Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster’s Hidden Treasure
Sega Mega Drive – 1993
They’re tiny, they’re toony, they’re all a little loony in this fun Konami platformer. The game is colourful and stylish, as you’d expect from a Tiny Toons game. There are a variety of worlds to explore, each with their own setting. The music is cartoony but compliments the levels well. Control-wise, Buster handles well, being able to build up moment. The game itself doesn’t really provide much of a challenge until the last few levels so you should be able to finish it in one sitting. In the last area, a Game Over sees you restart the area. This is a change from the rest of the game as a Game Over will merely send you back to the beginning of that level. Also, Elmyra can get in the sea…
F-1 World Grand Prix
Nintendo 64 – 1998
Relive the 1997 Formula One season with this decent racer. You can choose from one of 22 drivers to tackle the 17 courses of the season. Graphically, they haven’t aged well and there are some moments when the frame rate stutters. It is interesting to see the slight differences in the tracks compared to the PlayStation’s Formula 1 97. The cars handles well and they do capture the speed of the sport. There is no commentary but the car engines do sound superb. It is not accessible as other Formula One games. Although there are some assist, they act more as a hindrance so you’re better off racing without them on. . This game and its sequel are cheap to pick up if you’re a fan of Formula One and are looking for a decent challenge.
Nintendo 64 – 1997
GoldenEye is a game that had everything working against it. A first-person shooter on a console with one analogue stick, a movie-based game released two years after the film, and a box that makes Pierce Brosnan’s mouth look odd. However, it knocked it out of the park. A solid FPS for the time with an incredibly addictive multiplayer (slappers only anyone?) and objectives that change with the difficulty. Going back now, the game hasn’t aged well at all but it was a massive milestone at the time. The controls feel odd in a world with dual analogue sticks but a bit of patience and you’ll master them. Graphically, the interior levels look great. They’re well designed. The exterior levels are weaker, suffering from the infamous “N64 fog”. The levels encourage replayability, with each having their own set of objectives. Mulitplayer is where a lot will probably spend most of their time. There are tons of customisable options to tailer each match to your own unique style. Just make sure no one picks Oddjob!
International Superstar Soccer ’98
Nintendo 64 – 1998
ISS ’98 is an enjoyable football sim. It allows you to play as one of 52 national teams (and some hidden All-Star ones too) in several different game modes. You’ve got the standard Open Game, International Cup, World League and the interesting Scenario mode. The game looks decent for an early 3D game, with some licensed kits. The commentary is improved on its predecessor but is still behind other football sims of the time. It doesn’t have licensed players but you can edit the names and even create your own player. The game-play is solid. You’ll have less control of the ball than in a FIFA game but it makes for a more realistic experience. Passing feels smooth and shooting is easy to get to grips with. Breaking down teams can require a bit of patience, especially on the higher difficulty settings. It’s a game that was probably overlooked thanks to FIFA 98 and World Cup 98 but it is well worth picking up (it’s cheap) if you have an interest in football sims from the 32 bit era.
Xbox One – 2018
Another entry in EA Sports long running series, FIFA 19 makes some slight changes. As a fan of Career Mode, there isn’t a lot of improvements to entice me. Champions League and Europa League are nice additions and the visual presentation is as crisp as ever but it feels somewhat underwhelming. Issues that have been around in previous Career Modes resurface in this. Often, the match schedule would become ridiculously convoluted. Loaning out players, especially youth team players, can be a struggle. Players who have no right to be anywhere near your first. team. will also expect. to be in the team when you’re playing against a rival, which is just odd. The game-play has received some minor tweaks, including the addition of “timed finishing”. FIFA 19 also sees the finale of Alex Hunter’s story and allows you to follow Danny Williams and Kim Hunter’s rise to glory. Overall, I enjoyed the game but it was more evolution than revolution.
Premier Manager 64
Nintendo 64 – 1999
Based on the ’99 season, Premier Manager 64 has you take charge of an English team from one of the four top Divisions. The game feels a lot more restrictive than it’s PC or PlayStation counterparts. The Career mode can delve in to frustration at times. I often found myself getting sacked in career mode (yeah, I’m bad at it). Tactics felt useless as no matter what changes I made, they didn’t appear to have an impact. There is also a. “stamina” gauge for each player but it appears to deplete incredibly quickly. It also felt frustrating as I couldn’t sign players without selling others but no one wanted to buy my players. There’s not much to the graphics as it’s all menus and the sound it… meh (if you can even call it sound). If you’re interested in the Premier Manager series, avoid this and grab the PC version instead.
Chase The Express
PlayStation – 2000
I’ll describe this as being like “Resident Evil on a train” but that’s not really the whole true. Spread across two discs, you take control of a NATO agent as he tries to fight off terrorists and rescue the Ambassador and his family. It utilises tank controls and has some decent puzzles that can lead to multiple endings. It also has some files you can pick up to help you with these puzzles. I got stuck on the easiest puzzle when I was younger because I decided to ignore the files left around the train. The game-play itself is what you’d expect from tank controls, slow and clunky at times, but it does have an auto targeting mechanic that makes shootouts a bit easier. The graphics are typical of the PlayStation, i.e they haven’t aged well (especially the cutscenes), but it is nothing too grating, especially compared to the earlier PlayStation games. The game also features voice acting, which is well done if nothing special. The game also has some replayability outside of the multiple endings as you can experience a certain part of the game as another character. It is worth picking up to experience as it is a fun action game that may have been overlooked on a console that had Die Hard Arcade, Metal Gear Solid and Syphon Filter. Oh, and it’s called Covert Ops: Nuclear Dawn in North America.
Xbox – 2005
At a time when EA Sports seemed to be making games based on every sport around (except GAA!), they brought us a decent rugby simulator. You could take part is several different tournaments, including the World Cup, Six Nations, Tri Nations and a fictional World League for club competition. Most teams have their official kits, especially the bigger nations. However, some of the smaller teams will have generic kits which is a bit disappointing considering there isn’t as much choice compared to FIFA. Game-play is solid, allowing you to move the ball quickly between your players. The game hasn’t aged well graphically (similar to the PlayStation 2 FIFAs) but the gameplay is still solid. This is helped by having directional passing mapped to different buttons. This means that you can quickly recycle the ball across the pitch to build up phases. The commentary is well done. It does has some repetition but it adds to the experience. The game also features a mandatory tutorial to help you get to grips with the game when you first boot it up. I’d recommend trying this if you’re a rugby fan as there isn’t a whole lot of choice available.
Xbox 360 – 2007
Eternal Sonata is strange concept. Based on the final few hours of famed Polish pianist and composer Frédéric Chopin’s life, the game sees you escort the musician through a magical world. The world itself is heavily influenced by music, from the combat styles to the art designs. Combat wise, the game is very similar to the Tales of series. It is an action RPG hybrid where battles take places in a set arena. The arena itself utilises light and darkness which must be taken in to account when battle enemies. For example, certain enemies will morph and become stronger in the shade. The characters themselves are charming and have distinct combat styles. The characters themselves have their own strengths and weaknesses in battle and you have to take these into account when building your team for the end game. There is a bonus dungeon you can explore to unlock an extra character and it’s an excellent to grind for the final boss battle. The game does have New Game+mode (dubbed “Encore” mode) that allows you to acquire unique items and offers a more difficult challenge. I played the Xbox 360 version but there is a PlayStation 3 version that has some extra content and tweaked difficulty.