Review – Ziggurat (PC) Awesome Old School Fantasy FPS

Fantastic news for those of you whom, like myself, adore the classic old school first person shooters of yesteryear. None of this Call of Modern Halo Fighter 4 bullshit for me thanks. I want fast paced, satisfying action, not tedious, po-faced military shooters filled with lengthy cutscenes and constant Q.T.Es. Games such as Doom 2, Duke Nukem 3D, Quake 1 – 3 and Half-Life are still yet to be bettered and play exceptionally well many years after their original release. It’s no wonder all of those titles are still supported by talented modders, with a wealth of exciting and original content to spice up the solid mechanics and gameplay provided in the original titles. Many indie developers have tried to recreate these classic games, but always fail – seeming to miss out the vital ingredients that made the games they are trying to emulate so special. This could be down to poor level or character design, weedy guns that provide zero satisfaction, boring environments to explore, or the addition of unnecessary gimmicks. BothWrack and Rogue Shooter are recent examples of how not to pay tribute to the classic FPS, and now we have Ziggurat to show us that a decent indie old school FPS is indeed possible.

This time, the inspiration is not Doom nor Quake, but slightly lesser known title Heretic and its sequel Hexen. These games were published by Id Software, but were actually developed by Black Raven with assistance from John Romero himself. Heretic and Hexen both threw out the sci-fi horror setting, replacing it with a fantasy world featuring magical weaponry and spells. This is what Ziggurat has clearly been inspired by, as its frantic pace and no-nonsense blasting action using magical projectile weapons is pure Heretic. The first thing you notice are the incredibly beautiful visuals. So much so, that the wheezing cadaver I call my PC nearly had a nervous breakdown when I played it and I had to reduce the graphical settings. If you are the owner of a decent PC gaming system then you are in for a treat. The dungeons look great, the lighting is mesmerising and the amount of detail on everything, from the enemies, weapons and projectiles, to background items such as skeletons and glowing mushrooms is astounding.

Ziggurat also uses the popular roguelike elements seen in… well, pretty much every indie game of late. Each time you start a new game the levels are procedurally generated resulting in a fairly new experience each time. Each floor is connected by a series of rooms, and it’s up to you to locate the spell book, then find the room which houses the floor guardian. Along your way you will encounter different types of rooms. Some contain scrolls which provide some amusing anecdote, some magic chests that offer extra mana or weapons and some that are filled with traps such as spikes or fiery pits. Mostly though, they are filled with enemies, named minions. Once you enter the room, the doors lock behind you and the minions’ energy bar appears at the top of the screen. You must then fight for survival, laying waste to any of the hideous (and often rather humorous) creatures that appear. As you destroy them the minions bar depletes and once empty the room is cleared and you can continue on your quest – they also drop XP, ammo and health for you to collect as they die. It’s simple stuff, certainly, and many of the rooms repeat as you play through, but it never becomes too repetitive thanks to the exciting and fast paced combat that sees you strafing around the screen, firing your magical projectiles at a plethora of ground and air based foes. It really keeps you on your toes, and it is always with a sigh of relief and sense of satisfaction that you defeat the last foe and reopen the doors.

Like any other roguelike game, death is permanent and requires starting from scratch. Initially this seems brutal and progress is slow. But once you begin to hit the kill targets for unlocking new characters and weapons, as well as obtaining perks that can be used in your next playthrough, things become slightly more forgiving. Once this happens you will be hooked and will continue coming back again and again to try to beat that last boss who killed you before you could see what the next floor had in store for you. You will become more accustomed to the enemies attack patterns and behaviour and you will soon be whizzing through the levels, jumping over traps and mowing down minions left right and centre. The addition of levelling up  and choosing new perks during the game in order to boost your chances of survival is a welcome one, made even better by the vast amount of perks you can choose from, new ones of which are unlocked as your hit monster kill tallies.

