MEGADRIVE GAMES REVIEWS - V -

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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.

VALIS III (1 PLAYER) 70% (region free)

Valis 3 is the second game released for US and Japanese Megadrives in the series. It is an action platformer, in the same vien as castlevania (though not as good). You play the part of a blue haired girl, with the power of the Valis sword. The sword can be powered up, and can shoot projectiles, also you can use mental powers when you have collected a talisman and enough blue orbs, and it acts as a kind of special/smart bomb. The enemies are easy to beat, but the end of level bosses require you to work out their attack patterns. Graphics wise Valis III is just good, everything is done well but nothing stands out, and the same can be said for the music and sound effects. There are a few annoying things about the game though. The game is hard, not helped by silly misses of platforms, that feel like it wasn't your fault, but the control of it all. Jumping feels like swimming in mud, not natural at all, plus I like games of this nature to run a little bit faster. (also on PC Engine CD).

VAPOR TRAIL A.K.A. KUUGA OPERATION VAPOR TRAIL (2 PLAYER) 87% (region free)

Vapor Trail is a coin op conversion, and it feels like it too, it really does feel like an arcade game! The games graphics are very good, but not outstanding, the power up's are nothing you haven't seen before, but the music is awesome, and the game just does something right. You have a choice of three planes, each with their own power up capabilities, and speed, but all craft have a three hit life bar, and a roll ability that gives brief invulnerability, luckily the programmers didn't make this feature infinate, or as a power up, because it adds more character to the game, I love the way your plane catches fire, as the pilot says 'Im hit, Im going down' and 'I can't hold it'. The voice samples are plenty, but pretty rough, like the MD is famous for. The difficulty level is perfect for pro's and novice alike, and there is even a great simultaineous two player mode! (a rarity in 16bit shooters). I will admit that this is not the greatest shooter on the MD, but this one has got the soul, if you know what I mean. One of my personal favs (only on Megadrive). 

VECTORMAN (1 PLAYER) 92% (region free)

Oh my god! you simply will not belive that this is a Megadrive Game when you see it. The graphics have enough clout to bloody the nose of the Mega CD and even some Saturn games. While the animation and design are a master stroke on such an under equiped console, it's the psuedo effects that really stand out, for instance, if Vector man runs behind an object he will be in shadow, when he fires his gun, there is lighting reflection, hell there's even mode seven stages that looks every bit as good as the SNES! This isn't the normal stipple effect transparencies that we are used to on the MD either. The music and sound effects are top notch too. All this doesn't matter if the game play isn't up to snuff, and Vectorman controls perfectly, running, shooting, and jumping feels smooth and natural, with no jerkiness and no frame rate issues, when you are in water, the controls actually feel heavier! You can morph into different vehicles too! But alas, Vectorman is very tough from level two onwards, and when you die it's back to the start with no power up's. For a lower difficulty level and a password system Vectorman would have been perfect. Still it deserves it's place in the MD hall of fame. (only on Megadrive).

VECTORMAN 2 (1 PLAYER) 90% (region free)

More of the same Vectorman shooter goodness, in fact this game is more of an expansion pack. The levels are darker, and the difficulty level is still quite high. Vectorman 2 adds some new comedy animations and speech, but little else more. If you liked the first game, you will like this too. An essential Megadrive purchase. (only on Megadrive).

VIEWPOINT (2 PLAYERS) 72% (region free)

Originally made for the Neo Geo, Viewpoint is an isometric, psuedo 3D shooter with alot going for it. The action is viewed from above and slightly to the side, your ship can collect power up's for it's main guns, and holds three different types of devastating smart bombs, your ships main cannon can be charged by holding the fire button in to release a powerful shot. Viewpoint's is refreshing in the level and enemy designs, the levels are full of moving blocks, and gates that must be wound open with your with your guns trained on the gear mechanism but to name a few. The enemies and bosses are interesting, ranging from giant slinky's to robotic 'Darius esque' fish. But Viewpoint was a hopeful effort on the MD, most of the levels and baddies from the Neo Geo game are here, and so is the 'take it in turns' 2 player mode. But the MD simply does not have the horse power to shift all those graphics, and suffers from severe slowdown when things get busy, If I had been developing the game, I would have sacrificed enemy numbers in the bussiest parts, for a better frame rate. It also features a very strange sound track, that doesn't really match the theme, it's not terrible, just not what you would expect. The best version is of course is the original, on the Neo Geo, but there is a better, more modern update on the Playstation and Saturn. (also on FM Towns Marty, Sharp X68000, Neo Geo, Saturn and Playstation).   

