Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Strider 2

< Back

Strider 2
Developer - Capcom
Publisher - Capcom
Release date – July 29, 2000

Strider 2 is Capcom's 1999 sequel to the original Strider. The game is actually the second sequel to Strider produced, following the U.S. Gold-produced Strider II released in 1990, a game with which Capcom was not directly involved. The Capcom-produced Strider 2 makes no references to the western-only Strider Returns. The game was released for arcades in 1999 and was ported to the PlayStation in 2000.


The mysterious Grandmaster has returned to life after his defeat in the original game and has now gained total control over the world some 2119. However, an incarnation of Hiryu, the same Strider who slew the Grandmaster in the past, has also risen to destroy the Grandmaster once and for all.


While the graphics in Strider 2 now consist of 2D character sprites overlaid over 3D backgrounds, its gameplay remains similar to its 2D side-scrolling predecessor. The controls consists of an eight-way joystick and three action buttons. The playable character Strider Hiryu can now perform new actions in addition to the ones he had in the first game. Hiryu can walk, jump, crouch, slide, and climb walls and ceilings like he would in the original game, as well as dash by pushing the joystick left or right twice, do a double jump by pressing jump in mid-air, and do a backward somersault jump while sliding. When climbing a wall, Hiryu can perform a thrust jump by holding joystick away from the wall and pressing the Jump button. Added to his regular sword attack, Hiryu can now do a "Savage Slash" technique in mid-air by pressing the joystick down and up in mid-air. In addition to the Attack and Jump buttons, the player can power-up their character by pressing the "Boost" button if they have at least one Boost item in stock. While in Boost mode, Hiryu can shoot Plasma Waves with his sword for a limited period until the Boost gauge under Hiryu's life gauge runs out. Throughout the game, the player can pick up power-up items such as health replenishments and extensions, a cypher extension, and additional boosts. The player can obtain various miscellaneous point items based on other Capcom games, such as the Yashichi and the Sakichi symbols from Vulgus and the "zenny" coins from Black Tiger and Forgotten Worlds, that will increase the player's score.

The coin-op version of Strider 2 consists of five stages or missions, each with a different objective that is explained to the player beforehand. The first three missions can be played in any order the player wishes to undertake them, and are set in different locations on Earth (Hong Kong, Germany, Antarctica). The final two stages take place in the Flying Battleship Balrog and the space station Third Moon, both which were locations in the original Strider.


A home version of Strider 2 was released for the PlayStation in 2000 (a simple port, given the PlayStation's similarity to the arcade's Sony ZN-2 board, which was released as a 2-disc set, with a second disc devoted to a direct port of the original Strider coin-op. Due to a labeling error in the American release, the Strider 2 discs were labeled as the original Strider, and vice versa.

Finishing both games and saving the achievements on the same memory card unlocks a secret level in Strider 2: "Mission 00", a waterfall stage. Completion of all missions unlocks the former Strider Hien as a playable character, who wields two ranged cyphers; completion of the game using Hien unlocks the Boost skill for unlimited use in the game's menu.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016


The Intellivision is a home video game console released by Mattel Electronics in 1979. Development of the console began in 1978, less than a year after the introduction of its main competitor, the Atari 2600. The word intellivision is a portmanteau of "intelligent television". Over 3 million Intellivision units were sold and a total of 125 games were released for the console.

History and development

The Intellivision was developed by Mattel Electronics, a subsidiary of Mattel formed expressly for the development of electronic games. The console was test marketed in Fresno, California, in 1979 with a total of four games available, and was released nationwide in 1980 with a price tag of US$299 and a pack-in game: Las Vegas Poker & Blackjack. The core of console (CPU and video chip set) was developed by General Instrument as can be seen from the "Gimini" book from 1978 (the "Gimini full range 8900 programmable set"). Though not the first system to challenge Atari, it was the first to pose a serious threat to Atari's dominance. A series of advertisements featuring George Plimpton were produced that demonstrated the superiority of the Intellivision's graphics and sound to those of the Atari 2600, using side-by-side game comparisons.

One of the slogans of the television advertisements stated that Intellivision was "the closest thing to the real thing"; one example in an advertisement compared golf games. The other console's games had a blip sound and cruder graphics, while the Intellivision featured a realistic swing sound and striking of the ball, and graphics that suggested a more 3D look. There was also an advertisement comparing the Atari 2600 to it, featuring the slogan "I didn't know".

