A Boy and His Blob
Genre: If I knew, I'd tell you
Appeal: Kids with imaginary friends
In this bloberiffic game (did I just say that?),
you play as a boy who must feed his large stash of jelly beans to a blob.
Doing so will turn the blob into all sorts of useful things. Now
honestly, how likely is it that this could happen in real life? If
you ask me, the blob is nothing more than a figment of the boy's imagination...
He's probably on LSD.
The Addams Family
Genre: Games inspired by movies inspired by TV
Appeal: Most gamers, except the die-hard Munsters
I remember first hearing about this game on television,
Thanksgiving, 1991. There was a news report showing just how much
movie-licensed stuff had come from the Addams Family film. The news
lady showed a two-second clip of the video game. That's when I knew
I had to rent it... Oh, and by the way, it's pretty fun.
Genre: Gilligan's Island without the whole nutty
Appeal: Probably Gilligan himself, because the
game brings back fond memories...
Ya mon, it's an island adventure, or something!
While Adventure Island is relatively fun, the gameplay is pretty repetitive.
The gameplay is standard platformer stuff, complete with the ol' one-hit-and-you're-dead
Adventure Island 2
Genre: Hudson Soft games before the Bomberman
thing got blown way out of proportion
Appeal: Women with a "thing" for Master Higgins
and his hula skirt
The Higgins-meister is back, and his game has
gotten a bit better since last time. Once again, he has to save his
moron girlfriend who gets kidnapped too often, and once again, he forgets
to wear a shirt. I guess I should be thankful he wasn't in Dead or
Alive, or I'd have had to witness the blubber in his chest get "bouncy".
Adventure Island 3
Genre: Island adventures
Appeal: Chubby midgets stranded on islands full
of dangerous snails
AI3 is the best of the NES AI games. However,
the gameplay is so similar to the previous two that I have nothing more
to write! What a crying shame!
The Adventures of Bayou Billy
Genre: Many genres, actually
Appeal: Anyone who saw the commercials with the
Paul Hogan-looking crocodile hunter guy
Alright, so you're this crawcadile 'unter who
also beats up bad guys. That would be cool if the play mechanics
weren't so horrendous. With a bit of tweaking, the Double Dragon
style scenes could have been cool. As they stand, they're not.
There are also some driving and shooting scenes, which also suck.
Appeal: Demolition workers
Chances are you've played this game in some form
or another, whether it be the ancient 286 game "Bricks" or 1991's lovely
"Bananoid". Basically, your objective is to bounce a ball upwards
and try to destroy all of the bricks on the screen. This NES version
actually came with a special controller. Before bloody first-person
shooters, people went on brick-shooting rampages in high schools.
Genre: Games for girls... the stupid ones
Appeal: Little girls and disturbed little boys
Many years ago, my parents rented this game for
my younger sister so that she would have something to play. Well,
I decided to try it out, just for kicks. From what I could see, the
gameplay mainly involved charming little animals into doing the dirty work
for you. Plus, Barbie had different outfits! Oh gosh!
Genre: Side scroller with big movie name!
Let's all run out and buy it!
Appeal: Michael Keaton, because it stars his
character. I hear he plays it on a daily basis
Many NES enthusiasts consider this a classic
platformer. While I wouldn't go that far, I can tell you that it's
pretty good. The cool, dark graphics look really nice. You'll
begin to believe that Tim Burton had a hand in the art direction.
That is, if you'll believe anything.
Genre: Final Fight with a vengeance... and some
Appeal: Maniac torch-juggling stiltwalkers and
insane circus midgets
Konami gained the rights to publish Batman Returns
games for the Nintendo systems. Unfortunately, they obviously poured
all their efforts into the Super NES version, which turned out good, leaving
NES owners to find jobs at McDonalds in order to scrape together enough
cash to buy a 16-bit system. Shame on you, Konami.
Appeal: Toads with 'tudes... I'm really,
really sorry, it's just hard to think up stuff sometimes
I can't believe the BattleToads series was created
by the same company who did Donkey Kong Country and GoldenEye. Then
again, probably (and thankfully) very few of the original Rare guys remain.
BattleToads is far too cheap and frustrating for anyone sane, yet game
reviewers always gave the series high marks. Before Next Generation,
magazines just plain sucked...
BattleToads and Double Dragon: The Ultimate
Genre: Beat-'em-ups that are a bit too original
for their own good
Appeal: The publisher, because after all, two
franchises means twice the sales, right?
I assume that the team at RARE did this final
BattleToads title against their will. It was their last title before
the Donkey Kong Country series, which was far better than the BattleToads
series. Still, I'll bet that one day, RARE will try to resurrect
the toads in 3D... and then, the frustration will begin again...
Genre: Unrealistic appendage-related games
Appeal: That guy in Mortal Kombat with the metal
By the way, this game is in no way related to
Capcom's other NES game "Commando", or the Hulk Hogan movie "Suburban Commando".
Instead, Bionic Commando is a really cool side-scroller in which you have
an arm. A mechanical one. It extends and lets you hook onto
stuff. Great fun, really.
Blades of Steel
Genre: Pucking cool games
Appeal: Those people who only go to see hockey
games for the fights
Wow, it's like, hockey, except you can also beat
the crap out of people! That rules! BOS plays just like Ice
Hockey on the NES until the gloves come off and the beatings begin.
Unfortunately, the all-too-realistic N64 BOS "updates" bore little resemblance
to this NES classic. And they sucked, too.
Genre: A Boy and His Frog
Appeal: That Willy Beamish guy
As the master of blasting, the fate of the world
rests on your weak shoulders. That's why players have a big ugly
vehicle to control. These fortunate souls can get in and out of the
vehicle, in and out. Never underestimate the power of that thing,
for it can save your life. But only if you don't call it ugly, it
seems to get offended.
Genre: Trapping your enemies in airtight bubbles,
Appeal: A couple of cuddly dinosaurs and the
guys who want them dead
Many of you young 'uns only know Bubby and Bobby
from the Bust-A-Move series. This was where they got their start!
