Written: 2.25.07 Acquired: 1.31.06 Status: Cart only Price: $4.49
Pub: Vic Tokai
Dev: The Sales Curve
One of the great luxuries of being a retro gamer in this day and age is having the ability to play games you missed out on long ago. Some you just never got around to playing. Then, there are titles like Time Slip. Titles which, pardon the pun, slipped under the radar entirely [Oh dear -Ed.]
Imagine my enthusiasm then when I saw pics of this game early last year. Contra clone? Shoot, count me in! It's a winner, right?
But first... SO, I was going through my log to find the date of purchase. (For more info on what a log is, see LOG IT!) There's a funny backstory to this which I totally forgot about until I read about it in my log. (I'm telling you, if you're the historian type, you gotta keep a gaming tab)
This was one of 12 games I bought, all from the same seller on the same day. All within the span of six minutes! Yep, all Buy It Now's. Most were of the lesser-known variety, and to find such a good deal made my day (the average came out $4.91 per cart)
The priority box arrived on a Wednesday, February 8, 2006. I only had one class on Mondays and Wednesdays, which let out before 11. After class I had lunch at Subway with Jeannette (One of my two girl friends from that same class. Sandra's the other. Collectively, they saved me $70 on textbooks, see Resurrection) She's one of my best girl friends. Thanks to her, way back in 2002, I decided what I wanted to major in. This past November, Sandra and I attended her wedding. Funny how things can interconnect
Anyway, after lunch and talking about our goals for that semester, I drove to Game Crazy and picked up Phantom 2040 for a measly $2. As I approached the vincinity of my home, I saw the mail truck near my old high school. I thought little of it and continued driving home. I opened my mail box only to find a pink slip. DAMN! The box of dozen SNES games came, and I missed it!
With the slip in my hand, I ran two blocks to catch the mail lady
I caught her, out of breath, and handed over the slip. Walking back home that day, I cradled the flat rate priority box as though it were a treasure chest =p
The ironic thing is, the VERY NEXT day at school, in the acting club I was part of we watched the Montgomery bus strike/walk-fest. Did I mention it's funny how things can interconnect?
[Yes, now get on with it -Ed.]
As mentioned, this is of the run 'n gun variety. Here's the bloke you control. HE'S gonna save the world? Oh dear...
So, you're the lame green guy, and these are the rather vicious looking alien baddies
Damn, it's a close call....
Wait-a-sec... I didn't know he had such a big gun! [..... -Ed.]
Points for a bad-ass name if anything, no?
You're mankind's last hope
Board the time portal and good luck...
Baddie: I got a spear mwahahaha!
You: I got missiles
Baddie: RUN FOR THE HILLS YOU FOOL!
Enemies flash when hit in classic ole 8-bit fashion
Erm... I'm not really sure what's going on here... but hey, it IS 2007...
[!@$#%&@! -Tim Hardaway]
Bad guys die in the weirdest way. Eh? O_o
Hangin' and shootin'...
Now that's good stuff
Like others, you get 8-way shooting and can lock in place
No idea what happened to those two there...
These spiked barriers constantly go up and down, only stopping when shot at
Destroy canisters to reveal weapons
The lasers are tough to dodge, due to the lack of jumping ability on the part of Vincent Gilgamesh
After a while, it patrols around on foot
Before entering its final phase...
Once you've taken care of that, you enter the caves. Mind, this is still level one...
Hilarious. Expecting some grotesque monster to emerge, this little guy appears instead!
These lava golem foot soldiers are easy with the tri-shot, but quite tough if you only got the single shot. They die in a very messy and satisfying manner
Ah, these invincible icons are God-send's. It starts out blue and changes colors as it wears down. Pretty nice
And you sure need it for these two wizard mid bosses! Game has a healthy supply of mid bosses as you'll see
Speaking of such, here is another. Good Lord!
"ONE OF US HAS TO DIE!!!!!!"
Ole Dragon is a TOUGH customer. He loves to shoot these blue [SNIP! -Ed.]
... And pound the ground to send rocks crashing down
Thankfully, some canisters on the right will grant you temporary invulnerability against this demon
In a pinch, use your bombs as well
Damn, I think you pissed him off....
WHOA! Graphically rather ho-hum but this bit's brill. Look at Gilgamesh's foot!
Avoid being seared to a crisp and lay those bullets in! He'll flash like mad and it's utterly satisfying
Finally! Now you fall deeper underground. Yes, this is STILL level one...
This next part is one of my faves in the game. Kill the archer and advance while avoiding both the swinging mace and the bizarre, frisky prisoner...
Creative, a bit creepy and mysterious. This is what video games are about...
These huge spiked blocks fall with great fanfare and requires much led
As lightning cracks the ominous night sky, a robotic sniper tries to take you out while a flock of crows attempt to peck out your eyes... cool bit this is
Cannons are very annoying
Oops! Gameplay flaw, this one the bullets go right past... you need to get at a different angle here... not cool, not cool at all
Ah, a deviously crafted bit if I ever saw one...
