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

Home Alone

Overview / Review of T*HQ’s 1991 NES game, Home Alone.

Loosely based around the plot of the film, Home Alone for the NES puts the player in control of eight-year-old Kevin McCallister, a boy accidentally left at home alone when his scatterbrained family takes off for Paris without him. The large and well-kept McCallister home, now seemingly vacant, becomes the target of the “Wet Bandits” Continue reading

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

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

The Simpsons: Bart vs. the Space Mutants

Overview / Review of Acclaim’s 1991 NES game, The Simpsons: Bart vs. the Space Mutants.

After three years of starring in short animated segments on The Tracey Ullman Show, Fox Broadcasting readied the pointedly absurd yet telling antics of the famous yellow family for the spotlight. First airing over the 1989-1990 broadcast season, The Simpsons met with immediate success, breaking all previously existing Fox rating records. The Simpsons, however, was more than just…
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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