You meet a few of the tiny passengers including a pair of kids before the disaster occurs. After the wave hits you find yourself exploring an upside down ship, walking along ceilings and crawling on walls. The boat periodically lists to one side or another, conveying the impression it's very unstable. The game has good atmosphere; I'll give it that much. And the SNES was a good fit, with graphic capabilities allowing for the whole screen to rotate.
But if you think the premise is nightmarish, wait until you play the game. You're stuck wandering through corridors and navigating stairwells that all look exactly the same. Since everything is upside down, it's really hard to tell where you can go and what's blocked. You might see something that looks like a ladder, but you can't climb it. Likewise you might attempt to walk over what appears to be a solid floor and fall right through.
The controls are absolutely horrendous. You can't tell where you're allowed to jump and grab, and this is further exacerbated when the platforms are slanted diagonally. You're constantly running into walls and banging your head on things. Didn't I just navigate through this same section ten minutes ago? Probably!
The X button allows you to speak to people, but it's all canned dialog which you have no control over. It seems 95% inconsequential but out of sheer desperation you end up talking to whoever you run into. In some cases people ask you to retrieve items. Sometimes they're just plain rude. I hope you like escort missions, because you're constantly waving people to safety.
The biggest joke is the arrows that seem to appear at random. You'll be so happy to see them, but like a mirage in the desert, these things are cruel. An arrow will tell you to enter a room, and as soon as you do it tells you to exit. This game will drive you crazy. Sometimes there are even multiple arrows pointing in different directions.
When you die the game subtracts five minutes from the hour you need to escape, giving the impression events are playing out in "real time". I hate this game. I'd prefer being stuck on an actual capsized ocean liner over playing this. I'm not fan of choking on frigid water, but it couldn't be worse than paging through pointless dialog and fumbling with the bad controls. If you want to experience the feeling of extreme distress, give SOS a try. © Copyright 2023 The Video Game Critic.
Sonic Blast Man is decidedly un-Sonic-like. I couldn't find one single hedgehog! Instead it's a leisurely-paced side-scrolling brawler with large characters and repetitive gameplay. Our hero is decked out in some cheap Party City superhero costume, complete with knee pads and a console strapped to his chest. His helmet incorporates a pair of headphones with an antenna. Dork alert!!
The game is enjoyable in a mindless way. I like the colorful, oversized characters. Your attacks tend to be wacky, like something from the movie The Mask. You'll grab a stereotypical gang member and shake him up and down before tossing him to the side. You'll perform helicopter throws and windmill punches. There are Batman-style "SMASH!" and "BAGOOM!" exclamations.
Your jump-kick is surprisingly ineffective as you tend to get smacked right out of the air. You also have a limited supply of "dynamite punches" that damage everything on screen. I noticed some enemies lying on the ground take a few seconds to realize they're dead. When they finally do, they finally yell "bleh!", blink, and disappear.
The stages are pretty ordinary. There's a junkyard, factory, sewer, and finally a "grim castle". Upon using a continue you must completely restart your current stage. That seems fair until you realize just how long and monotonous these stages happen to be!
Most notable about Sonic Blast Man are its bonus stages. These present you with disturbing scenarios like a train about to hit a hot woman, or a 18-wheel truck bearing down on a baby carriage. Beating these stages with proper timing isn't hard, and they add some much-needed spice.
Sonic Blast Man is okay but I can't see any reason to choose this over superior brawlers like Streets of Rage (Genesis, 1991) or Final Fight (Capcom, 1991). All I know is, there must have been a lot of confused kids on Christmas morning in 1992. © Copyright 2023 The Video Game Critic.
One button initiates rapid fire while another adjusts your shooting trajectory and a third unleashes bombs. Collecting clearly marked icons allow you to switch between weapons or power your current one up to six levels! Guided missiles, deflection shots, spread shots are effective, but I prefer the lasers which dart all over the screen. I find it amusing how guided missiles move in circles when there are no visible targets on the screen. Less desirable weapons include directional shots (which fire away from your direction) and the "power shot" which requires several seconds to charge. Switching weapons to suit the situation is fun but it can be hard to avoid undesirable icons.
The stages are wildly uneven in length and quality. In stage one you shoot weak joints of a space station, causing entire sections to disintegrate (whoa). The second stage features distant metal structures that scale in and out of view. Stage three feels more like a bonus stage as you blast through rows of bricks and icons. Beginning with the fourth stage the game goes a little overboard. Moons zoom erratically zoom in and out and you don't know what you can or can't touch. At least there's no noticeable slowdown.
The soundtrack is cheesy at times, but some of the stronger tunes call to mind Streets of Rage (Genesis, 1991). In the words of Andy Samberg impersonating Nick Cage "high praise indeed". Game sessions tend to be long (don't forget to blink) but if you're in a hurry there's also a "short" mode. It's a strange game, but Space Megaforce is one of the best shooters I've played on my SNES, if not the best. © Copyright 2016 The Video Game Critic.
Your goal is to collect enough keys in each stage to open a door. As Spanky hops between platforms he'll need to avoid animated fruits and vegetables. It's a premise straight out of 1982. Spanky attacks by tossing up a magic ball and heading it repeatedly to make it grow in size. Pressing a button then transforms it into sports balls (baseballs, volleyballs, etc) that fall on enemies.
In the best case you can rain down five large basketballs, obliterating enemies over a wide area. It's original in concept but also awkward and clunky. Different techniques are employed to clear each stage, and your best course of action is usually pretty obvious. I like the strategic element, but sometimes enemies converge before you know what's going on. Magic hats imbue you with special powers but these are gimmicky and short-lived.
The washed-out jungle backgrounds are bland but the second level offers bright white bridges and the third resembles an electric beach. Advanced stages incorporate mechanisms and traps, but these make it hard to tell what you can or can't touch. What's the deal with those annoying birds that appear out of nowhere? I like the originality, but Spanky's Quest is a marginal title that never really gains much traction. © Copyright 2016 The Video Game Critic.
