Elevator Action: For Old Times’ Sake

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How many times have you walked in an elevator and starting thinking you were in the 1983 Taito game, Eleveator Action? Never! Really? It must be me, I am strange like that.

Since Elevator Action is turning 30 this year, I thought it was a good opportunity to have a game, for old times’ sake. So, how does it stack up after all these years – is it still fun to play? Read on.

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For those that have never laid eyes on this game, the protagonist is Otto, or Agent 17. Otto is tasked with collecting secret documents from rooms (behind red doors) within the 30-floor building. He makes his way between floors via the elevator (hence the title – d’oh) and on certain floors, he can use the escalators. To make things interesting, enemies appear at the most inopportune time to get Otto and derail his whole secret mission.

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Otto is no slouch when it comes to defending himself. As a secret agent, he is armed and dangerous. His trusty gun can fire three bullets per shot. If that doesn’t work, the enemies can be kicked. By far the most satisfying way to eliminate the bad guys, is by shooting a light on the ceiling while in the elevator, dropping the light onto the baddies. The byproduct of a dropped light is that the hallways become temporarily dark which makes the enemies harder to see – makes the heart rate go up a notch too. Another way to get kills on the board is to crush the bad dudes with the elevator – gee I’m a sadist.

After Otto collects all documents, he has to make his way down to the basement where he can escape via his getaway car. For some inexplicable reason, Otto proceeds to another building for more secret document hunting instead of driving off in the sunset. Ah, once an agent, always an agent.

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The controls are four-way (up, down, left, right) with two buttons, one for firing, the other for jumping/kicking – Taito catered for right and left-handed players by having these buttons on either side of the centred joystick. The game can become hectic, with the timer ticking down and enemy spies that pop-up just when you don’t want them to. Even though the action may seem limited, the game is still as much fun to play now, as it was 30 years ago. The graphics and sound could do with a spruce up, but back then, it was all about instant playability – which Elevator Action has in abundance.

Graphics Very basic in this department – enemies wear the traditional black suit with top-hat to match. Documents are hidden behind red doors, and the elevator is cool to watch go up and down.

76%

Sound Run of the mill bleeps and blops. Nothing to tune your ears into.

65%

Playability Taito plonged the joystick in the middle, with buttons on either side – catering for both right and left-handed players. Pick your buttons, and away you go being a secret agent.

80%

Lastability The gameplay may feel limited, but this is not a game to play for hours on end. It is great to play in short bursts from time to time.

78%

Overall Up, Down, Left, Right, Jump, Fire. No, not the Konami code, just the control mechanisms for a secret agent. Great game to kill 10 minutes of your time.

81%

 

elevator_action_machine_ausretrogamerManufacturer: Taito
Year: 1983
Genre: Platform
Number of Simultaneous Players: 1
Maximum number of Players: 2
Gameplay: Alternating
Control Panel Layout: Single Player
Controls:
– Joystick: 4-way [up, down, left, right]
– Buttons: 2 [Fire and Jump]
Sound: Amplified Mono (single channel)

 

 

 

 

Astro Wars: A Blast From The Past

Back in the early 80’s, the closest thing to having an arcade in your home was to have one of a plethora of electronic tabletops. In a sea of these portable tabletops, one stood out head and shoulders – Grandstand’s (Epoch developed), Astro Wars. Everything about this black and grey beast was and still is uber cool. It looks like a miniature arcade and it even plays like one. It has a 2-way metal joystick (for left and right movement) and one big plastic fire button – what more could you want !

                        

Even after three decades, the hardware oozes coolness. Just look at the unit ! The display is a “vacuum fluorescent display”, or VFD (the box says Multicolour FIP Display !). This was used on consumer-electronics equipment back in the early 80’s, like calculators. Unlike liquid crystal displays, a VFD could emit a very bright light with high contrast and could support display elements of various colours.

The unit feels sturdy and can be powered by mains (6 Volt) or with four ‘C’ batteries. The unit is “portable” – perhaps only around the house as you wouldn’t want to lug it around.

