Arcade Classic 4: Defender & Joust
Publisher: Nintendo (1995)
Our high score: 12,450/23,250
1 or 2 players
Publisher: Nintendo (1989)
Baseball looks promising enough at first glance. The pitcher/batter screen offers a nice view from behind the plate with all the vital stats across the bottom. Pitching is simple and the batter can slide freely around the batter's box. But when the ball is put into play... oy!
It's bad enough the ball slowly floats
through the air like a damn balloon
, but the scrolling screen jerks around trying to keep up with it! It's truly hard to anticipate where the ball is going to land but fortunately your fielders will automatically camp out underneath fly balls. Throwing the ball back to the infield is painful because your throws are so weak. The ball is rolling
by the time it reaches the base! Maybe I should just run
the ball in next time! I could never figure out how to control the baserunners. The CPU was beating me like a drum until I discovered I could regularly strike him out with fastballs down the middle. This is a shoddy product. Baseball for the Game Boy is so bad I could barely tolerate three innings of it. © Copyright 2020 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Sunsoft (1990)
If you're a Batman fan this simplistic platform-shooter is likely to induce eye-rolling. Our short, squat hero looks more like Bat-mite!
He fires these big-ass cannonballs
out of a gun. Couldn't they have made those look like batarangs instead? It may be a misuse of a license but the Batman game is still a good time. Our miniature Caped Crusader can gracefully leap great distances and his duck move is invaluable when exchanging gunfire with the Joker's goons. The stage layouts are clever, allowing you to strategically clear away blocks to reveal bonuses and power-ups. A few are tricky to reach, and once the screen moves forward, you can't go back. The only connections to the film lie in the cutscenes and stage locations which include a chemical factory, museum, and cathedral. There's also a rapid-fire Batwing stage. The music isn't from the film but it's pretty great with some nifty drumwork. Batman could be more faithful to the film but somehow succeeds in spite of itself. © Copyright 2020 The Video Game Critic.
Our high score: 129,900
Publisher: Acclaim (1995)
Recommended variation: med
Our high score: 75,580
Batman: Return of the Joker
Publisher: Sunsoft (1992)
Return of the Joker is a marginal side-scroller where you vault, swing, and punch bad guys while attempting to reach the end of each perilous stage. Batman looks buff and can punch rapidly, but why in the hell is he fighting baseball players from the 1920's? I think I just knocked out Babe Ruth
for Pete's sake. Oh wait - the Babe left a heart
for me! The ability to vault between walls gives the game a Ninja Gaiden
(NES, 1989) flavor but the controls are clumsy. One false move and you fall off the screen or get crushed by heavy machinery, and then it's game over. There's no score or password although a few continues are available if you're a glutton for punishment. Normally I appreciate a stage select feature but the options here (train, factory, sewers) could be more enticing. I subjected a few friends to Return of the Joker and they all ended up with the same glazed-over look in their eyes. There comes a time when you just need to throw up your hands and admit a game is junk. © Copyright 2020 The Video Game Critic.
Batman: The Animated Series
Publisher: Konami (1993)
Batman: The Animated Series kicks off with a stylish animated intro. That might not seem like a big deal, but for a proper Batman title setting a brooding atmosphere is key. The graphics are outstanding. When played on the Game Boy Advance subtle red and green accents beautifully enhance the artistic graphics. Batman really does look like the Caped Crusader - not some silly cartoon version. I love the skyscrapers looming in the moonlit sky and the dramatic musical score. Batman can jump, punch, and vault off walls like Ninja Gaiden
(NES, 1989). I have to admit the wall-jumping takes some getting used to. Batman can also fire his grappling hook straight up to pull himself up to higher levels. While prowling around for items it's fun to get the drop on bad guys. The combat however is a little shallow. Batman's attacks are limited to simple punches and batarangs (when available). The stages are well-designed and the bosses are reasonable in difficulty. The game lacks a password but it does have a score and continues. Batman: The Animated Series far exceeded my expectations. Pound for pound this is one of the best Batman titles I've played on a portable. © Copyright 2019 The Video Game Critic.
