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Game Gear Reviews T-Z

Tengen World Cup Soccer
Grade: A-
Publisher: Tengen (1993)
Posted: 2021/10/3

screenshotReviewing this game was a shock to the system! Tengen World Cup is arcade-style soccer to the N-th degree. I feel like I'm playing it on an overclocked PC! Calling this game fast would be an understatement; it's downright frantic! Even if you set the game speed to "slow" it still runs circles around other soccer games.

You view a pretty decent chunk of the field at a given time, with colorful, well-articulated players. Obviously having just two buttons limits the number of moves, so don't expect to see any headers or bicycle kicks. I like how the second button passes to your nearest teammate. It really comes in handy when your next guy is out of view.

On defense one button performs slide-tackles while the other switches players. I'm not sure why you would need to switch since the players auto-switch. When players bunch up it can be hard to tell who you're controlling. Sometimes I would not realize I had the ball and immediately kick it out of bounds.

Upbeat music plays throughout the match but you don't really notice it. I love the resonating sound of the ball clanking off the goal post. When you take a shot on goal it sounds like a rocket ship!

My friend Chris describes Tengen World Cup as the "Tecmo Bowl of Soccer". Its slow mode may be more practical, but the default speed is something you should experience. You will never find a faster soccer game, and you'll be hard-pressed to find one that's more exciting. You may find yourself cheering out loud while playing this. © Copyright 2021 The Video Game Critic.

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Save mechanism: password
1 or 2 players 

The Lost World: Jurassic Park
Grade: B+
Publisher: Sega (1997)
Posted: 2019/6/30
Rating: Kids to Adults

screenshotIf you liked Jurassic Park (Sega, 1993) you're bound to enjoy The Lost World. This fine-tuned platformer offers lifelike animation and some really attractive background scenery. If you play this on a Retron 5 with filters turned on this game looks amazing.

The selectable stages take you through dense jungles, rocky gorges, and shadowy power stations. You can shoot everything but the dinosaurs don't die; they either fall asleep or tumble off the screen. Your health is indicated by the color of your vest, which was not readily apparent to me.

This game surprised me. I was alarmed to see dinosaur heads peeking through the foliage, only to discover you could hop on them to reach higher ground! The raptor stage in the power station is made more exciting by the need to turn on the lights to attack the raptor. While running from a rampaging triceratops you can slide under Stegosaurus that get in your way, and that is awesome. One stage even let you play as a little compy dinosaur.

There's no score or password - just unlimited continues. That's a bit of a problem because the difficulty is low and the stages are short. I can picture a kid blowing through this in just a few minutes. Still, The Lost World is quite a thrill while it lasts. © Copyright 2019 The Video Game Critic.

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1 player 

Vampire: Master of Darkness
Grade: A-
Publisher: Sega (1993)
Posted: 2004/2/16

screenshotI don't know what the story is behind Master of Darkness, but it looks and plays a heck of a lot like Castlevania, and that is a good thing. Vampire takes place in the late 1800's, and you control a well-dressed fellow with the odd name of Ferdinand Social. The turn-of-the-century London scenery is quite realistic and conveys a nice atmosphere. There's plenty of platform jumping, but nothing too frustrating, and there are plenty of weapons hidden behind white masks.

Stages include the Thames river, a cemetery, a laboratory, and my personal favorite, the wax museum. This museum stage reminded me of an old horror flick I watched as a kid called "House of Wax" starring Vincent Price. That movie was creepy, and this stage recreates the spine-tingling chills of seeing wax figures come to life. Other monsters in the game, including zombies, skeletons, and wolves, are large and nicely animated.

The control scheme is identical to Castlevania - one button jumps and the other attacks, and pushing up while firing engages your special weapon. With the exception of navigating the stairs, the control is right on the money. Even the music is sinister and well orchestrated. Vampire is really an amazing game, and probably one of the best titles for the Game Gear. I only wish a password feature was included so it wasn't always necessary to start from the beginning. © Copyright 2004 The Video Game Critic.

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Our high score: 49,370
1 player 

Winter Olympic Games: Lillehammer '94
Grade: D+
Publisher: U.S. Gold (1993)
Posted: 2010/2/10

screenshotThe Genesis edition of Lillehammer '94 had its share of issues, and this portable version isn't much easier to swallow. I like Lillehammer's brisk pacing and snowy winter scenery, but the events are a constant struggle. The games begin with a brief opening ceremony. It's modest, but still more than I've seen from most modern Olympic titles. I'm kind of surprised that the USA isn't represented in this game.

