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SEGA GENESIS GAME GEAR LYNX NINTENDO NES GAMEBOY SNES
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Heh...tell me about it. The local EB didn't have any left, and I got the
very last copy at the Cabbage's right across the way. Only the seventh game
I've bought the last in the store of in my life. B)
WONDER DOG is definitely a platform game, falling well into the TDC category
(Too Damn Cute). The game was programmed by Core Design Group, the same
team that created Chuck Rock. Like CR, WD is littered with those hilarious
cartoon sound effects. The BGM is pulled entirely from the CD, and the
intro is a full-screen animated cartoon which should be watched in its
entirety at least once.
Graphics and visual effects are above average, if a little cluttered. Enemy
animation is good, bosses (ack ack ack) are large, mobile and amusing,
backgrounds have plenty of color and parallax, and foregrounds contain
plenty of distracting objects, some of which can be interacted with, others
which hide enemies who pop out as you go by. I have yet to see any
gratuitous use of scaling/rotation in this game, but I may just not be
But you don't give a rip about any of that; you want to know about the GAME.
Right? Right. :)
Well, the start-up difficulty is no great shakes. Bunny Hop Meadow (the
first level, composed of three zones) exists to help you get the hang of
controlling WD, with running jumps, glides and slides. There is a LOT of
hidden stuff to find, including holes you dig into the ground, invisible
platforms, and bonus stages you enter by walking on the correct spot on the
screen. Levels have no time limit, so you can explore at your leisure.
End-of-level bosses aren't very difficult, though some levels make up for
that deficiency. I'm on Planet Wierd and having a rough time of it.
There are three sore points in this game. Firstly, the worst character
animation in the game belongs to WD himself. On the screen, he appears to
always occupy the dimensions of a square box, filling it at all times,
making him rather nondescript to the game-player's eye. When he runs, his
feet don't move nearly fast enough to maintain his speed, so I guess he's
doing the Wonder Dog Shuffle. After playing Sonic for a while, this gets to
be a little annoying, as Sonic's feet always look like they're moving fast
Secondly, there's the display. More often than I'd like, you are literally
taking leaps of faith because you just can't see where you're supposed to be
landing yet. That's not so bad in and of itself -- when such a jump is
needed, the landing platform is more than large enough to accommodate an
overzealous glide. The real problem comes when the platform is small and
nearby. See, part of your display is a picture of WD's face at the bottom
center, which tells you how healthy you are (WD dies after three hits).
This display always appears directly beneath you, so you can't see if you
have something to land on or not, as it's actually somewhat larger than your
on-screen character. What a nuisance.
Thirdly, control has a couple rough edges. The starting set-up is not RoS
Compliant, though that's easy enough to fix in the Options/Control screen.
WD fires little star-shots (up to four on-screen at a time), whose angle of
fire is controlled by how long the fire button is held before releasing.
Yes, it's an R-Type firing scheme. Unfortunately, the speed at which the
angle adjusts makes firing straight ahead quite difficult. (The
over-reaction of the controls is also no minor headache while navigating the
menus while setting up the game.)
Despite all gripes, though, it's a solid, if standard, game. Unless I'm
mistaken, this is precisely what the Sega CD's major detractors have been
screaming for all this time. >:-) Besides, the opening monologue may be
corny, but its acting is far superior to Prince of Persia's cheesy intro. B)
I give it two thumbs. (Not up or down; they're just there. I'm still
working on the game.)
PCHammer: Lieutenant, About-to-Die Police (Martin Rose) - mfr...@ais.org
"Think of it, Batman; to never again walk on a summer's day with a hot wind
in your face and a warm hand to hold. Oh, yes -- I'd KILL for that."
Thanks for the review, but could you answer a few other questions.
First of all, does this game save high scores to the CD's memory?
Like others, I've found that high scores can add a lot of fun to
a game, but I doubt that this game saves them.
Secondly, does this game allow you to save your game? If not, then
I would consider this a serious design flaw. Platform games are fun,
but as they've gotten bigger and bigger and take longer and longer
to finish, it's harder to finish them in ones sitting. After a while
it ceases to be fun. If it could be broken up into smaller intervals
of playing then the entertainment value would shoot WAY up. For example,
I almost never play Kid Chameleon, but if it let me save my game I
would probably play it all the time (for maybe an hour at a time
every few days).
Again, thanks for the great review.
/ Bob Rusbasan | Dance to the tension \
/ rusb...@expert.cc.purdue.edu | of a world on edge \
[Martin basks in the glow of positive feedback... :) ]
>Thanks for the review, but could you answer a few other questions.
>First of all, does this game save high scores to the CD's memory?
>Like others, I've found that high scores can add a lot of fun to
>a game, but I doubt that this game saves them.
You're right. It doesn't. It doesn't maintain a high-score list, or
even remember the current highest score for this power-cycle! Sheesh.
