Category Archives: Reviews

Deliberating “Defenders of Dynatron City”

Defenders of Dynatron City is definitely one of the lesser known titles on the NES. Featuring a team of unique super heroes, the players goal was to protect the entire City of Dynatron with each hero’s wacky super power.  It appealed to me back in 1992 when I first saw it in a game magazine because it was by Lucasfilm Games and Gary Winnick. Winnick was the co-designer of Maniac Mansion and having really enjoyed that game, I figured I would enjoy Dynatron just as much. Sadly, the game didn’t seem to have a large print run and never popped up at my local video store to check out. Getting a SNES in 1993 didn’t help either as any money I acquired would be going to my new 16-bit system and so my desire to get the game was swept away.

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Unique heroes? Most definitely.

Upon my discovery of NES emulation in the mid 90s, I did check the game out; but I only played for a very brief moment. Either the game wasn’t any good or maybe I was too blown away by the fact I could play any NES game I missed in moments, but I definitely didn’t give it a fair shake. So I was interested in checking it out again and decided to track down a cartridge of it.

Defenders of Dynatron City

These are your defenders. Choose wisely.

You can’t help but to laugh as soon as you fire up the game and it displays the different defenders you have to choose from. Ever wanted to play as a monkey who can throw exploding bananas or a robot with a hammer for a head? You can in this game! When it comes down to originality itself, this game deserves recognition. The city is large, with quite a diverse amount of buildings you can enter and explore; provided you’ve cleared the streets of evil robots. Every chapter has as list of requirements you must meet before you can fight the end level boss and move on. You can switch between heroes at any point in the game, as well as view a in-game map. The music in the game is also quite catchy and feels like something that would have come out of the Maniac Mansion soundtrack.

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Radium Dog looks to be looking for another NES game to play.

Unfortunately, the game has a few issues that keeps it from being a must play. Hit detection is a major issue as you will repeatedly attempt to line your hero up with the same horizontal line as the enemy and miss; only to have that same enemy hitting you multiple times seconds later. Patience can help destroy enemies with little damage, but you must constantly be on the move due to a mission timer. If the time goes out? Game over. Finally, while you have a in-game map; the streets just don’t seem to follow it very well. I found myself constantly having to jump out of action and check the map; just to make sure I was heading towards my objective. All of these issues combined can lead to a very frustrating experience that will make the player not want to come back to it.

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Even super heroes have comics they need to check out!

So will I ever give the game another chance? Maybe someday, but for now there are many other games out there that take priority for a revisit over Defenders of Dynatron City.

Phantasy Star IV: A Nintendo kid’s visit to a world beyond Final Fantasy.

The original Phantasy Star series is one that I’ve been meaning to get around to playing for years. With my default platform being the SNES back during the console war days, my Phantasy Star options were pretty limited. Sure, we could have borrowed a Genesis console from a friend; but none of my friends that owned a Genesis were into or allowed to play RPG’s at the time, so that option was out the window. Could I have rented the game and console? Yes, but we all know how long these games can take to finish and on such a limited budget; extended rentals could get expensive.

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As the years have gone by, I’ve slowly acquired the majority of the Phantasy Star games on the Genesis and was just waiting for a good opportunity to play one of them. Which one though? Do I start with 2, 3 or 4? Every single person I talked to said that if I had to choose a Phantasy Star game to start with to go with 4. So, during some time off during the holiday season I popped in the 4th game in the series and my dive into a Genesis RPG began.

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The story starts out with a two person team of monster hunters tasked with cleaning up a research facility, but this quickly escalates to a larger plot where many lives are at stake and eventually the entire universe. This is all presented with terrific music, simplistic menu navigation and manga like cut scenes that help the player get more into the universe. As much as I love Final Fantasy 3/6, Phantasy Star IV really fires on all cylinders with developing and presenting its plot. Could you imagine if they would of made this available for the Sega CD with actual animated cut scenes and voice overs? Redbook Audio mixes of the soundtrack?! That would have been quite a presentation.

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The game has plenty to offer in terms of exploration. I never visited a town or dungeon that looked like it was copy and paste job from the last one. Just when you think you’ve seen everything there is to see, you find yourself on another planet with its own set of towns and dungeons. One of my favorite features in the game is the ability to “talk” to your characters in the party. Doing so will not only allow you to see your characters personalities come out, but will explain the current direction you need to take to advance the game. That feature alone is nice for players who may not have an opportunity to play the game through on a regular basis.Phantasy Star IV (USA)-163

After a few very long nights that went into the early AM each time, I managed to finish the game and I can say I fell in love with it as much as I did when I finished Final Fantasy 3/6 on the SNES. The game has certainly moved into one of my favorites on the platform. Now, I’m left with the dilemma on what game in the series I should play next. 2? 3? I will give myself some time before I make the commitment to it, but I’m looking forward to visiting the universe of Phantasy Star again. If only I could go back in time and convince one of my friends to give these games a try back in the day! Just so I could play them of course.

Star Wars: The Battle of Endor with the Oculus Rift DK2

It’s every Star Wars fan’s dream…

Seriously, how many times did the thought of “Man, I wish I could pilot an X-Wing and blow up a few TIE Fighters!” run through your head during one of the many awesome space battles in the Star Wars movies? Since the creation of the films, we’ve been able to experience that feeling in some degree. Some of us might have done that through the Star Wars rides at Disney or playing with a replica toy ship as a kid. Many of us have it least once revisited those battles with the large amount of Star Wars video games available, but none of these compare to the experience that the Oculus Rift DK2 and “Battle of Endor” tech demo can give you.

5 seconds into the demo you hear the very familiar words “It’s a trap!” over your headset. Those words put every Star Wars fan in sync to the Battle of Endor from Return of the Jedi. The Rebels have mounted an attack on the “unfinished” second Death Star, only to discover that they were given bad information and that the Death Star is it least functional. With the Oculus on your head, you find yourself as one of the many X-Wing Pilots in a fight to the death; taking out Tie-Fighters, Star Destroyers and more!

Never has a virtual dog fight felt so real with how easy it is to look around your ship by just moving your head in the direction you want to look. Armed with this and a great set of headphones, you truly feel the look, sound and scope of this massive space battle. You truly can’t believe the experience unless you try it yourself, but it least try to convey the amazement with this video! Check it out!

Red 5…out!