It won't win any awards, but this SNES version of Home Alone 2: Lost in New York is certainly a step up from the abysmal NES game. The graphics are remarkably rich with luxurious furnishings and decorations (plants, sofas) that look photo-realistic. The cut-scenes incorporate digitized images from the film. The controls are responsive as you guide Kevin McCallister through the Grand Plaza Hotel, Central Park, and other New York City destinations. Kevin uses toy guys to subdue enemies, and can also elude them with a nifty knee slide. There are plenty of people to avoid including the concierge, maids, and a woman with an umbrella who looks really
creepy (She's a witch! Burn her!
). Then the game goes off the deep end by incorporating nonsensical hazards like hopping suitcases and runaway vacuum cleaners. Home Alone 2 suffers from gameplay mediocrity and "what do I do now" syndrome. The collision detection is fishy, and sometimes you'll walk into a room and be grabbed before you can even react. In the hotel stage, you're forced to run to the end of dead-end hallways for no particular reason. And why in the heck is it necessary to hit the elevator button five times?
The weapons are easy to come by, but you quickly run out of ammo. Home Alone 2 successfully recreates the look of the film, but frustrating design flaws spoil the fun. © Copyright 2014 The Video Game Critic.
This video game edition of the popular game show is designed for one to three players. All the segments of the actual show are present, including Jeopardy, Double Jeopardy, and Final Jeopardy. Alex Trebek appears in the game, but only to pop up before each question just to say "The answer is..." Oh well, at least those distinctive music and sound effects are included. The first time I played Jeopardy I had an awful first round, earning a score in the negatives
. During the second round however I started getting into a groove, and it was fun. The topics make all the difference in the world, so I really appreciate the option to choose a new set of topics if you don't like the ones given. Your answers must be entered letter by letter, but the interface is well designed and will tolerate some degree of spelling errors. If you've seen the show on television, you know the questions tend to be very hard, but the game gives you an advantage by making the CPU-controlled opponents slow to hit the buzzer. It takes a while to play an entire game, but if you enjoy the TV show, you will like this. © Copyright 1999 The Video Game Critic.
This sequel to Desert Strike sends you on a series of "surgical strike" missions in a well-armed helicopter. The 45-degree view of the action nicely conveys the illusion of 3D graphics while providing the best angle of the action. The first few missions involve protecting Washington DC from terrorists, but for some reason downtown DC has no
traffic - just acres of green meadows! Apparently none of the programmers have ever actually been
to DC. Eventually you'll attack a snow fortress in Siberia before finally starting on the jungle-based scenarios. Your copter is equipped with a machine gun and a limited supply of missiles. Jungle Strike is hard and the action is intense. You need to proceed cautiously, because getting caught in crossfire can mean instant death. In some stages you ride a motorcycle, stealth bomber, or hovercraft, but I found these to be difficult to control and less fun than the helicopter. The SNES edition of Jungle Strike looks more polished than the original Genesis game, with cleaner graphics and smoother animation (less jerky). The explosions look much improved and the tiny terrorists actually scream when shot. On the down side, the music sounds dull and muffled, and your helicopter looks like it's only hovering about ten feet in the air! Jungle Strike is a decent sequel, but you can tell that the series was starting to spread itself a little thin. © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.
Recommended variation: Easy
Our high score: SLN 1000
Kawasaki Caribbean Challenge
Publisher: Gametek (1993)
Rating: Kids to Adults
Kawasaki Caribbean Challenge is an overhead motorcycle racer with an option to race jet-skis! What's not to like about that!? Quite a bit, as it turns out. You first select from various Ninja motorcycles and Jet Ski watercraft, and then compete in a series of races. The cool selection screen features digitized photos, and reggae-inspired tunes put you in the mood for summer fun. The races are viewed directly from overhead, with your vehicle centered on the screen. This gives you minimal view of the road ahead, so learning the track layouts is imperative. A small map in the corner shows your position on the map, and it's easier to drive while staring at that! Your motorcycle looks like a big blob, and the scenery is totally lame. I was hoping for a tropical paradise, but all I got was a few bales of hay. The jet-ski races play exactly the same, but the tracks are so wide you can't see the boundaries! Trying to figure out where to go is no fun at all. The water looks fake, and the pixelated sunbathers look like something from an Atari 5200 game. The horrible engine noise sounds like a swarm of bees! Could this game get any worse? Yes.
Would you believe you actually have to run a qualifying lap
just to gain entrance into each race?! Qualifying laps always suck, but in this game, they're just insulting. Frankly, it's hard to find any
redeeming qualities in Kawasaki Caribbean Challenge. © Copyright 2008 The Video Game Critic.
Ken Griffey Major League Baseball
Publisher: Nintendo (1994)
This game gave the SNES a legitimately baseball title - finally! This is a polished, arcade-style game featuring all of the major league teams and stadiums. Unfortunately, it does not
contain any of the major league players - except Ken Griffey of course. In theory you could modify and save the rosters to reflect the real players, but this would be a lot
of tedious work. The graphics look crisp and colorful, although the players look cartoonish with their exaggerated physiques. The scrolling and animation is smooth, and the detailed stadiums look terrific. I remember by friend Eric and I playing this game on a display at Toys R Us and being extremely impressed that the outfield wall at Wrigley Field was actually covered with ivy! Ken Griffey's controls are simple and responsive, and this has to be one of the fastest baseball games I've ever played. It's really too bad there's no instant replay feature. It may come up a bit short on realism, but Ken Griffey Major League Baseball is undeniably fun and entertaining. © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.
