Publisher: Electronic Arts (1992)
Publisher: Electronic Arts (1993)
This was the year that the SNES Madden finally caught up to the Genesis game, and arguably surpassed
it! Thanks to a brand new engine, Madden 94 manages to run both fast and
smooth! As the first year that Madden was officially endorsed by the NFL, all the teams and logos are included. Before each game a cool intro screen shows the field from the upper stands, and the animated fans look terrific. The pacing of the game seems twice as fast - mainly because you no longer need to wait for substitutions between plays! There are more plays to choose from, thanks to "play flipping" and no-huddle options. The redrawn players look chubbier and better defined. The passing game is still limited by passing windows, but the running game is much easier - maybe too
easy! It seems like even slamming straight into the line will usually net you 2 or 3 yards. You can now apply late hits, but these aren't called as penalties. There's a lot of "crunching" sounds during the plays, but sometimes a player is tackled in silence. The quarterback sounds amazing calling the snap count, and Madden chimes in with funny quips like "POW!" and "Hey, heck of a play!" I love how a loud "gun shot" ends each quarter; you almost expect the quarterback to keel over
right on the field! Madden 94 also includes first-down measurements (what a concept!), a "bluff" play-calling mechanism, rotating instant replays (!), multi-tap support, and get this - a half time show!
The show reuses the field view from the intro, but you can clearly see the band on the field, along with cheerleaders tossing batons. Nice touch! No question about it, Madden '94 ruled the video gridiron in 1993. © Copyright 2009 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Electronic Arts (1994)
Publisher: Electronic Arts (1995)
Madden 96 was the first year that the franchise was actually endorsed by NFL players, believe it or not. That means the players are referred to by name in the text commentary after each play, and player "portraits" are also available. Pat Summerall joins Madden in the booth, but if not for his smiling mug, you probably wouldn't even know he was there. Madden 96 contains the same goofy running animations as Madden 95, but the players look sharper this year because they're wearing shoes. The gameplay is much
faster than Madden 95, with plays that often unfold before you can react. The clock really flies, which is problematic since you cannot view the game clock after leaving the play-calling screen. Quarterbacks now have more pronounced throwing motions, but this makes getting off a pass very difficult. The kicking game is also weird. As the ball approach the uprights, it become absolutely huge!
EA didn't put a lot of effort into this Madden 96, and its unrealistic speed makes it the least playable Madden in years. © Copyright 2009 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Electronic Arts (1996)
Madden 97 tweaks several aspects of the game, but many changes are not warranted, and most are not welcome. The graphics are a mixed bag. The players look more realistic, but the decision to add "texture" to the grass field was a bad idea! Especially in the end zones, the surface looks like a complete mess! In terms of gameplay, Madden 97 is probably the most balanced since Madden 94, and the action has been slowed down to a reasonable pace. It's still tough to get a pass off, but even deflected passes can be caught. When throwing, the ball is often out-of-sync with the arm motion, and occasionally it appears to squirt out the side!
