Tiger Game.com Reviews A-Z

Batman and Robin
Grade: B-
Publisher: Tiger (1997)
Reviewed: 2013/5/30

screenshotOn a system not known for quality platformers, Batman and Robin wins by default. It's a simplistic but mildly enjoyable side-scrolling beat-em-up. You can play the role of either Batman or Robin, although frankly I didn't notice much difference (outside of their appearance). Prior to each stage you select two items from a list of gadgets including a grappling hook, ice blast cape, gas grenades, ice blades, and Bat-a-rangs. These add a little strategy to the rinse-and-repeat gameplay. As you walk down a city street you're approached by masked freaks with hockey sticks. The scenery is exceptionally detailed with layers of buildings, automobiles, signs, and graffiti. The backdrops look great when you're standing still, but when moving they become a blur. The eyestrain becomes even worse in the sewers where much of the screen is intentionally blacked out. You can walk right up to most goons and deliver two good punches to knock them out. The "thwack!" sound effects ring true, but the rest of the audio falls flat. The happy-go-lucky music sounds like a toy xylophone, and the grunts and groans sound like an adult movie! Certain enemies have a tendency to remain out of "punching distance", but they can't escape your jump-kicks. I find it interesting how you can actually unleash multiple kicks during a single jump! Also satisfying is hurling projectiles like Bat-a-rangs. They're hard to see on the screen (impossible really) but you can hear them whirling through the air and watch enemies fall. Your grappling hook pulls you up to higher areas like balconies and fire escapes. The controls could be a little more responsive, and you often get stuck facing the wrong direction. What's more frustrating is how the game sometimes creates an invisible wall and won't let you proceed until you beat up more thugs. Batman and Robin has issues, but I appreciate its good looks, straightforward style, and moderate difficulty. © Copyright 2013 The Video Game Critic.
Our high score: 72,300
1 player 

Centipede
Grade: A-
Publisher: Tiger (1999)
Reviewed: 2013/7/7

screenshotMost games land on the Game.com in a weird, altered state, but this classic bug-shooter arrived pretty much intact. Centipede's simple, 2D style doesn't tax the system so it can retain the same fast pace. In case you're not familiar with the 1980 arcade hit (has it been that long?) the idea is to shoot a centipede that winds its way down a mushroom-laden screen. You'll also need to avoid a hyperactive (and very dangerous) spider that hops around the bottom. The action is frantic, non-stop, and addictive. The objects are generally well-defined, and the big black spider actually looks hairy! Gross! The centipede itself is a little faint - probably because it's constantly moving. Your cannon is fairly easy to position but naturally lacks the precision of the arcade's trak-ball. One word of advice: do not try to sneak under the spider because he will crush you. Always keep your distance and only move in for the kill when he's high on the screen. In addition to the classic mode, there's an "updated" mode that renders the bugs differently and incorporates giant mushrooms. It's hardly an improvement and it adds a big, ugly smudge to the bottom of the screen. Just stick with the default classic mode and you'll have a good time. © Copyright 2013 The Video Game Critic.
Our high score: 20,802
1 player 

new Duke Nukem 3D
Grade: D-
Publisher: 3D Realms (1997)
Reviewed: 2014/7/18
Rating: Teen (animated violence, strong language)


screenshotSo... who thought this was a good idea? The Game.com system can barely even render a 2D side-scroller, much less a 3D first-person shooter! How did the developers pull it off? Well, they faked it. At first glance Duke Nukem appears to be a first-person shooter, but you can only move forward and strafe. No, you can't change directions and you can't look around. In addition to this constricted movement you must also contend with a truly bizarre control scheme. There are three shoot buttons that let you aim forward, slightly left, and slightly right. Wait what?! If this weirdness is meant to compensate for the lack of turning, it's a small consolation. The remaining button is used to select weapons and open doors. Overlapping monsters resemble ugly inkblots on the screen, and mowing them down isn't very satisfying. The best aspect of the game is the digitized audio, which incorporates gunshots, howls, and even vocal quips like "Damn I'm good!" The stages are selectable, but don't expect much variety. This Duke Nukem is a mere shadow of the original PC game, but the fact that this is even a thing is kind of remarkable. You'll come for the first-person shooting action but play for the morbid curiosity. © Copyright 2014 The Video Game Critic.

Fighters MegaMix
Grade: F
Publisher: Tiger (1998)
Reviewed: 2013/5/24


screenshotIn the late 90's 3D fighters were all the rage, and no system could handle them better than the Game.com. I'm being facetious. This game is crap. You get eight characters from the Virtua Fighter 2 and Fighting Vipers series. The title implies an all-star lineup, but the fighters aren't exactly household names. Lion, Bahn, Candy, Mahler? Who are these people?! The characters look detailed but indistinct - as if they're penciled on paper that's been erased too much. When they move, they become slow motion blurs. It's hard to tell what's going on, and you often end up facing the wrong direction. All bouts take place in a "ring", which means the backgrounds are marred by ugly horizontal lines. You can make out some buildings in the distance, but the scenery is so faint it might as well not even be there. The buttons let you punch, kick, block, and dodge, but I was pretty much able to beat everybody with continuous leg sweeps. Apparently special moves do exist, although they are not listed in the manual. The only way you'd know if one happened is if one fighter suddenly loses a huge chunk of life. The "survival mode" had inexplicably pitted me against a car which promptly ran my ass over. Fighters MegaMix on the Game.com will make you realize how you've been taking your Saturn for granted for all these years. © Copyright 2013 The Video Game Critic.

