Publisher: Capcom (1993)
For all you Sega CD fans looking for some side-scrolling, butt-kicking mayhem, Final Fight CD is a good choice. The gameplay is exactly like Streets of Rage (SOR), but these fighters are HUGE! The three playable characters are Guy, Cody, and Haggar. Unlike SOR, the Final Fight locations are entirely urban, including slums, bars, a subway, underground fight clubs, and industrial areas. The scenery isn't spectacular, but it's constantly changing and never boring. 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.
Our high score: CJS 330,000
1 or 2 players
Publisher: U.S. Gold (1994)
The Genesis version of Flashback was marketed as "a CD Rom game in a cartridge", so what does that make this? A CD Rom game on a CD Rom? That sounds a lot
less impressive. The opening cut-scenes in this version utilize full-motion video, which was a pretty big deal back in the day. Unfortunately the grainy picture quality compares poorly to the clear visuals of the Genesis version. The actual game looks and plays exactly like the cartridge. Flashback 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.
Save mechanism: Password
Publisher: Psygnosis (1994)
This intricate platformer takes place in an enchanted world with cozy cottages and lush forests with huge leaves you can hop between. The artistic graphics and delicate orchestrated music call to mind Castle of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse
(Genesis, 1990), but Flink is a lot
less fun. The main character looks like a little prince with a cape and bowl haircut. I'd really love to punch him in the face. 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.
Formula One World Championship: Beyond the Limit
Publisher: Sega (1994)
Rating: General Audiences
True to its name, this realistic racer extended well beyond the limits of my patience. Formula One is one of those titles that try to hide its shortcomings behind layers of fake realism. It greets you with grainy race footage and high-octane music intended to psyche you up. The "Gran Prix" mode offers a full slate of races that take you to locations around the globe. The problem is, all the tracks look exactly the same
, so it doesn't matter if you're in Japan or Brazil. 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.
Ground Zero Texas
Publisher: Sega (1993)
From what I had heard about this game, I was hoping Ground Zero Texas would be another Night Trap, but it's not even close. Certain aspects of the games are similar, like the concurrent events you can switch between using camera controls. But Ground Zero is more linear, and plays much like a target shooting game. 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.
Heart of the Alien
Publisher: Interplay (1994)
This disk actually contains two separate science fiction adventures: Heart of the Alien and Out of this World. Sounds like a good value, right? Originally released for home computers, these cerebral platform adventures feature fantastic alien landscapes and smooth, motion-captured 2D animation. The opening cinematic shows an alien village being invaded by another tribe, and it's a pretty elaborate scene. The fluid visuals have held up well over the years, but the tedious, zero-room-for-error gameplay has not
. 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 confusing 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.
Save mechanism: Backup RAM
INXS - Make My Video
Publisher: Sega (1992)
Here's a game for people who watched MTV when they actually played music videos. Make My Video lets you edit together random video footage and spice them up with special effects to create your own INXS video. There are three songs: Heaven Sent, Baby Don't Cry, and Not Enough Time. All three of these are very good and well-suited for video-making. 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.
Publisher: Spectrum Holobyte (1994)
I'm always skeptical of Sega CD games that come with thick manuals; they seem to be a harbinger of boredom!
I was bracing myself for Iron Helix. The game begins with cut-scenes of a space freighter sending an SOS message - not very original! The full-screen CGI is excessively grainy and the audio quality is even worse. Did they record the voice actors in a sewer?
Your goal is to remotely control an explorer droid to obtain DNA samples on the distressed ship. Your main adversary is a roving "defender droid" who sounds pretty scary. 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 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.
Publisher: JVC (1993)
I made a point to review this with my buddy Brent who happens to be a car enthusiast. He informed me that Jaguar XJ220 was the fastest car in the world
when this game was produced. Brent was impressed by the quality of this title. He commended the graphical detail and even said the cornering physics seemed fairly accurate. Fortunately you don't need to be a car buff to enjoy Jaguar JX220. It has an arcade vibe my friend Chris compared to Outrun (high praise indeed). 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 big 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's 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.
Joe Montana's NFL Football
Publisher: Sega (1993)
This overhyped trainwreck of a game was probably the first nail in the Sega CD's coffin. How did this monstrosity even get out the door?? This game is actually far worse than any previous football game released for the Genesis. Let's start with the graphics. The extreme pixelation is unforgiveable, and the blockiness reminded me of some old Atari 2600 titles! The framerate is so poor that it's hard to figure out what the heck's going on amid the choppy mess. Just keeping track of the football is not easy. Next the pitiful controls have the worse 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 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.
Publisher: Sega (1993)
Wow, this is so
much different than what I had expected. Instead of a side-scrolling shoot-em-up like the Genesis version, this is an odd point-and-click adventure. I think I know what Sega had in mind. They wanted this Sega CD version to take the gamer to the "next level", by creating an immersive virtual Jurassic Park environment to explore. 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.
