The year: 2050. The place: The Seattle mortuary. Two morticians carry a body to one of the drawers embedded in the wall. They speak briefly, revealing that the corpse, J. Armitage, fell victim to a group of hitmen. They leave the room, unaware that the morgue drawer is sliding open, and that the man called J. Armitage is somehow still alive...
And so opens quite possibly the best RPG of 1993, Shadowrun. You, as Jake Armitage, awaken with no memory and no possessions other than a matchbook. You must find out who you are, why someone is trying to kill you, and how to take out Drake, Inc., the megacorporation that has embedded its talons so deep into the city that no one can escape its influence.
Shadowrun is a fantastic cross between action RPGs like the Legend of Zelda and true RPGs such as Final Fantasy 2. There's lots of action as you move your character around, avoiding hitmen and stuff like that, but there's a lot of problem solving and messing around with the menus.
One of the best things about Shadowrun is its realism. The weapons you buy aren't the usual stuff you find in RPGs, like swords (which always seem to find their way in other allegedly futuristic RPGs), but instead are really cool firearms like heavy pistols and shotguns. One of the best things about the weapons is that the onscreen gunfire typical in video games (you know, the little spheres that travel about ten miles an hour) was replaced with bullets that move so fast you can't see them. When you fire at someone, you either hit or miss, depending on your character's skill. It is impossible to consciously dodge a bullet, although moving around unpredictably makes you harder to hit.
You can also learn magic. Your character follows the shamonic totem of Dog, and ultimately learns about seven spells. These include Freeze, which encases an opponent in a block of ice, and Invisibility, which makes you very difficult to hit. These spells are VERY handy, so don't think you'll survive long without them once you get further into the game. You have a limited number of spell points, though, so don't waste 'em.
Another great thing about Shadowrun is the character development system. Instead of using the idiotic experience points that you find in most RPGs, which allow you to move up levels, Shadowrun uses karma points, which you earn one at a time. These Karma points are used to make your character more powerful. "What's the difference?", you ask? YOU get to choose to spend those points on whatever character aspects you want! Should you make Jake stronger, or increase his charisma? Would a higher firearms skill be better than increasing your hit points by ten? The wrong decisions wouldn't be disasterous, but they could make your quest more difficult.
Shadowrun really hits the mark as far as graphics and sound are concerned. The graphics are very atmospheric and have lots of tiny details that you may not notice unless you look, like the bats flying around Dark Blade HQ, or the bit of flame that erupts from your gun when you fire it. The lighting is also surprisingly dramatic.
The sound is equally impressive. It does a fantastic job of setting the mood for most of the scenes, ranging from dark and forboding (like the graveyard) to upbeat (like some of the clubs you'll explore).
So what didn't I like about Shadowrun? There were a few things. I thought the fact that you can't shoot people while moving was ridiculous. They could easily have made this possible by allowing you to choose your target with the L and R buttons, instead of opting for the control pad. I also think that there is WAY too much slowdown, especially if you hire shadowrunners to give you a hand. Let me say right now that Nintendo was very stupid for not putting an acceptable processor into their Super NES.
Still, these are minor problems that do little to detract from a game as surprisingly groundbreaking as this one. If you like role playing games, don't even think of ignoring Shadowrun. It's the first REALLY good Super NES game to be released for over a year, and I hope to see many, many sequels to it. Do not pass this up under any circumstances.
Tom and Jerry is, quite plain and simply, a game that appears to have been designed by absolute morons. I almost can't believe that any company would dare produce such a cheaply done game! This is... is... hell, I don't know what it is!
The graphics look like they were done on an NES, or maybe a Commodore 64 (one without fancy touches like a color monitor, or else I'm sure the backgrounds would be better). The sound is equally primitive, and is just plain laughable at times.
The game's a side-scroller (yes, it's unoriginal, too). You play as Jerry, and at the end of every level, you face Tom in one of his many stupid incarnations. Tom does brainless things like drop sandbags on you, and looks like a complete fool.
