I was expecting to play as Jack, but instead I'm some Asian guy. You get a high angle of the fairway nestled in pixelated foliage. It takes several seconds for the scenery to render, drawn from the middle of the screen outward. The problem is, whenever you adjust your aiming crosshair - even by one pixel - this scene has to painstakingly redraw itself. Why in the heck does it do that? It doesn't even look any different! I tried the "fast play" option but that didn't help.
The bottom offers information overload with a dozen or so gauges and indicators. The swing meter runs the width of the screen and provides pinpoint accuracy. I love my player's fluid swing and the way the ball comes off the tee. Once the ball settles in the distance an options menu lets you continue, view a replay (normal or reverse), or access "other options" like consulting your scorecard and stuff like that.
Power Challenge does a nice job of selecting the proper club which saves you some time. The putting game is problematic because the grid overlay isn't very helpful in determining the break of the green. The "wind meter" pulls double duty as a slope indicator, but frankly it doesn't perform either function particularly well.
Other than the screen redraws the pacing of the game is good and you can get into a nice rhythm. There's very little audio as you play, except for the occasional dunk in the water or claps from an invisible crowd. At the end of my round I was congratulated on my score and prompted to enter the date, and guess what? It saved it to the cartridge! This game can be aggravating at times but if you're the patient type Power Challenge really isn't that bad. © Copyright 2016 The Video Game Critic.
I'm not even sure what "the duel" refers to; this is a very conventional single-player platform-shooter. You shoot milk men, save a bunch of ladies in cocktail dresses, and head to the finish. The opening stage takes place on a sprawling cargo ship, and the orange steel and island backdrops look very nice. James can fire sideways or diagonally, and he can even fire while hanging on a ladder.
The lead character looks the part but the control is terrible. You have to make a concerted effort to finagle your way up ladders or simply turn to face attackers. Jumping is problematic because you can't tell what you can jump on or what's just part of the background. When you get shot you often fall off your current platform, and falling just about any distance is fatal. I do like how James automatically picks up any objects he runs by.
Enemies tend to mindlessly scamper back and forth. You'll get into the habit of shooting while running so if an enemy appears on the edge of the screen he'll run right into the bullet. In stage two Bond is jumping between trees like a monkey in a tuxedo and it looks ridiculous. The Duel plays so poorly that even when you know exactly what to do survival is largely a matter of luck. You'll find yourself inadvertently finishing stages but when you shut this game off it will be no accident. © Copyright 2016 The Video Game Critic.
As you enter each door of the factory you explore worlds of stuffed animals, delectable treats, mechanical toys, and board games. These colorful areas are outfitted with all the standard contraptions like floating platforms, spiked pits, trampolines, and slippery slopes. James Pond defeats enemies by pouncing on them, and this is accompanied by a satisfying "snap" sound effect.
James also has the ability to elongate his body to any height and grab on to the underside of certain platforms. He can't climb up on them, but he can move arm-over-arm to reposition himself. You can't always tell what platforms you can latch onto until you try. Likewise, it's hard to tell if certain walls are in the foreground or background.
The best part of the game is snatching up the high-value bonus items like stars, presents, and ice cream cones. There are also alternate routes and bonus areas to discover. You can leap pretty far and certain power-ups give you the ability to fly freely around the stage. The difficulty is fair and continues are available. James Pond II: Codename Robocod is a heck of a lot of fun and even more enjoyable around the holiday season. © Copyright 2014 The Video Game Critic.
The opening mission has James rescuing lobsters from cages, and it's a blast. The stage has a fun Bubble Bobble (NES, 1988) vibe as James traps enemies in air bubbles and before popping them to reveal bonus items like carrots, flowers, umbrellas, headphones, sneakers, and other random objects. Then things get complicated.
In stage two you're supposed to "escort" other fish to safety, but where you need to escort them to is not readily apparent. I actually had to consult the manual! In the next mission you'll collect gold bars in a shipwreck while dealing with mushrooms that teleport you all over the place. Ugh. Next you need to blow up an oil rig while contending with invisible walls and crabs that latch onto you.
When there's a lot of activity on the screen it's hard to tell why you're taking damage. When you touch an octopus the screen starts going black intermittently, and I could have sworn it was a bug in the game! I wanted to like James Pond with its arcade style and zany aquatic theme but I could only languish for so long. When you can't tell the features from the bugs in a game, it's time to move on. © Copyright 2019 The Video Game Critic.
One thing Jammit does right is its shooting controls, which require one button press to jump and a second to release the ball. When in close proximity to the hoop, a dramatic close-up shows both players soaring over the rim. I love how that second press "pulls the string" and slams the ball down. Likewise if the defender is in position he can swat it away with a well-timed swipe.
