Playstation Reviews W-Z

WWF War Zone
Grade: C
Publisher: Acclaim (1998)
Posted: 1999/7/15
Rating: Teen

screenshotWWF War Zone blew me away with its realistic graphics and smooth animation. It's just like watching fake wrestling on TV! All the major WWF personalities are here, and the special moves are fun to watch and occasionally hilarious. Play modes include versus, tag team, practice and even steel cage matches.

The sheer number of customization options is astounding, including a rich create-your-own-wrestler feature. The sound effects are outstanding. Wrestlers talk trash, and you can even hear people in the crowd yelling such memorable lines as "Rocky doesn't suck!". War Zone has its moments, but the matches tend to run too long and become repetitive as fighters execute the same moves over and over.

And you can forget about the tag team mode - it's a confusing mess. Not only is it difficult to tag your partner even when he's right next to you, but you can never tell who's supposed to be in the ring at any given time. Overall, WWF War Zone makes a great first impression, but its shallow gameplay eventually wears out its welcome. © Copyright 1999 The Video Game Critic.

1 to 4 players 

Warcraft II
Grade: D-
Publisher: Electronic Arts (1998)
Posted: 2001/1/13
Rating: Everyone

screenshotThe ultra-popular PC real-time strategy (RTS) game has finally made the leap to the Playstation, but a lot was lost in the translation! For one thing, these graphics look downright sloppy compared to the PC version. The Playstation resolution simply isn't high enough to render the details, and as a result many characters appear to be shapeless blobs. Another major issue is the clumsy user interface which tries to substitute a controller for a mouse. Although Blizzard attempted to streamline the control scheme, it's still very awkward. Last but not least, the load times are horrendous. If you can look beyond those huge flaws, the game is playable, but if you have a PC, by all means stick with that version. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.
1 player 

Grade: A-
Publisher: SingleTrac (1995)
Posted: 2001/1/13
Rating: Kids to Adults

screenshotAs one of my very first Playstation games, I received this one along with Wipeout way back in Christmas 1995. Warhawk is a highly-regarded first-person shooter with good graphics (revolutionary at the time) and excellent 3D gameplay. You control a highly maneuverable aircraft loaded with weapons.

Six missions send you into war zones full of enemy planes, cannons, tanks, boats, and huge bosses. You can fly anywhere within the large, confined area of conflict as you destroy targets and collect power-ups. Weapons include machine guns, rockets, a plasma cannon, lock-on missiles, and "swarmers", which unleash an army of guided missiles against a single locked-on target. The massive destruction is thrilling to behold at times.

For a 1995 game, the 3D graphics are amazing and the music is action-movie quality. Warhawk also contains some poorly-acted (and totally unnecessary) cut-scenes using real actors, and it's mildly entertaining to watch an attractive female commander barking orders at a bunch of cocky pilots. Warhawk is short compared to modern games, but still fun as hell to play. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.

1 player 

Wild 9
Grade: D+
Publisher: Shiney Entertainment (1998)
Posted: 2016/1/9
Rating: Teen (animated blood, animated violence)

screenshotWild 9 is one of those one-off titles that tries to be original but never gains much traction. It's a 2D platformer that leverages 3D graphics and a wacky sci-fi theme reminiscent of Earthworm Jim (Genesis, 1994). You can tell a lot of effort went into Wild 9 from the endless parade of intro screens (publisher, developer, caterer, etc). It takes forever to sit through them if you don't start tapping buttons.

Despite some pixelation Wild 9's visuals do a good job of conveying grimy alien world populated with freaky creatures and dangerous industrial contraptions. The high-octane soundtrack is provided by composer legend Tommy Tallarico. Your ultra-hip character gallivants around while shouting "like... cool" and "wexcellent!"

What makes Wild 9 unique is your ability to wield an electric beam. You can use it to swing on things, carry stuff, or slam enemies into the ground. It's amusing to kill aliens by depositing them into fire, spikes, and meat grinders. Even more satisfying is how you can blow up machines using missiles.

Wild 9's downfall is its controls. Orienting the beam is real pain in the ass since the directional controls move your character and beam at the same time. Trying to attach the beam to hooks for swinging is aggravating, and I hate having to sit through a goofy "dizzy" animation whenever I fall. You collect shiny "9" icons and gathering 100 will earn you a free continue (good luck with that).

The stages aren't particularly long but since you need to move in such a slow, deliberate manner, they can feel downright excruciating. The difficulty progression is suspect thanks to a brutal opening stage and lack of continues. Perhaps too clever for its own good, Wild 9 may appeal to collectors but casual gamers will be done with it after the first stage - if not sooner. © Copyright 2016 The Video Game Critic.

