But while the illusion of movement is smooth, the surface is noticeably flat and quite pixelated. To compensate, Nintendo made the tracks look as flashy as possible, but they tend to look gaudy. F-Zero is a single-player racer (sorry, no split-screen) with floating, pod-shaped vehicles. The objective is to obtain a number one ranking in a series of circuits of increasing difficulty. The track edges are lined with yellow circles that zap your energy. In the road there are helpful speed boosts and jumps, but also hazards like red mines.
I really don't care for racing games with 90 and 180-degree turns, and F-Zero has a lot of them. The idea of branching paths seems cool - until you find yourself heading in the wrong direction! The game requires some time investment to get a feel for the controls and memorize the tracks. Once you do, it's possible to get into a Zen-like trance as you cut corners, weave through zigzag sections, and turbo-boost through straightaways. Each race is five laps long, which is two laps too much.
There are a lot of CPU-controlled racers, and slowpokes you lap present serious hazards, thanks to F-Zero's "pinball physics". Especially after a speed boost, any bump will have you bouncing off the walls, zapping your energy and turning you in the wrong direction. It stinks, man. The soundtrack includes a few adrenaline-pumping 16-bit tunes, but most sound like lame Casio keyboard ditties. I know many gamers have fond memories of F-Zero, but this oldie is looking less like a gem and more like a relic. © Copyright 2009 The Video Game Critic.
The stages retain much of the detail of the original, but come across as flat and bland. I did notice a Golden Gate bridge scene that looks new. The scenery slightly changes between rounds, usually with regard to weather or time of day. Fatal Fury doesn't look bad but it plays like garbage. The fighters are small and poorly animated. The controls feel unresponsive and the collection detection is off. The physics is a joke; it feels as though my computer opponent is telepathically jerking me around. Adding insult to injury the CPU tends to dish out cheap, rapid-fire attacks that would be impossible for a human.
There's no inter-dimensional gameplay in this version, which is probably for the best. This game is buggy too! The muffled sound effects are often out-of-sync, understating the impact of each hit. Your score doesn't reset so don't be surprised to begin a new game only to look up and see 52,000 points. No wonder Street Fighter II (Capcom, 1992) ruled the SNES if this was what it was up against. © Copyright 2020 The Video Game Critic.
Many stages take place on moving platforms like a train or gondola. I really don't like the restaurant stage because it looks like the city in the background is on fire. Fatal Fury 2's gameplay is pretty solid. The controls feel tight and you can pull off special moves with no problem. The fighters periodically switch between the foreground and background. That can be confusing but it differentiates Fatal Fury from so many other "me too" fighters.
One thing I truly despise are those big blinking circles between each fighter. Are they supposed to be shadows? They are so distracting! The sound effects seem very distant as well. Still, Fatal Fury 2 is faithful enough to the original and you could argue it controls better. But with so many other fighters landing on the SNES, a second-hand port like this one gets lost in the noise.
. © Copyright 2020 The Video Game Critic.
I would have never even heard of Fighting Baseball if not for a popular internet meme poking fun of its fictional player names. You can tell the Japanese developers were trying so hard to create American-sounding names. You get rosters loaded with guys like Dave Cozlov, Mike Johnton, Stan Nurphy, Andrey Vurr, Chris Whitmey, and Jonasan Fidd. That's only a small sample; every team is a treasure trove. Fighting Baseball is mediocre but I like its fast-paced, arcade vibe. It took me all of ten seconds to figure out the controls. When pitching you have full control of the ball on its way to the plate, but making contact with the ball is tough. Maybe because my opponent is throwing 113 MPH fastballs?
After hitting the ball the camera remains low as acres of green grass scroll by. It's especially disorienting because there's no full diamond; only dirt patches around each base. You can use your radar track fly balls, but fielders will gravitate to them on their own, extending their arms to indicate "I got it". When you get a runner on he'll go contact so you'll need to babysit him. The overall presentation is pretty bland, with sporadic cheesy scoreboard animations. Fighting Baseball has novelty value to spare but not a whole lot more. NOTE: I reviewed this on my Retron 5 console which can play Japanese SNES games. © Copyright 2020 The Video Game Critic.
Final Fight's thugs are decked out in tacky, brightly colored outfits, and you can often see them loitering in the background before deciding to enter the fray. One of the more memorable bad guys is an "Andre the Giant" look-alike named "Andore" (to avoid legal issues no doubt). You tend to face the same set of characters over and over, but a new one is introduced every so often.
The action is somewhat repetitive but par for the course as these games go. Combinations of the jump and punch buttons provide all of your moves, and pressing both initiates a special attack. Final Fight is definitely on the easy side, thanks to dumb enemies who line up so you can clock several at a time. Abundant and effective weapons like knives, pipes, and samurai swords also makes your quest easier.
