Hybrid Heaven doesn't have terrific graphics (which Dale described as 'bland') and it doesn't have a great control scheme either. But it does have an excellent storyline (unfolded through some of the best cut-scenes to grace the N64), emotionally complex characters and some interesting ideas towards gameplay.
From the action-packed opening title sequence to the chattery mission briefings, MechWarrior 3 bristles with life and excitement. Credit much of the liveliness to a proper usage of the Battletech universe.
I've been aware of the MechWarrior series since it's inception. I was sans-PC at the time, but I lived a bit of that world through Chi. I was also a huge fan of giant robots, especially Voltron. Controlling a giant robot and taking on giant monsters was a dream of mine always and I was thrilled to hear that that was essentially what I would be doing in MechWarrior. Sure I was disappointed to learn that there was no blazing-sword nor any lion-head attacks available, but the concept of giant robots was still intact.
Upon close inspection of Shadow Man, I see a game that has a lot going for it. It is based on a dark and moody comic book and Acclaim has succeeded in bringing all of that into the game uncensored (anyone familiar Nintendo's censorship record can appreciate this as a huge accomplishment). To their credit, Acclaim pushed for and got a mature rating on this game. And after playing for only a short while, it is obvious that the rating is well deserved: Acclaim didn't hold back the adult content.
Through its splendid graphics, ominous audio, and its well-scripted and well-acted dialogue, Shadow Man delivers a package that's respectable to the over 18 age group (but not by much). There's still plenty of bloodletting and overt cussing, but the majority of it is done within the creative context of the game and doesn't feel overly abused or cheaply implemented.
I'll start off by saying that graphically, Attitude is top notch. Iguana West has milked its 'skins' technology to its fullest here on the Nintendo 64. With skins, the developer can cover the jagged edges prevalent in all other 3D games with pseudo skins; the result is a smooth and detailed body for the characters that sometimes even fooled me into thinking I was looking at the real thing. It gives the characters in this game a refined look that compares with the graphics on the latest next generation system, the Sega Dreamcast. Yes, the character models are THAT good and one look at the detailed, facial texturing that Iguana West has thrown into the game and you'd have to agree.
They've taken wrestling way too seriously and given Attitude the same 'definitive' treatment that they have for their other, more 'legit' sports games. Ordinarily, the extreme abundance of statistics, options, and features lends itself well to technical games like Baseball and Football but good old rough and tumble Rassling? It's a rare occasion that I will say this, but given the subject matter, Attitude had too much depth.
Duke Nukem may have entered the gaming scene as kiddy shareware fodder for the PC, but somewhere along the way, he evolved into a technologically advanced first-person shooter (FPS) with a politically incorrect bad-boy attitude that brought him recognition. Since then, developers have tried unsuccessfully to plug his mug into more lucrative, mainstream console systems, some of which came in the form of third-person auctioneers.
Duke Nukem is an aged marketing concept, where a hulking guy destroys everything in his path and highlights the destruction with cool one-liners. It was worked to perfection in the 80s when Arnold Schwartzenegger and Sylvester Stallone were dominating the box office. But in the 1990s, even Sly and Arnold have conceded to the times and have changed accordingly.
As successful as Pokémon was, it has always lacked a compelling story or the sophisticated graphics to hold the interest of older players. Genki took notice and when they produced Jade Cocoon, they intended to come through in a big way. Genki abandons Pokémon's large sprawling story line (with a multitude of side stories) for one that could best be described as quaint.