system Index L
Legend of Dragoon, The (Guest reviewer RPG Critic)
Grade: D
Publisher: Sony (2000)
Posted: 2005/9/15
Rating: Teen

screenshotThe credentials required to be a "PlayStation Greatest Hit" must not be terribly high. As Sony's first foray into the world of RPGs, the Legend of Dragoon was largely inspired by the wildly popular Final Fantasy VII. Harvesting ideas from various other games and incorporating a plot drawn up by some employee's 11-year-old nephew, this mediocre RPG combines weird gameplay and laughable voice acting.

You play the role of Dart, a generic fighter with spiky hair and a grudge against a mysterious monster that killed his parents. On your quest to vanquish an evil empire, members of your party gradually begin to acquire strange powers. In times of crisis (read: combat) they can transform into "Dragoons"; endowing them with dragon armor and the ability to fly (and dish out some serious damage as well).

After playing the first disc, I nearly threw the whole game out the window. For being released in 2000, the graphics were well behind the standards of the time. The polygons look rough and the backgrounds are awfully bland. Still, the full-motion video is nice and the music isn't half bad. Voices are only heard when characters attack, and the remaining dialogue is completely text-based. In terms of quality, I'm convinced the voice actors were picked up off the street (at least for this English version).

The combat system is slow to load, and making matters worse, all special attacks are rhythm-based! No RPG had done it before. No RPG has done it since. You can upgrade your attacks by using them often, but I had trouble just using them at all! Heck, you have to tap eight buttons in sequential order, with a directional-pad motion in sync - just to perform a move!

The one original concept I do like is how defending successfully replenishes a little bit of your health. It makes no physical sense mind you, but it sure helps when you're out of healing potions! All in all, this is a nice first try for Sony, but gamers should save themselves the $3.50 this game is worth and invest in a beer instead. © Copyright 2005 The Video Game Critic.

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1 player 

If you like this game, try: Final Fantasy (Guest Review) (NES)
Dragonstomper (Atari 2600)
Chrono Trigger (Guest Review) (Super Nintendo)
Final Fantasy VII (Guest Review) (Playstation)
Street Fighter Anniversary Collection (Playstation 2)

Lethal Enforcers I & II
Grade: C
Publisher: Konami (1997)
Posted: 2020/6/19
Rating: Mature (realistic violence)

screenshotAfter playing the much slower 16-bit versions of Lethal Enforcers this arcade edition feels like a shot of adrenaline! The digitized graphics are so clean I noticed subtle details like checking slips littering the bank counters. Clearer audio substantially improves the music, particularly in Lethal Enforcers II. But what really caught me off guard was the breakneck pacing. Bank robbers pour out of the woodwork so fast you barely have time to reload! They like to yell stuff like "Eat lead, copper!" and "You missed me pig!" You can even shoot out parts of the scenery like windows, cameras, and hostages (whoops!).

One consequence of the sharper graphics is character pixelation and the fact that they appear "removed" from the scenery. Lethal Enforcer's five stages take place in a bank, docks, airport, factory, and Chinatown. The sequel is set in the wild west, and if you thought the first game was frantic, this one is just insane. Right off the bat there's about six outlaws firing at you at the same time. These guys are practically piled on top of each other!

As if to compensate for the arcade difficulty each game gives you a whopping 30 continues! Once I tried blowing through all 30 but my trigger finger was sore by the time I reached 15. It's just not natural to use any more than three continues.

The Justifier light gun is reasonably accurate provided you crank up the brightness on your CRT, but even under the best conditions entering your initials into the high score screen is nearly impossible. The lack of precision isn't as big a deal in the actual game since you have unlimited ammo. Lethal Enforcers I & II brings the arcade experience home; just be glad it doesn't take quarters. Notes: Not compatible with Guncon. Light guns do not work with HDTVs. © Copyright 2020 The Video Game Critic.

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1 or 2 players 

If you like this game, try: Lethal Enforcers (Sega CD)
Wanted (Sega Master System)
Lethal Enforcers (Genesis)
Lethal Enforcers II: Gun Fighters (Genesis)
Lethal Enforcers II: Gunfighters (Sega CD)

Grade: C
Publisher: Interplay (1995)
Posted: 2023/8/29
Rating: Mature 17+

screenshotThis overhead shooter really hit its mark with colorful lighting effects, pulse-pounding music, and senseless violence galore. Loaded was one of the first games to sport a mature rating! You select from one of six demented souls including a psychotic clown, a fat dude in diapers, and a pirate armed with the dual pistols (take him). Plopped into the middle of a dark, maze-like prison, one or two players mow down mobs of mindless lunatics as explosions and blood envelop the screen.

