Friday, April 08, 2011

A somewhat gay review of Lesbian Spider-Queens of Mars

My first thought upon playing auntie pixelante's latest creation--a twitchy, throwback of a game called Lesbian Spider-Queens of Mars--was that it could confidently and comfortably sit alongside such classic quartermunchers as Robotron and Sinistar.

Of course, pixelante was inspired by Midway's Wizard of Wor while creating Lesbian Spider-Queens of Mars--she even goes so far as to call the latter a "reinvention" of the former in a recent blog post--so it's likely she expected or at least hoped for such a reaction.

Regardless, her creation is a more-than-reasonable reproduction of those stress-filled games so many of us relished as kids. Calling Lesbian Spider-Queens of Mars a simple facsimile of its predecessors, though, does both it and pixelante a disservice.

Sure, Lesbian Spider-Queens of Mars looks and sounds a lot like the aforementioned games that inspired it--what with its sparse backdrops and pixelated baddies (who the titular protagonist taunts with appropriately lo-fi barbs like "I'm not finished yet!" and "Kneel before your queen!")--but it blazes a few trails, too.

Case in point: Lesbian Spider-Queens of Mars, like many of today's Flash-based games, is a one-handed affair. The titular Spider-Queen's "bondage ray" is always on, so all gamers have to do is aim said ray at one of her highness' escaped slaves in order to wrap them up and rope them in.

If you think that might sap the game of the tension that's typical of the genre, think again. Even without a shoot button there's plenty to stress out about while playing Lesbian Spider-Queens of Mars--especially when the attackable-only-from-certain-angles Armors, fiery Alchemists and slippery Assassins (all of whom are topless, by the way) start to fill the screen.

Thankfully, the tension never ratchets up so high that the game becomes unenjoyable or unplayable. Oh, you'll die--a lot, especially on the later boards--but if you're anything like me you'll have a blast right up until your last breath.  

Play: Lesbian Spider-Queens of Mars

If M.C. Escher had created Q*bert ...

... the classic quartermuncher--of which I've never been much of a fan--probably would have looked something like this:

To see more of artist bartotainment's creations, check out his Flickr photostream.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Mad Panic Coaster's awesome manual

OK, so today is "Mad Panic Coaster Day"--or at least it seems to be on this here blog. Don't worry, things will return to normal (i.e., I'll write about something other than this wackadoodle import) tomorrow.

Anyway, in my "Great Gaymathon" review of Hakohodo's roller coaster simulator (read it here) I mentioned that it sports a pretty awesome piece of cover art. Well, that awesome art continues throughout the game's manual, so I thought I'd share some scans of it here.

Here are the manual's front and back covers (click to engorge, er, enlarge):

And here are its first four inside pages, the third and fourth of which seem to tell the game's "story":

Check out the rest of Mad Panic Coaster's manual (if you so desire) after the jump.

Edith's and Rosemary's frightful memories of Mad Panic Coaster

I included a link to this hilarious video review of Mad Panic Coaster in the "Great Gaymathon" post I just published, but I like it (the video review, not my written one) so much that I had to give it a post of its own.

My favorite line: "The wood cutter gave us this game because we were good girls." (OK, so the final exchange between Edith and Rosemary makes me chuckle, too.)

The Great Gaymathon Review #19: Mad Panic Coaster (PlayStation)

Game: Mad Panic Coaster
Genre: Roller Coaster Simulator
Developer: Hakuhodo
Publisher: Hakuhodo
System: PlayStation
Release date: 1997

There are just two reasons to pick up a copy of Hakuhodo's Mad Panic Coaster, in my oh-so-humble opinion: 1) it sports a pretty awesome piece of cover art (see above) and 2) it features some appealingly strange--or maybe I should say strangely appealing--gameplay. Sadly, the latter is pretty flawed despite its rather compelling premise--which throws players into the front seat of an out-of-control roller-coaster car and then tasks them with hanging on for dear life until the end of the level, er, ride. So, how is the gameplay flawed? Well, it's too difficult (i.e., fast) by half, for starters. Also, it's a bit too sloppy, control-wise, to be much fun. Case in point: The only thing you have to do to survive each of the game's 12 stages is push left or right on the control pad at the correct time, but it's often hard to figure out what the correct time is. Should you push left a second or maybe two before an upcoming turn, for instance, or should you do it right as you're rounding the turn? It's never made clear, and as a result you spend a lot of time guessing--and dying--while attempting to master the appropriately titled Mad Panic Coaster. That's too bad, because the game is easy on the eyes (as far as I can tell--everything races by at the speed of light) and ears and, like I said earlier, its survive-an-out-of-control-roller-coaster-ride premise is a pretty enticing one.

See also: Previous 'Great Gaymathon' posts

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Space Invaders + Star Wars

Who would have thought that combining Space Invaders and Star Wars would be like combining peanut butter and jelly?

Who knows, maybe the t-shirt design above, created by user who calls herself visualela, will prompt people to start saying, "Hey, that goes together like Space Invaders and Star Wars" instead of, "Hey, that goes together like peanut butter and jelly." Or maybe not.

