Saturday, January 24, 2015

#137: Lethal Weapon

Guns. Guns are lethal weapons.
Ok, so I know Lethal Weapon is a movie franchise from when I was a kid so I really should have seen these movies. But I haven't. I think they're mixed-race buddy cop movies? With Mel Gibson and Danny Glover? I also had never played the game before. But it probably features guns in some way...
Pipe traps... 8(
It turns out this game is a platformer where you start off as one of the cops. Play until he dies. Then play as the other cop. Until he dies too. Then you can continue up to 5 times. It took me all of my continues to beat a level. Which it turns out was level 3, since it lets you select your mission and I chose the first one I found.
Mel Gibson can FLY!
This game is not very good. Enemies routinely shot from off screen and ripped my health to shreds. You could duck bullets if you saw them coming (or if you eventually got paranoid and ducked every couple steps just in case) but you couldn't shoot or kick while ducking. Sometimes I'd duck and an enemy with a machine gun would choose to never shoot. Instead he'd just walk over to me and kill me by running into my ducked character.

Maybe if I'd seen the movies I would have cared more about the different missions? Are they even from the movies? Looks like no. The final boss of this game is the final boss of the 3rd movie though so there is a tie-in there.

I didn't really like the game, but it was still a functional game with three different buttons. So it's better than some things! It also had a decent song playing which I suspect might have been the theme song for the movies? Maybe? If I'd seen them maybe I could say for sure.

Rating: C

Saturday, January 17, 2015

#136: Jimmy Connors Pro Tennis Tour

Hmm... Another sports game with a pro name attached to it. I've only given out 12 F- ratings so far and FIVE of those have been sports games with a pro name. D+ is actually the highest rating given to such a game (unless the name is John Madden). So I really didn't have my hopes up here.
The game actually started off with a 'training' option on the main menu. I went into it and they actually walked me through what the different buttons did and how to serve and tips on how to play well. And it uses ALL SIX BUTTONS!
Crunching the numbers!
The game has two control modes. One where you run around on your own and one where the AI moves for you and you just control swinging the racket. With your 6 different options for how to hit. And I believe you do the aiming, and the power control. So even if controlling your guy is clunky and unresponsive you could just let the computer handle it for you!

Controlling your guy wasn't actually clunky or unresponsive. It was actually really good. Pretty much the only thing missing from the controls that I would have wanted is a 'dive and swing at a ball away from you' button and I completely understand why that doesn't yet exist.

After every 2 games (when you switch sides of the net) it takes you to a neat stat screen which breaks down all sorts of things like your 1st serve percentage and your unforced errors. Stats they'd show you in an actual televised tennis match. Stats that I'm happy to see tracked by the game!

There's a tour mode which looks like it follows the actual tennis tour. You certainly start off at the Australian Open, which I believe is the first big stop on the tour. It has a system for assigning points to each tournament, and a ranking leaderboard of the 16 players. It changes the court based on the actual court types at the physical locations.

In short... This game is amazing. I'm a little worried that I'm letting how terrible most sports games have been that the fact that this one is playable and fun makes it stand out too much from the crowd. But I was really happy with this game, and I actually think I played it a fair bit as a kid. In retrospect I remember playing some game with the tour system in it, anyway.

And while putting in the developer name I realize this game was made by UBI Soft? Yes. That UBI Soft. And it looks like this may actually have been their first console game. Way to go UBI Soft!

Rating: A+

Saturday, January 10, 2015

#135: Jeopardy! Featuring Alex Trebek

Jeopardy! opens with an actual speech sample that sounds an awful lot like the actual intro to the show. I'm really not expecting any surprises from this game. Trivia questions that you have to answer in the form of a question. From 22 years ago.

I'm featured!
Alex Trebek is featured in this game. They have a pretty good likeness of him that has some animation going for him. And they have his voice! He says something to introduce the categories (not the categories themselves, but the lead in to them) and he says 'The answer is' before every single question. Just like the show, really.
The input screen is a little annoying because of how slow it is. The alphabet is in one long line. I figured out that I could hit up to go to the numbers and then down to go to the letter I (or up then left then down to get to R) which helped, but it sure would have been nice to have a better interface. An alphabet grid or something?

Despite the questions being 22 years old I was able to answer a fair number of them. I smoked the computer! Because I was able to get the Final Jeopardy question which asked about a talk show host. It was Oprah!

I had a surprising amount of fun playing this game. I know I liked it as a kid too. And now I want to see if I can't find a more recent Jeopardy! game.

Rating: A+

Saturday, January 3, 2015

#134: Gods

The name didn't ring a bell but once I started playing the game seemed rather familiar. You play a muscled dude in a platformer. Climb ladders, throw knives at enemies, collect gems from their corpses. Get some keys, open some doors. Pretty straightforward stuff.

Bird are jerks!
One of the things I often complain about is bad use of the SNES controller and this game has that covered! One button is for jump. 4 buttons are for nothing. The last button is for attacking, activating switches, picking up items, and managing your inventory. And it's particularly awkward how it decides which thing to do. If you're upright or jumping then you attack. If you're ducking and on top of an item then you pick the item up. If you're ducking and not on top of an item then you switch to a different inventory slot. Stand up with an item selected and you drop it so you actually only have 3 item slots, not 4. Note that this means there's no way to attack while ducking. Enemies often fire projectiles that you need to duck under and it sure would have been nice to be able to hit them! And then to activate a switch you need to be facing the wall, which you accomplish by hitting up. You can't attack while facing the wall, but you sure can get attacked!

This may seem like a pedantic argument, but when you get game overed you get to put your name in for the high score screen. But you can't use vowels, and you can only use 3 letters. Ok, fine, maybe it's a weird restriction from arcade machines... But then to have them use vowels and full names for the sample scores... STUPID!

The game also suffered from having enemies spawn on top of me and gank me. It has annoying clunky controls too, so enemies coming from multiple sides at once was a real pain. Both are things you could learn to deal with by memorizing the spawns and knowing when to switch directions and such. But I didn't like it.

I feel like this game would have been a fine Commodore 64 game. Those had awkward controls because joysticks only had one button. Clunky movement made sense too. But to have those in my SNES game? I am not a fan.

Turns out this was initially an Amiga game, but it came out in 1991. So the SNES port was only one year later. No excuse for not using all the buttons... 

Rating: C-