Just Another Brick in the Wall – Game Gear – Sonic the Hedgehog: Triple Trouble – 1994

Screenshot of Sonic the Hedgehog - Triple Trouble (UE)Sonic the Hedgehog: Triple Trouble
Game Gear
Aspect/Sega
Genre: Action Platformer
1994

Growing up on the Sonic games and as an only child, I’m shocked that I didn’t push harder to try to get a Game Gear into my greedy little hands. I do have memories of playing the Game Gear rendition of Sonic the Hedgehog on a friend’s handheld, though- until the battery died. I never saw that Game Gear or game again until years later once I started collecting.

Sonic the Hedgehog: Triple Trouble falls into a strange era of the Sonic franchise. Dropping right into the same timeframe as Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles, the game released in the midst of a time when the flourishing series was expanding its roster and digging its heels into the same league as Mario popularity-wise.

Given that the Game Gear seems to have a fairly limited library and objectively paled in comparison to the Nintendo Game Boy in units sold, it’s sometimes easy to forget how much Sega invested in its potential. Not only is Triple Trouble the third “mainline” Sonic game to be released on the system- it does act as the sequel to equally known Sonic Chaos– but it’s one of nine Sonic related games to be released on it (including games that only released in Japan).

While Super Mario Land and its sequel commonly receive mixed reviews from folks in the current day, I couldn’t help but want to take a step back in time to see if Triple Trouble could stir up those old feelings I got from my original adventures with the spiky blue hedgehog. Given that I haven’t dug into the annals of the Game Gear library yet here on the blog and that this title interested me more than many, this seemed like a suitable place to break ground. Continue reading

Back and Forth, The Dance Goes On – Sega Genesis – Phantasy Star III: Generations of Doom – 1991

Phantasy Star III Title

Phantasy Star III: Generations of Doom
Sega Genesis
Sega
Genre: Sci-Fi Role-Playing
1991

There are elements that a series needs to hold its own after a number of iterations.  Looking at franchises like Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, Breath of Fire– and yes, Phantasy Star- there is always a need for new mechanics, more engaging stories, and overall higher quality content to justify to the fans that they should return to your series.  The first entry is an introduction; a work that needs to be pushed through its outward presentation before gamers will give it a whirl.  The second entry is a proving ground, where a series shows that it can deliver lightning in the same place again with a few upgrades here and there.

The third entry is the experiment.  With Final Fantasy, we got interchangeable classes.  With Dragon Quest, the ability to create your own party with their own quirks.  With Phantasy Star III: Generations of Doom, there was a solid jumping off point with the improvements that the second game offered over the first, but there were still some mechanics that could use a little work for one reason or another.  Given the success of the series thus far and being the first RPG series on the Sega system, it was imperative for the third Phantasy Star to dig in its heels and stake its claim to continue on successfully.  

While we know that Phantasy Star IV released, leading one to believe that part three can’t have done too poorly, how exactly does Phantasy Star III stand up to the rest of the series?  Given how fondly people usually speak about the second and fourth pieces of the mainline series, it’s interesting to see the evolution into the third and where it hits and misses the targets set up by prior entries.

If you’d like, feel free to check out my prior analysis of Phantasy Star and Phantasy Star II before reading up on this entry!

Continue reading

A Deeper Shade of Inky Black – Sega Genesis – Phantasy Star II – 1990

Phantasy Star II Title

Phantasy Star II
Sega Genesis
Sega
Genre: Sci-Fi Role Playing
1990

Having recently played through the original Phantasy Star recently, I can say that it took a lot of steps to revolutionize role-playing games and was quite ambitious for the time.  You can see my impressions on that game here.  At the time, the market wasn’t as saturated as it is now, and while the premier role-playing games of the time can be difficult to go back to for a number of reasons, they tend to conjure up feelings of nostalgia and warm feelings of falling in love with a genre that was really beginning to flourish in the West.

Phantasy Star II has a few things going for it over the original from the beginning- Dragon Warrior and Final Fantasy came out around the time so the market was starting to come into its own.  Not to mention the fact that its predecessor had been well reviewed by critics and the public alike.

Having had a couple of years to perfect and enhance the experience for their fans, how does the second entry to the series fare not only against the test of time but against the previous entry?

As a note, I’m going to try to delineate certain discussion points for future reviews to keep them segmented and outline where spoilers might be.  It may be expected, but given that this is a sequel related to the original, there may be spoilers throughout.

Continue reading

Every Good Rebellion Has a Rough Beginning – Sega Master System – Phantasy Star – 1988

Phantasy Star Title

Phantasy Star
Sega Master System
Sega
Genre: Role-Playing Game
1988

When people talk about fantastic role-playing games from the 16-bit era, the same answers tend to crop up- Final Fantasy VI, Chrono Trigger, Secret of Mana- but rarely do you hear a game from the Sega corner of the universe first out of a gamer’s mouth.  That’s not to say, however, that it never happens.

Sega Genesis has some pretty solid entries into the RPG arena, but most of them are one-offs or largely forgettable.  One series that has still had some kind of traction after all of these years, though, is the Phantasy Star series.  Predating Final Fantasy and Dragon Warrior on US shores, Phantasy Star made a splash when it came out but appears to have fallen to the wayside over time for one reason or another, subject to romantic reminiscences from diehard fans with charmed memories.

With a myriad of titles in the series across a number of systems, let’s take a look into the original Phantasy Star and the number of ways it should- or should not be- fondly remembered.  As with most story-heavy games reviewed here, be forewarned that there will be spoilers, though hopefully in short supply.

Continue reading

Looking Forward to the Games of 2018

pile of video games

Every year, there is a slew of new games that come out of every size and genre.  While I don’t often buy new games fresh off of the shelf, I try to reserve a bit of my entertainment stash to stoke my gaming fires with some current releases.  Given, I’ve run into a few flops in my anticipatory planning for years past, but I’m usually pleased with what I’ve plotted to add to my ever-growing video game library.

It’s no surprise that I’m looking forward to this month’s release of Secret of Mana, as I’ve discussed recently.  There are plenty of other titles that are calling to me across all platforms, but picking through those, I’ve come across a few that I’m especially excited for in a number of ways.

Feel free to kick back, check out some trailers, and check out some of my most promising titles to come into my gaming cases that are releasing this year!

Continue reading