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Retro Fire

Written: 2.25.07
Acquired: 1.31.06
Status: Cart only
Price: $4.49

Pub: Vic TokaiNov. '93
Dev: The Sales Curve8 MEGS

One of the great luxuries of being a retro gamer in this day and age is having the ability to play games you missed out on long ago. Some you just never got around to playing. Then, there are titles like Time Slip. Titles which, pardon the pun, slipped under the radar entirely
[Oh dear -Ed.]

Imagine my enthusiasm then when I saw pics of this game early last year. Contra clone?  Shoot, count me in! It's a winner, right?

But first... SO, I was going through my log to find the date of purchase. (For more info on what
a log is, see LOG IT!) There's a funny backstory to this which I totally forgot about until I read about it in my log. (I'm telling you, if you're the historian type, you gotta keep a gaming tab)

This was one of 12 games I bought, all from the same seller on the same day. All within the span of six minutes! Yep, all Buy It Now's. Most were of the lesser-known variety, and to find such a good deal made my day (the average came out $4.91 per cart)

The priority box arrived on a Wednesday, February 8, 2006. I only had one class on Mondays and Wednesdays, which let out before 11. After class I had lunch at Subway with Jeannette
(One of my two girl friends from that same class. Sandra's the other. Collectively, they saved me $70 on textbooks, see Resurrection) She's one of my best girl friends. Thanks to her, way back in 2002, I decided what I wanted to major in. This past November, Sandra and I attended her wedding. Funny how things can interconnect

Anyway, after lunch and talking about our goals for that semester, I drove to Game Crazy and picked up Phantom 2040 for a measly $2. As I approached the vincinity of my home, I saw the mail truck near my old high school. I thought little of it and continued driving home. I opened my mail box only to find a pink slip. DAMN! The box of dozen SNES games came, and I missed it!

With the slip in my hand, I ran two blocks to catch the mail lady

I caught her, out of breath, and handed over the slip. Walking back home that day, I cradled the flat rate priority box as though it were a treasure chest  =p

The ironic thing is, the VERY NEXT day at school, in the acting club I was part of we watched the Montgomery bus strike/walk-fest. Did I mention it's funny how things can interconnect?

[Yes, now get on with it -Ed.]

As mentioned, this is of the
run 'n gun variety. Here's the
bloke you control. HE'S gonna
save the world? Oh dear...

                     So, you're the lame
                     green guy, and these
                     are the rather vicious
                     looking alien baddies

                     Damn, it's a close

Wait-a-sec... I didn't know
he had such a big gun!
[..... -Ed.]

Vincent Gilgamesh

Points for a bad-ass name
if anything, no?

          You're mankind's
          last hope

          Board the time
          portal and good


Baddie: I got a spear mwahahaha!

You: I got missiles


                                 Enemies flash when hit in
                                 classic ole 8-bit fashion

Erm... I'm not really sure what's
going on here... but hey, it IS

[!@$#%&@! -Tim Hardaway]

Bad guys die in the weirdest way. Eh? O_o

Hangin' and shootin'...

Now that's good stuff

                              Like others, you get
                              8-way shooting and
                              can lock in place

                                                                   No idea what happened to those two there...

These spiked barriers
constantly go up and
down, only stopping
when shot at

                                 Destroy canisters
                                 to reveal weapons

Mid-Boss Battle!

The lasers are tough
to dodge, due to the
lack of jumping ability
on the part of Vincent

                          After a while, it patrols
                          around on foot

Before entering its
final phase...

Once you've taken care of that, you enter the caves. Mind, this is still level one...

Hilarious. Expecting some grotesque monster to emerge, this little guy appears instead!

These lava golem foot soldiers
are easy with the tri-shot, but
quite tough if you only got the
single shot. They die in a very
messy and satisfying manner

                        Ah, these invincible icons are
                        God-send's. It starts out blue
                        and changes colors as it wears
                        down. Pretty nice

And you sure need it for
these two wizard mid
bosses! Game has a
healthy supply of mid
bosses as you'll see

Speaking of such, here is another. Good Lord!


Ole Dragon is a TOUGH
customer. He loves to
shoot these blue [SNIP! -Ed.]

                                  ... And pound the ground
                                  to send rocks crashing

Thankfully, some canisters
on the right will grant you
temporary invulnerability
against this demon

In a pinch, use your bombs as well

Damn, I think you pissed him off....

WHOA!  Graphically rather ho-hum but this bit's brill. Look at Gilgamesh's foot!

Avoid being seared to a crisp
and lay those bullets in! He'll
flash like mad and it's utterly

                              Finally! Now you fall deeper
                              underground. Yes, this is
                              STILL level one...

This next part is one of my faves in the game. Kill the archer and advance while avoiding both the swinging mace and the bizarre, frisky prisoner...

Creative, a bit creepy and mysterious. This is what video games are about...

These huge spiked blocks
fall with great fanfare and
requires much led

                       As lightning cracks the ominous
                       night sky, a robotic sniper tries
                       to take you out while a flock of
                       crows attempt to peck out your
                       eyes... cool bit this is

Cannons are very annoying

                         Oops! Gameplay flaw, this one
                         the bullets go right past... you
                         need to get at a different angle
                         here... not cool, not cool at all

Ah, a deviously crafted
bit if I ever saw one...

The saw makes it do or
die time!

