Super Bowling, possibly the newest bowling game around (until Mentrix brings out their Genesis bowling game, at any rate), is also undoubtedly one of the best. Although not outstanding, the game's unique graphics and animation help add to its fun character. The gameplay is outstanding... in fact, it makes the game almost too easy- its only real flaw. All things considered, Super Bowling is a great game, and incredibly fun. It's a definite must rent.
Well, by now I'm sure you've all been heavily deluged with reviews of Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Nevertheless, I'll throw 'ya another one. In this adventure, Sonic has to free everybody (duh) with the help of his new friend Tails. All right, so how is this game different from the first Sonic? First and foremost, Tails is included, as is a two player simultaneous mode, and there's improved graphics 'n such. Gameplay is likewise much improved with some cool new maneuvers such as the spin dash. Now, although the two player mode is cool, and great fun, be forewarned that it is loaded with slowdown, and its graphics are kinda small. Still, this is only a small flaw in an overall outstanding game. Sonic 2 really is the creme de la creme, and Genesis players are heartily advised to snatch it up.
Dracula: The Undead is a great Lynx game which represents, in my opinion, one of the biggest leaps forward in Lynx programming. That said, it surprised me to find out that this game was programmed by Hand Made Software, maker of many other Lynx titles either already available or soon to be released. At any rate, the best thing about Dracula is its fantastic graphics- they're truly outstanding. Done in a dark tone and with a great deal of detail, they really convey the feeling of a great old movie. The gameplay is also excellent. Dracula plays similarly to Maniac Mansion, kind of a cross between an RPG and a puzzler. You must wander out and about Dracula's castle, searching for items and clues, and discovering how to use them. Fortunately, the castle is large, and the quest ominous, ie this game will not be beaten easily. In fact, one of the worst things about Dracula is there's no battery back-up, or even a password feature. This only takes away from the game, and lengthens the already long playing sessions unnecessarily. All things considered, Dracula: The Undead is a great game for the Lynx... I highly recommend it despite its high price tag. Don't come looking for a pure RPG, however... that's just a Lynx owner's dream (or at least my dream, at any rate).
This new game by SNK for the Neo-Geo is one of the newer attempts at a wrestling game I've seen in arcades. The problem with 3 Count Bout isn't with either its graphics or gameplay; they're both cool. The problem is that this game really can't make up its mind: is it a Street Fighter II clone or a wrestling game? No, really. Y'see, in professional wrestling, no one kicks nearly as much as in this game (they do, however, perform drop kicks, but that's ENTIRELY different), and rarely punches. However, in 3 Count Bout, kicks and punches make up the majority of the attacks. Do not fret, however, for SNK has also managed to redeem this game to some extent, through the inclusion of such moves as power slams, belly to back suplexes, and piledrivers, primarily as power moves. The most redeeming quality of this game is the two player versus competition, and this is where the game really shines, with a variety of different wrestlers and matches, such as street and death matches. The death and street matches are particularly cool, adding great variety and most importantly fun to the game. All things considered, this is a great game to toss a few quarters into, but definitely ain't worth the $200 for the home Neo-Geo cartridge.
So, you're a disillusioned Lynx fan, claiming abandonment by Atari and most stores. Well, take heart, friend, for Beyond Games is here to help. Y'see, they've released Battlewheels, one of those games that makes yours truly want to stand up and cheer. This is one of the best games ever released for the Lynx, and certainly is among the most enjoyable. The purpose of this game is to get a set number of kills by fighting in an (extremely) heavily armed demolition derby of sorts. The amount of options to choose from is a definite plus... everything from your opponent's skill level to the arena you're fighting in. Speaking of the arenas, there are sixteen different ones, and for the most part, they're unique and quite detailed. Check out the Dust Bowl and Power Plant to see what I mean. Throughout, the graphics are outstanding, and the sound's quite good, too. Along with all this, the game's incredibly fun. What can I say? There's nothing more humorous than setting "runners" as your enemies and running 'em down with your car. As you might imagine, I heartily recommend this game to all Lynx owners. If you don't get it, you'll never see what the Lynx (and Beyond Games) is STILL capable of doing.
ADMIT ONE... HAVE A BLAST IN THE
ADMIT ONE... HAVE A BLAST IN THE
Deep in the heart of St. Louis, Missouri, not far from the famed Gateway Arch, lies what may be considered a video gamer's dream. This amazing institution of gaming is The National Video Game and Coin-Op Museum, and is truly not to be missed.
