Unlike most Neo Geo games that use two buttons (three at most), 3 Count Bout uses all four, and the number of possible move combinations is astounding. Besides the standard punches and kicks, you can administer sleeper holds, jump off turnbuckles, bounce off ropes, and even perform out-of-the-ring attacks! Button functions vary depending on your opponent's proximity, and the extensive number of attacks ensures you'll see a new animation each time you play. One fighter who looks like a Village People reject has a move that involves him sticking his nose in an opponent's butt crack! For better or worse, the special moves can be very tricky to execute.
The game's awesome graphics are largely overshadowed by its rough animation, making it hard to discern what's going on in the heat of battle. There's a lot of joystick jiggling and button mashing involved, so technique often takes a back seat to pure chaos. In addition to standard matches, there are also "street fights" that take place in urban locations and incorporate weapons like bats and stun guns. Even more intriguing are the two-player tag-team matches against CPU-controlled opponents. 3 Count Bout is certainly an admirable attempt to bring professional wrestling to the Neo Geo, but you'll need to be a fan of this "sport" to truly appreciate all it has to offer. © Copyright 2007 The Video Game Critic.
AF2's gameplay is seriously fun. The military-themed targets include plenty of tanks, cannons, and helicopters, and the bosses are huge mechanical beasts. Ten brief but exciting stages provide interesting backdrops and semi-destructible scenery. Locations include Manhattan, a suburban neighborhood, and Hawaii. My favorite part of the game is flying over the amusement park with its moving rides and screaming kids (hint: shoot the Ferris wheel).
The game maintains a relatively serious tone throughout, until the final stage throws you for a loop, pitting you against a giant baboon in a spaceship. Al-righty then! The challenge is significant but not insurmountable, and you can shoot down many of the projectiles the game throws at you. To shoot rapidly you have to tap the buttons incessantly, so this is not a game you'll play for hours on end.
Another aspect I frowned upon is how your score does NOT reset when you use one of the unlimited continues. The continues are tempting, but they pretty much defeat the purpose of the game, which is to score points (in case you forgot). Using the unlimited continues, it's possible to finish the game in under 45 minutes. For maximum enjoyment, I'd recommend playing Aero Fighters 2 on the easy skill level but using no continues. In Japan, this game was released under the name Sonic Wings 2.
. © Copyright 2005 The Video Game Critic.
The stages aren't nearly as attractive or interesting as those in AF2, and some of the scenery (like the static water in stage two) looks horrible. The weapons are original but obnoxious, and using a fully powered-up weapon is more disconcerting than satisfying. Hell, one plane looks like it's firing huge evergreen trees. And if you think the weapons are unconventional, wait until you see some of these bosses.
If the giant squid in the desert doesn't have you wondering what the designers were smoking, check out the guitar-playing monkey on the flying saucer. There's a fine line between funny and dumb, and Aero Fighters 3 crosses that line again and again. Even the music is annoying. If there's one thing this game does right, it's the special attacks, which incorporate impressive scaling effects and inflict major damage. Otherwise, Aero Fighters 3 feels like a joke with no punchline. In Japan, this game went by the name of Sonic Wings 3. © Copyright 2005 The Video Game Critic.
I like how chunks of the massive enemy ships can break off and fall to the planet below. You attain power-ups by touching floating letters, and you can change these letters by shooting them, which also pushes them further up the screen. The problem is, you basically need to stop firing to gather them, and one thing I hate is a shooting game that discourages shooting! Just be sure not to collect an upside-down letter, since it actually functions as a power-down (another thing you hate to see in a shooter). All of this tedious letter watching has got to go.
In addition, the needlessly complex weapon system includes selecting weapons from a pull down menu in the heat of battle, which is moronic. Alpha Missions II lets you hold down the fire button to shoot continuously, but if you want to do substantial damage you have to tap the button incessantly. I also dislike how enemies and structures that can take multiple hits seem impervious to the first few shots. Only when they explode do you realize you were actually doing damage.
Alpha Mission II's design is so poor that it's hard to believe this is a sequel to something! A two-player simultaneous mode is included. The synthesized music is okay, but the computerized voice is unintelligible. This game is not a total loss, but Alpha Mission II hardly shows what the Neo Geo is capable of. © Copyright 2004 The Video Game Critic.
