system Index W-Z
WWF: Super Wrestlemania
Grade: D
Publisher: Acclaim (1992)
Posted: 2020/2/14

screenshotThe 1990's marked the end of a golden era of wrestling, boasting flamboyant personalities like Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior, British Bulldog, and Randy "Macho Man" Savage. Super Wrestlemania aspires to be an arcade beat-up-em with big characters and crazy signature moves. You'll witness suplexes, leg drops, flying clotheslines, and even leaps from the turnbuckles. Unfortunately Wrestlemania lacks the flashy visuals and tight controls you'd expect from an arcade title.

The graphics are plain and the controls feel mushy and unresponsive. At one point my friend Brent asked if he was even playing. The collision detection is so erratic you can't even tell if your leg drop landed on an opponent or missed completely. Fortunately, unlike other wrestling games the matches don't tend to overstay their welcome. Life meters deplete fairly quickly and it's easy to pin your opponent by pressing B and C.

I challenged a few friends and found the game to be unintentionally comical. For some reason our guys kept leaving the ring only to turn around and come right back. I guess my biggest disappointment is the lack of pageantry you'd expect from the WWF. Where are the flashy introductions, commentators, and interviews? The crowd doesn't move at all and sounds like a water faucet. Super Wrestlemania should have been a fun romp but its clunky controls and bland presentation tend to undermine the thrill of this "sport". © Copyright 2020 The Video Game Critic.

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1 or 2 players 

If you like this game, try: WWF Raw (Sega 32X)
WWF Wrestlemania: The Arcade Game (Sega 32X)
WWF Attitude (Dreamcast)
WWF War Zone (Playstation)
WWE Legends of Wrestlemania (Xbox 360)

Grade: D-
Publisher: Acclaim (1994)
Posted: 2021/11/2

screenshotWarlock begins in a picturesque New England town with fiery Autumn trees. As a man in a trenchcoat, you dash through a cornfield until the sky darkens and an evil warlock appears, teleporting all over the place. Once he begins transforming dogs into werewolves you have no choice but destroy them by firing magic blasts from your hands.

Once in the library, this warlock bastard turns innocent college kids into ravenous zombies. It almost doesn't seem right to kill them. It also bothers me how you don't hear their blood-curdling screams until after they've been reduced to dust.

You also have a floating orb which at a glance seems to work like a boomerang. You can send it flying in any direction, potentially inflicting damage on the way and back. Unlike the SNES orb, this one moves in a straight path, heading directly towards an enemy before passing harmlessly over its head! Who in the heck designed this game?

The graphics are noticeably less detailed than the SNES and the audio a bit hollow. I did however appreciate the fact that monsters require a lot less hits to kill. Werewolves for example can be destroyed with one shot instead of three. But before you get too excited, your guy can absorb a lot less hits, so call it a wash.

This Genesis version is also hampered by awkward controls, requiring you to press the directional pad in conjunction with the start button to use spells. Whenever the start button plays a key role in any game, it's bad news. That said, this game feels slightly more playable than its SNES cousin.

Warlocks lets you explore creepy places like castles, dungeons, and graveyards, and they look terrific. I like the simple password system. Too bad the game plays so poorly. Most players will give up in frustration and miss out on most of the fine visuals Warlock has to offer. © Copyright 2021 The Video Game Critic.

Save: password
1 player 

If you like this game, try: Warlock (Super Nintendo)
Breath of Fire II (Guest Review) (Game Boy Advance)
Sky Jaguar (Colecovision)
Night Creatures (Turbografx-16)
NCAA Final Four 99 (Playstation)

Wayne Gretzky and the NHLPA All-Stars
Grade: B+
Publisher: Time Warner (1995)
Posted: 2022/1/26

screenshotI was skeptical, but Wayne Gretzkey and the NHLPA All-Stars won me over. The action is viewed from a side perspective and I've never seen this vantage point work so well. A good section of ice is visible at any time and the torrid pacing will leave you breathless.

You could probably tell from the wordy title that Wayne Gretzky Hockey lacks an NHL license. You get all the real players but the teams are represented by the city only and the colors look goofy. The Chicago Blackhawks are decked out in green for example.

The controls are easy to grasp, with A as the speed burst, B as pass, and C to shoot. You can "aim" your shots but it's hard from the side view. I was able to execute my share of one-timers however and that's always satisfying. On defense you can initiate some pretty nasty body checks, punctuated by funny animations like players spinning around on their backs.

Little details add to the experience. The face-off screen features large, well-animated characters. After a penalty is called a "replay" is shown via live-action video clips of grainy players dragging each other down. The fact that this footage looks completely out of place just adds to its charm.

Organ music plays throughout but the digitized crowd noises frequently cut off abruptly. Each period concludes with the alarming sound of a high-pitched wail. It sounds like a woman screaming in horror for crying out loud. A zamboni can be seen cleaning the ice between periods, which is always a nice touch. The fights are fun thanks rapid-fire punching action.

