Sega Saturn – Kaitei Daisensou (In the Hunt)

Kaitei Daisensou for the Sega Saturn

Players: 1 or 2

Genre: Horizontal shooter (no ‘forced’ scrolling)

Stages: 6

Saving: No saving of any kind, including no saving of high scores

Game Completion Time: Approximately 40 minutes

Credits: Unlimited continues in the Japanese version, up to 5 continues in the U.S. version

Lives: Adjustable, up to 5 per credit

Difficulty: Adjustable on 4 levels – beginning with stage 4, the difficulty spikes regardless of setting

Many Saturn arcade ports save your high score. Sadly, this game isn’t one of them.

Brief History: Kaitei Daisensou (In the Hunt in the U.S.) was released by Irem in arcades in 1993. It was ported to the Sega Saturn (and Sony Playstation) in 1995. It was digitally released on the PS4 and Nintendo Switch in 2019. The creators of the game later formed Nazca Corporation, who then made Metal Slug; hence players may get a very ‘Metal Slug‘ feel from the gaming experience.

Japanese or U.S. release? Well, the Japanese version gives you unlimited continues, and the U.S. release only five…and this game is tough.

Story: The ‘Dark Anarchy Society (D.A.S.)’ has created a ‘doomsday device,’ and the Granvia submarine(s) have been deployed to foil their plans in the Antarctic Circle.

Controls: Basic 3-button setup. Button A fires torpedoes straight ahead. Button B launches an upwards projectile or downwards land mine. Button C is auto-fire, and fires all weapons simuletaneously (forwards, upwards, and downwards). Button C is the one you’ll use the most.

Items: Various power-ups can be picked up by destroying ‘helper’ subs. ‘Treasure balls’ (stars) can be picked up in increments of 1 or 10; collecting 100 gains you an extra life. Variations on your missiles and torpedoes can also be acquired, some of which are more powerful and some that have a greater ‘damage’ range when you attack enemies.

There are explosions galore, particularly in the second half of the game.

Enemies: Planes, helicopters, ships, exploding mines, missile launchers, and sometimes undersea creatures will assault you mercilessly as you seek to take down the D.A.S. Your sub can rise to the surface to launch missiles at the enemies above the water’s surface (when applicable), or you can dive to take out the submerged enemies.

Bosses: The 6 bosses in Kaitei Daisensou range from giant machines of war to bizarre creatures bent on your destruction.

The games’ bosses are the unquestioned highlight of Kaitei Daisensou – particularly the non-mech, ‘creature’ bosses.

The Southern Gentleman’s Opinion and Letter Grade: B+ Kaitei Daisensou is an average shooter overall, but it has several features that make it quite enjoyable nonetheless. The underwater aspect is something that is almost unique in its approach, and the enemies, bosses, and constant explosions are visually engaging. The control is good, although your sub isn’t particularly speedy, and evading enemy attacks, especially in later stages, can be frustrating. In this Sega Saturn version of the game, slowdown occurs often with so much happening on screen; I did not find this at all frustrating, and even helpful at times, but others might not care for it.

The difficulty of the game is something to consider in terms of its enjoyability. The first three stages aren’t particularly daunting, but the second half of the game puts you in numerous scenarios that make staying alive nearly impossible. This is where the Japanese version trumps the U.S. version. The Japanese version gives you unlimited continues, whereas the U.S. version only gives you 5. Even on Easy, beating the game with 5 continues or less (or even 10 or less) would take A LOT of practice.

The game has a few different endings depending on the difficulty and whether or not you play with one player or two. The difficulties, in my experience, didn’t seem too different from one another, as ‘Easy’ wasn’t much easier than ‘Madness.’

Overall, Kaitei Daisensou IS a good game, if you don’t mind the slowdown and the screen-filling onslaught of enemies on screen trying to take you out. It’s not necessarily a game that someone would want to master perhaps, but rather a good stress-relieving shooter-romp when you want to unleash some mindless aggression on the denizens of the deep.

Beat the game with a friend? Congratulations, now fight each other to the DEATH!

Virtual Boy – Red Square

Red Square for the Virtual Boy

Note 1: This game was played on a consolized Virtual Boy that outputs through an HD-retrovision component cable. It was connected to a 40-inch HDsmart-tv that has component inputs (and accepts the 240p signal).

Note 2: This consolized Virtual Boy console has a button that allows you to switch between multiple different colors (red is the default). Hence, the pictures are different colors because I pressed the buttons when I entered different environments (some colors simply look better than others in some areas, and it mixes things up a bit nicely by changing colors).

Red Square was played on a consolized Virtual Boy that was connected to an HD-tv with a pair of HD-retrovision component cables.

Note 3: This is a really different game, so forgive me if this not my best review. I’ve played through this game multiple times, and I’m trying to keep this review simple. Also, I don’t want to totally spoil this game for those who may want to play it, so I want to be careful about what I include.

Game: Red Square

Players: 1

Genre: Horror/Adventure/RPG (it’s tough to categorize this one)

Brief History: Red Square is a game that was created and developed for the Virtual Boy in just 6 weeks by only two people, Kresna and Nyrator. The game is a Yume Nikki game created for something called the 2019 Dream Diary Jam. Now, I had never heard of any of those things, I just wanted to play something that looked extraordinarily different from anything else – and this is certainly that! Thank you, game creators!!! If you want to read more about Yume Nikki, I included the wiki link.

Yume Nikki:

Nina’s room is your central hub – climb into bed to enter the chambers to the six Dream Worlds.

Story: Nina, the game’s protagonist, is on a mission to get just one thing out of life: Red Square. What is that, exactly? The game seems to use this term interchangeably with Pizza, which she is constantly on the hunt for. Is the ‘Red Square’ the box the Pizza comes in? Or is it a metaphor for something more sinister? Nina falls asleep in her bedroom, and she can enter six ‘Dream Worlds’ where she must collect four items. Do so, and she can awaken ready to fulfill her life’s mission – to pursue the Red Square.

Each Dream World is unique – four of the six contain items you must find in order to complete the game.

Control: There’s a handy ‘what buttons do what’ screen at start – up, but basically, you move Nina with the left control pad. Start pulls up your simple Menu (when in the Dream Worlds). Button A interacts with objects (you can ‘talk’ to the different items that you find, as well as a few other things in the game). Button A also is what enables you to crawl into bed, which allows you access to the Dream Worlds. Button R is your ‘action’ button. You can equip any of the four items that you find by pulling up the Menu, scrolling to the item, and pressing A. Once you’re equipped it, you can ‘use’ the item by pressing R. Using the items doesn’t actually serve any purpose, but it does provide a different animation for Nina. Button L ‘awakens’ Nina from a Dream World (returns her to her bedroom).

Scour the Desert Dream World for the bicycle.

