2016/12/13: Philips CD-i: Christmas Crisis

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VideoGameCritic
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2016/12/13: Philips CD-i: Christmas Crisis

Postby VideoGameCritic » December 13th, 2016, 9:31 pm

Here's an excellent Christmas game that caught me by surprise. Thanks to the person who recommended it.

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Retro STrife
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Re: 2016/12/13: Philips CD-i: Christmas Crisis

Postby Retro STrife » December 14th, 2016, 5:10 am

Great to see you got your hands on this! I recommended this thinking that you would like the Christmas theme...I'm glad to see you liked the actual gameplay too. Since you enjoyed this, now you have no choice but to get Christmas Country for the CD-i, which is a similar Christmas game that came out a year after Christmas Crisis (I'm tempted to call it a sequel, because the two games are so similar, but the games have different developers, so I don't know if it's an actual sequel). One particular CD-i guy on Youtube ranks Christmas Country as his all-time favorite CD-i game, if that adds any intrigue for you... (personally, of the games I've played so far, I give that honor to Mutant Rampage).

Anyway, I just popped in the two games--Christmas Crisis and Christmas Country--for about 20 minutes each to see which I liked better. Crisis is a vertical platforming game. What I like best is the music in the background and the fact that you actually play as Santa (since surprisingly few games allow you to play as Santa...even other Christmas games usually have a different character). I like the short levels and the copious amount of collectibles for points too. Overall though, admittedly, I don't regard the game as highly as you did..in the CD-i library, it's more of a C-range game for me, with maybe a boost during Christmas time. I found Santa to be very sluggish (he chugs along slowly and the lack of run button is disappointing) and the snowballs were hard to target. And, outside of the Christmas theme, I didn't find myself having much fun. The production values are pretty poor too...I felt like I was playing an early-90s shareware game for the PC. Christmas Country is more of a traditional side-scrolling platformer. I definitely preferred this play style over Crisis. And there is a run button in this game, which is a huge improvement. There's no snowballs either, you just jump on enemy heads. The platforming action is very good by CD-i standards. On the downside, you play as an elf, which isn't as fun or cool as Santa. (Imagine a platformer with a speed-running Santa...it might automatically be the best game ever!....) Far worse--there is no background music during the game! How do you have no Christmas-y music during a Christmas game?? This is a huge error.

The Verdict??? As a core game, Christmas Country is better. Even without the theme, I'd give it an A or B by CD-i standards, versus a C or D for Crisis. BUT, Crisis exudes the Christmas theme much better. And not just playing as Santa and having background Christmas music---Crisis's level design and enemies also make better use of the Christmas theme. Boy, if someone took the gameplay of Country and combined it with the Christmas spirit of Crisis, you would have one legendary Christmas game! As it stands, though, they both have some head-scratching shortcomings. Then again, this is the CD-i we're talking about, so maybe we should just be happy to have two playable platformers... And what other system can boast that it has not one, but two , decent Christmas platformers that were official releases on the system? I don't think there's another.

If you're interested, here's a gameplay video of Christmas Country, by the same guy that says it's his favorite game on the system:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Ew381VXXlQ

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Re: 2016/12/13: Philips CD-i: Christmas Crisis

Postby Retro STrife » December 18th, 2016, 12:13 am

This might be worth picking up too:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Daze-Before-Chr ... 2243306582

http://retrogamerandbackups.com/product ... -christmas

I've never played Daze Before Christmas, but it was made by a more legit company (Sunsoft) than the CD-i games, so it might have potential. It was only released in Australia back in the day, but repros have been made since for US consoles. There is also a SNES version, but it's pricier. It looks like a decent platformer in Youtube videos...though it does not possess as much Christmas spirit as Christmas Crisis.

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Re: 2016/12/13: Philips CD-i: Christmas Crisis

Postby BlasteroidAli » December 18th, 2016, 3:35 pm

Great review, shame I am never going to buy a cdi to sample the delights of this game.

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Rev
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Re: 2016/12/13: Philips CD-i: Christmas Crisis

Postby Rev » December 18th, 2016, 5:34 pm

It's crazy that the CD-i actually has a good platformer/action title... and it is a Christmas game no less... I've never even heard of this one but if I ever pick up a CD-i this will be on my to buy list... Thanks for the solid review!

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Re: 2016/12/13: Philips CD-i: Christmas Crisis

Postby Alucard1191 » December 18th, 2016, 7:20 pm

I didn't even know the CD-i existed until this website, and I was big into games in the 90's. I've played a lot of more "oddball" systems like the virtuaboy, Jaguar, and Atari 5600. And while my gaming magazine of the day "Game Players" with 'Centaur Bill' (the main editors head photo-shopped onto the Centaur Boss from Mortal Kombat 3) covered the Jaguar and the 3DO, the CD-i wasn't listed anywhere. It looks like a really awful system, but the collector in me is really curious. Does this system have any "must haves," or is it something that can be overlooked in the grand collecting scheme?

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Re: 2016/12/13: Philips CD-i: Christmas Crisis

Postby Retro STrife » December 18th, 2016, 9:38 pm

Alucard1191 wrote:It looks like a really awful system, but the collector in me is really curious. Does this system have any "must haves," or is it something that can be overlooked in the grand collecting scheme?


Most people who get a CD-i do it based on the Mario and Zelda games for the system (i.e., Hotel Mario, Zelda: Wand of Gamelon, etc.), that Philips acquired the rights from Nintendo to develop in the early 90s. That's how I got into the system, back when I bought mine around 2002/2003. But these games are just a curiosity, albeit some of the most interesting curiosities in gaming history IMO. But from a gaming perspective, they are not must-haves, nor does the system have any games that absolutely must be played. There are some decent games, though. And the system's library is surprisingly large and so unexplored by gamers that I bet there are a few hidden gems that we haven't even realized. But for gaming it is not a good system, nor is it one I would recommend for the average retro gamer. But it does have a certain charm to it for me that causes me to enjoy it far more than most....perhaps because it was one of the first retro systems I bought to collect for, perhaps because I tend to like exploring the "bad" systems from the 90s, perhaps the odd collection of games or the fact that I feel like I'm playing games no one else has played before every time I boot it up, or some combination of the above. So I really like the CD-i for those reasons, but it's not for everyone. For someone just looking to play good games, it doesn't have enough to make it worth it.

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Re: 2016/12/13: Philips CD-i: Christmas Crisis

Postby goldenband » December 19th, 2016, 5:32 pm

The thing I always say about the CD-i is that it's basically like playing CD-ROM games in the early 1990s on a Mac Performa. (It even has many of the same titles: Myst, Kingdom I & II, etc.)

If that evokes fond memories, it's a good shot you'll like the CD-i. If you're expecting the equivalent of a 3DO (let alone a PlayStation), or an SNES with a CDROM drive, you'll be quite disappointed.

The system's biggest strong suit are its high FMV quality and color count. I also notice that the menus/configuration screens often look a lot more professional than many other 5th gen systems. Not sure what or why it is, but you really notice a difference -- as opposed to many games on the 3DO, or even earlier/cheaper PlayStation and Saturn games, that look like they had their menus banged out in 10 minutes by an intern who barely knew Photoshop.

I'm glad I have my CD-i, and I actually kind of enjoyed the one Zelda game I played. But it's definitely not for all tastes, and action gamers should mostly stay away.


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