ATP Tour Championship Tennis
Publisher: Sega (1994)
Save mechanism: Battery
1 to 4 players
Adventures of Batman and Robin, The
Publisher: Sega (1995)
Our high score: SLN 63,050
1 or 2 players
Aero the Acrobat
Publisher: Sunsoft (1993)
Publisher: Sega (1990)
Recommended variation: Easy w/ cnts
Our high score: CJS 4,747,780
Publisher: Kaneko (1991)
Our high score: 123,900
1 or 2 players
Publisher: Virgin Games (1993)
While watching the 1992 movie I was mesmerized
by Aladdin's fantastic visuals. Likewise, this video game really pushed the state of the art. Its gorgeous backgrounds and fluid animation make this platformer a showcase title for the system. Our hero exhibits the same distinctive mannerisms as in the film, and his little monkey companion is adorable. It's fun to watch Aladdin leap between canopies in the marketplace, scale ruins in the desert, and whisk through volcanic caves on a magic carpet. I love riding those magic ropes that take off like bottle rockets! The artistic scenery is practically painted
on the screen, and the deep blue hues of the dungeon stage are especially appealing. The sense of humor from the film carries over as well, with enemies that lose their pants and camels that spit when you hop on their hump. Aladdin plays nearly as well as it looks. An all-in-one-instruction screen tells you pretty much everything you need to know at a glance. The sword-fighting action is fun but sometimes you'll absorb a mandatory hit or two, so remember to throw apples to avoid close combat. It's hard to tell when you're taking damage, so it may come as a shock when you suddenly keel over. The lack of a password is disappointing, but this is one well-crafted adventure you probably won't mind restarting from the beginning. Like the film, Aladdin is an exuberant joyride that's extremely easy on the eyes. © Copyright 2014 The Video Game Critic.
Our high score: 28,050
Publisher: Arena (1992)
I thought for sure that Alien 3 would be just like the SNES version, which had superb graphics but lackluster gameplay. Fortunately, the Genesis version is everything the SNES game should
have been. There's no complicated maps or tedious missions here, just explosive arcade action! The graphics and sound don't measure up to the SNES version, with cartoonish characters and the music that's more upbeat than ominous. But in terms of pure gameplay this is far superior. Each stage is a maze of rooms connected by tubes and ladders. Your job is to rescue all the prisoners and exit before time runs out. You can switch between several weapons including a machine gun, flamethrower, grenade launcher and hand grenades. Each weapon is effective in certain situations, and the action is fast and exciting. The aliens look terrific, and I love how they scream and splatter when shot. I do have a few complaints however. First, it's never clear where the so-called "exit" is located, which can be frustrating. Next, there are times when the aliens seem impossible to avoid, so you'll take some mandatory hits. While the controls are decent overall, squatting down to fire low can be problematic. But these are minor issues. All in all, the fast pace and arcade style of Alien 3 makes the game hard to put down. © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Sega (1991)
Alien Storm is a ho-hum side-scroller that lets you gleefully fry waves of invading aliens. The three playable characters include a man and woman decked out in cheesy superhero costumes and a robot who looks like Ultraman's uncle. Your weapons are short-range "fire blazers" that aren't particularly effective. And when I say short range, we're talking five feet!
With firepower this weak, you'd be better off bludgeoning the creeps with the butt of your gun! The urban locations are forgettable, but the aliens are disgusting enough. They tend to have this nasty habit of gnawing on your head.
Not cool! Alien Storm is a real button masher, so you'd be wise to enable the rapid-fire option on the menu screen. Your character also has an evasive roll and a limited special attack which inflicts damage to all the baddies on the screen. The gameplay is rinse-and-repeat all the way, and the bosses take forever
to kill. The game's saving grace is its frantic bonus stages. There are some fast-paced running sequences and first-person shooting stages that let you blast the hell out of alien-infested stores. It's actually more fun to destroy the items on the shelves - especially those oversized boom-boxes. Without these bonus stages, the monotony of this game might be unbearable. I should also mention that the game is very short and easy. I'm all for games that can be completed in one sitting, but the first sitting?!
