Random Access Memory Lane Part 2: The fizzy drink diet.

Just before we get going on today’s nonsense I thought I would mention the new banner emblazoned across our blog, it was designed by one of the powerful chaps over at the emperors of design Me and Alan, I think it looks epic so please visit their site to see just how mint they are. Cheers.

If you haven’t read our part 1 you can find it here, if you have then lets crack on.

Its 1992 and shit is going down. For the adult world at least.

It is announced that a third of our coal mines are to be closed, which contributes to a record high in unemployment. A spate of IRA attack occur throughout the year across the nation of which Manchester suffers the worst of it. Windsor Castle is severely damaged after a proper massive fire. The economy is in tatters, so much so that it was decided the Queen is going to have to pay taxes.

For me it was a different kettle of fish, for me 1992 was all about my football team Newcastle United signing Alan Shearer for a record 15 million quid, watching some wicked telly including some particularly epic cartoons like X-Men and Animals of Farthing Wood and experiencing my first beat em up on a console. The glory that was Double Dragon

Now I know that technically Double Dragon had several iterations but I played the one on the Mega Drive which the internet tells me released in this year. This seminal game considered to be the progenitor of the modern beat em up. Taking on the role of either Billy or Jimmy Lee (twin brothers obviously) you are tasked with applying the fictional martial art with some ridiculous name, which incidentally was inspired by Jeet Kune Do and is one of the many references to the great Bruce Lee, to smash the snot out of innumerable enemies as you make your way through each level.

When I think about it, this game’s co-operative was probably the first time I felt that multiplayer buzz which would become the dominating force in my adult life as a gamer. Sure co-op was nothing new in the industry but to be 9 years old and to take on the role of a kick ass, muscle-bound Chuck Norris type with your best mate being every bit as ninja whilst to punch and kick your way through as many hapless bad guys whose skulls are standing in the way of you and justice, well that kind of experience will stick with you.

As a kid you wanted to be a hero, preferably one with granite hands and fly kicks up the wazoo (TMNT was huge at this point) and this game gave you that in buckets. To poach a phrase a friend of mind used to describe Dizzy when he read our last post, Double Dragon was ‘the tits’. End of.

As with my last post that offered up a link to play Dizzy, the generosity continues and this time it’s for you hipsters that have an iPhone. Here is Double Dragon for the iPhone for when you get sick of sketching out the same pictures in Draw Something. You will have to pay for it like I’m not made of money, probably due to the fact I’m always distracted playing or writing about games to achieve any true modicum of success on the career front.

– MS Dosser

Cast your mind back to the previous year. It’s ’91 and none of Dossers depressing issues have come to the fore as of yet. Operation desert storm is over, Mario and Sonic are locking horns in the battle of the consoles, Link has a new quest on his hands and Terminator 2 is out at the cinema surely you’d think there would be no reason for tiny green haired blue smock wearing animals to throw them selves off the nearest edge? Well you’re wrong.

(Atari ST ’91)

Lemmings box art

Blocker, Builder, Basher, Climber, Floater if these words bring to mind seven Dwarves for you then a) you didn’t play Lemmings and b) you don’t know much about Snow White. No these names were not those allocated to the Hi-ho chanting little fellas from the classic German fairy tale, they are in fact some of the skills which made these tykes into the lovable (if somewhat frustrating) stars from one of the most popular video games of all time.

Wiki tells me that Lemmings throughout the years has shipped over 15 million units and honestly I can’t think of a title that deserved more success. The thought and care that went into the level design of this game make modern puzzle game creators cry into their coffee every morning. It was a simple idea taken to monumental levels by DMA design, who it is worth noting are now the amazing Rockstar North, sometimes it would feel as though a level was impossible but once you figured it out it would leave you wondering how on earth you failed to spot the correct path through.

lemmings level

Diggers will be necessary.

So this bunch of ludicrously cute little sprites drop down from a trap door in the sky, screaming their trade mark “let’s go”, and it’s up to you to guide them past the various pitfalls, traps, spikes, lava, fire and whatever other devious little tricks the developers had hidden along the way. Through various typical video game sets such as desert, dungeon, ice land etc.

a gif of the two competing walking animations

This gif actually shows the original competing designs for the walking animation.

Originally an Amiga title its instant success led to multiple ports and sequels (it has even seen a re-release on PSP) and soon people all over the world were scratching their heads and smashing their mouse’s (mousai? mice?) in frustration as the poor little chaps met their grizzly end time and time again.

lemming jumping artwork

Let’s go!

