Summer’s right around the corner, which means more time for playing games! As always, the Sega-16 crew is here with another batch of 16-bit fun that everyone can into. There’s a pretty solid line up this month, so you’re bound to find something interesting. Now, on to the games!
Quackshot Starring Donald Duck By Ken Horowitz
As a fan of the NES classic Duck Tales, I also have a place in my heart for Quackshot Starring Donald Duck. It has that same charm, and it was more Sega/Disney goodness that maintained the high I got from Castle of Illusion. While not particularly difficult, Quackshot is still pretty long and involving, and that darn tiger still manages to piss me off to this day. I’d always hoped they’d make an expanded sequel that would let the player use Donald’s nephews and other characters, but sadly that window has closed and been sealed shut. Maybe someday we’ll get another chance to revisit Duckburg, but for now Quackshot is the the only 16-bit tour there is to that town. It’s worth the pittance it goes for, and it offers hours of solid gameplay and great presentation. What more could you ask for?
Sonic 3 & Knuckles By Vince Thornburg
After getting a working Genesis again, the first thing I did was play Doom for a bit. But I quickly got a phone call after my Sonic 3 & Knuckles article went out. A friend who hadn’t touched his Genny in years had read the aforementioned article and wanted to play. So he came out, and I was hoping it would play.
Yeah, it did. I watched as he tried to one-up me by getting all the emeralds, and the super emeralds, AND the Master Emerald. Soon, he was able to finish the game after a few hours of playtime. The emeralds were incomplete, but we barely noticed. The game is going to rock forever! The nice thing was that this was a friend that hadn’t come over for a good while, so that made it even more fun! Eventually, he had to go, so we finished up. But not before playing around in two-player mode in Sonic 3, which still involves mostly luck and who can press “right” the quickest, but it was nostalgic if nothing more.
It’s about done now. I’ve put it back since then and both carts sit on the shelf, as I’m satisfied that they’ve gotten to be enjoyed just like in their heyday.
Road Rash By Alex Burr
The first game in the series that I was actually allowed to marathon when I was a kid (my parents were big on not letting me play games that I couldn’t play with my dad, so I couldn’t ever beat the first two by myself.), Road Rash 3 has a lot of things I like about it. I picked it up again this week and found that it was perhaps the best in the series. It’s so much fun and has a lot of road obstacles that aren’t just slow cars in the wrong lane. Cows, jumps, logs, everything are in this game. I just love it. I also love how the bike handles a little bit differently than in the previous two, a bit more realistic per se over the other two. It always felt like in the first two they looked like super bikes, but handled like a regular motorcycle, and in this one it finally felt perfect. I really like this game, and in my honest opinion, it is the best one of any of them, including the sub par PSX and N64 versions. Play this one if you get a chance.
Slap Fight MD By Carl-Johan Brax
Slap Fight MD for the Mega Drive. It is good it has the “MD” in the end of the title, so I know it is a game for the Mega Drive. I really thought I got a Genesis game when I bought Sonic The Hedgehog Genesis, but it turned out to be an Advanced Game Boy game, so I returned it. I don’t really know what to say about Slap Fight MD. It plopped up on eBay, and I snatched it because of its rarity. The most interesting thing is probably the soundtrack, of which half is made by Yuzo Koshiro, the legendary master of video game composition and FM synthesis. The other half is done by Masahiro Yuge (Fire Shark, Zero Wing etc.). What I enjoy about the soundtrack is the fact that it really sounds like a video game soundtrack, and not some licensed radio crap like Big Steal Car IV or symphonic Bach tune like Dark Castle. One thing is really awkward, and that is the voice sample played before a boss arrives. It sounds like “They’ll make a flagship!” but it must be wrong. If anyone knows what is actually being said, please inform me.
