Publisher: Shiney (1997)
MDK is 3D platform-shooter set in a futuristic world with incredible, surreal architecture. You view your character from behind as he solves simple puzzles and battles a variety of bizarre creatures. My only question is, what in the hell is that thing on his head? MDK was one of the first games (if not the
first) to let you snipe enemies from a distance using a scope, and it works great. I was blown away the first time I zoomed in on an alien and put a slug in his head. Your character is also equipped with wings that allow him to glide and soften falls from high places. MDK has a strange sense of humor and a nicely-ramping difficulty, making this engaging shooter hard to put down. © Copyright 1999 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: 989 Studios (2000)
I don't know about these guys at 989 Studios. Apparently they have become content with simply updating the rosters of their MLB game each year, occasionally adding some unwanted bells and whistles. Sure MLB 2001 is as good as the previous few editions, but it's hardly worth the upgrade. One new feature is a "franchise mode" that lets you bring up a rookie and develop his career through a season. Also new are the "golden oldies" that play between innings. If I have to hear "Respect" or "Wooly Bully" one more time, I'm gonna hurt somebody! MLB 2001 isn't bad by any stretch, but if you've owned any of the other MLB titles, then you've already played this. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: 989 Studios (1998)
Here's a solid arcade-style baseball game boasting the legendary Cal Ripken on the cover. What MLB 99 lacks in realism it makes up with its fast, fun gameplay. The players look a little stiff, standing around like soldiers before and after plays. The controls are responsive though, allowing you to easily dive for ground balls and throw runners out from your knees. The stadiums look decent but don't expect anything spectacular. Vin Scully does a fine job calling play-by-play, and the vendor voices in the background are funny. The AI isn't the greatest, and purists may scoff at the number of home runs, but if you're in the mood for arcade action you probably won't mind. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: THQ (2000)
I can only shake my head at the idea of MTV branching out into video games. It's bad enough they abandoned music videos for trashy reality shows. As a veteran of "extreme" sports games, I had the intro to MTV Pure Ride pegged. High-octane grunge music? Check. Grainy snowboarding footage? Check. Screen-distorting visual effects? Checkmate!
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, slope style, 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 where ever 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.
Publisher: Electronic Arts (1998)
For years I had preferred Sony's better-looking Gameday series over the more realistic Madden games, but those days appear to be over. Apparently someone finally explained to EA the importance of frame-rate, because Madden 2000 looks and plays beautifully. The players are still a bit rough around the edges, but the silky smooth animation is incredibly lifelike. Not only does Madden 2000 look great, but it's the most entertaining football game to come out in years. The control is dead-on, and the running game is no longer an exercise in futility. Players break tackles and get pulled down in a realistic manner. It's not unusual to see awe-inspiring plays like a receiver trying to keep his feet inbounds while catching a ball on the sidelines. The two-man commentary is also impressive. Selecting a football game is not a tough choice in 2000 - go Madden all the way. © Copyright 1999 The Video Game Critic.
March Madness 2000
Publisher: Electronic Arts (1999)
After having an awful previous year, EA has turned the tables, rebounding with a great game that puts the Sony's NCAA Final Four to shame! The graphics in March Madness 2000 are excellent, and the frame-rate is noticeably improved although it could be even better. The game definitely favors arcade over simulation. 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.
Publisher: Electronic Arts (1998)
Despite its nice graphics, shoddy animation and sluggish action make March Madness 99 a basketball game to avoid. There are a slew of features, but only about 100 teams, so you can forget about recreating your favorite team's schedule. Also, as is the case with most EA games, the loading times are excruciatingly slow. This year you'll want to go with NCAA Final Four 99 (989 Studios) instead. © Copyright 1999 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Midway (1997)
This light gun shooter looks and plays exactly like Area 51, but this time you get three action-packed missions to choose from. The graphics are digitized, and you simple fire at the screen (and off-screen to reload) as you automatically move through the environments, which include a bank, boat, and jungle. The two-player simultaneous action is always a blast, and Maximum Force has a better sense of humor than Area 51. Even in the most dangerous places, there always seems to be a girl in a bikini laying around! Unfortunately, this game does not
support Namco's Guncon controller. © Copyright 1999 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Electronic Arts (1999)
Just as you're getting sick of first-person shooters, Medal of Honor comes along and reinvigorates the genre. This game is amazing! You play a World War II soldier infiltrating Nazi-occupied towns and strongholds during a series of thrilling night missions. Medal of Honor makes you feel as if you're in an old-fashioned war movie. 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.
