Archive for the ‘Sega Genesis’ Category

Whip Rush – Sega Genesis   1 comment

GENWhipRushI’m a big fan of the Sega Genesis, and I’m also a big fan of shoot-em-up games.  When you combine the two of them, what could possibly go wrong?  In this case absolutely nothing, because Whip Rush is friggin’ sweet!  It’s one of the earlier shoot-em-ups on the Genesis released in 1990 by Renovation Products.  Whenever there is a Renovation Products logo on a Genesis cartridge, good times usually follow.

Whip Rush is a shoot-em-up of the side scrolling variety.  The story is that mankind has pretty much used up all resources of every planet in our solar system, so three ships are sent out to seek new land to colonize.  The ships never return, and a race of aliens attack Earth.  In typical shoot-em-up fashion there is one spaceship that can stop the aliens, and that is the Whip Rush piloted by you.  The storyline isn’t exactly original, and neither is the game play.  Unoriginal games are fine by me as long as they are good ones, and Whip Rush is a good one.  Your ship starts off with a weak weapon that fire straight ahead, but at least you’re able to hold down a button on the Sega Genesis controller to automatically fire.  You get your standard powerups such as a laser beam, heat seeking missiles, etc.  What you really want to pick up are the two mini ships that fly along with your spaceship.  These mini ships not only increase your attack ability, but you can also position them to fire up, down, or behind your ship.  This is very important, because although most enemies will attack you from the front, there are parts of some stages will scroll up, or backwards.  Some enemies will attack from behind as well.  The difficulty in Whip Rush is 16-Bit tough, but it never feels cheap.  If you do die, you respawn right where you died.  You will have to start at the start of the stage if you lose all of your lives though.

The graphics aren’t going to blow you away, but they get the job done.  The parallax scrolling is really well done for such an early Genesis release.  The music is really great, and some of the tunes will get stuck in your head long after you’ve stopped playing.  The sound effects include those distorted sounding explosions that are unique to the Sega Genesis.  If you’ve played enough Genesis games you’ll know what I’m talking about.  Your ship also controls very well, and you’re able to manually control your ship’s speed without picking up speed powerups.  Overall Whip Rush may not be original at all, but it does everything right, and it’s a lot of fun.  Definitely recommended for shoot-em-up fans.

Rating – 8 / 10

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Posted November 4, 2014 by thebandit2006 in Sega Genesis

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Eternal Champions – Sega Genesis   Leave a comment

GENEternalChampionsWhen I think of Sega fighting games, I think of Virtua Fighter.  Little did I know that Sega produced a 2D fighting game called Eternal Champions in 1993 for the Sega Genesis.  It was released during a time when 2D fighting games were all the rage, and every video game company was releasing one.  The most popular fighters of the day were Street Fighter, and Mortal Kombat.  Eternal Champions takes inspiration from both of them, and the results could have been great, but too many flaws pretty much ruined it for me.

When I first played Eternal Champions, I noticed that the music and graphics of the menus really reminded me of the Mortal Kombat series.  The other thing I noticed were the wide variety of characters.  There are only nine to choose from, but they include such characters as a cyborg, a 1920’s gangster, caveman, vampire, ninja, and some sort of Aquaman creature.  The reason for the wide variety is that someone know as The Eternal Champion has traveled through time to rescue each of the characters before their death, and has them compete against each other in a fighting tournament.  The winner is saved from their death.  I like the variety of characters, and they all look great.  I wish they displayed more personality though.  The controls are similar to the Street Fighter series in that you have a low, mid, and high punch, and the same for kicks.  This means that the 6-button Sega Genesis controller is highly recommended.  To keep you from spamming projectile attacks like you can in Street Fighter, a lot of characters can only use such attacks after building up their special attack meter.  The button combinations for the attacks are not always intuitive, and that goes for a lot of the attacks.  You will have to learn these attacks to be successful against the CPU, because they are brutally tough, and there was no difficulty setting that I could find.  Also when you lose a fight during the tournament, you don’t simply have a rematch against the opponent that defeated you, but you have to have a rematch against the opponent before them.  I’ve never seen a continue system in which the game sends you back a level.  One thing that is cool is that there are stage fatalities.  You have to pull off a certain move on a certain spot on each stage for it to happen.  Unfortunately I was only able to do this one time, but it was pretty cool.

