So how good is big N's Super FX game? I'm sure this question is on the minds of hundreds of gamers who haven't yet seen StarFox. If you're one of those poor, unlucky fools, let me tell you.
StarFox is great!!! Nintendo strikes again with charismatic characters, perfect gameplay, and loads of options.
You play as a fox, who leads a quartet of pilots on a mission to thrwart the evil Andross. Your wingmen generally stay behind you, but will occasionally leap into the fray or be chased into the distance by an enemy fighter, which you must destroy before your friend is blown to pieces. The radio transmissions that your wingmen send are humorous; indecipherable muttering is accompanied by a picture of the pilot and his message in text. Each wingman has a unique personality and flies differently.
There are three different courses to the final destination, the planet Venom. Each route sports a different level of difficulty, as well as backgrounds and meaner end bosses. I walked through the game at level one the day I got it. I got about halfway though level two and only to the second stage of level three.
Music is very well done and the sound effects are excellent. What real voice there is is very good, especially the intro and ending.
I've always liked polygon-fill graphics, because I'd rather see graphics done that way than try to be realistic and fail. The polygons scale and rotate beautifully. My favorite part is in Sector X where dozens of girders hurtle at you from different angles! Intense! This is the best thing to hit the Super NES since Street Fighter II!!! Get it!
Hey, you're driving along one day with your girlfriend, fiance, or wife, depending on which magazine you read, and a band of ruthless hooligans runs you right off the road, down a cliff and into a really big rock. Your car explodes, the chick is incinerated, but you walk out of the flaming wreck. Whatcha gonna do? Check into the closest hospital? Hell no! You hop into your other car and hit the road with the intention of killing every single member of the gang, called S.C.U.M, with your car.
Sound reasonable? Of course not! This dude's woman was better off dying in that crash, 'cuz he's one crazy mutha! Nothing stops him from his pursuit, and innocent bystanders and property be damned! One scene has you chasing a motorcycle up a staricase in an art museum, through a large room filled with people, and out through a window. You then proceed to run rampant through a local park, narrowly missing two kids and a whole lot of other people. You get the idea.
Don't expect much in the way of inner-game continuity, either. At the end of one scene your car escapes a sewer system just as the gate comes down, RIPPING THE TOP OF YOUR CAR OFF!!! Of course, a few seconds later when we see the car from the outside again, it's all better. Ever read Christine? I'm pretty certain now I know what happened to that car. So much crap flies off of your car from collisions and other scrapes you could start a junkyard, and yet it always remains brand new.
But seriously, all ludicrous plotlines and inconsistencies aside, Road Avenger is trtuly a wonder to behold. It's like playing an interactive cartoon, all done in that distinctive Japanimation style and with such speed and fluidity you want to pop a couple Dramamine before playing.
The coolest feature of the game is the way it will cut to an outside view of your car to show you what you just did, then cut instantly back to the standard cockpit view, leaving you breathless and in awe. Some scenes have so many of these cinema cuts that you'll wonder if you're even playing the game anymore.
Now to be fair, a lot of people are turned off by this kind of game, which is nothing more than following onscreen prompts and reacting quickly enough as you watch the action unfold, similar to the old laser disc coin-op, Dragon's Lair. I, however, couldn't care less, because it's so much fun to watch. I'm often known to put the game on just to watch the opening cinema, which has an incredible theme song with wacky lyrics like "Feel the warmth of my car...", over and over again.
Because the game is the same every time you play it, you'll beat it quickly, which was not a problem for me, because I wanted to finish it as fast as possible just to see the whole episode. Then I played it over and over again to find all the great death sequences! And if you get tired of the normal mode, there's even a Hard mode which gives you no prompts and is very, very difficult.
What can I say... I love this game! The plot is so far out it actually works, the visuals are incredible, with the best animation of this type so far, and the music and sound effects are incredible! A must-have for Sega CD owners.
Treasure, the development house full of refugees from Konami who defected to Sega, is aptly named indeed. Gunstar Heroes had me constantly looking at my Genesis to confirm that, indeed, that's where those graphics were coming from. This game is proof that Genesis owners have been dealt a raw hand for three years. Sure, there have been great games for the system, but this is evidence that they could have been better!
Gunstar Heroes is a lot like Contra, but with greater originality and more options. For example, at the beginning of the game you can choose whether you want a character who can fire and run at the same time, or one who has better control over the 360 degree range of firing. I found that the fixed fire option worked better for me, because there's so much going on that if you need to move around to accurately aim your weapon you'll get hit a lot more often. Also, the game's four basic weapons can be combined with one another for a wide variety of super weapons. Grab chaser and rapid and you'll get a rapid chaser, or just get two of a kind for a more powerful version of that weapon.
Technique is important here as well. Aside from the usual run and gun action, the heroes can jump kick or belly flop on enemies, slide, and block unfriendly fire. They also climb like monkeys, jump off walls, and can grab opponents and throw them into walls or other baddies. They can even throw each other into the enemy! These are versatile guys.
The main bad guy is an M. Bison look-alike with a mean streak and an evil laugh. You face off with him several times throughout the game, but he's probably the least impressive of all the bosses you'll come across. Especially unbelievable is level two's Seven Force, a huge robot that transforms up to seven times depending on the difficulty level. On normal alone, fighting off five of his forms is one of the most intense battles ever seen on ANY system.
Then there's Black's Dice Maze, where you roll dice to move across a board game. The only catch is that each stop is a boss fight!!! Luckily, there are "happy item rooms" to replenish your health and change weapons.
I could go on about all the scaling, rotation, and other effects to be found in Gunstar, but I don't want to ruin all the surprises for those who have yet to play the game. Absolutely the best Genesis game ever released in terms of overall impression, Gunstar Heroes does for the action genre what Street Fighter II did for fighting games.
Oh no, it's back for a repeat appearance... THE BIG CHEESE!!!
In fact, this game is the most deserving of this prestigious award than any I've ever played. As you know, this was once Ranma 1/2 before some IDIOT got it into his head that American gamers couldn't grasp the concept of a boy who turns into a girl when he gets wet. Hey losers, can you say INSTRUCTION BOOK!?! That's the place where you explain the premise of the game to the gamers!!!!! Just because we don't know about Ranma, the #1 cartoon and manga in Japan at the moment, doesn't mean we can't deal with it! It's a fighting game... like anybody cares about the history anyway.
