system Index M-Z
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)
Zaxxon Motherbase 2000 (Sega 32X)
Battle Arena Toshinden (Playstation)
Iron Soldier 2 (CD) (Jaguar)
Ocean City Defender (Atari 2600)

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.

Our high score: 6 wins
1 or 2 players 

If you like this game, try: Mortal Kombat (Super Nintendo)
Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 (Super Nintendo)
Mortal Kombat (Genesis)
Ultimate Mortal Kombat (Nintendo DS)
Mortal Kombat 4 (Playstation)

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

screenshotAs sloppy as it is unplayable, Motorcross 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 Motorcross 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.

1 or 2 players 

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

1 to 4 players 

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

1 to 5 players 

If you like this game, try: Madden NFL '94 (Super Nintendo)
Madden '93 (Genesis)
ESPN NFL Football (Playstation 2)
NFL Instant Replay (Philips CD-i)
NFL Quarterback Club (Game Gear)

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 large 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: 25th Anniversary Edition (Playstation 4)
Night Trap (3DO)
Double Switch (Sega CD)

Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure
Grade: D-
Publisher: Activision (1995)
Reviewed: 2018/7/8

screenshotFor classic gamers the word Pitfall is held in high regard, but Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure failed to endear the franchise to a new generation. This time Harry can climb vines, scale waterfalls, and crawl through booby-trapped tombs. The dense jungle scenery is alluring but Harry can't seem to touch a freaking tree without losing his balance and falling flat on his face. He carries a supply of rocks to fling at wild animals but the controls are clumsy. Invisible walls tend to block your progress and monkeys blending into the scenery chip away at your health. The stage designs can be infuriating. The game will lure you to a shiny golden bar only to send you plunging through an unseen hole, dumping you back into an earlier part of the stage. You'd expect the 32X version to be an substantial upgrade over the Genesis, but it's a step down. Despite claims on the packaging, the graphics are not upgraded, and the choppy framerate makes the game hard to watch. You'll languish with unresponsive controls and erratic collision detection. Three new levels bring the total to 13, but few will have the intestinal fortitude to reach them. Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure isn't so much an adventure as it is an ordeal. © Copyright 2018 The Video Game Critic.

Our high score: 35,828
1 player 

If you like this game, try: Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure (Super Nintendo)
Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure (Genesis)
Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure (Sega CD)
Super Pitfall (NES)
Tarzan (Colecovision)

Primal Rage
Grade: C
Publisher: Sega (1994)
Reviewed: 2013/8/30

screenshotAs a child I always had a fascination with dinosaurs, and that was rekindled by Jurassic Park in 1993. Then I could barely contain myself when I discovered a one-on-one arcade fighter with dinosaurs (and apes) rendered with stop-motion animation. Primal Rage is a special effects extravaganza, but its formulaic gameplay fails to live up to its glorious visuals. This 32X version is a modest improvement over its Genesis cousin, but you really need to place both side-by-side to notice the difference. The option menus are identical and the instruction booklet is practically word-for-word the same. The expanded color palette of the 32X does produce more detailed and lifelike creatures. Their skin and fur has that nice sheen you like to see on a healthy monster. The scenery is slightly enhanced, so in the glacier stage I could clearly see Blizzard the ape's face etched into the side of the mountain. The continue screen features a digitized girl begging you to continue, just like the arcade. The sound effects are clearer than the Genesis, but also louder and occasionally grating. Still, I love those understated "cricket chirps" that play as the last few seconds count down. The battles are fast and furious, and the button mashing springs into high gear as the action becomes more frantic. For best results, use a six-button controller. As if the moves needed some spicing up, the apes can unleash flatulence and vomit attacks. Not to mention the highly controversial "golden shower" fatality. Stay classy, Primal Rage! So, is this 32X edition worth the upgrade? Only if you're a hardcore Primal Rage fan who wants to experience the game in all of its forms. © Copyright 2013 The Video Game Critic.

Our high score: 55,315
1 or 2 players. 

