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SHORT LIST 10 - June 1997


Although it's probably the biggest videogame genre in the world (major new titles sell millions in Japan and the US), the RPG is badly neglected in the UK market. That might change with the release of this likeable effort from Sega, though - big friendly graphics and an imaginative medieval/futuristic prison-ship scenario (with lots of precarious clambering about on the hull) draw you into an involving but not off-puttingly complex game that might just give UK gamers a taste for something other than driving a pretend car or beating up some pretend overblown wrestlers. And while I'm dreaming, I'd like a Ferrari.

(From Sega for Saturn, 45)



This latest arcade-converted racer seems to have everything going for it - it's got a beautiful rendering of the real track from the famous Isle Of Man TT race, it's got lovely motorbikey handling courtesy of Sega's analogue joypad, and it's faster than the speed with which Chris Evans has disappeared up his own arse. Awkwardly, though, there's no actual game in it. Stupidly over-zealous in-game handicapping means that in a three-minute race, you can knock anything up to 25 seconds off a 1st-place lap-time, yet still trail home in 5th (and vice versa), leaving the player with the distinct impression that he might as well not be there at all for all the difference his skills are bringing to bear. Which is always a shame, I think.

(From Sega for Saturn, 45)



It's going to be a brave man at Codemasters who shows this to the awe-inspiring hulk whose name it bears. No-one's ever done a really good rugby-based video game, and the developers don't break the duck here - a brave attempt at capturing the game's subtleties is beaten senseless and trampled on by fiddly and hugely annoying control, and the gameplay (there's hardly ever a scrum, and the opposition never gives away any penalties, and injury time can last as long as the entire preceding half until the ball finally goes out of play) feels more like a playground knockabout than the Five Nations Championship.

(From Codemasters for Playstation, 40)



The cheapest game in Nintendo's frighteningly-priced opening range of titles for their new wonder machine is also the weirdest. A sedately-paced yet strangely gripping series of small-scale flying-club games (with hanggliders, gyrocopters and jetpacks), there's an astonishing quantity and variety of things to do here, including getting into a giant cannon and firing yourself at big targets. Though it's initially forbidding, you'll quickly become totally entranced.

(From Nintendo for Nintendo 64, 50)

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