STAR WARS ARCADE (2 PLAYERS) 85%
I must confess I'm a big Star Wars fan, and this game was the the reason I bought a 32X in the first place. It's a 3D polygon space shooter, action takes place from either behind or from the cockpit of your X-Wing, you are armed with blasters and homing photon torpedo's to take down those pesky Tie-Fighters. If you wish a second player can take control of the guns while you steer (so not really a 2 player then?) The atmosphere is spot on, when you emerge from light speed, general Akbar barks orders at you, the theme music gallops along in the background , accompanying sounds of laser fire and Tie's buzzing your wing, Star Destroyers are everywhere, when you kill a Tie-Fighter, it will break up and explode satisfyingly, and when you are hit R2 gives his trademark scream, and you really feel like your in a cinematic battle. But it's not without problems, the difficulty level will be discouraging for some, and the slight slowdown when there are a lot of polygons on screen will be annoying for others, but there are worse Star Wars shooters on more modern consoles, so fans will not be dissapointed.
STAR TREK STARFLEET ACADEMY (2 PLAYERS) 20%
Even Trekkies will struggle to enjoy this. In it you are a student at starfleet academy, where you will learn and participate in training missions to challenge your tactical skills (why not make a real star trek game?). At heart this is a star raiders clone with better graphics and much worse gameplay. You have access to layers of menus with all sorts of data and instrumentation, that only a geek, versed in trekkie speak, will understand. The first person shooting action is painfully dull, the enemy ships are sluggish, and the AI idiotic. The highlight of the game is actually the sub game, where you can play a game of pool. Starfleet Academy isn't much of a game. It's probably the worst 32X title.
T - MEK (2 PLAYERS) 30%
T-Mek is a first person tank combat game. You get a choice of tanks, each with it's own attributes and special weapons. You must make your way through a series of flat featureless levels, containing numerous enemy tanks and bosses (which are just different colored tanks). The graphics, while smooth enough, are truly awful, when an enemy gets up close it's just a pixelated mess, and the control panel is almost impossible to read. Gameplay is equally dire, no technique at all, it's just shoot, move and shoot some more, even the split screen 2 player mode is cack. It's games like this that made people scoff at the 32X ... and who could blame them.
TEMPO (1 PLAYER) 70%
Tempo is a platform game that see's you take control of a headphone wearing kid crossed with a insect. Your character can jump on, (Mario style) and shoot musical notes from his fingers to dispatch the baddies. A musical theme is carried on through out the game, the levels are littered with quavers, piano keys and song sheets that can be used as spring boards or climbed on, there are mini games to be played and warp zones to find, the power up's are quite funny, instructing you to "dance". The graphics are delightfully gaudy, with sickeningly cute sprites and bright colors, the animations are just as good. the sound wont be to everyones tastes though, most notably the intro track, which is a kind of funky hip-hop rap thing, but it's more like your dad trying to be "down wit da homies" and sounding rather gay and sad instead. What's it play like? ... Well the gameplay and controls are solid enough, but the game desperately needs to be MUCH faster in my opinion, and that's what spoils an otherwise fun game.
TOUGHMAN CONTEST (2 PLAYERS) 70%
Toughman is a boxing game with you viewing the action through a green outlined, see through boxer. The action is frantic and furious, and there are plenty of punches and special moves to master. The game is almost exactly the same as the Megadrive version, only the graphics are more colorful, the sound is a bit crisper and the controls a bit tighter. If you already own the Megadrive version, buy Punch Out for the SNES instead, because the two versions are almost identical, and Punch Out is infinitely better in every way.
VIRTUA FIGHTER (2 PLAYERS) 85%
Virtua Fighter is a one on one 3D polygonal fighter, there's a choice of 8 characters, and each have their own individual fighting style (judo, ninjitsu, wrestling ect.). In addition to standard punch and kick attacks, you can dash, throw, stomp and execute special moves. Matches are short, and they take place on raised platforms, against sparse backgrounds. The character graphics are blocky, but well animated (not much different from the Saturn version). The sound is good and the voice samples are clear. Virtua Fighter is a good example of what the 32X is capable of.
