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Other Systems General discussion of other Virtual Console platforms

Old 8th May 2009   #1
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Default My Commodore 64 VC reviews

From all 19 Commodore 64 games on the Virtual Console that are available to date,
I had them all on the original machine (except Last Ninja 3 and Mayhem in Monsterland).

I'm writing some short reviews from my old loved home computer system
and hopefully include some stuff you may have not known before to get you interested.

Note: They're just my personal opinion! I'm not making a deal of it, I'm not an objective writer. I'm as subjective as everyone else on the planet.
And yeah, I played all of the games recently on the Wii's Virtual Console, so that is no nostalgia speaking out of me.


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Old 9th May 2009   #2
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Boulder Dash
(C) 1984 First Star Software

Game by Peter Liepa and Chris Grey.

We won't begin with a story. That's useless stuff we don't need. Let's just say there are 16 caves and 4 bonus caves in where you have to dig through the earth to collect a certain amount of diamonds and then find the exit that leads to the next cave. The gameplay is simple and fun at first but shows off good stuff pretty early. First of all there are boulders you can push around but you shouldn't let them fall on your head or block your own way with them. There are 3 different monsters roaming the levels, two of them can only move in free spaces: If you free them from their pits, they're running on the edges, strolling through your tunnels until they catch up on you and rip you apart. One moves clockwise, the other one counterclockwise. Both of them are dangerous, but the butterfly-look-a-like is a diamond treasure, so destroy it with falling boulders! The growing slime in some of the caves won't kill you by touch, but it can block your path to victory. There are other nice features, like the bonus-time where you have to let boulders fall through walls to change them into diamonds or the special move where you hold down the fire button and move in a direction to open up the path without moving there. There's definately much thought put into that little and challenging game.


....................

Graphics are just right and very clean, without any fancy stuff. There are some subtle special effects when you start a cave or when the bonus time is on. The hero Rockford has some neat little animations when standing still and the diamonds have that collect-me glow. So it's not as generic as it seems at first. In the sound department we have a really catchy title tune but the rest of the game has no music at all. You have the crunchy crash sound when something is destroyed, the wobbly slime-sound in the slime-stages, the glockenspiel sound of falling diamonds and some other well done bits, and all of them are pretty recognizable. Technically there's nothing done wrong here. Beginners will be happy that there's a cave-select on the title screen so you don't need to always start from the first level. You can enter the game at cave 1, 6, 11 and 16.

.................

You like skill-based easy to learn puzzle games? This classic has a challenge for you. Try to beat it, still feels as good as 25 years ago.

08/10 Audiovisuals - Fitting style! Great retro look! Good effects in the right places. Looks, sounds and feels much better than the generic artwork and music from the likes of Boulder Dash Rocks! for the DS.

09/10 Gameplay - The best things in Boulder Dash have been left out in the new versions to get filled up with boring and lame additions. This is the original. The one where the maker has put his heart in. This is the version you want to play.

08/10 Overall - 500 points for 20 levels that range from easy to puzzling to challenging to interesing to wtf?! Yeah, this game has quite some depth, and many levels show off some interesting elements. And that's my only gripe with the game. It could have been much longer! Many great features are only used in 1 or 2 of those caves. What a waste!! You know why the level editor in Boulder Dash Construction Kit was so well-received! Well, completionists will have their day anyway. Try beating every stage with as many diamonds as possible is replay value that you can make your own personal challenge.

SCORE: 25/30 EVERGREEN

More info:

Boulder Dash - Fansite
Boulder Dash - Beautiful maps to all twenty caves.
Boulder Dash - Title Theme mp3
Boulder Dash - Complete walkthrough video
Boulder Dash - Official First Star Software website

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Old 9th May 2009   #3
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Paradroid
(C) 1985 Graftgold / Hewson

Game by Andrew Braybrook. Audio advice by Steve Turner.

Deep in space a fleet of freighters got into some strange alien asteroid field. The machines onboard were going crazy, killing everyone. To save the precious cargo an Influence Device '001' antigravity robot with hacking abilities and lasers is beamed to the first of eight big ships. You take control over '001' and your target is to clear the ship from all droids.

From a top down view you can move in every direction, shooting your weak laser weapon by holding in a direction and pressing the fire button. And you can get into transfer mode by holding the fire button. This is needed to take over better droids, use elevators and get access to computers. Droids in-game are represented by numbers. If you see a '139' or '302' it's one of those easy to hack disposal robots or servant robots or fast-running messenger droids. If you spot a '614' sentinel droid or a '742' battle droid armed with smart bombs and double lasers or the devilish '999' command cyborg you'd better run for an elevator and clear some other floors first until you have control over a really good droid. Every unit has different stats: weapons, energy, drive, brain, sensor, defense, speed, weight, height, special abilities, battery, influence and more.


