And what theme ties these games together? Well, I have two explanations prepared:
Thoughtful and False Explanation: This week I was thinking about games where one of the buttons does something that's "locked" into a certain direction, while the other button is effected by the direction you're facing.
I was remembering about how sloppy and loose the controls are on this one game, and I thought, "hey, that's kind of like games where you have a fixed-forwards attack and an any-direction attack! If I write about two of those then I can rag on the lousy game last, then boom -- I've got another 3-part Smorgasbored
Jackal is a military-jeep-em-up by Konami, so you know it's going to be solid, and it is.
It plays kind of like a simpler/less-chibi version of Iron Tank: good gameplay, slightly less power-ups, but a nice variety of enemy soldiers and vehicles to blast. It has a similar "blow open a jail, rescue captured soldiers, sometimes get power-ups" mechanic, but there's only 1 power-up: the flashing captured soldier boosts your grenades into missiles, then more powerful missiles, etc.
Unlike Iron Tank, you only take one hit to kill, but on the upside it can do two-player simultaneous!
Also, while Iron Tank gives you a low-power machine gun which shoots the direction you're driving, then lets you rotate your cannon independent of that, Jackal has a simpler Machine Gun/Grenades system:
You can throw your grenades/missiles/etc in any direction, but your machine gun always shoots towards the top of the screen.
Commando: the pedestrian "prequel" to Bionic Commando (here you play as "Super Joe", the same guy that Bionic Commando is gettin' his grappling-hook-arm on to rescue in his game). It's also the game that the NES Ikari Warriors port desperately wanted to be:
First off, you start with unlimited bullets.
Also, though you can only walk in the eight cardinal directions, you can shoot your machine gun and wiggle the controller from walking "north" to "northeast" to "northwest", it definitely feels like you get a few shots that go north-by-northeast and north-by-northwest. Its so subtle it may just be an illusion, but I think it helps mow down the infinite gray dudes that oppose you.
Oh, and finally Super Joe can turn in place at will: if Super Joe is walking north and you press south, Super Joe is now actually walking south. You'd think this was an obvious design decision, but Paul and Vince in Ikari Warriors have the a turn radius of a Yugo:
This is what your Ikari Warrior does if you press "Up" then "Down" in rapid succession.
Anyway, I've already discussed Super Joe's super machine gun; but what about his grenades? Well, in a reversal of Jackal:
You can shoot in any direction, but you always throw grenades towards the top of the screen.
(This leads to the amusing situation pictured above -- where Super Joe is in his "toss a grenade" animation sequence whilst mysteriously firing bullets from his rear end)
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
Ok, I basically planned this whole article for the purpose of complaining about Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom's incredibly loose overhead-platforming, mostly because of its poorly-designed jumping controls...but I guess I should talk a little about the game first.
Psych! I'll just show some funny pictures, instead.
Suffice to say, this game has mining cart levels
Great, we're cruising along with this; but let's briefly mention the incredibly bizarre "select your weapon" interface: where you hold down the "select" button, and simultaneously press either Up, Down, Left, or Right to switch between your four different armaments. Meanwhile, the game around you is going on as normal; it's like a clunkier version of Karnov's item selection system.
Okay, that's squared away; now we can take a look at how the "Jump" button
When you press "jump" by itself, no matter which direction you're facing, you jump straight down.
When you hold "left" (or right) and press "jump", you jump over AND somewhat down.
If you actually want to move sideways without moving down, you have to hold "up AND left" (or right) while pressing "jump".
I can't top that; what kind of game would require you to simultaneously hold TWO directions on the D-pad AND a button to perform what should be a basic move?
— carlmarksguy, 2013-11-02
, Button Zone Defense
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, Hi, Explosives!
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, Movie Cash-In!
, Player 2 I <3 You
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, Ikari Warriors