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Shacknews - Steve Watts

Ecco the Dolphin a game in which a porpoise saved sea animals and talked to magic crystals, was a rare case of a 16-bit game that was a quiet, meditative experience. Creator Ed Annunziata and his team have turned to crowd-funding for the game's spiritual successor, titled "The Big Blue."

The Kickstarter project (via Polygon) is aiming for a $665,000 goal over the next 34 days. The team is already thinking about stretch goals too, in the form of making the game an MMO--but obviously it has to clear the hurdle of its initial goal first.

Much like Ecco, the game will focus on exploration and puzzle-solving, but you'll be playing as all kinds of sea creatures, or even swarms of creatures at a time. The game hopes to launch in April of 2014 on PC, Mac, iOS, and Android devices. If you just can't wait a full year, you could try out the prototype now.

The Big Blue boasts not only Annunziata and Laszlo Szenttornyai from the original Ecco games, but also Spencer Nilsen, who composed the original Ecco scores, and Bear McCreary, for composing the scores to The Walking Dead and Battlestar Galactica.

Annunziata had previously talked about the game conceptually, and at that time mentioned he wanted to try Kickstarter.

Kotaku

The Best Looking Beat 'em Up Games From The 16-Bit Era



The beat 'em up genre flourished in the nineties, with Capcom and Konami leading the way on the SNES and on the SEGA Genesis, as well as with a huge amount of great arcade games that never got a home console port.



We've selected some of the most amazing titles from this wonderful era, the ones that had the most detailed graphics and most impressive animations.





Aliens vs. Predator (Capcom)


The Best Looking Beat 'em Up Games From The 16-Bit Era






The Punisher (Capcom)


The Best Looking Beat 'em Up Games From The 16-Bit Era






TMNT IV: Turtles in Time (Konami)


The Best Looking Beat 'em Up Games From The 16-Bit Era






Final Fight 3 (Capcom)


The Best Looking Beat 'em Up Games From The 16-Bit Era






Street of Rage 3 (SEGA)


The Best Looking Beat 'em Up Games From The 16-Bit Era






Spider-Man and Venom: Separation Anxiety (Acclaim)


The Best Looking Beat 'em Up Games From The 16-Bit Era






Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon (Gazelle)


The Best Looking Beat 'em Up Games From The 16-Bit Era






Legend (Arcade Zone)


The Best Looking Beat 'em Up Games From The 16-Bit Era






Knights of the Round (Capcom)


The Best Looking Beat 'em Up Games From The 16-Bit Era






Comix Zone (SEGA)


The Best Looking Beat 'em Up Games From The 16-Bit Era






The King of Dragons (Capcom)


The Best Looking Beat 'em Up Games From The 16-Bit Era






Dungeons & Dragons: Shadow Over Mystara (Capcom)


The Best Looking Beat 'em Up Games From The 16-Bit Era






Battletoads (Rare)


The Best Looking Beat 'em Up Games From The 16-Bit Era






X-Men Arcade (Konami)


The Best Looking Beat 'em Up Games From The 16-Bit Era






Denjin Makai 2 (Winky Soft)


The Best Looking Beat 'em Up Games From The 16-Bit Era






Batman Returns (Banpresto)


The Best Looking Beat 'em Up Games From The 16-Bit Era



Dozens of other beat 'em ups came out in addition to those ones. Show us your picks in the comments below!



sources: Arcade History, Capcom Wiki, Videogamesblogger, HardcoreGaming101, FamicomFreak, cubex55, Sydlexia, Vincanni's LP, arronmunroe's LP


Kotaku

The Most Beautiful Opening Stages In Video Games



A video game's opening stage or starter zone has an extremely important role: it sets the tone for the rest of the game. Getting it right is essential. Below, we've collected some of the best-looking and most iconic starting zones, first stages and opening missions.





Green Hill Zone in Sonic


The Most Beautiful Opening Stages In Video Games






Central Highway in Mega Man X


The Most Beautiful Opening Stages In Video Games






Welcome to Rapture in BioShock


The Most Beautiful Opening Stages In Video Games






Contra III Stage 1


The Most Beautiful Opening Stages In Video Games






Metal Slug Mission 1


The Most Beautiful Opening Stages In Video Games






City 17 in Half-Life 2


The Most Beautiful Opening Stages In Video Games






Make Eggs, Throw Eggs in Yoshi's Island


The Most Beautiful Opening Stages In Video Games






Comix Zone Chapter 1


The Most Beautiful Opening Stages In Video Games






Ikaruga Stage 1


The Most Beautiful Opening Stages In Video Games



Post your picks for the most intense, best made and most beautiful first levels below with visual support.



sources: SEGA Wiki, ThePressStartProject, BioShock Wiki, Primeevi's LP, Gustavo Costa's LP, SectorW, Ericthestickman, VideoGamerParadox, kirgeez


Kotaku

Raise your hands if you spent a whoooole lot of time playing Golden Axe on your Sega Genesis. I sure did and never in my wildest dreams did I think it could be finished in under ten minutes.