Items: The Bicycle, 3D Glasses, Pizza Server, and Bishounen Magazine are the four objects you must seek. *Others may know what it meant, but I had no idea what ‘Bishounen’ actually meant, although I could guess from the game. It means ‘a young man of androgynous beauty, or an effeminate yet handsome man.’ The Magazine in the game seems to be a Celebrity-type magazine. You must collect the items by searching the six Dream Worlds (four are dead ends). Once you have, you return to Nina’s room, then head down to her balcony for the ending.

Does the Pizza Boy Pocket Dream World contain an item, or just a dead end?

Life Bar? Experience? NPCs? No, no, and no. While you do collect the four items and explore the small but unique Dream Worlds, you will not encounter another person, fight any bad guys, or do any of the other traditional RPG type-stuff.

Where’s the music? No music! Evidently, there wasn’t time for the developers to include it. However, I didn’t miss it at all, and I think the game almost worked better without it because of it’s extremely bizarre and eerie nature. Silence is just as effective as sound in this one.

How long does it take to beat? No time at all, once you learn the locations of the four items.

You can interact with certain objects, even the ones unrelated to your quest – the results are often humorous and bizarre.

The Southern Gentleman’s Opinion and Letter Grade: Wow, Red Square drew me in. There’s a warning at the beginning of the game that it includes ‘mature content’; however, I wonder about that. There is some vague innuendo, but no foul language. The ending, which I will not spoil here, and it’s events, seem to be the cause of this warning. Yet, to me, the ending was ambiguous enough to be open to interpretation. Is it a joke (I seem to recall reading elsewhere that this game is a ‘parody’ game)? Is it serious? Half-serious? Not knowing exactly what I was looking at at the end was part of the game’s enticement and intrigue. The game seems simple and lighthearted enough, and yet, disquieting. I remember playing a bizarre game called Limbo a few years ago, and this was about as close to that experience as I can recall. But overall? I loved Red Square – it is simply unsettlingly, and very slightly humorously, different. A+

Return to Nina’s balcony after collecting the four items to see the game’s ending. It’s either quite simple or brilliantly deep. Maybe both.

PC Engine Super CD-rom – Pop’n Magic

Note: This game was played on a PC Engine Duo RX that has been modified to output in component video. It was played on a 40-inch HD-tv that supports the component signal.

Genre: Single screen action platformer

Players: 1 or 2-player co-op

Brief Overview: Pop’n Magic was released for the PC Engine Super CD-rom in Japan in 1992. The game was never released in the United States. Although the animated cutscenes are spoken in Japanese, and each boss’ ‘bio’ screen is in Japanese, there is nothing to prevent the game from being easily played, even with no knowledge of Japanese.

The Evil Vampire has stolen three precious gems and brought chaos to the land!

Story: From what I can ascertain from the cutscenes and the scant bit of information I could find about this game, the two title characters, Pop (girl) and Magic (boy), are tasked with saving their land from an Evil Vampire (the guy looks a lot like Dracula, so that’s the best comparison I can make; I couldn’t find his name). The Evil Vampire stole three gems that kept order in the land, and now his minions are pillaging and destroying different areas, and it’s up to Pop and Magic to recover the gems and put a stop to the chaos he has unleashed.

Gameplay: Pop’n Magic is a single screen action-platformer. Your goal is to clear each screen/stage of all manner of the Evil Vampire’s minions. After each and every one is destroyed, you’ll move on to the next stage. There are multiple worlds to play through, including Woods, Haunted House, Ocean, and more. Each world consists of approximately 10 stages, with the final stage being a boss fight. If you lose all of your lives in the boss fight, you can continue, but you’ll start a few stages back. A full playthrough of the game takes approximately an hour and a half.

Pop and Magic can work together for greater efficiency! Bound off your teammate’s head!

Control: Button I fires your magic wand to attack enemies, and it also can be pressed and held to grab a sphere (spheres are what the enemies turn into after you zap them with your wand), and released to throw the sphere. Button II jumps. Pressing Down + Button II hops down from the platform you’re on to a lower platform. Start pauses the game and allows you to see your score. Select cycles between your two types of magic, and it also skips the animated cutscenes. Holding Up + I and then releasing it unleashes one of your two types of magic (whichever you had equipped through the Select button), assuming you have enough magic ‘stock.’

Toss the colored spheres into opposing colors and reap your rewards!

Sphere Attacks: Zapping enemies turns them into spheres. There are Yellow, Red, Blue, and Orange spheres. You can shoot the spheres a few more times with your wand to finish them off (and gain a single piece of fruit for points), or pick them up and throw them into a different colored sphere (and gain multiple pieces of fruit for points and sometimes Attack or Speed Upgrades). If you throw a colored sphere into the same color, however, both enemies will reappear, so avoid doing this.

Upgrade your attack power by grabbing wands.

Items: As you destroy enemies, particularly with the aforementioned sphere attacks, you’ll gain multiple items. Fruit, of many different varieties, are the most common. Each one is a different point value. Also included are Extra Lives, Attack Upgrades (wands – you can increase your fire power 3 times), Speed Upgrades (boots that speed up your movement AND allow you to be hit once without dying – you’ll just lose your speed), and Candy (blue or pink), which increases your magic stock.

Use your ‘Tornado’ Magic Spell to heavily damage bosses!

Magic Spells: Pop and Magic can each perform two magic spells: Tornado and Double Fire. Pressing Select cycles between the two and an icon at the top of the screen lets you know how much ‘stock’ you have of each spell. Tornado unleashes a 360 degree wave of blue orbs that immediately turns all enemies to spheres or does heavy damages to bosses, and Double Fire calls your animal friend (a small rabbit creature) to accompany you for one stage. He’ll fire a shot every time you press the attack button, essentially doubling your firing rate. He’ll leave if you die in the stage, or when you complete the stage.

The ‘Ninja Reaper’ will come for you if you take too long to clear a stage.

Time: There’s no onscreen timer; however, if you take too much time to complete a stage, “HURRY!” will appear on screen. After another ten seconds, a ‘Ninja’ will appear on screen and pursue you slowly. You can’t destroy him, and he doesn’t leave after killing you once – he’ll keep draining all your lives! So make finishing the stages before he arrives of the utmost importance.

Destroying bosses yields an obscene amount of treasure and points.

The Southern Gentleman’s Opinion and Letter Grade: B+ Pop’n Magic is a really fun single-screen game. The length is a bit overlong, particularly in the absence of passwords or memory capacity saves (no progress saving exists, nor any level select passwords that I could find). The animated cutscenes, even without knowledge of the Japanese language, tell the story well enough, and look excellent. The stages themselves look fantastic, with no single screen looking the same as the one before, both in terms of platform placements and the artistic backgrounds. The music is awesome, and both Pop and Magic yell things out (in English!) like ‘POWAAHHUP!” when they grab certain items. The control is perfect, and mastering the controls and ‘sphere attacks’ is easy. The regular stages do get more difficult, and beating the game relies on accumulating Extra Lives and using your Magic Attacks at the right times. You get unlimited continues, but you’ll still need to seek out the best ways to beat the boss characters by multiple playthroughs. Overall, I found the game to check the two most important boxes for me: It looks amazing and is highly addictive.

