Sega 32X Reviews T-V

Grade: F
Publisher: Sega (1995)
Posted: 2001/1/20

screenshotIf you've never heard of this game, you're not alone. It's a pretty rare 32X first-person tank game (no, there are no "mechs" in this one). A tank combat game for the 32X sounds like a pretty good idea, but this is just a sloppy, unexciting mess. One player can make his way through a series of levels containing numerous tanks (and sometimes a boss), or two players can go head-to-head. You get your choice of tanks, each with its own special attributes including special weapons.

There's not much strategy; just shoot the other tanks and don't stay in one place for too long. The frame rate is smooth enough, but the graphics are ugly. The objects are all sprites, which get very pixelated up close. The small text on your control panel is hard to read. The flat battlegrounds differ in color and scenery, but none are conducive to any kind of strategy.

The music and voice effects are very good, and include a deep voice that lets you know if you're winning or losing. The scoring system is useless; it resets to zero after each round (what's the point??). But the ultimate let-down is the bosses. These menacing-looking monstrosities are well-illustrated in the instruction book, but in the game they are nothing but tanks of a different color. Even the 2 player game is pointless. The 32X could have used a good tank battle game, but this wasn't what I had in mind. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.

1 or 2 players 

Grade: D
Publisher: Sega (1995)
Posted: 2001/6/17

screenshotTempo is like Mario Bros on acid. The seven levels include a psychedelic "hi-fi" stage and an unusual "indigestion" stage, along with the more traditional downtown, winter, and jungle stages. Each level is bursting with color. The scenery is multi-layered, and everything is alive and moving. Sega was definitely trying to show off the 32X graphic capabilities here.

As far as the audio goes, the game tries to have a hip "rap" theme, but the opening song is pretty cheesy. The in-game music is funky, and some of it is quite good. Your big-eyed character must fly, jump, shoot, and kick his way through each level. While the game is certainly an eyeful, you'll soon discover that this is just a by-the-numbers platform game.

And although the graphics are wild, they are often so cluttered that you can't tell where you can go, or what you can touch (without dying). Portals that transport you around only add to the confusion. The control could be better also. The same button is used to jump and fly, and you'll often fly when you just want to jump. Also, Tempo moves a little slow for my taste. There is a nice stage select screen, and there are even some mini games available. But overall Tempo just isn't much fun. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.

1 player 

Toughman Contest
Grade: B-
Publisher: Electronic Arts (1995)
Posted: 2000/6/18

screenshotThe 32X version of this boxing game plays better, but lacks some of the charm of the Genesis version. Toughman plays similar to Nintendo's Punch Out games, with your boxer being a green outline. The action is fast and furious, and there are plenty of punches and special moves. The backgrounds look more realistic than the Genesis version, but are less animated and not as interesting (or funny). Only one babe introduces the rounds, no matter where you fight, unlike the Genesis version, which has a different girl for each location. The responsive control is the star of this game, but it will make your fingers very tired. © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.
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1 to 2 players. 

Virtua Fighter
Grade: A
Publisher: Sega (1995)
Posted: 2022/3/28
Rating: Teen

screenshotIt's a shame Virtua Fighter wasn't among the initial crop of 32X titles, because it could have generated a lot more interest in the system. Instead it turned out to be the 32X swan song, released when the system had one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel.

This 32X version compares favorably to the Sega Saturn Virtua Fighter (Saturn, 1995). All eight martial artists are included. The character models may be blocky but the motion-captured animation and dynamic camera angles are easy on the eyes. The silky-smooth takedowns are particularly satisfying. I noticed fighters change facial expressions and their voices are clear too.

A responsive three-button scheme lets you guard, dash, throw, and even stomp. The manual lists 25 moves for each character, most of which are easy to learn. You can feel the devastating impact of each hit. Attacks deal significant damage, keeping the matches short and sweet. Ring-out possibilities add excitement when you're teetering on the edge.

The stages are sparse. The beach scene has a nice tranquil vibe but the city-at-night looks like a mess of yellow dots. When you knock an opponent off a building, he really should fall more than two feet. You can experiment with camera angles while the match is paused but I wouldn't recommend it.

This 32X edition might be considered Virtua Fighter 1.5, as it incorporates the new "ranking" mode from Virtua Fighter 2 (Saturn, 1995). This pits you against a series of CPU competitors, allowing you to gain levels of experience. It doesn't record your progress but does provide for a more satisfying single-player experience.

The fact that this cartridge has no load times catches me off-guard as I'm accustomed to reaching for my beer - um mean vitamin water - between matches. Easy to play and fun, there's something pure about this version of Virtua Fighter. It's also a shining example of what the Sega 32X was capable of. © Copyright 2022 The Video Game Critic.

1 or 2 players 

Virtua Racing Deluxe
Grade: A
Publisher: Sega (1995)
Posted: 2004/2/29

screenshotVirtua Racing Deluxe was one of the 32X's impressive flagship titles, along with Star Wars Arcade and Doom. Its graphics were cutting edge in 1995, with three-dimensional polygons and multiple camera angles you can change on the fly. Although the boxy-looking cars and triangle trees look archaic now, VR is still thrilling to play thanks to its smooth frame-rate and simple controls. Each race begins by showing a pit crew preparing your car, but these guys are so blocky that they look more like robots.

Once the race is underway, you can switch between several views ranging from the unplayable "driver's seat" angle, to the vertigo-inducing birds eye view. You'll want to select one of the in-between views for best results. You can compete against a friend in split-screen mode or go against a field of 15 (!) cpu-controlled cars in the single-player mode.

The scenery isn't spectacular, but there are plenty of banked turns, bridges, tunnels, overpasses, and alternate routes to keep things interesting. Flat backgrounds depicting mountains and rolling hills blend in nicely with the foreground. The trademark carnival rides are present, but they look a little flat. And I can't forget to mention the completely pointless pitstop area which I've never had to use in my life.

The steering is responsive, but spinouts will occur if you take a turn too fast (Hint: let off of the accelerator). The whining engine sounds more like a swarm of angry bees, and why does my car keep backfiring? The appealing Sonic-like background music is sparse but sounds great when it kicks in. All lap times are displayed on the screen, but despite some nice record keeping, these are erased when the game is turned off (rats!).

After each race, you have the option of watching a multi-angle replay of your race, which is often quite interesting. There are five tracks and three types of cars to choose between, including formula, stock, and prototype. Virtua Racing Deluxe runs better and offers more options than the $100 Genesis version released in 1994. You're simply not going to find a better game for the 32X. © Copyright 2004 The Video Game Critic.

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1 or 2 players 

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Screen shots courtesy of Shinforce, Video Game Museum, Mega CD Library, Moby Games