The primary center of focus of the museum is the evolution of arcade games, rather than home video game systems. This, however, comes out as a strength rather than a weakness. Machines dating back to the Pong era (and before that, even) are available for open play, for merely the cost of a quarter. Sadly, Pong was not on display when I visited the museum (I suspect it was being repaired, or possibly loaned out). Many of the more historically relevant games have a small metallic plaque by them describing their origin and relevant information about the games. Pinball machines are also widespread in the museum, and various other coin operated games are also spotlighted, though to a lesser extent. Perhaps the best way to think of all this is an arcade, with only older classic games. And what a fine batch of games they are.
Accompanying me on my trip was my infamous colleague, the Masked Avenger. As was inevitable, I suppose, we both took to certain games as our favorites, though almost all of them were thoroughly enjoyed (though not quite all). Among the most well received games were those featuring vector graphics. Noteable among these was Atari's Battlezone (1980). This game truly was outstanding. Unique controls as well as fantastic three-dimensional graphics made this tank simulator a real hit with both of us. Sega's (at least, I believe it was Sega's) Star Wars is another excellent game with vector graphics. This was one hell of a fine first person shooter, in which you had to do such things as shoot down Tie Fighters and targets in the Death Star. Other games in this category (I believe the Masked Avenger played all of them) included the multi-buttoned (four buttons, but hell, it seemed like a lot to me) Star Trek, which I didn't really like, but TMA did, and Subroc 3D, which TMA hated and I didn't play.
As for me, I absolutely fell in love with the seemingly ancient (1976) Death Race. This controversial driving game required the player to run over as many gremlins as possible in one minute. After hitting them, gravestones would pop up which you had to avoid. Besides having quite possibly the most hilarious concept I've ever heard of, Death Race also had excellent gameplay, though limited to only one screen. The graphics were kinda simplistic, too. I also had the pleasure of playing the first commercial arcade game, Nolan Bushnell's Computer Space (1971). This was a flop commercially, and with its confusing and stupid gameplay, it is evident why.
Other noteworthy games which we played included the all-time classic Q*Bert and (although this wasn't an arcade game) Chicago Coin's Esquire. The latter was a really cool bowling game you just have to see. Surprisingly, Nintendo's original Punch-Out was also a masterpiece. Finally, of note was the entire Pac-Man family, including Professor Pac-Man. Wouldja believe a Pac-Man quiz game?
The National Video Game and Coin-Op Museum in St. Louis simply must not be missed. This is one institution that proves history can be one hell of a lot of fun. Check it out.
32X: SYSTEM SCAM?
32X: SYSTEM SCAM?
Well, Sega really blew it this time. They've made some big mistakes before with their overload of Sonic games, the Genesis' lack of RPGs, and being all but absent at this years Summer CES, but the 32X takes the cake. This system is overpriced and won't likely be supported for very long. DON'T buy it.
Although Sega will most likely boast about the affordability of the 32X, it is, in fact, overpriced. First of all, Sega has said before that the 32X will contain no pack-in title (see Paradox #17). If this is true, it'll cost an additional $69.99 (manufacturer's suggested retail of virtually all 32X carts) to even use your upgrade. That $70 is on top of the $149 for the 32X, plus $89 (minimum) for the Genesis, plus $200 (approximately) should you decide to include a Sega CD. So, an investment of $500 is necessary for a fully loaded 32X plus a game. Even if it DOES come with a game and you don't get a Sega CD, an investment of $238 is still necessary, a price tag roughly comparable to that of the Jaguar, a clearly superior system.
Okay, so let's assume you're willing to throw all this money out the window for a 32X. What can we assume to be its lifespan? Well, EGM2 #1 (I believe) reported that Sega will bring out their Saturn system in America in April of 1995. If this is true, Sega will effectively obsolete the 32X less than half a year after its release. Seeing as the Saturn will likely cost close to $400, I find it highly unlikely that Sega will even allow any 32X titles to even come close to the quality of their Saturn games. Hmmm, gee... Sega has a $149 system to support and a four hundred dollar one... which one will be best supported?!?!?
The 32X certainly seems to be one of the biggest rip-offs ever, don't it? Sega has created a deceptively priced system which it seems will only get a half year or so of support (a year at best). For $149, we deserve more than a year of support.
Thanks for Random Access. I'd also like a copy of Johnny on the Spot, so pass the word, pass the buck.
As for Random Access itself... well constructed, good (enough) copy quality, pretty good writing. Still, I'm not sure I'll send for every issue... but you will announce availability in Video Views and elsewhere just in case?
