Andro Dunos CD

Fight the Space Battle of the Century in Andro Dunos

With multi-weapon shooting!

Andro Dunos, a horizontal shoot-em-up from developers Visco, is one of my favourite Neo Geo games. Most people don’t rate the game too highly but, as an arcade shooter, it ticks lots of boxes for me.

The ships (named Yellow Cherry and Red Fox) control really well; your weapons handle the action nicely; level design is clean and offers variety; the difficulty curve is just right.

Everything I love about shmups is in Andro Dunos. It even had nice artwork in its promo material!

Andro Dunos flyer

And yet, there is something missing.

Originality

I don’t think Andro Dunos does anything new or innovative. Weapon powerups are a mix of Gradius and R-Type. Level designs take liberties with classics like Salamander and Thunder Force. You’ll probably get a sense of deja vu throughout the 45 minutes it’ll take you to play through its 8 stages.

The only original thing from the game is the striking artwork at the head of this post, taken from the Neo Geo CD release. Makes a nice change from the generic ships-in-space images that are usually used. See above flyer for a prime example.

You can watch the game played through on the RetroGameWorld YouTube channel:

I’m not the only one who likes Andro Dunos. Whilst researching the game, I found that someone has created a tshirt design which you can buy over at Etsy.

Andro Dunos T-Shirt

The only way you can play Andro Dunos is on the Neo Geo – any flavour, just as long as it has an SNK badge.

This post continues a new series from me:
An irreverent and artistic A-Z of Neo Geo Gaming.

Alpha Mission 2

Suit Up, Hold Your Breath and Stand Ready for the Unbelievable Alpha Mission 2

Surely they meant Beta Mission?

One of the things that makes “retro gaming” so much fun for me is being able to use the internet to look back at how the game was perceived at the time. I enjoy playing the games, but looking back at old magazine reviews, seeing the hype and marvelling at the advertising; that’s what I really love about the hobby.

Except when you can’t do those things. Alpha Mission II, or Armored Scrum Object II: Last Guardian if you’re in Japan, is a brilliant shoot-em-up. It’s also a game that defies the logic that the internet is the source of all knowledge.

Alpha Mission 2 Box Art

You can find a few magazine scans, box art images and other material from its release in 1991. But, compared to other games produced for the MVS and Neo Geo platforms, Alpha Mission 2 is remarkable because of the lack of hype.

That’s surprising for a sequel, especially when they had such a good backstory…

The lunar nightmare of a bloody 200-year space war was thought to be over in the “original” ALPHA MISSION. But now with the advent of more technically sophisticated weapons, the evil “Fulvar” and his “Seven Star Alliance” have returned to destroy all planets that stand in their way of the ultimate target… Earth! Now in the year of 2525! Your mission as pilot of the new SYD-FX fighter is to use every weapon at your disposal to rid the galaxy once and for all of the evil that now dominates and threatens Earth. So suit up, hold your breath, and stand ready for unbelievable graphics and stereo sound that’ll suck you into the far reaches of deep, dark inner space. Be prepared… you may never come back!

And how cool does this bad guy look. He’s one of the smallest you’ll fight!

Alpha Mission 2 Baddie

Believe the non-existent hype, Alpha Mission 2 is awesome!

In Alpha Mission 2, you’ll find a smart, visually arresting, vertical shoot-em-up. It’s as tough as nails to stay alive, but you can keep feeding the game credits to see all seven levels. The bosses are magnificent and HUGE. Your ship is the perfect foil for them provided you learn how to use its power. You’ll also find a superb soundtrack beating away in the background.

I really can’t say enough to promote this game. If you still need convincing, this play-through is messy but lets you see everything.

If you don’t have access to the arcade or Neo Geo originals, you can also find the game on Sony’s Playstation Network, playable on PS3 and PSP.

This post continues a new series from me:
An irreverent and artistic A-Z of Neo Geo Gaming.

Aggressors of Dark Kombat

Give it all you got with the Aggressors of Dark Kombat!

If you’re a developer looking for a cool name for your latest one-on-one punch-up in the arcades, please stop reading now. Seriously, arcade and Neo Geo title Aggressors of Dark Kombat, should have stuck with its Japanese name of GanGan!

First, Kombat. With a K. Really?

Second, Aggressors? Really?! I would have gone with Warriors, or Fighters. or pretty much any other aggressive sounding word that isn’t actually aggressive.

Third, why is the aggressive combat ‘dark‘? I’ve played the game, watched countless videos, read as much as I can about the title, and I’m still clueless about the darkness!

Give it all you got - Aggressors of Dark Kombat

To understand this nonsensical name, let’s look at who developed this game, Alpha Denshi Corp. Or A.D.K. if you follow their own shorthand. So, they took their own company name as inspiration? This is from a developer that had previously created the “World Heroes” series. Sigh.

First time in the world! An astounding and realistic 3-D battle

Despite its uninspiring westernised name, Aggressors has plenty to enjoy. The ‘Kombat’ is solid, arcade-friendly button mashing with a few neat twists. Fights are only one round, but each combatant has a health bar that has several layers. Each player fills a ‘crazy’ meter as they fight, allowing the player to unleash a devastating finishing move which is a lot of fun to watch. You can also move outside of the usual 2D plane, though this particular innovation wasn’t the game-changer that it was hyped to be.

