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The SNES Rankings VIII: Bubsy Lives #400-351

Sep 14 at 5:39:09 PM
Brock Landers (61)
< Wiz's Mom >
Posts: 11664 - Joined: 05/04/2014
Federated States of Micronesia
Do you ever wonder if obscure crap like Time Trax is any good?  Or find yourself curious as to how the different Super Scope games stack up against each other?  Ever wish there was a detailed list of SNES games that expanded beyond the usual top 100s? 

No?  Well, fine.  Perhaps you're just trying to kill time at work.  In any case, here I present the complete (and completely and utterly biased and subjective) rankings of every US-released licensed SNES game during the console's lifespan.  Thousands of hours and many years in the making (and one very bewildered spouse later), I have played every game enough to write-up a small capsule review of each and every one of them.

...and many of them are very, very, very, very, very, very bad.  So bad.  For awhile I'm going to do my best to avoid coming across as an Angry Video Game Nerd copycat because that trope has been way overdone and is not especially funny when in the wrong hands.  So bear with these first few hundred games as we wade through forgotten sports titles, licensed platformers, and anything with Arnold Schwarzaneggar on the cover.

What specific process do I use to rank these games?  After all, John Madden Football and Romance of the Three Kingdoms are two very different beasts. 

Well, I have a very scientific method...

Really though it's just gut feelings.  What do I have the most fun playing?  What is the most aggravating, or boring?  Which entries am I eager to revisit, and which ones will I never put in the system again?

Volume I: #714-701
Volume II: #700-651
Volume III: #650-601
Volume IV: #600-551
Volume V: #550-501
Volume VI: #500-451
Volume VII: #450-501
Volume VIII: #400-351

Games that will not be covered by this project:  SFC/PAL games, competition carts, re-skinned Latin American releases, unlicensed releases, Piko Interactive titles, homebrews, Miracle Piano, combo carts, pirates, Rom hacks, etc.

Disclaimer #1: The images are NOT MOBILE OR VINTAGE FRIENDLY
Disclaimer #2: Write-ups and/or pictures MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS.  Read at your own risk.
Disclaimer #3: I may take a few liberties with dramatic license, or remembering small details.  Some of these games were beaten 25 years ago after all.
Disclaimer #4: I'm going to do my best to keep all reviews independent of other versions of each game.  I don't have time to play every port of Mortal Kombat and then try to see where the SNES version measures up.  And I don't know or care if Hurricanes is better on Genesis or Amiga.  This list is strictly SNES, and how those games measure up against each other.
Disclaimer #5: Many of the games were only played against the AI.  As much as playing co-operative Troddlers or competitive Troy Aikman Football could give me a more accurate empirical opinion, no-one I know is gonna play that shit with me in the 21st century
Disclaimer #6: Again, this is not supposed to be an objective list.  This is just one person's list with all preferences and biases apparant.  So Street Fighter II is gonna be 100 spots lower than where you have it, Mortal Kombat is gonna get bashed, I only have a superficial understanding of hockey and soccer, and Titus games are not that bad.

A special thanks to my editor Splain for spotting my abuses of the English language and having the patience to slog through them with me while bronzeshield was tied up with real life.


Writing about every SNES game - Volume VIII (#400-351) - Migrating to as we speak
SNES Set - 716/723 (Casper)
Switch: SW-6880-6470-3131

Sep 14 at 5:39:18 PM
Brock Landers (61)
< Wiz's Mom >
Posts: 11664 - Joined: 05/04/2014
Federated States of Micronesia
400 - The Incredible Hulk

Another superhero game from... US Gold?  I guess it shouldn't be any surprise that they felt like tossing their hat into that overcrowded ring; everyone else was doing it after all.  Though I wonder what ever happened to that company...  most likely they went out of business or got bought out by Acclaim, just like every other mediocre American outfit of the day.  And did they ever release a great game?  Ever?  Without researching it I cannot think of a single one.

Anyways, The Incredible Hulk is, like usual, a side-scroller action beat-em-up sorta deal, heavy on the action and the beatings.  You are the Hulk after all.  And you do this with an incredibly simplified control scheme as well: jump, punch, pick up, and an uppercut which is barely differentiated from the regular punch.  That's it. 

...or at least that's what I thought at first.  You see, there are a number of "hidden" moves that you'll need to rely upon.  Hidden because every source I looked at online called them hidden.  Perhaps they are in the manual, I don't know, I didn't have access to one.  Anyways, without those moves this game is impossible.  Literally impossible.  Don't try to play it without them.  But once you do realize there is more to it than meets the eye, and you figure out that you can stomp on dudes, shoulder charge bosses, or even thunderclap(?) foes, things really open up, and the game becomes much more fun. 

You see, our boy Bruce is a bullet sponge by design.  Most enemies are gonna be hitting you with unavoidable shots or punches, and your job is to make mincemeat of them despite the damage coming your way.  But you're gradually gonna get worn down unless you can take each and every one of them out in a slightly more efficient manner.  That's where the more advanced moveset comes in.  Getting through one hundred peons is night-and-day different if you can stop taking half of the damage on the trip through.  Hence why the advanced moveset is so important.

And then on top of that are the boss fights.  Most of these guys are complete dicks, where you're gonna need to find an exploit and hammer on it repeatedly.  Mostly with the shoulder charge or the "clap."  That whole thing about not even bothering with the game unless you have the advanced moveset?  That comes into play with the bosses because every single one is reliant on one of the moves or another.  Figure out the pattern, counter with said attack, easily cheese them down without breaking a sweat, repeat.  It's almost like a warped version of Mega Man.  Well... that is if Mega Man were an obscure US Gold game.  You know what, forget I said that.  This game is nothing like Mega Man, don't make that connection.

In the end I'll give the game the slight nod over the likes of Spider-Man X-Men or Wolverine Adamantium Rage, mostly because I think it ended up being a slightly more cohesive experience as I spent more and more time with it.  Both of those other games had much higher aspirations, but that just brought with it much bigger problems.  TIH plays it safer, but still manages to produce mostly pleasant results.

Did I beat it?
No, it's pretty tough.  And there are no passwords or continues.

399 - Super Bases Loaded 2

Yep, for those keeping count (probably no one) this is the first of the Super Bases Loaded games that I have covered, which means I actually think this is a downgrade from the first game in the series.  Will others agree with that sentiment?  I don't know.  Hell, has anyone else even played any of these games?  Probably not. 

When most people think of this series, I can only assume that the first thing that pops into their mind is "reversed perspective."  Or at least it's the first thing that pops into my mind.  You see, with every other game in the franchise you do not view the action from behind the batter's box as is tradition, present in basically every other baseball game that's ever been created.  Instead, you're seeing the action from behind the pitcher, much like what you got in Relief Pitcher, a game I covered long ago.  Why do this?  To be different is my best guess.  While RP was focused on pitching (natch), SBL is still very much a conventional baseball game, so this change of pace was probably made to help the games stand out in a very crowded field.  Or at least that's the theory I'm sticking with.

(note to self, go back and confirm that this is actually true for all four of the NES games)
(second note, I didn't do it, fuck it)

SBL2 on the other hand, ditches the reversed view, for a more conventional setup.  Why did Jaleco reverse course after five games?  Again, who even knows.  I'm asking myself a lot of rhetorical questions out loud in this review aren't I?  Maybe Jaleco wasn't happy with their previous results, or maybe they thought things needed to be shaken up, again.  In any case, just know that this is the "normie" of the series.

Not that it really matters.  In fact none of that really matters, because the only thing we care about with a baseball game is how it plays.  And the answer to that question is "pretty good for the most part."  It's a solid baseball game, with no significant weaknesses, that I had a fun time with.

As I find is usually the case with these games, getting a grip with batting is tricky... at first.  Mostly because some of the pitches you're gonna be seeing are downright nasty.  And the fielding can only be described as "overpowering."  Luckily, these things are at least partially counterbalanced by bats that are pretty good at making contact.  Which means there's a lot of balls being put in play, and a lot going on when you do.  I don't have a problem with that either, as it keeps things interesting, and fun, even if it can also be pretty difficult to get into an offensive rhythm.

Graphics, sound and animation are all rather good too.  Most things are a pretty nice step up from the first game, and the entire thing is significantly better looking than another baseball title coming up at the end of this very installment.  Granted, I'm not much of a graphics whore, but I can still appreciate what they did here.

So what am I saying?  In short, the game is pretty fun to play.  It just needs a tweak to either make it slightly easier to make good contact, or the pitching and/or fielding need to be toned down a notch or five.  There's nothing here that's gonna blow people away, and it may be a more much traditional kind of game than some of the baseball titles I have coming up, but I still enjoyed my time with it.  That's probably gonna be the theme of Volume VIII here: "fifty games that I enjoyed, but never loved."

Did I beat it?
I won a handful of games, but never really attempted a full season.

398 - King of the Monsters 2

King of the Monsters 2 is a significant improvement over the first installment in this series.  Remember that piece of crap?  I was being generous with that Volume IV ranking if anything.  Well, that and there are a ton of really horrid games on this system, and something had to bubble to the top of the pile of refuse.  In any case, this game is waaaaaay better than the original.  Like a billion times better.  End review.

No, dammit, I can do this.  I'll come up with something...

Umm, basically this is a wrestling game mixed with a beat-em-up, just like in the first KotM.  Except you're gigantic monsters destroying cities instead of coked-out steroidal freaks wearing costumes with tights.  And again, just like with the first game, KotM2 is really, really, really frickin' hard.  I say that all the time with fighters (and wrestlers, and lots of other games in general), but man does this one take the cake.  Right from the start you should expect to get your ass kicked by the very first enemy/boss thing (the game is basically a boss rush), and it never really lets up from there.  You know how some games feel like they were designed and balanced around a cooperative mode?  Well, this is one of those games.  And the developers seemed to try and compensate for this by giving you a crap-ton of lives and continues to work with, but it's still not enough.  By the time you reach the asshole on the volcano stage - assuming you managed to make it that far - you are going to get your ass beat.  There's probably an argument to be made that he's the hardest boss on the system.  Or at least I'm gonna make that argument, and I dare anyone to challenge me on it (unless you're good at fighting/wrestling games, which I'm not, so maybe you would be the one in the right).

Still, difficulty aside, I could like this game a lot more if it was more of a straightforward beat-em-up.  It's just that wrestling mechanics severely hold it back, like usual.  Pounding on the D-Pad to grapple is not fun.  Constantly getting knocked down and having to repeatedly hit the A button is not fun.  Getting kicked in the face over and over again while you're lying down on the ground is not fun.  Wrestling is not fun.  I know I've already made my case for why I think the genre is a dead end, and I know I'm in something of a minority with these things, but those statements have never been more evident than they were with KotM2.  As a traditional brawler this thing would have been in the top 300, and very possibly top 200.  But the wrestling stuff holds it back.

All wrestling bullshittery aside though, I still enjoy the game.  It's fun to kill those kaiju bastards, and knock down buildings, and swat helicopters, and transform into your next form.  Not fun enough to stick with the game for long, but it was fun while it lasted.  Oh, and play it with a friend if you value your controllers.

Did I beat it?
No, I never did get past Mr. Volcano.  That fight still gives me nightmares.  God damn that guy...

397 - Michael Andretti's Indy Car Challenge

Michael Andretti's Indy Car Challenge, not to be confused with Kyle Petty's Racing, or Nigel Mansell's Racing, or Newman Haas' Racing, or Al Unser's Racing, or Chester Cheetah's Racing, or any of the other billions of Super Nintendo racers, is the first racing sim I've gotten to that is genuinely fun, without qualification.  Which isn't to say it's anything great, and no one's gonna be calling it a hidden gem anytime soon.  But it's still the sort of game where you can crank out a race or five and have a good time.

Controls are great, which is probably the single most important thing for most of these games.  They're usually so damn hard that any bit of unresponsiveness is gonna spell disaster.  Hell, that's what single-handedly sunk Redline F-1 Racer and F1 Pole Position.  MAICC gets it right now.  Everything is spot on, and any mistakes made are always on you, and not the controls.  That is the difference between a spot in the 600s, and a spot in the 300s.

The graphics are also pretty nice, if somewhat unspectacular.  If you handed me a still shot of this game and the two F1 games I just mentioned up above, I'd probably be unable to name which was which.  That's not necessarily a bad thing, just a sign that all three games get the job done graphics-wise, in workman-like fashion.  There's also a great sensation of speed to the action, with the framerate never really dropping from what I noticed.  Going along with the tight controls, means this game gets its mechanics right.

Really, my only real grievance is that everything's a bit dry.  Window dressing is a bit sparse in other words.  For instance, there's only a few ways to customize your vehicle, mostly so that you can favor either speed or acceleration.  And most of the tracks are pretty basic real world affairs.  None of the craziness that some of the better racers on the system offer.  There's also no real pizazz to any of the proceedings.  You race, you get a status update, check your setting, and then race again.  Bor-ing.

It's also, like usual, too difficult in my opinion.  Granted, that difficulty is still a far cry from the sadism that was offered up by recent racers such as Newman Haas or Battle Grand Prix, but it's still the sort of thing where most players aren't gonna be seeing many (if any) first place finishes.  Hell, after the first race I had to count myself luckily if I managed to bust into the top five.  And I know I keep wedging this same complaint against most of the racers I've covered up to this point, but I swear it's completely true.  I've beat one thousand games in my life, and I've tried to beat one thousand others.  I know what a difficulty curve is and I know how to dedicate myself to overcoming tough titles, because I do it all the time.  But games like MAICC are borderline unfair.  The only way you're gonna have success with this game is to master the tracks and get the lines down through repeated practice.  Lots and lots of repeated practice.  Then you're gonna need to play the campaign enough to completely understand your opponents' AI and the lines they're gonna take.  Then you're gonna need to beat your head against the wall, playing the races, and reloading your passwords, over and over again, until you manage to move up with your finishes.

Those are the only real complaints I have here, but I think they're pretty valid ones.  It's a fun game, I wanted to get all the way through it, I wanted to beat it, but I couldn't justify the cost.  If you're into Formula One or Indy Car (I couldn't tell you what the difference between the two is), this is definitely one of the titles that is worth checking out.  It's not even one of the better ones either, but it's still a positive experience overall.  Assuming you can deal with the difficulty.

Did I beat it?
Not at all.

396 - Bubsy II

Now I like to think I'm fairly "with it" when it comes to the online SNES scene.  At least the part of the scene that is focused around playing the games.  As in, I may not care about things like sealed rares, or label variants, or which games came with posters, or anything like that.  But when it comes to the actual SNES library I'm reasonably confident I'm in like the top 0.0001% as far as having informed opinions goes.  And part of that is owed to always staying in touch with the pulse of said scene.  I'm something of a regular on NintendoAge (obviously), I cruise places like GameFaqs, IGN, and NeoGaf pretty frequently, I'm all over the different subreddits, I watch almost every YouTube video I come across, and I read everything posted onto SNES Hub.  If there's something out there, I'm probably familiar with it.

...and one common thing I see across all of the Super Nintendo interwebz is people saying Bubsy II is an even worse game than its already heavily-maligned predecessor.  And to that I say...

You people are crazy.  This is easily the superior game.

...nah, I'm just kidding.  No one cares about either of these games, and the sequel is a modest improvement over the original, at best (and even that's probably debatable), while still sharing many of the same flaws.  And I say that as someone who has a long history with the first Bubsy game.

First off, I will say that the developers obviously recognized some of the original game's glaring problems and tried to correct them.  The most important of which being the fact that Bubsy can now take three hits before he keels over dead.  That makes all the difference in the world in this series, because the insta-deaths in the original were one of the biggest things holding it back.  Furthermore, the Bubsman can now recover that added health too.  So instead of being a walking piece of glass, you actually stand a fighting chance against the legions of enemies that are out for your blood. 

Second, there are far fewer ranged attacks constantly trying to take you out with little-to-no warning.  Presumably the developers recognize this issue as well, as there are only a few enemy types that can attack from a distance, and they all work with a manageable pattern. 

Next, the slippery control is slightly less slippery.  I think.  It's still pretty bad, but at least you almost kinda sorta feel in control most of the time now.  Or I may have just gotten so used to the damn bobcat by now that I've acquired mastery over his ice-skating ass.

They've also removed a ton of the instant-death falls that were so prevalant in the first game.  There's still too many of them in the Egyptian-themed levels, and it's still pretty ridiculous that you can die from falling from great heights, but it is better.  Slightly.  They're still present, which still boggles my mind.  Can you imagine Sonic dying because he went too fast and fell too far?  It makes no sense.

They've also tried to make the levels and gameplay a little more diverse.  This time around you have a couple different sets of levels: Egypt, medieval, future Western (?), shmup, and floating brass instruments...  but the shmup levels are kind of ass, and the others are fairly generic in practice, so I wouldn't really say they actually accomplished anything here.

The bosses are also much less annoying this time.  Granted there are only three of them, and one is a repeat, but I'll take anything over the spazzy mess that was in the first game.

