James Bond Jr.

Overview / Review of T*HQ’s 1992 NES game, James Bond Jr.

James Bond Jr., the early 1990s American-produced animated spinoff of Sir Ian Fleming’s iconic MI6 agent’s exploits, lasted only a single season before being cancelled. Despite its short run, the show bore several pieces of merchandise in an attempt increase brand awareness and popularity: several books, a Marvel produced comic, a line of Hasbro toys, and two different videogames made it to retailer shelves between… Continue reading

Monopoly

Overview / Review of Parker Brothers’ 1991 NES game, Monopoly.

Following “Black Tuesday,” the infamous stock market crash on Wall Street of 1929 that sent the world economy into a desperate tailspin, a board game rising from the wake of the previous crash in 1893 discovered a newfound resurgence at the hands of an unemployed laborer, Charles Darrow. Looking to make ends meet, he reinvigorated Lizzie Magie’s game, The Landlord’s Game, originally designed to illustrate the evils of monopolistic empires… Continue reading

Barbie

Overview / Review of Hi Tech Expressions’ 1991 NES game, Barbie.

Wildly popular and highly controversial since their introduction to the American public in 1959, Mattel’s Barbie has provided young girls a fashion savvy, boy crazy friend on whom they could depend to provide countless hours of entertainment. Throughout their lengthy tenure… Continue reading

Rygar

Overview / Review of Tecmo’s 1987 NES game, Rygar.

Though it shares its name with the Tecmo coin-op game released in 1986, Rygar for the NES bears little resemblance to its namesake. Transmuting a coin-munching side-scrolling action game into an action adventure title with strong RPG elements, the Nintendo version of Rygar avoids becoming a subpar port on weaker hardware… 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

Faxanadu

Overview / Review of Nintendo’s 1989 NES game, Faxanadu.

Published in America by Nintendo in 1990, Faxanadu is a spin-off title splintering from 1985’s Dragon Slayer II: Xanadu, the second game in the Japanese Dragon Slayer PC RPG series. Produced by Hudson Soft under license from Nihon Falcom (the original series’ developer and publisher that, while extremely popular in Japan, has languished in obscurity in the USA), Faxanadu is not a canonical entry in the Dragon Slayer series… 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

Ninja Gaiden

Overview / Review for Tecmo’s 1989 NES game, Ninja Gaiden.

Though their previous efforts (Rygar, Solomon’s Key, et al) had been released to a smattering of critical praise and general apathy by the American gaming public, Tecmo finally hit their stride in the US NES market in early 1989 with the release of a pair of games that would go on to establish… 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

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

The Legend of Zelda

Overview / Review of Nintendo’s 1987 NES game, The Legend of Zelda.

Shigeru Miyamoto, the legendary producer and designer of many of Nintendo’s biggest hits, is easily one of the most important and influential creative forces the industry has ever seen, almost single-handedly building Nintendo into the empire it became virtually overnight. Following the creation of some of gaming’s most beloved… 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

Castlevania III – Dracula’s Curse

Overview / Review of Konami’s 1990 NES game, Castlevania III – Dracula’s Curse.

Konami’s final chapter of their classic NES trilogy, Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse is a true 8-bit technological tour de force, constantly pushing the hardware to (and occasionally beyond) its limits. Staged as a prequel to the first two Castlevania games, the player assumes the role of Simon’s ancestor, Trevor Belmont… Continue reading