Jack Nicklaus Power Challenge Golf
Publisher: Accolade (1993)
Save mechanism: battery
1 or 2 players
James Bond: The Duel
Publisher: Domark (1993)
Our high score: 313,000
James Pond II: Codename Robocod
Publisher: Electronic Arts (1991)
Our high score: 337,600
Publisher: GTE (1994)
Jerry Glanville's Pigskin Footbrawl
Publisher: Sega (1992)
It would be unfair to give a high grade to such a sloppy game, but Pigskin Footbrawl is a game I wanted to like. The gameplay is more like rugby than American football, as players run, pass, and kick their way past slugging opponents. It's basically a five-on-five free-for-all. The two playing fields consist of a meadow and a coliseum, and the medieval cartoon graphics give the game a distinct personality. But although the premise of Footbrawl is great, the implementation is lacking. For one thing, you can only control a single player (can't even switch), and your guy is constantly off the screen. The field is filled with too many obstacles that are almost impossible to avoid. The animation is rough, and you have zero control during fights. I discovered that positioning your man to the endzone and waiting for a long throw is an effective (but very cheap) strategy. The voice samples ("ouch!") are repetitive and too loud. There are a few nice touches like a green troll that enters the game late to help out the losing team. Footbrawl could have used more polish, but the game can still generate some fun. © Copyright 1999 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Sega (1991)
By the name alone you might dismiss Jewel Master as just another Tetris clone similar to Columns
(Sega, 1991). In fact, Jewel Master is a side-scrolling platformer more along the lines of Rastan Saga II
(Taito, 1991). I love it! What makes the game special is how you collect magic rings which you arrange on your fingers (via the pause screen). Each hand has its own power. Various ring combinations imbue you with weapons (wave, ice, fireball) or special abilities (speed, high jump, shield). Before playing I'd advise you to alter the button configuration so the jump button is B, with left and right hand powers assigned to A and C (by default jump is C). You'll need to use your powers strategically as you creep through crumbling ruins while fending off goblins, scorpions, mudmen, and fireball-spewing statues. The layered scenery is alluring and I especially love the ivy-covered temples. The stage designs are a little repetitive but there's a nice variety of locations. You can pretty much predict where enemies will appear and thankfully they do not
respawn. What makes the game challenging is that you're relatively slow, especially compared to bosses like a pouncing cheetah or floating skeleton. You get three continues, but you always restart from the beginning of the stage, and they can be pretty long. Jewel Master is slow and methodical, but experimenting with the rings opens up a world of fun possibilities. © Copyright 2016 The Video Game Critic.
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Our high score: 83,800
Joe Montana Football
Publisher: Sega (1990)
Joe Montana is a surprisingly entertaining title, especially considering it was Sega's first attempt at football on the Genesis. Montana Football actually looks very much like John Madden Football, except the players here look sharper. There are also fewer lulls in the action -- you can select plays and hike the ball much quicker. One very innovative feature is the passing system. When you choose to pass, you get a first-person "helmet view" of your receiver, and you use crosshairs to "lead" your throw. This is fun and it works surprisingly well. Unfortunately, you can only see one receiver at a time, which may be why the system was not used in subsequent games. As I was playing Joe Montana, its main flaw became obvious: bad AI. The computer is a really lousy opponent, dropping easy catches and missing tackles all over the place. There are 16 teams to choose from, but the options are very limited. Still, as a two player game, this isn't half bad. © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.
Joe Montana II Sportstalk Football
Publisher: Sega (1991)
John Madden Football
Publisher: Electronic Arts (1990)
This is the first edition of a series of football games that revolutionized video game sports. It features an angled vertical view of the field, giving the game a pseudo-3D look. A nice selection of actual NFL plays are at your disposal. Many of the typical moves that we all take for granted today are here, including spin, dive, jump, and hurdle. Playing this game recently, I was surprised at just how good this is. The players look cartoonish but are easy to see, and the running and passing games are well balanced. I always liked how you can control the velocity of a pass by holding down the button - brilliant. There are only 16 teams to choose from, and the game has no fancy bells or whistles like subsequent editions. When choosing plays, you also need to choose which type of players you want, including big, hands, fast, or normal. After that, you often have to wait for half the team to run off the field, and THEN wait for the substitute players to run ONTO the field! This needlessly slows down the game. The physics aren't very realistic. Players can dive for over five yards or be knocked back just as far! Passing windows are used to view your three receivers, and while these windows do indicate how open your receiver is, they do not tell you how deep he is, or how many defenders are in the vicinity. As a result, luck plays a major role in the passing game. The sound effects during the game are minimal, dominated by grunts and the "water faucet" crowd. It's a bit rough around the edges, but overall it was a great start for a classic series. © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.
