Archive for October 2014

Sonic the Hedgehog – Sega Genesis   Leave a comment

GENSonictheHedgehogI don’t know what hasn’t been said already about Sonic the Hedgehog.  It’s a huge franchise for Sega with game releases on a wide variety of systems.  The original Sonic the Hedgehog was released by Sega for the Genesis in 1991 during a time that Nintendo was king with their Super Mario series.  Sega had to come up with something to combat Mario, and the result was Sonic the Hedgehog.  Sonic really helped the Sega Genesis become a hugely popular system during the 90’s.

Some game play mechanics are similar to Super Mario such as jumping on enemies to defeat them, and you collect rings instead of coins.  For everything else though Sega decided to do the opposite.  The huge difference is the speed at which the game plays.  To this day the original Sonic the Hedgehog is one of the quickest platformers you’ll ever play.  The other difference is that the levels are much larger, and feature a variety of paths to get to the end.  You’ll spend just as much time moving vertically as you do horizontally.  Also the character designs are different in that Mario is portrayed as a do-gooder, Sonic is portrayed as cool, and having an attitude.  Throughout the entire decade other companies tried to duplicate Sonic’s attitude with usually cheesy results.  There’s a nice variety of stages ranging from fantasy worlds, science fiction, ancient times, and other abstract levels such as a level that contains pinball obstacles.

The coins you collect also act as a shield of sorts against attacks.  If you take a hit from an enemy you won’t die, but you’ll drop all of yours coins.  Luckily you can sometimes pick them up again.  If you take a hit without having any coins, then you’ll lose a life.  There are also powerups such as a bubble shield, invincibility, and a powerup that makes you faster temporarily.  Your attacks are jumping on top of an enemy, and hitting an enemy while you are jumping.  At the end of each world you face off against an end boss.  The end boss is always Dr. Robotnik, but he’ll be a different contraption each time.  Sort of like Wile E. Coyote.

The controls are extremely simple, and highly responsive.  You can move left and right, press down to tuck into a ball, and press any button to jump.  To do well you need to take advantage of Sonic’s momentum and speed.  This is what makes Sonic the Hedgehog so much fun to play.  It also doesn’t hurt that the art design for the levels is colourful and original, and that it has really great sounding catchy music.  The difficulty level is also just right.  The only times the game isn’t awesome are during are a couple of worlds that are slower paced.  Sonic the Hedgehog alone is worth buying a Sega Genesis for, but it can equally be enjoyed on the many other systems it is available for.  Although you should still buy a Sega Genesis.

Rating – 9 / 10


Posted October 25, 2014 by thebandit2006 in Sega Genesis

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RBI Baseball 94 – Sega Genesis   Leave a comment

GENRBIBaseball94RBI Baseball 94 is one of the last games in the once popular RBI Baseball series before Atari was bought out, renamed, and sold off again.  It was actually released by their Tengen subsidiary in 1994.  It differs greatly from the NES RBI Baseball games, but that might not be a good thing, because the NES games were great.

The thing I love about old sports games, and especially old licensed sports games is that I am able to play as players and teams from the past.  RBI 94 has all Major League teams, players, and stats from the 1993 season.  The single player modes available are single game, best of seven series, 80 game season, 162 game season, and a mode where you play all the teams once.  It uses a password system to save your progress which is what I prefer in older games, because battery backup doesn’t last forever.  Of course this means that it won’t track each player’s individual stats throughout the season, but it display all of the stats that they get at the end of each game at least.  The pitching/batting interface is the classic one from the NES days with the pitcher on the top of the screen, and the batter on the bottom.  You really can’t go wrong with this, and it plays very well.  Unfortunately when the ball is put into play is where things go a bit downhill.  The camera is zoomed in way too close to the field to judge where your players are, or where the ball is being hit to.  Baseball Stars on the NES had a zoomed in field, but that game at least had sound cues to tell you when a fly ball was on it’s downward arc.  Luckily there is an automatic fielding option in RBI 94 where the fielders move automatically, and all you have to do is choose which base to throw the ball.  It’s not the best solution, because part of the fun of these games is fielding, but at least it makes this game playable.

Despite the way too difficult fielding, there is a lot of other things that make up for it.  There are three difficulty settings to choose from when playing the CPU.  I crushed the CPU on every setting but the hard setting.  The hard setting made for close games with about 4 runs scored per game per team.  The game’s pace is fairly quick with games taking around 25 minutes to play.  It’s also a pretty nice looking game to look at too with a nice looking field, and great player animations.  During the batting screen the game will show portraits of the batter, and pitcher.  Some are more accurate than others, but it’s a nice touch.  Other nice touches during the batting interface are animations of the crowd doing the wave, a 1st base couch going through signs, players celebrating, animations of a baserunner sliding, and so on.  There also seems to be about a dozen soundtracks in the game, and they all cycle through randomly, so as to not be repetitive.  The soundtracks sound great too, as does the umpire’s calls.  If it wasn’t for the terrible fielding this game would have been among the absolute best, but the small details, quick pace, and relatively realistic game play make it worth playing.

Rating – 7 / 10


Posted October 16, 2014 by thebandit2006 in Sega Genesis

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Tecmo Baseball – NES   Leave a comment

NESTecmoBaseballIt’s name says it all.  It’s a Baseball game by Tecmo.  It’s called Tecmo Baseball, and it was released on the NES back in 1989.  It was clearly inspired by the previously released RBI Baseball, but it was certainly not alone in that regard.  It may be inspired by RBI Baseball, but it is surely different from it.  Back before companies started to sell roster updates as full prices games every year, NES baseball games are pretty much all unique.

There are 14 teams representing Major League Baseball cities, but it’s not licensed, and all of the player names are fake.  The colours of their uniforms, and the stats are kind of based off real teams from that time though.  The only modes available are a gauntlet run through all the teams, which can be saved via password.  The other mode is of course a two player mode.  Like a lot of early NES baseball games you can select your starting picture, but not your starting line up.  Game play is a mix of Bases Loaded, and RBI Baseball.  Pitching and hitting is done from a view behind the pitcher.  It’s similar to the view they use on televised games.  You can use the control pad to direct his swing high, low, or in the middle.  If you swing in the middle your batter will automatically correct the height of his swing to hit high balls anyways.  You’ll also want to choose the middle swing, because the ball comes at you so fast that you have no time to think.  The timing takes a lot to get used to as you have to swing well before the pitch gets to you.  I suppose that is similar to real baseball.  Once in play the view switches to a high camera view where your players are smaller.  This is similar to RBI Baseball.  The players may be small, but the outfield is enourmous.  You’ll have quite the adventures trying to track down fly balls that’s for sure.  Surprisingly the scores stay fairly realistic with about 9 runs scored combined on average during my games.  The high amount of ground balls, and infielders with cannons for arms will create a lot of double plays which will balance out the amount of hits to the outfield.

Tecmo Baseball is an example of a game that is more than the sum of it’s parts.  The graphics are extremely plain looking, but passable.  The music is okay, although I do like the rockabilly music that plays whenever someone is on base.  I also find it hilarious that the umpire insists on saying “safe” every single time you touch a base with someone on it.  It’s fun to move your fielder constantly over the base to hear the umpire go “safesafe…sss.sss…safesafesafe!”  The controls are very responsive, although you’ll have to get used to running controls that are the reverse of most other NES games.  Overall Tecmo Baseball is very fun to play.  The CPU is competitive, the games play very quickly, and it just all comes together very well.  The NES has a lot of great baseball games, and this is one you can include in that list.

Rating – 8 / 10


Posted October 11, 2014 by thebandit2006 in NES

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