If you like this game, try: Primal Rage (Genesis)
Primal Rage (CD) (Jaguar)
World Series Baseball (Sega 32X)
Bill Walsh College Football (Sega CD)
Primal Rage (Super Nintendo)

RBI Baseball '95
Grade: B
Publisher: Time Warner (1995)
Reviewed: 2018/8/20

screenshotIt's easy to get the impression RBI Baseball '95 is undercooked when the title screen can only muster enough voice synthesis to utter "RBI". It may be raw, but RBI Baseball is extremely playable, adopting some the best features from other 16-bit era baseball titles. You get large, digitized batters like World Series Baseball 95 (Genesis, 1995) along the robotic Larry King commentator voice of SportsTalk Baseball (Genesis, 1992). The pacing is brisk, with controls so intuitive you won't even need to consult the manual. The default auto-fielding gives you a head-start on fly balls, but you can turn it off if you prefer more offense. The pitching gives you total control of the ball in flight, and as a batter you can check your swing. The players look fairly realistic in the field despite some jittery animation. Pleasant, understated music plays throughout the action - a relic of a bygone era. The main problem with RBI 95 are the little glitches and oversights, some of which border on comical. The commentator will exclaim "down the left field line!" as the ball bounces off the right field dugout. The faceless pitches appear to have sacks over their heads, and some have the complexion of pea soup! Pressing upward during a pitch makes the ball take off like a rocket! The picture-in-picture cut-scenes look bizarre, with actors apparently filmed against a black screen. The AI is erratic, with routine ground balls turning into infield singles when CPU fielders fail to charge the ball. The games end abruptly without even showing a box score. The graphics are realistic but the colors are oversaturated. There's a slew of modes to choose from including a full season mode, home run derby, gamebreaker challenges, and even a "stadium tour". Perusing the various ballparks sounds like fun until you discover just how blocky and inaccurate they are. RBI Baseball '95 has that rushed, let's-get-this-out-before-the-32X-flops vibe, but if you're looking for some lightweight baseball fun this is surprisingly enjoyable. © Copyright 2018 The Video Game Critic.

Save mechanism: password
1 or 2 players 

If you like this game, try: Realsports Baseball (Atari 5200)
RBI Baseball 94 (Game Gear)
RBI Baseball (NES)
SportsTalk Baseball (Genesis)
RBI Baseball 18 (Playstation 4)

Shadow Squadron
Grade: B+
Publisher: Sega (1994)
Reviewed: 2007/3/13

screenshotHere's one of the few 32X titles that truly showcases the 3D-rendering capabilities of the system. An impressive first-person space shooter, Shadow Squadron lets you freely maneuver your ship around large areas in space while single-handedly taking out invading armadas. When I first purchased this game in 1994, it was absolutely amazing. Just being able to buzz around massive vessels was a treat, and some are so immense that you can even fly around inside of them! Your firepower is so potent that a single hit will cause fighter ships to veer off and explode. The larger ships must be destroyed polygon-by-polygon, although it's possible to launch a well-placed "ultra shot" to set off a chain reaction. The satisfying explosions are punctuated with flames and thunderous explosions. You can control one of two ships, and each has its own unique, vertigo-inducing launch sequence. The second ship (Feather 2) offers an "auto-pilot" option which provides an entirely different style of gameplay, as you simply aim crosshairs and shoot while your ship moves in a pre-determined path. It's a bit shallow but has a nice arcade flavor. Shadow Squadron's controls are smooth and responsive, and red indicators make it easy to locate targets in the distance. Unfortunately, the control scheme is not clearly explained in the manual, and the heads-up displays (unique to each ship) are equally confusing. The battles are a bit slow and not particularly intense, but they're still enjoyable and satisfying to win. An instant replay mode allows you to view a completed mission from various angles. Considering its solid gameplay and cutting-edge graphics, it's surprising that Shadow Squadron always managed to remain under the radar of most gamers. © Copyright 2007 The Video Game Critic.

1 or 2 players 

If you like this game, try: Colony Wars (Playstation)
Starblade (Sega CD)
Rescue on Fractalus (Atari 5200)
Space Attack (Atari 2600)
Star Fox (Super Nintendo)