Eternal Champions could have been such a good game, but the difficulty, and the terrible continue system hold it back.  The controls aren’t the most responsive I’ve ever seen either.  Other flaws are numerous, and include not being able to choose a character when you continue, and score not being kept.  What a shame, because the game looks pretty good, although a bit cartoony.  The sound effects have a lot of bass in them, and the music is pretty good.  If you’re a huge fan of fighting games, and have the patience to learn all of the moves, then Eternal Champions could be worth looking in to.  For others, like me, who just want to jump into a game and have a good time, then there are better options.

Rating – 5 / 10

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Posted November 2, 2014 by thebandit2006 in Sega Genesis

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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

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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

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Posted October 16, 2014 by thebandit2006 in Sega Genesis

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Evander Holyfield’s Real Deal Boxing – Sega Genesis   Leave a comment

GENEvanderHolyfieldWhen Buster Douglas defeated Mike Tyson for the Undisputed Heavyweight boxing championship in 1990, Sega signed Douglas in order to use his name in James “Buster” Douglas Knockout Boxing.  Douglas promptly lost the championship to Evander Holyfield, so Sega signed Evander Holyfield for Evander Holyfield’s Real Deal Boxing released in 1992 for the Sega Genesis.  There seemed to be some sort of a “Sega curse” going around, because Evander Holyfield lost the championship less than three weeks after this game was released.

On to the game however.  Evander Holyfield’s Real Deal Boxing is a 2D boxing game presented in a side view similar to the 2D fighting games of it’s day.  The camera is zoomed in, so you can only see the boxers from the waist up.  There are two modes of game play available.  The exhibition mode simply has you to choose your boxer, and your opponent.  The career mode allows you to create your own boxer who starts at the bottom of the rankings, and makes his way up by defeating opponents, and increasing his boxing stats.  The actual boxing part of the game is simple, but yet it’s not a button masher either.  Two buttons on the Genesis controller will make your boxer throw a left or a right punch.  The other button makes him block.  You can change your boxer’s stance to defend or attack high or low.  Uppercuts are thrown by hitting a punch and block button at the same time.  You will have to pay attention to your opponents stance, and adjust your own accordingly if you want to be able to land punches.  If your opponent is really throwing a lot of punches, and not giving you a chance, then you can hold the block button in order to get closer to your opponent, and with any luck land an uppercut to turn the tide.

Evander Holyfield’s Real Deal Boxing is fun most of the time.  It’s gratifying to land punch combinations, and trying to figure out how to penetrate your opponents defense.  The game can be frustrating when you’re hitting the punch button, and nothing is happening.  This happens because if your opponent is throwing punches, then you can’t throw any.  If your boxer is outclassed, and  your opponent is throwing a lot of punches, then you’ll be hammering on the punch button only you keep getting hit.  If you combine this with the general slow pace of the game, it becomes a lot less fun to play.  If you stick with boxers that are evenly matched, then you’ll have more fun.  The sound effects are very repetitive, and will get on your nerves after a while.  I hear that this game’s sequel “Greatest Heavyweights” uses the same engine as this game, but plays at a faster pace.  It also has eight real boxers as opposed to this game’s one real boxer.  I’ll have to play that one in order to see if it really is better than this game.  Overall though Evander Holyfield’s Real Deal Boxing looks good, plays well enough, has a fun career mode, and it’s fun to pick up and have a quick match once in a while.

Rating – 7 / 10

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Posted August 19, 2014 by thebandit2006 in Sega Genesis

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Columns – Sega Genesis   2 comments

GENColumns1After Tetris became popular in the 1980’s, other attempts were made at duplicating it’s success, or at least to make a quick buck.  Sega’s answer to Tetris came in the form of Columns, which they released for their Sega Genesis in 1990.  While I don’t think anything will top Tetris in the category of simple and addicting puzzle game, but Columns is a great game in it’s own right.

