I started to warm up to Pure Ride when I noticed the "express pass" mode. "We'll pick you rider, board, and level, all you have to do is play!" Hey - I like the sound of that! My unfettered joy was quickly fettered however when I laid eyes on the graphics. Mountains flicker as you approach and fences literally grow before your eyes as you ride alongside them. Children's books have less pop-up! The collision detection and clipping issues were readily apparent as I passed clear through an 18-wheeler like a ghost!
The tour mode offers three unique challenges: half-pipe, slopestyle, and big air. The half pipe looks too angular, but it's easy to perform tricks with button combos and move up the ranks. When I press L2 it makes some kind of laser gun sound, just before I wipe out. Slope style is okay but the grinding aspect is a joke. All you do is jump anywhere near a rail and get sucked up onto it like a freaking magnet! And there's no balancing required - you just glide along on autopilot! Lame!
What saves Pure Ride is the "free ride" mode, which offers a more arcade-style experience. You go wherever you want, snag icons to unlock stuff, and perform tricks to rank in with high scores. The courses aren't spectacular but I did enjoy that night course in Japan. MTV Pure Ride is definitely sloppy but if you're looking for an easy-to-play snowboarding title, this would qualify. © Copyright 2018 The Video Game Critic.
There are tons of moves including about five different dribbles, and the new foul-shooting mechanic is fun and challenging. Over 200 teams are available, along with options for adjusting almost every aspect of the game. The "create a player" feature is useful for "fixing" the roster of your favorite team, since it's probably incorrect. An excellent two-man commentary features Dick Vitale, although he doesn't talk nearly as much as he does on TV.
I do have a few complaints. First of all, three pointers go in too easily. As usual for an EA title, the loading times are excruciating. Whether it's accessing the memory card, simulating a week of games, or just loading a game, that load meter moves like a snail. While waiting for this thing to load, you could eat dinner... at a restaurant. Finally, this game is a serious memory card hog, using up to 14 blocks! Even so, MM2000 is clearly the best college basketball game to be released in 2000. © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.
The dark environments are brilliantly designed and utterly believable as a war-ravaged Europe. Subtle sound effects include Nazi footsteps and conversations, dogs barking, planes flying overhead, and explosions in the distance. Unobtrusive heroic music kicks in during dramatic moments. Your missions are solo, but you still feel part of a much larger conflict.
Enemy soldiers look a bit blocky but are realistically animated. They take cover when they sense danger, and react realistically when shot. Some wounded enemies will even continue fighting, so you'd better put a few slugs in each one just to be sure. Surprisingly, there's no blood in this game - enemies simply disappear after they die.
An intuitive control scheme allows you to strafe, jump, crawl, aim, and even peek around corners. The action is exciting and addicting, and not particularly difficult either, thanks to a wealth of health packs, ammo, and places to hide. If that's not enough for you, there's even a two-player mode. This is a quality war game that strikes a good balance between realism and fun. © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.
The short-but-sweet stages boast considerable replay value as you slash zombies, solve puzzles, and delve into hidden secrets. Spooky locations include graveyards, mausoleums, cornfields, and even a ghost ship. A diverse collection of foes include scampering imps, spinning scarecrows, and swashbuckling pirate skeletons. There are some amazing bosses like a demon composed entirely of stained glass!
The combat is spiced up with an assortment of weapons like throwing knives, clubs, and crossbows. Analog controls were a big selling point in 1998, but they feel touchy and imprecise. Medievil is packed with interesting details like coffins floating down a river and a ghostly organist playing a haunting refrain. First-rate audio effects include coins jingling, glass shattering, and a zany coconut sound when our hero bumps his head.
Like most first-generation 3D games the angular graphics haven't aged particularly well. It's hard to discern smaller creatures and easy to mistake pits for shadows. Your spastic movements combined with a whirling camera can make you feel a little queasy. That said, the game is highly playable and absolutely reeks of Halloween spirit. Medievil was developed at a time when the developers weren't so concerned about making games super long, just super fun. © Copyright 2018 The Video Game Critic.
Medievil 2 nicely embodies the spirit of Halloween with its dark, twisted scenery that includes a creepy circus. The orchestrated music gives the game a cinematic flair and the production values are sky high. Excellent vibration effects let you feel a slight thump with each step as you prance around. Items like keys are used automatically, save points are well-placed, and monsters do not regenerate when you re-enter a room.
While I usually prefer analog controls I can't get over just how touchy these are. While fighting in close quarters you find yourself darting around in a spastic manner, passing right through creeps who absorb far too many hits. Heck, even decapitated zombies keep coming back. But the worst are the conjurors, who not only respawn other monsters but are invincible for 90% of the time!
