Saturday, November 30, 2013

#77: Dinocity

I've heard of most SNES game; Dinocity is one of the rare ones that's completely new to me. I didn't know what to expect from the name alone. Dinosaurs probably, but in what way? How do cities work into it? Is this going to be SimCity but with dinosaurs? That sounds awesome!

Even before the title screen arrived I was given a little video introduction. Jamie and Timmy wanted to watch a video on tv but they touched a 'science device' and got sucked into another world. I dinosaur world I guess?

Dino City turned out to be a really mediocre platformer. It's like someone saw Super Mario World and decided to run with the concept behind Yoshi but they didn't have anyone on staff who really knew how to program a platformer. The controls are incredibly sluggish and beyond getting sucked into a dinosaur world I didn't have a clue what was going on. You can see Timmy riding on that dinosaur's back. Why is there a gigantic woman trying to kill him? Why is this dinosaur happy to strap on a harness and do Timmy's bidding? Why is my attack, of all things, a dinosaur punch?

I want to know more about this game, but a platformer with sluggish controls is not something I want to subject myself to any longer than I need to. I continued twice and was still stuck on the first level. I even tried switching to the little girl and the girl dinosaur and it didn't help. I kept jumping into pits. Girl dinosaur attacked with a projectile which was nice, but she couldn't attack while ducking so I couldn't possibly kill any short enemies.

Rating: F

Saturday, November 23, 2013

#76: Axelay

Credits? *sigh*
I didn't know what to expect of this game from the name alone. It's a new game to me and I was thinking some sort of beat em up like Golden Axe. It turns out this game has a reasonably decent intro with animation and text and everything to tell me what's going on; Axelay is most definitely going to be a scrolling shooter.
GOGO Axelay!
There was an options menu to let me remap the buttons which I always like. Not because I want to remap the buttons because it lets me know which buttons are in use! For this game 2 on the face and the L and R buttons for weapon selection. It's not using them all, but at least it's doing better than just being an NES game. The game also had a voice over when I started the game and chose my weapons. Nice!
The graphics actually made pretty sweet use of the Mode 7 feature of the SNES.The screen could scroll a bit side to side and the background looked really cool while that was happening.

This game seems to have everything going for it. An actual plot, good graphics, the best voice overs I've heard yet, and an explanation of the buttons. Unfortunately the game itself is terrible. It's like they put all their development effort into buffing all the things that normally irritate me and forgot to make a game. The speed and responsiveness of your ship is the most important thing in a game like this and it just doesn't work here. It's too slow to dodge anything and the enemy lasers come from seemingly random locations. It was a very frustrating game to play, and that's not a good thing.

Rating: F+

Saturday, November 16, 2013

#75: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time

I was a huge Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fan as a kid and the original TMNT arcade game was certainly my most played arcade game as a youth. This is a port of the sequel to that game.
It's the rat king!
I am not longer much of a fan of side scrolling beat em ups. I don't know that I ever was, actually. I remember not understand why people liked Double Dragon as a kid. I think I only really liked the original TMNT arcade game because of the turtles. The same is true for this game. The combat is pretty boring and it definitely has annoying aspects of arcade games designed to get you to pump in more quarters. 'Super' moves that drain most of your health, for example...
Kick it! Kick it good!
I did have fun playing this game, so much so that I continued once. It definitely brought back good memories of the ninja turtles. Cowabunga! And for a beat em up it was pretty well done. The controls were smooth. Donatello swung his bo like a pro. It even had the theme song from the cartoon! Da da da da dun dun!

Rating: A-

Saturday, November 9, 2013

#74: Super Play Action Football

Foosball is for the DEVIL!
I want to like SNES era football games. I have memories of playing one of the Madden games, and actually feeling like I was playing football. This game has an NFL license (but not an NFLPA one, so the players are all numbers) but just made me frustrated. It felt like football in that there was a large amount of downtime between plays but I didn't know how to control the game. I even went so far as to go to gamefaqs to find a control summary and it still didn't help...
My first play from scrimmage seemed to be a triple reverse? I kept handing off the ball as my team kept running backwards. Eventually I was sacced for -18 yards. My second play was a 109 yard field goal attempt because clearly I don't understand what the pictures meant. Barry Sanders #20 then ran the ball in for a touchdown the other way. I then proceeded to get sacced again, try a pitch play that resulted in a fumble, get sacced again, and then actually manage to throw a pass! To the other team for a pick 6.
I then turned the game off. I played about a minute and a half of game time, probably 6 minutes of real time, and just ended up super frustrated. Maybe this is a decent game with wonky controls that can be worked out with time and effort. I'm not feeling good and really don't want to spend time or effort on this mediocre game. Nintendo has published some real sports stinkers so far in this little adventure. They need to move onto the Mario series of sports games real quick!

Rating: F-

Saturday, November 2, 2013

#73: Strike Gunner: S.T.G.

S.T.G. stands for STrike Gunner? Do you need the periods?
Strike Gunner is a pretty straightforward scrolling shooter. Get in a plane, shoot the things flying towards you, dodge the bullets that they're shooting at you. Reach a boss. Shoot parts of the boss so his weapons fall off. Win.
Strike Gunner does have some things going for it. It doesn't suffer from much hardware slowdown at all. It has a relatively straightforward weapon scaling system. It has 15 different super weapons to use with your super power meter. The controls are smooth.
Sonic boom!
Things aren't all perfect with this game. The music is mediocre, the plot is practically nonexistent (other than that it takes place is some sort of post apocalyptic future set in 2008), and it only uses two buttons. TWO BUTTONS! The SNES has 6 main buttons to use... I want more games to use them!

One interesting twist is with the super weapons. There are 15 to choose from but as soon as you beat a level with one of them you lose the ability to choose it. So for the 3rd stage I couldn't use the homing missiles or the plasma shield. This is the sort of thing I like and would have made this a good rental as a kid. You need to play a bunch to figure out the weapons and then you get to plot out the right order to use them based on the levels. I used homing missile on the first level and it was very straightforward so it was a waste. It would have been much more useful on the second or third level! I also suspect that if you play 2 player you can't share weapons which just adds more interesting decisions!

Rating: B