Welcome, one and all, to another dive into the world of the Evercade! The retro-themed handheld has a great mix of different cartridges available, and today, I’m having a look at the fourth release, Interplay Collection 1.
When I saw the initial releases, this was actually the cartridge I was most looking forward to. The reason for that is that I have fond memories of most of the titles included, and I wanted to see if they held up as well as I’d hoped.
The big one, for me at least, was Earthworm Jim. This cult classic platformer has seen multiple releases over the years, and it’s still well regarded now. I am happy to say that the longstanding love the game experiences is well deserved too. From the quirky humour and visuals to the excellent soundtrack, Earthworm Jim is still just as enjoyable now as it was when it first came out. It controls well, it’s difficult enough to keep you coming back, and it holds up well even against modern releases.
Similarly quirky is the fighter, Clay Fighter. The interesting thing is, this game saw graphics created by digitizing photos of actual Claymation models. When it was first released in the early ’90s, that was something that really stood out. While it maybe isn’t as standout for this now, there is still a lot of charm to that visual style. The gameplay itself is a little mixed, with the controls, speed, and collision detection feeling a little more haphazard than the titans of the era. It’s still a lot of fun to play though, and the cast of spoof fighters is genuinely delightful to revisit.
Boogerman: A Pick And Flick Adventure is another title that is very much of its era. It is essentially a typical mid-90’s platformer with some gross-out attitude. Burps, farts, and boogers all come into play as you romp through the levels, and… that’s about it. This was always a game that was memorable for being unashamedly crass, and it succeeds in still being that. It’s basically a perfectly playable blast from the past.
Somewhat different is Battle Chess, the chess game that sees your pieces actually fighting on the board. Basically, the pieces come alive and move themselves at our command. Your opponent’s pieces will move out of the way as you pass, and when you take another piece, you’re treated to a cut scene style battle. This was actually how I first learned to play chess, as my Primary School had this installed on their PCs. This is, sadly, not that version, but the general basis is still the same. If you enjoy chess, you should get a kick out of this.
Titan is another oddball entry on the cartridge. It’s a Breakout style game where you move your blocker in four directions rather than two. If that sounds like a very simple addition to the normal formula, that’s beaus it is. It’s amazing how much more variety you get as a result though, and that alone is enough to make it stand out far more than it should.
Which just leaves Incantation. Released towards the end of the SNES’s lifespan, this is a largely forgotten platformer. The reason it’s forgotten is simply that it isn’t anything special. It lacks anything to make it stand out, especially when compared to the likes of Earthworm Jim, Sonic, and Super Mario World and actually feels like a step back from each of them. It isn’t really bad, it just isn’t anything more than passable.
So, after hyping myself up about this cartridge, was I at all disappointed? In a word, no. I do question the inclusion of Incantation when titles like The Bard’s Tale, Dragon Wars¸ or if we’re being ambitious, Baldur’s Gate were available. That aside though, this one is a real winner. Even with fewer games than most of the other releases, it’s hard to be anything other than supremely happy with the retro goodness on offer here. I give this one a well-deserved 4.5 out of 5.
Top 3 Recommended Games: Earthworm Jim, Clay Fighter, Battle Chess.