system Index F-G
F-16 Fighting Falcon
Grade: F
Publisher: Sega (1985)
Reviewed: 2017/6/11

screenshotDuring the 1980's demand was high for sophisticated fighter jet simulations such as F-15 Strike Eagle (Atari XE, 1985). I guess computer-savvy gamers were tired of shallow arcade fare and wanted something more substantial. If F-16 Fighting Falcon is any indication, the consoles of the time were not up to the task. F-16's screen features a cluttered control panel with all sorts of radar systems and indicators. The 37-page manual tries to explain everything in detail, even walking you through the early missions.

The game utilizes two controllers, so having a second player as a copilot is a good idea. Unfortunately the scenery is not the least bit convincing. The horizon is blue and the ground is white dots. If the ugly graphics don't turn your stomach the sluggish frame-rate will do the trick. Maneuvering an enemy into your sights is such a hassle! You'll swing from one side to the next, struggling to center your target.

Your missiles look like big yellow tennis balls slowly blinking their way across the screen. If an enemy is close enough you can fire your machinegun and hear the "ting ting" of bullets striking metal. The CPU provides an autopilot mode but instead of charting a steady course he weaves all over the place like a drunk driver! The combat is so unsatisfying. When an enemy is destroyed it just vanishes from the screen. If not for a "level complete" message I would never know I was making any progress at all! F-16 Fighting Falcon is a combat simulator that simply wasn't ready for prime time. © Copyright 2017 The Video Game Critic.

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Our high score: 481
1 or 2 players 

If you like this game, try: F-15 Strike Eagle (Atari XEGS)
Twin Eagle (NES)
Championship Tennis (Intellivision)
Ace Combat 2 (Playstation)
Tomcat F-14 Fighter Simulator (Atari 7800)

Fantasy Zone
Grade: B+
Publisher: Sega (1986)
Reviewed: 2009/1/25

screenshotIn stark contrast to the serious side-scrolling shooters of the mid-1980's, Fantasy Zone strikes a whimsical chord with cute aliens, playful music, and ultra-bright pastel colors. Some gamers may be irritated by the fanciful style but Fantasy Zone's gameplay is no joke. Your small, bullet-shaped ship is very nimble, and I like how it sprouts little feet when running along the planet surface. You can fire shots as fast as you can tap the fire button, and the second button lets you drop bombs.

Each side-scrolling stage contains several large, stationary aliens that must be defeated in order to initiate a boss encounter. Zany enemies come in all forms, from green fish to blue blobs to rotating flowers. Honestly, I can't even tell what most of those things are supposed to be. When defeated, baddies drop bouncing coins which can be snatched up and used to purchase weapons, bombs, and speed upgrades. You'll certainly want to upgrade your firepower, since larger foes can absorb a lot of hits. I love the seven-way shot weapon, but the smart bomb isn't quite as devastating as I would like (it won't destroy larger foes). Avoid the speed upgrades because they make your ship very hard to guide with precision.

The difficulty is up there, and the collision detection won't cut you any slack. Sometimes you'll think you're in the clear, only to have a wayward rotating missile clip your wing and send you to day-glow heaven. Fantasy Zone's graphic quality is pretty amazing, with a screen resolution that seems higher than most Master System games. The colors are remarkably vibrant and the scenery looks crisp and well defined. When destroyed, your ship bursts into a nice pattern of snowflakes. I appreciate Fantasy Zone's novel approach, and shooter fans should welcome the change of pace. © Copyright 2009 The Video Game Critic.

Our high score: 24300
1 or 2 players 

If you like this game, try: Fantasy Zone (Turbografx-16)
Magical Chase (Japan) (Turbografx-16)
Space Ranger (Philips CD-i)
Darius Twin (Super Nintendo)
Ordyne (Turbografx-16)

Flash, The (Europe)
Grade: C-
Publisher: Sega (1993)
Reviewed: 2019/3/18

screenshotOn the surface The Flash looks so fresh and inviting! It has everything you'd want in a superhero romp like fast action, colorful graphics, scenic city skylines, and comic book-style cutscenes. The gameplay is frenetic but confusing as all hell. What do all these indicators mean? Are these icons doing anything? Why did I just die? Why does the sky have a friggin' roof?

