What's so special about it? Well, the controls are surprisingly complex, the graphics are terrific, and you can amass some serious firepower. You control a giant flying mech, and your main weapon is rapid-fire shots that can be powered up to the width of your ship. Collecting icons will augment your firepower with special weapons, which include lasers, missiles, and rotating spheres. Touching an icon that matches your current special weapon will augment its power up to four levels.
On top of that, you can earn "options" by catching power cells that fall from certain targets. These options take the form of small pods that fly alongside your ship and provide extra firepower. But wait - there's more! By using the A button, you can position these options in six different formations, including forward, 3-way, back, reverse, roll, and "free", which puts them into a "search and destroy" mode. You can fire everything at once by simply holding B and C, and can even adjust your speed via the pause menu.
The graphics are terrific, with large, detailed enemies and no slow-down even when things get crazy. Unlike other shooters where you see the same enemies over and over again, MUSHA seems to have an inexhaustible supply of new targets. Many of the bosses are huge faces grafted into high-tech machinery, and they look wild.
The scenery is also commendable. The first stage has traditional Japanese temples moving on a network of rails over the ocean below - very original. Another stage features a floor that drops out, revealing a gaping chasm below. Scaling is used to good effect in several parts of the game - very impressive for 1990. The music is highly regarded by some, but I thought it was about average. Overall, if you're a serious shooter fan, you owe it to yourself to track down a copy of this engrossing game. © Copyright 2003 The Video Game Critic.
You can play head-to-head or with a teammate, and players can be injured or substituted. Other nice features include tipped-passes, unsportsman-like conduct calls for late hits, and an easy-to-use instant replay feature. The impressive 80-page(!) manual contains not only complete instructions for playing the game, but also descriptions of all the formations and pages of team statistics!
Madden '92 was made after the season where the referee's calls could be overturned, and this feature is included. Of course, there's no way two people playing against each other are ever going to agree to overturn a call! The game has a wicked sense of humor as well. When a player is injured, an ambulance comes speeding out onto the field, running over several other players in the process! © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.
Other additions include a QB stop clock play, a no-huddle offense, a crowd behind the goalposts, and a few new animations. The play calling screen is different but not really an improvement. The worst new feature is the low-quality digitized John Madden voice, which will make you wince. The crowd noise is also irritating. © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.
The graphics are a mixed bag. Yes, the players are larger and look more realistic, but they are almost too big, and tend to crowd the screen. Also, they run like fruitcakes shaking their butts from side to side. The running is easier in this edition, and tackling is harder.
The biggest improvement of all is the speed in which you can select your plays. The sound is better but still rough, and you still get John Madden's grainy commentary. He loves to say "boom" every now and then after a big hit. © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.
Now the receivers are each assigned a button, just like the modern football video games. New moves include straight-arms and high steps. This was the first Madden which let you execute two-point conversions. The sound is crystal clear, and the game moves along at a brisk pace. My friend Eric and I actually jumped when the referee shot a gun (!?!) signaling the end of a quarter. This is truly a great football game! © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.
There are other flaws as well. This game brags that it is the first to feature left-handed quarterbacks. Yes, you can now control a left-handed Steve Young. But he's also African American, just like every other player in this game (including the kickers)! If you can overlook that, maybe you can also overlook the fact that tackled players look like squashed bugs. This may be the worst Madden game ever. How the mighty have fallen! © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.
The stock and sprint cars require some practice to get a feel for, but I felt right at home with the precision handling of the Indy cars. Andretti Racing's graphics aren't particularly detailed but the smooth framerate goes a long way. Methodically working your way up the ranks by passing cars at just the right time is satisfying.
Most races require a visit to the pitstop which is accompanied by digitized animations. I love how your radio transmits updates like "you're in third", "low fuel", and "good lap!" If your tires become worn you can spin out, and I like the fact that the CPU racers can spin out too!
