Video Works by Jeremy Parish

Let's kick off the new year by looking at 2020's hottest NES release: A reissue of Irem classic Metal Storm by Retro-Bit Entertainment (and Castlemania Games, and Limited Run Games, and so on). While Metal Storm came out in U.S. back in the day, this rerelease is actually a new conversion of the Japanese game that shipped a year after America's cart and included some new features, including an introductory story cinematic, new difficulty settings, different color schemes for many graphics, and some handy built-in cheat codes. It's new! And old! It's good.

Special thanks to Retro-Bit for this review copy. Preorders for this new version of the game are still available at https://castlemaniagames.com/collections/frontpage/products/metalstorm-collectors-edition

Video Works is funded through Patreon (http://www.patreon.com/gamespite) — support the show and get access to every episode up to two weeks in advance of its YouTube debut! And be sure to check out the Retronauts podcast (http://www.retronauts.com), where I (and many others!) tackle a much wider array of classic gaming topics each week.


Hmmm... another out-of-sequence video, though this one is vastly moreso than Tower of Druaga. Batman hit the U.S. two and a half years after our current point in NES Works (Feb 1990 vs. Sept. 1987). But this episode is by patron request as a Christmas gift for his wife, so how can ya say no to that? (You, too, can make similarly heartwarming requests as a video patron: http://www.patreon.com/gamespite) Two years clearly made a huge difference in terms of design, tech, and sophistication. Batman is a far cry from the kinds of games we've been looking at on NES Works. In fairness, it's one of the strongest NES releases from 1990, but the design skills and underlying tech boosts required for this game simply didn't exist in 1987.

The 1989 Batman film was a huge media event, and for many kids this detailed, challenging game (bursting as it was with excellent music and quirky but tight controls) was the highlight of that marketing blitz.

Video Works is funded through Patreon (http://www.patreon.com/gamespite) — support the show and get access to every episode up to two weeks in advance of its YouTube debut! And be sure to check out the Retronauts podcast (http://www.retronauts.com), where I (and many others!) tackle a much wider array of classic gaming topics each week.

Direct download: Batman20retrospective-20Wayne20of20terror207C20NES20Works2023168.mp4
Category:Video Games -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

We're briefly jumping one month out of chronological order here in 1990, from Nov. 30 to Dec. 31, to look at a game that keeps showing up in Video Works: Namco's The Tower of Druaga. While admittedly it's the arcade game from 1984 and the Famicom port from 1985 that keep getting mention for their formative impact on Japanese games design, rather than this port from five or six hours later, this is a more or less direct conversion of the original... plus a few quality-of-life tweaks. Anyway, with this episode in the can, I don't have to explain The Tower of Druaga every time I reference it.

Video Works is funded through Patreon (http://www.patreon.com/gamespite) — support the show and get access to every episode up to two weeks in advance of its YouTube debut! And be sure to check out the Retronauts podcast (http://www.retronauts.com), where I (and many others!) tackle a much wider array of classic gaming topics each week.


The holiest of NES holy grails arrives this week: Stadium Events by Human Entertainment and Bandai. This game is worth relatively little in its European release, and has almost zero value in its reissued "World Class Track Meet" version. But stumble across the original U.S. release and you've basically paid for your retirement. Special thanks to Steve Lin for allowing me to include actual photography of this rarity here.

For contrast, the backup feature: Winter Games, a complete botch job of the PC sports classic by Epyx. It has no intrinsic value, either as a game or as a collector's item.

Video Works is funded through Patreon (http://www.patreon.com/gamespite) — support the show and get access to every episode up to two weeks in advance of its YouTube debut! And be sure to check out the Retronauts podcast (http://www.retronauts.com), where I (and many others!) tackle a much wider array of classic gaming topics each week.


The second and third of Nintendo's first-party releases at the GBA's Japanese launch go under the microscope here as we examine F-Zero: Maximum Velocity (a reversion of the franchise to its original Super NES style) and Napoléon, AKA L'Aigle de Guerre (a real-time strategy game, sort of). By embracing the speediest and deepest of 16-bit genres, they help reinforce just what a big deal GBA was at the time of its launch—a proper home console experience on the go! That you could barely see. But hey. Details.

Video Works is funded through Patreon (http://www.patreon.com/gamespite) — support the show and get access to every episode up to two weeks in advance of its YouTube debut! And be sure to check out the Retronauts podcast (http://www.retronauts.com), where I (and many others!) tackle a much wider array of classic gaming topics each week.


A quick bit of backpeddling here to catch a launch title I missed: Acclaim's Turok 2, which was only a launch title in Europe (that most poorly documented of regions for console releases). You may think a 64-bit first-person shooter would be a poor fit for the Game Boy Color, but to its creators' credit, the game does its best. Not exactly a timeless classic, but surprisingly playable despite its glaring flaws. Video Works is funded through Patreon (http://www.patreon.com/gamespite) — support the show and get access to every episode up to two weeks in advance of its YouTube debut! And be sure to check out the Retronauts podcast (http://www.retronauts.com), where I (and many others!) tackle a much wider array of classic gaming topics each week.


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