Launched in the space year 2004 by Hong Kong based company Timetop, it's never been entirely clear what the target audience for the GameKing was supposed to be.
While its primary model apes the design of the Game Boy Advance (fake shoulder buttons and all) and it's secondary incarnation mimics the PSP, it's archaic greyscale LCD screen (a whopping 4 shades of grey supported!) and low resolution 48 by 32 pixel display place it graphically somewhere between the Atari 2600 and one of those early Nokia phones.
An anachronism from birth, what is doubly jarring is the difference between the GameKing's graphical output and its surprisingly high quality audio output; which is capable of multi channel music and digitized speech!
Nevertheless, Timetop certainly believed in their little wonder, releasing 90 individually developed games for it: most of them with amusing 'Engrish' attempts at instruction manuals!
Here at Obsolete Worlds, we feel that the GameKing's games carry a certain minimalist charm and have, therefore, set out on a quest to obtain and review them all. Let the lo-fi adventure begin!
"In XX city, Black Gang commit all manners of crimes, which controlled by Moly Brothers, the citizen hate it very much. In order to destroy it, our hero- tiger appear, depends on his excellent fight technical, he interlard Black Gang"
Yes, it's the lowest resolution Double Dragon clone you'll ever play, with added racial overtones!
No, we don't know what they meant by "interlard" either.
Adventure Legend Carlo
"According to history record, Carlo found the site of lost kingdoms. It lies near a ruined urban. Where there are a lot of obstacles and monsters who live in the ruined urban. If Carlo want to reach at the site, he have to get rid of all the obstacles and monsters."
It's Super Mario Bros! Except only the first three stages, with Mario re-imagined as some sort of bipedal ant, hopping on a series of surprised looking turnips.
"Some day in 21st century, the earth was attached by exotic. For the safe of our earth, a batter was broken between the earth and the exotic."
Ares is a surprisingly fun horizontal shooter with a big, if broken, emphasis on Power-ups. One of several decent shooters that the GameKing has to offer. Its six stages prove to be considerably tougher than some of its ilk.
"Lanneret 1 helicopter got the task to execute one special task and save hostage. Lanneret 1 went through the domain of enemy and were attached by the enemy. The enemy possessed a mass of helicopters, tanks, blockhouse and army. Lanneret 1 is facing the challenge. Will it succeed in accomplishing the task."
Heavily influenced by 8 bit classic Choplifter. Lanneret (or 'Hawk' as the title screen identifies it) is a surprisingly addictive twitch shooter that's worth acquiring.
"In 1XXX, a group of terrorist controlled the XX city. They were in control of the army and threaten the local govern to promise their unreasonable demands. One group of special army were standing by and got the order to fight with the terrorist. "
More trouble in the improbably named XX city as Contra comes (unofficially, of course) to the Game King in a well made effort that's as tough as old army boots.
Blasting out of Volume 11 of the GameKing's '4-in-1' multicarts comes a rock hard Gradius clone! It's also the first GK game we've reviewed with colour screenshots courtesy of the GameKing 3!
"In the late of one night, Yaloo, who comes from the Celestial Body, attacks the LELE village. Yaloo wants to rob all the villagers and let them be his slaves. All the villagers are robbed but except Alex, because Alex hided himself into the deep forest..."
Volume 16 of the GameKing's seemingly never-ending 4-1 carts unleashes a graphically superior horizontal shmup with some impressively screen-filling bosses.
"According to the recording of history, there is an island named Gold island on the pacific ocean storing the enormous treasures. So the tramp drives the ship to seek the island out. After long term vagrancy, the tramp found the island eventually. But there facing various monsters and obstacles on the island."
If you own a Gameking or intend to get one, then this Adventure Island clone, with music stolen straight from Castlevania, will likely be the first thing you play, It's one of 3 games that are built into every system.
"On xx month xx date, 2xxx, a flock of mysterious criminals sacked XX city, loot vast precious stones and the other treasure. After verified, proved that is a named F.W mysterious criminal group did."