Holding the fire button lets you unleash a torrent of bullets and L1 provides a handy strafe feature, which was quite novel for the time. Raving maniacs recoil backwards with each shot, eventually splattering on the floor with a satisfying "pop". Large rooms have rotating sentries you'll want to eliminate as soon as possible. You also have a limited supply of smart bombs that may unleash a cloud of poison gas or a swarm of guided bullets.

Exhilarating for the first ten minutes or so, Loaded proves that there can be too much of a good thing. The stages are repetitive and oversized. By requiring you to acquire colored keycards to access new areas, the game actually promotes tedious backtracking. I enjoy gratuitous violence as much as the next guy, but this is exhausting. And with unlimited continues and no score, there's more legwork than challenge.

The digital pad can be pretty hard on the thumb, and why do you need to press O to toggle between the map and my health when there's plenty of room for both? Players must share a screen in two-player co-op, which means they'll need to coordinate their movements, which is awkward.

As repetitive as it is, I enjoyed Loaded's unapologetic brand of epilepsy-inducing carnage. The best part of the game may be its kick-ass soundtrack. Imagine the Halloween movie theme with a club vibe. The relentless beats combined with trippy colors make you feel like you're at a rave. Play this one at night with the lights turned down and volume turned up! © Copyright 2023 The Video Game Critic.

1 or 2 players 

If you like this game, try: Halloween (Atari 2600)
Nightmare Creatures (Playstation)
Reloaded (Playstation)
Mansion of Hidden Souls (Sega CD)
London Blitz (Atari 2600)

Looney Tunes Racing
Grade: B+
Publisher: Infogrames (2000)
Posted: 2019/10/9

screenshotFor the longest time I had assumed this was simply a degraded version of Looney Tunes Space Race (Dreamcast, 2001). In fact this is a completely different racer - and a surprisingly good one at that! The box makes the bold claim "LTR might surpass Crash Team Racing as the best PS kart racing game to date." A bold statement for sure, but not as crazy as its sounds.

Looney Tunes Racing may lack a four-player split-screen but its head-to-head and single-player action is wild! The all-star cast includes Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Wile E. Coyote, Marvin the Martian, Tasmanian Devil, and Lola Bunny as the obligatory female. The stages are reminiscent of the classic cartoons, set in a castle, desert canyon, cartoon "backlot", Mars, and in a giant's vegetable garden. The scenery is a little chunky and hard to follow at times but the artistic style is right on point.

The races are short and sweet with a playful orchestrated score that includes the "Figaro" opera song and Lone Ranger theme. The vibrant graphics and rollicking music make it feel like you're playing an old cartoon! The animation remains smooth despite all the pie-slinging, anvil-dropping, and storm clouds chasing cars around. Passing through a flashing arch will unleash mayhem on cars ahead, triggering a roaring locomotive, giant ray gun, or avalanche.

Another neat concept is your ability to collect coins to increase your weapon meter, a la Gradius (NES, 1986). The voice quips ("What's up doc?") can get repetitive but the racing action is wholesome fun. I even enjoyed the challenge modes which let you unlock various items. It may not be quite up to Bandicoot standards, but at the very least Looney Tunes Racing is an underrated gem. © Copyright 2019 The Video Game Critic.

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1 or 2 players 

If you like this game, try: Looney Tunes Space Race (Dreamcast)
Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle 2 (Game Boy)
Ray Crisis (Playstation)
Diddy Kong Racing (Nintendo 64)
Desert Demolition (Genesis)

Lost World: Jurassic Park Special Edition, The
Grade: C
Publisher: Electronic Arts (1998)
Posted: 2023/6/10
Rating: Teen

screenshotClearly trying to make up for flaws of the original, The Lost World: Jurassic Park Special Edition boasts of a new T-Rex level, mid-level checkpoints, and "stronger and longer lives". The new opening stage lets you rip through a warehouse with the T-Rex, bashing barriers, chomping on soldiers, and flinging lifeless bodies. The key is to maintain your health by consuming a guy every now and then. This rip-roaring opening stage does a good job of setting the tone, giving you a taste of raw power and excitement.

