Archive for the ‘Sega Master System’ Category

Monopoly – Sega Master System   2 comments

SMSMonopolyMonopoly is of course the hugely popular classic business board game from the early 20th century.  Numerous video game adaptations have been developed over the years, and one of the first ones that I can remember is Monopoly for the Sega Master System which was released by Sega in 1988.  I won’t go into how to play Monopoly, because most people probably already know how to play it, but the question is if this Sega Master System version is worth playing.

The first reason to play the Sega Master System game, or any other version for that matter, is that you can play against computer opponents if you can’t convince any nearby humans to play along with you.  There are three difficulty settings you can choose from for each CPU player, but I honestly can’t figure out what the difference is.  It seems that the higher difficulty CPU players have more luck, but I can’t say for certain.  While playing Monopoly on the Master System you get a top down view of the board, and a neat closeup of the board while your piece moves.  You can turn off the closeup view for a quicker game.  Unfortunately the top down view of the board does not display where the houses and hotels are, and that is a huge flaw in this version.  Some more flaws is the lazy pace at which the CPU players play.  You can speed them up a bit by pressing buttons, but you already have to press buttons way too much while playing this game.  Press a button to roll, press a button after you’ve read where you’ve landed, and press a button to skip to the next player.  If you can imagine having to also press those buttons to speed up the CPU’s turn, then you can see what I’m getting at when I say that you have to press buttons way too often.  Also the trading system could have been more robust.  The only trading you can do is one property for one property, or you can sell a property.  In other words you can’t trade two properties for one property and some money.

On the plus side the game plays exactly like Monopoly.  Except you can’t collect money in a pot for the Free Parking space.  The music is also surprisingly well done, but I can imagine a lot of people will turn it off due to it’s repetition.  Also another good feature is the ability to save your game.  Of course this is dependent on you finding a copy with a working battery from 26 years ago.  Despite the neat battery backup system, Sega really could have done a much better job with this game.  More animations and sounds would have been welcome, as well as the aforementioned trading issue.  This is a tough game to review, because even though I like this game, and have fun playing it, it’s probably the weakest Monopoly game that I’ve ever played.  You won’t be disappointed if you pick it up, unless you already have the superior versions on the NES, Genesis, Super Nintendo, or any other newer version of the game.

Rating – 6 / 10


Posted August 20, 2014 by thebandit2006 in Sega Master System

Tagged with , ,

Out Run – Sega Master System   Leave a comment

With so many of Sega’s great arcade games ported over to the Sega Master System, I am really surprised that the system didn’t catch on in North America.  Out Run is an arcade driving game released in the arcades in 1986, and released for the Sega Master System the next year.  Unlike After Burner, and Space Harrier, Sega didn’t try to make their Master System do things it couldn’t handle.  The result is a slightly scaled down version of Out Run for the Master System, and it was a great idea, because this is a great game.

Twice the Mega Power!  I agree.  This game is awesome, and deserved much better artwork.

Twice the Mega Power! I agree. This game is awesome, and deserved much better artwork.

It’s an arcade style driving games that is played from a third person perspective looking behind your Ferrari.  The claim to fame for this game is that you get to chose your own path.  Today there are a lot of games that let you chose your own path, but Sega’s Out Run was one of the first.  The first stage is a coastal stage, and once you pass that stage you will reach a fork in the road, and you’ll get a different stage depending on which direction you chose.  If you pass five stages you complete the game.  There are 15 different environments in all, so you’ll be playing this game for a while trying to discover them all.  The game is timed, and your game will end if you run out of time.  Naturally you gain extra time each time you complete a stage.  The traffic is light in this version, but that doesn’t make it easy.  Sharp curves, and blind crests provide plenty of challenge until you memorize the course layouts.  The game keeps score as well, and that gives you yet another reason to keep coming back to this game.

Out Run on the Master System runs reasonably smooth, and it looks great.  The colours are bright and vivid, and your Ferrari is really detailed.  You can actually tell it’s a Ferrari Testarossa, and you can see both the driver and passenger in your car.  Oddly there are no engine sound effects, so be sure to keep an occasional eye on which gear your in.  For the soundtrack you get a choice of three songs, and they all sound great.  In fact they are so catchy and memorable that Sega remixed the music for Out Run 2 which was released 20 years later.  Out Run is one of the best 8-bit driving games you can play, and it’s a must have for the Sega Master System.

Posted March 19, 2014 by thebandit2006 in Sega Master System

Tagged with , , , ,

Pro Wrestling – Sega Master System   2 comments

Pro Wrestling was one of many Sega Master System games that I always wanted to try when I was a kid.  Now that I’ve played it, I kind of wish I hadn’t.  Pro Wrestling was released by Sega for the Master System back in 1986, and obviously it is a game based on professional wrestling.  As far as I can tell, this is the only wrestling game on the Master System.  Also, this shouldn’t be confused with the great Pro Wrestling for the NES.  They are two completely different games.

