Category Archives: SNES Games

Tin Star (SNES)

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Prediction

I’m sorry everyone, I have failed you! When I started playing Tin Star, I did it with the intent to beat it and give it a proper full review. Now I’m half way through the game and I’m calling defeat. I simply can’t keep up with the game and it is too much for me to beat without cheating. I know I already use infinite lives cheats to get through most of the games I play, but I draw the line at infinite health. Still, I already have a few hours invested in this game so I’m going to review as much as I’ve seen.

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If you’ve never heard of the game, let me give you a quick introduction. Tin Star is a Western themed game except for the fact that everybody is a robot. You play as the title character Tin Star, the new sheriff ready to clean up the town. Ideally you would play the game with the massive SNES Super Scope light gun, but without that you can also use the regular controller to play. Of course, playing a light gun game with a typical controller has its downsides. But I’m jumping the gun, let’s get to the game and see what it’s all about.

Gameplay

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The game takes place over the course of Tin Star’s first week in town. Before we start each day we get a little bottle shooting practice game. Shoot the bottle and then continue shooting it as it bounces around the screen for more points. It’s a great way to warm up for the day, and more importantly it’s an easy source of cash early on. You’ll need as much money as you can get since you have to pay every time you want to save your progress.

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Now that we’re properly warmed up to the controls, let’s jump into the real story. Tin Star and his companion Mo Crash are waiting to catch the next stagecoach into town when they strike up a conversation is a very googly eyed and manly looking old lady. She recognizes him as the new sheriff in town, to which Tin Star adds a terrible pun about also being the new “Head of Sanitation”, because he’s going to “Clean up the town”.

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After a terrible pun like that, I can hardly blame her for insisting he ride up on the roof with the baggage. In the end it’s for the best since the stagecoach is almost immediately under attack. You’ll have to do your best to shoot all the bad guys as they try to climb aboard and kill you.

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As I mentioned earlier, this game is ideally meant to be played with a light gun, but it can also be played with a regular controller like I am. In this case, a cursor shows up on screen which you can control for your targeting. What’s really interesting about this game is that despite being a light gun game, you can actually see your character Tin Star on screen while you’re playing. You can’t control him at all, but it’s odd for a light gun game not to be in first person perspective.

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Tin Star will be jumping all around the stagecoach in true action movie fashion, and after taking out a few waves of enemies you’ll face the game’s first boss, Joe Twiddley. Joe isn’t a particularly hard boss to fight. He’s somewhat fast and agile, thanks in part to his spring legs, but he only needs a few shots before he’s defeated. It is only the first level after all, so you can’t be expecting too much.

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I’m not entirely sure how you unlock it, but sometimes after you finish a stage you’ll be able to do a bonus round. In those bonus rounds, you have to shoot star targets from around a busty female robot as she spins around on a target board. These stars are small, so hitting them is rather difficult, but they are worth a lot if you do. Either way each stage will end with the undertaker assessing your performance and paying you accordingly. You’ll also be brought back to the stage select screen to be allowed to save your game should you so choose. It would be wise to save often, but as saving costs money, you may want to consider risking it.

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Once we get to town, Tin Star does the gentlemanly thing by offering to carry the Old Lady’s bags for her. However, the Old Lady wants nothing to do with him and says she can manage fine on her own. Tin Star is rather insistent about being a gentleman and tries to forcefully take the bags from her. During their disagreement, the Old Lady eventually shoves Tin Star away, causing him to knock over a potted flower which was sitting in the middle of the road.

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Apparently that innocent looking flower was actually Tiny Johnson’s prize geranium. And in true western fashion, Tiny Johnson doesn’t take kindly to people messing with his prized flowers. This whole thing is starting to feel like a set up. However, it looks like there’s no time to contemplate the situation as the mayor informs us of more pressing issues. It would seem the troublemaker Black Bart is currently busting up the saloon. As the new sheriff in town, we can’t just let that happen. So off we go to the saloon, Tiny Johnson will just have to wait.

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Inside the Saloon, the gameplay is a little different than the first stage. This time it is a first person perspective, but we still have no control over the camera angle. Instead the camera will slowly shift from side to side and you’ll just have to shoot all the enemies as quickly as you can. There are a lot of targets, so you’ll have to be quick about it. I also love the fact that a lot of the background items are interactable. You can shoot the bottles off the bar counter if you want. Or if you shoot the piano it will start playing. You can even shoot up the moose head hanging on the wall for some quick entertainment.

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After clearing out the saloon, Tin Star’s attention is quickly drawn to a pretty female robot outside. She seems to be quite taken by Tin Star as well, judging by the hearts that float up past her head. Unfortunately the romance has to be cut short when Mo arrives with some bad news. It looks like some rustlers have tied up Macnulty and they’re stampeding his cattle.

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This stage plays a lot like the first stage on the stagecoach. The screen will then scrolling right along with the action and you simply have to try your best to keep up with all the enemies. And trust me, there are going to be a lot of enemies trying to kill Tin Star. In addition to all the rustlers, you’ll also have to keep an eye out for sticks of dynamite that are randomly thrown at our hero. There are also quite a few vultures that for some reason have taken offence to our hero.

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Once again, do your best to survive the waves of enemies and you’ll be thrown into yet another boss battle, this time with Bareback Jack. We’re still only on the first day, so Bareback Jack isn’t much of a threat either. When you shoot him it will cause him to go spinning, revealing a nice target strapped to his back. Shoot that too and he’ll go for another spin. Just keep the bullets flying and he’ll be defeated without much trouble.

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With the cattle rounded up, it’s time to head back to town. Unfortunately, Tin Star just can’t catch a break today. No sooner do we get back into town do we hear that Tiny Johnson is also in town and out for revenge after we knocked over his flower. Seeing as we’re in the old west, there’s only one way to settle an argument like this, a good old fashioned quick draw.