Ziggurat certainly doesn’t feature the same single-player structure as the games that inspired it – there are no intricate levels to explore and switches to pull to open new paths here. This may disappoint fans of Heretic and Hexen who wanted something similar to those great games and, to some extent, I include myself in that category. But I found myself enjoying Ziggurat too much to worry about what it could have been, instead focusing on enjoying what it is – a fantastically retro FPS that is heaps of fun to play, extremely challenging yet rewarding and wonderful to look at. The only chink in its armour is the length of the game. After several days of being defeated by the third floor guardian I made it to the fourth floor. I was disappointed to see that the stages still all looked very similar as I was hoping to see some outdoor stages, maybe a huge library, a clock tower, anything really. The disappointment was magnified tenfold when I got to the fifth floor and was informed it was the final stage. Only five floors? This seemed pretty tight-fisted to me. Sure, the game is hard and it took me several days casual play to reach the final stage, but I was left yearning for far more content. After a recent update there is a now a Game+ mode, unlocked upon completion of the game, which adds a sixth floor and increases the difficulty substantially. This should keep the hardcore occupied for a while longer.

Despite its short length and lack of variety in the levels, Ziggurat is the most complete and solid ‘early access’ game I have played so far, and wouldn’t have been surprised if this was sold as the finished article. But with the potential for further updates and improvements, this game can only get better. If you yearn for the classic days of 1990’s first person shooters then you will love Ziggurat and I urge you to head over to Steam and splash out on it as soon as possible. You won’t regret it!

For reviews on popular titles we recommend PC Invasion.

For PC gaming equipment like gaming chairs and peripherals we recommend High Ground Gaming. For game purchases we recommend GOG.

*Ziggurat is constantly in development and receives regular updates that refine the gameplay, tweak the visuals and add new content. This review is accurate as of 21st September 2014. I will bring you news of any major updates in future posts.

E3 2015 Armello Kickstarter fantasy board game New Playable Character Brun Oakbreaker – PC Mac PS4

With the release of the Armello Teaser Trailer for PS4, League of Geeks is unveiling the game’s complete visual upgrade scheduled to hit PS4, PC, Mac and Linux at launch this september. Even with Armello already lauded for its visual achievements, numerous graphical improvements are being made, including volumetric cloud and weather effects, an overhaul of lighting and shaders, high detail character models and an entire remodeling of the environment.

At launch League of Geeks will also double the amount of playable characters currently available in Early Access, increasing the number from four to eight. The male bear clan hero, ‘Brun Oakbreaker’, highlighted in the assets released today, is the first upcoming character to be revealed. Brun will be playable for the first time at E3 in room 515a in the West Hall.

Set in a vibrant magical world with a tinge of darkness, Armello thrusts players into a Game of Thrones-esque struggle for power in epic single or multiplayer action. Players take on the role of a ‘Hero’ from one of the four animal clans and navigate their character across the procedurally generated board as they quest, scheme, explore, vanquish monsters, perform the Mad King’s royal edicts and face off against other players, with one ultimate goal in mind – storming the palace and becoming King or Queen of Armello.

Players start in their clan grounds and traverse the board with a set number of action points for each turn to spend on moving their character from tile to tile. Each tile presents different consequences including exploring a dungeon, gaining or losing health, claiming a settlement for your own or granting stealth. With more than 100 beautifully animated and illustrated cards, players can cast spells, recruit followers, uncover ancient treasures and execute treacherous plots as they quest for the throne!

There are four ways to win in Armello.

1. Combat – Slaying the king and surviving the confrontation

2. Prestige Victory – Having the most Prestige when the King dies, whether from his afflictions (the King loses health every dawn) or dying in combat with the attacking player also not surviving the battle.

Prestige is gained by completing heroic deeds such as killing other players, vanquishing banes or completing quests

3. Spirit Stone Collection – magical Spirit Stones can be found throughout Armello. If a player collects four, they can use them to assist the King in passing in peace, restoring balance to Armello

4. Rot Victory – players who defeat the King in combat whilst having more Rot than him (and live to tell the tale) will win the game and shroud Armello in darkness.