But Andro Dunos scores points with its two-player co-op mode, responsive controls, and ability to switch weapons on the fly. You'll find yourself constantly flipping between your four configurable weapons to meet each new challenge. It's also possible to charge your weapons to unleash a torrent of destruction. Enemies are often seen scaling in from the background, and while I'm sure this visual effect was impressive in 1992, it really just tends to clutter the screen. Unlike most shooters, using a "continue" brings you back with substantial firepower, and while this doesn't seem totally fair, it's hard to complain.
The best feature of Andro Dunos is its two-player simultaneous mode, which exhibits absolutely no slow-down in the heat of battle. If only the programmers had been more thoughtful when selecting colors for the two ships! One is orange and the other is bright pink, and it's very easy to get them confused when the screen gets crowded. The game's upbeat electronic music took a while to win me over, but ultimately it did. Andro Dunos won't blow you away, but if traditional side-scrolling shooters are your thing, there's plenty to like about this one. © Copyright 2007 The Video Game Critic.
The two central figures are Ryo Sakazaki and Robert Garcia, who bear more than a passing resemblance to Ryu and Ken of Street Fighter fame. Other contenders include a big fat slob named Jack Turner, a Bob Marley wannabe named Mikey Rodgers, and the masked Lee Pai Long. I always considered King to be a female dressed in men's clothing, but the manual actually refers to King as a "he", so who knows? The graphics are the highlight of this game, with smoothly animated characters and elegant backgrounds, including a dimly lit bar and some beautiful city skylines.
The main problem with Art of Fighting is the difficulty in executing special moves, some of which are listed in the manual. I even had a hard time getting one-quarter "fireball" motions to register. There's a "spirit gauge" under your health meter that lets you execute "super" attacks, but only advanced players will find it useful. Art of Fighting is pretty barebones compared to most modern fighters, but it looks great, and there's charm in its simplicity. © Copyright 2007 The Video Game Critic.
The gameplay is deeper than your average fighter thanks to a "rage" meter that lets you perform special attacks. You can recharge your meter or drain your opponent's through taunting, but this leaves you open to attack. Special moves are critical in this game, especially against the tough-as-nails CPU opponent. The fighters themselves are pretty generic, except of course for that guy in the monkey mask (freak!).
If you're looking for babes, AoF2 won't do much for you, unless you have a thing for butch lesbians like King. The background graphics are uneven in quality. The mansion stage with the fountain and car look terrific, but others (like the backyard stage) are surprisingly dull. But overall Art of Fighting 2 is one of the most impressive fighters I've ever seen. © Copyright 2003 The Video Game Critic.
The graphics are fairly minimal for a Neo Geo game, but the animation is smooth and the controls are responsive. Shortstops leap over sliding runners and outfielders crash into the fences. The "not-so-well-translated-from-Japanese" commentary is often unintentionally hilarious. For example, when you smack a homerun, the announcer exclaims "It's outta here! Hooomer outta here! And the crowd goes crazy. And how he loves to egg that crowd on. And proud he should be - he hit that ball a country mile! He just loves to hit homeruns in this ballpark." Strange nuances like that just make me love this game even more, but Baseball Stars does have its flaws.
Since the screen scrolls quickly when the ball is hit, it's often hard to position your fielders in time to handle grounders or fly balls. There are a far too many home runs and pop-ups to the infield, and the managers look like escaped convicts. Besides changing pitchers and pinch-hitting, there are really no options to speak of. You're also stuck with the Japanese "10-run domination" rule. Baseball Stars Professional is admittedly shallow, but for those of us tired of slow, realistic baseball games, this is just what the doctor ordered. © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.
The main screen features animated close-ups of both the pitcher and batter, and while these look terrific, the same faces repeat with annoying frequency. There are numerous cool graphical details like batters that break their bats, submariner pitchers, and rolling balls that kick up dust. After a home run, the entire team (including the mascot) greets the player at home plate. There are a substantial number of cut scenes and close-ups, especially during diving catches and close plays, which add drama and excitement. Unfortunately, the umpires tend to make bad calls, often contradicting what you see on the field.
