Features Reader Roundtable

Reader Roundtable Vol. 16

Sega-16’s readers are ready to share their gaming experiences once more! The end of March means that spring is here, and summer vacation is right around the corner. What better time to curl up with a longtime favorite or that one cart that’s been sitting neglected in your collection? Read on, fellow Segaphiles, and check out what our readers have been up to this month!


Wings of Wor By Ken Horowitz

Among my inner circle of Genesis-loving friends, I was the only one to take notice of Dreamwork’s awesome Wings of Wor. After firing this baby up and showing them what they were missing, it became clear that this was one great game.

Even today, I still have copious amounts of love for Wings of Wor. There’s just so much to like – great visuals, pumping soundtrack, awesome bosses, and that lung stage! I notice now that the main character sprite is way too small, and that bullets often get lost in the background, but it doesn’t diminish the fun I have playing this game. Looking for that next great Genesis shooter? Well look no further friends; you’ve found it.

Trampoline Terror By Vince Thornburg

Trampoline Terror is simply the greatest the game to ever grace the golden graces of the graceful Genesis. TT will always hold a graceful place in my heart, as you gracefully jump from one block to another, turning it red and gracefully jumping on another trampoline to jump to the next level and do it again, but even more gracefully. We here at Sega-16 should devote an entire month to the graceful game. I love it. I’ve since glued it to my Genesis since there’s no need to play any other game, ever. Grace.
I should also mention that even though the date isn’t perfect for this, APRIL FOOLS DAY!

And even with that, all I can say is that I actually liked Trampoline Terror! OK!

Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse By Rodger Swan

This month I’ve been playing my favorite game on the Genesis, the great Castle of Illusion. Everything about it is as great now as it was when it was originally released. The graphics are still crisp and clear, and the gameplay is rock solid. In fact, I still cannot beat hard mode, but now I can make it to the final level. Who would have thought that a game starring Mickey Mouse could be so difficult, but still very fun?

There are so many good qualities about this game. The music is heavenly. The opening theme during the introduction really sets the mood, and every piece of music is great. The levels are creative, and the enemies are varied. If you haven’t played Castle of Illusion, don’t pass it up because Mickey is on the cover. It has provided me with years of fun, and it has been the game that just keeps on giving.

VectorMan 2 By Tom Briggs

I went to my favorite retro shop the other day and picked up a complete copy (damn paper case and all) of VectorMan 2. Like so many other 16-bit games, I had sold my original cart when I first discovered “trade-in” stores. I’ve been looking to make up for my past mistakes by rebuilding my game collections, and VectorMan 2 was an absolute necessity. The original VectorMan made my jaw drop, and the sequel is equally satisfying. The game is a perfect example of why I love the Genesis so much. The graphics – being from a late era release – are just as fantastic now as they were eleven years ago. Better yet is the smooth control. I can’t even begin to go over how much I appreciate the level of polish BlueSky put into this game. Due to the minor improvements and better balanced difficulty, I’ve come to the conclusion that I prefer this game over the original VectorMan, a HUGE revelation from a person who is as indecisive as I am. Every Genesis owner owes it to him/herself to play VectorMan 2.

Animaniacs By Patrick Wainwright

I love cartoons. I love that classic golden era of cartoons known as the nineties. So naturally I have fond feelings for Animaniacs. Their show brought many a smile to my face, and their game brought much joy to me as well. Many an afternoon I whittled away, performing their zany actions and traipsing through the levels of various movie parodies. The game always seemed to me to be to challenging for me as a kid (part of the reason I was able to get so much replay out of it was the shear amount of tries it would take me to beat it). These days I don’t find it nearly as hard as my younger self did, but playing through it provides a nice trip down memory lane. In the end that’s part of why I love older video games and cartoons, the memories of childhood that they bring.

Supreme Warrior By Saad Azim

I…er… own the 32X CD version of Supreme Warrior. (Don’t give me that look.) I also occasionally play my 32X CD version of it. Every few years or so, my memories of my last “game” of Supreme Warrior are faded enough, and coincide with the yankerin’ for some B-Kung-Fu flick action, so out comes Supreme Warrior from a dark and generally ignored corner of my closet. (That, and after reading the Genre Spotlight on FMV games, I figured “why not?”)

In a way, it’s an odd combination of factors distracting from each other’s shortcomings. The video footage acts as a distraction to the non-existent gameplay, and the non-existent gameplay distracts from the shortcomings of the video. The “gameplay,” or the lack there of, revolves around pressing the right button at the right time. According to the instructions, the player is supposed to read the enemy’s body language or something, but for all its intents & purposes, I prefer to play through the game in easy mode because it gives on-screen hints about when to press the button. Normal mode gives you a lot less time to react, and the icons are non-existent in hard mode. IMHO, the extra “abilities” found in hard mode are not worth the time & effort.

