We’re back with another installment! Sit back, relax, and soak in the gaming goodness!
Road Avenger By Ken Horowitz
While preparing our preview of the upcoming Road Avenger novel, I decided to go back and give this awesome game another playthrough. To me at least, this is what FMV games should have been like. The sense of speed and urgency, the great animation, and the most awesome theme song in gaming history (how can you not like those lyrics?) – Road Avenger delivers a great time that never truly reminds you that you’re just pressing a button every now and then. That’s what makes this such a great FMV game: it doesn’t play like an FMV game.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back… on the road.
Jerry Glanville’s Pigskin Footbrawl By Alex Burr
The date: a Sunday in November, 2000. The place: My neighborhood. The chores: rake and mow the yard. What I did instead: play Jerry Glanville’s Pigskin Footbrawl and play it all day long with my friend. We played a best of seven series, and I was up three games to one, about to clinch. My mom keeps yelling and yelling at me to rake the yard. The score: 107-100 with thirty seconds left until I was crowned champion of Pigskin Footbrawl for the day.
Accidentally, my friend discovered some bug in the game that allowed him to keep passing the ball the ENTIRE length of the field after time had expired, and had the ball in his own end zone, and kept passing it all the way down past all of my idiot players and back, got the bonus point and won the game 108-107. You just had to be there, it was utterly hilarious, and he and I were just cracking up because the play speeds up until it stops. By the time he had gotten it in, the game was going lightning fast. We were split up for a good twenty minutes! And of course, my mom was just thrilled that we were chuckling, and that I had put off the yard work all day. So, what did she do? Call me upstairs, berate me for a half hour and ground me for two weeks. I’d say it was worth it.
FIFA ’96 By Sebastian Sponsel
Some games just don’t age well.
I remember when I first got FIFA International Soccer. When it was released on the Mega Drive, it felt like some kind of revelation. It was more of a soccer simulation than any other game of its kind I played before – even though you could easily score goals by exploiting some cheap tricks. FIFA ’96 was even better: The cheap exploits were gone (mostly), the range of moves has been extended, and the roster of available teams was amazing. I remember sitting down with friends, and (approximately) reenacting the 1996 European Championships, sometimes even several times per afternoon for days on end.
Thirteen years (and about twenty new installations of the game) later I sat down once more to recapture the old feeling… but it was gone. The FIFA series on the Mega Drive definitely hasn’t aged well. Everything feels so slow, so inaccurate. I could barely bring up the patience to complete a single game, let alone an entire tournament. The feeling was gone. After I managed to win my first match, I turned off the console and put the game back on the shelf. Let it collect dust for thirteen more years. I’ll play some Sensible Soccer instead.
After Burner Complete By Christian Matozzo
OK, I finally tracked down a copy of After Burner Complete for my 32X, (it was only $10 at the video game store CIB), and I must say I love it. It’s literally arcade-perfect, all the bells and whistles here. Shooting-down ships with missiles and Vulcan and hearing “FIRE! FIRE! FIRE!” is really addicting. My only complaints are that there’s no rumble feature and that there’s only twenty-two levels. I managed to actually beat it after a few continues on easiest. Nonetheless, the game is awesome. I also stumbled onto a diagnostics screen in the game by pressing something while starting it up (Start + something else?), which showed all the arcade tests and stuff, it was really cool. After Burner Complete is a great 32X game, anyone who owns a 32X should add it to their collection.
Sonic 3D Blast By Sega Fan
For the past two months, I’ve been having a great time with Sonic The Hedeghog 3. I’ve enjoyed Sonic 3 so much and was really glad to have an opportunity to finally play it via Xbox Live Arcade. Then, about a week or two ago, I decided to shut off my Xbox, Hook up my CDX, and pick through my Mega Drive Sonic titles. I thought to myself, “should I choose Sonic 1 or 2 for this month’s reader roundtable?” Then I later decided, “no, those games have been talked about so much, my insight wouldn’t be interesting.” I passed on Sonic Spinball because I need to be in a certain mood to want to play pinball. After a few minutes of looking through my Mega Drive collection, thinking I had exhausted every option, I happened to stumble upon Sonic 3D Blast.
I have heard nothing but negative opinions about Sonic 3D Blast. I love it and think it’s underappreciated, underrated and often overlooked. Every time I bring out my Sega CDX, I always make a note to play an hour of two of this great game. It has solid gameplay, incredible pre-rendered graphics that push the Mega Drive to its limits, and an amazing soundtrack that I keep on my iTunes playlist. I have had so many great times with this game. I remember playing it every day after school. I would come home and instantly go upstairs and fire up my CDX. I had a stack of games that I would play every night, and Sonic 3D Blast was always in my stack or in my cartridge slot.
For those now wanting to try Sonic 3D Blast, keep in mind, your opinion may vary. It seems that everyone I’ve talked to either loves it or wishes that it were never created. I guess it comes down to what your expectations are for a Sonic game. This isn’t your typical 16-bit Sonic “speed rush to the far-right side of the level as soon as achievable” kind of game. You have to take on Sonic 3D Blast with an entirely different mind set. So, With my entry coming to a close, I have one final thought that may get any newcomer to like Sonic in 3D. When compared to recent titles, Sonic 3D Blast is a near perfect, Mega Drive era Sonic experience.