Save mechanism: Save option? No
Publisher: Acclaim (1995)
Publisher: Virgin (1994)
Our high score: 238,190
Publisher: Electronic Arts (1993)
This is a decent sequel to EA's Desert Strike, but to be honest, it didn't hold my attention all the way through. Like the first game, you control a helicopter on a series of military missions. Jungle Strike covers much more territory than the first game, including Washington D.C., a jungle river, and a snow fortress. I was hardly impressed by the D.C. stage because the scenery was entirely too sparse - it looked like a big park! In addition to your helicopter, certain missions also allow you to control a motorbike, hovercraft, and Stealth bomber. Don't get too excited though - these new vehicles are tougher to control and ultimately not as much fun. Oh well, at least they break up the monotony. Jungle Strike takes a long time to complete. There are eight campaigns compared to four in the first game, and each has a long list of missions. Casual gamers might not go for this, but if you couldn't get enough of Desert Strike, this is the game for you. © Copyright 1999 The Video Game Critic.
Save mechanism: Save option? Password
Publisher: Sega (1993)
Save mechanism: password
Jurassic Park: Rampage Edition
Publisher: Universal (1994)
Recommended variation: Easy
Jurassic Park: The Lost World
Publisher: Sega (1997)
Rating: Kids to Adults
This game was released late in the Genesis life cycle, making it a pretty rare title. Unlike the first two Jurassic Park Genesis games, this is an overhead, free-roaming adventure. It sounds a lot like the SNES Jurassic Park game, but this one looks far more realistic. If only it were more fun. You start by wandering around a savannah surrounded by heavy brush. Hitting the start button brings up a "web site". Yes, this was an early attempt to emulate the world wide web in a game. Apparently one of the developers thought the Internet was actually going to amount to something someday (idiot). This fake web site contains email messages, a map, and the all-important "dino facts" (hurrah). I like how the missions branch, but every one felt like a tedious wild goose chase. Typically you must rescue some poor schmuck by blasting obstacles and disabling electronic generators. Each time you encounter an electric field you have to scour the area to locate its power generator, and it's usually the furthest possible distance from your current location. Every stage feels like a maze, and don't get me started about these pesky dinosaurs. They aren't particularly aggressive, but your weapons are so freakin' weak
that you can't get rid of them! Even with a machine gun you'll barely chip away at the health of a small dinosaur. The action is tediously slow, and it just gets slower with more activity on the screen. I was hoping Lost World might be a hidden gem but this is one Jurassic Park game best forgotten. © Copyright 2012 The Video Game Critic.
Justice League Task Force
Publisher: Sunsoft (1995)
From the name itself, few people would guess this is a superhero fighting game. Heck, Justice League Task Force sounds more like some boring government commission! But the thing that really struck me about the game is just how incredibly mediocre
it is. Having been released well after the 2D fighter boom, you would at least
expect this to be as good as Eternal Champions, but it's not even close. The game combines run-of-the-mill graphics with second-rate gameplay and minimal sound. The main attraction is your ability to fight as Superman, Batman, Green Arrow, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, or the Flash. Unfortunately, Task Force was made at a time when DC Comics had made a few ill-advised changes to the look of the characters. Superman and Aquaman have long, flowing hair that makes them look more like Fabio than superheroes, and Green Arrow looks like a complete ass in that Robin Hood outfit. Also included are three villains I've never heard of: Cheetah, Desperdo, and Darkseid. The backgrounds are static, and with the exception of Batman's Gotham City, are extremely uninteresting. The gameplay is equally uninspired. The special moves aren't very special, and the collision detection is suspect at times. The sound effects are terribly muffled, and the low, rumbling background music is barely audible. If not for its famous cast of characters, Justice Task Force would have been a complete bust. © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Sega (1992)
Publisher: Sega (1993)
I remember my friend Tuan and I planned a big fishing trip in the early 90's, and we spent the night before playing this game for hours. King Salmon may not have great sound or graphics, but the gameplay will have you hooked! Until Sega Bass Fishing (Dreamcast) came out, this was easily the most fun fishing game I had played. The main reason is the game is so easy to play. After checking the weather, you drive your boat around a lake looking for a good spot. After choosing a strategic area, you get a closer view which provides a nice view of schools of fish in the water. By dragging your lure through the fish (trolling), you wait to get a bite. An easy-to-use menu allows you to change your lure, depth, or line. When you finally hook a fish, the fight sequence is suspenseful and exciting. The fighting screen is plain, but clearly displays what's going on. Sometimes a timely event will occur, such as your hook getting stuck on a piece of wood, or the fish making a zigzag run. You are then given three choices of how to react. Make the wrong decision and the line could snap or the fish could escape. When you finally pull in a fish, you'll see a nice picture of it on the scale. Each catch improves your ability and skill level. This game is simple but addictive! The music is awesome, and that's a good thing because it plays nonstop! If you do catch enough fish, you progress to a new lake. You can save your progress using a password feature. Don't hesitate to give King Salmon a try. © Copyright 1999 The Video Game Critic.