Now, thanks to the moronic FOOLS at Irem, we get a game with the most generic plotline ever: some crap about a genius scientist named Steven who developed a suit that makes him very strong so he can save the world from a bunch of stupid punks with names that a two year old apparently thought up. I can imagine the Irem concept team sitting around a table going "Now, what do we call this military guy with blonde hair that stands straight up and we'll probably get sued by Capcom for? G.I. Jim? Great, now they'll never suspect."
As for the main character, Steven, you can play as two different versions of him; one with armor and a decidedly more feminine one without it. You see, the buttheads at Irech decided to turn female Ranma into a male character without changing any of the attacks or animations; presumably so they could just redraw over the existing frames and make their job even easier (shyeah, right! I could make a better fighting game in Basic). Anyway, unarmored Steven sticks his butt in the air when he gets knocked down, and does the splits when he's beaten. He's smaller than the armored version, more nimble, and a bit more delicate looking.
The other characters are even worse. Another originally female character was converted to maledom, and appears in this title as Dozo the clown. From the comic book, I'd guess he was originally Kodachi Kunoh, the black rose and sister of Kunoh, the sword-wielding boy who got turned into G.I. Jim (the blatant Guile clone if you didn't get the hint earlier).
Wrapping things up, this game SUCKS, SUCKS, SUCKS!!!!!!!! Amen.
"Again legendary men... return."
So begins the intro of SNK's 106 megabyte monster Fatal Fury 2, which brings Andy, Terry, and Joe back for more beat 'em up schwak! pow! schwak! violence. In addition to the original heroes, there are five new characters such as Big Bear, an Australian wrestler whose theme music is the same as Raiden's for some odd reason... hmm, Kim Kaphwan, a lethal Tae Kwon Do fighter whose moves consist of three kicks and one punch, Jubei Yamada, an old judo fart who chucks of all things at you... cookies!?!, Chin Shinzan, a squat fat-assed Tai Chi expert, and one of my favorites (take a seat, Chun Li) Mai Shiranui, a fan-toting femme fatale whose beauty is equally matched by her deadly ninja skills.
Fatal Fury 2 follows the original Street Fighter II format... pick one character, beat the tar out of the rest of the selection of fighters and then go on to fight four incredibly challenging bosses. The first is Billy Kane... with his souped up stick/nunchukas, you'll need to offer up some goat offerings to get past him. Two of the bosses are takeoffs of Street Fighter II characters... one's a boxer and the other's a bullfighter. Fortunately, SNK gave them moves all their own. The boxer throws something that looks sinfully close to Guile's Sonic Boom, while the bullfighter whips his cape at you and flings you into the bulls, or occasionally runs at you with his rapier. The last guy... egad! It's a huge German deathmeister named Wolfgang Krauser. When I say huge I mean he makes Sagat look like one of the Seven Dwarves! He launches high and low spirit punches, throws you straight up and decks you, and unleashes a lethal blast of energy called the Kaiser Wave.
About the control... the people at SNK should design a thumb-pusher controller, as the joystick takes some major practice. The A and C buttons are punches of varying strengths, while the B and D buttons are kicks. A and B simultaneously allow you to jump from the foreground to the background, and C and D simultaneously allow you to hit your opponent and knock him or her into the background or foreground. Working this out comes in handy in the bonus stages, as you have to destroy objects on both planes.
As you can expect, the graphics are a game player's wet dream (sploot). There is so much detail and color in every level. I like how you can knock people off their bikes in Kim Kaphwan's level when you're jumping from the background to the foreground and vice versa. The programmers used their megs wisely this time, unlike The Art of Fighting.
The sounds and music blew me away! The voices, screams, moans, grunts, and shrieks were crystal clear, especially in the last round where Wolfgang says "I will chisel your gravestone... sleep well!" When he beats you, he announces, "You were good, you fought well.", and upon his defeat, he says, "You were perfect! I met... my match!" before his body thuds on the ground.
There are only two flaws in Fatal Fury II. One's the difficulty. It is hard to connect your punches without getting a lethal combo on your ass... the computer counters way too much. The second flaw's the endings. A game this hard should have had some amazing eyecandy as a reward, but noooo! All you get is "Terry Bogard is the new champion", and then the credits. The programmers are still a little green in those areas. Still, it's a good game nonetheless. The characters have unique, original attacks for a change. For once, I didn't see anything remotely close to a dragon punch.
Q-Bert was one of my favorite classic arcade games, and I'm always a bit skeptical when somebody tries to upgrade one of those simpler games to today's standards (as with Qix, Space Invaders, and others). I almost hesitated to rent this game, in the fear that I would be terribly disappointed and lose my faith in an accurate translation of Q-Bert forever. However, I persisted, and was thankfully not disappointed.
Q-Bert 3 looks, feels, and sounds almost exactly like the game we all remember. The visuals are crisp, colorful, and very true to the original. The backgrounds are psychadelic montages of swirling color and dancing geometries. All the levels have the same rules as the original, but the actual layout of the playfields are varied and imaginative. In one stage you'll find yourself hopping on teeth, giving them cavities, while another has you bouncing merrily around slices of melon.
The only difficulty anyone will experience with this game is the control. Being that you must manuever Q-Bert around the pyramids using diagonal movements, the somewhat limited selection of four control schemes (two using the control pad, and two using the buttons, all with a diagonal tilt to the controller) can be frustrating. Why they didn't just incorporate a control scheme which allowed you to make diagonal jumps by pressing diagonally on the pad I'll never know. Still, once you get used to the control (and fall off the board a couple HUNDRED times doing it), you'll find that this is a very enjoyable game.
If you're the kind of guy who's ever jumped out of a hospital window to avoid having to read one of those cheesy Shoebox Greetings cards, this game is not for you, as its graphics are HIGHLY reminiscent of those cards. If you're burned out on the plethora of predictable Super Mario Bros. style games, this game is not for you, either, as the play mechanics are remarkably similar to those in that other Genesis side-scroller, Taz-Mania. If you plan to go out on a rampage and kill everyone you see after playing JUST ONE MORE GAME with a "save the girl" storyline, THIS GAME IS NOT FOR YOU (and get some help... quickly). If you want hot, sexy, suntan lotion-drenched babes... SURPRISE! This game's not for you, either, unless you're really THAT desperate. Anyone out there left? No? Guess this game has less of an audiencee than I thought...
The Namco name has been synonymous with top-class fighting and racing games ever since the Playstation first debuted. After milking those genres for all they're worth, and perhaps to give us a breather before Tekken 3 hits, they've ported over the ultra-Japanese Klonoa.
