Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Dream Gear 75-in-1 (Part 1)

If you read any of the websites seen on my links section, you probably know what the DreamGear is (and how bad their games are). In case you don't, I'll give you a brief description: DreamGear is a collection of portable Famiclones, normally without cartridge slot. These have either their own LCD screen or are embedded into a joystick for connection to a TV set. They run on modified NES hardware, known as OneBus, which is able to show as much as 16 colors per tile instead of 4. The games on these systems are not the typical games you find on multicarts. Instead they have their own games, produced by Chinese companies like Nice Code and Trump Grand, which absolutely suck in every sense, and that normally bear ridiculously funny names. And today you're going to see me playing the "best" of them :-D So, let's start!


Believe it or not, these Chinese guys seem to have an obsession for the word "aether". There are several DreamGear games bearing the word "aether" proudly, like if it meant anything for the 12-year-old boy wth a 100-word vocabulary whose parents gave him a DG console instead of whatever nowadays kids play. "Aether Cruiser" is a game where you can do just two things: shoot and die. After playing 2 minutes of this you'll probably want to try dying to change things a bit. Next!

What's funny about these guys is that even if they're making supposedly original games instead of just pirating games from the eighties is that they can't avoid stealing either graphics, sounds or ideas from other games. "Pulveration" is just a really bad "Battle City" clone which seems to lack any kind of fortress to guard or a pause feature. Destroying the houses and buildings is more entertaining than attacking the other tanks, which lack any kind of AI. The only good thing about this game is that the level scrolls, but it doesn't matters since your tank moves so slowly.

Another thing these guys like to do is making version of old games, either real life games (like puzzles) or of old video games like Sokoban. This is a clone of Towers of Hanoi, where you must take the glasses from the left table to the right table in the least movements possible. You just do your thing, the games tells you "Win" and you're done. This game has no sound at all, making it a forgettable try at making a game. Next...


"Mirror Devil World" is probably the most elaborated game in the entire system, which is not saying much. it's basically a bad clone of the Irem's arcade game, "Meikyuujima" (also known as "Kickle Cubele"), but with the most repetitive music you could ask for. You basically step on any of the already built blocks and press the A button to produce a block, then press the B button to throw it to form a road. Then you must go and step on the rectangular blocks below the devil mirrors (which will throw fireballs and rocks at you, just like any other devil mirror out there) to make it vanish. Complete the level and you're free to go to more boring levels of mirror-destroying action. I hope you're not superstitious.


Doesn't this looks a little familiar? Oh, yeah, I know, it's a bad clone of "Pac-Man", right?
Bad jokes aside, this is a rip-off of "Arkanoid" programmed from scratch, which means it was completely ruined. First of all, these guys couldn't resist the temptation of putting their off-key music playing at all times, even on the title screen. You get like a thousand lives on this version, probably to cheer kids with low self-steem who can't get pass level 1 of the real game. And also, the ball psychics absolutely suck. With a little luck, your ball will make impossible moves and get rid of 30 blocks at once. Finally, on this version you don't need to destroy all blocks, you just need to touch the diamond with the ball and you're done. Curiously, level 4 still had the Space Invaders theme, they didn't bother to modify any of the levels.


In case you're wondering what an "abscondee" means, it's a person who's escaping from something or someone. In this case, the abscondee would be you, which will escape from this game. You simply wander around a maze, picking color balls. Grab all the balls within the tight time limit and pass to the next level to pick more balls. Don't you dare touch those blades, if they start cycling they will make your little guy produce the most chilling sound ever.


This Tetris clone is actually a hack of "Poketetris", which is found on a 4-in-1 multicart with Pokemon-themed games. See the guy in the middle of the screen? It was Pikachu on the original game, implying this clone has anything original, of course... But wait, it actually has something original: completely odd and awful pieces like the one in the picture! Unfortunately this is not the only successful attempt at making you hate such classic game like Tetris on this system.


Ready to help Kunio-Kun kick some bat ass? Well, though luck because in this game you don't control Kunio, you're just a kid who shots bats while jumping over snowballs.

