Scooby Doo Mystery
Publisher: Acclaim (1995)
Publisher: Electronic Arts (1994)
Apparently Shaquille O'Neil has an interest in the martial arts that he wants to inflict upon the rest of the world! Too bad for us! This shallow one-on-one fighter lets you play as Shaq himself performing Kung Fu against exotic warriors and occult creatures. At best, Shaq Fu comes off as a third-rate Street Fighter clone. Its design is typical, but the characters are surprisingly small and not very well balanced. Thanks to a lack of moves and lousy controls, each bout degenerates into a button mash-a-thon. The special moves seem very
similar to Street Fighter 2 (*cough*rip-off*cough*), and the bouts tend to run for far
too long. Besides challenging a friend, you can also indulge in a story mode which is basically a string of CPU battles intertwined with some laughable cut scenes. I tend to enjoy fighting games, but Shaq Fu clanks off the rim like one of Shaq's foul shots. © Copyright 1999 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: ASC (1992)
As a simple-yet-fun swashbuckling adventure, Skuljagger equates to pure summer joy. This exotic platformer puts you in the role of a clean-cut pirate out to destroy an ugly bastard named Skuljagger. The gameplay is pretty standard as you leap between ledges, collect floating gems, and slay guards with your sword (after ducking under their bullets, of course). There are only two or three types of enemies per stage, but I like how they don't regenerate, making it easier to explore. Your sword has good reach, but flying enemies like giant wasps swoop in from odd angles, making the jump-slash attack your best friend. Whimsical fruit power-ups include cherry balloons, orange grenades, and grapes that turn you into a big purple bouncy ball. I love the tropical scenery featuring lush islands, quaint villages, and crumbling ruins. The first stage offers a nice view of distant green islands in a shimmering blue sea. Even the warehouse stage is inviting thanks to the vine-covered ruins seen through the windows. There are alternate paths and hidden areas to discover, but I hate how you're sometimes expected to make "leaps of faith" onto platforms out of view. Spicing things up are the occasional opportunities to man cannons to sink ships in the distance. The soundtrack is better than average, and the difficulty is reasonable. 75 pages of the 80-page manual are dedicated to a colorful illustrated comic which explains the background story. Skuljagger may be a conventional platformer at heart, but I never seem to get tired of playing it. © Copyright 2010 The Video Game Critic.
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