system Index C
Cadillacs and Dinosaurs
Grade: D
Publisher: Rocket Science Games (1994)
Posted: 2024/7/3

screenshotBased on a cartoon series, Cadillacs and Dinosaurs appeared in the arcades as a kick-ass side-scrolling beat-em-up. Sega CD owners however got stuck with a highly repetitive driving game. While reviewing this with Sudz, we somehow found ourselves singing that cheesy Everybody Walk The Dinosaur song. At least we didn't perform the lame dance. HEY - there is no proof that we did! Can we please change the subject?! Sheesh.

Cadillacs and Dinosaurs boots up with a bizarre PSA: "The story you are about to see contains scenes in which the characters are riding in a car without seatbelts. This is not advisable..." Really? First I'm supposed to say "no" to drugs, and now this? Can I at least tamper with the airplane restroom smoke detectors? I swear they have to take all the fun out of everything.

The animated intro has a comic book-style flair. The colorful video consumes the entire screen but there's significant pixelation and the occasional "screen door" effect. That said, it's still fun to watch and explains the entire premise of the game. Apparently in the year 2020 there was something called a "great cataclysm". Evidently it was a lot like Covid, except for all the dinosaurs, but I think that goes without saying.

The gameplay hinges on a single, vaguely-impressive visual effect. Viewing the action from behind your car, you're driving through a dense jungle, swerving between branching paths while avoiding logs, rocks, skulls, and the occasional Brachiosaurus. Animated cut-scenes depict crashes and advance the story between stages.

As I'm careening through the jungle I feel like I'm hitting every rock and log, bouncing around all over the place. Fortunately the damage meter grows slowly, and if you hit a blue crystal your car is instantly "healed". Driving through the legs of a Brachiosaurus is cool, but avoiding its big noggin is another story. The manner in which it enters the screen is so deceptive, you can't decide whether to swerve left or right, and you only have an instant to decide.

The game is genuinely fun for the first minute or two. The illusion of movement is smooth but the steering is not very precise. You can fire bullets at obstacles to your hearts' content but try not to hit any dinosaurs. After a few minutes of staring into that pixelated jungle however I was alarmed to find myself going cross-eyed. This is not good, because as I learned from Tommy in the second grade, there's a good chance your eyes could get stuck that way.

Believe it or not, the first six stages are nothing but driving through this never-ending jungle! Stage seven introduces a new style of play but by then you may have lost the will to live. This time you're in a high-tech minecart, navigating a tunnel while being chased by a rampaging T-Rex. And yes, it does look pretty cool.

I wish they would have limited the driving to an opening act, kind of like they did with Batman Returns (Sega, 1992). As it is, Cadillacs and Dinosaurs feels like a one trick pony. I can't imagine someone paying full price for this when it was new. That said, I kind of like having weird, one-of-a-kind games like this in my collection. © Copyright 2024 The Video Game Critic.

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1 or 2 players 

If you like this game, try: Batman: The Animated Series (Game Boy)
Tunnel Runner (Atari 2600)
The Adventures of Batman and Robin (Sega CD)
Batman Returns (Sega CD)
Batman Gotham City Racer (Playstation)

Chuck Rock
Grade: B+
Publisher: Sony (1992)
Posted: 2023/1/26

screenshotChuck Rock is a laid-back platformer with colorful, inviting graphics that remind me of something from a Saturday morning cartoon. Some Sega CD games are just slightly-embellished versions of their Genesis counterparts, but this one has more to offer. It begins with an animated cut-scene of Chuck's lovely wife being kidnapped. The production values are pretty bad however. The scenes aren't very well animated and it sounds like the narrator is reading from cue cards.

When the title screen kicks in, fans of the original game will notice a major difference. Chuck is still jamming with his band but instead of the twangy electronic tunes you get clear rock music. I often prefer the "video game" sound but in this case I think the new music is an upgrade. The original game could be kind of abrasive, but here the sound quality is consistently good the whole way through. There are even some new "nature sounds" like birds tweeting.

The gameplay and graphics are pretty unchanged, which isn't bad because the original game was so amazing. Jumping between platforms, hurling boulders, and knocking dinosaurs off the screen is such a pleasure, the replay value is off the charts. Each stage offers multiple paths you can scour to locate hard-to-find bonus items. The difficulty is fair, but you really need to keep an eye out for smaller, hard-to-see enemies.

