Tagged "Sega"

Jan 26
By Jake In Retro 2 Comments

A new Micro Machines game was announced earlier this month. To many, Micro Machines means only one thing: local multiplayer.

This new ‘un supports it, sure, but with those futuristic wireless controllers we have these days. It wasn’t like that back in the ’90s. Back in the ’90s they had to be clever, and they could be, because cartridges. So here are six terrifically clever Mega Drive cartridges that you probably remember.


Micro Machines 2 Turbo Tournament J-Cart

This is how Codemasters were clever for Micro Machines 2: Turbo Tournament. The Mega Drive only had two joypad ports, so Codemasters built another two into the cartridge.

That got you to four players, but that wasn’t sufficiently clever. So by shoving one player onto the d-pad, and another onto the buttons on the same pad, you got up eight players. Not impressive compared to online multiplayer these days, but in 1994 we didn’t even have Channel 5 or a carrier bag charge, so expectations were different.

As well as a couple more Micro Machines games, the J-Cart was rolled out for Pete Sampras Tennis and its sequel. It wasn’t the greatest innovation in Pete Sampras Tennis though: that was the opportunity to smash Dizzy into tiny pieces by knocking him off while he walked along the net. I never liked Dizzy.

It was also apparently used for a game called Super Skidmarks. Don’t.

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Mar 08
By Matt Gander In Retro No Comments

Regular readers will know that we have something of a soft spot for the SEGA Game Gear, having penned numerous 8-bit related features over the past couple of years. It’s one of those formats we could talk about all day long and for reasons aplenty.

We aren’t blinkered to the fact that the ageing handheld’s screen quality is atrocious when compared to today’s standards, but we do hold its software library in very high regard. SEGA was seemingly very picky about what games to publish in Europe, and because of this the handheld’s catalogue is rife with hidden gems and import-only titles almost entirely unheard of.


Indeed, Europe really got screwed over when it came to the Game Gear’s release schedule. It’s understandable that publishers would shy away from releasing US sports sims and text-heavy RPGs, but denying the release of comic book tie-ins, arcade conversions and even a few big-name first-party efforts from SEGA Japan is another matter. A good example here is the 1994 racing spin-off Sonic Drift – the sequel was released in Europe under the guise of Sonic Drift Racing in 1995 – but the original never left Japan. Incidentally, and rather lazily, Sonic Drift Racing’s title screen still bared the name Sonic Drift 2.

This feature originally began as a straightforward list of games European Game Gear owners missed out on, but due to sheer number we ended up sorting them by category.

Next time you’re feeling miffed that some little-known RPG is passing western gamers by, just remember that European Game Gear owners didn’t exactly have the pick of the litter.

Arcade conversions


Just like the Mega Drive, the Game Gear’s initial line-up comprised mostly of arcade conversions. The likes of Space Harrier – which was far more than a simple conversion of the Master System version – fared well on the system and were strong sellers. Namco’s Mappy however was never released outside of Japan, with the simple reason being that Namco didn’t publish GG software outside of their home turf.

Out of the nine games Namco released for the format, Galaga ’91 (aka Galaga 2) was the only one picked up for a western release.

Two from Taito escaped European gamer’s clutches also. It’s easy to figure out why Bust-A-Move didn’t make it – when it arrived in 1996 software sales were slowing down drastically in the US and pretty much non-existent in Europe – but as to why 1991’s Chase HQ didn’t make it is a mystery.

Movie tie-ins


Battle hardened gamers will know that the vast majority of ‘80s and ‘90s movie tie-ins were terrible – it was a time when publishers could always bank on licensed software to turn a profit, even if the game itself was an abomination. Say hello to Cutthroat Island, Surf Ninjas, Cliff Hanger, The Last Action Hero and The Lost World: Jurassic Park. At least we got Acclaim’s True Lies tie-in, eh?

