Publisher: Nintendo (1985)
10-Yard Fight is a terribly outdated football game that combines the shallow gameplay of an arcade title with the sluggish pace of a simulation. The tiny players move like snails, and the vertical field scrolls in a jerky manner. Before each play, a receiver goes "in motion", but it takes him forever
to run down the line. In addition to that slow-ass receiver, your quarterback has two other players that run on each side of him. The only advantage to this dumb-looking formation is how it lets you pull off the old "flea flicker" play. You only control one guy on defense, but the overly effective "dive" move lets you to soar through the air like Superman! 10-Yard Fight's sound and graphics are poor, but I might have been able to overlook them had the gameplay not been so marginal. © Copyright 2004 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Capcom (1985)
I was expecting a little more from 1942 than an easy, generic airplane shooter. As the screen scrolls vertically, enemy aircraft emerge from both the top and bottom. Your plane maneuvers around freely, and there's no shortage of firepower. An "evasive maneuver" is also available, but you probably won't need it, because 1942 is an easy as they come. It doesn't even become remotely
challenging until you reach the land stages, which arrive about 5 levels and 15 minutes into the game. And what in the heck is up with that annoying non-stop beeping sound?? It's so irritating that I had to turn the volume all the way down! There's a two-player mode, but it only allows for alternating turns, so what's the point? The 1942 arcade game was pretty good, but this mediocre translation fails to impress. © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.
Our high score: 125,600
1 or 2 players
Publisher: Capcom (1988)
The NES edition of 1942 was pretty lame, but this sophisticated sequel improves upon its predecessor in every way. Before each mission you're allotted a certain number of points to configure your plane based on offensive power, defensive power, energy level, and special weapons. 1943's graphics are noticeably improved, with clouds in the sky and a better variety of enemies on land and
sea. Several effective power-ups are also available, including a devastating five-way shot (sweet). In addition to your normal cannon, you can fire an extra powerful shot, or unleash a "smart bomb" that obliterates every enemy on the screen. The "evasive maneuver" is performed by pressing both buttons simultaneously. Unlike 1942, taking a hit won't instantly destroy you - it just drains your energy. Upon meeting your demise, a password is provided, along with an option to continue. Unlike the incessant beeping of 1942, 1943 even features some nice upbeat music. A satisfying shooter with surprising depth, the game's only real disappointment is the lack of a two-player mode. © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.
Our high score: SP 180,700
Publisher: Tengen (1989)
skateboarding games were invented, kids were forced to play garbage like this. 720 Degrees got by in the arcades on the strength of its flashy graphics, quirky humor, tight controls, and snazzy voice synthesis. This NES version lacks all of these features. Instead you guide a dorky-looking kid around a non-descript concrete slab with ramps, water hazards, and wacky characters. For the novice, it's hard to figure out what the hell you're supposed to do. You can earn points by performing jumps and spins, but thanks to the pitiful control scheme, the only move you can perform reliably is a face plant. When you're not on the ground, you're hopelessly stuck between obstacles, or meeting your demise at the hands of a swarm of killer bees (trust me, it's for the best). Exploring the fringe of the course reveals four "event" mini-games: ramp, slalom, downhill, and jump. Even if you fare poorly in these, you'll be able to rack up points and advance to the next class. You could easily purchase upgrades in the arcade game, but it seems like every shop is always closed in this version. 720 Degrees tries to give the player a sense of freedom and variety, but it's just a confusing mess. The looping, off-key "music" only serves to exacerbate a miserable situation. There are some decent skateboarding games for the NES, but 720 Degrees is not one of them. © Copyright 2013 The Video Game Critic.
Our high score: 12,650
Save mechanism: Password
Publisher: Taxan (1989)
Our high score: 12,150
Save mechanism: Password
1 or 2 players
Publisher: Abadox (1989)
Recently I saw a funny video on the Internet showing some guy struggling through Abadox, spouting all sorts of profanity as he tried in vain to complete the frustrating first stage. After playing this generic side-scrolling shooter myself, I can empathize with the guy to some degree. In Abadox you control a guy in a jet pack, and he's a pretty big target. You start by shooting random targets over a living surface before entering the anus of a huge, shapeless organism. Enemies attack from all directions, making it easy to become caught in the crossfire. There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason behind the enemy designs, which include floating eyeballs, pterodactyls, and flaming skulls wearing bandanas. Most foes can withstand multiple shots, and the first "sub-boss" - a giant skeletal dog - requires about 25 (!) hits to defeat. Give me a [expletive] break
! The first real boss seems insurmountable until you figure out the strategic spot where he can't reach you. The graphics are about average, but the multi-colored explosions look nice. There are two keys to beating Abadox: loading up on power-ups early, and memorizing the patterns. The game's uneven difficulty can lead to frustration, but even if that were fixed, Abadox would still be marginal at best. © Copyright 2007 The Video Game Critic.