The closest competition this game has on the Playstation would have to be Pandemonium, but comparisons between the two games end as soon as you look past the 2.5D setup of the levels. Where Pandemonium failed with contrived, totally unoriginal character designs purposely designed to target adolescent boys, Klonoa succeeds by creating cute, but cool characters and in doing so, creates a game which appeals to gamers of all ages, regardless of gender.
Klonoa trounces Pandemonium in the areas of game control and fun as well. The simple controls are intuitive and as basic as any Mario title prior to Super Mario 64. Klonoa can jump, grab enemies, and then either throw them or use them to perform a midair double jump which allows him to reach high platforms or offscreen items.
The storyline is your basic platforming fare: the villain Ghadius seeks to flood the world with nightmare energy, and has kidnapped the Diva Lephise, the only being with the power to prevent this from happening. Klonoa is enlisted to prevent Ghadius from ruining the peaceful world by his friend Huepow, a spirit who accompanies Klonoa on his quest.
Klonoa is classic platforming, done perfect justice in the modern world of 3D games. It plays as well as any of your favorite run and jump titles from the 8-bit and 16-bit eras.
There is nothing really new offered here, but all the staples of the genre (trampolines, swinging platforms, lava...) are done as flawlessly as anything Miyamoto-san has dreamed up. From a company whose stock in trade recently has been 3D fighters and 3D racers, Klonoa is a surprising break from the tried and true.
Namco has a huge production staff working on this game, and it shows. The level graphics are breathtaking. The 3D backgrounds are at times quite spectacular, and the camerawork, although limited, is handled beautifully. The view zooms back to reveal the panoramic vistas of Klonoa's world on many occasions, or zooms in close exactly when it should to make tough areas easier on the eyes. Although the camera angles change constantly throughout the game (although just slightly... it is almost always a straight side view), one never gets the sense that it does anything but enhance the gameplay, keeping the mind too focused on the visual flair to dwell on the sometimes tedious platforming nature of the game.
If Klonoa has any flaws, and it has a few, my major issues would have to be with the style of play and the length of the game. Although the control is dead-on, and despite the fact that it is a nostalgic trip back to "old-school" platformers, there is nothing at all in Klonoa which you haven't done before. Maybe you haven't done it in a better game, but you've been there, done that. Ice caverns? Done it. Green grass countryside? Isn't it required that every platformer start with this level? But I digress. The other complaint I would level at the game is its length. If Klonoa were more difficult (if you are a gamer of average skill, the difficulty level of Klonoa rates about a five) it wouldn't be a big deal for me, and at twelve levels with one hidden bonus level, Klonoa does stand on middle ground with respects to length, but it left me wanting a bit more bang.
I do have the utmost admiration for Namco, however, for creating a game with such a broad appeal, and then setting the difficulty level at a point where it won't turn away novices, but can still, in the later levels, give us experts a moderate challenge. Battletoads this ain't, however, and if you fall into the expert gamer category you'll burn through Klonoa in a few days.
Still, don't let those small criticisms sway you from giving Klonoa a go, especially if you enjoy games with lots of Japanese flavoring. Klonoa rates up there alongside Yoshi's Island and NiGHTS in terms of concept, unique character design, and overall execution. I for one am happy to see the incredibly weak Pandemonium booted out of the top spot for 2.5D Playstation titles (a crown it held by proxy alone), and am heartened greatly to see that Miyamoto finally seems to have some competition on his home court.
It's been a long time coming, but Capcom's finally released a game in the Marvel vs. series that doesn't look like it was slapped together in a few weeks. I didn't care for X-Men vs. Street Fighter, and although Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter was almost tolerable, it too felt contrived... perhaps even more so the XvSF thanks to its weak cast of characters. Well, it took three trries, but Capcom finally justified the Marvel vs. engine with a game that looks and feels like something truly special.
First, the bad news. True to form with the previous games in the series, Marvel vs. Capcom has, well, Marvel comic book characters. Maybe nerdy fanboys can still get excited about slipping on the tights of their favorite Marvel superheroes, but I personally couldn't care less about Wolverine, or Spider-Man, or Venom, or whoever else the comics industry is cramming down our throats at the moment.
The real pull to Marvel vs. Capcom is the cast of characters from Capcom's illustrious history. Everyone from Captain Commando and Mega Man to Jin (from the Japanese hit Cyberbots) has been represented perfectly, complete with the quirks and abilities that made their own games famous. The attention to detail is just incredible... Strider Hiryu still fights with his cipher (a sword with a police baton handle) and is every bit as agile as he was in the game that helped put Sega's Genesis on the map. Captain Commando's armed with a flamethrower and is even backed up by his buddies from the Final Fight clone of the same name. Even Mega Man adapted to the fighting game format better than anyone could have expected... in addition to a standard issue uppercut, he can also charge up his Mega Buster with a single button (no joystick motions are necessary) and summon Eddie for weapons straight out of the Mega Man series. And of course, if either Mega Man or Strider are defeated in battle, they vanish completely, leaving behind only their signature energy discharges.
The gameplay of Marvel vs. Capcom hasn't changed much from previous games in the Marvel vs. franchise. However, what few improvements there are do make the game more exciting. The best of these is the improved double team attack system... you're actually given control of both of your characters and can perform super attacks indefinitely for about seven seconds. This will cost you two levels of your super meter, but if you can land the attack on an unblocking opponent, they will be knocked out. There's nothing quite as cool as sweeping up an enemy in a flood of Strider's robotic animals, then following that up with a Megaton Punch from Jin's towering mech.
On a lesser note, there are also buddies which you can sic on enemies. Sadly, most of them are pretty useless. The buddies from the Capcom side are pretty obscure, too. I recognized Anita and Devilot, but who's the girl that rains dice down on her enemies, or the kid armed with a lightning cannon?
Marvel vs. Capcom is considerably easier than Capcom's other Marvel licensed fighting games. It's still challenging, but the computer opponents are just a little less likely to counter attacks and a bit more prone to super attacks. This is definitely a step up from the extremely frustrating X-Men vs. Street Fighter, but the difficulty only stays reasonable until you reach the last boss. Onslaught is an absurdly powerful robot who's best described as a cross between Magneto and a Sentinel... he hurls an almost constant barrage of super moves at you in his first form, and his second form... yeesh, you might as well be squaring off against a small planet!
It's pretty unlikely that anyone will play this game to try to beat it, however. After all, any endings Marvel vs. Capcom has to offer, no matter how good they may be, couldn't hope to compare to the rest of the game. Pitting Marvel's best characters against Capcom's was always a good idea... Marvel vs. Capcom is the first game to make that idea work.
