MEGADRIVE GAMES REVIEWS - O -

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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 (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 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.

OTTIPHANTS, THE (1 PLAYER) 45% (region protected)

Ottiphants, is a platformer aimed at kids, but the control and gameplay ensure that kids will not get past the first level. Your character, a elephant in a nappy can jump and pick up objects with his trunk, to fire at enemies, although this is largely useless, as the slippy slidey nature of the control means that you are better off avoiding rather than fighting. The controls remind me a little of James Pond. The graphics are quite good, very colorful with good detail, but this matters nought, because the game not enjoyable, and not very playable. The Master System version is marginally more playable (also on Master System).  

OUTRUN 2019 (1 PLAYER) 88% (region protected)

I was a little concerned when I discovered that Sega had brought in a unheard of company called Sims.co.ltd to do Outrun 2019, and I was ready to hate this future racer. But to my pleasant suprise, this is the best Outrun game on the Megadrive, all of the previous Outrun flaws have been addressed, no moving road blocks, no worring so much about hitting scenery, no lame music, great sensation of speed, and a perfect difficulty level. It's so much better than the previous games, that if it were called something else, you would never attach it to the franchise. The car handling is spot on, and the road nice and wide, hold on to the accelerator and watch your batmobile style afterburner build up, then catapult you to 700mph! The sensation of speed is awesome. You drive over the tops of freeways (which you can fall off) you hit jumps, and you even drive on transparent roads. The graphics are very good, with nice animations and interesting scenery. As far as I can tell there is only one or two music tracks, but they are decent enough. This is one of the best racers on the MD, and there aren't many good ones, so that is reason enough to buy this game for your collection. (only on Megadrive).

OUTLANDER (1 PLAYER) 50% (region free)

An ambitious attempt on the 16bit consoles, Outlander is based on the super car bit chasing motorcyle punks in the film Mad Max. Action is viewed from inside the car, with front mounted machine guns, and when a biker is alongside the car, a small window opens up in the bottom corner of the screen so you can fire your sawn off shotgun. It's a brilliant idea that would work well on current gen cosoles, but the limitations are obvious here. The graphics are grainy and blocky, plenty going on, but a bit of a mess, enemy sprites are a mess viewed through the side window, and timing a shot feels quite random, the framerate also suffers a bit, and everything feels jerky, when things get busy (which is all the time). The programmers could have left some things out to help this, such as the laughably blocky roadside sheep, and less bikers and road furniture. But i'm not sure if this would have made much difference, because the gameplay is singular in its style and content, it's much more like a bonus level from a game, rather than having the strength to stand alone. The audio is poor, grating music, and very few effects and samples. There is a SNES version that is different because the action is from behind the car, and that game is equally as bad. (also on SNES).

OUTRUN (1 PLAYER) 68% (region free)

Outrun is a conversion of the late 80's coin op. It's a beat the timer, checkpoint racer, and time hasn't been so kind to this one. What was considered a top game when it came out back then isn't that entertaining now. The graphics while not that far off the arcade are a bit bland and grainy, the backgrounds are sparse, and there are only three or for different types of computer controlled traffic cars, in only three or four different colors, and they only travel the direction that you are going, and serve as more like moving road blocks. Having said that, at least your Ferrari looks quite good, with your blond bimbo in the passenger seat. The sound is a bit naff too. The four choices of background music ranges from wet flannel, to fall asleep at the wheel, there is the srcatchy speech sample 'Get Ready' from Afterburner, and only one sound for cornering and wheel spin, which leads me on to the gameplay. The car steers pretty well, and the sedate frame rate never stutters or drops, but I can't help but feel that this game should have been automatic gears only. Changing 'low' to 'high' causes wheel spin (and that annoying sound) and slows you a bit, but using 'low' gear to get around corners doesn't seem any quicker than leaving it in high and using the brake, or coasting round. All of this is hard to tell because there is hardly any sensation of a speed difference. You may think that I am being hard on such a classic, but after a few goes, playing Outrun to me is a bit like being stuck in an elevator with that lame music they play, with someone occasionally drilling the wall. Incedently Outrun is ludicrously easy, although the Japanese version is a little more challenging. (also on PC Engine, Saturn, Master System, Game Gear, Amiga, C64 and Spectrum).

OUTRUNNERS (2 PLAYERS) 75% (region free)

   

Technically Data East have done a terrific job with Outrunners, there is much more to it than the original. Straight away you notice that with the presentation of the options screens, and the quality of the music is light years ahead of the original. There are two modes to choose from (three if you count two player) Arcade and original, aracde follows Outrun's format of check point racing, except this time it is split screen against the CPU, plus there is traffic on the road and eight cars to choose from. Original mode is a straight race to the finish. The graphics are much more involved, but harsh looking, with more going on road side, and some cars even go on two wheels when cornering hard, and just about every color of the MD's pallete is used. There are loads of speech samples, but these just sound awful. The problem is I think Data East have asked too much of the poor old Megadrive, graphics pop in (although frame rate is good) and some gameplay bugs have not been addressed. When you choose which route to take, left or right, you almost always end up on the grass, loosing precious seconds, and when you hit other cars nothing happens, you just pass on through. Outrunners has plenty in it, but none of it works particularly well, and the CPU is a pig to beat. I would have loved to see what it would be like without the split screen in one player mode. (only on Megadrive). 

OOZE, THE (1 PLAYER) 68% (region protected) 

  

The Ooze is an original game from Sega, you play the part of a giant puddle of goop with with the ability to punch, spit and squeeze through tight gaps. You can collect power ups, that allow you extra speed and health. The opening levels take place in a toxic waste land, your enemies are mostly scorpians, mutated creature thingys and robots with guns, when you destroy an enemy he will turn to goop that you can add to your growing mass, while spitting ruduces your mass. Activating all the check points allows you to exit the level. The graphic effects have some nice touches, your puddle of ooze animates nicely as it moves, and explosions, flames are followed by floating clouds of smoke and when ooze is hit by flame, he splits and catches fire. The sound is quite good, with great music and sound effects (except the annoying low health noise). But The Ooze suffers where it matters, in the gameplay department. Ooze is hard to control with any acuracy, so much so, that the spit attack becomes redundant, and you are often taking hits that you are unaware of, even the environment hazzards aren't that obvious too see. The difficulty level isn't set high, it's these flaws in game design that make it difficult. Shame really. (only on Megadrive)   

As I mentioned earlier, this is a work in progress so if there is a MD game you would like me to review sooner, please feel free to e-mail me through e-bay ... I will be happy to push a review forward.

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