Retro Gaming 90’s- Mega Man Legends: (1997)

Mega Man Legends was a game that stood out within the series back in the 90’s especially since it was the first 3D entry Capcom had ever made. For those who have been fans of the Mega Man series since ’87 they were surprised about Capcom’s idea of making a 3D installment; while others felt like the gameplay was too far removed from the look and feel of most the 2D entries from the late 80’s-early 90’s. It should also be noted that Mega Man Legends had a plot that was completely different from anything that was seen in MegaMan X or the MM main series. While Dr. Wily was generally the primary antagonist for the Mega Man main series Sigma was generally the key villain for the MMX games. Mega Man Legends was a game where the plot focused on searching for a power source known as Quantum Refractors through ancient ruins of the Earth. Mega Man Legends is definitely a spin-off game from the original series since the main character Mega Man Volnutt is basically spiritual successor of the original Mega Man; also Roll Caskett who was Volnutt’s girlfriend was a spin-off version of Roll from the main Mega Man series.

The gameplay for Mega Man Legends was very different from what fans were used to seeing within a MM game which was normally fast paced run n gun gameplay. In Mega Man Legends familiar elements of gameplay had returned such as being able to utilize the Blaster Gun to destroy various types of enemies. The inclusion of stats as it pertained to Volnutt’s Blaster Gun was interesting and gave players the option to increase certain attributes that would affect how much damage their attacks would cause. Players had the ability to increase stats that included Energy, Rapid, Range and Attack level after retrieving Buster Parts from exploring dungeons or visiting shops that sold them. In Mega Man Legends players could also gain access to special weapons as well but the only downside was that only one can be equipped at a time; it should be noted that players can only change special weapons is by talking to Roll Volnutt. The open world 3D gameplay was one that was different from what fans expected from Capcom in a Mega Man game but at the same time it was refreshing. Many people could not imagine how Capcom would be able to pull off a 3D Mega Man but Legends was actually pretty decent for a time period where basic 3D gaming was starting to become mainstream. Completing different missions in ancient ruins while battling pirates and interacting within non-playable characters gave Mega Man Legends its own identity; opposed to being a carbon copy of one of the previous installments within the 2D Mega Man series with added modifications. Despite, not being as popular as the likes of Mega Man II or Mega Man X there no doubt that Mega Man Legends was one of the best 3D installments within the entire series.

Retro Gaming 90’s- Cruis’n USA: (1994)

Cruis’n USA was a racing title developed and public Midway Games prior to its initial arcade release during the fourth quarter of 1994. One of the cool things about Cruis’n USA that it was among a few arcade racing games that ended being ported to the Nintendo 64. Although, the N64 port of Cruis’n USA had a different developer/publisher the game was still very similar to the arcade version and presented players with exciting 3D gameplay. Cruis’n USA was released during an era where arcade style racing titles were popular. Retro gamers who grew up during the 90’s saw titles such as Daytona USA, Virtua Racing, Scud Race and Sega Rally Championship released within that decade. While Cruis’n USA was a noticeable arcade racing game from the mid 90’s it most likely paled in comparison to other titles from that genre which were more critically acclaimed. Cruis’n USA utilized a similar formula that most arcade racing titles from the 90’s did; the inclusion of stages based on real life locations along with completing each within a certain time limit was basically the player’s main objective. Also, players had the ability to choose what type of transmission they wanted to utilize between manual and automatic depending on how skilled they were as drivers.

The visuals for Cruis’n USA was arguably the best feature of the game and it seemingly shined more in arcade centers than it did on the Nintendo 64. While the visuals for the N64 port of Cruis’n USA paled in comparison to the arcade version players could challenge themselves more if they owned the game for the Nintendo 64. By completing various race courses on the N64 port of Cruis’n USA players could unlock new cars or similar vehicles of color as they thrive become better drivers. Cruis’n USA was a pretty decent game with its main drawback consisting of its lack of innovation in comparison to other arcade racing games that were more popular during the 90’s. If Cruis’n USA been released for the PS1 or Sega Saturn its like that the arcade racer would have still have been overshadowed despite the arcade version of the game being a commercial success. If Cruis’n USA had more depth in terms of gameplay than Midway Games could have created something special that found a balance between arcade themed racing and realistic Gran Turismo like game mechanics.