The game isn't terribly difficult. I really hate that. I really hate this game in general. Don't buy this. The only good thing about Tom and Jerry is that it's sort of like a really bad sci-fi movie. You can sit around with all of your friends watching someone play it (ha ha haaa!) and think of witty, insulting comments to shout at the TV. Truly, Tom and Jerry is to video games what Plan Nine From Outer Space is to science fiction movies.
I really don't see why some people hate this game so much. I rented it for a couple of days, and had a blast playing it. The surprisingly original characters all have a good array of fairly unique attacks. The graphics are pretty good, and the sound is decent.
Eternal Champions' biggest flaw is its ludicrously high difficulty level. I mean, when I play a game, I want to have at least a glimmer of hope that I might finish it. Not here, though. In Eternal Champions, you don't just lose battles... you can lose the game! Every time you lose a match, they throw you back two previous matches, so you have to defeat those two opponents again. I can't believe how difficult this makes the game! I did get to the final boss, the Eternal Champion, ONCE, but he thrashed me in seconds, and the entire game was over. I didn't get pushed back; the game ENDED. Aaarrrrgghhh!!!!!
This game is a lot more fun with two players, since you actually have a chance of winning there. You can totally customize the two player game, deciding the number of bouts (up to 22!), whether or not special moves are available, and how much time you have in each round, among other things. Just one complaint: if the game is set on infinite special moves, whoever picks Trident WILL win. No question about it: He's got weapons like a full-body stun field, so if you attack him while it's activated, you're as good as dead.
Other than the difficulty, the only problem is with blocking, which just doesn't work right. I can practically be snapping the joystick in half from pressing backward, and my character STILL won't block an incoming kick.
Even with these seemingly overwhelming problems, I still found myself liking Eternal Champions enough to keep playing it, which I guess is a good sign. Try it out if you're not easily aggravated.
After all the hype, you'd think this game would have
something going for it. Strangely enough, though, it doesn't. It
doesn't even have a cool name. Clay Fighter... what kinda crappy name is
that for a game?
The flimsy reason given for the name is that clay models
were digitized to create the graphics. The gimmick partially succeeds, as
the characters all look excellent. The backgrounds are also pretty good
sometimes (but some of them really bite, too). So why wasn't I more
impressed with the graphics? Because the animation sucks big time! What is
this shit they're handing us? I've never seen such bad animation in a
fighting game! It's not the worst I've seen... well, actually, it is. Take
my word for it, this is really sucky animation. And what about the supposedly digitized sound? Well, they
did a good job with the digitization, I suppose. Too bad the stuff they
digitized was so lame, particularly the smack sound when you connect with
a hit. It's just pathetic. I don't even want to talk about some of the
music. The gameplay is the biggest crime of all. Why is it that the
only companies able to design a fighting game correctly are Crapcom and
SNK? It's impossible to pull off appreciable combination attacks in this
game! Basically you and your opponent just jump at each other, wildly
flailing your limbs and hoping one of them connects. After a while, you
stop caring who connects with their attacks because your mind is fixated
on one thing: "When is this going to end?" Don't even get me started on the fact that Interplay tried
to artificially extend the game by forcing you to fight your opponents
more than once. If overhyping games like this isn't a felony, it should be.
Clay Fighter is going to sell tons of copies, but it sure doesn't deserve
to. Don't buy this. Spend your money on something more fun, like triple
bypass surgery, a copy of Nintendo Power, or a frozen
After all the hype, you'd think this game would have something going for it. Strangely enough, though, it doesn't. It doesn't even have a cool name. Clay Fighter... what kinda crappy name is that for a game?
The flimsy reason given for the name is that clay models were digitized to create the graphics. The gimmick partially succeeds, as the characters all look excellent. The backgrounds are also pretty good sometimes (but some of them really bite, too). So why wasn't I more impressed with the graphics? Because the animation sucks big time! What is this shit they're handing us? I've never seen such bad animation in a fighting game! It's not the worst I've seen... well, actually, it is. Take my word for it, this is really sucky animation.
And what about the supposedly digitized sound? Well, they did a good job with the digitization, I suppose. Too bad the stuff they digitized was so lame, particularly the smack sound when you connect with a hit. It's just pathetic. I don't even want to talk about some of the music.
