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Bootleg consoles roundup! (Game Boy, Mega Drive/Genesis)

I've always been interested in bootleg toys, especially those emulating consoles from my childhood: NES, Game Boy, Sega Master System, etc.

Today I'm going to go through some of the bootlegs currently being sold on the market that aren't a total waste of money. ;)

Here goes...

Let's start with the Gameboy Advance SP, an almost identical clone of this system is being made in China. Now while it looks and feels the same, there are some drawbacks. The most noticable one is that it can only play games at 80-90% of the original speed. For me the biggest disadvantage is that you cannot play GameBoy or GameBoy Color games. (It does accept original gba carts in case you are wondering). And then there is the heavy price tag of $50. When you browse online auction sites or visit a yard sale, you can get a Game Boy Advance SP for around $20 to $30, and that's often including games. So why choose for a more expensive clone you might think? Well, it does offer advantages over the original system: For one, it sports a much better display. Another big plus is that it has 90 games built-in.

The original:

The clone:

Can you see the difference?

Now from Nintendo over to Sega, here is an interesting clone of the Sega Mega Drive (Genesis):

This doesn't even resemble the Mega Drive/Genesis slightly, however there is allot under the hood. This clone retails for about $20, which makes it a very cheap console system. You connect the controller directly to your tv. To actually play games, you need to load up roms from your pc onto an sd card that you plug into the controller. This even has a port to plug a second (original!) controller into it. This is a whole console built into one small controller. Brilliant!

On to the next clone, this one is called the One Station. It is capable of playing Super Nintendo and Mega Drive/Genesis games. Now while it can indeed play these games, you have no way of getting them on there yourself. There are pirate carts for sale that include original games on them, but what's more interesting is that there is actually a converter available that will allow you to plug in your original Mega Drive/Genesis games into it.

If you have a bigger budget to spend there are some other handheld consoles on the market that will pretty much emulate anything from the 80-90's era.
Take a look at (my personal favorite): the Dingoo.

This will set you back $80, but you get allot in return. You can emulate NES / SNES / Master System / Mega Drive(Genesis) / Game Boy / Game Boy Advance / NEO-GEO and that's only the beginning. It also doubles as fm-radio, ebook reader and video player. The build quality of this is also far above anything you'd expect to come out of China. This device has a very active community behind it and new emulators and software are becoming available at a very fast rate. Take a look at somebody playing Metal Slug (NEO-GEO) on this device:

So if you are looking for a clone system that will pretty much run anything, I would suggest the Dingoo.

Hope you enjoyed reading this!

Reviewed on Friday, September 4, 2009

NES - Adventure Island 3 / Game Boy - Adventure Island 2

The first double review! Today I am reviewing the NES title Adventure Island 3. I actually played Adventure Island 2 for the GameBoy first which is a port of Adventure Island 3 for the NES. This game was created by Hudson Soft and released in 1992.

Imagine this: You are on a uninhabited island with your pretty girlfriend, minding your own business (just doing what people do when they are stuck on an uninhabited island) when all of a sudden aliens kidnap your girlfriend! So off you go on a mission to rescue your true love.

The game has many stages, each of these stages consists of a couple of levels with a boss to fight at the end. When you die in the Game Boy version you will receive a code with which you can continue the game from the beginning of that stage.

When playing, you have to make sure that you don't run out of energy. The only way to keep your energy bar up is to eat the fruits that are scattered throughout each level.

There are a couple of hard levels that will keep you busy for a while, but generally speaking each level is quite short and can be finished in only minutes. Personally I found the ice levels to be the most difficult. Throughout the game you will receive power-up's: These range from axes, boomerangs, skateboards to even dinosaurs which will give you a piggy-back ride.

The graphics for the NES game are good, but something about the graphics feels lost when you take a look at the Game Boy port. It is quite entertaining to play, however some levels could have been more fun if they took a bit longer to complete.

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Reviewed on Tuesday, July 7, 2009

NES - The Flintstones: Rescue of Dino and Hoppy

Now this is a special one. Most of the time when you look at a cartoon to game conversion, they suck. Just take the Simpsons game: Bart vs the Space Mutants. This one however is very different, for me it's one of the best games in it's genre.

The Flintstones pets have been kidnapped by an evil villain from the future. Your mission is to get them back. To do so, you must build a time machine by collecting all the parts for it that are scattered over several levels. Once you have these parts you'll take a visit to the future where you will be greeted by whom other then the Jetsons! (I always loved cartoon crossovers).