In hacking mode you'll be presented with a circuit motherboard that can be accessed from two sides. You have a few seconds to make your decision. Often there's a side that gives you an advantage, so you have to look closely how the cables are arranged. When you made your choice the fight begins, a fast 10-second-strategy battle. Let your influence power rush through the wires, look out for the ones that divide, the dead-ends and the ones with power-ups and don't be blind to your enemies moves since he's trying to defend himself as he's influencing you with his own power at the same time. Your goal is to have more wires powered than your opponent. The better your droid is the more influence power you have. With the '001' you can only hack 3 cables whereas with a '302' you can hack 6. Hacking is always very exciting and needs a bit of practice in the beginning, so be prepared to die a lot until you learn a good strategy. And here's a little hint that will make your life easier: You should always have a floor of lowlevel droids. If you get killed as '001' the game's over, but if you get killed while having control over another droid, you just transfer back to being '001'. So with a little bit of thought you have lots of extra lives.


When you cleared a floor of all robots, the lights go out to indicate that there's nothing more to do. In close combat you're trying to defend yourself with your weapons, your hull and your weight. If you're a light little droid you'll be pushed around like a a little girl in a wrestling cage. You'll fire your laser that most of time just zooms through other droids and seems to hit randomly, thinking it's a bug, just to find out much later that defense and speed of your enemies are too high. There is much to be learned as to which droid is best used against one other. You will often run away with your energy drained, hoping to find a safe small storage room that gives you time to take a little breath and hopefully has a replenish platform to fill up your energy (but beware, it sucks points from your score). And to make everything just more exciting, you cannot see what's hiding behind the next corner or what's outside of the room. You can only see the sliding doors open and close and you know they're still around waiting to feast on your robotic brain. Also, you cannot just blast your way through with just one droid, since every droid has a battery that's doomed to run out, so constant switching between droids every few minutes is vital.


Every droid has a security level. You can get info about all lower leveled droids on the computers. You might write down the specific data for each robot on paper. Yeah, you definately want to make your plan to clear even the first ship. To make it all enjoyable rather than frustrating, the computers provide you with helpful maps. They show you everything except the location of the droids. You won't be lost, but you won't be taken by the hand either. Exploring and learning is a major task in Paradroid. Each ship has 20 decks and you can freely roam throughout the entire ship from the start.

The graphics in Paradroid get the job done. They seem sporadic these times but were amazing back in the day. Smooth scrolling in all directions, that was a technical feat in '85. People might say that all the droids in action look the same except for their number and thus makes the action bland, and I say no. First, you're just a robot with sensors so the look is justifiable and involving, and second, if you log into one of those computers you can watch detailed pictures of each droid from the view of a human eye. In-game all you want to know is the number, and the rest is up to your imagination. Me thinks the fact that you can view the different forms of the droids on the computers (and before each hacking attempt) is proof enough of how much love to detail the programmer has put into his game. And yeah, there's another complaint I often heard, but also an easy conclusion to it: If the vibrant colorful decks hurt your eyes, they can be changed to a complete grey shades setting at any time during the game by pressing one of the F-buttons on the (virtual) keyboard. The sound consists of many different robotic bleeps and a low bass loop throughout the entire game. As weird as it sounds, it gives the game an claustrophobic atmosphere and fits with the rest.


09/10 Audiovisuals - Paradroid has a distinctive unique look. Everything seems to be made out of perforated metal. The artificial sound effects burn into your brain. The title theme sounds like a conversation between virus infected robots and is just what the game is all about.

09/10 Gameplay - Just roaming around and shooting lowlevel droids is quite fun, but if you want to get somewhere you need to learn the deep game mechanics that you reveal piece by piece after lots of trying and dying. It's not the halfbaked futuristic magic fantasy story. It all makes sense here.

09/10 Overall - The brilliant mix of action, exploration, strategy, RPG and puzzle made this a cult game. Highly addicting! I could only wish for a way to save the progress, but nah. This is a test for the best! And that whole game was programmed by only one person! Killer!

SCORE: 27/30 EVERGREEN

Note: The Virtual Console version has a graphic glitch in one of the character tiles of the computer consoles that face to the left.
This is a bug ported from the C64 DTV version of the game.


Here's a helpful map I made. It's showing a side view of the Robo-Freighters in Paradroid.
You can see all the rooms and elevators clearly.