Our high score: 4830
Publisher: Tradewest (1993)
Recommended variation: continues
Our high score: 11,660
Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle 2, The
Publisher: Kemco (1991)
At first glance Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle 2 appears to be a dull, by-the-numbers platformer. You collect keys, open doors, evade enemies, reach the exit, and proceed to the next stage. Once the difficulty starts to ramp however you realize there's quite of bit of strategy here. You can't jump, but the levels are connected by ladders, staircases, trampolines, pipes, and portals. Occasionally you'll find a weapon like a bow or bomb that can send enemies up in smoke. These are limited in quantity however, so evasion should be your first option. Adversaries include familiar Warner Bros. characters like Yosemite Sam, Wile E. Coyote, Sylvester, Foghorn Leghorn, and the Tasmanian devil. Don't give up when you appear to be trapped or cornered. You can pass foes on the stairs, and sometimes they'll inexplicably turn around at the last second. The stages are short and a four-letter password is provided between them. The music is surprisingly good, although its repetitive nature will get on your nerves after a while. What makes Crazy Castle 2 work is its thoughtfully constructed stages. There's usually a specific route you need to follow and the margin for error is thin. Once you get into a groove, Bugs Bunny's Crazy Castle 2 is actually somewhat addictive. © Copyright 2014 The Video Game Critic.
Save mechanism: Password
Publisher: Atari (1995)
Recommended variation: expert
Our high score: 31,161
1 or 2 players
Publisher: Victor Interactive (1991)
I played the original Choplifter
(Atari XE, 1982) on the heels of the Iran hostage crisis, and the idea of flying into enemy territory in a helicopter to rescue people was an intriguing premise. Considering how fun and satisfying that game was, this ill-advised sequel is disappointing. Instead of flying freely it feels like you're in some kind of obstacle course. The geography is so constrained it's practically claustrophobic.
There's not much room to maneuver above mountains and if you touch a bird or stormcloud your helicopter will explode
. You're better off flying directly into a brick wall. To destroy cannons and roving tanks you must rotate your copter sideways, but you really need to finagle with the controls because they absolutely suck
. Sometimes I would fly backwards across the top of the screen just because I got tired of trying to turn around!
There's never much room to land when rescuing people and you'll often bounce off a tree or building while trying to set down. I usually cut portable games a little slack but this game totally misses the mark. Choplifter II takes a classic title, puts it through a blender, and serves it up with a generous helping of aggravation. © Copyright 2020 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Nintendo (1994)
Save mechanism: Battery
Publisher: Capcom (1990)
Our high score: 166500
Game & Watch Gallery
Publisher: Nintendo (1997)
Recommended variation: manhole
Our high score: 72
Save mechanism: Battery
Publisher: Ocean (1993)
Our high score: 645
Jurassic Park Part 2: The Chaos Continues
Publisher: Ocean (1994)
Okay, now this
is more like it! In stark contrast to the meandering overhead style of the first game, Jurassic Park Part 2: The Chaos Continues is a proper side-scroller. You play the role of Dr. Grant who looks cartoonish but moves in a fluid manner. His gun has unlimited ammo and he can fire rapidly in any direction, a la Contra
(NES, 1988). Precision controls make it fun to leap between grassy platforms, and when you jump into water the game kicks into Jungle Hunt
(Atari 2600, 1983) mode. Not only can you swim, but you can shoot while swimming! On land expect a lot of small chicken-like dinosaurs and pesky flying lizards. Those baby triceratops patrolling narrow platforms will dole out plenty of mandatory hits until you realize you can just shoot them! Doesn't seem right does it? The game is not particularly hard and the bosses are predictable. That said, the exciting chase sequence with that zombie T-Rex had me clutching my controller like grim death! As with all other Jurassic Park games, there's the obligatory riverboat scene. Was this scene deleted from the film? Jurassic Park Part 2: The Chaos Continues is a sequel I can get behind. It's probably what the first game should have been. Note: The manual contains an ad for Kenner's line of Jurassic Park toys, and I have to admit they look like they'd be a lot of fun to play with! © Copyright 2019 The Video Game Critic.
Our high score: 5040
Publisher: Disney (1994)
Lost World: Jurassic Park, The
Publisher: Sega (1997)