Majesco’s re-issue of the long lost Super Battletank notwithstanding, 1997’s The Lost World: Jurassic Park takes the honour of being the Game Gear’s last ever release. If it wasn’t for FIFA 98, it would have been the last European Mega Drive game too.


As mentioned already, by 1996 the Game Gear was fading fast. Clearly, SEGA must have thought that the license was so prestigious that even such a belated release would still generate some cash. Although the ability to play as a dinosaur holds some appeal, both the 8-bit and 16-bit Lost World tie-ins were painfully average.

Surf Ninjas, Cliff Hanger and The Last Action Hero weren’t up to much either, with Cliff Hanger in particular having all the hallmarks of a rush job. Acclaim’s Cutthroat Island – based on one of the biggest flops of all time – isn’t without merit though, borrowing more than a couple of elements from Prince of Persia. It’s one of those rare games that’s actually better than the film on which it’s based.

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Sep 09
By Matt Gander In Blog No Comments

If you’ve been a reader of Games Asylum since the beginning, then you have our sympathy. Those that have been with us the whole time though will know that Games Asylum’s roots go back to a Dreamcast site named DigiApe.

Glamorous it wasn’t, being a mixture of HTML coding errors and sloppy grammar and spelling but what it lacked in looks it made up for in enthusiasm – we honestly thought Sega was onto a winner with the Dreamcast.

It’s with DigiApe that myself, Adam and Jake cut our journalistic teeth, with my first ever review being Mattel’s Championship Surfer. Yeah, that old classic. Jake meanwhile made his debut as a news hound by reporting on Virtua Striker 3. He said that the players had nice looking shins. Adam? We forgot but it was probably something about monkeys.

We were keen to report all news Dreamcast related, right down to writing up the review scores from the likes of DC-UK and the Official Dreamcast Magazine. When Sega ditched the Dreamcast the site became a depressing sight – every other news story was confirmation of an anticipated release being canned – and when new releases became thin on the ground, the multi-format site you see here sprang up in its place.

It goes without saying that the Dreamcast has a special place in our collective hearts, and with today marking 15 years since the system launched in America there is no better time to share our memories of Sega’s dream machine. Except maybe for its 10th birthday, but we missed that.

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Jul 18
By Matt Gander In Retro 1 Comment

Best known nowadays for publishing Cooking Mama and Zumba Fitness, budget game specialist Majesco has been around for far longer than most gamers realise.

Back in the mid-‘90s, when the 16-bit market was entering its twilight years, the company purchased Acclaim’s Mexico-based cartridge manufacturing facility in order to re-release Genesis and SNES titles in the US at bargain prices.

These re-releases are usually frowned upon by collectors as they came in flimsy cardboard boxes rather than hard plastic cases. Manuals were printed in black and white, while the cartridges themselves were mostly formed out of Acclaim’s unsold stock. It wasn’t uncommon to find the Acclaim logo on the reverse of a Majesco re-release, even if the game itself had nothing to do with the now-defunct publisher. Cart labels meanwhile had a cheap matte finish.


The list of games Majesco re-released is a long one – everything from Disney tie-ins to first-party SEGA titles. A few EA games were re-issued too – including Road Rash 2 – coming on standard cartridges, instead of EA’s unique Genesis carts that infamously featured a redundant yellow plastic tab.

It’s fair to say that Majesco had a good idea of what games were worth re-releasing. The hard-to-find Castlevania: Bloodlines and Contra: Hard Corps both gained a re-issue, which probably prompted a degree of rejoicing back in the day.

Slowly but surely, gamers left their Genesis and SNES consoles behind to jump on the 32-bit bandwagon (or 64-bit, as was the case for Nintendo fans). Majesco attempted to give the Genesis a new lease of life by releasing the Genesis 3 in 1998, but the fact that these units are uncommon would suggest their attempt failed. Far smaller than the Genesis 2 – which was also re-issued by Majesco – they aimed to sell 1.5 million units of the drastically re-designed 16-bit system. An optimistic figure, considering the three-way console war between the PSone, Saturn and N64 was currently well underway.