Okay, in part 2 I'll show you more crappy games, including more Tetris clones, the typical Sokoban clone and more rip-off of old arcade games. Stay tuned!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Auto-Upturn (1991)

A bad games blog couldn't exist without reviewing at least one Sachen game. Am I the only one who likes to torture himself with these games? I hope so. Anyways, "Auto-Upturn" is a variation of the classic "Fifteen puzzle" (Wikipedia article), however in this case you wonder around the puzzle with your character (which changes with every level), picking the pieces of the picture and putting them in their correct place. Sounds easy, huh? Maybe, but it's made by Sachen, remember? So what could be a extremely boring puzzle game becomes a really bad and pseudo-pornographic puzzle game with really annoying music. So, what are we waiting for? Let's go.

By pressing start you get a cute cut-scene leading to level 1:

I never trusted dogs with sun burns. As you can guess, you control a cat on this level. I must admit he looks really cute. Unfortunately that's the only cute thing on this level: the dogs are a bunch of pricks who come out from nowhere and the sound effects will drive you crazy. So here's level one:

You get a completely scrambled picture of two cats watching the sunset and you must re-arrange the blocks to form the picture. By pressing Start you can see the correct picture all the times you want. However, starting from level 2 every time you press Start the picture will have its colors degraded more and more up to a point where it's almost useless, so you better have good memory.

Aren't they cute? The enemies change with every level too, of course. In level 1 you face the aforementioned beach loving dogs and bones who come up from nowhere and can spin pretty quickly. Every time they touch you not only you lose energy (you can get touched a few times, like 5 or 6, before losing a life) but you also get this annoying beeping which tells you you're having a brief moment of invincibility. The music restarts every time you come back from the pause, so I would advice you to turn down the volume. Now let's go to level 2:

It seems Christmas is early this year! :-D The next level is localized in New York, which as you know is infamous for having red-skinned punks and cactus vandals at every corner. This level picture is a postal of Santa in NY.

God, those guys are really ugly! No bicycle for you this year, red punk. This pic is somewhat harder to solve, but as I told you is important to have good memory. otherwise the picture will be rendered useless if you watch it too many times, like this:

Ugh. In the following levels, the degradation of the picture will hide important details.

We're done with level 2, thankfully. Let the bizarre pictures and the off-key music continue.

A drunken shark and a sailor being attacked. Shouldn't it be the other way around?

It's a boat picture this time. Again, pick a piece with the A button, avoid the octopus and the drunken shark and put it on the right place. I must admit the sailor looks cute too. Also, it seems these Sachen guys had a sense of humor. Too bad they didn't were as applied when composing music.

We're done with this. Level 4, please.

Okay, this is getting bizarre. What is attacking the panda? A radish with sun glasses? And what's that thing at the left? A dinosaur?... Meh, anyways, here's level 4:

On the Chinese Wall, waiting for the coins to fall... As you can guess we're in China now, and it seems they've been cropping transgenic vegetables, since the radish became alive and went on a sunglasses shopping spree and panda harassing madness. Form the picture of the Chinese Wall and you're done. Unfortunately it's not as easy as it sounds, those radish can spin pretty quickly.

Thanks God I'm done with the Chinese Wall. Unfortunately there are more puzzles to come, when will this nightmare end?!
I won't even bother coming up with a comment on this!

This level is extremely difficult, not only because the picture has too many details, but also because the blocks go white when you step on them, making impossible to see what block you're grabbing until you actually have it in your hands. This time we have a dragon.

Solving this thing was extremely difficult, to the point I actually ran out of time and I lost the game. Fortunately I saved the game before that, God bless save states. The game lets you continue from the level you lost, but you have to start the picture over, and I'm not doing that.

A green-haired Dracula being harassed by a green onion. Yeah, whatever. I just want to finish this damn game!

Suddenly this game got interesting. Well, not really, but the first time I played this game I was surprised to see nudity on it, considering how innocent it starts with cute cats and cute sailors. What I don't get is how Dracula has any relation to a half naked woman. Maybe she's waiting to be bitten by him? I censored the picture a little, but you're not missing much. Believe me.

Dracula looks cute too, even if his color palette is odd to say the least. Anyways, having finished with level 6 we go to what THANKS GOD is the last level of this game:

Here we have caught on tape the moment in which the famous mambo musician, Pedro Jiménez, was physically attacked with a triangle by a Martian man.