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The quick draw stages of the game are the most obvious examples of where having a light gun is vastly superior to using the controller. In these stages, you’ll have to wait until the chamber of your revolver shows up in one of the four corners of the screen. When it does, you have to quickly shoot it to draw your gun, and then quickly aim your shot at the enemy. This can be quite the challenge with the controller since its movements are not nearly fast enough or accurate enough for the task at hand. But I don’t have a light gun to play it with, so we’ll just have to do the best we can.

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Tuesday starts out innocently enough. The town is going to be welcoming its first ever train. Back in western times that was probably a really big deal. While I’m sure it has great significance to the rest of the town, Tin Star is such a hero that he’s only happy to hear he’ll be connected to every jail in the territory now. The mayor however seems to only be concerned that the train will be bringing his caviar. I didn’t know robots ate caviar. Maybe it’s like some weird robot fish eggs. But wouldn’t that just be ball bearings? Whatever, we’re getting off topic now.

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Tin Star and the Mayor ride off together to greet the train, but it looks like Black Bart has his own plans for the train. And so we start our first stage of the day defending the train. Even though it was clearly morning just a second ago, it is now dark out as if in the middle of the night. Chronology aside, you’ll have quite a hard time defending the train. Especially since the bad guys seem to have rented out a few of the cars to set up stationary mini guns.

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Death Count: 1

Lucky for us, Tin Star is quite dexterous. He can jump from car to car without much trouble at all. In fact, at times he’ll even be hanging onto the side of the cars with one hand while shooting the bad guys with the other. And there are A LOT of bad guys this time. It’s honestly hard to keep up with just the controller.

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When you finally make it to the front of the train, you’ll have to face off against Black Bart himself. Somehow the fat bastard has wedged himself inside the smoke stack of the engine car. From there he’ll occasionally pop his head out to throw bombs at you. Once again, a real light gun would be much appreciated here. Because you have to shoot Black Bart to beat him, but you also have to shoot the bombs to avoid being blown to pieces.

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Eventually, you’ll have defeated Black Bart and the train will have successfully reached East Driftwood. All thanks to the actions of Tin Star. He deserves whatever reward he wants after that fight. Unfortunately, while we were out defending the train, the Bad Oil Gang went out and started attacking a wagon train in the area. It looks like we’ll have to take a rain check on that reward until after the Bad Oil Gang is taken care of.

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This is another stage like the saloon from the other day where the camera slowly moves side to side and enemies will pop up from every corner of the screen. There’s really nothing more you can do but to shoot as fast as you can and hope you hit everyone.

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After defending the wagon train, a robot named Schemp comes to tell us that Snake Oil is in town looking for us. However, Tin Star seems more concerned about the fact that Schemp looks suspiciously similar to his sidekick Mo. Turns out the two of them are actually brothers.

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And so we enter another of the quick draw stages. These are already starting to get really hard with the controller. It simply doesn’t move fast enough to draw the gun and then center back onto the relatively small target of the enemy before they draw their own gun. But somehow we manage it, and bring an end to the second day in town.

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Snake Oil is unfortunately still alive after our little shoot out the other day, but thankfully he is safely behind bars where he belongs. Of course, Tin Star has the worst of luck, as Snake Oil’s men are already planning to break him out of jail. As the acting sheriff, we can’t let that happen.

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Death Count: 2

This stage gave me no end of trouble. It’s another one of the side to side levels, but with a twist. This time, in addition to the waves of enemies that usually flood the screen, there are also a few enemies that are trying to blow up the jail. The problem is that they are a blink and you’ll miss them type enemy, and missing them is an instant failure for the level.

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Death Count: 13

This leads you to a tough balancing act between the normal enemies and the instant failure enemies. If you focus on the normal enemies, you’ll more than likely miss your tiny window of opportunity to actually prevent the destruction of the jail. However, if you focus too much on the jail, you’ll be shot full of holes by all the other enemies on screen. This stage alone was enough to make me want to quit, but after a handful of attempts, I somehow managed to beat it.

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Turns out the whole stage is kind of pointless in the end. Even if you successfully defend the jail, Snake Oil still manages to tunnel his way out to freedom anyway. In the end we have to chase him down again anyway. So saddle up on your horse Aluminum and go after him!

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Things just keep ramping up faster than I expected. On top of all the bad guys trying to kill you, there are dozens of sticks of dynamite flying through the air ready to explode in your face. These are just such small targets moving very quickly, it’s nearly impossible to hit them. And you can completely forget about hitting ALL of them.

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When you’re not avoiding explosions, you have to keep an eye out for dive bombing vultures. The problem with these guys is that they simply move too fast to react to. By the time you see them and get the cursor over towards them, they’ve already hit you and flown off. Then there’s the fact that they usually fly in groups. After being hit by one, you’ll be momentarily stunned and have no hope of recovering in time to shoot any of the others.

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In the end, you never do manage to recapture Snake Oil. To make things worse, you’re confronted by Bugsy as soon as you get back into town. So get ready for yet another quick draw, all because you knocked over a stupid flower back on your first day in town.

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Death Count: 15

This is probably going to be the last quick draw I can manage with the cursor. The amount of time you are given just isn’t enough anymore to accomplish with the cursor alone. I need to invest in the super scope at some time. Wouldn’t that be a sight? Doing a quick draw with a bazooka!

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The next day starts peacefully enough. Tin Star is bathing, while at the same time insisting to Mo that too much bathing will weaken a man. Also that he can’t wash his hair, because he only takes his hat off on Sunday, and it isn’t Sunday yet. Also I thought everyone was robots, Tin Star is pretty ripped and muscular for a robot.

