Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Publisher: Electronic Arts (2002)
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Publisher: Electronic Arts (2001)
Hooters Road Trip
Publisher: Ubi Soft (2001)
Rating: Teen (suggestive themes)
Hooters Road Trip is a mediocre racing game along the lines of Outrun, but it has one killer gimmick: Winners are treated to pictures and videos of Hooter girls! Yes, this is the only game I've played where the loading screens are more compelling than the game itself! These chicks are hot! The racing action is somewhat boring as you challenge other cars to race from city to city. The scenery is modest at best, but at least the framerate is smooth. Road Trip might have been half-way decent if not for the controls. The steering truly sucks, whether you use the analog stick or digital pad. Over-steering is the order of the day, causing your car to veer wildly around curves. It's even more frustrating when attempting to avoid oncoming traffic. You'll see a truck coming a mile away, yet will still
struggle to avoid hitting it head on. Fortunately, crashes only slow you down a bit, and it's easy to qualify for each race (finishing first is only slightly harder). Does seeing a video of four Hooter girls jumping around in bikinis make the marginal gameplay worthwhile? Well, if you're a guy the answer is probably yes
. But be forewarned: You will not
be playing this game for fun! © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Sony (1998)
The Hot Shots Golf series is a Playstation institution
. Most golf games of the 90's strived for realism, but Hot Shots adopted a whimsical style with bright graphics and simple controls. The anime-style characters are cute and endearing, and the rolling green courses are extremely inviting. When the balls roll near the hole, the close-up shot is amazing.
Hot Shots uses a conventional three-press control scheme (popularized by EA's PGA Golf games), and it's quite responsive. Six courses are available, along with ten golfers, but you'll need to invest some time to unlock most of them. That's fine, because the action moves along at a steady clip, and the load times are minimal. Playing against a group of friends is always fun and competitive. The background music is pleasant, and the crisp sound effects include the "whoosh" of your swing and the "tink" of the ball falling in the cup. It's possible to cue applause and voice sound effects ("Hurry up", "Nice shot") by hitting buttons when you're opponent is up, and once your friends figure this out, they'll absolutely annoy the hell
out of you. Hot Shot Golf has aged well because its core gameplay is good as gold. © Copyright 2008 The Video Game Critic.
Hot Shots Golf 2
Publisher: Sony (2000)
Electronic Arts once had the market cornered on golf games, but their emphasis on realism made their games feel slow and tedious. This left the door open for the lighthearted, cartoonish Hot Shots Golf, which dominated the market with its friendly, easy-to-play style. Hot Shots 2 is great looking sequel, offering the same pick-up-and-play action with new characters and courses. The golfers are strictly caricatures, but many of the new characters (like the fat bald guy) are freakish and unlikeable. The courses and physics however are quite realistic, making this game appeal to hardcore golfers and casual gamers alike. It's hard to tell the difference between Hot Shots 1 and 2 at a glance, but close examination reveals a few new bells and whistles. New visuals include amazing close-ups that reveal the ball's dimples and logo as it rotates in the air. The new camera angle of the golfer reaching into the cup to pick up his ball looks incredible. If Hot Shots 2 has a flaw, it lies in its irritating audio effects. They really went overboard with the wind sounds, and some idiot yells "C'mon hurry up!" every ten seconds. Also, some of the Japanese-translated dialogue doesn't come across very well ("You are decent!"). I also have to take issue with the "fold-up" manual, which is difficult to open and reference. Who's idea was that
anyway?? All in all, this is another great Hot Shots game, but it's a questionable upgrade if you already own the first one. © Copyright 2008 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Titus (2000)
Rating: Teen (violence, comic mischief, suggestive themes)
I almost had an incredible crisis when I realized I had spent my hard-earned cash on this train-wreck-of-a-game. Incredible Crisis is actually a set of 24 mini-games, mostly involving button tapping or timing meters. One video game magazine referred to this as "old-school", which is an affront to all classic gamers. Old-school is characterized by simple graphics but fun gameplay. There's nothing "fun" about these games. All feature simple 3D graphics with varying camera angles, poor control, and confusing instructions. You'll need to play the games in order, although once you complete a game it becomes available from a mini-game menu. Sadly, these are not
the kind of games you'll want to play twice (or even once
, for that matter). Adding insult to injury, you can only save after every four
games, and it's quite likely you'll get stuck on one of them. Incredible Crisis is an incredible piece of garbage. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.