Now they have been reduced to the unimportant role of "bubble aiming boys",
popping bubbles mindlessly until you decide to turn off the power on your
Bucky O' Hare
Genre: Games based on TV series that I can't
remember too well... ughh...
Appeal: In 1992, lots of kids. Today, those
same kids, who are now too old for it
I think I remember some music from the show or
from commercials that went something like this: "Toad, and animals and
birds beware-- BUCKY! They've got Bucky O' Hare!" I probably
got half of that wrong, anyway. I really wanted to hear that sweet
song again when I played the game on Nesticle, but sadly, this was not
to be. What a shame.
Bump 'n Jump
Genre: Bumping... and jumping
Appeal: I dunno, but this is definitely not for
Though the graphics suggest that this is a lighthearted
kids game, the action quickly turns dead serious. Basically, there
are two ways to destroy other cars: bumping 'em into walls, or jumping
on 'em. Either way results in a deadly explosion that can undoubtedly
traumatize the kids. Keep them far away from the cartridge.
Genre: Trendsetting platformers
Appeal: Vampire hunters around the world
Believe it or not, Castlevania was one of the
first games where you would make your way through a level avoiding traps
and killing small monsters before taking on a big boss. It's still
fun to play, though it gets a bit frustrating by level 4. There was
actually a PC version made. I can remember buying it in 1992 for
$5 and thinking I got a good deal. Should have stuck with the NES
Castlevania II: Simon's Quest
Genre: Adventure games that include the gruesome
murders of many an unfortunate skeleton
Appeal: Dogs like this game. Lots of delicious
Hello, what's this? Castlevania becomes
an adventure game! While the first game took place entirely in Drac's
castle, this one allows players to explore the Transylvanian countryside.
In fact, the giant Draculian castle has been reduced to the equivalent
of 3/4 of a stage in Castlevania I. That poor old vampire...
Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse
Genre: 2D NES Castlevania games from 1990.
That about sums it up!
Appeal: That guy who runs The Castlevania Dungeon
This third game in the NES Castlevania trilogy
to the series' roots: straightforward platform action. Adding to
the replay value are four playable characters and a whole bunch of different
paths to the end of the game. Challenging and fun. Plus, the
thief character looks like a hunchback monkey! Pretty amusing stuff!
Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers
Genre: Platformers for the elementary school
Appeal: Uhh... the elementary school set
This game doesn't appeal to me quite as much
as I used to, but then, I stopped watching the series when I was 7.
Still, I have to give the designers credit for creating a game that's at
just the right difficulty for its target audience. If you're 8 or
younger, I have a message for you: Play Chip 'n Dale, and then run away
from your parents to join the circus. C'mon, kids! You know
you want to!
Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers 2
Genre: Chipmunk-related games, which is a very
Appeal: Your younger brother
Years after the release of the original, when
the flow of new NES software was about to come to a halt, C&D2 was
released... and it played EXACTLY the same as the first game. It's
still fun, but I'd be willing to bet that the designers could have whipped
this game up in a few months. The level design just doesn't seem
as good, either, but maybe it's just me.
Appeal: Those who knew up up down down left right
left right B A start
A truly great shooter that most people couldn't
finish without using the 30-lives cheat code, though I can finish without
using a single continue. You play as some kind of Rambo guy who has
been sent out- alone- to kill an entire army of aliens. The game
climaxes with an epic battle against the master alien's heart! Awesome,
Genre: "Disgraces to the family"
Appeal: Everyone who didn't run away crying after
the first level (like me)
Oh my god! What were they thinking?!
Not only did Konami add an actual storyline to a Contra game, but they
also replaced Contra's excellent action sequences with significantly more
crappy action sequences! And the aliens are pretty much gone!
I can just hear the original Contra saying "I have no son."
Appeal: Purple-clad hero types
While Crystalis's gameplay is similar to Zelda's,
it's actually closer to the SNES Zelda than the NES one. Very nice
work, and just slightly ahead of its time. Don't count on SNK to
do any sequels, as they're too busy working on the three-hundredth King
of Fighters game. Look for the Crystalis rerelease on Game Boy Color.
Genre: Duck-related games. The NES had
a few of them
Appeal: Former Disney Afternoon fans
Back in the 8- and 16-bit days, Capcom had a
habit of releasing generally good Disney-based video games. Darkwing
was just another in the long line. There isn't much that separates
from any other NES platformer, but it plays fine, which means that if I
were a teacher, it would get at least a silver star.
Defenders of Dynatron City
Genre: Something about a bunch of superheroes?
To tell you the truth, I'm probably not qualified
to write this review (or any review, for that matter), seeing how I played
the game for all of five seconds. But hey, I need to fill up space,
right? Anyways, the only things I know for sure about this are that
it's from Lucasarts and it came with a free comic book.
Genre: Crime-solving with Warren "Bulworth" Beatty
himself!... and Madonna
Appeal: Fans of bright colors and old comic books
One day, I sat down to play the Dick Tracy rom,
and it was decent, if not anything special. Then I went on the internet
and used a few search engines to look up the name "Madguy". It seems
that Madonna, who costarred in the film, has a company called MadGuy films.
And I hate her for it! 10% off just for that! Madonna is going
to pay for stealing my name!
Genre: Top-Down, pixel-laden action starring
Appeal: Fans of the film who haven't got a Playstation
If I remember right, this game was decent, if
unspectacular. Still, it wasn't Die Hard Trilogy. Of course,
it couldn't have been, since there was no trilogy on which to base a game
on when this was released. One of the many reasons why I would not
like to go back to the '80s.
Dizzy the Adventurer
Genre: There are so many Dizzy games that they
should have their own genre
Appeal: Gamers in the UK, where Dizzy was popular
Dizzy the Adventurer is a cool game, but it would
have gotten an extra 10% if it didn't suffer from the same problems as
all the other Dizzy games: Aggravating control (Dizzy often continues to
roll after landing a jump), and the lack of some sort of save feature.
The game designers probably figured that if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
Unfortunately, Dizzy did have a few cracks.
