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Sonic Spinball (16-Bit) Review

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Time to finish off my “review worst games thingy” topic by reviewing Sonic Spinball (the Megadrive version)! Instead of reviewing a game with a bad reputation (even though it may or may not deserve it), I decided to do the opposite and talk about a game that is considered mediocre, and see if it deserves that reputation. Is this game fun? Let’s find out!

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Let’s start with the gameplay; it’s pinball. I’m assuming you already know how to play pinball, but just in case you don’t (and are still living under a rock from Pac-Man 2600), here’s a quick summary: you move a ball in a playing field to score points. To get points, you have to hit multiple targets. At the bottom is 2 plastic bats called flippers. Don’t let your ball fall in the drain!

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Well, that sounds like exciting gameplay (not). In the previous article, I stated how I despise this game. And I do. That is because of the terrible controls. I don’t mind the game being different, and “not a platformer”, as long as the game controls well, and is fun. But, they messed up this game too much for it to be enjoyable.

Casino Night Zone is 100 times better than this game, and it’s built into an already great game! It may not be a pinball game, but it’s much more fun to play, and less tedious!

There is a story, but it’s basically nothing. The back of the box says that “Dr Robotnik’s latest fortress is a giant pinball machine!” and Sonic needs to destroy it. That’s it. According to Wikipedia, there is a bigger story, but most players won’t get to hear it. It’s basically saying Tails and Sonic fly into the scene (I assume on the

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Is Pac-Man (Atari 2600) really that bad?

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Keeping with the theme of my last two articles, it’s time to tackle another poorly rated game. The arcade Pac-Man is probably one of my favorite Coin-Op games. But, the 2600 home port is something to be desired. As I’ve found with both ET 2600, and Sonic ’06, bad games aren’t really as bad as many say they are. But, we’re only half way through the bad game list. Here is my “review worst games thingy”, with the game Pac-Man: on the Atari 2600!

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The gameplay is very similar to the arcade game. But, if you’ve lived under a rock for at least 30 years, here is a recap: you eat pellets, travel around a maze and avoid ghosts. There are bigger pellets, that turn you super. This means you can eat ghosts.

But, porting an arcade game to an inferior system never ends well. In this game, Pac-Man eats wafers, the game only displays one ghost at one time so the ghosts flicker, and a poorly designed maze. But, we all expected modified graphics and level layouts. But the ghost flickering is not excusable.

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But, I can’t really complain about the game as much as other games (say ET, or the next game that I will review next week). The reason is that there is another Pac-Man game on the Atari 2600. This game is Ms Pac-Man. If you really wanted a Pac-Man game on the 2600, just go for Ms Pac-Man.

However, this is a review of Pac-Man 2600, and not Ms Pac-Man. Is this game fun? The result is similar to Sonic ’06, and ET: the games are fun, but only when reviewing, Let’s Playing, or with a friend. You wouldn’t go back to play this game, as there are better games. But, it’s still …

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Is Sonic The Hedgehog (Sonic ’06) Really That Bad?

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Last week I wrote about ET being counted as “the worst game of all time”. This week, I decided to try and tackle another game that is hated by many; Sonic ’06. Many call this “the worst Sonic game”, and “if you like it, you must be crazy”. But, is it really as bad as people say? Let’s find out!

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Let’s start with the story: Why did they decide to make the story this bad? I would usually try and explain the story, but this story is so putrid, so bad, that I just can’t. I have no idea who thought this story was good. This story is also so convoluted, that it would take over 9000 years to explain. If you want to see the story in it’s entirety, watch Sonic ’06 The Movie. Actually, scratch that. The story sucks, and you shouldn’t go and watch it.

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The graphics look a lot like an early PS3/360 game. But, they decided to put the anthropomorphic characters inside a “realistic” world. Most of the main animal characters (Sonic, Tails, Silver, ect) have mediocre models with poor animations. The humans are very bland, and have terrible models AND animations. So the graphics are pretty meh.

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The music is some of the best in the whole series. Seriously, even if you hate the Sonic franchise, you still need to hear the music. The world tracks and atmospheric tracks are both amazing. Just listen to the music. Please. It’s one of the main things you should own from this game.

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The gameplay is very similar to Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure 2. There are 3 main hedgehogs that you can play as, with 3 slightly different move-sets. These are Sonic (obviously), Shadow and newcomer Silver the Hedgehog. The levels are different, so you won’t get bored.

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However, it wouldn’t

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Is ET Really the “Worst Game of All Time”?

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When browsing the internet for games to avoid, you will find many people who will say E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial for the Atari 2600 is the “worst game of all time“, and you should avoid at all costs. But, is the game really that bad? Let’s find out!

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Let’s start with the graphics. For the 2600, it is pretty good. While everything looks green, it isn’t blinding, and you wouldn’t have moaned back when it was made. I will say that I prefer the simpler graphics of other 2600 games, because they are more streamlined. But this game isn’t that bad.

