Sega CD Reviews C

Chuck Rock II: Son of Chuck
Grade: B+

screenshotLike so many Genesis titles ported to the Sega CD, this one contains the exact same gameplay only with a cartoon intro and enhanced audio. The intro is rendered with "digital cell animation" and it looks pretty good for the Sega CD. The colors are vibrant and the animation fills the entire screen. This sequence explains some background information about Chuck's arch-enemy "Brick Jagger", and we also learn that Chuck's wife has an amazing rack! Looks like someone finally found a worthwhile use for FMV!

Son of Chuck provides a new "hard" difficulty option, probably to attract gamers who already mastered the Genesis version. The star of the game is a club-swinging infant who fights wacky cavemen, dinosaurs, monkeys, crabs, and sharks. One of the more interesting elements is your ability to ride on animals, including an ostrich.

Son of Chuck's soundtrack was unremarkable on the Genesis, but this one features clear stereo sound with deep bass. Its diverse musical style ranges from cheesy synths to jazzy horns to festive steel drum music. Many sound effects have been digitized, and this is most noticeable when you hear the alligators "burp" in the water stage. Chuck Rock II may not be a substantial upgrade from the original, but it does represent a modest improvement. © Copyright 2010 The Video Game Critic.

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Recommended variation: normal
Our high score: 54450
1 player 

Citizen X
Grade: C+
Publisher: Good Deal Games (2002)
Reviewed: 2003/2/14

screenshotGood Deal Games (GDG) has been a valuable proponent of retro-gaming for years, resurrecting several unreleased titles for classic consoles like the Sega CD or Philips CDi. Since no good deed goes unpunished, I summarily trashed GDG's first two titles, Bug Blasters and Star Strike for the Sega CD. I feel pretty bad about that, so it's a relief that I can give Good Deal's latest game, Citizen X, a passing grade. While the documentation admits this is an "unfinished" game, if not for a few subtle details you'd never know.

Citizen X is mainly a standard side-scroller with full motion video (FMV) clips interspersed with the action. The small clips (50% of the screen in size) effectively establish the storyline and introduce new villains, but have no real bearing on the gameplay. The acting is bad and the script is worse, but that's all part of the fun. Playing as a dorky-looking guy in red tennis shoes, you collect items and use them to subdue terrorists that have made the sewers into their headquarters. The bad guys range from bald musclemen to martial arts experts to demented clowns.

Your fighting abilities are limited to a simple punch, but simply running past these thugs is usually your best bet. The graphics are grainy and look like they were drawn with a crayon, and the repetitive sewer screens would be intolerable if not for the useful map. Let's face it: the idea of running around sewer mazes is not very enticing to most gamers who survived the 90's. At least some of the animations are interesting, like the muscleman fighting (or is he eating?) a sewer rat, or the maniac clown performing pantomime.

The sound effects are somewhat muffled, but the cheesy music really grew on me. The controls are decent, but it's hard to use the dynamite without blowing yourself up. Only two minor things reveal Citizen X to be unfinished. At one point, a villain cannot enter a room, but you can see him flickering on the edge of the screen. Also, in some of the FMV there are short scenes missing (indicated by "scene missing" text).

Neither of these will detract from your enjoyment of the game. There's nothing outstanding here, but the gameplay is unexplainably addictive. Citizen X is typical of the early-90s video games that tried to incorporate cheesy FMV with standard platform action, and Sega CD fans will love it. © Copyright 2003 The Video Game Critic.

Our high score: 3750
1 player 

Cliffhanger
Grade: B-
Publisher: Sony (1993)
Reviewed: 2013/2/21

screenshotMost of its stages are cut-and-pasted from the Genesis cartridge, but CD-quality music, film clips, and a "radical" 3D snowboarding stage elevates this Sega CD edition above the rest. Cliffhanger kicks off with some extremely grainy film clips that only consume about half of the screen. The video might look rough but it's a step up from comic-book panels of the other versions (on second thought, maybe not). There's about 20 minutes of actual movie footage in the game.

Cliffhanger is a side-scrolling beat-em-up with platform-jumping and wall-climbing challenges sprinkled in. You play a mountain climber named Gabe who must defeat the evil Qualen and his army of henchmen on snowy mountain peaks. I find it amusing how the environments were so rocky in the movie yet are perfectly flat in this game. The fighting action is faster and more responsive than the SNES version, which is good.

The stages are lifted directly from the Genesis with the exception of a new snowboarding avalanche sequence. This impressive stage uses scaling sprites to deliver pseudo-3D thrills - not unlike the driving scenes in Batman Returns (Sega CD, 1992). As you steer Gabe on a snowboard down a narrow path strewn with trees and rocks, a relentless avalanche encroaches from behind. Hearing the roar of rushing snow is unsettling, and when the snow starts building around your ankles, it's downright alarming. Unfortunately, this stage is so insanely long you practically need to memorize the entire course to survive. A checkpoint would have been nice. It's frustrating to breeze through the fights only to piss away all your lives on that single stage.

Cliffhanger's audio is a definite improvement over the Genesis version. The groans and grunts sound clear and the orchestrated soundtrack reminds me of Raiders of the Lost Ark. My friend Eric remarked that he actually prefers the synthesized Genesis music because it "makes him feel like he's playing a video game." That's an interesting point of view. Overall Cliffhanger on the Sega CD is a pretty neat adaptation of the film, offering a richer, more immersive experience than the other versions. © Copyright 2013 The Video Game Critic.

