Category Archives: Genesis Games

The Adventures of Mighty Max (Genesis)

The Adventures of Mighty Max (Genesis) - Full Cover

Prediction

I remember loving the Mighty Max series growing up. Sure it was just another one of the many glorified marketing campaigns for the newest line of toys, but so were a lot of good things from the late 80’s – early 90’s. I even remember owning a bunch of the toys and they were my favorite toys ever at the time, even if they were basically Polly Pocket for boys. That is until my older brother sold them on me at a garage sale. It was at that moment that I simply dropped all interest in the series, because some wounds just never heal.

Mighty Max (redesigned logo) Mighty Max - Temple of Venom (Open)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anyway, now that I’m older, I’m sad to say that I have almost no memory of the series beyond the fact that I once loved it. I do have a vague memory of Might Max having a magic hat or something that let him travel through time I think. I’m not sure how that is going to translate over to a video game, so I’m not really sure what to expect going into this one. No doubt there are going to be lots of different stages that are seemingly unrelated thanks to the time travel aspect, but I can’t really guess much more beyond that.

Gameplay

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The game starts with no introduction or explanation in any way of what you’re doing. Just a still logo splash screen and then right into the character selection screen. You get to play as the title character Mighty Max, some black haired girl who I have no memory of, or that red headed kid that not only do I have no memory of, but I can’t even identify if they are a boy or girl. Given these amazing selections, I think I’ll stick with Max.

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Continuing the theme of no explanations, you’re shown the front of max’s house where apparently the different rooms relate to different stages of the game. It seems to make no difference, but I’m going to start on the first floor which seems to relate to the “Volcanic Level”. You’re given a quick look at some of the enemies you’ll fight, and I can’t help notice one of them is a penguin. Why a penguin?

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He jumped up to collect the rings just barely visible at the top of the screen

As the level starts, you’re still given no indication of what you’re actually supposed to be doing, which left me aimlessly wandering around the stage. However, not knowing what I was doing wasn’t even the first thing that annoyed me about this game. That would have to go to the jumping mechanics. For some reason, max is capable of jumping what must be the equivalent of 50 feet up into the air. I know the jumping in games is usually exaggerated for playability, but this is ridiculous and actually somewhat disorienting.

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Then comes the next annoyance that is Max’s completely useless weapon. It seems to be some kind of ping pong ball shooter. And like a real ping pong ball shooter, it’s not lethal, just slightly annoying. So it doesn’t kill any of the enemies, it just stuns them for a moment. Before long they’ll get right back up and continue tormenting you.

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(Left) Can’t jump through overhanging ledge (Right) Can jump through long platform just above it

The bad game design continues with the platforms themselves. Like many games, a lot of the platforms are semi-solid. What I mean by this is that you can jump up straight through the platforms, and then land standing on the top of them. Not all of the platforms are like this however. That’s fine; many games have only select platforms being semi-solid. However, this game gives no indication of which is which. One platform you can jump through, and the next nearly identical platform you can’t. It made it really hard to navigate without knowing if I can or can’t actually jump up to the platform above me at any given time.

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Now that we’ve spent enough time wandering around and finding how the programmers failed on nearly every level of game design, I think I’ve finally figured out what the actual game is supposed to be. You see that tiny little arrow in the top right corner next to the score? That’s actually an indicator to our goal. Scattered around the world are a bunch of little garbage cans we need to find and collect.

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After we find one of the cans, the arrow will now start pointing to the portal somewhere else in the level. Just bring the garbage to the portal and throw it in. Then you’ll have to go find the 4 other identical garbage cans and do the same thing with them. Once you collect all 5 of them, you can jump into the portal too and finally end the level.

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Oh, but wait, there’s more. Once you pass through the portal, you aren’t taken back to your house. No, you continue onto the next part of this same area. The layout is different, but otherwise it is the same exact thing. You randomly collect garbage and throw it in the portal.

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No I’d rather just stop playing now

And then you do that again, and again with the next parts. Once was more than enough for this nonsense, but having to do it multiple times is beyond annoying. I never did finish the volcanic stage, but I just know the other stages will have the same stupid gameplay, just with a different background and different enemies. None of which make any difference in the long run.

Verdict

Price – $4.50

Even for this low price I don’t think it’s worth it. Maybe if someone was PAYING you to play it, you might enjoy it.

Play Again? – NOOOO!!!

I could barely make it through the 30 minute review. I wanted to quit playing the whole time.

Total Deaths – 18 Deaths

I have no idea how anyone is expected to play this without dying 100 times. At least there isn’t really any penalty for dying, and you get lots of continues.

