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Capsule Reviews

If you're the kind of person who wants everything in one quick serving, I've got just the thing for you. Below are synopses of most games in my collection (Not all of them, I'm afraid: there are about 3 or 4 NES games and as many SNES games I never got around to capsulizing). Many games also have their own, full-length review, and will be linked when they have it.

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | V | W | Y | Z |
Super NES (A-M) | Super NES (N-Z) | Sega Genesis & CD | Sony Playstation 1 & 2

Hudson's Adventure Island

    When you play a game for three straight hours, withstanding the lackluster audiovisuals, sloppy play control and plagiarizing plotline to beat a particular game, that's commitment. When you give up after spending over an hour in one part of one stage, dying repeatedly in the same spot, and end up giving up two stages short of your goal, that's enough to make you never want to play the game ever again. 33%

The Adventures of Lolo

    One of the most intriguing puzzle games on the system. You'll get the hang of it quickly, and that's part of the problem: Once you've solved everything, most of the rooms pose little to no challenge. A room editing feature would've been a big help, as would a more rewarding ending. 74%

The Adventures of Lolo 2

    More of an addendum to a sequel, especially since the rooms are significantly harder than the same point in the previous installment. Not as inspired as the prequel was, and the sheer impossibility of some of the rooms makes me less likely to complete it. 62%

The Adventures of Lolo 3

    Now this is how it's supposed to be done. True, there's no level editor like I've been clamoring for this whole time, but there is a tutorial, a swingin' theme song, and the ability to stop in any where at any time and pick up a password. Bravo! 79%


    Although the Incredible Hulk-like presence of Megagon adds to the plot and thrill factors of the game, the presentation is far too primitive and I detest games where the hero dies after one hit. The game is far too difficult without Megagon and slightly overambitious with him. 60%


    One of the first "party" games released for the NES, and although its heart was in the right place, the execution wasn't all there. Like most board game/game show simulations, this one suffers from a lack of diversity in the number of puzzles it has available. 61%


    If only the ball didn't speed up quite so quickly, we'd have a darn near perfect game on our hands. The power capsules add a twist to the Breakout concept, but the later boards require a degree in Geometry to get the ball where it needs to be. Worth a look. 69%


    It's a noble attempt, I'll give you that, but that's it. The super-sized sprites make for clunky play control. The plot is hit hard by the lack of animation in the cinema scenes, too, and the music is unimpressive. There are better games out there that do the same thing. 60%

Bart vs. the Space Mutants

    In the hands of a more competent game programmer, this could've been quite interesting. The concept of collecting, destroying, and hiding certain items in each level gives a welcome twist to the platformer genre. However, I have little patience for a game with skiddish play control and a small margin for error. 57%

Baseball Simulator 1.000

    While I find baseball to be extremely borin in reality, this game does everything in its power to speed up the pace and make the games as exciting as one could hope. Some cute graphics and excellent music, as well. It's kinda easy, but that balances out the other baseball games in my possession. 89%

Baseball Stars

    Maybe if EVERY SINGLE GAME I play didn't wind up in a 10-run-plus defeat, I might have liked this game a little more. The graphics are zoomed in a bit too much, and the base runners have no way to return to base after a fly out, it seems. If you're going to own a baseball game, there are better choices than this. 56%

Bases Loaded

    The most realistic baseball series, but it's awful tough to play. The pitcher's-eye view of the batter's box makes hitting a chore, and on defense the outfielders seem lackadaisical when it comes to fielding the ball. None of the teams appear to have any significant differences in their strengths and weaknesses, either. 64%


    The only reason why anyone would want to play this game is for the stunning visuals. If you want anything else out of the experience - say, a workable level of challenge, characters you want to succeed, or an ending that appreciates what you've done - just about any title you can think of could do a better job of it than Battletoads. Shares a place with Golgo 13 and submits only to Hydlide as the worst NES game I've played. 38%

Bionic Commando

    OK, so the Bionic arm thing is a little wacky, but even if you count it as a negative (and I don't), it's just about the only bad thing you can say about the game. It's not really going to blow you away with its execution or design, but it won't give you anything to complain about, either. 86%

Blades of Steel

    Although hockey is one game I once disliked, this is one of the more enjoyable representations of the sport. The graphics are relatively simplistic and the mechanics of shooting take practice after even a short sabbatical from playing, but in the end it's worthwhile, if nothing more than just to watch the clever in-game advertisement in the second intermission. 78%

Blaster Master

    Even this early, we had games that had technical successes and aesthetic failures. I don't think it would have been a gross demand to add a password to the game, or to not have Jason's gun strength decline with every hit. Those two faults ruin an otherwise sound prospect. 71%


    One of the most audiovisually unimpressive games out there, but also one of the most addictive. The passwords are a bit long-winded, but the concept is so simple and there's so many puzzles that it's mighty difficult to get bored. I only wish that the levels weren't timed. 76%

Bubble Bobble

    If you like this game, fine. I think it's nauseating myself. Not only is the cuteness level cranked up to the point of gagging, the outright futility of the play control added to the sheer number of rooms you have to schlep through makes it difficult to get interested in. 50%

California Games

    Marble Madness aside, I think Milton Bradley would have been better off sticking with board games; you don't see Konami or Capcom trying to reinvent Monopoly, after all. The result is a game that only provides moderate enjoyment, and is severely hampered by graphics that look like they were drawn by a 9-year old. Even worse - only 3 of the 6 events have a manageable challenge rating. 56%

Casino Kid

    The idea was there - a casino game with an RPG flair - but since you have to face every dealer in a set order, it doesn't work out the way it should have. Casino games need to allow you to drift from one game to another, but here you must play Blackjack first, and can't leave until your opponent goes broke. The music is fairly annoying, too. 55%


    Thank goodness it was Konami that snapped up the legend of Dracula for video game use instead of another second-rate developer. From the start, they were able to make the game drip with atmosphere and provide a reasonable if slightly accelerated learning curve. But Simon's jerky leaps will always be a sticking point with me. 74%

Castlevania II: Simon's Quest

    In the second installment, they tried to give the series an air of adventure by adding puzzles and forks in the road along the way. Did they pull it off? Not entirely, since said puzzles are often in the form of "kneel with this item in this place for five seconds" and there's no way to really tell each forest, graveyard, or bridge apart. The audiovisuals still rock, though. 76%

Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse

    Returning to the paradigm that made the series popular in the first place, the programmers once again did a spectacular job on the presentational elements, and included a three-route challenge system that fits perfectly with the scheme of the game. The play control still bothers me, though, and I still don't get why the damage Trevor takes is based on the level he's in and not the nature of the attack. 81%

Clash at Demonhead

    This game doesn't take itself seriously, and while it sometimes works, the plot itself often gets lost in the busywork required in this game. The music will get annoying after a while, and it really irks me that I have to fork over some of my hard-earned cash just to save my game. 67%

Classic Concentration

    Game show fans will love this one. Normal people probably won't. The players look constipated, the bonus round clock never increases, and there's no sign of Alex Trebek anywhere. Still, it's a decent translation of the game, and worth looking for if you're into that sort of thing. 67%

Clu Clu Land

    This game would've been more successful if not for one major fault: the play control. It's difficult to make much progress when your hero has to swing around poles to change direction, and can't stop anywhere. I always have to use a Game Genie just to get past level four. 62%

Cobra Triangle

    There's a large variety of games to play in this one, thus everyone is sure to be pleased. The graphics are stellar for the time as well. The only problems are that the play control will leave you riding the walls for much of the time, and there are so many levels it's simply too difficult to complete. 67%