The platform jumping is suspect. You tend to overshoot your target and the less-than-helpful camera is constantly moving and throwing you off-course. MediEvil II boasts impressive production values but I'm afraid its touchy controls and tiresome combat have not aged well at all. © Copyright 2018 The Video Game Critic.
The opening stage takes place on a scenic island where a new kick-ball weapon is introduced. After that you can select from several imaginative stages. Frost Man's stage is not the winter wonderland you might expect, but a gorgeous ice-encrusted city! And if you think it looks nice during the day, wait until you see it at night! Clown Man's stage features toy trains you can catch rides on, and I love how toy soldiers struggle to hang on after walking off a ledge (the details make all the difference). Grenade Man's stage features stacked barrels that create a chain reaction when they explode. There's a lot of variety, and part of Tengu Man's stage plays like a side-scrolling shooter.
It's fun to enlist "helpers" to shoot alongside you, but they tend to clutter the screen. Mega Man 8 is addictive, but you'll need to have a high pain threshold to enjoy it. The level designs are classic Mega Man, but since the characters are large you don't have as much room to maneuver. Frost Man's never-ending ice-board sequences require you to execute pinpoint jumps and slides while avoiding falling bombs.
The bosses are tough but the key is learning how to evade their attacks. You can save your progress after each boss. The electronic soundtrack is uneven. Some tunes (Frost Man) are very soothing while others (Clown Man) sound cheesy. Mega Man 8 is very inexpensive (compared to Mega Man 7) so it won't hurt your wallet - only your pride. Note: The Saturn edition includes two additional bosses. © Copyright 2013 The Video Game Critic.
Metal Gear's controls are super responsive, which is critical since you'll need to sneak around a multitude of enemy guards. Unlike most games, avoiding conflict is just as satisfying (and usually more rewarding) than engaging in battle. A wide variety of weapons and unconventional gadgets are at your disposal, and you'll interact with a number of memorable heroes and villains.
Although very challenging, Metal Gear Solid finds clever ways to help you along, eliminating the frustration associated with other adventure games like Tomb Raider 3. A triumph of style and originality, Metal Gear Solid may quite possibly be the best Playstation game of all time. © Copyright 1999 The Video Game Critic.
In terms of presentation, this Playstation shooter is second to none. The characters and scenery are meticulously crafted and brimming with clever, funny animations. This is one of those games you can play over and over again and always see something new. Objects are rendered as 2D sprites, giving the visuals an artistic flair missing from most polygon-based titles.
Your character's default weapon isn't very powerful, but you're constantly finding new weapons, including machine guns, lasers, flamethrowers, grenades, and rocket launchers. You can also commandeer tanks, planes, and even camels. The level of destruction you can unleash is spectacular, and it's well represented by satisfying explosions with huge chunks of debris flying all over the place.
Over-the-top bosses include an airship that drops full-sized tanks from the sky! The stage locations include a desert, a mummy-infested tomb, and a moving train. Complementing its top-notch graphics are crystal clear digitized sound effects and an intense musical score. Two players can play cooperatively, and thankfully you can't harm each other. Metal Slug X really blew me away. If I have one complaint, it's how your default weapon can't shoot diagonally, making certain targets hard to reach.
The standard arcade mode offers unlimited continues which eliminates the drama and suspense, but this is remedied by the awesome "Combat School" mode, which challenges you to clear any one stage with only three lives. There's also a "survival mode" where you only get one life (imagine that)! Well crafted and easy on the eyes, Metal Slug X is a must-have for die-hard shooter fans. © Copyright 2004 The Video Game Critic.
Staying within the track confines is a challenge, especially in multiplayer where falling off the screen drops you out of the race. The Nintendo 64 edition is a personal favorite of mine so I was expecting Micro Machines V3 to be comparable. It's not. I tried it with five players and the result was utter chaos - and not the good kind! The camera is pulled in way too tight and the action is so fast you can't make turns even when you know they're coming. It's also really hard to tell what place you're currently in.
The graphics are substandard, with pixelated polygons, chunky textures, and ugly seams. The controls are digital only (no analog stick support). Your best option is the single-player mode, which offers a decent viewing angle and short, challenging races of increasing difficulty. That's fine, but Micro Machines is built on multiplayer fun, something V3 is sorely lacking. © Copyright 2015 The Video Game Critic.
You can keep the accelerator held down as you swerve between cars, buses, and motorcycles with reckless abandon. Crashes are rare, although you will get slowed and jostled by minor collisions. I like that screeching metal sound when you grind a guardrail. There are three tracks of varying difficulty, all featuring beautiful lighted skylines, colorful billboards, and winding tunnels. There's just something special about racing around at night.
