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Jade Rambles: Tiger LCD Games
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Ah, the glory days of Tiger Electronics. Starting in about the mid-late 80s, they made electronic LCD games very much akin to Nintendo’s Game & Watch series. While some of these games were generic stuff like Bowling, Football, Pinball, or a shooter of some kind, much of their repertoire that is most well-known consisted of reproductions of popular video games. Even after the release of the GameBoy, which brought a more true portable gaming experience, the Tiger handhelds were still a popular option for people that were too poor or too cheap to get a GameBoy. These games (and some people use the word “game” very loosely here) were very simplistic and besides the visual aesthetics bore only a passing resemblance to their source material, but there were loads of them from almost every popular franchise at the time. Megaman was no exception, and here is where I want to talk about the two Megaman games that they released, based on Megaman 2 and Megaman 3.

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On paper, Megaman 2 works very similar to its NES counterpart. You can select the robot masters to battle in any order you want, you collect their weapons, then go to the final level and defeat Dr. Wily. In practice, however… The first thing you’re likely to notice is how the robot masters barely resemble their original counterparts. Also, there are only six robot masters; Woodman and Crashman were left out (despite Crashman being depicted on the packaging ripped right from MM2’s box art). Due to the limitations of the LCD interface, the remaining six are represented by one of only two stock bodies with some kind of identifying feature; a sawblade for Metalman, a boomerang for Quickman, flames for Heatman, and webbed feet for Bubbleman. Airman and Flashman use the same rotund body with Airman having a fan in the middle and Flashman with a hollow center, and has Crashman’s arm for some reason. Megaman himself looks similar to how he’s depicted in the box art; more slender and adult-looking, and fires from a pistol instead of an arm cannon. Also worth mentioning; his Mega Buster also uses ammo! So it is very possible to render the game unwinnable by running out. Also, Airman and Flashman do not give a unique weapon when defeated; their weapons are just additional ammo bars for the Mega Buster.

The stages have absolutely nothing to differentiate them from one another. There are only two stage enemies – Battontons and Crabs – and one of the two will descend at random intervals. Also the only weapons that can actually destroy them are the Mega Buster and Atomic Fire, though there’s no reason to actually fight them except for points; you can just jump over them and save your ammo for bosses. Platforming is usually optional as well, consisting of two platforms that appear and disappear, also at random intervals. You can jump between the two, but there’s no point in doing so except to snipe the stage enemies for points. Also, you’ll encounter a health or weapon capsule at random. Otherwise, you simply run to the right until you eventually encounter the boss. As is the case with the original games, each robot master is weak to another’s weapon. They all take 15 shots from the Mega Buster, but only three shots from the weapon they’re weak against; all other weapons deal no damage.

Bubbleman: weak to Quick Boomerang
Airman: weak to Bubble Lead
Heatman: weak to Bubble Lead
Metalman: weak to Atomic Fire
Quickman: weak to Metal Blade
Flashman: weak to Quick Boomerang

As you can see, most of their weaknesses are quite different from their NES counterparts, even taking into consideration that there are only four unique robot master weapons this time. Again, due to the LCD limitations, the bosses don’t move around much. Airman and Flashman never move, and the others may jump from time to time. And by “jump”, I mean “hover in the air for several seconds”. You can pretty much do the same by pressing the Up button, and Down to descend. The Left button only comes into play in boss rooms, allowing you to grab the wall behind you, predating Megaman X by several years.

After beating all six robot masters you head to Dr. Wily’s stage. Still the same as before; run right and avoid bats and crabs. You’ll encounter two boss fights along the way as well
Croaker: While it bears the original name for the Kerog enemies in Bubbleman’s stage, this monstrosity has the Mech Dragon’s body with a Pipi head and attacks by spawning more crabs. The Quick Boomerang is the only weapon that hurts it.
Mech Dragon: You fight it over a pit, just like the original game, which you can easily fall into if you’re running straight ahead and you aren’t paying attention. The pit doesn’t kill you instantly but it does take off a large chunk of health (BTW, I forgot to point out; you only have one life in this game. Lose all of your health and you must start the whole game over from the beginning). You have to jump between the two platforms that appear and disappear, avoiding its fireballs as best you can. It has no weaknesses and can only be beaten with the Mega Buster.

