As we all sit down to stuff ourselves silly, it’s best to have a good game waiting in the (turkey) wings so we can work off all that great food! This is what our staff and readers have been playing this month, so see if there’s something you can get into!
Castlevania Bloodlines By Ken Horowitz
I’ve been on something of a classic Castlevania kick in anticipation of the upcoming Castlevania Rebirth for WiiWare. There’s just something about those traditional Belmont adventures that the “Metroidvanias” couldn’t touch. I recently beat the first one on NES, which was brutal, and I decided to tackle the solitary Genesis installment before delving into Simon’s Quest again. Konami did an excellent job of bringing the famous whipper-snapper to Sega’s console, and despite what some people say about the visuals, I found the game to be pretty decent-looking (neat effects!). The gameplay is what really matters, and Bloodlines shows its fangs as a true member of the bloodline (pardon the puns!). A great game for any Castlevania fan!
Columns By Alex Burr
Wow, it’s November and I’m not playing football. I just don’t know what’s going on anymore!?!?! No, actually just last weekend, I decided to sweep through the stupid easy achievements on that Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection for Xbox 360® and I just couldn’t get this one for Columns (you have to score 20K only on the easy mode), though I thought it wouldn’t be that hard. So, I’m sitting in my chair, ready to bear down and I end up spending like six hours on this one achievement, and I still didn’t get it! Eventually, my friends pulled me away from the gaming frenzy to go to the bar. Still determined (though slightly hung over, ha ha) to wreck that achievement, I got it on the first play on Saturday morning. Woof. Some days I like this game more than Tetris, honestly, and it is possibly one of the most underrated puzzlers of all time. Frankly though, you just can’t beat Tetris for Gameboy, man. Columns comes darn close though.
Lobo By Sebastian Sponsel
This month I dedicated much of my Genesis playing time to Lobo. Now, some of you may think: What the heck? I never heard of a Genesis game of that name. And rightfully so. Because this beat-’em-up based of the DC comic book character (the baddest bastich of the galaxy) was never officially released! However, the guys at SegaSatourno got hold of a prototype cartridge and dumped the Rom, so that everyone can now enjoy that… uhm… gem.
Well, I’m a sucker for oddities. So naturally I just HAD to give this one a try. Buuuuut… it’s easy to see why this game never saw an official release. Visually, this one obviously aimed to be an answer to Killer Instinct (a highly overrated game in my opinion anyway), but it pretty much fails on every conceivable level. The gameplay is weird, the controls awkward, the sound lacking… I think the game never saw release because when Lobo saw the game, the Main Man went and fragged the entire development team. Because Lobo is number One! And no one says otherwise!
Cool Spot By A.A. Dawson
Cool Spot is a pure classic, one that’s kept me entertained ever since I first played it many years ago. After acquiring my own copy of it recently, I’ve grown to appreciate it more than ever. The solid controls, eight directional shooting, and creative design fuse together to make an addicting, 7up-endorsed platformer that I rarely tire of. Despite repetition within some of the levels, I still keep coming back to find more items and master each bonus level while listening to some of my favorite Mega Drive/Genesis tunes.
If you want a rest from your usual platformers, this is a fine choice. After all, what other game lets you explode enemies with the power of carbonated bubbles?
Fatal Fury 2 By Jackie Bogard
Lately, I have been getting back into the beauty that is the Sega Genesis. as a guy who generally just plays fighting games, that’s mainly all I have at the moment. Picking between two games was a tough decision, because I love both. but My pick is Fatal Fury 2 for the Sega Genesis.
Now, this was the first time I played the genesis version of FF2, I’ve played the original Neo Geo version and Playstation 2 version. so I was a bit skeptical, immediately I noticed a difference in this version right off. The Intro started up and, Wow! I was amazed that it was a completely different intro than the original Neo version, even better than the original to me. after the intro was over, my anticipation grew as I pressed start. I skimmed through the menus, single-player, versus and survival. Single-player is your typical arcade play through with few storyline details thrown in.
When I started playing, I noticed the graphics where darker and little more gritty than the Neo version. Thankfully, the controls where solid, and to my surprise Big Bear had a completely different win pose, and his shoulder tackle did two hits instead of one. As a Terry user, he is who I chose, and sure enough, his HP Burn Knuckle did two hits, as did his Crack Shot. The damage scaling was also completely changed, and it takes a good amount of time to drain someone’s energy, since DMs are no where near as powerful as the original game.
The game was just plain out fun and less frustrating in terms of difficulty than the Neo version, so after a play through I decided to try survival mode, which was not what I expected. I figured you would play until well you died. but no, it gave me the option for 1p vs 2p, 1p vs COM and COM vs COM. I chose 1P vs COM since I was playing alone.
Survival starts up: you choose five characters, and the opponent chooses five Characters. The only thing that was annoying is the computer picked three Axel hawks for its team. The game started and ended with me winning with three guys left and the AI.. well, with none.
All in all it was a fun port, survival being my favorite mode. The little gameplay/graphical changes makes it worth checking out for any Fatal Fury fan!
Earth Defense/Defend By The Coop
A name that… well, doesn’t mean a whole hell of a lot in the U.S. gaming scene. They released a hand full of unlicensed games in the mid-’90s for the Genesis, just as the system was hitting its peak in the U.S. market. Few people noticed Realtec’s efforts, and even fewer bought those efforts. One play through of The Earth Defend will tell you all you need to know as to why.
You know there’s a problem when the game can’t even decide what it’s called. The title screen reads The Earth Defend, while the box reads Earth Defense. But the confusion doesn’t stop there. While the Genesis was pumping out titles like Thunder Force IV, Super Fantasy Zone, Shinobi III and Sonic 3 that showed what the Genesis games could look like, Realtec took a page from the Master System. Apparently, Realtec forgot that the 16-bit era was well underway.
The graphics aren’t even close to “good” for the Genesis. The stage and enemy designs are on the bad side of cartoony, there’s little in the way of animation on anything, and the whole game just comes off looking like a poor man’s early Genesis title. The music, while not the worst the Genesis has put out, is rather empty sounding. The hit detection is spotty at the very best, and the game just drags on despite not being very long.
XDR and Master of Weapon are better than this plastic turd. Considerably better really, and they’re not good either. I picked The Earth Defend up out of sheer curiosity for $10 at a flea market (new oddly enough), and I still feel gypped. Thinking back, I can’t help but wonder if the person running that booth laughed at me once I was out of earshot.
As Geena Davis once said…
“Be afraid. Be very afraid.”