8-Eyes is an NES adventure that gets things off to a dubious start with laggy controls and objects that randomly disappear. Dorke and Ymp is an unappealing platformer starring a grouchy, rabbit-hating goblin. Jim Power is an SNES platform shooter with mesmerizing graphics, frantic pacing, touchy controls, and enemies that absorb way too many shots.
Power Piggs of the Dark Ages is a comical but technically-sloppy platformer that pits you against arrow-shooting rats and cross-dressing wolves. Radical Rex is a mediocre prehistoric romp starring a skating boarding, fire-breathing baby T-Rex. Tinhead may be the highlight of the collection, boasting flashy Sonic-style stages, tight controls, and non-stop platform action.
Role-playing games are well-represented, beginning with a Taiwanese turn-based Genesis title called Legend of the Magic Warrior. Its top-down 16-bit graphics look great and I found the English text quite convenient. Canon: Legend of the New Gods is more strategy-based, and while I didn't get too far I can see how this could be enjoyable. Drakkhen is a more of a traditional-style RPG, but I prefer Dragon View's brand of real-time, side-scrolling action. The Immortal boasts an isometric view with gory one-on-one combat sequences.
Magic Girl is a happy-go-lucky rapid-fire vertical shooter when you aim at pencils, buckets, and jack-o-lanterns. I might be able to tolerate the preschool graphics and difficulty if the animation wasn't so choppy. Nightshade is a detective game where you wander around a dark city examining items and using them to solve crimes. This one oozes "film noir" atmosphere.
Power Punch II is like Punch-Out!! (NES, 1987), only you're boxing a bunch of futuristic freaks. Why is it that I can beat the crap out of a guy to no avail, yet one punch renders me unresponsive? Switchblade is a sci-fi platformer with tiny characters but a pretty cool soundtrack.
The Humans is one of those tedious puzzle games where you toggle between a bunch of cavemen to navigate platforms to reach a certain item. The Way of the Exploding Fist is a one-on-one karate fighter with okay graphics but non-intuitive controls. Top Racer is a surprisingly-playable Pole Position-style racer with a nice split-screen format.
It's no Streets of Rage (Genesis, 1991), but Iron Commando is a decent SNES brawler that lets you take out machine-gun toting thugs in back alleys. Likewise Water Margin is an enjoyable Feudal times side-scroller similar to Knights of the Round (SNES, 1994). All in all, Piko Collection 1 offers a potpourri of random games. Only about half are any good, but it's hard to beat 20 games for 20 bucks. © Copyright 2023 The Video Game Critic.
Blockout (1989) tries to be a 3D Tetris. If you're not bewildered by its wireframe graphics, the controls should do the trick. Double Dragon II (1988) is a remarkably bad side-scroller brawler that gives me new respect for the NES version. The controls are laggy and the collision detection is pathetic. Double Dragon 3 (1990) look sharp and controls okay, but why is the animation so choppy?
Mania Challenge (1986) is a fair arcade-style wrestling gaming hamstrung by a simplistic, two-button control scheme. Minky Monkey (1982) is an embarrassing Donkey Kong Jr. knock-off where you're some kind of hideous tomato creature pushing fruit up and down vines. Mysterious Stones is supposed to be an Indiana Jones-style adventure but your character looks like a damn hobo! The gameplay is terribly confusing with monsters respawning and eggs bouncing all over the place.
Combatribes is probably the lone highlight of Tecnos Arcade 1. It's a cartoonish side-scrolling brawler with a lot of moves. You can put a thug in a headlock, throw a motorcycle into a crowd, or smash two goons' heads together. I wish this game kept score because it's pretty good. Unfortunately, it's about the only thing good about this disappointing arcade collection. © Copyright 2023 The Video Game Critic.
Flying Shark is another fine vertical shooter. This time you're in a biplane blasting tanks on land, ships at sea, and planes that catch fire before crashing into the trees below. Every now and then a power-up will appear in the upper part of the screen and linger up there. It's a trap! Zero Wing is a run-of-the-mill side-scroller best known for its "all your base belong to us" intro, but you won't find that in this arcade version. Still, the visuals are quite good, and it's cool how you can fire about 100 tiny homing missiles at a time.
Tiger-Heli is a top-notch helicopter shooter I played the heck out of on my NES. I love its clever use of shadowing to make structures on the ground appear tall, but it's a little unfair how tanks can sneak up on you from behind. I love Truxton on the Genesis and this ultra-sharp arcade version plays like a dream. The music is catchy and the overpowered weapons let you get into a zone.
Teki Paki is the obligatory Tetris clone, which I believe is required by law. I find that even when I'm just randomly placing blocks I'm still triggering massive combos. Guardian may be the cheesiest side scroller I've ever played. You're some kind of Ultraman-inspired space guy traveling between six planets, beating the crap out of their inhabitants. Enemies look like creatures scribbled in the margin of a third-grade notebook. I do like how the high score screen tells me to "reserve" my name.
This was my first experience playing Snow Bros., a two-player platformer was previously available as a rare NES cartridge. The idea is to transform monsters into giant snowballs and then roll them into each other, releasing "bonus sushi" in their wake. It's a lot of fun and reminiscent of the Nightmare in the Dark (Neo Geo, 2000) only without the slowdown.
The lack of an auto-fire function is unfortunate, as most of these require steady button pounding. If you own a USB Turbografx-16/PC-Engine controller however, you'll be pleased to know it does indeed work! Toaplan is an unexpectedly good time, largely because its games are not just the "usual suspects". © Copyright 2023 The Video Game Critic.
Screen shots courtesy of Evercade