Alien Attack Review (1995)

Despite its low-tech simplicity, Alien Attack is actually a good way to pass time while sitting at your desk. Alien Attack looks enough like Missile Command to give you a bit of nostalgic heartburn, but there are a few simple add-ons that set it apart.

First, there are two independent weapons in Alien Attack. The missile launcher is definitely more powerful, but the anti-UFO gun has its merits. The gun can fire more shots without reloading than the missile launcher can. Multiple bullets from the gun are more likely to hit a target more than once than are the missiles. The bullets from the gun even travel faster than missiles. Still, the powerful blast that a missile makes in contrast with a bullet makes the left-side weapon a better choice.

The sound in Alien Attack is fairly cheesy, but it is not annoying. The effects and music came through well on my Soundblaster card, even though there was not much to them.

Game play is fairly fun, but it can also be frustrating. If you choose to play Alien Attack alone, you must man both weapons. Using your left hand to do the exact opposite of what your right hand is doing presents a challenge. Your hands are working together, but you almost have to have two brains to get them to do it right.

The challenge and the minor frustration evident in Alien Attack are two of the things that make it worth playing more than once. The game appears to be quite simple. In reality, it will make you work hard to advance level to level. Eventually, you lose. There are just too many aliens and too few shots to hit them all.

Alien Attack is worth playing, especially if you want to escape the high-tech world of 64- and 128-bit systems of the late 1990s. It might not entertain you forever, but it will definitely work on you for a while.

Battle Arena Toshinden Overview

The PlayStation’s first 3D fighting game, Battle Arena Toshinden features eight distinct combatants armed with weapons. Some characters carry swords and clubs, while others crack whips or slash with claws. Each warrior can also use special attacks, throws, projectiles, and juggles to keep their rivals at bay. Similar to Sega’s Virtua Fighter series, characters battle each other within a ring and can roll to the left or right to avoid attacks. In addition to the single-player game, which has you battling a series of computer-controlled opponents, the title also features a head-to-head mode for competition against a friend. Four camera angles display the action from a variety of perspectives.

Similar Games:
Battle Arena Toshinden 2

Super Street Fighter II Turbo – MS-DOS

The MS-DOS version, developed by Eurocom and published by GameTek, was released on May 1995 in North America and Europe. The port is almost accurate to the arcade version and utilizes a six-button
controller. There are secret commands to use each character’s original color scheme, as well as moves that were removed from the 3DO version due to memory issues. The option menus have custom settings (such as enabling and disabling parallax scrolling) that allows the game to be played in a low hardware specs. The biggest change is the game’s resolution. The game is played on a resolution of 320×200 on AT/PC-compatible machines and since the graphic data is ported straight from the arcade version, all the characters appear large due to the narrow screen size. Because of this, the distance between both fighters at the beginning of a match is a bit narrower than in the arcade version. There were many glitches in the initial shipments of the DOS port, such as characters landing and recovering normally after landing from a jump if they’re knocked out in mid-air with a basic attack. A patch file was distributed that corrected these bugs, which were later fixed in version 1.5 of the retail release. A patch file for a version 1.6 was released as well. The music has been remixed as well, although the soundtrack is different from the one released for the 3DO.

Aggressors of Dark Kombat Review

Aggressors of Dark Kombat is a pseudo-3D fighting game set in a graphically 2D world. It attempts to set itself apart from all other 2D fighter games with its three-plane fighting system. In addition to the X and Y, players are given the ability to move along the Z-axis. While this introduces some new strategy elements in trying to approach the opponent, it isn’t enough to redeem the game from its overall mediocrity.

Graphically, the game is slightly above average. The player-selectable characters are average looking at best, and their move animations definitely won’t raise any eyebrows. But that is offset by the amount of background animation in some stages. While some stages only have one or two pedestrians moving about in the background, others have crowds of onlookers and even moving vehicles. It’s not enough to make you drop your jaw and lose your concentration, but it might tempt you to look away from your poorly animated characters at times.

As mentioned before, the game attempts to stand out with its three-plane fighting system. Unfortunately, in giving players a third axis to move along something has been simultaneously lost. Because moving the joystick up and down now corresponds to moving he character into and out of the screen, one button had to be assigned as a jump button.

And because the Neo Geo only has four buttons, the control scheme ends up having one button each for punch, kick, and jump. While a simplistic control system isn’t the touch of death for fighting games, it does become a problem for Aggressors of Dark Kombat because the developer has made no real effort in refining the controls and fighting system. Character move lists are sparse, and there’s not a lot of skill involved in winning fights. The fighting system’s shallowness will manifest itself quickly, and fights tend to degenerate into button mashing.

The game doesn’t really feel like a polished 2D fighter. Instead it feels more like playing a 2D side-scrolling beat-4em-up game where you only fight one enemy at a time. Adding to the beat-4em-up feel, at times onlookers in the stage background will throw things into the fighting arena which you can then pick up and use on your opponent. But even as a beat-4em-up type of game Aggressors of Dark Kombat doesn’t really measure up.

