I thought it would be interesting to see which video games I grew up with had playable female characters, and find out if there was a huge imbalance or not. I’m only going to include Nintendo, Super Nintendo, & Game Boy games (all of these I grew up with that and are games my parents bought for me).

I kept the rules in the data gathering simple:
      1) Each game goes in Male, Female, and/or Unknown (N/A).
      2) A game can go in any of the 3 categories (Donkey Kong Country 2 goes into both Male & Female)
      3) I’m ignoring any portrayals of sexist outfits and the male-to-female ratio. This is just a simple tally.
      4) All Spider-Man games I own are excluded so as not to skew results (I own…all of them).


Male:    16
Female: 3
N/A:     1

The only games I had where you play females are The Little Mermaid, Super Mario Brothers 2, and Micky Mousecapade. Though it’s obvious Mickey is the main character, you control Minnie at the same time. She always dies first, and you can never lose Mickey to control only her. The one N/A game we had was Battletank, as it’s never indicated if you are a he or she inside the tank. Most all Nintendo games I had growing had were only male characters you controled. I remember being excited to play The Little Mermaid just because we didn’t have a game under the sea (except for a level in Battletoads). Kirby (In Kirby’s Adventure) I never made in my head as male or female; it was only much later when I heard him referred to as a he that I must have just accepted it. So, not much variety, but then the Super Nintendo came along.


Males:     24
Females: 9
N/A:      0

Megaman X2 is included in the ‘male’ category because he is referred to as a he and looks like a male (and Kirby, while androgynous, is identified as a ‘he’–Kirby Super Star). RPG’s such as Super Mario RPG, Chrono Trigger, & Earthbound have a playable female character, so they also get 1 entry in each category. The first Mortal Kombat, despite having only 1 female player, still gets an entry in both, as does Super Mario Kart (Princess Toadstool). Shadowrunner is male only; you can hire female bodyguards, but you do not control them. I did not include the compilation game Super Mario All-Stars, as it’s not technically a Super Nintendo game.

I’ve only bought about 8 Super Nintendo since graduating high school that I did not included in the results, and that was pretty much half and half in terms of playable characters: Kendo Rage / Alladin / Mickey Mouse are female / male / male; while Revolution X and SeaQuest are Unknown genders.

Game Boy

I don’t even need to tally it. All my games were Bubble Bobble, Star Trek, Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, Super Mario Land 1 & 2, Donkey Kong, FIFA ’96, Pokemon Red, & TMNT 2: Back From The Sewers (all males). Only Battle Arena Toshinden had a playable female in it (a fighting game). Tetris is obviously N/A.

So, yeah, just something I thought would be interesting to look at. Growing up, I see that the Super Nintendo games we had had a ton of more playable female characters than our original Nintendo ones. Remember, this is only my games growing up, and won’t match yours, or the library of either system.

*This review won 2nd place in VideoGameGeek’s monthly video game contest for May 2013. The theme was Law*

 photo 455d3a39-e986-484c-aace-e3375459c26c_zps83b423fa.jpg
Shadowrun US & EU Cover

      My experience with Shadowrun is only through the Super Nintendo game. I’m not going to compare it to the Genesis version, but they are completely different games. I finally got a hold of this game and expected it to be entertaining, but it was not. It was not fun in the slightest.

      In 2058, technology and flesh bond. The Matrix is invented, which allows people to jack into cyberspace. Around the same time, Elves, Dwarves, and Orcs returned to the world. Some were hiding in human guises, whereas others were normal humans who turned into them.

      A Shadowrunner is someone who steals data from corporations for their own profit by jacking into their Matrix systems (they occasionally break into buildings and steal packages or save lives, and occasionally do escort missions, such as walking an NPC from one house to the other house directly next to it). Your brother (a Shadowrunner) is killed, and you fly to Seattle to find out who killed him, by becoming a Shadowrunner yourself.

      The game is played in an Overhead perspective, along with a character portrait of yourself in the far right. It will show your current Mental Health and Physical Health; if either of these reaches 0, you die. Your current spell or weapon will also be displayed under it.

