Welcome back to another edition of Games of Summer, where we hunt for treasures of gaming's past for you to discover over the next few sweltering months.
This time, we're taking a look at the beach – because, let's be honest, it's an awesome place to be. Between getting some rays, scoping out girls in bikinis (c'mon, you've done it) and playing volleyball, it's just an awesome place to dwell. Plus, some of them even have Wi-Fi now – which makes our job a hell of a lot easier.
Believe it or not, beach life also had its way of slipping into video games of the past, whether it was a surfer-inspired character or a beach environment to give you a minimal tropical getaway before you moved along to save the world.
Anyway, here now are five classic games that definitely had some beach influence. Surf's up, dude!
Normy's Beach Babe-O-Rama (EA/Genesis)
Back before EA got all serious with its game lineup (like with Army of Two and Dante's Inferno), it kicked back with more casual efforts on the Genesis – like Normy's Beach Babe-O-Rama, a weird little platformer where Normy does whatever it takes to keep the beach safe from, well, those who want to ruin it, I guess. Nothing in this game really makes sense, and the controls could be better, but if you're up for taking in some beach essence – and yes, that includes the bikini chicks – you could do worse.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Manhattan Project (Konami/NES)
Why would a game with the subtitle "The Manhattan Project" end up on our beach list? Simple – because that's where the game starts. The Ninja Turtles are actually on vacation when their third NES adventure begins, with Shredder holding the island of Manhattan hostage from hundreds of miles up (don't ask how – the guy can afford rocket boosters, I guess). But it appears that the Foot Clan has found them, so they battle it out – on the beach! As you run along the sand, you'll have to watch out for soldiers that throw sand in your eyes (jackasses!) and sinkholes that can take some of your life away. At least the Turtles don't have to worry about sunburn doing them in…
Greendog: The Beached Surfer Dude! (Sega/Genesis)
Okay, so most of Greendog takes place in a jungle, but when you start up this old-school Genesis platformer, you'll see just how much beach-itude it has behind it. You play Greendog, a guy that wants nothing more than to ride the ultimate wave and chill with his girlfriend. But after a crash, he finds himself with a pendant stuck around his neck that he tries to get removed while battling evil enemies. Though this game isn't really a classic, like some of the other Genesis titles from the era, the gameplay is enjoyable, and the tropical scenery isn't too bad to look at. It's worth a test run, if only out of sheer curiosity, dude.
Cool Spot (Virgin/Genesis, SNES)
For our next trip to the beach, we crack open a can of 7up and rediscover the magic of Cool Spot, David Perry's savvy side-scrolling platforming game. In it, you guide Spot, straight from the can of 7up, as he shoots at crabs and other enemies using fizzy bubbles while rescuing his fellow spots and collecting icons to open up the bonus level – which is actually inside a bottle of soda. This game is a whole lot of fun (it certainly tramples over Spot Goes To Hollywood), and its opening beach level sets the tone for the rest of the game. Now, if you'll excuse us, we're thirsty.
Kings of the Beach (Ultra/NES), Super Spike V'Ball (Nintendo/NES)
Finally, we wrap up our tribute to the beach with a pair of great volleyball games for the NES. If you're looking for a single player-tour with challenge to spare and plenty of spikes into the sand, Ultra's Kings of the Beach is a great title, featuring plenty of teams to go against and descriptions for each of the players.
However, if it's all-out multiplayer warfare you want, we have to recommend Super Spike V'Ball, which made adequate use of Nintendo's Four Score, allowing you to plug four controllers into one NES system. Nothing beats taking on your friends and landing the "killer spike" that will knock a player into the middle of next week. With simple gameplay and plenty of teams to choose from, this is still a huge party hit to this day.
See you next week for more Games of Summer… right after we take care of our tan.