Category Archives: NES

Hogan’s Alley

We’re already well into December, and once again I have failed to upload even a single article this year. We can’t have that. Not 3 years in a row. Since I doubt I could beat and write a full article in time for any major game, we’re going to cheat a little bit and review an arcade style game so we can pump something out quickly. To that end, I have selected to review Hogan’s Alley.

Hogan’s Alley was one of the several games released for the NES that utilized the NES Zapper light gun controller to allow the player to shoot targets on their TV screen. The game took inspiration from police training courses, where officers in training will shoot at cut outs of criminals while avoiding shooting innocents. While such shooting ranges did exist, I have learned that the real “Hogan’s Alley” FBI training course didn’t actually open until 3 years after the release of this game. So, let’s see what was so amazing about this game that it inspired the FBI to make it real.


Hogan’s Alley contains three different game modes. Hogan’s Alley A & B, as well as Trick Shot. Hogan’s Alley A is a mostly traditional shooting range. Three cut outs are brought into the room, hanging sideways so you can’t see what each target is. Once they’re in place, all three targets are rotated at the same time to face you.

You have only a few seconds to look at the three targets and shoot the bag guy without harming the innocents. From there, the targets will be replaced with new ones, and the process starts again. As the stages progress, the time you have to shoot will decrease, and the number of bad guys may increase.

Eventually, you’ll start missing a target, or you’ll shoot an innocent. Once you rack up 10 misses, the game is over, and you’ll be sent back to the main menu.

From here we can try out Hogan’s Alley B, which, in my opinion, is the better of the two modes. In this mode, you are placed in a replica city block and targets will appear randomly in windows and between buildings. Once again, you need to shoot all the bad guys without shooting any innocents.

After a handful of targets, the scene will shift to the right and you’ll continue down the street fighting bad guys. This feels like a much more fun way to play. You really need to pay attention and react to the targets. The whole thing feels more “real” than the sterile shooting range.

However, just like the shooting range, misses will gradually start to build up. Once you get 10, the game ends. Unlike the shooting range of A Mode, I found my self much more likely to shoot innocents in B Mode. Just a little too trigger happy I guess.

This brings us to our final game mode, Trick Shot. In this mode a series of tin cans will be thrown from the right side of the screen. It is up to you to keep them in the air by shooting them, and get them to pass through the points sections on the left side. However, if any of them fall off the bottom of the screen, that’s a miss.

While it’s not labeled, getting a can to land on the little platform will also net you 100 points. I feel this is too small of an award, it’s hard to get the can to land on that little platform. And that’s basically the whole game mode. It’s the most simplistic of the three, and since there’s no innocents to watch out for, as well as no bullet limit, you can just go crazy shooting the screen to keep those cans in the air. But eventually you’ll miss a few, and just like the other rounds, 10 misses is a game over.



Gameplay – 7 / 10

Of the NES light gun games I’m aware of, this one has the most variety. It’s not a whole lot of variety, but B mode is at least a whole separate mode instead of just increased targets like the other games. Hogan’s Alley B mode is also my favorite of all the light gun games. I did feel like some of my shots weren’t being registered properly, but that could just as easily be the emulator’s fault. Though I’m sure I’ve yelled at the screen more times than my share while playing on the TV as well.

Graphics – 6 / 10

There’s nothing overly impressive about the graphics of this game. There are only 2 environments, 6 unique targets, no real backgrounds, and Trick Shot has literally 2 assets, the cans and the ledges. To its credit, the game uses these limited assets well. I’ve always found the spinning animation of the targets impressive for an NES game. But there just simply isn’t enough going on for me to score the graphics any higher.

Audio – 6 / 10

Much like the graphics, the audio is good, but simply doesn’t have a huge variety. The music is playful, while still feeling appropriate for the game. And the sound effects are satisfying when shooting the targets.

Story – N/A

It’s a shooting range, you really don’t get any more story than that.

Total Playtime – 17m

It’s a very short game, but that can be overlooked because it’s supposed to be an arcade game. In that sense, 17 minutes is a pretty long time for an arcade game.

Total Deaths – 0 Deaths

Since they were only targets, I never died. Though I guess you could say I was shot 13 times and killed 7 innocents.

Overall Score – 8 /10

I’m scoring the game as a whole slightly higher than the sum of its parts because, while no element in isolation is particularly impressive, the game as a whole is very fun. It’s because of the NES light gun games that I still own and have set up a CRT TV, since the games don’t work on the modern LCD screens. Something about having a toy gun that the tv responds to is just so fun and satisfying. Playing on an emulator with a mouse simply doesn’t do the game justice. As an arcade style game, it’s never going to be my favorite game ever, but it will always be on my list of fallback games to play and zone out to. In that sense, the game is worth the effort involved in keeping now obsolete technology around just to play it properly on those rare occasions that the desire hits.

We’re screwed now, Gang-C has mastered the ability to stand so still he becomes invisible.



I hope you enjoyed Hogan’s Alley. 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.


Vegas Dream (NES)

Everyone dreams of someday winning it big and living out the rest of their lives in luxury. And there isn’t any place better to realize that dream than the wonderful city of Las Vegas! Even without the promise of wealth, gambling video games have always been around. Today we’re going to take a look at one of my favorites of them from back on the NES, Vegas Dream.


I don’t think I ever actually won a game of Vegas dream before. I would usually end up having to take a walk of shame home a penniless loser. But that never really mattered to me. I still remember it being a fun game to play, primarily because it had such fun interactions throughout the game. So join me in Vegas and let’s see how well this game holds up now.


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The game starts out simple enough. You arrive fresh off the plane in beautiful los Vegas with $700 in your pockets, and hopefully a bit of good luck. The casino you end up staying in has a fairly limited selection of games to play, only four in fact. You can choose to play Blackjack, Roulette, Slot Machines, or Keno.

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We’ll start our night off with a little Blackjack. Of the four games available, it’s kind of surprising that it’s the only one that isn’t entirely luck based. For those who might not know, the object of blackjack is pretty simple. You’ll be dealt two cards with the option of asking for more. The basic goal is to get your hand to total up to 21 without going over. Whoever is the closest to 21 wins.

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Despite it being the only skill based game available, it still feels like it’s unfairly rigged for the dealer to win. Nearly every hand the dealer ends up with an exposed face card, or they end up perfectly at 21. Of course, when you control the deck, it’s not surprising they can get all the best cards. So you know what, let’s move on to the next game.

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Roulette is a much easier game to play. Just guess what number you think the ball will land on, and if you get it right, you win. Of course, there are a variety of options that are more or less risky. You can place relatively safe 50/50 bets by guessing if it will be red or black, or even or odd. You can also go risky and bet the exact number that will come up. It’s really risky, but it will have a huge payout. Then you can bet just about anything in between.

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Damn you ZERO!!!

Roulette will usually end up being my go to game since the 50/50 odds make it relatively safe, while quickly increasing my money with some high stakes bets. But we have 2 more games to check out, so let’s move away from the roulette table for now and see if we have better luck somewhere else.

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The slot machines are roughly what you would expect them to be. You can pick a variety of price points ranging from $1 spins all the way up to $100 spins. Of course, the higher the price, the bigger the payouts. You also get the option to play only the center line or you can pay extra to play the top and bottom lines as well.

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Ignoring the fact that virtual slot machines are inherently rather boring, the biggest problem I have with playing the slot machines is the fact that you can’t win anything with diagonal lines. Without the diagonals, it’s virtually impossible to actually win anything. The whole time I was playing I barely won anything other than the single cherry in the first column. And even then it’s winning at a loss, since that only pays out 1x my bet, but I paid 3x to get all 3 lines. So we’re moving on from the slots to our final game.

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The final game, Keno, is most similar to your standard lottery drawings. Or more precisely the quick draw games you may have seen at some restaurants, bars, or even bowling alleys. You pick between 1 and 15 numbers, after which point 20 winning numbers will be picked at random.

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Generally speaking, you need to have at least half your numbers win before you can break even with your card. Of course the more matching numbers, the more you’ll win. This game is by far the most random of all the games available, and because of that it has always been my least favorite or the selections. So we’re not going to spend much time here.

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With only 4 games to choose from, you would probably expect things to get boring pretty quickly. However, that is where this game really excels. While you’re playing, you’ll occasionally be prompted with a random event. You can choose how to react to these situations however you like. Personally I choose to go along with all of them just to see what will happen since every situation has a 50/50 chance of going good or bad. For example, I have the option to give $200 to this random stranger or to ignore them entirely.

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Regardless of what you choose to do, you’ll hear how things went on the nightly news. In this case, my random act of kindness was later rewarded with $1000 when that woman won it big. So it’s a good thing I offered to loan her the $200.

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However, not every situation will end up pleasantly. In another instance a waitress was walking by and accidentally spilled the drinks she was carrying onto my jacket. She felt so bad that she offered to take my jacket and have it cleaned for me.

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Unfortunately I found out later on the news that she was actually the thief. By giving her my jacket, she ended up stealing my wallet, and with it half of all my money. You win some, you lose some I guess. That’s what makes these situations so much fun.

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There are also times when you’ll be challenged to some private high stakes games with other casino guests. Sometimes you’ll use the Keno board for a simple game of high or low. Or maybe you’ll have a simple Red or Black guess at the Roulette table. These are another fun diversion from the normal gameplay.

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Of course, this is Vegas, so if you end up with a bad streak of luck, you’ll quickly find yourself penniless and ready to walk away in shame. However, the game offers you up one last chance before your game over. You’ll get a spin at the slot machine for some really high winnings on the line. Sometimes you might just get lucky and be able to head back to the floor.

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While in real life you would probably play until whatever random point in time you feel you’ve had enough, this game does have a definitive winning condition. You start off with $700 with the ultimate goal of not leaving Vegas until you’ve managed to win $10 million dollars. You’ll have to make some huge bets if you ever plan to make that kind of money. Thankfully there’s a little trick I picked up on. The game has a password save system so you can come back some other time right where you left off. I just wrote down the password and bet it all on even at the roulette table. If I won I would get a new password, if I lost I would load up my old password and try again.


The money shot up pretty quickly when it doubles ever win, and before long I had the $10 Million I was aiming for. Unfortunately, the money seems to have turned me into one of the world’s biggest A-Holes. So maybe I would have been better off returning home penniless…


Gameplay – 8 / 10

All of the games play as well as you would expect them to. Sometimes it feels like the game cheats, but that might just be because the games are naturally hard to win. Honestly the only thing I can think to complain about is the fact that Blackjack doesn’t total up the cards for me, I have to actually do the math myself. Of course that’s a minor issue, which is easily overshadowed by the fun random situations that break up the otherwise repetitive gameplay.