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There is no music, except the title screen music that is pretty ear-grating. The sound effects are mediocre; when you walk around, it is just noise. But, the noise isn’t that bad, as it is at a pitch that isn’t deafening.

The gameplay is pretty good, especially as the game was rushed. The objective is to collect three pieces of a telephone, so ET can call home. The pieces are randomly scattered throughout pits. If you walk too much, you will run out of energy and “die?”. It’s not explained what happens when you run out of energy, ET just collapses.

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To get out a pit, ET uses it’s neck to levitate out of a hole. It makes no sense, but what did you expect? Avoid the other people, as they will steal your phone pieces. When you collect three pieces of the telephone, you have to call home when nobody is onscreen.

So, the answer to the question: Is ET really the worst game of all time? I’d say no; while the game is mildly fun, it’s not a masterpiece. But, it is not as bad as other games. (Crazy Bus anyone? What about Big Rigs?) …

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Crash Bandicoot Review

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Crash Bandicoot is counted as one of the most influential video games of the original PlayStation era. Crash had many great games during his hay-day, but the multiplatform games (that came afterwards) were mediocre. But, this article is only about the first game. Was it as good as Mario and Sonic? Let’s find out!

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Crash Bandicoot is a 3D platformer that was created back in 1996. This game was developed by Naughty Dog (they would continue developing the games until 1999). This games codename was “Sonic’s Ass Game”, meaning they wanted to make a 3D platformer to rival the 3D Sonic that was in development hell.

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Crash Bandicoot is set on 3 islands that are south-east of Australia. These islands are all owned by Dr Neo Cortex, the villan of this game. With help from Dr Nitrus Brio, he creates a Evolvo-Ray that turns animals into beasts with superhuman strengths. He wants to make a peaceful bandicoot named Crash into the leader for his army. Cortex uses a “Cortex Vortex” to put him under his control. It doesn’t work (what a surprise) and Crash escapes. Cortex decides to use a female bandicoot instead of Crash (this bandicoot is named Tawna). Crash has to save her.

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We all know how this story goes. Care to sing along? “Princess Peachy is captured, Mario save her! Same with the Crash, just bash Cortex!” (not the best song ever, but sums up my reaction to the story). This is very similar to Mario and Sonic. An evil scientist capturing animals is Dr EggButNik, and saving a female character (in this case a female bandicoot) is Mario. Could have been a little more subtle, but oh well.

Instead of starting with gameplay (that will be left to the end, as I’ve got a lot to say), let’s start …

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SNES-CD Add-On

If you are too much of a hipster to read the full article, check out my YouTube video on the topic: 

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The most well known add-on with a CD-ROM slot for a retro system would most likely be the Sega-CD (or the Mega-CD, depending on the region that you live in). Nintendo never got to see an add-on for the SNES that added this format. Or did they? In this article, I will talk about the SNES CD add-on, and the more well known “Nintendo Playstation” system.

Back in 1988, the NES had dominated the market, and Sony wanted in on the video game industry. 久夛良木 健 (Ken Kutaragi) bought a Famicom for his kids. He wasn’t impressed. He went to Nintendo, and signed a deal. With the NES successor approaching, Sony would supply the audio chips for the system.

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The Famicom already had an add-on called the Famicom Disk System, and this was Nintendo’s first attempt at a disk based add-on. However, it broke often, and was unreliable. Despite this, Nintendo were still keen to use CD-based technology for their systems. Sony noticed this, and went to Nintendo for another deal; Sony would build and release a system that played both SNES cartridge games, and CD games (that Sony would provide).

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The Super Disk was finally in development. A few years past, and in 1991, Nintendo re-read the contract they had signed with Sony. They were shocked. Sony (being the evil company they were), had made it so that they had all control over CD based games, and Nintendo got no money from the games.

June 1991; Sony unveils the Nintendo Playstation to the world. Games weren’t the only things this system could play; it could play movies, music, software and more. Nintendo had a plan. The day after …

Top Gear Rally Review

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Where do I start with this game? It is such a strange combination of good and bad, that it is interesting to play. But, is this game good, or worse than mouldy bread that you left in your bread bin? Let’s find out!

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Let’s start with the plot. There is none. Didn’t expect that, did you? You did? Anyway, this is just a racing game, where you race against other drivers. That’s it. The full plot. Nothing wrong with it though, as a racing game doesn’t need to be about saving a princess.

The game play is the same as every other racing game; drive around a track, and overtake other players. We all know how a racing game works.

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The graphics are mediocre. If you compare it to other 3D games on the N64, it isn’t anything special, and it is worse than other games. However, if you compare it to 2D games, this game looks amazing. But, this was for the N64. So, they aren’t great graphics, but they are much better than other games (on older systems) that came before it.

