Features Reader Roundtable

Reader Roundtable Vol. 34

Fall is here, and our readers are still playing! You think they actually stopped and took a breather during the past thirty days? I doubt it, and I’m sure that many have their Nomads biomechanically linked to their central nervous systems so that they never have to worry about a power source! Well, maybe not, but with readers this devoted, it wouldn’t surprise me if they did!


World of Illusion By Ken Horowitz

I’ve been a Mickey Mouse fan my entire life. Disney’s rodent mascot has always been a constant for me, as he’s been for millions of children around the world for almost eight decades. For that reason, I’m easy swayed by any game that stars Mickey, and sometimes that doesn’t always work out (damn you Mickey’s Magical Mirror for GameCube!). Other times, it works out just fine.

Case in point: World of Illusion. The pseudo sequel to Castle of Illusion, it sports excellent visuals and sound, as well as some great two-player cooperative gameplay. My daughter and I are the team supreme with Mickey and Donald, and that kind of charm, the kind that transcends generations, is what Mickey Mouse is all about. Good show Sega. Good show.

Mortal Kombat II By Vince Thornburg

Things happen, things don’t happen, things didn’t happen that you were SURE happened, things happened that you wish didn’t. Life is things, things is life. Things like games happen. Games like Mortal Kombat II happen. Things happen like having Mortal Kombat II sitting around in a book case for ten years.

From kindergarten to second Grade, Mortal Kombat was THE video game. From learning all the fatalities and other ways to end the match (Friendships are so stupid and boring!) to first seeing Mortal Kombat III at the arcades the summer before second grade, we knew we’d have the game at home before Christmas. It was either that or goose bumps that dominated conversation. Talk of how much you can do a certain move, and how it’s impossible to morph into Kintaro with Shang Tsung. I talked the talk but rarely walked the walk.

For financial reasons (not rating systems reason, my parents trusted me and my brother to not take heads ripping off of bodies seriously) we never had a Mortal Kombat game until the system finished its run and the games could be easily grabbed out of discount bins. Eventually, I had Mortal Kombat I and II sitting around my Genesis (with MK3 coming a few years later, but I hate that one pretty much so it doesn’t count).

Anyway, the game today here is Mortal Kombat II. I could never beat it. Ever. No matter who I tried, what strategies I used, I wouldn’t even make it to Shang Tsung. I soon used the game solely as a two-player game and forgot the single-player mode. Enter the 32X. After playing all the games that came in the bundle, I grabbed a copy of MKII for 32X cheap. Not that I needed another copy, I bought it because it was cheap, and I wanted to see the game looking a bit better on a 32X. Tis all.

So, I put the game in again a few days ago, not really playing it since I got it. Raiden was my hero, plowing through the lineup until I hit Shang Tsung. I then realized this was farther than I’ve gotten before. It’s took three rounds, but Shang Tsung attempted a Liu Kang morph, but Raiden simply waved his finger and said “I don’t think so!” and then he tripped Liu until “FINISH HIM” hit the screen. Not really knowing a Fatality code, I pressed random buttons for fun. Liu Kang suddenly exploded and Raiden uppercutted him to smithereens. Confidence set in!

(This is long!) Life was good until Shao Kahn. I never moved, as Kahn killed me. I was a bit unhappy, and overtired, but I didn’t quit. I randomly selected Jax, which kind of sucked because I remembered nothing for him. It didn’t matter since Shao Kahn was soon defeated with the simplest move set in history. The mortal of this long and rambling story? Mortal Kombat II for the 32X is easy as hell! Have a good day!

Lunar: Eternal Blue By Carl-Johan Brax

I haven’t been playing much this month, but the little I’ve played has been Lunar II like last month. So much stuff has happened to me. New employment, the apartment is shaping up and working on Pier Solar is more intense than ever. For the first time in what seems to be forever, I’ve been forced to make priorities, of which two were gaming and Sega-16. Now with the financial crisis already here, things feel very insecure and hectic for me, but I hope to be back on track with everything next year. 2009 will be one bloody awesome year, I can feel it already.

Anyway, I still enjoy Lunar II as much as I did last time. The last time I played I had a very exciting boss battle against a fat wizard. He had three little options: one which attacked, one which healed him and one which shielded him. On top of that, he had a powerful spell that heavily damaged all my comrades. This forced me to use my strategic mind. So my plan was to kill off the attacking option first, to decrease the amount of damage I get. Then I killed off the healing one, followed by the shielding one. After that, he was more or less chanceless against me, even though he managed to faint Lucia. But it didn’t matter to me, as she doesn’t get any EXP after battle anyway. I really enjoyed this boss battle, as the powerful spell made it challenging and the options made it tricky.

Hopefully, there will be many more of this kind of boss battles in a few months, when Pier Solar and the Great Architects and Legend of Wukong have arrived at the Palace of Power.

