I’ll level with you, dear reader — retro gaming has been taking up a substantial amount of my time recently, and has been ever since the launch of the Evercade VS, the TV-connected version of the excellent cartridge-based Evercade retro gaming platform.
One of the best things about the Evercade, be it in handheld or TV-connected form, is the wide variety of games available for it. They range from late ’70s and early ’80s games for the Atari 2600 and Intellivision platforms right up to PlayStation 1-era titles and arcade hits from the ’90s. And for those who are particularly interested in Japanese gaming — as most of you reading this doubtless are — there’s a wealth of great titles of Asian origin available on the platform now.
We’ve previously taken a look at some of the best Japanese games available for Evercade on two separate occasions — here and here — but it’s been quite a while since we checked in on these titles. So I think it’s high time we picked out five more of the best Japanese retro games available on Evercade, don’t you?
I thought so. Let’s jump in. In no particular order!
The Ignition Factor
This title, found on the Jaleco Collection 1 cartridge for Evercade, casts you in the role of a firefighter taking on a variety of different missions, with your main goal being to rescue the survivors trapped in various perilous circumstances. Rather than being a fast-paced arcade-style game, The Ignition Factor is more of an adventure-style affair, with each level demanding that you make creative use of the resources available to you in order to succeed.
You’ll also need a keen eye for secrets if you want to beat the game properly, too; access to the final level is only available if you manage to attain enough points along the way, which means that not only do you need to complete the levels, you also need to take on some pretty tough optional challenges along the way, too — including a memorable “boss battle” against an out-of-control boiler!
Double Dragon II: The Revenge
We previously highlighted the excellent NES port of Technos’ genre-defining beat ’em up Double Dragon II: The Revenge as a highlight of the Evercade’s library, but now you can play the arcade version too. The Technos Arcade 1 collection comes free with all Evercade VS systems and is also available separately, and Double Dragon II is, of course, a highlight.
Taking on the role of Billy Lee (optionally accompanied by his brother Jimmy if you’re playing the two-player mode on the VS) it’s your job to avenge the death of Marian by kicking the crap out of everyone who stands in your path. While more recent beat ’em ups refined the formula that the early Double Dragon games established, Double Dragon II still holds up extraordinarily well, particularly if you’re bashing your way through the game with a friend.
There are some great games on the Data East Arcade 1 cartridge, which comes free with Evercade VS Premium Packs and is also available separately. One of my personal favourites is one of the company’s somewhat lesser-known titles: a shoot ’em up called BreakThru. In this game, you drive an armoured car through a series of perilous horizontally scrolling environments, blasting enemies and jumping obstacles along the way.
In many ways it feels like a more aggressive, side-on take on its stablemate Burnin’ Rubber (also known as Bump ‘n’ Jump) but it has its own distinct feel thanks to its changed perspective and greater focus on combat. While, as an arcade game, it is unsurprisingly pretty tough to get to grips with initially, you’ll find it to be a rewarding and addictive game in the long term — particularly once you start getting into high-score chasing.
Speaking of Burnin’ Rubber, it occurs to me that we haven’t actually paid tribute to this one yet, despite it being part of the Evercade’s original launch lineup back in 2020 — it can be found on the Data East Collection 1 cartridge. So let’s rectify this right now and say that Burnin’ Rubber for NES (actually more of a quasi-sequel to the arcade original than a true port) is a fantastically addictive game that is among one of the most enjoyable retro games in the Evercade’s library.
In Burnin’ Rubber, you take control of a speedy, nimble buggy as you pursue the villains who captured your girlfriend. Your buggy is not armed with conventional weapons but does have a special trick up its sleeve: the ability to launch itself high in the air, both to clear gaps and to land on top of enemies and destroy them. Fantastic music and flawless playability make this an enduring favourite for all Evercade fans.
This one’s not technically out at the time of writing — it’ll be March before the Renovation Collection 1 cartridge is firmly slotted into our Evercades — but anyone familiar with the Mega Drive original will know that this platform action title is a great time with some stunning visuals. Offering players the opportunity to blast through both gangsters and Lovecraftian horrors with protagonist Annet’s powerful magic, it’s a prime example of Wolf Team (who later became Namco’s Tales Studio) at their 16-bit best.
Wolf Team’s games are among the best-looking, most enjoyable 16-bit titles out there, so it’s an absolute pleasure to see some of the best collected together on the Renovation Collection 1 cartridge. We can’t wait to enjoy these titles in full.
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