Unfortuantely for the next nine stages you're stuck with a small but fleet-of-foot "compy" dinosaur, scampering through lush jungles, hopping between rocky ledges, and mauling small creatures when necessary. Lost World's 2.5D graphic style combines fluid animation with shifting camera angles that were absolutely mind-blowing in the late 90's.

The game looks undeniably awesome, but the collision detection is awful! Sometimes you can leap over several raptors in a single bound and sometimes you'll get bounced between them like a pinball. The stage where you walk between the legs of a herd of Brachiosaurus was always amazing to me, but did they really need to include unnecessary hazards like poisonous red plants and rolling rocks?

The human "hunter" stages suffer from weak weapons, and the fun of the raptor stages is undermined by exploding crates and beds of spikes. Biting humans as a raptor is less-than-satisfying because instead of clamping onto them with your jaws, you just sort of bite through them.

The Lost World Special Edition is a step up over the original, offering a slightly easier, less-frustrating experience. There are still the headaches of falling off ledges and getting knocked around, but at least this time you have a fighting chance. © Copyright 2023 The Video Game Critic.

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1 player 

If you like this game, try: Lost World: Jurassic Park (Playstation)
The Lost World: Jurassic Park (Game Gear)
Lost World: Jurassic Park (Saturn)
NBA 2K2 (Dreamcast)
Jurassic Park (NES)

Lost World: Jurassic Park, The
Grade: D
Publisher: Electronic Arts (1997)
Posted: 2023/6/10
Rating: Teen

screenshotLost World seemed like a dream come true for a Jurassic Park fans like myself. You play as a compy, raptor, human, and T-Rex through "31 intense levels". The smoothly-animated dinosaurs look fantastic. The game also utilizes a 2.5D graphic style which immerses you into a 3D world while retaining the simple controls of a 2D side-scroller.

I especially love the high-tech dinosaur intro sequences that bombard your senses with INGEN computer graphics before dissolving into a sonar image of fossilized remains. You begin the game as a Compsognathus (compy for shot), which is the dinosaur equivalent of a chicken. He can run, jump, and perform a few awkward attacks.

Lost World's gameplay never lives up to its promise. The controls feel laggy and the attacks feel unsatisfying due to lousy collision detection. Jumping between ledges can be frustrating, and sometimes you're required to take blind "leaps of faith". The instructions incorrectly state you "can't kill anything larger than yourself" but in fact you can kill raptors which are clearly bigger. Once you realize this, the game becomes a bit easier.

Each stage has hidden passages and branching routes to discover, but some will have you moving in circles. Many areas are peppered with poisonous red flowers, and even touching one with your tail might cost you half of your life. The jungle scenery, while immersive, has a way of blocking your view with its wide trees and boulders. You get plenty of lives but your health bar drains quickly and doesn't reset at the beginning of each stage.

I don't mind using a weak creature like the compy to begin with, but not for the first nine stages of the game! Sadly, things don't dramatically improve when playing as a human, raptor, or T-Rex. Being the human "hunter" allows you to shoot, but your weapon is so weak most dinosaurs can absorb 20 bullets. Your grappling hook lets you swing over danger, but why are the rock ceilings lined with dangerous spikes? Playing as human "prey" (the woman) you're basically just running for your life, getting impaled on any shard of wood you don't jump over cleanly.

The Raptor stages are probably the most fun since you can pounce on humans and chew on their necks. The warehouse stage exudes atmosphere with lush mountain scenery visible through its windows. But once again the designers found a way to ruin the fun. Whenever you smash a crate, bombs inexplicable spill out, resulting in cheap hits.

Playing as the T-Rex is anti-climactic. Once you eat a few people the novelty wears off. Though visually impressive The Lost World has got to be one of the most disappointing games I've ever played. The game spares no expense and yet still feels like an ordeal to play. As if to "right the ship", Electronic Arts quickly followed this up with a "special edition" that toned down the difficulty and put an exciting new T-Rex stage right up front. © Copyright 2023 The Video Game Critic.