At first the game seems decent as you methodically beat up generic goons around town. In addition to kicks and punches, Spawn has Dhalsim's Yoga Spear move from Street Fighter II (Capcom, 1992) and Luke Skywalker's flip attack from Super Empire Strikes Back (LucasArts, 1992). Spawn walks slowly but can jump pretty high if you hold down the jump button. The special moves are a joke. For some reason you need to hold in the right trigger for part of the button sequence, and it's so awkward!
You can't leave the stage until you've killed enough thugs, but the game doesn't bother to let you know when that time comes. Once I must have killed about 25 goons before I realized I could simply exit to the right. In one particularly agonizing stage, you're forced to wall-jump between two buildings. As if the unresponsive controls weren't bad enough, a crosshair follows you around, shooting you out of the air.
That's painful, but the most brutal aspect of Spawn are the bosses. The first boss, Overtkill, isn't so hard to kill but returns about two minutes after you thought you had defeated him. The next boss, Redeemer, is pretty much impossible to beat. He's invincible half the time and unleashes laser beams that deplete your entire life bar.
I used passwords to explore later stages, and they are horrible. You'll forge through various dimensions of hell, but it's hard to tell what you can or can't jump on, leading to many undeserved deaths. Flames appear under your feet when you walk, and demonic spiders fall on your head when you jump. Spawn is great fun if you're a sadomasochist. The designers either didn't know what they were doing or were the biggest douchebags in the world. © Copyright 2014 The Video Game Critic.
The first stage takes place in a research facility, and its layout is totally redundant. Cliches come early and often in the form of timed flames, electric fields, and conveyor belts to nowhere. Enemy soldiers you encounter look exactly like Master Chief from Halo (Xbox, 2001). The control scheme doesn't make any sense. Spider-Man can crawl on ceilings, but apparently only in certain designated places. Likewise your webline never sticks where you need it to. And why in the world do I need to jump first before I can shoot my web line or grab a wall?
I felt bewildered playing this game, constantly wondering where the heck I was supposed to go. A pause screen lets you access grenades, but after highlighting them you must press select (not start!) to resume the game or your selection won't take. That's confusing, and adding insult to injury, the grenades are worthless. In theory you're supposed to be able to call in members of the Fantastic Four, but those options were never available when I checked.
Spider-Man has a lot of arbitrary rules, like not being able to kick in a mesh grate until you fight a robot in a different part of the stage. Stage locations include a bridge, construction site, penthouse, and Coney Island. Except for a few nice skylines and sunsets, the scenery is lacking in detail and extremely repetitive. On a positive note, you do get to face-off against a wide range of classic foes like Doc Oct, Lizard, Rhino, Vulture, and Green Goblin. Still, this is so inferior to the Genesis Spider-Man (Genesis, 1991), you have to wonder what the developers were thinking. © Copyright 2014 The Video Game Critic.
Spider-Man beats up a variety of goons including comic book geeks and guys in trenchcoats with random names like "Sal" and "Alamo". The same enemies appear in various color schemes, but crisp controls make it a pleasure to take them out. I love how Spider-Man can hoist objects over his head (including a dumpster) and toss them to devastating effect. Tossing one bad guy into others is an effective way to distribute the damage.
Maximum Carnage boasts a huge supporting cast including villains like Doppelganger, Shriek, Demogoblin, and my personal favorite, Morbius the vampire. Later in the game you can call in heroes for help including Captain America. Some of the non-villain "boss" encounters are a little bizarre, including chicks that whip their hair and middle-aged men armed with umbrellas.
At certain points in the game you'll select between Spider-Man or Venom. While they control pretty much the same, this selection affects the order of the stages. The non-linear structure of this game is unconventional to say the least. There are times when you appear overwhelmed in battle, only to have some obscure hero like "Cloak" swoop in and move you to a new location. These unexpected turn of events are exciting but make you wonder how much impact you're really having on events.
The Genesis version of Maximum Carnage may be slightly faster and smoother, but I prefer this SNES edition. The high-revving soundtrack is noticeably better, particularly when that sinister boss music kicks in. The sound effects pack a punch, especially when slugging multiple thugs at a time. When female enemies let out a scream it sounds alarmingly real. The game's "Climb" stage can be a nightmare, but at least this version prods you along with arrows.
Packing 22 action-packed stages and about a dozen secondary characters, Maximum Carnage delivers more depth than you might expect. If nothing else, I'll give this game credit for taking chances. If you can persevere through its repetitive early rounds you're in for a wild ride. © Copyright 2021 The Video Game Critic.
You can only shoot web sideways and touching anything sends you into a free-fall. You can easily cling to walls, but this is annoying when you don't want to cling to walls! Spider-Man must disarm the bombs in a certain order. This is annoying and tedious, but get used to it, because you'll have to replay this stage every time you put in the game! That's right, the selectable levels (featuring X-Men characters) aren't available until after you complete the first stage!
Subsequent stages are diverse but bizarre. Gambit battles giant chess pieces while avoiding huge rolling balls. Storm swims through her stages, and Wolverine battles giant toys in a fun house. I couldn't tell if I was playing X-Men or Mickey Mouse's Castle of Illusion! The X-Men characters are a little easier to control than Spider-Man, but the gameplay is just so-so, and the game is in dire need of a password feature. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.
The characters in Star Fox are personified animals, and you play the role of Fox McCloud, a brave star pilot out to defeat an evil Emperor (who's a dead-ringer for Dr. Zeus from Planet of the Apes, by the way). The action can be viewed from a first-person perspective or from behind your ship. Your squad is composed of a falcon (Falco), rabbit (Peppy), and frog (Slippy), but they're mainly only good for comic relief. When they're not getting in your way, you're constantly having to bail them out by shooting down enemies on their tail.
