Certain aspects of Cyber City are appealing. The animation consumes the entire screen and there's something enjoyable about the cheesy anime style. The action unfolds rapidly but sometimes you can pan left or right to select your path. The gameplay is purely aim-the-cursor-and-shoot. Fortunately your ammo is unlimited so you can spray bullets liberally. During a typical scene a bad guy will appear in a building window and you'll need to react in a split-second or lose a life. It's not humanly possible to drag that cursor across the screen to the right spot, so memorization is crucial.
The problem is, bad guy locations are occasionally randomized, and even when you know where to shoot the clumsy cursor control makes it hard to aim. Once you get the patterns down you can make gradual progress. Yes, I tried using the CD-i light gun but it didn't work. Escape from Cyber City isn't terrible but it's certainly not good. At least the games tend to be brief, so if you hate it rest assured your suffering will be short-lived. © Copyright 2016 The Video Game Critic.
The action is fast and smooth, but the game lacks polish. Your ship slides around and there's a lag when trying to reverse direction. The collision detection is weak, and half the time when you die you have no idea what hit you. There are a lot of white dots bouncing around the screen to represent a variety of effects, including explosions and enemy missiles. If you feel like you're in constant danger, that's because you are! The best way to make progress is to move slowly and keep an eye on the radar.
The second game is a wacky Space Invaders knock-off with aliens that scream in anguish as you blast them. When you get on a roll, the constant shrieks and moans sound like a really bad adult movie. You need to keep moving because these invaders dump a [expletive]-load of bombs. You'll be lucky to survive the first wave! The game ends with the message "Game Over Lad!" Who talks like that?
My friends were not impressed with either of these, but I liked the sharp graphics, digitized sound effects, and pumping techno soundtrack. The high difficulty results in quick games with a "one more time" quality. A high score table is displayed for Guardian but it is not saved. These games could never measure up to the classics they're based upon, but if you're in dire need of arcade action, these will scratch that itch. © Copyright 2012 The Video Game Critic.
The graphics are sharp but my friend Chris noted that the animation is minimal, with most objects (like the huge spider) being static images. It feels like a Flash game, and the explosive sound effects would be better suited for a WWII shooter. The second game is Breakout at its core, but its use of different screen configurations and power-ups make it more similar to Arkanoid. This is probably the best title in the Golden Oldies series. Controlling your paddle is no problem, and it's possible to take out two or three blocks at a time.
Better yet, some blocks drop capsules that provide power-ups. These might unleash an extra ball, let you catch the ball, or even fire missiles directly at the wall. Juggling the balls and power-ups requires as much strategy as skill. The game also shows an odd sense of humor when you miss a ball and your paddle morphs into a skull, screams, and then blows up in a mushroom cloud. These games may lack the charm and fine-tuning of the originals, but they are still fun in their own way. © Copyright 2012 The Video Game Critic.
Like any Mario game, there's plenty of jumping, and the doors provide additional strategy since you can hide behind them. That's critical, because there are some really annoying creatures (like the caterpillar) that you'll want to avoid altogether. Hotel Mario's graphics are decent but nothing spectacular, and each level is introduced with a low-budget cartoon cinematic. Upbeat music plays constantly throughout the game and it does get annoying before long.
Hotel Mario is easy to learn but supremely difficult to master. Although there are only seven hotels, each has ten stages that all look and play pretty much the same. I felt like I was playing the same stages over and over. It's no classic, but if you're looking for arcade action for your CD-i, you could do far worse.
. © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.
There's a bit of "dead time" between points but you can hit a button to expedite the process. I didn't recognize any of the players in this game (Victor Player? Robert Garett?) so I assume they're fictional. One issue with International Tennis is its controls. It's easy enough to volley the ball but hard to perform cross-court shots, lobs, or drop-shots. After consulting the manual I discovered the default "manual" mode is anything but manual!
If you want to influence your shots you have to set it to "fully manual". Seriously? Even then I found it hard to angle shots. Your positioning is supposed to play a role but it's all pretty vague. That said, competing against a friend is fun, as is challenging the CPU in a tournament. When switching sides both players perform "get loose" moves that make it look like they're dancing with each other. My friend Scott isn't a big CD-i advocate but even he had to admit this is impressive. © Copyright 2016 The Video Game Critic.
In stark contrast, the star of this game, Jack Sprite, is a wacky, computer-animated geek who speaks in an annoying high-pitched voice. With Jack manning the "control desk" on the bottom of the screen, you view video clips by selecting from seven locations including a hotel, office, and warehouse. Jack narrates as you watch the grainy video, and prompts you to "inject him into the scene" at critical moments. When this happens, the game suddenly switches to a colorful screen with 2D graphics and sparse scenery.