new Frogger
Grade: A-
Publisher: Tiger (1999)
Reviewed: 2014/7/18
Rating: Everyone

screenshotIt's hard to screw up a time-honored classic like Frogger - even on the Game.com! The gameplay is simple, methodical, and pleasant. This is a surprisingly faithful translation of the 1981 arcade hit. First you guide your oversized amphibian across a five-lane highway while avoiding a variety of vehicles. If you survive, your next goal is to hop between logs on a stream to reach the riverbank. Why would a frog want to go through so much effort? To earn crazy points and beat that high score, silly! The snake is the most dangerous part of the game, since touching any part of its body spells instant death. It doesn't help that he tends to blend into the grassy strip between the street and stream. Frogger's controls are responsive and forgiving, so even if you catch the edge of a cove, it won't kill you. The game's one technical flaw occurs when you rescue the hot lady frog, at which time substantial slow-down rears its ugly head. The Game.com system isn't known for its audio prowess, but this game manages to deliver harmonized renditions of Frogger's playful tunes. As with Centipede, you get an "updated variation" with slightly enhanced visuals but the same gameplay. Easy-going and fun, Frogger is probably the most playable title you can find for the Game.com. © Copyright 2014 The Video Game Critic.
Our high score: 6600
1 player 

Indy 500
Grade: D
Publisher: Tiger (1997)
Reviewed: 2013/5/30


screenshotAt first glance Indy 500 looks positively kick-ass! Your racing car is huge and well defined on the bottom of the screen. It looks like it was drawn by an artist with a pencil. The road is bright and wide open. Then you hit the accelerator and the cold, hard reality sets in. First you find yourself slamming into walls you can't see coming. The trick here is to keep an eye out for arrows that appear in the upper right corner of the screen. Hold left when they appear, go easy on the gas, and you'll probably make the turn. When jockeying for position the collision detection is highly suspect. Sometimes it appears you're overlapping another car, and often you car spins out for no apparent reason. When you hit a puddle, the impact is like hitting a brick wall! The flashing word "damage" means you need to pull into the pit stop. This presents you with a separate view of ghostly men who appear around your car before vanishing into thin air. Once you get the hang of turning and pitting, you might be able to hold your own against the 33-car field. The race is initially set for eight minutes, but periodically you get a "time extended" message. No thanks!! Indy 500 is only marginally playable, and it tends to drag on forever. © Copyright 2013 The Video Game Critic.

new Jurassic Park: The Lost World
Grade: F
Publisher: Tiger (1997)
Reviewed: 2014/7/18
Rating: Kids to Adults

screenshotThis ill-advised movie adaptation is visually impressive but languishes in the control department. The Lost World begins with a high-speed driving stage that lets you weave around a stampede of dinosaurs. You view the action from behind your vehicle and the illusion of movement isn't bad. There's a decent sense of speed and the marauding creatures look great. Unfortunately it's hard to tell where you're supposed to go with so many dinosaurs, bushes, and other hazards cropping up all over the place. When my car blinks, does that mean I'm taking damage? The second stage is a typical platform stage boasting lush jungle foliage and lumbering dinosaurs in the background. That's great, but I wish the developers had paid a little more attention to what happens in the foreground! Your scientist is extremely stiff and the animation is comparable to flipping the pages of a book. Dinosaurs blend into the scenery, and when you finally spot one unresponsive controls make it hard to react in time. Even if you manage to shoot a dinosaur with your tranquilizer gun, the effect wears off in about ten seconds. Leaping between branches is an exercise in futility, especially when your character tends to change direction in mid-air. The audio effects may be the best part of the game, as the dinosaurs unleash digitized screeches, grunts, and roars. The background music on the other hand sounds like a toddler banging away on a Casio keyboard. It's pretty obvious that the Jurassic Park developers focused their attention on the graphics, leaving us with a showcase title that's a constant struggle to play. © Copyright 2014 The Video Game Critic.
Our high score: 4100
1 player 

Mortal Kombat Trilogy
Grade: F
Publisher: Tiger (1997)
Reviewed: 2013/5/30

screenshotThis Game.com version of Mortal Kombat is so bad, even Scorpion and Sub Zero refused to have anything to do with it! Only characters desperate for work showed up for this one, like Night Wolf, Ermac, Jade, Rain, Cyrax, Sector, and Noob Saibot. The fighters look small and shadowy, and the busy stages make it hard to tell what's happening in the foreground. The bright street stage isn't so bad, but in the dungeon stage the characters blend into the rock walls. The four buttons let you execute high punches, high kicks, blocks, and low kicks. The fighting is very shallow, and the bizarre physics makes for some unnatural looking jumps. It's easy to get the fighters mixed up, and it's generally hard to tell who's hurting who. A lot of sound effects are missing, and the matches tend to be quiet aside from the hit and yelp effects. The blood is hard to make out, and looks more like splotches of black ink. This edition of Mortal Kombat Trilogy is so bad it makes me not want to rip out somebody's spine. Now that's bad! © Copyright 2013 The Video Game Critic.

