Wednesday, November 14, 2007


96. Athlete Kings
Saturn, 1996, AM3/Sega

The reason I’m keeping relatively optimistic about Mario & Sonic is the fact that last time Sega gave the Track & Field model a whirl, this is what they came up with (well, technically it was Winter Heat, this game’s sequel, but whatevs). Take the traditional decathlon events, make some ridiculous characters (British entrant Jef Jansens, based on Daley Thompson, has arguably the best afro ever), give it silky animation and ultra-simple controls and away you go. Never did get the hang of the pole vault, mind.

95. Sonic Chaos
Master System, 1993, Aspect/Sega

I've long held this in fond regard, as it was the first Sonic I ever completed properly (i.e. with all the Chaos Emeralds). Once I smear the nostalgia out of my eyes, though, it’s not as great as I remembered. But it still has Aqua Planet Zone’s pretty skies, two of the most hilariously easy bosses ever, breaky-wall-go-nuts fun in Sleeping Egg Zone, the holy Rocket Shoes and a Badnik that looks like a turkey drumstick. And they all count for something in my book.

94. Sonic Advance 2
Game Boy Advance, 2003, Dimps/Sega

When it’s good, it’s very good; when it’s bad, it is several kinds of awful. The main levels are fun once you get your head round them – it’s more “learn the best route, then time-trial your face off” than other Sonics. Couple of the bosses are great, couple more of them are abysmal. One thing that is certain is that whoever invented the Special Stage entrance mechanism needs a hearty beating, because it is stupid and hard and awful. Oh, and it looks great.

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