The races are viewed directly from overhead, with your vehicle centered on the screen. This gives you minimal view of the road ahead, so learning the track layouts is imperative. A small map in the corner shows your position on the map, and it's easier to drive while staring at that! Your motorcycle looks like a big blob, and the scenery is totally lame. I was hoping for a tropical paradise, but all I got was a few bales of hay.
The jet-ski races play exactly the same, but the tracks are so wide you can't see the boundaries! Trying to figure out where to go is no fun at all. The water looks fake, and the pixelated sunbathers look like something from an Atari 5200 game. The horrible engine noise sounds like a swarm of bees!
Could this game get any worse? Yes. Would you believe you actually have to run a qualifying lap just to gain entrance into each race?! Qualifying laps always suck, but in this game, they're just insulting. Frankly, it's hard to find any redeeming qualities in Kawasaki Caribbean Challenge. © Copyright 2008 The Video Game Critic.
The graphics look crisp and colorful, although the players look cartoonish with their exaggerated physiques. The scrolling and animation is smooth, and the detailed stadiums look terrific. I remember my friend Eric and I playing this game on a display at Toys R Us and being extremely impressed that the outfield wall at Wrigley Field was actually covered with ivy!
Ken Griffey's controls are simple and responsive, and this has to be one of the fastest baseball games I've ever played. It's really too bad there's no instant replay feature. It may come up a bit short on realism but Ken Griffey Major League Baseball is undeniably fun and entertaining. © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.
The idea of stringing together attacks began with Street Fighter II, but Killer Instinct takes the concept to the extreme. Thus, with a lot of practice (or a little luck) you can pull off 15-hit combos while your opponent stands there like a chump. Since the combos are not listed in the manual, a lot of research and practice is required to become truly proficient at them, although button mashing can occasionally achieve positive results as well. I'm not a big fan of the whole combo thing, but I do appreciate the easy-to-execute special moves with their Street Fighter-like controls. The game is fun and the one-player mode has a "one-more-time" addictive quality.
Visually, Killer Instinct is a knockout. The fighters are probably the most interesting bunch I've ever seen in a fighting game. There's a skeleton, a werewolf, a boxer, a Native American, a ninja, a robot soldier, and a raptor, just to name a few. The single female fighter is a black woman named Orchid. The action is not as fluid as the arcade, but still commendable. I love the imaginative "dizzy" animations, such as the robot short-circuiting or the Indian coughing. But while the fighters look great, the backgrounds are uninspired, featuring dull, static ruins, temples, and city skylines.
Before each match, a slick intro screen depicts both combatants up close in impressive 3D. And as sharp as the visuals are, the audio is even better. The digitized voices and effects are crystal clear, and the background music rocks! Just hearing those tunes again brings back fond memories of having my buddies over when still living at home. A CD of music ("Killer Kuts") was included with the game, but the songs aren't nearly as impressive outside of the game. Killer Instinct comes in a jet-black cartridge, and stands as one of the better fighting games for the SNES. © Copyright 2003 The Video Game Critic.
Inhaling enemies not only fun, but it allows Kirby to absorb their powers. This changes his appearance slightly and gives him the ability to execute moves like throwing fire or swinging a sword. Kirby also has the option of converting enemies into "friends" who will fight alongside him. These friends can even be controlled by a second player!
These Kirby games are goofy yet oddly compelling. The graphics tend to be simple but have a clean, colorful appearance that's easy on the eyes. The controls are dead-on, and the cartridge includes a battery to save your progress. In you can look past Kirby's cutsey appearance, I think you'll find this compilation to be well worth your time. © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.
You accumulate experience levels as you slay knights, barbarians, jesters, and magicians. Money and food fall from enemies you strike down, providing points and health. I have to admit it looks pretty funny when you kill a knight and a big bowl of salad falls out of him. Naturally each stage ends with the obligatory boss battle.