      Right off the bat you will die—all the time. You start walking and immediately get attacked by 1 or 2 people. You can’t fight them very well. So, you’ll have to get money to buy better weapons and protection. When fighting, you simply press A, and your character will attack with the gun or magic you have equipped. The enemy you attack will be surrounded by a either a Green, Yellow, Orange, or Red square to indicate how close to dying they are (in that order). Hit B to change the enemy you want to target. Hit C to control another Shadowrunner with you (if you have one).

 photo c32fbf63-dfd3-4e22-b6d2-92c431b680bd_zps7447b3aa.jpg
I’m attacking the guy on the other end of the screen
while I’m getting beaten up by the guy in front of me.

      One of the aspects I like is random encounters. Occasionally, you will be interrupted by your display screen with various different options to choose from. A Lone Star (police) will come at you, and if you just talk to him, he goes on his way (with a small percentage he will see your illegal weapons and shoot at you). However, if you try to run, he appears on the game map and starts shooting at you (though occasionally you might be able to get away). Many of these encounters are the same thing with a random outcome. In one instance, A sick man will ask for help, and if you help him, he gives you money. Sometimes, however, he will be an instant killing vampire.

 photo e5291c74-1e2c-4a44-b0c6-15ab4cb97b35_zps8a0ae1d1.jpg
A random encounter like this will pop-up and stop your movement in the overhead world,
forcing you to make a decision.

      To raise money, I find a Johnson. They give you missions so you can earn money. When I first started, I was given simple escort missions and prayed that no one would run into me on the way to both locations (you have to walk to where the guy is, then take him to his destination). Whatever you do, you need to save immediately when coming out of the 2nd location for the escort mission. Many times, enemies will already be outside 2 seconds after you exit, giving you a limited opportunity to save because you can’t save during combat (you can’t enter buildings either). Nothing sucks more than accomplishing your mission and getting the money, only to be gunned down immediately after trying to simply walk one step.

      Fighting is at first frustrating, then boring. Every enemy will always come right up next to you and start shooting or punching; enemies cannot be stopped or slowed by guns or magic, they continue to walk right toward you as if the bullets or spells are not there. You end up having to run away a lot while fighting. Luckily, if you are far enough way (not office building levels) your other Shadowrunners won’t get hurt if they are way off-screen.

      The first few hours of the game, if you are caught with 2 enemies or more, you die in 3 seconds with all of them punching you. This game is really hard in the beginning and leads to many deaths simply from just trying to cross the street and find a building. Realizing that taking a taxi would be suicide if every level was harder than this one, I spent over 2 hours doing Shadowruns to afford the best gun and armor, and enough to pay off the gangs to stop attacking me. I was still not ready. In the next town, I died all the time just trying to move. I returned to the original city to earn enough money to get the highest level Zap spell and to hire another Shadowrunner full-time.

      When hiring another Shadowrunner, you can set them (and yourself) to 1 of 5 reaction levels since the AI will control the other ones, and each one affects their defense and attack (if you tell them to be totally offensive, their attack power goes up, but their defense is weaker). Just remember that spells bypass armor altogether.

 photo ShadowrunStats3_zpsa33683f6.jpg
This is your character and his items. The Damage refers to how powerful the shot is.

      When you are injured, you can stay at a hospital to heal your Physical and Mental energy, and how much it costs is relative to how injured you are. Hotel heals your Mental energy only (but fully) but here you can also increase your Karma points.

