- Platform: Megadrive
- Points: 800
Making a splash back in 1995, Comix Zone makes good use of its "artist sucked into his own comic strip" concept. Nimbly leaping from panel to panel, punching enemies through page borders and even tearing strips out of the scenery to turn into paper airplane projectiles, the game has a lot of fun monkeying around with the visual possibilities of its cartoon world.
If only the gameplay were equally innovative, it'd be a lot easier to recommend. Unfortunately, strip away the post-modern presentation and you've got a very pretty - but pretty boring - beat-em-up. It's from the one-button school of fight mashing, with your flurries of attack only modified by jumping or crouching. You can also scoop up items to use - including your pet rat - but it's nowhere near enough to distract you from the swiftly monotonous action.
Comix Zone is also one of those games that are stupidly difficult. Stupid because there's no real reason or logic behind its unforgiving approach. No matter how attracted you are to the admittedly cool presentation, the game tries its hardest to turn you off with its crude level design and steep difficulty spikes. You only get one life and, once that's gone, it's time to start over. Get past the first stage and you're given a second chance, but by that point the damage is already done. The fun has curled up and died. It doesn't help that the comic panel gimmick hinders as much as it helps - you're never quite sure if a hole in the ground will lead to the panels below or just kill you stone dead, as it does at the end of the first level. Over and over and over again.
Much like the gaudy early 90s comic books that inspired it, beneath Comix Zone's self-consciously dynamic exterior lurks something rather tedious - more Rob Liefeld than Jack Kirby.
- Platform: Megadrive
- Wii Points: 800
It makes perfect sense in theory. Sonic spins around. So do pinballs. Put them together, and surely Sonic Spinball must deliver the best of both worlds? Somewhat inevitably, what you actually get is a curious hybrid creation that fails as both platform adventure and pinball simulation.
Based around yet another quest for Chaos Emeralds, this time you have to collect them by ricocheting the spinning hedgehog into secret areas, bouncing off bad guys and triggering switches to open new locations. The whole idea was already done much better in the proper Sonic titles, and by removing the surrounding gameplay the result feels less of a game by comparison.
Even the controls are muddled by the half-and-half approach. The flippers, assigned to the A and B buttons, can whack Sonic up into the depths of the table, but you can also exert some control over him as he spins. Not enough to make enough difference that the feature becomes useful, but it's ample to ruin what little pinball purity remains in the clunky game engine.
Everything suffers from the old Megadrive PAL problem, and the game's sluggish frame rate isn't helped by the presence of some gruesome slowdown whenever things threaten to get hectic. Which, sadly, they never really do. Clumsy in the extreme, chalk this one up alongside all the other failed attempts to crowbar Sonic into ill-fitting spin-off titles. The Sonic obsessed among you might squeeze some amusement from its obscure oddity factor, but it's certainly not worth the 800 point asking price.