WCW Nitro (PlayStation, 1998)

WCW-Nitro-PlayStation-titleWith Wrestlemania coming up tonight and tomorrow in a special 2-night presentation presented to you by COVID-19, I’ll again do a review of a wrestling game. This one is quite a bit more complex than the one I went over last time. WCW Nitro, for those so far removed that you still think wrestling fans think it’s all real (seriously, do you hear a wrestling fan standing up in the middle of the 1983 Twilight Zone movie shouting “why are you watching this, don’t you know this is fake”? And as for those who think the athleticism in wrestling is fake, I’ll remind you that it’s just as real and dangerous as filming was for the 1983 Twilight Zone movie), takes its name from WCW’s Monday night wrestling show that ran from 1995 to 2001. A lot changed in that time.

The Game

WCW-Nitro-PlayStation-gameplaySure the graphics are different, but it’s the same incomprehensible mess that almost all wrestling games are to me. They’re not a simple “pick up and play” like say Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter where dumb luck hits easier. You need ADVANCED luck to get the right moves without reading the manual. While the goal is the same- to deplete your opponent’s health until they’re forced to give up- you get to it in a more roundabout way. You have the usual fighting-game punches and kicks, but you also have various holds and a more complicated arrangement of buttons to do any kind of complex move.

Now yes, I know, the easy solution is to just read a manual, and the PlayStation game here came with one, but I submit to you: that won’t work if you’re on a tight budget and get the 99 cent copy that doesn’t have a manual, or the $4 SNES game that doesn’t have a manual, and so on. Ok fine, you DO have the internet and these days it is easy to just pull out your phone and call up a manual online, and I’m just making a big thing out of nothing because of my dated belief that games should have intuitive controls… or maybe wrestling games do have intuitive controls for fans of the genre and I just never got to that stage because the entry-level complexity alienated me.

Anyway, I was playing this one with my cousin who has an equal unfamiliarity with the dynamics of a wrestling game, and I will say it’s a lot more fun to mess around with someone else who has no idea what they’re doing than to take on a computer that knows exactly what it’s doing.

As much as I complain about the controls, there is a reason for the complexity: a wrestler has quite a few moves in their arsenal, certainly more than the 4 directional buttons and 10 other buttons would allow for. You’ll note that I did not reference the analog sticks- that’s because the DualShock controllers were only 3 months old when this game came out, and still 3 months away from being released in the U.S. Since this game was not even released in Japan, you understand why it would not be built with the new tech in mind.

WCW-Nitro-PlayStation-select

Each. Character.

This game has some flash though to it that I can appreciate- videos. There’s the opening montage, and each character has a video where the real wrestler blabs to you.

There are some customization options too, like how long matches last or if someone comes out of nowhere and jumps your character. You can also choose if you want to just do a quick match or pursue a title. You can even do a tag team match with a Player 2 as your teammate.

There is one drawback that is universal though- an ever so slight lag between when you press a button and when something happens on the screen. I think that’s the only complaint I have that transcends experiences. Another drawback might be that they had to leave out each wrestler’s entrance to fit everything else in here, but given what you get instead maybe it was worth it.

Overall

There aren’t that many WCW games out there and this one is cheap, plus it was the first WCW game released featuring Hulk Hogan. From my uninitiated perspective, this played just like almost any wrestling game I’ve played, whether it was on the PS3, PS2, SNES, or even Sega CD.

WCW-Nitro-PlayStation-win

Pebble Beach Golf Links (Genesis 1993, 3DO 1994, Saturn 1995) – Part of the Craig Stadler Series

Pebble_BeachLet’s just get right into it… by the way, if a golf course is open near you it’s a good outdoor activity that’s easy to social distance during. Especially if you suck like me and are playing with people good at it, they’ll be sixty feet or more ahead at any given time!