Then in 2001 Majesco made a rather unexpected announcement. They planned not only to re-manufacture the SEGA Game Gear, but also publish new games for it:

“February 21, 2001
EDISON, NJ, February 21, 2001 – Further strengthening its position in the handheld arena, Majesco, Inc., today announced it has acquired rights from Sega Toys to re-manufacture the classic Sega Game Gear portable gaming console. The system will be available at Toys R Us stores and online a twww.toysrus.com and will be value priced at $29.99. Majesco additionally announced plans to support the system by publishing original Game Gear games, also value priced at $14.97.

Originally introduced in 1990, Game Gear features portable gameplay on a full color, hi-resolution 3.2 inch backlit LCD screen. Games display 32 blazing colors for arcade-quality graphics and vivid animation with 4-layer audio and 24k RAM.

Majesco will manufacture and publish 10 games for the Game Gear system. These titles include: Disney’s The Lion King, Aladdin, The Jungle Book, Deep Duck Trouble, Caesars Palace, Super BattleTank, Sonic Chaos, Sonic Spinball, Pac Man, and Ms. Pac Man.”

The mere $29.99 price tag suggests Majesco intended it to be a low-cost alternative to the incredibly popular Game Boy Advance.


In terms of build quality, the Majesco Game Gear was a mixed bag. The screen was brighter and clearer, but as you may be able to tell from our images, the soft plastic lens was prone to scratching. The notably darker plastic casing felt cheap, while the Game Gear’s tri-colour logo was now in monochrome. This does at least make Majesco’s system distinguishable from the original.


Majesco’s model wasn’t compatible with the TV tuner accessory either, while numerous third-party Master System converters reportedly had compatibility issues.

Thankfully Majesco didn’t make the same mistake that SEGA did and use cheap capacitors. Whereas original Game Gear units now often suffer from sound and screen issues due to the capacitors inside dying, Majesco units are still going strong some thirteen years later.

For this reason alone, we would recommend the Majesco Game Gear over SEGA’s own. They can be tricky beasts to track down however – to the average gamer it is no more than your everyday Game Gear, and so they’re usually listed as such on auction sites. The monochrome logo is the sign to look for.

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May 23
By Jake In Mobile Games 1 Comment

Coin pushers: gateway gambling machine, disappointing old-fashioned seaside arcade amusement, or terribly modern entertainment sensation? It’s looking bizarrely like the last of those.

There’s daytime ITV1 quiz show Tipping Point, in which Ben Shephard has an only slightly easier job than Noel Edmonds on Deal Or No Deal in convincing the viewer that there’s appreciable skill involved. There are a baffling number of them available for smartphones and online. And Sega has lumped RPG and collectable elements on top of one for this free to play effort.

Dragon Coins

The collectable elements are monsters, from which you put together a team to take into battle. These monsters are of various elements, they evolve, and come in balls – in short definitely nothing like Pokemon. It’s all perfectly nicely done though, and getting rid of unwanted monsters by fusing them with others is enjoyable in an upcycling sort of way.

The coin pusher-based battles are initially chaotic affairs, with as much skill involved as you might imagine. Your monsters line up along the bottom of the screen, and as coins fall into their slots, they attack. They also earn special moves, such as speeding up the pusher or showering coins on the stage. You drop coins onto the pusher, limited only by the fact that each enemy has a countdown, and after you’ve dropped that many coins, they attack. This doesn’t tend to happen much at the start though, as combos and defeated enemies make coins spew all over the stage, keeping itself going like a madly coloured perpetual motion machine.

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Sega, Akihabara
Apr 26
By Jake In Street Viewtiful 2 Comments

Let’s go to Japan! Not literally of course, the last minute flights would be cripplingly expensive.

