A ROCKET LEAGUE Table Top Game By Hot Wheels Will Be Available This Year

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Rocket League and Hot Wheels have teamed up again and is currently working on a real-life version of the popular game. The Hot Wheels Rocket League RC Rivals tabletop game will allow players to have two Battle Cars from the video game and try to ram a soccer ball on their opponent’s goal. 

The tabletop game was revealed during the Toy Fair in New York and features both Dominus and Octane vehicles from the game. It will also include a stadium, a game ball, and a charging base as a complete set. 

The cars in RC Rivals will be controlled wirelessly via Bluetooth from the player’s smartphone or tablet devices. A built-in scoreboard will also be available and will automatically mark down scores via an infrared sensor located inside the ball. Lastly, to even add the feel of the video game, RC Rivals will include the sound effects of Rocket League for a genuine experience. 

This will be the second time that Hot Wheels and Rocket League have collaborated. Back in 2017, Rocket League released a DLC that introduced two of Hot Wheels’ popular vehicles, Bone Shaker and Twin Mill III. Rocket League has also ventured into the toy car market for a while now as it has released a series of toy cars from Zag Toys and coming this March, eight Light-Up Clip-on vehicles will be released. 

The Hot Wheels Rocket League RC toy set will be available later this year and will be priced at $180. You can check out the hands-on preview by CNET in the video clip below. 

What do you think of Hot Wheels and Rocket League’s latest creation? Are you excited to play a real life version of Rocket League? Share your thoughts in the comments below. 

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Check Out THE ISLANDER, An Indie Farming Simulator On A Tropical Island

Ever since Harvest Moon made farming simulators cool back in the day, most games in this genre have always taken place in a far off country village where the player would usually inherit a farmland from a deceased relative, usually the player’s grandfather. 

However, a new indie farming simulator seeks to change the traditional setting by letting players run their farms on a tropical island instead. The Islander gives players more control on the environment by letting you design the island from the very beginning. Players who opt not to customize their own island can also let the game generate one automatically, but c’mon, where’s the fun in that?

Of course, even though the game takes place in a slightly different environment, the mechanics are still pretty much the same with other farming simulator games. Players can harvest crops, earn money, customize their farm island and get help from little assistants known in this game as “cocobots.” As players gain experience points and increase their level, they can unlock several new crops, plants, animals, and decorations for the farm. Check out some screenshots of the game below:

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Looking at the game’s official description on Steam, it seems like The Islander is taking a page from Stardew Valley’s book, as the objective of The Islander is to give players a relaxing, laid-back gameplay “designed to ease your mind and soul.”  Furthermore, The Islander “is not a game that requires fast fingers or sharp reflexes.” As a big fan of farming simulator games ever since I was a kid, The Islander seems like a pretty interesting game to try, especially considering the fact that it has an 87% positive rating on Steam. The Islander is available for $2.99.

What do you think of this game? Is running a farm on a tropical island appealing to you? Let us know what you think of it. 

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Broly and Bardock Are On Their Way To DRAGON BALL FIGHTERZ

After Dragonball Fighter Z successfully launched last month, Bandai-Namco has announced that two new DLC characters will be introduced to the game soon. This month’s issue of V-Jump has just confirmed that Broly and Bardock will be the new DLC character additions in Dragon Ball FighterZ.

In terms of the special abilities of these characters, Broly’s level 3 super will be Gigantic Meteor, which is a powerful energy attack that uses up to three Ki Gauge, and basically blows up the entire place into pieces. For those who have seen Broly’s standalone movie, Dragon Ball Z: Broly - The Legendary Super Saiyan, he was one of the characters who posed several challenges to characters like Goku and Vegeta. 

Bardock’s level 3 super is the Revenger Assault,” which references the Episode of Bardock special, where he turns into a Super Saiyan  to inflict a powerful rush of attacks down on his opponents. Bardock is the father of both Goku and Raditz, and he possesses a similar appearance to both of them with his black messy hair. Several screenshots available showed him in both his normal and Super Saiyan form, however, it is still unknown whether his transformation will be an in-game feature. 

