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The SNES Rankings II: The Tickening Every game - #700-651

Nov 7, 2017 at 6:02:28 PM
Brock Landers (54)
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< Wiz's Mom >
Posts: 10813 - Joined: 05/04/2014
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Do you ever wonder if obscure crap like Time Trax is any good?  Or get curious as to how the different Super Scope games stack up against each other?  Ever wish there was a detailed list of SNES games that expanded beyond the usual top 100s? 

No?  Well, fine.  Perhaps you're just trying to kill time at work.  In any case, here I present the complete (and completely and utterly biased and subjective) rankings of every US-released licensed SNES game during the console's lifespan.  Thousands of hours and many years in the making (and one very bewildered spouse later), I have played every game enough to write-up a small capsule review of each and every one of them.

...and many of them are very, very, very, very, very, very bad.  So bad.  For awhile I'm going to do my best to avoid coming across as an Angry Video Game Nerd copycat because that trope has been way overdone and is not especially funny when in the wrong hands.  So bear with these first few hundred games as we wade through forgotten sports titles, licensed platformers, and anything with Arnold Schwarzaneggar on the cover.

What specific process do I use to rank these games?  After all, John Madden Football and Romance of the Three Kingdoms are two very different beasts. 

Well, I have a very scientific method...



Really though it's just gut feelings.  What do I have the most fun playing?  What is the most aggravating, or boring?  Which entries am I eager to revisit, and which ones will I never put in the system again?

Links
Volume I: #714-701
Volume II: #700-651
Volume III: #650-601
Volume IV: #600-551
Volume V: #550-501
Volume VI: #500-451

Games that will not be covered by this project:  SFC/PAL games, competition carts, re-skinned Latin American releases, unlicensed releases, Piko Interactive titles, homebrews, Miracle Piano, combo carts, pirates, Rom hacks, etc.

Disclaimer #1: The images are NOT MOBILE OR VINTAGE FRIENDLY
Disclaimer #2: Write-ups and/or pictures MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS.  Read at your own risk.
Disclaimer #3: I may take a few liberties with dramatic license, or remembering small details.  Some of these games were beaten 25 years ago after all.
Disclaimer #4: I'm going to do my best to keep all reviews independent of other versions of each game.  I don't have time to play every port of Mortal Kombat and then try to see where the SNES version measures up.  And I don't know or care if Hurricanes is better on Genesis or Amiga.  This list is strictly SNES, and how those games measure up against each other.
Disclaimer #5: Many of the games were only played against the AI.  As much as playing co-operative Troddlers or competitive Troy Aikman Football could give me a more accurate empirical opinion, no-one I know is gonna play that shit with me in the 21st century
Disclaimer #6: Again, this is not supposed to be an objective list.  This is just one person's list with all preferences and biases apparant.  So Street Fighter II is gonna be 100 spots lower than where you have it, Mortal Kombat is gonna get bashed, I only have a superficial understanding of hockey and soccer, and Titus games are not that bad.

A special thanks to my editors bronzeshield and Splain for spotting my abuses of the English language and having the patience to slog through them with me.

-------------------------

Writing about every SNES game - Volume VI
SNES Set - 712/723 (Ghoul Patrol)
Switch: SW-6880-6470-3131


Edited: 02/20/2019 at 01:37 AM by Brock Landers

Nov 7, 2017 at 6:02:36 PM
Brock Landers (54)
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< Wiz's Mom >
Posts: 10813 - Joined: 05/04/2014
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700 - Emmitt Smith Football



Tired of the football games yet?  We're only 15 games into this thing and Emmitt Smith Football is already the third gridiron title to appear (not counting Space Football because it should be called Space Rugby Pinball).  And there are still many more to come.  It's endless.

I actually consider ESF to be slightly superior to similar dreck like Pro Quarterback because despite also offering the meager gameplay modes of single exhibition game and nothing else, this one kind of actually resembles a football game, even if only superficially.  And it runs at 8 frames per second instead of 4.  And looks like ass instead of mega ass.  That's as close to praise as we can get at this point because everything else is (sub)par for the course.

The graphics are... well just look at those screenshots.  Hell, just look at the goalpost graphic for Chrissakes.  Pitiful.  Considering the game has one character sprite, a field, and a goalpost, they probably had one guy assigned to do it all.  And he was terrible at it.

The play selection process tries to be different, but only succeeds in being cumbersome.  Before selecting your formation you have to select what I'm guessing is the personnel package you're sending out on the field.  "Big" would obviously be your large powerful players, "fast" would be your burners, and "hands" would be your best catchers.  But what's the point?  Am I gonna rock the hands team from the I-formation?  Or my big team from a spread shotgun?  Not that I ever noticed any difference from what I picked anyways.  So it ends up just being an annoyance and extra step in getting a play call in.

Football checklist:
Running game - completely busted, I use the same play every time and average 10+ yards a carry.  Defensive ends never play contain.
Passing game - completely busted, the receivers will stop running their routes once you release the ball.  What the fuck? 
Playing defense - completely busted, just sell out on the run every play

I also lied, there is one more feature to the game besides just the options menu and exhibition games.  And that is a create-a-play mode.  But with passing and running so inherently busted, what is the point?  Plus it's painfully limited, so don't expect to be able to give your receivers triple moves or anything.  It's a good idea, but it's poorly executed and it has no value because the attached game is so unplayable.

Of course there are no licenses at all (except Emmitt's ugly face) which is pretty standard for bad sports titles.  Not so standard for 1995 though, which is when this game came out.  It would be one thing if this came out around launch, but JVC honestly thought this could compete with stuff like Madden 96 and Quarterback Club 96?  Maybe they though the allure of a Cowboy on the cover would make it sell?  Because Emmitt's teammate Troy Aikman already had a fully licensed game that came out the previous year.  So who was this game for?  The mind boggles.

Now I think there is a reason why I'm being so hard on football games, and why there has been so little representation from sports like soccer or hockey so far.  Part of it is because games like ESF truly are wretched and poorly designed pieces of shit.  But part of it is also my understanding of the sport and the expectations I have for these games.

For example, I don't really get soccer.  You pass a ball around for awhile, try to dribble down the field and keep it away from the computer.  Eventually one of your guys might have a clear shot on the net and so you take a shot.  Maybe you score, maybe you don't.  Beyond that, I have no idea if things are unfolding as they should.  You can swap in this exact same sentiment for hockey, volleyball, tennis, wrestling, curling, Quidditch, boxing, or badminton.  If the nuances are wrong in any way I'm not gonna know.

That's not the case with football (and baseball, and basketball to an extent).  Here, every player on every play has be acting in a way that is not only conducive to fun gameplay, but in a way that simulates a football game as well.  It is very obvious to me when that is not the case.  If pass coverage doesn't cover passes, run stopping doesn't stop the run, blitzers don't blitz, runners don't run, blockers don't block, and receivers don't receive, everything immediately starts breaking down.  So many other sports titles are gonna be getting a little bit of benefit of the doubt, or at least benefiting from ignorance on my part.  Games like Emmitt Smith Football will not.

Did I beat it?
Yes, I smoked a couple teams with the Cowboys.  Or at least with the grey unlicensed generic team from Dallas.  The childhood 49er fan me is rolling in his grave with how often I have to pick those assholes to help my odds of winning.



699 - The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends

  

The first of many terrible licensed platformers, The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends is based on the old cartoon about the anthropomorphic talking squirrel and his idiot moose friend as they defend Minnesota America from the Soviet-esque Boris and Natasha.  It featured horrendous animation, but had what snobs would call "smart" storylines, which has helped give the show legs and an enduring legacy. 

Well this game has the honor of placing in the bottom 50 because it stays in the spirit of the show by looking like shit, but dumps all of show's brains, and then tacks on horrible control and gameplay to top it all off.

From the main menu you are able to start a new game, or use up to three attempts on two different mini-games.  It's pretty bizarre, but probably the best idea the game comes up with.  The first mini-game stars Sherman and Mr. Peabody fighting a dragon.  You do this by blowing bubblegum into his mouth.  Uh, yeah, it's as strange as it sounds and I have no idea what the context is.  The other mini-game stars Dudley Do-Right on a horse, trying to outrun a train while jumping over fallen logs and boulders.  It plays alright I guess, and probably represents the best part of the entire game, which is a pretty sad indictment of just how poor the rest of the game is.  If you complete either mini-game you are awarded an extra life for the main game.

When you start the main game it throws you headfirst into the fire right off the bat.  The first level, which you can see in the pics above, stars Bullwinkle trying to scale a mountain while birds, mountaineers, and boulders try to pummel him to death.  Your main attack is a headbutt and is pretty good at crushing boulders, but seems useless at doing anything else. So the name of the game is going to be avoiding everything while dealing with terrible controls and a massive character sprite.  That's always a winning combination.

Though really most of my deaths aren't from the endless obstacles thrown at you, but from falling.  Namely falling through the mountain when you finish your ascent, or falling when I'm trying to jump across some tiny wooden planks as birds attack you because the controls are so damn squirrelly.  Or moosey in this case (I apologize, I will never do another joke like that for the rest of this project I swear).  They seriously couldn't ease you into the game with an introductory level or two?  These mountaineering levels would be near the endgame in any other platformer.

Assuming you managed to suffer your way through the mountaineering, the next level has you guide Bullwinkle underground where he fends off bats and stalactites and other nonsense.  It is ridiculous how unforgiving this game gets, and how quickly too.  It would be tolerable if, again, Bullwinkle had anything resembling an effective attack.  Instead you just have to try and frantically avoid touching anything while your giant moose doofus is flying around out of control and always on the verge of falling into a chasm.

If you memorize your way through the caves, and somehow don't die to the five million hazards gunning for you, you are treated to a mine cart ride level similar to what's in the first Donkey Kong Country.  All I can say is good luck getting through this one because it is a huge bitch.  I lost the will to keep playing after several game overs here.

THQ Countdown:
Pit Fighter #713
Race Drivin' #712
Rocky & Bullwinkle #699
Average = 708

Did I beat it?
I beat the mini-games...



698 - Bronkie the Bronchiasaurus



The first of the RayaSystems edutainment games, and easily the worst.  Or maybe just the most aggravating.  Aggravation plays a big role in games making my bottom 50.

This one is about asthma, and the gameplay mechanics try to tie-in to that.  For instance, before every level you'll get some facts and tips about living with and treating asthma and you'll have to answer trivia during the levels in order to open barriers that block the rest of the level.  Every time you take damage your vision will start to darken and you'll need to use an inhaler to restore it.  And many of the environmental hazards are cigaretts, dust, smoke, and so forth.

There's also health packs, but I don't know what they do.  In fact, the inhaler aside, I don't know what most of the items or power-up do.  And I beat this damn game twice.  That's always a hallmark of great design; you don't know what any of the things in the game do.  I guess it doesn't matter because you can take a ton of punishment, so a general rule of thumb is as long as you avoid falling to your death, and you use an inhaler every now and then when the screen is super dark, you'll be good to go.

What else... the game is ugly as sin.  It might actually be the ugliest game on the system outside of Pit Fighter.  Everything is just so drab and lifeless looking.  Hell this could almost pass as an unlicensed NES game.  Even the bosses, usually a game's artistic highlight and something I seek out for pictures to include, are boring and unimpressive. 

The level design is also super terrible.  They all go on forever, the mechanics are stupid (again, an invisible wall will often block you until you find a friend and answer their asthma trivia), and there are tons of blind leaps of faith leading to instant deaths.  It can also be really hard to tell what you can or cannot stand on.

There's also no indication that you're doing damage to anything which really throws you for a loop with the final boss.  How hard is it to make an enemy flash or something like every other game on the planet?  I had to dig around for a longplay just to find out what to do because it was so unintuitive:





And speaking of the boss fights; they all suck.  They're all either too easy, or too convoluted and annoying.  Like the mammoth boss, dear God what a trainwreck.  I hate that fight more than any other fight on the system.  This is supposed to be a game meant to teach small children to manage their asthma, so why do I have a giant tusked elephant murdering my ass like a beast possessed?  Here's a mock-up I have made of the difficulty scaling in this game:

This fight is just one long kick in the nuts.  God help if you if you game over on him and have to restart the game again.  Overcoming the mind-numbing boredom of the levels once requires Herculean fortitude.  Being asked to do it again is akin to torture.

It's also funny to me how this is becoming one of the most expensive games on the system.  Obviously no-one is buying it just to play it, but it still seems like a rather cruel pill to swallow.

Did I beat it?
Yes, twice.  I will never play it again.



697 - NBA All-Star Challenge



Did the Nerd cover this one?  Or maybe one of his legion of imitators?  Well if they did they showed you some clips of some mini (nay, micro) games that would have been window dressing in a title like NBA Jam or NBA Live.  Here it's the entire game.  Shoot free throws (time a button press), shoot 3 pointers (time a button press), or play 1-on-1 (mash buttons, hope something happens).  Pro Quarterback and Emmitt Smith Football could barely be bothered to offer anything other than the ability to play a single game, yet they still feel more full-featured then this garbage. 

Since there is basically zero gameplay to most of the modes, I'll just talk about the 1-on-1 mode. It's set up as a tournament where you select a handful of NBA players (from the selection of "All-Stars available), and then proceed to play out all of the matches in games of 21.  And it's probably even more unplayable than Barkley Shup Up and Jam.  The shooting seems to be complete chance, and judging the rebounds is nearly impossible.  I don't know why, but the awkward perspective means the AI opponent will recover basically every one of them and it's not even worth trying to go after them.  In fact unless a loose ball is coming back straight to you you're better off just switching over to defense as soon as the shot misses.   After every game, win or lose, you move on, so there's barely even incentive to try and do well.  And when you're done you just shoot straight back to the title screen. 