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Anyway, the peaceful bath time is quickly interrupted by a bunch of Women and Men shooting up the town. At least that’s what Tin Star thought, Mo was quick to correct him that it’s actually the Bad Oil Gang in disguise. Looks like we’re going to have our hands full today as well.

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However, Tin Star is a good guy, and the Good Guy Code says never to shoot women and children. So it looks like Tin Star might be helpless to defend the town at the moment. That’s when Tin Star notices a convenient loophole in the rule. It clearly says not to shoot Women AND children. But these are just women with no children in sight. So grab your gun and start shooting!

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The journey through town is going to be a dangerous one. There are just so many members of the Bad Oil Gang it’s unbelievable. They’re around every corner. They’re on the roof tops. They’re bouncing around on springs. They even have stationary mini guns set up.

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Death Count: 18

With so many enemies, Tin Star is jumping all over the place. Occasionally he’ll be running from rooftop to rooftop. At one point you even manage to dive off a roof and into a water barrel down on the ground. Good luck keeping up with all the action.

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If you somehow manage to survive the journey through town, you’ll face off against the Blousey Bros! These criminals dressed up in flowery dresses and are prancing around between the water barrels trying to hide from you. What makes this so hard is the fact that for some reason there are innocent old ladies also hiding in the water barrels.

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Death Count: 23

If you shoot them while they’re trying to offer you some cake, you’ll end up taking damage for you error. Not only that, but you’ll fail to shoot the real bad guy and end up getting shot by them as well. Then of course there are the instances where two of them pop out of the barrels at once. Throughout the whole game I’ve been complaining that you simply can’t move fast enough to hit multiple targets with the cursor, and this is just another example of that flaw. The only redeeming quality of this boss fight is that it is perfectly patterned. There are no random elements to trick you up, and after enough failures, you eventually memorize the pattern well enough to beat the level.

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After finally making it past the Blousey Bros, we find out that the rest of the gang is busy trying to rob the Driftwood Savings and Loan. What is wrong with this town that there is this much crime?! So we saddle up again and head over to defend the bank now.

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Death Count: 28

This is another side to side shoot out where you can instantly lose at any moment if you fail to shoot one of the bombers. And you know what, I quit now. This is all just too much to keep up with. Are there any people in this town that aren’t criminals? Haven’t I already murdered hundreds of bad guys already? Is it possible that this town is populated entirely by criminals? In which case why am I bothering, I quit!

Verdict

Price – $10.47

It’s not a bad price, and it is a very innovative game. But I would highly recommend only buying it if you have a super scope and a CRT TV.

Play Again? – Maybe

This game frustrated the hell out of me. But I would LOVE the chance to play it with an actual super scope. I can imagine this becoming one of my favorite light gun games if I actually HAD a light gun to play it with.

Total Deaths – 28 Deaths

I’m blaming a lot of those deaths on the cursor. It simply isn’t fast enough or accurate enough to keep up with the action on the screen.

Fun Rating – 7 / 10

Most of my review of this game has been complaining, so I want to take this moment to say that I actually did really enjoy this game. It is hard, and very frustrating, but it is also a lot of fun. I’ve said it way too many times already, but this is a game that clearly needs to be played properly with an actual light gun to get the full enjoyment from the game. However, I do want to praise it for even giving it a controller option of play. Most light gun games don’t even consider the controller as a possible alternative play mode. The action might be a little too much for the cursor to keep up with, but at least they tried. The story segments are also fairly funny, with a lot of fun wordplay. I honestly do wish I could finish this game because I’m curious to see how the whole thing ends. The graphics and animation were also top notch. Everything has a very cartoony look to it, and all the movements are very fluid. It’s also interesting in the approach to the genre. Even though it’s technically an on rail shooter, it’s interesting to actually be able to SEE your character on screen. Usually these types of games would be in first person with the enemies shooting directly at you. In the end, everything blends together to a rather unique and fun game. It’s just unrelentingly hard at points when you’re trying to play with the controller. Even so, it’s not an overly rare or expensive game. Why not pick it up and see if you can make a better sheriff that I did.

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You can keep the town! I don’t care anymore!!

 

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I hope you enjoyed this 30 Minute Review of Tin Star. 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.

 

 

Pilotwings (SNES)

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Prediction

Welcome back to another 30 minute review everyone. Today we’re going to be taking a look at a true SNES Classic, in fact it was a launch title here in North America. I of course speak of the wonderful title Pilotwings. The game itself is rather simplistic, but what makes the game so memorable is the extensive use the SNES’s Mode 7 capabilities which allowed 3D graphics on the 2D system. In essence the game was basically a giant tech demo for the then new mode 7 graphics. Nintendo however has a great history with making amazingly fun tech demo games. Just look at Wii Sports. It’s still listed as one of the best games for the system, and that was a pack in game just to show off the new motion controls.

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Anyway, In Pilotwings, you play as an aspiring pilot as you go through various training sessions. But don’t knock the game as a simple flight simulator. In addition to the traditional plane you would expect, you also get to control a hang glider, a sky diver, and my favorite the rocket belt. I feel like I know a lot about this game, but truth be told I think I only played it once or twice at a friend’s house, I really don’t have much experience with the game. So join me as we test our skills and try to earn our pilot’s license.

Gameplay

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Join the Flight Club Now! So for the first lessons, we’ll just be learning the basics of the game. We won’t have access to everything right away, just the airplane and skydiving for now. But not to worry, I’m sure Tony here will have us flying like a pro in no time.

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As we play, we’ll be scored on how well we accomplish each task, and to pass we need to score at least 120 points between the 2 objectives. First we’ll start with the airplane where our goal is simply to land the plane without killing ourselves.

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Death Count: 1

It should be simple enough, we’re already flying straight into the landing strip. All we have to do is follow the markers down and land softly on the ground below. Of course this is our first time flying, so we land a little harder than we would have liked. I think our wheels just fell off… we’re going to have to try that again.