    Although the music kinda loses momentum from level 3 on, and there's very little plot forwarding in this game, you'll be sure to have a lot of fun with this one. A 30-life code turns the challenge from virtually impossible to elementary. 76%


    The positive elements of this game (the by-and-large nifty soundtrack, the fantastic visuals, and the well-laid plot) seems to be anchored down by the negative elements (the minimum levels, the problematic play control), even though the former outnumber the latter. It's a good game, but not the masterpiece others contend. 79%

Deja Vu

    The ambiance of a detective story is certainly presented with a measure of pizzazz here, but the game isn't really as fun to play as Shadowgate, largely because the area is too non-linear, causing you to do more wandering around with less of a sense of progress. Shadowgate is the better game. 62%

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

    Proof positive that my interest in transformational protagonists has gone too far. Sloppy graphics and rhythmless music make for a very unpleasant experience, and oh yeah - once you turn into Hyde, you might as well plug in your Zapper and control him with that. Either way, Hyde won't listen to you. (Maybe if I got a Power Pad...) 40%

Dr. Mario

    Puzzle games really start to lose their charm once they're exposed to character placement, and Dr. Mario really isn't an exception. Despite good music and an interesting concept, the game simply lacks the pure, unadulterated addictiveness of Tetris, and the quality suffers because of it. 67%

Donkey Kong Classics

    Classic arcade gamers will love this cartridge, which contains both Donkey Kong and DK Junior. The problem is, they never added any new bells or whistles to the game or its presentation. It beats having to buy the real thing, but I need a little more out of the experience that this title offers. 60%

Donkey Kong Jr. Math

    It would be unfair of me to rate this game on the same level of my other games. On that level, this is a moderately enjoyable game. Not in the same league Final Fantasy or the Mega Man series, of course, but it's kinda neat to see how math skills were incorportated into a pre-existing game. The graphics are excusably plain, the music not as excusable. 64%

Double Dare

    A passable translation of the Nickelodeon game show. The audiovisuals are very nicely done, including a remarkable job of drawing host Marc Summers, but the multiple choice questions are too easy and many of the physical challenges are just variations on a theme. 67%

Double Dragon

    The game that started the smash-and-bash genre. The great music and level-based skill learning are key pluses, but the game is too short for one thing, and all too often your character and the enemy get hit at the same time. The game lacks 2-player simultaneous support, too. 67%

Double Dragon II

    Although there are improvements in numerous areas, notably in game length and graphics, I'm reluctant to say this game is better than its prequel, largely because the music is a bit more trite, and the special moves seems to be dictated more out of whim than anything else. 67%

Dragon Spirit

    The folks at Bandai took the template of a space shooter and brought it into a completely different environment in this game. The plot is mythical, the music is smooth and passive, and the play control divides the area into two levels. There are some holes, but they're mostly confined to the technical areas. 81%

Dragon Warrior

    Hack-and-slash in its purest form. Easily the most primitive RPG out there, but not without its charm. The lack of plot forwarding is counteracted by the generous helping of backstory given in the manual, and it's surprisingly difficult to give up the game in mid-campaign. 69%

Dragon Warrior II

    Recommended only for its lineage, DW2 fails in many of the aesthetic areas of grading because so much of the kingdom is scattered around on their own separate islands, precluding any sense of progress from developing. Very few improvements on the technical front, either. 60%

Dragon Warrior III

    The series is certainly improving, I can see that. The graphics and music are coming along nicely now, and seeing how the legend of Erdrick began was a terrific storyline. Sadly, the party will likely plateau roughly midway through, and that causes a drop in the playability. 76%

Dragon Warrior IV

    Dividing the story into 5 separate chapters was a terrific idea, and thus each character is more able to establish their own personality. The music is once again improved, but the total absence of Erdrick in person or in legend takes away from the series' continuity. 83%

Disney's Duck Tales

    If you're going to deride this game on the sole fact that it's too easy, you're forgetting who they made this game for. In any event, the atmosphere of the cartoon is brought to the NES with remarkable ease, although the game's kinda long to be a Quick Play and kinda short to get long periods of playing time out of it. 71%

Elevator Action

    First of all, how this game ever became popular enough in the arcades to merit an NES release is beyond me. Second of all, the presentation of the game is so medieval - blocky graphics and whiny sound - it's difficult to play without lurching. Thirdly, the levels themselves are so long-winded it would take a person of remarkable attention span to make any real progress. 50%


    Arguably the most successful of the programmable series, largely because the overlying goal is so simple: go through jumps and other obstacles to finish as quickly as possible. Because of that, it's difficult to put it down in the midst of experimenting with the Design mode, despite the undetailed graphics and unmemorable sound. 67%

Fantasy Zone

    Whoever was in charge of designing this game must've been having some major acid trips. I like the colorful surroundings and light-hearted music, but if you're going to kill my player with one hit (bad enough in itself), the least you could do is give me a sporting chance to dodge certain attacks. 64%


    Some games can get away with a lack of plot forwarding, but this game doesn't. After a relatively inspired series of events in the opening, the game gives you absolutely nothing to work with and no clues to figure out what follows. The graphics are kinda ugly, too. 62%

Fester's Quest

    First off, Sunsoft should be commended for trying to port a television show that lasted a whole one season, and hasn't aired new episodes in some 30 years. Apart from that, the lack of a password and the sluggish play control makes this game an unfortunate letdown. 62%

Final Fantasy

    A little fault here, a little fault there... you know, I like to consider this game my second-favorite on the system, but with all of the minor problems that the game possesses (the number of enemies who kill with one hit, the lack of speed-healing) it causes Final Fantasy to score under a few other games. But all the minor quibbles are exactly that - minor - and even with them this game is superb. 83%

Fire & Ice

    Finally, Dana from Solomon's Key gets a game that's actually worth playing. An interesting Lolo-esque game, with some challenging puzzles and an edit mode (whoopee!), but I can't shake the feeling that the puzzles are less about exploiting Dana's abilities and more about overcoming his disabilities. 74%

Friday the 13th

    The playability of this game is severely hampered by the lack of a password. The graphics are pretty good and the concept was interesting, but it involves so much busywork (such as dropping everything you're doing when a child is in danger) that the game quickly becomes a chore. 62%

Fun House

    Let it be known throughout the land that if a game show port isn't done by GameTek, you'd be best off by leaving it alone. Fans of the show will be severely disappointed by the complete departure from the actual game that this cartridge presents. JD Roth's comments will quickly irritate you, as well. 40%


    Like many other arcade ports, this one lacks the diversity in its gameplay that many other games possess. Because of that, only the true arcade devotees will see this game as more than the dust-farmer typical gamers will dismiss it to be. It is a rare find, however, so it's certainly worth buying even if it won't be played much. 60%


    The graphics and sound are bland and ugly, but still the utter playability of this game shines through. Hitting the ball straight is a relatively easy task, and so with practice you should be able to do decently. Like many other sports games, Golf is best played as a 2-player competition. 58%

Golgo 13: Top Secret Episode

    An attempt to create an NES equivalent to James Bond goes horribly awry. Just about everything goes wrong in this game: The graphics are drab and lifeless, the music conveys little if any emotion, the play control is backwards, and there's no real motivation to play this one for long stretches of time. 38%

