It's fun to blast the heads off Terminators and shoot down flying aircraft. I love how the aircraft catch fire when damaged, but their explosions look totally fake. The massive tank boss looks awesome but he requires about 1000 shots to destroy. I wish I was exaggerating! I prefer the second stage which is set in the human hideout. In addition to shooting the flesh off of Arnold's face, you can destroy scenery to reveal power-ups.
The flying robots are kind of a pain in the ass, but at least you don't have to contend with a boss. In stage three you must protect a truck from endoskeletons and flying craft, and it's an exercise in futility. The flying craft move across the screen too fast to shoot down, and when you focus on terminators in the foreground, you end up damaging the truck!
T2 allows for cooperative play which is highly recommended. Only one person can use the Menacer, but that works out fine since it's not very accurate near the left side on the screen. The game has some digitized speech ("I'll be back") but it's very understated. Some sound effects are laughable, like when the T2 logo slams down and sounds more like a tin can than crashing steel. T2: The Arcade Game is a disappointment, but it still edges out the SNES version. © Copyright 2012 The Video Game Critic.
The menu interface and controls are well organized, but there's little action and minimal payoff. Locating a fish isn't too tough thanks to your handy fish-finder, but getting its attention is another story. Until you find the perfect combination of line, rod, and lure, that fish won't give you the time of day. And is it just me or do these fish look more like roaches? The underwater scenery consists of fake-looking logs and rocks that resemble human brains.
I've only seen one fish actually caught in this game - my friend Scott caught a "crappie" - which seems oddly appropriate. The game includes a timer on the bottom of the screen to keep track of how much of your life you've wasted. The background music has a country twang I didn't find appealing - I'm still holding out for a good rap-themed fishing game. TNN Outdoors Bass Tournament is seriously lame. Was it even necessary to mention "Outdoors" in the title? Is there some bizarre indoor bass fishing sport I'm not familiar with? Kick this one to the curb and stick with King Salmon. © Copyright 2005 The Video Game Critic.
Unfortunately this Talespin doesn't look or sound nearly as good as its Turbografx cousin. The jungle graphics are muddy and the tropical music sounds muted. That said, I enjoyed navigating the dense jungle, searching for secret passages, and occasionally taking a dip in an underground river. The idea is to collect a certain number of crates before the exit reveals itself. I found it annoying how crabs and monkeys tend to latch onto you.
The second stage takes place in a mystical city at night, but it's loaded with tiger ninjas that are hard to kill. As a rule of thumb, when enemies won't go down, try attacking from the rear. I got terribly stuck in this game before I realized you need to stack crates to reach high places. These are different crates from the ones you're collecting mind you, and the controls for stacking them are bewildering. The game is confusing in so many ways. Sometimes you need to ride up a water fountain to reach a higher place, but the water actually hurts you! What the heck?
Talespin includes an interesting two-player co-op mode where Kit can ride on Baloo's back. When Kit gets separated the game will automatically suck him back to Baloo, making things a little easier. The game also features a fantastic-looking side-scrolling airplane shooter stage that might be fun if I had any idea what the [expletive] was going on! I was expecting to like Talespin for the Genesis but it felt like this game was resisting my every move. © Copyright 2019 The Video Game Critic.
This is one of the few games where the fun begins the instant you pick up the controller. Novice players will want to take a cautious approach, but the stages are designed so experts can tear right through them. The first stage is a twisted take on the Wild West with disturbing enemies like cybernetic buffalos, a covered wagon with a face, and two horse heads grafted together. Defeated foes drop gold bars which are fun to scoop up. Despite the manic pace the animation remains smooth and the controls crisp.
Between stages currency is used to upgrade your arsenal with elemental powers, giving you the ability to summon a stone wall or lay out a trail of flames. Tanzer's soundtrack is a relentless techno beat that's a perfect match for its frenetic gameplay. No major flaws to report, although I do wish I could turn off the splashing "blood" which is easily mistaken for projectiles. Plus blood coming out of drones doesn't even make sense.
There's no stage select at the start but there are diverging paths within the stages. Tanzer could really use a password or continue option because the difficulty is so high. I find myself playing Tanzer pretty much every day, using a joystick controller with the turbo switches cranked up. I can't recall playing a more instantly-gratifying video game. © Copyright 2020 The Video Game Critic.
You select your weapons at the beginning of each stage, but most are terribly weak. The only one I found remotely effective was the three-way shot, and that tends to run out of ammo in a hurry. Most of the others are too slow to deal with the relentless onslaught. Making matters worse, the trajectory of your shots doesn't match the slope of the hills, so you can never get a clean shot at approaching enemies. Cycling through your weapons using the C button is also a hassle. The action periodically comes to a screeching halt when you're radioed by headquarters, forcing you to page through a bunch of tedious text that cannot be skipped.