Genesis

Pebble_Beach-Genesis-title_screen

Pebble_Beach-Genesis-course_map

I was surprised- they take you on a 3D tour of the course, despite the Genesis not being known for doing this on cartridges that cost less than $100

It’s actually called “True Golf Classics: Pebble Beach Golf Links”, but it’s pretty much the same game. It’s got an easy menu that gets you right into the action, some pretty good graphics of the course considering this is the Genesis and not the pseudo-3D capable SNES. It looks better even than the the later PGA Tour 96 on the SNES. You can also pick where on the ball your golfer aims for, in case you want to tap in the middle or whack from the bottom or knock it at an angle. This was the only game I played here that allowed it.

 

Pebble_Beach-Genesis-tee_off

Getting tee’d off

To actually hit the ball, you have the traditional C-shaped power bar, but here it’s not surrounding your golfer. It’s flat, and the same size all around so it doesn’t become harder to time more powerful shots, unlike in other games.

 

3DO

It plays like PGA Tour 96 on the 3DO, though the main menu was less complicated. And in between holes, you are given advice by a narrator rather than just by text bubble.

Pebble_Beach-3DO-title_screen

Pebble_Beach-3DO-course_map

They did away with the 3D map and went with video clips.

Pebble_Beach-3DO-tee_off

Saturn

Pebble_Beach-Saturn-title_screenA good port of the 3DO version, it plays very similar to it, but this one comes with a bonus. Instead of some generic narrator reading off notes about the holes, videos of professional golfer Craig Stadler appear. In between holes, he is super-imposed over footage of the hole as he narrates some pointers about it. And if you make a particularly lousy shot, look for a video of him to pop up and chide your lousy performance.

Pebble_Beach-Saturn-course_map

For this one, you get a 3D map and then it’s followed by video clips of the course, while pointers are delivered by Craig Stadler.

Pebble_Beach-Saturn-tee_off

Yes, all three of these pics are of you teeing off at the first hole. You can see how its representation has changed over time.

Overall

The Saturn version trumps the 3DO version and is probably superior to the Genesis version, except that as far as playability goes I thought the Genesis version was the best.

Pebble_Beach-Saturn-Stadler

Turn and Burn: The F-14 Dogfight Simulator (Gameboy, 1992, Part Of February’s Frequent Flier Friday)

Turn_And_Burn-Gameboy-title_screen

Top Left = how it looks on the Gameboy, Top Right = default color palette on the Super Gameboy, Bottom two are my attempts at colorizing it. So what’s your favorite?

No, I did not cover this one already. The other Turn And Burn was the sequel. I guess it’s fitting that my multi-month run of writing more about video games than about politics would come to an end after coming full circle like this.

The Game

Turn_And_Burn-Gameboy-takeoff

You don’t just set the thrust at 99%, you have to hold the buttons like you’re still increasing thrust in order to takeoff.

Remember last time when I talked about the importance of the altimeter and knowing what you’re enemy’s altitude is? Well, this game emphasizes that by not even showing the enemy on your HUD’s radar unless you are centered on its altitude. It does tell you the bearing and altitude you have to match in order to see it, and once you do see it you’re stuck staring at it. Somehow, no matter how fast you go or which direction you turn, the enemy is stuck within range of you, often stuck on your screen at a certain point FAR from your crosshairs, until you check the tactical map. That disengages you I guess.

Turn_And_Burn-Gameboy-missile_targetThanks to the choppiness of the controls, it is very difficult to meet the exacting standards of the bearings and altitudes you are given. Tap the d-pad once and you might hit it only to bounce back to the original direction/altitude. Tap it too hard and you’ll zoom right past it. Tap it normally, and you move in increments of 4. It’s all over the place.

I guess due to the limitations of the cartridge size and screen size your enemies do not have front sprites, just back sprites. Well, that’s a problem because they can still shoot you. I thought I was tailing an enemy jet when

Turn_And_Burn-Gameboy-jet

Enemy MiGs look like Space Invaders until you get really close.

suddenly it fired a missile at me. I mean, it is possible at least for some jets to do that, but it’s only ever been done once, and certainly in 1992 missiles would need to be pointing at their target.

