Dateline : 13th February 2012


OK so this is it. The final instalment of my Retro A-Z 2012 edition. It’s been a fun traverse back through some of the weird and wonderful titles and games of yesteryear, and hopefully I’ll have the chance to revisit this again next year. So it’s on with the show as we go U through to Z…..




UMBRELLA CORPORATION : The fictional pharmaceutical organisation that brings about the outbreak of T-Virus that leads us into the very first Resident Evil game. If it wasn’t for them, shooting zombies and all manners of warped creatures would not be possible. Nor would we have some of the most wooden voice acting in games history. Funny how the link between Umbrella and Rhianna gives us something truly stomach churning that only our worst imaginations could conjure up…..




VIXEN : Truly horrendous platform game from the late 1980’s with the one saving grace being the scantily clad woman on the box and the free poster inside. Further proof that sex sells and the focal point of interest was far better than the mundane offering the game provided.





VIGILANTE : See the entry for Renegade and you pretty much have the spiel for this average beat em up. This game did come with the rather bizarre storyline of having you rescue Madonna – yes THE Madonna of Like A Virgin fame – from a gang of hoodlums. The game implies your girlfriend is actually called Madonna but, seeing as this was the 80’s, it is far too much of a coincidence to be true. Anyway the game was a bit meh and got lost in the glut of rescuing kidnapped girlfriend games so it doesn’t matter all that much.




WALUIGI : Possibly the best result of “long night at the office” syndrome. The brain trust must have been absent for this one, as creating Wario to rival Mario made sense. Creating an evil Luigi however must rank as one of the most pointless ideas ever. It’s not as if Luigi is that appealing a character in the first place – after all he’s just Mario’s stupider brother. It would have made more sense putting Crap in front of Luigi and might have been closer to the mark.


WACKY RACES : I have been lucky (or unlucky) enough to have have played 2 versions of games based on the popular 1960’s cartoon series. The first was a platformer on the NES which had you playing as Muttley and had about as much to do with Wacky Races as not at all. The other game was on the PS1 which was more based around the racing side of things but was so easy it didn’t offer the gamer much of a challenge. There have been other versions on the Dreamcast, PS2, Wii and Nintendo DS, proving at least there is life in the series. Perhaps one day we will see a definitive version……


WARLORDS : Classic Atari 2600 which had you and 3 other Warlords (computer controlled or played with your mates) battling in an arena. The idea is to deflect the ball around the arena damaging your opponent’s walls until they are exposed. Then the fun begins as you can catch the ball by holding down the fire button and aim for them. Keep playing till Last Man Stands and you can claim the title of Warlord. A timeless classic which must be played in it’s original format to truly appreciate how cool this game is.




XENON 2 : Vastly overrated shoot em up which at the time boasted 3 things that made everyone rave about it. Firstly, the graphics which looked fantastically amazing. Secondly, the music using the sampled track from Bomb The Bass’ hit Megablast. Thirdly, the sheer size of the weaponry on display – it was meaty, huge and downright ludicrous. So perhaps the biggest issue with Xenon 2 came with the speed – for a shooter it’s just too damn slow, and the bigger your weapons and add-ons get, the slower you move. In some cases you can’t actually get through certain sections with too much bolted on. Great for the time but blast fans now will find it hard to get on with.




YOSHI : Dinosaurs are not meant to be cute. Yoshi is. Yoshi rules and for me he is the most appealing character in the Mario games, which makes me wonder why Nintendo have never made more of him.






YARS REVENGE : Another quality Atari 2600 title which sees you take control of a giant, insect type creature who has to nibble away at the fortress of a giant Apollo spacecraft-type alien. You have to do so whilst being tracked by a homing missile which you can take refuge from inside a neutral zone. Once you have nibbled a hole big enough you can fire your missile through it, hopefully hitting and destroying the alien craft. Simple enough, this is one of the best examples of why the Atari 2600 was so successful and the quality of games which were produced within the hardware limitations. Yet, once again, when someone tried to update it to the current generation of consoles the game was lacking in gameplay and hampered by the decision not to stick with original side on view.




ZX SPECTRUM : Putting it as simply as I can, if it wasn’t for the success of this machine then we would not be where we are today. The Speccy is as revered as it is ridiculed, but you cannot ignore the impact it had on consumers. We should all give thanks to Sir Clive on a daily basis for this wondrous hobby that we have. Sir, my hat is doffed in your general direction for your vision, your brilliance and your belief in the home computer.


Not for the C5 though, I have no idea what you were smoking when you came up with that…………..


NB – What happened here is one of those instances where you lose a week. I have no idea where it went nor do I know what happened. Therefore the next post will actually commence with my diary entry for 20th February 2012.