Super Mario Bros.
Nintendo Entertainment System – 1985
One of the most iconic games ever made. It’s fun, fast paced and incredibly easy to pick up, an excellent place to start if you want to experience Nintendo games of yesteryear. Battle your way through Bowser’s minions using Mushrooms, Fire Flowers, Stars and Warp Pipes. The controls are excellent, with Mario’s momentum feeling just right. The graphics are still pleasant more than 30 years later and the music is an absolute joy.
Xbox One – 2019
FIFA 20 felt like a breath of fresh air, and not just because Sheffield United are in the Premier League. The custom manager in Career Mode is a nice addition as is the new Negotiation settings. Sadly, these don’t feel like enough. Clearly this review is a few months after launch because FIFA 20 was a mess at the start. Teams playing weak squads against you, youth players seeing unbelievable growth and editing a player could lead to all sorts of issues. There are some issues (teams in Career Mode having unreal winning streaks) but it is a lot better. Volta is a nice addition which harks back to the days of FIFA Street (and FIFA 98’s indoor mode).
Xbox One – 2019
Maybe I’m not the best placed for this seeing as A) I’m not the biggest American football fan, and B) I haven’t played a Madden game in a long time, but here we go. I enjoyed Madden 20. The visuals are stylish and the commentary is excellent. Game-play wise, picking a play and executing it were very straight forward. The choice of Owner, Coach and Player adds a new dimension to the game, with each having their own challenges. The upgrade system in Player Career took a while to get used to and is a bit frustrating that I can’t select which attributes I want to improve. Face of the Franchise starts out well, having you go for trials and having interesting cut-scenes but these dry out very quickly. It’s disappointing they don’t continue throughout.
Sega Saturn – 1996
From the team behind Landstalker comes another isometric role-playing game. Dark Savior has an interesting concept: get to the ship’s captain within a certain time and you’ll get a different story. There are five in total, each with it’s own unique path through the island. The combat was also unique, putting you in to a one-on-one fight with your opponent. I found these to be a bit annoying at the start but you very quickly get used to their layout. The isometric view can work against you, especially during the platforming sections or when you’re trying to find something. Graphically, the game holds up well, which is something that can’t be said for a lot of 3D games in this generation. Overall, the game is an interesting take on the Role-Playing genre and it encourages multiple playthroughs to fully experience the story.
Lego Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues
Xbox 360 – 2009
Lego Indiana Jones 2 is everything we expect in a Lego game: loads of extra characters, hunting treasure pieces and enjoyable when played with a friend.The game is slit out into several hub-worlds that follow each of the four films. The hub-worlds are an interesting addition and encourage you to explore to find new items or characters but the levels themselves are short. Each film follows a similar layout, with a driving section that can be be a bit frustrating and a giant boss you have to fight in a similar manner. It still has the Lego charm but it’s definitely one of the weakest in the series.
Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures
Xbox 360 – 2008
Indy’s first adventure in to the world of Lego is a charming one. Play by yourself or with a friend as you make your way through the first three movies. It may be lacking in some of the features we’ve come to know in later Lego games, such as the open world or side missions, but it does have a decent variety of levels. Game-play is incredibly simplistic but there can be some annoying platforming moments although it’s nothing too serious. The music is traditional Indy tunes but there is no voice acting. Like a lot of the earlier Lego games, the characters use expressions and props to tell the story. The game, like every other one in the series, encourages at least a second play-through of each level in order to unlock everything.
World of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse & Donald Duck
Sega Mega Drive – 1992
World of Illusion took everything Castle of Illusion did and improved upon it. The graphics look better, the platforming is tighter and the level layout is better presented. The levels themselves are a mixture of different whimsical areas and the music really compliments them well. It introduced Donald Duck as a second playable character, allowing you to adventure with a friend. The limited continues of Castle of Illusion are gone making the game a lot easier, although Castle of Illusion wasn’t too difficult in the first place. It’s probably the best of the Illusion series across the Sega consoles.
Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse
Sega Mega Drive – 1990
This game brings to the Mega Drive all the magic of the classic Mickey Mouse cartoons. It has bright graphics and excellent music, something you’d expect from a Mickey Mouse game. Mickey controls well and the platforming is smooth. There are some areas that feel like they require a leap of fate as you move through the level. The levels are fun and can be challenging at times. However, if you play on the easy mode, you will not be able to experience all the levels. The limited continues is both a blessing and a curse. The game isn’t too difficult so. you shouldn’t have too much trouble getting through but not having continues is an odd choice, especially in a Disney game. Overall, it’s well worth picking up the Illusion games as they’re some of the most enjoyable platformers on the Mega Drive.
QuackShot Starring Donald Duck
Sega Mega Drive – 1991
Disney really did deliver with this absolute belter of a game. The game is broken out into several levels, each you can explore a part of until you obtain a particular item. The game encourages you to try each level to work out the correct order to play them in. There is some back-tracking but it never feels like a chore. The visuals are bright and colourful, which tie in well with the Disney aesthetic. Donald controls well and his Plunger adds a new level of gameplay that is unique. The plunger can be used to access areas or freeze enemies in place. The game isn’t too long so you should be able to finish it in one session. Also, there’s a cheap way to beat the final boss.
Streets of Rage
Sega Mega Drive – 1991
There are many must own games for the Mega Drive and this is absolutely one of them. A great addition to the beat-’em up genre and an absolute blast to play with a friend. The game-play holds up well today. The controls are basic but each enemy requires a slightly different approach. It still looks well after all these years and the music is amazing. The game’s length feels just right as it never becomes monotonous. There are a variety of stages to get through, made easier with a friend, each with their own unique boss. You can also pick up items and health to help you on your way. It is compulsory to accidentally use your special at the beginning of a stage at least once during a play through.