By Chip Carter
June 17, 1994 at 04:00 AM EDT

A father and his 8-year-old son take a hard look at the current crop of thumb- wrenching diversions.

AGES 5 and up

An American Tail: Fievel Goes West: Bright colors and huge characters pop off the screen in this cute, cartoony hunt-and- dodge game based on the 1991 Steven Spielberg movie. Two minor drawbacks: Fievel packs heat (a popgun), and a few scenes have him tumbling graphically toward certain doom. B+

World Cup U.S.A. ’94: Of the recent slew of soccer games released to coincide with the World Cup, this one is tops. Not only does it feature the 24 teams that qualified for Cup play, you can actually hear the crowd singing. The real kicker: You can customize the action so that it’s easier for little kids to run, shoot, and score. A-

AGES 6 and up

Beauty and the Beast: Unfortunately, most of the charm, wit, style, and, well, beauty of the Disney film is missing from this hunt-and-confront game. The dark plot and derivative action have Beast skulking around his creepy castle searching for Belle, all the while battling nasty bats, rats, and spiders, and swatting bad guys with his paw. For a less intense B&B experience, try Sunsoft’s Belle’s Quest for Genesis. C+

AGES 8 and up

Speed Racer in: My Most Dangerous Adventures: The Speed Racer revival is proceeding apace, fueled by a new cartoon series, a videotape, MTV reruns of the original show, and now a video game. Dangerous Adventures’ amazing racing scenes-featuring flying cars that sprout buzz saws-are snatched straight from the ’60s show and are rendered in the same pastel-colored animation that made it a kitschy favorite. A

Tommy Moe’s Winter Extreme: Skiing and Snowboarding: On most sports games, a famous athlete will lend his voice, face, and/or expertise. But despite the name on the cartridge, Olympic gold medalist Tommy Moe is nowhere to be found. Still, the skiing action is unbelievable, whether you’re zooming down hills or catching air off moguls. A fabulous game hurt by misleading packaging. B