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

Duck Hunt

Overview / Review of Nintendo’s 1985 NES game, Duck Hunt.

As the direct descendant of Nintendo’s 1976 projector-based Laser Clay Shooting System game Beam Gun: Duck Hunt, the classic NES Zapper game serves as a nod of recognition to one of Nintendo’s earliest successes in the electronic gaming market. As a game that came bundled with every NES model that included a light gun, Duck Hunt was destined to become the most… Continue reading

Donkey Kong Jr. Math

Overview / Review of Nintendo’s 1985 NES game, Donkey Kong Jr. Math.

Donkey Kong Jr. Math, Nintendo’s ”contribution” to the cognitive development of young children, was widely considered the weakest of the NES’ first wave of games, epitomizing the occasionally myopic approach of Nintendo’s marketing machine during the early 1980s. Much like R.O.B., Donkey Kong Jr. Math was soon regarded as a misguided attempt to do something different, and the Education “Series” … 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

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

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

Contra Force

Overview / Review of Konami’s 1992 NES game, Contra Force.

Contra Force, the fourth American console title bearing the revered Contra name, proved to be an unexpected NES release late in the system’s life cycle. Following Contra (NES), Super C (NES), and Contra III: The Alien Wars (SNES), Contra Force was initially announced in Japan as Ark Hound (アークハウンド / Aakuhaundo), an original concept bearing no relation story wise to any other existing Konami franchises Continue reading

Baseball Simulator 1.000

Overview / Review of Culture Brain’s 1990 NES game, Baseball Simulator 1.000.

Baseball Simulator 1.000 was developer and publisher Culture Brain’s first foray into video game sports, and served as the inaugural entry in the long running Ultra Baseball series, that would ultimately see five sequels on the Super Famicom through 1995 (only one, Super Baseball Simulator 1.000, saw a US release on the Super NES). The major defining traits of the series began here, most notably the “Ultra League”… Continue reading

Cabal

Overview / Review of Milton Bradley’s 1990 NES game, Cabal.

Based on TAD’s innovative and relatively popular 1988 arcade release, Cabal for the NES is an impressively accurate conversion. In response to growing concerns over the Dreaded Republic of Allied Terrorists’ (D.R.A.T.) plans for world domination, two anonymous commandos have been recruited by the International World Affairs Council. To foil the terrorist plot, the two commandos visit five key terrorist … Continue reading

Battletoads

Overview / Review of Tradewest’s 1991 NES game, Battletoads.

Battletoads, a late generation game owing much of its style to the infamous Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon, is among the best of prolific developer Rare’s offerings on Nintendo’s eight-bit workhorse. Battletoads stars three oversized humanoid amphibians named after unsightly skin blemishes… Continue reading

Double Dragon

Overview / Review of Tradewest’s 1988 NES game, Double Dragon.

Building off of the successful innovations of Technos Japan’s previous beat ’em up, Renegade (1986, Arcade/1988, NES), Double Dragon for the NES is a port of the first in a successful trilogy arcade games. Twin brothers Billy and Jimmy Lee, well skilled martial artists, learned how to survive growing up on the streets. When Marian, Billy’s girlfriend, is brutally assaulted… Continue reading

Ikari Warriors

Overview / Review of SNK’s 1987 NES game, Ikari Warriors.

Ikari Warriors is an adaptation of the beloved SNK 1986 arcade game of the same name. Heavily inspired by Capcom’s Commando and Sylvester Stallone’s 1985 movie Rambo: First Blood Part II (the game takes its name from the Japanese title, ランボー怒りの脱出… Continue reading

Mendel Palace

Overview / Review of Hudson’s 1990 NES game, Mendel’s Palace.

Mendel Palace was the first game ever produced by Game Freak, headed up by Satoshi Tajiri, who would become a superstar of the videogame world with the release of Pokémon (Gameboy, 1995). In Tajiri’s premier work, Bon-Bon has to save his best friend, Candy, from a dream. Falling asleep… Continue reading