Super Six: Telenet
Updated: Mar 27
While it may not be the most recognisable of publishers in the west, from 1988 onwards, Telenet Japan produced a catalogue of remarkable videogames for the Sega Mega Drive in particular. Join us as we take a look back at six of the best games from this prolific company, all available to play on Antstream Arcade!
First up in our selected highlights from Telenet comes the classy shoot-‘em-up Gaiares, taking place in the year 3000 with the heavily-polluted Earth under threat from a band of pirates. Faced with total destruction from these vagabonds or the governing United Star Cluster, whose somewhat terminal solution is to detonate the sun, the Earth sends brave pilot Dan Dare to take on the evil Queen ZZ Badnusty and her band of villains known as the Gulfer. Gaiares is a horizontal shooter that displays a number of characteristics from famous forebears such as R-Type, Darius and the Mega Drive’s own Thunder Force games. The key element is the upgradeable weapon system, with the player even able to pilfer enemy powers thanks to the TOZ Module that circles their spacecraft. Developed by Telenet itself, this is a magnificently tough retro shooting game with some fantastic music, and available to play right now on Antstream Arcade.
Final Zone (1990)
Developed by Telenet’s own Wolf Team, Final Zone is an isometric mech shooter set one hundred years in the future. Taking on the role of hero soldier Howie Bowie, the player clambers into a K-19 Phantom New Age Power Suit and stomps around each landscape, eliminating enemies and collecting new weapons strewn around the battlefield. Able to utilise 14 different types of firearm, there is a ton of variety to Final Zone, as well as plenty of robotic hijinks and chaos. Confusingly, Final Zone is actually the third game in this series, and the only one to see a North American release.
If you prefer a little more freedom in your retro shooting games, then Telenet’s Granada – created once more by in-house developer Wolf Team – should be high on your Antstream Arcade schedule. Each level is a huge field bursting with enemies, all of them helpfully located within the game’s translucent radar display in the bottom right hand corner. In control of the eponymous Hypertek-Cannon tank, it’s up to the player to eliminate each one and the subsequent boss in order to proceed to the next arena of combat. The heavily-armed vehicle moves quickly around the battlefield and has an enormous arsenal, making Granada a thrilling ride for anyone willing to step into its metallic frame. Originally released on the Sharp X68000 home computer, Antstream Arcade offers the excellent Sega Mega Drive version.
Valis III (1990)
We take a step back from the shooting action now and venture into one of Telenet’s most famous properties, Valis, and the game considered to be one of the finest entries of this fantastical series. The world is predictably under threat again, this time from King Glames, the devilish dictator of the World Of Spirits, and keen to get his hands on the powerful sword of Valis. In an introductory scene, heroine Yuko is awoken by a girl named Cham who also tries to steal the sword – only Cham wishes to use it against the dictator in order to free her people. Taking control of both Yuko and Cham, you must guide these plucky ladies past a horde of demonic creatures, and ultimately, the evil villain behind all this disruption. As with most of these games, a western interpretation was released by Telenet subsidiary, Renovation, and is the version available on Antstream Arcade.
Dino Land (1991)
With its cute cover depicting a pair of adorable love-struck dinosaurs, it would be easy to assume Dino Land to be an endearing platform game along the lines of arcade legend Bubble Bobble. Yet what we have instead is an entry in that curious sub-genre of videogame, the pinball simulator, with the ball used as a potent weapon against the naughty dinos who have captured the star’s girlfriend. Featuring multiple tables, bosses and crazy features, there’s lots here for fans of classics such as Devil’s Crush and Dragon’s Revenge.
Officially a remake of the Japan-only XZR II, this was the moment when Telenet’s action-RPG series made the jump to the Sega Mega Drive, and it’s an immensely playable arcade adventure that’s simply too much fun not to include here. Playing the familiar protagonist of Sadler, there are numerous allies who can be recruited to your team as the hero battles against the military might of rival nation Luciel. Featuring RPG staples such as shops, upgrades, magic and dungeons, there’s a nice balance between these more cerebral elements and the platform-style hack ‘n’ slash style that connects them all together. Play Exile, and indeed all of these Telenet retro classics, on Antstream Arcade now!