From Sega Retro
- For the equipment used by Sega to draw 2D graphics, see Digitizer System.
|Original airdate: 1993-01-01 — 2003-03-09|
|Original channel(s): Channel 4|
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Digitiser was a feature broadcast as part of Channel 4's teletext service in the United Kingdom. It was updated regularly between January 1st 1993 and March 9th 2003, acting as a mini video games magazine, with news, reviews, quizzes and other editorials. A few months after launch it had reached a readership of 600,000, and at it's peak hit 1.5 million, numbers way in excess of traditional computer and video game print magazines. While not the only Teletext service to feature video games, it was by far the most successful.
- 1 History
- 2 Archive
- 3 Ratings
- 3.1 Mega Drive
- 3.2 Mega-CD
- 3.3 Saturn
- 4 References
Digitiser would begin broadcasting on January 1st 1993, and would typically consist of 6-8 teletext pages, containing news, a couple of reviews, editorials, sales charts and competitions, curated by Mr. Biffo (Paul Rose) and Mr. Hairs (Tim Moore). The service was broadcast Monday-Saturday (six days a week, later dropping to three towards the end), with Saturdays acting as a weekly round-up. Publishing daily allowed it to report news before most of its competition, though the limitations of Teletext kept any details brief and text-only.
Until late 1999 Digitiser did not have a permanent home in the listings, though would usually reside at 470-476 or 370-376 (always something-70). It then moved to 480-486 where it remained until late 2002 when it was slightly reduced in size and moved to 175-179.
As Channel 4 was a free to air broadcaster, Digitiser could be accessed by anyone living in the United Kingdom with a teletext-compatible television (which was a standard feature of new sets since the 1980s). While a rival to "traditional" commercial print-based video game magazines, most were welcoming of (or neutral about) its existence, however EMAP, publishers of two the biggest magazines of the 90s, Computer and Video Games and Mean Machines (Sega) had several public spats with Digitiser for the first few years.
All forms of teletext ceased broadcasting in the UK in 2012, and given the nature of the transmissions, the vast majority of teletext pages have not been archived. Remnants of Digitiser have been preserved by the Teletext Preservation Project and by its longest-running fan site, Super Page 58, possible due to VHS recordings storing Teletext information alongside the video signal (as was the case when originally broadcast).
- Main article: Digitiser/Ratings.
There is really no great need for a Doom/Wolfenstein style game on the Mega Drive. Zero Tolerance was perfectly adequate, and the issue should have been laid to rest then.
Like Mr Biffo, Bloodshot has taken an age finally to come out. And sadly, the wait hasn't been really worth it.
Bang bang. Shoot shoot.
You know the score.
|by Acclaim/Domark||Players 1-2|
|Uppers||A fairly reasonable effort|
|Downers||Buy a PC if you want Doom|
|Overal 69%||Blood not|
This is such a good idea for a game, we still can't believe it!
You control a little squad of soldiers through an increasingly difficult series of battles. How do you do that?
You point to where you want to move your men and click a button. You point to where you want to shoot or throw a grenade and click a button.
It's as simple as a really stupid man.
Though Canon Fodder has coped with its move to console well, we still have a major reservation regarding the game.
There are weeks of gameplay in there, but we somehow feel that boredom will set in after a few days. The relatively poor sales of CF2 tell their own tale.
The deranged amongst you will enjoy repeatedly shooting wounded soldiers, and the introduction of vehicles later in the game helps, but a bit more depth wouldn't have gome amiss.
|by Virgin||Players: 1|
|Downers||A little repetitive|
|Overal 85%||Cannon/ball joke|
Question: How many games based on real comic books have been any good? Answer: Few games.
This makes us feel all funny about Comix Zone - you see, it's a beat 'em up set inside the pages of a fictional comic book.
Does that sound a bit funny? It is. You leap from panel to panel - enemies being drawn onto the "page" by the artist's giant slug (hand).
Comix Zone makes the most of those peculiar comic book conventions.
Batman-style "Biffs", "Pows" and "Trotski-doos" litter your battles, whilst speech bubbles spurt from your fighter's rotting gob.
Visually, it's all rather lovely. One of the best-looking games, indeed, ever to grace the Mega Drive.
What else? Oh yes. Though it plays like any other beat 'em up, there are minor puzzles to overcome. How so?
Comix Zone occasionally hinders your progress with a spinning blade or falling block or spike.
