OK, this is something real special. How often do you get a chance to own a video game sound track on cartridge? Not often… not often at all. Almost never actually.
Have a look at the Tanglewood OST with its beautiful red (orange?) cartridge for play on your original Sega Genesis and Sega Mega Drive. This is a sight you won’t see often!
In addition to the OST cartridge you might have noticed a set of 10 Tanglewood themed Post Cards.
Normally you’d only get one random Tanglewood Post Card in every physical copy of Tanglewood the game from Matt Phillips’ Tanglewood Kickstarter campaign. The full set of ten was only available to those who purchased the collectors edition. A true gem that I could not afford at the time.
So how did I end up with a full Post Card set?
Courtesy of a very close friend who reached out to the creator Matt Phillips of Big Evil Corporation and asked if he could buy a set for me.
Not only was Matt willing but he went one step further and included a free OST cartridge as well. When I received this packaged I was truly beside myself. I like very niche things. Things that are incredibly hard for family and friends to deduce. And my buddy nailed it… in a very big way.
Thank you RamboRy!
How good is this 16-bit video game sound track by freezedream?
Oh, it’s good. It’s very good.
The very first track is the Tanglewood theme and it sets a serene and calming mood. Conjuring images of the fairy tale ending you’ll want to earn for our fury friends; Nymn and Echo.
If I had to choose, I’d say my favourite songs would be tracks #20 (So long) and #21 (Deadwood). Not only are they incredible songs in their own right but they play at a very pivotal storytelling moment in the game and they are major contributors to a very emotional moment of loss and enduring.
Below is a recording I captured of the entire OST playing from my original model 1 Sega Genesis. Have a listen!
Similar to my previous blog entry I’m continuing the trend of downsizing my Retro Video Game Collection. Nothing too extensive just a few odds and ends are getting trimmed.
Just because I’ve sold the games below does not mean they’re not worth having. I actually like Water Margin but I can’t have it all so I’m being more selective with my money.
I recently sold the above three Piko Interactive games and the four Genesis games below as a lot for $160 CAD (~$120 USD). For a short time I had it in my head that I wanted to include PAL exclusive games in my Sega Genesis Collection. PAL is a common label for European Sega Mega Drive games; which was how the Genesis was branded outside of North America.
In my current retro mood I’m inclined to steer my collection towards a more focused philosophy and part of that means ditching the few PAL games that I had. I had three and they’re now gone.
My current desire to purge has also come from a shift in the retro gaming community; in the form of a sharp rise in the quality of Indie video games created for the Sega Genesis and Sega Mega Drive.
Where once it was exceptionally rare to find a new Sega Genesis game it’s now (almost) common place. And more importantly the quality and calibre of many of these games is exceptional. Both in the game itself and the physical product.
For me personally both Tanglewood and Xeno Crisis are just perfect. Beautiful games that are very fun and engaging. Rock solid software with stunning physical design, production and quality.
Of these five games Tanglewood and Xeno Crisis are my favourites.
Tanglewood is truly an epic adventure and I would not change a thing. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve completed Tanglewood and I keep coming back for more. If you’d like to know more about Tanglewood check out my spoiler free ‘Tanglewood 16-bit Perfection‘ review.
Coming in at a close second is Xeno Crisis; which is still busy beating me to a pulp! Even two player with a buddy I’m finding that we’ll do pretty well in the stages but the bosses usually cut us to shreds. This is not a criticism, it’s simply the heart of an arena style arcade game. Live or Die. And I’m sure it’s the high impact and unforgiving nature of Xeno Crisis which has made it so popular.
FX-Unit Yuki is something special. It falls down a little bit when comparing it’s more amateurish cover art to Tanglewood and Xenos Crisis. The game isn’t quite as professionally polished and on occasion will struggle to run at full speed (*I’ve read that the TG-16 version is a smoother experience). But in my eyes it gets a pass because of what it does right. It’s a really fun game. The story of FX-Unit Yuki sets the stage to pay homage to many classic retro games and it does it so well.
Tanzer (German for Dancer) has such a unique feel. At first glance it looks like a traditional platformer with the speed of Sonic the Hedgehog and the acrobatics of Strider. You’re given a very fast playable character with exceptionally tight controls that combine to deliver a fresh platforming experience. You’re going to have to learn how to control Tanzer well before you’ll get far. I do wish the games graphics were a bit better and the physical package could use a little… more. The cover art and manual look almost unfinished. I actually feel a bit petty making these comments when the game offers solid game mechanic, upgrades and branching paths. Tanzer does a lot right.
Ultracore feels complete, polished and intense! Good, right? However, I’m also finding it a bit repetitive. This is probably an issue with my own attention span and not the game. Both this physical release and the game look great. The game runs well and is generous with health. It feels very much like Mega Turrican and Gunlord. It is my least favourite of this bunch but these are all good games.
