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Reader Roundtable Vol. 18

School’s out (for both students and teachers alike), and it’s time for some serious gaming! Not that we don’t do that the rest of the year around, but summer’s a time where you don’t have as much pressure on you during the week. With all that free time, it’s a no-brainer that our readers are taking advantage of the laziest time of year!

 

Double Dragon By Ken Horowitz

After playing the heck out of Double Dragon on Xbox Live Arcade, I decided to go back and see how the Genesis port compared. A complete playthrough later, and I’m left with mixed emotions. As far as the graphics go, it’s a pretty spot-on job (the audio is utter crap); however, the gameplay is just way too fast! Everyone moves around like they’re on crack, and it really affects the timing. Of course, this doesn’t keep me from blazing through it a few times every so often (it’s all about the elbow, baby!), but I’m really miffed about how fast things are.

Another weird thing is that it doesn’t work on my model 2 Genny alone but boots up fine through my 32X! That’s unlicensed games for ya…

Streets of Rage 2 By Vince Thornburg

Streets of Rage 2 came to me after school when my brother found it at a garage sale and left it in my room for me to discover. I was quickly brought into a world of assaulting red-headed thugs named Galcia and Afro-Americans named Donovan. As I played it more and more, I memorized the first levels runway-ish music, and was soon beating the game within 45-50 minutes. After years of walking through the game with all four characters (with Max being my favorite), I eventually sold the COMPLETE game because I was just bored of it and hadn’t really started collecting yet. A month later, I already missed the game.

Fast forward to last night, where I’ve just purchased 2000 Wii points and a copy of Super Paper Mario (love it, by the way). As I search the Virtual Console, I find the game I’ve been wanting to play with a real controller for years (emulation just doesn’t do it for me). I download it and start playing, and it’s just like I remembered. I select Max and start going through town, trashing the aforementioned thugs along with ninjas and Kung-Fu masters ( I’m sure there’s a real name for their techniques, but I’m not sure where the fireball fits in). I was soon playing just like I used to. Getting that backbreaker on R. Bear with pin-point timing felt awesome. One thing I’ve noticed is that the game doesn’t seem to be as difficult as the original cart. I played on easy just to ease into it, but it’s easier than I remember the Genesis version to be.

Example, I just whupped Abadede in ten seconds, mostly because he NEVER did the running punch move that shoots him across the screen in 1/2 seconds like before. Those robots seem to stand around longer too. Hell, I kicked Shiva’s ass with Skate in a matter of seconds before Mr. X shot bullets around me, as I repeatedly gave him back breakers and reverse power bombs until the credits played.

So even if it got easier, I’m glad to own the game again, even if it’s just a license.

Robo Aleste By Tom Briggs

This month my Genesis has been devoted to hardcore shooters. Thunder Force, Contra, and my favorite, Robo Aleste. A while back, I spotted a complete copy of Robo Aleste at my favorite used games shop. And although the game certainly isn’t a rare one (a quick search on eBay produces a number of copies priced anywhere between $5 and $25) I quickly jumped at the chance of owning it. The game is one of the top choices for the Sega CD, a game I’ve often found to be under-rated.

When fans attempt to justify the Genesis add-on, they often cite games like Lunar and Snatcher as system-sellers. Robo Aleste has become an overlooked title. The game is a completely original entry in an amazing series – a quasi-sequel to the godly M.U.S.H.A. – and features the very best shmup action available for the Sega CD. The game not only reproduces some of the best elements from M.U.S.H.A., but it also takes advantage of the CD format by presenting a top notch soundtrack. Robo Aleste deserves to be on every Genesis owner’s shelf. Now if I only didn’t have the slowest reaction time known to man…

Wiz ‘N Liz By Carl-Johan Brax

I’ve played so much Mega Drive in the last month and so many games, I didn’t know which one to choose. But the choice fell on a pretty obscure game that I think more people should hear of, and also a game that has already been reviewed, as usual. I’m talking about Wiz ‘N Liz.

I got recommended to play this game by my friend. At first it seemed so boring. You are a wizard who saves rabbits. When a rabbit is saved, you take the letter it drops. With enough letters, you make a word to spell, which creates an exit. Then there are more rabbits to get, which gives you fruit, stars or extra time. Using the fruits you can create 105 spells, with for example many mini games (including a HUGE quiz). You buy stuff with the stars, and you live longer with extra time, obviously. It is very monotonic, but once you’ve found the feeling of it, you’re stuck. It got me so addicted I made a Wordpad file with all necessary info, landing on a whopping 11.6 kilobytes! When I had finished the game on the last difficulty level, I had played it a few hours every day for about two weeks. I don’t have any other platform game with only 8 MEGA POWER that lasts so long.

