Category Archives: NES

Mendel Palace (NES)

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I was looking through my collection for a game to play for a quick review, and I noticed I actually owned a copy of Mendel Palace. I don’t remember actually buying it, and I know I’ve never played it, but I do remember WHY I would have bought it. Honestly, I know nothing about the game itself, but I do know a little something about the developer, Game Freak. You might have heard of them, they went on to make the little known game called Pokémon.

Of course you’ve heard of Pokémon, it’s just the most profitable franchise in the world. Well, before they went on to make that behemoth of a franchise, they got their humble origins with Mendel Palace for the NES. Considering how most NES games are, I’m probably going to have to find a copy of the manual to know what the game is actually about. But from the few pictures I have seen, it’s an arcade style game with some kind of tile element. Beyond that, I have no idea what I’m getting into. So, let’s jump in and see.


As I expected, the game starts without any explanation of what’s going on. It looks like we have 8 different bosses with what looks to be a 9th in the center, most likely after the other 8 are defeated. I have no idea what we’re doing, so I guess we’ll just go with the first option.

When the level starts, it’s not immediately obvious what we’re supposed to be doing. The floor is tiled, some of them stars, and a couple of enemies spawn in the corners. Pressing the buttons lets me slide the floor tiles, I guess. Not sure what that will really do.

Ok, so it turns out if I slide a tile while an enemy is on it, they will fly backwards. And if they hit the wall, they will explode. So, I guess the goal must be to defeat all the enemies this way.

Unfortunately, they don’t fly back very far, so it’s easy to get cornered by them. As expected, touching them kills you. So, keep moving.

As for the stars on the ground. It looks like they can be covered and uncovered by sliding their tiles. But they can also be collected by walking over them. I’m not sure what they do, but they have their own counter next to the lives counter, so they must be important to collect.

Other than that, the next couple levels are mostly the same. The initial star layout is different, and different numbers of enemies. But mostly the same. However, there are occasionally special tiles like this pink wave tile, which sends out a wave flipping every tile in 4 directions to the walls.

I also uncovered this sun looking tile which flips every tile on the board, radiating out from the sun tile. Very helpful.

At stage 6, things changed a little. The color changed to purple, and the enemies changed from green to blue. Along with the color swap comes a boost in difficulty. Now, when I slam the enemies into the wall, they break into 2 smaller enemies that also need to be defeated.

While trying to defeat them, I uncovered this swirly looking tile that ended up launching my character clear off the bottom of the screen.

When we land in the new room, we land directly on a moon tile, which turns the light off in the room. It also uncovers all of the stars in the room, so I guess that swirly tile was a bonus room.

For round 8, the color changed again to an orange, and the blue enemies have been replaced with their smaller clones, who, while weaker, do move faster. Still, this feels like a downgrade from the earlier difficulty. Thanks to a row of wave tiles in the center, they were easily defeated.

Then for round 9 we’re back to green tiles and the original green enemies. I even found a moon tile in the corner, which basically turned this stage into another bonus round.

Upon reaching round 10, we actually get a cut scene. We see a pink princess standing in the room. However, someone quickly drops down from above and drags her away. Not much to go on here.

Following this, we’re returned to the overworld and get to pick a new boss to challenge. I’m sure it will be mostly the same, but more difficult. So, let’s just do a quick spiral around and see what everyone is like. Starting at the top middle we have this guy with a mohawk. Unlike the first boss, he jumps around while moving, making it harder to push him away. You need to make sure he’s actually standing on the tile first.

In these levels, we also see our first instances of bricks blocking our path. These can apparently be broken by the enemies in certain situations. They can also be flipped just like other tiles. In this level it doesn’t help, since there’s just more bricks under, but there will probably be times when they can be cleared away.

Moving clockwise, we have this blue person in the top right corner. Their gimmick is, if they are left alone long enough, they will start making chalk drawings on the tiles. In they are allowed to complete these drawings, those tiles will become locked, and we won’t be able to flip them anymore.

In the higher levels, they can also draw more enemies that come to life off the tiles. We also encounter these green warp tiles from which enemies can respawn. These need to be flipped over as soon as possible to stop the respawning from happening.

Moving down to the brown haired boss, this one has a very simple, but challenging gimmick. They will actively jump when you try to flip the tile below them. You’ll have to time it so you flip the tile again when they land in order to attack them.

Down to the bottom right, and we have the evil clone of our player character. Just like us, they are capable of flipping the floor tiles against us. I didn’t notice it until rewatching for the review, but it seems like they only flip tiles when you do. So, keep that in mind when trying to deal with them.

Heading over to the swimmer, they are, well, a swimmer. They will walk around the boarder of the map, and then jump in and swim across the board, flipping over tiles as they go. It’s not hard to avoid them, since they move in straight lines. However, they move very fast, so it’s hard to actually hit them up against the walls.

Onto the incredibly creepy person in the bottom left corner. It’s hard to show in still pictures, but this boss is apparently a ballet dancer. They will spin around as they move and seem to move exclusively in diagonal directions. Since we can only move in 4 directions, they are a bit difficult to keep up with.

Finally, we come around to this heavy set guy on the middle left. Fun fact, this character can be found in the game files for Pokémon Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald. Most likely as a place holder character during early testing. Anyway, this guy is, in my opinion, the hardest boss to deal with. The fact that they’re so big, they don’t get thrown as far as the other bosses. But what’s worse is their gimmick. They appear to be sumo wrestlers, so every time you attack them, they do a foot stomp which flips tiles and pushes you back to the wall away from them.

One good way I found out to get rid of them was to get two of them in the same lane. Their counterattacks will trigger each other until one of them ends up killing the other for you. Other than that, I couldn’t find a good way to kill them. With that, we’ve seen all the enemies. I’m sure with some practice we could get through this whole game. But for now, we’re going to have to walk away.



