Buying Random
Episode IV 


You guys don't get an intro on this one, except to inform you that I finally have them mixed up a bit.  Not a single console appears twice on this list! Consume!



I don't remember a grandfather clock in the movie...


19.       Die Hard Arcade (Saturn)

I don’t remember if I bought this or got it for free.  I’ve had it for ages.  I got my Saturn for free and it’s possible this came with it, but I can’t say that for certain.  It did, however, come into my life fairly randomly.  I’m a huge proponent of science, intelligence, freethinking, and the like.  However, I grew up in the 80’s.  And we loved our mind-numbing, illogical, mindless action films and bloody violence and explosions.  And no one did that better than Bruce Willis as John McClane.  I freakin’ love the Die Hard movies, especially (yeah, like Star Wars) the first three.


Die Hard Arcade was made by Sega and its gameplay is very obviously an evolution of what they had formed a generation prior with Streets of Rage.  A lot of things carry over in a similar manner, specifically grabs and throws, but then Sega went crazy and added a whole slew of new moves and combos—literally dozens of moves are available.  The game’s story “follows” the first movie only in that it takes place in a skyscraper.  Other than that, it bounces all over the place and even includes robots for some reason.  Nonsense aside, this is a fantastic beat-em-up title that, while short (it was an arcade game, of course), it’s entertaining pretty much the entire time, even if John McClane was never actually attacked by a fire truck in the movie.



Damn, New Jersey was violent.


20.       Vigilante (TurboGrafx-16)

TurboGrafx-16 games are pretty rare.  Early on in the life of the Wii, a website somewhere out there in the Interwebs did an analysis to see which old platform was the most valuable on the Virtual Console, the best value as it were.  The TG-16 won handily, as on the Wii Virtual Console, TG-16 games were extremely cheap compared to trying to buy the actual physical game cards in real life.   This was before the Neo-Geo games arrived, no doubt taking a new crown.  Those damn games will still cost you a hundred bucks a piece.


So, when I see a TG-16 game, I tend to take notice.  Don’t see these things very often, you know.  There’s a store a few blocks from me called Disc Land that sells tons and tons of very old video games—easily around a hundred 2600 or NES games on display.  At most, they’ll have maybe three TG-16 games, none of them in their original cases.  So one day, at some other place (might have been Half-Price books, actually), I found a bunch of TG-16 games and they were not only priced well, but pretty much complete.  For some reason I bought Vigilante.  For everything that makes Die Hard Arcade (if you started here, for some reason, you missed it above) an awesome and entertaining beat-em-up, Vigilante does the opposite.  Usually that means it does nothing.  Enemies move towards you in a straight line, there is no moving to the foreground or background like Streets of Rage or any of the TMNT beat-em-ups.  It’s a flat 2-D walk, like a platformer and enemies have a single attack pattern which involves quickly charging in a straight line towards the player.  The game is the definition of archaic, and in this way, nearly impossible to play by any modern gamer with better options.  It predates Streets of Rage or TMNT: The Arcade Game, but even then, it’s unbearably rough.



More processing that the lunar lander.


21.       Kwirk (Game Boy)

Kwirk is one of the earliest Game Boy games.  This is obvious by the fact this it seems to contain no actual graphics outside of squares and a something representing the player.  I think I’ve always been aware of its existence, and only in recent years, have I found out what it was.


Kwirk is apparently a puzzle game, and I have a vague recollection of it possibly appearing in a list of “best Game Boy games” fairly recently in the past couple years.  But yeah, it’s a puzzle game.  According to MobyGames, the player character is a tomato.  I suppose that made sense at the time.  Players take Kwirk the tomato and move him from start to exit of a room, and that’s about it. Oh, except there are puzzles.  The levels require players to move boxes and spin others to decipher their way to the exit of each level.  What it lacks in graphics (and it does lack graphics), it more than makes up for with brain-melting challenging gameplay as trying to decipher some of these rooms will give you a hefty mental workout.  Really, it’s kind of like Ancient Portal.  On the Game Boy.  Sans portals. But with crack.