Our high score: 23,000
Publisher: Hudson Soft (1987)
Our high score: CJS 19,140
Adventure Island 2
Publisher: Hudson Soft (1990)
Our high score: 63,120
Adventure Island 3
Publisher: Hudson Soft (1992)
Adventure Island 2 was chock full of surprises, but this third edition seems to have hit the creative wall. The premise is the same as you guide a chubby dude through a prehistoric world, commandeering dinosaurs as you go. The first thing that caught my eye was how the developers tried to give the graphics a next-generation, 3D look. The scenery is certainly more angular, but the illusion of depth is not convincing. In fact, I prefer the graphics of the previous games. In terms of gameplay Adventure Island 3 feels more like a "greatest hits" compilation than a brand new adventure. Most of the enemies, level designs, and even music seems awfully familiar. Still, there are some interesting new wrinkles. The yellow triceratops lets you rolls over obstacles, and the boomerang is a very effective new weapon. You now have the ability to duck, and there are playable bonus rounds including a surfing mini-game. The difficulty is higher than the previous game, and those clouds with the lightning bolts are a real pain in the ass - literally! I still find the controls problematic at times, but hey, if you've stuck with the series this long, you're probably over them by now. If Adventure Island 3 was a natural evolution, it's clear that the series couldn't go much further on the NES. Still, there's a lot of engrossing platform action here. © Copyright 2011 The Video Game Critic.
Our high score: 19,200
Adventures in the Magic Kingdom
Publisher: Capcom (1990)
Adventures of Bayou Billy, The
Publisher: Konami (1988)
Bayou Billy offers several styles of gameplay, but none of them are exceptional. Most stages consist of Double Dragon-inspired fighting on a side-scrolling screen. You'll face a nice variety of thugs, and it's cool how you can steal their weapons to use against them. Without a weapon the action amounts to a very
repetitive series of kicks and punches. Sometimes you'll punch a guy and a freakin' turkey
will fly out of him! That's why mom said to never fight after dinner! In addition to pummeling thugs, you'll also encounter alligators that look pretty fearsome until you realize you can beat them up with your bare hands. Billy Bayou's graphics are finely detailed, and its music is well orchestrated. The Louisiana motif is innovative and attractive, with its dark swamps and that distinctive Southern architecture. In addition to fighting, there are car-driving stages that let you blast oncoming traffic and shoot down helicopters. The pseudo-3D graphics are unimpressive, but it does provide a nice change of pace. Finally, there are a few light-gun stages with bad guys that are hard to miss
. In case you can't stomach the fighting stages, the driving and shooting games are immediately available under the practice menu. Bayou Billy is certainly an ambitious title, but despite its strong graphics and sound, this falls squarely into average territory. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: HAL (1989)
Save mechanism: Password
Publisher: Tengen (1989)
I first played this overhead shooter on the Sega Master System, but I much prefer this more robust NES edition. Clearly inspired by the Alien films, you control a soldier blasting through a series of alien-infested ships while attempting to rescue their crews. You'll find weapons scattered about and maps to help you locate each crewmember. Aliens continuously regenerate, emerging from slimy holes in the floor, sulking around slowly and splattering nicely when shot. Once you've gathered the crew, a self-destruct countdown begins, giving you seconds to escape. But just when you thought you were out of the woods, you need to contend with one of many huge alien bosses. Defeating these gross monstrosities is by far the most challenging aspect of the game. The game gets off to a slow start, with beginning stages that are really easy. The background music can't match the menacing tones of the Sega Master System game, and the sound effects are also disappointing. This NES edition plays better, but offers a somewhat forgettable shooting experience. © Copyright 2005 The Video Game Critic.
Our high score: 104,400
1 or 2 players
Publisher: Activision (1989)
It deeply troubles me to think that a whole generation of gamers may be missing out on this monumental classic! Archon is to video games what chess is to board games! Heck, it even looks
like chess. The checkered playing field is lined with black and white mythological creatures, with the object being to capture five strategic spaces. The white side includes knights, genies, wizards, unicorns, golems, archers, a phoenix, and a wizard. The dark side is composed of goblins, trolls, lizards, banshees, a sorceress, and an evil shape-shifter. As the characters take turns moving around the board, the squares cycle between light and dark, giving the respective side an advantage. The characters move much like chess pieces, but when two land on the same spot, a battle is initiated! The two warriors are then transported to a wide-open battlefield for a fight to the death! The warriors move at different speeds, and each has its own weapon, ranging from swords and clubs to arrows and fireballs. The "king" on each side also has a set of spells, including teleport, time shift, summon elemental, and resurrect. Yes, Archon is as fun as it sounds. The characters are small but cleverly animated, and well-orchestrated music scores contributes to the fun. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.