Wiz ‘n’ Liz was developed by Britons and it helped to kill my prejudice against non-Japanese game developers. Not only the gameplay is top-notch, but the graphics as well, with it’s cutesy humorous design. And not to mention the music, which also kills off the prejudice against western Mega Drive composers. Just listen to the mysterious Evil Oak theme with its sweet STEREO drums! The game was also released on the Amiga, which isn’t surprising since the gameplay of this game uses the power of Blast Processing and the Amiga also has the Motorola 68000 processor. The SNES however, does NOT have the 68k processor or any kind of Blast Processing, and that is probably the reason why the game was canned for that console.

Road Rash By Trey Mannan

Well, this month I have been playing Road Rash. and in my opinion it’s one of the top five Genesis games around. It is one of the funniest games that this system has to offer, and it boasts a good story, as well as some of the the most solid gameplay I’ve seen. It was so great for its time. Before Road Rash, all you had in the motorcycle arena was Super Hang-On, but this game blows it out of the water. When you pick up the controller to play it, you wont want to put it down. Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of Road Rash. It’s a crime to have a Genesis without this game. While you’re at it, check out the sequel. It takes everything the first game does and expands it to new levels of greatness.

Cosmic Spacehead By Tom Lenting

If you do not own a Sega CD there aren’t many graphic adventures you can play on your Genesis. However, if you thought Scooby Doo Mystery was the only way to experience some graphic adventuring on your proud sixteen bits of Sega, you were wrong. There’s also Cosmic Spacehead, a port of an Amiga game in which adventuring and platforming elements have been combined. Actually, all the locations in which you can do the classic adventuring stuff are connected by crappy platforming parts which cannot be avoided. Cosmic is a cute looking alien with a cape who has to take some pictures from Earth to prove to his cosmic comrades on his home planet he has actually been on our little planet. Though his quest is a little too childish and too easy, I enjoyed the adventuring parts in Cosmic Spacehead. Unfortunately, the game is messed up by the above-mentioned annoying platform stages and by the carnival-like music which will very likely drive you insane within a few minutes. Nevertheless, if you look for a graphic adventure on the Genesis, you should check this out, since it’s the only (and therefore best) point-‘n-click adventure after Scooby Doo Mystery for the Genesis. Note: You’ll get the best value for money (and it is also easier to acquire than the single game) when checking out the Codemaster 2-in-1 package, which also contains Fantastic Dizzy.

DJ Boy By Joe Redifer

I’ve been rockin’ hard with DJ Boy. Since you assume the roll of an actual DJ, it only makes sense that you spend the entire game on roller skates. This game was made by Kaneko in the arcades, but seriously… who cares? Answer: Nobody, otherwise DJ Boy would have swept over the nation’s arcades more fiercely than Street Fighter II. What is interesting is that Sega made the Mega Drive/Genesis version. And when Kaneko saw how amazingly awesome it was, they decided to take the game back from Sega and release it themselves. They didn’t have anything better to do at the time, except maybe program the incredibly awesome Deadly Moves. Anyway, DJ Boy is pretty fun if a tad easy. The Japanese version is so incredibly racist and homophobic you might actually think you live in Alabama or one of those loser states. Oh wait… actually it’s not really racist at all. Sure there is a black lady in there, and a shirtless dude with a bow-tie. But those politically correct goofs at Kaneko made changes to the US version anyway. Oh well, at least the music’s catchy!

Super Hang-On By Daniel Smith

I am one of those sad gits who likes reading manuals, and boy does Super Hang-On have an awesome manual. I like to know trivial crap like why manual oil is worth double the price of regular oil, how each mechanic got into their field and which nationality my rival comes from. I also find the Appliance Store owner very attractive despite the fact she has green hair. This is 16-bit racing at its finest. Hop on your bike and watch the others at the starting grid ride towards the sunset, until you acquire enough money to buy a half decent engine. The tracks get more treacherous as you go on, but fortunately the further you advance in the game the more money your sponsors pay and the better bike parts you can purchase. The Arcade Mode gives much more variety in tracks than the Original Mode, in which you will need to race the same course a minimum of ten laps before advancing to the next level. The music is limited but pretty awesome – I often find myself singing it when cycling to work. This game also cost virtually nothing which just helps make it that little bit more awesome.

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