So enamored with the artwork as a child I actually wanted a pet Lemming and I’m not ashamed to admit I would’ve dressed him in blue and dyed his hair green had I ever had one but alas I didn’t so I made do with an imaginary one that lived in my watch (I know, I know but I already told you I was a weird kid.). I even used to spend hours sketching crude Lemmings having fun little adventures, driving cars, fighting monsters and so on.

falling lemming

not one of mine

One of the main things I remember about this game was the music. Slightly akin to being stuck in a lift listening to pan pipe versions of classic pop songs the tunes on display here were midi versions of classical music and various random school yard tunes (I may be imaging this but I’m pretty sure one of them is ‘how much is that doggy in the window’) rather than adding to the infuriating nature of this puzzler I find them somewhat calming but that might just be me. Take a listen to one of the more memorable tunes for yourself and you will (hopefully) see what I mean.

So what is essentially an epic puzzle game becomes without a doubt one of the most phenomenal titles of all time. Don’t believe me? Well some clever so and so has ported it into your browser so you can enjoy the original game in all of its glory.(albeit without the fantastic sound effects.) YIPEE!

– Elth

P.S you ever get to the end of Double Dragon in co-op MS-Dosser? I did with my cousin….. it doesn’t end well.

Hope you enjoyed the second part of our trip along nostalgia avenue. Did you love Double Dragon? or were you more of a Streets of Rage kinda guy? Did Lemmings cause you to punch a hole in the nearest wall/person/screen available or were you lulled into a deep calm by the weird ass music? Let us know in the comments and subscribe to keep up with the continuing recap of the games that caused us to be hopelessly addicted today.


16 thoughts on “Random Access Memory Lane Part 2: The fizzy drink diet.

  1. Holy crap, I forgot about Lemmings! Double Dragon was awesome too. Then there was Sensible Soccer on the Amiga (me & Taylor named all the players after teachers like Mrs Snowden etc ha ha), and Jaguar XJ220, Road Rage. Going through to PS1 I remember Olympic Games and the pen cheat.

    When I’m back at Xmas I think I’m going to grab my N64 and back to China with me!

    • Thanks for the comment Mark. I seriously considered doing road rash it was brilliant but lemmings just pipped ot to the post. As for the pen cheat I’m pretty sure I achieved a 3 second 200m in International track and field.

      • Road Rash not Road Rage! You knew what I meant though, nice! Haha I’m pretty sure I achieved a 5 second 400m too!

        Also just noticed that your blog is banned in China! I had to open my VPN to get access. What have you guys been doing/saying?! Hahah

  2. Loving the look backs guys! Lemmings stole many hours of my life on the old megadrive. Such a fantastic game that plays as well now as ever. I fear however that Double Dragon may not have aged that well! I had some great times co-oping it (but not all the way Elth) round my mates house but It became so yesterdays news once I got my hands on my beloved Streets of Rage. That game still gets played fairly regularly on my Megadrive collection!

    You’ve got me all misty eyed now! You guys remember white dog poo? Whatever happened to that?

      • Yeah man Streets was fantastic gotta say I think I preferred final fight personally it had more of a gritty 80s cop show feel to it where Axel, Blaze and co were always a bit too LA Beach.
        Also white dog turd was the shit.

    • Holy shit what ever did happen to white dog poo.. That’s weird!

      Streets of Rage was on the list coz it was awesome but without Double Dragon their would be no Streets of Rage, much in the same as without Halo their would be no awesome..so I had to go with it.

      Part 3 is coming in 1 hour and it’s a bit good, not sure how part 4 is going to live up to it of I’m honest. We peaked too early.

      • Final Fight! That got a quid or two of my pocket money down Bognor Arcades. It pales into insignificance compared to how much I threw into Street Fighter II and House of the Dead though. I WANT TO BE YOUNG AGAIN!!!

        As for the dogshit dilemma. There are two competing theories with regard to the disappearing white Turds in the field of Canine scatology . One states that as dog owners are more responsible and that streets are more regularly cleaned the amount of faeces left unattended has dropped dramatically.

        The other (my preferred theory) is that dog food producers are no longer allowed to pad out their products with chalk dust.

      • As a dog poo scientist (phd) I’m happy to inform you that white dog poo no longer exists because they used to add chalk to dog food ( yeah I’ve got no fucking idea why they did that either) and now they don’t.
        I would provide a link but… I haven’t.
        I do remember that I learnt this little fact from the great Vic Reeves, I think, on an old episode of Room 101. My utube-foo fails me and alas I can’t find the clip.
        Vic is a dog turd officianado from what I remember of the interview.

      • God bless Lord Vic Reeves for liberating such knowledge to the masses. One of life’s true mysteries has been cracked, now we can finally knuckle down on time travel.

      • Sadly pure white dog doo was the power source. Oh the cruel irony! ( Shakes fists at the stars)

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