Beavis and Butt-Head
I know what you want to ask: is this game cool? Or does it suck?
And that’s the premise of Beavis and Butt-Head, some weird mix of platforming and a scavenger hunt which differed between several consoles which saw the MTV characters appear under the same title.
This version, for the Sega Genesis, could be summed up as fun and brutal.
For starters, the game was rated appropriately to take advantage of the license. However, as we know from decades of licensed stinkers, the source material is somewhat lacking to make a compelling game.
Just how do you get Beavis or Butthead into a game? What is the plot? What exactly do they do?
In the day and age before tutorials and effectively giving us the breadcrumbs needed to beat games, you had to guess what to do. The game starts with some really cool cutscenes that outline the story, complete with sound bytes from the show.
Beavis and Butt-Head see a TV commercial for a GWAR concert. They buy tickets, but they end up eaten by their neighbor’s dog, and nearly retrieved before that neighbor, Anderson, chews them with his lawnmower.
You then start in the duo’s living room, and that’s where the confusion begins.
WHAT DO YOU DO?!
You eventually discover that you can run (hold A), jump (press B) or commit various actions (press C) such as picking up items or burping/farting as your primary attacks.
A pause menu allows you to cycle through various items or an occasional weapon, plus toggle between the two main characters.
You can move about in almost every direction, which can also make it difficult to know where to go. Once you discover that you can pickup the TV remote, you can leave the two-room house and start venturing out into places such as the mall, high school, or Burger World.
Without any further direction, I feel this game would take forever to figure out without the aid of guides and/or cheats. A password system allows you to continue from where you previously added another ticket, but beyond that, dying in any level returns you to the couch – with no items and none of your saved ticket pieces!
It’s about as open-ended as a game in 1994 can be too, as you can choose any level to go to, but there’s certain areas or items that can only be acquired after performing actions much like the Legend of Zelda’s famed trading sequences.
Because the main items aren’t highlighted in any important way, and you don’t have much discussion with the NPCs, this is where the game can be a clusterf*ck… not to mention losing your health as the “enemies” (such as cops or “cool girls”) can send you back to your couch empty-handed, over and over again!
Kicking the health meter to the side – ahem, via cheats – I was able to follow through the sequences for the most part, but you still have to know what to get and where to go.
Oh, and your can only hold so much in your “pockets”. That plays hell with backtracking through certain levels if you don’t have what you need to trigger certain actions. (The concept is to collect items and then drop them in your room for later retrieval.)
Near the end of the game there’s a fishing minigame of sorts that is one of the worst, buggy aspects of any game ever made. If you have fast fingers you might be able to fish the last piece of the GWAR ticket out of the window.
Beware, because if you use the wrong bait after the trigger fingers? Yeah, you’ll catch an unbeatable Earl, who kills you in one hit. (Seriously, you can’t get past him, so write down the convoluted password before you fish!)
If you’re lucky enough to make it, there’s two endings to the game at the GWAR venue, each ending with the band rocking out.
Overall, this title has charm and fits the bill for B&B fans. On the other, it’s about as frustrating as Konami’s original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and can be impassable in certain areas either due to the design of the game or simply not knowing what to do next.
For those reasons I put my thumb in the middle, because there’s no way a 90’s kid doesn’t play, what is a 30-minute start-to-finish game, for at least 100+ hours.
All because you don’t know what to do or the game has cheap enemies and kill shots.
Sonic the Hedgehog: Triple Trouble
The Game Gear was Sega’s attempt to compete with Nintendo’s wildly popular Game Boy handheld console. As such, it produced some interesting results throughout the years.
The hardware, which unlike Nintendo’s offering, had a color screen, was based on the 8-bit Sega Master System. Because of that, many games shared similarities if not the exact same software between the two consoles.
Sonic The Hedgehog is one of those titles, which was the exact same on both 8-bit platforms. Subsequent sequels, however, were exclusive to Game Gear as the Master System was retired in various territories, including North America.