There is honestly nothing else to write about.  The game is as barebones as it gets, and anyone who spent $60 on this back in the day was basically robbed by LJN.  Any unfortunate children who got this game as a present probably gave up video games in favor of something more rewarding like pogs or drugs.

LJN/Acclaim Countdown:
NBA All-Star Challenge #697
Average = 697

Did I beat it?
Yes, twice.  Clearly I do not value my free time.



696 - Cool World



Oy vey, Ocean's licensed movie games are just the worst...  this will be the first of many on the list, and their average ranking will not be complimentary.

Cool World is based on one of those hybrid live-action/animated movies that comes out every now and then.  This one was a Ralph Bakshi (Lord of the Rings, Fritz the Cat) product, and starred a young Brad Pitt as a... actually I have no idea.  I never bothered to watch it, and I never will because it has been practically lost to time since; banished to obscurity like so many other shitty forgotten movies. 

Judging by the one sheet's hard-boiled Pitt and the femme fatale standing next to him, I'm gonna say it's a noir film...



Just like Who Framed Roger Rabbit?  How creative.

I'm also pretty sure the game is a NES port.  Or I should say, this game looks and plays terribly, and there is a NES version of Cool World, so I'm just gonna make that assumption.  The character sprites are tiny and devoid of detail, which is pretty damning considering the cover seems to indicate they're supposed to be pretty outlandish and over-the-top.  And the control scheme basically consists of "jump" and "do something."  Again, very NES-ish.

Describing the gameplay is tricky.  It's kind of like an early LucasArts adventure title, but sans all the fun.  And humor.  And logic.  And interesting characters.  You're introduced to your Brad Pitt character as he falls from... somewhere, and lands in some kind of cartoon hell.  From there you go around different buildings and pick up items, and then use those items to get into other buildings.  That seems to be about the gist of what the game offers.  Occasionally a cartoon cat or something might try to set you on fire, and a jumble of tiny flea police will try to arrest you and send you back to the level's beginning, but everything looks so crappy that it's hard to say what is truly going on.  Perhaps this all ties into the movie somehow, because otherwise it's just one of those games where you take every item and try to use it in every place until you succeed, and slowly memorize exactly what to do to make progress.

Anyways every time I've played this I've wandered around for a bit until the inevitable game over came up and kicked me back to the main menu.  I've never had any desire to hop right back in.

Ocean Countdown:
Cool World #696
Average = 696

Did I beat it?
No, I can barely get anywhere.



695 - RoboCop 3



Everyone remembers RoboCop, right?  It told the time-honored tale of the beloved father, husband and cop, who gets gunned down in cold blood by the dads from Twin Peaks and That '70s Show, comes back as a hulking cyborg, teams up with Nancy Allen, and murders approximately ten thousand Detroit criminals.  And Ronnie Cox.  It's a modern classic.

Well I'm not sure anyone remembers RoboCop 3.  It was the PG-13 sequel that killed the franchise with a boring plot, nonexistent action, no Peter Weller, and a massive reduction in blood and gore.  I don't know about you, but half of the reason I watch the original film is for how insanely violent it is:

  

Instead the family-friendly third film has RoboCop teamed up with a kid (always a winning formula) and protecting the inhabitants of Detroit's slums from their evil corporate landlords and some British guy.  There's also a robot samurai, but he's barely in the movie.  It's so boring that every other detail escapes me, and I just re-watched it a month ago.

Anyways none of that matters because this game has nothing to do with anything.  Each level has you guiding your Peter Weller-lookalike as he wanders down generic streets, gunning down millions of thugs, turrets and flying drones.  Or at least I assume that's the case because this is one of those games where I can't beat the first damn level.  You know the type; you've got a massive-ass character sprite that is constantly getting shot from every direction, with awkward firing angles, no real way to dodge, and little to no warning of enemies as they pop onscreen and shoot you point blank in the face.  And of course the level goes on forever, with no checkpoints, and some clumsy platforming thrown in to boot.

And you have to manage your bullet supply.  I mean, really?  Does anyone play Contra or Turrican and think "I wish the ammo was limited?"  No, they fucking don't.

So yeah, the game sucks.  Badly.  I'm not sure why I didn't have it in the bottom ten.  Perhaps because the suffering is so short-lived.  Or because the SNES just has too many unplayable games and I ran out of room.  Consider it an honorary worst-game candidate.

Ocean Countdown:
Cool World #696
RoboCop 3 #695
Average = 695.5

Did I beat it?
...



694 - Taz-Mania

 

I HATE this game too.  Maybe even more than Space Football.  Maybe more than any game on the system.  Or any system for that matter.  Taz can really just suck a big one.

And all because this game is so damn annoying to play.  Each level consists of running down a winding road and trying to eat little birds while trying to avoid the millions of cactuses, puddles, signs, motorcycles, and uh, your mother, that are trying to stop you.  That's it.  There's bonus levels, but those also consist of running down a road and eating birds.  It's like a racing game, but without the racing.  Or the game.

I'm just gonna say it, chasing stuff down in video games is not fun, and it never was.  It wasn't fun in Space Football, and it isn't fun here.  Perhaps that style of game is for some people, but I am not one of them.  Does anyone like fetch quests?  Does anyone like fetch quests where the desired doo-dad is trying to evade you?  No, everyone hates every part of that sentence.

And why isn't it fun here?  Because of two major problems. 

One, like every mascot game of the day, the game wants and prods you to go fast, fast, fast (thanks a lot for that Sonic, asshole).  And that would make sense because this is a Taz game.  That's sorta what he did; fly around like an out-of-control crazy man.  The problem is the game is not designed to accomodate this, and punishes you at every turn for it.  Once you start spinning staying on the road is basically impossible.  And sure, his spin will destroy some obstacles when he hits them.  But not all of them, and there's so many that you're just gonna hit the next one up anyways.  In order for this mechanic to actually work it has to offer a reward to go with the risk.  If it's all risk than what is the point?  You're best off just never spinning.  Ever.

The second problem is the damn birds.  You're on a timer, they have very erratic movement, the hit detection for grabbing them is super iffy, and the hit detection for everything else is even worse.  So actually collecting them is a major pain in the goddamn ass.  Roughly every 100 feet down the road is an intersection, with cars and trucks trying to take your ass out when you cross.  Well even if you avoid that incoming vehicle the game will either make you get hit anyways or will lock you into a getting hit animation and actually move you into place to get hit.  Fucking.  Bullshit.  You also cannot see anything half the time because your character's sprite is not only huge, but moving all over the damn place.  At some points when the road is going up and down you literally cannot see anything.  As in you're 100% blind.  Then a car pancakes you and your blood pressure rises.

So why is the festering piece of excrement not rated lower?  Well the animation and graphics are alright, the frame rate is smooth, and in the early going when the game is a lot more leisurely paced it's not a completely terrible experience.  So I guess I recommend playing this game in 5-10 minutes sessions.  If you must play it.  Which you shouldn't.

Did I beat it?
No, the second half of the game is a rapid descent into madness.  Anyone who sticks with it is a stronger person than I.



693 - The Tick



The Tick is a (very) mediocre brawler with boring enemies, uninspired level design, few moves or mechanics, and stupid boss fights...



...stretched out for HELLISH lengths.  And did I say enemies?  I meant enemy.  Thousands of the same enemy.  For roughly five thousand levels.  You may die of old age before completing this game.  Now they may sometimes look like ninjas and sometimes look like clowns, but make no mistake, they're all the same.  And be prepared for hours of kicking those same ninjas over and over and over again with the same attack.  It never changes, and it never becomes fun.

Actually I should say it mostly never changes, because there are a few sorry platforming levels that last for about 30 seconds each thrown in.  And at the very end of the game you are inexplicably jumping from speedboat to speedboat for one level.  Like the developers reached the end of the project, realized they had created the most monotonous game in history, and decided the solution was to quickly shit together something with motorboats.  All of these levels take up about 3 total minutes of the 4 hour runtime so they're almost like a footnote of a footnote.

Think I'm exaggerating about anything I just said?  Here's the longplay, clocking in at 3:50:44





Be sure to watch it at 3:24:37.  A classic "throw the controller moment."

If The Tick was a normal-length bad game it could of comfortably slipped into the mid-500s.  Games in that range are dumb, but not actively trying to punish the player. Instead here it sits, a product of evil, made by people who hate themselves, designed to inflict pain and suffering on the end user.



It's still way better than Last Action Hero though.

Did I beat it?
Yes, though it took so long it technically happened in the future several years from now.



692 - Terminator 2: Judgement Day

  

The first of four Terminator games on the system, and easily the worst.  Well, not easily.  There is another terrible entry in the series I'll get to soon enough, but it's terrible in much more tolerable ways.  So this one gets bottom nod.  It is completely in-tolerable in every way.

Many people would probably have this in their bottom 10 because of how irredeemable every part of it is.  But I have an admission to make.  Any game that lets me soak up about a million hits before I die doesn't aggravate me as fast.  Maybe it's because it gives me more time to bask in how comically awful the game is, and my disgust has turned to into amusement.  I dunno.  But if you died in a normal number of hits in this game it would be battling the likes of Ultraman for a spot in the first installment of this project.  That's the closest thing to praise I can give this game.

T2 is of course another action platformer shooter thing, with occasional driving stages.  It was a popular mixture back in the day I guess.  And especially popular with Terminator games.  The controls are horribly stiff and awkward since that's practically mandatory at this point too.  In fact they might be second only to Pit Fighter as far as overall awfulness goes.

Your stiff Arnold mannequin character has two attacks, both of which are quite pitiful, and a jump, which is even more pitiful.  You'll use them to fend off endless waves of respawning enemies.  And they are endless.  I guess that's why the developers gave you so much health, rather than, you know, fixing the problem of too many fucking spawns.  Your best bet is to just brute force your way through everything because playing with any sort of finesse (or skill) seems impossible.  Dodging anything is also pretty much out of the question as Arnold's slow ass animations mean you're a sitting duck at all times.  And like I said, you're not going to be jumping over anything:



Jesus Christ.  That actually got through QA?  Did games have QA back then?  Not at LJN apparently.

Another fun aspect of the game is figuring out what to do.  As in you don't know what to do because the onscreen text is virtually unreadable.  I assume it's telling me my mission, but the hell if I can make it out.  Unless you consult a guide you're probably going to be wandering around back and forth hoping to trigger something for most of the game.

If you do manage to stumble through that first mission you'll then be treated to that time-honored tradition of the Terminator vehicle level.  And let me just say this one is the WORST OF THEM ALL.  I can't even begin to properly describe the fail here; it's just something you have to experience for yourself.  Think Cannondale Cup's baffling controls, but you can't see shit, and you dont know where to go.  Then make it even worse.  That's the motorcycle levels.

LJN/Acclaim Countdown:
NBA All-Star Challenge #697
T2 #692
Average = 694.5

Did I beat it?
No, fuck this game.



691 - RapJam Volume One



You may not be able to tell from the box art, but the gimmick with this game is that it's NBA Jam... but with rappers!  Instead of selecting a team you pick from players such as Coolio, LL Cool J, and Flava Flav.  And that is where the rap tie-in ends.  None of their music plays during the games; not even a loop of one of their hits during a menu or something (note - any hip-hop experts are free to correct me here).  I don't even think simplified versions of songs are present, it's all just generic z-grade RJVO originals.  If Rock 'N Roll Racing could pull off respectable versions of Highway Star and Paranoid then you'd think the developers could have done "something" here.  But who needs famous rap in a game about famous rappers?

Graphics-wise the game is... well just look at it.  It's another title that could make a claim for worst on the system. The character sprites, besides being small and ugly, are also completely indistinguishable from one another.  There is a dude model, a lady model, and a midget (?) model, so good luck figuring out which one of them is supposed to be a member of House of Pain or Queen Latifah (hint it's not the girl).  None of them play any differently from one another either as far as I could tell, so I don't even know why they bothered with the rap tie-in at all.  Besides the portraits during the character select you'd never know this game was supposed to be about rap.

As far as gameplay goes, RJVO isn't unplayable like Barkley Shut Up and Jam, and it's slightly less annoying than Jammit, but it still blows pretty badly.  The name of the game on defense is goal tending, or shoving any attempted dunk.  If you park a guy in the key the AI will always pull up for a jumper, and you can easily grab those out of the air.  As far as offense goes your best bet is screening your defender or baiting him into shoving someone else so you can get a clear shot off.  Any uncontested shot has about a 90% chance of going in.  If you have a open lane to the basket you can throw in an easy dunk, but unless you're playing the easiest of opponents that lane truly needs to be massive in order to pull it off.  Otherwise you'll just get tackled in mid-air every single time.  So the game basically becomes RapJumper Volume 1, since no-one is actually going to be doing any jamming.

Absurdly enough, this game supports up to 4 players.  Next time I have a game night I might spring this upon my unsuspecting friends just to bewilder them.

Did I beat it?
Yes, as Warren G and his two ladyfriends.



690 - The Rocketeer

   

Another early title, this one based on the (now) obscure Disney film from the early '90s, which itself was an adaptation of some old comic or serial or something.  The Rockateer movie starred some unknown actor as some guy who becomes a rocket pack superhero, fights dapper Timothy Dalton and his Nazi-stand-in fascist goons, and falls in love with Jennifer Connelly.  This plot has been very clumsily shoe-horned into a video game.