The opening stage looks amazing as you leap between buildings and catapult off springs. But Flash does not control well. He runs like he's on a Slip-N-Slide and his spin-attack is totally out of control. You tend to overshoot your mark, plowing through non-moving thugs before hurling yourself into a lake of fire, bed of spikes, or meat grinder. When standing still Flash has a ray gun attack with a range of one whole centimeter. And just when you start to figure out what the [expletive] going on, the timer runs out and you die. Was that really necessary?

At least the game looks good with vibrant colors that leap off the screen. Buildings are richly textured and the city skyline looks great against the sunset. "Mayor Trickster" posters can be seen on the walls, which I assume is some obscure villain. The soundtrack isn't bad although it sounds like the composer drank two pots of coffee before recording it. There's no score on the screen but you are presented with a score in the unlikely event that you complete a stage. The Flash will appeal to collectors but frankly it's poorly designed and too hard to play. © Copyright 2019 The Video Game Critic.

Our high score: 11,700
1 player 

If you like this game, try: Ray Crisis (Playstation)
Condor Attack (Atari 2600)
Batman: Vengeance (Game Boy Advance)
Roc 'N Rope (Atari 2600)
Sewer Shark (Sega CD)

Galaxy Force
Grade: F
Publisher: Sega (1989)
Reviewed: 2014/4/22

screenshotMuch like After Burner (Sega, 1987) and Space Harrier (Sega, 1987), Galaxy Force tries to render 3D-ish graphics on the Master System with disastrous results. This is horrible! The scaling enemies and behind-the-ship view were clearly too much for the hardware to handle. Galaxy Force is Afterburner-in-space, and even features the same weapons. One button fires your machine gun while the other unleashes guided missiles at "locked on" targets.

The red lock-on indicators only appear briefly, so by the time you launch it's often too late. Fortunately your cannon is pretty effective and you can hold down the button to shoot continuously. The graphics are a mess. Not only do the enemies scale abruptly into view, but when objects overlap unsightly visual glitches occur. It's hard to tell when you're taking hits with all the junk on the screen, and your shield indicator was designed by a moron. It's a symbol of a red ship surrounded by a constantly flashing circle. WTF?

The best aspect of the game is the ability to select from one of four stages. The first is set in open space, and the others let you glide over planets of molten lava, windy deserts, and striped meadows. About half-way through each stage you'll fly through a psychedelic tunnel with enough flashing lights to trigger an epileptic seizure. Trying to navigate these narrow corridors is futile, even with the un-helpful prompts like "turn left!" One crash brings your game to an abrupt - and merciful - conclusion. Your score isn't even displayed until the end of the game. The only thing good about Galaxy Force is that it makes Galaxy Force II (Genesis, 1992) seem a lot less awful. © Copyright 2014 The Video Game Critic.

Our high score: 20,700
1 player 

If you like this game, try: Galaxy Force II (Genesis)
Blue Lightning (Lynx)
After Burner (NES)
Galaxy Force II (Japan) (Saturn)
After Burner (Sega Master System)

Gangster Town
Grade: A
Publisher: Sega (1989)
Reviewed: 2003/4/25

screenshotGangster Town has everything you'd want in a light gun game - challenge, variety, and superb graphics. As a member of the FBI, you engage in a series of exciting gangster shootouts. Each stage provides fresh scenery and a new challenge. The first level is a practice round that adjusts the difficulty of the game depending on how much skill you exhibit.

The next stage is a car chase that lets you shoot gangsters hanging out the windows while a plane drops bombs from above. You can even shoot out the tires for bonus points. The subsequent stages, which take place on a city street, a saloon, a nightclub and a dock, are more conventional but still very challenging and fun. When gangsters get shot, they turn into transparent, rising angels, and you can even shoot down the angels!

