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blackie_the_cubone
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PostSubject: Video Game Reviews   Mon Aug 25, 2014 9:06 pm

Post them here and I'll get them on the KKE site or just e-mail them to me @ skittleskoopa@koopaklanelite.com

Ratings system is as follows:

Graphics xx/25
Sound xx/25
Control xx/25
Fun xx/25

Total score out of 100 sums up the review. Be as detailed or short as you want with it and yes, two people can review the same game. Cuz after all, we got different opinions!

Grading Scale:

A+: 100-98
A: 97-93
A-:92-90
B+: 89-87
B:86-83
B-: 82-80
C+: 79-77
C: 76-73
C-: 72-70
D+: 69-67
D: 66-63
D-: 62-60
F: 59 and below

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PostSubject: Re: Video Game Reviews   Mon Mar 09, 2015 10:26 pm

The Little Mermaid (NES, 1991)

Graphics 20/25
Sound 22/25
Control 7/25
Fun 12/25

Without the presentation, this game would be under the sea.

After the excellent Capcom Disney games of Duck Tales, Chip N' Dale's Rescue Rangers and Darkwing Duck, you'd think all their Disney games are excellent. I was vastly disappointed with this game. Allow me to explain it out a bit and you'll quickly notice the faults.

Graphics: First off, let's start off with the good parts of The Little Mermaid. The graphics are quite good for a late NES title. The game is colorful from its enemies down to its backgrounds and Ariel looks pretty close to her movie counterpart despite 8 bit limitations. The cut scenes look nice too. Overall, it's a very pretty game.

Sound: The soundtrack is as good as 8-bit ones come and Capcom has never been one to let people down in the music department. Songs from the movie fill the level and at least keeps you occupied and humming along. The sound effects are the typical stuff you get from Capcom on their NES titles, it's simple but it gets the job done without destroying your ear drums.

Control: Perhaps this game's biggest fault. The controls over all are very stiff and require precise movement and item placement. Ariel on land is near useless and can only make small jumps on it to move. Enemies dropping down from the air have a hey day and will kill you a LOT if you're on land. She moves decent in the water but there are some gaps in the level design that you'd think she could easily make but the controls are so stiff and limiting you find yourself going back and forth multiple times just to unlock the treasure chests in this game it just makes your fingers hurt. Very sloppy and a big reason why I was so bummed out over this game.

Fun: It's okay once you get the shoddy controls down but this game is also plagued by other big problems: level design is so boring and basic, the boss battles (besides Ursula) are very boring with simple patterns and require little to no skill in defeating. The game is way too short with only a handful of levels and the enemies appear in the same places every time you play it too, which takes the replay value way down. It's just mediocre. Ouch.

61% ~ D-




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PostSubject: Re: Video Game Reviews   Thu May 07, 2015 7:22 pm

Devil World (NES, 1984)

Graphics: 17/25
Sound: 19/25
Control: 21/25
Fun: 18/25

This game doesn't have to worry about going to hell, because it's a solid one.

Devil World never made it stateside because Shigeru Miyamoto decided that with its religious crosses and bibles that it could be offensive to Americans. It was released in Europe and Japan but it's a real shame it never made it over, because Devil World is a good game and unique compared to the games it partially imitates.

Graphics: For a 1984 release, the graphics are actually quite good. The green dragon you control through the maze (who resembles closely to the dragons from Bubble Bobble) is pretty decently defined and the one eyed monsters that roam the maze are solid as well with no flickering. The blue demon atop the screen (and the main villain of this game) is also well done.

Sound: The sounds are pretty standard fare for NES games during its era and the soundtrack (though limited) is nice and rather catchy. Well done all around.

Control: The dragon character handles precisely and there doesn't seem to be any flaws in the mechanisms as far as I could tell (I was playing on a standard NES controller). Shooting out fireballs while holding the cross (this is your only defense and the only way you collect all the dots), the controls handle well here also. You can also hold bibles on the second screen and shoot fire but the bibles unlike the crosses don't run out on you.

Fun: The speed that the blue devil atop moves the maze over picks up each level and makes you have to think quicker on your toes so the game does retain a good, solid challenge. The enemies also get smarter inside the maze and move quicker as well. My only real gripe is that the devil does move in random directions which can sometimes get you squished against a wall inside the maze and is an unfair death. The respawn system occasionally starts you on top of enemies as well, which the dragon does not have a temporary invincibility and this can create some unfair deaths as well.
But those small gripes aside, it's a fun game to pick up and play and being a mix of Pac-Man and Bubble Bobble in its elements there is enough for both fans of the genre to pick up this rather obscure gem of the NES library.

75% ~ C

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PostSubject: Re: Video Game Reviews   Thu Jul 23, 2015 9:09 pm

Star Tropics (NES, 1990)

Graphics: 22/25
Sound: 21/25
Control: 12/25
Fun: 24/25

A mix between Zelda dungeons and Final Fantasy top level. A surprisingly good one.

Star Tropics was released in 1990 by Nintendo and sadly only saw one American sequel (released late in the NES's life in 1994), but is one of those games that from when I first saw in Nintendo Power when I was 8 years old, appeared quite fascinating to me. For years I wanted to play it but never did, saw it in a local game store for years (they had copies out the behind) but never did buy it. I finally got the courage to spend the money ($10 really ain't bad) and give this game a run.

Graphics: In terms of the top down levels, it goes about even par with Final Fantasy. It is a bit worse in some areas and using the submarine to travel from island to island (they refer it chapter to chapter in here), reminded me faintly of the Pokémon games that would come about much later to the Game Boy. The dungeon levels are quite detailed from the walls to the ground you walk on. Water looks like water and the dark pits that will kill you.. look like dark pits. Some enemies are better detailed than others, like the purple eels that peek out from the water to chase you are very well done but other enemies like slugs are rather boring. The bosses are well detailed for the graphic capability though the projectiles they throw aren't anything more than colored dots. Other words, they're good for the most part.

Sound: Most games produced by Nintendo have great soundtracks and Star Tropics has some of the best I've heard for the NES. They're very catchy and though they do repeat, I never found myself annoyed by it or wanting to mute. The sound effects however are just mediocre and hurt my score in the sound department. I know its the NES but they could do a little bit more in the effects department.

Controls: Now the ugly part of this otherwise solid gem. Mike, who you control in this game, moves very stiff. You can easily get stuck on walls and you have to be precise in where your standing in order to hit enemies. You start off with a yo-yo (yes, I was like a yo-yo?! >.<) which has decent range and you move up to throwing fireballs and swinging baseball bats which have improved range and can be better for those enemies that hide around corners. The control there is fine and you can even jump and use these weapons, which at times is very useful and works great. If it wasn't for the stiffness in controls, oi...

Fun: The boss battles vary in atmosphere and technique, the puzzles that you have to go through to unlock doors and parts of levels change every time you die or play and the game just makes you think at times with some of the hidden entrance ways or ways to unlock doors. I admit some of the puzzles made me feel stupid at times and took me a few minutes just to get them but I got rewarded for my travels and was able to keep going. The story line is pretty linear (Mike's father 'Dr. J' gets kidnapped for finding an artifact and the head chief of the friendly natives says you are the best choice to saving him) but those things I mentioned in the previous sentence make this game fun and a rather creative mix of one, even.
I wanted to play this game for many years and I can honestly say.. it was worth the wait. Pick this one up if you like Zelda or Final Fantasy, you may just have fun.

79% ~~ C+

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PostSubject: Re: Video Game Reviews   Sat Jul 25, 2015 4:43 pm

Wrecking Crew (NES, 1985)

Graphics: 15/25
Sound: 16/25
Control: 12/25
Fun: 17/25

What could of been an interesting game is marred by unforgivable control flaws and just being cheap.

After finding the hidden gem in the rough, Devil World, I thought I found another one in Wrecking Crew. It's an 1985 early launch period title for the NES and at first glance, it seems innocent enough: Mario is out tearing down walls and breaking ladders as quick as he can before the enemies corner him. Little did I know however, that looks can be deceiving.

Graphics: Besides some of details in the walls that you tear down, the graphics in this game are just average at best. Mario looks okay but he doesn't look like Mario.. and no it isn't because of the hammer in his hand. The color pallet is just off to me. The enemies you encounter are rather boring, red worm like creatures who chase you on the ladders and the platforms.

Sound: Besides the song played at the beginning of each level, there isn't much of a soundtrack to speak of. The sound effects are just standard explosions at best. There is a short tune when you complete a level but to be honest, there isn't much more than that in the sound department.

