MEGADRIVE GAMES REVIEWS - P -

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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 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.

PAGEMASTER, THE (1 PLAYER) 85% (region protected)

The Pagemaster is a platformer that closely follows the cartoon, on which it is based, and you take control of rubber lipped speccy git Macauly Culkin, who is trapped inside a library of books. All of the levels are based on different genre's, for instance in the horror level, you will find bats, spooks and jekyl and hyde type characters. Macauly can collect power up's along the way such as super jump shoes, these gift you one hit, and if your quick enough you can reclaim them, other power up's are throwing marbles and invincibility. There is plenty of good platforming action too, you can jump between walls to great hights, and swing on chains too. The control is a little too quick for my liking, and some of the level design and enemy placing can be slightly annoying, but the platforming action is good enough. The graphics are above average for Megadrive, but pale and small compared to the SNES version, and the music is excellent, although some of Macauly's speech sound more like Bart Simpson. If the control was slightly tighter, and the level design tweaked for an easier introduction, then it would have scored higher, the production values are so that you could be forgiven for mistaking it for a Disney title. The SNES version features much larger, but darker graphics with more colors and a password, but I prefer the game play and slightly easier difficulty setting on the MD. (also on SNES).

PANORAMA COTTON (1 PLAYER) 85% (region free)

Panorama Cotton is a third person shooter in which you control young witch on a broom stick. Three buttons control speed of movement, shoot and magic. Collectables are in the form of power up's and points. I would say that the game design is psuedo 3D like Space Harrier, but this is something else, it's more like real 3D that rivals most stuff on the Saturn ... no joke. The sprite scaling, effects, artwork and colors are truely something to behold on the Megadrive, some of the sprites I would even say are cartoon quality. The boss fights are typically weird and Japanese, with the first one being a giant popcorn packet I think. The audio is also a masterpeice, with clear and sharp jingles and voices. Sometimes it's hard to know exactly what to do in the game, and the screen is constantly packed with the amount of sprites that a SNES could only dream of pushing as smoothly as this. But I'm not so sure that I'm having a good time with this game, though technically the best your ever going to see on the Megadrive, it's a little too busy and vague for me. (only on Megadrive).

PHANTOM 2040 (1 PLAYER) 80% (region protected)

Phantom 2040 is a platform shooter based on the comic book character. First of all Phantom looks great, the backgrounds are colorful and nicely drawn, and all of the sprites look fantastic and are varied. The main character is well animated, and psudo lighting effects light up the body when the gun is fired. Phanton is equipped with a pistol, a lazer, and the ability to jump very high. You even get to ride in some of the enemy vehicles (a la Metal Slug). The music and sound effects are very good, ominous and dark. My only gripe is that it isn't always obvious what to do next, and you spend a lot of time roaming around the levels trying to find out, other than that this is a very polished effort, but the best game of this type on the megadrive is Judge Dredd. Incidently the MD version is better than the SNES. (also on SNES).

PHELIOS (1 PLAYER) 70% (region free)

Phelios is a top down, greek themed shooter. Our hero sits astride his pegasus winged horse, and fires bolts of energy from his sword, at the sterio-typical baddies. The sword can be powered up by collecting orbs, and charged when the button is held to release a powerful blast. The bosses range from Cerebrus to Medusa, and are solid to kill, without full weapon power up, hell! even the regular baddies take a load of shots to kill. When you collect a power up, the game tells you 'option' but there is no way to select weapons that I could find, which is odd. The graphics themselves look terribly dated and bland, including the bosses. If the visuals are poor, then the music is excellent, and the speech samples are unintelligable. Phelios is a tough old school shooter, but there are tons of these on the MD, it's what the MD does best, so it's worth a try if you find it really cheap. (only on Megadrive).

PINOCCHIO (1 PLAYER) 87% (region protected)

Pinocchio is an action platformer that closely follows the famous Disney cartoon. You take the role of Pinocchio, and on some stages, Jimminy Cricket. All the Disney magic is here in full effect, while Pinoccio skips and hops on his way to school, Honest John and his goon are in the background, peeking over walls, the level designs smack of Disney. The stages are a mix of platform, and set pieces. Pinocchio can jump and spin kick, one stage is a Donkey Kong Country style cart ride, and there are some great mini games play. You will remember all the tunes too, admirably reproduced through the Megadrives archaic Z80 chip. The graphics and animation are some of the best you will ever see on a Megadrive, colorful and cartoony. The SNES version features larger graphics and better sound, but the gameplay is exactly the same. (also on SNES)

PROBOTECTOR A.K.A. CONTRA HARD CORPS (2 PLAYERS) 80% (region protected)

Lets get things straight, there are three versions of Probotector on the Megadrive and all three are different. This review is for the european release, so lets do that first. Probotector is a side scrolling, platform shooter, you get a choice of four characters, male or female robo, robo wolf or mini robo, each with different weapon collectables (female robo has the most useful). The graphics are excellent for a MD game, big explosions, sprite scaling and rotations, a good feeling of depth, and just about every color avalible is used to good effect. There are normal platform based levels and fast side scrolling vehicle levels. The bosses and mini boss stages are particularly impressive, huge and menacing. The sound is a mixed bag, with awesome background music, and scratchy, tinny speech samples. The game play?... ah, the game play, FREAKIN SOLID! I'm not talking just tough here, you WILL die about once every five seconds when you first play. One hit one kill, the enemies constantly come at you in big numbers, from all angles, firing at you from all angles, often is the case that you will be taking care of business, when an enemy will run into the back of you at warp speed, killing you on contact. Adding to the difficulty is the slightly cack handed weapon select system, yes, switching weapons will get you killed. In particular the smart bomb, when you want to use smart bomb, you have to select it and give up your regular shot, after you have used it there is a slight delay switching back to normal shot .... DEAD! All versions of this game are uncomfortably frantic and hard. The US and Japanese versions have different characters, man, woman, and a wolf in sunglasses that doesn't fit in some how, but if you have the luxury of choice, then go for the JAP one, and add 10% to the score, because it's much easier, due to a much needed three hit health bar. If this game had the characters from the european game, the health bar from the Jap game, no scratchy speech, half the enemies, and the smart bomb on a separate button, it would be THE best game on the Megadrive. (only for Megadrive).

PUNISHER THE, (2 PLAYERS) 87% (region protected)

The Punisher is an aracde conversion of a Capcom beat 'em up, and a pretty good one too. Very similar to Final Fight in game play and style, except The Punisher allows for pick up's of guns, grenades and barrels, the obligatory two button special move is there too. Bosses and mini bosses appear periodically, as well as goons and the occasional platform level. The graphics are quite good for a MD game, the backgrounds are varied and detailed, with good use of the MD's limited color pallete. The audio deserves a special mention as it does a good impression of the original, plus the voice samples don't sound scratchy at all. Not to much more to say about this one except that it's a beat em up, and that it's one of the best on the MD. (only on Megadrive).

  
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