NES Games

NES Game Reviews: #-A

Development of my massively disappointing video game website continues at the staggering pace of approximately one line of code every second week. With progress like that, it looks like it will be ready ahead of schedule, so I really need to get cracking on writing assloads of reviews.

For practice, I think I’ll play every game for the NES in alphabetical order and give a brief thought on each. Like a refresher course in video game history! There is almost no chance that this will be a wasted effort, taking time away from the more worthy project which inspired it.

Note that I will never do B-Z.

8 Eyes:
Castlevania with a bird. This would probably be great if I learned the controls, but for the most part my experience was getting hit by random shit while trying to make my stupid bird divebomb in the right spot.

10 Yard Fight:
A quick and streamlined version of football is still a slow and repetitive video game. Hoo-ooo!

Like Winter Games if every sport was skateboarding, and instead of medals they awarded you with the urge to kill yourself. When “SKATE OR DIE” flashed on the screen the answer seemed obvious to me.

WW2 themed vertical shooter with some fun patterns. No punchline. Good game.

Somewhat faster sequel to the above, featuring new and moderately less irritating sound effects.

A Nightmare on Elm Street:
I sort of beat this game while playing it quickly for this post, which is either a great or terrible thing. I seem to have enjoyed it. If nothing else, it may be the least terrible game by LJN.

One of my favorite scrolling shooters. Granted, this is almost entirely because on horizontal stages your little legs dangle and twitch beneath you when you fire, and it’s totally the cutest.

Action 52:
52 minigames which would have seemed less horrible on the Atari 2600

The Adams Family: Pugsley’s Scavenger Hunt:
This is just a zany world full of ledges I can’t quite reach. Read: I didn’t know what to do and didn’t want to look it up, so I gave up like a chump.

Adam’s Family:
Everything here hurts you in the most unintuitive and cheap bullshit fuck off ways possible suck my dick.

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Heroes of the Lance:
I very slowly walked two characters off of a ledge. Next, I engaged a slowmotion lizard man in combat, and when I woke up 15 minutes later it turned out that I had been victorious. I could actually feel myself ageing while playing this game.

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Hillsfar:
I don’t know how this could be true, but this appears at first to be a side-scrolling equestrian simulator. There are also dungeons, but those are just full of locks you can’t pick, which only mock you and explode. No fair dude.

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Pool of Radiance:
This is more of a typical dungeon crawler from the era. Please don’t mistake that for saying that it is any fun to play, because these games just don’t hold up.

Adventures of Captain Comic:
Basically, there is just shit everywhere, so you get hit by it. When you change the objectives some of these games are totally great.

Adventure Island 1-4:
All together, because they’re all the same stupid game. I never understood why people liked Adventure Island. The levels are all boring, the character looks fucking retarded, and items just appear in the middle of the screen when you throw hammers around like an asshole in a way that seems like a glitch but is apparently an awesome gameplay mechanic.

Adventures of Bayou Billy:
The beat ’em up levels are stupidly hard, since the enemies take a dozen hits or so each and you can’t block their attacks. Apparently there are also driving stages, and even lightgun stages, but I will never have any idea what those are like.

Adventures of Dino Riki:
So, Hudson decided to take the terrible Adventure Island series and turn it into a scrolling shooter. A notable improvement, actually.

Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends:
Everything about this game is irritating, and it has that charming aesthetic of being drawn in MS Paint once prominent in games made by people who did not play games. Just avoid everything, because it all respawns anyway, and pick up keys.

Adventures of Lolo 1-3:
These are great puzzle games. I don’t have a lot to say about things I like.

Adventures in the Magic Kingdom:
You play some dopey kid in a cowboy costume who has to play a few rejected tech demos as slave labor for Mickey Mouse.

Adventures of Rad Gravity:
I was like, man, this game has an awesome name, so it’s totally going to be the worst ever, but jesusfuck this game is awesome. You stab spacemans and they explode, and one of them is basically my upper half flying around in a thing I can’t define but that I like anyway. Fuck yeah, Rad Gravity is the man.

Adventures of Tom Sawyer:
And we’re right back into the parade of licensed garbage. This game has surprisingly solid platforming movement and control, but that’s pretty much its only redeeming quality. It’s an ugly and uneventful stroll.

After Burner:
A 3D version of a scrolling shooter. Whenever you hear 3D in regard to an NES game you should be very afraid, and while this isn’t terrible, 1942 is miles better.

Air Fortress:
A sort of shitty horizontal shooter with relatively less shitty jetpack stages. It’s actually kind of interesting, I could see myself playing it.

3D flight sims and shooters are terrible enough on this system by default, but the inability to bank more than a few degrees left or right, or pitch up high enough to actually aim at the fucking targets, kind of makes it a standout.