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The second attempt goes much better. We land safely on the ground and score an impressive 90 points on this first objective. That means we’re almost guaranteed to pass even if we completely mess up the skydiving portion. Speaking of which, we should probably get over there now.

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For the skydiving, you start out on the ground as a helicopter carries you up to height while you hang onto a ladder. It’s a very unusual form of skydiving that I’m unfamiliar with. I thought you usually fly up in a little plane and then jump out the side. Anyway, as you’re dropping down out of the sky you need to try to fall through a couple of rings. This sound simple enough, but the skydiver is a bit tricky to maneuver.

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Once you get close enough to the ground, you need to open up your parachute and try to land in the center of the target. Again the controls are a bit tricky here, but I’m sure we’ll get used to it. Somehow we even manage a pretty good landing. We might not have hit the center of the target, but we at least landed within the circle of the target.

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With that I manage to pass the first lessons and get my A class license. So it’s official, I’m now a certified pilot! The skies are open to me now! Of course, that was just the basic training. The lessons are only going to get harder from here.

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Lesson 2 gives us a new instructor, Shirley, and the promise that we’ll actually get to use the rocket belt soon. With 3 objectives this time, we now have to score 220 total points to pass. You may also notice we’ve had a change of location. And it looks like there’s now a pool of water surrounding the skydiving target area. But we’ll worry about that when we get to it.

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Death Count: 2

First up is the airplane objective. Once again we have to pass through a few rings on the way to the landing strip. However, we’re not already approaching it head on. So this is basically our first lesson in turning and maneuvering in the air. Unfortunately I couldn’t straighten myself out very easily and we ended up crashing again.

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We might still be able to do this though. So let’s move onto the skydiving objective. This time it feels like we flew up to a much higher altitude, and there were quite a few more rings this time than there was last time. That pool of water is quite intimidating though, it doesn’t leave much room for error.

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Death Count: 3

As I feared, we end up slashing down right into the water. With 2 bad performances already, it’s unlikely that we’ll end up passing this certification. So let’s just start over right now.

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This time around I have an almost perfect landing and get a much better starting score for the plane objective of the lessons. In the skydiving objective I end up missing a few of the rings, which is a bit disappointing. But I have a much better landing. I still didn’t hit the target, but I landed in the target zone outside the water for an easy 40 points.

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Now we finally get to play around with the rocket belt. This is so much fun, but it is a bit hard to control. In this objective, we have to pass through 3 rings before we head back to the target zone for a gentle landing. As fun as this is, I do have a bit of a complaint with the rings. They are a bit hard to spot at a distance since they are just tiny dots until you get close. Only once you get close do they expand out to full size rings.

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Death Count: 4

Once you actually find the rings, passing through them is quite easy. Landing on the other hand is not as easy. Just like with the sky diving, we have to be careful not to land in the water. Unfortunately that’s exactly what we end up doing. I’m not positive, but I don’t think jet packs work very well underwater. That also means I failed the lesson again and have to start over AGAIN.

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So once again we go through and get a good flight on the plane objective for a nice 74 points. Then we follow that up with a great landing in the sky diving objective for an additional 82 points. So it looks like we’re in really good shape to beat it this time. I thought I should take a slightly different approach this time and head for the target by crossing the bridge. That way I don’t have to worry about the water as much. It pays off as I get a fantastic 90 points for the rocket belt section.

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So with my total score of 246, I pass another lesson and get my B Class License. This game is already a lot of fun, even if it is rather challenging. I can’t wait to see what else is in store for me.

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We still have a little bit of time before my 30 minutes are up, so let’s check out Lesson 3. This time we’ll have Lance as our instructor, and we’ll finally be introduced to the hang glider. This time there won’t be a skydiving objective, instead it’s just the plane, rocket belt, and hang glider.

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Death Count: 5

So we start off with the plane. For the first time we actually have to start on the runway and get up to speed to take off. I was a bit hesitant though, and well, I ended up driving off the end and straight into the water… how about we give that one more try.

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Once we’re up in the air, there are quite a few rings for us to fly through this time. We’re actually doing quite a large loop out over the ocean before turning around and heading back to the island. It’s hard to tell since the island is almost never in frame, but I think we might have actually flown a full lap of the island this time around.

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Death Count: 6

The final ring however was a bit deceptive. It has you flying really high into the air right before you need to land. This made me dive too quickly in an attempt to still land on the runway. Predictably, I ended up crashing spectacularly. But no time to worry about that, let’s just move on and see what else we can play with in this lesson.

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The rocket belt level played out roughly the same as last time, except this time we need to touch pillars of lights rather than flying through the rings. This is quite a bit harder to accomplish, but not too hard. Then of course we have to land on a tiny target in the middle of the water. Surprisingly I have a great landing on my first try.

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It’s a nice score, but not enough to allow me to pass the lesson. No worries though, we’ll just go onto the hang gliding objective anyway to at least see what it’s like. To be honest, I’m not really sure what I’m supposed to be doing here. You start by being pulled behind a plane, but then it detaches and lets you off to do whatever you want. Since I have no other indications of where to go, I decide to head straight for that odd pillar of white clouds.

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Death Count: 7

Turns out that pillar of clouds were actually an updraft that pushed me way up into the air. Soon after I was giving my only instructions, try to land without killing yourself. But where am I expected to land? Do I aim for the tiny sky diving target? Or perhaps I’m supposed to land on the runway like a plane? My indecision ends up wasting too much time and I crash land in the middle of the lawn. But that’s ok, we’re out of time anyway.

Verdict

Price – $9.00

It’s a cheap game, so there’s no reason not to add it to your collection.

Play Again? – Absolutely

This game is one of those simple yet challenging type games that are just loads of fun. I will absolutely come back and play this from time to time.

