Almost a year after starting this project, I am finally finishing off the last of the cartridge reviews. This volume has games from multiple systems being reviewed, all of them have been purchased after their respective systems had been reviewed. Without further adu, I bring you the cartridge review leftovers.
100 Best NES Games (NES) – this is a multi-cart with a deceptive name, there are actually 143 unique games on the cartridge. I got it as basically a holding space for several mythically rare NES games (most specifically “Little Samson”), but there is a lot of good stuff on the cart. Also it works perfectly, so far anyways, and strange as it is, it seems to have made some of my other games work better, but that’s probably a coincidence. I’d go into more detail about it, but I won’t, because it will be the subject of a forthcoming multi-part series, that I’m sure you will all enjoy.
Aero the Acrobat (SNES) – I remember wanting this game a lot when it came out, but never got it, the Geneses version at least. Well I’m glad I didn’t pay original price back then for it because it wasn’t all that good. The game play is similar to Mighty Max or Denis the Menes in its non-linear style, the power ups are borderline useless for how short they last, and the goals are next to impossible to find. In the half hour of play I couldn’t get through the first stage. On the positive side the game looks great graphically speaking and the health and lives are fairly generous. A good piece for the overall collection, but I won’t be playing it very often.
Asterix and the Great Rescue (Genesis) – like the previous game, this game was also on my wishlist way back in the hay day of the system. I thought it was based on Vikings, and continued to think that up until I started playing it again for this review. As it turns out the game is about a pair of Gauls (the ancient French that fought against the Roman Empire). I wasn’t a huge fan of this game when I first tested it giving the game a rare 2 points (largely due to difficulty). This time around I found it a little more interesting. I got up to the 5th part of level 1 (I think, it’s not clear what exactly a level is in this game). The graphics are very cartoony, like a comic book, which makes sense since it’s based on a French comic book series from the 60’s of the same name, and that’s good, but the game play is very hard. Perhaps with several hours of play it will get better, but we’ll see, I’m not very interested. I have a few games to get through before that.
Back to the Future (NES) – this game has been fairly heavily covered by AVGN and considered as a very bad game. My copy of it is not in the best of shape, at first I didn’t think it worked at all, but I realized that if you reset button many times in a row eventually it will work, which is good. Although certainly not the best game on the system, and ignoring the fact that it has almost nothing do to with the source material, it’s actually not that bad of a game, pretty good in fact. It’s a twitchy reflex type game, with a good pick up and play quality, just throw it in and see how far you can go this time (like an old arcade game), and I really like those types of games. Believe it or not, I actually give this game 4 stars, easily in the top quarter of my collection (even if that does change your opinion of all these reviews in general).
Back to the future II&III (NES) – I had to pick up the sequel, there was just no way around it. This game (plus: Battletoads, Jack Nicklaus, and Othello) are all my most recent games, picked up just a week before posting this review. Back to the Future II&III is a notoriously horrendous game and I’d have to agree. Unlike the twitch based semi-shooter of the original back to the future LJN game (see above) this one is a platformer with slippery controls and 1-hit deaths. On the plus side you are given 10 lives and unlimited continues, which would be okay if the goal was to make it to the end of the level, but that’s of course not how you progress in this game. Apparently the point is to collect items and return them to their proper time. I say apparently because in the 15 minutes I played this game I didn’t find a single item. Another plus is that the game is actually 2 games in one (as the title suggests) and there is a fairly easy way to skip to the second game, hold A+B and press select, then unscramble the given phrase, and boom your back in the Old West. This game is similar in nature to the first with slightly different graphics, I don’t know exactly what the goals are though, and they’re probably just as convoluted as the first game. I give the game 2 stars, I’ve played worse, there is plenty to explore and some (though not much) potential to give this game attention.
Barney’s Hide and Seek Game (Genesis) – surprisingly, this game is far better than it has any right to be. There is a significant amount of voice work considering the era and limited capabilities of the technology at the time. The game is beautifully animated and (as expected) very very cute. The object is to find 5 kids and 5 toys hidden throughout 4 levels. You use the d-pad to direct Barney and any button to interact with anything around, any button, this includes the start button which does not pause the game (the one problem I have with the game), also if you don’t do anything for a while Barney will start to move on his own and eventually he will finish the level. The vast majority of Genesis games are either black or red spined, but Barney has a purple spine. It’s also not very expensive, I would recommend picking it up if you see it.