The Different Kinds of Online Games

Online gaming has grown very rapidly in popularity. Some of the first games to hit the Internet came about in the 1990s. Many of these games were text-based games that allowed players to navigate different scenarios created by other individuals. In fact, these games were pretty much just continuations of the real world role-playing games (RPGs), such as Dungeons and Dragons. In these games, one person would assume the role of game creator. The game creator would set up certain scenarios and populate the world with various monsters. These monsters would have set skill levels and attacks. The players would encounter these monsters and have to fight against them using a series of techniques and attacks. If the player had enough life points, the player survives. These moved to the Internet in pretty much the same form. They began to shift a lot after that, though. The games have differences and similarities along a few common lines.

Pay

How one pays for a game is a big aspect of what changes or stays the same in certain video games. Pay structures fall into three different forms: free, free-to-play, and pay-to-play. Free games are those that are completely free. Usually, you need an Internet connection, but the game does not require that you give any money for anything. This is a structure that is very popular for the most simplistic games. Flash-based games are typically free. They are games that do not require much upkeep on the part of developers, so, users do not need to pay anybody for maintenance. These games are typically not maintained or updated; therefore, it is uncommon for a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) to be completely free, since they require large amounts of upkeep.

The second kind of structure is free-to-play; this is one of the most common and most popular. Free-to-play is, as the name implies, free for a player to join. Typically, that player is allowed to play the game with most of its features; however, certain features are behind a paywall. Usually, the player has to pay real money for certain weapons, equipment, or character customisations. These are called micro transactions, because they are such small transactions of money. They are how most of these games fund themselves. In certain games, such as Dust 514, the micro transactions unlock equipment that would have been unlocked later anyway. So, the real money micro transactions give distinct advantages to players willing to pay real money.

The final pay structure is the simple pay-to-play structure. This can be accomplished by a one-time fee that the player pays to purchase the game; Guild Wars is an example of this. Or, it can be a monthly fee as with World of Warcraft. Malaysia online game communities are split about which structure is best for them.

Gameplay

Players tend to control PC games with their keyboards, whereas they control console games with controllers. Many feel that the keyboard offers greater control. This is definitely true in MMORPGS that require different attacks and tactics.

Modern Amiga gaming

Recently I have been having a long overdue Amiga revival! For those of you who don’t know (have you been living under a rock?) the Amiga is a 16-bit home computer made by Commodore and released way back in 1985. While originally released as a high end computer for business use (yawn) it wasn’t long before it became known as a gaming machine thanks to its fantastic graphical capabilities and fun software. A couple of years later the most famous model of Amiga, the Amiga 500, was released and it cemented Commodore’s machine as a home gaming platform bar none – It took PC games many years to catch up to the same level!

The Amiga 500 – the best selling model in the Amiga range
I was lucky enough to be given an Amiga 600 (a revised A500 with more memory and smaller case) for my birthday in 1993 and was instantly smitten with the incredible 16-bit graphics, wonderful Amiga soundchip and huge library of fun and quirky games with a uniquely British flavour. From a plethora of 2D platformers and action games such as Superfrog, The Chaos Engine, Alien Breed, Turrican and IK+ to mouse driven games like Cannon Fodder, Lemmings, Syndicate and The Secret of Monkey Island, the Amiga’s varied selection of gaming goodies kept me hooked. It also helped that the machine used floppy disks as opposed to the incredibly expensive cartridges used by companies like Sega and Nintendo. While they took time to load and often came on a silly number of disks (often resulting in some repetitive disk changing) the disk medium meant the games were much cheaper than console games, with budget re-releases of top sellers often going for a few pounds. I may have joined the party a little late in the Amiga’s lifespan, but I had the benefit of an enormous library of games to choose from.
Team 17’s classic platformer Superfrog
Fast forward to the present, and I consider many Amiga titles to be some of my favourite games of all time. I am always returning to Rick Dangerous to attempt to beat those fiendish levels for the millionth time, or hear the comedy screams of the little soldiers in Cannon Fodder as I let rip with the machine gun. I love to return to Superfrog – a game I find infinitely more enjoyable than any Sonic The Hedgehog title – for some good old fashioned jumping and coin collecting, or blast some xenomorphs in Team 17’s masterpiece, Alien Breed. I even play sports games – something usually unheard of – in the form of Sensible Soccer!
Another Team 17 classic – Alien Breed Special Edition ’92