Often you simply throw your pet rat at a switch; elsewhere you push explosives beneath the offending obstacle. It breaks the beat 'em up monopoly - mahogany (monotony) - nicely.
But as brilliant as it first seems, Comix Zone has problems. Problems that not even the free CD of the in-game music can stop you from living through.
Though Sega would probably argue that the game is foxy, we'd say Comix Zone was damned unfair.
If your pocket is free of explosives, you've no choice but to punch doors and barrels out of the way. This activity eats away at your health.
Also, you only get one life - and only one continue per level.
The harsh difficulty factor spoils a potentially classic title.
|by Sega||Players: 1|
|Uppers||Such a neat idea, dad!|
|Downers||Too damn unfair|
|Overal 79%||Chronic loan|
Don't. Please. We really can't be bothered with another platformer!
|by Sega||Players: 1|
|Uppers||It's got Daffy Duck in it|
|Downers||Everything else, dear|
|Overal 46%||Duffy Dack|
Every time we receive a new RPG we're sure it'll be the giant strawb that snaps the monkey's back.
But every now and then we get a game like Light Crusader which makes our lips curl and our legs straighten out. Though one of these effects is perhaps the by-product of the other.
Light Crusader is an isometric RPG like Landstalker, but replaces the cutesy characters with a load of "Slim Jims".
Though Light Crusader is an action-based RPG involving the graphic decapitation of goblins and zombies, it's far more enjoyable than puzzling.
The Puzzle Rooms reminded us of crumbly old Knight Lore on the Spectrum.
It's a matter of pushing blocks and moving bombs and pulling switches in the right order to open doors.
It could have proved tedious, but as we emerged from sessions with the game, our faces glowed like petrol bombs.
Light Crusader looks like no other RPG.
The Japanese obsession with making everyone a stocky dwarf has for once been abandoned in favour of a more realistic approach to the characters and environment.
What is weird is the way you can push almost everyone and everything in the game around. You'll have particular fun positioning the farmer and his cows.
So yes, it's rather great. It's looking an oddly good year for the Mega Drive.
|by US Gold||Players: 1|
|Uppers||Big. Tough. Looks great. Lovely|
|Overal 87%||(Ca)rt-sha(ped) Crusader|
Like the SNES version, this is well worth getting if you don't already own the original.
The basic game is near-identical, though it can now be customised through the use of power-ps and "hot spots".
And you can play a gorilla if you have the proper code, Mr Simons.
|by Acclaim||Players: 1-4|
|Downers||Amazingly NO tournament mode!|
|Overal 90%||Chicken in a basket joke|
Hockey, hockey, hockey - oui, oui, oui!
Surely this must be the final Mega Drive update of EA's now legendary ice hockey series.
As we've no doubt said when reviewing the previous 60 versions, if you don't probably own the game this is probably worth buying. If you do - it isn't.
And hey now - they've put the fights back in! That's so beautiful.
|by EA||Players: 1-4|
|Uppers||The finest hockey sim around|
|Overal 83%||NHL 1990.|
Like its SNES counterpart, the Mega Drive version of Rise of the Robots barely appears finished.
If you want a decent beat 'em up buy Mortal Kombat II. On second thoughts don't. Both games are from Acclaim, and after the debacle on display here they don't deserve your money.
Buy some vodka instead.
|by Acclaim||Players: 2|
|Downers||A total poo-fest|
|Overal 45%||Surp-rise-ingly bad. Hoo!|
Not since the Yosser demo on the old BBC has a game been based around headbutting. However, there's headbutting and there's headbutting.
Ristar follows the path of the latter, nicer variety.
You control some sort of starfish thing with stretchy arms. He does away with the enemy by grabbing hold of them and smacking his face into theirs.
Aside from the obvious differences in doing away with the nasties, Ristar has a distinctive Sonic quality.
The structure of the game is very similar - as are the graphics.
It's perhaps the curious feeling of pure playability coupled with very little challenge or depth that urges us to draw comparisons.
Don't get us wrong - it's a fun game. But so is throwing batteries into a fire. But don't you do that, now.
|by Sega||Players: 1|
|Uppers||Smooth and playable, daddy|
|Overal 79%||Pilau Ristar joke|
We simply can't get enough of Zelda-esque RPGs. As soon as a new one falls into our basket, we whip it out and smash it straight into an easel.
Ironically, thanks to Nintendo UK's lazy approach to releasing new games, the Mega Drive can probably boast more of these sort of RPGs than the SNES.
