’99: The Last War Overview

Stave off an invasion from the evil Aquila Empire in this sci-fi shooter from Proma. To save Earth, you must maneuver a ground vehicle back and forth across static backgrounds while shooting at zigzagging aliens appearing overhead in various patterns. This Galaga and Centipede-inspired shooter features a shield button in addition to a fire button. Activate the shield before the vessel’s energy meter depletes to protect yourself against incoming missiles. Backgrounds depict a variety of locales, from futuristic cityscapes to moon surfaces.

Features
Move your ground vehicle anywhere across the lower portion of the screen
Activate your vessel’s shield to protect against damage
Battle varied groups of aliens in multiple waves

Cherry Delight Game Review

Cherry Delight is an amazingly simplistic, yet surprisingly addictive, video slots game. Similar to the video slots featured in 1990s American casinos, Cherry Delight offers more chances to win (and more chances to lose) than your typical one-armed bandit.

Cherry Delight’s graphics are fairly good for its size. The fruits and other symbols won’t take your breath away, and the spinning reels are not as realistic as they could be, but the game itself is so addictive that you might find it hard to pull away. The graphics do a sufficient job to keep you glued to your monitor.

Sound is fairly weak. The clicking of the reels stopping is unrealistic, and the cheesy wave file that plays after wining spins is somewhat annoying. Still, when combined with its fast pace, the sound quickly gets lost in your head. Plus, you can always turn off the sound or unplug your speakers.

The action in Cherry Delight is where it shines. Using the mouse to bet and then spin is almost too easy. I can understand how people lose their homes and families to machines similar to this. It’s so fast. It’s so easy. Before you know it, the 200 credits you started with are gone. Along the way, you might hit a good sized jackpot. That only serves to further addict you to the game. If Cherry Delight teaches you nothing else, it will teach you that gambling is no way to make money. It might also show you the importance of quitting while you are ahead, but I doubt it.

The only real drawback to Cherry Delight is the vast number of winning combinations there are. You are never really quite sure when you have won and must rely on the program to be honest. There is a “payout” section in the online manual, but that can be tough to memorize quickly.

Cherry Delight is a fun game that is simple to learn and hard to put down. It is a game that will take hours away from your life. That means it’s good.

Graphics

Simple, but effective.

Sound

Biggest flaw, but not horrible.

Enjoyment

Superb. Try to pull away.

Replay Value

Addiction is possible.

Documentation

Very good and thorough.

Alpine Racer Review (1995)

Featuring a uniquely realistic control system complete with workable skis and a set of poles, Alpine Racer lets players race downhill on three different beautifully rendered courses, each with its own character and style. Speed races involve taking on three computer-controlled skiers while in-the-gate competitions pit players against a single virtual opponent. As with so many racers, players are given a finite amount of time to reach various checkpoints in order to keep playing. The ski poles don’t move, but the simulation, aided by 3D polygonal graphics, solid physics, stereo sound and a 50-inch screen, is extremely effective nonetheless. Alpine Racer stands out from the pack, but only 2,000 or so of the cabinets were produced, making it a hard to find.

The 11th Hour Review

The 11th Hour continues the story introduced in The 7th Guest but from a different perspective. You take the part of Carl Denning, whose lover and producer, Robin Morales, has gone to the tiny town of Harley on the Hudson to do a story on the enigmatic Stauf Mansion. Now she’s disappeared and you must track her down. The mansion, although familiar to The 7th Guest players, is somewhat different, as the decoration in certain rooms and the contents of others have altered or changed.

Lots of new pictures in the mansion are intertwined with puzzles that need to be solved. In the first game, solving puzzles in one room opened up additional rooms to explore, whereas The 11th Hour requires you to find objects at the behest of Stauf who provides clues through your portable computer called The Game Book. You not only receive clues on this device but also watch videos of Robin’s investigation into the Stauf mansion, your own explorations of the house and historical scenes. The videos are rewards for solving Stauf’s puzzles and finding objects (39), all of which must be found to win.

You still must solve game puzzles, such as the spider puzzle on the floor in the bathroom and the changing chess pieces in the entry hall, to gain entry into other rooms. Although some are reworked from the first game with different solutions, others are totally new. As before, your viewpoint is from a first-person perspective but, unlike the earlier game which contained fluid and smooth motion, The 11th Hour suffers from a jerky and hyper feeling caused by faster movement. You feel hurried and desperate, which may be appropriate, as you’re supposedly under a time limit imposed by Stauf.