Total Deaths – 7 Deaths

At its core, it is a flight simulator game, so you need to be very careful with your landings. It’s not just going to hand you a “close enough” passing score.

Fun Rating – 8 / 10

This is a really fun game and I suggest everyone should play it at some point. The controls take a little while to get used to, but you can’t deny how much fun it is once you get the hang of it. On top of that, the graphics were quite revolutionary for the time, and in my opinion are holding up well enough for their age. No matter what, it’s hard to properly show depth in videogames, but this game does a good job of it. Even if I did die a few times I knew it was always my fault and I never got mad at the game. From start to finish it was a fun game, and sometimes crashing was the most fun part. Seriously, add this game to your SNES collection and be happy with the purchase.

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Someday I’ll fly free in the skies… Someday…

 

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Taz-Mania (SNES)

Taz-Mania (SNES) Full Cover

Prediction

If you’ve read some of my other Looney Tunes articles, you might already know that Taz is my favorite of the bunch. You might also know that growing up I owned a Sega Genesis and not a SNES. Naturally I owned Taz-Mania for the Genesis and it was one of my favorite games. Admittedly it wasn’t a great game, just a fairly generic platformer, but I loved it because you got to play as Taz. I didn’t recognize most of the other characters and enemies since it was based on the show, and I could rarely remember when it was on, but that’s ok, I loved it all the same.

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You might have noticed by now that I’ve decided not to play the Genesis version and instead play the SNES version today, and here’s why. While the cross platform games are usually the same game, just with minor adjustments to accommodate the system, I’ve heard the SNES version of Taz-Mania is actually a completely different game. I’ve tried to avoid any details beyond that fact so I can go into this game blind. But like I already said, the Genesis game wasn’t great, so I’m hoping this one is better. So let’s see how well they did with my favorite Looney Tunes character.

Gameplay

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For starters, the game is completely different than the genesis version. The genesis version was a 2D platformer staring Taz with the simple goal of making it to the end of the stage. The SNES version however is more of a 3D racing game similar to Rad Racers or Outrun. However, calling it a racer isn’t exactly correct. Racing games usually have other racers, rankings, checkpoints, laps, and various other details that come with the whole racing package. Taz-Mania for the SNES has none of these things. So instead I feel it more proper to call it a running simulator, since all you’re doing is running around in a loop until time runs out.

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As for the actual objective of the game, your goal while running around the track is to catch several little yellow Kiwi birds that are also running around the track for some reason. It’s a simple enough concept, but it is incredibly difficult to pull off. The Kiwis move very randomly, jumping over Taz, speeding off, or occasionally turning around all together. Combine that with Taz’s T-Rex like reach, and the task can be downright impossible.

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In addition to the Kiwi, the road is also full of a wide range of obstacles for Taz to avoid. The most common and annoying obstacles are probably the various vehicles sharing the road with Taz which will flatten him like a pancake. There are also trucks you have to avoid when crossing the street at the various intersections, or they will also be more than happy to hit and run our Tasmanian friend.

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Beyond the bad drivers, there is also a pterodactyl which will pick Taz up and bring him back to the starting point, and thus further away from the Kiwis you where trying to catch. Thankfully you can wiggle free from the winged beast to minimize the damage. Let’s hope you do, because if you get pulled too far back, you might just encounter a female Tasmanian Devil which seems to be madly in love with Taz. Getting caught by her is an instant game over and you’ll have to start the whole level over.

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There are also the environmental hazards to worry about. In typical fashion, Taz can easily run into any of the trees and signs that line the side of the road. Hitting any of these, even at low speed, will cause Taz to compress into an accordion in true cartoon fashion. While the collision is bad enough at slowing you down, what I found truly annoying was the fact that the accordion reaction wasn’t a simple animation, you actually have to control Taz and make him bounce up and down like an accordion before the effect will wear off and you are able to get back to the road.

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On top of that, even the camera is fighting against you. It simply follows behind Taz as he runs, which is basic enough for a game like this. However, the draw distance is terrible. You have almost no time to react to anything coming at you which resulted in me being hit by nearly every car and bus coming at me. There are also times when you run up hills which causes the screen to go almost completely blank. Even if the draw distance was better, you still wouldn’t be able to see anything coming at you, and again I usually got hit by a car I couldn’t see coming at these points.

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Not everything on the road is trying to kill you. Occasionally Digeri Dingo will ride up next to you on his motorcycle and offer you a package from Acme. Sometimes it’s a simple bone, other times it’s a piece of meat which will heal Taz right up. However, the contents are random and not always so nice. For example, you could potentially get a stick of dynamite or quite simple a punch in the face from an extending boxing glove. So maybe I was a little quick to claim not everything is trying to kill you.

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If by some chance you happen to catch the allotted number of Kiwi before time runs out, you will have successfully filled Taz up. Now stuffed with food, he will fall asleep right there on the road. However, since Taz generally swallows his food rather than chewing it, all the creatures he managed to eat will simply escape from his stomach as he sleeps. With his belly once again empty, Taz needs to find more food, and so the game continues on the next level with the same gameplay and a few new obstacles thrown at you. And you repeat this over and over and over again.

Verdict

Price – $5.00

I actually bought this on e-bay as a bundle with the Daffy Duck: The Marvin Missions game I reviewed already for $15.00 after shipping. Now that I’ve played both of them, I think I was horribly ripped off.

Play Again? – Probably Not

This game simply wasn’t very much fun. I was raging most of the time I was playing and staring at the clock waiting for my 30 minutes to be up.