Incredibly colorful and detailed characters and stages make Pop’n Magic a solid game.

Sega Mega Drive – Wrestle War

Wrestle War for the Sega Mega Drive

Note: This game was played on the Mega Retron HD console. It was connected via HDMI to a 65-inch HD-tv.

Note 2: The version of the game reviewed here is the Japanese release. However, this Japanese version appears to be an identical version of the game to the European release. The one and only difference I noted was the color of the main wrestler’s hair (your player, Bruce Blade) is black in the Japanese version. However, when I changed the region switch on the Mega Retron HD to NTSC-U, his hair changed to blond! This is the reason why, in the pictures I’ve added, sometimes his hair was black or sometimes blond – it depended on the region the switch was set to!

Capture and defend the SWA and SWF World Titles!

Brief History: Wrestle War was released in Japan and Europe in 1991. It is a port of an arcade game that was released in 1989. The game was never released in the U.S., and despite clearly having wrestlers ‘inspired’ by real-life wrestling icons, the game was not licensed by any wrestling promotion. The box art for the game, clearly depicting Hulk Hogan, was changed for the European release.

Gameplay: Take control of Bruce Blade, a rookie wrestler. Travel across the U.S. to the different wrestling territories and take on the best! Capture and defend the SWF and SWA World Heavyweight titles! Beat the eight different wrestlers in the game, and you are declared the Wrestle War Champion!

Spinning-heel kick from Mr. J!!
Hogan leg drop!!! Wait, he didn’t sign off on this? Check that. Titan Morgan leg drop!!!

Control: Being a port of an arcade game, the control scheme is incredibly easy. A punches. B kicks. C grapples. When in a grapple, mashing A and winning the grapple whips (sends them running) your opponent into the ropes. When they return to you, hitting A or B executes a back body drop or a drop kick. You can also run off the opposite ropes and hit them with a clothesline. When in a grapple, mashing B and winning the grapple executes a body slam. Holding Up + B executes a vertical suplex, and Holding Down + B excutes a piledriver. When you’re opponent’s energy is nearly depleted, you’ll execute a ‘super’ piledriver by holding Down + B that goes into an automatic cover and pin. You can also execute ‘back’ grapples. In order to achieve this, you must punch or kick your opponent until they’re ‘tired.’ Then press C and you’ll execute the back grapple. Win it by mashing B, and you’ll give your opponent a back suplex. If his energy is nearly depleted, you’ll execute a German suplex for an automatic pin. Lastly, when you’re opponent is on the mat, pressing B will stomp him, and pressing A near his head picks him up. Oh, you can also whip your opponent outside the ring if you’re close to the bottom of the screen. Press up to re-enter the ring before the 20 count. Press A or B to pick up and bash your opponent with the box or chair while you’re out there.

Don Dambuster with the gorilla press slam!

Choose your wrestler? Well, in 2 player vs. Unfortunately, you’re relegated to using only Bruce Blade in the single player mode. Bruce Blade is awesome, but it’s unfortunate that you can’t pick any wrestler, particularly since many of them have their own unique moves. In 2 player versus, however, the 2nd player can select any of the other wrestlers in the game.

Choose any wrestler you want to play as! If you’re Player 2 in the versus mode, that is.

Difficulty: Easy, Normal, and Hard are all available. This changes the amount of energy your opponent starts with. This is one wrestling game where winning grapples is not terribly difficult, and beating the game on Easy, although you may suffer a loss here or there, is not that tough.

Sledge Hammer with a vicious chair shot to Bruce Blade!

The Southern Gentleman’s Opinion and Letter Grade: B+ I would absolutely give Wrestle War an A if you could pick any of the other wrestlers to play through the game with. But this wrestling game is short, simple, and amazingly addictive. The size of the wrestlers on screen is awesome, and hitting the small selection of moves is incredibly satisfying. This game isn’t doing anything spectacular, yet I’ve found myself coming back to it again and again because of its gameplay. I love wrestling games (see my other reviews!) and this is, although amazingly simple, one of the best I’ve ever played. Additionally, everything is completely in English!

Finish him with a German suplex!

The Top 10 SNES Games of ALL TIME!



Note: These games were played on a SupaRetronHD, an amazingly cheap HD SNES-style system that I’ve come to really like.

Admittedly, this is an absurd list.  The following is in no way meant to be taken seriously in spite of what the title so boldly proclaims.  This list is comprised of games I originally played as a kid, in addition to titles I’ve enjoyed as an adult.  These are games I’ve come back to again and again.

   I recently made a similar “Six Game SNES Challenge” video on my youtube channel. I deviated from that concept a bit and changed and expanded my collection to ten games.  The chances are surely zero that anyone reading this would completely agree with my list, or even some of it.  Then again, maybe no two lists of any individuals would be alike, making my list true, as Ben Kenobi would put it, “from a certain point of view” (mine). 

   You may notice a commonality with most of these games – simplicity.  The older I get, the more I gravitate towards simpler games, like old arcade games.  Not that I don’t enjoy a good, epic RPG every now and then – I do.  But generally, my philosophy has become, “If I want to think, read. If I don’t, play a video game.”  Not that I believe video games are incapable of making one think, mind you; more-so that I prefer video games that don’t.  As an adult with a family and a job, I prefer to spend my limited recreation time with video games that don’t require me to do the one thing I have to do in every other aspect of my life – use my brain (at least, not much). 

*This list is alphabetical, but if you’re wondering which game is the #1 game ever made for the SNES, keep reading.

   Without further adieu, here is The Top 10 Greatest SNES Games of All Time as decided by The Southern Gentleman.


Ball Bullet Gun – Perfect sprites + top notch war simulation = A Top 10 SNES All Timer!

1. Ball Bullet Gun – This Super Famicom war simulation game provides hours and hours of entertainment and engagement.  You’ll need the English translation version if you’re not fluent in Japanese. Finally beating a mission that I’ve repeatedly failed at brings a gratifying-video-game feeling that is unparalleled, at least in my experience of repeatedly failing at video game levels or missions before finally succeeding.



BS Excitbike – Motorbikes and Mario for the win!

2. BS Excitebike – The first game I ever reviewed on this website.  A pseudo-sequel to the NES’ Excitebike, this game basically just added Mario characters to that gameplay experience.  The game was originally released only in Japan for the BS Satellaview, and the game today is playable in SNES cartridge form in a slightly modified form.  High score chasing on a motorbike with Mario?  Case closed.



