I’m going to crush some of your childhood memories of this pointless game… Seriously, even with Wayne’s World, I haven’t put down a game where I’ve said: “What did I just play?”
Even with that weird ass game (Wayne’s World) I knew it was based on a movie and that games based on IP such as movies and comics usually sucked hard.
It’s based on a job: busy work for little kids looking to make a few pennies, slaving every single day of the week with no breaks.
“Oh, that sounds like fun! Let’s make it into a game!”
No. Just no… Lots of no!
I understand the appeal though, as all games from this generation were impossibly difficult and suffered from lame graphics, poor controls, and zero logic. Furthermore, this NES title was derived from an arcade game designed to extract as much money from your pocket as possible. (With the irony being, kids were probably delivering papers to blow quarters on this in the arcade!)
Along the line somewhere this became a concept and now they had to figure out how to make it into a reality. Naturally, the kid on a bike must have some obstacles to overcome to find the goal, right?
Is that a gap between the road and the car? Yes, it is.
Can you go through it?
Not without crashing into the car!
The road hazards seem like a natural fit, as did some other obstacles. Some make complete sense! An angry homeowner or dogs chasing you? Makes sense!
Even random construction or street workers, or the occasional go kart or motorcyclist make sense.
But a tornado? Tombstones? The Grim Reaper?! Odd looking discs?
Not so much.
Then there’s the “training course”, which should just be code for “this game is Excitebike tilted at 45 degrees” – that just screams “don’t even try playing it”.
I do get some of the appeal with this game, however, and that’s the satisfying feeling of breaking windows with your newspapers (instead of, you know, delivering them on a porch or mailbox!)
However, this was not the trip down memory lane I was hoping it was. Even with multiple attempts, that trip ended by landing in a storm drain…
I’m sure this has nostalgia for many, but since I wasn’t traumatized by this game as a youth, it was nothing but a frustrating romp. Play at your own risk!
Double Dragon II: The Revenge
Beat’em up games were all of the rage growing up, but for the life of me I don’t know how I not only avoided the Double Dragon series, but how it was ever popular either!
Honestly, these games are for the birds. I understand the palette swap, repeating the same enemy over deal (due to limitations of the hardware at the time) but someone decided a few things were “good ideas” for this sequel of an already difficult game:
Let’s make the A and B buttons for punching and kicking work in the direction you’re currently facing. That means in the B/A layout (where the B button is on the left) B will punch if you’re facing the enemy but will be reversed and be a kick if you’re back is to them.
Considering the kick is weak and practically useless due to collision detection in the game, punching and constantly keeping enemies in front of you is a must.
Cool you can use weapons!
Well, there are weapons but they’re scarce. That’s a great concept when they do more damage. (Sense my sarcasm yet?)
Why would you want to allow someone an advantage in a game they purchased?
The absolute worst.
Pressing B and A at the same time to jump: the jumps in this game are stupid. Flat out cheap and stupid.
Why even have them other than to add cheap deaths to an already difficult game?
There are areas where you jump THROUGH the platforms due to the goofy mechanics of it. Other times trying to reach a platform you’ll perform a special move (cyclone kick) instead, miss the platform and fall to your death.
Note: That’s why I included so many screen captures of the one room with the gears. Even with save states it took me close to two hours to get across one part of the level, which leads me to believe this is a bugged portion of the game akin to TMNT’s horrid jumping from platform to platform.
Furthmore, what a great idea all of this iswhen the default option starts you with 3 lives.
Also, the hand icon with the doorbell ringing to tell you to proceed through the game is annoying. Trust me, I want to keep moving through these stages but you won’t allow me until I defeat every iteration of the same enemy… over and over… it gets repetitive to say the least.
The ending is incredibly underwhelming too, but that’s typical of many 80’s NES titles. (See below, and you’ll see what I mean.)
Other than having Kung Fu, I could pass on this series so far. I’m going to continue with the other sequels and see how they are, but I’m totally disillusioned with the Double Dragon games when there are better ones in the same genre from this era.
Alright, how many of yinz are going to admit playing this in single player and beating it with no cheats?! Huh?!
That’s what I thought!
This game would’ve made me cry as a kid… As an adult, it nearly brought me to tears still the same!
This is as painful of a memory of how hard video games were during my childhood. (Ain’t a wonder that Tradewest had a hand in producing this AND Battletoads!)
There’s one specific jump in a gear/factory room on one level that took me HOURS to perfect, even with the aide of save states. That’s why this game gets a “thumb in the middle” because I couldn’t imagine playing to the time limit, limited health, plus the wonky jumping mechanic (you have to hold both A and B buttons, since individually those are assigned to “punch” and “kick”).
Then there’s the enemies and the final level, which are beyond crazy. I can’t even fathom putting quarters in the arcade version, as it would bankrupt a family.