Pat Summerall helps Madden with the commentator duties, chiming in with unenthusiastic lines like "incomplete". The audio sucks in general. The quarterback sounds like he's yelling the snap count from the bottom of a well
, and Madden tosses out idiotic lines like "that one's gonna give him nightmares for weeks!" The half-time screen shows Madden and Pat staring intently into each other's eyes, and you can almost hear the song, "I don't wanna wait... for our lives
to be o-ver..." Madden 97 also incorporates a number of franchise-related features like player trades, scouting combines, and a lot of other stuff I could give a [expletive] about. The only thing I really like about Madden 97 is that it was the first to feature my Baltimore Ravens. All and all, this edition is very playable but unspectacular and slightly gay. © Copyright 2009 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Electronic Arts (1997)
As my friend Eric observed, 1997 was "the year Electronic Arts started stealing your money." The only real difference between Madden 98 and Madden 97 is updated rosters and a horrible new user interface. Navigating this user-hostile monstrosity is so awkward and counter-intuitive that Eric was actually forced to hit the reset button
during the course of setting up one game! The music has been needlessly cranked up, and the game has some really obvious glitches. When you set up a game like Patriots at Baltimore, Madden and Pat Summerall begin by saying "Welcome to Chicago!". What the [expletive]? Although the basic gameplay is unchanged, a very unwelcome new feature has been added: "hot and cold streaks". That's right, your favorite team might just suck
for the simple reason that the game randomly determined them to be "cold". This was only the beginning of EA's tradition of incorporating unwanted "features" into its games in lieu of actual improvements (which are much harder to program). Madden had a good run on the SNES, but Madden 98 ends the series with a whimper. © Copyright 2009 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Capcom (1992)
Recommended variation: hard
Our high score: 183,200
Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
Publisher: Sony (1994)
Publisher: Black Pearl (1995)
This game manages to capture the madcap zaniness of the movie, but its unimaginative gameplay will have you rolling your eyes. The Mask is like Batman Returns in pastel colors! Its repetitive platform jumping is totally excessive and there are cheap hits everywhere you turn. The levels are inspired by the movie, but mainly serve as backdrops for endless floating platforms (ugh). The Mask himself is nicely animated with an arsenal of wacky attacks, many of which you'll recall from the film. I found some of the enemies to be a bit on the creepy side, not unlike the Mask himself. The controls are responsive, and I especially like the handy "zip" button that lets you sprint through a level in a flash. Unfortunately, checkpoints are few and far between, and it's actually quite easy to miss
them! There are some amusing little touches, like the bouncing alarm clock and the dog wearing a mask. The sound effects are effective, but the music is a disappointment. In the end, The Mask is just the same old stuff with a bright coat of paint - only faster. © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Toho (1993)
Now this is just sad
! Mecarobot's box claims "Something great comes as you play!" (huh?) but this is just a pointless, plodding bore. The title would seem to indicate an "extreme" brand of golf with bionic robots and futuristic courses (a la Super Baseball 2020). But no, this is just a vanilla golf game starring a decidedly creepy
looking robot. The other three playable characters are wholesome-looking family members including a middle-aged father, mother, and their daughter. Talk about boring! This lineup certainly won't excite sports fans. Mecarobot's controls provide few options and minimal precision with regard to aim. The swing meter is the standard three-press variety, but it tends to move either too slow or too fast depending on your club. Upon hitting the ball, the camera follows closely from behind over its long, choppy journey. Except for some pixilated scaling trees, there's nothing to see, and the ball physics is absolutely deplorable
. Not only does the ball not
travel in an arc, but it only bounces once
and doesn't roll!
The half-assed putting green screen is even worse
. Not only does it fail to convey the contours of the green, but the putting animation is so poor that the ball appears to "hop" towards the hole. Close-ups of the ball rolling into the cup look great, until you realize it's the same canned animation used over and over again. With so many good golf games available for the 16-bit systems (namely EA's PGA Golf series), Mecarobot Golf serves absolutely no purpose. © Copyright 2004 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Capcom (1995)
Save mechanism: Password
Publisher: Capcom (1991)
After making his mark in no less than six
platform games on the NES, Mega Man takes the next logical step - a soccer game? It seems odd, but apparently his many adventures have provided enough characters to compose a few soccer teams. Mega Man Soccer features a surprising number of modes and customization options, and its arcade quality is a nice alternative to the "serious" soccer titles. The gameplay is uneven at times, but provides enough action to give your thumb a serious
