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Young Ninja Group (ages 3-5)

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Andrew Stewart
Andrew Stewart

Ambitious LED Cube Provides Endless Video Game Scrolling; Plays Castlevania


LED cubes are all the rage right now, and rightly so given the amount of work that goes into them and the interesting things people find to do with them. Not content to make yet another position-sensitive display or an abstract design, though, [Greig Stewart] opted for something a bit more ambitious: an LED cube with a playable game of Castlevania.




Ambitious LED Cube Provides Endless Video Game Scrolling; Plays Castlevania



Currently, the cube sits on a lazy susan with a small motor controlling the swiveling in response to a foot control. [Greig] wants to put the motor under control of the game so that physical scrolling is synced with gameplay; we heartily endorse that plan and look forward to the results.


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was a smash phenomenon in the late 1980s. Naturally, it was only a matter of time before a videogame followed the television show and toys. Developed by Konami and published by its subsidiary Ultra (a ghost publisher created only so that Konami could publish more games per year than Nintendo allowed), TMNT proved to be a fun, challenging game with crisp graphics and compelling gameplay. The great thing about TMNT was its ability to let gamers use all four Ninja Turtles at will, even though it was only a one-player action game. It also had multiple fields-of-view, from top-down navigation to side-scrolling sequences, the perspectives were mixed up considerably at a time when games were usually from one outlook only. Unfortunately, this game didn't satisfy everyone. Many gamers wanted a port of Konami's arcade beat-'em-up of the same name instead, but had to wait until 1991, when a port of the arcade classic came to the NES under the TMNT 2 moniker.


It may be hard to believe, but at one point Zombies were a greatly underrepresented class of brain-dead enemy in videogames. Thankfully, Zombie Nation arrived in the latter days of the NES to smash the zombie barrier. The protagonist of this peculiar game is the disembodied noggin of a samurai, who packs some serious cranial power. It goes down something like this: an extra-terrestrial force named Darc Seed has zombie-fied the world, oh and there's some kind of stolen sword involved or something. You take direct control of the samurai's giant head in a sort of side-scrolling shooter that's too deliberately loony not to check out. Zombie Nation pushes the NES graphical capabilities more than any other shooter on the system, with lots of moving enemies, building destruction and a steady stream of pixilated chaos. Brazenly over-the-top, Zombie Nation is one of the few NES titles that doesn't take itself seriously.


Super C, the somewhat unfortunately-titled sequel to Contra, features the same co-op shooter action of the first without toying with the formula too much. If you are wondering, that formula is one part Aliens, two parts First Blood, and perhaps a dash of Predator to keep things exotic. A port of a graphically superior arcade version, Konami gave Super C lots of love to help it make a successful transition, including the addition of several unique levels. The pseudo-3D levels that broke up the side-scrolling action in Contra are replaced with vertical-scrolling levels, but the graphical style, gameplay and even the guns all remain identical to the original. Super C, like Contra, is a nearly perfect cooperative experience, and is best enjoyed with a buddy to high five as the iconic level finish tune plays. A different Konami Code can be used to get 10 lives in Super C, making it only 1/3 as awesome as the original Konami Code.


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