King of the Monsters
Publisher: Takara (1991)
King of the Monsters 2
Publisher: Takara (1993)
A huge improvement over the original, King of the Monsters 2 is a much deeper game with a slew of new monsters and stages. Now there are nine creatures in all, three from the previous game and six bizarre new creations. Actually, bizarre is an understatement. Some of these things have so many appendages, eyes, and teeth sticking out all over that you can't tell the head from the tail! Claw Head is certainly nightmare inducing, but others like Aqua Slug look like a shapeless mess. Initially the graphics look about the same quality as King of the Monsters, but as you move your creature around you'll notice it rotates
to keep facing his opponent, which looks terrific. The control scheme has changed a lot, mostly for the better. Now you can hold back to block Street Fighter-style, and there are special moves which also employ the standard joystick movements. Thankfully, monsters are now defeated when their life meter is drained completely, and they no longer need to be "pinned". The nine stages provide plenty of variety in terms of color, but the scenery isn't as interesting as the first game. The cities look fine but the Grand Canyon and ocean floor stages are pretty sparse. Small wandering creatures have been added to spice things up, but these tend to be annoying and rarely impact the contests. It's no classic, but King of the Monsters 2 does a good job of addressing the shortcomings of its predecessor. © Copyright 2003 The Video Game Critic.
Krusty's Super Fun House
Publisher: Flying Edge (1992)
Our high score: 33,080
Lakers Vs. Celtics
Publisher: Electronic Arts (1990)
Publisher: Sony (1993)
Based on the disappointing film by the same name, Last Action Hero is an example of how not
to craft a side-scrolling beat-em-up. This is so bad, I don't think a review can do it justice. The lead character (Arnold Schwarzenegger) looks so out-of-shape, he resembles Al Bundy from the old show Married with Children! In the opening street stage red crosshairs inexplicably swarm the screen before thugs emerge with knives and baseball bats. Your punches and kicks are so delayed you end up taking mandatory hits left and right. Your "jumping split" attack would be more appropriate for Jean Claude Van Damme (who incidentally made a cameo in the film). Occasionally several slow-moving bullets
drift across the screen for you to avoid. Would you believe I once died when I jumped into the air and landed
on a passing bullet? If you survive the street level you'll enter the school to fight goons tossing molotov cocktails. It's fun to kick in doors, but don't be quick to move on, because often a health item will appear a few seconds after
clearing an area. The scenery has a grainy, semi-digitized look with splashes of color. The stage layouts are repetitive however, and sometimes you're required to jump onto a platform completely out of view. The sound effects are muffled and the twangy looping music sounds like the Country Bear Jamboree. Considering the game was released in 1993, there is really no excuse. My friend Chris is a big fan of the movie, yet even he admitted he "could not die fast enough". © Copyright 2015 The Video Game Critic.
Our high score: 10,050
Publisher: Sega (1989)
Publisher: Konami (1993)
Our high score: 5,210
1 or 2 players
Lethal Enforcers II: Gun Fighters
Publisher: Konami (1994)
Our high score: 2,048
1 or 2 players
Publisher: Koei (1993)
Save mechanism: Battery
Publisher: Sega (1992)
Thunder Force 3 (TF3) was a tough act to follow, but this game holds its own. Released two years after TF3, Lightening Force has some new features that set it apart. The graphics are more detailed than the previous Thunder Force games, and you have the ability to scroll the screen up or down. Thanks to some fancy pseudo-3D graphics, you even can see enemies approaching from the background. One negative side effect of this is that you can't always tell what you can and can't shoot. There are some nifty special effects here like enemies that splash in the water or burrow through the sand, and the explosions are noticeably improved. Sega took some chances with some really weird alien designs this time around. I mean, normally you can tell the front or back of a ship or the head and tail of an alien, but I don't know what to make of some of these bizarre creations. Some of the bosses crowd the screen too much, and some enemies are too difficult to kill. But overall, I would have to say that this is the best-looking game in the Thunder Force series, although not as playable as TF3. © Copyright 1999 The Video Game Critic.