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Reader Roundtable Vol. 27

So you survived Valentine’s Day, and there was still enough days left in the month to come up with the money for some more games (if she really loves you, games are never a problem). Our staff and readers either have some very understanding significant others or cold and empty beds. Either way, the Genesis is always there to keep us warm!

 

Desert Strike By Ken Horowitz

I’m a huge fan of tactical war games like Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter and Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, but my first experience with the whole “realistic” style of depicting actual combat was back with Electronic Arts’ seminal helicopter game Desert Strike. I still go back to it often today, and taking on the evil dictator’s massive war machine is as challenging as it is fun. Having to manage everything from ammunition to fuel and armor adds an element that had never really been seen before on consoles. The sense of anxiety of tearing out of a war zone with a load of POWs and low on fuel is awesome, and I can never bring myself to finish a level until all of our boys come home. That, and I just like blowing stuff up…

Cyber-Cop By Vince Thornburg

What is this Cyber-Cop game I’ve been reading about at times? It seems to be a rare first-person shooter for the Genesis. I liked Zero Tolerance, this should be cool! I’ll put it on my list of games to search for. Pretty low down the list though. Woah, it’s at my local gaming store for $2.50! I’ll take it! Complete! Let’s put it in! Wow, nice presentation! Wireframes! Real pictures! Am I playing on the 32X? No! This is Genesis hardware alone! Sweet. Now, how does it play?

Oh My God! What the hell is this?! There’s twenty-seven buttons on this screen! Look, it’s the level! Walk forward. Walk Forward! Ok….RUN forward. Not an option, damn. Someone’s shooting me! Shoot back! I missed! Turn! Turn! I turned to far! He moved! Turn again! Got him! Thank god I was able to buy Gun five right away, or that may have killed me! Let’s turn the corner…..Ow! I’ve been hit again! Where is he?! Shoot! Shoot! Damn it! I shot a security camera for some reason! Turn! Oh, I’ve died…This will probably be another one of those games I just don’t “get” and quickly turn off and put away.

Anyone want a copy of Cyber-Cop?

Mario Lemieux Hockey By Alex Burr

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Ranging from sheer joy after clinching the championship with Pittsburgh to getting so thoroughly enraged at the miserable shootout system, Mario Lemieux Hockey has had a place in my library forever. This game keeps a fun quality to it while sometimes being extremely corny at times. The announcer is hilarious-looking, and the whole thing plays like old-time table hockey (you know, the hockey with the big glass dome and the guys on the rods). I have a lot of fun with this, but you better hope you don’t end regulation still tied, because you will most likely be blanked in the shootout mode. I hate the shootout mode so much, that most times, I just turn off the game when I get to it because I know I will be skunked. And you all know me, Sega-16’s God of Sports Games, doesn’t give up with out a fight.

I’ve owned the game since 1993, and I have never once won a shootout. What makes it worse, is that there is no overtime mode either. What is cool about this game, is that you can skate on black ice if you know the secret code. Thats cool. The music is funny, and I think the fighting system is just hilarious. The players bob around like the little kid punching bag thingies. Knowing this game, only the loser gets a penalty, so don’t fight. Mario Lemieux Hockey is still fun for me in spurts, but certainly isnt the hockey game I’ll be playing for the rest of time.

Shining in the Darkness By Zebbe

Ahh, Shining in the Darkness, you do indeed live up to your name. I had been waiting for an entire week, when you finally came and didn’t work until about the tenth try on my Sega Mega Drive system. When you started to work it felt like I met an old childhood friend again who just woke up from a coma. Good for you Dr. Zebbe von Quack came to your rescue.

When we met the first time, I was only around seven, and you were playing with my future friend at the after school daycare center. My friend was showing everyone the amazing skills you had, which allowed whoever used you to vanquish the enemies with many different methods of magic. That was a very short memory of you though, and it took a few years right before I really got interested in types like you, and that time was when I was about to get into puberty. I had already fallen in love with your friend Phantasy Star IV, with whom I had a perfect relationship. However, when it was over and I tried you, you were a little bit too hard for me, so I left you without experiencing your full glory. It would take another eight years or so until we would meet again. But this time I was so dumb I got an American clone of you – without your instruction booklet. Anyway, I still loved you for who you were, and decided to – how awful it may sound – beat you, which was lovely. Then I later sold you because you weren’t complete.

