Sunday 25 September 2016

Greendog: The Beached Surfer Dude! (Game Gear review)

Developer: Interactive Designs
Publisher: Sega
Released: 1993

Greendog: The Beached Surfer Dude! is a platform game that was originally released on the Sega Mega Drive in 1992.

The objective is to locate five pieces of the Surfboard of the Ancients to remove a cursed pendant that's stuck around your neck. Your main method of attack is a flying disc but special weapons can be found that include a Super Disc that seeks out enemies on its own and Umbrella Hats that make you invincible. There's no vine swinging here, and the pedal-copter and St. Vincent stages are absent. The action is your standard platforming fare but the controls are laggy and there's frequent slowdown, meaning Greendog never seems to fully respond to your inputs; this is no more apparent than when you're attempting some precision platforming and he refuses to react to your in-air fine-tuning! Annoyingly, your health bar is never displayed by default and the only way to see it is to press the Start button. The dreadful underwater stage is still present without being improved; here you have to deal with floaty jump mechanics and action that slows to a crawl. There's also tons of instant death traps and pipes that suck you up and send you backwards. To be fair, the game does mirror the original well in terms of level design and gameplay elements. For example, the temple skateboarding areas offer some decent extreme sports action as you dodge boulders and leap off ramps to avoid spike pits. Unfortunately, the later beach skateboarding areas are nightmarish as the crap controls make it too easy to bash into lampposts that bump you into pits, forcing you to restart the level. There's only one mundane boss that's repeated several times, and the game suddenly ends with no real resolution.
Greendog: The Beached Surfer Dude! has some good ideas, as well as gameplay variety, but the laggy controls and rampant slowdown stop you from enjoying what could have been a fun platformer. These issues make it tough for all the wrong reasons and ultimately it's just not worth your time.
Random trivia: This Game Gear version was only released in North America and Brazil.

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