This Sega CD version incorporates a much-needed password feature and a "map screen" a la Ghouls 'N Ghosts (Genesis, 1989). The stages are longer and there are even a few new enemies here and there. If you enjoyed the Genesis game this CD is bound to rock your world. © Copyright 2023 The Video Game Critic.

High score: 249,150
Save: password
1 player 

If you like this game, try: Chuck Rock II: Son of Chuck (Sega CD)
Flashback (Sega CD)
Chuck Rock (Genesis)
Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure (Sega CD)
Super Ghouls 'N Ghosts (Super Nintendo)

Chuck Rock II: Son of Chuck
Grade: B
Publisher: Core (1993)
Posted: 2023/1/26

screenshotLike so many other lazy Sega CD ports, this one is the same as Chuck Rock II: Son of Chuck (Genesis, 1993), save for a cartoon intro and "enhanced" audio. I don't think the stages have changed at all, and they didn't even bother to include a password option. Son of Chuck does provide a new "hard" difficulty, perhaps to lure gamers who already mastered the Genesis version.

I will admit that the new intro, rendered with "digital cell animation", looks pretty darn good by Sega CD standards. The colors are vibrant and the animation fills the entire screen. Here we learn more about Chuck's arch nemesis "Brick Jagger" and Chuck's wife Ophelia, who has to be the most attractive cartoon cave-woman since Betty Rubble.

Chuck's club-swinging infant son is the star of the game. He goes around wacking things with his big club, including cavemen, dinosaurs, monkeys, crabs, and sharks. Like the first game, you can sometimes ride animals including a galloping ostrich or a turtle that painstakingly carries you across lava. Poor thing. There are also bonus stages like a button-tapping river race.

Many sound effects have been digitized, like the yelps of animals or the burps of alligators in the water stage. Son of Chuck's music was unremarkable on the Genesis and frankly I didn't find this new CD-quality soundtrack very appealing either.

Son of Chuck can be wildly entertaining but sometimes it's hard to tell when you're taking damage. Upon beating a boss, I always think I lost because the kid looks like he's throwing a tantrum. It's hard to compare Chuck Rock II to its predecessor because they have different mechanics, but both are ridiculously fun. © Copyright 2023 The Video Game Critic.

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High score: 54,450
1 player 

If you like this game, try: Chuck Rock II: Son of Chuck (Genesis)
Chuck Rock (Sega CD)
Ecco The Dolphin (Sega CD)
Chuck Rock (Genesis)
R-Types (Playstation)

Citizen X
Grade: C+
Publisher: Good Deal Games (2002)
Posted: 2003/2/14

screenshotGood Deal Games (GDG) has been a valuable proponent of retro-gaming for years, resurrecting several unreleased titles for classic consoles like the Sega CD or Philips CDi. Since no good deed goes unpunished, I summarily trashed GDG's first two titles, Bug Blasters and Star Strike for the Sega CD. I feel pretty bad about that, so it's a relief that I can give Good Deal's latest game, Citizen X, a passing grade. While the documentation admits this is an "unfinished" game, if not for a few subtle details you'd never know.

Citizen X is mainly a standard side-scroller with full motion video (FMV) clips interspersed with the action. The small clips (50% of the screen in size) effectively establish the storyline and introduce new villains, but have no real bearing on the gameplay. The acting is bad and the script is worse, but that's all part of the fun. Playing as a dorky-looking guy in red tennis shoes, you collect items and use them to subdue terrorists that have made the sewers into their headquarters. The bad guys range from bald musclemen to martial arts experts to demented clowns.

Your fighting abilities are limited to a simple punch, but simply running past these thugs is usually your best bet. The graphics are grainy and look like they were drawn with a crayon, and the repetitive sewer screens would be intolerable if not for the useful map. Let's face it: the idea of running around sewer mazes is not very enticing to most gamers who survived the 90's. At least some of the animations are interesting, like the muscleman fighting (or is he eating?) a sewer rat, or the maniac clown performing pantomime.

The sound effects are somewhat muffled, but the cheesy music really grew on me. The controls are decent, but it's hard to use the dynamite without blowing yourself up. Only two minor things reveal Citizen X to be unfinished. At one point, a villain cannot enter a room, but you can see him flickering on the edge of the screen. Also, in some of the FMV there are short scenes missing (indicated by "scene missing" text).

