Genesis Reviews K-L

Kid Chameleon
Grade: B+
Publisher: Sega (1992)
Reviewed: 2006/6/4


screenshotWay back in "the day", I remember my old buddies Steve and Brendan telling me about this game after they had rented it for a night. They wrote it off as a run-of-the-mill platformer, but playing it today, I would definitely give it more credit than that. Yes, Kid Chameleon borrows liberally from Mega Man (among others), but a game doesn't need to be original to be fun. If you've grown weary of 2D platform games, this might just rekindle your enthusiasm.

The game's background story is a load of incomprehensive nonsense involving a virtual reality arcade machine. Just ignore that. Kid Chamelion's gameplay is quite familiar as you hop across platforms, pounce on enemies, and bump blocks to reveal items and power-ups. The star of the game is a kid with a bouffant hairdo who's constantly changing forms. He'll transform into the wall-climbing Iron Knight, the headfirst charging Berzerker, the axe-wielding Maniaxe, the insert-like Micromax, the laser-shooter EyeClops, the hoverboard-riding Skycutter, and the flying/drilling Cyclone. Even a skull-firing tank!

Each form has its own standard abilities and special powers that can be triggered after you've collected a certain number of diamonds. The graphics and audio are about average by Genesis standards, with stages depicting scenic lakes, wave-swept beaches, floating castles, volcanic caves, and jungles. The levels tend to be short but well designed, although occasionally you'll find yourself sliding into a bed of spikes (or pool of lava). One stage especially bizarre takes place in the jungle where Kid's pursued by a huge wall of spikes. Your adversaries are a motley crew that includes stone heads, crawling hands, and baby dragons.

Kid Chameleon is generally easy to control, although some of the more narrow platforms can be slippery. I like how Kid adjusts his body when walking up or downhill - something you never see in a video game. What makes the game so fun is its reasonable difficulty and sheer variety. The scenery is constantly changing, and the ability to change forms provides multiple ways to complete each stage. Kid Chameleon tends to get lost in the vast sea of 16-bit platformers, but once you start playing you may find it hard to stop. © Copyright 2006 The Video Game Critic.

1 or 2 players 

King Salmon
Grade: A
Publisher: Sega (1993)
Reviewed: 1999/10/18

screenshotI remember my friend Tuan and I planned a big fishing trip in the early 90's, and we spent the night before playing this game for hours. King Salmon may not have great sound or graphics, but the gameplay will have you hooked! Until Sega Bass Fishing (Dreamcast) came out, this was easily the most fun fishing game I had played. The main reason is the game is so easy to play.

After checking the weather, you drive your boat around a lake looking for a good spot. After choosing a strategic area, you get a closer view which provides a nice view of schools of fish in the water. By dragging your lure through the fish (trolling), you wait to get a bite. An easy-to-use menu allows you to change your lure, depth, or line. When you finally hook a fish, the fight sequence is suspenseful and exciting. The fighting screen is plain, but clearly displays what's going on.

Sometimes a timely event will occur, such as your hook getting stuck on a piece of wood, or the fish making a zigzag run. You are then given three choices of how to react. Make the wrong decision and the line could snap or the fish could escape. When you finally pull in a fish, you'll see a nice picture of it on the scale. Each catch improves your ability and skill level.

This game is simple but addictive! The music is awesome, and that's a good thing because it plays nonstop! If you do catch enough fish, you progress to a new lake. You can save your progress using a password feature. Don't hesitate to give King Salmon a try. © Copyright 1999 The Video Game Critic.

Our high score: 23165
1-2 players 

King of the Monsters
Grade: D
Publisher: Takara (1991)
Reviewed: 2003/4/24


screenshotThe King of the Monsters series never made a big splash on the Genesis, but its basic style of play seems to have been adopted by the latest generation of 3D monster games, notably Godzilla (GameCube) and War of the Monsters (PS2). There are four creatures to choose from, including the Godzilla-like "Geon", the rock golem "Rocky", the bug-like "Beetle-mania", and the Ultraman-inspired "Astro Guy". The first three are well designed, but Astro Guy looks like a dork in a cheap superhero costume.

The graphics and animation are good for the Genesis, although you can't help but wonder how much better this might look on the Neo Geo. Unlike many fighting games of this nature, it's actually easy to tell what's going on, even when the combatants are holding or chomping on each other. The four cities are remarkably detailed, with large buildings, bridges, and markers indicating the boundaries of the battle. Smashing up the city is part of the fun. The military is a constant presence, and you can pick up these ships, tanks, and planes to hurl as weapons! Despite using only three buttons, there are a surprising number of moves and combinations you can execute.

