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Games are rated relative to other games for the same system.

Sega CD Reviews F-G

FIFA International Soccer
Grade: B+
Publisher: Electronic Arts (1994)
Posted: 2023/8/15

screenshotTo prepare for this review I played FIFA International Soccer (Genesis, 1993) and was surprised just how good-looking and fluid it was. That set my expectations pretty high, and this Sega CD version lived up to them with cleaner visuals, better gameplay, and much improved audio.

Considering this came out a year after the Genesis game, it's probably safe to say it has more in common with FIFA Soccer 95 (Genesis, 1994). The first thing I noticed was how the intro credit screens are now animated and take a lot longer to sit through. Fortunately you can skip through them. The actual game intro is a series of grainy/washed out footage of real FIFA soccer not likely to get you psyched.

Once play begins the field looks great. An isometric view gives you a nice wide vantage point and the grass looks a lot less grainy than the Genesis game. The contests are fast and furious with plenty of back-and-forth action. I just wish I could maintain possession of the ball! When it's near the goal things get frantic with bodies flying all over the place. Frantic button-tapping can result in headers, back-kicks, and bicycle kicks. Fouls are off by default, so don't be shy!

This CD edition features enhanced animation, better AI, and 64 international teams. Its new "dolby CD" crowd effects really put you in the stadium, mixing chants, songs, and annoying horns into the steady hum of fans. Crowd reactions, although emphatic, tend to be a little delayed. If your system is hooked up to a stereo, crank it up.

There are a lot of little things I enjoy about FIFA International Soccer. I like the "picture in picture" presentation during corner kicks. I like how when your goalie has the ball he can boot it all the way out to the middle of the field. I love how the fans in the stands are so individualized, some even rolling out flags. The load screens are a drag but the four player action is right on point. My friends had a ball with this, despite the fact that some had never even played FIFA before. © Copyright 2023 The Video Game Critic.

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1 to 4 players 

Final Fight CD
Grade: A
Publisher: Capcom (1993)
Posted: 2002/10/11

screenshotFor all you Sega CD fans looking for some side-scrolling, butt-kicking mayhem, Final Fight CD is a good choice. The gameplay is exactly like Streets of Rage (SOR), but these fighters are HUGE! The three playable characters are Guy, Cody, and Haggar. Unlike SOR, the Final Fight locations are entirely urban, including slums, bars, a subway, underground fight clubs, and industrial areas. The scenery isn't spectacular, but it's constantly changing and never boring.

The characters are nicely detailed, and their huge size lets you take out three or four bad guys with one kick! The cast of thugs includes all the usual suspects, including the spiky-haired punk, the fat guy, the Neanderthal man, huge bosses, and some fine looking hookers (with handcuffs even!). It's a nice touch how the bosses struggle to get up before they finally collapse in defeat. Along with the standard punches, throws, jump kicks, and special moves, there are loads of knives, swords, and pipes available to keep the bad guys at bay.

In a nod to Street Fighter, there are two bonus stages thrown in that let you destroy a car or smash glass panels. The jazzy Miami Vice-inspired background music is crystal clear but not particularly memorable. Likewise the sound effects won't really catch your ear. But if you're looking to kick some ass, don't hesitate to pick this game up. Unlike the lame SNES version, the game supports two players. My wife thinks it might be better than Streets of Rage. You be the judge. © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.

Our high score: CJS 330,000
1 or 2 players 

Grade: B+
Publisher: U.S. Gold (1994)
Posted: 2012/6/2

screenshotThe Genesis version of Flashback was marketed as "a CD Rom game in a cartridge", so what does that make this? A CD Rom game on a CD Rom? That sounds a lot less impressive. The opening cut-scenes in this version utilize full-motion video, which was a pretty big deal back in the day. Unfortunately the grainy picture quality compares poorly to the clear visuals of the Genesis version. The actual game looks and plays exactly like the cartridge.

Flashback is an amazing futuristic adventure with rich graphics, fluid animation, and a compelling storyline. One major difference between this and the cartridge is the music. The Genesis game was largely a silent affair, with short musical interludes kicking in when the action got intense. In this version you'll hear a difference right away in the opening jungle stage. Tribal drums alternate menacingly between the stereo speakers, and then a booming orchestrated chorus (with vocals) kicks in. It sounds like something you'd hear in a Terminator movie, and it lends weight to the proceedings. Flashback for the Sega CD is not necessarily a better game, but audiophiles may find this version more appealing. © Copyright 2012 The Video Game Critic.

