This is the best racing game out there, no contest. You get eight racers to choose from, including the 'Bros, Toad, and evil King Bowser. The tracks range from meadows with tranquil ponds to beaches, and I mean on the beach, to mud slides. There are three sets of tracks and two speed levels, 50cc and the much tougher 100cc. Take first place in all three sets in the 100cc mode and you get a special cup race, with five more extremely challenging tracks. Claim first place here and you move on to a 150cc set. Talk about a game that keeps on giving; this one never lets up!
All this is set in a scenic Marioish setting, complete with item boxes that net you loads of power-ups like mushrooms, stars, and Koopa shells.
If you want a break from the racing heat, there's also the one-on-one mode, time trials, and the hilarious Battle mode, where you and a bud chase each other around a maze trying to pop balloons that are tied to your karts.
The split screen action is fast, with no slowdown or flicker. Keep 'em comin', Nintendo! How about a 16-bit Metroid while you're at it? I highly recommend Super Mario Kart to anyone who likes fun, well-made games.
And now for something really special. Every once in a while, hopefully a great while, a game comes along that makes you wonder how it got on store shelves and out of the sewer where it belongs. The Big Cheese Award goes to the absolute worst game I've played recently. Luckily, games like this don't come out very often, 'cause the companies know we don't shell out for games that suck.
This game sucks. I almost bought it after reading a rave review in GamePro. That dude Gideon musta been playin' blind.
I'm a Spider-Man fan. I like the X-Men, too. This game fails to capture the spirit of any of those characters. The sprites are small, and their weapons look lame and come equipped with very cheesy sound effects. Spidey's spider-sense noise gets the Top Cheese billing for the game's most annoying, grating sound effect.
The stages are long but they are frustrating. I thought I was never going to get to the end of Wolverine's first stage because I kept going through the same places for a very long time. When I finally reached the end, I wished I hadn't. The boss was one of Marvel's oldest and most powerful villains, Apocalypse. However, here he was reduced to a crappy looking blue and purple figure which was barely larger than Wolvie. He hopped around like an ape with a banana up its... well, you get the picture.
Another bit of bad judgment, aside from taking some of Marvel's mightiest heroes and turning them into wimpy losers, is the lack of a password or battery save feature. Add that to the three lives/no continues format and you get a game that is both frustrating and not much fun to play. Only sadists will want to start at the beginning each time they play this bomb.
This game has one good quality: the music ain't half bad. Someone should tell LJN that we don't buy games to jam to the tunes while we do something more exciting, like watching paint dry. Trust me on this one, you have to be blind to enjoy this game.
We play games because they're fun. You guys at LJN seem to think that just because you have a big name license you can't go wrong. You bombed with Freddy and Jason already. When are you going to learn? You've proven somehow that you're a mainstay in the industry, so please listen to your customers. Better luck next time.
Working Designs is a good game designer, and probably TTi's best licensee. Their translation of Cadash was very good and Parasol Stars is a fun little game with a cartoony twist.
This game is like Bubble Bobble and Snow Bros. in that each area consists of several one screen sections in which you must beat all of the enemies to advance (like those games, the two player simultaneous mode is definitely the way to go). Each level ends in the traditional boss encounter.
The characters are amusingly cartoonish and well-drawn.
I think this game is a sleeper, which has obviously not met with much success. I recently saw it priced at $9.99. It's definitely worth that meager price. If you can find a copy at that price, pick it up. For ten bucks you can't be disappointed.
PAT PUTS A DEBATE TO REST...
PAT PUTS A DEBATE TO REST...
I will now attempt to explain which heldheld game system is the best, and why. No beating around the bush here, but keep in mind that this is my opinion. The Gamelord doesn't need to keep the companies happy by not coming down on their systems too hard or not declaring a single winner.
Let's look at the choices: TTi's TurboExpress, Nintendo's GameBoy, Atari's Lynx, and Sega's Game Gear.
I'm going to negate the TurboExpress from the start. Yeah, it's obviously technologically superior to the other handhelds, and it plays 16-bit quality games, but anyone who drops $200 on this portable is an idiot. I'm sorry, but it's just the truth. The original TurboGrafx-16 is down to $50 and the Genesis and Super Nintendo are both under $100. Nobody needs to blow so much dough on a handheld, unless they have absolutely no life whatsoever. Buy a TurboGrafx-16 and three or four good games for the same price and play on a real television set for God's sake! Get the price of this monster under $100, TTi... it makes no sense to sell your CD-ROM add-on for less than your portable.