I have to admit however that the game is shallow. You just pick a car, choose a track, and race three laps. If you rank in with a high score, you can save it to memory card. There's no two-player mode. You can basically see everything the game has to offer in just a few minutes. I'm guessing that's why Midnight Run wasn't released in the states. There certainly were no language barriers, considering the text and dialog are entirely in English. Even your hottie female passenger speaks perfect English! Midnight Run may be a fleeting thrill but sometimes that's all you really want. © Copyright 2019 The Video Game Critic.
This disk actually contains two versions of the Missile Command: Classic and Ultimate. Classic is billed as the original version with updated graphics and sound, but it's not nearly as fun, and you'll need to jack the difficulty way to make it a legitimate challenge. The satellites which evaded explosions so well in the original game are easily destroyed here, and it's hard to tell destroyed cities from the untouched ones!
The Ultimate version is supposed to take Missile Command to the "next level", with a larger, scrolling screen that necessitates a radar display. Enemy ships can now distract you by flying in low to steal your missiles, and after every few rounds you face a large mothership "boss". Ultimate looks great and controls fine, but still isn't very fun. Where's the original arcade version? That's better than both of these combined! For real Missile Command action, check out the Atari Collection packages. © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.
Easy-to-perform special moves are listed in the manual, although some research is necessary to uncover the gory "fatalities". Speaking of which, MK3's developers went way overboard with the "finishing" moves. Besides the old-fashioned "normal" fatalities (like momma used to make), there are "stage" fatalities, animalities, babalities, mercies, and friendships! Whatever happened to the good old days when you just ripped out your opponent's spine and called it a day?
Many of the finishing moves are downright silly, perhaps in a deliberate attempt by the developers to diffuse any potential controversy. For example, one fatality drops a Mortal Kombat arcade machine out the sky onto your opponent's head (that's gonna leave a mark). My main issues with MK3 concern the character roster and stage scenery. Long-time favorites like Scorpion, Raiden, and Johnny Cage are nowhere to be found, and Sub Zero has been unmasked - bad call! There are some interesting new faces like the four-armed Sheeva and the robotic Cyrax, but others like Styker and Nightwolf are pretty lame.
Most stages feature urban themes, including one depicting a trashy city street. After the awe-inspiring temples and creepy dungeons of the first two Mortal Kombats, these are fairly unimpressive locales. I also hate that dork sticking his digitized face on the side of the screen (so annoying!) There's a nice selection of options to adjust the difficulty, violence, and controls, but unfortunately there's no way to save high scores or settings to memory card. Some readers have expressed concern about Shang Tsung's "morph" move, but since he always transforms into his opponent this time, there's no load time involved. Mortal Kombat 3 is a very good fighter, and if you enjoyed the previous editions, this will give you more of what you want. © Copyright 2005 The Video Game Critic.
The gameplay is largely unchanged, but the new dimension does allow for useful side-step moves and more dramatic-looking fatalities. Surprisingly, the newly-added weapons have little impact on the gameplay, since you drop them once you get hit. The run button allows for some special moves, but you rarely have enough distance to use it. The new character line-up includes many MK vets such as Johnny Cage, Sonya, Raiden, Jax, Liu Kang, Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Goro, and a reconstructed Reptile.
The mysterious backgrounds look more like "old-fashioned" Mortal Kombat, having moved away from the urban look of MK3. The moves and fatalities are listed in the manual, and they aren't too hard to execute. It didn't win me over in a big way, but Mortal Kombat 4 is still a respectable fighter. Unfortunately, it failed to reinvigorate the franchise, and most people wrote it off as a 3D rehash. On a final note, the excellent live-action intro makes me yearn for a new Mortal Kombat movie - bring it on! © Copyright 2003 The Video Game Critic.
As I crept from room to room, encountering one foe after the next, the game reminded me a lot of Karateka (Atari 7800, 1987). Had this been done right, it could have been a smash hit, and in theory Midway could have released a new Mythologies title for each character. But this game is so riddled with problems that I don't know where to start.
To call the controls awkward would be a drastic understatement. The L2 button is used to turn around, but as critical as it is, it's not the least bit responsive. Next, in order to grab floating items, it's necessary to press L1, which is very inconvenient in the midst of battle. The triangle button is used to "exit" most menu screens, but on the inventory screen it lets you use items! Consequently, I inadvertently used up all of my health supplements just trying to exit the frickin' screen!
The collision detection hit-or-miss, and you'll witness many perfectly good kicks that fail to register at all. Did I mention the incredibly cheap, instant-kill traps? In general, this title lacks the polish you would expect from an established franchise. The instruction manual is useless, providing no clue on how to execute the special moves. Hell, I couldn't even figure out how to jump from a rope without plunging to my death! Mythologies should have been a fun, side-scrolling romp, but this poorly thought-out, half-hearted effort amounts to little more than a cautionary tale. © Copyright 2005 The Video Game Critic.