You can also take aim at bottles on the wall of the saloon, and even mice that scamper across the floor (which turn into tiny mice-angels, of course). Then there's the bonus stage that features a hidden key embedded in a multi-layered brick wall - it's a blast. Gangster Town also has a two-player simultaneous mode. The light gun control is fair, but it seems to register slightly to the right of where I aimed. Overall, this fantastic light gun game should not be missed. © Copyright 2003 The Video Game Critic.

Our high score: 30340
1 or 2 players 

If you like this game, try: Point Blank (Playstation)
Crossbow (Atari 7800)
Wanted (Sega Master System)
Time Crisis (Playstation)
Crime Buster (Atari XEGS)

Ghost House
Grade: D-
Publisher: Sega (1986)
Reviewed: 2001/8/27

screenshotAll systems deserve to have one good, scary game, but Ghost House isn't scary OR good. It's just a generic platform game with stupid-looking, cartoon monsters. The ghosts look a lot like Kirby of Nintendo fame, which is not a good sign! Your job is to collect the five "family jewels" by defeating five Draculas. Five Draculas? That should set off some alarms right there.

And guess how you defeat these five vampires? A wooden stake? Garlic? Holy water? Nah, you just punch them! C'mon, if you're going to make a game about vampires, you have to at least follow the rules! The game has no atmosphere at all and the music is as goofy as the graphics. Control isn't so hot either. Why do I keep falling through the floors?? Ghost House also features some annoying slow-down, and sometimes it will even freeze up for no reason. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.

Our high score: 37000
1 or 2 players 

If you like this game, try: Kirby Super Star (Super Nintendo)
K.C.'s Krazy Chase (Odyssey 2)
Kirby's Dream Collection Special Edition (Wii)
Kirby's Canvas Curse (Nintendo DS)
Punch-Out!! (NES)

Grade: D+
Publisher: Sega (1987)
Reviewed: 2010/3/2

screenshotI love the Ghostbusters film, but there was always something inherently un-fun about the Ghostbusters video game. This version falls more in line with the home computer editions, which means it's playable but far from great. The visuals are exceptionally rich, but only the most determined players will be able to stomach its monotonous - and difficult - gameplay. The game opens with one of those "follow-the-bouncing-ball" sing-alongs, but this rendition of the Ghostbusters theme is way off key!

The main screen is comprised of city blocks, and it looks more colorful and detailed than what you'll find in other versions. You can actually see the little Gatekeeper and Keymaster characters wandering the streets! You select from four cars (including the hearse), which you then equip with gadgets like a PK energy sensor, ghost vacuum, and traps. As you cruise up the vertically-scrolling streets, elaborate building facades offer some nice scenery. That's good, because cruising between locations is a major part of the game.

Fortunately your trips are mercifully short and you do not need to worry about gas. Upon arriving at a flashing city block (indicating PK activity), you'll see a new screen with up to five ghosts flying around the building exterior. The Ghostbuster dudes look sharp in their brown uniforms, and the translucent green "slimer" ghosts look pretty wild.

Catching them is really the highlight of the game, but there's not a lot to it. Except for the slimers, most of the ghosts in this game look like flying bananas. Despite its eye candy and streamlined gameplay, Ghostbusters is still confusing and repetitive. I got sick of returning to my headquarters to empty my traps, and that off-key music drove me nuts. This Master System version of Ghostbusters is better than most, but frankly, that's not saying much. © Copyright 2010 The Video Game Critic.

Save mechanism: Password
1 player 

If you like this game, try: Ghostbusters (Atari 2600)
Ghostbusters (NES)
Ghostbusters (Atari XEGS)
Ghostbusters 2 (NES)
Ghostbusters (Genesis)

Ghouls 'N Ghosts
Grade: B+
Publisher: Sega (1990)
Reviewed: 2002/10/8

screenshotThis is a good example of some of the excellent games released for the Master System near the end of its lifecycle. At first glance, you could easily mistake this game for the Genesis version. The graphics are crisp and detailed, and the gameplay is just like the arcade (including the huge bosses). The renaissance music is outstanding. Only some slowdown and graphic breakup mar an otherwise superb game playing experience.

