James Bond 007: The Duel. The Kremlin (1993) Sega Genesis

Coming four years after Timothy Dalton’s last filmic appearance as the suave secret agent, The Duel marks the last official appearance of Dalton as 007. So what game will they give him as an official send off?  Continue reading

Sonic Spinball, Sega (1993), Mega Drive

Sonic_Spinball_Box

Oh, fuck me. I’m sorry, I’m honestly not doing this on purpose, I actually love Sonic. YOU DON’T KNOW HIM LIKE I DO.

Plot

Bear with me, I honestly had no idea that Sonic Spinball had a plot, so I’m piecing this together using the power of lies on the internet. Let’s see here….Dr Robotnik…evil plan….Veg-O-Fortress?! What?….chaos emeralds…yep, that’ll do – put some red sneakers on it, and push it out the door!

Presentation

So at the time, Spinball was praised for it’s graphics – I have no source for this beyond this being the second ever Mega Drive game that I ever owned. My (somehow senile, apparently) little mind was in awe of Spinball’s…well, I’m not quite sure really. The character models are fine, but the levels are just an absolute misery to behold, and the silver/grey/purple/green colour palette is about as unpleasing to the eye as you’d imagine. It’s not awful looking, just a bit drab, really. That being said, there are some occasional hellish framerate issues that are tough to get past.

5_223

Club foot Sonic will jump out of this guys mouth and…straight back into his mouth. The controls aren’t good.

Gameplay

Wait, is this a pinball game with Sonic happening in it, or a Sonic game with pinball happening in it? Anyway, the crux of the matter is that Spinball is effectively a pinball game with some platforming elements, with the goal of each level being to grab the chaos emerald. The problem lies with Sega seemingly being unsure in which direction they’d rather lean. Sonic controls as though Spinball were a platform (albeit incredibly sluggishly), but the levels are designed with pinball in mind – and my stars, does the platforming ever suffer as a result. Requiring some of the most infuriating pixel perfect jumping ever designed, you’re gonna get really well acquainted with the game over screen before all is said and done.

39123-Sonic_Spinball_(Japan)-2

Ugh. This cap gives me PTSD.

 

Possibly the worst instance of this is the metal drum you need to land in and use as a boat in the first level, which honestly seems to have a hit-box smaller than the drum itself. Missing it means you’ll bin it into the green sludge and lose a life, and there’s no way out of the chamber. What rollicking fun. The hit-box issue wouldn’t be so bad were it not for how poorly Sonic controls. For clarity, imagine playing any other Sonic game, but Sonic has a shit-ton of rocks in his pockets. It’s not fun, and it certainly isn’t easy. Couple this with the fact that Sonic doesn’t even behave like a pinball when he hits a bumper, and it’s just a bit of a disaster.

Verdict

It’s not like Sonic Spinball is unplayable, or even a bad idea. In fact, it’s a very good idea, and I would argue that the bare bones of a good game are here, it’s just poorly executed. Frustrating, clumsy, unforgiving and a real shame.

Pros : It’s a genuinely good idea, and a decent little fan service.

Cons : Moves sluggishly, miserable colour palette, hideous hit detection, tedious boss battles

45%

 

Back In The Day

Sonic Spinball was developed in an astounding 61 days in order to rush a Sonic game to market in time for Christmas 1993, whereupon it received mixed to poor reviews – mainly due to it’s poor controls and gameplay. So it’s not that astounding, really.

Pete Sampras Tennis. Codemasters (1994) Sega Genesis

What better why to celebrate the time of the year where all English people pretend to give a fuck about Tennis and foray into a Genesis classic. So don your straw boater and ready the Pimms for we are about to get crazy with SPORTS! Continue reading

Top 15 Light Gun Guns

I love Light Gun Games, but what about the guns themselves? are they any good?

Well wonder no more, for I have gotten my hands on as many as I can and played as many games as possible with them,. So here is my none definitive list* of best Light Gun Guns. I will rate them on the following:

  • Comfort: How comfortable is the thing to hold: Too heavy, feels cheap, awkward?
  • Game Support: All the ergonomic design in the world won’t make up for having one game released for it will it?
  • Value for money**: This is surprisingly multifaceted. Games are covered on their own section but one great game doesn’t make a £50 gun a good investment, and do you need to buy other add-ons to make it work?
  • Does it actually work?: Simple really, but does the gun hit what I am pointing at? Some games worked off grids so if you’re in the same post code you’ll hit. Some are ultra accurate and to hit the exact same spot twice in a row you need a sniper rifle and a tripod.
  • My Rating: Perhaps the most important aspect, do I like the gun. Does it annoy me, do I rush to play that console because the gun is such a pleasure to hold? Or would I rather sodomise myself with the gun than actually use it as a gun.
  • Overall: The previous points are all scored out of 10. This is me trying to add up numbers to achieve an overall figure.

I will only include “main” guns that were released in the UK that I can get my hands on, they can either be first or 3rd party guns but they need to have sold more than three guns. So that weird ultra realistic Chinese import you had and loved doesn’t count, or the JAP/US only guns. I don’t do imports, but if you have one let me know and I’ll consider adding it.

* I am not including consoles that have wooden panelling or on-screen displays that make the NES look ultra Hi-Def.
** Where prices are stated the UK price is based on what I consider reasonable on eBay, the US is rounded up or down. Conversion based on exchange rates in May 2017 Continue reading

Golden Axe 3. Sega AM7 (1993) Sega Genesis

No western cover art exists

No western cover art exists

I really didn’t like Golden Axe, and while Golden Axe II was slightly better, it still wasn’t a good game. So rather than prolonging my suffering I decided to play the final installment in the Golden Axe saga (that isn’t an arcade exclusive, or a Sega Game Gear game). Golden Axe 3 was a Japan exclusive, but did feature on the Sega Channel for a while in the US, but on the whole, isn’t the most well known of the three.

So where does Golden Axe 3 sghape up then, and have they finally polished a turd? Continue reading