VIDEO GAME REVIEWS

BEAVIS AND BUTT-HEAD (Viacom New Media, Sega) This challenging game has graphics so good that you could fool someone into thinking the opening sequence here is really a new episode on MTV. You can be either character and get to belch, fart, fight, couch fish, travel all over town and try to score tickets to the GWAR concert. It's not a game you can complete in one sitting and offers a password play option. Recommended for those who like the duo as well as adventure games which require solving puzzles in order to proceed. (Netta Gilboa)

CACOMA KNIGHT IN BIZYLAND (Seta U.S.A., Inc., SNES) Remember Qix? It was a puzzle game where you tried to fill in portions of a square to score points and complete a screen by making boxes. Meanwhile, your enemies were chasing you to keep you from filling in those boxes. Bizyland embellishes on that concept by adding color backgrounds to the squares and by having cooler enemies. Highly addicting and worth the money if you like this style of game. (Netta Gilboa)

COLUMNS III (Vic Tokai, Inc., Sega) This Tetris type game can be played solo against the computer, against another person or multi-player with additional control pads and a Team Player adaptor. There are multiple levels, tricks to hinder your opponent and special jewels to help clear unwanted buildup, give unwanted buildup to your opponent and eliminate every piece you have of a particular color. Great to play with friends as it's easy to learn. I prefer playing alone though. (Netta Gilboa)

CRIME PATROL (American Laser Games, Inc., 3DO) This shoot-'em-up thriller positions you as a cop who works undercover to catch drug dealers and car theft rings. You receive promotions if you catch enough crooks and if you last long enough you can be selected for the SWAT team or Delta Force. Contains enough violence to earn a "17" rating which means parents should control whether minors are exposed to it. In other words, it's appropriately gray to be worth the money. (Netta Gilboa)

CRUE BALL (Electronic Arts, Sega) Motley Crue's music is featured in this pinball game that has the ability to take you to bonus spots backstage. It has nine levels, Motley Crue's mascot Alister Fiend and nasty enemies. It's an older game but you can still find it if you look around. Worth having if you like Motley Crue or pinball games of any type. (Netta Gilboa)

DEVILISH (Sage's Creation, Inc., Sega) This is an updated version of Breakout, a classic arcade game where you bounce balls off your paddle and break out the blocks. Here you have two paddles instead of one. The top paddle can move up or down and can be rotated at 90 degree angles. The backgrounds are horror themes of monsters and demons you are destroying. Good challenge. Great fun. (Netta Gilboa & David Watson)

DRAGON'S LAIR (Data East, SNES) You may remember this game caused quite a stir when it appeared in arcades. It was the first game to make use of laser disc technology and it was a breakthrough product in its use of great graphics and sound. Needless to say, I expected to find a translation of the arcade version in this cartridge. Alas, it is nothing like the original Dragon's Lair. It's your basic jump/slash the monsters/grab the treasure type game.

If you like action games you probably won't be disappointed as this one still has decent graphics and sound. However, if you want the original your best bet is to go with a CD-ROM version instead and to shop carefully. (David Watson)

DRAGON'S REVENGE (Tengen, Sega) This is another pinball game, but with a great twist. It's like an adventure game as you guide the pinball to destroy moving creatures, survive bonus rounds and accumulate points. At the end you defeat an evil sorceress. The graphics and animation are awesome and there is no overlap between this and other pinball games reviewed here. Highly recommended, especially if you like both pinball and adventure games. (Netta Gilboa & David Watson)

HAUNTING (Electronic Arts, Sega) This is one of the most original games that I have seen in a long time. You are Polterguy and your job is to scare the Sardini family's four members out of their houses. Scaring is accomplished by jumping into normal household appliances and furniture and making them come to life. You can also cast spells to achieve results. You operate on Ectoplasm which you run out of by using spells, jumping into things or having the family dog bark at you. You can renew your Ectoplasm supply by collecting drops in the dungeon while avoiding enemies who try to end your game. Highly recommended. (David Watson)

IT'S A BIRD'S LIFE (Sanctuary Woods, 3DO) Narrated By Shelley Duvall, this children's presentation about birds shows birds who fly from Los Angeles, CA to the Amazon Rainforest. It offers 60 animated scenes, 11 sing-along songs, and 14 interactive activities. Ideal for bird lovers, exploring simple geography and teaching children about nature. A quality product. (Netta Gilboa)

KRUSTY'S SUPER FUN HOUSE (Akklaim, SNES and SEGA) Krusty is the clown on The Simpsons and this game features characters from the hit TV show. Each level has rats that you have to steer towards their death. Lots of jumping, moving objects and shooting enemies. At first the game seems easy but it requires use of logic to properly steer the rats. Worth renting, maybe buying. (Netta Gilboa & David Watson)

PAC-ATTACK (Namco, SNES) Pac-Man is back in a Tetris type puzzle game. The twist here is that you need Pac-Man guys to eat the ghosts which fill space to keep you from completing lines needed to clear the screen. You'll love this or hate it depending on your interest in Pac-Man and Tetris. (Netta Gilboa)

