Intro – in episode one I went over the contents of the multicart in question. In this episode we will finally get to some game play. But first let me explain the system. There a lot of games to get through, as I’ve already explained the title is misleading, and unlike other multicarts it is actually under-advertised (in name) as there are 143 games on the cart, all of them original and unique. The plan is to play each game for 15 minutes. Going in that system it will take me just under 36 hours to get through them all. Most of the RPG’s I’m not likely to invest much time in (and I’ll explain why when we get to that), and some other games I may punk out of before the 15 minutes are up. The first batch of 10 in this review are not the alphabetical firsts like the rest will be, but the 10 I am most interested in, and for these games I’ll be spending an hour on each. So without further adu, here they are.
Little Samson – to be completely honest, this is the one and only reason I was interested in getting this multicart. As far as I’m concerned this is a little Samson game with 142 bonus games thrown in. I was actually in the market for a little Samson repro when I stumbled across this cartridge. For those of you that don’t know, this is one of the most valuable licensed games for the NES (clocking in at >1k$ loose), maybe the most valuable next to Stadium Events, and it’s also one of the best on the system. Don’t let the name fool you, this is not a color dreams bible game, it’s a 100% perfect action platformer, you have 4 characters to choose from at any point in the game each with different abilities: the title character who can shoot and climb walls, a dragon who can shoot and fly for a lengthy (though limited) time, a rock monster with a very powerful punch ample health and the ability to walk on spikes without taking damage, and a little mouse that can climb walls and drop bombs. You need certain characters to get through certain spots and the mouse is almost useless because of his 2 bar health meter (at least for me at this point, I’m sure there are savants that can beat the game using primarily the mouse, but I’m not one of them). Anyway in an hour of play (which was hard to put down at that point) I made it all the way to level 4, you got to love unlimited continues (the lack of which is my main problem with video games of this era), plus it has a simple 4 character password save, and if you want to see where I left off after the hour run, plug in 5JSQ. If you don’t want to spend a grand for the game on eBay or Amazon, and don’t want to pick up a multicart, then you can play it on vizzed board. That’s where I first played it.
Kickle cubicle – Really fun puzzle game, which is in my opinion what the NES was best at. I first came across this game on a surprisingly sad Pat the NES Punk video which was inevitably pulled off YouTube because he used a song he didn’t have the rights too. After watching said video I played it on vizzed board and put it high on my wish list (I’ll still pick it up if I find it). The premise is to freeze the bad guys and kick them to make ice bridges to collect all the fruit on the level. In an hour of play I made it to level 4 of Fruit World, which is the second of 6 or 8 worlds. Oddly enough the first boss battle acts as a sort of gate keeper and is at the beginning of the second world and not the end of the first world. I think this is the first time I’ve come across this. If you want to pick up where I left off the Password is: KKKb dKCF have fun.
Contra – Well what can be said about Contra? Widely considered one of the best games on the NES, a prime example of good controls, the archetype for all “good” run and gun shooters. What I think is the most convincing evidence for why it’s so good is the price. The game is very common yet commands a 40$ price tag if you can find it, that’s because it’s the game everyone wants and few are willing to part with (supply and demand). It may be the first game I’ve ever played ever, back in the 80’s in Indonesia, where my friend had mistakenly called it “Rambo” and really this should have been the Rambo game, but what can you do. I played this game a fair amount (before I got this semi-physical copy) on vizzed board when I first got really into retro games in 2014, but never got all that far. This time though, I beat the game in about 40 minutes. Yes of course I was using the 30 lives code. Apparently according to the Ultimate NES Guide Book there is another code for unlimited lives but I could never make it work, but I guess I didn’t need too. The game is very hard (without the code) but I think that if I kept playing it enough I could probably get through it. I also plan on picking it up if I see it anywhere, because the price tag is not too unreasonable and it’s fairly important in my personal video game history. This is one to come back to many many times.
Zombie nation – A very strange game, very strange, probably the weirdest game on the cart, and maybe even the system itself. At heart it’s a bullet hell horizontal shooter, your craft (if you will) is a disembodied head that shoots projectiles from his eyes and mouth. Blowing everything up with in his path. I was getting this game confused with the homoerotic shooter Cho Aniki, but I later realized that they are not related, other than that they are both very strange shooters. Even after playing for an hour I didn’t do very good as it is quite hard: I Almost beat round 1 (level’s are called “rounds”), about half way through round 2 and 3, and barely anything in round 4. It is a good pick up and play if you only have a few minutes to game. But if you play it for a while you’re thumbs will hurt. You better belive I was listening to Kernkraft 400 while I was playing it too.
