Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Game and Watch v.2.1.

PocketGamer Blog discovered something pretty amazing: two lovely keychain sized remakes of the classic Zelda and Donkey Kong Game & Watch handhelds. Apparently, they are for sale too. Lovely and tiny as can be.

Related posts: Nintendo Game Boy Color, SEGA Game Gear, Gunpei Yokoi and the Game & Watch

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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Stranded Review

Stranded, another well-polished glu game for mobile phones, starts off quite a bit like Lost and evolves into a rather interesting cross between Lost and Robinson Crusoe. You -the heroic protagonist- and a few survivors are stranded (hoho) on a mysterious island and have to make sure a) you survive b) you find out what's going on c) you get the feck outta there. Oh, and it's not a plane that miserably failed you, but more of a ship.

Stranded, despite what most gaming sites will tell you, is not an adventure. It's an arcade adventure pretty much like Zelda, and one featuring interesting hunting and fishing minigames too. The game's controls are excellent and impressively intuitive (you can easily start playing the game without even bothering to read any instructions), mostly using the 2,4,6,8 buttons for movement and the 5 button to perform actions ranging from talking to shooting arrows to planting seeds.

Besides the very interesting -though rather cliched- plot that spans six chapters (and will last you quite a bit more than your average mobile game) and gets progressively more engrossing, the game does feature quite a few sidequests and tons of animals and plants to discover and take advantage of, which do add to its replay value. Gameplay mostly consists of exploring, talking to characters, fighting (in brilliant arcade sequences) boars and snakes, hunting, making arrows, cooking, planting watermelons and basically completing quests that will advance the story. Oh, and despite being on the more repetitive side of things, it's fun and addictive enough to keep you playing even in those post-midnight hours, while quite a few of the quests are perfect for 5-minute long bus-waiting playing sessions.

The technical side of the game is more than satisfactory, sporting decent music and nicely detailed graphics with a distinct 16-bit feel. Interestingly the game also features rumble which is quite a nice touch.

Stranded was tested on a Nokia N80 and really is the most engrossing game I've ever played using a phone. Try it here.

SCORE: 8/10

Related posts:
Super K.O. Boxing review, Zelda mobile, Mafia Wars Yakuza

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Monday, January 29, 2007

How-to: Nintendo DS Homebrew

People have been asking, you know... They all started when they just couldn't get their freeware Dragon's Lair DS fix. Well, here's the answer: Nintendo DS Homebrew @ MetkuMods. Read it and learn all about the hardware, the tools, the SD cards, the software and anything else you might need in order to run (mostly freeware) homebrew games and emulators -even DS Linux- on your beloved DS.

Related posts: DS does NES & SNES, Lemmings DS, Ridge Racer DS review

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Sunday, January 28, 2007

Game Boy Color: The Colors

Being 100% compatible with the original Game Boy, Nintendo's Game Boy Color was also one of the first consoles to actually improve older games simply by sucesfully colouring them in. Don't believe me? Well, better load that Tetris cartridge into your GBC then and see for yourselves. But, even if the colors the GBC chooses aren't to your liking, you can easily choose a different color palette. According to Wikipedia all you have to do is press certain key combos while the GBC is loading (better have them buttons pressed before you turn it on) and a palette of your very own fancy will take care of your old(er) Game Boy games.
    • Up: Brown
    • Up + A: Red
    • Up + B: Dark Brown
    • Down: Pastel Mix
    • Down + A: Orange
    • Down + B: Yellow
    • Left: Blue
    • Left + A: Dark Blue
    • Left + B: Monochrome (Original Colors)
    • Right: Green
    • Right + A: Dark Green (Default Palette)
    • Right + B: Inverted Monochrome

    In addition, most Game Boy games published by Nintendo have a special palette that is enabled when no buttons are pressed. Any game that does not have a special palette will default to the Dark Green (Right + A) palette instead.