Recommended variation: 7 lives
Our high score: 58500
1 player 

Cobra Command
Grade: C
Publisher: Sega (1992)
Reviewed: 2005/12/29

screenshotA "laserdisc" style game in the tradition of Dragon's Lair, Cobra Command lets you pilot an attack helicopter on a series of action-packed missions. Your flight path is completely preordained, although when prompted you'll need to hold the directional pad in order to avoid collisions. Enemy planes, helicopters and tanks emerge from the scenery, and you must quickly aim your crosshairs to blast them.

While some gamers may scoff at Cobra Command's linear gameplay and semi-interactive controls, classic game enthusiasts will appreciate this game for what it is (and what it's trying to be). The graphics are always interesting and sometimes exhilarating as you buzz New York skyscrapers, the Grand Canyon, and Easter Island. There are ten stages in all, but they're pretty short and play exactly the same each time.

I enjoyed playing Cobra Command the first few times, but clearly its replay value is limited. There are continues but no password feature, so you'll always need to play through the early stages. The graphics and animation are good for the Sega CD, but the rudimentary animation reminded me of an old Speed Racer cartoon. Still, the varied locales and non-stop action kept me forging ahead.

The audio is pretty weak, with scratchy voice samples that are hard to decipher. Cobra Command is okay as long as you don't mind full-motion video games. Most casuals gamers probably won't "get it", but die-hard Sega CD fans should find it worthwhile. © Copyright 2005 The Video Game Critic.

1 player 

Corpse Killer
Grade: D-
Publisher: Digital Pictures (1994)
Reviewed: 2012/11/4
Rating: Mature (realistic violence)

screenshotAn artifact of a strange time, Corpse Killer is a full-motion video (FMV) shooter with light-gun support. The video area consumes roughly half of the screen and the quality is marginal. The opening scene establishes the first-person perspective as you parachute onto a zombie-infested tropical island and get stuck in a tree. You know you're in for a low budget affair when the first zombie has gobs of gray makeup on his face but nothing on his hands.

You immediately team up with a Rastafarian named Winston and a blonde reporter named Julie. Winston is a cool cat but Julie was clearly not hired for her acting ability. Her lines incorporate awkward sexual innuendos like "Cool tool - I bet you know how to... turn it on." As you cruise around the island (via grainy cutscenes) your goal is to rescue fellow soldiers captured by a diabolical scientist.

I enjoyed the tropical scenery coupled with the dark voodoo imagery. The bongo drums set the mood as you venture into areas like a graveyard, a swamp, and a beach covered with shipwrecks. The shooting action however leaves much to be desired. As a camera slowly pans the scenery, digitized zombies float toward you. They look like poorly-paid extras, and when shot they shout "doh!" like Homer Simpson.

The game supports the Menacer light gun, but the accuracy is horrible. You're better off dragging a crosshair around the screen with a normal controller. At least then you can unleash a rapid-fire torrent of bullets. Corpse Killer is shallow but I discovered some subtle strategy. You'll want to focus on the monsters on the right side of the screen, as the leftmost ones tend to scroll off before they can reach you. By shooting the flashing "shadow figures" you can wipe out everything on the screen.

The video intermissions are the highlight of the game, and Vincent Shiavelli deserves an Oscar for his mad-voodoo-scientist role. The scenes are fun to watch once or twice, but after that you'll be happy to skip them. A "data pod" screen allows you to save your progress and watch additional video clips. A map lets you select missions, but there's not much variety. Corpse Killer is not a good game by any stretch of the imagination, but if you're fascinated by FMV games, this is an interesting relic. © Copyright 2012 The Video Game Critic.

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Our high score: 1,225,272
Save mechanism: Backup RAM
1 player 

Crime Patrol
Grade: D
Publisher: American Laser Games (1994)
Reviewed: 2019/2/22

screenshotMy first experience playing Crime Patrol was on the 3DO system. Its light-gun shooting gameplay was a little loose but I enjoyed the cheesy video footage of bad guys running around electronic stores, crack houses, and strip clubs. On the Sega CD the gun felt much less responsive until I remembered you need to crank up the brightness of your CRT TV (keep in mind the gun will not work on an HDTV).

The shooting action isn't bad but there's a palpable lag between seeing someone get shot and watching them recoil. I guess that's due to the footage having to be loaded off the disc. The video is grainy but at least it's full screen. The stages are action-packed, incorporating explosions, cars flipping open, dudes getting electrocuted, dudes on fire, and exotic dancers doing their thing.

At first you select between four missions, and upon completing those a new set appears. It takes some perseverance to reach the strip club level but I think most guys will agree it's worth the effort. The collision detection is far from precise but if you fire several times in the right area you're likely to hit your target.

I was kind of psyched about using my two Sega CD guns (blue and pink) but the game only supports two-players alternating. Weak! Sometimes I always wonder what a game like Crime Patrol would be like with modern graphics and pinpoint controls. I'm afraid we'll never know because they just don't make 'em like this any more. © Copyright 2019 The Video Game Critic.

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1 player 


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Screen shots courtesy of Shinforce, Sega CD Universe, Moby Games