The Goonies II

    This is one of those games that every NES fan seems to love. And I can partially see why: the music is definitely reminiscent of our favorite decade, but the real turn-offs for me are the front and back areas, and a map that's all too confusing to follow. 60%


    Time has passed this one by, I'm afraid. Although the game's quaintness affords it some nostalgia points, its pseudo-sequel corrects most of the faults present here, rendering this cartridge obsolete. The rarity freaks among us will be more interested in this game than anyone else. 55%

The Guardian Legend

    The archetype of games that mesh two previously incongruous genres together. As much as it tries, it doesn't quite pull it off; the flawed space shooter is emphasized over a fairly solid isometric adventure game. Just because you can take more than one hit doesn't mean you should saturate the screen with bullets. 60%


    I get this nagging feeling that even if you did have a ROB to spin those gyroscopes, you'd still be better off playing this game with the two-controller method. Nonetheless, this is a remarkably sound puzzle game. Both speed and skill are stressed, and the the Game A music is among my favorites. 67%


    This game avoids being another Galaga for one reason alone: the circular track in which the ship resides is clever, and adds a whole new dimension to what would have otherwise been another pedestrian space shooter. The music has a nice twinge of Mozart in it, too. The detractor, however, is the simply laughable plotline. 71%

Hollywood Squares

    Bad timing precludes me from penalizing GameTek for translating the John Davidson version of the show, but you probably wouldn't care if the host were him, Marshall, or Bergeron. Anyway, the graphics are satisfactory, the music is innocuous, but the real problem is in the question diversity. 67%


    The only explanation I can come up with for this game is that it was still in development when they released it. How they ever decided to allow such a poorly constructed game with such glaring faults (such as the lack of a battery save or the most insipid music ever composed for an NES game) is beyond me. 24%

Ice Climber

    Alex Moore, the first webmaster of the NES Nation, was infatuated with this game for some reason. I just don't see what it is. The concept is cute, but the execution is heavily flawed, mostly in the realm of play mechanics. My guy always wants to jump straight up, but never in any other direction. 50%

Ice Hockey

    Now that I've seen some Kings games at the Staples Center, and now that I actually know which button is which, this is actually a fun game. It's a terrific Quick Play with features like customizable skaters and adjustable speed to make the experience that much more enjoyable. Just don't get surprised when the refs blame you for every fight. 75%

Jeopardy! 25th Anniversary Edition

    As far as the game itself is concerned, the translation was nearly flawless, save for the nit-picky spelling rules (like calling you wrong for "Sloth" when they want "Sloths"). The theme is done relatively well, and Play Control isn't an issue, but the graphics are so dorky it's difficult to play this for very long. 67%

Journey to Silius

    One of the better soldier shooters on the NES. The audiovisuals really get the job done here, and the level of challenge isn't all that intrusive. The plot has its (understandable) hangups, though, and I don't see why the sub-boss and boss have to appear one after the other. 81%


    When I was a youngin', this was a very important title to my NES-playing history. Unfortunately, now that it has to fight against other, more popular titles for playing time, it lacks any sort of hook to separate itself from the rest of the pack. Clunky play control and blocky graphics are among the gripes here. 50%

Kid Icarus

    Oodles and oodles of Greek characters, villains, items, and atmosphere were right there for the taking. But rather than act upon it, Nintendo sat on their hands and turned what might have been yet another classic for them into a pedestrian platformer. The advanced level of challenge at the game's start doesn't help the cause, either. 67%

Kid Niki

    Much like Karnov, there are simply too many games with the same premise and conventions with better gameplay to elevate this one beyond an average level. The play control is awful floaty, and the music gets on your nerves very quickly. Still, the manner of fighting the bosses was intriguing if nothing else. 57%

Kung Fu

    If this game has nothing more going for it, it's a terrific release of violent energy. Get a speeding ticket? Plug this game in. Have a fight with your boss/parents/girlfriend? This is the title for you. Simplicity reigns in every significant area, however, so don't expect to play this for hours on end. 64%

Kung Fu Heroes

    Not so much a game as it is a recycling bin. The graphics and music are atrociously implemented (not to mention the death sound almost blatantly ripped from Castlevania), and the play control limits your attacks to limited range punches and limited-use kicks. To add insult to injury, it seems that once you reach level 3, the enemies become invulnerable. And to think, this was made by Culture Brain - the same company that brought the terrific Baseball Simulator 1.000. Who drugged these guys? 40%

Legacy of the Wizard

    Infamous for going way overboard with its labyrinthine compound. It's common knowledge of how utterly impossible it is to retrieve one crown - let alone all four - and the technical merits don't make the necessary hours of exploration all that worthwhile. If it weren't for the final password, I doubt most of us would play it. 62%

The Legend of Kage

    Seanbaby lists this as one of the worst ever made. I beg to differ. Maybe if he spent more time playing the game and less pointing out the graphical errors, he might enjoy it. Granted, the four levels are simply just variations on a theme, but it's fun to control someone who can leap tall buildings in a single bound. 62%

The Legend of Zelda

    Truth be told, I'm not as enamored by this game as most others in the fandom are. Mostly that's because of the graphical problems with this title. Credit is due, though, to literally creating a whole new genre of video games, and having such a gigantic universe that the player has freedom to explore it. 76%

Life Force

    Throughout the game, the presentation is marvelous. It's a shame that you probably won't be able to experience most of it without some massive help, though, because anything larger than a peppercorn will destroy your ship if it makes contact. Meanwhile, the bosses are hardly challenging at all. Balance the two, and we'd be talking 80s here. 71%

Lunar Pool

    If I had seen on the label that this game was made by FCI, I'd have stayed away from it. Luckily I paid no attention to the front of the game. The lack of true diversity in the levels prevent a higher rating (many are the same table with different ball placement), but the access to all 60 tables makes it a great quick play. 75%

Maniac Mansion

    Praised by many in the fandom for being a delightfully quirky RPG, it's truly a sight to behold. The expansiveness of the Mansion and the numerous paths and characters give you freedom to play again and again, but the music can be a distraction and the point-and-click interface is a bit clumsy. 76%

Marble Madness

    Seven minutes or pure, unbridled joy. The abstract audiovisuals are done fairly well, and the marble controls quite accuractely, but it's the sheer shortness of the game and the nearly perfect level of challenge that secures this game's title as my all-time favorite Quick Play. 81%

Mega Man

    Looking back, it's not hard to see that this was going to become one heck of a series: the concept of using a boss' weapon against other enemies and a pick-your-own-stage format made this game stand out. It's also not hard to see that there was a lot of room for improvement: the audiovisuals were fairly dull and the game didn't have a whole lot of flair to it. 76%

Mega Man 2

    A triumph, simply put. No other NES game does it better. With only minor complaints in the Play Control and Plot aspects, this game took the Mega Man franchise to a new level, and deservedly so. Since the first day I played it, it always has been, and likely always will be, my favorite NES game. 93%

Mega Man 3

    The series really became self-aware at this point. This is evident by all the extras put into the game (Break Man, Sliding, Surprise Tanks, etc.) in an attempt to see which ones would stick. Only one of them didn't work at all -- the Doc Robot stages made the game entirely too long. 81%

Mega Man 4

    I've just about convinced myself that Capcom really hadn't planned on releasing this installment of the series as soon as they did, and what we got was merely a rough draft of what they were working on. That's the only explanation I can think of for why the game feels so hollow. Even though it's more challenging than the two MM games that precede it, it's not as fun to play. 69%