Graphics – 8 / 10

There wasn’t anything too graphically intense to be shown in the game anyway, so there’s not really anything to criticize. I’ve always been relatively happy with the graphics of the game.

Audio – 7 / 10

The audio is ok, but it can get a bit repetitive and annoying after a while. Also some of the music is a little bit too high pitched at times for my taste.

Story – 8 / 10

The $10 million dollar goal is a bit high for someone heading to Vegas with only $700, but that’s hardly the main focus of the “Story” of the game. The “Story” is all the little situations that present themselves while you’re playing. The fact that every situation has a winning or losing outcome makes them even more fun. You can’t just memorize “Don’t trust the waitress when she spills the drink” because there’s a 50/50 chance that waitress is a normal and honest waitress. So technically speaking, the story is different ever time you play it. For me, I had a call my grandfather had died, leaving me $6000 in inheritance. I helped a woman who later returned the favor when she won big. But then I lost half my money with the fake waitress stole my wallet.

Total Playtime – 0h 47m

I technically cheated just so I could see the good ending. Doing that, you can beat the game pretty quickly. If I played a bit more conservatively though it would probably take much longer.

Total Deaths – 0 Deaths

I know I was playing high stakes games, but not anything life or death.

Overall Score – 8 / 10

I really love this game. I’m not much of a gambler in real life, I simply don’t have that much luck, but I do like the occasional gambling video game like this. This one is probably one of my favorites because of all the little situations that come up. They really break up the repetition and help keep the game from becoming boring. Everything in the game plays well, but I can’t really ignore the fact that there isn’t much substance to the game. If there were more games to play it might have held up better. Particularly more skill based games like poker for example. However, the game as presented is very well made, and I still like it after all these years. If you’re interested, you can easily pick up your own copy of the game for less than $10, so why not pick it up and see what happens to you in Vegas. Better yet, the game does offer 4 player co-op, so you could easily make a game night out of it.


More often than not, this is how my games ended. Sadly walking home without a penny.


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I hope you enjoyed Vegas Dream. 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.


Gyruss (NES)

I have always loved playing space shooters, or scrolling shooters, or shmups, whatever you want to call them. Classic vertical shooters like Space Invaders and Galaga will always rank among my favorite games ever. And the side scrolling shooter Gradius has engrained itself in gaming history by being the first game to feature the now famous Konami code. Though the industry has changed over the years, the genre still lives on in bullet hell games like the Touhou Project. Still, there is one game that has always captivated me with its rather unique gameplay, and that game is Gyruss.

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Gyruss has made a lasting impression on me mostly because of how different it is from other shooters. If follows the same basic principles as the other games, but with the distinction of being a tube shooter instead of a side scrolling shooter. What this means is that you’re not flying up from the bottom like in Space Invaders, or even flying side to side like in Gradius. Instead, you are flying around the entire outer edge of the screen towards the center, as if you’re in a tube. While I’m sure there are other games out there that use this style, it is such a rarity that Gyruss is the only one I think I’ve ever seen. So join me as we fly through space in this unique shooter.


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It’s the year A.D. 25XX and mankind must rid the universe of Evil. You’d be hard pressed to find a more generic story, but that’s ok. The story doesn’t impact this type of game much anyways. The point is that you’ll be flying from planet to planet trying to destroy all the evil aliens starting from the edge of our solar system and flying all the way into the Sun. Now, I know Pluto is no longer considered a planet, but it was at the time this game came out. Planetary status confusion aside it’s still agreed that it’s farther out in our solar system than Neptune, so it’s a bit confusing why they switched the positions of Pluto and Neptune in this game.


Anyway, as mentioned earlier, the gameplay is that of a tube shooter. What that means is that you are free to fly a full 360 degrees around the screen while the enemies generally gather in the center. They don’t start out in the center though, first they do a fly by giving you a nice chance to shoot them when they’re close up rather than waiting for them to shrink to little dots in the distance. Destroy all the enemy ships, and you’ll have completed the first of three warps needed to reach the next planet.

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In addition to the enemy ships, there are also several other obstacles in each stage. The first stages have you avoiding asteroids flying out from the center. These are indestructible and must be avoided completely. The second warps to each planet also include protective covers for the enemies in the center of the stage. These will also have to be destroyed before you can finish the warp to the next planet.

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Death Count: 1

Of course, it’s the final warp that is the most exciting, as it always features a rather difficult boss battle. The first of which is a ship with 4 pods on it that shoot 3 projectiles each at you. As the first boss, it’s not very hard, but it does set you up for what to expect from future bosses. Most notably is the fact that you can only damage the pods when they are open. Of course, when they open is also the moment they fire their own projectiles, placing you constantly in firing range if you wish to defeat it. Destroy all the pods, and you’ll have finally arrived at and protected Neptune.

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After arriving at each of the planets, you’ll be treated to a bonus stage where you can score extra points as well as acquire power ups and bombs. These stages have no threat of dying and are simply there as a reward, so do your best to destroy as many enemies as you can.

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Death Count: 5

And that’s the basic formula that all the stages going forward will follow, all with slight variations. The warps to Pluto feature different ship designs as well as different defensive covers in the second warp. But otherwise everything remains the same.

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The only new element is what I call Space Amoebas. These blue and purple globs will simply drift towards you from the center, causing very little threat on their own. What makes them so annoying though is how much damage they can take. Normal enemies will die after a single hit, but the amoebas can take about a dozen before they finally die. Not only that, but occasionally they’ll even split into multiple amoebas after being shot, which just makes things so much worse.

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Death Count: 9

Survive the warps to Pluto, and you’ll arrive to see our next boss battle. I’m not even sure how to properly describe this one. The main body is a green and white planetoid object that can take no damage and is only there to be annoying. The real threat comes from the cluster of green orbs that fly around. They generally stay together in a cluster, but they move very quickly and randomly, making it rather intimidating to approach. As you shoot them, the orbs will turn from green to purple, and only by changing them all to purple can you destroy them and by extension the boss as a whole.

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Death Count: 11

The trip to Uranus once again changes the design of the enemy ships. These stages also introduce a new enemy type which is hard for me to explain. It looks very similar to a Nautilus with its spiral shell and tentacles. Shooting this creature seems to destroy the shell and reveal the tentacle monster inside. What makes these so difficult it that, at least with the shell free version, it moves very quickly is a wide spiral pattern, making it hard to avoid colliding with, and even harder to shoot and destroy.

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It also has several chains of large orbs that zig zag their way towards you from the center. These move more slowly and predictably, however they take a lot more damage before they are destroyed. You also need to destroy all 4 orbs individually, which can take several passes to accomplish thanks to their high health.

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Death Count: 21

And this brings us to the next boss. This boss is very similar to the first in that it is a large ship with 4 pods shooting projectiles. The difference is what kind of projectiles it’s shooting, and that makes a huge difference in this case. Rather than the simple energy projectiles of the first boss, this one is sending out tiny mines. They move very slowly, however, they will home in on your ship, causing them to take you over by sheer numbers. To make matters worse, they can be hit by your attacks, which is good for getting rid of them, but bad for attacking the boss as they act as tiny little shields. When I got the boss down to a single pod, it was creating these mines in such volume that it was hard to get even a single shot to land on the boss during its limited time of vulnerability.

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With the boss finally destroyed, we start our journey to Saturn which once again introduces a new secondary enemy. This time they take the form of a seemingly metal jellyfish. These enemies can take so much damage that they seem to be indestructible. However, I did manage to destroy them, so they do have a finite amount of health, however high it is. Also it was around this time that I remembered I actually do have a limited supply of power shots which did a great job destroying these new enemies.

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Death Count: 25

Saturn’s boss also starts to up the firepower to the ridiculous levels you will see in later levels. This time the ship has 6 pods, each of which shoots a different projectile. Two of the pods shoot the typical shots the first had, while two more shoot the mines from the last boss. The final two however introduce a larger indestructible shield. These new shields also have some homing capabilities, but thankfully once they lock on to your ship, they move straight towards your location, even after you’ve moved from it. This allows you to lure them away from your target and get your shots in. These were also the first pods I targeted since they were the most annoying. After several deaths on my end, the boss was eventually defeated, and Saturn is once again safe. Well, as safe as life can be on a gas giant like Saturn.

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Death Count: 27

The warps to Jupiter don’t introduce anything new, but they do ramp up the number of asteroids flying at you. They also have select asteroids that will shatter into 4 shards which just makes it a more threatening obstacle. I guess this makes some sense. Jupiter is the first planet in the outer solar system beyond the asteroid belt, so I guess asteroids would be more common in this area.

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Death Count: 29

The boss guarding Jupiter also seems to have incorporated the asteroids into its design as well. This boss moves rather slowly in a simple spiral pattern, all the while launching shards outwards from itself. Each shot chips away at its armor revealing what I feel looks like a giant space raspberry inside.

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Death Count: 31

Once the outer shell is completely destroyed, the space raspberry doesn’t just simply die. Instead, the battle gets much more intense. Once freed, it grows two long tentacles which it swings wildly towards you. It also has become much faster than before making it a very deadly target. Of course, the only way to damage it is to get close to it and be right within striking range of its tentacles. Get some quick shots in while you can, and eventually it will be destroyed. Now the whole outer solar system is safe and we’re half way towards our goal of defeating the evil menace.

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And so we continue our journey into the inner solar system starting with Mars. Once again the design of the ships have changed, this time resembling what I think look like pumpkins. There are also new obstacles in the form of an electrical defense grid. Either avoid it entirely or destroy one of the orbs to break the link.

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Death Count: 33

These warps also introduce a rather annoying enemy. These double barreled ships with teleport out of nowhere right in front of you and shoot you at point blank range. Because of the limited warning time, these guys can be quite difficult to avoid.

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Death Count: 40

The Martian boss looks even more intimidating that the previous ones, having a full 8 pods attached to the main ship. He also has a new attack to watch out for. Half his pods will shoot out a new blue shield which can be devastating if you aren’t prepared for it. These blue shields shoot out in pairs and follow a slow straight path outwards. However, once it reaches the outer edge where your ship flies, they two shields will quickly arc off in opposite directions, covering a 180 degree sweep of the screen, killing you instantly on contact. Thankfully they can be destroyed with a single shot, so try to take them out before they get a chance to take you out.