Superman By Sebastian Sponsel
Superman is supposed to be the mightiest superhero ever. Of course it is hard to make a video game that does that character justice. But you have to be able to do better than Sunsoft did with this game! The hero that can fly, or at least – at his first incarnation – is able to leap entire buildings in a single bound is reduced to doing weak hops! This guy has laser vision and can create sonic booms by clapping his hands – here, he needs to to three punches to take out simple grunts! And this is supposed to be the man of steel? Man of foam rubber is more like it! He is about as durable and about as useful to have in a street fight.
Not only doesn’t that game do the character justice, it isn’t even a decent action title. Superman never was my favorite hero, but I’ve never felt more sorry for him than when I played this very game baring his name.
Gleylancer By Mark Seesing
If games were cars, GleyLancer would be the Volvo among shoot-’em-ups: rough around the edges, no pretentious luxury, but dependable and solid as a rock, if that makes any sense. I don’t know a whole lot about cars anyway. That aside, while the game definitely has its strange little quirks I frequently keep pulling myself back in.
In keeping with the Volvo analogy, the game is not especially pretty to the eye. While it has some nice aesthetic touches here and there, it misses the finesse and attention to detail Thunder Force IV – for analogy’s sake, the Mercedes among shoot-’em-ups – has. It similarly misses the blistering experience Thunder Force IV manages to offer. But other than that, it’s a very accessible shooter that doesn’t immediately go hardcore on you, at least not until you find the Mania difficulty, and it has a very charming, albeit not optimally used concept with the adjustable options. Controlling a particular option setup efficiently (Search is for sissies) takes some time but that’s part of the fun. And admit it, the one on the driver seat is quite perky too.
It is unfortunate this “Volvo” has had the price of a “Ferrari,” courtesy of eBay and Co. This, and “marketing” it as if this game has that kind of brilliance certainly hasn’t done it any favours. However, the good guys behind the Wii VC decided to graciously release this game in Europe and Australia. It’s ESRB rated, so its release might be pending for the US and drop it to a much more affordable price range: a mere 900 Wii Points. While still in the shadow of better “beasts” with similar price re-evaluations, you still can’t go very wrong with a “Volvo.”
Sonic The Hedgehog 3 By Daniel Smith
Over-hyped, uninspiring and tosh. Sonic 3 is by far the worst Sonic game on the Mega Drive (excluding Spinball and 3D, but nobody counts them). It is the inferior half of a superior game. Yes the music is lively and the graphics are quite colourful, but the entire focus of speed has been toned down in favour of a more exploratory style game. I hate Marble Garden. I also hate Hydrocity and Carnival Night too, but usually I can endure the latter two levels. Approximately half of all my Sonic 3 save files are set on level 3 where the will to live deserted me and I opted to do anything rather than spend five to ten minutes completing that wretched level. And what reward do I get? Carnival Night – Casino Night Zone without the fun! The only level that deserves any praise is the Ice Cap Zone, but, let be frank, it only stands out as being awesome because the other levels are worthless and the fact it is the first Sonic snow level.
Anyway, the level design for Marble Garden could have been done by a lobotomy patient, long stretches and speedy bits are bought abruptly to an end by slow obstacles or, more often than not, a small rise in the ground. The frequent movement from fast to slow is highly frustration. Marble Garden Zone is ugly, the music sounds like walrus’s mating and the badniks are worthless – which idiot thought of bouncy spikes that shoot pointless bullets? Just use some normal spikes. The insta-shield is crap, the special stages are abysmal, the game is easier than a drunken prostitute. Sonic 3 is over-hyped, uninspiring and tosh.
Doom By Eduardo Lara
I haven’t played anything Genesis-related, other than DOOM 32X which I acquired from a cool forum member. Now, most people look down on this port, and I always wondered why. Well, now I know. When I reached the title screen, I heard what was supposed to be the awesome guitar that is heard on the original or better ports. So yeah, this has some really bad sound all around. Then I started playing the game. What were these borders around the screen? Eh, I didn’t care. I started playing, and despite the all around shittyness, I had fun. It may not be the best port of Doom around, but it is what it is, and Doom 32X is at least fun.