Grade: D
Publisher: Psygnosis (1995)
Posted: 2001/2/24
Rating: Kids to Adults

screenshotAhhh memories! This was one of my very first Playstation titles. Wipeout is a futuristic racer with vehicles that hover over ultra-modern, winding tracks. It's a formula that's spawned endless sequels and imitators. Each spectacular track has a distinctive look and feel, and is sprinkled with speed-burst arrows and power-ups. Wipeout was awesome back in the day, but it hasn't aged well. The name is totally misleading, since the crashes are not the least bit dramatic, and the weapons are lame. The tracks are too narrow, and scraping a wall brings you to a dead stop. Since it takes a while to build up momentum, that really kills the fun factor. And since Wipeout was released long before analog controllers were available, you'll have to deal with the less-than-precise digital control. There's no split-screen mode, but Wipeout does support the link cable (which nobody ever used). On a positive note, Wipeout's techno soundtrack was so good that it was released separately on CD. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.
1 or 2 players 

Wipeout 3
Grade: B
Publisher: Psygnosis (2000)
Posted: 2000/9/14
Rating: Everyone

screenshotIt took a dirt-cheap price tag to convince me to buy Wipeout 3, but its smooth framerate, impressive backgrounds, and solid controls won me over. For those new to the series, Wipeout is a futuristic racing series with vehicles that glide over bobsled-like tracks. You'll love the background graphics in this edition, which feature some of the dark, rainy city-scapes that reminded me of Blade Runner. Funny how it rains inside of the tunnels as well! The analog control is spot-on, and the understated, pulsating music makes playing this game almost a surreal experience. Least I forget, there are plenty of power-ups and weapons to keep your opponents at bay. Wipeout 3 isn't particularly innovative, but it does a nice job of elevating a winning formula. © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.
1 to 2 players 

World's Scariest Police Chases
Grade: B-
Publisher: Activision (2001)
Posted: 2018/1/9
Rating: Teen (violence)

screenshotBased on a reality television show, World's Scariest Police Chases delivers far more than you'd expect. Hold on tight, because you're in for a wild ride! The first few missions are surprisingly addictive as they walk you through the basics of chasing down criminals on the road. You'll even learn how to use firearms while driving! Many missions require disabling criminals by ramming their car with your police cruiser.

The high speed chases through town are exciting, especially as you weave through traffic and cut corners where you can. You have to be careful however because striking a light pole or pedestrian can bring your mission to an abrupt end. T-boning bad guys would be more fun if it didn't do so much damage to your own car! Once you overheat it's game over. An arrow on top of the screen keeps you headed in the right direction but it's disorienting when you get spun around.

Free patrol mode lets you cruise around to your heart's content, and you can even select the weather and time of day. I love that lady on my radio: "This is dispatch control; where the hell are you?" There's an expansive world to explore, complete with highways connecting multiple towns. The driving controls are superb and I love the vibration when you hit the brakes.

The controls for aiming your weapon however are awfully confusing. Missions tend to be long with little room for error, but that's what makes the game so exciting. My friends really got a kick out of this, although Kevin remarked "I wish I could hurt people more". I assume he was talking about the game. All in all World's Scariest Police Chases lives up to its name, serving up intense driving and white-knuckle thrills. © Copyright 2018 The Video Game Critic.

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1 or 2 players 

Wreckin' Crew
Grade: D
Publisher: Telestar (1998)
Posted: 2002/6/29
Rating: Everyone

screenshotI was envisioning this game as cars careening around turns, slamming through vegetable stands, and leaving only devastation in their wake. Unfortunately, Wreckin' Crew does not deliver the zany mayhem I was looking for. It does however offer some interesting tracks.

From the Streets of New York, to the castles of Europe, to a theme park, each course is colorful, detailed, and unique. The graphics are cartoonish but impressive nonetheless. You view the action from behind your vehicle, and the controls are pleasantly responsive. Large arrows show you the way, but it's still hard to follow the tracks in the split-screen mode. When driving through enclosed spaces (like tunnels), the camera abruptly switches to a first-person view, which is disconcerting.

You'll find items and power-ups all over the place, and each car is equipped with special weapons. Unfortunately, the combat aspect of the game is weak! While the attacks are imaginative (dumping chickens, firing side-mounted cannons), they rarely impact the outcome of the race. And while I was expecting the scenery to sustain heavy damage, it never happened. In fact, I usually came to a dead stop whenever I tried to ram an obstacle. Wreckin' Crew is a good looking game, but doesn't have enough depth to maintain your attention after you've seen all the tracks. © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.