The action is presented via split-screen, but the single player mode offers several options so you don't waste the top half of the screen. You can use it to display the overhead map, a rear view, or simply remove it altogether in favor of the big blue sky. Mario Andretti Racing is more forgiving than Super Monaco GP (Sega, 1993) and thanks to its extensive features it covers a lot more ground. © Copyright 2016 The Video Game Critic.
Mazin Saga is saddled with an idiotic name and premise, but as a side-scrolling brawler, it has teeth. You control some sort of humanoid robot who bears a striking resemblance to my old "Mazinga" Shogun Warrior toy (remember those?). As you battle clawed warriors and shape-changing mutants, you'll employ the standard punches, jump-kicks, and "special" attacks. The characters are a bit small, and their black outlines look cheesy. The gameplay is effective however, thanks to tight controls, interesting stages, and gigantic bosses.
The burning post-apocalyptic cities look beautiful, and scenes like India in the snow are pretty imaginative. The bosses tend to assume huge skeletal forms, and most can't even fit on the screen. With multiple animated joints, their movements are both fluid and freaky. Just don't rest after beating one of these titans, because next you're thrust into a one-on-one battle against a rival robot (Street Fighter 2 style!). Mazin Saga packs a serious punch, and I'm surprised how this has remained under the radar for so long. If side-scrolling brawlers are your thing, you'll want to hunt this one down. © Copyright 2006 The Video Game Critic.
Crisp controls let Ronald jump, fire magic stars, and use a scarf to pull himself up to higher ledges. You'll fight clowns, cuddly dragons, and what appears to be Dopey of the Seven Dwarves. The stages are short and no two are alike. One minute you're navigating waterfalls and the next you're leaping across a train loaded with circus animals. Collecting gems and flowers replenishes your life, and gold can be used to buy health and continues.
The gameplay really doesn't falter until the final stage which plays like a poor man's Earthworm Jim (Genesis, 1994). The boss encounters are odd because they require you to sustain some damage just to make the boss vulnerable. My friends thought that was pretty dumb. What puts Treasure Land over the top is its surreal visuals which straddle the line between Willy Wonka and Alice in Wonderland. You never know what bizarre predicaments you'll find yourself in, like hopping between twirling ballerinas in a train tunnel for example.
It's a short game and you can probably conquer its four stages in a single sitting. If you want more of a challenge, try the normal difficulty and use your gold as score (don't spend it). I'm surprised there aren't more McDonald's references besides the golden arches and cameo appearances by Hamburglar and that lazy ass Grimace. Short, sweet, and wonderfully weird, McDonald's Treasure Land Adventure is better than you would expect. © Copyright 2016 The Video Game Critic.
I was never keen on the original Turrican (Genesis, 1991) but Mega Turrican offers a sweet combination of platform jumping and rapid-fire shooting. All of the weapons kick ass. The "laser" unloads huge green balls of energy, "multiple" unleashes a barrage of missiles, and "rebound" ricochets projectiles around enclosed areas. Tack on some homing missiles and a supply of smart bombs, and you'll make that ancient evil wish that he had stayed his ass home! You can only fire sideways, but that's partially offset by the fact that you can pounce on weaker enemies.
Crisp controls make it easy to jump between ledges, but in some cases it's necessary to use your "plasma rope" to pull yourself up to higher ground (like Bionic Commando). This rope is a pain in the ass because you need to stand still to use it and it's tedious to adjust. It kills the momentum of the game, which is otherwise an action-packed blast-a-thon. You have the ability to roll up into a ball (ala Metroid), but whenever I tried it I usually rolled right off the screen and died.
I enjoyed collecting diamonds for bonus points, but I hate how touching falling water is fatal. Heck, even bubbles do substantial damage. It's not perfect, but when Mega Turrican hits its stride, the carnage is a joy to behold with minimal slow-down. The stages, while fun to play, are not aesthetically pleasing.
The designers were intent on incorporating as much detail and color as they could into the scenery, and some of the results will turn your stomach. That alien lair is a complete rip-off of the Alien movie franchise. The audio is appealing with its edgy, futuristic sound intermingled with an ominous piano loop. Mega Turrican isn't a standout title but its simple brand of rapid-fire shooting has an infectious quality that kept me coming back. © Copyright 2011 The Video Game Critic.
