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

Jeopardy!

Review / Overview of GameTek’s 1988 NES game, Jeopardy!

The venerable American trivia game show staple Jeopardy!, sitting atop the Merv Griffin Enterprises throne alongside Wheel of Fortune, originally aired to a lukewarm debut on US television in the spring of 1964, and though it garnered enough popularity to keep it on the airwaves for the next eleven years, it was eventually cancelled in 1975. After a failed attempt to reclaim its relevance in a short-lived reboot… Continue reading

Cyber Stadium Series: Base Wars

Overview / Review of Ultra’s 1991 NES game, Cyber Stadium Series: Base Wars.

At the turn of the 24th century, American baseball team owners are fed up paying the astronomical salaries demanded by even the worst players on their teams. At a board meeting, the owner of the Boston Banshees suggests robots as a replacement to traditional human participants, confident that cheaply produced players that do battle… Continue reading

Twin Cobra

Overview / Review of American Sammy’s 1990 NES game, Twin Cobra.

Originally released in the arcades in 1987 as the sequel to Tiger Heli, Twin Cobra bolstered Toaplan’s already notable reputation as a top-tier developer of coin-op shooters. Significantly improving on its predecessor in nearly all respects, Twin Cobra featured state of the art 16-bit graphics, a raucously infectious FM-soundtrack, and an intense difficulty level… Continue reading

Platoon

Overview / Review of Sunsoft’s 1988 NES game, Platoon.

Based on the star-studded Vietnam War epic of the same name, Platoon for the NES was released two years after the hit film saw a widespread US theater release. Bearing a tenuous connection to the events in the movie, Platoon makes a heroic effort to innovate on the trite and stale ideas that had, by 1988, pervaded the gameplay of most licensed-based games. While it does falter in its execution, Platoon blends numerous gaming conventions in unique and unexpected ways… Continue reading

Sky Shark

Overview / Review of Taito’s 1989 NES game, Sky Shark.

In Taito’s 1989 NES port of the 1987 arcade game, Sky Shark (known as 飛翔鮫 / Hishouzame in Japan and Flying Shark in European territories), the player takes on the role of the ace pilot in the most renowned American flight squadrons to take to the skies of World War II combat. Managing against all odds to break through the enemy front lines, a lone Warhawk pilot glimpses the enemy command post where… Continue reading

North & South

Overview / Review of Kemco’s 1990 NES game, North & South.

Juxtaposed against the dramatic tensions of the American Civil War, North & South’s comedic take on the hostilities that split America in two presents players with an opportunity to rewrite the course of US history. Steeped in the aesthetic stylings of the reknowned 1970s Belgian comic Les Tuniques Bleues (The Blue Tunics), North & South combines turn-based strategy with action in a briskly-paced… Continue reading

Renegade

Overview / Review of Taito’s 1988 NES game, Renegade.

Renegade is a respectable port of the 1986 arcade beat `em up that revolutionized the genre, introducing several concepts (such as combos and the ability to move not just left and right, but also up and down) that would become staples in later hits like Golden Axe, Final Fight, and Streets of Rage. It is typically recognized as the progenitor of the infamous Double Dragon series … Continue reading

Ikari Warriors II: Victory Road

Overview / Review of SNK’s 1988 NES game, Ikari Warriors II: Victory Road.

After liberating the Colonel from enemy forces at the end of Ikari Warriors, Paul and Vince graciously accept a plane ride provided in gratitude for their heroic rescue effort. As they are flying over the ocean, the sky turns dark and an ominous alien voice, booming from the heavens, informs the commandos of his hostile takeover of a planet. Paul and Vince, sucked into a time warp and flung into another planet’s distant future, meet Zada, a creature who begs the Ikari Warriors… Continue reading

Marble Madness

Overview / Review of Milton Bradley’s 1989 NES game, Marble Madness.

Marble Madness, Atari’s 1984 arcade hit, was a landmark game for several reasons. As the flagship title for Atari’s 16-bit System 1 arcade hardware, it flaunted its state-of-the-art muscle with its convincing pseudo-3D graphics, unique trackball controls, and the first ever implementation of … Continue reading

Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!

Overview / Review of Nintendo’s 1987 NES game, Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!

Before releasing the Nintendo Entertainment System, Nintendo had already established themselves as a power-player in the western arcade entertainment business. Previously finding success in bringing Donkey Kong, Mario Bros., and Popeye to the coin-op markets, the Japanese corporation had owners of gaming centers of the early 1980s waiting with bated breath for their next highly-anticipated quarter muncher. Nintendo answered with 1984’s Punch-Out!!… Continue reading

Metroid

Overview / Review of Nintendo’s 1987 NES game, Metroid.

While Nintendo’s golden child has often dominated the spotlight, Miyamoto was not the only force instrumental to Nintendo’s meteoric rise: equally prolific and influential was Gunpei Yokoi, the head of Nintendo’s R&D1 development team. As the one responsible for the mantra under Nintendo owes its continuing success in recent years (the “imaginative consideration of matured technology”), Yokoi headed… Continue reading

Abadox – The Deadly Inner War

Overview / Review of Milton Bradley’s 1990 NES game, Abadox – The Deadly Inner War.

Long before achieving their first major commercial success with the Harvest Moon series (with the inaugural entry released in 1997), Abadox – The Deadly Inner War was developer Natsume’s second game to see a stateside release. Arriving four months after the Taito publication of the niche RPG title Dungeon Magic: Swords of Element, Abadox broke onto the US market with a heavy marketing push, complete with a television commercial campaign that terrorized children nationwide. Continue reading

Where’s Waldo?

Overview / Review of T*HQ’s 1991 NES game, Where’s Waldo?

Where’s Waldo?, the worldwide smash hit series of children’s books by British illustrator Martin Handford, dares adventurous readers to find the eponymous traveler, recognizable by his trademark red and white striped jumper, matching bobble hat, and large black specs. Waldo, or Wally, as he is known in his native England, has a habit of getting lost amongst giant throngs of people in a multitude of (often hilarious) situations… Continue reading