Five Sonic games were eventually published for the Game Gear, with Sonic the Hedgehog: Triple Trouble being the fourth: and worst.
I had previously praised some of these 8-bit Sonic games as clever platformers, original in ways to work around hardware limitations – such as there being no loops in “Sonic 1”, for example. However, Triple Trouble falls incredibly flat on its face as one of the more gimmicky and difficult Sonic games ever created.
All of the same premises exist: collect rings, stop Dr. Robotnik, and do so by moving rapidly through non-linear stages. You can play as Sonic or Tails in this game, as Knuckles makes an appearance after the recently released Sonic 3 on the Sega Genesis.
So, why didn’t I care for this game, you may ask?
To be honest, it starts strongly. Everything feels at home as a Sonic title. There’s even some added power-ups such as rockets and snowboards that appear to fit in the Sonic spectrum.
Then you get to the first boss battle and realize this game is stupid difficult due to cheap cheating mechanics.
Should you play beyond this the issues become worse.
After playing two acts of any given zone, the third act is a mini stage before encountering the boss. I assume this is designed this way due to load time and RAM limitation on the hardware.
No big deal, except the developers tend to hide rings on these stages. No rings? Then you die!
Yeah, it’s kind of like that, except then the acts get bogus too.
Clear paths are hard to decipher, and some of the boosted jumping mechanics become hard to pull off as well. By the time you get to the snowboarding level, you’re already fed up with falling into death traps, and hopefully you haven’t lost too many lives where you have to start all over.
A water level is just as frustrating, with the usual underwater air issue: Sonic drowns to death without air, but bubbles don’t automatically populate and the timer seems to be really fast too.
By the time you get through all of this you’d just as rather toss the Game Gear across the room than actually finish this game. In fact, I’m wondering if kids of yesteryear even had enough battery life to make it all the way through?!
It’s a shame, because graphically the game is impressive. The audio is also superb for its time and limitations. The controls, aside from the added quirks mentioned, are the usual Sonic fare.
But the “new” concepts brought in with the idiotic level and boss designs make this one of the more challenging Sonic games to beat. And that’s saying it lightly if this game could be beat with the way it was intentionally handicapped for a challenge, rather than making it a challenge.
You’ve been warned!
There’s a fascination with this game that probably exists with nostalgia: because I’m having none of it.
Let’s talk about Wild Guns, a shooter game that’s a bit different than your usual run-of-the-mill variety. If you can think of the Contra levels in which you face the backs of the main characters, shooting into the enemies, then that’s the crux of Wild Guns, a difficult game in its own right that has gathered a cult following.
Graphically, there’s no complaints about this game whatsoever. The Super Nintendo’s Mode 7 abilities are on full display, as sprites move around in ways you couldn’t fathom prior to seeing this title.
There’s enough variety to make the game not so repetitive, although it is a button masher at best.
My frustration lies with how easy it is to die – as well as some of the control aspects.
To start, you control either of two characters, Annie or Clint. Then the fun begins.
With the D-pad – yeah, that’s part of the issue here – you move a target cursor around the screen to aim and shoot at enemies all over the place. You must also dodge gunfire and the occasional opponent that shows up in the foreground trying to stab you. (A real PITA if I must say so.)
Like other shooters, there are different guns you obtain which increase rate of fire or the power/effectiveness of each shot. There’s also a bomb which nukes the entire screen of enemies.
Hitting enemies charges a Vulcan gun meter, which is the “God mode” gun of sorts and makes you invincible for a short period of time before the meter depletes.
This probably all sounds cool, and the game looks and sounds great. However, moving and shooting at the same time isn’t possible – and almost feels foreign until you get the hang of it.
The problem is, the game is so fast-paced, you may never get an opportunity to get the hang of it!
And that is my main frustration with Wild Guns.
I threw on some cheats to see how the game plays out, and today’s kids would be hella bored with it. However, for those who like to spot patterns and achieve repetition, this is definitely your thing.