Controls: Perhaps the death of Wrecking Crew is in what causes so many of those deaths, the controls. Mario walks around and navigates the ladders and platforms fine but there is one unforgivable flaw. He CAN'T jump. Out of all the characters in the world, Mario is probably one of the most renounced for his jumping ability and for some reason in this game, he can't jump at all. When enemies corner you, unless you have a ledge you can fall from its just an instant death right there. This is what killed the game for me and it kills in the next section too.

Fun: Let me start off with the good part of the fun and why I rated it so high: you can create and use your own levels from scratch. Especially with two players involved, this mode has endless capabilities and can keep you entertained for a while.
The bad? The fact that you literally have to look over the level as it loads at the beginning. You can't go hitting random walls or ladders, no.. if you take out a ladder that goes up to some more walls, its gone. Forever. You have no choice but to go run into an enemy. I understand the strategy involved with this and where they may have been going in this notion, but this is another unforgiving flaw. You can't jump onto a higher platform either, Mario just FALLS. He doesn't fall in an arch, you can't run to get a good start on possibly making that platform.. he falls STRAIGHT down. If he got hurt from the long drops then this game would just be AVGN bad, but its really just frustrating.
A great game concept marred by flaws that kill what good this game could of been. I feel bad for anybody that spends over $15 on this game. Sure its a hard to find gem and another interesting game with Mario in it.. but nothing more. Disappointing.

60% ~~ D-






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PostSubject: Re: Video Game Reviews   Wed Aug 26, 2015 10:45 pm

Castlequest (NES, 1989)



Graphics: 13/25
Sound: 8/25
Control: 7/25
Fun: 5/25

Looking for treasure in a side scrolling game doesn't get any more painful than this abomination.

I remembered this game fondly from when I was about 7 years old. My friend Heather and I would play this game at her house, for she owned a copy and I did not. It seemed like a pretty good game at the time (hell, I was only 7, what did I know?). Despite internet reviews of the game, I thought perhaps these folks were exaggerating this title. This is one of the worst games I've ever played after rediscovering it after 20+ years. Allow me to explain:

Graphics: Borderline butt ugly. For 1989, the graphics in this game are bland as a second coat of paint. Boring white bricks for floors and walls with a black background? You could do better with MS Paint. The enemies are standard knights, wizards, a king guy in a red robe and something that looks a little like a mini Mojo JoJo from the Powerpuff Girls. For going through a castle, really unimaginative. The lone bright spots in graphics here are the automated conveyor belts and half butt attempts at 3D brick blocks that you can move around for an extra advantage on jumps.

Sound: Two songs that loop (title screen, the rest of the game) and bleeps and blips for when you kill enemies. You also get a song for when you die (which may be a lot) but its far from impressive. Gets old since you'll get to hear it so much.

Control: Delayed and unresponsive don't sum this up enough. The main character (some guy with a red cap and feather) can float like the Princess from SMB2 but that's about his only advantage. You can only jump so high before just stopping in the air and most high areas you can only get there with well placed keys or moving a solid object on the ground to where you need to go. It is dreadful and about par with some of the worst controls I've ever used in a video game (yes Bigfoot for the NES, I'm talking about you). If I didn't mention using your sword to kill most enemies, it has an INCREDIBLY short range of attack and you have to hit enemies in a particular spot or you WILL not kill them.

Fun: I truly wanted to rate this a zero. I should of but I didn't, there is just one TINY glimpse of redemption in this game. It makes you think, as dumb as this game is. You HAVE to hit the locked doors in a certain order or you'll get stuck and die. This is really bad because you get 50 lives and no continue. With over 200 rooms, unless you have everything mapped out this is absolutely DREADFUL. Jumping over spikes and hazards is literally impossible. If you so much as barely touch it with your foot or the rest of your body, you are DEAD. One hit, DEAD. Perhaps if you play this game enough, the fun being you know exactly what doors to hit and you get through very quickly but one mistake can leave you trapped for eternity or until you turn off the console, which the latter is more likely.

I'm honestly not sure what Heather or I saw in this game but it apparently was never there or it was there for a brief moment in 1990. The game is literally a broken mess in every category. This game is just awful bad. It isn't Rambo for the NES bad, it isn't even Bigfoot bad. It's a whole new level below them of badness. Ugh, dreadful. Can't say no more. Suffering over.

33% ~~ F

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PostSubject: Re: Video Game Reviews   Thu Aug 27, 2015 6:56 pm

Batman (NES, 1989)

Graphics: 25/25
Sound: 23/25
Controls: 25/25
Fun: 22/25

Movies based on movies often fail but Batman surprised me as one fantastic (but tough as piss) platformer for the NES.

I'm not fond of superhero/comic based video games, I'll tell you that much. My family can tell you that, my friends can tell you that. Movies of the genre bore the hell out of me. I heard great things about the NES version of Batman however. For years, I put off buying this. I looked and looked but never purchased. For a reasonable deal of $10, I finally decided to give into it. Boy am I glad I got this game.

Graphics: From the beautifully detailed levels to the just as well done cut scenes, the game is gorgeous. It has that dark atmosphere that you'd expect the caped crusader to have in a Batman game but it isn't dark enough to where it impairs your vision. Batman in his 8 bit glory is very detailed as well and has good sprite work to him in action. For a 1989 title, alone NES game.. the graphics are about as good as you'd want or expect from a Batman title.

Sound: Sunsoft often has great soundtracks for their NES games and the soundtrack for Batman is on par and in some cases exceeds this standard. Booming bass beats and just catchy tunes overall make this game fun to play with the volume up. The sound effects in terms of beating up baddies isn't anything special but it doesn't take away anything from the magic of this game. In layman's terms, it is nirvana and bliss to the ear drums.

Controls: The controls in this game are top-notch. The caped man responds well in terms of jumping (though the wall jumping is easy to pick up but takes a lifetime to master) and punching and overall maneuvering is just as responsive as you'd want it to be. Selecting weapons is easy with the 'select' button and you can select while running through the levels, which is very useful.

Fun: Batman is an overall blast to play, everything is done well. As mentioned before wall jumping is essential and you have to master this concept quickly as a lot of the game relies on spot on timing and all of your attention. The lone beef to this game, which isn't honestly much of one, is the game's difficulty level. Timing the jumps throughout the game is crucial to that difficulty as is the brilliant level design that got put into this title. The boss battles are tough and the final confrontation at the end of the fifth level with the Joker is absolutely brutal in terms of difficulty and will require every ounce of gaming skill that you've got. You get several weapons you can use from the batarangs to a gun and also a batarang that works as a 'spray' weapon along with the useful yet basic 'up close and personal punching.'

This game is a must play for any NES or platforming fan. It doesn't follow the storyline from the movie particularly well but the game is such a blast to play that it is hard to notice or hold that lone thing against this title. It goes for about $10-15 dollars which is very reasonable for such a well made game. 8-bit platforming at its best and at one of its highest degrees of difficulty for the NES or for any system in general.

95% ~~ A

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PostSubject: Re: Video Game Reviews   Sat Sep 05, 2015 12:38 am

The Addams Family (Genesis, 1993)

Graphics: 17/25
Sound: 17/25
Controls: 11/25
Fun: 19/25

They're creepy and they're ooky.. but generic as a platformer with some iffy controls.

I can't imagine its easy to turn the Addams family into a video game. With the early 90's cartoon, the original television series from the 1960s and the two movies that revived the franchise in the early 90's. How do you really describe a gothic family that has misadventures and slap it into a game? That's a tough thing to do. With this game, they decided to turn it into a platforming game.

You go around as Gomez Addams and through six themed levels you go through rooms of tricky platforming to save each member of the family who has been kidnapped. These can be great games if done correctly, but this title has some flaws that keep it from being a memorable game or in particular, a good one:

Graphics: The enemies and characters are fairly good looking and decently animated in this game, which is a plus for it. The rest of the graphics, the backgrounds down to the levels themselves are just standard par. The graphics don't try to wow you by any means but they aren't hideous.

Sound: I'll give this game one thing for the Genesis and its sound limitations, the version of the Addams Family theme song on the title screen is well done. It isn't butchered to hell and it doesn't come close to the television or cartoon theme, but enjoyable nonetheless. The rest of the game in the sound department is rather uninspired and doesn't do anything to stand out. Mediocre songs fill the level and the sound effects are the standard fare pops and bleeps. It isn't awful but there could be a heck of a lot better.

Controls: And now for the game's main flaw, its controls. Gomez controls a bit slippery and his movements aren't always responsive. Navigating through tight squeezes can be more of a challenge than it should, to the point where its frustrating. The hit detection is picky at best, some enemies that run into you do no damage and the ones that aren't anywhere near you seem to phantom kill you at the worst spots. Once you get over the less than stellar controls, it isn't too bad but compared to games that have done it better (Mario, Sonic etc.), you'll feel spoiled coming into this one.

