I rented a lot of games when I was younger. Video stores, rental shacks, and even supermarkets offered the chance to play games I had never read about in Nintendo Power or GamePro, and some of my all-time favorite games were discovered among their shelves. But I also rented a lot of bad games. In the time before the internet, and particularly before online video game criticism was readily available (N64.com aka IGN), the only sources gamers had to find out what was good were either magazines and friends. Money and time was wasted, as Sturgeon's Law was in effect even then.
And while I rented a lot of crap, none of it was as bad as Batman Forever, undoubtedly the most misspent $3 ever given to Video Spotlight. This was a game so unplayable it took me hours to get past its first stage. This was a Super Nintendo cartridge game that had a loading screen. Batman Forever was a crappily-made licensed game based on a crappy movie. Ugh.
Fifteen years later and Batman fans really have great things to cheer about. Arkham Asylum was a triumphant superhero game and this week's Arkham City may very well surpass it. We should have at least a first hour review of Arkham City from Nate this week, so look forward to that, but first, let's take a quick rewind to Batman's lowpoint.
Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures is the one and true sequel to Pac-Man! You may be wondering, but wat about Ms. Pac-man, Super Pac-Man, Pac-Man Plus, or Pac-Mania? Nope, none of those have the number two in their name. Pac-Man 2 is the definitive sequel, and it is a side-scrolling adventure game with puzzle elements. How about that. It was released in 1994 for the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis and is quite the departure from the traditional series.
Fourteen years after chomping pills in a dark maze, Pac-Man is now a moody middle-aged blob living with Ms. Pac-Man, Pac-Jr., and Pac-Baby-Daughter. Pac-Man is an independent blob too, as you don't even control him directly! Instead you shoot a slingshot to point out things to Pac-Man and hopefully grab his attention. This doesn't always work though and Pac-Man can get angry pretty quickly. This is pretty much a recipe for complete disaster, so let's start cooking the first hour of Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures.
Aladdin for the Sega Genesis was released in 1993 about a year after the film was in the theaters. It was created by the same team that would go on to make Earthworm Jim and features animations drawn by Disney animators. The game was released on a wide range of systems, but the Super Nintendo Aladdin was actually an entirely different game created by Capcom. For all these years I asssumed it was Nintendo's infamous censorship at work because you couldn't use a sword like on the Genesis, but it was simply a different game under the same name (though I wouldn't be surprised if Nintendo still had a hand in swordless Aladdin).
I reviewed the first hour of Lion King back in March and did not have a good experience. Considering both Aladdin and The Lion King were both developed by Virgin Interactive, could I possibly have a similar first hour? Let's get into it.
Mutant League Football is a football game released for the Sega Genesis in 1993. This isn't your typical football game though, as the players are mutants, monsters, and skeletons, and the field has firepits, mines, and going out of bounds means getting sucked into space. Mutant League Football was developed by EA and released at the same time as the early Madden Football games, but you can tell the development team really had some fun with the game. A few of the team names are mocking real teams (Sixty Whiners instead of 49ers) and there are a couple of parody players such as Reggie Fright (Reggie White) and Bones Jackson (Bo Jackson).
This game really reminds me of The Rookie, a podcast novel written by Scott Sigler that I read last year. In that book, there's an intergalactic football league played by a variety of alien races and includes much death and destruction. A great listen. Let's get to the review now, oh yeah, this is my second post-apocalyptic game review in a row after Fallout, funny how those things run in streaks.
Another World (Out of this World) is a cinematic platformer released on just about every system back in 1991. Now the phrase, "cinematic platformer" gives me shivers because of its sheer potential of awfulness. When I hear those words I think of terrible gameplay and ugly, "realistic" looking graphics. The games are typically rotoscoped to give them a unique graphical style, which usually doesn't bother me, it's more the style of gameplay that makes me experience nasty flashes of nostalgia. If you've ever played the original Prince of Persia games, you'll know what I'm talking about.
Another World is known as Out of this World in the United States. Much like Indigo Prophecy/Fahrenheit, the game is renamed for some stupid reason that leaves people confused and wondering whether the stone is the sorcerer's or the philosopher's. Either way, the game supposedly influenced Fumito Ueda, who went on to create Ico and Shadow of the Colossus. So at least this game was good for something, but let's check out the first hour of Out of this World to see if it can properly defend itself and (in my opinion) the thankfully lacking genre known as the cinematic platformer.
I'll be playing the 15th Anniversary Edition for the PC released in 2006. The game features higher resolution graphics and more detailed backgrounds.
Bible Adventures is an old, unlicensed NES game made by Wisdom Tree. Since it was unlicensed and not approved by Nintendo, they were able to do cool things like have a baby blue colored cartridge and even featured their own Wisdom Tree Seal of Quality on the box. The game is a popular target for "Worst Game of all Time," mostly thanks to Seanbaby, but honestly this game was not that bad. Definitely not even in the bottom 10%. Compare it to other officially licensed crap like Deadly Towers or Bebe's Kids and you actually have a decent game going. Anyways, Bible Adventures features three Bible stories: Baby Moses, David and Goliath, and Noah's Ark told through platformers. They all pretty much play the same, but the Baby Moses game is actually pretty bad.
