Review: Revolution X (Genesis/Mega Drive)

Posted: February 13, 2011 in Retro, Reviews
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Revolution X Starring Aerosmith

This Game is Bad

And not bad in the way the cool kids said it in the mid-’90s when the game came out. Bad in the sense that you can only explain with a horribly pixelated mugshot of Steven Tyler. Bad in the sense that you wanted to cry after renting it instead of Vectorman or Aero the Acrobat II. Bad like losing all your POGs, bad like getting your earring in the wrong ear, bad like going to a Soundgarden concert only to find Poison is playing instead.

Basically, it’s what you should expect to get when you decide to make a rail shooter based on a rock band. And specifically, a party-hearty band like Aerosmith.

Generation X is in Effect

Fighting Enemies in Revolution X

First, let’s take a look at the game’s premise. It’s the far future year of 1996, possibly not long after the prologue of Demolition Man. And the New World Order has banned rock and roll, and fun in general. Therefore it’s up to the disaffected youth of Generation X, led by crusty ’70s rockers Aerosmith, to take back the world from guys who look like Scorpion from Mortal Kombat in motorcycle gear by gunning them down with uzis and…launching Compact Discs at them. Yes, you can fire CDs, presumably through some sort of specially designed railgun.

So the forces of Generation X, well known for their unwillingness to do anything not dictated by MTV, are mobilized not by a band that actually had a popular hit at the time the game came out (I suppose Metallica and Pearl Jam had the good taste to pass on this one), but by…Aerosmith. Yeah. Nothing like hearing Dream On to get me to rebel against oppressive fascist forces!

So the idea of the game is completely insane. To say the least. But all that can be forgiven if it’s fun, right?

Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing…Except Maybe This

Let’s start with the gameplay problems. The Sega Genesis is not a well-equipped system for rail shooters unless you owned the rare Sega Menacer gun controller. Like the SNES Super Scope, it was rare, it was expensive, let’s face it, only the rich kid who had a Power Glove and a 3DO had one of these. And while he laughed at us from the tower of his majestic suburban castle, we rented and played Revolution X.

You control the crosshair with your D-pad. The Genesis controller is many things. Comfortable, perfectly sized, shaped like a boomerang. It is not, however, a mouse, or a lightgun, or anything worthwhile for quickly moving a cursor. You move the controller to gun down an endless army of identical mooks, occasionally launching a compact disc which must be explosive or razor edged because it brings the hurt. This is what you do for pretty much the entire time.

Rockin' the Guitar in Revolution X Game on Mega Drive

You also get to listen to what might have been intended to be Aerosmith tracks, but either they’re B-sides I don’t recognize or are so horribly mangled through the Genesis’s soundchip that they just sound like uninspired 16-bit garbage. That’s great, the game promises me Aerosmith and I can’t even rock out? What’s the point?

And while I’m on that subject…again, of all bands, WHY Aerosmith? I’m sure a perfectly good sidescroller could have been made based on Megadeth. Or maybe some kind of GWAR-PG. I’d even give serious thought to a Leisure Suit Larry game starring Phil Collins before I’d say, “You know what sounds like an awesome idea? A rail shooter featuring Aerosmith!”

The Final Verdict

If you were expecting a good licensed game based on a band, look elsewhere. Here it’s the same old story, same old song and dance.

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