ADK characters

Characters in Aggressors of Dark Kombat are a mixed bunch. Of the eight fighters, only one is female, and you never see their names whilst playing! My favourite character is American Bobby “Brown Bullet” Nelson, a basketball player who fights to become famous. Obviously he does this by travelling the world, beating people up with his basketball.

Watch the ‘Bullet‘ battle though in this video:

As you’ll see and hear in the gameplay video, GanGan (as I prefer to think of it) has some really nice touches. The music is great, especially when the tempo rises during the final layer of a players health gauge. Backgrounds look great in most levels. The animation is limited, but I love the old lady walking her dog, ignoring the fight.

Weapons are a feature too, usually thrown in by the crowd, adding a touch of Final Fight to the occasion. Notice also the copious amounts of sweat falling from the fighers – not blood, but sweat!

Aggressors of Dark Kombat - Meet the Fighters

Finally, it is worth reading the ADK “Fighters Credo”:

1. Keep quiet and just fight!
2. Attack hand and gain power points! (whatever this means)
3. No rules, get them with weapons!
4. Throw ’em! Get ’em! Break their bones!

Yes, to put an end to the fight, anything goes to beat up your enemies!

This post continues a new series from me:
An irreverent and artistic A-Z of Neo Geo Gaming.

Spanky / Whity the Dolphin

Meet Spanky, the fighter pilot dolphin from the Aero Fighters series

Imagine for a moment a world where fighter jets such as the Northrop YF-23 Gray Ghost could be piloted by a talking dolphin.

That world would be a cool place, right? If it sounds like somewhere you’d like to be, you should check out the Aero Fighter series of games. Starting with Aero Fighters 2 in the arcades, Spanky (or Whity as he is known in Japan) is a “genius dolphin” who joined the United Nations Peacekeeping Force and fights on the side of nature!

Aero Fighters

The Aero Fighters series, better known as Sonic Wings in the East, are vertical shooters, similar to Capcom’s 1942. The first game is mostly a serious shoot-em-up where “the world’s hope hinges on your combat skills and sheer determination as an Aero Fighter“.

I say mostly serious, but you do have the option of playing as Rabio and Lepus, the twin mechanical rabbits hailing from the world of Bunnyland.

Dolphin

The second game, Aero Fighters 2, changes the tone considerably. For a start you can play as Spanky the dolphin, or as Arthur Sid Pride, the baby pilot with a milk bottle! Later games also have much funnier character stories, especially when “Engrish” creeps into the narrative.

I never thought I’d be frying over a jungle!

Spanky is a pretty popular dolphin, he even gets his own fan-art, like this from Jacquelline M. Kimminau.

Jacquelline M. Kimminau - Spanky the Dolphin

The best thing about Spanky though is his positivity. What should a dolphin say when faced with mass destruction? The Capitol was destroyed, but hey, what can you do?. Exactly!

Spanky Go Home

If you want to see Spanky in action for yourself, I’d play through the two Neo Geo titles in the series – Aero Fighters 2 and 3. You can also read loads more about him on his own character page on the Sonic Wings Wikia.

Sonic Wings 2 and 3

You could also watch Spanky paired with the baby pilot in this Let’s Play video:

Baby Power! Dolphin Power!

This post continues a new series from me:
An irreverent and artistic A-Z of Neo Geo Gaming.

3 Count Bout Marquee

Can you Survive a 3-Count Bout of Wrestling?

Pro-Wrestling is no stranger to the world of video games. Most formats find themselves hosting a number of games that grapple with men in tights. SNK’s Neo Geo settled on just the one human-powered wrestling title, 3 Count Bout (Fire Suplex in Japan). Released in 1993 to arcades and the home, this was a game that really knew how to play the hype game!

The Flames of Battle Dance in the Ring!

Seriously, who doesn’t want to play a game with a tagline as poetic as that found in the advertising? The FLAMES OF BATTLE, in a wrestling game!

3 Count Bout Wrestling

Not all of the hype sounded as good, but it was certainly bullish. Can you survive the Ultimate Battle? Steady now!

10 wrestlers, each equipped with Power Attacks and Malevolent Moves rage in the ring. Biting, kicking and punching their way to the top spot.

Biting?? What’s next? Oh yes, the wrestlers:

Wrestlers who wrestle

More Wrestlers Wrestling

You can’t have a wrestling game without some really cool fighter names. Blubber Man! The Red Dragon!! And Terry Rogers. They can’t all be winners.

Unless you supplement their wrestler names with suitable descriptions. Hot Gentleman, the Human B-52 and the Wild-Maned Maniac all sound like they mean business.

Fire Suplex Wrestling

These ‘warriors of the ring’ can be found only on the Neo Geo as the game was never ported. Take a look at The Red Dragon in action below:

Sadly the SNK Wrestling Federation (SWF) is no longer hosting matches.

This post continues a new series from me:
An irreverent and artistic A-Z of Neo Geo Gaming.