Sega CD Reviews T

Terminator
Grade: A-
Publisher: Virgin (1993)
Reviewed: 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)
Reviewed: 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: C+
Publisher: Sega (1994)
Reviewed: 2002/1/4


screenshotThis flight combat simulator plays like an interactive video, seamlessly intertwining short video clips together based on your actions. Unfortunately, the video is extremely grainy and not very easy on the eyes. Between stages are acting scenes to advance the plot, and these are mercifully short. Once you get in the air, gameplay involves selecting icons on the screen and targeting enemy aircraft. Tomcat is really a twitch game played from a first-person viewpoint. Most of the time the icon you need to choose is blinking, but since you only have a few seconds to react, things can get pretty intense. Shooting down enemy planes is satisfying thanks to a nice variety of explosive video footage. Although you have no control of your plane's movement, the visuals are a nice mix of actual plane footage and computer-generated video. You can save your place between missions. Tomcat Alley isn't much to look at, but the gameplay was better than I expected. © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.
1 player 

Trivial Pursuit Interactive Multimedia Game
Grade: F
Publisher: Parker Bros. (1994)
Reviewed: 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