Features Reader Roundtable

Reader Roundtable Vol. 07

Summer’s here, and our readers are ready to kick back with a tall glass of lemonade and their favorite Genesis games. This month’s crop features a nice mix of platformers, fighters, and even game shows! There are even some Sega CD and 32X games, which completes the Sega 16-bit diet. There’s always something new to play, so enjoy!


Kid Chameleon By Ken Horowitz

I’ve been replaying Kid Chameleon lately, and the more I do, the more convinced I am that Steve Woita is an evil genius. Even with its brutal length and lack of password or save feature, this is truly a platformer for the ages, a man’s platformer! The level design is quite clever, and while the time limit makes it sometimes necessary to rush through without proper exploration, you’re never really left with the feeling that you missed something so important as to break the game. I simply love all the cool characters Kid turns into, and my thoughts turn to a sequel that’s twice as large and beautiful, with tons more masks to collect, and the ability to switch between them on the fly. That may be impossible on the Genesis, but there’s still the DS for some 2D platforming lovin’. I’m sure Mr. Woita wouldn’t mind another go at the franchise, and Genesis fans would love to see it return.

Someday perhaps…someday.

Caesar’s Palace By Vince Thornburg

While it’s probably not one of the more demanding genres of video games, a good casino game is hard to come by, especially for the Genesis. Caesar’s Palace is fortunately one of the good ones. Whether you’re just a slot/video poker guy or one who bets it all on the horses, almost any game you could think of is featured (even Keno). Everything’s nice and even too. You shouldn’t be sitting there and screaming at the TV that it cheated you out of $600 again. As long as you stick with the stuff you know, and not spend it all on Keno and horses (which can be so randomly decided that winning any real money is almost an impossibility) The rest are here too: 21, craps, roulette. You even get some lottery tickets, for when you need to spend that last few hundred so you can leave absolutely hands free. In the end, it’s a nice little way to waste a half-hour, with enough little touches in the beginning and the credits to warrant said time.

Ghostbusters By Joe Redifer

Back when I was a stupid moron, I used to look at the pics of the upcoming Ghostbusters game for the Genesis and laugh at the goofy looking characters with their big heads. I didn’t have any huge interest in the game mainly because I got burned when I bought Ghostbusters for the Sega Master System and it sucked pretty hard. But, at the time there wasn’t really much else to buy so I bought it anyway. I had a great time with it, and shortly thereafter I bought the Sega Arcade Power Stick. I’m not a huge joystick fan, but I found it worked great with Ghostbusters, and I always used to stay up late playing through the game to the end, enjoying its crisp graphics and great music. The last boss was kind of a pisser, though. Since I was a stupid moron, I sold the game… most likely to finance the upcoming Saturn or something like that. I regret selling just about every piece of video game-related merchandise I’ve ever sold, except for Super Mario Sunshine. I’m glad I sold that. I’d PAY someone to take that from me. Same with Doom 3 on the Xbox and Chronicles of Riddick, but I digress.

I pretty much forgot the game existed for a long time. But then I remembered. I recently purchased Ghostbusters again on eBay for $5, and it came with a free World of Illusion. Wow, the memories really come rushing back, especially when I paused the game and that inventory screen music started playing. Then I got out my Sega Arcade Power Stick which I am amazed that I didn’t sell since I didn’t use it much. Man, I felt just like my stupid, moronic self again. Nostalgia is great. But even without it, Ghostbusters is a great game that offers a good challenge and fun gameplay.

But where the hell is Winston? Also, how is Winston’s last name spelled? In the movie, it is spelled and pronounced “Zeddemore,” but in the credits of the movie and in the Real Ghostbusters cartoon, it is “Zeddmore.” This controversy needs to be solved immediately.

Panic! By Uri Cohen

Panic! for the Sega CD is just an one of an kind. No other game that came out for the Sega CD here in America has such weird Japanese humor as Panic!. The game is very easy to play but very funny. It could be snowing candy, or it could be snowing poop! You can see machines puking on the floor, or you can see Mt. Rushmore blow up! With about 1,000 animations, just sit back and enjoy what this very weird game has to offer. Playing too much FMVs or RPGs for the Sega CD? Then get something totally different and purchase Panic!. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did.

Did I say “snowing poop?”

Virtua Fighter By Nick Gibson

I think if I had to pick one thing about Virtua Fighter on 32X that makes it so replayable, it’d be the streamlined game flow. Maybe you’re like me-I absolutely hate lag time between matches! Why is it that the designers of fighting games think they have to put all sorts of screens before and after every fight? Worse yet, why do they never let you skip them? But Virtua Fighter doesn’t fall into this trap, and so I always pull this game out when I want a *quick* fighter fix. It brings you the action without all the playing around. Think of what an MLB game would be like if the batters never stepped away from the plate after a pitch. A lot more interesting to watch, right? So I think we have one of the best ‘pick up and play’ games for the system right here. Throw in a variety of options, difficulty levels, and characters, and you have a game that just never gets old. Now.if I could just get Akira’s throws to work, I’d be able to die a happy man. Or I could just play as Lau. Again. HAI!!!

