Playstation Reviews L

Legend of Dragoon, The
Grade: D
Publisher: Sony (2000)
Reviewed: 2005/9/15
Rating: Teen

screenshotSubmitted by RPG correspondent Jonathan Hawk
The credentials required to be a "PlayStation Greatest Hit" must not be terribly high. As Sony's first foray into the world of RPGs, the Legend of Dragoon was largely inspired by the wildly popular Final Fantasy VII. Harvesting ideas from various other games and incorporating a plot drawn up by some employee's 11-year-old nephew, this mediocre RPG combines weird gameplay and laughable voice acting.

You play the role of Dart, a generic fighter with spiky hair and a grudge against a mysterious monster that killed his parents. On your quest to vanquish an evil empire, members of your party gradually begin to acquire strange powers. In times of crisis (read: combat) they can transform into "Dragoons"; endowing them with dragon armor and the ability to fly (and dish out some serious damage as well).

After playing the first disc, I nearly threw the whole game out the window. For being released in 2000, the graphics were well behind the standards of the time. The polygons look rough and the backgrounds are awfully bland. Still, the full-motion video is nice and the music isn't half bad. Voices are only heard when characters attack, and the remaining dialogue is completely text-based. In terms of quality, I'm convinced the voice actors were picked up off the street (at least for this English version).

The combat system is slow to load, and making matters worse, all special attacks are rhythm-based! No RPG had done it before. No RPG has done it since. You can upgrade your attacks by using them often, but I had trouble just using them at all! Heck, you have to tap eight buttons in sequential order, with a directional-pad motion in sync - just to perform a move!

The one original concept I do like is how defending successfully replenishes a little bit of your health. It makes no physical sense mind you, but it sure helps when you're out of healing potions! All in all, this is a nice first try for Sony, but gamers should save themselves the $3.50 this game is worth and invest in a beer instead. © Copyright 2005 The Video Game Critic.

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1 player 

Lethal Enforcers I & II
Grade: C
Publisher: Konami (1997)
Reviewed: 2020/6/19
Rating: Mature (realistic violence)

screenshotAfter playing the much slower 16-bit versions of Lethal Enforcers this arcade edition feels like a shot of adrenaline! The digitized graphics are so clean I noticed subtle details like checking slips littering the bank counters. Clearer audio substantially improves the music, particularly in Lethal Enforcers II. But what really caught me off guard was the breakneck pacing. Bank robbers pour out of the woodwork so fast you barely have time to reload! They like to yell stuff like "Eat lead, copper!" and "You missed me pig!" You can even shoot out parts of the scenery like windows, cameras, and hostages (whoops!).

One consequence of the sharper graphics is character pixelation and the fact that they appear "removed" from the scenery. Lethal Enforcer's five stages take place in a bank, docks, airport, factory, and Chinatown. The sequel is set in the wild west, and if you thought the first game was frantic, this one is just insane. Right off the bat there's about six outlaws firing at you at the same time. These guys are practically piled on top of each other!

As if to compensate for the arcade difficulty each game gives you a whopping 30 continues! Once I tried blowing through all 30 but my trigger finger was sore by the time I reached 15. It's just not natural to use any more than three continues.

The Justifier light gun is reasonably accurate provided you crank up the brightness on your CRT, but even under the best conditions entering your initials into the high score screen is nearly impossible. The lack of precision isn't as big a deal in the actual game since you have unlimited ammo. Lethal Enforcers I & II brings the arcade experience home; just be glad it doesn't take quarters. Notes: Not compatible with Guncon. Light guns do not work with HDTVs. © Copyright 2020 The Video Game Critic.

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1 or 2 players 

Loaded
Grade: C
Publisher: Interplay (1996)
Reviewed: 2008/3/15
Rating: Mature

screenshotThis overhead shooter was a hit in 1996, thanks to its rapid-fire shooting, colorful lighting, and senseless violence. Loaded was also one of the first games to sport a mature rating. After selecting from one of six demented souls (including a psychotic clown and a fat dude in diapers), you are plopped in the middle of a dark, dank, maze-like prison. With a nod to Gauntlet and Smash TV, one or two players mow down mobs of mindless lunatics as constant explosions and gratuitous gore fills the screen.

You can unleash a constant stream of bullets, and L1 provides a handy strafe function. For the first few minutes the game is genuinely fun, although the frame-rate seems rougher than I remembered. The sights and sounds of bodies splattering on floors and against walls are satisfying, as are the bass-heavy explosions. But unfortunately, Loaded proves that there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. The main problem is the repetitive, oversized stages.

By requiring you to acquire colored keycards to access new areas, the game actually promotes tedious backtracking. I enjoy gratuitous violence as much as the next guy, but my thumb was killing me by the end of the first stage! There's not much variety, and if you play the game for too long it will give you a headache. And with unlimited continues and no score, there's little in the way of challenge.

Loaded's graphics are rendered with scaling sprites, and in general they look great. The game received numerous accolades for its lighting effects, and the colorful lights really do add a visual flair to otherwise nondescript hallways and rooms. But Loaded's greatest asset is its kick-ass soundtrack, which is absolutely phenomenal. If you can imagine the Halloween movie theme with a club vibe, and you'll have a good idea of what these tunes sound like.

Another nice feature is the two-player simultaneous mode, although the game actually takes longer with a partner because you need to coordinate your movements. Loaded is shallow and should only be consumed in small doses, but shooter fans will find merit in its dark theme and kick-ass soundtrack. © Copyright 2008 The Video Game Critic.