      Doing a Johnson mission will give you Karma points, as will killing a certain number of people. You use these to increase your stats, and there are a lot of stats; around 20. You need to decide what to focus on (for each Shadowrunner). Charisma makes you drive the prices of gods down and get by guards in corporate buildings. Body increases your defense. There is a separate skills for Medkit. What your skill in it is depends on how much health you administer. Spell makes your spells more accurate and powerful. Guns make your guns more accurate and powerful. And, yes, accuracy is a problem. When using magic, you raise your hands and a small circle moves around you, but sometimes you can press the button, and your arms will raise, but nothing will happen (this is like a Miss in an RPG) and the same can happen for bullets. Lastly, all the Shadowrunners you hire also earn Karma points so you can make the ones you like more powerful, as their stats are permanent, no matter how often they leave the party.

 photo 75a22d19-d9e1-4be5-96c7-8d8950b3ee65_zps8c626bc9.jpg
You can raise every stat here except Essense & Magic (and Sorcery for some). Also, each character has a different Max Limit, with the Orc only able to go to a 4 Intelligence, whereas you can go to an 8.

      I returned to the major part of Seattle, but I couldn’t do many of the Shadowrun missions; they were all too hard. Just going into a building to find something or someone sounds the alarm pretty quickly, for you see, you need a high Charisma to pretend that you work there, and it doesn’t work all the time. Also, once the alarm starts, the guards spawn indefinitely unless you turn off the alarm, but there is only 1 computer that will allow you to do this per floor. Escort missions would be in different towns, which cost a taxi, so you won’t end up making as much money. You could hack into the Matrix now, but the stuff you buy for it only has a limited number of uses, so occasionally I found my Attack or Deception powers just suddenly disappear and I realized I wasted my entire trip in here. Also, I was still not powerful enough to kill Ghouls for extra money (abandoned houses contain infinite spawning Ghouls, and you are sometimes hired to kill them with a price per Ghoul). All I did was find a wide place to run far ahead of the Ghouls, shoot a spell, repeat. But just screwing up once resulted in an instant death too many times.

      Matrix runs are really hard to describe. They are insanely boring. You are a metal avatar traveling from Node to Node looking for a download jack to find information you were hired to retrieve. You can chose 4 of the 12 items for the computer deck (you can never actually buy all 12 at max level, as even the best computer doesn’t have enough memory to fit them all). Your avatar appears before a node. Each node will continue doing what it’s doing or attack you. You can chose to attack it or try to get buy it. Sometimes trying to sneak by it makes it enter attack mode, then you have no choice. If you sneak by it, though, you will not be able to Transfer data if there was a data transfer jack there, so you will need to attack it. Luckily, there is a Matrix map that displays which areas are Data Transfer points. Your attack will miss all the time unless you upgrade your attack more, so yes, even more items to buy and upgrade. Where will you find the money for all this, and just how much time do you want to invest in this game? There are many other things you can buy, such as health, slowing down the Nodes attacks, confusing them; but for the most part, you can do pretty well just using attack and deception only and ignore everything else (and increase your Computer Stat) and explaining every single computer app you can buy might sound like there is depth to this game, but it is really just very dull.

 photo 6d30badb-e7da-4802-964c-a2456f953195_zps8a435d40.jpg
Here you stock up on your computer programs, like Attack and…well, you don’t really need anything else.

 photo bca812e1-ff1b-47cf-b08d-aa4175cb7d57_zpsb94a0cad.jpg
You have 3 attack options, each doing more damage than the other. I assume using the strong one all the time is what led to my Attack option going away forever.

      You can hack into random low-level Matrix areas and steal anywhere from $50 – $200. But when most magic and upgrades cost 14,000 for the Level 4 upgrade (not counting the high price at level 8 and the massively expensive computer boards that are over 200,000) you realize grinding in a different way is all you are doing. To hack into specific locations, you need a password from a Johnson because it’s for your mission. To hack corporate buildings, you need to be in the actual building itself (but to do that, you have to have a mission reason to be there). It’s only later that you can discover a Johnson that will hire you for Matrix mission for the big corporations and give you passwords to hack from the outside. Hire him all the time, as the passwords are permanent even after the mission is over; this way you can go in and make more money on the side if you wish.

      After traveling to all the other cities and learning everything I could about the story, I eventually gave up on the game. Yes, I could do stupid little side missions only and gain money to get better stuff, but I already did 6-8 hours of this stuff; I was not wasting anymore time on this. I never give up on a game, but this game made me abandon it.

