Before each mission you select from six X-Men: Wolverine, Colossus, Storm, Iceman, Nightcrawler, and Cyclops. The overhead stages are ugly, confusing mazes and it's not clear where you can or can't go. Our heroes aren't detailed at all and enemies seem completely random: centipede, spiders, bubbles, skeletons, mice, butterflies... Why in the hell are the X-Men fighting butterflies?!
The combat is a [expletive] joke. You'd expect Wolverine to be the fighter of choice with those long claws of his, but in this game any character that can't shoot is worthless. Melee attacks equate to rubbing up against an enemy until they go away. Is this X-Men or Dirty Dancing? Is Wolverine incurring damage as he's freaking that skeleton? One can only hope.
Even projectile-firing heroes like Cyclops are wildly ineffective. Half the shots pass harmlessly through their target, and those you kill are quickly replaced by new creeps that respawn from thin air. Holes in the ground open all around you, firing projectiles in crossfire patterns. There are icons to collect all over the place but they are worthless! I frequently find myself inexplicably paralyzed for seconds at a time while being shoved around by various creatures and missiles.
In single-player mode the CPU controls the second X-men who just bumbles around while getting caught up on every edge possible. Even the music blows, sounding like a random sequence of beeps. X-Men is an utter atrocity. LJN really should have had their game license revoked on grounds of sheer incompetence. X-Men is so bad it's uncanny! © Copyright 2021 The Video Game Critic.
The scenery consists of generic foliage and brown roads, and the buildings lack the 3D illusion they conveyed in the arcade version. Another difference is the difficulty level. The arcade game was relentlessly hard, but this version is far more accessible. The problem is, once you become proficient at the game, you'll still have to sit through the tedious early stages each time you play.
Xevious was also one of the first games to incorporate large "bosses", and thankfully they're not very hard to destroy. One thing I don't like about Xevious is those black missiles that seem to materialize out of nowhere. The game includes a two-player mode, but it's alternating turns only. Xevious hardly seems like the groundbreaking game it once was, but this well-designed shooter is still a good time. © Copyright 2004 The Video Game Critic.
The gameplay is pretty conventional as you jump between platforms, collect items, and destroy enemies. The colorful scenery is forgettable, but the rapid-fire shooting controls are quite good. One of the more effective power-ups is a "bouncing ball" that lets you attack enemies from all sorts of odd angles. Xexyz is cheesy, but in an amusing way. Strangers hand over large sums of cash for no apparent reason, and bosses announced beforehand what you'll win if you beat them.
There are side-scrolling, space-ship shooting sections that branch, but if you guess the wrong route you'll have to repeat the entire area. Who in the heck thought that was a good idea?? Probably the same guy who put dead ends in the platform areas! The looping background music is so grating that I actually muted the volume.
Xexyz doesn't make much sense, and the dialogue would be unbearable if not for amusing typos like "I can give you some imformation." Xexyz does a lot of things, but does none of them particularly well. Lacking an identity of its own, Xexyz finds itself suspended in the "realm of games that time forgot". © Copyright 2010 The Video Game Critic.
The first stage takes place on a pier over rising and falling water. The platform action seems perfectly acceptable with its responsive controls, colorful scenery, and playful music. Whipping out your yo-yo lets you knock seagulls and Elmer Fudd-types off the screen. But why do I keep dying? Oh I see - that rising and falling water line is more than just a visual effect. If that water creeps up over your platform by even a millimeter you're one dead noid.
If you think that's harsh, wait until you play stage two. It's the obligatory "ice stage" where you're expected to perform unlikely feats like hopping between floating ice cubes. You'd think they'd save something that aggravating for stage five or six, but you must understand - in Yo! Noid every stage is aggravating. It's like the designers tried to come up with every conceivable way to screw over the player. Between stages you play a simple "pizza eating" card game which provides a brief respite from the frustration. Yo! Noid is one of those games that can't be enjoyed - only endured. © Copyright 2020 The Video Game Critic.
As with Tetris, the game demands fast reflexes and quick thinking, especially as columns begin to grow. It sounds simple enough, but there's one little wrinkle. If you allow the top half of an egg to fall on a column that contains a bottom half, the two will join and eliminate everything in between - resulting in a nice bonus. This not only adds strategy, but also encourages a certain degree of risk-taking.
