Sega 32X CD, 1994
Developer: Digital Pictures
Publisher: Digital Pictures
We round the halfway point on the 32X CD library with Corpse Killer, an interesting, if flawed, light gun/FMV adventure hybrid from Digital Pictures.
If you’ve got a hankering to play Corpse Killer after watching this video, I’d stick to the 3DO or Sega Saturn versions, if you’ve got the means to play them. The Sega CD/32X simply didn’t have the horsepower to make the digitized zombie sprites look like anything more than a blurry mess – which is pretty amazing when you consider that said sprites have less frames than your average animated gif. My, how far we’ve come!
This one really felt like a long road to a small house. We’ll be taking a brief break from 32X CD games for a bit. For as positive as I try to remain about these games, playing them end-to-end really makes you appreciate the wonders of modern console gaming. Don’t worry though, I hope to continue in a month or two with either Night Trap or Surgical Strike.
Sega 32X CD, 1994
Developer: Digital Pictures
Publisher: Digital Pictures
Oh yes, I’m going to play ALL SIX Sega 32X CD games. Why? Because I want to play an entire game system’s library at least once in my life, and this is LOW HANGING FRUIT. And on top of that, the 32X CD isn’t really its own system, so it’s kind of like winning on a technicality. We lawyers LOVE technicalities.
Anyway, I played through Supreme Warrior, one of the last gasps of Digital Pictures, quite possibly the most prolific producer of FMV games in the early-to-mid-90’s. Supreme Warrior is simultaneously all that is great about mid-90’s FMV (fantastic production values and surprising fluidity) while at the same time a reminder of why the genre never reached its potential (shallow and clumsy gameplay).
If you’d care to have a look at the differences in quality between the Sega CD and Sega 32X CD versions, I’ve ripped the introductory sequences for both games.
While the 32X version certainly looks prettier, I find myself more impressed by the Sega CD version. It’s pretty ugly, but quite good by SCD standards.
The game’s credits make it clear that the actors who portrayed the enemy fighters did all their own choreography. In my mind, this accounts for (1) why the action looks so good (when you can see it); and (2) why the button prompts are so mercilessly short. Someone needed to tell these guys and gals to slow down for the benefit of the players at home.
I couldn’t recommend Supreme Warrior to anybody but the most devoted fans of FMV games, but for what it’s worth, I enjoyed my time with it; it’s a beautiful disaster of sorts.
Sega 32X CD, 1995
Developer: Sega Studios
What, you were expecting Indigo Prophecy? About ten years to early, pal. We’re taking a look at one of the few games to utilize all the power a Sega Genesis could conceivably muster – A 32X CD GAME! Fahrenheit is one of just six such titles, and probably the best of the bunch. Take a look!
As noted in the video, Fahrenheit received a standard Sega CD release as well. Actually, it was sold in the SAME package as the 32X version. Here’s the intro from the Sega CD version:
Compare it to the intro for the 32X CD variant:
The visual improvements are quite apparent!
I’ll be updating this post after the holidays with some more video. In the meantime, enjoy the smooth sounds of LOU NADEAU. WATCH OUT, STAN BUSH.
Sega CD, 1993
Developer: Taito/Wolf Team Publisher: Taito
Some time ago, I purchased a box of 25 unidentified Sega CD games from a seller on eBay. The games were in questionable condition, but the price was right ($30 for the whole bunch), and I was eager to put my recently acquired Sega CDX to the test, so I took the plunge. Most of those games turned out to be terrible early ’90s FMV games, which sat on my shelf, unplayed, for months.
Fast forward about a year, and I’m looking for a game to play so I can get some practice slapping our shiny new logo (courtesy of my brother, the very talented Dave White) on some video captures. In an attempt to justify the amount of shelf space dedicated to Sega CD games in my throne room, I randomly chose Time Gal as my test case. I’m glad I did – this game is worth far more than the $0.83 I paid for it.
Time Gal is an arcade port of a Japanese laserdisc game from 1985 – think of it as the Japanese equivalent of Dragon’s Lair. For the uninitiated, that means that the game is ostensibly a collection of what we have come to know as “quick time events:” the player watches a series of animated sequences (not unlike a cartoon), directing the protagonist through occasional button prompts. Failure to properly respond to said button prompts results in failure. That’s it and that’s all – there’s no direct control of your character. If this doesn’t make any sense to you, I suggest watching the videos at the end of this post; it will all become clear very quickly.
In Time Gal, you control… uh…Time Gal, a time traveler from the 41st century, who is out to save the universe from this guy –
– who has apparently stolen a time machine in an ill-defined scheme to alter history and seize control of the universe. The plot isn’t really important – it’s a convenient excuse to send the player on a tour of recorded (and unrecorded) time’s most adventurous eras.
You’ll battle prehistoric sea monsters!
You’ll battle both man and beast in the Roman Coliseum!
You’ll fight your way through the giant skeleton invasion of 999!
Hell, you’ll even square off against hover bike gangs in the apocalyptic future of 2001!
Historical accuracy (or prognostication) isn’t Time Gal‘s strong suit, but its levels are varied, colorful, and filled with action and humor. When a game amounts to little more than a series of timed button presses, setting is perhaps more important than ever, and Time Gal knocks it out of the park.
While the Sega CD version of Time Gal may seem primitive by today’s standards, it looks quite good for a “full motion video” game from 1993. Rather than simply compress the laserdisc video from the original arcade game, the developers opted to re-draw and re-color key frames, in an effort to make the game look as good as possible for the home CD ROM market. One need only compare the game’s introduction, which contains compressed footage from the original arcade game –
– to a video of the game in action:
While the gameplay loses some of the fluidity and detail of the compressed video, it’s far more vibrant and colorful. I’m fairly certain this approach kept load times down as well. Time Gal simply looks and plays better than other FMV games of its vintage.
There’s not much else I can say about Time Gal that hasn’t already been said. If you’d like to learn more about the game’s history and legacy, I would strongly suggest that you read Neil Foster’s excellent writeup over at Hardcore Gaming 101.
In closing, I offer you a playlist of all of the game’s stages, arranged chronologically, for your viewing pleasure – with most of my failures intact. Enjoy!
Played on original hardware, upscaled to 720p through a Micomsoft Framemeister. All footage and screens captured through an ElGato HD60.