Turbografx-16 Reviews P-R

Parasol Stars
Grade: B+
Publisher: Taito (1991)
Reviewed: 2014/5/12

screenshotAs the third entry in the Bubble Bobble (NES, 1988) series, Parasol Stars is pure arcade sugar. The visuals are so colorful and vibrant, objects practically leap off the screen. The whimsical graphics are complemented perfectly by a playful musical score. One or two players control chubby kids (Bubby and Bobby) armed with "parasols" (umbrellas). These allow you to glide, stun creatures, and collect "elements" like water and electricity. The object is to clear a series of platform-laden screens of creatures.

Your adversaries are typically cute, cuddly versions of creatures like unicorns, lions, and bats. The gameplay sounds pretty straightforward but you would not believe how crazy it is! Words cannot describe the chaos! As creatures converge on you, you tend to go buck-wild, sending objects flying in all directions as juicy bonus items pop up all over the place.

These include fruits, vegetables, jello molds, cheese, cake, and other delectable treats. Point values appear as you snag them, but these values seem very random. You might gather ten corn cobs for 60 points each, or collect a dozen eclairs for 3,000 points each!

Parasol Stars has the look and feel of an old-fashioned arcade coin-op, but the fun factor takes a dip when the screens get bigger and scroll sideways. Suddenly it becomes hard to tell what creatures (or items) are remaining, which is especially confusing with two players. Still, it's easy to see why Parasol Stars ranks as a favorite among the Turbografx faithful. © Copyright 2014 The Video Game Critic.

Our high score: GWC 846,490
1 or 2 players 

Power Golf
Grade: B-
Publisher: Hudson (1989)
Reviewed: 2004/4/21


screenshotPower Golf somehow won me over despite a plethora of faults and annoyances. The game's graphics are not particularly impressive, although the scrolling overhead view always provides a decent angle. Once you've selected a club and set your aim, a small window appears containing your golfer (who looks like the kid from Caddyshack) and a three-press swing meter. The shot meter moves crazy fast, making your tee shots exceptionally difficult.

Even the most experienced players will themselves hooking and slicing a lot of shots into the woods. Still, gamers looking for a serious challenge will relish trying to tame these ruthless controls. Less forgivable is how your club ranges are not displayed on the screen. Yeah, they're listed in the instruction booklet, but who wants to bother with that? In addition, there's no caddy to "recommend" a club for each shot, so you'll need to experiment. Once you get a feel for the controls, you can even apply backspin and control the trajectory of your shot.

The ball scales dramatically to indicate its height, and the greens have arrows to indicate slope. The game moves along at a brisk pace, so you can play eighteen holes in about twenty minutes. I love the "lounge music" that plays in the background - it's classic old-school all the way. Modes include stroke, match, and a competition mode that supports up to three players. Why the number of players is limited to three is beyond my comprehension. Power Golf can't compete with the classic PGA Tour titles on the Genesis, but if you're up for a challenge, give it a shot. © Copyright 2004 The Video Game Critic.

1 to 3 players 

Prince of Persia (CD)
Grade: C
Publisher: Hudson Soft (1992)
Reviewed: 2012/11/1

screenshotI vaguely recall playing Prince of Persia back in the day and hating its tedious brand of platforming jumping. This is not the kind of game you play for instant gratification. Its slow, deliberate pace feels more like Tomb Raider than your typical 2D romp. The game is set in a stone fortress where you step on weight-activated switches to open gates and spring traps. Your Prince moves with fluid motion, giving me flashbacks of... well... Flashback (Genesis, 1993).

The graphics look extremely sharp and I love the flickering torches against the craggy stone block walls. The controls were innovative for its time. You can creep slowly, perform running jumps, and grab ledges. Falls are deadly, so perfect timing is paramount. Unfortunately this game was designed for a keyboard, and the controller doesn't provide the proper degree of precision. There's a lot of trial and error involved, and it's frustrating.

Still, once you get the hang of it, the game is enjoyable enough. A save feature is available from the pause menu, but before you get too excited, you should know that it never puts you back exactly where you left off. Prince of Persia is a good-looking platformer, but the music really steals the show with its hypnotic middle-eastern rhythms. It's probably the only reason they could justify shipping this game on a CD. © Copyright 2012 The Video Game Critic.

1 player 

Psychosis
Grade: D+
Publisher: Nexat Soft (1990)
Reviewed: 2006/6/1


screenshotThe premise of this side-scrolling shooter is to "escape the world of your own mind". Well, if that world resembles this weird-o-rama game to any degree, it's time to get off the crack pipe. The initial stage of Psychosis reminded me of Bio Hazard Battle (Genesis, 1992). Set on a beach cluttered with lab equipment, you face all sorts of odd, indescribable life forms. From there you move to a flower-filled cave with floating Asian masks, and then to a stage lined with colored tiles.

