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 Valour Reviews

D&D - Warriors of the Eternal Sun (U) [!] (Sega Genesis) on March 23, 2012
Real-Time Combat Classic RPG
Definitely an immersive game, D&D Warriors of the Eternal Sun lets you choose from a variety of character races and classes, even rolling for their stats, and naming them. The game combines a 3rd-person overhead view when walking outside with a 1st-person view when cave exploring. The game is similar to Shadowrun in that despite its RPG status, it occurs in real time, with the possibility of an enemy attack any time you're outside the town walls, and similar to Shining in the Darkness in that you'll spend most of your time exploring the surrounding area, essentially dungeon-crawling.

The game is surprisingly challenging, with the risk of your characters dying at any time from the powerful foes which lurk around every corner. Leveling your characters to reach the point where you can ever feel truly 'safe' is not as easy as in other RPGs. And, for being a seemingly "sword and sorcery" tale, the realism of a medieval, mysterious setting is actually very well done with entertaining plot twists and a massive landscape for exploration.

The setting is somewhat dark and depressing, and few games truly portray the realism of warfare and the troubles of average people in a war-torn land better than this game. If you're looking for lighter fare you may want to look elsewhere, but the game is still well worth experiencing at least once for any fan of classic RPGs.

Gunstar Heroes (E) (Sega Genesis) on March 23, 2012
Fantastic Multiplayer Action Game
I'm more of an RPG guy myself, but if you have someone else beside you, it would be hard to find another game comparable to Gunstar Heroes for multiplayer value. It's fast-paced, has great controls, and even managed to put together a halfway interesting storyline (for a shooter). The weapon system lets you create hybrid weapon versions thanks to an innovative system, and the stages keep you on your toes. I don't normally rate non-RPGs that highly, but the multiplayer value forces me to rate this game a 10 out of 10.
Captain America and The Avengers (E) [f1] (Super Nintendo) on November 1, 2008
Side-scrolling Avengers Adventure
I'm not really a fan of 2D side-scrollers, but still find this game mildly entertaining. You choose to fight as one of 4 different superheros from the group known as the Avengers - your choices being Captain America, Iron Man, Hawkeye, and Vision.

There is multi-player capability as well, and the developers mix up the levels so that at times you will find yourself flying (or in one case, swimming) through the air and shooting enemies in a setup reminiscent of the Gradius games, rather than fighting it out on foot. The soundtrack, similar to the Gauntlet games, is corny enough to be amusing, except that instead of 'Elf needs food badly' you will instead suffer through 'Avengers, the world needs your help!'

The controls are okay, but the gameplay suffers from a lack of special moves and techniques, making it more difficult to survive the numerous baddies you'll face. You'll have to rely more on using the numerous on-screen items and your long-range attacks. Even with an Emulator's 'Save State' feature, this game will be a challenge, since you get a limited amount of continues to make it all the way through the game. It should also be noted that once forced to use a continue, you must pick a different character than the one you just used.

'Captain America and the Avengers' strives to be faithful to its Marvel Comics inspiration, integrating in numerous ways other superheroes and villains from the well known comic books. The game is essentially a beat-em-up, save-the-world arcade game, but for those who like side-scrolling adventure games, I suppose this one should prove passable.

Chrono Trigger (U) [!] (Super Nintendo) on October 28, 2008

Chrono Trigger is a game that sends you traveling back and forth through time, trying to stop an impending future catastrophe that will plunge the world into chaos. It's a world exploration RPG after the style of Phantasy Star and Final Fantasy games.

While I wouldn't rank it as high as Final Fantasy III or maybe even Shadowrun due to more simplistic plot and dialogue, there is no denying its mass appeal. Using a time traveling device you will be able to change the future in visible ways, and will be accompanied by a host of different friends on your quest; a quest which will take you from prehistoric jungles to the ruined wastelands amid a destroyed technological landscape.

Operation Europe - Path to Victory 1939-1945 (U) [!] (Sega Genesis) on October 27, 2008
Extremely realistic WWII simulation/strategy game
This is a game that any history teacher would herald as the best thing since textbooks - if any history teachers knew about it, that is. KOEI has produced yet another marvelous strategy game, a real gem, in Operation Europe - and as usual, made a goof that doomed an otherwise remarkable game to relative obscurity.

You can control either the Nazi or Allied forces across one of several scenarios realistically depicting all facets of several major war operations (like the landing at Normandy, battle for North Africa, etc.). As with D&D, you can actually roll for your general's stats at the beginning of a scenario, and choose which generals to use.