On to the Lynx. This system's software support is virtually nonexistant. Despite impressive early efforts like Blue Lightning the number of releases have steadily gone downhill fast. Unless Atari turns it around this unit is going the way of the dodo. Forget it.
Okay, on to the Game Gear. This is a better value than the previous two, and definitely the best color handheld on the market. However, unless you enjoy playing severely downgraded versions of Genesis games, you'd be much better off buying a Genesis and forgetting the portable scene altogether. But if you just have to have your Sega games on the go, the Game Gear is not a bad system. This is not the portable for me, however, because it's priced a bit too high and has only average softs.
Well, avid gamers, if you haven't guessed by now, yours truly is a GameBoy fan. Three reasons: price, titles, and fun. GameBoy is the least expensive of the lot, as are its games. Price should be a serious consideration if you're a serious gamer. Handhelds are secondary to full-blown game consoles and are more useful on trips. Those who spend more on their handhelds than their console systems, do whatever you want; you're beyond my help. Just remember this: Capcom, Konami, Sunsoft, Nintendo. Mega Man, Simon Belmont, Blaster Master, Mario. Enough said.
The most important factor to any gamer is the fun factor. As far as I'm concerned, the GameBoy wins here hands down. Sure, Mr. X, it's black and white, and the screen blurs some, but who cares? To rate a game on the limitations of its software is wrong. GameBoy has the best games, period.
AWESOME ARCADE ACTION
AWESOME ARCADE ACTION
For the first installment of Arcade Action, I'm gonna do another top ten list to let you all know what I'm playin' when I make the trip down to Fun Factory. Lately there hasn't been much good stuff in the coin-op realm, but as you'll see, I like some golden oldies as well.
PAT'S CURRENT FAVORITE COIN-OPS
1. Mortal Kombat: This is the best of the recent flood of Street Fighter II rip-offs. With the big N's strict policies on violence, I'm bettin' on the Sega CD version of this one to hit the mark on the home front. The death moves add a unique touch to the play, and they're gruesome to watch. I like Sub-Zero's the best. Liu Kang is my fave character, because he looks and sounds like the great Bruce Lee.
2. Street Fighter II Turbo: Yes, thanks to EGM, Street Fighter II is way overhyped, but EGM's coverage of the game started way too late. I was playing the original SFII almost a year before EGM finally caught on and started talking about it. The point is, this game was great on its own a long time before EGM publicized it. Anybody who thinks its popularity is due solely to that mag is dead wrong.
3. Lethal Enforcers: I don't usually like gun games, but I like Konami's latest entry. The digitization and voice really help make it realistic. That digitization thing seems to be catching out there; let's hope some of these great coin-ops find their way home via CD-ROM.
4. Ms. Pac-Man: Yeah, it's old, but I love this game, and I'm good at it. The best of the Pac games, and the only game I can think of where you're forced to play as a female.
5. Fatal Fury: Of the three fighting games SNK rushed onto the scene in the wake of Street Fighter II, this is the best and most original. The two-on-one gang up on the enemy feature is a unique extra. Only three characters to choose from is a minor drawback, but it helps that each character has a slew of special moves.
6. Aero Fighters: This is a great shooter, the best I've played in a long time. I like how the bonus points are shown as your country's currency. Great graphics, challenging play, and intense weapons, as well as two player action, make this the shooter to beat.
7. Captain Commando: The futuristic version of Final Fight! I like Ginzu the Ninja, 'cause he chops people in half with all the gory detail you'd want (unless you're a Mortal Kombat fanatic).
8. The Art of Fighting: The quest storyline of this Street Fighter II take-off is kind of original, as are the secret death blows which take half of your opponent's life bar. The zoom feature is annoying, but the challenge is way up there. Look for severe similarities to SFII, however. Again, only two characters to choose from in the one player mode was a bad move on SNK's part.
9. X-Men: The biggest Double Dragon-type fighting game ever made, with two screens and six players at once in the deluxe version. It's best with all six players, and great if you're an X-Men fan. Translate this one to the Super NES and Genesis, Konami; it's a sure thing.