The meager character selection includes two black guys and - get this - a white chick! Not only does she look totally out of place, but inexplicably she can jump higher than the guys! Her mere existence should cost this game a letter grade - she looks like somebody's mom running around for Pete's sake!
Jammit tries to convey "attitude" by incorporating funky music, trash talking, and urban scenery, but it all seems phony and contrived. The bass-heavy music is okay, but the repetitive voice samples ("C'mon sucker!") are lame. On a positive note, most of the nighttime backdrops are colorful and attractive, particularly the one with the sunset over the ocean. Despite its general cheesiness, Jammit can still be fun if played against a friend thanks to its satisfying slam dunks. © Copyright 2005 The Video Game Critic.
The two playing fields consist of a meadow and a coliseum, and the medieval cartoon graphics give the game a distinct personality. But although the premise of Footbrawl is great, the implementation is lacking. For one thing, you can only control a single player (can't even switch), and your guy is constantly off the screen. The field is filled with too many obstacles that are almost impossible to avoid.
The animation is rough, and you have zero control during fights. I discovered that positioning your man to the endzone and waiting for a long throw is an effective (but very cheap) strategy. The voice samples ("ouch!") are repetitive and too loud. There are a few nice touches like a green troll that enters the game late to help out the losing team. Footbrawl could have used more polish, but the game can still generate some fun. © Copyright 1999 The Video Game Critic.
Each hand has its own power. Various ring combinations imbue you with weapons (wave, ice, fireball) or special abilities (speed, high jump, shield). Before playing I'd advise you to alter the button configuration so the jump button is B, with left and right hand powers assigned to A and C (by default jump is C).
You'll need to use your powers strategically as you creep through crumbling ruins while fending off goblins, scorpions, mudmen, and fireball-spewing statues. The layered scenery is alluring and I especially love the ivy-covered temples. The stage designs are a little repetitive but there's a nice variety of locations. You can pretty much predict where enemies will appear and thankfully they do not respawn.
What makes the game challenging is that you're relatively slow, especially compared to bosses like a pouncing cheetah or floating skeleton. You get three continues, but you always restart from the beginning of the stage, and they can be pretty long. Jewel Master is slow and methodical, but experimenting with the rings opens up a world of fun possibilities. © Copyright 2016 The Video Game Critic.
Joe Montana Football is a good choice for casual players. Calling a play is as easy as pressing the directional button, especially if you go with "Joe's Play". Hey - if you can't trust Joe Montana, who can you trust?? The kicking game is simple, mainly because there's no kick meter! Just press the A button to kick the damn ball.
The running game is quite good, as you can often juke defenders or turn the corner for a big gain. That stiff-arm may be the shortest I've ever seen, but it works like a charm. Bust it out whenever you're about to make contact with a defender.
The air game is more complicated. If there's any doubt refer to the manual which explains how to pass in nine easy steps! Sega concocted a scheme in which you view your receivers via a first-person "helmet view". Does it make you feel like a quarterback? Not really! Much like Madden's "passing windows", you never really know where your receiver is located. It's a little disorienting.
Joe Montana Football is not a bad-looking game. I love how booted kicks smoothly rotate end over end. There are some great diving catches, often resulting in an image of Joe proclaiming "great catch" while pointing your way. There aren't many options and you're limited to 16 teams, but the game has a nice pick-up-and-play quality. © Copyright 2022 The Video Game Critic.
The commentator's voice is the same one later used in SportsTalk Baseball (Sega, 1992). He sounded just like Larry King. Talking almost non-stop, and usually in run-on sentences, he did a respectable job of keeping up. When one of my friends attempted an 80-yard field goal he exclaimed "I can't believe it!", and we are all rolling on the floor in laughter. You had to be there.
Unlike the first Joe Montana Football (Sega, 1990), Montana II adopts a side view a la Tecmo Bowl (NES, 1988). The problem is, when your receivers run off the screen you have no idea if they're open. The helmet view of the previous game has been axed. Now you need to time your passes just right or the interceptions will pile up.
Besides the voice, Montana II also offers an innovative "zoom" feature. When the ball is handed off or passed, the screen zooms in 6x (!), give you an "up close and personal" view. You'd expect this to help the running game but when running up the middle I get stuffed almost every time. Running to the outside is a better option. The players are nicely animated until hit, at which time they immediately flop on their stomach or back.
The controls are not especially intuitive. There's no audio or visual feedback when selecting a play. The kicking meter is erratic. On-side kicks are usually successful, whether intentional or not! Field goals never appear to travel through the uprights due to the awkward viewing angle.
