I have to tell you, the first version of this column was pretty dire. The graphics weren't particularly shiny or lens-flared, the translation from the original Albanian was pretty inaccurate, and the music sounded like a MIDI player transmitted through a garden hose. Worse yet, only those viewing this site on 24-bit consoles could see it, which, as you can imagine, limited the potential audience. Fortunately, a team of programmers spent six months updating the elements for this Golden Platinum Article of the Year re-release. Anyway, this week, I'd like to share some of the best remakes from the JiG Vault, and a nice collection they are: a bubbly action puzzler, a sonic-booming platformer, and an explosive shmup.
- Puzzle Bobble (Bust-a-Move) - It has gone through many names and variations, but whether you prefer to call it Bust-a-Move, Puzzle Bobble, Frozen Bubble, or That-Game-That-Was-Snood-before-Snood-was-Snood, it was clear that Taito had something when it released this marble popping puzzler back in 1986. Sure, it didn't quite make sense that the dinosaur Bub and Bob would be arming a bubble-cannon rather than rescuing their girlfriends, but the combination of cute graphics and devious gameplay was wildly successful and led to a score of sequels. Thus, it was only natural that it should one day be ported to flash, and was so by NiLS in 2005. The game could use a second song on the soundtrack, but the core mechanics are as engaging as ever.
- Flash Sonic - ...SAAAAY-gaa! Sorry, couldn't resist. The reputation of the Big Blue Blur has gone up and down nearly as quickly as the landscapes he traverses. Certainly, some recent releases imply that developers have recaptured some of the magic apparent on the Genesis. Still, it's worth noting that a Swedish teenager named Dennis Gid did a pretty good job by himself in 2004. There are only a few levels to play, but what is lacking in quantity is made up for in quality. Most importantly, there are no were-hogs, gun battles, human love interests or appearances by Big the Cat. Less is more, and DGid gets the basics right: fast-paced jump and run platforming, a handful of characters with different abilities, and huge worlds to traverse.
- Raiden X - The most obscure of the three we're featuring today, Raiden X is a tribute to the 90s series of scrolling shoot-em-ups originally developed by Seibu Kaihatsu. Locke Wong (now better known for his work on Line Runner), was only 13 when he put this borderline bullet-hell online and it's still a doozy of blasts, lasers, and bosses. The passage of time and processor speed has sped up the game up a bit, but those with quick reflexes will find the explosions just as cathartic as ever.
While we welcome any comments about this weekly feature here, we do ask that if you need any help with the individual games, please post your questions on that game's review page. Well, what are you waiting for? Get out there and rediscover some awesome!