As your knight makes his way through graveyards, villages, and caves, danger lurks at every turn. Ghouls 'n Ghost's most distinguishing feature is its difficulty, and this version is no different. It seems like every one of those chests contains that evil magician who turns you into a chicken or an old man. At times it's insanely difficult. There are unlimited continues, and you'll find yourself playing into the wee hours of the morning if you're really bent on beating this game. © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.

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Our high score: 11000
1 player 

If you like this game, try: Ghouls 'N Ghosts (Genesis)
Ghouls 'N Ghosts (Turbografx-16)
Super Ghouls 'N Ghosts (Super Nintendo)
Roc 'N Rope (Atari 2600)
Joust (Atari XEGS)

Global Defense
Grade: C+
Publisher: Sega (1988)
Reviewed: 2000/11/14

screenshotHey look - it's Missile Command for the Sega Master System! There's no question that Global Defense borrows heavily from that classic, but it adds a few unique twists. You control a satellite in space. Your control alternates between the satellite and a crosshair, depending on which button you hold down. You don't shoot enemies directly; your missiles create explosions that take out anything nearby. The explosions don't last long (like Missile Command explosions), but you can unleash a series of them at once (hold down the button for rapid fire).

The game alternates between an offensive stage and a defensive stage. During the offensive stage, you destroy as many enemy ships as you can while avoiding their onslaught. The defensive stage only requires you to shoot down missiles approaching a planet's surface. The graphics are nice, and a different planet is featured in the background of each stage. The space shuttle that picks you up after you complete a stage is a nice touch. The background music has a computer/space theme, and it's not too annoying. Global Defense isn't a classic, but it's fun to play for a while. © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.

Our high score: 10600
1 player 

If you like this game, try: Missile War (Arcadia 2001)
Missile Command (Atari 5200)
Patriots (Vectrex)
Missile Command (Playstation)
Galaxy Force II (Genesis)

Golden Axe
Grade: A-
Publisher: Sega (1989)
Reviewed: 2003/4/25

screenshotThis late-arriving Master System game pushes the system to the limit. The title screen is astonishing, and the in-game graphics are only a notch below the Genesis version. The scenery and spells are less spectacular in this edition, but the characters are large and very well detailed. All the major elements of the game are here, like the animals you can ride and the tiny trolls you can hack at for magic potions. I was especially impressed by the look of the animals and skeletons.

The inspired music is also very similar to the Genesis. The only aspect of the game that truly suffers is the animation - it's somewhat choppy and lining up your man with enemies can be a bit tricky. The options are also a bit thin. You can only control the Conan-like Tarik (no woman or dwarf), although you can select from three types of magic. But the biggest omission has to be the disappointing lack of a two-player mode. Despite these shortcomings, Golden Axe still makes for a very satisfying one player experience. © Copyright 2003 The Video Game Critic.

1 player 

If you like this game, try: Golden Axe (Genesis)
Golden Axe II (Genesis)
Midnight Magic (Atari 2600)
Golden Axe The Duel (Saturn)
Oink! (Atari 2600)

Golvellius: Valley of Doom
Grade: F
Publisher: Sega (1988)
Reviewed: 2015/3/13

screenshotGolvellius: Valley of Doom is structured like Zelda II: The Adventure of Link (NES, 1989), offering a mix of overhead exploration and side-scrolling stages. But if this was Sega's attempt to create a Zelda franchise of their own, they failed miserably. The title screen states "reprogrammed by Sega", but I think they should have started from the ground up - beginning with that atrocious name. The box cover depicts a musclebound hero but the main character is a green-haired kid with a huge noggin. As you move between contiguous screens bees, snakes, and frogs materialize from nowhere and relentlessly sap your health. You can hack them with your sword, but they continuously respawn and will overwhelm you.

The controls are a disgrace. You can't can't move diagonally and you get stuck on every rock, bush, and grain of sand. It's infuriating when you can't enter a hole because you're one pixel off. I'm going out on a limb to declare these the worst controls of all time. Unfortunately you have to slay several creatures to reveal any hidden holes. Inside a hole you'll typically find an old woman or fairy. The old woman will try to sell you something, but your only options are "want" or "don't want". Well... what if I just don't have enough money?! In that case you'll get chewed out either way. Fairies try to offer clues but you can't trust them!