The game contains some rather grisly videos not recommended for those with weak stomachs and the horror aspect can’t be over stressed. If severed ears, melting heads and people being eaten by slug-like creatures bother you, stay away — it’s fodder for nightmares. The 11th Hour combines horrific sights with atmospheric music and sounds that enhance the horror show.

Animations are smooth and the game itself doesn’t require a great deal of disk swapping, unlike that required to watch the “The Making of The 11th Hour” mini-documentary. That said, the film is extremely interesting and worth watching at least once despite the annoyance of excessive disk swapping which can drive you to distraction.

Saving at a strategic point near the end of the game is mandatory, since The 11th Hour offers you a choice as to which character to rescue, unlike The 7th Guest. There is only one correct choice and all incorrect selections result in Stauf being unleashed upon the world.

In summary, the game has plenty of atmosphere and great gameplay. Even the cursors evoke a horrific atmosphere, from the beckoning skeletal hand to the skull with eyes and a throbbing brain that indicates a puzzle location. While it can be very different from its predecessor, you get good return on your investment with lots of puzzles, exploration and mystery inside the mansion. Despite having only an hour’s worth of video, which is doled out in snippets and a longer sequence near the end of each disk, The 11th Hour won’t be solved quickly — prepare for a significant time investment to put Stauf to rest.

Graphics

The mansion is satisfyingly creepy and deserted and the snippets of video are smooth and fluid. Even the jerkiness of first-person movement manages to add atmosphere.

Sound

The music for the first floor involves plucked violins and manages to make you feel anxious without quite knowing why. The second floor music is more somber and spooky, with each room having its own unique background score. Together, the sound is impressive and adds to the atmosphere.

Enjoyment

Lots of gameplay is assured with plenty to see. Although much of it will perhaps turn your stomach, it adds up to a strong and coherent whole that thrills as it horrifies. Horror is a strong theme in the game and those who enjoy being scared should enjoy the vicarious thrills and chills.

Replay Value

Some of the starting positions of puzzles change but not much else. There are three possible endings to the story but only one of them is correct. The others result in the death of your character.

Documentation

The manual is on disk and, while it contains the back-story, credits and some information on gameplay, there really isn’t much useful information.

The Need for Speed 1995 PC Game

Released in 1995, Need for Speed is a pioneer 0f racecar games that combines simple but fast paced arcade style gameplay vvith a choice of realistically simulated sports_cars. Players race against computer_controlled cars on eight tracks using machines_like the Dodge Viper, Lamborghini, Ferrari, Porsche 911, Corvette, Mazda RX7, Toyota Supra Turbo, and Acura NSX.

 Five of the tracks are closed circuit speedvvays, vvith all other cars computer_controlled. The other three tracks are open road courses, complete vvith oncoming traffic to vveave through and police cars to outrun. Full motion video shovvcases exhibits of the various sports cars.

Performance-vvise, each sports car reflects realistic attributes like top_speed, acceleration, and handling characteristics. Dashboard panels and engine sounds are modeled realistically to emulate real vvorld counterparts.

The experience of driving the cars_in the game, especially on a PC equipped vvith a steering vvheel and pedals, is the next best thing to driving_them in real life.

Even with the impressive showroom of sports cars, the primary focus is the_simple, fast, and exciting arcade_style gameplay found in popular games like Out Run. Need for Speed vvill appeal to any car enthusiast looking for realistic modeling of world class sports cars, vvhile those seeking the thrill of driving fast and dangerously vvithout the risk need to buckle up for the ride.

Sage Blackjack Simulator Review

Sage Blackjack Simulator is a no-frills simulation of the popular game of Blackjack. While it does not have all the bells and whistles available in other Blackjack games, it is probably one of the most realistic simulations of Blackjack ever developed.

For people who only like to play Blackjack on their computers, Sage Blackjack Simulator might not be the best game available. For those of us who enjoy casino-style gambling, however, the graphics, style, and play of Sage Blackjack Simulator cannot be beaten.

The graphics in Sage Blackjack Simulator are amazingly close to what an actual game of Blackjack looks like in a casino setting. From the shoe filled with cards, to the color of the chips, to the layout of the table, to the card backs, Sage Blackjack Simulator pays close attention to what a game of Blackjack looks like when real money is on the line. The default speed of the animation is a bit fast, but that can be manipulated for more realistic play.

