The controls flat-out suck. Simba's ability to grab a ledge should ease the difficulty, but most of the time he just falls right through! It's especially demoralizing when you fall several stories and have to work your way back up. The abysmal collision detection works when it shouldn't, and doesn't work when it should! Simba bumps his head on platforms which severely constrains your movement. Worse yet, you tend to get stuck in tight spots with annoying creatures that sap your life.
In stage two you leap between giraffe heads sticking out of water, and the margin of error is ridiculously small. The overhead stampede stage would be a nice change of pace if only it were the least bit fun. When Simba grows up he changes form, but is no larger on the screen. The Lion King is pure torture, and if not for the stage skip feature (pause, B, A, A, B, A, A), I wouldn't have made it very far. The harmonized music has a melancholy quality, and that's fitting because Lion King made me sad. Circle of Life? More like Circle of Shame! © Copyright 2014 The Video Game Critic.
Your adversaries include both dinosaurs and human hunters. Large dinosaurs stomp you and small ones latch onto you, so they are equally annoying. The bad guys are super lame. You just run up to one (after taking several bullets), punch him in the face a few times, and grab the health icon that appears. Rinse and repeat!
The second stage takes place in a forest where you retrieve pterodactyl eggs. At first it's alarming to get carried off by a pterodactyl, but they often carry you to where you need to go! The control scheme is awkward. The select button cycles between your weapons and hands, but you need your hands to open the crates so you're constantly having to switch. When fighting, your guy performs a series of uppercuts and sweep kicks like he's in Mortal Kombat (Genesis, 1993). Enemies have an annoying tendency to overlap you so you can't touch them.
The lab stage is the worst; it's just an expansive maze with elevators. Everything looks the same. I did find it interesting how your objective is to collect floppy discs! The remaining stages are blatant rehashes of the first three. The spastic "music" that plays throughout the game is just plain irritating. Good video games require skill, reflexes, and cunning, but The Lost World is just a matter of perseverance and pain. © Copyright 2019 The Video Game Critic.
You can get good height at the net, but the spikes are awfully soft. Every now and then the game cuts over to a pretty referee wearing a bikini and shades. Talk about a sight for sore eyes! I found it interesting how players from different countries have unique body shapes and skin tones. Playing as men is a little faster, but Malibu Beach Volleyball fails to capture the energy and spirit of the sport. © Copyright 2020 The Video Game Critic.
The digital pad is kind of a clumsy way to control your marble, especially when you need to move diagonally. Still, this game has a way of keeping you coming back. When you die the game immediately places you back where you left off. Each time you play, you progress a little further, and some stages have alternate paths that add a risk/reward element. The looping, vertigo-like music is both catchy and appropriate. I've played better versions of Marble Madness, but never one this small. © Copyright 2014 The Video Game Critic.
The fighters are large digital representations of Kano, Rayden, Liu Kang, Scorpion, Sub-Zero, and Sonya. Johnny Cage was not included but you soon realize he got the better end of the deal. The controls are unresponsive and the animation unfolds in slow motion. While jumping fighters have a tendency to randomly disappear and reappear. Special moves are performed primarily by accident.
Missing sound effects make it really hard to tell if you're even making contact. The backgrounds are pixel soup, and a few appear to be made of construction paper. Not a pretty sight. Blocking is done by pressing both buttons at the same time. Start and select are not used, so why is there no pause?
A lack of control didn't prevent me from breezing through this game. Kano's repeated leg kick was more than enough for most of my opponents to handle. If not for the low difficulty this Mortal Kombat would have been super frustrating. Instead it's super boring. Just goes to show that in 1992 people would buy anything stamped with that cool Mortal Kombat dragon logo. © Copyright 2021 The Video Game Critic.
Mortal Kombat 3 does have dramatic match intro screens depicting the fighters in cool head-to-head poses. Next you're presented with a code entry screen, allowing you to input six symbols to initiate random effects. I guess this adds replay value, but it's so gimmicky. Putting these novelty codes front-and-center feels like the tail wagging the dog.
The characters look extremely grainy and the robot Sektor looks more like an Egyptian pharaoh. No effort was made to render backgrounds. It looks like you're fighting in front of a blue screen! Did the developers run out of time?! During one sparse stage my friend Sudz asked if we were fighting in front of a couch.
I do like how you punch high by default, making your opponent's head recoil. But much like the first game, the controls are terribly unresponsive. I noticed they tried to shoehorn in the new "run" move. Why would I need to "run" when my opponent is literally five millimeters away?!