But the biggest thing of all, I feel, is that the game actually rewards exploration now.  In the first game the best plan was to just get to the exit as fast as you could because managing your paltry supply of lives was the utmost priority.  Now, you can gather up items in order to redeem them for extra lives, or even find minigames that reward you with, you guessed it, more extra lives.  And because you can take extra hits you're no longer in constant fear of dying.

Slowdown is also fairly pervasive.  It's not something that I recall happening nearly as much in the original.

Reading over everything I just wrote, it kind of sounds like I made this thing out to be some sort of quantum leap over the first Bubsy game.  It's not.  They just took a weirdly uneven little platformer, tightened up a million little things, but were still left with a slightly less uneven platformer that's just as uninspired as its forebearer, with a lot of other issues that were unaddressed.  And neither one can hold a candle against the genre's best.  But I do like to give them points for trying, and I will admit that this is the better experience, and that I did have something of a decent time playing through it.

Did I beat it?
Yes, on the first try actually.  

395 - SimAnt

One of the many, many "Sim" games that propagated from the success of Will Wright's landmark SimCity, SimAnt is a weirdly ambitious (but wildly uneven) title that has promise, but never seems to quite hit its mark.  The SNES port also happens to be a significantly improved effort compared to the versions of SimEarth and SimCity 2000 that we got, both of which failed to succeed on the system for various reasons.

As you can maybe no doubt guess, the idea behind this game is that you are tasked with building up an ant colony.  Your ultimate goals?  Destroying your red ant rivals, fighting off giant spiders, and eventually invading the nearby house so you can drive out the human occupants.  Good times.

Gameplay is basic enough, but with a subtle depth that can take time to come to grips with.  At any given moment you will control but a single ant.  With that ant you can gather food, eat food (something you will need to do exceedingly often), direct other ants to perform basic functions, and lead raiding parties against other colonies.  This is all done by moving a cursor and using one single button.

The tricky part, and the real nuance to getting anywhere in this game, is balancing what's going on with your colony.  Not only must you toggle the behavior of the colony as a whole, but you also need to adjust the different types of ants being born, dig tunnels to expand (or defend) the colony, help shuffle your queen and her eggs around when a rain storm causes everything to flood, and try to avoid the occasional lawnmower that's passing by.

Combat is simple, and automated for the most part.  Basically, get your soldiers to follow you and then walk into enemy territory, and hope you outnumber them.  Easy peasy.  It's also not very satisfying, and I found myself getting frustrated whenever things didn't go well, the reason for which was almost never apparent.

Now, the game does let you save anywhere, anytime, a rarity on the system.  And that should be a godsend, because with tricky games I'm always more than willing to exploit such things and save scum my way to victory.  "Did the skirmish with the reds not go so well?  Well, just reload and try again."  But you see, SimAnt features what must be the slowest save system in the console's entire library.  And by slowest, I mean slower by at least 100,000 orders of magnitude.  I'm not joking.  It may be the slowest save bar I've ever seen in my life.  That may seem like a minor gripe, but with a game this difficult I'd really like to be able to lean on rapid saves if necessary, and that is just not possible here.  At least, not if you value your sanity.

Things also get way too repetitive.  Fight the reds, fight the spider, avoid the lion ants, expand the colony, conquer the area, and then do it again.  Over and over again.  After a couple different "areas" I was ready for the game to throw me some curve balls, but it never happened, and at that point my willingness to soldier on with the game [is that an ant joke? - editor] started to stall out.  And that's coming from a guy who played over eighty games in Pro Sport Hockey so that he could write about it.  Think about that.

As I start to cover more strategy games, I can look back at this one and acknowledge it's a fun enough game, and that I really like the concept.  But as a "real time" strategy game the action does seem a little too hectic and demanding to be played comfortably with a controller.  And there just doesn't seem to be enough meat to its bones to want to keep with it.  So tally this one up as a decent experience, but one that feels more like a tech demo than an actual game.  A tech demo you should probably only play on the PC.

Did I beat it?
Nope.  I'm not sure if you have to conquer every section of the map, but I have not gotten close to doing that.  

394 - Smart Ball

Introducing Smart Ball, the platformer known as "Jerry Boy" elsewhere around the world.  And what exactly is a "Smart Ball" or a "Jerry Boy?"  Who even knows.  I suppose it's meant to be a blob of jelly that can climb walls and contort itself so that it can fit into tubes and such, and I'm also sure there was a explanatory cutscene at some point that I have long forgotten.  The final boss is a witch so I'm sure a curse is involved.  In any case, it's a weird ass little platformer, but that's never stopped any game from being good before.

Gameplay is pretty straightforward.  You move, you jump, you hold down a button to run and jump further, etc.  Standard stuff.  The rub is that you don't have much of an attack.  Instead, Jerry is limited to stabbing his body upwards in order to hit foes above him, or squashing himself down and out so that he can knock away enemies that are slightly in front of him.  Powerful attacks they are not.  Luckily for him, there are tons of flowers scattered throughout each of the levels, each of which will give up various "thingies" to help you.  Some of them recover health, some are extra lives, extra powers, etc.  Arguably the most important ones are projectile weapons.  You'll definitely want to stock up on those before you fight any of the later bosses.

Besides that, there ain't a ton of notable things going on here.  Simply navigate each level to find different items (block letters that spell out J-E-R-R-Y), and find the exit.  Occasionally the stages will be a bit labyrinthine in nature, but it's never anything that's too demanding.  After every two levels you do get to fight a boss battle, but none of them were really notable enough to actually remember.  I think one of the early ones was a bird, and I guess I do definitely remember a witch at the end, but everything else just kind of blends in with the million other platformers I've already written about.

That's really all there is to it too.  It's a solid, but super generic, action platformer.  It has a decent gimmick at its core, and a decently long quest to work through, which offers a nice, but never unfair, challenge.  But it's not the sort of game I'd ever go out of my way to recommend to anyone, or ever really feel a strong desire to pop the cart back in.  There was even a Japan-only sequel, but I was never so much as tempted to look into it.  So there you have it.

Did I beat it?
Yes, a number of years back.  

393 - Jimmy Connor's Pro Tennis Tour

For those of you keeping count (probably no one, other than resident "pro" bronzeshield), there are only two tennis games left in this project, and there just so happens to be more than a bit of a passing resemblance between the two of them.  That's not a coincidence either, as it seems that Jimmy Connor's Pro Tennis Tour takes a proven formula (Super Tennis) and tries to run with it.  While the results aren't anything spectacular, UbiSoft has still left us with a perfectly functional game of swingin' cat guts.  Is that a nickname for tennis?  Probably not.

Now I think I stated in my review of David Crane's tennis game that I am not exactly a student of the sport.   Sure I played it a few times in high school gym class, and I once watched my wife's aunt and uncle rally for a while at their Houston country club while I was getting tanked on Bloody Marys, but for the most part my expertise in the area is strictly limited to table tennis: a game that is similar in concept and design, but seems to play nothing alike when you get down to it.

Thankfully, JCPTT offers something of a beginner mode for neophytes like myself.  Here, your player will automatically position himself for every shot and return, sail your serves over with pinpoint accuracy, and in general, make life a whole lot easier.  While that all may sound very emasculating (and maybe it is), I used this mode for several hours in order to ease myself into the meat of the game [No comment - editor].  After I was able to get comfortable with the timing of the shots, and the intricacies of the mechanics, I was much better suited towards tackling and subduing the many men that stood in front of me.  [You're doing this on purpose - editor].  Something I wasn't even close to accomplishing in the three tennis games that have already been covered.

So if you're gonna play a tennis game on the Super Nintendo... play Super Tennis.  Or one of those imports that I hear people raving about.  But if you burn through those and are looking for more, I'd name Jimmy Connor's Pro Tennis Tour as the next game to queue up.  You may not love it, but you'll probably have some fun times with it.  Or at least you can take advantage of the easy mode and pretend you know what you're doing like I do.

Did I beat it?
No, I have yet to beat any of the tennis games.  My brain just can't pull together working strategies against tougher opponents.  

392 - Hyper V-Ball

That other McO'River game - and one of only two volleyball games on the system - Hyper V-Ball is... surprisingly not terrible?  Surprisingly... good, even?  What I mean by that is, for being a no-name 2D volleyball game from some no-name publisher, that came out early in the system's lifespan to boot, this thing should have been a trainwreck.  And yet I actually ended up having a pretty decent time with it across a rather extended amount of play.  I'd even dare say that this is a good volleyball game.  Suck it Hudson Soft.

As you can maybe see from the screenshots above, the game offers several different modes of play.  Well, "different."  In quotes.  As in not really different at all.  Because you can play male or female volleyball, which seem exactly the same to me, in addition to something else called "Hyper" mode.  That's the one with robots.  It's not as cool as you'd hope, and mostly just adds a few little "abilities" to mess with how and where you hit the ball.

Gameplay is simple enough.  You serve the ball across the net, the other team digs, sets, and spikes, you go back and forth, on and on until someone fucks up.  Volleyball in other words.  And the controls are kept very streamlined.  You can more or less handle most of those actions with a single button while also pressing left or right on the D-Pad to position yourself.  That's it.  No worrying about switching players, or convoluted button combinations for different types of shots, or even having to position yourself against a vertical axis.  Very sleek.

It works rather well too.  The action unfolds organically, and rallies start to ratchet up in intensity as you press harder and harder, desperate to get the point.  It's good stuff, and feels close enough to the real thing.  The real thing being the drunken volleyball matches I participate in every Fourth of July.

Now I will say that after 10+ hours of play I could sense the action getting a bit stale and repetitive.  And while the gameplay does feel much tighter than Hudson Soft's Super Dig and Spike Volleyball (is that what that was actually called?), it's still a bit limited in its depth.  There's only so many ways to try and trick or overpower your opponent, and things tend to get real protracted as you get further into the campaign.

Overall I'll say it's the best volleyball game I've ever played (though I have not played very many) and that I enjoyed my time with it.  I probably won't ever come back to it, as I more than got my fill of it over the last few years, but that is still a lot more than I can say for hundreds of other games I've already covered.

Did I beat it?
No, I put in quite a bit of time working my way through it, but the opponents get brutally hard as you get further in.  

391 - Pinocchio

So awhile back (or maybe as recently as last installment), I made the observation that each and every Disney game on the Super Nintendo seems to occupy one of the two different extreme ends of a single spectrum.  And what sort of spectrum would that be?  Why the difficulty spectrum of course; they're all either sadistically hard or laughably easy.  Almost as if no one could quite figure out who these games were intended for, or what anyone should get out of them.

Pinocchio sits on the easy side of the spectrum.  The absurdly easy end at that.  Similar to Aladdin, Magical Quest, or The Great Circus Mystery, it is entirely reasonable that you'd beat this in one try.  I know I did, and I don't consider myself especially good at platformers.  And that is due in large part to the absolutely absurd amount of punishment that our wooden friend can soak up before keeling over.  Who knew ol' Pinoc' was such a tank?

Controls are okay, but a bit unresponsive.  Mostly because it seems like Pinocchio has a tendency to waste a frame or two of animation before going into any of his jumps.  It's the sort of thing that would be maddening in a more complex or demanding game, but ends up being more of a minor nuisance here.

The graphics are pretty outstanding.  The stages and characters are all nice and colorful, and beautifully animated, possibly on the same level as another Disney Interactive's title, The Jungle Book.  I don't know if that's because something was "figured out" after Shiny's work on Aladdin for Genesis, but everything the studio put out after that point seemed to be rather lovely looking.  This one is no exception.

So, I haven't totally been keeping track of how many Disney games I've already gone over, or how many there are left to get to, but this feels about middle of the pack.  Definitely not as memorable as some of the good stuff, but not nearly as annoying or pointless as the lesser stuff.

Did I beat it?
Yes, see what I said up above.  

390 - Bazooka Blitzkrieg

[full disclosure - I played this (and every Super Scope game) on my PC with an emulator and an optical mouse.  I have the cart but not the gun bazooka]

Okay, raise your hand if you had heard of this game before you got into SNES collecting (or whatever it is you do that set you down the path of googling "ranking every SNES game").  Anyone?  Anyone at all?

Well if you did raise your hand you're a damn liar, because this has to be one of the least known f'ers on the system.  Hell, it doesn't even have a Wikipedia page.  Even Stone Protectors and Timeslip got Wikipedia pages (well, blurbs), and no one has heard of those guys either!  I guess it doesn't help that this is a game designed for the Super Scope, one of the dumbest officially-released peripherals in the history of video games.  And it really couldn't have helped that this was a Japanese game, despite the fact that the Super Scope barely even saw a release in Japan.  Chalk up its obscurity to a perfect storm of bad ideas, clueless publishers, forgettable artwork, and an even more forgettable title.
Moving on, just what exactly is this thing?  Something out of left field perhaps?  Like a role-playing light gun hybrid where you need to travel the world and solve mysteries in order to advance the plot?  Of course not.  It's a typical vanilla-ass light gun offering, virtually identical to the many legions of Hogan's Alleys and Lethal Enforcers that once dominated the world's arcades.  Only the rub this time out is that you're a ninja and you're blasting robots.  Which now that I think about it kind of makes it a mix of Shien's Revenge and Metal Combat/Battleclash... only not nearly as cool as any of those other games.

Still... generic ninja bazooka'ing aside, I enjoyed it.  Too much.  I actually played it way more than I had any real reason to.  I suppose that sometimes a simple genre like this is better off keeping things... simple.  And shooting guys in the face is plain simple fun.  Even in 2019 when the entire world has forgotten this thing ever existed.  So if you are lugging a Super Scope around for some crazy-ass reason, and you're tired of playing all of the first party titles, you could do worse than check this guy out.

Did I beat it?
Yes... but with a mouse.  So not really.  

389 - Beauty & the Beast

The token (I think) Disney game that Hudson Soft put out on the system, Beauty & the Beast shoulda been a winner.  Not only is it based on one of the best Disney animated classics of all time (if not the GOAT), but it was published by the pros that brought us the likes of Bonk's Adventure and Batman.  B&tB has all the pedigree necessary to compete with the likes of DuckTales or Goof Troop in the pantheon of classics brought to us from the house of the mouse.  But the developers took what could easily have been a sure thing and mangled it somehow, burying interesting levels and fun mechanics behind sloppy controls and an uneven difficulty curve.  The game isn't a total loss, in fact, far from it, but we are left with a final product that could have been so much more than what was given us.

Taking some liberties with the source material, the game has you taking The Beast (I'm not sure we ever got his name) and guiding him through his castle's dungeons and cavernous halls, the surrounding woods and mountains, and ends with the climactic fight atop the rooftops.  All presumably in the name of stopping Gaston and the other villagers who are out to burn and maim you.  Granted, I don't remember his royal beastness having to fight off giant spiders and gargoyles in the film, but obviously they had to pad the game's length out somehow.  I guess we're no stranger to such liberties in video game adaptations.

The biggest problem with the game--the controls--can basically be summed up much like how I've summed up the controls in some many reviews that have come before this: unresponsive.  They're just not tight enough to stand alongside the system's best, or up against most of Capcom's Disney offerings.  Most maddeningly of all is how stiff the jump attack is.  For whatever reason, whenever you swipe your claws in mid air your forward momentum comes to a dead stop.  It's very frustrating.  Can you imagine if Simon Belmont's jump stopped moving forward when he swung his whip?  It would nearly ruin the game.  And it does B&tB a huge disservice in these rankings.  If they had tightened up the controls this would have been top 300.  Possibly better.

There's also problems with the Beast's attacks.  Besides being as unresponsive as everything else, the main claw swipe has an awkward hit box that makes it unwieldy to use, and the "roar" attack takes way too long to charge, making it significantly less useful than it needed to be.

Aside from all of that, it's a pretty fun platformer with challenging but fair levels, nice graphics and animation (but not on the same level as something like Pinocchio or The Jungle Book), that manages to accurately capture the "essence" of the source material.  But it's hamstrung enough by the controls that I think I can safely say this is the worst Hudson Soft platformer on the system.  Such a shame too.

Did I beat it?
No.  Got far, but never managed to close it out.

388 - Head-On Soccer

Head-On Soccer represents US Gold's second effort at bringing us a futbol game on the Super Nintendo, and also represents a marked improvement over their first offering.  The secret to this success?  Mimicking FIFA International Soccer.  That shouldn't be much of a surprise either, given that people have been plagiarizing EA's various franchises for decades now, with games like this doing it since the beginning.  Not that I blame them, either.  I mean, if you're gonna steal, why not steal from (one of) the best, right?

Just like in the game that inspired it, the controls here are rock solid, as tight as you're gonna get.  Everything feels right as you run, jump, kick, pass, throw, and "header" the ball around.  The animation is also smooth and the slowdown is virtually nonexistent.  So I guess you could say that all the basic elements that make a successful sports game like this work are present and accounted for.  And really this is the first soccer title where I can say that's all true.

The nitpicks, as they are, center around the game being just not quite as good as the series that inspired it.  The gameplay tuning isn't quite as tight, for example, as shots on goal seem to rely at least partially on luck, with seemingly no concrete reason as to why some go in and others do not.  Also, the speed of play could have been toned down a notch or two, so that the gameplay was a little more tactical and a little less arcadey feeling.  I could also use some slightly less silly-looking player models, not that things like that dealt a huge blow to my final opinion of the game.  It woulda been nice though.

