Thursday, April 28, 2005

SMS With A Side Of Light Phaser

Our friend Scott had never seen a Sega Master System, so the other night we decided to get it out and show it to him. This was mostly spawned after playing Fantasy Zone on the NES and talking about how much better the SMS version was.

Anyway, after some brief setup, the SMS was fully operational. Not counting the two games built into the console, I own four cartridges for this puppy. We played three of them:

1. Astro Warrior - an excellent "shmup" shooter game. Solid control, excellent powerups and huge bosses. Need I say more?
2. Fantasy Zone - like an acid trip in a cartridge. Incredibly colorful side-scrolling shooter, though pretty difficult.
3. Double Dragon - Despite its problems, this is one of the best Double Dragon ports out there. This game brings back many fond memories of beating up Green Abobo.

Once we made it through the carts (ironically, Time Soldiers got skipped because we didn't have time to play it) we decided to check out the only lightgun game that I've ever played for the SMS, Safari Hunt. Think Duck Hunt, only with a lot more targets, some of which take multiple hits or move very quickly. This would be a great game except for a few inherent problems with the SMS lightgun, the Light Phaser:

-Grip is terribly non-ergonomic and uncomfortable due to its nearly 90 degree angle to the gun's barrel
-Rear sights are too close together, rendering poor sight picture

These traits, coupled with the much slighter trigger pull that the Light Phaser has compared to Nintendo's Zapper, are what keep me from getting more lightgun games for the SMS. I just don't like the peripheral as much. The Zapper just feels so much more natural. Once everybody left I had to break out Duck Hunt just to reaffirm to myself that I wasn't a poor shot by any means.

Don't get me wrong; I'm not knocking the SMS. If I didn't love the thing I wouldn't have bought one. Who knows, maybe my eyes/hands were tired. I'll have to give the Light Phaser another chance... time to start looking into titles. Maybe I can pick up Wonder Boy III cheap while I'm at it...


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