Fun: Surprised at why I rated this so high, despite its control faults and mostly mediocre standards? The ability to start at any level you choose through the house. You can hit the levels in any order and achieve the same result in terms of saving the entire family. Mixing up the levels is fun and adds some playability to the Addams Family but this game is far from easy, no thanks to the unresponsive controls. You get a good amount of continues but once you run out of lives you do have to do the level you were halfway through all over again.

Frustrating but fun, its a platforming roller coaster with some mediocre thrills. You could do much better than the Addams Family but you could do much worse too. A toss up on this one.

64% ~~~ D

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PostSubject: Re: Video Game Reviews   Sat Sep 05, 2015 1:13 am

F-Zero (SNES, 1990)

Graphics: 23/25
Sound: 25/25
Controls: 23/25
Fun: 23/25

Fantastic futuristic racer and launch title for the Super Nintendo, proving how far we've really came from 8-bit.

Only so often is there a racing title that can redefine or even help save its entire genre. Sure there were NASCAR games for the NES among other types but none of them could hold a candle to what F-Zero did upon its release and its still massive impact and fan favorite status among video gamers even after 25 years.

Words can't really describe this gem. But what I'll cover below can at least make up for that:

Graphics: Fast and colorful. The tracks are beautifully detailed and the Mode 7 of the SNES only enhances the beauty of F-Zero. The 4 cars you can choose to drive are well detailed as well and still to this day look fantastic with the Mode 7 showing off the sides and fronts of the vehicles. An early front runner showing what the SNES was really capable of in terms of graphical achievements.

Sound: From the sounds of your ride and the others as you pass them down to the fantastic and still one of the most highly regarded soundtracks of all time, it is just bliss to the eardrums. The sound effects that the cars make from jumps and down to their explosive demises, are just perfect. Older games aren't always the best to blast the speakers but this game still sounds fantastic and just as good as it did on its release.

Controls: The cars handle perfectly and the only errors that come from them are from your own ability to drive them. Everything works as tight as it should in a racer.

Fun: With the multiple difficulties and good amount of tracks considering the size of the cartridge, this game has great replay value. An amazing soundtrack that is worth hearing time and time again keeps the value high as well and the game is just superbly made. The only real flaw to this game is no multiplayer but that is hard to hold against a wonderful game as this one still is to this day.

Absolute joy of a game. A must have and play for any SNES fan.

94% ~~~~ A




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PostSubject: Re: Video Game Reviews   Wed Sep 09, 2015 12:00 am

Aladdin (Sega Genesis, 1993)

Graphics: 24/25
Sound: 24/25
Controls: 18/25
Fun: 22/25

A handcrafted Disney game, full of beauty and charm, with a minor blemish of occasional control issues.

Games based on movies nowadays generally get failing reviews due to boring specifics or bad controls or camera problems. There once was a time where movie based games weren't always a failure but a joy to play. Disney animators helped out with Aladdin for the Sega Genesis and its a fun game to play. Allow me to explain:

Graphics: The backgrounds in this game are beautiful and have the same vibrant colors you'd expect from the Aladdin film. I didn't rate this so high just because of that however; the character animation and design throughout the game are expertly done as only Disney animators can do it. From running and jumping down to pants following down when you hit the guards with apples, the amount of work that went into all this is just breathtaking even all these years later. The boss battles are very nice looking as well, their characters too are highly animated and perfectly crafted. A charming game to look at, appealing to the eye.

Sound: The Genesis, despite its sound limitations, does an excellent job with the Aladdin soundtrack and keeps it in sync with the game and it never seems out of place where your going. The 'escape' theme after you grab the magic lamp is frantic and gives you a sense of panic and the Cave of Wonders music is mystifying. The sound effects are great as well, with Aladdin making a frustrated noise when he gets hit and even down to Abu, his voice actor performing all his effects as well. You could play this game with the sound blasted and not be offended to mute or turn it way down.

Controls: The real lone fault in this game is occasional control problems, most of them reminiscent of platformer games of its era. Bricks that go in and out along the walls in the Dungeon level at times require spot on timing, a few bricks go through the liberty where if you don't land on it on the right exact spot you'll fall through it. I'm not naming names here of this example of gameplay (just kidding.. Wayne's World for the SNES) but it does take some of the functionality away at certain points. Otherwise, the controls are responsive and suffer no other issues with delays.

Fun: I'll say this right now, if you think Aladdin is a children's game then looks are deceptive. Tricky but well put together levels that in many spots require strong reflexes and the ability to time and see where you have to jump on the run at times, particularly during 'The Escape' level. Despite being tricky and a bit of a toughie, Aladdin is a blast of a game that will lose you in its gorgeous soundtrack and graphics but keep you on your toes on a regular basis.

This game has enough for both kids and adults to enjoy, not to forget those Disney fanatics. Well made game and I highly recommend it for any Genesis collector or fan.

88% ~~~ B+

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PostSubject: Re: Video Game Reviews   Sat Sep 12, 2015 1:38 am

The Lion King (Sega Genesis, 1994)

Graphics: 24/25
Sound: 25/25
Controls: 20/25
Fun: 22/25

Another great Disney game, much like its predecessor Aladdin, but with improved controls.

I pretty much covered the general craftsmanship of video games based on movies in my Aladdin review, which if you haven't read I highly suggest you do. The Lion King is just as good as Aladdin on most levels but is actually tightened up a notch. I'll explain below:

Graphics: The backgrounds are colorful and vibrant and do a great job representing the Lion King film. The animation, as in the Aladdin entry, was done by the Disney animators, so Simba runs around, leaps and tumbles and looks fantastic doing it. The hyenas are superbly done as well and look great in their 16 bit glory. All in all, very well done and beautifully crafted.

Sound: The soundtrack from the movie is well ported into the Sega Genesis, despite the sound limitations of the system. 'I Can't Wait To Be King' is particularly well done and 'Elephant Graveyard' is suitably eerie and dark as the place was in the film. Simba has digitized speech from the movie, saying "Cool" every time you pick up a 1up or an item of great significance. Timon sounds great in the opening sequence telling you the story "starts" as does the rest of the characters in this title. Very, very nicely done.

Controls: Everything here is solid and responsive. Tricky parts require spot on timing and unlike Aladdin, you aren't prone to going through solid platforms. My lone gripe is when you leap on an enemy and stun them. Some like the hyenas if you are anywhere near them when they are stunned you lose health. This could of used some improvements but isn't a real nag.

Fun: Well designed levels keep you on your toes and a lot of the jumps require perfect timing that can be acquired through practice and repetition. I suppose after you play this enough times you get all the jumps down but that doesn't take away from the fact that this is a very fun game to play and it isn't just for kids but also provides a fine challenge for the older audience.

It is a fairly difficult platformer with many levels despite cartridge size limits and is another must play or buy for the Sega Genesis. Disney does it once again, a prime example of a movie based game done right. It also follows the movie very well in its stage order, might I add.

91% ~~~ A-

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PostSubject: Re: Video Game Reviews   Mon Sep 21, 2015 11:58 pm

Contra Hard Corps (Sega Genesis, 1994)

Graphics: 18/25
Sound: 23/25
Controls: 24/25
Fun: 25/25

The lone Contra entry for the Sega Genesis does the historic franchise proud in a unique sort of way.

Everyone who doesn't live under a rock is familiar with the ol' Contra series. The Nintendo entries in particular, are known for their frantic run and gun, multi sequence boss fights and of course their difficulty. This solo entry for the Genesis is no different:

Graphics: It isn't the most pretty game in the world but they get the job done and don't interfere with the gameplay. The texturing on scrolling levels is sub par and sorely misses the ability of Mode 6 from the SNES console. Bosses and enemies are well detailed however as are the four characters that you choose from. The cutscenes with the general barking you orders before each mission is also nicely done and adds an appropriate tone to the game. Backgrounds are bland but solid.

Sound: Now that we've got all the games flaws out of the way, the first of many strengths is the sound in this game, particularly the soundtrack. The music is frantic and fast paced, keeping up with the appropriate action scenes and all the madness on screen. Boss fight music varies and is also tense, adding to the moment. The sound effects are on par of Contra 3 for the SNES, also fitting in well with the environment. The only gripe I have, if any, is the sub par voice work when you choose a character but then the Sega sound hardware is only capable of so much and it does about as well as any other title in the library.

Controls: The characters handle top notch and move in every direction and fire in every direction freely. Any mistake made is made on your end. Switching between weapons is easy with the A button and can be done easily on the run amidst gun fire. Climbing up walls in certain areas is nothing frustrating and works just fine. The B button fires and C jumps, which doesn't feel un-natural surprisingly.