As in Tetris, Columns is played on a vertical play field.  Three jewels stacked vertically are dropped from the top of the screen.  As they fall to the bottom of the screen, you can rearrange the order of the jewels, and move the stack left or right.  Your goal is to place them so that three matching jewels line up.  They can line up vertically, horizontally, or diagonally.  After they are lined up, those jewels disappear, and cause any jewels above them to fall.  This of course can cause chain reactions, and those are worth more points.  I’m not very good at the game, so I couldn’t create very many chains except by accident.  It’s awesome when it does happen, and I envy those who can create them on purpose.  There are no levels in the game per say, and the game just keeps getting faster and faster until there is no more room to place jewels.  That is the game in a nutshell.  They only other mode is called “Flash Columns”, and that places jewels on the play field with the objective of clearing one particular jewel in the fastest time.  The two player modes take place in a split screen, but they’re not competitive.  It’s just a mode where two players can play their own separate games at the same time.

Graphics aren’t that important in a good puzzle game, but still the jewels in this game are nicer to look at than just regular old blocks.  There are three different songs to listen to while playing, and they sound really nice.  It’s hard really to describe the music, but it is very relaxing.  It’s like elevator music, but better.  While I don’t think it’s quite as good as Tetris, it is up there with the very best puzzle games.  Columns is a game that I can’t help but play every time I hook up my Sega Genesis.

Rating – 8 / 10

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Posted August 15, 2014 by thebandit2006 in Sega Genesis

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Golden Axe – Sega Genesis   1 comment

GENSGoldenAxe Up until 1989 video game consoles such as the Atari 2600, and the NES were never really capable of playing games that looked and sounded similar to the newest arcade games.  That changed with the release of the Sega Genesis.  The games released for that system came closer to giving you the arcade experience than ever before.  Golden Axe is a 1989 arcade game by Sega that was ported to their Sega Genesis the same year, and it pretty much captures the arcade looks, sounds, and game play.  It’s not a perfect port, but it’s really impressive.

Golden Axe is a beat-em-up game similar to Double Dragon except your character mostly swings a weapon instead of relying on martial arts moves.  It’s set in a fictional medieval Dungeons and Dragons type of world, and it’s your goal to track down the evil Death Adder who has captured the King and his daughter.  The three characters you get to choose from at the start of the game are a dwarf, male warrior, and female warrior.  Each has their strengths and weaknesses when it comes to combat and magic.  The controls are simple enough with one button for attacking, one for jumping, and one for using magic.  You collect magic by kicking around these humanoid creatures that are even smaller than your dwarf character, and I always get enjoyment in doing so.  The more magic you collect the more powerful your next magic spell will be.  After you use a spell, you will have to recollect magic potions once again.  The magic spells are great in a pinch as they cause damage to all enemies on screen, and the spells all look great.  You may want to save your magic for the end of the stage as the game often has multiple difficult enemies on screen at once.  Some enemies attack you by riding animals, but you can knock them off their rides and steal them.  The animals all have strong attacks such as breathing fire, and give the game a bit of variety.

Golden Axe is a really nice looking game for such an early Sega Genesis release.  The art style of the enemies and stages is really well done.  The sounds are a bit scratchy as most Sega Genesis games are, but the music is good, and sets the appropriate mood.  The controls are easy and responsive as well.  The game is really easy for the first few stages, but the difficulty shoots up quickly as soon as those damn skeletons are introduced into the game.  They’re very quick, and they are good at surrounding you.  This is where having a friend in co-op mode would be helpful.  Besides those damn skeletons my only real problem with the game is the lack of moves each character has.  I also wish the game play was a bit faster.  Despite that though, Golden Axe is a fun game.  I don’t think it’s among the best Genesis games, but it’s still a good game that is worth picking up.

Rating – 8 / 10

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Posted July 5, 2014 by thebandit2006 in Sega Genesis

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