That's exactly what Jason 'honorableJay' Feeney does in this speedrun video hosted at Speed Demos Archive. Feeney offers up insights from his time with the classic brawler on the video's homepage. Here, he brings up my most hated part of Golden Axe:




Bonus Stages

The first 4 stages give you a chance to fill up on your magic/health after the completing the stage. The problem with these stages is the fact that the thief patterns are random. There is nothing I can do but pray I don't get a bad pattern. This is the only spot in the game with random elements, making them the most frustrating at times.




Man, I hated those thieves! I'm saving the entire realm, assholes. You should be giving me stuff! Jerks.



Golden Axe [Speed Demos Archive]


Kotaku

Unreleased Altered Beast Games, Guns And Crazy Naked Dragon LadiesYou've got concept art with a pinch of news this morning, as Superannuation points out the portfolio of Kiwi artist Christian MacNevin, which contains images from a pitch for an Altered Beast remake that Sega never picked up.



They're...interesting, to say the least, but I'm just as interested in MacNevin's other fantastic pieces for projects as diverse as PlayStation Home and panda robots.



You can see more of Christian's art at his personal site.



To see the larger pics in all their glory (or so you can save them as wallpaper), right-click on them below and select "open in new tab".



Fine Art is a celebration of the work of video game artists, showcasing the best of both their professional and personal portfolios. If you're in the business and have some concept, environment or character art you'd like to share, drop us a line!



Unreleased Altered Beast Games, Guns And Crazy Naked Dragon Ladies Unreleased Altered Beast Games, Guns And Crazy Naked Dragon Ladies Unreleased Altered Beast Games, Guns And Crazy Naked Dragon Ladies Unreleased Altered Beast Games, Guns And Crazy Naked Dragon Ladies Unreleased Altered Beast Games, Guns And Crazy Naked Dragon Ladies Unreleased Altered Beast Games, Guns And Crazy Naked Dragon Ladies Unreleased Altered Beast Games, Guns And Crazy Naked Dragon Ladies Unreleased Altered Beast Games, Guns And Crazy Naked Dragon Ladies Unreleased Altered Beast Games, Guns And Crazy Naked Dragon Ladies Unreleased Altered Beast Games, Guns And Crazy Naked Dragon Ladies
Shacknews - Steve Watts

Sega has been keen on releasing its classic Master System and Genesis games lately. The Monster World Collection recently leaked out, and now it appears more games are coming to the Xbox 360. The Pan European Game Information (PEGI) board has rated another three titles.

Siliconera reports that Super Hang-On, Golden Axe 3, and Streets of Rage 3 have recently been rated, which is a pretty certain signal that they're coming. Sega hasn't formally announced the games for Europe or here in the States. But like the ESRB, PEGI has a long and proud history of spilling the beans on upcoming game announcements. We'll probably see some word of these titles soon.

Eurogamer


Three classic Sega Game Gear games head this week's Nintendo eShop update.


Sonic the Hedgehog: Triple Trouble, Shinobi and Dragon Crystal both launch this Thursday as downloadable games. Sonic costs €5 / £4.50, Shinobi costs €4 / £3.60, and Dragon Crystal costs €3 / £2.70.


On the Wii Virtual Console, Capcom's Mega Man 5 launches for 500 Wii Points. DSiWare puzzle game Hints Hunter launches on the 3DS eShop and the DSi Shop for €2 / £1.80 or 200 Nintendo DSi Points.


Meanwhile, 3DS owners get the fourth Shaun the Sheep 3D clip, called Bitzer over easy, created in 3D by Aardman Animations. The third part in a series of Kid Icarus Anime clips is also available from Nintendo Video. It's called Thanatos Rising, and features Pit and his battle against one of Medusa's minions.

Eurogamer


The first two Game Gear titles to launch on the 3DS eShop will likely be Shinobi and Sonic Triple Trouble.


Both have just recieved fresh ESRB ratings (spotted by TinyCartridge).


