The Maxi 15 cartridge gives itself five out of five stars. “I’m awesome!” it declares.
PLAYERS: 1-2 simultaneous/alternating
PUBLISHER: American Video Entertainment
RELEASE DATE: 1992
The unfortunately titled Maxi-15 takes it to the hoop with fifteen games of varying quality. All of the games, save for two (Rad Racket Deluxe Tennis II and Stakk’m) were previously released as stand-alone titles WHICH MEANS some of these games (F-15 City War, Chiller, Dudes with Attitude) I’ve already reviewed, while others (Pyramid, Solitaire) will eventually get the “full write-up treatment,” such as it is, later on in the quest. For now, enjoy one blurb per game and be glad you aren’t playing Maxi 15.
F-15 CITY WAR
Not on my asphalt…
Nobody wants to go to war, especially not in a city, but don’t tell this wacky F-15 fighter! He fights and strikes on paved streets until he runs out of gas, which happens to be around level five, when the war’s already over. The shooting action is solid, but repetitive, and for a war centered entirely around a large metropolitan area, there’s not a whole lot going on. Average at best.
Shuffle that, player!
Geriatrics rejoice! It’s time to solve picture puzzles! Each level shows you a picture and then scrambles it. You have a time limit to return the picture to its original form and set the universe back in order. For some reason, there’s a rock, paper, scissors game included. If you win, you get to swap two tiles completely (steady those pacemakers!). For a game that lacks any sort of creative vision, it’s actually quite playable and dare I say, enjoyable. But I do like a glass of good prune juice, so what do I know.
Sweet Moses, help us…
I’ve never wondered what Tetris would have been like with shapes that are nigh unusable, yet Pyramid desires to show me, you, everyone who would dare select it from the menu. While the Sphinx backdrop is cool looking and the music has a puz-tacular feel, the game essentially asks you to play Tetris (blocks fall, put a bunch together, they disappear weeee!!!), yet provides askew shapes that rarely fit together. The designers recognized this and thoughtfully give you five bombs that you can use at random to blow chunks out of the pieces. I suppose when your game is shot to hell, explosions are always the answer.
TILES OF FATE
Tiles, tiles everywhere, so let’s all have a drink. That’s exactly what I wanted to do after a few rounds of trying to match up tiles with other tiles on this Mahjong-inspired romp. There’s anywhere between six to ten different shapes on the board, and the goal is to match up the tiles of the edge of the board. The ridiculously short time limit and the parameters the game sets in order for tiles to be eliminated make this one crazy hard game. Worth learning, though, if you have the time and booze money set aside.
This isn’t as krazy as promized.
Hordes of helpless creatures get chucked into a black playing field and you have to arrange them in rows or else they get put to sleep! These unlicensed game developers are truly vicious bastards. Clearing out animals in rows of three, four, five, etc. is surprisingly addictive, and there’s enough levels to occupy you until you eventually get bored. A significant time-waster.
Battle planes strike doubly.
Eat your Wheaties and get in the plane, soldier! You’ve got a butt-load of fighters to shoot down, and they won’t go without their weight in bullets. Double Strike is quite the generic horizontal shmup (or as I like to call them, “progressive” shmups), but unless you have a vendetta against games that make you shoot stuff, it’s hard to hate.
DUDES WITH ATTITUDE
I’d really like to play a game called Dudes Sans Attitude and see if it would be any less ridiculous than this jewel-collecting, pre-chewed gum destroying pseudo-puzzler. You control a head that never stops moving, and can change colors if it passes through the correct Jolly Rancher cube. Said color change is needed to collect the colored jewels. Only a blue head can collect blue jewels, green for green, and through the color spectrum. It’s a disturbing game that’s much better than it should be.
VENICE BEACH VOLLEYBALL
C’mon Cindy, where were you?
This is not the finest volleyball experience you’ll find on the NES, but for game eight out of fifteen on an unlicensed multi-cart, it’s not half-bad. Basic two-button volleyball made a touch easier thanks to automatic partner switching, depending on the location of the ball, and a cursor that shows where the ball’s going to land. Spikes are your best friend, unless your best friend’s in the room with you and you’re playing two-player. Then things might get a little awkward.
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