PINBALL DREAMS (GameTek, SNES) This is one of two pinball games currently available for Super Nintendo. It's nice but nowhere near as good as the pinball games available for Sega, computers and 3DO. It's got decent sound and graphics but just doesn't seem state-of-the-art. On the bright side, however, it does have four different pinball games to choose from: Ignition, Steel Wheel, Beat Box and Nightmare. A must if you only own an SNES. Worth a rental if you have multiple systems but like pinball. (Netta Gilboa)

PIRATES GOLD (MicroProse, Sega) Pirates abound in this adventure game that lets you choose who you'll be, who will be on your team, where you'll go and what you'll do. Strategy is required as you enter towns to trade goods, take the town over, attack ships and uncover treasure. Graphics and sound are good and there is a save feature. This is a game that you can play over a span of days or weeks, rather than an arcade style game that is over in a few minutes. Challenging in places, but not so much that you can't get far in the game. (Netta Gilboa & David Watson)

PITFALL: THE MAYAN ADVENTURE (Activision Inc., SNES, Sega CD) Back in the days of Atari computers, twelve years ago, Pitfall ruled. Here, finally, is the sequel. It's an action game which takes you through the jungle as the son of the original explorer. The original game is hidden here but the graphics on the sequel blow it away. You'll encounter lethal traps, crocodiles and new enemies like gargoyles, skeletons and Mayan spirits. Great soundtrack, animation and plot. A must to own, both for those who remember the original and

those who are too young to have played it. (Netta Gilboa)

RADICAL REX (Activision, Inc., SNES) Rex is the "raddest, baddest fire-breathing Tyrannosaurus ever to shred prehistoric pavement." You play Rex and get to save the dinosaur race by skateboarding around as well as jumping, kicking and swimming. There are 10 levels of danger and 20 bad guys to be encountered. Kill er graphics and a cute plot make this a winner. (Netta Gilboa)

SPUNKY'S DANGEROUS DAY (Viacom New Media, SNES) Based on the hit animated TV show, this fun action game has you runnning, jumping and kicking to help Spunky stay safe from enemies. His enemies are beautifully drawn pelicans, crabs, gators, lawn mowers and even wacko washing machines. True to the TV show this is kooky, fast-paced and adorable. Good use of the video game format and enjoyable for kids of all ages. (Netta Gilboa)

SHANGHAI II (Activision, SNES and Sega) This is a faithful translation of the computer game. It's a puzzle game consisting of 144 tiles you remove from the screen by matching them. Players can choose from 11 tile sets and 13 ways of displaying the tiles on the screen. Allows for shuffling, hints, and even backing up one move. One of my favorite games. (Netta Gilboa)

SHANGHAI: TRIPLE THREAT (Activision, 3DO) Here's the original Shanghai as well as three new games, new ways to play and three new tile sets. I thought it was cool enough to warrant buying a 3DO machine for. If you like puzzle games, this is a treat. You can now play alone, compete with a friend or race against the clock. Tiles fall, slide and can even be stolen from your opponent's side. Absolutely awesome. (Netta Gilboa)

SONIC SPINBALL (Sega Enterprises, Ltd., Sega) Not just pinball, this game also offers the element of Sonic The Hedgehog action as you collect rings, knock down targets and open escapes to get to other sections. There are bonus rounds where you try to save animals and defeat enemies that try to stop you from this task. Very addictive!

Highly recommended for the fun you'll have playing it and the excitement of telling other people about it afterwards. (Netta Gilboa and David Watson)

SUPER BUSTER BROTHERS (Capcom, SNES) The idea here is to bust balloons which result in more balloons until finally in their smallest size they vanish completely. You can play in Panic mode (99 levels) or in Tour mode (practice). You have weapons, tools and friends to assist you. You die if a bubble touches you so I'd recommend using a Game Genie too. It's one of my favorite games but you'll find it either repetitive or awesome depending on how much you like simple shoot-em-ups. (Netta Gilboa)

SUPER MARIO ALL-STARS (Nintendo, SNES) This cartridge combines Super Mario Brothers 1, 2 and 3 with a new game called The Lost Levels. Since it's Nintendo's flagship game it's kind of a must to own. On the SNES the graphics and sound are improved from the old NES versions. The Lost Levels portion is particularly challenging and is only available for SNES. One of the few cartridges almost all your friends will agree they'll want to play. (Netta Gilboa & David Watson)

TOE JAM & EARL (Sega Enterprises, Ltd., Sega) In this unique game, you are one of two aliens looking for tools that you can use, food and, most importantly, pieces of your lost spaceship. You must dodge enemies who do everything from seduce you with hula dancers to running you over with a hamster in a rolly-ball.

The best part about this game is the two player mode in which you can either help each other or split up and look for items on different levels. No two levels are ever the same so the game is different every time you play it. Totally original and highly recommended. (David Watson)

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