Turbografx-16 Reviews T

TV Sports Basketball
Grade: F
Publisher: NEC (1990)
Reviewed: 2007/2/17


screenshotTV Sports Basketball features exceptional graphics and audio, but it's all for naught thanks to the most confusing, convoluted control scheme ever devised for a basketball game. The realistic-looking players don't look bad at all, and the vertical court looks pretty sharp. Crisp sound effects punctuate the "whoosh" of a basket and the "clank" of a brick, and penalties are called out using clear voice samples. If only TV Sports Basketball was the least bit playable!

The controls are absolutely bewildering, and with players constantly bunching up, it's never clear who has possession. The same button is used to pass, shoot, steal, and call plays! For the love of God man - there has got to be a better way! The foul shooting is deplorable, with an arrow that continues to move long after you've hit the button! Jump shots travel at unnatural trajectories, and once they make contact with the rim, they inexplicably blast off into the stratosphere! When bringing the ball across mid-court, the game switches to a side view, and all you can do is call a play as players drag their slow asses to the other end.

TV Sports Basketball lacks an NBA license, which is evident by the team names, which include the Ninjas, Shadows, Snipers, Zombies, and get this - the Wizards (now that's just silly)! You can manipulate your roster, but when you're dealing with fictional players, why bother? Last but not least, the game periodically displays a blonde cheerleader who doesn't look quite right. Good Lord - she's sporting a package!! Sadly, penis-packing cheerleaders are the most entertaining aspect of the entire game. © Copyright 2007 The Video Game Critic.

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1 to 4 players 

TV Sports Football
Grade: D+
Publisher: Cinemaware (1991)
Reviewed: 2009/4/14


screenshotBack in my college days my friend Bob and I had a fierce rivalry in TV Sports Football on my Atari ST computer. The game's super-sharp graphics and amazing cinematics stood head and shoulders above other football games of the time. I would always be the pass-happy San Francisco team and Bob would run all over my ass with New Jersey and their star runningback Val Kinnebrew. Bob and I recently revisited TV Sports Football on the Turbografx-16, but it wasn't the same.

Instead of a full list of major league cities, you select between eight teams with cheesy names like the Buzzards, Blizzards, and Tidal Waves. The graphics certainly brought back some memories, with realistically-proportioned, well-defined players. The play selection is fairly limited however, and the action on the field is a lot slower than I remember. It's hard to get a first down! Completing a pass requires leading your receiver, and if any defender is in the vicinity, the ball will harmlessly bounce off your chest or back.

The running game relies on holes in the offensive line, and if there are none, you're a sitting duck for defenders converging from the ends. Even when you do find a hole you tend to get tripped up by your own linemen. Occasionally you'll plow right through a defender, but that's rare. When a player is tackled, he lets out an alarming primal scream. If you didn't know better, you'd think the poor guy was being eaten by a lion! Your one special move is to dive, but it's pretty effective.

So why is this called "TV Sports" you ask? Well, there's this anchorman named "Turk McGill" who looks like a ventriloquist doll with that john-john hairdo and bright red sport jacket. Creepy! He's always interrupting the action to report obvious stuff like "the extra point was good". Du-uh! Turk sometimes mentions the names of players, and they tend to have silly monikers like "Gnarly Dude" or "Salty Waters".

The game's visual highlight occurs when you kick a field goal or extra point, as you're treated to a full-screen animation with a behind-the-kicker vantage point. It's really easy to aim your kick and satisfying to see it sail through the uprights. Considering how awesome that is, the complete lack of a half-time show is disappointing. TV Sports Football isn't terrible, but it feels like a watered-down version of the game I remember, and its slow pacing is sure to irritate sports fans with short attention spans. © Copyright 2009 The Video Game Critic.