Retro Gaming 90’s- Virtua Cop 2: (1995)

Virtua Cop 2 was a popular first person shooter arcade game that was released in ’95 following the success of its prequel which came out in 1994. As many people know the first person shooter genre of gaming was not too popular back in the 90’s but Virtua Cop 2 was one of the few names that most casual gamers remember along with the likes of Wolfenstein 3D and House Of The Dead. Virtua Cop 2 had a very intriguing plot yet simplistic gameplay where players could either kill criminals versus bringing to justice. The story of the game revolves around the main protagonists James Cool along with Michael Hardy being charged with the task of bringing an international terrorist by the name of Joe Fang to justice. Players discover that Joe Fang was apart of a criminal empire known as E.V.I.L. after learning that three other bosses of the group have been brought to justice. Both James Cool and Michael Hardy learn that Joe Fang had to be brought to justice after discovering that he survived a life-threatening helicopter crash. As the story progresses things become much darker as players learn about the death of the Virtua City vice-president under mysterious circumstances.

Eventually, popular stores that sold jewelry were eventually raided by cops after the bank accounts of the E.V.I.L. syndicate are cleared following nightfall. The element of suspense regarding the story for Virtua Cop 2 was enough to keep players emotionally invested within game which as a positive. Another strong point in Virtua Cop 2 was the improved gameplay over its ’94 predecessor; this allowed players to make one of two decisions at certain points of the game which determined the path they took with the story. It should be noticed that players had to do everything in their power not to kill innocent civilians while pursuing criminals. Virtua Cop 2 was a game that consisted three difficult levels where players had to engage in boss battles while trying to earn as many points they can throughout the game. Since its release Virtua Cop 2 has been critically acclaimed by car gaming publications while receiving port to game systems such as Microsoft Windows, Sega Saturn, Dreamcast and PlayStation 2 between ’96-’02. As a first person shooter Sega’s Virtua Cop 2 is considered to be legendary within the gaming world and some people would definitely agree that it deserved to be remastered in high definition.

Retro Gaming 90’s- Marvel Super Heroes: (1995)

When we think about some of the most popular arcade games to come from the 90’s one of the few titles that instantly comes to mind is the 2D fighting game developed and published by Capcom known as Marvel Super Heroes. For those who are unaware Marvel Super Heroes was released back in ’95 and was basically the arcade sequel to Capcom’s X-Men Children Of The Atom game from ’94. The gameplay & visuals presentation of Marvel Super Heroes were among the game’s strong points while including popular larger than life superhero & supervillain characters for players to choose from. Marvel Super Heroes included characters such as: Wolverine, Captain America, Iron Man, Hulk, Psylocke, Spider-Man and others. It should also be noted that Thanos was the final boss and main antagonist for Marvel Super Heroes considering the fact that he wanted to utilize the Infinity Stones in order to take over the universe. The idea of using different stones such as: Time, Power, Space, Soul and Reality to battle opponents throughout the game was very intriguing. As far as gameplay was concerned many people would argue that the Sega Saturn port was more superior than the PS1 version of the game; the Sega Saturn port of Marvel Super Heroes came much closer to the arcade version of the game despite the console itself not being nearly as popular as the PS1.

The gameplay for Marvel Super Heroes is considered to be legendary by most gamers because it seeming pushed 2D fighting gameplay to its limit prior to the releases of X-Men vs Street Fighter, Marvel Super Heroes vs Street Fighter and Marvel vs Capcom in arcade centers between ’96-’99. As a 2D head to head fighting game Marvel Super Heroes was very basic yet very impressive due to its art design and addictive gameplay which was a unique improvement from its spiritual successor X-Men: Children Of The Atom from ’94. Despite, the fact that Marvel Super Heroes was released about 25 years ago the game itself has aged very well and looks as fresh as it did back in 1995. Marvel Super Heroes was arguably one greatest CPS-2 video games of all-time and is a game that does not get talked about nearly as much as it should. As far as 2D fighting games are concerned it seemed like almost everything Capcom produced during the 90’s was special and had lasting appeal them; Marvel Super Heroes just so happen to be one of those timeless classics that the world got to see from the arcade era of gaming.

Was Revelations: Persona overlooked on the PS1 in ‘96-‘97?

As many might know by now the very first game from the Persona series began back in ’96 for the PS1. Since its release the very first Persona game was eventually ported to the PSP back in 2009. While the original Persona game received mainly good reviews in regards to its plot and setting its an RPG title from the 90’s that does not get talked about as much as it should. When it comes down to high profile RPG games from the mid to late 90’s games such as Square Enix’s FFVII & FFVIII comes to mind considering how successful both games were on the PS1. While FFVII went on to sell over 10 million copies on the 32-bit console FFVII reached close to 9 million in sales. Despite, Persona 1 being a solid RPG from the mid 90’s the game failed to reach at least one million in worldwide sales mostly due to stiff competition from other high profile games that appeared on the PS1. Also, the original Persona game pales in popularity to some of the later games within the series such as P4: Golden from 2012 and most recently Persona 5 from 2016.