Here Jack must punch and kick his way through a parade of goons that all look the same. These fights are extremely lame thanks to unresponsive controls and a limited number of moves. The quirky background music that plays during these fights is almost unbearable. Some action sequences end with an encounter with the Crimson Ghost himself, who serves as a boss. The main problem with this game is obvious: the pieces don't fit together very well.
Juxtaposed with the grainy video clips, the clean-looking 2D sequences look sorely out of place. And unlike campy games like Night Trap, you won't want to sit through these dull video clips twice. What nearly saves the game are some funny, Mystery Science Theater-inspired voice dubs that play when you select an irrelevant location. Nevertheless, the unlikable lead character and general poor design makes Jack Spite and the Crimson Ghost impossible to recommend.
. © Copyright 2004 The Video Game Critic.
Viewing your ship from behind, you must dodge obstacles while whisking through the scenery. The smooth graphics are basically pre-rendered movies, and they are very easy on the eyes. The Asteroid fields remind me of Silpheed (Sega CD, 1993), but the best stages let you navigate through virtual cities - they can be quite exhilarating at times. Alas, since your path is predetermined and the camera tends to swing wildly, it's difficult to judge the position of obstacles (nothing a little memorization won't help).
Once you reach the temple, you must solve a puzzle to gain entrance. This "puzzle" is little more than the classic game of Memory, except played with mysterious hieroglyphics. Once inside the temple, you find yourself in a dark labyrinth with a first person point of view. With the help of an overhead map, you must locate the six special rooms while blasting wandering monsters. Overly-sensitive controls and rough animation make these stages a bit frustrating, but they're still intense.
The graphics and audio effectively convey an aura of isolation and fear. Kether's first-rate voice acting, crisp sound effects, and futuristic synthesized music all add to the eerie atmosphere. Some of the screens look like works of art! I wasn't expecting much from Kether, but I found it to be an intriguing journey. © Copyright 2004 The Video Game Critic.
The game itself is a marginal side-scroller, albeit with above-average graphics and sound. The music is well orchestrated, and the backgrounds are rendered in an old painting style. Sadly, the gameplay is marred by sluggish controls and cheap hits. Faces of Evil is less forgiving than its sister game (Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon), and there's too many unavoidable projectiles and deadly leaps. Certain creatures, like the baboons, seem mysteriously impervious to your sword.
The dialogue makes no sense, so speaking to characters will just leave you hopelessly confused. And why is it that when you exit the game, credits start to roll?! What the hell? Compared to the NES Zelda games, Faces of Evil is an utter disgrace, and Link was fortunate to retain his manhood after this debacle. On any other system this game would be considered "bottom of the barrel", but on a system so lacking in action titles, Faces of Evil seems almost respectable. © Copyright 2007 The Video Game Critic.
Playing the game involves wandering hallways, avoiding traps, solving puzzles, fighting monsters, and jumping platforms. You can also purchase items with money you'll find lying all over the place. The items you buy are used automatically and are required to defeat many creatures. As a rule, buy everything you can. One room features a gigantic, hideous spider, but once armed with the bug spray, you can spray it until its head explodes (gross!). Your game is saved to memory in special save rooms, but there need to be more of these.
Litil Divil excels in terms of eye candy, but its gameplay has problems. First off, the control is not what I would call responsive and the pacing is too slow. You'll absorb a lot of cheap hits. The hallways all look the same after a while, and even with the auto-map feature, you'll either become lost or just plain tired of wandering aimlessly. Although the canned animated scenes are amusing at first, you can't skip them, and you'll become weary of watching them over and over. In the end, Litil Divil is a nice showcase title for the CD-i that comes up short in the gameplay department.
. © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.
The sensation of speed is so convincing that I practically became ill during my first play session! But leave it to Philips to take a promising concept and totally ruin it. Lost Ride's main issue is its unreasonable difficulty. The first stage of any game should be relatively easy, letting the player become comfortable with the controls with learning the basic strategy.
Lost Ride's initial level is both sprawling and agonizingly difficult. It's set in a mineshaft, and zooming through tunnels and over suspended tracks is great fun - for the first half hour or so. But once you get tired of going in circles, you're ready to advance to a new stage. Good luck with that! Navigating the tracks requires constant checking of the map - which is only available at certain intervals. An onscreen map would have been helpful.
Switching tracks is needlessly tricky. While it should be a simple matter of shooting an arrow, more often than not your shots don't even register. That's a serious problem, because once you start heading in the wrong direction, it could be a long time before you work your way back. Since you're limited to the track layout, you're often forced to travel lengthy sections before reaching the next junction.
The shooting action in Lost Ride is lame. Although you can blast flying bats and boulders, these appear at random and it seems their only purpose is to break up the monotony. I should also mention that the game contains programming glitches that cause your "ride" to temporarily go off-track, although the program usually recovers. Lost Ride should have been called "Lost Opportunity". Had it been designed with shorter, more reasonable stages, it could have been a hit. © Copyright 2005 The Video Game Critic.
Screen shots courtesy of Old Games