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So what do we have with Heavy Nova? We have a mediocre fighting game with nice animation, decent graphics, plenty of moves, and very good music, countered by a rather odd set of fighting rules, pretty dull platforming sections, and not many robots to choose from. It tries to do its own thing, but does so using an unnatural setup. This makes for a game that can be frustrating as hell if you're not patient enough to wade through its quirks. Despite all this, if you stick with Heavy Nova long enough, and learn the game's strange fighting system, you just may find that it can provide a little fun. It's a tough call between a four and a five. But since you can turn off a couple problematic areas, and the fighting system is consistent enough to be learned and utilized, the game gets a nudge up to just barely be average.
Sad... That's the one word that comes to mind after playing this title. Personally I rarely like this style of game, and this game did little to impress me. The gameplay was excruciatingly slow and combat seemed inaccurate. If you feel you have to own this game buy the cart only. It's exactly the same (sans music) as the CD version.
Heavy Nova's high-stepping, stainless-steel robot hero may have a certain wacky appeal — if Michael Jackson were the Terminator, this is what his skeleton would look like — but it also has the most ponderous, difficult-to-master moves this side of a t'ai chi tournament.
I consider myself a fairly forgiving game reviewer. I am the one, after all, who gave the Xbox version of Serious Sam a “nine” several years back. I like to give developers the benefit of the doubt when it comes to what they were trying accomplish when designing a piece of videogame software. More often that not, even with the crappiest of games, if you dig deep enough you can find a few pearls of enjoyment. These pearls do not exist in Heavy Nova. Trust me – I've looked. I looked for weeks back in my youth, desperately trying validate my birthday gift, and I've looked again more recently as I brushed up for this review. With Heavy Nova, no matter how deep you dig, all there is is shit.
The lag time with the controls is so reprehensible that you'll swear you're playing over a 300-baud dial-up modem (vintage 1982). During boss sequences, the game attempts to be a one-on-one fighter, but don't ditch that Street Fighter 2 cartridge just yet. As the boss pounds your sorry ass into oblivion, you'll struggle in vain just to land a single blow! Heck, half of the time your robot is facing the wrong direction! Controls are especially problematic because you need to use one hand to hold your nose the whole time. Only by using the stage select feature (on the options menu) did I realize that subsequent stages are just as pointless. Even the soundtrack is offensive - it's nothing more than a disjointed series of random notes! Heavy Nova lowers the bar for all Genesis titles, making games I previously thought utterly deplorable seem perfectly respectable. From here on out, everything else gets an A.