Also worth noting, if you’re on the first mission and lose then it’s instant game over, while if you’re on the second mission (or later I presume) and lose then you start over from the first mission again. So… not much point to it really, except that you keep the points you earned on the previous run if you start from scratch without a game over.

I suppose ye be wonderin’ ’bout the story. ‘Tis none, to be sure. Maybe it’s in the manual.

Turn_And_Burn-Gameboy-landing

Carrier landings are quite familiar, though the same control issues I mentioned earlier make it feel more like the one in Top Gun.

Overall

if you want a portable version of the game, go with one of the Game Boy Advance releases. The controls are way better.

Turn_And_Burn-Gameboy-game_over

Carrier Aces (SNES, 1995, Part Of February’s Frequent Flier Friday)

Carrier_Aces-SNES-title_screen

I guess it’s accurate since the plane pictured took off from a carrier and presumably contains an ace pilot, but still you’d expect there to be an aircraft carrier in the title image of a game called “Carrier Aces”.

Something isn’t right when I shoot down more Zero fighters with a Dauntless bomber than with Hellcat or Wildcat fighters. Something is seriously wrong when the Aichi D3A bomber is nigh invincible in a dogfight with a Hellcat or Wildcat and downs either in a single shot after outrunning and outmaneuvering them.

The Game

Carrier_Aces-SNES-dauntless_versus_zero

With the Dauntless and Avenger, you can hit the R button to man the tail gun as your plane keeps flying straight. On the Hellcat and Wildcat, the R button just gives you a first-person perspective of the front with some generally useless crosshairs.

Whereas the last game was basically Pilotwings set in World War I, this game is way more in depth. You play as either the Japanese or the Americans, fighting out air battles

Carrier_Aces-SNES-carrier_landing

Carrier landings again, this was more like Turn And Burn but easier since you’re given audio instructions.

somewhere in the Pacific. Each mission has several sub-missions. You might trade places with the enemy too- in the first sub-mission you are the aggressor catching up to the enemy and you occupy the top of the splitscreen, then in the next one you are on the defense with the enemy starting out behind you and you occupy the bottom of the splitscreen.

I’m also pretty sure you can’t aim by sight alone when you’re using the forward gun. It seems like you also have to try to match the enemy’s altitude otherwise your shots look like they’re just going right through him. This gets more complicated if you take damage and can no longer read your altimeter.

Carrier_Aces-SNES-dive_bomb

dive bombing

Once the dogfighting is over, stages can have you either move in on the enemy ship, or defend your own ship using its anti-aircraft guns if your fighters were wiped out. When attacking, you have two different modes of gameplay depending on if you’re using a torpedo plane or a bomber. Torpedo planes fly at the ship from the side, and you need to drop your torpedo below a certain altitude and in a certain distance from the ship. Too high and your torpedo disappears in mid-air or something. Too close and you

Carrier_Aces-SNES-torpedo_attack

Torpedo run, but also if you’re in a fighter then you’d strafe the enemy ship in this mode.

collide with the enemy when pulling up. Too far and it says you fired too far away and your torpedo disappears. Figures your torpedoes would disappear, these are TBF Avengers afterall. If you attack a boat with a fighter, you’ll be at the same screen and can sometimes cause damage with your machine guns, or rockets if you have any. If you’re piloting a Dauntless though you dive bomb the enemy ship. This involves you flying towards a big background drawing containing a top-down view of the target vessel.

Carrier_Aces-SNES-equip

Don’t be an idiot like me- remember to equip your squadron with torpedoes, bombs, and rockets. Also don’t be like me and remember to actually HAVE a squadron! When I was just figuring this out, I accidentally started a mission with no planes in my squadron, which automatically gave the opponent a win.

I like the game’s sounds. It sounded like they had a .wav of gunfire instead of using a system-generated sound, and they had voice samples playing.

Overall

Carrier_Aces-SNES-destroyer_yamato

This is very extremely true.