Throughout the entire game, you'll be playing as Fred. His main weapon being a club, other powerups include slingshots, hammers and other tools.

The graphics are quite nice, you'll pass through many different levels each with a different theme. There is a medieval, ice age, Japanese and an underwater level. There is also a mini-game included where Fred plays basketball.

Even if you are really bad at this, you will eventually be able to complete the game... if not only because of the unlimited continues. I found the difficulty to be perfectly balanced. Each level-boss is different and sometimes it might take some time figuring out the best way to kill them. Once you have completed the game, it's fairly easy to replay it. It took me around 2 weeks.

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Reviewed on Thursday, May 21, 2009

Game Boy - Kirby's Dream Land

I picked this game up from the flea market for $2. The cart was filthy and it didn't even start when trying to play it. But after a couple of minutes cleaning the contacts with my favorite substance, alcohol (yes, exactly what nintendo tells you not to do), the game came alive again.

The game is based around the main character, Kirby. What sets it apart from other platform games is the way you handle enemies and objects: You inhale them ;)
For a Gameboy game the graphics are quite stunning.

As for the gameplay, controls are very smooth and it's quite fun to play. I remember playing the NES version and this one is very similar. It is however very easy to complete. Note that this was the first time I've played it and I was able to complete it in one run taking me only half an hour.
After each level there's a boss fight. In the final level you'll have to fight all of them once again.
The only 'hard' part was the end-boss, and that's only until you figure out the way to hurt this guy (hint: it's all in the stars).

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Reviewed on Sunday, May 3, 2009

NES - Jackal review

Jackal is a great Konami title released in 1988.

This is a fast paced action game in which you take control of a well armed jeep trying to rescue all POW's. To rescue them you'll need to blow up each building and pick up the freed prisoners. This is also the only way to upgrade your weapons.

This can be a very intense and challenging game, especially after the first few levels. It requires a concentrated mind, reacting to slow or turning to a wrong direction can mean the end of your game. The end-boss kept me busy for a while, you will need a whole lot of missiles to take him down.


Controls are basic: direction keys move the jeep, button B fires a bomb/missile, button A shoots a gun. As for the gun, you can only shoot upwards, the bomb/missile can be fired in any direction.

It also supports 2 players. Unlike many other NES games this game has a full co-op feature instead of the usual turn-based games. Playing it with two will make the game easier to complete.

No doubt you will enjoy playing this classic. Just don't give up to soon and keep going! It's worth it.

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Reviewed on Wednesday, April 22, 2009

NES - Sky Kid review

Sky Kid was released in 1986 by NAMCO/SUNSOFT.
I remember playing the arcade version of this game a long time ago. As far as I can tell, the NES version is a pretty close clone of the original.
A nice addition to the NES version is the ability to play with two.

This isn't a very complex game, don't expect a storyline or ground-breaking (for it's time) graphics. It is however a lot of fun though :)
Each mission, you take off in your red (or blue) plane. Controls are very straightforward, button A fires, button B makes you do a looping (you'll need this to get behind an enemy fighter). Near the end of the mission, you will need to pick up a bomb. Once you have it, you'll have to drop it on top of that mission's target. Could be a base, ship, etc.
In case you get shot down, just go crazy with button bashing and you just might be able to get your plane back in the air.


Now for the music, there isn't much to say... Their's only one song that keeps repeating over and over. At first, it does put you in a kind of cheery, happy mood. But, once I turn off my NES I can still hear it in my head for atleast a couple of hours.

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Reviewed on Sunday, April 19, 2009

NES - Panic Restaurant review

In 1992 Taito released Panic Restaurant, you play a chef who's restaurant has been stolen by the evil villain, Ohdove.
In order to get your restaurant back you have to cook your way through legions of tomatoes, onions, carrots, kitchen appliances and anything else you might imagine a chef has to handle each day.


The game itself is a platform game containing 6 levels, each level is appropriatly named after a course as you can see here:

The gameplay is simple but enjoyable, every stage you enter has new weapons (cupboards, spoons, etc.) and enemies. Because of all this variation you don't really get tired of this game nor does it get frustrating. When you lose a life, you can always continue without having to replay the whole map.
Your goal throughout the game however remains the same: bashing everything that moves! Another nice touch is the addition of mini-games.


Each level comes with an end boss, you will come across a pot, a kettle, a micorwave/oven and more. I personally have a microwave that never does what I want it to do (although my cooking skills could also be questioned) so for me that part really felt satisfying :)


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Reviewed on Saturday, April 18, 2009