Sega CD Reviews L

Lethal Enforcers
Grade: C
Publisher: Konami (1993)
Reviewed: 2020/5/19

screenshotThis edition of Lethal Enforcers is exactly what you'd expect from a CD version of a Genesis game. The audio has been cleaned up but the gameplay is essentially unchanged. Using the Justifier (TM) light gun you take aim at criminals pouring out of the woodwork, taking care not to shoot the occasional civilian. Five stages take place in a bank, Chinatown, a shipping dock, an airport, and a chemical plant. The included gun is surprisingly accurate provided you have the right CRT TV.

It's fun to pick off thugs but there's no blood. When innocent people pop up it's really hard to resist shooting them. Even after all these years I'm still shooting the woman in the bank who yells "help me!" Occasionally a hostage is taken, and it feels satisfying to pick off the bad guy without hurting the hostage. Your targets are slightly randomized but it feels like the same experience each time through. Each stage concludes with a tough boss like a guy in a van with a rocket launcher or a knife-throwing Asian dude.

My biggest problem with Lethal Enforcers is that you have to play the stages in order and the game won't even let you advance unless you're nearly perfect. Lethal Enforcers can also be played with a regular controller but I wouldn't recommend it. If you own a second gun (the pink one) you can engage in some two-player (or double barrel) action. I really like the game's "Starsky and Hutch" style soundtrack but the rougher Genesis version arguably has more charm. The sound effects and vocals are clear, meaning you can actually understand them this time. Overall the Sega CD Lethal Enforcers is an upgrade but not a mandatory one. © Copyright 2020 The Video Game Critic.

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Our high score: 5210
1 or 2 players 

Lethal Enforcers II: Gunfighters
Grade: C
Publisher: Konami (1994)
Reviewed: 2020/6/6

screenshotThe original Lethal Enforcers was set in modern times but this sequel takes place in the "wild wild west". It's a genre ripe with shootout locations like trains, stagecoaches, banks, and saloons. The basic gameplay involves picking off outlaws that emerge from the scenery, one after the next. Playing with the Justifier light gun is satisfying. You can really get into a zone but every so often the sheriff or a lady will pop up, so hold your fire!

Most of the scenery isn't destructible but you can shoot out the occasional window and lamp. When you hit an enemy in the arm or leg he'll flinch but won't die. Shoot a crook in a window and he'll hurl himself through it as any respectable outlaw would. The action is pretty much non-stop until the screen goes black for 10-15 seconds to load a new scene. Hmmm I don't recall this happening with the first game. At one point I thought the game was broken!

If you don't have the gun you can get by with a normal controller, but why does the cursor look like red lips? The worst aspect of the game is its boss fights which run so long they make my hand hurt. The digitized graphics are kind of mediocre, but in the scene when Indians attack a stagecoach the illusion of speed and depth is impressive.

The audio is noticeably clearer than the Genesis version, with more variation with the bad guy lines ("take that varmint!"). Of course, when you take into account the load times it's pretty much a wash. Lethal Enforcers II is exactly what you'd expect in a Wild West shooter - no more and no less. © Copyright 2020 The Video Game Critic.

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Recommended variation: Easy
Our high score: 1,942
1 or 2 players 

Links: The Challenge of Golf
Grade: F
Publisher: Virgin (1994)
Reviewed: 2000/12/1


screenshotLink shows a lot of potential at first. An opening video sequence provides a nice video of a beautiful golf course with voice narration describing it in detail. Before each hole, you see a nice video fly-over and description of the hole. All these attractive video clips give you a false sense that you're about to play a great golf game with actual digitized graphics. But once you see the "real" game graphics, you'd better have a barf bag handy. These hideous graphics are far worse that the Genesis PGA games, and the holes don't even vaguely resemble what you saw in the video clips. I can't even see the freakin' fairway! Okay, so I've established graphics suck, but how is the gameplay? A CHORE! It's a CHORE to play this game!! You have to wait between 5 and 10 seconds of loading time between each SHOT! Can you imagine playing a 6 player, 18 hole tournament with this game? It would take days!! Links has a bunch of options and modes, but what good are they in a game this bad?? © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.
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1 to 6 players 

Loadstar
Grade: F
Publisher: Rocket Science Games (1994)
Reviewed: 2005/1/1


screenshotI tried to give Loadstar a fair chance, but I just can't figure it out. Clearly the developers put far more effort into dreaming up a sophisticated background story than creating a playable game. Set in the future on a distant planet, Loadstar kicks off with some pixelated full-screen video of a scruffy looking guy named Tully stepping into a space bar and being roughed up by the local sheriff, who apparently has some kind of personal vendetta against him. The scene tries to inject some drama into the game, but it's largely a waste of time.

Loadstar is played from a first-person point of view, as you steer some kind of transport vehicle over a network of tracks running through narrow trenches. There are a few tunnels and some scenery in the distance, but in general every stretch of track looks the same. The controls allow you to shoot at flying police robots, activate a shield, or blow your horn to nudge slow traffic. A cursor is used to both steer and aim at enemies, and it's a pretty clumsy system.

The graphics themselves aren't too bad, and blasted enemies burst into colorful explosions. Should you collide with another vehicle, you'll see a rather disturbing clip of some guy getting his skin blown off, leaving only a skeleton. I can't forget to mention the obligatory comical sidekick, who in this case is played by a talking smiley face on a monitor. Loadstar had some potential, but its confusing navigation system renders the game practically unplayable.

Somehow you're supposed to use the compass at the top of the screen to guide you to your destination, but I couldn't figure it out, and the instruction manual was no help. After endlessly driving around the tracks that all look the same, I turned the game off in disgust. I did find it amusing how the manual listed Loadstar hats and shirts that you could order, as if the the game was going to be a surefire hit. © Copyright 2005 The Video Game Critic.

1 player 

Lords of Thunder
Grade: B-
Publisher: Hudson Soft (1995)
Reviewed: 2009/1/3

screenshotLords of Thunder kicked ass on the Turbo Duo (1993), and you'd probably expect this Sega CD port to be comparable. Nope! This edition of the hectic side-scrolling shooter is a mere shadow of its former self. The layered backgrounds that looked so beautiful on the Turbo Duo look grainy and flat here. Enemies don't flash when you strike them, making it hard to determine if you're dealing damage. I even noticed some major slow-down.

But the biggest atrocity is the audio. The guitar-driven soundtrack is almost completely drowned out by awful sound effects that sound like rubber bands, dull thuds, and trash can lids. To say the game is not pleasing to the ear would be an understatement. The difficulty is much lower as well, which isn't going to endear it to hardcore shooter fans. The only thing this Sega CD version has to offer is a voice for the shopkeeper lady (who speaks with a "come hither" tone), and some pointless narrated intro scenes.

That said, Lords of Thunder is still more playable than most of the full motion video (FMV) junk that pervades the Sega CD library. Instead of a spaceship, you control a flying mystical warrior who sprays rapid-fire missiles and brandishes a sword during close combat. You can select between six worlds and four weapon types.

Each world offers a unique environment (snow, fire, water, etc) and an assortment of imaginative creatures which include levitating wizards, flaming phoenix birds, and gigantic sea serpents. I like how soldiers are deployed from large airships, and some monsters scale in from the backgrounds. The bosses are really tough if your power is low, but if you're loaded up they're not a problem. Lords of Thunder is a respectable 2D shooter for the Sega CD, but if you have a choice, track down the superior Turbo Duo version instead. © Copyright 2009 The Video Game Critic.

Recommended variation: continues
Our high score: 478000
1 player 


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