PAT GETS HIS CD
PAT GETS HIS CD
Yep, I finally gave in and bought (charged, actually), a Sega CD. Now I can look foward to paying thirty dollars a month for the next year! Was it worth it? I think so, and now I'm gonna tell you why.
First, let's run through the free stuff. The music disc makes a good coaster, and the CD+G disc, well, let's just say I've always wanted a shiny silver frisbee. Seriously, it's kinda fun to watch for about five minutes, but the lack of animation and slow screen changes make it monotonous. Sol-Feace is the same bland shooter it was on cartridge, with the addition of a voiced-over monologue and improved cinema. The classic disc is okay, but why is Golden Axe only one player? The new screams in both Golden Axe and Strreets Of Rage sound cheesy but more realistic than they did on cart. The enemies in Golden Axe distinctly say "Ouch" when you kill them! Columns is the only game on this disc I haven't owned before, and it's a pretty good Tetrtis take-off. No startling innovations in any of these games. You know, it seems to me that Sega should have included more variety here; this disc has three action titles (the other being Revenge of Shinobi) and one puzzle game. What about sports games or a racing title? Oh well.
Sherlock Holmes is the "Wow, look at that full-motion video" addition to the pack-in assortment. Sure, it will amaze your little brother and confuse and frighten Mom and Dad ("That's coming from a CD?"), but we know better. The video is grainy, washed-out and fuzzy. The voices are quite good, and this is actually a decent game with long play life and dozens of sources to check out while forming solutions to various mysteries. Access time really slows it down, though.
On a scale of 1-10, the Sega CD gets a nine; however, the pack-in stuff rates a six in my book. Sega really should have added something new.
THE WISH LIST
THE WISH LIST
This is the column for games that are not out, are not coming out, and will probably never come out... but should. In future issues of Fantazine, The Wish List will be open to anyone who cares to send in a fictional review.
Since the intrtoduction of the universal modem by Galoob in 1997, only two games have been released which are compatible; Pac-Man 1997 and T*HQ's instant flop Home Alone 5, which allowed for two players to assume the roles of the crooks, while a third played as that stupid sadistic kid whose family started leaving behind on purpose after the third movie, and who has been giving Jason Vorhees a run for his money in body counts.
Now comes the first game which is instantly compatible with all five systems that support the modem and its built-in 64-bit CD drive. Bomberman 2000 comes on one CD and one cartridge for the Super NES, Jaguar, and Neo-Geo, and two CDs for the Sega CD. Utilizing the total power of each system, Hudson has done the impossible by making each version of this blockbuster game exactly identical. Never since Capcom brought out the thirty character Street Fighter IV in '96 has a game caused such ripples in the gaming world.
There are so many options in this game, it's unbelievable! You can play a side-scrolling action type game, a full-blown RPG starring all sorts of variations on the basic Bomberman theme, and the traditional birds-eye view game that made Bomberman so appealing to the ancient NES gamers.
Of course, the real appeal comes in the modem-only multi-player games. Up to one hundred players from around the world can compete in this ultimate battle. Each player gets his own window of the action, which scrolls to keep his Bomberman dead center on his TV screen, as he searches the playfield, which consists of as many screen lengths as there are players. New power-ups include the Nuke icon, which devastates an entire screen and all on it instantly, the bomb toss icon, which devastates an entire screen and all on it instantly, the bomb toss, which allows players to lob bombs over walls, and the bomb drop, which causes your Bomberman to become airborne for sixty seconds and fly around dropping bombs on your opponents.
In the full-scale war mode, players receive money points for each opponent they wipe out, and are allowed to purchase upgrades at a shop between rounds. Along with the normal bomb power and multi bomb items, there are now costly bomb suits, which allow you to take multiple bomb blasts before dying. These come in handy with ninety-nine other maniacs running rampant. Also available are "cheap" items, like the detanator, which lets you set off enemy bombs as soon as they release them, and the brand new bomb magic option, where you can buy spells that have different effects on you and your enemies. You can cast homing bomb spells, jump spells, or hit your opponent with a reverse control spell. Also, for each enemy killed, you receive experience points, and after a certain number your level is raised, and your Bomberman gets bigger. At level ten, you can step on the other Bombermen! A must have game!!!!! Incredible.
IN MY OPNION
IN MY OPNION
What's up with this 3DO crap, anyway? I wonder what fool got it in his head that just beccause a system has awesome capabilities it's going to be as commonplace as television. This is part of a video gamer's need to have his or her hobby legitimized by having everyone go googly-eyed over it. Gimme a break! TV is so popular because it finally fulfilled the American dream of turning off the brain and obliterating dull surroundings. Video gaming necessitates thought and therefore will probably always be accepted by mostly young people. 3DO will be a hunk of plastic junk.
The Atari Jaguar, on the other hand, will be huge. For starters, it will utilize a 32-bit processor, 32-bit being the common computer thing now. On top of that, it'll have two of them, making for 64-bit graphics. Whoa, baby! Come to papa!
I've heard rumors that Atari took out the machine's RAM to get it out under $100. These same rumor-mongers claim the Jaguar's lobotomy will render the system unplayable, yet another nasty abberation.
I feel Atari deserves more credit than that. They probably have found some way around a RAM limitation and will capitalize on it by selling the system and outrageously low, low prices.
Another potential advantage is the MARIA chip. The MARIA allowed the Atari 7800 to display up to a hundred sprites without slowdown or flicker. My guess is Atari will modify it to work with the Jaguar processors, freeing up processing time for important things like fun.
In addition to selling the console at firesale pricees, Atari will sell the cartrtidges at over half the price of new 16-bit releases. The company slogan in 1988 was "Power Without The Price". I doubt they'll be that cheesy again, but value remains in vogue.
The problem, though, is the current Atari crew has never successfully marketed a system. They even screwed up an easy one in the Lynx, let alone the 7800 and 2600. Software is the key to the Jaguar as it is with any system. The 7800 had awesome carts produced by Warner Bros.' Atari and crappy ones done by Tramiel's Atari. I'm sure Atari will do better this time. Why? The Jaguar is their last chance. If it fails, the company will never again have the financial wherewithal to develop and market a system. Look for Atari to surprise you, maybe with fifteen dollar games, a built-in CD, or an aggressive marketing campaign.