As of the writing of this article, Bandai Namco has not revealed the release date and the price of the two new DLC characters. However, those players who have already purchased the game’s season pass should have immediate access to these characters as soon as they are available. 

What do you think of the upcoming DLC characters in Dragon Ball FighterZ? Have you played the game already? If not, don’t forget to check our full review of the game here. You can also see a detailed list of the current roster of characters already available in the game here

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The Best (and Weirdest) Advanced Techniques in Super Smash Bros. Brawl

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It’s almost universally accepted that Super Smash Bros. Brawl is, at least from a competitive standpoint, the worst installment in the Smash series. With the game's random tripping, combo-preventing hitstun canceling, and floaty physics, it’s no surprise that the majority of the "Smash 3" scene moved on to Smash 4 shortly after its release.

Despite its drawbacks, Brawl was once the most popular Smash title, and Brawl players discovered a myriad of obscure tech and movement options during the game's competitive years. Brawl was beautiful in its own way, arguably a more technical game than its successor. Here are some of the coolest Brawl-exclusive techniques—both practical and impractical—that you’ve probably never seen if you joined the Smash scene during the post-Brawl era.

The viable techniques

DACUS

Short for “Dash Attack-Cancelled Up Smash,” this technique allows the player to slide across the stage while charging an up smash. It can be performed by inputting a dash attack followed immediately by an up smash. The character that used this technique most effectively was Snake, whose particularly quick DACUS was made even more deadly by his unique projectile up smash. In fact, the technique was so popular with Snake that it was known as snakedashing during the early days of Brawl.

Many of the Brawl’s combos involved DACUS in some way; at Apex 2013, Larry “Larry Lurr” Holland—then known as DEHF—infamously finished off Nairoby “Nairo” Quezada with a down-throw to buffered DACUS. Another example of a DACUS-boosted kill confirm is Sheik’s grab release to DACUS on Meta Knight.

DACUS was not always a Brawl-specific technique. Prior to patch 1.0.4, it could be performed in Smash for 3DS. It’s similar—but not identical—to another Brawl technique: hyphen smashing, or the execution of a smash attack during the post-run sliding animation.

Glide Tossing

Another effective Brawl-exclusive burst movement technique is the glide toss, which allows a character to slide forwards or backward while throwing an item. The execution of this technique is as effortless as its name would suggest: simply throw an item during the first six frames of your character’s roll animation.

Glide tossing is perhaps used most effectively by Zero Suit Samus. The character’s markedly long glide toss and dangerous armor pieces—which appeared at the beginning of every match involving ZSS—are a deadly combination indeed. Glide tossing is also an important technique for Diddy Kong players: Brawl Diddy Kong’s ability to have two bananas rather than one makes the character even trickier than his Smash 4 counterpart.

The Draconic Reverse

A technique specific to Brawl Yoshi, the Draconic Reverse is a slightly over-dramatic name for what happens when Yoshi double jumps from the ground and immediately uses an aerial attack. Since Yoshi dips down slightly during his double jump animation, this technique forces Yoshi into the ground and causes him to slide a considerable distance backwards. The applications of this technique are very similar to those of wavedashing in Melee—Yoshi can attack out of Draconic Rush or use it to bait the opponent into overextending.

The “Omnigay”

This regrettably named doubles technique borrows the first half of its moniker from smasher Stephen “InfernoOmni” Silver, and is performed by a Snake/Meta Knight team. It occurs when the Snake player intentionally sticks a C4 on his teammate, who then grabs and up-throws an opponent. If the Meta Knight player is plugged into a lower port than the opponent, Snake can activate the mine at the apex of Meta Knight’s throw, causing the opponent to die at any percent, while Meta Knight lands unscathed thanks to throw armor. You can see this technique in action about four minutes into the video above.

Lucas stuff

Lucas has some surprisingly useful movement techniques. The first is Zap Jumping, which occurs when Lucas uses side-B (PK Fire) one frame after double jumping. This causes him to jump extremely high while simultaneously releasing a projectile, greatly improving Lucas’ recovery.