Fun: There is a lot to be had in this game in terms of variety and playability. Kudos to Konami for providing the game with an excellent storyline to follow along with the ability to choose where you want to go after certain boss fights. Due to this, there are multiple endings to achieve and really extend the life of this title. Also each character you can control (two humans, a werewolf and a robot) have various strengths and weaknesses in terms of jumping and speed and their weapons also have strengths over another. This really can decide on what character to pick for a level once you die. I have to warn you here though, that this game's difficulty is mostly in the learning curve. Timing and learning how to use each character is an absolute must and can require multiple plays to really get things down.  

Contra Hard Corps is a rare combination of the traditional Contra games that fans have came to love but offers unique and fun twists such as the various endings and excellent character design and weapon choices. One of the best action games for the Genesis, hands down.

90% ~~~ A-

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PostSubject: Re: Video Game Reviews   Wed Oct 07, 2015 12:10 am

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Sega Genesis, 1992)

Graphics: 25/25
Sound: 23/25
Controls: 25/25
Fun: 22/25

A prime example of how a sequel should be made, Sonic 2 improves on every level from its 1st entry.

Everybody here is most likely aware of the old Mario vs. Sonic rivalry that was going on in the early 90s. Mario was Nintendo's mascot and Sonic was Sega's. Both of them are storied franchises to each company and back in the day, even Sega and Nintendo were busy taking shots at each other with their 16-bit systems. You were either a Sega kid or a Nintendo kid.. I only owned Nintendo systems. When I went to play this at my friends house back in my childhood years, this game just blew me away. It was a whole 'nother world for me. I'll explain this epic the best I can below:

Graphics: The original Sonic the Hedgehog game was fast and a marvel to look at during its time of release. Sonic 2 takes the original game and just blows it out of the water in terms of what's going on. The backgrounds to each level are luscious, colorful and full of life, the character animation is as good as you'll see along with their design and the super charged Sega Genesis does not disappoint. Sonic just flies through the screen in a blur and the rest of the game flies along with him. The bonus levels in which you grab the Chaos Emerald are jaw dropping with the system's power and the Casino Night level is an absolute treat that dazzles the taste buds of your pupils.  A flawless game in the graphics department.

Sound: The first game had a memorable sound track and Sonic 2 is no different. Wonderful music for each level you go through and they are appropriate to the atmosphere of each one and is still a joy to blast through your sound system. The sound effects however aren't too special, but this doesn't dock much from the experience.

Controls: Sonic and Tails both handle perfectly, any error that's made is on your end. Nothing in this game feels loose or flawed in terms of handling and it plays very well for that fact.

Fun: Kicking this off, I want to say that the addition of Tails is a brilliant addition to Sonic. He can fly with his tails which can be very helpful, though computer controlled he is mostly just a nuisance. The second player controlling him however, can make this game a much more enjoyable one and even an easier one.

Second thing I'd like to say is that the level design in this game is pure genius. It is LOADED with secrets in every level and the boss battles have great variation and obstacles inserted into each one that you have to deal with.

Third thing that I want to get out in the open, is a good vs. bad thing. The great thing about this game, is that it gradually builds up a challenge through level design and enemy placement. The bad thing is, that the final two levels (Metropolis and the final Plane Level that leads to Dr. Robotnik (yes, I said ROBOTNIK. Not Egg Man.) can be very cruel and require expert timing and the most of your platforming skills. This might feel very unfair to some and to others such as myself, keeps me playing this game time after time to see how much quicker I can blast through the hard parts. All in all, this game is a blast to play.

Sonic the Hedgehog to the Sega is what Super Mario is to the Nintendo. I really can't say enough, they are both excellent platforming titles and are top of the line examples of how to make a timeless and fantastic video game. If you liked the first Sonic, I insist that you play this game. If you have never picked up a Sonic game in your life, this might be the best introduction to the series that you'll ever find. Highly recommended and very cheap to purchase.

95% A ~~~~

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PostSubject: Re: Video Game Reviews   Mon Oct 19, 2015 11:28 pm

Destruction Derby 2 (Playstation 1, 1996)

Graphics: 12/25
Sound: 20/25
Controls: 21/25
Fun: 18/25

An action packed demolition smash em' up racer with some glaring flaws.

It isn't often that sequels better out their predecessor, in movies or video games. They're often running dry in the well in terms of ideas and ways to improve things. Very few sequels are done right, Mortal Kombat II is one of my personal favorites and perhaps the best example that gamers use.

The original Destruction Derby, also released by Psygnosis was a fun game that was held back by its very limited physics. Otherwise, it was enjoyable. Destruction Derby 2 throws all physics out the window and majorly upped the fun factor. There's three modes to get your destruction on, with Wrecking Race (you get points for hitting and wrecking out other cars), Stock Car (basic stock car racing with the standard points system) and Destruction Derby (demolition derby ring action). Does this sound fantastic so far? Great, but there are some problems with this one:

Graphics: This game is far from the prettiest game for the Playstation library. Understandable for being an early PS1 title but there are much better looking for that era. The track tends to break up a little bit, the walls that surround the track along with the audience and skies are pixelated beyond belief and the game suffers from major graphic pop up. The cars in the game are decent looking and you can tell most of the drivers clearly from their numbers. One nice touch though is that car hoods go flying from damage as does your trunk. Tires flying off the cars is a nice touch as are the sparks that come flying from the missing tires. Kudos also to the lights that line the track at Liberty City.

Sound: One thing I can't bash this game on is its soundtrack. I know some people aren't metal heads but I for one enjoy a great metal soundtrack and Destruction Derby 2 does not fail on that. It's heavy, fast and appropriate for all the carnage going on. The sound effects from the engines roaring, to the impact of the smashes and huge crashes that the cars take on down to the announcer really help get you lost into the game and are well done.

Controls: Depending on the difficulty level car you choose (Rookie, Novice and Pro), this can make your game a breeze to go through or handle like a barefoot man on an ice sheet. This doesn't dock points for me or steal any of its charm, it actually prolongs the game's playability. Controls overall are tight and well done.

Fun: Here is a mixed bag. In terms of nonsensical fun and frantic smash em' ups, Destruction Derby 2 is one of the bests in the genre, even today. The unforgivable parts that can be difficult to deal with is often its difficulty. Particularly in the higher ranks as you go through Wrecking Race mode, the points that are needed to win each event are more and more scarcely thrown in, which can make winning the final division about impossible. Divisions 2 through 4 are quite generous in points but Division 1 as I mentioned is frustratingly bad in points distribution.
Also another flaw is the graphical glitches. You can at times go through other vehicles when lining up for a huge hit and so often it can cost you major points that you are aiming for. I've also noticed that once in a while, a track will come up very very glitched out. It's still playable on the surface but on every version of this game I've played over the past 15 years, I have this problem here and there. I'm not sure why it does this, but it can become irritating.
Also, multiplayer is a disappointment. It sorely lacks from a split screen mode for its multiplayer, instead making players each take turns and see who gets higher points.

If this game sounds like a mixed bag of tricks and wishy washy, it depends on your taste in racing games. So for some, it pretty much is mixed. For every ounce of fun to be had in Destruction Derby 2, there is an ounce of frustration that shouldn't be there. This game is a blast to play but for a more complete package of this franchise, I suggest you get Destruction Derby Raw for the PS1.

71% ~~~ C-

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PostSubject: Re: Video Game Reviews   Sat Oct 24, 2015 4:18 pm

Future Cop L.A.P.D. (Playstation 1, 1998)

Graphics: 23/25
Sound: 24/25
Controls: 22/25
Fun: 25/25

An action packed shooter + a solid pinch of strategy = an underrated gem.

Welcome to 2098, rookie. Your mission is to defeat the crime lords and drug lords who have taken over future Los Angeles. With your 'mech' and a solid choice of 15 loadable weapons at your disposal, take them down and restore peace to the hell ridded area that was once the City of Angels.

Future Cop L.A.P.D. sold poorly around its release (a little over 200,000 copies) but got strong reviews. There's a lot of things to cover about this undersold gem, let's get started:

Graphics: There's a lot going on in this game and for a 1998 PSOne release, the graphics are about as good as they get. Enemies and bosses are nicely detailed, the explosions are as fantastic as is the 'mech' that you control. The textures on the water are quite nice and the night time effect added to some levels is very fitting and very well done also. The gun fire, particularly from the Precinct Assault, is well detailed and it really shows that EA put a lot of effort into this game. The cut-scenes are beautiful also. May I add, that despite the frantic gameplay in Precinct Assault, no SLOWDOWN. The graphics in this game are dark and appropriate to the atmosphere that is brought off.