The programmers obviously used the "anything goes" premise as an excuse to toss in any frickin' thing they could come up with. Your ship rotates nicely, and is guarded by a pair of pods you can shift into various formations. Weapons include the forward shooting wide beam, a "back laser" that can be angled in any direction, and the poorly-named "thunder", which creates two electric fields above and below your ship.

The graphics are not particularly attractive, and there's an annoying amount of flicker. The futuristic soundtrack is decent, but the sound effects are weak. Three continues are available, but the game doesn't even bother to display your score once you lose your last life. Psychosis is a playable diversion, but it certainly doesn't compare favorably to the other fine shooters the system has to offer. © Copyright 2006 The Video Game Critic.

1 player 

R-Type
Grade: A-
Publisher: NEC (1989)
Reviewed: 2004/4/4

screenshotThis classic shooter is great on any system, but it really shines on the Turbografx-16! With bright, crisp graphics and no slowdown, this is easily the best version of R-Type I've played. R-Type is a typical side-scroller in many ways, but its depth and challenge far exceeds most games of its kind. You can shoot your main cannon rapidly or "charge up" for a single powerful shot. Personally, I prefer to set the turbo switch on the controller for rapid-fire.

One key element is the handy "power pod" - a remote weapon with much strategic value. You can attach this pod to your ship or deploy it to other areas of the screen. Once you acquire the pod and a few power-ups, your firepower becomes enormous. Enjoy it while it lasts, because once you lose that ship, your weapons are gone, and that really hurts.

The stages are your typical space stations and slimy caverns, but the enemies and bosses are quite disgusting. R-Type is not for the faint of heart, and less skilled gamers are bound to get frustrated. Certain stages force you to move in certain predetermined patterns to survive, and even when you know the pattern it's hard to stay alive. For dyed-in-the-wool shooter fans however, R-Type is hard to beat. © Copyright 2004 The Video Game Critic.

Our high score: 91000
1 player 

Raiden
Grade: A
Publisher: Hudson Soft (1991)
Reviewed: 2010/3/20


screenshotI've reviewed several versions of Raiden as of late, and while all are good, this Turbografx-16 edition is probably the best. It combines the sharp graphics of the Jaguar version with the crisp, responsive controls of the Genesis. Raiden is a vertical shooter that takes you over green farmlands, rail yards, ports, and space stations as you blast armored foes like tanks, trains, and helicopters. Power-ups abound, and floating icons let you toggle between a red and blue main weapon. The red offers wider coverage, but the concentrated blue is better for putting the bosses out of their misery.

This game offers great explosion effects, and I love how enemy airships catch on fire after taking damage. If this Raiden seems easier to play than most, it might have something to do with the fact that you get to use the entire screen! Other versions dedicate the right third to scoring information, but on the Turbografx this information is simply overlaid at the bottom of the screen. Works like a charm.

Your ship handles like a dream, and the collision detection is forgiving - maybe too much so. There were a few times when I thought I got clipped by a passing helicopter only to emerge unscathed. The soundtrack is likeable but lacks the richness of the Genesis version. Still, when taking the Pepsi challenge of Raidens, I'm going with the Turbografx every time. © Copyright 2010 The Video Game Critic.

Our high score: 171,200
1 player 

Riot Zone (CD)
Grade: D+
Publisher: Hudson (1993)
Reviewed: 2002/1/19

screenshotRiot Zone tries to be another Streets of Rage (Genesis), but it lacks the depth and challenge. The characters are large and well-drawn, and Tony looks exactly like Axel from Streets of Rage. Heck, not only does he sport the same blond hair, t-shirt, and jeans, but he even has the same moves!

The motley crew of thugs includes a lot of obese men and sexy women in skirts and high heels. The background graphics are mostly dull, and at times just plain ugly. The audio is equally mediocre, with unrealistic sound effects and a forgettable musical score. Riot Zone's gameplay is easy and repetitive, with no weapons or interesting items to use.

Three buttons are used to jump, attack, and activate your special attack. Your only strategy involves tossing one bad guy into another one. And when I say this game is easy, I mean it! I finished this game in one sitting without even breaking a sweat! Perhaps the most offensive aspect of Riot Zone is the lack of a two-player mode! Considering the storyline involves two partners, it's unforgivable! © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.

1 player 


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Screen shots courtesy of Video Game Museum, Racket Boy, Moby Games, The PC Engine Software Bible