Review – Sega Classics for Palm OS 5 PDAs

by Reads (17,030)

Well, I ll go ahead and be honest with you. I ve lost the skills that I worked hard to attain as a child. I had the opportunity to try out a few games from SEGA on my Tungsten T, and realized that I can t play like I used to in my youth. However, with practice, I finally got back in the groove and had a blast. The SEGA games are made especially for Palm OS 5 devices. Three Palm handhelds fit into this category: the Tungsten T, the Tungsten C, and the Zire 71. As I was using the Tungsten T, I was able to benefit from its small, compact size while playing the games and use the round pad for control.


SEGA put out a few of their most popular games for the Palm platform. These include Dr. Robotnik s Mean Bean Machine, Shining Forces II, Shinobi, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Super Columns. While most worked extremely well on my device, I did find a few shortcomings, which I will explain. Read on for the good stuff.


Dr. Robotnik s Mean Bean Machine was one fun game. If you ve ever played Tetris, you get the gist of this game. Colored beans fall from the top of the screen to the bottom in groups of two and you have the opportunity to move them from left to right and flip them to best line up to fall on their like-colored beans at the bottom. There are four modes to play in; the scenario mode where you play an opponent, the gear to gear mode, the exercise mode where you can develop your skills, and the puzzle mode where you have an objective, such as to eliminate all the beans of one color. These different modes proved to keep the game fresh and new.


Dr. Robotnik worked well on the Tungsten. I found the game easy to play, and the screen was exceptional for this type of game. There were no problems encountered while playing, and I was able to save my game, and come back to it later just and I had left it. I found this game fun to play when I had a few minutes to spare due to its simplicity. I would recommend this game to those looking for something other than Bejeweled, but similar in design.


Shining Forces II is a unique, theme style game. You play many characters that are part of an army that battle the enemy in search of a stolen magical sword. While the game was fun, I found a few problems with it. First, at the beginning of the game, unless you are continuing a saved game, you have to wait for the narrative intro to finish. The plot is formed during this intro, and the mission of the game is explained. It takes about 8 minutes to work through this intro, and I went through it the first time to find out my characters mission. However, the next time I picked up my Tungsten to play, I was dumbfounded to realize that I had to sit through it again, and every time I wanted to start a new game. I think this is something that the player should be able to skip, but I could find no way to do that.



I found one additional problem with Shining Forces II. During play, the screen flashes from normal to bright around the character on a map that you are controlling at that time. I didn t think anything of this until, after about 30-45 minutes of playing one night, I ended my game to do some actual work on my other applications and the screen continued to flash in areas for about 5 minutes. I actually thought for a short time that I had permanently damaged my handheld. The feeling of panic and fear was taking over me before I turned off the device for a minute and turned it back on to find it restored to perfect working order. This problem caused me to limit my testing of this game to just a few minutes at a time throughout the rest of the testing. Without these two problems, I would have had a great time playing this game. It seamed intriguing and I believe it is a good game for those that like theme games and enjoy playing for long periods of time.


Shinobi is the third SEGA game introduced for Palm. This is a fun, action game where you play a ninja trying to rescue captured ninjas from the enemy. Sadly, this is the game that gave me the most grief due to my poor playing skills. I thoroughly enjoyed playing this game simply because it was challenging. The controls proved to be easy to get used to. I also liked the fact that it could be played in short time spans like games without themes, even though there was a theme. The colors and graphics weren t top notch, but they were good enough to be enjoyable.



Sonic is probably one of the best known SEGA games around. Well, they didn t let me down with their Palm version of the game. Sonic is great on my Tungsten. The graphics and colors are fantastic. The movement of the game is great as well. I thoroughly enjoyed playing this game. I was immediately reminded how much fun it is to run around on the different boards while collecting rings. I found the controls easy and saving the game was a snap. I noticed a few times when the game would lag a bit and I would notice Sonic slowing down while the PDA tried to catch back up. This occurred rarely, and I make fault with the many other applications on my machine taking up memory, not the game itself. I believe that SEGA did an excellent job on this game. Easy to play, great graphics, fun can t go wrong with that.



Last but not least is Super Columns. Yet another game that reminded me of Tetris. They took the idea and improved upon it, if you ask me. The colors are good, as are the graphics. I easily learned this game. Controlling the movements were a snap, and it proved to be another fun game for short time periods.


SEGA was right on track with these new Palm games. I had a blast trying them out.



-easy to control

-easy to save games

-great graphics



-game lag

-screen adjustment from bright to dim


Bottom Line:

A great selection of games that are fun and easy and timeless.


Purchase Information:

There are a few ways to go. If you want all five games, you can buy an SD card from Palm for $29.95. Alternatively if you want just one, they are for sale at Handango for $19.95 each. I’d certainly buy the SD card, a much better value. however you may find it usefull to try the free demo’s that can be downloaded from the Handango site.



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