| paleface [sys=PS2; cat=Action_Variety; loc=JPN] |
|Sega takes five of its less well-known arcade games of yester-year, emulates them on PS2, and throws in updated versions to go along with them. Is this a good idea? Welll... Maybe not so much.|
The games have little in the way of options. The new versions are high-res, but there is no progressive-scan option. The old versions lack vertical screen options ("tate") for the vertical games, and don't allow you to remap the controls. All of the games do this really annoying thing with auto-save where it insists on autosaving every time you on in and out of the pause screen menu.
Let's go through the game pairs one-by-one, shall we?
|Download added: head_on.gif (17980 bytes)|
"I do believe this is one of Sega's worst games ever."
Head-on is a real car-crash of a game. You hold down a button to go fast as you whip your car around a nasty blue, multilane track, while another car comes around from the opposite direction. You can change lanes at certain points in the track, but so can your opponent, who seems to want to commit suicide by ramming you--you guessed it--head-on. Now, I'm sure there's a way to clear the stage, but I'll be darned if I'm going to stick around and try to figure it out, because I am sick of getting stuck in a lane with inevitable death bearing down on me. Besides which, the graphics and sound are awful.
|Download added: head_on_new.gif (94531 bytes)|
"The new Head-On is really quite pointless."
The new Head-On isn't much better, but it sucks for slightly different reasons. The graphics are kinda pretty now, but they no longer have anything to do with cars (the tire screeches in the first game were kind of cute, until they get irritating anyway), and have become some sort of abstract Tron thing that nobody can relate to. But the really funny thing is that the AI is completely idiotic, rather than suicidal, and will happily loop around the outer tracks over and over while you collect all the dots in the level. It's like you're trying to play a game, but the CPU you're supposed to be playing against is out on a coffee break. Ridiculous. But careening counter-clockwise around the mazes over and over would suck even if the AI was paying attention.
|Download added: tranquilizer_gun.gif (26786 bytes)|
"That gorilla is gonna be snoozin' for about thirty seconds."
I kind of like the old Tranquilizer Gun. It's stodgy as heck, with really bad sprite overlap problems, but your rifle makes this really sharp cracking gunshot sound, and it's sort of satisfying to take down a rampaging bull elephant with a flurry of darts. Well, okay, so they don't really rampage--they sort of pop out of some bushes, cross the path, and disappear into some other bushes. Anyway, if you can catch them as they cross the path, you dart them into la-la land, then drag them back to the cage on the back of your truck before they wake up. Wow, this game is so non-PC.
|Download added: tranquilizer_gun_new.gif (104710 bytes)|
"Elephant takes exception to my dragging off his drugged lion buddy."
The new Tranquilizer Gun has quite the nice, bright, cartoon look to it, and preserves the basic visceral dart rifle action of the original--although the shooting sound isn't quite as cracking. Anyway, the new one throws in bonus creatures, a road running around the jungle level that you can charge around on with your truck (yes, you can shoot darts while driving), and dart gun powerups. The controls are slightly more complicated than in the original, since now you go into a shooting pose before shooting, and can't move with your rifle out. Pretty fun, although a lot of the sound effects are horrible (hint: do not let your truck run out of gas, unless you have earplugs).
|Download added: border_line.gif (37645 bytes)|
"This game really doesn't deserve a memorial."
The original Border Line is a really bad scrolling shooter in which you play a truck. The thing has about five colors, and scrolls in big jerky chunks, with crappy sprites and horrible sound. Weird flying things fly at your truck, and later tanks and stuff shoot at you. It sucks.
|Download added: border_line_new.gif (99391 bytes)|
"Blow stuff up in style in the new Border Line."
The new Border Line, on the other hand, is far and away the highlight of this package. Some genius realized that it should bear as little resemblance as possible to the awful original game, and instead made a very smooth dual-analog tank battle game. You swoop your sci-fi tank around a succession of large, multi-directional scrolling levels, blowing up everything in your path as you take out the enemy's generators. You get three weapons (all-purpose machinegun, armor-piercing short-range beam, and anti-personnel flamethrower) with which to carve your way through the hordes of gun turrets, enemy tanks, and ground troops guarding the generators. Everything blows up real good, and the sound effects are mostly quite nice. Fast and furious destruction really hits the spot.
|Download added: congo_bongo.gif (28296 bytes)|
"Congo Bongo is still a real pile."
I had what was probably an unlicensed version of Congo Bongo way back on the C64. It sucked. I had high hopes that the arcade version, ported here, would be way better, but while it has more colors and animation, it still sucks. The isometric movement confuses me no end, and really, who wants to play a white imperialist being plagued by monkeys and coconut-tossing apes? Horrible sound effects, and were they *trying* to induce seizures with that rapidly flashing blue/red title screen?
|Download added: congo_bongo_new.gif (110768 bytes)|
"The new Congo Bongo looks nice, but it still blows."
The new Congo Bongo has vastly improved 2D isometric graphics, but they don't help you deal with the crazy diagonal movement (quick quiz: is that rocky outcropping with the bag of money on it in the lower right of the screenshot just a step down from the ledge above, or is it actually separated from the mainland, with a deadly drop between? It's really quite impossible to tell!), and the new sound effects are even more excruciating than the old ones. The gameplay, ie wandering around trying not to fall off ledges while monkeys piggy-back on you and slow you down, has not improved, either.
|Download added: penguin_land.gif (31486 bytes)|
"Penguins protecting their eggs are allowed to crush polar bears with rocks."
The original Penguin Land is actually kind of okay. You dig downward through layers of ice, in a way that reminds me of Mr. Driller (see entry 388), as you try to find a new home for your precious, precious egg. Don't let it drop too far, though, or it'll crack, and your baby's an omlette for some lucky polar bear. You have to think ahead and plan your dual-descent carefully so that you don't get caught by animals, or get your egg wedged in a hole somewhere where you can't get it out without breaking it. The downward scrolling is super-jerky, but the game is solid. I can't really stick with it too well, though; I'm not so good at planning that far ahead. It's much slower, gameplay-wise, than Driller.
|Download added: penguin_land_new.gif (105528 bytes)|
"My poor, poor egg is irrevocably stuck. Omelette, anyone?"
The new Penguin Land has much more colorful graphics, and smooth scrolling as you escort your egg downward to safety. It's much easier, but you'll still get to some kind of tricky part of the descent fairly quickly; and I still get my egg broken in all kinds of stupid ways. Darn these puzzly games!