Missile Command 3D
Publisher: Atari (1995)
I've always been a big fan of this arcade classic, and I was pleasantly surprised to see how Atari brought this oldie into the 90s. The cartridge contains three versions of Missile Command: original, 3D, and virtual. I was expecting the original version to be just like the original arcade game, but it's not. The graphics have been upgraded slightly, and the sound effects have been improved dramatically. There's even a pulse-pounding music theme that plays in the background. The gameplay and control are first-rate. The 3D version has fancy polygon graphics and a much bigger playing field. You'll have to scroll around and use radar to determine where the missiles are coming in. It's pretty impressive looking, but not really any more fun than the first version. The Virtual version is played from a first-person perspective, and you have addition weapons. These weapons include lasers, which can be used to shoot the missiles directly, and smart bombs, which wipe out all enemies on the screen. Firing the normal missiles is tough; after you launch one, you have to time its detonation. It's difficult to determine the "depth" of the objects you're shooting. This version also features bosses, power-ups, and three unique levels. One complaint I have about all three versions is that your missiles tend to move very slowly, making it extra difficult to intercept enemies. Also, the explosions in the 3D versions are noticeably flat in comparison to the objects. But Missile Command fans will be happy enough with this. © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Atari (1995)
Rating: Kids to Adults
There's a good reason why I stick to consoles and avoid PC games - so I can avoid games like Myst. Yeah, I know this game was huge
in the 90's, but I have no tolerance for its slow pacing and trial-and-error gameplay. Myst's surreal premise is undeniably captivating, as you find yourself on a mysterious deserted island with interesting architecture and strange mechanical contraptions. You roam around the island by simply pointing and clicking where you want to go. A context-sensitive hand-shaped cursor is used to grab and manipulate items. The pre-rendered scenery looks sharp, but its "wow" factor has dissipated over the years. Myst's ominous musical score remains potent however, effectively creating a weirdly chilling atmosphere. You'll spend a lot of time gathering clues by paging through books, and while the text is interesting, having to zoom in on page after page is clumsy and tiresome. For those with unlimited patience, I'm suspect Myst could provide quite an immersive experience, delivering hours upon hours of mind-bending gameplay. Personally, I spent about an hour playing this and decided that was enough. I felt like I was getting nowhere. Myst might be the best game in the world, but I'll never know, and neither will the other gamers out there who prefer a little action in their adventures. © Copyright 2007 The Video Game Critic.
NBA Jam Tournament Edition
Publisher: Acclaim (1995)
Publisher: 21st Century Entertainment (1995)
It's tough to be critical of a game that simulates pinball so well. The action is fast and smooth, and the physics is very realistic. There are four big tables to choose from, all loaded with targets, lights, tunnels, etc. You control the plunger, the flippers, and even have the ability to tilt. The tables smoothly scroll up and down as the ball moves. If there's anything to criticize about this game, it's the table selection. The first one, "Party Time", has a circus/clown theme that really turned me off. I have always been afraid of clowns, and looking at their creepy faces and hearing their laughter isn't my idea of fun. The next table is a little better; it has a racing theme. That's OK, but I've never been a racing fan. The third table has a millionaire game show theme, which I found to be extremely uninteresting. Which brings me to the last table, Stones and Bones, which has a decidedly Halloween theme. I loved everything about this table from the monster illustrations to the creepy sound effects and music. This is only the one I need! There's no accounting for taste, but Pinball Fantasies does deliver some solid pinball action. © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.
Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure
Publisher: Activision (1995)
When the Atari Jaguar was getting games that looked suspiciously like their 16-bit counterparts, it called into question the system's 64-bit qualifications. Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure was one of those games. This is a sharp-looking 2D platformer hampered by poor level design. The dense jungle scenery looks terrific but it's hard to tell where you can or can't go. Zany animations give our hero personality but at the cost of delayed movement. You'll throw stones to defeat creatures like panthers and warthogs, but the battles are awkward. Creatures tend to linger offscreen, and by the time you see them they're right on top of you. The default button configuration doesn't feel right. The leftmost button is jump?!
The box claims this edition contains "enhanced gameplay not found in other versions". I'll just have to take their word for it because this game plays the same as the others. It does have a save feature, so that's something, plus a hefty, 73-page instruction booklet! Instead of printing different instructions per region, Atari opted to print one booklet in several languages. Did they really think this would save them money? Despite its obvious shortcomings, Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure is playable enough once you get a feel for it. Truth be told this is probably the least
mediocre version I've played. © Copyright 2017 The Video Game Critic.
Our high score: 60,948
Power Drive Rally
Publisher: Time-Warner Interactive (1994)
Primal Rage (CD)
Publisher: Time-Warner Interactive (1994)
Our high score: 147,000
1 or 2 players
Publisher: Songbird Productions (2002)
A late Jaguar release from Songbird, this Defender clone is so freakin' good that it's sick! Sick I tell you! This makes Atari's Defender 2000 look like a steaming pile of dung by comparison. Protector is probably the best Jaguar game I've ever played. The crisp, colorful graphics are nothing less than spectacular - you'll be hard-pressed to find a better-looking 2D game period
. Amazing metallic UFOs blow up with exceptionally satisfying explosions. The action moves extremely fast, but the framerate never falters in the midst of the intense action. The planet surface changes each five waves, and the backgrounds look sharp. The audio is also superb, combining voice samples with a catchy, thumping soundtrack. But gameplay is what really matters, and Protector delivers. The rapid-fire shooting is phenomenal, and the quickness of your ship makes it much easy to nab falling humanoids. Extra features like a shield button, power-ups, and the ability to purchase items between waves add new life to the old formula. My only beef with this new "Special Edition" is that the difficulty select has been removed, but at least you can choose your starting wave. Protector is a blast to play, and any self-respecting Jaguar owner should have this bad boy in their collection. © Copyright 2003 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Atari (1993)
Publisher: Ubi Soft (1995)
It's hard to find fault with this excellent 2D platformer. Rayman is a cartoon character whose hands and feet are not connected by arms or legs (they just float). It sounds odd, but it gives him a unique look and allows for some interesting animations. The game combines the slow, deliberate gameplay of Super Mario Brothers with the lush colorful graphics of a Sonic the Hedgehog game. The animations are incredibly smooth and often humorous. Rayman starts off like a simple platform jumper, but as he gains new abilities like punch, hanging from ledges, or flying like the helicopter, the challenges become more complex and intense. Rayman has its share of innovations too. Your shooting fist works like a boomerang. You can instantly grow huge flowers to help you reach high ledges. Huge pieces of fruit grow on trees, and you can use them to clear your path or float across water. Besides collecting items, you'll free caged creatures and face huge bosses. The collision detection is very forgiving, but sometimes you can't see the ledge you need to jump to. The lush stages are works of art, bursting with color and teeming with life. Likewise, the music is upbeat and fun. Like Super Mario Brothers, there's a map screen that allows you to choose your stage and revisit old ones, and you can save your place between stages. The stage designs can be frustrating, but I found this version easier than the Saturn edition. Fun and highly replayable, Rayman is easily one of the better Jaguar titles. © Copyright 2003 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Atari Age (2016)
Publisher: Atari (1995)