Philips CD-i Reviews S-T

Shark Alert
Grade: NA
Publisher: Philips (1993)
Posted: 2003/5/20

screenshotI've had a fascination with sharks since I was a little kid. I still enjoy watching those documentaries on the Discovery Channel, although they always downplay the danger of sharks, spouting useless statistics like "more people are killed every year in steamroller accidents than by shark attacks". Whatever. If you have any interest in sharks at all, you'll like this educational CD called Shark Alert.

This is a comprehensive, well-produced documentary that's been chopped into specific categories you can browse through. By navigating the DVD-like menus, you can view information about feeding habits, shark history, hydromechanics, and reasons why sharks attack. Naturally my curiosity took me straight to the shark attack section, but there really isn't a whole lot to see. Most of the material is narration over still photos. There's an occasional small video clip, but in general the lack of video footage is disappointing.

Even so, there's enough information here to keep you "surfing" for some time. I was especially fascinated by the tiny Pygmy Shark and the hideous Goblin Shark. The CD contains a full index of all the different types of sharks, and there's also a "Food Chain" section that lets you see what might happen if any layer of the chain were eliminated. A trivia game is tossed in, but the cartoonish presentation makes it more suitable for kids. Shark Alert serves its purpose as an informative tool, but it could have been better. © Copyright 2003 The Video Game Critic.

1 player 

Space Ace
Grade: C+
Publisher: Digital Video (1993)
Posted: 2019/9/1

screenshotI've been trying to review every incarnation of Space Ace from back in the day, and this might just be the best of the bunch. Its audio-visual clarity is impressive, with sparking colors and smooth animation. The action-packed intro alone is bound to get you psyched. For the uninitiated, these laserdisc-based arcade games are like semi-interactive cartoons where you move the joystick or press a button at just the right time to execute a series of moves.

Whether you're leaping between crumbling ledges or blasting robots, the action is fast and furious. There are occasional flashing hints but frankly the game boils down to a lot of trial and error. In some instances there's really no indication of what you're supposed to do. Still, you tend to get a little further each time and Don Bluth's animation is charming as always. The sequences are scripted but there are occasional mirror-image "reverse" scenes to keep you on your toes.

At first you assume the role of some whiny kid named Dexter, but he frequently transforms into the muscle bound stud Space Ace. The damsel in distress is a super hot redhead. After exhausting your five lives you enter your initials into the high score screen. I like that because it gives you a way to measure your progress. Unfortunately there are no continues; you have to start over each time. Space Ace's gameplay is limited by today's standards, but it's an interesting piece of history that's still a lot of fun to watch. © Copyright 2019 The Video Game Critic.

Our high score: 2396
1 player 

Space Ranger
Grade: NA
Publisher: Good Deal Games (2002)
Posted: 2003/7/22

screenshotSpace Ranger is an unfinished and practically unplayable prototype. This side-scrolling shooter resembles Defender, except you are constantly moving forward over a red planet surface. The objects you encounter are large and detailed, and the explosions aren't too shabby either. The planet surface looks pretty realistic, but it's hard to tell how low you can fly before crashing into the ground. Naturally, most targets hover low to the ground. Space Ranger contains long lulls in the action and the control stinks, but at least the grinding guitar music is good. Still, only die-hard CD-i fans will find this disk of interest. © Copyright 2003 The Video Game Critic.
1 player 

Tetris
Grade: B-
Publisher: Philips (1992)
Posted: 2002/7/2

screenshotIt's interesting to see the treatment that Philips gave this classic game for the CD-i. By incorporating moving video into the backgrounds and using soothing new age music, playing this game almost feels like a religious experience. The video backgrounds depict beautiful nature scenes of mountain streams, rocky beaches, or scenic waterfalls. I was very impressed with the music. I'm used to the bouncy little Nintendo tunes, but these peaceful rhythms grew on me.