But the thing I hate most of all about Target Earth is all of the random robots scampering around - you can't tell the good ones from the bad! Color is never a reliable indicator, making the game one big confusing mess. The graphics are below average, and the musical score is as generic as they come. I'm sure some gamers will have enough patience (and nostalgia) to appreciate the subtle nuances Target Earth has to offer, but casual gamers will be well advised to avoid it. © Copyright 2006 The Video Game Critic.
The first stage doesn't look much. In fact, the red, white, and cyan color scheme triggered flashbacks of my old PC outfitted with a CGA graphics card. I know my Genesis is capable of displaying more than four colors at a time, but you'd hardly know it from looking at this game. Most of the missions take place in cold, bland environments with white trees and icy blue waters. The gameplay however is far more impressive.
Task Force Harrier is clearly descended from Xevious, as your plane fires missiles and drops bombs at the same time. Enemies are of the standard cannon/tank/helicopter variety. Your firepower is formidable from the get-go, and you have two escort planes. The A button initiates rapid-fire (both missiles and bombs) and B lets you reconfigure your escort formation. The spread formation provides the most coverage, but you'll want to pull them in tight to fire down the throat of a boss.
Your bombs drop a short distance ahead of you, so you'll need to carefully position your plane to take our ground installations. There seems to be a weird delay between when your bombs explode on the ground and when the targets are destroyed. The clanking effects of missiles striking enemy armor are grating, but the edgy 16-bit tunes are good.
The game also tries to incorporate some scaling effects but they are not the least bit convincing. Still, Task Force Harrier is great fun on the strength of its non-stop action and crazy firepower. Frankly I am astounded by the level of kick-ass this old-school shooter serves up. © Copyright 2011 The Video Game Critic.
The level designs are a nightmare. Within the first ten seconds you'll find yourself wallowing in quicksand while being attacked by invincible block-headed creatures! It's never clear where you're supposed to go, and you'll absorb one mandatory hit after the next trying to find out. Calling the jumping controls "imprecise" would be far too kind, and omnipresent spikes frequently spell instant death. Worst of all, you're expected to make blind "leaps of faith" off the side of the screen and hope there's a safe place to land. It doesn't help that Taz eats everything he touches, so if you hop down and there's a bomb there, he'll eat it and die.
The locales are highly unoriginal with the obligatory desert, jungle, and ice stages. But the worst of the bunch is the wretched mine stage, where you're forced to jump between moving elevators that are off the screen! I can't believe I even got that far. The baddies are freakish monsters, and some look like the face-grabbers from the Alien movies. Taz's spin attack is fun to use, but it's only effective on the weakest creatures.
I like the subtle background music, which sounds like an old Saturday morning cartoon, but that's negated by the non-stop sound effects which are incredibly grating. My best memory of Taz Mania is when Eric and I made some serious cash ($28 each!) by selling our copies to the Game Trader store. Considering they had piles of used Taz games behind the counter, we felt like two bank robbers leaving that place. © Copyright 2009 The Video Game Critic.
You would have thought the designers would have learned something since the first game, but no, you're still expected to leap off the screen into unseen areas (and hope for the best). And yes, the controls still suck. Sometimes you'll carefully hop onto a narrow platform only to be knocked into spikes by a small flying creature. Taz can use his spin attack on aliens, but they can absorb several hits, so Taz usually finds himself bouncing off of them - and back into the spikes!
You can pass through the floors of certain platforms, but it's never clear which ones are like that. Taz eats anything he touches, and bombs tend to be positioned in tight areas that make them hard to avoid. In addition to Mars, the diverse set of stages includes a haunted castle, Mexico, and a planet called "Mole World". Were these left over from the last game or something?? The backgrounds are flat, static, and forgettable. Whoever made this game was just going through the motions, and that's how you'll feel when you play it! © Copyright 2009 The Video Game Critic.
The pitcher/batter screen can be viewed from either behind the batter or behind the pitcher, and both are equally playable. On top of it all, the game tracks both team and player statistics. Tecmo was trying to create the ultimate baseball game, but they messed up on some very basic things. The batting controls are unresponsive, forcing you to swing extremely early if you want a chance to make contact.
The outfielders are selected for you automatically, but the CPU often chooses the wrong player. Sometimes there's a shallow pop-up over second base and the game selects the center fielder, located far off the screen. The computer opponent is dumb, walking pitchers and trying to stretch every hit into a double. The players look realistic in general, but the pitcher looks too big on the mound. Finally, although the umpire's voice is clear enough, I've never heard an umpire yell "Strike three - you stink!" like he does in this game. Tecmo Super Baseball had potential but only amounts to a long foul ball. © Copyright 2004 The Video Game Critic.