I enjoyed the TV-style half-time show, featuring a lip-synched anchor at the desk flashing his white teeth while spouting off a few key stats. I love it when a game goes the extra mile like that. That the statistics screen looks pretty busy though, cluttered with symbols, graphs, and confusing numbers.
There are occasional cut-aways to the Jumbotron scoreboard showing two drunk fans (one with beer in hand) whooping it up. Love it! Sometimes it shows Sonic waving a little banner instead. Below the Jumbotron screen you'll see fans holding signs reading "Go!", "#1", and "Rah!" Who would go through the trouble of making such worthless signs?
SportsTalk Football lacks an NFL license but with so much going you probably won't notice. There are plenty of options including weather conditions and a password-backed league option. Packing all sorts of innovation and novelty, Montana II is one of the more entertaining classic football titles to look back on. © Copyright 2022 The Video Game Critic.
The players look cartoonish but are easy to see, and the running and passing games are well balanced. I always liked how you can control the velocity of a pass by holding down the button - brilliant. There are only 16 teams to choose from, and the game has no fancy bells or whistles like subsequent editions. When choosing plays, you also need to choose which type of players you want, including big, hands, fast, or normal. After that, you often have to wait for half the team to run off the field, and THEN wait for the substitute players to run ONTO the field! This needlessly slows down the game.
The physics isn't very realistic. Players can dive for over five yards or be knocked back just as far! Passing windows are used to view your three receivers, and while these windows do indicate how open your receiver is, they do not tell you how deep he is, or how many defenders are in the vicinity. As a result, luck plays a major role in the passing game. The sound effects during the game are minimal, dominated by grunts and the "water faucet" crowd. It's a bit rough around the edges, but overall it was a great start for a classic series. © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.
The game stars a muscle-bound supercop played by Sylvester Stallone in the motion picture. He serves as "judge, jury, and executioner" in a dystopian, crime-ridden, futuristic world. The world of the third millennium features advanced technologies like flying cars, but it's very run down, with a lot of dilapidated, rusty structures.
Judge Dredd can fire his gun rapidly and also toss grenades. When a bad guy gives himself up, you have the option to "arrest" him instead of killing him outright, and this merciful act nets you bonuses. The levels are set in locations like a lab, jail, courtroom, and - you guessed it - a sewer! Dredd is pretty nimble, able to jump onto ladders and shoot while hanging off them. He can run, duck, and even climb hand over hand to avoid poisonous fumes.
How does this stack up to the SNES game? Well the music sounds a little tin-ny compared to the bass-heavy SNES soundtrack. The graphics are a step down too. The first level of the SNES game took place in the pouring rain. Here, they didn't even attempt any rain. The characters look smaller and the scenery appears grainy at times. Judge Dredd is one of the few games that supports the 6-button Genesis controller. That's fine, but using C and Z to toggle between items is not very intuitive.
It's not all bad news. This game is just as playable as the SNES, if not moreso. You can fire at a faster rate, making it all the more satisfying to take out mad scientists and rioting prisoners. Unlike the SNES version where items were at a premium, grenades, health, and bags of money are fairly abundant. I still prefer the SNES edition but this one won't disappoint. © Copyright 2023 The Video Game Critic.
You play as Mowgli, a scrawny little boy raised by a pack of wolves. Each stage challenges you to collect a certain number of red gems in the jungle before locating an end-of-stage character like Baloo the bear. Mowgli is a nimble little fellow who effortlessly climbs, swings, and leap between branches. The controls are so crisp!
The jungle is crawling with dangerous animals like monkeys, snakes, wild boars, scorpions, and anteaters. Some of these creatures tend to blend in with the lush environment. Mowgli can turn them to dust by either pouncing on them or hitting them with bananas. The ability to toss bananas in a rapid-fire manner is awesome - and you can even do it while hanging on a vine! Falling into water or thorns is fatal, but you can hold down the directional pad to get a peek at what's below.
The stages are short and sweet and I love the whole treasure hunting element. Many gems and other goodies are hidden or located in hard-to-reach places. Fortunately you don't need to collect all the gems to progress. The graphics and animation are nice but not as awe-inspiring as Aladdin (Genesis, 1993). The sound effects tend to be very scratchy and could use a little more punch. Jungle Book may not be a showcase title, but its happy-go-lucky gameplay should appeal to all ages. © Copyright 2015 The Video Game Critic.
In addition to your helicopter, certain missions also allow you to control a motorbike, hovercraft, and Stealth bomber. Don't get too excited though - these new vehicles are tougher to control and ultimately not as much fun. Oh well, at least they break up the monotony. Jungle Strike takes a long time to complete. There are eight campaigns compared to four in the first game, and each has a long list of missions. Casual gamers might not go for this, but if you couldn't get enough of Desert Strike, this is the game for you. © Copyright 1999 The Video Game Critic.
