Rygar

Overview / Review of Tecmo’s 1987 NES game, Rygar.

Though it shares its name with the Tecmo coin-op game released in 1986, Rygar for the NES bears little resemblance to its namesake. Transmuting a coin-munching side-scrolling action game into an action adventure title with strong RPG elements, the Nintendo version of Rygar avoids becoming a subpar port on weaker hardware… Continue reading

Faxanadu

Overview / Review of Nintendo’s 1989 NES game, Faxanadu.

Published in America by Nintendo in 1990, Faxanadu is a spin-off title splintering from 1985’s Dragon Slayer II: Xanadu, the second game in the Japanese Dragon Slayer PC RPG series. Produced by Hudson Soft under license from Nihon Falcom (the original series’ developer and publisher that, while extremely popular in Japan, has languished in obscurity in the USA), Faxanadu is not a canonical entry in the Dragon Slayer series… Continue reading

The Legend of Zelda

Overview / Review of Nintendo’s 1987 NES game, The Legend of Zelda.

Shigeru Miyamoto, the legendary producer and designer of many of Nintendo’s biggest hits, is easily one of the most important and influential creative forces the industry has ever seen, almost single-handedly building Nintendo into the empire it became virtually overnight. Following the creation of some of gaming’s most beloved… Continue reading

Crystalis

Overview / Review of SNK’s 1990 NES game, Crystalis.

Crystalis (or God Slayer, as it was called in its native Japan) was different from the releases that the public generally expected from celebrated arcade developer and publisher SNK. Known primarily for action and war games, the company broke from tradition in releasing Crystalis, providing gamers with a slower paced, plot-driven narrative in place of the tanks and guns that usually populated well-known previous games such as Ikari Warriors, Alpha Mission, or P.O.W. Combining… Continue reading

Deadly Towers

Overview / Review of Broderbund’s 1987 NES game, Deadly Towers.

Deadly Towers presents an interesting conundrum when viewed in hindsight. When originally released in North America in the fall of 1987, it represented an interesting twist on the established RPG and action game conventions of the time, and it sold reasonably well. With nearly three decades having passed since Deadly Towers’ NES appearance, however, it has become one of the most reviled game titles of all-time…
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Zoda’s Revenge: Star Tropics II

Overview / Review of Nintendo’s 1994 NES game, Zoda’s Revenge: Star Tropics II.

Zoda’s Revenge: Star Tropics II is a direct sequel to the original StarTropics, released four years prior, and was released in North America only. As Nintendo’s penultimate NES game development project and release, it was used in conjunction with Mega Man 6 in a television advertising designed to stimulate interest in… Continue reading

StarTropics

Overview / Review of Nintendo’s 1990 NES game, StarTropics.

StarTropics represents Nintendo’s recognition of the popularity that its NES had achieved in the United States by the late 1980’s. Understanding that there were significant differences that defined fans’ interests between Japan and the US, Nintendo assigned one of its Japanese development teams, R&D3 (previously responsible for Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!… Continue reading

Castlevania II – Simon’s Quest

Review / Overview of Konami’s 1988 NES game, Castlevania II – Simon’s Quest.

Reprising his role from Castlevania, Simon Belmont (renamed to fix the awkward and semi-correct Japanese transliteration of the name Berumondo Shimon used in the first game) sets off once again in pursuit of pure evil. This time, however, the adventure is much more personal in nature: Simon was badly injured in his fight with Dracula seven years ago… Continue reading

Willow

Overview / Review for Capcom’s 1989 NES game, Willow.

Willow for the NES is a loose adaptation of Lucasfilm’s 1988 fantasy film by the same name. Invoking many of the same tropes previously tread by The Lord of the Rings, Willow features the titular Nelwyn, or dwarf, on a quest to rid the realm of the cold-hearted and selfish queen, Bavmorda… Continue reading

AD&D: Heroes of the Lance

Overview / Review of FCI’s 1991 NES game, Advanced Dungeons and Dragons: Heroes of the Lance.

Three centuries have passed since the thirteen days of sheer destruction, known as the Cataclysm, devastated Krynn. All sense of order fell to ruin, and the survivors, disenchanted with the gods, fought endlessly amongst one another. Forgetting the ways and beliefs of old, the people of Krynn… Continue reading