The side view of the field gives you a good vantage point, except for receivers running off the screen when they go deep. The gameplay is easy to learn, and I love how tapping a button lets you break tackles. Incomplete passes are always tipped into the air, but unfortunately you can't snag them. Exciting cut scenes accentuate diving catches, sacks, field goals, and celebrations. During field goals you get a terrific view of the ball passing through the uprights from a number of angles.
In the proud tradition of the series, there's an entertaining halftime show with jumping cheerleaders and an air show. A battery backup saves your season mode and statistical data. If there's a flaw to be found with Tecmo Super Bowl, it lies in the audio. The obnoxious music is far less endearing than the quaint NES tunes, and the voice synthesis is awful. All in all, this is still the Tecmo Football you've always loved, although it's really no better than the old NES version. © Copyright 2004 The Video Game Critic.
The players appear more lifelike and the field more realistic, but the visuals lack the polish of past Tecmo games. There are some nifty new options, including weather conditions, injuries on/off, fumbles on/off, and three stadiums, including a baseball stadium with a diamond in the center. Other bells and whistles include digitized player photos and measures for first downs. Sadly, Tecmo's trademark halftime shows are nowhere to be found.
Super Bowl III's basic gameplay is the same as previous editions, but there's a cool new hurdle move and the quarterback throws the ball with more zip. Unfortunately, you can't see as much of the field, and this makes selecting an open receiver more difficult. But the biggest change involves a new play selection system. You have a lot more plays to choose from, but the clunky user interface is slow, unresponsive, and hard to read. As a result, selecting your play is a chore.
Playing against the computer is also a headache, as he takes forever to hike the friggin' ball (after yelling "hut" about ten times). The audio is less than appealing, with its grating music and scratchy voices. Tecmo Super Bowl III still has that winning gameplay at its core, but it lacks the charm and simplicity of the original. Note: A reader advised me that this was called "Final Edition" because Tecmo planned to continue the series on the Playstation, but that turned out to be a real dog (thanks AK). © Copyright 2004 The Video Game Critic.
In terms of gameplay, Hyperstone Heist is your standard two-player, side-scrolling beat-em-up, only faster. The same set of hooded ninjas drop out of the sky time after time, only in different colored outfits. The action is repetitive unless you mix up your attacks, but I do like how you can punch out three goons at the same time. Still, it's lame how defeated thugs simply vanish in a puff of smoke. Occasionally a power-up or exploding barrel will spice up the action, but these are few and far between.
Dispatching those endless ninjas is mindless fun, but defeating the bosses requires some actual thought. Until you recognize their attack patterns, you'll go through your lives in a hurry. I love how the bosses blink red when they're about to die - now that's old school! The scenery is none too exciting, and I'm now convinced that sewers are the most boring places on earth to battle in. Other generic locations include city streets, a ghost ship, and Shredder's headquarters. Hyperstone Heist is no prize, but if you haven't been spoiled by the superior SNES game, it's not a bad way to pass the time. © Copyright 2005 The Video Game Critic.
Your first objective is to locate several critical items at the bar including John Connor's address. Well-armed bikers pour out of the woodwork, and at first you can only dish out weak punches and kicks. Eventually you'll pick up a shotgun, but it doesn't slow their relentless assault. Fortunately a Terminator can take a lot of damage.
In the second stage you drive around on a motorcycle looking for John Connor's house. The high overhead view makes you look like a little flea whizzing down the streets and bouncing off of cars. It's a little cheesy but provides a nice change of pace. Once at John Connor's house you'll want to shoot the red alarm box on the side of the house or be forced to play the entire stage while listening to a blaring siren. Pretty soon you begin having run-ins with the T-1000, who tends to dissolve into melted metal after you pump him full of lead.
The stages tend to alternate between building searches and driving sequences. There are two elements that keep this game respectable. First, I like how it follows the storyline of the movie and lets you explore memorable locations like the mall, the mental hospital, and Cyberdyne headquarters. Second, I love how you can blow [expletive] up. Wherever you go, you have plenty of firepower and much of the scenery is destructible, including cars, cash registers, windows, and even arcade games.
I especially enjoyed going on a rampage in the mall. When you shoot people they keel over and the screen displays the message "non-life-threatening injuries" to be consistent with the film. When you finally die, you witness one of the longest death sequences ever as Arnold repeatedly struggles to pick himself back up. If that's not bad enough, you're then subjected to digitized pictures of a burning playground while being informed that you're responsible for the loss of 3 billion lives. What ever happened to "thank you for playing"? © Copyright 2013 The Video Game Critic.
I can't believe this is the first thing you face. This game has no concept of ramping difficulty. Once you enter the underground lair, Terminators pour out of the woodwork, which might be alarming if they weren't so easily destroyed. In the movie it took every ounce of effort to destroy a single Terminator, but here you mow them down like grass. Stage one is confusing. It's not clear what you're supposed to do, and if not for a YouTube video I might still be stuck. That's a shame because there's a lot to see in this game.