workout! Mine is still hurting! Responsive controls let you pass, shoot, lob, slide, and head the ball. Also available is a "special move" which is the only surefire way to score against the incredibly cheap computer goalie. Only a small area of the field is visible at a time, so passing often requires more luck than skill. A "radar" is displayed at the top of the screen, but I didn't find it very useful. Your goalie can't move out of the goal, which is frustrating when the ball is sitting right it front of him! Mega Man Soccer does do a few things right. The arenas have walls around them to minimize play stoppage, and you can execute headers better than any other soccer game I've ever played. Headers can even be aimed with no problem. You can select from twenty different robots characters and nine unique stadiums. Mega Man Soccer's soundtrack is catchy as hell, and I even found myself humming along. It may not appeal to serious sports fans, but Mega Man collectors and arcade-minded sports fans might want to track this one down. © Copyright 2003 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Capcom (1993)
After a successful stint on the NES, the little blue guy brings his brand of side-scrolling shooting mayhem to the SNES. Mega Man X seems awfully generic at first, but gradually picks up steam as you defeat bosses and add their weapons to your arsenel. Upon completing the first stage, you can then select between nine more, each offering its own distinct theme (forest, mine, ice, factory, etc). Mega Man can climb walls, but can only shoot forward and can't duck. The gameplay is basically blast or be blasted, and the graphics are functional but far from spectacular. Mega Man X does have a few thrilling moments however, like when you ride a mine cart or commandeer a robot. Unfortunately, the game suffers from some serious slow-down, usually during the most dramatic moments. The music is very good, and a password feature allows you to save your progress. I liked Mega Man X, but it's pretty much by the numbers. © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Nintendo (1993)
Save mechanism: Battery
1 or 2 players
Michael Jordan: Chaos in the Windy City
Publisher: Electronic Arts (1995)
Save mechanism: password
Publisher: Sony (1994)
Publisher: Ocean (1994)
My friends and I have always been fans of this "toy car" racing series, which in my estimation peaked with Micro Machines 64 Turbo
(N64, 1999). Micro Machines provides simple, innocent fun that's tailored to multiplayer action. In addition to cars, you'll race other types of vehicles including boats, tanks, and monster trucks. The tight controls are simple as can be (accelerate and brake), although having to press both buttons to fire the tanks seems a bit unintuitive. The tracks are viewed from directly overhead and inspired by typical household locations like a pool table, desk, or kitchen table with cheerios forming the track. My personal favorites are the bright sunny beach tracks that wind around sand castles. The crisp, colorful graphics are functional, but appear a bit sparse at times. Micro Machines doesn't make an effort to be 3D, but there are a lot of "bumps" that make your car appear to "hop" thanks to some clever shadowing effects. Except for the tanks, there are no weapons or power-ups, but that simplicity is actually refreshing in a way. There's a single-player "challenge mode", and while it certainly is a challenge, there's no score to gauge your performance, which limits its replay value. To get the most out of Micro Machines you need to hook up the multi-tap for some four-player head-to-head action. Players who know the tracks have a marked advantage however, since you can't see too far ahead and it's hard to react to turns when you don't know they're coming. Overall, Micro Machines for the SNES is a solid but unspectacular arcade-style racer. © Copyright 2007 The Video Game Critic.
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers
Publisher: Bandai (1994)
Our high score: 5113
Save mechanism: Password
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie
Publisher: Bandai (1995)
I was lukewarm on the other Mighty Morphin Power Rangers game for the SNES, but MMPR: The Movie is a different story. It's a side-scrolling brawler where you move between two planes, hitting the shoulder buttons to vault back and forth. Not only does this let you choose who to fight, but also lets you avoid hazards like pits and flames. Since you're automatically lined up with enemies the fighting feels crisp and exact. You select between six heroes presented as digitized photos of the actors from the film. You can punch, jump, and execute a special move like a flying kick. I especially like Kimberly's bitch-slap and Aisha's Van Damme-style split. The stages include a city street, an aircraft carrier, ski slopes, and a locomotive. I prefer the shopping mall with its laughable signs like "FOOD". The scenery is semi-interactive but tends to repeat itself; as you walk through town you'll pass the same woman looking at the same store front. I love how cars speeding down the street mow down your enemies. It's the greatest feeling! Bad guys are decked out in ridiculous outfits in an array of fashionable colors. The fighting action is generic but just when you think it's getting old you transform into your Power Ranger, and that seriously ratchets up the fun. Now you can knock out an enemy with a single punch! The only thing that bothers me is how all the characters look like dudes in Power Ranger form; I guess the programmers needed to conserve memory. If you power-up your meter a second time you'll wield a nifty weapon like a ninja sword. Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie is my type of game. The stages are bright, the controls are crisp, and that pulse-pounding musical score can only mean one thing: it's morphin time!