PARADROID - ROBO-FREIGHTER MAP


Andrew Braybrook C64 History:

1985 Port: Lunattack
1985 - Gribbly's Day Out
1985 - Paradroid
1986 Remake: Gribbly's Special Day Out
1986 - Uridium
1986 Remake: Paradroid - Competition Edition
1986 - Alleykat
1986 Remake: Paradroid - Metal Edition
1986 Remake: Paradroid+Uridium
1987 - Morpheus
1988 - Intensity
1988 - Magnetron


More info:

Paradroid - A development diary for Paradroid from Andrew Braybrook himself. A must read.
Paradroid - Walkthrough video for the first freighter.
Paradroid - Interview with Steve Turner who worked closely with Andrew Braybrook on nearly all projects.
Paradroid - Retro-Review by Arthouse Games
Paradroid - Review by Zzap! 64 magazine November '85 (Scan)
Paradroid - Graftgold Official Website

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Old 5th June 2009   #4
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Nice review. Its a pity that so many people get put off by looking at screenshots of Paradroid and deciding they can't work out what is going on. This is a game you really have to play to "get". VC-Reviews' gameplay video also didn't help with all the excessive noise playing in the background that isn't playing in the actual game.

I hope more Braybrook games are on the way. Also, wasn't there a Heavy Metal Paradroid with different textures?
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Old 5th June 2009   #5
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Originally Posted by Betagam7 View Post
Nice review. Its a pity that so many people get put off by looking at screenshots of Paradroid and deciding they can't work out what is going on. This is a game you really have to play to "get". VC-Reviews' gameplay video also didn't help with all the excessive noise playing in the background that isn't playing in the actual game.

I hope more Braybrook games are on the way. Also, wasn't there a Heavy Metal Paradroid with different textures?
Yeah, there was Paradroid - Metal Edition (called Heavy Metal Paradroid on the boxart) and there was also Paradroid - Competition Edition and
a Paradroid+Uridium bundle, with Paradroid running faster and Uridium (also called Uridium+) with 15 all-new stages.

From all of the Braybrook games I think the highspeed shmup-racer-mix Alleykat has the biggest chances to appear on the VC (since it was also a CDTV game), with the top tier platformer Gribbly's Day Out comes in second.


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Old 5th June 2009   #6
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Can't remember if i showed you this before but I wouldn't mind a Uridium remake that looked something like this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MPI1q...eature=related

I especially like the updated music.
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Old 5th June 2009   #7
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I've seen that video before. It looks great, the same character set as in the C64 original, just in 3D.
The music is cool, but it's not updated. It's the original SID tune from the C64 version, just with an added tunnel/hall effect.

In case you didn't know Uridium (and Paradroid) got official sequels. Paradroid 90 and Uridium 2 on the Amiga.
Unfortunately I have never played them, and I can't get the Amiga emulator working on my Mac and Wii. But they look awesome!



Here is a full list of Andrew Braybrook's games on the Amiga:

1990 Amiga - Paradroid 90
1990 Amiga Port: Rainbow Islands
1990 Amiga - Simulcra
1991 Amiga - Realms
1992 Amiga - Fire & Ice
1992 Amiga Remake: Fire & Ice: Christmas Special Edition
1993 Amiga - Uridium 2
1994 Amiga Remake: Fire & Ice (CD32)
1995 Amiga - Virocop

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Old 5th June 2009   #8
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I'm no closer to beating your score, in fact i can't even get near my own after some time off 41'900 is my best by a clear 10'000 points.
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Old 6th June 2009   #9
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Uridium
(C) 1986 Graftgold / Hewson

Game by Andrew Braybrook. Music by Steve Turner.

Uridum is a horizontal hardcore shoot'em up classic. When originally released in 1986 for the Commodore 64 only the arcade machines had comparable graphics and sounds. Smooth and superfast scrolling to the left and right, great animations of the players Manta Fighter, and cool shadow and explosion effects were the technical feats of Uridium. But not only the techs were awesome, the gameplay was different from all the other shooters too. 15 Super Dreadnaughts, big space ships that travel through space, steal resources and metals from planets to supply their greedy evil minions. You, as the lone hero, are the only hope for your home planet. And as such, you're directly teleported to the first Super Dreadnaught. Shoot the defenses of the ships and land on the surface to set a self-destruction bomb. That's it! 100% action.


