Saturn Reviews T

TNN Motorsports Hardcore 4x4
Grade: F-
Publisher: ASC Games (1996)
Reviewed: 2013/4/25
Rating: Kids to Adults

screenshotTNN Motorsports Hardcore 4x4 defies the categories of "bad" and "awful", instead landing squarely in the realm of "you have got to be [expletive] kidding me!" I tend to enjoy off-road racers like Rally Cross (Playstation, 1996) and Excite Truck (Wii, 2006), but this is unreal! I wasn't expecting much from the graphics, and nothing much is what I got.

The pixelated trucks bounce around like toys on soupy, murky tracks with no discernable path. Atari 2600-caliber pixels of "dirt" get kicked up from the road and excessive fog obscures the road ahead. The audio is a cacophony of droning engines, whining guitars, and a pitiful announcer who chimes in once per lap with "Whoa, hardcore!"

But it's the erratic frame-rate that makes the game impossible to stomach. When several trucks crowd the screen, the action turns into a herky-jerky mess and the controls go right out the window. A slight nudge suddenly becomes enough to turn your truck completely around! Imagine my disgust when I went from first to last in the final stretch, all due to these pathetic controls.

Adding insult to injury, the game displays "You came last" (nice grammar) as the commentator calls you a "LOOO-SER!!". The lack of multiplayer is less disappointing once it sinks in that TNN Hardcore can't even properly support one player. I tried my steering wheel controller, but it was a futile gesture. The best thing I can say about TNN Hardcore is that the load screen looks good. After that, it's all downhill. © Copyright 2013 The Video Game Critic.

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1 player 

The Lost World: Jurassic Park
Grade: D-
Publisher: Sega (1997)
Reviewed: 2018/6/17
Rating: Teen

screenshotMuch like the film, a lot of people played The Lost World but nobody liked it much. The dinosaurs in the game look quite lifelike and there is some rich scenery that takes you through dense jungle and damp caverns. An orchestrated musical score adds weight, and the dinosaur screeches, grunts, and roars are convincing enough. The rapid-fire computer graphics that introduce each new creature are pure sensory overload, and I love it.

It's a shame the gameplay couldn't match the production values. In the first nine stages you control a small, green "compy" dinosaur who takes damage constantly and isn't particularly easy to control. The grainy graphics are a step down from the PS1 version, making it hard to locate shadowy exits in the rocks. The collision detection is terrible as you regularly overlap with other creatures and take damage at random. The animation is fluid but there is frequent slowdown.

The second set of stages lets you control a human armed with a pea-shooter, and it takes a good 50 shots to kill anything! That's followed by some unsatisfying raptor stages. The true star of the Jurassic Park movies was the T-Rex, yet you'll need to wait until stage 22 (!) for some large-scale carnivore carnage. I can see how it would be tempting to save the most exciting parts of the game for the end. Unfortunately the developers were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn't stop to think if they should. © Copyright 2018 The Video Game Critic.

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Save mechanism: password
1 player 

Three Dirty Dwarves
Grade: D
Publisher: SegaSoft (1996)
Reviewed: 2013/3/14
Rating: Teens 13+ (animated violence, comic mischief, suggestive themes)

screenshotA funny cartoon introduces this game in which three dwarves are magically transported from medieval times into a post-apocalyptic future. I love side-scrolling brawlers and Three Dirty Dwarves really looks good - on paper. This 2D title features oversized characters armed with unconventional weapons. It's satisfying to hit a baseball at a monster from point-blank range or knock over mutants with a bowling ball. The third dwarf is armed with a shotgun, which is less imaginative but no less effective. T

he game supports three-player simultaneous action, and when a fellow dwarf goes down you can revive him - a pretty novel concept for 1996! The audio incorporates a lot of goofy grunts and groans, and the music sounds suspiciously like the Macarena. The war-torn urban scenery is unspectacular save for a few nifty scaling effects (like a wrecking ball). You'd think having large characters would be awesome, but it's really a detriment. The action is limited to the lower portion of the screen, leaving not much room to maneuver.

The screen gets really cluttered during battles and frankly I had no idea what the [expletive] was going on half the time. Further subtracting from the fun are cheap hits in the form of falling meteors and trash cans with grabbing hands. There are too many annoying small creatures that latch onto you - including hopping bombs! The stages are long and there are no checkpoints. There's no score but you get unlimited continues. Three Dirty Dwarves has a few innovative ideas but its gameplay is more chaotic than fun. © Copyright 2013 The Video Game Critic.

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1 to 3 players 


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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