Wayne Gretzkey hockey supports four-player action which really is a blast. There's also a fully-customization season mode with battery backup. This is a great title for casual hockey fans, and its weird quirks make it all the more fun and memorable. © Copyright 2022 The Video Game Critic.

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Save: battery
1 to 4 players 

If you like this game, try: ESPN National Hockey Night (Genesis)
ESPN National Hockey Night (Super Nintendo)
Wayne Gretzky and the NHLPA All-Stars (Super Nintendo)
NHL Hockey (Genesis)
NHL '96 (Genesis)

Grade: D
Publisher: Namco (1995)
Posted: 2022/7/4

screenshotWhenever a game begins by displaying the text "Since the dawn of time..." you know can brace yourself for a monumental let-down. WeaponLord is a blood-soaked, one-on-one fighter following in the footsteps of Mortal Kombat (Genesis, 1992). It pits barbarians against each other in some kind of primitive, mythical world. Its desolate stages boast a lot of horns, skulls, statues, and mountain backdrops. This game was never anything to write home about, but the Genesis version is more playable than its sharper-looking SNES cousin.

You can tell by the art in the instruction manual that much effort went into the character design, but that's part of the problem. A 16-bit system can only render so much detail, and if you push it too far the visuals appear dark and muddled. And while the animation is more fluid than the SNES version, it's still hard to tell what's going on half the time.

This is one of the few Genesis titles that require the six-button controller. Unlike Street Fighter which had an intuitive control scheme, the moves are hard to grasp, leading to desperate button-mashing. Can someone explain to me the difference between a thrust, slash, or strike? Special moves are initiated by holding in a button and then executing directional patterns.

There are some cool moves, like the low axe sweep which takes out your opponent's legs in a splash of blood. I noticed when an opponent's life is drained he takes a second or two to realize he's dead and fall over. You can often squeeze in a few gratuitous extra hits at this time. As for fatalities, the visuals are so indistinct that sometimes you can't even tell what body part was lopped off!

WeaponLord is a game I really wanted to like. There's something about the whooshing of swinging blades accentuated by blur effects. I enjoy the clashing of weapons and the splattering of blood. Who doesn't? But clunky animation and confusing attacks take their toll. The story mode is just a crapload of text and the arcade mode doesn't bother to keep score. When all is said and done, WeaponLord holds more value as a not-so-ancient artifact than an actual game. © Copyright 2022 The Video Game Critic.

1 or 2 players 

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

Whip Rush
Grade: D+
Publisher: Renovation (1990)
Posted: 2006/4/20

screenshotI'm normally giddy as a schoolgirl when it comes to 16-bit shooters, but Whip Rush just didn't do it for me. It's not awful in any regard, but it lacks character and fails to distinguish itself from the many shooters it borrows ideas from. The graphics are sub-par, with the "orange circle" explosions looking especially weak. The constantly changing backgrounds feature cool parallax scrolling, but the scenery looks grainy and lacks detail.

As you traverse the maze-like stages, the scrolling direction tends to change abruptly, sometimes forcing you into a corner with no room to escape. Frequent power-ups allow you to switch weapons, and you'll learn that certain weapons are far better suited to particular stages. One weapon I hated was the irritating "fire" weapon, which shoots in the opposite direction of where you press the directional pad.

By far your best option is the side-cannon attachment that can be repositioned on the fly via the C button. I do like how taking a hit reduces your weapon power instead of destroying your ship outright, and the high score is displayed on the top of the screen, giving you something to shoot for. Some of the music has that vintage 16-bit quality, but much of its sounds like bubblegum pop from the 1980s. In the final analysis, Whip Rush is playable but certainly not one of the better Genesis shooters. © Copyright 2006 The Video Game Critic.

Recommended: turbo
High score: 99500
1 player 

If you like this game, try: K.C.'s Krazy Chase (Odyssey 2)
R-Type Final 2 (Playstation 4)
Iron Soldier (Jaguar)
NCAA Final Four 99 (Playstation)
Einhander (Playstation)

Wimbledon Championship Tennis
Grade: C-
Publisher: Sega (1993)
Posted: 2021/9/7

screenshotWimbledon Championship Tennis was one of the few Genesis titles that supported Sega's four-player multi-tap device. It's a serviceable tennis game with a few glaring flaws. I love that vintage Genesis funk that plays over the set-up screen. Unfortunately the interface is so poorly organized I usually wind up competing against a clone of myself. The box boasts of 24 "world class" players yet I've never heard of any of them.

The grass court looks terrific and properly worn to dirt along the baselines. A tilted overhead camera angle provides an optimal view but the player animation is on the choppy side. The smoothly-animated tennis ball scales to huge proportions when hit high into the air. It also tends to be floaty, so even if you whiff on your first swing you might still be able to chase it down!

