Publisher: Acclaim (1997)
Rating: Kids to Adults
If you missed out on this obscure superhero fighter, consider yourself lucky. Side-scrolling brawlers were few and far between in the 32-bit era, and judging from Fantastic Four, it was for the best. This game is an embarrassment!
Up to four players can participate in this dumpster fire so I roped in a few unsuspecting suckers (whoops I mean friends) to give it a go. Playable heroes include Mr. Fantastic, Invisible Woman, The Human Torch, She Hulk, and The Thing. To help pass the time during the loading process everybody gets to play a nifty overhead racing game. You could argue that this micro-racer packs more entertainment than the game itself. Fantastic Four looks downright appalling
with its pixelated characters and dark, washed-out scenery. As you step through town you'll beat up zombie kids, red apes, and rock monsters. The scaling effects are an absolute joke.
Walking away from the camera causes your character to go from looking like a lumbering giant to a small child. Your attacks look awkward and the collision detection is heinous. Enemies are constantly pelting you with clubs that you can't seem to avoid. Special moves are available but they are damn near impossible
to execute when you need them. The graphics are so muddled it's hard to tell what's happening at times. Rotating camera angles might be cool if there wasn't such a big section of scenery blocking your view. The inappropriate jazz soundtrack suggests something from an adult film, prompting Kevin to inquire "Did someone order a pizza?"
Fantastic Four may be the more bizarre Playstation games I've ever come across, and just the thought of playing it again makes me ill. © Copyright 2020 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Eidos (1999)
Rating: Mature (blood, gore, violence, suggestive themes)
I don't know how I missed out on this game the first time around, but it is outstanding! This addictive thriller incorporates innovative visuals and a mysterious occult storyline in world straight out of Blade Runner. Fear Effect comes on four
CDs (!), so you know
you're getting a lot of game for your money. The stylish graphics are unlike anything I've ever seen before, with pre-rendered, realistic backgrounds combined with animated characters that sport amazing facial expressions. Cinematic sequences are seamlessly intertwined with the action, and the music and voice acting is absolutely top-notch. Fear Effect's controls are similar to Resident Evil and Tomb Raider, but an intelligent user interface lets you manipulate items without even bringing up a menu screen. There are plenty of save points, and that's always a good thing. Fear Effect is one exciting, dark adventure that Playstation fans should not overlook. © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Eidos (1996)
Our high score: 55,450
1 or 2 players
Publisher: Id Software (1996)
Final Doom certainly has the look of a money-grab, reprising the original Playstation Doom with a new set of levels. It's targeted at those who played the hell out of first Doom (literally) and crave even more first-person demon-shooting mayhem. I guess Final Doom serves its purpose. Not only does it contain a whole new set of stages, but the difficulty has been ratcheted up to the max!
The levels are jam-packed with enemies and the elaborate stage layouts expose you to constant danger. If you feel like a sitting duck, it's not your imagination. Complicating matters is the fact that armor and health packs are in very low supply. One thing you do have in your favor is firepower. Heck, the chain gun and plasma gun are available in the very first level
. You'll need them, because to these demons you're like a walking McRib. Completing any of these levels is a monumental achievement. Final Doom uses the same graphic engine as the first, and since the action is more intense it sometimes struggles to keep up with the chaos. The mouse controller is supported and a two-player mode is available via the link cable. A password is provided between levels. It's bad enough the first Doom didn't let you save your progress to memory card, but there's absolutely no excuse for it here. Final Doom is a respectable extension to the series but I think its audience is fairly limited. © Copyright 2012 The Video Game Critic.
Save mechanism: Password
1 or 2 players
Final Fantasy VII
Publisher: Sony (1997)
Rating: Teen (comic mischief, mild animated violence, mild language)
Final Fantasy VIII
Publisher: Sony (1999)
Rating: Teen (mild language, suggestive themes, violence)
Publisher: Konami (1999)
Our high score: 5.06 lbs
Publisher: Capcom (1996)
Rating: Teen (realistic violence)
Publisher: Hasbro (1998)
With Frogger, Hasbro decided to fix what wasn't broken, and in the process transformed a charming arcade favorite into a mundane 3D maze game. Like the original game, the first stage features a street full of cars followed by a stream of floating logs. It's not bad, but the blocky 3D visuals don't add anything at all. After that, things take a turn for the worse as you toil through several stages of generic jumping platforms and uninteresting mazes. And don't get me started about the unresponsive controls! Your frog seems to jump a full half second
after you move the freaking joystick! I was really excited about the four-player mode, but even that turned out to be a complete dud. As the last straw, Hasbro didn't even bother to include original arcade version! © Copyright 1999 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: THQ (1998)
Set in an underwater world teeming with monstrous fish, this side-scrolling shooter boasts slick 3-D graphics and a two-player simultaneous option. G Darius is impressive to behold but chaotic to play. The number of objects on the screen is excessive at times, making it difficult to tell what the heck's going on. Capturing enemy craft is part of the game's strategy, but that just makes things more
cluttered and confusing. The game offers selectable branching stages, but you'll still need to replay the first stage every time, which gets old. G Darius isn't bad, but it has a certain disposable quality. © Copyright 1999 The Video Game Critic.
