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VIDEO GAMES REVIEW / AARON CURTISS : Clash of the Titans : Players can pit super-heroes against each other to find out which one is the mightiest.

June 23, 1995|AARON CURTISS

SUPER NINTENDO

Justice League Task Force

Who among us has not wondered which super-hero is the mightiest? I mean, if you put Batman and Green Arrow in the ring together, who would be standing after three rounds?

Justice League Task Force turns that question into an entire game in which various members of the Justice League of America are pitted against each other.

Not ordinarily a big fan of games like Mortal Kombat, I actually enjoyed Justice League Task Force. The violence, after all, was between two superhumans and the gore factor was minimal. In other words, you won't see Flash pulling out Batman's spinal cord.

The super-friends are fighting each other because the villainous Darkseid, in a drive for world domination, has created an army of robots that look exactly like--you guessed it--our favorite DC Comics heroes.

Players can choose to follow that story line and fight against computer foes or can play head to head against another person. Controls are smooth and straightforward. Special moves are fairly easy to master. Graphics are simple but clear.

One problem with the game, though, is that Superman is among the pantheon of heroes from which players can choose. Come on! Does anyone really believe that Aquaman could come close to kicking Superman's butt?

PLATFORMS: Super Nintendo

RATING: Cool

SEGA CD

Surgical Strike

If for no more lofty reason, one should hope for an end to world terrorism so video game designers can abandon the slew of games like Surgical Strike that are just plain bad.

In this frankly boring take on the all-too-familiar seek-and-destroy genre, the sole twist is that the special forces hunting the terrorist Kabul fly armored Hovercrafts. Neat, but not enough to build a game around.

I enjoyed very little about Surgical Strike and found myself hoping that each turn would reveal something new to redeem the game. Never happened. From the overbearing commander to the recon specialist who "looks more like an aerobics instructor," Surgical Strike is one cliche after another.

Add to this all the limitations of the Sega CD. Rather than recognizing the constraints of the system, it appears that the designers tried to cram as much as they could onto the disc, regardless of how well it worked.

The video is poor. The sluggish transfer rate of the Sega CD means the game is riddled with pauses as targets explode.

In all fairness, Sega offers a version that runs with the 32X peripheral and undoubtedly looks better. But in my mind, games should stand on their own.

PLATFORMS: Sega CD, Sega CD 32X

RATING: Sucks

ATARI JAGUAR

Theme Park

Despite all the hoo-ha--most of it from Atari--over the capabilities of the 64-bit Atari Jaguar, games ported over from other platforms just don't seem to measure up.

Case in point: Theme Park. Although still a very fun game, Theme Park on the Jaguar is a pared-down version missing many of the nicest features from the PC CD-ROM and 3DO versions. It makes clear the limitations of cartridge-based Jaguar when stacked against disk-based systems.

Theme Park allows players to build and run an amusement park and puts them in charge of everything from stocking novelty shops and cleaning the restrooms to setting ticket prices and developing new rides.

Although it sounds at first like a kiddie game, Theme Park is actually as challenging and engaging as the various versions of Sim City. Even in the sandbox mode, children might find it too difficult to be much fun.

Unfortunately, one of the coolest things about the game was left out of the Jaguar version.

Players are unable to take a spin on the rides they build. Anyone who has played the PC or 3DO versions of Theme Park will agree that these first-person animations are a hoot.

On the plus side, though, the Jaguar cartridge allows players without more expensive machines to enjoy the primary features of Theme Park.

PLATFORMS: Atari Jaguar, 3DO, PC CD-ROM

RATING: Cool on Jaguar, but even cooler on other platforms

Ratings: Insane, the very best; cool games are, of course, cool; mediocre, better borrowed than bought; suck, games at the bottom of the barrel.

Staff writer Aaron Curtiss reviews video games on the second and fourth Friday every month in Valley Life! If you would like to comment on a column or suggest games for review, send letters to The Times, 20000 Prairie St., Chatsworth 91311. Or send him an e-mail message at curtiss@news.latimes.com.

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