No stats this time!
Play Time 37h 13m
Total Gald 541,425
Max Combo 37 Hits
Max Damage 8544
Max Grade 1310
Lloyd Level 62
Zelos Level 61
Genis Level 59
Raine Level 59
Sheena Level 60
Colette Level 60
Presea Level 60
Regal Level 60
It’s time to take a look at the next Metroid title. It feels good to have finally knocked all of these titles out of the way. I was not a big fan of the first two titles in the series that’s for sure. This third one is considerably better than the first two. It’s still not good enough where I would have been a big fan of the series back in the day but the improvements are quite massive so you can tell that a lot of effort was put into this one. My main issues with the first two games were definitively resolved here.
The game starts off with your ship crashing which was pretty intense. You now have to travel the planet and slay all of the big monsters in order to find the Metroid that you saved from game 2. I like the idea that there is some real continuity here and you also have an opening skirmish with Ridley as he kidnaps the Metroid. The stakes are high and it’s also personal now. Fortunately Samus is ready for the adventure and as soon as she grabs all of the scattered power ups in the world then she will really be ready to take the fight to the dragon.
Here’s the biggest improvement that Super Metroid made, we finally have a true map system! You add to the map as you walk around and if you find the map station in the world then you will unlock the whole area at once. It really makes a world of difference to actually know where you are instead of guessing. You are still responsible for finding all of the secret passages on your own of course but since you have something to go on that makes it a lot easier. When you had to blindly guess you could be stuck for hours just wandering the dark caverns. I couldn’t ask for much more out of a map system than what we have here. Mind you, the game is still pretty tricky with how it hides power ups and such though. You’ll still have to go through a lot of trial and error here so don’t expect to beat the game very quickly.
It took me around 8 hours so even though the speed runners tend to beat this very quickly, I wouldn’t expect to complete the game much quicker than that on your first shot. The gameplay is that of a 2D platformer. You can run, jump, and shoot as you go through the levels. You will also obtain more and more skills are you go through the game like bombs while rolling, missiles, and even x ray vision. They help a lot in the platforming efforts. It seems like the x ray vision is the only one that’s not mandatory but you absolutely need the bombs and missiles if you want to clear the game.
One nice thing about the setup is that it does feel very satisfying when you finally get the next power up. You’ve suddenly opened up a whole new range of possibilities for yourself which is always good. It may not be fun to be stuck for a while but it’s a whole lot more enjoyable than the last few games where it would feel purely annoying. I think a good deal of this is due to 3 main factors even aside from the map. The first is that we have more of a real story here. I’m not going to say that the first two games didn’t have a basic plot, but this one has more of a narrative. You have to save the baby Metroid you rescued in the second game. Right away that makes the stakes much more personal than in the first two games so you’re willing to do what you have to in order to win.
Next, the graphics are worlds improved from the last two games. This really wouldn’t look bad on the N64. The graphics are quite solid for sprites. They’re very bright and there’s a lot of details in everything that’s going on. I was pretty impressed at least. Finally, you’ve got the soundtrack as well. A lot of the themes in this game would go on to become quite iconic. The game starts you off with some pretty ominous music and it just keeps on going as you go through the film. It really makes this feel like a very legitimate Metroid experience and one that is not dated. There may not really be any replay value after beating the game but the campaign is long enough where that’s not a problem.
The gameplay is smooth and the technicals are on point. The only thing keeping this game from being higher is that there is a lot of backtracking and it can get dull after a while. If you don’t know where to go next then you have to explore the darker parts of the map. Pick the wrong one and it could take 15-20 minutes to get back to where you were and try another route. I would have liked some kind of fast travel option in this game. I think that would have been a fantastic quality of life upgrade that would have made the game a lot more fun. Make it like Breath of the Wild where you can only go to places you have been. It stays fair while also keeping you engaged the whole time.
Overall, Super Metroid is definitely a big improvement and I would call it the first quite solid Metroid game. The series would only go on to bigger and better things from here like Zero Mission and Fusion. It’s been a very long time since we had a Metroid platformer so I’d be up for that returning at some point. I feel like this franchise has a ton of untapped potential and it shows. Even in Super Smash we still only have 3 reps from the series despite it being about as old as the Legend of Zelda and Mario. What we need is a big budget Metroid game that introduces a lot of new characters. I’ll definitely be there ready and waiting for when that day finally does come.
