Publisher: Titus (2000)
Rating: Teen (violence, comic mischief, suggestive themes)
I almost had an incredible crisis when I realized I had spent my hard-earned cash on this train-wreck-of-a-game. Incredible Crisis is actually a set of 24 mini-games, mostly involving button tapping or timing meters. One video game magazine referred to this as "old-school", which is an affront to all classic gamers. Old-school is characterized by simple graphics but fun gameplay. There's nothing "fun" about these games. All feature simple 3D graphics with varying camera angles, poor control, and confusing instructions. You'll need to play the games in order, although once you complete a game it becomes available from a mini-game menu. Sadly, these are not
the kind of games you'll want to play twice (or even once
, for that matter). Adding insult to injury, you can only save after every four
games, and it's quite likely you'll get stuck on one of them. Incredible Crisis is an incredible piece of garbage. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.
International Track and Field
Publisher: Konami (1996)
Rating: Kids to Adults
This addictive Olympic-style game has clocked a lot
of hours on my Playstation. Featuring eleven track and field events, one to four players complete in the pole-vault, long jump, shot put, javelin, discuss, hurdles, sprint, triple jump, high jump, and swimming. Like any good video game, the button-mashing controls are easy to learn but tough to master, and the 3D visuals are smooth and lifelike. Record-setting performances can be saved to memory cards and replayed. International Track and Field is challenging when played solo, but it's an absolute riot with a few friends. © Copyright 1999 The Video Game Critic.
Invasion From Beyond
Publisher: GT Interactive (1998)
I really hated the movie "Mars Attacks!" and this video game induced flashbacks of that awful movie. The whole time I was playing this game I was thinking, "What the hell
is going on?!?". Invasion From Beyond's controls are atrocious, and its graphics are terribly confusing. There are a series of missions that require you to hover your spacecraft over a small town while blasting flying saucers and relocating objects on the ground. The nightmare of a control scheme places the fire and thrust buttons right next to each other, making it difficult to do both at once. When firing into a group of flying saucers, it's hard to tell if you're inflicting any damage, especially since they tend to regenerate. On the bright side, the town below looks nice with its rolling hills and detailed landmarks. The cheesy music also suits the game well. But ultimately Invasion From Mars is a total bust due to its extremely dull gameplay. It only cost me a few bucks, but in retrospect a nice sandwich would have been a better investment. © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.
Iron & Blood: Warriors of Ravenloft
Publisher: Acclaim (1996)
Rating: Teen 13+ (animated violence)
In the mid-90's polygon fighters were the "new hotness" and a TSR Dungeon and Dragons-licensed brawler sounded appealing. I remember my friends Steve and Brendan being totally stoked about Iron & Blood, at least until they played its demo on my Playstation Underground disc. The obligatory CGI intro is impressive as hell, depicting a band of warriors marching toward an ominous dark tower. The diverse cast of 16 playable characters includes a masked executioner, werewolf, goblin, knight, archer, one-armed dwarf, and floating wizard. But the style of the game is a real turn-off. The character models look kind of goofy and their voices are really
annoying. Iron and Blood comes across as a shallow button-masher but it does have some depth. There are two dodge buttons, two block buttons, and you can even attack foes on the ground. It's a shame the game's ambitions are undermined by its clumsy controls and jerky animation. Whenever your opponent dodges or runs, you must wait for your fighter to slowly rotate
to face the right direction! Blocked attacks pass harmlessly through your opponent's body, and sometimes you can strike your opponent while facing the opposite direction.
The camerawork so poor you often can't see what's going on. The small battlefield is surrounded a force field. It's easy to inadvertently lunge into this force field, causing you character to get thrown to the ground unconscious. The digitized backdrops ooze atmosphere but lack interesting detail. The sound effects lack punch and the voice samples are loaded with sniveling comments like "I'm just too fast for you!