Part of the reason I have this game so low (besides being kind of shitty), is spite.  Spite that I spent a couple hours playing it, and was teased with a completion, only to get my ass kicked by the Timothy Dalton boss on the final blimp level.  And not just getting my ass kicked, but being flummoxed while doing it.  Good luck figuring out what you're supposed to do, it's totally trial-and-error. 

I'm fine with changing up the gameplay mechanics every level; but when you completely change it up in the final one to something you have not seen before whatsoever, it's super annoying to have to do another attempt from the beginning just to try and figure out what is going on.

The rest of the game sucks ass in various ways too.  It has some shooting gallery segments kind of similar to what you see in The Untouchables, some horrendous shmup sections that make D-Force look like a Compile game, and some plane racing sections with a forced perspective that has to be one of the most awkward in the history of the genre.  Now none of them are horribly difficult, but they all go on for waaay too long.  If I had to individually rate all of them, I'd go:

Biplane racing: D-
Biplane shmup'ing: D-
Shooting galleries: D+
Fisticuffs on a blimp: ???

Now I haven't seen the movie since it came out so I have no idea if the music is faithful to the Jack Horner score or not, but I will say that it sounds extremely simple and "8-bit".  This is an early title so perhaps they hadn't figured out how to use the sound chip yet.  Not that that's an excuse for being shitty.

Did I beat it?
No.  Fuck you very much Mr. Dalton.



689 - Jammit



Dammit, Jammit.  I love hate you.  So much.  And how many of these stupid jam games can there possibly be?  And why are basketball games in general so bad?  This is already the fifth one on the list!

The gameplay in single player here is somehow even worse than Barkley Shut Up and Jam.  Playing defense is impossible as the AI will sink about 95% of its shots (it might actually be 100% and I hallucinated a few misses).  Any dunk they try is also gonna be automatic; I've never successfully blocked or defended one.  So to have any shot at winning you'll just have to pray that the PC doesn't score on one of its possession through some fluke miss or turnover.  Or at least that is the best idea I've come up with.  I can't win a single game so what do I know?

Playing offense isn't completely terrible as there is some skill required to make shots via timing the release of the button.  Hell, I'd call it almost fun (relative to the rest of the game).  Probably not so much when playing the PC because you're always losing anyways, but against another player I could see it being a good time, even in tiny, tiny doses.  I don't know that for sure because I've never bothered to ask anyone to play Jammit with me for obvious reasons, but it's the best explanation I can come up with for why this is ranked a tad bit higher than BSUaJ.

There's also some other game modes if you wanted to keep playing this for some reason.  They all have really stupid indecipherably "rad" menu names but I think it's stuff like "Horse".  I couldn't muster the strength to actually try them out, but they're there if you're curious.

The music is also extremely early '90s.  The best comparison I can come up with is the Seinfeld theme song.  Very bassy white guy pseudo-funk.  It's not completely terrible, which is the best thing I can say about the game in a back-handed kind of way.  Though there is one track that is pretty bizarre and bordering on progressive.  It's not great, but it's at least kind of interesting.

Pros:  This may be the most "early '90s" of the all the Jam games.  The graphics and dunking animations are hilarious(ly stupid)
Cons:  This may be the most "early '90s" of the all the Jam games.  Also, controls, graphics, gameplay, sound, music, hate-inducing characters, and gameplay again.

Did I beat it?
No, that would require making at least one career stop on defense.



688 - NFL Football

  

So many terrible football games on this system.  So many.  This is the only the fourth one I've covered so far, but there has to be at least 50 more in the bottom half of the library.  I've already theorized as to why I think these games are so prone to failure in the last installment so I'm not gonna rehash that.  But suffice to say, this is another one of those failures.

This may be the most annoying football game of the bunch too.  The pace is just so slooooow.  At least with something like College Football USA '97 you can enjoy the schadenfreude of watching the trainwreck unfold.  Here you just have a protracted unpleasant, boring experience that makes finishing a single game a mind numbing drag.

Let's just go through the negatives at work here.  Terrible graphics?  Of course.  Terrible framerate?  When isn't that the case.  Impossible passing game?  That goes without saying.  Weird camera that likes to shift between vertical and horizontal positioning just to throw you off and slow the game down even more?  Uh.. new and unique to this game.  Can't say I know what they were thinking that added to the game, besides disorienting you and further killing an already tortuous pace.  Oh, and I should mention it's also zooming in and out while doing this.  Hope you don't get motion sickness easily.

Football checklist:
Passing game - Impossible, good luck seeing any of your receivers after snapping the ball, or picking out which receiver is which button once the camera zooms way out
Running game - good luck tracking the ballcarrier as the camera goes on the fritz
Playing defense - again, good luck covering the receivers you cannot see

So what does that all mean?  That trying to do anything is with any amount of strategy is out of the question.  Most of the mechanics, like catching and tackling, are complete crapshoots.  And just trying to track the action is a battle unto itself.  I'm getting a headache just thinking about how to win a game.

Seriously Konami, what in the hell were you doing here?  Besides being by far the worst game of theirs I've ever played, is what must be the worst camera in the history of sports game.  Worse than Barkley Shut up and Jam, worse than the upcoming Football Fury, worse than stupid Super Off-Road The Baja even.  Just.... gah!

Did I beat it?
I refuse to complete a full game.



687 - Bebe's Kids

  

I'm assuming everyone knows Bebe's Kids from the AVGN/Nostalgia Critic crossover episode.  If not, feel free to watch it right now.





Done?  Well everything he said is (mostly) true; it's a terrible beat-em-up with bad and unresponsive controls, annoying enemies and combat, nonsensical design, confusing levels, a completely un-interesting and dead/obscure license, that is a complete and utter chore to play.  But since I need to make this review longer than one sentence, let's look at the individual levels:

The fairgrounds - These levels play like a traditional beat-em-up.  Or I should say like a really terrible one.  You'll kill a few enemies, grab a few weapons or heals, and move on.  They're about a minute long and are barely worth remembering.  And no, they are not that hard, contrary to the picture The Critic tried to paint.

Baby on the shelf - Here you're trying to break some glassware the baby knocks down before your mom's boyfriend can catch it.  It's extremely easy once you know the trick to it (hit everything in mid-air with a flying punch), but everything about it sucks.  The game's poor controls and hit detection really come to light here, as maneuvering yourself and actually hitting the objects with a punch are tricky as hell.  Many of them will even pass right through your fist.  For whatever reason the hit detection is much more forgiving when you jump, so the frustration ends once you figure that out.  Overall it's another one minute long level once you know what you're doing.

The haunted house - Just the worst of everything.  Besides being a large maze of rooms that look the same, with one-way doors and endless enemies pelting you with cheap hits, there is also a tight time limit.  You have no time to do anything other than make a beeline for the nearest exit, which may or may not progress you or set you way back.  It's complete chance.  Your choices here are trial-and-error and painful memorization, or a video guide.  I'd recommend the latter.

Levels after that - I wouldn't know, I can't get through the damn haunted house.  But many of them appear to be re-skinned versions of the fairgrounds levels.

The soundtrack is also amongst the worst on the system; everything is on a short loop and will start to drive you mad within minutes.  Now, I'm not a hip hop fan or anything, but I imagine even casual listeners will be hard-pressed to find anything remotely redeemable in there.  Everything is very simple, and very repetitive.

I've tried twice to get through the haunted house, and failed.  I honestly don't know how anyone could get through it unless they took meticulous notes, and I sure as fuck am not doing that.

Did I beat it?
No, though I probably will at some point.  Just to say I did.



686 - Bill Laimbeer's Combat Basketball



Should this game be lower on the list?  It truly is terrible and unbalanced.  Perhaps I just enjoy the bizarre fact that Bill Laimbeer got his own video game.  And that the cover shows him punching another player in the face Laimbeer-style.

Instead of "combat" basketball, think "space" basketball.  Your players are constantly bouncing up and down like you're playing on the moon, which I think only affects how your shots work.  I say think, because there are no certainties with this game.  Mostly because the controls are bizarrely implemented.  The B button does most actions (other than jump for the ball?), which is in itself ridiculous.  Why not take advantage of the fact the SNES controller had 6 main buttons?  Was this originally being made for the 2600 or something?  Well as best I can tell, holding B while pressing anything on the D-Pad will attempt a pass, whereas pressing just B will attempt a shot.  Unless you're too far away in which case the ball just does its own thing.  It's hard to say for sure because most of the time I have no damn clue where the ball is going and I can't tell if it's because it tried to do a pass or if the player was at the incorrect height in his "bounce" or I was too far away from something or what.  Again, who does a one button control scheme?

There are also power-ups and hazards littering the court, though most, if not all of them, are completely worthless.  Everything moves so slow that you'd almost have to run into the landmines on purpose in order to actually hit them, and I never saw any impacts from power-ups.  You're also allowed to tackle other players in true Laimbeer fashion.  That is about the only thing in the game that even remotely works, but it isn't especially fun or satisfying.  NFL Blitz this ain't. 

There's also no licenses of any sort (other than Bill's stupid mug), which I guess shouldn't be a surprise about a basketball game set in the future, and the options are pretty barebone.  Play a single game or play some sort of season mode.  I'd recommend not doing either.

Did I beat it?
I have won games, but not been brave enough to attempt a season.



685 - D-Force



If you look at those screenshots you may think "that game doesn't actually look half bad."  And you'd be correct, it doesn't.  Shooters are fun right?  How bad could they possible screw up such a simple formula?

Well, play this game.  It has unlimited continues but I DARE you to see it through to the end.  The game is also ugly as hell, the sound is terrible, the powerups are scarce and boring, your chopper's hitbox is so ridiculously big that you're going to die to the stupidest shit over and over again, and there is some major Gradius-syndrome going on.  It's excruciating.

Besides the main game, D-Force also offers a "Shooting Mode" and an "Exploration Mode."  Unfortunately these just appear to be collections of levels from the main game.  I guess the idea is that the different levels sets are supposed to be "real-world" and "fantasy" themed, in case you wanted to segregate the dinosaurs and giant birds from the giant mega planes during your play experience.  Weird.  And useless.

There's also a gimmick where you can move between two vertical planes to attack foes or dodge attacks.  It adds absolutely nothing to the game.  In fact I would recommend you avoid doing this whenever possible because all it does is make previously-unseen projectiles appear on all over your screen.  Again, your chopper has the world's biggest hitbox, so this is basically an automatic death.

Also, I'm pretty sure the chopper in the cover artwork is some sort of transport model.  They couldn't even get that right...

The soundtrack is a mixed bag.  Some of the levels' themes aren't too shabby.  They kind of sound like shit, but I like the melodies.  Everything else from the title screen to the boss fights is pretty generic and forgettable though.  So overall it probably gets a straight up "C" from me.  Which for this game is high praise.

Anyways the next shmup isn't going to appear for at least 400 more entries, just to drive home how horribad this game is.  It's the most consistently likeable genre for me, so you have to mess it up pretty bad to drop down this low.  I guess you could say this is a spite ranking.  Spite for taking something so easy to get right, a shmup, and beating the odds by making it so very wrong.  You have to reward that special type of incompetence.

Did I beat it?
Yes, on easy.  Haven't quite managed to finish it on normal yet.



684 - Champions World Class Soccer



The first of three soccer games to appear in this installment.  I really despise all three of them for different reasons, but this is probably the objectively worst game of the lot.  Too bad the botched port of FIFA '97 had to steal its thunder and claim the lowest position because, that game's unresponsive controls aside, this is by far the worst of the two games.

The main problem here is game doesn't seem to want you to play it.  Maintaining control of the ball and trying to move it down the field is a massive struggle, as your player is slow as hell and doesn't seem particularly good at passing.  Or doing anything for that matter.  Or maybe I should say that no one wants to get open.  The only real luck I had getting across the field was moving my guy in a bunch of wide arcs trying to juke out the defenders.  Since everyone seems to move on a curve it makes all of the action resemble a bunch of fish swimming around a pool.  I know that sounds really silly, but I swear it's true.  Try the game out if you don't believe me.

The controls are also extremely sluggish.  Every action takes multiple frames, so you can expect a one second delay on actually doing anything.  The ball will probably be knocked loose before that happens anyways.  Every time.  In fact I think I managed all of three shots on goal in two games because of this.  And that is not an exaggeration; just getting the ball down the field is hard enough, but actually scoring seems impossible.  If I'm just playing the game wrong I don't know what to fix because I don't know what it wants me to do, and I couldn't find any exploits either.

So yeah, what do I write about a game that doesn't want me to play it, or let me be a part of the action?  I guess nothing, so we're wrapping up early.  The game deserves no less.

LJN/Acclaim Countdown:
NBA All-Star Challenge #697
T2 #692
Champions World Class Soccer #684
Average = 691

Did I beat it?
No, I can barely manage to get a shot on goal.



683 - TKO Championship Boxing



There are 5 boxing games on the SNES that aren't Super Punch-Out! and I swear I completely do not understand any of them.  I'm generally bad at fighting games in the first place, but at least with those I can exploit some jump kicks or ranged attacks to kinda feel like I know what I'm doing.  With boxing games I just get my ass beat with endless shots to the head, while never understanding how the life/endurance/stamina bars work.  This is the worst of the bunch; I can't get anywhere on the first opponent, and it rapidly devolves into futile button-mashing.  I mean, that happens with all of these games, but here it happens extra fast and is extra futile.

This could easily be lower on the list, but it's hard to tell if these games are just that bad, or if I just don't know what I'm doing.  Probably both.