Bill Walsh College Football By Alex Burr

Well, its football season again guys, and that means its time for me to dive into the greatness that is Bill Walsh College Football. Everything about this game just emits excellence. And its more in the experience than it is in the actual game itself. I mean, its pretty much a Madden ’94 remix on its face level, but the ability to create magic and actually have an AI who can pull a major upset if you aren’t prepared on both sides of the ball for the entire game. Its a pretty hardcore game and worth the two dollars you are going to buy it. Of all of the EA sports games, I think this one has the best box. I mean, the game just emanates excellence. Its one of those games where you just have to play it. The game is not graphically amazing, there are better EA sports football games (especially these days), its just the times I have had that make me recommend this game for any gamer thinking about picking up a cheepie sports game for Genesis. Saddle up Genesis football players, its time to play some football, Bill Walsh style.

Heavy Nova By Edward Figueiredo

I know I would never get the window nor the score I want if I were to write a complete review of this game for Sega-16. So here goes my manifest, written in order to celebrate the fact that I recently beat Heavy Nova for the Mega CD on HARD with just one life.

Don’t get me wrong. When I say I love Heavy Nova I mean it. For a video game, it’s the sort of love that’s passionate, eternal, the one that’s bound to give you a cool rush on the mere act of laying eyes on a screen shot. My love for this game is even more misunderstood due to the fact that my peer gamers despise this particular title, even naming it as one of the worst games in the Mega Drive library. Yes, I know I’m a loner.

Question is: why do I cherish this game so much, to the point of it being the second title I ever bought when I started collecting about a year ago?

For the most part, I think it’s an elegant game. In fact, the sense of “heaviness” transpires from every single aspect of this amazing title, from the controversial speed to the gameplay mechanics. Remember, folks, the title says HEAVY. So it’s expected that the way these robots move has to convey their outstanding mass and power. Noises, clanks and sound effects in general all go by the same concept and design criteria.

If you get past that, you’ll notice just how well robots and moves are nicely animated, graphics and music match the theme perfectly and the story – which I don’t care about anyway – won’t hurt anyone. I also had an open mind when I started playing it, and that’s another reason why Street Fighter fans will easily disown Heavy Nova without even giving it a chance. Why must fighting games have the same mechanics all the time? In Heavy Nova, defense means crouching and flying, period. Deal with it and learn how to attack and take advantage of your opponent’s open guard. You can’t stand up after you fall? Play close attention to the energy bar and tap buttons to recover faster. You don’t know why a certain move results in another? Please notice your moves vary according to your energy level.

So what do you think? Wanna give Heavy Nova a second chance?

Saint Sword By Damien Jennisen

So, the collection stood before me. With so many games to possibly play, what could keep my interest for long enough for me to play again and again? Well, Saint Sword certainly did a good job for a lot of this month. I discovered it purely by chance on eBay for a cheap price and after a little research, I concluded it might be a good little fantasy platformer. I took the plunge and bought it.

I wasn’t disappointed in many respects. The plot is fodder, but plot is wasted on these kind of games. The gameplay was more interesting then simply walking right to the end of the level though. You “level up” through gaining points until you reach your highest attack power. Enemies constantly repopulate and you can explore the whole level in all directions. What hooked me was the finding of keys to exit the level and the morphing power-ups, which I thought were rather interesting for a game of its type. After a few levels and attempts to complete it, the catchy music and satisfactory sound effects had certainly clutched me enough to make me forget the recycled enemies and the slightly repetitive gameplay. It had me so much by my collar that I ran through it on YouTube, from start to finish.

That was when the game sucker-punched me badly. You have to complete it twice. Yes, twice. It pulls a Ghosts ‘N Goblins on you in a cheap effort to extend gameplay. It is a short game that you can easily go through in about thirty minutes if you’re lucky with finding keys. That isn’t always a bad thing if the game is good like Saint Sword is. But to pull that on me? It really made me have second thoughts about it. And if you think the second play through makes it all worth it, I’ll save you the effort: it adds little and provides even less after it.

Do I regret playing it? On reflection, I don’t think I do, but I wish there was a disclaimer on the box of games that pull that trick. I really do.

Wolfchild By Tiido Priimägi

So, in my search for games with the musical work of Matt Furniss in it, I managed to find Wolfchild

So I flashed my cart, turned my MD2 on and couldn’t really get past the sound test, Matt Furniss has done such a good job. Later on I went to town with my dad and I took my Nomad with me along with the car adaptor I built and started playing while my dad drove the car… I played it until the end of the game. Nice game, with interesting enemies (who tend to be a bit stupid) and varied levels. Too bad the bosses are piece of cake, even in hard mode. I really like this game and hope to track it down and put it on my “Sega Shelf” someday.

Castlevania: Bloodlines By Red Comet

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but whips and chains excite me. Plus, Halloween is right around the corner so it’s only right that I’ve been spending my time replaying Castlevania: Bloodlines. This game has it all: whips, zombies, Medusa heads that will cause the Pope himself to say things that would make Baby Jesus blush. You name it, Bloodlines has it. And for some reason, every year right around this time I keep coming back to it. What can I say, I like it rough. Hopefully this year will be different than the past few years and I’ll finally beat this game. (Ed. note: just be sure to beat it on the hardest difficulty level, so you can get the best ending!)

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