After destroying the Mech Dragon, it’s on to the boss rush… Which is the ENTIRE game all over again! You fight every robot master, PLUS the Croaker and Mech Dragon again, WITH the “stage” segments in between all of them! After the second Mech Dragon fight, it’s on to the final approach; other than Wily’s saucer shown flying overhead, it’s the same as all of the others. The final boss is the Wily alien hologram, and just like the original game, Bubble Lead is the only weapon that harms it. As is the case with LCD games, there is no ending, the screen freezes after landing the final hit and ‘Game Over’ is displayed. Naturally, these games would be accompanied by a soundtrack of loud beeps and buzzes, but that’s easily mitigated by turning the sound off.

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Megaman 3 is more or less the same basic formula as Megaman 2; six robot masters (Hardman and Topman were left out this time, despite, again, Topman being featured on the packaging), followed by a Dr. Wily stage that is just the previous six stages again followed with the battle with Wily at the end. There are a few differences in the stages, however, making them a bit more involved than they were in MM2. First off, the only respawning stage enemy this time is Peng, however, you will fight one of three mini-bosses, Big Snakey, Tama, or the (very nerfed) Yellow Devil (called “Vengeful Villain” in the manual) depending on whose stage it is, from time to time. There are also obstacles that you need to call Rush to circumvent; a high wall for Rush Coil, water for Rush Marine, or spikes for Rush Jet (like the pit in MM2, you can run into the spikes if you’re not paying attention, but while they don’t insta-kill you they still deal a lot of damage).

The robot masters at least look MUCH better than they did in MM2; much closer to their original counterparts with only Sparkman/Magnetman and Snakeman/Geminiman sharing body types. However while some robot masters in MM2 at least moved a little, all of the robot masters here are completely stationary, even Sparkman and Magnetman who just levitate in mid-air. Megaman himself looks a little more like he does in the actual games, with an actual arm cannon instead of a pistol, but with a more muscular build that was probably supposed to look like how he does on MM3’s box art, but also bears a strong resemblance to Ruby-Spears Megaman. Once more the Mega Buster uses ammo as well as the robot master weapons. But while health and ammo capsules once again appear at random throughout the levels, the game did something devious. You don’t pick them up automatically by walking over them! Megaman no longer clings to the boss wall; the Left button is now “Pick up”. You have to press that while standing in front of a capsule to pick it up. Otherwise you’ll run right past it and it’s gone forever since you still can’t run left! Once again, the robot masters themselves take 15 Mega Buster shots or three hits from their weakness; all other weapons do nothing.

Snakeman: weak to Magnet Missile
Geminiman: weak to Search Snake
Needleman: weak to Gemini Laser
Shadowman: weak to Needle Cannon
Sparkman: weak to Shadow Blade
Magnetman: weak to Spark Shock

At least this time most of their weaknesses are the same. Just like the last game, after beating the six robot masters you go to Dr. Wily’s stage. There are no unique bosses this time, however, just the robot masters again with a Rush segment and mini-boss in between each, and then it’s on to fight Dr. Wily. This Wily fight is much easier as he’s in Gamma’s cockpit like at the end of the original game, so he doesn’t move around at all. Just jump to the top platform, shoot three Search Snakes at him, and you are treated to the same ending as before, screen freezes, ‘Game Over’ is displayed, and your high score is recorded if you care at all about that.

Otherwise, that’s about all I have to say about the Megaman 2 and 3 Tiger LCD games. I actually still own both of them, and while it would be very hard to LP them I at least wanted to talk about them a bit. They’re certainly not great, and are easily outdone by any of the Megaman GameBoy titles (even MM2, which is considered the worst of the lot), but are at the very least an interesting part of my Megaman collection.

And what of Tiger Electronics? While their devices were semi-popular back then, they’re almost unheard of now save for some talking about how much they sucked (despite their similarity, Nintendo’s Game & Watch series is looked at with much more favorable nostalgia). Tiger continued to produce their LCD games into the late 90s; the most recent game adaptation I can recall that they did was Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. They also tried their hand at making a cartridge-based portable system to compete more directly with the GameBoy, called the R-Zone, which flopped hard (it was more like the Virtual Boy, only with a DBZ-style scouter over one eye instead of the goggles). I believe they have since been bought out by Hasbro.

