Some sad news awaits Genesis fans in regard to the revival of one of its most famous franchises, but luckily there’s some great news on the fan translation end to ease the pain. When you think about it, there’s an interesting spread of news this month. Good, bad, and downright confusing gives this installment of MEGA Bytes something for every Genesis fan to read!
No Worm for the Early Bird
… or for any bird, for that matter. After months of silence, it looks like the PSP remake of Earthworm Jim has officially been given the boot by publisher Atari Games, a move that’s more or less been suspected since October of last year, when Shiny head Michael Persson told Gamasutra ” We were working on that, and we’re not working on it anymore. But it’s really up to Atari to make an announcement about that, I probably can’t even make that statement officially, but obviously we’re not working on it. But they haven’t made an announcement as to what they’re going to do with it. We don’t know…it’s just one of those things.”
The official company line is that the game has been “indefinitely postponed.” Atari representative Alissa Bell stated “I believe EWJ is off the roster. May be revisited in the future, but the title is, as I hear it, on hold.” What that means, exactly, for Jim is uncertain, but being put “on hold” in the games industry is tantamount to a quick death. Bell more or less closed the door on any chances of the remake seeing the light of day when she told PSP fanboy.com “I don’t believe Atari will be focusing on PSP titles at E3.”
We reported on the famous invertebrate’s impending return last year, and hopes ran high for a franchise reboot. Set to bring Jim and his zany cast of characters into the next generation, the remake was slated to feature 2D environments with polygonal characters and obstacles. Supposedly, the original team from Shiny was to be working on it, so there was a great chance that they could have made the new look work well with the tried-and-true gameplay. Sadly, things are now looking pretty bleak for annelids everywhere. Talk about how the earthworm turns… The prospect of Jim getting a new lease on life was enough to get me excited, as much for this release as for what it would represent. With David Perry going on the record that he’d love to tackle the series again, a PSP remake of the original could have signified a renewed interest in the character. Now, that’s all gone.
Sega to Live Arcade? Depends on Who You Ask
Remember last year when I pondered the possibility of Sega joining the ranks of companies on Xbox Live Arcade? Well, for the past few months all we’ve seen is speculation and rumor. Some sites, like Spong and Kotaku, state that Sega is going to release all kinds of classic goodies on Microsoft’s online service, including games already released on the Wii’s Virtual Console. Granted, such reports are to be taken with a grain of salt, as blog-inspired data can hardly be counted as “news.” Still, where there’s smoke, there’s fire, and I’m willing to bet that Sega is going to be coming aboard eventually. I’m also still a firm believer that they’ll take the Genesis route first, as it’s been quite successful for them on the Wii so far.
The interesting thing about this story is how it’s played out since May. When the Dutch site SegaOnline posted supposed screen shots of the interface to the “announced” Sega Vintage Collection, Sega denied that they had been leaked and waved them off as fake. Then, early last month, the games that are reportedly to be included in the collection appeared on the ESRB site, complete with ratings. Almost as quickly as they appeared, they were withdrawn, and Sega went back to denying anything was amiss. A trip to SegaOnline’s page for the set reveals that the article’s been pulled on Sega’s request.
That’s not where it ends though. On May 15, Kotaku published an article stating that the screens in question were indeed real, and that the Vintage Collection was on its way to Live Arcade with at least Ecco the Dolphin and Sonic The Hedgehog, and possibly even the Dreamcast classic Chu Chu Rocket. The truth? No one yet knows whether or not the Sega Vintage Collection is going to be arriving soon and in the form described in the aforementioned articles. Until something is definite, Sega-16 will continue to list this one as “possible.” Should it be confirmed, however, we’ll be all over it like Sonic on a pair of sneakers.
Another Round of 16-bit Phantasy
As you probably know by now, we’re big fans of MIJET’s fan translations, and it’s always cool to see a new one arrive. The team’s latest effort is one of the Phantasy Star II Adventures titles that originally debuted on the ill-fated Mega Modem. Kinds’s Adventure tells the story of “Kinds” (Kain the mechanic in the domestic release) journey around the Algol Star System through simple text commands. Those familiar with the genre from the early days of PC gaming will know exactly what to expect, but newcomers might feel that a tad too much is left to the imagination. One must bear in mind when playing that these games were designed to be downloaded over the meager 28.8k Mega Modem, so they had to be light on the visuals.
The good news is that the game is extremely playable, and hopefully the rest of the Adventures games will be translated soon. I’m hoping that MIJET is using Kinds’s Adventure as a way of testing the waters for larger translations. Could games like Surging Aura and Lord Monarch be on the way? Cross your fingers and click your heels friends. It must happen!
Sonic Leads a Mobile Pack of Hits
Those who love to play games on their mobile phones should check out some of the great games Sega’s offering. Classics like Wonder Boy and Puyo Puyo are joined by titles familiar to both arcade and Genesis aficionados alike. Afterburner II, Paperboy, OutRun, and Space Harrier join the original Sonic The Hegehog for some great gaming on the go. It’s not clear if they’re based on the Genesis ports or actual arcade hardware, but they seem to play decently enough… well, about as decently as you can play on a cell phone.
The most intriguing to me is Sonic Jump. As Sonic automatically jumps, all you have to do is maneuver him through the stage, bouncing on the platforms and collecting rings and beating each stage in the shortest amount of time possible. Robotnik is of course waiting at the end of each stage, to try and prevent you from advancing. It might look like a game composed of bonus stages, but it seems pretty neat for quick spurts while waiting in line or at the doctor’s office. Check the game’s official page to see if it’s compatible with your phone.