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Reader Roundtable Vol. 41

So long to April, but there’s still time to finish out the month in 16-bit style! This month’s installment is chock full of more Genesis goodness, courtesy of our staff and readers. Enjoy!

 

Might & Magic 3: Isles of Terra By Ken Horowitz

Ah, Might & Magic 3. Would that I could find a PC copy that would run on DOS Box, I could finally enjoy this massive adventure in English. It would really be a shame to not give the Mega CD version a whirl, as it looks great and has a truly brilliant soundtrack. Unfortunately, moving anywhere outside of the initial city has been a hard task indeed, and I still kick myself for tossing the guide for games 1-3 that I picked up cheap many years ago. Who would have thought that I would finally have use for it now? I was lucky enough to find a guide online that can supposedly take me through the whole game, but with such a ferocious language barrier, playing through this one to the end will require LOTS of stamina…

NBA Jam TE By Alex Burr

NBA Jam TE is probably the game that I have had and have played a huge number of times, and it’s also the game I have had the longest, alongside Sonic 2. Surprisingly, I still don’t know the extreme ins and outs of it yet. So, I saw it in my collection and decide to pop it in when I had some free time last weekend. For some reason, I always beat my opponents when I was the Washington Bullets (and only when I was the Washington Bullets) whether they be friends, my dad or my cousins. I would get killed (and still do) if I were any other team (even the NBA Rookie Team). I still know exactly which players to play and in what situation. Webber, Chaney, Skiles FTW! Anyway, I pop it in and see if I have a name saved. So, I put in a three letter word that rhymes with bass (the fish) for my name (like I always do), and there it is. I’m 3-6 and only have beaten the cellar dwellers. Okay, time to get the rotation back in order. How good is Chaney at threes? Can Skiles block? When should I control Webber? I’m one of those players that hardly ever lets the CPU score, though it is a help sometimes, and nowadays I’m not so bad at letting the CPU get a sloppy dunk or two or letting Skiles shoot for three, if I’m feeling saucy.

I guess what I am getting at is that this was (if I recall correctly), this game was my first birthday present, along with the Core (model 2) system and Sonic 2. I recall all those years just lawling all the time to “HE’S ON FIRE!!!” “BOOMSHAKALAKA” “UGLY SHOT!” and now I’m loving the game because of the strategy. I just wish the CPU wouldn’t nail every single hail mary at the end of every quarter. I also wish that the Pistons would be worth a darn in this game (kind of like in real life today!). I tend to like this game better than the first NBA Jam, simply because the majority of the people in the neighborhood had TE but not the first one. There was one kid, and I went over to his house and he slaughtered me, and I proceeded to yank the game out of his Genesis and throw it out the upstairs window (thank the lord it landed on the grass). The moral of the story is: let the wookie win and Chaney, Webber, Skiles, FTW!

Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker By Christian Matozzo

Ahhhh, Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker. One of my all-time favorite Genesis games, Moonwalker just has a sort of certain charm to it that always keeps me coming back to it every once in a while. The dance moves, the music, the gameplay, it’s all very intriguing. For some reason, even though I know where almost every kid is in every single level of the game (I don’t always remember where the kids are in the cavern), the game still has its own neat version of replay value. Although I know most people don’t like this game due to its so-called repetitive gameplay, I still hope and pray that someday it might get a re-release in a SEGA collection on one of these newer consoles. Hey, we all know that Michael Jackson needs some money now right? Then come on out SEGA and strike up a deal! Make this classic game known to all new gamers today!

Thunder Force III By Joel Walker

My reader round table is a shooter called Thunder Force 3, not shooter like Halo, but the original genre. I hate how first person shooters stole the name “shooter.” I don’t understand why this genre has not done well since the ’90s. I personally like a game that does not take much to jump into and can play in short time frames. No other genre takes better reflexes or makes you sweat. It’s depressing that only two shooters came out this decade for a system I own – Nano Stray and its sequel for the DS. These are two games I had fun with, but I miss the heyday of shoot-’em-ups. The Dreamcast did have a few good shooters though. Heh, the DC… another thing that was great that did not last.

Anyway back to TF3, a game that I cannot recommend enough. Many shooters were insanely hard, but TF3 had just the right balance. A neat feature is that except for the last level you can pick the order you go through the game. This is great because if a level is easy for you just skip it and practice the tough ones first. You could play through this game and wait a month or two and gladly fire it up again. Everything about the game is near perfect. No flicker or slowdown that plagued many shooters of the day. The bosses, enemies and weapons you can tell the programmers put a lot of thought into. The only fault I can think of would be it is too short. It may just be I wish it had more levels being so much fun. The game can be found complete pretty inexpensive so track one down!

Sonic The Hedgehog 2 By Sebastian Sponsel

A friend of mine is a huge Sonic 2 fan. He’s not that much into the Genesis, or into gaming in general for that matter, but he knows Sonic 2 by heart. He can be a bit of a dick about it when playing him in two-player mode (he plays up until a certain point, then starts a spin-dash and casually lays the controller aside while the game finishes itself for him – one of the classic moments of last year’s European Mega Drive Championships in my eyes, by the way). And he even went so far as to use different Sonic 2 themes as ring tones for his cell phone. Guess which one plays when his boss calls…

Why do I mention this? Well, I recently popped in and played through Sonic 2 once more. And as the end credits played, I couldn’t help but notice once more how awesome some of these tracks are! Listening to this medley of themes was really a rewarding experience after finishing this game. And as I listened to them, I couldn’t help but think about this friend of mine and his particular choice of cell phone ring tones.

Insector X By Edward Figueiredo

Have you ever played a game with no concentration at all? This month I did. My brother was watching TV and I had an extra TV on the side, so I plugged Insector X for some mindless bug action.

First I tried so use a headphone set I had in the front jack of the almighty model 1 Genesis, only to find out the wires were not good. So I had to play it with no volume, talking a lot while wasp and bee swarms tried to crush me in all ways possible.

What? Never played Insector X? My God, how come? How can a Genesis fan never have played this???

OK, enough already. Don’t get too excited if you don’t know this shooter yet. I can be excited because I did finish it on one sitting, one credit, for the first time in my life. It’s a game that won’t appeal to the casual player. Checkpoints, unmotivated music, no parallax, hard last stages. But… damn, those bosses are cool! I love all of them! If only the rest of the game could live up to their standards…

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