Battletoads (NES) – A notoriously difficult game, but well remembered, and one of the rare “good games” to be reviewed by AVGN [link] (and also one of my favorite episodes). This is one of the games that I greatly (but respectfully) disagree with the Ultimate NES Guide Book, I give it 4 stars, they give it 2.5. Evidently they have received some considerable flack for the low rating by others as well. When I got the game my goal that day was to either get this game or “Dragon’s Lair” and this is the one that happened to be at the store. The game was not cheap and I was a little disappointed to find that I paid significantly more then it’s standard price. I was more disappointed to find that it doesn’t not work on my Retron 2. It works at first but freezes in the middle of level 2, and there’s nothing to be done. There is evidently a way to warp past level 2, but I haven’t tried the method yet. Despite this set back I am going to keep the game, I expect it to appreciate in value and I plan to eventually get a better famiclone or even a real NES at some point in the future. I’m most disappointed though that this game is not included in my NES multicart (mentioned above).
The Chessmaster (SNES) – Of the games in my “vast” video game collection, most of them have been picked up with little to no knowledge of the game itself. I have a sort of “wishlist” that I keep on my phone of games I really want and I could order them online if I was interested, but typically I enjoy the hunt. 10$ is about my limit for games that I don’t know anything about. Sometimes in the hunt I find a very good one, sometimes not so much, but it wasn’t much money and my collection is one step closer to being completed. Chessmaster for the SNES was one of the games on my wishlist. I played the hell out of it on vizzidboard, and will likely do the same now that I have a physical copy. I did play one game for this review, and lost. You can see the game for yourself below, if you know how to read algebraic chess notation, enjoy: 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e3 0-0 5.Bd3 d5 6.cxd5 exd5 7.a3 Ba5 8.b4 Bb6 9.e4 Bxd4 10.Bb2 dxe4 11.Bxe4 Nxe4 12.Nxe4 Bxb2 13.Qxd8 Rxd8 14.Rd1 Rxd1+ 15.Kxd1 Bxa3 16.Nf3 Nc6 17.Re1 Bxb4 18.Re3 f5 19.Nfg5 fxe4 20.Rxe4 Bf5 21. Re8+ Rxe8 22.f3 Re1#
Dragon Warrior (NES) – first off this game did not work very well the first time I played it. I had to blow it, clean it with alcohol, blow the system, and every other trick I know, and the first time it finally did work it wasn’t “perfect” rough graphics and almost impossible to read writing (which, being an RPG, is a problem since there is an awful lot to read) then I put it in again and the game was crisp and fine, and now the cart seems to work fine every time I put it in. One of the first things I’ve noticed was the “church music” it’s “Veridis Quo” by Daft Punk, off their seminal album “Discovery”. It’s not exactly the same music, but it’s damn close. For this review I continued on with the saved game and kept grinding away beating up Drakes and Slimes. In the half hour I made it up to level 4 (that’s skill level 4, which increases your heath and hit power but doesn’t progress you to any different place). I’m going to attempt to play this game all the way through at some point sooner than later.
Jack Nicklaus’ Greatest 18 Hole Championship Golf (NES) – I’m a fan of golf games as I’ve probably mentioned, this is the third one I have for the NES and before I got Lunar Pool the original black box Golf was my favorite game (owned) for the system, so when I saw the price tag for this game, there really was no excuse not to pick it up. That being said, this is not a great game, it is in fact tied for the lowest rated golf game (of 7) in the NES Guide Book. The game is fairly standard fair for golf of the generation with the standard power meter mechanic and somewhat better graphics then others. As its mouth full of a title might suggest the 18 holes are all based on “famous holes” from courses around the world, which is a pretty cool idea, Jack Nicklaus himself gives a very brief explanation and opinion on each hole. One problem with the game is when the course is rendered, it’s done slowly with a number of lines at a time, I don’t know if this is for effect or the game having difficulty rendering, in practice it’s just annoying. The bigger problem is the putting: it might take you one hit to sink the ball on a putt or 10, and this seems to be random. Maybe if you play the game a lot you can figure them out, but I get the feeling this is not the case. In a half hour I played 9 of the holes and was 28 shots over. I give the game 2 stars, again there is the potential to come back and play and give it another fair play, but it’s not high on my too do list.
Jeopardy (SNES) – I love Jeopardy, it’s my favorite show currently on TV and one of only 2 TV shows that I watch regularly (the other being… you guessed it, “Wheel of Fortune”). I figured it was about time to pick up a copy for some system. I didn’t know quite what to expect, but it turned out to be a pretty good game, large variety of questions and a liberal enough timer for answering them. The one problem is that the questions are not multiple choice, you have to type them out, and you have to spell them right. In the systems heyday, it would have been unplayable for me because I am an atrocious speller. However in today’s world, with the advent of the smart phone with spell check, it’s hardly a problem. In my opinion this is not cheating, I am not looking up any answers, just figuring out the right spelling. I tend to do fairly well in this game, and I due fairly well while playing the show at home itself. Good game for trivia fans.
