Toki

Overview / Review of Taito’s 1991 NES game, Toki.

Despite a box that prominently features some of the worst box art to ever grace the shelves of video game retailers, Toki is an excellent port of the underrated 1988 arcade classic of the same name. As is the case with many of Taito’s 8-bit releases, Toki’s late 1991 release buried it beneath the massive shadow cast by Nintendo’s aggressive promotion of their newly launched 16-bit successor to the NES. Though a quality title, the lack of media coverage and retail shelf… Continue reading

Trojan

Overview / Review of Capcom’s 1987 NES game, Trojan.

Released under Capcom’s Captain Command “Challenge Series” label in 1987, Trojan is a port of a moderately successful arcade title, joining the trend established by Capcom’s prior US releases, including ports of 1942, Commando, and Ghosts ‘n Goblins. As the company’s earliest side-scrolling beat ’em up, Trojan laid an important foundation for many of the company’s later … Continue reading

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Overview / Review of Bandai’s 1989 NES game, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Bandai’s 1989 reinvisioning of the titular literary masterpiece begins with Dr. Jekyll ingesting the transformative potion in his laboratory. Deviating from the plot of Stevenson’s original work, the player’s task is not to aid the realization of Mr. Hyde’s murderous desires as one familiar with the text might presuppose, but rather to safely direct Dr. Jekyll to the church where his fiancée, Miss Millicent… Continue reading

DuckTales

Overview / Review of Capcom’s 1989 NES game, DuckTales.

To those who grew up in 1980s America, there are few symbols of pop-culture as widely recognized and fondly recalled as DuckTales. As Disney’s first ever syndicated cartoon, DuckTales managed to permanently ingrain itself in the consciousness of a generation with its Reaganomics inspired political slant, the introduction of some of the most memorable Disney characters ever created, and a thoroughly amazing theme song… Continue reading

Home Alone

Overview / Review of T*HQ’s 1991 NES game, Home Alone.

Loosely based around the plot of the film, Home Alone for the NES puts the player in control of eight-year-old Kevin McCallister, a boy accidentally left at home alone when his scatterbrained family takes off for Paris without him. The large and well-kept McCallister home, now seemingly vacant, becomes the target of the “Wet Bandits” Continue reading

The Simpsons: Bart vs. the Space Mutants

Overview / Review of Acclaim’s 1991 NES game, The Simpsons: Bart vs. the Space Mutants.

After three years of starring in short animated segments on The Tracey Ullman Show, Fox Broadcasting readied the pointedly absurd yet telling antics of the famous yellow family for the spotlight. First airing over the 1989-1990 broadcast season, The Simpsons met with immediate success, breaking all previously existing Fox rating records. The Simpsons, however, was more than just…
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Super Mario Bros. 2

Overview / Review of Nintendo’s 1988 NES game, Super Mario Bros. 2.

Super Mario Bros. 2 has long since been considered the “odd-duck” of the Mario series, eschewing many of the gameplay elements that its older brother established when released with the NES in 1985. Unbeknownst to the American public when Super Mario Bros. 2 appeared on US shelves in 1988, the true sequel to Nintendo’s smash launch Continue reading

Mega Man 2

Overview / Review of Capcom’s 1989 NES game, Mega Man 2.

Despite the original game not selling enough copies to warrant an immediate follow-up, Mega Man 2 saw its initial release on the Japanese market a mere twelve months after Mega Man’s initial publication. Completed over a hellishly short four month development cycle, Mega Man 2 was to become an industry-wide symbol of the passion and dedication that went into many early NES projects: Capcom… Continue reading

Barbie

Overview / Review of Hi Tech Expressions’ 1991 NES game, Barbie.

Wildly popular and highly controversial since their introduction to the American public in 1959, Mattel’s Barbie has provided young girls a fashion savvy, boy crazy friend on whom they could depend to provide countless hours of entertainment. Throughout their lengthy tenure… Continue reading

Batman: The Video Game

Overview / Review of Sunsoft’s 1990 NES game, Batman: The Video Game.

Based on Tim Burton’s 1989 classic cinematic reimagining of the iconic American superhero, Sunsoft’s Batman: The Video Game for the NES was released in early 1990, four months after the movie was released on VHS, and eight months after Batman’s initial theatrical run. Riding on the long-lasting popularity of the Caped Crusader’s return to form, the arrival of Batman’s video game adaptation was warmly greeted by players nationwide, many of whom… Continue reading

Ninja Gaiden

Overview / Review for Tecmo’s 1989 NES game, Ninja Gaiden.

Though their previous efforts (Rygar, Solomon’s Key, et al) had been released to a smattering of critical praise and general apathy by the American gaming public, Tecmo finally hit their stride in the US NES market in early 1989 with the release of a pair of games that would go on to establish… Continue reading

Puss ‘n Boots: Pero’s Great Adventure

Overview / Review of Electro Brain’s 1990 NES game, Puss ‘n Boots: Pero’s Great Adventure.

Based on Toei Animation’s 1976 anime film Puss ‘n Boots: Around the World in 80 Days, which was in turn based on the novel Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne, Puss ‘n Boots: Pero’s Great Adventure sets Pero (the Japanese spelling for the surname of author of the original French fairytale Puss in Boots, Charles Perrault) on a platforming adventure spanning both time and the globe. In this American only sequel to the Japanese only 1986 Famicom game… Continue reading

Kid Klown in Night Mayor World

Overview / Review of Kemco’s 1993 NES game, Kid Klown in Night Mayor World.

Kid Klown in Night Mayor World was Kemco’s final US release for the NES, being published near the end of the system’s production run in 1993. Kid Klown in Night Mayor World not only established the Kid Klown series, but also became the fourth game in Kemco’s Crazy Castle series, following The Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle (released as Roger Rabbit on the Famicom, rereleased as Mickey Mouse… Continue reading

Dragon’s Lair

Overview / Review of Sony Imagesoft’s 1990 NES game, Dragon’s Lair.

When originally published in 1983, Dragon’s Lair was a true technological marvel. Released at a time when Spy Hunter, Mario Bros., and Ms. Pac-Man were wowing arcade goers with cutting edge graphics, the innovation introduced by Dragon’s Lair hardly seemed possible. Utilizing the storage space granted by brand-new optical storage media technologies… Continue reading

Castlevania III – Dracula’s Curse

Overview / Review of Konami’s 1990 NES game, Castlevania III – Dracula’s Curse.

Konami’s final chapter of their classic NES trilogy, Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse is a true 8-bit technological tour de force, constantly pushing the hardware to (and occasionally beyond) its limits. Staged as a prequel to the first two Castlevania games, the player assumes the role of Simon’s ancestor, Trevor Belmont… Continue reading