Poor old XX city really can't catch a break can it? A good job it has its own superhero in the form of Darkwi....err....Duck Man!
"The Happy Ball goes out for some food. but here comes a group of bad men who hold the place. The Happy Ball has to avoid the bad to look for food but he falls into trouble. Who will do him a favor?"
A hidden gem or a maddening exercise in frustration? That entirely depends on your GameKing unit itself...
"On the remote mountains, a secret military base is under cover of these lush trees, It’s not an army of any country, but a secret base of terrorists. In order to destroy the base, our special unit sneak into the base , make preparation for cosmical attack."
Bursting out of Volume 3 of the GameKing's 4-1 carts with a 2 Unlimited inspired techno soundtrack and a whole host of new gameplay features, it's Street Hero 2: The Streetening!
F1 - 2004 Racing
"When Ferrari F1 control the vehicle world, MacLaren motorcade catches up with and surpass Ferrari courageously. Williams,Renault, Jordan, etc. are in competition We push out our own new style racing-car F1-2004. It brings you vivid feeling in the world of racing-cycle. The fans of racing-car, let’s take action and go to experience the stimulus of car racing together!"
Yes. It's a racing game. What gave it away?
Volume 12 of the GameKing's '4-in-1' multicarts, threw up a pleasant surprise:
Namely, a "port" of Street Fighter 2 that's actually a damn site better than some of the 8 bit home computer versions!
In fact it may well be one of the system's most techinally impressive outings.
"There is a secret military base of terrorists hiding in a flourish forest. In order to destroy it, we dispatch a special army to get there secretly and prepare for a large scale attack."
Translation: We send in one guy, on his own, with a machine gun...
"In a flourish city, [Black Leopard] and [Wild Eagle], the brothers, they control the city, robbed the citizens, citizens were suffered with their fierce painfully. In order to save people and beat the brothers, a Hero [Tiger], he come out, he fight against [Black Leopard] and [Wild eagle], he sneak into the enemy's group.
A disappointing re-skin that might as well be named Street Hero: Guy.
"In one accident, Nanny enter into the evil spirit world. After experiencing all sorts of difficulties, nanny found the tim channel to get back to the modern society at last. However there are 25 toll gates in the channel and there are variousevil who are defending in each toll-gate. In order to come back, Nanny used the modern weapon todefeat the various kinds of evil......"
It's Built in to every GameKing. It's Bomberman. It's also rather dull.
Exploding out of Volume 13 of the GameKing's 4-in-1 multi-carts, comes another competent Contra clone...this time with added platforming.
"Some day in 21st century, our marginal sea were suffered the attack of enemy’s plane suddenly. For safeguarding our motherland and territorial integrity, our one-five-two air force team receive the order and launched a soul-stirring air battle with the enemy."
Why are 1942 style planes flying around and doing loop-the-loops in 2003? These and other questions won't be answered in this competent clone shooter that comes built-in with the GameKing unit.
Dracula Zone/ Surf Eidolon
"In the territory of Eidolon, a group of cannibalism monsters willfully attack the ships and the people. So nobody have the courage to play on the beach. Though many people come forward to beat these monsters. But no one can go back. Lolo, the Princess of Eidolon kingdom inherits all special quality. She makes decisions to beat these monsters for the sake of all kingdom."
So, nothing to do with Dracula then?
"Annihilator I execute a special task. It needs pass through the enemy’s sea area where there are lots of planes and gunship. Annihilator I was facing one severe test. Can it finish the task?"
Blimey! Peace just doesn't last anymore does it. Just one year after saving the world in 2003, it's time to do it all over again in a cartridge based sequel that fixes the flaws of the solid original and generally improves on it in every way.
What's to be done when you've ripped off every mainstream game series there is?
Start knocking out ridiculously low-res versions of NEO GEO titles of course!
New reviews will be unlocked on a regular basis basis.