It’s fun once you get the hang of it, I assume. I liked the parts I could do well enough, but

Carrier_Aces-SNES-mission_screen

The mission map screen. The octagon on the right contains a clock, counting down how long you have in which to choose which airplane you want to take on the enemy in. If you read carefully above, you will guess accurately that I was shot down in seconds.

I never really did get the hang of fighting another fighter with my own fighter. I found the tail guns in the Dauntless and Avengers to be easier to use.

 

It’s worth noting that this game has a multiplayer mode too, which ought to make for lots of fun as you fight a buddy to try and win World War II. There are a lot of missions to keep you busy, though I did not encounter a save mode or password.

Carrier_Aces-SNES-mission_fail

 

Wings 2: Aces High (SNES, 1992, Part Of February’s Frequent Flier Friday)

SNES-Wings_2-titleThis is the prequel to Turn And Burn, titled “Turn And Crash”. The game also has the monikers “Blazing Skies” and “Sky Mission” depending on which country you’re in.

The Game

SNES-Wings_2-dogfight

Dogfight! The first mission puts you right behind the enemy plane, but shooting immediately will just miss.

Taking place during World War One, you are an Entente pilot taking on the Central Powers, somewhere in France I guess. In a big flat field surrounded on all sides by mountains.

SNES-Wings_2-powerupYou select your pilot then go on a mission with them. After successfully completing a mission you have some experience points you can distribute to your characters various attributes. Then you come to a menu where you can choose the next mission or change your pilot. Unless all of your pilots are dead, in which case you go to the game over screen and have to start from either the beginning or the last password you copied down.

SNES-Wings_2-bombing

Bomb the factory! And don’t do like I did and mistake the smoke of the anti-aircraft fire that hits your plane as a bomb dropping just because you hit a button at the same time.

It doesn’t matter who you pick, the missions will always be the same and in the same order. There are three basic types: dogfighting, bombing, and strafing. That is, you fight another airplane or bomb a target or gun down a target on the ground. These missions are short too. The bombing one is basically a vertically scrolling shooter, where you dodge anti-aircraft fire and drop a bomb on the target. If you miss, you are demoted but get one more try. If you miss again oh well, onto the next mission. Same is true for the strafing one, except that’s like the dogfight where it’s a 3D flying environment. The problem though is you have a very limited amount of time, so you can’t just turn around if you miss the target.

SNES-Wings_2-strafing

You can kind of see on the right wingtip the target: a truck crossing the bridge. If I were trying to shoot it instead of posing for pictures, I would have to be shooting at it from right here.

Making up for seemingly infinite bombs and infinite ammo for your plane’s guns, I think it’s a realistic trait that your plane handles horribly. In order to turn without crashing, I had to put the plane on its side a certain way. If you’re not angled steep enough then you have to keep pushing up to stop from crashing. If you angle too steep then pressing up doesn’t help and you go into the ground. Now’s the best place to put it I suppose, but sometimes it’s really hard to tell how close you are to that ground!

Overall

SNES-Wings_2-crashedIf you liked the fighter stages in the Star Wars SNES games better than Star Fox, then this one is for you. Otherwise, just put in the extra $5 and get Star Fox. Though I will say, I think the difficulty on this game is a bit under that of Star Fox, and I suppose if I were actually a competent player I’d find the game short but as it was I spent an hour beating the same first 5 or 6 missions over and over again because I kept losing all my pilots.

SNES-Wings_2-game_over

Super Strike Eagle (SNES, 1993, Part Of February’s Frequent Flier Friday)

Super Strike Eagle-SNES-title_screenI like alliteration and I had some leftover airplane games from before I settled on Tomcat Tuesday.  Here is one of them.

The Game

Super Strike Eagle-SNES-ground_battleThe plot apparently involves you single-handedly attacking various ex-Soviet bloc countries to bring them to heel for the U.N.

