Obscure games you've played recently

This being a forum for retro gaming enthusiasts, I’m sure you guys regularly play obscure, nearly forgotten games. So, why not share your experiences with those little-known gems (and duds) with us?

I’ve been playing Vandyke (UPL, 1990) recently. It was released as an Arcade Archives title a couple of months ago.

Gameplay-wise, it’s nothing special. It’s a top-down beat 'em up that kinda resembles Capcom’s 1987 arcade game Avengers, but in a medieval fantasy setting. There are a few times when some silly and absurd enemies appear on screen to make matters a bit more interesting (like the above three-eyed green elephant with an evil genie on its trunk), but that’s about it.

Never did get this one on Arcade Archives so thanks for sharing your impressions. It’s a shame that gameplay-wise it’s not up to anything particularly special, but thematically it certainly has caught my eye.

I don’t think I’ve played many games from UPL. I bought Gomola Speed on HuCard earlier this year and had a blast with it, hoping there might be other whacky games from their repertoire worth playing. Anyone?

1 Like

If you’re still on the fence about Vandyke and want to know more about the game, I’d suggest reading this HG101-article:

Never heard of Gomola Speed, by the way. Seems like quite an interesting Gauntlet/Snake hybrid!

The UPL games I’ve played so far are Atomic Robo-Kid, Ninja Kid 1 & 2, Omega Fighter and, of course, Vandyke. You won’t see me pour lots of hours into those games, but I wouldn’t say any of those are particularly awful.

I’m kinda looking forward to the Switch Arcade Archives release of Mutant Night, mainly because that game looks rather surreal and, well, unsettling.

UPL was quite a quirky game developer, that’s for sure.

2 Likes

Today I got Uprising Join or Die and its sequel from this week’s GOG sale.

It’s often described as a RTS/Action-game hybrid, which isn’t exactly wrong but the RTS elements are so simple and abstracted that anyone looking for a Starcraft where you can play as the units will be dissapointed. Basically, the premise is that you control a hovertank called the “Wraith” in first of third person. Each maps has pre-designed building locations: you drive over a specific square to drop in a “citadel” (an heavily armed command tower thing) and once that is set up, you can drop buildings on the remaining slots that allow you to summon specific type of units, power reactors to generate ressources, base defense and other things.

This sounds like typical RTS stuff except that instead of queing builds and giving order to your units, you simply teleport them line-of-sight on the battlefield using the Function keys, at which point they’ll automatically do what they’re assigned to do. You can just as quickly reclaim them using the delete key once their job is done.

The Wraith is pretty well-armed and tough so it would be tempting to just do everything lone-wolf. HOWEVER, you can’t destroy buildings yourself so you’ll need to either have infranty (which are stupid and frail, but cheap) plant bombs or call a bomber to do the job. At the same, enemy bases are well-fortied so it’s not a bad idea to call in fighters and tanks to distract them while you coordinate your assault. The cooldown for summoning units is pretty fast so you’ll soon witness some impressive combined arms scenario. It all sounds pretty complex but once you do the quite-helpful tutorials, it’s actually quite simple and remarkably intuitive.

In-between missions, you can use the money you’ve acquired to purchase upgrades for your units, buildings and the Wraith itself. By keeping the action fast and simple and the RTS elements dumb but not pointless, Uprising is a remarkably unique and fun genre-blender. It’s possible repetition sets in as I do more of the campaign, but so far I’m pleasantly surprised.

2 Likes

Oh wow! Did you ever play Battlezone on PC? That was an amazing RTS first person hybrid that really did the license justice. It even got a remaster in 2018…

1 Like

I have the N64 port though I didn’t play a lot of it.

2 Likes

Wow I didn’t even realize there were any ports. I thought it was PC only… in fact, per Wikipedia the only other version of Battlezone is the N64 version! And I learned something else interesting:

The game’s artificial intelligence was reused from Dark Reign: The Future of War

Wow, there’s a deep cut… I had almost forgotten about that RTS altogether. It was supposed to be very innovative, but I remember it as meh, especially compared to the gold standard of Total Annihilation, which is in my top 5 games all time on any platform.

1 Like

TA was amazing… I played a ton of that online, finished it twice too.

Still my favorite RTS of all time.

2 Likes