SHORT LIST 17 - March 1998
|STAR WARS MONOPOLY
And so it continues. For a change, this board game conversion is in some ways better than the real thing - the sound effects ,and in-game commentary from the voice of C3-PO, really do create a Star Wars atmosphere, far more so than real board game could ever manage by simply having TIE Fighters instead of hotels and a pewter Han Solo instead of an old boot. Most of the many other cosmetic enhancements still have to be switched off if you don't want a single game to last three days, and the pace of play is still generally pretty treacly even then, and you'd still be mad to try to play this with your friends instead of getting the real board out. But if you're on your own or playing on the Internet, SWM is a decent bet.
(From Hasbro for PC, £40)
Despite what you might have read, this isn't a whole new kind of videogame - essentially, Blade Runner is a point-and-click adventure in the same vein as Broken Sword or Monkey Island. It's rather more grandly executed, though, with 4 CDs full of beautiful evocative graphics and sounds superbly recreating the feel of the original movie's world. (As is so often the case with these things, though, the designers are so keen to show you all their great atmospherics that it takes forever to actually go anywhere or do anything.) There are hours of immersion for would-be replicant hunters here, but anyone who doesn't like to be led through their games by the nose might feel a nagging tinge of disappointment.
(From Virgin for PC, £40)
A weird, little-heralded effort from Sega, this, and the game itself has a noticeably raw, knocked-out-in-someone's-spare-time feel to it. But that's not necessarily a bad thing (it's certainly preferable to the highly polished dross that we see such a lot of), and such is the case with Sonic R. A bizarre, visually surreal amalgam of a Mario Kart-style racing game and classic Sonic platform action, it's the videogame equivalent of an iceberg - only about 10% of it is actually visible on the surface. Whether it will help Sega make a dent on the Titanic that will be the all-crushing Playstation this year is another matter, but this strange little game is one that everyone should make the effort to see for themselves.
(From Sega for Saturn, £40)
Poor old JD's probably been in more really bad games than any character in the history of licencing, and things haven't improved with this useless light-gun target-shooting affair. It takes quite an effort to screw up such a simple genre, but sluggish aiming, slow-firing guns, wildly lurching scenery (the real killer - it's one thing having your target move around while you're trying to shoot it, entirely another having the entire world spinning), completely anonymous settings, diabolically hammy video sequences and heavily-armoured opponents who take half a magazine before they fall down and die go a long way to achieving that tricky goal. This might be a game about the world's most fearsome lawman, but it's still not much cop.
(From Gremlin for Playstation, £40)