King of the Monsters has a strong wrestling influence, which has a detrimental effect on the gameplay. It's bad enough to see monsters execute suplexes, body slams, or piledrivers, but watching them "pin" their opponent for the win is almost embarrassing. Not only does it look ridiculous, but you can always escape the first two pins anyway. I hate how a monster can keep fighting after its life meter has been completely depleted. Also annoying is how the winner's health does NOT recharge between fights. The roars and other audio effects are muffled, but at least the music is decent. King of the Monsters is an interesting title - too bad it's not very fun to play. © Copyright 2003 The Video Game Critic.

Copy link to this review
1 or 2 players 

King of the Monsters 2
Grade: C
Publisher: Takara (1993)
Reviewed: 2003/4/24


screenshotA huge improvement over the original, King of the Monsters 2 is a much deeper game with a slew of new monsters and stages. Now there are nine creatures in all, three from the previous game and six bizarre new creations. Actually, bizarre is an understatement. Some of these things have so many appendages, eyes, and teeth sticking out all over that you can't tell the head from the tail! Claw Head is certainly nightmare inducing, but others like Aqua Slug look like a shapeless mess.

Initially the graphics look about the same quality as King of the Monsters, but as you move your creature around you'll notice it rotates to keep facing his opponent, which looks terrific. The control scheme has changed a lot, mostly for the better. Now you can hold back to block Street Fighter-style, and there are special moves which also employ the standard joystick movements. Thankfully, monsters are now defeated when their life meter is drained completely, and they no longer need to be "pinned".

The nine stages provide plenty of variety in terms of color, but the scenery isn't as interesting as the first game. The cities look fine but the Grand Canyon and ocean floor stages are pretty sparse. Small wandering creatures have been added to spice things up, but these tend to be annoying and rarely impact the contests. It's no classic, but King of the Monsters 2 does a good job of addressing the shortcomings of its predecessor. © Copyright 2003 The Video Game Critic.

Copy link to this review
1 or 2 players 

Krusty's Super Fun House
Grade: F
Publisher: Flying Edge (1992)
Reviewed: 2010/11/30

screenshotA platform game starring an unlikeable, obnoxious clown might sound like a good idea, but... uh, scratch that - it's an awful idea! Loosely based on The Simpsons television show, Fun House combines the mindless action of a generic platformer with the tedium of a strategy game.

Each stage is a room with stacked blocks, twisting pipes, underground passages, and hidden areas. You'll hop between platforms, toss rocks at snakes, and kick pink blocks to reveal bonus items. Purple rats scamper around each room, and by strategically placing items you can guide the mindless vermin to a "rat crusher" machine (that's nice).

The puzzle element reminds me of Lemmings, and at first it seems to be the game's saving grace. Unfortunately, once you get the hang of it, the game becomes a monumental pain in the ass! You need to manipulate multiple items to complete each stage, but you can only carry one at a time. Worse yet, it's possible to work yourself into a no-win situation, leaving no choice but to kill yourself by placing Krusty under dripping water. Need I say more?

The level designs are dull, and all the vivid colors in the world can't atone for the extreme lack of imagination. In most games hidden areas reveal fun bonuses, but here they actually contain items critical to completing the level! And just when you thought you couldn't be more miserable, the atrocious circus music will push you to the brink of madness!

The Simpson's license is completely wasted here, as other characters appear only as static images - sometimes as posters on the wall! C'mon man!! I don't know who thought Krusty's Fun House was a good idea, but they need to have their heads examined. © Copyright 2010 The Video Game Critic.

Copy link to this review
Our high score: 33,080
1 player 

Lakers Vs. Celtics
Grade: D
Publisher: Electronic Arts (1990)
Reviewed: 2005/4/19


screenshotThe first time I played Lakers vs. Celtics I was still living at home, and as usual, a bunch of my friends were hanging out in my oversized bedroom playing video games. My buddy Keith had brought over Lakers Vs. Celtics, and we were all very impressed with it. The game's TV-style presentation features two anchors at a desk who comment on the game via scrolling text. Actually, the black guy never says anything, but he does crack a smile periodically and it looks hilarious. During halftime, a brief highlight is shown of another game "in progress" - nice!

On the court, the wood surface looks realistic, the lanky players perform their famous "signature" moves, and coaches pace the sidelines. I still recall my friend Tuan pointing out how the players actually wore the correct numbers on their jerseys! Playing Lakers Vs. Celtics just recently was an eye-opening experience.

Only ten teams are available, but Michael Jordan is on the Bull's roster! In most subsequent basketball games, Jordan didn't appear due to licensing issues. Compared to modern basketball games, Lakers Vs. Celtics is slow and choppy, and it takes a while to run the length of the court. There's no turbo or crossover move, so it's nearly impossible to penetrate to the hoop.