The gameplay itself really hasn't changed much. It's easier to position your fielders laterally, but harder to tell how far the ball was hit. New "power-up" options add a bit more strategy, allowing you to increase your batter's strength a limited number of times per game. The single player tournament mode lets you save your place between innings, which is a welcome feature. I enjoy Baseball Stars Professional 2 immensely. It's probably the most spectacular baseball game I've ever played. © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.
At its core, Blazing Star is really a simple shooter. Tapping the fire button unleashes a steady stream of missiles. Enemies tend to scale in from the background and their satisfying explosions release all sorts of bonus icons. Holding in the fire button lets you perform a charged shot, which is especially effective on the bosses. Blazing Star's futuristic techno music is rich, and so is the poorly translated text ("Get it more!"). Stages are ideal in length and the difficulty ramps nicely.
If the game has a fault, I'd say it's a little boss heavy. Once you think you've finally destroyed the massive mechanical beast, it just transforms into a new shape. These bosses unleash overlapping waves of projectiles, so thank goodness the collision detection is forgiving. You'll also be thankful for the unlimited continues. Blazing Star will bombard your senses and test your skills, leaving your hands trembling. © Copyright 2011 The Video Game Critic.
Armed with a huge green leaf, you can "smack down" birds, lizards, Vikings, and potato-looking thingamajigs. These stunned creatures can then be picked up and hurled at other adversaries. In addition, it's possible to jump on creatures and "spin" them off the screen. None of it makes much sense, and I found myself hopelessly confused. Enemies close in from all sides, and rock-dropping birds only add to the aggravation.
Blue's single innovation involves pressing the C button, which allows you to shrink down into a tiny version of your character. But besides allowing you to reach certain items (tucked away in logs for example), I really couldn't find a practical use for this. Blue's Journey does feature branching paths, and you can purchase items with "flowers" you collect. As the instructions elegantly state, "The flower is your money. Hung onto it."
Sadly, bad English is the most entertaining aspect of Blue's Journey. I love a good platform game, but this one feels awkward, and I couldn't get a feel for it. The graphics are colorful and the music is bouncy, but neither are particularly appealing. A two-player simultaneous mode is available, but that's just twice as mediocre. Suffice to say, this journey is not one I will be embarking on very often. © Copyright 2005 The Video Game Critic.
The stages are the highlight of the game, beginning with an opening street stage with bright arcades and shops. Destroying soda machines and food stands reveal corn dogs which make you healthy and strong, just like in real life. You can beat up trash cans to reveal priceless jewelry. But the best part is how you can enter certain stores, trashing the interiors for points and health! You can even destroy a fax machine, and who hasn't ever wanted to do that?
The second stage takes place in a sparkling shopping mall with a boss who looks like Hulk Hogan. Subsequent stages feature more predictable locations like a subway, port, and construction site. The only thing missing is the obligatory sewer. The fighting action is by-the-numbers but still a lot of fun.
There's a nice selection of goons ranging chain-wielding thugs to dynamite tossers to overweight rednecks. Your attacks (punch, jump, kick) are effective, and hitting all three buttons unleashes your special. There are plenty of weapons including poles, knives, bottles, and best of all - guns! There's nothing better than shooting a gangster with his own gun.
Burning Fight has its share of quirks. You can toss thugs, but only about two inches. In one part of the game some homeless guy comes around and starts rubbing up on you. What's that all about? Some of the dialogue is weird, like the boss who asks "will you burn with me?" The game is great with two players, but take care not to harm your partner. Burning Fight is a lot better than I first gave it credit for. If you enjoy Streets of Rage or Final Fight, this is quite a treat. © Copyright 2015 The Video Game Critic.
At first the game seems somewhat enjoyable, if only for its novelty value and vaguely Halloween theme. Punching green cans release power-ups and bonus gems. The more you play Captain Tomaday however the more it starts to dawn on you that this game is really, really bad. For starters, the game can't even keep up with the action, causing the framerate to not only slow but to begin dropping frames altogether. It's hard to believe a finished game could run so poorly.
Inadvertently punching floating power-ups pushes them up and off the screen, which is irritating. The only way to catch them is to stop punching, but how are you supposed to do that amid an onslaught of flying babies and animated carrots? The unimpressive bosses hang around for far too long, and when you kill them they take forever to explode. And even after all that they return later on in the game.
