Aero the Acrobat

A 2D platformer starring the titular circus bat, Aero the Acrobat spans 24 levels, across four themed environments. In a bizarre hostile takeover attempt by an evil billionaire, the circus has been rigged with all manner of traps and devices, and overrun by clown henchmen whose sole purpose is to get rid of Aero. Using his ability to glide for limited periods, Aero must maneuver across tightropes and moving platforms, among a host of other impediments along his journey. To aid him in his quest to defeat the villainous Edgar Ektor, Aero has at his disposal a devastating spin attack, and once found Aero can throw projectile stars at enemies. Health and extra life power-ups can be found littered about the levels.


Objectives change across the many levels, and require Aero to jump through a succession of hoops or ride in log-flumes, roller coasters, and the like, while avoiding obstacles and jumping chasms. At the conclusion of certain environments Aero will face a giant boss character, whom he must defeat to continue onwards. Bonus levels take the form of a Mode 7 high-dive, where Aero must maneuver through a series of blue loops en route to the pool of water on the ground. To make this more difficult, wind machines will appear from the sides of the screen and try to blow Aero away from the loops.

Bulls vs. Blazers and the NBA Playoffs – Synopsis

The number one selling basketball game on the Genesis returns with 16 updated teams based on the 1992 NBA playoffs. New features include the ability to create your own All-Star teams, call defensive plays, and substitute players using complete team rosters. More signature moves have been added as well, so you’ll see Karl Malone’s “In Your Face” Jam, Shawn Kemp’s “Off-the-Glass” Jam, Tim Hardaway’s “No-Look Pass and Layup,” and many more.

Returning from 1992’s game are the T-meter free throw system, instant replay, updated in-game stats, and team logos and colors on home court. Game modes include a Tournament and One Game Exhibition, which can be played cooperatively or competitively with a friend. If you need to continue your Tournament at a later time, you can do so via passwords available after each win. Bulls vs. Blazers and the NBA Playoffs is the third game in Electronic Arts’ basketball series for the Genesis and first to feature the EA Sports brand label.

The Lost Vikings PC Synopsis

Fresh from winning the village hunting contest, the mighty Vikings Olaf the Stout, Baelog the Fierce, and Eric the Swift wallow in their hard-fought victory. Little do they realize their heroics have caught the attention of the vile and despicable intergalactic zookeeper, Tomator. Hovering above our heroes’ abode, Tomator teleports Olaf and company aboard his spaceship. Thanks to a transporter malfunction, the Vikings materialize in the main hall of the zookeeper’s craft rather than in his specimen laboratory. Speeding through the galaxy towards Tomator’s home planet, the three Vikings are truly lost in space. Their only hope is to find their way, using various hunting skills, through time and space back to Earth.

Each Viking has different abilities and weapons, and you must strategically guide all three of them to the end of each stage in order to progress through the game. Once Viking alone cannot finish any of the levels; they must cooperate. You can alternate between the Vikings, or you and a friend can work together. As you play the game you will find helpful items such as shields, bombs, keys, flaming arrows, gravity boots, and food. Areas to explore include Preshistoria, Egypt, and Wacky World. There are 37 levels in all.

Arch Rivals: The Arcade Game Review (1989)

Arch Rivals’ game play focuses on two-on-two, no rules basketball. On offense, you just have to dribble the ball to the opposing team’s hoop and make the shot. The physics of shooting are a little quirky – shots have a tendency of scoring or missing with about the same probability no matter where you take the shot. A shot from midway between half court and the three-point line has about the same chance as a shot taken from the free throw line. In fact, dunks go down with about the same frequency as a three pointer, even if no one is anywhere near you. This gives the game a more Arcade-like feel, but it also has the effect of completely castrating the game in terms of strategic game play. All you have to do is get to the opposing team’s side and get open; it doesn’t really matter where you take the shot.


