Publisher: Tengen (1989)
This archaic racer is barely playable today, but it was pretty amazing for its time. Hard Drivin' was the first arcade game with first-person, 3D polygon graphics, and it was released long before Virtua Racing took the arcades by storm. The game includes a standard race track and an elaborate "stunt" track, complete with a ramp, loop-to-loop, and banked turns. Just surviving the stunt course is a major challenge. But unlike Virtua Racing, Hard Drivin' has NOT aged well. Its framerate is agonizingly slow, and the cars look like ugly boxes. Sparse scenery includes streets signs, small buildings, and other traffic. An unnecessary instrument panel takes up a large chunk of the screen. At least the instant-replays are somewhat amusing. Hard Drivin' isn't very enjoyable, but it is interesting to see how racing games have evolved over the years. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Accolade (1991)
Despite making a splash on the PC, Hardball had a hard time competing in the console world. And it's easy to see why. This game lacks the basic features gamers expect in a baseball title. There are no major league players or teams - just city names. There's only one stadium, and it's very generic. You can't jump or dive for batted balls. You can't take practice swings. There's no instant replay. And if the repetitive background music doesn't get on your nerves, the umpire's throaty "steerike!
" calls certainly will. The graphics are clean and well defined, but the players aren't well proportioned. The controls are spread over 30 pages
of the instruction book. Each pitcher has a unique set of pitches, and the speed gun is a nice touch. Batting is easy enough, but directing your baserunners is like herding cats
. The game also does a lousy job of choosing which fielder you control after the ball is hit. But these are small potatoes compared to one insidious design flaw that is guaranteed to drive you nuts.
Before each and every pitch, the player at bat must press the A button before the pitcher can throw. The first time I played Hardball with my friend Steve it took us ten minutes
just to figure out how to throw the damn ball! This flaw destroys
the two-player experience, and even when playing the CPU I sometimes find myself staring at the screen wondering why nothing's happening. Hardball didn't have much going for it to begin with, but this user interface blunder pushed me over the edge. © Copyright 2011 The Video Game Critic.
Save mechanism: Password
1 or 2 players
Publisher: Accolade (1994)
Save mechanism: Battery
1 or 2 players
Publisher: Accolade (1995)
As the final edition of Hardball for the Genesis, this 1995 edition offers some impressive features like live play-by-play and actual stadiums. Al Michaels does a pretty good job of calling the game but sounds very robotic. The digitized players look great in the pitcher/batter screens, and you can choose between either the pitcher's or batter's perspective. Unfortunately the pitcher view stinks because the batter crowds the plate, making it hard to locate the "target marker" in the strike zone. The batter view is much more playable, and you get the added benefit of seeing the stadium backdrops. Unfortunately Hardball 95's nifty visuals are overshadowed by fundamental flaws in the gameplay. The players in the field move way too fast
, making it possible for outfielders to throw out runners trying to advance even one base
on a hit! It's hard to judge fly balls and sometimes it's not really clear whether you actually caught the thing or not! The homerun theme song is now something that sounds like a kid singing "nany nany boo boo". Wow, that is just pathetic. Hardball 95 has the look of a franchise treading water. The addition of ballparks and play-by-play give it the edge over the previous edition, but its gameplay deserved a lot more attention. © Copyright 2012 The Video Game Critic.
Save mechanism: Battery
1 or 2 players
Haunting Starring Polterguy, The
Publisher: Electronic Arts (1993)
Publisher: Micronet (1991)
Publisher: Seismic (1990)
Publisher: Taito (1992)
Hit The Ice is not a serious game; it's a wacky three-on-three free-for-all that plays like NBA Jam on ice. The teams have very imaginative names like the Reds, Blue, Greens, and Yellows (I'm being facetious here). The cartoon players are big and colorful, but you can only control one of your players, which is a shame. The animation is downright choppy, and it's tough to tell what's going on when the players start bumping each other. In addition to your normal shot, you can also perform two "supershots", and you'll want to master these if you plan to compete against the computer. Like any decent hockey game, there are fights, and they always end with one guy on his back, foaming at the mouth. Funny at first, they soon get old, and don't really have much impact on the game itself. Hit The Ice had the right idea. The game certainly LOOKS fun. But the limited control and mediocre gameplay really drag it down. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Sega (1992)
Recommended variation: Beginner
Our high score: 30,650
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
Publisher: Sega (1993)
Our high score: 108,400
Publisher: Electronic Arts (1991)
Incredible Hulk, The
Publisher: U.S. Gold (1994)
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
Publisher: US Gold (1992)
So many scenes from the third Indiana Jones film beg
for an arcade game, including the circus train, catacombs, the boat chase, and especially the final scene with the three Grail challenges. But Last Crusade fails on every level. The controls are uncommonly poor. Jumping only works half of the time, and trying to leap at the edge of a platform sends you plunging into the abyss. Swinging on your whip is about as easy as picking up a watermelon seed! The characters are poorly rendered with cheesy black outlines, and the villains of the first stage look more like a bunch of Jerry Garcia
impersonators! The catacombs are loaded with flaming mice the size of cats
, and the final level isn't even consistent with the movie, as ducking under the swinging blades results is fatal! It doesn't help that you instantly die
from touching harmless objects like a bush, pile of bones, or even a puddle of water!
And when he dies, our hero unleashes a painful wale that's positively demonic!
Even the Indiana Jones theme sounds cheesy. As the final insult, the picture on the cartridge shows Indy being chased by a plane, a tank, and a German convoy, none
of which appear anywhere
in the game! © Copyright 2008 The Video Game Critic.
Izzy's Quest for the Olympic Rings
Publisher: US Gold (1995)
Rating: Kids to Adults
Our high score: 20,570