The Menacer is packaged with a cartridge containing six mini-games. In Pest Control the object is to guard a small pizza being overrun by roaches. You only view a small section of the screen at a time, but hitting a special button will expose the whole screen momentarily. As if the premise wasn't disgusting enough, the sight of pizza-engorged insects will turn your stomach. It's an unpleasant game, and if I never play it again, I'm okay with that.
Space Station Defender depicts a planet surface with alien pods that materialize at random. You shoot the aliens that appear, occasionally recharging by pointing at the lower part of the screen. It's far too easy and repetitive. The third game is called Ready, Aim, Tomatoes, and it's the best of the bunch. As a spin-off of Toejam and Earl (Genesis, 1991) you aim at wacky targets like cupids, militant ducks, and frolicking businessmen. The catchy music and quirky animations are entertaining. The controls are forgiving, and power-ups like rapid-fire and time slow-down add to the fun. The two alternating stages (green meadow and beach) look great, but there should have been more.
Whack Ball is the most original entry. Instead of shooting, you guide a circle around the screen, knocking a small ball against bricks along the edges. The idea is to change the color of the entire perimeter without letting the ball escape through an opening. It's a neat concept and a nice change of pace. Front Line is an uninspired military shooter with tanks, planes, and helicopters that move slowly across the screen. Turn your machine guns on close enemies and save your missiles for distant targets.
Rockman's Zone is the worst game, featuring a camera that slowly pans a set of buildings as cardboard cutouts appear in the windows. An audible "shoot!" alerts you to thugs, making it easy to avoid civilians. Pointless and uneventful, there are long stretches where nothing happens at all. This Menacer cartridge isn't too exciting. It seems designed with the goal of having gamers say, "hey, this gun really works!" Note: The Menacer does not work on HDTVs. © Copyright 2012 The Video Game Critic.
You fire in the direction of your movement, so it's a good idea to forge ahead guns blazing. You'll absorb your share of enemy fire but there's always a juicy lamb chop or roasted chicken in one of the crates ahead. If Mercs has one weakness, it's the audio. The music isn't memorable (or even hummable) and the sound effects are awful. When you spray enemies there's no sound as the bullets silently wash over them. This makes the violence far less satisfying than one would prefer. And when your soldier takes a shot he sounds like he's coughing up a damn hairball for Pete's sake.
You'll be tempted to dive into the arcade mode but original mode is where you'll find the meat of the game. Not only does it offer remixed stages, it incorporates safe houses that let you stock up on supplies. Best of all, entering a safe house adds a man to your squad, effectively awarding you with an extra life. I love the guy named Burner who whips around a flame thrower, frying everyone to a crisp. The graphics rating does take a hit however with the third "mountain" stage. I'm not sure what the designers were going for, but that hazy layer of grainy "fog" is hard on the eyes. Even so, Mercs is highly recommended for gamers looking to unleash their inner Rambo. © Copyright 2017 The Video Game Critic.
The game involves Michael saving kids while subduing thugs in bars, streets, garages, and graveyards. He doesn't actually fight anyone, but instead blows them off the screen by throwing pixie dust (no joke). When your "star magic" meter is full, you can toss your hat at enemies, causing them to explode on contact. When your star power is at maximum, you can force all the bad guys on the screen to participate in an elaborate dance number - a fate worse than death!
Completing a stage requires locating a certain number of kids hidden behind various doors and windows, and scouring each area can feel very tedious. Saved kids fly off the screen on a little rocket, which looks pretty bizarre. After all are saved, Bubbles the Chimp hops on your shoulders and guides you to a boss encounter, which is really just a parade of generic bad guys.
Moonwalker is remarkable in a number of ways. Michael moves with fluid grace and a large number of his signature moves are on full display. It's fun to watch him gallivant around a bar while performing various spins and poses. In addition to thugs, Michael sometimes has to deal with attack dogs, and it's really a trip when you make the dogs dance! One the later stages is a graveyard crawling with zombies, and those guys look genuinely creepy.
