Author
Matt McKee

Pooyan

You have two weapons: The arrows, which are dull as shit, as they can’t pierce the wolves’ fur but can pop the balloons and (SPLATTER ALERT!) will send them to their deaths. Or, you can toss huge pieces of meat at them, which are heavy enough to bring everything down to Earth. Where does she get the supply of meat? No one’s talking, but I don’t see any of Mama’s red-headed stepchildren present. The second screen has the wolves riding up the cliff via balloon, and you will take the same defensive actions. The only difference is if enough wolves reach the top they will push a huge boulder on top of you, basically tenderizing their dinner. There are a bonus screens where you do similar actions for points, but just toss the meat. [...]

Berzerk

Everything has an “electric” feel to it, from the laser shots to instant death from brushing against a wall. You receive points by destroying the robots, but you can’t hang around too long before escaping or “Evil” Otto will quickly be on your ass. Otto, a bodiless smiley face, is the “Smoke Monster” of video games. A true indestructible enemy that will chase you down like a heat-seeking missile. [...]

Battlezone

For the few of you who haven’t played Battlezone, it’s a 1st-person, vector tank-shooter set on the freaking moon, of all places. Although gravity doesn’t come into play anywhere in the game, so they could have just set it on Earth. But, two aspects of the game probably will explain why they did it this way; One, the background is constant black, giving it a “30 Days of Night” feel to keep you on edge, but I’m sure the reason for this was for the bright green vector lines would show better. Two, they decided to throw flying saucers and tank-sized guided-missiles at you as an extra slice of variety of just shooting other tanks. Anyway, it works well and I now wouldn’t want it any other way. The HUD is all in red, which has your score, number of tanks left, and most importantly, a radar showing you exactly where the next tank is. When it appears directly behind you [...]

Contra: Hard Corps

Whenever you shoot something, which is constantly, your enemy explodes in a beautiful shower of fireballs. The problem……..it’s so huge and bright, you’re constantly being cheap-killed by a stray bullet!!! The normal dexterity needed to play these games are normally reserved for AD&D 2nd Edition Thieves (Yep, I’m old). I get that. But, when you can’t see what you’re trying to dodge, it just takes all the fun out it. I’m not freaking Daredevil! (2nd nerd drop..I’m done) [...]

WWF SuperStars

The game itself is strictly a tag-team tournament, so no solo character play here. But, as your life/exhaustion meter dwindles, you can tag in your second character to help. It’s also a 2-player game, so your buddy can be your partner or your opponents. You’ll fight through just 3 matches made up from the other 4 wrestlers before you reach the tag-team champions in Ted DiBiase and Andre the Giant (neither playable characters). After you beat them you’ll be crown champs, but have to play a couple of more matches the retain the title to be considered game-beaters. [...]

Crystal Castles

A 1983 Atari product, Crystal Castles is a game that stands out. From its crazy-detailed cabinet art to its glow-in-the-dark trackball, you wouldn’t be able to miss this in any arcade. But, how does it play? The “Crystal Castles” are 40 isometric levels given a 3D look. You play as a goofy-looking bear wearing Dorothy’s ruby slippers. Throughout the pathways of the castles are scores of gems and jewels. Your mission is to collect them (for points) as quickly as possible. The trackball moves you around and there is a jump button, as well. To reach the different levels of the screen, you’ll use ramps, stairs, elevators, and secret passageways. [...]

Pengo

Here’s my problem: The blobs don’t move like the slow-asses I’ve seen in the movies. Matter of fact, it seems like they’re actually faster than me. They melt-through my ice-block weapons on the way to me, and I can’t tell you how many times I was waiting behind a block to shove and they started melting it before I had a chance to use it. I was literally spending all my time running for my life, and just tossing ice randomly. I haven’t panicked this much in a game since the first night of Left 4 Dead. I’m sure there are plenty of people out there that have “mastered” the game, but holy shit, it was tough for me. The controls just seemed a bit off, which added to the frustration. [...]

Lee Trevino’s Fighting Golf

The Masters got me thinking about this game, although ironically, Lee never won that tournament, his only Major fail. But, I put a lot of time into it back in the day, and like real golf, you find you never really master it. LTFG is a 4-player game, with only 4 characters playable (conveinent). There’s Pretty Amy, the accurate-conscious lady in the pink skirt; Miracle Chosuke and Super Mex (Lee’s happily-embraced racist nickname), who have a good mix of accuracy and power; and my favorite, Big Jumbo, who has the pop in the club, but has a 3-click meter that runs faster, making it more difficult to hit the perfect shot. [...]