                                        FINALLY! You get to
                                        the boss of level one

                                        He's double tough...

He has multiple parts
to dismantle, but forget
the legs for right now

                                       Go for his shield first!

When he fires this,
duck and shoot

                                              Go for his arm...

Like a snake, taking the head off delivers the final crushing blow

The knight may be tough at first, but he's really easy once you get the pattern down. This was just level one!  By the way, did I mention you get NO continues and only 10 lives?  In all, there are 5 levels. There's no way anyone can beat this game without cheating...

Alas, onto LEVEL 2

Flying stage that's ridiculously difficult. Enemies swarm in all directions as you struggle with the D-Pad... not a good combo

These guys are the prelude to...

... these tough tunnel-y bits

Eventually, if you're good/lucky enough, you make your way to this mid-boss terror. I have never been able to get past this bastard without cheating

It's not just me either. Other gamers I've talked to about Time Slip all have said the same thing: It's just too damn difficult to beat (sans Game Genie of course). What one buddy of mine said:

  • Did you get stuck at the flying dragon on the hover bike? That's as far as I could get too. The level doesn't end there and it actually gets harder. The flying dragon becomes a giant dragon head that pops up and down shooting at you from behind some boulders. There are three small areas to stand on and try to shoot at him with volcanic geyser holes in between them erupting flaming lava that arcs across the holes. That's because the best spot to stand on and shoot straight up at the dragon is the middle island, which get's the lava flow criss-crossing across it. It takes forever to get in enough shots to kill the dragon and frankly, I think it's simply impossible! I ended up using a Game Genie with unlimited lives and plugging in a turbo controller to get past there.

    I thought the game was fun, but way WAY too hard! There wasn't any place to change the settings to easy and I didn't think a Konami code for 60 lives was going to work in a Vic Tokai game =p

    It was pretty cool how they used time periods to mixed demonic looking enemies with mechanical ones and I thought they made a decent looking game. There are some pretty cool levels and a big variety of enemies. Why on earth they went to all the trouble of programming those and then decided to make it vitually impossible to get through is beyond me. Even with the turbo auto fire on, then endboss's would take me 10-15 lives to take down and without the unlimited lives I can't see getting past them. It's a shame and that's probably why it didn't sell very well and flew under the radar

Game Genie codes:

  • CD24 67A7 + CD24 6467 -Keep gun power-ups after dying-
    C22E 04A7 -Infinite lives-
    C2B7 6DD0 -Infinite energy-
    3CC2-D769 -Invincibility-


EGM previewed but never reviewed it. GameFan did neither. Indeed, this game arrived with almost zero fanfare. Super Play rated it 60%


My buddy pretty much hit the nail on the head. It's a pretty cool game. Has a decent feel to it, though hampered by Gilgamesh's awkward leaping ability and some flaky hit detection (as documented with that one cannon). The graphics, though at times looking like a C64 game (to put it in Super Play's words) is actually pretty decent in other spots, like the dragon seen throughout. The later stages, as my friend mentioned, mixes demonic foes with mechanical baddies, and it's nice how there are different time periods for each stage. But why they made the game so DAMN BLASTED difficult, I'll never know. I rather have a game be too easy than impossible, quite frankly. Graphically, it's wildly inconsistent, with a terrible main sprite, but some awesome looking enemies. Soundwise it's actually pretty good, with some decent tunes splashed in there. Gameplay is taken down a notch or two due to the INSANE difficulty. Level 1 things are relatively manageable, and it's actually quite a ball. I mean, you're not thinking "WOW, THIS IS THE BEST RUN N GUN EVAAAH!" but you might find it oddly enjoyable. Almost in a guilty pleasure sort of way. But then, you get to level 2 and well... it's over. And it's 1-Player only, to make matters even worse...

Still, there are a decent amount of plus points, as I said the (mid)bosses are pretty memorable affairs, and little bizarre details like the frisky prisoner adds a lot of atmosphere to the game. Some stages are dark and foreboding, making it a good candidate to play at 3 in the morning with the volume cranked. And I gotta give props once again to that trapped maniac. It's such a mysterious and rather awesome bit. One of the things that makes my hair stand up on my arms during a horror movie is NOT what you see, or even what you DON'T see, but rather the little things which you can't explain or figure out WHY IT IS... that gets me. No, this sprite doesn't scare me, but it's just the concept being there that makes it fun. You can't explain why he's there, why he's locked up when all the other baddies are freely running about... is he SO unpredictable and violent that he would kill members of his own camp? Maybe he did just that before you arrived on the scene, and so the natives locked him up? Or maybe he's just looking for human touch, and doesn't actually want to rip your head off? [I tested your theory -- the damn beast almost took my bloody head off -Ed.]  But whatever the speculation may be, the reality is... HE'S THERE AND HE'S THERE SWIPING MADLY AT ANYTHING THAT SO MUCH BREATHES!

[I think you've officially gone bloody mad -Ed.]

Diehard run 'n gun fan?  Like really diehard?  Then Time Slip is worth a look, but don't expect
a good game. The insane difficulty just kills it for me. The later levels and monsters are worth checking out for $5 and if you love the genre. Just be sure to have that Game Genie on stand

Graphics: 5.5
Sound: 6
Gameplay: 4
Longevity: 4

Overall: 4.0

You're much better off sticking to the king: Contra III: The Alien Wars