1 or 2 players 

X-Games Pro Boarder
Grade: C+
Publisher: ESPN (1998)
Posted: 2015/2/8
Rating: Everyone

screenshotThe cover of this game is plastered with all sorts of titles like "ESPN Digital Games", "X-Games", and "PRO BOARDER" running down the right edge in huge letters. Clearly the people who made this couldn't agree on what to call it, but I'll settle for X-Games Pro Boarder since that's what it says on the spine. In addition to Winter X-Games events like halfpipe, slopestyle, and big jump, this game also includes a "mountain gap" road-jump and "midnight express" race.

For a PS1 title, Pro Boarder looks really sharp. It opens with video of Winter X-Games athletes in action, and the stylish animated menus sport an appealing icy blue color scheme. The slopes in the game are smoothly rounded and realistically textured. Along the courses you'll see metal scaffoldings decked out with lights and X-Games banners. Some of the banners and clouds suffer from severe pixelation, but otherwise the game is easy on the eyes.

You select from a group of actual X-Game athletes circa 1998. The single-player mode is challenging and high scores are auto-saved. A two-player vertical split-screen works great for the halfpipe, but the trail can be hard to follow in racing events. By the way, is it true that snowboarders used to compete in the same halfpipe at the same time? What could possibly go wrong?

The default "professional" controls are complex to a comical degree, but the amateur controls are easy to grasp. Unfortunately you can't chain tricks together and sometimes the controls feel unresponsive. Grinding is mostly automatic, and it looks ridiculous to be sucked onto a nearby rail and pulled along like a magnet.

The music is your standard indie rock fare and one particularly irritating song sounds like the Benny Hill theme. I wasn't crazy about the soundtrack until a song by the Foo Fighters kicked in. You select individual events to play, but why in the heck is the circuit mode locked?! X-Games Pro Boarder is a fine-looking winter title with more than enough variety, but it feels a lot more complicated than it needed to be. Note: To unlock circuit mode, enter X O X triangle triangle square on the password screen. © Copyright 2015 The Video Game Critic.

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1 or 2 players 

Xevious 3D/G+
Grade: A-
Publisher: Namco (1997)
Posted: 1999/7/15
Rating: Everyone

screenshotMany arcade classics have been resurrected on the Playstation with fancy 3D graphics and improved audio, but few manage to improve on the original in terms of pure gameplay. That said, Xevious 3D/G+ is a very pleasant surprise. The original Xevious was a "semi-classic" vertical shooter from the early 80s. Its innovative overhead viewpoint allowed you to shoot UFOs in the sky while bombing ground installations below. Xevious 3D/G+ retains the same awesome gameplay, but incorporates interesting 3D graphics and devastating new weapons. Best of all, there's a fantastic two-player co-op mode. A friend and I played this thing for weeks on end, despite being overwhelmed by the tremendous difficulty. The later stages are pretty much impossible, but this is still one of the best shooters to grace the Playstation. The original Xevious is also included on the disk as a nice bonus.. © Copyright 1999 The Video Game Critic.
1 or 2 players 

Yu-Gi-Oh! Forbidden Memories
Grade: D+
Publisher: Konami (2002)
Posted: 2003/7/23
Rating: Everyone (violence)

screenshotAs a fan of the Yu-Gi-Oh card game I was pretty psyched up about this. I hadn't been too keen on the overly-complex PS2 edition of Yu-Gi-Oh, but from the box it looked like Forbidden Memories followed the card game pretty closely. Sadly, that's not the case. Although it looks very similar, Forbidden Memories alters a lot of rules, and the results are less than pleasing.

As in the card game, each player fields five monsters and five magic cards. By positioning your cards face down or in a defensive position, you strategically battle your opponent. Unfortunately, the monsters here don't have any special abilities, which is a major element in the card game. The key to this game is "fusing" combinations of monsters and magic to produce more powerful cards. The problem is, you have no idea which cards fuse together!

It's all trial and error, which causes you to needlessly discard incompatible cards and lose matches in the process. Naturally, your CPU opponent knows exactly which cards go together. Other problems include the lack of a tutorial, and the inability to save after every match in the story mode (sometimes you're forced to play again immediately!). The graphics and music are more than adequate, and the game moves at a brisk pace, but the incomprehensible gameplay spoils what should have been a real treat for fans. © Copyright 2003 The Video Game Critic.

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1 or 2 players 

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