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When you start off most houses are fair game, but as you progress you'll gradually lose customers (indicated by black houses). You adjust the speed of your bike by pushing up or down. You can toss the paper onto the customer's porch or into his mailbox, but be careful not to break a window. At first I didn't even notice the mailboxes on the lawns because they tend to blend into the bright brown dirt of the flowerbeds.
At the end of the street is a little off-road course that lets you hit bonus targets and jump ramps. It comes to an end at some bleachers with girls holding signs that say "I LUV U". You then get a quick recap of what customers you lost before starting over. Paperboy is a lighthearted game with a fine sense of humor. Once you figure it out, you'll be playing it over and over again. © Copyright 2012 The Video Game Critic.
Aiming the cue takes practice but I like how the balls click against each other and roll smoothly around the table. There's a wide selection of variations, but that monotonous "piano" music might get on your nerves after a while. The second game is darts, marred by some of the most ass-backwards controls imaginable.
The third entry is "World Bingo" and it's like nothing I've ever seen. It incorporates a complicated betting system and draws numbers using some crazy slot machine. I really didn't have the patience to figure it out, and since it's a game of luck I really didn't see the point. I'm afraid that even fabulous babes can't hide the fact that Parlour Games is just a weak collection of titles that couldn't stand on their own. It hardly qualifies as a "family" game, although maybe dad will like it. © Copyright 2016 The Video Game Critic.
The arcade graphics feature bright blue ice blocks against dark backgrounds. You can roll the egg, create holes, and drop it little by little until you reach the spaceship at the bottom. Why is there a spaceship at the bottom? I don't know, but I think it might be the subject of a new History channel documentary.
Anyway I toiled just to complete the first stage. Toiled! There are so many problems. First, you have to be extremely careful or your egg will get stuck. The egg can only withstand drops of a certain distance and a blinking cursor is supposed to help determine a safe height. Some blocks cannot be broken and others have special functions. For such a simple premise this game is complicated as hell.
It's possible to drop boulders on polar bears (a la Dig Dug) but that's way too hard. Those bears lunge at you like heat-seeking missiles! Adding insult to injury, if you take too long contemplating your move a bird flies by and drops a brick on your egg! That's the last straw. Penguin Land's gameplay is so dismal, the inclusion of a level editor feels like a cruel joke. My friend Scott said it best, "I liked this game a lot more before I played it." © Copyright 2015 The Video Game Critic.
Travel occurs on an overhead map that's easy to navigate. Random encounters are common so stock up on health and conserve your magic. Battles scenes are rendered in first-person with a single large creature representing one or more enemy forces. You'll face drooling ghouls, sword-wielding skeletons, toothy octopi, and odd-looking dragons. The turn-based combat should be easy to grasp for beginners and old tabletop dice slingers. It's enhanced by uptempo music, unpredictable events, and interesting animations.
Unfortunately you can't control the formation of your party or target a particular opponent. A prudent team knows when it is time to retreat back to town to resupply. The manual is essential not just for the sake of the story but for maps and descriptions of spells, items, and weapons. One blemish on the game is its use of first-person dungeon navigation, forcing you to fall back on paper-and-pencil mapping. It can make the game feel like a homework assignment. Hope you still have that Trapper Keeper because you're gonna need it.
Accumulation of money and experience can be painstaking at times and sometimes you have to search a particular spot or repeat actions multiple times. You can save your progress anytime outside of battle. The game typically take 40 hours to complete although the musical score will stay with you for much longer. Innovative and elegant in its own unique way, Phantasy Star offers an enticing combination of simple gameplay and engaging storytelling. © Copyright 2017 The Video Game Critic.
The effect of the 3D glasses is respectable, although it takes a few minutes to adjust your eyes to it. Much like staring at those crazy 3D designs popular a few years back, you have to "unfocus" your eyes a bit to experience the full effect. Despite being designed for the glasses, Poseidon Wars can also be played in 2D mode (by pressing button one on the second control pad), but that's far less interesting.
Completing five "training" stages opens up eight "normal" stages you can play in any order. The shooting action is fun for a while, but it's far too easy and tends to wear out its welcome. When a game plays tricks with your eyes like this one does, you don't want to be staring at it for long stretches. Ultimately, Poseidon Wars probably offers more novelty value than play value. © Copyright 2006 The Video Game Critic.
