Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?

Thank you, helpful schlub
You’re an agent hot on the trail of a minion of the notoriously hard-to-catch-despite-being-dressed-like-a-fire thief Carmen Sandiego! Someone has stolen something from somewhere, and based on a series of geographic clues, you have to trail them around the world until you gather enough evidence to put out a warrant for their arrest. Sound fun? It is, kinda.

This is probably the closest thing I’ve seen to SNES game that manages to be educational and entertaining at the same time. As you fly around the world from place to place collecting information about your subject, you must display a tiny amount of geographical knowledge in order to follow their trail. “I saw someone like that,” says a helpful hotel clerk. “They were eating a red and white flag.” Red and white? Eating a flag? To Japan we go, land of the flag-eaters*!

While the music and the graphics in Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? aren’t all that great, they serve the game play quite well by presenting information you need in a clear and concise format. Well, the graphics present things. The music doesn’t present much. It just plays vaguely pleasing noises at you.

If you gather enough details about the appearance and hobbies and destination of your subject, you can issue a warrant for their death. Or arrest. Whatever. It makes you feel like an FBI agent who doesn’t know how to use the Internet and spends a lot of money on air travel.

When you finally capture your target you’re presented with a graphic sequence where you strip search and question them for hours, cumulating in water boarding them. It’s a strangely prescient look at today’s governmental institutions and their rampant abuse of naked time power.

In other words, fun!

* This is probably a fetish there since they have all of them. God they’re advanced.

WarpSpeed

I think I see something! Is it a fun game? No...no, my mistake.
It’s no secret that I’m burned out on writing these reviews, primarily because I just wrote “I’m burned out on writing these reviews” and you presumably read it, otherwise this whole thing makes no sense. To be fair I was burned out writing these reviews about 60 or so reviews ago, but I like to bite off more than I can chew and I have a giant mouth with some great big teeth. Great big teeth that I’m now going to sink into the tasteless sludge of a meal that is WarpSpeed. There, that was an intro of sorts. God I’m tired. So tired.

Who hasn’t wanted to pilot a spaceship? I might have asked this question before, but I’m still waiting for the imagination-free twat I know is waiting out there with some fun-busting negative answer. Until he or she (let’s face it: he) responds to me, I will blithely assume NO ONE. There’s NO ONE who wouldn’t want to pilot an intergalactic vessel with warp speed and phaser guns and sexy alien ladies and sweating. WarpSpeed is a game that has some of those things, sort of.

As you can see from the action-packed screenshot, this game is a little light on the graphics. You can see into the void and aim at the nothing through your reticule, blasting away merrily at whatever should venture into your sights. I found it difficult to aim at anything, let alone hit it, but keep in mind I’m a spastic manchild who blathers about SNES games until my eyes hurt and I yearn for the sweet pillowy embrace of Lady Death.

Navigation across the vastness of space is done by consulting a Battleship-esque (yes, I just wrote that) map that shows you the position of your enemies. Driving around trying to find them is so much fun I wrote a sarcastic sentence about it.

There are several different missions or modes or SOMETHING but I’m not really sure since every one I played involved me drifting around in space, occasionally shooting and missing enemy ships who would challenge me to a combat that I thought we were already having.

Sure, WarpSpeed lets you pilot a spaceship, but you don’t feel like a competent pilot in a good spaceship. You feel like a loser. A space loser.

Tuff E Nuff

I was not "tuff" "enuff"
So let’s get this straight: in the near(ish) future, a “war to end all wars*” has turned the Earth into a desolate wasteland where only the strongest will survive.

Yeah, okay. I’m with you so far. I can accept this as a premise, since despite it being tired as all hell, post-apoc stuff is my genre sweetheart. Here’s where it starts to get wonky: the strongest fighter somehow “comes into power” (I guess by punching people until they admit he’s their leader?) and builds a tower in the city to show off his strength. I guess if he built the tower by himself that would be fairly impressive…

Anyway, this man named “JADE,” declares himself “fighting king” and proceeds to rule the land. I guess poorly, because people always want to fight him. Supposedly if you beat him he stops ruling the land in such a poor fashion—I guess he either abdicates or learns a valuable lesson about how leadership involves more than just being good at fighting.

Four champions are sent out to dethrone the fighting king by punching each other in a tournament until they presumably get to punch him off his throne.

The game itself (stunningly complex plot aside) is a fairly shitty fighting game. The character designs are uninspired and boring, the levels are ugly, and the sound is…ok. It seems a bit harder than most generic fighters since I couldn’t even get past the first fighter in the tournament. She beat me senseless…though I hardly think it’s fair she gets to throw daggers at me while I slowly windmill kicks from across the map. Maybe this game gets better if you’re somewhat competent at it—I will never, ever know.

All said and done, I’d rather play 800 games of Street Fighter II in a row than play this game again, and I don’t even really like SFII all that much. “Buyer” beware!

* I assume this war is started because of the never-ending conflict as to which is better: Mac or PC. Little do the participants of this war realize…they are all very stupid.

Toys

THIS GAME ISN'T GOOD

Toys is one of the SNES games that almost made me quit playing games forever. Like many of the games I’ve had the displeasure of reviewing for EGE, it’s not egregiously bad enough to be entertaining, it just sucks in a bland, forgettable way—much like the movie that I barely remember watching, if in fact I did watch it. That I’m not certain about that says quite a bit about it.

You play as whatever Robin Williams’ character’s name was in the movie. I can’t even be bothered to look that up because of how tedious the subject matter is to me. You wander around a claustrophobic map looking like a dipshit butler while you wield entirely ineffectual weapons at the “killer toys” that have been unleashed wherever it is you’re supposed to be. Peanut cannon? Water balloons? Wow, fun. Good luck hitting anything with your “weapons.”