I just wish they also would’ve ditched the damn timer – which somehow brings back painful memories of Ninja Gaiden.
I suppose without the ability to suck quarters, as this game rightfully would’ve slayed as an arcade cabinet with light guns, they had to add the darn clock anyway.
Regardless, don’t let me spoil your fun. While Wild Guns isn’t my current cup of tea, it’s a personal distaste that drops it from a thumb up – and it’s nowhere near deserving of a thumbs down either. Check it out!
NFL Quarterback Club
I’m sure that everyone who say the NFL Quarterback Challenge back in the 90’s thought it was a cool, friendly concept. Many of the league’s top stars dueled it out, throwing footballs as moving targets and aiming for bullseyes in a number of events.
When NFL Quarterback Club dropped the Super Nintendo, many of us were already starting to get our feet wet with John Madden Football. Marrying the two concepts would make too much sense at a time when football video games were lacking all of the necessary licensing as it was.
NFL Quarterback Club actually had a few things going for it.
Most of the league’s top passers leant their name to the title, along with the NFL licensing having real team names, logos, and likenesses, we were almost there when it came to a fully licensed pro football game.
However, QB Club ultimately feels like a cheap Madden imitation, right down to the play-calling, controls, and even the visual presentation. If you can get past the slow pace of the games (even slower than Madden of that era) and the ridiculous AI, then maybe you’d enjoy this – or you may have only had this to play by default.
And you would’ve gotten by.
The shining gem for this game should’ve been the QB Challenge aspect, which pits your chosen quarterback against four others in a variety of skills tests.
I surmise these tests are better suited for not breaking a controller – or worse, your TV – because trying to figure out how the controls work are half of the battle in a frustratingly clunky game.
Don’t get me wrong, for this era, there’s a lot of cool stuff here. But coming back to this game decades later shows how wrong this one got it out the gate. I may have to attempt the sequels, all made by the same team who brought you the NBA Jam home conversions as well as Turok.
I’ll give this a middle of the road grade and assume that the sequels sold on something other than name value alone. However, this game? A strong pass for me to ever look at let alone waste another moment playing ever again!
Bill Walsh College Football
Piggybacking on the success of the John Madden Football franchise, EA Sports went in the next logical direction by marrying the same concept with college football.
What would follow would eventually lead down the path to the NCAA Football series, however, it all began with another famous coach headlining the title.
Bill Walsh gained fame as the head coach of University of Stanford before launching into football immortality as the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, whom he transformed into a dynasty, winning three Super Bowl trophies before the coach would enter retirement following the 1988 NFL season.
In 1992, he made headlines by returning to coach college football, returning to Stanford.
That buzz is what translated to using Walsh’s name in place of Madden’s for a college football version of EA’s NFL product. Some other obvious hurdles were necessary to make the transition, some of which would be shunned in the modern day.
First, there was no NCAA license. Of the 24 teams available (as well as 24 additional classic teams) EA opted to use the city or state of which that institution was located. Ohio State becomes “Columbus” but Michigan remained the same, and so forth. (See the full list at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Walsh_College_Football.)
Game play is similar, though I prefer the Walsh route taken with play calling. Rather than choose a formation with a 3x row of plays, a highlighted 3x row box can be moved up/down/left/right over a 2×4 row of plays. This makes selecting plays less obvious in two-player action as well.
The remaining graphics, audio, and controls all layout similar to Madden. The pregame show features Walsh and a “play by play” announcer, but there are no audio quips in this edition of the game. The previews are generic, as are the stadiums, which are all “neutral” sites with each endzone labeled with the home or visiting team – no authentic remakes of The Big House, Ohio Stadium, Los Angeles Coliseum, etc. here.
The other obvious difference is that college rules are different than the pros. If you accidentally press the dive button untouched by a defender? Too bad, you’re ruled down!
The play clock, hashmarks, and other college rule variations are all present. The soundtrack subs some marching band inspired music, which is actually catchy, and a Bill Walsh “seal” replaces any references to what may have been the NCAA one instead.