Sound: The sound effects in here are high quality stuff from all the weapons that are fired (and fired at you). The voice acting is solid and fits the dark and frantic gameplay. The game also boasts a killer soundtrack which isn't annoying to the point that it needs to be muted, it just adds that right spice to the atmosphere.

Controls: The 'mech' handles very well though I do suggest that you transform into your hovercraft form if you want to get somewhere quickly. The top buttons that require you to transform work very smoothly and firing your weapons is very easy. With the three starter weapons mapped to your main four action buttons on the controller, there's no worry about having to switch between guns.. it all happens smooth as a baby's bottom.
My lone complaint (which doesn't hold anything against the game) is that some areas require a bit more effort on your end to get to, especially in the Precinct Assault mode. With the ability to 'jink' (moves you from left to right) you can navigate through tight corridors and easily dodge gun fire while blasting away with your own. The targeting system is activated with a click of the top button and works very well.

Fun: Now to get to where Future Cop really stands out, its multiplayer. Precinct Assault is a strategy based two player game where you go overtaking gun turrets and outposts to leave your opponent overwhelmed. If you have a second player, you go against another 'mech' and in single player you go against the Sky Captain. The whole purpose of this is to get your tanks inside the enemy base (points for this are earned by overtaking turrets, blowing up your opponents tanks and planes and your opponent themselves). Against Sky Captain, this is very easy to do and begins to really pick up in difficulty around level 5. Weapon powerups and health are galore each of the 4 levels and each level is differently designed from the other to keep that variety fresh. This mode can create hours upon hours of long, intense battles.
The story/campaign mode, considering I don't really enjoy most games modes as of that, is very satisfying with multi tier boss battles and filled with multiple objections to complete and plenty of baddies to blow up. There are no save checkpoints in each level, so stock up on your health and keep your weapons full (there are refuel stations throughout). Co-op is split screen and doesn't suffer from any slowdown. The lone flaw to the co-op in Story is that you share one health meter, so this often means you need to watch each other's backs and know where your going. The map you have on your screen is very helpful in directing you, so that shouldn't be a problem. There's plenty of missions to go through and three difficulty levels to try (Easy, Normal, Hard) so you can always jack it up and keep your eyes and fingers busy. Overall, this game is simply a blast no matter what mode you choose and there's a TON of playability in it.

If you're lucky to get your hands on this rare gem (it goes for about $25 with its case and instructions) then you are in for a good time if you only have yourself or if you have friends, this game is just a joy to play and should be a favorite in your library for years to come. Keep blasting away and good luck rookie.

94% ~~~ A

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PostSubject: Re: Video Game Reviews   Sun Oct 25, 2015 2:06 pm

Bigfoot (NES, 1990)

Graphics: 12/25
Sound: 10/25
Controls: 2/25
Fun: 1/25

Want your Monster Truck fix on the NES? Look elsewhere.

This really doesn't deserve much of an explanation but unless you live under a rock I'll just describe it as simple as I can. Bigfoot is one of the most famous monster trucks in the world and in case you're really that oblivious, they do mud rallies and jump on and crush old cars in drag style races. But if you clicked on this review, you obviously didn't need me to tell you that.

There are some solid racer games for the NES. R.C. Pro-Am, Ironman's Off Road and Super Sprint come to mind. There also games that are absolutely disastrous, Bigfoot is one of those disasters. Much like games as in Castlequest, these disasters are often unplayable and hold no redeeming value. I'll explain this dishonorable mention of a game below:

Graphics: I'll start with the upside on the graphics. The trucks are nicely detailed in the game and on the title screen, I'll give the game that much credit. The level designs however, are a pixelated and jumbled mess. The overhead views of the rally races is just a diarrhea mess of dark browns, greens (supposed to be trees and bushes) and poorly placed jumps and fences. The side view for the drag races, the scenery is a pixelated mess and the roads are boring as heck with no effort put into them. This game is wishy washy in the graphics area, at best.

Sound: Bigfoot consists of ear piercing sound effects, from item pick up to the trucks themselves. The voice overs before each race is nicely done however. There's two songs in this game, the title screen and some boring little tune before the rally race starts. That's it, literally.

Controls: Did I say controls? There is literally no responsiveness in the controls in this game, besides your B and A buttons, which in this game's case literally amounts to nothing besides using a item or switching gears in the drag races. Left and right works decent in the rally runs, but I'm getting into some real screwed up crap now. Guess what runs the truck in the drag races? Did you think B? Wrong. A button? Nope. It's the left and right arrow on your directional pad. I shat you not. Get this, if you do it too fast you damage your engine or gearbox and its curtains for you. Do it too slow and the computer opponent smokes you and he literally has no problems running these races. That is some Grade A dickery right there.

Fun:Besides maybe that small pinch of value just to see what lies in the various locations you race through next, there is no fun to be had in Bigfoot. Simply put, this racing game is a jumbled mess of butt and there's nothing redeemable about it.

The crazy thing is that I found people reviewing Bigfoot saying its a blast and the controls are responsive. Someone must of beaten those guys as children or they drowned out their eyes and ears with sulfuric acid before playing. Bigfoot might have a worse rating than Castlequest, but ultimately choosing which of these games are the worst of the bunch is like telling a turd apart from another turd. It's still a turd and this game is an enormous one.

25% ~~~ F

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PostSubject: Re: Video Game Reviews   Sat Oct 31, 2015 3:13 am

Who Framed Roger Rabbit (NES, 1989)

Graphics: 15/25
Sound: 12/25
Controls: 7/25
Fun: 2/25

Don't worry about this game being framed for being fun because there is no fun to be had.

I've talked about video games based on movies a few times in previous reviews and I mentioned that most of those games aren't too great. Who Framed Roger Rabbit is one of those games.

In case you live under a rock, Who Framed Roger Rabbit was a film released in 1988 that was a mixture of live action and cartoon animation and revolved around detective Eddie Valient who is attempting to solve the murder of a man named Acme which Roger Rabbit, a toon, is originally accused of murdering him by dropping a safe on his head. Everything gets tracked back to the villain Judge Doom and Eddie Valient with the help of the toons finds out that Doom killed Eddie's brother years back and is actually a toon himself. But why am I telling you about the movie? I'll just get into this trainwreck of a video game.

Graphics: Remember the old Eastwood film The Good, The Bad and The Ugly? The graphics fall in a similar category. Allow me to explain.
The good -- Roger Rabbit, the toon weasels and most of the characters in this game are nicely detailed. Even Benny the Cab is nicely done in the overhead driving stages.
The bad -- The overhead map. Though the mountains and small details look great, the buildings that you need to search through have no distinguishing marks and look plain as mud. The roads are just a boring solid gray too.
The ugly -- Hidden pitfalls. I'm assuming you need to find some kind of oil lamp in the game to go through the cave towards the top of the opening map but unless you know this, you die as soon as you move through the cave into a hole that can't be seen because of the total darkness. It's a cruel and senseless death.

Sound: There's really not a whole lot to say. You have three songs that loop and are just standard fare at best and the sound effects are nothing special either. The music when Eddie Valient dies is annoying and you'll hear it a lot.

Controls: Now we get to the decomposing bodies of the train wreck that is Roger Rabbit, the horrid control scheme. To switch to an item that you've picked up, you literally have to push select and 'A', I shat you not. This can be a nuisance when you've encountered the weasels and Judge Doom later on and cause deaths that are just BS. The same with answering the riddles when Roger gets caught by the weasels during the game, you have to know the button combination to cycle through all your answers until you find the correct one. There's a time limit too on this, mind you and a very short one. It is just a monotonous nightmare.
It gets even worse from here, I kid you not. The driving stages when you are in the overhead mode with Benny are perhaps the worst controls ever in a driving game.. and I mean this is close to Bigfoot bad but not quite. It's like driving on an ice sheet and good luck steering, it takes a world of effort just to do that and can get you in a lot of trouble. Moving left and right in this game works okay but the rest of the problems in this department just maul any good that could of been.

Fun: There is no joy to be had from this game. Unless you happen to have the original manuals or relying on some sort of long play to get you through all the items and their locations, it is just a matter of going into a building, asking a tenant if there's anything in the building and then searching every nook and cranny when they tell you there is something in the building for you. If they say the building is empty, you've just wasted your breath.. and trust me, there are a LOT of empty buildings. It's also hard to tell what each item is used for and by the time you get a chance to use them, you're stuck in a battle and have only a short time to react and go through the cryptic controls. The final fight with Judge Doom is also impossible, none of your items affects the man and he will just walk over you and pummel the tar out of you. The only sense of fun (I put this mildly) that you could get from the game is seeing what the ending is to it if your willing to go through all the torture this crappy title throws in your way.

