Monday 31 May 2021

Jaleco Collection 1 Review (Evercade)

A well know name in the world of arcade and early console gaming, Jaleco were prolific in the nineties across the NES, SNES and Gameboy.  While not being as high profile or as critically well received as some other Japanese developers such as Capcom and Konami, they did none the less put out some interesting titles across a range of different genres. This first collection on the Evercade draws together ten games from the company spread across the NES and SNES.

One of Jaleco’s most well-known franchises is the Rushing Beat series. This cart contains two games from it with Rival Turf and Brawl Brothers both present. Sadly, Peace Keepers – the best game in trilogy, isn’t here. Out of the two, Rival Turf holds up the best with fairly solid action on show which should keep you entertained for a while. It’s a bit of a nostalgic trip for us as well as it’s a game that was one of the first real options for two player brawling on the SNES back in the day.  Brawl Brothers looks bigger and brighter but is incredibly repetitive and dull with even the punching animations looking drab. Neither are particular ground breaking though.

Two sports games are also included with Bases Loaded on the NES being an easily forgettable baseball game and Super Goal 2 (Super Soccer), making up the package. Despite our initial fears, Super Goal 2 does actually work in short sessions as a fairly solid arcade football game. Once you get the controls sorted passing, tackling and shooting do have a logic to them and game moves along at a decent pace. Goalkeepers aren’t massive push overs either so fans of old school arcade sports games should find something to enjoy here.

Jaleco has also included three NES platform games which are all worth playing. City Connection is strange little game where you have to drive a car around jumping up and down levels to colour in the platforms. While you are doing this you need to avoid obstacles and little chibi police cars that zoom around. It’s a bit scrappy, but good fun and can become strangely addictive at times.

Totally Rad is an obnoxiously colourful game where you have access to a whole host of spells you can use to power up and transform your character. It’s a pretty standard action platformer but the different abilities keep it enjoyable and it plays pretty well. It’s also not massively long and had a moderate impact when originally released. It’s well worth checking out and will be a bit of a hidden gem for a lot of people.

Astynax, is the most action orientated of the three. Here you need to make your way through levels by walking to the right, avoiding traps and smacking monster with a host of large weapons. Sprites are big and the game is great fun. There are some issues with slowdown and flicker at times which can be frustrating but at least now we have the save states to account for any cheap deaths. Once you get the hang of it there is a rewarding and enduring game here and it’s certainly one of the better games on the cartridge.

In stark contrast Earth Defence Force is one of the worst side scrolling shooters we’ve come across on the SNES. Collision detection is lose and feedback from taking damage is non-existent. The whole game carries no weight to it at all and it’s just a massive let down. This is one best left avoided.

The last two games are top down maze adventures. Ignition Factor puts you in the roll of a Fireman who needs to enter complexes and rescue a set amount of people within a set time period. It’s a nice idea but it’s quite a frustrating game to play with players needing to choose equipment without really knowing the circumstances they are going into. The controls are also a bit stilted and there is a strange set of rules working away in the background which dictates things such as you only being able to jump when you are on a walkway. It’s quite an original take on the genre but we’d rather be playing The Firemen any day.

The last game here is Operation Logic Bomb which is a solid maze style shooter. It’s full of traps, switches and all the other expected things that games in this genre usually come with. It executes it all very well though and this is another example of an often overlooked game that deserves a bit of the spotlight. Controls work well and enemies are challenging and varied throughout. It's yet another reason to add the cart to your collection.

Overall, the Jaleco collection has been a bit of surprise for us. When it was initially announced there wasn’t much here that really got us excited. Having played through it though we are pleased to say that there are a host of often overlooked games here that warrant your attention. It may not be the most spectacular collection of games but they are certainly solid for the most part and Evercade owners should have fun unearthing a couple of real hidden gems.


Overall -

Astynax                                4/5

City Connection                  3/5

Totally Rad                          3/5

Operation Logic Bomb       4/5

Ignition factor                    3/5

Super Goal 2                       3/5

Earth Defence Force          2/5

Rival Turf                           3/5

Brawl Brothers                  2/5

Bases Loaded                     2/5

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