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

Sega CD Reviews T

Grade: A-
Publisher: Virgin (1993)
Posted: 2003/7/18

screenshotMany Sega CD side-scrollers are notorious for being straight Genesis ports with enhanced music. Terminator addresses this concern immediately in the instruction book: "The Terminator CD is not just an upgrade of the Genesis game. It is a unique product, containing 10 entirely new levels of backgrounds and animations along with cinematic intermissions and an original score." Obviously, Virgin put some effort into this, and they want you to know it.

The action begins with a small video screen showing some post-apocalyptic scenes from the first Terminator film. To be honest, the video quality is so grainy that you can barely tell what you're looking at. Fortunately, the game screens look terrific, loaded with vibrant colors and large, detailed objects. Playing as Kyle Reese, you face tens stages of intense platform shooting action. You begin in the apocalyptic future, but eventually work your way back to 1984, where you explore city streets, rooftops, a police station, and even the "Technoir" Bar.

Armed with a rapid-fire gun and grenades, Kyle faces Arnold look-alikes, exoskeletons, tanks, and some wild spider-shaped droids. Kyle looks somewhat dorky (he kicks his legs when he jumps), but the terminators look fierce. The gameplay is unoriginal but undeniably fun and challenging. I especially like how you can shoot diagonally while hanging off ladders.

The worst thing about the game is that touching a terminator means instant death, and it sucks when you jump down from a ledge and accidentally land on one. The most remarkable aspect of the game has to be the musical score. Presented in "Q Sound", the music is simply outstanding and very consistent with the soundtrack of the film. It will get your adrenaline pumping too. Overall Terminator is a terrific Sega CD title. © Copyright 2003 The Video Game Critic.

1 player 

Time Gal
Grade: D
Publisher: Renovation (1993)
Posted: 2002/10/11

screenshotTime Gal takes its cue from Dragon's Lair, the original laserdisc game. It's a full-motion video (FMV) game which you only interact with at certain predetermined moments. Despite being a huge fan of the original Dragon's Lair, Time Gal did not impress me. The grainy video intro is lackluster, but it's not the graphic quality that kills the game - it's the lousy frame rate.

Time Gal is a sexy chick thrust into various periods of history from 700000000 BC to 1991. She has to deal with rampaging dinosaurs, gladiators and pirates, and high-tech weaponry of the present. The situations are pretty wild, but the low frame rate makes it hard to tell what the heck is going on, and that's a problem since you only have a split second to respond.

Fortunately the screen provides visual cues in the form of four glowing jewels, which you'll inevitably come to rely on completely. In fact, you'll pay so much attention to these jewels that you'll barely catch a glimpse of what's happening on the screen. Since most moves can't be logically deduced, memorization is the key to getting through the levels. Many correct moves actually seem to defy logic, like when you're sitting on top of a dinosaur's mouth, and need to push down to escape. At least the stages are randomized somewhat.

Another strange thing about the game is how Time Gal turns into a chubby cartoon character whenever she dies. I guess this was meant to soften the violence. When a real person gets crushed by a mammoth, it's tragic, but when it happens to a cartoon character - it's funny! © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.

1 player 

Tomcat Alley
Grade: B-
Publisher: Sega (1994)
Posted: 2023/11/12

screenshotTomcat Alley was one of the few games to fully showcase the Sega CD's capabilities. You get full-screen video and in color no less. Color!! You get the low-grade acting and cheesy action music FMV fans crave. Load times are negligible and responsive controls make you feel as if you're actually interacting with events on the screen!

You play a cocky pilot named Dakota, and if that's not cliche enough, your commander is the obligatory hard-ass and your female wing-man is a hot babe. Did you expect her to be ugly? The mission briefings provide some drama and I was pleasantly surprised at the lighthearted humor sprinkled throughout.

The game seamlessly splices video footage together to create an immersive in-the-cockpit combat experience. Once you get the hang of it, Tomcat Alley is quite engaging. You'll select the radio icon to respond to your squad and hit the chaff icon when enemies are hot on your tail. When a target is in range you chase it around with your reticle, which turns red momentarily when locked on. If you're quick on the trigger you'll witness a missile launch and a satisfying explosion will ensue.

It's fun for a while but the game's repetitive nature does begin to take its toll. Even with a nice mix of video clips you start to notice the same reactions over and over. The gameplay is kind of by-the-numbers as you basically click on the blinking icons. That said, there's a variety of missions which even branch on occasion. After one failed mission I was even sent back to rescue team members who had ejected and parachuted to safety.

You don't see many Sega CD games utilize full-screen FMV, and I can see why. The grainy video has so much static on the screen you'll be reaching for the rabbit ears. For some reason the darker scenes tend to look much worse. Still, you're treated to some nice views as you fly over mountains, deserts, or just into the clear blue sky.

It's not always pretty but Tomcat Alley puts you in the pilot's seat for the most frenetic air combat experience this side of Top Gun. The missions offer quick bursts of action and fun intermissions give you time to catch your breath. If you're the kind of gamer who can appreciate FMV, you will likely approve. © Copyright 2023 The Video Game Critic.

1 player 

Trivial Pursuit Interactive Multimedia Game
Grade: F
Publisher: Parker Bros. (1994)
Posted: 2012/2/7
Rating: Mature Audiences (MA-13)

screenshotI was tempted to say Trivial Pursuit didn't age well, but frankly I can't imagine it was ever much fun to begin with! This ill-advised title takes the formula of the popular board game and incorporates cheesy music, pixelated images, and grainy video clips. It also drags things out to an excruciating degree. There are long pauses while questions are loading, and they're introduced with unnecessary "category intro" screens. Images used for questions are "enhanced" with various fade and rotation effects, but this just drags things out even further. When you win a piece you're subjected to an unfunny animation of two goofy guys engaged in wacky hijinks.

Trivial Pursuit's user interface is poorly designed and even the instruction manual is incomprehensible. My friend George and I were finally able to figure it out but it was not worth the effort. After rolling the dice the CPU presents you with several move options which you cycle between. You'd expect landing on a "piece square" would be the default, but apparently the game isn't that smart. When a question is displayed, you're supposed to say the answer out loud. Once the answer is displayed, you need to inform the game if you were right or wrong! I'm not making this up!

In addition to the "classic mode", there's a "fast mode" which does away with the game board altogether. It's an improvement, but you're still waiting upwards of 30 seconds between questions. As the final insult, the game only supports one controller! That's right, this is a game designed for up to six players and you'll need to pass around a single controller. What a party killer. I can't imagine how anyone would possibly prefer this over the normal board game. © Copyright 2012 The Video Game Critic.

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1 to 6 players 

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