The graphics have an arcade quality and digitized photos are displayed between stages. In the city street stage you'll actually see a poster for the Terminator movie! The Tech Noir bar looks fantastic with its colorful neon lights. It's cool how the game follows the storyline of the film, but the gameplay is frustrating. Since you play good guy Kyle Reese, you can't really kill any people, but everybody is out to kill you, including the entire police department.
I like how you can scoot up ladders quickly, but I hate how you can't jump and shoot at the same time. The game is buggy too. In one case a robot got stuck and it sounded like a record scratching for the rest of the stage. There are zero continues so you'll want to set the difficulty to easy. I can't imagine playing this on "very hard". If you own a Game Genie, you can breeze through the entire game in under 20 minutes. If you don't have one, you're in for a world of hurt. Good luck! © Copyright 2012 The Video Game Critic.
His basic attacks are punch and kick, but sometimes he'll slam an enemy into the ground or "flick" them with his finger as the final blow. The ninjas are very predictable and you can knock weapons out of their hands before kicking them off rooftops. One very unique feature is your ability to fight back-to-back with a partner, with both of you kicking and punching in unison. Should you fall from a building rooftop, instead of dying you're thrust into a "subplot" encounter with a special bad guy in the alley below. The game lacks traditional bosses. It's fun to play for score, but once you start using continues The Tick loses its luster.
The main problem is the endless parade of repetitive enemies. They appear in groups of three or four, and after you dispose of those the exact same group will re-enter. This just goes on and on. Worse yet, the enemies aren't particularly aggressive, so beating them up gets boring. On rare occasions you can throw an object like a mailbox, but there's not enough of that. Eventually your arm starts to ache from constant button-tapping and you start to grow weary. The Tick has the right ingredients but not enough variety to hold the player's interest. © Copyright 2014 The Video Game Critic.
Eventually I figured out I needed to blow up the four major ground installations while moving between enclosed areas by shooting the gates. The old-school controls allow you to turn 180 degrees on a dime but the parallax graphics make it hard to tell what's safe to fly over. If you know what you're doing you can complete the stage in under two minutes; otherwise you may be playing indefinitely!
Stage two plays like a traditional side-scroller as you traverse an alien space station while shooting giant bugs and cannons lining the corridors. Gathering icons lets you amass impressive weaponry like lasers, waves, side shots, and some kind of popcorn shooter. Sadly, when you lose a ship you also lose every single one of your weapons!
I also resent how the game throws a barrage of enemies at you just before the boss, often leaving you to take him on with your default weapon. Still, I love the sense of variety and those neon-lit skyscrapers in stage four look amazing. And it's always satisfying to hear "wannup!" upon earning a free ship. Thunder Force II is uneven but has all the ingredients of a wonderfully addictive shooter. © Copyright 2020 The Video Game Critic.
You accumulate weapons and each excels under particular circumstances. For example, missiles are great in caves because they hug rocky surfaces to clear any cannon fortifications. The claw ratchets up your firepower with two rotating satellites that also absorb incoming missiles. Losing a ship costs you your current weapon, so it's good strategy to hold off using your best weapon until it's really needed.
The stage select is a tremendous feature considering the diversity of the stages. There's a jungle planet, a coral reef, a raging inferno, icy mountain ridges, and a subterranean world with shifting tectonic plates. Varied adversaries include flaming birds, wasps, serpents, nautili, and fireball-spewing roses. The graphics are clean and attractive, but the music is monumental. Only Streets of Rage (Genesis, 1991) could give this soundtrack a run for the money on the Genesis. These high-energy, harmonized tunes drive the action like a turbine engine.
I love the sound of shots beating against enemies like rain on a tin roof. Bosses include a dragon, twin robots, a one-eyed fish, and the mighty "G Lobster". You could argue there are cheap hits like lava geysers and dropping rocks, but most are preceded by some sort of audio/visual cue. The control, pacing, balance, and challenge are spot-on. Modern shooters could learn a lot from Thunder Force III. © Copyright 2017 The Video Game Critic.
Soon you'll find a flamethrower or machine gun, and that's when the real fun begins. You get plenty of ammo and it's satisfying to mow down enemies as soon as they enter the screen. The controls are kind of weird, with A to attack, B to jump, and C to shoot. You'll find yourself instinctively pressing A to shoot, prompting the question "why in the [expletive] am I trying to bludgeon enemies with a rocket launcher!?" The bullets in this game move sooo slowly it's comical. Am I shooting bullets or throwing them?