Fun Rating – 1 / 10

I’ve played some bad games before, and I usually still enjoy playing them on some level. It’s kind of the same feeling you get watching B-Horror Movies. This game however couldn’t even pull off any “So bad it’s good” charm. Nearly every aspect of the experience was honestly horrible. The game mechanics were the worst I’ve ever seen. There are no in game instructions on what you’re supposed to do. Even knowing what to do, the game simply isn’t fun. Your weapon is useless against the enemies. I honestly can’t think of a single thing to praise about this game. Don’t waste your money on this piece of trash, it’s not worth it.

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The most welcoming screen of the whole game!

 

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I hope you enjoyed this 30 Minute Review of The Adventures of Mighty Max. If you did, like and follow me on Facebook or Twitter. Also leave your comments, suggestions, and recommendations. If you’re feeling real generous, you can even Donate to help me keep the site going. Thank you for reading, and I’ll see you next time.

 

Golden Axe (Genesis)

Golden Axe Cover

Prediction

I may never have actually played Golden Axe before, but it’s a game that I’ve always been aware of through reputation. It’s held in high regard as one of the greatest hack n slash games of the generation. Personally I love these arcade hack n slash and beat em up games. I grew up playing the Simpsons and TMNT arcade games and they have always been my favorite games. It’s kind of a shame that I never really acquired many good hack n slash games growing up.

Golden Axe (Genesis) - 01

Anyway, I’m really looking forward to playing this game. The genesis was practically made to play arcade ports, so I’m hoping to get that same arcade feel with this game. I love that feeling of just plowing though wave after wave of grunts until some towering boss appears at the end. It’s an amazing feeling and I wish I could afford to buy real arcade cabinets.

Gameplay

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It looks like I’m greeted by death right off the bat. As tempting as it is to play as the Amazon Warrior woman, I think I’m going to go with the Barbarian. I have a feeling he’s going to be the most balanced. I also have to say I’m happy to see at least some kind of story. Too many hack n slash games fail to give even a pretense for why you should go around killing everyone.

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Unfortunately it looks like I’m going to be the one doing most of the dying. For starters, the controls feel kind of sluggish. It’s as if you’re walking through mud the whole time. Also, it seems to retain the arcade difficulty it was ported from. I felt really weak pretty much the whole time I was playing. Enemies were constantly knocking me down, or cornering me and just beating me senseless while I flailed in pain.

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It’s not all bad though. The graphics for example I thought were very impressive. It seems like the characters have a lot more frames of animation than other similar games. Things like when you bash the hilt of your sword on an enemy’s head, or the fact that you kick the small little blue elves instead of swinging your sword. It’s the little touches that really bring out the charm.

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Speaking of the little blue elves or whatever they are, they supply you with potions you need to cast screen clearing magic spells. These are fun to perform, and well worth it to store up your potions for the higher level spells. They won’t ease the difficulty however, and I quickly lost all my lives and continue by the 3rd stage.

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On a second play through I thought I’d try it on beginner mode and with the Amazon Warrior instead. I must say that this is exactly how I wanted the game to feel. It’s still kind of sluggish, but the enemies have backed off significantly. You actually feel powerful this time around. It’s not a cake walk however, and you still need to be on your toes. It’s practically the perfect balance for a home console version I think.

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Her magic is also a lot more impressive. While the Barbarian simply filled the screen with fire, she summons a giant dragon to breathe death down on the enemies. Unfortunately, the beginner mode ends at level 3, leaving me quite unfulfilled. Looks like I’ll have to actually play the arcade mode if I want to fully enjoy this game.

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I gave it one more try on arcade mode, again playing as the Amazon Warrior, but this time increasing my health from 3 to 5 to make it a little easier. Maybe I’m just more used to playing the game now, but it felt much easier this time. I was actually really starting to enjoy myself with this game.

 

This apparently angered the gaming gods. How dare I enjoy myself! In spite, they took control of one of the enemies, and told him to just kind of walk away off screen. Just watch the video, one of the enemies just starts walking to the top left corner and keeps walking clear off screen. Of course I can’t progress unless I kill everyone, and he’s nowhere to be found. So that’s it, I’m stuck on this screen forever with no way of progressing. My 30 minutes are up anyways, but still, I was enjoying myself and wanted to see how far I could get. Oh well, maybe next time.

Verdict

Well, it wasn’t quite what I expected, and I can’t help but feel a bit disappointed. It was still pretty fun, and I can see how other people could really like it. The graphics were great, as was the music, but the controls just felt sluggish. I know the characters usually walk around in these types of game, but Golden Axe had them moving just a little too slow to be tolerable. Compound that with the brutal enemy AI or getting pinned between two enemies writhing in pain, and the game becomes very aggravating. Beginner mode felt more like what I was hoping for, but it doesn’t let you play the whole game, so it doesn’t really satisfy. Then that glitch when I stopped playing could really swing this in either direction. On the one hand it was annoying that it pretty much broke the game. On the other hand it’s kind of funny for an enemy to just kind of run away, and I’m so glad I got it on video.