I actually think this might be the most beautiful picture in the whole game. It's like an artistic nude.

Seriously, what are those things? Are they aliens or are they supposed to be lizard tourists?

Thanks God, I made it!! I can't believe I actually went through all of it... And the worst of all is that your only reward for winning the game is this screen with a really off-key music in the background. After a few seconds, the games resets automatically and you can take it of your console and toss it to the garbage. Or sell it, it's probable that these things are rare and might actually worth some money. In any case, I'm done with this :-) If you want to see any game reviewed, just say so in the comments and I'll see if I can get it done for you. See you.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Ball Story - Jong Yuk Chuen Suet Fa Jong II (1993)

Okay, my first game review. Yay for crappy Chinese games. I love Chinese people, there's a Chinese supermaket near my house, it's fun how they butcher the language. But they have really good prices. Anyways, on with the game: this is a really bad mix of Pony Canyon's "Lunar Ball" and Taito's "Arkanoid" with really off-key music. The objective is to guide your small ball thru a maze filled with really ugly bugs and blocks with drawings of fruits inside them. While the fruit blocks can be destroyed, the blocks with monsters on them can't. Same thing goes for the blocks with quince pictures (or maybe they're just badly drawn lemons, I don't know). You get 20 shoots per ball to find out a hole hidden behind one of the blocks to pass to the next level. While on the first level you just need to find the block with the hole and go into it, on the following levels you need to find a switch first, which will reveal the position of the hole. After every level you get a password just in case you want to torture yourself with this thing until the very end. If you're wondering about the controls, they're much like in "Lunar Ball": there's a "power" bar at the upper part of the screen which changes automatically. If you shot your ball while the power level is all red, your ball will be shot at maximum velocity.

Okay, now let's press start, shall we?

The game starts with a meaningless intro which lasts like 5 seconds. It seems your ball has been chased by a flying piranha and just because of it you'll have to destroy fruit blocks to find holes. Sounds logical to me. After that you'll be asked to choose a difficulty level: easy, medium or hard. The harder the difficulty is, the less shots you get per life to finish the level. Then you get this screen:
You can actually choose how many lives you want. Three is both the default and the minimum, and you can select up to nine. Since I'm a loser, I'll select 4 instead of settling for 3. At least I don't ask for 9.

This is the first level. Some of the fruits will become other fruits upon contact, while the magnet blocks will stop your ball altogether. Some blocks will reveal power ups, but the only one which seems to have any effect is the clock, which stops the enemies for a while. The others power ups are cups of coffee and mallets, which only effect seems to give you points, like if they mean anything. These ugly bugs won't kill you, but they will make your life harder as they obstruct the places where you must get in. The hole of first level is hidden exactly at the left of that old fan, behind the lower strawberry. Now let's go to level two, but before you get a password:

Level 2 looks much like level 1, except now you have to find the switch which will cause an earthquake in the game, revealing the position of that damn hole.

Here you can see the position of the switch and the hole. However, you'll go insane before you get the chance to pass through that damn fly, since it's almost impossible to avoid it. Besides, the ball sensibility is way too high: even at the lower power levels your ball will be shoot pretty strongly, making you lose a lot of your precious time. Anyways, it's password time again:

And here's level 3:

After a few levels, the graphics will change. However I don't have enough patience (or lives) to make it to the very end of the game. By the way, this level introduces a new enemy: that blue and yellow thing with a sad face. It can caught your ball and leave it in a different place of the level, thus giving you another reason to turn off the console.

After the password we're going to level 4.

My psychic powers tell me the damn switch is inside that heart-shaped fortress guarded by a butt ugly worm. It is, however, impossible to make the ball go there without wasting a couple of lives (the controls are that bad), and since I only got one life left, it's game over for me.

Since Chinese authorities have a zero-tolerance policy for loser balls, our friend ended in jail. Alas! I'll show you an example of how the graphics change in following levels:

That surely looks less awful. Anyways, that was my first game review :-) So, remember, be happy and please don't play this game. See you around!


This blog, God willing, will be destined to review obscure Famicom games I played/play, since I have the most terrible taste in games. Here you'll see me torturing myself playing bad and obscure games, and maybe even good unknown games, who knows?