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Death Count: 43

Finally, we’re on our way to our home planet of Earth. These warps don’t change much from the previous stages. It has the fracturing asteroids we’ve seen before and not much else in terms of obstacles. It does however have a new enemy which is somewhat annoying. There is a small robot that will spin around towards you, and then when it’s right in front of you it will finally open up and try to shoot you point blank. It can’t be damaged until it opens, which can make it hard, but you see it coming unlike the double barrel from the last stages, so it’s not quite as bad.

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Death Count: 51

The boss battle for Earth easily makes up for the warps lack of innovation. For this battle, you’re fighting three separate ships that seem rather similar to your own. Unfortunately for you, they seem to have gotten better firepower than you. The yellow ship has a basic double energy shot, while the pink ship shoots out the mines similar to some of the previous bosses. It’s the blue ship however that gave me the most trouble. He shoots out rather large orbs which are easy enough to dodge. The problem with the blue ship is its speed. It’s easily twice as fast as your ship, so you can’t keep up with it. Then when it’s the only ship left it goes it to a rapid spin in the center which honestly made me feel slightly dizzy and sick from looking at it. You’ll really have to time your shots to hit it as it flies by. But doing so will protect Earth and the human population.

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Even with Earth safe, the evil menace hasn’t been destroyed, so we continue our journey towards the sun and our next planet of Venus. These warps reuse the pumpkin enemies from previous levels as well as a mix of other obstacles like the double barrels and electrical defenses.

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Death Count: 54

This late in the game and it still manages to throw new enemies at you. This time there is a ship that will fly around placing bombs all along the perimeter. Because he’s flying directly in your flight path, it’s hard to find an opportunity to attack it, and the bombs it leaves behind are even worse as they limit your range of motion until you enter collide with them and die or they explode on their own.

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Death Count: 68

This is where the game starts throwing everything at you all at once. With the Venus boss, the ship once again has a full 8 pods, and a variety of all the attacks seen so far. The basic energy shots, the homing mines, the indestructible shields, and the new sweeping shields. You’ll have to destroy all 8 pod, but being strategic about which pods to go after first can make a huge difference in this fight. Also I’ll admit that I keep forgetting I have the power shots that can take out a pod in a single hit. They make these fights much more manageable if you’ve collected any of them.

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We’re nearing the home stretch now as we make our way towards mercury, the first planet in our solar system. Amazingly, the game still has new elements to throw our way. While warping towards mercury you’ll have to dodge clusters of giant indestructible crystals hurdling through space on top of all the other dangers you’ve already faced. At this point I think I have to point out another painfully obvious aspect of the game which is the lag you get in the later stages. With so many sprites on screen at once, the system simply can’t keep up. It made getting pictures rather difficult because everything was so fractured and distorted it looked like it was glitching at this point.

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Death Count: 70

With some luck, you’ll eventually make it to the boss which is a nightmare in design. It looks like a giant brain inside a glass orb. The glass itself is indestructible, but the red bumps around it are not. However, each of the 8 red bumps are guarded by their own tiny planetoid which will shoot out towards you if you get too close. This one all came down to luck as I blindly spiraled around the thing shooting wildly. The occasional hits would one by one destroy the red orbs until I only had to focus in on one of them to destroy the boss.

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Death Count: 73

However, this boss had a second form. Once free of the glass orb, the brain with start wildly shooting lighting out in every direction. Still guarded by the planetoids around it, this made for very little margin of error before you get blasted to bits. Thankfully, without its glass shell, all parts of the brain take damage from being hit, and before long it will be completely destroyed.

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Death Count: 75

Now that all 9 planets have been freed from the evil that tormented them, you would think the evil had been destroyed, but you would be wrong. The final threat to the universe still lives inside the sun, and so we have one last set of warps to make. As would be expected from flying this close to the sun, the biggest new obstacles are large solar flare orbs flying out from the sun.

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In fact, the whole 3rd warp leading into the final boss has no enemies at all. Instead it is a hectic challenge to avoid all the solar flares are you make your final approach to the sun. I was doing really well at first, but I died right towards the end, which lost me my double shot going into the final boss fight.

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Death Count: 81

As the battle begins, you’ll be fighting the actual sun itself. Thinking this was the end, I used up several of my power shots. Even then it took 3 of them before it was destroyed. I can’t really tell how many shots I have left since, if you haven’t noticed, the entire user interface gets hidden during boss fights.

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Death Count: 98

It doesn’t really matter how many shots I have, because that was only the first form. Inside the sun was apparently a giant mechanical eyeball. As you’re fighting, it will constantly be launching smaller eyeballs at you in such a high quantity that I ended up running into them. There simply wasn’t any space to move.

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Death Count: 103

As you deal more and more damage to the massive eye, it does give some subtle indications of how damaged it is. First, it will start shooting lasers at you, which paired with the high quantity of eyeballs already surrounding me was instant death every attack cycle. It also shoots more and more lasers the more damage it takes. Finally, when it’s close to death, it will turn pink instead of purple, and be shooting off the most lasers yet.

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Keep at it, and finally the universe will be saved from evil once and for all. Unfortunately for you, there is only a single simple splash screen saying “The Universe is at Peace.” as a reward for your hard work. It doesn’t even cut to credits after that, instead you’ll be thrown all the way back to the outer edges of the solar system and be allowed to start your journey all over again, like some sick modern version of Sisyphus.


Gameplay – 6 / 10

The gameplay is kind of a mixed bag here. On one hand I love the originality of a tube shooter. It’s such a rare game mechanic and it really gives you a sense of flying through space at warp speed. On the other hand, the fact that the enemies are all off in the distance means you’re shooting at tiny little dots, so when they do start approaching it takes a moment to identify if it’s an enemy ship, enemy fire, or some other variety of indestructible obstacle. It makes it hard to avoid things in time after you finally identify what it is coming at you. It also severely limits the play area for the enemies which make them very cluttered leading to slowdown and sprite glitching. Then there are the various bosses. For starters many of them are nearly identical, large ships with pods shooting projectiles. The ones that weren’t just cut and pasted were actually very original and entertaining though. Nearly all of them however suffer from being a bit too difficult. I’m not sure how anyone was expected to beat this game on the 4 lives you’re given.

Graphics – 7 / 10

The graphics suffer a lot of the same problems as the gameplay. The fact that the enemies are regularly in the distance means you’re often shooting at unidentifiable tiny dots. However, I would like to credit the game for having a wide variety of enemies as well as the way the game handled sprites growing larger as they came into view. It really gave a good sense of depth in what is actually a 2d game.

Audio – 9 / 10

The music has always been one of my favorite parts of this game. That’s partly because I’m one of the few people my age that actually enjoys classical music, so the remix of Toccata and Fugue used as the games main soundtrack has always delighted me. Beyond that the music is just so up-tempo that it fits perfectly with the fast pace gameplay present throughout the whole game.

Story – 2 / 10

I said it once already that you’d be hard pressed to find a more generic, mad libs story if you tried. It the year (Year) 25xx and the (Place) Universe is under threat of (Noun) Evil. Only (Noun) A Hero can restore the peace.

Total Playtime – 0h 59m

Considering this is essentially an arcade port, that’s actually a rather long playtime. However, it’s unlikely you’d actually beat the game in a mere hour under normal play, and that’s because of the extreme difficulty of the game.

Total Deaths – 103 Deaths

This is hard. Sometimes intentionally like with the bosses, other times unintentionally with the enemy clutter and graphical glitches. In the end, I have no idea how anyone was ever expected to beat this game under normal play. I used infinite lives and did my very best not to die, and I still ended up with over 100 deaths. Granted I’m not a very skilled player, but by default you only start with 4 lives. You can get more during the bonus rounds, as well as through your score. But that still doesn’t leave you with many lives.

Overall Score – 7 / 10

The fact that this game has an actual story progression, thin as it may be, has always elevated it above the other endless shooters in my mind. Add to that the rather unique tube shooter gameplay, and it has persisted as one of my favorite NES games of all time. However, its extreme difficulty has always left a bit of a sour taste in my mouth, and has until now prevented me from ever getting anywhere close to finishing the game. If you’re a fan of shooters, you should definitely give Gyruss a try. However, the casual gamer might be turned off by the difficulty.

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The final Stage, I’ll never see it without cheating.


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I hope you enjoy Gyruss. 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.


Gotcha! The Sport! (NES)

A few days ago I was on my computer just playing random games on my NES emulator. You know, just relaxing after work. That’s when I stumbled upon an amazingly fun game I had never heard of, Gotcha! The Sport! It was so much fun I had to find it online so I could buy it right then and there. I do have a rule that I only review games that I physically own, so “In the mail” is going to have to qualify as “Own” for this one, because I just have to write about it. This is going to be the fastest turn around between discovering a game and reviewing it I think I will ever do.

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Anyway, Gotcha! The Sport! is a light gun game for the NES. This means even when the game does arrive, I can’t really play it. Not without digging out an old CRT TV first. Even without being able to use an actual Zapper to play the game, using the computer mouse is just as fun. I don’t want to get too deep into the game here in the intro, so let me just wrap things up by saying I may have found one of LJN’s only good games. But don’t just take my word for it, let’s see what the game really has to offer.


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Like I said before, the game is a light gun game, like Duck Hunt or Hogan’s Alley. But unlike those games, there is a lot more to this game than simple target practice. In Gotcha, you are playing a game of paintball with “Capture the Flag” rules. After picking your difficulty level, you’ll be thrown into the woods and be forced to defend yourself as you try to capture your opponent’s flag.

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Of course, since you’re playing capture the flag you can’t really just stand in one place. You actually have to move around, and this is one rather long stretch of woods. So in one hand you have the controller, allowing you to move the screen left and right, while in the other hand you have your light gun, or in my case computer mouse. For the time, I can’t think of any other games that actually tried to build a real game around the light gun mechanic.

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As you travel to the right side of the woods, you’ll constantly be attacked by members of the other team. You’ll also be attacked by members of your own team for some reason. Actually I’m not sure if there even are teams. There clearly appear to be two different team colors, but EVERYONE is trying to shoot you, so I guess you’re on your own team.

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Also, you might be the only person with a paintball gun while everyone else has real guns. Whenever you shoot someone, they are visibly covered in paint before they run off. You on the other hand receive a giant gaping hole of a splash screen. Clearly you have been shot in the face and are now lying dead on the ground.

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Regardless of what dangers you’ve exposed yourself to, the objective remains the same. Travel to the far right end of the woods to capture the opponent’s flag. Then make the trek all the way back to your own flag on the left end of the woods. Hang their flag up on your own pole and congratulations, you’ve won.