If that was Arch Rivals’ only problem, it would still be somewhat playable. But in a terrible design decision, the developers programmed in short animated cut-scenes after each score. If the opposing team scores on you, you might see their coach cheering, or when your team scores you might see him yelling. Every so often you’ll see cheerleaders or the referee instead. These cut-scenes are fairly well done in a cartoony and slightly humorous sort of way, but they completely disrupt the flow of the game. Instead of being able to smoothly transition into offense or defense, you have to watch a meaningless animation clip. It’s very rare that a game is crippled by a severe design flaw that isn’t even in the game play, but Arch Rivals shows that it’s possible.

Both the graphics and music are of average quality. Aside from the four ugly and slightly deformed players running around fighting for the ball, there’s no animation in the game. The crowd doesn’t do the wave, cheer, or anything. There’s actually no crowd at all, just ten or so bored looking guys (which portends how you’ll probably feel about the game). The player animations are adequate, and the screen does manage to scroll back and forth smoothly to keep up with the action. Arch Rivals has no sound effects at all, and uses a bland little tune to cover up that deficiency. That tune happens to be four seconds long, so it gets played over and over. Needless to say, it gets annoying almost immediately.

Graphics

Unimpressive graphics of average quality.

Sound

The game has no sound effects and repeats its music too often.

Enjoyment

The game play’s flow is harshly disrupted by the cut-scenes that play after each score.

Replay Value

There are several teams to choose from, but they don’t have much in the way of noticeable differences.

Documentation

Average documentation.

The Humans PC Review (puzzle game)

One of the immediate things you notice about The Humans when you first start to play is an inescapable comparison to the highly successful title by Psygnosis, namely Lemmings. Although somewhat similar in style as far as looks go, comparison of the on-screen critters reveals a vast difference. In The Humans you’ve got a much greater vested interest in having your tribe survive; forget those cute rodents. After all, you’re responsible for the mere evolution of mankind and must pave the way to dominance over all other creatures, large and small. There are, however, remarkable similarities between the two games. First, you progress through The Humans screen by screen by solving coordination and logic problems. Second, your actions are timed. Third, you’re given “level” codes upon completion of each level that allow you to continue from that point. There are no save games per se in the game during the action. Eighty successively difficult levels await you in any one of three skill levels.

In order to lead your tribes down the primrose path of successful evolution, you’ll periodically pick up new and better tools of “civilization”. Beginning with the discovery of the spear (for offensive/defensive use and as a fulcrum to leap with), your arsenal continues to expand with the advent of fire (the torch), the rope, the wheel and lastly the witch doctor. The introduction of the wise (and sometimes not too friendly shaman) is a delightful addition to the game, as he can be as destructive as he is helpful. An important aspect of the game that requires almost immediate mastering is the “stacking” technique that allows your humans to gain access to areas otherwise unattainable. The graphics in The Humans are not the prettiest in computerdom but they are humorously rendered even though the level of detail isn’t quite as precise as you might want. The game contains a “forget-it-let-me-try-again” feature which comes in very handy when you realize your progress in any given level is beyond hope. Running out of time on the level causes you to lose a human from your tribe but for each second you finish early, you receive ten points. Final score of each level is a simple matter of multiplying the surviving number of humans by the level number with the result multiplied by ten. Although an artificial scoring system at best, it does give you something to shoot for in replays.

A cleverly written, informative and amusing manual is worthy of mention, as is the unobtrusive yet strangely hypnotic music score. One definite flaw in the game is the nearly total lack of any significant sound effects. In a game that features strenuous activities like those found in The Humans, whether it be dinosaur bashing or war cries, the oversight is obvious and detracts in a small way from the game’s otherwise healthy enjoyment quotient. The Humans is not a quick walk in the park as some of the logic puzzles and coordination schemes are definitely diabolical in design. But then no one ever said evolution was easy.

Graphics

Not as detailed and sharp as they might have been but adequate.

Sound

The music is non-invasive and complements the gameplay wonderfully. However, low marks are awarded for the singular lack of sound effects.