The same cheesy music loops for the entire game. And what's the deal with these scores? 6816.38?!? I appreciate the game's attempt to be wild and wacky, but Captain Tomaday comes off like a joke without a punchline. © Copyright 2020 The Video Game Critic.
The play mechanics of Crossed Swords is very original and instantly gratifying. The A button attacks with your sword, and B is for your special attack, but in order to strike your targets, you'll need to block their attacks first, pushing up for a high block and down for a middle block. You can tell where the enemy is about to strike you by their body movements, but you'll need quick reflexes to react in time. This back-and-forth, block-and-attack technique is great fun, at least for a while.
When you defeat an enemy, he explodes into pieces and drops a bonus item like health, magic, or gold. You also periodically encounter a merchant who lets you buy health or upgrade your weapon. The audio is fantastic, with a sweeping musical score and superb sound effects, including skeletons that hiss at you, and knights that laugh when they land a blow. There's virtually no loading, and a two-player simultaneous mode is included.
Crossed Swords is a quality game, but it falls victim to the "unlimited continue" syndrome that plagues many Neo Geo titles. When you die, all you have to do is hit "Start" to pick up immediately from where you left off. Any creature you were fighting still has damage, and you don't even lose your gold. Plus there's no score to judge your performance. As a result, it's tempting to continue all the way to the end. I must have used about thirty continues to finish this game!
As I was gradually wearing down the final boss, all I could think of was, "Doesn't this guy realize I have unlimited continues? Why does he have to make this so hard?" If you play Crossed Swords as long as I did (almost two hours), you will get tired of the repetitive action and running into the same enemies over and over again. In fact when it's finally over you may never want to look at it again. But despite its poor replay value, Crossed Swords is a unique title that should be experienced by Neo Geo owners. © Copyright 2004 The Video Game Critic.
Its graphics have an attractive arcade quality, but the scenery is mainly composed of generic metal platforms and elevators. Still, Cyber-Lip's action is relentless and for the most part, fun. Your weapon can be powered up in a number of ways (including wide shot and bazooka), but you can only aim forward, backward, and up. This is frustrating since most enemies tend to attack from an angle. Enemy soldiers briefly transform into terminator exoskeletons when blasted - a nice touch.
One thing I don't like is how touching an enemy means instant death - I lost more lives being touched than being shot! Each stage is introduced by some anchorman-looking guy with constantly blinking eyes and awful lip synching. After losing a life, your next "life" enters on a flying sled-like vehicle. The sled gives you temporary invincibility, but it looks idiotic.
Once you reach the final stage, the mysterious Cyber Lip is revealed to be a powerful computer (with metal lips). He's introduced by this ominous dialogue: "I am Cyber Lip. I am the computer you are looking for. I am not insain, I have just been evilly reprogrammed". No, those are not typos in my review.
Unfortunately, before the final showdown you may have to face several of the previous bosses AGAIN - which sucks. It's even possible to repeat entire stages in this game, and that's no good. Cyber Lip is hard, and you'll blow through continues like there's no tomorrow. Your score is reset between games at least, so you have something to shoot for. Cyber Lip is not a major title for the Neo Geo, but it's an amusing diversion for shooter fans. © Copyright 2005 The Video Game Critic.
The ten characters are huge and feature Double Dragon mainstays Billy Lee and Jimmy Lee. The others include a hottie named Marian, a Fat Bastard look-alike named Bulnov, the white ninja Amon, and a drunken boxer named Cheng Fu. During the battles, the camera zooms in and out ala Samurai Shodown. The backgrounds are pretty generic and poorly animated, although there are a few novel locations, like fighting on the wings of a flying plane! Some stages have interesting intros and ending sequences as well.
In terms of gameplay, Double Dragon is basically just a second rate Street Fighter 2 (SF2). Its one original feature is the "double jump", which has questionable value in a game like this. Many of the special moves have been shamelessly lifted from SF2 (notably Ryu's Hurricane Kick). Still, the controls are responsive enough and the load times are short, so if you're into these kinds of games, Double Dragon should keep you occupied for a while. © Copyright 2003 The Video Game Critic.