The city street and subway scenery is colorfully detailed, and there are even a few bonus stages that let you smash up cars (a la Street Fighter II). The audio is lacking, with muffled sound effects and generic music, but otherwise this is a very respectable fighter. Final Fight didn't turn out to be as "final" as its title would suggest, as two sequels followed. © Copyright 2004 The Video Game Critic.
Otherwise it's the same side-scrolling action you've seen before, with most of the thugs shamelessly recycled from the last game. They aren't any smarter this time around, although they do perform cheap "chest butt" running attacks. Never in my life have I seen such a boring, uninspired collection of stages. Each takes place in a different area of the world, so you'd expect them to see some exotic scenery, right? But no, you find yourself in an airport in Hong Kong, a construction site in France, a sewer in Germany, and a train depot in England! Ugh!
And then there's the difficulty level, which is absolutely pathetic. The first Final Fight was easy enough, but this one is a complete cakewalk, constantly awarding you with new lives and piling on six continues! Far too easy and repetitive, you'll probably switch off Final Fight 2 long before you've exhausted your lives. © Copyright 2004 The Video Game Critic.
The fighters are huge, well-defined, and equipped with a fair number of moves, but the good news ends there. Final Fight 3 suffers from the worst case of chronic slow-down I've ever experienced in a video game. In the two-player mode, the animation routinely slows to a crawl! It's absolutely appalling! The "Skull Cross gang" characters are completely recycled from previous Final Fight games (including Andore and his ultra-cheap "chest" attack). It's bad enough to beat up the same five guys over and over in one game - but after three games it's just agonizing.
But Final Fight 3's worst crime may be the stage locations it shamelessly copies from Streets of Rage. There's the bridge, dock, cargo hold of a ship, and - you guessed it - the obligatory moving elevator. The single stage that's even remotely interesting is the colorful Chinatown, but that's very brief.
You'll want to adjust the difficulty to "hard", because at "normal" you can cruise through this game without even breaking a sweat! The shoddy audio features muffled sound effects, and the electronic soundtrack is mostly forgettable, although it does have its moments. A total rehash, Final Fight 3 continued the series on its downward spiral. © Copyright 2005 The Video Game Critic.
The graphics have been given an overhaul with mixed results. The convertible cars, trucks, and school buses on the road look shiny and detailed. Moss-covered logs float in the sparkling water, and the lady frog has a big red bow in her hair. The frog you control however is a bit indistinct, and when he lands in one of the coves on the riverbank he turns into a green checkmark. The audio is basically limited to the boing of your jumps and crocodile "growls" that sound a lot like my stomach at lunchtime.
Despite its flaws the controls feel very tight and the challenge is high. Even on the opening screen turtles will submerge at a moment's notice, so you need to stay alert. And when you're facing a caravan of construction equipment moving down the highway, it's hard to find daylight. I didn't know what to make of this "reimagined" Frogger, but I imagine some gamers might appreciate its unique look and feel. © Copyright 2019 The Video Game Critic.
Full Throttle is played via split-screen (for two players) and uses "mode seven" effects convey movement over a flat surface. The motorcycle racing doesn't seem so bad at first. There's not much scenery on the side of the road but the tunnels and distant skylines are impressive enough. Since the Key West course runs over bridges, it has water on both sides of the road. Unfortunately, you can ride right over that blue part and you won't even sink! This lack of attention to detail is really indicative of the general lack of quality.
Full Throttle's racing feels extremely artificial, with the competitors evenly spaced out. When you approach one he tends to linger by your side and harass you. Kicking him would be a good idea if the collision detection weren't so awful. Despite being spread across the United States, the courses don't offer much variety. The track that runs from San Francisco to Washington state shows the Golden Gate Bridge in the background the entire time!
The jetski stages are even worse than motorcycles. There's no sense of speed so it feels like you're just slogging through marshlands. You can collect power-ups, but they are so ineffective you can't even tell when a turbo kicks in. The music is pretty good, but there's only one song! True to its name, Full Throttle feels like a game that was developed as fast as possible with no regard for quality control. © Copyright 2013 The Video Game Critic.
The creatures look sharp but the scenery is uninteresting, with generic houses and castles that all look the same. When the monsters aren't smacking you around, you'll have to dodge possessed floating objects like books. I like the new guided missile weapon, but each monster requires about ten hits to destroy, and once they converge there's little you can do. And while I can accept the fact that monsters need to regenerate, I hate how some portals are situated in critical spots such as in front of doors. Ghoul Patrol is too hard for its own good.
You collect items like weapons, key, health, and potions, but even some of the potions are harmful! And adding insult to injury, although the instructions claim you get a password after each stage, in actuality you only get one every few stages. In terms of audio, most of the sound effects are recycled from Zombies Ate My Neighbors, and the music isn't nearly as catchy. In fact, these tunes sound like rejects from the first game. It doesn't look like much effort was put into Ghoul Patrol, and the result is disappointing. © Copyright 2003 The Video Game Critic.
Screen shots courtesy of Video Game Museum