No stats this time!
The first Donkey Kong was pretty fun so I was ready to jump into the second one. JR definitely switches up the gameplay quite a bit though. This one’s all about climbing and is a pretty nice change of pace. I actually thought it was a pretty solid sequel. It may not be as iconic or riveting as the first one, but it did a solid job of filling in its shoes. The game is over in the blink of an eye though since it only has 3-4 levels before it starts looping endlessly. That’s consistent with the first title though.
So the basic plot is that Mario has finally captured DK. It definitely took a lot of skill to do so and the hero is ready to call it a day. His plans end up changing though as Jr has arrived to rescue the former villain of the first game. Mario sends out a bunch of creatures to try and stop him, but Jr isn’t afraid of getting mixed up with a little action. He’s never backed down from a fight before and he certainly isn’t planning on starting now. The villains will have to watch out because Jr is definitely not playing around.
The gameplay here is pretty simple. You have to climb up the ladders until you reach Mario. You can move up and down as well as sideways as long as there is a vine there. You can’t touch any of the enemies of course so the idea is to always make sure you are going around them. You move a lot faster if you have one hand on each of the vines as opposed to totally being on one. This should help you breeze through the game a little easier. At the end of some levels you also have to bring some keys to the top and being on two ladders helps a lot since then you are bringing up 2 keys at once.
The gameplay doesn’t have any other wrinkles to it so you’ll master it within a few minutes. You can easily beat the game in under 15 minutes as well. So in terms of length this is definitely one of the shorter ones present. You can play it over again and again for replay value I suppose, but since the gameplay is so basic I doubt you’ll be doing that. It’s not quite as fun to replay over and over as something like Pac Man. There are less variables here and as a result that means there are less things to try. A lot of times you’ll just be clearing the levels in the same way over and over again which doesn’t provide much of an incentive to play through it some more.
The graphics are definitely really solid. Everything is very clear and this could pass off as an SNES game. Nintendo really didn’t hold back. The soundtrack is catchy enough as well even if it’s not very memorable. One thing Nintendo always kept in mind for a lot of these games was not to lose sight of the fun factor and that’s what helps keep Jr afloat. No matter what at least you know that you’ll be having a good amount of fun as you blast through this game.
Overall, Donkey Kong Jr is a pretty fun game. I liked the gameplay style and it all looks pretty high end for the console as Nintendo always tends to provide with their big games. The extremely short length is unfortunate but I suppose if you’re playing for score then you won’t really mind that too much. I’d definitely recommend giving it a try if you have the Switch Online service. It is free at that point anyway so it’s not like you’re really going to be sacrificing any cash to check it out right? I’ll be reviewing the Donkey Kong 3 game shortly which will be a nice way to end off the trilogy. Once that is over the NES games are also near their end. I’ve only got around 8 of them left although that isn’t counting the next 3 reviews which are already in progress.
It’s time to look at the classic Mario Bros game. I remember playing this one a lot back in the GBA days because it came as a special feature along with Super Mario World. It’s definitely a fun title to spend some time with. It’s also nostalgic seeing the level layout since the stage usually makes it into the Super Smash Bros titles or at least it’s been there for 2-3 of them I believe. The game uses the good ole jumping gameplay from the 2D adventures while switching things up a bit as the levels don’t have you going after a goal. It’s definitely a lot of fun and I’d recommend giving this one a look.
So the gameplay involves a bunch of enemies appearing out of pipes on the top layer of the stage. Your job is to jump and hit the ground they are walking on. This will cause the enemy to flip over. At this point they are vulnerable and you can jump onto the layer and kick them off. It’s definitely the tactic I would recommend here. The earlier you knock them off the better because once there are a lot of enemies on the map it can get difficult to isolate them. Additionally there are fireballs that roam through the levels and touching any of them means instant death. You also have a Pow Block that will hit all of the enemies at once but you should really only save that for when you are being completely overwhelmed. It’s not a resource that you just want to bust out at any ole time. Think of it as your secret weapon.