As you fly over a variety of planet surfaces you'll spot giant number icons which look a little cheesy. Shoot them and they float toward the top of the screen. If you manage to snag one you'll acquire one of eight special weapons: directional shot, web gun, laser cannon, rolling fire, homing flame, swing web, plasma ball, and wipe laser. All weapons are not created equal, and I found #3 (laser cannon) and #8 (wipe laser) to be the most effective. Between going after chips and number icons, the game often baits you into danger. You retain a special weapon for 80 seconds, and that's an eternity in a game like this.
The action is unrelenting with multitudes of enemies criss-crossing the screen while dropping bombs and missiles. Not only can you blast enemies but their missiles as well. There's some slowdown, but frankly I'm surprised the entire console doesn't go up in flames like a Chinese-made hoverboard. This is the first game where my thumb got tired just by holding in buttons. The stages don't offer much scenery but the color schemes are appealing. Power Strike pushes the Master System to its limits, but it's the potent risk-versus-reward gameplay that will have you hooked. © Copyright 2015 The Video Game Critic.
The short, squat fighters walk smoothly around the ring but their moves are seriously rough. Each attack is one frame of animation - maybe two. Strike an opponent and the game pauses to momentarily display the words "kick" or "punch". It seems pointless at first, but if you can execute more complicated moves these messages provide positive reinforcement. There's actually an extensive list of moves including pile driver, body slam, neck breaker, lariat, knee drop, boston crab, and the mysterious "b. buster".
Unfortunately, trying to execute any move proves an exercise in futility (unless your name is CPU). The manual is incomprehensible but with only two buttons you would think I could figure it out. Nope! I hate it when I try to tag my partner and jump out of the ring instead. The game has fleeting moments of charm, like when you toss an opponent into the ropes and the ropes bend in the wrong place.
In the proud tradition of professional wrestling you can leave the ring, pick up a conveniently-placed folding chair and whack your opponent over the head with it. Each fighter has an energy meter, but even when the meter is empty you still move around normally and can even escape a pin. As a result the matches are dragged out to excruciating lengths. Pro Wrestling is a colorful arcade-style fighter. I just wish I could have made some sense out of the thing. © Copyright 2015 The Video Game Critic.
One item lets you transform into other animals including a hippo (power), monkey (higher jumping), or tiger (speed). The fox is the most well-rounded character, but certain situations are best suited for the other creatures. Other items let you activate smart bombs (to blow away everything on the screen), or trigger temporary invincibility. You can even bet money to earn more items! This game has a lot of good ideas. Strategically using your items is the key to finishing the game.
Another awesome feature is a black bird you can throw like a boomerang, taking out multiple enemies at once. The jumping controls take a while to get used to, mainly because they rely heavily on momentum. There are seven stages in all, each with its own boss, and a bonus game as well. Psycho Fox is an absolute blast to play. While it's tempting to zoom through the stages, your best bet is a slow, methodical approach. The music is upbeat and quite catchy. This may be the best platform game I've played on the Master System. © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.
The controls are responsive but it feels like the jump and shoot buttons should be reversed (a common lament). You can fire two shots at a time but your range is limited to half the screen. Destroyed creatures leave little crystals behind that you can snag for big points. Each area looks totally unique (palace, cave, ice, bubbles), but navigating between them is disconcerting.
The key to success in Quartet is acquiring the jetpack which lets you move freely and never runs out of fuel. The second key to success is keeping the jet pack, as it gets knocked off whenever you take a hit. The coop aspect of Quartet really shines when you jump off your partner's shoulders to reach an object... like a jetpack. Naturally the programmers were compelled to incorporate a few annoyances to keep the fun factor from getting out of hand.
Certain enemies like floating lips and blinking eyeballs can sustain so many hits you wonder if you're doing any damage! And when you do finally kill them they respawn almost immediately (c'mon!). Enemies tend to converge from above or below, but you can only fire sideways. I hate how my character freezes in place after taking a hit, but in fairness you can withstand a lot of hits. It's not perfect but Quartet is a wholesome little shooter I even enjoyed playing solo. © Copyright 2017 The Video Game Critic.