When they predicted future video games in the early 80's, they always looked like this.


22.       Space Invaders: Infinity Gene (Xbox 360)


This game uses the Space Invaders name merely to adopt the graphical style of the original—very original—black and white arcade games.  By the way, the game is not specifically black and white, but it is created with that stark look and simplicity clearly as inspiration.  Amazingly, the visuals are surprisingly strong and hypnotically stunning, despite their stark simplicity.   It is also nothing like Space Invaders.  I had money in my Xbox account (or MS Points as they used to be, because nothing made more sense to Microsoft than to invent a nonsensical monetary scheme), and I like niche stuff like this, so I downloaded it.  It might have been on sale at the time, but I think it was just naturally cheap.


There is a fascinating variety of weapons available and enemies attack in an absurdly high numbers and vibrantly complex formations.  Weapons range from simple spread shots, to ever-present firing lasers that change focus or spread depending on your position on the screen.  Multiple insane boss encounters keep things interesting—but then, the entire game is pretty damn interesting with very little to it that is truly repetitive. Hell, when it is repetitive, it can actually come with a sense of relief from some of the more insane moments.  Multiple modes add a surprising amount of pizazz and a surprise dedication to Charles Darwin were just the icing on the cake—but then, the entire game was built around a concept of continuous evolution.  I bought it just because it said “Space Invaders” and looked interesting in a couple screenshots. I had no idea how blazingly energetic the game really was.



Only in video games do you find green plants growing in dark caves.


23.       Sub-Terrania (Genesis)


Sub-Terrania came into my collection through a very bizarre set of circumstances.  I went to a garage sale, and the people there had a box filled with empty Genesis game cases—most of which were in great shape and included the manual.  This was one of the games.  Or rather, one of the cases.  So I bought empty cases for games I didn’t own.  Later, after I had the case in hand (for very cheap, mind you, as the games were missing), I bought the game from the local place I noted earlier with a bunch of older games, including a huge number of Genesis titles.  Yes, I bought this game to put it in the empty case I purchased first. I can be a truly baffling human being.


Another shmup, sort-of.  Sub-Terrania is a game where you pilot a ship in an underground cavern as opposed to one of those lofty sky-based caverns.  Movement is a monstrous challenge as this is one of those older games that involves controlling the very thrust and landing of the player vehicle.  Walls are dangerous and fuel is limited.  Enemies are everywhere!  Are you stressed yet? Of course you are!  The controller would fall from your hands in a gooey slick of thickening sweat if not for the tense, kung-fu grip that keeps it squeezed amidst your hands!  Supposedly the game was heavily criticized back in the day for its insane difficulty—after, it would seem, the difficulty had been twice lowered during development. 





24.       Devilish (Nintendo DS)


Every now and then, GameStop has a Buy-2-Get-1 sale, and they also occasionally have a box filled with super cheap older games, such as the box filled with DS games in CD sleeves where I think I was likely to have found this. I have no idea why the game is called “Devilish.”  It’s not particularly Satanic, and that’s just disappointing.



This is essentially a paddle game—so like Breakout or Pong sort of.  Except that you move through levels rather than just clear blocks near the ceiling.  As the levels advances from an overhead style perspective, the level scrolls by and the player awkwardly uses the paddle and various power-ups to clear blocks, attack enemies and bosses and such.  I say awkwardly because you can move the paddle all over both screens and that the ball’s physics are highly suspect.  As in, I suspect they are using physics from some other dimension where left is up and down is gray and the Second Law of Thermodynamics is actually the Newton’s First Law of Apple Pie.  The premise might be fun if the gameplay didn’t seem so cumbersome and sluggish.  In the end, though, little about this is endearing and I never really felt like going back again.



Feel free to check out the others:

Buying Random: Episode I
Buying Random: Episode II
Buying Random: Episode III 


Play Bad Games


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