Price – $20.00

I actually managed to pick this up as part of the Genesis 6-Pak Cartridge. In addition to Golden Axe, it also has Sonic the Hedgehog, Columns, Revenge of the Shinobi, Streets of Rage, and Super Hang-On. For 6 good games in one, that’s a great price.

Fun Rating – 7 / 10

The sluggish movement really killed the excitement of this game. Then being pinned down by enemy attacks piled on to make it frustrating as well. But the screen clearing magic attacks are what kept it fun. It’s definitely on the harder side, which might make some people shy away, but with practice I imagine I might actually become good at it eventually.

Play Again? – Possibly

I was actually doing pretty well before the game broke, and I’d like to play this game again some time. It feels like one of those games that get more enjoyable the more you play it. Plus I’d like to see how the story goes along.

Total Deaths – 20 Deaths

The game is brutally hard, which is to be expected from an arcade port. Arcade games are designed to make you pump all your money into them. Ports actually make this method harder because you don’t have the option to add more quarters for more lives. You’re forced to try to beat it with only the limited lives allotted. Beginner mode felt like the right balance for a home version, and I’m sad to see it doesn’t let you play the whole game like that.

Golden Axe (Genesis) - 16

A+!!! That’s going right onto the fridge!

 

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I hope you enjoyed this 30 Minute Review of Golden Axe. If you did, like and follow me on Facebook or Twitter. Also leave your comments, suggestions, and recommendations. If you’re feeling real generous, you can even Donate to help me keep the site going. Thank you for reading, and I’ll see you next time.

 

Hard Drivin’ (Genesis)

Hard Drivin' Box Art

Prediction

Hard Drivin' (Genesis) - 01

Lies! Every word of it!!!

 

I have only a very vague memory of this game from my childhood. I remember being blown away by 3d graphics, crashing into things for a cool instant replay, and driving my car around an awesome loop. Considering the age, I have a feeling I won’t be quite as impressed with the graphics anymore. But let’s see how it holds up after all these years.

Gameplay

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WHERE DID IT ALL GO?! Where are the graphics?! Where is the sound?! Where is the gameplay?! Where is anything?! Is this really the same game I remember from back then? Was I really so stupid back then to think this was a good game? The graphics ARE in 3d, but even for the time they feel unfinished. Everything is just so under detailed it’s almost impressive the balls they had to release this as a finished game. The cars are solid colored blocks vaguely resembling a vehicle, the road is alternating patterns of grey, and the “grass” is a solid flat green. The only real detail is in the mountain way off in the distance.

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Sure enough, there IS a loop like I remember. It’s one of the only interesting features of the game. It’s really hard to even call it a “game” though. It’s more of a tech demo. It has subpar graphics, only the most basic of controls, and there’s no sound other than the generic engine noise and occasional tire squeal. Seriously, there’s no music at all or background noise or anything. Just the engine for the whole time you’re playing.

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Why is there a box truck on a race track anyways?

 

I take that back, there IS music in the game. But only for about 3 seconds during the instant replays that happen any time you crash. This is seriously the most fun part of the game, just seeing the car burst into flames. When the failure is the most enjoyable part of the game, you can’t even defend the rest of it.

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It even fails as a basic racing game. During normal play, you’re not actually RACING the other cars. You’re just doing time trials. If you do manage to beat the time, you will be challenged to a one on one race with a ghost car, and then go right back to time trials.

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But at least there’s a lot of diversity in the game with its amazing 2 different courses! All on the same map of course. Immediately after the start you either drive straight to go on the speed track, or turn right to try the stunt track. Curiously, the stunt track is noticeably SHORTER than the speed track, so it’s unlikely that you’ll manage to beat the time trial actually driving the speed track.

Verdict

Do I even need to say anything more? It’s a terrible unfinished tech demo of a game. I honestly feel bad for my parents for having bought this for me at full price when it came out. There’s really no reason to play this game since it fails in nearly all aspects of being a game.

Price – $4.00

Even with that low of a price tag, it doesn’t even feel worth it.

Fun Rating – 2 / 10

I want to give it a 1, I really do. But watching the car crash and burn in the instant replays is kind of fun. So it fails as a game, but it does manage to be an ok and very slightly entertaining crash simulator.

Play Again? – NO!

Play what again? There’s nothing left to play. You see the whole game in about 5 minutes. Hell, just by reading this review you’ve seen pretty much everything there is to see.

Total Deaths – 24 Deaths

A few of these were intentional just to see the car burn.

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No one will ever beat me, because no one should ever play this game

 

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I hope you enjoyed this 30 Minute Review of Hard Drivin’. If you did, like and follow me on Facebook or Twitter. Also leave your comments, suggestions, and recommendations. If you’re feeling real generous, you can even Donate to help me keep the site going. Thank you for reading, and I’ll see you next time.

 

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