Weekly Games Roundup - 17th October 2019
Updated: Mar 27
This is no trick – there are a host of new games arriving on Antstream Arcade this week, and, as befits the time of year, plenty of action and terror for retro fans and subscribers. Still on the fence about whether to join us? Here are some more highlights of the freshest retro gaming treats waiting for you on the Antstream Arcade. If you’re looking for classic games online, this is the place to start.
Brave Battle Saga
Sega Mega Drive
Now here’s a tale to stir the soul and evoke the spirit of an ancient civilization, all wrapped in that lovely cute 16-bit RPG style. Originally known as Barver Battle Saga: Tai Kong Zhan Shi in its native Taiwan, Brave Battle Saga: Legend of the Magic Warrior begins with a conflicting technology vs magic tale, twin tenets followed by humans and demons respectively. A destructive event has erased this ancient civilization, leaving the familiar fantasy setting for the player to explore. Only now, an evil terror is threatening to rekindle the destructive force and bring ruin to the world once more.
Antstream Arcade’s Brave Battle Saga is a fully-translated Western version of the classic RPG from Taiwanese developer ChuanPu Technology. Throughout its green world (peppered with dank caves and ominous castles), the hero, named Tim, must explore each area and defeat enemies, often with the aid of magical items, spells and helpful party members.
Brave Battle Saga’s combat is turn-based and will be familiar to fans of famous game series such as Final Fantasy and Breath Of Fire, while its open world structure reminds of Secret Of Mana and Sega Mega Drive cohort, Beggar Prince. As with many RPGs of the retro era, Brave Battle Saga is an easy game to dip into, especially as you can now play it on Antstream Arcade with the added benefit of save states. But that’s not to detract from the depth of gameplay on offer in this quaint and charming role-playing game.
Ant-Fact: The game’s Piko Interactive cover was drawn by Simon Phipps, co-creator of Core’s famous Rick Dangerous series.
Ant-Tactic: Some vanquished enemies can be summoned to assist the party in subsequent tricky battles. Battles can be avoided with some smart movement, or you can try and slip away once engaged.
Jack The Ripper
Commodore 64 & Spectrum
When it comes to macabre tales of the past, there can be few as unnerving as the story of the mysterious man who terrorised London during the late 19th century. Gruesome and horrific, the Ripper’s crimes have been the subject of countless books and films over the years, his notoriety inflated by the fact that he was never brought to justice. In 1987, British games developer and publisher, CRL, decided it was about time there was a videogame based upon the legend of Jack The Ripper. CRL’s own offices sat less than four miles from Whitechapel, the impoverished area the Ripper mainly stalked.
CRL had already made its name with Dracula, a gruesome update of the novel by Bram Stoker; another text adventure, this time based around a real-life monster was an inspired choice. In Jack The Ripper, it’s time for you to step into the shoes of an innocent bystander, accused of Jack’s murders thanks to being in the wrong place at the wrong time. On the run from the law, you must also track down the murderer in order to bring them to justice and clear your own name. Full of baroque and expressive language, Jack the Ripper mixes the protagonist’s sharp observational skills and Victorian tone with a horrific razor-sharp edge as the famed madman slices his way through the East End of London.
Ant-fact: Along with Wolfman (also published by CRL), Jack The Ripper was the first videogame to be granted an 18 certificate by the BBFC thanks to its graphics and lurid descriptions. Perfect for Halloween!
Ant-tactic: Struggling with the game’s vocabulary? Helpful words include EXAMINE, TAKE, GET, PUT, CLIMB, INVENTORY and JUMP. These can be combined to make sentences, for example: TAKE TIMES AND READ IT. And as with many text adventures, making a map is very useful.
But it’s not all tech-fearing civilizations and grim Victorian London this week on Antstream Arcade! If you’re after some more upbeat videogaming entertainment, how about taking your retro bike for a spin in BMX Simulator, the first game from Codemasters, and a cracking little racer set around a series of colourful tracks. Fans of old school shoot-‘em-ups will be thoroughly sated with Andrew Braybrook’s classic Commodore 64 blaster Alleykat, while the intriguing puzzle game Deflektor is available on the ZX Spectrum and Commodore Amiga. Also on the Amiga are Cyberblast, a fun sci-fi take on the famous arcade game Gauntlet, and Weird Dreams – fancy being chased by a gigantic wasp or chomped on by man-eating roses? Then this devilish, beautiful and positively bizarre 16-bit game is for you.