International Track and Field
Publisher: Konami (1996)
Rating: Kids to Adults
This addictive Olympic-style game has clocked a lot
of hours on my Playstation. Featuring eleven track and field events, one to four players complete in the pole-vault, long jump, shot put, javelin, discuss, hurdles, sprint, triple jump, high jump, and swimming. Like any good video game, the button-mashing controls are easy to learn but tough to master, and the 3D visuals are smooth and lifelike. Record-setting performances can be saved to memory cards and replayed. International Track and Field is challenging when played solo, but it's an absolute riot with a few friends. © Copyright 1999 The Video Game Critic.
Invasion From Beyond
Publisher: GT Interactive (1998)
I really hated the movie "Mars Attacks!" and this video game induced flashbacks of that awful movie. The whole time I was playing this game I was thinking, "What the hell
is going on?!?". Invasion From Beyond's controls are atrocious, and its graphics are terribly confusing. There are a series of missions that require you to hover your spacecraft over a small town while blasting flying saucers and relocating objects on the ground. The nightmare of a control scheme places the fire and thrust buttons right next to each other, making it difficult to do both at once. When firing into a group of flying saucers, it's hard to tell if you're inflicting any damage, especially since they tend to regenerate. On the bright side, the town below looks nice with its rolling hills and detailed landmarks. The cheesy music also suits the game well. But ultimately Invasion From Mars is a total bust due to its extremely dull gameplay. It only cost me a few bucks, but in retrospect a nice sandwich would have been a better investment. © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.
Iron & Blood: Warriors of Ravenloft
Publisher: Acclaim (1996)
Rating: Teen 13+ (animated violence)
Publisher: Telegames (2000)
Rating: Teen (animated violence)
Publisher: Jaleco (1999)
- a game that lives up to its name! This oddity is based on a Japanese game show, and I find it remarkable that it ever made it to the shores of America. Without a doubt, Irritating Stick has the worst title ever conceived
for a video game. It sounds more like a bad porno film! And if you think the title is bad, wait until you play the game! Basically it involves moving a dot through an electric maze without touching the sides, and your time is limited. It's stupid, repetitive, and... well...okay... irritating
! The only thing worse than running out of time after working your way through a lengthy maze is having to start over
! I don't think I've ever played anything so aggravating. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Hasbro (1998)
Jeopardy tries to recreate the feel of the TV game show, but feels forced and contrived. The video cuts of Alex Trebeck are generic and really serve no purpose except to slow down the pace of the game. Your answers must be painstakingly spelled out letter by letter
, and while the user interface tries to help you out, it's still a tedious process. Fortunately, you can adjust the "tolerance level" so the game will accept an answer even if it's spelled wrong. With 3500 questions, this game will please Jeopardy fans, but most others will find it a bore. © Copyright 1999 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Sony (1998)
Publisher: Sony (1996)
Rating: Kids to Adults
Publisher: Sony (1998)
Despite my disdain for the original Jet Moto, a few readers encouraged me to give Jet Moto 2 a try. Sorry guys, but this game sucks
. Not only does this ill-conceived sequel retain the blatant flaws of the first game, but its control are worse
. This was the first Jet Moto game to support analog control, but its oversensitive steering is dreadful. Adding insult to injury, your vehicle moves insanely fast, despite the fact that the tracks are narrow and poorly defined (not unlike the first game). You'll need to lean on the brake constantly just to keep yourself pointed in the proper direction. Perhaps in an effort to compensate for the lousy controls, the developers dramatically toned down the difficulty. As a result, despite constant wipe-outs and bumping into every wall I could find, I would still
regularly finish in the top three! The courses include a post-earthquake Los Angeles, a desert canyon, and an iceberg-laden Arctic. But like the first game, the scenery looks awful and the tracks are hard to navigate until you memorize the layouts. The soundtrack is pretty good, but the process of saving your progress is needlessly complicated. All in all, Jet Moto 2 was such an ordeal to play that it actually brought down my grade for the first
Jet Moto (and maybe those yet to come). © Copyright 2007 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Sony (1999)
While not nearly good enough to redeem this sorry racing series, Jet Moto 3 is certainly a marked improvement. The tracks are much wider, easier to follow, and far more interesting that the claustrophobic mazes of the first two games. The "lost ruins" stage is fascinating, especially as you blaze through its spacious coliseum. Equally impressive is the volcanic island, mixing gorgeous tropical scenery with vibrant red volcanic tunnels. The wider tracks make it easier to control your levitating bike, but it still moves far too fast, causing you to constantly "climb" the invisible walls surrounding the course. The tracks now feature branches and alternate routes, but these tend to make things more confusing, and you'll often end up heading off in the wrong direction. Like Jet Moto 2, you can have an absolutely abysmal run and still somehow wind up in first place. Gamers who could tolerate the lousy course designs and poor control of the first two Jet Motos should be thrilled with this third chapter. Jet Moto 3 marked the end of the franchise, but it was probably for the best. © Copyright 2007 The Video Game Critic.