With its innovative three-plane fighting system and weapons being thrown in from bystanders, Aggressors of Dark Kombat had the potential to be a fighting game based on strategy in addition to pure reflexive skill. But despite the promise, ultimately the shallow fighting system makes the game a mediocre experience at best.

Graphics

Interesting stage backgrounds, but the characters aren’t very well animated.

Sound

It works; that’s about it.

Enjoyment

Throwing a Molotov cocktail can be fun, but the button mashing gets old fast.

Replay Value

The character stories aren’t very interesting and there’s not a lot of depth to the system.

Documentation

Good in-game explanation of the fighting system.

Battle Sport Review

While I’m not the biggest fan of sports games, these “sports of the future” titles always spike my interest. Usually they turn out to be meaner basketball or football games that toss people around. However, Battlesport is different, offering the one-on-one thrill of a sporting competition with the vague rules of most sports; grab a ball and score points.

However, scoring isn’t through human interaction. You pilot massive hover vehicles with little receptacles to grab the ball, head for the goal, and give it your best shot! And in defense, you have more moves than just getting in the way of your opponent. You have a huge array of weapons including missiles, lasers, and machine guns.

Another great feature is the “shop” where, after raking in some money by winning games, you can buy upgraded parts to make your vehicle handle better, give it more firepower and weapons. With only five vehicles selectable, the “shop” is a great way to customize to your liking. Graphically, the game could be better. Floors are flat shaded and arenas have only a few walls and obstacles, all similarly textured, with different colors between them.

Fighting the same five vehicles over and over again becomes a bit repetitive, but the game is still a ton of fun with exhibition and single-game modes to diversify the game and keep you playing that much longer. While it could stand a little more diversity and enhanced graphics, Battlesport is a furiously fun “future sport” title that sport fans and action fans can both enjoy. If you fall under either category, check out this game.

Graphics

The repetitive textures, flat shaded arenas, and limited vehicles get old quick.

Sound

Decent effects and a standard techno/rock soundtrack that is more ambient than memorable.

Enjoyment

Losing marks for lack of diversity, the game is still a blast to play, and the two-player mode is even more fun!

Replay Value

The computer gets devilishly smart at times, making the game long and challenging, while the two-player mode offers a great reason to come back.

Documentation

A helpful manual describes the conventions of Battle Sport.

Space Ace MAC-1994 Review

Similar to Dragon’s Lair is Space Ace, both by the Bluth Group. In each, you get to play a hero, racing to rescue a beautiful maiden. In action and adventure, though, Space Ace comes off as weak compared to the better and earlier Dragon’s Lair.

In Space Ace, the evil Commander Borf is out to conquer the Earth, using his “Infanto Ray” that can turn ordinary adults into infants. Borf is a less-than-credible villain, appearing as a jazzed-up, sci-fi version of Bluto from Popeye. Even the beard is pretty much the same. And it’s got a similar dynamic, as the muscled, heroic Ace gets hit by the Infanto Ray and turned into the weak and nerdy teenage Dexter.

As Dexter comes into being, Borf abducts Kimberly, Ace’s partner and–we suppose–his girlfriend. Dexter must transverse some pretty strange places to get her back and save the Earth once more.

Each of the approximately 15 scenes can be played as Dexter or Ace once you energize. Dexter must avoid creatures more than Ace as he simply doesn’t have the bulk or muscles to fight them effectively, while Ace gets to blast things more. What’s interesting is that these scenes change depending on which character you are playing.

One of my favorite scenes has you face off against your double, which involves lots of dodging no matter which character you are playing. It is obvious that the designers had lots of fun with this game, as some of the scenes are quite funny, such as the motorcycle chase, or the scene with the roller-skates, where you avoid holes on the way to your destination. There is a scene on an alien trash heap where you try to avoid becoming recycled by trash compactors, and a planet with alien dogs trying to eat you.

At the end, Dexter/Ace faces off against Borf in hand-to-hand combat to rescue Kimberly. Once he does, Borf returns, trying to blast Ace with the Infanto Ray. If you get hit here, you become a baby in diapers and you lose the game. Otherwise, you save the earth and are treated to a cute ending.

This game seems rather contrived in parts, but has a genuine sense of fun beneath the surface. Whether or not you played it in the arcade, it’s worth a replay on the Mac.

Graphics

Space Ace and Dragon’s Lair were the first and, so far, only games originally produced on laserdisc. This means their graphics are far ahead of their times, and still appear superior today.

Sound

Sound is equally good. The whole game is like a Saturday morning cartoon. In fact, I think they did adapt the story for one.

Enjoyment

Once you get past the hokey exterior, there is a genuine sense of fun in this game. You’ll chuckle at the game even as you try to stay alive.

Replay Value

This is an exceptionally hard game to master. The movements required to win must be learned slowly, by trial and error. You may wish to replay the game once or twice, but once you have won once, it’s pretty much over.

Documentation

An extensive manual, covering all the scenes in the game and giving backstory and hints.

National Lampoon’s Blind Date Synopsis

This point-and-click dating sim is built of interactive movies and branching dialogue choices. Players take the role of a young man seeking female companionship. Thanks to an organization known as “D.U.D.S,” (“Dates Unlimited for Desperate Schmucks”), he’s been matched with the attractive Sandi. The goal is to convince her that he is worthy of her affection.