Lucas also has the ability to quickly move horizontally by double jumping and immediately wavebouncing a down-B (PSI Magnet). This technique is known as the Magnet Pull.

The useless techniques

These character-specific techniques are nigh-unusable in competitive play, but they’re cool oddities and still deserve to be mentioned.

The Flight of Ganon

An absurdly high jump that Ganondorf enters after inputting a jump and down special at the same time. It’s easy to perform this technique by buffering both a jump and down special (Wizard’s Foot) during a grounded Wizard’s Foot.

Snake’s taunt edgeguard

In Brawl, taunting with Snake causes the character to hide under a cardboard box. When any button is pressed, Snake stands up, releasing the box—and a hitbox—behind him. The video above (created by GIMR back when he still went by his full tag, God-Is-My-Rock) demonstrates that Snake’s taunt can be used for a situational,but extremely 'swagtastic' edgeguard.

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Bowser’s hidden power

Bowser has some intriguing Brawl-exclusive tech that was relatively underexplored during Brawl’s competitive lifespan, mostly due to the character’s nonexistence in the higher levels of play. However, these techniques provide Bowser with uncommon abilities that, when developed further, could have allowed him to slowly climb the tier list if the Brawl metagame had continued to develop.

In Brawl, Bowser’s grab release is unique in that he has 11 frames of advantage over most other characters, allowing him to regrab every character in the game after a ground release besides Donkey Kong, Jigglypuff, and Yoshi. Bowser can force a ground release by pummeling every 28 frames, allowing him to effectively chain grab most characters across the stage whenever he gets a grab. After air releases, Bowser is guaranteed some good follow-ups, such as aerial side-B (Flying Slam) on Kirby or Mario.

Bowser can also use Flying Slam to koopa hop, or perpetually stay in the air by inputting jumps immediately after using side-B. This movement technique allows Bowser to threaten both aerial and grounded attacks simultanously and affords him the ability to mix up opponents by weaving through the air menacingly.

It’s almost surprising that we never saw a top-level Bowser player ruthlessly chaingrab an opponent across Final Destination during Brawl’s heyday. Is Bowser’s frame data truly so horrible that it renders his koopa hop useless? Or is Bowser the top tier that never was—secretly viable for all the years of competitive Brawl, but underestimated by all? Unless a top-level Brawl diehard like Vishal “V115” Balaram develops a Bowser, we’ll never know.

Though it had many flaws, Brawl was a nuanced and technical game that might have flourished if game-breaking characters like Meta Knight and Ice Climbers didn't dominate the metagame. However, the competitive Brawl scene is far from dead. Last year's biggest Brawl tournament, Super Smash Con 2017, drew a whopping 182 entrants!

More importantly, the modern Brawl metagame is no longer eclipsed by the aforementioned top tiers. While Nairo won Super Smash Con 2017 with his infamous Meta Knight, only one other Meta Knight main was able to make his way into Top 8. That player, Cody, is proof that there are opportunities for new (or at least new-ish) blood to break through to the highest level of Brawl: though he's competed in Brawl tournaments (using the tag Quest) since 2012, Smash Con was Cody's first major Top 8.

There's still plenty of glory for the taking in the modern Brawl scene, and these advanced techniques are necessary knowledge for anyone trying to cut themselves a slice of it. If this article tickled your fancy, consider firing up your Wii, practicing your koopa hops, and joining the fun!

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Retro Corner – The Streets of Rage Series

Streets of Rage became incredibly popular and the ability to crack an enemy over the head with a baseball bat and grind their faces with broken bottles made this an incredibly violent title.   The music was composed by chiptune legend Yuzo Koshiro, it's 80's trance at it's best.  The sound effects were a little scratchy with Axel's battle cry being the worst culprit - sounding a little like a baby crying. 

Streets of Rage was also ported to the Master System and the Game Gear and were very faithful to the Megadrive original. The developers managed to cram everything into these 8-bit versions and all the bosses were present and correct. 

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Background

The year was 1990, the dead of summer - August.  Along the South Bronx, there were walls covered with graffiti.  The streets were rife with the heat of crime and violence and video game customers were starting to come of age.  Sega was becoming the console king of the gaming world and a new style of beat-em-up was beginning to emerge. 

