Review by Retro

Reviewed: 04/21/01 | Updated: 12/05/03

One of those special few games that's full of flaws, yet manages to be so fun you overlook the bad points.

They always tell you not to judge a book by its cover. Well, nobody's ever told me not to judge a video game by its label! That's just what I did with Seicross. Jeremy Scott, my best friend at the time, was the lucky owner of this game that had a label that caught my eye right away. It shows bikers crashing into each other while a futuristic background encircles them. Part of the label is a mossy green color, and the title is even written stylistically. Before I knew it, Seicross was all I cared about during the visit at my friend's house. Forget about all the other video games, jumping on the trampoline, or even riding go-carts. All I wanted to do was play Seicross.

Seicross starts off with a bang. You’re a guy who’s dressed in 100% blue and you’re riding a 'bike' that greatly resembles a scooter. The screen is scrolling quickly to the right and fellow scooter riders are coming at you from all directions, and they’re mean! So are those tall towers and ground-ridden plants that are shooting small fireballs your way. These enemies, along with other things such as palm trees (what are these doing here?), sturdy rock and stone landmarks, and lifeless beds of what look to be fossilized sea creatures, are cluttering the ground on which you ride on.

But wait! Your bike has an unlimited amount of ammo that can be used to destroy nearly any enemy with just one shot, and some of the seemingly dead items that are standing in your way can be annihilated. Shoot those huge reptilian skeletons and then try to destroy the squid-like alien that comes flying out of it! If you're getting bored with just an ol' fireball that spans the length of the screen when shot, shoot up those tree stump thingies and then collect the star that's now in clear view to update to a much quicker and more effective laser! You and the mysterious biker that you control always have your sights set on reaching the finish line that marks the end of the level, but shooting up foes and dodging obstacles isn't all you'll be doing.

Surprisingly, not everything in this world set in the future represents danger. Several plump blue guys are standing in place frantically waving their arms as their way of saying, “Don’t shoot us! We’re Seicross’s damsels in distress!” They can be picked up for bonus points. Flashing items on the ground serve as refills to your slowly draining energy.

Upon reaching the finish line, you stop in place and wait for the fat blue dudes you rescued to be tallied up, just to turn into bonus points. Then the game picks up right where it left off, literally. No transporting is allowed. You'll just roll on forward in pretty much the same area, only this time, you're not scooting along at dangerous speeds; the screen now scrolls to the right with speeds not unlike that of a tortoise. You see the same mossy grounds ahead, and the ground still has the slime green colored vector lines that allow for more precise aiming, but yet it's not the same. The atmosphere that was a thrilling, almost carelessly fun stroll through never before seen environments is now a slow, suspenseful run for your life.

The claustrophobic places you have no choice but to squeeze through are now even tighter, and the breeds of enemies that shoot fireballs at you are more numerous and aggressive. These enemies have good aim with their fireballs. They don't usually shoot them at you, they shoot them where you're going to be in a few seconds, much like a quarterback throwing a pass to his receivers. At times, ten or more of these invincible fireballs will be seemingly homing in on you, and you can't do anything but use Seicross's brilliantly perfect controls to weave in and out of these beds of fire in all directions to avoid death. From this point (level 2) on, your life will be much tougher.

Seicross as a whole is a damn tough game. Racking up as many points as possible in NES games is usually just something to do for fun, but in Seicross it's necessary. You actually need to destroy as many enemies and collect as many of the overweight fellows as you can, since you earn an extra life every so often for reaching certain point plateaus. It's not really the abundant numbers of enemies that you'll encounter or even the tight squeezes, or even both of them together that makes this game hard. It's the fact that when you run into an enemy or barrier just once, you're dead, and there are no continues in existence.

Along with noticing the frustrating challenge of Seicross, you'll also notice that the graphics are rather bland and not so detailed. Your biker and the enemy bikers are faceless and, though futuristic, things aren't very colorful in these settings of the world. The sounds and tunes that'll come from your television during play time are the same way, basically. None of them are very memorable at all, and not a single one is what I would call ''great,'' but somehow, some way, the graphics and sounds give you the impression of being cool in a sense.

It's amazing, really. Seicross is unforgiving and fairly frustrating, and the graphics and sounds show their age very much. You may get a sense that the makers didn't spend a lot of time on certain aspects of Seicross, but nonetheless the game is just so fun!

The stiff-looking enemies that are in the form of fellow scooterers can't shoot at you, but they can sure bump you. As a matter of fact, their favorite pastime is riding bumper carts. You're in their territory and you don't look like they do, so they literally want to kill you by bumping you into something deadly. No sweat! It's actually fun showing them what it's like by beating them at their own game. It's fun shooting them too! It's fun and memorable to discover the new weapon upgrade that's so powerful it streaks through previously impenetrable rocks and everything else. It's fun to go up against new enemies every level, such as dinosaurs on wheels whose bodies you must shoot several times to destroy, only to have their heads fly at you in demonic rage! It's fun taking turns with a friend in two-player mode, just to see who can get further.

That's just it! Even with its downfalls, Seicross is one of those special few that still manages to provide the gamer with an everlasting amount of fun and replay value. I believe there are six levels in the entire game (the levels are pretty long, btw), and I haven't ever passed more than four of them as of yet. But I still love Seicross. It's one of the most underrated NES games, and if I were to choose ten NES games out of my collection to take with me to my grave, this would be one of them. It's just that fun.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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