Enjoyment

Fans of Lemmings will feel a sense of déjà vu but The Humans rates high on it’s own merit. It’s one of those games where the night fades away as you yell at the screen: “Just one more try!”

Replay Value

With 80 levels and 3 skill options, replay won’t be necessary for quite a time. When it is, there’s enough fun packaged here to make it a repeatable experience.

Documentation

Clever, informative, humorous, short and to the point.

Alone in the Dark Review [DOS]

Based on the writings of the popular H. P. Lovecraft, I-Motion’s Alone in the Dark stands as a classic horror title that is certain to please PC fans.

Alone in the Dark presents players with a choice of two characters to select, namely, the respected Edward Carnby or Emily Hartwood, niece of the deceased Jeremy Hartwood. The game takes place in the Hartwood mansion, Derceto, a large and grand mansion that houses the many tales of horror that have taken place within. As one of the characters, players are given the task of investigating the mansion to uncover what really happened to Hartwood and to uncover the secrets that lie deep within Derceto.

The cinematic camera angles provide an intense sense of suspense in the game. There are up to nine different camera angles in each room which switch at random. However, as in most action/adventure titles, the “fixed” camera can more times than not lead to some incredibly irritating angles that hinder you from being able to fully enjoy the game. Players will be blinded by an object that will block an oncoming monster and so forth. This is easily the biggest problem with Alone in the Dark.

Graphically, the game is a gem. Full polygonal players and environments provide a sense of realism that adds to the serious theme of the game. The player models are a bit chunky and seem mis-proportioned but this is a minor complaint.

As to sound, the game is very moody. The music changes as the situation does and adds that slight feel of suspense that adds a great deal to the title. The creepy sound effects will have you looking over your own shoulder at times to see what’s behind you. The main thing that detracts from the sound is the voices. They seem to lack emotion and when the game needs emotion the most, the characters seem to let us down.

All in all, this title is a classic. With a deep plot and gameplay to boot, I-Motion’s Alone in the Dark is one title every PC gamer should have.