The package itself is sharp, the gameplay doesn’t stutter, and the Mode 7 “field flip” on punts and tracking the ball on kickoffs are all present here as well.
There’s just enough here to separate it from simply being Madden with a different coat of paint. Unfortunately, the lack of licensing detracts from this game when viewed through a present lens – and the same then, though it was less expected. However, for a fun retro college football romp, this is an excellent entry into the genre.
RoboCop Versus The Terminator
Dual console releases became more common as the 90’s war between Sega and Nintendo forged on. Publishers were caught between exclusivity licenses with Nintendo or breaking the mold to work with Sega – or eventually both, when Nintendo’s practices came into legal question.
As such, you’d often find titles, such as the yearly editions of EA Sports’ John Madden Football or Midway’s Mortal Kombat on each platform. Other times you’d find a similar or identically named game sharing no resemblance to its counterpart on the competitor’s console.
Thus is the story of RoboCop Versus The Terminator. Each of the games released was completely independent of one another. In fact, the Sega Genesis version (reviewed here) released a full six months later than its cousin on the Super Nintendo. (Which I plan to review later.)
The plot of the Genesis title, per Wikipedia, is as follows:
Set a few years after RoboCop’s invention, the story involves SAC-NORAD contracting Cyberdyne Systems on building Skynet. Cyberdyne used RoboCop’s technology in creating Skynet. When activated, Skynet becomes self-aware and launches a war against mankind. In the future, Skynet sends several Terminators back to the past to cripple the Resistance. After destroying one of the Terminators, RoboCop proceeds to Delta City, where he confronts RoboCain.
After RoboCain was destroyed, RoboCop battles his way to the OCP building, where he defeats all the Terminators. After defeating an ED-209 unit reprogrammed by the Terminators, RoboCop plugs himself into a console. Unbeknownst to him, RoboCop gave Skynet information it can use. This ends up with RoboCop falling into a trap. In the future, RoboCop assembles himself, where he battled in the Terminator-infested future and destroyed Skynet.
Armed with this knowledge you may start to roll your eyes at the crossover of movie characters and think “this is going to suck”. However, this is one of the best Genesis titles – ever.
The game takes a lot of inspiration – and stated as such from their developers – from Contra.
RVT is at its heart a shoot’em up style platformer, with RoboCop as the protagonist who slowly plods around each level. RoboCop can shoot straight ahead, above, beneath and at 45-degree angles (think Metroid) which makes the pace of the game fun when you add in the Contra-style ability to upgrade weapons – carrying two at a time.
The weapons are mostly of the same flavors too, including the standard RoboCop semi-auto pistol, which he’ll twirl like the movie if you stand still at times. Oddly, there’s a few other nods in this game that eerily remind me of Sonic The Hedgehog also, including the industrial style levels and using poles to climb on… but back to the guns.
Other firearms include a grenade launcher, homing missiles, a spread gun, and even a futuristic laser weapon. One more goodie is in the game, but I don’t want to spoil it for those who may play it – let’s just say it’s a gamebreaker in terms of ingenuity!
The game adds some variety to just walking and jumping. As mentioned, you can scale horizontal poles and also climb ladders. There are different paths throughout, but the “wimpy” mode I played on (one of three difficulty settings) was on point with showing me the proper path.
While RoboCop can barely jump, the developers didn’t cheap out and make this a Double Dragon style cheap death tactic, and seldom do you find a difficult jump as the cause of your death.
The game also packs in the almost obligatory Sega “violence mode”, accessed with a homescreen button press sequence. Honestly, this is the ONLY way to play, as the movie-to-game translation benefits from bursting bodies and blood splatters, much like the unrated RoboCop.
There are plenty of nods to both franchises when it comes to fan service, and most of the bosses, plus the pacing of what little story is between the homescreen and end credits, makes the game feel at home with fans of either movie.