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Now that you’ve proven yourself to be the master of the woods, we move our battlefield into the big city. The objective remains the same, but the enemies have been changed. Now instead of people in camouflage, you’ll be shooting at what looks like a biker gang. Again I can’t help but wonder if maybe you’re the only person playing paintball.

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Here in the city, the opponents have a lot more protective cover as they shoot at you from the upper floor windows. This makes them a somewhat smaller target which means they’re harder to hit. There are also a lot of areas which allow them to walk behind buildings, making it impossible to hit them. For most enemies this isn’t an issue. But when they grab your flag, shooting the flag bearer can become difficult.

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Conquer the big city, and once again we will have a change of scenery. Now we find ourselves out in the snow filled fields with snowmen and a cozy cabin in the woods. This level feels a lot more similar to the woods we started in, and thus feels a bit easier than the city we just left. However, because I’m playing on an emulator, this area was extra difficult because the crosshairs of my mouse would become lost in the snow.

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After you manage to capture the flag in the snowfield, you’ll find yourself back in the woods we started in. From here on out, the game will just continue looping between the three different stages until you either lose or quit. You only get three lives before a game over, but these lives are restored at the start of each stage, so you actually could go on for quite a while. You’re also barely punished when you do die since you resume play almost exactly where you died, and still in possession of the flag if you already had it. So have some fun and happy hunting.


Gameplay – 7 / 10

With only three stages, there isn’t a lot of content in the game. However, as a light gun game, it actually is fairly impressive. The combination of using the controller and the light gun simultaneously is something I’m not aware of seeing again until the Playstation 2. Usually you’re just standing still shooting at targets. Even if you are moving it would usually be on rails with very little control over your movement. As for the gameplay itself, there are constantly targets on screen, making it a very exciting game. The hit detection was also generally really good, but I did notice that it gets a bit wonky if you’re shooting while moving. I know I couldn’t really get the full experience since I was playing on an emulator, but I’m actually really tempted to set up a TV just so I can.

Graphics – 8 / 10

For the NES, I can’t really complain about the graphics. The environments were very well detailed with some nice little touches, such as the snowmen in the snowfield area. There was also a good sense of depth with multiple size enemy sprites. The inclusion of more levels would have been nice, but I can’t really complain about what was presented.

Audio – 7 / 10

Like the gameplay, the audio is suffering mostly from lack of content. The soundtrack is rather good for the NES, but you’ll be hearing the same couple of songs for the whole game. Honestly though, it doesn’t really matter. I was so focused on shooting that I hardly noticed the music. And like I said, it’s good music for the NES.

Story – N/A

There’s no story that I saw. But you’re out playing paintball, you don’t really need a story. There might be an interesting story here for your obituary. All about how you were killed when you decided to shoot paintballs at military personnel and biker gangs, but that wasn’t covered in the game.

Total Playtime – 0h 15m

With only three different stages, you’ll see pretty much everything the game has to offer in just a few minutes. However, that doesn’t stop the game from being fun and addicting for quite a while.

Total Deaths – 5 Deaths

The three lives per stage you are given are usually going to be more than enough. It’s the snowfield that ended up getting me. I couldn’t see my crosshairs most of the time. But that is a problem that would be nonexistent if I could play it for real with the light gun.

Overall Score – 7.5 / 10

I’m giving this game a relatively low score mostly for lack of content. However, I want to stress that I really loved playing this game. I love light gun games in general, so I might be a bit biased, but this one was really fun. The fact that it had actual gameplay as opposed to the usual target practice really elevated it towards the top of my list for light gun games. Then the sheer number of enemies kept the game exciting from start to finish. Lack of content or not, I had a great time playing this game and I simply can’t wait to hook up my old CRT TV so I can enjoy the full experience. I suggest you do the same if you’re capable.

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Shoot all the people!!!


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I hope you enjoyed Gotcha! The Sport! 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.


Jeopardy! Junior Edition (NES)

These last couple weeks I haven’t been feeling too well. I must have caught whatever flu it is that’s going around the office right now. There’s nothing to do now but stay home and watch TV all day. Of course, there’s nothing good on during the day, and all I end up watching are game shows. So, if I’m stuck with game shows all day, I might as well be the contestant.

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I actually have several game show games in my collection. They’re always good for a quick break. But today I’m going to be playing Jeopardy! Junior Edition for the NES. There are two reasons for this. First, Jeopardy is practically the definition of a trivia game, and all other trivia games are just derivatives of Jeopardy. Second, I’m not good at trivia, so the Junior Edition will make me feel smart, or so I hope. Let’s start the game and see how very wrong I can be.


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Before anything else, I need to point out the graphics. As anyone who has seen the show should know, it’s 95% white text on a blue background. The remaining 5% is shots of the contestants. Since this is the Junior Edition, the contestants are obviously children. But I’m not sure the character designer has ever actually seen a child before. These characters are demonic, with soulless empty eyes. Whenever they get an answer right it looks like the hysterical laugher of a psychopath right after a kill. Please, someone track down the character designer and get them some help.

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Onto the game itself. You’re allowed to play with up to 3 people, or against the computer. You can also pick which of the demon children you’ll play as, though they’re all about equally horrible. It’s not really that important of a decision though. This game is all about the trivia.

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If you’ve never actually seen the show, then first, welcome to the outside world. I hope it treats you better than whatever rock you crawled out from under. The gameplay is simple, there are 6 different categories with 5 questions each varying in price and difficulty. Pick a category and a price value, and then solve the trivia question based on the clue.

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Even though this is the Junior Edition, some of the questions are actually pretty hard. How the heck am I supposed to know what kind of animals they raise on Australian farms? Sometimes the computer will guess without knowing the right answer either, and for some reason they speak Q*Bertese when they do. I guess it’s partly to give you a hint, but it’s not actually very helpful.

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After clearing the whole board, it’s time for double Jeopardy. The gameplay is the same, except now the points are doubled. It’s fun when you head into double Jeopardy with such a huge lead over the other players.

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The only other game features of note are the hidden daily double questions. These are randomly hidden around the board and give you the opportunity to wager up to all your money on the question, doubling your winnings if you wager it all and answer correctly.

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Of course, this game came out in 1988, so almost 28 years later some of the questions can feel dated. I don’t know who Lacey is, so how the heck am I supposed to know who her partner is? Oh of course, Cagney, that answer doesn’t help me any. What show is that even talking about?

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Clearing the board yet again brings us to Final Jeopardy. In this final round, you can wager up to all of your money in one last chance to win. The question can come from any category and as the final question, can often be very difficult. Hopefully you had a good lead going in, and didn’t foolishly risk too much on this final question.


Gameplay – 9 / 10

The game is really simplistic, so there isn’t really anything to fault. The controls are quick and responsive, making it easy to type in your answer within the time limit. The only thing I can really fault the game on is the Q*Bertese answers. At least a wrong answer would have made some sense instead of just gibberish.

Graphics – 8 / 10

Again, there isn’t really anything to fault. Most of the game is just text. It did lose some points for having demonic children contestants. But at the same time, those demonic children make the game funny. So I can’t take away too many points.

Audio – 5 / 10

The audio is the only real thing I can fault in this game. Jeopardy is known for a small handful of audio clips, and yet they weren’t used in the game. Most notably are the audio clip that plays when the daily double is picked, and the theme music playing for Final Jeopardy. These are really the only things it needed to have, and it didn’t. This is doubly disappointing because the Jeopardy theme was used on the intro screen. It’s so iconic that it just doesn’t make sense not to use it during Final Jeopardy, especially when it’s already programmed into the game.

Story – N/A

Total Playtime – 0h 31m

It’s a short game, but there are tons of questions. You’ll be playing for quite a while before you start seeing repeats.

Total Deaths – 0 Deaths

The contestants might have been the spawn of hell, but I managed to survive!

Overall Score – 8 / 10

I can’t really fault an old game for being old, but that’s pretty much this games only fault. The characters look weird, but they are so bad that they become funny and quite enjoyable to see. Then there’s the slight disappointment of not having the Final Jeopardy theme playing at the end. But really, it was a solid adaptation of the show, and one I will probably regularly come back to for a quick 30 minutes of fun. In fact, I’ve actually already played it a few times. I only recorded one game, which I kind of regret now because I ended up playing about 6 games total. I even played it with my 7 year old daughter and she loved it. Her favorite part was actually the crazy reactions from the contestants. So again, I can’t really fault it as being wrong if it’s so enjoyable.

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When do I get my check?


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I hope you enjoyed Jeopardy! Junior Edition. 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.


Kid Icarus (NES)

One of my oldest gaming memories, in fact one of my oldest memories in general involves the cult classic game Kid Icarus. I remember it happened when we were still living at our old house, so I couldn’t have been more than 3 years old at the time. I loved playing Kid Icarus, even though I was terrible at it. One day, my dad gave me a notepad with all kinds of level codes on it. How could he have possible gotten these codes? He’s a dad, and dads don’t play video games. When I asked him, he told me he “Hot wired the game until it told him all its secrets.” To this day, my dad is still an amazing mechanic, so at the time the pictures in my mind of him with jumper cables, a car battery, and a typewriter somehow hooked up to this NES cartridge made complete sense to me. Like I said, dads don’t play video games, so this was the only possible way.

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Ever since then Kid Icarus has always held a special place for me, and I’m so happy to see Pit getting a little more attention now thanks to his inclusions in the Smash Bros series. As much as I love the game, I’ve never actually sat down to beat it. I barely ever even make it out of the first stages because it’s so hard. So join me as we tackle this monster of a game together!


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A little back story first. Long ago in the Kingdom of “Angel Land” there ruled two beautiful Goddesses. Palutena, the Goddess of Light, loved mankind and helped them to be happy and peaceful. However, Medusa, the Goddess of Darkness, hated mankind and would destroy their crops and turn people to stone. In a moment of rage, Palutena transformed Medusa into a snake haired monster and banished her to the Underworld. Fueled by anger and with the help of the monsters of the underworld, Medusa led a surprise attack against Palutena. Palutena’s army was quickly defeated and Medusa imprisoned her inside the Palace in the Sky. With the last of her strength, Palutena sent a magic bow and arrows to the young warrior Pit, who had been imprisoned deep in the Underworld.

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That’s where the game begins. As Pit, currently in the deepest part of the Underworld, you must travel the distance up to the Palace in the Sky to rescue the Goddess Palutena and restore peace to the world. The game plays out primarily as a platformer game, though it does have a touch of RPG mixed in too. Things like an actual inventory, a health bar, and stat increases make this an amazing title in the latter half of the game. Unfortunately, those same mechanics cause the start of the game to be nightmarishly hard due to lack of items and health.