For the most part, it’s basically like watching a rerun of a B-Kung-Fu movie with better than average English, except there are no commercials, and you have to press buttons every once in a while. Roughly a half hour or so later, it’s back to the closet for Supreme Warrior.

Streets of Rage 3 By Trey Mannan

Streets of Rage 3 is a game that gets disrespected often, and I don’t think that it should. It is a wonderful game with great controls and solid gameplay, and while it short, you can definitely play it over and over again; it’s that fun. The final SOR game is filled with great boss battles, as well as a great story, and this is one game that might be in your Genesis for quite a while. I know that it has been in mine for a long time now. Don’t let the changes and the censorship by Sega turn you off to it. There’s always been drama over whether or not another Streets of Rage should or shouldn’t be re-released, and official attempts at such a thing have met with failure before. Personally, I think it should. Why not? The fans want it. Sadly, it seems that the closest we’ll get is Bombergames’ Streets of Rage Remake.

Golf Magazine Presents 36 Great Holes Starring Fred Couples By Joe Redifer

Golf Magazine Presents 36 Great Holes Starring Fred Couples. Yes, that’s the full name of this outstanding game. Even though you won’t get back the precious time in your life that you wasted saying the full title out loud, you won’t care, as this action-packed golf game truly recreates the thrill-a-minute non-stop heart-palpitating roller-coaster-ride-of-the-summer thrill ride that is golf. Did I use the word “thrill” once too many in that last sentence? No way, I was describing golf. I didn’t use the word “thrill” enough! First of all, this game is on the most powerful game system in the entire world, the Sega 32X. Not one X, not XXX, but 32 Xs just for you! If you like good games, then the 32X is your holy grail. Wow. Just wow! Anyway, this game is a lot like PGA Tour Golf for the Sega Genesis 16-bit Entertainment Super System, except the graphics here are nearly acceptable as the game actually puts more than two or three colors on the screen simultaneously. PGA Tour Golf might as well be black and white. They actually recorded world famous golf superstar Fred Couples’ voice and digitized it in order to react to your progress. It’s like Fred himself is sitting right next to you! And who wouldn’t want that? He’ll say things like “Get up a little bit,” but then he’ll say “Oooooo just too hard.” Make up your mind, Fred! But he always ends with “Knock it in.” Fred’s only goal is for you to get it in the hole.

Ranger-X By Carl-Johan Brax

I hate it when the boss music is so awesome that you don’t really want to kill the boss. And when the boss is killed in a few seconds, you are forced to either listen to the track in the sound test (which I do with a lot of games) or let the boss live and avoid his attacks. I’ve thought about it many times, for example in Space Harrier, Sonic 2, and Thunder Force III. This thought came back to me when I met the lake boss of Ranger-X, which I am going to talk about right now. When the best track of the game is used for such a short time, don’t you think it should have been used for something better, like a stage or a hard boss?

Anyway, Ranger-X is quite a good game, despite this major flaw. It forces your brain to cooperate with your right thumb a lot, because you control two robot units and need a six button controller for this, preferably one not made by Majesco or someone else. The controls had a pretty high learning curve for me, but that was actually fun. I love learning stuff!

I don’t know what the mission was, because I never read the manual, but you are supposed to destroy several military units on all stages. I also think you are supposed to save some girl, because I saw one in the ending at least. Your main unit is a transformer-like robot, and to aid you there is a thing resembling a wagon, which shoots, has its own health bar and changes your second weapon. The many different weapons in the game are a highlight. They can all be useful at their own special times because none are alike. Too bad the best one, the green KA-BOOM laser, makes the game too easy. It puts the Death Star laser to shame and makes the last boss battle easier than Dell.

Ranger-X has some very cool cyber design and the use of colour and lighting effects are unique on the Mega Drive. There are some strange 3D sequences between the levels that are unnecessary though. If I want 3D, I return to real life. Except for that, and the bad placing of the good music, I find no reason not to own Ranger-X.

Beggar Prince By RedComet

Still reeling from the disappointment that is Final Fantasy XII , I decided to take a step back to a time when things were simple and video games fun. Unbeknownst to me that time was, evidently, 1996, because that’s when C&E released what would become Beggar Prince. And you know what? It’s one damn fun game.