    Related posts: the Game Boy Color feature, Link's Awakening DX map, GBA Sega Smash Pack review

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    Saturday, January 27, 2007

    5 excellent Pocket PC emulators

    Retro gaming is fun, nostalgic, wholesome and good for your lungs. Occasionally free and portable too, as the following 5 quite excellent, definitely freeware and nicely perky emulators for Pocket PC will demonstrate. Just make sure you click the proper links...

    PocketUAE -a Pocket PC port of the famous UAE Amiga emulator- is quite obviously an emulator of Commodore's impressive 7.14MHz Amiga 500 and a chance to play classic and at times graphically impressive games like Shadow of the Beast, Agony, Lemmings or Kick Off 2 on the go. Get it here.

    PocketNester, another emu port, is emulating the fondly remembered, categorically classic and Wii conquering Nintendo NES. Hundreds of great games are obviously available and getting it should be pretty easy. Just click here.

    PocketClive though definitely has more games to offer, as it's a freeware little program emulating non other than Sir Clive's amazing ZX Spectrum. Get it here. Your Pocket PC will appreciate it.

    DOS lovers and people still dreaming of Wing Commander should try the lovely portable version of DOSbox. Simply by visiting this place (and of course by downloading and installing stuff).

    Adventurers on the other hand must download SCUMMVM for Pocket PC. It will allow them to play all those lovely Lucasarts games of yore (think Monkey Island or Sam and Max), along with a few extra gems like Beneath a Steel Sky, Gobliiins and Broken Sword. Get it here.

    Related posts: Jazz Jackrabbit Pocket PC, Pocket UFO, N64 on the PSP

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    Friday, January 26, 2007

    Nintendo DS iPod

    Watched the video? Impressive, right? Well, if turning your Nintendo DS into an iPod doesn't mean anything to you, then I just can't imagine what might be able to touch your cold hard souls. Anyway. As the DS-iPod project has been discontinued you probably won't experience this brilliant music playing thingy anyhow, even though you could try this link and hope for a download.

    Related posts: DS VoIP, Lemmings DS, DS hand-crank charger

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    Thursday, January 25, 2007

    More Game Gear Goodies!

    Here they are, craply photographed on my Nokia N70...

    Just a quick note to let you know about more lovely bargains I've discovered, this time at the excellent Chips an independent little store that is good to go to when Gamestation is depleted of anything interesting...

    Today's haul included two new games for my Game Gear, Spiderman- Return Of the Sinister Six (villains that is) and The Ren and Stimpy Show, which came with full packaging and instruction manual.

    Whilst Ren and Stimpy is a nice little platformer, Spiderman has proven on initial play to be a very good 2D side scrolling beat 'em up. Spidey can perform a god deal of moves, kicking, punching, jumping, web-slinging and wall crawling (as you might expect).This takes my Game Gear software collection to 14 titles...

    Now if I only had time to play 'em all. As Gnome himself is aware, I'm currently locked into joint obsessions about Segata Sanshiro which you can experience till you puke on The Saturn Junkyard and Resident Evil 4 on the PS2.Now this current conversion to the RE franchise has led me to consider a DS RE purchase...expect a review any decade now...

    Related posts: SEGA Game Gear, Game Gear TV, Game Boy Color

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    The N64 PSP

    I'm pretty sure playing Mario 64 using the PSP's analog stick should be quite irritating, but then again I can't quite imagine how anyone could say no to enjoying Goldeneye, Ocarina of Time, F-Zero X or Super Smash Bros on Sony's shiny portable. Hence the Daedalus open source Nintendo 64 emulator for PSP. Get it for free - get it here.