The idea of "branching out" is something I'm not overly fond of. Bowling? Well, yeah, bowling's fun, but I want a video game 'zine! On the other hand, I'm not really against it, either, and it can give a 'zine enough of a "flavor" to stand out from the others.
Like it or not (I'm of two minds), it seems to be getting more common: Noah sez he'll do a wide ranging 'zine, Alex Frias includes hockey in his, Super Gamer has heavy metal music reviews, Entry Level dance tunes, etc., etc., etc...
I guess I don't mind, and actually even enjoy the presence of non-vid stuff in small doses (such as in the colophon, editorial, review sections), but the bigger (and "dumber") the articles, the less I like it. For instance, Bowling Bonanza, while not my fave, was okay, but the tour of Chicago seemed worthless to me.
Then again, it's your 'zine, so I'll just go "shove it" for now.
I personally thought the Video Game Museum article was great- I'd love to go there myself. I once had a (slight) chance to get a Death Race machine for $100, but the deal fell through (way through!).
I should also comment on your Weird Al review- my brother might take offense at your claim to the title of the World's Greatest Weird Al fan. I'm a "kinda" Al fan- a lot of his music's not to my tastes, and sometimes the jokes get a little thin, but I gotta admit, it'd be a far sorrier world without the man. One More Minute, You Don't Love Me Anymore, Smells Like Nirvana? Too cool for words! I actually saw him on the Like a Surgeon tour myself. Tres amusing! I'm still waiting for a polka-metal medley of Metallica tunes.
Well, i's bedtime so I'd better close. Smack a few pins for me, you kegler you.
Russ Perry, Jr.
Russ, thanks for writing. It's great to hear that people are actually reading this thing through, and care enough to write and tell me what they think of it. Oh yeah, this ish is free since you sent me the letter (and my printing it doesn't hurt, either).
Regarding bowling, as I said in my last little response, it's basically meant to be a fun little departure from the norm. I agree, it might not have been of interest to everyone (particularly the tour) but it isn't intended to be. At any rate, this issue's stuff is pretty different; more informative and (hopefully) fun. At least, that's the intention.
You had the chance to buy Death Race for $100?!! Man, I'd just about die for that opportunity (though I'd rather have a Q*Bert arcade game). The problem is, where d'you find these old machines? Hmmm. Glad you enjoyed the Museum article... it seemed to go over well with my readers.
As for your bro, he couldn't POSSIBLY be a bigger Al fan than myself. And while the songs you described are great, 'ya didn't mention Al's best song... "Dare to be Stupid".
Again, thanks so much for writing! I count on reading some more comments on this ish. Later!
HIGH SCHOOL GIRL
HIGH SCHOOL GIRL
I thought it would be fun if my sister wrote about all the fan-eds who stayed at our house; views from an outsider's perspective if you will. Kathy's a high school junior, so when it comes to boys, look out! I told her to write her general impressions of each person, and to be brutally honest, so she did (heh, heh, heh). Take it away, Kathy!
When I first heard that a bunch of guys were staying with us for the CES, I was pretty pissed 'cuz I had to help clean the house. I figured that wasn't fair 'cuz I didn't even know these people. I asked Billy what they would be like, and by his description, they sounded like computer freaks. Oh, yay.
First impressions can be killers. The first person I met was Dan MacInnes. When Dan got here, all I saw was this dorky lookin' curly haired kid. He talked for hours about jack shit, and he laughed at just about everything. I didn't really talk to him that much when he was here... all I can say is that on Sunday morning I was looking in the fridge and saw a pie. I asked my parents, "Who's pie?", and suddenly, like a bolt of lightning, Dan, who I didn't know had been sleeping the other room, comes charging at me like a wildman, screaming "DON'T EAT THAT PIE!!!". Uh, I wasn't planning on it. My last impression of Dan was of a curly haired dorky looking guy, who frankly, scares me.
The second one to arrive was Russ Perry, Jr. When he came only my Mom and I were home so we did a little entertaining. my mom asked him if he'd like a beer or something. He said, "I'm only into drinking beers with strange names." Okay. That was my first impression, a big guy who drinks beers with strange names. My last impression was of a nice guy who likes to tell long stories. He sent a thank you card later, which I thought was very nice (it was, unlike the rest of those ungrateful bastards!- Dangerous Billy Masters).