Non-battle game play is from an overhead map perspective, where units and towns are shown on geographically accurate maps. Each unit is part of a division, and you can order units around the map. And in each unit are specific battalions (such as Infantry, different kinds of tanks, Paratroops, Mechanized Units, etc.) Units ending in a 7 (17, 27, 37, etc.) can place minefields, build and destroy bridges, and find and remove minefields. Units ending in 8 are supply units that can fix damaged battalions or hold large amounts of supplies, which they can then transfer to other units or even towns.

Game strategy can be, as with all KOEI games, summed up in one word - comprehensive. You can station troops/battalions in towns, switching them between mobile units and the towns, transfer supplies between towns and units, order air strikes or Paratroop operations, request additional troops/battalions, practice diplomacy, spy on or sabotage units and towns, and much more. There are numerous in-game scenario effects, including weather conditions and reinforcement arrivals.

And once in battle? You control each specific battalion, ordering them around terrain maps against other battalions, where terrain obstacles can include trees, buildings, and rivers. The realism of the game can not be over-emphasized. Historically accurate names and details are present for tanks, planes, troops, generals, scenarios, cities, etc. And there are NUMEROUS different kinds of each of these units within the game. How they fit it all on a Sega Genesis cartridge is a wonder in itself.

From both historical-reenactment and strategy-management perspectives, this game is an absolute marvel. KOEI made just one little error... they didn't link everything together. There is no reward for beating all scenarios. You get a different ending depending on which scenario you beat (and it will likely take days if not WEEKS just to beat a single scenario) but there is no ultimate game direction or focus. It's just a bunch of scenarios you can play separately.

It's a shame. KOEI produced an absolutely brilliant masterpiece in all other respects. They really ought to re-do this game and fix that flaw so that plot, difficult, and replay value are added.

Jungle Strike (UEJ) [!] (Sega Genesis) on October 27, 2008
Well-made helicopter game
The would-be racing/piloting crowd will like this game. You pilot a chopper across multiple levels, but rather than a 2D atmosphere, it's from an overhead perspective so that you can see different sides of the helicopter as it turns. You can command a variety of weapons, pick up passengers and cargo, and even change pilots.

You can shoot trees, buildings, tanks, aircraft, and blow up pretty much everything on the maps. There's even a decent plot, terrorists to fight, and a military perspective. This game, with its counterpart, 'Desert Strike', makes for probably 2 of the best helicopter games ever constructed, regardless of their Genesis platform.

comix_zone_(4)_[!] (Sega Genesis) on October 27, 2008
Weird side-scrolling action game
I haven't played this one in years, but I remember it well enough. It's WEIRD. You play a comic book artist sucked into an alternate comic-book dimension, and get some typical comic-book superpowers along the way. The game does a good job of making you feel like you're in a comic book, and to give you an idea of how that works, the game's levels have page borders so it looks like you're in the comic book, and when reaching the end of a level, he jumps over the page or turns it somehow.

I tend to rate games like this and Streets of Rage lower, simply because I'm more into RPGs than action side-scrollers, but for those whose cup of tea that is, you'll probably find this exactly what you've been looking for. The game is challenging without being impossible, has an interesting soundtrack, and also has a good combat system.

Aerobiz (U) (Sega Genesis) on October 27, 2008
Hyper-management airline managing game
For some reason I used to like this strategy game. But a lot of effort will be put into just learning how to play it. Like all KOEI games, it focuses HEAVILY on strategy. For those who like games like Theme Park and strategy-focused management of numerous resources, you might get a kick out of this one, but for the vast majority of people, this will be a boring and tedious chore.

You manage an airline. You control pricing and can buy planes from different companies, and basically run the whole business side of it, advertising, expanding to new areas of the globe, etc.

As I said, I used to like this game. But it will take effort just to learn how to play it. If you can do that without losing interest, I think this game has some fun and even educational aspects to it (which KOEI always seem to accomplish with its games). But if you can't stand mind-bending strategy games, this one definitely isn't for you.

Shadow Run (U) (!) (Sega Genesis) on October 27, 2008
Under-rated futuristic/fantasy game, one of the top games of all time
Just another Sega RPG, right? Wrong! Shadowrun was well ahead of its time, to the extent that both in terms of game play, plot, and features it is competition for any game available today.

Neither fantasy or science fiction entirely, it is set in a futuristic Earth where 'metahumans' suddenly came into being with the return of magic, as ordinary humans were born or metamorphosed into races like Elves, Dwarves, Orcs, and Trolls. A massive, world-wide internet virus resulted in the deterioration of society and erosion of nations, which has led to a very different power structure - corporations.

