MEGADRIVE GAMES REVIEWS - A - B

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Hello again, Over the next couple of months I will be writting an A to Z games review of over 250 of the best (or most popular) Megadrive titles. I will give a brief description of each game and rate it from 1 to 100% accordingly, games will be judged against other consoles from it's 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. konami*man.

ADDAMS FAMILY THE (1 PLAYER) 89% (region free)

The Addams Family is a platformer where you take control of Gomez Addams, exploring the massive Addams mansion, trying to find the other family members. Gomez must explore the many different rooms and secret areas, and fight off the varied ghosties and ghoulies either by jumping on them (a la mario) or by collecting weapons and power up's. The power up's include throwing balls, swords, flying hats and invincibility potions, your weapons are lost if you get hit. The gameplay takes a while to master, to start with Gomez is a little fidgety to control, and he starts with only two hearts, so a little frustration to start then. But It isn't annoying, and because of the great variety of the rooms and baddies, it keeps you coming back for one more go. Try to imagine a kind of mario style play, but in more confined spaces, and tougher level design. The sound is as good as you can expect from the Megadrive's Z80 chip, with jolly tunes and cartoon sound effects. It's hard to recomend which is the best version, as both the SNES and MD versions are practically the same, The SNES version features awesome music, and better presentation and colors, while the MD version is much more forgiving on the difficulty level. (also on Atari ST, Amiga, C64, PC Engine CD, Master System, Game Gear, Game Boy, NES and SNES). 

ADDAMS FAMILY VALUES (1 PLAYER) 65% (region free)

Nothing like the first game, Addams Family Values is an RPG loosly based on the movie of the same name. You take control of Fester, and it's the usual talk to and find out what you need to find to progress RPG fare, with a little bit of puzzle solving, and baddie bashing, which Fester does by shooting electric from his hand. The graphics are simple, but well executed, and the music is overly ominous for this light hearted franchise. The problems with the game are mostly to do with baddie fighting, Festers electric attack shortens in length with every hit that he takes, so not only do you have low health, but you now are unable to defend yourself. I'm not a big RPG fan, and I know that the game is meant to be sombre, but this game is at odds with it's self, managing to be frustating and depressing, while tickling you with funny text. Addams Family RPG fans may get on with it a little better, but I found it boring, and wasn't compeled to play on for too long. (also on SNES).   

AERO BLASTERS A.K.A. AIR BUSTER (2 PLAYERS) 90% (region free)

  

A terribly under rated side scrolling shooter, Aero Blasters is one of my favorites. Converted from the PC Engine, the MD version features more colors, less slow down, and updated music, apart from that it's exactly the same. Power up's come in groups of icons that spill out of weapons pods when you destroy them, which ones you pick up depends on luck, or reflex's if your sharp enough. All the cliche power up's are here, speed up, wide and narrow shot, chaser and muti missiles, side pods and R-type pods, bombs, the list goes on, there are that many I couldn't possibly say with out a game manual to tell me, you can also charge up your weapon and release it like a smart bomb. Most shooters on the MD are dark and forboding, but Aero Blasters graphics are bright and colorful, bosses fill the screen, and enemy fire is slow and easy to see. The level designs are great, there's even a bit where you are being tailed by an enemy fighter through tight tunnels, with Sega Rally style instructions on screen telling you which way the tunnel will dip. The audio is very good, and the difficulty is set perfect for occasional gamers and pro's alike. (also on PC Engine).

ALISIA DRAGOON (1 PLAYER) 82% (region free)

 

Alisia Dragoon is a platformer shooter of sorts, the heroine of the game can fire multi directional bolts of lightning from her hands, the longer you keep your lightning button pressed, the more the energy meter falls, leaving it untouched charges it to full power again, additional to this Alisia has a choice of four beasts that will help her on her way, and can be switched on the move, although, until they are powered up past level two it's pretty much you trying to keep them alive, watching their health bar. The graphics are a bit grainy to start, but get better as the game progresses, and the audio also gets better as the levels pass by. Alisia controls well enough, but the game is hard from the get go, it's all about powering up your beast helper if you want to stand a chance. I was aware of quite a few cheap shots going on, with enemies positioned just so. It's a case of remembering a section and making a plan. The enemies are varied in looks and attack patterns, and the bosses are nothing to look at and rock solid. Still Alisia Dragoon is much better than the similar SNES game 'Magic Sword', so if you like that you might like this too. (only on Megadrive).   

ALTERED BEAST A.K.A JUU-OO-KI (2 PLAYERS) 69% (region free)

"Wise Fwom Yow Gwave" the opening line from this arcade perfect conversion of Altered Beast. The game is a side scrolling greek themed beat 'em up, in which you battle hordes of the undead and other various mythological beasts .. with a difference, every so often in a level you will get the chance to "Power Up" your hero, by killing one of the white colored beasts, and collecting blue orbs, the first two orb's you collect will make your hero's muscles expand and burst out of his clothes incredible hulk stylee, increasing your punch and kick range, the third orb (usually found near the end of the level) will transform you into one of four powerful, projectile throwing monsters, before you are allowed to confront the end of level bosses. The monsters are: Werewolf, Dragon, Bear and Tiger. An extremely cool idea I think you'll agree, trouble is .. The game is unbelievably easy. I mean the graphics, sound and gameplay are right up there with the best MD games, but a game with only FIVE levels that can be completed within 20 minutes, in one or two sittings! .. C'MON SEGA! even the two player mode doesn't give it any longevity. I really loved this game as a kid, so I have been generous with the score, however if you are new to Megadrive, deduct 10%. ( also availible on - Master System, PC Engine, Famicom and G.B.A.)