Yet, this game has fuzzy memories for some. More than likely I’d surmise that you got a lot of “replay” value from this game trying to actually defeat it! Today’s kids would just let it collect dust and never try, but seeing as we all had four or five cartridges at best until the next holiday rolled around (if we were lucky) I can sense that’s one of the reasons this is a cult classic. (The other being the height of karate/ninja themed media in the 80’s!)
Final Fantasy II
Talk about the game that never ends… So many times I thought I was finally completing the last objective only to have something else happen. It has its drawbacks, but overall a game that feels like an epic journey and leaves you with a sense of accomplishment at the very end… which, the credits roll for longer than some blockbuster movies too!
Holy cow! Yes, this game is very difficult, but I never really remembered much of it due to not being able to progress very far (because, really, a timer?)
The story line and game play were likely second to none way back when. It even pulled me in here in 2018 (the time of this writing).
If I forgot to mention, the game is crazy hard, but I really enjoyed it. I highly recommend it for you classic gamers out there.
Do you like Contra?
Want to play a sequel with upgraded graphics, sound, and difficulty?
Then check out Super C, a game which I’d guess was the cause of many broken controllers back in the day. Holy cow this sucker is HARD…
But thanks to modern technology old folks like myself can enjoy this game with a little less frustration and play them through.
The premise, shoot as many bad guys/aliens as possible, continue the Contra tradition of being a mix of one-part Rambo, one-part Aliens. The weapons, the controls, pretty much everything in this game is the same as its predecessor, which isn’t a bad thing.
Enemies fly at you in swarms from every direction. Newer enemies, like these floating bubbles, are a major PITA too. The inclusion of slopes, and some HUGE boss battles are highlights (I won’t spoil some of them).
However, I’ll caution potential players that the “overhead” level they added is pure hell to be avoided at all costs. It’s incredibly difficult and removes the ability to jump.
I really, really enjoyed this game. Check it out!
Super Mario Bros. 2
Shortly after getting my Nintendo my uncle took me to Children’s Palace to buy more games for my system (since of course, I only had the Mario/Duck Hunt cartridge). He didn’t realize the cost of games when he blurted out he would get me “several” and ended up settling on this and one other game that was on sale. (Gold star to anyone who could guess the other!)
Even as a kid, I thought this game was… bizarre. It didn’t fit the first Mario game at all, and the entire series was turned upside down. (Anyone who knows the backstory knows why this game was released the way it was.) Regardless, it holds a special place in my heart and I absolutely loved it… except for the fact that my dad was the only one of us who actually beat it!
I got to beat it years later, but wanted another stroll down memory lane, playing every single level beginning to end. I had forgotten about some of the enemies (Fry Guy, Clawful) and boards (riding the Albatoss across the entire level).
The final castle is mammoth too, especially if you’re not familiar with where to go.
Mega Man 2
This almost ended up with being on my dreaded blacklist!
After playing the original Mega Man, I can see how part two was a genre/series defining title. Several improvements were made to this sequel, but none more than the graphic makeover. Capcom really found a way to squeeze some life out of the old NES hardware (and would continue to do so with other Mega Man iterations after).
I also imagine the difficulty of this game squeezed the life out of many children! This game is just setup for your to fail at every turn. However, the better bosses, the storyline, and the graphics mesh well with how hard this game is, and really leaves you with a sense of depth and accomplishment.
I’ll have some notes for the NES sequels in the coming days.
Ninjas have kidnapped the President.
That’s all you need to know about Bad Dudes, which plays on the steroid-infused action hero of the era in which it was made. You can play as one of two “bad dudes” complete with a tank top and baggy pants plus bulging muscles.
Like other beat-em-up games, this one is a button masher. All of the usual culprits are here: palette swap enemies, end-level bosses, a stage timer and health meter. (For some reason all of these games felt BOTH were necessary!)
The difference with Bad Dudes is that you can actually beat the game. The difficulty is there, but it’s not so over the top ridiculous that you can’t win. I have fond memories of completing this game as a kid, which were brought back after defeating each boss and hearing a poorly digitized “I’m Bad!” sound byte play.
But the cheese factor isn’t the only reason this game feels nostalgic after all of these years. Data East actually went through some effort to differentiate itself while at the same time being somewhat of a parody. The plot is stupid simple. Ninjas were all the rage too. Yet beneath it all lies a solid game, with excellent controls and really good graphics for its time (moving backgrounds almost feel like a SNES title at times).
There are also levels which you move right-to-left or in “backward” order than you may in another game. One is on a moving truck, another on a moving train, and then, of course, an epic helicopter fight near the end too. You can wield weapons and the entire thing just feels, dare I say, satisfying to beat even thirty years later.