Price – $14.47

It’s definitely on the cheaper side of NES games. Plus, it’s practically a piece of gaming history. Well worth the price.

Play Again? – Yes, Probably

The gameplay is obviously more of an arcade game, so it doesn’t hold my interest as well as some other games. But it’s got a good balance of simplistic, yet complicated. I would definitely be interested in playing this again.

Total Deaths – 28 Deaths

As an arcade style game, it’s not surprising that I died so much. On the plus side, the game appears to offer unlimited continues. So, an attempt at beating the game appears possible.

Fun Rating – 8 / 10

This was a surprisingly fun game to play. A bit difficult, but not so much so to be off putting. As is common with NES games, the game itself doesn’t really tell you what the story is, so I had to find a PDF of the manual. Apparently, we play as Bon-Bon. Our best friend, Candy, is trapped in her own dreams, and her toys have come to life to keep her there. It’s up to us to fight her toys and free our best friend from her dream world. Quite the interesting story. I’d love to see some of the other in game cut scenes and see how this actually plays out. But that’s going to require a bit of practice.

Game Over. I’ll be seeing those words a lot if I plan to beat this game.


I hope you enjoyed this 30 Minute Review of Mendel Palace. If you did, like and follow me on Facebook or Twitter. Also leave your comments, suggestions, and recommendations. If you’re feeling real generous, you can even Donate to help me keep the site going. Thank you for reading, and I’ll see you next time.


Dr. Mario (NES)

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Ok, let’s get this out of the way right now. 2020 was a messed-up year and everyone knows it. I was lucky enough not to lose my job during the pandemic, and more importantly, never got sick. However, my work schedule has changed a bit, and I just haven’t figured out where this site really works into my typical day. I never forgot about it though, and I want to make an effort to get back into writing these articles. So, with that in mind, I thought a quick 30-Minute Review would get the creative juices flowing and remind how to put these things together.

Considering what’s going on, I thought it would only be appropriate to play Dr. Mario for the NES. I’m sure most people will be at least familiar with the name, even if they may have never actually played it themselves. It’s the game where everyone’s favorite plumber steals a lab coat and tries to pass himself off as a doctor. Of course, he is not qualified to be a doctor, and his solution to everything is to just pump the patient full of pills until either they’re cured or die of an overdose. So, let’s jump in and see if we can help Mario delay his inevitable jail time for impersonating a doctor.


Before we begin, we’re given a small number of options to enhance the experience. We can choose which level of the game we start on, the speed of the gameplay, and the music that plays. But really, who’s touching any of that. Maybe on later playthroughs we might start on a later level since we’ve already beaten the early ones. Not that we’d ever be good enough to beat the later levels. So let’s just accept the default settings, throw on that lab coat, and start throwing pills at patients.

Even if you’ve never played Dr Mario before, it should be quickly apparent what type of game it is. It’s basically a variant of Tetris. Unlike Tetris, however, the screen comes pre-populated with a handful of viruses which make up the main puzzle of the game. Our job is to move and rotate the multi-colored pills Mario throws until we can stack up a 4-section long chain of matching pills and viruses, at which point they all disappear. So really, it’s closer to Puyo Puyo than it is to Tetris. Now that I think about it, when did Puyo Puyo first come out? One second while I look that up… Google is telling me Puyo Puyo came out roughly 15 months after Dr Mario. So, I take that back. In reality, Puyo Puyo is like Dr. Mario.

Getting back on topic. Unlike Tetris, which is played until failure, each stage of Dr Mario has a clear end goal of removing all the viruses present on the screen. Thankfully, it doesn’t matter if there are extra pill pieces left on screen to accomplish this, just get rid of the viruses to win. After this, we move onto the next stage, which comes pre-populated with even more viruses, and we start the process all over again.

Obviously, as the number of viruses in each level increases, the levels become much more difficult. However, nothing can make the game more challenging than simply being stupid and dropping pills in just horrible positions. Honestly, current me wants to invent a time machine just so I can go back in time and strangle past me for whatever the heck this mess is that past me has created. Thankfully, Dr Mario has a very useful mechanic that makes it possible to get out of even this mess. That would be the fact that the pill pieces are affected by gravity. Once the viruses and whole pills holding the stacks up disappear, all the remaining pill pieces fall to the bottom rather than floating there like they typically would in Tetris.

To my surprise, after stage 5 there was actually a little scene where the viruses are sitting out on top of a tree just looking at clouds. Then for some reason a book flies through the air, flapping its covers like wings. NES cutscenes were weird.

Sadly, that will be the only cutscene we’ll be seeing today. By some miracle, we managed to make it all the way to level 9. But the power of my stupidity and frantic flailing eventually overcame any hope of completing the level as the pills eventually stacked up to the top of the screen. Mario better start running before the police show up.


Price – $8.99

Even though a lot of retro games have skyrocketed in price over the last year, Dr. Mario stayed fairly stable. It was never a particularly rare or valuable game, so it’s to be expected.

Play Again? – Occasionally

Dr. Mario is easily one of those games you can enjoy coming back to on occasion and playing a game or two to unwind.

Total Deaths – 1 Dead Patient

I managed to keep the patient alive through 9 rounds, which for me ended up taking 40 minutes through a combination of stalling and bad problem solving. But one dead patient is still one too many when you’re pretending to be a doctor.

Fun Rating – 7 / 10

Tetris is fun, always has been. Likewise, most of the Tetris variants are fun. That’s why they’re still being made. Dr Mario even has a mobile game now that has pretty good reviews. So obviously, this was a fun, well received game that holds up to the test of time. It falls into a lot of the same pitfalls that old arcade style games fall into. Namely that it’s generally repetitive and becomes boring rather quickly. But it manages to be a game that you would be happy to come back to for the occasional challenge. Final thoughts, it’s cheap, it’s easy to find, and it’s a classic of the system. If you don’t already own a copy, pick it up now. It belongs in everyone’s NES library, even if it only gets played on rare occasion.