You'll also laugh at the falling bombs that inexplicably slow down before hitting the ground, giving you plenty of time to run for cover. The stages are generic but it's interesting how in the airship level if you walk in front of an open door you get sucked out! The advanced stages are tough because the cannons and soldiers create some serious crossfire. The sound effects in Thunder Fox are muffled and enemies tend to fall the wrong way. The fact that the game is so cheesy makes it more endearing, but my friends expressly forbid me from going any higher than a C-. © Copyright 2015 The Video Game Critic.
The fighters are surprisingly small and cartoonish for a mature-rated title. The colorful backgrounds are not spectacular, but the looming castle, pirate ship, and Blade Runner stages are mildly interesting. The stage with the dead T-Rex is somewhat disturbing. A six-button control pad is required to play, and the controls seem inordinately complicated, with button functions like "weapon leg", "back arm", and "head". The manual provides a list of moves for each fighter, but it's hard to tell if you're executing them correctly.
Unlike other fighting games, your health bar actually grows as you incur damage. Time Killers is violent, but its cartoonish graphics are too goofy to offend. When a limb goes flying, it rarely affects your ability to fight, although the maimed player does tend to inflict less damage. Losing both arms turns you into a kicking maniac, and getting your head chopped off really hurts your chances of victory. Occasionally one fighter goes buck-wild and slices up the other like a Vege-matic, and it's fun to watch.
The game's obligatory boss is Death himself, but this grim reaper transforms into a skinny Samurai when fighting, and that looks dumb. Death is also pretty cheap, spawning a new life bar whenever you have him on the ropes. Time Killers' audio is ultra-weak. Much of the music and sound effects sound recycled from Taz Mania (Sega, 1992), and that's not exactly high praise. The voice samples sound like a guy with emphysema clearing his throat! Time Killers might have generated some controversy in its day, except for the fact that nobody played it. Time Killers is definitely bad, but it comes dangerously close to falling into that "so bad it's good" category. © Copyright 2010 The Video Game Critic.
What sets Tinhead apart is the ability to fire bullets from his head. You can toggle your aim in three directions - diagonal up, sideways, and diagonal down. Down allows you to "roll" your shots like grenades - very handy for killing ground-hugging creeps. Tinhead offers fine control, crisp collision detection, and catchy music. The thing is, he jumps in a triangular "arc", which really bothers me. Considering how well the game is programmed in general, I'm shocked they got lazy with the physics.
Still, it's a lot of fun to leap through bunches of icons and watch you score rack up. Reaching the end of each stage requires you to grab a star and enter an "out" portal which could be anywhere. The first "world" drags on for so long you'll wonder if you'll ever see any new scenery. Stages two and three sport futuristic space themes, and stage four changes things up with a jungle setting. Tinhead is composed of a lot of recycled ideas. Fortunately most of them were pretty good. © Copyright 2017 The Video Game Critic.
The idea is to gather carrots while seeking a little green dodo bird at the end of Some stage. Collecting 50 carrots earns you a free life. The stages offer lush forests, snow-covered mountains, and turquoise waterfalls. The controls feel somewhat peculiar though. When jumping you elevate slowly but descend quickly - as if gravity is suddenly kicking in. Special moves include the ability to crawl through tiny openings and perform wall-jumps.
The difficulty ramps nicely but advanced stages include blind leaps and cheap hazards like spikes that suddenly pop up without warning. One of the tree stages royally pissed me off because if you miss a tough jump near the end you fall all the way back to the beginning (ugh).
Certain stages as you sprint up and down rolling hills a la Sonic the Hedgehog (Genesis, 1991) except there's no spin attack so you're susceptible to collisions. The pacing is brisk and controls feel crisp as you bounce off plungers and ride zip lines. I bet you could really whiz through this game once you got the stage layouts down. Tiny Toons Adventure is a fun little romp that will no doubt rekindle fond memories for many adults out there. © Copyright 2019 The Video Game Critic.
As one or two players roam the nondescript planet surfaces, you collect helpful (and not-so-helpful) items wrapped as presents. Examples include high-top shoes that let you sprint, a slingshot that launches tomatoes, a pogo stick, or an inner tube that lets you float in water. You'll encounter strange characters like a jetpack-wearing Santa, a woman with a screaming kid in a shopping cart, a sexy hula girl, and a guy dressed up as a carrot. These inject some humor and break up the monotony of your aimless wandering. The planet surfaces are randomly generated, but they all tend to look the same.
The planet is actually composed of several planes, and it's quite easy to fall from a high one to a lower one, which is really aggravating. What I found compelling about the game is the challenge of locating all the pieces. To do so, you'll need to do a lot of exploring and use your items strategically. Toejam and Earl is time consuming and you can't save your place, so make sure you have a few hours set aside before you begin your quest.
