CD upgrades don't fix a broken game
When I heard Heavy Nova had a Sega CD version, I had to play it. Did they actually make a good game when given more powerful hardware to work with? Given the way that they handled the Genesis version, I didn't have too much hope, but I hoped that at least it would have laughably bad full-motion video cutscenes or something such. Unfortunately, it wasn't to be...
The graphics seem almost totally unchanged, save for the opening cutscene being noticeably smoother, and the music is upgraded to CD quality. Even with the animation upgrade, the opening cutscene looks lazy and underdeveloped, mainly due to the fact that a substantial amount of the animation is reused from the Genesis version, and, for some reason, the robot you control looks a bit too much like Samus Aran from Metroid. In other words, they were too lazy to, oh, I dunno, make a different cutscene with animation and quality taking advantage of the Sega CD's additional power? In all other aspects, this game is almost completely unchanged, save for some additional loading times caused by the CD format. In that regard, it's more like a downgrade, considering that you have to wait for it to load between cutscenes and level transitions. At least these people are kind enough to make a custom loading screen, and it doesn't load in the middle of cutscenes or levels...
I'll just talk about the game normally, like I did about the Genesis version, noting any changes to this version.
One of the biggest problems with the game is the control. It takes about a second or two just to turn around(apparently it would be too hard to program the characters to just face the direction you face instantly), which causes problems in both the adventure levels and the fight scenes. Of course, most of the opponents seem to be able to turn basically the moment they want to, unlike the player. And it's also bad in the adventure levels, where there's so many obstacles to avoid that it's basically guaranteed that you're going to take damage. And you retain the same energy bar from the adventure level when you transition to the fight scene, which means if you almost died in the adventure level, you'll start the fight scene almost dead. Which is, of course, totally fair to the player.
The fight scenes are completely unfair, just like you'd expect with such controls. The enemies have perfect reflexes, so you can't get the drop on them or attack them first, and even if you did, they seem to have a thing called "magic priority," which basically means that they can use a certain attack faster than you can use said attack. Case in point, the first boss is in front of me, I try to punch him, but he somehow cancels the failed attack he's doing right now, and punches me before I can finish punching him. Can you say blatant cheating? Oh, and did I mention that the third enemy is a green Robocop? I feel like Micronet should've gotten sued for doing that, and it seems like they might've, as I don't think they've developed any other games...
The adventure levels are just as bad, if not worse. For one thing, the aforementioned controls make it next to impossible to actually navigate them without taking a massive amount of damage. There's mines on the ground, vertical lasers with a normal on-off pattern, swinging ball-n-chains, and also enemies. And, they also expect you to speedrun the levels, as seen with the time bonuses that are counted at the ends of these adventure levels. This is even more difficult than it sounds, because your character walks like he has lead weights attached to his feet.
The collision detection is not only inaccurate, but it's inconsistent as well. In the fight scenes, when you fly(yeah, these characters don't jump, they fly), you are completely invincible in every way until you're back on the ground, but it's not that way in the adventure scenes, oh no! Also, it's next to impossible to hit a ducking opponent, as seen by the AI's reaction to the player ducking. They basically go braindead and keep trying to punch and kick the air above you, and will just stand there until they can figure out how to hit you - which, they will, but it will take a bit of waiting. Also, when you stand in the same spot as an enemy, you can't hit them at all, but they can hit you just fine. And, of course, the hit detection doesn't make any sense - when I tried to knee an enemy who was crouching, it didn't hit the enemy, even though it clearly should've.
The game is definitely difficult enough, but it's for the wrong reasons. The aforementioned controls and collision detection don't help at all, and then there's the subject of the difficulty levels and the backwards walking option. If you don't turn off the backwards walking option, it'll take even longer to turn around than it usually does, because you'll moonwalk for a few steps instead of doing so. And not once is walking backwards a useful feature - you really have to wonder what went through their minds when they decided to put that feature in there. The difficulty levels are Very Easy, Medium/Normal, and Hard, for some reason, there isn't an Easy difficulty setting. The higher difficulties seem to have smarter AI, but one of the biggest changes is that you have less health on higher difficulties. On Normal, you have about half of a bar, and on Hard, you have less than half, more like a quarter of a bar. Only on Very Easy will you actually have a full health bar. Oh, and the enemies have more health on higher difficulties - how's that for unfairness?
The story is just as thin as you'd expect. You control a "Heavy Doll," which is their cute term for a robot, and you have to go through a training regimen, and then you have to fight robots on missions given to you by this decidedly feminine commander. It's basically an excuse to make robots fight each other.
So, the game overall is just as bad as the Genesis version. Actually, if you go by hardware standards, it's actually worse!
The Genesis version at least had the Genesis hardware limitations, which almost helped to excuse the graphics. This Sega CD version has no excuse to be so ugly and even less excuse to play so poorly. Really, after playing Fighting Hero and this game, Slaughter Sport looks pretty good right now. I tried playing Slaughter Sport right after playing Fighting Hero, and it seems that Fighting Hero affected my sanity, because I felt myself actually having some kind of fun playing it!
-Cheap and unfair AI
-Complete unfairness as a whole to the player
-Broken collision detection
-Difficulty levels that don't give you a full life bar in a FIGHTING GAME
-Terrible adventure-style stages
-Added loading time that wasn't in the Genesis version despite not being much of an upgrade
-Useless moonwalking option that has to be turned off every time you play unless you want to moonwalk when you try to turn around
Overall Rating - G-(Yeah, this game's so bad, an F- doesn't well enough suit such levels of failure)