     The Combatribes – Bodybuilding cyborgs use creative violence to clean up the streets

3. The Combatribes – Short, satisfying Beat ‘Em Up with overlarge sprites and terrific pummeling sound effects.  The seemingly easily overlooked one-on-one fighting mode (and playing as the bosses) is a hidden gem as well. 



Final Fight – Ignore every critic who ever said, “No Guy, No Industrial Level, No Thanks,” and play this SNES masterpiece.

4. Final Fight – An original SNES release, I always preferred this to the arcade version specifically because it was a shorter experience due to the excision of one level, thus making it a Beat ‘Em Up with a perfect ‘feel’ that doesn’t overstay its welcome. 



I love Golf O.B. Club – The golf game to end all sports games

5. I love Golf O.B. Club – Another BS Satellaview release, today the game has been translated and modified to play on the SNES.  A mixture of golf/mini-golf, the perfect gameplay is addictive immediately, even if you hate real golf or never had any interest in golf games.  Better than every other sports game made for the SNES.



King of Dragons – A game so outstanding that when it was first released back in 199x, I convinced my best friend it was the one game he needed to buy with his birthday money.  A month later, it was mine with a trade of a couple of trash sports games.  I don’t feel good about it, but it happened. 

6. King of Dragons – Medieval Beat ‘Em Up with RPG elements.  Plowing through wave after wave of monsters, wizards, and armies of the dead cement this game’s appeal.  The character choices and simple control scheme only add to the tremendous experience.  



Lost Vikings 2 – Comments and jokes are beneath this game.  This game is the peerless #1 Game of All Time for the SNES.

7. Lost Vikings 2 – An argument can be made for either this game or its excellent predecessor, The Lost Vikings.  This game tops the original, however, because of its expanded playable character roster and expanded move set, and because of its darker locales.  The humor also is absolutely top notch among movies, books, television shows, youtube channels, and video games.  This game is the best game ever made for the SNES. If logically you then question, “If this game is such a solid number one, how can the ‘excellent’ predecessor, The Lost Vikings, not even be in the top 10?” my response is simply, “No more questions!”  

BONUS CONTENT: The long awaited, often debated question about which Viking is best has finally been permanently answered: Baleog the Fierce is the best.  I once heard (myself say) a rumor that the long-awaited final chapter in The Lost Vikings Trilogy was entitled The Lost Vikings III: The Betrayal of Baleog, in which, after years of under-appreciation and lack of proper respect, something subtle but permanent snaps in Baleog, and he begins to systematically pick apart his former friends, Erik, Olaf, Fang, and Scorch.  Gameplay is reportedly extraordinarily similar to the first two outings, but each area of the game ends with the ‘accidental’ death of each of Baleog’s former friends, ending with a dramatic showdown back in the original Viking village with Erik, who tearfully begs the answer to the question, “Why?!!” Yes, the perfected core gameplay is the same, but the comedy is of a much darker nature in LVIII.  So I’ve heard.



Super Mario All-Stars – Did anyone ever figure out the cheat code to play as ‘Top Hat’ Mario?

8. Super Mario All-Stars – The pinnacle of SNES platformers in terms of quality gameplay.  This remade compilation of the NES/Famicom games is perfect.  If you question, “Why not the Super Mario All-Stars + Super Mario World cartridge instead of this one since your choice is missing another potential great Mario game?” my response would be to defer to each game’s sticker.  Super Mario All-Stars has a sticker that makes you immediately want to pop the game in and play.  Super Mario All-Stars + Super Mario World…not so much.  That is a sound argument, thank you. 



Turtles in Time – The expression on Raph’s face during the spinning roundhouse perfectly sums up this game.

9. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV – Turtles in Time – The fourth Beat ‘Em Up on the list, the general fast pace and terrific look of this game make it a game anyone could love, even if they’d never heard of these giant humanoid turtles. 



The Twisted Tales of Spike McFang – The RPG that pushed the limits of ‘Simplicity’ further than anyone ever dreamed they could go.

10. The Twisted Tales of Spike McFang The only RPG on the list.  A Link to the Past? Secret of Mana? Final Fantasy? Terrangima?   All terrific adventure or traditional RPGs, certainly.  But none surpass the less-than-five-hour quest of Spike McFang, with a story and gameplay so brilliantly simple it outshines every other RPG on the system.  


Turbografx-16 – Cadash


Cadash for the Turbografx-16, with an arcade flyer for the original version of the game.

Note 1: This game was played on a PC Engine Duo that has been modded to play games from the U.S. region. It was also modded to output in component video. The console was connected to a 40-inch HD-tv.

Genre: Platformer/RPG hybrid

Players: 1-player or 2-player co-op

Time to beat the game: between 1 and 2 hours

Brief History: Cadash was released in arcades in 1989. It received two home ports in 1991 and 1992 – for the Turbografx-16 and Sega Genesis, respectively. Both the home ports shared numerous commonalities as well as differences with their arcade counterpart, but the core gameplay experience was the same. This review does not compare the three different versions (other websites do a good job of this), except for a bit about your Stats, but instead focuses exclusively on the TG-16 version of the game.

Story: The evil monster Baarogue has kidnapped Princess Sarasa of the Kingdom of Deerzar, and the King tasks you with her rescue and the slaying of Baarogue.

Characters: Four significantly different characters are available for selection: the Fighter, the Mage, the Priestess (the game lists her as ‘Priest’ because of spacing issues, but the manual, at one point at least, refers to her as ‘Priestess,’ which makes more sense) and the Ninja. Each of the characters has strengths and weaknesses in terms of attack and defense power, with some characters being better choices for beating the game more easily than others.


The Mage, seen here, is arguably the best choice if you want the highest level of challenge at beating Cadash for the Turbografx-16.

HP and MP: Your character has both a Hit Points life bar and Magic Points bar (the Ninja and Fighter can’t use magic, so their MP bar is darkened and serves no purpose). Each character starts with a different number of Hit Points or Magic Points. As you take damage from enemies, or cast spells, these bars decrease. If your HP empties, and you don’t have any medicinal herbs, it’s Game Over (there are no Continues in this game).

Magic: The Mage has five Attack Spells that he learns as he levels up, and the Priestess learns Healing Spells and a Super Shield spell that makes her invulnerable to all attacks for a decent length of time, thus making her the best choice for beating the game.

Gold: With every enemy you slay, a bag of gold is dropped, with the amount dependent on which enemy was slain.  Gold can be used in towns (more on this below).

Leveling Up: At the beginning of Cadash, each character begins on Level 1, and is relatively weak.  However, you can ‘level up’ your character over the course of the game by slaying enemies, with Level 20 being the max.  You don’t necessarily have to get to Level 20 to be strong enough to beat the game, but the higher you go, the more likely it is that you can complete the game.

