MEGADRIVE GAMES REVIEWS - R -

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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.

RANGER X  A.K.A. EX RANZA (1 PLAYER) 88% (region protected)

Ranger X is a hard game to call. Technically brilliant and horribly eccentric all at the same time. Many people will play this side scrolling shooter and give up prematurely, doubtlessly saying that it's too confusing, and that the controls are all to cock. This is definately a Marmite game. I gave this game some extra time to prove it's self, mostly because of the excellent presentation, beautiful graphics, stunning explosions and delightful audio, and I totally get it now. The way to play this game is not to treat your vehicle like a second mech, but to use it to race through the scenery, then when you get to a tough enemy, you should eject and use your jet pack to deal with the sky while your other mech fires on the ground. If you play this game like it was meant to be, you will be constantly ejecting and combining with your vehicle mech, and sending him on as a scout sometimes. The controls ARE overly fussy, with a six button pad required, and it takes an awful long time to get in the groove. If a second player could have joined in as the ground mech, it would have been rocking. (only on Megadrive). 

RED ZONE (1 PLAYER) 70% (region free)

Red Zone is a top down psuedo 3D shooter similar to the EA's 'Strike' series. The game is technically adventurous, with 3D effects, sprite scalling and wire frame graphics, the presentation is very good. Your missions take place in a chopper and on foot. The game screen provides you with radar and status, as well as messages occacionaly popping up, to tell you of immidiate mission directives. The chopper controls quite well but the graphics are very dark, and the screen rotating and scaling has a disorientating effect, plus the game is rock hard and has a trial and error learning curve. The audio is very good with ominous Terminator style tunes. (only on Megadrive).

ROAD RASH (1 PLAYER) 75% (region free) 

The first and the best of the series. Road rash is a point to point racer/beat 'em up, you can upgrade and buy motorcycles, run from the feds and boot the other racers off their bikes, as you build a reputation as a bit of a trouble maker, CPU players will target you. The roads are long and undulating, there is oncoming traffic to worry about too, you can catch air over the taller peaks, but you never quite feel that the bike is actually in contact with the road at all, and the handling of the bike is totally unrealistic. Lots of people love this game, and no one ever mentions the grainy graphics, the choppy frame rate (although this one is the best of the three games) and the floaty feeling of the bike that also dogged the two sequels. I also found the game repetitve and dull after a while, still this is the best third person racer on the Megadrive. Plenty will disagree with me, but road rash has aged terribly, and is a little bit boring. (only on Megadrive).

ROCKET KNIGHT ADVENTURES (1 PLAYER) 90% (region protected)

Rocket Knight Adventures is an original game from Konami. You know this game is going to be good after about 30 seconds of play. You control a rocket pack wearing, power sword wielding possum, and you must fight the evil pigs! Only two buttons to use here, one to swipe your power sword and charge your rocket pack, and one for jump, from here you can swing with your tail, shoot with your sword, razor spin and blast around the screen, bouncing off walls and mashing anything you hit. I especially like the way that your foes are not killed when you hit them, but run off embarrassed with no clothes on, on the fire levels they run around with their arses on fire! The graphics are top notch with just about every effect the MD is capable of being used. I love the way the levels seamlessly blend into one another, from platformer to mini boss, from side scrolling shooter to big boss. The sound effects and music are excellent too! As with most games of this era, Rocket Knight is hard, and starting a little way back too far in a level after you have died in a boss fight is frustrating to meet him with less health that you would like, but then I suppose they had to make 'em a little tough, without the storage space that CD's would bring to fit more levels in, buying a game for £35 back then, and finishing it in a day would have been unacceptable. (Also on Xbox360 and other virtual consoles). 

ROLLING THUNDER III (1 PLAYER) 90% (region free)

  

Namco's Rolling thunder 3 improves on the already highly playable Rolling thunder 2, with much better graphics, a weapon select menu, and most importantly an easier difficulty level and password. This game is an action platform shooter, your character is constantly shooting and ducking behind objects and jumping up and down platforms, when you go into door ways they often yeild ammo, power up's or health. The difficulty level is still tough, but no where near as much as the prequel. This game has bags of character and feels like a late 80's arcade game. The graphics and animations are very good, as is the background music, but it also suffers from crappy MD voice sample syndrome, but this is not that noticable as there are only two or three. (only on Megadrive).

