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Games are rated relative to other games for the same system.
The clips of Alex Trebek may be canned ("that's exactly right", "why yes!") but the man exudes so much dignity and grace that his mere presence conveys a sense of decorum. I only wish he was presented full-screen instead of appearing in a grainy window. One to three humans can participate, with CPU contestants filling in those missing.
The visuals look surprisingly slick as the camera moves around that shiny board, highlighting categories like animal kingdom, song standards, and TV-to-film. It's a little hard to make out the categories when the camera is zoomed out. After Alex reads the "answer" you can buzz in to enter the "question". Don't worry - you don't have to enter the "what is..." part. You're given plenty of time but I wish they'd keep the current category displayed as it's easy to lose track.
I felt like I was showing my age when answering questions about Star Trek or the Brady Bunch. Hell I even knew "Fill it to the rim... with Brim." I could even name a sewing machine manufacturer for crying out loud (Singer). The categories are chosen at random and sometimes you get stuck with some really tough ones like Ballet or African History. The CPU opponents are very fair, giving you ample time to buzz in and even getting answers wrong on occasion. The "final Jeopardy" round usually incorporates a grainy illustration or video clip.
The game has an excellent flow. My wife balked at using the interface but she enjoyed playing coop with me, chiming in the answers she knew. Jeopardy also includes a "speed mode" which is a one-player version played for score. The game saves high scores to memory card and you can even record games in progress. It may have been considered a throw-away title in its time, but I'd say Jeopardy has aged better than most PS1 games. © Copyright 2021 The Video Game Critic.
Jersey Devil has a distinct Halloween theme with spooky environments, pumpkin-headed bosses, and mad scientist storyline. Enemies include bats, mummies, cobras, apes, and giant spiders. Expect a lot of precarious platform jumping situations. The jump-and-glide mechanic is forgiving, but I hate how the Devil pauses momentarily when you initiate a glide, causing you to lose momentum.
The short-and-sweet stages work in the game's favor, as they are very satisfying to scour from top to bottom. You collect pumpkins to earn extra lives and there are all sorts of hidden areas and goodies to discover. I noticed the crate-busting sound effect was lifted directly from Crash Bandicoot (Sony, 1997).
Despite its high production values Jersey Devil suffers from issues typical of early 3D titles. Some areas are claustrophobic, requiring you to finagle with the camera to get a sense of your surroundings. Sometimes you'll die for no apparent reason. Why would touching a blue crystal cause me to drop dead?
The combat could be better. Punching requires you to get dangerously close to enemies that have a tendency to explode. I think the game is missing sound effects. You can punch a bat out of the air and it won't make a sound. The ominous, Indiana Jones-style musical score is well done but a poor match for the on-screen hijinx.
The game is innovative in some ways. Its auto-jump is similar to the one in Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (Nintendo 64, 1998). The fact that the game supports analog control was a big deal at the time, but I find it a little touchy.
Overall Jersey Devil has aged surprisingly well. In 1998 most gamers were looking for huge, expansive worlds, but its limited scope and focus makes this more appealing today. There are other options such as Croc: Legend of the Gobbos (Playstation, 1997) but during the Fall months Jersey Devil is your best option. Trust me on this one. © Copyright 2022 The Video Game Critic.
Not limited to open water, Jet Moto's levitating bikes can glide over any type of flat terrain. That would seem to open up all kinds of interesting possibilities, but it really doesn't! Despite being able to travel over mud, concrete, and lava, the best tracks by far are the ones on the open water. Playing this game for the first time in ten years, I was tempted to slap it with an "F" for its awful course designs and idiotic control scheme.
The first track, set at a sunny resort, is great, but it's all downhill from there. Not only do many tracks force you to plow through dingy muddy swamps, but the narrow pathways are poorly marked and strewn with obstacles. The fact that some tracks double-back on themselves might sound exciting, but it's just a pain in the ass. As for the controls, the turbo button doesn't provide much of a boost, and the "magnetic grapple", which lets you execute tight turns, is one of the worst ideas ever conceived for a racing game.