Are you buying modern retro video games? What do you need to see in these games to justify the purchase price?
I’ll leave you with my Tanglewood longplay. I’m managed to get 100% of the fireflies… no big deal.
The wonderful artwork depicted in this Tanglewood Poster was created by the very talented Luis Martins. Luis has been a creative tour de force for many modern retro video games; including creating the cover art for Tanglewood and the infamous Paprium.
Want to see the Dude behind Retro Megabit? Watch my video for all the details and a preview of the Tanglewood Poster:
I’d like to extend a heartfelt ‘Thank You’ to Matt Phillips the creator of Tanglewood and founder of Big Evil Corporation for making this project possible. This Tanglewood Poster is licensed by Big Evil Corporation and is an official Tanglewood product.
And of course, an equally giant ‘Thank You’ to Luis Martins for creating such a wonderful piece of art. I personally feel Luis’ work has captured the incredibly strong emotion that Tanglewood the video game has crafted.
Anything you can do to help spread the word would be greatly appreciated. This is a project for retro gaming fans and I’m very hopeful that this Tanglewood Poster is something many of us will enjoy.
Update: So my beloved Kickstarter came and went amassing only 12% of the required goal for a successful campaign. Of course I really wanted to be able to print and ship this wonderful poster but even after failing I have found some satisfaction in the fact that I did try and I honestly believe I put in a good effort despite the results.
I still refuse to believe that there aren’t 100 people out there who want a beautiful Tanglewood Poster. Tanglewood the game is brilliant and the games cover art is beautiful. I’m sure I just wasn’t able to find the right crowd. And for that I do apologize. If I can find a way to re-invent this project I certainly will.
The modern made video game and ‘IN YOUR FACE!’ brawler PAPRIUM for the 1990’s Sega Mega Drive and Sega Genesis has finally launched!
Or has it?
On October 27th, 2018 Gwénaël Godde (a.k.a Fonzie) of Watermelon Games performed a live demo of PAPRIUM for the Sega Mega Drive / Sega Genesis at a launch party that was both celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Sega Mega Drive and the release of Paprium.
Here’s how I know this:
“On the 27th of October 2018, we are having a party in Paris, France. Let’s celebrate SEGA Genesis / Mega Drive’s 30th anniversary and the release of PAPRIUM.” -Gwénaël Godde
But… something was missing; the video game Paprium.
What was shown was a very incomplete version of the game.
How could it possibly be that Paprium is ready for launch?
In short, and despite the quote above, this party was intended only as a celebration of the 30th anniversary. While having a glimpse of an old build of PAPRIUM was to be considered a bonus that didn’t have enough content to offer any spoilers. Is that true or does a complete version of PAPRIUM not exist?
The following message is believed to have come from Fonzie or Watermelon Games.
(*Sorry folks I have no actual facts. Consume all this with some healthy skepticism.)
It’s safe to say that everyone’s disappointment at this event is entirely understandable. Communications from Watermelon Games has been exceptionally muddled and confusing.
Below is a recording of the live demonstration/party which showed off what we are told is an old Beta version of PAPRIUM. Hopefully it’s current state is much more complete and polished.
Despite all the heartbreak the one really good bit of news to come from this event is that after a very long absence Gwénaël Godde (a.k.a Fonzie) is back and it appears that he is intent on completing and delivering PAPRIUM.
Personally, I’m a bit concerned of all the very negative backlash Fonzie is receiving. Of course it’s understandable but I’m afraid of the retro gaming community pushing so hard that Fonzie might just disappear again. If he’s willing to show that’s he’s taking the game seriously and that he’s still able to deliver a game to everyone who paid then I am willing to continue to support Fonize, Watermelon Games and Paprium.
Are you relieved that PAPRIUM appears to have some traction again? Are you raging mad? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this heated topic. Don’t pull any punches. PAPRIUM wouldn’t.
Below is the original email communication which announced the October 27th 30th anniversary party:
October 8th, 2018 PAPRIUM Release date Announcement:
“On the 27th of October 2018, we are having a party in Paris, France. Let’s celebrate SEGA Genesis / Mega Drive’s 30th anniversary and the release of PAPRIUM.
We understand this is a long trip but if by any chance you are around at that time, you’re of course very welcome. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for booking and details.
The party starts at 19PM for some talk with WM and some 16-bit fun and then turn into electro music feast from 23PM until 6AM.
The event is free but booking is required in advance. PS: We are working hard to ensure you to receive your games around that time but we can’t guarantee it at the moment.
You will receive another email shortly to confirm your shipping address. For the few people still awaiting for their refunds on Paypal, we are still looking for a solution at the moment, thanks for the extra patience.”
Don’t forget to follow the Sega Dude and Retro Megabit on Instagram!