This game reminds me a bit of Star Wars, particularly the Death Star sequence of that movie. You fly closely above the Super Dreadnaughts surfaces, trying to avoid obstacles like antennas and walls that stick out of the big ships. Blasting away destroyable objects on the surface and different fighters that always come in armadas of various set-ups gives you points. If you destroy every fighter that's in a convoy you get a bonus. If you're flying too long in the same area the dreadnaught will send an undestroyable homing mine out of these flashy coloured spots that are spread over each ship. In that case you're in for a short but very fast escape maneuver. The only things to help you out are the fluid controls of your ship, your laser beam and an alarm that rings when a new set of enemy fighters is incoming. It also makes a noise when it's safe to land. Your fighter can move at different speeds, it can turn back with a somersault and it can fly on the side if you hold down the fire button and move up or down, necessary in later stages, when you have to navigate carefully through narrow passages and also good for avoiding enemy fire.


So, you're blasting your way through enemy hordes, avoiding obstacles and then you get the message to "land now". At the end of each dreadnaught is a landing zone. It takes a little while to find out how the landing works as you have to fly from left to right and shouldn't miss the starting point. On top of that, the evil homing fighters now come after you, flying extremely fast and shooting out of all holes. When you landed succesfully you're in for a bonus round where you have to rack up many extra points in a simple reaction game. Each ship has more extra points to give away. Every 10.000 points you get an extra life. These are extremely needed as you start out with only 3 of them. There are no continues at all, no extra weapons or power-ups. It all depends on mastering your skills.


There are some options in this game. A 2-player mode (in where you take turns) with 1 or 2 Wiimotes, and a black&white mode (just like in Paradroid) for people that have problems with vibrant colors. You can also manually control the volume with one of the F-keys. And you have the Hall of Fame, a highscore top 10 for your initials.

Uridium is a tense game. It's very fast and you are likely to die every 5 or 10 seconds when first playing. It seems ridiculously hard in the beginning. Most of you will hate the game within the first minute and think it's a waste of 500 points. This game is for hardcore-highscore-hunter-shmup-fanatics only. It's nothing for your little brother and definately nothing you should show your mom. If you put yourself to the former group then you'll be in for a very challenging blast!


08/10 Audiovisuals - Shmups have come a very long way. Back in the day it was a 10/10 but nowadays we've seen it all (much better). Still, Uridium's own neat style remains good (even if the 15 levels don't look very different to each other) and its scrolling is as smooth as the best you can find on the NES, SNES and Turbografx, and on top of that it has a very memorable title track and very good sound effects.

09/10 Gameplay - I wonder why there never was a 2D-shmup that build upon the innovative features of Uridium. So, up to this day its pretty unique and still feels as smooth as it can get. One of those games where you and your friends battle it out for just who's the better person.

09/10 Overall - It's the only shmup that I've downloaded on the Virtual Console. That says it all! A definite classic that needs a place in every good Commodore 64 collection. It was C64 game of the year '86 and scored 94% in Zzap magazine.

SCORE: 26/30 EVERGREEN


Andrew Braybrook C64 History:

1985 Port: Lunattack
1985 - Gribbly's Day Out
1985 - Paradroid
1986 Remake: Gribbly's Special Day Out
1986 - Uridium
1986 Remake: Paradroid - Competition Edition
1986 - Alleykat
1986 Remake: Paradroid - Metal Edition
1986 Remake: Paradroid+Uridium
1987 - Morpheus
1988 - Intensity
1988 - Magnetron

More info:

Uridium - Original Title Track by Steve Turner in mp3-format.
Uridium - Walkthrough video on YouTube.
Uridium - Fansite made by TEMPE.
Uridium - Scans of review in ZZap! 64 magazine March '86 Page 1 Page 2
Uridium - Music: Jason and Emma - Uridium (One For The Boss Mix)
Uridium - Music: Boz - Uridium
Uridium - Music: Doron Deutsch - Uridium (Inner Space)
Uridium - Music: Dees - Uridium (Little Green Alien Remix)
Uridium - Music: BBC Micro - Uridium