Rating: 70/100

Konami’s “Predator 2” PC Review

The Los Angeles Police Department
has the unenviable task of
keeping peace in a virtual war
zone. To add anything else to their already
overburdened capacity would be
like pouring a fresh pot of coffee into
an already full cup. So, when a
strange alien creature comes into
town on a hunting spree, the force is
hard-pressed to hunt it down. Indeed,
they face particular difficulty because
the creature is chameleon-like, able to
camouflage itself in virtually any setting,
as well as having the capacity to
move at a speed beyond comprehension.
In Konami’s Predator 2, players
have the opportunity to take on the
role of Detective Mike Harrigan in a
four-level arcade style free-for-all.
Players view the action from over
Harrigan’s shoulder as he walks down
the street and blows away almost
everything and everyone in sight with
any weapon he can get his hand on.
One thing is certain — the game
doesn’t suffer from lack of action.
Konami Gun Exchange
There are five different weapons available
to Harrigan, from a .45 magnum
automatic pistol (we don’t
know whether it is the Grizzly or
Wildey model) through the Mark
III rifle (somewhat better, but
with the trade-off of firing at a
slow rate), a Mark II shotgun
(which fires a bit faster and more
effectively), a Mark I assault shotgun
(the most effective and rapidfiring
weapon) and onward to an
M-203 grenade launcher (only
fires once, but destroys all
enemies currently on-screen). In
this reviewer’s gunsight, the best
all-around weapon for players to
use is the Mark I.
Players will quickly learn that
the key to the game is to constantly
pick up fresh ammo, just
like one gobbles power pills in
Pac-Man. The reason for this is
that all the weapons cycle
through the available ammo at a
fairly brisk clip and there is a stiff
penalty for players who run out
of ammunition. When one does
run out, the program immediately
issues a weapon rated one
level lower than the player-character’s
current weapon and five
fresh ammo magazines. This
can, of course, significantly
hinder the player’s progress in
the game, but it should not happen
very often (if at all) when the player
manages to keep one eye on the
ammo and continually acquire ammunition
magazines as they become
available. Ammunition magazines are
acquired in typical arcade game
fashion by shooting them as they appear
on-screen. Players should be
aware, however, that shooting the rocket
icon more than once will immediately
set it off and one just might
want to time its activation a bit more
carefully for optimum efficiency.
Predators, Two
The Amiga version is beautiful, incorporating
excellent graphics and
awesome action. In fact, the graphics
intentionally add to the difficulty of
the game as well as the look. This is
because the same color-schemes are
used for innocents, as well as
criminals. Hence, the fast-shooting
player is forced to look at the icons
rather than just glancing around the
screen and picking out targets at random.
This makes for a type of
“Hogan’s Alley” (F.B.I. shooting/training
range) effect and adds to the challenge
of the game. If the player
shoots too many innocent
people, he loses a life. Fortunately,
the game designers
allow for a lot of “accidents,”
so the player doesn’t have to
be too careful.
In addition, the “You lost,
buddy!” screens have a strong
cinematic appearance. (We’ll
wager the alert reader wants to
know how we know about
those!) Depending on how the
player loses, by running out of
lives or shooting too many innocent
people, there is an appropriate
animation of either
Harrigan being carried away in
an ambulance or being called
into the captain’s office for a
disciplinary interview which
results in the player’s suspension
from the force.
The crosshairs line up very differently
on the C-64/128 version.
It is extremely disappointing
and must be so stated,
even though this reviewer
knows as well as anyone how
badly Commodore owners
desire software support — but
support like this is very inadequate.
The game takes forever
to load, even with a fast-load
cartridge. Splotchy icons dot the screen
with pictures that can hardly be recognizable
as enemies.
Protection Racket
The Amiga box indicates that there is
no on-disk copy protection, but that is
not entirely true. Once into the manual,
Amiga owners are surprised with the
message: “Attention Amiga Users. Due
to the nature of this program, the disks
have been specially formatted to ensure
minimal disk swapping while maintaining
fluid game play. Therefore, conventional
back-up copies and hard disk install
is not available. Contact Konami’s
customer support for details regarding necessary back-up
copies.” Upon contacting Konami’s customer support line for
more information, this writer was greeted with, “Hey, dude, I was
trying to get ahold of you all day.” Upon responding that this
was highly unlikely, since this was an initial call for information
and the technician had no reason to have ever heard of this
writer (after all, even the prodigious fame that surrounds CGW
reviewers was unlikely to have preceded this modest scribe
without benefit of introduction), his response was, “Oh, wow
dude.” After asking for details on back-ups, he said, “Oh, dude…
just send in your original disks and we’ll send you some that can
be backed up.” To say the least, the customer service people
were far from professional. The consumer is not getting what is
advertised on the box and the only way
to get it is to send in the original disks
and wait for the “unprofessional” service
department to correct the problem.
Bargain Basement?
If Predator 2 were a “great” game, it
might be worth the wait. The game is
tremendously frustrating, however. For a
computer game not to offer a “savegame”
option, at least upon the conclusion
of each level, suggests that the
development team is out of touch with
today’s market. Players are forced to
begin anew on the initial level after each
loss, as though there were some
mysterious virtue in traversing the same ground incessantly. This
tends to reduce the game to the point of becoming a digitized
treadmill rather than an exciting arcade experience.
On the positive side, however, Predator 2 offers enough action
for even the most bloodthirsty player. At the same time, the
game design makes at least some attempt to distinguish between
innocents and enemies in this exercise in killing or being
killed. So, at the much lower-than-average computer game price
at which Predator 2 is offered, the game may be a satisfying
choice for those who cannot get enough super-macho challenges.
All in all, however, as in most areas of life, one gets what
one pays for and Konami’s Predator 2 is no exception.

Art of Fighting Review

Despite its resemblance to Capcom’s wildly successful Street Fighter 2, Art of Fighting fails on so many levels it’s almost painful to play. The first problem is its sparse Single-player Mode. Two characters just weren’t enough to keep me interested. Adding insult to injury, these two players are so similar, it’s like having 1.5 characters selectable in the Single-player Mode. Would it have been that much trouble to add some flimsy “king of the world” story excuse so the other six characters could become single-player playable?

