You see, I played the SNES version of Hurricanes, but there's actually a Genesis/Mega Drive game that apparently follows the same storyline (ie. the generic platformer level themes appear in roughly the same order), but seems to have different content and gameplay. So really it's another game entirely.
It seems that GSTV is a news station dedicated to following footballers around as they travel between games and today they've chosen to stalk the Hurricanes as they journey to Garkos Island for a soccer match against the Gorgons. I can't imagine it'd be that interesting to watch though, unless the players do something incredibly weird like, I dunno, decide to split up and walk there on foot or something...
But do I go with Cal, Stats, Amanda or Rude? Huh, Amanda's a weird name for a guy. Well I mean they're all weird names for guys, but... hang on, is this a mixed gender football team?
Those spikes on the right are actually in the background though weirdly enough. It seems they're been installed all over the forest and not just on the exact path I wanted to travel for once in a game. Though even though they're well out of my way I keep mistaking the bloody things for a threat, which is annoying.
Plus the SNES version has pretty mediocre gameplay, and a yoyo football that immediately returns to your foot the second you release the kick button (or a kick button; there's a few of them.) The Mega Drive game has only the one kick button but the ball actually acts like a football and the character is much more responsive as I move around the level.
No tricks in either of them though sadly. Soccer Kid and Marko's Magic Football remain the undisputed champions of overhead kicks. Though I suppose being able to jump with the ball and kick it in mid-air is kind of a trick.
And then on top of that, a floating referee materialised in a puff of smoke to show me a yellow card, just to add absurdity to injury. What a bastard.
I'm sure I'll be back down at the beach soon enough though, as this bloody bird's just swooped down at me and screwed up my jump. Hopefully I'll find something soft to land on. Like a delicious health-restoring hamburger!
He keeps firing cannon balls at me, I keep kicking a football at his head, and neither of us seem to be happy about the way this is going. I'm a lot more resistant to cannon balls than squirrels are to footballs, but none of my hits seem to be hurting him at all. I guess we'll see who gets bored of this first and goes home.
Actually I think these guys in suits are awesome. They look like incredibly inept hitmen or bored secret service agents, trying to kill me off in a way that doesn't get them shot by airport security
Soccer Kid for absolutely no reason. Fortunately two or three kicks with a football is enough to put them down permanently, if I actually manage to react in time to dodge them and kick the ball their way.
Oh by the way, I love how they've implemented the 'ball teleport' feature in this. Instead of making my lost football reappear at my foot with a little swirly effect, they've got it being thrown back into play by someone standing off screen. Genius.
The funny thing is, the character's not doing anything crazy here. All she's doing here is trying to board her flight! This is the standard obstacle course all passengers must face.
Fortunately I have one single continue to use and it restarted me at the beginning of the airport with a full set of lives, eager to re-engage in a little ground to air combat.
ONE BOSS FIGHT LATER.
I wish I could figure out how to get to those upper floors, but I can't jump on the window ledges, despite them being the same colour as the floor. The game doesn't always do a good job of marking its platforms.
First though, I'll have to get one of my balls to connect with that scorpion up there. Jumping, running, and how long I hold the kick button down all seem to have an effect on the football's arc, and I can aim my shots higher by pressing up on the d-pad, so it can take a bit of practice to get my attacks on target.
The funny thing is, this makes me realise just how much I was liking this game. I'm annoyed when stuff like this happens because I really want this one to be good. Fortunately when I refill my health bar past the maximum I get an extra life, so I've earned a few more tries at this before game over.
LATER, IN A HAUNTED MANSION.
I carried on a bit further in the game after this, then realised that whoops I'd managed to end up without screenshots for the next few levels I played. So I went and replayed the game just to get some shots for you (and not because I enjoy playing it or anything...) I didn't use up my continue this time around though, so that's why my lives count is so low and my score is much higher in the next shot.
I wonder where this actually is, because it has to be within walking distance of the ghost town. Oh oh, maybe it's a magical tree village that only appears in our plane of reality every 100 years. Or maybe that Wild West town was actually just a fake tourist attraction and I'm not even in the US.
Well it didn't take me long to find the annoying flaw on this level: big pillars in the foreground blocking my view. Some games get away with this by putting them in places where they're not obscuring anything important, this one sticks a bloody enemy behind the very first one!
Oh, plus I figured out why I couldn't open that secret door earlier until I took a trip up into the dead end. Yep, the big useless gem was the key and there's more hidden doors in this place left to open (not that you can tell, considering they're hidden). I'm not sure this is actually such a terrible idea, but maybe they could have made it more obvious where the doors are and that collecting a gem activates something. How about a message on screen saying "Hunt for a gem to open this door!"
These levels are full of enemies floating around by the way, I just seem to keep failing to catch them in my pictures because
Also, FOOTBALL BATTLE! Finally two footballers get to go head to head to see which of them has the most balls. Actually we both have infinite and I'm doing a really crap job of dodging his shots. Fortunately he doesn't bother to move at all so it's more a challenge to see which of us started off with the most health. I think I might be winning!
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the actual gameplay of Hurricanes, despite the issues I had with the game. The character definitely gets around the level far better than in the SNES game, and it's nice to be able to kick a ball at something without it bouncing right back like a yo-yo with an elastic string. I mean what's the point of adding a football gimmick if it's not going to act like a football?
It's pretty average for a platformer though, with passable graphics and bland music. Plus every time I found myself liking it, it'd immediately do something to sabotage itself; like throwing in a quicksand pit, or a path that only opens up when you collect a magic pickaxe, or giant pillars that enemies can hide behind etc. Also I'm counting having no saves or passwords and only a single continue as a major flaw. If they really wanted players to replay the early levels over and over again they could've put in some secrets and a level select or something instead.
But there's no tedious item hunting like in Soccer Kid and Marko, and I found it more interesting as a game than Go! Go! Beckham! You know, this is actually a contender for being the best of the football platformers (with the SNES Hurricanes being the worst in my humble estimation). I guess that means it isn't total crap, so I'll give it a shiny gold star.