The music thumps, and can be repetitive, but a few choice soundbytes (and some one-liners) are icing on the cake for a game well done – that still feels fresh even to this day.
Mega Man X2
Someone must’ve taken a cue from the original Mega Man 2 on this one…
Mega Man X2 is the sequel to the Super Nintendo’s “X” series of Mega Man games which spun off of the originals, which only saw one true dedicated 16-bit sequel with Mega Man 7.
The reason I say that X2 took a cue from the NES sequel is the difficulty: this freaking game is insane at certain points. It also has some of the more “interesting” and utter useless weapon upgrades in any MM game.
Granted, they still look cool and are at least creative, but in the end? They suck!
The story and mechanics are all familiar here. Beat bosses, obtain their special powerup, go fight the main boss…
Many of the “Maverick Hunters” (bosses) are incredibly cheap to fight against. One is a gator which you can’t see, then it grabs you and doesn’t let go. Another boss board has spikes – which means instant death!
Outside of the “norm” for these titles, the graphics are incredible for an SNES game. I had to see if it had a special chip in the cartridge and apparently it did. The “C4” chip improved the game’s graphics to where this title looks as good as Mega Man 8 on the original PlayStation (minus FMV cutscenes, of course).
There are also some vector 3-D graphics which look about as cutting edge as watching the Lawnmower Man on DVD these days but were likely state of the art at the time. They feel both revolutionary and out of place at the same time, as if to just show off that there was some special tech that could be accomplished.
Regardless, it’s a feat and an unexpected one at that.
In all, I actually liked this title a bit more than the first MMX. The story was cool, but it didn’t build much on original otherwise. However, the menus, sound, and graphics were all better and part two still feels like a step forward in the series as a must-play for any Mega Man fan.
John Madden Football
This very well could be my one and only 3DO review on this site!
For those who are unaware of what the 3DO is, it was a next generation console launched in 1994 as a platform developed by Electronic Arts. The consoles would be manufactured by a number of consumer electronics companies such as Panasonic and Goldstar, in much the same way a VCR (at the time) or DVD player (years later) would license those technologies.
The CD-based system was ahead of its time, but a high price tag ($700 USD) and lack of launch day titles (and available consoles to purchase) put it behind the 8-ball. It would eventually fail as titles were delayed and Sony’s PlayStation (as well as Sega’s Saturn) were released a year later.
However, being an EA supported platform had its benefits, and John Madden Football was the biggest of them all. I can recall being at a mall and seeing a 3DO on display running this game at what was then Electronics Etc., today’s equivalent of GameStop.
Returning to this game gave me those fond memories of how advanced this version of Madden is. For starters, there’s literally no comparison between this 1994 title and the Madden 95’s released on 16-bit competitors such as the Super Nintendo or Sega Genesis.
Madden NFL ’95 for those consoles barely raised the bar from the ’94 edition, which was a leap for 16-bit platforms with a number of new features, but nothing like we’d see on the 3DO.
Done right from the start, the 3DO version includes the full NFL license. That means real teams as well as branding. However, the NFLPA licensing was absent, although player names wouldn’t start showing up on the competition until Madden NFL ’96 anyway.
Once the game loads (which is another sticking point – its super slow) you’re whisked away into the realm of Full Motion Video (FMV) with an animated opening of the iconic EA Sports crawl which fades into team logos and helmets with the famous “John Madden Football” words scrolling into view.
FMV takes front-and-center throughout the game with an actor representing an in-game referee who conducts a coin toss and makes various calls from penalties to touchdown signals.
John Madden himself has a few video scenes – they are all generic enough to apply to every game configuration with audio snippets over what one might call “B-roll” such as grainy photos of a team’s home stadium. Still, this was high-tech stuff for 1994!
In-game, a “scouting report” option may have the best feature in the game, as it will show a set amount of random highlight clips from whichever team you’re viewing.
Getting started, the game menu has its usual modes including preseason (exhibition), regular season, and playoffs. You can also play as historic teams, with one for each franchise and two All-Madden teams.