You control a young man whose brother was savagely assassinated in the barren wilderness known as Salish-Shidhe. You have spent your last Nuyen to reach Seattle, so that you can find your brother's killer. You have the choice of being a Human Samurai, Gator Shaman (magic user), or a Decker (specializing in operation of the 'Matrix').

Your income will come from being a 'Shadowrunner', an independent mercenary working for those known anonymously as 'Mr. Johnson's', and performing jobs such as hacking into corporate Matrix systems to upload or download files, breaking into corporation buildings in search of items or employees seeking career changes, escorting businessmen or packages from destination to destination across the dangerous landscape (even across the street may prove no picnic), or fighting world-wide street gangs like the Mafia and Yakuza in an effort to stop their reign of terror.

While most of the game's action occurs in 3rd-person, bird's eye view from overhead while you roam the streets of a futuristic society, you will also be up close and personal in a 2nd-person view while in the matrix, fighting virtual system protections and programs.

And on top of all this, you can call taxis from one area to another, call contacts via 'VidPhone', buy weapons/armor/magic accessories/cyberdeck items (stuff for the Matrix)/healing materials (and much more), join a gang, customize your character through a unique 'Karma' system while at hotels, give yourself a technological advantage by installing cyberware, and fight creatures like the ghouls, hellhounds, and vampires which inhabit abandoned buildings, the wilderness, and sometimes even brazenly walk the streets or are employed in corporations, ready to attack!

For sheer game play content and value, this is one of the few games comparable to the Final Fantasy series, and is heavily under-rated.

Shining in the Darkness () (English) [!] (Sega Genesis) on October 27, 2008

Unlike the later Shining Force 1 and 2 games, this predecessor came with a 1st-person view. All of the game's action takes place on 3 maps, the City (where you can buy weapons/armor/items, rest at the inn, talk to NPCs, and save your game (though if using a ROM, save state makes that unnecessary), the Castle (where a single room holds a changing cast of royalty to talk to), and of course, the Labyrinth.

The large chunk of your time will be spent roaming through the dark (albeit occasionally lit by torchlight) walls and halls of the Labyrinth, fighting monsters and looking for treasure. Originally you are on your own, but later on 2 friends will join you on your quest (you may find even more characters will be available for your party later, if only for a limited time).

Though the game is a simplistic dungeon-crawler, it has a charming plot and challenging game play (especially if you don't make paper maps or use someone else's off the internet - the levels are huge and will challenge your memory). While the game play and plot aren't nearly as advanced as the later Shining Force games, it is a great game to play and though the twists and turns are few, you may find yourself surprised.

JRR Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings - Volume 1 (U) [!] (Super Nintendo) on October 25, 2008
Highly difficult and unique RPG
Despite its lesser-known status, this was a well-produced RPG at the time which even has multi-player capability. Though faithful to the book series, this book also enlarges in many ways upon the storyline, adding many twists and turns unseen in Tolkein's masterpieces, while still keeping the book's atmosphere intact with fitting music, sound effects, and lighting; inducing drama and with tough enough gameplay that you never truly feel at ease.

Rather than continues, the game uses a password system. Party characters, even though they are all key ones, once dead, are very difficult to restore. And outside/dungeon maps are large and intricate enough to border on the point of ridiculousness. Advancing levels does not contribute as much to your survival ability as other games, and you will find yourself reliant on the limited scattering of equipment items throughout the stages. The game is seen from a birds-eye view at all times, and while you are free to explore areas in all directions (a real RPG, not a linear one-way-to-go action game) to the point that you can get hopelessly lost and confused as to where you should go), there are definite 'checkpoints' to the game you must attain to keep advancing with the story.

You begin the game as Bilbo Baggins, and more party members will join you as the story progresses (who your friends can then control, if you wish). You must journey through wastelands, caves, and a very unpleasant set of crossroads inhabited by a bunch of invincible ringwraiths (this game pulls few punches when it comes to difficulty) to finally reach the elven city. Though the game leaves the feeling of loose ends untied (it is after all, only Volume 1 out of 3), you will be very fortunate indeed to complete this game at all...

General Chaos (UEJ) (!) (Sega Genesis) on October 25, 2008
Strong multi-player capability gives replay value
A cartoony, absurd take on military warfare, the game was nevertheless an awesome multi-player, turn-based combat fest at the time, and could be considered the 'Halo' of its era. Essentially you control a 5-man assortment of fighters, each with their own unique weapon (Sub-machine gun, Dynamite, Bazooka, Flamethrower, etc.), while fighting another such team on one of several screen-sized maps, each with different terrain obstacles. Despite its simplistic setup and overhead perspective, the fun multi-player capability gives it replay value, so if you have friends willing to join you on your ROM adventures, you may find this game worth a look.

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