As a shooter, Star Fox has not aged well. The polygon graphics don't look so bad, but the choppy frame rate, rampant slow-down, and lagging controls take their toll on the fun factor. Most stages take place on the surface of a planet, and there are some impressive sights like hulking robots carrying construction materials. Other stages are set in outer space, but these tend to be somewhat disconcerting. Your targeting system is very constrained in the third-person view, and the crosshairs are surprisingly jumpy in first-person. The explosions are fantastic, and I love how bosses fall apart piece by piece, making their destruction all the more satisfying.
While not terribly addicting, Star Fox remains entertaining thanks to its thoughtful design and high production values. The heroic orchestrated score is outstanding, and hearing it will instantly transport you back to 1993. This was also the first game I can recall where the stereo sound effects really got my attention. Star Fox may not be the "A+" title it once was, but this landmark game is still fascinating to look back on. © Copyright 2006 The Video Game Critic.
To be honest, I found the five "heroes", who are supposed to be in a rock band, to be pretty ugly. These short, squat fighters look like troll punks on steroids. The lizard warriors you fight look pretty cool though, and I love how their armor flies off as you beat them up. The graphics are crisp and well defined, and the collision detection is right on the money. The jazzy music is pleasant enough, and the sound effects really caught my ear.
Each character has a ton of kicks, punches, special moves, throws, and even weapons at his disposal. You can even dispatch foes using devastating "musical" attacks. The stages take place in diverse but repetitive environments including snow, caves, elevators, and a beach. The non-stop fighting is fun for a while, but sometimes it seems like the waves of enemies will never end! I also don't like how only certain characters can pick up particular weapons. It's not for everyone, but if you enjoy this type of game, Stone Protectors is worth your while. © Copyright 2003 The Video Game Critic.
Street Combat's controls are unresponsive, so by the time you manage to pull off some fancy move, your opponent has already moved out of the way. The attacks are not what I would call "balanced". Why bother punching when you can just perform your deadly "arm spin" over and over? That's what I did, and using this "special attack" continuously I was able to defeat every character (including the boss) without losing one fight! As bad as it is weird, Street Combat may be the worst one-on-one fighter ever made! © Copyright 2003 The Video Game Critic.
Alpha was basically a stop-gap series until Capcom could figure out what the long-awaited Street Fighter III should be like. It's a prequel of sorts with a mix of old and new characters. Old stand-bys include Chun-Li, Dhalsim, Zangief, and of course the obligatory Ken and Ryu. New faces include the crazy-biker-dude Birdie, the Samurai-inspired Katana, kick-boxing Adon, and the elderly martial artist Gen. I always preferred Rose because she looks like such a sophisticated lady.
The graphical detail is definitely a notch above the Street Fighter II games. The characters are rendered with a cartoonish flair in a resolution that pushes the limits of the SNES. Not only does the game look sharp, it retains the fast, fluid action of the Street Fighter II games. Alpha also added sophisticated new techniques like super moves, custom combos, and alpha counters.
Being shoehorned onto a 16-bit system did require a few concessions. Prior to each match, just after the "Fight!" graphic appears, there's an off-putting pause lasting about five seconds. Perhaps this was needed to uncompress some data? The sound effects are very muffled, and some seem missing altogether. The announcer sounds like he's trapped at the bottom of a well. And the music is dreadful.
The stages are generally forgettable. Highlights include a party ship boasting bikini-clad hotties and a nice city skyline. The slum area in China looks pretty creepy with its unsettling lighting effects. The Japanese stage takes place in front of a house where you can see a kid inside playing a Nintendo.
I like the flow of the Alpha matches but could not pull off those super moves to save my life! Not a big deal however because this game is so easy I can beat it with any character. If you want a challenge, go to the options screen, turn off the auto-block and crank up the difficulty. I like Street Fighter Alpha 2 for the SNES, but more as a technical achievement and less as a game. © Copyright 2023 The Video Game Critic.
Street Fighter II was a one-on-one fighter featuring eight fighters hailing from all around the globe. The characters were impressively large and detailed, each boasting their own styles and sets of special moves. Not only that, but each had their own detailed stage and musical theme!
Fast forward (back?) to 1992, where I found myself forced to break the unwritten "one console rule". I already owned a Genesis, but had no choice but to acquire an SNES for its near-perfect port of Street Fighter II. Not only did it rival the arcade, but the six-button SNES controller seemed tailor-made for it.
Street Fighter II was one of those games that made you feel as if it was the last video game you'd ever need to own. Its innovative six-button control scheme was groundbreaking. Harder kicks and punches inflict more damage but are tougher to land. Some fighters can launch projectiles from a distance, but getting up close and personal opens the door to performing devastating throws. With endless move combinations and the ability to block by holding the joystick away from your opponent, the possibilities are endless.
Each fighter has his own memorable stage. Guile's features a fighter jet, and Sagat's boasts an immense Buddha statue that evokes a sense of awe. Chun Li's Chinese market is surprisingly realistic (according to a Chinese family member), and Ryu's moonlit rooftop has become iconic over the years. Each stage features outstanding background music. These multi-part, harmonized compositions not only energize the gameplay but help infuse each location with an exotic mystique.
Suffice to say, Street Fighter II became a staple on game night. The guys loved to mimic the characters and their poses. Tuan would always yell "for all you kids!" whenever he unleashed a dragon punch. The options menu let you customize your button settings, and it annoyed me to no end how everybody had to modify their controls before every match.
The well-executed manual goes into detail about each fighter, going as far as to list their blood types! Street Fighter II has been often imitated but never duplicated. It stands as an all-time classic, right up there with Pac-Man and Space Invaders. It may seem a bit slow and unbalanced compared to its later incarnations, but its brilliant gameplay remains timeless. © Copyright 2023 The Video Game Critic.
