Synths of Rage by 30th Floor Records
Jan22

Synths of Rage by 30th Floor Records

If you owned a Sega Megadrive in the 90s, you have no doubt played Streets of Rage and Streets of Rage 2, the often copied but never equaled beat-em-ups that enthralled kids and adults alike. Not only were the games smash hits, the soundtracks were too. Composed and produced by Yuzo Koshiro, Kyoji Kato, and Motohiro Kawashima these tracks are timeless and still sound as fresh today as they did whilst wrapping a pipe around a punks head back in 1992. Cardiff based 30th Floor Records have assembled Synths of Rage – a homage to these sublime soundtracks featuring synth artists from all over the world and the resulting album is quite frankly amazing. I was instantly taken back to my youth by this collection of awesome tracks and as if some unseen force was driving me, I felt I just had to fire up my MegaDrive and play a level or two of these seminal beat-em-ups. Check out the Synths of Rage page over at Bandcamp and buy the...

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Sega Mega Drive/Genesis: Collected Works – review
Nov26

Sega Mega Drive/Genesis: Collected Works – review

When the Kickstarter campaign for Sega Mega Drive/Genesis: Collected Works by Darren Wall was announced it proclaimed to be the ‘definitive volume on the landmark console’ which was a lofty goal indeed. The fact that this documentary artbook was officially licensed by Sega themselves and that Read Only Memory’s previous title Sensible Software 1986–1999 had been successfully funded the previous year, gave us all hope of the goal being reached and we weren’t to be disappointed. Sega fans worldwide joined in backing the project and it reached £98,725 after the initial goal was set at £20,000. Set to mark the 25th anniversary of the release of the Mega Drive, the book promised to break new ground and certainly does that by including 28 exclusive in-depth interviews with original Sega team members (some of whom had never been interviewed before), original manufacturing plans for the console and it’s add-ons plus hand drawn story boards from some of the Mega Drive’s most popular games. This is just a small part of what this book has become though, and their original claim of ‘definitive’ is probably the best and only way of describing this masterpiece. Sega Mega Drive/Genesis: Collected Works Sonic The Hedgehog 2 promotional poster artwork Genesis marker rendering Mega CD/Sega CD concept painting Mega Drive top case production drawing Mega Drive top case production drawing Eternal Champions stage concepts Golden Axe character designs Sonic The Hedgehog 2 sprites Sonic CD screens Streets of Rage 2 cover draft Streets of Rage cover illustration and The Super Shinobi II cover illustration Inside the Collected Works Having gone down the ‘Sega route’ of console ownership myself, I had been watching this particular books Kickstarter campaign with relish, delighting upon its growing success and counting down the days to it’s final release. And I’m glad to say the book itself is a joy to behold. A 351 page hardback wonder, full of everything you ever wanted to know about the Sega Megadrive, its add-ons and software, from conception, through to its evolution, design and final production. The book is no simple affair though. It is obvious from the cover itself, with its blind embossed Mega Drive graphic that this is a book of quality and even that doesn’t prepare you for what lies in store between its covers. Not content with fine stock paper and beautifully rendered print, Darren Wall has endowed the book with gatefold pages throughout, some of which fold out to reveal never seen before prototype designs whilst others expand to reveal beautifully illustrated game art. The care and detail lavished upon every page of this book is astonishing right down to...

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Head 2 Head: Desert Strike Return to the Gulf – SNES vs MegaDrive
Jun07

Head 2 Head: Desert Strike Return to the Gulf – SNES vs MegaDrive

The first in my new series of face-offs between classic games on rival consoles. The aim of Head2Head is not to say which console I think is the greatest (all consoles have their own particular strengths and weaknesses), but rather to examine the same game released for rival consoles and to say in the fairest possible way which I think was the best at the time. This time round it is the turn for the smash hit Desert Strike – Return to the Gulf by Electronic Arts, released in 1992 on the Nintendo SNES and Sega MegaDrive. Graphics In Desert Strike – Return to the Gulf it is obvious in most places that exactly the same images are used, but not all…  and it all starts to go the MegaDrive’s way right from the opening sequence. Firstly the Electronic Arts logo is animated, SNES version is not. The dungeon torture scene and also the main menu is animated on MD but not on SNES. In game graphics are very similar too, but again right from the off the MD has the advantage with the ship and surrounding sea being animated but not so on the SNES. Small details but ones that clinch a win for the MegaDrive. Sound At first I thought this was a no-brainer.  Take a listen to the video and right from the opening music you can tell that a lot more effort was put into the musical scores on the MD. The only part where the SNES  just has the edge is with the in-game action sounds. They are far more realistic sounding and could have been sampled from actual gunfire/explosions etc. whereas the MD’s effects sound like they were all generated. Still, with the intro sequence and end music being so much better it is still a win for the MegaDrive…  just. Gameplay This was tough. I couldn’t find any real difference in the way the games played on both systems. Control was smooth with both controllers and the sound cues were clear when you needed to know of impending danger. This has got to be a draw. Review...

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