Since today is the last day of March, the month is supposed to be end like a lamb, which basically means it will be a calm Spring day. Instead, we have a heavy snow warning and are expecting 6-8 inches of slushy snow. Ugh. I reviewed The Lion King at the beginning of the month when March was supposed to come in like a lion (it was a nice day) and Bible Adventures is one of the only games that features sheep in even a small role. The other game I considered was Sheep for the PC but decided to do the more well known Bible Adventures. Well, let's get to the review.
The Haunting Starring Polterguy is a 1993 Sega Genesis game all about scaring a rich family out of their snazzy home any way possible. This is a pretty obscure game and the only way I know anything about it is from my deep past where I used to read any video game magazine I could get my hands on. One of them was Game Players, and in one of those issues lies a review for The Haunting. I have no idea what score it got but it stuck in my mind as "this game sounds cool and someday I would like to play it." Well, that someday has finally arrived 15 years later, and it's pretty much as cool as I vaguely remembered wanting it to be.
I really don't know anything else about this game, except that it is probably the goriest 16-bit game I have ever played. There are severed heads, tons of blood, and lots of other crazy stuff that kept surprising me. Just check out the screenshots below and you'll see what I'm talking about. On that note, let's get right into the review.
The Lion King was the video game released to accompany the Disney movie of the same name. Games based on movies were nothing new in 1994, especially Disney tie-ins, but this is actually my first movie game review. It was released on literally every platform available at the time, including three Nintendo (NES, SNES, and Game Boy) systems and three Sega (Master System, Genesis, and Game Gear) systems, undoubtedly a feat unequaled by any other game.
Really the only reason I'm reviewing The Lion King is because of the saying: "March comes in like a lion, out like a lamb." If you're unfamiliar with the adage, it basically means March will open up with bad weather and end calmly with Spring fast approaching. Here in the upper-Midwest though, lots of snow typically begins and ends the month. Where's our lamb? Back to the review though, here's March roaring in, now I have four weeks to find a game about lambs... could be tough. Anyways, let's get right into the first hour of The Lion King (Super Nintendo version).
Tecmo Super Bowl is a classic football game for the NES. With the real Super Bowl airing tomorrow night, I've decided to post my first hour review of Tecmo Super Bowl a few days early. This won't be a typical review though, as I've played the game to death, I'm going to perform some Super Bowl predictions with the 17 year old game and pit the New England Patriots against the New York Giants. This is tomorrow's Super Bowl matchup but obviously these teams are very different than what they were when this game came out, so don't place any bets off the outcome!
Post-game results: Tecmo Super Bowl predicted the winner! Not even Madden picked them right!
A little about the game before we get started, Tecmo Super Bowl was the sequel to... Tecmo Bowl, and though that game was very good, Super builds and improves on the original in nearly every way. We now have 30 man rosters instead of 20 and Tecmo Super Bowl also featured 11 men on each side of the ball for every play, where Tecmo Bowl only had 9. It also was one of the first games to use real players and real teams, quite the feat back then as they were breaking new ground (actually, quite the feat now too since EA has a crappy monopoly on the NFL and the NFLPA). Anyways, Tecmo Super Bowl is a great game and I have some wonderful childhood memories of it.
Doing a little research, I've found something interesting: there are only a few players in the game that are still active (five to be exact), and two of them are playing in the Super Bowl on Sunday! Junior Seau played for the San Diego Chargers in Tecmo Super Bowl and now plays for the New England Patriots; and Jeff Feagles played for the Philadelphia Eagles and now is the punter for the New York Football Giants! That's pretty amazing the longevity these guys have (and the great timing of their careers).
Let's get to the game now, here's the first hour of Tecmo Super Bowl and a pre-enactment of Super Bowl XLII. By the way, I am well aware I can download updated ROMs with current rosters but I'm trying to review the original game just like it was meant to be played. In my commentary though I'll replace the old timers with their current counterparts, just to make things... interesting.
The Lost Vikings was released in 1992 and was one of Silicon & Synapse's first games. Never heard of them? They are now known as Blizzard Entertainment, the developer of many, many good games that end in Craft. Anyways, The Lost Vikings was released on the Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis, and various other systems throughout the years, and gives gamers nowadays a really interesting look at the early history of Blizzard. The game itself can be described as a puzzle platformer, where you have to use the different abilities of three Vikings to solve puzzles, defeat enemies, and progress through the game's levels. My minute-by-minute update should help describe the game better. I will be playing just the first hour of the Super Nintendo version of The Lost Vikings, so let's get right to it.
In case you're a World of Warcraft veteran, you may recognize the three Vikings: Erik the Swift, Olaf the Stout, and Baleog the Fierce. They all make a cameo appearance in Uldaman, an ancient dwarven complex that serves as a mid-level dungeon. If you play as a Horde character you can even kill them for some unique items!