The audio boasts referees who yell the score, players that grunt, and that sweet resonating sound of the ball hitting off your racket. The green ball girls look like a bunch of Keebler Elves scrambling around to gather loose balls. One animation I despise is how after winning a point your player will dance around, running back to his position while waving his hands in the air. After a match the camera pans upward, revealing nothing but a green wall. Odd!

The physics could be better. Balls don't so much bounce as die when they hit the surface. This might be expected on grass but it's not much better when you select hard or clay courts. Playing the CPU is frustrating because he tends to play the net and your lob shots don't drift deep enough to go over his head. Wimbledon is far more enjoyable when playing a friend, or better yet with four players. Its shortcomings seem far less glaring when everybody is in the same boat. © Copyright 2021 The Video Game Critic.

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1 to 4 players 

If you like this game, try: Championship Tennis (Intellivision)
ATP Tour Championship Tennis (Genesis)
Davis Cup Tennis (Turbografx-16)
World Court Tennis (Turbografx-16)
Super Tennis (Super Nintendo)

Wings of Wor
Grade: B+
Publisher: Dreamworks (1991)
Posted: 2011/3/23

screenshotIf you're a shooter fan who pines for simpler times, Wings of Wor is a real treat. This side-scroller combines old-school simplicity with fast action and unexpected visual effects. You control a winged dude with tremendous firepower. Holding in the fire button unleashes a steady stream of bullets, and after snatching up a few power-ups you'll be spraying most of the screen. Collecting scrolls lets you perform special attacks such as lightning or magic arrows. The firepower is excessive, but it's necessary to repel the demon hordes that converge on you like heat-seeking missiles!

You'll fly through a cavern, an underwater shipwreck, an ornate temple, and a retro-futuristic factory. Stage five looks more like something you'd see under a microscope with its squishy membranes and floating cells. I love the diversity but the scenery looks somewhat grainy and indistinct. Wings of Wor surprised me with its special effects that include wavy underwater currents and an earthquake that rocks the screen. Everything in the world wants to kill you including gargoyles, floating knights, seagulls, squid, and even clouds with faces. The spiders in the first stage scared the living [expletive] out of me!

The shooting action is rather conventional and some areas feel drawn out with repeating enemies and scenery. The bosses are surprisingly easy to defeat. The first is a huge locomotive with a face that consumes almost the entire screen. After such a dramatic entrance it's downright comical when you quickly dispatch him by shooting him point-blank in the face. Each stage has its own distinctive harmonized musical score. This game flew under many radars, but it's worth tracking down. With simple gameplay and frequent surprises, Wings of Wor is a little slice of 16-bit heaven. © Copyright 2011 The Video Game Critic.

High score: 371,980
1 player 

If you like this game, try: Dark Cavern (Atari 2600)
Skeleton Warriors (Saturn)
Dolphin (Atari 2600)
Spiders (Arcadia 2001)
Gauntlet Legends (Dreamcast)

Winter Challenge
Grade: D
Publisher: Ballistic (1992)
Posted: 2022/1/26

screenshotI want to like Winter Challenge but I'm afraid its developers bit off more than they could chew. This is an Olympic-style game boasting a gorgeous snowy title screen with fun animations. Each tournament kicks off with an elaborate opening ceremony and I love the pomp and circumstance.

Winter Challenge supports up to ten players (!) and it's easy to set up any number of competitors, assigning names, nationalities, and even facial likenesses. The eight events can be played in any order, with progress and high scores saved to an "internal memory chip".

Winter Challenge is nothing if not ambitious, but the decision to render its courses with 3D polygons was unwise. The Genesis hardware just isn't up to the task, resulting in angular scenery and a non-existent sense of speed. The sluggish frame rate makes the action difficult to follow and the controls feel delayed.

These issues are glaring in the ski events. Trying to remain within the flags is especially hard when you can't even see where the trail is heading. The luge and bobsled events are a mystery as well. Kicking up less snow indicates you're on a good line, but it's hard to tell when the game wants you to stay in the center of the tube or run up on the sides.

Cross Country is as arduous as it is in real life. The course is very long and it's hard to tell if you're going uphill or down! Biathlon is basically the Cross Country course is reverse, stopping every so often to take aim at targets with a jittery crosshair.

Speed skating isn't bad if you can stay upright for the first few seconds without spinning out on your keyster. Ski Jump is harder than it should be. Why in the world would I need to steer in this event? It's hard to see where the end of the ramp is to time your jump. My dude looked jittery as hell flying through the air, so no surprise when he suffered a spectacular wipeout.

The good news is, with enough practice you'll learn how to compensate for the choppy visuals and laggy controls. Still, with nine friends I can't see this being any more than an exercise in mass bewilderment. Winter Challenge has its heart in the right place but would have been better suited to a next-generation console like the Playstation or Saturn. © Copyright 2022 The Video Game Critic.