The Indie development team Retro Nerve is ready to bring into the world a brand new Sega Genesis and Sega Mega Drive video game. Are you ready for ‘Kung-Fu UFO‘?!
Update: Unfortunately Kung-Fu UFO didn’t hit its IndieGoGo campaign target and it was not funded. I’ve been told first-hand that Retro Nerve will continue working on this project as best they can and hopefully we’ll still see this cool game sometime in the near future.
Here’s the scope of the vision direct from Retro Nerve:
“Kung-Fu UFO is a brand new and original game for the SEGA Mega Drive and Genesis, to be released on cartridge sometime in the future. A 16bit story driven adventure game heavily inspired by sci-fi and martial arts movies from the 80s and 90s. While not trying to emulate any existing titles we’re taking some inspiration in games like the TMNT beat’ em ups, Battletoads, Prince of Persia, and Mortal Kombat. Even some more retro and obscure games like The Way of the Exploding Fist and The Way of the Tiger on the C64 and ZX Spectrum.” –retronerve.games
A physical release for the Sega Genesis and Sega Mega Drive is my favorite way to serve up retro video games. And this is exactly what Retro Nerve is promising.
From the look of these very early physical release mock-ups I’m hoping that we’re going to see several flavors offered. At a minimum we’re going to be treated to a Standard Edition and a Limited Edition.
Below are three animated gifs of Kung Fu UFO that collectively throw a lot of information at us.
For starters we can see the game is a platformer. We can also see that it does in fact appear to contain actual Kung Fu! …and actual fighting mechanics!
I am I seeing punches, upper cuts, kicks, and running drop kicks?
…and what’s that? …blocking too!?
“When it comes to dealing with those annoying bad guys we hand-crafted a fighting engine with kicks, punches blocks and combos that is very intuitive and can be simple or complex, depending on what the game needs and how you decide to play it. It will also include some very cool special attacks and powers to take care of the wide arrange of human and alien enemies.” –retronerve.games
Our hero has a life meter and what looks like a charge meter; while each opponent also has a life meter. It’s interesting to see how this platformer seems to have a lot in common with a traditional isometric brawler.
I am curious about how a combo system will be used in a game like this. Will there be an incentive to fight an enemy instead of just running past?
So, how about that parallax scrolling? It’s so good! For such an early stage of development Kung Fu UFO is looking really pretty.
Just as Retro Nerve has said, it is apparent that exploration will be a component of the game. Which I fully support. It’s important to change the pace of games to keep them interesting and engaging.
Is Kung Fu UFO going to be an amazing retro video game?
It’s really too early to say. And, honestly, too soon to ask. The game is still in it’s Alpha Development and I don’t know yet what type of experience to expect from it.
But what has already been achieved and displayed is truly amazing. Kung Fu UFO has no right looking as polished as it does at this point.
Here’s a quick summary of what we can expect:
A 16-bit cartridge – Playable on SEGA Mega Drive and Genesis consoles and compatible clones (PAL, NTSC-US, NTSC-J)
16-bit pixel art – Beautiful hand crafted and animated graphics and cutscenes.
16-bit chiptune – A rocking soundtrack with a variety of songs and tons of sound effects.
Story driven gameplay – That mixes different genres like platformer, beat’ em up, fighting and more.
A main character with lots of different moves – Kicks, punches, combos and special attacks and more to be unlocked as you make your way through the game.
Vehicles to drive and boss fights – Because running around all the time is not that fun, you’ll also be able to drive a motorbike, a plane, and more… Stopping here and there to finish off some huge baddies in order to go on with the story.
Different stages – Not only graphically, but also in gameplay mechanics with bonus stages and huge levels for you to explore and clean out of enemies. Each level will have its own set of different enemies. Keeping the gameplay and the game’s progression varied in every chapter from beggining to end.
Difficulty levels – So anyone can enjoy and finish the game and everyone can set the bar to their preferred challenge.
Password system – Bringing back the almost forgotten yet thrilling experience of getting a pen and a piece of paper and writing down a code in order to be able to continue the game where you left off.
An amazing cover art – made by Yayo our concept artist.
Of course I’ve already pledged for my own Kung Fu UFO. And yes, there is some uncertainty but from what we have been presented so far I have a very good feeling about this one.
Consider sharing in this adventure and pledge for your copy if you like what you see.
And I can’t say for certain if it’s simply because they’re what I grew up with or if this era of games did something so right that they transcend the hardware they were made for.
I’m sure for me personally the answer is a mix of both.
At the same time it’s still easy enough to see that the classic platformer formula still really works. To the point where terms like ‘retro inspired’ and ‘pixel artwork’ have become common hooks in the modern gaming scene.
Old timers, next gen gamers and Indie developers have wholeheartedly embraced this retro gaming trend and it feels like it’s here to stay.