This game is just a monotonous pile of crap with no real rhyme or reason to be played. Add in the broken controls and so so sound and you've got a diarrhea milkshake mixed with vomit. AVGN might want to sue me over that reference but he has one thing right about this game, it's crap and not worth the time of day.

36% ~~~ F





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PostSubject: Re: Video Game Reviews   Sun Nov 01, 2015 2:41 am

Golf (NES, 1984)

Graphics: 18/25
Sound: 17/25
Controls: 20/25
Fun: 18/25

Wanna get your golf game on without the bells and whistles? This might just do it.

There's a pretty decent selection of golf games for the NES and this game was the first in line in terms of the golfing genre for it. There's not much to really explain about this game, it is relatively cut and dry:

Graphics: The golfers that you control are nicely detailed for the time and are believable and the golf course that is shown on the right side of the screen is actually nicely detailed, with water being well defined and the OB sections layered off with trees and a black background that is pretty much nothingness. The golf ball is just a white dot, which is acceptable for how early in the NES's lifespan this was. The greens are well done as well with triangles helping you decide where the grooves are so you can line up that perfect shot.

Sound: There is little to no music in this game and the sound effects are serviceable. You get a splash sound for hitting balls into the drink and a loud thunk to let you know you hit it in the sand traps. The sound it makes when you hit the ball OB is a basic beeping sound and is clear enough to let you know its not a good thing that you hit it there.

Controls: Everything in the control department is solid. You hit the button once to determine the power of your swing and a second time to get in the white accuracy portion or as close to it as you can. It's easy to switch through clubs but my only gripe in the controls is that you don't have full freedom in the direction you want to go in terms of shots. On the green you can go left and right to determine the grain but outside that the arrows pointing in the direction that you want to go can be slightly limited. It doesn't really take much from the game but can add a bit of a challenge that doesn't really need to be there.

Fun: In terms of excitement, Golf offers a one or two player stroke match mode in which you compete for the best score. You have a full arsenal of irons and woods, along with the pitching woods and your putter to navigate the courses. The power/accuracy meter used in Golf is now a mainstay in modern golf titles and this game was the first to make usage of it. The fun in this game really lies in just competing and deciding how much power needs to be added or removed from each swing to keep your scores low. Overall, it is solid and can provide some fun moments.

For an early 'Black Box' title in the NES library, you can't go wrong with Golf. It's just basic, honest, all goodness golf. It doesn't really stand out among the crowd and isn't much to look at now, but for its time in the gaming industry you couldn't do worse or go wrong with this one. Check it out.

73% ~~~ C

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PostSubject: Re: Video Game Reviews   Wed Nov 04, 2015 11:53 pm

Twisted Metal Head-On: Extra Twisted Edition (Playstation 2, 2008)

Graphics: 19/25
Sound: 18/25
Controls: 24/25
Fun: 22/25

Finally, a true sequel to Twisted Metal 2. A pretty darn good one.

If you know (or live under a rock and didn't know), Twisted Metal is a vehicular combat franchise that got its big kicks back on the old PS1 with its first 4 entries. You go around blowing up the other contestants with a wide variety of weapons (homing missles, napalm, environmental), kill off the bosses in each stage and make your way as CHAMP of the Twisted Metal tournament hosted by that bastard Calypso.

The first two games are highly renounced as classics by most game enthusiasts while the Twisted Metal III.. well lets not even discuss that. Twisted Metal 4 was a major improvement over III but still had a long way to go back to its old glory. Twisted Metal Black was a successful return but had a difficulty level that is brutal beyond belief. However, I've just recently got my paws on Twisted Metal Head-On, the port of the PSP version put onto the PS2. I'll discuss it now:

Graphics: First, let me get to the good points in the graphics department. The car models look fantastic, the damage they take looks fantastic as well. The levels are superbly detailed down to the last crack on the road. The explosions are fair enough (though the PS1 games had it down better with the opponents blood curdling scream) and the explosions from the weapons are very good.
Now the bad.. when your car catches fire, it looks more like flames from an older PS1 game than a PS2 generation game. To me, that is a major letdown. The explosions, while I mentioned being 'fair', feel like a step down from the PS1 games and even down a notch from Twisted Metal Black. All in all, the graphics are solid.

Sound: The music in this game is pretty good and appropriate for each level that you go through, whether it be through Egypt or Russia.. it has the general atmosphere down. The sound effects themselves from the machine gun fire to the explosion of your Napalm launcher, are satisfactory.
My only beef on the sound in this title, and I docked it quite a bit for it due to perhaps me being a Rob Zombie fan.. is the lack of Zombie's music in the game. Twisted Metal III and 4 are chockfull of great Zombie tunes, this game it was noticeably absent. Yawn.

Controls: In terms of how the game handles, everything handles top notch and even lets you switch control modes. If you're used to the Analog driving style from the first two games of the series, that is the default. If you prefer the controls from Twisted Metal 4, you can switch to the old 'Run-n-Gun'. I was very satisfied to see that they brought all this in and it really adds appeal to the game for fans of both sides of the Twisted Metal spectrum. Even the wonky physics from Twisted Metal 4 have been eliminated, which is a blessing.

Fun:If unlocking items and drivers is your favorite part of the old Twisted Metal formula, Head-On has a buttload of unlockable boss drivers and even returns of drivers from Twisted Metal past like Axel, Thumper and Grasshopper. With a wide variety of tracks to cause mayhem in and mini games (blowing up helicopters, demolition derbies against taxicabs, etc.) that unlock even more content, this game is an absolute gift basket for the Twisted Metal fan.
The difficulty level of this game on default is MUCH more reasonable than Twisted Metal Black and is on par with Twisted Metal 4 and the rest of the series. Some of the bosses are multi-tier, which is a welcome addition but at times a frustrating one. You can't create a car as you could in Twisted Metal 4 (please TM, we BEG you to bring that back) so that takes a little bit of the fun out of this game, but I really can't hold that against it too much considering how much there is to really do in this game.

All in all, Head-On is that sequel we wanted to Twisted Metal 2 all those years ago as fans and it does not disappoint even from its port off the PSP. While I prefer Twisted Metal 4 a little more over this game, Head-On may as well be the better package in terms of presentation and quality. Our savior as Twisted Metal junkies and a great game for those new to the series, to see the vehicular combat genre at its best. Good times.

83% ~~~ B

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PostSubject: Re: Video Game Reviews   Mon Dec 07, 2015 9:21 pm

Gex (Playstation 1, 1995)


Attaaack of the Killer Tomatoes..

Graphics: 25/25
Sound: 21/25
Controls: 22/25
Fun: 23/25

One of the best side scrollin' platformers for the PS1 (yes Crash Bandicoot fans, come at me).

Oh, Gex.. you had such a short lifespan as a character. You produced three games and quickly vanished off the map after a short 5 years. I'm not going to get mushy with this, so I may as well go forth.

Essentially for those who are not aware, Gex is a wisebutt gecko that is a MAJOR couch potato. He moves to Maui, Florida, to escape his parents desperate attempts to lure him away from his addiction to TV. He's enjoying his favorite snacks and catching some 'tube' on the world's biggest flat screen.. he eats the casual fly like any gecko would.. but little does he know, this fly is a device created by the evil cyber genius Rez. The hand of Rez pulls Gex through the TV screen and into a world of television based levels. Rez plans on making Gex his mascot and with intentions of using Gex to rule the world.

So what went wrong with the Gex franchise? Pressure to keep up with Super Mario 64 perhaps or the soon to be come giant Spyro the Dragon franchise pushed it into a 3D platformer that lost the elements that made the first game in the franchise such an under rated gem. I'll explain this overlooked and fabulous game below:

Graphics: The game looks fantastic for a 1995 PS1 release. The character animations and models throughout the game are fantastic, creative bad guy designs and the levels are detailed appropriately for each set of worlds. The Cemetery world is dark and gives off that whole horror persona wonderfully, New Toonland is you guessed it.. cartoony and Jungle Isle and Kung Fuville (martial arts motion pictures theme) are also nicely done from the backgrounds to the platforms and obstacles you travel through. The static windows that open up (think warp pipes in Super Mario Bros.) lead to bonus screens and extra lives and golden flies (think coins from SMB) that add up for an extra guy.