So, as I said, this is the first soccer game where I genuinely had fun for nearly my entire playtime.  I even put in a number of hours trying to overcome the single player campaign (I didn't, it goes on forever), which isn't something I'm usually willing to go out of my way for with soccer sims.  So when one of them monopolizes my time like that you know it's doing something right.

Did I beat it?
No, I got through many, many different tournament matches, but never saw the end of it.  I can only assume you have to conquer the entire world before it's over.

387 - Power Piggs of the Dark Age

Do you remember the first time you experienced Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles?  Because I do.  It was during preschool, which would mean either the end of 1989 or the beginning of 1990, and I was at my friend Greg's birthday party.  I distinctly remember him receiving a VHS tape as a gift from someone or other (it wasn't us, I don't know what we gave him), and the frenzy it stirred up over the partygoers.  Specifically, he got this one:

I was drawn in immediately by that artwork.  I've always had a thing for big, over-the-top bad guys, and this Shredder guy had my attention.  We watched the tape at some point during the party, or possibly on another visit, and I was instantly hooked by the radical characters, kick ass theme song, and the awesome action.  

Well of course the Turtle phenomenon led to eleventy billion different ripoffs in the years to come, since leeches are always willing to make money off of other people's idea.  Sewer Sharks, Stone Protectors, Biker Mice From Mars, the cowboys who really were literal cows; anthropomorphic ass kickers were in, big time.

One of the more memorable ripoffs were the Power Piggs of the Dark Age.  What should have been just another typical soulless cash-in was instead an enthralling tale about three young pigs who encounter great tragedy during their childhood.  After their mother and younger brother are slain by an evil count, they forsake their father and join a traveling group of brigands, hoping to learn the ways of the world, and the ways of the "road", in order to gain strength and eventually earn justice for their family.  It's dark, but powerful stuff, and the way the pig brothers grow throughout the course of the series truly is a marvel.  It was a popular enough show that we eventually saw a comic book series, board game, action figures, and this video game.  Hell, there's even dedicated fan communities on the net that still follow the stuff religiously.  Pretty impressive for some '90s kids show, right?

Except none of that Power Piggs stuff is true, at all.  It was never a show, never a comic, never a cult phenonemen.  It was nothing.  Just this barebones game about one pig (forget the cover art, there is no multiplayer, no character select, not even so much as an appearance from the other two), who likes to eat donuts and beat up on wolves.  In fact that's it for the plot too, which makes me question if this game was even finished.  One can only assume that Titus was hoping to kickstart something with this game, and they obviously failed spectacularly.  Power Piggs came and went with a whimper, relegated to whatever the lowest of low tiers were for TMNT imitations.

...and yet I kinda like this game, and completely enjoyed my entire playthrough of it.  The action may be traditional hop and bop, the characters dumb, the plot nonexistent, the sword stubby, and the bosses uninspired, but it is solidly made.  Controls are good, challenge is fair, bosses are satisfying to overcome, the level designs are above average, and the length of your quest is not too brief, yet never overstays its welcome.  So chalk this up as a game that had no business falling out of the bottom hundred, and yet here we are hundreds of spots later.  Bravo Titus.

Did I beat it?
Yes I did, and that's the truth.

386 - Wings 2: Aces High

Wings 2: Aces High, sequel to... uh, something or other, is a World War I flight sim of sorts.  One that challenges you to dogfight, bomb, and strafe your way to victory over the opposing Kraut forces.  And, unlike the fiasco that was Carrier Aces, all three different level types are done well enough as to actually be fun.  A novel idea.  That is, they're fun as long as you're willing to put in the time to learn and understand the game's nuances, and overcome the initially frustrating difficulty curve.

Dogfighting missions - Your biplane against one or more opponents.  The mechanics here are very simple; you have a large square arena, you have machine guns, and you don't want to hit the ground or collide.  Easy peasy.  And I rather like these levels.  Dropping an enemy ace from the sky is always satisfying, and taking down the Red Baron at the end of the game was almost euphoric.  Something about dogfighting is just so fitting for video games, and I think W2AH captures it well.

Bombing missions - As can be seen in the middle screenshot up above.  These present a picture of your target, and task you with nailing it with an old-fashioned unguided bomb from directly above, all while avoiding enemy anti-air fire.  These sections are alright, with decent controls and difficulty curves, but it can be annoying having to repeat them because you couldn't figure out where the target is since you'll only get one pass and will have to hope you just happen to spot it on the way by.  That's not a dealbreaker or anything, but I still wish you were given a map or general sense of where you need to go beforehand.

Strafing missions - A mix of the dogfights and bombing missions; these take place from the behind-the-plane perspective, while giving you a single pass to gun down various targets.  These are easily the weakest segment of the game, mostly because it takes the trial-and-error nature of the bombing segments, and adds squirrely controls into the mix.  A fatal combination for almost any game.  It's not quite fatal here, but does hold it back from being as fun as it could have been.

And that's pretty much it.  Advance through a series of levels that alternate between the three gameplay types, until you reach the Red Baron at the end.  And hope you don't lose your entire roster of pilots on the way there (easy enough to do with the help of passwords).  There's also some light RPG mechanics at play (you increase stats after missions), but they aren't handled especially well as they don't really seem to make much of a difference in how you perform.  Hell, I'm pretty sure the "endurance" stat is completely useless, as there never appears to be anything resembling a time limit, or fuel limit or anything.  Or maybe I'm just remembering that wrong.  Either way, I don't know what it was supposed to do.  Cool idea, but lacking execution.

Overall, one of the better flight sims on the system.  Yet still pretty far back here all things considered.  I guess the genre really wasn't one of the system's strong points.  Either way, if you were disappointed by Carrier Aces, or wanted more combat in Pilotwings, you could do worse than Wings 2.

Did I beat it?
Yes, probably making me one of the few people in the world who can claim that.

385 - Skuljagger: Revolt of the Westicans

If I was more cleverer than I am, I would have come up with a decent Rolling Stones pun that riffed on the title of Skuljagger: Revolt of the Westicans.  Or perhaps I would have figured out something that referenced that gloriously ridiculous cover art where a gigantic Yul Brynner observes two G.I. Joe dolls battling one another.  Alas, I ran out of time and had to go with whatever it is I'm going with.  Observational comedy no doubt.

How does one describe this game?  As a piratey Prince of Persia meets The Secret of Monkey Island?  Because that's not really accurate, as there's no real PoP elements, aside from jumping over pits and swinging swords.  Is it at all similar to Lester the Unlikely, or Cutthroat Island?  Again, not really.  While all three take place in what is presumably the Caribbean, there is not much in the way of gameplay similarities.  So what exactly is Skuljagger?  I guess I can only say it's a very, very conventional action platformer, that throws a few novelties out there to try and separate itself from the pack.

First off, I love the level and background art in this game, but I hate the character sprites.  They look like the sort of thing I would come up with if I had to design a game's characters, and all I had was paint to do it with.  The animations are also pretty shitty, and things can get real "choppy" when the action gets fast and furious.  And by that I mean the shitty animations and struggling framerate come together to really make the game look like a mess in action.  It's not a dealbreaker or anything, but it really didn't do the game any favors when I was taking score.

That being said, looks aside, the game is pretty good for the most part, and definitely fun to play.  The massive sword chop (with optional ranged beam) is super satisfying to use, cutting down legions of pirates (and the majority of the local wildlife).  That thing is like the anti-Ys/Lagoon butterknife.  You can also use it to swat enemy projectiles out of the air.  Every game should have that.

The controls are also kind of floaty, but not in a completely terrible way, if that makes any sense.  Maybe the platforming is lenient enough, and the levels wide open enough that it doesn't really matter.  But with that massive sword covering your ass, the game gets away with it. 

A few other oddities to note:
- The game has a reputation for demanding you have the manual on hand in order to defeat the final boss.  I haven't personally reached him (yet), so I don't know the details.  Maybe it's like StarTropics where there is a literal roadblock unless you reference something within.
- One of the central gimmicks to the action is collecting different colored gems (one restores health, one upgrades your attack, etc.) and different types of bubble gum (gain access to different abilities).  So if all else fails on a boss fight, and you're down to your last sliver of health, with no attack upgrades, cover yourself in bubblegum and bombard the screen with an AOE attack.
- Occasionally you will discover (by accident) different portals of sorts.  Where do they take you?  Underground, where you fight lizard men and collect giant gems.  I have no idea what the context here is.  Maybe the developers were believers in lizard men conspiracies.
- Sometimes you have to shoot cannonballs at giant ships...and sometimes it's at giant mothras...or floating Hindu gods.  You heard me.
- The 1UP system.  Uh, this is from my notes dating back at least three or four years.  I'm not sure what I meant by that, but apparently something about it is odd!

A few complaints to note:
- Enemies just love standing over the ladder you need to climb, just outside of sword range.  They're some clever bastards, or that's some shitty programming.
- Blind jumps aplenty.  Gotta love 'em.
- The hit detection can be a tiny bit iffy at times.  It's not much of an issue, but it did cause the occasional headache.

So yeah, it's a super fucking weird game.  But I'm always down for weirdness.  And anything that lets me shellack distant kaiju and floating deities, and fight pirates, giant rats, and lizard men is alright by me.  Some people may be turned off by the crude graphics and framerate, and many are gonna give up before ever seeing the end of the long and challenging quest, but I think most people are gonna find a lot to enjoy here.

Did I beat it?
I've put in a number of semi-serious attempts throughout the years, but never quite managed to overcome it.  The severe lack of passwords and/or checkpoints in the later parts of the game is what kills it for me.

384 - Super Conflict

One of the few turn-based strategy games on the system that wasn't produced by Koei, Super Conflict is something of a mixed bag.  While I adore the genre, and had fun with the game, I'd honestly say that I spent most of that time wishing I was playing an Advance Wars (aka Famicom Wars) game instead.  They play so similarily, yet SC is so unrefined in comparison that I could never get away from the comparison.

If you have played any of the AW games, most likely on GBA or DS, then you know exactly what to expect here.  Guide your legions of tanks, commandos, fighters, bombers, destroyers, and battleships, against the matching enemy forces.  Take cover in forest and mountain tiles for added defensive abilities.  Take enemy cities with your infantry, and build new forces from factories, ports, etc.  It's almost exactly the same in many ways, with the key difference being the AW games have Nintendo Polish™, and the Conflict games don't so much.

One thing this game does have going for it, is the "Flag Tank."  Or "Flag Ship" on occasion.  This is basically the key unit for you and the enemy: an ultra heavy bruiser that is super hard to kill, the destruction of which means the end of the current mission.  It's a cool idea, that would see expanded use in the future in games like Total Annihilation.  It's not subtle, but there's something super satisfying about revelling in the destruction caused by one unit.

Another complaint - and this is important in a game like this - is that I think the game is way too slow-paced.  This is a slow genre by nature, but everything here seems to move about 50% as fast as I'd like it to, which means longer missions can really start to drag.  The trial and error nature of later missions also means frustration can quickly mount as you're basically making "dry runs" in order to feel out the map.  Whenever this happened I found myself desperately wishing for a way to make everything move faster so I could get to the real thing.

My final complaint is that the game doesn't seem balanced tightly enough.  Most engagements see to drag on because it's way too easy to entrench in a defensive position and let enemies feebly wail on you to little effect.  As opposed to a series like AW (I have to keep mentioning it, they're just too similar) where there are dozens of different unit types but they are all beautifully balanced against one another.  And the difference between the two may be subtle, but it makes all the difference in the world.

I've also never played anything from the Military Madness series of games, but after studying some different screenshots I wouldn't doubt that this game was directly inspired by them.  So if you are a fan of those games, or the Advance Wars games, or any old turn-based wargame, and you don't want to deal with all of the politicking, resource management, or micromanagement that are present in most Koei games, you'll probably have some fun here.  That's also probably a pretty tiny percentage of people, because god knows most everyone else won't have the patience to stick with this for longer than ten minutes.

Did I beat it
No.  I have a campaign that's pretty far into the game, but haven't prioritized finishing it up anytime soon.

383 - Bill Walsh College Football

For the record, I'd like to take this moment and point out to everyone that I have Bill Walsh College Football slotted over 340 spots higher than EA's second attempt at college football on the Super Nintendo.  Talk about taking major steps backwards.  I'm not sure if there is a wider spread between two different installments of a single series anywhere else.  I mean, other than the discrepency between FIFA 97 and FIFA 96, the latter of which I have yet to cover.  So, yeah, I guess that one's even more bewildering...  Good job(s) EA.

Basically, this game is a reskinned John Madden Football '93/Madden NFL '94.  It has the exact same graphical style, play selection, and overall flow to the gameplay.  That's not necessarily a bad thing as I think Madden 93 and 94 are very serviceable football games that together also represented a massive leap over the very first John Madden Football game (EA really was king of wildly varying quality, even back then).  And college football translates very well to the video game world, with emphasis on offense, more pageantry, more... fun?  I think so.  But I'm also more of an NCAA guy than an NFL guy.

Unfortunately this game takes a few steps backwards from its sister Madden games.  For a number of different reasons, but mostly because things here just do not feel... I guess as tightly balanced.  For example, it really seems like some teams have an impossible time trying to run the ball, while others cannot pass to save their life.  Some teams can defend against the run, some can't.  Of course all of that could make sense because some teams should be good or bad against those things.  But nothing here seems to align with the actual in-game ratings.  I dunno, maybe I'm crazy, but it really felt like most of my success was dependent on who I played against, as I had to figure out what one "dimension" of the offense to use, and hammer on it repeatedly.

There's also other weird stuff that seems omitted.  Like missing plays that you'd expect to see in the playbook.  Or the fact that you seemingly can't flip your playbook either, a massive pet peeve of mine.  Want to sweep in the other direction?  Too bad.

Oh, and guess how many of the power I-A (known today as FBS) programs are present and accounted for?  Did you guess all of them?  Because of course that's not true.  I don't know why, maybe memory limitations.  

So yeah, it's a fun Madden-lookalike, based on the better (but not best) versions of that series, with some baffling omissions, and a few other minor shortcomings.  But it's still a pretty fun football game.  I'd say this and NCAA Football are probably the two roughest games that still manage to be fun, and that every remaining title I have yet to get to is a good time overall.

Did I beat it?
Yes, I won a playoff with Florida State.

382 - Krusty's Super Fun House

So I was thinking of going into a lengthy diatribe on my history with The Simpsons here, except that I honestly cannot remember if I already did that when I covered one of their other games.  Long story short though, there have been very few Simpsons games throughout history that have been worth playing.  Really, the list is limited to The Movie Game, the Konami arcade game, and... I guess this.  And no, Hit and Run was not that good, don't fool yourself.  Plus, after the likes of Virtual Bart and Bart's Nightmare, being remotely decent on the Super Nintendo is extra commendable.

First off, this game has virtually nothing to do with the show it's based on.  Yes, you play as Krusty, and yeah, you'll occasionally run into another character manning one of the mouse-murdering machines, or see signs advertising Moes or Kwik-E-Mart hanging on the walls, but make no mistake; it's all nothing more than (very) superficial fan service.  Hell, this game could have been about anything.  In fact, I want to say it was something else.  Maybe Flicky on Genesis?  Or some old PC/Amiga game?  Definitely something from that era, because I remember playing it.  So it's obvious that all Acclaim did was quickly throw a new coat of paint on some old property and try to cash in on the Simpsons fad.  That probably also explains why the end product is such a competent game.  It was made before The Simpsons stink could tarnish it.

Gameplay is simple to explain.  Think Lemmings, except instead of trying to save all of the stupid rodents, you're trying to actively murder them.  You'll generally do this by constructing a path for them via blocks and elevators and what not.  Occasionally enemies will need to be cleared out by throwing pies at them, or more complicated tasks will need to be sorted out.  Again, if you've played a game like Lemmings you know what to expect here.

Like is usually the case with this sort of puzzler, things start out simple, but quickly become fiendishly tricky.  And it seems like a decently meaty playthrough for anyone who sticks with it.  I've tried a couple times because I always have a decent time with it, but I've never loved it enough to stick with it.

Did I beat it?
No, I have never dedicated the time to give it a fair shot.  Some day.

381 - Super Bases Loaded

380 - Super Bases Loaded 3: License to Steal

Okay, so I kind of laid this series out up above in my Super Bases Loaded 2 write-up.  Most of the games use a "reversed" camera angle, including both of these games, it's probably the biggest thing that sets the series apart, yadda yadda yadda, on to pros and cons.  We'll do Super Bases Loaded first:

Cons - There are no MLB licenses.  There are no player licenses.  There appears to be no licenses, whatsoever.  Other than Ryne Sandberg evidently.  Anyways, that's not a dealbreaker, but it's also a plus.  Instead you get plain ol' bluish Seattle against reddish Cincinnati, and the made up names that make them up.

Pros - Pretty decent mechanics, that become more and more fun as you get into the swing of things.  Pun not intended because puns are dumb.  It's almost kind of a hard thing to describe, but an example is the unorthodox way you'll want to approach batting.  You see, instead of trying to read the ball you're gonna be better off using the catcher's glove to time your swing. 