Lillehammer contains four skiing events which are entirely too difficult. Faint blue lines in the snow indicate the proper direction, but it's really, really hard to stay within the gates. The steering controls are coarse and the gates are spaced too far apart (often outside your field of view). When turning, your skier flinches in a very disorienting manner. It's easy to run into a tree, or worse yet, come to a complete stop in the middle of the course! Hell, simply qualifying in a single ski event is a monumental achievement!

The bobsled and luge events offer impressive behind-the-sled views as you careen down the half-pipe, but your control is limited to making slight adjustments. Speed skating is one of the more exciting events as you tap buttons and jockey for position against three CPU-controlled skaters. The ski jump event is another highlight, combining simple controls and plenty of eye candy. The biathlon isn't inherently bad, but it wears out its welcome due to its length. The mogul skiing lets you perform stunts, but its overly-complex controls confounded me.

Not every event is a winner but there's enough variety and the CPU is no pushover. Instead of competing in all ten events, you have the option of selecting the specific ones you'd like to play, and that's a nice option for a portable title. Lillehammer '94 is too difficult for its own good, but being able to play an entire winter Olympics in under 20 minutes keeps the frustration factor to a minimum. © Copyright 2010 The Video Game Critic.

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1 player 

World Class Leader Board
Grade: B
Publisher: Sega (1991)
Posted: 2022/9/13

screenshotA dynamically-rendered 3D golf game for the Game Gear? That's pretty ambitious! Sure enough, World Class Leader Board delivers the most realistic golf I've experienced on a portable.

Novice players will have a tough row to hoe. You'll need to know the range of your clubs and deal with a complicated swing meter. I had to consult an FAQ just to make sense of that thing. You might not get the best viewing angle for your shot and have to adjust the camera via a clunky menu system.

Prior to each shot the fairways, sandtraps, and trees are painted before your very eyes. Your view is behind your golfer looking out directly towards the flag. Your crosshair however tends to be a little off to the side, making it hard to tell exactly where you're aiming.

This swing meter doesn't require an advanced college degree to use, but it doesn't hurt. You hold in the button to register your power, causing the left half of the meter to climb. After you release at the top, the right half of the meter begins filling in downward. When it reaches a horizontal marker you hit the button again. If you're a little off, you'll execute a nasty hook or slice. It's a challenge to stay on the fairway. On the other hand, when you need to curve around a tree it's no problem.

Once you get the hang of it the game is very satisfying. One element that caught me off guard was the sporadic commentary. The first time I hit a bunker and heard the crystal clear voice say "no doubt about it, that's deep in the sand trap", I nearly fell out of my chair!

World Class Leader Board is a sophisticated golf title for purists looking for some serious golf action. And with four courses, there's ample of replay value too. It takes some effort to get up to speed, but those efforts are ultimately rewarded. © Copyright 2022 The Video Game Critic.

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1 to 4 players 

World Series Baseball
Grade: B+
Publisher: Sega (1993)
Posted: 2003/10/8

screenshotSega knows a little something about baseball games, and this diminutive version of World Series Baseball provides some terrific, ultra-fast arcade action. The speed of the game is beyond fast - it's frantic. I can only assume Sega programmed it like this so you could play a whole season before your Game Gear batteries wore out. The behind-the-batter pitching view features large players and a perfect view of the strike zone.

The simple, intuitive controls reminded me Sportstalk Baseball (Genesis 1992). This is a game that anyone can pick up and start playing right away. When the ball is hit, an overhead view of the field appears, and your fielders can jump or dive to snag balls. Unfortunately, the action moves so fast that you have almost no time to react. You won't see many extra base hits or double-plays in this game.

At first I wished Sega had slowed down the action to something more reasonable, but after playing a few exciting games at break-neck speed, I got used to it. Problem is, now I can't sit through a "normal" baseball game (too slow!). Sound effects include a voice umpire and non-stop in-game music that could, quite possibly, drive you insane. World Series has a lot of nice features as well, including a slew of playing modes, two-player link, a battery back-up, and all the major league players and teams. This is an ideal game for sports fans with short attention spans. © Copyright 2003 The Video Game Critic.

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1 or 2 players 

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Screen shots courtesy of Video Game Museum, Emula Zone, GameFAQs, Moby Games, Games Database, Retro Arcadia