Superman: Atari 2600

The first part that bothers me (and there’s a big list), is there’s actually no proof that Luthor had anything to do with The Great Metropolis Bridge Explosion of 1978. Whatever reason, I felt Superman was just picking on him a bit. All Luthor does is fly around the entire game with a propeller coming out of his head, and for some reason, wearing Aquaman’s Underoos. As embarrassing as that is, I’m guessing he committed no crime. Also, why these random 6 criminals? Only reason I see is they’re carrying these huge tommy-guns (what year is this anyway?), but they never actually use them. [...]

The Flash

The object of the game is to defeat The Trickster, who has somehow become the mayor of Central City. Now, I know his job is tricking people, but am I to believe that he’s smart enough to convince an entire city to vote him into office, then declare Flash a criminal so everyone is against him? Even for an early-90′s comic story, this is ridiculous. The Flash needs to get through various levels of the city to reach/stop Trickster, so there’s a lot of running and jumping. Problem is, while Sonic had this huge, open area….Flash has these little city neighborhoods, and it gets confusing. He really moves too fast to see where you’re going, or sadly, what you’re landing on. Obviously, Trickster’s first order of business was to create huge potholes and spiked-pits throughout…was this the platform on which he ran? Who would have voted for this? [...]

Donkey Kong

This seems like the work of a genius (not stupid) simian, possibly one of those in the old Flash comic books. For now, Mario can only jump over the barrels. When some of these kegs reach the ground floor, they have been known to catch fire (obviously from the alcohol inside). The odd part is it seems these firey barrels can actually defy the laws of physics and move upwards and EVEN CLIMB LADDERS! Along the way, Mario does find weapons in the form of an ACME oversized mallet. But, he never seems to use these on monkey, but to crush the barrels and put out the fires. When Mario eventually reaches the girl, Kong quickly grabs her and runs off. That’s a hell of a lot of work for no payoff, that’s for sure. [...]

Joust

The object of the game is to get through as many levels/points as you can, and like most arcade games, there is no true end. With one joystick to move your bird, and one button to flap the ostrich’s wings, you need to lance all of your other flying opponents. The faster you “flap”, the faster your knight will rise, then use gravity to lower yourself. Unlike most games, where you can start and stop on a dime, Joust tries to add a little realism….if you can just get past the original concept, of course. Wave after wave of knights appear, and you take them down by hitting them with your lance just a little higher than theirs. If vice-versa, you lose a life. After you hit them, they turn into a huge egg, which will bounce around the floating rock platforms, but eventually stop. Running over these eggs gives you bonus points and is essential, because eventually they will “hatch” new riders and remount. [...]

Star Raiders

Ships will appear as you reach their grid quadrant, but seem to just randomly appear. Sometimes, the only way you know they are there is when they shoot you. When this happens, there is the typical 2600 sound-effects, but cool red flickering to let you know you have taken damage. You can repair and replenish your constantly-draining energy. Keep your close eye on the energy numbers dwindling at the bottom of the screen, because if it gets to zero…game over. [...]

From Russia With Love

A lot of cut-scenes. Well done, and a lot re-created from the original film. The music is perfect. Again, taken from the Bond films and gets your blood pumping throughout the game. Controls, especially with the auto-lock, are done well. The fun-factor is off the charts, a Bond fan or just one of the action-adventure genre. [...]

Mike Tyson’s Punch Out

The game starts with a tune-up fight: A guy named Glass Joe, who is really just a punching bag, or practice to get used to the controls. The graphics look cool, decent sound effects, and Mario is your referee. Between plumbing and rescuing ladies, you wouldn’t think he’d have time for a night job, but good for him living the American Dream. Glass Joe goes down, and there a huge list of un-politically-correct boxers in my sight. [...]

Die Hard

There are 40 baddies to kill throughout the building levels, by fists or weapon. You’ll need your fists, because I find myself running out of ammo very quickly. But, it’s just as fun pummeling these ass-wipes. After dispatching the Germans (YIPPEE KAI YAY, MY FRIENDS!!), use the elevator to the next level, finding more weapons (NOW I HAVE A MACHINE-GUN, HO HO HO!!) and more bad guys. Some cool features include listening in on their radios and the “foot meter”. This is because like the movie, you’re actually running around in bare feet, OVER GLASS!!! You’ll replenish health by drinking soda and finding first-aid kits. [...]

Home Alone

There’s some really unique game play here, which won me over right away: There’s an overview of the “neighborhood”, which consists of the 5 houses that Harry and Marv are trying to rob. The game gives you 20 minutes to slow down the Bandits before the cops arrive. You do this by staying ahead of them inside the houses. Moving around the neighborhood in a motorized sled, you enter each house to set up traps. Once you’ve entered, there’s a blueprint map where you do this; marbles, toys, oil…a number of things to slow them down, because they seem to be too stupid to look down at the floor, I suppose. Once they’re inside, you go into “attack” mode, using weapons against them. [...]