Is anyone upset that 1982 companies Atari, Coleco, Mattel, Magnavox, Starpath, and yes, Sega were all American owned, and now all the players including Sega are Japanese owned (Atari's one percent market share doesn't count). I'm not a nationalistic pig, but I don't like this one bit. It's true that some Hondas are made in America and Atari has made stuff in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Mexico, but Honda's profit goes to Japan and Atari's comes back to California.
Speaking of Japan, Capcom blew it. I was set to do something I never do: buy a new release, and immediately, and pay through the nose for it. Then they started this controller crap. I'm all for upgrades, but Street Fighter II could be playable with the standard controllers.
The current plan is to toggle the buttons between kick and punch using the start button. Ooooo, that's efficient! Button A should be high punch, A and B low punch, B and C low kick, and C high kick. The start button could toggle button B between medium punch and kick.
I hope they at least keep the controller configuration screen so three-button owners can leave off undesired attacks.
Capcom is trying to force new product down my throat, so I won't buy anything.
Or not for awhile, at least.
3DO... 3DO... in every magazine I look in now, I see reviews and previews ranting and raving about this technological marvel called the 3DO. It seems like everyone's so damn excited they're having seizures over this 3DO business. Well, don't get your hopes up. It won't be so great. "What!!??," you say, "But look at all those colors! Look at that crisp full-motion video! It's going to be awesome! It's going to be revolutionary! You're crazy!"
No, it won't be so awesome. First, look at the price tag. It'll be at least $700, and the more a system can do, the more expensive it is to make games for it. Full motion video, whoopee. We already have something like that and it's called television. Yes, it'll be interactive, but only to a certain extent (what do you expect, the Enterprises' Holodeck?). Full-motion video is just a gimmick. Sure, it's nice to watch and all, but it wears thin fast.
Third, look at all the companies signed up to develop games. They're practically all American computer software designers. I don't know about you, but almost all computer games suck when put up against home video games. It's a bit ironic that the computer games almost always have better-looking fluff than home video games. The latter always seem to have more meat to them than pretty pictures.
It looks like the 3DO will be just another personal computer; one that just plays games and can't do anything else. It's even more ironic that with the 3DO, it'll be easier to put in more and more fluff. Do you want a burger that just looks nice, or do you want one to eat? Now, if there were some comapnies that made good games (like Konami, Capcom, etc...) on that 3DO developer list, maybe I wouldn't be so harsh. It's the games that matter, not what the system can do.
If you're going crazy about the 3DO, this is my advice to you: get it if you really want, but be careful and ask yourself if you want to pay $700 for some lettuce and tomato.
TASTES RATE, LESS FILLING?
TASTES RATE, LESS FILLING?
I'd prefer not to count the times that other fan-eds have raised a cacaphonous outcry over the new decision by Sega to rate video games according to their content. Amidst their annoying cackling, they fail to take into consideration that this new rating system will actually make way for more daring forays into the realm of electronic games, and as a result, less restricted licensees and happier customers. There are a myriad of ways that the new ratings system will benefit every sector of the industry- something this article will attempt to demonstrate.
Many of the rating system's critics don't take into account that Sega's inner workings are entirely unlike those of the film and television industries. Previously, Sega and its competitors in the race for electronic game supremacy were marketing their entire software libraries to a single audience. The result? A history of censorship from the big three in a vain attempt to protect younger gamers from adult themes. Even Sega took it upon themselves to prevent Razorsoft's Stormlord from containing more breasts and thighs than Colonel Sanders ever dreamed of (remember that, boys and girls?). This rating system will help reverse this practice of video game censorship. If a game contains frontal nudity, Sega will be able to avoid the distasteful task of sending the game back to be censored- they can simply release it with a more appropriate rating. Of course, there will always be restrictions as to what can be produced on Sega's 16-bit system, but hey! I'm not exactly revved up to see Chun Li and Ryu exchange saliva as they did in EGM's Street Fighter II comic.
With many players being as young as they are, their fear of not being able to experience the entire Genesis library is somewhat understandable. However, the rating system is generally a recommendation for parents, concerning the kinds of titles that they should buy for their children. These ratings are by no means enforcable to the point where avid gamers would not be able to play certain games... unless, of course, your parents are doing the buying...
My point? Don't be so quick to attack Sega for a decision that will actually broaden the scope of electronic software to include every player, as opposed to just one segment of the gaming community. This may be the next important step in the journey to take this medium into its rightful position as entertainment with a wider scope.
It was a typical Friday for yours truly. After spending four hours slaving away on the fanzine you now hold in your hands, I headed over to the local mall to check out new games. My intention was to exchange General Chaos for Mortal Kombat (the Genesis version)... I had pre-purchased both in order to write a comparison, then return the one I liked the least. All went well, and I headed home with my claim ticket stashed firmly in my wallet.
I'd been home for less than an hour when I received a call:
"Hi, Pat, this is Veronica from
With that established, my mind raced for a solution. Did I really want the hassle of asking my friends at Babbage's for my money back? Wait, didn't I see a palet of boxes being hauled in by UPS while I was in there before? Yeah; and if EB got MK, maybe Babbage's did, too! So I called them...
"Hi, can you tell me if you have
Mortal Kombat in yet?"
Pleased with myself for bringing the truth to light, I headed back to the mall. When I arrived, about a million kids were standing around drooling as the Babbage's workers unpacked several boxes, each stamped "Do not sell until Monday, Sept. 13th - Severe penalties for violating street date." "So much for Mortal Monday", I thought as I handed over my claim tickets.
Now, as I write this on Sunday, I've played both the Super NES and Genesis versions of Mortal Kombat until my eyes bled, and am prepared to give you the real scoop (in my opinion).
GRAPHICS: The Super NES version takes this category hands down. The character animation is flawless, while you can count the frames in the Genesis version. Background detail is almost arcade perfect on the Super NES, while the Genesis game's backdrops, although good, are just not as colorful and vivid.
SOUND: I was disappointed with the Genesis in this category. While the Super NES utilizes the arcade game's music, the programmers at Probe decided to create new tunes for their Genesis version. Also, a lot of the time the kicks and punches don't make any sound at all on the Genesis, but over on the Super NES we get all the smacking, yelling, screaming, and hollering from the arcade. The Genesis game's fights lose the impact that the Super NES version had without all the voices. For example, Liu Kang's trademark Bruce Lee-like chirping and yelling just isn't in there. Also, Super NES owners get a lot more voice, from all the characters' names to Johnny Cage's "Yeah!", Kano's roar, and Raiden's war cry.