Don’t worry Mario. I’m sure Princess Peach can pull some strings so you avoid jail time.

I hope you enjoyed this 30 Minute Review of Dr. Mario (NES). If you did, like and follow me on Facebook or Twitter. Also leave your comments, suggestions, and recommendations. If you’re feeling really generous, you can even Donate to help me keep the site going. Thank you for reading, and I’ll see you next time.


Who Framed Roger Rabbit (NES)

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Every kid grows up watching cartoons. Some might even wish the characters were real, and hope to become friends with them. While such a scenario is still impossible, we can at least see how it might play out thanks to the masterful movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit. This was and still is one of my favorite movies of all time. For those of you who may have never seen it, it is a mix of live action and animation as if the cartoon characters were actually there. The basic story is that Marvin Acme, Owner of both Acme Corporation and Toontown, has been found dead, with Roger Rabbit as the main suspect. Wanting to prove his innocence, Roger enlists the aid of detective Eddie Valiant. However, Judge Doom and his band of Weasels are hot on their tail, intent on delivering swift justice should they manage to get their hands on Roger.

As far as the game goes, it is produced by LJN, which already doesn’t give me much hope. They were great at getting the licensing agreements, but rarely were they good at actually producing a good game. However, I’m going to go into this with an open mind. Considering the type of movie it was, and the few screenshots I have seen of the game, I’m going to guess this will be along the lines of a point and click adventure. Perhaps something similar to any of the recent Telltales Games titles. We’ll have to search for clues and items, and then use those items to make progress in the story. Basically more puzzles, and less action. With that prediction out of the way, let’s see what the game is really like.


The game begins in Eddie Valiant’s office with no explanation at all on what we’re supposed to be doing. Wonderful. Roger is already here with us, so I’m going to assume he is already wanted for murder like he was in the movie. It doesn’t seem like we can do much in here, so we head outside to the overworld and all its nondescript buildings.

I guess we’re supposed to be looking for clues to clear Roger’s name, and we need to search inside the different buildings. Unfortunately, some of them seem to be locked and we have no way in. Even when we can get in to the buildings, I’m not sure what we’re even looking for. Thankfully the people in the building seem to know. Or at least they know enough that whatever it is we’re looking for isn’t in the building.

Death Count: 01

As we head to another building, we end up getting hit in the head with a falling plant, and Eddie dies instantly from it. Well, not really die, he’s sitting there shaking his fist at me, so he’s still alive. But he might as well be dead.

Death Count: 02

After asking around at several buildings, we finally find an occupant who advise us to search the building. Unfortunately, Eddie ends up getting killed by a rat before we get the chance. This just annoys me. There’s no way to defend against the rat, it moves so damn fast, and it doesn’t even always kill us. Sometimes it will just kind of nudge us, other times it will outright kill us. I don’t see any kind of health meter that is going down, so I have no idea what the rules are for when it’s a nudge and when it’s an instant death.

Death Count: 03

The inside of the building isn’t any better, there are dogs and cats everywhere just waiting for the chance to attack us. Once again, sometimes they just nudge us, but other times they kill us instantly. I JUST WANT TO KNOW THE RULES!!!

When we finally do get to one of the rooms, we don’t find anything of interest. Most of the rooms have a single occupant, but they all just say to search the building. Well I’ve been searching the building and I don’t see anything! I can’t even figure out HOW to search the drawers or anything like that. Nothing seems to be interactable. I know they are, I did it accidentally before. But I can’t figure out what I did differently then versus now. I’m going to have to google the manual for this game, because I’m not making any progress at all.

Ok, so I guess we need to press Up and B at the same time to do a search. Time to start searching through every drawer we find. Most of them are empty, but in one we find Roses. Is that what we were looking for? Are roses a clue? Or an item? What are I supposed to do with these roses?

Back to the manual again, it looks like we can swap out the item we’re holding by pressing the select button. Great! Now we’re holding the Roses… This doesn’t help me at all. Talking to the occupants, they still tell me to search the building. Is that a default dialog? Is that going to change once I find the thing? I have no idea what we’re doing right now…

I can’t find anything else in any of the rooms, so we leave. Before long we find ourselves in front of Maroon Cartoons. A random passerby suggests we search this building. I would agree, there are probably lots of clues in there. Unfortunately, that black void in front of the building is not allowing us to actually enter the building. Once again, I have no idea what’s going on, or why we can’t do this simple thing, but we can’t.

Death Count: 04

We do spy a whistle on the ground though, which looks promising. Unfortunately, there is a black Demon Cat guarding it that simply kills us instantly if we even get close to it. With that, we lose our last life and get a game over. Good thing we still have 2 continues, because we haven’t accomplished anything yet.

Death Count: 06

We try again to get the whistle, and once again die instantly. We would have tried for it a third time, but one of the Weasels shows up and stops us. Roger quickly jumps up out of reach from him while Eddie tries to fight him off. But with the short reach of Eddie’s attacks, that ends predictably in failure.

When we come to, we run away as quick as we can. However, it’s still following us, and we have to fight it again in front of the next building. It is here that we learn Eddie can actually charge up his attack if we keep pressing the attack button over and over again. Doing this, we just wait for the Weasel to get close enough and then POW, straight to the moon!

Death Count: 07

Unfortunately, he shows up again almost instantly as soon as we come out of the building, which was empty. This time we get a few hits in, but the Weasel ends up killing Eddie. Once again, there is no health bar, so I have no idea if an attack is going to just bounce me back, or straight up kill me. Is it random chance?