Update:
Dammit, I cannot let these boxing games get the best of me, so I loaded it up to try again.  And this time I actually managed to beat the first hapless opponent.  It was a mess, but I figured out something resembling a strategy which let me get the best of him rather easily.  I even started to second guess this low ranking.  After all, games have a much better shot at getting on my good side if they actually let me experience their content.

And then fight number two happened and I was quickly reminded as to how shitty a game this is.  So much for that.

I think the game wants you conserve your endurance (represented by the gloves above your health bar) until you can unload a flurry of attacks, maximizing the damage you can output before you're tapped.  The problem with that is that everything seems like random chance.  There's no rhyme or reason as to who hits who once the melee starts.  You can try to time it so that the opponent walks into your first blow, like you would with basically any beat-em-up, but the hit detection is so poor that this only (kind of) works on the first opponent.  After failing to beat the 2nd guy a dozen times I'm walking away for good.

Did I beat it?
I can't even get close to finishing this.



682 - Hammerlock Wrestling



Okay, if there is any genre of game I understand even less than boxing, it's wrestling.  I cannot beat any opponents in this game because I can't figure out how anything works.  Every match repeatedly sees you and opponent locking arms together, and then whichever one of you presses a button at the right moment (whenever that is) "wins" and throws the other player down.  This happens approximately 10,000 times a match.  I think I was on the giving end of that toss maybe 2-3 times.

And that appears to be the entire game.  The two opponents get near each other, someone triggers a cut scene, and whoever pressed some button at the right time wins out.  Repeat this over and over again, every 3 seconds, for the entire game.  I just... I don't even know what else to write about.  I guess the animations that appears when you do these moves look decent?  God knows you look at them enough, so the developers must of figured they should have some polish.

Just like with TKOB I don't know if this game is that terrible or if I'm just playing it wrong, but I don't see my thoughts changing anytime soon.  I can only watch so many scripted piledrivers and *insert other wrestling move here* before my brain starts to dribble out of my ears.

Did I beat it?
No, I'm horrible at wrestling games.



681 - Natsume Championship Wrestling



Okay, take everything I said about Hammerlock Wrestling above, and apply it here.  Of the three Japanese wrestling games released in the states, I completely do not understood these two.  And the other one barely counts because it is basically Final Fight in a wrestling ring, almost an entirely different beast altogether.

Just to further drive home what I said in the HW review, I do not know anything about wrestling.  I've never watched wrestling, my friends didn't watch wrestling, my dad didn't watch wrestling, I never did competitive wrestling, and in general have no idea what is going on.  Everything that happens seems completely illogical.  So I don't know how I'm supposed to play these games, which is not a good start.  And trying to figure it out has been a rather bewildering experience.  Are we supposed to embrace each other every 5 seconds?  Do I mash buttons to win that?  Why am I running into the ropes and why don't I just stop?  Why the fuck is that guy's health recovering despite my endless chain of hits to his face? Is there any strategy to any of this?  And so forth.

That all being said, I'm still fairly confident that both of these games are terrible and that even hardcore wrestling fans wouldn't get much out of them.  A real game like Saturday Night Slam Masters offers such refined gameplay in comparison that there is no point in trying to work with these horrid mechanics and frustrating controls.

Did I beat it?
No.  It's a wrestling game.



680 - Doomsday Warrior



What's sadder than how poorly this early fighter plays, is the fact that this was the sole Renovation-published title on the system.  The powerhouse Genesis developer released classics such as Gaiares, Gain Ground, and Granada on that rival console, but had nothing to show on SNES besides this and a few cancelled releases.  Of course they also released Beast Fighter on Sega's system so maybe they just had really poor judgement when it came to this particular genre...

When it comes to fighting games, I'm always torn when it comes to reviewing the single player.  I feel with most of them you are gonna have to figure out some way to exploit a shortcoming in the AI in order to win, which means you're trying to break the game instead of just playing it like it's meant to be played.  Does anyone enjoy that?  I sure don't.  Well I never found an exploit for this guy, or at least I never found one that consistently got me results.  And that's because the AI is a cheating mother f'er in this game.  I swear to god when you get off to a great start that the AI will start to furiously rally to avoid defeat.  There's unlimited continues yet the frustration factor is still through the roof throughout.  That is never a good sign.

Besides the cheap AI and frustrating single player, everything about the game is poor.  The graphics are not great, the music sucks, the control is a tad unresponsive, there's only seven playable characters, limited play options, and unexciting gameplay.  The quadruple dumpster fire of Ballz, Shaq Fu, Ultraman and Pit Fighter aside, this is easily the fighter on the system that I would least want to return to.

Did I beat it?
No, I got to the final boss but decided my time was better spent doing something that wouldn't give me an aneurysm.



679 - Wayne's World



Based on the movie based on the Saturday Night Live skits featuring two manchildren doing a public access show from their basement.  I guess it was about... early '90s stuff?  And his girlfriend Denise?  I dunno, the appeal of Mike Myers has always been beyond me and I haven't seen any of them in at least 20 years.  Not that it matters, because once again this is a game has nothing to do with any of its source material.  Unless Tia Carrere did a rendition of Ballroom Blitz at some point and I missed it.

Wayne's World also features all the usual crap from this type of game, so I'll do the customary rundown of things that annoy me.  The sprites are too big and the game is too zoomed in, which means you are going to be taking a endless number of cheap hits from offscreen enemies.  To add further insult to injury, the busy backgrounds make a lot of these attacks hard to see and avoid.  So most of the challenge comes down to memorizing enemy positions and trying to pre-emptively dodge their attacks. 

The game is also just brutally ugly, and probably amongst the worst looking platformers on the system.  The levels themselves are annoying mazes of samey-looking objects that are huge chore to navigate.  Even the levels that are set outdoors feature the same nonsensical maze-like design, with the same template objects just copy-and-pasted everywhere to cut corners.  Getting anywhere is always frustrating, and never fun.

The sound, which mostly consists of voice samples of Wayne shouting catchphrases, get old real fast.  I know people thought Mike Myers was hilarious back in the '90s, but his shtick has aged horribly in my opinion.  And the music is even worse.  Play this game on mute or you won't last more than 5 minutes.  You probably won't anyways, but that is the best advice I can give.

THQ Countdown:
Pit Fighter #713
Race Drivin' #712
Rocky & Bullwinkle #699
Wayne's World #679
Average = 700.75

Did I beat it?
I did actually.  I stuck with the game long enough to eventually fight a giant Jello mold that has captured Garth (wtf?), after which the game unceremoniously ends.  I'm sure the story was explained in the manual.



678 - Street Hockey '95

  

The second (and final) entry in the godless Street Sports series.  Or at least I hope there is only two of them.  Both games have the dubious honor of landing in the bottom 50 here, and though this one is technically lower, it's a toss-up as to which one is actually harder to endure.

Hockey games are generally gonna be a tough one for me to judge.  You're flying around on skates so the control has to be a bit slippery by design, but not too slippery.  And you have to figure out a way to translate the art of fitting a puck into the tiny space between a goalie and his net in a way that is both fun and fair.  It also means extended time playing these games to get a feel for whether or not the mechanics are solid.

Street Hockey '95 is the exception to that rule as it can be judged almost immediately upon starting it.  In fact it's so miserable in every facet that just finishing a single game is a massive chore.  Forget beating the game, consider it a victory if you manage to sit through one hockey game, beginning to end.

The controls are busted.  I can't even really expand upon that; it's one of those things were you have to play it to understand it.  This also means the character you are controlling is going to be offscreen for about 95% of each game because it's nearly impossible to rally him to where the action is.  That's not an exaggeration.  Playing the game means trying to get onscreen.  And the bitch of it is, I don't know why exactly that is, because I can't see my character.  The fact that the controls are so baffling, and that everything causes your skater to fall down, including the ramps that occasionally jut out of the court (wtf?) probably has something everything to do with it.  But who knows, because it's all happening offscreen!  Skating on a real roller-rink rooftop would probably be easier than controlling these morons.

Occasionally you'll score a goal.  General rule of thumb for me with hockey games; I have no idea why some shots go in when they do.  I assume it's just random chance.  And as far as I'm concerrned, in this game it IS random chance.  Nothing that happens on the shot has any rhyme or reason to it, so you just hope to put more shots on goal than your opponent so that the numbers play in your favor.

I easily could have had this game lower, but I'm giving it the slightest bit of lenience because I usually just drop the controller in befuddlement and watch the action unfold in a stupified state.  So it's a befuddled placement.

Did I beat it?
No, I can't even get my guy on the damn screen.



677 - Magic Johnson's Super Slam Dunk

   

Spoiler-alert: nearly every basketball game on the system that isn't an NBA Live or an NBA Jam is just putrid.  I guess developers could not figure out how to translate the sport into something fast-paced with good controls, or fun of any sort, and Super Slam Dunk is one of the worst offenders on the system because they clearly weren't even trying here.

First, it looks and plays like an NES game, and has the same horrible shifts in perspective that NFL Football did.  Except here it's flipping a 180.  Who's bright-fucking-idea was that?  Did they want to cut the coding in half by doing half a court?  When you can't implement more than one screen into your 16-bit game, you're probably in trouble.

The gameplay sucks for all the same reasons every other early basketball title does; it's impossible to strategize an offense.  The defenders can not be beaten so you just have to hope you are in front of one of them on the break.  Otherwise you have to try and muscle your way into the key and let a shot up, which may or may not go in; it's completely luck-based.  There's also no clipping on other players as far as I could tell so you can't even try to use them to screen your defender. 

There's also no licenses, few gameplay modes or options, or anything resembling a thrill anywhere.  Everything is just poorly done.  Even the play-by-play guy is usually about 5 seconds behind the action.  You'll be going up for a jumper when he suddenly calls the previous shot from the other side of the court.  Like the game has a seperate load time just for him. 

In fact I'm gonna say there's a new general rule of thumb; don't ever play a football or basketball game sponsored by a specific athlete.

Did I beat it?
Yes.  It happened relatively recently and yet I already cannot for the life of me recall any specifics.  I'll just say lots and lots of fast breaks.  And swearing.



676 - Captain America and The Avengers



If you were a kid like me you saw this game either sitting on the rental shelf, or in the arcades, and knew you HAD to play it.  Well, I never did get around to it (I was too poor for arcades and I would always rent Urban Strike or Wolfenstein 3D instead), but I did keep it in the back of my mind.  Fast forward to the 2000s, when I got back into SNES collecting at a more active rate.  This was one of the first titles I pursued and actually put it in the top 25 section of the wishlist I kept logged.

Talk about a gigantic letdown.  This bastard has to be the third worst port on the system behind Race Drivin' and Pit Fighter and one of the worst brawlers I have ever played.  How do you screw up such a simple genre so badly?  Brawlers aren't that complicated, you just need to be able to move around, do some sort of attack, and make that attack actually connect.  I guess the developers forgot that last part, because between actually hitting anything, and not getting hit immediately back in retaliation, playing this game with any sort of skill or strategy seems impossible.  Every damn battle is a war of attrition and the boss fights are a nightmare.  Anyone who has ever beat this must have found a way to cheese the fights.

There's also some shmup levels to break up the action, and they are even fucking worse.  Notice a pattern with that?  Whenever a bad game tries to interject a different playstyle to liven things up you end up with misery on top of misery.  If you don't have the resources to put out a quality game, you certainly do not have the resources to put out two halves of two wildly different games.  Fix the damn foundation of the game before adding new modes.

I also hear all the time about how the Genesis version of this title is substantially better.  Perhaps that means it is actually playable, because that is how low the bar is.  Noticing that Mindscape (they of the perpetual video game abortion) put out the SNES port whereas Data East did the Genny version, I'm not surprised.  Say what you will about those DE guys, at least they occasionally appear to know what they hell they are doing.

Mindscape Countdown:
Captain America #676
Average = 676

Did I beat it?
No, and it drives me nuts because this is on of the few brawlers left I have yet to beat.



675 - Road Riot 4WD

   

Hmm, what even is this game?  Dune buggies with machine guns?  Random taxi cabs trying to wreck you?  Graphics worse than an 8-bit title like Rad Racer? Rick James and Elvis?  Oh THQ, if only the actual gameplay was as cool/stupid as this premise had potential for.  Instead the game looks and plays like the most generic racer in all the land.

First off, the graphics are just awful.  Really awful.  The background landscapes and track itself must be the worst on the system.  Tone down the colors a bit and it could pass for an NES game.  The framerate is equally terrible and barely better than what was present in Race Drivin'.  Then on on top of that you're limited to a tiny viewpoint with a massive HUD, even in single player.  Why do these games do that?  To alleviate a horrible framerate?  Hide the terrible graphics?  Well the developers should program their shit better in the first place.  A teeny-tiny view is not the solution. 

And why do the vehicles look like go karts?  And what is going on when I'm turning-



What am I looking at?  Am I about to crash?  Is the dune buggy shape-shifting?  Falling apart?  Who knows.

What absolutely kills the game though, is the horrible car hitboxes and the opponent AI.  The other racers love to bunch up and crowd an already pretty narrow raceway and getting past the mob without slamming into something and losing control is nearly impossible.  So what do you do?  Thin the herd with a constant stream of gunfire (ABS, always be shooting).  This will send everyone spilling in every direction and let you scoot past.  Of course the endless obstacles and jumps means you'll crash soon enough and let them catch back up.  Or the extreme rubber-band syndrome will.  Either way, this is one of those racers where you and your opponents spend every race clumped together, trying to jockey for position.  Performance doesn't matter, you just need to make sure you send them crashing near the race's end and you'll win every time.

