Super Nintendo Reviews G-H

Ghoul Patrol
Grade: C
Publisher: JVC (1994)
Reviewed: 2003/10/17


screenshotI was a huge fan of "Zombies Ate My Neighbors", an SNES title that parodied every classic old horror film ever made. A sequel was much deserved, but Ghoul Patrol is not what I had in mind. Although Patrol offers more of the same with a few new features, its monumental difficulty and dull stage designs drag it down. Like Zombies, you assume a male or female character attempting to rescue clueless civilians. While many of the monsters look comical, a few (like the Frankenstein monsters) look pretty freaky.

The creatures look sharp but the scenery is uninteresting, with generic houses and castles that all look the same. When the monsters aren't smacking you around, you'll have to dodge possessed floating objects like books. I like the new guided missile weapon, but each monster requires about ten hits to destroy, and once they converge there's little you can do. And while I can accept the fact that monsters need to regenerate, I hate how some portals are situated in critical spots such as in front of doors. Ghoul Patrol is too hard for its own good.

You collect items like weapons, key, health, and potions, but even some of the potions are harmful! And adding insult to injury, although the instructions claim you get a password after each stage, in actuality you only get one every few stages. In terms of audio, most of the sound effects are recycled from Zombies Ate My Neighbors, and the music isn't nearly as catchy. In fact, these tunes sound like rejects from the first game. It doesn't look like much effort was put into Ghoul Patrol, and the result is disappointing. © Copyright 2003 The Video Game Critic.

1 or 2 players 

Gradius III
Grade: B-
Publisher: Konami (1991)
Reviewed: 2002/4/3

screenshotIn the arcade, Gradius III was one of the most insanely difficult games you could ever encounter. The SNES version of this side-scrolling space shooter is much easier, which is probably a good thing. The key to the game is collecting pods to cash in for weapons and power-ups. There's quite a bit of strategy involved in selecting the proper power-up for the situation. The graphics here are nearly identical to the arcade, although slow-down rears its ugly head all too often and threatens to ruin the fun. When there are too many objects on the screen, the action slows to a crawl, only to speed up again when things clear out. Not only is this annoying, but it adversely affects the flow of the game. That's too bad, because otherwise this is a solid all-around shooter. © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.
Our high score: 51100
1 or 2 players 

Hit the Ice
Grade: D-
Publisher: Taito (1993)
Reviewed: 2017/3/12

screenshotIt frustrates me to no end how there are so many home versions of Hit the Ice and none of them are any good. This wacky, arcade-style hockey game deserved better. The Turbografx edition offered fluid graphics but lacked options and speed. The Genesis game had the speed and options, but poor graphics and audio. This SNES version boasts the best audio-visual quality by a mile.

The players have reflections and the arena looks so razor sharp you can make out the fans' facial expressions. But as my friend Brent lamented "the players look terrific... until they start moving." The animation is erratic and I can't recall ever seeing so much graphic break-up in a 16-bit title. The puck is hard to follow as it blinks from one spot to the next. Once the oversized players crowd up you'll have no idea what the [expletive] is going on. On a positive note the audio is crystal clear and you can actually understand the voices. I love the sound of the puck clanking off the "pipe" (which happens all the time by the way).

It's hard to score in this game! The action zooms in close during the one-on-one fights, which are a little more sophisticated than other versions. There are two types of punches but the uppercut never seems to land. This version does have a coop mode which I don't recall seeing in the others. If I could take the best parts of all three games we might have something. As it is, Hit the Ice fans really can't win. © Copyright 2017 The Video Game Critic.

1 or 2 players 

Home Alone
Grade: B+

screenshotThis SNES version of Home Alone is much different than its Genesis counterpart, but no less enjoyable. Playing the role of little Kevin McCallister, the idea is to scamper around a spacious mansion while collecting valuables and eluding thieves. The treasure hunting aspect of the game is a heck of a lot of fun. You just push up while standing in front of a piece of furniture (like a chest or desk) and if there's an item inside it will pop out. Certain items replenish your health (like pizza) while others serve as weapons (slingshot). Valuables include cash, jewels, and candlesticks. In subsequent stages you'll collect different items like toys, electronics, and pets.

