UltraCore, analysis. Megadrive lives

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Although it is possible that no one took it as a real competition, there were developers in Europe in the early 90’s who did things well enough to compete for the throne with the great Japanese companies in their moments of inspiration.

It was something that was seen especially on the Commodore Amiga computer (which was so successful in other European countries that are not ours), where a series of jewels arrived that in their time had the support of the press and the players of the time . Nobody remembers many study games like Psygnosis, The Bitmap Brothers or Factor 5 anymore, but the truth is that among them there are titles that still allow themselves to be enjoyed today, showing a much more European style in terms of design. In the old continent, he liked the idea of ​​adorning the genres of a lifetime with what seemed to be one more step: keys, objects -which didn’t do much good-, shops that weren’t essential or jumps even more impossible than most of Japanese video games. Even so and despite its imperfections, titles such as Gods, Xenon 2, Leander, our Risky Woods or the Turrican saga still have followers today. Those who remember them with emotion should take a seat and prepare to enjoy the history of UltraCore.

A game for Mega Drive officially released … in 2020

The movie is not enough to laugh at. A video game in the style most typical of the Commodore Amiga designed by Digital Illusions (much later EA DICE) was 99% finished in 1994, apparently for Mega Drive, Mega CD and -how-not-Amiga. The then editor of the study, no less than the mythical Psygnosis who was in full adaptation to her new reality – read this as a hasty change to the polygonal – decided that this project had nothing to do in the market of those months, and possibly had reason. It must be remembered that we were at the time of the Super Nintendo turning the game around with Donkey Kong Country almost at the same time that the Ridge Racer polygons – to say the least – made it clear that everything was going to change forever. In the face of all these powerful rivals, a humble Run‘n Gun with European features clearly inspired by the Turrican saga was abandoned in a drawer. We would know very little about him for years to come: a couple of videos of his unfinished version, shared by some of its authors, are all we have seen of the game in many years.

It would be stupid and pretentious to now recall what video games have changed between 1994 and 2019. They are different worlds, but the reality is that that forgotten game in an old dusty trunk has been renamed UltraCore, and can be downloaded on the Playstation 4 itself and Nintendo Switch. Even more: it can also be played on the Sega Mega Drive itself, all thanks to the efforts of the German company Strictly Limited Games. Although the game was a disaster, which is not the case, it is an impressive example of video game preservation, which we would like to see repeated with many other prototypes of which very few people know of its existence. UltraCore is, therefore, a game developed in 1994 that has been given few tweaks, which permeates its entire proposal and, obviously, becomes both its great virtue and its main limitation. On the one hand, it enjoys an authenticity that can put many players on their feet: that of a video game that we can play on both a Mega Drive and a Playstation 4 or Switch. On the other side, and this is its main misery as a current release, it cannot compete with much more polished current video games in its own genre, in which today there are infinitely more perfect offers such as Valfaris. In any case, we would do very badly by focusing on the latter: despite the reservations that anyone may have after those 26 years in the shade, UltraCore can be enjoyed today.


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