The game is pretty easy though.  After suffering through a dozen one minute long races (MC'd by Elvis, James, and various other ethnic/cultural stereotypes) the game ends.  There's no time trials or battle mode or anything so the entire game offers just about 20 minutes worth of content.  It's about 15 minutes too much.

THQ Countdown:
Pit Fighter #713
Race Drivin' #712
Rocky & Bullwinkle #699
Wayne's World #679
Road Riot 4WD #675
Average = 695.6

Did I beat it?
Yes, I got first in every race.



674 - Foreman For Real



Take almost everything I said up above about TKO Boxing, and apply it here.  I just do not understand how to play these stupid games!  Not to spoil it or anything but every boxing game that isn't Super Punch-Out! has pretty good odds of landing in the bottom 100.

This is actually the second of two George Foreman titles that Acclaim put out on the system.  I don't know why; wasn't he already like 50 years old by the time this came out?  Maybe that was the gimmick/appeal.  That he was as old as shit.  Well, despite playing almost nothing alike, I hate both of his games almost equally. 

I give this one the lower ranking because it actually gets your hopes up when you first boot it up.  It has various game modes and options, decent looking production values, graphics and animations that are alright (though kind of creepy looking), and the promise of a career mode that lets you work your way up the rankings.  I was excited to play it!  Well that obviously didn't last because here we are.

The gameplay is just so lousy.  Unlike the rest of the boxing games on the console it tries to be closer to a true simulation than an arcade title , but the results are pretty much exactly the same; baffling mechanics, boring fights, and tons of frustration.  Why do some punches land and other go right through your opponent?  Why do half of my inputs get swallowed up?  Why do I lose every round despite landing twice as many punches with a better success rate?  What are the stars below my health bar?  How the fuck do you actually knock someone down?  I read the FAQ for the game and still got nowhere on any of these.

In fact I tried on three separate instances to play and understand this game.  And I gave up every time.  It's just too frustrating and too unpleasant.  I'm sure these games are completely intuitive to some people, but they are beyond me.

LJN/Acclaim Countdown:
NBA All-Star Challenge #697
T2 #692
Champions World Class Soccer #684
Foreman For Real #674
Average = 686.75

Did I beat it?
No, I suck at most boxing games.



673 - NCAA Final Four Basketball

  

Usually when I pop in sports titles (low expectations often in tow) it's to get a quick feel for the game and see if it is A) playable or B) beatable.  If it satisfies either of those requirements I may stick with it for the night so I can get the complete experience and "check it off the list" as it were.  Well let's just say I played this for an entire night once because it was very much an option B title.

The gameplay is bad.  Not Barkley Shut Up and Jam or Jammit-levels of frustrating and bad, but "early SNES basketball game that came out before NBA Live 95" bad.  I cannot stress enough just how archaic the design of seemingly every basketball title was before that landmark gem came out and revolutionized how to put one of these together.  It's always the same faults too; plodding pace, inability to generate an offensive (without resorting to exploits), and unexciting gameplay.

Offensive strategy once again means trying to muscle your way to the basket and then praying for it to go in.  In this case it means getting directly under the basket if possible.  I'm guessing whatever formula is used to calculate your accuracy solely uses distance to the hoop as opposed to timing, presence of defenders, specific player abilities, etc.  So just force your way into the paint every possession, there's no reason to ever try any sort of ranged shot.

Playing defense is about the same.  Sit under the basket, trying to get in the way of anyone driving the lane, and then hope they miss and you get the rebound.

The graphics are on about the same level as the gameplay.  The character sprites themselves are actually rather decent, and animate rather well. But everything feels zoomed out and devoid of detail, like you're playing the game from the nosebleed seats.  And those animations that look pretty good, also significantly hamper the gameplay since you have to wait for them to play out before you can input another action.  It makes everything feel super unresponsive.

And of course as the cover art indicates there are no player or school licenses, as usual.  But there is a license for the tournament itself... ?  For whatever that's worth.

Mindscape Countdown:
Captain America #676
NCAA Final Four #673
Average = 674.5

Did I beat it?
Yes, with Kentucky.  In the championship game (against Arizona or Arkansas?) I nearly blew a double digit lead in the final minutes.  In fact they missed a shot as time expired that would have given them the win.  At that point I probably would have either broke down crying, or smashed the cart.  Either way I'm never playing this again.



672 - Barbie Super Model



Does this seem surprisingly high on the list?  It's a Barbie game, it's 10 minutes long, the gameplay is horrid, the controls stiff, and again, it's a Barbie game.  What self-respecting person puts this above anything not named Pit Fighter?  Well the truth is I'd rather have to play this again before something as mind-numbingly boring as NFL Football, or as headache inducing as Captain America.  So I guess it's this high by default.  In other words you could say everything going forward is less of an assault on your sensibilities than a Barbie game meant for young girls and that everything that has come before is more painful to play than this game is emasculating and shameful.

You start each "level" by walking/biking/driving across town while avoiding various frisbees, snowballs, or wild animals that are trying to murder you and your dreams of becoming a super model.  If you survive the journey you will be subjected to a mini-game where you have to dress up Barbie, or stylize her hair and makeup, or something else along those lines.  If you succeed at that you then get to bike/walk/drive back across the same town.  These crappy games sure love to come up with sleezy ways to add game length without actually adding content.  Anways, if you make it back to the starting point you'll finish up the level with a catwalk mini-game where you need to make her twirl or prance Simon Says-style to a sequence you witnessed at the level's halfway point. 

You do that for 4-5 levels and then the game ends.  There might be some sort of big fashion show mini-game at end or something, but I forget.  Like I said, 10 minute long game.

So obviously the game is horrible from the eyes of an adult.  But how do I rate a game based on a toy for female children, in a more progressive era where girls have higher aspirations than being a vapid Malibu ditz, through the eyes of an 8 year old girl?  I can't, so I won't try.

I also cannot for the life of me recall how I purchased this game.  It was possibly at Hastings, which would mean a grown man was willing to stand in line and get checked out buying a Barbie game to save a few dollars, or I choose to pay more and get it on eBay and salvaged some dignity.  I hope it was the latter.

Did I beat it?
Yes, and it actually took a number of tries.  Damn seagulls gunning for Barbie's face.



671 - Rise of the Robots



Yet another fighter, another genre that is quickly crowding up the bottom 100.  You've probably heard of Rise of the Robots, or at least know it by reputation as one of the worst games on the system.  And I'm not exactly sure why that is.  It's a shitty game, but in a pretty generic, forgettable sort of way.  It isn't completely broken like Pit Fighter, or laughably stupid like Shaq Fu or Ballz.  It just sort of exists in the middle of the crappy Acclaim library.

Now don't get me wrong, it is a shitty game.  The gameplay mechanics are stupid and busted, and turn every match into a button masher.  Since every character just has a variety of melee attacks they all play alike, which means you'll spend the entire match rubbing up against each other trying to bash their face with your claws or hooks or whatever.  The character sprites are also huge and move at a crawl, and give the game the sensation that you're fighting underwater or something.  Trying to play with any sort of finesse is impossible.  Your best bet is to play defensively and try to cheese your opponent when they get near you.  That's not fun, in single or multiplayer, but it's the only real way to play the game.

And despite being a late release, RotR is similar to the earliest fighters on the system in that it always locks player one into selecting the "hero" character.  I could maybe understand that in single player, since the game wants to tell a story about taking down the evil robots or whatever, but what is the point of this in versus?  Were the developers too lazy to code a character select for player one, or did they just run out of time?  Perhaps the game engine couldn't handle two large hulking robots on the screen at once, or perhaps they didn't have time to debug it?  Who knows, but it's pretty pathetic for a late release like this.

LJN/Acclaim Countdown:
NBA All-Star Challenge #697
T2 #692
Champions World Class Soccer #684
Foreman For Real #674
Rise of the Robots #671
Average = 683.6

Did I beat it?
Yes, after I discovered a couple holes in the opponent's AI.



670 - Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends

 

I've bunched all of the preschool learning games together because they're all basically the same thing...

Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends is another edutainment game based on the television show about a... talking train engine?  I dunno, I never watched it.  But it receives this low ranking because I feel like they were barely trying here.  The entire game consists of getting Thomas around a track full of mini-games, each of which entails answering a few questions, putting together a puzzles, following along a storybook, or some other mundane task.  It's about 10-15 minutes of content, and that's being generous.  At least the Mario games take 30 minutes to run through and are randomized to keep things fresh.

Now just like with Barbie Super Model you might ask why I have all of these games aimed at small children ranked higher than something like D-Force.  And again it's because they're not as painful to play.  Or at least the pain is reduced to boredom instead.  For example, I'd happily play TtTE before ever touching The Tick again.

I'm struggling to come up with anything else to write.  It's a dumb little game that received little effort and was meant for wee people with low expectations or attention spans.  I guess let your kids take it for a spin to see if they can wrestle any fun out of it.  In this age of iPads and fidget spinners they'll probably last about 2 minutes.

THQ Countdown:
Pit Fighter #713
Race Drivin' #712
Rocky & Bullwinkle #699
Wayne's World #679
Road Riot 4WD #675
Thomas the Tank Engine #670
Average = 691.33

Did I beat it?
I did one loop, yes.



669 - Mario's Early Years: Fun with Numbers



Did I beat it?
Yes, I cleared each minigame.

668 - Mario's Early Years: Fun with Letters



Did I beat it?
I cleared each minigame.

667 - Mario's Early Years: Preschool Fun



All three Mario learning games are basically the same thing so the order is inter-changeable.  I'll be doing this same setup for other series of games that are not markedly different from one another.

Just like Thomas the Tank Engine, the name of the game here is working through a set of mini-games that will educate you in shapes, colors, numbers, the alphabet, and so forth.  You'll choose the correct shape/number/letter a dozen times, get a Luigi cheer or Yoshi growl (?) of approval, and then move on the next set of games.  Rinse and repeat, until you've done everything.  It's very boring for an adult, and probably most children.

I would say there at least seems to be more content than there was in TtTE, but if I was to try and introduce my children to a learning video game (and had to do it with a SNES), I'd probably stick with Math Blaster Episode 1 instead.  It's geared towards older children, but it adds some excitement and challenge to the process, while still trying to teach.  It will also appear much higher in the rankings for that reason.

Anyways, when my children are a bit older perhaps I will do a trial run of these games with them and see which ones they enjoy the most.  That seems to be the only real way to gauge their worth.

Mindscape Countdown:
Captain America #676
NCAA Final Four #673
Mario's Preschool #667
Average = 672

Did I beat it?
I cleared each minigame.



666 - Toys



Some of the movies that got licensed video games back in the day really seem out of left field.  I can kind of understand The Lawnmower Man because the movie featured some really terrible CGI scenes set in a virtual reality game, and someone thought "yeah, we could add that to a Contra clone."  But WarlockBeethovenWayne's World?  Uh, ok.

Toys has to be the biggest head scratcher though.  A forgotten (and lambasted) Barry Levinson passion piece, that came off his run of success with Bugsy, Rain Main, Good Morning Vietnam, and Avalon.  Remember all the video games based on those?  Well since the Toys film did feature tiny toy jets blowing up some enemy aircraft (don't ask) some Sony exec must of thought "If there is anything kids love more than Barry Levinson, it's toys and video games!"

Anyways the game itself is an isometric actiony thing, with bad controls, frustrating combat, and thoroughly unsatisfying gameplay.  I've tried and failed to beat the first level a number of times despite my best efforts too.  You take so many cheap hits that at some point your will to keep trying is sapped.  Perhaps I just don't know how to play it correctly, or I haven't found out a good exploit for the enemies [it's not that hard, you just suck - editor].  Or perhaps there is a better way to make my stupid bowling balls hit those toy tanks, but it's beyond me.

Update:
At the urging of my editor I tried to play this again.  I failed to beat the first level.  Again.  I conclude that the game sucks and is nearly unplayable.

Though I guess I could at least try to explain the gameplay a little more.  It sort of plays out like a game in the Strike series.  Except instead of a Apache/Commanche helicopter raining down hellfire missiles, you're Robin Williams, attacking RC cars with... mechanical ducks.  And tops...?  Yeah I think the problem with this game is the weapons, they're all really annoying to actually use:

Bubble gun thing (?) - default weapon, horrible and impotent, like you're trying to use a water pistol with no pressure
Bowling balls - roll in a straight line in whatever direction you're facing
Ducks - wander around aimlessly?
Tops - spin around randomly?

After you run out of ducks and tops because they refuse to hit anything you can try to use your bowling balls or water gun to kill the tiny tanks guarding each objective.  And they will smoke your ass.

Screw this game, play the Strike series or Mechwarrior 3050 instead

Did I beat it?
I have yet to beat the first level.  I think.  It's been awhile.



665 - Street Combat



In case you can't tell (you can't) this is an Americanized port of one of the Ranma 1/2 games.  I guess this was back before they thought anything steeped in Japanese culture would sell here, so they re-painted it with the most generic early '90s motif they could come up with.  That little factoid is probably also the most interesting part of this game, because otherwise it's as plain and unmemorable as they get.  It's a stupid-looking Street Fighter II clone that sounds stupid, plays stupid, and is in general... stupid.

Every part of the how the game looks is very underwhelming.  Everything from the menu design to the character art to the character sprites themselves is plain and ugly.  Like the lowest possible amount of effort was put into each one of them.  Remember all the cool little details in the backgrounds of the SFII levels?  Yeah, there's nothing like that here.  Anywhere.  And again keep in mind that this game came out after SFII, which makes it all the more pitiful.  Doomsday Warrior at least tried to look interesting, even if it failed.

