Summer for me equals with retro-gaming. In fact, all year round I try to find excuses to squeeze in some retro-gaming in my life. This year I played quite a awful lot of games made for a system I never owned, a home console that if not for Nintendo's very strict third party control in the US, might have had a different impact in the western industry. Of course I am referring to Hudson Soft's // NEC love child: The PC Engine.
I would have remained oblivious to this machine existence if not for Computer & Video Games magazine regular coverage on both HuCard and PC Engine CD titles released in Japan and America. It was only back in 2007 with the arrival of Wii and it's virtual console service I would begin discovering shmup gems like my very first PC Engine game "Super Star Soldier" along with amazing Hudson Soft classics that I had played in other machines. But what strikes me most is the amazing quality of arcade conversions. Side by side with the humble Famicom / NES, the PC Engine was delivering nearly perfect arcade ports a home as far back as 1987, the year it was released on the Japanese market. Most of these titles never made outside of Japan and that is a really big shame, there are tons of Taito, Sega, Capcom, Namco and other big name third party titles that remain accessible to Japanese owners only.
A PC Engine inside a PC? PCEnception! *insert Inception horn here*
Breaking the rules of Games of Summer 2014, I will today focus on several of the games I played while on vacation instead of a single one. Push"Run" Button!
Bonk's Adventure is the system's very own Super Mario Bros or Sonic the Hedgehog. Hudson's delivered stunning platform adventures with a very unique and likeable pre-historic hero. Even today it remains super fun to play.
Ninja Spirit remains one of my all time favourite ninja themed games and this stunning home conversion puts every other version of the game I played to shame. They just don't make them like this any more. Well done, Irem!
R-Type demonstrates exactly why the PC Engine is shmup heaven. Unlike in Japan, the American release was done in a single HuCard which means all eight original arcade levels are present and accurately accounted. Once again, well done Irem.
" Take the power into your own hands!" was the misguided message Irem sent kids back in the day with Vigilante, another excellent arcade home port. This game is the sequel to Kung-Fu Master. Take a look at that game on NES and compare them side by side with this on PC Engine. Wow, just wow...
The first entry of the Splatterhouse trilogy began in the arcades and made it's way home on the PC Engine. Sadly the American version has several cases of censorship, but Namco's gore fest remains an extremely fun horror ride.
Neutopia and it's sequel are Legend of Zelda clones with 16 bit graphics and sound. Could I possibly recommend this one any clearer?
What's that? Arcade accurate Raiden to play at home? Yes please!
Can't have a PC Engine arTAYcle without some sort of Bombermam!
Soldier Blade remains my favourite game in the series. It is so good it hurts. In fact, I think I will go replay it after I finish this text.
The titles above are just a tiny scratch on the surface. This system has amazing games to discover, even more so if you add PC Engine CD and Japanese releases to the list. Maybe you were one of the lucky American gamers who still has one of these packed in the attic. Picking up one of these whenever I get to go to Japan is one of my life goals. I just love everything about this system, possibly because of my so very late discovery of it's wonders. By the first week of vacation alone I had over fifty videos game videos showing off PC Engine gameplay, feel free to discover those on this handy playlist right here. And remember: Most of these are easy to find on Wii Virtual Console!
Would I buy It today for Wii U?
No. Wait, let me explain! I already own a huge amount of these titles on my Wii, I decided not to import the contents of my Wii to my Wii U, I kept it assembled and I still play with it often. As such, I don't need to have them on Wii U, but I admit it must be nice to play these on the Gamepad.
I miss Hudson Soft a lot... Catch you on the bounce! ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ
Previously on Games of Summer 2014: Old friends in new clothes.
Next time on Games of Summer 2014: Inventory management is the true horror.