      I would have given up there, but a few days later I looked to see if there was a cheat code; and there was. I gave myself 250,000 to see if it would actually change the outcome of anything; it didn’t.

      I eventually gave in and did it 3 more times, making my stats (and my 2 other Shadowrunners’ stats) up a little and getting them the best armor (you can buy items, armors, weapons, magic, and cyberware for any of the Shadorunners you hire). And, if you dismiss them (or they run off after dying) they retain all their items and stat bonuses.

      I hired a 3rd Shadowrunner permanently, then we died really quickly. I then show up at the hospital with $350.00 taken from me. It takes forever to earn that much money. And if I try to hire the same Shadowrunner again, his prices goes up because you nearly got him killed before. You can hire Shadowrunners for the short or long term, but both prices go up if you let them die. Can you guess what you have to do? Yep, reset the game and reload your game.

      Still, the combat just gets worse. None of the enemies have any concept of anything but run right at you and attack, even people with guns. Only other wizards will stand afar and shoot at you. Even when I became powerful enough to stand a chance, fights just weren’t exciting or fun; they were all boring and not well constructed.

      An important thing you have on you is your Notebook. This keeps track of plot points so you know what or who you are looking for. It also includes a list of every Johnson that offers missions (and where they are located) and every Shadowunner you can hire (and where they are located). However, there is no Map; you will have to remember all the 50 buildings or so and what they are for. There is a map included in the manual which lists which doors you can go in, but you will have to write in what the buildings are yourself. In addition, the Notebook also keeps a list of contacts. You need to meet people and pay them for contacts. These people sometimes give you more contacts or help you out for a price (such as getting into you into a prison to break someone out, or selling you discount weapons). It wasn’t until much later that I realized I had missed the most important contact of the game; the guy who sells you keycards for corporate buildings so you can sneak around without being attacked on site if you fail your Charisma check. This finally made the corporate missions a little easier, but you can still screw up with the random co-worker that likes to talk to you all the time. Now, corporate raids were the best source of money as there are safes all over the place with money inside. Occasional you find grenades instead (?) but you can then sell those for money. This is when I started making more money to buy things. I could then afford to buy computer apps to infiltrate corporate computers to find even more money in Data Transfers in addition to money hidden in safes, making an average of $1,000.00 each mission, plus the $2,000 for completing the mission successfully.

 photo 4e8fd3f6-602b-4711-bfcb-b163a49e79f4_zps50f332c1.jpg
I’m a beefy, chest-exposing guy with a blade on my arm and this is my half-naked elven co-worker;
we totally work here.

      Random Mentions

It’s mentioned that you shouldn’t carry illegal weapons, but I never had a problem with it. My Orc Fighter carried an illegal shotgun the entire game without incident.

Everyone starts with 6.0 Essence. If you equip yourself with genetic modifications, you lose that Essence and spells are less effective. My elf Decker had an Essene of 1.6 because her focus was in computer hacking, not magic, so equipping her with things wouldn’t matter. Early in the game, it’s better to hire her to go into the Matrix rather than going yourself. These modifications are the weakest aspect of the game, as you never need anything that will drop your Essence detrimentally.

Item overload. There are over 100 unique items and every single item is available at the beginning of the game. You won’t know where to begin or what to spend your money on, let alone what’s worth buying. This is both a blessing and curse, as the exploration should be fun, but in the beginning you die way too easily to really enjoy it.

Spells. When using guns, you use ammo that you can run out of and have to buy replacement clips. But with spells, some drain your mental Energy. They can damage an enemy really quickly, but drain you a lot. Usually, you stick to the weaker, non-draining spells so you can attack indefinitely and save the big spells for when 4-5 enemies show up on-screen at once. You can buy items that absorb your drain a limited number of times, but that felt worthless and too costly to me when you can only hold 8 items and you really need to pay for a helicopter to bypass a half hour stage that is full of insanely powerful Weindigos.