EmulationI am a huge advocate of emulation and, on PC, you are sorted when it comes to the Amiga. WinUAE has been around for ages and is constantly being updated. It performs extremely well, playing everything you can throw at it – It does require slightly more tinkering with than the average SNES or Mega Drive emulator but it’s well worth the effort. However, I have found Amiga emulation on other devices such as the original Xbox, Wii and PSP to be less satisfactory. Often the games don’t load, or feature stuttering framerates, sound issues or crashes. It’s here where I strongly recommend the original hardware!
Sensible Software’s Cannon Fodder is one of the greatest games of all time


Original Hardware
Amiga 1200 / Compact Flash CardSo, what’s the best option for someone wanting to play Amiga games today? Well, for the true Amiga aficionado I would recommend the more powerful Amiga 1200 model – capable of playing the more visually impressive AGA titles. Next you will need a compact flash card that can be used in IDE mode (stick to SanDisk’s range or Transcend cards) and a 44 pin 2.5″ IDE to compact flash card adapter. These can be bought together from Ebay for around £20, though you may be able to get them cheaper if you purchase them separately.
Once you have the two items it’s a simple matter of taking out the stock Amiga 1200 Hard drive and plugging in your CF card / IDE adapter combo. If, like me, you are happy with using an Amiga 600, you will be pleased to know you can use this CF card method on that model too.

A Transcend CF card slotted into the necessary IDE adapter

On this CF card you will need to install WHDLoad – a fantastic piece of software that you use from Workbench to launch your pre-installed Amiga games. It is worth noting that these are different files to the usual .ADF files and will only run on WHDLoad. There are many fantastic tutorials online should you need any further help with installing both a compact flash card and WHDLoad!

WHDLoad is a fantastic and easy way to load Amiga games – 
it even combines multiple disk games into one file
 



Amiga CD32

If you aren’t up for opening an A1200 and installing a flash card you could always take the easy option – buy an Amiga CD32! The CD32 is often cited as one of the worst consoles ever made and one of the biggest failures – up there with the Atari Jaguar and Nintendo’s Virtual Boy – but these days it is a great way to enjoy Amiga games. When it was first released in 1993, Commodore’s 32-bit CD-ROM gaming console sounded great in theory, but with a library of software that was little more than A500 or A1200 games with some CD audio, it wasn’t long before gamers abandoned the console for superior platforms such as the PlayStation and Saturn. Indeed, the CD32 was only in production for 6 months before being discontinued – surely a record of some kind?
The ill-fated CD32 console
 
These days you can pick one up for around £80 (with the controller and a few games), which is pretty decent value for money. Many of the games are excellent, though practically identical to the standard Amiga versions, and the CD music is often great as it captures the rave and techno vibes of the early 1990’s (if you were in the UK, of course). The CD-ROM technology also allowed for full voice acting in games, with the first being the wonderfully voiced Simon the Sorcerer (featuring Red Dwarf’s Chris Barrie as the titular hero) point & click adventure. The second great thing about the CD32 is the controller – sure, it’s not to everybody’s taste, but I rather like it and it also allows you to use a second button for jumping instead of up on the joystick like the majority of Amiga disk software.
Simon The Sorcerer was the first Amiga game to feature voice acting
Best of all, there exist online several custom made CDs that contain either 200, 400 or a whopping 800 Amiga games from the A500 / A1200 range. Once downloaded these can be burnt in a specific way to enable them to be played on a standard CD32 – That’s right, there is no copy protection on a CD32, so you can burn disks from downloaded ISO files.. though I couldn’t possibly condone such naughty behaviour (cough!).
I rather like the CD32 controller, though many others feel differently
If piracy just ain’t your bag then you could always add a floppy drive to the CD32 in order to play all your wonderful floppy disk originals! I have not had any experience of this method but I hear that you need certain adapters and software. I believe you would also need to have a keyboard in order to play many non-CD32 games. If this is something that interests you then head over to one of the many helpful Amiga forums online and see what people have to say. If I get around to trying out this method for myself I will add the information to this article!
The CD32 was the only Amiga machine to get Psygnosis’s 
gorgeous 2D platformer, The Misadventures Of Flink
 



Amiga 600 & Gotek USB Floppy Drive

Despite the above method being the best way to enjoy Amiga games, I stand by my choice for an Amiga 600 with a Gotek USB Floppy Drive installed.  The ease of copying .ADF game files to a USB drive is the deciding factor for me. The Amiga 600 holds the most nostalgic memories for me, personally, and its smaller design is far more appealing than the humungous A500 model. You don’t get a numerical keypad but, if you only intend to use your Amiga for games, you won’t miss it!

