Four exceptional action games by Exact return in a masterful collection for the Sharp X68000 revival, offering a nostalgic blend of shoot-'em-ups, mech action, and adventure.

Exact Perfect Collection Revives X68000 Classics

The Sharp X68000, a Japanese exclusive home computer from the late 80s and early 90s, was much lauded for its superior arcade game ports. What's less frequently discussed but equally laudable is its library of exclusive games, particularly those crafted by the development team at Exact, an acronym which stands for Excellent Application Create Team. This talented group produced no less than four standout titles that are still talked about with reverence by fans and aficionados of vintage gaming.

The excitement surrounding these games has been reignited with the release of the Exact Perfect Collection for the X68000 Z mini console. This compilation is a veritable treasure trove for enthusiasts, allowing both new players and nostalgic gamers to experience these classics. Among this anthology, three out of four games were rated in the top 20 X68000 games by Time Extension, a testament to their high-quality gameplay and enduring popularity.

The collection begins with Naious, Exact’s first release in 1990. It is a horizontal shoot-'em-up that wouldn’t be out of place on a Sega Mega Drive. Naious might not break new ground in the genre, but it makes up for it with its rapid pacing, entertaining gameplay, and a level of challenge that fans of Konami’s shooters like Salamander and Thunder Cross would relish.

Naious is a pure distillation of arcade fun, providing a perfect gateway into the collection. It offers a familiar shooting experience in the vein of Space Manbow, an MSX exclusive, which makes diving into the X68000's retro world approachable and immediately engaging.

Moving beyond the shoot-'em-up realm, the collection presents its second title, Aquales, released in 1991. This game is an imaginative mishmash of ideas, fusing a mech action-platformer akin to Assault Suits Valken with grappling mechanics reminiscing of Umihara Kawase. The player controls a mech, equipped with a retractable grappling arm that can be used to climb platforms or swing through levels. It’s a delightful gameplay twist that enriches the typical mech game format, making Aquales a standout title in its own right.

Next in line is Étoile Princesse from the year 1993, a game that will charm fans of top-down action adventures like Falcom’s Ys series or Microcabin’s Fray. This title puts players in control of vibrant, magic-wielding characters in a game that is as charismatic as it is enjoyable. The visuals are a feast of bold colors, the combat is satisfying, and the boss encounters are nothing short of spectacular. Within an already strong collection, it might be difficult to choose a favorite, but Étoile Princesse is certainly a strong contender, thanks to its depth, appeal, and accessibility.

The compilation culminates with Geograph Seal, a 1994 technical marvel. The game is a fully-realized 3D polygonal first-person shooter, evocative of the visual style seen in games like Star Fox. The prowess of the X68000 is on full display here, managing to pump out a complex 3D game that remains smooth and responsive. It's a gaming experience that is not just impressive due to its era, but stands the test of time by modern standards. It signifies the apex of Exact’s capabilities and serves as an impressive swan song for their work on the X68000 platform.

Exact's achievements did not conclude with the X68000. The team went on to use their innovative engine from Geograph Seal as a springboard to create Jumping Flash for the early PlayStation, which is considered one of the most influential titles of its generation. This game even spawned a sequel and led to the development of a surprisingly effective Ghost in the Shell game. In a bittersweet turn, Exact later melded into Sony’s Japan Studio, marking the end of its independent game development.

However, the essence of Exact lives on through the Exact Perfect Collection – a masterclass in X68000 game development showcasing exquisite visuals and deeply satisfying arcade-action gameplay. The compendium serves not only as a historical document but also as a timeless entrée to four great games. For the lucky ones with an X68000 Z to call their own, and those wishing to sidestep the pitfalls of game emulation, this collection is a must-have, nearly living up to the dream of retro gaming perfection.

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John Hope

Hey, I'm John Hope! Sneakers aren't just footwear to me, they're a lifestyle. Over the years, I've built a collection that would make any sneakerhead green with envy. But if you ask about my favorite? No competition, it's the Jordan 11. Those beauties are more than just shoes; they're a work of art, a piece of history. From the court to the street, my kicks tell my story. Join me on this sole-ful journey!

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