Nothing worthwhile is ever easy, though, and Sandi is as clever and independent as she is good-looking. Some might even call her “mean.” It will take witty, sensitive conversation to coax her to a tender moment.

In National Lampoon style, the story is presented with a good deal of innuendo and an emphasis on humor. While definitely aimed at a mature audience, the tone is more often suggestive than explicit. As in the Leisure Suit Larry series (and some might suggest, real life), gameplay is all about the chase; the process of winning Sandi’s heart is, for the most part, its own reward.

Monty Python’s Complete Waste of Time Overview (Synopsis and Features)

What’s all this, then? Why, it’s a CD-ROM game crammed with live action video, sounds and animations from the 1970s BBC television series Monty Python’s Flying Circus. Take a ride through the Loonatorium, visit the TV Room, bask in the glories of the Portrait Gallery and test your skills with trivia.

The brain of Mrs. Zambesi is divided into six lobes, all of which are infested with Python comedy sketches. There are more than thirty live-action videos, countless sound effects and rude noises and more animation than in German painter-poet Max Ernst’s longest nightmares.

Arcade-style games are hidden away in most of the lobes. You can play slots, pinball, whack-a-mole or several other arcade games that defy description. All are heavily populated with familiar characters and locales from the TV series such as Dead Parrot, the Cheese Shop, Nudge Nudge and The Argument Clinic.

There are six mazes, one hidden in each lobe and in the center of each is a quiz. Answer four questions about the Python sketches and you receive four clues to fixing that lobe of Mrs. Zambesi’s brain. The ultimate challenge is to fix all six lobes and discover the secret of intergalactic success.

Included with the game is a control panel known as the Desktop Pythonizer that lets you install your choice of 28 screen savers, 49 desktop pictures and patterns and 150 different sounds. The CD contains a total of 49 custom icons.

Features
View over 30 classic Monty Python sketches
Includes over 20 screen savers, 40 sound effects, desktop icons, and more
Collect clues to discover the secret to Intergalactic Success

Beneath a Steel Sky PC Review

Beneath a Steel Sky begins with a comic book introduction which serves notice that the game is a bit different from the normal graphic adventure seen in the genre at the time of release (1994). Relying mainly on voice acting, humor, and a somewhat cliche-filled script to further the plot, the game scores big points for a refreshing approach because of the overall integrated presentation. Take any of the aforementioned components separately, throw in a weird but effective interface, and the result would be less than attractive. Taken as a complete package, though, Beneath a Steel Sky becomes an enjoyable and funny experience. In fact, it’s the voice acting that saves the script from sounding too amateurish along with the humor that creates an immersive counterpoint to the actual simplicity of the plot. This is one game that actually gets better after the opening sequences.

Beneath a Steel Sky would not win any prizes or awards for outstanding graphics presentation, an innovative interface, or superlative writing. It does, however, manage to overcome all those shortcomings and provide an interesting look at a future world, filled with bleak and cutthroat industrial real world problems. The interface is simplicity personified. Rather than using icons, the game makes use of a single cursor for all actions and employs the technique of screen “hot spots.” In some ways this simplifies the game by limiting on-screen choices at times, but it’s a breeze to master and breeds a comfort factor whether clicking on one of dozens of characters for interaction/dialogue, picking up or using an object, opening doors, working levers, and so forth. All good graphic adventures contain an array of puzzles to solve and Beneath a Steel Sky is no exception. Expert gamers may find the first two thirds of the game too easy but quite possibly will hit the wall near the end, when the puzzle-solving becomes much more challenging. Unfortunately, there are a couple of beat-the-clock scenes in the game which detract from the otherwise smooth flow of action. The graphics are not exciting but escape the lame label and portray a believable environment for the adventure.

The content of Beneath a Steel Sky is definitely borderline for younger players. The recipe which makes the game a treat for those who enjoy a more robust adventure contains a dose of heavy British humor, both sight gags and double entendres, a smattering of mature themes and scenes and a dash of adult language, not to mention a pinch of near-nudity. The accents of the voice actors and the delivery of the dialogue makes the experience of playing Beneath a Steel Sky a worthwhile excursion. The major complaint is the shortness of the tale. Even novice adventurers should complete the game in less than eight to ten hours tops, with the seasoned gamer finishing much quicker. No matter how quick the trip though, the ride is worth it.

Graphics

By no means spectacular but pleasingly presented in a fundamental way as are many early entries in the genre. Similar to early Indiana Jones games and some Sierra titles (e.g., King’s Quest and Space Quest adventures).

Sound

Voice acting enhances the written script and dialogue. Some players may be turned off by the staid attitude of the main character but the game comes with a text-only option.

Enjoyment

One of those games where the end result surpasses all of the individual parts. Puzzles increase in difficulty as the game progresses and the plot hangs together nicely.

Replay Value

Short enough that you might try it again (especially if you like the humor); otherwise probably a once-through is sufficient.

Documentation

Very short manual, mostly geared toward background information on the many characters in the game. Play is simplistic and the manual developed accordingly. Nice comic book by David Gibbons is included in the game box.