RAMBO III (2 PLAYER) 80% (region free)

Rambo 3 is a top down shooter in the style of mercs and Commando on the Master System. There are grenade tiped arrows and bombs to lay as well as using your machine gun. When you stand still Rambo will spay machine gun fire left and right, and the longer you hold on to an arrow before firing, the more clout it will carry. The levels are broken up into storm the base, rescue and bonus stages, viewed from behind Rambo, where he must shoot a harrier jump jet out of the sky with his grenade tiped arrows. The Graphics and sound aren't exceptional, but they do the job well enough, (remeber this game came early in the MD's life). This game is a lot of fun, and would score higher if it had the simple additions of checkpoints, and the difficulty wasn't so high. (only on Megadrive).  

REVENGE OF SHINOBI  A.K.A THE SUPER SHINOBI (1 PLAYER) 95% (region free)

Here it is, the BEST action platform game on the Megadrive! Revenge Of Shinobi has everything, great graphics and special effects, great music and sound effects, and game play that will keep you coming back for more. Shinobi can kick, slash, throw ninja stars and use ninjitsu magic, to despatch his enemies. The way to flow through a level in Shinobi, is much more to do with thought and planning, than outright aggression. After about ten minutes of playing this game, you will be timing your somersaulting shuriken attacks, and platform timing to perfection. Very satisfying and addictive. The graphics are well drawn and animated, but it is the ninja magic and boss effects that make this one special. The boss battles are entertaining as they are challenging, they range from a samurai warrior to a giant dinosaur that fills the screen (but more on that later). There isn't one enemy in the game that is poorly done, or is overly easy to best, all of the levels require a new approach, and offer just the right amount of difficulty to keep you coming back for more, such is the slickness of this game. One level requires you to use the trance inducing magic of 'Fushin', so that you can jump extra high. Everything has a purpose in Shinobi, and nothing feels tacked on. The best version of Shinobi is the Japanese one, because it features great bosses that the west didn't get for copyright reasons. The JAP version gets, The Terminator, Spiderman, Godzilla and Batman (man with a bat head for the west). Both versions are contained on all Shinobi cartridges, as it detects what region console it is running on, so euro and usa carts running through convertors without dip switches and Megadrives with widened cart slots will play the western version. You will know if you are running the juicy one, beacause the title screen will read 'The Super Shinobi'. Also remember to set shurikens to 00 and wait 20 seconds at the options screen for unlimited ninja stars, but don't cheat any more than that or you will spoil it for your self. (also on Mega CD)

RISTAR A.K.A. RISTAR THE SHOOTING STAR (1 PLAYER) 90% (region protected)

Ristar is a platformer from Sonic Team. At first I thought this game was a little too cute and childish, but an hour spent with it changes all that. Everything about this game is quality, the graphics are on par with titles like Dynamite Headdy and Knuckles Chaotix on the 32X, the music and sound effects have a calming property about them. There nice little set pieces through out the game, and some of the boss and mini boss challenges are almost puzzle like. Ristar uses his stretchy arms to get around the levels, swinging and vaulting, and drags enemies towards him and headbutts them out, at the end of a round, you get points for vaulting extra high. There always seems to be something fresh to do in the game, so for that it deserves all the praise it gets. (also on PC and Game Gear).

ROBOCOP VS THE TERMINATOR (1 PLAYER) 83% (region protected)

This side scrolling platform shooter is probably the only good Robocop game on the 16bit consoles. Robocop is on a Terminator and punk killing spree, with guest appearances from ED 209. Robocop controls admirably (much better than the SNES one) he can shoot in all directions, with a variety of guns, and when he makes a kill they splatter in a satisfying spray of blood (not so on the kiddy friendly SNES). Graphics are sharp and detailed and Robocop is well animated. The audio is fantastic, with none of that tinny, scratchiness that we have all come to expect from the humble MD's sound chip. The difficulty level is just right, except when meeting bosses, who naturally take a ton of bullets to kill, when you get into a battle with a Terminator his skin will strip away before revealing his endoskeleton. The SNES version is much more of a platformer than this game, with no gore and different level lay outs, a totally different game really, so why not buy both? They are both entertaining in different ways, and require different approaches. (also on SNES) 

 

ROCK 'N ROLL RACING (2 PLAYERS) 85% (region protected) 

Rock 'N Roll Racing is an addictive isometric action racing game. The rock n roll part of the title comes from the three featured rock tracks, Paraniod by Ozzy Ozbourne, Born To Be Wild and Bad To The Bone. You get a choice of driver and car, then it's on to the track for some mehem. Money won from races can be used to upgrade your cars performance and buy weapons such as rockets, mines and machine guns. The track designs are user friendly, the controls easy to master, and you don't end up stuck on the barriers nearly as much as other games of this type, plus there is a handy password feature. The Graphics are average, and the sound is pure midi. This game is an absolute hoot, and would have scored higher if it wasn't for the superior SNES version, which has improved visuals and audio. (also on SNES).  

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