Mega Man 5

    The last really good Mega Man game I've played. The programmers seemed to do everything they couldn't do last time, creating brilliantly vivid and varied levels, while putting the best soundtrack of the series behind it. Again, though, it's the plot that holds this thing back. 83%

Mega Man 6

    This game probably falls under the "let's milk as much out of the NES before it becomes completely unsalable" category. It's got the makings to be a very good game - the audivisuals are very good this time around and the controls are as solid as ever - but they didn't seem to put any effort into the plot (Dr. Wily with a beard?) and the new Rush abilities really injure the challenge of the game. That's probably one of the reasons it doesn't seem to have the spark earlier MM games had. 71%

Metal Gear

    It's pretty much accepted that many video games - especially those in the action genre - will expect you to bring down an whole empire with a pea shooter. But this game doesn't even give you the pea shooter at the start. For this reason, I've never been able to really enjoy playing the game, even though the presentation is better than average. 60%


    One of the best soldier shooters on the console. Not only for its terrific audiovisuals and almost flawless learning curve, but the ability to reverse gravity and the creative level design actually gives the game some cerebral challenge as well. If you can excuse the plot (and I do), you'll get a lot of enjoyment out of this game. 86%


    My solemn vow: to never back down on my take of this game. What just about everyone hails as some kind of classic, I see a game with a lot of holes to fill. Admittedly, I probably wouldn't have so much ire for this game if the play control weren't so abhorrent, but that's my story and I'm sticking to it. 64%

Mighty Bomb Jack

    For a game that appears on the surface as being targeted towards younger players - what with the cartoonish hero and the happy-go-lucky music - this is one tough little bugger. You'll need time to get accustomed to the very floaty jumping controls, and the game has a nasty habit of throwing you back to an earlier stage if you take the wrong door. 62%

Mike Tyson's Punch Out!

    Little more than a test of reflexes disguised as a boxing game, but this title does something that other boxing titles couldn't do, and that's present the game in such a quirky way that you can't help but get into it. The large sprites are animated brillianty, The music flat out rocks, and you'll get used to the controls in a hurry. One of the best sports games on the NES. 78%


    An 86%? I mean, it's a good game an all, but there's no way this game is in a realm with MetalStorm or Bionic Commando. Anyway, this is a good purchase for those who don't like having to hassle with all the money and deed cards - this cartridge does that for you. However, it also requires you to play strictly by the book, so you can forget putting money on Free Parking. 75%

Monster Party

    Like so many other games of this genre, this one fails to stand out. Your timing with the baseball bat must be perfect to knock away bullets properly, and the music seems to be little more than harmony-less beeps and bonks. The cartoonish-yet-still-gory graphics also preclude the younger audience from playing. 60%

Ms. Pac-Man

    A much rarer find than her husband, but much more worth the hunt. There are scads of mazes, and 4 different methods of playing, which prevents this one from falling into the same "nice, but no improvements" pit that many other arcade ports seem to find themselves. 75%

Mystery Quest

    A few more months in the coding room would've cured this one. The graphics are so blocky and gaggingly cute that even watching someone play it is an ipecac. The music is no better, and most people will wander around aimlessly once they reach the castle, wondering where to go - and why they're playing in the first place. 40%

Ninja Gaiden

    The first game released on the NES in which the storyline was more than simply a snippet found in the first pages of the instruction booklet. That alone propels the playability of this game to a new level. Throw in some great audiovisuals and you can see why this is a heavily lauded classic. The challenge isn't all that consistent, however. 83%

Ninja Gaiden II: The Dark Sword of Chaos

    Second verse, same as the first. The music is once again timeless, as is the more mythical plot. There's more of an RPG element as well, in obtaining scrolls to extend your magic capacity. Still, the placement of enemies requires acrobatic movement to avoid fatal midair collisions, and once again that's the main turnoff. 69%


    When will programmers finally get it into their skulls that when we want to play against the computer, when we say Novice level we mean Novice level! As with all other board games, the 2-player mode will be the method of choice. That aside, all other areas are of average quality. 61%

Pac Man

    Even though the original concept was truly innovative in the days of space shooters (which still abound today), the first installment of the Pac Man series just doesn't stand up to the test of time. 1 repeating maze and no 2-player simultaneous features make the female version much more palatable - if you can find it. 64%


    An interesting puzzle game. The combination of both strategy and speed is done quite well here, and the tournament form of play is not only fast-paced but chock full of fun as well. Sadly, the normal version plays awful slow, and the technical facets of the game leave much to be desired. 67%


    Some games do a terrific job of turning the mundane into a lively diversion, and that's exactly what Paperboy does here. The graphics are bland and undetailed, but the digitized sounds are nice and the learning curve is slow enough to make your time enjoyable. 76%


    One of the best quick plays out there. Sure, you aren't going to get the pizzazz or polish of the machines out now or even 10 years ago, but that's part of the charm. It's simple enough to understand how everything works without having to play for weeks to discover every secret. The technical aspects a merely average, though. 75%

Pin Bot

    A fairly accurate representation of the real machine - that is, until you make it to the second "level" of the game. At which point, the game's ugly side surfaces: that of ball-eaters, flipper destroyers, and other enemies that drag the fun factor down with amazing speed. Staying in the first stage will be enough for most people. 69%


    Unlike other arcade games, in which the lack of change is eventually the cartridges' fatal flaw, the problem here is that the challenge is steep even on the opening boards, and near the end having to keep track of each block is nearly impossible. (Side note: why was there never an NES release of Crystal Castles?) 69%

Rad Racer

    About as simple as a racing game can get - no actual competitors, no powerups, just drive until you either reach the finish or run out of time. The audiovisuals are passable (although you have a choice of background music), but that whole slingshot maneuver done by nipping a car ahead of you is difficult to get the hang of. 64%

Rad Racer 2

    A major improvement on the concept here, largely because the graphics are much more crisp and detailed, and the music is more inspired (although there's one less choice). The fast-start move is a nice addition, too, but again the slingshot is needed once you reach Track 6 and is still tough to pull off. 78%


    If you don't mind staying in the lower levels of the game, this is a pretty fun diversion - the atmosphere is great, and the voice effects are spectacular. They get a little aggressinve soon after, though, and keeping one castle surrounded becomes extremely difficult once the yellow ships and tanks debut. 67%

RC Pro Am

    So the yellow car likes to go into the warp speed after you destroy it one time too many. Hey, it doesn't get to fire missiles at other cars like you do, so it's not that big a deal. The play control is a bit weird for newbies, but the visuals are surprisingly effective and some of the tracks are really fun to play. It can get a little frustrating, but don't let that scare you off. 72%

Remote Control

    Once again, a lesson for the non-fans: If a game show port isn't done by GameTek, STAY AWAY FROM IT! The show itself wasn't that good to begin with, and the insipid host remarks paired with the lack of an endgame really gets my goat. The only saving grace is the interesting Speed Round idea. 44%

Ring King

    A passable boxing game, with more emphasis on maneuvering and the stick-and-move strategy than the "Simon Says"-like interface of Punch-Out. While the game works on that level, it gets bogged down by the drudgery of fighting bout after bout without any real sense of progress (punctuated by the lack of an ending - or even a celebration when a title is won). One more thing - my mind usually doesn't find itself in the gutter, what just what are those guys doing to the fighters between each round? 64%

River City Ransom

    I didn't give this game enough credit the first time I played it. Originally lambasted as a Double Dragon wannabe, that series could actually take a few pointers from this game. A little easy, but that serves to the game's benefit, since the passwords are worthless. 74%