Again, the player names aren’t included, only numbers – which show in-game below the “star” icon underneath selected players. While the graphics are crude, they’re still sophisticated compared with the sprites on the SNES or Genesis. However, they’re also fairly generic with no numbers on jerseys and palette swapping for the helmet, tops, bottoms and skin tones.
But, they are big players on the screen. Larger than life and anything that preceded it.
As for the game play, it can be a bit slow and tedious. Rather than cut to play calling menus after each play, all of the players scurry around the field back to the line of scrimmage before we get to call a play. There’s a noticeable delay in the action here and after selecting a play too – all while the clocks run.
That can be a bit distracting, as is the tedious passing – which is nearly as bad as non-Madden games in some instances. Otherwise, the rest of the bells and whistles are here, including spin moves, dives and speed bursts. The game still plays like the other Madden cousins, but with a fresher paint job.
Overall, this is an enjoyable game that was far ahead of its time. Within a few years Madden ’97 will blow the doors off of this title in 1996, but we’re talking a full two years later – a lifetime in the tech world.
I would encourage any retro gamers with a hint for nostalgia to check this out, even if you only play a game or two like I did.
After previously reviewing John Madden football games for 1993 (Sega Genesis) and 1994 (Super Nintendo) I felt it was appropriate to continue going through the series by visiting Madden ’95… on the Game Boy?
While it may seem like an odd choice, 1995’s edition of Madden marked the series’ first entry into the handheld console market. Sega’s Game Gear received a version as well, but owning a Game Boy was where it was at in the mid 90’s – and this is one game that was a must own by those standards.
For being audio and visually crude due to the limitations of the Game Boy itself, Madden ’95 is incredibly deep, even when comparing it to the previous versions I’ve reviewed. For starters, it has a full 11-on-11 format, apparently something that was an original sticking point for legendary coach John Madden to add his name to the earliest versions.
To point out the biggest glaring omission of this game, however, is that it lacks an NFL license of any kind. The 16-bit big brothers both had the real NFL teams, with Sega’s having the NFLPA license with player names for the first time of any Madden game – though you wouldn’t know it unless you were using the substitution menus (i.e. a gain of seven yards by #22, for example, rather than saying who “22” is.)
That’s why the Game Boy version doesn’t feel too out of place. EA still used the city names, albeit with fake logos. On the monochrome screen you aren’t getting home stadiums, custom end zones or any sort of differentiation between you and the computer-controlled opponent other than one team is wearing a lighter or darker uniform. Players are still denoted by number here, but if you followed your team, you know who is who just like the fancier versions.
The team selection screen is something to behold when it comes to options. Madden ’95 includes all-time teams for all of the 28 NFL counterparts as well as legendary teams, such as “Pittsburgh ’75” or “Pittsburgh ‘78”, with a least one of not two options for each franchise.
You can also adjust the game type and duration. To quickly play, exhibition is the obvious choice. You can start a new season, but to continue, as expected back then, a password system was used. (There are also Champions and All-Time playoff modes to play with the added teams too.)
As the game starts it looks like a pared down version of Madden as you’d know it. Obviously, the Game Boy only has two buttons, so a lot of the special moves or even passing to more than two eligible receivers makes the game feel somewhat crippled, yet, it plays rather smoothly and at a decent pace (unlike Play Action Football which plodded along). Due to the lack of screen size, the traditional passing windows are eschewed as well, something that was also borrowed by the Genesis and SNES counterparts of ’95.
The playbooks are mostly all there, with the option to flip plays and set audibles. Only two substitution modes are available on offense, for your quarterback or running back (“HB” or “halfback” for those in the know).
The depth of stats tracked is quite remarkable for a pint-sized game, some penalties (such as delay of game) are still enforced, and within the season mode you can even check in on scores of other games (as they were scheduled based on the 1994 NFL calendar).