10. World Heroes: This game might as well have a sticker on it that says "Street Fighter II with different graphics". I can't count all the similarities. It's on my list because fighting games are my favorites. Also, the Bruce Lee wannabee character, Dragon, is pretty cool. Can all Chinese martial artists jump off walls? The game is too easy, as I beat it the first time I played it. If you play Street Fighter II you already know all the moves.
IN MY OPINION...
IN MY OPINION...
The Nintendo/Sega war has been great for us gamers. During the summer drought of good Genesis games, the big N pushed through Street Fighter II and Super Mario Kart, and fall saw the incredible Super Star Wars from JVC. Sega took the Christmas season with awesome stuff like Sonic 2 and Streets of Rage 2. If you own both systems, it was a virtual buffet of hits.
If you want to see a good action movie watch The Killer, directed by John Woo. It's about a Chinese hitman who wants out. These guys don't know the meaning of conservation of ammunition, as bad guys often get shot seven or eight times before they hit the ground. It's the best action flick I've seen in a long time.
Sega pulled a real cheap shot with their recent blast processing commercial. Whose idiot idea was it to put Streets of Rage 2 and Ecco the Dolphin up against Super Mario Kart and then boast about speed and "blast processing"? Super Mario Kart is a racing game that moves much faster than those games do. And what the hell is blast processing, anyway? Sega doesn't need to stoop so low to prove they make great games. I own all of those games and I know that they are all great. Sega's ad campaign in the game magazines is very good, however.
Dizzy Gillespie died at age 75 last week. He was the only man I could ever respect for his ability to blow. Seriously, music has lost a genius. Rest in peace.
I don't know if I'm the only one who thinks Sushi-X should lay off of the GameBoy a bit. I mean, really, have you read his recent GameBoy reviews? They're about two sentences of substance followed by three or four lines of whining about the limitations of the system. Excuse me, Mr. X, we all read what you thought of the GameBoy back in the EGM Buyers' Guide. Game reviews are to review the game, not the system.
Was Bill Kunkel sleeping when he reviewed Mega Man III for the GameBoy in the February issue of Electronic Games? I respect all the older pros who write for the prozines, especially Katz, Kunkel, and Worley. I have every issue of Video Games and Computer Entertainment and I think EG is an excellent electronic gaming mag, the most well-rounded one out there. Just be careful to know what you're playing before you write about it.
I'm pumped for ToeJam and Earl 2. The first game was a riot of a two player quest. Matt and I are planning on beating it again in preparation for number two. Talk about your long games, we average about three hours to finish that baby!
I'm a big fan of Japanese animation and comics. I think TTi's TurboDuo games look more promising than Sega's for fans of that anime' look. Just look at the cinemas in Cosmic Fantasy 2 and you'll see what I mean. For some reason, many great looking Japanese-style Genesis games stay in Japan while TTi ports everything over to the Turbo. Time Gal for the Sega CD looks good, though.
Remember, don't be shy about telling me how you feel about GameLord. Just remember that it's pretty much a forum for spreading my opinions about gaming and to have as much fun as I can while doing it! Until next issue... never give up.
GAMELORD'S TOP TEN GAMES
GAMELORD'S TOP TEN GAMES
Each issue of GameLord will feature several top ten lists. I don't want them to be all my own personal opinions, so send your own personal top tens. Let gamers everywhere know what you like or don't like. Anything remotely game related is accepted.
Since this is issue one, these are all my own opinions. This is a good time to let you all know what I like. If you don't agree with me, no big deal... send a list of your own. Everyone's entitled to their opinion. On with the show.
MY TEN CURRENT FAVORITE GAMES
1. STREET FIGHTER II (Capcom, Super NES): I've been playing this game since it first appeared in my local arcade in April of '91 and I'm still playing it on my Super NES. 'Nuff said.
2. STREETS OF RAGE 2 (Sega, Genesis): This is the biggest and baddest Genesis cart to date. It is the Double Dragon of the 90's and the fighting game to beat. Heck, my girlfriend even likes it; playing Streets of Rage 2 is one of the few things she begs me to do.
3. MEGA MAN 5 (Capcom, NES): He's cool, he's tough, and he's been around for five years.
4. ECCO THE DOLPHIN (Sega, Genesis): It's fun and challenging, and sports beautiful graphics and animation. Besides, everyone knows dolphins are smarter than we are anyway, so everyone should make games with dolphins as heroes instead of humans.
