system Index W-Z
WWF Royal Rumble
Grade: C-
Publisher: Acclaim (1993)
Posted: 2023/9/12

screenshotReleased one year after WWF Super WrestleMania (Acclaim, 1992), Royal Rumble delivers more refined wrestling action with improved graphics, additional moves, and loads of options. The 12 fighters are a big step from eight, with new faces Rick Martel, Lex Luger, Crush, and Hacksaw Jim Dugan.

You can now adjust ten levels of difficulty before each match. New modes include triple tag team and Royal Rumble. What the heck is a Royal Rumble? It's six guys in the ring at the same time, all beating the [expletive] out of each other. If you thought the tag team matches were a headache, pass the Tylenol!

The graphics are significantly more detailed and realistic, beginning with the crowd. The wrestlers have larger heads that make them a bit more recognizable. I appreciate how a folding chair is strategically placed outside of the ring - just in case someone needs to sit down and rest!

The basic gameplay isn't a whole lot different from WrestleMania, save for a new "grapple meter". At least now when you're button-mashing during a tie-up, you know if you're winning it. The game also introduces a lot of brutal new moves like face scratches and choke holds.

The six-button controller is supported but instead of making things easier it makes things more complicated. It doesn't help that the manual fails to include a controller diagram, instead listing page and page of complicated moves.

Royal Rumble may be a step up from its predecessor but not enough to get over the hump. I like how two players can now team up against the CPU, but what the game really needs is a CPU-vs-CPU mode. I say that because I'm almost certain this game would be more fun to watch than play. © Copyright 2023 The Video Game Critic.

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1 or 2 players 

If you like this game, try: WWF Raw (Sega 32X)
WWF War Zone (Playstation)
ECW Hardcore Revolution (Nintendo 64)
Title Match Pro Wrestling (Atari 2600)
Pro Wrestling (Sega Master System)

WWF Super Wrestlemania
Grade: D
Publisher: Acclaim (1992)
Posted: 2023/9/12

screenshotThe 1990's marked the end of a golden era of wrestling, featuring 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, colorful characters and crazy signature moves.

A game like Super WrestleMania presents 16-bit fans with that age-old dilemma. For realistic graphics and momentous sound, the Super Nintendo version is for you. But if you value responsive controls and fast action, the Genesis is your best bet. Sadly the underlying gameplay for both is equally marginal.

This edition includes eight cartoonish fighters - that's two less than the SNES. You get Hulk Hogan, Papa Shango, Macho Man, Ultimate Warrior, British Bulldog, IRS, Ted DiBiase, and Shawn Michaels.

The action moves about twice as fast as the SNES but this WrestleMania lacks the flashy visuals you want in an arcade title. The collision detection is so erratic you can't tell if your leg drop landed on an opponent or missed completely. The Genesis three-button controller proves a liability, forcing you to press combinations of buttons. For example, running is B+C and special moves are performed by pressing A+C.

There are other differences between this game and the SNES. This offers a WWF Championship mode that lets you plow through all your rivals to earn the belt. The music has that weird Genesis twang and the digitized images look grainy. On the plus side, when Hulk Hogan wins you're treated to a gritty rendition of his "Real American" theme song by Rick Derringer.

When competing with friends I found the game to be unintentionally comical. For some reason our guys kept leaving the ring only to turn around and come right back. But the biggest disappointment is the lack of pageantry and spectacle you'd expect from the WWF. Where are the flashy introductions, commentators, and interviews? © Copyright 2023 The Video Game Critic.

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1 or 2 players 

If you like this game, try: WWF Wrestlemania: The Arcade Game (Sega 32X)
WWF Raw (Sega 32X)
Mortal Kombat (Super Nintendo)
Super Street Fighter II (Genesis)
Street Fighter II Championship Edition (Genesis)

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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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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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: 2023/7/24

screenshotWorld Series Baseball set a high-water mark for realism but at the expense of the arcade style that made Sportstalk Baseball (Sega, 1992) so much fun. World Series offers a full slate of teams and stadiums, and there's something to be said for having real players. Just perusing their names will rekindle lots of fond memories. Playing modes include exhibition, home run derby, and a battery backed-up season.

The graphics are realistic but kind of bland. The stadiums are faithful to their real-life counterparts, and I love the running water fountains of KC's Kaufman field. The players look pretty generic, bearing no uniform markings. The "catcher's view" provides the hitter with a great view of the strike zone, with a digitized batter along the edge of the screen. Once a ball is put into play the view switches to overhead angle with small players and so-so animation.

The action isn't particularly fast or smooth, and there are too many lulls in the action. You're constantly waiting for the pitcher to get the ball back, and for some reason the scoreboard is displayed before every batter. Two button presses are required to throw each pitch; one to select the pitch type, and the other to select the speed. Why would I want to throw a slow fastball?

