As we prepare to ring in the new year, Sega-16’s staff, readers, and forum members take some time to squeeze those last few minutes of game time out of 2008. This month’s installment includes many titles that any Genesis fans can recognize, but hey, these games are classics for a reason!
Disney’s Aladdin By Ken Horowitz
After watching the movie again for the umpteenth time (it’s my favorite Disney film), I took my young daughter by the hand to show her that the Aladdin magic didn’t stop with the end credits. Her eyes grew as wide as her smile when she saw the game box, and soon she was tossing apples with the best of them. With each stage, she’d pause the game to yell out how it was in the movie and what Aladdin did, and she actually got pretty far before I had to take over. She’s only five, but her Genesis training is coming along nicely.
It’s ironic that all those games I once considered challenging have been nowhere near as hard for her. I chalk it up to the gamer gene, something I didn’t have. My skills were forged on the corpses of many controllers, but Kimberly seems to be a natural at platformers. Someday she might be able to tackle ol’ Jafar all by herself!
Greatest Heavyweights By Vince Thornburg
So, me and Joe sat in my room and played some Genesis games, since he obviously hasn’t played it really for a while. Rediscovering Beyond Oasis was fun, Family Feud died in a fit of passion and gasoline, and playing Clue reminded us how much we really don’t like playing Clue. I pop in Greatest Heavyweights, not realizing that he’s never played it. Joe Louis vs. Muhammad Ali became a reality that night. On the surface, the game seems like a button masher (as much as any boxing game could look), so Joe just wails on the buttons as I’m blocking and weaving, while laying in simple “body-shot-then-uppercut” combos.
Even with that, we still put on a fairly even match for a good four rounds. By the fifth round Joe suddenly realized that he could uppercut, and he was a little miffed that I never informed him that I knew what I was doing more than he did. It didn’t matter though, since Louis soon stood victorious as Ali was knocked down three times in thirty seconds, and Louis garnered the TKO. I messed around the with the fake fighters for a bit, but I soon got bored as Holyfield knocked the crap out of Dynamite Dan in the first round… again.
NHL ’94 By Alex Burr
Everyone you ask will tell you that the best hockey game, if not the best game ever for the Genesis, is NHL ’94. I love this game, and when I got my X’Eye a couple weeks ago, I could not pass up picking up NHL ’94 for Sega CD for not more than three dollars. I’ve heard all of the stuff about it, that it’s exactly the same game as the Genesis one, except it has a grainy introduction video and better sound. But, Ron Barr or whoever it is actually talks about each team and which player is hot or cold. I love it! The sound on the ice is authentic and the gameplay feels very smooth and fun. It’s still pretty tough to score a goal without having an angle on the goalie, making each goalie feel like a brick wall at times, but it’s still a great experience. You can actually save your progress on this one too! I really like this game, and for a month or season that I am not playing much Genesis, this one is most certainly a winner for both Sega CD and Genesis.
Earthworm Jim By Tom Briggs
I love so many games from the 16-bit era. The Sonics, the Marios, the sports games, the RPG’s, the quality of the era is near unmatchable. But each of these genres/series can be found on other consoles as well. One series that was born on 16-bit consoles and never made its way to bigger and better things was Earthworm Jim, two of my favorite games of all time. Sure, there’s been multiple ports to different consoles, and though Earthworm Jim 3D does exist, it doesn’t mean that we can’t pretend that it doesn’t.
This month, in between bouts with Legend of Wukong, I’ve been spending some good ol time with Earthworm Jim for the Genesis. The original version of the classic that I own in three different formats, I’m still madly in love with this action platformer. Everything about the game is perfect: the visuals and animation quality are tops for the era, the gameplay is silky smooth, the music is funky, and and it’s just a joy to play. It’s also pretty challenging. I don’t remember having such a difficult time with the underwater levels before, but I nearly threw my 6-button controller across the room a couple times. Still, I can’t think of a better game to spend my time with during my winter break!
Sonic 2 & Knuckles By Sebastian Sponsel
2009 is approaching, and a new year means it’s time to make some new year’s resolutions. It also means that it’s high time to resolve some old ones you made earlier! So I decided to sit down and finally beat Sonic 2 using Knuckles the Echidna! Once again pondering Sega’s view on the animal kingdom (a speeding, blue hedgehog? A flying Fox? A pink, floating, Rastafarian ANTEATER??? What drugs where they on when they conceptualized their games?), I decided to give the combo of Sonic & Knuckles and Sonic 2 another try.
The first thing I noticed when playing the game was that obviously Sega didn’t create the Lock-On technology with the Nomad in mind. Sudden, jerky movements on the handheld cause the game to crash. I realize that I must play more patient rather that passionate – not one of my stronger talents!
I’ve always felt that in general, Sonic 2 was far easier when played with Knuckles. His gliding ability made tricky jumps a lot easier (and keeps me from losing lives in Wing Fortress) and allow for quite a lot of shortcuts. Also, the special stages need less rings to be completed, and you may retain your rings after trying for a Chaos Emerald. Still, up to this day, I’ve always failed at the final boss. Using Sonic I can beat him in under two minutes – but since Knuckles can’t jump as high, I usually lose all the lives I’ve racked up to this point (usually around fifteen) in this last boss battle!
Well, guess what? I’ve finally done it! Maybe it was because I had to play more careful because I played on a Nomad – who knows? Fact is, during the final battle, I’ve finally found the magic that is needed to defeat Robotnik at the end of the game – patience! Knuckles can only hit him at one specific moment, a narrow window – and that’s it!
The final boss battle takes me eight minutes – longer than I need for any stage in the entire game. But it was worth it! I had sworn it for years, and this resolution I finally managed to fulfill!
Now it’s time to make up a new one…
Addams Family By Daniel Smith
I was itching to play some Mega Drive the other day and, with something of a devilish expectation, my eyes fixated upon my copy of the Addams Family. This is yet another example of a game which I bought only to toss on the collection without actually bothering to play. What with recent talk on the Sega-16 forums about the awesomeness of Raúl Julia, I decided to pay homage to the great man via my Mega Drive. Although the manual pointed to a cliched plot: Morticia being taken captive and Gomez forced to save her, my mind roved over the prospect of Mamushkaring my way through the wicked delights of the Addams Family.
Sadly, what I ended up playing bought shame upon Raúl Julia, the Mega Drive and the world in general. The Addams Family is a tosh and dull platformer of the worst sort. The graphics are poor, the sound miserable, the controls poor, the levels tedious and gameplay mind-numbing. After playing it for about ten minutes my patience abated and I quickened my tempo in an attempt to complete this game faster. My lack of care, however, lead to many premature deaths and after a further ten minutes I extracted the Addams Family from my console for the last time. The next time I wish to worship Raúl Julia. I shall M Bison my way through Street Fighter 2 shouting; “You came here expecting to find a madman, but instead you found a God!”