Quick thoughts on a few NES reviews

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chronicdog1
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Joined: December 31st, 1969, 7:00 pm

Quick thoughts on a few NES reviews

Postby chronicdog1 » November 25th, 2014, 12:53 pm

Hi guys, Im an avid retro gamer and collector and I actually just found this site despite hanging out on the internet for 10 years straight. Anyway, really like the site and just want to give a bit of feedback. I know game reviewing is subjective and its difficulty to balance personal taste with various objective criteria. Anyway, the site has helped me to find a few NES games that I never even heard of, or never gave consideration to (like GI Joe). 

Just glancing at your reviews, I will give a few remarks of my own

1943 - Id give this a B+ or A-, as I think its definitely one of the best shmups on NES and holds up extremely well (turbo controller recommended), but I agree 1942 just isnt even close

Baseball - I think an F is a little harsh. Havent played it in 25 years but to me an F means the game is broken or unplayable, and I remember playing many games of this as a kid, but to be fair it was my very first baseball game and I never played Atari or Coleco or PC baseball games of that era

Battletoads - I think B is a bit low, the game design is fairly amazing, objectively speaking it was way way ahead of its time. Honestly the difficulty is one of those things, for some people its an attraction for others it takes away from the fun. I guess Im in the former camp, and for me this game provided endless hours of playtime because of the high challenge. 

CVII Simons Quest - C- seems harsh, yes the night/day sequences got annoying, but to be honest the game wasnt any more cryptic than the original Zelda, and the RPG elements added to making it a more content rich experience. Videogame secrets were cool back then, they added to the allure of a game. The original CV could just be blasted through, this game not only took time and more skill, but patience and some playground networking skills, and has more replay value even today. I think C+ or B- would be more fair

Indy Heat - A seems awfully high, I agree its pretty cool but Id give it a B, not exactly a fan of isometric racers to be honest. Id prefer one of the RC Pro Ams

Donkey Kong - A is too high for an arcade port that leaves out 25% of the game, and in general doesnt have much of the nuance of the arcade version. Go play it on MAME and see what Im talking about. Given that it was Nintendo's own baby, this is inexcusable. Id give it a B.

Duck Tales - B? Really? REALLY? Honestly Duck Tales 1&2 are highpoints for the NES. Surely, this game deserves and A and I dont think its even close to be anything less.

Ghosts N Goblins B- seems too low for whats is one of the best arcade ports on the system, I agree the game is the devil incarnate but you have to respect it nonetheless

Gunsmoke C - I think you blew this review, another NES Capcom classic that holds up very well today. Lots of originality in this game and totally fair difficulty. 

Ikari Warriors B seems maybe fair I guess if you are very generous. I played so many hours on this game, but going back now its just such a pile of crap. I think its unplayable today. The fact that this has the same rating as DuckTales is one of the reasons I made this post. Something isnt adding up here dude. Id give it a C. 

Kid Icarus B- seems a bit harsh, while I agree it hasnt aged well, this game was pretty far ahead of its time, I spent dozens of hours in this game as a kid, which was rare, most games only had a few hours of content if they were playable at all. An A- or B+ for me, but it is a personal favorite

Kung Fu - a pretty solid arcade port, I think you are being harsh on this one. It has some pretty good quality twitch gameplay, difficulty is very fair, its more of a B- for me

Megaman - I think we just disagree here, the first game is a B+ minimum, and to not give MegaMan 2 an A or A+ is just ridiculous. Its the defining action game of a generation. I think the whole 8bit series is underrated by you, I guess its personal preference

Metal Gear - D ok well I would give it a B, and a C is at least fair. D is preposterous man. I mean, there was nothing even remotely close to the gameplay of this in that era. The items, the stealth, the communications? The smoking? The spying? Hiding in boxes and sneaking into trucks???? OK it hasnt aged well, and yes as I kid I think it took me a month to get past the dogs. And that crazy confusing jungle area drove me nuts. But again, like CVII I think this cryptic and bizzare gameplay only added to the allure and I remember when one kid in school told us he finally beat it, we didnt even believe that the final boss was just a computer screen, which in a lot of ways was disappointing but after the odyssey of getting there, perhaps fitting. D is just way too harsh, even if its a downgrade of the true original MG game. This game wasnt just epic, it was legendary

MULE- A range seems high, and I like strategy games. Doesnt hold up IMO

Ninja Gaiden I-III - Ummmmm, wow. Just wow. You failed as a reviewer here. Sorry for being so harsh, but dont hold these games difficulty against them. They set the bar in so, so many ways, that I was flabbergasted when I saw your scores. 