Four bosses are available, but I have to warn you - they are incredibly cheap! Trilogy's core gameplay contains all the blood splattering, spine-ripping goodness you've come to expect of the series. There is one glaring flaw however, and that is the fact that Shang Tsung's "morphing" takes over five seconds to complete! It looks like your game has locked-up! A new "aggressor" meter has been added, but it's completely unnecessary. Likewise the new "Brutalities" are just a barrage of attacks followed by raining bones - pretty boring!
Trilogy has frequent load screens, but these are reasonably short. Four and eight-player tournament modes are included, although I can't see those getting much use. The more you look at Trilogy, the more it feels like a rehash. This proved to be a swan song of sorts for the 2D Mortal Kombat games. © Copyright 2011 The Video Game Critic.
The main character, Jax, is the black guy from Mortal Kombat II with bionic arms. If not for him, this might as well be another Die Hard game. Special Force's predictable gameplay is not special at all. Traversing through office buildings and sewers, you methodically dispose of enemy thugs using your fists or weapons. One unique feature is how you can switch to a first-person point of view in case you want to aim with more precision.
You'll spend much of the game searching for ways to unlock doors, and blowing up damaged walls to expose hidden rooms. The ominous musical score is decent, but Special Force's graphics are just plain ugly. The scenery is remarkably generic, and hideous "seams" abound. The clumsy control scheme provides you with zero control of the camera. Attack combos are effective but hard to execute, and the collision detection is a joke.
On one occasion, I was attacking two thugs lined up in front of me, when my kick passed completely through the first guy, only to strike the dude behind him! I can honestly say that's the first time I've ever seen this particular glitch in a fighting game. I forced myself to play through several stages of Mortal Kombat Special Forces (for the purpose of this review), but to be honest I lost interest very early. © Copyright 2005 The Video Game Critic.
You'll challenge four CPU opponents, and believe me when I say these bastards won't give an inch! Even if you manage to painstakingly work your way up to the lead, one false move sends you to the back of the pack. The analog steering works great but regulating your speed via the X button takes practice. Memorizing each course is paramount because you have a low vantage point with no turn cues. The map in the corner is utterly useless.
Most tracks are curvy but cutting corners is ill-advised, since plowing through loose gravel slows you to a crawl. CPU drivers seem to maintain a constant speed, so you'll make up ground on straight-aways only to lose it on the curves. After colliding with a CPU racer your driver goes vaulting through his handlebars as a brown cloud emanates from his butt. Perhaps to compensate for the humiliation, the game "resets" you a lot further up the track.
The arcade mode is a dud. Why would you start the player on such an bland, difficult track? Dialing down the difficulty occurred to me, but then I realized it was already set to beginner! Shouldn't "normal" be the default? The audio makes its sound like you're being pursued by a swarm of killer bees. The droning, generic music absolutely sucks.
My favorite track is the island. Short and easy, the course is replete with interesting scenery and lush vegetation. Why can't all the tracks be like this? I also dislike how so many modes like traffic, trial, and dragster are locked from the outset. Moto Racer World Tour can be pretty exciting once you learn how to keep up with the pack, but the game makes you work too hard for any kind of payoff. © Copyright 2021 The Video Game Critic.
His mission is to save familiar muppet characters transformed into classic movie monsters. Kermit plays the role of Frankenstein but his tall flat head makes it look like he's sporting a high-top fade! The game's bright, whimsical graphics have a vaguely Halloween theme and the impressive orchestrated soundtrack offers hints of Zombies Ate My Neighbors (SNES, 1993).
Muppet Monster Adventure is a remarkably well-constructed 3D platformer. Its levels are spacious enough that you rarely have to fumble with the camera or struggle with precision jumps. It doesn't hurt that the difficulty is easy. The hub of the game offers dozens of stages that gradually unlock as you collect items.
Armed with a potent spin attack and ray-gun, you'll tangle with bone-tossing skeletons, axe-wielding hunchbacks, and whirling mummies. A special weapon even lets you fire chickens! You gradually acquire new powers allowing you to climb, karate-chop, slide blocks, and glide like Spyro the Dragon (Sony, 1998). Each stage is chock full of items to collect and it can become an obsession to track everything down.
The controls are superb with one exception. Although analog control generally works fine, you'll want to stick with digital control when you need to slide blocks. A funny red-haired guy who speaks with an outrageous French accent offers hints to guide you past puzzles. You can save your progress or return to the main hub at any time. Surprisingly addictive and effortlessly enjoyable, Muppet Monster Adventure is a game that should appeal to all ages. © Copyright 2016 The Video Game Critic.
Screen shots courtesy of IGN.com