Features Reader Roundtable

Reader Roundtable Vol. 05

If there’s one constant here at Sega-16, it’s that something is always powered up in our Genesis consoles. Most of our readers are diehard fans of the console, and they’re constantly finding those titles that escaped them over the years. Once again, Reader Roundtable features another group of games you may have heard about and some you may have missed.

M.U.S.H.A. By Ken Horowitz

I’m a big shmups fan, no secret there. That’s part of what attracts me so to my beloved Genesis; there’s just so many of them! Among the best on the system — dare I say, perhaps even the best — is M.U.S.H.A. A true classic by any standard, it was one of the few shumps that had GameFan’s ECM opening frothing at its quality (it’s ok to froth; we all do it sometime). Give it a few minutes and you’ll see why it gets so much praise. The Aleste series has a well-deserved reputation among shmup fans. Hell, even the Game Gear installments kick ass. The level of quality associated with the name has a lot to do with just how great M.U.S.H.A. is. Tons of parallax scrolling and massive amounts of sprites are complimented by an intuitive and powerful weapons system. Stages are long but not too long, and some bosses are even several screens long. I still remember my awe as the floor in stage three fell away, revealing that gorgeous parallax scrolling that seemed to go on forever. There are just too many moments like this to describe here, so just believe me when I tell you that whatever you pay, wherever you can find a copy, you simply need this game.


Twin Cobra By Uri Cohen

Do you want a arcade port to be harder than the arcade machine itself, then play Twin Cobra for the Sega Genesis! Originally an Toaplan shoot-’em-up, Treco ported the game from the arcade to the Genesis. Later Treco’s American branch published the game here in the United States. Twin Cobra plays like the arcade original, except the game plays WAAAAAY too hard! Some how when Treco was porting the game, they made the A.I. so hard that you may possibly break your controller from the pain of dying too much! Somehow, the enemy knows where and when you’re going to move; it shoots and you get killed! I played Twin Cobra for years and I’ve never beaten the game! If you think Battletoads was hard, then I suggest you try Twin Cobra for the Genesis. This is a real man’s shooter and not for the weak!


VR Troopers By Vince Thornburg  

Those were the days. When Saturday morning meant either cheaply made cartoons, or people in spandex having Kaiju Big Battle matches. VR Troopers was one of those many, yet one of the few able to stay JUST long enough to warrant a video game. This fighter sticks pretty close to the series. The music sounds like the show’s music; the characters actually look near-perfect to their TV counterparts. The gameplay? Well, it’s not bad. But it could do much better. Looking for the quick buck, the game seems to be a basic fighter engine, with a couple of special moves( which are a nice touch) It takes a bit to figure out the right timing on your moves, but when that’s done, you’ll probably have this game beat in fifteen minutes, Not that fighters are known for being epics, but this still feels like it ends too fast. In the end, a nice nostalgia trip.


Phantasy Star II By Zack Young

Sitting in my Genesis right now is one of the sweetest little cartridges that I’ve ever played: Phantasy Star II. It was my first game for the system, but when I played it years ago it was a bit much for my brain to handle. Playing it now I can’t believe how long I waited to give it another shot. Let’s be clear here this was the first RPG released for the Genesis. So it’s got some slack okay? Actually it doesn’t need the slack. Though the graphics look a bit dated, they’re just the same as PSIV’s, albeit not as polished. The music to this game is absolutely godly and pumps you up for days. The gameplay really shines though, tough dungeons made even tougher by vicious monsters that know no mercy. The control is mostly smooth and fluid, though you have to cycle through a lot of sub-menus, and the menu control is a tad on the jerky side which can occasionally mess you up. Also you cannot target specific monsters which sometimes is a hindrance, but usually not too much of one. All things considered these are very minor issues. The story though is the best feature of this game. Deep and advanced it’s one of the best of all time. It might seem basic now, but that’s because so many other games stole from the story. You start out investigating a simple threat but your own government seems to have a secret to hide.


Motocross Championship By Nick Gibson

I’m going to get to the point right now: Motocross Championship is the victim of apathy and group think. Look around – this game gets bottom-of-the-barrel ratings all over the place. A thorough reading of the reviews shows me that most writers didn’t read the manual or just approached the game with general laziness. “No good can come from the 32X,” they must have said to themselves before slapping down a “2/10” and breezing off merrily to heap praises on Donkey Kong Country. That initial wave of scorn translates into a decade of group-think panning. It’s 2006 now, and I say this game deserves a play. If you’re crashing constantly and reaching for the power switch, then let me give you three tips. (1) Ignore the fighting. (2) Remember to shift your weight with the up and down keys, or otherwise you’ll be crashing after every jump. That last one’s probably the most important: if you figure out when to lean back and when to lean forward, you’ll have a whole lot more fun here. So no, it’s not Road Rash, but it gives you way more glorious airtime than Road Rash ever did, and if you stop whining about the pixillation then you find that there’s plenty of exhilaration to be had here.


