Garfield: Caught in the Act
Publisher: Sega (1995)
Joe Montana Football
Publisher: Sega (1991)
As long as you're not looking for anything fancy, Joe Montana is a fun little football game. All the NFL teams are included (circa 1991), but they're all rendered in blue and red uniforms, and except for slightly different playbooks, they're all the same. The simple control scheme doesn't let you perform any moves when you run with the ball, and as a result the running game is virtually non-existent. Fortunately, the passing game is quite effective. Like Tecmo Football, you can switch between receivers on the fly, and your quarterback zips the ball nicely. There aren't many sound effects, but players are tackled with a satisfying thud. Graphically, the game has nicely defined players, and it's easy to follow the large football. The goalposts look terrific, and the players perform a hilariously cheesy "celebration dance" after each touchdown. Montana is pretty shallow, but the game moves along quickly with no pauses in the action. The CPU provides a reasonable challenge, but sometimes does dumb things like run to the back of the end zone for a safety. Not too hot and not too cold, Joe Montana provides an average portable football experience. © Copyright 2004 The Video Game Critic.
Jungle Book, The
Publisher: Sega (1993)
Am I missing something
here?? Jungle Book looks pretty spectacular on my Game Gear, but I can't play the thing worth a [expletive]! I love the scenery with its sunny savannahs, dense jungles, and tranquil flowing streams. The main character is a lanky kid named Mowgli, and he's animated with fluid grace. Likewise the swinging monkeys, trampling warthogs, swimming bears, and spitting cobras are rendered with loving care. The object of most stages is to collect gems while keeping hostile wildlife at bay by pelting them with bananas. Not only can you throw bananas in a rapid-fire manner, but you can even angle
your throws! It's cool how you can knock a monkey out of a tree, yet he'll continue fighting on the ground below. Jungle Book's platform jumping can be a little tricky, mainly because Mowgli has the annoying habit of hitting his head on low hanging branches while leaping from vines. The audio is top notch, featuring a toe-tapping rendition of "Bear Necessities". So what's the deal with the difficulty? Finding all eight gems in a level is awfully hard! I can understand that degree of challenge in stage seven, but we're talking about the first stage
here! You'll absorb a lot of damage from hidden dangers, blind jumps, and cobras camped out on short ledges. This steep difficulty adds unnecessary frustration to what should have been a care-free, easy-going romp through the jungle. © Copyright 2008 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Sega (1993)
Publisher: Virgin (1994)
I wasn't a huge fan of the 16-bit version of Lion King (SNES, Genesis), and this portable edition offers even less to get excited about. The graphics are certainly acceptable, with smoothly animated, detailed animals and beautiful orange sunsets. But the color-by-number gameplay will have you frustrated and bored. The stages follow Simba from being a cub all the way up to his final confrontation with Scar. The jumping controls are very forgiving, as your lion will grab hold of a ledge if you don't make the jump cleanly. The game tries to add some variety by letting you interact with other animals, but I experienced a fair amount of frustration from animals tossing me places I didn't want to go. Many stages are painfully monotonous rock platforms, where it's difficult to determine where to go next. But the worst part is that you have to play as a cub
for most of the game! After six stages of controlling a cub, I was thinking "When is this [expletive] lion gonna grow up?!" A unique "roar" move gives the game a hint of originality, but it's useless for most of the game. Even the "catch the seeds" bonus round falls flat. The music is high-quality (taken from the movie), but when all is said and done, Lion King doesn't amount to much. © Copyright 2003 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Acclaim (1993)
When I first switched on Mortal Kombat for the Game Gear, I was blown away by the size of the characters. Not only do they fill the screen, but they also boast level of digitized detail and clarity you might not expect from the system. Does the gameplay match the impressive graphics? Not quite. The fighters' movements are rough and erratic, and certain special moves (like Raiden's flying attack) cause major graphic break-up. Control is not as responsive as it could be, and trying to execute certain special moves (like Sub Zero's Deep Freeze) is problematic. Still, I found the gameplay to be similar to the arcade game and fairly enjoyable overall. The best part is the tournament mode, where you dispatch a parade of increasingly difficult foes en route to facing the huge four-armed boss, Goro. There are three skill levels and six playable fighters: Johnny Cage, Liu Kang, Rayden, Scorpion, Sub Zero, and Sonya (Kano is missing). Like its Genesis counterpart, there is a "blood" code (2,1,2,Down,Up on title screen). © Copyright 2003 The Video Game Critic.
Mortal Kombat II
Publisher: Acclaim (1994)
The first Mortal Kombat for the Game Gear was impressive, and this one is even better. In fact, it's hard to imagine a better fighting game for the Game Gear. This time around you get eight warriors instead of six: Liu Kang, Reptile, Sub Zero, Shang Tsung, Kitana, Jax, Mileena, and Scorpion. For some reason, the two women look a little too thick around the middle - not very attractive. The graphics and sound are about the same quality as the previous edition, but the gameplay is faster and the controls are tighter. A ringing sound effect alerts you when your health is low, but it sounds a lot like a telephone. Thankfully, you don't need to enter a code to unleash the blood, although it's not as gratuitous as you might expect. Like the first Mortal Kombat, there are three skills levels, and you can't pause because the Start button is used to block. Overall, this one is a head-ripping, spine-tearing good time. © Copyright 2004 The Video Game Critic.