The characters are nicely detailed, and their huge size lets you take out three or four bad guys with one kick! The cast of thugs includes all the usual suspects, including the spiky-haired punk, the fat guy, the Neanderthal man, huge bosses, and some fine looking hookers (with handcuffs even!). It's a nice touch how the bosses struggle to get up before they finally collapse in defeat. Along with the standard punches, throws, jump kicks, and special moves, there are loads of knives, swords, and pipes available to keep the bad guys at bay.
In a nod to Street Fighter, there are two bonus stages thrown in that let you destroy a car or smash glass panels. The jazzy Miami Vice-inspired background music is crystal clear but not particularly memorable. Likewise the sound effects won't really catch your ear. But if you're looking to kick some ass, don't hesitate to pick this game up. Unlike the lame SNES version, the game supports two players. My wife thinks it might be better than Streets of Rage. You be the judge. © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.
Flashback is an amazing futuristic adventure with rich graphics, fluid animation, and a compelling storyline. One major difference between this and the cartridge is the music. The Genesis game was largely a silent affair, with short musical interludes kicking in when the action got intense. In this version you'll hear a difference right away in the opening jungle stage. Tribal drums alternate menacingly between the stereo speakers, and then a booming orchestrated chorus (with vocals) kicks in. It sounds like something you'd hear in a Terminator movie, and it lends weight to the proceedings. Flashback for the Sega CD is not necessarily a better game, but audiophiles may find this version more appealing. © Copyright 2012 The Video Game Critic.
As you start a new game you're approached by a harmless-looking old man who is fatal to touch. Your enemies mainly consist of slow-moving elderly people. I'm surprised there's not a nursing home stage. You can knock people off the screen, but that requires pouncing on their head not once but twice. Flink also has the ability to slide down hills and toss objects.
One thing that really sucks about this game is its unforgiving collision detection. Touching any creature spells instant death and the problem is exacerbated by enemies that appear unexpectedly. It's really hard to catch an edge while leaping between ledges. The spell casting feature might have been interesting if it weren't so complicated.
After collecting a scroll with a magic spell, you then need to collect magic potions along with a laundry list of ingredients. What a chore! If that's not bad enough, you need to be in a specific spot to use a given spell! I'm not sure what's more nauseating - the overcooked gameplay or the cheesy musical score. Flink is one platformer that asks a whole lot of the player but offers little in return.
. © Copyright 2015 The Video Game Critic.
Digitized images of crew members brief you on track conditions, but tailoring your wheels and transmission doesn't seem to matter much. You get a behind-the-wheel view when racing, but steering is a nightmare. Scaling and rotation effects are used to convey movement, but the controls are touchy and the animation is herky-jerky. It's hard to even stay on the track, and it doesn't help that the courses are packed with sharp turns.
Should you accidentally swerve into the pit lane, you'll look on in horror as a horrendously pixelated crew descends upon your car. Completing a single lap is an ordeal, so even the thought of ten-lap qualifying round is too much to bear. At one point I noticed big pixelated squares on the edge of the road similar to those in Super Mario Kart (SNES, 1992). It's interesting how two games can use the same technology and arrive at vastly different results.
. © Copyright 2012 The Video Game Critic.
The plot involves a small Texas town infiltrated by aliens who assume the form of normal townsfolk. There are four cameras to switch between, aimed at main street, a hotel, plaza, and cantina. Unlike Night Trap, you are directed where to look, so there's no much freedom. Once you select an area, you just move a cursor around the screen and shoot anyone who points a gun at you (they'll also have a green box around them).
Many stages are just static scenery with people popping out trying to shoot you, much like the old Lethal Enforcer games. Shooting the same people over and over gets tiresome. Check out the terrible actors that throw up their arms and fall back when they get shot, sometimes while smiling. You also have to sit through numerous video clips that convey a slow-moving storyline, although there are a few surprises that happen just as you're nodding off.
Pay close attention the first time you play, because the most unlikely characters will pull out a gun and try to blast you without warning. I've been known to enjoy games like this, but Ground Zero Texas did not win me over. The video clips aren't very entertaining and the shooting is just repetitive. And for the record, the game was actually filmed in California.
