Bob is showing off with his subpixel animation. You know, brothers…
At the big VGJunk site today: arcade action, pure and simple in Taito’s 1990 action game Thunder Fox! Drive a jeep, clonk people on the head with a rocket launcher, but never, ever wear a shirt. Read all about it here!
Article about the Rastan Saga. Features animated gifs and stupid jokes. Enjoy X
Taito mugs: drink your joe with Doh ⊟
I’ll take one of each, please. Or maybe just a bunch of Arkanoid mugs. At $8.90 each, I might actually be able to afford one of these! They ship in September, which also happens to be when my birthday is.SUPPORT TINY CARTRIDGE Join Club Tiny!
Celebrating arcade game logos, day four. Who’s next? Taito, and I have to say that, like Konami, this was a bit of a disappointment. Taito was one of the oldest arcade developers in existence, starting in the early 70s. They gave the world Space Invaders and Elevator Action and Bubble Bobble and… Well, I could spend an entire post talking about the great games Taito put out during their heyday, but the point is, they had a lot of good games. They also had a lot of mediocre games. Taito had a lot of games.
But if there was one of the giant arcade companies who seemed reluctant to put much effort into their logos, it looks to be Taito. So many games relied upon demos or intro stories to sell themselves without a thought to the title itself. Arkanoid, Bubble Bobble, Rastan, Chase H.Q., The Ninja Warriors, Operation Wolf… There’s a staggering number of legendary games that just chose a font, slapped on some colors and left it on a black screen, sometimes to be accompanied by some sort of picture. Often the fonts themselves weren’t even that interesting; Arkanoid is probably the most intriguing of their “lazy” designs and even that wouldn’t entice me—although the captivating advancements they made on the Super Breakout formula (showed off aptly in their demo play sure did.)
There are some standouts in the legacy of Taito logos. (After all, they say even a broken clock is right twice a day.) Many of these are from shoot-em-ups, which Taito churned out aplenty in the late 80s and early 90s—and many of them were partially or wholly developed by other companies such as Toaplan, so they may not count. Twin Eagle, with its stony, nearly medieval font, unusual subtitle of “Revenge Joe’s Brother” and actual eagle perched atop the world, is not only memorable but fascinating considering it has you piloting a modern day helicopter against all manner of enemies. Not all their shooters were so lucky. Flying Shark is included in this post because it stands out from the crowd, but that doesn’t make it a good logo; quite the contrary, the mottled camouflage throughout is an example of over-decorating with a muddied, dreadful result. On the other hand, Volfied, the successor to Qix that would inspire a generation of porn-reveal drawing games like Gals Panic, achieves a lot in its simplicy, bending the (already unusual) font and drawing a line through it to represent the game. Crime City’s success comes mostly from its sharp contrast of colors (the bright red of its hand-drawn title against the cooler greens and blues of the city in the background) which is eye-catching amongst the competition.
As is often the case with other companies, some of Taito’s best results come from virtually unknown titles. Maze of Flott invokes not only colored and jumbled letters, but an image of the world in the background and a string wrapped around the letters in “Flott.” What’s that string for, you’re left to wonder. Is it a throwback to the tale of the Labyrinth of Crete, part of the game mechanics, or something else? You’ll just have to play and find out, won’t you? Runark, known as Growl in the states (and given a similarly-themed logo for its title there) is as ostentatious a logo as the game it belongs to: a fast-paced beat-em-up with over-the-top action. Games like these help to cement that Taito did have some exceptional logos in its time—but you have to look a lot harder for them than you would with some other companies.
New scratch-made sprites of the Crime Fighters and two of their enemies hit the site, along with Tony “Shucks” Gibson from Crime City and the heavyweights from Final Fight. All of the Crime Fighters characters have recreated version of their palettes in the fighting sprite GFX Generators and the naughty lady also has a sprite based on her art for the game’s Japanese flyer. Tony Gibson comes with a luxurious mullet.
(backgrounds from Final Fight, Street Fighter Alpha 3, KoF ‘98, Street Fighter Alpha 2)
adversary - Pocky & Rocky (Natsume - SNES - 1993)
ENCOUNTERED AN ASSAILANT:
a mean dragon
1993 was a banner year for the action RPG. After only mild pickings in the genre for the past few years, suddenly on the Super Nintendo side, Squaresoft had a hit and instant classic in The Secret of Mana, and in the arcades Capcom had put their touch on Dungeons and Dragons with Tower of Doom, while Konami surprised everyone with Gaiapolis.
Taito was not going to be left out of all the fun, and they released Light Bringer, also known as Dungeon Magic in some versions of the game. Not content with copying anyone else’s formula—not even that of their much earlier RPG action game Cadash—Taito really brings a quality experience to the table here, with nice production standards and a gameplay feeling all its own. To sum it up in one sentence, Light Bringer is an isometric, action-based dungeon hack with beat-em-up style controls. You’ll take control of one of four adventurers and set off through a series of individual rooms or segments of a dungeon which must be cleared one at a time. Progression may involve defeating enemies, solving minor button/lever/weight puzzles or both. Your ultimate confrontation is with an evil wizard or something like that who is trying to summon a demon. Okay, so the story isn’t exactly original.
Combat is surprisingly deep and—especially with four players at once—quite fun. Each of the characters can not only engage in standard melee combos, but also grapple enemies, charge up attacks by holding down a button, or engage special limited-use ultimate attacks. And you’ll need it all to deal with some of the monster crowds whose sole purpose in life is to destroy you—and the bosses who just might do it. Treasures abound, which can give you experience points to increase your level (thus raising your maximum hit points), recover health, or even upgrade your equipment, which actually changes your charge attacks.
The world of Light Bringer is a touch on the generic side—which means you’ll feel right at home with the enemies, items and environment, but also that there’s less here to astound and surprise you than in, say, Gaiapolis. The soundtrack has an extremely strong fantasy feel to it, and used Ensoniq’s awesome ES5505 sound chip which allows very high quality instrument synthesis. The music definitely feels a little more moody and less driving than you would expect from a beat-em-up and yet somehow it works. And in the end, that summary suits Light Bringer itself: it works. Beat-em-up fans should not miss this.