    Related posts: Crush, running PSP homebrew, Visiting Day

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    Wednesday, January 24, 2007

    SEGA goes Crush on the PSP

    Kuju Entertainment seem to be preparing the game, that will really push the Sony PSP in classic -yet innovative and fresh- platforming directions: Crush. The game will be released by SEGA, Destructoid has all the info you're going to need and some lovely screenshots. Oh, and here's a beautiful video of Crush doing its thing:

    Related posts: Keyboards for the PSP, how to run PSP homebrew, Neo Geo Pocket emulation

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    Tuesday, January 23, 2007

    Jazz Jackrabbit

    Jazz Jackrabbit (MobyGames entry), the DOS/PC answer to Sonic, Mario, James Pond and Zool (Zool who? Ha!), has at last and following years of rioting and guerrilla warfare hit the Pocket PC. In freeware form no less. Grab it here and prepare yourself for some classic platforming action.

    Related posts: RPGing the PocketPC, Pocket Tricorder, X-Com: UFO PocketPC

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    The Nintendo DS Phone

    The VoIP Service Blog is apparently your friend dear Nintendo fanboys (and girls). You see, they just came up with 4 pretty interesting (one of them mentions Metroid Prime: Hunters) ways to utilize the wireless capabilities and the microphone of the DS and turn it into a communications device. A phone of sorts. Read more here.

    Related posts: Theme Park DS, Lemmings DS, X Men DS

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    Sunday, January 21, 2007

    Link's Awakening DX: an ancient map

    The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX is -to this day- one of the most elaborate, smart and deep games available for any handheld console. It also is one of the first games to feature lovely colors on the one and only Game Boy Color. And in the extreme case you'd like to use a nice and fully interactive map to help Link get around this game, better try this link (mind you, a Zelda NES map can be found here).

    Related posts: a GameBoy commercial, GBA Sega Smash Pack review, Treamcast

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    Saturday, January 20, 2007

    The PSP (almost) gets a proper keyboard has good news for you Sony PSP users. You are so very close to actually using a keyboard (it'd better be a Palm (One) Universal Wireless Keyboard) in order to create lovely .txt files on your Memory Stick. Yes, indeed! More info on the homebrew application that can make your PSP do such wondrous things and on PSP keyboards in general is available here.

    Related posts: Replacing the LCD screen of the PSP, How to run PSP homebrew software, Dungeons 3D

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    Friday, January 19, 2007

    Oh la la! Theme Park DS screenshots

    Peter Molyneux's classic Theme Park, the wacky amusement park sim first released back in the mid-90s, made it to the Nintendo DS. Hoorah! Hop over to GoNintendo to see more screenshots of the Japanese version of the game.

    Related posts: Lemmings DS, SimCity DS screens, X Men DS review

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    Thursday, January 18, 2007

    TV Turn On!

    Well I'd hoped to show you some actual photos of my newest accquisition. You know what it is... I just blabbed it on the last post... Yes it's a TV adaptor for my Game Gear! I took some lovely photos of it on my camera phone, but when I tried to email it to the site, the network was down or something. (Or at least thats what THE MAN says...)

    Anyway, I can make do with some photos ripped off Google Image, to show you this lovely piece of peripheral... The story of how I came across my Game Gear can be found here...
    The way I came across my TV adaptor is easy... I went to see the lovely Mr. Kahn at Rusholme Consoles, a veritable treasure trove of Retro game gear based in Manchester.

    Now the above establishment, whilst stocked with great stuff, not available elsewhere, has never been the cheapest place to boost your console collection. However, Mr. Kahn is getting out of the used console business and is selling off all his stuff at bargain prices. Being a regular and trusted customer, Mr. Kahn very generously sold me 'San Fransisco Rush 2049' for the DC for £2 (a quite rare and most excellent racing game I've been after for ages) and also a boxed up, brand new looking Game Gear TV adaptor for £15. I also got a beautiful lecture from Mr. Kahn on the commonality between Muslims, Jews and Christians. (And that was free!)

    I've tried it out and it works perfectly! This must have been a phenomenal piece of kit in it's day, turning the excellent handheld games console into what was at the time, the smallest colour portable TV around. You can find out the tech spec here... Suffice to say, I am one very happy gamer. Still unlike one happy Game Gear owner who responded to the post on the Dreamcast Junkyard, I have not managed to pick up any porn on it, but a man can dream... Obviously, if I do, and believe me I'll keep trying, you'll be the first to know. right now I'm off to watch the head line grabbing Big Brother, to see what foul racist tirade that fat ugly ignoramus Jade Goody has come out with this episode. On my Game Gear. Obviously. Goodnight!