VIRTUA RACING DELUXE (2 PLAYERS) 87%
Virtua Racing is a 3D polygonal racing game, based on the coin-op of the same name. You can view the action form several views, ranging from drivers view to the vertigo inducing birds eye view, there are 5 tracks and 3 types of car to choose from, formula 1, stock, and prototype. You can compete against a friend in split screen mode, or go up against a field of 15 computer controlled cars in single player mode. The graphics, while boxy looking now, were cutting edge in '95 (the car even spits flames on the over run). The backgrounds aren't spectacular, but there are lots of bridges, tunnels and alternate routes to keep things interesting. The gameplay is as addictive today as it was back then, thanks to a smooth frame rate and responsive controls. The sound is good, but the background music strangely only kicks in now and again. Quite simply, this is the best console version you can get, including the Megadrive and the god awful Saturn version. (see my Megadrive reviews)
WORLD SERIES BASEBALL (2 PLAYERS) 68%
Sega tried to make this a step up from the Megadrive version, but besides some minor cosmetic changes, it's practically identical. The graphics are a bit better, and the ball makes a nice whooshing sound, but seems to travel slower, and the camera now zooms in for a catch. It looks pretty but has little more that novelty value, as all of the features of this game are incorporated in World series '96 on the Megadrive.
WWF RAW (4 PLAYERS) 60%
WWF Raw features 12 wrestlers, 7 modes of play, including tag team and royal rumble, which features 6 wrestlers in the ring at once, you can throw your opponent out of the ring, fight outside the ring, jump from the turnbuckle, perform knee\elbow drops and execute signature moves. Sound good? Well it aint. The graphics are rough and unfinished, the animation is poor, and the characters are small. The gameplay is long winded and repetitive, it takes far to long to wear down your opponent and when two fighters lock arms, a tug of war type meter appears and the player who bashes the buttons fastest wins, this not only makes your fingers sore, but more often than not ends in a draw, and quite frankly it's not worth the blisters.
WWF WRESTLEMANIA ARCADE (2 PLAYERS) 80%
This game is a breath of fresh air in wrestling game terms, the action is fast and furious, even the menu screens are super fast and simple, you can be into a game within 20 seconds of booting the cart. There's a choice of 8 well known wrestlers and 2 modes of play. the actual wrestling part of the game has been replaced in favor of cartoon style, combo based fighting, and matches can be won extremely fast, with comedy signature moves thrown in for good measure. The graphics are large and well drawn, and the animations a joy to watch, as each character has personal theme detailing that accompanies all their moves, for instance when Razor Ramon throws kicks or punches, jewellery and razor blades fly about the place, and the Undertaker often smashes opponents repeatedly over the head with a tombstone, and fires streams of bats from his hands. The control is tight and easy to use, Mortal Kombat style mixed with super quick combo's, actually suit this game better than the afore mentioned title. The sound track is good, but some of the voice samples are missing, inexcusable because the SNES version has more, and nice and clear they are too! The longevity of this game is questionable though, once you have learnt the moves the computer is easy to best (30 seconds per match easy) and due to the frenzied nature of the action, onlookers will think you're a pro, and be reluctant to challenge you, thus pooping on the 2 player option. You don't have to be a wrestling fan to enjoy this game, (I hate wrestling, and wrestling games for that matter). If you don't already own the superior PSX version this is a good addition to your 32X collection, and if you've never had a REAL fight, and enjoy watching large, semi naked, grown men play fighting ... add 10% to the final score.
ZAXXON MOTHERBASE 2000 (2 PLAYERS) 37%
Zaxxon Motherbase is an isometrical 3D polygonal, trench based shooter, my first impressions were not good. From the low budget main screen to the god awful 3 second loop, early Master System quality sound track (it really is that bad). The graphics for the space ships are rough and blocky and the backgrounds are dull and boring. I could forgive all this if the gameplay was up to scratch (i'd switch the sound off of course), but Zaxxon suffers from chronic slowdown, even when there is very little on screen, and a high difficulty level. when the frame rate is choppy, it makes the controls feel unresponsive, thus leading to annoying and frequent deaths. Even the 2 player mode sucks, you and another player face off at opposite ends of a VERY small room, filled with mines and enemy guns, theres barely room to move in the first place FERCHRISTSAKES! Die 3 times and it's game over ... which usually happens at the hands of the computer anyway! I normally test a game for a good hour (or more if it's a good 'un) to write a review, but 10 minutes was enough for me to see how truly bad this game is.
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