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Review Archives (Staff Reviews)

You are currently looking through staff reviews for games that are available on every platform the site currently covers. Below, you will find reviews written by all eligible authors and sorted according to date of submission, with the newest content displaying first. As many as 20 results will display per page. If you would like to try a search with different parameters, specify them below and submit a new search.

Available Reviews
Super Metroid (SNES)

Super Metroid review (SNES)

Reviewed on January 13, 2004

Nintendo's game is immediately engaging, taking you from a powerful cinema and starting you off with a boss encounter and a thrilling, timed escape sequence that shrewdly doubles as a training ground for your basic skills. And Super Metroid concludes with even greater fanfare, showcasing a wildly chaotic final boss confrontation followed by a stunning, controller-dropping, emotional twist that is simply unforgettable.
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Super Mario World (SNES)

Super Mario World review (SNES)

Reviewed on January 13, 2004

SMW has too much going on for you to tire of it, to be finished with it. It goes on and on, and you can pick it up at any given time, and indulge in what seems like a never-ending journey of different routes, alternate twists and turns, new paths to the waterfall.
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Super Castlevania IV (SNES)

Super Castlevania IV review (SNES)

Reviewed on January 13, 2004

Take Simon through a slow build of Castlevania content. His first level push will allow you to experience the stirring new anthem, Simon’s Theme, and provide decent warm up whipping action. Knee-deep in rushing crystal waters, make your way to the mythical Medusa in all her topless glory; she may just turn you to stone.
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Super Bonk (SNES)

Super Bonk review (SNES)

Reviewed on January 13, 2004

Bonk is a little caveman with a big heart... and head. His cranium takes up about 80% of his total size, but you wouldn't think it from his display of idiocy to start off this newest adventure. King Drool, the once massive dinosaur tyrant of Bonk's world, Moonland, has returned. Strangely, he's now Bonk's size. Not so strangely, he has a new scheme devised to give our hero fits. A big, juicy piece of meat on the ground calls out to the greedy protagonist. Never mind that there is actually a sign saying ''TRAP'' right in front of it; Bonk goes for the food and gets trapped in a glass capsule thing, and is sent forward in time. Or something.
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Space Megaforce (SNES)

Space Megaforce review (SNES)

Reviewed on January 13, 2004

I would be amiss if I didn't mention the kitsch factor that fits unusually snugly into Megaforce's makeup. The bosses are very creatively conceived. They are mechs yes, but their appearance and varying attacks must be seen to be fully appreciated. But that isn't the best part; they talk to you! When you encounter the first level guardian, he will mumble, Welcome to the Underworld! You will pause, and find yourself thinking, 'this actually sounds funny.' Bordering on the riotous, is the second level boss' cry for mercy, Give me a break, will you?
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Soul Blazer (SNES)

Soul Blazer review (SNES)

Reviewed on January 13, 2004

There was a time when you’d play a game like The Legend of Zelda, and feel that strong emotional attachment grow with every swing of your sword. Today, you play games like Final Fantasy 8, and feel a similar (but not quite the same) sort of emotion while the CD loads, and your controller rests relatively untouched in your hands, little different than that DVD remote. Enter Soulblazer.
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R-Type III: The Third Lightning (SNES)

R-Type III: The Third Lightning review (SNES)

Reviewed on January 13, 2004

The knock on R-Type III is that it is insanely difficult, and it's not of the frustrating 'this game cheats!' ilk either. The control is absolutely flawless, so that when you die, it's your fault, and you'll know it. You'll respect the ingenuity that went into making the game corner you and force your hand. Because it is a pattern shooter, you cannot rely on extraordinary reflexes alone to blast through it from beginning to end. Positioning and knowledge of the enemy's weak points and using the right weapon for the right situation, as well as knowing where to position your Device are the keys to victory here.
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Phalanx (SNES)

Phalanx review (SNES)

Reviewed on January 13, 2004

The generic shooter elements are all here; changing ship speed on the fly, the unimportant story, four weapons that can each be powered up several times over, and the necessary ‘weapon twist’, which is what separates one shooter from any other. R-Type has it’s Force Device, Gradius has its selectable avenues of powering up—Phalanx has a sort of ‘limit break’ where you can use your current weapon on a pumped up level, only to lose it after the laser fire subsides.
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Out of This World (SNES)

Out of This World review (SNES)

Reviewed on January 13, 2004

The game looks like something manifested from the pages of a H.P. Lovecraft novella. Nightmarish scenery wraps itself around Lester, from the rocky terrain beneath his feet, to the jagged mountain range in the distance, to the strange moons that look down on his plight. But the gameplay itself closely resembles the infuriating old school Jordan Mechner creation.
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Lagoon (SNES)

Lagoon review (SNES)

Reviewed on January 13, 2004

And my goodness, how Lagoon PLAYS. The 'sword' that you wield is little more than a potato peeler. Its range is excruciatingly limited, and that coupled with inane collision detection makes for horrible battles. The fact that EXCESSIVE level building is necessary to advance pass the difficult bosses, simply exacerbates an already frustrating fighting experience.
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Imperium (SNES)

Imperium review (SNES)