Anyway, if you like visualela's design and if you'd like to see it plastered across your chest (and stomach) at some point in the future, give it a thumbs up here within the next 24 hours.

Well, this sucks ...

Shortly after publishing this post earlier this year, I went ahead and pre-ordered a copy of the homebrew Genesis/Mega Drive game, Pier Solar.

It arrived a few weeks ago, but I didn't open it until today because, well, I don't have a Genesis at the moment. (I own one, but it's in the closet of my childhood bedroom--which is, oh, 2,000 or so miles away from my current bedroom.)

Anyway, when I opened it this morning--so I could ogle it and snap some photos of it--this is what I found:

Case? Check. Manual? Check. Poster and stickers? Check? Pier Solar cartridge? Er. Uh. Well...

I just contacted the folks at WaterMelon, the game's developer/publisher, so hopefully they'll respond shortly and either offer to send me a replacement or give me a refund.

Let's Play: 'Which Box Art is Better?' (Patapon 3 edition)

Over the next few weeks and months, the third installment of Sony's popular Patapon series will hit store shelves around the world--starting with the US on April 12 and ending with Europe on some as-yet-determined date later this year. (Japanese PSP owners will gain access to the game on April 28.)

Patapon fanatics should make note of those dates, as each region's packaging will feature a different piece of art. The following, for instance, will grace the cover of the US release of Patapon 3:

The Japanese version of the game, on the other hand, will showcase this illustration:

And when this Pyramid-developed title finally makes its way to Europe? Gamers there will have to keep their eyes peeled for this dramatic and comparatively minimalistic piece of cover art:

Although I like all three designs, I find the one that's set to appear on the US version to be the most appealing. Which one do you prefer?

Pre-order: Patapon 3

See also: Every previous 'Let's Play: Which Box Art is Better?' post

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

The Great Gaymathon Review #18: Tingle's Balloon Fight (DS)

Game: Tingle's Balloon Fight
Genre: Action
Developer: Vanpool
Publisher: Nintendo
System: Nintendo DS
Release date: 2007

I don't know what caused the powers that be at Nintendo of Japan to green-light a Tingle-focused remake--featuring spruced-up, 16-bit-esque graphics--of the Famicom/NES classic Balloon Fight, but I certainly hope whatever it was happens again. Sure, the content of this Japanese Club Nintendo release--which consists of the same "Balloon Fight" and "Balloon Trip" modes as its 8-bit predecessor, along with a gallery of concept art--is as thin as the DS cart on which it's delivered, but it provides players with more than enough enjoyment to make it worth picking up if they're Balloon Fight or Tingle fans. (It's currently going for as little as $29 on eBay, by the way.) The only negative associated with this Vanpool-developed game, other than its lack of depth: Spreading the action over the DS' two screens seems to sap it of a bit of the drama and excitement that's all too present in Yoshio Sakamoto's original effort.

See also: Previous 'Great Gaymathon' posts

Mexican Mario Bros.

How would Mario and Luigi differ in appearance if they hailed from Mexico rather than Italy?

Spanish artist Pakoto attempts to answer that question in his most recent illustration:

Although I consider all five of Pakoto's characterizations to be rather amazing (if a smidge creepy), his Hispanic Yoshi takes the cake.

See this image in its original context here, and see other examples of Pakoto's work here.

See also: 'Zeke and his water gun'

Monday, April 04, 2011

Minitroid demo!

Remember this post from last fall? No? Well, read it again--it won't take but a second or two--and then come back to this one. Don't worry, I'll wait.

You read it, right? And the focus of it--Tokinsom's Minitroid--blew your mind, right? If so, you'll be happy to hear that a demo of said game is now available for download (here).

A new gameplay video (above) is available, too, although that's not nearly as exciting as the news about the demo, is it?

I hate to end this post on a sad note, but I have to do it: The demo mentioned above is playable only on Windows machines at the moment. I don't yet know if Mac users will be able to enjoy the finished product, too, but my fingers are crossed that they will.


I've never been so jealous of a bottle-cap collector

I've been called a lot of things in my lifetime, but "bottle-cap collector" isn't one of them.

I'd gladly answer to that title, though, if it meant I could lay claim to even a few of the 30 or so Super Mario Bros. bottle caps Pepsi placed on its Japanese products in 2005.

Although I think my favorite (of the ones I've seen) is the Cheep-Cheep cap above, all of them are pretty cool.

To see more of these drool-worthy collectibles, check out this post over at


That was my exact reaction upon seeing the screenshot below--which was taken from Vanillaware's just-announced PSP RPG, Grand Knights History--for the first time.

Vanillaware is the tiny, Tokyo-based developer responsible for such eyegasm-enducing games as GrimGrimoire, Muramasa: The Demon Blade and Odin Sphere, by the way.

I'm currently looking forward to the somewhat-awkwardly titled Grand Knights History even more than I looked forward to the PS2 and Wii titles above, though, because it's supposedly going to be a turn-based RPG. Oh, and even better: It's going to allow players to customize the appearance of their party members.

For more information on this title, check out these two posts (here and here) over at and this NeoGAF thread.