Sound: Before you bash the lower score I gave for the sound, let me explain what I'm trying to come across. First of all, the good things about this department is the excellent soundtrack for each world. They fit the looks of the level nicely and is catchy without becoming the victim of the mute button. The sound effects the standard whip sounds of Gex's tail and fireballs flying through the air and are relatively cartoony, which actually adds to the game rather nicely.
Here's my main beef in terms of sound in this game, though I don't see it as much of one. It may get old on the audiences that don't get it, but Gex spouts off a LOT of one-liners (over 300 in this game to be exact) about snarky remarks about SNL, old television shoes like Rhoda and Full House and figures like Shaggy from Scooby-Doo and Rick James. The thought of these 300+ catch phrases may be worth hearing, but Gex talks and he talks constantly. Of course, the voice of Gex is provided by stand up comedian Dana Gould, most known for being a writer on The Ben Stiller Show and acting as a writer and producer for The Simpsons for seven seasons. His snarky tone, depending on your taste, will either keep you entertained or just make you want to scratch and scream for that mute button.

Controls: Everything is responsive in this game and even the tight sections that require precision in the game don't feel too stiff or too loose. My lone gripe is having to hit 'select' every time you open up a new stage with the remotes you collect from the previous stage, it takes a wee bit of time to get used to. Running, you hold 'L1' and move left or right with the control pad, can also take a little bit of getting used to.

Fun: There's a lot of great things to behold in Gex's debut in the franchise. The levels are multi-tier and are very complex, requiring quick fingers and the right touch to make it over and onto jumps and around hazards such as spikes or green ooze. The characters, as I mentioned in the graphics section, are unique and creative and don't feel like a direct rip off from another game series. Getting all the remotes in order to pass each stage is challenging and requires a bit of the thinking cap and there are plenty of secrets to hunt for on each stage, if you think creatively enough. Also, a gecko that can climb walls and ceilings really adds another dimension to the platforming genre, and Gex does it well here. The later levels in each of the four worlds aren't for the rookie platformin' gamers, this game tests the veterans as well with its mentioned complexity and massive levels to explore.
The power-ups vary from extra health (giving you up to five hits before dying), the ice and fire breath to defeat enemies with and the tornado that acts much like the starman from the SMB series, taking out enemies. There's also one that makes Gex blurry and elusive, giving him added speed (think Sonic the Hedgehog).

I've probably gone on a bit more than I should, but it covers so much of what this under rated classic has to behold. It also makes you wonder what really could of been with this franchise if they had done at least one more game in the 2D side-scrolling manner such as this first entry. Also something of note, this game got released on several consoles which include the 3DO (where the game itself made its big debut) and on the Sega Saturn and later to PC. I really wanted to pass this off as a mediocre title, years ago upon my first attempt at playing it I most likely did.. but revisiting this game after so many years, I finally realize the genius that the first Gex game really had. It's an addictive platforming title that leaves you asking for more.. which someday I hope we finally do get that proper sequel.

91% ~~~ A-

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PostSubject: Re: Video Game Reviews   Sun Dec 13, 2015 2:37 pm

NHL Faceoff '98 (Playstation 1, 1997)

Graphics: 15/25
Sound: 17/25
Controls: 15/25
Fun: 15/25

An average hockey game, from an average franchise, with wonky controls.

I don't review a lot of sports titles. I'm sure some rabid fan will disagree with this, but most sports games are rehashes of something from a year before it. Sometimes they'll add something to spice up the game a tad but more often than not, its more of the same old thing but with some different faces. NHL Faceoff, pretty much falls in this category but it has some serious faults that take a lot of fun out of it.

In terms of going in depth about the Faceoff franchise itself, there isn't a lot to say. The first game came out for the PS1 back in 1995 and the final game of the franchise popped out for the PS2 in 2002. I'll now go into describing this title from the franchise:

Graphics: To say the least, muddy. I know early titles for the PS1 didn't have the greatest of graphics and this game looks like it came out around the launch. Being this came out well two years after that, that really describes it. The ice is grainy, the players are rather blocky and hardly resemble human beings and if it wasn't for the name under the guy your controlling, you wouldn't be able to read them out from the back of their jersey. The menus in this game are rather bulky as well and look like a rather amateur effort. It's uninspiring and more often than not, it gets in the way.

Sound: Perhaps this game's strongest point is the atmosphere on the ice rink. The crowd sounds work in nicely, the sounds of players bouncing off the boards and skating across the ice are all there and slap shots are nice and loud like you'd expect them to be. The soundtrack on the menus outside the game are solid but far from memorable.

Controls: Unresponsive is a good way to put controls in this one. Passing is delayed and can cost you many opportunities to score, wrist shots are almost non-existent in terms of power behind them and unless you have nobody around your player for miles upon miles, you won't get that slapshot off as it requires a few seconds to wind up. Also, moving players around the ice feels incredibly stiff and lacks the precision to make all the jukes and quick moves that you need to make, resulting in lost scoring opportunities as well.
Fighting in this game is a mess and a matter of pure luck. There's loads of things on the screen but no indication to what they are or how they work. I like hockey games due to fighting and this game not only struggles to get the basics right, the fights are just boring as hell with basic punches. Even Blades of Steel for the NES had more excitement than this.

Fun: You'll notice I really didn't say anything fun about this title and that's because there simply isn't any fun to be had. This isn't even much of a hockey simulation, it feels mostly arcadey with bad controls and sound that just barely keeps its head above water. If this game was aiming towards the arcade genre, I'd understand but it clearly doesn't even do that. Perhaps the most fun to be had in this one is the 'create a player' mode, where you can make yourself as tall/short, fat/thin and as fast and strong of a shooter as you'd like. You can also release players from teams and pretty much slap your own together, which I suppose could a be exciting for a short amount of time.

I bought this game in hopes that it was as fun as I remembered it being 15 years ago and NHL Faceoff '98 has aged badly. This really says a lot when games like NHL '94 for the Genesis have more to bring to the table and more to love. Stick with NHL '94 for that hockey fix, you won't find it in this dud.

62% ~~~ D-

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PostSubject: Re: Video Game Reviews   Sat Dec 19, 2015 2:28 pm

Joust (Atari 7800, 1984)



Graphics: 22/25
Sound: 20/25
Controls: 20/25
Fun: 25/25

An excellent port of one of the 80's greatest arcade titles.

Anybody that grew up in the arcades in the early 80's knows exactly what Joust is. Joust is one of the best and challenging arcade games that was produced in 1982 around the arcade's peak of popularity. Basically in this game, you are mounted on a giant bird with you controlling the jouster that sits upon it. You go around the screen with your lance and the purpose is to take your enemy jousters out with a head shot with the lower body of your bird (literally you kill them with the bird's butt, funny enough in itself). Once they're defeated, they turn into eggs and you pick up all the eggs for points before the phoenix comes on screen and kills you for taking too much time to clear the level.

There are literally hundreds of ports of this classic game out there these days and the Atari 2600 is the first one most people think of in terms of its earliest release. Today, I'm reviewing the port that came out for the Atari 7800, a system that isn't well known and didn't have much of a lifespan. It's a shame it didn't last long, because it had excellent arcade ports that often beat out its competitors like the NES in terms of its presentation and better graphic quality. This game is another one of those excellent ports, allow me to explain:

Graphics: One of this game's strong points is its graphics. The character detail is almost perfect in line with the arcade version and is very well done for an 8-bit system The enemy jousters look great, the phoenix looks about as detailed as it is in its arcade form as well. The eggs look like eggs and the platforms and lava have nice detail to them as well. Very faithful to the arcade version.

Sound: The Atari 7800 didn't have the greatest sound hardware in the world, mostly due to originally planning to be a 1984 release and due to its backwards compatibility with 2600 titles. However, the sound in Joust is rather impressive. Walking sounds of your bird on land is in tune with the arcade version and the flapping is just about as spot on. Picking up eggs and running into platforms has a nice echoing effect to it as well.
My only gripe and this isn't really much of one at all, is the skidding sound when you try to get your bird to a stop. It sounds a little underwhelming but then with the hardware limitations for the system, there's nothing that can be done.

Controls: Everything in this game for the most part is responsive and has little to no delay involved. The controllers for the US 7800 aren't the greatest in the world, particularly the joysticks, but I didn't have too many problems at all. Once in a while I wouldn't be able to fly in the direction I wanted to but it doesn't happen much and often not it doesn't get in the way of the gameplay. Flapping with the left action button feels fairly natural, if you're used to the 7800 controllers. Otherwise, it takes a few minutes to get used to.

Fun: What the 7800 version gets right and accurately done, is the fun factor that is in Joust. The more levels you complete, the faster the jousters become and you have to deal with more and more of them as you go. Platforms disappear later on and make timing crucial. More phoenixes come onto the screen and you get less time to clear the levels as well, which adds to the challenge and fun of Joust and it certainly does in this port. It's a blast to play and a must for Joust fans.

Some minor problems aside, this is an excellent version of Joust. I bought my 7800 because a review of Joust won me over and this game did not disappoint me at all. If your a Joust fan, you really need to check this version out on the 7800.. if you're new to the world of Joust, you are in for a lot of fun and exciting challenges. Arcade gaming at its finest.

