Sunday, April 24, 2011

Cover to Cover: Virgin Games 1992 Catalog (pp. 8-9)

Our page-by-page review of the 1992 Virgin Games catalog continues, with a couple of titles for the 16-bit Sega Genesis console.  The SNES was making inroads into the home console market at the time, but Virgin's UK development resources and Amiga experience made the 68000-based Genesis a safer bet.

Page 8 features a game called Corporation, developed by the CORE Design folks, which managed to pull off a Castle Wolfenstein-style 3-D environment (with superior polygon support, at the cost of any wall texturing whatsoever).  Unfortunately, a low frame rate and maddeningly disorienting, nondescript level design make it a chore to play.

Page 9 features a couple of 16-bit side-scrolling adventures -- an adaptation of The Terminator, and Virgin's comical caveman Chuck Rock:

Games based on The Terminator were licensed for a number of different platforms around this time, a good eight years after the original movie came out, with Virgin Interactive releasing the Genesis title and Mindscape releasing very different versions for the NES and Super NES.  This version plays more interestingly than the SNES game, but it still feels very much like a generic platformer with Terminator imagery grafted on.

Chuck Rock is a Genesis port of one of those very British Amiga platformers, with a striking design aesthetic but middling gameplay.  Chuck himself is a stone-jawed, potbellied character who looks like something out of the Beano, or a character Terry Gilliam would have animated for Monty Python's Flying Circus.  He wanders about and, yes, chucks rocks at various comically presented villains, or belly-bumps them into submission.  And the ultimate boss, Gary Gritter, is a play on 1970s U.K. glam-rocker Gary Glitter, who was recording for Virgin Records circa 1984 but lost that contract in 1990, according to Wikipedia.

Next time, we'll see a few of Virgin's many PC titles.

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