But Sega is always quick to cash in on a big thing. Hey - let's bite those hands that feed us!
Soleil is pretty much standard for overhead, action-based RPGs.
However, some splendid touches force the game into a bigger bra than would otherwise have been necessary.
There's loads of stuff about talking animals and holy swords and the like - but don't let that put you off.
If you like your games to last a little longer than a week, we advise you to hide Soleil under a special tarp.
|by Sega||Players: 1|
|Uppers||Plenty to do and see|
|Downers||Sometimes a little obscure|
|Overal 80%||Soleil-a St Claire|
Question: Do you remember Cool Spot? Answer: Yes. Yes you do.
The platform gameplay has been moulded into an isometric trough for this fine sequel: it plays like a platformer, but everything has gone all diagonal.
And - ha-ha - the levels are themed around popular movie genres (no, not that sort, Mr Hairs). Nice big levels; neat graphics. Neat and nice.
|by Virgin||Players: 1|
|Uppers||Not another platform sequel|
|Downers||Sometimes a bit fiddly|
|Overal 79%||Pop goes the weasle.|
The latest twitch from the Mega CD's singed corpse, Eye of the Beholder admirably impersonates the PC original.
That's to say that you get six races, six classes, nine alignments and 40 faces from which to select your dungeon-questing foursome.
And that there's no scaling or baddie animation to speak of, making this one of the most visually-barren RPGs ever.
Eye of the Beholder is rare amongst console RPGs for its slavish adherence to the genre's stinking roots.
Experience tables, spell-memorising, ability score modifiers - all are here in their brown pomp. Along with a laughably misplaced rave soundtrack.
Why, they've even resisted the temptation to replace the click-on-sword-icon with a slightly more, ah, "fulfilling" combat method.
Or is the whole thing just very lazy?
|by Sega||Players: 1|
|Uppers||Faithful old-style RPG...|
|Downers||...and therefore stupid|
|Overal 62%||Why of the Beholder|
This is Konami's first Mega CD-specific title, and will probably be the last. Something of a shame, as Snatcher is rather good fun.
Set in the future, the game sees you as the strangely-named Gabriel Seed, whose job it is to track down the Terminator-like Snatchers.
It's a fairly conventional adventure, but makes a nice change of pace for a console game.
From Snatcher's menu, you travel around a Japanese megopolis interrogating witnesses, eating clues and ringing saucy party lines on your phone.
The detective work is occasionally broken up by shoot 'em up sections - compatible with Konami's light gun, if you so desire.
The game can be saved at any stage via your irritating robot sidekick Metal Gear. We hated him.
Snatcher is a decent game. The graphics and interface are a bit dated, and at times the investigation becomes a little frustrating.
Mostly though, the game is a blast. The twisty-turny plot should see you sound for weeks. Sound like a dying bee.
Though unlikely to appeal to most console owners, if we mention the gratuitous sex and violence, their ears should prick up.
But it's over 18s only.
|by Konami||Players: 1|
|Uppers||A change of pace|
|Downers||A little dated|
|Overal 85%||Snatch yourself a copy|
After the terrible Virtual Hydlide and Digital Pinball, this more than clears the slime from Sega's rubber sledge.
Bottom line: Bug is the first proper 3D platformer. Yes.
From the collect-o-gem gameplay to the bonus rounds to the bosses to the power-ups to the jump-o-head attacks, Bug uses every platform cliche you can imagine. But that doesn't matter.
Where Bug doesn't bear the scars of its undistinguished platform lineage is in the layout of its levels.
If M C Escher had been a game designer and not a fart, this is the game he would have designed.
Not only can your character wander far into and out of the screen, but the stages stretch high for several screens. In/out; up/down. Incredible.
It's difficult to understand the score without playing the game.
Being a Bug, your character can walk up walls and across ceilings. He can also, depending on the power-up, zap them with his antennae or spit slime.
The 3D conceptualisation is quite incredible. Platforms, ramps and walkways criss-cross each other and overlap like veins on a cow's udder. Mapping the game must have been horrid.
Yet you can stand at one end of the level and look far into the distance to plan your route. It's like being in a coma.
Occasionally, one of Bug's enemies - perhaps an insane grasshopper, perhaps a sharpshooting snail - will spring from nowhere.
Generally, though, the game is fair in the extreme. For particularly tricky sections of platform-o-jump, the entire screen scrolls out and you're treated to a wider viewpoint.