But it has been a while since Street Viewtiful – our regular jaunt around the world of games via the medium of Google Street View – went to Japan. For many it’s the spiritual home of the video game, not to mention the spiritual home of crazy – so there must be plenty of sights to choose from, right?

Not so much when it comes to games companies, because Japan is also the spiritual home of conservative corporate culture. Step forward Capcom, with their staggeringly anonymous Osaka HQ. Namco Bandai‘s big trapezoidal Tokyo building is a little more fun.

But let’s focus on Sega, and their Japanese HQ, also in Tokyo.

View Larger Map

Not the most exciting of buildings in and of itself, but observe how the Sega logo on a building over the road is reflected in the shiny exterior. It’s that sort of detail that makes you glad to be alive.

Thanks, Sega.

Rollcage tyre
Mar 22
By Jake In Retro No Comments

Everyone loves something for nothing, so when some freeness is offered as a bonus for pre-ordering, or dished out at a games show, you’re not going to turn it down, are you? But you’re also not going to use it, are you? Let’s see what tat’s been languishing in a box in the attic for the last decade or two.

Yoshi’s Island soundtrack CD

Yoshi's Island OST

Ah, the soundtrack CD, a classic freebie – and still a common sight, even in these digital days. Sounds like a nice idea, but there aren’t many games that have music you’d want to listen to alone – mainly because that’s not what it’s for.

Yoshi’s Island is a case in point. It’s an incredibly (others might say insufferably) cute game, and the music is no different. The title, Love, Peace & Happiness, doesn’t exactly try to hide it.

The joy is almost deafening, and you’d struggle not to raise a smile when it first hits you. It’s another matter after that same tune has been recycled repeatedly in slightly varying musical styles. It must be tiring to be that happy all the time – it certainly is listening to it.

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Feb 13
By Matt Gander In Retro 4 Comments

Just in case you’ve been in cryogenic sleep since 1992, Alien 3 is the one where there was only one Xenomorph and not a great deal happened. The movie had a very difficult production and at one point was even being filmed without a finished script. This ultimately led it to it receiving very mixed reviews from ‘90s film critics and no doubt much anger from fans in AOL chat rooms.

Even the dedicated Alien diehards find this movie hard to bond with as aside from Ripley and the prison’s doctor there were very few characters worthy of concern. The majority of those being mauled to death were prisoners and I think it’s safe to assume that they weren’t banged up for petty crimes like inappropriate use of a Power Loader.

It is at least a very different movie from 1986’s Aliens. Due to the prison setting the only weapons on hand were fire axes and so Ripley and her cohorts spent most of the film trying to lure the Alien into various traps.

Unsurprisingly, massive liberties were taken with the various Alien 3 videogames. Let’s take a look, shall we?

Alien 3 (1992)Mega Drive, Master System, Game Gear, Amiga, C64

As Probe’s Alien 3 game was released on no less than five formats, it’s likely to be the one that most people are familiar with.


Reviews were very positive for a movie tie-in, and rightly so – it was a genuinely good game. The brilliant fast paced music helped to induce a sense of panic, as Ripley tried to rescue prisoners from the maze-like levels before the time-limit ran out. Right from the start three different weapons were available, instantly giving something to experiment with. The grenade launcher would destroy aliens with one hit, but as ammo was limited it was wiser to save it for the harder sections and make do with the pulse rife and flame-thrower to get through the easier bits.


Controls were responsive, although it was quite easy to fall off ledges and moving platforms, plunging Ripley to her doom. Fail to rescue the prisoners and chest busters would put an end to them. You did however get to see where the prisoners were when this happened, thus giving a better chance of finding them second time round. Boss battles also helped to add a bit of variety, appearing every four levels or so.

Probe did a very decent job with the 8-bit Sega versions. Although the sprites were a lot smaller it retained the look and feel of the 16-bit iterations. We can’t quite say the same about the NES version though…

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