© Copyright 2018 The Video Game Critic.
Our high score: 45,300
1 or 2 players
Publisher: Acclaim (1993)
Our high score: 738000
1 or 2 players
Publisher: Acclaim (1994)
Rating: Mature (blood and gore)
Mortal Kombat 2 (MK2) shines on the SNES, retaining all the blood and gore of the arcade version. Since the SNES has inherently better graphics than the Genesis, a lot of gamers felt that the scales were tipped in favor of this version. The gameplay has been tightened up considerably since the first game, although I'd still give the edge to the Genesis in terms of animation and control. And since the first SNES Mortal Kombat looked pretty good to begin with, the visual upgrade here isn't very pronounced. The roster has been bumped up from seven characters to twelve. Newcomers include the vampire-like Barakka, the Scorpion palette-swap Reptile, shape-changer Shang Tsung, the hat-flinging Kung Lao, and two hot babes (Mileena and Kitana). There are some interesting new stages including a mysterious forest with scary trees and a temple with a dragon flying in the distant background (you won't see the dragon in the Genesis version). There are more moves and fatalities per character, along with the option to execute comical "friendship" and "babality" finishing moves. Less amusing is that digitized nerd who pops up in the lower right corner with annoying frequency. It's easy to get the basics of MK2 down, but mastering the special moves, combos, techniques, and finishing moves gives the game considerable depth. The finishing moves aren't listed in the manual, but it wasn't long before they were plastered all over video game magazines. Mortal Kombat 2 was a fantastic sequel that sent gamers into a frenzy, and most regard it as the highlight of the series. © Copyright 2009 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Williams (1995)
Rating: Mature (blood and gore)
I was a big fan of the first two Mortal Kombat games, but like many gamers, this third edition failed to capture my attention. Mortal Kombat 3 received mixed reviews thanks to some ill-conceived new elements (like that pointless "run" button), and the omission of several popular characters. Scorpion and Rayden are nowhere to be found, and Sub Zero has been unmasked - effectively stripping him of his mystique. The robots Cyrax and Sector seem out of place, and new characters like Kabal and Stryker are just plain boring. Sheeva looks scary enough with her four arms, but boy oh boy is she cheap! If she's going to jump off the screen and stomp my ass into the ground, she might as well be a boss!
There are more special moves per character, but the fatalities are more complex and you have less time to execute them. The static backgrounds are rather bland, and the urban scenery (including a subway) seems to be taking the series in a direction most of us wish it wouldn't go. The news isn't all bad however. You get fourteen fighters from the start, and there are plenty of surprises and unlockables. The controls are very responsive and the pacing is frantic. Cool "match-up screens" precede each bout. Mortal Kombat 3 plays as well as any MK game, but its stylistic changes tend to
undermine the mystical quality that made the series so appealing in the first place. © Copyright 2009 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Black Pearl (1995)
Like all normal people, I've always been terrified of clowns. The main character in Mr. Do is a clown, and on the boxcover he looks like one of those evil clowns that hide under your bed with a knife! After summoning enough courage to review this game, I found Mr. Do to be pretty good after all. This game originally appeared in 1982 as a fast-moving Dig Dug clone. To its credit, it does have some original elements. Instead of inflating monsters, you destroy them with a magic ball that bounces around the maze until it hits something. Instead of having to eliminate all of the monsters, stages are cleared by collecting all of the fruit, giving the game a Pac-man flavor. Mr. Do's graphics are colorful and vibrant, but I could barely tolerate its circus-style music. A fun head-to-head two player mode is also included. Just be sure not to leave this game on overnight, or the clown could potentially escape from the television screen and kill you in your sleep. That's just common sense. © Copyright 1999 The Video Game Critic.
Our high score: 25000
1 to 2 players