RetroReview : Mega Drive March Madness Part 6
Dateline 31st March 2012
As we say goodbye to the Mega Drive, in closing it is worth saying that this is one of my most favourite machines ever. It looked cool, it played your arcade favourites and brought some arcade quality into the home, producing new gems such as Streets of Rage and Sonic that are iconic masterpieces of video games programming.
Of course there are the downsides too. Each game cost around £40.00, it suffered from some lazy conversions compared to the SNES, the Mega Drive II wasn’t as cool as the original console and at the end of the day it was being flogged to death for every last drop of technological advancement it had (the Mega CD and 32X)
One final thought – when the Mega Drive first launched in Japan it was possible to import Mega Drives into the UK Legally. These were known as “grey imports” which led to much confusion. We all thought the Mega Drive was black and wondered if we did get one, it would be a dodgy grey coloured version. Oh how we had much to learn……..and we all waited for the original UK release. Well my mates did, I had to wait until 1994 to buy a second hand version from a chap at college.
Anyway I digress – here are the final few Mega Drive March Madness games………..
SUPER KICK OFF – It’s probably worth remembering that 50% of the games with the word SUPER stuck in front of them were rubbish and the other 50% were great. So how do you go about making the world’s best football game even better ? Well not by sticking the word SUPER in front of it because never have I had a more disappointing gaming experience than when I played this. I couldn’t believe that Kick Off could have two such differing versions. The controls are abysmally awful with the ball constantly running away from you. Everything moves too slowly and the graphics are inferior to the Amiga version. The main thing it lacks is playability and that is what made Kick Off great. I hate to say it but Sensible Soccer happily thrashes Super Kick Off when you put them up against each other.
SUPERMAN : THE MAN OF STEEL – Usually I can find words to summarise a game, good or bad. It might end up with the same old phrases being trotted out, but it comes from the heart. So how do I honestly critique a game which is as average as Clark Kent, about as interesting as watching paint dry and guaranteed to make your enthusiasm for the Man Of Steel wane faster than the excitement of the ability to leap tall buildings with a single leap ? I’m afraid I just did. Move along please, there is nothing to see here……..
THUNDERFORCE 3 – Far too freakin’ hard for the likes of me. It looks fabulous but suffers from graphical slowdown when too much is going on. No matter how many times I had a go at it I couldn’t get any further and threw down my joypad, tears running down my face. I can’t handle games of this intensity, so it’s one for die hard fans of the shoot em up genre and back to silly effeminate looking platform games for me…..If that wasn’t depressing enough, this is regarded as being the easiest in the series !!!
TURRICAN – Anyone who has played this game would have instantly been struck by how fluid it played, how good it looked and the pretty cool soundtrack. The weapons were ace with the rotating fire being the best choice. The way Turrican looked and moved was pretty amazing. The whole intergalactic look was a big hit with gamers and underneath was a very playable game with some real depth to it. The one problem Turrican had on the Mega Drive was that it was simply a straight port of the Amiga version, some near 2 years before. As such, games had moved on quite a lot since then and, compared to the look of Mega Turrican a few years later, the two could be world’s apart. Worth a look though, definitely.
VR TROOPERS – One thing the Mega Drive was full of was sub par Street Fighter type games that simply failed to capture any imagination or originality before being released. This is a fine example of that, a cash-in on the Power Rangers spin off a-like that were plaguing us in the mid 1990’s. So awful is this game that there is absolutely nothing to see here, even if you are a fan of the series. It should be given a wide berth at all costs. This is a sanitised, almost anti Street Fighter/Mortal Kombat game that fails to achieve anything at any level. Avoid.
WOLVERINE : ADAMANTIUM RAGE – I am not all that convinced that as time has gone on there have been that many successful X-Men games. So taking the most popular character and giving him his own game was a rather bold move. Saddling him with adequate graphics and sounds might win favour in some courts, but when you then chuck in appallingly hard levels, impossibly difficult computer AI and some clunky controls, the gaming experience will make wish you had claws coming out of your own hands to poke your own eyes out.
ZOOL – Finally a game which wowed Amiga owners who were desperately seeking an answer to the console dominance of Mario and Sonic. There was nothing as fast or as colourful as Zool and when the game appeared on the Mega Drive nothing had changed. However, console owners were less than impressed by the over sensitive controls, the samey gameplay and the garish graphics. There were many pretenders to Sonic’s throne over the years, and perhaps Zool is the one that should have come closest to taking the crown. The fact it was so far from the mark was one that had many games experts scratching their heads in disbelief.
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