Death Count: 08

After searching several move buildings that are apparently all empty, we have a random encounter with a little red snake. Given our previous animal encounters so far, I would assume we don’t want to mess with it, so we start running in the opposite direction. But the little bastard chases us down, and after a few blocks finally catches and kills us both… Perfect, another game over and we still have done nothing.

As we start the next life, we quickly make what feels like progress. We find some spring shoes, which might come in handy, as well as a drawer full of cheese. Maybe we can use this to distract some of the Killer Rats?

Death Count: 09

Things quickly take a turn for the worse after that. As we were crossing the road, Roger got hit by a car and flattened like a pancake. But he’s a toon, so he’ll just shake it off. Unfortunately, a vulture swooped down at just that same moment and carried him off. Apparently if Roger gets eaten by a bird, we also lose, so that’s another death for us.

Death Count: 10

Once we get Roger back, we continue the search and quickly find some random dynamite sitting in front of a building. But there is a Demon Dog guarding it. Not that we really think it will work, but we equip the spring shoes to try to jump over it… They didn’t help.

Ignoring the random dynamite, we continue on and eventually find a random crowbar on the ground. We pick it up and quickly make the connection that it might be able to break the locks off the doors. It does, but not in the way you might think. We can’t USE the crow bar on the lock, Eddie can only throw it. And if we’re too close to the lock, we just wasted a crowbar. What we have to do is stand a little ways away and throw it at the lock. Because that makes sense.

Inside, we quickly find… a heart? Is that like, someone’s actual heart just sitting on the ground? There’s no life bar for it to refill. And using it just has Eddie place it on the ground for it to disappear a few seconds later… So yeah, we are carrying around a couple of real human hearts right now…

Death Count: 11

I’m guessing that might have been a mistake. We’re definitely carrying around evidence of a murder now. Maybe not the murder we were investigating, but someone’s murder. As if to prove this theory, a couple of Weasels start chasing us down as soon as we leave the building. They catch us of course, and there is apparently a minigame to get away from them, but it’s seemingly impossible. We are given only 7 seconds after the joke is said to not only comprehend the joke, but understand the punchline, which I’m guessing we can then pick from a set of punchlines on the left, but I couldn’t figure out how to change the selection. So we die yet again.

Death Count: 12

We then make no progress at all with the next life. We weren’t paying attention, walked off the sidewalk, and Eddie was hit by a car. He’s not a toon, so he will not be recovering from that…

Now that we’ve used up all our continues, it’s Game Over for good. We do get a save code either way though, so we might as well start the game back up with this code and see where it puts us.

Turns out we get to start the game back at Eddie Valiant’s office, except we still have all the items we had before. If that’s the case, what’s the point of the lives and the continues if we’re just going to be able to keep going indefinitely?

We head in the opposite direction this time from Eddie’s office, and quickly find ourselves in a store selling dynamite. I would like to purchase this, but nothing I do seems to make a difference. So eventually we just leave without it.

Death Count: 13

The next building over, however, has a detonator just sitting on the ground. There is a Demon Rat guarding it though. It does kill us once, but we quickly learn to put down the cheese first to distract it, and then the detonator is ours.

Now that we have a detonator, I’m gonna head back to that store and set off that dynamite. Fuck him, I’ll kill us all if he’s not going to sell it to me! THAT got his attention. As soon as I try to blow us all up, he tells me how to buy something from him. Apparently we need to equip the wallet first. I should have guessed. After doing that, we can finally purchase the dynamite. Though truth be told, I don’t know why I want the dynamite in the first place…

Death Count: 14

And it doesn’t look like we’ll be finding out now. Shortly after leaving the store, the Weasels show up yet again to make our lives just a little bit harder. We elude them for a while, but once we got into the mountains completely outside town, I figured we might as well just let them catch us. Once again, I have failed to figure out how to change my answer and Roger is killed.

Death Count: 15

Our day just keeps getting worse from there. As we continued to search the various buildings, we came across one where we’re killed instantly as soon as we entered it. That little Demon Rat was standing RIGHT by the door, and killed us as soon as the screen loaded.

Death Count: 17

In fact, that little bastard killed us two more times as soon as we respawned. We were lucky to escape when we did, or we might have been trapped forever right there.

Once inside, we learn that there is actually something in this building to search for, so at least the deaths weren’t a complete waste. However, what we find is just a rattle. Once again, I’m not sure what we’re supposed to do with this.

As if to add insult to injury, once we leave the building, it looks like the Rat outside has ALSO somehow found a rattle. We manage to collect that one too, but now we just have two rattles that we don’t know what to do with.

Somehow we stumble upon the Ink N Paint Club. Of course, we can’t get past the bouncer at the door… At least I think he’s really there. He looks like he might just be a poster on the wall since he’s not moving at all. Anyway, we try to find another way in, but no such luck. The only thing we find is this damn vulture that keeps dropping bombs on our head.

Death Count: 20

Our search for clues continues rather unsuccessfully. After walking into a few empty buildings, Eddie ends up getting mauled to death by another Demon Dog. Later, while starting a conversation with a random passerby, a flower pot falls on his head and kills him before he can even get a word out. And then we followed that up with him getting bitten by a venomous snake. Who would have guessed that 1940’s Hollywood could be so dangerous?!

We do have a little bit of luck though. After recovering from the snake bite, the Weasels catch us yet again. However, the joke being told just so happened to line up with the default punchline this time. So we still have no idea how to CHANGE the punchline, but at least we know for sure that giving the correct punchline with allow us to get away.

Death Count: 21

Unfortunately, we don’t live much longer after getting away from the Weasels. As soon as we rounded the next corner, Roger got picked up by a random vulture and was carried off to be its next meal…

Death Count: 22

Shortly after that, we encounter a building we can’t enter. It doesn’t have a lock on it or anything, so I’m not really sure what the problem is. But then one of the other Weasels shows up and it all makes sense. Unfortunately, we had our wallet equipped instead of our fist. By the time we managed to fix that, we must have taken too much damage to our invisible health bar, because it was only one more hit before we died.