That isn't to say it's easy. Bug is possibly the toughest platformer Sega have ever put together.
Bug's levels are vast. The first sub-stage of level one took us nigh-on 20 minutes to complete.
Even then we couldn't be sure we'd seen everything.
Subsequent levels become bigger and more complex, with multiple routes to the exit. For sheer ingenuity of level design, this game is on a par with Super Mario World.
Up there with Daytona and Fighter.
|by Sega||Players: 1|
|Uppers||The new era of platformer|
|Downers||Can be a bit TOO unforgiving|
|Overal 89%||Good (Bug)|
Question: What has a purple quiff, a gun/guitar combination, and an array of enemies ranging from skeletons to walking hooters?
Answer: You know - it's Daff Ducky!
Incorrect. It is Johnny Bazookatone, star of US Gold's new platformer. Hasn't he got a funny name, everyone? It's because he's Polish, of course!
Johnny Bazookatone doesn't really want to kiss all those new wave, new generation, 32-bit gentlemen. Which is a bit stupid, really.
It's a traditional platformer in every respect, despite some rendered graphics and the odd special effect.
That would probably be dumb enough, but the difficulty level is mercilessly harsh, nay, unfair. Enemies randomly appearing from nowhere is a bad thing.
Johnny Bazookatone isn't a very big game, which probably explains why the decision was taken to make it so tough early on.
However, the music is really nice - if occasionally out of place - and it does come with a free CD of the soundtrack.
We may have to wait for Mario 64 to kill the old school of platformers, but having said that, who paid any attention to Mario on SNES
|by US Gold||Players: 1|
|Uppers||It's not awful|
|Downers||Could have been done on SNES|
|Overal 70%||Johnny Rotten joke|
We weren't expecting much of this. So sick to the lungs are we with side-on beat 'em ups, we're just about ready to cough up mud.
However, strip away the flashy digitised graphics and this is the same Street Fighter we've always loved - loved like a doe.
With a couple of new characters, super combo gauge and neat visuals and presentation, this may make you OK.
|by Acclaim||Players: 1-2|
|Uppers||As classic as ever|
|Downers||Animation is a bit jerky|
|Overal 88%||Do the locomotion.|
If you don't know about either (a) the Saturn, or (b) Virtua Fighter, then it's likely that you are someone who cannot decipher sensory information.
Or you have been dead for a year.
A quick summary for those unfortunates: the Sega Saturn is a flash new console, due out here in the autumn.
Virtua Fighter is a conversion of the smash arcade beat 'em up.
Though we had few doubts that Sega would produce a stunning title to showcase their new machine, Virtua Fighter still came as a bit of a shock.
The characters - though oboviously very stylised and blocky - move in a remarkably convincing 3D fashion, recoiling from every punch and kick.
The lack of fireball-style special moves is part of the game's appeal, and makes for a nice change.
It's easy to be blinded by Virtua Fighter's stunning visuals.
However, prolonged play of the game underlines subtleties not immediatedly apparent in the arcade version.
Each of the eight fighters is naturally empowered with different strengths and weaknesses.
Learning to use them to the full is a major part of the game's appeal.
As with all beat 'em ups, Virtua Fighter works best with two players, yet solo the game is more satisfying than any other basher we've played.
If criticism need be made, then the graphics aren't perfect. The polygons occasionally disappear, and we're not overly keen on the Saturn joypad.
At the end of the day, Sega has produced a title which not only showcases the Saturn's power, but should pacify the most angry gamester.
|by Sega||Players: 1-2|
|Uppers||One of the best fighters ever|
|Downers||Very expensive on import|
|Overal 92%||Virtually brilliant|
Here is our latest joke: "Here comes old Wing Arms, again!"
It isn't a joke with a punchline, it is a new sort of joke: the kind of joke that is a pithy comment.
In this case it refers to the title of the game Wing Arms, and the humorous possibility that someone with the nickname "Wing Arms" is approaching.
Wing Arms is a shot 'em up.
Wing Arms offers you the choice of several WW2-style aircraft, though they're armed with anachronistic missiles and whistlers.
Aircraft chosen, you have to fly around and shoot other aircraft - sometimes really big ones!
It isn't awful, and the graphics improve as the game progresses, but we started to get annoyed because the enemy targets moved about so much.
A small game from Sega's big gob.
|by Sega||Players: 1|
|Downers||Looks like a SNES game|
|Overal 73%||Hello, Wing Arms!|