As bad as it sounds, these limitations force you to rely on well-timed passes, making the gameplay more strategic. It's surprisingly fun, and the slow-motion dunks are quite satisfying. On the downside, instead of the "star" icon used in later games, your "selected" player sports black shoes which are hard to see. Sometimes a player will score even when the ball clearly didn't pass through the hoop.

The rebounding game is fairly atrocious, and it's not usual to see offensive players follow up their own missed lay-ups or dunks - several times in a row. And for goodness sake, turn OFF that blaring music that plays non-stop during the game. That leaves you with a crowd that's dead silent until you score. Lakers Vs. Celtics definitely shows its age, but if you accept its limitations it's still worthwhile. © Copyright 2005 The Video Game Critic.

Copy link to this review
1 or 2 players 

Last Action Hero
Grade: F
Publisher: Sony (1993)
Reviewed: 2015/9/12

screenshotBased on the disappointing film by the same name, Last Action Hero is an example of how not to craft a side-scrolling beat-em-up. This is so bad, I don't think a review can do it justice. The lead character (Arnold Schwarzenegger) looks so out-of-shape, he resembles Al Bundy from the old show Married with Children! In the opening street stage red crosshairs inexplicably swarm the screen before thugs emerge with knives and baseball bats.

Your punches and kicks are so delayed you end up taking mandatory hits left and right. Your "jumping split" attack would be more appropriate for Jean Claude Van Damme (who incidentally made a cameo in the film). Occasionally several slow-moving bullets drift across the screen for you to avoid. Would you believe I once died when I jumped into the air and landed on a passing bullet? If you survive the street level you'll enter the school to fight goons tossing molotov cocktails. It's fun to kick in doors, but don't be quick to move on, because often a health item will appear a few seconds after clearing an area.

The scenery has a grainy, semi-digitized look with splashes of color. The stage layouts are repetitive however, and sometimes you're required to jump onto a platform completely out of view. The sound effects are muffled and the twangy looping music sounds like the Country Bear Jamboree. Considering the game was released in 1993, there is really no excuse. My friend Chris is a big fan of the movie, yet even he admitted he "could not die fast enough". . © Copyright 2015 The Video Game Critic.

Our high score: 11050
1 player 

Last Battle
Grade: D
Publisher: Sega (1989)
Reviewed: 2019/6/7

screenshotLast Battle was released at the dawn of the 16-bit era when character size was more important than gameplay. Last Battle's shallow kicking and punching action reminds me of Black Belt (Sega Master System, 1986). Your shirtless warrior Aarzak sashays around like he's wearing high heels, and doesn't adjust his posture when he kicks. It looks like he's auditioning for the Rockettes for crying out loud!

He encounters hooded, sword-wielding goons that fall from the sky and rise from the ground. The collision detection (or lack of) is comical at times. All you have to do is touch one of these guys and they launch off the screen like they're wearing freaking jet packs. Your kicks and punches can knock down incoming projectiles like knives and axes. Wouldn't that hurt your hand?

One thing I like about Last Battle is its branching stages. The moonlit desert villages look very nice with their layers of stone archways. Unfortunately you're also subjected to trap-laden dungeons with rolling boulders, shooting flames, and worst of all, dead ends. For the novice player a stage like this is a death sentence. Some bosses are damn near impossible, like that short ugly dude with green breath.

The text dialog is unintentionally hilarious when Aarzak yells stuff like "I am the only one who can save the world!" Does this guy have an ego or what? And when Aarzak discovers a guy encased in concrete, he exclaims "I want you to help me!" Uh, I think that guy needs your help more! Last Battle was originally based on the First of the North Star anime series, which may explain some of its quirks. In retrospect those quirks are what make the game worth playing. © Copyright 2019 The Video Game Critic.

Our high score: 51000
1 player 

Leader Board Golf
Grade: C-
Publisher: US Gold (1992)
Reviewed: 2020/9/7

screenshotboxBefore EA arrived on the scene with its excellent PGA Tour series, Leader Board set the standard. This golf simulator ruled the personal computer market of the 1980's, delivering realistic golf action with precision control. Upon firing it up I noticed several names already in the save slot. That's right - after almost 30 years that battery is still working!

Leaderboard may lack a PGA license but it does contain three real golf courses along with the fictional "Gauntlet". Prior to each hole you're presented with a graphic rendering of the hole on a levitating chunk of earth, like something you'd see in an Avengers movie. The shot screen is less impressive. Your golfer at the bottom is downright tiny by 16-bit standards, and the fairways and sand traps look angular as hell. An overhead map on the right shows where the ball is on the current hole, scaling in and out while the ball is in flight.