    Let's set aside the fact that this game was made by the same company which graced us with Hydlide (albeit this was released before that refuse was). Aside from that, it isn't that bad of a game - but it could've been much better if you could withstand more hits, or weren't sent so far back after dying. 62%


    Games like this, with a finite amount of fixed, cause-and-effect puzzles, have a built-in flaw. That is, every time you play this game after the first, you know every answer to every puzzle, and there's little if any challenge left for return visitors. The game has some nice atmosphere, but that alone won't beckon you to replay this one. 64%

Side Pocket

    I'll take my Championship Pool over this one any day of the week. With only six balls in play at any one time, and an aiming system that doesn't work at all, I can't seem to get up any motivation to play this one. And while they try to convey a pool hall atmosphere, I'm too distracted by the inaccuracies to notice. 47%

Skate or Die

    Another terrific game in terms of quick plays. The variety of events will keep every player happy, and it's easy enough to get the hang of with relative speed. Still, the graphics are unimpressive, and the Joust and Jam events pose little challenge, and thus little replay value. 72%


    To sum it up: Rad Racer with skis and trees. Aside from the more commonly-known titles, this is one of the more pleasing early-era games to come out on the system. The 3 difficulty levels were unique for the period, and I defy you not to get that peppy in-game music stuck in your head. 72%

Solar Jetman

    I'll take a hint from Bryan Cord and avoid the word "innovative" when mentioning this game, but I can't think of many other titles out there that pose the same challenge. The graphics are beautiful, the audio uneventful, but the main problem is how often you'll be slamming into the walls. 64%

Solomon's Key

    The concept was certainly there - a kind of SMB-Lolo-Pac Man hybrid - but if the sheer number of rooms won't bore you out of playing this one, the difficulty of the rooms and the lack of continues or a password will frustrate you out of it. High marks for a delightfully exotic theme, though. 57%


    Try to keep your jaw from falling on the floor when you first play this game. The audiovisuals are truly stunning - nearly breaching the line between 8-bit and 16-bit caliber. The expansiveness of the castle should've warranted more continues or a password, though, and I can't seem to get any height out of my jumps. 76%

Spot: The Video Game

    Many of us abhor blatant product or character placement in video games, but I doubt this one would've made it off the ground without a little plugging here and there. That being said, it's an innovative kind of board game but the Spot moves get irritating quickly and the computer difficulty is predictably steep. 67%


    Let's get it out right now - we all know how jerky the play control is. That (admittedly strong) complaint aside, I don't think many of Nintendo's future NES offerings had this kind of spunk. It will certainly keep you entertained long enough to reach the end, which is especially good since the ending is the best from an NES game, IMO. 79%

Super Dodge Ball

    If you're not enjoying yourself while playing this one, check to make sure that you still have a pulse. One of the most aesthetically pleasing games on the console, it's everything a good game should be: challenging but fairly easy to beat, accompanied by a terrific sountrack, and most of all, fun. If not for the graphical breakup, it would challenge for the best all-around game on the system. 89%

Super Spike V'Ball

    Some sports just don't translate well into a video game, and beach volleyball is one of them. Granted, the graphics are nice (especially in the team select) and the music is innocuous enough, but serving is tough to get down cold and just how much bump-set-spiking can be done before it all gets repetitious? 56%

T & C Surf Designs

    The skating game is one of the most simplistically addictive and surprisingly enjoyable games I've played in a long time. The surfing game is one of the most impossible and frustrating games I've played in a long time. Sadly, in this kind of ratings system, the two pretty much cancel each other out. 72%

Tecmo Super Bowl

    Its presentation would deceive you - many of the players seem to melt into the field decorations, and all too often your star running backs and receivers will limp off the field after the opening kickoff. Still, it remains one of the more enjoyable football games out on the NES. 75%

Tecmo World Wrestling

    Although it pains me to say it, if you're going to do a wrestling game, you might as well do it right and use the people everybody recognizes. Otherwise, the game loses a lot of marketability. The color commentator is a nice touch, but you'll always lose without a turbo controller and always win with one. 61%

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

    I truly feel sorry for this game. The concept was certainly there - the layout of the stages, the individualization of the turtles, and the well-laid plot imply that the programmers had lofty goals with this game. None of those goals are realized, however, because the challenge spikes far too quickly: The second level goes down in history as one of the most difficult stages in all of video gaming. 55%

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game

    This was made when arcade translations were becoming less and less of a good idea, largely because of the technical power of the arcade machines. However, the game itself was improved upon with the addition of two new stages, and the ubiquitous Pizza Hut ads were good for a few chuckles. 71%

Tetris (Nintendo)

    I know, I know: The Tengen version of Tetris had its own quirks, and is definitely rare enough to be desirable. But when it came to bringing the concept of "pure" Tetris home, Nintendo wins the contest. The presentation is adequate; not so detailed as to be distracting yet not underdeveloped. 81%

Tetris (Tengen)

    I expected a direct translation of the arcade game. No such luck. Disappointment aside, it's a decent version of the puzzle, although the scoring doesn't seem to reward Tetrises as much as the Nintendo game does. Certainly not horrible, but if you already have the Nintendo Tetris, rarity is really the only reason to search for this one. 75%

The Three Stooges

    It's never going to win any awards for being the best game in any category, but at the very least, it suffices as an interesting variety of mini-games. Even though I'm not big on the Stooges, this game made very good use of them. 71%

Track & Field

    Despite the simplicity of this game's technical merits, I actually play this one more often than its sequel. It's so quick and simple to play, yet challenging at the same time (And no, the Skeet Shooting and Archery events aren't impossible, either). The audiovisuals might need some work, but I can certainly live with what they have. 69%

Track & Field II

    OK, so the graphics and music are much better than before, but the rest of the game suffered for it. Not only are the athletes now clunkier to control, but the title's a misnomer: Few of the events are actually track & field events (High Dive? Taekwando? Canoeing?). I admire the effort, but they should've stuck with the basics. 64%

Vegas Dream

    The NES predecessor to Vegas Stakes, and easily the coolest casino game on this system. The simulation of bumping into people offering various deals adds to the realism immensely, and the choice of games will keep you playing. Less praise can be made about the repetitive soundtrack, though. 76%


    I've got it down to two theories: either it's the graphics and sound from the arcade version that made it so enjoyable, or it never really was all that fun in the first place. In either situation, there really isn't much to say about this game, except that the graphics are washed out, the voice samples are sorely absent and the game plays more like a glorified overhead Bionic Commando stage. 55%

Werewolf: The Last Warrior

    Geez, the one game released for the NES with a lycanthrope as the hero, and he gets saddled in a game with cheese-out deaths and goofy-footed play control. The werewolf alone contributes about 10 percentage points more than this game would otherwise deserve. No respect, I tell ya... 62%

Wheel of Fortune

    Easily the most popular of the game show translations, and for good reason. Very little is tinkered with in the making of this game. The wheel layout is surprisingly accurate to the show, and there's a large number of puzzles. Sadly, there only 3 puzzles per game and there are no bonus overlays. 75%

Wheel of Fortune Family Edition

    The logic escapes me: why would GameTek have one of the most recognizable facets of the show - the music - so arbitarily ripped out and replaced with an unfamiliar soundtrack? The added puzzles help, but it's the music alone that ruins the experience for me. 72%