Stats: If you wait to watch the demo play before starting a game, you can see your character’s Level 1 Stats in three categories: Strength (how powerful your attack is), Armor Class (your defensive ranking), and Agility (how fast your character moves).  These stats increase as you gain levels and purchase new weapons and armor.


All four characters are separated by their Strength, Defense, and Speed levels.

*Unfortunately, although the current level you’re at is always on display, you can never actually view your individual Stats in-game, nor see how many experience points are needed before you level up.  In the arcade version of Cadash, and the Sega Genesis version, you could view your Experience Points leading up to your next level, your Gold, your Items (medicinal herbs and antidotes) and your Stats at any time by not moving or pausing the game, respectively (a small window would open up displaying those things in those two versions).  However, for some inexplicable reason, you cannot view ANY of these things in the Turbografx-16 version (the window never pops up), with the exception of your Gold, which is viewable when you enter a shop or an Inn only.  Hence, you never actually know how close you are to leveling up, exactly how much Gold an enemy has dropped, or how many antidotes or medicinal herbs you have left (unless you manually keep a count).  You can, of course, always see your HP life bar and MP bar, but having these other things omitted from viewing in-game is an unfortunate exclusion from the TG-16 version.  

Controls: Run pauses the game. Select does nothing. Button II attacks with your main weapon (sword – Fighter, staff – Wizard, Flail – Priest, Thowing Stars – Ninja). The Fighter can swing upward if Holding Up + Button II, the Mage can do a downward thrust if Holding Down plus Button II while jumping, the Priestess can do an overhead whip if you press diagonal/upward plus Button II, and the Ninja can do a diagonal downward throw if you jump then hold down/diagonal plus Button II. If using the Wizard or Priestess, holding down Button II brings up your acquired Magic Spells. Your spells cycle every few seconds while holding the button, and releasing the button while a certain icon is displayed unleashes that particular spell. Button I jumps. You can also duck when on solid ground and climb up and down vines.


Hold Button II to cycle through your magic spells if playing as the Mage or the Priestess.

Towns: As you travel through the Kingdom of Deerzar, between deadly caverns, forests, and a castle, you’ll enter towns where you can do several things. You can buy (up to 9 each) medicinal herbs that are automatically used if your energy is depleted and antidotes that automatically take effect if you’re poisoned by a monster. You can stay in an inn to completely replenish your health and magic or resurrect your ally if in 2-player mode.  You can also stop at the Armory and purchase weapon and armor upgrades (these change the appearance of your character each time). You’ll also interact with the towns inhabitants, and must often perform some type of quest for a citizen, sometimes needing to double back to the town after obtaining an object.

Bosses: There are 5 different areas to traverse in Cadash, with a boss waiting at the end of each.  Beating the boss typically opens up the next area of the game.

The importance of Grinding: Enemies constantly respawn, making grinding easy.  It’s also necessary at the beginning of the game (and a few other times) if you don’t want the first boss to kill you immediately.  I recommend taking ten to fifteen minutes to level up your character to around Level 7 in the first area.

Elixir and Life Bells: In a couple of places in the game, you’ll find chests that contain Elixirs.  Elixirs completely refill your HP and MP if you’re killed, making them invaluable.  In one shop, also, you can buy Life Bells that extend your HP total.  Both of these items make beating the game easier.

SECRET – Playing two players with 1 controller: If you select two players without a multi-tap hooked up, you can actually control both characters with one controller after naming the characters!  This makes for a unique playing experience, as you cannot choose the same character, and each character moves at a different speed.  A truly challenging experience would be to try and beat the game while controlling two characters.  I’ve never given it an honest try, but it would certainly be an exercise in patience and skill!


Try controlling two characters at once for an added challenge!

The Southern Gentleman’s Opinion and Letter Grade: B+ Cadash for the Turbografx-16 is one of my favorite games for any system, but it’s not without its flaws.  Although it’s not terribly long, some type of saving system (even passwords) would have been a nice addition, and the aforementioned removal of the Stats/Experience/Gold viewing box in-game is puzzling, and while not problematic, it is at least mildly frustrating until you get used to its absence.  Using magic can also be a bit frustrating until you get used to it.  The lack of a continue system or multiple lives could be viewed as a positive or negative; I tend to side with the former, as this forces you to learn the game and grind your levels and adds to the challenge.  Despite these few flaws, however, Cadash has an amazingly addictive nature; perhaps that is because of the rarity of RPGs of this side-scrolling, platforming nature.  The four different characters add great replayablity and an added challenge once you beat the game for the first time as well. Everything is big and colorful, and if you’re looking for a short RPG, this is definitely a great choice!


PC Engine – Genji Tsushin Agedama


Genji Tsushin Agedama for the PC Engine is an outstanding game.

Note: This game was played on a PC Engine Duo that has been modded for component video.  It was played on a 40-inch HD-tv.

Brief History: Genji Tsushin Agedama was released for the PC Engine in Japan in 1991.  The game was never released in the United States for the Turbografx-16, the PC Engine counterpart.  It is based on a short-lived Japanese anime from the early 1990s.

Genre: Platformer/Run n’ Gun hybrid

Players: 1

Language Barrier? No.  Although there is Japanese in the story intro and Japanese on the gaming screen, there is nothing to prevent you from easily playing and enjoying this game.


Use a variety of Super Attacks to battle bizarre enemies in six unique, colorful stages!

Story: From what I can gather, Genji, the character you play as, is a young man who has the ability to transform into the superhero Agedama when needed.  Along with his flying robot Wapuro (who accompanies Agedama in-game when his icon is picked up), Agedama battles against the minions of an evil being whose goal is to turn humans into monsters.

Other characters: Other characters from the show appear, including Ibuki Heike, a young lady who is in love with Genji and appears once per level to replenish your health.  Additionally, Katchi (male) and Mika (female) are another young couple who show up in a later stage to harass Genji.


Health, weapon, and protective item pickups litter the game’s six stages.

Overview: Genji Tsushin Agedama is six levels long, and could generally be beaten in around 35 minutes.  The majority of the stages slowly autoscroll forward, with Genji constantly running. Exceptions to this include boss fights, which take place on stationary  screens, and half of stage 5 and all of stage 6, which allow the player to progress at their own discretion, like a standard platformer.  While advancing forward in each stage, the player fires away at a variety of enemies with blasts from his hands, or jumps or rolls to dodge enemies.

Control: Button II shoots small fireballs (holding the button then releasing fires a charged shot), Button I jumps (holding up plus Button I executes a high jump), and pressing diagonal/forward quickly rolls Agedama forward, which is used to evade, attack, or become invincible against enemy attacks (more on this below).


Rolling serves multiple purposes in Agedama – evading, becoming invincible, and attacking!