Like Atari, Mattel marketed their console to a number of retailers as a rebadged unit. These models include the Radio Shack TandyVision, the GTE-Sylvania Intellivision, and the Sears Super Video Arcade. The Sears model was a specific coup for Mattel, as Sears was already selling a rebadged Atari 2600 unit, and in doing so made a big contribution to Atari's success.

In its first year, Mattel sold 175,000 Intellivision consoles, and the library grew to 35 games. At this time, all Intellivision games were developed by an outside firm, APh Technological Consulting. The company recognized that what had been seen as a secondary product line might be a big business. Realizing that potential profits are much greater with first party software, Mattel formed its own in-house software development group.

The original five members of that Intellivision team were manager Gabriel Baum, Don Daglow, Rick Levine, Mike Minkoff and John Sohl. Levine and Minkoff, a long-time Mattel Toys veteran, both came over from the hand-held Mattel games engineering team. To keep these programmers from being hired away by rival Atari, their identity and work location was kept a closely guarded secret. In public, the programmers were referred to collectively as the Blue Sky Rangers.

By 1982, sales were soaring. Over two million Intellivision consoles had been sold by the end of the year, earning Mattel a $100,000,000 profit. Third-party Atari developers Activision, and Imagic began releasing games for the Intellivision, as did hardware rival Coleco. Mattel created "M Network" branded games for Atari's and Coleco's systems. The most popular titles sold over a million units each. The Intellivision was also introduced in Japan by Bandai in 1982.

The original five-person Mattel game development team had grown to 110 people under new vice president, Baum, while Daglow led Intellivision development and top engineer Minkoff directed all work on all other platforms.

Keyboard component

Intellivision's packaging and promotional materials, as well as television commercials, promised that with the addition of a soon-to-be-available accessory called the "keyboard component", originally portrayed in TV ads as a larger box with an opening in the top that the Intellivision fit into. This turned the Intellivision into a fully functional home computer system.

The unit brought the system's available RAM up to a full 64 KB, a large amount for the time, and was to have provided both a built-in cassette drive for data storage and a connection for an optional 40-column thermal printer. The cassette drive was also planned to be able to provide both data storage and an audio track simultaneously, allowing for interactive audio recording and playback under computer control, and a secondary 6502 microprocessor inside the keyboard component would be programmed to handle all of these extra capabilities independently of the Intellivision's CP1610 CPU. The unit was even to provide an extra cartridge slot, allowing the original Intellivision to remain permanently docked with the keyboard component while still being able to play standard game cartridges.

However, while the keyboard component was an ambitious piece of engineering for its time, it suffered from reliability problems and proved to be expensive to produce. Originally slated to be available in 1981, the keyboard component was repeatedly delayed as the engineers tried to find ways to overcome the reliability issues and reduce manufacturing costs.

The keyboard component's repeated delays became so notorious around Mattel headquarters that comedian Jay Leno, when performing at Mattel's 1981 Christmas party, got his biggest titter of the evening with the line: "You know what the three big lies are, don't you? 'The check is in the mail,' 'I'll still respect you in the morning,' and 'The keyboard will be out in spring.

Complaints from consumers who had chosen to buy the Intellivision specifically on the promise of a "coming soon" personal-computer upgrade that seemed as if it would never materialize eventually caught the attention of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), who started investigating Mattel Electronics for fraud and false advertising. Mattel said that the keyboard component was a real product still being test-marketed and even released a small number of keyboard components to a handful of retail stores, along with a handful of software titles in order to support this claim. The FTC eventually ordered Mattel to pay a $10,000 per day fine until the promised computer upgrade was in full retail distribution. To protect themselves from the ongoing fines, the keyboard component was officially canceled in the fall of 1982 and the Entertainment Computer System (ECS) module offered up in its place.

While approximately four thousand keyboard components were manufactured before the module was canceled and recalled, it is not clear how many of them actually found their way into the hands of Intellivision customers. Today, very few of them still exist; when the keyboard component was officially canceled, part of Mattel's settlement with the FTC involved offering to buy back all of the existing keyboard components from dissatisfied customers. Any customer who opted to keep theirs was required to sign a waiver indicating their understanding that no more software would be written for the system and which absolved Intellivision of any future responsibility for technical support. Several of the units were later used by Mattel Electronics engineers when it was discovered that, with a few minor modifications, a keyboard component could be used as an Intellivision software-development system in place of the original hand-built development boards.