Super Strike Eagle-SNES-flyingYou have multiple game modes here. The first is like a slower and choppier version of Turn And Burn that looks way worse. It’s your cockpit view as you engage enemy jets. I didn’t see an ammo count for the twin guns but I assume you have one, and you are stacked with 12 sidewinder missiles, at least for mission 1. I didn’t make it to mission two. Now, it is simpler to deploy countermeasures than it is in Turn And Burn- you just press L or R.

Super Strike Eagle-SNES-city

Somewhere in there is a target///

The mode 2 is actually Mode 7- you have a big drawing representing the map of the ground that rotates around and zooms in and out depending on what you’re doing in your jet, It is VERY hard to tell how low you are flying relative to it. Sort of like the Mode 7 sequences in Turn And Burn, but it’s a bit more urgent that you know where you’re at. Using your twin cannons, you’re shooting up targets on the ground. Anti-aircraft batteries, surface-to-air missiles (these two shoot at you so watch out), tanks, and buildings. In the city area, there is hardly any distinction between what you can and can’t shoot, so I pretty much ended up flying around looking for a target until I was shot down.

Super Strike Eagle-SNES-mapIn between the two gameplay modes, you end up on a map screen where you control which mode your plane is about to be in- you can fly at enemy planes to fight them in the air, or fly towards your targets to trigger the ground attack part.

So…. let’s address the elephants in the room. F-15’s DO NOT takeoff from aircraft carriers, only have ONE gun, and can only carry FOUR Sidewinder missiles. Even if they could carry more, there’s only 11 spaces for any kind of weapon. I guess this is why they call it “Super Strike Eagle”? Because it’s obviously not the regular one.

Super Strike Eagle-SNES-aircraft_carrier

The Verdict

You only have one life, though it is possible to save games. I guess it saves after you complete a mission. Too bad I didn’t. With easier games going for the same price, it’s not rally worth the bother unless you like Mode 7 a lot, like me.

Super Strike Eagle-SNES-game_over

Madden NFL ’94 (SNES, 1993)

Madden_NFL_'94-logo

In the long tradition of sports, I’ll start this by insulting the other side. A big “sit and spin” to feminists that say we can’t talk about sports because it’s exclusive to women and leads to male behavior. The manly men at ESPN can do the same. I try to tailor my insults to my target.

Like I did last year, I’m looking at a football game in honor of the Super Bowl this Sunday. The one I picked was the previous game in the series from the one I did last time. I had been under the impression that last year’s review was of the first game in the series, and only just now found that I wasn’t even close, and that the game I reviewed had no counterpart on other consoles. I think that’s an anomaly for the Madden series, where you have  a game that’s exclusive to one system. It came out in May of 1994, and the game up today came out in November of 1993, just in time for you to copy the action at the Thanksgiving Day football game. I got my copy 26 and a quarter years too late for that, so I’ll be simulating Sunday’s game.

The Game

Madden_NFL_'94-interception

The other team intercepted my ball 6 times, I got theirs only once. I still won.  The overall stats showed I didn’t even have the ball as long as they had it. I assume this means my defense was phenomenal while their defense was crap.

It’s just like the one I played last year. Pick your game options and play. I chose the 1969 Chiefs, facing off against the 1989 49ers. I think I enjoyed this one more though, or perhaps one year hence I’ve somehow grown more fond of football games.

Madden_NFL_'94-interception_rotation

Wikipedia states that this was the first Madden game to have the camera pivot when the ball changes teams, say for instance via interception.

There is one thing though- there was no option visible for deciding on getting a two-point conversion after scoring a touchdown. I don’t recall if the 3DO version had it, but I know other Madden games give you the option for doing that instead of kicking for the extra point (for those not in the know- when you score a touchdown your team immediately after can either kick the ball like you would for a field goal so that you get 7 points instead of 6 for your touchdown, or if you’re in a big jam or need an extra point to keep the game from being a tie then you can try a two point conversion, which basically means instead of kicking for the extra point your team tries to run the ball into the endzone a second play in a row. That’s much more riskier than the extra point, which only Apache Chief can block).