With the advent of Double Dragon, the side-scrolling fighter became the hottest genre in town.  Nintendo began to secure the rights to another stellar arcade title, a step up from Double Dragon to be sure - that was Capcom's Final Fight.  This was a possible game-changer for Sega, with Final Fight confirmed to be released for Nintendo's 16-bit answer to the Genesis (Mega Drive) - the Super Famicom (SNES).

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In the pre-Street Fighter 2 world, Final Fight was the most anticipated fighting game in the gaming world.  Full of massive character sprites, a massive list of attack moves and a very accessible playable style.  The news that this was going to be released on the Super Nintendo was devastating to Sega.  Sega was, after all, famed for their arcade ports at this point. With their superb ports of Ghost N Ghosts and Strider, they were thought to be a shoe-in to port Final Fight.  But when this didn't happen, they began to formulate a new strategy - create a new game in the genre.

Bare Knuckle - Streets of Rage

Streets of Rage or Bare Knuckle to give its Japanese name, was as close as Mega Drive owners would get (until the advent of the Mega CD) to Final Fight.  If you look closely you might see that one of the characters - Axel Stone - bears more than a passing similarity to Final Fight's Cody.  The core mechanics are the same, both Final Fight and Streets of Rage have combination move sets and grapples.  There's also the ability to finish a grapple with a throw, which is perfect for dealing with multiple enemies.

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But for all these similarities, Streets of Rage, sharing the same development team as Revenge of the Shinobi, was never just going to be a standard beat em up clone.  Grappling enabled you to vault over an enemy and then deliver a head cracking suplex onto the cold cold concrete.  Grappling in co-op mode enabled players to combine attacks and deliver a powerful airborne attack. Another interesting addition was taking the concept of the shoot em up's smart bomb and using it in a beat em up.  A tap of the A button brought a sympathetic colleague in a Police car to the scene.  He then fires a bazooka, which decimates the enemy, it look's devastating and is fairly inventive.

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Streets of Rage became incredibly popular and the ability to crack an enemy over the head with a baseball bat and grind their faces with broken bottles made this an incredibly violent title.   The music was composed by chiptune legend Yuzo Koshiro, it's 80's trance at it's best.  The sound effects were a little scratchy with Axel's battle cry being the worst culprit - sounding a little like a baby crying. 

Streets of Rage was also ported to the Master System and the Game Gear and were very faithful to the Megadrive original. The developers managed to cram everything into these 8-bit versions and all the bosses were present and correct. 

Squint and the Master System version could almost pass for the Mega Drive original!

Squint and the Master System version could almost pass for the Mega Drive original!

Streets of Rage 2 - The Perfect Beat em up?

The sequel took the best elements of the prequel and made them even better.  Streets of Rage 2 - or Bare Knuckle 2: The Requiem of the Deadly Battle is still ranked as one of the best games ever made.  The smooth controls, gritty, bright environments, and outstanding music have stood the test of time but it's the ongoing narrative which is expressed through the levels which make the title still a compelling topic of gaming conversation.

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The leader of the evil syndicate Mr. X has returned, he's also kidnapped your partner Adam ( one of the characters from the first game).  Skate, Adam's brother joins the original team of Axel and Blaze and with the aid of Max - a professional wrestler, they take to the streets once again.   Each character has their own special moves, but using these takes some health away from your character - so you must be judicious in their use.  The combos are fluid and devastating and each character has a distinct move set. Axel and Blaze are the balanced characters, while Max and Skate represent strength and speed respectively. 

Max's power attacks are devastating!

Max's power attacks are devastating!

There's a balancing act which runs throughout the game, no cheap deaths or frustration which seem to run through most arcade brawlers.  The developers carefully placed enemies and items (like healing food) and while the levels increase in difficulty, it never seems unfair.  Yuzo Koshiro returns to craft the soundtrack and creates a soundtrack so powerful that it's still one of the finest today.  It is designed to match the punches being thrown onscreen with the frantic beats and sublime music pulses almost perfectly set in tune with the violence.