Knights of the Round is a fine-looking title, but it suffers from repetitive gameplay. You only have two attacks - a standard hack and a "mega crush" attack (which you'll want to save for tight situations). There's a guard move, but it's practically useless. Hacking up endless bad guys gets monotonous, and there's not much diversity between the three playable characters.
By far the coolest feature is the ability to knock a knight off of his horse and mount the horse yourself. Unfortunately, there's only two or three opportunities to do this trick in the entire game. The two player simultaneous action is fun enough, but slowdown runs rampant at times. And while the music is excellent, the sound effects are horribly muffled. Knights of the Round is no classic, but fighting fans with an appreciation for 16-bit graphics should take a look. © Copyright 2003 The Video Game Critic.
Your sword is your primary attack but swinging is time-consuming and your attacks are often blocked. This is a problem when enemies converge from both sides. Your special attack lets you hurl projectiles which can slice through several enemies a time. The shoulder buttons let you block, but I always forget I have this move!
Magic is your ace-in-the-hole but you'll want to save that for when the screen is crowded with enemies (or a boss). Defeated foes drop sacks of coins and loaves of bread, but your slow-ass often can't reach them before they flicker and disappear. The jump-kick move looks cheesy as hell but it's the only thing I'd characterize as quick in the entire game. It lets you escape tight situations and strike several enemies at a time. The problem is it's too effective! If you jump-kick repeatedly enemies will take forever to defeat but they'll rarely lay a hand on you.
Legend is generally slow and repetitive, and it doesn't help that the very first stage forces you to trudge through a swamp. The two-player action just further degrades the already-plodding pace. The boss encounters are strange. Why would a boss begin with a half-filled life meter? Legend offers continues but you'll need to restart the entire level if you die at the hands of a boss. I usually enjoy side-scrolling brawlers but I would not recommend breaking your piggy bank for this one. © Copyright 2018 The Video Game Critic.
I've never been a huge fan of role-playing games, but Zelda has always managed to straddle the line between role-playing and arcade action. Although your character "Link" develops skills and manages an inventory much like an RPG, all of the action is played out in real time. Despite the game's cartoonish appearance, each object is meticulously crafted and cleanly animated. The gameplay is strictly 2D, but overlapping areas convey the illusion of multi-tiered castles and dungeons.
The enemies are extremely imaginative, and each has its own distinct personality and attack patterns. Skeletons leap away from your attacks, soldiers block with shields, and one-eyed crab monsters fall asleep and wake up unpredictably. The battles are challenging but never repetitive, and the puzzles tend to be on the easy side, eliminating the frustration factor. Zelda's audio is fantastic, with crystal clear sound effects and a sweeping musical score.
But what really makes Link to the Past shine is its superior gameplay. The pacing is steady and new areas open gradually, never allowing you to become bored. The carefully designed "world" is perfectly sized, so there's always plenty of room to explore, yet you never feel lost or overwhelmed. The difficulty is ideal, and you can save your progress even after you die. Brilliantly conceived and expertly programmed, Zelda: A Link to the Past is a captivating experience that will appeal to gamers of all ages. It simply doesn't get much better than this. © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.
Each level begins by slowly dropping up to 50 Lemmings onto the screen, usually into some sort of cave. These lovable little creatures wander forward by default, and without guidance they'll walk off cliffs and into fire. By assigning them abilities to block, dig, climb, build, or float, you can guide them safely to the exit. The difficulty ramps in a hurry but the stage titles offer not-so-subtle hints ("tailor-made for blockers").
The thing that irritates me about Lemmings is its arbitrary rules. You can reassign certain abilities but not others, and often a few of the poor schmucks need to be sacrificed at the end of each level. The "nuclear" option exterminates all remaining Lemmings on the screen, blowing them to smithereens. The game was expressly designed for mouse control and moving a square cursor around with a digital pad is clumsy. I dug out my dusty SNES mouse but would you believe it's not even supported?