Stick to the rookie mode. In veteran or expert levels the batter must "aim" their swing using a circular zone, and it's a heck of a lot of work just to make contact. In terms of fielding, throws tend to be high-arcing, turning routine grounders into close plays. The height of the baseball is represented by an expanding shadow that becomes huge during pop-ups. I still recall my friend Bobby blurting out what everyone else was thinking: "Look at the size of that shadow!"

The SportsTalk commentator has a lot to say but his sentences sound disjointed. The crowd sounds abrasive and the scoreboard displays semi-creepy animated cartoons. After the third out the infielder tosses the ball towards the mound, but this can add confusion during close plays. World Series Baseball is pretty sophisticated but it feels rough and lacks the flow of a quality sports title. © Copyright 2023 The Video Game Critic.

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1 or 2 players 

If you like this game, try: Baseball Advance (Game Boy Advance)
Tecmo Baseball (NES)
Reggie Jackson Baseball (Sega Master System)
Baseball Heroes (Lynx)
World Class Baseball (Turbografx-16)

World Series Baseball '95
Grade: B-
Publisher: Sega (1995)
Posted: 2023/7/24

screenshotThis sequel represents a modest improvement to the World Series Baseball series. It opens with a scene of a stadium at night with fireworks bursting to the last stanza of the national anthem. It's a patriotic sight that puts you in the right state of mind to sit back and enjoy our national pastime. And in 1995 baseball really was our national pastime!

New options include multiplayer leagues, the ability to draft and trade players (*snore*), and teams of "all-time great" players (*zzzzz...*). The game does reproduce the shiny new ballparks of Cleveland, Colorado, and Texas. But its most notable feature is the ability to "celebrate" during home run trots. When using a six-button controller, you can showboat to your heart's content, fist-pumping, windmilling, and even cartwheeling around the bases. It's a great way to piss off your opponent, and impossible to not abuse!

The graphics look a bit more vibrant this year. I love the view of the city skylines from the batter's box, especially Jacob's Field. It looks cool to see the umpire presiding over second base, with the second baseman shading towards the runner.

The batter doesn't need to "aim" his swing this year, which is quite a relief. The fielding is faster and smoother, although as a result it's harder to leg-out a double. I like how the ball now clanks off of the bat in a satisfying manner, but there sure are a lot of foul balls. As in the first game, the baserunning controls are not intuitive at all.

It's too bad the "challenge rule" wasn't around for this game, because the umps make quite a few mistakes. When playing my buddy Eric I was called safe at first on a bunt which was clearly an out. During the very next play there was a fly ball called out that clearly dropped in front of the left fielder, as verified by the instant replay.

The SportsTalk announcer (aka Larry King) has been replaced with another guy who says very little ("he drops it over the infield"). A PA announcer introduces each batter, but he speaks too slowly ("Next up... for the Braves... the shortstop... number 15...") Get on with it man!! The crowd noise sounds like a water faucet, and that's being kind.

Trivia is displayed on the scoreboard between certain innings, and it would have been a cool feature if the font wasn't so dark and hard to read. I noticed the umpire no longer calls balls, which is a good thing. Still, the pacing leaves much to be desired, with too many unnecessary prompts. That said, World Series '95 was at least a step in the right direction. © Copyright 2023 The Video Game Critic.

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1 or 2 players 

If you like this game, try: Tecmo Baseball (NES)
Dusty Diamonds Softball All-Stars (NES)
SportsTalk Baseball (Genesis)
RBI Baseball '95 (Sega 32X)
Realsports Baseball (Atari 5200)

World Series Baseball '96
Grade: C+
Publisher: Sega (1996)
Posted: 2023/7/25

screenshotDon't feel bad if you get this confused with World Series '95. Whenever the "new feature" list on the back of the box begins with "new rosters and stats!", the writing's on the wall. And when it further boasts about "original" features, you know you're in for a complete rehash. It's a shame too because there was plenty of room for improvement.

High fly balls still produce huge, goofy-looking shadows, giving the impression a UFO abduction is about to take place. The "water faucet" crowd sound is bad enough, but it's irritating how it cuts in and out. The "radar" screen overlays with the field, dotting it with black pixels that look like a glitch.

The controls should have been revamped. Running to second base requires pushing the directional pad towards first, which makes no sense. And I can never remember how to slide during close plays! Sega removed the best part of the last game. That's right - the celebratory home run trots have been axed! All you get is a cheesy scoreboard animation. Lame!

