Muted Seething at Best – Super Nintendo – Kendo Rage – 1993

Kendo Rage (U) [!]002Kendo Rage
Super Nintendo
Seta U.S.A. / Affect
Genre: Action Platformer
1993

Plain and simple confession right up front before this article commences: I absolutely adore “magical girl” anime.  I think there’s something to be said for a genre that emphasizes friendship, inner strength, and over-the-top transformations and special powers.  I grew up watching Sailor Moon among other cartoons in the morning and when I started dabbling back into anime, I managed to find a few series that fit the tropes that still hooked me today.

When I was a kid, I visited one of the three rental places in town and came across a copy of Valis IV for the Sega Genesis. I popped it in and played it non-stop until I had to bring it back.  While I don’t remember renting it again, I do recall that it felt like the closest thing to a Sailor Moon game that I had seen, given the young girl protagonist transforming into a sword-swinging warrior fighting off grotesque enemies as she tried to save her world.  Given my fantasy-slanted role models growing up, it was no surprise that I would gravitate toward games and heroines like that.

This story is not about Valis, however.  This story is about Kendo Rage, a game that looked a lot like Valis on its cover- and turned into something a bit different once the game powered on.  I’ve turned the game on a few times since the first time I played it, but I finally completed it recently, once again finishing up a memory from my gaming past that was incomplete.  Given the twenty-five or so years of build-up it had gotten, I have more than a few thoughts to share on this little-known title from the Super Nintendo’s golden years.
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Bringing Up the Average – PC – Final Exam – 2013

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Final Exam
PC
Mighty Rocket Studios/Focus Home Entertainment
2013
Genre: Action Platformer

Much like the most prolific horror series’ have, some games need reboots.  Castlevania saw one with Lords of Shadow in 2010, as did Silent Hill when 2009 brought us Shattered Memories.  On a less established scale, under-the-radar horror franchise, ObsCure, found itself requiring a reboot after Hydravision, the original developer of the series, had announced that it had closed its doors in 2012.  Shortly after, they corrected that they were rebranding as Mighty Rocket Studios.

Having marginal success with the ObsCure series and a few other games as Hydravision, the company decided to go in a different direction with the series by establishing Final Exam.  While there had been rumor that a third ObsCure game was in the pipeline, the game that was talked about and the game that Final Exam turned out to be were pretty different and initial reviews of Final Exam didn’t play well as the third game in the series (hence the unrelated title).

Given my mixed feelings between the first and second games in the ObsCure series, starting up Final Exam brought up some concerns: would I enjoy the game universe?  Would I just be mildly offended? Would I even finish if it followed in the second game’s footsteps?

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Bamf, snickt, skrazzkoom, fshraakk! – Sega Genesis – X-Men – 1993

X-Men (U) [!]_001

X-Men
Sega Genesis
Western Technologies Inc
© 1993
Genre: Action Platformer

It’s been said before, on this very blog: franchise games tend to be cringe-worthy.  Once in a blue moon, clever developers realize that they shouldn’t make a game based on a franchise merely to sell games, but they ought to put some damn effort into it, and maybe check out the source material.  Tapping into a long established franchise to produce a game that does both of these things is a rarity.  Considering how old this particular comic franchise was, and that it had been dug into before (and after), it was unsurprising that the Genesis’ X-Men came to be. Continue reading