Madden_NFL_'94-glitch_options

These exact settings led the game to reset itself.

Just like the Madden game on the 3DO, we’re treated to some audio clips of John Madden talking synced up to sprites, though obviously here the quality is poorer and there are way fewer. Speaking of audio, I’d also like to note that I enjoyed the music. Catchy.

One big drawback- I got glitched out of a game I was playing. The game reset itself. Another drawback- I set the weather to include rain but that didn’t materialize while I was playing, or if it did its effects were not visible. Or maybe its effects were felt, explaining why I lost the ball a bunch of times.

Overall

Madden_NFL_'94-snes

This year’s “super-advanced simulating machine”.

It’s a pleasant football game, probably better if you’re playing with someone else. Madden 94 lets up to 5 people play together, though I don’t even have one person who lives within an hour of me that’d be interested so you just get this review based on one player. It’s a great budget title too- I paid less than $15 for a copy that came in a box with the manual. I don’t know if it’s supposed to come with as much equipment as the 3DO version had, but I assume it did because I’ve seen other football games do that, though none were Madden games. Do your research I guess is my warning to the completionists out there.

Madden_NFL_'94-plays

How I feel almost every time I’m at this screen. Sometimes it’s this too.

Yes, I know this review is short but what can I say that I didn’t say last time? To the untrained eye all these football games look alike, a topic I already have plans to dive into next year. Unless the Bills are going to the Super Bowl, then I’ll probably be in a coma at this time from the shock to my system.

Madden_NFL_'94-final_score

Due to the wildly correct guess I made last year, here is my prediction for Sunday’s scores.

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (Sega CD, 1994) – Part of Sega CD Sunday

Mighty_Morphin_Power_Rangers-Sega_CD-title_screenI never watched the show and it is taking much self-restraint to not add an apostrophe to “Morphin”. That said, I probably would’ve liked the show as a kid, but only after I started watching Godzilla movies.

This game is,  I think, a better learning aid than it is a game. I think it compresses 10 half-hour episodes into about 50 minutes. So if you’re a nerd on the go and have only an hour to pretend you like Power Rangers to impress a date, plug this in. Oh yeah, trigger warning: the black ranger is a Black guy, the yellow ranger is an Asian girl, and the pink ranger is a cisfemale. Now go complain to someone with a time machine to make sure this doesn’t happen. I think The Rock has one.

The Game

Mighty_Morphin_Power_Rangers-Sega_CD-prompts

Self-explanatory for what to do with the A, B, and C buttons from the picture at the left, but at the right the lighting bolt indicates which direction on the d-pad you press. In this case, down.

How can they make a game out of TV shows you ask? Pretty easily. Scenes from the show play, then more scenes from the show play. But these “more scenes from the show” are actually fight sequences. When they start, a health bar appears in the lower left corner of the screen and prompts for you to hit a button appear towards the center of the screen. If you fail to press the correct button when its prompt shows up, you lose health. As the difficulty increases, you have less time to hit a button, and it sure seemed to me like more button prompts appeared too. And if you lose all your health, a sequence plays of the Power Rangers in sorrow as their big mech thing falls into a lava stream like it was Doc Brown at the end of Star Trek III.

Mighty_Morphin_Power_Rangers-Sega_CD-giant_green_ranger

I could make a Green Giant joke and some reference to his height coming from his vegetable intake, I could say he’s a jolly green giant walkin’ the Earth with guns, but instead I’ll point out that this guy probably needs an aspirin after being stretched to 10 times his normal size.

Now you will have to play the highest difficulty if you want all ten adventures. Playing it on the lowest difficulty only gets you to the end of the story about the Green Ranger joining.