    Fat racist bigot Jade Goody....

    Related posts: SEGA Game Gear, Nintendo Game Boy Color, An Atari 2600 on the go

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    Mafia Wars Yakuza!

    Not so much as a review as an advert... having just got my Nokia N70 phone repaired (I dropped it in a rockpool on holiday DOH!) I decided to celebrate by downloading a new game. Whilst looking through the selection of games on Orange World, this little beauty caught my eye.

    Playing pretty much as well as any GBA title, this point and shoot adventure is by far and away THE best phone game I have ever played. I would write my own personal review, but I tend to go on a bit, so I'll leave it to my good friends at IGN, you can find it here... Plus I just scored the best haul of games and stuff, including a boxed (as new) TV adaptor for my Sega Game Gear, four new games for my Saturn, 'Sanfransico Rush 2049' for the Dreamcast, the excellent new edition of 'Games TM' magazine (with a massive feature on the wonderful 'Night's Into Dreams' for the Saturn), and, with a bit of the old Father Krishna charm, a free 1MB Dreamcast memory card!!! So, there will be some new posts on this hallowed site, plus some new guff on the Dreamcast Junkyard and the Saturn Junkyard any day now... (Just as soon as I've played with all my new stuff and hidden all evidence of said purchases from the Mrs...)

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    Nintendo Game Boy Color

    So, how would you improve on a handheld console that was able to sell way over a hundred million units worldwide (130+ according to Wikipedia)? What could you possibly add to the monochromatic, ridiculously successful, Lynx and Game Gear crushing Gameboy and make it even better? Well, color (colour even) apparently.

    Hence Nintendo's Game Boy Color, a handheld console first revealed during E3 1998 and effectively killed off with the release of the Game Boy Advance in 2001. It was the shortest lived handheld Nintendo ever produced, and the first one to face serious competition from Bandai's Wonderswan, SNK's Neo Geo Pocket and of course Nintendo's very own Gameboy and Gameboy Pocket. Still, the GBC managed to sell almost 50 million units. Quite a feat, that.

    Its specs weren't spectacular compared -say- to Atari's Lynx, but still weren't to shabby either. The GBC, like the GameBoy before it (despite the fewer MHz), was built around an 8MHz version of Zilog's Z80 processor, featured 4-channel stereo sound, run for more than 15 hours on two AA batteries, was slightly smaller than the Game Boy, and most important of all sported a nice 2,8" color screen able to show 56 colors (out of a 32k palette) at an almost impressive 160x144 resolution. On the more gimmicky side of things, the GameBoy Color provided gamers with a crippled and quite underused infrared link. Thankfully the older linking options weren't done away with. Oh, and its controls remained the same, consisting of a directional pad, A and B buttons, Start-Select buttons, a volume control and an on/off switch.

    Then again, the GBC was fully backwards compatible with the GB, even managing to quite impressively colorize the old games. As for its very own, very exclusive games these include quite a few gems such as Super Mario Bros DX, Wario Land 3, Elevator Action, Resident Evil Gaiden, The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons & Oracle of Ages, Heroes of Might and Magic, Rayman, The Fish Files and some -hugely popular, I admit- Pokemon games.

    As for this blog... well, as the beautiful Lady of the Mountain provided me (a humble gnome, let me remind you) with a Game Boy Color and as I've already bought quite a few dead-cheap games for it and even rediscovered my forgotten Game Boy, you should expect full GBC coverage and a healthy dose of retro-reviews. Better yet, get one for yourselves too and we could have some group GBC fun (ahem/cough). Shouldn't cost you more than 30$/25 euros; maybe less.