Genre: Arcade translations... bad ones
Appeal: I guess anyone who couldn't afford the
Wow, what was Nintendo thinking? In this
NES conversion of the classic arcade game, not only were the cut scenes
left out, but so was an entire stage of the game! That's one full
screen! I guess all that moving stuff in the pie factory level would
have pushed this all the way to 1/6 of a megabyte.
Still fun and addictive, but Nintendo could have done better.
Donkey Kong Jr.
Genre: More bad arcade translations
Appeal: All those kids who loved DK Jr. before
that horrible Diddy stole the show
Ohhh, it seems Nintendo didn't learn its lesson
after the first game! Once again, the cut scenes and extra level
of the arcade game have been removed. However, there are four levels
rather than the three that were included in the first DK, and thus, I hereby
it an extra 5%!
Donkey Kong 3
Genre: Weird arcade translations
Appeal: That perverted kid down at the arcade
Donkey Kong 3 wasn't very popular in the arcades,
which was probably because everyone was too embarrassed to be seen playing
as an exterminator and shooting bug spray right up DK's @$$. I'm
serious, that's what the game was about! Not terrible, but I'm a
little worried about the game designers...
Donkey Kong Classics
Genre: Two- that's right- TWO games in one game
Appeal: Well, if you're like me, you like it
because you got it for free!
Yeah, alright! Now you can play both Donkey
Kong Classics without ever having to remove the cartridge! Thanks,
Nintendo! This was probably one of the first games that had the word
"classic" in its title. After all, it was only the late '80s.
Genre: Beat-'em-ups before beat-'em-up standards
Appeal: Abobo... he's tough
DD plays like the arcade version, but the levels
are completely different and a system of experience points has been added.
This is actually a good thing, because a straight port would have meant
a very short game. Still, I'd rather play Mighty Final Fight or River
Double Dragon 2: The Revenge
Genre: Improved Dragons
Appeal: The Brothers Lee
The levels in DD2 are more interesting than the
ones in DD. One scene even has you fighting in the back of a helicopter,
trying to avoid getting sucked out. I just wish the controls weren't
so ridiculous. The A button makes your character attack to his left,
and the B button makes him attack to his right. Try to guess why
this was never implemented into a beat-'em-up again...
Double Dragon 3: The Sacred Stones
Genre: Third games in trilogies
Appeal: The same people who liked the other two
games, DUH! Moron... :)
The arcade and Genesis versions of DD3 were terrible.
Like trilogies of anything, quality eventually goes down the drain (look
at the Scream and Poltergeist films). Luckily, the NES developers
must have realized how much the game they were porting sucked, and made
it NOT suck. The gameplay is there, but the difficulty level is a
bit much, especially at first.
Genre: Hospital simulations
Appeal: Medical students
Since when did Mario become a doctor? After
killing hundreds of innocent turtles and goombas, it seems that the former
plumber has turned from evil to good. He might be able to save people's
lives, but it's probably a bit late to save Luigi's career. Mario
should make sure he keeps those giant pills away from his brother...
Genre: Laserdisc arcade to NES conversions...
Appeal: Those who enjoyed the arcade game and
are not very picky about their NES games
Horse sh*t, this is crap! The barely interactive
laserdisc game was much more fun! Nice animation, but that's about
the only good thing here. The character control is unbearably sluggish,
the levels are few, and you only get five lives where one hit kills you,
making Game Genie a necessity for playing this. Even then, it's still
not much fun.
Genre: Very early console RPGs
Appeal: D&D fans who lacked friends or a
If I'd known that Nintendo Power was giving away
free copies of this game with every subscription for a time, I'd have subscribed
to that crapmag in a second! When I did subscribe years later, all
I got was a $15 strategy guide. And as for the game, it's a pretty
generic console RPG with a decent storyline and a lot of evil Red Slimes.
Genre: Duck, quickly!... heh heh heh...
But seriously, this is in the "duck games" genre
Appeal: Ducks young and old, and the humans who
shoot at them
Bless me bagpipes! DuckTales is part of
a long line of cool Disney-themed games created by Capcom. As in
the TV series, Scrooge McDuck must use his cane as a pogo stick, and bounce
off the heads of his enemies. Actually, I lied. Scrooge never
did anything like that on the show, but this new power of his definitely
makes the game better than it would have been if he was defenseless.
Genre: Duck Duck Goose, only more complicated
and without the geese
Appeal: The game programmers, because practically
all the code was done for them
Four years after the original DuckTales was released
and even longer after the series was cancelled, Capcom decided to lure
in their dwindling NES audience with this sequel. It plays almost
exactly the same as the first game in the series, which is cool.
If ya liked the first one, you'll like this one.
Genre: Wild animal hunting before the whole Deer
Appeal: Many people like this game, but I'm guessing
I always thought this original NES light gun
game was a tad too simplistic. The only things that impressed me
were those digitized dog bark and duck quack sound effects. For vegetarians,
there was always the skeet shooting mode, but it just wasn't the same.
Most Duck Hunt cartridges also include Super Mario Bros. It is a
better game. Play it instead!
Rating: 70%... no, 60%... oh, forget it
Genre: Side-scrollers that have big dinosaurs
and small humans (Rampage also fits this description)
Appeal: This friend of mine who had it?
Uhh, lemme see, when was the last time I played
this? 1992? Well, honestly, the only things I can remember
about Dyno Warz were that you could play as either a godzilla-style monster
or a tiny, tiny professor guy. And it was tough, but I was in second
grade at the time. I don't know what I'm talking about, do I?
Genre: Motorcycle "simulations"
Appeal: Budding biker gang members
ExciteBike: It's all the fun of a day at the
races, only no one gets killed! For those of you looking for some
Road Rash, this game might be right up your alley. A really keen
track editor makes for a fun, evil time. See how many ways you can
get your guy to smash his head.
Genre: Hudson Soft. games that aren't Bomberman
Appeal: Giant one-legged hopping skulls
Before Hudson Soft. went Bomberman-crazy, they
produced a little game called Faxanadu. As the hero, people depend
on you to save the world from destruction. This game also pioneered
a technique that many designers of first-person shooters use today: respawning.
Even the toughest of badniks would respawn if you walked off the screen
and came back...
