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Megadrive Ruminations..


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I'd been having a hankering for some good old fashioned Megadrive action, so recently I hit eBay. It didn't hit back, but it did offer up some boxes of games that were quite enticing. Nothing of the uber-rare type, but just stuff I knew I wanted to have rather badly. Some money changed hands, and yesterday a box containing forty-odd Megadrive games -- none of them spectacularly rare, but more than a few that were on my wants list -- landed on my doorstop.

What then followed can only be described as an afternoon of cartridge testing, intermittent swearing and a not small quantity of joy. Purely for the fun of it, I scribed down my thoughts on most of the titles I picked up, for general perusal. All comments/thoughts/jibes appreciated.

One note before I start: With the exception of four titles that needed cleaning, each and EVERY title fired up on the second try. It's like they were programmed to work in sequence. That's just... creepy.

Bill Walsh College Football/ MLBPA Baseball/ PGA Tour Golf 2/ NBA Showdown `94/PGA Tour Golf/PGA European Tour

Wow... EA making lots of nearly identical sports games. Who woulda thunk it?

Brian Lara Cricket/ Shane Warne Cricket v2

These seem notable only because they're in the oddest shaped Megadrive carts I've ever seen -- rounded at the top. Still, both play a better game than any of EA's recent Cricket forays (not that that's a hard thing)

Shaq-Fu

So bad it's.. no. It's just bad. From Flashback to.. this? Goes in the "they've always made crap games for every generation" collection.

World Cup Italia `90

In fifteen years, my opinion of this hasn't changed -- it's still the worst football game I've ever played. I was actively glad when the second box of this accidentally contained a different game, even if it was Sonic 1.

Wrestlewar

Purchased purely to keep up my completion rate of every wrestling game, ever. As far as I can tell, button pressing is completely random -- anyone know how this one's meant to be played?

Alien 3

I loved this game back in t'day, and I still do. Yes, I know, the SNES one looks a whole lot better, but it's more on the side of action/strategy, whereas this is just tense killing of acidic beasties against an ever-ticking clock...

Altered Beast

Booted up just long enough to hear "WISE FWOM YOUR GWAVE!" -- that's enough Altered Beast for anyone, surely?

B.O.B

As interesting as Microsoft BOB. Although arguably a bit better.

Captain Planet

A true crime against everything...

Chiki Chiki Boys

This was a random surprise -- and not a half-bad game, to boot. I can't help but wonder why this wasn't a bigger game ten years ago, as it's a good mix of, say, Wonderboy and something like Magic Sword, albeit a lot cuter...

Columns

Ahh... the Master System version will always hold a sweet personal spot in my heart, but this is still class.

Daffy Duck in Hollywood

Another suprisingly engaging game, in a silver cartridge, which I'd only ever seen before on one other game, that being Jungle Book. Anyone know anything about the origins of silver Megadrive carts?

Eternal Champions

How well I recall the hype for this one. And how it failed to meet it.

Global Gladiators

There's a wacky sexual subtext in this one. Perpetually grinning children spurting out some kind of yellow "liquid" all over creatures while picking up Ms? Surely this kind of sick filth would be banned now?

GODS

As good as the recent thread said it was. Well, I likes it anyway.

Mega-lo-mania

Argh.. no manual. I remember liking this -- but I've now got no idea what to do...

M-1 Abrams Battle Tank

It's a polygon! Coming right at me!

Mutant League Football

Why is it always the GOOD franchises that EA doesn't bother following up on? (yes, I know, Mutant League Hockey, but still... I'd buy Mutant League Madden 2006 in a heartbeat...)

Road Rash 2

It has dated over the years, but it's still fun in short blasts.

Robocop vs Terminator

Ageless wonder. An overlooked gem that'd be banned today for the excessive gore on the very first level.

Sonic & Knuckles/Sonic 1

Because it's impossible to buy any box o' games off eBay and not end up with a Sonic game of some sort.

Summer Challenge

In a cardboard box, still in surprisingly good condition. Perhaps that's because it seems to be awful. Definitely headed back to eBay.

Super Monaco GP 2

I dimly recall there was a cheat code that let you lift up Ayrton Senna's head instead of the cup at the end of races, although I can't find any proof of this. Possibly in poor taste, given what happened to him later.

Warrior of Rome

Not the game I thought it was -- I'm sure there was another tactical Rome-based game for the Megadrive, but it isn't this one. This one looks interesting, but is totally incomprehensible sans manual.

Anyone know of any online archives of megadrive game manuals (besides Gamefaqs, which is terribly spotty on this kind of thing? If I want 90-odd faqs for the same damn GTA/Halo/Overhyped bit o' rubbish then it's fine, but otherwise...)

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No "Ranger X" for your MD? Get back to eBay you foo' and don't return without it! :)

Unless it's still in the box of course.

I must admit I've come back to the MD myself. I always used to be more of an SFC player back in the day, and so now I'm discovering some great MD titles I missed out on. A great little system.

Is it 60Hz modded? It really should be you know.

Go here:

http://www.mmmonkey.co.uk/console/index.htm

Otherwise have fun!

