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

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

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

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

Milon’s Secret Castle

Overview / Review of Hudson’s 1988 NES game, Milon’s Secret Castle.

After offering players points as a hidden bonus in Star Force, Milon formally introduces himself to the public in his first headlining role, Milon’s Secret Castle for the NES. Despite three of the Japanese developer’s games having already shown up on US shores courtesy Brøderbund (Lode Runner, Raid on… Continue reading

Metal Gear

Overview / Review of Konami’s 1988 NES game, Metal Gear.

Metal Gear, the inaugural entry into a series that would come to receive worldwide acclaim with the release of the Playstation’s masterfully executed Metal Gear Solid, was originally brought to life by the now infamous game-designer Hideo Kojima on the 8-bit MSX2 computer platform in 1987. The NES version, ported in-house by Konami (though without the blessing of or input from anyone on the original development team) is a significantly changed version of the original Metal Gear, and as such has been savagely criticized by Kojima in the years since its release, going so far as to exclude it from series’ canon Continue reading

Castlevania

Overview / Review of Konami’s 1987 NES game, Castlevania.

The first of a legendary series, Konami’s Castlevania was one of the first games to truly prove the worth of third-party developers to Nintendo. As an extraordinarily well polished first offering in what would become one of the most prolific series of all time, Castlevania stands as a testament to the skill and sheer willpower of the crew at Konami; not only is the game aesthetically light years… Continue reading

Princess Tomato in the Salad Kingdom

Review / Overview of Hudson’s 1991 NES game, Princess Tomato in the Salad Kingdom.

Princess Tomato in the Salad Kingdom hails the tradition of one of gaming’s oldest established genres – the text adventure. Being amongst the earliest games developed for computers, text adventures created worlds out of prose, with the player’s options limited only by their imaginations and the limitations of a “verb-noun” text parser. Well-known early entries such as Adventure (1975) and… Continue reading

Wizardry – Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord

Review / Overview of Nexoft’s 1990 NES game, Wizardry – Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord.

Originally released in 1981 for the Apple II home computer, Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord was one of the biggest selling games of its time, easily holding its own against the first entry of the Ultima series. Considered revolutionary when it was released, Wizardry streamlined several aspects of gameplay from previous genre efforts, in addition to being among the first… Continue reading

Casino Kid

Overview / Review of Sofel’s 1989 NES game, Casino Kid.

Sofel, a company known in Japan for PC business application development rather than video games, released their first American NES title, Casino Kid, in 1989. The player is the titular Casino Kid, a fresh face at the Golden Crumbs (a mock of the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas), with $500 in pocket and a dream to become the King of the Casino… 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

Yo! Noid

Overview / Review of Capcom’s 1990 NES game, Yo! Noid.

Capcom’s Yo! Noid, originally released in 1990, features one of the oddest uses of a licensed character in the entire NES library. It features the Noid, the bunny-eared Domino’s Pizza mascot from the late 1980′s, whose mission it was to ruin customers’ pizzas before they could be delivered (in thirty minutes or less). The strange claymation… Continue reading

Dragon Warrior II

Overview / Review of Enix’s 1990 NES game, Dragon Warrior II.

Having overcome the Dragonlord, finding his true love, and saving the kingdom of Alefgard from certain doom, the hero from Dragon Warrior and his young wife, Princess Gwaelin, move to a distant land, establishing the kingdom of Torland. Settling into a peaceful existence, the couple have three children. These three children grow up to become the leaders of three major cities within Torland – the first-born prince is gifted the Midenhall territory, the second-born… Continue reading

Mighty Final Fight

Overview / Review for Capcom’s 1993 NES game, Mighty Final Fight.

By 1993, Capcom was one of the few third party developers still actively producing 8-bit games, with most of their competitors having moved on to the more powerful and commercially viable 16-bit platforms. Mighty Final Fight was one of their last efforts for the aging NES, followed only by Mega Man 6 and Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers 2, both released later the same year. Rather than posing as a port… Continue reading