Slam City With Scotty Pippen (CD)
Grade: D
Publisher: Sega (1995)
Reviewed: 2003/7/2
Rating: Teen

screenshotLike most full motion video (FMV) games, Slam City looks terrific but plays poorly. You play Ace, a Woody Harrelson look-alike playing one-on-one against five "street" players, and if you're worthy, you'll face Scott Pippen himself. Viewing the action from just behind your man, you really feel like you're "in the game". When you start moving around, you feel like you're in control, but you're really not, and that's the first thing you'll need to learn in order to beat the game. Although you can move side-to-side, your only opportunities to score happen when you opponent lunges a certain way. React properly and a video kicks in of you taking the ball hard to the hoop. If you don't see an opening, you'll want to settle for a jump shot before the 10 second clock runs out. Playing defense is tougher, because steal opportunities are few and far between. The first player to score seven points wins, and you score one point per basket. The CPU is tough and exceedingly cheap. There's plenty of trash talking throughout the game, but most of it is really dumb. The graphics are terrific, with good definition and no lag time. Watching the same video clips over and over does wear thin after a while though, and although you're supposed to playing on a city basketball court, it's clearly just an indoor sound stage. Likewise the "streetwise" players look more like a bunch of perpetrators, and the white actors look terribly out of place. I have to admit that the shorthaired blonde with the tight white dress is incredibly hot though. The action is spread over four CDs, which seems like a good thing at first, but changing disks is a real pain in the ass. I will admit that Slam City did keep me occupied for a little while, but the game should probably be called Scotty Pippen's Airball. © Copyright 2003 The Video Game Critic.

1 player 

If you like this game, try: Ultimate Basketball (NES)
Double Dribble (NES)
Soccer Slam (GameCube)
Street Hoop (CD) (Neo Geo)
One-On-One Basketball (Atari 7800)

Space Harrier
Grade: C+
Publisher: Sega (1994)
Reviewed: 2011/12/27
Rating: Kids to Adults

screenshotSega probably should not have released Space Harrier for the Master System and Genesis. Those graphically-challenged versions don't leave the player with a positive impression of the series. Fortunately this 32X version finally does the game justice. Its rapid-fire gameplay involves moving a guy in a jet pack around the screen while blasting mushrooms, stone faces, flying dragons, and UFOs that quickly scale in from the distance. The action is chaotic, but the smooth scaling allows you to anticipate incoming missiles and weave around marble pillars. The sense of speed is good, and you can tell the game uses the same underlying engine as Afterburner. The controls are responsive and you can hold in the fire button for constant fire (although tapping lets you unload more shots). When you shoot a UFO it immediately takes a nose-dive straight into the ground, which looks kind of odd. The explosions are completely over-the-top, and I find it amusing how trees and vegetation often go up in mushroom clouds! Some of the enemies are hard to make out. Are those clouds I'm shooting in the first stage or floating rocks? In one of the later stages there are a lot of big colorful mushrooms that tend to obstruct your vision. Each stage concludes with an obligatory boss, and they turn red to indicate damage just like any good boss should. The familiar soundtrack will please fans of the series and the voice samples are clear. This appears to be a very close port of the arcade game, so Space Harrier fans should be satisfied - at long last. © Copyright 2011 The Video Game Critic.

Our high score: 3,196,740
1 player 

If you like this game, try: Sega Ages (Saturn)
Space Harrier (Turbografx-16)
Space Harrier (Sega Master System)
Afterburner II (Genesis)
Afterburner (Sega 32X)

new Spider-Man: Web of Fire
Grade: B-
Publisher: Sega (1995)
Reviewed: 2020/12/24
Rating: Kids to Adults

screenshotWeb of Fire is the crown jewel of any 32X game collection. Not because it's particularly good, but because the game is Spider-Man, and it's quite rare. Its gameplay is so underwhelming I suspect it could just as easily been released on the Genesis. The developers tried to use shading to make the characters more detailed, but it's very subtle because the characters are so small and dark. Spider-Man is nicely animated as he swings through the air, climbs walls, and beats up green dudes in purple pants. I like how he can punch in any direction while sticking to a surface, making short work of any approaching drones. The game is moderately fun but the controls could be better. I found myself "sticking" not only to ceilings and walls, but also dangerous things like giant fans and electrified transformers. The first stage takes place on New York City rooftops, but while Spidey can swing freely he'll inexplcably die if he swoops too low. The scenery is so repetitive you'll think you're moving in circles. At the end of each stage you'll face an obscure villain like Dragonman, Thermite, or The Eel. Making a special cameo appearance is DareDevil, whom Spiderman can call upon to apply a quick strike. Most stages tend to take place in industrial environments and the layered backdrops look attractive. I especially like that green laser netting stretching across the night sky. The soundtrack has that distinctive metallic sound but the sound effects could use more punch. The difficulty is reasonable except for the fact that dying sends you all the way back to the beginning of the stage. Web of Fire is an underachiever. Where is my score? Where is the password feature? I expected more, but as one of the few big names in the sparse 32X library, Spider-Man: Web of Fire still manages to be a stand-out title. © Copyright 2020 The Video Game Critic.