One instructed me to "move a blue rock" to reveal a dungeon entrance. In fact, you need to strike the rock with your sword five times! Thank goodness for the FAQ! The side-scrolling dungeons aren't much better. You can only face forward (what?!) and bats fly through walls to drain your life. During boss fights you can't tell if you're inflicting damage until the boss finally explodes into sparkles. The game's primary claim to fame seems to be its password feature, but jotting down that 32-character code isn't much fun. Even when you use a password you start back at the beginning. I'll stop short of saying I hate Golvellius, but a game this poorly designed will bring you nothing but pain and misery. © Copyright 2015 The Video Game Critic.

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Save mechanism: Password
1 player 

If you like this game, try: Neutopia (Turbografx-16)
Zelda II: The Adventure of Link (NES)
Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap (Game Boy Advance)
Legend of Zelda, The (Game Boy Advance)
Dragon's Curse (Turbografx-16)

Great Baseball
Grade: F
Publisher: Sega (1987)
Reviewed: 2004/4/18

screenshotThere seems to be an easy method to determine which games are good on the Sega Master System. If the title begins with "Great", that means it sucks. On the other hand, if it doesn't flaunt itself as being great, it's probably very good. "Awful Baseball" would have been a more honest title for this one. At first glance, the game appears to have a lot going for it. The pitcher/batter screen is similar to Bases Loaded on the NES, with a TV-style view from behind the pitcher, and it controls as good as it looks.

Unfortunately, once the ball is put into play the whole game goes to hell in a handbasket. The screen switches to a view of the whole field, where the fielders move slow as molasses. It's like controlling a team of 90-year-old men, only slower. The diamond doesn't look so hot either thanks to those stupid narrow dirt paths between the bases. Ironically, the field on the small "radar" screen looks far more realistic!

The umpire makes audible calls, but some are really hard to make out amidst all the fuzz. When a foul ball is hit, he sounds like he's screaming like a maniac! The crowd sounds like a jumbo jet flying overhead, and for some reason they go NUTS over foul balls (which are painfully abundant by the way). Great Baseball is truly bad, but it does have something I've never seen in another baseball game - balks! I wish they would have put that misplaced effort into playtesting instead. © Copyright 2004 The Video Game Critic.

1 or 2 players 

If you like this game, try: World Class Baseball (Turbografx-16)
Hardball (Atari XEGS)
Ken Griffey's Winning Run (Super Nintendo)
Baseball (NES)
Tecmo Super Baseball (Genesis)

Great Basketball
Grade: F
Publisher: Sega (1987)
Reviewed: 2009/1/25

screenshotFor those in the mood for an absolutely terrible basketball game, I'd recommend Great Basketball. Man, what a train wreck. The side-scrolling court is colorful and well-defined, but why in the [expletive] is it green? You can select from a set of International teams, but all of the players are Asian - and wearing diapers no less! The ball moves much like a beach ball - slow and floaty. The physics is so insane that shots completely off-line (with no arc) magically get sucked into the hoop.

On the bright side, players scamper quickly down the court, and I like how you shoot by releasing at the top of your jump. While you can't dunk per se, it does look like you're throwing the ball down when you shoot close to the basket. The mind boggling free-throw shooting mechanism is needlessly complex with too many moving parts. Throw-ins are also problematic because you often can't see who you're throwing to, resulting in a lot of high, up-for-grabs passes. That sucks, but what ultimately ruins the game are its unnecessary penalties. These are called completely at random, and even the act of catching the ball can draw a "charging" foul.

Oh well, at least the games are short. The non-stop background music and fuzzy voice synthesis fall squarely into the "so bad they're good" category. I like the cheerleaders on the sidelines, even though they are larger than the players and resemble the cavemen from the Geico commercials. At half-time there's a modest little show, but it's still more than what you'll see in any modern basketball game. There's definitely some old-school charm here, but with gameplay this erratic it would take a massive dose of nostalgia just to make Great Basketball seem... good. © Copyright 2009 The Video Game Critic.