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Death Count: 2

Probably one of the first things you’ll notice right away is that it’s not your typical “travel to the right” video game. Instead you’re trying to travel upwards towards Angel Land and the Palace in the Sky. This adds a great deal of platforming to the game, but also causes one of the most frustrating aspects of the game. As you climb higher, any platform that falls off the bottom of the screen is gone forever, replaced by an instant death pit. A single missed jump could mean starting over the whole stage, even if a platform was under you just seconds earlier.

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Another interesting mechanic is the fact that the screen loops left and right. What I mean by this is that if you move off the screen to the left, you’ll automatically show up on the right side of the screen, making the world more of a round pillar than a flat wall. Just be aware of your surroundings, because the monsters can and will also travel around the screen like this.

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As you travel up, you’ll encounter a wide variety of monsters like the Shemum snake like creatures and the Monoeye flying eye monsters. These monsters will all come in waves, and unlike most platformers where you want to rush through it, this game rewards and practically requires you to slow down and deal with the waves of enemies. Not only will killing the monsters increase your score, they’ll also drop hearts which are the currency in the game. You’ll need a lot of hearts to buy all the items you’ll need, so slow down and enjoy the hunt.

On the subject of monsters, I have to point out the Reapers. They are one of the most fun and also most annoying enemies in the game. But they were my favorite, and sometimes I’d play just to see them. They are slow moving, walking back and forth on whatever platform they’re on, as opposed to most enemies who will jump off the edges. What makes them so much fun is how they react when they see you. They change from the usual calm, slow moving menacing character into a hyperactive psycho. They start running around and screaming while also summoning tiny flying Reapettes to hunt you down. The music even changes to a weird almost laughing sounding music. It bizarrely funny and made a tough enemy actually quite enjoyable.

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Scattered around the level as you travel upwards are also various different rooms to explore. The stores can be particularly useful, offering you life saving items in exchange for your hard earned hearts. Here, you can buy glasses of the Water of Life to instantly restore your health, or bottles of it which will automatically restore your health should it ever reach zero. If you save up enough, you should really invest in the barrel, which allows you to carry up to 8 bottles of the Water of Life at a single time. Probably the most appreciated item they sell is the Angel’s Feather, which will save you if you miss a jump. Why start over the whole stage because of a single bad jump?

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On occasion you’ll even find a treasure room. Break as many jars as you want, and collect as much as you can, but watch out for the God of Poverty. If you break his jar, the fun is over and you end up with nothing. However, if you break his jar last you’ll be highly rewarded. If you’re really lucky, you’ll get the credit card. It lets you buy anything you want from the stores, but all your hearts go towards paying off the purchase.

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Death Count: 5

You’ll also encounter monster dens full of Specknose, flying nose like monsters. These rooms can be tough, and dangerous, but each monster rewards you with 10 hearts, so it’s well worth the risk. They fly in regular patterns, so it’s best not to move around a lot, and then take them out at your own pace.

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Death Count: 7

With the odds stacked against him, poor little Pit is going to need all the help he can get. He’s not alone on his quest though. Occasionally Zeus God of Thunder will show up to help train Pit into a mighty warrior. At least I want to believe he’s there to help. When you encounter him, he starts throwing solid iron Monolith plates at you. Should he fail to kill you, he’ll reward you by allowing you the use of one of the three different weapons. There’s a fireball that wraps around the arrows making them stronger, a Sacred Bow to shoot the full length of the screen, or the Protective Crystals which makes 2 small crystal orbs circle Pit and attack enemies that get too close.

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When Zeus isn’t joyfully throwing stuff at you, he’ll also be judging how strong of a warrior Pit is. If he deems Pit worthy before reaching his chamber, Zeus will upgrade his arrows so they hit stronger. At the same time he’ll also change Pit’s color pallet for some reason. The gods work in mysterious ways I guess.

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Endure all the challenges and eventually you’ll make it to the end of each stage. It can seem impossible at first with how weak Pit starts out, but that’s why you want to really slow down and kill as many enemies as possible for the highest score you can get. Your score also doubles as your experience points. When your total score reaches certain checkpoints, you’ll be leveled up, increasing your health going forward. With so many enemies, you’ll be so glad to have every extra point of health you can get.

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Death Count: 12

Progressing up the tower, the monsters don’t change much. Instead, only the level design changes. Adding new elements like icy platforms which threaten to have Pit slide right off into the abyss. They’re also thinner than a normal platform, which allows Pit to drop down through it when you try to crouch. This will also sometimes send you flying into the abyss with a simple wrong button press. Still more dangers await Pit as he has to cross over lava pits which will damage him on contact. So remember, don’t go swimming in the lava pools.

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Death Count: 18

But truly, the most dangerous enemy is yourself. The balance between reaching the end of the level, and grinding to acquire enough hearts for essential items can often be fatal. For example, enemies like the Mcgoo can be a blessing and a curse. These living magma monsters seep up out of the ground to attack Pit. They’re easy enough to avoid, simply side step and duck to avoid their projectile attack. Why I bring these guys up is because they’re one of the few enemies that will spawn infinitely, making them great for harvesting hearts. If you’re not careful, especially early on, you’ll get hit occasionally. Do you risk dying for the hearts you need or do you press forward to the end of the level without enough to buy items for yourself? This question more often than not ends in my death and time wasted.

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By the time I reached level 1-3, I opted to start the game over because I had progressed too quickly and thought starting over and slowing down this time would be the better choice. Slowing down was exactly what I needed. I managed to get enough experience to get a second bar of health by the end of level 1-2. This gave me twice as much health to farm hearts in 1-3 until I had enough to buy a barrel. As I mentioned before, the barrel lets you hold up to 8 bottles of Water of Life, effectively adding up to 8 more bars of health.

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Upon entering level 1-4, you’ll notice a drastic departure from the previous levels. Gone is the long trek upwards, replaced with a labyrinth that in the first of 3 fortresses. Here, you have to navigate your way through the various rooms fighting enemies and tracking down Medusa’s general entrusted with one of the three Sacred Treasures. If you want to find your way around, you’ll have to find the map hidden somewhere in the fortress, as well as purchase a pencil and torch from one of the markets to fill it.

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The fortress is possibly the best place to collect hearts and items in the game. The enemies all respawn endlessly upon entering or reentering their room. There’s also healing spas in the fortress to get you back up to perfect condition. This is what made getting the barrel before now so important. Between the endless enemies and the healing spas, there’s nothing stopping you from filling up your inventory with Water of Life for the challenges ahead.

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The fortress is unfortunately home to one of the most annoying yet comical enemies in the game, the dreaded Eggplant Wizard. These crazy enemies usually show up in pairs, throwing eggplants in high arcs at Pit. If that wasn’t bad enough, coming in contact with one of these eggplants will transform Pit into an eggplant himself. He can still run around, and somehow climb up and down ladders, but he can’t attack. The only way to break the eggplant curse is to visit one of the hospitals hidden somewhere in the fortress.

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In addition to all the items you collect, there’s one other source of assistance waiting for Pit in the fortress. Scattered around the fortress are statues that look like Palutena’s Centurian warriors. In truth, these ARE Centurians who have been turned to stone by Medusa. If you hit them with one of your mallets you can free them from their stone prison. This is completely optional, but every warrior you free will aid you in the upcoming battle against the fortress guardian.

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Speaking of the fortress guardian, this first fortress is guarded by Twinbellows, a two headed fire breathing dog. As far as bosses go he’s not that tough, especially if you properly prepared yourself with lots of Water of Life. You probably won’t need them though because he is very slow moving, and attacks very rarely. Plus you have all your Centurian buddies helping you kill him. If you took the time to save them that is. They are laughably weak though, and will each die in a single hit.

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Your efforts are rewarded with the retrieval of one of the 3 Sacred Treasures. You can’t do anything with it, but it’s nice to have. So it functions about as well as most antiques. If you took the time to really fill your inventory like I did, you might also want to prepare for a few minutes of your score calculating. This is also rewarding in the end as my health is now maxed out at 5 bars, not counting the 8 bottles of Water of Life I have.

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Having climbed all the way out of the Underworld, Pit now walks free across the Overworld. The change of scenery isn’t even the half of the changes here. If you haven’t noticed already, we’re no longer climbing straight up. We’re instead traveling the more traditional left to right platformer the system is known for. This makes the game so much easier, mostly because of the absence of the once ever present bottomless pit. That mechanic is easily the worst part of this game.

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To make things even better, there is a healing pond right at the beginning of the world. Not only does this heal you, but it is possibly the first opportunity to activate my Protective Crystals to circle around Pit. Before now, my energy level wasn’t high enough to use the weapons Zeus gave me. Then the fortresses have some special magic that makes the weapons useless. Anyway, these orbs will damage any enemy they come in contact with, instantly killing most of the weaker enemies. This again makes the game so much easier. Honestly, the Underworld is going to have been the hardest part of the game if everything keeps getting easier like this.

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In all honesty, the hardest part of the Overworld appears at the beginning of the second area. There is a chamber where Zeus will wait for you to upgrade your bow again. What makes this so complicated is the fact that it appears so early in the level that it’s hard to get enough points for him to actually show up. Is this mandatory? No, you can complete the level and the game without it. However, the game has multiple endings, and you need it if you want to get the best ending, which I want to see.

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Death Count: 25

I have to admit I was a bit hasty calling that the hardest thing about the Overworld when in fact it isn’t. The hardest, or at least most annoying, thing about the overworld has to be the Pluton enemies. These little ogres are completely immortal. No amount of damage you do to them will ever kill them. That alone is bad, but what makes them so memorably annoying the fact that they steal your special weapons if they touch you. My Protective Crystals and Sacred Bow, both gone in an instant because of these guys. Oh but don’t worry, you can always buy them back at one of the black markets. If you don’t mind paying an arm and a leg for them that is!

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I know I’ve said how much easier the Overworld is than the Underworld, but that doesn’t mean the Overworld is a walk in the park. As far as level composition is concerned, the overworld can be quite difficult at times. The sheer volume of enemies has drastically increased as the rock monsters Rokman will fall from the heavens, or pink porcupine Minos will jump from the ground, and the occasional flying frogs Keron will torment Pit to no end.