Popeye - A seems high, I agree the port is good but the gameplay just doesnt hold up

Rush N Attack - B talk about as game's difficulty holding the player hostage, this game just made me want to cry. I wanted to beat it so bad as a kid, and it just hated me for it. Im not going to argue with your score, I was obsessed with it but hated it at the same time. NG series had continues, and this didnt, and I still think less of this game because of that, even if its more true to the arcade experience. A solid port indeed. 

Skull n Crossbones - You must really, REALLY like Pirates

T&C Surf Designs - I think this game is in the B range, still very playable

TMNT C- is again too harsh, the game is still quite playable, if a bit rough, I think a B range score would be fair. The game had me entertained for dozens of hours, and finally finishing it was one of my proudest moments as a kid

Track and Field II, this was actually a pretty awesome mixed event olympics type game, which are VERY hard to do well, so I would go B range. 

NARC - A seems awfully high, especially seeing as though the arcade original isnt exactly considered a classic gameplay wise. The setting and concept were the selling points, gameplay is what I would define as "meh." The big thing about it was the insane gore and graphics for the time, which definitely didnt translate to the NES port. 

Platoon - I agree it wasnt good then or now, but it wasnt broken either. I think a D range would be more fitting, as it had some inventive aspects. 

Rad Racer - this is an easy A in my book, the best racing game on the platform. Also, try Rad Racer II - more of the same greatness. 

Section Z - again I understand you dont like it, but its not an F, sorry

Ultimate Stuntman - I dont see the appeal here, I think a B is generous

Zanac - Id take 1943 over this anyday and twice Sundays, but thats personal preference. Its very good, but I think its not quite an A, maybe B+ for me

______________________________________________________________________

Rereading it now that its been posted I might come off as a bit harsh please dont take it the wrong way, just one guys opinion on the internet of another guys opinion, but I think your reviews are great in general. One thing I dont understand is, why torture yourself making a new review of something like Monster Party when there are gems like Faxanadu missing from your list?

JustLikeHeaven1
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Joined: December 31st, 1969, 7:00 pm

Quick thoughts on a few NES reviews

Postby JustLikeHeaven1 » November 25th, 2014, 3:31 pm

I actually agree with lots of your criticism of the critic's NES reviews lol.

The other night I was playing 1943 and thinking to myself...wow this game is so good.  It has lots of unique ideas and it's really just a pleasure to play through.  Easily an A game for me.  

I'm right there with you on Battletoads.  That's A material for sure.  It's such an ambitious design and Rare did quite a lot with the NES hardware.  It's one of the most inventive, imaginatively designed games on the system.  

I love Simon's Quest and I'm not afraid to admit it.  Even with a critical eye it's no worse than a B.

Mega Man...yeah him not giving Mega Man II an A+ is craziness.  It's so stinking good!  I'm even more shocked he gave Mega Man 3 a B-.  That's widely considered the second best (some even say it's THE best in the series).

With Metal Gear...I get it.  It's aged about as well as bag of potatoes you forgot in your pantry for a year or so.  However, if you stick with it (especially in with walkthroughs and guides from the interwebz) it's a pretty cool game to play through.  Again, it's VERY ambitious.  I think it's a C to B range game.  It's a classic but it's highly flawed.

The Ninja Gaiden games are crazy good as well.  They're stupid hard..often not fair with cheap hits and awful respawns.  However, they're still some of the best action platformers on the system.  They have great graphics, amazing music and really cool cut scenes.  I think the first game is a A...it's a stone cold classic.

I'll add one more to the list - Batman.  No way is that a C.  It's hard but fair.  It has great level design, tight controls, and superb music.


The best thing, Chronicdog, is that we can now vote on these grades.  The cool thing about the VGC is that he'll go back and review stuff if he thinks he got it wrong.  That's always been one of my favorite aspects of this site.  Not too many Critics will admit to being wrong.  


Jake_JacobZu7zu71
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Joined: December 31st, 1969, 7:00 pm

Quick thoughts on a few NES reviews

Postby Jake_JacobZu7zu71 » December 5th, 2014, 7:10 am

Nope! I agree more often with VGC. I'm gonna have to defend him a little here,

Zanac kills 1943. that games music, graphics, strategy and gameplay are superior. Don't even go there [wink]

Battletoads
is great but maybe too difficult in later in areas of the game (like Simpsons) What's wrong with a B?