Publisher: Sony (1998)
Clearly inspired by the gothic stylings of Nightmare Before Christmas (1993), Medievil stars a lanky, resurrected, decomposed knight. I hadn't played this game for nearly 20 years yet I'm pleased to report it's still awesome. Its whimsical humor and creepy organ music makes it feel like you're playing a 3D Ghouls 'N Ghosts
(Genesis, 1989), and isn't that the ultimate compliment? 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.
Publisher: Sony (2000)
MediEvil is a whimsical 3D platform series clearly influenced by macabre films like Edward Scissorhands (1990) and Nightmare Before Christmas (1993). Starring a reanimated skeleton warrior you'll wander through gothic locations stocked with mummies, knights, and Bruce Lee zombies. You begin in a museum that culminates with a wild boss encounter against a dinosaur fossil come-to-life. You start with a sword but soon acquire a gun, hammer, and other weapons. 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.
Publisher: Capcom (1997)
Metal Gear Solid
Publisher: Konami (1998)
Rating: Mature (blood, gore, violence, sexual themes)
Metal Gear Solid is billed as a game of "Tactical Espionage Action", where you play the role of a spy infiltrating a terrorist base. This highly-acclaimed game effectively combines realistic gameplay and first-rate graphics with a captivating storyline. The result is rich, immersive gaming experience that's riveting from beginning to end. 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 heros 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.
Publisher: SNK (2001)
Rating: Teen (animated violence)
Micro Machines V3
Publisher: Midway (1997)
Some of my friends tell me they actually played with Micro Machines toys as kids. Jonathan says they were great fun until your dad stepped on one and grounded you for a week. The video games series began on the NES, letting you race around household environments with toy vehicles. Typical tracks ran over a pool table marked with chalk, a beach lined with shells, and kitchen table lined with peas and carrots. 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.
Midnight Run (Japan)
Publisher: Konami (1997)
Would you believe I purchased a modded, region-free PS1 specifically so I could play Midnight Run? I happen to be a longtime fan of Ridge Racer
(Sony, 1995), and judging from the YouTube videos Midnight Run struck me as "Ridge Racer at night". Fortunately for me that turned out to be a fairly accurate description. Midnight Run offers the kind of instantly-gratifying arcade-style racing I crave. 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.
Publisher: Hasbro (1999)
In the early 80's, Missile Command was one of my absolute favorite arcade games. I always thought that defending cities from waves of ballistic missiles was a brilliant concept for a video game. Now, 18 years later, Hasbro has given Missile Command the 3D treatment, as it has to so many other arcade classics (with mixed results, I should add). This updated version looks and sounds great, but the gameplay has lost something. It's less fun, too easy, and the analog stick proves a poor substitute for a track ball. 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 mother ship "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.
Publisher: Midway (1995)
Rating: Mature (realistic violence, blood and gore)
Publisher: Midway (1997)
Rating: Mature (animated blood and gore, violence)
The fourth edition of this once-wildly-popular fighting series was met with apathy by most of the game-playing public. Sure, it was the first Mortal Kombat (MK) game with 3D graphics, but that was old news by 1997. The graphics are only fair, and the level of detail seems slightly reduced from the 2D versions. The blood looks downright chunky and even more fake than previous MK games (if that's possible). 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.
Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero
Publisher: Midway (1997)
Rating: Mature (animated blood and gore, animated violence
Mortal Kombat Trilogy
Publisher: Midway (1996)
Rating: Mature 1 or 2 players
If you're a fan of one-on-one fighters, this game would seem to be a slam-dunk. Mortal Kombat Trilogy combines all
of the stages and characters from the first three Mortal Kombat games and tosses in a few bonuses. The 32-character roster is loaded with all of your favorites, along with "mystery" characters like Smoke, Ermac, and Noob Saibot. You get both the masked and unmasked versions of Sub Zero, although if you ask me, removing Sub Zero's mask was a huge mistake. 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.
Rating: Mature 1 or 2 players
Mortal Kombat: Special Forces
Publisher: Midway (1999)
Rating: Mature (animated blood, animated violence)
Muppet Monster Adventure
Publisher: Psygnosis (2000)
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