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Save: battery
1 to 10 players 

If you like this game, try: Nagano Winter Olympics 98 (Playstation)
Winter Games (Atari 2600)
Winter Games (NES)
Winter Games (Commodore 64)
Winter Olympic Games: Lillehammer '94 (Game Gear)

Wolverine: Adamantium Rage
Grade: F
Publisher: Acclaim (1994)
Posted: 2019/1/11

screenshotHow could a Marvel game dedicated to Wolverine turn out this bad? Its comic-cell intro and high octane music really get you psyched up. The first stage is set in the underground laboratory where Wolverine was originally created. But any pain Wolverine experienced during his transformation is nothing compared to what you - the player - are about to endure.

Your first encounter is with a drone which can only be defeated by a series of well-timed jump-kicks, and the controls are reprehensible! Wolverine can jump, kick, and punch, but the button mappings make zero sense and are not configurable. Wolverine has some pretty fancy moves like spin and lunge but you're more likely to perform them by accident. Why am I getting my ass kicked by these nerdy scientists?! How many slashes does it take?! This reminds me of the lightsabers in the Star Wars games; one good slash really should do the trick.

Missing sound effects make it hard to tell when an enemy has been defeated. And it gets worse. Would you believe Wolverine can't walk up steps? He has to hop up them instead, and can't even jump onto a ladder! On the other hand, stepping on fire and broken glass incurs no damage. The first robotic boss might not be so bad if I could keep Wolverine facing the correct direction. Hope you enjoyed that battle because you'll need to beat that robot multiple times.

The graphics aren't bad but they are repetitive. Stage two's snowy landscape is visually appealing but bringing down that massive helicopter is an exercise in futility. The single feature I thought this game had going for it - a progress meter - turned out to be a timer! My friend Brent didn't think this game could be that bad, but he was at a complete loss for words. Wolverine is beyond bad - this is straight-up incompetent. © Copyright 2019 The Video Game Critic.

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High score: 60,800
Save: password
1 player 

If you like this game, try: Heavy Nova (Genesis)
Doom (Saturn)
Punch-Out!! (NES)
Star Wars Trilogy: Apprentice of the Force (Game Boy Advance)
Kung Food (Lynx)

World Championship Soccer
Grade: F
Publisher: Sega (1989)
Posted: 2002/6/1

screenshotIt's easy to believe this game came out in 1989, because it looks more like a Master System game than a Genesis title. The overhead view of the field makes the players look like black circles with shoulders. Your limited view of the action is supposedly compensated by a miniature "radar" field display on the right side of the screen. Even if you could make sense out of all those moving dots (forget about it), using it effectively is nearly impossible. I liked performing the bicycle kicks, but maintaining control of the ball is impossible. The upbeat background music is pleasant enough, but the "goal!" voice sample sounds more like someone screaming in agony! World Championship Soccer hasn't aged well at all. © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.
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1 or 2 players 

If you like this game, try: Pele's Championship Soccer (Atari 2600)
World Championship Soccer II (Genesis)
Sensible Soccer (Jaguar)
Tengen World Cup Soccer (Game Gear)
NASL Soccer (Intellivision)

World Championship Soccer II
Grade: B
Publisher: Sega (1994)
Posted: 2002/6/1

screenshotIt's hard to believe that it took Sega FIVE whole years to come out with a sequel to World Championship Soccer, but this time they did it right. The field is viewed from the side at a 45-degree angle, giving you a nice 3D perspective on the action. The short and stocky player sprites look funny, but they are nicely animated (especially the dives). The game is fast and fun, and the controls are simple and responsive.

Although your view is limited, there always seems to be a teammate just off-screen ready to receive a pass. The gameplay is much deeper than its predecessor - there are now headers, penalty kicks, corner kicks, and penalty cards. You even get to see a replay of each goal. There are 32 teams and plenty of customization options.

If there's one area where the game stumbles badly, it's in the sound department. The background music is fair, but the crowd sound effects are unbearable. The disjointed, incomprehensible "chants" sound like a poor radio reception. Sound is NOT the system's strong suit, and Sega shouldn't have attempted to be so ambitious. Other than that, this soccer game is definitely worth checking out. It also provides multi-tap support. © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.

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1 to 4 players 

If you like this game, try: Realsports Soccer (Atari 2600)
World Championship Soccer (Genesis)
Mega Man Soccer (Super Nintendo)
Sensible Soccer (Jaguar)
NASL Soccer (Intellivision)

World Series Baseball
Grade: C+
Publisher: Sega (1994)
Posted: 2006/6/30

screenshotWorld Series Baseball set the high-water mark for realism in a baseball game, but in the process Sega sacrificed the arcade sensibility that made Sportstalk Baseball so popular. Unlike most baseball games of its time, World Series features all of the MLB players, teams, and stadiums. Playing modes include exhibition, batting practice, home run derby, and a battery backed-up season. The graphics are realistic but somewhat drab and indistinct. The stadiums are faithful to their real-life counterparts, including the scoreboards. The players all look pretty much the same.