Keio Flying Squadron
Publisher: JVC (1994)
Rating: Kids to Adults
This has all the ingredients of a good anime shooter: flying pirate ships, raccoons riding dolphins, surfing dogs, adorable baby dragons, flying pigs, and inappropriately dressed girls. The opening cut scene makes absolutely no sense. It starts off with an incredibly dry documentary about anti-government forces and treatises and chief exports and blah blah blah. Then it abruptly shifts focus to a skinny chick in a Playboy bunny costume guarding a sacred key. The 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.
Recommended variation: normal
Our high score: 42,000
Publisher: Konami (1993)
This edition of Lethal Enforcers is exactly what you'd expect from a CD version of a Genesis game. The audio has been cleaned up but the gameplay is essentially unchanged. Using the Justifier (TM) light gun you take aim at criminals pouring out of the woodwork, taking care not to shoot the occasional civilian. Five stages take place in a bank, Chinatown, a shipping dock, an airport, and a chemical plant. The included gun is surprisingly accurate provided
you have the right CRT TV. 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.
Our high score: 5210
1 or 2 players
Lethal Enforcers II: Gunfighters
Publisher: Konami (1994)
This light gun title isn't so easy on the eyes, but at least its heart is in the right place. The original Lethal Enforcers was set in modern times, but this sequel takes place in the wild, wild west. The genre is ripe with shootout locations like trains, stagecoaches, banks, and saloons. The basic gameplay involves shooting outlaws who emerge from the scenery one by one. You can get into a groove picking them off, but every so often the sheriff or a lady will pop up, in which case you'll want to hold your fire. Most of the scenery isn't destructible, but you can shoot out the occasional window and lamp. Hitting a barrel causes water to squirt out, and that's a nice touch. When you hit an enemy in the arm or leg, he'll flinch but he won't die. When you shoot an outlaw in a window, he'll hurl himself out of the window in the true western fashion. The action is pretty much non-stop until the screen goes black for 10-15 seconds to load a new set of scenes. The locations are constantly changing, which keeps things interesting. The light gun is remarkably accurate - even around the edge of the screen. You can get by with a normal controller, but that cursor looks like a pair of red lips! The worst aspect of the game is the boss fights, which last so long they make my hand
hurt. I recommend the easy difficulty if only to ease the pain of these encounters. The graphics are pretty mediocre thanks to the limited color palette of the Sega CD, which makes the scenery look grainy and washed out. The game does have its moments of visual splendor however. When Indians attack a stagecoach, the illusion of speed and depth is amazing. The soundtrack is very good but the voice clips are repetitive to the max. It seems like someone is shouting "You can't hit the broad side of a barn!"
every three seconds! Even if I shoot some guy in the face as he's shouting it, he still
manages to finish his sentence. Bastard!
Lethal Enforcers 2 is pretty impressive as these light gun titles go. The Wild West theme isn't my personal favorite, but its shooting action is right on target. © Copyright 2012 The Video Game Critic.
Recommended variation: Easy
Our high score: 1,942
1 or 2 players
Links: The Challenge of Golf
Publisher: Virgin (1994)
Link shows a lot of potential at first. An opening video sequence provides a nice video of a beautiful golf course with voice narration describing it in detail. Before each hole, you see a nice video fly-over and description of the hole. All these attractive video clips give you a false sense that you're about to play a great golf game with actual digitized graphics. But once you see the "real" game graphics, you'd better have a barf bag handy. These hidous graphics are far worse that the Genesis PGA games, and the holes don't even vaguely resemble what you saw in the video clips. I can't even see the freakin' fairway! Okay, so I've established graphics suck, but how is the gameplay? A CHORE! It's a CHORE to play this game!! You have to wait between 5 and 10 seconds of loading time between each SHOT! Can you imagine playing a 6 player, 18 hole tournament with this game? It would take days!! Links has a bunch of options and modes, but what good are they in a game this bad?? © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Rocket Science Games (1994)
I tried to give Loadstar a fair chance, but I just can't figure it out. Clearly the developers put far more effort into dreaming up a sophisticated background story than creating a playable game. Set in the future on a distant planet, Loadstar kicks off with some pixilated full-screen video of a scruffy looking guy named Tully stepping into a space bar and being roughed up by the local sheriff, who apparently has some kind of personal vendetta against him. The scene tries to inject some drama into the game, but it's largely a waste of time. 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 navigational 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.
Lords of Thunder
Publisher: Hudson Soft (1995)
Lords of Thunder kicked ass on the Turbo Duo (1993), and you'd probably expect this Sega CD port to be comparable. Nope! This edition of the hectic side-scrolling shooter is a mere shadow of its former self. The layered backgrounds that looked so beautiful on the Turbo Duo look grainy and flat here. Enemies don't flash when you strike them, making it hard to determine if you're dealing damage. I even noticed some major slow-down. 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 trashcan 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 space ship, 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.
Recommended variation: continues
Our high score: 478000
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