.

But, like I was saying, before all this there were such games. Games we could no longer play in our current PCs but the Internet is a world and it can go retro.

And if back then I didn't even dream about the Internet, it is the Internet today that allows me to re-descover my so loved MS-DOS games.

Software Library: MS-DOS Games

I'm still starting to scroll the site and I already noticed a couple of games that I've played and were quite the hit back then.

So lets see if I manage a playlist from the side, containing games I've played:

(with no specific order, but the scroll-down)
  • Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade (my version was in spanish and I had 4 pages 'book' with hidden codes that you had to use a special red lens in order to read the code and input it at the beginning of the game. It was the security back then...)
  • Golden Axe
  • Bouncing Babies (I don't remember the game being that fast! I cannot play it in the browser now because of that...I cannot even see the baby!)
  • Alley Cat (my favourite level was the cheese!)
  • Lotus - The Ultimate Challenge (I've played this so much! It made me fall in love with the Lotus cards)
  • Wolfenstein 3D
  • Arkanoid
  • Jazz Jackrabbit
  • European Championship 1992 (if you through the ball outside enough times a naked woman would run through the field with a dumb cop after her)
  • Duke 3D Mania
  • The Lion King (the one I mention before)
  • Jazz Jackrabbit - Holiday Hare 1995
  • Hocus Pocus
  • Arcade Volleyball (my first 2-player game!)
  • Chinese Checkers
  • Xmas Lemmings
  • Brix
  • ...

And after these few I got tired of scrolling. It seems you can scroll into infinity meaning there are almost much of that MS-DOS games!

If you were a kid/teen back then or if you were not even born yet, you must go to the site and play the games. Those were the games were the gameplay was the main point and not the graphics. That's why they are so dear to whom played them.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Breath of Fire IV - PS1

I've played this game for around 6 months, I think, and it was such a terrific experience that I'm still thinking about it.

As you can see I as lucky enough to grab this beauty for PS1, not a Platinum version (which I don't know if it exists), but like the others I played it in my PS2.

I have this love for JRPG that transcends me!

I did a first attempt at playing the game back at early 2000s around when the game came out, I think in 2001. It was not cheap! But then I bought others and forget about it...But it was always at the back of my mind that I should play it until the very end!

And so I did it a couple of years ago (it's always confusing making years math at the beginning of a new year). And what an experience it was!

As you can read on the back besides the enhancements for the gameplay and graphics the story is as common as it can be.

But the magic about the Japanese RPGs is that they always manage to turn each story unique.

Our main character is Ryu, whom we find in a crater...all naked. The Princess (damsel in distress...or not) rescues him and brings him along in the search for her older sister who was kidnapped.

And so the story goes.

If you know the BoF series you know the main character can always turn into a dragon. And there are more dragons.

Besides Ryu and Princess Nina we also meet Cray, who defends the Princess and her sister (whom he's in love with), Ershin who is like an armor that speaks kind of fun (she's the Yoda in the troop) but seems to have some one inside, Scias the talking ninja-dog who remains silent most of the time, Ursula that works for the military in search for Ryu but in the end she turns to our friends side, and finally, Fou-Lu that is the other half of Ryu. They are like a unique soul scattered into two bodies.

One thing during the game is that will be able, as Ryu, to transform into dragons spirits that you will meet during the game.

You can play as any character because you see max 3 people of your party and sometimes you must have some specific character on the front to be able to perform some actions. You can re-arrage all of this in the menu all the time (while not in combat mode).

About the combats. They are in turns, not real-time but it's not strategical like other JRPGs. But if it's in turns of course you have some kind of strategy associated to it. Like choosing the characters to put on the front and the others to put on the back and when to heal other character or call some dragon to help you in the battle.

About the graphics is your common PS1 3D graphics where you can use your R/L buttons to turn the camera 360 (in 4 turns) and you see each zone as individual from the others but there is no long or eternal 'loading' screens between the areas.

The scenarios are not that rich as the FF IX's but they are quite good and I must say that the characters design and graphics are better then FF IX ones.

Everytime you exit some city or specific area you see the world map view and you can travel between the points you already visited.

But you have to pay attention to some '?' marks that appear in the middle of the ride that can guide you to specific zones to find new items or even get items or doing something needed to get the story going.

Other thing common in BoF games are the fishing spots (which are needed to get something done to get the story going too!) and are good to take some time off the battles and just relax while playing the mini-game to get the fish. You have like a collection of fishes to collect that you can only fish in specific spots.

The story has some highs and some lows. You get to play it from the Fou-Lu perspective and you get to understand he's not that of a bad guy.
And I must say I almost lost it when 'something' happens to Ershin... that moment made me love the game! Or, of course, when you get to Princess Nina sister and...I will not spoil it to you all, but if what happen to Ershin did touch my heart this moment was near it.

I also have the Breath of Fire III for PSP, which I got way later than the IV (don't ask why because I don't know too...PSP was way after PS1), but I have yet to play it. But I hope it is so good or even better than this.

I treasure each moment I played this game. Is one of those that you love for it all, not for some parts.