ALIEN SOLDIER (1 PLAYER) 88% (region protected)

Alien Soldier comes from 16bit programming genius' Treasure, the same people who gave us the awsome Gunstar Heroes. Nobody else in the business can exploit a consoles hardware, and make it sing like Treasure does, this game looks and sounds as good as a top SNES game.. no joke. It's almost as if Treasure have added extra colors and proccessing power into the cartridge. It's a side scrolling shooter, and you take control of an alien, killing aliens, the game is focused on boss confrontations, and a large enemy health bar is present right from the begining of the level, you can shoot in any direction, cling to ceilings and collect power up's. Everything runs smooth and looks great, but Alien soldier is over fiddly with the weapon selection system, and the game is too tough and too busy and confusing for it's own good. I would advise even hardened shooter fans to try this one before parting with the absurd amounts of wedge this game is fetching on ebay. If you want to experience a great Treasure shooter, then get Gunstar Heroes, it looks awesome, the action is just as frantic, but it is infinitley more playable and accessable. (only on Megadrive).

ALIEN STORM (2 PLAYERS) 85% (region free)

Alien Storm is a two player alien invasion themed, side scrolling beat 'em up\shoot 'em up, based on the arcade game. There is a choice of three different characters, each with their own fighting styles and specials, for instance the man and woman characters can call in air strikes and smart bombs (a la streets of rage) whilst the robot character self destructs to clear the screen of baddies. The graphics are very pretty, very close to the arcade, and some of the best you'll see on the Megadrive, the characters are large, colorful and well animated, and the backgrounds, music and sound add to the B movie, alien invasion atmosphere. The gameplay is also very good, a sort of cross between Golden Axe and Streets of Rage, there's also two types of shoot 'em up bonus levels in there too! One is a first person, aim the cross hair type, and the other is a fast side scrolling type. Of course no game of this type would be complete without the obligatory end of level bosses, they are big and ugly, and require you to learn their attack patterns in order to defeat them, and the programmers have got the difficulty level spot on ... with early levels being quite easy, and increasing with difficulty as you progress. Alien Storm has bags of character and style, you can tell straight away that it was made by the same people that brought us Golden Axe and Revenge of Shinobi, it's just a really polished and well made arcade game. (also on Master System).

BATMAN REVENGE OF THE JOKER (1 PLAYER) 35% (region free)

Normally I wouldn't waste valuable review slots for tripe of this type, but I feel the need to warn you, because I know that many people buy games on licences sometimes, they would have certainly when this originally came out, and there weren't as many sources about for games reviews. Revenge Of The Joker is a platformer of epic bad proportions, Batman can jump, kick and shoot, which is a pitiful move set for a Batman game. This game looks and plays like a Amstrad GX4000 game, and if you don't know what that is then, imagine a Master System game with worse controls, and less playability. Batman suffers cheap shots aplenty, and his jumping abilities are poor and inaccurate. The presentation and audio are awful too. Batman will die a lot, but you won't care, because after about 1 minute of playing this pile of dog puke, you will be throwing the cart in the bin. I was very suprised at this game, because it is made by Sunsoft (a decent company) and the SNES version is nearly as crap as it's MD counterpart. (also on SNES).

BATTLETECH (2 PLAYER) 69% (region free)

From the now famous Mechwarrior franchise comes this isometric mech shooter, in which you stomp around in a giant ED-209 esque mech vehicle, killing humans, tanks and enemy mech's. You have three types of weapon, chain gun, missile and grenade. The mech it's self is easy to control, but it desperately needs a strafe button, as it is hard to get out of the way of enemy fire (espesially the enemy mech's). Weapons run out quite quickly, as does your health. This game is really well executed, with decent graphics, and clear voice samples, but it is too easy to run out of ammo and die. There is a SNES version called 'Mechwarrior 3050' but the MD version has the edge, sporting better graphics, controls and more voice samples. (also on SNES).

BLOODSHOT A.K.A. BATTLEFRENZY (1 PLAYER) 60% (region protected)

I truly belive that making first person shooters on the 16bit consoles was a waste of time, while admirable for the performance that the programmers managed to squeeze out of the machines, we didn't get a FPS to match the PC on the home consoles until the Atari Jaguar port of 'Doom'. Bloodshot, in some ways is better than 'Zero Tolerance' (the other FPS on the Megadrive). In 'Zero Tolerance' the programmers put the action inside a tiny letterbox, in order to try and keep framerate and smoothness, it still wasn't very good though. Bloodshot boasts an even bigger screen than that of the 32X' Doom port, with only a small border at the top of the screen, while the gun in front of you has been sacrificed. The framerate is very choppy, and there is no music at all, but the enemy sprites are large and clear, it even boasts a real time map. Bloodshot is difficult because of the framerate problems, and you find yourself snagging on walls, and getting disorientated. A pointless excersise on 16bit hardware, but this is probably the best looking one on the MD. (only on Megadrive). 

If there is a MD game you would like me to review, please feel free to e-mail me through e-bay ... I will be happy to add a new review.

konami*man.

 

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