Reviewed on January 13, 2004

Imperium's power up system takes a bit of practice to master, and Vic Tokai only offer us three continues. As such, the game will seem challenging on even the Easy and Normal modes at first for most players. But after a day or so, most shoot-em-up veterans will start finishing the game with little trouble. The Hard mode offers a more balanced mission for these players, and the limited chances should keep them from the ending screen for awhile longer.
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Gradius III (SNES)

Gradius III review (SNES)

Reviewed on January 13, 2004

Gradius III, being one of the first shooters to grace the then fledgling Super NES console, is plagued with more than its fair share of slowdown. It’s not so noticeable in the manageable confines of the Easy game, but crank the hard meter up even one notch, and the increase in enemy and projectile activity will create a crawling chaos onscreen.
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Final Fight (SNES)

Final Fight review (SNES)

Reviewed on January 13, 2004

Wielding pipes and swords in addition to being able to toss about knives helps keep the gameplay fresh, as your actual hand-to-hand repertoire is limited to pounding one button continuously to unleash a series of kicks and punches before a knockdown is scored. You can also jump kick foes to effect an immediate knockdown of lesser damage. Pressing both buttons simultaneously will have your character execute a spin move that is unique to him. Haggar performs a lariat, and Cody does a spinning kick. Sadly, Guy's spinning kick is M.I.A. along with him, so that the coolest character and the coolest move are lost in one go.
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Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest (SNES)

Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest review (SNES)

Reviewed on January 13, 2004

The reason for Mystic Quest's being is an interesting one (and a humourous one, depending on how serious you are about the genre and what side of the Pacific you're on). It seems that Squaresoft wanted to present a dumbed down taste of Japan's favourite genre to uncultured, slow-of-mind North Americans so that we could adjust to the inherent complexity of the RPG, and allow our brain cells time to grow in anticipation of the oncoming deluge of ever more mind-blasting RPG perplexity. Needless to say, the intended market found the move to be insulting and quite unnecessary. However, as I have already let on, if Mystic Quest failed to nail down a beginner RPG player niche, it accomplished something else just as meaningful.
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Earth Defense Force (SNES)

Earth Defense Force review (SNES)

Reviewed on January 13, 2004

The only thing that we likely have forever branded on our crumpled shmupper’s ego is the painful memory of that relentless, recalcitrant, snapping turtle head. Flashbacks of his refusal to let you win, to let the immemorially inevitable story of the hero beating back the wicked and saving earth take its course, will haunt you until the world ends. Did you used to cheer for Cobra during G.I. Joe reruns? Score one for the bad guys!
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Darius Twin (SNES)

Darius Twin review (SNES)

Reviewed on January 13, 2004

If you’ve played a Darius game before—and most shooter fans have—the boss encounters won't floor you. The familiar siren sounds along with a dramatic written warning that both names, and describes, the oncoming sea-dwelling behemoth. But the actual names in Twin are priceless. As over-the-top dramatic as they are, (e.g.: a tortoise named Full Metalshell) they are quite in keeping with the wailing, alarming tracks that enthuse in the background. A boss encounter in Twin is like a episode-ending Voltron battle: all hype.
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Super Nova (SNES)

Super Nova review (SNES)

Reviewed on January 13, 2004

Darius has always been about some evil force known as ''Belser'' that threatens life as we know it and so they’ve got hell to pay, and your role is to ensure proper remittance. Shamefully, Super Nova recycles this old shooter story cliché in the most cliché way possible; they give us a short history of some nondescript previous battle in the Darius annals, and then they tell us in all their wisdom of history’s tendency to repeat itself. DON'T YOU SEE?! IT'S HAPPENING AGAIN.
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BlaZeon: The Bio-Cyborg Challenge (SNES)

BlaZeon: The Bio-Cyborg Challenge review (SNES)

Reviewed on January 13, 2004

There are few redeeming factors to be found in this strange game, where the first level is the most exciting. Truly, it is all downhill from there. To be fair, the boss music is great, that fourth level boss encounter is nice, and most of the characters don’t look too bad. Unfortunately, that’s not nearly enough to make even an average shooter out of Blazeon. Far too much of the game feels like a typical shooter ending. Slow-scrolling screens prompt you to put down your controller and watch the poorly drawn graphics fill the panorama. Often the only indication that it’s not just a bad cinematic sequence is that you can still shoot.
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Axelay (SNES)

Axelay review (SNES)

Reviewed on January 13, 2004

Listen to that. It’s the sound of crescendoing drums and bass line as you begin the game, and excitably contemplate the weapon select screen. It will only get better. From the Robotech inspired level two track, to the haunting, otherworldly undersea imaginings of level four, your ears are met with constant, engaging quality.
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Zillion II: The Tri-Formation (Sega Master System)

Zillion II: The Tri-Formation review (SMS)

Reviewed on January 12, 2004

No. This game is nothing at all like Zillion in terms of gameplay. Where Zillion was Sega's Metroid, Zillion II is a cross between the simplest shooter (think Cloud Master) and the simplest jump and shoot platformer (think Cyber Shinobi). But there is a charming, agreeable quality to The Tri-Formation that cannot be denied.
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