Well, next came Andy Saito, Ben Leatherman, and Sean Pettibone. My first impression of Andy was that he was a cool, cute guy from Canada who looks like one of Scott's friends (Pablo). His only visible flaw was that he hikes his pants up way too far (picture Steve Urkel). Andy was real nice, and I was flattered to know he thought I was cute. Andy was really into his car and was upset when a pothole fucked up the rim of one of his tires. Andy and I took a little trip to the mall which turned out pointless. Something I really disagree with Andy about is business development. Andy was just thrilled with Super K-Mart, but I hate how everything is evolving so much. A huge plus about Andy was his love for my dogs. My last memory of him was his repeating "Sean, don't forget your zit cream, zit cream..." I think he was trying to embarass Sean, but this house has seen too many bottles of zit cream to consider this embarassing, so he just stood there repeating "zit cream..." while everyone just stared at him. Sorry, Andy.
My first impression of Sean was strange. To tell you the
truth, he scared the shit outta me. He was sleeping in our front room and
I didn't know this. When I saw him sleeping it startled me. But after he
woke up, my thought was, "Wow, baby, he's cute". Sean and I talked a lot.
We had a conversation on my kitchen floor that lasted 'till about 4AM. It
was really cool... thank you, Sean, for everything. One of the last things
I remembered about Sean was his potato fetish. He would only eat the
potatoes out of the canned vegetables, and thought the carrots tasted like
beer. Oh, yeah, and Sean spills a lot. We got into a huge water fight and
he spilled water all over the floor. I won't get into what else he spilled
all over the place. Oh well... if you ever invite Sean over, watch out,
and put plastic on the rugs (he honestly did spill something every
Last but definitely not least was Ben. My first impression of Ben was- well, he kinda scared me (man, we fan-eds are a scary lot! -DBM). He's a big guy, probably a foot taller than me. I didn't see Ben a lot when everyone was here, but after Sean and Andy left, we got to talk. He made me feel better (I missed everyone else!) and made me laugh. Ben is really a sweetheart; a rather large sweetheart. I think he knew I like to talk so he let me, and that was cool. One time, I was showing Sean where to sleep in our basement, when we found Ben sleeping... standing up. Weird shit. I was so sad when he left because he was the last one to go. He handed me a fanzine and condoms he was giving away. Then, I almost cried when he said, "Gimme a hug, 'ya big fool."
All right, I'm sure many of you out there are wondering why in the hell there's a column about bowling in a video game fanzine. The answer is quite simple, really. I like bowling and, moreover, this is my fanzine. So, I guess you could say this is the first video game and bowling 'zine around. Now, before you just go skipping past this section, let me give you my top five reasons for being a bowling fan:
5. My bowling shoes (no, really).
Now, in order to at least sort of tie this into video games (not that I really need to, mind you), I'll also point out that bowling video games abound, including the fun party game by American Technos, Super Bowling, which I'd highly recommend you rent. Also, there's at least a couple of bowling arcade games, if you care. Ahem. Well, check 'em out.
As with virtually all other sports, one of the fundamental basics to the sport is equipment. Now, the most basic thing you'll need to bowl is (needless to say) a bowling ball. Believe it or not, this is not as simple as it may sound. Unlike most other sports, bowling balls must approximately fit the grip of the player using it, and likewise be the right weight for the bowler. Now, don't worry, you don't have to buy a bowling ball, as all (well, at least I think all...) bowling alleys have a wide variety of house balls you can choose from when you are at that particular alley. However, a ball fitted for you in particular is best, and worth the investment if you bowl frequently or are in a league. I myself have my own personal bowling ball (what can I say? I bowl a lot), a charcoal black twelve pounder by Ebonite. Oh, as a side note, if you watch the PBA tour on TV, watch out for the Ninja bowling ball commercial... it's excellent!
Another piece of essentially manditory equipment (though not always) is a pair of bowling shoes. Shoe rentals range from about fifty cents to $1.50 in most alleys, and shoes are available in a wide variety of sizes. The basic purpose of shoes is to keep you from sliding around like a maniac on the approach, and also to keep the lanes in good condition, as one consistent rule in bowling alleys is no street shoes on the approach. If you bowl frequently, you may want to buy a pair of shoes for about twenty to thirty dollars. I own a pair made by Brunswick, and they're excellent... plus, I never have to wear stinky, germy rented shoes!
Two optional accessories that are available are bowling bags and wrist supporters. A wrist supporter, as the name dictates, locks one's wrist into the correct position for bowling. I own one, a Gyro-1 model from Ebonite, and it's improved my game a lot. Prices vary from about three to fifteen dollars- mine cost about eight. Bowling bags are another optional accessory. Bags, needless to say, neatly carry your ball, shoes, and whatever equipment you might have. I own a KR-X Strike Force bag myself, but be warned... prices vary quite a bit (oh, hell, I don't know).