This version of Tetris offers some nice options including ten levels of play. It would seem nearly impossible to screw up the gameplay itself, but Philips managed to find a way. First of all, the actual game is played on a small vertical strip that barely covers a quarter of the screen. The game board, score, number of lines, and next piece are all crammed onto this small piece of real estate. The bricks are too small and there are no sound effects, even when you clear a row.

But the game's biggest sin is the control. Instead of using the traditional method of pushing down to make the blocks move faster, a separate button is used. You'd think that using two buttons would be no problem, but it's easy to get confused. All in all, this is definitely the best looking Tetris I've played, but nowhere near the most fun. © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.

1 player 

Thunder in Paradise
Grade: B

screenshotThis is a guilty pleasure if there ever was one. Thunder in Paradise was a straight-to-video-film-trilogy-turned-short-lived-TV-series. If you blinked in 1994 you may have missed it. Thunder was created at a time when Hulk Hogan was trying to branch out into acting. The result is a kung-fu kicking, machine-gun firing, running-from-explosions tropical bikini-fest. If all this sounds good you're probably a guy.

This two-disc set was innovative for its time, delivering "interactive TV" which was clearly the next big thing. The first disc kicks off with the show's catchy musical intro, during which I recognized one of the "actors" as Carol Alt of Sport Illustrated swimsuit fame.

You're then given the option of watching the show, playing the games, or a mix of both. The games make more sense if you watch the full episode included on the second disc. The story is a low-budget Terminator rip-off featuring Schwartzenegger's real-life stunt double, Peter Kent. Hulk brought in on all his wrestling buddies for this project, and the acting is atrocious!

At one point Hogan is attached to a computer attempting to digitize his brain, and the result is a two-minute montage of machine-gun fire, weight lifting, and random explosions. Priceless! Later in the episode there's a five-minute music sequence of bikini babes frolicking in the water... in slow motion no less. The fact that this has no bearing on the plot does not prevent it from being the highlight of the entire episode.

The games are not bad. One involves shooting down missiles approaching your stealth-fighter-looking boat. There's a little radar display showing projectiles approaching from four sides, and you have to toggle your view to fend them off.

The second game is a series of first-person shootouts. I enjoyed taking in the scenery which includes a water park, factory, and the easily-recognizable MGM Studio backlot. The camera moves around cautiously, occasionally pausing as generic enemies peek over the rocks and lush vegetation. The action culminates with a shootout against the main villain wearing a rusty metal plate over half his face. The light gun works well and is more fun than using a normal controller.

Thunder in Paradise features cheesy effects, hot chicks, laughable dialog, and gratuitous explosions. This is bad... bad... ba.... awesome...? I can't get enough of the baywatch vibe and 90's culture. Working on this show had to be the best gig imaginable. So what do you say? Let's jet, brother! © Copyright 2022 The Video Game Critic.

Copy link to this review
Our high score: 364,695
1 player 

Titanic
Grade: NA
Publisher: Philips (1994)
Posted: 2002/7/2

screenshotThis well-produced CD is not really a game at all, but an interactive documentary narrated by Patrick Stewart. I'm not a big Titanic fan, but I was both fascinated and haunted by this disk, which covers every aspect of the doomed ship in astonishing detail. From its construction to its rediscovery in 1992, it's all here. You can either watch the entire CD as one long documentary or view specific topics (or subtopics). There are thousands of images and video clips, and the overall presentation is superb. There are even timelines that let you trace the sequence of the ill-fated voyage. The many layers of menus are nicely organized and fun to peruse. Some screens even contain maps or diagrams that let you highlight areas of interest. Titanic is loaded with minor tidbits of information, most of which I found to be fascinating. Anyone with even a passing interest in the Titanic legacy will find this compelling. © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.
1 player 


Select new range: [Previous] [A-B] [C-D] [E-H] [I-L] [M] [N-R] S-T [U-Z] [Next]

[Philips CD-i index]  [Back to Top]
 

Screen shots courtesy of Old Games, Dimo's Quest, The Black Moon Project, YouTube, Moby Games, The World of CD-i