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Super Monaco GP 2

I dimly recall there was a cheat code that let you lift up Ayrton Senna's head instead of the cup at the end of races, although I can't find any proof of this. Possibly in poor taste, given what happened to him later.

This rings a bell. But wasn't it the original game and not the Ayrton Senna sequel?

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No "Ranger X" for your MD? Get back to eBay you foo' and don't return without it! :)

Unless it's still in the box of course.

I must admit I've come back to the MD myself. I always used to be more of an SFC player back in the day, and so now I'm discovering some great MD titles I missed out on. A great little system.

Is it 60Hz modded? It really should be you know.

Go here:

http://www.mmmonkey.co.uk/console/index.htm

Otherwise have fun!

I'm sorry. I'll try to do better next time, and only score uber-rare cartridges. No! Please! Don't beat me with that copy of Madden '92 !!!!

Not 60Hz modded, although trying that modification would probably be a good way for me to set the house on fire. Must check with 'er indoors if I'm allowed to do that.

Other observations, after some actual play:

Sonic 1: Sure, it's common as muck, but it's also supremely playable, even after all these years. It also made my three year old daughter's day, although it's possibly a bit worrying that she enjoyed pausing it as much as she did actually doing anything.

Mutant League Football: A real pity that you can win most games simply by punting every time and demolishing the other team's offensive line. Reserves off is for wimps.

Robocop Vs Terminator: Wonderful, wonderful stuff. I must be strong, and not pick up ED-209's hidden weapon on level 2... it makes the whole game far too easy.

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No Comix Zone? I bought it the other day, well I got it free because I bought Sonic CD and the case was broken quite badly.

Still stands up well against the likes of Viewtiful Joe, great game and Sonic CD is amazing.

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No Comix Zone? I bought it the other day, well I got it free because I bought Sonic CD and the case was broken quite badly.

Still stands up well against the likes of Viewtiful Joe, great game and Sonic CD is amazing.

Agreed on both counts -- but this was a job lot, and I already had both Sonic CD and Comix Zone :)

Although the last time I played Comix Zone, I kept getting killed at, I think the 2nd level -- there was one "impossible" jump. Presumably I'm just crap, and it's not an impossible game...

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The easy (somewhat spoilerific) way to get through most of Robocop Vs Terminator relies on the second level. There's a spot where you rappell through a building. Drop down into the building (you won't be able to see Robocop) , and head to the left. You'll stop. Jump over the block you can't see, and you'll end up in a little shallow. Hit up, and you'll enter a secret OCP office full of Terminators. A bit tough at this stage of the game, but the reward is worth it -- a morphing block that becomes every object in the game sequentially. Time getting it right, and you'll have ED-209's gun well before you actually meet him. It's all a bit easy from there, at least until you get hold of the phased plasma rifle (in the 40W range, naturally)

As to losing guns, you don't need to -- at least for one gun. Robocop's dying animation is rather slow, and that gives you time to swap guns from the one you're using to the secondary gun. It'll leave you with one good gun, and the standard pistol, but if you swap back to the pistol the next time you die, you'll still have the good gun -- if that makes sense.

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I loaded it up on emulator... I must say, can't see the reason for liking it.

I had a grenade launching gun, and the physics are a bit screwy. You shoot a grenade, and if you push down it goes down, and if you push up, it goes up. You can make neato wave patterns like this, but it looks like screwy programming to me.... I thought it was quite weird.

But yeah, found the OCP office and then died. :(

Btw, I checked the bay of fleas, and Ranger X is only like £2 buy-it-now on some auctions.

Are you going to give us impressions of the rest of the box? I want to see what else you got.

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Realistic physics? In a robocop game of that era? Doesn't seem very likely -- although yes, that particular gun is a bit weird.

I guess I just like it because it's somewhat dark and moody, fairly challenging and quite pretty for a megadrive title; at the time I had the benefit of both systems, so I could pick and choose titles (although being a student, this was picking and choosing what to rent, not what to buy) and while I finished RvT in no time flat (thanks to finding the aforementioned gun - one of the few ingame secrets I've ever found without help in any game ever) I always enjoyed it.

As to the other titles? Well, I covered 31 of the 40-odd that were in the box; there were a few multiples (Sonic 1, Columns), and stuff like Fever Pitch Soccer, which seems like a poor man's FIFA to me... nothing much of real note, really.

What it has refreshed is my interest in Megadrive gaming generally. It's bad, really -- I've got a shiny new PSP with a wealth of titles sitting there, and I NEED to play that to write a feature on it, but instead I'm tinkering around with Streets Of Rage 2, Golden Axe, Sonic 1 (for the kids) and wasting far, far too much time on Midnight Resistance and Dragon's Fury. Ahhh.. Dragon's Fury.

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Not 60Hz modded, although trying that modification would probably be a good way for me to set the house on fire. Must check with 'er indoors if I'm allowed to do that.

Just remember if you're running a pal md in 60hz mode you must have an rgb compatible TV and appropriate cables otherwise you'll get a black n white picture.

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