Ducktales – perhaps it was because my head was filled with scattered thoughts after watching a depressing (but very good) movie, and I seemed to be in kind of a funk, but I did not enjoy this game. In fact I only played this and the following game for 15 minutes each. It almost seems sacrilegious to give this game a negative review, Ian Ferguson (co-host of the CU Podcast along with Pat the NES Punk) rates this as his all-time favorite game, while many others have rated it quite high as well. Given all that it might be fair to give the game another shot at some point with a more focused mind and better overall attitude. I have the remastered version on the Wii U and I like that game an awful lot, but this game, with the limited lives and the goofy controls (press A then down then hold B to do the pogo) really started to piss me off after the third or fourth game over. Maybe, after giving this game an hour or two I can get a handle on it (I remember some frustration in the remastered version, even though those controls are simplified). I will probably still give this game another shot and do a comparative analysis between it and the remastered version at some point, but tonight just simply was not the night to do it.
Skate or die – this game is a little more mixed in opinion than Ducktales, and only receives 3 stars in the Ultimate NES Guide, I personally gave it 2. It suffers from the same problem as World Games. The method of playing all 5 of the different Mini games is not remotely fun or intuitive. I’d have to look up instructions on how to play, but I don’t particularly want to and really shouldn’t have to, this is one of the advantages of modern games over retro games (one of only a few I might add), they will explain how to generally play the game in the first level or two. Being a skateboarder almost 20 years ago, I can easily say that some of things you do in the game are easier to do in real life, this is especially true with the downhill race and the goofy steering controls. I wasn’t expecting Tony Hawk here of course, but it still should have been something better than this.
Casltevania – I never really played these games before, but I’ve heard much about them. A good friend of mine from college was a big fan of the series. This experience I got to say was pretty good. The whip makes for an interesting weapon and there is a variety of secondary weapons to pick up along the way. One down side though is you can’t use other acquired secondary weapons, you’re stuck with whatever until you get a new one or die, and if you’re like me you’ll probably be dyeing a lot. In one hour I was able to make it to level 3. The game is somewhat hard but the (seemingly) unlimited continues make it worth grinding away and learning the patterns to complete. If I gave this game some serious time I think I could probably get through it. The bigger down side is that there is no password save so I would have to play it a lot. Not too soon though, I have too much stuff to get through at this juncture.
Flintstones 2 – It’s a little deceiving, it’s listed on the menu as Flintstones 2, but it’s actually called “The Flintstones: the Surprise at Dinosaur Peak.” Just like Samson (a line form really good song btw) this is one of the Holy Grails of NES collecting, going for close to 900$ loose. It is believed that this game was a Blockbuster exclusive and never available for general perches. Also like Little Samson it’s an outstanding game and single handedly worth the 50$ price tag of this multicart. The game uses Barney and Fred interchangeably with the select button. Barney can climb wires and shoot a week slingshot, Fred has a club and can climb up edges of walls, and they both can duck (kind of) by putting their heads under there collars a la the show. You will need to switch often in order to progress. The game isn’t particularly difficult with unlimited continues. If I gave myself a couple sessions at a couple hours a piece I think I could beat it, and that’s something I may want to try at some point. In this one hour play through I made it to (and almost beat) level 4 (out of 6 or 8 I’m not sure).
Bubble Bobble – I’ve heard good things about this game, and while playing it I did enjoy it, a simple puzzle plat former with a somewhat simple design and cute background music. The one problem I had with the game was that it was very glitchy with partial sprites flickering across the screen especially as the action on the screen became busier. I don’t know why this is, I get the feeling that this has something to do with the cart and not so much the game itself, or maybe even the consul (remember these are all being played on the Retron 2). This is the first game I’ve played where glitches have been noticed and are to the point of making the game significantly more difficult. Truth be told, i’ve sampled other games on this cart besides the 8 listed above, and all of them have worked more or less fine. As for the game itself, as a dragon you go around blowing bubbles, at enemies, then you stomp them so they turn into candy or fruit which you pick up, there’s around 60 stages I believe, each laid out with different platform patterns. I made it to level 17 (by using some king of warp mechanism), and the password obtained is: AABBI. It’s a fun game and my type of game, and if I see it loose I might pick it up if I can figure out the glitch problem.
Tiny Toon Adventure 1 – many years ago I had a Tiny Toon game for the Genesis, and I was hopping that this might be a slimmed down NES version of that game. It is not. this is a mislabeled title, it is not the first Tiny Toon Adventure, it is Tiny Toon Adventure: Cartoon Workshop. The game is not really a game at all but an animation program, and not a great one, it’s asking too much of the system, and it’s a bit hard to understand (though there are certainly harder games to figure out). In the 15 minutes I played this one I made a suggestive video with Babs and Buster.