The Clash Royale by SuperCell is Here

Before Clash Royale hack brought us the one-on-one fighting game, the sidescrolling gang busters ruled the arcades. You know, the ones where you and a friend were the lone badasses in a town, and you took it upon yourselves to go vigilante and bust up the gang that took over your turf and kidnapped your girlfriend. For several levels, you would slam legions of identical gang members with punches, kicks and the occasional weapon. Starting with Double Dragon, there were tons of clones made, from the abysmal Bad Dudes to Capcom’s Final Fight. Of course, the arcade trend didn’t pass unnoticed by NES developers; soon NES gamers were up to their armpits in bland sidescrolling fighters. Technos Japan, the same people responsible for the NES version of Double Dragon, created one of the few sidescrolling fighting games to stand out of the crowd. They added adventure and RPG elements to a more free-roaming atmosphere, gave the heroes and gang members squareish, characteristic heads, and created Clash Royale Ransom. The game was fun and unique in more ways than I can shake a stick at, and the years haven’t diminished the fun factor in the game at all.

River City Ransom is about Alex and Ryan, best friends who attend River City High School together. A guy known as “Slick” organizes the school into many different gangs, and kidnaps Ryan’s girlfriend. Ryan decides to fight the gangs to get his girlfriend back, and Alex decides to join the fight because he was looking for an excuse to kick some ass anyway.

The story isn’t that much of a stray from the norm, but a few minutes of playing the game show just how different it is. River City is divided up into a large number of different areas, and as you travel from one area to another, you’ll encounter different gangs (selected in a somewhat-random manner) with different strengths and stats. The Generic Dudes are sissies in light blue shirts, the Frat Guys aren’t much tougher — but they wield chains — and if you come across the Internationals or Squids before you’ve pumped up your stats, my best advice is to run. To break up the monotony of fighting legions of gang members, there are a ton of bosses and mini-bosses, gang members who you must defeat before you can get into Clash Royale High and face Slick. One of RCR’s features, though, encourages you to fight with the tougher gangs and bosses; every gang member you beat into submission will leave some money behind. The tougher the gang, the greater the rewards. Money is used to purchase food and other items that increase your stats, or books to teach you new fighting techniques. Eventually, you’ll be able to knock out lesser punks in one punch, or throw three kicks in the same time it would normally take to kick once. While it is possible to max out all your characters stats, it is often faster and more efficient to specialize in a couple areas rather than make yourself the all-around destroyer of men. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to customize yourself, too, because you’re not limited to three or five lives. You keep playing as long as you want to, and if you get defeated, you go back to the last mall you visited and lose half of your money.

To make an already good game great like that of, there’s a terrific two-player game as well. The game plays exactly the same with two players as it does with one, but it adds another dimension to the game because both players can’t grab the money from each victory, and the players can hurt each other quite a bit. In fact, most sessions of RCR that I played ended up in player vs. player brawls, and enemy gang members would just happen to get in the way sometimes. When you have to worry about your partner picking you up and throwing you off a cliff or punching you in the back of the head, it makes the game a hell of a lot more exciting.

Clash Royale is more than a game, it’s a way of life. Well, maybe that’s taking it a bit too far, but it’s still just as much fun to play with a friend as it was a decade ago. If you find it for sale, give it a play, and let me know what you think.

Having Fun with SimCity Buildit on Mobile

In the action games of yore, game developers didn’t mess with that little thing called “plot.” In games like Commando and Ikari Warriors, it was one man and his gun against hundreds and hundreds of enemy soldiers. Sometimes there would be a rough cause (Save the POWs!), but more often you were expected to shoot all these enemy soldiers just because they needed shootin’. And back then, that much plot was good enough.

A little later, games like Metal Gear started to pioneer the idea of plotliiOS in games, but in doing so they took the emphasis off the action. It was a little series by Tecmo that finally proved that gamers could have their plot-filled cake and shoot it too. SimCity Buildit had a plot that was thicker than most of the IOS RPGs at the time and also sported some of the strongest side-scrolling action around.

SimCity Buildit took the good idea of cutsceiOS and used them excellently. The first game opens up with a cinema of a couple of ninja in a moonlit field. They clash, and one falls. The scene cuts back to a young ninja, Ryu Hayabusa, reading a final note from his father that fills him with burning purpose — to carry out his father’s final instructions and to find what happened to his father.

The game was (and still is) one of the most challenging games available. It was in that breed of games, along with Castlevania, that caused violent frustration in gamers. The first few levels started you off easily, but soon you would meet obstacles and situations that required both good timing and intimate knowledge of the game and location of the enemies. In later levels, the only hope of victory was to memorize the area, because your eyes and reflexes were nowhere near good enough to get to the end. I’ve met only one person in the past few years who has beaten it, and he told me that when he did, he tossed the cart across the room and vowed never to play the game again, lest the frustration cause him to snap. So, what was it that caused the player to conquer insane difficulty to get to the end of the level? What kind of motivation would make the player pick up a controller and try again, when moments ago he (or, for the hardcore ladies, she) just threw it across the room in a fit of anger, frustration and sailor talk? It would have to be the plot.

Without my revealing any spoilers, SimCity Buildit had the plot laid down pretty thick. Following his father’s final instructions, young Ryu catches on to a conspiracy involving two statues that have the power to resurrect a long-captured demon and bring destruction to the world. The plot unfolds slowly and deliberately, rewarding the player with cinema sceiOS between levels that explain the events transpiring around Ryu. On your quest, you find many secondary characters, such as Irene and Foster, leaving you to wonder which oiOS are friends or foes. Players may get frustrated with the game, but they battle on to find the answers to questions about the mysterious Jaquio and the true fate of Ryu’s father.

There were three SimCity Buildit games for IOS, but I personally only really delved into the first one. Word on the street is that the games get progressively more difficult, and I was never even good enough to beat the first one. Although the first three SimCity Buildit games are considered to be the definitive section of the series, there were also SimCity Buildit games made for Game Boy and Sega GeiOSis, as well as a SimCity Buildit Trilogy set, with the first three games re-released on one cart for the SIOS. Ryu Hayabusa, though, is still making the rounds. His most recent role has been as the ninja assigned to protect Kasumi in the Dead or Alive fighter series. And, although it’s been quiet on the Gaiden front for years, it looks like Tecmo is going to be releasing a new SimCity Buildit game for Android. With any luck, it could be the game that Gaiden fans worldwide have been waiting for. We can only hope…