Hilariously, if you max out your best computer with every application you can, you will no longer be able to download data in Matrix runs because you used up all your memory, which means you can’t make money this way the rest of the game. Luckily, you can still download plot relevant data.

 photo ShadowrunTitleScreen_zpsdb95d3a8.jpg

      Story: 10 out of 10

The story (for the time) is more involved that most. There are many twists in turns in solving your brothers murder. In addition, the personalities of some of the character are very interesting. Even the Contacts system, in which people join a contact system for money to help people do illegal things, is interesting and very fun to read and use. Also, the random story moments that pop up when just walking around lead to a feeling that anything could happen at anytime that could sometimes reward you, but for the most part leads to situations you will try to avoid and help develop some tension.

      Sound: 5 out of 10

I only remember the theme song from the title screen. I know there are other songs there, but I can’t remember any of them even after playing for over 20 hours. That comes to average in my book.

      Graphics: 5 out of 10

The graphics are very detailed when looking at faces and people. However, the sprites are very similar and small; making battles hard to maneuver and sometimes you forget where you are and which character you are controlling.

      Controls: 8 out of 10

The controls are very simple, as stated above. It is the stats of your characters and weapons that make it seem complicated, but otherwise, A is attack, B is focus on another target, and C is switch characters. The only odd thing is when you turn, your entire body turns along your shoulder, so sometime you make some awkward moves when traveling around the map and it can make you run into an enemy or go in a door you don’t want to go in.

      Challenge: 5 out of 10

This game is challenging, but the challenging isn’t alleviated by maxing out your character, unless you REALLY max out your character. The reason this isn’t a high score is because there is too much grinding and repetitive play, as well as an unusually high learning curve in the beginning. If you enjoy games that really change you, however, you might want to check this out.

      Fun: 3 out of 20

I really don’t know why I continued playing. It was fun the first 2 hours or so, then a little more fun once I cheated and gave myself money, but each only lasted briefly. I wanted to play to see what they did with the story, but eventually the story moments became fetch quests and even that lost its appeal. Looking at GameFAQs reviews, however, not liking this game seems pretty rare.

      Replay: 0 out of 10

I’m selling this game. That should tell you how much replay value I am giving it.

      Extra: 10 out of 10

I give a high score to it’s extras. It has lots of bonus side missions. And though they can get repetitive, they made many different buildings to infiltrate, along with many different escort and Matrix hacking missions. Though it will become a requirement to do almost all of them to earn money, you can tell they really enjoyed making their Shadowrun missions. Also, there is a cheat menu that does amazing things. Simply select A, B, B, A, C, A, B on the title screen, load your game, then go to the menu and scroll past the Save/Load option and select the blank space; you now have 8 cheats you can do to the game.

Bonus Points:

       +5 Random Encounters

The random encounters with individuals in distress, random animals you have to hide from, and even undercover cops pretending to sell illegal weapons to trick you so they can kill you (they never try to arrest) are really inventive. I haven’t really seen anything like it before and really believe something like this should be incorporated into other games.

      Total Score: 51 out of 90.

I still see a lot of positive points in the game, but the few major negatives I have with it seem to supersede all of it for me. I thought it would be fun the way the Super Nintendo game was. Alas, games with the same name for different systems back then really were completely different games.

See the review at:
      VideoGameGeek / RetroWareTV / GameFAQS

Every cover in America, Europe, & Japan used this image;
while a re-print showed more art to the left.


       Altered Beast is one of the Sega Ages line being re-released on PlayStation Network. It was originally a game packaged with the Sega Genesis in 1989 (it was pre-dated by an Arcade game that same year). It was just released on PlayStation network on September 6, 2011.

       Altered Beast was the first Genesis game I ever played, and all I can remember about it is punching zombies, and the phrases, “Power Up” & “Rise From Your Grave.” So, is it still fun after all this time?

       The game starts off with you as a small man, who has just arisen from your grave to start beating up zombies and wolves. You won’t know why you are doing anything until you watch each cutscene and the plot unfolds.

