Another month, another installment of the Reader Roundtable! Once again our readers and forum members get the chance to sound off and give us their thoughts on what’s in their Genesis, Sega CD, and 32X systems at the moments. There’s a lot of Genesis lovin’ happening, so sit back and see what your fellow fans are hooked on!
OutRun By Ken Horowitz
I still can’t get over how well this game holds up. Even next to the brilliant Sega Ages version (thank you Working Designs!), the Genesis port is still infinitely playable. You’ve got all tracks and rock solid gameplay of the arcade classic, along with some surprisingly cool-sounding renditions of the awesome soundtrack. Even with all the different releases out there, I still find myself coming back to this old friend periodically, and it’s great for those times when you’re in the mood for something that doesn’t require a whole load of thought and skill. Of course, the release of OutRun 2 for the Xbox last year really tore my heart in two. Damn its online play and deep, deep challenges! Naturally, one of the first things I did was unlock the original game. Even with all the next gen goodness, I still prefer to play OutRun on my Genesis. It’s surely one of Sega’s best franchises that is thankfully getting the props it deserves. Now give me OutRun 2: Coast to Coast on my Xbox (sorry PS2), and give 2006 the banging start it deserves!
Splatterhouse 2 By David Wilson
Don’t kid yourself. This game is a pathetic regurgitated piece of crap that doesn’t hide in the shadow of its bigger brother; it shrivels up and dies in it. In fact, the original Splatterhouse just has to stand up and look at this cretin straight in the eyes and he’ll instantly drop dead. If I hear anyone say ” Splatterhouse 2 is better than part three because it sticks closer to the original” again, I swear to God, I’d fly over to your house and kill you.
I would also like to be able to control my character when I play, you know. Badgering around with controls stiffer than an excited elephant and gameplay slower than a walking sloth on Nytol is as fun as getting a terminal disease, on your birthday. Also, I’d rather have white hot metal pegs rammed into my heels than trudge through the incredibly clunky boss fights again. Red hot pegs would suffice.
The Tick By Trevor McAleese
Imagine being on the receiving end of a one-sided conversation where an inconsiderate buffoon simply will not shut up. Your disinterest and even your bubbling frustration was clear, yet he or she refused to let the hellish conversation be cast into the depths of Hades where it belonged. Now imagine this feeling translated into a beat-’em-up and visualize with me this horizontal hell. Here you will find an aimless wasteland of shallow combat, mechanical level design, wave after wave of endlessly repeating enemies, and challenge stemming not from the game itself but rather from your willingness to completely and utterly squander over two hours of your life in an endeavor so pointless, contrived, and ultimately unpleasant that from this point forward you will make a conscious effort throughout your remaining years never to repeat the experience. Ever. This is as accurately as I can describe my time spent with The Tick, and I do not recommend that you put any more effort into this game than you absolutely need in order to come to a similar conclusion. Don’t feel obliged to “ride it out” like I did.. in fact, if you feel fed up even after the first stage, for the love of God, go with your gut and cast this festering brawl crawl from your sight immediately.
World of Illusion By David Steyer
I have been playing a lot of World of Illusion, as I’ve recently have had an interest in Disney games on the Genesis. I can easily say that this is definitely one of my favorites. The animation is amazing, the sound effects and music are great and more specifically, the voices sound just like the cartoon characters we all know and love. Along with the amazing animation, the levels are fun to play, and the backgrounds really push the envelope on the Genesis. Even cooler is the fact that the game is packed with replay value because you can play as Mickey or Donald, and as a result, the levels are different depending on who you play. There is also an awesome two-player mode, with a third set of level layouts, that requires teamwork to go through. Classic Disney animation and eye candy with great gameplay makes this an instant classic to me.
Bonanza Bros. By Nick Gibson
You want an unfairly overlooked game? Bonanza Brothers is the perfect example. It’s a wonderfully fun title that lays claim to uniquely stylized graphics, slapstick humor, non-agressive gameplay, an excellent co-op mode, and a downright visionary concept. Seriously, how many games back then had such things as cone of vision, sound range, stealth, and tasers? While most simply threw you against droves of enemies that you had no choice but to kill with big weapons, Bonanza Brothers makes sneaking and slinking the way to success and thereby provides a refreshing change of pace. Everybody gets sick of loud noises and big explosions after a while, and when that time comes you can just pull this game out and indulge in ten levels of relative quiet and serenity. Better yet, grab a female friend and make it a team effort… you’re much more likely to get her to play this than Samurai Showdown (and if you’re smart you’ll let her be player one, since I don’t think many girls want to play as a dumpy, balding guy). In the end, this game is well worth the pittance you’ll throw down for it. It fills a particular hole that no other game in the Genesis library does: two little pear shaped dudes testing security’ (right) for a mysterious businessman.
Battletech: A Game of Armored Combat By Aaron Savadge
Nothing makes me happier than giant robots, specifically those of the Mechwarrior variety. Battletech: A Game of Armored Combat uses that very license and straps you into the famous Mad Cat mech, allowing you to romp around levels in an isometric view and destroy everything in your path. The game is basically like EA’s Strike franchise on an unhealthy dose of steroids which is both a good thing and a bad thing. You’ve got a lot of objectives to complete and sometimes they’re not always clear but you’ll be too busy causing mayhem to notice and you’ll sometimes end up destroying your objective in the process. Every now and then an enemy Mechwarrior stomps onto the battlefield to rain on your parade of death and these encounters are quite challenging to the point where I still hear “enemy mech approaching” in my nightmares. Although the game is ripping hard and not as high-caliber as the PC Battletech licenses it’s still a quality piece of work and will probably spend a lot more time in my Genesis until I finally manage to beat it.
Minnesota Fats Pool Legend By Vince Thornburg
Minnesota Fats Pool Legend: I forgot that I had found this at a flea market last spring. Obviously, a video billiards title isn’t going to be a high seller, which is sort of sad for this one. Pool Legend is one of those rare titles that’s a fun game, yet manages to take itself seriously at the same time. The soundtrack is mostly elevator Muzak, which is odd for a game based on a sport that’s popular in bars and back alley clubs, but it doesn’t take away from the gameplay. Either play the story mode, touring local pubs and bars to make yourself a known pool shark, or practice with all kinds of billiards games in versus mode. If you’re going to go with playing against the computer, be prepared to wait for the A.I. to pick its shot – which I’ve clocked. It can take a whole minute at the longest – and this can get pretty annoying. You’ll most likely be playing trick shot mode though, trying to beat all sixteen special shots.
Dashin’ Desperados By Jeff Hannen
There’s something about Dashin’ Desperadoes that’s just so… quaint. Basically, Data East decided to capitalize on the popularity among kids of a) cowboys, and b) Sonic 2‘s two-player mode, by putting the former into a much beefed-up version of the latter’s gameplay. As two cowboys, you and a friend compete in races (on foot) to get to the girl in various locales. Although it’s based on a two-player game, it’s fleshed out enough that it’s just as fun in single player. It feels very much like a platformer, although you can’t die. Ultimately the key to winning is with the timing and aiming of your jumps to avoid the dangers of the level. You also have the ability to hurl bombs at your opponent if you’re in close range, and there are a couple power ups for this bomb. Every third level or so is a boss, which you have to take down with the bombs, while avoiding its attacks, while racing against it (if it makes it to the “end” of the level, you lose). Overall, while Dashin’ Desperadoes doesn’t have incredible depth to it and doesn’t really do anything amazing, it’s still a damn good time. It’s the kind of game you’ll feel silly getting, but have lots of fun with once you do.