Ken Griffey's Winning Run
Publisher: Nintendo (1996)
This phenomenal baseball game is even better than the first Ken Griffey game, and that's saying a lot. The pitcher/batter view is now angled low enough so you can see the stadiums in the background, and they look fantastic. Once the ball is hit, you view the field from a much higher angle. This makes the fielders appear small but makes it easy to track down the fly balls. The players look more realistic than they did in the first Ken Griffey game, although Ken himself looks ridiculously buff on the title screen. Winning Run preserves the fast-paced gameplay of the first Ken Griffey, and the crowd and umpire sound effects are noticeably improved. The only faults I could determine are the lack of major league players and no instant replay. Otherwise, this is the best baseball game I've played on the SNES. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Nintendo (1995)
Kirby Super Star
Publisher: Nintendo (1996)
One of the strangest characters in Nintendo's stable, Kirby is a big fat pink ghost with power to literally inhale
his enemies. His platform games are easy to play, and possess whimsical graphics along the lines of Super Mario Bros. Kirby Super Star actually contains eight
Kirby games, but two need to be unlocked, and two others are so minor they probably shouldn't even count. Still, six games is a lot of action for your money, especially when they dish out the quality gameplay you would expect from Nintendo. Inhaling enemies not only fun, but it allows Kirby to absorb their powers. This changes his appearance slightly and gives him the ability to execute moves like throwing fire or swinging a sword. Kirby also has the option of converting enemies into "friends" who will fight along side of him. These friends can even be controlled by a second player! These Kirby games are truly goofy yet oddly compelling. The graphics tend to be simple but have a clean, colorful appearance that's easy on the eyes. The controls are dead-on, and the cartridge includes a battery to save your progress. In you can look past Kirby's cutsey appearance, I think you'll find this compilation to be well worth your time. © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.
Save mechanism: Battery
1 or 2 players
Knights of the Round
Publisher: Capcom (1994)
This obscure side-scrolling beat-em-up is a sentimental favorite of mine. It plays like a classy Golden Axe with no monsters but better visuals. The beautiful graphics feature majestic castles and picturesque medieval landscapes, and a lavishly orchestrated musical score perfectly complements the theme. You select from one of three legendary characters, including King Author, Lancelot, and Perceval. You accumulate experience levels as you slay knights, barbarians, jesters, and magicians. Money and food fall from enemies you strike down, providing points and health. I have to admit it looks pretty funny when you kill a knight and a big bowl of salad falls out of him. Naturally each stage ends with the obligatory boss battle. Knights of the Round is a fine looking title, but it suffers from repetitive gameplay. You only have two attacks - a standard hack and a "mega crush" attack (which you'll want to save for tight situations). There's a guard move, but it's practically useless. Hacking up endless bad guys gets monotonous, and there's not much diversity between the three playable characters. By far the coolest feature is the ability to knock a knight off of his horse and mount the horse yourself. Unfortunately, there's only two or three opportunities to do this trick in the entire game. The two player simultaneous action is fun enough, but slowdown runs rampant at times. And while the music is excellent, the sound effects are horribly muffled. Knights of the Round is no classic, but fighting fans with an appreciation for 16-bit graphics should take a look. © Copyright 2003 The Video Game Critic.
Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, The
Publisher: Nintendo (1992)
Publisher: Virgin (1994)
This is one of the best-looking SNES titles you'll ever find. Each stage in Lion King's world is bursting with vivid, colorful background scenery and well-animated animals of all sizes. You can interact with many of the animals, and many will help you in your quest. The game closely follows the storyline of the film. You begin as a baby Simba, but eventually grow into a mature lion. One unique feature is your ability to roar, which has different effects depending on what you direct it at. Also included is an exciting 3D stampede stage and some fun bonus rounds that let you play as Timon and Pumbaa. Lion King is a high quality title, but it does stumble here and there. Certain stages require far too much jumping between ledges, and it's very easy to become lost in the cave stages. There's a bit of frustration to be had, but fans will love how this great-looking game remains so faithful to the movie. © Copyright 1999 The Video Game Critic.
Save mechanism: Password
Lord of the Rings
Publisher: Interplay (1994)
Like Zelda, Lord of the Rings mixes live action with RPG elements, but its mediocre gameplay isn't even in the same league. You begin by controlling Frodo, but other characters gradually join your party as you progress. The fantasy world looks like something from a child's storybook, and classical background music complements the majestic visuals. The animation is fluid, and the sound effects are some of the best I've ever heard in a video game. The echoes and sound of water drops in the caves are nothing short of amazing. Unfortunately, it's not always clear where you can or can't go, and you'll often find yourself stuck on invisible obstacles. As good as the game looks, its programming was sloppy. You characters can't move diagonally (!) which severely limits your control, and the collision detection is awful. Sometimes a bat will fly right through you, or your sword will kill a snake far out of its range. Issues like these make fighting even the smallest enemies a monumental pain, gradually depleting your will to forge ahead. Controlling multiple characters is even worse, as you need to use the R button to switch between them. Apparently the game was designed to support up to five players (via the adapter), but I imagine that would be a complete mess. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.