The smaller, sleeker, Amiga 600
 
 

The Amiga 600 I had been using over Christmas suddenly died on me. Thankfully I was able to pick up an Amiga 500+ locally for only £35. It also works perfectly with the Gotek, though the sharp edges contained on the metal parts inside the machine have rendered my hands a sliced up disaster area. I was pleased when my replacement Amiga 600 arrived this morning and after a couple of minutes cleaning and installing the Gotek I was soon playing the brilliant Ruff N Tumble again!

 
My Gotek USB 
The Gotek USB Drive is a nifty little device that, once installed, allows you to plug in a USB flash drive and run games in .adf format (.ADF being the image of an original Amiga floppy disk – much like an ISO for CDs today). Installation is exceptionally easy and consists of the following easy steps:
1. Open Amiga and lift off top case
Inside the Amiga 600
Be careful when lifting the top off an A600 as this small connector
 in the bottom left only has a short cable to attach it
 
 
 
2. Unscrew and unplug the floppy disk drive
3. Plug in the Gotek using the provided cables (which look almost identical to the ones you just unplugged)
4. Leave the Gotek inside the case or feed the cables through the casing (the disk drive part) and leave it on top of the Amiga
5. Close case
Side view of Gotek inside case – note the plastic part broken off to make 
USB stick fit and create easier access to tiny disk swap buttons
With the Gotek on the outside (A600)
Software
With my first Amiga 600 I had the Gotek inside the casing, using some card to keep it in place, but I had to snap a little piece of plastic from the casing off so I could press the tiny buttons on the Gotek. For the A500+ and current A600 setup I am happy for the Gotek to sit on top of the case!

Sega doing what Sega do best!

There have been many, many arcade racing games over the years, but some stand the test of time better than others. For every amazing and instantly gratifying title that can still be enjoyed 10 or more years after its original release, there are a hundred other bland, generic and instantly forgettable games out there. While racers on home consoles have evolved over time to offer more depth, more cars, more customisation, more tracks and more content in general, it’s the simpler, less complicated arcade racers that hold up in the all important fun and replayability stakes. Each Gran Turismo or Forza game automatically renders its predecessor void as they focus heavily on realistic visuals while games such as Daytona USA and Outrun 2006 never lose their appeal. It’s no coincidence that I use two Sega games as examples, as they are truly the masters of the genre. Almost every racer they have released has set the bar for the time, provided more thrill and spills than anything else out there, and provided a template for others to imitate, yet never better. The aforementioned Daytona USA and Outrun 2006 are two of the best games in their genre, but it is Sega Rally Championship that gets my vote for, not only best arcade racing game of all time, but racing game overall.

(Arcade – via Model 2 Emulator)

Two cars and three tracks. Yep, that’s all you get. But it matters not one iota, as what is on offer here is pure perfection, tuned and tweaked to provide the most pure and perfect arcade racing experience you can have. The two cars, the Lancia Delta (HF Integrale) and Toyota Celicia (GT-Four ST205) both look, sound and handle brilliantly and have enough subtle differences to make driving each one a whole new experience. After selecting your preferred vehicle you begin on the bumpy sand and mud filled Desert stage before heading along windy mountain roads, more mud and tight hairpin bends in the Forest course. Then it’s a twisting trip through villages and, you guessed it, more mud as you careen through the final Mountain stage.