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1 or 2 players 

TV Sports Hockey
Grade: D-
Publisher: NEC (1991)
Reviewed: 2007/2/17


screenshotWhen it comes to 16-bit hockey games, comparisons to EA's famed NHL titles for the Genesis and Super Nintendo are unavoidable. Suffice to say, this one compares miserably to those. TV Sports Hockey is slowly paced with infuriating controls and worthless AI. Face-offs are borderline comical as both players swat in vain at a puck that seems glued to the ice. Maintaining possession of it is nearly impossible, as precious few passes reach their desired target. You'll suddenly find yourself in control of your goalie at the most inopportune times, and even under the CPU's control, goalies allow some really soft shots through.

The graphics aren't bad. Sure the players are smaller than they are in the EA games, but they look more realistic and occasionally surprise you with a nifty animation. The choppy frame-rate however will have you wishing there was an instant replay just so you could figure out how the puck got into the net! The highlight of the game is its cinematic close-ups of fights and breakaway opportunities.

When two players stop and throw off their mitts, you're treated to a well-executed fight, with punches, blocks, and even flying blood! Unfortunately, once you experience a few of these battles, they soon become mundane. Each penalty triggers an unnecessary cutaway to an anchorman offering insightful commentary like "Chicago offside". This guy looks like a complete dork with that missing tooth and bowl haircut. Hey, wait a minute - isn't that Lloyd Christmas from Dumb and Dumber!?

In terms of audio, TV Sports Hockey cranks out some decent organ music, but the crowd sounds like a throat full of phlegm! Instead of scraping skates and bone-crunching checks, you get cat-like hisses and voice samples that sound like "BOO!" Are these players trying to scare each other?? The contests run too long, and you can't adjust the length of the periods. The roster screens depict goalies wearing regular helmets over their white masks, making them look like skeletons! If not for TV Sports Hockey's "so-bad-it's-funny" moments, it would probably be completely worthless. © Copyright 2007 The Video Game Critic.

1 to 5 players 

Takin' It To The Hoop
Grade: D+
Publisher: NEC (1989)
Reviewed: 2007/2/17


screenshotWhenever you turn on a basketball game and see some white boy soaring high above a rim and throwing down a dunk, you know you're headed for some crap. But as bad as Takin' It To The Hoop is, it still stands head and shoulders above that God-awful TV Sports Basketball. With a little more effort, this could have been a lot of fun.

The graphics are well-defined and somewhat whimsical. The players sport oversized heads, and they appear to be scampering around in diapers! That red, white, and blue basketball looks like a freakin' beach ball! Controlling your player is easy enough, but switching between them is confusing. The selected player flickers only slightly, making him hard to locate - especially when he's off the screen!

Remarkably, you cannot jump at all (even for rebounds), and the computer-controlled team steals the ball at will. When a player attempts a shot near the hoop, the game switches to a full-screen close-up showing the slam (or block) being executed. While it's easily the highlight of the game, it's strange how the players suddenly change from goofy cartoon characters to realistic players! Close-ups are also employed for foul shots, and you can't help but laugh when you witness every one of these players shooting like a girl!

You can't adjust the excessively long periods, and you're forced to constantly rotate out tired players. Considering the inclusion of extraneous features like switching defensive schemes, you really wish the programmers would have invested more time in the stuff that really matters. Takin' It To The Hoop may be the best basketball game available for the Turbografx, but let's not kid ourselves here - it's still pretty bad. © Copyright 2007 The Video Game Critic.

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1 to 5 players 

Talespin
Grade: B-

screenshotTalespin was released for several systems but I can't imagine any are as pretty as this Turbografx edition. Wow. From the foamy blue waterfalls to the lush palm trees to the hazy green mountains, the scenery is a feast for the eyes. Based on the popular Disney TV series, Talespin puts you in the role of Baloo the bear. The platform action is cheerful and fun as you hop across hippo heads and chuck coconuts at monkeys hanging from trees. Later you'll explore an airplane hangar, slide across glaciers, and walk across the sea floor.