Total Deaths – 4 Deaths

You actually do get a decent amount of time per level, and there are ways to get more time like eating the red birds that occasionally fly by you. But you only have a few lives and no continue, so I doubt I would ever manage to beat it normally

Fun Rating – 2 / 10

Overall, this game simply isn’t much fun to play. The concept is too simple, and yet the application was surprisingly horrible. The Kiwis were such small, fast targets that is was nearly impossible for Taz to catch them. The grabbing mechanic was just so imprecise and I usually felt I grabbed the kiwi out of pure luck rather than any skill. Other times I wasn’t sure if I grabbed them at all because again, they are such small fast targets they could easily slip away in the same time it takes to register eating them. Then there were annoyances like Taz not automatically recovering after taking damage. I have never before seen a game that would let me stay down forever unless I picked myself back up. Not only that, but once you recover, even touching the obstacle at no speed at all will still result in a body crushing collision. Tack on the crappy draw distance, and occasionally frustrating camera and you’re left with a game that simply isn’t any fun at all. I also want to note that you have to hold the up button the whole time to make him run. After a while that started hurting my finger since you’re still trying to turn left and right while keeping your forward momentum. Bottom line, avoid this game. It wasn’t any fun at all to play, and even with Taz as the main character I somewhat regret buying it. The genesis version might not have been great, but I’m glad I grew up playing it instead of this. I’ll have to review that game as well at some point just to show you SNES owners what you were missing.

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Oh Taz… someday i’ll find a good game with you in it.

 

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Pac-Attack (SNES)

Pac-Attack (SNES) - Cover

Prediction

Our One Year Anniversary here on the site is just around the corner. It’s amazing, I know, somehow I’ve managed to keep typing gibberish about videogames for an entire year. Anyway, to bring the year to a close, I thought I’d go full circle and review another non-traditional Pac-Man game. In this case, that game will be Pac-Attack for the SNES.

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Pac-Attack looks like it’s going to be the love child between Pac-Man and Tetris, two of the biggest names in classic gaming. Considering Pac-Man and the ghosts are going to be thrown into the mix, I’m guessing this game is going to be taking more of a Dr. Mario approach to the gameplay rather than a more traditional Tetris game. Even with that mindset going in, I’m not entirely sure what to expect from this game. So let’s just jump on in, shall we?

Gameplay

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As expected, the gameplay is a variant of Tetris. But there are a lot of things that set it apart from the traditional formula. For starters, there is only a single shape to the blocks being dropped. Every block is an “L” shape made up of 3 tiles, though the exact composition of those blocks is random. Each block will be made of a combination of regular tiles, ghosts, and on occasion Pac-Man himself. Naturally, the blocks will appear at the top of the screen and slowly fall to the bottom, during which time you can move and rotate them into whatever position you feel is best.

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Of course, making lines out of entirely L shaped blocks would be child’s play. The challenge comes from the fact that the ghosts don’t count towards the blocks in a row. You also can’t clear out the ghosts even if you manage to fill a whole row with them. Instead, you have to wait for Pac-Man to come and gobble them all up. Unfortunately, you have very little control over Pac-Man after you place him on the block tower, so you’ll have to place the ghosts strategically for him to eat them all.

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Another interesting change is that the blocks are not solid like they are in most Tetris games. What I mean by that is that each of the 3 tiles making up the block is an individual tile and will fall with gravity after the rest of the block is placed. This has some advantages, like not needing to wait for the long skinny block in order to fill in a gap, any piece placed will naturally drop to the lowest point possible. This unfortunately has the downside that if you trap a ghost, you have to work your way up from the bottom to free him, you can’t simple clear the row out above him.

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With all its changes though, the end result is still the same. Eventually the screen will fill up with tiles until there’s no room for any new blocks. It always starts out so innocently, trapping a single ghost where you couldn’t get him. Then while trying to free him, you trap another, and then another, and before you know it the ghosts have taken over the screen and the inevitable is at hand.

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In addition to the traditional survival mode, Pac-Attack also features a puzzle mode of play. In puzzle mode, the mechanics are largely the same, but the objective is slightly different. Each of the 100 puzzle levels starts with a unique set of tiles already on the board. Your goal is to clear the board of all the ghosts using a limited number of Pac-Mans. The blocks that fall still appear to be randomized, so you’ll have to think of the best way to line up the ghosts for Pac-Man to eat them.

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If you do it right, most of the levels can be completed with the first Pac-Man. However, the random nature of the blocks can make some of the levels more difficult than they need to be. You’re allowed to try as many times as you like however, so a second attempt might give more favorable results. Personally, I like the puzzle mode better than the survival, but that’s just me. You’ll have to try it out for yourself and see which one you like better.

Verdict

Price – $8.00

It’s a very reasonable price for a fun game. No reason you can’t add it to your collection.

Play Again? – Probably

I’m not very good at these types of games, but as this site has proven, I’m not very good at many games. Still, it was a fun game and I would enjoy popping it in every now and then for a few minutes entertainment.

Total Deaths – 6 Deaths

I only played one game of survival, so the rest of these failures were in puzzle mode, where I spent most of my time.

Fun Rating – 7 / 10

There are a lot of Tetris variants out there, and this one certainly has its charm. The gameplay is fun and addicting while also providing a decent mental challenge. I’ll admit that it’s not my favorite variant, mostly due to the fact that the individual tiles will fall to the bottom after being placed. It makes the game very difficult to recover from once you make even a single mistake. However, the unique challenge of trying to gobble up ghosts while also trying to form lines of blocks in an interesting twist on the classic formula. For the price, there’s no reason you shouldn’t at least give this game a try, you might just like it.

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I never knew the ghosts actually had feet…

 

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Mario is Missing! (SNES)

Mario Is Missing! Front Cover

Prediction

Mario might be the mascot of the series, but Luigi has always pulled his own. He’s even gone so far as to star in a few of his own games. Most people would probably know of Luigi’s solo adventures in the Luigi’s Mansion Series, but he was actually the star of his own game long before that with Mario is Missing.