Brock, what the hell could you even possibly mean by that?

Well, basically the graphic for the mitt will visibly move in a downwards motion, as if the catcher is actively tracking the ball as it approaches.  So instead of trying to read the pitcher, or react to the ball's speed, you'll want to time everything via the mitt.  Trust me when I say it makes more sense when you see it in person.  Now, was this intentional?  Did the developers want you to bat this way?  I'd assume so; why else go to the trouble of animating the glove?  But it's almost too effective, as making contact becomes a snap once you settle into a groove and use this manner of batting to your advantage.

There's also no real "season" mode or anything.  Instead, you pick two teams that you want to play a game, and then proceed to try and earn a "perfect game."  And by perfect game I don't mean trying to pitch nine innings without allowing a baserunner.  No, you're trying to be "perfect" across thirteen different categories that measure just how well you played that particular game all around.  It's not the worst idea in the world, it's just... weird.  And very hard to accomplish.  So I didn't call this a pro or a con.  Just a weirdness.

Super Bases Loaded 3 is, for all intents and purposes, more of the same, with a number of tiny little improvements.  For example, this time there are player licenses, so you can actually use your favorite players when you select "OAK" or "NYY."  It's a small thing, but it always makes the experience better for me.

There's also marginally higher production values and polish to everything.  By that I mean it all looks and sounds ever so slightly better, the sort of incremental upgrades that we've maybe grown used to in sports titles that have become annual franchises nowadays, but weren't seen quite so often back in the day.

I'd also stake my claim that the action moves slightly faster now.  Or at least it feels that way.  I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing, or if it's just another... thing.  
Generating offense is definitely harder now.  You can no longer use the catcher's mitt to track the ball, but making contact does seem a bit more forgiving now, if that makes any sense.  "Good" contact on the other hand, is much harder to muster now.  Something of a happy medium between the two games would probably have been for the best.

Hand-in-hand with that, pitching can now be fairly dominating.  Hell, I'm not even exaggerating when I say I threw a three-hitter in my very first game.

Last major thing of note, is that this is one of the few sims on the Super Nintendo where the baserunners don't seem to be completely incompetent, which is a nice change of pace.  Babysitting those assholes always drives me crazy.

And then there are a few other random oddities that I feel I should point out.  Like the fact that I basically saw zero high fly balls across every one of the games I played.  Or how deep shots into the gaps can be held to singles.  Or how I swear the baserunners will sometimes override you and head back to the nearest base instead of taking an easy extra one (this after I just got done praising the baserunning in this game).  Or how your fielders will even throw to the "better" base if you try to make a poor choice.  I know that sounds like user error, but I swear to God it happens.  And is that a good thing or a bad thing?  I'm not sure.

So, judging by the number of times I used the word "slightly" here, the two SBL games aren't really substantially different enough to warrant different spots.  Really, all I can say is that I prefer the batting in SBL, and I prefer the pitching in SBL3.  I think the changes implemented for SBL2, the black sheep of the series, were probably well-intentioned, but didn't produce a radically different game, just a slightly more generic one.  In any case, overall the entire series is slightly above average, and in the top half of the SNES baseball library, but never really put it all together like some of the better baseball titles manage to.  And the SBL games just aren't quite as fun.

Did I beat Super Bases Loaded?
I won a couple games, but I sure as hell didn't get a "perfect" game. 

Did I beat Super Bases Loaded 3?
Nope, didn't even try.  Baseball games are too long.

379 - Porky Pig's Haunted Holiday

Here we have yet another Looney Tune game, this time from Acclaim no less.  And yet despite both of those things telling us this should be an all-around wretched affair, it's not actually half bad.  In fact it's kinda, sorta, pretty fun.  Fun enough that I've played through it multiple times for God's sakes.  Who knew such a thing could be possible?  I guess even one of the worst publishers saddled with one of the most cursed licenses can accidently find success at times. 

[note - technically Sunsoft is listed in the opening credits, so perhaps they were ones truly behind this thing.  I didn't bother to look into it]

I can't really compare Porky Pig's Haunted Holiday to any of the Looney Tunes games I've already covered, but I guess Rabbit Rampage would be the next closest thing.  Both games are sidescrollers with an emphasis on more slower-paced, deliberate platforming, with varied levels and setpieces, and nice graphics and animation.  This game is also about a million times easier than Bugs' game, removing most of the cheap bullshit that plagued that title.

I don't exactly recall many of the specifics of the storyline, and I don't know if this is based around some classic cartoon episode or anything like that, but the gist of it is Porky falls asleep and wanders through a number of horror-themed levels, all while being terrorized by Daffy Duck for some reason.  That's pretty much it.  I guess you don't really come to these games expecting an epic story.

Gameplay is the same as it always is in these types of things.  Move, jump, avoid enemies, and, uh... that's pretty much it.  You can also swing the screen around in order to see what's up ahead, but the game really isn't challenging enough to warrant busting this out very often.  Either way, the moveset is obviously pretty limited.  But in this case I think that's a good thing.  It keeps the action simple and streamlined; the polar opposite of Duck Dodger's overly convoluted control scheme, or Bugs' overcrowded set of attacks.

The boss fights are - like the rest of the game - fairly simple.  Observe the patterns and jump on their head for the most part.  Again like Rabbit Rampage, they take the form of large grotesqueries from various classic LT cartoons such as an oversized Yosemite Sam, the Abominable Snowman, and the like.  Only this time they are far simpler and easier.  And in this case I think that is a good thing.

As I get close to wrapping up the Looney Tunes video games - which I am close to doing - I have to look at them as a majorly missed opportunity overall.  It's a group of games, from different publishers and developers no less, that miss the mark much more than they hit it.  But Porky Pig's game represents one of the few successes.  A game of limited ambition, and fleeting fun, but still something I enjoyed my time with.

Did I beat it?
Yes, several times over the years.

378 - HyperZone

Story time again.  This one based on really cloudy memories.

When I was young (let's say circa 1992) my dad took me to the county fair.  And by fair I mean the area next to the high school where there would be carnival rides set up.  I know that sounds pretty podunk, but it was a pretty cool experience for a little kid.  Mostly I remember the rock and roll-themed house of mirrors, the gigantic slide, and towering spinny ride thing that absolutely terrified me.  It was great.

At the end of that particular trip my dad and I found ourselves over on the other side of the food vendors, near where the animal areas were found.  Why?  I have no idea.  I don't know anything about cows and sheep and shit, or what they do at fairs.  But we were there anyways.  And for whatever reason, someone had lined up some Super Nintendos out in the middle of the grounds.  Was it some sort of Nintendo-sponsored stunt?  Some local retailer trying to push the new goods?  I don't know and I never tried to Google it later and find out.  But I know it was a competition of sorts, and that the game of honor was HyperZone.  I didn't know the title at the time, but I recognized the graphics immediately when I chanced across it decades later.

Now, as was usually the case with a small child who was smitten with any and all games because he had virtually none of his own, I became immediately hooked.  Dodging and weaving across incoming enemy fire, blowing away ships, all set across a psychedelic 3D landscape...  I would have played for hours if they'd allowed me to.  Instead I got about two minutes.

Years later, I can revisit the game and at least appreciate what exactly it was that wowed me so much as a child.  The game is fun to play, and is still fun to look at.  The Mode-7 graphics are vibrant and fast, and while they may not be so technically impressive compared to some of the stuff that came out later in the system's life cycle, they're very impressive for their day.  It's also pretty low on challenge, and I can't say that the gameplay is exceptionally deep, or warrants a ton of replays.  Hell, if we thought of this game as a shmup, it would easily be one of the weakest on the system (notice that the only one I've covered up until this point was the absolutely dreadful D-Force).  That's less an indictment of this game as it is my acknowledging that nearly all of them are better than most other SNES games.  Take that as you will.

So, decent game.  Probably more a tech demo for Mode 7 than a fully realized final product, but it's still pretty enjoyable for what it is.

Did I beat it?
Yes, several different times.

377 - Star Trek: Starfleet Academy

Star Trek... Starfleet Academy... Starship Bridge Simulator?...

Ah fuck me.  This is either gonna be a major drag, or it's gonna be an enjoyable experience, but only after I spend several trillion hours figuring things out.  Guarantee it.

So here we go, first I need to create a new cadet from a small list of options.  I'm going with cis female, Kim Carino.  Presumably from San Marino.  Time to show these Academy boys what's up. 

Now I'm at the Academy, and the menu items are... "E=MC²" (wut), the Starfleet insignia (yeah I recognize it, big whup), a plate with fork and spoon (wut), a... umm, window sitting above a grilled cheese maker or something... and finally, the Enterprise.  Which means I'm gonna have no fucking idea what I'm doing unless I track down a manual.  Great.

Okay, I'm back.  Turns out all these "options" are bullshit window dressing.  The only thing you care about is the Enterprise button which is where you're gonna be doing your actual missions, while everything else is just trying to give the illusion of campus life.  By that I mean they all basically boil down to providing useless tidbits of advice if you want to fuck around between missions.

First mission; the dreaded tutorial mission.  Okay, so maybe I didn't actually need to find that manual after all. 

*I play through the game in practically one sitting*

Okay.  So here's the entire game in one condensed nutshell:
1 - Start a mission.
2 - Warp to a section of space on an 8x4 map.
3 - Hail other vessels.
4 - Scan for objects.
5 - Engage tractor beam to reel in various mission objectives.
6 - Engage yellow or red alert to power up weapon systems and/or engage shields.
7 - Destroy adversaries with photon missiles and phaser fire.

That's it.  Flying around, shooting things, and toggling stuff on or off from your menus.  And you know what?  I'll be damned if it doesn't work better than you might think it would.  The missions are consistently fun, the controls are solid, the fan service is present and accounted for, and the challenge curve is like a billion times more manageable than the Enterprise sections in Star Trek Future's Past, or whatever that was called.  In other words, it's a pretty good game.

Now, there are a couple little quibbles I have with STSASBS.  Besides the name of the game and the ludicrous acronym it just forced me to type...
1 - There are multiple missions where all you need to do is warp twice, and you win.  Missions with a literal win button.
2 - It is often confusing as all fuck trying to tell what is what out in space.  Friends look like foes, foes look like non-foes, and everything looks like a nondescript blob.

3 - Things lean a bit too heavy on the old trial and error.  You're supposed to talk to everyone before starting up a mission, mostly to get useless tips as to what you need to do, but it's almost never enough.  "Oh, that ship blew up.  I guess I should have done something about that" is the norm.  Though missions often only take a few minutes so it's not the biggest deal having to start most of them over a time or two.

The last few tidbits I have to mention are both pretty cool.  First, there is generally at least one "secret" objective in each of the missions, which is something all games should have.  These help boost your overall grade, which needs to be above a certain threshold in order to pass the mission (since you're in the academy each simulation is basically an exam).  Second, I feel like this is one of the few SNES games where your main focus is often trying to be peaceful with the various hideous aliens you come across.  Instead of, you know, just blasting everyone in the fact and asking questions later.  A novel idea that fits perfectly within the Star Trek mythos.

So as I wrap up the Star Trek games on the Super Nintendo, I have to conclude that we got one kinda bad game, one kinda okay game, and one kinda good game.  None of them are great, but Starfleet Academy gets things the most right.  I don't know if I would recommend it to any but the most hardcore flight sim or Star Trek nerds, but I'm confident there's something here for all of them.

Did I beat it?
I totally did.  Fuck you Future's Past, you were the only ST game that didn't deserve my full time and attention.

376 - Doom Troopers: Mutant Chronicles

Here's another weird one.  I guess the question is, what happens when you mix Playmates, crazy character designs, and fun gameplay?  Did you answer "Earthworm Jim?"  Because that's exactly what you'd get.

On the other hand, what happens when you mix Playmates, claymation, boring dumb character designs that were seemingly ripped straight from Warhammer 40K (I think Mutant Chronicles is another tabletop game, but don't hold me to that), and fleetingly-fun-but-often-mediocre-gameplay?  Well, I suppose you'd get something like Doom Troopers, a weird little title that seemed like it was trying to cash in on the success of the eponymous Doom, with cover art meant to confuse any of the old ladies that were out doing Christmas shopping for their grandchildren.

As far as the gameplay here goes, think Contra.  And then forget it, because DT isn't really fit to hold that game's jock.  Instead, think of something a little less inspired, a little clunkier, a little gorier, and a little sillier.  And not nearly as fun.  Because that's what we have here.

Now if everything I just said sounds like I'm roasting this game, know that I'm only roasting how uninspired it all is.  Because this isn't actually a bad game, at all.  It's not a particularly great one either, but it can be a fun time.  As long as expectations are tempered going in.  Mostly because running and gunning is something that's hard to get wrong, especially when your enemies' heads have a tendency to pop off or explode in a mass of blood.  And the grotesque bosses are fun to exploderize. 

And I don't really feel like I need to write a whole lot more, as you should know exactly what's up with this one.  There were tons of Contra clones on the NES, and this is basically just the next generation of one of those. 

Is Doom Troopers gonna give The Alien Wars or Super Turrican 2 a run for their money?  Hell no.  Is it notably derivative as Timeslip?  No.  Is it as 90s radical as Realm?  No. 

But it's okay.

Did I beat it?
Yes, however many years back.


Writing about every SNES game - Volume VIII (#400-351) - Migrating to as we speak
SNES Set - 716/723 (Casper)
Switch: SW-6880-6470-3131

Edited: 09/28/2019 at 03:19 PM by Brock Landers

Sep 14 at 5:39:25 PM
Brock Landers (61)
< Wiz's Mom >
Posts: 11664 - Joined: 05/04/2014
Federated States of Micronesia
375 - The Mask

Another platformer, once again licensed from a hit movie, this time released late in the system's life.  This time it appears it was brought to us by... *scans box art*... I dunno.  Whoever Black Pearl's handlers were.  In any case, I loved this stupid ass movie - and all of Jim Carrey's library - when I was a kid, but time has slowly soured most of those opinions.  So should it be any wonder that my initial expectations for this game were somewhere between "low" and "abysmally low?"

Yet, somehow, someway, this game is not too shabby.  Fun even.  Who'da guessed?  The graphics are nice, the animation's well done, the controls are completely and utterly rock solid (cue me fainting from shock on that one), and the challenge stays consistently fair.  Before I sat down and played this thing, I would have bet anything that several of those criteria would have gotten failing grades.  So you can imagine my surprise when I found a game that not only checked all the right boxes, but managed to hold my attention long enough to warrant an entire playthrough while I was at it.

Now I should probably slow down here, because none of that should read as glowing praise.  It's not, and this is not a great game.  Mostly, I'm lavishing the game for being so much better than it had any right to be.  While it may be much better than similar brethren like Beavis & Butthead or Aaahhh Real Monsters!, it's still a strictly "above-average" affair overall.  And while it gets many things right, it flounders quite a bit in more than a few other areas.  Level design, for one, could have been more inspired.  The movie had some great setpieces, many of which could have been milked for some "outside the box" levels.  Instead, what you get is the usual maze-like stuff where you wander through random apartment buildings and city streets, where you go around searching for doors, cracked walls, teleports, and all the other usual stuff, hoping to find the level exit.  None of them are worth remembering.

The boss fights are also a giant letdown.  Every single one of them is a massive damage sponge (though to be fair, so is your character), with many of them requiring a beatdown via brute force as opposed to anything resembling finesse.  Dorian, the final boss, is a particularly egragious example of this.

So chalk this one up as something of a pleasant surprise, even if it never reaches any exceedingly lofty heights.  Once again it's not something I'd ever be especially quick to recommend - there's still hundreds of other better games that would get that honor - but I wouldn't bat an eye at someone trying to claim it as a sleeper hit or hidden gem.  And I know people hate those terms, overused as they are, and I myself will be pulling them out more and more here in a bit, but that's the simple truth.  

Did I beat it?
Yes, quite a few years ago now.

374 - Harley's Humongous Adventure

Hi Tech Expressions?  Good god, when's the last time I covered something from these assholes?  Like four installments ago, right?  *checks internet*  Okay, they put out the Carmen Sandiego games that I just wrote about.  I guess I forgot about that, and I guess that means HTE can't be all that bad... but it's still a pretty sad sign when an entire publishing outfit could barely muster a presence in the middling ranks of the Super Nintendo library.  Still, we're deep into volume eight now, approaching the halfway point, and they've popped back up with this unabashedly fun entry.  I guess even a broken clock is right twice a day.

First off, just going off some hazy memory of something I once read, I'm gonna say that this game is from the dude(s) who brought us Claymates and Lester the Unlikely.  In other words, one game I haven't covered yet (which must mean I think it's pretty okay), and another that I had fun with, despite it's AVGN-induced reputation.  All three games share the goofy art style (in this case, originated from clay models) and silly-looking characters.  

The storyline is about... I dunno really.  Lester shrinks himself for some reason (presumably a case of being a giant dumbass), and then has to get big again.  You'll have to excuse me, because it was years ago that I played through this, and that's roughly the same time that I started this review.  So there's gonna be a few lapses in memory.  In any case, tiny Harley has to work his way back to his lab by navigating through the other sections of his house, including the front yard and the roof.  Think Honey, I Shrunk the Kids but with a lot more slaughter of insects, demons, and troll monsters.