The gameplay is the biggest crime of all. Why is it that the only companies able to design a fighting game correctly are Crapcom and SNK? It's impossible to pull off appreciable combination attacks in this game! Basically you and your opponent just jump at each other, wildly flailing your limbs and hoping one of them connects. After a while, you stop caring who connects with their attacks because your mind is fixated on one thing: "When is this going to end?"
Don't even get me started on the fact that Interplay tried to artificially extend the game by forcing you to fight your opponents more than once.
If overhyping games like this isn't a felony, it should be. Clay Fighter is going to sell tons of copies, but it sure doesn't deserve to. Don't buy this. Spend your money on something more fun, like triple bypass surgery, a copy of Nintendo Power, or a frozen Fish-On-A-Stick.
KILL DENNIS CROWLEY!!!
Kill kill kill kill kill kill kill kill kill... Until recently, I haven't gotten any fanzines that I've actively DISLIKED, but now that I've seen a copy of Dystopia, I can honestly say that at least one 'zine has earned my total disdain.
Dennis, you see, is a craphead of the highest caliber. Normally, I would support anybody who stands up for his beliefs (within bounds of reason), but Dennis just pushes things too far. Dystopia features a totally unintelligible title, terrible writing, and features opinions by people of true stupidity. Just check out this quote, taken directly from a review of Mortal Kombat: "I've always hated this game. Ever since I saw all the overhyped digitization and that wretched block button..." Dennis goes on to write that he traded in his copy of NHL Stanley Cup Hockey, along with Street Fighter 2, for a copy of Mortal Kombat... EVEN THOUGH HE ALREADY KNEW HE HATED THE GAME! If that's not true stupidity, I don't know what is. Dennis also spends a lot of time bashing Josh Lesnick for giving Dystopia a bad review in Video Apocalypse, a 'zine that, by any definition, is about a million times better than this.
VIDEO GAME RATINGS: WILL THEY
VIDEO GAME RATINGS: WILL THEY
I almost can't believe it. Sega and Nintendo have actually agreed on something. Unfortunately, what they've agreed on is a ratings system for video games. Here we go again.
The idea for implementing a ratings system can ultimately be traced back to Congress. They threatened to make ratings mandatory if the game companies didn't decide on a system themselves. So, Sega and Nintendo got together to talk about it. They decided to continue using the system first devised by Sega.
Sega's ratings come in three levels: GA (General Audiences), MA-13 (Mature Audiences over 13), and MA-17 (Mature Audiences over 17). They were stamped on all of Sega's games starting about four months ago. They were, however, just fancy dressing for the game boxes because the Sega's games rarely had any content that would warrant a rating over GA. For the most part, they're meant to shut up the ranting, raving, and generally stupid parents groups that think video games are the root of all evil.
(One news report about violent video games had a woman saying, "How would you like your daughter going out with a boy who had just spent an hour playing one of those games?" Don't worry, lady. If he's going to kill anybody, it'll probably be you.)
Coincidentially, these ratings will not be seen on the other side of the Pacific (Japan, stupid!). This is because Japanese parents aren't desperately looking for something to blame for society's problems. They accept the problems and try to fix them, while American parents just panic and look frantically for a scapegoat.
But back to the ratings system. While Sega and Nintendo have agreed on this, various other companies haven't. They expect Atari, 3DO, and TTi to fall in line eventually, but whether they actually will or not is anybody's guess.
Will the ratings work? No. All they'll succeed in doing will be making the game players mad. The parents' groups still won't shut up. Kids won't be able to buy the games they want. The ratings will be nothing but a marketing tool that will more than likely backfire.
Technically, stores aren't supposed to keep kids from buying an MA-17 game or anything like that. This won't make much of a difference, though. Many parents will decide to take the ratings literally, and not allow their kids to buy a perfectly acceptable game (look in the letters section of the January '94 issue of Sega Visions for a good example of this).
Let's face it, people, game ratings are a joke, just like movie ratings. There is no reason to have them. Some people argue that they're to help give parents an idea of what they're buying for their kids. I have news for them: the pictures on the back of game boxes do the same thing! Think about it.