Freeway

Overall, I like the game. The graphics are nice and colorful. The bright, yellow chicken moves its little feet quickly across the road. I say “little”, but it’s about 5 foot long. I like to pretend it’s escaping from KFC ‘s Double Down assembly line. The many cars look different, with unique shapes and sizes. A neat little animation of the chicken getting knocked backwards is a nice touch. [...]

Haunted House

Old guy died and his ghost is still “haunting” the house. There are other creepy-crawlies in there as well. Four floors to the house with six rooms on each floor, stairs seperating the floors. Some doors are locked, so finding the master key is “key”. There’s a magic scepter which will keep away the creepies, but not the ghost. OBJECTIVE: Find the three pieces of an urn and return to the front door. Seems simple, but there is a catch. You can only carry one item at a time. So, if you are keeping the monsters away with a scepter, you can’t use the key to open doors. If you’re carrying the urn, you can’t…you get the idea. [...]

Justice League Task Force

For whatever reason, I was forced to “fight” her, when all I really wanted to do was let her break a nail on my Kryptonian abs and make her go poop in her cat box. Despero is next, which is nice, because he’s a tough dude, and…well…HE’S A BAD GUY!! Darkseid is still not ready to face me yet, as he throws a Superman robot at me, I guess trying to confuse me. He forgot that as a boy in Smallville, I used to make these robots so Lana Lang wouldn’t think Clark/Supes were the same person. Should have done your homework, son. After the recycling was taken out, Darkseid decides to come after me himself. Getting hit with those Omega Beams, I thought,”Boy, he always talked a lot of smack about these, but they’re not really doing that much damage? Kind of a wimp.” [...]

Sega Rally Championship 2

The graphics of SRC2 are tremendous. Jumping right into a game, I noticed the frame-rate is top notch and the backgrounds move fluidly. Didn’t really notice any slowdowns, shudders, or jumps. I was a little worried how it look, but pleasantly surprised. The weather effects look nice, and handle accordingly. Being a hater of the brake petal, I learned quickly that I’ll have to adapt to the elements (ice, gravel). Now that’s out of the way, let’s talk about the options: [...]

Captain America & The Avengers

You play as any one of 4 Avengers who have close-up and long-range battle attacks. Captain America slings his mighty shield, Iron Man shoots his repulsor beams, Hawkeye’s bow and arrows, or Vision…with his……visiony-like thing that he does. You’ll fight through lesser villains like Klaw, The Living Laser, Whirlwind, Sentinels, Wizard, TheGrim Reaper, The Mandarin, Ultron, and Crossbones. That’s a lot of sweet Marvel-villain action. Fighting through the levels, you will gain assistance from hero friends like Namor, Wonder Man, and the Wasp, who will drop power-ups, health, and give you moral support. [...]

Super Mario World

I had mentioned during a Sonic review that I preferred that series over Mario. I understand that I’m in the minority, but let me explain…I’ve always preferred my games a bit linear. I like having a goal. I like going from point A to point B to complete that goal. The thing that drives me crazy about the Mario games is that there is so many hidden things, so many warps, so many crazy-ass things going on at the same time, that I sometimes forget why I was playing in the first place…the GOAL. I don’t care about capturing every coin, or every power-up, or finding every secret entrance…I just want to grab that princess and tickle Bowser with my moustache. …or was that the other way around? I just wanted to make myself clear. [...]

Tomb Raider

Soon after I purchased my PSOne, my cousin stopped by my apartment. I didn’t realize he was a big video game guy until I talked to him that day. He didn’t live too far from me and we talked about getting together. My brother was already over and I told him we were playing the Playstation. He told me he had one as well, and was going to bring over some games. I don’t remember any of the others he brought, because I don’t think we ever got past Tomb Raider. “It’s an Indiana Jones chick who jumps around and shoots stuff.” [...]

Sonic the Hedgehog

One thing that I always loved about this game was you could take different pathways to reach the end of the level. You can, if you choose, run at lightning speeds to reach the end in record time, or slowly collect all of the rings and power-ups. There are a number of vertical platform levels to explore…or not. It’s up to you. There’s not necessarily a set pattern to learn like other platformers. Everything is always in the same place, but the size of the levels and the ‘openness’ make replay-vale high. [...]

Fable

Beautiful-looking, slow load times, wonky combat, good main quest story, unnecessary side quests, Sims stuff that doesn’t interest me, and easy bosses. If I rate the game so just the main story, I recommend it. On the whole package…not so much. But, I know there are plenty of you out there that want to get that great hours to price ratio…and this game will do it for you. [...]