Win, Lose, or Draw

    Truly, this game show translation does not deserve the honor of trailing WoF in these capsules. Once again, the fact that GameTek didn't make it is a warning sign from the start. The graphics are undetailed and underdeveloped, and the celebrational sayings made by each team are downright dorky. 47%

Wizards & Warriors

    The idea was certainly there - kind of an SMB meeting Mega Man with a medieval storyline as a backdrop. And while the graphics certainly emphasized this game's promise, the suicidally irritating music coupled with a life meter that drains much too fast kills this game's chances to be one of the greats. 60%

Wrath of the Black Manta

    It tries desperately to be a Ninja Gaiden rip-off, and it succeeds... in being a Ninja Gaiden rip-off. It's got camp value up the yin-yang, what with the anti-drug plot and the "interactions" with enemy soldiers. It's also a lot easier than NG, although I still can't get past the third level (largely because my cartridge is so dirty it crashes by then). 64%


    As far as puzzle games go, this one has to be one of the most uninspired, trite, banal, and stale attempts there's ever been. They use a whole five colors for the entire game, the music is simply unmemorable, and the basic concept of the game tells me the programmers have been playing Tetris far too long. 58%


    Giving a game artifical intelligence so as to make the game adapt to your playing ability was a great idea. Basing the AI on how many shots you've taken wasn't. As a result, the plan backfires; I'm all too afraid to shoot anything, since I know I'll get shot at more if I do so. The audiovisuals and play control are good enough, but I usually die because I don't know when to defend myself. 71%

Zelda II: The Adventure of Link

    Most people adore the prequel and are wary to play this one. I'm the other way around. Using the side-scrolling action scenes was a terrific way to add variety to the series, and the quest draws me in just as well, if not better, than its predecessor. No other game out there could compete with Zelda 2, until Mega Man 2 arrived. 83%

Zoda's Revenge: StarTropics 2

    Probably the most fluid learning curve I've ever seen on the NES can be found on this game. That's a very good thing, because it helps cancel out the abysmal plot and make the game playable, since every time you'll play, you'll get a little further. Still, it's a small wonder that this was among the last games published for the NES - all the inspiration seems to be gone. 67%

SNES games


    A surprisingly well-made RPG, surprising because the name Squaresoft is nowhere to be found on the cartridge. The plot is well-written (although somewhat poorly translated), and the presentation is gorgeous to look at and beautiful to listen to. Now, if only they had let us backtrack, we'd have been even more pleasantly surprised. 81%

Arkanoid: Doh it Again

    I was hoping for a level-edit feature, and I got one. I was hoping for more capsules, and I got them (love that M capsule!). Only now I wish that the power-ups could be combined more. Still, that's a trifling complaint, and since I got what I asked for, this game shows a significant improvement over its NES counterpart. 76%

Bart's Nightmare

    With each new evaluation, my take on this game gets colored darker and darker. Actually, it's not the whole game that continually draws more contempt from me, it's the deplorable Itchy & Scratchy levels that causes this rating to slip lower and lower. Jettison that, and you have a much better game. 71%

Breath of Fire

    Being a fan of transformational protagonists, you'd think that this game would be higher up the scoring chart. Unfortunately, the dragon spells serve little purpose, losing that aspect's charm on me. The music is a bit more trite than the standrad Squaresoft fare, and the anime-like graphics seem a wee bit too cartoony for me. 67%


    I'm hardly a slouch when it comes to gaming ability, so obviously the reason why I get spanked so soon and so often when playing this game is most likely not my fault. I will say one thing, though; the cuteness is more palatable here than the game from which this was spun off (Bubble Bobble), largely because of the moderation it is used in. 75%

Championship Pool

    One of the most realistic simulations of pool I've ever come across. The Freestyle mode allows for infinite experimentation, and the large variety of games available make it a great multi-player cartridge. The music will get annoying after a while, though, and to play the Tournament or Challenge games is to beg for punishment. 81%

Chrono Trigger

    I may be overly harsh on this game, but that's only because everyone in the industry expected the world from Squaresoft, and I was left unfulfilled. Granted, the graphics are stellar and the multiple endings encourage multiple campaigns, but the heroes have no charisma, the enemies seem to gain levels faster than you do, and the battles take way too long. 67%


    Rarely does a game's score improve on a rewrite, but this one does. This game has its own style which is hard to knock, and the game design is impeccable. It just doesn't want to let go of its silliness late in the game, though. 86%


    One of the first three games to be released on the NES. While the graphics are reminiscent of LTP - simple yet crisp and colorful - the game goes much too quickly to enjoy it. More diversity in the drivers - including a cornering specialist - and less emphasis on avoiding the walls would've increased my enjoyment of this game dramatically. 61%

Family Feud

    The classic survey show is brought into the realm of video gaming about as robust as one could hope. The graphics are stunningly accurate to the show, and the sound effects always bring a smile to my face. The only problem is that of many game show ports: all too often you'll be buzzed for not saying the exact answer the computer wants. 78%

Final Fantasy Mystic Quest

    Easily the worst game ever made by Squaresoft. Every aspect is forgettable, from the contrived plot to the undetailed graphics. I played this thing for an hour and came to the decision that it isn't worthy to be part of my collection, and sold it the following week. 57%

Final Fantasy II

    It was probably at this point that people began earmarking this series for greatness. The presentation was splendid (at the time - now only the music endures) and the plot was epic. Nowadays, it manages to retain much of the admiration of long ago, even though the dialogue comes off as really flat.86%

Final Fantasy III

    You really have to read the full-length review to get a full sense of how I feel about this game. I simply have too much praise for it to condense into three or four sentences. While some may disagree, I hold firm to my claim that this is the best video game ever made. 96%

Hal's Hole in One Golf

    I can't imagine the programmers having spent more than a week on this one. The ball seems to operate of its own volition, since there never seems to be anyone around to hit the ball. Also, you putt from the same viewing angle as you drive. Even Golf for the NES had a view of the green. 56%

Illusion of Gaia

    The main fault with this game lies in its storytelling. I wouldn't mind seeing just one of the plot devices this game uses (the inventive cousin, the love interest, the "time" concept) but mixing them all together makes it so that you don't feel for any of the NPCs. Also, the game is a bit impossible in certain areas. 69%

The Incredible Hulk

    If Bruce Banner had played this game, he would indeed get angry. Not only is the music totally inane and the challenge unmanageable (would it kill the programmers not to have each enemy fire the moment they come onscreen?), all the "special" moves available to the Hulk seem to be hidden from play. Imagine playing a game of Double Dragon when your B button isn't working, and you'd get a good idea of what this game is like. I have to give a little leway to the plot rating though - this is my favorite superhero, after all. 55%

Jeopardy! Deluxe Edition

    Not quite as good as Family Feud in terms of bringing the essence of the game home, but still a respectable job. There are scads of questions, and an interesting way to prevent pre-emptive buzz-ins, but the game itself moves way too slowly. The theme song and Final Jeopardy! music are terrific, however. 67%

Krusty's Super Fun House

    The visuals are quite good, but from there the game starts to slide downhill. There are too many rooms where one rat has to be led perfectly across or else it gets sent back to the start, and the enemies really have no purpose in this game. I also dislike having to replay several rooms when I use a password. 58%

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

    This is where the Zelda series really starts firing on every cylinder. They get just about everything right in this installment: colorful graphics and flawless animation, terrific music (complete with a terrific new rendition of the main theme), a plot that puts its NES counterparts to shame, and a perfect learning curve. It would've scored even higher if they didn't feel obligated to have every button do something different. 91%