Alien Storm is mildly amusing for a while, but it quickly wears on you and there's not a lot of replay value. © Copyright 2010 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Game Arts (1992)
The Genesis library is loaded with fine side-scrollers, but Alisia Dragoon is a breed apart. This is a truly gorgeous adventure with rich graphics, an elegant soundtrack, and captivating gameplay. You play the role of a sorceress who casts lightning from her fingertips. With a push of a button you unleash multiple bolts that automatically latch onto enemies. It's especially fun to effortlessly pick off insects as they fly on to the screen. If you wait for your lightning to fully charge, you can unleash a 360-degree attack. As if that wasn't enough, you get a flying sidekick! You can select between several, including a baby dragon, a flying lizard, and a ball of fire. It's a neat idea but frankly these creatures are pretty lame! They aren't much help and tend to die off early. Your enemies don't go down nearly as easy, so weapon power-ups are critical. These are often hidden, so explore each stage thoroughly. I love the look of this game. The layered backdrops convey a fantasy world with posh temples, stormy swamps, and ...massive airships? Why is it that games set in medieval times always have an obligatory airship level? There's no score, but when your game is over you're presented with a statistical breakdown and rank. Uh, what kind of rank is "electric slime"? Isn't that the dance all the ladies get up and do at weddings? I like Alisia Dragoon. It's a classy 16-bit platform-shooter that's like nothing else I've played. © Copyright 2015 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Sega (1988)
Altered Beast is a bizarre side-scroller where you battle legions of monsters and with the help of power-ups, can transform into a monster yourself. It's hard to believe this was the first Genesis pack-in game, considering how dark and violent it is. There's a great deal of blood and flying limbs. Powering up as quickly as possible is the key to winning. A transformation screen shows your character turning into a powerful monster such as a werewolf, dragon, or bear. They didn't have morphing technology in 1988, but it still looks cool. Levels range from a cool graveyard to some boring caverns (yawn). The bosses take forever to beat. The digitized voices sound terribly muffled and the collision detection is questionable at times. Two players can fight simultaneously, but the screen tends to get crowded because the characters are large. One particularly bizarre aspect is the charging pigs, many of which contain power-ups. Okay, they're supposed to be two-headed wolves, but they sure look like pigs to me. I like Altered Beast, but it's hardly a game that will appeal to the masses. Hint: Hold down A when pressing Start to resume play at the last level you were on. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.
Aquatic Games Starring James Pond
Publisher: Electronic Arts (1992)
Ariel the Little Mermaid
Publisher: Sega (1992)
Arnold Palmer Tournament Golf
Publisher: Sega (1989)
Save mechanism: password
1 or 2 players
Publisher: Renovation (1990)
Our high score: 180,310
Publisher: Data East (1992)
Though its lame title conjures visions of abstract mazes, Atomic Runner is really an action-packed rapid-fire platformer. You control a small spaceman running on a constantly-scrolling screen blasting spiders, anteaters, dragons, and orcs armed with shields. Your weapons positively kick ass, ranging from laser beams to spinning spikes to homing missiles. Your shooting angles are limited to straight ahead and diagonal, but performing a somersault will let you fire in random directions. You can also pounce on most enemies. It's possible to turn around and fire at enemies approaching from the rear but the default controls for doing so are awkward. An options menu offers several control alternatives but frankly I never felt comfortable with firing in reverse. When your guy dies he gyrates and performs "jazz hands". The stage designs are terrific, featuring architecture from ancient Egyptian, Aztec, and Mayan civilizations. The colorful, artistic backdrops call to mind modern platformers like Little Big Planet
(PS3, 2008) and Puppeteer
(PS3, 2013). The Mayan pyramids in a sea of lava are quite a sight, but it's the modern stage with the spectacular nighttime city skyline that takes the cake. The music is pretty good despite the random grunt samples which struck me as odd. I had so much fun playing Atomic Runner it made me wonder how I could have missed it after all these years. Retro gaming is a hobby that just keeps on giving. © Copyright 2017 The Video Game Critic.
Recommended variation: easy
Our high score: 176,220
Publisher: Tengen (1993)
Ayrton Senna's Super Monaco GP II
Publisher: Sega (1992)
Recommended variation: GP
Our high score: 2'17"63
Save mechanism: Battery