While trying to track down a copy upon its day of release, my friends and I came up empty while frantically calling our local video game stores. Then someone heard that the BGE Home store in Security Square Mall was selling it. The idea of a gas-and-electric store selling video games seemed bizarre even back then, but it didn't stop us from ponying up $70 each!
The game's new turbo modes made a big difference, allowing us to pull off fierce uppercut/throw combinations with brutal precision. Turbo also incorporated a few new moves like Ryu's flying hurricane kick and Chun Li's fireball. While the graphics remained essentially the same, the character art was touched up a bit and some of the colors were altered. For example, Blanka's skin was now yellow, and the Guile's jet fighter stage now featured a red sunset.
Of the new fighters, Sagat was the real stand-out with his "tiger" attacks and impressive Buddah stage. Vega was hard to control with his awkward "climb" move, and Balrog the boxer was mainly limited to punches. M. Bison is most powerful but beating up your friends with the main boss seems a little unfair.
Street Fighter Turbo did cause some rumblings in the gaming community. Many critics didn't feel the game was different enough to warrant another full-priced cartridge. They had a point, but once you had experienced the thrill of "hyper fighting" it was hard to go back. To this day, my buddy Chris still regards Street Fighter II Turbo as the apex of the entire series. © Copyright 2023 The Video Game Critic.
The tracks tend to be pretty compact, which is good and bad. It's good because the laps are short. It's bad because there's a lot of tight turns and no long straightaways. Track locations include a stadium, beach, and an electrified city at night. The scenery looks nice but you won't even notice it during a race. You view the road from a low angle, making it really hard to tell what those pixelated icons you're rolling over are supposed to be. Advanced tracks tend to have sharp edges that are easy to get snagged on.
The controls incorporate no less than four attack buttons which are confusing to use and often unresponsive. A more useful button is the turbo which provides short boosts on a regular basis. Street Racer seemed great at first but gradually wore out its welcome. The grand prix modes drag on for far too long, sometimes running a dozen races or more. I can only take so much of this game before I begin to get woozy.
The four-player simultaneous mode is an impressive technical feat but not particularly enjoyable, with each player limited to a horizontal sliver of the screen. Likewise the soccer mode is an interesting idea about 20 years before its time. Street Racer isn't particularly bad in any way, but never manages to gain much traction in the fun department. © Copyright 2020 The Video Game Critic.
Before each stage you choose from a smorgasbord of special weapons, although it's not clear what any of them do. In the endless opening stage Strike Gunner gives new meaning to the term monotonous. Your jet glides slowly over a featureless jungle as you mindlessly blast helicopters and jets that appear over and over in the same predictable formations. You're equipped with a rapid-fire cannon and a special attack. Although your special weapon is limited, the meter drains slowly so feel free to unleash it with reckless abandon.
The first stage is a mind-numbing exercise, and if you lose a few lives you'll probably be too bored to notice. Should you have the intestinal fortitude to reach stage two, you'll find yourself staring at the same jungle scenery. An auto-fire feature protects your hand from carpal tunnel, but what will protect your eyes? These repetitive graphics actually gave my eyes carpal tunnel!
Things get slightly more interesting when you reach the desert, but most gamers will be unconscious by then. Strike Gunner supports two-player simultaneous play (with "combination" attacks), but it's plagued by terrible slowdown on top of the boredom. I even hate the layout of the screen which wastes real estate on both sides and displays very little information. Strike Gunner is abysmal, and I consider it a pox upon my entire collection. © Copyright 2011 The Video Game Critic.
The controls exhibit terrible lag, and trying to compensate results in wild swerving from side to side. The problem is exacerbated by the wide cars with their big, bouncy tires. Worse yet, the low camera makes it difficult to anticipate upcoming turns. There's no need to concern yourself with the other racers, because simply steering straight will require your total undivided attention.
Stunt Race offers three modes, and each tends to suck. The "speed mode" lets you compete in races against CPU-controlled opponents, but these long, arduous races will leave you feeling nauseated. The tachometer may read 130 MPH, but it feels more like 5 MPH! The "Aqua tunnel" track (which goes underwater) is entirely too ambitious, and likewise the "Night Owl" track looks okay but plays like a nightmare. The desert stage is as boring as can be.
"Bonus stages" challenge you to drive a big rig through a course of pylons, but they are so unpleasant that "punishment stages" would be a more appropriate name. In the "stunt mode" you drive through an obstacle course while collecting stars, but where are the stunts? The battle mode offers two-player split-screen action, but as you can surmise, it's a lost cause. Stunt Racer FX is so repugnant, it almost makes me want to lower the grade for Starfox! © Copyright 2010 The Video Game Critic.
The game opens at some kind of outpost with occasional stampedes and outlaws hiding in hay bales. You can rapidly fire colorful bullets, leaving the landscape strewn with the bodies of outlaws. You can squat to shoot low or slide as an evasive maneuver. I find it somewhat disturbing how the bonus "turkey" icons for health are actually pulsating!
This Sunset Riders is a refreshing change, but the stages don't feel as well designed as the Genesis. The stage where you ride alongside the train isn't too exciting, and sometimes there are multiple boss encounters in a row. While in town there are no "comfort ladies" in the saloon. Did Nintendo water this down?! The first-person shooting bonus stage pales to the stagecoach chase in the Genesis version.
Still, the graphics are sharper than the Genesis with clever animations like cowboys spinning their guns at the end of each stage. Instead of red dashes the bullets actually look like, well, bullets. On the down side, the explosions are very ugly and pixelated. The audio is clear, with realistic grunts and bosses that recite less-than-enthusiastic dialog.
The excellent music has a catchy melody with the rhythmic beat of a horse's gallop. You can change characters when you continue and I like how the current high score is always displayed on the top of the screen. While not quite as fun as the Genesis game, Sunset Riders is still pretty fantastic - especially in coop mode. If this game is historically accurate (and I assume it is) life in the wild west must have been an absolute blast. © Copyright 2018 The Video Game Critic.