You can only carry six in your backpack, so you'll periodically want to empty it into chutes that deposit the items in the basement. A handy count-down at the top of the screen keeps you posted on the number of items remaining. After collecting enough you trek down to the basement to face a push-over boss. Unlike the NES edition of Home Alone, the crooks are slow so most of the time you can just hop over them. Defeating crooks is done by luring them into traps (tacks and bowling balls) that are in plain view.

Exploring the house is fun as you scale shelves and jump on beds. Each room has a theme and the attention to detail (wallpaper, pictures, etc) is commendable. The cut-scenes incorporate digitized stills from the movie. The controls are crisp, but I really wish they had assigned "jump" to the lower button as most games do. It's easy to get confused. The audio effects are pretty sensational! Digitized sounds are sprinkled throughout and Christmas music gives the game a very festive atmosphere. Much like the movie, Home Alone for the SNES is a light-hearted romp that will bring out the kid in you. . © Copyright 2014 The Video Game Critic.

Our high score: 97,500
1 player 

Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
Grade: D
Publisher: THQ (1992)
Reviewed: 2014/1/3

screenshotIt won't win any awards, but this SNES version of Home Alone 2: Lost in New York is certainly a step up from the abysmal NES game. The graphics are remarkably rich with luxurious furnishings and decorations (plants, sofas) that look photo-realistic. The cut-scenes incorporate digitized images from the film. The controls are responsive as you guide Kevin McCallister through the Grand Plaza Hotel, Central Park, and other New York City destinations.

Kevin uses toy guys to subdue enemies, and can also elude them with a nifty knee slide. There are plenty of people to avoid including the concierge, maids, and a woman with an umbrella who looks really creepy (She's a witch! Burn her!). Then the game goes off the deep end by incorporating nonsensical hazards like hopping suitcases and runaway vacuum cleaners.

Home Alone 2 suffers from gameplay mediocrity and "what do I do now" syndrome. The collision detection is fishy, and sometimes you'll walk into a room and be grabbed before you can even react. In the hotel stage, you're forced to run to the end of dead-end hallways for no particular reason. And why in the heck is it necessary to hit the elevator button five times? The weapons are easy to come by, but you quickly run out of ammo. Home Alone 2 successfully recreates the look of the film, but frustrating design flaws spoil the fun. © Copyright 2014 The Video Game Critic.

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Our high score: 12,900
1 player 

Hook
Grade: D
Publisher: Sony (1992)
Reviewed: 2005/12/26

screenshotBased on the critically-disparaged film starring Robin Williams and Dustin Hoffman, Hook offers beautiful graphics but exasperating gameplay. You play the role of Peter Pan in this side-scrolling, hack-n-slash platform game. You'll sword-fight your way through scenic mountains, forests, and pirate ships. You can even fly for short distances.

Hook's production values are beyond reproach. Its bright graphics are bursting with color, and the detail in the scenery is amazing. As Peter leaps into the air his sleeves actually flutter in the wind. The outstanding visuals are paired with a rollicking musical score that really whets your appetite for adventure. My enthusiasm was dampened however when I realized how frustrating and unforgiving Hook is to play.

The controls are responsive enough, but you move slowly, so although the stages are modest in size, traversing them is time-consuming. Worse yet, losing a life forces you to restart the stage all the way from the beginning, and you'll be losing your share of lives thanks to the unavoidable projectiles that appear without warning as you navigate tight spaces. Also annoying is how you can "overlap" an enemy - an unfortunate predicament that usually spells instant death.

In some sections of the game you'll execute a jump that appears perfectly safe, only to watch Peter plummet to his death. Hook offers unlimited continues, and I think I went through about half of them trying to review this [expletive] game. The lack of a password feature was the final straw. I really wanted to like Hook, but a strong presentation amounts to very little without solid gameplay to back it up. © Copyright 2005 The Video Game Critic.



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Screen shots courtesy of Video Game Museum, Console Classix, Moby Games, Games Database, YouTube