That said, World Series Baseball '96 has its moments. It's satisfying to dive for a grounder and rifle out the runner going to first. I love how the umpires make emphatic calls like "he's safe!" and "he's outta there!" It doesn't hurt that my '96 Orioles are loaded with big bats like Cal Ripken, Brady Anderson, Roberto Alamar, and Rafael Palmeiro. World Series 96 is basically more of the same but I guess it serves its purpose. © Copyright 2023 The Video Game Critic.

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1 or 2 players 

If you like this game, try: Cal Ripken Jr. Baseball (Genesis)
Cal Ripken Jr. Baseball (Super Nintendo)
World Series Baseball II (Saturn)
RBI Baseball 2 (NES)
Reggie Jackson Baseball (Sega Master System)

World Series Baseball '98
Grade: C+
Publisher: Sega (1997)
Posted: 2023/7/25

screenshotAfter skipping the 1997 season, somebody in Sega's accounting department realized the Genesis was still making money and sent a memo to the brass. As you might have guessed, World Series Baseball '98 is essentially the same as '96, except with the obligatory updated rosters, statistics, and schedules. Sega was milking this series for all it was worth! Oh wait - I take that back - there's a new "batting practice" mode. Joy.

It's hard to write three reviews for the same game but I did notice a few interesting tidbits while playing this. The cover boy is Chipper Jones, who also headlined the Sega Saturn version of World Series Baseball 98 (Saturn, 1997). I like how the scoreboard screens are personalized to their ballparks, but they are often accompanied by painfully cheesy organ music.

It's kind of irritating how the computer sometimes auto-selects the wrong guy while fielding a ground ball. I also dislike how the outfielders make long, looping throws to the bases with no hops. I wish they had some kind of player reaction to strikeouts. They just sort of shamble back to the dugout like zombies.

The catcher view is pretty cool. I noticed the second basement behaves in a very realistic manner. He even signals the number of outs to the outfielders, although I couldn't squint hard enough to tell if he was holding up the right number of fingers. The high-pitched play-by-play guy says some funny things like "slaps it through the hole!"

The game is definitely challenging, especially for the batter. Even with a perfect view of the plate it's easy to get caught off-guard by changing pitch speeds. World Series Baseball '98 doesn't really bring anything new to the table but it's probably the pinnacle of realism when it comes to 16-bit baseball. © Copyright 2023 The Video Game Critic.

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1 or 2 players 

If you like this game, try: Tecmo Super Baseball (Genesis)
Grand Slam (Playstation)
Bases Loaded 2: Second Season (NES)
RBI Baseball 93 (Genesis)
Baseball Advance (Game Boy Advance)

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: 2023/3/27

X-Men cover X-Men comics were a pretty big deal in the 1990's, so when my buddy Keith showed up at my house with this cartridge my friends were pumped! If that box cover doesn't get you stoked, nothing will! What could be more exciting than a new beat-em-up offering a colorful menagerie of heroes and villains? The graphics are pretty good with lush backgrounds and the sizable characters rendered with a comic-book flair.

The four playable heroes are Gambit, Cyclops, Nightcrawler, and Wolverine. I prefer Wolverine because he slowly reconstitutes health. The key to surviving the grueling stages is switching characters on the fly when your life gets low. It's like getting a new lease on life! You can also call in secondary heroes Rogue, Archangel, Iceman, and Storm to apply quick hits. I recommend saving those for the bosses.

This opening stage offers a dense jungle with tribal beats and spear-toting Goro clones. You'll leap between tree branches and lay the smack-down on savages while searching for hidden switches. Falling off the screen is a common occurrence, but Jean Gray will swoop in to save you. Unfortunately her levitating rescue is accompanied by a loud, super-obnoxious electro-magnetic sound. In two-player mode this occurs so often that the constant noise is unbearable!

I assumed the buzzing flies were just part of the scenery but in fact those little buggers actually chip away at your life bar! If one takes your last bit of life as Jean is lifting you to safety, she'll deposit your lifeless corpse on the nearest branch. Then you have to restart the entire stage. I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

The stages are cookie-cutter to-the-max with erratic collision detection and confusing boss encounters. Still, each time you play you'll advance a bit further. X-Men's audio is the most irritating collection of beeps and buzzes this side of Taz Mania (Sega, 1992). There's no password or score, but there is a handy stage-skip code. If this game didn't have an X-Men license it would suck. It does have a license however, so you might as well give it a shot. What the hell. © Copyright 2023 The Video Game Critic.