The keyboard component debacle was ranked as No. 11 on GameSpy's "25 dumbest moments in gaming".

Entertainment Computer System (ECS)

In mid-1981, Mattel's upper management was becoming concerned that the keyboard component division would never be able to produce a sellable product. As a result, Mattel Electronics set up a competing internal engineering team whose stated mission was to produce an inexpensive add-on called the "Basic Development System", or BDS, to be sold as an educational device to introduce kids to the concepts of computer programming.

The rival BDS engineering group, who had to keep the project's real purpose a secret among themselves, fearing that if David Chandler, the head of the keyboard component team, found out about it he would use his influence to end the project, eventually came up with a much less expensive alternative. Originally dubbed the "Lucky", from LUCKI: Low User-Cost Keyboard Interface, it lacked many of the sophisticated features envisioned for the original keyboard component. Gone, for example, was the full 64 KB of RAM and the secondary 6502 CPU; instead, the ECS offered a mere 2 KB RAM expansion, a built-in BASIC that was marginally functional, plus a much-simplified cassette and thermal-printer interface.

Ultimately, this fulfilled the original promises of turning the Intellivision into a computer, making it possible to write programs and store them to tape, and interfacing with a printer well enough to allow Mattel to claim that they had delivered the promised computer upgrade and stop the FTC's mounting fines. It even offered, via an additional AY-3-8910 sound chip inside the ECS module and an optional 49-key music synthesizer keyboard, the possibility of turning the Intellivision into a multi-voice synthesizer which could be used to play or learn music.

In the fall of 1982, the LUCKI, now renamed the Entertainment Computer System (ECS), was presented at the annual sales meeting, officially ending the ill-fated keyboard component project. A new advertising campaign was aired in time for the 1982 Christmas season, and the ECS itself was shown to the public at the January 1983 Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas at the Las Vegas Convention Center. A few months later, the ECS hit the market, and the FTC agreed to drop the $10K per day fines.

By the time the ECS made its retail debut, an internal shake-up at the top levels of Mattel Electronics' management had caused the company's focus to shift away from hardware add-ons in favor of software, and the ECS received very little further marketing push. Further hardware developments, including a planned Program Expander that would have added another 16K of RAM and a more intricate, fully featured Extended-BASIC to the system, were halted, and in the end less than a dozen software titles were released for the ECS.


In 1982, Mattel introduced a new peripheral for the Intellivision: The Intellivoice, a voice synthesis device which produces speech when used with certain games. The Intellivoice was original in two respects: not only was this capability unique to the Intellivision system at the time (although a similar device was available for the Odyssey², but the speech-supporting games written for Intellivoice actually made the speech an integral part of the gameplay.

However, the amount of speech that could be compressed into a 4K or 8K ROM cartridge was limited, and the system did not sell as well as Mattel had hoped; while the initial orders were as high as 300,000 units for the Intellivoice module and its initial game-cartridge offerings, interest in future titles dropped rapidly until the fourth and last Intellivoice title, Tron: Solar Sailer, sold a mere 90,000 units. A fifth game, a children's title called Magic Carousel, was shelved, and in August 1983 the Intellivoice system was quietly phased out.

The four titles available for the Intellivoice system, in order of their release, were:

Space Spartans
Bomb Squad
B-17 Bomber
Tron: Solar Sailer

A fifth title, Intellivision World Series Major League Baseball, developed as part of the Entertainment Computer System series, also supports the Intellivoice if both the ECS and Intellivoice are connected concurrently. Unlike the Intellivoice-specific games, however, World Series Major League Baseball is also playable without the Intellivoice module (but not without the ECS.)

A further homebrew title, Space Hunt, also uses the male Intellivoice sounds (especially on its main title screen). This game is a spin-off clone of Astrosmash, which uses graphics loaned from Utopia and the TRON game series.

Intellivision II

In addition to the ECS module, 1982 also saw the introduction of a redesigned model, called the Intellivision II (featuring detachable controllers and sleeker case), the System Changer (which played Atari 2600 games on the Intellivision II), and a music keyboard add-on for the ECS.