Galaga Destination Earth
Publisher: Hasbro (2001)
Okay, I think it's about time for someone to tell Hasbro to knock it off
with the 3D "updates" of classic games. I've been a Galaga fan since 1982, but I hate
Galaga Destination Earth! In the process of incorporating modern 3D graphics and fancy sound effects, Hasbro has inadvertently sucked every last bit of fun and excitement out of the franchise! This new Galaga is mission-based (yawn), which means having to sit through the endless obligatory CGI cut-scenes (Zzzz...). The first stage is much like the original shooter, except with some very mediocre 3D graphics. Unfortunately, this stage doesn't capture an ounce of the fun of the original. After that, you're off to a series of horrendous first-person stages with graphics so cluttered that you can't even tell what's going on. Other elements of the original Galaga, like the double-shot and challenge stages are included, but these are so poorly executed you'll wonder why they even bothered. With Galaga Destination Earth, Hasbro has taken a classic and watered it down with every boring modern game cliche known to mankind. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.
Gekioh: Shooting King
Publisher: Natsume (2002)
Rating: Everyone (violence)
Gekioh: Shooting King is a forgettable, low-budget shooter imported from Japan. Like most modern-day shooters, there's a heck of a lot happening on the screen at any given time. Still, Gekioh is more forgiving than most, limiting the number of projectiles and letting you retain your weapons upon losing a life. The multi-layered backgrounds are attractive but not spectacular, and enemies consist of planes, tanks, battleships, and large robo-warriors. Your weapons definitely pack some punch, and my favorite is the lightning bolt that moves from one target to the next. Also cool is how enemies go down in flames instead of exploding into nothing. Two-player simultanous play is supported. But easily the most interesting aspect of Gekioh is the extra modes. Mainly intended for laughs, these have little play value but are worth checking out nonetheless. There's the Pocket Mode, which presents the game in blocky black and white graphics like the original Game Boy. The Comical Mode features wacky sound effects and an irritating laugh track. The Slow Mode includes eerie music and sound effects. The Ancient Mode resembles an old black and white film, complete with distorted sound, a jumpy screen, and even an occasional hair in the frame! As you would imagine, these tend to be fun for the first few minutes, but have minimal replay value. The game has no options menu despite the urgent need for a screen adjustment option and a high score save feature. Fortunately you can switch off the unbearable vibrate function. All in all, Gekioh serves its purpose, but please don't ask me what that purpose would happen to be. © Copyright 2003 The Video Game Critic.
Our high score: 910000
1 or 2 players
Publisher: Sony (1998)
When Gran Turismo first hit the scene, it knocked my socks off and set a new standard for realism in racing games. The graphics are remarkably lifelike, especially when viewed through the multi-angled replays. The cars almost look nearly photographic and the depth of gameplay is unprecedented. Over 140 actual car models are available, and they are customizable down to the smallest parts. Two thick manuals are included with the game, including one dedicated solely to driving techniques! Money is earned in races and used to purchase new cars and soup up the ones in your garage. Yes, this was the first time the "garage" concept was used, and it has been adopted by dozens of racing games since. I would sometimes take my car over my friend George's house (via memory card) to challenge his souped-up ride. Gran Turismo's play modes include tournament, two-player split screen, arcade, and time trial. The ten tracks are realistic but not very interesting. The rocking soundtrack features several licensed songs, including a track by my favorite band - Garbage. Gran Turismo was one of the first games to support vibration feedback, and it feels amazing as you roll over grass. Although the controls are supposed to be ultra-realistic, it's hard to steer rear-wheel drive cars in this game without fishtailing all over the place. Otherwise Gran Turismo is a landmark title for the Playstation that took the world of racing to a whole new level. © Copyright 1999 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Sony (1999)
The first Gran Turismo set a bold new standard for realistic racing, and Gran Turismo 2 (GT2) effectively builds on that solid foundation. You'll find more cars, more options, better tracks, and even off-road rally racing! This may be the best racer ever released for the Playstation. The handling is improved substantially (especially with regards to rear-wheel drive cars), and the rally tracks provide some much-needed variety. The scenery is more exotic this time around, although there are some draw-in issues. GT2 comes on two CDs: One for ultra-realistic simulation, and one for pure arcade action. Both are jam-packed with unlockables. Like the first game, Garbage is featured on the soundtrack, but I was less thrilled to hear Rob Zombie's "Dragula", which seems to be in every
video game (enough already!). If you're looking for realistic racing on the Playstation, this is your game. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Virgin (1997)
Publisher: Rockstar (2001)
Rating: Mature (animated blood, strong language)
Publisher: Atlus (1998)
Rating: Teen (animated violence)
Gunfighter: The Legend of Jesse James
Publisher: Ubi Soft (2001)
In recent years light-gun games have been the exclusive domain of Namco and Sega, but this entry from UbiSoft is also worth a look. Gunfighter adopts a style of play like Time Crisis, where you constantly duck behind obstacles to take cover. Unfortunately, the action isn't quite as smooth, the graphics are rougher, and the control isn't as accurate. But Gunfighter has other things going for it. First of all, it supports any type of Playstation light-gun available. Also, this game has atmosphere, making you feel as if you've stepped into a western movie. Even the voice acting is good. The action is non-stop, and shooting certain destructible items reveal bonuses and power-ups. You even man a stationary gattling gun, allowing you to mow down bad guys by the dozen. The Gunfighter's one big misstep occurs at the beginning of the second level, where your partner is about to be hung. You only get one shot
to break the rope, and even with the best light gun, it's hard! You may find yourself blowing through your continues quickly at that point. It could have been better, Gunfighter is a rather pleasant surprise for light-gun fans, especially with its low price tag. © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.
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