You can toss hammers or boomerangs, with boomerangs being a far more effective option. Unfortunately the game often forces you to use hammers by putting a hammer icon in an unavoidable spot (like a narrow ledge). Enemies include walking candles and spear-chucking natives, but it's the tiny, hard-to-hit creatures (like flies) that will annoy the hell out of you. The controls are decent, and I like how you can throw upwards in addition to sideways. The new super-jump (duck and jump) is vital to surviving boss encounters.
Speaking of which, I hate how when you die at the hands of a boss you restart at the beginning of the preceding stage! It's demoralizing to say the least. The audio is an annoying combination of obnoxious sound effects and cheesy music. Super Adventure Island is the kind of mundane platformer you forget about the instant you turn it off. © Copyright 2012 The Video Game Critic.
After casting, you're given an overhead view of the water, but you need to look close because the fish tend to blend in with the surface. Once you hook a fish, he'll aggressively resist and even leap out of the water. Sometimes it's wise to just let the line out until he gets tired. Once the battle concludes, you'll often discover it was just a "runt" after all. Every now and then you'll spot a large shadowy figure on the lake bottom, and you know that's "the big one".
Super Black Bass' controls are very well designed, and so intuitive that I didn't even need to consult the manual. The graphics are only fair, but they do make use of the SNES scaling effects. I really like the sound of water washing up against the boat, but what's that constant bellowing? A beached whale? I could also do without that banjo music that plays as you putt around in your boat. Super Black Bass is one of those games that requires practice and time investment. Unless you're a die-hard fishing fanatic, it's a bit of a drag. © Copyright 2006 The Video Game Critic.
Power-ups give players the ability to drop multiple bombs, toss bombs across the screen, or unleash larger explosions. A variety of battlefields introduce complicating factors like trampolines and conveyor belts. Personally I prefer the raw simplicity of first stage, because the fancy ones tend to randomize the chaos more.
Super Bomberman's graphics are modest but the controls are right on, and catchy music plays throughout the contests. The single-player adventure mode challenges you to clear out monsters in progressively difficult stages, but the multiplayer mode is "where it's at". You will definitely need a multitap for this one. © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.
As in previous adventures Bonk defeats enemies like alligators and pterodactyls by performing head-butts or diving headfirst at them. Bonk fans will recognize familiar elements like the ability to grow large or tiny, slide through narrow tubes, vault from tree branches, and climb up walls using his teeth. One new element is the ability to throw flowers plucked from the ground, but it's not very useful. The stages are new but some are very familiar, and no Bonk game would be complete without the obligatory trip through a dinosaur's digestive track!
Super Bonk looks like classic Bonk on the surface (better even), but the controls are not quite right. It's very hard to gain any momentum, and you can no longer change direction at the drop of a dime. As a result the controls feel stiff, and the cloud-bouncing stages are a nightmare to navigate! In the original game it was a challenge to send Bonk into a rage, but here it happens early and often. Not only does Bonk become invincible, but he remains that way for an inordinate period of time! And when he's like that he looks like a hideous freak. Still, I must admit that it's fun to plow through buildings in his "Bonkzilla" form.
There's some good stuff here, but the watered-down difficulty ruins the game. I can pretty much play this thing indefinitely. The easy bonus stages are so common you eventually make an effort to avoid them. Other missteps include an ill-conceived power-up that lets you build bridges (really?) and a boss named Blue Balls (c'mon now). I'll give the developers credit for cramming every Bonk-ism they could think of into this cartridge, but without the challenge it's an unsatisfying romp. © Copyright 2011 The Video Game Critic.
Castlevania veterans will smile when they see familiar adversaries rendered in bright colors and high resolution. New enemies lurk as well, including floating horse-heads(?), flying insect men, and stone golems that break up into smaller monsters. Parallax scrolling depicts colorful, layered medieval scenery, and striking down foes results in a dazzling display of flames and flying body parts. It looks terrific, but it did occur to me that the flashy visuals somewhat undermine the dark, gothic atmosphere established by the first three games.
Castlevania IV features twelve expansive stages, and it's amazing how much gameplay Konami has packed into this cartridge. The presentation is first-rate, and the controls are outstanding. For the first time, you have complete control of your whip. Not only can you aim it up, down, and diagonally, you can even wave it around to kill small pesky creatures such as bats. Perilous leaps still play a major role in the gameplay, but the crisp, responsive controls make even the most risky jumps a breeze. Navigating stairs, a tricky proposition in previous Castlevanias, is no problem at all in this game.
A fantastic soundtrack incorporates a surprising number of musical styles besides the traditional minor-keyed organ hymns. I do have a few minor quibbles. I'm not a fan of the instant death spike traps - I don't think touching one spike should cause you to lose an entire life bar. Second, I found swinging from the whip - a new move - to be trickier than it should be. There's some slow-down here and there, and I hate how the password is given in rows of symbols. Even so, I found Super Castlevania IV to be easier and more enjoyable than any of the NES titles. © Copyright 2004 The Video Game Critic.
When you hit the road Chase HQ fans might want to brace themselves for an initial let-down. Instead of a behind-the-car, overhead perspective, you get a first-person, inside-the-car view. This dramatically crops your view of the road and might seem a step backward. Stick with it, because it will win you over. The driving animation is smooth and the collision detection is extremely forgiving.
Navigating through traffic is practically effortless and you're not likely to hit the palm trees and light posts lining the road. Driving under the occasional overpass looks awesome. The shiny dashboard looks impressive with hands moving the steering wheel and interacting with the controls. Heck, you can even see your character in the rear-view mirror. Come to think about it, this is comparable to the view in Forza Motorsport 5 (Xbox One, 2013).
