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El Viento

 

Wolfteam 1991

Sega Genesis

 

The 16 bit era was a great time for games. There seemed to be a few years where one could take any premise and make a cool game out of it, no matter how ridiculous it was. This game for example is the story of a teenage girl named Annet (like from the Mickey Mouse club) who, armed with a magic boomerang, takes it upon herself to single handedly stop evil demon-worshipping gangsters from taking over the world in 1920s New York. Yeah that makes sense.

The game is typical action platformer, run from the left to right, kill satanic gangsters, repeat. Annet is armed with a boomerang that can be shot out really fast with the A button. The B button shoots magic fireballs that can be held and charged for greater effect. That's about it; You would think that someone who has just decided to take down an entire demonic crime syndicate would like, buy a shotgun or something, but you would be wrong. Anyway your weapons are actually pretty effective, but the boomerang is nearly exactly the same strength as the fireballs, plus you don't have to charge it, so why are the fireballs there?

New York city never looked so crappy. I mean it, the first level is all feces-brown cobblestones, rotting generic wooden doorways, and the same pale brown wall sprite over and over. The backgrounds in this game look like ass, no other way to describe it. On the positive side there is a decent amount of parallax which isn't distracting. The enemy sprites and such are also pretty generic, with the same two or three guys used over and over again. Towards the end of the first level you have to destroy a few pink cars with snipers in them, and when they explode a generic hunk of pink "metal" junk flies out over and over and over, kind of like in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 when somebody's body would explode and more than two arms would fly out. Just looks awfully unrealistic.

The game is actually harder than it needs to be for the simple fact that there are too many "blind jumps" all over the place, i.e. areas where you have to jump but you can't see where it is in fact you're jumping too. Add to the fact that you get one life to finish any particular level, if you continue you have to start from the beginning. Sad. Thing is they must have noticed this as in the second level there's an area where you have to blindly jump on these spinning platforms where if you bail they graciously decided to not make you lose a life. How about not making it so I have to do a leap of faith to get past this part in the first place? Some of the bosses just do not fit either - the first level has you fighting this large art-deco tank thing, indoors for some reason, while level two has you facing a rival sorceress person, but for some reason you're fighting her on a large section of dissolving wooden planks so you're continuously falling down and allowing her to get in tons of cheap hits... ugh.

Thus I cannot recommend this game to anyone really. It's not a bad game per se, just all of the elements seem to have been slapped together without much forethought as to the whole. It makes you wonder when people put out this stuff if they actually ever play through their own games.

Graphics: Annet's sprite is large and well animated, with an extremely smooth walk cycle. Too bad all the other sprites don't look as good. Enemy sprites have maybe three or four frames of animation, tops. They seemed to have noticed this, and thus made each sprite move really fast in order to compensate.

Sound: Blaps and bangs, not much voice or digitized sound effects to speak of. The music for the game is rather well done, straight out of a (good) anime TV show.

Gameplay: Despite how bad I made the game sound in the review it is playable. The game moves really fast - Annet hauls balls across the screen. Thus it's really easy to go to fast and run into shots and things by accident. However the prevalence of cheap shots and blind jumps keeps the game from being completely satisfying.

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