The players look crude and blocky up close, but once the camera pulls back they don't look so bad. What's most important is that the action is fast and the frame-rate keeps up, allowing you to follow the puck without too much difficulty. The default camera is in constant motion but does a fair job of providing a decent angle. The ice surface looks realistic enough, but what's the deal with those puny goals? They certainly don't look regulation size, which may explain why it's so frickin' impossible to score.
I'm no slouch at hockey games, but I played this game several times and failed to score a single goal. Shots on goal seem awfully soft, even when you hold down the C button. Outside of the playing surface, the scenery looks downright hideous. The glass around the rink looks like a white-checkered pattern, and the crowd is a static, brown pixelated mess.
Between periods, live video of a bald guy named John Davidson recaps the action. As you can imagine, his canned, generic comments provide no insight whatsoever, and it's not unusual for him to repeat the exact same "analysis" for two periods in a row. Chalk that up as another failed 32-bit video game experiment.
NHL 97's single bright spot is its audio. Its crisp sound effects put those fuzzy Genesis noises to shame. Organ music plays during the action, and I love the techno music that plays over the menus. NHL 97 may be just another monkey in the evolution of hockey games, but I've played worse sports games on the Saturn. © Copyright 2005 The Video Game Critic.
All-Star Hockey's ugly intro intermingles game graphics with video clips as "The Power" blares away in the background. I can only assume that Sega intentionally made the video clips extra grainy so the game's dreadful graphics would look halfway decent by comparison. The main menu looks sharp, thanks to a digitized Marv Albert who prompts you to select a game mode. Sadly, his talent is wasted because there is no in-game commentary.
On the ice, the low quality of the graphics is glaring. These flat, pixelated players would be more at home in an Intellivision game! The animation is so minimal that players will go from standing positions to flat on their backs in two frames! There's a wide range of selectable camera angles, but none provide a decent vantage point, and most aren't even playable! Even at the closest camera setting, you feel distant and never have a good angle of the goal.
All-Star's control is pitiful, and the act of shooting the puck is needlessly complicated. The action is so choppy that when a goal is scored, you'll find yourself wondering what the heck just happened. The crowd sounds realistic enough, but the player grunts are repetitive. After the first period, some fat guy named Coach Labou rants about how badly you suck - even when you're winning.
There are plenty of options and modes, but would you really want to customize your roster in a game this bad? The best thing about NHL All-Star Hockey is its edgy menu screen music. If you get a chance to pick this game up, then by all means do. It will give you renewed appreciation for every other sports game ever made. © Copyright 2007 The Video Game Critic.
The first game had a cast of ten monster warriors including a vampire, werewolf, mummy, zombie, and a Frankenstein monster. Night Warriors expands upon the roster but the new entries are real head-scratchers (in the figurative sense). Donovan is a vampire hunter and Hsien-Ko is a Chinese ghost with freaky long arms. You can now play as the robot and alien bosses, but they are undeniably cheap.
The graphics have been touched up but not necessarily for the better. Some of the best stages in the first game, like the streets of London and the overgrown graveyard, now feature bright red skies which really undermine the dark, spooky atmosphere. In general everything looks brighter. Morrigan now has blonde hair and she looks downright goofy in the new animated intro.
Night Warriors is frenetic and exciting to play, but giving the special move meter three levels adds unneeded complexity. Like the Playstation game, high scores are not saved. I'm sure Saturn owners were thrilled to get this game on their platform, but I prefer the Playstation original. In their effort to differentiate the sequel, Capcom spoiled some of the best parts. © Copyright 2023 The Video Game Critic.
The main character resembles a purple jester who effortlessly flies through magical, dreamlike worlds that bring to mind Alice in Wonderland. It's a pleasure to glide through rings, burst through obstacles, and collect "chips" by encircling them. While the graphics are pure 3D eye candy, Nights is played on a 2D plane, similar to Pandemonium (Playstation). Stages are cleared by depositing a certain number of blue chips into a large globe-like creature, causing it to explode.
Nights is best played with Sega's "3D control pad", an analog controller that looks like a black version of the Dreamcast controller. It's highly recommended due to all the "rolling" motions you'll need to perform with the directional pad. Although the Saturn's 3D graphic limitations are reflected in some blocky objects and pixelation, Night's fluid animation and shifting camera angles often border on breathtaking.
The game is full of surprises, including a wild sled ride in the snow stage. Completing a stage is not difficult, but earning a decent grade sure is. Each stage ends with a boss confrontation that tends to be bizarre but innovative. Instead of "attacking" the gigantic beasts as you'd expect, you can pick them up and hurl him into the scenery! The game's happy, upbeat music is high quality and pleasant. Nights may take a while to grow on you, but there's no denying the game's unconventional genius. Ultimately it failed to resuscitate the faltering system, but it's a title many Saturn owners will always cherish. © Copyright 2005 The Video Game Critic.
Screen shots courtesy of Moby Games, Shinforce, Games Database, Video Game Museum, GameSpot, Rotten Tomatoes, Racket Boy, GameFAQs.com, Old Games News, Hardcore Gaming 101, IGN.com, Alvanista.com, YouTube, Sega Retro