The two-player mode splits the screen so each player has his own view, and this was quite novel for 1991. The music is probably the highlight of the game. These funky tunes don't sound like much as first, but they gradually get under your skin. There's even a "Jam Out" mode where you insert samples into a mini music video, and it's surprisingly fun. The game also features some nice psychedelic effects, including a hypnotic elevator sequence. Toejam and Earl is one of those games whose sum is greater than its parts. It's not the most exciting adventure, but if you give it a chance, it might just win you over. © Copyright 2008 The Video Game Critic.
The visuals are fantastic, with cartoon-quality animation. Each level has a completely different look, and there are even some hidden mini-games. My favorite is the one that allows you to "jam" with funky friends by copying beat sequences they play. This is not only great fun, but it was also the precursor to later music games like Parappa the Rapper (Playstation) and Space Channel 5 (Dreamcast).
The high-quality music is similar to the first game, but the sound effects are much improved. The two-player mode has been retained, although it's not as good since you must remain on the same screen as your partner. A password feature allows you to save your spot. Don't miss out on this underrated game. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.
Toki's gameplay is predictable as you leap between floating platforms, duck under projectiles, and avoid assorted creatures. The jumping controls are forgiving, which minimizes the frustration factor. There are a few vine-climbing sections reminiscent of Donkey Kong Jr. but jumping between the vines can be tricky. The stage selection includes all of the obligatory climates including jungle, volcano, underwater, and ice worlds. My personal favorite is the waterfall stage with its amazing view of cliffs through a narrow rocky gorge.
What makes this game special is how Toki can rapidly fire pellets from his mouth in any direction - including diagonally! Better yet, power-ups let you unleash three-way shots, flames, charged shots, and bouncing balls. This kind of firepower lets you make short work of small dinosaurs, giant moths, and huge spikes that sprout from the ground. Upon killing a spider, webbing drips from his butt, and it looks disgusting! But your worst adversary is that bouncing monkey who is a dead ringer for Richard Nixon!
Toki does have one serious flaw: too many cheap hits! Enemies and hazards are deadly to the touch, and there are usually several on the screen at a given time. It's too easy to hit your head on a flying object that suddenly comes into view as you jump. Worse yet, you'll drop off a platform into a bed of unseen spikes. The first stage has this rose-shaped creature that kept pouncing on my monkey ass with no warning at all!
Once you get used to taking your lumps, Toki is fun to play for high score. Defeated enemies drop fruit to collect, and it's satisfying to watch your score rack up. The soundtrack is another great feature, delivering a catchy groove with an irresistible undercurrent. Toki Going Ape Spit caused me plenty of grief and frustration, but not enough to make me want to stop playing! © Copyright 2011 The Video Game Critic.
As a single player you control Tom the cat, sprinting through an idyllic neighborhood while grabbing fish-shaped treats and jumping over gun-toting rats. The problem is, you're so close to the right edge of the screen you can't see what's coming! When you jump over enemies they abruptly change direction beneath you, causing you to land right on top of them!
The secret is to run and perform a Sonic-style roll, but running just gives you even less time to react! And as any Genesis owner will attest, this controller is not suited to a run button. Sometimes you'll pick up items you can throw, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy nailing granny in the face with a football. Ah the simple pleasures of life!
The first stage features a white-picket fenced neighborhood with a lot of fake-looking, perfectly-square pits. Beating this stage requires memorizing every enemy and pit location. I was hoping that the second stage would be an improvement but it's worse. This time you're in a wreck of a house with all kinds of junk falling around you. You can't walk under a chandelier without it falling on your head, or step in front of a TV without it blowing up.
Tom and Jerry has no score and no password. The audio is an offensive cacophony of abrasive noises. Even the two-player co-op comes off flat, as trying to keep both animals on the same screen is a real headache. Tom and Jerry for the Genesis is such a bad game it makes me yearn for every generic, cookie-cutter platformer I've ever skewered. © Copyright 2021 The Video Game Critic.
Intuitive controls let you lead off, steal, slide, tag up, position fielders, commit errors, pinch-hit, or bring in a relief pitcher. The pitchers seem to have a big advantage over the hitters - it's hard to hit the ball! Little details mean a lot in a baseball game, and I love how you can see cars in the parking lot beyond the bleachers. Once I saw them, I was obsessed with smacking a homer in the parking lot - must be a guy thing.
After hitting a homer, the umpire calls you "safe" at home plate (?) and your teammates line up to give you high-fives. Mediocre background music plays throughout the game, but thankfully you can shut this off via the options menu. You can play a season, but you'll have to jot down some long passwords. The players, teams, and stadiums are all fake, but if you like fast, arcade-style baseball, this isn't a bad choice. © Copyright 2004 The Video Game Critic.