You select the order in which you play the first four stages, and that adds replay value. You have an unlimited supply of coconuts to hurl, and it doesn't hurt to set your turbo to max. The action is pretty much by-the-numbers but certain stages do have multiple paths. I find it funny how Talespin cuts to the chase by displaying bonus icons as actual numbers like "500" and "1000". The game is surprisingly tough and it doesn't help that enemies tend to throw stuff from offscreen. In the airplane hangar you're pelted relentlessly! Fortunately you can usually knock down incoming projectiles with your own.

I found the sluggish underwater stage to be a real headache yet my friend Chris managed to finish it on his first try! Complete a stage and enjoy an entertaining "sky surfing" bonus stage where you try to snag bonus items while swinging below a plane. Good times! Complementing the bright cartoon graphics is a light tropical soundtrack with a carefree vibe. I would expect a game geared toward kids to be more forgiving, but Talespin has a way of making you forget all your troubles. © Copyright 2019 The Video Game Critic.

Our high score: 42,700
1 player 

Terraforming
Grade: C
Publisher: Right Stuff (1991)
Reviewed: 2011/2/18

screenshotThis rare side-scrolling shooter is remarkably average. The opening sequence shows off Terraforming's hand-drawn style, which straddles the line between artistic and cheesy. The stages offer surreal, pastel-colored sky-scapes and landscapes. Enemies come in a bizarre assortment of biological and mechanical shapes. Most defy description, but a few vaguely resemble manta rays, umbrellas, and gorillas. Your ship is equipped with a rapid-fire cannon which doubles as a charged shot, and the second button is used to adjust your speed.

Attackers enter the fray from all sides, and they come in droves. Colored pods provide three types of weapon power-ups. The yellow is the best by far, as it sprays missiles around your ship and provides the best coverage. The blue weapon unleashes homing missiles which sound like clanking metal when they strike enemies, and that's pretty annoying!

After loading up on yellow or blue weapons, you can pretty much hold down the fire button and rack up the points. The red power-up provides a more concentrated attack, but it's poorly-suited to handle the swarms of enemies this game throws at you. Take note that the red and yellow pods look very similar, so don't mix them up! When powered-up, taking a hit causes you to lose weapon strength instead of your ship, which is nice.

Terraforming's CD soundtrack is decent but nothing to write home about. At times I got the impression that the waves were artificially extended so the player is forced to hear the songs in their entirety. The same enemies re-enter the screen in the same patterns over and over again. The bosses resemble turtles and plants, and they're not very intimidating. Terraforming isn't a bad way to pass the time, but I've played better non-CD shooters on my Turbografx, which should say something. © Copyright 2011 The Video Game Critic.

Our high score: 294,463
1 player 

Tiger Road
Grade: D
Publisher: Victor (1990)
Reviewed: 2004/4/3

screenshotI usually appreciate side-scrolling martial arts games, but Tiger Road falls victim to poor design. You control a martial arts student armed with weapons like swords, morning stars, and maces. The characters are cartoonish in appearance, but the graphics do have an appealing, clean look to them. Gameplay mainly involves jumping from generic platforms and beating up an endless supply of goons.

The two buttons are used for jump and attack, and I do recommend activating the turbo control on your attack button. The controls are responsive, but no match for the relentless armies you face. Enemies appear from out of nowhere, and they're always pouncing on your head, where you are completely vulnerable (you can't attack up!). Also annoying is how these thugs constantly regenerate, so once you defeat an enemy, you turn around and he's right there again!

One of the better stages has you actually flying around a series of obstacles - sort of a precursor to Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. I also enjoyed the bonus "training sessions", which challenge you to perform feats like putting out fire with your weapon. But these novelties can't save Tiger Road's poorly-designed levels and unforgiving gameplay. © Copyright 2004 The Video Game Critic.

Our high score: 35000
1 player 

Time Cruise
Grade: B
Publisher: Face (1992)
Reviewed: 2002/1/19

screenshotThis exceptional video pinball game features a huge board that's as wide as it is tall. The up and down scrolling is smooth, although the side scrolling is a bit choppy. Time Cruise's control is responsive, although the ball has been known to hesitate momentarily. A nudge button comes in very handy for emergency situations.