(Arcade – via Model 2 Emulator)

Each of these tracks is a perfect example of expert level design, with every nook and cranny feeling totally essential to the rollercoaster ride you take through the jumps, puddles, tunnels, twists and turns. Even better, if you place first, you get a brand new track to race on, the beautiful, yet devilishly tricky, Lakeside. If you manage to successfully traverse the incredibly tight corners of this final stage and place first you are granted a brand new car, selectable the next time you play. The Lancia Stratos (HF) is just as iconic as the two cars that adorn Sega Rally flyers and advertisements and is a welcome addition that will take some serious practice to master thanks to its rather erratic handling and high speed.

(The original two-player Coin-Op – if you see this anywhere, play it!)

Sega Rally Championship is an absolute blast to play due to, not only the cars and tracks themselves, but the wonderful physics and handling of the vehicles. Your car drifts around corners in such a satisfying manner that it makes you feel like a true pro every time. The feeling of weight you experience when hitting one of the many bumps and lift off from the ground is second to none and wrestling with the wheel to keep yourself facing the right angle to the approaching corner is what arcade gaming is all about – pure excitement and adrenaline. The different road surfaces play a part too, with mud and sand feeling different from the smooth tarmac found on the Forest and Mountain stages – the transition from a muddy track onto the tarmac is extremely gratifying and feels, one would imagine, just like real rally driving. Sega rally offers two viewpoints, behind the car and a full screen, first person viewpoint. It all comes down to personal choice, naturally, but for my money the outside view wins every time – these cars deserve to be seen and look ace drifting around corners and launching off bumps in the road, spraying dust and mud in your face as they do so.

(PC – running on Windows 7 64-Bit)

The coin-op cabinet came in both single and dual variations, allowing for some seriously competitive and tight races against your buddy if you were lucky enough to chance upon the double seated cab. Sadly, with the death of the arcades and the sheer age of Sega Rally Championship, you are very unlikely to come across one these days. If you do see one out in the wild, be sure to sit down and put a few coins in it as it’s still the most enjoyable arcade driving game out there (second only to Daytona USA). Luckily, however, there were a selection of console and computer ports that brought all the thrills and spills to your own home, in some cases providing an even greater experience.

(Sega Saturn)

The first port was for Sega’s 32-bit Saturn console. Released in 1995 and built from the ground up, the Saturn port was a real showstopper, especially after the rushed and rather dismalDaytona USA port. The visuals, while not in the same league as the original, were fantastic, with a slightly grittier look than its arcade parent. Sega were also thoughtful enough to reposition the timer to a less distracting position and also remove the unnecessary progress bar featured in the Coin-Op. The music was one of the biggest improvements made, with the arcade tunes replaced with CD quality remixes. These powerful guitar tracks are incredibly catchy and suit the game to a tee. Anyone who has played Sega Rally Championship will remember the quirky voice acting in the game. These incredibly upbeat and tongue-in-cheek samples elevated the games sense of fun even further and in the Saturn port they sound even better. The iconic “Fiiiii-nish” and “Game Over, Yeeeeah!” are of a much higher quality than before, providing even more of a laugh. Honestly, there isn’t a person on this planet who won’t raise a smile at these wonderful voice overs.

(Sega Saturn – two-player split screen)

The game retains the same three cars as the coin-op, though this time the Lancia Stratos remains unlocked and selectable once Lakeside is beaten in first place. There is an additional time trial mode, complete with ghost opponent, and a brilliant split screen two player mode. There are also a wealth of customisation options for each car, allowing you to fine tune its performance to suit your play style. You can then save these customisations (along with other changes in the options) to the Saturn’s memory for next time. The Saturn version was a big success and rightly so. It’s the best game for the system and, despite it’s rather ropey visuals (by today’s standards and compared to the PC version), it remains an utter joy to play. I would even go as far as to say that it is worth owning a Saturn for this alone (a 60Hz model, of course!).

(PC – running on Windows 7 64-Bit)

In 1997 Sega released Sega Rally Championship for the PC. Essentially a port of the Sega Saturn version, the PC version looked very similar (but with a slightly cleaner look), featured the same excellent remixed soundtrack, contained the time trial and split screen modes and featured the same customisation options. There was also a rare version released with direct 3D support that improved the visuals further. You can now download a patch online to mod your existing Sega Rally installation to this version, and there are also other user made mods out there to further enhance and improve stability and function on modern PCs. With this setup, combined with an essential Xbox 360 controller, the PC version of Sega Rally Championship is my favourite of all the versions. Be sure to own a copy of the original disc in order to get the awesome soundtrack playing alongside the action!