. © Copyright 2003 The Video Game Critic.
Even with an FAQ on hand, you'll find yourself retrying screens dozens of times. You need to time every jump perfectly, and if you're too close to the edge, you'll slip off. Clearly these controls were designed for the precision of a keyboard. There are no scraped knees or bruises in this game - the smallest misstep means instant death. Fortunately there are checkpoints so you shouldn't have to start too far back. Forging through the stages requires a lot of aggravating trial and error. You'd expect the first few screens to let the player gradually become acclimated to the controls, but they are pure, unrelenting torture.
Even the password screen is brutal as you painstakingly attempt to enter the four-character code. The second game, "Out of this World" is older so its problems are even worse! Trying to make it past the black slugs on the opening stage is beyond ridiculous. The collision detection is so unforgiving, it's criminal. Both games featured excellent storytelling and unprecedented eye candy for their time, but they will have you banging your head against a wall. © Copyright 2012 The Video Game Critic.
Peter's armed with a knife and when he attacks pirates it makes a satisfying smack noise. Sadly, enemy pirates don't die but instead drop their weapons and stand with their hands up. Lame! The only indication of this being a CD is its orchestrated music, consisting of some of the most irritatingly repetitive tunes ever recorded. At least the scenery looks good and the sound effects are crisp.
Hook could have been a passable platformer if the collision detection wasn't such a mess. Keep a wide berth from enemies because if you somehow overlap one you'll be subjected to multiple hits. To be honest it's hard to tell what can or can't hurt you. That man-eating plant will kill you if you jump over it, yet you can stroll right in front of it unscathed. You expect rolling rocks to deal damage, but boulders at rest? Heck I've seen rocks roll uphill in this game.
The controls suck too. Having to hold down A to run is awkward, and why initiate flight by double tapping B when the C button is unused? And how are you supposed to avoid those swarming bees? It doesn't surprise me that the Hook film was such a flop. This entire project was ill-advised. © Copyright 2020 The Video Game Critic.
There are two play modes: Edit Challenge and U-Direct. In Edit Challenge you try to edit a video to certain specifications, and you're rated when it's done. U-Direct lets you make the video however you want and even save it when you're done. The editing process on-the-fly as the song plays, where you flip between three screens of running film. Each displays random clips that include old movies, cartoons, nature shows, scantily clad women, and yes, the band.
The clips are so varied and fun to watch that it's hard NOT to make a good video, although there's not much room to be artistic. The special effect controls let you slice, dice, color, freeze, mix, mirror, and freeze the image (to name a few). Most of these effects just make the image harder to see, especially if you use combinations, so it's best to be conservative. Unfortunately, VERY touchy controls make it difficult to initiate a given effect at the right instant, and that ruins what could have been a very respectable CD game. © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.
Iron Helix had potential. Your first-person view is small but the scenery is photo-realistic with smooth transitions as you travel down deserted hallways. A map screen actively tracks the prowling defender droid, giving Iron Helix a mild Alien Isolation (PS4, 2014) vibe. It's a shame the controls suck so hard! To turn or move forward you hold the directional pad in a particular direction. After a conspicuous delay you hear the sound of your Sega CD spinning, followed by a delayed movement sequence. These laggy controls make exploring the ship nearly unbearable, especially with so many areas sealed off.
Even the on-screen prompts are inconsistent. Sometimes a red arrow means you can't go forward, unless you're in an elevator, in which case it means you can exit. Using a robotic arm to access keypads is a neat concept, but most terminals say "access denied". Coming face-to-face with the defender droid should have been the game's defining moment, but you never even see the thing! Instead the game just abruptly ends when you cross its path! I'm glad my expectations for Iron Helix were rock bottom; it did not let me down. © Copyright 2019 The Video Game Critic.
There are 16 selectable tracks, each located in a different country with representative scenery (choose Switzerland for snow). Typically you'll view mountains in the distance but nothing memorable. Scaling scenery lines the side of the road, but some objects can be hard to make out. Driving under overpasses looks cool, but it's the tunnels that really steal the show. The one with the icicles looks amazing. Steering your car isn't hard but if you want to maintain your speed you'll need to begin your turns a little early.