Genre: Games based on antiquated shows the golden
age of television
Appeal: Christopher Lloyd, because this game
reportedly helped him prepare for his role in the film
The Addams Family: What a Munsters clone!
The show's horrifying lack of originality doesn't translate to Fester's
first video game, but that might not be a completely good thing.
Unoriginal, proven gameplay would have probably resulted in a better game.
Fortunately, Fester manages to be reasonably entertaining. Nice try.
Genre: Very basic console RPGs
Appeal: Red slimes... no, wait, that's #%&@
I once read that Final Fantasy received that
title because game designer Hironobu Saka-whatever thought that it would
be his last foray into the world of video games. It wasn't.
As for the game, it's pretty standard RPG stuff. Still fun, but you'd
probably rather play something more recent...
Friday the 13th
Genre: Horror movie conversions from LJN (AKA
Appeal: Kids who were too young to watch the
Unlike LJN's NES game based on Jaws, Friday isn't
half bad. However, the game designers were lucky that it turned out
to be so strangely engrossing. The graphics are puke-a-licious, the
six characters are unbalanced, and you have to kill Jason three times to
see the real (yet still bad) ending. Yet, there's something about
this platform adventure game that keeps you playing... Dunno!
Genre: Exercises in torture
Appeal: Bill Murray, probably
The film Ghostbusters definitely did not need a sequel, but that's
not how writer Dan Aykroyd felt. Thus, Ghostbusters II was born,
and along with it came a ton of merchandise. Too bad the video game
is more merchandise than game. An unfortunate tragedy...
Ghosts 'n Goblins
Genre: Ghostbusting the old-fashioned way, without
those wussy proton packs
Appeal: Crotchety old gamers who enjoy a REALLY
It seems that the brave knight Arthur's lovely
girlfriend Guinevere has been kidnapped by the forces of darkness.
To save her, he'll need to contend with all sorts of creepy monsters who
want to knock him out of his armor (!). This is considered to be
a classic by many, and though there's a great amount of gameplay in the
title, it's one of the most frustrating games I've ever come across.
The Goonies II
Genre: Big, open side-scrolling adventure games
(I can't get enough of 'em)
Appeal: Kids who saw the movie back in 1985...
only now they're ancient hags! :-)
Not to be confused with The Ghoulies, The Goonies
was a great adventure flick about a bunch of kids searching for a dead
pirate's treasure. The Goonies II is a great adventure game about
one kid searching for his kidnapped pals and a dead pirate's treasure.
The similarities are shocking.
Genre: Shooters of the arcade-ish variety
Appeal: Contra fans who are bored
Heavy Barrel is a decent conversion of a decent
arcade game. Think top-down Contra, only a whole lot duller.
Contrary to what the title forces you to believe, there are no actual barrels
that are heavy in this game, which was a great disappointment to me.
The gameplay ain't really that bad, so I recommend that shooter fans give
this a whirl.
Genre: Family video games without the family
Appeal: Children not old enough to stay home
alone who aren't very discriminating
Before TH*Q gained major success in the 32-bit
era, it published dozens of crappy titles licensed from films and TV shows.
In this particular "effort", young Kevin McCallister must pick up and "set"
(read: just throw down somewhere) traps for the bumbling burglars.
If he fends them off for 20 minutes until the police arrive, you'll win
the game. The PC version from Capstone was much better.
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
Genre: The world's cheesiest games
Appeal: If you got it for $3 like me, you might
get a good laugh. For $50, you'll get a good cry
Well, it just don't get much worse than this.
The art is absolutely pitiful, and music is annoying, the levels have a
strange, cheesy, unbalanced feel, and the dialogue in the cinema scenes
between levels is totally incoherent. The credits state that this
game is dedicated to the memory of one of its late designers. He
must still be rolling over in his grave.
Genre: Uhh, ice climbing?
Appeal: Sylvester Stallone, 'cuz he played this
game to train for Cliffhanger
Ice climber was released at the same time as
the NES. This means that it is very, very old. Possibly older
than God. But like God, this game is good. Especially with
two players. Basically, a couple of little eskimos try to climb all
the way to the top of an ice structure. Reminds me of Kid Icarus
in some ways, actually...
Genre: Fishing, only this time, you are the hunted
Appeal: The fish, because they are given a good
chance to do some killing
I couldn't make heads or tales of this game,
but I'm pretty sure it sucked. It seemed to revolve around the exploits
of some guy who gets chased by sharks. For a decent (and slightly
easier to understand) movie-based game from LJN, Friday the 13th is a better
Genre: Jousting on ostriches
Appeal: Those nutty guys who buy the Namco Museum
Joust is a pretty cool game. Simple to
get into and hard to put down. The object is to stab all of your
fellow ostrich riders to death with a javelin. There's only one catch:
getting an ostrich under control is TOUGH. I hate those birds!
Expect to die a thousand deaths before becoming a Joust "pro".
Genre: High-tech films that meet low-tech consoles
Appeal: Those of you who still bought full-priced
NES games in mid-1993
While it looks similar to the SNES version, this
near-last-generation NES game ditches the adventure elements in favor of
level-based gameplay. However, Dr. Grant's objective is still the
same: collect all the eggs on the island of Jurassic Park. Mr. John
Hammond would do it himself if he didn't need to walk around with that
cane all the time. He's probably faking his bad back.
Genre: Fighting games before fighting games were
Appeal: God, for once, I've got no idea
Well, it's been many years since the release
of Karate Champ. Since then, we've seen dozens upon dozens of fighting
games. Who really wants to play this one? Sure, participating
in real karate matches (where one hit equals 1 point) is kinda cool, but
the coolness factor wears off once you realize that you're not having any
fun. Nothing to see here, folks.
The Karate Kid
Genre: Incredibly accurate karate simulations
Appeal: That guy who played Daniel-San in the
film. The "kid" was about 23 the time!
Okay, so I lied about this being an incredibly
accurate karate simulation. The first level is a karate tournament,
but the next three have Daniel running from left to right, presumably killing
many of his "opponents" (certainly not what Mr. Miyagi taught him), and
participating in some oddly placed minigames.