We do make a small amount of progress though. On the south side of town we find a brick wall blocking a tunnel. I’m not sure why, but when we interacted with it, it flew away. So that must be good, I think.

Unfortunately, you may have noticed the Weasels rounding the corner in that last picture. Needless to say, we didn’t make it far before they caught us. On the plus side, we finally figured out how to change the punchline. All we need to do is press the Select button. Somehow we even manage to get the right punchline as well.

Death Count: 24

Oh, and that tunnel. It doesn’t go anywhere. Nothing in this game goes anywhere. All you do is wander around and die. Will we get hit by a car? Will we get caught by the Weasels? Or will this stupid bird simply fly off with Roger? Well it turns out the Bird won this round. So on that note, I have had enough of this game. I Quit!


Price – $9.44

Even at that low price I feel like I was ripped off.

Play Again? – ARE YOU CRAZY?!

I can almost guarantee that I will not be playing this game again.

Total Deaths – 24 Deaths

I was not expecting to rack up a body count like this in what I thought was going to be a point and click adventure. There are simply too many random elements in this game that can kill you. And I’m still annoyed that I don’t understand why sometimes I die and other times I just get bumped back. There is no health bar or anything that I can see to indicate when it would be one or the other. Not to mention the whole lives and continues aspect is made pointless by the fact that you get a continue code on the Game Over screen anyway. The only thing you lose from having to start with the code is your exact position on the map. Even if the game simply gave you infinite lives, just take a look at that death count! 24 deaths in only 30 minutes of play. That’s practically a death a minute. There’s no reason for a game like this to have a body count like that!

Fun Rating – 2 / 10

At its core, this is still basically a puzzle game. Once we find the appropriate items to solve the appropriate problem, we could probably get through the game pretty easily. However, getting to that point is beyond tedious. There are so many things that kill you for no apparent reason. While annoying, it is something that can be accepted since death doesn’t really mean anything in this game. However, there are dozens of buildings in the city with no defining characteristics on the world map. So it’s hard to tell where you even are. Most of these buildings are empty, making them additionally pointless. Thankfully there are people inside to tell you they are empty. Honestly, thank god for that, because each building has several rooms which themselves have several spots to search. Having to go through the dozen or so hiding places is bad enough in a building you know has something to find. Having to search an empty building would just be torture. Honestly, I’m really upset that this game turned out as bad as it did. I’m actually a fan of this type of game, and like I said before Who Framed Roger Rabbit is one of my favorite movies. In the end, this is just another victim of LJN and their notoriously terrible game design.

Why would anyone want to continue this game?

I hope you enjoyed this 30 Minute Review of Who Framed Roger Rabbit. If you did, like and follow me on Facebook or Twitter. Also leave your comments, suggestions, and recommendations. If you’re feeling real generous, you can even Donate to help me keep the site going. Thank you for reading, and I’ll see you next time.


The Fantastic Adventures of Dizzy (NES)

The Fantastic Adventures of Dizzy (NES) - Full Cover

A Massive 2 Meg Game!!! (Note: this cover picture alone is 11.6 Meg)


The Fantastic Adventures of Dizzy is one of the few NES games I managed to keep from my childhood. Most of the rest of them were either sold off at garage sales, taken by my older brother, or possibly lost entirely. This game however was special, so I always managed to hold on to it. Don’t get the wrong idea, I hated the game as a kid. It was just too hard, so I rarely ever actually played it. No, instead I held onto it for an entirely different reason. For one thing, this is an unlicensed game made for the NES, which in itself makes it very interesting to me. More importantly however was the fact that they packaged it in a gold cartridge. To my knowledge the only other gold cartridge games for the NES are the 2 Zelda games, so it made the game seem so rare.

The Fantastic Adventures of Dizzy (NES) - 01

Now that I’m older, I realize the reason I didn’t like this game was because I didn’t understand what it really was. Back then I thought it was supposed to be primarily an action game with a little bit of puzzles thrown in, similar to how the Zelda series mixes action and puzzles. However, now that I’m older I see that I couldn’t have been more wrong. This game is actually a pure puzzle game which requires you to have an amazing memory. With this new knowledge maybe I’ll be able to make at least SOME progress in the game. There’s only one way to find out, and that’s to dive right in and see.


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Daisy, who I believe is Dizzy’s girlfriend, has been kidnapped by the Evil Wizard Zaks. It’s up to Dizzy to leave the Treehouse Village of the Yolkfolks and save her. If you haven’t already picked up on it, you’ll notice right away that Dizzy, as well as most of the other characters, are anthropomorphic eggs. Honestly I always found that cute and it was one of the reasons I always at least tried to play the game as a kid.

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As a puzzle game, you’ll primarily be picking up various items and bringing them to wherever it is they need to be used. Dizzy’s house acts as a basic tutorial, teaching you to pick up items, like the house key which is for some reason hiding up in the rafters, and to use them on the appropriate items, in this case Dizzy’s door. You might also notice that you can only hold a maximum of 3 items at a time, so you’ll be swapping items regularly. I hope you can remember where you left everything.

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Now that we’re outside, I’m suddenly remembering so much from when I was a kid. Primarily the fact that I had never managed to make it out of the Treehouse Village before, all the spiders always ended up killing me. They’re still very annoying because instead of most games where you take a hit and that’s it, this game gives you constant touch damage until you move away. Thankfully there are lots of fruit lying around to eat and refill your health.

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Thanks to my many years of gaming experience, I can finally make some minor progress in the game. For example I know enough to put the large plank of wood over this deadly spike pit now. Finally I can cross it and see what’s on the other side. Here we can find some weed killer to kill the egg eating plants in the Treehouse Village and explore more.

