Saturday, January 25, 2014

#85: Super Bowling

Turkey it up, yo!
The name Super Bowling pretty much says it all. This is a bowling game on the Super Nintendo. It works pretty much as you'd expect. Position your bowler, aim your ball, choose your spin, choose your power. Two of those are untimed selections, the other two you need to hit a button on a moving slider to add some variance and player skill to the game.

The problem with Super Bowling is a video game implementation of bowling is boring. The only bowling video game that anyone has ever enjoyed is Wii Sports - Bowling and then only because it was a decent use of motion control.
Unlike many of the games I've been forced to endure recently this is actually a pretty decent implementation of a game. If you're looking to bowl on the SNES this will do what you want it to do. It even has 'golf mode' where you have to bowl against different pin set-ups.

Rating: C

Saturday, January 18, 2014

#84: The Simpsons: Bart's Nightmare

Worst intro screen... EVER!
Bart's Nightmare is a game I can remember renting multiple times as a kid. There weren't too many games that meet that criteria so this game must have been pretty good, right? Or maybe just really hard? I'm not quite sure...
Bartman VS Barney!
One thing I do know is this game feels like The Simpsons. It has so many little things thrown in to reference individual episodes... Jebediah Springfield's cut off head rolling down the street, for example. Or Blinky, the 3 eyed fish. It has Simpsons music, and Simpsons appropriate voiceovers. It feels like a really good themed tie-in game.

D+ is better than F!
The game itself is a little frustrating. You start off on the street in a dream sequence and need to platform your way around trying to survive until a page from your homework floats down the street. Jump on the page and you get teleported into a minigame. Beat the minigame and make progress towards getting your homework completed. Fail and you get kicked out into the street.

I didn't get to all the minigames this time around, but I could remember some of them from more than 20 years ago regardless. Itchy and Scratchy, Bartman, Bartzilla, a really weird Indiana Jones level, an even weirder level where you're floating in a bloodstream using a tire pump to kill army cells while you collect Smilin' Joe Fissions. I think there are 8 in total? I beat 3 of them this time before I died which is how I got that lovely D+ on my homework.

The minigames are fun but the street section is annoying. You acquire powerups by jumping over things, but that only works if you're on the exact same plane as the enemy and the enemies move across planes so it's annoying to do. A lot of the street level feels like a way to throw in episode references, which is neat the first time you see them, but gets old. Surviving until you find a page isn't a terribly interesting game mechanic and it gets even worse when the bets way to survive is a skateboard that moves so fast you can end up missing pages!

I wonder if there are any glitches in this game to speed beating it up...

At any rate, I was having fun and only played the one time because the sound was messed up in my emulator. I think I may need to download a new one or something because this problem is cropping up more often than I'd like. This was a fun game back in the day, and actually feeling like The Simpsons has to be worth a bump.

Rating: B+

Saturday, January 11, 2014

#83: Roger Clemens' MVP Baseball

Play Ball!
This game is new to me, but I've played a lot of baseball games in my day. I didn't think I'd have much of a problem with this one. Boy, was I wrong...

Toronto Bears?!?
The first problem was a corrupted rom. It was making the annoying loud clicking sound that helped give Jack Nicklaus Golf the dreaded F- rating. On top of that most of the graphics were garbled. So I went out and got a different copy. This one had fine graphics but it still had the headache causing sound. This automatically made me unhappy, but I wanted to persevere and see what the game had to offer...
I GOT IT! (I don't got it...)
What the game had to offer is the worst fielding experience I've ever seen. Pitching is done with home plate at the bottom of the field. Fielding is done with home plate at the top of the field. The camera does an annoying swivel between the two which made it impossible to properly orient myself to field the ball.

Even worse the bases remained in the first orientation when it came to the controller. So I couldn't throw to the right base. It feels like if I want to throw from the outfield to second base I should hold down and throw but that would send it to home plate. Even after I figured out what was going on I couldn't get my hand to listen because of so much baseball game muscle memory.

I pitched to 9 batters. All 9 hit balls that should have resulted in an out. Instead they scored 6 runs and left the bases loaded. I wanted to try out hitting but I couldn't conceive of ever getting anyone out.

Rating: F-

Saturday, January 4, 2014

#82: RoboCop 3

Orion Pictures?
I wasn't expecting too much from a RoboCop 3 game, but my initial thought was that if they made 3 of these things it was probably not terrible. Unfortunately this is a game based off the movie 'RoboCop 3' and not the 3rd game in a progressively better series of games. Now, there were games based on the movies RoboCop and RoboCop 2 but they seem to have been made by different companies/teams so this game doesn't actually have the benefit of being the 3rd game in a series despite the name.
Very shortly into the game I ran into this robot that fires heat seeking grenades. (Maybe they're magnetic?) My gun shot while ducking couldn't hit it. My punch while ducking couldn't hit it. I couldn't figure out a way to aim down while jumping so I couldn't even pull off a cool acrobatic move to kill it. I died to it twice and then just gave up and ran by it. The first time it killed me by continuing to launch grenades from far off screen but the next time it gave up for some reason.

5th best!
Eventually I found out that I'd picked up a second weapon type that shoots up and down and I probably could have killed that robot with it instead. Then I got game overed and decided that I didn't want to play again to give that a try...

Why didn't I want to play again? The controls are super chunky. Avoiding enemy fire seemed really hard. Like, so hard it probably wasn't possible and certainly wasn't worth trying. Robocop's best plan was to walk straight into the enemies and hope he could shoot them before they shot him. There was enough health packs to sustain this on the first level so maybe that was actually the plan. I've never watched the RoboCop movies so I don't know if that's actually how he rolls.

Then I made it to what I assume is the boss. He was on a motorcycle that I couldn't seem to avoid and killed me from full in 2 hits. Screw that!

Adding my annoyance was the high score table. It didn't loop around. So I had to start at A and then cycle through every single letter to get to the Z. Old school pinball games knew enough to connect Z to A the other way! Maybe you stick blanks and numbers in between but you always let the player cycle. Not this game. No, whoever was in charge of the high score table code had never played a game before. Nor had the people testing it. If they had people testing it. (Or maybe they just ignored the tester feedback.)

Rating: F-