Genre: Games that base their appeal on the main
Appeal: Ladies who have a "thing" for ol' Karnov
Karnov is a fat, bald, mustached, shirtless guy,
and he's got magical powers. He apparently uses some of that magic
on women, because from what I've heard, they love him to death. The
Neo-Geo "sequel", which was actually just another 2D fighting game, sent
some of Karnov's biggest fans over the top. They accidentally trampled
the poor man to death.
Genre: Early Nintendo cult classic stuff
Appeal: "Bob" from Shiny Entertainment's Messiah,
because he can "relate"
Remember the old Captain N cartoon? Remember
how Kid Icarus would follow every other word he spoke with "-icus"?
"That eggplant-icus is trying to kill-icus me!" This game doesn't
reveal where the whole speech problem began, but it's fun anyways.
Genre: Underappreciated (sniff) NES classics
Appeal: Pink marshmallows tired of being overlooked
If this game had been released a year earlier,
it might have gotten the attention it deserved. Unfortunately, it
wasn't, so it didn't. Not only is the gameplay improved over its
predecessor, but it takes longer than 20 minutes to finish, which is more
than I can say for Kirby's Dreamland. Fun fact: Kirby's Adventure
filled a whopping 6 meg Nintendo cart!
Genre: NES forward-scrolling racing. In
other words, crap
Appeal: A few people who have yet to try anything
better than Pole Position
They may have been kind of fun in their day,
but now, NES forward-scrolling racing games are just no good. On
the other hand, I don't remember this being very much fun when I first
tried it, either! Get out of your rocking chair and play any given
polygon-based racing game!
Genre: Less notable NES launch titles
Appeal: Early NES adopters who hadn't yet heard
It's karate at its finest! Our hero dispatches
of hordes of enemies followed by big, stupid bosses by punching and kicking
each and every one of them into water. After saving his girlfriend,
she is promptly kidnapped again. And again. And again.
The goons just won't give this guy a break! Not a very good game.
Legacy of the Wizard
Genre: Broderbund games that aren't Prince of
Persia, Myst, or Carmen Sandiego
Appeal: Magician families of the world
The wizard has a legacy all right. And
it's a good one! Players can assume the roles of any member of the
featured magician family (including the faithful dog) and venture out into
a huge underground world. The design of this world could have been
better, but like I said, it's huge and it's fun to explore.
The Legend of Zelda
Genre: Old Nintendo standbys
Appeal: Everyone but the original five people
operating Nintendo's free hint line phones
Zelda was the first game I ever owned.
It launched a series that has sold many a Nintendo machine. The original
can't really compare with later games in the series (unless you're an ancient
hardcore gamer), but most anyone should at least get some enjoyment out
of this classic. And who could forget that gold cartridge?
Genre: Games in which players save lives rather
than kill stuff... preposterous!
Appeal: NES players who hadn't yet discovered
the joys of a computer mouse
Lemmings is definitely better on the PC (and
supposedly even better than that on those crusty Amiga computers), but
it's still the same experience. Gameplay involves solving puzzle
after puzzle to save the primitive, savage beasts known as the Lemmings.
My personal favorite Lemmings title: 3D Lemmings for the PC. Reviewers
who refer to it in a negative light (Daily Radar) haven't played it.
The Little Mermaid
Genre: Decent Disney fun
Appeal: Your sister, or something
Most guys were probably too embarrassed to play
Capcom's NES conversion of Disney's The Little Mermaid when it was sold
for more than 50 cents. I'm here to tell you how it was, and don't
worry, because the fact that you're reading this is confidential.
None of your friends will ever find out! And if they do, just tell
them it was for a science project on marine biology. Oh, and the
game was fine.
I didn't know what a lode was before I played
the Apple IIe version. Now I do! You can really learn something
from games. Lode Runner will always be fun, but like the Windows
and PSX versions, this NES rendition of the famous oldie loses something.
Genre: Wacko adventure games
Appeal: That family from Texas Chainsaw Massacre
MM was the first adventure game published by
Lucasarts. Luckily, the NES conversion didn't lose much, except some
of the more, uhh, objectionable content (mainly Nurse Edna's dialogue).
The plot revolves around three high school students on a mission to rescue
Sandy the cheerleader from evil Dr. Fred. Fun puzzles, a choice of
characters, and multiple endings make this a real treat.
Genre: Kinda like that maze game where you get
the marble to the finish by tilting the board
Appeal: Those who weren't entirely baffled by
MM is certainly a fun game, but I never quite
got the hang of it. Since Next Generation magazine once rated it
as one of the greatest games of all time, it's probably better than I'm
giving it credit for. Of course, that was the arcade version, and
the NES controller probably takes a lot away from the experience.
Genre: Plumbing simulations
Appeal: Turtles, crabs, and Luigi, because he
was Mario's equal here
Before Mario earned the right to use the word
"super" in his name, he starred in this fun little single-screen game with
his taller, slimmer bro. Get ready to bump dangerous pipe creatures
from below, and then kick them down to hell. You kind of have to
play it to fully understand it.
Genre: Mega Man games
Appeal: Not the guy who did the box art.
He obviously didn't want the game to sell
To be honest, I've never been a huge Mega Man
fan. However, I did enjoy seeing him on the Captain N TV series.
I tell ya, he sounded just like Smithers on The Simpsons, and that can
only mean one thing... You know what I'm talking about! Wink
Mega Man 2
Genre: Sequels that are completely undiscernable
from their predecessors or follow-ups
Appeal: Capcom, 'cuz this sold, like... a lot!
Mega Man returns for a second outing in all of
his gayness. I was trying to be subtle in my description of MM1,
but the time for subtlety is over. Mega Man probably prefers the
company of other Mega Men, and that's a fact! I don't know what was
going through Dr. Right's head when he created everyone's favorite automaton,
but I'm sure he wasn't thinking "straight"!
Mega Man 3
Genre: "Alternative" games
Appeal: Seems like everybody likes Mega Man and
his ten billion games
Though Mega Man is blue for most of the game,
using special powers turns him pink. Methinks this is when he is
most comfortable. As for the game, it's the same as all the other
ones. Absolutely no description should be necessary.
