Category Archives: NES Games

Urban Champion (NES)

Urban Champion (NES) - Full Cover

Prediction

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.

Urban Champion (NES) - 01

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.

Gameplay

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.

Verdict

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.

Urban Champion (NES) - 12

DOUBLE KNOCK-OUT!!!

 

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I hope you enjoyed this 30 Minute Review of Urban Champion. 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.

 

WWF Wrestlemania (NES)

WWF WrestleMania (NES) - Full Cover

Prediction

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.

WWF WrestleMania (NES) - 01

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.

Gameplay

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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.

Verdict

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.

WWF WrestleMania (NES) - 10

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

 

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I hope you enjoyed this 30 Minute Review of WWF WrestleMania. 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.

 

Home Alone (NES)

Home Alone NES Full Cover

Prediction

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.

Home Alone NES - 01

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.

Gameplay

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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.

Verdict

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.

Home Alone NES - 08

 

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I hope you enjoyed this 30 Minute Review of Home Alone. 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.

 

Win, Lose or Draw

Win lose or draw (1)

Prediction

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.

Gameplay

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.

Win lose or draw (4)

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

Win lose or draw (5) Win lose or draw (6)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Win lose or draw (7)

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.

Verdict

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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I hope you enjoyed this 30 Minute Review of Win, Lose or Draw. If you did, like and follow me on Facebook. 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.

Golgo 13: Top Secret Episode

Golgo 13 (1)

Prediction

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.

Gameplay

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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.

Verdict

Golgo 13 (12) Golgo 13 (13)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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I hope you enjoyed this 30 Minute Review of Golgo 13. If you did, like and follow me on Facebook. 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.

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