5. SUPER STAR WARS (JVC, Super NES): The best movie to game translation ever made. I still like the original arcade game a lot, too.
6. SUPER MARIO KART (Nintendo, Super NES): This game is pure undiluted fun in the two player mode, and the battle mode is side-splitting.
7. OUT OF THIS WORLD (Interplay, Super NES): Wow. The graphics and sounds in this game are breathtaking at times, and always incredible and unique. My only complaint is that it's too easy, but I play it just to watch the animation and cinemas. Truly original.
8. ROAD RASH II (Electronic Arts, Genesis): The first game was very good and the sequel has better control and two player simultaneous play. What could be more fun than knocking your bud off his cycle at 120mph?
9. BATTLETOADS (Tradewest, NES): Great two player action and charismatic toad heroes. Who says you can't have warts all over and be cool?
10. MEGA MAN III (Capcom, GameBoy): It's the best for GameBoy, but I hardly ever play my GameBoy. More games like this will keep the system alive for a long time.
WHAT'S UP WITH THAT?
WHAT'S UP WITH THAT?
Tongue of the Fatman, aka Mondu's Fight Palace, aka Slaughtersport got passed around more times than a puck in NHL Hockey. When it finally got put on store shelves by Razorsoft it still sucked!!!
Yeah, it's a comic section in a gaming 'zine. Since the two often go hand in hand and I'm a fan of both, I thought it fitting. Even if you don't like comic books, you can often tell what's coming to the home game systems by looking at what's hot in comics. Case in point: Spider-Man and The X-Men. Unfortunately, sometimes the companies get the idea that a hot title alone will sell itself. Sega's X-Men looks very promising, though.
My favorite comic at present is Ranma 1/2. All you avid EGM readers have at least heard of the title. Irem is reportedly bringing this hot fighting game to the states. If it's as much fun to play as the comic is to read, it'll be a hit. If you want a preview of this awesome manga series get down to your local comic shop and pick up a copy of part two, which VIZ International just started in January.
Another good Japanese comic book is Akira, although it looks like Epic stopped production of its stunning computer colored translation of Katsuhiro Otomo's epic tale. The movie is a must-see and a good English language version was released by Streamline Video, the same guys who brought the Zillion cartoons to US TV screens. Akira is available for rental at several VideoTyme locations in my area, and can be bought at Suncoast Video or better comic shops.
Fist of the North Star is another title familar to gamers. In fact, an early Genesis game called Last Battle was actually a Fist game in Japan. All the characters are there, but the names were changed. Fist is also on video in the states, and I highly recommend it, as long as you can stomach ultraviolent action.
American comics are really lacking, what with our superhero fixation. Image Comics' new line is entirely superhero based, and only a couple, Jim Lee's WildCats and Silvestri's Cyberforce are worth a look. Don't buy into the Rob Liefeld hype; this guy really sucks.
My favorite American comic is Groo the Wanderer by Sergio Aragones, that guy who does those marginal drawings in MAD Magazine. I've been reading Groo since 1985, and I think it's hilarious. It's approaching number 100 in a couple months, so that would be a great time to introduce yourself to this wildly original comic book. I'm still waiting for a game, though.
Marvel UK titles have just arrived, and they should have stayed in the UK.
Crying Freeman is a good Japanese comic, and is steadily progressing toward the realm of porn, even though the American version is edited and retouched. Kazuo Koike has done better things, and I still can't believe that First cancelled his epic Lone Wolf and Cub after only 45 of the complete 110 issue run that they had planned. Looks like I'm gonna have to buy the Japanese version if I want to know how it all turns out.
The Konami X-Men arcade machine is pretty good, especially if you get five friends to play with you. If Konami translates it to the Genesis and Super NES they'll have a winner on their hands.
Back to Fist of the North Star. The Super Famicom has number six of this series already and we American gamers haven't seen one (unless you include the less than spectacular NES game). Do they suck or do American companies think we don't like games like that? There are a lot of fans of manga and anime' over here and we like to see geniune Japanese games, like many of the TurboGrafx-16's cards. Ninja Spirit wasn't even translated to English! Cool!
That's it for this section, folks. Write and tell me what you're reading and why.