system Index M-O
Metalhead
Grade: D-
Publisher: Sega (1994)
Reviewed: 2001/6/17


screenshotSome games do not age well. Yes, the 32X was powerful enough to have its own 3D polygon "mech" game, but just barely! Metalhead is divided into missions, and most involve running around a city destroying every robot and vehicle you find. There are also a few indoor levels that involve running around a maze of rooms. The best thing I can say about this game is that it is playable.

The buildings look okay, but the draw-in is a bit excessive - you can only see about a block away. The framerate is smooth, unless you use the "dash" button, which I pretty much held down the whole time (in order to speed up the action). There's also a strafe button, but the configuration of the six-button controller makes it awkward to use. A radar screen makes it easy to locate your enemies, but it usually breaks down about half way through your mission. Then you have to wander aimlessly until you snuff out the last few stragglers.

The game sometimes puts up a "picture-in-picture" screen, which looks cool, but the only purpose it seems to serve is to block part of your view. And who in the world did this God-awful voice acting? The programmers? It's downright embarrassing! The metallic background music sounds pretty good however. Metalhead was a good demonstration of the 32X abilities in 1994, but this game doesn't have much to offer today. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.

1 player 

If you like this game, try: Iron Soldier (Jaguar)
Battle Arena Toshinden (Playstation)
Zaxxon Motherbase 2000 (Sega 32X)
Ocean City Defender (Atari 2600)
Iron Soldier 2 (CD) (Jaguar)

Mortal Kombat II
Grade: A
Publisher: Acclaim (1994)
Reviewed: 2012/10/7
Rating: Mature (realistic blood, gore, violence)

screenshotThe Mortal Kombat franchise didn't just introduce graphic violence to video games; it celebrated it with gratuitous blood and brutal finishing moves. Compared to the Genesis version of Mortal Kombat II, this 32X edition is slightly better in every way. It has a better introduction that displays several of the digitized stills seen in the arcade game. In two-player mode "match-up screens" are shown before the fight, and they look slick. Subtle details have been added to the stage backgrounds (floating monks, flying dragons), but frankly you'd be hard-pressed to tell the difference between this and the Genesis edition. The audio is probably the most notable improvement. The narrator's voice has more of a booming quality, and hits are now punctuated with digitized grunts and screams. Some of the "yelp" sounds are unintentionally comical. I couldn't discern any differences with the controls or gameplay, and there are no additional options. This cartridge feels like a touch-up of the Genesis version, but that might just make this the best home version of Mortal Kombat II available. © Copyright 2012 The Video Game Critic.
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Our high score: 6 wins
1 or 2 players 

If you like this game, try: Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 (Super Nintendo)
Mortal Kombat (Super Nintendo)
Berzerk Voice Enhanced (Atari 2600)
Mortal Kombat 4 (Playstation)
Ultimate Mortal Kombat (Nintendo DS)

Motocross Championship
Grade: F
Publisher: Sega (1994)
Reviewed: 2008/3/26


screenshotAs sloppy as it is unplayable, Motocross Championship could be the poster child for 32X futility. I've seen it, played it, and wept openly. How in God's name does this motorcycle racer even qualify as 32 bit?! And no, the fact that my cyclist is made of 32 pixels does not count! You get hilly tracks and the ability to attack opponents, but comparisons to Road Rash are way out of line. You're up against 11 colorful bikers who are also pixelated beyond recognition.

The first few moments of each race are a complete fiasco as bikers knock into each while attempting to gain position, causing a muddled mess. Even touching another biker brings you both to a grinding halt! So instead of a smooth, exhilarating racing experience, you get this irritating stop-and-go bull-[expletive]. There are opportunities for big air, but no stunts to perform. The frame-rate is remarkably choppy, especially around turns. The bland backgrounds feature pixelated stadiums and dull mountains. If you catch enough air, you can even see where the sky ends - always a treat!

The steering controls are fair, but you tend to be at the mercy of other racers who constantly bump into you. The punch and kick controls lag so far behind that they're practically useless. Since misery loves company, a split-screen mode lets two players languish on two tiny screens. I'm quite sure Motocross Championship would have been technically feasible on the Genesis, where it could have offended an even wider audience. I can't say I'm amazed that someone at Sega had the audacity to give this the green light, but I have no idea how he managed to keep a straight face. © Copyright 2008 The Video Game Critic.

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1 or 2 players 

If you like this game, try: Road Rash 2 (Genesis)
BC Racers (Sega 32X)
Excitebike 64 (Nintendo 64)
Sega Touring Car Championship (Saturn)
Sega Rally Championship (Saturn)

NBA Jam Tournament Edition
Grade: A-
Publisher: Acclaim (1995)
Reviewed: 2001/6/17


screenshotTo be honest, I wasn't too enthused about reviewing this game. I've played so many versions of NBA Jam, and they've all been pretty much the same. But this 32X version really stands out, despite the fact that control is awkward using the Genesis control pad. For the benefit of those who haven't played it, NBA Jam is basically a two-on-two slam-fest. The offense completely dominates. Although it's possible to steal the ball and block shots, almost every shot goes through the hoop.