Save mechanism: Password
1 player 

Grade: F
Publisher: Psygnosis (1994)
Posted: 2015/11/1

screenshotThis intricate platformer takes place in an enchanted world with cozy cottages and lush forests with huge leaves you can hop between. The artistic graphics and delicate orchestrated music call to mind Castle of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse (Genesis, 1990), but Flink is a lot less fun. The main character looks like a little prince with a cape and bowl haircut. I'd really love to punch him in the face.

As you start a new game you're approached by a harmless-looking old man who is fatal to touch. Your enemies mainly consist of slow-moving elderly people. I'm surprised there's not a nursing home stage. You can knock people off the screen, but that requires pouncing on their head not once but twice. Flink also has the ability to slide down hills and toss objects.

One thing that really sucks about this game is its unforgiving collision detection. Touching any creature spells instant death and the problem is exacerbated by enemies that appear unexpectedly. It's really hard to catch an edge while leaping between ledges. The spell casting feature might have been interesting if it weren't so complicated.

After collecting a scroll with a magic spell, you then need to collect magic potions along with a laundry list of ingredients. What a chore! If that's not bad enough, you need to be in a specific spot to use a given spell! I'm not sure what's more nauseating - the overcooked gameplay or the cheesy musical score. Flink is one platformer that asks a whole lot of the player but offers little in return. © Copyright 2015 The Video Game Critic.

Formula One World Championship: Beyond the Limit
Grade: F
Publisher: Sega (1994)
Posted: 2012/2/7
Rating: General Audiences

screenshotTrue to its name, this realistic racer extended well beyond the limits of my patience. Formula One is one of those titles that try to hide its shortcomings behind layers of fake realism. It greets you with grainy race footage and high-octane music intended to psyche you up. The "Grand Prix" mode offers a full slate of races that take you to locations around the globe. The problem is, all the tracks look exactly the same, so it doesn't matter if you're in Japan or Brazil.

Digitized images of crew members brief you on track conditions, but tailoring your wheels and transmission doesn't seem to matter much. You get a behind-the-wheel view when racing, but steering is a nightmare. Scaling and rotation effects are used to convey movement, but the controls are touchy and the animation is herky-jerky. It's hard to even stay on the track, and it doesn't help that the courses are packed with sharp turns.

Should you accidentally swerve into the pit lane, you'll look on in horror as a horrendously pixelated crew descends upon your car. Completing a single lap is an ordeal, so even the thought of ten-lap qualifying round is too much to bear. At one point I noticed big pixelated squares on the edge of the road similar to those in Super Mario Kart (SNES, 1992). It's interesting how two games can use the same technology and arrive at vastly different results. © Copyright 2012 The Video Game Critic.

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1 player 

Ground Zero Texas
Grade: C-
Publisher: Sega (1993)
Posted: 2021/12/7

screenshotLike the CD classic Night Trap (Sega, 1992), this full-motion video title lets you toggle between cameras at various locations. Ground Zero Texas is far more linear however, playing more like a first-person target-shooter.

During the intro you're being flown into a small desert town on a helicopter where you're met by some military types. After being transported to the hotel base of operations you're briefed on the situation. Apparently the local population has been infiltrated by aliens who assume the form of normal townsfolk.

Four cameras are aimed at a cantina, hotel, plaza, and main street location. Unlike Night Trap, you're constantly being alerted where the action is occurring, there's no reason to explore. Once you select a location you just move a cursor around the screen and shoot anyone who points a gun at you (hint: they'll also have a green box around them).

The storyline is conveyed via cutscenes with dodgy characters that may be good or bad. You really need to stay on your toes because some of the most unlikely bystanders will suddenly pull out a gun. The hostage scenes are especially pivotal because saving one rewards you with a code you'll need later.

Since there's not enough "acting" stages to fill an entire game, Ground Zero is padded with generic stages with people popping up behind static scenery, not unlike Lethal Enforcers (Konami, 1993). The death animations are amusing to watch, with actors throwing themselves backwards, arms flailing.

What gives Ground Zero Texas a much-needed edge is its difficulty. Trying to aim that touchy reticle with any precision is tough, even when you know where the next enemy is about to appear. Should you accidentally shoot an innocent bystander, it's game over.

Advanced stages add another layer of strategy. When action occurs on multiple screens you'll need to deploy "shields" to protect unattended cameras. Enemy randomization enhances the replay value, but the game could really use some light gun support.

There's a certain charm in Ground Zero Texas. You tend to advance a little further with each play and it's fun to watch the cheesy alien plot unfold. The game may be shallow and grainy but hey - it's a Sega CD title. You can't blame a tiger for being a tiger. © Copyright 2021 The Video Game Critic.

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Our high score: 69
1 player 

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