Super Attacks: As you progress through each stage, you’ll pick up icons that allow you to charge more powerful Super Attacks.  The longer you hold Button II, the more powerful your attack.  At the top of the screen are five orbs – Red, Blue, Green, Purple, and Yellow.  As you hold Button II, they become grey, and when you release the button on a particular orb, you’ll get a corresponding Super Attack, from a tornado, to genies that fly and attack enemies, to power waves, to lightning,  to a screen-filling Atomic Bomb attack!  You can use Super Attacks limitlessly.  Sometimes you’ll have to experiment with each attack, as some bosses are more susceptible to particular Super Attacks than others.

Health: You have eight hearts per life, and only one life per credit (you have credits, or continues, if you die, and you start back at the beginning of the level – no checkpoints).  Every time you take a hit, you loose a heart.  However, enemies often drop health pickups (red icons) to replenish one unit of health, and Ibuki appears once per stage (touch the green rabbit creature to see her) to fully replenish your health.

Stages and Enemies:  The six stages include a city, a river, a desert, a cave, a mountain, and the sky.  In each stage, you’ll battle wave after wave of bizarre enemies, from flying chickens, to ghosts, to anthropomorphic volcanoes.  Each stage has a mid-boss and a big boss to fight.  Most stages have a bit of platforming mixed in, which usually involves a bit of jumping across chasms.  If you fall in a pit, however, it’s not Game Over – your character simply looses a heart and is thrown back up onto a platform.


Platforming is a part of Agedama; be on the lookout for this rabbit character, where you can find Ibuki, the young lady who replenishes your health once per stage.

The importance of rolling: The roll move should be utilized in every stage, and particularly boss fights.  Your character moves twice as fast along the screen, making dodging a cinch, you become invincible to being hit while in motion, and you can attack enemies when you connect with them!

Cheat Code: On the title screen, hold Button I and Button II and press Select.  You’ll access a cheat screen in Japanese, although it’s easy to figure things out quickly.  You can adjust your character’s health (you can lower the number of hearts you get, or increase them up to ten), you can adjust your allowed Continues up to nine, or choose your stage from any of the six.  There’s also a sound test.

High Score: The game doesn’t have a ‘Top 5’ type high score screen, but you do have a running point total on the game screen, and you get points for everything you kill and big points at the end of stages.  At the end of the game, you’ll see your final total displayed, so the game can be played to see how high your score can be by the end of the game.


Having trouble beating the Stage 4 boss?  Just stand to the far left and fire Super Attacks to the right.  You’ll beat him without being touched!

The Southern Gentleman’s Opinion and Letter Grade: A+  If this game had been the pack-in game with the Turbografx-16 years ago instead of the mediocre Keith Courage in Alpha Zones, the Turbografx-16 may have had a better chance in the U.S. Well, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but this game is amazing!  I was pleasantly surprised at just how good it is.  It’s a bit on the easy side, but even as you learn how to beat some of the more challenging later-stage bosses, you never get to the point of ‘throw the controller’ frustration – it keeps you coming back without that level of lunacy.  The colors, music, control, and moderate challenge all combine to become, in my opinion, an instant classic for the PC Engine.  I’ve played many games for the system, and Genji Tsushin Agedama is, by great lengths in my opinion, in the top ten percent.


Playing for a 1 Credit high score gives the game good replayablity.

PC Engine Super-CD Rom – Startling Odyssey II


Startling Odyssey II for the PC Engine Duo

Note 1:  This game is an English-translated reproduction disc.  As far as I’ve read elsewhere, the game was ‘machine translated,’ and I had no problem playing through the game, as the translation, while often structurally awkward, was just fine and understandable.  Thanks to whoever did this!

Note 2: This game was played on a PC Engine Duo that has been modded to output in component video.  It was connected to a 40-inch HD-tv.

Note 3: This will be a short review!

Brief History: Startling Odyssey II was released in Japan in 1994.  It is a prequel to Startling Odyssey, which was released the year before.

Overview: Startling Odyssey II is an overhead, turn-based RPG that can be completed in approximately 25-30 hours (that was my experience).  You control a party of four (once you meet the other characters) and spend the majority of the game traveling in an overworld from town to town, buying weapons, fighting enemies, and exploring landscapes.


The game follows a Town-Tower-Boss pattern again and again.

Story: In the game, you play the role of Rob Salford, the ‘Blue god of Death,’ and are tasked with fulfilling your destiny by stopping the evil Kirubeito, who is creating/modifying Dragons to destroy the world.  The ultimate Dragon is Babylon, whom you are trying to prevent from reviving.  You and your party have to collect 8 amulets that will help in accomplishing these tasks.

Gameplay: You’ll spend the majority of the game walking (later sailing and flying) across landscapes, through caves, and over mountains, uncovering new information in each new town you come across.  You’ll level up your characters through frequent random enemy encounters, and you’ll buy armor and weaponry in each town or find them in chests.  Generally, in each area of the game, there are towers that need to be explored, a boss to beat, and a significant item to be obtained before the next area opens up.  Also, each area contains a town or a castle with numerous characters to talk to in order to advance the story.

Cut Scenes, Voice Acting, and the English translation: I would estimate that 75% of the game is told through written dialogue boxes, all of which are translated to English.  However, the other 25% of the story is told through excellently animated cutscenes with spoken Japanese dialogue, or spoken Japanese dialogue in some significant scenes in lieu of dialogue boxes.  At no point did the Japanese voice acting impact my understanding of the story to a frustrating level, and its amazing how much one can discern simply from listening to an actor’s tone and inflection without actually having knowledge of the language.


The cutscenes are beautifully animated and voice-acted in Japanese, although the animation tells the story well enough for you to follow without an understanding of the language.

Difficulty: For the first third of the game, I found Startling Odyssey II to be extraordinarily easy.  The frequent enemy encounters kept my levels moving up, new weapons and armor purchases in towns gave my stats needed boosts, and the acquisition of magic spells (that occur when certain character levels are hit) made normal enemy and boss encounters easy.  A handy Auto Battle feature makes battles a cinch as well.  However, toward the end of the game, I found enemies and bosses to become far more difficult, and I needed to spend some time grinding before facing final bosses.

Saving: You save your game at inns in each town, or handily placed Save Squares in caves or towers.  Saving at either location has the useful addition of fully restoring your HP and MP, meaning if you have a Save Square just before a boss encounter in a tower, you can spend some time leveling up on normal enemies before fighting the boss if you’re not initially ready.  The game saves to the internal memory of your PC Engine or Turbografx Duo/CD attachment.


I lost count of how many dragons I fought in this game, but it was A LOT, and each one looked awesome and significantly different from the one before.

Rating:  I didn’t know anything about Startling Odyssey II before I played it, except that it was an obscure RPG that was translated to English for the PC Engine Duo.  Wow, though, it’s amazing how different games were that were released in Japan as opposed to the U.S.  This game would have needed to be heavily censored had it been released in the west.  There is frequent language, character deaths, innuendo (the main character is frequently the object of desire amongst many female characters), numerous alcohol references, and even brief nudity in several cut scenes.  If this game was a movie, it would definitely receive an R rating, and I would imagine it would get something like a 17+ game rating today.  This is NOT a game to play around younger children.