Streets of Rage 3 would include multiple cutscenes in order to tell its story, Streets of Rage 2's narrative comes from its art style and backgrounds.  The levels start one after the other, seemingly blended together.  Social decay has hit the streets pretty hard, the amusement has become a hunting ground for thugs.  The baseball court has even become an American blood sport with the rabid crowds baying for blood.

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Streets of Rage 3 - A disappointment?

By the time that Streets of Rage 3 appeared in 1994, perhaps the side scrolling beat em up had lost some of its popularity.  Capcom's Street Fighter 2 had established the dominance of the one on one fighting genre.  Gamers now looked that genre for the competitive rush that they craved.  It was perhaps this which explains why the third Streets of Rage game didn't receive the acclimation it perhaps deserves.  It didn't come with the dramatic shift that occurred between the first and second games and visually it was quite similar to the second installment.  However, the graphics are improved and an increase in the number of special moves which utilized the Megadrive's six-button controller.

Axel's powerful Dragon Punch returns

Axel's powerful Dragon Punch returns

The narrative in the Streets of Rage series went from conventional to nonsensically crazy in the third iteration.  Giant Bombs, Kangaroos, and Cyborgs with Ph.D.'s are all on display. The latter character Dr. Zan is an old man with a cyborg's body and is a playable character alongside Axel, Skate, and Blaze. 

There's not much difference between this title and its predecessor - in fact, the presentation looks worse and the soundtrack isn't as astonishing as Streets of Rage 2.  It's a solid enough title which suffered from the complete success of the previous title.

I hope you enjoyed this brief retrospective on three classic Megadrive games, as always I welcome your memories and thoughts in the comments below

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SPYRO THE DRAGON May Be Getting A PS4 Remaster This Year

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It has been reported that a Spyro the Dragon Trilogy Remaster may be coming to the PlayStation 4 later this year. Spyro has been one of the most iconic video game characters after its success back in the PS1 era. 

Now, several sources revealed to Kotaku that the original Spyro trilogy, Spyro the Dragon, Ripto’s Rage, and Year of the Dragon, are all going to be remastered by Activision. Ever since the successful re-release of the original Crash Bandicoot trilogy, it is not that surprising that the Spyro series will be getting the same treatment. The report from Kotaku mentioned that the remaster of Spyro the Dragon will “feature new assets, lighting, animations, and cinematics, as well as a remastered soundtrack. It will also feature updates to the save feature.”

Activision is set to announce the project sometime in March and the game will be available later this year for the PS4, with PS4 Pro support. A source also revealed that September may be the possible launch month for the project since it will coincide with the 20th anniversary of the Spyro the Dragon franchise. 

Lastly, it has also been reported that the remastered version of Spyro will be exclusive to the PS4 for one year, and will be ported to other systems in 2019. Since Activision (the team behind the remaster of Crash Bandicoot) is heading this project, could we also expect to see N. Sane Trilogy ported to other consoles as the game approaches its first year after release? 

Spyro the Dragon Remaster is going to be developed by Vicarious Visions, together with Activision. What do you think of the plan to remaster the Spyro franchise? Share your best Spyro experience down in the comments below. 

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Free Demo Now Available For Indie Stealth-Action Game PAST CURE

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One of the most anticipated indie titles to be launching in February has released a playable demo. The demo is free-to-play and available now on Steam for all the interested PC players. With only a week before Past Cure by Phantom 8 Studio launches, you can get a taste of what is in store for you.

I have been interested in Past Cure since the initial trailer from a few months back and are excited to get a chance to try this game out. With a genre that covers action, stealth, and horror, the path that lies within this game could lead in any direction and I am hoping to find plenty of twists within the story.

From what we know about the game, thanks to the interview we had with the developers, the story will focus on psychological horror and the action will take place in two different worlds: real life and a dream world. Each area featured in the game will have to be handled in its own way, whether that is stealth based or action based depends on the environment and enemies present.