The saw makes it do or die time!
FINALLY! You get to the boss of level one
He's double tough...
He has multiple parts to dismantle, but forget the legs for right now
Go for his shield first!
When he fires this, duck and shoot
Go for his arm...
Like a snake, taking the head off delivers the final crushing blow
The knight may be tough at first, but he's really easy once you get the pattern down. This was just level one! By the way, did I mention you get NO continues and only 10 lives? In all, there are 5 levels. There's no way anyone can beat this game without cheating...
Alas, onto LEVEL 2
Flying stage that's ridiculously difficult. Enemies swarm in all directions as you struggle with the D-Pad... not a good combo
These guys are the prelude to...
... these tough tunnel-y bits
Eventually, if you're good/lucky enough, you make your way to this mid-boss terror. I have never been able to get past this bastard without cheating
It's not just me either. Other gamers I've talked to about Time Slip all have said the same thing: It's just too damn difficult to beat (sans Game Genie of course). What one buddy of mine said:
Did you get stuck at the flying dragon on the hover bike? That's as far as I could get too. The level doesn't end there and it actually gets harder. The flying dragon becomes a giant dragon head that pops up and down shooting at you from behind some boulders. There are three small areas to stand on and try to shoot at him with volcanic geyser holes in between them erupting flaming lava that arcs across the holes. That's because the best spot to stand on and shoot straight up at the dragon is the middle island, which get's the lava flow criss-crossing across it. It takes forever to get in enough shots to kill the dragon and frankly, I think it's simply impossible! I ended up using a Game Genie with unlimited lives and plugging in a turbo controller to get past there.
I thought the game was fun, but way WAY too hard! There wasn't any place to change the settings to easy and I didn't think a Konami code for 60 lives was going to work in a Vic Tokai game =p
It was pretty cool how they used time periods to mixed demonic looking enemies with mechanical ones and I thought they made a decent looking game. There are some pretty cool levels and a big variety of enemies. Why on earth they went to all the trouble of programming those and then decided to make it vitually impossible to get through is beyond me. Even with the turbo auto fire on, then endboss's would take me 10-15 lives to take down and without the unlimited lives I can't see getting past them. It's a shame and that's probably why it didn't sell very well and flew under the radar.
EGM previewed but never reviewed it. GameFan did neither. Indeed, this game arrived with almost zero fanfare. Super Play rated it 60%
My buddy pretty much hit the nail on the head. It's a pretty cool game. Has a decent feel to it, though hampered by Gilgamesh's awkward leaping ability and some flaky hit detection (as documented with that one cannon). The graphics, though at times looking like a C64 game (to put it in Super Play's words) is actually pretty decent in other spots, like the dragon seen throughout. The later stages, as my friend mentioned, mixes demonic foes with mechanical baddies, and it's nice how there are different time periods for each stage. But why they made the game so DAMN BLASTED difficult, I'll never know. I rather have a game be too easy than impossible, quite frankly. Graphically, it's wildly inconsistent, with a terrible main sprite, but some awesome looking enemies. Soundwise it's actually pretty good, with some decent tunes splashed in there. Gameplay is taken down a notch or two due to the INSANE difficulty. Level 1 things are relatively manageable, and it's actually quite a ball. I mean, you're not thinking "WOW, THIS IS THE BEST RUN N GUN EVAAAH!" but you might find it oddly enjoyable. Almost in a guilty pleasure sort of way. But then, you get to level 2 and well... it's over. And it's 1-Player only, to make matters even worse...
Still, there are a decent amount of plus points, as I said the (mid)bosses are pretty memorable affairs, and little bizarre details like the frisky prisoner adds a lot of atmosphere to the game. Some stages are dark and foreboding, making it a good candidate to play at 3 in the morning with the volume cranked. And I gotta give props once again to that trapped maniac. It's such a mysterious and rather awesome bit. One of the things that makes my hair stand up on my arms during a horror movie is NOT what you see, or even what you DON'T see, but rather the little things which you can't explain or figure out WHY IT IS... that gets me. No, this sprite doesn't scare me, but it's just the concept being there that makes it fun. You can't explain why he's there, why he's locked up when all the other baddies are freely running about... is he SO unpredictable and violent that he would kill members of his own camp? Maybe he did just that before you arrived on the scene, and so the natives locked him up? Or maybe he's just looking for human touch, and doesn't actually want to rip your head off? [I tested your theory -- the damn beast almost took my bloody head off -Ed.] But whatever the speculation may be, the reality is... HE'S THERE AND HE'S THERE SWIPING MADLY AT ANYTHING THAT SO MUCH BREATHES!
[I think you've officially gone bloody mad -Ed.]
Diehard run 'n gun fan? Like really diehard? Then Time Slip is worth a look, but don't expect a good game. The insane difficulty just kills it for me. The later levels and monsters are worth checking out for $5 and if you love the genre. Just be sure to have that Game Genie on stand by... [BETTER BELIEVE THAT! -Ed.]