Alfred Chicken:
This game makes Sammy uneasy. It’s a very different platformer with a focus on climbing upward, but for Sammy’s sake we should apparently not play it.

Alien 3:
There does not appear to be an Alien 1 or an Alien 2, but I’m not excessively disappointed about that fact. This is one of those games where you have to stand on exactly the right pixel in order to do anything, and the controls feel like they are working against you. There are giant angry purple monkeys which are presumably supposed to be aliens.

Alien Syndrome:
This reminds me of one of the first First-Person Shooters, Hovertank 3D. But instead of Hovertank 3D, this would have been called Walkman 2D. And instead of having fun, you wouldn’t. There are kind of fun boss fights though, very similar to those in Blaster Master. Verdict: Play Hovertank 3D and Blaster Master.

All-Pro Basketball:
Sports games without licenses to use real teams and players usually have some cool gimmick that makes them worth playing. In this case, the gimmick is that the game pauses and flips upside down every time you cross the half-court line, to confuse and disorient you. Great idea~

Alpha Mission:
Vertical scrolling shooter. The default gun seems to fire very slowly, and I didn’t see any powerups for it. The stages are ugly, with confusing backgrounds which I thought I had to dodge at first but, no, you just go on and fly through everything like a boss.

Al Unser Jr. Turbo Racing:
I am really bad at this game. Once I figured out that I could change gears things went a little better, but in the end it only really helped me find my way off of the track with greater speed and finesse. Points for style not awarded.

There are many old games in which you might feel that the developers hate you, and that they took on the mindset that, instead of designing interesting levels, their goal should instead be simply to trick you into dying. It’s an artificial way to increase a game’s length and difficulty, and irritate players. Amagon is a strange example of a developer failing to do even that, because while I can see what your sadistic little minds were thinking, you failed to factor in that I might not run forward like an idiot at all times.

American Gladiators:
“We’re gonna give you a gladiator spanking” and “Don’t underestimate the strength of lace” are sexy, sexy indicators that this game is awesome. Obviously it sucks, but, “You might like this trophy on your mantle.”

A blend of Trivial Pursuit and Pictionary. The computer draws stuff, you guess what it is, and once you have a wedge from each category you ascend to the next level. This may have been totally fun on hard with four players in the 80s, but I played it alone on medium and it made me want to drink heavily and write songs of my profound loneliness.

Arch Rival:
Another basketball game without team licenses, but made infinitely more tolerable by the fact that you can punch people in the face and knock them over. It’s also 2v2 and sidescrolling, which is great. Oddly you can only control one of your dudes’ movement, while you control passing and shooting for both. Kind of fun, and makes me long for a version of NBA Jam with facepunching.

This is a great variation of chess with custom rules and pieces, and a fantasy theme. When you attack another piece you actually enter a combat screen and fight them, which is not extremely well done but still totally fun.

Vertical scrolling shooter. You can actually scroll the screen horizontally as well, which is kind of cool, though you are still perpetually moving upward. Fairly challenging.

Hey, it’s like, Arkanoid all up in this. Arkanoid is my favorite version of Arkanoid.

Arkista’s Ring:
It looks and feels a lot like Zelda, but it surely ain’t that. You go through stages one at a time and clear out the enemies to make a key appear for the exit. It’s closer to a puzzle game than an adventure, but it’s a pretty decent time once you get past what it isn’t.

This game seems really cool, playing a lot like Castlevania sans exploration, but it’s way too fickle a lover for me. You have to have perfect timing with your strikes for them to land or the game will favor your enemy every time, and they often respawn instantly. There is some fairly cheap shit going on here as well, like enemies spawning on platforms as you jump to them. I still just like the look and feel of it, so if I wasn’t in the middle of playing a bunch of terrible games I would probably give it a real playthrough.

A cute and colorful platformer ported over from a vastly superior arcade version. You can swap out weapons and items taken from fallen enemies, which is totally cool, but the controls are really clunky and the piss-poor animations kill it for me.

Atheltic World:
Totally unplayable without a Power Pad. You can emulate it, but that doesn’t even sound a little bit fun.

Attack of the Killer Tomatos:
This game is awesome and also totally the worst. That is to say that it would be great if it wasn’t so bad. Now, I know you can say that about basically any game, but I must have some kind of a point here. It’s possible I’m just happy that this is the last game I have to talk about.


  • Princeps

    June 3, 2011

    Ah, the unlicensed NES sport games. Roger Clemens’ MVP Baseball was the best. Base Wars was pretty sweet too, it was like a mix of baseball and blowing shit up. With robots.

  • Dink

    June 4, 2011

    Though not for the NES, Mutant League Football for the Genesis is a prime example and remains the only football video game worth playing.


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