Overall

A good crash course I guess, not really much memorable about it though. Pressing the right button at the right time is good for a frantic rush though. If you’re a fan of the show you’d probably find it more enjoyable just watching the episodes rather than sitting there saying “Hey, weren’t these other fifty scenes in that episode? Whoops, no time to think of that because I need to press whatever the heck button that is!”, unless you want to frantically press buttons in familiar settings or unless you’ve watched the show so many dang times you need something to keep it thrilling (like how I’ll change between the Full Screen Laserdisc, Full Screen CD-I, Widescreen DVD, and Director’s Cut of Star Trek II because each version looks different or has different scenes, just to keep it unique after 28 years of watching).

Mighty_Morphin_Power_Rangers-Sega_CD-victory_screen

Sure, they get to use an apostrophe here but I can’t!

The Terminator (Sega CD, 1993) – Part of Sega CD Sunday

The_Terminator-Sega_CD-main_menuResuming the conversation from Wheel Of Fortune, this was released for $53.99 in 1993. That would make it $96.10 in 2019’s money. I saw it in several used video game stores around New Year’s for $109.99 so it’s safe to say its value has gone up a bit. As for my copy- I don’t even remember when I bought it, but I know I wouldn’t have spent $110 on it if I were sober, and I’m ALWAYS sober. I don’t think I’d have spent more than $75 on it, probably half that, so I must’ve bought it during a lull in the market.

The Game

The_Terminator-Sega_CD-police_station_terminator

In the police station, you periodically run into obstacle Terminators. You can only knock them down, you can’t kill them permanently. They’re like a tougher version of Harry and Marv in Home Alone 2 on the SNES.

It’s a platformer, based on the movie. You start by killing Terminators in the future with future weapons. You can get powerups to make your gun stronger Then you travel back to the early 1980s where you kill a bunch of punks and a police helicopter. Then you fight punks in a club, with the background music being some kind of dance song that samples lines from the first Terminator movie. Then you kill a bunch of what I guess are policemen or escaped criminals at a police station. Then you destroy machines in a factory. I got to the second-to-last level here. While in the past, you can get powerups to make your shotgun stronger. First it shoots faster, then it shoots stronger (and different) projectiles. No wonder Joe Biden said they’re good for self-defense- firing a plasma burst from your shotgun would scare anyone away.

The_Terminator-Sega_CD-level_2_skulls

Those skulls follow you around the first little bit of level 2. Someone either really liked them or just learned how to have a foreground element follow you.

In between each level, and at the beginning, you’re treated to a horrible looking video of a scene from the movie relevant to what you’re doing/did.

The sprite animations are nicely fluid, the controls are pretty good, and the music is CD-quality because obviously you’re playing on a CD.

That said, there was a drawback that held me up for quite some time. Sometimes a section of the level looks like a background detail, so you might miss a platform you need to hop on simply because it doesn’t look like a platform. That really only happened in stage 2, but it was a damned nuisance. Or maybe my brain saw “oh ok, sometimes background objects can really be foreground objects” and I never noticed later. Either way, I spent like 5 minutes scratching my head about this before looking up on YouTube what to do.

Overall

It’s not worth $110. It’s a quick game, if I didn’t suck at video games in general that aren’t Mega Man X then I’d probably have knocked this off no problem in 45 minutes or so just

The_Terminator-Sega_CD-tech_noir_virgin_logo

As you can tell, Virgin had a hand in both this game and the Sega Genesis one.

like some user on YouTube did. It’s not particularly hard.

When I looked up this game, I saw several sites saying it wasn’t the same as the Sega Genesis version. Aside from a shared title, I wondered why they kept insisting. So I looked at a video of the Sega Genesis version- it actually does look pretty similar to this. Now, when the sites say the Sega CD version had new gameplay modes, I don’t know what it means. It has more levels, and takes longer to beat, but it certainly doesn’t have anything more than platforming action. So… I guess if you want a cheaper Terminator platform fix, get that version, because the added bells and whistles are not worth an added $100 to the price.

The_Terminator-Sega_CD-Game_Over

oops

Wheel Of Fortune (Sega CD, 1994) – Part of Sega CD Sunday

Wheel_Of_Fortune-Sega_CD-title

The title was in motion, this was the best I could do.