Also problematic is how the game doesn't identify the ability types with text, employing ambiguous symbols instead. The musical score offers a collection of happy-go-lucky tunes that got on my nerves after a while. I hate how it keeps playing when I pause the game! A two-player split-screen mode is available but not much of a selling point. The game remains a challenge after all these years, but if you want to have the true Lemmings experience this SNES edition is probably not the way to go. © Copyright 2019 The Video Game Critic.
The game does offer some inviting tropical scenery - I'll give it that much. The opening level takes place on a sunny beach with bright blue skies, fluffy clouds, and shimmering waters. It's a shame the stage designs are so repetitive, forcing you to climb up and down the same rocks over and over. As in Flashback (Genesis, 1993) you can run, leap, and hang onto ledges. I hate how you must be lined up perfectly beneath a ledge in order to jump and grab it. In some cases the ledge is clearly within reach yet you can only grab it with a running start.
Lester's attacks are weak, and the game appears to advocate kicking endangered sea turtles in the face. That ain't right. The simple act of picking up an item can be so difficult I often just give up and move on. Sometimes an eagle will swoop in and carry you way back, negating much of your progress! Who could possibly think this was a good idea? Green slime in caves is not only fatal if it drips on you, but also if you walk over it.
It would be hard to design a worse platformer than this. This game is so cheap you'll incur damage even for successful leaps! The vine swinging seemed like fun until I passed through a vine like a ghost. The sad part is, Lester the Unlikely had all the makings of a fun summertime romp: jungle, water, pirates, monkeys - you name it. Instead we get improbable jungle shenanigans that will have you rolling your eyes and shaking your head in disgust. © Copyright 2016 The Video Game Critic.
But the best feature of this SNES version is the stage select. Getting to the later stages in the Genesis version was like pulling teeth, but now it's more like pulling a trigger. This sounds like the best home version of Lethal Enforcers by far, but not so fast. While the game is fun, I couldn't help but notice that the violence was less gratifying.
The animation is less smooth, making the criminals look like cardboard cut-outs. During car shootouts bad guys don't roll out onto the road like they do on the Genesis. When shot, a thug will yell "ugh!" but there's no "I've been shot" animation. Worst of all, shooting a civilian only triggers a buzz sound and green "caution" indicator. Weak!
The difficulty is lower too and you get eight continues. In two player mode you can use either two guns or two controllers, but you can't mix and match as you could on the Genesis. The good news is, if you own a pink player two gun it will work for any system. Lethal Enforcers for the SNES have a lot going for it, but I think there's a valuable lesson to be learned here, and that's violence matters. © Copyright 2020 The Video Game Critic.
The game closely follows the storyline of the film. You begin as a baby Simba, but eventually grow into a mature lion. One unique feature is your ability to roar, which has different effects depending on what you direct it at. Also included is an exciting 3D stampede stage and some fun bonus rounds that let you play as Timon and Pumbaa.
Lion King is a high quality title, but it does stumble here and there. Certain stages require far too much jumping between ledges, and it's very easy to become lost in the cave stages. There's a bit of frustration to be had, but fans will love how this great-looking game remains so faithful to the movie. © Copyright 1999 The Video Game Critic.
Unfortunately, it's not always clear where you can or can't go, and you'll often find yourself stuck on invisible obstacles. As good as the game looks, its programming was sloppy. You characters can't move diagonally (!) which severely limits your control, and the collision detection is awful. Sometimes a bat will fly right through you, or your sword will kill a snake far out of its range.
Issues like these make fighting even the smallest enemies a monumental pain, gradually depleting your will to forge ahead. Controlling multiple characters is even worse, as you need to use the R button to switch between them. Apparently the game was designed to support up to five players (via the adapter), but I imagine that would be a complete mess. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.
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Screen shots courtesy of Video Game Museum, Console Classix, Moby Games, Games Database, YouTube