Sage Blackjack Simulator has no sound. At first, I was disappointed as I was expecting to hear the shuffle of the cards, the sounds of chips changing hands, and other casino-style noises. After playing a few times, however, I did not even notice that the sound was missing. Although the developers could have made some attempt to include sound in the game, I suppose that no sound is better than bad sound.

The game play in Sage Blackjack Simulator is hyper-addictive. For anyone who loves to play Blackjack, this game will hook you and keep you from leaving the house. The deals seem fair and realistic. You win some, and you lose some. That’s the game.

I was repeatedly amazed at how quickly an eight-deck shoe dissolved. When you play with cyber-money, it’s easy to play for hours. Do not let this fool you into believing you are a card shark, however. The most Sage Blackjack Simulator can do for you is teach you when to hit and stand. It will not teach you to be a hustler.

The only real problem I had with Sage Blackjack Simulator was the constant clicking on the bet window. Ideally, the game should have a feature that allows the hands to continue, instead of stopping to have all the players confirm their bets. A “change bet” button in addition to the other radio buttons at the top would make game play smoother.

Overall, Sage Blackjack Simulator is a cool game for people who enjoy casino-style Blackjack. It’s not a strategy builder and it’s not chock full of features, but it is definitely a fun game with which you can waste several hours.

Graphics

Excellent detail

Sound

None

Enjoyment

Highly addictive

Replay Value

Very good

Documentation

Extremely thorough

Mario’s Tennis Review

Mario’s Tennis is notable for being the first (and only) pack-in game for the U.S. Virtual Boy, and soon after powering up the gizmo, you’ll see why. It’s incredibly fun! There is a convincing amount of depth on the court which really immerses you into the game, and the inclusion of Nintendo’s finest as your opponents helps keep things lively. While it isn’t the deepest tennis game you’ll play, I’d wager it’s one of the most addictive, with the right blend of action and strategy to satisfy anyone looking for an arcade take on the sport.

Before hitting the court, you’ll first choose between playing a singles match, doubles match or entering a Tournament. (Single-player tournaments allow you to face three opponents, while doubles only two). Select between easy, normal and hard difficulty, the match length (one or three sets) as well as your character, teammate and opponent(s).

Your character always appears in the foreground with the camera fixed behind and slightly above him, her, or in the case of Toad, it. The net is kept low, with one row of “hearts” separating your character from your opponent, making it very easy to see into the distance. Hitting the ball relies on the proper positioning and timing of your swing. If you hit the button while the ball is in the air, you’ll perform an overhead smash; if you push left or right while swinging, the ball will move left or right on the court.

Lobs are performed in the same manner but using a different button. The earlier you swing while pressing the directional pad, the more sharply a ball will travel. Serving simply involves pressing a button to toss the ball into the air and pressing it again to make contact. After serving, if you run toward the net you’ll automatically volley once you get within a certain distance.

To get the most out of this game, you’ll want to play all of your matches on the “hard” difficulty level. This increases the game’s overall speed and takes into account the various differences in characters. Each player has varying quickness, power, racquet sizes, as well as court strengths such as net, baseline and ground stroke ability. Yoshi, for example, is the fastest of the bunch, but he has small racquet contact area so you’ll need to be more precise with your positioning to return volleys.

A tennis game wouldn’t be complete without a few faults (snicker, snicker), and this one is no different. Minor quibbles include the lack of league play, saved statistics, and multiple court surfaces such as grass or clay to compete on. It also would have been nice to play as or against more characters, with at least 14 to choose from instead of only seven. Apparently both Wario and Bowser had prior commitments… Yet Mario’s Tennis remains an extremely entertaining arcade experience, one where it’s easy to pick up but difficult to put down.

Graphics

The clean graphics show detailed facial expressions for each character whenever they win or lose points. There is only one court, but there are different backdrops depending on the character you’re facing (Princess Toadstool has a castle in the scenery, for example).

Sound

Everytime you make contact with the ball you’ll hear a “plink.”

Enjoyment

The game really does give you a feeling that you are there. While it’s simple to grasp, that’s part of its charm.

Replay Value

You’ll continue to play because it’s fun, although it is rather short. Only seven characters and no league play means the replay value isn’t as high as it could be. There is a code that will increase the challenge, however, should you find the difficulty lacking.

Documentation

The manual is in full-color with a list of tennis terms and scoring rules. Each character has a full color drawing and all controls are explained beautifully.