SHORT LIST 9 - May 1997
|INTERNATIONAL SUPERSTAR SOCCER 64
Just for a change, a new game in Short List that isn't about driving. Thank the lord. That's not the only thing to be grateful for, though - ISS64 is a fantastic football game, fusing the stunning graphics of Nintendo's new wonderconsole with the gloriously smooth, fast and detailed gameplay of the classic Sensible Soccer, to give birth to the loveliest, most playable, and generally greatest footy game ever. The only fly in the ointment is the horrendous price tag - like all Nintendo 64 games, the cartridge format means the going rate for a copy of ISS64 will be between £60 and £70, a terrifying and ludicrous sum which may well scupper the game's chances of mainstream success. That'd be a terrible shame, but if money means nothing to you, don't miss out on this.
(From Konami for Nintendo 64, £60)
TWISTED METAL WORLD TOUR
Phew. After that uncharacteristic bout of diversification from the software business, it's back to familiar territory with a driving game, and one set in the classic post-apocalyptic landscape, as a bonus. Surprisingly, though, Twisted Metal overcomes these handicaps (and another one in the shape of some rather ropey vehicle handling) to turn out a surprisingly entertaining slant on a theme - the idea here isn't to race, but to annihilate all the other cars on the course. Sophisticated it's not, but the courses are a lot of fun (knocking down the Eiffel Tower to use as a bridge being the high point) and the game's a lot more enjoyable than it's got any right to be.
(From Sony for Playstation, £45)
MICRO MACHINES v3
Sticking with cars (surprise!), next up is the fourth game in the illustrious Micro Machines series, in which you race the tiny trademarked toys around various homely environments (kitchen tables, toyroom floors, garden ponds and so on). The gimmick here is the 3D graphics, beautifully realised without ever getting in the way of the player's line of vision, and the eight-player mode which enables an entire roomful of your chums to squeeze around the TV and jostle each other at important moments. The gameplay is the same as it ever was, but since it was always great, that's not a problem.
(From Codemasters for Sony Playstation, £40)
Finally, two more racing games (no, wait) with a common amusing twist, this time being that you're racing not in cars but on big sexy jetskis. Sony's Playstation offering puts the player on some dramatic courses, with waterfalls to leap down and shattered bridges to traverse, but the graphics are blocky and control is skittery. They might have gotten away with it, though, if it hadn't been for that darn meddling...
(From Sony for Playstation, £45)
WAVE RACE 64
...Wave Race 64, one of the flagship games accompanying the long-delayed UK release of the N64. (You might just about be able to get one now after the initial one-day sell-out). The theme is the same, and the scenarios are a tad more humdrum, but WR64 blows Jet Riders comprehensively out of the water with gorgeous, pin-sharp graphics, beautiful rolling waves and astoundingly convincing handling. Nintendo have, as is their custom, pulled out all the stops to make this a beautiful gameplaying experience, which sets a stiff standard for the competition to match. Again, you'll have to sell a few non-essential body parts to pay for it, but if you've got a few spare ones, it's just about worth it.
(From Nintendo for Nintendo 64, £60)