Lady Sia

There’s actually a very long and detailed story that unfolds throughout play, but I don’t want to give anything away. What I will say is this is a realitivly short game, with just a handful of main levels, and a few smaller levels within. Sia is armed with just a sword and an “energy blast”, and each level’s mission has her recovering a stolen family item; from a better sword to magic rings. These items will help her defeat the 4 bosses and the main one at the end. The 32-bit, cartoony animation is neat, and the fluidity of her movements are top-notch for the little system. Little touches like using her sword to grab a ledge to pull herself up were nice additions. Sweet background music and sound-effects, as well. [...]

Flashback: Quest For Identity

I remember reading through one of the many video-game magazines that were out at the time (don’t really remember which one), and there was a preview for a game described as “CD-ROM on a cartridge”. A game that was going to use motion-capture technology so the ‘platformer character’ would seem to have very fluid mobility. A game that was based in a dark sci-fi universe instead of the usual cute-fantasyland. A game developed by the French….alright I admit that last part didn’t sell me on it, but the rest made for a launch-day purchase, and those that know me realize spending full retail doesn’t come easily for me. [...]

Ridge Racer

The Black Car was the Holy Grail of the game. After you defeated the other modes and cars, you were able to take on the evil one. If you could defeat it, you would own it. Namco’s version of The Crossroads. One of the most difficult ‘bosses’ I ever faced, the only way to win was to run a perfect race…meaning if you scraped a wall, or skidded too much on a turn, the sumbitch would pass you and you’d never catch up. I put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into that challenge, and still fondly remember the day of victory. With the powerful engine and control of The Black Car, you could improve your times even more. [...]

Rayman 2: The Great Escape

At the end of the first game, Rayman and his buddies saved his world, and in the sequel, more of the same. A crazy boss named Admiral Razorbeard, with his awesome ship and his lackeys, the Robo-pirates, are trying to (once again) take over the world. He has also kidnapped Rayman’s friends and a lot of other creatures. Your mission, is to collect 4 masks that will summon the world’s God to get rid of the Admiral. [...]

Legendary Axe

Throughout your journey, there’s a number of highly-detailed creatures that you’ll hack, from huge spiders, to half man/half animals, but you’ll always be annoyed by these little flying bats. To help you, there are plenty of power-ups in form of a small tiki idol, which can increase your health, give you a free life, of improve the strength of your mighty axe-blow. [...]

The adventures of Batman and Robin

Good news! I start play and find they incorporated the fantastic animation, as well as music from the series. It’s more than a typical scrolling action/platformer that gives you plenty of things to do to mix it up a bit. The first level pits you against The Joker, as you’re invited into his Funhouse for a rescue mission. You’re given a number of Bat-toys incuding the Batarang/rope/stars/goggles, etc…Luckily, they give you a reason to use your gadgets, and they’re not just for show. You fight, jump, and Batrope your way through his puzzles until you reach the first boss, a huge toy soldier! After that, Joker puts you on a runaway roller-coaster and tosses bombs at you. If you make it through that, you’ll face the Clown Prince, himself. [...]

Keystone Kapers

You can earn a “Billy Club” patch with 35,000 points. Back in the day, you were able to take a photograph of your TV screen, send it toActivision, and they would send you an “achievement” patch for a job well done. Points are earned by time left on the clock after capture, and the occasional bag of money picked up while running. Overall, a very fun game. The officer and convict look cool, and the animation of him running with the billy club is funny. [...]

Zenji

At first glance, Zenji seemed to be a simple ‘kiddie’ game, with easy gameplay and cutesy graphics and background music. Then as I played more, I realized it was much more than that. The screen is filled with yellow and blue hexagons, within them are white pathways. You are a rolling white ball with a smiley face (don’t ask me why). As you roll on the paths from hex to hex, you can rotate the hexes 90 degrees at a time, turning the pathways green and eventually connecting them to make one continuous path. After completion of the pathway, you’ll move on to another level, larger with more dangerous hazards. [...]

Yars Revenge

It’s a simple game, really. A Yar is this giant, flying insect. Its enemy is the Qotile, who hangs out on the right side of the screen. It’s protected by a shield, which can be shot or eaten by the Yar. Once there’s a “hole” in the shield, you can use the Zorlon Cannon, which appears on the left side of the screen, to kill it. There’s also a small, slow-moving missile that can kill you. It follows you relentlessly, like the Terminator. There’s a “neutral zone” in the middle of the screen, which will save you from the missile, but not the Qotile’s main weapon..the deadly “swirl” [...]