Weaving through traffic causes your multiplier to...well... multiply... and it's hard to keep your eyes off of it as it accumulates into the thousands. When you finally catch up with your target, the traffic clears out for the ensuing chase. Both cars have damage meters and the bad guys will even shoot at you! And get this: the cars have damage modeling! Heck, we're still waiting for the developers of Gran Turismo to acquire that technology!
In terms of scenery, the backdrops look a little blocky but it's nice how the time of day changes and transforms the city skylines. The digitized sounds are amazing and the thumping guitar is like something from an old cop show. Super Chase HQ may be lacking in the replay department (the missions are always the same) but if you like arcade-style racing you owe it to yourself to give this a try. © Copyright 2014 The Video Game Critic.
Also effective are the occasional weapons, which include nun-chucks and boomerangs. You'll face the same set of thugs over and over again - albeit in different colored outfits. You'll want to keep your distance from enemies, because they tend to stun you, which leaves you open to more attacks. Each stage takes an eternity to finish, and everything seems to move in slow motion.
So why was Super Double Dragon's reviews so favorable? I'm guessing it had something to do with the graphics and sound. Although the locales are generic (airport, casino, Chinatown, train) the sharp, colorful visuals are striking, and the soundtrack truly kicks ass. Once you get past the flashy presentation however, the gameplay falls somewhere between "boring" and "unbearable". Do I want to continue? No thank you! © Copyright 2005 The Video Game Critic.
You control a knight running through a series of locations while destroying monsters and collecting power-ups. Although this game should have rated higher than its Genesis counterpart, it doesn't, due to a few major issues. First, the action tends to get slow (read: slow-motion) when the action gets hectic, and when you die, you're sent way back to the start of the stage.
At least the Genesis version let you continue fairly close to where you left off. Even unlimited continues don't help when you keep keeling over just before the end of a stage. Super Ghouls 'N Ghosts would have been a great game had it been more forgiving. © Copyright 1999 The Video Game Critic.
Although the tracks are totally flat, their textures range from smooth, to wood, to gravel. Tracks also contain speed boosts, traps, ramps, and power-ups. Turtle shell power-ups serve as missiles to shoot at your competitors. One power-up causes your fellow racers to shrink for a few seconds. Not only does this look hilarious, but it gives you the opportunity to squash them as well!
The single-player mode is challenging enough, but the two-player split screen is even better. The outcome of each race is usually in doubt, but never feels unfair or cheap. An innovative battle mode is also available that lets players fire shells at each other in open arenas. In typical Nintendo fashion, a cute trophy presentation screen celebrates the winners of each game. Innovative and fun, Super Mario Kart is a must-have for any serious SNES collector. © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.
On the surface, it looks like a generic cave exploration game with the usual shooting and platform jumping. But the more you play, the more this finely crafted game unfolds and sucks you into its fascinating little world. The graphics are phenomenal, with amazing visual effects like sweltering heat waves and scaling enemies. Despite being set in a series of underground tunnels, Super Metroid doesn't feel the least bit boring or repetitive.
Each section is unique and brimming with amazing detail. In one room I found a bunch of tiny green creatures gnawing on a corpse, and they scattered as I approached. Enemies come in an amazing assortment, from lizard creatures, to crawling plants, to giant insects you can shoot the wings off of.
The mammoth gigantic bosses were monumental for their time. The game is perfectly paced, so just when you think you're getting stuck, you discover a new weapon, item, or ability that opens up a slew of new possibilities. Special items include an electronic grappling hook, an ice beam, and an x-ray scope to expose hidden passages. And there are plenty of secrets to discover.
But beyond its imaginative graphics and crisp control, it may be Super Metroid's audio that stands out the most. Edgy and intense, the infectious soundtrack perfectly suits the game's ominous theme. When it comes to finding fault with this game, I am at a complete loss. It's definitely hard but never cheap, and the save points are reasonably spaced. Super Metroid may not be the best game ever, but it certainly is one of the best SNES games I've played. © Copyright 2005 The Video Game Critic.
Taken for what it is, Super Off Road is mediocre racing fare. I find it amusing how the opening screen prompts you to "hit select to start". No, you can't hit the "start" button because that would make too much sense. The tracks, each a single screen in size, feature rugged terrain that makes for a wild ride.
The graphics are razor sharp but the physics are crazy! The vehicles quickly bound around the tracks but their speed is herky-jerky. One moment you'll be driving normally and then you'll suddenly bolt ahead for no particular reason. The manner in which the trucks bounce all over the place gives the impression they have zero mass.
Subtle differences from the Genesis version include a flag-waving man and slightly annoying bails of hay scattered throughout the courses. The CPU is a worthy challenge (his trucks are loaded with turbos) but without a score there's no way to measure your progress. The audio features high-revving engines and guitar music, but it lacks the personality of the NES edition. My friends were disappointed with this version of Super Off Road, and most say it should have never even seen the light of day. © Copyright 2015 The Video Game Critic.
The controls aren't a factor in the easy early stages, but later stages prove nearly unplayable. The trucks look pretty good, but everything else looks awful. There's nothing interesting about the repetitive scenery except for that old man riding on a tractor who gets in your way every five seconds. You'll lose money for running him over, but it's worth the price of not having to navigate around his sorry ass.
Baja's races contain eight excruciatingly lengthy sections, and you'll spend more time keeping an eye on your damage gauge than your opponents. You can upgrade (or downgrade) your vehicle between sections of the race, and there is a password feature. Super Off Road: The Baja is anything but super. It's one big mess. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.
You have the option of playing as pro, college, or high school teams, and for the latter two, you can select the team name and colors. Play Action's diagonal point-of-view provides the absolute worst possible perspective for a football game. I couldn't come up with a worse viewpoint if I tried! A vertical "scanner" indicates the location of the players, but I found it impossible to reconcile with the main screen. A sufficient number of plays and audibles are available, but the play diagrams lack labels and are hard to read.
