June 15, 2012
When the failed heist of a treasury plane leaves John Lithgow and his group of robbers abandoned in the Rocky Mountains, they force rescuer/mountain climber Sylvester Stallone to locate the lost suitcases of money and get them out alive. This introduction is what one gleams after watching the ten or so minutes of low-quality, grainy footage that sets the stage for the first level of the Sega CD video game based off of the 1993 film, Cliffhanger. Developed by Malibu Interactive and published by Sony Imagesoft, Cliffhanger features awful beat ‘em gameplay interspersed with fast-paced 3D snowboarding and dire video clips.
After locating one of the lost suitcases, Stallone is on his own as he proceeds to traverse and scale peaks that contain way more enemies than one was lead to believe was with Lithgow. The beat ‘em up gameplay that ensues is awful. The stages are full of banal action that manages to be infuriatingly cheap. Stallone moves like a child with a dozer load in his diaper and after every hit he takes, he collapses onto his batch of brownies. This Stallone is not the Rocky who can take the hits, and deal them out with more determination and intensity than his foes. Thankfully, the enemies also can’t take a beating and are out cold after two or three hits. But when it comes to scaling cliffs, don’t even bother. Resting on perches are snipers who can’t be touched, so don’t worry, Stallone’s just going to have to man up and take a few bullets. The lives will be lost and continues will be used – thankfully the game doles out a combined twenty-one chances to outwit Lithgow, but you’re gonna blow through them on the snowboarding sections.
When he’s not killing thugs with his bare hands (or wussing out by using a knife or gun), he’s hitting the slopes and getting his daredevil thrills by outrunning avalanches. How Stallone can go from falling on his ass to outrunning avalanches is a weird disparity in pacing. These stages of the game are quasi-3D with Stallone shredding into the screen while dodging boulders and bushes. Speaking of infuriatingly cheap, it was one of these stages that I rage quit and decided I could spend my time better. Still, the fast-paced gameplay of the snowboarding sections was the complete opposite of the worthless beat ‘em sections and for that, I almost enjoyed it.
Cliffhanger’s beat ‘em up gameplay pales in comparison to the titans of the genre and its snowboarding sections are a thrill, but too long for their own good. The soundtrack was ridiculously clear, but I don’t care. The best part of Cliffhanger was the twenty minutes of malodorous video, and that’s saying something.
August 5, 2011
Hey guess what? I have another version of Wheel of Fortune that I’m going to talk about. This time it’s Wheel of Fortune for the Sega CD. It was developed by Absolute Entertainment and published by Sony Imagesoft in 1994. The format is standard Wheel of Fortune fare but this version has the inclusion of video footage!
Wheel of Fortune for the Sega CD played identically to Wheel of Fortune: Deluxe Edition for the Super Nintendo, the game I wrote about a week or two ago. My friend and I played through three rounds attempting to solve puzzles with the most amount of money, and the winner of these rounds proceeded to a bonus round.
This version boasted more puzzles than the Super Nintendo version, but the few my friend and I came across didn’t seem well known. The one that sticks out in my mind was “pooped out to lunch”. I understand what it means, but I’ve never heard anyone phrase it that way.
The real reason to play the Sega CD version however is the inclusion of video footage. Vanna White is featured prominently in the game, and there is a little video footage of each contestant too. The video quality is very poor however (typical of Sega CD games) and it really slows the pace of the game. Vanna would announce whose turn it was, each time using the same line and this got old fast. Once we learned we could skip this we did. There was plenty more video footage of Vanna too, but it grew old fast as well.
This version was again a competent recreation of the TV show, and the rivalry between my friend and I was still there, but the puzzles didn’t seem great. The video footage included was entertaining, aka laughably bad, but it really slowed down the pace of the game. It was fun to play to see the video, but for just wanting to compete, Wheel of Fortune: Deluxe Edition is a better choice.