Genre: Games that just get worse and worse over
Appeal: Spy wannabes who would rather play this
than the PSX version
Metal Gear was kind of cool in its day, but play
it now and you'll realize just how flawed this was. Annoying little
quirks like reappearing enemies and bad spelling ("I feel asleep!") really
hurt a game that had a neato concept. Play Metal Gear Solid, it's
Genre: Nintendo classics, 'nuff said
Appeal: Female gamers, who rejoiced upon learning
that Samus is a woman
Yeah, Metroid was one of the very first video
games to feature a strong heroine. Samus wasn't afraid to break a
nail. She wasn't even afraid to break her arm. The creepy thing
was that once you finished the game, it was revealed that Samus had purple
hair! Ridiculous, it almost ruins the game!
Mighty Final Fight
Genre: Beat-'em-ups for the younger set.
Meant to teach valuable lessons.
Appeal: Hopefully, not too many young kids
Mighty Final Fight may look like a "cute" game.
All of the characters seem to be little kids. However, there's nothing
cute about what these little kids do. Basically, they beat the crap
out of each other! I once heard about some kids who killed another
kid, believing he would be alive the next day. The media blamed Power
Rangers. I blame Mighty Final Fight.
Genre: Graphic adventure. On the NES?
Appeal: NES owners who couldn't afford a PC
NightShade is a sort of comic-bookish adventure
game, complete with item-based puzzles and quite a bit of character interaction.
There are also some fighting sequences, the first of which involves NightShade
beating up on a fat butler. Two terrible flaws hurt this game: No
save feature, and it's #$&* hard to figure out how to continue once
you've lost all of your health (it's a puzzle in itself).
Genre: Games that every gamer born between 1976
and 1984 has played
Appeal: Fans of ninja stuff who were sick of
Ninja Gaiden was a straightforward action platformer,
but it also had an actual plot! Cut-scenes provided incentives for
players to get to the next area, just as they do today (Quake II needed
'em badly). Those crazy Europeans renamed this game because they
believed that the word "ninja" would make children evil. I'll bet
it was Prince Charles's idea, or something.
Ninja Gaiden II
Genre: Ninja games better playing (and better
looking) than Eidos's PSX "Ninja"
Appeal: Experienced ninjas (it's a tough game)
Ninja Gaiden II is a worthy successor to the
original-- just about every aspect of the game has been improved.
One of the power-ups even creates a phantom double of the hero. He
kind of reminds me of the sidekicks in Daikatana, only without AI.
Ninja Gaiden III
Genre: Ninja Turtles minus the turtle part
Appeal: Uhh... People who are really good
Upon its release, Ninja Gaiden III got blasted
by the critics for being too hard. This was fixed in the Ninja Gaiden
Trilogy collection on SNES, but I'm not reviewing that version, now, am
I? The plot also got kinda screwed up. Still fun, though.
Genre: "One-man-against-entire-army" games
Appeal: Fans of the film "Commando"
Decent light gun shooter. Only problem
is, the small enemies and inaccuracy of the Zapper make the controller
a better choice. By the president's request, you must battle through
five stages, rescue five hostages, and kill a lot more than five bad guys.
Losing the hostages means that you get to see an ending screen featuring
the president in a very bad mood. It's funny!
Genre: Maze with ghosts and power pellets...
Hmm, they didn't even bother to make Pac-Man
the right color in this Tengen conversion. Very nice. Pac-Man
has always been and will always be fun, but there's no reason to recommend
this over other versions of the game. Besides, everyone knows Ms.
Pac-Man was better. Every dude I know used to have a crush on her,
until they found out that SHE ISN'T REAL.
Genre: Paper delivery simulations
Appeal: Paperboys for local newspapers aspiring
to be... paperboys for citywide newspapers
Yee-ha! Nothing is more thrilling than
delivering newspapers on your bicycle while being chased by killer bees
and rabid dogs!... as long as it's just a game. I once read about
a couple of kids who set up an obstacle course trying to emulate the thrills
of Paperboy. Needless to say, they were hospitalized.
Appeal: A few people who went crazy during the
Vietnam war and WWII
I've heard that the film "Platoon" was very sad.
This game is also very sad, but in an entirely different way! I honestly
don't think I cried once while I was playing. Well, except for when
my character died, but I do that during every game.
Genre: Unnecessary arcade game ports
Appeal: Representatives from the spinach factory
If the arcade game had been a bit better, this
port might have been better. A bit of history: The Robin Williams
Popeye film was released in the early 1980s. So was Popeye: The Game.
Was this a Popeye conspiracy? We may never know...
Prince of Persia
Genre: 1001 Arabian Deaths
Appeal: Fans of the PC version who were stupid
enough to buy the NES version as well
Expect to die a lot in Prince of Persia, hence
the genre. However, the deaths are often funny enough that you simply
won't care. PoP for NES is a pretty good port of the PC version,
but not good enough to warrant the 85% rating that the Genesis version
got. Still, at least it's better than Prince of Persia 3D.
Princess Tomato in the Salad Kingdom
Genre: Adventure games targeted at vegetarians
Appeal: Vegetables of the world
Really weird stuff. Here's how I think
this game came into being: The game designers all brought salad and beer
for lunch. They got drunk, came up with the idea for this game, and
told their plans to the also-drunk higher-ups at the company, garnering
approval. Everyone eventually recovered, but the damage was already
done. The lesson here: drink responsibly.
Genre: Really old racing games (if it's not OutRun,
it probably sucks)
Appeal: Really old... people. No, wait...
Yeah, it's rad alright, if you replace the "R"
with a "B". Big deal if it's from Square and it included 3D glasses.
The other cars are all perfect drivers, and they'll crash into you at any
opportunity they get. Yippee.
Genre: Godzilla-inspired mayhem
Appeal: Strange young children who don't tire
of repetition easily
Rampage is a fun game, but only in short bursts.