Rad Racer
isn't as wow as it was in 80's for me, I think B is a nice grade for it, B is above average baby!

MULE
is incredible, one of my favorite games. So I can't complain lol.

Ninja Gaiden
series is fun but also hairpulling, so I agree with Critic, B range is a nice grade for them.

Ghost N Goblins annoying as hell. How is it even fun ? No urge to play this ever again on any port. Anyone who gives this an A is clearly drunk. I'd say C- for the game that COULD be fun.

Kung Fu is a lot of fun at first, but really is it as great years and years later?

Mega Man
is great but it's not earth shattering, I find the series dated in the world of platform. I played 2-4 when they were new, so I'm not missing my nostalgia. Whomp Em has the same gameplay. I'd say Whom Em was funner then part one of MegaMan, do we give that an A+? but yeah Mega Man 2 and 3 are pretty amazing, but flawless, dunno 'bout that.

TMNT
, is a drab platformer overall. Takes extra effort to care about it, and I have yet to care.

T&C Surf
, I feel has average written all over it. It seemed average when I was a kid!

Batman I played recently, and yep it's a C. [wink] and C means a worthy fun game. Not skip it or it sucks. It wasn't as good as I recall. The levels we're boring at times.

I agree with you on Metal Gear (fun), Kid Icarus (classic), Simons Quest (one thrilling quest, actually), Section Z probably isn't an F.

Gun Smoke I never played but that one could be fixed, cuz' many seem to love it.

Overall though, I have a new respect for Dave, he clearly marks games as he sees them to be, (it his own perspective), not just because "everyone else" thinks their classics.

I did like to read this original post, but I have to say I agree more with Dave sorry, and don't say he fails as reviewer seems a bit rude... and sometimes the vibe made me wanna get defensive (common in VG debates), especially since I agreed 70% more with the other side.

why not start reviewing some NES titles, cuz' it seems you have something interesting to say about them.




scotland171
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Quick thoughts on a few NES reviews

Postby scotland171 » December 5th, 2014, 1:38 pm

[QUOTE=Jake_JacobZu7zu7] Kung Fu is a lot of fun at first, but really is it as great years and years later?  [/QUOTE]<

Why is 'years and years later' matter at all?  The measure of fun should be how fun was it back in the day?   Just because no one would seriously play Atari Video Chess today doesn't mean it wasn't neat, novel, and even fun back then.  Pong would only hold even a kid's attention for a brief time today, but in its day it was the game that launched a thousand consoles. I think Dave succumbs to this too - see his Fairchild reviews where he compares games unfavorably to the more well known Atari 2600 games, even when they preceded the Atari games.  Hardly seems fair to be graded against games from the future, doesn't it?

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VideoGameCritic
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Quick thoughts on a few NES reviews

Postby VideoGameCritic » December 5th, 2014, 4:42 pm

I'm only grading games on how fun they are NOW, because frankly I can't tell you how much fun they were 30-40 years ago.  And does that even have any value to gamers who want to collect and play these today?  

I do try to point out if a game was innovative, but the grade really depends on the fun factor.

scotland171
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Quick thoughts on a few NES reviews

Postby scotland171 » December 5th, 2014, 6:15 pm

[QUOTE=videogamecritic]I'm only grading games on how fun they are NOW, because frankly I can't tell you how much fun they were 30-40 years ago. [/QUOTE]

Its your website, and I'm just a guest.  

I respect you and your system.  I will say you earn more respect because you have also been into video games a long time, and have first hand experience in the evolution of games over those last 30-40 years.    I think that experience gives you perspective that I appreciate.  

[QUOTE=videogamecritic] And does that even have any value to gamers who want to collect and play these today? [/QUOTE]

Absolutely. 

I will pitch that originality and influence and even taste of the times matter. 

There is a trope called "Seinfeld is unfunny" http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SeinfeldIsUnfunny  There are tv shows and films, and video games and comic books and books that have been homaged and copied and parodied ad nauseum so that the original seems anything but original anymore.  Be it Dracula or Hamlet or Casablanca or Watchmen or Christmas Carol or Jaws, based on the "Only Now matters" idea, they would be rated as stinkers, and old hat, and really not much fun.   

