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CGE: Gorf on GBA
Posted on Sunday, August 8 2010 @ 00:03:38 Eastern

I was able to attend the Classic Gaming Expo in Las Vegas this year, and while I wasn't there in any "official" capacity I was able to play some new stuff, mingle with some interesting people and buy some brand new stuff.  And nothing - NOTHING - is more amazing to me than home-brew games.  Not just the indie-awesome that finds life on modern systems, but that some programmers have so much love that they decide to make all-new material for a system that hasn't had an "official" release in decades.

Occasionally, they revive a game or series that hasn't seen love in such a time, and they find a way to share it (with its history) in a package for the community.  Enter Good Deal Games and Jess Creations, those beautiful beautiful entities.

Gorf is a game that only saw a "true" incarnation in the arcade.  It was ported to other platforms surely enough, but it always lacked a level or two due to copyright problems.  Which is why I'm thankful for a home-brew community: this is the only way to play Gorf in its truest form.  The direct arcade version of it is here and confined to a GBA cartridge, ready for anything.

For the uninitiated, Gorf is made up for five stages: first comes Astro Battles (basically, Space Invaders with the Gorf dropping them to the screen), Laser attack (with a couple handfuls of enemies, two with lasers that can limit your movement if caught between them), Galaxians (which is the predecessor to Galaga), Space Warp (where a single enemies flies from center-screen and fires at you until all have been released) and Flagship (where you fight a single ship, trying to destroy its core).

Since each round is different, it takes some work to really get into the swing of the game... which might be why some people are turned off.  To me, it's interesting to have a game be so unique level to level, unique to the point that maintaining a kind of rhythm is really difficult.  This is the kind of classic game that makes a champion, boys and girls (well, that or an angry player ready to chuck their system).  So many enemies, each with a different movement and firing pattern - even from stage to stage - keeps the challenge high and one of the best "high score" games of all time.

On top of the sheer difficulty of the straight-up arcade port, a Matrix of challenges gives a player something to shoot for.  In this case, it's history.  Every challenge completed unlocks a new piece of art that helps unveil the history of Gorf, with shots of promotional posters, box art for home versions, even a picture of the cocktail cabinet.  It's fairly bare-bones on that front, but the pictures are as good a quality as the GBA can handle.  Not much of a detail machine, but it gets the job done well enough.

Being a classic game lover/nerd, and this not being an official release, I'm not going to give it any kind of a grade.  But as far as old-school gaming goes, it's about as nice and collected as you're likely to find.  CGE only had a handful of copies for collecting purposes, but it appears as though it's available for download.  You can click here to download it for yourself.  Now, excuse me, but I think that tinny voice is calling me a pansy again, gotta shoot the little bastard.
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