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The controls are also mediocre. They control fine, but there is one problem; they are exaggerated massively. By this, I mean that if it you are playing the game, a slight tap of the analogue stick will send you in a 360 degrees turn.

However, the controls make the game very fun to play. It makes it hilarious to go and spin off the tracks. Yes, this is bad design, but you cannot help laughing at the results.

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The music is really good, and can rival some of the best video game music.  You would listen to these tracks in your spare time.

One problem with the game is with it’s name; why relate it to …

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Sonic Eraser Review

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Didn’t expect this obscure game, did you? Sonic Eraser is a game that was exclusively for the MegaNet service. However, this game seems to be more of a cheap tie-in game, and doesn’t live up to the quality of the original trilogy. Also, this game makes a great game for Valentines Day (that’s actually a lie; don’t give your Sega fangirl wife this game, because there are better games than this). So, in this article, I will review Sonic Eraser.

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The first thing to point out is the game is in Japanese. But, it is also in English. The instructions/How to play screen is in Japanese, and there isn’t an option to turn it to English. But for the UI, some of it is in English (like text that says “1 Player” and “2 Player”).

There is no story for this game (as far as I can tell). I can’t read all of the Japanese text, so I cannot be sure about this. With all I know about Hiragana, and a mix of Google Translate, the pages in the title book include the controls, the gameplay and the credits, but no story.

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The gameplay is a mix between Tetris and Columns. You can’t rotate the blocks, you can only change the order of them, and move them left and right. When they land, they are affected by gravity. This is a nice change from other games, but it’s nothing revolutionary.

The graphics in this game are alright. It uses some sprites from the main games, but the new graphics (like the new UI or the blocks). I wouldn’t say it looks as good and vibrant as Sonic 1 or Sonic 2, but it doesn’t look terrible like Sonic 3D: Flickies Island. They hold up, only for the …

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Sonic Generations Beta

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Sonic Generations: one of the best modern Sonic games to date. This game features Classic Sonic and Modern Sonic, running through old levels from their past, in glorious HD. However, it wasn’t always like this. So, in this article, I will talk about the beta of Sonic Generations.

Generations started out as a game codenamed, “Sonic Anniversary”. In an interview with a SEGA representative, it was leaked that it would be a combination of 2D and 3D gameplay, and would be for the Wii, PSP, PS3 and DS. When he was asked about the Xbox 360 version, he indicated that talks were still ongoing. The cut ports (Wii, PSP and DS versions) were most likely cancelled not far into development.

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Ryan Drummond (one of the original voice actors for Sonic) was contacted by SEGA to re-audition for Sonic. He would have played Dreamcast Era Sonic. However, due to a fundamental professional disagreement, he declined the opportunity. Classic Sonic was also going to have a speaking role. Aaron Webber (the brand manager, at the time) said it would have to be Jaleel White. However, Jaleel was never contacted about the game, meaning the idea was dropped early on, and they made Classic Sonic mute.

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While looking through the game, hackers have found Sonic Unleashed Debugger files. This wouldn’t be that interesting, if it wasn’t for the extra files that were found. They found multiple files leftover from an install process, more debug files and an old video renderer.

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There were images that would be used in an install process. However, they weren’t images from Generations. It had Modern Sonic, but it also had Werehog Sonic. Generations most likely started out as a port of Sonic Unleashed to the PC platform. However, since the 20th Anniversary of Sonic was coming up, and …

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Castlevania – Symphony of the Night Review

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I did not expect this game to be so fun. Castlevania – Symphony of the Night is one of the best games for the PS1. And the PS1 is home to some of the greatest games of all time! So, without further ado, here is my Castlevania review!

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Let’s start with the plot; this game begins after the previous game. Four years later, Richter has gone missing. So, Alucard travels to the castle. Inside, he meets Dracula’s servant (his name is Death), who wants him to stop his quest, and wants him to destroy the castle. Death strips Alucard of his weapons. So, you are on a quest to find Richter.

The story is pretty good. I expected something less complicated, but the story complements the game nicely. Could the story have been improved? Only if they had recapped what happened in the previous game. It is a lot like most RPGs; you have to play the previous games to understand the story. But, it is still fun, even if you don’t pay attention to the story.

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The music is amazing. These tracks are songs that you may listen to while working on other projects, or in the background of YouTube videos. They are really well composed, and as a result, they sound amazing to the ear. Even if you don’t like Castlevania, you should still go and check out the soundtrack.

Graphics-wise, this game looks beautiful. This is especially important, as the PS1 had a lower resolution than the rest of the consoles. So, this game really shows off what the PS1 can do. And, just for that reason alone, it makes this game superior to many other PS1 games. The graphics are a mix between 2D and 3D; the main part of the game is 2D, while some …