" Torches that gradually extinguish are a poor substitute for life bars. The single-player campaign spices up battles with magical artifacts, but the D&D license feels squandered. Promising much but delivering little, Iron & Blood is a really unlikeable fighting game. © Copyright 2015 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Telegames (2000)
Rating: Teen (animated violence)
This late-arriving Playstation title should appeal to Atari Jaguar fans, considering the first two Iron Soldiers were among the best games for the Jaguar system. Iron Soldier 3 delivers the same brand of 3D destructive mayhem, but its slow, methodical style hasn't aged well. A first-person shooter, Iron Soldier 3 places you in control of an enormous "mech", which is actually a giant robot. Your mech is equipped with a number of weapons including an assault rifle, gattling gun, grenades, and even a giant chain saw. Twenty-five challenging missions await you, but if you're the impatient type, you can just dive right into the arcade mode where the object is to simply destroy everything
. You'll meet fierce resistance from tanks, cannons, helicopters, and other mechs, but a handy scanner lets you track them all. The virtual city of loaded with skyscrapers, explosive gas tanks, and warehouses that hold power-ups and ammunition. As you would expect, these graphics are more detailed that the Jaguar games, but still maintain the same style. I like how the levels aren't completely flat - the hills and valleys add strategic value. The controls take time to learn, and it's too easy to get caught up on a piece of scenery. You can't always tell when you're under fire, so it's possible to incur a good deal of damage without even realizing it. Finally, the vagueness of the mission objectives can be really annoying. Otherwise Iron Soldier 3 has its bases covered, with a pulsating soundtrack and even a split-screen two-player cooperative mode. Be sure to check out the amazing cinematic intro, which features some amazing special effects. Jaguar veterans will appreciate Iron Soldier 3, but its deliberate pace and steep learning curve may deter novice gamers. © Copyright 2004 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Jaleco (1999)
- a game that lives up to its name! This oddity is based on a Japanese game show, and I find it remarkable that it ever made it to the shores of America. Without a doubt, Irritating Stick has the worst title ever conceived
for a video game. It sounds more like a bad porno film! And if you think the title is bad, wait until you play the game! Basically it involves moving a dot through an electric maze without touching the sides, and your time is limited. It's stupid, repetitive, and... well...okay... irritating
! The only thing worse than running out of time after working your way through a lengthy maze is having to start over
! I don't think I've ever played anything so aggravating. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Hasbro (1998)
Not your typical cheesy game show, Jeopardy is a long-running American institution, attracting the world's smartest contestants. This video game adaptation is better than you'd expect. At a glance its rotating "wheel-o-letters" might seem like a tedious way to spell out words or phrases. Stick with its because it's actually very well designed. Once you learn how to use the auto-complete feature (!) you'll be banging out answers in seconds. The clips of Alex Trebek may be canned ("that's exactly right", "why yes!
") but the man exudes so much dignity and grace that his mere presence conveys a sense of decorum. I only wish he was presented full-screen instead of appearing in a grainy window. One to three humans can participate, with CPU contestants filling in those missing. The visuals look surprisingly slick as the camera moves around that shiny board, highlighting categories like animal kingdom, song standards, and TV-to-film. It's a little hard to make out the categories when the camera is zoomed out. After Alex reads the "answer" you can buzz in to enter the "question". Don't worry - you don't have to enter the "what is..." part. You're given plenty of time but I wish they'd keep the current category displayed as it's easy to lose track. I felt like I was showing my age when answering questions about Star Trek or the Brady Bunch. Hell I even knew "Fill it to the rim... with Brim
." I could even name a sewing machine manufacturer
for crying out loud (Singer). The categories are chosen at random and sometimes you get stuck with some really tough ones like Ballet or African History. The CPU opponents are very fair, giving you ample time to buzz in and even getting answers wrong on occasion. The "final Jeopardy" round usually incorporates a grainy illustration or video clip. The game has an excellent flow. My wife balked at using the interface but she enjoyed playing coop with me, chiming in the answers she knew. Jeopardy also includes a "speed mode" which is a one-player version played for score. The game saves high scores to memory card and you can even record games in progress. It may have been considered a throw-away title in its time, but I'd say Jeopardy has aged better than most PS1 games. © Copyright 2021 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Sony (1998)
1998 was a time when Playstation gamers were desperate
for a free-roaming 3D platformer on par with Super Mario 64
(Nintendo 64, 1996). I know because I was one of those gamers! Jersey Devil was one of the early attempts to fill the void, and it's a solid effort. There were other contenders with more expansive stages (Croc comes to mind) but during the Fall months Jersey Devil is your best option (trust me on this one). The game's distinctive Halloween theme is evident in its spooky environments, pumpkin-headed bosses, and mad scientist storyline. The star of the game is based on an actual creature that has been terrorizing southern New Jersey for over 100 years now (see Jersey Devil Wikipedia entry
). Frankly, his depiction in this game is a little cheesy. I can't decide if he looks more like a kid in a purple superhero outfit or "the Noid" of Domino's Pizza fame. The stages are slightly creepy but mostly cartoonish, with enemies that include bats, mummies, cobras, apes, and giant spiders. There are a lot of free-floating platforms but the jump-and-glide controls are forgiving enough. The stages are short and sweet, which works in the game's favor. In 1998 gamers craved huge levels, but the modest-sized areas in this game prove more manageable and fun to explore. Collecting pumpkins to earn extra lives is addicting, and the sheer number of hidden items gives the game substantial replay value. The production values are high but Jersey Devil does suffer from many issues typical of early 3D titles. The stages tend to be confined and you'll often need to finagle with the camera (using the shoulder buttons) to get a sense of your surroundings. There are graphical glitches (like clipping problems) and the control scheme isn't particularly intuitive (jump and glide are separate buttons). The analog control works much better than the digital pad. The animated intro is a treat, but the sweeping orchestrated musical score seems inappropriate. You can save your progress between the stages. Overall I'd have to say that this game has aged surprisingly well. They don't make platformers like this anymore, and that's part of what makes Jersey Devil so appealing. © Copyright 2011 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Sony (1996)