CONTROL: This is the ONLY category I feel that the Genesis version has the edge in. Jumping is quicker and tighter in this version, whereas the Super NES version has a half-second, just noticable delay on occasion. However, the actual punching and kicking is more solid on the Super NES. Characters tend to turn around more slowly on the Genesis when the opponent jumps over them. The special moves are easy to do in both versions, although some of the controls have been changed on the Genesis to accomodate three button controllers.
FATALITIES: Surprise! The Super NES takes this category as well. Why? The "fatality theme" from the arcade is intact, as are the agonized screams of the victim. Both of these features are absent on the Genesis. Also, some of the better arcade fatalities look really bad on the Genesis. For example, when Raiden blows his opponent's head off, the explosion is about a foot in front of where his head was, and that thing that Kano pulls out of his victims looks more like a flapping liver than a heart! Liu Kang's fatality yell is in the Super NES version, and not the Genesis. It may seem like I'm picking at straws here, but these elements add to or detract greatly from the impact of the game. It's not as cool to rip someone's head off if you can't hear them scream. Another plus in the Super NES version is the ability to throw your opponent a couple of times before performing your fatality.
THE PIT: Yes, it's in both versions, and equally sanitized (that is, there are no impaled heads, bodies, or bloody torsos in either version). Super NES owners get to hear the poor sap scream on his/her way down to the spikes, and Genesis advocates can see the blood fly, but the guy is just as dead in both versions.
THE VERDICT: Obviously, I feel that the Super NES version of Mortal Kombat is by far superior to the Genesis one. The new fatalities aren't so bad (Sub-Zero and Raiden still obviously kill their opponent; Kano reaches in and pulls out... NOTHING; Johnny Cage's is the funniest- he puts his foot into his enemy's chest as they wriggle around and scream!). With a six button controller, the Genesis version is not a bad game, but I just feel that too much was left out, and the system can do better than this. Now all we need is a code for the blood in the Super NES version and it'll be perfect!
THE WILD ZANY ADVENTURES OF ADRIAN AT THE
THE WILD ZANY ADVENTURES OF ADRIAN AT THE
CES was a blast! There was a plethora of uproarious amusements within the reach of my metacarpals (I'm sorry, I listen to Carcass and their lyrics consist of this stuff. It's growing on me). Anyway, Nintendo, Acclaim, Capcom, and Konami dominated much of the show with some awesome games!
Acclaim had a playable Mortal Kombat II for all systems and get this... THE SUPER NES VERSION HAS BLOOD!!! That's right, BLOOD!!! FATALITIES!!! THE REAL FATALITIES!!! I even got Daniel Pesina's (Johnny Cage's) autograph, and Kung Lao's. What surprised me was how short the Mortal Kombat actors are. Johnny Cage, Kung Lao, Raiden, and Mileena/Kitana were 5'9" and under!
Onto Nintendo, who had the most of the CES floor with Stunt Race FX, Super Punch-Out!, Tinstar, a shooter, and Donkey Kong Countrry, the most advanced looking game ever seen! I don't know what they did, but everything moves super smoothly, the graphics are very polished, and the sound... KILLER! Frankly, you'll have to see it for yourself, because words don't do it justice at all! IT'S COOL LOOKING! I read in Game Fan that Uniracers is supposed to be good, but it didn't look like it would rate higher than a three. So far, from what Pat and I saw of this game, you race an unmanned unicycle on a simple side-scrolling track with no obstacles and a bland background.
Konami had some great titles for Super NES and an actual good title for Genesis. Batman: The Animated Series for Super Nintendo (one of my faves) looks just like the cartoon, with backgrounds taken directly from the show. Konami somehow obtained access to the Digicel process that made Aladdin such a hit. Animaniacs is another good game from what I saw, but I had my optical receptors focused on Contra Hard Corps for the Genesis. I found a Konami game that looks like Konami cares about the Geneiss. I can now stop BITCHING about conspiracies because this game is BITCHIN'! This game has big-ass guns, four characters to choose from, rotation, and SCALING!! There is a level in the game where the goods get chased by a robot into the FOREGROUND. The robot proceeds to run forward and back into the screen smoothly. My cranium almost achieved critical mass at the sight of this magnificent spectacle!
Of course, Capcom drew a large crowd with Super NES Super Street Fighter II on a multi-monitor. Good and bad news with SSFII though, as all the graphics remain intact but also the lame voices and hitting sounds. Some other games at Capcom's booth that caught some glances were X-Men, the best home version to date (better than that weak Genesis game), Demon's Crest, Captain Commando, and Mega Man X2.
Surprisingly, Atari's Jaguar had some good games such as Aliens vs. Predator and Rayman. Rayman is an odd little character that sort of looks like one of the Lemmings but without arms, legs, or a neck to connect his floating hands, feet, and head. The game sports some nice backgrounds and fluid animation.
Psygnosis had a great Genesis game called Flink. I liked the big bosses, the beautiful graphics, and the action/puzzle theme of the game. Pat didn't like this game as much. I think he's crazy. Flink's an aspiring magician striving to free his land from the evil wizard. He goes around finding items to use in spells that aid him on his quest. Along the way, he finds scrolls that aid him in mixing his spells.
Another Genesis game I am looking forward to is Shiny's Earthworm Jim, which was shown on a huge screen TV. Boy, this game is a blast. It utilizes an advanced version of the Digicel process called Animotion(TM). The game is chock full of cartoony graphics, eye-popping special effects, and awesome sounds and music. THIS IS A GENESIS GAME?! Also at Shiny's booth were all the programmers, even the head cheese David Perry (I got his autograph) and Doug TenNapel, the designer of the zany characters (yep, his autograph is on the cover of my Earthworm Jim ish of Game Fan). Mr. TenNapel even showed me his preliminary sketches.
Some other games I saw that are worth looking out for later include Final Fantasy 3, Breath of Fire, World Heroes 2, Stone Protectors, and the 32X, Sega's new enhancer.
The upcoming games to avoid are Sonic Blastman 2, The Shadow (another Final Fight clone), Sega's Jurassic Park: Rampage Edition (bleah!), and Super NES Samurai Shodown with its non-scaling backgrounds and microscopic characters. There was also a very very cheesy CD game called The Exterminators, with bad acting and very cheap special effects. SO CHEAP that they make GWAR's videos look big budget. The Exterminators is a parody of Ghostbusters that looks like it was shot on a camcorder. The zany heroes go around in a modified mass transit bus and have to save New York from giant cockroaches.