Batman Returns By Joe Redifer  

Remember Batman Returns for the world famous Sega CD? I sure do. Everyone loved the driving sequences in that game with its awesome scaling, rotation and other such nonsense. Everyone on the planet hated the nasty-looking platforming side of that game, though, with its grainy palette of about six colors, sloppy programming and weak sound effects.

So, Sega decided to do a follow-up game of sorts. This time they took out the chunky side-scrolling sequences and the whole thing is a 3D driving game. They used John O’Brien’s 3D engine again which enables the game to have some of the best scaling on the Sega CD. Brand new exclusive animation was done by Warner Bros. just for this game and has never been seen elsewhere. It’s pretty cool to watch, and Spencer Nilsen did the score for the FMV scenes but not the game. But as with any title where John O’Brien assists with the programming, the difficulty is completely unreasonable. That can detract from the enjoyment sometimes. The game itself is pretty basic, being divided up into sections like Batman Returns was, but with less action and more difficulty. Much of the game is avoiding bunches of crap thrown at you. The color palette is less than the one used in the driving scenes of Batman Returns, so it looks a little grainy by comparison. Perhaps it runs in lower resolution mode as well (256 horizontal pixels as opposed to 320… I have yet to check)? I am surprised that the Genesis version of The Adventures of Batman and Robin was not included as a side-scrolling portion since Clockwork Tortoise programmed that one in addition to this. If you enjoy being mad (and who doesn’t?), try to beat this game!


Ballz 3D By Damien Jennison

Ah, Accolade. Whenever I feel the computer game industry is sliding down the pan all I need do is play on of your games to be reminded of how it could always be worse, much worse. Ballz 3D is a great example of what I see happening to computer games as of late. A perfectly sound idea is cobbled together with an actually rather effective engine for playing a fighting game which, on first sight, actually looks like it might be good. But remember, this is Accolade, so don’t get your hopes up. You look past the flashy graphics and the pseudo 3D effects and what do you find? As, yes, this seems familiar — Nothing. What could have been such a good game is instead wasted as a hollow shell, leaving us bitter at yet another game lacking solid gameplay and the requirement of little more then being able to mash buttons sporadically to achieve victory, victory that seems very hollow when you realise you could have spent your time doing better things, like mowing the lawn.

The only reason I played this game so much is to drive my housemate totally insane with the background music of the menu, its nonsensical sound effects enough to drive him near insane. So far, I think the torture of playing it was worth it just for that. In the future, I might not be so sure on that judgment.


Awesome Possum By David Steyer

I’ve been playing one of the worse genesis games, Awesome Possum non stop. Now, Awesome Possum has received a bad rap from gamers and the press over the years, but I can not stop playing it! I’m having fun with such a turd I’m at a loss for words here. Yes, the voices can be annoying, and the hippie approach is pathetic, but the game is addicting and fun to play. Even the flawed collision detection and the slippy controls haven’t bothered me. This is my favorite Genesis guilty pleasure.

Yeah, why I chose this game, and why I am even playing it in the first place is beyond me…


Burning Force By Trevor McAleese

Speeding recklessly over various colourful, patterned plateaus… guns fixated forever upon the horizon.. bosses that hover about playfully in the air.. enemies scaling in and out with the greatest of ease.. the makings of a fine game, I say! And the name of that game? Err, well.. while Burning Force fits that description perfectly, it most certainly was not the first to spring to mind. Burning Force draws unavoidable comparisons to the mighty Space Harrier and does little to distinguish itself from the aforementioned class act, besides stripping the y-axis from the majority of the game and slowing the pace. This is admittedly an unconventional approach, as generally when games such as Burning Force shamelessly flaunt their influences, the spin on the formula comes in the form of “more stuff” thrown haphazardly into the gameplay stewin’ pot as opposed to streamlining the design. Namco pulled it off fairly well, though, and as a result, Burning Force presents the intrepid Genesis gamer with a very smooth, very playable, and ultimately very familiar ride.

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