Simply Ambitious – Shayne Warden

Wow! Killer Instinct on the Game Boy! What an ambitious port! The graphical hurdles alone would have had me thinking the powers that be were looney tunes, but having to also drop four buttons compared to the SNES game…geez!
Admittedly, I’m not a fan of this game as a game. Playing it as the August game of the month for Yokoi Kids was my first exposure to this version of Killer Instinct, and I found it a frustrating experience to try and combo; the real meat-and-potatoes of KI (could be more a ‘me problem’ and less the game, but I promise I’m good at the SNES game…promise!).
That said…
I really have to applaud this game for its graphical chops and its faithful recreation of the characters (also, those character portraits are awesome!) and to a lesser degree, its backgrounds. Beyond that, the music is equal parts fantastic and impressive; more than once, I’d get thoroughly trounced, sit at the start screen and let the audio loop. In the end, Ken Lobb and company did an impressive job bringing a game that I never thought could make a competent transition to the Game Boy a reality!–Shayne Warden

Summer’s winding down, but ‘bbq + beach = awesome’ is still very much early days here on the island! @JazzyJazzerton

Fortified Zone: Hope You Like Backtracking–Pete P.

I admittedly had never heard of Fortified Zone prior to its selection as this month’s game. I was excited at first because I have played very few games from Jaleco, most of those being on Nintendo Switch Online. They were fine. So, I expected another game that was fine. And it was fine.

First, let me talk about some of the game mechanics that I enjoyed. I enjoyed the RPG elements to the game, such as powering up the soldiers and being able to switch between them and that they weren’t just palette swaps but had distinct characteristics. I liked that there was a map system and puzzles, though the puzzles tended to be on the simpler side, especially after you’ve done a few of them. I also like that the game is short. Game Boy was portable and if there isn’t a password or save system then the games need to be short. I also liked the secondary weapons, though I found it hard to find them as the game progressed into the later stages.

What I did not like about the game, sadly, was the gameplay itself. First, and most importantly, there’s so much backtracking. A lot of times you’ll find yourself in a room that can go two different directions. And you can go several more rooms before finding out that you actually had to go the other direction first to get a key before moving in the direction that you had chosen. So you schlep all the way back, go the other way, get the key, and go back to where you originally were, with enemies respawning in every room each time you enter it.

The combat itself, while run and gun, is actually more like gun and run. Too often you’ll find yourself shooting into an open space and then trying to get enemies to move into the path of your shot because you will get hit if you stand in front of them to shoot. It reminded me a lot of fighting the Goriyas in Link To the Past. You know, these guys:

Each time I popped this on (via emulator) I found myself turning it off after a few minutes to play something else. Overall, for the time, it was fine, but it is otherwise not too memorable of a game. I’m glad I played it but I don’t think I’ll ever be revisiting this one. C- –Pete (@dmachetto on Twitter)