1 or 2 players 

Looney Tunes Racing
Grade: B+

screenshotFor the longest time I had assumed this was simply a degraded version of Looney Tunes Space Race (Dreamcast, 2001). In fact this is a completely different racer - and a surprisingly good one at that! The box makes the bold claim "LTR might surpass Crash Team Racing as the best PS kart racing game to date." A bold statement for sure, but not as crazy as its sounds.

Looney Tunes Racing may lack a four-player split-screen but its head-to-head and single-player action is wild! The all-star cast includes Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Wile E. Coyote, Marvin the Martian, Tasmanian Devil, and Lola Bunny as the obligatory female. The stages are reminiscent of the classic cartoons, set in a castle, desert canyon, cartoon "backlot", Mars, and in a giant's vegetable garden. The scenery is a little chunky and hard to follow at times but the artistic style is right on point.

The races are short and sweet with a playful orchestrated score that includes the "Figaro" opera song and Lone Ranger theme. The vibrant graphics and rollicking music make it feel like you're playing an old cartoon! The animation remains smooth despite all the pie-slinging, anvil-dropping, and storm clouds chasing cars around. Passing through a flashing arch will unleash mayhem on cars ahead, triggering a roaring locomotive, giant ray gun, or avalanche.

Another neat concept is your ability to collect coins to increase your weapon meter, a la Gradius (NES, 1986). The voice quips ("What's up doc?") can get repetitive but the racing action is wholesome fun. I even enjoyed the challenge modes which let you unlock various items. It may not be quite up to Bandicoot standards, but at the very least Looney Tunes Racing is an underrated gem. © Copyright 2019 The Video Game Critic.

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1 or 2 players 

Lucky Luke
Grade: F
Publisher: Infogrames (1998)
Reviewed: 2019/10/9
Rating: Everyone

screenshotLucky Luke was painful to review. Its cover suggests a budget-priced kid's title but I doubt this game would be enjoyable for any demographic. It's a wild west platformer that begins with a cut-scene of claymation crooks blowing their way out of jail. The characters are rendered in a vaguely-creepy Santa Claus Is Coming to Town style. Maybe they should have used that style in the game? Instead the characters look flat and cartoonish. They aren't even animated well, and their jerky movements prove detrimental to the controls.

The stage locations offer dusty towns, hazardous mineshafts, and twangy music. Luke moseys around so slowly I felt obligated to hold in the run button the whole time. The control scheme is ass-backwards. A running jump is needed to clear many barriers, but the button placement will have your fingers in knots! I find it incredulous how you can push a crate in one direction but not the other. Certain outlaws are defeated by ricocheting bullets, but the targets you need to hit are often off the screen.

The first boss encounter is just plain wretched. Some fat guy is tossing logs at you and you need to smack them back with... a frying pan?! Terrible collision detection makes this an exercise in sheer perseverance. Beating him gives you the opportunity to purchase a password or extra life. Wait what? The game charges you for a damn password? Had I known I needed $100 I might have paid more attention to those dollar icons!

The second stage puts you on a running horse which should be fun but it's miserable. The side angle doesn't give you nearly enough time to react to obstacles and depth perception is a problem as well. After that stage guess how much money I had? $98! Wonderful.

The third stage takes place on a train, culminating with a ridiculous boss battle against two guys in a stack of barrels. Why can't I use my dynamite on them? Turns out I was supposed to shoot their bombs back at them with my gun. I don't hold my video games to the highest standard of realism but Lucky Luke is flat out infuriating! How "lucky" can Luke be if he ended up in this outhouse of a game? © Copyright 2019 The Video Game Critic.

Save mechanism: password
1 player 

Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete
Grade: A-
Publisher: Working Designs (1999)
Reviewed: 2005/9/15
Rating: Teen

screenshotSubmitted by RPG correspondent Jonathan Hawk
Lunar is a port of the very highly regarded RPG for the Sega CD. Some of the quests have been altered for this re-release, and since they had a ton of room left over on the CDs, they threw in a nice intro movie and a dozen or so anime cutscenes. Packaged as a "box set", Lunar also includes a cloth map of the game world, the game soundtrack, and a leather-bound instruction booklet containing staff interviews and a lengthy preview of the player's guide.

Lunar's story revolves around a young man named Alex and his aspirations of becoming a "Dragonmaster" like his idol. Alex has a pet baby dragon with a smart mouth, along with a handful of friends he meets on his quest to become a Dragonmaster. Without revealing too much of the plot, Alex strives to save those he loves while combating newly-emerging forces of evil. The sprites and backgrounds appear to have been touched up from the Sega CD version, now with an almost cartoon-like appearance.

The full-motion anime segments are crisp, with barely any noticeable "mosaic effects". The game boasts terrific voice acting performed by a very talented staff. Lunar's loading times are fair, but especially noticeable when saving or loading from the memory card. Speaking of saving, you can do it wherever you please! That's right - no more dying right across from the save point.

You can have up to five people in your party at once, all with unique abilities and techniques. Combat is fast-paced and simple, and the battle screens load quickly. You enter all of your party's commands at once, and teaming up is key for getting the biggest bang out of your magic points. As a bonus for beating the game, you're rewarded with some pee-yourself-funny voice acting outtakes.

Lunar doesn't stretch the limits of the PlayStation by any means, but it does provide a fun and enjoyable game worthy of multiple plays. Especially considering all the extras, it's well worth its price. RPG enthusiasts (especially those who are suckers for packaging) need to have this game on their shelves. © Copyright 2005 The Video Game Critic.

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1 player 


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Screen shots courtesy of IGN.com, Moby Games, Gaming Age Online, GameSpot, Rotten Tomatoes, GameFAQs.com, Playstation Museum, The ISO Zone, YouTube, Video Games Museum, Game Fabrique