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Death Count: 29

Though we’ve moved away from the bottomless pit, it’s not really gone. There are many bottomless pits still waiting to claim another life in the Overworld. This time around they’re just a bit more cleverly integrated into the level in the form of a watery grave. Pit apparently can’t swim at all, and a miscalculated jump from any of the small ledges could mean the end for our hero. And as evident by the mass graveyard, Pit wasn’t the first to perish on this journey.

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Before you know it, you’ll be upon the second fortress. Though the size has increased, the basic strategy remains the same. Restock your items and get ready for the challenges ahead. Of course this won’t be easy, especially with the Eggplant Wizards returning ready to put their eggplant curse on poor Pit. Curiously, they seem to be joined by roaming groups of Goombas. Sorry guys, but you’re game is in another castle.

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Despite its increased size and difficulty, gathering supplies this time around will feel much easier. Not only do we already have some items left over from last time, but with the increased health, and strength, Pit can take on tougher groups of enemies to gain hearts faster than ever before. The room I picked would gain me 80 hearts every time I entered. It was also only 2 rooms away from the store, which was itself only 2 rooms from a healing spring. I can’t really ask for a more perfect training area.

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I accidentally stumbled upon the fortress guardian Hewdraw’s chamber a bit earlier than I meant to, leaving me more vulnerable than I would have liked to be. While I had already filled my inventory, I hadn’t freed many of the petrified Centurians, leaving Pit quickly on his own. In my panic, I took more damage than I probably should have. Hewdraw is actually a fairly easy though time consuming boss. He has a very rigid movement pattern, bouncing up and down out of the lava pools in perfect arches, only turning when he hits a wall. Other than physical contact, he has no attacks or projectiles of any kind. What makes him difficult is the fact that only his head takes any damage. Trying to attack a small fast moving target trailed by a damaging tail all while standing on small platforms over pools of lava. Patience was the key to this one as Hewdraw eventually falls, leaving behind the second Sacred Treasure.

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Pit has finally started his accent to the Skyworld. We once again return to the original vertical platformer of the Underworld levels. This time around will be a bit easier than in the Underworld. With 5 bars of health, all the weapon upgrades, and a stock of Water of Life, the enemies don’t stand a chance. Even if those enemies are Metroids. Wait, what are you guys doing in this game anyway?

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Death Count: 34

While the enemies may not be much threat anymore, the platforming is at its hardest here in Skyworld. With plenty of tiny platforms to jump across, that bottomless pit is looking even more threatening than before. Patience is definitely needed if you plan to make it to the Palace in the Sky and rescue Goddess Palutena.

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I ended up rushing through these stages, especially in comparison to the Underworld levels. One thing that did slow me down however were the Pluton Flies. Similar to the Pluton enemies from the overworld, these guys are invincible, and will steal your weapons if they touch you. They are however much easier to get past this time around. While the Plutons jumps around and would more or less dart at you, the Pluton Flies make only a single horizontal rush at you. Once you’re at the same height as them, they will bolt across the screen. Jumping into their vision and falling back down will clear them from your path without much trouble.

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Finally we reach the 3rd and final fortress. With 64 total rooms, this is the largest and most confusing of all the fortresses. Just like with the others the fortress remains a great place to restock before the end. That’s truer than ever this time, as it’s the final chance you’ll have before facing Medusa herself in the final level.

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As before, the Eggplant Wizards will cause no end of torment for you, but they ramp it up for one last assault this time. Towards the end of the fortress is a room with two wizards and very little room to dodge, as well as one throwing eggplants up at Pit. Getting hit with an eggplant here will have you back tracking a huge distance back to the hospital to cure yourself.

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Getting past the eggplant wizards leaves only one last deception in the form of a store. This store is placed in the room immediately before the fortress guardian, making it very tempting to buy things. However this game has multiple endings based on how well you did in the game. One of the criteria is how many hearts you have. Ending the game with anything less than 999 hearts will disqualify you for the best ending in the game. If you do buy anything from this store, you only have access to a single enemy in the previous room to restock your hearts as the room below the store will not allow re-entry.

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Avoiding this trap brings us to the final fortress guardian, Pandora the Demon God of Disasters. With a title like that, you’d expect this to be a much harder battle, but no. Pandora is simply a giant bubble slowly drifting around the room. He has high health, making this a rather long battle, but not a difficult one. There are two other balloons floating around that pose a mild threat, but they are also easily avoided. With no other attacks, his only ability is the fact that he can turn invisible. He can’t be attacked during this time, and you might run into him, but he’s still slow moving and you should be able to predict his pattern.

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Now with all 3 of the Sacred Treasures in Pit’s possession, it’s time to equip them and face off against the evil Medusa. Thanks to the Wings of Pegasus, Pit now flies perfectly and the game shifts to a side scrolling shooter. Enemies will come flying at Pit from all directions as he flies towards his ultimate goal. You have to kill as many enemies as possible because this stage will actually loop if you haven’t reached a high enough score yet.

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The stage is actually rather long too. It starts out simple enough with those Totem enemies falling from the sky. Then it changes to ancient structures full of Zuree Ghosts and evil poisonous Daphne Flowers. There are even groups of Harpies flying around ready to tear Pit apart. The change in controls takes a little while to get used to, and I’ll admit my timing was terrible. But either way it’s a fun change coming towards the end of the game.

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And here she is, the evil Goddess Medusa. I must say I didn’t expect her to be a whole wall size head. Shoot out her eye with your Light Arrows and protect yourself with your Mirror Shield. She might be a wall, but she’s not defenseless. Her gaze is deadly, shown in this game as waves coming from her eyes. She also has a snake that lives in her hair named Tanatos who will jump out and attack you.

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Survive her attacks while you whittle away at her health and eventually you will defeat her. When her massive eye is destroyed, it reveals her true body inside. As she crumples to the ground, you know it’s finally over and that Pit has saved the day.

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You have rescued the goddess Palutena and saved the whole world. If you get the best ending like I did, Palutena will transform Pit into an adult warrior as well as giving him a kiss as a reward. All those hours of grinding were worth it just for that one kiss.

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So that’s it. The world it saved, Pit got his rewards, and everything is great. Now Pit’s struggle continues. The End…..Wait, Pit’s struggle continues?

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Gameplay – 7 / 10

The mash-up of different genres actually works really well for this game. Letting you become stronger as the game progresses, and rewarding those who level grind early on. However, that also makes the first stages feel near impossible. It took me about 3 hours to finally beat the Underworld, but then I was able to rush through the Skyworld is just under an hour. The level design was clearly harder for the 3rd stage, but Pit starts out so unbelievably weak that the early stages could easily turn people off to the game. Then right at the end changing to basically a shooter was an unexpected twist.

Graphics – 7 / 10

I’ve always been very happy with the graphics in the game. The only thing I’m actually faulting it on graphically is the fact that there really isn’t any background for most of the game. It’s just a solid black. Other than that, I’ve always enjoyed all the character designs. I think the sprite work is all very well done, not the best, but very good. Then the humor with some of the characters, like the Eggplant Wizards and Reapers makes the game very enjoyable.

Audio – 7 / 10

I love the music in this game, it’s very catchy. The main song is one of the few songs that I know I’ve caught myself humming randomly throughout my whole life. Unfortunately, there aren’t very many songs to the soundtrack, and they aren’t particularly complex compared to other titles at the time. Nothing wrong with that, they’re still good songs, but the system WAS capable of more. Then there’s the fact that some of the notes are a bit too high pitched to the point of piercing.

Story – 6 / 10

As described in the manual, the story is actually really involved and thought out. The problem, like with many old NES games is the fact that hardly any of the story is represented in the actual game. This is really a shame. Sorry if it sounds nitpicky, but I really love a game with a good narrative.

Total Playtime – 8h 29m

It’s a good length, but in reality, it could easily be beaten in about half the length if you are a more skilled player, i.e. not me. Shave about an hour off for my first attempt which I then restarted. Then if you don’t grind of items in the fortresses like I did you could probably cut the time in half. Still, it’s a difficult and complex game for the time. Even though it doesn’t have that many levels, all the levels are really long and it really is an enjoyable length for the game as a whole.

Total Deaths – 34 Deaths

I died 12 times during the first attempt, so really it’s only 22 deaths. Then during the Overworld stage I intentionally died a few times because of those Pluton enemies stealing my weapons. It was faster and easier to die and start the stage over than it would have been to try to buy them back. Still, it felt like I died a lot more than that. I’m actually kind of proud of that count.

Overall Score – 7 / 10

For simple nostalgia, this will always be one of my favorite games, but I’m not blind to its faults. The drastic difficulty curve between the start and finish of the game is too noticeable not to fault. It leaves the game very off putting to anyone not willing to dedicate themselves in the beginning, and then fails to properly reward them at the end. Then the music, as pleasant as it is, does have a few notes that are a little too high pitched, making it hard to listen to. Finally, the boss battles aren’t as engaging as they could have been. They don’t require much real strategy to beat, leaving you a bit unfulfilled. Still, the overall experience is fun, and thanks to the general difficulty of the game you really feel accomplished when you finally beat it. If you give it the proper chance, and you know ahead of time what you’re getting yourself into, I’m sure more people would like this game as much as I do.

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Why God? Why?


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I hope you enjoyed Kid Icarus. 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.



Have you ever pretended something to be real so strongly or so frequently that you forget it never actually existed? For me, I’m afraid to go swimming because I’m scared a shark will eat me. I’m not even talking about in the ocean, where that is a legitimate fear, I’m talking about in swimming pools. I’m not a stupid person. I know there’s no possible way for a shark to get into my pool. There’s no way for it to survive the chemicals in the water. There’s no way for me to miss seeing it in the crystal clear water. Yet I still have that fear in the back of my mind any time I go swimming. I’m sure it started as a game. Someone would pretend to be a shark and try to “eat” the other swimmers, but fear is a powerful emotion that doesn’t need logic. That fear of sharks isn’t helped any by classic movies like Jaws.

If you’ve never seen Steven Spielberg’s classic thriller, what is wrong with you? Go watch it now, I’ll wait.

I love the use of the vertigo shot in this scene. It’s probably my favorite scene from the whole movie.


Now that we’ve all seen the movie, I’ll keep this brief. Released in 1975, Jaws was a summer thriller about a great white shark who was terrorizing and eating beach goers of the fictional Amity Island summer resort town. This prompted the police chief, together with a marine biologist and a local shark hunter to hunt down the man eating shark. Not only was Jaws the highest grossing film of the summer, it held the title for highest grossing film of all time for 2 years before being dethroned by the original star wars movie.