Once you've seen one level, you've seen 'em all. Unfortunately, there
are dozens and dozens of levels to play through. After awhile, you
start to feel like the rampage is going to last forever. When it
does end, you are presented with an finale that can only be described as
"crappy". 25 cents got you all the rampaging you needed at the arcade!
Ren and Stimpy: Buckeroo$
Genre: Cash-in City
Appeal: Ignorant Ren and Stimpy fans like I was!
Ren and Stimpy: good show, mostly bad games.
The title is exactly the same as that of a SNES game, and, though different,
it's just as putrid. It seems like the designers at TH*Q saw a couple
of episodes and based about a billion games on them. They should
Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
Genre: Stuff from Kevin Costner that's not crap
(a small, small genre)
Appeal: Merry men
Games based on movies usually suck, but think
of all the Robin Hood lore that the developers had to work with.
Hood spends a good portion of the game going out on missions with his band
of merry men in this adventure RPG. There are only two major problems:
three continues and no passwords. But then, that's why we have emulators.
Genre: NES games that are respected very much
by old fogie gamers
Appeal: I liked it, so I'd say that it appeals
NES action-adventures are pretty rare...
Wait a minute... Alright, I officially retract that statement.
Rygar is definitely one of the better ones, though. Side-scrolling
and top-down-scrolling segments combine for an epic game that NES lovers
just can't seem to get enough of.
Sesame Street ABC's
Genre: Kiddy games that look like they spent
two days in development
Appeal: Future spelling bee champions
Why should young children go to elementary school
or watch PBS's fine programming when they can play crappy, half-hearted
NES games like this one? There just wasn't enough here to warrant
a $25 price tag (which used to be incredibly cheap for a video game)...
Oh, who am I kidding? Before I played this game in third grade, I
was completely illiterate!
The Simpsons: Bart vs the Space Mutants
Genre: Lame games from Acclaim
Appeal: Die-hard (and I mean DIE-HARD) Simpsons
Bart vs the Space Mutants was the first of Acclaim's
Simpsons games, but unfortunately, it was not the last. What Simpsons
watcher would want to play as Bart rather than Homer?... Oh, right,
the little kids who this game was targeted at. Avoid it.
The Simpsons: Bartman meets Radioactive Man
Genre: Who cares, it got a 25% rating, you don't
want to play it
Appeal: Who cares, not anyone with enough brains
to read this sentence
Now this is just ridiculous. Bart somehow
gets sucked into his Radioactive Man comic book, and he must punch and
kick a lot of crappy things to do whatever the hell it is he was going
to do. Extra 10% off for trying to kill the Simpsons license.
Genre: Sequels where someone nearly forgot about
the original concept
Appeal: Venomous animals
While this Metal Gear sequel is better than its predecessor in some
aspects, the gameplay doesn't involve as much stealth as it did before.
Not cool, since that was the ENTIRE POINT OF METAL GEAR. The side-scrolling
segments... stupid! The graphics... much improved! The rating...
exactly the same.
Stanley: The Search for Dr. Livingston
Genre: Historically inaccurate video games
Appeal: Some of your stupider history teachers
This could have been a cool action adventure,
but the graphics, sounds, and play mechanics just hold it down. Wait
a minute, that's pretty much everything... Okay, this could have
been cool if it were a totally different game.
Genre: Fun in the sun that doesn't require you
to actually be outside
Appeal: That gay Nav-Com robot. He and
Mega Man should hook up
StarTropics is kind of like Zelda with dialogue,
a tropical island kind of atmosphere, and an absence of overworld battles.
I would have given the game an 80% if it weren't for the absolutely pitiful
controls. It's as if you're standing on a bunch of tiles (and in
many cases, you are). This isn't $*#@&% Chip's Challenge!
StarTropics 2: Zoda's Revenge
Genre: Sequels that are actually improvements
Appeal: That crazy doctor in the game, 'cuz he
gets to relax with Nav-Com while you do all the work
ST2 was released in 1994, a full four years since
the original, and a full year since everyone stopped caring about the NES.
Bargain-priced copies sat on my local toy store's shelf for years.
The control issues that I had with the first game have been mostly resolved.
The main character is sent through time where he visits historical figures
such as Sherlock Holmes and King Arthur. It's a baaaad plot.
Genre: Side-scrollers with plots revolving around
space combat... nice choice of gameplay style
Appeal: Anyone who runs or visits one of those
psycho-geek Star Wars fansites! Sorry...
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...
Some crazy bearded guy and a bunch of college students working on a very
low budget held up a bunch of spaceship models against blue screens and
managed to do some pretty keen special effects, leading to box office success
and a lot of merchandise. Like video games.
Genre: Worthy sequels
Appeal: Players who could stand having a 10-life
cheat code instead of a 30-life one
The game designers took a winning formula and
improved upon it. Super Contra has better graphics, slightly better
weapons, and better bosses. Too bad the music isn't memorable.
Once again, this Contra title is far superior to its arcade counterpart.
Super Mario Bros.
Appeal: Do you like video games? Then Mario
is for you
Well, if you haven't played this one by now,
then it's time to go beat yourself up. No, I mean it. I'm not
even going to describe this game at all, because every gamer in the universe
has played it. All you young 'uns should at least buy the Game Boy
Color version. And I mean right now. If I had a GBC, I would.
And it's 9:00 at night...
Super Mario Bros. 2
Genre: Stranger Mario titles (though not as strange
as Hotel Mario and Yoshi's Cookie)
Appeal: Kids who read the first issue of Nintendo
Power ever and got their free Mario 2 poster
Many of you probably know that Mario 2 is actually
just the Japanese game Doki Doki Panic with altered graphics. What
most people don't know is that Mario is actually a Doki Doki who had plastic
surgery. Rumor has it that this particular Doki Doki had a panic
attack after spending too many hours at the office, and decided to get
into a more relaxing profession: plumbing.
Super Mario Bros. 3
Genre: Jeez, do you really need to ask?
Appeal: Probably people who like videogames!
It's like Mario 1, only this time there's a map
screen and Mario can fly and he's got different suits... Nintendo really
added a lot to the series with this game. Unfortunately, the one
thing they didn't add was a save feature, and playing through in one sitting
is impossible (well, unless you use those cheap warp whistles). Play
the version in Super Mario All-Stars instead.