Moonwalker's music is sensational. I cranked up the volume while playing this game through my stereo, and my friends were amazed by the strong bass and overall quality. Each stage offers a fine rendition of a classic track, including Smooth Criminal, Beat It, and Billy Jean. Moonwalker is a treat for gamers and its sheer novelty makes it a fine addition to any Genesis collection. © Copyright 2010 The Video Game Critic.
Micro Machines looks terrific on the Genesis with crisp graphics and super-smooth scrolling. To earn points you must take a commanding lead on your opponents until they fall out of view. This is challenging when you don't know where the tracks lead, but once players become familiar with the tracks the races become drawn out and somewhat boring. Only the tanks have weapons and there aren't any special items to spice things up. I also suspect the game is a little buggy after witnessing the losing car inexplicably declared winner.
The music is lousy. But my biggest gripe is the lack of a four-player mode - only two players can go head-to-head. That's a bitter pill to swallow considering the SNES version offered four-player support. If a Genesis multitap had not been released in time for this, Codemasters should have waited for it. I love the Micro Machines series but this feels like a neutered version at best. © Copyright 2015 The Video Game Critic.
Before each stage, you can choose from a number of weapons and power-ups. My favorite is the three-way shot that fires large spheres - power that bad boy up and you're nearly unstoppable. There are also some useful secondary weapons like guided missiles or "rain" attacks. Unfortunately, after you use a continue, you're back to the standard gun, which means you won't last long.
The enemies are mainly generic soldiers, but you'll also face some large vehicles like tanks and fighter jets. The large mechanical bosses are relatively easy to beat thank goodness. Part of what makes Midnight Resistance so fun is the controls. By holding the B button, you can fire in one direction while running in another. Another control option allows you to use B to rotate your fire, but I found that needlessly confusing.
While Midnight Resistance is undeniably fun, it is less impressive technically. The graphics are varied and colorful, but slowdown occurs quite a bit. In some stages, the game pauses to draw the next screen, which is pretty lame. But those problems wouldn't keep me from recommending this intense shooter. © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.
I opted for the space stage with its repetitive metal platforms and floating space junk in the background. You can shoot wandering robots with your ping-pong ball gun but it only disables them temporarily. This game would be far more satisfying if you could blow up those damn robots. These controls are wack. You can't navigate the stages with any kind of precision, which is frustrating. You jump high like a flea, even when you don't want to jump high like a flea!
After wandering aimlessly for what felt like an eternity I consulted the manual to see what the [expletive] I was supposed to be doing. Apparently you're supposed to pick up metal "weapon pieces" and transport them into portals scattered around the stage, usually near the top. The problem is, while carrying pieces you move slow as a turtle and can't jump.
Therefore it's necessary to employ gadgets like rafts, balloons, magnets, and seesaws to elevate them to the top of the screen. Suffice to say it's all a colossal pain in the ass. The split-screen coop just exacerbates the situation. Ubiquitous icons are worth 1000 points a pop, but what good is that when you can't complete the first level? And why are there penguins in the volcano? The Adventures of Mighty Max is part puzzle, part action, and all misery. © Copyright 2019 The Video Game Critic.
Before each battle you select one of five power rangers of various colors, each of which wields a special attack like a sword or flaming arrow. Special moves are executed using Street Fighter II-style movements (quarters rolls, charge). I find it amusing that the black Power Ranger actually is a black guy. He's my favorite because of his spinning attack that's pretty much unstoppable.
The first round pits you against a monster called Minotaur, and after you beat him he transforms into a giant. Your Power Ranger then calls in some huge mech to handle this beast. The game alternates between small-scale and large-scale combat, but the characters are really the same size on the screen - it's the scenery that makes them look big. In addition they move slower, which gives the illusion of mass. The backdrops depict buildings and waterfalls, but they are static and lacking in detail.
The fighting action is mediocre. The controls are okay, but the collision detection is suspect and there seem to be missing sound effects. The cut-scenes feature digitized scenes from the show, but the voice samples are incomprehensible. Late in the game a playable character called Dragonzord is introduced who looks like a Mecha-Godzilla clone. I finished the story mode in under 45 minutes and for the rest of the day I couldn't stop singing that "Go Go Power Rangers" theme song.