Rating: Kids to Adults
Despite being a total Playstation die-hard in 1996, there was one
particular Nintendo 64 game that really caught my eye, and that was Wave Race. The idea of a jet ski game was so appealing to me that when Jet Moto came out I immediately bought a copy. Granted, Jet Moto is not technically
a jet ski game, but it was close enough! Not limited to open water, Jet Moto's levitating bikes can glide over any type of flat terrain. That would seem to open up all kinds of interesting possibilities, but it really doesn't! Despite being able to travel over mud, concrete, and lava, the best tracks by far
are the ones on the open water. Playing this game for the first time in ten years, I was tempted to slap it with an "F" for its awful course designs and idiotic control scheme. The first track, set at a sunny resort, is great, but it's all downhill from there. Not only do many tracks force you to plow through dingy muddy swamps, but the narrow pathways are poorly marked and strewn with obstacles. The fact that some tracks double-back on themselves might sound exciting, but it's just a pain in the ass. As for the controls, the turbo button doesn't provide much of a boost, and the "magnetic grapple", which lets you execute tight turns, is one of the worst ideas ever conceived for a racing game. But as bad as it is, Jet Moto isn't a total loss. If nothing else, I can clearly remember my buddy George and I playing this for many hours just to unlock the courses. The difficulty progression was fair and a split-screen mode is always nice. I also like Jet Moto's slick presentation, with its gnarly
surfer music and stylish illustrations boasting some seriously hot
chicks. The game is also notable for its liberal use of advertisements, including copious ads for Mountain Dew and Butterfinger. Jet Moto somehow sold enough copies to merit two sequels, but I suspect that was more due to lack of competition than quality gameplay. © Copyright 2007 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Sony (1998)
Despite my disdain for the original Jet Moto, a few readers encouraged me to give Jet Moto 2 a try. Sorry guys, but this game sucks
. Not only does this ill-conceived sequel retain the blatant flaws of the first game, but its control are worse
. This was the first Jet Moto game to support analog control, but its oversensitive steering is dreadful. Adding insult to injury, your vehicle moves insanely fast, despite the fact that the tracks are narrow and poorly defined (not unlike the first game). You'll need to lean on the brake constantly just to keep yourself pointed in the proper direction. Perhaps in an effort to compensate for the lousy controls, the developers dramatically toned down the difficulty. As a result, despite constant wipe-outs and bumping into every wall I could find, I would still
regularly finish in the top three! The courses include a post-earthquake Los Angeles, a desert canyon, and an iceberg-laden Arctic. But like the first game, the scenery looks awful and the tracks are hard to navigate until you memorize the layouts. The soundtrack is pretty good, but the process of saving your progress is needlessly complicated. All in all, Jet Moto 2 was such an ordeal to play that it actually brought down my grade for the first
Jet Moto (and maybe those yet to come). © Copyright 2007 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Sony (1999)
While not nearly good enough to redeem this sorry racing series, Jet Moto 3 is certainly a marked improvement. The tracks are much wider, easier to follow, and far more interesting that the claustrophobic mazes of the first two games. The "lost ruins" stage is fascinating, especially as you blaze through its spacious coliseum. Equally impressive is the volcanic island, mixing gorgeous tropical scenery with vibrant red volcanic tunnels. The wider tracks make it easier to control your levitating bike, but it still moves far too fast, causing you to constantly "climb" the invisible walls surrounding the course. The tracks now feature branches and alternate routes, but these tend to make things more confusing, and you'll often end up heading off in the wrong direction. Like Jet Moto 2, you can have an absolutely abysmal run and still somehow wind up in first place. Gamers who could tolerate the lousy course designs and poor control of the first two Jet Motos should be thrilled with this third chapter. Jet Moto 3 marked the end of the franchise, but it was probably for the best. © Copyright 2007 The Video Game Critic.
Jurassic Park: Warpath
Publisher: Electronic Arts (1999)
I enjoyed this one-on-one dinosaur fighter more the first
time I played it - when it was called Primal Rage
(thank you, David Spade). Granted, Primal Rage (1995) had its issues, but at least that game had some sense of style and originality. Warpath feels like a cheap knock-off solely designed to cash in on the movie franchise. Its 3D dinosaur models look okay with their scaly skin textures, but the stages are incredibly boring. The only interesting location is the tanker ship in the San Diego harbor, which offers a gorgeous nighttime view of the San Diego skyline. Warpath's packaging boasts about "destructible environments", but all I could find were huge TNT boxes that blow up when you rub against them. In general, Warpath offers little in the way of fun. Like Primal Rage, the animation is rough and the collision detection is poor. There are no interesting attacks to speak of. How many ways can a dinosaur really attack anyway? Besides chomping with its jaws or swinging its tail, there's little room for technique. Sensing this limitation, the developers incorporated some ill-advised jumping attacks which just look silly. The blows are weak, with only small splashes of blood used to differentiate hits from misses. The slow-motion instant replays magnify the game's graphical woes, making you wonder why they were included. Even watching a "finishing blow" will leave you feeling hopelessly bewildered. Warpath is one of the rarer titles for the Playstation console, and now you know why. © Copyright 2007 The Video Game Critic.
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