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

Tecmo Cup Soccer Game

Overview / Review of Tecmo’s 1992 NES game, Tecmo Cup Soccer Game.

Tecmo’s penultimate American NES release, Tecmo Cup Soccer Game, follows largely in the footsteps of the company’s games that came before it. Drawing from Ninja Gaiden’s revolutionary use of cinematic cut scenes, Tecmo World Wrestling’s textual play-by-play commentary, and the technical and artistic talents of the developers that shaped and defined the Tecmo brand name across all of the publisher’s products… Continue reading

Wurm: Journey to the Center of the Earth

Overview / Review of Asmik’s 1991 NES game, Wurm: Journey to the Center of the Earth.

Eschewing the typical lighthearted fluff that contextually justifies the large majority of the NES’s game library, Wurm: Journey to the Center of the Earth presents itself as an unusually weighty cautionary tale wrought by a variety of gameplay types and cinematic exposition. As the brainchild of Yoshikawa Shouichi (also responsible for Golgo 13: Top Secret Mission’s excellent scenario direction, script writing, and English translation), Wurm follows… 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

Maniac Mansion

Overview / Review of Jaleco’s 1990 NES game, Maniac Mansion.

Tapping the bizarrely violent and perverse tone of 70s and 80s B-movies, Maniac Mansion features the twisted exploits of Dr. Fred Edison, a peculiarly green hued man who has been conducting experiments in his basement for the past twenty years. When a local high school cheerleader goes missing, her boyfriend Dave takes his friends to check out the Edison Mansion, believing that she fell victim to foul play at the hands of the mad scientist… Continue reading

Punch-Out!!

Overview / Review of Nintendo’s 1990 NES game, 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

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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Legend of the Ghost Lion

Overview / Review of Kemco’s 1992 NES game, Legend of the Ghost Lion.

Kemco’s 1992 release of Legend of the Ghost Lion’s was as an obscure and unlikely a candidate for English translation. The perceived appeal of a Western release is difficult to imagine, and a confluence of several factors inevitably contributed to the commercial failure of and apathetic feelings toward Ghost Lion. Limiting any significant market… Continue reading

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

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

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