I didn’t plan on doing this one for this week, but then I remembered that Vanna White had taken over hosting the show for Pat Sajak in the episodes that were taped for last week. I don’t remember that ever happening before, not that I’ve ever watched regularly. But I figured since she was hosting, I’d present a past occurrence when she hosted- this game.

The Game

Wheel_Of_Fortune-Sega_CD-wheel_spin

As you can imagine, spinning a wheel factors into it. In this game, you have to hold the spin button down until that red and yellow bar in the upper left reaches into the green, otherwise the wheel will spin but it won’t count.

You can have up to three players. It plays just like the show. For those who don’t know because they hate their parents and grandparents (I personally assume that the only reason NBC News has such high ratings is that Wheel Of Fortune and Jeopardy! are on right after, thus baby boomers and older folks don’t have to get up and twist the knobs on their Arkay Fantasias to flip from the news to the Wheel) and so try to avoid or insult everything they value from religion to Republicans as an act of impotent rebellion from their basements because you majored in gender studies and can’t make a career of it outside of a college, the rules of the show go like this: each contestant takes a turn, and when it is their turn they spin the wheel. When the wheel stops spinning, the contestant gets whatever a little stationary needle is pointing at on the wheel, but only under

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Vanna White will walk by the yellow rectangles to reveal the E’s that I guessed were in this puzzle.

certain conditions. If the needle points at “lose a turn” or “bankrupt” or “free play” then the contestant is immediately awarded or punished with those items. If the needle is pointing at a monetary value, the contestant gets that amount of money only if the letter they call out is in the puzzle, but you can only call consonants for free. Vowels cost money to get. The puzzle itself can be a word or series of words. Sort of like playing hangman for cash. If the letter you call appears multiple times, then you get that many times the prize money. So if the needle is pointing at $500 and you say “T” and there are 3 “T’s” then you get $1,500. If you get “lose a turn” or “bankrupt” it’s the next player’s turn, or if the letter you guess is not part of the puzzle then it’s the next player’s turn. Otherwise, at this juncture you can “buy a vowel” since you now have money to pay for it with. Then you would spin again. The process repeats until your turn ends from one of the aforementioned pratfalls or you figure out what the words are and share that with the host during your turn.

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Yes, it did take me until this point to solve the puzzle. I am terrible at this sort of thing.

This is rather easy to replicate in a video game, and the Sega CD is more than capable of doing it. As are the SNES and standard Sega Genesis. What the Sega CD does differently though is feature a better soundtrack (it is a CD afterall) and video clips. Clips of Vanna White doing hosting duties (prompting the player, displaying the letters you’ve guessed that are in the puzzle, congratulating you or moving turns along) are played, and animations of your player doing various poses are shown. However, the graphics are way superior to what you get on the Sega Genesis and SNES versions. Because it’s actual videos, not sprites. The loading times aren’t too terrible, so if you have the option I’d say go with this version over the other two.

Overall

Probably the best version of the 16-Bit era, and the best available until those 32-Bit consoles came out. Good job, Sega CD. Too bad I suck at Wheel Of Fortune.

Oh yeah, this game apparently was $59.99 when it first came out ($104.12 in 2019 moneys) but I got it for only like $8 ($4.61 in 1994 moneys). I guess $59.99 was the standard price for new Sega CD games at the time, since Sonic CD debuted at that price too. For those of you scratching their heads about why Sega made such expensive games (I mean, even now who charges $104 for a new game today, unless you count all the digital downloads you need to buy to make a game work as advertised), it was because other companies were releasing CD-based consoles at that time and probably most importantly Nintendo had announced that they too were working on a CD add-on for the SNES. With no real marketing data aside from projections and surveys and no history to look to, Sega took a chance.

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The crappier adaptations were by a different company. These guys though… I like their work with Star Trek games, especially the Game Gear ones.