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1 or 2 players 

If you like this game, try: Tecmo Super NBA Basketball (Super Nintendo)
Pat Riley Basketball (Genesis)
David Robinson's Supreme Court (Genesis)
Ultimate Basketball (NES)
Jordan vs. Bird: One on One (NES)

Great Football
Grade: F
Publisher: Sega (1987)
Reviewed: 2005/12/13

screenshotHere's another perfectly awful sports game for the Master System. Great Football's bright, colorful graphics might have been appealing in 1987, but its gameplay has aged poorly. I recently played this against my old friend Eric who is also a long-time Master System fan. We had a great time - making fun of this, that is. I'm not sure which league Sega licensed for Great Football, but the teams include the Beavers, Bombers, Sharks, and everybody's favorite, the Dukes.

The controls are remarkably unintuitive. The play selection screen forces you to sit and wait as it slowly cycles through all eight possible formations. You must hit a button when your play is highlighted, and you can engage in all sorts of theatrics to "bluff" your opponent. The passing game is pathetic, and I hate how the runningback stops dead when he reaches the goal line, as if he's saving his energy for the extra point attempt. The playing field looks pretty good, except for that goofy eagle logo on the 50-yard line. The fat players are easy to follow, and although there is some flicker, it doesn't detract from the abysmal gameplay.

Great Football's audio includes static-laden digitized crowd noise, and it sounds like they're chanting "Eddie! Eddie!" Short musical tunes play throughout the game, and while you might expect them to be annoying, they're actually somewhat endearing. The one-player mode is really odd. You only play on offense, trying overcome a computer opponent that's been spotted points. When it comes to pigskin action, it doesn't get much worse than Great Football. © Copyright 2005 The Video Game Critic.

1 or 2 players 

If you like this game, try: Bill Walsh College Football (Sega CD)
Football (Atari 2600)
Madden '93 (Genesis)
Touchdown Football (Atari 7800)
NHL '95 (Genesis)

Great Golf
Grade: C-
Publisher: Sega (1987)
Reviewed: 2016/7/23

screenshotConsidering how un-great most Master System sports games are, I'm pleased to declare Great Golf not terrible. Sure it's a bit on the slow side but its mechanics resemble those found in 16-bit golf titles such as PGA Tour Golf (Genesis, 1991). The tee-off screen offers both a bird's eye view of the hole and behind-the-golfer angle. It takes a few seconds to render the layered scenery for the golfer view, and over the course of a game those seconds can add up - especially with multiple players. Wait - are those trees growing out of the water?!

There's no caddy to help select your club so you'll need to know the "flying distance" for each club (see instructions). Upon choosing your shot direction a vertical power meter suddenly appears and quickly moves upward. You really need to be ready for it, especially if you intend to hit a soft shot. Frankly it's far too easy to overshoot your target. The golfer's swing animation is smooth enough but it looks to me like he completely misses the ball.

The ball flies off the tee anyway, moving through the air in a floaty manner. Upon reaching the green you'll hear a bell that gives the false impression the ball landed in the cup. Nope! An exceptional shot will reward you with an illegible voice that sounds like a zipper being yanked up and down. Putting is tough because the game doesn't bother to tell you your distance. This game doesn't do you any favors, but if you're willing to put a little effort into it Great Golf is a worthy challenge. © Copyright 2016 The Video Game Critic.

1 to 4 players 

If you like this game, try: Jack Nicklaus Golf (Super Nintendo)
Leader Board Golf (Genesis)
PGA Tour Golf (Genesis)
PGA Tour Golf II (Game Gear)
Golf (NES)

Great Ice Hockey
Grade: F-
Publisher: Sega (1986)
Reviewed: 2009/3/10

screenshotOf all the pitiful entries in Sega's "Great" line of sports games, this wretched atrocity permanently resides at the bottom. Great Ice Hockey is the plankton of the video game food chain. The main problem is how it inexplicably requires the piece-of-crapolla Sega Sports Pad - the single most unresponsive track-ball ever produced! The game begins like any 8-bit hockey title, presenting a bright white rink, some uptempo music, and small players not unlike those in Ice Hockey (NES, 1988).

