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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
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (PlayStation)

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night review (PSX)

Reviewed on January 14, 2004

What is instantly noticeable about SOTN, is the fluidity that the main character, Alucard, moves about with. He is like poetry in motion, his cape billowing behind him as he stalks, his movement decidedly confident and surging. His joints are like water. The enemies aren’t half bad either. You won’t believe how large some of them are, and on one rather eye-popping occasion, Beelzebub, a generally unclean and unhealthy fellow, fills a few screens.
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Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare (PlayStation)

Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare review (PSX)

Reviewed on January 14, 2004

The game returns to the heavily coloured Lovecraftian roots of the original outing. The story is traditional in its potential for spookiness. Some shady setup is hinted at in the intro, and we witness Edward Carnby and Aline Cedrac go down in their plane, due to the intervention of some unseen malevolence. They end up at different points on Shadow Island, (appropriately named) and begin two separate, but intertwining adventures.
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Castlevania: Dracula X (SNES)

Castlevania: Dracula X review (SNES)

Reviewed on January 13, 2004

Great music has always been a Castlevania staple and though the music is competent it is far from great. They have done further remixes on the already remixed soundtrack from IV, and they have made the simple error of trying to fix something that wasn't broken. These remixes only have you longing to hear the Castlevania IV tracks instead.
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U.N. Squadron (SNES)

U.N. Squadron review (SNES)

Reviewed on January 13, 2004

The graphics are amazingly close to the arcade version. The sunsets burn brightly in our eyes, the enemy bases built up in caverns and mountain walls are detailed and atmospheric. Thunderous tracks work hard at making us feel the urgency in our mission, but admittedly, after leaving the game, you’ll be hard pressed to hum a single tune. Our mission is challenging, even on the easy difficulty level, and the limited slowdown is certainly a welcome thing in a Super NES shooter. UN Squadron is a mostly brilliant conversion of an engaging arcade shooting experience. Mostly.
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The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (SNES)

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past review (SNES)

Reviewed on January 13, 2004

Miyamoto and company welcome you to enter dark caverns and dismember segmented desert worms. Be wary of them; their movement is aberrant, erratic. Buy your wares in shops, but buy them also in shallow places beneath the waterfalls. Fairies resurrect you should you falter—capture them and keep them safe in jars that you will find. Swim in deep channels discovering weird whirlpools that mysteriously warp you about your huge world. Play the first four dungeons and take on Agahnim, only to reveal seven more.
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Super R-Type (SNES)

Super R-Type review (SNES)

Reviewed on January 13, 2004

If there was any fun left to be had while playing Super R-Type, after considering the weak sounds, horrid slowdown, and the excessive tedium that the unrewarding difficulty curve creates, it is out the window at this point. Enduring all of those weaknesses in an attempt to appreciate the game's few strengths is made impossible, when you throw in the lack of start back points.
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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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