Gameplay is very, very conventional.  Run, jump, shoot, collect things, and so forth; you know the deal.  But it's all very solidly done.  The controls are tight and responsive, with a decently sized moveset available.  The levels are nicely designed, often pushing you to explore, while never feeling overly byzantine.  The graphics and animation are colorful and fun, especially the large bosses, where the clay models especially shine.  And most important of all, the game's just plain fun to play.  Frustration is always kept to a minimum.

Of course I can't hold a game this far back in the rankings if I don't have some holdups with it, and Harley is no exception.  And the biggest thing holding it back I think, is that it doesn't do any one thing to set it apart from the billions of other similar platformers.  Everything is competently done, but there's no "wow" factor.  The bosses look cool, but the actual fights themselves are fairly pedestrian.  And the entire experience is brief enough that it's basically over before you know it.  These aren't uncommon problems in this genre, but they're the sort of things that separate the fun games from the great games.

So there you have it.  A fun game, a well-made game, but not necessarily an exciting one.  I was never compelled to come back to it, or feel especially moved to recommend it to others.  It's merely a pleasant experience, soon forgotten, and lost in the shadows of the hundreds of better games on the system.

Did I beat it?
Yes, I popped it in on the strength of an interview Mr. RVGFanatic did with its main developer.

373 - War 3010

Here's another one I wrestled with as far as deciding on a final ranking goes.  War 3010 is one of the few traditional turn-based strategy games (I'd call Koei games a whole different animal) that I enjoyed from beginning to end; full of tense missions, tightly balanced battles, and surprisingly deep gameplay.  But it's also a rather roughshod experience, full of gaping weaknesses and missed opportunities.  Something that could have been just as good as the Famicom (Advance) Wars series, but unfortunately falls short in a couple key ways.

This is also a sequel to another little-known game on the SNES called War 2410.  No relation to a series of PC games that came out a few years later as far as I know.  And while its predecessor focused on land campaigns, and pitting mechanized troops and tanks against each other across a series of alien landscapes, War 3010 takes place in space.

Now obviously I have not covered War 2410 yet, which clearly means I think that its sequel is the inferior game.  And the reason for that boils down to one simple fact; I HATE that the units in War 3010 are represented by abstract little shapes instead of pixel art.  Granted, I could understand how it would be difficult to make a small 20x20 pixel bomber look different from a fighter or a transport or a heavy fighter, but the solution they came up with is not good enough.  At all.  I'm not exaggerating when I say I spent half of my playthrough of this game trying to remember which shapes were which units, something that is not helped by the fact that many are nearly identical.  And not in any sort of consistent manner either.

Aside from that (major) shortcoming, I enjoy most other aspects of the game.  It seems very simple at first glance; generally there is very little to do other than maneuver the units provided at mission's start.  Occasionally you'll come across bases where you can build a limited number of additional units, and sometimes you can discover new technologies, but neither thing happens especially frequently.  The true meat of the game lies in the tactics of the combat though.  Trying to defeat an overwhelming enemy force with limited resources.  Some of my favorite games of all time use this model, and I think it shines through wonderfully when done well.  See almost any Advance Wars game and you'll know what I'm talking about.  And while I think War 3010 gets close to tapping into this strategy promised land, it never does quite get there.  The action is fun, but never tremendously so.

The game is also TOUGH.  As in bash your head against the wall until you figure out a solution tough.  And that's not necessarily a bad thing as it did help give the game some legs for my playthrough.  And it does almost adds a element of puzzle solving to the gameplay.  "How are you going to escort these weak ships across this system when the enemy outnumbers you four-to-one?"  "How can you take this base in just a few turns?"  If you're into that sort of thing, this game can offer you a lot.

So yeah, like I said, I rather enjoyed this one, but I don't think I could ever call it a great game.  I probably can't even call it good without qualifying that statement in some way.  Because the fun I had with it aside, it can't stack up against the depth of many of the Koei titles the SNES got.  And I did enjoy War 2410 more.  And no one would ever, EVER mistake this thing for an Advance Wars title.

Did I beat it?
Yes, back-to-back with its prequel.

372 - Wing Commander

371 - Wing Commander: The Secret Missions

I consider myself pretty well educated on video games.  Like... 99.9 percentile in the general population, and probably somewhere between 90-99 when surrounded by fellow nerds.  What do I mean by that?  As in, what exactly does "educated" even mean in this context?  Well, I guess I'm saying that I'm extremely familiar with gaming's culture and history, earned through thousands upon thousands of hours playing, reading, writing about the damn things.

So when I say that I'm not intimately familiar with the Wing Commander franchise, that's only telling part of the story.  Mostly, that (until now) I had never actually played one.  Any of them.  On any system.  But that doesn't mean I wasn't very "familiar" with the "idea" of WC.  You see, I have read dozens upon dozens of articles and reviews on every game in the series.  I remember reading about the tie-in movie being trapped in preproduction hell, and the way it finally showed up, with a limp, and then disappeared forever, banished to the $4.99 DVDs bins in K-Mart.  I remember when Chris Taylor Roberts left Origin to found Digital Anvil studios, and the massively hyped (and completely unrealistic sounding) Freelancer.  I remember when it finally came out years later too, barely registering a ripple in the market.  I remember staring at the PS1 copy of Wing Commander III in my local rental store, finally understanding what had happened to Mark Hamill and why he never seemed to star in movies anymore.  And finally, I remember learning that two of the games (well, one game and a mission pack) got ported to the Super Nintendo.  I had grown leery of PC ports after the disappointment that was Mechwarrior, but I was still intrigued.  Could a story-based space flight combat simulation work on a 16-bit console?

And the answer is "mostly."

I'm not gonna bore us with too many details here, but those of you who did not grow up with gaming PCs in the early '90s, Wing Commander is a heavily cinematic soap opera sci fi flight combat simulator franchise.  You're a new recruit pilot who needs to unravel a mystery stop a war win a war do something or other (I forget what exactly, it's been quite a few months now).  The series was a smash hit, and spawned numerous sequels, and that ill-fated movie I mentioned up above.  And those games I would say are mostly known for two big things:

- Awesome production values, and a heavily "cinematic" feel to the atmosphere.  There is a running storyline with a ton of characters, lots of cutscenes and things to keep track of.  The very things that made this series famous in the first place.
- A campaign that branches after each "area."  In other words, depending on what happens during each mission, or who gets killed, you will start heading towards one of two different conclusions for each chapter of the game, thus affecting what future missions you see, and ultimately what ending you will receive.

Both things were vastly ahead of their time, and help give the game legs even to this day.  I don't know how many hours it would take to see every mission in this game, but trust me, it would be a long ass time...

(each one of those is a series of missions)

...and yeah, the gameplay itself isn't too shabby, with solid controls, sharp graphics, interesting missions, and more than enough challenge, etc. etc.  The point is, if you've ever been curious about the series, or you enjoyed stuff like WarpSpeed but just wish it had a little more meat to its bones, you could do much worse than check this out.  It's not the same thing as playing it with a joystick on your old Super VGA-compatible PC, but it's not a bad alternative.  And if you get through the entire thing and find yourself wanting more, get the expansion/mission pack follow-up.

Did I beat Wing Commander?
Nope.  I've gotten through a decent number of missions, but never got around to finishing the thing off.  Perhaps when I'm done with this project and have the bandwidth to return to games in my rearview mirror I'll make this one a priority. 

Did I beat Wing Commander: The Secret Missions?
Also nope.  That would only happen after I beat the first game.

370 - Wordtris

Wordtris.  The game where you play as a circus performer who must use the power of comedy - and spelling - to help imprisoned children learn to laugh again.  Very ahead of its time, the game has some laughs, some tears, and teaches some valuable life lessons.  And then at the end everyone dies in the gas chambers.  It's very tragic.

Wait, that was that Jerry Lewis clown gestapo movie.  Obviously this clown game is one of the millions of variations of Tetris... but with letters.  And a circus motif for some reason.  I think.  I have to be honest and admit that it's been a long while since I played this one, and laziness has prevented me from going back and refreshing my memory of its mechanics.  Sometimes I can get away with that, but I don't think it's gonna work here because I'm drawing a blank as to how exactly the game works in practice.

*a short while later*

Okay, so that title is kind of a misnomer.  It's not so much "Tetris with Letters" as it is... what's the game where it's kinda like Tetris but not?  You know what I mean?  Some other game in the Tetris-verse?  Fuck I don't know.  The only thing that matters is that it's a puzzler where you get letters instead of shapes or colors, and you have to use them to spell out words.  You do that by dropping them one at a time into nine different columns, trying to spell out different words horizontally or vertically (but not diagonally).  As words are cleared out the letters in your columns shift back up.  That's the best I can explain it.

And it gets real hard, real fast.  Mostly because this game is real stingy with the vowels - most likely by design since it would be too easy if every other letter was an e - and the speed cranks up as soon as the third or fourth level.  Unless you're some sort of spelling savant who can quickly figure out where your best odds at placing a C, a W, and B are, you're gonna struggle to make much progress here.  I know I did (at first).  Still, struggles aside I had to admit I've had a good time with the game each and every occasion I've sat down with it.

So if you're the sort of person that enjoys a game of Scrabble (or Words with Friends to you millennials) or Boggle, this is the perfect puzzle game on the Super Nintendo for you.  Mileage will most likely vary for everyone else.

Did I beat it?
No.  I never quite got to letter J (the level).  Either I'm too stupid dumb, or this game is hard.  Probably both.
Yes, I figured out you can exploit the pause button to study your potential moves.  Take that Wordtris!  

369 - 3 Ninjas Kick Back

Remember 3 Ninjas?  It was one of those ultra silly ninja movies that came out in the wake of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles phenomenon.  This one was about three young boys who - under the tuteledge of their grandfather Victor Wong - train in the ways of the ninja in order to... I dunno, defeat some bad guys or something.  Leslie Nielson might have been involved (or was that Surf Ninjas?).  It's been over twenty five years since I've seen it so all I really remember is the scene where the one kid is dunking a basketball somehow.  Anyways, apparently the movie was successful enough to warrant a bunch of sequels that no one watched, and since the cover art doesn't boast Hulk Hogan I'm gonna assume this thing is adapted from the second film.

The plot, if there is one, is totally incomprehensible.  Something about the Breakin' reject in the first screenshot trying to get some corporate guys to get something mystical from Egg Shen Grandpa Wong.  Later on there are gigantic nurses and sumo wrestlers involved for some reason.  I'm sure it makes sense within the context of the movie, but I never saw it, and the wikipedia summary is one of the most baffling things I've ever read.

Gameplay is better than you'd think it would be.  Or at least it is after the game gets off to something of a rough start.  The first couple levels are basically micro levels.  I'm not joking when I say they're roughly ten or twenty seconds long apiece.  Hell, right off the bat you're getting ganked by giant boulders and teleporting enemies with ranged attacks.  This would be a horrid introduction to any game, and I'm not sure what Sony were thinking here.  

Eventually you'll figure out what you're doing, figure out the game's tics, and settle into a groove.  And this is where the game gets pretty fun, as you move through challenging (but never unfair) levels that mix up the action, platforming, and simple puzzle-solving.  The second half of the game can get pretty hard, but never to the point where you're gonna want to throw your controller or anything.

All in all I think 3NKB is something of a minor success.  It is better than most of the movie games on the system, and it is certainly better than it had any right to be.  If you can get past the sloppily-put together introduction, and stick with it, the game will open up to you and provide some good times.

Did I beat it?
Yes, it took some persistent effort but I cracked it late one night.

368 - World Heroes 2

Jesus, another fighter.  How many times can I reiterate the same exact few things?  Because it feels like I've done it at least twenty times already.  Here we go anyways..

What we have here is a commendable improvement over the first World Heroes.  While it seems like that game is somewhat beloved by the retro community, I find it to be a mostly generic Street Fighter II ripoff.  Not that they're not all Street Fighter II ripoffs.  But at least this time around we have a slightly less generic Street Fighter II ripoff that even I will admit is put together rather well, and provides some honest-to-goodness fun times.  For a fighting game at least.

The roster has now been expanded to fourteen different combatants, including holdovers from the first WH such as Hanzo Hattori, the SS war criminal, and Rasputin.  Joining them are new fighters including Captain Kidd, Erik the Viking, and Joe...uh, Montana.  I guess that's barely worse than the inclusion of Hulk Hogan.  Barely.

The fighting, the only thing that really matters, is crisp and responsive for the most part.  That's something I can pretty much say about every fighter in this installment, as I think this group really represents the genre well, technically.  They may be low on inspiration, but they get the mechanics right for the most part.  The fighters in the last two installments were all held back by some shortcoming or other, but I can't really say that's the case with any of these guys.

The graphics and animations too, are all nice.  In fact I would say this game has some of the best background stage art design of any fighter on the system.

The music on the other hand, is not so great, but I only say that because I have to hold everything up to SFII, especially as I get closer and closer to it.  And SFII has a bitchin' soundtrack.

And much like is gonna be the case with Power Instinct (which is coming up here shortly), part of me just has to love the inherent silliness in this game.  I mean, where else are you gonna get a pirate attacking the "Super Shredder" version of Joe Montana with a great white shark?  Nowhere, so I'm in.

So yeah, another pretty good fighter, in an installment full of pretty good fighters.  You could almost swap the order I put all of them in and it wouldn't make a difference.  If you have fun with one of them you'll have fun with the rest.

Did I beat it?
Yeah, my buddy Hanzo led me to victory once again.  

367 - Aero the Acro-Bat 2

As you no doubt remember, Aero the Acro-bat was one of the billions of mascot-ready rodent platformers that came out in Sonic's wake.  Like was usually the case, it meshed together a dumb gimmick (he's a circus performer!) with cartoony graphics, hop-and-bop action, and a generic quest full of boring levels, iffy controls, and forgettable characters.  Not super notable in other words.

Aero the Acro-bat 2 actually does its best to remedy most of those things.  The controls are significantly better, with miles more responsiveness, and an overall scheme that makes loads more sense.  The levels are also much more interesting, content to abandon the circus theme that - while good intentioned - did not really serve to keep the first game interesting.  And I feel like the graphics and animation have a bit more charm and polish to them.  The first game felt so lifeless that they really needed to do something to keep things from getting boring, and I think AtA2 succeeds in doing this for the most part.

That all being said, the best I can say for AtA2 is that all of these various fixes and finetunings that helped turn something broken into something much more playable, have nonetheless still left us with a platformer, in a sea of platformers.  It is, after all, still just a circus bat jumping around empty castles attacking other rodents, hunting down doodads and fighting occasional bosses.  What they did was good enough to put this among the better of the Sonic copycats, but still leaves us miles away from the platform's elites.

So, if you liked Aero the Acro-Bat... then you're a crazy person, and you should give up video games (I kid, I kid).  But if you wanted to like it, and couldn't, try this one out.  It at least takes that stupid idea and puts actual functioning gameplay behind it.  And you'll be set up for the final (and vastly superior) installment in the series...

Did I beat it?
No, it's somewhere on my to-do list, but I haven't gotten around to finishing my half-completed run.

366 - Super Scope 6

Dedicated Super Scope game number two, with, let's say... four to go.  They get better, I promise.

Super Scope 6 was a pack-in game that haunts every single one of those SNES lots you see on eBay.  Tens of thousands of copies, orphaned without the sibling piece of plastic they were sold with, doomed to be forever resold as box filler, again and again and again...

Anyways, what exactly is this worthless brick that keeps passing through your hands?  Besides the owner of the laziest cover art in the history of video games.  Well, as the title implies, it's a collection of mini games, all designed to show off that toy bazooka that crashed the Christmas of millions of unfortunate children back in 1992.

Shooting those mole things from 'Super Mario World' - Like Whack-A-Mole, but even more violent.  

Shooting down missiles that are trying to blow your face up - So hard that I refuse to believe anyone has ever beat this without suffering permanent spine damage from hoisting The Scope for hours on end.

Shooting Tetris...stuff - Ever play a puzzle game and wish you could use a ten pound light gun instead of a controller?  No?  Well this game has you covered anyways!

"But Brock, that's only three games.  This is Super Scope Six."  Yeah, they're cheating a bit here, and using slight variations of the above three modes to get to that magic total of six.  Sly bastards.

Anyways, it's not bad, and it all has that typical Nintendo polish that you'd expect.  But it still seemed pretty lifeless and forgettable, like Nintendo was pretty much just phoning it in.  And I'd much rather play any of the other SS titles that I will be getting to in future reviews.

Did I beat it?
Umm..... if I did I used the mouse.  So, one way or another, the answer is "no."

365 - Super Soccer Champ


If you had to name one good "arcade" title on the Super Nintendo for each of the major sports, what do you think you could come up with?  Most people would probably immediately rattle off NBA Jam and Tecmo Super Bowl.  A few might even name Super Baseball 2020 or Hit the Ice.  But what of soccer?  Mega Man Soccer is no doubt the first game that comes to most people's minds, but that game kind of sucks and makes for a poor representative of the sport.  My own personal choice might be Super Soccer Champ, brought to us from SNK via Taito.  Undoubtedly based off of some old arcade cabinet that used to haunt the world's pizza parlors.

