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Games are rated relative to other games for the same system.

Neo Geo Reviews C-D

Captain Tomaday
Grade: F
Publisher: Visco (1999)
Posted: 2020/9/26

screenshotI was tempted to refer to Captain Tomaday as a vertical shooter but technically this is a vertical puncher. You're some kind of tomato superhero flying over towns while beating up formations of bats, jack-o-lanterns, robots, rubber duckies, and other random flying objects. Your rapidfire punch attack assigns a button to each fist. The stylistic backgrounds look striking as you soar over crooked, distorted houses, clock towers, and graveyards.

At first the game seems somewhat enjoyable, if only for its novelty value and vaguely Halloween theme. Punching green cans release power-ups and bonus gems. The more you play Captain Tomaday however the more it starts to dawn on you that this game is really, really bad. For starters, the game can't even keep up with the action, causing the framerate to not only slow but to begin dropping frames altogether. It's hard to believe a finished game could run so poorly.

Inadvertently punching floating power-ups pushes them up and off the screen, which is irritating. The only way to catch them is to stop punching, but how are you supposed to do that amid an onslaught of flying babies and animated carrots? The unimpressive bosses hang around for far too long, and when you kill them they take forever to explode. And even after all that they return later on in the game.

The same cheesy music loops for the entire game. And what's the deal with these scores? 6816.38?!? I appreciate the game's attempt to be wild and wacky, but Captain Tomaday comes off like a joke without a punchline. © Copyright 2020 The Video Game Critic.

Our high score: 10916.63
1 or 2 players 

Crossed Swords (CD)
Grade: C+
Publisher: ADK (1991)
Posted: 2004/1/31

screenshotThe Neo Geo has some amazing games that you can't get on other systems, and Crossed Swords is one of them. It's a first-person sword fighting game where you can see through the outline of your warrior (ala Punch Out). Through six levels, you are accosted by giant rats, bugs, frog warriors, crabs, skeletons, and armored knights of every variety. The characters are huge and nicely animated, and each stage features brilliant medieval scenery, including a number of huge, multi-level castles.

The play mechanics of Crossed Swords is very original and instantly gratifying. The A button attacks with your sword, and B is for your special attack, but in order to strike your targets, you'll need to block their attacks first, pushing up for a high block and down for a middle block. You can tell where the enemy is about to strike you by their body movements, but you'll need quick reflexes to react in time. This back-and-forth, block-and-attack technique is great fun, at least for a while.

When you defeat an enemy, he explodes into pieces and drops a bonus item like health, magic, or gold. You also periodically encounter a merchant who lets you buy health or upgrade your weapon. The audio is fantastic, with a sweeping musical score and superb sound effects, including skeletons that hiss at you, and knights that laugh when they land a blow. There's virtually no loading, and a two-player simultaneous mode is included.

Crossed Swords is a quality game, but it falls victim to the "unlimited continue" syndrome that plagues many Neo Geo titles. When you die, all you have to do is hit "Start" to pick up immediately from where you left off. Any creature you were fighting still has damage, and you don't even lose your gold. Plus there's no score to judge your performance. As a result, it's tempting to continue all the way to the end. I must have used about thirty continues to finish this game!

As I was gradually wearing down the final boss, all I could think of was, "Doesn't this guy realize I have unlimited continues? Why does he have to make this so hard?" If you play Crossed Swords as long as I did (almost two hours), you will get tired of the repetitive action and running into the same enemies over and over again. In fact when it's finally over you may never want to look at it again. But despite its poor replay value, Crossed Swords is a unique title that should be experienced by Neo Geo owners. © Copyright 2004 The Video Game Critic.

1 or 2 players 

Grade: C
Publisher: SNK (1990)
Posted: 2005/8/17

screenshotHey - check it out - a game you can play on your lunch break! Yeah, you can probably beat this one in a half-hour, thanks to the unlimited continues that let you pick up immediately where you died. Cyber Lip is a fast paced, rapid-fire shooter where one or two soldiers blast their way through futuristic environments, frying terminators, aliens, and slimy bosses. Comparisons to Metal Slug are obvious, but Cyber Lip is not in the same league.

Its graphics have an attractive arcade quality, but the scenery is mainly composed of generic metal platforms and elevators. Still, Cyber-Lip's action is relentless and for the most part, fun. Your weapon can be powered up in a number of ways (including wide shot and bazooka), but you can only aim forward, backward, and up. This is frustrating since most enemies tend to attack from an angle. Enemy soldiers briefly transform into terminator exoskeletons when blasted - a nice touch.

One thing I don't like is how touching an enemy means instant death - I lost more lives being touched than being shot! Each stage is introduced by some anchorman-looking guy with constantly blinking eyes and awful lip synching. After losing a life, your next "life" enters on a flying sled-like vehicle. The sled gives you temporary invincibility, but it looks idiotic.

Once you reach the final stage, the mysterious Cyber Lip is revealed to be a powerful computer (with metal lips). He's introduced by this ominous dialogue: "I am Cyber Lip. I am the computer you are looking for. I am not insain, I have just been evilly reprogrammed". No, those are not typos in my review.

Unfortunately, before the final showdown you may have to face several of the previous bosses AGAIN - which sucks. It's even possible to repeat entire stages in this game, and that's no good. Cyber Lip is hard, and you'll blow through continues like there's no tomorrow. Your score is reset between games at least, so you have something to shoot for. Cyber Lip is not a major title for the Neo Geo, but it's an amusing diversion for shooter fans. © Copyright 2005 The Video Game Critic.

Our high score: 50200
1 or 2 players 

Double Dragon (CD)
Grade: C
Publisher: Technos (1995)
Posted: 2003/8/18

screenshotIt's hard to believe that the demand for one-on-one fighters was so great in 1995 that they even had to turn Double Dragon into one! It's a shame too, because I think they could have made a kick-ass version of the original game instead of this cookie-cutter Street Fighter clone. But despite a total lack of originality, this Double Dragon is still respectable.

The ten characters are huge and feature Double Dragon mainstays Billy Lee and Jimmy Lee. The others include a hottie named Marian, a Fat Bastard look-alike named Bulnov, the white ninja Amon, and a drunken boxer named Cheng Fu. During the battles, the camera zooms in and out ala Samurai Shodown. The backgrounds are pretty generic and poorly animated, although there are a few novel locations, like fighting on the wings of a flying plane! Some stages have interesting intros and ending sequences as well.

In terms of gameplay, Double Dragon is basically just a second rate Street Fighter 2 (SF2). Its one original feature is the "double jump", which has questionable value in a game like this. Many of the special moves have been shamelessly lifted from SF2 (notably Ryu's Hurricane Kick). Still, the controls are responsive enough and the load times are short, so if you're into these kinds of games, Double Dragon should keep you occupied for a while. © Copyright 2003 The Video Game Critic.

1 or 2 players 

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Screen shots courtesy of NeoGeo.com, Moby Games