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

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

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

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

Pinball

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

Released with the 1985 test market launch in New York City of the Nintendo Entertainment System, Pinball stands as one of the eighteen titles buttressing the very foundation of the newly founded Nintendo of America’s experimental business venture. Working within the confines of an impossibly claustrophobic 24k ROM chip, Nintendo rewarded early-adopters with the most advanced pinball simulator of its time in this pixel-perfect port of their 1983 arcade game of the same name. Continue reading

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

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

Renegade

Overview / Review of Taito’s 1988 NES game, Renegade.

Renegade is a respectable port of the 1986 arcade beat `em up that revolutionized the genre, introducing several concepts (such as combos and the ability to move not just left and right, but also up and down) that would become staples in later hits like Golden Axe, Final Fight, and Streets of Rage. It is typically recognized as the progenitor of the infamous Double Dragon series … Continue reading