87% ~~~ B+

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PostSubject: Re: Video Game Reviews   Wed Dec 23, 2015 10:41 pm

Dig Dug (Atari 7800, 1984)



Graphics: 21/25
Sound: 24/25
Controls: 17/25
Fun: 24/25

An excellent port of an arcade classic plagued with some control quirks.

Any arcade fan that grew up playing games in the late 70's - early 80's needs no introduction to this arcade classic. Dig Dug was created by Namco in 1982 for the arcades and is one of the most popular arcade titles of all time. It saw many releases for pretty much every home console under the sun and today I'll be focusing on the Atari 7800 version.

There isn't much of a story to this game but I'll tell it to you anyways. You control Dig Dig, the hero of this game who dons a blue and white suit. Dig Dug has the job of getting rid of all the monsters underground by blowing them up with his air pump or dropping boulders on them to squash them like bugs. That's it. Really. Okay, review time:

Graphics: Though not quite as detailed as another game I reviewed previously, Joust, graphic wise Dig Dug is faithfully ported to the 7800 and for the most part is on par with its arcade brother. The monster explosions look great, the monsters themselves are nicely animated and are closely detailed to the arcades and the ground you travel through looks as good as it can be. The flowers up at the top of the screen are nice as well as more grow to count you through the levels. Overall, well done.

Sound: One of this ports strong points is the sound. The sound effects I honestly can't tell the difference between the 7800 version and the arcade, they are just flat out well carried over. The music when you clear a level is on par with the arcade version as well and the music that goes as you dig through the dirt is on par as well. Bravo to Atari for making great usage of its sound hardware here.

Controls: Now to the not so good news. The Atari 7800 joystick as I mentioned previously is not the greatest controller made in the gaming industry and its lack of precision hurts in Dig Dug. I just could not move when I wanted to and at times couldn't fire as fast as I needed to. If you have a 2600 controller laying around, I suggest you use that or even a Sega Genesis works very well also. If you have one of these two mentioned controllers, then ignore what I said. 7800 controller owners, this one much like Joust, may take some adjusting until you get a hold of it.

Fun: Great news for Dig Dug nuts, the challenge and speed of the arcade version of the game are fully intact in the 7800 port. The normal difficulty, things really pick up after the 4th level and if you up the difficulty in the opening menu to advanced, it usually does it just after the 2nd level. Gamers who love a challenge will definitely get it here and those just getting into this timeless classic for the first time can experience early 80's arcade greatness at its very best. Enjoy!

The Atari 7800 port really nailed Dig Dug down to a tee. This is a pretty much flawless port of a true classic, and I noticed that the 7800 does a wonderful job in that aspect with its arcade titles. I was hoping for a fantastic port of Dig Dug and this game definitely met my expectations. As good as home ports get, pick this game up if you find it.

86% ~~~ B

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PostSubject: Re: Video Game Reviews   Fri Dec 25, 2015 11:40 pm

Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy Kong's Quest (SNES, 1995)

Graphics: 25/25
Sound: 21/25
Controls: 20/25
Fun: 18/25

The follow-up to the SNES classic is solid but falls a bit flat.

Just about anybody who has played a video game is familiar with Donkey Kong. The character is iconic and a part of the all time great franchises in video game history. His first venture on the SNES, the original Donkey Kong Country, was absolutely mind blowing in terms of what it got out of the old SNES hardware. The graphics were at least one generation ahead of its time, the soundtrack was fantastic and the gameplay was a good solid platforming basket full of goodies with its fair share of challenges.

The second game, however, I wasn't sure what kind of hopes I had for it. Since I apparently lived under a rock (and the joys of poor parents), I was never able to actually play or get my hands on this game until just recently. My mixed review is below:

Graphics: As in the previous entry, the graphics in this game are simply gorgeous. The character models look great, the animation is even better than in the first title and the weather conditions that go through the levels is fantastic as well. It's not often that you can improve perfection, but DKC 2 does so in that department over the first game which is no easy task.

Sound: The sound effects, as in the first game, are excellent and take great advantage of the SNES. The soundtrack however, was just not as memorable or charming as it was in DKC's first entry. Maybe its nostalgia or perhaps I'm just not listening to it with a fair ear, but it just doesn't stand out for me as much as the original game did here.

Controls: Controls weren't the tightest in the first title but they most certainly got the job done with minimal frustration. I feel like the controls have gotten a bit loose and unresponsive at times in this one, however. I noticed from the first boss battle that my jumping and running was nowhere near as sharp as it was during the levels leading up to it. I doubt it was the fault of my controller and honestly feel that this game tries to make things far more difficult than it should be. That's not fair to loyal gamers, particularly those who were so loyal and dedicated to buy and play the first game.
Also might I add, that controlling Dixie's spinning jump is like using the Princess in SMB2. Floating is sure helpful, but hard to control and I found myself often getting killed by accidentally floating when I didn't intend to, which can lead to some frustration and cheap deaths.

Fun: The great thing is that they added new bonus levels to the DKC franchise in this entry, and for the most part they are enjoyable breaks from the action. Though the idea of collecting coins to be able to save your game is an interesting concept to add, it certainly wasn't a necessary one. I've noticed that the absence of Donkey Kong kind of changes the game and not in the most positive way either, often I found myself having to avoid larger enemies due to only being able to stun them with Diddy or the new character Dixie. The inconsistent controls in this game are really my main dock in points in the fun category. It's fun but often the good doesn't outweigh the bad in this game.

In a nutshell, I said I wasn't sure what to expect from this game and it was about as mixed as I was on deciding to get this title. Sure, DKC 2 is solid in some aspects and is a gorgeous beast to look at, but there are some issues in multiple departments here that keep the game from being a classic in my eyes. I'm sure I'll take a verbal lashing for not heralding DKC 2 as the greatest game of the franchise, but what may be right for you may not be right for some. Love it or hate it, take your pick.

84% ~~~ B

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PostSubject: Re: Video Game Reviews   Sat Dec 26, 2015 12:08 am

Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble (SNES, 1996)

Graphics: 25/25
Sound: 23/25
Controls: 18/25
Fun: 15/25

Two steps forward but two steps back for the 3rd game of this popular franchise.

Dixie Kong is on the move again, this time without Diddy Kong. This time around, she has a powerful infant making the travels with her. Through multiple environments and hazards, Diddy Kong is out to save the world once more.

You've read my reviews for the 2nd game, I'm certain. I may not be the most popular guy in the world for how I felt on DKC 2, but it just didn't have the polish that the first game had. The 3rd game, though it improves in some areas the 2nd DKC failed to now fails in new places that really took some of the enjoyment out of it for me. Allow me to explain below:

Graphics: Once again, the graphics in this game are far ahead of their time. The character models look even better than in the 2nd game and the levels have their own atmosphere to it and are beautiful to the eyes as well. Just fantastic.

Sound: The music in this game, is a correction over DKC 2. It feels much more like the soundtrack from DKC 1 and each one fits the level its on perfectly. Sound effects, once again are fantastic and nothing short of what you expect from the franchise.

Controls: While some of the loose feel got fixed from the previous title, I found some serious problems with the hit detection in this one. Just in the first world, I could not clear an enemy with a jump because another enemy was lurking not too far behind it. I literally had to grab a barrel, throw it over the first enemy and get the one behind it before I could THEN make the same jump and somehow make it clearly. It happens constantly in this game it seems, cryptic hit detection and controls are not fun. That really killed a lot of it for me and it could of been so much better.

Fun: The great things in DKC 3 are that there are even more bonus levels and games for you to play to get away from the frantic action. The addition of the infant Kong, which he has the feel of Donkey Kong in most areas, is a very welcome one which I enjoyed. I'd also like to add that you no longer have to pay coins to save your game, which feels a bit more like how DKC 1 was set up in that aspect.
However, questionable hit detection/controls and the ridiculously high learning curve really bring this one down. So often this game assumes you know how to get around enemies and boss battles and is very frustrating for the first time around and often takes several times to make it through. Perhaps an instruction booklet or a strategy guide would of helped out some, but games should never have to lean on that so heavily just to be enjoyed. The fun factor in this game is much like DKC 2, the good at times does not outweigh the bad.

I really hoped DKC 3 would be an improvement over DKC 2, but it really wound up being more of the same old problems but in different areas. I know that I'll now stick with the original DKC from this point on, because often not in the gaming world just because its newer doesn't mean its better. Don't reinvent something that was already perfected and don't fix what isn't broken. Biggest disappointing 'B' that I'll ever give.

81% ~~~ B-



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