After getting over stingy character choice, you might be somewhat impressed by the graphics. While there are some negatives, overall, the graphics are quite acceptable. Character sprites are large and backgrounds are diverse. The character’s faces even turn black and blue when beaten up a bit. The negative aspect is character animation. There isn’t much there, and what is there can look very odd. Robert Garcia’s walking animation looks so unrealistic, it’s almost laughable.

Art of Fighting’s fighting system is standard fare: characters have three or so special techniques in addition to the regular punch and kick attacks. The “chi bar,” however, is an innovation that adds some strategic depth to fights. Special techniques must be conserved and used at opportune times, forcing you to rely on standard techniques more than on other fighters. Unfortunately, with only one button each for punching and kicking and a shallow fighting system, it still turns out to be a disappointing experience. Unresponsive controls just makes it that much more difficult to bear.

In an attempt to be more inventive than Street Fighter 2, the between-level bonus games have more of an effect than just dumping numbers into your high score. Each of the three bonus games improves the player’s character in one aspect, if successfully completed.

With its innovative chi bar idea, Art of Fighting could have been groundbreaking, but because the game was released a year after Street Fighter 2, it’s been completely overshadowed. Art of Fighting doesn’t do itself any favors by copying Street Fighter 2 characters and moves. Ryo and Robert have similar moves to Ken and Ryu from Street Fighter 2, and the Art of Fighting character John bears an eerie resemblance to Street Fighter 2’s Guile in background design and regular moves. Overall, Art of Fighting is an uninspired game that comes across as a quick cash-in attempt.

Graphics

Interesting use of scaling, but poor character animations.

Sound

Lots of sound clips during Story Mode, but fight clips get repetitive.

Enjoyment

Unresponsive controls ruin any enjoyment.

Replay Value

Only two playable characters in Single-player Mode?

Documentation

The game sometimes teaches a character’s special techniques during the Story Mode.

Night Trap Review (Sega 1992)

When the Sega CD debuted, fans of point-and-click full motion video (FMV) games were in luck as the system featured many games of this type. However, even for those who enjoy pointing and clicking while watching full motion video, Night Trap is a disappointment. How much fun can it be to cycle through numerous cameras of a mansion trying to keep track of Dana Plato (the actress who plays the undercover agent and is known for playing a part on the television show Diff’rent Strokes) and her scantily clad cohorts, trying to follow some evil vampiric plotline, and pushing a button to trap poorly outfitted bad guys?

While some really enjoy this game, it is probably one of the worst uses of the full motion video format. It is easy to see what the designers were going for. That feeling of staking out a house, voyeuristically watching for any shred of evidence while, at the same time, saving the college girls from evil. What it turns out to be is a guessing game of what, when, and where some astonishing event will happen.

Should you become hopelessly enthralled by the storyline it is possible to follow all the subtle cues and hints that lead up to the conclusion but the attacks on the women continue to feel random, becoming increasingly difficult to figure out when someone is being attacked.

All this could be passed off if the game looked good, but the Sega CD’s limited 64 color pallette rears its head making all the video footage grainy, bland, and particularly unwatchable. Taking the pain of even watching the game one step further, the video is scaled down to nearly one quarter of the screen size.

Even if you’re a die hard full motion video fanatic, you will most likely find no redeeming gameplay in Night Trap. If you want to solve a mystery you’d be better off playing Clue.

Graphics

The video, which is shown constantly, is grainy, bland, and doesn’t even fill half the screen.

Sound

The music is uninspired though the voices and effects are decent.

Enjoyment

What’s fun about cycling through cameras and trying to follow the shallow, poorly acted, video?

Replay Value

If you’re destined to beat this game you’ll be back many times trying to figure out the immense pattern of events.

Documentation

Complete with storyline and controls.