An innovative new "catcher's view" provides the hitter with a wide-open view of the strike zone, with the batter standing just off the edge of the screen. Unfortunately, the emphasis on realism takes its toll on the gameplay. The action isn't nearly as fast or smooth as SportsTalk, and there are too many lulls in the action. Two button presses are required to throw a pitch, and the batter must "aim" using a circular target. You're constantly waiting for the pitcher to get the ball back, and for some odd reason the scoreboard is displayed before every batter.

Unless you're a purist who thrives on the finer points of the game, World Series can be downright tedious. Throws tend to be inordinately high arcing, turning the most routine grounders into close plays at first base. The height of the baseball is represented by a huge shadow, which looks pretty cheesy. I still recall my friend Bobby commenting, "Look at the size of that shadow", causing me to second-guess my $60 investment.

Fortunately, the game excels in its attention to detail. The SportsTalk announcer is back and he has a lot more to say. The scoreboard displays humorous animated cartoons in addition to the box score. Other neat little touches include fielders who toss the ball towards the mound after the third out. You can even hear vendors shouting "get 'yer hot dogs" in the stands. World Series Baseball certainly covered its bases in terms of getting the details right, but it took a step back in terms of gameplay. © Copyright 2006 The Video Game Critic.

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1 or 2 players 

If you like this game, try: Baseball Advance (Game Boy Advance)
World Series Baseball 95 (Genesis)
Grand Slam (Playstation)
Hardball 95 (Genesis)
Tecmo Baseball (NES)

World Series Baseball 95
Grade: B-
Publisher: Sega (1995)
Posted: 2006/6/30

screenshotThis sequel isn't a huge improvement, but it is a step up. The main difference is the overhauled graphics, which appear far more vibrant and colorful that last year. You can see more of the batter in the box, and he looks practically digitized. I like how the ball now clanks off of the ball in a more realistic and satisfying manner. The fielding action is fun, but there are too many foul balls. A streamlined user interface means that the batter no longer has to "aim" his swing, thank goodness.

New options include multiplayer leagues, the ability to draft and trade players, and teams of "all-time great" players. But the most notable new feature is the ability to "celebrate" during home run trots. My friend Eric used to totally abuse this feature, cartwheeling all the way around the bases (which I must admit was pretty hilarious).

The SportsTalk announcer was apparently canned and replaced with another guy who says next to nothing. A PA announcer introduces each batter, but he speaks too slowly ("Next up. For the Yankees...") A disjointed "water faucet" sound effect serves as the crowd noise. The pace of the game hasn't improved at all. You'll still need to wait for the pitcher to compose himself before each pitch, and the scoreboard is shown before each batter, which is irritating as all hell. In the final analysis, World Series 95 is just a modest upgrade. © Copyright 2006 The Video Game Critic.

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1 or 2 players 

If you like this game, try: Madden '93 (Genesis)
NBA 2K1 (Dreamcast)
NCAA Final Four 2000 (Playstation)
World Series Baseball (Genesis)
Bill Walsh College Football (Sega CD)

World Series Baseball 96
Grade: B-
Publisher: Sega (1996)
Posted: 2006/6/30

screenshotDon't feel bad if you ever confuse this game with World Series 95, because it's an honest mistake. In fact, World Series 96 is practically identical to World Series 95, save for updated rosters and schedules. That a shame, because there was plenty of room for improvement, especially in the audio department. With no new features to tout, Sega was reduced to listing old features on the back of the box! How pathetic is that? World Series Baseball 96 represents Sega at its very worst. Shameful! © Copyright 2006 The Video Game Critic.
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1 or 2 players 

If you like this game, try: World Series Baseball 98 (Genesis)
NBA Live 96 (Genesis)
World Series Baseball (Sega 32X)
All-Star Baseball 2001 (Nintendo 64)
NHL '96 (Genesis)

World Series Baseball 98
Grade: B-
Publisher: Sega (1997)
Posted: 2006/6/30

screenshotGenesis baseball fans must have been experiencing a serious case of deja-vu in the late 90's, considering Sega pretty much released the same game three years in a row! Sure, the statistics and rosters are updated, but who cares? Could Sega have possibly milked this series any more? I seriously doubt it. Actually, there is one notable thing about this game. If you look at the title, you'll notice that Sega "skipped" a year in order to keep pace with other baseball games who had inexplicably begun naming their games after the next year. It's a mad, mad world. © Copyright 2006 The Video Game Critic.
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1 or 2 players 

If you like this game, try: RBI Baseball 93 (Genesis)
Major League Baseball (Intellivision)
All-Star Baseball 2001 (Nintendo 64)
NCAA Final Four 2000 (Playstation)
NHL '98 (Super Nintendo)

World of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse & Donald Duck
Grade: B-
Publisher: Sega (1992)
Posted: 2007/3/23

screenshotI'm a long-time fan of Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse (Genesis, 1990), with its casual pacing, well-crafted scenes, and unexpected surprises. I was hoping World of Illusion would rekindle the same magic, but it never quite reaches the same heights. World of Illusion is still an enjoyable little romp however, and the two-player co-op mode is a great concept that you rarely see in a platformer.