Decades later I'm giving Tony LaRussa Baseball another chance. The game kicks off with an absolutely appalling rendition of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game". Playing as home or away makes little difference since there's only one stadium. Text commentary is provided by EA commentator Ron Barr, pictured between innings in one corner of the screen with LaRussa in the other. When text appears between them you have no idea who's supposed to be talking.
The pitcher/batter screen doesn't look so bad. It's easy to select from a menu of pitches and the batter can opt for contact, power, or bunt. But man that choppy ball animation is pathetic for a 16-bit title. There is no freaking way the batter can possibly judge these pitches; you just swing early and hope for the best. Contact can occur even when the ball is nowhere near the bat. The sluggish animation always feels like it's several frames behind the action.
Some fielders move like snails and runners don't advance properly. Infielders whip the ball as hard as they can, even when standing right next to a base. The graphic of the umpire calling strike three looks like Leslie Neilson from The Naked Gun, ready to bust out some breakdancing moves. The batters look funny too. Cal Ripken is sticking out his ass so far you'd think he was auditioning for a Sir Mix-A-Lot video.
Tony LaRussa Baseball is the only game I've seen where the pitcher spits on the mound, and it's disgusting. I might be able to tolerate such poor animation in a strategy title, but I have this set to "arcade mode". The game does come with a 68-page manual and a stack of 26 "team stat" cards, but not enough to divert your attention from a trainwreck of historic proportions. © Copyright 2022 The Video Game Critic.
Unfortunately, as in many boxing games, the boxers can never punch as fast as you press the buttons, and the lag makes the control feel unresponsive. The boxers are well drawn and look only slightly cartoonish. The backgrounds, taken from different parts of the world (like the Coliseum in Rome) are extremely amusing.
Not only do funny things happen in the background during the fights (like a bungee jumper on the Coliseum wall), but sometimes incidents occur after the fight (in Rome, lions attack the loser). A nice-looking babe introduces each new round. Toughman may be more fun to watch than to play. © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.
The kid's room is kind of dull but scenes like the gas station and Pizza Planet arcade feature interesting scenery. The audio consists of happy-go-lucky music and less-than-clear digitized voices ("You don't want to be in the way when my laser goes off"). What saves the game is its sheer variety. There are over 20 stages and it's hard to find two that are alike. You'll put toys away, sneak around in a soda cup, and protect Buzz from the terrifying "claw".
Most stages are side-scrolling, including a few races and chases. There are overhead racing levels as well, which would be a lot more fun if you didn't spin out whenever you touched something. The behind-the-back races are so impressive they'd give Super Mario Kart (SNES, 1992) a run for the money.
Perhaps the biggest surprise is the toy alien mission with its exceptionally smooth first-person corridor action. So while the stages are uneven in quality, it's always fun to see what the next one has in store. The lack of a password feature is a shame, but there is a handy code to skip levels. If nothing else, Toy Story makes you want to go back and watch the old Pixar movies, and that's got to be worth something. © Copyright 2016 The Video Game Critic.
The first stage takes place in a bright city, and the layered scenery looks terrific. It's cool how you can see glimpses of the skyline behind the highway overpass. The later stages are less appealing however, and some are downright claustrophobic. Trouble Shooter is tough because a pair of chicks make for a large target. You'll go up against whimsical enemies like terminator fish, penguins with propellers, and Megaman-style robots. This game would seem ideal for two-player action, but it's one-player only. The background story is ridiculous and the music is wacky, but Trouble Shooter has personality and its tongue-in-cheek style is just plain fun. © Copyright 2012 The Video Game Critic.
You don't have much control over pass receptions, and there are an inordinate number of tipped passes. If you need a few extra yards, your best bet is to dive - these guys can leap 10-15 yards!! All the NFL teams are included, but only one actual player (guess who?).
The audio is particularly dreadful. The crowd sounds like a weak faucet, and the unenthusiastic commentator sounds like he'd rather be somewhere else (like a Madden game maybe?). With so many other good football games for the Genesis, this really can't compete. © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.
Fortunately your firepower is fierce. There are three weapon types including standard red missiles (spray), green lasers (concentrated), and blue lightning that will latch onto targets. Normally I gravitate towards a particular favorite but in this case all three weapons are satisfying. Just hold in C to engage rapid-fire. Your bombs project a huge skull on the screen, damaging everything in sight. Use these as a defensive mechanism, as they also neutralize incoming missiles.
The stage designs feel like a bit of an afterthought, with your typical space stations and cannon-lined canyons. One great feature is how you cannot crash into the scenery, giving you one less thing to worry about. The first stage is super long, and stage two marks a sharp spike in difficulty, with enemies approaching from all sides. It features a space fortress lined with lightbulbs that explode into deadly shards.
