Pacing the Cage

All about old-school video games. Reviews, lists and more.

Archive for the ‘Genesis’ Category

Five quick-hit reviews

Posted by ptcgaming on May 4, 2009


“River Raid” (Atari 2600/1982/Activision)
Overall score: 3.5
“River Raid” to this day is one of my favorite Atari 2600 games. The graphics are outstanding for that console, the sound is exceptional and having to worry about refueling adds an extra challenge. Too bad that challenge gets a bit repetitive after awhile.


“Bases Loaded” (NES/1988/Jaleco-TOSE)
Overall score: 4
“Tecmo Baseball” and “RBI Baseball” might come close, but this was the best baseball franchise on the NES. The TV-camera batter/pitcher screen and great animation (including the “phantom glove” catcher) were great, as was the speech (any spoken dialogue was a gift on the NES). But am I the only one who thought this game was pretty tough?


“Keith Courage in Alpha Zones” (TurboGrafx-16/1989/Hudson Soft)
Overall score: 2

Even fantastic 16-bit graphics couldn’t prevent this from being the worst pack-in game for any console – ever. While the graphics are great, the┬ámusic on this Mario/Zelda/Gundam hybrid is too repetitive, and the gameplay is boring. There are some really good titles for the unappreciated (in North America) TG-16, but this sure isn’t one of them.


“F-Zero” (Super NES/1991/Nintendo EAD)
Overall score: 3.5
How they get the screen to keep up while racing that fast is beyond me. Nevertheless, “F-Zero” is fun and challenging at the same time. Of course, it’s best when played with a friend. The controls take a little getting used to, but once you get the hang of them you’ll enjoy this one a lot.


“John Madden Football ’93” (Sega Genesis/1992/Looking Glass Technologies)
Overall score: 4.5

This is by far my favorite “Madden” ever. I remember the days before passing cones and football IQ, when passing windows ruled the world. I recall some intense Thurman Thomas vs. Barry Sanders battles, diving catches and cheesy touchdown dances. This game even looks great, and the players move and act like real football players do. This is the one game I wish I had held on to over the years. Sadly, I did not.


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Retro Game Review: Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse

Posted by ptcgaming on October 31, 2008

Can’t you just, like, throw water on her or something?

Platform: Sega Genesis/Mega Drive
Released: 1990
Developer: Sega of America
Background: In honor of today being Halloween, I decided to review a game with a Halloween theme (I was going to offer a list of Halloween-themed games you could play tonight but ran out of time). There were a few other games I thought of reviewing, including “Doom” (too violent), “Halloween” for the Atari 2600 (too goofy) and “Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker” (too weird!). But I settled on this little nugget because even your kids can read this review, and also because it’s actually not a bad game.

“Castle of Illusion” was released for the Genesis in 1990, before even Sonic the Hedgehog sprinted onto the scene, meaning this came out during the console’s early years (It was also released for the Sega Master System and Game Gear). In it, you play as Mickey Mouse, and your mission is to rescue Minnie from the evil witch Mizrabel. To do this, you make your way through a giant castle, acquiring gems as you go. These gems are necessary to reach the final battle with Mizrabel.

Graphics: 5/5

For being one of the Genesis’ early releases, this game really did shine visually. The levels are very colorful for the most part, and Mickey looks like, well, Mickey.
Sound: 3.5/5
Other than certain sound effects heard throughout the game, each level of the castle has accompanying music that isn’t too bad.
Controls: 3.5/5
Being your typical 2D side-scroller, there isn’t anything special that can be said. The Genesis only featured a directional pad and three “fire” buttons on its controller at this time, so function wasn’t much more than on the NES.
Gameplay: 3/5
This game is easy – very easy. So easy, you’ll probably finish it rather quickly. But if you’re a fan of side-scrollers and Disney you’ll enjoy this game. You’ll also get caught up in how good this game looks while you’re playing.
Overall: 3.75/5
If you like great 16-bit visuals and can get past the fact it’s a Disney game, “Castle of Illusion” is a great game to try. Otherwise, it doesn’t really set itself apart from other 2D side-scroller offerings of the time. It was one of a series of Disney-themed games released by Sega.

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Retro Game Review: Evander Holyfield’s "Real Deal" Boxing

Posted by ptcgaming on August 5, 2008

Screenshot snagged online. Long before “Eargate,” Evander Holyfield was the man, and his game was 1,000 times better than the other guy who beat Tyson’s video game.

Platform: Sega Genesis/Mega Drive
Released: 1992
Developer: ACME Interactive
Background: Before Knockout Kings came around, this was my all-time favorite boxing video game. So, I guess you can say it’s my favorite retro boxing game. In the infancy of the Genesis/Mega Drive, boxing games were scarce, the most notably of the early titles being James “Buster” Douglas Knockout Boxing, a really bad game from all aspects (the fighters are so ripped, I’m surprised they could actually move!). Enter the “Real Deal,” a game that was fun and ahead of its time from some aspects. While Evander himself is the only real fighter in the game, you have the option of creating your own fighter to lead through a 40-fight career. I used to create a guy who looked like Rocky Balboa because I thought the idea of Sly taking on Holyfield would be awesome… Give me a break, I was still young then.
Graphics: 5/5
Remember I said this game was ahead of its time? While the camera during fights always gives you a 2D perspective, the ring and crowd is in 3D. Fighters actually look like humans, you know, proportional and stuff and not overly ripped (Can you say ‘roid rage?). The spectators actually have faces, and the ring girl between rounds looks like the redhead from the B-52’s (“Rock Lobster,” anyone?). Overall, ACME did a fantastic job with the visuals.
Sound: 3/5
First, the negative sell: Some of the music is cheese, and after a while you get tired of the gurgling sound a fighter makes when they get hit, since it never changes. But the game’s speech isn’t half-bad, and by pressing the A,B and C buttons together at once makes your fighter taunt your opponent by saying “Come out and fight, you wimp,” which was usually followed by you getting pummeled, especially by higher-ranked fighters.
Controls: 2.5/5
The punch buttons are A and C, with a stop at B for blocking. And which direction you press on the D-pad decides what kind of punch you throw. Moving toward and away from your opponent can be slow at times, especially if you haven’t acquired many speed points yet.
Gameplay: 4/5
This is about the closest thing you’ll get to real boxing as far as retro video games go. The fighters aren’t too cartoony and they do move around the ring 360 degrees. You can see where you’re positioned by looking at the overhead cam at the top of the screen. There’s also cuts, blood and TKO’s for beating your opponent into submission even though they won’t fall down. And with so many fighters to face and just 40 fights to beat Holyfield’s $50 million mark, you won’t want to stop playing any time soon. But truth be told, this game is even better when beating the tar out of a friend in two-player mode.
Overall: 3.625/5
This game is fun all-around, but it’s the most fun with a friend. That is, even though you might not be speaking after beating each other to a bloody pulp. I spent countless hours playing this game, and it’s still today one of my favorite Genesis/Mega Drive titles. If you don’t have this one, I’d highly recommend picking up a copy if you stumble upon one.

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