This is a comprehensive, well-produced documentary that's been chopped into specific categories you can browse through. By navigating the DVD-like menus, you can view information about feeding habits, shark history, hydromechanics, and reasons why sharks attack. Naturally my curiosity took me straight to the shark attack section, but there really isn't a whole lot to see. Most of the material is narration over still photos. There's an occasional small video clip, but in general the lack of video footage is disappointing.
Even so, there's enough information here to keep you "surfing" for some time. I was especially fascinated by the tiny Pygmy Shark and the hideous Goblin Shark. The CD contains a full index of all the different types of sharks, and there's also a "Food Chain" section that lets you see what might happen if any layer of the chain were eliminated. A trivia game is tossed in, but the cartoonish presentation makes it more suitable for kids. Shark Alert serves its purpose as an informative tool, but it could have been better. © Copyright 2003 The Video Game Critic.
Whether you're leaping between crumbling ledges or blasting robots, the action is fast and furious. There are occasional flashing hints but frankly the game boils down to a lot of trial and error. In some instances there's really no indication of what you're supposed to do. Still, you tend to get a little further each time and Don Bluth's animation is charming as always. The sequences are scripted but there are occasional mirror-image "reverse" scenes to keep you on your toes.
At first you assume the role of some whiny kid named Dexter, but he frequently transforms into the muscle bound stud Space Ace. The damsel in distress is a super hot redhead. After exhausting your five lives you enter your initials into the high score screen. I like that because it gives you a way to measure your progress. Unfortunately there are no continues; you have to start over each time. Space Ace's gameplay is limited by today's standards, but it's an interesting piece of history that's still a lot of fun to watch. © Copyright 2019 The Video Game Critic.
This version of Tetris offers some nice options including ten levels of play. It would seem nearly impossible to screw up the gameplay itself, but Philips managed to find a way. First of all, the actual game is played on a small vertical strip that barely covers a quarter of the screen. The game board, score, number of lines, and next piece are all crammed onto this small piece of real estate. The bricks are too small and there are no sound effects, even when you clear a row.
But the game's biggest sin is the control. Instead of using the traditional method of pushing down to make the blocks move faster, a separate button is used. You'd think that using two buttons would be no problem, but it's easy to get confused. All in all, this is definitely the best looking Tetris I've played, but nowhere near the most fun. © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.
Thunder in Paradise stars Terry "Hulk" Hogan in the lead role with former supermodel Carol Alt serving as the token female. One of the two included disks contains an entire episode of the "Thunder in Paradise" television program, which was such a runaway hit that I've never even heard of it. The second disk includes three shooting games that can be played individually or in a series. An "interactive television" option mixes these game segments in with the episode.
The video quality is excellent, making the exotic "scenery" look extra alluring. The games are designed to work with a light gun controller, and if you don't own one, you'll want to knock down the grade by a letter (at least). The gun is actually pretty accurate although the reticule lags a bit. The first game is called "Thunder Encounter" which puts you in a speedboat being attacked from four sides. The idea is to shoot down incoming missiles using an awkward mechanism that lets you toggle between four views. Targeting missiles is tough because once they are visible you don't have much time to react.
The second game "Island Encounter" puts you in a deserted water park with lush vegetation and rope bridges. While wandering around you'll occasionally pause to shoot generic enemies peeking out from behind rocks. I have to admit I enjoyed taking in the scenery. In the final game "Lab Encounter" you engage in a shootout with a "boss" who has some kind of metal plate covering half his face.
Most of the action takes place in a factory, but there's a section where you're inexplicably transported to a street that's obviously located at MGM Studios. The three games are shallow but I like how you get a score for each one in addition to a running total. Thunder in Paradise may have questionable replay value, but if you're in the right frame of mind this is a surprisingly entertaining trip back in time. © Copyright 2011 The Video Game Critic.
The boring tracks are agonizingly long, and you are forced to complete an excruciating "trial lap" before every contest. The races themselves feature a bunch of look-alike cars that scale poorly and tend to jump around. They are hard to pass, and even a light bump causes your car to burst into flames, bringing the contest to an abrupt but merciful conclusion.
The background includes skylines of New York, Paris, Geneva, and London, but the scenery looks so very distant. The audio includes a lot of annoying screeching sounds and sporadic guitar noise. I was really hoping Video Speedway would inject some arcade excitement into my Philips CD-i, but instead it just annoyed me to no end.