Genres and Characters also come and go.  For instance, kids knew Looney Tunes characters much better in the past than today, so playing a Looney Tunes games now has no thrill.  Playing Sean Connery James Bond is still fun for me, but its been decades since he was Bond.  Celebrity endorsed games, or games based on contemporary movies or tv shows were more fun at the time.   Isn't playing Willow or Goonies on the NES better if you know there was a movie called Willow or the Goonies? Maybe simulating being a sub commander during the cold war was more fun during the cold war.  There was a time when 2D fighters were the boss, but not so much these days.    Lots of things could make a game seem dull today that at least held more interest at the time.

goldenband1
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Quick thoughts on a few NES reviews

Postby goldenband1 » December 7th, 2014, 5:23 pm

I agree with some of the VGC's NES reviews, disagree with others, and that's fine. But the one review that desperately needs a re-do is Destination Earthstar -- not because I don't agree with the grade, but because it completely ignores the side-scrolling shmup half of the game!

Not sure whether that was an oversight or what, but it'd be like ignoring the base/boss battles in Blaster Master -- without taking those into account, it's only half a review.

Jake_JacobZu7zu71
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Joined: December 31st, 1969, 7:00 pm

Quick thoughts on a few NES reviews

Postby Jake_JacobZu7zu71 » December 8th, 2014, 10:13 am

[QUOTE=scotland17][QUOTE=Jake_JacobZu7zu7] Kung Fu is a lot of fun at first, but really is it as great years and years later?  [/QUOTE]< Why is 'years and years later' matter at all?  The measure of fun should be how fun was it back in the day?   Just because no one would seriously play Atari Video Chess today doesn't mean it wasn't neat, novel, and even fun back then.  Pong would only hold even a kid's attention for a brief time today, but in its day it was the game that launched a thousand consoles. I think Dave succumbs to this too - see his Fairchild reviews where he compares games unfavorably to the more well known Atari 2600 games, even when they preceded the Atari games.  Hardly seems fair to be graded against games from the future, doesn't it?[/QUOTE]

Well I understand the fact certain games were revolutionary, and still are... yes. A classic will always be a classic. However by rewarding a grade by how fun it was back in the day, defeats the purpose of reviewing it "today".

I find it interesting or "more benefical" to read a reviewers opinion on what old classic games are still addicting and fun to play past their sell by date. If we award a grade on our first impressions of games back in the day or on nostalgia, good times etc... most games will earn A's and B's and will leave little opinion on what's truly the best and worst for each gaming system.

I agree on Fairchild, those games shouldn't be compared to a console that is in future or anything other then fellow Fairchild titles of the era. However I see that Daves overall rating is mostly ruled by its fun factor playing (before the review), which means his comparisons with Fairchild to the 2600 is just his preferences and doesn't effect the final grade. I found this helpful on some occasions, to find the more fun versions or to see the critics opinions, on which he prefers. 









scotland171
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Joined: December 31st, 1969, 7:00 pm

Quick thoughts on a few NES reviews

Postby scotland171 » December 8th, 2014, 4:58 pm

[QUOTE=Jake_JacobZu7zu7] I find it interesting or "more benefical" to read a reviewers opinion on what old classic games are still addicting and fun to play past their sell by date. If we award a grade on our first impression of games back in the day or on nostalgia, good times etc... most games will earn A's and B's and will leave little opinion on what's truly the best and worst for each gaming system.
[/QUOTE]

You're probably right Jake, and Dave - who has been doing this a long time - is also probably right.  He grades games in the present by how much fun they are in the present.  Its logical, and its useful, and he's consistent about it.   

Consider this though - for games pre-1995, basically pre-internet, most of the reviews you are going to find online are post-release.  They already represent how the game has aged.  For games post 1995, there will be a set of initial critic reviews from when they were released.  So, for games pre-1995, the games *only* have past-sell-by reviews easily discoverable.   

Look at N64's Turok 2: Seeds of Evil.  Dave reviewed it 10 years after its release as an F, comparable to Superman.  Now Superman 64 was trashed back in the day as a hopeless mess.  When Turok 2 was released though, it was getting 9 out of 10 critic reviews. Now that is a major difference!  Maybe there were games like that you played that were genuinely fun in the day, but just have not aged well.  

I just think that its a shame that sort of information is lost for the up until the 32 bit era of games.  It also means that if the focus is on the now so much, then when are Dave's own reviews past their sell by date?   

Kids don't push wooden hoops with sticks down the street anymore, so I get it.  Turok 2 is now thought only good enough to be a BB Gun target.  Yet that little old man down the street once was a Vietnam door gunner, and that dusty grey cartridge without an end label, man, that was once dinosaur hunting with a crossbow.   Its fine to say Turok 2 sucks dino guano, but I think we should remember - not with rose colored nostalgia, but just as a matter of stark cold history - that it was not always so.


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