The Southern Gentleman’s Opinion and Letter Grade:  Startling Odyssey II is an average RPG.  Compared to numerous other turn-based RPGs I’ve played over the years, this one didn’t quite measure up.  The game got annoyingly repetitive with the brush-rinse-repeat pattern of town-tower-boss again and again without significant deviations.  The English translation makes the game easily playable, but many of the dialogue scenes, be they text box or voice acting, are extremely long and become tiresome.  The CD music is generally good, but the tracts (particularly during boss fights) are too short, and repeat every 30 seconds or so.  From a personal standpoint, I found the game to be a bit too distasteful and lude far too often (enough to make it distracting instead of amusing), although others may enjoy the game’s sense of humor more.  Even if the story were less vulgar, however, I still would not have enjoyed the gameplay anymore than I did.  Average RPG.


ColecoVision – Children of the Night Review


Children of the Night for the ColecoVision

Note 1: This game was played on the Collectorvision Phoenix console.  It was connected to a 40-inch HD-tv via HDMI.

Genre: Action-RPG, 1-Player

Brief History: Children of the Night was released in 2017 for the ColecoVision; there’s some great info on on the people who developed this game (Hikaru Games) – Thank you for your hard work!  This game requires the SGM expansion in order to be played on an original ColecoVision; the Collectorvision Phoenix includes this built-in feature.  The SGM allows the game to have enhanced graphics and music over standard ColecoVision games.

Story: You play the role of Drakul, the Master of Vampires.  You have been awakened forty years after being willingly defeated by Van Helsing, and you set out to uncover the reason for your re-awakening and the truth behind a new dark power that is arising.  You’ll soon discover that you must collect 6 Relics to beat the ‘god’ who is coming to cover the world in darkness.


Graveyards, Palaces, Towns, and Ruins make for a vast world to explore in Children of the Night.

Control:  I’ve been playing the game using an NTT Data Super Famicom controller because the Collectorvision Phoenix has a Super Famicom port, and frankly, this is the most comfortable and convenient way to play the game.  The numeric keypad can be used to input the 20-digit password you’ll receive to save your progress (you can select the numbers the old-fashioned way, but entering the code with the numbered buttons is much faster).  The B button fires Drakul’s projectile, the A button runs or flies, once you have acquired the appropriate item, and the *asterix button pauses the game and brings up your Spirit menu.

Music: There is some truly amazing music in this game! Based on new areas you uncover, the tunes often change from creepy, to suspenseful, to surprisingly light-hearted.

Gameplay: As Drakul, you’ll awaken in your castle, get a brief tutorial on how to advance in the game as a means of escaping your castle, and you’ll soon be off in the Overworld.  In the Overworld, you’ll collect items, visit towns and talk to residents, and explore ruins/graveyards/palaces.  You’ll have to solve (usually simple) riddles to open new areas.  All the while, you’ll be battling monsters, ghosts, and Nazis(!) non-stop!

Saving: You will save your progress in the ‘Nexus,’ a space-age looking area designed by Van Helsing that exists, to paraphrase here, ‘Somewhere between Heaven and Hell.’  To access the Nexus, you’ll find blue staircases (often that appear once you defeat a certain enemy on screen) that lead there, and the red computer screen, Athraia, will give you the password.  Passwords save your current level, how many Relics you’ve collected, and what Spirt powers you’ve obtained!


No save batteries to worry about! Children of the Night utilizes a handy 20-digit numeric password, easily input by using the NTT Data controller (if playing on the Collectorvision Phoenix) or the original ColecoVision controller.

Leveling Up: To increase Drakul’s life bar (pictured as red ‘hearts’) and increase his Spirit points (stars), simply fight, fight, fight!  Every enemy you defeat gives you an experience point or two, and they constantly re-spawn (not in an annoying way, fortunately, as they’re typically easy to kill).  You can see how many points you need to obtain your next level, and gaining a level always refills several hearts.  You can also regain Drakul’s life by standing still – slowly, but it comes in handy if you can find a safe, out-of-the-way spot.

Spirit Points: As you advance in the game, you’ll uncover new items that can be ‘equipped,’ assuming you have enough Spirt points.  It works like this – the first Spirit you obtain is the Wolf Paws.  You can equip it if you at least one Star available, which you will at the beginning of the game.  As you advance in the game, and you level up (slowly gaining more stars/Spirit points), when you acquire new Spirits, you’ll be able to equip some of them as well.  Here’s a short list of some of the Spirits you’ll obtain in the first half of the game, and what they do:


Wolf Paws – Drakul moves faster if you hold button A (his life slowly decreases though)

Wolf Fang – Drakul can cross bridges

Bone Ripper – Moves Columns

Far Shot – Drakul shoots his projectile further if it’s equipped

Shu Shot – Drakul can shoot his projectile through obstacles

Ogre Shot – Drakul fires a more powerful projectile, but walks slower

Bat Wing – Drakul can fly if you press the A button

Bat Fang – Drakul can shoot while flying if you equip this


Difficulty: As I was playing Children of the Night, I couldn’t help but think of the original Legend of Zelda for the NES.  This game has a similar look to it of course, but also the linear-ish yet still open-world feel of the game was Zelda-like, but with one big difference – this game was easier to figure out!  There are enough clues to keep you generally pointed in the right direction.  Mind, a lot of backtracking is necessary at times, as you’ll be asked to obtain a particular item in one area and then return with it, but with enough patience and general memorization of the game’s map (there is no actual map in game, which would have been cool), the challenge is just right.  While you will need to grind to keep Drakul’s power growing, you will find yourself doing this as you explore the game naturally, as enemies are abundant.  The entrances to Nexus for game-saving are plentiful enough, although it’s important to note you can’t just up and save on a whim, so make discovering the entrances a priority as you play.


Exploration, riddle-solving, grinding, and discovery – Children of the Night is an in-depth Action-RPG for the Colecovision.

The Southern Gentleman’s Opinion and Letter GradeI pre-ordered the Collectorvision Phoenix back in June of 2019 for one reason – to play Root Beer Tapper in high definition.  After pre-ordering, I really began exploring the ColecoVision homebrew scene and was delighted to find this gem, and have been amazed at its quality, from graphics, to music, to the story (which is surprisingly in-depth and grammatically perfect with fun nods to Star WarsThe Walking Dead, and Blade Runner) to excellent gameplay.  The only downside I found to the game was the lack of boss fights, but I didn’t find myself missing them too much as the game was so generally enjoyable.  The game also has a “good” ending and a “bad” ending based on your accomplishing certain objectives and having the right items equipped.  This is easily a 10+ hour RPG adventure, and a must-have for the (fairly) recently revived ColecoVision scene!  A+

*Bonus – Here’s a little Children of the Night walkthrough to get you started – these were just some notes I wrote down while playing.

