GXP Gaming Blog

GXP Gaming Blog


Castle of Illusion Review (Retrospective)

Posted: 29 Jan 2015 05:11 AM PST

Castle of Illusion Review - Sega Genesis and Mega Drive

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WLlZGV2y67EIt can be hard to think of what existed on the SEGA Mega Drive before the days of Sonic, but there are many games which are still regarded as classics today.One such classic was Castle of Illusion; an enchanting little platformer featuring Disney's Mickey Mouse. Released back in 1990, it received unanimous praise from critics, thanks to it's catchy music, wonderful art style and animation, and - most importantly, the gameplay.

"Help me Mickey. You're my only hope"

The game opens with Mickey and Minnie having a nice stroll through the meadows, when suddenly a jealous evil witch named Mizrabel (nice!) swoops down and whisks her away. Sure, the "save the girl" storyline sounds like just about every other adventure game at the time, but like Super Mario, there is a lot more on offer here.The main quest requires you to collect 7 gems hidden within the castle. Each door leads through to a unique world with sub-areas full of variety, collectables and secrets. You must traverse a creepy woodland, toy land, enchanted library and more to reach your beloved Minnie, with a memorable and stylised boss to greet you at the end of each one.Castle of Illusion Sega Screenshot 1The platforming is spot on, with responsive controls similar to what you would expect in an 8-bit classic, although at a slightly slower pace. What you have here is something that presents challenge, but not with quite the same level of required precision.One thing worth noting here is the "bum-bash" move… or whatever it's called. Those of you who play a lot of Mario games may take a while to adjust to the method of pressing jump twice to kill an enemy. Pressing it only once results in Mickey clumsily stumbling onto an enemy and taking damage. So remember to press it again when you're in the air! Then everything should be okay.Castle of Illusion Sega Screenshot 3

That Disney Magic

So what makes this game so special? To answer that question you really need to look back at the famous Sega vs Nintendo console wars and what else existed at the time. Remember, Castle of Illusion came out in 1990. We didn't have Sonic until the following year or Super Mario World until 1992!This Sega exclusive title, developed by their own team, displayed a huge advancement in the quality of presentation, thanks to the power of their 16-bit system. With detailed and authentic Disney characterisation, a vast and beautiful colour palette, and some of the best parallax scrolling seen to date, it featured a level of graphics and animation that still look great today.Castle of Illusion Sega Screenshot 2

The Verdict

Overall, Castle of Illusion is an ideal adventure game whether you are a Disney fan or not. This title has a reasonable challenge factor and should entertain just about anyone who enjoys these types of games.There is a practice mode to give a younger audience a taste of the game without being too difficult, or the usual normal and hard difficulties to suit your tastes.Once you've finished this game, there is a limited immediate replay value if you are seeking more in the terms of alternate routes and hidden areas, but I guarantee over the years you will come back to it time and time again to re-live the experience as it is a real joy to play.I would highly recommend Castle of Illusion and consider it a classic and essential part of any retro gamer's Sega Genesis or Mega Drive collection.

GXP Gaming Blog

GXP Gaming Blog


Altered Beast Review (Retrospective)

Posted: 19 Jan 2015 02:48 AM PST

Altered Beast Retrospective

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VXwswlW_dNAIt's quite common for a game to come bundled with a new console, whether it's to display graphical prowess or to simply introduce you to an exclusive title or mascot. Nintendo had Super Mario, but in the late 80s and early 90s, before the release of Sonic the Hedgehog, SEGA's flagship title for the Genesis and Mega Drive was no other than Altered Beast…

Rise From Your Grave

The game begins with you being resurrected by Zeus to save your Daughter (Athena) from the evil lord Neff. You must battle hordes of monsters as you make your way through the underworld to defeat him, which you can do either in single player or co-op with a friend.Altered Beast has been criticised by many for being too short, as it only features 5 levels to play through. During each stage, there are a number of blue demon wolf-like creatures you can kill which release an orb. Each one you consume increases your strength and muscle mass to an almost ridiculous amount, until your third which results in you taking on the form of an Altered Beast.Altered Beast Review SEGAIt's important you pick up these orbs and change form, as this is the best way you can approach the boss at the end of each level. Failure to do so results in Neff mocking you from behind his lightning shield, before running away and leaving you to fight even more monsters.You can attempt a boss eventually in human form, but with only 3 lives and limited continues (unless you cheat or press A+start to resume from the level you died on), missing the first opportunity can seriously affect your chances of completing the game!There are 4 beasts in total, each with their own unique abilities. My personal favourite when I was younger was the dragon, thanks to the ability of being able to fly and carry out lightning based attacks which beheaded huge snake-like creatures.Altered Beast RetrospectiveIt has to be said that the SEGA Genesis (Mega Drive) arcade port of this game is very impressive for it's time. All of the playable beasts, enemies, bosses and levels all remain in tact. Sure, a few effects such as the exploding enemies and overall graphics aren't quite as good, but they are damn close! There's even a few enhancements such as parallax scrolling which give a much added sense of depth to each area.If you think of what else existed on the home consoles at the time, Altered Beast did wonders showcasing what SEGA's new 16-bit console could do, and really did live up to their "arcade at home" marketing promise.

Welcome to Your Doom

It has to be said that this game can be pretty hard at times. The controls are responsive enough, but there can be a few occasions where your beefed-up character can just get overwhelmed by enemies, especially if you are playing in single player.To say if Altered Beast has aged well or not is a tough question to answer, because even back in the early 90s it was only really an average game. It's a great example of technical achievement back then for emulating the arcade at home, but beyond that there is little substance to keep you playing for numerous hours.Altered BeastThe presentation is good, and the gameplay can be fun with a friend, but unfortunately the experience is short lived. There just isn't enough variety and longevity to keep you going for anything more than a few short bursts when nostalgia strikes.That said, I feel it is still a very important title for the Sega Genesis / Mega Drive and is likely to be a welcome addition to anyone's collection. If not for a little piece of history, you'll have a good time in the 2 player mode.
 Have you played this game before? Please let me know your thoughts on Altered Beast in the comments below.

GXP Gaming Blog

GXP Gaming Blog


Let’s Play: Gone Home

Posted: 07 Jan 2015 07:59 AM PST

Let's Play Gone Home

First of all, Happy New Year! I hope you all enjoyed the holidays!My main goal this year is to be a lot more organised across various aspects of my life. Part of this includes hobbies and therefore I aim to post new content on a more regular basis.I had about 3 or 4 ideas for videos to start the year with, but as I'm still waiting for some equipment to arrive by post, I went straight ahead with a new Let's Play video of Gone Home - an indie PC title I've wanted to do for quite a while now.Set in 1995, you return home after a year travelling abroad. You expect your family to greet you, but something's not quite right. It's late, it's dark, there's a storm outside and the house appears to be empty. There's a note on the door... what exactly is going on here?Join me as I find out in this full playthrough of Gone Home...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-BB6AmXNSC0There are 6 parts to this video in total which will be uploaded daily.If you liked this video, please let me know in the comments. If you'd like to see more, check out the MyGamerXP YouTube Channel and subscribe!I'd also be interested to know of any other games you might like to see me do a let's play video of. I have quite a few in mind, plus I need to work out a few sound issues, but I'm really keen to hear your suggestions!

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