Too Much Free Time

Discussion and reviews of games for NES, Intellivision, DOS, and others.

Archive for the ‘1988’ Category


Posted by Tracy Poff on September 19, 2014

Now that I’ve looked at the two major players on PC, let’s take a look at some word processors for other platforms, beginning with the Sharp X68000.


This word processor is identified as “X68000 Word Processor << EW >> Version 1.20O”, a 1988 release by EAST Co., Ltd. (which company still exists, by the way).

EW looks quite similar to other word processors from the eighties: simply and ugly, including the (inexplicable!) choice to display hard returns on screen. Its ruler also measures not the size of the text on the page, but the number of columns occupied by the text. Fully 96 (half-width) columns are available.

You interact with the program’s extended features by either pressing escape to select from the menu, or pressing control key combinations to access other functions.

EW doesn’t have quite the feature set of WordPerfect, but it’s much lighter–roughly 900k, of which 388k is the dictionary. Being small may not be sufficient excuse for being ugly and limited, though: if my brief foray into historic Japanese sources (vintage 1989/1990–practically ancient!) doesn’t mislead me, EW wasn’t a well-regarded piece of software.

Posted in 1988, Word Processor, X68000 | 6 Comments »

The Adventures of Bayou Billy

Posted by Tracy Poff on March 16, 2008

The Adventures of Bayou Billy is a beat-em-up, with a driving and shooting game thrown in for variety.

Bayou Billy won’t be winning any awards for its plot. Some bad guy has kidnapped your girlfriend, and you have to rescue her.

He’s even kind enough to let you know that you will be encountering obstacles on your way to his estate. What a nice guy.

The game behaves pretty much like your bog standard beat-em-up, with a button for punch and one for kick, and pressing both together doing a flying kick. You can pick up weapons that you knock out of your enemies’ hands and to use against them. The difference, though, is that Bayou Billy is hard. It’s not so bad against one enemy, but you’ll find yourself fighting against three at a time, who are not stunned when you hit them, take many hits to kill, and are fairly quick-moving as well.

Fortunately, they are also fairly stupid, and will happily walk around in circles without hitting you, if you move just a bit. They also occasionally drop food, which heals you.

Humans aren’t your only foes, though. You’ll also encounter crocodiles in the water, which are quick moving and can attack you when you’re near the water’s edge.

When I got to the right side of this screen, it didn’t scroll any further, and since I couldn’t seem to harm the crocodile, I quickly died.

The game does include, as I mentioned, a driving subgame and a shooting subgame, which can be accessed from the practice menu, and apparently appear as levels later in the game.

Neither of these subgames was anything spectacular, although the shooting game did have the benefit of being playable with or without a zapper. Nice, since the emulated zapper uses the mouse, and playing with my laptop’s touchpad was very difficult indeed.

The Adventures of Bayou Billy was called Mad City in Japan, and was considerably easier.

My feeling from playing a few minutes is that the enemies died in about a third as many hits in Mad City. Furthermore, the screen that wouldn’t go anywhere in Bayou Billy and had only crocodiles had divers in Mad City, and continued once I defeated them.

No crocodiles in Mad City. Perhaps I didn’t step on a trigger or something while playing Bayou Billy, which caused the divers not to appear. Maybe.

Anyway, I think that Mad City is probably better than Bayou Billy, although I only played either one for a few minutes. My final opinion is that Mad City is worth playing, but I’d avoid Bayou Billy, since its difficulty is just not fun.

Posted in 1988, 1989, Beat 'em Up, Decent, Full Review, NES | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

First Impressions: 8 Eyes

Posted by Tracy Poff on December 8, 2006

This game is like Castlevania, except much, much harder.

When the game begins, you select which country to play in first. I understand that it’s something like Megaman: play in the wrong order, and the game is much harder.

The game really looks quite a lot like Castlevania, and plays similarly, too, with one major difference: in 8 Eyes, you have a falcon with you, and some enemies can only be destroyed by the falcon. Unfortunately, you only have control over the falcon when there are two players–the second player controls the falcon. With one player, the falcon just flies left and right, and your control is limited to telling it to swoop down to attack or return to your shoulder.

The result of this lack of control is that the game is way too hard with one player, and I can’t imagine why anyone would play it just to control the falcon. Give this one a miss.

Posted in 1988, Bad, First Impressions, NES, Platformer | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

First Impressions: Bump’n’Jump

Posted by Tracy Poff on September 25, 2006

It’s a driving game, of sorts.


The Japanese version was called Buggy Popper:


We start with a car driving away, with someone crying “Help me!” inside. Being the heroic gamers that we are, this is sufficient motivation for us to follow.


The premise of the game seems to be that we have a car which can jump at will, and we like to land on other cars and destroy them for no reason. Well, except that it gets us points.


Whoever designed these roads needs to be shot. Apparently in the bizarro-world that this game take place in, cars normally have the ability to jump (but only yours does, as far as I saw), so in order to save some of the cost of roads, they just left out some sections. Yeah, that’s logical.


But, we can forgive some strangeness if it’s a good game, right? Of course we can. Unfortunately, the designers decided to take all of my good will and stomp on it, by putting in a ludicrously long repair sequence when you drive over one of the bonuses on the road:


You sit at this screen for upwards of fifteen seconds while text flashes on screen assuring you that they are repairing your car and have not, in fact, run off with your money and girlfriend to Tijuana.

When you finally finish the first level, you are treated to the second level, in which the brilliant road designer decided that if there wasn’t any water to break up the monotony, then we’d just have to build some raised roads to block the lower ones instead.


Of course, there are helpful black areas that look like tunnels to pass through. They aren’t. They are just there because the designer was sadistic. The problem is that if you jump any time when the little jump warning box is on the screen, you’ll end up hitting the wall anyway, and it’s much harder to figure out when to jump when you have to make it over a wall instead of just some water. You can’t really tell how tall the thing is, since, as we all know, you should never do 3D on an NES.

So, we crash and die, and the game ends. I don’t know what happened to that car we were chasing earlier. Probably some girl was kidnapped, and since we couldn’t catch her she was raped and killed. And it’s all the road designer’s fault.

Verdict: There are worse games. This is like a mix of Spy Hunter and Roger Rabbit, and it doesn’t do well at emulating either. Play Spy Hunter instead, since it had the good sense to give you guns for killing people with, and was a better game anyway.

Posted in 1986, 1988, Driving, First Impressions, NES | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

First Impressions: 1943 – The Battle of Midway

Posted by Tracy Poff on September 24, 2006

An excellent conversion of Capcom’s vertical scrolling shooter:

1943 - The Battle of Midway (U) [!]_01

This one has more features than its predecessor, such as the ability to configure your plane before you start:

1943 - The Battle of Midway (U) [!]_02

Also, when you start, it tells you briefly what your target is. In the first level, it’s Rikaku, the Japanese Heavy Cruiser:

1943 - The Battle of Midway (U) [!]_03

As is 1942, you’re piloting a P-38, which you can improve as you play by picking up better weapons and energy bonuses. The gameplay is the same, too: fire at the enemy planes (and ships) while avoiding being hit:

1943 - The Battle of Midway (U) [!]_04

At the end of the level, you fight Rikaku, which is heavily armed:

1943 - The Battle of Midway (U) [!]_08

If you win, you move on to the next level. There are a total of 24 levels in the NES version, as compared to 16 in the arcade version.

Verdict: 1943 has excellent sound, good graphics, smooth controls, and addictive gameplay. Definitely worth playing.

Posted in 1988, First Impressions, Good, NES, Vertical Scrolling Shooter | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »