Publisher: Sega (1996)
This is Virtua Fighter
? Virtua Fighter is supposed to be a 3D game, but this version is just a second-rate 2D fighter. There's nothing "Virtual" about this game at all. Sega just used the name, and in my opinion, it's misleading. Anyway, this mediocre fighting game has decent graphics but nothing in the way of innovation. The whole gimmick to Virtua Fighter was the 3D angles, and without that the game seems pointless. Eight characters from the series are included, and I have to admit that they are colorful and well detailed. There are plenty of moves for each fighter, but the moves don't look very spectacular, and most are punch/kick variations. This game is a button-masher. It lacks the personality and playability of other fighting games like Street Fighter or Eternal Champions, and the voice samples are awful. Just to illustrate how lame this game is, one of the three bullet items on the box reads "Choose between 6 different fighting uniforms per character!" Big frickin' deal. © Copyright 1999 The Video Game Critic.
Save mechanism: Save feature? No
Publisher: Sega (1994)
To bring Virtua Racing to the Genesis, Sega packed extra chips into an oversized cartridge in order to support the game's demanding 3D polygon graphics. This game boasts visuals and gameplay unmatched for the system, and is very similar to the 32X version. Although the polygon count and number of colors are slightly lower in this version, the gameplay is just as good. Granted, there are only three tracks (compared to five on the 32X), but these are the three better tracks, complete with bridges, tunnels, and overpasses. Other minor differences include only one type of car (formula) and audio effects that sound muffled. Since the Genesis only supports a modest number of colors, the road tends to look like a patchwork of blue and gray squares. But in terms of fun, Virtua Racing has withstood the test of time very well. Even the split-screen mode is a pleasure to play. Incredibly, this game originally sold for an astronomical $100. NOTE: This cartridge will NOT work in a Sega 32X-equipped console. © Copyright 2004 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Acclaim (1994)
Loaded with its supernatural monsters, spells, and macabre scenery, Warlock tries hard to be like Castlevania, but the gameplay is weak. You control a wizard who looks more than a little like Harry Potter. You begin the adventure running through a beautiful meadow, but an evil sorcerer soon appears and raises havoc, transforming dogs into werewolves and townspeople into ugly zombies. You get to explore creepy places like castles, dungeons, and graveyards, and they look terrific. The graphics are high caliber, and some of the monsters look truly frightening. A creepy organ plays a haunting refrain in the background. The unique health meter is in the form of a head that loses flesh with each hit. In terms of presentation, Warlock has a lot going for it, so it's a shame that the game plays so poorly. Although you can hurl "magic blasts" and an orb that acts like a boomerang, these can only be aimed at certain angles, and it's hard to hit advancing monsters. This problem is aggravated by numerous cheap hits and monsters that materialize from out of nowhere on both sides of you. Most players will give up in frustration and miss out on most of the great visuals Warlock has to offer. © Copyright 2003 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Renovation (1990)
I'm normally giddy as a schoolgirl when it comes to 16-bit shooters, but Whip Rush just didn't do it for me. It's not awful
in any regard, but it lacks character and fails to distinguish itself from the many shooters it borrows ideas from. The graphics are sub-par, with the "orange circle" explosions looking especially weak. The constantly changing backgrounds feature cool parallax scrolling, but the scenery looks grainy and lacks detail. As you traverse the maze-like stages, the scrolling direction tends to change abruptly, sometimes forcing you into a corner with no room to escape. Frequent power-ups allow you to switch weapons, and you'll learn that certain weapons are far better suited to particular stages. One weapon I hated was the irritating "fire" weapon, which shoots in the opposite
direction of where you press the directional pad. By far your best option is the side-cannon attachment that can be repositioned on the fly via the C button. I do like how taking a hit reduces your weapon power instead of destroying your ship outright, and the high score is displayed on the top of the screen, giving you something to shoot for. Some of the music has that vintage 16-bit quality, but much of its sounds like bubblegum pop from the 1980s. In the final analysis, Whip Rush is playable but certainly not one of the better Genesis shooters. © Copyright 2006 The Video Game Critic.
Wimbledon Championship Tennis
Publisher: Sega (1993)
Until recently I was under the impression that no good tennis games were released between Activision's Tennis (Atari 2600, 1982) and Virtua Tennis (Dreamcast, 2000). That just goes to shows you what I
know - not a damn thing!
Wimbledon Championship Tennis caught me off-guard with its exceptional quality and sheer playability. The game employs a high angle camera which provides an optimal view of the action while sacrificing some visual detail. The A, B, and C buttons each deliver a different type of shot, with the lob (A button) coming in handy when your opponent charges the net. Unlike Virtua Tennis, you have to time your button press with your swing, so there's less room for error. If I can offer one piece of advice, it would be to never give up on a shot!
Even if you totally miss the ball the first time your swing, you can sometimes still chase it down! The oversized tennis ball is smoothly animated and becomes exceptionally large when hit high into the air. The players look good, but why do they wave their hands in the air when running from the net? Wimbledon doesn't have real players, which is probably its biggest downfall. One excellent feature is support for Sega's multi-tap, allowing four players to participate in two-on-two doubles. My friends and I gave it a try, and we couldn't get enough of it. The audio also shines with referees who yell the score, players who grunt, and an amazing resonating sound effect of the ball hitting your racket. Wimbledon's gameplay boasts a few features even Virtua Tennis
lacks. Not only can the ball be hit into the net, but it sometimes even bounces off the top of the net - just like real tennis! I also like the green, Keebler Elf-like girls who retrieve loose balls! The one annoyance is the way the ball can sometimes hit you in the groin - there are far too many of these "ball shots". This game flew well under my radar back in the day, but I'm making up for lost time. Wimbledon Championship Tennis is yet another top-notch sports title for the Genesis system. © Copyright 2009 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Dreamworks (1991)
If you're a shooter fan who pines for simpler times, Wings of Wor is a real treat. This side-scroller combines old-school simplicity with fast action and unexpected visual effects. You control a winged dude with tremendous firepower. Holding in the fire button unleashes a steady stream of bullets, and after snatching up a few power-ups you'll be spraying most of the screen. Collecting scrolls lets you perform special attacks such as lightning or magic arrows. The firepower is excessive, but it's necessary to repel the demon hordes that converge on you like heat-seeking missiles!
You'll fly through a cavern, an underwater shipwreck, an ornate temple, and a retro-futuristic factory. Stage five looks more like something you'd see under a microscope with its squishy membranes and floating cells. I love the diversity but the scenery looks somewhat grainy and indistinct. Wings of Wor surprised me with its special effects that include wavy underwater currents and an earthquake that rocks the screen. Everything in the world wants to kill you including gargoyles, floating knights, seagulls, squid, and even clouds with faces. The spiders in the first stage scared the living [expletive] out of me! The shooting action is rather conventional and some areas feel drawn out with repeating enemies and scenery. The bosses are surprisingly easy to defeat. The first is a huge locomotive with a face that consumes almost the entire screen. After such a dramatic entrance it's downright comical when you quickly dispatch him by shooting him point-blank in the face. Each stage has its own distinctive harmonized musical score. This game flew under many radars, but it's worth tracking down. With simple gameplay and frequent surprises, Wings of Wor is a little slice of 16-bit heaven. © Copyright 2011 The Video Game Critic.
Our high score: 371,980
World Championship Soccer
Publisher: Sega (1989)
It's easy to believe this game came out in 1989, because it looks more like a Master System game than a Genesis title. The overhead view of the field makes the players look like black circles with shoulders. Your limited view of the action is supposedly compensated by a miniature "radar" field display on the right side of the screen. Even if you could
make sense out of all those moving dots (forget about it), using it effectively is nearly impossible. I liked performing the bicycle kicks, but maintaining control of the ball is impossible. The upbeat background music is pleasant enough, but the "goal!" voice sample sounds more like someone screaming in agony! World Championship Soccer hasn't aged well at all. © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.
World Championship Soccer II
Publisher: Sega (1994)
It's hard to believe that it took Sega FIVE whole years to come out with a sequel to World Championship Soccer, but this time they did it right. The field is viewed from the side at a 45-degree angle, giving you a nice 3D perspective on the action. The short and stocky player sprites look funny, but they are nicely animated (especially the dives). The game is fast and fun, and the controls are simple and responsive. Although your view is limited, there always seems to be a teammate just off-screen ready to receive a pass. The gameplay is much deeper than its predecessor - there are now headers, penalty kicks, corner kicks, and penalty cards. You even get to see a replay of each goal. There are 32 teams and plenty of customization options. If there's one area where the game stumbles badly, it's in the sound department. The background music is fair, but the crowd sound effects are unbearable. The disjointed, incomprehensible "chants" sound like a poor radio reception. Sound is NOT the Genesis' strong suit, and Sega shouldn't have attempted to be so ambitious. Other than that, this soccer game is definitely worth checking out. It also provides multi-tap support. © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.
World Series Baseball
Publisher: Sega (1994)
World Series Baseball set the high-water mark for realism in a baseball game, but in the process Sega sacrificed the arcade sensibility that made Sportstalk Baseball so popular. Unlike most baseball games of its time, World Series features all of the MLB players, teams, and stadiums. Playing modes include exhibition, batting practice, home run derby, and a battery backed-up season. The graphics are realistic but somewhat drab and indistinct. The stadiums are faithful to their real-life counterparts, including the scoreboards. The players all look pretty much the same. An innovative new "catcher's view" provides the hitter with a wide-open view of the strike zone, with the batter standing just off the edge of the screen. Unfortunately, the emphasis on realism takes its toll on the gameplay. The action isn't nearly as fast or smooth as SportsTalk, and there are too many lulls in the action. Two button presses are required to throw a pitch, and the batter must "aim" using a circular target. You're constantly waiting for the pitcher to get the ball back, and for some odd reason the scoreboard is displayed before every
batter. Unless you're a purist who thrives on the finer points of the game, World Series can be downright tedious. Throws tend to be inordinately high arcing, turning the most routine grounders into close plays at first base. The height of the baseball is represented by a huge shadow, which looks pretty cheesy. I still recall my friend Bobby commenting, "Look at the size of that shadow", causing me to second-guess my $60 investment. Fortunately, the game excels in its attention to detail. The SportsTalk announcer is back and he has a lot more to say. The scoreboard displays humorous animated cartoons in addition to the box score. Other neat little touches include fielders who toss the ball towards the mound after the third out. You can even hear vendors shouting "get 'yer hot dogs" in the stands. World Series Baseball certainly covered its bases in terms of getting the details right, but it took a step back in terms of gameplay. © Copyright 2006 The Video Game Critic.
World Series Baseball 95
Publisher: Sega (1995)
This sequel isn't a huge improvement, but it is a step up. The main difference is the overhauled graphics, which appear far more vibrant and colorful that last year. You can see more of the batter in the box, and he looks practically digitized. I like how the ball now clanks off of the ball in a more realistic and satisfying manner. The fielding action is fun, but there are too many foul balls. A streamlined user interface means that the batter no longer has to "aim" his swing, thank goodness. New options include multiplayer leagues, the ability to draft and trade players, and teams of "all-time great" players. But the most notable new feature is the ability to "celebrate" during homerun trots. My friend Eric used to totally abuse this feature, cartwheeling all the way around the bases (which I must admit was pretty hilarious). The SportsTalk announcer was apparently canned and replaced with another guy who says next to nothing. A PA announcer introduces each batter, but he speaks too slowly ("Next up. For the Yankees...") A disjointed "water faucet" sound effect serves as the crowd noise. The pace of the game hasn't improved at all. You'll still need to wait for the pitcher to compose himself before each pitch, and the scoreboard is shown before each batter, which is irritating as all hell. In the final analysis, World Series 95 is just a modest upgrade. © Copyright 2006 The Video Game Critic.
World Series Baseball 96
Publisher: Sega (1996)
Don't feel bad if you ever confuse this game with World Series 95, because it's an honest mistake. In fact, World Series 96 is practically identical
to World Series 95, save for updated rosters and schedules. That a shame, because there was plenty
of room for improvement, especially in the audio department. With no new features to tout, Sega was reduced to listing old
features on the back of the box! How pathetic is that? World Series Baseball 96 represents Sega at its very worst. Shameful! © Copyright 2006 The Video Game Critic.
World Series Baseball 98
Publisher: Sega (1997)
Genesis baseball fans must have been experiencing a serious case of deja-vu in the late 90's, considering Sega pretty much released the same game three years in a row
! Sure, the statistics and rosters are updated, but who cares? Could Sega have possibly milked this series any more? I seriously doubt it. Actually, there is
one notable thing about this game. If you look at the title, you'll notice that Sega "skipped" a year in order to keep pace with other baseball games who had inexplicably begun naming their games after the next
year. It's a mad, mad world. © Copyright 2006 The Video Game Critic.
World of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse & Donald Duck
Publisher: Sega (1992)
I'm a long-time fan of Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse (Genesis, 1990), with its casual pacing, well-crafted scenes, and unexpected surprises. I was hoping World of Illusion would rekindle the same magic, but it never quite reaches the same heights. World of Illusion is still an enjoyable little romp however, and the two-player co-op mode is great concept that you rarely see in a platformer. The graphics are a slight letdown. As a sequel to Castle of Illusion, I was expecting the visuals to be bigger and bolder, but they're not. The characters appear slightly smaller, and the colors look washed out. The varied stage locations include a forest, volcanic mountains, library, and a sunken pirate ship. There's also a magic carpet ride with controls and sound effects that bring Joust to mind. On land, Mickey wields a magic blanket to defeat blue soldiers and wandering flames, and utilizes devices like teeter-totters to reach high places. The two-player mode incorporates additional stages that emphasize the teamwork aspect. These are slow and a bit tedious at times, but generally easy and fun. The stage designs are fairly predictable, save for a few clever touches like the spider that weaves his web as you walk across it. The kinder, gentler musical score is pure Disney, but the sound effects could use some work. I can tolerate the scratchy voice samples, but that tinny "thunder" sounds awful. A password feature is included, but the use of playing cards instead of letters makes it tough to record the code on paper. This might not be the best Mickey Mouse adventure you'll ever experience, but the reasonable difficulty and cooperative play make it worthwhile for gamers looking for something relaxing. © Copyright 2007 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Sega (1993)
This game is a disappointment. What should have been a cool fighter turns out to be just a tedious platform jumping game. Yes, there is fighting, but it's not too exciting. Punch a bad guy in the foot twice and he evaporates - great. Mainly you just find yourself flipping switches and jumping (and falling) from slippery ledges. You can control four X-Men, including Gambit, Cyclops, Wolverine, and Nightcrawler. Each has their own special powers, and in addition, you can call on Rogue, Archangel, Iceman, Storm, and Jean Gray for backup (they basically clear the screen for you). The characters look a bit pixelated, and their pictures on the menu screen are so poorly drawn that you can't even tell which one is which! The backgrounds, depicting futuristic worlds, are rather generic and dull. The sound is the worst, with bad music and annoying, cheesy sound effects (enemies "pop" when they die). Control is fair, except for Nightcrawler's teleport ability, which is very flakey and ineffective. One unique feature is the ability to switch characters at any time, but the difficulty is excessive, even on the easy level. There are plenty of cheap, unavoidable hits, and it's tough to get back life once you've lost it. There is a also two-player simultaneous mode that doesn't work too well. © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.
X-Men 2: Clone Wars
Publisher: Sega (1995)
Although released four years after the first Genesis X-Men, this cartridge managed to atone for many of its predecessor's sins. First, the graphics are MUCH improved. The characters are larger, sharper, and more detailed. The music is menacing, and the sound effects are high quality. The stages are more interesting, including a snow stage in Siberia. Although there's still plenty of jumping, the platforms are larger and much more forgiving. Your special moves are no longer limited, allowing you to be more aggressive. You can choose between Wolverine, Cyclops, Gambit, Nightcrawler, Beast, Psylocke, and even the evil Magneto(?!). Unlike the first game, you cannot switch characters during a mission. X-Men 2 is a much better game, but it's still very difficult, and there aren't any checkpoints. © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.