Similar to the recently covered Head On Soccer, SSC is one hell of a fast-paced game.  Hell, torridly paced may be a better way of putting it.  For me, strategy mainly consisted of making a beeline for the goal, juking the defenders, and letting rip on the goalie.  And if the opponent gets possession of the ball I dive for their ankles repeatedly until I get it back.  Rinse and repeat.  It's that simple, and it's consistently fun.

Graphics are decent, though obviously a step down from the SNK arcade game it's based on, which should always go without saying.  I wish the animation was a little more detailed, but that's not usually a major concern for me with sports titles.  As long as the controls are tight, and the gameplay satisfying, everything else is just a bonus.

While I did have fun with the game, the simplistic arcade gameplay can start to wear a bit thin after extended playtime.  Once you learn the most effective tactics, start to outsmart the AI, and score roughly a million goals, there isn't really much of anything else to get out of it.  I played through it a while ago, and had a good time, but my second playthrough for the purposes of this review turned into a bit of a slog as I kept going through the same motions, again and again.  So while I still think it is one of the better soccer titles on the SNES, the lack of true depth does hold it back from competing with the top-tier games.

Did I beat it?
Yes, most likely with Brazil or Italy.  I forget who exactly.

364 - The Combatribes

The Combatribes is a game of surprising emotional heft.  Instead of tasking you with something as simple as rescuing your kidnapped girlfriend from your estranged brother, or rescuing the kidnapped mayor's daughter from an evil street gang, the game offers a much deeper plot.  Here, you play the part of three blood brothers caught between the lives they want to lead, the dying wishes of their foster mother, and the legacy of their dead father.  That man, Chief Tuck, hoped for them to follow his unrealized dream of becoming a professional roller hockey player.  An evil gang had ruined that dream by injuring him during a game early in his career, before disappearing themselves, unseen for decades. Now a chance series of events leads to the stunning revelation that dad might not be so dead after all...

In the end you must choose between the life of your father, the life of your mother, or the life of your brothers.  It's basically the Sophie's Choice of video games, but in reverse.  Heavy stuff.

Yeah I'm fucking with you.  Again.  Combatribes is about three muscley dudes bashing in people's skulls because some robot lady wants to rule the city or something.  There's no plotline.

Gameplay is simple to describe.  Simple even for a brawler.   You punch, you kick, and you occasionally grab onto enemies to either pound their face in, or throw them at their compadres.  The levels are even simpler.  You enter an area, fight a few thugs in that area, and then a boss appears.  Then you move on to the next area where another group of enemies appears, followed by another boss.  After a couple of those you move on to the final level which acts as a boss rush of sorts, and then you beat the game.  All in all it's somewhere between 20-30 minutes long.

Okay, so it's a brawler, you didn't expect a plot, and you expected simple, if not shallow, gameplay.  The only thing that really matters is "how does it play?"  And the answer to that is "pretty good."  Better than it could have been, not nearly as great as it should have been.  Bashing guys' skulls in is satisfying, but gets a bit old.  And the tempo of the action is a bit off.  Enemies are constantly getting cheap little hits in, which is balanced by your dude being able to withstand about a billion hits.  But that also prevents you from ever getting into a good rythym.

Anyways, all in all I was initially disappointed with the game, expecting something that could stand up alongside the genre's best.  Then I was frustrated as I ran into the game's cheapest boss.  Then I had fun again as I figured out the game's flow and cruised through it.  Then I had fun again when I revisted it for polishing up this review.  So I still think it's a pretty fun game, that could have been better.

[I just realized that of the three fake stories I made up for games in this thread, two of them were based off of Holocaust dramas.  That was not an intentional move on my part, but apparently my brain likes to keep going back to the same well of absurdity]

[...and I didn't actually make up the third fake story.  It was the plotline of 'Prince of Thorns']

id I beat it?
Yes, it's a tough one, but I managed to scrape a victory out.

363 - Super Chase H.Q.

Eh... I'm sure I could write up all sorts of stuff about this game.  Could, but can't, because I played through it years ago and I cannot for the life of me figure out where my cart is...  seriously, 715 Super Nintendo carts piled up and this is the only one that is MIA?  Did one of the people who was being shown our house steal my copy of Super Chase H.Q.?  Seems pretty unlikely; why would anyone in the history of the world want one?  I mean even if some retro game collector did happen to be in here, I accidently left Mr. Nutz out in plain sight too, and that one's worth a hell of a lot more.  Hell, even the Donkey Kong Country cart would have been more tempting.

Anyways, I'm gonna have to work with the outline I started a couple years ago, and the rest is gonna have to be going entirely off of my memory here, so take some of these fine details with a grain of salt...

Super Chase H.Q. - presumably the follow-up to some game called Chase H.Q. - is an arcade car chasing racing combat thing where you are some sort of police type of guy whose job is ramming his car into criminals over and over again until someone is totaled, and before he gets shot or rocketed in the face by anything else that happens to be driving or flying by.  It's a pretty okay time.  Bashing into other cars is fun.  Swerving around erratically to avoid enemy bullets and missiles can be intense.  It's Taito, they generally were pretty good at putting these things together.

But the flaws at work here... god are they numerous and annoying.  Like the complete vision for this game was still one iteration (or maybe one sequel) away from being realized.

Chief complaints?  There's basically no gameplay "balance" at work here, no functional difficulty curve to ease you into the action.  Each level basically comes down to one of two results.  Either you beat it and lose a life, or you work hard to master it so that you don't lose that one life, and therefore have a better chance at getting further into the game.  It's always that binary.

There's also a pretty big lack of depth here.  Hit car with car, avoid projectiles.  That's it.  And that can be fine in short bursts, but when you're playing the game, trying to get better and better, it can start to wear real thin, real fast.

Still... it is fun.  This is Taito we're talking about after all, one of the few companies on this system that has a near sparkling resume as far as I'm concerned.  And bashing into shit is a good time, hence the prolonged success of the Burnout series.

So yeah, fun game, exciting game (at least for the first playthrough), but a disappointing game.  I'd call it a "Car chasing, criminal busting, helicopter-for-some-reason-attacking-me-and-then-getting-shot-down-somehow'ing" experience that manages to be less than the sum of its parts, that isn't nearly as fun as it should have been, but still provides a decent enough time as long as you can look past its many flaws.

Did I beat it?
Yes, after half a dozen tries or so.

362 - Fighter's History

I have to be honest, a part of me is counting down the remaining fighting games.  Sports games aside, they are turning into the hardest ones to write about, mostly because there is only so many ways to spin a review that covers the same exact storylines, the same mechanics, and the same looking graphics, without it turning into a total bore for both you to read and me to write. 

Well, I guess I'm also counting them down because I don't really want to spend a ton of time with most of them.  In general, I just want to speed through them, only occasionally coming back when I need to refresh myself on some of the finer details, so that I can bang out the reviews, and move on.  And while the numerous fighters I'm covering in this installment are all pretty good little games, that deserve any fighting fan's attention, all of those things still ring true.  I just want to get through them so that I can get back to whatever RPG or Koei game I'm currently banging out.

So what's there to say still that you might want to actually hear and that I want to say?  Graphics?  Street fighter IIish, with some nice animation.  Even the backgrounds of the stages are animated in the exact same manner of SFII.  Controls?  Nice and responsive; hence this thing being ranked higher than the likes of Fatal Fury.  The pace of play is a bit slower than I'd like on the default difficulty, but there is a slider so it's not much of a complaint.  Character roster?  Super generic.  There's no dinosaurs or Schutzstaffel here.  Just a bunch of Zangief and Ryu wannabes.  Depth?  No idea, ask someone who plays fighters competitively.  I just know it feels like Street Fighter II in this regard as well.

So there you go.  The most Street Fightery Street Fighter ripoff this side of Fighting Street [Fighting Street is Street Fighter - editor].  It checks all the boxes, hits all the notes, but comes up with diddly squat for inspiration or creativity.  Call it a love letter, call it a well done homage, or call it plagiarism.  Just know it's better than most other fighters.

...also, this game?  Totally this:

Did I beat it?
Yes, a couple different times throughout the years.  Including tonight.  Tonight being whenever I wrote this.

361 - Stunt Race FX

A couple of installments ago I wrote about reminiscing over how I used to borrow different SNES games from my neighbors, and that it didn't really matter if those games were any good, much less great.  What mattered was that I had new games to sink my teeth into, something I could never get enough of.  You see, when you're a kid with all the time and patience in the world you will happily memorize every single map of a game like Super Battletank, or study the physics of Side Pocket down to a tee.  It didn't matter if the games weren't that great, you just wanted to play stuff.  Stunt Race FX is one of those games that I borrowed, and - for lack of better things to do - it's one of the mediocre games that I spent hours upon hours fully mastering.  Did I enjoy that time with the game?  Sure, I knew it wasn't the second coming of Super Mario Kart, but I still had a blast playing through every mode and track.  I even convinced a friend to turn the versus mode into a deathmatch of sorts.

Coming back to the game decades later I could quickly see that it wasn't a particularly great game, and I knew that I had little to no interest in spending as much time with it as I once did.  But I did enjoy the time I gave it.  I even played through most of the main campaign again over the course of an evening.  I didn't finish it off, mostly because I don't have the patience I did as a 10 year old, especially for games I've already "checked off the list."  But it was a fun and nostalgic night all the same.

So, if you want a racing game that has the typical Nintendo polish, and you've already exhausted the likes of F-Zero and Super Mario Kart, you could do worse than Stunt Race FX.  Yeah, the controls and frame rate are okayish at best, the graphics are not exactly pretty nowadays, there isn't much in the way of charm or personality to anything, and the franchise disappeared without a trace afterwards for very good reasons.  But the gameplay still stands up well enough, and the tracks are fun for a spin or two for the most part.

Did I beat it?
Yes, a number of times many years ago.

360 - Power Instinct

...or as I call it, "Grandma fighter."  Or maybe "Too Many Grandmas" [Simpsons did it - editor].  No seriously, this is a game where you get to kick old grannies in the face.  And they deserve it too, because they are some merciless damn crones.

So when I was doing my usual prep work for this whole thread - mostly sorting out what games were gonna be finalized in what spots - I spent a number of nights replaying World Heroes 2, and Fighter's History, and Power Instinct.  All in the name of trying to convince myself that I preferred one over the others.  In the end I basically got nowhere.  All three games play similarly enough, and I'm not a serious enough fighter enthusiast to really be able to dissect them in any sort of deep manner.  So I ended up just kind of going with an order that rewarded PI for being the most outlandish (in my opinion).  Because, really, you could shuffle all three up in my rankings and it would be just about as accurate.

A few notable things I should mention:
Life Battle - An extra mode where you take on a gauntlet of foes on one life.  It's a cool idea, but the foes are rendered so incompetent here that it's almost not even worth playing.  Check it out as a curiosity, and never then touch it again.

"Extra" areas - These are found on the side of every stage, and can be opened up by knocking your opponent into the barriers that separate them.  What purpose does this serve?  None.  Seriously, I have no idea why they even bothered.

That cover art - What in the hell were they thinking?  Was the artist facing down his deadline at the 11th hour, and cribbed from the nearest thing he had available; a copy of Power Moves?  Because that is the only explanation for why they didn't use the cart artwork

So yeah, that finishes up the "good" fighters.  Next installment will start to wind through the "good-to-very-good" ones.  I don't know how many total there are left, but I feel like I must be at least halfway through them at this point.

Did I beat it?
Yes, I'm pretty sure there were unlimited continues, so even fighting halfwits like myself can push through.

359 - Legend

Knights of the Round, but without the good stuff.

Okay, now how many times have I made this exact same joke?  Twice at least?  I promise this is the last time, and that I'll come up with some fresh material.

Legend is indeed something of a poor man's Knights of the Round though.  While imitation is often the sincerest form of flattery, in the process Seika seems to have lost the latter's fiendishly challenging, yet still fair, difficulty, the extremely deep (for the genre) combat system, the ridiculously awesome-looking bosses, and the cool, if superficial, upgrade system.  What does that leave us with?  I guess the "legend" of a guy who slowly swings a sword, fights off endless generic bandits, and defeats larger generic boss bandits, while still offering up a fun little mid-tier brawler.

First off, I want to get through the usual nitpicks and/or grievances.  Just to get them all out of the way in a laundry list of sorts: 
- The game is quite repetitive.  Brawlers usually are, but this one piles it on extra heavy. 
- It's also pretty dang long, which goes hand-in-hand with my first complaint.  Not that brawlers can't be a few hours long, but you better have gameplay that can stand up to that sort of prolonged exposure.  I'm not so sure that Legend does.  The Tick is probably the only longer one on the system.
- Slow, "deliberate" attacks.  This sort of system can work.  But here it feels a tad too sluggish.
- Tricky bosses.  Some of these fuckers can go f themselves in the a.
- You auto-pick-up any items you walk over.  This is bad, bad, bad.

Now the good stuff:
- The game looks great.
- Deliberate sluggishness aside, the controls are pretty solid.
- It's legitimately fun.  I know I'm kind of a beat 'em up apologist, but hitting dudes with swords or jumping into their face with a boot is usually satisfying, and Legend passes with good marks here.
- There's co-op.  That should be standard for brawlers, but too many of them skipped out on it.

So while Legend did not end up being as good as I had hoped (when I first started putting this thing together--a decade ago--I had anticipated this being a potential "top 200" game), I do still like it.  And I had fun returning to it for this write-up.  Yeah, it goes on too long, and yeah, it doesn't have any of the showstopping levels or bosses that you see in the great titles, but most people will have a good time with it.

Did I beat it?
I.... umm... shit, did I?  I don't know, I've finally gotten to the point where I'm starting to lose track of stuff.  Thank God for backloggery.  So the answer to that is... *checks real fast*... sortof.  I guess I beat it on easy because the game tricked me by making that the default difficulty.  Goddammit.

358 - Rocky Rodent

Is this the first appearance from irem?  If so that's impressive, as even the likes of Konami, Capcom, Enix, and Nintendo have had some piles of crap already written up by me.  Nevermind the fact that irem only put out like four games on the system, it's still a commendable feat.

(yes I know they put out GunForce, and yes its absence will make sense soon enough)

...oh wait, they did Street Combat.  So I guess they were just as shitty as everyone else in that regard.  Oh well...

Anyways, Rocky Rodent is one of the legions of Sonic wannabes that flooded every system under the sun in the early 90s, though this one is at least markedly better than most of them.  Why is it better?  Mostly because there's no emphasis on going super duper fast, a mechanic I fucking hate more than life itself.  Hell, if anything the default walking speed is slower than hell.  Something like that might normally have tested my patience, that is if games like Radical Rex hadn't mostly ruined going fast for me already.  No, instead the focus here is on combat.  Combat that is well done, with solid mechanics, nice variety, and a stiff but fair challenge.

The central idea the combat is built around?  Rocky's hair.  Yeah, instead of grabbing fire flowers, or guns, or yoyos or whatever, RR acquires different haircuts, which enable different types of attacks.  The mohawk grants you the ability to attack with it acting as a boomerang, the spikey "do" lets you stab anyone in front of you, the rattail lets you attack from long range and so on.  And weird gimmick or no, it works.  The different attacks all have their own strengths and weaknesses, making combat something to look forward to as opposed to something you dread and avoid at all costs.  It's a welcome change of pace for this style of game.

Beyond that, the game also offers a balls-ass bizarre storyline and the accompanying set of levels that goes with it.  I can't even begin to do it justice with this explanation, but basically the mafia has kidnapped some guy's daughter and because you have a large tab at his restaurant you decide to to chase the gangsters (and their VW van) across town and into the local chili factory and beyond in order to track her down and become debt free.  The American dream.

Aside from that, I don't really think the game has much in the way of glaring weaknesses.  Everything is done well enough.  Control is a bit looser than I'd like, but you get into a rhythm pretty quickly.  And there is an annoying little period after each sprint where momentum keeps you going forward, but you almost never need to actually use the run ability.  So I guess the game's biggest shortcoming is that it has the misfortune of being on a system with hundreds of other games that I also enjoy playing.  Most of them in ways that are superior than what's here.  So I guess now that we're over the halfway hump, I can unequivocally say that I like every game going forward, even if some of them absolutely drive me nuts.  Or if they are completely and utterly broken like GunForce is... but I'll get to that soon enough.

Did I beat it?
Almost, I've been near the end a number of times but haven't managed to bring it all together for an entire run.

357 - Doom

There are probably three games in the history of the medium that don't need to be explained to any gamer, past or present.  Well, any living gamer... that's over the age of 25.  Doom, the legendary shooter from id Software is one of those three games.  This thing was so huge, spawning millions of sequels, spinoffs, and ripoffs, alongside novelizations, a movie, and even a wonderful nonfiction book about the making of the game.