Mega Man X

    This game was released a couple months after the final Mega Man game for the NES. It shows - they're both lacking in the inspiration department. While the graphics and music are improved during the augmentation, the storyline replaces too many familiar characters with too many unfamiliar ones. We all wanted to be rid of Dr. Wily; I guess we should've been careful what we wished for. 71%


    If only they had done what they should've: Copied the music and game mechanics of the NES version while enhancing the graphics, the rating would've skyrocketed. Instead, gameplay is much slower, the music isn't as catchy, and the computer-controlled players are much too difficult to play against. And once again, where are the House rules? 72%

NBA Jam Tournament Edition

    This is what you have to do if you're going to make a sports game: add a whole bunch of extra bells and whistles to remove it from reality. The fast-paced, two-on-two action is fairly enjoyable, but only in short spurts: they certainly shouldn't have tried to make a season out of this thing. 78%

NBA Live '96

    If there's one thing Electronic Arts can do, it's make sports games that are both accurate and enjoyable. The settings to make custom teams and players adds to the fun factor by leaps and bounds, but it's all too easy to make superhuman players, lessening the challenge too much. 75%

NBA Live '98

    Despite the addition of a Practice mode (which includes a 3-point contest), this game fails to measure up to the '96 installment, largely because the control is jerkier, and the audiovisuals are muddier (including the crowd sound - it sounds like a sword's being unsheathed when you score a basket). 67%

Secret of Mana

    The presentation is a bit cartoony, but I can deal with that. It's a bit silly to have to recharge your weapon after each swing, but I can live with that, too. What I can't live with, though, are the facts that your computer allies are downright morons, and the plot seems like an overwraught goose chase. 69%

Sim City

    To this day, the overwhemling success of this game - and hence the whole simulator genre - escapes me. Yeah, it's kind of neat to be in charge of an imaginary city, but once everything gets filled up there's little more to this game than turning it on and waiting for your population to hit 500,000. 54%


    Although the gameplay slows down a bit in favor of talking with townsfolk and the soundtrack is a bit heavy on the pop, this is quite the entertaining game. It has an intriguing methodology and a challenge level that seems to hit the nail on the head. Not to be passed over. 76%

Star Fox

    The much-anticipated Super FX chip had only a small impact on the overall quality of the game, as too many parts of the game were sacrificed to implement it. The 3 different courses add to the challenge, but the game really isn't all that captivating or interesting. 74%

Street Fighter II

    It's responsibility for the demon spawn that is Mortal Kombat notwithstanding, the game itself isn't too terribly horrible. Eight different players makes for a variety of favorites, while the play control fits like a glove. They could've spiced up the audiovisuals a touch, though. 76%

Super Baseball Simulator 1.000

    In an effort to avoid parroting what Dief said about the game, I'll just say this: From here on out, I will no longer buy any sports games for any deck other than the NES. Future systems get far too caught up in realism to work. The new Ultra Hits and Pitches are welcome additions, but the music - despite retaining its earlier melodies - has greatly diminished in quality. 58%

Super Bomberman

    Two major flaws can be found in this game: first, you lose all your abilities upon a game over, including the rudimentary stuff. Second, the final battle requires a powerup that you may or may not have, and if you don't, you have to wait a week and a half for it to appear. Still, the audiovisuals are fantastic. 76%

Super Bomberman 2

    Rather than correct the one real problem the first game had, Husdon went on and screwed up all the things that didn't need fixing. Gone are the cool music, classic level layout and recognizable enemies. Instead we have a game that tries way to hard to have a purpose other than just plain fun, and it winds up being boring as a result. 60%

Super Caesar's Palace

    If you own Vegas Stakes - and chances are you do - there's no point in getting this game. All it can offer is a few more games, but it lacks the atmosphere of other casino games and the play control makes betting a major pain in the butt. There doesn't seem to be a goal to the game, either. 56%

Super Mario All-Stars

    OK, let's break this down real simple. This cartridge consists of three of the most highly acclaimed titles on the NES, plus one previously unreleased game from Japan, with the audiovisuals all given the 16-bit treatment. How could you not score this game in the 90s? 91%

Super Mario Kart

    Though the rating would dictate otherwise, this is quite an enjoyable game. While the graphics aren't that great and much of the music is immemorable, the numerous weapons at your disposal adds to the fun while the battle mode is a downright blast, although I wish there was a 1-player mode to it. 75%

Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars

    The programmers performed quite a tricky maneuver in managing to get what seems to be an introduction to the genre its own staying power for the older audiences. It captures all of the essence of the SMB series with only a few stumbles. Still, the game might be leaning a bit more heavily on all the extra features than it should. 74%

Super Mario World

    Mario games are known for their pinash. As such, I have a difficult time figuring out what exactly is holding this game back. It's not the technical aspects, although the one-track-minded music is lackluster; it ain't the challenge, although building up a huge number of lives is relatively easy. But what ever element is missing from this game, it turns Super Mario World from classic into something merely average. 67%

Super Metroid

    See, folks, this is what they should've done in the first place. The running sound is muffled, the recoil is drastically reduced, the areas have their own atmosphere, and the challenge is only a tinge on the easy side. If they had done this in the NES version, it would've gotten a score just as high. 86%

Super Tennis

    I'm not a big fan of tennis, but this game certainly is a favorite of mine. Playing one or two sets when you have 15 minutes to kill is very fun, and the presentation is majestic despite its graying around the edges. Hitting the ball is easy to get the hang of, as well. Certainly worth a look if you can find it. 86%


    A true follower of Nintendo's Play it Loud campaign: Never mind the gameplay, let's focus all our attention on the graphics! As a result, we have a game with thumb-numbing play control, an overly-steep learning curve, and a soundtrack that overdoses on the speed metal. Graphics is not a reason to play this game. 54%

Vegas Stakes

    The best casino game out there. Although the variety of games is somewhat wanting, the overall atmosphere of the game is really what wins me over. The use of companions and passersby adds leagues of enjoyability to this game. Plus, the mechanics of betting are done in a much more simple fashion than Super Caesar's Palace. Not much is done to give each casino its own feel, however. 83%

Yoshi's Cookie

    This was going to be a very good game without the product placement, to be sure, but by adding Mario's trademark into the mix, it adds gobs of atmosphere to the game. A little easy, but sometimes exhaustingly panic-inducing. The 2-player mode also scores major points for having a solitaire setting, not to mention having one of the most fantastic themes on the console. Don't pass this one up. 89%

Sega Genesis and CD games

Altered Beast

    My favorite arcade game (care to guess why?) gets totally butchered on its way to the Genesis. The graphics lost all the vivid colors, some of the sounds are really annoying (including that insipid "Power Up!" when you collect a Spirit Ball), and this version is just way too easy. I can't even give a 6 for the Plot. 57%

Hard Drivin'

    So that's why Nintendo developed the Super FX chip - to prevent games like this from occurring. I don't know about you, but I don't consider 4 frames per second to be very fluid. The only reason I bought this game was to hear the cow moo when you hit it, and that's the only reason I'd go back to it. 58%

Kid Chameleon

    "Overdone" doesn't begin to describe this game. The presentation is satisfactory, but it all goes downhill from there. Someone needed to tell these people that nobody is going to sit through 100 levels of gameplay in one sitting, especially without any sort of save mechanism, transformational protagonist or not. 50%