Past Cure seems like it will bring a great blend of stealth and action to the horror genre. I am hoping it will be as enticing as The Evil Within 2 was and show the power of an indie team against a AAA one. Do you plan to try the demo or are you just going to wait for launch to take your first stab at the game?

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There Is Now A Possibility That Sony May Allow Name Changes On PSN

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Ever since the dawn of PSN, players such as myself have been wondering on when Sony will finally allow its users to be able to change their names on their PSN accounts. We’ve all been there before, thinking that names such as “coolguy123” or “gamergurl541” are awesome, and then immediately regretting it afterward. Well, it has been reported that Sony may finally allow players to have a shot at redeeming their PSN names. 

A website called PushSquare was able to obtain a survey conducted by Sony that suggests that the company has been “exploring the possibility of adding a feature to PSN that lets users change their ID.” The survey revealed users may be able to change their PSN ID “multiple times” for free. However, the ability to change names will only be available once every six months. If the user decided that they want to revert back to their original ID, then they would have to contact Sony’s support team. 

The information obtained by PushSquare from the survey did not reveal any details as to whether Sony would charge a fee for a name change. Comparing it to Microsoft, users can change their Xbox Live Gamertag once for free, and then charges will be incurred to the player for subsequent changes. Given the fact that Sony did not comment on the information relayed by PushSquare as of this moment, we should all take this information with a grain of salt as the survey stated that “We can’t be sure whether this feature will be added or not, but we can be sure your opinions on the matter will be heard. 

Hopefully, Sony will add this feature on PSN soon. I mean, a lot of players are already asking for it. In fact, during the PlayStation Experience that happened last December, Shawn Layden, a PlayStation executive said that he hopes that he won’t have to answer any more inquiries regarding PSN name changes by the next PlayStation event. So maybe they’re planning to add the feature this year after all? 

Would you like to have the option to change your PSN name? What is the funniest PSN ID you’ve encountered so far? Share your thoughts in the comments below. 

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Retro Corner – Double Dragon Trilogy

It's been a long time since I thought about this game series.  My memories with Double Dragon are entwined with the smoky atmosphere of 80's arcades when I was barely tall enough to see the cabinet's screen.  I also associate these titles with the home computer conversions I used to play and really enjoy.  Recently I found a package released on the PC which has brought the three classic Double Dragon games together, added tighter controls and better presentation.  Before I talk about this collection, however, I want to take a look back on these seminal titles histories.  Journey with me, back to a time of 80's optimism, places of bright lights and booming audio - let's go back to the arcades.

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Double Dragon was not the first of it's kind to bring flying fists and kicking legs to the arcades.  That honor would belong to another classic Kung Fu Master.  In 1984, this was the #1 arcade hit, the 80's obsession with martial arts and action movies (particularly The Karate Kid series) fired imaginations and this became one of the most popular games you could play at the time.  It was a side-scrolling beat-em-up, where you moved upwards through the Devil's temple as you attempted to rescue your girlfriend from the evil Mr. X.  It was like playing through the unfinished Bruce Lee classic Enter the Dragon and although simplistic by today's standards captivated my generation.

Taito would capitalize on the success of Kung-Fu Master and craft their own version of a martial art's beat -em up, albeit with some differences.  In 1986 Renegade was released to widespread acclaim, it again featured a plot which involved a kidnapped girlfriend.  But in this title, you didn't play as a clean cut Kung Fu Master, instead, you were a streetwise martial arts expert and you journeyed through gritty urban locations such as subways and dark alleys, dishing out punishment to punks who need to be taught a lesson or two.  It was this change in tone that began the production of a slew of beat -em ups, with familiar plot devices and environments.

The gameplay innovations brought to the arcades in Renegade and the fast-paced style of Kung Fu Master would eventually be fused together as Taito developed its next project - Double Dragon.  Double Dragon featured the scrolling screen, the backdrops of alleys and subways, but would add important elements like co-op multiplayer to the genre and the ability to use enemy weapons, such as baseball bats and barrels. 