The shrill "music" that plays during the matches sounds like a reel stuck in one of those old-fashioned film projectors. Even the instruction manual sucks, providing a full bio for each character but no move lists! Mortal Kombat 3 marks a major regression for the series. It's like the first game all over again. © Copyright 2021 The Video Game Critic.
The tower mode is presented with impressive graphics that pan down a mountain of opponents. The fighters are rendered smaller this time and look more illustrated than digitized. More important is that the controls are responsive, allowing you to actually perform signature moves and fatalities. The pacing is brisk, resulting in short but exciting matches. Hazy backgrounds provide the bare minimum of scenery.
You really can't expect this to stand up to the console versions. Less buttons mean less moves, and there's some spotty animation here and there. The start button is used to block but it's too far out of the way to be useful. In the heat of battle you'll forget it's even there. I do like the new options menu that allows you to adjust the difficulty and number of continues.
Speaking of difficulty, it's been ratcheted up so don't expect to take down an opponent with continuous kicks to the shin. The sound effects could be better. A punch sounds like a broom sweeping the floor, and an uppercut sounds like a tidal wave. There's no score or password, but at its core Mortal Kombat II taps into that unmistakable spine-ripping charm the series is known for. © Copyright 2021 The Video Game Critic.
The opening stage takes a page from Super C (NES, 1990) as you run up ramps, blast dudes in towers, and lie on your stomach to duck under cannon shots. Power-ups come early and often including three-way shots, homing missiles, and giant exploding shots. I love the way homing missiles buzz around the screen searching for their next victims like a swarm of killer bees. Even your default machine gun doles out the punishment with extreme prejudice. The ability to hold in the fire button to unleash rapid-fire is awesome.
If the game has a fault, it's with the platform jumping. For a guy who can somersault so high in the air, it's odd he can only jump forward a short distance. Even narrow openings should not be taken lightly, as you really need to wait until the last possible instant to time your leap. The margin of error is so small in fact that you can psych yourself out, slipping off the ledge before you even intiate your jump.
The industrial scenery is extremely well-rendered, with subtle shading used to convey structures in the distance. Like other Contra games the stages alternate between side-scrolling and overhead modes. I prefer the side angle but the overhead does add variety. When it comes to portable shooting action, it would be hard to find more bang for the buck than Operation C. I could play this one all day. © Copyright 2021 The Video Game Critic.
Luke fires shots rapidly and can perform a useful "super jump" by holding down first. After blasting probe droids and wumpas, Luke eventually locates his lightsaber. The graphics are detailed but the animation is painfully slow and choppy. Luke actually falls slower than he runs. The music is well orchestrated but hearing that Star Wars theme looping over and over again will give you a Bantha-sized headache. Navigating the ice caves is a nightmare.
The stages are full of regenerating enemies and the first boss took about 100 swats of my lightsaber to kill. When I died I had to restart the game from the very beginning! Even using the force is a pain in the ass. Not only is it necessary to stock up on "force energy", but you need to collect "ability" icons to do anything. The game has no score and no password feature. I never even reached the AT-AT battle (*sad face*). Capcom didn't put much effort into Empire Strikes Back and neither should you. © Copyright 2015 The Video Game Critic.
All the basic Mario ingredients are here: bump blocks, pounce enemies, hop on floating platforms, and travel through pipes to underground bonus stages. But the game is loaded with clever puzzles, weird surprises, and even side-scrolling shooting stages. Whenever Mario appears to rescue Daisy, she turns into a monster and runs away! Turtles explode when you flip them over, so don't dawdle! New enemies include sphinxes, flying bugs that drop spears, and even zombies! I like how that high-bouncing ball weapon can take out enemies both high and low, as well as snag coins out of reach.
You can go through lives in a hurry in this game, but rest assured there are ample bonus lives and frequent checkpoints. Even the music is first rate. The controls felt a bit laggy on my GameCube Game Boy Player, but perfectly good on my Game Boy SP. There are no passwords but you can earn continues. Super Mario Land is so good it gives the console Super Mario games a run for the money. If you were expecting a watered-down platformer, think again friend! I'll take the Pepsi Challenge against Super Mario Bros. (NES, 1985) any day of the week. © Copyright 2019 The Video Game Critic.
Screen shots courtesy of Video Game Museum, IGN.com, GameFAQs.com, Moby Games