It’s time for the next entry in our Reader Roundtable series, the feature where Sega-16 readers get to sound off about what they’re currently playing. There’s a ton of great games to play, and even the bad ones get some love. We’re not a discriminating bunch here, so basically anything that’ll boot up will get some love.
Ren & Stimpy: Stimpy’s Invention By Ken Horowitz
Normally, I’m not a big fan of toilet humor, and I tend to stay away from anything that embraces it as wholeheartedly as Ren & Stimpy does. So what is it about the cat & dog duo that just cracks me up? I found myself to be a huge fan of the series (before Nickelodeon neutered it) and have been playing the Genesis game a lot lately to see if it’s held up as well. You know what? It has. It may be your standard licensed platformer, but it looks and plays great, and the famous humor remains intact. There are plenty of insane locales to play through (populated by some truly weird enemies), and both Ren & Stimpy animate beautifully. Heck, I could spend hours just smacking Stimpy! The ability to switch between both characters on the fly and lots of funny moves make this one a winner that any fan should own. Viacom did a great job of capturing the feel of the cartoon here, which was so vital to making the game a success. I’ve never played the SNES release, but this one is definitely a keeper.
Monopoly By Aaron Savadge
Monopoly is perhaps the most recognizable board game in history with more variations than any other and it’s also gone through its fair share of computerized versions. Some were good and some were not so good, Genesis Monopoly is the former. Cute little animations and decent graphics, including that goofy hand that would shake and roll the dice or how it would rain money when you passed go, did a lot to breathe new life into this old classic. This was one of the few games that I could sit down and play with my family. It was arguably more fun than playing with the original board game and as an added bonus there were no little pieces to pick up when you were finished. Though not as fun to play alone the A.I. offered a decent challenge and the different modes of play could suit anyone’s taste whether you were looking for a fast or a slow game. The auctions that would appear if you didn’t want to buy a piece of property added a bit of drama to the game and in all honesty this little cartridge is probably one of Monopoly‘s finest hours and just might be the best electronic conversion to date.
Mega Turrican By Trevor McAleese
A fantastic port of the Amiga’s Turrican 3, Mega Turrican provides the lucky Genesis player a highly fragile parade of things that need exploding, and a man, no doubt extremely grizzled, with the means to do so. This marathon of running and/or gunning will take you through some truly expansive environments requiring thumbs both ripe with finesse (for the occasionally delicate platforming moment) and devoid of mercy (for everything else). While bosses require little more than the making of them into bullet-ridden sizzle chests, there happens to be an abundance of them (several per level, at times), and the destruction only becomes tedious if one happens to enter battle with a handicapped arsenal. To further enhance the experience, toss in a plethora of items to collect per level, and a number of secret areas one is surely to only stumble upon with subsequent playthroughs. Make today a Mega Turrican day, and let the frequently adorable sounds of the pitiless robot stomp lull you into a state of gaming bliss.
Warpspeed By Damien Jennison
If ever there was a blatant disregard for a term’s meaning, here is a prime example. Chugging along through space at the speeds that motorized scooters can outrun, Warpspeed is frustrating slow and equally pointless. Hidden behind the most wafer thin plot of an alien invasion, you are reduced to a mindless blasting session where the enemy move far faster then you, yet the only thing that can hit and kill you are the near innumerable asteroids that scatter populated space… yeah. With all the glitz and glamour of a back alley garbage pile, you are left to wonder why you even picked up the game that had the word “Accolade” written on it, while you fail yet ANOTHER mission because you spent ten minutes trying to actually hit a single alien ship with the pitiful weaponry of your “super fighter.” So you may ask why I am even playing it. Well, surprisingly enough, the only thing that would draw you to play this game is the most vain of hopes that, hidden among the heaped up piles of festering rubbish, that there’s actually something that one might find redeemable about it that would make the time lost playing it worth it. Unsurprisingly, I’ve come up empty handed thus far.