The gameplay is also about as vanilla as fighters get, do not expect any frills (or thrills) of any sort.  And of course every character's moveset is very tiny, as is pretty typical of these early fighters.  Besides your standard kicks and punches you'll have a couple unimaginative specials for each character.  It's all the same stuff you've seen a million times; a Hadouken-like ranged attack, flying uppercuts, jumping kick things, etc.  They obviously weren't trying very hard here either.  And of course they are all a pain in the ass to pull off and super finnicky as far as getting any use out of.

Even the protagonist that is forced upon you in the single player mode, Steven (yes really), has to be one of the lamest on the platform.  They somehow maxed out his '90s tude, yet made him boring and generic at the same time...



Pathetic.

I'd almost rather play soulless shit like Rise of the Robots than this loser of a game.

Did I beat it?
Yes, which means I found an exploit and button pressed the hell out of it.



664 - ESPN Sunday Night NFL

 

I'm getting tired of writing about terrible football games.  I'm tempted to just tell you guys to re-read the games I already covered and assume that everything I previously said applies here.  But I'll resist that overwhelming urge to be lazy and do my best.

First, the menu is put together in a pretty poor manner.  It's funny how many sports titles couldn't figure out how do this.  For example, player 1 at home?  Computer away?  How about you just put the home team on the right/bottom like EVERY SPORT OR SPORTS GAME ON THE PLANET?  If it's not broke, don't fix it.  And why do I have to scroll through every team, one division at a time to find my team.  Just do what every other game has done!

That's a minor issue compared to the graphics though.  Of course they look and animate like shit, with a shit framerate.  Typical stuff at this point.  In fact I seriously think the players have maybe 2 frames of animation.  And everything just looks washed out and... I dunno, blurry?  Blame that on terrible sprite art design I guess.  It's not quite Pro Quarterback or Emmitt Smith Football levels of fugly, but it's bad.  For whatever reason that is a trend with this ESPN line that Sony crapped out, but we'll get to that later.
 
What kills the game most of all though is how horrifically slow everything is.  Like NFL Football anything you do takes foooooorever.  Wait for the play to end.  Wait for the play selection to come up.  Wait for the game to let you select your formation.  Wait for it to let you select your play.  Wait for the team to line up.  Wait for everyone to be set.  Wait for it to actually let you snap the ball.  You cannot take what is already a slow-paced sport, and be inefficient with these things, or it will really sap your will to stick with the game.  Don't get me wrong, I realize real football is just about the most drawn out sport this side of baseball or auto racing (a 3.5 hour game has about 11 minutes of actual play in it, look it up), but that doesn't mean the video game has to mimic that.  Just let me select a play and hike the ball already.

Speaking of play selection though, the playbook menu has to be the worst I've ever experienced.  Bar none.  And that includes MVP Football which doesn't even give you enough time to actually select something most of the time.  It's amazing that someone could one-up that. 

See the issue is that not only do you have to press buttons that correspond with a row and column in the correct order (you will botch this repeatedly), but it eats the hell out of your inputs.  How damn hard is it to get a game to register hits from a menu?  You'll press the buttons six times to get the play in.  Add in the time spent mentally reminding yourself of the button sequence and it becomes comical.  And slows down a mind numblingly slow game even more.

The defense also can only see three plays at a time while the offense gets nine.  What the hell is that about?  Designing the play call screen is not rocket science.  See what the original John Madden Football did?  Just fucking do that, game.

Football checklist:
Running game - impossible
Passing game - overpowered
Playing defense - defending the pass is a crapshoot.  Just pray they run it a couple times and then overthrow a wide open receiver

Did I beat it?
No, and I have tried quite a bit to do it too.



663 - The Great Waldo Search



I'd assume everyone of a certain age knows Where's Waldo? (or Where's Wally? for the Brits).  For you younger readers (assuming I actually have one); it was a series of books came out in the late '80s and featured impressively large and detailed scenes from various eras and genres with hundreds of characters doing all number of absurd things.  Hidden within would be a goof named Waldo wearing candycane stripes that you had to locate.

It was a bit of a cultural phenonemen at the time, spawning a number of books, a television series, and several video games, including this entry on SNES.  And it has to be just about the most harmless title on the system.  Even moreso than the preschool games.  The entire game consists of a few scenes taken from the one of the books, albeit on a much reduced scale, and has you hunt for Waldo, some smalls scrolls, and a wizard guy.  And then the game is over.  The whole thing is 5 minutes long, tops.

So, why would anyone play this?  You could buy one of the books for a fraction of the price, be able to take it on the go, and get 50 times the content.  Plus since it was a British product it had some playful violence and a stray boob or two that somehow slipped past Tipper Gore and the other moralists.  It goes without saying that the Nintendo-approved game has none of that.

Well, the answer is no-one in their right mind would.  The game is completely pointless and I imagine anyone who paid full price for this felt rather cheated.  Even the small children receiving it probably felt cheated.  Hell I felt cheated because I actually expected a fully finished product that would occupy me for at least an hour, and I'm usually impatient as hell to get these games over and done with.

THQ Countdown:
Pit Fighter #713
Race Drivin' #712
Rocky & Bullwinkle #699
Wayne's World #679
Road Riot 4WD #675
Thomas the Tank Engine #670
The Great Waldo Search #663
Average = 687.29

Impressive portfolio already, eh?

Oh, there's also a magic carpet mini-game apparently, judging by the pic.  But it must of been unmemorable enough that I have completely forgotten about it. Knowing this game it was probably 10 seconds long.

Did I beat it?
Yes, in a matter of minutes.



662 - Capcom's Soccer Shoot-out



Man, what was Capcom doing in the sports world?  One of, if not the strongest publishers on the system, their limited sports output (MVP Football and this) is just godawful.  Did they publish dreck trying to get their foot in the door in an arena they were completely unfamiliar with?  Did they look at all the horrible sports games littering the SNES scene and figure we would buy up anything that had a ball in it?  The mind boggles.

At first glance Soccer Shootout looks like a quality title.  First off it's Capcom, which means the production value are high, and everything has a nice layer of polish.  The graphics are sharp and the opening cinematic is impressive and even shows off banners for Final Fight and Mega Man, building your anticipation by making you remember games that were actually good.  Even the menus promise a number of features and options for play, laid out in a straightforward manner.  Everything is gravy.  That is, until the game actually starts...

The biggest problem is that this is an example of a game you don't play.  By that I mean you're a bystander, helpless as the action unfolds onscreen.  Seriously, it's impossible to actually accomplish anything here.  The computer is on you like a glove from the start and never lets up.  The only thing you can try to do is furiously pass the ball like a game of keep-away.  But even that is a massive struggle thanks to the bizarre control scheme.  You have one pass button that seems to try and get it to your nearest teammate and you have another that sends the ball in a fixed direction.  You don't want either of these things, you just want a normal damn pass like every other soccer game ever made.  Getting the ball away from the CPU is also a huge problem because they don't seem to have any of these issues.  Instead they'll drop long-range passes on a dime for perfect shot setups.  And even when they dribble across the field the AI is tuned to perfectly try and counter all your attempts at making desperation slides to knock the ball loose.  So 90% of the game is spent futilely chasing the PC, and the other 10% is trying to muster any sort of offense.

Hell, I don't think I've once had a throw in or free kick go anywhere other than straight to the PC.  That's often a problem for me in soccer titles, but it's especially pronounced here.

Perhaps the default difficulty is just too punishing?  Assuming it can even be toggled.  Well I don't know, and I don't care.  I hate this game and I'm not going back to play for a third time.

Did I beat it?
This game is impossible to beat.



661 - Nickelodeon Guts



Mini-game fest based on the old '90s Nick show where kids would do vaguely athletic things while covered in safety gear.  I cannot recall specifics, just that damn smoking mountain they had to climb at the end.  I guess I preferred the playground-oriented Wild & Crazy Kids, but Guts seems to have gathered some fans who remember it fondly.

The video game on the other hand is making me nauseous just thinking about it.  Perhaps a sign I should have had it ranked lower.  And of course it has all of the usual demerits at this point in the list; terrible controls, terrible graphics, confusing as shit gameplay, complete absence of fun, and mountains of frustration.  Let's take a look at each one of piles of excrement they tried to pass off as an event:

Basketball - Three different events here that all play the same; a mix of bungie jumping, the long jump, and basketball.  The controls are awkward, the perspective shit, and it looks like garbage.  And good luck figuring out how to master it.  Your kid stands on a ledge while rigged to some sort of bungee cord harness.  The idea is to jump down, bounce off the floor, and then throw a ball into a hoop or goal.  If you do it with pizass you get credit for a "special".  And even after watching and reading guides, and trying it over and over again I have no idea how to play it.  Sometimes you make dunks, sometimes you flop around like a fish.  My best bet was using trial-and-error to figure out when it wants me to release my shot, and then just hammering every button on the controller.  This was the best strategy I could come up with for making specials.  Though whether or not your shot actually goes in still seems to be pretty luck based.  A horrible experience all-around.

Obstacle courses - Think Prince of Persia controls and obstacle courses, on a time limit.  Your pre-teen also has two jumps; a normal one, and a high flying acrobatic front flip which is hilarious to watch.  Who knew these kids were also Olympic gymnists?  These segments are pretty miserable too, but highly forgiving.  You can easily get through them in half the allotted time once you know what jump to use where.

Aggro Craig - A slight variation on the obstacle course.  This time you have to step on pressure plates and avoid large plastic boulders.  Once you master the stiff controls this segment is also a breeze.

So why isn't Guts ranked lower?  The review was pretty glowing right?  Well there's just too damn many horrible games on the platform crowding all the lowest spots I guess.

Did I beat it?
Yes, I conquered the Craig and earned the world's ugliest trophy.



660 - Super Caesar's Palace



Why would anyone play this?  Aren't video games meant to test our dexterity and wits, or let us experience epic and thrilling stories?  Instead what we have here is a collection of games of chance, the allure of which escapes me.  And even the card games are meant to be played with friends or competitors around a real table.  What do you get out of playing an AI one on one?

Besides the rhetorical "why does this game even exist?" problem, is the execution of the game itself.  It sucks.  There's no save functionality, so you have to rely on long passwords with a cumbersome entry system just to recover your money.  How hard is it to implement a small password when the only thing you need to save is a single integer?  This wouldn't be as much of a problem if just getting any sort of pool of money to work with in the first place didn't take 2 or 3 (or 10) false starts.  I'm sure most people will shut the game off at this point

The single casino is also pretty barebones.  You have a small casino floor to wander around with a scattering of tables and a few random NPCs (that do nothing), and a high rollers area you can eventually unlock.  That's it.  That's the whole game.  You also have to sit down at each table just to figure out the minimum and maximum bets.  They couldn't have a frame pop up and tell you that information when you walk up to the table?  Even the horse racing just reads results off to you, you don't get to watch a fake race or anything.  There's no excitement to the game of any sort.

If you have to play a game like this on SNES... don't.  Play a real game instead.  Or host a poker night with friends.  But if you insist, play Vegas Stakes.

Did I beat it?
No, I got somewhere past $1,000,000 before giving up.



659 - Best of the Best Championship Karate



This is a strange one.  Yet another port/remake of some old Amiga title, Best of the Best Championship Karate can only be described as a (very) early fighter mixed with the rotoscoped animation and very methodical control of a title like Prince of Persia.  And it is not a good fit...

The game seems pretty deep, or at least successfully gives that impression at first glance.  You can customize your fighter with a huge number of different strikes and kicks, each of which appears to have a very specific purpose for where it hits, and how far its range is.  So presumably you can map a combination of them that gives you the flexible to hit your opponent through his defenses at any time.

Interesting idea.  Poor execution.  And poorly-aged gameplay.  By the time you actually execute any of the attacks your opponent could of moved in any direction.  And since they have such an extended animation, it seems like pure chance on whether or not it will hit anything. Furthermore, each one of them seems to require pretty exact placement to actually land, as even strikes that look like they're right on the money will often pass through your opponent.  For me this usually means escalating frustration, and a rapid descent into button mashing, and just hoping anything sticks.

Now if someone had the fortitude to stick with this, perhaps they will discover a deep fighter that plays much truer to a simulation than any other title on the system.  I on the hand, will pass.

Did I beat it?
No, I don't have the patience for this game.



658 - Dragon's Lair



The classic Don Bluth pseudo-video-game comes to SNES!  Er, sort of.  This is not an arcade port, and unlike Space Ace, it is also not a re-imagining of the arcade game, but instead is just some dumb platformer.  It's a pretty even trade-off.

Now if you are at all familiar with the NES version of Dragon's Lair (made famous by, again, AVGN), you're thinking of a very slow-paced methodical game that you inch through, bit by bit, via memorization.  Well, the SNES game has nothing to do with that version either.  Instead it's just one of those games where you're hopping around platforms, attacking enemies and grabbing floating doo-dads.  As far as I'm concerned it has nothing to do with Dragon's Lair franchise whatsover, other than the Dirk the Daring character, and presumably some other shared enemy and environmental designs. 

The controls are extremely loose too.  Whenever you try to come to a stop Dirk continues on through several frames of animation, like you're permanently on ice.  It's actually one of the worst cases of this I can remember as you will stop what is easily a full body-length further than from where you intended.  Hell, Rollergames on NES had you play the entire game on roller skates and I still felt more in control there than I do here.

The platforming and enemy designs are pretty by the book, and I'm honestly having trouble coming up with anything to write.  You'll jump across platforms, hit various monsters with a sword, and take lots of cheap hits.  It's incredibly boring.