>Secondly, does this game allow you to save your game? If not, then
>I would consider this a serious design flaw. Platform games are fun,
>but as they've gotten bigger and bigger and take longer and longer
>to finish, it's harder to finish them in ones sitting. After a while
>it ceases to be fun. If it could be broken up into smaller intervals
>of playing then the entertainment value would shoot WAY up. For example,
>I almost never play Kid Chameleon, but if it let me save my game I
>would probably play it all the time (for maybe an hour at a time
>every few days).
Wonder Dog gives you a password at the end of each Level. (It's like the
Sonics, where each Level is broken up into Zones.) However, the passwords
and continues (infinite in number) restart you at the beginning of your
current LEVEL. That's right -- if you lose your last hound in Bunny Hop
Meadow, Zone 3, when you choose to continue, you will restart at BHM, Zone
ONE. Talk about a handicap...
As for Kid Chameleon...well, I got myself a Game Genie for Christmas. They
include codes to start you at just about any level in the game. (The
codebook only lists one Elsewhere, but I happen to know there are many, many
levels named Elsewhere. :) ) Now I can finally get back to work on The
I've also had the chance to play this game to completion -- well, I didn't
finish it completely myself, I suckered my brother into getting through
Planet Wierd for me, and when he got to Planet K-9 (your destination) he had
to leave and I finished up from there. :) As an I-have-to-beat-this-game
game, it's not long enough. But there's LOTS and LOTS of hidden stuff to
find, even if you do reveal all the invisible platforms in the Level by
finding the Smiley-Face. I have yet to get a Perfect, All Bones Retrieved
bonus for BHM.
Speaking of bonus, the bonus rounds (which have to be found by walking on
the correct screen space) can be very tricky to complete, especially the
I will also never forget the moment where we discovered that the thing
bouncing toward us on Planet Wierd was a walrus on a pogo stick... B)
(Final note: does anyone else with this game and a good stereo get an
incessant high-pitched whine throughout the game? And where's the sound on
the game intermissions, not to mention the closing animation?)
>Wonder Dog gives you a password at the end of each Level. (It's like the
>Sonics, where each Level is broken up into Zones.) However, the passwords
>and continues (infinite in number) restart you at the beginning of your
>current LEVEL. That's right -- if you lose your last hound in Bunny Hop
>Meadow, Zone 3, when you choose to continue, you will restart at BHM, Zone
>ONE. Talk about a handicap...
Then I have to stand by my original statement: This is a serious
design flaw. What's the point of having built-in backup that never
gets used? Does *any* Sega CD game other than Scherlock Holmes use
the built-in backup?
I thought the cost of battery backup was probably too high for most
companies to justify, so they didn't use it. With the Sega CD's
built-in backup memory, I thought virtually every game would take
advantage of it!
I'm sorry, but it is just brain dead to expect gamers to be writing
down codes that don't even save your exact place when the game could
generate a slightly longer code to save your exact location, score,
etc., and put in in the Sega CD's memory!
I guess everyone's too busy shovelling ugly video footage onto CDs
to bother with the Sega CD's nice features, like this one...
Yes. PRINCE OF PERSIA uses the battery-save area to store a list of up to
12 saved games, as well as a list of best times for completing each stage.
It also remembers the name you last entered for just these purposes.
>I thought the cost of battery backup was probably too high for most
>companies to justify, so they didn't use it. With the Sega CD's
>built-in backup memory, I thought virtually every game would take
>advantage of it!
I would like to see Sega CD games maintaining hi-score lists in the
battery-save area, too, at the very least.
Of course, this would mean they'd have to make a game where the score is
Blackhole Assault and Prince of Persia both save information in the Sega CD's
memory. However, between the two of them they use over a fourth of the
availabvle backup memory (but then Sega included almost zero space to begin
with). If every Sega CD game out there used the backed up memory, you
wouldn't be able to save all the stuff. Now, if Sega actually releases the
external memory cartridge then things will be a little better. But as far as
I'm concerned, Sega put a woefully small amount of backup ram in the machine.
The passwords for Wonderdog aren't too bad since they are very easy to
remember. Chuck Rock was much worse, using crypic passwords that were
displayed in a poorly defined font that made you have to guess what a couple
of the letters actually were.
I'd like to see more games keep a high score table in backup ram. However,
until we get the memory cartridge so we can shuffle things in and out
depending on what we are playing, we'd be sunk if everyone started doing
>I'd like to see more games keep a high score table in backup ram. However,
>until we get the memory cartridge so we can shuffle things in and out
>depending on what we are playing, we'd be sunk if everyone started doing
Would we? I don't think so. We'd just have to make some choices. If
I could only save four games in memory, that would be fine. I would just
have to pick which four, which wouldn't be too hard to do. Saving high
scores could be optional -- or why even bother doing that -- you could
just delete the high score chart immediately after playing the game if
you wanted the memory for something else.
I hope game companies aren't this concerned about using too much memory
space. Please, give *us* that choice! While it is true that "if every
Sega CD game out there used the back up memory, you wouldn't be able
to save all the stuff," who wants to save all the stuff? I'd be happy
if I could save several games in progress, and I think I'm like most
people in that I rarely concentrate on more than three or four games
at a time.