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And explore we do! With the help of some rope we can swing from platform to platform as we make our way around the village. Here we find the home of another Yolkfolk, Denzil. Thankfully we picked up his house key along the way and can actually see what’s inside.

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Unfortunately it looks like he has been frozen solid somehow. Probably more of the work of the Evil Wizard Zaks! If we want any help at all from him we’ll have to find some way to thaw him out first. And so we venture off into the world in search of more items to help us.

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Eventually I find a mining cave which has a “Dry Match” in it. This might be helpful somehow, we could start a fire or something to free him from the ice. Unfortunately the mine also has a minecart puzzle which ultimately does me in.

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You control the minecart and it’s up to you to guide it to safety. You get very little warning when something bad is going to happen. Instead you need to memorize the whole path until you can do it perfectly. This would take SEVERAL attempts before you can do it successfully. Unfortunately you only have 3 lives, and I wasted them all here. So it looks like that’s where my journey is going to end for now. Perhaps we’ll be back some other time to make another rescue attempt.


Price – $22.00

The game isn’t as rare as the gold cartridge would make you believe. However it isn’t quite a discount bin release either. If you’re into puzzle games though it’s definitely worth the price.

Play Again? – Probably

Now that I at least understand what I’m supposed to be doing I might try to actually beat it.

Total Deaths – 3 Deaths

If I ever want to beat the game, that number is going to have to be much higher. This game is definitely a trial and error type game.

Fun Rating – 7.5 / 10

This game was way too hard for me as a kid, and it’s still probably too hard for me now. However, it has the promise of being a really fun game. I’ll always consider this a hard game, but being honest, it really isn’t. It’s a puzzle game first and foremost, so in reality I simply don’t know the answers. If I did know the answers this would be a very fair and probably relatively easy game. It would just take a while before I have any idea what the heck it is I’m supposed to do. There are a lot of different items to collect, and the world is fairly expansive. So if you’re a puzzle game fan, you might just want to give this game a chance.

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Who are you and what are you doing here? This is a Yolkfolk Village, not a People Village!


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Urban Champion (NES)

Urban Champion (NES) - Full Cover


There are a lot of great fighting game series out there nowadays like the Mortal Kombat series and the Street Fighter series. Then there is my favorite fighting series, Marvel vs. Capcom. There’s just something so satisfying about watching Spiderman punch Phoenix Wright in his face. Anything to stop hearing him yell OBJECTION! But no matter how different the fighting game, they always have one thing in common. They all have lots of combos and special attacks and the likes. Those have always been so hard for me to remember and pull off, so it’s nice to go back to simpler fighting games before all that. That’s why today we’re going to be looking at Urban Champion for the NES.

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I remember loving Urban Champion back when I was a kid. I mostly remember loving the fact that it was one of the few games I was better than my brother at. Of course that meant my older brother would end up beating me up in real life afterwards, but that’s the price you pay as a younger brother sometimes. Anyway, I still love this game and I’ll occasionally come back to play it for a few minutes of fun. So join me as we look at a classic fighter from the NES days.


As I mentioned, this is a very simplistic fighting game. You don’t have combos or special moves or anything like that. You don’t even have a health bar technically. You do have a stamina gauge, but that’s more of a time limit than anything. There aren’t even multiple characters or anything to choose from, instead you play as the Blue Haired Guy on the left and you’re fighting the Green Haired Guy on the right.

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As for attacks, it’s all very simple, but can become very strategic if you let it. You have 2 hand positions, either up by your face, or down by your stomach. You also have 2 attacks, a weak attack and a strong attack. The weak attack has the benefit of being faster, while the slower stronger attack has the benefit of sending the Green Haired Guy tumbling. All you have to do is keep punching wherever he isn’t blocking, either the face or the gut, and you win.

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Now, without a health bar, you might be wondering how you actually win a fight. Well it turns out this is more of a turf war than it is a battle to the death like other fighting games. As such, all you have to do is knock the other guy off the curb and off your turf. Of course a single defeat isn’t enough to stop this up and coming street thug from coming into your turf. So you need to show him the ultimate humiliation and send him flying down an open manhole. Then everyone will know who’s boss around here.

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There are a few things thrown into the game to make it a bit more interesting. One thing to look out for is the residents of the buildings you’re fighting in front of. Not all of them are too happy to see a street fight taking place right in front of their house, so they’ll do what they can to break it up. Mostly this means dropping potted plants out the windows in hopes it hits one of you in the head. This will leave you quite disoriented and be an easy target for the other fighter.

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Occasionally, the residents will even do the responsible thing and call the cops on the two of you. But they’re too lazy to actually get out of the car and stop you, they’ll just do a drive by to break things up. Just look innocent until they go away. These police drive bys are actually really annoying. They are completely random, and it essentially resets the fight. It doesn’t matter that one more punch and you would have taken control of the block. Nope, the police had to drive by and now you are both starting over in the middle.

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As a classic arcade style game, there’s really no story to any of it. This also means there’s no real end to it. You just keep fighting and fighting until you can take no more. This will probably come sooner than you expect actually. That’s because each new challenger gets a brand new set of three blocks before taking a dive into the sewers. You however only ever have the three you started with. After two loses, that manhole will just stay there taunting you until finally you fail and fall into it yourself. And just like that a new urban champion is crowned.


Price – $10.00

It’s not a bad price for such a fun game.

Play Again? – Absolutely!

I’ve already said that I occasionally come back to this game. Admittedly that is for a bit of nostalgia, but it’s also because it’s a fun game.

Total Deaths – 3 Defeats (and 1 Swim in the Sewers)

I’ll admit that I didn’t play a full 30 minutes. I only played a single play through. But I got all the pictures I needed for the article, so that was good enough for now. I ended up lasting about 15 minutes before my game over.