NINTENDO'S NEXT AD CAMPAIGN STRUTS ITS
NINTENDO'S NEXT AD CAMPAIGN STRUTS ITS
THE TRUTH ABOUT THE OTHER GUYS
In reality, the Super Nintendo Entertainment System is the only real game system. You may not realize it, but other rumored systems like Sega's Genesis and Atari's Jaguar don't really exist. They are a cruel hoax, designed to disorient and confuse you. You see, everyone on the fact of the planet is out to "get" you. Sega, Atari, TTi, and others have paid off almost everyone but you, hoping to brainwash you and turn you into their slave, so that you can peddle their insidious lies to everyone you know.
You may not believe us, but that is only because the Other's lies have started to worm their way into your subconcious. You may have gone to a friend's house and played a "game" on his or her Genesis before, but in reality, all you did was stare at a blank screen while they hypnotized you into thinking you were playing a video game. In fact, Sega's mascot, who appears as a blue hedgehog in several different "games", is actually the pagan idol worshipped by all the blasphemous heathens who have been taken by the Other Side.
This, friends, is why you must invest in a Super Nintendo Entertainment System. You must help to finance this great fight against evil. It is your duty, your mission, your destiny and purpose to help Nintendo, the only ray of gleaming truth in all the lands. We are like a breath of fresh air, like a single ray of light in the vast darkness, for it is Nintendo, and only Nintendo, who remains totally untouched. You may seek salvation in any one of the other, newer, more cutting edge "game systems", but your salvation will not last, for within weeks they will be brought into the fold. Only Nintendo is the true savior.
Do not attempt to act alone. Even now, as you read this, one of the disciples of Sega may be watching you. It may be your best friend, your parents, or even the family pet... their dark powers are beyond your wildest nightmares. Join out legions of goodness, and show your true love of your family, country, and world.
WHAT MAKES NINTENDO AND ITS ALLIES SO GREAT?
We designed the Super Nintendo Entertainment System with expansion in mind. That is why we have so many different chips designed to take the workload off the Super Nintendo's CPU. It's not a design flaw, but an advantage, because it helps us control out allies more efficiently. If we didn't use expensive add-on chips, our allies might be infected by the Others.
You can also forget the nasty rumors that all the other "systems", including the Turbografx-16, have more efficient processors than our incredible system. You see, our system is actually faster than the Genesis and the Jaguar... just look at the math for proof.
* Alleged specifications
SMALL CHILDREN: QUESTION YOUR PARENTS' LOVE!
That's right, kids. Simply ask your parents for a Super Nintendo Entertainment System. If they agree to buy one, it means they feel you're truly special, and deserving of such a prize. However, if they don't buy you one, it actually means that you're adopted and they secretly hate you. Don't take this kind of treatment!!! Yell, scream, and throw a tantrum. Soon, they'll start to show how much they dislike you by telling you to stop. If they refuse to give in after several hours, here's what to do: Go to the phone and use the little buttons to dial 911, then tell the nice person who answers that your parents hate you and don't want you anymore. You'll then be sent to a whole new home with nice parents who WILL buy you a Super Nintendo. If the new parents don't buy you one, simply repeat the process. You'll know you've found a truly happy home when your new parents invest in the future- a Super Nintendo Entertainment System!
WHY THE SUPER NINTENDO?
* It has a drab, flat control deck which reduces glare, unlike sleek shiny consoles such as the Genesis, TurboDuo, and Jaguar... light reflecting from their smooth black surfaces can be distracting or even blinding.
* Lots of games you can't find anywhere else, like Total Carnage and T*HQ's long line of hits. Not to mention High Tech Expressions' critically acclaimed Tom and Jerry.
* A control pad with more than 100 different button combinations, unlike the Genesis' joypad, which has only three buttons.
* Only on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System can you find an awesomely cool overweight plumber as a mascot.
* The Super Nintendo even has an eject button that no one ever actually uses! Where else can you find such exotic frills?
WE ARE NINTENDO. REVERE AND WORSHIP US.
THE TYPICAL LETTER TO NINTENDO
THE TYPICAL LETTER TO NINTENDO
Dear Nintendo Power,
The other day I was in my room, when my parents shoved my new Nintendo Power under the door. When I opened it, Yoshi jumped out and started to eat my table. I told him not to but he did anyway. When he was done, we both agreed that Nintendo games are the best, and that all the other systems out there are bad. I really like my Super NES. Yoshi does too.