You can pick up “power-ups” (a term I’m using as loosely as is possible while still using a term) in the form of presents from a turnstile. A better present would be a real gun, which I would then use to shoot myself. In or out of this terrible game, I don’t care.

As far as I can tell it’s a much better strategy to idly wander around your dumb enemies than to try and engage them with any of your flaccid firepower. They don’t do a very good job seeking you out, so it’s a simple enough manner to avoid them like I’ve been avoiding writing this.

The game has music. It’s not the worst ever, but it’s certainly nothing I’d want to listen to ever again.

Uhh. What else can I say about this game? It looks shitty, it is shitty. Sorry if you worked on this game. Sorry about the choices you made in life. Here’s some proof you made bad ones.

Top Gear

A driving game
I have vague recollections of playing Top Gear a lot when it first came out (before you were born). Perhaps the video game equivalent of highway hypnosis has robbed me of these memories, or perhaps it’s the fact that my brain is so drenched in various chemical “enhancements” it’s a minor miracle of science that I’m alive. Maybe it’s a combination of the two. I’m not a doctor except when I pretend to be one so I can steal hypodermic needles.

Getting back to the simulacrum of a “review” I’m currently scamming you with, Top Gear is a pretty good racing game for the SNES. It’s not flashy, it’s not complicated or difficult, it’s just some straightforward drivin’ action. The music is pretty killer, the graphics are about the best you can get with a SNES (if you don’t play many other games), and the controls are good enough that I can win races. Basically, it’s everything I could ask for in a driving game for the SNES.

Play it by yourself or play it split-screen with friends! I don’t care!

Here’s an ascii car I stole from here:

                                   _._
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             ___.===""""-.______-,,,,,,,,,,,,`-''----" """""       """""  __'
      __.--""     __        ,'                   o \           __        [__|
 __-""=======.--""  ""--.=================================.--""  ""--.=======:
]       [w] : /        \ : |========================|    : /        \ :  [w] :
V___________:|          |: |========================|    :|          |:   _-"
 V__________: \        / :_|=======================/_____: \        / :__-"
 -----------'  ""____""  `-------------------------------'  ""____""

Tiny Toon Adventures: Wacky Sports Challenge

I was bad at this event. And all events.
I don’t really want to review this game. There’s nothing wrong with it, I just don’t want to do it. I’ve been looking at it, sitting here in my REVIEW QUEUE for a few weeks now, and I have nothing to say about it. I can tell you what the game is, I can describe the events in the game, I can talk about the Tiny Toons franchise…but none of this seems worthwhile. It could be said that nothing I ever say in reviews is worthwhile, but at least it’s usually amusing, right? RIGHT? 

This game has left no impression on me at all. It looks ok, it sounds ok, it plays ok, it’s ok. One thing that does stay with me is that I don’t like the premise: Montana Max offers a million dollars for some WACKY SPORTS CHALLENGE and the other toons kill each other to get it (well, compete with each other, no fatalities as of yet). I don’t like the premise because it’s dull and uncreative as shit. The best thing you could come up with is that they want a million dollars from the series’ resident rich asshole? The Tiny Toons show was actually kind of clever at times, and from what I’ve seen of this game, it is not.

Here’s a better premise for making the Tiny Toons compete against each other in a WACKY SPORTS CHALLENGE: Montana Max is dying. He does not want to face the reaper alone, so he kidnaps the other toons. Soon, they’re thrust into a deadly game where the only winner is the one who dies the least painfully. I would play this game and gladly review it. In the meantime, if you want a game that has a series of WACKY SPORTS CHALLENGES, I suppose you could do worse than this game. It’s competent!

Time Trax

It's Trax for Time Trax! I mean Time! Time for Trax Trax! I mean...oh whatever
A SNES game based on an obscure Australian/American sci-fi show that ran for all of one year? Yes please! If you were alive and watching Australian television between 1993 and 1994, you might have been lucky enough to catch the adventures of Darien Lambert as he did his level best to capture time traveling criminals.

Aided by a holographic companion (sound familiar?) and his keyless car alarm remote gun (yes, for serious), Darien would traipse around looking for fugitives to send back to the future. Anything is possible when you have SELMA (Specified Encapsulated Limitless Memory Archive—I feel dumber for having typed that out) on your side!

What a rare treat for the fans of the show who also managed to find a copy of the SNES game*! Except not really, because this game is kind of bad. “Kind of bad” is still probably better than most of the games we review here, but it’s still bad. The graphics are nothing to write a review about, but they’re capable at least—where this game fails is in its fiddly controls and relentlessly respawning enemies. Ask anyone being tirelessly hunted by Jason Vorhees: it’s really frustrating to kill someone or something only to have it reappear moments later, even more annoyed than it was in the first place at your attempts to kill it. Lousy revenants.

Time Trax is the hardest kind of game to review: it’s not so bad or ridiculous that it’s really easy to mock, nor is it so good you can gush praise from whichever orifice you normally use to gush praise. Instead, it manages to dance a line of mediocrity so unassailable it’s difficult to do much other than recognize the game exists and explain its genesis.

If I ever find myself capable of time travel I might return to the past to convince its creators to forget the entire thing, but there’s zero chance I’d ever remember to do that and I’d be too busy harassing Jane Mansfield anyway. No, this game isn’t likely to leave much of an impression on anyone, for good or for ill, just like the review you’ve finished reading.

* Approximately six people, give or take six people.