Fun Rating – 7 / 10

It’s a really simplistic game, but at the higher levels you can really add some depth to the combat by actually paying attention to the blocking and timing your attacks properly. Or you can just have fun throwing punches wildly and hope something hits. Either way it’s a fun game to break up your afternoon with. The single player game is ok, but it really is a game best played with a second person. Either way, pick it up and add it to your collection, you’ll be happy that you did.

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WWF Wrestlemania (NES)

WWF WrestleMania (NES) - Full Cover


I haven’t actually watched wrestling in quite a while. In fact I remember when it was I stopped caring about it. It was right around the time Vince McMahon bought all the other wrestling companies and started fighting with the World Wildlife Foundation over the rights to the WWF website. Because everyone knows people care more about grown men fake fighting each other than saving endangered animals. Thankfully the World Wildlife Foundation didn’t back down and the WWF eventually became the WWE.

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Anyway, back on topic. I’m not too excited about this game going in. I’ve never had good experiences with wrestling videogames. The mechanics are always just so weird compared to more traditional fighting games. On the plus side, this game does have some of the classic big names of wrestling that even a non-fan like me can appreciate. You’ll get to play as wrestlers like Macho Man Randy Savage, André the Giant, and of course the cover character, Hulk Hogan. At the very least there might be some good nostalgia with those big names.


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To start out and get used to the controls I thought I’d do a simple exhibition match with Hulk Hogan and Macho Man. As expected, the controls are a bit odd. Or more specifically, the limited NES controller simply can’t do everything you want it to do with only the 2 buttons. I figured out the basic punch and kick, but macho man was pulling off things like flying kicks that I have no idea how to do.

Even if I could figure out the controls, something else caught my attention and was really distracting me, that something being the music. The soundtrack would cycle through its small selection of songs, some of which I vaguely recognized but can’t think of their names off the top of my head. Then out of nowhere “Pomp and Circumstance” starts playing and I have no idea how to take it. For those of you who might not recognize the name, “Pomp and Circumstance” is the song that plays at nearly every graduation ceremony as the students are walking up to get their certificates. Why they thought that would be good wrestling music is beyond me.

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Either way, I don’t fare too well during these couple practice rounds, but whatever, I’ll try out the full tournament. While I’m at it, I figure I’ll pick the strongest of the fighters since I need all the help I can get. Of course that means I’ll be playing as André the Giant. No one beats him unless he lets them as part of the show. True to his name, his sprite towers over the other wrestlers, and he does feel really strong in comparison to Hulk Hogan.

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As strong as he is, that doesn’t help the bad controls. I might be able to knock the other guy out, but that doesn’t mean anything if I can’t manage to pin him. I pressed every button combination I could think of to try and pin him, but nothing worked. There are only 2 buttons and the D-pad, so there aren’t really a whole lot of options to be cycling through. Eventually, despite my beating the Million Dollar Man senseless, the match ended in a draw. The second time around I did manage a pin. Unfortunately I have no idea what button combination I pressed to do it, so I’m still stuck.

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The only other oddity I want to point out before wrapping things up are the weird objects that randomly fly across the ring. I saw crosses, hams, fireballs, and I think a few other things just all of a sudden go zipping across the top edge of the ring. I don’t know what they do or how to pick them up, but I certainly didn’t expect to see them.


Price – $4.75

I can’t say I’m really surprised at the cheap price of this game.

Play Again? – Probably not

There are some big names in this game that make me want to play out of nostalgia, but I’ve just never understood the mechanics of wrestling games.

Total Deaths – 4 Loses

The matches are pretty short. And there are only 6 wrestlers to choose from, so even a full tournament shouldn’t last more than maybe 20 minutes. Not that I’d ever make it to the end of a full tournament.

Fun Rating – 3 / 10

Maybe if I knew the controls better I would like it better. As it is however, the game boarders on being unplayable. But then even if I DID know the controls the game is very simplistic and still wouldn’t be all that great. Maybe if you’re a huge wrestling fan it would be better, but for the more casual fan like me there isn’t much of a game here to enjoy.

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You just don’t see pixel art like this anymore. Thank god!


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Home Alone (NES)

Home Alone NES Full Cover


It’s Christmas time, and what better way to get into the spirits than with some classic Christmas movies, specifically Home Alone. I’m sure we all know the story by now. Poor little Kevin McCallister is accidentally left home alone for the holidays while the rest of the family went on vacation. On his own, he must defend his house from the would be burglars Marv and Harry, the Wet Bandits.

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Convert that action to the NES and you create the nightmares of my childhood a gem of a game. Kevin has already called the police, but it’ll be 20 minutes before they arrive. Use every tool you can find to defend yourself and stay alive until the police come to save the day.


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As I mentioned, the goal is to stay alive for 20 minutes until the police arrive. Just like in the movie, Kevin has a whole arsenal of traps he can set to slow down the burglars. In the game, each trap is represented by a square tile showing what the trap is. There are light bulbs, nails, ornaments, even the pet Tarantula is there. Kevin can hold up to 3 traps at a time. But you can set as many as you want, and there are a lot of them to set. Unfortunately there’s really no indication or distinction between a set trap and a triggered trap. Either way it’s just a square sitting on the ground.

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With only 2 enemies to worry about, you might think it’ll be simple. You would be wrong. The game is damn near impossible. For starters, the bandits move significantly faster than Kevin. Then the game is very demanding in regard to the stairs, at least the side view stairs. If you’re not in the exact right position, you’ll just be standing there waiting to be captured.

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Personally, I blame this games difficulty on the police. What kind of response time is 20 minutes? Kid, home alone on Christmas, with burglars trying to break in. They should be there in 5 minutes or less.


Price – $11.50

I’m going be honest. I’m not sure this is worth anything more than $5.00.