Neither of these will detract from your enjoyment of the game. There's nothing outstanding here, but the gameplay is unexplainably addictive. Citizen X is typical of the early-90s video games that tried to incorporate cheesy FMV with standard platform action, and Sega CD fans will love it. © Copyright 2003 The Video Game Critic.

High score: 3750
1 player 

If you like this game, try: Star Strike (Sega CD)
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (Sega CD)
Dark Mage (Atari 2600)
Dragon's Lair (Sega CD)
Sewer Shark (3DO)

Cliffhanger
Grade: B-
Publisher: Sony (1993)
Posted: 2013/2/21

screenshotMost of its stages are cut-and-pasted from the Genesis cartridge, but CD-quality music, film clips, and a "radical" 3D snowboarding stage elevates this Sega CD edition above the rest. Cliffhanger kicks off with some extremely grainy film clips that only consume about half of the screen. The video might look rough but it's a step up from comic-book panels of the other versions (on second thought, maybe not). There's about 20 minutes of actual movie footage in the game.

Cliffhanger is a side-scrolling beat-em-up with platform-jumping and wall-climbing challenges sprinkled in. You play a mountain climber named Gabe who must defeat the evil Qualen and his army of henchmen on snowy mountain peaks. I find it amusing how the environments were so rocky in the movie yet are perfectly flat in this game. The fighting action is faster and more responsive than the SNES version, which is good.

The stages are lifted directly from the Genesis with the exception of a new snowboarding avalanche sequence. This impressive stage uses scaling sprites to deliver pseudo-3D thrills - not unlike the driving scenes in Batman Returns (Sega CD, 1992). As you steer Gabe on a snowboard down a narrow path strewn with trees and rocks, a relentless avalanche encroaches from behind. Hearing the roar of rushing snow is unsettling, and when the snow starts building around your ankles, it's downright alarming. Unfortunately, this stage is so insanely long you practically need to memorize the entire course to survive. A checkpoint would have been nice. It's frustrating to breeze through the fights only to piss away all your lives on that single stage.

Cliffhanger's audio is a definite improvement over the Genesis version. The groans and grunts sound clear and the orchestrated soundtrack reminds me of Raiders of the Lost Ark. My friend Eric remarked that he actually prefers the synthesized Genesis music because it "makes him feel like he's playing a video game." That's an interesting point of view. Overall Cliffhanger on the Sega CD is a pretty neat adaptation of the film, offering a richer, more immersive experience than the other versions. © Copyright 2013 The Video Game Critic.

Recommended: 7 lives
High score: 58500
1 player 

If you like this game, try: Cliffhanger (Super Nintendo)
Flashback (Sega CD)
Cliffhanger (Genesis)
Batman Returns (Sega CD)
Cliffhanger (Game Boy)

Cobra Command
Grade: C
Publisher: Sega (1992)
Posted: 2005/12/29

screenshotA "laserdisc" style game in the tradition of Dragon's Lair, Cobra Command lets you pilot an attack helicopter on a series of action-packed missions. Your flight path is completely preordained, although when prompted you'll need to hold the directional pad in order to avoid collisions. Enemy planes, helicopters and tanks emerge from the scenery, and you must quickly aim your crosshairs to blast them.

While some gamers may scoff at Cobra Command's linear gameplay and semi-interactive controls, classic game enthusiasts will appreciate this game for what it is (and what it's trying to be). The graphics are always interesting and sometimes exhilarating as you buzz New York skyscrapers, the Grand Canyon, and Easter Island. There are ten stages in all, but they're pretty short and play exactly the same each time.

I enjoyed playing Cobra Command the first few times, but clearly its replay value is limited. There are continues but no password feature, so you'll always need to play through the early stages. The graphics and animation are good for the Sega CD, but the rudimentary animation reminded me of an old Speed Racer cartoon. Still, the varied locales and non-stop action kept me forging ahead.

The audio is pretty weak, with scratchy voice samples that are hard to decipher. Cobra Command is okay as long as you don't mind full-motion video games. Most casuals gamers probably won't "get it", but die-hard Sega CD fans should find it worthwhile. © Copyright 2005 The Video Game Critic.