Selecting the proper club is all on you, although a "caddy advice" option lists the club distances. Leader Board employs a circular swing meter you hold in for power, release at the apex, and press again for accuracy. Setting the power is touchy and the meter snaps back so fast it's hard to hit the ball cleanly. Putting is tricky because the viewing angle fails to properly convey distance. That said, golf purists may appreciate the fact that Leader Board doesn't hold your hand. You really do need to focus. One errant shot can spell disaster, placing you behind a wall of trees (pro tip: use a chip shot).

The sparse audio is basically limited to the sound of your swing and the ball rattling into the cup. The commentary is equally sparse, with the occasional gravelly voice remarking "can't be too happy about that one". I enjoyed Leader Board's brisk pacing but it's not nearly as playable as PGA Tour Golf (Genesis, 1991). For hardcore golf fans however this game is guaranteed to put their skills to the test. . © Copyright 2020 The Video Game Critic.

Copy link to this review
Save mechanism: battery
1 to 4 players 

Lethal Enforcers
Grade: C
Publisher: Konami (1993)
Reviewed: 2020/5/15

screenshotOne memorable night in 1993 I visited the local Video Game Exchange with my posse in tow. I had my eye on the new Lethal Enforcers light gun shooter. I was intrigued by the big blue box, but at $70 I was concerned about replay value. The guy behind the counter gave me the option of purchasing a used copy for $5 less! What a guy. I wouldn't actually acquire the game until many years later when I started collecting "retro" titles. I recently sat down to revisit this oldie but my 27" Toshiba CRT was letting me down. Even after closing the shades and cranking up the brightness, half of my shots didn't register and many that did were often off-target. So I started digging through my stash of "standby" CRTs in the garage and found a 20" JVC that actually worked well with this game.

Lethal Enforcers is still a lot of fun but its "cutting edge" qualities haven't aged well. The once-impressive digitized video looks grainy and washed out, and the digitized audio is awfully scratchy. Still, there's a certain charm when crooks yell "eat lead!" and "you can't shoot me!" Lethal Enforcers comes with a blue "Justifier" light gun and when it's working the game is a blast. The opening bank robbery stage features crooks in ski-masks popping up from behind counters, and I love to shoot that pornstashe guy in a gray suit. It's satisfying how when shot they yell and fall back. Hesitate or miss and you may suffer damage in the form of a bloody hole in your TV screen.

Occasionally an innocent civilian will leap out, and if you accidentally shoot them a bloody red X appears as they scream in horror. You can't shoot up the scenery, but snipers fall from windows, tires can be shot out, and clever thugs pretend to be innocent civilians. The bank stage transitions to a back alley scene before finishing up with a car chase. When you shoot the guy hanging out of a car he rolls right out on the street and that is freaking awesome. The gritty "action movie" soundtrack is very good.

After defeating the rocket-launching boss you're assessed on your performance. Unless you're a dead-eye dick, you're likely to see the message "Too many rookie mistakes - reloading same assignment." That sucks!! Later stages include knife-throwing karate dudes in ChinaTown, terrorists at an airport, and guys in gas masks at a chemical factory. The pink "player two" gun (sold separately) allows two people to play at once, but it's confusing because both players have the same colored shots. Using a normal controller is also an option but for the true Lethal Enforcers experience you'll want to be using guns as God intended. Just be advised that it may require some effort on your part. © Copyright 2020 The Video Game Critic.

Copy link to this review
Recommended variation: normal
Our high score: 5,210
1 or 2 players 

Lethal Enforcers II: Gun Fighters
Grade: C
Publisher: Konami (1994)
Reviewed: 2020/5/29

screenshotAfter the first Lethal Enforcers (Genesis, 1993) a Wild West version was inevitable. I mean, how hard is it to dress up a bunch of dudes as cowboys and position them around some old Hollywood set? In addition to shootouts in banks, jails, and saloons, Gun Fighters offers exciting high-speed chase scenes involving a stagecoach and a train. In many ways this is a better game than the original.

The pacing is faster and the gun feels slightly more accurate. When you don't hit an enemy squarely he'll flinch but won't go down. Your targets tend to be generic outlaws, indians, and vaqueros, but there are also bigger guys that can survive several shots. I like how you can shoot select parts of the scenery like windows, signs, and lamps.

While cooperating with a second player your shots are now color-coded which makes things much easier. There are some really awesome weapons in this game including a cannon (!) and a gatling gun (!!). There's even a bonus stage where you try to shoot as many bottles off the bar as you can in ten seconds.