Madden NFL '97

    All right, who's the wise guy who decided that the easy mode should be left out? That alone kills the game; even against the lowly Jets you'll be systematically beaten to a pulp. The sound effects will quickly irritate you, as well. Only the graphics are at average quality. Play Tecmo Super Bowl instead. 50%

PGA European Tour

    Only the true golf fan will recognize more than three of the pros one can choose from as an opponent, but that's not the main focus. It's the fact that the controls are fluid and easy to get used to, thus doing very well in this game is possible. The only real turn-off is that annoying music. 75%

Sonic the Hedgehog

    This game takes what made Super Mario Bros. so popular and adds to it, making multi-plane levels to create a game that's fun to play over and over again. The graphics are lush and vivid, and the music is terrific. The only problem here is that the supposed "secret ending" for collecting all the Chaos Emeralds is disappointing. 81%

Sonic the Hedgehog 2

    It would take some doing to improve on an already technically spectacular game, and the sequel to Sonic just fails to do so. There are improvements on the audiovisual front, but the problems lie in the gameplay. They made the quest longer, but no more involving - largely because it's in desparate need of a password system now - and most of the springs serve more as traps than modes of transportation. 81%

Super Hydlide

    As much as I hate saying this, I really can't complain too much about this one. (Actually, while I've derided most of the Genesis games in my collection, this game has been relatively free from complaint.) Especially since the music, which was the single worst element of the original, was significantly improved (I still can't get the town music out of my head). There's some concern over the play control, but let's not look a gift horse in the mouth. 76%

WolfChild (Sega CD)

    Perhaps it's my lycanthropic affinities talking here, but this is one hell of a game. The sense is one of urgency, but not outright panic. That theme pervades throughout the graphics, the soundtrack, and the level layout. I've never gotten frustrated at this game, and that's a darn good thing. Certainly recommended for Sega CD owners. 89%

Sony Playstation Games

Activision Classics

    30 games once released on the Atari 2600, and my purchase price was $13, so that averages out to about 43� a game. Well, Pitfall! and Enduro are worth the price of admission by themselves, and there are a couple other games that are playable (Keystone Kapers and Barnstorming), but the vast majority of this CD is drek. 64%

Dance Dance Revolution

    Even though there aren't a whole lot of songs on it, and you probably won't find a pad that will emulate the arcade feel as well as you'd hope, this is an admirable rendition of one of the most ingenious and captivating video games ever made. If you don't give this game a try, you're seriously missing out. 83%

Dance Dance Revolution Konamix

    A number of improvements in the second home rendition - more songs (almost twice as many as the original), tougher steps, an edit mode, and a song unlock format that keeps you playing for a long time try to outweigh some major problems: the interface is a bit buggy, and most of the Beatmania songs are putrid. In the end, it ends up improving on the lasting playability of the game. 86%


    Jon Talbain singlehandedly saves this game from dipping into the 50s. Without said werewolf in the rotation, you're left with the same old same-o. Plus, the play control is far too touchy, the challenge rating is excessively accelerated (I still can't beat Bishamon on level 0!), and since the endings play even on the easiest setting, venturing beyond it is pointless. Again, if not for the lycanthrope, I wouldn't have bought this. 60%

Final Fantasy VII

    You know, there is such thing as "overkill", and while this game is ambitious as any of its predecessors, it overshoots its target. The game plays like a bell curve; lags in the beginning, captivates in midgame, lags again at the end. Great music, decent challenge, and interesting concept regarding Materia; but it'll probably be a while before I warm up to a second campaign. 86%

Marvel Super Heroes

    Well, if you're going to do a fighting game, you might as well do one with characters you'd want to play (like, say, Hulk). It's got just enough extras to set it apart from the other games in the genre, and each character is relatively easy to control (like, say, Hulk), but honestly, I see no reason why this game needed to be on the PSX in the first place. 74%

Namco Museum, Vol. 1

    Maybe getting this game after I had already picked up the third installment wasn't such a good idea; a third of the collection consists of inferior prequels of games from my initial purchase. Still, you've got the same range of titles from familiar (Galaga) to unfamiliar but playable (Bosconian, Rally-X), to dead weight (Toy Pop). The interface is kinda clumsy, too. 75%

Namco Museum, Vol. 3

    Come for the Pole Position, stay for the Dig Dug. This is probably the most recognizable set of Namco arcade games out there, even with two games you've probably never heard of before. While Phozon is relatively playable, though, The Tower of Druaga probably embodies the reason why Namco was pretty much a non-entity in the mid-to-late 80's. 81%

NFL Blitz 2000

    It would make sense that since NBA Jam was a massive hit, the "take a sport, make it faster-paced, and add some frills" concept would apply to any sport. As much I'd like to say it does, though, this game gives way too much of an advantage to the defense. If first downs were 20 yards instead of 30, it'd probably make things a little more balanced. Gotta love the announcer, though. 75%

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2

    A lot better than I ever thought it'd be. The variety in play modes and skate parks makes it incredibly addictive, even if I'll never get past the third level. I still think Game Informer overrated this game, though. 79%

Weakest Link

    They take the game just about as far as they could. Plenty of Anne Robinson's jabs are available, the game music is directly ripped from the game, and the mechanics of the gameplay are quite solid. The dilemma arises, though, when you choose players. I'm glad they happen to have a man by the name of Tim who wears glasses as a selectable player; I just wish they didn't have him use computer jargon in all his comments. 81%

Sony Playstation 2 Games

DDRMAX: Dance Dance Revolution

    With new play elements (such as the Freeze Arrows and Extra Stage), DDR chugs merrily along with its third American release. A lot of good songs (along with handful of bad ones) this time around, too. Everything else is par for the course: control remains an issue that's beyond most of our control, the challenge is variable to your skill level, and the game keeps unlocking songs as you go to keep you interested. 89%

.hack Part 1: Infection

    While some have maligned the splitting this game into four installments (each with their own price tag), I found it useful to break it up since it helped shorten each quest, making it easier to chart my progress. The plotline of this game is a very interesting take on the MMORPG craze, and while the gameplay is a mite repetitive, there's a lot of variety in the playable characters and levels to offset it. 84%

Dragonball Z: Budokai

    A perfect representation of the anime series. That is to say, a lot of potential wasted with poor execution. I've never played a fighting game that didn't allow me to jump before, nor have I ever played one where special moves are so unintuitive to employ. Control issues aside, it's a respectable game and it holds true to the storyline. In fact, the plot goes about as fast as it should've on the TV show. 72%

Final Fantasy X

    Although the plot takes quite a while to really get going, but once it does you're in for a thrill. Everything else - from the fantastic audiovisuals, to an intriguing battle design - help to plug up the hole in the early going. In the end, it's right up there with some of the better Final Fantasy games. 89%

Jak & Daxter: The Precursor Legacy

    After dozens of tries by countless game companies, someone finally pulls it off - the wisecracking sidekick is actually funny in this game, and one of the things that held my interest. But it's not the only one: the learning curve is near flawless, the presentation is gorgeous, and here's the kicker - you never have to stare at a loading screen. After beating Crash Bandicoot to death, it's good to see a platformer that's so inspired. 89%

Madden NFL 2002

    Well, at least the game isn't as fricking impossible as its older brothers on the Genesis. Still, its obsession to capture all the nuances of football is one of the primary reasons I get bored with it easily: It takes me an hour to play a game with 5-minute quarters. I like my sports games short and sweet, and when it takes me longer to play one quarter with Madden than it does to play an entire game of Tecmo Super Bowl, then all the realism in the world doesn't help one bit. 68%

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