VIRTUAL BART (1 PLAYER) 70% (region free)

Virtual Bart is the best Simpsons game on the MD. Bart has entered a V.R. machine at the schools science fair, he is strapped to a game show style wheel, and a button press selects the stage. The game is split in to seven mini games, all of them have time limits, and all of them involve the well known and loved characters of springfield. The strongest of the mini games are the tomato throwing and racing sections. Tomato throwing requires two button presses, one to gauge distance, and one to throw, hitting Skinner or Ms Krabbaple ends the game. The racing stage is a post apocaliptic, mad max, road rash style game, Bart is on a motorcycle, and must avoid on coming traffic, collect nitro's and hit enemies with his sling shot in order to reach the check points. The platforming sections are pretty below par, but not unplayable, the dinosaur Bart level controls particularly badly, and there are cheap unavoidable hits galore. The graphics are faithful to the cartoon, and there is tons of clear speech samples for your aural delight. The SNES version plays exactly the same, but with cleaner visuals and audio. 80% of the game is fun, while 20% ranges from just bearable, to awful, so a worthy purchase for Simpsons fans. (also on SNES)

VIRTUA FIGHTER 2 (2 PLAYERS) 70% (region free) 

Released late in the life of the Megadrive, Sega made a wise choice to go 2D with the 16bit version, especially with the debacle that was the 32X port. All of the characters, stages, and moves are here in this 2D version, and Sega has done a brilliant job of retaining the gameplay exactly like the original. The action is fast, and the graphics very beautiful for a MD title, it is the best use of the MD's color palette I have ever seen, it looks even more colorful than the Saturn VF2. The Music has been re-done, and is very good, but the old MD Dalek voice samples are in full effect, as is the norm. So a good review then? I have never rated Virtua Fighter as a great one on one, when released, they boasted something silly like 200 moves per character, but the reality is three buttons, punch, kick and block, at best each charactor has 12 usable moves, that are very basic, with no fancy specials to mention, plus the game is ridiculously easy, and that goes for ALL versions of Virtua Fighter, no matter what console it's on (excluding the very latest). This game looks, and controls perfectly, but if you like your fighters with more meat on the bones, then you should try the infinately superior Street fighter series. (also on Master System). 

VIRTUAL PINBALL (2 PLAYERS) 60% (region protected)

EA's Virtual Pinball features a massive amount of options, not only are there tons of tables, but they are all customisable by theme, gore, sience and steel but to name a few, not to mention that you can design your own tables. There is also a large selection of tunes to choose from. But I found this a little bit tedious, and the tables that are there aren't as nice to play/use as say ... 'Dragon's Fury' the controls and ball physics don't feel as sweet, plus the tables are played two, side by side, and there are no great special effects, like in some other pinball games, and I think it all gets away from the simplicity that video pinball players like. Overall the game lacks the casual pick up and play fun that the other MD pinball titles have. (only on Megadrive).

VIRTUA RACING (2 PLAYERS) 80% (region protected)

Virtua Racing is an arcade conversion of the famous Sega coin op. The Cartridge its self is pretty interesting, carrying special SVP chips to handle the 3D, and storys of it interfereing with other electrical equipment near by, I don't know if this is true or not. A full 3D polygon racer on the humble MD, virtua racing is THE original polygon arcade racer, pioneered by Sega, the fix is fast and frantic, with unrealistic, but enjoyable handling. Most of the good stuff from the arcade is here, but there is only one choice of car, and two of the tracks are missing. The visuals are a little fuzzy with drab colors and the audio is muffled, but the gameplay is here in full effect, in fact I prefer this version over the dreadful Saturn port, but it isn't quite as good as the 32X version. (see my 32X reviews). (also on Saturn and 32X).

V.R. TROOPERS (2 PLAYERS) 50% (region free)

V.R. Troopers is a spin off from Sabans Power Rangers, and it could have been a very promising one on one, Mortal Kombat style fighter, with it's classy, well animated graphics, and great guitar riff background music, but for the bastard hard CPU A.I. that kicks your arse all over the place even on the easiest settings. It's like being pinned in the corner and kicked to death! Even the two player mode doesn't save it, because the moves are limited and not that easy to pull off. This game has a classy polished look and feel to it with great graphics and animation, but is largely unplayable. A great shame. (only on Megadrive).

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