But as bad as it is, Jet Moto isn't a total loss. If nothing else, I can clearly remember a buddy and I playing this for many hours just to unlock the courses. The difficulty progression was fair and a split-screen mode is always nice. I also like Jet Moto's slick presentation, with its gnarly surfer music and stylish illustrations boasting some seriously hot chicks. The game is also notable for its liberal use of advertisements, including copious ads for Mountain Dew and Butterfinger. Jet Moto somehow sold enough copies to merit two sequels, but I suspect that was more due to lack of competition than quality gameplay. © Copyright 2007 The Video Game Critic.
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.
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.
Remember the 1995 Judge Dredd film starring Sylvester Stallone? Well, this game is based on the comic book. It still features live-action scenes but if you're expecting Sylvester Stallone you'll be disappointed. The guy playing Dredd has the trademark scowl but lacks that baritone voice needed to sell the line "I AM the law". His scratchy voice just doesn't cut it.
The ominous intro sets the mood with a futuristic dystopia similar to Blade Runner. Each stage whisks you through office buildings and industrial areas with plenty of machinery, elevators, and conveyor belts. Despite its futuristic vibe the visuals tend to be dark and muddled.
The action involves shooting robotic soldiers that look like Crash Test Dummies. You'll need to differentiate these guys from innocents who cost you a life when shot. You can tell the civilians by the color of their outfits, but the colors change from stage to stage.
You can use a normal controller but I prefer to use a light gun as God intended. The good news is, the game supports Namco's Guncon which is the most accurate around. That's a big deal because a lot of baddies tend to linger along the edges of the screen. Two can play at once.
I find it cheesy how the bad guys simply materialize out of thin air. Worse yet, they sport invisible "shields" that cause them to glow blue when fired upon. As you venture through each stage cannons emerge from every wall, TV, and trash can. Half the time I couldn't even tell where the shots were coming from.
I like how you can shoot out the glass windows or the numerous TV monitors. Best of all is when you unleash a smart bomb and obliterate everything on the screen. The explosions are very cool. I also like how the game had the foresight to include a lot of flying drones which don't look much different than what we have today.
As much as I appreciate the 90's vibe, the action is always the same and it grows tiresome with repeated plays. The interspersed cut-scenes convey a story with scenes like Dredd shaking down some "perp" for information. But it would take more than bad acting, cheap costumes, and lousy dialog to save a game like this. © Copyright 2024 The Video Game Critic.
This one-on-one dinosaur fighter features 14 unique dinosaurs rendered in 3D polygons, and I like their realistic skin textures. You'll find your old favorites such as the Velociraptor, Triceratops, and T-rex. You also get some lesser-known dinos like Styracosaurus, Ankylosaurus, and Suchomimus. About half are locked from the outset. In order to level the playing field, all the dinosaurs are similar in size.
The battles take place in various locations inspired by the first two films. One is set in an empty paddock while another takes place in a sparse visitor's center. The only interesting location is the freighter ship in the San Diego harbor, boasting a gorgeous night San Diego skyline.
Of course the fighting is what truly matters, and it is not good. The dinosaurs have few ways to attack besides banging their heads and whipping their tails, so there's not much technique to speak of. And the upright dinosaurs can't really block. Their large bodies convey little sense of mass, unless you count the pronounced lag when you initiate an attack.
The camera doesn't really come into play until you employ a grab or throw move. These take-downs look pretty dramatic, but normal attacks just "pass through" your enemy with small splashes of blood indicating damage. Clipping is common as the creatures flop around like rag dolls. Slow-motion instant replays magnify the game's graphical issues, making you wonder why they even bothered.
There's no score or sense of progression. Why does the screen occasionally flash red? Can I eat the occasional human who wanders through? Who knows? It doesn't really matter because Jurassic Park Warpath is one game you will instantly forget the moment you remove it from your console. © Copyright 2023 The Video Game Critic.