The major flaw with the game is the way colliding with another car brings both of you to a near-stop. And who came up with this font? It's impossible to tell a 3 from an 8! The Grand Prix mode lets you repair (but not upgrade) your car between races, and you can save your progress as well. The practice mode lets you go head-to-head with a friend, and it works well despite a degraded framerate. You also have a nice variety of soothing tunes to select from. Jaguar XJ220 might be one of the more underrated titles for the Sega CD, and car enthusiasts should consider bumping up the grade by a letter. © Copyright 2015 The Video Game Critic.
Next the pitiful controls have the worst response time I'm ever seen in my life. The game is consistently a step behind your commands. Then there's the sound, which may be the biggest crime of all. You'd think that being a CD game, this would at the very least offer some decent live play-by-play commentary. But no - commentary is only heard when you're choosing your plays, and it talks about the previous play. Heck, even regular Genesis games had live commentary in 1993. The sound effects are practically non-existent, with the exception of the water-faucet crowd in the background.
Finally, I have to mention that the computer opponent is incredibly slow and stupid. Often the cpu-controlled player will just stand there after a hand-off or catch. The game's one redeeming feature is the "Ask Joe" option, which is available during time-outs and displays a video of Joe giving advice for the next play. That's cool, but it's the only bright spot I could find. Sega must have been under a lot of pressure to release such a half-baked game. © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.
By moving a cursor over a first-person view of your surroundings, you move from area to area, checking out the scenery and collecting items to solve puzzles. There are a few "aim the cursor" shooting sequences, but in general the pace of the game is slow and involves a lot of trial and error. Just move the cursor all over the place, and when it turns into a hand or a magnifying glass, you know you've found something.
Whether you enjoy this edition of Jurassic Park or not depends on your frame of mind. The first time I played it, I was in the mood for action and it just bored me. The second time however, I had mentally prepared myself for a thought-provoking adventure, so it wasn't so bad. Still, some of the puzzles don't make any sense, and I hate when the screen simply goes black when you die - causing you to wonder what the heck just happened.
The scenery is strictly Genesis quality, and the pathways between areas all look the same after a while, making it easy to get lost. Even the educational aspect is weak. When you consult the Paleontologist about a specific dinosaur, he says one lousy sentence. As for the "sense-boggling" Q-Sound the game box raves about, well, I didn't even notice it. I'll give Sega credit for trying something different, but Jurassic Park for the Sega CD lacks the thrills and excitement of its namesake. © Copyright 2005 The Video Game Critic.
This girl "Rami" owns a small pet dragon and her arch-enemy is a 3003-year-old raccoon. It doesn't make much sense, until it dawns on you that this is a Japanese game. Keio Flying Squadron is a high quality side-scrolling shooter with fast action and colorful backdrops depicting scenic landscapes. There are some absolutely huge sprites including flying pirate ships and trains, but the way they crowd the screen can be annoying. Your enemies are a hodgepodge of comical creations, some of which are hard to describe (was that an octopus riding a potato?)
Floating icons let you select (and power-up) both your primary and secondary weapons. I personally prefer the three-way/homing missile combo. The game is fun but not well balanced. The first stage is extremely difficult on the medium level thanks to a ridiculously hard end boss (and mid-boss for that matter).
Switching to the easy level seems reasonable until you realize you can cruise through the entire game. The orchestrated soundtrack is compelling, although a little weird at times. Keio Flying Squadron is appealing because it offers simple, old-fashioned shooting action with plenty of eye candy to boot. It's not as great as some make it out to be, but it's very unique and makes a nice addition to the collection. © Copyright 2012 The Video Game Critic.
It's fun to pick off thugs but there's no blood. When innocent people pop up it's really hard to resist shooting them. Even after all these years I'm still shooting the woman in the bank who yells "help me!" Occasionally a hostage is taken, and it feels satisfying to pick off the bad guy without hurting the hostage. Your targets are slightly randomized but it feels like the same experience each time through. Each stage concludes with a tough boss like a guy in a van with a rocket launcher or a knife-throwing Asian dude.