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The narrative of the game was the tried and tested plot device of rescuing the girlfriend, but although the plot was cliched the opening scene with the garage shutter going up just as the kidnapping took place, has become iconic and often lampooned.  The gameplay featured a variety of moves that you could pull off to inflict punishment on the bad guys.  You weren't just limited to punches and kicks - but could also throw weapons, headbutt, jump kick, elbow an attacker in the face and throw an enemy, if you found yourself in a headlock.

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Double Dragon was then produced for the NES in 1988, this is perhaps the most famous home conversion.  It wasn't really comparable, due to the limitations of the system. It was still a solid title but lost the two-player co-operative mode, keeping enemy weapons until the next stage and some of the various move sets from the arcade. 

A slightly cut down version of the game, this NES title is still an excellent game!

A slightly cut down version of the game, this NES title is still an excellent game!

A Master System version would later be released by Sega, with some improved graphics, which made the game a little closer to the arcade original. 

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Additionally, a whole slew of home computer versions of the original title became available, the ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC and Amiga had their versions.  Most varying wildly in quality.  Double Dragon was one of the most ported games during the 80's and crossed over to virtually every system available.

The ZX Spectrum version complete with it's famous colour clash - not a bad port to be honest

The ZX Spectrum version complete with it's famous colour clash - not a bad port to be honest

This is the one I played - the Amstrad CPC version, colourful with decent hit detection.

This is the one I played - the Amstrad CPC version, colourful with decent hit detection.

Double Dragon 2: The Revenge

In 1988 Taito released the sequel - Double Dragon 2: The Revenge, this time the developers decided to kill off Marion and have Billy and Jimmy fight to avenge her cruel murder. There were a few changes to the control mechanics, providing new button setups to enable directional attacks, new weapons, and stages.  Double Dragon 2 also provided new moves such as the hurricane kick and improved sprite design.  This was another commercial success for Taito and was again ported across various home systems during the late 80's.

The rather Stylish Arcade art for Double Dragon 2: The Revenge

The rather Stylish Arcade art for Double Dragon 2: The Revenge

Again the NES port of this game is perhaps the best known, it was very similar to the original title but enabled two-player co-operative play.  The game also had an expanded storyline, including cutscenes and additional levels not seen in the arcade machine.  The player could also bring Marion back to life once he had defeated the game - a move not attempted in the arcade.  This became another well-received title and is fondly remembered today for attempting to surpass its arcade parent. 

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Double Dragon 3: The Rosetta Stone

The third in the trilogy was released in 1990 and is generally considered to be the weakest entry in the series.  The plot change significantly and saw Billy and Jimmy, along with new character Sonny, around the world to find the famous stone and defeat a mysterious new enemy in Egypt.  

High expectations for the third chapter of the series led to intense disappointments

High expectations for the third chapter of the series led to intense disappointments

The game was poorly received and having played through it again, although definitely not to the same standard as the initial two games, I think it has been unfairly criticised.  The main issue I have with the title is the choppy framerate and poor character animation and design.  The move set is fairly decent and you can purchase additional characters such as a chubby Kung Fu fighter called Seimei at the shop.  It's still playable, but don't expect the game to enthrall you in the same manner as the first two titles in the series.  

Double Dragon Trilogy

So, how does the Double Dragon Trilogy title stack as a compilation of these three titles?Overall these are great ports and Dot Emu has attempted to present each of the titles in the most attractive method possible. There are two modes of play in the game - Arcade and Story.  The former is the classic way to play through the series, starting at the first level and trying to get as far into the game as possible before your continues run out.  The Story mode allows you to begin the game at whichever stage you want (providing that you had reached that level before) - I was a little disappointed by this.  The name of the mode is a little bit of a misnomer, I was hoping for a new overarching narrative to play out in this mode. So Story Mode is really just a fancy save system.

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More importantly, this compilation has some new features, such as excellent support for modern controllers, a more consistent scrolling speed with none of the arcade slowdown.  There's also an excellent remixed soundtrack on offer, the ability for players to change video options, such as being able to see scanlines and change the aspect ratio.  It's also obvious that the visuals have been polished for this compilation release.