EA even tried to placate us with the audio. While the football sounds like a dive bomber (especially on longer kicks) some audio blurbs such as “first down” and “touchdown” are included. Crowd noise sounds like a broken speaker hissing, but it is what it is for that time and technology.
The only thing that could’ve been left out are some cheesy cutscenes which felt more appropriate with Tecmo Bowl than Madden.
For handheld football action, this is about the best you could get at its time. I’m quite surprised how groundbreaking this title is considering the lack of details in Madden ’93 for the Genesis. I’m not at all advocating that anyone actually chooses to play ’95 over a 16-bit title, but if you have a bit of nostalgia in your bones and want to see the progression of this series, ’95 for Game Boy definitely deserves recognition… unless you choose to play it on the Super Nintendo’s Super Game Boy, which totally kills the colors and defeats the purpose of owning a 16-bit machine!
A friend recently reminded me of another Atari fighting game after reviewing Pit Fighter and I wish I could say my rosy memories of this one held up.
Primal Rage was Atari’s answer to the fighting game boom of the early-to-mid 90’s. The story revolved around prehistoric creatures doing battle in a and attempting to reign supreme over a post-apocalypitc Earth called “Urth”.
There are seven characters to choose from, with fire and ice, fast and slow, being among the common themes lifted from similar fighters.
Like other in its genre, it was a 1-v-1 arcade game, which was a better fit for the way it was developed. When it was ported to consoles, the main mechanic of the game was to hold buttons and then move the joystick in certain directions to perform special moves.
This was later changed to include the traditional method of movement then buttons, but regardless, the game used some convoluted sequences, such as holding 3-4 buttons at the same time, in order to achieve those moves.
Doing this with an arcade joystick and buttons was far easier than on a console, but a PITA regardless!
As with most PSX games, this one suffers from extremely long load times. Beyond that, it’s a nice recreation of the arcade down to the graphics and sounds – if you recall, stop-motion models of the dinosaurs were used in place of motion-captured humans, which upped the realism of games like Mortal Kombat.
Primal Rage also capitalized on the violence and gore factor of its era, maybe even more so than Mortal Kombat – likely its intention in order to gain attention. It must’ve worked, as the game was ported to every console known to man at that time, including handhelds, 16-bit consoles, and next-gen systems like the PlayStation (which this review is based on). The game even appeared on Sega’s Saturn, and the ill-fated 3DO as well as Atari’s own entry into the “64-bit” realm, the Jaguar.
Also, like Mortal Kombat, the game borrowed fatalities, again upping the ante for gore. The finishing moves are incredibly difficult to pull off, not only from the button and joystick sequences required, but the stupid short timer window to complete them. Using save states and cheats, I found Chaos’ famous “golden shower” fatality to be especially problematic and eventually gave up:
Hold 1+3 and move joystick D, D; then hold 1+2+3+4 and move joystick A, T, A, T
I couldn’t imagine being the kid who doesn’t know the proper sequence let alone being a full-grown adult that does and still can’t pull off the maneuvers.
Regardless, the blood flies everywhere in this game. Health bars and a brain stem bar show both organs on-screen, with the heart exploding following being “conquered”. Caveman-like humans scurry onto the screen at random times – they can be eaten for health, but those who support you will hurt your cause as your opponent can eat them and deplete your health too.
It’s a gimmicky addition to a game that’s already riddled with poor controls and difficult game play. It seems as though any basic attacks you throw at the CPU are instantly blocked and rendering enough damage within the 99-second time limit proves to be frustrating.
In fact, the final battle sees you fight everyone that’s in the game, in what might be the most annoying endurance round ever created – at least Atari left the time to “infinite” for this level (and some cool death animations as you defeat each opponent).
Yet, it’s not enough to save my opinion of this game.
Cheats and save states didn’t help relive my enjoyment of what likely ate my quarters quickly when I was younger.
While the game has some cool concepts and is worth seeing to believe, its holds up horribly as a viable fighting game with little replay value.