Gleylancer By Joe Redifer
Sitting in my Genesis right now (well, actually my 32X, since it’s always attached) is Gleylancer, a nice horizontal shooter made by NCS/Masaya. I used to play with the scaling and rotation of the Masaya logo at the beginning of Target Earth for hours and hours on end. When you first start out Gleylancer, a person who is gargling tells you “Stick to it and believe in yourself.” I BELIEVE! Believing in myself is the only way to make it through this game. It’s not overly difficult, but it does set you back when you die and that can be just a bit frustrating. Overall the graphic and sound presentation reminds me of Wings of Wor. I wonder why? But to my knowledge it is the first time Masaya used voices in their game. They should have stayed in voice school a bit longer because they sound really bad here. Not sure why… the voices sound great in ESWAT, Space Harrier 2, Joe Montana Football (first one) and lots of others. Oh well, still a great game!
X-Men By Saad Azim
I like going back to the original X-Men every now and then, usually with a set goal, like beating it without using Wolverine, or Nightcrawler or something like that. Part of it’s due to nostalgia (X-Men was the very first Genesis game I ever bought), and part is due to the fact that I like the first game more than X-Men 2: The Clone Wars. Back in the day, it was a welcome change from the horrid-looking Acclaim releases using the license that had hideous gameplay, and Sega’s X-men is still an enjoyable game. The graphics were good, not revolutionary, but good (though the levels scroll at an annoyingly choppy rate), and the sounds got the job done. It was the fact that the four playable were so characters different that made everything so much fun, and they managed to become the unofficial “difficulty setting” for the game. Nightcrawler can breeze through most of the stages. Wolverine gives the player a bit more of a challenge. Cyclops & Gambit are probably the hardest characters to beat the game with.
X-Men is also probably the only platformer to not feature a pit-of-instant-death. Whenever an X-Man falls off into a pit, Jean Grey will lift him back up to a nearby platform; at only the cost of some health. Things like that make it an all-time favorite of mine. All of these elements have brought me back to it time and again; I just enjoy it that much.
Comix Zone By Nick Gibson
To untrained eyes (specifically your family and non-gaming friends), many Genesis games look the same. If they’ve seen one shmup, they think they’ve seen them all. I don’t know how many times people have asked me “Why did you get this? You’ve got ten others just like it!” That’s when I pull out Comix Zone and watch their reaction. Steve Snake (of NBA Jam, Sega Smash Pack, and KGen fame) said it was one of the best games for the Genesis, and I agree. The level of detail is just astounding – the little pieces of paper that flutter to the ground after you kill an enemy, the ripple/reflective effects in the water; the many uses of your pet rat, Roadkill; the, opponents’ one-liners and taunts. Then there’s the surprisingly deep combat system and snazzy enemy AI. There’s loads of puzzles, too, and therein lies my biggest (and pretty much only) problem with this title. The three-way tag-team of instant-kill traps, only two tries, and unfairly difficult puzzles really makes much of this game a matter of trial and error, unless you’ve got a FAQ handy. If you don’t, then expect to have to die and start over a lot as “???” moments take their toll. But if you forget about that, there’s still much to relish with Comix Zone. Multiple paths and a level select cheat really amp up the replay value, as do solid gameplay design, great graphics, stellar music, and tight control. This is a game to buy and never let go.
Cosmic Carnage By David Steyer
Lately, I have been playing Cosmic Carnage. This is one of those unfortunate games that has gotten a lot of bad press over the years, but I am strangely drawn to this 32X brawler. The graphics are really impressive and show that 32X can indeed pull off some incredible graphics when it wants to, and there’s a great use of color. The zooming is amazing, and the game’s animation is very fluid as well. Control-wise, it isn’t very responsive when it comes to special moves, but when you finally do manage to pull one off, blood flows everywhere. Ironically enough, the Japanese version has a different plot, and a few of the characters are humans instead of aliens. There are also some cool options. For example, you can also change the game into Cyber Brawl (the Japanese name) mode by entering a few button presses as the game starts up. All in all, Cosmic Carnage is fun, granted that you only pay a few bucks for it.