Flashy graphics, fast action, and spectacular gravity-defying slams are the signature of this game. With over 120 NBA players, you can even substitute players between quarters. This is great arcade action for one to four players. The 32X version features larger, more detailed players than previous versions. You can almost make out their faces, thanks to their overly large heads. In the background, there are cheerleaders, a scorer's table, and a well-animated crowd. The nets look great when the ball passes through.

The gameplay has been drastically improved by the fact that your turbo energy drains faster, so you'll need to conserve it. The sound is a huge improvement over the Genesis version, but not quite as crystal clear as the SNES. There's some new background music during the game, but it's pretty lame. The cartridge automatically saves user stats and records - how about that?

Two nice option menus let you adjust the gameplay and access some wild modes. My only complaint is with the Genesis controller. The B button is your turbo button, which you'll often need to hold down while pressing the A or C buttons. It's awkward, and it will take a while to get used to. Otherwise, this is the ultimate NBA Jam. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.

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1 to 4 players 

If you like this game, try: NBA Live 96 (Super Nintendo)
Slam and Jam (Saturn)
NBA Jam Tournament Edition (Jaguar)
NBA Jam (Super Nintendo)
Barkley Shut Up and Jam (Genesis)

NFL Quarterback Club
Grade: C+
Publisher: Acclaim (1995)
Reviewed: 2000/8/27


screenshotThis game isn't as bad as I expected. It may not have Madden-quality gameplay, but at least it's a nice-looking, polished football game. The graphics are not a huge step up from the Genesis, but the difference shows. The players are realistic-looking and smoothly animated. The field looks great and features a colorful crowd. Even the play-calling screen is attractive. The crowd noise and sound effects are good, and the referee clearly announces all first downs and penalties.

Quarterback Club has plenty of advanced features including smooth instant replays, first-down measurements, tipped balls, blocked passes, no-huddle offenses, and MANY celebration dances. In addition to the standard exhibition and season modes, there's a simulation mode that puts you in crucial points in dramatic NFL games of the past. There are a few problems. The computer AI is lousy. You'll want to play a real person if you want any kind of challenge.

The game is too offense-oriented - it's too easy to score. The spin and speed-burst running controls are just too effective. On the play-calling screen, you can't tell which plays are running and which are passing. Still, I like this game because of the nice graphics, variety of options, and fast gameplay. And don't forget to stick around after the end of the game to see the winning team dance in the middle of the field - it's hilarious! © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.

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1 to 5 players 

If you like this game, try: Madden '93 (Genesis)
Madden NFL '94 (Super Nintendo)
NFL Instant Replay (Philips CD-i)
Football Frenzy (Neo Geo)
Madden '95 (Genesis)

Night Trap (CD)
Grade: A-
Publisher: Digital Pictures (1994)
Reviewed: 2012/10/7
Rating: Mature (realistic violence)

screenshotIt's been derided by many critics, but Night Trap holds a significant place in video game history. In 1993 this game along with Mortal Kombat caused enough of a stir to merit a congressional hearing on video game violence. That eventually resulted in the industry instituting its own rating system. As one of the first "interactive movie" titles, Night Trap starred Dana Plato of Diff'rent Strokes sitcom fame - the first well-known actor to appear in a video game.

I like Night Trap on the Sega CD, but it's clearly a better fit for the 32X. The 32X has a much larger color palette, lending itself to higher quality video that looks warmer and more inviting. The video area now takes up most of the screen. It's still a little grainy, but you'll notice details you wouldn't see on the Sega CD. The rest of the screen has more detail as well - a far cry from the sparse Sega CD version.

Your goal is capture intruders infiltrating a house full of scantily clad teenage girls. Cameras are installed in eight rooms, and you can switch between them like a security guard. When you notice hunched "augers" dressed in black, you can dispose of them by springing a trap at the right moment. You also need to occasionally change the trap color code, which is revealed in the dialog at specific times (5:37 in entry, 8:50 in living room, etc). It's an unnecessary element they should have left out.

Flipping through the different cameras is interesting, particularly since things are happening in more than one room at a time. It's an ingenious concept and the campy acting just adds to the fun. Few games make good use of full-motion video technology, but I think Night Trap does it right. © Copyright 2012 The Video Game Critic.

Our high score: 26
1 player 

If you like this game, try: Night Trap (Sega CD)
Night Trap: 25th Anniversary Edition (Nintendo Switch)
Night Trap (3DO)
Night Trap: 25th Anniversary Edition (Playstation 4)
Double Switch (Saturn)


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