(PC – running on Windows 7 64-Bit)
Sony’s PS2 received an arcade perfect port in 2006 when it was bundled as a free bonus with the fairly mediocre Sega Rally 2006. Unfortunately, this amazing freebie was only given to Japanese gamers, leaving the rest of us to pay expensive import prices. These days, however, copies often appear on Ebay for around £20 and I fully recommend you grab one if you see it (and providing your PS2 plays Japanese games). I would usually recommend emulation as an option (especially as PS2 emulation is pretty damned good these days) but as far as I knowSega Rally 95 is currently not compatible with any emulator out there. The game itself is, of course, brilliant, but is slightly outshined by the wonderful Saturn and PC ports, which are just slightly more enjoyable to play and contain the far superior soundtrack. The language barrier is not an issue and you can save your settings (including changing the difficulty and number oif laps) and high scores to a memory card. It is the sole reason I have my PS2 still plugged into my TV.
(PC – running on Windows 7 64-Bit)
So far, so good, right? Well Sega saw fit to release two other ports that were not so good. Both on handheld machines, the Gameboy Advance port was the least offensive of the two being some what playable, but it’s like experiencing the arcade original after suffering a debilitating head injury. Sure, it takes a good stab at replicating the original version – it even adds new modes and extra courses. But it’s a waste of your time when you could be playing the console versions instead. The second version, on Nokia’s forgotten N-Gage, is an absolute travesty which I refuse to even speak about. If you must witness this abomination then simply check it out on Youtube and then immediately try to forget what you see. Let’s all pretend these versions don’t exist and move on to the next paragraph, quickly.
(PlayStation 2)
As if it isn’t clear enough already, I adore Sega Rally Championship. I have been playing it on a regular basis for nearly 20 years and still enjoy it as much today as I did when I first played the Sega Saturn port back in 1995. It is one of the easiest games to pick up and play and has, shockingly, never been bettered by any other racing game, including the extremely disappointing sequels. Sega Rally Championship provides instant satisfaction and enjoyment and will keep you coming back time and time again due to the sheer joy in throwing these weighty vehicles around the sublime courses, with the added incentive of shaving precious milliseconds off of your track records. So, if you have never played Sega Rally Championship and have a penchant for arcade racers then I simply insist that you get hold of one of the versions and discover this fantastic game for yourself. It’s another shining example of Sega at the top of their game, and another reason why they will be remembered for all time as both the pioneers and masters of the arcade racing genre. I cannot recommend it highly enough!

Wolfenstein 3D demo ROM released for Sega Mega Drive

Great news for both retro console gamers and fans of the original first person shooter Wolfenstein 3D as it has finally found its way onto the Sega Mega Drive. Back in 1994, the Super Nintendo was lucky enough to get a port of Id Software’s ground breaking title, but it was a heavily censored and very feeble looking port that wasn’t a patch on the PC original. Still, it played well enough and was extremely popular. Now Mega Drive owners can finally get some payback as this unofficial port by Gasega68k blows the SNES version out of the water. It features a far less pixellated look that is much closer to the PC version, and the scrolling is incredibly smooth for the 16-bit system. Indeed, the whole affair is incredibly impressive, with 6-button controller support, digitised speech, the ability to save your game and graphical filters to further enhance the look of the game – though these, naturally, would only work on an emulator.
I have played the demo and, as a huge fan of the original game, I strongly recommend you check it out. Not only is it a big technical achievement, but it’s also great fun to play, and I was soon at the end of the demo craving more. Here’s hoping that this talented programmer continues his work and that a full 6 episode version will see the light of day. Heck, maybe it will even see a physical cartridge release at some point (if this is possible). I, for one, would jump at the opportunity to add this to my games collection.
Just check out the video below to see the game in action, but I urge you to simply jump straight in and download the ROM and play it for yourself!