But R-Type's main draw is your "droid", a remote ball that not only provides extra firepower, but is invincible as well. It can be positioned anywhere on the screen, so when you find a boss's weak spot, just send in the droid and let him do all the work. You can also use him as a shield.
R-Type is one tough game, but thankfully its continue feature is one of the most friendly I've seen, letting you pick up right near where you died. There is some flicker and slowdown in the graphics, but nothing objectionable. This classic shooter belongs in every gamer's collection. © Copyright 2004 The Video Game Critic.
The light gun control is pretty accurate, but the game is unforgiving and some foes can absorb multiple shots before going down. You'll want to be careful not to blast civilians, but since the game plays the same each time through, it doesn't take long to recognize the patterns. Besides shooting like a madman, you can employ a bomb by shooting an icon at the bottom of the screen, and there's a health icon down there as well.
Rambo III's graphics are fairly elaborate, and a rousing military march keeps the adrenaline flowing. Several continues are available, and taking into account the difficulty and fact that your score doesn't reset, it's reasonable to treat these as additional lives. I did notice one odd bug in stage two. When you shoot the guys camped out on the roofs of houses, the mountains behind them change shape! Rambo III is not exceptional in any way, but if you're in the mood for some simple shooting action, you'll have a ball. © Copyright 2006 The Video Game Critic.
You'll face an endless onslaught of enemy soldiers armed with a variety of weapons. Incoming bullets are big and slow so don't say you didn't see them coming! It feels like a constant game of cat and mouse as you unload a few rounds and turn tail to outrun return fire. Be extra cautious of enemies armed with flamethrowers aka "the thermometer guys".
Your shots are severely limited in range, so if you manage to pick up the long-range power-up, hold onto it like grim death! When you blow up a hut with one of your arrows a villager inexplicably rewards you with a new bundle. Keep a few arrows in reserve for the occasional tank and to blow up the fortress door at the end of each stage.
Between stages you're treated to nicely-rendered images of Rambo in various heroic poses. The game supports two-player simultaneous action, allowing a second player to play as Frank Stallone in a yellow bandana. My friend Eric and I make a point to play this game whenever he's in town, and it's always intense. With enough perseverance you can make it to the street stage with exploding cars and cops on motorcycles. Chaotic but fun, Rambo may be the best "buddy game" of all time. © Copyright 2016 The Video Game Critic.
Rampage should be a blast to play, but poor controls and repetitive action really minimize the fun factor. You'll spend much of the time grappling with the poor controls. It's really tricky to climb up the sides of buildings; you'll need to line up your monster almost perfectly to get any traction. Since you can't damage a building until you climb on it, there's no way to touch the first floor, which really stinks.
Despite the lousy controls, Rampage is awfully easy, and the games seem to last forever. Since all the stages look and play pretty much the same, the game probably won't hold your interest. I will give Rampage credit for its graphics. This looks like something straight out of the arcade! There are a lot of funny animations and you can even make out the tiny people. A catchy tune loops in the background, but like the game itself, it wears thin. In my opinion Rampage is a brilliantly conceived but poorly executed title. © Copyright 2006 The Video Game Critic.
Once you have the green field, the graphics are not bad at all. The behind-the-batter view of the pitcher looks nice, and once the ball is put into play, the game switches to an overhead view with tiny fielders. The ball movement is smooth, but it takes some practice to track fly balls, thanks to their deceiving arcing shadows. Your fielders are slow, so you'll need to get a good jump on the ball. Reggie Jackson also offers an "auto-fielding mode" for the lazy player. Forget that - once you get used to the controls, Reggie Jackson is one heck of a baseball game.
The throwing controls are intuitive, so you'll be turning double plays with ease. During close plays at home, a close-up treats you to a nice view of the runner sliding into the catcher. There are some other nice graphical touches as well, like animated umpires, third base coaches, pitchers warming up on the sidelines, and cheerleaders (huh?).