Immediately after face-off however, you immediately realize how worthless the controller is. You'll spin it like mad with your thumb, only to watch your player creep a half-inch. At first I thought my controller was broken! Before you can get off a pass off a swift CPU-controlled player snags the puck and speeds off toward your goal.

The rink is spread over three screens, and when the screen flips from one to the next, you lose control of your player. Calling this unplayable would be an understatement! I can't imagine anyone persevering through an entire game, because a mere two minutes of this inflicts more suffering that any human should endure.

From what I hear, these controllers were originally quite expensive, so you have to feel for the poor kid in 1986 who saved up his allowance all summer long just to purchase this steaming pile of dung. The saddest part is, this could have been a respectable game had Sega allowed it to be played with a normal controller. I suspect this was a case of greed on Sega's part, so in that case I'm glad Great Ice Hockey was a total bust. © Copyright 2009 The Video Game Critic.

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1 or 2 players 

If you like this game, try: Hockey/Soccer (Odyssey 2)
Champion Ice Hockey (Sega SG-1000)
Ice Hockey (NES)
Food Fight (Atari 7800)
Ice Hockey (Atari 2600)

Great Soccer
Grade: F
Publisher: Sega (1987)
Reviewed: 2004/4/18

screenshotHere's another pathetic entry to Sega's "Great" sport series. The cartoonish players wander around aimlessly, and they ALL have arrows over their heads. Shouldn't only the player you're controlling have the arrow? Oh, he has the outlined arrow - NOW it all makes sense (a little sarcasm there). As soon as your player touches the ball, he automatically kicks it a few feet ahead, and with so many other players crowded around, it's impossible to maintain any degree of control over the ball. You can't dribble and there are no headers, bicycle kicks, or any other standard moves.

I'd recommend playing Great Soccer with one hand, so you can use the other to hold your nose. Playing this is a painful experience, as the ball tends to be kicked around endlessly in the same small area. At least the scrolling field doesn't look bad, and the ball does rotate nicely. High-pitched background music whines nonstop and will have you lunging for the volume control. I reviewed Great Soccer with longtime friend and Master System expert Eric V., and even he was astonished by how putrid this wretched piece of garbage is. © Copyright 2004 The Video Game Critic.

1 or 2 player 

If you like this game, try: World Championship Soccer (Genesis)
Realsports Soccer (Atari 2600)
World Championship Soccer II (Genesis)
International Soccer (Atari 2600)
NASL Soccer (Intellivision)

Great Volleyball
Grade: D-
Publisher: Sega (1987)
Reviewed: 2018/9/23

screenshotI feel like Great Volleyball could have been a lot better - maybe even good! The players are colorful, the controls responsive, and the side-scrolling court offers a nice viewpoint. You select from eight international teams including the USSR. The USSR! Don't you love it how classic games can transport you back in time? On the court the ball tends to float off the top of the screen, its movement followed by its shadow on the ground.

I'm glad there's plenty of time to easily camp under it because the physics is a joke! After traveling at a constant speed over the net, the ball seems to stop in mid-air and fall straight down. Sometimes the ball will hit the ground and suddenly take off like a rocket! Worst of all is when the ball drifts backward, as if taken by a gust of wind! We're playing indoors people!! Is this a volleyball or a balloon?!

Setting the ball for teammates is easy but executing a spike is hard. One button lets you jump high and the other lets you slam it down in mid-air. The problem is, since the ball is off the screen it's hard to time your jump. On the rare occasion you do execute a spike I have to admit it's pretty sweet. Upon scoring a point all the members of the team perform calisthenics in unison. Great Volleyball is a curiosity. Sega should have put "Great" in quotes, as apparently they were using the more obscure definition "poorly designed and awkward to play". © Copyright 2018 The Video Game Critic.

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1 or 2 players 

If you like this game, try: Volleyball (Odyssey 2)
Volleyball (NES)
Power Spikes II (CD) (Neo Geo)
Super Volleyball (Turbografx-16)
Kings of the Beach (NES)

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