King of the Beach (NES) – I picked up this game for 2$ and expected a game that barely functioned from a programming standpoint or didn’t even work at all. Not only did it work in both regards but was actually kind of fun. I had watched a healthy amount of beach volleyball on last summer’s Olympics, being very un-American and cheering against Walsh-Jennings (though I won’t get into why here). The only downside to this game is that you play as males not females, and (though I could be wrong) there didn’t seem to be a two player mode. Not bad for 2$ at any rate.
Light Crusader (Genesis) – Another game that was picked up because of name & cart art, without knowing anything about it. The game is a dungeon crawler RPG, and it’s actually a lot of fun, it reminds me a lot of Zelda (and that’s always a good thing). The various people speak to you through dialuge boxes, and this includes a cat that just says “Meow.” In one room there are 4 fish on the floor that you could (or you would think could) grab and eat to replenish your heath, but when you touch them a dioluge box reading “Meow” comes up, it took me a while before I saw the cat in the room, and I smiled at how cute it was. The game though is not cute in general, but a nice sword and sorcery piece. I’d recommend checking it out, and I plan to make my way significantly through it at some point, also sooner rather than later.
Othello (NES) – I’ve wanted this game since the last time I was at the game store and saw stacks of them available, I didn’t know anything about the game, but that’s not a problem, how many other games have titles from Shakespearian plays? That alone is a good enough reason to pick it up, considering how cheap it is. As it turns out the game is actually reverse, which I had a feeling it would be, and I already have a copy of that game on my Gameboy 4in1 fun pack (see Vol. 3 of this series). The presentation here is much better. I had to look up how to play it and afterword I got better, but not great, I’ll need some practice (and now I can practice it any time I want on the NES, which I might do to tell you the truth, it’s a nice quick relaxing thinking game). In the half hour test, I played 4 or 5 games, drew one, and lost the rest. At some point I may play this game against the Gameboy game and see who is better, my guess is the NES.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (NES) – When I saw it at the game store I couldn’t pass it up, even though I already have it on the Wii Virtual Consul. It’s another of the relatively few “good games” to be reviewed by the AVGN [link]. I never got very far in the game, until I started playing it for this review. I made it to the infamous damn dam level (the second part of the second level) where you have to swim and defuse bombs. Yeah, it was hard as hell, lost the game twice at this section in the time I spent playing it, though I enjoyed it and I am interested in watching how the level is done and trying to do it myself. Yet another piece for my future TMNT mega review.
Top Gun (NES) – The Nerd covered top gun several episodes, making it one of his more covered games. I didn’t think it’s quite as bad as he was making it, but it’s not too good either. I couldn’t get past the second level, the targets move too fast to hit often, and the landing is a little out of place, since you don’t take off yourself, reach alt yourself, etc. I did fairly well at the infamous landing sequences, landing the jet 3 out of 4 times. It was about time I picked this game up and I’m glad I did, even if it’s not that good.
Track & Field II (NES) – my wife actually picked this game up when we were at the store asking: “do we have this? It’s a lot of fun.” We didn’t, and the price was right so I grabbed it. As it turned out, yes, it’s probably the best sports game on the system that I’ve played (other then golf). There are several different mini-games, most (but not all) from the track and field Olympic events, such as running and hammer throw, the best event though is the shot gun segment. I played my own little fantasy Olympics while watching the Olympics last summer. It was a good time, definitely a game to keep your eye out for.
World Games (NES) – I picked this one up thinking I would have a similar experience to “Track & Field II.” There are a bunch of interesting sports on this game that I don’t think I’ve ever seen in video game form before, such as caber tossing, log rolling, and bull riding (all evident by the cartridge cover), and yes they are all on the game, but the controls are horrendous. After failing every mini-game, I had to look up how to play them, and even with that, some I still couldn’t figure out. The game was promising, there must have been a better way to achieve what it set out to do. This is not a game I would recommend to anyone unless there trying to complete their collection.
And that completes my very brief reviews of all my cartridge games thus far. Perhaps next year I will have acquired more and do a cartridge review for 2017. NES (29+3) SNES (10+2) N64 (0+3) GC (20) WII (24) WIIU (10+1) GB (14+6) GBA (4+2) DS (18+1) 3DS (10+2) GEN (28+3) DC (10) PS1 (1) PS2 (13)