1 player 

If you like this game, try: Spider-Man (Genesis)
Space Ranger (Philips CD-i)
Spiderman (Dreamcast)
Spiderman/X-Men: Arcade's Revenge (Super Nintendo)
Spiderman The Movie (Game Boy Advance)

Star Trek Starfleet Academy
Grade: F
Publisher: Sega (1995)
Reviewed: 2002/7/4

screenshotThis is an odd little game that even Star Trek fans will struggle to enjoy. In it, you are a student at the Starfleet Academy, where you can learn and participate in several "training missions" to "challenge your tactical skills". Why not just make a REAL Star Trek game? I'm guessing that the developers were planning to just that, but later downgraded the scope when they realized how weak the 32X's graphic capabilities were. At heart, this is a glorified Star Raiders clone with better graphics but far worse gameplay. You have access to layers of menus with all sorts of data and instrumentation, but only a geek versed in Star Trek techno-babble could digest any of this garbage. The first person shooting "action" is painfully dull. The enemy ships are fully 3D, but their movements are sluggish and the AI is idiotic. Being an academic environment, there's also opportunity to meet and socialize with your fellow space cadets. Here I stumbled upon the single redeeming feature of the game: a pool table! That right, you can challenge classmates to a game a pool, which is by far the highlight of this cartridge. The pool balls are huge but they rotate nicely and the game is easy to play. As you can deduce, Starfleet Academy really isn't much of a game. It's probably the worst 32X title I've come across. © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.

1 or 2 players 

If you like this game, try: Star Raiders (Atari 5200)
Star Trek (Vectrex)
Star Master (Atari 2600)
Star Wars Arcade (Sega 32X)
Star Strike (Intellivision)

Star Wars Arcade
Grade: B
Publisher: LucasArts (1994)
Reviewed: 2005/5/18

screenshotOne thing I can say about Star Wars Arcade (not to be confused with the 1983 vector graphics game) is that it really does showcase the 32X's polygonal graphic capabilities. It's a good-looking first-person shooter where you dogfight Tie Fighters in space, infiltrate Star Destroyers, and battle over the Death Star. The game includes a four-mission "arcade" mode and an expanded eight-mission "32X" mode. Half the stages involve shooting Tie fighters in open space, which is fun because they shatter into pieces (polygons) when blasted. It's also neat how these battles occur in the midst of the huge Star Destroyers. Your X-Wing is well-armed with both lasers and guided proton torpedoes. Unfortunately, the other missions aren't so hot. It may look great as you approach a Star Destroyer or Death Star, but the gameplay subsequently takes a turn for the worse. The framerate slows to a crawl and your ship becomes difficult to control as it absorbs hit after hit. Hitting the side of a trench sends you caroming off the walls like a pinball. Looking back, I wonder how I could have possibly completed that Star Destroyer stage. The background music and sound effects are very good, especially the distinct sounds of zooming Tie fighters. A two-player option lets one player steer while the other shoots, but it's nothing to write home about. Despite its flaws, I enjoy Star Wars Arcade, and would rank it as one of the best titles for the 32X. © Copyright 2005 The Video Game Critic.

Our high score: 11900
1 or 2 players 

If you like this game, try: Star Wars: The Arcade Game (Colecovision)
Star Battle (Bally Astrocade)
Star Fire (Vectrex)
Star Wars: The Arcade Game (Atari XEGS)
Star Wars: The Arcade Game (Atari 2600)

