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Generations Lost

Genre: Platformer Developer: Pacific Softscape Publisher: Time Warner Int. Players: 1 Released: 1994

The Genesis/Mega Drive offers a plethora of platformers that we all know by heart at this point.  The Sonic The Hedgehog series, Vectorman, Ristar, and plenty, plenty more besides.  Most of them are beloved titles that have stood the test of time and define Sega’s classic 16-bit juggernaut to this very day.  In between all those beloved games however, are a few that manage to slip in between the cracks of the console’s library and for whatever reason didn’t seem to attract much of an audience.  Some are better left unnoticed, while some are real diamonds in the rough… and then there are one or two that don’t really fall into either category at all.  Generations Lost is one such game, as it doesn’t offer anything new to the platforming genre, nor does it do anything particularly bad either.

In Generations Lost, you assume the role of a warrior named Monobe, who is on a quest to “search for the past of his people”… or something to that effect, anyway.  Your real quest is to dodge various environmental hazards and take on an assortment of blood-thirsty creatures and assorted baddies to make it to the end of each level.  Along the way is a healthy amount of brain teasing puzzle elements that keep the game from getting too stale too quickly and offer a nice change of pace to the usual platforming and “taking out enemies” elements.  There’s also a healthy amount of locating secret switches, which in itself ends up becoming more monotonous than need be.

Graphically speaking, Generations Lost offers some pretty decent visuals.  Monobe himself is nicely detailed, as are the enemy creatures.  They make up for the otherwise bland level visuals, which looks like a hodgepodge of designs from past platformers, including an opening jungle stage that looks like it was ripped straight out of the first level of the first X-Men game on the Genesis.  Things don’t really change much from that point forward though throughout the game’s six levels, as even though the stage location changes, somehow they all manage to look like one another.  This sort of betrays the somewhat awesome opening cut scene of the game, which seems to promise some sort of futuristic action/adventure game, yet judging by the majority of the locations, we get anything but.  Still, the level design itself is solid and offers some pretty good platforming action as well.

Graphical flaws and shortcomings aside, Generations Lost does offer some tight controls.  Monobe can do a variety of movements, including running, shooting energy projectiles, and swinging and moving from platform to platform with relative ease using an energy rope.  Yes, Monobe is like Spider-Man but with energy-based technology and armor.  Using all these abilities and movements is surprisingly tight and responsive, albeit a little hard to get used to at first, but after a while it becomes simple to do and pull off, and almost being a little reminiscent of Capcom’s classic Bionic Commando in the process, which is not a bad thing in the least.

The game’s difficulty however, is a different story.  Generations Lost has a steep learning curve, as mentioned before in discussing getting used to the game’s controls, but it doesn’t help matters when the game goes from being easy to increasingly difficult as the game progresses.  Once you get through some the hardest parts in the game, things get easy again, before once again getting even harder than before.  This can range from the amount of enemies you encounter, to environmental traps popping out of nowhere, to some frustrating puzzles.  I’m all for difficulty in a game and getting a good challenge, but when it keeps moving from one end of the spectrum to another and back again and again and again, something’s got to give here.  Even if the game is only six levels long, you’ll be glad it is by the time you reach the end.

All its flaws aside though, Generations Lost still has a lot to offer for Genesis/Mega Drive owners.  It has an intriguing enough story that is fairly original for a game of this type and era, a somewhat interesting protagonist on top of that, plus some appealing graphics and tight controls.  Its difficulty fluctuation and visually bland levels end up dragging it down, but not to the degree of being unplayable.  With all that being said, Generations Lost is a worthwhile enough endeavor to pick up and play.  You can find it simply enough on eBay or even download it from a few different places on the internet, so there’s really no harm in giving Generations Lost a whirl.

SCORE: 6 out of 10

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