       Your basic controls are to punch, kick, and jump. If you hold down while hitting the kick button, you will kick straight up into the air, which is an easier way to hit airborne enemies. Pressing down and attack only makes you punch while ducking. You can also jump half your body size, unless you hold up and jump, then you can jump nearly the entire screen to get up to a platform.

       Altered Beast plays on two different levels. There is always a lower level, but most of the time there is a platform up top for you to move in-between (or run away) from enemies. There is normally no deviation from this except in some platforming elements in a cave level.

       Your first objective is to collect white orbs that you must retrieve by punching white wolves. Once you collect your first orb, your chest explodes outward and rips your shirt apart. A 2nd orb does the same to more extreme (with your character’s head not changing, leading to a funny site). Collecting a 3rd orb transforms you into a Beast.

The white wolves actually flash white and red.

       There are five different beasts you transform into, each according to what level you are on.

Level 1: A Wolf that shoots fireballs and has a fire dash; your speed also increases.
Level 2: A Dragon that constantly flies. You shoot electricity from your mouth, and you have an electric charge attack that surrounds your entire body.
Level 3: A Bear that has a jump spin. The weakest of the 5 forms.
Level 4: A Tiger that shoots bouncing fireballs, and has a vertical dash.
Level 5: A Golden Wolf with the same abilities as the Level 1 Wolf.

       You normally want to become a beast as soon as possible, because being human sucks: You are slow, and the controls are stiff. Sometimes your controller takes a half second to respond to your input.

       Once you’ve encountered the Demon man for the 3rd time, he transforms into a boss. However, if you are already a Beast when you meet him for the 1st or 2nd time, the Boss fight will start early. If you are human when you reach him for the 3rd time, well, let’s just say you might want to pray. Once you have defeated the boss, you are turned back into your weakest form and must repeat the process.

These monsters get harder and harder, as you must be only a pixel
ahead of him to punch first. Usually, you will be hurt.

       New PlayStation Network Features:

1) You can see the controls and assign any button to any thing you want.
2) They also included a Smoothing option to make the old graphics look better.
3) A scoreboard exists to track the highest point totals.
4) You can play multi-player in your own house or online.
5) Trophies. Yes, there are trophies. They are all easy to get.
6) You can play the original difficulty settings of Easy, Normal, Hard, & Hardest with the original Genesis continue and life bar options, but you also customize your lives and continues for each difficulty option.
7) You can save your game at any time (like an emulator Save State) up to 3 times

Score Breakdown

       Story: 5 out of 10

You have been resurrected by Zeus to rescue Athena (though this is nowhere in game). The story is told in pictures through the graphics with no dialogue between levels.

       Challenge: 7 out of 10

Altered Beast is hard. If you want to try the hardest difficulty setting, you will be playing for a bit, but it is easy to learn the game and beat it in just a few playthroughs (you can also Save State Spam if that is your thing).

       Music: 3 out of 10

The points are for the phrases the people speak (a cool feature at the time), as I don’t remember a single song or even notice it’s there.

       Fun: 10 out of 20

The game can be fun, but it gets a little frustrating on many occasions due to the punching demon enemies that always seem to hit you first. Sometimes the white wolves are placed n the most annoying of locations.

       Controls: 5 out of 10

The controls are a little stiff when human, but they are an early Genesis game, so that should be taken into account. The controls get easier to manage when you are a beast.

       Graphics: 6 out of 10

The boss graphics are huge and take up a large portion of the screen while still looking good. However, most of the enemies keep getting re-used.

The bosses are really large and hard to dodge.

       Replay: 3 out of 10

Once you’ve played it, you might want to play it again on a harder mode, but once you’ve done that, that’s it. It was fun to replay a 2nd time, but after that you won’t want to.

       Extras: 5 out of 10

There are no extras to speak of on the original version, but due to the extra modes added to the Playstation Network, it gets half the needed points.

       Bonus Points:

       +3 Enjoyable Ending

Most games had pretty pathetic endings at this time, and Altered Beast has a fun ending, as after the credits, it will show the characters in the game taking off their monster costumes as if the game you just played was a movie.

