RetroReview : Mega Drive March Madness Part 5
Dateline 30th March 2012
Sequels and licences, two of my least favourite things. They go together like wood chippings and jam and there are far too many inferior examples of them across all formats of video games. They still produce them to this day, with video game developers chasing that last penny from us all in return for something that stinks worse than last night’s curry.
Expect this to be a mix of the sublime and the ridiculous as we enter the next part of Mega Drive March Madness……….
RAMBO III – There can be no denying when I first saw a shot of this game in C&VG back in 1989 I was totally mesmerised. There was Rambo, standing in front of helicopter, trading ammunition blows. Wow, that was mightily impressive. So when you actually play the game itself it really is no more than an extension of the old Ikari Warriors game, where you scroll up and across through wasteland, taking out the bad guys. The problem is, you get one sodding life and that goes pretty quickly. I know I am a lame games player when it comes to be being killed over and over again, but I just found this too hard for my liking. Having said that, everything about it is pretty good – the graphics look amazing, the gameplay follows a traditional format and the music is sublime. So worth a look ? Yeah I would say so, but it might not be everyone’s cup of char.
ROBOCOP III – Having loved the original on the Amiga, hated the sequel on the Amiga and found the C64 version of the original film incredibly frustrating, you can perhaps excuse my apprehension in approaching this title. This is also totally different to the 3D vector graphic driven Amiga version, which may be the reason that this is an awful piece of software. It is just too damned hard to get anywhere in the game. Whilst it looks OK, the controls are hit and miss and Robocop jumps like he weighs 4 tonnes. The odds are unfairly stacked against you and as a result you’ll spend more time bashing your head against the screen than you will progressing further into the game.
SCOOBY-DOO MYSTERY – Well this is different. After presumably looking at the likes of the Monkey Island games and realising that point and click adventures weren’t dead in the water, up pops this title and gives you a nice surprise. With the choice of two adventures and the chance to take part in some of that legendary Scooby Doo humour, you control Scooby and Shaggy as they attempt to solve the mysteries. It’s a decent enough effort and one that will charm fans of the cartoon, but the real let down is the stupid password system, which when you consider that battery back up cartridges were commonplace in 1995 makes it all the more stupid that it wasn’t included here. So give it a whirl if you fancy some fairly non-taxing Scooby style fun, but adventurers wanting a bit more depth might have to pass on this one.
SENSIBLE SOCCER – Regular readers will know that I absolutely hate Sensible Soccer and consider Kick Off 2 to be the king of football games. Having now gone back and played the Mega Drive version of Sensible Soccer, I was actually rather surprised by how playable it was. I can forgive the crappy music and the fact that the player names are badly spelt variations of the real names (owing to copyright), and underneath find this is not a bad game of football. It still has the silly faults I remember, such as ability to score from the halfway line and the goalkeepers sucking. There is no denying though this is not a bad game, it just won’t win me over that easily.
SPLATTERHOUSE 3 – Having never really played the previous two games in the series, I thought it would be a bit of fun to have a stab at this. No one likes mindless violence in video games more than me, and there is plenty of that contained within, albeit with a horror/gothic vibe to proceedings. You simply punch and bash your way through a series of levels, and rather cleverly depending on the route you take and the time you take you can end up with different endings and game patterns. The game is full of gore and guts and although the action does get a bit repetitive after a while, the option to power up and quicken your journey is a welcome relief. Coupled with the massive sprites and cool music this is an excellent adventure beat em up and worthy of your attention.
SUNSET RIDERS – Now this is quite cool ; a game based around cowboys but rather than simply shooting Indians it casts you as a sheriff, scrolling left to right whilst shooting all the bad guys and bringing the villains to justice. Along the way you have to alternate between levels and avoid cattle stampedes. The action is fast and furious and for me it was too much of both of those, meaning that little progress was made and many untimely deaths occurred. However, rather than getting annoyed and fed up with this, it acted more as an incentive to keep going. It is this factor, as well as looking quite stunning, with decent controls allowing you full fire rotation from your standing position, that makes Sunset Riders a recommendation without hesitation.
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