Fun Rating – 2 / 10

The concept is mostly good. I can’t really think of a better way to replicate the action of the movie. The problems are in the execution. The AI is too good, and the controls aren’t tight enough. In the end, constantly losing isn’t any fun. Thinking about it, even if you did have a strategy to win, the game never changes, and only lasts 20 minutes. So there’s really no replay value either.

Play Again? Probably not

I owned this game as a kid and I rarely played it even back then because of how hard it is. Since then I’ve only ever played it ironically to refresh my mind with how stupidly hard it is.

Total Deaths 15 Deaths

I didn’t even play the full 30 minutes, I only played for 21 before I quit and felt I had enough to write the review. Most of the attempts I couldn’t even last a full minute. Even my best attempt only lasted 8m 56s! It’s simply too difficult.

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Win, Lose or Draw

Win lose or draw (1)


Win lose or draw (2)

I know this is based on an old TV game show, but I don’t recall having ever actually watched it. From the looks of it, it seems similar to a game of Pictionary. You’re probably given a simple item to draw, and the other person or computer has to guess what it is based on your drawing.

I’m not sure how this is going to work out. My drawing ability already isn’t all that great, so trying to draw with the D-pad is just a disaster waiting to happen. If the computer manages to interpret my scribbles, I would be more than impressed. Actually I’d be very impressed if a modern computer could do that. That’s a very abstract idea for a computer to try to understand. For an NES game to do that honestly seems impossible.


Win lose or draw (3)

Before you start the game, you are presented with an options screen to set up your teams, the difficulty, and the drawing style. If you want to draw the pictures yourself, you need a second controller, which I didn’t have nearby, so I just let the computer do all the drawing.

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The game does make me feel a little better about my drawing ability.

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Socks and um… Foam? … Hair? …What the hell is that?


The images it draws range from obvious to what the hell is that? Some of the more confusing drawings actually made the game more fun. It gets boring quick when you identify the picture within seconds, but the confusing ones let you laugh at the bad drawing just like you would if you were playing with a friend who can’t draw well.

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It’s a jackal! Jackal? It’s a jackal! Jackal! Jackal?


I played around with the practice drawing for a little bit too. It was actually fairly responsive, like a big etch-a-sketch. It doesn’t help that I’m not a good artist to begin with, but it was still fun to play around with.


This was actually a very fun game. Not something you would get addicted to and play every day, but something you would pop in every now and then for a quick laugh. It might be more fun to actually play it with friends instead of by yourself, but if you have friends over, you might as well play real Pictionary instead.

Still, for $6 it’s well worth the price and will make a fun addition to anyone library.

Price – $6

Fun Rating – 7 / 10

Play Again? – On occasion, yes

Total Deaths – 0 (I would hope few people die during game shows)

Win lose or draw (8)

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Golgo 13: Top Secret Episode

Golgo 13 (1)


I don’t remember where I heard about this game, but when I saw it I had to pick it up. If I remember right, Golgo 13 is based on a manga by the same name. In Japan, he was an assassin, but was changed to a spy thanks to Nintendo’s censorship policies.

My guess is I’m going to be primarily running around and shooting a lot of people, typical NES action game.


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Wow. this game just doesn’t want to pick a genre.

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Like I predicted, a large section of the game is walking around town shooting KGB Agents. Shooting the agents seems to give me extra bullets, which is nice, but they are really annoying to try to kill. Maybe I’m just unaware of a control option, but I can’t seem to shoot them when they’re crouching down. I’m too tall and I shoot over their heads, and I can’t seem to shoot while crouched down like they do. They do die after one hit though, and you can jump really high and over them. So they aren’t too bad.

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Every so often, a gun will show up on the edge of the screen and trigger a first person shooter section. You’re under attack by multiple enemies, so shoot them all before they shoot you. It’s a very interesting mechanic and breaks up the action nicely. As an added bonus, killing enemies in this section restores your health.

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The game shifts pace again for the second act by becoming a side scrolling shooter. You are in a helicopter trying to make it to the TV tower to stop a sniper. There’s a bit of an oddity in this section that caught my attention. I have never seen a shooter that gives you limited ammo. It was never really an issue, destroying the enemy planes gave you more, but it was still an unusual choice. I’m not used to needing to conserve ammo instead of being able to just rapid fire the whole time.

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Amazingly, the gameplay changes yet again when you later make it to a KGB base. Once you enter the base, the game changes to a first person maze. I should really have started drawing a map, because I got lost in here. There were even traps, and multiple floors, and collectibles. This was a well fleshed out change. Now that I’m very lost in this maze, and I’m already well over my 30 minute time limit, I’m going to stop here.


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This was a very enjoyable 30 minutes. The character models are rather large and decent enough for the NES. The backgrounds are fairly detailed too. I also found it quite enjoyable to have the conversations done in an over the shoulder view.

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The game does have quite a few flaws though. I encountered a fair amount of backtracking and repetition already in just my short session. Finding the first contact required me to locate an informant at the far right side of town. After finding her, she tells me that the person I’m looking for is in the subway, specifically the station I started the game in front of. That’s unnecessary padding. They could have just as easily put the contact at the far right and skipped the informant all together. Backtracking also still triggers the first person sections when you walk past their trigger points, so expect to see them often.

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It’s still a fun game though. The constant genre shifting does break up the pace and keep it from becoming boring, and the story is interesting enough that I want to see what happens. There’s also the way the game handles death. Instead of a lives count and a game over like most games, Golgo 13 treats it like a TV show. Every time you die is the end of an episode, flashing a “to be continued” over the screen. Then you are treated to the title screen showing your new episode number before starting again at the last checkpoint.

All in all this was an enjoyable game. I’d love to play more of it.

Price – $7

Fun Rating – 7 / 10

Play Again? – Yes, definitely. I might even consider a full review for this game

Total Deaths – 17

Golgo 13 (18)


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