The earliest game "system" I had was an old PC that my dad brought home one day.  I don't know why, as he's never been much for any sort of computery nerd-dom, or has ever had any interest in playing games.  Of course I've always been into both of those things, so that machine beacame my shareware box.  Commander Keen, Duke Nukem, Mayor Stryker, Bio Menace; everything I could get my hands on.  Sure, I had a few other full-fledged retail games that my dad must have bought at some point, but mostly I just played the episode one demos that my grandfather gathered up on 5.25" floppies and mailed to us.  Wolfenstein 3D was one of those games, and one I was super psyched to try out after spotting it in one of Apogee's catalogs.  Except it didn't work.  I don't know why exactly, possibly because I've forgotten or possibly because it was beyond my dad's and my modest troubleshooting abilities, but it refused to boot up.  So I didn't get to play it.  At least, not until I found out it was successfully running on my father's work machine.  Why did he have Wolfenstein on his office PC?  Again, no idea.  Presumably because he loved his son and he knew it would make me happy.  So I played that sucker every chance I got, which was like twice.  But the game was burned into my brain.  It was so visceral and intense, a far cry from any of the other games I had played up until that point.  A fary cry from anything that even existed.

So a year or two later (it seemed like much longer, then again time seems to pass much slower when you're young) I discovered that W3D got a release for the Super Nintendo.  And lucky me, I had gotten a Super Nintendo for Christmas in 1993, my first game console.  Luckier still, I found out my local video store had a copy to rent.  I must have rented that mother at least four or five times.

Anyways, meandering story aside, Doom was Wolfenstein 3D on steroids.  And it took the world by storm.  I still maintain that the game hasn't aged a day, and plays just as wonderfully as always even now.  Call that a testament to the power of its design, and the sublime enemies, guns, levels, music, and tightly balanced challenge that still put most other games to shame. I actually remember plotting how I could acquire a Sega Genesis and 32X just so I could play it.  Possibly because I was just some fool kid, possibly because I wasn't aware of the Sega Saturn or Sony Playstation (or perhaps those didn't exist yet, it's hard to say when exactly all of these things happened).  Either way, Doom nearly convinced me that I needed one of the stupidest systems/peripherals in video game history.  That's how powerful a force it was. of course it goes without saying that the Super Nintendo got a version of it.  I'm not sure how or why, but it did, and if I remember Masters of Doom right, it was Carmack himself that coded it.  It also goes without saying that it runs and plays exactly like you'd think it would.  In short: horribly.

So, similar to the conundrum that SimCity 2000 presented me with, I have to gauge what I think about the worst version of one of history's best games.  After all, is it playable on SNES?  Yes.  Playable enough that I actually played through the whole thing as a kid?  Yes.  With no save support?  Yes.  Would I do it again?  Probably not.

So there you have it.  The worst version of one of video game's crown jewels.  I had no idea where to rank it right from the beginning, so I placed it at the halfway mark.  Years and years later, I still haven't come up with a convincing reason to move it.  If you're the sort of crazy person who has never played Doom, run, don't walk to your nearest video game depository and buy or download it.  But probably don't get this version of it.

Did I beat it?
Yes, once on the SNES, and a dozen times across other platforms.

356 - Realm

Look at those shades, and that floppy mullet.  We really were pretty stupid as a culture in the early '90s. 

Realm, from Titus, is one of those games that you've never heard of, that you don't know what to make of from the screenshots, and you probably gave up on ten minutes after popping the cart in.  And you shouldn't be blamed for any of those things; it's a silly little also-ran that tries to mix Contra and Duke Nukem, with a crushingly unfair difficulty, a silly looking main character, and highly derivative gameplay.  But none of those things means the game can't be pretty fun to play.

Controls are simple: jump, shoot, change weapons, and lock in place so that you can aim in any direction.  They're solid too, with nice responsiveness and platforming that is never too demanding.  Which is a good thing because the emphasis is and should be on combat.

The difficulty though... man is it relentless.  Even the early bosses (and minibosses) are total bullet sponges, soaking up hit after hit while slowly sapping away your health.  Which means the only way you're gonna progress is if you put in the time, learn the patterns, and slowly work your way through each area, bit by bit.  It's a brutal grind, that will reward only the most dedicated of players.  It's not Jim Power bad, but it's not too far off either.

The game also has a severe lack of checkpoints, forcing you to replay sections over and over again.  Which isn't to say that most of the levels are very long (at least the ones I was able to get to), but it does get rather old having to try and work your way back to a boss with health and ammo intact, again and again, just so you can take another crack at learning his patterns.

Punishing difficulty and derivativeness aside, it is fun though.  That seems to be the theme of this volume: games that don't have an original bone in their body, but partially succeed despite that.  Despite how many times the game kicked my ass I kept coming back to it again and again.  Partially because I wanted to be the first person on this site to conquer it, and partially because I had to admit I was having a good time.

In fact, looking at the run-and-gun shooter games on the system holistically, I can definitely say that Realm is in the top half of those titles.  But not by much.  And while I would say it is a better game in many respects than a couple of the ones coming up that I'll be covering in Volume IX (it'll make sense when we get there, trust me), it also has much less character than those games, and less... I dunno, ambition, I guess?

So if you're looking for a challenge, and you've already conquered Contra III, and you're not quite ready for the madness that is Jim Power, Realm might be the game for you.  Just don't expect anything amazing.  After all, only crazy people like me generally dig Titus games.

Did I beat it?
No, this game is balls hard.  Balls hard.

355 - Lagoon

Having just cleared the halfway point of this whole "ranking the entire SNES library" endeavor, it should be super obvious by now that I'm something of an RPG guy.  How obvious?  Well, 357 games in and so far I have only written about 6 RPGs.  Specifically, Lord of the Rings Volume One (just god awful), King Arthur and the Knights of Justice (physically painful to play), Super Ninja Boy (constantly annoying), Paladin's Quest (the most generic pastel proto-Harry Potter ever made), Tecmo Secret of the Stars (look at that cover art!), and Obitus (a game that every other person in the known universe hates).  Which, for those keeping counts, leaves roughly 37 more titles to go, depending on how strict you are with the definition of the genre.  In other words, I think 37 out of 43 Super Nintendo role playing games reside within the better half of the library.  Something I think most people agree with.  After all, there is a reason the Super Nintendo is still, to this day, celebrated for its contributions to the genre.  And that's not even considering the legions of stuff that never made it to the states.

Lagoon, though, is a game with which I have something of a love-hate relationship.  Well, "like-hate" maybe.  I mean, I am a HUGE sucker for action RPGs.  Swinging swords, exploring puzzle-filled dungeons, evading large bosses; I can never get enough of any of that crap.  Hell, I've played through six different Ys games, and that's despite the fact that I generally find that series to be fairly mediocre overall.  But I keep playing them anyways, because I can't seem to ever quit them.  Lagoon is the same way.

In fact the Ys comparison really is an apt one because - as you no doubt already know - the goofass in this game has a sword swing that suffers from some severe butter knife syndrome.  Is that a coincidence?  Were the developers at Kemco also huge fans of that other series?  Was this a popular thing to do in Japan in the late 80s to early 90s?  I don't know, but this game may as well be someone's love letter to Ys or Ys II.

It's not just combat either, because you will also be traveling through a series of dungeons, finding treasure, grinding experience, killing enemies via death by a thousand papercuts (literally), and then fighting hulking bosses.  If you have played any Ys game, you've played this.  Which isn't a terrible thing, because most people dig that series, shortcomings and all.

Of course many of those shortcomings are very, very annoying.  You probably know what I mean.  So prepare to fight bosses, die, lose your progress, trek back through the dungeon, fight them again, die, lose your progress again, grind levels, die, and so forth, over and over again until you finally break on through and move onwards. 

Also like in the Ys games (something I've said about fifty times so far in this review) there are a number of different abilities at your disposal in order to make questing easier.  Specifically, as you move through the game you will find four different magic staffs, and four different magic crystals.  When combined they will grant you different spells that do everything from send out homing attacks, heavy lightning bolts, or even screen-clearing nukes.  It's pretty cool, even if most of the combinations seem rather useless.  There's also different rings that you can equip to grant stat bonuses, some passive, and some that must be activated in order to grant larger temporary increases.  Again, rather cool.

So like I've already iterated a number of times; I'm an RPG guy.  They have to screw up pretty badly for me not to enjoy them.  Lagoon doesn't screw things up, but it does its best to push it.  I'd even say it puts a strain on the relationship between game and player.  But some part of me still enjoyed it anyways.

Did I beat it?
Yeah, I like to complete my RPGs.

354 - The Untouchables

Ocean finally breaks through with an enjoyable game.  In fact, they will actually have a few different games start to pop up over the next couple of installments.  Maybe there's hope yet for the likes of Acclaim, LJN, Mindscape, and all the other bottom feeders that polluted the lowest tiers of these rankings, because apparently even the most hopeless cases could occasionally show that they knew what they were (kind of) doing.

I didn't realize this at first, but The Untouchables video game is not based on the classic Brian De Palma movie.  Instead, it was trying to cash in on a short-lived TV show from the early '90s that I had never heard of.  You would think that the lack of Kevin Costner or Sean Connery on the cover art would have tipped me off.  No, instead I had to play the game for half a dozen hours before realizing that the Al Capone on the game over screen is William Sadler Forsythe and not Robert DeNiro.  I guess I can be pretty dense at times.  Plus you'd be excused for thinking this was a port of the NES game (which was based on the film), because the two games look and play almost identical.  In fact it seems Ocean merely dusted off the existing game and made the smallest of changes to fit the new adaptation.

Anyways, you probably don't care about any of that.  The only thing that matters is what the game plays like.  Well, it's what I'd best describe as a series of wildly different stages showcasing a bunch of different types of gameplay, thrown together willy-nilly style.  Similar to something like The Rocketeer or... uh, probably some more famous game... what's another game where all the levels are different from one another?  I'm sure it will come to me the instant I post this thing to the public.

Shooting gallery - Both the first and third levels, each of which play similar to games like Cabal or Wild Guns where you are trying to take down enemies or vehicles while ducking behind cover and racing over to grab dropped items.  The boss of the second level also switches over to this mode.

Sidescroller - The second level, you guide Elliot Ness and his tommy gun through some warehouses, blowing the hell out of everyone, and fighting several bosses equipped with miniguns.  Pretty sure they were taking a few liberties with the property with that last bit...

Overhead shooter - The fourth(?) level, this one plays out similar to something like Ikari Warriors, but in a more nonlinear style akin to a game like True Lies.  Here, you need to quickly move through a building and several basements freeing hostages.  This is probably the roughest of all segments, requiring the most practice to overcome.  Luckily, it's not too hard once you finally figure out where you need to go.

Final boss - The final showdown with Capone, this mimics something like Time Crisis (or perhaps I have that backwards, strangely enough).  You will pop in and out of cover, trading shots with Al across several different areas.  Despite being the final level, it may actually be the easiest of the bunch, and it ends with Capone plummeting off a tall building.  I guess they took liberties with that part of the plot too...

So while I initially found the game too hard, too annoying, and too.. all over the place, changing the gameplay up on me every level, I gradually grew used to it, and started having fun.  By the time I had worked my way to the end I was very happy I had stuck with it, instead of ditching it like I usually do with Ocean's games.  It's not gonna give most of the games I mentioned in this review a run for their money, and no one is gonna call this one of their favorites, but I think it is a good game.  It may be hard to see the good, at first, but it's there.

Did I beat it?
Yes, I threw Forsythe's ass off a building.  Presumably he got better and died of unrelated syphilis at a later date.

353 - P.T.O. Pacific Theater of Operations

Koei game number two (out of around twenty), and the owner of one of my absolute favorite pieces of cover art on the entire system.  Seriously, just look at the thing!  I don't know which lucky bastard owns that piece nowadays, and has it hanging in their office, but damn am I jealous.  If I was worth eight figures you can be sure I'd be getting Tecmo Koei on the line and trying to piece together what happened it so I could acquire it.

Anyways, P.T.O., or Pacific Theater of Operations, covers the war in the Pacific during World War II between Japan and the Allies.  The game is broken up into eight small scenarios which all cover specific battles, and then one larger one that encompasses the entire theater of war in a campaign mode of sorts.  As seems tradition in Koei titles, some of these missions even let you continue directly into that larger one if you succeed.  Victory conditions also generally fall into the "defeat all the enemies" or "destroy x targets" categories.

As one of the earliest games they put out on the system, it's also traditionally Koei in that it's a pretty ugly thing.  Similar to Gemfire and Uncharted Waters, this may as well have been an NES port, because it certainly looks the part.  I realize no one plays these games to be wowed by the sprites or map designs, but it would have been nice if they had at least tried to take advantage of the SNES' 16 "bits."  And really, I don't even need to elaborate beyond that, because the screenshots speak for themselves.

The basic flow of gameplay in any of the scenarios (at least the ones I played), goes as follows:
1.  Start out by allocating your budget.  On the lower difficulties you can basically max everything out.
2.  Next, you will roll your officers' skill points (think D&D), similar to how you had to set up your field marshals and generals in Operation Europe.  Except, while in that game you would take control of half a dozen guys at most, here you have a metric shit ton of them to deal with.  That is not hyperbole, I measured it myself.  Metric.  Shit ton.
3.  Most scenarios have you starting with a naval fleet at one of your ports.  After moving into open sea, you will target an island or fleet with a naval or air attack.  When the battle starts you switch over to a "battle map" that is composed of 19x12 rectangles.
4.  During these battles, combat is very simple.  In short: select a unit, move it, and then select a nearby enemy.  Koei games aren't usually known for the intricacies of tactical battles, and this game is no exception.
5.  There is a rock-paper-scissors system of sorts.  Guns for attacking enemy planes, torpedoes for attacking enemy ships, bombs for attacking enemy land targets.
6.  Attacks can do "minor" or "major" damage, which of course mean a decrease or increase in its effectiveness.  You can also start fires, which the enemy will have to actively extinguish.  They seem like a minor nuisance at best most of the time, but it's still pretty satisfying to set an entire fleet ablaze.
7.  After you run out of turns the combat ends and you return to the larger strategic map, where you can rearm, resupply, repair, etc.  And in typical Koei fashion there are mountains of fine details and other miscellaneous logistics that you'll need to keep track of, if you wish.  Everything from the amount of resources dedicated to various components of your armed forces, to various kinds of unit and commander morale.  If you've ever played a Koei game you know exactly what I'm talking about.

There are of course a few complaints I have to lodge, as usual.  First and foremost, I really despised any battles involving submarines, especially when enemy destroyers were a part of the picture.  I'm not even gonna elaborate, because anyone who plays this game long enough will know exactly what I'm talking about.

Another issue is that luck often seems to play too big a role.  For example, any flak attacks will usually destroy just a handful of planes.  But occasionally it will annihilate a dozen or more, completely derailing potential attacks, if not the entire engagement.  Why?  I have no idea.  Call it the equivalent of critical strikes, similar to the catastrophic bomb/torpedo hits that happen from time to time.  But this so completely screwed me over enough times that I began to dread depending on large groups of planes in congested areas.

The AI can also be super dumb.  For example, focusing their attacks on fighters while they are getting torn apart by bombers, or heedlessly chasing distant ships, often to their doom.  Normally I welcome such breathers in difficult games like this, but this one just had me shaking my head.

Anyways, there are a billion other things I could talk about, like the various types of flagships you have at your disposal, or the way you develop technological and industrial improvements.  I could easily make this thing a ten thousand word summary.  But I'm trying to make a conscientious effort to return to something resembling brevity, so I'm cutting myself off here.  Just know that there is an ocean of game here if you want it.  Though most players will probably drown...

In conclusion, the fact that I've covered so few Koei games up to this point should make it obvious that I'm a rather large fan of theirs.  Hell, the superlatives I pile onto the genre every time I cover any strategy game should have made that obvious by now.  And while P.T.O. is a fun game, I think it's pretty much a unanimous opinion that this is one of their weakest offerings on the system.  It's just not quite as streamlined as some of the others, or as addicting as some of the ones that I truly love.  And, the sequel makes a lot of improvements that kind of make it hard to return back to this one.  So, if you like Koei and/or strategy titles, check it out, but you're better off with almost any of the other ones they put out.

Did I beat it?
Sortof.  I beat Scenario 2 (Pearl Harbor), which upon completion segues into Scenario 1 (the entire theater).

352 - Super Strike Eagle

One thing I may have mentioned already (depending on how my rewrites go) is that the very first "gaming system" my family owned was an old DOS computer.  The sort that had a 5.25" floppy drive, and a hard drive that could hold at least several megabytes on it.  One of my favorite games on that system was Sid Meier's F-15 Strike Eagle II, complete with joystick.  I played the everliving hell out of that thing.  I'm talking every medal, every promotion, and every optional target to discover across each of the huge maps.  I did it all, for hours on end, and still think back fondly of those times.

Super Strike Eagle is, apparently, that series' arcade bastard cousin twice removed.  Who knows if Sid was even involved.  And when I say arcade, I mean this was literally an arcade game, found in the world's pizza parlors and mall arcades, which kind of blows my mind.  Anyways, the idea was to take this hardcore flight sim series, and remove most of the more complicated/slower-paced elements, replacing it all with simplified alternatives.  Each mission has you take off from your carrier, then cruise around a large map, taking down enemy MIGs in dogfights, and then switching over to an overhead view whenever you start the attack on any of the land targets, including tank depots, air bases, SAM clusters, nuclear power plants (?), large cruisers, and various other installations.  Finally, you'll return to your carrier or other friendly bases to rearm, resupply, repair, or just to complete your mission. 