1 player 

If you like this game, try: Dragon's Lair (3DO)
Strahl (3DO)
Dragon's Lair (Sega CD)
Dragon's Lair (CD) (Jaguar)
Tanks But No Tanks (Atari 2600)

Corpse Killer
Grade: D-
Publisher: Digital Pictures (1994)
Posted: 2012/11/4
Rating: Mature (realistic violence)

screenshotAn artifact of a strange time, Corpse Killer is a full-motion video (FMV) shooter with light-gun support. The video area consumes roughly half of the screen and the quality is marginal. The opening scene establishes the first-person perspective as you parachute onto a zombie-infested tropical island and get stuck in a tree. You know you're in for a low budget affair when the first zombie has gobs of gray makeup on his face but nothing on his hands.

You immediately team up with a Rastafarian named Winston and a blonde reporter named Julie. Winston is a cool cat but Julie was clearly not hired for her acting ability. Her lines incorporate awkward sexual innuendos like "Cool tool - I bet you know how to... turn it on." As you cruise around the island (via grainy cutscenes) your goal is to rescue fellow soldiers captured by a diabolical scientist.

I enjoyed the tropical scenery coupled with the dark voodoo imagery. The bongo drums set the mood as you venture into areas like a graveyard, a swamp, and a beach covered with shipwrecks. The shooting action however leaves much to be desired. As a camera slowly pans the scenery, digitized zombies float toward you. They look like poorly-paid extras, and when shot they shout "doh!" like Homer Simpson.

The game supports the Menacer light gun, but the accuracy is horrible. You're better off dragging a crosshair around the screen with a normal controller. At least then you can unleash a rapid-fire torrent of bullets. Corpse Killer is shallow but I discovered some subtle strategy. You'll want to focus on the monsters on the right side of the screen, as the leftmost ones tend to scroll off before they can reach you. By shooting the flashing "shadow figures" you can wipe out everything on the screen.

The video intermissions are the highlight of the game, and Vincent Shiavelli deserves an Oscar for his mad-voodoo-scientist role. The scenes are fun to watch once or twice, but after that you'll be happy to skip them. A "data pod" screen allows you to save your progress and watch additional video clips. A map lets you select missions, but there's not much variety. Corpse Killer is not a good game by any stretch of the imagination, but if you're fascinated by FMV games, this is an interesting relic. © Copyright 2012 The Video Game Critic.

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High score: 1,225,272
Save: Backup RAM
1 player 

If you like this game, try: Corpse Killer: Graveyard Edition (Saturn)
Corpse Killer (3DO)
Corpse Killer (CD) (Sega 32X)
Corpse Killer 25th Anniversary Edition (Playstation 4)
Area 51 (Playstation)

Crime Patrol
Grade: D
Publisher: American Laser Games (1994)
Posted: 2019/2/22

screenshotMy first experience playing Crime Patrol was on the 3DO system. Its light-gun shooting gameplay was a little loose but I enjoyed the cheesy video footage of bad guys running around electronic stores, crack houses, and strip clubs. On the Sega CD the gun felt much less responsive until I remembered you need to crank up the brightness of your CRT TV (keep in mind the gun will not work on an HDTV).

The shooting action isn't bad but there's a palpable lag between seeing someone get shot and watching them recoil. I guess that's due to the footage having to be loaded off the disc. The video is grainy but at least it's full screen. The stages are action-packed, incorporating explosions, cars flipping open, dudes getting electrocuted, dudes on fire, and exotic dancers doing their thing.

At first you select between four missions, and upon completing those a new set appears. It takes some perseverance to reach the strip club level but I think most guys will agree it's worth the effort. The collision detection is far from precise but if you fire several times in the right area you're likely to hit your target.

I was kind of psyched about using my two Sega CD guns (blue and pink) but the game only supports two-players alternating. Weak! Sometimes I always wonder what a game like Crime Patrol would be like with modern graphics and pinpoint controls. I'm afraid we'll never know because they just don't make 'em like this any more. © Copyright 2019 The Video Game Critic.

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1 player 

If you like this game, try: Crime Patrol (3DO)
Drug Wars (3DO)
Corpse Killer (3DO)
Who Shot Johnny Rock? (3DO)
Maximum Force (Saturn)


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