Their launch will be the first time non-Nintendo platform games have become available on the 3DS Virtual Console.


Nintendo first announced it would start dusting off Game Gear titles early last year. Turbografx-16 games were also promised.


Sega has launched new games in both the Shinobi and Sonic series for 3DS during the past year, so it makes sense to start mining the back catalogue with these.


Both games were rated "E for Everyone", with Shinobi featuring "animated violence".

Nov 28, 2011
Eurogamer


Some games age well, and some just age; take a look at Shinobi. The 1987 arcade game and its home console sequels are, in the memory, death-defying adventures through samurai death mazes, a precision gauntlet. But these days, Shinobi plays worse than the memory. It feels like an archaism rather than a forerunner.


Perhaps that undersells a series that has seen 12 (!) entries, including this kind-of-reboot for 3DS by Griptonite Games. Shinobi has dabbled in full 3D combat with the highly fiddly PS2 games, but here the depth is purely visual. This is a 2D platformer that wants nothing more than to hit the nostalgia button.


That's not to say the illusion isn't good. Shinobi's action may be 2D, but its locations have a depth of scenery and a neat eye for angle-turning tricks that, even now, is sadly uncommon on 3DS. The crisp cartoon reworkings of the 16-bit enemies jump out on these stages, lending the violent animations real hoof.


This man-to-man combat is what Shinobi 3DS does best. But what it does most is flutter around it, prioritising repetitive platforming and boring distance combat over what proves to be its only real strength. It's clearly intended as a kind of homage to the years of Shinobi 3, from the reworked blocking mechanic to a rather dated (and repeated) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles gag.


Up close, it can work brilliantly: fast, fluid slices through enemy after enemy with perfect blocks leading to devastating counters. The parry is a quick press of the 'R' shoulder button, which you can remap to another button for preference, and which deflects incoming attacks in a generous timing window. In straight fights, it's a clinical and satisfying tool, a trigger that lends a Zen-like calm to the most frenetic encounters.


But the further Shinobi gets, the more it messes things up. A defining characteristic of the series, and one this game clearly aspires to, is a stiff challenge. But a stiff challenge is not always the same as a fair challenge, especially when mixed with unnecessarily stingy checkpointing.


You will rarely die from combat in Shinobi; instead, your allegedly universe-conquering ninja will fall soundlessly to his death, again and again. This is not a game built for platforming, but there is an awful lot of platforming - most of which, it has to be said, seems to be re-textured from a bare few templates.


Shinobi's leap has more vertical lift than horizontal movement, so despite a double-jump that rescues some situations, the platforming is a series of misjudgements waiting to happen. The momentum of the character is never quite right for these intricate timing tests, and the wall-jump proves quite the trick to master, but you can just about learn to fudge through.

Kotaku

This week on the season finale of Retro Game Master the Kacho takes on Golden Axe.



Released in 1989 by Sega for the arcade, this high fantasy side-scroller beat 'em up later made its way to a number of different consoles. In the game players take on the role of a dwarf, a barbarian or an amazon as they journey through the world on a quest to kill Death Adder.



This first official U.S. airing of the show, known as Game Center CX in Japan, uses dubbing for the announcer's voice and English subtitling for Arino's.



Retro Game Master airs weekly on Kotaku at 8 p.m. eastern on Thursdays. The show and Kotaku reruns will remain on the site for viewing at your leisure throughout the season. Licensing prevents the show from being seen outside of North America.



Don't forget to expand the video above to watch it full screen!





Retro Game Master Episode 12: Golden Axe



Retro Game Master Episode 10: 53 Stations of the Tōkaidō


This week on Retro Game Master the Kacho takes on 53 Stations of the Tōkaidō.

Released in 1986, Kantarō no Tōkaidō Gojūsan-tsugi is based on a famous set of ukiyo-e wood prints. More »






Retro Game Master Episode 12: Golden Axe



Retro Game Master Episode 9: Battle Golfer Yui


This week on Retro Game Master the Kacho takes on Battle Golfer Yui, a golf game that it is more than it seems.

Launched in 1991 in Japan, Battle Golfer Yui follows the exploits of two normal high school girls who are drafted into a tournament thanks to their exemplary golf skills. More »






Retro Game Master Episode 12: Golden Axe



Retro Game Master Episode 8: S.O.S.


In this eighth episode of Retro Game Master, our game-testing everyman, Shinya Arino, faces off against S.O.S.

S.O.S. was developed by Human Entertainment for the Super NES in 1994. More »





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