Features Reader Roundtable

Reader Roundtable Vol. 69

Before you set out to greet the trick or treaters this year, take minute and see what your fellow Segaphiles have been playing all October. It’s a great month for playing some spooky games, and the Genesis has a library chock full of them! Why, there’s Barney’s Hide-and-Seek Game, Art Alive, well… you get the picture!

DeCap Attack By Ken Horowitz

It’s been a while since I’ve played this one (I reviewed it way back in 2004), and what better time to play such a game than in October? I had forgotten what a large and long adventure Decap Attack is, and the inherent charm it has still shines through, even after all this time. There a ton of massive levels to explore, and I still often get so wrapped up in the platforming that I forget to use the potions and items I’ve collected!

I know there are quite a few other games with this style, like the Master System’s Psycho Fox and Kid Kool on the NES, but trust me, Decap Attack is truly its own game. My only complaint is that I’d like to be able to toss Chuck’s head around all the time and not lose it so much!


Joe Montana Football By Christian Matozzo

It’s Football season! October’s here, fall is just starting to show its features, and the pools are on! In my house, my father always has the NFL RedZone on to see who’s winning the games so we can count up our wins (or in my case losses) for this week. But when it comes to football, I get most excited when I’m playing it. And what better system to play football on than the Sega Genesis? Joe Montana Football all the way! Forget the crummy sequels like Sports Talk Football ’93, I’m talking the original developed by Park Place Productions, who by the way, developed Madden on the Genesis as well. Quite the conflict of interest! If you’re interested in hearing more about that, read Sega-16’s interviews from Michael Knox and Scott Orr!

Joe Montana Football, released in 1991, is definitely one of the BEST football games on the Genesis. After falling in love with the gameplay of the Master System Joe Montana game that was released in 1990, I knew I had to try the first Genesis game in the series after hearing so much about it. And Genesis Does What Nintendon’t indeed! Joe Montana Football may not have the flash of other football games with its lack of an NFL license, or player statistics, music, or even a season play feature. But the gameplay is where it’s at in Joe Montana Football.

Rock-Solid arcade gameplay with tight controls and great graphics lead to some awesome football games. The game is simply pick-up-and-play, and that’s great for a guy like me who doesn’t know every last thing about football. I don’t want to know about injured players, and which team is statistically better than the others, and who to pick on my starting roster, and injuries, and all that other unnecessary simulation bullshit.

I just want to jump right in and play some football. Joe Montana Football allows me to do that. There’s a nice sized playbook, and “Joe” himself even recommends what play to use, which makes the game a bit easier to understand for beginners. And don’t be afraid that you won’t be challenged, because the Sega Bowl feature will give you all the playoff action and test your nerves as you go up against the best to beat the rest!

So if you’re looking for a good football game to play with a buddy (Or even by yourself) now that fall is around, look no further than Sega’s first football title. You won’t be disappointed. Joe Montana Football is what I would call, a NICE PLAY!


Castlevania Bloodlines By Sebastian Sponsel

Having played through Castlevania – Portrait of Ruin only recently, I thought it would be fitting to return to the only Castlevania game to grace the Genesis, especially since the DS game’s story relied heavily on the setting of its 16-bit predecessor, as both the Morris and the Lecarde family are key players in both games.

I’d love to say that Castlevania – The New Generation was the first game in the series I ever played (that dubious honor goes to the sub-par Gameboy title Castlevania: The Adventure), though it comes as a close second. It was, however, the first Castlevania game I ever saw through until the very end. Of course, being from Europe I only got to play the censored PAL version back when I was a kid – heaven forbid that we weak-stomached Germans may ever play a vampire-themed video game battling Dracula that has the word “Blood” in its title! So that sea of blood at the title screen? Yeah, we Europeans only saw a pool of water – that relates to vampires, right?

Nevertheless, I loved the game, and I do till this very day. I especially loved the Pisa-Italy level where you battle monsters while climbing the leaning tower, so the industrial-themed German factory setting comes as a close second. You never got to see those in any other Castlevania game, and since that one was my first, I was always a little disappointed in the others for lacking that kind of variety. Getting two characters to chose from was also a very nifty option, though back then I always chose Eric Lecarde as my vampire hunter of choice, since I found him more versatile in his actions than John Morris. It would take me a few years until I realized that you got to see different parts of the same levels depending on which character you chose.

“Bottom line? This game is pure awesome! After experiencing the far-worse-then-mediocre Gameboy game, Castlevania – The New Generation was the game that every other game in the series had to measure up against… and failed (well, if you discount the “Metroidvania” style entries in the series that is)! Two characters to chose from, diverging paths, and a multitude of vastly different, colorful settings – what more could you want from a platform game? And to those who miss the whip-twirling ability from Super Castlevania IV? To hell with them, I say! Twirling your thing around is for sissies!


