Before we get too far entwined in the reviews, it's probably best I set the mood. Basically, I'm old-school, some would say just old, but you get the picture. I grew up with Mean Machines, Sega Pro and Games Master. Reading their monthly reviews was all we had to base our decision of where to blow our pocket money, the internet was a far flung dream much like flying cars and teleportation. True, the world has come a long way since then, but a tiny part of that nostalgia still flows through my veins today; and at 4am on a Tuesday morning I gave birth to these five monsters....
No really, these games are the bottom of the pile. Only recommended for true collectors attaining a full set, otherwise best avoided.
Not the worst I've ever played, but a fair way from making me want to return for more.
Acceptable, playable but certainly not a classic. May be a good game with a few flaws.
The sort of game that's likely to steal away a fair amount of time and keep you coming back for more.
The best of the best. Your life is incomplete without it.
Together with the smilies I will allocate a score to the game. This will be in the form of a percentage, which as always is out of 100. (Did I really need to mention that?) In the past reviewers have rated games on various different merits: playability, graphics, sound, controls, replay value etc. I will post comments on all aspects of the game that I see relevant or important without scoring each section individually, then cast my final judgement in the form of a face and overall percentage.
Price reviewed at?
Initially I wasn't sure whether to include this, but after careful consideration decided it could be too valuable a detail to omit. You see, many of the mainstream reviewers receive 'promotional' copies of games prior or at their release, for me this is not the case. While the cost of the game is somewhat irrelevant to the grading in it's review, its fair to say that investing in a full price new release that blows would sure annoy me more than one I grabbed second-hand for a quid.
This could also be a useful figure to you, giving an idea of the cost of picking up the game. (Or the saving in avoiding it!)
Remember to always bare in mind the age of the review, much of the retro game market fluctuates greatly. What was cheap yesterday could no longer be a year later. Whilst the opposite is also true, more so with disk based games; over the last decade Ive seen several reprints de-value previously expensive games. For newer titles reviewed near release, the cost is inevitably high and then drops off. Some games will no doubt be lucky finds in second-hand shops, so not necessarily readily available at the declared price.
It's probably best to mention that being in the UK, unless explicitly stated in the review, all reviews and details relate to the PAL versions of games.
Oh yeah, I'd almost forgotten about him. The bastard son of Terrible: 'Kill me now.' His level of accolade represents games I would rather die than have to endure playing again. He resides in a locked castle beneath the realm of shovel-ware where he occupies his time continually re-living the epitaph of Phoenix Games. Long may he remain there.
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