And be sure to check out what happens when the pitcher hits the batter with a pitch - a bench-clearing brawl always ensues, and although medics with a stretcher carry the batter away from home plate during the mayhem, five seconds later he magically appears on first base. Annoying music plays constantly throughout the game, and I have no idea why Sega did that. The teams are real, but the players are fictitious (except for the managers). The computer opponent isn't too bright, but against a human, Reggie Jackson Baseball is a fun contest. © Copyright 2004 The Video Game Critic.
The shooting action is pretty run-of-the-mill, with hesitating enemies that give you ample time to take them out. The hardest part of the game is resisting the urge to shoot your injured compatriots whom you're supposed to be saving (I blame my itchy trigger finger). Don't feel bad if you accidentally shoot one though, because an angelic animation will clearly show him ascending to heaven (unlike enemy soldiers which are cast directly into hell).
Rescue Mission doesn't offer much in the way of eye candy, but I like how the cart plows through enemies in its way. Occasional smart bombs let you destroy all foes on the screen, and they're most satisfying to use in the swamp stage, causing soldiers in jet-packs to rain from the sky. The aiming controls are forgiving enough, but I found it hard to hit targets on the far left edge of the screen.
Rescue Mission isn't particularly fun, and I hate how you have to restart the entire stage when you lose a life. The music is terribly inappropriate. Instead of an urgent military theme, there's a happy-go-lucky melody more appropriate for Lester the Chipmunk in Lollipop Land. All in all, Rescue Mission is a thoroughly forgettable shooter that will elicit yawns from even the most ardent light gun fans. Note: Having trouble getting your light gun to work? Crank up the brightness of your TV screen. © Copyright 2009 The Video Game Critic.
You're Robocop, shooting your way through the streets of Detroit, a toxic waste factory, an office complex, and eventually Skynet itself. The entire game takes place at night, contributing to the dark, ominous atmosphere. The stages are thoughtfully designed stages with multiple pathways. I like how you can shoot out cameras and TV monitors.
If there was controversy surrounding video game violence in the 90's, you'd never know from this game. Robocop indiscriminately blasts gang members that explode in a veritable fountain of blood. Suffice to say it's awesome. As the stages progress terminators become more common, and unlike the humans, when you shoot these guys they tend to get back up.
The controls are outstanding. Not only can Robocop fire in all directions, he can also do so while climbing up a ladder or moving hand-over-hand on a line. Jumping to and from ladders and wires is practically effortless.
Robocop Versus Terminator does suffer in the frame rate department. Sometimes the game speeds up, and sometimes it slows to a crawl, making the action feel "floaty". I've been known to outrun bullets in this situation. Then again, you could make the case that the hardware can't handle such an extreme level of ass-kicking!
The soundtrack is a bit shrill but I love the digitized voices with lines like "looking for trouble?" and "you're terminated". Boss battles feel like a war of attrition as you tend to just trade shots. Fortunately you get six lives, and each picks up right where the last one left off. Robocop Versus the Terminator pushes the Sega Master System to its limit, and the results are highly flammable. © Copyright 2022 The Video Game Critic.
You go up against three challengers: Apollo Creed, Clubber Lang, and Ivan Drago. Before each match there's a training stage which let you hone your skills on a sandbag, punching ball, or punching mitts.
Inside the ring the game looks amazing with a colorful canvas and realistic crowd. I like how the background lighting dims as the action begins. The fighters are detailed and colorful, but it occurred to me the fighters in the Colecovision game were actually larger. Hmmm....
The fighting action feels shallow. The fighters are always on the same plane so there's little in the way of positioning. The punch button throws three different punches depending on your distance, but they all look the same! The second button lets you block and duck, in theory.
When your fighter hits the canvas, you have ten seconds to "button mash" him back up. Between rounds the fighters are shown in their respective corners, along with the score of the previous round. No question, this is a good-looking game.
If there's a strategy to Rocky, I don't get it. Hammering the punch button seems most effective. When I tried to duck or block I got pummeled. My friend Eric says your performance in the ring is largely a function of how you did in the training stage. Suffice to say, to defeat the Russian you better make sure your stats are maxed out. © Copyright 2022 The Video Game Critic.
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Screen shots courtesy of Video Game Museum, GameSpot, Digital Press, Moby Games