The enhanced visuals and gameplay mechanics make this a worthy collection to your game library.  It's out at the moment on the Utomik platform is you don't wish to buy it.  But you can purchase it on the Good Old Games site, the PlayStation Network, and Steam

Hopefully, you enjoyed this whistle-stop tour of one of the most important game series ever made, did it evoke memories or maybe the inclination to play it again - or for the first time?  Let me know in the comments section below.

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ECO Review: A Minecraft-Like Sandbox With A Purpose

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Creative games always have the aspect of letting you do whatever you want in order to be as creative as possible in the game. Minecraft is one of the most popular sandbox titles out there that give players the option to be fully creative and build giant masterpieces with freedom of movement and plenty of supplies while also giving the option to test players skill in the more realistic survival mode.

Eco by Strange Loop Games is a sandbox game with more of a purpose than just surviving and create. Adding an endgame objective to sandbox style gameplay and creative freedom makes Eco stand out from the rest of the genre. There's a reason this game was a top choice for me when I was looking at what indie games are launching in February.

Gameplay

Starting the game off you will be guided with a series of tutorials. These have to be followed in order to get your starter tools so that you can start cutting down trees, collecting stone, and working on the beginning of your civilization. The first thing you will be forced to notice is the meteor which is orbiting the world. Literally being told to find the meteor that is circling your planet, you will find that there is a countdown on it of 30 real-life days. This is how long you have to build your civilization up to the point that you are able to fend off the impending doom.

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As you continue to build, you will gain skill points that can be used to build your stats. You will need to build these attributes up in order to build better items that will help you destroy the meteor. Step by step, this is a process that will get you from only being able to build a wood home to building an entire factory and downtown styled area.

One of the aspects I enjoyed was that when you cut down trees, they actually fell over and then you had to break them up. This is the same process for digging dirt, collecting stone, and finding iron where the resources fall and react due to the gravity.

The game is more entertaining with a group of friends or a small community of players. Not only the group be able to work together to build up your collective civilization and destroy the meteor, but there are also various laws that can be put into place.  Basically, someone suggests a law be enacted and then the community gets to vote on whether they want that law to be enforced or not. This is a nice touch to the game that gives off the civilization experience that Eco is based on.

Now for the obvious feature of the game: the ecosystem. Everything that you do actually affects what is going on in the ecosystem of your world. You can destroy the ecosystem a lot easier than maintaining a thriving one. Even from the start, simply foraging too much food and you could end up finding the occasional dead plant. The ecosystem becomes harder to maintain, even with the graph system that shows your worlds stats, once you reach the point that you have factories and are pumping out a constant stream of smoke. This may prove to be the more difficult than it sounds but is a great challenge when it comes to keeping a balanced world while reaching a fully functioning civilization.

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Graphics and Sounds

While Eco still maintains the classic blocky, grid-like look, the game has a cartoon-style design that gives the world a cleaner and more natural look. The meteor itself has a crazy awesome design which looks threatening even from the start of the game when it is at its furthest point from you.

The music is very subtle, staying in the background while you focus on the world around you without distraction match well with all the different actions that you will go through while trying to build up your civilization. The mixture of the graphics and subtle sounds really let you feel like you are really building up in your own little world.

Replayability

You can always restart or join other servers online, continue to build solo and with people. There are thousands of different pieces to use, buildings to create, laws to make, and different styled civilizations to build from the ground up; literally. Plenty of reasons to play this game time and time again.

Your first home!

Your first home!

What Could Be Better

Until you create wheel barrels and other devices to help you out, it feels like a chore to collect supplies. Only being able to care twenty logs or stones at a time made the trips needed to build up your first home takes quite some time. You also can't begin to farm food from the beginning unless you set up the skill for it, which means you are stuck foraging all over the place. Sure, finding food is easy, but there should be an option to create at least a small garden of tomatoes or berries so that I have some kind of food nearby at all times.

Final Verdict

Eco is an interesting take on the sandbox styled gaming that includes creativity and depth. I enjoyed playing it once you got a good set up going. I enjoyed playing Eco and think it is easily a competitor against games like Minecraft. Any fan of the creative sandbox survival gaming will find themselves enjoying the time spent building and maintaining their own civilization.

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