Grade: F
Publisher: Sega (1995)
Reviewed: 2001/1/20

screenshotIf you've never heard of this game, you're not alone. It's a pretty rare 32X first-person tank game (no, there are no "mechs" in this one). A tank combat game for the 32X sounds like a pretty good idea, but this is just a sloppy, unexciting mess. One player can make his way through a series of levels containing numerous tanks (and sometimes a boss), or two players can go head-to-head. You get your choice of tanks, each with its own special attributes including special weapons. There's not much strategy; just shoot the other tanks and don't stay in one place for too long. The frame rate is smooth enough, but the graphics are ugly. The objects are all sprites, which get very pixelated up close. The small text on your control panel is hard to read. The flat battlegrounds differ in color and scenery, but none are conducive to any kind of strategy. The music and voice effects are very good, and include a deep voice that lets you know if you're winning or losing. The scoring system is useless; it resets to zero after each round (what's the point??). But the ultimate let-down is the bosses. These menacing-looking monstrosities are well-illustrated in the instruction book, but in the game they are nothing but tanks of a different color. Even the 2 player game is pointless. The 32X could have used a good tank battle game, but this wasn't what I had in mind. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.

1 or 2 players 

If you like this game, try: Seek and Destroy (Playstation 2)
Armor Battle (Intellivision)
Armored Encounter/Sub Chase (Odyssey 2)
Tanks But No Tanks (Atari 2600)
Armor Ambush (Atari 2600)

Grade: D
Publisher: Sega (1995)
Reviewed: 2001/6/17

screenshotTempo is like Mario Bros on acid. The seven levels include a psychedelic "hi-fi" stage and an unusual "indigestion" stage, along with the more traditional downtown, winter, and jungle stages. Each level is bursting with color. The scenery is multi-layered, and everything is alive and moving. Sega was definitely trying to show off the 32X graphic capabilities here. As far as the audio goes, the game tries to have a hip "rap" theme, but the opening song is pretty cheesy. The in-game music is funky, and some of it is quite good. Your big-eyed character must fly, jump, shoot, and kick his way through each level. While the game is certainly an eyeful, you'll soon discover that this is just a by-the-numbers platform game. And although the graphics are wild, they are often so cluttered that you can't tell where you can go, or what you can touch (without dying). Portals that transport you around only add to the confusion. The control could be better also. The same button is used to jump and fly, and you'll often fly when you just want to jump. Also, Tempo moves a little slow for my taste. There is a nice stage select screen, and there are even some mini games available. But overall Tempo is just isn't much fun. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.

1 player 

If you like this game, try: Super Mario All-Stars (Super Nintendo)
Super Mario Bros. 3 (NES)
Mario Clash (Virtual Boy)
Carnival Games Mini Golf (Wii)
Super Paper Mario (Wii)

Toughman Contest
Grade: B-
Publisher: Electronic Arts (1995)
Reviewed: 2000/6/18

screenshotThe 32X version of this boxing game plays better, but lacks some of the charm of the Genesis version. Toughman plays similar to Nintendo's Punch Out games, with your boxer being a green outline. The action is fast and furious, and there are plenty of punches and special moves. The backgrounds look more realistic than the Genesis version, but are less animated and not as interesting (or funny). Only one babe introduces the rounds, no matter where you fight, unlike the Genesis version, which has a different girl for each location. The responsive control is the star of this game, but it will make your fingers very tired. © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.

1 to 2 players. 

If you like this game, try: Toughman Contest (Genesis)
Evander Holyfield's Real Deal Boxing (Genesis)
Super Punch Out!! (Super Nintendo)
BC Racers (Sega 32X)
Final Fight One (Game Boy Advance)

Virtua Fighter
Grade: A
Publisher: Sega (1995)
Reviewed: 2004/2/29

screenshotThis 3D polygon fighter is so technically impressive that it even compares favorably to some of the early Sega Saturn fighters. Had Virtua Fighter been released a year earlier, it may have saved the 32X from its untimely death. Unfortunately it wasn't released until the system had one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel. Anyway, you might expect this venerable 3D fighter to be pretty shallow and boring, but in fact it's very exciting and much deeper than you might expect. In addition to multiple punch and kick attacks, you can guard, dash, throw, stomp, and execute a bevy of special moves. I really appreciate how well-executed attacks do significant damage and keep the matches short. All the moves are listed in the manual, and there are over 25 for each of the eight fighters. I must admit that some gamers might not appreciate the "floaty" physics and the emphasis on jump attacks. The fighters look blocky but the animation is remarkably fluid, making the game more playable than some of the more advanced 3D brawlers. They even change facial expressions! Matches take place on raised platforms, and ring-outs are possible. The generic background scenery (desert, mountains, water) is pretty sparse, and the city night stage just looks like a bunch of yellow dots littering the screen. If you want to experiment with the camera angle, you can adjust it while the match is paused. The music is okay and the voice samples are quite clear. Play modes include the standard arcade, versus, and tournament, but what I enjoyed most is the one-player "Ranking Mode", which pits you against a series of cpu competitors and displays an analysis of your performance afterwards. Virtua Fighter is a fine example of what the 32X is capable of. © Copyright 2004 The Video Game Critic.