Then, Mario jumped out of my Nintendo Power. I really LOVE Mario. He's just the coolest video game hero in the entire universe. For awhile, I thought I was in heaven, because I fell asleep and saw Mario fly in through my window. Gosh Mario is so dreamy.
FUN THINGS TO DO TODAY
FUN THINGS TO DO TODAY
1. Locate several dead rodents, package them in a compact box, and mail them to any company that is producing a video game with a small, furry protagonist. Just say no.
2. Insect politics.
3. Tape Goof Troop and play it backwards to see if you can find any Satanic messages.
4. Drink lots of water, then swallow a fish. Does it swim?
Special thanx to Will for suggesting #3. What's the deal with Quartermann and insect politics, anyway?
1. We are Nintendo... Thou shalt take no other company before us.
2. Thou shalt not make unto Nintendo any graven image.
3. Thou shalt not take the name of Nintendo harshly.
4. Remember the day Nintendo was founded, to keep it celebrated.
5. Honor thy NES and GameBoy.
6. Thou shalt not destroy any Nintendo product, mascot, or insignia.
7. Thous shalt not own any game system but Nintendo's.
8. Thou shalt not borrow or rent any Nintendo product.
9. Thou shalt not claim that other systems are good.
10. Thou shalt not covet any product not manufactured by Nintendo.
I liked Midway. I trusted Midway. And even after I came to the realization that all game companies are evil, I sucked up to Midway. I gushed like hell over Mortal Kombat 2. But damn it, Midway, you're NOT God! And I don't like NBA Jam! C'mon, Midway! You wanna piece of me? Mortal Kombat 2... it's flawed, man! It's not fair! And it's not just the same crap I keep whining about! Sure, there's cheap throws aplenty, but that's not it! You can beat the CPU just by getting close and foot sweeping your ass off! It's just plain wrong! And about them thar fatalities. On The Pit 2, The Spiked Ceiling, and The Sewer (and maybe more...), you can do a stage fatality like in the original Mortal Kombat's Pit. But it's a seperate fatality FOR EACH CHARACTER!!!!! Goddamn you Midway, what the hell kinda snotbrained bullshit is THAT!?!?! Wasn't the whole POINT of the Pit the fact that you could humiliate your adversary without memorizing some kind of cockamamie control sequence!!!!???? [Going a little heavy on the punctuation there, eh, Brian? -ed.] But nooooo... in MK2 you have to hold block and tap up until your wrist joint becomes inflamed then hit down 600 times and then up right left up with your hand that's not twisted and bleeding then hit the "lowish kick to the right shin" button, all so you can belt some dickweed into a few metal spikes. WELL LA DEE FRICKIN' DAH!!! Okay, MIDWAY, I'll buckle to your mad whims, your lunatic desires that become our laws. I'll memorize your insaaaane fatalities so I don't look like a jackass when I play Mortal Kombat 2. I'll rip some dork's head off, I'll flamebroil my enemy until they turn into NICE LITTLE BITE SIZED CHUNKLETS, but I'll be DAMNED if I'm gonna give myself arthritis just to belt some overweight pimple-faced teenaged twit (I'm describing myself here) who practically LIVES in the arcade and who will never know the touch of a woman off some bridge so I can see him squirm and go SPLAT. NO, Midway, NO! I'm rebelling! You say you want a revolution? Well let's start by RIPPING out the MK2 chip boards like a spinal cord and take 'em to that gimp everyone knows who can program stuff and has some ridiculously customized PC clone (oops, better make that compatible! He just HATES when you call it a clone!) and is on like EVERY net in the space/time continuum and of course is the biggest Trekkie, OOPS! TREKKER in the duh, known universe and have him reprogram the sonofabitch so you don't have to give yourself a severe sprain just to clobber somebody you would RUN FROM ON THE STREET into a sewer and watch his skin boil off. OOOOH, sign me up for THAT!!! Am I joking? Oh, lord no. Am I writing a well researched and thought out article? Probably not. Do as I say. DO AS I SAY. Join us...
