MEGADRIVE GAMES REVIEWS - 0-9 - A

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Hello again, welcome to my A to Z games review of over 260 of the best (most popular) Megadrive titles. I will give a brief description of each game and rate it from 1 to 10 accordingly, games will be judged against other consoles from their era. As a bonus I will say if a game is region protected or not (i.e if a game is region protected, it will only play on a machine from the same country, or will need a converter) I will also say if the game is known by another name, or if it is availible for other consoles.

3 NINJAS KICK BACK (2 PLAYERS) Score: 7 (region protected)

3 Ninjas is the game of the lame movie of the same name, it's an action platformer when you get to choose one of the three ninja brats, and they are armed swords, nunchuks and bo staffs, you can collect power ups such as ninja stars and bombs, as well as the obligatory coin collecting, you can jump and swing too, and here is where the problems start. 3 Ninjas is hard, but not impossible, and it is due to the level lay outs, the unforgiving collision detection and your characters refusal to grab ropes and platforms when you need him too, also the game makes you take cheap hits galore with no way of avoiding them, and it takes you a lot of continues to work out the play style that the game requires to get through a level, and this dogs every version of this game, as they all play exactly the same. The graphics and audio are good, with the SNES version being slightly more polished but darker, with better presentation, and more voice samples. I'ts a shame that the game is so frustrating, because the bare bones of a great platformer is already there, It makes you play the same parts over and over too many times, when you win it is because you have memorised the level, and this takes a little fun out of it. Most will loose interest before they get off the first level. The Mega CD version by the way, is exactly the same, but with CD audio. (also on SNES and Mega CD).

668 ATTACK SUB (1 PLAYER) Score: 4 (region free)

668 Attack Sub is tediously boring, it requires you to do all the boring bits such as get your mission (which takes and age of reading text) plot a course on so on. It is however very detailed in what you would have to do in sub war fare, and nothing is left out. The graphics and sound are poor, and there is little if any exitement to be had here. (only on Megadrive).

ADVENTURES OF BATMAN AND ROBIN, THE (2 PLAYERS) Score: 7 (region protected)

Not to be confused with the Mega CD driving game, and the SNES platform beat 'em up game, the Megadrive version is a side scrolling shooter, in the same vien as Probotector/Contra, produced by Sega, and not Konami, who did the SNES game.  Batman can shoot in all directions, swing from platforms, collect weapon power up's and smack the baddies if they get too close. The presentation of the game is very good, and while the sprites themselves are very small, the animations and effects are excellent, with some nice fog and fire effects, along with interesting backgrounds and some sprite warping, plus the first boss is a giant machine that fills the screen. You can choose either Batman or Robin, or both simultaneously, if you have a friend to join in. The music and sound effects are equally impressive, with epic tunes, and explosions. But this game is overly tough, mostly due too the sheer amount of baddies that continually pour at you from all angles, it is impossible to avoid the bullets that hail down on you from all directions. I defy anyone to get through this game without the aid of a cheat of some sort, which is a shame really, because with half the baddies and easier boss confrontations this would have been one of the top MD games. (only on Megadrive).

AERO THE ACROBAT 2 (1 PLAYER) Score: 7 (region protected)

Quite a big improvement over the first game in every way, but still not up there with the best platformers on the MD. Aero 2 gets beefed up visuals, slightly better controls, and thank goodness, much better audio, the music from the original gives you instant headache. For those that have not heard of, or played Aero, Aero's main attack is to jump, and then press jump again, which sends him into a diagonal torpedo dive (which isn't very nice to use in my opinion) and he is also able to throw stars that he has collected at his enemies. Some of the level designs are quite good, broken up with the occasional mini game, Aero can swing on ropes, climb ladders and bounce very high. But the game is very hard, not helped by the really sluggish and quite unresponsive controls, which is a mystery, because the SNES version manages to control very well, and even runs faster, not to mention looking and sounding better. Aero is a victim of it's own gimmick, if he could torpedo horizontally and vertically it would be a much better game. If you must have Aero, then get the prettier, more playable SNES version, and for the love of god avoid the first game at all costs. (also on SNES).

ALADDIN, DISNEY'S (1 PLAYER) Score: 9 (region free)

Disney have done it again with an excellent film tie in. Aladdin is a platformer, where you take the roles of Aladdin and in some levels Abu the monkey. Aladdin has an has a great move set, he can run, jump, throw apples, climb, swing and use a sword attack. You must battle Nasira's evil minions, creatures of the desert and treaturous terrain to save the princess. The control of Aladdin is excellent, and the level designs flow nicely, with plenty of goodies to collect, there are apples to throw, smart bombs, and jewels to collect to allow you bonus rounds. There are of course fantastic boss shodowns every so often too. The Graphics are superb, with comedy animations for the main sprite and enemies, trousers will drop down, and Aladdin can deflect throwing knives if he swings at the right time, apples are sliced in two if met with a blade, and enemies burn their feet on hot coals. The audio is very good too, with recognisable tunes from the film, and some speech as well. It's not a very long game, but what is there is an enjoyable romp for kids and adults alike. There is a SNES game, but it was done by Capcom, and is a different game altogether. (also on Master System, Game Gear, Game Boy, GBA and SNES)    