Resident Evil 2
Grade: B
Publisher: Tiger (1998)
Reviewed: 2013/7/7

screenshotA 3D survival horror title is a tall order for the Game.com, but this turned out to be a pleasant surprise. I was expecting a simple side-scroller, but this is a full-blown 3D adventure. It turns out that Resident Evil's slow, deliberate pace is a perfect match for a system that tends to run games at a slow, deliberate pace. You begin on a city street with a few staggering zombies nearby. Unlike the console versions, the camera is fixed and usually provides a side angle. The characters scale nicely and the depth perception isn't bad. Walking around is slow going (especially when you're injured) but the locations are reasonably small. One thing I do hate is when you walk onto a new screen and discover you're standing right next to a zombie! You don't have time to react and usually take some mandatory damage. The status screen comes complete with inventory controls, a map, and a health meter. Switching weapons is confusing but I got the hang of it. The map is critical because the scenery tends to be very faint. This makes the characters stand out, but makes it hard to locate doors in the background. The monsters look sharp and digitized sound effects feature realistic groans and voice samples. And yes, the game includes a save function. I can't imagine sticking this one out to the bitter end, but it's interesting to see how Resident Evil 2 was effectively revamped to fit this system. © Copyright 2013 The Video Game Critic.

Scrabble
Grade: A
Publisher: Tiger (1999)
Reviewed: 2013/5/24

screenshotAs a big fan of the "real" Scrabble board game, I can attest that this portable version is excellent. You can face up to four CPU competitors of various skill levels. It's possible to play against humans as well, but frankly you'd be better off pulling out the board game in that case. The screen is well organized with the board on the left, scores on the right, and your letters across the bottom. The controls rely on the stylus and touch screen, which work great. The squares are just large enough to make out the letters, although placing new letters requires use of a magnified view. This close view forces you to navigate via arrow buttons, which can be a little slow. Your CPU competitors are pretty sharp. They only require a few seconds per move in the early going, although in the final few stages they may take a little longer. Once I tried to put down the bogus word, and the game immediately caught me on it. This cartridge is very enjoyable. Scrabble can be a hassle to play with people, but you can play this compact version any time. © Copyright 2013 The Video Game Critic.

Sonic Jam
Grade: F-
Publisher: Tiger (1998)
Reviewed: 2013/7/7

screenshotI temper my expectations for portable Sonic games - especially on the Game.com - but this version is just pathetic! Sonic is large and well defined but once he starts moving, the pain is almost too much to bear. He doesn't "run" so much as appear from spot to spot. There's zero sense of speed and the system struggles mightily to keep up with the truly modest amount of action on the screen. The grass in the first stage looks more like a bed of spikes, and the super-close view makes it impossible to tell where you're heading. Sonic is pretty much incapable of running uphill, acting instead like he's stuck in the mud. His spin dash move doesn't even work as it should, not allowing you to "rev up". Did the developers ever play a real Sonic game? When Sonic is out in the open he's easy to see, but once he walks into a cave or under a waterfall, the screen looks so cluttered you can't even tell what you're looking at. The sound effects are out of sync and the entire game seems to pause when you grab a ring, just so it can make that ringing sound. The music in the background sounds like a toddler banging away on a toy piano. This cartridge is offensive, and the fact that it purports to contain three games (Sonic 2, Sonic 3, and Sonic and Knuckles) is practically obscene. © Copyright 2013 The Video Game Critic.
Our high score: 4800
1 player 

Tiger Casino
Grade: C-
Publisher: Tiger (1998)
Reviewed: 2013/5/24

screenshotIt's hard to get psyched up about a black-and-white casino game, but it's really the ideal title for the Game.com. The high-resolution graphics make the cards look nice, and the stylus control lets you easily place bets or mark the cards you want to hold. There are five separate games: poker, blackjack, hi-low, slots, and roulette. The poker and blackjack games are pretty good. You begin with $500, but can only bet $5 (max) at a time. What the hell is that all about?! The touch controls are responsive and there are no lulls in the action. I like how you can easily switch games while maintaining the same pool of money. The remaining three games are pretty pointless. Hi-low is a shallow game some of you may remember as "War" from your childhood. Slot machine is a mindless game of chance, and roulette is even worse because you're forced to "zoom in" on the table to place your chips. Tiger Casino introduces each game with an elaborate video intro (like a dinosaur running across the screen) in a desperate attempt to inject some excitement. A toy piano plays over the menu, but thankfully the games are quiet (except for some voice samples). Tiger Casino isn't much of a game, but the poker and blackjack variations can be slightly addictive. © Copyright 2013 The Video Game Critic.


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Screen shots courtesy of Games Database, IGN.com

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