The graphics are a slight letdown. As a sequel to Castle of Illusion, I was expecting the visuals to be bigger and bolder, but they're not. The characters appear slightly smaller, and the colors look washed out. The varied stage locations include a forest, volcanic mountains, library, and a sunken pirate ship. There's also a magic carpet ride with controls and sound effects that bring Joust to mind.

On land, Mickey wields a magic blanket to defeat blue soldiers and wandering flames, and utilizes devices like teeter-totters to reach high places. The two-player mode incorporates additional stages that emphasize the teamwork aspect. These are slow and a bit tedious at times, but generally easy and fun. The stage designs are fairly predictable, save for a few clever touches like the spider that weaves his web as you walk across it.

The kinder, gentler musical score is pure Disney, but the sound effects could use some work. I can tolerate the scratchy voice samples, but that tinny "thunder" sounds awful. A password feature is included, but the use of playing cards instead of letters makes it tough to record the code on paper. This might not be the best Mickey Mouse adventure you'll ever experience, but the reasonable difficulty and cooperative play make it worthwhile for gamers looking for something relaxing. © Copyright 2007 The Video Game Critic.

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1 or 2 players 

If you like this game, try: Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse (Genesis)
Land of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse (Europe) (Sega Master System)
Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion (Nintendo 3DS)
Mickey Mania (Super Nintendo)
Castle of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse (Sega Master System)

Grade: D
Publisher: Sega (1993)
Posted: 2000/7/18

screenshotThis game is a disappointment. What should have been a cool fighter turns out to be just a tedious platform jumping game. Yes, there is fighting, but it's not too exciting. Punch a bad guy in the foot twice and he evaporates - great. Mainly you just find yourself flipping switches and jumping (and falling) from slippery ledges.

You can control four X-Men, including Gambit, Cyclops, Wolverine, and Nightcrawler. Each has their own special powers, and in addition, you can call on Rogue, Archangel, Iceman, Storm, and Jean Gray for backup (they basically clear the screen for you). The characters look a bit pixelated, and their pictures on the menu screen are so poorly drawn that you can't even tell which one is which!

The backgrounds, depicting futuristic worlds, are rather generic and dull. The sound is the worst, with bad music and annoying, cheesy sound effects (enemies "pop" when they die). Control is fair, except for Nightcrawler's teleport ability, which is very flakey and ineffective.

One unique feature is the ability to switch characters at any time, but the difficulty is excessive, even on the easy level. There are plenty of cheap, unavoidable hits, and it's tough to get back life once you've lost it. There is a also two-player simultaneous mode that doesn't work too well. © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.

1 or 2 players 

If you like this game, try: X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse (Super Nintendo)
X-Men 2: Clone Wars (Genesis)
X-Men (NES)
Namco Museum Volume 1 (Playstation)
X-Men Vs. Street Fighter (Japan) (Saturn)

X-Men 2: Clone Wars
Grade: B-
Publisher: Sega (1995)
Posted: 2000/7/18

screenshotAlthough released four years after the first Genesis X-Men, this cartridge managed to atone for many of its predecessor's sins. First, the graphics are MUCH improved. The characters are larger, sharper, and more detailed. The music is menacing, and the sound effects are high quality. The stages are more interesting, including a snow stage in Siberia. Although there's still plenty of jumping, the platforms are larger and much more forgiving. Your special moves are no longer limited, allowing you to be more aggressive. You can choose between Wolverine, Cyclops, Gambit, Nightcrawler, Beast, Psylocke, and even the evil Magneto(?!). Unlike the first game, you cannot switch characters during a mission. X-Men 2 is a much better game, but it's still very difficult, and there aren't any checkpoints. © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.
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1 or 2 players 

If you like this game, try: X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse (Super Nintendo)
X-Men (NES)
X-Men Vs. Street Fighter (Japan) (Saturn)
X-Men (Genesis)
X-Men: Children of the Atom (Saturn)

Young Indiana Jones
Grade: F
Publisher: Sega (1994)
Posted: 2008/5/23

screenshotYoung Indiana Jones is a good-looking game that would be fun if it weren't impossible to play. The controls are just deplorable, which is surprising considering this was released in 1994. The game takes you to all the exotic Indiana Jones locales including Egypt, India, Tibet, Germany, and England. You can even select the order in which you play the stages, which is always a nice feature. The graphics aren't bad either. Young Indiana looks almost digitized in appearance, and when he uses his whip to climb, the animation is quite impressive.

Colorful stage backdrops include the Pyramids of Egypt, snow-covered Hymalayan mountains, and London Bridge on a stormy night. Sadly, the gameplay is frustrating and repetitive. Although your whip moves with fluid motion in any direction, it inflicts minimal damage on sword-throwing thugs and other converging enemies. Since you can't squat down while using it, you're pretty much a sitting duck. You'll face the exact same goons over and over again, and shooting them with a gun provides your only relief.