I don't think I can complain about game prices when I figured out that $49.99 is worth $91 today.  Also, why didn't the artist draw the wrestler's head?

I don’t think I can complain about game prices when I figured out that $49.99 is worth $91 today. Also, why didn’t the artist draw the wrestler’s head?

You’ve got one mode to chose from in Pro Wrestling, and that is a tag team match.  I did some research, and discovered that there are three titles up for grabs.  The Mexican title is the first one, and you have to win 10 falls in order to win the title.  The other ones take 10 falls as well.  You have just four tag teams to chose from.  Each wrestler has their own moves, although those moves aren’t many.  Your wrestler can punch, kick, do a two different moves off the ropes, and one grapple move, such as a body slam or Boston crab.  The “good guys” can climb the turnbuckles, and the “bad guys” can use a steal chair.  Every hit takes off energy from the wrestler’s life meter.  Once that is depleted, their opponent can pin them.  If your wrestler has a submission move as their main move, then you will win if your opponent’s life meter is depleted while you are putting on your submission hold.  Despite being tag team matches, the other wrestlers can’t break up the pin, or interfere in any way.

The wrestlers are small, and are drawn in a super-deformed anime style.  I personally find the wrestler’s a bit too small on screen, and that sometimes makes it hard to tell what is going on.  The music annoyed me, and the sound effects belong on the Atari 2600.  The ref’s count, which is super-duper slow, at least is funny sounding.  Overall I found this game to be very boring, and it’s probably the worst wrestling game that I have ever played.  For a good 8-bit wrestling game, check out the NES version of Pro Wrestling, and skip the Sega Master System version.

Space Harrier – Sega Master System   1 comment

Space Harrier has an interesting story.  The manual reads “As Space Harrier, you must save The Land of Dragons, and yourself, from extinction.”  So I guess in order to save the land from extinction you have to obliterate all animals, plants, rocks, robots and machines.  Okay then, so this 1988’s Space Harrier for the Sega Master System, which was first released in the arcades in 1985.  It’s technically a third person shooter, but really it’s more like a flight combat game, because your character flies around using a jetpack.

They don't make instruction manuals like they used to.  Check it out, it's an entire page explaining how to enter your initials for when you get a high score!

They don’t make instruction manuals like they used to. Check it out, it’s an entire page explaining how to enter your initials for when you get a high score!

The game play couldn’t be any more simple.  The d-pad moves your character, and either one of the two Master System buttons fires your weapon.  There are no powerups, and no special moves.  You just have to rely on your own skill.  It would seem like my skill in this game sucks, because I’ve only ever been able to get to stage 4 out of 18.  Using a cheat code for 9 extra continues got me to stage 11.  I hate to make excuses, but holy crap is it ever hard to see what’s going on at times.  Part of it is that there are a lot of enemies, and obstacles on the screen at once.  This is a good thing however, because I love games with a lot of enemies to avoid, or destroy.  Unfortunately the Sega Master System is not really up to the task of handling all of this.  Everything moves a bit too choppily, and that makes it harder to anticipate enemy shots, or obstacles.  There are also strange graphical glitches where an enemy, or explosion will block out other objects.

When things are less hectic, the game looks beautiful.  The enemies are highly imaginative, and the colours are trippy.  The music is really catchy as well.  This seems to be a trait of a lot of Sega Master System games.  Space Harrier for the Master System is a tough game, and at times it looks messy, but yet I still have fun playing it.  The games are quick, and I enjoy going for a high score, or trying to make it past the next level.  Space Harrier is also on Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, and it’s also available in one of the arcades in Shenmue for the Dreamcast.  If you don’t have those systems, and have a Master System, you’ll have to get Space Harrier.

Posted March 16, 2014 by thebandit2006 in Sega Master System

Tagged with , , , ,

After Burner – Sega Master System   1 comment

I remember After Burner on the Sega Master System being quite a bit more expensive that regular Master System games, and that would be because it was a “Four-Mega Cartridge.”  It wasn’t just marketing speak, because “Four-Mega” meant that the game was 4 megabits in size, which is 512kb, or half a megabyte.  This memory is needed, because After Burner is an intense arcade style 3D flight shoot-em-up that was originally released in the arcade in 1987.

The Four Mega Power!  I can't top that one.

The Four Mega Power! I can’t top that one.

Per the instruction manual, you are a Navy air captain flying an F-14 Thunder Cat, and the enemy (who is never named) has a plan to conquer the free world.  Like the KFC recipe, it is so secret that it is hidden in two different locations.  Your F-14 is equipped with guided missiles, and a 20mm machine gun, and you’ll use those to shoot down enemy planes, helicopters, and missiles.  It’s one of the earliest games that I’ve ever played that uses inverted controls, but unlike modern FPS’s, I find that the controls make sense while flying aircraft.  There are 18 stages in all, but the game is tough, and there are no continues, so the farthest I got was stage nine.  Basically I just play this game to see if I can beat my high score.

