Features Reader Roundtable

Reader Roundtable Vol. 40

Wow! Forty installments of Reader Roundtable have come and gone already? It seems like only four years ago that we began our monthly tales of what’s been in our Genesis consoles each month, but… oh, that’s right, it has been four years! I have to hand it to our readers and forum members. They certainly aren’t anything if not persistent. Their Genesis’ are getting more love now than in 1990, and the variety of games played each month never ceases to amaze me. Here’s to another forty editions!


OutRun By Ken Horowitz

I’ve already mentioned OutRun in a previous installment of RR, but the recent announcement of OutRun Online Arcade coming to Xbox Live Arcade has given me Ferrari fever all over again! Between sessions of OutRun 2 on the original Xbox and this Genesis classic, I’m bathing in a magical sound shower and enjoying the passing breeze like nobody’s business! Sure, the Saturn’s Sega Ages version is the one to go to on consol, but there’s a certain charm about the Genesis cartridge that I just love so much. That’s why I keep coming back to it, and when the sequel finally arrives for download on XBLA next month, this little OutRunner will be first in line. Now, back to getting all the endings!

Beavis & Butthead By Vince Thornburg

One of those random nights that I try to break in my room, my buddy comes in and demands to play Beavis and Butthead. B&B was one of those games that we’d watch others play but not actually remember what to do once we actually got the controller in our hands. “Butthead” is the password, just in case you never figured it out. You need to eat that hamburger to get into the hospital because otherwise a giant naked Texan will chase you and die, then you get a ticket piece. Those tickets flew to the oddest places, from peoples gullets, to under notebooks, to laundromats, and large women in drive-in movies.

But we don’t question them. We let it go. This game that was made to be near impossible when we were eight to ten years-old. It did get a lot simpler now. The streets is still a bitch, and that one guy with the plunger gun in the school makes you want to hurt stuff at times, but it’s not that bad. Eventually, you’re going to go to the GWAR concert. You’ll run in and defeat the countless goons to get backstage. Then ONstage. Then it’s over.

It’s still a fun little trip, but not as fun as it use to be, sadly.

Terminator By Alex Burr

You’re so vein, you probably thought this Reader Roundtable entry was about you. Your friendly neighborhood “Sports Guy” likes to play other games besides Sports Talk Baseball. Actually, my apartment has a big Terminator poster in it. ANYway, I had heard so much about the terrific music on this Sega CD version of Virgin’s mediocre Terminator game. I never wanted to say that the game is mediocre, believe me. I like the Terminator an awful lot, but this is nothing but a run-‘n-gun where the enemies are way too powerful. I didn’t know that chick at Technoir could handle fifteen shots with the shotgun.

I mean, even if there weren’t enemies who were way too strong, this game would be an easy wipe through in like half an hour and we would be complaining about that. I still think someone must have thought that when they made this game. I mean seriously, every level is “run to the right/left, shoot everything. Go up/down stairs, repeat” until you get to an end boss or exit. Do you think the video cut scenes are going to make me feel better about this game? Come on.

The music in this game is great, and the graphics are good at least. But if you think “this is the Terminator game that I have wanted and perfectly embodies the spirit of the movie that I was looking forward to”, you are going to be disappointed. You can hardly tell that it’s Terminator except for a few reminders between levels and obvious scenery things (skulls, Technoir, etc.) and characters. There isn’t anything memorable about this game, and it makes me just wonder why they can’t make a decent Terminator game. For that matter, why can’t they make a good Star Trek game, either? Elite Force wasn’t that bad, but it lost its shimmer when no one played it online anymore.

Predator 2 By Joe Redifer

This game is centered around Danny Glover, who stars in the action hit movie Predator 2, which features action. It also features nudity of a naked girl, but unfortunately that is not in the game. This game is by Arena, which you may not have heard of because they suck. Anyway, this game stars Danny Glover in an overhead isometric view perspective as he runs around murdering drug addicts. I approve of this. But the drug addicts have taken hostages for some reason or another, and Danny must rescue them. But there is an alien lurking about, and this alien does not like hostages – or you, however he is fairly forgiving of the drug addicts. Rescue the hostages by giving them the Danny Glover magical touch, and suddenly they are very safe in bed with their safeness. Oh, to be touched by Danny Glover! The game is very hard as it took me nearly twenty minutes to beat it the first time I played, and that is a lot of time for a Genesis game… Xbox360 r00lz lol. Danny Glover also programmed the game and did the music, and you can see Danny shine in every detail.

Earth Defense/Defend By Edward Figueiredo

It’s always surprising how we end up choosing the games we’re going to play. I remember that after reading the thread for Earth Defense, I unconsciously decided I had to play it to see how bad it actually was. And it started on a rainy Sunday afternoon. I turned on my Genesis setup with the unusual shaped game inserted in the slot, and I was immediately treated with an error. It doesn’t run through the Sega 32X! As I was too lazy to take it out of my power tower, I immediately got to my room and picked up my still glorious Mega Drive. OK, now it was working!

Oh boy… Earth Defense/Defend IS a bad game. It’s bad in almost everything, but the worst aspect is the shitty programming. Just the simple act of pausing the game to go to the bathroom or scratch your back is a chore, because somehow it has a major problem in recognizing the start button. I lost count of how many times I ended up stuck in the end of the first stage because the boss would refuse to appear!

Ever heard of blast processing? It has no place here, for this is a slowdown feast. It’s a shame, because you rarely see sprite break-up, and the game would actually be a lot better without the slowdown. It’s in the same vein as Magic Girl, but without the choppy scrolling.
Additionally, as far as unlicensed shooters go, I think Divine Sealing is still better than this. At least Earth Defense is behind me, because I 1CCed it and I don’t want to go through the pain of playing it again any time soon.

Streets of Rage 2 By Sega Fan

While I’m not cramming for state tests this month, I’ll be playing Streets of Rage 2. If you read my Story from the book of Genesis, I finished Streets of Rage 1 in August of 2006, and I’ve been searching for its successor ever since. I saw Streets of Rage 2 laying label side-up on the very top of a stack of bare Genesis cartridges at my local Play-‘n-Trade and my jaw hit the floor. I grabbed it quickly and flipped the cartridge over, “$2.99.” The retro table was “buy two get one free,” and my Streets of Rage 2 was free along with the purchase of Road Rash 3 (Genesis) and Gradius 3 (SNES).

I got home, and hooked up my Genesis CDX. I put in Streets of Rage 2 and it was everything I wanted and more. The colors were vibrant, The backgrounds were lively, The enemies were more abundant, Graphics were greater detailed, and the music is now in my iTunes. After getting a good four levels into Streets of Rage 2, I put in the original SOR for comparison. I found it amazing that only one sequel totally reinvented the series.

Streets of Rage 2 was the greatest thing to happen to my Genesis/Mega Drive collection since I got my CDX back in 2005. After searching for almost three years, Streets of Rage 2 was worth the wait. Also, It’s easy to say that Streets of Rage 2 was the best thing I’ve ever gotten for free.

Earthworm Jim By Sebastian Sponsel

I’m starting to believe that something was seriously wrong with the nineties! Everything needed to be edgy. Needed to display Attitude. Needed to be EXXXTREEEEEME!!! That was not only limited to video games; just look at the comic books of that time, with their overly muscle-bound heroes (Rob Liefeld, shudder)! These were physical impossibilities. And these notions of infusing animal mascots with attitude also didn’t make much sense when you think about it. So, in the midst of all that, someone at Shiny Entertainment stepped forward and said: “you know what kind of hero we need? An earthworm with a gun in a plasma-powered battle suit!” And you know the strangest part? It actually works!

Personally, I consider Earthworm Jim to be one of the greatest games of the 16-bit era! As much as I despise all those overly muscle-bound heroes and their pseudo-EXXXTREEEEEME attitude, it simply makes me love this game. It’s like a satire of its time: Earthworm Jim, armed with a Plasma Gun and using his own wormy self for a whip, battles in an universe filled with space-faring crows, goldfish bent on world-domination, sentient mucus and whatnot. Combine that with great, diverse level design, fantastic boss battles employing different strategies (my personal favourite: the free-fall battle against a robot chicken), amazing music and gripping gameplay, and you’ve got yourself a platformer every gamer worth his salt has got to have the collection.

By the way, I prefer this game to its sequel; to me, it delivers just the right amount of zaniness, sci-fi and grit to make a truly memorable gameplay experience.

And for those who love edginess, attitude, and the EXXXTREEEEEME? Well, you still got an earthworm with a gun and a plasma-powered battle suit…

Phelios By Iced Snowman (Forum Member)

The year 1990 saw the release of a vertical shmup that attempted to signify skirmishes between Greek mythological deities. I speak of none other than Namco’s arcade port of Phelios. This cartridge did not shatter records in the realms of graphics, gameplay or replay ability. It did, however, offer a challenge that has haunted me for many years. I shall now tell you a tale that reflects on my experiences with this game, and the fact that my hands still bring about button presses gives me hope that someday I will enact my revenge upon this unforgiving fiend.

As any young lad will admit to, the level by level pleas of Artemis gave me enough incentive to trounce Typhon. Years later I had to write an essay detailing certain aspects of Greek mythology. It was at this time when I discovered the many inaccuracies Namco had assigned to this 16-Bit blunder of a storyline. How could they have purposely promoted the love between Apollo and Artemis? For pity’s sake, they were bloody twins!

After victories over both “novice” and “advanced” difficulty levels I was enticed to conquer the challenge simply known as “expert.” I had perfected my sword charging abilities and every speed boost acquired allowed me to become a deadly adversary. There was only one resolution to make, and it involved complete domination against the foes presented before me on my turn-knob analog television.

Medusa, the three Graiae, Siren, and Antaeus all fell before my mighty sword. Pegasus, my faithful winged steed, had carried me to the icy lair of Scylla. Instead of fighting off wolf heads attached to her womanly mid-section, I squared off against purplish spinning miniature heads of the shrew. With all of them destroyed, I felt extremely confident that Scylla would perish and Cerberus of chapter six would be my next victim. Alas, this assumption of mine would never come to fruition. Life after life, continue after continue, and the constant pleading of Artemis for me to rescue her drove me into a state of disillusionment. Nothing, and I mean nothing, is more disheartening than to be vanquished by an ice crystal.

After my crushing defeat that will live in infamy, I straddled Pegasus and unsheathed my sword three more times. My persistence to overcome Scylla in “expert” mode was valiant, but like most men who desire to be heroes I faced the harsh reality of defeat three more times. The Sun has risen and set many times since my fourth defeat to that lewd monster of a time long forgotten.

Phelios lies in cardboard box deep down in a basement where part of my kin still resides. It is my destiny to right the wrongs of my past. I now proclaim what everyone of us yearns to do when we have lowered our skulls in defeat. I shout this proclamation to all the ends of the Earth, “Scylla, I will have my vengeance!”

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