I might have cut this game some slack if it had a score or password, but there's nothing but unlimited continues. After you beat it, all that's left is a versus mode that lets you play a friend as a monster or Ranger. Fans of the show might want to give Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers a shot, but there's only about an hours' worth of entertainment here - tops. © Copyright 2014 The Video Game Critic.
While comparisons to Street Fighter 2 are unavoidable, Mortal Kombat has a distinctive look and feel of its own - with style to burn! Home versions were released simultaneously for both the Genesis and SNES, but only the Genesis version retained the gore of the arcade game. Guess which sold the most copies? Actually, the gore is disabled by default, but entering the button sequence ABACABB during the intro lets you play the game how it was meant to be played. Can gratuitous blood and outrageous violence really enhance the gameplay? Of course!
Landing a barrage of punches is all the more satisfying when blood flies, and what better way to celebrate a victory than to rip out your opponent's spine? It's a great feeling! Mortal Kombat's basic controls consist of two punches, two kicks, and a block button. Be sure to use a six-button controller, or else you'll be forced to hit Start to block (ugh!).
The game's memorable cast includes thunder god Rayden, special ops chick Sonya, masked criminal Kano, martial artist Liu Kang, Hollywood action hero Johnny Cage, and a mysterious pair of ninjas named Scorpion and Sub Zero. Goro is a hulking, four-armed boss who is just as intimidating as he sounds. Mortal Kombat's controls are stiff compared to Street Fighter 2, but its gameplay is fun in its own way. Some of the special moves are pretty entertaining, like Sub-Zero's freeze ray, Sonya's leg throw, and Johnny Cage's groin punch.
Matches tend to be short and sweet, and the fatalities really aren't that hard to execute. The manual doesn't list the special moves or fatalities, but hey - that's what they invented the Internet for, right? And who can forget those awesome "test your might" bonus stages that let you karate-chop stacks of wood. The rough voice synthesis is inferior to the SNES version, but the music is outstanding. Mortal Kombat has evolved over the years, but this original still holds a lot of charm. © Copyright 2009 The Video Game Critic.
The cast has grown from seven to twelve with additions like the hat-tossing Kung Lao, Reptile (a green palette-swap of Scorpion), and hottie twins Mileena and Kitana. The toothy Barakka may be the ugliest fighter ever to appear in a video game! Sonya has been cut from the roster. The blood appears less chunky than the first game, and you don't need to enter a code to enable it.
The stages are quite imaginative, especially the one with the floating monks and swirling vortex. In the "bridge" stage you can see two guys fighting in the background, and one of them is on fire! MK2 offers more moves and fatalities per character, and you even have the option of performing a "friendship" (kind gesture) or "babality" (transform your opponent into a baby). These goofy new finishing moves silenced the game's critics and provided some comic relief.
Unfortunately, the fatalities are more difficult to execute in this game, requiring you to enter a more complex sequence of buttons. Another annoyance is the digitized dork who occasionally pops up in the lower right corner ("toasty!") - so annoying! Still, Mortal Kombat 2 is a legitimate classic that packs some of the best fighting action you'll experience on a 16-bit machine. © Copyright 2009 The Video Game Critic.
Before each contest a slick match-up screen is displayed, depicting the fighters going head-to-head in cool poses. The stages are departure from the mystical worlds of previous games, instead featuring trashy urban landscapes like a city street or subway. The backgrounds sport a digitized look, but due to the system's limited color palette they appear grainy, static, and bland. Occasionally you'll punch an opponent through the ceiling and the battle will continue in the area above - a cheesy but amusing little gimmick. A new "run" button has been incorporated, but it's completely unnecessary and only serves to needlessly complicate the controls.