Now the one interesting thing about the game is that it is somewhat non-linear.  Many of the levels will have multiple exits, some of which actually move you backwards on the overworld map.  I'm not sure if you're supposed to do that, perhaps to access previously locked areas or something, or if it's more of a gimmick to either reference the original arcade game or to add a puzzle element to the game.  Either way, it's kind of frustrating, but not too bad since the levels are fairly short.

Are there any positives to the game?  Well, it's not Space Ace.  Even a stupid generic platformer is better than a botched re-make of the arcade title, as that game proved.  The soundtrack is also actually pretty okay-ish.  Or I should say it is light years ahead of what the rest of the entries have offered thus far and doesn't have me immediately muting the game.  Beyond that though, no.  It's bad platformer, with terrible controls.  I guess try it out if you're a fan of the original and are curious, otherwise don't bother.

Did I beat it?
No, I put in a number of tries, but never got too serious about it.



657 - Frantic Flea



The first level of this game is probably less than a minute long.  And yet I have not beat it.  Think about that.  I've beat 300 SNES games (and counting), yet I cannot advance past the first level of Frantic Flea.  And I've had the constitution to stick with some pretty horrid titles.

Is it difficult?  Somewhat. 
Confusing?  Yes. 
Control like garbage?  Of course.
Look and sound like shit?  ...

So how do I write a review of one minute of gameplay?  I guess by dissecting every tiny little aspect of it?

Controls - Loose and confusing.  You have a dash (of course, stupid era) which is good for getting you killed.  You have one attack where you spin in a circle and I guess try to run into an enemy.  Honestly I find it pretty baffling.  Maybe he takes damage.  Maybe you do.  Maybe you both do.  I'd recommend against trying to use it.  And then there is a jump.  A jump which is entirely unpredictable.  I don't know how else to explain it, other than just moving to to the plane slightly above you will take 4-5 tries most of the time.  Call it finicky (or broken).

Graphics - I guess they were going for some sort of early-90s Nickelodeon style here?  I don't know art or animation so I'm not sure what to call it, but let's just say it looks like a poor man's version of something like Ren & Stimpy or Earthworm Jim.  I probably don't know what I'm talking about, so interpret that as "it looks like ass"

Gameplay - Each level (or at least the first one) tasks you with rounding up a dozen or two flea children, and leading them to a level exit.  The problem is taking any sort of damage will reset all of them.  And by that I mean instead of maybe dropping one of them, or having them drop but still be in your immediate area, they all just disappear to seemingly random places on the map.  So you get to repeat the process.  Over and over again.  And the enemies are numerous and re-spawning and a bitch to kill without taking a hit.  So... good luck with that!

Music - Awful of course.

Options - None

What else can I say?  After the 5th or 10th time you lose the fleas and have to start over, the temptation to shut the game off becomes overwhelming.  I always give in to it.

Did I beat it?
Almost.  Assuming there is only one level.



656 - International Tennis Tour



The first entry from powerhouse third party publisher Taito.  And like Capcom I guess just because you know how to do a platformer or or action game doesn't necessarily mean you know shit about making a sports title.  This is the worst tennis game on the system, or at least the least enjoyable one to rubes like me.

What kills this game more than anything else is the perspective.  It's set low and over-the-shoulder which means you cannot judge depth whatsoever.  I mean just look at how tiny the back of the court looks in the pics.  This isn't an especially uncommon thing in tennis games, but for whatever reason seem especially pronounced here.

Now, I don't profess to be very good at tennis games.  Perhaps I just don't know the nuances of strategy enough to know what I should be doing (I only play table tennis).  Regardless of the game I will usually get my ass kicked by the AI.  With ITT that is always the case.  I have yet to win a match.  A single one.  The computer is just too good at returning shots and working you horizontally until you cannot catch up.  And the game just loves to let the AI put shots into the top of the net, which will dribble over for an unreturnable point.  This happens alarmingly often.  Coupled with the awkward view that makes timing your shots extremely difficult, and it adds up to an ass kicking.  Don't even get me started on trying to play from the back part of the court, when I'm over there I may as well just set the controller down and save myself the effort.

Actually, another thing that reallly makes the game harder than it needs to be is the hit detection.  Specifically between the racket and the ball [what else would you be talking about in a tennis game? - editor].  There is absolutely no room for error here. 

So between the merciless AI, the terible viewing angle, and the difficulty in actually putting string on ball, is a game that is just too hard for its own good, and too hard to be fun.

Now there is an easy mode for cupcakes like me who cannot cut it against the AI.  But this actually removes control over your player entirely!  You only get to control the swing of the racket; your player will do his own movement and aiming.  I'm not sure who would want to play this because it's practically the same as watching a demo from the title screen.

Did I beat it?
No, this is one of the hardest games on the system to complete.



655 - Battle Cars



Okay, fuck Space Football, fuck Taz-Mania, and most of all, fuck Battle Cars.  These three games represent the trifecta of frustrating gameplay that gets my blood boiling and my controllers flying.  BC might actually be the most infuriating of the lot (I keep saying that), but it also has the most upside to it.  Hence the best ranking.  It's still a horrible, evil game, but I guess everything is relative.

The best way to describe everything here is a mixture of F-Zero and Super Mario Kart.  But sans all the good stuff and challenging but fair gameplay.  It has the twisty futuristic raceways with bouncy edges from the former, with the weapons and rubber band syndrome of the former.  And the cheating ass AI from every racer that has a cheating ass AI.

The weapon system is absolutely horrid.  You have unlimited missiles, discs, and grenades that you can fire, all of which you can toggle through at any time.  And all of them feel more or less useless in one way or another.  They each have 5 levels of strength that you can work towards, but it never really seems to make them feel more powerful or useful.

Missiles -  will automatically lock onto an opponent.  Think red shells.  Except there doesn't appear to be any way of controlling which car it attacks.  And they will often overshoot their target and get confused.  Or just disappear off into the ether.  When this happens expect 10-15 seconds of waiting for it to show back up.  In the meantime, your weapon systems are locked out and unable to be fired again.  This will single-handedly ruin your later races.

Discs - act like hockey pucks, bouncing all over the track until they find an opponent.  Think green shells.  Since the game is very generous with the enemy hitboxes they're actually decently useful.  At least at first.  By the later tracks your opponents are too fast and will outrun them.

Grenades - look like old-timey naval mines.  Think explosive banana peels.  I'm unsure why you would ever willingly use a banana peel over a red shell.  These appear to be completely useless.  Moving on.

The layout of the game itself is as follows:

- Lap around the course where you try to earn cash
- Car upgrades
- 1v1 race
- Collect credits, move to next planet

I like what they tried to do here.  Doing laps to determine a starting position is a tired idea, and not something I relish having to do.  Instead here you're just trying to blow anything and everything up.  Too bad it doesn't actually work in practice though...

To destroy an enemy vehicle you're going to need to hit it with 2-3 attacks before it is finished off.  Each hit will also bring that vehicle to a dead halt.  So in order to deliver the coup de grace you're gonna need to park behind them and wait for each hit to be delivered.  But you're on a timer, and if you do not complete your lap fast enough UFOs will swoop down and start hammering you until you're dead.  So you have to be speedy.  In fact after the first few races you pretty much have to gun it the entire time in order to make it to the finish line before they kill you.  So you don't actually kill anything most of the time, so earning money becomes a problem.  A big one by the game's end.

After your practice lap with the UFOS you'll enter the race proper, which is a one-on-one affair against various alien opponents.  Though they have different vehicles and biographies none of them play any differently from one another.  Other than they gradually get more and more overpowered and annoying.  Eventually every race goes the same way:
- Keep peppering your opponent with missiles just to keep him in the same ballpark as your own car.  If he gets behind you, hope you can trick him into repeatedly ramming you so he gets stuck behind you
- Pinball off the wall on every turn because they're usually 90 degrees and the driving engine is so clumsy that you're better off never touching the brakes
- By the end of the second lap just hope that you haven't died from hitting walls, and then pray that a missile hits your opponent just before the finish line so you can pass him up at the last second.  This gradually becomes a smaller and smaller window until the final track where you basically have a 1% chance of pulling this off.

After the race you earn "credits" which are used to to upgrade your weapons and are different from cash. Now why didn't they just put everything under one umbrella, and give the player the choice for how to earn money and what to spend it on?  Because the developers are idiots.

The game also glitched out on me a number of times.  At one point I escaped the track and drove around for awhile in an ocean of orange.  Since this was basically a soft lock I got to reset the game and start over.  Though to be fair to the game, when I opened up the cart it appeared that the board had tried to commit suicide or something (not that I blame it) so perhaps that was the cause.  Either way, I'm calling it a demerit.

The soundtrack is about the only bright spot to the game.  Most of the tracks are pretty decent and fit the game nicely.  Hell, I even listened to the soundtrack at work once.  Call it a C+ or B-

Did I beat it?
Yes.  Only because the game has unlimited continues so you can bash your head against the wall until you happen to win through sheer luck.



654 - Tony Meola's Sidekicks Soccer aka Super Copa



My third least-favorite "footie" game on the console.  No, I take that back.  It's soccer.  I don't care what you what you want us Americans to call it.  And this one sucks, mostly by making me sick trying to play it.

The menus are... different.  The reason I used two of them in the gallery was to really illustrate that; I have no idea what most of them mean.  Some of them actually are relatively straightforward, like I can safely assume the cheetah and turtles are play speed.  And the picture of brackets must be a tournament.  But what the hell is the hourglass?  Minutes per half?  Game?  What are the calf muscles telling me?  What does the yellow card do?  Rest assured there are even more confusing icons than those too.  If you play on playing this game you'll probably want to buy or download a manual.  Not that you should plan on playing it.

After you figure out (or fumble through) the menus, you'll immediately notice what is most wrong with this game.  During play the game tries to track your player's perspective by fixing the camera behind him, similar to the Mode-7 titles Nintendo put out (NCAA Basketball and NHL Stanley Cup).  The problem here is the movement is so herky jerky and robotic that the stuttering camera position changes quickly give me a headache.  I have never been motion sick from playing a video game in my life.  Descent didn't do it, Jim Power didn't do it.  Not even virtual reality has done it.  Well this game toes the line, I had to take a break after each match to shake it off.  Congrats on that amazing accomplishment Tony Meola.

The AI is also extremely annoying because 90% of the time it's going to dribble up the field through a series of sickness-inducing right angle turns.  Trying to steal the ball means trying to line up with him (which is hard because the loose controls mean you'll constantly overshoot him), and then trying to ram into him until the ball gets kicked loose.  You'll do this about 500 times a match, and that is a not an exaggeration.  There's also a slide kick you can try to use, but that sends you flying 10 yards down the field and way past your opponent if you miss.

Trying to score is also fussy.  I have figured out exactly two ways to do it, and neither is fun.  The first is to make a beeline for the goal and hope only a couple defenders have managed to set up by the time you get there.  Otherwise 10 different players will crowd the goal box and you may as well not try.  If you're lucky and only have a few in front of you, enter the box so that the goalie bumrushes you (is this a thing that actually happens in soccer?).  Once he does, pass to the right or left and just pray that an unseen teammate is waiting there, with no defender in the way, and can quickly put it in the net.  I can accomplish this roughly once or twice a game, or about 5% of my attempts.

The other option is to try and and sail the ball into the center of the goal box and just hope someone is nearby and that they happen to put it in with a header.  This happened once.  I assume it was just sheer luck and that the stars were aligned.

I also once got scored on from a free kick.  The AI let loose and the ball floated softly down into the corner of the net while my goalie watched.  So... there's that too.

Now, is any of that how you're supposed to play the game?  Is there another point to the high sailing pass that doesn't go to anyone in particular?  Is it posible to beat the goalie one on one?  Is there a setting that tones down the goalie?  I have no idea, and I'm done playing this so I'm not gonna find out.

Did I beat it?
Yes, I won a tournament with Boston.



653 - The Terminator

   

This game is just.... ^%$@#$.  Another title where I have to ask "did anyone play test anything back in the day?"  I must have a soft spot for anything that even remotely resembles Contra to put it this high up the list because this could easily be in the neighborhood of Terminator 2 or RoboCop 3.  It is equally as bad in almost every way.

The game starts you off in the post-Skynet future as Kyle Reese (or whoever, those sprites could be anyone) gunning down an endless stream of terminators and flying robots.  And I mean endless; this is one of those games where the levels go on forever, and there are no checkpoints.  And of course you're gonna be taking a shit-ton of cheap hits which means just beating the first level turns into a massive struggle.

If you manage to conquer that first level (most likely through memorization or moving at a crawl) you'll get to experience one of the dreaded Terminator "driving" levels.  Every game seems to have these, and they are always just the worst.  This one has you crawl into the back of a pick-up and man an anti-aircraft gun as a large craft of some sort strafes you.  It's horrible, and avoiding hits is nearly impossible thanks to the lack of room to maneuver, and your massive hit box.  Thankfully it only lasts about 45 seconds.

If you beat that driving level you get another level identical to the first, only this one goes on even longer, and has even more cheap hits.  And again, this game has no checkpoints.  After failing to get through in a few times I threw in the towel.  The game probably isn't that hard if you take your time and really try to anticipate every attack (memorize the entire game), but who wants to do that?  It's just an unfun slog all around.  The controls are decent, and definitely do their job much better than Terminator 2, but if rest of the gameplay sucks then what is the difference?

I challenge anyone to play this game and Robocop 3 for extended periods of time, back-to-back.  If you don't swear off video games forever I will owe you a Coke.

Mindscape Countdown:
Captain America #676
NCAA Final Four #673
Mario's Preschool #667
The Terminator #653
Average = 667.25

Did I beat it?
No, but at least I can make it further than I did in Terminator 2.