Jurassic Park: Warpath
Publisher: Electronic Arts (1999)
I enjoyed this one-on-one dinosaur fighter more the first
time I played it - when it was called Primal Rage
(thank you, David Spade). Granted, Primal Rage (1995) had its issues, but at least that game had some sense of style and originality. Warpath feels like a cheap knock-off solely designed to cash in on the movie franchise. Its 3D dinosaur models look okay with their scaly skin textures, but the stages are incredibly boring. The only interesting location is the tanker ship in the San Diego harbor, which offers a gorgeous nighttime view of the San Diego skyline. Warpath's packaging boasts about "destructible environments", but all I could find were huge TNT boxes that blow up when you rub against them. In general, Warpath offers little in the way of fun. Like Primal Rage, the animation is rough and the collision detection is poor. There are no interesting attacks to speak of. How many ways can a dinosaur really attack anyway? Besides chomping with its jaws or swinging its tail, there's little room for technique. Sensing this limitation, the developers incorporated some ill-advised jumping attacks which just look silly. The blows are weak, with only small splashes of blood used to differentiate hits from misses. The slow-motion instant replays magnify the game's graphical woes, making you wonder why they were included. Even watching a "finishing blow" will leave you feeling hopelessly bewildered. Warpath is one of the rarer titles for the Playstation console, and now you know why. © Copyright 2007 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Take-Two (2000)
Rating: Teen (mild language, suggestive themes)
My original review for this game lamented the fact that it contains no KISS music
- only generic guitar riffs. That in of itself could justify an "F". I mean, did they or did they not license the band?! Then one reader pointed out that it's possible to play your own music CDs
during the course of the game. I checked the manual, and sure enough it does mention this. Anyone who would purchase KISS Pinball would certainly
own a KISS CD or two, right? Sure enough, I had a few on hand! So after loading up one of the two pinball tables I paused the game and inserted KISS Alive 2. After fast-forwarding to Calling Dr. Love (via the R2 button), I soon realized that the game's guitar-riff audio effects completely butcher
any music you play - no matter how kick-ass it may be. The pinball action itself is some the worst I've ever experienced. The uninspired tables are grainy and the ball travels too fast to follow. Responsive flipper control is critical in pinball, but these flippers are sluggish and tend to "stick" after you trigger them. If you want to return to the main menu to save high scores or switch tables, you'll need to replace your CD with the game disk. That's a lot of trouble to go through just to play a cheap product designed to cash in on the band's popularity. Giving this game a second chance only cemented my hatred for it. © Copyright 2007 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Acclaim (1996)
Rating: Teen 13+ (animated violence, blood)
Konami Arcade Classics
Publisher: Konami (1999)
Publisher: Psygnosis (1995)
Legend of Dragoon, The
Publisher: Sony (2000)
Publisher: Konami (1997)
Rating: Mature (realistic violence)
This disk contains arcade-perfect versions of both the original Lethal Enforcers and Lethal Enforcers II. These two light-gun games are only compatible with "old" Playstation guns such as Konami's Justifier, and not
Namco's Guncon. Keep in mind that those old guns aren't the most accurate things in the world. Both games feature digitized characters and scenery, but the people are poorly animated, and some look more like cardboard cut-outs. The original Lethal Enforcers features shootouts in a bank, Chinatown, an airport, and a chemical factory. You can select the order in which you play the five stages. It's great fun at first, especially since you can shoot parts of the scenery like windows, cameras, and hostages (whoops!). But the action gets old pretty quick. Bad guys pour out of the woodwork, and the repetitive firing action will give you carpal-tunnel. And what's up with that fat guy that requires about 10 shots to kill!? Lethal Enforcers II plays the same, but takes place in the wild west. This time the stages include a bank, saloon, and stagecoach. There's even a high speed train robbery! The change of scenery is nice, but the gameplay is more difficult, and the graphics seem even more pixilated. In both games, bosses tend to be far too difficult to kill. Only gamers looking for shallow arcade fun will find this package worthwhile. © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Interplay (1996)
Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete
Publisher: Working Designs (1999)