Ghouls ‘N Ghosts By Aaron Wilcott

I’ve never played very many Halloween-themed games, but this one in particular is always fun to play, no matter the time of year. Candy and costumes are only fresh and exciting for so long, I’d much rather stay inside and play a spooky game or two… but not too spooky. I’m actually a bit of a wuss when it comes to horror/scary games, but perhaps over time that will change… Back to GnG, I usually play the Sega Master System version out of convenience, but sometimes I play the Genesis version instead. Ghouls n’ Ghosts may be unusually hard at times, but it’s still pretty iconic and overall, it’s not the hardest of games out there. I always thought it was a very good version, perhaps even the best. Nice graphics and sound, relatively faithful to the original versions and still manages to do all this on the Genesis… I’d say Ghouls n’ Ghosts is a very fine game. Perhaps next year I’ll delve into more spooky offerings on the Genesis.


Splatterhouse 2 By The Coop

It’s Halloween. You want gore, gore and more gore. You want the undead to rise, the body parts to fly, and need the means to make it all happen. So what do you do? Go on a rampage that ends with someone saying, “But he seemed like such a nice guy,” to a news reporter? Not likely. You’ll probably just sit down and fire up a video game or two. But which ones? Doom on the 32X? The Immortal or Altered Beast on the Genesis? NO! You play something that’s inspired directly from the horror genre itself by way of the movies… and that isn’t something I’ve already talked about in a previous RR. You play… Splatterhouse 2!

Your name is Rick. You’ve got a hot girlfriend that the horrifying underworld really wants to get its hands on. You’ve got a mask that whispers dark thoughts into your brain, while granting you powers. The logical course of action? Put on the mask, grab a 2×4, and beat the holy hell out of anything that walks, crawls, hops, flies or spits, all so you can get your shapely lady-friend back. And really, that’s all there is to this game. It doesn’t pretend to be anything more than one blood-splattering encounter after another. It keeps the gameplay simple, and the monsters gushing various bodily fluids as you embed butcher knives into their heads, introduce 2x4s to their ribs, and unload shotgun rounds into their guts. It’s an unrelenting (for the time) gore-fest that makes no apologies for its slasher film-inspired heritage, and hopes you’ll have fun as you play through it.

And in the end, you most likely will. The music is great, the graphics are nice, and there’s certainly no shortage of goopy things and creepy levels to make your way through. The problem is, the controls are very floaty, and this can lead to some problems when the jumps increase in needed accuracy, and things get more hectic. It may be a simple game, but when all you want to do is turn a ghoul into a stain, you don’t always need a lot behind the gameplay to scratch that itch. So while it’s not perfect in how it turned out, it is a perfect fit for that 16-bit Halloween gameplaying session.


Shadow of the Beast By The Jackal

1989, that was the year my dad brought home with him a brand-spanking new computer along with a few games. All of them got a good play, but only one caught my attention: the very first Beast game. I don’t know if it was the eerie alien artwork by Roger Dean or the surreal world that you had to traverse in; all I knew was, I loved this game.

Once human, you are snatched as a baby and transformed into a beast, becoming the servant of a powerful wizard for over a decade. In a twist of fate, witnessing the murder of an elderly man reveals him to be that of you’re father; now burning with revenge, you have to fight the very hordes you once served in a bid to avenge your slained family and finally lift the curse of the Beast.

Due to finnacial reasons, the Amiga and, of course, SofB had to be sold. A few years later, Christmas ’93 to be exact, the family had a new addition: a Model 2 Mega Drive packaged with Sonic 2. It was long after that, that I discovered the Geneis version of the Beast. I rushed home, plugged the cartridge into the console and fell in love all over again.

Shadow of the Beast is one of my all-time favourite games, yet it’s also one of the hardest I’ve ever encountered – to this day, I still haven’t completed it. But, I will. Aarbron will have he’s revenge, it’s just going to take a while, not that I’m complaining…


Haunting Starring PolterGuy By Frank Villone

As Halloween approaches, one game always drifts through my Genesis briefly: Haunting Starring Polterguy. In this classic by Electronic Arts, players take the role of a restless spirit who is following the crime family responsible for his death! The unique gameplay never gets old, floating after family members and scaring them out of the house by possessing objects everywhere they go. Make the dishes fly out of the kitchen cupboards, or make a tiny spacehip fly out of the other kitchen cupboards. Turn a stereo into a robot with guns blazing, or make a skull fly out of a dresser! The randomness of the objects’ actions keeps the experience fresh and comical, as do the folks’ reactions, screaming, wetting themselves, and running away! Conjure up some Haunting and celebrate Halloween right!


Devil Crash MD By Greg Jurkiewicz

I never cared much for pinball games, on any system. I always found them pretty boring and with the exception of Sonic Spinball I could never really spend more than a few minutes with them before getting bored and moving on to play something else. Then I discovered Devil Crash MD. This game is intense! Sure it’s a pinball game but you get to blast demons, destroy undead minions, fight evil wizards and warp to some crazy looking special stages. This game is quite the sensory overload at times, with wild visuals and great music it is anything but boring. Also, the level art is epic. I’m a big fan of the artist H.R. Giger (same guy who designed the Alien from the Aliens movies) and a lot of the levels in Devil Crash are very heavily influenced by his artwork – weird bio-mechanical environments with Satanic imagery can be found all throughout this game combined with Lovecraftesque horrors that you need to smash through in order to advance; it’s really no wonder that this game was so heavily censored for the North American TG-16 release or the Genesis version: Dragon’s Fury. The Japanese MD version of Devil Crash is the only way to go. I must say this game has wormed it’s way onto my “favourite games of all” time list.

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