And I gotta say that it's all a lot of fun.  It kind of reminds me of Air Strike Patrol in a way, but just better in every facet.  Clearing out the map, area by area, trying to survive long enough to get back to base, while a MIG hits the afterburners to intercept you... it's tense stuff.  In a good way.  And though I did have fun with games like Wings 2, most of them feel rather spartan.  Usually just you against one or two other enemies.  Here, I feel like I'm taking on the entire Libyan armed forces.  Because I am. 

Now, even though this is supposed to be the simplified version of its PC big brother, this game is unforgiving.  As in, one life, no continues, don't crash your shit unforgiving.  The sort of game that only hands out a fresh password after completing a mission, and each mission is longer than the previous one.  So it can get really tense when you're near the end of a longer sortie, your damage bar is near full, ammo and fuel are low, bogeys are on your six, and you need to not fuck up the landing, lest you crash across the bow of your ship.  That is, unless you don't sweat having to redo the last sixty minutes worth of work.

Of course I'm gonna have some complaints, and chief among those is that things can get quite repetitive here.  The missions all basically play out the same, and the dogfights and bombing runs are never really that different from one another.  Sometimes you might have a two-on-on fight, and sometimes there may be flak coming from the ground instead of enemy missiles, but variety quickly runs short.  By the time I reached my fourth or fifth area I was starting to get a bit burnt out.

Second complaint, which is something I basically already went over, is that the game is too damn hard, and too cruel going about it.  A steep difficulty is not an innately bad thing, I just wish SSE gave a little bit of leniency at times.  Some extra lives, or a "continue" option so that I don't have to keep entering passwords into the main menu.  Even Lock-On was nice enough to throw you a few bones in the form of extra guys and continues.  Suffice it to say, anyone who can beat the later missions in this game either has the patience of a saint, or has spent a lot of hours with it.

In the end, this has to be one of my favorite flight combat games on the system (not that the competition was especially fierce).  And yeah, that probably seems like faint praise considering we just crossed the halfway point, and I wouldn't call this a great game by any length.  But I enjoyed my entire run with it.

Did I beat it?
Not quite.  I got most of the way through the campaign, but the brutal difficulty really starts to take a toll.  Countless runs were ruined by accidentally crashing on the carrier during a resupply.

351 - Super Baseball Simulator 1.000

Super Baseball Simulator 1.000!  Follow-up to some NES game, and presumably Engrish for "Super Baseball Game with a Perfect Batting Average!"  And though it has a ridiculous title, looks like an NES game, and comes from fab developer Culture Brain (cue sarcasm), it's actually a pretty dang good time.  A great time in some ways.  Which means we have finally reached the baseball titles that I can say I unabashedly like, without qualification or hesitation.

Though the game's main mode is called "simulation," what's offered here is definitely more on the arcade side of things.  That should be evident right off the bat [heh - editor] when you choose between a couple of super cartoony team logos - all completely unlicensed of course - including a number of them that make up the "Ultra League."  What's the Ultra League?  A special set of teams in a sense, these let you dole out "ultra ability" points, which let you do things like crush the ball with your swings, make extremely strong throws from the outfield, or even perform spectacular jumps to snatch the ball midflight.  Fortunately all of this can more or less be toggled on and off, in case you prefer your games slightly more serious.  I appreciated the change of pace.

Gameplay is pretty tight for the most part.  Batting strategy is strictly limited to moving your player around the batter's box and timing your swing or bunt.  Though that may seem simple, it's a system that I have always been fond of, and it works well here.  It gives you a lot of freedom to try and crush balls down the line, force the pitcher to work the inside or outside corners of the plate, and the ball physics on contact are very satisfying.  In a lot of SNES baseball games, the ball's flight after getting hit feels like it's on one of several predetermined paths, but here every hit feels organic, which feels immensely better.

Fielding is also handled pretty well.  For instance, one of my usual pet peeves is awkward camera angles or a lack of perspective on where the ball is going, which makes any attempts to make a play feel handicapped. There's no such problem here.  While there is no actual indicator of where the ball is going to land (other than a late shadow as it drops), your view is zoomed out enough that you should always have ample opportunity to make a play if possible.

Pitching is pretty fun too.  It's another game where a single button will throw the ball, and then the D-Pad will control the ball in-flight.  Again, simple, and old school, but effective.  You throw the pitch you want, the way you want, where you want.  My one major complaint would be that your pitchers tire out entirely too fast, especially if you are relying on heavy ball movement (which you will want to), as it seems to drain their arms' endurance at an alarming rate.  Hell, starters are often completely fatigued just three or four innings in, and you're lucky if relievers make it through one.

At the end of the day (or I should say, the completion of this volume) I utterly enjoyed my time with the game.  While I never found it to be "amaze-balls" or anything, I'd easily recommend it to any baseball fans.  If nothing else they should at least take it for a stroll.  They may not like it as much as me, especially if they're the sort that already swears by the likes of Ken Griffey Jr. Presents, but anyone who enjoys the sport oldschool NES-style will probably find something here.

Did I beat it?
Yes, but only because the game gives you the option of playing a five game season.  I even "mercy ruled" poor ol' hapless Detroit.  But it was pretty sweet because I came back from down three runs in my last game and forced a tiebreaker game against Toronto.  And then I came back in that one and then won on a sac fly in the bottom of the ninth.  Super satisfying.


Writing about every SNES game - Volume VIII (#400-351) - Migrating to as we speak
SNES Set - 716/723 (Casper)
Switch: SW-6880-6470-3131

Edited: 09/14/2019 at 05:41 PM by Brock Landers

Sep 14 at 5:39:36 PM
Brock Landers (61)
< Wiz's Mom >
Posts: 11664 - Joined: 05/04/2014
Federated States of Micronesia


Writing about every SNES game - Volume VIII (#400-351) - Migrating to as we speak
SNES Set - 716/723 (Casper)
Switch: SW-6880-6470-3131

Edited: 09/14/2019 at 10:59 PM by Brock Landers

Sep 14 at 6:41:08 PM
quest4nes (147)
(jeff -) < Bonk >
Posts: 18750 - Joined: 02/21/2010
Bubsy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Bubsy 2 is worse than the first. I havent read your recap but I beat it last year after finally beating the first for the contest. a 25 year feat in the making. Gave me motivation for the second. Beat it in one sitting the first time I played it. I guess the first game playing so much that month got me in bubsy mode. I loved the mini games in the second one especially the frog launcher one. Second game is way too easy. I just have heavy nostalgia for the first one and all the one liners and levels.

I love several games on this list now. I think we are in the better worth playing stuff now.


NES  646 (331 Manuals 319 Boxes)
Wii U 158
SNES 311
N64  189
Original Gameboy 48


Edited: 09/14/2019 at 06:45 PM by quest4nes

Sep 14 at 6:44:03 PM
Gloves (110)
(Douglas Glover) < Wiz's Mom >
Posts: 10283 - Joined: 01/21/2017

What could PAWsibly go wrong?


Sep 14 at 7:08:24 PM
Andy_Bogomil (100)
(Pete ) < Bowser >
Posts: 6008 - Joined: 11/15/2012
Nice. Starting to get into some of the 'ok' games for SNES. Just proof that more than half the library is complete trash. I am actually happy to see DOOM so far down the list for what a great game it can be; it absolutely sucks shit on the SNES. I think Doom Troopers could be a little higher just by looks alone. I pretty much agree with everything you said about the game but I feel like it's more polished than some of the games higher on the list and some yet to be mentioned. Definitely a rip off of a few games that came right before it, but still potentially worthy of a higher ranking.

Good work!

Wii U Collection Status: 160/161. Just Dance 2018. 

Sep 14 at 7:53:59 PM
Ausden (13)
(Jonathan ) < Meka Chicken >
Posts: 704 - Joined: 02/12/2010
North Carolina
excited to read through this one.

Sep 14 at 9:26:04 PM
doner24 (326)
(Jesse D) < Bowser >
Posts: 6286 - Joined: 02/13/2010
Any negative words about Bubsy and we are instantly fighting.


WTB: Please help me find the following items
Hurricanes and Super Copa Boxes


Sep 15 at 12:28:11 AM
quest4nes (147)
(jeff -) < Bonk >
Posts: 18750 - Joined: 02/21/2010
Originally posted by: doner24

Any negative words about Bubsy and we are instantly fighting.

we agree on stuff?



NES  646 (331 Manuals 319 Boxes)
Wii U 158
SNES 311
N64  189
Original Gameboy 48


Sep 15 at 1:48:09 AM
Splain (28)
< Lolo Lord >
Posts: 1548 - Joined: 06/15/2016
I had Wordtris as a kid. I was ok with it, partly because the music was oddly unique and it would get stuck in my head. But for some reason, the older I get the less I like it. And I'm a huge word-game fan. Maybe I've just found so many other, better word games.

Krusty has so much potential to be a truly great game. But the obtuse-ness of some of the things you have to do to progress (find and destroy a specific hidden block in a specific level or else you can't progress past unrelated level x) and the fact that you can easily run out of ammo, paired with how many levels you have to do between passwords, and crappy levels that can't be completed if you don't do a specific thing fast enough, it just saps all my desire to play. The first few levels are great, then they turn the screws. If they had dialed back the enemies a bit, and just made it a Lemmings platformer (Lemmings but you're a person in the level, not a 3rd-party god) and ditched the unwinnable-without-omniscience levels, it could have been a top 100 title. Or maybe I'm just bad at it.

Love those 90's games featuring a Rude Dude with a 'Tude... Who Is Also A Rodent.

Sep 15 at 8:21:52 AM
doner24 (326)
(Jesse D) < Bowser >
Posts: 6286 - Joined: 02/13/2010
Originally posted by: quest4nes
Originally posted by: doner24

Any negative words about Bubsy and we are instantly fighting.

we agree on stuff?


I agree with plenty of your takes, only call them out when they’re bad. 


WTB: Please help me find the following items
Hurricanes and Super Copa Boxes


Sep 15 at 9:16:22 AM
winterion (16)
(Daniel Greenberg) < Meka Chicken >
Posts: 743 - Joined: 06/03/2016
As always, Brock, thanks for the write-up! I grew up with a couple of these (SBS1K, SimAnt, SS6, Doom, etc.) and enjoyed the introspection.

Daniel Greenberg, Founder of Winterion Game Studios Daniel Greenberg, George Mason University Game Design
Founder of Winterion Game Studios
Visit us online!
Watch us on YouTube

Edited: 09/15/2019 at 09:16 AM by winterion

Sep 15 at 10:17:14 AM
mbd39 (1)
(Michael ) < Bowser >
Posts: 6925 - Joined: 08/25/2015
It makes me happy that there's a game called Power Piggs of the Dark Age.

Reigning NA 2018 Beat Em Up Champion


Sep 15 at 11:49:58 AM
bronzeshield (44)
(P. ) < Lolo Lord >
Posts: 1914 - Joined: 04/12/2009
New York
Great to see this go up! Some thoughts of my own:

#393 (Jimmy Connors Pro Tennis Tour) - goes on too long and has a bugged ending: it's so nice to spend hours on a game, beat the final opponent, and then have it tell you to try on a harder difficulty level that doesn't exist! But it controls well and is probably the second-best tennis game in the US tennis library for SNES.

#385 (Sküljagger) - yep, you need the comic book to get the code that powers you up at the game's very end. Without that, the final boss battle is nearly impossible, though a few people have made it work. Not sure why they decided to stop having passwords for the last couple levels.

#380 (Super Bases Loaded 3) - I love the ridiculous umpire in this game. He sounds like the guy in the Simpsons that says "I had a stro-o-o-oke!"

#379 (Porky Pig's Haunted Holiday) - strange game, with such dissonant and moody music in the opening stages. It's more like a surrealistic 1930s Daffy Duck cartoon than anything I associate with mainline Porky (yes, I know Porky was in those first DD cartoons, not to mention "Porky in Wackyland"). Very easy to clip through the walls in this one.

#376 (Doom Troopers: Mutant Chronicles) - oh, how I loathed this on Genesis. Maybe the SNES version is better. It's the epitome of bad American-style game design, with tons of gore to make up for the total lack of "flow" in the levels.

#374 (Harley's Humongous Adventure) - crash-prone but fun. This was a pleasant rental back in the day.

#370 (Wordtris) - I've had to "re-remember" twice now that you can transform the question mark titles to whatever you like. Dictionary is really pretty good for a title of this vintage.

#353 (P.T.O.) - I find this one utterly overwhelming and confusing, and I like Koei games.

Edited: 09/15/2019 at 12:14 PM by bronzeshield

Sep 15 at 9:44:48 PM
Krunch (146)
(My name's Krunch) < King Solomon >
Posts: 3931 - Joined: 11/08/2010
"probably a case of [Harley] being a giant dumbass" lolol these reviews are just getting better and better some of these games look halfway decent, I remember playing Hulk once and thinking it was pretty alright. Wordtris i always try to like cause the concept is A+, it's still in my collection after all this time, lol

^^discounts for NA members^^

Sep 15 at 11:44:37 PM
Space Jockey (145)
( Xenomorph ) < King Solomon >
Posts: 4845 - Joined: 06/03/2012
Good sir, you have just made my entire day at work that much better. I read it off and on throughout the whole day, very glad you posted this. I have played more of teh titles now and understand more of what you are saying when you write these up. Thumbs up to you!


Switch Friend Code: SW-7855-4097-7884

Originally posted by: Space Jockey
Originally posted by: Guntz
On a more serious note, I've played EarthBound today for so long, I feel all tense and mentally worn out.
Then you called your mother and felt better?


Sep 16 at 7:26:35 AM
fox (15)
(Gunslinger Fox) < King Solomon >
Posts: 3212 - Joined: 07/12/2012
United States
Seems like we are getting near the middle of the pack.

I really enjoy King of the Monsters 2, Super Chase HQ, and Harley's Humongous Adventure. Those are all fun solid titles I'd prob put in my top 200.

Sep 16 at 12:27:45 PM
BreaKBeatZ (59)
< Lolo Lord >
Posts: 1870 - Joined: 08/11/2013
District of Columbia
IIRC you have it backward with Legend. Pretty sure Hard is the default setting.

Sep 16 at 12:48:52 PM
jonebone (554)
(Collector Extraordinaire) < Luigi >
Posts: 26632 - Joined: 11/20/2008
Great thread as always! Keep em coming.

WTB CIB MINT Games: NES - SNES - N64 - Sega Genesis - Turbografx 16
Last Beat: West of Loathing (Switch)
Now Playing: Overcooked 2 (Switch) / Spider-Man (PS4)
My eBay 10% off on NintendoAge!

Sep 16 at 4:43:26 PM
AstralSoul13 (48)
(Mike ) < Bowser >
Posts: 6326 - Joined: 01/27/2014
New York
It's pretty that you get halfway through the library and we're only at the "just okay" games. I guess the same could be said of most consoles though. Great list and always happy to read a new part to the list! Can't wait for the top 100!  

Sep 17 at 7:59:52 AM
ruudos (1)
(Rad Gravity) < Meka Chicken >
Posts: 658 - Joined: 02/02/2008
Originally posted by: Brock Landers

Hell, this game could have been about anything.  In fact, I want to say it was something else.  Maybe Flicky on Genesis?  Or some old PC/Amiga game?  Definitely something from that era, because I remember playing it.
It actually was something else: Rat-Trap for Amiga


Sep 17 at 12:13:37 PM
scaryice (115)
(scary ice) < King Solomon >
Posts: 3180 - Joined: 05/23/2009
Great stuff, keep it up!

WTB/WTTF - Famicom carts (56 needed):

Sep 17 at 12:35:06 PM
TheFinder (47)
< King Solomon >
Posts: 3063 - Joined: 03/08/2015
Awesome write-ups, Brock. Always love reading these!

To the Finder...
The Isle of Koholint is but an illusion...
Human, monster, sea, sky...
A scene on the lid of a sleeper's eye...
Awake the dreamer, and Koholint will vanish much like a bubble on a needle...
Cast-away, you should know the Truth!

My FS/WTB threads:

Sep 18 at 3:09:44 PM
Gaia Gensouki (0)
< Tourian Tourist >
Posts: 33 - Joined: 08/19/2019
Yeah, really well done and another enjoyable write-up! I'm also excited since the better half is within reach. But there are already some interesting looking games here already. I really want to try out that Bazooka Blietzkrieg. Unfortunately I have never seen or heard about that game before.

As for Super Conflict, did you intend to write that Nintendo/Intelligent Systems borrowed from Super Conflict when they made Advance Wars? Because the original Famicom Wars dates as far back as 1988 on the original Famicom. I'm not sure what came before that, but I wouldn't be surprised if Military Madness, Super Conflict and War 3010/2410 ripped off from the original Famicom Wars or the later Game Boy Wars.