Review: Evercade Interplay Collection 1
It’s a bit strange only having 6 games to review in this collection. Especially when you consider there have been a whopping 41 games on the first three collections I’ve reviewed! Still, is it a case of quality over quantity? Let’s find out.
Battle Chess – 1990
I don’t play chess so it’s a little unfair of me to give this a score. It looks nice enough and there is a nice animation when your pieces go into battle. No score
Titan – 1990
This is a strange game. The best way I can describe it is it’s a bit like Breakout or Arkanoid, but instead of controlling a paddle at the bottom of a screen, you move a block around which deflects another block into the pieces that need to be destroyed. I’ve only played a couple of levels of this, but my big problem is the lack of jeopardy. The point of Breakout was to stop the block/ball from getting past your bat as you destroyed the pieces to clear the screen. That doesn’t appear to be the case in Titan, and you just carry on until the screen is cleared. With that being the case, it got a little boring. 2/5
Clay Fighter – 1994
Want a one-word review for this? Gimmicky! Clay Fighter is like Street Fighter 2 with weak, medium and hard attacks. The big ‘hook’ with this game is the ‘comedy’ element of the fighters. You have 8 fighters to choose from including: Blue Suede Goo (guess what he looks like), Ickybod Clay, Helga, Bonker (oo er Mrs!), Bad Mr. Frosty, Taffy, Tiny, and The Blob. As you can imagine they are all stereotypes of people or things from popular culture. I’ve played Clay Fighter before many years ago on the SNES. My thoughts on it haven’t really changed if I’m honest. It’s fun for about 10 minutes. Once you have a giggle at the characters you quickly realise it isn’t a very good fighting game. The animations are good, but it isn’t a patch on games like Street Fighter 2. 2/5
Earthworm Jim – 1994
Earthworm Jim is often heralded for its amazing animation, humour and attention to graphical detail. In all honesty Earthworm Jim is a game that passed me by upon release in 1994. I would have been 18 years old when it came out and was more interested in games like Mortal Kombat 2, Doom 2, as well as the slew of FMV games on my Sega Mega CD or 3DO consoles. You can probably tell I was looking for something a bit more grown up than a platforming game where you control a worm! I’ve briefly played Earthworm Jim over the years, and whilst I can appreciate its graphics and humour, it’s never really grabbed me, which is why I was looking forward to trying it again on the Evercade. You control Jim who happens to be an earthworm in a space suit. He has a gun which can zap enemies and he can whip his head if his gun runs out of charge. Although he has a gun, Earthworm Jim isn’t really a shooter. I would classify it as a platformer, and as such I think it should be judged on these grounds. This is where my biggest problem lies with this game because I don’t think it is a very good one. The jumping feels loose, and I kept getting frustrated by slipping off platforms. It’s also hard as nails and for these two reasons I didn’t have a great deal of fun with it. Maybe I’m in the minority because a lot of people speak reverentially about Earthworm Jim. Don’t get me wrong, I love the animation, graphics and humour, but it’s a game that doesn’t really click with me, and it doesn’t help that I have no nostalgic connections. If you grew up with Earthworm Jim, then I’m sure this will bring a smile to your face. If, however you look at it like me in pure gameplay terms, there are much better platform games to play in my opinion. 2.5/5
Boogerman: A Pick and Flick Adventure – 1995
Forget Mario, Sonic, Banjo-Kazooie etc because here comes a new platforming king to “blow away” and “pick apart” the competition. Maybe not. The 90s were full of characters trying to be out there and different. Cool Spot, RoboCod, even Earthworm Jim (which also features on this collection) all tried to be a bit different to grab the attention of videogame fans around the world. It kind of reminds me of The Simpsons episode ‘The Itchy and Scratchy and Poochie Show’. If you haven’t seen it the plot revolves around a new cartoon character being created by a focus group to be edgy and cool with the aim of appealing to kids. Ultimately it fails and they go back to the original violence of Itchy and Scratchy. The moral of the story is it gave Poochie his 15 minutes of fame before people went back to the tried and tested things that kept them entertained in the first place. If it ain’t broke etc etc! This is what Boogerman feels like. A character created to be purposefully crude to tempt gamers and compete in a very competitive market. Let me try and summarise the story for you. Professor Stinkbaum is in his lab above Takey Dump, working on an experiment which will remove pollution and take it to dimension X-Crement. You play as Snotty Ragsdale, aka Boogerman who jumps into X-Crement to investigate the strange goings on. Featuring levels called Flatulent Swamps, Mucous Mountains, and Pus Palace, you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into with this game. One thing I am really impressed with is the animation of the main character. It’s very high quality and reminds me of games like Aladdin. The levels themselves are so so with a green and brown palette which matches the snot and crap featured in the game. Boogerman can attack the various enemies by flicking snot or burping and farting on them. The jumping is fine but to be honest the gameplay felt a bit dull after a while. After the initial giggle about farting and burping your way through a level I lost interest. Boogerman: A Pick and Flick Adventure is best left in the 90s. 2.5/5
Incantation – 1996
Here is another side scrolling platformer I haven’t played before. In Incantation (try saying that fast 3 times) you play as a young Wizard who is making his way through a scary forest. He can shoot fire from his staff, do a foot stomp and jump. There are different enemies which attack you, including an end of level boss. You collect coins, and that’s about it. Everything about Incantation is competent. The graphics are good, it plays well enough, but if I’m honest, it’s a little dull. Nothing really grabs you and after a few minutes I was asking myself “why am I playing this?” The one thing I did find funny was the strange sound you make when you get hurt. It sounds like a cat meowing!? Incantation is fine but that’s about it. 2.5/5
This is a disappointing collection for me. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the fact they are available on the Evercade and come on a cartridge with an instruction manual and packaged in a lovely box, but the games themselves don’t do anything for me. As I explained in my Earthworm Jim review. I was in my mid to late teens when a lot of these games came out, so I have no nostalgia for them. However, I also don’t think the games themselves are that great. This is definitely one for fans of Interplay, rather than the casual gamer. However, if you’re an owner of an Evercade (and like me) you’ll probably collect it anyway.
The Interplay Collection 1 (and other retro titles) are available on the Evercade.
Review by Chris.