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1 player 

If you like this game, try: Lost World: Jurassic Park Special Edition (Playstation)
Lost World: Jurassic Park (Saturn)
Jurassic Park (NES)
Jurassic Park Part 2: The Chaos Continues (Super Nintendo)
Jurassic Park (Game Boy)

Lucky Luke
Grade: F
Publisher: Infogrames (1998)
Posted: 2019/10/9
Rating: Everyone

screenshotLucky Luke was painful to review. Its cover suggests a budget-priced kid's title but I doubt this game would be enjoyable for any demographic. It's a wild west platformer that begins with a cut-scene of claymation crooks blowing their way out of jail. The characters are rendered in a vaguely-creepy Santa Claus Is Coming to Town style. Maybe they should have used that style in the game? Instead the characters look flat and cartoonish. They aren't even animated well, and their jerky movements prove detrimental to the controls.

The stage locations offer dusty towns, hazardous mineshafts, and twangy music. Luke moseys around so slowly I felt obligated to hold in the run button the whole time. The control scheme is ass-backwards. A running jump is needed to clear many barriers, but the button placement will have your fingers in knots! I find it incredulous how you can push a crate in one direction but not the other. Certain outlaws are defeated by ricocheting bullets, but the targets you need to hit are often off the screen.

The first boss encounter is just plain wretched. Some fat guy is tossing logs at you and you need to smack them back with... a frying pan?! Terrible collision detection makes this an exercise in sheer perseverance. Beating him gives you the opportunity to purchase a password or extra life. Wait what? The game charges you for a damn password? Had I known I needed $100 I might have paid more attention to those dollar icons!

The second stage puts you on a running horse which should be fun but it's miserable. The side angle doesn't give you nearly enough time to react to obstacles and depth perception is a problem as well. After that stage guess how much money I had? $98! Wonderful.

The third stage takes place on a train, culminating with a ridiculous boss battle against two guys in a stack of barrels. Why can't I use my dynamite on them? Turns out I was supposed to shoot their bombs back at them with my gun. I don't hold my video games to the highest standard of realism but Lucky Luke is flat out infuriating! How "lucky" can Luke be if he ended up in this outhouse of a game? © Copyright 2019 The Video Game Critic.

Save: password
1 player 

If you like this game, try: Santa Claus Saves the Earth (Game Boy Advance)
Mad Dog II: The Lost Gold (3DO)
Take The Money And Run (Odyssey 2)
Escape From Cyber City (Philips CD-i)
Wild Guns (Super Nintendo)

Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete (Guest reviewer RPG Critic)
Grade: A-
Publisher: Working Designs (1999)
Posted: 2005/9/15
Rating: Teen

screenshotLunar is a port of the very highly regarded RPG for the Sega CD. Some of the quests have been altered for this re-release, and since they had a ton of room left over on the CDs, they threw in a nice intro movie and a dozen or so anime cutscenes. Packaged as a "box set", Lunar also includes a cloth map of the game world, the game soundtrack, and a leather-bound instruction booklet containing staff interviews and a lengthy preview of the player's guide.

Lunar's story revolves around a young man named Alex and his aspirations of becoming a "Dragonmaster" like his idol. Alex has a pet baby dragon with a smart mouth, along with a handful of friends he meets on his quest to become a Dragonmaster. Without revealing too much of the plot, Alex strives to save those he loves while combating newly-emerging forces of evil. The sprites and backgrounds appear to have been touched up from the Sega CD version, now with an almost cartoon-like appearance.

The full-motion anime segments are crisp, with barely any noticeable "mosaic effects". The game boasts terrific voice acting performed by a very talented staff. Lunar's loading times are fair, but especially noticeable when saving or loading from the memory card. Speaking of saving, you can do it wherever you please! That's right - no more dying right across from the save point.

You can have up to five people in your party at once, all with unique abilities and techniques. Combat is fast-paced and simple, and the battle screens load quickly. You enter all of your party's commands at once, and teaming up is key for getting the biggest bang out of your magic points. As a bonus for beating the game, you're rewarded with some pee-yourself-funny voice acting outtakes.

Lunar doesn't stretch the limits of the PlayStation by any means, but it does provide a fun and enjoyable game worthy of multiple plays. Especially considering all the extras, it's well worth its price. RPG enthusiasts (especially those who are suckers for packaging) need to have this game on their shelves. © Copyright 2005 The Video Game Critic.

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1 player 

If you like this game, try: Dragon's Lair (Sega CD)
Chrono Trigger (Guest Review) (Super Nintendo)
Las Vegas Poker and Blackjack (Intellivision)
Breath of Fire II (Guest Review) (Game Boy Advance)
King of Fighters 98 (CD) (Neo Geo)

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