Like the ECS, Intellivision II was designed first and foremost to be inexpensive to manufacture. Among other things, the raised bubble keypad of the original hand controller was replaced by a flat membrane keyboard surface. However, because many Intellivision games had been designed for users to play by feeling the buttons without looking down, some of these games were far less playable on Intellivision II.

Instead of an internal power supply like the original system had, the Intellivision II would use an external AC adapter. Its main drawback, however, was that it was a non-standard power supply – running on 16.2V – meant that if the AC adapter was lost or damaged, the system could be rendered useless, as replacement power supplies for that particular voltage requirement were not readily available. It is unknown whether Intellivision II AC adapters were sold separately.

Mattel also changed the Intellivision II's internal ROM program (called the EXEC) in an attempt to lock out unlicensed 3rd party titles. To make room for the lock-out code while retaining compatibility with existing titles, some portions of the EXEC code were moved in a way that changed their timing. While most games were unaffected, a couple of the more popular titles, Shark! Shark!, and Space Spartans, had certain sound effects that the Intellivision II reproduced differently than intended, although the games remained playable. Electric Company Word Fun did not run at all and INTV's later release Super Pro Football has minor display glitches at the start, both due to the modified EXEC. Mattel's attempt to lock out competitors' software titles was only temporarily successful, as the 3rd-party game manufacturers quickly figured out how to get around it.

Competition and market crash

Amid the flurry of new hardware, there was trouble for the Intellivision. New game systems (ColecoVision, Emerson Arcadia 2001, Atari 5200, and Vectrex, all in 1982) were further subdividing the market, and the video game crash put pressure on the entire industry. The Intellivision team rushed to finish a major new round of games, including BurgerTime and the ultra-secret 3D glasses game Hover Force. Although BurgerTime was a popular game on the Intellivision and was programmed by Blue Sky Ranger Ray Kaestner in record time, the five-month manufacturing cycle meant that the game did not appear until the late spring of 1983, after the video game crash had severely damaged game sales.

In the spring of 1983, Mattel went from aggressively hiring game programmers to laying them off within a two-week period. By August, there were massive layoffs, and the price of the Intellivision II (which launched at $150 earlier that year) was lowered to $69. Mattel Electronics posted a $300 million loss. Early in 1984, the division was closed – the first high-profile victim of the crash.

Intellivision game sales continued when a liquidator purchased all rights to the Intellivision and its software from Mattel, as well as all remaining inventory. After much of the existing software inventory had been sold, former Mattel Marketing executive Terry Valeski bought all rights to Intellivision and started a new venture. The new company, INTV Corp., continued to sell old stock via retail and mail order. When the old stock of Intellivision II consoles ran out, they introduced a new console dubbed INTV System III. This unit was actually a cosmetic rebadge of the original Intellivision console (this unit was later renamed the Super Pro System.) In addition to manufacturing new consoles, INTV Corp. also continued to develop new games, releasing a few new titles each year. Eventually, the system was discontinued in 1991.


Intellivision games became readily available again when Keith Robinson, an early Intellivision programmer responsible for the game TRON: Solar Sailer, purchased the software rights and founded a new company, Intellivision Productions. As a result, games originally designed for the Intellivision are available on PCs and modern-day consoles including the PlayStation 2, Xbox, and Nintendo GameCube in the Intellivision Lives! package, though all are now out of print at retail. However, the Xbox version is available for purchase as a downloadable game through Xbox Live Game Marketplace's Xbox Originals service for the Xbox 360. VH1 Classic and MTV Networks released 6 Intellivision games to iOS. A few licensed Intellivision games are available through the GameTap subscription gaming service. Also, several LCD handheld and direct-to-TV games have been released in recent years.

On March 24, 2010, Microsoft launched the Game Room service for Xbox Live and Games for Windows Live. This service includes support for Intellivision titles and allows players to compete against one another for high scores via online leaderboards. At the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show, Microsoft announced a version of Game Room for Windows Phone, promising a catalog of 44 Intellivision titles.

On October 1, 2014, AtGames Digital Media, Inc., under license from Intellivision Productions, Inc., released the Intellivision Flashback Classic Console, a miniature sized Intellivision console with two original sized controllers. It comes with 60 Intellivision games built into ROM.