But the worst aspect of the game are the irritating small creatures like birds, snakes, scorpions, monkeys, and even fish that hound you from all sides. Not only are they impossible to avoid, but targeting them is an exercise in futility! Egypt is a nightmare, because after stumbling through all sorts of tedious hazards, a big windstorm can come along and sweep you all the way back to the beginning! It makes you feel very helpless in a game that never really gives you a fighting chance to begin with. © Copyright 2008 The Video Game Critic.

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1 player 

If you like this game, try: Montezuma's Revenge (Atari 2600)
Target Renegade (NES)
Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings (Wii)
Pitfall 2 (Atari 5200)
Dragon's Lair (3DO)

Zany Golf
Grade: F
Publisher: Electronic Arts (1990)
Posted: 2018/2/21

screenshotI like the concept behind Zany Golf: Try to conquer a nine-hole, contraption-laden miniature golf course without running out of strokes. There are ramps, drains, obstacles, and of course the obligatory windmills. But bouncing hamburgers? We've clearly entered zany territory! If only I could view these graphics without doing physical damage to my eyes! Zany Golf was ported from the Amiga, and apparently with much difficulty! Everything looks so blurry! This game has more double vision than Foreigner!

The hole overview screens are so muddy and indistinct, they appear to be knitted in wool! And can somebody tell me why my golf ball has a red shadow? The controls are horrible. First you place a cursor over the ball, hold the A button, and then pull it back like you're shooting a rubber band. There's a dotted line connecting the cursor to the ball but it's hard to see. Even large obstacles are difficult to discern. Once I thought my ball was going to sink into a pool red paint but it bounced off of it instead. What the [expletive] am I looking at?!

The animation is choppy and you can never predict what direction the ball will bounce. Having a fixed number of strokes adds challenge, but it feels pretty hopeless when you begin a complicated maze of a hole with only three strokes remaining. One hole actually incorporates a pinball table, giving Zany Golf the dubious distinction of being both the worst golf game and worst pinball game!

The carnival-style music is unappealing but thankfully it can be shut it off. While you're at it, do yourself a favor and shut the whole damn thing off. Zany Golf may have been passable on the Amiga but on the Genesis it's just one big dumpster fire. Note: I had to use a Game Genie to get this to run on my Genesis. © Copyright 2018 The Video Game Critic.

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1 to 4 players 

If you like this game, try: Pinball Jam (Lynx)
Pro Pinball (Saturn)
Pro Pinball: Big Race USA (Playstation)
Pro Pinball: Fantastic Journey (Playstation)
Thunderball (Odyssey 2)

Zero Tolerance
Grade: D
Publisher: Technopop (1994)
Posted: 2016/11/11

screenshotAs far as I know Zero Tolerance is the only first-person shooter for the Genesis. You are a space marine tasked to clear out alien life forms on an infested freighter. Since there is a crew of five, you essentially have five lives. Your first-person view is limited to the center third of the screen, but the smooth animation is on par with Doom (Sega 32X, 1994). Not bad! You toggle between weapon icons that stretch across the top including shotguns, mines, and flamethrowers. The gray corridors all tend to look the same, so thank goodness there's a handy map on the bottom. Certain rooms appear open to space on one side, but a force field prevents you from falling out.

At first your enemies are human, and it's not uncommon to encounter a dozen in a large room. One effective (cheap?) strategy I found was to retreat to the nearby doorway and pick them off one by one. Eventually you'll encounter more exotic life forms including the obligatory face-grabbers. When things get hectic the frame rate slows, making it harder to aim. Fortunately the hit detection is super forgiving so if you're aimed in the right general direction, your target erupts into a fountain of chunky blood. Once you start taking hits however you'll get tossed around in a really disorienting manner.

A counter indicates how many enemies remain on the current floor, and a female voice keeps you apprised of your status ("Floor secured. Proceed to the next level.") I like how dead bodies remain when you return to an old room. The cheesy music that plays on the elevator is hilarious, but why does the elevator return me to floors I already cleared? A password is provided but the game has no score. A simple looping beat plays throughout and it got on my nerves after a while. Zero Tolerance was an impressive technical feat in 1994, but it might be hard to find a good excuse to play it now. © Copyright 2016 The Video Game Critic.

Save: password
1 player 

If you like this game, try: Alien Trilogy (Playstation)
Alien Syndrome (Sega Master System)
Room of Doom (Atari 2600)
Doom (Saturn)
Doom (Sega 32X)

Zero Wing (Europe)
Grade: B-
Publisher: Toaplan (1991)
Posted: 2017/11/23

screenshotA cultural icon of sorts, Zero Wing is one game in my collection I love to show off. Its poorly-translated intro is the stuff of legend, with precious lines like "Somebody set us up the bomb", "Make your time", and "All your base are belong to us". I never get tired of watching that.

Although designed to run on the European Megadrive, this cartridge works fine on my Genesis. The game itself is a side-scrolling shooter that probably doesn't get enough credit. The scenery is your typical space station fare and there are some cheesy bosses including one that resembles a clown face. There are some odd enemies including one I refer to as "nervous robot pants".

