Can you survive An Unholy Return: The 31 Games of Halloween?
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The Notorious ABC's
A is for Atrocious
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on August 05, 2003   |   Episode 1 (Show Archive)  

   

Never judge a book by it's cover ... thankfully that rule doesn't apply to video games!
The first letter in the alphabet is A, a letter that appears in a number of words including apple, slam, creation, and aardvark. Hmm, let's just get on with it ...

Bad games come in all shapes and sizes, but there's only one that has 52 bad games in one. And wouldn't you know it, that game houses a bad game in just about every genre you can think of.

In the days of the 8-Bit systems, gamers were always looking to get as much value out of their cartridges as possible. Problem was, most carts were no more than 4 megabit, which is only half a megabyte. No matter what year it is, that's not a lot of memory to work with. It's not like these days where our digital media has almost unlimited storage space, back in the day you had to be conservative, and even cut some corners if you were going to make it work.

This memory problem is what makes Action 52 so suspect. But after you've played a few of the "games" you'll see why there are so many. At $200, Action 52 has almost nothing going for it, none of the games are very deep, and most take no more than an hour to play all the way through. The controls are generally pitiful, and there's just no getting around how bad these games look.

After playing a number of the games I started to sense a pattern. While a lot of the games are different, many of them

I think it's pretty obvious, when you think Arthur the first thing that comes to mind is kart racing!
are the same game with substituted graphics. Like when you buy a CD Single, and it comes with a dozen remixes of a song. Even though it's different, it's still the same song ... and after awhile we start to want something new.

One also has to wonder how much time was put into these games. Judging by the quality, one is left to assume these poor developers had less than a few weeks to finish their projects. But I don't think it will take you that long to grow tired of every single one of the 52 titles. Do yourself a favor and find a game that knows what it wants to be, and doesn't cost more than the system.

When I first started playing Arthur! Ready to Race, I was a little confused. This is a game about some animated character, and not based on the movie starring Dudley Moore and Liza Minnelli. The entire ride home I was sure that I would be racing expensive cars drunk off my ass while chasing some of the ugliest women around, but no, I get some lame Nickelodeon kart racing game.

And it's not even a good racing game. The collision detection is some of the worst you'll ever see in a kart racer, and the sense of speed is completely out of whack. You'd swear these characters could walk faster than they drive. And to make matters even worse, it's filled with characters who aren't interesting in the least. Even if kart racing games weren't completely played out this would still be one of the worst racing games of all time.

If it's alcohol you need to get through Arthur: Ready to Race, you'll need to be blind to locate any fun out of Air Cars. This early

"Hey Jim, are you sure all we get from this satellite dish is religious programming and Lifetime?"
Jaguar game has the distinction of being the worst looking "64-Bit" game of all time. While Nintendo was showcasing Mario's first 3D outing, Atari was trying to sell copies of this game, a game that didn't even look as good as what we had on the 16-Bit systems, let alone the 32-Bitters they were fighting against!

Air Cars can be called a lot of things, but compelling isn't one of them. It's trying extremely hard to be a cross between Twisted Metal and a traditional tank game, but it fails on both counts. Air Cars has some pretty intense battles, but with the cheap hits and steep difficulty, the game is more frustrating than it is engaging. Nothing about this game feels genuine, you're supposed to be on some sort of hovercraft, yet the game makes you feel like you're underwater most of the time. It feels as if no attention was put into the physics of the vehicles, and that's never a good sign when one of the words in your title is "Cars".

But am I being too rough on Air Cars? Well consider this, compared to the rest of the first generation Jaguar titles, Air Cars is on the bottom of the list ... and there were some pretty terrible products released early on for this system.


For being an honorable warrior, Athena isn't really dressed for the task. What's that? No, I don't think I'm missing the point!
Of course, I'd be the first to argue that how a game looks doesn't really matter in the long run. After all, it's the game play we're after, no matter what anybody says. But in a similar sense, I believe that you cannot judge a character based on how good they look.

Take for example Athena, the SNK character that found her way onto one of the worst Nintendo Entertainment System games of all time. But judging by the cover you'd expect this game to be produced by Larry Flynt, or at least be similar to Bay Watch. But instead we get one of the dullest 2D side scrollers ever to find its way to the market place.

But let me get back to that cover, the one where she is in the two piece bikini OBVIOUSLY looking for some sort of action ... though I'm not sure it's the kind of action/adventure you find in this game. And is it just me, or does she need to do a little tanning. I know the armor she should be wearing throughout the game keeps her skin away from the sun, but damn, she should have a little vanity.

Her adventure, which involves her simply trying to "locate" something to do, is about as exciting as your average loading screen. And the graphics weren't nearly as impressive as her wardrobe. But what sets this game apart from the countless other bad 8-Bit games, is that the game is nearly impossible to beat. It's one of those sort of games that dares you to beat it, and works against you the entire time. I'm not sure what is worse, the fact that there is no reason for her to be doing any of this, or that anybody would even want to take on this inane quest.


Like the TV show, the Airwolf video game had horrible effects and was quickly forgotten after it was turned off!
Almost as boring as Athena is flying in the world of Airwolf. Fans of cheesy TV shows should be up in arms about this terrible port of the classic series that first featured Ernest Borgnine, and then was later retooled with a bunch of no name pretty boys. But as bad as the second try at Airwolf was, it was the game that was truly appalling.

Imagine flying over a world that is completely void of any life, buildings, or animation. A world where the ground is one color, the sky is another, and you shoot and things that look a little like flying blocks. It's not just that the game looks bad, but it also plays surprisingly slow, and flickers enough to give just about everybody epileptic seizures.

At it's best it's nothing more than a license of a B-rate TV drama, at its worse it's one of the worst flight simulators of all time. This Airwolf wouldn't be able to fly even with strings attached.

What We Can Take from the Letter A: You should never trust a company when they promise dozens of games on one cartridge ... the Arthur racing game is not about drunk Dudley Moore trying to get his millions back ... Air Cars isn't a racing game, and is even less of a game ... Athena may have a two piece bikini on, but that doesn't mean she's worth knowing ... Airwolf can stay alive on rerun TV, but the game should never fly again!
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