Neat post. I watched friends play those Tiger Electronics things, but I never had one myself. Never was interested. They are pretty cool little to have now. Interesting remnants of the era.

I always thought the Game and Watches were kind of cooler, but that might be my nostalgic Nintendo bias there.

Those Mega Man ones you own seem better than most of the ones I remember. I remember sports ones and a ninja gaiden one mostly, and they were pretty unplayable, at least for me.
No Man's Sky is awesome...and disappointing...
My problem with the Tiger things (I had a few, not these though) was the screen were always terrible and I'd have quadrants that had no "graphics".

By the time I got my first Game Boy I'd all but forgotten these things.
Where's the Let's Play?
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Yeah, those LCD screens were always hard to see unless the lighting and the angle were just right. Even the GameBoy had this problem until the GBA SP model (there was also the GB Light, but that model only came out in Japan).

I just recently found a Ninja Gaiden one for cheap on Amazon. Maybe I'll talk about that later as well.

They all seem to average about $15 on ebay.


Power Up!
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Buy it for him then request an LP of it. Big-Grin
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They effed up and sent me a Gauntlet one instead. I still played it a little to see what it was about. Similar to the original you navigate a monster-filled maze trying to reach the end. You have a Power gauge that goes down with every action you perform, be it moving, swinging your weapon, or taking a hit, and the game is over when it reaches 0. You have a choice of characters when you start - the Barbarian or the Valkyrie - but I'm not sure how different they are gameplay-wise besides the Barbarian starting out with more Power. Enemies consist solely of goblins and lizardmen, and items you pick up include screen-clearing bombs, keys which I never figured out what purpose they serve (I didn't encounter a single locked door), and every third level contains items that replenish your Power meter. I assume it's supposed to be food (that you need badly) but it's represented by just the key and bomb sprites laid on top of one another. I didn't make it far enough to see if there's any real end to the game, or if the goal is to simply see how many levels you can clear before your Power inevitably runs out.

Save keys to open doors!
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I now have the Ninja Gaiden one and have been playing it for a bit. I'm still trying to figure out some nuances of the game. So far though, heres what I got. Playing as Ryu Hayabusa, you run from left to right through a barrage of various enemies. You attack with your sword, and you collect different types of power-ups to assist you along the way, just as in the original game. The main stage enemies consist of Barbarian, the stage 1 boss from the original game, and Basaquer, the stage 3 boss. Barbarian shuffles along the ground, occasionally throwing shuriken, while Basaquer hops around like a loon. Stage 2 introduces everyone's favorite enemy from Ninja Gaiden... BIRDS!!!

Again, Ryu runs from left to right, with the ability to strike forward or backward with his sword. He can collect one of three sub-weapons that seem to be used automatically; shurikens, the spin slash, and the fire wheel (represented by the shuriken and spin slash icons laid on top of each other). They are collected through picking up boxes throughout the levels; just like in Megaman 3, there is a button for picking up items rather than doing so automatically when touching them. There are also boxes for restoring health and on rare occasions a 1-Up (yes, you have more than one life in this one!). Unique to this game is a red LED light that comes on in the corner when there is a health-restoring item on the screen you're on. A useful feature, since like the two Megaman games, Ryu cannot backtrack.

You may fight a boss at the end of a stage. The bosses consist of a knife-throwing ninja and a ball-throwing monk. Unlike the stage enemies, which were bosses in the original game, these guys look like normal mooks from the original. They appear in the upper right corner of the screen which seems to make them impossible to hit without the shuriken or fire wheel, yet they still disappear after a few seconds and reappear after running right a bit more, so I'm not too clear yet on how to deal with them reliably. And as of 5-1 they start appearing as normal enemies.

As I mentioned before, you do get more than one life; three to be exact, and it looks like it's possible to pick up extras. Though health loss looks to be somewhat inconsistent. I've lost health from what looks to be nothing hitting me and I've dropped dead with absolutely nothing on-screen. I wonder if health gradually decreases over time like in Gauntlet. As was the case with Gauntlet, I haven't made it far enough to tell if there's a final boss or end to the game, or if the goal is to just get a high score and make it as far as possible.


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