Rainbow Islands Extra – Sega Megadrive / Genesis review

Retro Resolution Retro Review

System: Sega Megadrive / Genesis
Developer: Aisystem Tokyo / Taito
Year: 1990

Rainbow Islands Extra - Sega Megadrive

‘There’s no place like home’

Taito’s 1987 arcade sequel to Bubble Bobble, Rainbow Islands, is a charming vertical-scroller which sees the player cast as a dragon-turned-human (yes, really) on a quest to defeat an evil monster named Krabo and save the rainbow sea. A platform-hopping search for seven mystical gems ensues across numerous thematically grouped levels including Monster, Robot, Toy, and Dragon islands, each sporting appropriately styled backdrops, enemies, end-of-level guardians and collectables.

Admittedly this abundantly saccharine world of spectral light may not immediately appeal to all, especially those whose virtual lives are spent at the darker end of the retro rainbow, embattled, perhaps, in Doom’s murky corridors; those willing to emerge bleary-eyed into the light, and to trade firearms for an altogether more novel weapon, may find themselves refreshingly rewarded by this gaming gem. 

Your protagonist, Bubby, is blessed with the ability to cast dual-purpose rainbows of solid light, utilised both for vertical movement and for fending off the cute-but-deadly enemy hordes. Collection of certain special items increases the number rainbow-weapon spans, whilst others confer the ability to project sideways arcs of destructive light. As the frenetic action builds, and the screen becomes wreathed in prismic arches, the effect is akin to psychedelic trip in a toy box.

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Speedball 2 – Atari ST – Guest Review

Retro Resolution Retro Review

System: Atari ST
Developer: The Bitmap Brothers
Year: 1987

Guest Review courtesy of SweetMrGibs

Speedball 2: Brutal Deluxe - Atari ST - Title Screen
Speedball 2: Brutal Deluxe – Atari ST – Title Screen

[ Image – mobygames.com ]

Psychopaths in stadiums, bloodied steel struts for goalposts

If you wanted to sum up Speedball 2 in one sentence “Imagine playing a futuristic, ultra-violent Kick Off, or – even better, Sensi Soccer… on a pinball table” would be pretty accurate.

Released on the Atari ST and Amiga in 1987, The Bitmap Brother’s sequel to Speedball improved on every aspect of the smaller-scale original. The stadium was bigger, the action faster and more ferocious – even the soundtrack was catchier.

Speedball 2: Brutal Deluxe - Atari ST - Game On
Speedball 2: Brutal Deluxe – Atari ST – Game On

[ Image – ribouleau.net ]

A rudimentary transfer system allowed you to improve your squad and, most importantly, there were more ways to score points; bumpers! multipliers! and, perhaps the most satisfying of all, injuring the opposition. Bring on the robo-medics! And whilst modern football games require you to memorise a dozen button combinations in order to perform a back-heel, all of the player actions in Speedball 2 could be achieved at the press of one. single. button. “PUNCH!” Press button 1. “THROW!” Press button 1. “BIGGER PUNCH!” Press button 1. Take note, PES developers.

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