    Game Boy Color resources:

    Related posts: SEGA Game Gear, Treamcast, Gunpei Yokoi and the Game & Watch

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    Wednesday, January 17, 2007

    The calculating Pokemon

    Lucky owners of the Texas Instruments TI-83 Plus scientific calculator will at last be able to enjoy their very own, very scientific version of Pokemon: Pokemon Purple. It's a freeware homebrew little RPG of a game, it's almost entirely coded in TI-BASIC, and it should soon be available here.

    Related posts: TI-85 emulation for the DS, Lemmings DS, MK Test Your Might PSP

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    Tuesday, January 16, 2007

    RPGing the Pocket PC

    Strange World is a pretty interesting and very freeware 2d RPG game, that's allegedly a remake of an older German Amiga/DOS game for the Pocket PC. Must have been Fremde Welt, but it doesn't really matter. Simply click here and get the game.

    Related posts: Call of Duty 2: Pocket PC, Pocket UFO, The Nutcracker

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    Replacing the LCD screen of the PSP

    Who knows what one might need? Who knows what one's PSP might need? Well, I do. I actually think your little Sony PSP might need a nice LCD replacement. Here's how to actually do it, courtesy of the Some Life blog.

    Related posts: running PSP homebrew, the POP Station, Lick your PSP

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    Monday, January 15, 2007

    Gaming on the go since 1978

    HaHaUK has done the retro handheld thing and taken a look back at the evolution of the handheld, which amazingly began back in 1978, when Milton Bradley released the Microvision. The HaHaUK full and quite illustrated post can be found here, and it includes such rare treasures as the (horribly horrible) Supervision, the Sony PocketStation and the Timetop Gameking. But, really, where is the ultra-obscure Gamate?

    Related posts: Gunpei Yokoi and the Game&Watch, Treamcast, the C64 palmtop

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    A Curious Incident...

    Whilst sitting blogging for the fledgling retro extravaganza The Saturn Junkyard , I suddenly became aware of a series of tiny high pitched squeals, whoops and laughter. This seemed to be offset by the bleeps, electronic buzzes and crackles that one might expect from a handheld video game console. You can imagine my surprise then, when I walked into my living room, only to encounter several short ethereal beings, all gathered round a PSP playing "Football Manager '07"! On being disturbed by the flash of my camera the little fellows abandoned the console and fled to the darker corners of the room and ensconced themselves under furniture! Try as I might, I could not persuade them to re-emerge...

    Somewhat flabbergasted by what I'd seen, I returned to compile a list of my favourite Saturn titles on that most noble of Sega fansites The Saturn Junkyard . About half way into my post, I was sure I could hear strange noises again,( although somewhat more retro by the nature of their tone) this time eminating from my kitchen area... I stole, cautiously up to my kitchen door... I could scarecly believe my eyes when I saw another tiny figure, this time enjoying a game of "Terminator" on the under-rated Retro handheld the Sega Game Gear! The tiny chap seemed to be proudly patriotic, as blow me down, he was festooned in an England football supporters shirt! However, like his PSP playing comrades, on noticing my arrival, he quickly fled, making a Herculean effort to drag the cumbersome console with him, whilst I believe, trying to complete the level he was on!!

    I began to question my senses... Surely these were hallucinations brought on by withdrawal form alcohol after years of abuse? Yes they must be I thought to myself...
    By now my train of thought was well and truly scuppered, so I decided a change of topic would be in order.... I decided to concentrate on a perfunctory review of US only released, frankly amazing Dreamcast Light Gun game Death Crimson OX on the most hallowed of sites, the Dreamcast Junkyard . Surely there could be no disturbance this time? Yet halfway into my post, there it was again! Was I going insane?... Grabbing my camera I sneaked up to the sink in my kitchen, this time to be regailed with a little sprite of some sorts, seemingly playing X Men the Official Game on a DS (in fact I'm sure an unappreciated review of said game appeared once on this very site!) By now I felt emboldened enough to confront the tiny gamer, but like the others, on seeing my giant form he fled, causing the DS to fall clumsily to the floor...