Jaws (1)

Despite the death of the shark at the end of the first movie, the Jaws franchise went on to make multiple sequels. The final film, Jaws 4: The revenge, was released in 1987 and, unlike its predecessor, it is considered by many to be one of the worst movie sequels of all time. It was even nominated for the worst movie of the year when it was released. This didn’t stop LJN from producing a game loosely based on it that same year, simple titled “Jaws”. Now, when I say it was based on the movie, what I really mean is that they both feature a shark named Jaws. Actually, even that isn’t technically correct. To my knowledge the shark in the movie was never named, and behind the scenes he was named Bruce. So really, they both have sharks, that’s the only similarity.

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Most of the game is spent between two screens, the first being the overworld map where you sail your boat around a small stretch of ocean. Here, you will navigate between two ports to buy power-ups, as well as avoid or hunt Jaws. At first, you can only tell where Jaws is when you see his fin coming up out of the water to chase you, but your first power-up equips you with a transmitter to tell how close he is to you.

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The second screen is where the bulk of the actual gameplay will take place. Occasionally while sailing around, you will hit something in the water. This will apparently cause your boat to explode, forcing you to swim around in the water until a new boat shows up to rescue you. While in the water, you have the amazing ability to shoot harpoons out of your eyes. They’re clearly coming out of the diver’s eyes and not the harpoon gun in his hand.

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You will defend yourself mostly against jellyfish, which swim up from the bottom, as well as sting rays, which will swim side to side. While you wait for a new boat to come, you are free to kill as many sea creatures as you can. Or don’t, it doesn’t matter, just wait for a new boat if that’s all you want.

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you might want to kill a few of them though, because they will give you points and more importantly drop shells you can trade for power-ups at the ports.

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Death Count: 8


The jellyfish are the weaker of the two, and will die after a single hit. However, I found them to be much more annoying. Nearly all of my deaths were caused by these boogers of the sea. The problem is that they swim up from below the bottom of the screen. This doesn’t give you a lot of reaction time when you are down there trying to pick up your shells before they disappear. Also as you increase in power, they start to float around rather randomly instead of straight up like they used to.


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Death Count:14


There are also small sharks that will occasionally show up. These guys require quite a few hits to kill, and will track you as they swim from side to side. Unlike the other enemies, once they get past the edge of the screen, they will turn around and come at you again. They aren’t too hard to maneuver around, so they aren’t a huge challenge. It’s also very beneficial to try to kill them. They are guaranteed to drop a shell, and I’m not positive, but killing one of them always seemed to activate the bonus round for me.

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The final enemy you can face is Jaws himself. Obviously you’ll encounter him if you run into his fin, but occasionally he’ll show up on his own if he was nearby when you entered the water. It’s sad that Jaws is somewhat of a joke in this game. He’s a huge target, he moves slower than any other enemy, and for some reason he’s unable to attack you if you are hugging the surface of the water. My whole time playing, I think Jaws only killed me once, and that was because I was swimming after him, got too close, and hit his tail. He does have a lot of health though, and your starting power level simply isn’t up to the task of killing him.

Jaws (13)

Once you collect enough shells while out at sea, head to one of the ports to buy your power upgrades. There are 9 total power levels, each with increasing cost. This power level only seems to affect the damage you do to Jaws himself because the normal enemies, like the sting rays, still seemed to take just as long to kill.

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I mentioned earlier that occasionally you will get a bonus round, and I bring this up now because of how game breaking this bonus actually is. In the bonus round, you are flying a plane back and forth dropping cannon balls onto jellyfish swimming in the water. A good bonus round could net you 6 or 7 shells or even more if you’re really good. That’s great. You need those shells for the upgrades, but there are two problems with this. First off, because it’s a bonus round, you’re in no danger; these are just a free reward. Second, and more importantly, you don’t really need a lot of shells to begin with. To max out your level, you need 5 shells for the transmitter, and another 115 shells to max out to level 9. But maxing your level isn’t even close to necessary. Starting at level 3, you have enough power to kill Jaws if you want. It might take two encounters, but being able to hug to top of the water makes that easy. Shoot him in the face, hug the surface, and then shoot his tail. Rinse and repeat until he’s dead. Including the transmitter, you only need 13 shells to be powerful enough to beat the game. With a bonus round, you are capable of doing that far too quickly. On my final run, I ONLY played the bonus rounds, choosing to simply wait out the regular levels to avoid dying. When your bonus round makes the rest of the game obsolete, you’ve done something wrong.

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Once you’re happy with your power level, it’s time to go kill Jaws. It’s not as easy as just getting his health down to zero though. Once he’s out of health, you will be taken to the true final confrontation with Jaws. The screen changes to a kind of first person view of the front of the boat. Your task is to line Jaws up directly in front of the boat, use a strobe to make him leap out of the water, then impale him with the front of the boat. This is a horrible boss fight, as well as a horrible plan in real life. Sail boats don’t exactly have the ability to suddenly speed up and impale a shark leaping in front of you. The best you could hope for would be the shark committing suicide on the front of your boat by impaling itself. As for the game version, it requires such perfect timing that it borders on impossible. I spent literally an hour with a save state just practicing this 1 minute fight trying to get the timing right. That’s not fun. It’s even less fun when you run out of strobes and find out Jaws is back to full health and needs to be killed again before you can make another attempt.

The ending isn’t anything to be too happy about either. Jaws sinks to the bottom of the ocean and you fly away in a plane. The End. No “Congraturations” no “A Winner is you” no nothing, just “The End”.

At the end of the day, I have mixed feelings about this game. On a strictly technical level, this is a terrible game. The world map is tiny. With rare exception, the graphics are unimpressive. Worst of all, the gameplay is overly simplistic and repetitive. At the same time, it has that classic arcade charm to it, like space invaders.

The difference is in the details though. Games like space invaders get a pass for their simplicity because of their age. They also remain fun and challenging because of the fact that there is no real end. You just play and play as it gets harder and harder until you eventually can’t take anymore and die. Jaws doesn’t have this benefit. The NES is still an older system now, but it was capable of so much more than what Jaws presented. Also the fact that it does have a definitive ending robs it of some of its lasting charm. The final confrontation with Jaws is really what kills this game though. It was a wonderful concept, but so poorly executed that my whole view of the game dropped to near hatred.

It’s not often that a game gets less enjoyable the better you get at it, but that’s what Jaws manages to do. It was fun at first when I was terrible at it and learning what to do, but when I finally started to get good, it became tedious and annoying. Combine that with the horrible boss battle, and terribly unmemorable ending and you aren’t left with much to enjoy.

Jaws (18)

Score: 3 / 10

Death Count: 25


Jaws (19)

Fear the pool shark!



I hope you enjoyed Jaws. 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.

A Boy and His Blob: Trouble on Blobolonia

I love searching the web for “best of” lists. It’s just fun to see all the games I might have missed growing up, pick out my favorites, and build a “to play” list of my own. Most people seem to agree on a lot of the best games, though the exact order is different person to person. The Mario games, Metroid, and Zelda always seem to top off the lists. But somewhere in the middle of nearly every one of those lists, one title in particular always seemed to catch my eye, A Boy and his Blob.

A Boy and His Blob (Cover)

I’m not entirely sure what it is that made me put A Boy and His Blob so high on my “to play” list. Maybe it was just the weird concept of a boy with a giant blob alien friend going on an adventure. I never even really knew what the game was about before I chose to play it. More importantly, who is David Crane, and why does his name come even before the title? Turns out, David Crane is kind of a big deal in video game history. He’s the creator of Pitfall, one of the best selling games of its generation, and was a very influential game for the whole platforming genre. So with that kind of resume behind this game let’s dive in, and see if this is another masterpiece.

A Boy and His Blob (1)

The story, as explained in the manual is as follows. Blobert, the alien blob, came from the planet Blobolonia where an evil emperor has taken control. He is forcing everyone to eat only marshmallows and chocolate, which sounds great to me. Grab some graham crackers, start a nice camp fire, and you can make s’mores out of that. Blobert escaped to earth to get the only thing that can save his planet, vitamins. For the evil emperor, vitamins are a lethal poison. Blobert arrives on Earth, and quickly enlists the help of a young boy. Unfortunately, the boy has no money to buy vitamins with. To raise the money, they come up with the plan to go searching underground for treasure. Thankfully, Blobert is well equipped for this task, since he can change shape whenever he eats a jelly bean. So off they go on their adventure to save Blobolonia.


First things first, what do each of the jelly beans turn Blobert into? According to the manual, all the transformations are puns or wordplay to help you remember what they all do.

A Boy and His Blob (2)

Licorice = Ladder – Very useful to climb up to ledges above you.

A Boy and His Blob (3)

Strawberry = Bridge – Obviously, use this to cross any gaps you come across

A Boy and His Blob (4)

Coconut = Coconut – So, he’s a coconut now.

A Boy and His Blob (5)

Cola = Bubble – Helps you safely fall down large drops, and breath underwater

A Boy and His Blob (6)

Cinnamon = Blow Torch – Considering most of my problems in life are caused by and then again solved with fire, I thought this would be more useful

A Boy and His Blob (7)

Apple = Jack – Helps lift up heavy objects

A Boy and His Blob (8)

Vanilla = Umbrella – There might not be rain underground, but there are plenty of falling rocks.

A Boy and His Blob (9)

Tangerine = Trampoline – For those hard to reach areas

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Root Beer = Rocket – To travel back and forth between Earth and Blobolonia. It’s small, but lucky for us, our boy hero seems to be able to survive not only the cold vacuum of space, but also faster than light travel and he goes between planets in seconds.

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Honey = Hummingbird – This allows Blobert to fly up to you if you lose him on a floor below you.

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Punch = Hole – You need to get down to the depths of the cave somehow, and this is how you do it.

Ketchup – It doesn’t turn him into anything. Instead it teleports Blobert next to you if you lose him

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A few of those I guess are wordplay, but how is strawberry related to bridge in any way? It doesn’t really matter. Now that all our jelly beans are identified, it’s time to go hunting for treasure in the subway.

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Our first treasure is right there for the taking. Just punch a hole in the floor to get to the lower level. Then use the ladder to get the treasure. Unfortunately, now we’re stuck here on the lower floor, and there doesn’t seem to be anywhere else to go. I guess we’re supposed to be exploring caves anyway, so maybe there are caves under the subway. We just punch a hole in the floor, and let’s see what’s below us.

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Death Count: 1


Well, that didn’t work out quite how I had planned. It did however provide some useful information. I can see it already that this is going to be a nice game of trial and error.