My biggest problem with Lethal Enforcers is that you have to play the stages in order and the game won't even let you advance unless you're nearly perfect. Lethal Enforcers can also be played with a regular controller but I wouldn't recommend it. If you own a second gun (the pink one) you can engage in some two-player (or double barrel) action. I really like the game's "Starsky and Hutch" style soundtrack but the rougher Genesis version arguably has more charm. The sound effects and vocals are clear, meaning you can actually understand them this time. Overall the Sega CD Lethal Enforcers is an upgrade but not a mandatory one. © Copyright 2020 The Video Game Critic.
Most of the scenery isn't destructible but you can shoot out the occasional window and lamp. When you hit an enemy in the arm or leg he'll flinch but won't die. Shoot a crook in a window and he'll hurl himself through it as any respectable outlaw would. The action is pretty much non-stop until the screen goes black for 10-15 seconds to load a new scene. Hmmm I don't recall this happening with the first game. At one point I thought the game was broken!
If you don't have the gun you can get by with a normal controller, but why does the cursor look like red lips? The worst aspect of the game is its boss fights which run so long they make my hand hurt. The digitized graphics are kind of mediocre, but in the scene when Indians attack a stagecoach the illusion of speed and depth is impressive.
The audio is noticeably clearer than the Genesis version, with more variation with the bad guy lines ("take that varmint!"). Of course, when you take into account the load times it's pretty much a wash. Lethal Enforcers II is exactly what you'd expect in a Wild West shooter - no more and no less. © Copyright 2020 The Video Game Critic.
Loadstar is played from a first-person point of view, as you steer some kind of transport vehicle over a network of tracks running through narrow trenches. There are a few tunnels and some scenery in the distance, but in general every stretch of track looks the same. The controls allow you to shoot at flying police robots, activate a shield, or blow your horn to nudge slow traffic. A cursor is used to both steer and aim at enemies, and it's a pretty clumsy system.
The graphics themselves aren't too bad, and blasted enemies burst into colorful explosions. Should you collide with another vehicle, you'll see a rather disturbing clip of some guy getting his skin blown off, leaving only a skeleton. I can't forget to mention the obligatory comical sidekick, who in this case is played by a talking smiley face on a monitor. Loadstar had some potential, but its confusing navigation system renders the game practically unplayable.
Somehow you're supposed to use the compass at the top of the screen to guide you to your destination, but I couldn't figure it out, and the instruction manual was no help. After endlessly driving around the tracks that all look the same, I turned the game off in disgust. I did find it amusing how the manual listed Loadstar hats and shirts that you could order, as if the the game was going to be a surefire hit. © Copyright 2005 The Video Game Critic.
But the biggest atrocity is the audio. The guitar-driven soundtrack is almost completely drowned out by awful sound effects that sound like rubber bands, dull thuds, and trash can lids. To say the game is not pleasing to the ear would be an understatement. The difficulty is much lower as well, which isn't going to endear it to hardcore shooter fans. The only thing this Sega CD version has to offer is a voice for the shopkeeper lady (who speaks with a "come hither" tone), and some pointless narrated intro scenes.
That said, Lords of Thunder is still more playable than most of the full motion video (FMV) junk that pervades the Sega CD library. Instead of a spaceship, you control a flying mystical warrior who sprays rapid-fire missiles and brandishes a sword during close combat. You can select between six worlds and four weapon types.
Each world offers a unique environment (snow, fire, water, etc) and an assortment of imaginative creatures which include levitating wizards, flaming phoenix birds, and gigantic sea serpents. I like how soldiers are deployed from large airships, and some monsters scale in from the backgrounds. The bosses are really tough if your power is low, but if you're loaded up they're not a problem. Lords of Thunder is a respectable 2D shooter for the Sega CD, but if you have a choice, track down the superior Turbo Duo version instead. © Copyright 2009 The Video Game Critic.
Screen shots courtesy of Shinforce
Sega CD Universe