    My senses reeling, I decided to contact a good friend of mine, an expert in all things mystic and other worldly, called Konstantinos, who resides in a Shaman's lodge hidden away in the Atlantean Mountains... He was as matter of fact about the episode as I was bemused...

    "The explanation is simple Father Krishna... " he stated coldly "this is a common phenomena these days...
    Have you never heard of Gnomes Gaming On The Go?" *COUGH!*

    (The second part of this frankly lame and half arsed joke will be appearing on this very site some time soon, unless Paypal donations are payed into Father Krishna's Swiss Bank Account...)

    Related posts: Sega Game Gear, Treamcast, Pong Watch

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    Saturday, January 13, 2007

    Gunpei Yokoi and the Game & Watch

    Gunpei Yokoi, father of the Gameboy, Virtual Boy and the Game & Watch handhelds, was also the man who changed Nintendo's history. How? Well, just have a look at this amazing documentary posted over at YouTube by robotbling:

    Related posts: SEGA Game Gear, an 80s Gameboy commercial, Treamcast

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    How to run PSP homebrew software

    There are -it seems- tons of excellent freeware applications for your shiny Sony PSP. Apparently you'd also like to know how to actually use them, right? Right. Well, you'll need PSP Memory Stick, a USB cable and to have a look at those two excellent tutorials:

    1. How to install free PSP games off the Internet.

    2. Starting guide to the Sony PSP.

    Related posts: Dungeons 3D, Test your Might, PSP GameMaker

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    Friday, January 12, 2007

    Crazy Taxi: Fare Wars PSP

    According to the brilliant handheld-oriented blog, the Crazy Taxi franchise will soon be dropping by the Sony PSP. This means, that all you SEGA Dreamcast lovers and the rest of you who criminally ignored (despite obvious reasons) SEGA's marvel, will soon be able to enjoy ridiculous downtown taxi racing in the palm of your hand. Great!

    Related posts: Final Fantasy Tactics, ZX-81 emulation on the PSP, Dungeons 3D

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    Thursday, January 11, 2007

    Call of Duty 2 for Pocket PC

    In case you didn't fully get it: Call of Duty 2, the acclaimed (86% meta-score at metacritic) World War II shooter, is coming to the Pocket PC. In January. By aspyr. More information is available for manic clickers exclusively.

    Relevant posts: Pocket PC Tricorder, Pocket UFO, The Nutcracker

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    Dungeons 3D for the PSP

    Yes, another free game for Sony's indy-friendly PSP. This time it's a rather impressive First Person Shooter (click here for a FPS history lesson), that uses a lovely homebrew 3D engine and is usually (not at parties really) called Dungeons 3D. Get it here, and while you're at it, do have a try at the map creating tool.

    Related posts: NeoGeo Pocket emu, Visiting Day PSP, Test your Might

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    Wednesday, January 10, 2007

    Lemmings DS

    Lemmings, Psygnosis' best game, already available for the PSP, the Game Gear and the Atari Lynx, has finally graced the Nintendo DS. Lemmings DS, the result of the dangerous LemProject, is finally here, and all for free. Go get it!

    Related posts: Dragon's Lair DS (free), SimCity DS, Ridge Racer DS review

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    Tuesday, January 09, 2007

    Mortal Kombat Test Your Might PSP

    Another free game for the PSP, another chance to save money and buy a bottle or two. This one's called Test Your Might and is an obvious Mortal Kombat spawn. Here's what the developers have to say for this fun little freebie:

    Test Your Might is based on the Mortal Kombat mini game of the same name, the objective of the game is to break the object in front of you before your opponent(Ai controlled) does. If you fail to do so, you loose. If you succeed, you go on to the next "Level". There are a total of 35 levels, each with it's own difficulty.

    Get it here (uhm, the game...)

    Related posts: Visiting Day PSP, the POP Station, Neo Geo pocket emu

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