You can tell the bulk of the development effort was spent on the digitized dinosaurs, which look and sound amazing! You'll face raptors, spitting dilophosaurus, pterodactyls, and annoying tiny green "compys". You can make your life easier by not attacking every dinosaur. For example, if you don't attack the triceratops he won't charge at you. You never actually kill any dinosaurs but you can tranquilize them, and it's cool how their chests rise and fall as they slumber. The T-Rex is never seen full-body but he makes his presence felt by sticking his huge noggin wherever it will fit.
You begin as Dr. Grant in a dense jungle, where you shoot, squat, climb, jump, and move hand-over-hand along vines. When he comes up short on a jump he'll grab the ledge and pull himself up. Grant looks realistic but the animation is choppy and the controls are stiff. It's hard to tell where to go at times, and it seems like you're constantly sliding down a slope leading to a bed of spikes. The erratic frame rate not only degrades the controls, but even the music slows down. Falling too far spells instant death, forcing you to restart the entire level.
Running is your best course of action in the shadowy power station where you're stalked by raptors. Ducking into a vent at the last possible moment is exciting, but the music that plays during this stage is just plain weird. The river raft scene (deleted from the film) is the most visually appealing stage, but navigating waterfalls while fighting dinosaurs is hard. Who knew?
The option to play as the raptor has novelty value, mainly because you can jump a country mile. Still, chomping small dinosaurs and pouncing on helpless security guards gets old after a while. Frustrating at times, Jurassic Park's gameplay never really lives up to its rich visuals. Still, the game captures enough elements of the movie to make it a worthwhile romp for fans. © Copyright 2018 The Video Game Critic.
I'm surprised by the way they altered the graphic style for this game, giving all characters and objects black outlines. I guess it's supposed to make them stand out more, but it looks less realistic - and a little cheesy. The controls are very responsive and the animation is smooth. The only thing missing is the ability to grab onto ledges, and it's sorely missed. Your weapon arsenal includes electric zappers, grenades, machine guns, and flamethrowers. Yes, you can kill the dinosaurs this time.
Jurassic Park Rampage Edition is the kind of game that drives me crazy. It has all the necessary building blocks but doesn't put them together right. Like the first game, areas tend to "wrap around" on themselves in a confusing manner. Enemies can absorb a crazy number of shots before going down (even on the easy level).
On the aviary screen you'll be making excellent progress only to have a pterodactyl snatch you up and carry you all the way back to the beginning of the stage! That wouldn't be so bad if all your enemies hadn't regenerated! Otherwise the action is fast and fun, and there are plenty of checkpoints and hidden areas. Jurassic Park Rampage Edition is better than the original game in some respects, but worse in others. Overall I'd say it's a wash. © Copyright 2012 The Video Game Critic.
You start by wandering around a savannah surrounded by heavy brush. Hitting the start button brings up a "web site". Yes, this was an early attempt to emulate the world wide web in a game. This fake website contains email messages, a map, and the all-important "dino facts".
I like how the missions branch, but every one felt like a tedious wild goose chase. Typically you must rescue some poor schmuck by blasting obstacles and disabling electronic generators. Each time you encounter an electric field you have to scour the area to locate its power generator, and it's usually the furthest possible distance from your current location.
Every stage feels like a maze, and don't get me started about these pesky dinosaurs. They aren't particularly aggressive, but your weapons are so freakin' weak that you can't get rid of them! Even with a machine gun you'll barely chip away at the health of a small dinosaur. The action is tediously slow, and it just gets slower with more activity on the screen. I was hoping Lost World might be a hidden gem but this is one Jurassic Park game best forgotten. © Copyright 2012 The Video Game Critic.
The game combines run-of-the-mill graphics with second-rate gameplay and minimal sound. The main attraction is your ability to fight as Superman, Batman, Green Arrow, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, or the Flash. Unfortunately, Task Force was made at a time when DC Comics had made a few ill-advised changes to the look of the characters. Superman and Aquaman have long, flowing hair that makes them look more like Fabio than superheroes, and Green Arrow looks like a complete ass in that Robin Hood outfit.
Also included are three villains I've never heard of: Cheetah, Desperado, and Darkseid. The backgrounds are static, and with the exception of Batman's Gotham City, are extremely uninteresting. The gameplay is equally uninspired. The special moves aren't very special, and the collision detection is suspect at times. The sound effects are terribly muffled, and the low, rumbling background music is barely audible. If not for its famous cast of characters, Justice Task Force would have been a complete bust. © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.
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Screen shots courtesy of Video Game Museum