Wheel of Fortune By Damien Jennison

Everyone who has a TV has been in that situation; shouting at the screen at the contestant on a game show because the answer to the problem that’ll score them big cash is so blatantly obvious to you, so it has to be to them, right? Well, there is a little known game on the Mega Drive that lets you put that to the test: Wheel of Fortune. Yes, it’s not a graphical masterpiece compared to other games on the system and it doesn’t have parallax, scaling or all of the special effects that most other classics do, but that doesn’t matter. What it does have is the only thing that matters; the authenticity is still there. Regardless of how stiff and fake the contestant’s clapping looks like, the game keeps all the feeling of actually watching the show intact.

You still get the anger of spinning bankrupt and you still get the seething rage of getting the $5000 and not getting a letter of the puzzle. It’s even better when you bring others in on the fun. I guarantee you’ll have the studio atmosphere in a matter of moments as soon as the theme tune begins to play. And even if you’re playing by yourself, the AI is smart enough to pose a challenge, leaving you on the edge of your seat when you know the answer to the puzzle and you’re praying they don’t. Don’t put the game down just because it’s a game of a TV show; look past that and you’ll find a real hidden gem that’s waiting to shine when you bring your buddies over and you fancy a change of pace.

Corpse Killer By Chris Marsh

FMV games are the most disrespected genre of video games ever. Unlike most people, I actually like them for their cheesy acting and idiotic script writing. Corpse Killer for Sega CD/32X is actually one of the better FMV games on the market. It actually has a mild amount of strategy with choosing if you want health or a special type of ammo used to kill of stronger enemies (And you will need this ammo to beat it). The game itself plays like a more intense version (There are only enemies and no civilians to defend) of Operation Wolf, Revolution X, or Terminator 2: Judgment Day (The arcade version); and the controls range from good to bad.

The characters are quite large, so you can aim the cursor at the zombie, but it can be hard to get rid of all them before the action sequence ends. The video clips look quite good with the 32X’s added color palette, but the zombies are terribly pixilated. There are a ton of clips to watch, and as you may guess the acting in these videos are pretty bad (it’s part of the fun). This is mainly because of that hot blonde lady, who seems to make every line seem sexually suggestive when that seems out of place in a story that’s about voodoo and zombies. The Rastafarian driver and Vincent Schiavelli do some decent acting talent, so they are both tolerable. The game has clear sounds that are for the most part easy to hear (The only problem is that it is sometimes hard to understand what the Rastafarian is saying). The bongo drum music is very appropriate for this type of game. For fans of FMV or light gun games ( there’s support for both the American Laser Games gun and the Sega Menacer), then Corpse Killer is a good purchase.

Super Baseball 2000 By Nick McKay

Normally, I despise sports games, and baseball is the one sport I know next to nothing about. That is, until I played Super Baseball 2020. Like the title suggests this game is a futuristic version of baseball and technology has become a standard part of the game. All of the players have a robotic look to them, and a cool feature is they can be upgraded if you have enough money. Upgrades include armor, speed upgrades, power augments, etc. After a few innings, the field becomes laced with more and more land mines, so it adds a strategic element to play. Other than that, it’s your standard baseball game. Fun with two players or against the computer.

Eternal Champions: Challenge from the Dark Side By Matt Frey

A lot of gamers think that Mortal Kombat, or one of its many sequels, was the bloodiest video game of the early and mid 90s. We Sega CD owners, however, know better. Eternal Champions: Challenge from the Dark Side, perhaps the most blood-soaked video game ever to grace a Sega console, is a drastic improvement over the original Genesis cart in virtually every way. Solid controls, dark, foreboding visuals, a rockin’ soundtrack and, yes, gallons of the red stuff makes the sequel to Eternal Champions not only the best fighting game on the Sega CD, but one of the greatest fighting games of the post Street Fighter II era. A large, genuinely interesting cast of characters comes together in one of the most absorbing storylines ever to grace the genre. The gameplay is deep, and the player is rewarded for strategy, so button mashers need not apply.

Challenge from the Dark Side is also crammed full of extras, from hidden backgrounds and more than a dozen secret combatants to insane combos and devilishly clever finishing moves that often turn dying into an art form. The ever-present danger of a sudden, flesh-rending death while in mid-battle pumps up the element of danger, and the fear of being torn to shreds by the very background in which you fight is reason enough to win the match or die trying.

This is one of the best, most challenging, and most engrossing titles I’ve ever played. I loved it when it came out eleven years ago, and I am still caught in its mighty grip to this day. Seriously, how cool is it to lay the smackdown on a futuristic cyborg kick boxer with a film-noir style, trench coat wearing ex-cat burglar from the ’20s, then, seconds later, battle a Neanderthal as pterodactyls zoom around behind you? I have to hold back tears of gaming bliss just thinking about it! Stellar gameplay and a host of other reasons that keep you playing way, WAY past your bedtime make Eternal Champions: Challenge from the Dark Side a must own for anyone who has a Sega CD unit. Just do yourself a favor and don’t get too attached to the cast!

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