Action Games by Sega for Palm brand OS 5 PDAs, $19.95
(for each of these three games)
Reviewed April 2003
Originally released for the Sega Genesis,
Shining Force II, Sonic The Hedgehog and Shinobi were among
the biggest titles for this game console. It only makes sense
for Sega to cash in on the fast growing PDA/mobile gaming
market, and bring back these great games to live once more.
The catch is the port of these Sega classics is only for
the Palm brand Tungsten
T, Tungsten C and Zire
71 running OS 5. While the games might look choppy sometimes
on the Tungsten T, the graphics look noticeably better and
plays much smoothly on the Tungsten C thanks to its kick-ass
400MHz processor speed!
Shining Force II
Long before Golden Sun, there was Shining
Force and Shining Force II. As one of the most popular RPG
games for Sega Genesis system, Shining Force II will call
to the die-hard faithful like a foghorn. The Palm port is
virtually unchanged from the original game. Fans will welcome
back 18 of their favorite Shining Force members such as JAHA,
SLADE, ERIC, LUKE and more; some of them are specializing
in fighting, some healing, and others magic. Just as in the
original game, your characters can be promoted to higher
levels as they gain experience points in practicing their
own special art and skills in fighting. For those who are
unfamiliar with this game, fighting is the core of the game
play even though you travel through a vast landscape. The
game is entirely controlled by hardware buttons.
The unforgettable character animation and
color landscape fares well on Palm devices. The graphics
look sharp though you might experience choppy animation on
the Tungsten T once in a while. The battle sequences however
are very smooth and fighting animations are still fun and
adorable. The almost corny dialogs are the signature of the
game. You will learn the story as well as know each character
through these dialogs.
If the graphics and game play haven’t
brought back memories, the background tracks and signature
sound FX will for sure achieve the goal. For now, the game
only runs on Palm branded OS 5 devices, which include Tungsten
T and newly release Tungsten C and Zire 71.
Sonic The Hedgehog
Sonic The Hedgehog has made his run on
virtually every gaming platform and is considered by some
as Sega’s Mascot. The Palm port looks decent and plays
quite smoothly. In a 2D side-scrolling environment, your
blue hero Sonic will race through the six memorable zones
with his signature rolling and jumping skills. With many
power-ups and enemies littered throughout these levels, you
can either run through the level as fast as you can or take
your time and make sure you pick up every ring and all power-up
items. When rolling through a level at very high speed, the
Tungsten C did a much better job of translating the speed
than did the Tungsten T. Like in Mario games and the Rayman
series, you will encounter many hidden danger and deadly
traps that you won’t see until it’s too late.
While it’s almost impossible to avoid hitting these
dangerous spots, you can however save yourself from dying
by always keeping at least one ring. The game is controlled
entirely by the hardware buttons.
While Shining Force II didn’t loose
its shining graphics, Sonic looks a bit pixilated on the
Tungsten T and slightly better on the Tungsten C. The vibrant
background colors and the moving objects and characters do
come through nicely however. The music tracks are ported
straight from the original game and they sound great on the
Tungstens and Zire 71.
Even though Sonic The Hedgehog was
a big hit for Sega when it was first released, the sequels
often offered more bells and whistles to somehow make the
game look better and more fun to play. For those of us
who are spoiled with the latest Super Sonic titles, this
first Sonic game seems a little short and bit too easy.
But for those of you who’ve just joined us on this
Sonic journey, let us wish you bon voyage and watch out
for those spikes, Mate!
If your first Shinobi game was the 3D PS2
version, then you should know that Shinobi’s dashing
red scarf came from this Shinobi sword master game for Sega
GameGear. Though in this early Shinobi game, the scarf was
a Ninja’s fashion rather than a deadly weapon. Shinobi
for the Palm inherits the 2D side scrolling game play and
color-coded Ninjas along with their unique weapons and skills.
Although the graphics look dated, the locations where the
Ninjas must fight still cast magic over gamers who crave
challenge. Challenging Ninja fights are the heart of the
game. You will need to fight enemies with guns and bombs
on moving cars, jumping from log to log across rapids, beat
impossible bosses, all the while keeping your cool and your
mask intact. The game isn’t very long, but given the
challenges you face, you will replay the levels and you will
need to come up with different strategy when facing different
enemies. There are a good number of life cubes and power-ups
throughout each level. The game is controlled by the hardware
buttons on the Palm.
The graphics are simple and has comic book
like characters with rather smooth action and movement on
all supported devices. While it’s hard to see anyone’s
face in this game, each character’s style does come
through in their movements and their way of fighting. The
locations with lighter colors are much easier to see than
the darker ones. I had no trouble or any slow downs in controlling
my Ninja and fighting actions. The music tracks are catchy
and sound FX is good enough to make fighting more interesting.
While the later Shinobi games have better
graphics, the various fighting strategies and precise movements
of the Ninjas in this game is still one of the best and most
additive game-plays in the entire Shinobi franchise. If you’ve
never experienced Ninja Magic before, this is your chance
to see it in action!