The best part of Zero Wing is its weapons. Two side cannons provide shielding and additional firepower, allowing you to unleash a wide barrage of missiles. I like how these cannons squeeze together as you navigate narrow passages. Three types of weapons are available, each powered up to three levels. The green homing missiles are most effective, and it's fun to watch these small, slow-moving projectiles consume their targets. Once they're equipped you'll go to great lengths to avoid the red (wide) and blue (laser) icons. I also tend to avoid the speed icons because advanced stages require you to squeeze through some narrow passages.

One novel feature of Zero Wing is the ability to grab an enemy ship and hold it in front of you as a shield. Just don't grab anything too large or it will drag you down! The game also features a toe-tapping musical score with that trademark Genesis twang. I always regarded Zero Wing as a novelty first and foremost, but I'm beginning to realize this is a better-than-average shooter. © Copyright 2017 The Video Game Critic.

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High score: 380,700
1 player 

If you like this game, try: Space Master X-7 (Atari 2600)
Scramble (Vectrex)
Twin Eagle (NES)
Aleste II (Game Gear)
Super Star Soldier (Turbografx-16)

Zero the Kamikaze Squirrel
Grade: D
Publisher: Sunsoft (1994)
Posted: 2013/6/30

screenshotZero is one in a long line of furry creatures starring in formulaic platform games for the Genesis. He originally appeared as the villain in Aero the Acrobat (Genesis, 1993), and his unbridled popularity demanded a spin-off. Not really. Zero the Kamikaze Squirrel's opening stage boasts an attractive beach with detailed palm trees and a colorful sunset.

Our hero has the ability to karate chop enemies, but most of the time he has an ample supply of throwing stars to toss at crabs, robots, electric eels, and floating cameras? As you ride in hot air balloons and leap between clouds you'll collect bonus items like apples and ice cream cones. It's moderately fun to play for score, especially with the generous bonuses you rack up between stages.

What hurts the game is its overloaded control scheme. The B and C buttons have multiple functions, which is confusing. One original feature in the "super dive", and the manual clearly illustrates how to perform this in six easy steps! The move is an integral part of the game but painfully difficult to perform. Most of the time you'll slam right into a wall. I also noticed that some stages seemed designed to keep the fun to a minimum.

The "cliff zone" for example features multiple bosses (c'mon), a reticule that randomly targets you (gah!), and slime-covered ledges that will have you slipping all over the place (just stop it!). Later stages are a mixed bag, ranging from a fast jet-ski sequence to a tedious factory stage. What keeps the game afloat is its forgiving nature. You'll earn a ton of free lives, but when you don't even want them, that indicates a problem. Zero the Kamikaze Squirrel is a by-the-numbers effort, and its one truly original feature falls flat. © Copyright 2013 The Video Game Critic.

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High score: 182,650
1 player 

If you like this game, try: Dark Cavern (Atari 2600)
Buster Bros (CD) (Turbografx-16)
Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back (Playstation)
James Pond II: Codename Robocod (Genesis)
Splashdown (Playstation 2)

Zombies Ate My Neighbors
Grade: B-
Publisher: Konami (1993)
Posted: 2010/10/20

screenshotYour enjoyment of this game will largely depend on if you've played the SNES version (which was released first). If you haven't, then Zombies Ate My Neighbors is an engaging, light-hearted romp with a Halloween theme. Its 55 stages (!) of overhead shooting mayhem will take you into zombie-ravaged neighborhoods, hedge mazes terrorized by chainsaw maniacs, and beaches crawling with Creature From The Black Lagoon clones.

One or two players can battle these evil minions by tossing everyday objects like tomatoes, plates, pop-sickles, and footballs. The whimsical soundtrack perfectly complements the action, and an easy-to-read password is provided after every few stages. Zombies Ate My Neighbors is a good game, but if you cut your teeth on the SNES version, you're bound to be disappointed.

First off, the right side of the screen is reserved for scoring and the radar display, forcing the main play area to be somewhat squished. The graphics don't look nearly as sharp as the SNES, and the certain visual effects are missing altogether. For example, monsters don't turn blue when you freeze them with a fire extinguisher.

But the audio is the biggest letdown. The music is muted and some sounds have been reduced to simple beeps. The bass-heavy effects that rocked the SNES just sound harsh. My friend Scott remarked, "it gets more and more disappointing with each sound effect!" The only way this edition improves upon the original is the red blood that drips down the "game over" screen, as opposed to that cheesy purple goo of the SNES edition. © Copyright 2010 The Video Game Critic.

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High score: 41,150
Save: Password
1 or 2 players 

If you like this game, try: Zombies Ate My Neighbors (Super Nintendo)
Ghoul Patrol (Super Nintendo)
Area 51 (Playstation)
Marine Fishing (Dreamcast)
Breath of Fire II (Guest Review) (Game Boy Advance)

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