Features Reader Roundtable

Reader Roundtable Vol. 42

It’s time for summer! What better way to begin the season of sun and surf than with another outing of Reader Roundtable? This month’s installment has a metric ton of games to be checked out, among them some fan favorites.


TMNT: Hyperstone Heist By Ken Horowitz

I know in my heart of hearts that Turtles in Time on the SNES is the definitive home Ninja Turtles game. That doesn’t stop me from enjoying The Hyperstone Heist a whole lot though. I can get past the short length and scratchy voices to find that classic TMNT gameplay that shines so brightly. Some may find these types of games repetitive by today’s standards, but I can still have a blast going through this game with a friend.

I only wish that Konami hadn’t decided to skimp on implementing four-player support. There are at least two different multi-taps for the Genesis, so what was the problem? Allowing four players to whup the Shredder together would have really been a major feather in Hyperstone Heist’s cap, and it might have put it over Turtles in Time.

Sonic CD By Vince Thornburg

I actually to play a Sega CD for the first time. Ever. It shouldn’t have taken this damn long, but a buddy of mine just found a whole set of 32X/CD/Genesis and jumped on it. The first thing we did was play Sonic CD. The only time we’ve had the chance before to even try it was on PC years ago but it wasn’t the same.

And while we enjoyed it, my buddy noticed that some of the level design left some needs for improvement. He laughed when Amy was captured, since he knew he wouldn’t play long enough to bother to save her. He instead got stuck trying to hit Robotnik and eventually shut the system off after claiming it locked up. Which it didn’t. Liar.

He tried some Sewer Shark. Two minutes later “Dogmeat” was gone, and Sonic CD returned. It was more enjoyable this time around. We took turns but didn’t get around to finishing. Eventually, we put it away for the night, but we knew it would soon become our new system to explore, and that is always and awesome feeling!

Wheel of Fortune By Alex Burr

Phew. I thought I had played the worst of the game show video games when it had come to playing Family Feud, but boy was I wrong. WAY wrong. Ever seen the Angry Video Game Nerd? I had one of those reactions to Wheel of Fortune. Not only do things take forever to load, it’s not any fun! When Vanna (who was in her “short hair” stage – but still very hot don’t get me wrong) walks by the letters, she doesn’t even move her hand to turn the letters! She just walks by and the letters must be fainting because she is so gorgeous. Another thing I hate about this game is the way you can manipulate the wheel. You can just gently tap the spin button to move it to where you want and then spin it, like you are revving it up! Ridiculous. I hate this game. At least they got the wheel part right. Expect to see a review of this game, because I am going to rant. This game sucks! At least the Genesis version was a little fun, and fun to play with your mom or little sister or something! Why don’t we wait ten seconds so we can hear Vanna tell us it’s our turn. No, WoF, how about YOU sit there for TEN YEARS and have NO ONE play YOU because YOU SUCK ON THE SEGA CD!

Terminator CD By Tom Briggs

It’s not a big surprise which game I’ve been playing the most this month. When coming up with the idea to write a feature on the Genesis/CD Terminator games, I thought that emulation would be the easiest avenue in experiencing all of the games. Ultimately it wasn’t that simple. Because T2: The Arcade Game plays best with a Menacer light-gun, I felt obligated to buy the actual cart. I was pleasantly surprised to see not only T2: The Arcade Game available at a local place, but The Terminator for Sega CD as well.

Experiencing the joys of The Terminator on the Sega CD for the first time was like a great discovery. I didn’t at all expect the game to be anything more than a cash in on a lucrative franchise. I’m very glad I was wrong. The game is excellent, and a fine choice for any Sega CD owner. The graphics represent the golden age of 2D visuals well, the game plays silky smooth, and the sound… this is what the CD medium was for! More than anything else though, the game is just plain fun. Every above-average quality to The Terminator adds up to an excellent all around video game. It does justice to its franchise, and it sure as hell made my job of writing about it easy.

Comix Zone By Sebastian Sponsel

How come that this game hasn’t seen a sequel? How come this concept of gameplay hasn’t been elaborated upon more? STI’s Comix Zone, a late entry into the Genesis library, was one of the most original brawlers created in the 16-bit era – if not one of the coolest overall. Being trapped in the pages of his own comic book, with a villain drawing in new enemies as he went along, artist and hero Sketch Turner, assisted by his pet rat Roadkill, must find a way to escape. Characters speak in speech bubbles and thought balloons, transitions occur by Sketch literally jumping from panel to panel, while Roadkill can occasionally rip the pages to present hidden items. The game, with its occasional puzzles, combined the media of video games and comic book almost perfectly! It was original, it was entertaining – and it was great fun to play! The only real downside was that it was way too short – the fun only lasted for six pages.

Hey, Sega! Still intent on reviving some of your old properties for modern consoles? Here’s one that’d do nicely! And for the love of god – DO IT RIGHT THIS TIME!

Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse By Christian Matozzo

Castle of Illusion is a game that I’ve actually never beaten all the way, and I’m ashamed to say that as a kid, my brother and I always used to play the game on Practice mode. And now as I dig the game up to play it all the way through after my Sega Ages article, I can see why my brother always played the game on Practice. After the first three levels, the game gets tough. After at least three playthroughs of this game within the past two weeks, I still haven’t gotten past the last level, and have only gotten to the last level boss once. Once I tell you!

It’s almost ridiculous how they only give you two continues, as it makes the game rather difficult. It’s really annoying how I play through the first four levels over and over and over again, just to get my ass kicked by that third level boss and then again in the fifth level. Yeah, some practice mode you’ve got set up here Sega. More like “get your butt kicked later rather than now” mode. Thankfully I’m starting to get the hang of it, and managed to get up to the fifth level with two lives and both continues until yet again, I get my ass kicked. Oh well, back to trying again tomorrow.

But I love the game just the same, and I do recommend it to each and every Genesis owner out there, if you haven’t played it… don’t be like me. Get out there and PLAY IT!

New Zealand Story By Kayne Lazarus

A game I have played many times over the years and one which I felt to be the most fitting for my first reader roundtable contribution. A couple of years ago I came across the game for the Mega Drive while searching a local auction site, The New Zealand Story is the reason I started collecting, it didn’t even matter that I had no console at the time. I can honestly say due to nostalgic reasons, and one of very few games to do with my country, that it is one of my all time favourites.

I find it awesome to have this favourite of mine on my beloved Mega Drive… but sadly a lot of the love ends there. I grew up playing The New Zealand Story on the Amiga mostly and consider that the best version out there, the MD version however is a far cry of it! It looks more like an SMS game and is very technically simplistic, and you might want to turn the volume down if you don`t want to hear the same BGM over and over again. If you like a game with a challenge then this is one of those, in fact it can become border line throw the controller at the screen stuff! But all that aside it still keeps its cute and catchy appeal. One last thing I will point out is the fact that the creators obviously had never actually seen a kiwi, the main sneaker wearing character by the name of Tiki, in no way resembles a kiwi except for the fact it cannot fly.

So when ever I feel like being taken back to the old days at heart, rest assured this is one of the first games I grab, after all I choose playing on my Mega Drive over any computer or console!

Sword of Sodan By The Coop

Ever had that game where you looked at the back of the box and thought, Hey… this looks pretty cool! You give it some thought, you study the images, and picture in your mind how the game would look in motion. Eventually, you decide to take a chance, walk up to the counter, hand over your cash, and head home with your newest treasure. You’re brimming with anticipation as you open the box, pop the game into your system, and start playing. A half hour later, you’re grinding your teeth together thinking, SON OF A #@%$&! I GOT &$@*#$# SCREWED!

And thus was my introduction to Sword of Sodan. A game that looks great when paused. I was suckered in by the back of the box, and could almost hear the EB store clerk laughing at me from his workplace miles away. I wondered, How could something look this good, yet move and play so badly? I asked myself a lot of other questions as well, but I don’t think they’re fit for printing here. This is something of a family-ish site after all.

However, as the months rolled on, I got the hang on SoS’s weird jumping physics and controls, and learned the important potion mixtures. It didn’t help with how the enemies stayed just out of reach constantly, or vanished off-screen where you couldn’t hurt them, but I became accustomed to the game’s many quirks. I was reminded of the SoS the other day, and gave it whirl again. I took it out of it’s somewhat beat up cheapy cardboard box, and gave it a little attention after… hell, who knows how many years. Despite the damage it did to my wallet and mental health, I have a fondness for it. It taught me a valuable lesson when I bought it… one I haven’t forgotten. You can’t trust the box, no matter what’s pictured or written on it.

Oh, and yes, I beat SoS that evening. The slow moving wizard didn’t stand a chance.

Battle Mania Daiginjou By Tiido Priimägi

I have had that game on my Megacart along with Thunder Force 4 and Wiz ‘n’ Liz for quite a while now, and because to kill some time with my trusty modded Nomad when I’m not at home. So, some weeks ago when my family went out, I fired up my Nomad and started playing Battle Mania Daiginjou with the excellent translation made by the M.I.J.E.T translation team, and I could not put my Nomad down during the whole trip. I played the game from beginning to the end, on easy though, since the Nomad is not having the greatest screen and bullets tend to blend in with backgrounds making them hard to notice…

The game is just impossible to put down, the humor, totally awesome music and atmosphere just keep you hooked up and you’ll never feel something called boredom while your batteries last. But fun does not end now, as there was another trip about a week late,r and guess what I had with me again and what game I played on it? This time I played though the game in normal difficulty, and when there happens to be another trip, I’ll be going over the same procedure in hard difficulty.

Battle Mania Daiginjou is a game I totally recommend for everyone who travels a little sometimes with a Nomad and a flash cart or perhaps even real cart. That is, if you can understand Japanese to have some laughs during the cut scenes.

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