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Old 6th June 2009   #10
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Great reviews. Sparking interest in the C64 (for me, anyways). Are you going to do a International Karate + review?
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Old 7th June 2009   #11
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I only care for the best C64 games so you can expect my IK+ review here.
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Old 7th June 2009   #12
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So far you reviews are great & i can only wish that the C64 games to be release here in Australia .
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Old 7th June 2009   #13
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Kawaii. Just wait until you have no points left, then change your region to the UK and buy 1000 points. Get 2 C64 games then change back again.
This is how I got SNES Axelay as it hasn't been released in the UK but is available in Australia (although I lost the leftover 200 points changing back I considered Axelay worth 1000 points).
The good thing with C64 games though is because they're an exact 500 points each if you buy 1000 points and get two you're not losing anything changing back.
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Old 7th June 2009   #14
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Kawaii. Just wait until you have no points left, then change your region to the UK and buy 1000 points. Get 2 C64 games then change back again.
This is how I got SNES Axelay as it hasn't been released in the UK but is available in Australia (although I lost the leftover 200 points changing back I considered Axelay worth 1000 points).
The good thing with C64 games though is because they're an exact 500 points each if you buy 1000 points and get two you're not losing anything changing back.
Well I know that trick but I never ended up getting down to Zero.
And if I do I most probably forget & I end up topping up my account with the standard 4000 points I usally do.
The thing is why not Australia Australians access the same servers as Europe but no Commodore 64 games.
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Old 7th June 2009   #15
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Quote:
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Well I know that trick but I never ended up getting down to Zero.
And if I do I most probably forget & I end up topping up my account with the standard 4000 points I usally do.
The thing is why not Australia Australians access the same servers as Europe but no Commodore 64 games.
Something to do with the license Commodore Gaming has. Perhaps someone else holds the license in Australia. It's likely the same reason Europe doesn't get Axelay and PAL doesn't get Metal Marines.

I still think its probably technically illegal for Nintendo to "steal" points from you the way they do when you change regions. If like myself you happen to live in different countries some parts of the year then why not different regions?
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Old 8th June 2009   #16
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IK+ is a stonewall 30/30 game here... anything less will incur my wrath

Seriously though, it's the best non-special move fighting game ever made... and the C64 version is better than the Amiga (despite what some people want to say).
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Old 22nd June 2009   #17
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IK+ is a stonewall 30/30 game here... anything less will incur my wrath

Seriously though, it's the best non-special move fighting game ever made... and the C64 version is better than the Amiga (despite what some people want to say).
Going slightly off topic with this one but have any of you played IK Advance for the GBA? I saw it in a shop here the other day quite cheap and was wondering if it was worth picking up.
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Old 30th June 2009   #18
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It's alright... the GBC version is better imo (and done by the Rowland Brothers, them of Creatures and Mayhem fame). Though given the D-pad constraints (hitting immediate diagonals is tricky) then the move set is limited by comparison.
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Old 1st July 2009   #19
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It's alright... the GBC version is better imo (and done by the Rowland Brothers, them of Creatures and Mayhem fame). Though given the D-pad constraints (hitting immediate diagonals is tricky) then the move set is limited by comparison.
Ooh, I didn't know there was a GBC version, is it a port of + or a new game like Advance with funky haircuts?
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Old 2nd July 2009   #20
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It was a "new" game like Advanced, called International Karate 2000, although it was based more on the original IK as there were only two fighters on screen. IKA followed the same template and went with three fighters a la IK+ but didn't quite get it right imo (as said, the Rowlands only did IK2000, they had nothing to do with IKA).
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Old 4th July 2009   #21
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I liked SKTTR's Pararoid review. Now I'm actually rather interested in that game.

He turned me off Iridium, though. That doesn't sound like it would be for me.
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Old 4th July 2009   #22
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I liked SKTTR's Pararoid review. Now I'm actually rather interested in that game.

He turned me off Iridium, though. That doesn't sound like it would be for me.
Get Uridium instead, its far superior to a mere chemical element. Seriously though Paradroid is one I deliberated over for a long time before buying. I'm not sorry I did, its a great game but from the screenshots and videos it can often come across as a confusing mess which is a pity.
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Old 5th July 2009   #23
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I liked SKTTR's Pararoid review. Now I'm actually rather interested in that game.

He turned me off Iridium, though. That doesn't sound like it would be for me.
That's good
The goal of each review is to make it clear if the game is something for you or is not. Uridium is cool, but it's definately not a game for everyone.

And in the end, Paradroid is the better game all around and imo the best C64 game on the VC and a unique mix of genres which makes it a worthy VC addition.

Uridium is by todays standards just another horizontal hardcore shmup that conserved some originality and great playability over the last 23 years.
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Old 25th September 2010   #24
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Good job, man ! I hope you make more reviews for this system.
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Old 25th September 2010   #25
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Yeah... I look into it.

Which one do you want me to review?
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Old 25th September 2010   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SKTTR View Post
Yeah... I look into it.

Which one do you want me to review?
Yes, Mayhem in Monsterland.
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Old 25th September 2010   #27
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Quote:
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Yes, Mayhem in Monsterland.
The C64 game or the VC game. They arn't the same you see.
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Old 25th September 2010   #28
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Quote:
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Yes, Mayhem in Monsterland.
Oooyy Mayhem in Monsterland of all things! I shouldn't have asked.
This game comes last in my list of C64 VC priority purchases.
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Old 25th September 2010   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Betagam7 View Post
The C64 game or the VC game. They arn't the same you see.
The C64 game.

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