I had fun playing After Burner, but sadly it’s not a great version of the game.  A beautiful looking flight game with a third person perspective was just too much for the Master System to handle, and the frame rate and controls are really sluggish because of it.  For example, in order to connect with your guided missiles, you’ll have to pull the trigger the instant you saw the enemy, otherwise you’ll never hit them.  I just found it easier, and more fun to machine gun everything.  On the plus side the music is really catchy, and the sound effects are great.  So overall this is a fun game for the Master System, but I’ll recommend getting a version on a better system if you can.

Posted March 15, 2014 by thebandit2006 in Sega Master System

Tagged with , , ,

Double Dragon – Sega Master System   Leave a comment

One of my favourite video game experiences has to be playing Double Dragon in the arcade with a friend for the first time.  It was so fun, and so different from other games that we couldn’t stop playing.  We pumped in about $2.50 each, completed the game, and experienced one hell of a swerve for an ending.  Sure there are a ton of beat-em-ups based in urban environments now, but Double Dragon was one of the pioneers.  Double Dragon was released in the arcades in 1987 by Technos, and ported to pretty much everything back in the day.  I remember getting Double Dragon for my Sega Master System the following year, and I was initially disappointed that the Sega Master System wasn’t able to fully duplicate the graphics of the arcades, but I still had a lot of fun with it.

A rare example of good Sega Master System box art.

A rare example of good Sega Master System box art.

Double Dragon of course is a beat-em-up where you control either Billy or Jimmy, and you fight through a gang using martial arts and weapons in order to save your girlfriend.  Your moves are punches, kicks, jump kicks, a useless spin kick, head butts, elbow smashes, knees to the face, and throws.  Punches seem to be the most effective, as they have the best reach, but they give you the fewest points.  Along the way you can use weapons dropped by enemies, such as baseball bats, knifes, whips, and rocks.  These weapons are only available for a short time however.  The enemies are mostly generic thugs, although they spice it up sometimes with these huge giants.  The enemies become more aggressive in later levels.  The environments include the streets, industrial area, a forest, and a mansion.

The graphics look fine for a Master System game, although the characters flicker like crazy, and there is slowdown in the two player mode.  The music is fine as well, especially the music on level 4.  It’s really easy to pick on this nearly thirty year old Sega Master System port, with it’s graphical glitches, short game length, and the fact was later outdone by Final Fight, and Streets of Rage, but I still think the classic arcade action of Double Dragon holds up well today.  I still have fun playing Double Dragon for the Sega Master System, and it’s recommended for those who like 1980’s arcade games, and for those who like to see where an example of where our current games came from.

Posted March 11, 2014 by thebandit2006 in Sega Master System

Tagged with , , ,

Kung Fu Kid – Sega Master System   Leave a comment

Normally I take the stickers off games, but leaving the "Zellers" price tag on it gives it a bit of history.

Normally I take the stickers off games, but leaving the “Zellers” price tag on it gives it a bit of history.

Kung Fu Kid is a 1987 Sega Master System release that shouldn’t be confused with “The Karate Kid” movie released a few years earlier.  As far as I know it was not released in the arcades, or on any other systems, nor did it have any sequels.  After playing it, I can kind of see why.  It’s not a bad game, but it’s just not that special either.

Your mission is to confront Madanda, “the unnatural evil one” according to the manual.  Apparently he killed your kung fu master Tayron.  Kung Fu Kid is part of the side-scrolling beat-em-up genre that was popular in the 1980’s.  It’s an extremely simple game to play.  One button kicks, the other jumps.  Pressing up, and the kick button at the same time allows you to throw a talisman at enemies.  You can also do a wall jump by pressing jump as you jump at a wall.  The first thing you’ll notice is that your character can jump extremely high.  Most enemies are defeated in one to two kicks.  There are monks, puppets, toads, zombies, and little kids with lasers (I think?)  At the end of each round is a boss, or “scary monster” as the manual refers to them.  After you figure out the boss’s attack patterns, most are defeated pretty easily.  In fact the whole game is pretty easy, and this is a bit ironic, because according to Wikipedia: “Kung Fu is a Chinese term referring to any study, learning, or practice that requires patience, energy, and time to complete.”

Kung Fu Kid is kind of fun to play once in a while, but I got bored of it pretty quick due to lack of a challenge.  The graphics are very nice, and colourful.   The sounds, and music aren’t too bad either.  If you’re looking for an easy game to complete on your Sega Master System, then get this game.

Posted March 10, 2014 by thebandit2006 in Sega Master System

Tagged with , , , , ,