Genesis Reviews

Adventures of Mighty Max

Genre: Platformer Developer: WJS Design Publisher: Ocean Players: 1-2 Released: 1994

Today for your reading pleasure I am proud to present a review for one of the mightiest games on the Genesis, Adventures of Mighty Max. If you recall, Mighty Max was a cartoon series and toy line from back in the early ’90s. It was a semi-charming series, though it did not leave any lasting impressions or memories. Unfortunately this game falls far below the series.

The biggest flaw to be found in Adventures of Mighty Max is its tedious and poor execution. Instead of straight up platforming from one stage to the next, you are presented with a find-the-item ordeal. Normally, this is not a bad thing, and if done right such an experience can usually be enjoyable. Not in this game, however, as you scour boring and uninspired levels in a horrible, twisted scavenger hunt. You are forced to traverse each level, searching for four or five pieces of junk or whatever they may be (some of them appeared to be trash cans, but I could be mistaken). Once located, you lift up said item and attempt to return it to one of the portals found in the level. The problem with this lies in the control while carrying the item. I’ll save the control discussion for a little later though. If you’ve somehow managed to locate all pieces, the level ends, and you are then thrust into an almost identically designed area with the same goal. Rinse and repeat. The enemies in this game are almost as boring and uninspired as the level design. Besides the rock men and bats in the volcano level I had a hard time figuring out what exactly I was fighting.

As I took control of Max, I figured he controlled well enough. He could move left and right, jump up and down, and fire his gun or whatever projectile shooter he has. Max does bear the distinction of having one of the highest jumps I have ever witnessed in a video game. No problem so far, that is until you have to pick up one of the items you are searching for. With that the controls become a nightmare as Max loses the ability to jump whilst carrying it. This leaves you with the option of throwing the item across chasms and up through platforms. I said Max can jump, but he certainly cannot throw, as his tosses demonstrate pitiful range. The control scheme just seems to be a frustrating exercise in futility.

Graphically, Adventures gets the job done, though with no frills or special effects. Max is well enough defined, and I recognize his character, but the enemies suffer from unidentifiable-itis (very deadly in video games). The levels bear no distinction and can be a little dark at times, but at least I could see what I was doing. The sound is mediocre, which is to say that it’s better than most of the game. It flows well enough with everything else, though it does not strive to stand out or possess me to download the Mighty Max music score. The sound effects flow well enough and at the very least do not interrupt or hinder things.

For all these grave video gaming sins, I feel someone at Ocean was trying to make a decent game; he just had the rest of the company against him. Adventures supports a split-screen two-player mode in a competition to find the items quicker. Had it been more enjoyable, one could have sat back with a buddy and had a friendly competition. Adventures is packed with fan service too. You are given the choice of playing as Max or one of his two friends Felix and Bea. While they do not control any differently, the thought and gesture is nice to fans of the show. Special items in the level will also summon Norman and Virgil to temporarily come to your aid and fight at your side. The game is even nice enough to include a password system in case you really want to undertake the arduous task of beating it.

I went into Adventures of Mighty Max expecting a decent platformer with some redeeming and endearing qualities. I found a train wreck of licensed proportions. This release is further proof that licenses except in rare circumstances do not make good games. I just cannot recommend this game to anyone except diehard Max fans, and even then beware.

SCORE: 3 out of 10


One Comment

  1. This is really a puzzle game masquerading as a platformer. Weirdly, it leads off with what’s probably the hardest level in the game (Space), and then the rest is comparatively easy. The generic enemies — who never really change, they’re just reskinned versions of the same thing — are dangerous yet practically irrelevant, since you get unlimited continues and always respawn exactly where you left off.

    Consequently, the control issues aren’t bad enough to impede progress, but the gameplay itself is just mechanical and repetitive, and the poor documentation means it’s your job to figure out that a nondescript landscape feature is actually a springboard. At least you can never screw yourself, every level is always solvable, but it’s a dull slog. BTW I didn’t know they had mummies and pharaohs in (ahem) “Incan Ruins”.

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