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Death Count: 3


Landing safely on the ledge this time, we can finally properly explore the cave. It won’t be easy though. Not only are there long drops to death, but the cave is full of subway serpents guarding treasure…

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Death Count: 7


Lots of falling rocks…

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Fire is the only solution for a spider problem this big

Death Count: 9


And giant spider webs.

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There’s something seriously wrong with this kid. I’m not sure how old he is, the manual doesn’t seem to specify, but there have to be other ways to get money that don’t involve exploring a deadly cave. When I was 14 I already had a part time job. Before that, I would shovel driveways in winter, or mow lawns in the summer. Even before that I would sell candy to my friends at school. My point is there should be plenty of ways to raise money for some vitamins that don’t involve risking your life.

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Death Count: 13


As we reach the bottom of the cave, I have a sudden realization. All of the puzzles have been really easy. Use a ladder to go up, use the bubble to float down, use the bridge to go across, etc. At the same time, I have no idea where I am relative to where I started, and I have no idea how to get back to the surface.

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Death Count: 18


THAT is where the puzzle comes from. You don’t have to find ALL the treasures, you only have to find your way to the surface again.

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When you do manage to get close to the surface, you will find a bag of jelly beans with two very important new flavors.

Orange = Vitablaster – A gun used to shoot vitamins, we’ll need this to save Blobolonia

Lime = Key – To unlock the throne room

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Back on the surface, with most of the treasure, we can finally buy all the vitamins we want. Well, we could, if the store clerk wasn’t taking advantage of our boy hero. Did you see the size of those diamonds? Just one of them should have been enough to buy an island, and we found several of them. Instead, we trade all the treasure for $50 worth of vitamin A, B and C. What a rip off.

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Real men don’t need space suits


No time to plot revenge against this store clerk now, we have a planet to save. Hop on rocket Blobert, take a deep breath, and fly over to Blobolonia to fight the evil emperor. It’s unfortunate that the Blobolonia section of the game isn’t nearly as fun as the caves. In my opinion anyway.

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Death Count: 23


Fighting our way to the emperor has us avoiding Magic Marshmallows as they bounce up and down on the screen…

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Death Count: 27


Cherry bombs which will explode if they hit the ground…

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Death Count: 29


Popcorn that continuously pours across the screen…

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Death Count: 32


Cave teeth, just waiting to eat our boy hero…

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And reverse falling chocolate kisses.

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Maybe it was the fact that I equipped the vitablaster the whole time, and just treated this as a run ‘n gun section, but the variety of obstacles just felt stale. Avoid the falling object again and again until you finally make it to the emperor.

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And this is where the whole game just hits rock bottom. The final boss is supposed to be the ultimate challenge. You’re supposed to take everything you learned throughout the game, and put it all together in this ultimate showdown of skill. That’s not what you get at the end of A Boy and His Blob. Instead, you feed Blobert an apple jelly bean, he’ll knock over the jar of vitamins, and that’s it. You win.

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Everyone cheers, the nice king is returned to the throne, and I can’t help but notice no one offers to bring the boy back home to earth.

While I enjoyed this game, it’s not without its flaws. The second half of the game felt repetitive and possibly rushed. It’s actually quite possible it was rushed. David Crane and his team managed to create the whole game in a mere 6 weeks compared to the usual production time of 6 – 8 months. It’s also entirely possible I under appreciated the 2nd half of the game with my run ‘n gun attitude. I shot the puzzles rather than solved them. I never did use the coconut transformation for anything. Maybe it would have been a better solution somehow.

The final boss however has no excuse. I felt cheated when I made it to him. One second I’m opening the door, the next second Blobert is in a cage and I have no idea why. There’s no explanation for how he got trapped. The evil emperor doesn’t give me any kind of one liner last boss taunt. He’s not even animated. At least a fighting game idle stance would have been nice. Something, anything to show he’s actually in the room and not just part of the background.

The puzzle to beat the emperor also left a sour taste in my mouth. It negated the entire rest of the game. We risked our life to get treasure to buy vitamins to kill the emperor. That was the whole point of the game. But the emperor was kind enough to keep a bottle of vitamins on a shelf and stand patiently under it until we came to kill him. It wasn’t even an obvious puzzle like all the rest. I cycled through all the jelly beans before I found out what to do. When I did get it right, it didn’t even have the outcome I was expecting. I used the apple jack trying to BREAK the cage. Instead, Blobert extended out of the cage and knocked the vitamins onto the emperor, killing him, and winning the game.

The whole game is also rather short, and the puzzles fairly obvious. The first time playing, you’ll have some trial and error learning curve, but after that you should be able to beat the game rather easily. Most of the challenge comes from mastering the timing of the enemies and obstacles.

Somehow, the game as a whole manages to be greater than the sum of its parts. It’s short, it’s easy, and the ending feels rushed. But I can still say I greatly enjoyed this game. I can see why it made so many people’s “best of” lists. It has that buddy movie charm to it, and while you can’t directly control Blobert, he generally positioned himself nicely for your needs. He was slower, and would fall behind, but I was never aggravated with the AI’s choice of actions. That’s something I generally can’t say about most modern games.

In the end, this was a very enjoyable game that I recommend everyone play at least once.

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Score: 7.5 / 10

Death Count: 35


Bonus Fact


I couldn’t think of a way to work this fact into the rest of the review, but I found it too interesting to leave out entirely. David Crane has stated in interviews that Blobert’s design was heavily influenced by Gloop and Gleep from the Hanna-Barbera Cartoon The Herculoids. It’s weird, I don’t remember having ever actually WATCHED The Herculoids, but I still somehow know and love Gloop and Gleep.

I hope you enjoyed David Crane’s A Boy and his Blob: Trouble on Blobolonia. 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.


Adventures in the Magic Kingdom

Dear Mr. Disney,

Adventures in the Magic Kingdom (1)

The most dangerous place on earth


Let me start by saying, I love your movies. From classics like Snow White to the modern masterpieces like the Lion King, I have grown up watching and loving your movies. This is why I was overjoyed to finally be able to visit the Magic Kingdom Park.

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My experiences while at the park, however, were nothing short of a nightmare. It all started with the incompetence of your staff.

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Not only did your staff misplace the keys, preventing the start of the parade. A parade I was in fact very excited to finally see in person.

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does it have to be me?


But they went so far as to enlist the help of random guests, namely me, to retrieve these keys.

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Being the good person that I am, I agreed to help. My search for the missing keys first led me to Space Mountain, the first of many tortures to come this day.

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MY neck!! I’ll sue!!

Death count: 2


First, your posted signage of which way to lean into the turns does not excuse the whiplash I incur when I fail to react in time.

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It was coming right for me


Second, your inclusion of live ammunition and planetary debris in the attraction is not only hazardous, but illogical, and unnecessary in a theme part attraction.

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Death count: 4


Due to my sometimes lacking reaction time, I do believe I blacked out several times from this so called ride.

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Surely there is safety in numbers


Turning my attention next to Autopia, I was presented with a race track that can only be described as negligent and suicidal.

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Quit while you’re ahead

Death count 5


Many sections of the course became far too narrow for the number of cars allowed on the track at once. This caused much shoving and people being completely run off into the grass.

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I think I made a wrong turn somewhere

Death count: 7


Furthermore, many sections of the track featured long jumps over open pits of lava. I personally witnessed the death of several fellow riders.

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I hope these cars float


With few guard rails, or safety measures of any kind. Many were driving straight off the sides of the bridges and into the rushing water below.

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3 out of 8 survived. That’s our best race yet

Death count: 8


When I finally made it to the end, I was one of only 3 survivors.

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Continuing on to big thunder mountain further reinforced my feelings that I would never leave this park alive.

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Where are the brakes!!!

Death count: 10


I can accept having to control the mine cart myself. It is not however, in any stretch of the imagination, acceptable to leave multiple dead-ends on the twisted mess that is the train track.

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Get out of the way!!!

Death count: 12


There was also an unacceptably high amount of highly hazardous debris rolling across the path, putting my life in danger at every moment.

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Your Pirates of the Caribbean attraction I found to be the most disturbing.

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Don’t worry! I’m here to rescue you!

Death count: 18


The hostile condition of your part seems to have driven members of your staff insane. They truly believed themselves to be pirates, and proceed to kidnap guests.

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you know what? You’re on your own

Death count: 24


They even went so far as to set fire to the scenery.

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What the heck is wrong with you people?!

Death count: 29


This is bad enough on its own, but further negligence shows the scenery was equipped with actual, fully functional cannons. Cannons where were frequently fired in my direction.

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Is that a threat?


Finally I made it to your haunted mansion.

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His head came off! People’s heads shouldn’t just come off!

Death Count: 34


This was no spook house for fun. I whole heartedly believe this mansion to be truly possessed by angry spirits, no doubt the souls of the many guests who lost their lives at your park.

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I’m sorry! There’s nothing I can do for you now

Death count: 37


I can’t tell if they were alive or undead, but there were several pairs of hands clawing for freedom from their unmarked coffins.

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Light as a feather. Light as a feather. Light as a feather.

Death count: 40


Not only was your mansion haunted, but the lack of floors in several areas are blatant building code violations which threatens my safety while inside. I would have surely fallen to my death if not for the haunted chairs guiding me across.

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Death count: 42


Even the statues in the attic seemed to have a life of their own, as they mocked my coming to your park.

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Yeah, I’m the only one here on the ball.


Having retrieved the keys for your incompetent staff, I was presented with the briefest, most unsatisfying parade I have ever witnessed. Begging the question of why I risked my life to view it. It is my sincere hope that you will close down your park immediately. In its current state, it is a death trap for all who enter. May god have mercy on your soul.




I played this game a lot as a kid, and while I enjoyed playing it, it always frustrated me. In fact, it still frustrates me. The five mini games are all very short, and a skilled player could probably beat the whole game in about 30 minutes. The difficulty comes from all of the games require such perfect timing at several points. The space mountain game in particular requires very quick button presses towards the end. What does make the game easier in the ability to buy power-ups with stars scattered around the different mini games. These range from extra health, to extra lives, and even temporary invincibility. The down side to this is that you’ll probably be playing the Autopia level multiple times since that seems to be the quickest and easiest way to collect a lot of stars. All things considered, it is just an ok game. It’s short and difficult, but still fun for what it is. It’s far from the best the system has to offer, but it’s still worth checking out.

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Run! Run and never return to this place!


Score: 6 /10

Total Death Count: 42


I hope you enjoyed Adventures in the Magic Kingdom. 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.