Retro Gaming Australia

Forgotten Games

Forgotten Games: Asterix (Konami, 1992)

by on Jun.10, 2010, under Forgotten Games, RGA TV

Konami was renowned for two particular licensed brawlers in the early 90s: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1989) and The Simpsons (1991). These were not the only two the company produced, however. Popular French comic book series Asterix was given the arcade game in 1992.

Watch a gameplay sample of the first level of Asterix in the video below.

Asterix captures the essence of the comic book, not only in its visual style but also its core theme. Players take Asterix the Gaul or his brother-in-arms and best friend Obelix through a series of seven levels where they fight against the oppression of the Roman Empire. Romans can be dispatched with a variety of attacks, ranging from the standard punches (greatly powered up from the Gauls’ magic potion) through to more humorous and humilating slaps to the face and ragdoll tossing.

The game plays out much the same way as other Konami brawlers, with one attack button and one jump button which can be combined to access more attacking moves. By holding the attack button down for a short burst, players can use their super punch attack, which delivers a great deal more damage. Asterix and Obelix are of relatively even power in the game, which is the only notable deviation from the source material. Gameplay is occasionally shaken up with a tough boss fight or bonus stage, one of which is a chariot race at the end of the first level. Asterix‘s visuals are of a high standard, with excellent pixel art and animation consistent with many of the best arcade brawlers of the era. It’s a great all-round package.

While Asterix is highly popular in continental Europe, he is still relatively obscure in America and other Western nations, meaning that this game did not receive the same widespread distribution as other Konami brawlers. Though numerous Asterix games were released for home consoles, this one did not, as Sega held the home console rights to Asterix for a number of years around the time of this game’s release.

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Forgotten Games: Combat School (Konami, 1987)

by on May.27, 2010, under Forgotten Games, RGA TV

When many of us think about Konami, we think about games such as Contra, Metal Gear and Castlevania – games which are still the company’s bread and butter in the present day. Konami is a company with a rich history, but many games they’ve produced have simply been forgotten over time. Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be unearthing some of these titles in a new article series called Forgotten Games.

The first game we’ll look at is Combat School, a 1987 release which combines the button mashing fun of Track & Field with basic military training. Take a look at the video below to watch RGA play the opening level of the game.

Combat School pits two recruits, Nick and Joe against each other in a series of basic military training exercises such as the obstacle course, target shooting and a canoe race. Competing each event in the alloted time and you’ll progress to the next – the better you perform, the more extra time you’ll be awarded for the next event. Players will get to fight each other in hand-to-hand combat after completing the arm wrestling event (when playing alone, you will fight the instructor). Most games follow the button mashing control system established in Track & Field, so players will find that the game has little depth. However, the theme of the game is obscure enough to keep you coming back for more.

Should you defeat the instructor, Combat School will veer off on a weird tangent where you take on your first mission, which involves rescuing a bunch of VIPs from a terrorist attack. Unfortunately, the game proves less than competent in this area, with shoddy gameplay mechanics, poor collision detection and wretched controls. It’s pretty difficult to make it this far into the game, so many of you will be spared this bit.

Unlike most Konami games of the era, Combat School did not receive a port to the NES, which is probably the main reason why it has been forgotten. It did make to homes on various computer formats (Commodore 64, DOS, Amstrad CPC, and ZX Spectrum), but these ports are largely terrible.

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