  1.  Drakul’s Castle – get Fenrir’s Paw before you leave
  2. Get Fenrir’s Fang from the chest to the right of Drakul’s castle
  3. Go west to Bran Village and talk to Van Helsing to get Dark Control
  4. Go south to Lich Graveyard – then west to Hershell and Michonne’s for the Bone Ripper
  5. Go immediately back east in Lich’s Graveyard – a rock will be gone that was blocking your way, and you can obtain the Far Shot from the chest
  6. Now head north from Drakul’s castle.  Go north and east until you reach a sign that tells you you’re being timed to get to the entrance of the Shu Ruins.  Walk back west, south, then east to the three columns – the Bone Ripper will move them – head north and west to get to the entrance to Shu’s Ruins
  7. In the Ruins, in the first room with the ‘Release my soul’ line, kill enemies until the soul releases and a stairway appears.  Descend to obtain the Shu Shot, which you should immediately equip to advance in the Ruins




Arcade – The Legend of Makai Review


The arcade game, The Legend of Makai (1988)

Note:  This game/jamma arcade board was played using an HDMI Supergun connected to a 40-inch HD-tv.

Original Release: The Legend of Makai was released for arcades in 1988 by Jaleco.

Genre: Action-RPG Platformer

Players: 1 or 2-player (alternating)

Story:  (from the arcade manual) The Princess has been kidnapped by the evil undead Wizard of the Makai Wastelands.  The people have lost all hope because it is said that the wizard cannot be killed.  You must prove them wrong as you travel through the forests, hills, and caves of Makai seeking the letters of the Spell that will end the Wizard’s evil forever and free the Princess of Makai. 

Options/DIP switches: You can change the difficulty from four levels, set the game to ‘Free Play,’ which gives you unlimited credits, change the number of lives per credit from two to five, and even turn on ‘Immortal’ mode where nothing can hit you!  There is a slow clock that runs in each stage (typically three or four minutes), but nothing in the DIP switch settings allows you to lengthen or stop the clock.  However, in Immortal mode, not even the ‘Evil Eye’ that comes to kill you when the timer runs out can touch you!  It’s kind of like a game genie cheat code!


Collect gold to buy weapon upgrades and clues in Shops.

Gameplay: In The Legend of Makai, you control a warrior who must battle through multiple stages, defeating enemies and end-of-stage bosses, collecting keys, buying weapon and armor upgrades, and searching for clues that will enable you to learn the ‘Spell’ that will enable you to kill the wizard that is terrorizing the land.  The game is not strictly linear with you battling from one side of the screen to to the other, as you have to frequently explore different areas in each level to uncover a key or trigger a conversation with an NPC that will allow you to finish a level.

Control: Button I swings your sword/fires your projectile (if you’ve bought one).  Sometimes, however, swinging your sword is not always necessary – by simply having your sword extended (which it automatically is), many enemies will impale themselves upon it when you approach them!  Button II  jumps.  You can jump on the heads of most enemies to kill them, and from there jump again (kind of a ‘double jump’ feature).  Down crouches.  When you crouch in front a door, you’ll enter it.

Gold: As you explore each level, you’ll collect varying amounts of gold (in the form of jewels) that can be used in Shops.  Gold is pre-placed in each level, and you do not obtain any from slain enemies.  It’s easy enough to accumulate, and you’ll definitely want to, as the best items can be quite pricey.


Stopping in shops for items is crucial to beating the game.

Items: In shops, you can purchase healing potions, strength potions (temporary invincibility), and jump potions (temporary higher jumps).  You can also purchase better swords, shields, boots, projectile weapons, and the feather that allows you to use a helpful ‘floaty’ jump.  Finally, you can purchase ‘clues’ that tell you where to find important NPCs or keys.  Occasionally, an item you purchase turns out to be ‘fake,’ and you don’t get your money back for it either – this stinks.  Buyer beware.

Keys: Green, Blue, and Red keys can be found scattered throughout each stage – they’re usually in out-of-the-way places, like in treetops or hidden in caves.  You don’t always need to collect each colored key to access the door to a stage’s boss, but you occasionally cannot advance until you find a particular one.  Other times, you’ll find treasure colored treasure chests that can only be opened with the appropriate key – these usually contain a healing potion or gold.

Checkpoints:  Your warrior can only take three hits before dying, at which point he goes back to a nearby checkpoint – most of the time.  In later stages, you’ll need to be better at staying alive, as the game may put you back at the beginning of the stage if you die!

Hidden Doors/Talking to NPCs multiple times: The first few stages, despite having to do a bit of exploration, are fairly straightforward and easy to figure out.  However, beginning with the fourth stage, the difficulty ratchets up as you try to decipher the sometimes-cryptic messages to uncover hidden doors leading to crucial NPCs or keys.


Each stage ends with a boss – fortunately, if you die, you’ll respawn at the same spot, and the boss’ energy will still remain depleted.

Two Endings: As you explore each stage, searching for the key to the boss door, you’ll uncover the hidden letters that enable you to get the ‘good ending’ if you beat the game.  When you get to the final boss, you’ll be able to input this six-letter password (I won’t spoil it for you by providing it).  If you don’t know it because you haven’t found each letter, you can still fight the boss, but you’ll get the ‘bad’ ending.

Difficulty: Even on the lowest difficulty (‘Standard’) Legend of Makai is quite challenging.  You won’t have much trouble in the first half of the game, but after that, you’ll run in circles for awhile trying to figure out exactly where to go.  However, with persistence, you can defeat each stage without the need of consulting a walkthrough guide – we’re not talking Castlevania II-style impossibility here, as the clues are sometimes a bit vague, but not completely misleading.  In the later stages, the difficulty is more often in staying alive long enough to uncover the path to beating the stage.  It’s not a bad idea to use ‘Immortal’ mode to beat the game the first time.  This game is designed for multiple playthroughs in order to memorize where to go.  Once you do that, it becomes far more enjoyable.


You’ll be seeing this screen a lot, so it’s best to set the board to ‘Free Play.’

The Southern Gentleman’s Opinion and Letter Grade: B The Legend of Makai is a decent action-RPG.  I first looked into it because I wanted something similar to Cadash, another action-RPG that I love.  This game is not as good as Cadash, but it’s also older, so that may not really be fair.  It’s got some good things going for it, and the challenge, while frustrating at times, is not impossible, and makes for a different experience than most other arcade games out there.  A small but important feature, to me at least, is the fact that the slow clock allows you to take short breaks from time to time if you’re in the middle of a playthrough.  The music and graphics are quite basic, but Legend of Makai does have an understated charm to it that fans of game’s like Zelda II, Magician Lord, or Cadash may find appealing.