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

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

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

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

Rollergames

Overview / Review of Ultra’s 1990 NES game, Rollergames.

Rollergames, Konami’s contribution to the blitz of marketing and merchandising accompanying the first (and only) season of 1989’s television show Rollergames, brings all of the cheese and drama of extreme skating home to the NES courtesy a cartridge officially endorsed by WAR (World Alliance of Rollersports). Bearing a number of similarities to Konami’s Skate or Die – Bad ‘N Rad released the Continue reading

Batman: The Video Game

Overview / Review of Sunsoft’s 1990 NES game, Batman: The Video Game.

Based on Tim Burton’s 1989 classic cinematic reimagining of the iconic American superhero, Sunsoft’s Batman: The Video Game for the NES was released in early 1990, four months after the movie was released on VHS, and eight months after Batman’s initial theatrical run. Riding on the long-lasting popularity of the Caped Crusader’s return to form, the arrival of Batman’s video game adaptation was warmly greeted by players nationwide, many of whom… Continue reading

Puss ‘n Boots: Pero’s Great Adventure

Overview / Review of Electro Brain’s 1990 NES game, Puss ‘n Boots: Pero’s Great Adventure.

Based on Toei Animation’s 1976 anime film Puss ‘n Boots: Around the World in 80 Days, which was in turn based on the novel Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne, Puss ‘n Boots: Pero’s Great Adventure sets Pero (the Japanese spelling for the surname of author of the original French fairytale Puss in Boots, Charles Perrault) on a platforming adventure spanning both time and the globe. In this American only sequel to the Japanese only 1986 Famicom game… Continue reading

Rescue: The Embassy Mission

Overview / Review of Kemco’s 1990 NES game, Rescue: The Embassy Mission.

Rescue: The Embassy Mission started life as a late eighties French PC game named Hostages, released to some acclaim in 1988 by development house Infogrames. Known for their proclivity for games that placed a heavier emphasis on thought than reflex (most famously the Alone in the Dark and Neverwinter Nights 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

Final Fantasy

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

The orbs of light that drive the world have gone dark, the balance they have long provided shattered. The wind ceases, the seas rage, fire engulfs the countryside, and the earth itself is beginning to die. As villages disappear and the desperate survivors are beset by chaos, the people’s final hope rests on a prophecy. The great sage, Lukahn, foretells the coming of four legendary warriors… 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

Dragon’s Lair

Overview / Review of Sony Imagesoft’s 1990 NES game, Dragon’s Lair.

When originally published in 1983, Dragon’s Lair was a true technological marvel. Released at a time when Spy Hunter, Mario Bros., and Ms. Pac-Man were wowing arcade goers with cutting edge graphics, the innovation introduced by Dragon’s Lair hardly seemed possible. Utilizing the storage space granted by brand-new optical storage media technologies… Continue reading

RoadBlasters

Overview / Review of Mindscape’s 1990 NES game, RoadBlasters.

As port of one of Atari’s bigger arcade hits of the late 80’s, Mindscape’s RoadBlasters brings home the futuristic violence of the 1987 coin-op classic. Combining rally racing with vehicular combat, RoadBlasters provides fifty tracks, replete with explosive obstacles and throngs of erratic drivers that attempt to render your ride a smoldering pile… 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