The musical score is heroic but the sound effects are a little cruddy, with a scratchy, sandpaper quality. What makes Truxton compelling is its killed-or-be-killed simplicity. I also love how you earn free ships at arbitrary points like 70K and 270K. Now that's old school. Truxton is no joke. Once you pop this into your Genesis you may find it hard to dislodge. © Copyright 2020 The Video Game Critic.
Turrican is armed with special weapons, but their effectiveness is offset by an awkward control scheme. The C button is used to toggle your special weapons, and this is not practical in the heat of battle. Pressing down and B transforms you into a spiked ball, which is usually good for killing one or two enemies before rolling off a cliff to your death. Your most effective weapon is the high-powered "lightning whip", but since you need to hold down a button to unleash it, it's easy to forget about. For more hints, check out Turrican's demo mode, which reveals a number of hidden secrets.
Unfortunately, even when you know the secrets and take a careful approach, you'll get your ass handed to you again and again. When the game prompts you to continue, it sends your sorry ass back to the beginning of the stage. I had to resort to a cheat code to check out the advanced stages, which I determined to be equally difficult and more repetitive. I will give this game credit for its adrenaline-pumping soundtrack, which had me humming along all the while. It's the highlight of the game! All in all, Turrican is unreasonably difficult, but I found it hard to pull myself away from it, so I guess it's not all bad. © Copyright 2008 The Video Game Critic.
Your weapon is initially weak but power-ups appear early and often. Once things get going the action never lets up and there's no sign of slowdown. The explosions sound like balloons popping, but it's pretty satisfying to hear a flurry of pops as you strafe the screen. Your most dangerous enemies are the green helicopters and giant bombers. They can absorb a lot of damage so I'd suggest you drop a bomb as soon as they appear. Yeah, you'll be tempted to conserve those bombs but keep in mind you can't take them with you.
Destroyed scenery sometimes reveals stars you can scoop up worth 3000 points each. You only get paid however if you complete the level intact, and frankly the chances of that happening are pretty low. It's a good strategy to remain low on the screen. Since your copter is much longer than it is wide, it's easier to avoid shots coming from the front than from the sides.
One irritating aspect of the game is the way power-up icons tend to be so elusive. Weapon icons on the other hand linger forever, basically forcing you to switch weapons. Most weapons don't look all that impressive but they are all effective in their own way. Twin Cobra is my favorite type of shooter, offering just enough chaos without overwhelming the senses. © Copyright 2017 The Video Game Critic.
The action is chaotic because enemies approach from all sides. Your firepower is terrific and you have a few special attacks up your sleeve that inflict massive damage. As you venture through valleys, castles, and sky kingdoms you'll avoid traps, unlock chests, and enter doors that hold mini challenges. Dramatic boss encounters incorporate mythical creatures, maniacal trees, and headless knights. Some of these things take way too long to kill - especially the ghost knight with the shield. The musical score is edgy and really gets under your skin.
What's strange about this game is how you only get one life. Actually you have a life bar, but it's not obvious when you're taking damage. As a result, that game over screen can come as a surprise. Fortunately several continues are available and you can always adjust the difficulty. An enchanting shooter with a God-awful name, Twinkle Tale is a lost gem that shouldn't be forgotten. I asked my friend Chris what he thought of this and he simply replied "I love it". NOTE: Reproduction cartridges can damage your console. Only use them with an inexpensive pass-through device like a Game Genie. © Copyright 2016 The Video Game Critic.
Unlike Streets of Rage, Two Crude Dudes plays exclusively on a 2D plane, but in addition to the ground level there's usually a second, higher platform you can also play on. Unfortunately, getting up and down from that platform can be a pain at times. Your dude can jump, crouch, punch, kick, climb, and even tuck and roll. But by far the best aspect of the game is your ability to pick up objects like rocks and cars and toss them into groups of oncoming thugs. I love the "Krak!" and "Wham!" symbols that accompany a good hit (like the old Batman TV series).
A diverse assortment of enemies includes wrestlers, robots, animals, and freaks. The hunchbacks and dogs are especially dangerous - they latch on and won't let go! Be sure to use your jump-kicks to dispatch them before they can sink their choppers into you. The henchmen who scale the walls look like they're taking a crap on you, but if you closely scrutinize the graphics, you'll be relieved to see they're just vomiting. The disturbingly weird mutant bosses reveal some inspired character designs, like the tall guy with praying-mantis arms.
Your dude can recharge his life by beating up soda machines and drinking a few cans - very cool. I also like how the dudes flex and smile after each stage - it always cracks me up. Two Crude Dudes is a decent game for one person, but the two-player mode is a mess. First of all, you're always getting in your partner's way. In addition, slowdown and flicker become a problem when things get hectic. But for a one-player game, Two Crude Dudes is a fair way to spend an afternoon. © Copyright 2003 The Video Game Critic.
Screen shots courtesy of Video Game Museum