In fact, many people would argue that some of Atlus best work in relation to the Persona series came from the 00’s & 10’s decade considering the fact that the series in general was more popular during that time period. While Revelations: Persona had a dark and intriguing plot the storyline was not quite as memorable as Persona 4 or 5. While the original Persona game was eventually ported as a Japanese exclusive for Microsoft Windows in ’99 the game was never released for any other game console other than PS1 & PSP since ’96. Since the PlayStation Vita is known for being one of the most unsuccessful game systems in recent memory it did not make too much sense for Atlus to not release Revelations: Persona for any console since ’09. If P4: Golden was released on the PS3 or even saved for the PS4 in 2013 it could have possibly sold more than it did. While Revelations: Persona is considered to be a sleeper hit in the eyes of many its mainly because the series in general became very popular during the late 00’s along with the 10’s decade. Despite, Revelations: Persona being a solid 3D JRPG for the PS1 it would be an understatement to say that the game was overlooked on the 32-bit console back in the 90’s in countries like America.

Was the final level of Super Mario Land 2 unfair?

Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins is quite possibly the best Mario game to have appeared on Game Boy back in the 90’s. Not only was Super Mario Land 2 one of the easiest Mario installments within the series but the world got to see the debut of Wario who appeared game as the main antagonist back in ’92. Despite, how successful Super Mario Land 2 became following its initial release the game has often been the subject of criticism as it pertains to its final level inside Wario’s Castle. As we all know a majority of Mario games back in the day had Bowser’s Castle as the final level but they were not nearly as difficult to complete as Wario’s Castle was in Super Mario Land 2. There were countless obstacles thrown at the player who controlled Mario included moving spikes along with statues that spit fire along with the entire stage being filled with lava. The absence of save checkpoints in Wario’s Castle made the level unbearable to some people; while the final boss battle with Wario himself was interesting yet more complex than anything you would see Bowser in some of the older NES/SNES Mario games.

If players screwed up once in Wario’s Castle they had to start all the way from the beginning making this level very unforgiving for such an easy game in Super Mario Land 2. While many people around the world have made more difficult levels using Super Mario Maker 1 & 2 since 2015 Wario’s Castle was by far one of the most difficult video game levels in history during Nintendo’s Game Boy era. For such a difficult level in Wario’s Castle the ending seemed underwhelming considering all of the trouble players had to go through in order to complete the entire game. To say that the final level of Super Mario Land 2 would be an understatement at this point; but seeing that Wario became more popular as a anti-hero from Super Mario Land 3 onwards its not a big deal for so many people who were fans of the series.

Should Star Ocean have been released in America during 1996?

One of the few JRPG’s for the Super NES that may have her overlooked back in the mid ’90s was Star Ocean from ’96. For those who do not know Star Ocean was developed by video game company tri-Ace and published by Square Enix and was released exclusively in Japan during the summer of 1996. Unlike, some of the previous JRPG’s that Square Enix has published between the early to mid 90’s Star Ocean had features that made it stand out more on the SNES. Unlike games such as Secret Of Mana & Chrono Trigger it should be noted that Star Ocean was one of the few JRPG’s in the SNES that included voice samples. By the mid 90’s video games were able to push the limits of the 16-bit SNES and being able to do things that was previously thought to be impossible when the console was first released in 1990. The visual aspect of Star Ocean was also very impressive along with the plot which emphasized time travel. Star Ocean was a game that could have been very successful in the early 90’s especially since 2D JRPG’s were more popular during that time period.

In fact, some people might of have been surprised that Star Ocean was released exclusively in Japan for the SNES especially considering the fact that the 16-bit console was starting to decline in popularity by the mid 90’s. Many have probably questioned why Star Ocean was not ported for the PS1 during the mid 90’s seeing popular Sony’s 32-bit console was during the time. Either way, despite how adventurous the plot for Star Ocean along with how polished it looked on the SNES it still may not have been a huge attraction in America back in 1996. American gamers were more fixated on 3D gaming along with titles such as Mortal Kombat & Killer Instinct that emphasized blood, gore and violence. While it made sense to keep Star Ocean as a Japanese exclusive during the mid 90’s the game still should have been released in America much sooner than it was. Star Ocean was not officially released in America until October 2008 before it appeared worldwide on PlayStation 4 & Nintendo in December 2019. If the original Star Ocean game appeared on the Game Boy Advance back in the early 00’s it could have been somewhat of an attraction on the 32-but handheld console seeing how successful it ended up becoming during that decade.