Our high score: 202
1 or 2 players 

If you like this game, try: Battle Arena Toshinden (Playstation)
Virtua Fighter 2 (Saturn)
Virtua Fighter 4 (Playstation 2)
Brutal Unleashed: Above the Claw (Sega 32X)
Virtua Fighter 2 (Genesis)

Virtua Racing Deluxe
Grade: A
Publisher: Sega (1995)
Reviewed: 2004/2/29

screenshotVirtua Racing Deluxe was one of the 32X's impressive flagship titles, along with Star Wars Arcade and Doom. Its graphics were cutting edge in 1995, with three-dimensional polygons and multiple camera angles you can change on the fly. Although the boxy-looking cars and triangle trees look archaic now, VR is still thrilling to play thanks to its smooth frame-rate and simple controls. Each race begins by showing a pit crew preparing your car, but these guys are so blocky that they look more like robots. Once the race is underway, you can switch between several views ranging from the unplayable "driver's seat" angle, to the vertigo-inducing birds eye view. You'll want to select one of the in-between views for best results. You can compete against a friend in split-screen mode or go against a field of 15 (!) cpu-controlled cars in the single-player mode. The scenery isn't spectacular, but there are plenty of banked turns, bridges, tunnels, overpasses, and alternate routes to keep things interesting. Flat backgrounds depicting mountains and rolling hills blend in nicely with the foreground. The trademark carnival rides are present, but they look a little flat. And I can't forget to mention the completely pointless pitstop area which I've never had to use in my life. The steering is responsive, but spinouts will occur if you take a turn too fast (Hint: let off of the accelerator). The whining engine sounds more like a swarm of angry bees, and why does my car keep backfiring? The appealing Sonic-like background music is sparse but sounds great when it kicks in. All lap times are displayed on the screen, but despite some nice record keeping, these are erased when the game is turned off (rats!). After each race, you have the option of watching a multi-angle replay of your race, which is often quite interesting. There are five tracks and three types of cars to choose between, including formula, stock, and prototype. Virtua Racing Deluxe runs better and offers more options than the $100 Genesis version released in 1994. You're simply not going to find a better game for the 32X. © Copyright 2004 The Video Game Critic.

1 or 2 players 

If you like this game, try: Virtua Racing (Saturn)
Virtua Racing (Genesis)
Re-Volt (Dreamcast)
Mario Andretti Racing (Genesis)
Sega Rally Championship (Saturn)

Grade: D-
Publisher: Acclaim (1995)
Reviewed: 2005/3/19

screenshotOf the two wrestling titles Acclaim released for the 32X (the other being WWF Wrestlemania), Raw is clearly more ambitious yet falls short in terms of actual gameplay. It features 12 actual WWF wrestlers, depicted in large colorful photos on the menu screens. The actual game characters are fairly small however and less impressive than those in Wrestlemania. Raw's gameplay is undeniably deep. Like most wrestling games, the action gets repetitive, but you have to give Acclaim credit for incorporating an astonishing number of moves. You can throw your opponent from the ring, jump from the turnbuckle, perform knee/elbow drops when your opponent is down, and even execute signature moves. One aspect that really sucks however is the "tie-up" system. When two fighters lock arms, a meter appears and the player who taps buttons fastest wins. Not only is this physically tiresome, but more often than not it ends in a draw. The combination of lengthy matches and constant button tapping will take its toll on your hands. This game's title is apropos, as the visuals look unpolished, with animation that's hard to make out at times. WWF Raw offers seven playing modes including tag team and the Royal Rumble, which features six wrestlers in the ring at once! Yes, it's a big, confusing mess. Just like real wrestling, you can do some crazy things like punch the referee or fight outside of the ring. And while you're out there, don't forget to smack your opponent with that folding chair that always just happens to be sitting around for no good reason. WWF Raw is not a game I can play for an extended period of time. Then again, I'm not a wrestling fan. If you are an avid fan, you can probably bump up the grade by one letter. © Copyright 2005 The Video Game Critic.