But for all its bells and whistles Lethal Enforcers 2 still manages to shoot itself in the foot. They went completely overboard with the digitized voices, overloading each scene with repetitive quips like "you ain't gonna get me, sheriff!" Even if I shoot some guy in the face he'll still manage to finish that damn sentence!

But what ultimately drags down the fun factor is exhausting boss encounters. The first boss fires cannonballs non-stop and you need to hit that son of a [expletive] about 100 times. All that wear and tear on your trigger finger has side effects, like not wanting to play the game. At least you're always allowed to progress to the next stage regardless of your performance. The wild west theme fits like a glove, but Lethal Enforcers II is shallow, fleeting fun. . © Copyright 2020 The Video Game Critic.

Copy link to this review
Recommended variation: normal
Our high score: 2440
1 or 2 players 

Liberty or Death
Grade: D
Publisher: Koei (1993)
Reviewed: 2010/9/11

screenshotThis simulation lets you play out the events leading up to America's declaration of independence in 1776. Liberty or Death gives you the option of playing as the "good" George Washington side or the "bad" Thomas Gage side. British people hate this game! Liberty is thought-provoking and intelligently designed, but its scope is overwhelming.

The game is played over a collection of map screens which track the status of dozens of "districts" within the original 13 colonies. There's a lot of numbers and color codes on the screen which are never sufficiently explained. It doesn't help that the 85-page manual is in black-and-white! It doesn't even bother to explain the options menu for Pete's sake!

Juggling materials and units is a monumental chore as you wade through layers of menus while shuffling commanding officers and randomly adjusting amounts of food and money. A tutorial would have been nice! The game periodically goes into autopilot mode as various reports come pouring in and events begin to unfold on their own accord. The game is a little easier to grasp when a battle is initiated.

The battle screen lets you strategically position troops to take advantage of the geography, and the reasonable number of options makes for some tactical fun. Liberty's graphics are very good, with colorful illustrations depicting key events and small animations conveying troop movements and attacks. The text is large and easy to read, and pleasant patriotic music plays throughout.

There's clearly a lot of substance here, but wrapping your brain around Liberty or Death is a colossal challenge and I was not up to the task. It's not that I dislike strategy games, but if I'm still lost after the first hour, I'm moving on. History buffs with a lot of patience can bump up the grade by a letter, but despite what the name would imply, "not playing" is also an option. © Copyright 2010 The Video Game Critic.

Save mechanism: Battery
1 player 

Lightening Force
Grade: C
Publisher: Sega (1992)
Reviewed: 2020/5/29

screenshotDon't be fooled by the name; Lightening Force is actually Thunder Force IV. Sega of America altered the title for stateside release and did you notice they didn't even spell it right? "Lightening Force" would be a more appropriate name for a bleach detergent for crying out loud. Anyway this side-scrolling shooter might kick ass on most systems but on the Genesis it feels middle of the road. You select the order of the first four stages: lake, desert, air-raid, and space ruins.

The stages scroll up and down a bit, giving you extra room to maneuver. The lake stage is probably the best despite those fake-ass looking clouds. The desert stage simulates a windstorm and its grainy visuals are a little hard on the eyes. It does however look cool how certain enemies drop from the sky and burrow through the sand. The stormy sky stage is confusing because there are all these ships coming at you and they seem impervious to your shots.

Your firepower is substantial, with numerous powerups and the awesome "claw" which disperses your shots nicely. Tight controls allow you to strategically change weapons on-the-fly, which is key. The explosions are excellent and some enemies even model damage before falling off the screen. Modest rotation and scaling is used to convey enemies approaching from the background. The pulse-pounding soundtrack is great but the graphical style leaves much to be desired.

Enemies tend to look like shapeless mechanical blobs, and those "growing-walls-in-space" are super annoying. But the biggest issue is slowdown. When an enemy begins to multiply or pump out projectiles, the action slows to a crawl. It adversely affects the controls and is disconcerting. There also seem to be a lot of lulls in the action where you're just waiting for something to happen. I've always had mixed feelings about Lightening Force. It feels like a case of the series taking two steps forward and three steps back. © Copyright 2020 The Video Game Critic.

Our high score: 375600
1 player 


Select new range: [Previous] [A] [B] [C] [D] [E] [F] [G] [H-I] [J] K-L [M] [N] [O-P] [Q-R] [Sa-Sm] [Sn-Sz] [T] [U-V] [W-Z] [Next]

[Genesis index]  [Back to Top]
 

Screen shots courtesy of Video Game Museum, Shinforce, Rotten Tomatoes, GameFAQs.com, MobyGames.com