ALIEN 3 (1 PLAYER) Score: 8 (region free)

Alien 3 is based on the movie of the same name. The weaker of the four original films, Alien 3 contained no weapons, but the game has plenty, thank god. You are Ripley, standed on a male only prison station, and an alien infestation has broken out, so armed with rifles, grenades and flame throwers, you must save all those rapists and murderers, and exit the level before the time limit runs out. Thankfully Ripley also has a radar to help, that shows the locations of prisoners and aliens when they are in close proximity, this isn't always as helpful as you might think, because aliens will attack extremely fast, so staring at the radar doesn't work. Ripley will be jumping platforms and clawling through air ducts mostly ..... mostly, and the air ducts are the place for cheap hits, but with Alien 3 you dont really worry about getting hurt, it's the time that it's taking for you to recover and get back on track, because even on the easiest setting that timer is ultra tight. Controlling Ripley is a mix of great and not so great, you can run, jump and fire diagonally without fuss, but dismounting ladders is sometimes fidgety, and when trying to shoot crawling aliens you are required to squat first, and sometimes she doen't have enough time, fires diagonal, and takes a hit. The presentation is very good, with eerie graphics and sound to match. Just for the record, the SNES version is different enough that it shouldn't be compared, but is a slightly better game anyway. (also on Master System, Game Gear, Game Boy and SNES) 

ANIMANIACS (1 PLAYER) Score: 8 (region protected) 

Animaniacs is a kind of platform puzzler based on the Warner Bros. kids TV show. You take control of all three characters, each with their own abilities for solving the levels puzzles, for instance, one character can ignite explosives and activate set pieces, while the girl character blows kisses to charm other characters into other actions, all characters can jump and push objects, and selecting them is easy. The levels are set on a movie studio lot, with nods to certain blockbusters. The graphics are nice and colorful, and the music is jolly and upbeat. Whilst aimed at kids, there is enough challenge in here for adults too. There is a SNES game of the same name, also by Konami, but it is different. I actually prefer the 'Lost Vikings' style of the MD version, over the more arcadey SNES game. (only on Megadrive).

ARROW FLASH (1 PLAYER) Score: 7 (region free)

Arrow Flash is a shooter by the numbers, and everything about the game is really average, except that your craft can transform into a robot on the move, which didn't seem to serve any purpose at all. You can also collect the obligatory power up's, and unleash your Arrow Flash special which rather disappointingly is just a wider forward shot. The game starts out super easy and gradually get harder, which is how games should be. The graphics are chunky and colorful, but the backgrounds are bare and often lifeless, you just get the impression that this isn't pushing the MD anywhere near it's capabilities, this carries on to the bosses that are merely good, but oh so bland, it sort of looks like a low rent PC Engine shooter. The Audio again is just average and nothing stands out as being particularly good or bad. Even though Arrow Flash doesn't do anything badly, I simply can't give it a higher score, mostly because shooters are what the MD does best and is famous for, and there is a massive choice of some truly entertaining ones to buy before over this one. (only on Megadrive).

ART OF FIGHTING (2 PLAYERS) Score: 6 (region protected)

Ported from the SNK Neo Geo, Sega made a wise choice to leave out the scaling and extra voice samples from the original, what we are left with is a game that still retains the same pace and controls of the Neo Geo version, albeit with smaller sprites (still larger than the SNES version though) and flatter backgrounds. But the original hasn't aged well, there are plenty of SF2 style moves to execute, but they are pretty hard to pull off, no matter what console it runs on, the computer is merciless, even on easy setting, and you only get a choice of two characters for 1 player mode (all versions). The graphics are impressive for a MD game, large and colorful, the music is very good, but the voice samples have MD Dalek syndrome. Because the controls, and CPU level are so difficult I can not give this a high score, especially when you can by any of the Street Fighters, and be entertained for hours. (also on Mega CD, Neo Geo and SNES).

ATOMIC RUNNER A.K.A. CHELNOV (1 PLAYER) Score: 7 (region free)

Atomic Runner is an aquired taste. Those who remember the arcade machine fondly, and like old school side scrolling platform shooters, will love it, as it is almost arcade perfect, and most others will find the odd control method and constantly scrolling screen, restrictive and frustrating. The graphics while small, are amazingly detailed, and the smooth running animation of the main sprite is excellent (apart from the comedy death sequence that is). The positioning of enemies and pits must be learnt in order to progress, you see there is only one way to complete the levels. Parts of the game are gorgeous to look at, and the game has great music, but this game feels old and dated to me, because of the restriction of movement, dictated by the playing style, not a fault by any means, it's just the nature of the game play. If you remeber the arcade game then buy it, if not, get it real cheap, in case it's not your bag. (only on Megadrive).

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