. © Copyright 2004 The Video Game Critic.
The intriguing storyline revolves around Reed Hawke, the CEO of a large corporation who plans to announce his intention to run for president of the United States. By spying on his estate using a high-powered camera, you can view and record scenes and conversations between Hawke's family members and other guests staying in his mansion. Eavesdropping simply involves moving a crosshair over the windows until an eye, ear, or magnifying glass symbol appears, alerting you to something worth investigating.
Voyeur's sharp-looking video clips are interesting to watch, and they reminded me of Night Trap (Sega CD, 1992). The game strings you along with sporadic scenes of sexy women in various stages of undress, which I forced myself to watch for the purposes of this review (you're welcome!). The video clips depict actors in front of nicely rendered, computer-generated scenery.
As you listen to conversations and get to know the characters, the game draws you in. If you manage to gather enough evidence to implicate Hawke, you can notify the police and get him arrested, which is ultimately how you "win" the game. Robert Culp (wow, a legitimate actor!) does a fine job of portraying Reed Hawke, but some of the supporting cast performances are downright laughable. For a FMV game, Voyeur is not half bad. It's not the kind of game you'd want your wife to walk in on you while playing, but it's certainly entertaining enough. © Copyright 2004 The Video Game Critic.
Another interesting feature is your ability to fire missiles directly at the bubbles. You only get a limited number of shots, but they really come in handy when you're trying to clear out the last two or three. In addition to popping bubbles, some stages have unique objectives like hitting a clown face or ringing bells scattered around the screen. There's enough variety but the controls leave much to be desired.
Your paddle moves slowly and can't always reach the ball in time. The collision detection is unforgiving, so if the ball hits the edge of your paddle, you inexplicably explode. The graphics are cheesy and the whimsical audio track really got on my nerves. From that cringe-worthy keyboard music to the obnoxious sound effects, you'll seriously want to consider hitting the mute button. To its credit, the game includes a two-player mode, a high score screen, and a handy continue option. Whack A Bubble has a few interesting elements but ultimately I found its presentation to be a major turn-off.
. © Copyright 2011 The Video Game Critic.
One of the first screens presents you with a puzzle to construct Peter's face. After a brief intro by Peter himself you're given a virtual briefcase used to collect items that access hidden features. While exploring the disc you'll sift through some interesting material, primarily showcasing the Us album (1992). You can read lyrics, watch music videos, and view behind-the-scenes rehearsal footage (including the Grammy awards).
The music videos make heavy use of computer effects, including Steam, Kiss the Frog, and Digging in the Dirt. Other areas let you learn about exotic musical instruments or play with a virtual sound mixer. Xplora is also a vehicle for Peter to promote social causes and other musicians he's collaborated with.
Secret World was about ten years ahead of its time, so we might forgive its so-so video quality and incomprehensible user interface. The icons aren't intuitive and seriously hard to make out. Frankly it feels like a puzzle just trying to make any sense of it all. Still, if you're a Peter Gabriel fan (like me) you'll probably enjoy just toying around with the disc, watching videos and trying to unlock stuff. In some ways Xplora feels like a time machine serving up a generous slice of 90's pop culture. © Copyright 2015 The Video Game Critic.
Each of the diverse locations contains a relatively short side-scrolling stage where you'll fend off spear-tossing ogres, stampeding wild boars, and rock-throwing octopi. You'll need to alternate between stages while collecting specific items that allow you to advance a little further in each. Wand of Gamelon's graphics aren't too shabby, with colorful scenery that appears to have been drawn with crayons. Sketchy animation and poorly-designed controls however drag down the gameplay.
Pressing diagonally initiates a jump, but you don't get much distance and there's little margin for error. Accessing your inventory is done by crouching and pressing B, but this is problematic since B is also used for other functions, like opening doors. Consequently, you'll sometimes try to attack a monster and accidentally leave the room!
Initiating conversations is done by striking characters with your sword - not exactly intuitive! The game doesn't make much sense in general, with characters always mentioning people and objects you have no clue about. Wand of Gamelon is not a very good Zelda game, but for what it's worth, it did hold my attention longer than most CD-I titles. © Copyright 2007 The Video Game Critic.
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Screen shots courtesy of Old Games