1 to 4 players 

If you like this game, try: WWF War Zone (Playstation)
Pro Wrestling (Sega Master System)
WWE Legends of Wrestlemania (Xbox 360)
WWF Wrestlemania: The Arcade Game (Sega 32X)
Title Match Pro Wrestling (Atari 2600)

WWF Wrestlemania: The Arcade Game
Grade: C+
Publisher: Acclaim (1995)
Reviewed: 2005/3/19
Rating: Kids to Adults (Realistic violence)

screenshotWhile not a fan of professional wrestling, I can certainly appreciate the fast, exciting action and over-the-top animations of this arcade adaptation. Unlike real wrestling, matches tend to quickly run their course with few pauses or interruptions. There are eight WWF fighters represented in Wrestlemania, including the Undertaker, Bam Bam Bigelow, Doink the Clown, Leg Lugar, Yokozuna, Bret Hart, Razor Ramon, and Shawn Michaels. The character sprites are large and well defined. For some reason however, when you land a solid hit it looks like ice cubes are flying out of your opponent. Is that supposed to be sweat, spit, or ice? Anyway, the Mortal Kombat-inspired controls are simple to grasp and responsive. Although most moves are realistic in nature, some of the more over-the-top maneuvers are embellished by crazy animations to make them look even more spectacular. Voice samples comment on the action in progress, but they sound pretty rough. This game was a pleasant surprise, especially compared to the laborious WWF Raw. Wrestlemania is a fighting game just about any gamer can enjoy. © Copyright 2005 The Video Game Critic.

1 or 2 players 

If you like this game, try: WWF Raw (Sega 32X)
Ultimate Mortal Kombat (Nintendo DS)
Def Jam Vendetta (Playstation 2)
Mortal Kombat (Xbox 360)
Mortal Kombat (Super Nintendo)

World Series Baseball
Grade: B+
Publisher: Sega (1995)
Reviewed: 2002/5/28

screenshotThis game proves what most of us have known all-along: there's not much difference between a 32X and a regular Genesis. Sega tried to make this game a step up from the Genesis version, but besides some minor cosmetic changes, the game is practically identical. The enhanced color palette allows the stadiums to look a bit better, with more colorful backgrounds and crowds. The pitches now make a "whooshing" sound on their way to plate, and seem to move slower. When a ball is hit to an outfielder, the camera sometimes zooms in on the fielder. It looks pretty cool, but has little more than novelty value. The biggest disappointment is the sound - or lack of it! There's less commentary that other versions of the game, and the crowd is practically silent. Most of the new features of this 32X version, like multi-player options and player trades, were incorporated into World Series 96 on the Genesis. Yes, this World Series game is better than its Genesis counterparts, but only slightly. © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.

1 or 2 players 

If you like this game, try: Bill Walsh College Football (Sega CD)
NBA Live 96 (Genesis)
Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 (Super Nintendo)
NBA Live 96 (Super Nintendo)
Primal Rage (Sega 32X)

Zaxxon Motherbase 2000
Grade: D-
Publisher: Sega (1995)
Reviewed: 2000/5/13

screenshotWhen I first found out that a Zaxxon game was out for the 32X, I was giddy as a schoolgirl. The last time I had played Zaxxon was on a Colecovision in 1982. I always thought it was a cool game, and a sequel was long overdue. Imagine my disappointment when I realized this mediocre shooter wasn't really Zaxxon at all. Yes, the 3D viewpoint is the same, but you can't elevate your ship (except to jump)! In an attempt to show-off the 32X polygon-rendering abilities, all objects in this game are 3D rendered. While the ships and bosses look fairly decent by 32X standards, the blockiness of the objects makes me wish they had just used old-fashion sprites. It doesn't even look as good as the original game! And unfortunately, all the polygon graphics result in a busy screen with some annoying slowdown in the action. There are some cool gameplay concepts here, including the ability to commandeer enemy ships. But the screen area is limited, and the large bosses often squeeze you into an awkward corner of the screen. This Zaxxon is a real dud. © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.

1 player 

If you like this game, try: Zaxxon 3D (Sega Master System)
Viewpoint (Genesis)
Viewpoint (Playstation)
Zaxxon (Colecovision)
Space Attack (Atari 2600)

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