       Total Score: 47 out of 90

Altered Beast can be a fun game, but it is a little frustrating at times. However, it is one of those games that can be fun to play as a guilty pleasure for half an hour.

You will never beat the game unless you read
the hints in the helpful, 3 page rulebook.

This review is also available at:
       VideoGameGeek / RetrowareTV / GameFAQS


      When I was younger, my sisters and I had to decide on a video game we could all enjoy, and we mutually agreed for our father to purchase The Little Mermaid for the Nintendo Entertainment System. Now, this game was one of the easiest games I had played on the Nintendo, but that didn’t make it less exciting to play; in fact, it was fun. The same cannot be said of The Little Mermaid on Sega Genesis.

      Noticing it at a store a few years ago, I remembered the Nintendo game, and thought that for $5.00, the Genesis game might be worth a look. Sadly, it was not.


      When the game starts, “Under The Sea” plays, and sounds very good on the Genesis (I normally don’t find Genesis soundtracks interesting). It was nice to actually get the music for the show it’s based on, as this doesn’t normally happen on a licensed game.

      In addition, the title’s text flows along as if it’s inside the ocean; this looked promising.

      Once you select Start, you can choose to play as Ariel, or her father, King Triton. Not sure who wanted to play as King Triton; but they don’t play any differently. However, if you wait at the intro briefly, you will see a demo where Ariel shoots some stars out of her hands then runs into an eel and dies. Not a very impressive demo.

      If you are so inclined, you can chose to play through the entire game without music.

      Ariel starts out able to shoot stars from her hand that make a noise as if they are saying something, while another shoots a music note. The music note works like the stars in that it makes creatures run away (Disney characters can’t kill, of course), but the music note only works at very, very close range. It doesn’t help that it travels slightly up, slightly down, or directly ahead of you at random. In addition, she can call forth animals to help her.

      King Triton operates the same, using fireballs as a long range weapon (but he can use them indefinitely for some reason), and poke with his Triton as a short range weapon.

      You start out with 5 keys on Easy, but must find them scattered in the levels if you play Hard. You have a health meter, and an indicator telling you how many stars/lasers you can shoot . The lower right-hand corner is a flash of light; that is how many lives you have (not very intuitive). Eventually, you will find Scuttle the seagull, who is a shopkeeper that can sell you items, and even your fish friends. You need to know what everything does before buying. I bought a one time weapon for King Triton and used it at what I thought might blow up a rock (this is what Flounder is for) so I could save a merman, but instead, the weapon went through the rock and saved the merman by hitting him. Not sure on the logic on that one.

      You summon Flounder the fish to push rocks (even if you play the muscular King Triton), Sebastian the crab to chase away enemies, and grey fish (he’s not from the movie) to scoop up sand to look for hidden items (which usually there aren’t so you just wasted money).

Your King commands you suffer brain damage.

      The worst thing about this game is the movement. Occasionally, your character moves at a decent pacey, but moves very, very slowly ¾ time, even with no enemies on screen. And when enemies are there, they do not move slow. The game feels slow, and it’s very frustrating wanting to simply move forward, only for Ariel/Triton to move slightly fast, then come to a crawl for 5 seconds without explanation. Ecco the Dolphin was already out on the Genesis and moves better than this. In fact, Ariel is similar to Ecco in that you have a large underwater world with multiple pathways to explore and can shoot things at enemies. Ecco couldn’t use items from a shop, though (being a dolphin and all).

      The attacking is also not well designed. When you move, your character sprite is so big, and he/she makes such a huge turn that the attack is suddenly in a new direction far away from the enemy

These sharks are really homing missiles in disguise.