Now I got you again, for only £7.00. Complete, but not mint, as I had to clean you a lot since you were dirty. But now we are together again, and I will never let you go. You have such an epic story to tell me, play beautiful music for me and one of your characters shares his last name with me. Also, I love how complex you are, which makes me draw maps of your dungeons. Ah, that was what Tr00 Old Skool Role Playing Gamers did back then, now they have to watch minute-long magic spells or hear laughter scenes that make their ears bleed. Thanks to my strong character, I was able to see through those fancy novelties and return to you, my dear Shining in the Darkness.

Alien Soldier By Tom Briggs

I never thought I would see the day when I could list Alien Soldier as my monthly obsession. The title has just been too darned expensive! And I have this crazy rule against using emulators for games I don’t own (what can I say? I’m old school). When the game was finally re-released for Nintendo’s Genesis Virtual Console, I jumped at the chance of owning this rarity. Upon booting it up, I discovered that it played only a little like I expected. I guess Gunstar Heroes set my level of expectations so high that Alien Soldier was meant to come up short. I found the game to be a little stiff in comparison to my favorite Genny game, and a bit too difficult. Still, it offers up gameplay only Treasure can deliver, and the audio and visuals are simply unmatched on the system. Overall, I’m glad that I finally got to play this, but also a little relieved that I didn’t spend over $100 for it!

Bio-Hazard Battle By Edward Figueiredo

Taking up Bio-Hazard Battle for a speedy play can be a little of a challenge (normal difficulty at least), as well as a rewarding experience for the casual shmupper. I did it over one weekend, as I hadn’t yet finished it. The coolest aspect to be noted is the sometimes intricate level and creature design, but I’m pretty sure everybody has also heard about the bass-loaded soundtrack. It’s indeed so, but for an 8-Meg cart there’s something not quite right about the repetition of BGMs starting on stage 4.

My favorite part of the game comes in the industrial landscape of stage seven, when you have to dodge the debris coming out of huge pipes. As I used bio-warrior Electra (from a gallery of four fighters), during this section I was very happy to relinquish the orange homing laser in favor of the blue popping bubbles, which have a minor homing ability but suit way better in protecting the ship from all those deadly debris. It’s so cool I’ll have to say that this is definitely one of the best shmup moments of the whole Genesis 16-bit line-up!

Though not outstanding, Bio-Hazard Battle excels in establishing a very good ambiance for its theme, with a wide variety of weapons and settings that should please those who haven’t tried it yet. As of today, the Wikipedia article about this game states that it resembles Zero Wing, though this affirmation if far from being true. It’s closest in theme to Insector X, but plays a lot better.

Rambo III By Uri Cohen

Sometimes you just have to blow crap up. No, sometimes you have to blow EVERYTHING up, whether it moves or not. To me, that’s the reason why Rambo III was created in the first place. Like the movie, you just go around and start killing people. Set up bombs, shoot your bow, and shoot your machine gun like a nut. It’s true that the game came out very early in the system’s life cycle, but it’s still mindless fun even today. No morals, no rules, and no limits on ammo! This is the way war is supposed to be.

Like the Japanese video ad of Rambo III said: “KICKING BUTT!!!!!!!”

Worms By Tom Lenting

I don’t like to play DOS or Amiga converted games on the Genesis, no matter how good the conversion turns out to be. I enjoy games like Lemmings, Cannon Fodder, Theme Park, and, in this instance, Worms, but I really can’t play them on Sega’s 16-bit wonderchild. The main problem is that the graphics are too tiny. You always sit closer to a PC screen than to a TV screen, but the graphics in this ported games usually keep the same size as the original. You have to sit closer to the television, especially to adequately discern the small sized menus, and doing such for too long usually leads to some nasty headaches. Though also the amounts of whiskeys consumed when playing a “party game” like Worms may have something to do with this physical inconvenience. However, that not all ported games deal with this problem is proved by the excellent Genesis-edition of Dune 2: Battle for Arakis.

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