Mario Is Missing! (SNES) - 01

To be honest, this is a game that I know mostly by name only. I know the previous fact of it being one of Luigi’s solo adventures, but other than that I only know what I’ve gathered from the rare screenshot. These are very confusing because they show Luigi running around what looks like normal cities as opposed to the usual mushroom kingdom settings. So really, I’m not sure what to expect going into this.

Gameplay

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So the game starts with Mario falling down a hole and somehow landing in the Antarctic in front of a castle. Luigi and Yoshi are there already for some reason and are witness to Mario falling through yet another trap door. Looks like it’s up to Luigi to storm the castle on his own to save Mario.

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Inside, Luigi finds himself trapped in a room with 5 doors to choose from. Picking the first door, we’re somehow transported to the real world city of Rome, Italy. Of course, this isn’t immediately obvious. No, you need to talk to people walking around on the streets to gather up this information because it turns out we’ve accidentally started playing an educational game.

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As we wander around town taking in the sites, we find out that when Princess Peach isn’t running her kingdom or being kidnapped by Bowser, she apparently has a side job as a tour guide. Unfortunately, there has been a rash the thefts which have forced many of the world’s tourist spots to close to the public until the stolen items are returned. These items include a Gladiator’s Spear from The Colosseum, Coins from the Trevi Fountain, and somehow even the entire ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. How do you manage to steal an entire ceiling?

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With all these Koopa Troopas running around town, it’s really no question who is to blame for stealing these items. As with most of the Mario games, the attack of choice is to stomp on their heads to kill them. For most, they will explode into stars similar in animation to Super Mario World. However, the guilty Koopas will react differently by either violently exploding, shattering like glass, or my favorite blasting off into space like rockets. Regardless of which form of death befalls the thief, they leave behind their stolen items for Luigi to return.

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Of course, Peach can’t just take your word that you’re returning the real items. You have to answer trivia questions about the item to prove it’s the genuine article. Apparently there are a lot of people walking around with fake ceilings of the Sistine Chapel just looking for the opportunity to offload them. If you answer the questions correctly, Peach will believe it to be authentic and once again allow entry to the tourist spot.

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This process is repeated with the other stolen items until all three have been returned. Unfortunately, there is a Pokey enemy sticking out of the only warp tube back to the castle. If you want to get rid of him, you’ll have to guide Yoshi across the world map to your location. With Yoshi’s help, you’ll scare away the pokey and finally be done with this stage.

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Each of the other doors follows the same basic formula. You’ll visit Beijing, China where you must find a stone from the Great Wall of China, The Gate of Heavenly Peace from Tian An Men Square, and The entire Hall of Good Harvest from the Temple of Heaven.

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Then you’ll travel to Nairobi, Kenya on the East coast of Africa. Here a Headdress from the Maasai Village, an Ancient Human Skull from the National Museum of Kenya, and a baby elephant which looks suspiciously like a zebra from the Nairobi National Park were all stolen.

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From there, we travel to Moscow Russia. This time a Cannonball from the Tsar Cannon in the Kremlin, The Cathedral Dome of St Basil’s Cathedral, and ballet slippers from the Bolshoi Ballet have all been stolen.

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Passing through the final door brings us to San Francisco, California right here in the USA. The Koopas managed to steal the fog horn off the Golden Gate Bridge, windows from the Coit Tower, and impressively the entire top floors of the Transamerica Pyramid.

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Returning all the stolen items from all 5 of the doors brings us to our first “Boss Battle” against one of the Koopalings, Ludwig von Koopa. You’ll notice I put quotations around “Boss Battle” and that is because it’s an insult to the term to use it here. As an educational game, Luigi has no health bar, and therefore can take no damage. So with no threat of dying, Ludwig simply runs back and forth across the room without ever attacking or creating any sort of threat. To further add insult to this “Boss Battle” Ludwig is programmed to actively avoid Luigi, turning around in fear whenever you come too close. This combined with Ludwig’s speed make it rather difficult to actually land any attacks on him. But with no threat of dying, it’s really just a matter of time before you win, opening up another floor with another 5 doors that someone else will have to explore because I’ve already gone over on time for this review.

Verdict

As far as educational games go, this one isn’t bad. It’s not great, but it still manages to be entertaining to play. I’m a little upset it’s not an actual Mario game, but such is life. At least I didn’t pay full retail price for it. I admit I was kind of flying though the game since it’s meant for kids, but there were still a few interesting facts I felt I learned by playing it. So mission accomplished.

Price – $13.50

It must be because it’s a Mario game that the price is even this high. I’ve seen better games sell for less.

Fun Rating – 7 / 10

To be clear, as a standalone game, it’s pretty bad. However, looking at it strictly through the eyes of an educational game and it’s actually quite enjoyable. Most of the sprites look like they’re ripped straight from Super Mario World, which they probably are. The music was always remixes of Mario songs with some local flavor thrown in, which I thought was rather enjoyable. Then the trivia was entertaining without being very demanding. However, the information gained from people on the street was often useless to the point that I stopped talking to them entirely. Not that it mattered, the pamphlets Peach gives you have all the information you actually need.

Play Again? – Maybe

It’s not something I’d be willing to play for hours at a time. But maybe in small bursts. Just to see the end.

Total Deaths – 0 Deaths

Luigi couldn’t die, they wouldn’t let me kill him.

 

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Let me see if I understand this. The Mayor offered a $1500 reward for the safe return of “a few coins”?

Tax dollars at work!

 

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Mecarobot Golf (SNES)

Mecarobot Golf Full Cover

Prediction

In real life, I hate sports. I don’t play them, I don’t even watch them on TV. I simply have no interest in them. Sports videogames on the other hand I generally like. And for some reason, my favorite sports games are always the golf games. I’ve never been quite sure why. The only thing I can think of is that I’m a bit of a math nerd, and golf games are about 90% math. The angle and power of the swing, the range of the clubs, the direction of the wind, everything is just a complex math problem.