1 or 2 players 

If you like this game, try: X-Men (NES)
X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse (Super Nintendo)
X-Men: Children of the Atom (Saturn)
X-Men Vs. Street Fighter (Japan) (Saturn)
Jungle Hunt (Atari 2600)

X-Men 2: Clone Wars
Grade: B+
Publisher: Sega (1995)
Posted: 2023/3/27

screenshotInstead of kicking off with a title screen like any normal game, X-Men 2: Clone Wars inexplicably thrusts you into a blinding snow scene! Playing as a random X-Man, you find yourself contending with red ninja and robotic cannons in blizzard conditions! This was so unexpected I thought my cartridge was defective! I can't deny this game looks incredible. The characters are much larger and better-articulated than the first game. When you see Psylocke striking a hero pose with her hair blowing in the wind, it's like a cross between a comic book and an animated cartoon.

Complete the first stage and the title screen finally appears - like a movie! You then have six X-Men at your disposal with a total of eight lives. Each has unique abilities that alter the way you approach each stage. Wolverine can climb, Psylocke can double jump, and Nightcrawler can teleport. Personally I prefer Cyclops with his laser eye. A lot of drones in this game tend to blow up in your face, so it's nice to have a character who can keep his distance, even shooting objects off-screen!

Tight controls really help you get into a flow. Once you get familiar with the stages you can navigate them with ease. One flaw is that you often need to drop down a level, and unless you've played the stage before, you don't know what's below. Health is scarce in this game. You don't even begin with a full life bar, and DNA icons only replenish a tiny sliver.

Stage two is remarkable for a number of reasons. First, the idea of destroying electrical boxes to send charges to unlock doors is very clever and fun. As you progress you gradually realize the scaffold you are climbing is supporting a massive robot, and the ensuing boss encounter actually takes place inside of the robot!

X-Men 2: Clone Wars is a game that rewards aggression. When you see one of those floating probe droids (a la Empire Strikes Back), you'll want to make a bee-line at it and destroy it before it can unleash its flame attack. The sound effects in this game are spectacular. The shattering of glass is jarring, and crumbling rocks sound extra crunchy. Cool lighting effects highlight background scenery, conveying a sense of scale and atmosphere.

X-Men 2 is an epic odyssey but there's no score, password, continues, or options. Coop doesn't really add much, as you'll spend most of your energy just trying to keep both characters on the screen. The "savage land" stages are the low point of the game, conjuring painful flashbacks of the first game.

That said, when X-Men 2 is good, it is so good you will not believe it. Unlike the original game special moves are unlimited so you can really go all-out. Pound for pound, X-Men 2 may be the best superhero game you'll find on any 16-bit system. © Copyright 2023 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 The Arcade Game (Xbox 360)
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (Game Boy)
Neutopia (Turbografx-16)

Young Indiana Jones: Instruments of Chaos
Grade: F-
Publisher: Sega (1994)
Posted: 2023/6/16

screenshotTrying to play Young Indiana Jones is like attempting to play Dark Castle (Philips CD-i, 1992). If someone just handed you the controller you might think it's a joke. Apparently Instruments of Chaos was constructed around its semi-realistic whip animation. It fluidly follows your directional pad commands, allowing you to swirl it around and snap it. The problem is, it moves too damn slow to be useful or fun.

The game takes you through many exotic Indiana Jones locales including Egypt, India, Tibet, Germany, and England. Being able to select the order in which you play them is a nice feature, and the graphics aren't bad. Young Indiana looks almost digitized in appearance, and when he uses his whip to climb the animation is quite fluid.

Young Indiana Jones might be fun had it been remotely playable. The controls are deplorable, which is remarkable considering this was released in 1994! Young Indy is tall, lanky, and awkward to control. Not being able to squat makes him a sitting duck. Instead of running and jumping in a predictable manner, he will unexpectedly speed up and lurch erratically.

Fighting bad guys is a freaking nightmare. You'll be blocked by knife-throwing goons, and unless you have the gun they require about six lashes to defeat. While you're struggling with your slow-motion whip, you're getting knocked back by knives as a snake nips at your heels, birds fly into your head, and a monkey jumps on your back. Even if you do finally kill the guy a new thug appears in his place, so what is the point?

The London Bridge level not only pesters you with birds, but while on top of the bridge you're constantly getting struck by lightning! In Egypt, after stumbling through all sorts of tedious hazards a windstorm will sweep you all the way back, negating your progress. And while attempting to hop across ice floats in Tibet, flying fish knock you into the freezing water!

The only area this game rates highly on is the misery index. It's so hard to figure out what to do when during each stage you're getting abused non-stop. I can't imagine a play-tester signing off on this atrocity. Young Indiana Jones: Instruments of Chaos may just possibly be the worst Genesis game I've ever played. © Copyright 2023 The Video Game Critic.

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1 player 

If you like this game, try: Young Indiana Jones Chronicles (NES)
Indiana Jones' Greatest Adventures (Super Nintendo)
Dark Castle (Philips CD-i)
Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom (NES)
Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings (Wii)

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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