Yoshi isn't much to look at and the music is only fair, but a game like this doesn't require a lot of flare. Several skill levels and speed variations are available. There's a two-player head-to-head mode, but it's flawed. Instead of competing for score, the winner is the player who lasts longest, which does not encourage competitive play. Even so, Yoshi is a charming little title that should appeal to fun-loving gamers of all ages. © Copyright 2008 The Video Game Critic.
Your ship is quite agile, and despite the barrages of missiles you encounter, a skilled player can always find an escape route. The enemies are simple in shape and modest in size, but since they are generated at random, you'll encounter a different pattern of attacks each time you play. That's a pretty innovative concept for an NES title. Your upgradeable main cannon fires forward, but you also have a devastating "special weapon" that comes in four varieties including a spinning force field and timed smart bomb.
Special weapon icons are labeled by number, so you can strategically select the best one for your current situation. The game is a blast to play, and there's no sign of slowdown even when dozens of objects fill the screen. Zanac's background graphics are attractive renderings of planet surfaces and space stations, and the high-energy soundtrack will really get the blood pumping. With little fanfare, Zanac's gameplay achieves that perfect balance few other shooters can match. © Copyright 2006 The Video Game Critic.
One notable feature is your ability to "regain health" by entering the houses of attractive women who invite you inside. Who ever said prostitution and video games don't mix? I bet the Grand Theft Auto developers were heavily influenced by this game! There are also old ladies who invite you inside to give you "magic", but I don't even want to think about that!
Like any Zelda title, there's a lot of ground to explore and plenty of surprises. When roaming the countryside, monsters appear at random, and touching them sends you to brief "battle screens". Link will also explore forests, swamps, graveyards, and sprawling palaces with complex labyrinths. Zelda 2 incorporates a number of RPG elements, including experience points, magic spells, and an inventory of items. You can save your place to battery backup, and guess what - mine still works! I do find it odd how the game instructs you to "hold in reset as you turn off the power" to ensure you don't corrupt the memory.
Although Adventure of Link is every bit as captivating as the first Zelda, the excessive difficulty is one flaw that even many fans will attest to! I mean, just beating the first boss feels like a monumental accomplishment. I found the controls confusing at times, especially when it comes to the magic. Also it doesn't feel quite right to initiate a conversation with a townsfolk by hitting them with your sword.
In terms of presentation, the graphics are well defined and the triumphant musical score is classic stuff. The third Zelda (Link to the Past, SNES, 1992) returned the series to the overhead style, giving some the impression that Zelda 2 was a misstep for the series. It was not. Zelda 2: Adventure of Link is immensely captivating and addictively fun. If not for the steep difficulty, I might even prefer this to the original game. © Copyright 2008 The Video Game Critic.
Zelda's world is a rectangular patchwork of screens with forest, desert, water, and mountain environments. Scattered throughout the landscape are wandering monsters, multi-level dungeons, merchants, and wise men that offer advice (like "walk into the water fall"). When your life meter is full, your sword can fire projectiles, making combat a heck of a lot easier. It's fascinating to see how so many of the weapons, monsters, and musical themes in this game have endured throughout the entire series.
Legend of Zelda may be timeless, but it does lack the polish of subsequent chapters. It's annoying how monsters materialize briefly after you enter a screen, leading to some really cheap deaths. Upon reaching the edge of the "world", the screens start repeating in a confusing manner. Money is hard to scrounge up, and I would not recommend playing the gambling mini-games. Despite these quibbles, the Legend of Zelda is almost as fun to play now as it was back in the day. Plus, it's kind of refreshing to play a Zelda game that you can finish in a weekend. © Copyright 2004 The Video Game Critic.
How the "zombies" fit in is anyone's guess. Are those army men firing at me zombies? I don't know, but I like the high-pitched noises they make when I incinerate them. Periodically you'll see a falling body, and catching these will augment your firepower. And firepower is where the game really shines.
The degree of destruction you can unleash is truly awesome as you obliterate buildings that instantly go up in flames. Even the game itself struggles to keep up with the carnage, causing your head to flicker badly as a consequence. Take extra care to avoid the laser beams, which pretty much drain your entire life bar. Even those that appear to be in the distance are deadly.
The graphics - especially the city skylines - look pretty spectacular. You only get one life, and novice players will find themselves staring at "game over" after just 5 or 10 seconds. You can select among four stages and two difficulty levels. Zombie Nation really took me by surprise. This shooter is so weird, crazy, and downright stupid that I can't get enough of it. © Copyright 2013 The Video Game Critic.
More reviews: [Previous]
Screen shots courtesy of Video Game Museum