Genre: Games ruined by drunken programmers
Appeal: The evil animals in the game, because
no matter how hard you try, they end up eating you
Super Pitfall is a side-scrolling adventure game
along the lines of Legacy of the Wizard. Unfortunately, lousy incredibly
control ruins the experience. I can just imagine the level designers
working diligently on the game while the programmers had beer parties going
on in the next room.
"Heyy Bill... *hic*... whyn't youse get crackin'
on that 'gyptian level sorta thing... *thud*"
Genre: Christopher Reeve-based games
Appeal: Wheelchair-bound folks
Superman bounds onto the NES! And he resembles
Mario! Too bad this game isn't more fun than it is dull. Personally,
I think that when Christopher Reeve first played this piece of lousiness
in 1995, he tried to kill himself. One thing led to another, and
look at him now! I guess we'll never see a Superman V.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Genre: Suspiciously popular games that everyone's
played but no one enjoyed
Appeal: Those who forced themselves to believe
that they were playing a really good game
Konami must have sold at least half a million
TMNT cartridges. Back then, gamers never bothered to read reviews
because all of the magazines kinda-sorta sucked. Nintendo Power probably
gave the game a lot of promotion, those lying weasels...
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade
Genre: "Tonight I Dine on Turtle Soup!"
Appeal: Ignorant kids (like me)
I was in the first grade when I bought this game,
and being seven years old, I expected it to be exactly like the arcade
game. When I brought it home (and finally realized I needed to press
the start button to begin playing), I still thought it was a direct port.
A few months later, I played the real arcade game again... I would
have been like "What the crap?!" if I had known that word at the time.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: The Manhattan
Genre: Games with small puns in their titles
(ha ha, so funny I forgot to laugh)
Appeal: Turtle fans dissatisfied with the TMNT2
While those kids with $200 were off playing TMNT4
on SNES, the rest of us were having considerably less fun with this game.
Who says money can't buy happiness, I would've been a lot happier with
a SNES! Actually, this game isn't half bad, and while I don't like
the levels as much as the ones in TMNT2, the play mechanics are a whole
Genre: The puzzle game
Appeal: Your mom... no, I'm serious, moms like
to play this game
Played Tetris before? I prefer to play
the Game Boy version when there's absolutely nothing better to do.
Here's a bit of history. There were actually two NES versions, one
from Tengen and one from Nintendo. Nintendo forced Tengen to stop
selling their non-licensed-but-superior version shortly after it was released.
Copies go for big bucks these days...
Genre: Sequels? Naah
Appeal: Everyone who saw those funny Tetris 2
commercials with people spontaneously blowing up
They call this a sequel?! Tacking a "2"
onto the end of Tetris guaranteed sales of more copies than, say, Mickey's
Magical Tetris Challenge, but it's impossible to remake Tetris. This
game is supposed to be better because it has bombs. In order to teach
him a lesson, I sent a letter bomb to the lead designer, but from what
I've heard, it blew up a bus full of Italian plumbers on its way to Japan.
Tiny Toon Adventures
Genre: Good Tiny Toons video games
Appeal: Anyone who watched the show and wondered
"What if I was Buster Bunny?"
They're Tiny. They're toony. And
I think you're a little loony if you don't like this game! What's
the matter, scared to play games meant for elementary schoolers?
Afraid of being subjected to taunts such as "Hey, you just play Tiny Toons
because you have a 'thing' for Babs!" and "You're a baby!"? Well,
don't be. It's fun.
Tiny Toon Adventures 2
Genre: Minigames for the feeble-minded
Appeal: I'm guessing no one. Anyone who
bought this drivel probably regrets it deeply
Ohhh, what happened? Tiny Toons 2 includes
four "amusement park rides" most of which are crappy, and a final stage
in which Buster infiltrates Montana Max's castle. This segment reminds
me of the first game, but it's still not much fun. I bought this
game for $10 while looking for a copy of the original. I was kicking
myself for days since $10 was two weeks allowance.
Wally Bear and the NO Gang
Genre: Games that strive to keep America's youth
from unsavory things
Appeal: Your local D.A.R.E officer
Well, the game kinda really sucks, but it gets
an extra 30% for being so incredibly funny! Watch as Wally Bear's
parents remind him to "Stay smart! Don't start!" This game
brought back lots of memories of elementary school. Unfortunately,
word has it that Wally Bear is now known as Heroin Grizzly, a name which
he gained not long after his best friend Timmy Tortoise's suicide.
Genre: Movie cash-ins, plain and simple
Appeal: People whose vocabulary is limited to
"righteous" and "tubular"
Players must guide Wayne and Garth through all sorts of totally bogus
levels and fight hopping musical instruments. The cut-scenes consist
of static pictures and dialogue from the movie that just don't make sense
from the player's standpoint. Maybe the guys at TH*Q had a contest
to see if the design team could finish this in a single night...
Genre: Where's the fun?
Appeal: Only Waldo and his girlfriend Wenda could
appreciate this "game"
Years of gaming and television has not done wonders
for my appreciation of books, but in this case, the book is definitely
better. What's more fun than using your controller to point to tiny
Waldo? Anything. Unfortunately, this must have sold well, because
"The Great Waldo Search" appeared on the NES and Genesis.
Genre: Movie-based games that don't suck
Appeal: Midgets and dwarves, of course!
Warwick Davis, who played the lead role in the
film that this game is based on, is second only to Verne Troyer on my "Favorite
Short Guys" list. He was also in all 50,000 Leprechaun films.
From what I've heard, the process that was required to digitize people
into games actually hurt quite a bit. Warwick has my sympathies.
Zelda II: The Adventure of Link
Genre: Controversial sequels
Appeal: Those who "got it"
People seem to either love this game or hate
it. The gameplay is very different from that of the original, and
while this might not have worked for some critics (Next Generation magazine
once referred to Zelda II as "near-awful"), there were plenty of gamers
who didn't mind all the side-scrolling