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With that in mind, I couldn’t help but be intrigued when I saw the title Mecarobot Golf while browsing the discount bins. Looking closer at the game, and I see that it was made by Toho, the same Toho that brought the world Godzilla. In my mind, this is going to be a crazy version of golf with Godzilla and giant robots playing golf in the ruined remains of a city after some giant monster fight. I’m sure I’m going to be sadly disappointed, because such a game is just too awesome to actually exist.

Gameplay

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It’s not mentioned in game, but I can’t help but relay this game’s back story. Or at least what the wiki page says the story is. In the near future, humanoid robots are being discriminated against as second class citizens. This brings us to Eagle, a robot specifically built to play golf better than any human, who is being discriminated against and blocked from playing professional golf. After a rich benefactor purchases Eagle, and builds him his own golf course to practice on, he is finally given a chance to prove himself. That’s where you come in, as the representative of the human race, you need to play against and beat Eagle to prove the superiority of humans. Spoiler Alert It doesn’t end well for the human race!

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After registering your name, and picking your clubs, the game plays out just like any other golf game. There are a couple modes of play, as well as lessons, but for the sake of this review I’m just going to dive right in a play as much of a competition as I can against Eagle in 30 minutes.

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As far as gameplay goes, everything is pretty typical for a golf game, with the exception that your opponent is a robot. You pick your club, aim your shot, and swing. Like with most golf games, the swing mechanic is a power gauge with a sliding bar on it. You need to stop the bar at the desired power, and then stop it again to make contact with the ball. The speed varies depending on the club, but I felt the longest driving club was just a little too fast. Also it seemed unresponsive when I tried to make contact with the ball, though maybe my controller is just dying.

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The hazards on the course are also the typical things you would expect. There are trees everywhere that you have to avoid hitting. Sand pits positioned right around the green. Even the water hazards with their satisfying splash when you knock a ball into them. Once again, if your opponent wasn’t a robot, you’d just be playing a regular game of golf at some country club.

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In all truth, this might even be considered a stripped down version of a golf game. During play, I didn’t even notice the wind indicator. I didn’t see it until I started gathering pictures for the article. So clearly the wind has little to no actual impact on the balls trajectory. The aiming of the ball is also limited, allowing you to rotate in increments rather than a full sliding scale. Then the final challenge of putting seems to lack any sort of variation in elevation. Perhaps the shading of the ground is some subtle hint to elevation, but it didn’t seem to actually effect how the ball rolled.

Verdict

From what I played, there isn’t anything particularly bad about this game, but it doesn’t excel at anything either. With a title like Mecarobot Golf, I was expecting at least SOMETHING beyond the usual country club golf course. Sadly that isn’t the case. In the end it’s just another generic golf game.

Price – $4.50

For the price, it’s not that bad of a deal.

Fun Rating – 6 / 10

I like golf games, but this one just didn’t do it for me. Maybe it was my controller, but the 2nd input for the swing missed more often than I would have liked, resulting in a terrible score for me. Then nothing about the game was particularly special or innovative. At best it was forgettable, but at worst it was frustrating and leaning towards broken.

Play Again? – Maybe

There are a few other modes of play, maybe one of them will bring something interesting to the mix.

Total Deaths – 0 Deaths. (17 strokes over par by the 6th hole)

As I’ve mentioned, I missed the ball more often than I would have liked. Had I hit the ball every time, I would have only been about 3 over par.

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I’m not sure what this scene adds to the game.

 

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Paperboy 2

Paperboy 2 - 01

Prediction

Paperboy is a classic game that everyone should have played at least once. It’s a fun game where even if you’re not very good at it, you can still enjoy what you do experience.

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I’ve never played Paperboy 2, and I’m not sure where it can improve upon the original other than a graphical face lift. That’s not a bad thing really, the original game was amazing, and better graphics could only improve on an already winning formula.

Gameplay

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Like I thought, the gameplay hasn’t changed much from the original. You play as a paperboy on his bike trying to deliver newspapers to everyone on your route. You throw the papers from your bike and need to get them into the mailbox, or land on the doorstep.

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That on its own is a pretty boring game, who would want to play a work simulator. The fun comes from all the environmental elements, nearly everything in interactable. There’s the obvious choice to be able to break the windows of the houses, but you can be more sinister than that. You could knock an old couple off their bench, or hit the car jack, and let the car drop on some poor neighbor.

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There are a huge number of obstacles standing in your way though. There are the normal things you would expect, like dogs chasing after you, and cars driven by people who clearly don’t mind killing a kid on his bike. But there are also the insane, like ghosts, sewer mutants, and run away babies.

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Some of the houses themselves pose an immediate danger to you as well. Demonic gargoyles will shoot fireballs at you while you ride by. Or this very confused and misplaced castle will shoot cannon balls at you from behind its moat and draw bridge.

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Survive your route, and be treated to a bonus round obstacle course. Try to hit the targets for the high score. Then start the route again the next day while compiling your hazardous working conditions lawsuit.

Verdict

This is a wonderful game, and a perfect addition to anyone’s game library. It’s not the type of game you could get lost in, but it’s the perfect type of game for those quick breaks from reality. You can play it seriously and try to be the best paperboy ever, or you could just wreak havoc attacking everything just to see what happens. Find a copy for yourself and you won’t be disappointed.

Price – $12

Fun Rating – 8 / 10

Play Again? Of course I’ll play it again. I may never complete it, since I’m terrible at it, but it’s a fun arcade style game to just pick up and play every now and then.

Total Deaths 25 deaths. Yeah, I’m not very good at this game at all.

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I don’t care. I don’t need a job THAT bad

 

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I hope you enjoyed this 30 Minute Review of Paperboy 2. 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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