Play Action's rousing theme song is good, which is fortunate because restarts with each snap. Running the ball is no problem thanks to a nifty stiff-arm move, but completing a pass requires an act of God. The players are so huge that you never actually see your receivers on the screen. Playing defense is equally frustrating, as you're constantly being held by linemen.
After each play players scatter like roaches, followed by a pause as you wait for the referee to appear on the bottom of the screen - even if he has nothing to say! Most of the time he just stands there like a dork, and it's unintentionally hilarious. My buddies were literally rolling on the floor with laughter. Occasionally the game cuts away from the action to show a bunch of ugly people watching the action on a TV in the concession area. If it looks like they're watching a trainwreck, well now you know why. © Copyright 2005 The Video Game Critic.
The directional pad lets you dodge, duck, and block, with the Y and B buttons serving as your left and right punches. Instead of earning "star" punches, the A button lets you unleash special attacks when your meter is full. These include an uppercut, hook, or a quick flurry. There are plenty of fresh new faces to beat the crap out of, including the geriatric Gabby Jay, Rastafarian Bob Charlie, Dragon Chan, Aran Ryan, Narcis Prince, and the Mad Clown.
Each of the 16 fighters has his own technique, and part of the fun is figuring out how to defeat each one. The cartridge has a battery back-up for up to eight players, which not only saves your progress but the high scores and best times as well. Super Punch-Out is awesome, but not as awesome as it could be. Punches seem somewhat soft due to muffled sound effects and slight pauses when you make contact.
It's cool to see a mouthpiece go flying, but none of these punches seem particularly devastating. Another issue is the lack of rounds. You just keep playing until one fighter registers a KO. This takes away some suspense and doesn't feel like real boxing. Plus, trainer Doc Lewis isn't around to lift your spirits. Super Punch-Out comes off a little flat, but arcade fans will still love its stylized brand of boxing action. © Copyright 2009 The Video Game Critic.
The graphics are sweet but the level designs aren't very impressive. The bosses tend to be forgettable mechanical monstrosities, and more often than not I found myself asking "where am I supposed to shoot this thing?!" There are some cool power-ups, but they are spread too thin throughout the levels.
One technical problem is serious slowdown that occurs when many objects are on the screen - a problem many early SNES titles have in common. Another annoying aspect is how upon losing a ship the game sends you all the way back to the beginning of the stage!! Give me a break - the game is hard enough as it is! Super R-Type gives you unlimited continues, but you might need them all to finish it! © Copyright 1999 The Video Game Critic.
That said, the thing is pretty accurate. The manual recommends sitting ten feet from the TV (really?) but it works fine from about six feet. Super Scope comes with a cartridge packing six separate light gun games. Three of them (Intercept, Engage, and Confront) are simple shooters that let you target missiles, scaling jet planes, and buzzing UFOs. The simplistic gameplay harkens back to Subroc on the Colecovision (1983).
The SNES scaling capabilities are used to good effect. There's a nice sense of depth and leading your shots is essential. Unfortunately, the dry, repetitive gameplay tends to induce coma, requiring a surprise appearance by Mario (chased by Bowser in a biplane) to revive the player. Next up are a few interesting Tetris-inspired games. In "Blastris A" the blocks fall sideways and you shoot them so they fit snugly into place. This game has some surreal, carnival-like music that really gave me the creeps!
"Blastris B" is based on Tetris 2, so you shoot blocks to toggle their color, creating groups of like-colored blocks. The ensuing explosions cause nifty chain reactions, but the challenge ramps so slowly that I could feel my arm cramping. The final entry "Mole Patrol" is an instantly forgettable version of whack-a-mole. Super Scope 6 has a few innovative ideas sprinkled throughout, but like Sega's Menacer collection, once the novelty wears off it starts to feel like a chore. Note: The Super Scope only operates on old-style, CRT televisions. © Copyright 2012 The Video Game Critic.
The run-and-gun action is satisfying thanks to rapid-fire weapons that fire in eight directions. Though designed for dual joysticks, the SNES controller is a fair substitute thanks to its diamond-shaped button configuration. Enemies splash blood when shot but the violence is relatively tame. The rolling, half-machine Mutant Man makes for a very memorable (and somewhat disturbing) first boss.
Super Smash TV has that certain arcade flair with its vibrant graphics and booming sounds. Compared to the Genesis translation everything is bigger, better, and more glitzy. The gameplay is well-balanced too, releasing packs of enemies in measured quantities. I love that special icon that obliterates everything on the screen. Grab a "free man" icon and the game yells "dude!", which I find pretty funny.
Perhaps most impressive is the lack of slow-down despite the fact that there are dozens (or even hundreds) of objects moving around the screen at any given time! Even the two-player coop mode maintains a fluid and exciting pace. Considering how the SNES tends to struggle with sports titles, I have to give the programmers a lot of credit.
The frenetic gameplay is constantly tempting you with randomly-placed presents, power-ups, and piles of cash. The fact that you can take different paths through the maze of rooms adds replay value. Survive a round and you'll earn mounds of prizes like toasters and VCRs. Super Smash TV is a blast and excellent controls make this the version of choice. © Copyright 2021 The Video Game Critic.
Although most stages follow the standard platform jumping/shooting formula, a few innovative 3D stages let you drive vehicles, including a sand speeder on Tatooine and an X-Wing in the Death Star's trench! The 3D animation looks a little rough now, but it was amazing back in the day.
The outstanding visuals portray every character, monster, and location you can remember from the film - and then some! The adrenaline-pumping Star Wars theme sounds crystal clear, as do the digitized sound effects and voice bits. Depending on the stage, you might control Luke, Han, or Chewbacca. The controls are tight, but I must admit you're too often asked to make "leaps of faith". Some of the platform jumping can be downright tedious, with the hellacious Java sandcrawler stage serving as a prime example.