Oh, also beware of everything from Spectrum Holobyte and especially T*HQ (Blarrrgh!).
IN MY OPINION
IN MY OPINION
There is no real innovation in gaming any more.
Game companies, perhaps fearing a crash, find a formula and stick to it. Take the Tomb Raider franchise, for example. Not terribly original to begin with, the original game took the 3D gameplay from Super Mario 64, which was nothing greater than a next generation version of the 2D Mario games, made it more adult, and gave it the ultimate theme for an adventure game- adventuring! And while Tomb Raider is a grreat game, perhaps it was not worth all the trouble it has inevitably caused.
Following Tomb Raider precisely a year later, Tomb Raider 2 is just like the first... it could have easily been called "Tomb Raider: The Lost Levels". The franchise has been born, the rehash machine is powered up and in full swing. Will next fall bring us a third batch of reheated adventuring? As long as it brings in the money.
Although Eidos has struck gaming gold with their franchise, how many sequels of slightly improved gameplay ("Lara can now duck! Woohoo!") will it take for the polish to start wearing thin? And how many wanna-be 3D adventure games will flood the market in the wake of Lara's passing? Enough to kill off a genre which is still finding its footing? Possibly.
Dave Perry made a career out of this type of one-hit maneuvering. Look at his string of critical successing with Virgin, and then Shiny: Global Gladiators, Aladdin, Cool Spot, Earthworm Jim... swap the backgrrounds and the characters and BAM! New game! Show me the money! The 3D age forced Perry to abandon his overheated 16-bit game engine and create... MDK, a game so lacking in originality that it hurt me to play it. Perry and crew blatantly steal H.R. Giger's signature biomechanical art style and create a main character who bears far more than a passing resemblence to the alien Giger created for the film Swiss-Made. In a sloppy attempt to cater to adult gamers, Shiny attemps to fuse its slapsticky humor with a grim atmosphere, creating a futuristic cityscape full of oafish, clumsy robotic enemies. Not able to pull away from his roots, Perry infuses MDK with the same tired gimmicks of his glory days- goofy idle animations, big metallic words flashing onscreen, and (deja vu!?) run, jump and shoot gameplay that a 3D approach can't hide.
The Grandmaster of the recyclable game has to be Electronic Arts. Change a few stats, add a few tournament options, let the players have on-ice fights, take the fights out, throw in an air horn sound bite, and you have NHL Hockey '94, '95, '96, and '97. I know I'm being a bit harsh... I'll admit that on average, EA did change the game engine every one of three sequels or so. And I'll admit that I understand neither sports games nor their fans, who seem to turn out in hordes for every new batch of rehashed gaming. Give me the no-license, creative variant such as Mutant League Football over Madden '93, '94, '95, '96, '97, or '98 any day.
Let's not forget about the companies who make a living attempting to steal good ideas and transform them into hits of their own. Let's not forget also that they almost always fail. Let's talk about T*HQ. From their "how could they possibly have made it worse?" Genesis conversion of Time Killers to their latest offering of we-can-do-that-and-fail copycat Vs., T*HQ has been dropping the ball in the gaming arena for years. The aforementioned Time Killers, an attempted merger of the popular Street Fighter 2 and Mortal Kombat series, should have gotten a quality control inspector shot in the head. And Vs. attempts to bring the T*HQ name into the 90's with a 3D fighter full of racial and class stereotypes which prove how far out of touch they are. Not to mention their total lack of imagination.
On the subject of fighting games, let's not allow this column to end without a few scathing remarks directed toward SNK. Once upon a time, SNK was a quality gaming company with a penchant for turning out solid arcade games and the occasional decent NES title. Enter Capcom and its firebomb for the video game market, a little thing called Street Fighter II. Suddenly SNK is in the business of making almost nothing but bad imitations. Fatal Fury begot World Heroes, which in turn spawned Samurai Shodown and too many others to name. Shamelessly ripping off each new innovation Capcom introduced, SNK even copied the psuedo-sequel with its World Heroes 2 Jet, transparently vamping from Super Street Fighter II Turbo. The race to see who could outdo the other finally culminated with the in-game insult called Dan, a purposefully pathetic character Capcom created in the image and style of an SNK fighter.
Once a model for innovation and creativity, the gaming gurus who hold the reigns of the future seem satisfied to simply run in circles, mindlessly covering the same ground year after year with little new to show for their efforts. Their circular path is quickly creating a black hole into which we may lose hope for the industry.
Next month: how gaming will revive itself.
FORGOTTEN MOMENTS IN THE HISTORY
FORGOTTEN MOMENTS IN THE HISTORY
THE NINTENDO ENTERTAINMENT SYSTEM
Wizards and Warriors: When a game this bad spawns an even worse sequel (Ironsword, the crowning achievement of which is looking back and realizing what Fabio had to go through to become rich and famous... kind of gives you a new-found respect for the man, doesn't it?), it deserves mention. All I remember of this wretched game is that it consisted of jumping from very small place to very small place while being knocked all the way down to the bottom of the screen by very annoying enemies.
THE SEGA MASTER SYSTEM
Alex Kidd: The Lost Stars: I'm surprised I even remembered the title of this one. Sega's short-lived Mario clone Alex Kidd hasn't shown his face around these parts in quite some time after starring in this mess of a game.
THE SUPER NINTENDO ENTERTAINMENT SYSTEM
Street Combat: The conversation I imagine taking place at Irem when this "game" was translated from the Japanese title Ranma 1/2: "Oh no, Mr. Programmer, we have to do much more than just translate the game to English! Don't you know that American gamers won't go for pure Japanese games? We need to give them characters they can identify with, like army men, or... or clowns! Yeah, clowns and robots! I smell a hit on our hands with this one!" Yeah. You smell something, all right.
THE ATARI JAGUAR:
The Atari Jaguar.
This is the Concordant Opposition rebuttal edition of Top Ten. If you didn't see Concordant Opposition #2, there was a very funny Top Ten list- the top ten reasons why video games are better than sex. Now, as funny as the list was, it is nevertheless wrong. So, here are my...
TOP TEN REASONS WHY SEX IS BETTER THAN VIDEO GAMES
10. You can have sex during a
thunderstorm without risking a power surge.
And the number one reason why sex is better than video games:
1. T*HQ has absolutely nothing to do with sex.
Hey, look! Tim actually got some REAL letters from REAL people so he doesn't have to make them up again. Thanks, guys. Keep sending those "Hey Intimidator" queries right to Fantazine Central at the address in the colophon. I just put them on the roof and in the morning, the replies are there. Amazing. How can he be everywhere at once?