652 - Capcom's MVP Football



The second, and final Capcom sports title.  I don't know if they developed these, or just published them in the US, but whatever the case I just have to ask; what the hell Capcom?  You made Mega Man and Street Fighter II, you have no business slumming it up in the rankings with the likes of THQ and Mindscape! I guess unlike Soccer Shootout this one is at least kind of playable, but it's still ruined by an assortment of bizarre design decisions.

First, the game uses the R button for most actions.  Why?  It's awkward, and unlike every other football game I've ever played.  And if it doesn't sound like a big deal, I challenge you to play it and feel comfortable with it.  Especially passing, where X, Y and A will target a receiver, and R will pass it to them.  What game has ever required 2+ button presses to pass the ball?  It's impossible to get used to, and just adds time to how long your quarterback sits in the pocket.  And forgot your 4th or 5th receiver options, because they aren't there. 

Did I mention that you'll also need to press those buttons just to see which player is which receiver?  So going through your "reads" might take 5 damn button presses.  And then another press to actually pass it.  It's a fiasco all around and single-handedly drags the game down.

There is also a severe lack of time on defense to pick your play, and select the player of your choice.  It's like you're playing a hurry up offense or something.  And the fact that I swear there is a delay in the game registering your formation/play selections just makes it even more likely you don't get the call off in time.  So my defensive scheme was basically "memorize the position of one of the plays that sort-of works on occasion, and then pick it as fast as I possibly could."

You also can't move your players on defense before the snap.  Why in the hell do games do that?  Besides removing the ability to try and jump the snap, I also like to move my linebackers around to adjust my coverage.  This takes both of those away.  Not that you have time select the player you want on defense anyways, but I digress...

Oh, the game also has to have some of the most obtuse menus I've ever seen in a football game.



Custom?  Is that the settings or an exhibition game?  What is MVP?  What is Demo?  I know I've said this a lot in my reviews already, but if it's not broke don't fix it!  Just have the usual menu that lets you do a single game, playoff, or full season, with some options.

Football checklist:
Passing game - Besides the stupid controls and lack of more than 3 options, it works well enough
Running game - broken, you're gonna average 2 yards per carry.  Better get used to the broken passing controls
Defense - You won't get your play call in half the time.  Or get to your player.  Or be able to move him.  Also defending anything is a crapshoot.

Did I beat it?
No, this is one of the few football games whose completion eludes me.



651 - George Foreman KO Boxing

 

Another boxing title.  Is it unfair of me to throw all of them so far down the list?  Do I just misunderstand the genre, and then unjustly malign it?  Or are these games just that stupid and poorly made?  Because to me every one of these games just appears to be random shit happening.  And it doesn't matter how much I play it and try to learn it, whether it's my first fight or I'm four hours in, they all play out the same. 

A typical fight in this game (or any of them, really) goes as follows:
- Try to read the opponent and pop him where the defense is soft
- After that punch may or may not hit him, he does the same.  This goes on for an eternity.
- Time runs out, the opponent is scored the winner.

Actually I take that back.  This game does have on slight difference.  Occasionally the opponent will nail my ass with a special move that takes me out in virtually one blow.  There's no tell as far as I know, so you just have to memorize when he'll do it and dodge.  This also does not appear to leave him open to extended counter attacks either.  If you're gonna copy Punch-Out and least do it correctly.

Trying to get off the mat is a mess too.  I honestly cannot figure out what buttons it wants me to press, or in what sequence.  I think you need to hammer on every button on the control, but who f'ing knows.

Anyways, I'm at least 0-10 on the first fight, and every loss sends you back to the title screen.  So I have to judge the game entirely on that fight.  Maybe I'm just terrible at this genre, or maybe this game is just poorly made, but I gave up on trying to see any more of it.  I think the main problem is that game wants to be P-O, but couldn't recognize/replicate a single part of what made that game work.  Instead of learning to recognize patterns and then countering, this just has random series of punch and blocks, followed by the special attack that gives you virtually no time to react.  P-O was a puzzle game that gave you hints to the solutions.  GFKOB just expects you to blindly figure it out.  Assuming you even can figure it out.

LJN/Acclaim Countdown:
NBA All-Star Challenge #697
T2 #692
Champions World Class Soccer #684
Foreman For Real #674
Rise of the Robots #671
George Foreman KO #651
Average = 678.17

Did I beat it?
No, it's a boxing game.  I can never beat these.

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Writing about every SNES game - Volume VI
SNES Set - 712/723 (Ghoul Patrol)
Switch: SW-6880-6470-3131


Edited: 09/17/2018 at 11:57 PM by Brock Landers

Nov 7, 2017 at 6:23:16 PM
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Bea_Iank (4)
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Robocop 3, T2 and The Rocketeer are awesome, fun games that I love.  
And Captain America and The Avengers is so, but so much better on the Genesis. It is very faithful to the arcade, doesn't have too many slow downs but the graphics are poor.
It plays almost like the arcade game, though. It is well worth checking out.

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Nov 7, 2017 at 6:35:05 PM
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Rise of the robots is horrible on the SNES and still pretty awful on the PC but the concept I love.. that is trying to get the twitch element out of the fighting game genre by making moves that are even remotely effective leave you wide open for longer. the SNES version removes that element and makes a total turd.

I had the 40 floppy disk PC version and found it to be one of the best concepts for a fighting game, too bad the execution was off.

Nov 7, 2017 at 11:34:50 PM
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Seeing this in Latest Topics made my night... Just read the whole thing. I gotta say I have a soft spot for Bill Lambeer's Combat Basketball, but moreso in a WTF kind of way.

These lists are gonna get extra interesting once we're past the bad sports titles, there are so many games from this system I'm curious about but there's only so much time to experiment with subpar games.

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Nov 7, 2017 at 11:48:31 PM
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People know Rise of the Robots because that game got a lot of hype before it came out. I remember it was on the cover of Game Players magazine, for example.

NBA All Star Challenge looks like an updated version of Jordan vs Bird on the NES.

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Nov 8, 2017 at 7:46:28 AM
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Another awesome write up Brock!

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Nov 8, 2017 at 7:59:06 AM
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Man... Capt America was one of my childhood favorites... though I played it on Genesis and not SNES. I didn't realize the drop off would be that bad, but now you have me curious.

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Nov 8, 2017 at 9:53:58 AM
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Shame Hammerlock is so low. I liked it a lot when I played it this year. I actually saw a few games that I beat for the SNES thread on this list.   And I'd agree that most of them were pretty bad.

Nov 8, 2017 at 10:25:09 AM
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Great write-up, can't wait for the next one! I used to love Taz-Mania as a kid... I didn't know any better!

Nov 8, 2017 at 10:42:00 AM
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Does it annoy you when you can't even beat the first level and Gamefaqs says that the game is easy?

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Nov 8, 2017 at 11:48:43 AM
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Originally posted by: mbd39

Does it annoy you when you can't even beat the first level and Gamefaqs says that the game is easy?
It really bothers me when the game does appear easy at first, but becomes sadistic by the end.  Taz-Mania for example.
 

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SNES Set - 712/723 (Ghoul Patrol)
Switch: SW-6880-6470-3131

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To this day I don't understand why the Genesis got a pretty decent Taz-Mania platformer while the SNES got that... thing.

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Fixed like 10 errors in Emmitt Smith Football. Considering that's the first entry that's pretty embarrassing. I guess that's why you don't re-write things at the 11th hour.

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Switch: SW-6880-6470-3131

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Originally posted by: Brock Landers
 
Originally posted by: mbd39

Does it annoy you when you can't even beat the first level and Gamefaqs says that the game is easy?
It really bothers me when the game does appear easy at first, but becomes sadistic by the end.  Taz-Mania for example.
 
I feel that way about Chaos in the Windy City.  I actually liked the game until I tried to beat it.  Super easy up until that last boss.  Most of my time spent playing that game was solely the last boss.  What a pain in the ass.

Nov 8, 2017 at 1:29:49 PM
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Read just about everything in the list, can't say I want to play any of them, haha

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Nov 8, 2017 at 2:14:19 PM
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Congratulations on the latest installment!  

Obviously I disagree with you about Toys -- not sure why you struggle so much with that one, but it's one of a few games I'm guaranteed to beat every time I sit down with it -- and, to some extent, International Tennis Tour. I don't have as much of a problem with the perspective, and beating the CPU is really easy once you learn the basic pattern (serve wide, rush the net, hit topspin to the open court); on return games, you can actually dribble net cord winners endlessly against the CPU if you learn the right spot. As long as you play on Professional difficulty (others are ridiculously slow), it's definitely more of a tennis game than Andre Agassi, which is way too fast and plays poorly.

That said, the huge problem with ITT is that the career mode is insanely, stupidly long! And poorly documented and planned too, with lots of events that mean nothing for the game's ending. Such a total, absurd waste of time, and the manual doesn't bother telling you what the win condition is (become #1) or that you can skip all the doubles and team tournaments by pressing Select.

(Really the only tennis game on the SNES that doesn't involve playing the same basic pattern over and over again is David Crane's. It may look ugly, but it plays like a streetfight -- in a good way.)

BTW Wayne's World isn't good, but I'd still rather play it than touch the likes of Doom Troopers or even Final Fight. It's basically a bad version of B.O.B., and I liked B.O.B., so...

Oh, and also, 100% agreed that you don't really know the deal with a game until you try to beat it. So many people play a game for 15 minutes, have a reasonably fun time, and assume it's a B+ title -- totally unaware that the second half of the game becomes a brutally unfair monster.


Edited: 11/08/2017 at 02:17 PM by bronzeshield

Nov 8, 2017 at 3:08:01 PM
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Daniel_Doyce (0)
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Originally posted by: Brock Landers

Fixed like 10 errors in Emmitt Smith Football. Considering that's the first entry that's pretty embarrassing. I guess that's why you don't re-write things at the 11th hour.
This is a work for the ages. It takes true dedication to get through all those sports shovelware games. Looking forward to seeing Super Punch Out as #1 and Liberty or Death as #2

If you don't mind one grammar nitpick, replace all those "would of/should of" with "would have/should have"s. I'll be quiet now.

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Koeinalia: A Compendium of Koei Knowledge - NES and SNES

Nov 8, 2017 at 3:17:35 PM
Brock Landers (54)
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Originally posted by: Daniel_Doyce
 
Originally posted by: Brock Landers

Fixed like 10 errors in Emmitt Smith Football. Considering that's the first entry that's pretty embarrassing. I guess that's why you don't re-write things at the 11th hour.
This is a work for the ages. It takes true dedication to get through all those sports shovelware games. Looking forward to seeing Super Punch Out as #1 and Liberty or Death as #2

If you don't mind one grammar nitpick, replace all those "would of/should of" with "would have/should have"s. I'll be quiet now.
I'm just the worst at this.  My editor repeatedly points it out, and someone did in the last thread too, but I can't stop doing it

update:  fixed about 20 other errors too

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Writing about every SNES game - Volume VI
SNES Set - 712/723 (Ghoul Patrol)
Switch: SW-6880-6470-3131


Edited: 11/08/2017 at 03:24 PM by Brock Landers

Nov 8, 2017 at 3:38:32 PM
pegboy (44)
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Pretty harsh on old D-Force there I'd say. Yes, it is by far the worst shmup on the system, but unlike most of the games ranked this low it is NOT broken and unplayable. It's just very hard and unforgiving mostly do to the helicopter's monstrous hit box. Also, the Stage 1 music is awesome and a lot of the other tunes are underrated (I like the final boss track quite a bit as well). WTF, I can't believe I'm actually defending this game but it really isn't as bad is this ranking suggests.

Nov 8, 2017 at 9:35:45 PM
VmprHntrD (0)
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This stuff is so far coming off as a public service announcement of what not to play and with the averages which developers to entirely ignore once those numbers start listing downward.

Nov 8, 2017 at 10:22:48 PM
bronzeshield (44)
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Originally posted by: Brock Landers

666 - Toys

After you run out of ducks and tops because they refuse to hit anything you can try to use your bowling balls or water gun to kill the tiny tanks guarding each objective.  And they will smoke your ass.
Ah, I see part of the problem here: you literally can't kill the tanks with your peanut gun (default weapon) -- they're immune to it. You're not actually supposed to fight them head-on, as they will indeed smoke your ass, and of course they're invincible anyway until all other primary enemies in that section are cleared.

Instead, you're supposed to use a special weapon to take them out from offscreen. The bowling balls are actually perfect for it; throw them in at an angle toward the shaded area where the tanks are based, and you'll hear a clang when you've taken one out.

In general you need to steer clear of enemies that have guns, since they're deadly accurate and instantaneous, and instead use your secondary weapons to take them out as they enter the screen, if necessary by crowding the playfield with projectiles. Learn their patterns, and use the random presents to replenish the most useful weapons (like bowling balls and wind-up ducks), and the game will get much, much easier.


Edited: 11/08/2017 at 10:23 PM by bronzeshield

Nov 8, 2017 at 10:26:39 PM
Brock Landers (54)
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Yeah, I knew I had done something specific to kill them the last time I played it. I couldn't muster the will to play it enough to even get that far this time. The game is just not my bag  

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Writing about every SNES game - Volume VI
SNES Set - 712/723 (Ghoul Patrol)
Switch: SW-6880-6470-3131

Nov 8, 2017 at 11:14:39 PM
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MrWunderful (286)
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I just read that whole thing. Thanks for your sacrifice

Nov 8, 2017 at 11:36:27 PM
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TornxieRalls (69)
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This is insane.

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You f***in want one?