I’m sure at this point you’ve probably all read about how great this game is; how it’s everything a Genesis RPG should be; how the music, visuals, and story meld together to form a nostalgic experience second to none, or even how it puts most video games of the last five years to shame. Sound about right? Well, it’s because it’s true.

As soon as the Super Fighter Team splash screen fades, the magic begins. Crisp, vibrant colors spread across as a brilliant soundtrack reminiscent of the best of the golden age. This continues as you trek through the game, but with the addition of a wonderfully written script, you can really tell the guys at SFT spent a lot of hours ironing out all the wrinkles. The battle system is one of my favorite things about the game. It’s incredibly simple, yet incredibly fun. For the first time in a long while random encounters were actually enjoyable. Imagine that!

Out of all of these, easily my favorite part of the game is the soundtrack, specifically the over world theme. That one piece brings back fond memories of long hours spent “wasting time” (as my mother would say) playing my Genesis. For me, that’s the greatest thing about Beggar Prince: it’s given me a chance to step back to those long gone days of yesteryear and for a couple hours, relive them. And for that I will forever be grateful.

Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle By Daniel Smith

Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle is one of the dozens of games in my collection that I have owned for years and never bothered to complete. Last night I decided to give it another attempt (two attempts to be exact). I managed to get as far as the “to the sky” level where I was cruelly deceived by some red blocks, which quickly fell away when I landed on them, and my crappy helicopter plummeted to earth. This was after some shady looking gorilla man tried to flog me a helicopter in the previous level. Seriously, would you trust anybody with purple skin, who takes your money and then plays rock, paper, scissors (or Janken as the game likes to call it), in front of an audience of animals, in order to determine whether or not you can actually have the item you’ve just paid for, to sell you a helicopter in decent condition? Why would I bother paying for a helicopter when there’s one for free at the start of the next level? Does the game think I have the word “mug” tattooed on my forehead? What sort of shop has anvils waiting to crush the customers? Anyway, enough whining, I’m off to give this one another go!

Rise of the Robots By Tom Lenting

There are two possibilities for a video game if it wants to be remembered in video game history. On the positive side of the spectrum you have those that are extremely playable or so original they change the way we look at games. On the negative side of the spectrum there are games which are so utterly crappy that it’s hard to forget about them. Rise of the Robots definitely belongs on the latter side. It got a multi-platform release and had excellent marketing, but the game itself sucks, the graphics are highly rendered but short on animation, the player can select only one character. There are almost no special moves, the control is unresponsive, the CPU is near to non-existent, and all the loading screens (!) take too long. Once in a while you have to plug a crappy fighter like this in your Genesis to truly appreciate the greatness of games as Street Fighter II. The robots tried to rise again in Resurrection: Rise of the Robots 2, but thankfully it was one of the few moments in which we were actually lucky no more games were made for the Genesis.

Ys III: Wanderers from Ys By Zack Young

Man oh man, I love me some good ol’ Ys. What’s Ys you say? Well that you should ask! Ys (pronounced Ease for those of you who’ve never heard of it) was a sweet incarnation of action RPG’s that concentrated mainly on the ill-fated Turbo CD. Altogether Ys saw a total of five games during the 16-bit era and numerous ports of some of them. The Genesis got only one such port, but that didn’t stop it from being totally awesome.

Ys III: Wanderer’s from Ys follows the adventures of Adol Christian, the main character of most Ys games. Adol is a cool red-haired guy who goes around saving the world from evil, though he usually starts his games with less illustrious goals. The third installment is often scorned for changing the combat system used in the previous games and taking a more mainstream approach. The original battle system composed of damage being dealt and taken as sprites ran into each other, but Ys III takes a more Zelda-like approach. That is, Adol actually jumps and swings his sword. I was a huge fan of the original games, so this put me off for a bit, but Ys III is still good fun even if it is the worst game in the series.

The story has nothing on the majesty of the first two games, but the game maintains the series claim to glorious soundtracks, the visuals are decent, and the mainstream approach is still quite fun. Ys falls apart a little in the control department though; Adol’s jumps are rather awkward and attacking from mid-jump is an exersise in futility. This would all be forgivable if the main system ran smoothly, but it doesn’t. You need to time your attacks precisely if they’re actually going to hit your target. This is partially a problem with programming, but the angle of the sword when swung amplifies the problem. The game is still addictive and fun though, the soundtrack is bliss, and though the story is purely cliche and uninteresting compared to the original stories of the series, but the plot has a certain amount of charm and there are even two dudes in it named Dogi and Chester. So, go play it.

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