      Also, enemies constantly respawn and are very numerous. They are hard to hit, due to the above mentioned control issues, and due to mediocre hit detection. The sharks are the worst; not only do your weapons not hurt them, but they will follow you, often in pairs, for 10 seconds. Luckily, they were programmed to lose interested after that time. The enemies get worse on Level 2; living skeletons that jump around in very small areas. You will find that it’s easier to run through them and take damage, as just trying to attack them will get you hit multiple times. Not only that, but if you do defeat them, they become a pile of skeletons that can still hurt you if you touch it. And for a bonus, do all this while cannonballs bounce around the small areas.

I hate, hate, hate having to slowly float through these skeletons; it’s made harder by that
brick I am stuck against, meaning I have to swim downward and take damage.

      What is surprising is that secrets respawn, too. I used Flounder to push a rock, but I didn’t have the key to open the chest inside. When I came back with the key, the rock was magically back, and I had no Flunders left to move the rock again.

      Surprisingly, the bosses are very easy. Even on the Hard mode they aren’t as hard as swimming through the skeletons. For the final boss, you can stand directly next to Ursula’s face and spam the attack button to win.

Hey, remember this boss from the film?

      The most helpful thing of all is the map. When you hit pauses, you access a large, widescreen map of the entire area which flashes to indicate where you are. This feature is very useful. In addition, there are flashing dots all over the place. These are little creatures that Ursula had in the movie. When you touch them, they turn into Mermen who swim away to freedom. Once you save all of them, you are magically transported to the boss.


      Story: 1 out of 10

No story, at all. At least most license games try to have a patchwork story, or put some pictures together. At least it knows to add characters: Flounder, King Triton, Ariel, Eels, Sebastion, Scuttle, & Ursula.

I do find it ironic that a game under the sea was created by a company called Blue Sky.

      Music: 6 out of 10

The music is fun to listen to, and makes me appreciate the music of the genesis more than I normally do.

      Challenge: 5 out of 10]

The challenge to this game is average. If the controls were polished and the slowdown removed, I would give it a 10 out of 10, even if the game was easy, as the challenge would be more of what the game was targeted toward.

      Fun: 0 out of 20

There was nothing here for me to enjoy.

      Control: 3 out of 10

I already mentioned this, but the way Ariel/Triton controls is slow, way to slow to be enjoyable. Way to slow to avoid all enemy attacks. Way to slow to attack enemies before they continue to plow through you.

      Graphics: 8 out of 10

The sea is very bright and colorful, and there are many animations done for Ariel and the creatures in her world. Each of the levels also has a different color palette of the world it is in.

      Replay Value: None

      Extras: None

      Bonus Points: None

      Total Points: 23 out of 90

      Ariel – The Little Mermaid, is a very short game, and can be beaten in 20 minutes. It looks like it was made quickly and shipped out without much testing to be released before the movie, which is a shame, as it holds so much nice graphical detail and possible good ideas that it had the potential to be a good game. It was not rushed for the movie’s release, by the way, as the movie was made in 1989, the Nintendo game in 1991, and the Genesis game was released in 1992. So, it was not rushed, but it sure feels that way. Hopefully this will teach me to stop buying games that remind me other ones.



This reviews also available at:
      VideoGameGeek / RetrowareTV / GameFAQS

So, just messing around with editing the opening and ending stories of Battletoads / Double Dragon. Enjoy.

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Continuing the Battletoads / Double Dragon games, we look at the final levels and the battles with the Dark Queen & Shadow Boss.

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This is the first part of my Battletoads / Double Dragon review. Here I look into all 4 systems the game was released on (Super Nintendo, Genesis, Nintendo, & Game Boy) and not only explain why it was an amazing game, but, despite the fact all 4 games look psychically the same, I compare the strikingly different game play differences between them.

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This is Part 3 of 3 of the original Battletoads game, with a look at the Nintendo & Amiga opening cinema, the endings for all the systems, and the graphics differences.

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Part 2 of the Battletoads Retrospective & Review: The Game Boy Games.

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This is the first episode in a through review of every single Battletoads game in the short lived franchise. I did not skip episodes 22 – 24, I just didn’t finish playing those games yet. So, until the episodes start airing in order, enjoy the original game plus the Game Boy original in the 1st of 3 episodes.

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