Young Indiana Jones
Publisher: Sega (1994)
Young Indiana Jones is a good-looking game that would be fun if it weren't impossible to play
. The controls are just deplorable, which is surprising considering this was released in 1994. The game takes you to all the exotic Indiana Jones locales including Egypt, India, Tibet, Germany, and England. You can even select the order in which you play the stages, which is always a nice feature. The graphics aren't bad either. Young Indiana looks almost digitized
in appearance, and when he uses his whip to climb, the animation is quite impressive. Colorful stage backdrops include the Pyramids of Egypt, snow-coved Hymalayan mountains, and London Bridge on a stormy night. Sadly, the gameplay is frustrating and repetitive. Although your whip moves with fluid motion in any direction, it inflicts minimal damage on sword-throwing thugs and other converging enemies. Since you can't squat down while using it, you're pretty much a sitting duck. You'll face the exact same goons over and over again, and shooting them with a gun provides your only relief. But the worst aspect of the game are the irritating small creatures like birds, snakes, scorpions, monkeys, and even fish
that hound you from all sides. Not only are they impossible to avoid, but targeting them is an exercise in futility! Egypt is a nightmare, because after stumbling through all sorts of tedious hazards, a big windstorm can come along and sweep you all the way back to the beginning! It makes you feel very helpless in a game that never really gives you a fighting chance to begin with. © Copyright 2008 The Video Game Critic.
Zero Wing (Import)
Publisher: Toaplan (1991)
Knowledgeable video game fans will recognize this game as a cultural icon. A generic shooter never released in North America, Zero Wing kicks off with a poorly translated intro with such famous lines as "All your base are belong to us", "Somebody set us up the bomb", "What you say?!", and "Make your time!". It's hard to watch without cracking up, and it was the one and only reason I purchased this game. I obtained this European "Megadrive" version from Ebay, and it works fine on my original-model Genesis. As a shooter, there's nothing exceptional about Zero Wing. The scenery and enemies are typical space station fare, and there are some cheesy looking bosses, including one that vaguely resembles a clown head. Three types of weapons are available, and each can be powered up to three levels. The green guided missiles are most effective, so once you've equipped them you'll want to avoid the red (wide) and blue (laser) icons altogether. The best aspect of Zero Wing is your formidable firepower. Two cannons float alongside your ship, allowing you to unleash a constant barrage of missiles. I like how your cannons squeeze together as you navigate narrow passages. Zero Wing's sound is the standard up-tempo electronic music the Genesis is famous for, and it's decent but forgettable. I doubt that a casual gamer will want to hunt down this rare bird, but hardcore collectors will want Zero Wing in their library. © Copyright 2005 The Video Game Critic.
Zombies Ate My Neighbors
Publisher: Konami (1993)
Your enjoyment of this game will largely depend on if you've played the SNES version (which was released first). If you haven't
, then Zombies Ate My Neighbors is an engaging, light-hearted romp with a Halloween theme. Its 55 stages of overhead shooting mayhem will take you into zombie-ravaged neighborhoods, hedge mazes terrorized by chainsaw maniacs, and beaches crawling with Creature From The Black Lagoon clones. One or two players can battle these evil minions by tossing everyday objects like tomatoes, plates, pop-sickles, and footballs. The whimsical soundtrack perfectly compliments the action, and an easy-to-read password is provided after every few stages. Zombies Ate My Neighbors is a good game, but if you cut your teeth on the SNES version, you're bound to be disappointed. First off, the right side of the screen is reserved for scoring and the radar display, forcing the main play area to be somewhat squished. The graphics don't look nearly as sharp as the SNES, and the certain visual effects are missing altogether. For example, monsters don't turn blue when you freeze them with a fire extinguisher. But the audio is the biggest letdown. The music is muted and some sounds have been reduced to simple beeps. The bass-heavy effects that rocked the SNES just sound harsh
. My friend Scott remarked, "it gets more and more disappointing with each sound effect!" The only way this edition improves upon the original is the red blood that drips down the "game over" screen, as opposed to that cheesy purple goo of the SNES edition. © Copyright 2010 The Video Game Critic.
Our high score: 41,150
Save mechanism: Password
1 or 2 players
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