Sega 32X Reviews T-V

Grade: F
Publisher: Sega (1995)
Reviewed: 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)
Reviewed: 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)
Reviewed: 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)
Reviewed: 2004/2/29

screenshotThis 3D polygon fighter is so technically impressive that it even compares favorably to some of the early Sega Saturn fighters. Had Virtua Fighter been released a year earlier, it may have saved the 32X from its untimely death. Unfortunately it wasn't released until the system had one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel. Anyway, you might expect this venerable 3D fighter to be pretty shallow and boring, but in fact it's very exciting and much deeper than you might expect.

In addition to multiple punch and kick attacks, you can guard, dash, throw, stomp, and execute a bevy of special moves. I really appreciate how well-executed attacks do significant damage and keep the matches short. All the moves are listed in the manual, and there are over 25 for each of the eight fighters. I must admit that some gamers might not appreciate the "floaty" physics and the emphasis on jump attacks.

The fighters look blocky but the animation is remarkably fluid, making the game more playable than some of the more advanced 3D brawlers. They even change facial expressions! Matches take place on raised platforms, and ring-outs are possible. The generic background scenery (desert, mountains, water) is pretty sparse, and the city night stage just looks like a bunch of yellow dots littering the screen. If you want to experiment with the camera angle, you can adjust it while the match is paused.

The music is okay and the voice samples are quite clear. Play modes include the standard arcade, versus, and tournament, but what I enjoyed most is the one-player "Ranking Mode", which pits you against a series of cpu competitors and displays an analysis of your performance afterwards. Virtua Fighter is a fine example of what the 32X is capable of. © Copyright 2004 The Video Game Critic.

Our high score: 202
1 or 2 players 

Virtua Racing Deluxe
Grade: A
Publisher: Sega (1995)
Reviewed: 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