The time-machine style graphics are both attractive and original, but all areas of the table look pretty much the same. The pinball action is solid, but it takes a back seat to the numerous bonus stages that can take you either backward or forward in time. Each of these unique stages offer its own unique brand of fun, usually in the form of mini-pinball games.

One requires you to guide a ball through a maze by tilting a board, and while it's quite challenging, it takes too long and slows down the pace of the game. Still, Time Cruise has a lot of depth for a pinball game. It's more playable than Alien Crush, but not as good as Devil's Crush. © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.

Our high score: 1400600
1 player 

Tricky Kick
Grade: C
Publisher: IGS (1990)
Reviewed: 2020/3/25

screenshotTricky Kick is a perplexing puzzler disguised as an arcade game. Each maze-like screen is strewn with obstacles and colorful people, animals, and monsters. Your dude goes around "kicking" these guys, causing them to slide until they hit something. Knock one creature into his twin and they both go up in smoke. Clear the screen within the time limit to win and progress to the next challenge. It's a simple premise but very easy to get stuck. Once you kick something in a corner it's not going anywhere. After all, as my friend Kevin noted this isn't Tricky Pull.

Often it's necessary to use one character as a "backstop" for another, and another as a backstop for that guy. Kevin called Tricky Kick "chess in eight dimensions" although I think he may have been exaggerating. My favorite button is the one that lets you start over once you realize you've screwed up beyond all hope. Tricky Kick contains 60 unique stages (!) with six unique themes, each with its own animated intro and music. You'll kick animals around in a forest, robots in a city, and even creeps in a haunted house.

Tricky Kick's graphics are colorful but some of the characters are hard to make out. While offering advice to one another my friends would awkwardly describe things like "that purple guy" or "the avocado thingie". They loved the concept though and Brent wondered why this game hasn't been reintroduced for modern devices. Tricky Kick is a thinking man's game but unfortunately I'm not one of those. Instead of calculating moves I start sliding things around and hope for the best. It's not really my cup of tea but those who enjoy puzzles are permitted to bump up the grade by one letter. © Copyright 2020 The Video Game Critic.

1 player 

Turrican
Grade: D+
Publisher: Accolade (1991)
Reviewed: 2018/3/22

screenshotTurrican is a familiar name with the 16-bit shooter crowd. Assuming the role of a guy in a high-tech suit, you blast robots and creatures while traversing treacherous alien landscapes. This game has quite a bit in common with Metroid (NES, 1987), especially considering your ability to roll up into a ball (c'mon now!). On the surface Turrican is a refreshingly simple old-school throwback with crisp graphics and tight controls. You leap high between platforms, wield powerful weapons, and collect crystals.

The idea of collecting 300 crystals to earn a continue is a complete joke. I couldn't collect a dozen! It's annoying how you can only fire side-to-side since 90% of your enemies seem to attack from above. Hell, in stage one alone there are several times where rocks inexplicably rain down from the sky. What are you supposed to do? Holding the fire button triggers your 360-degree lightning whip, but this negates the ability to use the turbo switch. By the time you've activated and positioned your whip you've probably already succumbed to your injuries. Likewise accessing special weapons like grenades, mines, or bombs is awkward and time-consuming.

Turrican becomes a war of attrition as you just try to minimize the mandatory hits to your life bar. On the bright side, after you die you pick up exactly where you left off. Be sure to watch the demo mode which reveals strategy as well as the location of hidden items. The soundtrack has a catchy melody and relentless rhythm. I find it odd how the sound effect for shooting and landing on your feet are the same. This isn't a bad game, but it didn't exactly rock me like a Turrican. If you enjoy this style you might want to check out Gunlord (Dreamcast, 2012). © Copyright 2018 The Video Game Critic.

Our high score: 29,950
1 player 


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