Archives for April 2012

R-Type: PC-Engine

Platform: PC-Engine
Format: HuCard
Developer: Hudson Soft / Irem
Released: 1988 (Japan) / 1989 (US)
Genre: Shoot’em Up



Irem’s legendary side scrolling shoot’em up is regarded as one of the PC-Engine’s most accomplished arcade conversions. This was (and still is) the PC-Engine’s ‘killer app’. The game-play is simple, pilot your R-9 fighter to wipe out the evil Bydo Empire.

Your R-9 fighter is equipped with a small gun which can only shoot down the smallest of enemies without firing several shots. But, if you hold down the fire button long enough, you can load up your shot so it releases a massive burst of energy, eliminating all but the strongest enemies in its path.  To assist in bringing down tougher Bydo enemies (and help you get further in this tough game), there are souped up weapons that can be collected along the way, like the diagonally firing lasers and the mega powerful circular red laser. When combined with the homing missiles and orbs that protect you, your R-9 becomes a Bydo blasting behemoth.

There aren’t enough superlatives you could use to describe how great this game is. From the music, to the graphics, the stage layouts, the enemies – they are all perfect in this coin-op conversion. Even the difficulty is spot on (it’s tough) ! This is as close to a perfect horizontally scrolling shoot’em up you can get on the PC-Engine. Do not miss it !

Graphics As close as possible to arcade perfect.


Sound Your ears will thank you.


Playability Easy to pick up and play, but tough to beat and master. The difficulty is just right.


Lastability You will be playing this for years to come. All side-scrolling shoot’em ups are judged against this game.


Overall If you have a PC-Engine, this is your killer app. Go and get it !



ZX Spectrum: Happy 30th Birthday

Happy 30th birthday to you, ZX Spectrum

April 23, 1982: Sir Clive Sinclair gave the world, the ZX Spectrum. This 8-bit wonder took the UK by storm. It proved so popular that it was in production till 1992. It celebrates its 30th birthday today. So, to you, the ZX Speccy, we wish you a happy 30th birthday. May you celebrate many more to come !


By the numbers:
Launch Date: 23 April 1982
Launch Price: £125 (16KB), £175 (48KB)
Dimensions: 232x144x30mm
Weight: 552g
Processor: Zilog Z80A (running at 3.5MHz)
RAM: 16/48KB
Onboard Language: Sinclair BASIC
Display: 32×24 characters, 256×192 pixels
Colours: Eight available (plus seven variations)
Sound: Internal speaker (buzzing)
Interesting key technical component: The ULA (Uncommitted Logic Array) chip, aka: the ‘glue chip’, combines the functions of several chips and controls the I/O functions.



Pit-Fighter: Digitised fighting mayhem

Back in 1990, Atari released Pit-Fighter – the first fighting game to include digitised fighting characters. This animation was created through a “bluescreen” process which was a major feat for the day. It was the precursor to Mortal Kombat..


Pit-Fighter has three fighters to choose from: Buzz, the ex-professional wrestler; Ty, the kick-boxing champion; and Kato, the third degree black-belt expert. Each fighter has their own fighting style, strengths, weaknesses and super moves.

The premise of the game is to take your fighter through 15 different fights, with grudge matches (bonus rounds) every three fights. You become champion once you defeat the Masked Warrior.


Pit-Fighter has some interesting twists amongst its gameplay. Firstly, it has sly spectators that get involved in your fights by knifing you. They lurk amongst the crowd, so watch out ! The game also has weapons and objects to use, like: barrels, crates, knives, spiked balls, oil drums, sticks, bar stools and even a motorcycle ! But, beware – these weapons and objects can also be used against you ! If things weren’t interesting enough, there are power pills in later stages that can temporarily make both your fighter and opponent more powerful and difficult to hurt and ultimately, defeat.

Pit-Fighter hasn’t really aged too well, but it does offer nostalgic value with its digitised fighters and interesting gameplay, with crowd involvement and outrageous weapons/objects to use. So, if you want to relive the daddy of digitised fighters, throw in a few coins into Pit-Fighter.

Manufacturer: Atari
Year: 1990
Genre: Fighting
Number of simultaneous players: 3
Maximum number of players: 3
Gameplay: Team
Joystick: 8-way
Buttons: 3 (Punch, Kick and Jump)
Sound: Amplified Mono (single channel)





PC-Engine: list of HuCard games

Following on from the Genealogy of the PC-Engine, the natural progression was to document the list of HuCard games released on this magnificent console.

The list of PC-Engine HuCard games is to assist would-be gamers with details of games released for the console and its TurboGrafx counterpart.