Graphics: I look at the overall color scheme, the attention to detail, the atmosphere that the graphics give the game; realism can be important depending on the type of game. I also look at the backgrounds (parallax-scrolling is a big plus) and the animation throughout the game. Graphics are very important in action games and most role-playing games; they aren't as important in sports games.
Music: Pretty self-explanatory; I look for music that fits the mood of the game; music that really makes the game fun to play. To achieve a high rating, the music must enhance the game's atmosphere; it must create emotion and make the game an enjoyable experience. It needs to complement the graphics very closely and variety is a major plus as well. No one wants to hear the same two tracks play throughout the entire game. Although not as important, clear, realistic sound effects can boost a game's rating in this category as well.
Play Control: Good play control is smooth, responsive, and easy to learn. I expect action games like Contra and Mega Man to have excellent controls. To achieve a high rating, it's important that the play control doesn't create frustration. Innovative controls can give the game a higher rating if they are easy to use. Play control isn't as important in RPGs.
Challenge: This area can be difficult to analyze because of how fragile the balance is between challenging the gamer in a good way versus challenging the gamer in a bad way. Gamers can view a game's challenge level differently as well. Some may find Blaster Master insanely difficult while others may find it to be the perfect challenge level. Games that score high in this category challenge the gamer without causing unnecessary frustration, broken controllers, cracks in the wall...you get the picture. :) However, it is still very important that the gamer obtains that wonderful feeling of satisfaction after clearing an area/beating a boss and ultimately conquering the game. Games that are either way too easy or insanely difficult will score very low here. Keep in mind that the game's replay value/lasting appeal factor into this rating as well. Does the game simply collect dust on the shelf once you complete it or is it worth playing time and time again?
Storyline: Innovation and intrigue is the key here. I look for a storyline that's different (newer games with a "save the princess" plot will score low) yet has substance/heart at its core. A game that scores high in this category really gets the gamer involved/emotionally attached; the gamer wants to press on to see what happens. Chrono Trigger is the perfect example of a game with a great storyline. I expect RPGs and adventure games to do well here. This category may not apply to certain games (e.g. puzzle or sports games).
Funfactor: This is easily the most important category of all. Is the game exciting, captivating, and intuitive or does it grow stale quickly? Games that score high in this area feature exceptional gameplay that never grows old. Keep in mind that games which receive low scores in the other categories can still receive a high score here. Dusty Diamond is the perfect example of a game that has average graphics and music yet features outstanding gameplay. If you are seriously thinking about purchasing the game being reviewed, view this rating first!
Negatives: This section is where I will mention any flaws that the game has. If a game has poor music, a lackluster story, or mediocre graphics, you'll hear about it here.
Crown Jewel: This is the holy grail for video games and the highest achievement possible at The Tigmo Dimension. Only four legendary game paks can walk away with this title. The highest scoring games from each arena (NES, SNES, PSOne and PS2) will receive Crown Jewel status. Needless to say, these games are simply as good as video gaming gets with outstanding scores in virtually every category. Since I will be adding new reviews from time to time, this title could easily switch hands several times.
Golden Classic: Overall rating of 27.0 - 30.0 (4.6 - 5.0 average); With the exception of the gaudy Crown Jewels, this title is the highest one possible. Any game that manages to achieve Golden Classic status is outstanding in every respect. Beautiful graphics, symphonic music, crisp play control, an immersing plot, and brilliant gameplay are the common threads of Golden Classics. Any game that receives this title belongs in every video game collection.
Silver Stud: Overall rating of 26.0 - 26.9 (4.3 - 4.5 average); Games that score this high are tantalizingly close to being Golden. Superb play control as well as solid gameplay are the marks of a Silver Stud. Games in this category have no real weakness; they just aren't able to score the gaudy marks that it takes to be a Golden Classic. Lower scores in the Graphics and Challenge categories might be enough to prevent a Silver Stud from achieving Golden status. Nevertheless, any game that scores this high is a true blue classic.
Bronze Bravo: Overall rating of 24.0 - 25.9 (4.0 - 4.2 average); A Bronze Bravo may not have the beautiful graphics or the enchanting score of a Golden Classic or Silver Stud, but it still has what matters most: exceptional gameplay. Average graphics and music as well as an unoriginal story are often what often keep these games from achieving a higher title. However, Bronze Bravos still tend to score very high in the Play Control and Funfactor categories. It is probably safe to say that you won't be disappointed with a Bronze Bravo.
Unsung Hero: Overall rating of 21.0 - 23.9 (3.5 - 3.9 average); Even though the games that fit into this category don't make the cut in terms of being Gold, Silver, or Bronze, there are some real diamonds in the rough that end up here. What keeps them from reaching the podium are often problems with the Challenge and Storyline categories in addition to average graphics and music. Unoriginality is often a problem as well. However, the staple of an Unsung Hero is a high score in the Funfactor category. Even though these games might get average scores in other categories and not have much going for them in terms of originality, the gameplay still cooks.
Mystery Meat: Overall rating of 18.0 - 20.9 (3.0 - 3.4 average); Now how in the world can you see this title and not laugh? :) As the name implies, Mystery Meat paks are very hard to figure out. Playing these games is truly a hit or miss endeavor. Some people might appreciate these games while others would rather have their gums scraped than to have to play them. Very primitive graphics, annoying music, blah-ish gameplay, and little (if any) storyline plagues these games. Unoriginality springs eternal here. Buy these games at your own risk.
Frightful Failure: Overall rating of 6.0 - 17.9 (1.0 - 2.9 average); Yikes!! Games that score this low are bad in most (if not all) aspects. Even the gameplay is lousy in a Frightful Failure. Horrid play control, an unbalanced challenge level (either a cakewalk or impossible), and pitiful game design are the glaring flaws of one of these mudsuckers (I always wanted to say the word "mudsuckers"...lol) The only noble purpose that I can think of for owning one of these bombs is to use them for target practice.
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