MK3's biggest sin however is its unceremonious axing of several key characters, including Scorpion (!) and Rayden. Sub Zero is back, but he's now unmasked! As if losing his mystique wasn't bad enough, he looks like freakin' David Hasselhoff! Oh the humanity of it all! MK3's gameplay is admittedly much faster than MK2 - probably in response to all of the Street Fighter Turbo games it had to compete against. Mortal Kombat 3 isn't bad as 2D fighters go, but most fans of the series have mixed feelings about it - and justifiably so. My friend Chris even contends this game forever tainted the legacy of the franchise. © Copyright 2009 The Video Game Critic.
From the look of the options menu, this should have been the ultimate Ms. Pac-Man game. You get two-player simultaneous modes, four skill levels (including "crazy"), and you can enable the Pac-Man "booster", allowing you to zip around the mazes at twice the speed! There are four sets of mazes (36 total) including arcade, alternate, extra large, and mini. You can even select your starting stage!
The graphics are slightly punched up from the arcade, and the sound effects, music, and intermissions are faithful to the original coin-op. So what's the problem? It's the control, man - the control!! Ms. Pac-Man's directional movements are extremely touchy and unforgiving to say the least. Almost every time you die, it's because the defective controls sent you off in the wrong direction. The Genesis controller is definitely no substitute for a good joystick.
There's another issue regarding the two-player simultaneous play. Since all the mazes (except mini) scroll up and down, when the players spread out, one tends to scroll off and is forced to play "blind". Despite its flaws, there are some terrific variations in this cartridge that you won't find elsewhere. The new mazes are well designed, and the boost option allows you to be super aggressive and clear out each maze in a hurry. But if you ever wondered why this cartridge never made much of a splash, now you know. © Copyright 2006 The Video Game Critic.
It sounds like a recipe for fun but Mutant League Football is less than the sum of its parts. The graphics are muddy and indistinct, especially when players are bunched up. The action is so choppy that it's hard to tell what the [expletive] is going on! The quality of play is nowhere near Madden standards. Running the ball is tough because there's no concept of forward progress. The passing windows lead you to believe your receiver is in the clear, only to discover he's just two yards to your left! The controls are lousy and the frame rate slows to a crawl after a pass is completed. It's hard to tell who caught the ball, or even your player was tackled or not!
Wacky audible plays let you stick dynamite in the ball, use a rocket pack, bribe the ref, or kill the ref (literally). In the NFL, all of these plays are illegal, but I will give Mutant League credit for being unpredictable. I enjoy chaos as much as the next guy, but the game is confusing and luck plays a huge role. The blaring music can get on your nerves, and the coach's indecipherable gibberish is annoying. I did enjoy the interactive half-time show. Mutant League Football is an example of a great concept falling victim to sloppy execution. © Copyright 2013 The Video Game Critic.
The action degenerates quickly once things are set in motion. Weapons and traps create pure chaos as you witness decapitations, impalements, and body parts strewn over the ice. It sounds great, but hazards like mines and fire pits prove far more aggravating than entertaining. All the gimmicks really take their toll on the gameplay, in the form of choppy scrolling, erratic frame-rate, and stuttering animations. It's not a pretty sight.
The controls feel nearly as loose as the collision detection. When things get hectic it's hard to tell what the [expletive] is going on, much less locate the puck. The close-up fights look amazing, but they become repetitive and wear out their welcome. Hearing the coaches babble gibberish during every stoppage is tiresome.
The two-player action is a mess, but the game isn't half bad when played solo. If nothing else, it gets a heck of a lot of mileage out of its sheer novelty value. You never know what you're going to see in Mutant League Hockey. But once you get past all the gore, wacky hi-jinks, and goofy antics, you're not left with much of a game. © Copyright 2014 The Video Game Critic.
The fighting action is as shallow as it is repetitive. In addition to standard kicks and punches, there are a few special moves, including the Blanka-inspired rolling attack, and a "spin throw" which lets you execute a silly helicopter-like spin. The controls are crisp and the animation is smooth, but the gameplay is easy and unsatisfying. The modern soundtrack sounds terribly inappropriate for a game like this. Mystical Fighter is just one of those oddball titles that probably never should have seen the light of day. © Copyright 2006 The Video Game Critic.