Well, that's all the space The Man let me have (I've always wanted to say that even though I haven't the figgiest idea what it means) so until next time, I sing whatever I sing whatever I sing...
I hate Marvel! God, they're pathetic. X-Men and Wolverine are just as late as any Image comic. Their artists suck. They have no potential because their writers suck and their artists are worthless. Worst of all, their characters are wimps! They could get taken down by third graders!
I'm glad Scott Summers is dying. I hope he dies a slow, painful death. Gruesome. And I hope Jean Grey, Jubilee, and Wolverine go along with 'em [I thought you liked Wolverine... -ed.].
I'm really gettin' annoyed by Wolverine. He's got all these bad acid trips with spikes comin' outta him. What bugs me most about Wolverine and almost all Marvel characters is when they get some AWESOME powers or somethin', they start to worry about their "dark side" and about killing people. If I had their powers, I'd just let my dark side loose and start to kill anyone who bothered me.
And then there's Marvel's villains: they've got awesome ones like Sabretooth and Carnage, but when they're about to kill a bunch of worthless people or somethin' they get all moral and stop or they decide not to kill their opponent because "you're (they're) such an honorable foe" or something to that effect. Or they get stomped on by some worthless little punk like Jubilee, or some stupid little kid throws a rock at 'em and they die.
Of course, nobody in a Marvel comic stays dead anyways, and that REALLY bugs me. I mean, Jean Grey's died about 500,000 times. Then, like, the heroes will get shot at point blank range with a bazooka and they'll just get up and say, "Oh, Professor X, I'm hurt!" Then the Professor will start whining about "the dream".
I HATE "the dream"! I'd like to kill Xavier in his sleep, all because of his damned dream. I'd take a nice little chainsaw to his bald head.
If Cyclops' optic blast is so powerful (I read in some X-Men comic that "It can level mountains"), then how come he opens his eyes as wide as he can and only shoots a beam that would knock a little six year old down? I mean, he punches through steel in one page, and then shoots somebody in the head in the next without doing more damage than knocking them down. GET REAL!!!
Of course, if he DID kill somebody, he'd sit around and whine about it for eight years. We'd never hear the end of it. "I killed... I took a life... waaahhhh!" And of course, Jean would be cryin' right along with him. I'd like to feed those two through my mom's garbage disposal.
The only good Marvel character I can actually stand is Deadpool [Travis is lying here, folks. He also likes Death's Head 2. Well, he liked him in the limited series. -ed.]. He used to be tough and pound on everybody, but now he's lightened up a little and nobody can draw him right.
I do like Image comics, though. The Maxx is pretty tough [YEAH!!!!! -ed.]. Of course, I'd like to SHOOT whoever cancelled Stupid. The only problem here is that I can't understand Youngblood. At all. I hadn't heard of Image until about six months ago 'cause I've only been reading comics for about eight months, so I'm a little lost.
My favorite comic is WildCats. The only problem with the characters is that they all look like hybrids of Marvel heroes, but otherwise they're cool... except when Jae Lee does the penciling. I HATE JAE LEE!!!!! I can draw better than he can and I can barely write my name legibly.
Dr. Wu should be chainsawed. I'd like to beat Dr. Wu to death with Snale-Eee.
I hate Superman. How pathetic. Like anybody thought he'd stay dead. The people who run DC are nothing but money grubbing slug with bad artists and even worse writers. They should hire Jae Lee.
I'll bet they all watch Barney. That worthless purple menace. I'd like about five minutes alone with him, armed with a baseball bat and a chainsaw. I'd like to murder everyone on his show. They're all little fat kids who are illiterate and more stupid than rocks. God, they're all idiots. I mean, what? AIRPLANE! Then they spread their arms out like idiots and run around. They'll do anything that damn dinosaur says. "Stand in front of a bullet train!" They would.
I really hate that Lucy chick. She's what, twenty? And her only friends are illiterate little kindergarteners [I should point out here that more kindergarteners can't read. -ed.].
Hey! Jeff! What's "anti-phil" mean? Anything to do with the lead singer of Pantera? Or is it just Donohue?
Well, I have to quit now.