Monday, October 16, 2006

32X Games Reviews Part 1


Afterburner is based on a late 80's arcade jet fighter game of the same name, you view the action from behind your plane, which is equipped with machine guns and lock-on missiles. Gameplay is strictly arcade and the graphics and sound are much better than the Megadrive version, (due to faster scaling and more colors) but gameplay is where it fails ... miserably, there is no skill or technique required for playing, the action is so fast and frantic that if you think\look at what your shooting, you'll be dead! and you wont know what hit you. The only way to make any progress in the game is to, turn the difficulty right down, put your guns on auto fire, and wobble the D-pad around like a nutter! WHERE'S THE FUN IN THAT! This coupled with an over responsive cross hair, and hit or miss controls, seals the games fate.



BC Racers is a Mario Kart style game set in the stone age, the characters are funny, colorful and well drawn, each have their own strengths and weaknesses. So the graphics are o.k, what about gameplay and sound? Well the sound is rubbish, and it's practically unplayable because it skips and stutters and jumps about so much, that you cant gage punches properly at other players or tell wether your turbo is on or not. This problem is greatly magnified in the split screen 2 player mode. In the end this is a poor port of an average game, and if you really have to own it, get the Mega CD or SNES versions instead.


Wow! a great 32X game! (rub your eyes) Blackthorne is a 2D platform adventure game in the same vein as Flashback and Abe's Odessy, only cooler. In the game you have to rescue slaves from an army of evil Ork type monsters by strategic gunning and puzzle solving. The graphics and sound are very good , with sharp digitized sprites, nicely drawn backdrops and silky smooth animation. Gameplay and control is intuitive and easy to use, your character can run, jump, roll, shoot, throw bombs and hide in the shadows to take cover from incoming fire. Enemy AI is spot on, and hapless slaves often get shot up in a gunfight. Blackthorne was released on other consoles too, (GBA being the most recent) but 32X owners will be happy to know that this is the best console version out there.


Brutal is a 2D fighting game. You main characters are martial arts animals, dogs, rabbits and the like. There is nothing drastically wrong with the game except it's so stale and boring ... that and the fact that it doesn't offer anything new over the Megadrive, Mega CD and SNES versions. The graphics are nice, colorful and well animated, but gameplay is hampered by you having to choose a character and EARN your attack moves by competing in a series of one on one fights ... big mistake, fighters of this type should be fun and fast paced, (like Street Fighter) not drawn out and tedious like this one.


Cosmic Carnage is a 2D one on one fighter in which alien fighters battle choose different body armour before each round to increase their fighting potential, the characters are large and colorful and there is a lot of sprite scaling going on, as you punch, kick, grapple and rip limbs off each other ... and this is where it goes wrong. I'm pretty sure that this game was designed to show off what the 32X could do, because the extra color pallete and mode 7 style scaling is gratuitously over used, to the extent that the game looks silly, the colors are gaudy and the sprite scaling simply scales too much, bringing large, ugly pixels right up to the screen. To make matters worse the fighters are restricted to only a handful of stiff, awkward attacks, the gameplay has all but been forgotten, in a quest to showcase the 32X extra capabilities over the Megadrive ... could this have been done on the Megadive? ... No ... And who cares.



Darxide is a 3D polygonal space shooter viewed from behind your ship. The ship is equipped with the usual lasers and rockets needed to blast all those alien ships and asteroids that cross your path. The graphics are some of the nicest you'll see on the 32X, it's done in proper 3D textured polygons and they all animate and scale very smoothly (probably achieved by not having to do much background ... space is black y'see) and the draw distance isn't an issue because objects fade nicely into view from the dark void, adding to the feeling of being in deep space. The sound is o.k, with minimal sound effects and a passable trippy-techno sound track playing in the background. But poor gameplay and bad controls spoil all of this. Targeting enemies is a tricky affair , due to an over responsive cross hair and a rubbish radar that is just a load of colored dots at the top of the screen do nothing to convey a sense of distance. Could have been a great game ... but is just mediocre.


Needs no introduction really. Doom is THE original first person shooter, now other reviews have given the 32X version a hard time for not having full screen (there is a border around the edge of the screen) I on the other hand think this is a pretty good conversion for loads of reasons. The game features levels from both Doom 1 and 2, the graphics are sharp, smooth and colorful, the controls are tight and easy to use, and the sound is exactly the same as it was in the original PC Doom. Nothing has been lost from the gameplay, it's still fast, frantic, fraggin' fun, and you'll forget the smaller screen size after about 5 minutes play anyway.



This is yet another 32X title to recieve unfair criticism by reviewers. I suppose that Sonic 1,2 & 3 fans might be a little dissapointed because Chaotix doesn't really play like a classic sonic title. You play as Knuckles over Sonic style stages, and you are always attached to various buddies by an invisible bungee type force who helps (hinders) your progress through the game, so team work is the order of the day here. The graphics are lush and colorful, with sprite scaling effects (albeit a bit blocky on the knuckles sprite) and a 3D polygon sub level where you must collect blue orbs (Tempest stylee). Not being a huge sonic fan I judged the game with an unbiased view, I'm not saying this is a great game, but the 32X is short on decent titles, and this is one of the better ones.



Strange game Kolibri, it's a shoot 'em up that see's you take control of a humming bird. So what's wrong with it then? Well first of all the gameplay, it's hard to know what you're supposed to do, and when you do complete a mission, you still don't know. The control of your humming bird while being quite authentic is annoying, like swimming against a strong tide, the graphics are pretty, but boring (flowers, plants, trees and the like) and it slows down qite a bit when there are too many sprites on screen, most noticeable when you are rescuing your humming bird brethren from the evil insects, in which case you cant tell which one is your bird because they look exactly like you do, and they follow you around the place, leading to you getting killed. Kolibri sucks ... nuff said!

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