                        

So, how does this Astro Wars play ? Well, as a shoot’em up, it is quite simple – move your earth ship left / right to avoid missiles from the fierce squadron of attacking fighters and fire back to blast them into smithereens. Once you blast away waves of enemy fighters, warships and command ships, you attempt the docking manoeuvre – landing the upper module to the rocket part of your earth ship. Succeed with this manoeuvre, and you are given extra points. Speaking of points, once you reach 9999, the counter resets to zero and you have effectively “clocked the game”. When you do end up finishing the game, you still want to re-play it. Now that is saying something for a game that has been around for 30+ years. How many other games can you say that about ? OK, I hear people screaming Pac-Man and Donkey Kong, and yes, them too.

If you want a cool piece of gaming history with “pew-pew sounds” and a great game to boot, then hunt down this unit – you will not regret it.

For more photos of Astro Wars, go to the Facebook album

PC-Engine and TurboGrafx-16: great hucard games – part 7

   

All good things must come to an end. Part 7 wraps up the series of great hucard games for the wonderful little NEC beast, the PC-Engine, and the not-so-little TurboGrafx-16.

Do you agree with this list ? Let us know your thoughts.

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PC-Engine and TurboGrafx-16: great hucard games – part 6

   

We are getting close to the end of the series of great hucard games for the PC-Engine / TurboGrafx-16. Check out this list and let us know your thoughts. Most importantly, enjoy the games !

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PC-Engine and TurboGrafx-16: great hucard games – part 5

   

Part 5 of great hucard games for the PC-Engine (TurboGrafx-16) is stacked with gaming goodness. You don’t believe us ? Just look below.

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PC-Engine and TurboGrafx-16: great hucard games – part 4

   

Here it is folks, part 4 of great hucard games for the PC-Engine / TurboGrafx-16.
If you missed the previous parts in the series, don’t stress, hit them now: part 1, part 2 and part 3.

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Bubble Bobble: arcade

This is the beginning of a fantastic story!! Let’s make a journey to the cave of monsters!
I know, too many exclamations. Well, when you are reviewing Bubble Bobble, you just can’t help yourself!

          

So what is this game about ? Well, in case you have been under a rock since 1985, you play two transformed dinosaurs, Bub and Bob – you try to complete 100 levels and then rescue your girlfriends by trapping the Baron’s minions in bubbles and bursting them. Sounds easy huh ? Well, not quite. This game grabs you by the scruff of the neck and then shakes you up in the later levels –  it gets hard, very hard. However, Baron von Blubba has left a number of power-ups and hidden abilities to help Bub and Bob get further in the game, like: bubblegum, teapot, umbrella (to teleport), water and lightning bubbles. You better get your bubble-blowing fingers in readiness !

          

Well, what can I say that has not been said about this great coin-op game. Bubble Bobble is an absolute classic !

Graphics Cute graphics of Bub and Bob blowing bubbles and bursting their enemies

85%

Sound The sound effects and catchy soundtracks are dead on perfect and complimentary to the visuals and gameplay

85%

Playability An easy to pick up and play game. This game is fun in single player mode, but when you grab a friend and frolic in joint play, nothing else beats it !

92%

Lastability With 100 levels, and two game modes (normal or super) this will last a life time. Yeh, you may find it tough after level 20, but I guarantee you will want to keep going. That is its timeless charm

92%

Overall This is as close as you can get to a perfect game. Easy to get into and play, fun and hard levels (and there are 100 of them!) and in the end, you rescue your girlfriend and become a hero. Nothing could be better

93%

Manufacturer: Taito
Year: 1986
Genre: Platform
Number of Simultaneous Players: 2
Maximum number of Players: 2
Gameplay: Joint
Control Panel Layout: Multiple Player
Joystick: 2-way [left or right]
Buttons: 2 [fire and jump]
Sound: Amplified (Mono or Stereo)