What still continues to surprise (and delight) this retro gamer is the desire of talented and capable developers who put the primary focus of their vision on original 16-bit hardware.
“TANGLEWOOD® is a brand new and original game for the SEGA Mega Drive and Genesis…”
“A true 16-bit, nostalgic platforming experience running on genuine SEGA hardware, that will make fans of SEGA’s golden era feel warm and fuzzy.”
“Set in a fictional world, the game follows a young creature, Nymn, who is separated from the family pack after the sun sets. Unable to get back to the safety of the underground home, Nymn must find a way to survive the night terrors and get to morning. TANGLEWOOD’s world is a dangerous one after dark, and Nymn must use skills of evasion, special abilities, traps and trickery to defeat predators.” – TangelwoodGame.com
Before I get into some finer details of the game (without spoilers) I’m going to try and find the words to express how much fun I’m having playing Tanglewood.
You play the game as a ‘fox like’ creature named Nymn who is very endearing. Nymn doesn’t have dialog and the plot is simply help Nymn survive the night and find home. Yet despite this simplicity I found myself getting attached. The more I struggled solving puzzles and after each narrow escape from the jaws of some beast the more Nymn mattered to me.
Nymn is without question the underdog when night falls. And both the mood and story telling of Tanglewood are perfection.
It’s not often that I feel such a strong emotional connection when playing any video game. And I was genuinely amazed at myself when I started to realize how invested I felt in Tanglewood.
For example, I really like Sonic the Hedgehog. There is a lot of fun to be had in the classic Sonic games. But I can slam that Hedgehog into a pit of spikes all day long and not feel the slightest emotional response except a mild annoyance that I’m going to have to do that part again.
But in Tanglewood… my heart would scream ‘Nymn must not be harmed!’.
Of course I managed to bring Nymn to an unfathomable number of savage deaths. But each time death found us I was in fact trying very hard to save poor Nymn. I found that I really, very badly, wanted to safely guide Nymn home.
Tangelwood is always engaging and you’ll always be eager to find out whats next.
Although, I promise, you’ll not be able to anticipate where this adventure is going to take you.
The drive to carry on is fueled by a game that offers both a level password save feature and checkpoints through out each Act. While Tanglewood can be challenging and difficult it is not punishing. Unlike many platformer games from Sega’s 16-bit catalog, when you return to Tanglewood for another session you’ll be picking up where you left off instead of starting right from the beginning. Which is a refreshing change and helps keeps the wonderful story center stage.
The creator, Matt Phillips, found his inspiration for Tanglewood from games like Limbo, Oddworld: Abe’s Oddyssey, Flashback and the Lion King. If you’re familiar with these games then you’ll have some idea of what to expect from Tanglewood.
But make no mistake Tanglewood has it’s own direction and a very strong identity.
An intuitive understanding of the games mechanics will guide the player while Tanglewood’s mysterious lore will slowly unfold as the player progresses.
Despite his appearance Nymn is not actually a fox, but ‘fox like’ and where this adventure takes place is not on Earth but someplace ‘Earth like’. Tanglewood is set on a world with two suns and two moons. Factions are distinguished between the day dwellers and night dwellers. While an extinct race wiped out by it’s own enslaved Djakk beasts have left behind many shacks, tree houses and contraptions that were once powered by small round creatures called Fuzzl’s. Fuzzl’s posses a varied array of powers which can be bestowed onto Nymn. Which in turn help Nymn navigate the games many puzzles and often aid in escaping the creatures of the night.
The core mechanics of Tanglewood will have you running and jumping through each level searching for Fuzzl’s that need a ‘helping paw’ and then figuring out how to return each Fuzzl to its near by nest. Once a Fuzzl is returned you’ll have earned the use of it’s power for a short time. You’ll then have to figure out how to use this power to advance through the next portion of the level.
Combine borrowed powers and the ability to interact with flues, boulders, logs, winches, creatures (both big and small), a labyrinth like forest and even a demon Tanglewood will feel fresh and terrifying every step of the way.
Check out the official Big Evil Corporation Tanglewood Trailer:
Below is my own longplay of Tanglewood recorded direct from my Sega Genesis. I managed to collect all Fireflies to unlock the good ending. And it really is the ending I needed! But don’t spoil the game for yourself. Play Tanglewood and enjoy it firsthand.
No fooling around here people. Unless COD and Battlefield are the only games you care about; Tanglewood is a must own game.
If you enjoy retro video games you owe it to yourself to pickup Tanglewood. It’s an incredibly detailed, polished and fully realized video game. And despite coming from a small Indie Developer Tanglewood is so much bigger than I could have ever dreamed.
I don’t normally put a number on the games I talk about but for Tanglewood I’m compelled to give is a full on 10/10. As far as human kinds reach for perfection can extend Tanglewood has thoroughly earned this perfect score.