The stage difficulty is uneven, and cheap hits are also a problem. The only way I've managed to finish the game is to locate the "secret cave" containing 99 extra lives. Since there's no save or password feature, you may find yourself playing into the wee hours of the morning, and by then the jumping and shooting will have gotten pretty old. A better option is to obtain the cheat code, which lets you select your stage. It's not perfect, but Super Star Wars is a quality title, and it's the main reason at least one of my friends purchased their SNES system. © Copyright 2005 The Video Game Critic.
You can select from several characters for most stages, including a bikini-clad Princess Leia (now we're talking). Jedi's graphics and attention to detail are stunning. As an example, Jabba's gamorrean guards actually have saliva dripping from their mouths! The stage backdrops, particularly those set in the lush forests of Endor, look gorgeous.
One major gameplay innovation is a new defensive move for Luke: the lightsaber block. This plays an instrumental role in defeating Vader, and ultimately the Emperor. Another new element, floating icons, will earn you a bonus life should you collect 100 of them. These add a fun, Super Mario Bros. flavor to the game.
The 3D speeder bike stage isn't as impressive as I remember, but it's not so bad. The Millennium Falcon shooting stage is probably the weakest part of the game. Jedi does a nice job of following the storyline of the film, skillfully building to the exciting finale. With the same action-packed gameplay as its predecessors but lacking the frustration factor, Super Return of the Jedi is a fitting conclusion to an excellent series. © Copyright 2005 The Video Game Critic.
We gazed wide-eyed at the beautiful snow-covered scenery while chomping on our Big Macs. There's something about snow in video games that looks so pure and appealing. Riding a Tauntaun through blizzard conditions was fun, but unlike the barren ice planet in the movie, this Hoth is teeming with life.
You're relentlessly bum-rushed by warthogs, dive-bombed by birds, and stalked by probe droids. Porcupines shoot needles and plants release poisonous spores. Ice shards sprout beneath your feet and electric eels leap out of the water to get you. Everything wants you dead in the worst way, and it takes several whacks of your lightsaber to kill anything. Meanwhile you're sliding on narrow icy platforms over spike-lined pits! The designers threw in everything but the kitchen sink, so the rampant slowdown should come as no surprise.
Still, Empire manages to be a lot of fun thanks to Luke's awesome spinning attack and a generous number of health/power-up icons. Unlike the first game, Luke has the power to block with his lightsaber and employ force powers. The controls are responsive but expect cheap hits, regenerating foes, and blind leaps of faith.
The graphics are first-rate and you have to love subtle details like Luke's hair blowing in the wind. The sweeping orchestrated score adds gravitas, as do the crystal-clear voice samples (particularly Darth Vader's "Impressive!"). The entire first half of the game is set on Hoth, and the 3D stage where you take down AT-AT walkers with tow cables truly pushes the limits of 16-bit power. Later you explore the swampy jungles of Dagobah and the cloud city of Bespin with its gorgeous pastel-red skyline.
Encounters with Boba Fett will thrill Star Wars fans, and the climactic battle between Luke and Vader will have your heart racing! The six-letter password system is easy to use and a top-10 rankings screen makes it fun to play for high score. Super Empire Strike Back is clearly over the top at times, but you can't deny the greatness of this epic title. © Copyright 2016 The Video Game Critic.
It was two years after the original game landed on the SNES, but Street Fighter fever was still running hot. My friends were reluctant to take the leap this time, so I took it upon myself to purchase Super Street Fighter II. Subtitled "The New Challengers", it added four brand new characters, upping the roster total to a whopping 16!
Cammy is probably most notable. She's a spritely British Intelligence agent who wears next to nothing. We thought she was pretty hot back in the day, but in retrospect she looks downright boney! DJ is a tall Rastafaria with excellent reach. T. Hawk is a slow-but-powerful Native American cut from the same mold as Zangief. Fei Long is a Bruce Lee look-alike who I always preferred to use, but rarely with much success. Of the four new stages, the only one that really stands out is Cammy's with its enchanting castle scenery with glistening northern lights.
Super Street Fighter II's packaging boasts of new animations and abilities, but they are subtle at best. I did notice how sometimes when hit, a fighter will briefly vomit which is pretty gross. There's a new tournament battle mode which lets you set up brackets for up to eight players. I recall having some fun with that back in the day, passing around the controllers for the title of world champion.
There are some other minor touches like more realistic character art and slightly remastered music. Super Street Fighter II may have been the ultimate Street Fighter II but it seemed Capcom had milked this cow dry. There was actually a Super Street Fighter II Turbo (3DO, 1994) after this, but even Capcom didn't have the nerve to release it for the SNES. © Copyright 2023 The Video Game Critic.
Special weapons are unleashed by pushing the directional pad up while pressing the attack button. If that doesn't remind you of Castlevania, wait until you see the fire-breathing dragon statues. Valis IV feels like an amalgamation of every side-scrolling adventure I've ever played. That's not to say it's a bad game.
The controls are responsive enough, and being able to switch between weapons adds strategy. The crisp, colorful scenery includes burning ruins, flowery meadows, and jewel-encrusted caves. In the meadow stage, the buildings in the distance caught my eye, including one that resembled a tower from Lord of the Rings. Your adversaries include knights and archers, but there are also a few original creations like winged women with spears.
The "mechanical monkeys" in the fourth stage resemble dogs made out of fortune cookies, a concept I found somewhat disturbing. Most enemies aren't particularly aggressive and move in predictable patterns. Each stage ends with the obligatory boss encounter, and these include a grim-reaper look-alike and a tiger-riding knight. The electronic background music is respectable but forgettable. In the final analysis, Super Valis IV serves its purpose but that's about it. © Copyright 2005 The Video Game Critic.