I have a bionic arm capable of hacking my foes to pieces, yet for some reason I've never had a girlfriend in my life (I can't even get the Bondage Babe from Below to date me). Why is this? Is it my casual attire or is it the chest hair on my belly?
Can't even get the Bondage Babe? What can I say... she must have had a prior engagement or something. I'm sure she can fit you in (if you know what I mean). It can't be your chest hair on your belly, because that would be belly hair. Maybe she doesn't like the way you treat animals. Stop choking your chicken and learn to macrame instead. If that doesn't work you'll still have a healthier chicken and a lovely shawl.
I've got a lot of problems. I wanna be a superhero but the only powers I have are a high IQ for my age (23 months), a sharp wit, lots of fur and a cuddly bear body. Everyone says that I'm too young to be a superhero and that I can't cut it, but I know you've got the answer I want. So?
Byron, The Ursine Perpetuator of Mayhem, Misery, and Other Nasty Stuff
You're soo cute! I especially love that chest hair on your belly. But being cute doesn't cut it. Unless you can use your incredible intellect to devise some cutting edge armor or weaponry, the only thing I can see you being good for is after being you to a pulp (a cute, often witty furry bear pulp), your enemy decides to pop you in his mouth as a claim to victory. Only then would your attributes be conducive to crime fighting. Your enemy would undoubtedly either choke to death or forever be hindered by a giant furball which might distract him when engaged with real heroes. Either way, you've won. So you see you are important and we here at Fantazine love you so keep up the good work and keep sending in that cash.
OK. Well, it used to be just me and three other guys scrimping off the guy in blue tights' success, but he came back and it's really cramping my style. Now nobody wants anything to do with us and it really bites. I've tried destroying his head with a good thwack of my big iron mallet, but it always bounces off and lands on my toes. What do I do? Quick, he's beginning to notice and I'm running out of Band-Aids.
A Rusty Metal Guy with Big Steel Lips and a Huge Mallet
Dear Rusty Metal Guy with Big Steel Lips and a Huge Mallet,
First of all keep the mallet! Keep it! Keep it! Keep it! Secondly, how the hell can you fly? I just can't bring myself to believe that some common steel working man such as yourself could possibly have the knowledge to develop boots that enable you to fly. I personally believe that you should lose the boots and finally reveal that it is in fact your lips flapping at incredible speeds that propels you along the winds. I say you lose everything except the mallet and the lips and forget about Big Blue. Become Mister Lips and infiltrate the ranks of crooked judges throughout the country. Every time you defeat one, take your mallet and destroy his judge's bench with your battle cry of "Court is adjourned" and wink at the onlookers as everything fades to black.
TOP TEN SUPERMAN COMPLAINTS
10. No cool crime fighting
And the Number One Superman Complaint:
1. Can't pronounce "Mxylptlk."
THE TOP TEN WAYS TO DEFEAT THE INTIMIDATOR
10. Involve him in a wide
variety of confusing Marvel brand plot twists, culminating in a battle
with dozens of robotic mutant Tim Priest clones in a transdimensional time
And the #1 sure-fire weapon to use against the Intimidator:
1. The Air-To-Ska missile
TIM'S TIPS FOR JESS RAGAN
TIM'S TIPS FOR JESS RAGAN
1. Set up box/stick/string
trap made famous in cartoons.
1. Approach Jess Ragan
1. Purchase roses.
1. Convince Jess Ragan that he
1. Go on a worldwide crusade
1. Sprinkle him with
1. Find him a woman (this may
take some time).
1. Dress up in a monkey
1. Throw him into the
1. Abduct him.
Jess Ragan may also be conquered using any of the methods previously revealed in the women or world conquest lists. Caution (Intimidator only): Always approach Jess Ragan wearing a lead-lined suit. It is rumored that he has finally mined the baneful Timtonite. Also beware of his band of jittery chickens.
So you want to be a hero. Yeah, well good luck. I've just returned from an ad infinitum search for the perfect hero gear. My friend, it's not cheap. You thought all you had to do was look good in spandex and be able to completely change your personality depending on who's writing you, but you're wrong. Any self-respecting hero of today wears gear.
Let's start with protection. You want to keep yourself in peak condition and unscathed in order to pick up the babes, so you'll need to be bullet-proofed. This is expensive. There are options, however. Bullet proof vests are bulky but effective. A slim fee of $500 will buy a decent one, and you might consider kevlar bike pants for that neo-nineties look. This body armor is fine for a start but you'll need something to bring the suit together. The Brits have designed a beautiful black sweater with patches and reinforced strtess pants which hides the armor well and gives you the dapper "James Bond" look. This can be found at most surplus stores for about forty dollars. Dark leather epilates would be a nice touch but use your own judgment. Metal meat cutters' mesh gloves and shark diving mesh pants give added protection against knives and arrows. They might be a little weighty, so give yourself a little time to build yourself up before wearing it all. Black armor would complete the "menacing/tough" look you'll need to intimidate villains away, as if seeing you lumber down an alley at them isn't going to scare them anyway.
This is a key factor in the hero business. Fighting is always a last resort because here in the real world heroes die, every day. You have almost no chance. Keep to the promotional aspects- modeling, posing with big weapons, doing commercials. If a conflict does occur your opponent will instinctively try to destroy your head. This is not good. A helmet is a definite must... black or mirrored chrome is preferable. This will be obtrusive and awkward; hearing devices should be installed.
So as you are dragging yourself blindly in the general direction of some activity that may be criminal you will probably be noticed by the cops. This too is not good. Cops hate vigilantes and they too will try to destroy your head. You will need a getaway vehicle... something all-terrain, fast and powerful with room for a sidekick or two. Something along the lines of a modified three wheel chopper (modified meaning a muffler and running boards). Also, you'll want to make it black, because today's heroes always wear black.
If you cannot avoid a confrontation, you don't want to be caught stumbling around in your two hundred pound armor, unable to run or fight, so you'll need weapons. Something quick and silent... you have two choices since guns are for wimps. A black bow and arrows for distance and a black Maul (sledge and axe combo) for up close and personal action. Both can be easily stored on the three wheel chopper. Small clam knives can be kept on or about your person with adhesive magnetic strips attached to your armor. They come in handy for throwing at people, dogs, rats, or for opening clams. Maybe you'll find a pearl and you can give up all this crazy, psychobabble of superheroism. Keep in mind, you're not alone... but you should be.