I made it pretty far here into the 20s. I don’t know how many levels there are but that seemed like a reasonable push. At latter levels you get to fight with minions that are a little faster than the original ones. You have to choose your jumping spots carefully because if they get past you then it may be all over for your chances of success. There are also little ice minions who will freeze the ground which makes it a lot more difficult for you to move around freely. You’ll end up skidding or stopping in your tracks whenever you try to change directions.
The graphics are definitely solid. This is also a game where the main theme is pretty catchy and memorable. It works well when you’re taking down the enemies. I didn’t see an option to play as Luigi but since this game is called Mario Bros I assume that there has to be some kind of way to choose him. Otherwise the title just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense and I’d have to question why the game called it that. This is a very peaceful game but also so different from the other Mario games. The series really shifted gears after this one. It would be interesting to see more of a homage to this game in a future Mario installment. After all, this game did serve as a stepping stone to launch the franchise.
In terms of replay value it’s really all just about trying to see if you can beat your high score. Whether the levels have an end or not, there isn’t really an actual story here. You just jump right into the game and work on defeating the minions. It’s got that arcade feel to it where the levels are just a lot of fun to play through. You shouldn’t have any problem getting the hang of the controls and just diving in. Nintendo’s always done a good job of making the first levels pretty easy which gives you time to get comfortable with the controls. Then slowly but surely they start giving you some real challenges to work with.
Overall, Mario Bros is a solid NES game. As with most of Nintendo’s original titles it has a lot of character. You can feel the effort that went into this game. It’s just a very well designed one and so you won’t get bored here as you play it for a while. Ultimately the lack of content will prevent it from getting a higher score but I imagine it is always tough to add more content like that back in the day. The games could only hold so much space in them after all. I’m one step closer to completing all of the NES games which will be a cool milestone.
No stats this time!
Time for another classic Nintendo game. This one I was definitely not familiar with but it looked like Ninja Gaiden so it had to be good right? Well, the gameplay is definitely pretty similar although I would say that Ninja Gaiden still has the edge overall. The gameplay was just a little tighter in that one and it also had more of an engaging plot. Still, this one is pretty close in all respects which is quite impressive. I’m surprised that the game isn’t more well known. I think there would definitely be a pretty good audience for it.
The United States has been taken over by a powerful new villain who needs an empire. The two Ninja are called in to take this guy down. You’ll probably have a whole lot of questions about this. Why is the U.S. banking everything on two ninja warriors? Why do ninja still exist in a futuristic America? Well, the game has no time for these questions because it throws you into the thick of the action right away. The goal here is to just stop the villain and so the heroes march their way through various levels and lots of different enemies.
The game does a good job of taking advantage of this future setting. You fight a lot of robots and at times the game feels a bit like a Megaman X title. When you blast at the robots they even split into two different ones in a similar fashion to some of the original X villains. The backdrops have a ton of variety and the bosses are pretty fun too. One guy gets swallowed up by his bird and they merge into an armored bird which was pretty cool. The final boss also has a pretty good design. One thing I found interesting about the bosses is the game would try to keep you in suspense about what their weak point was for a while. During the first bit of each boss fight they have an extra health bar but you can’t see it so it looks like you may be hitting the wrong point.
The fact is you are hitting the right spot, you just can’t see the damage it is taking. On the other hand it’s pretty risky business because with at least one boss you did have to hit him in a specific way (crouch hit) so if you were not doing that you would be there for quite a while. Each boss is different which may sound like a pretty small thing but I always appreciate when each boss is different. It speaks to the effort of the developers. Cloning different bosses is pretty easy but it also feels a bit lazy at times.
The gameplay is pretty straight forward. You rush through the 2D levels in order to reach the end. You standard weapon is a sword but when you break crates you can change weapons to a chain, throwing knife, sword with shockwaves, etc. The one I recommend staying away from is the chain to the point where I would rewind if I grabbed that one. It’s hard to tell which weapon is in the box and I believe it’s intentional. It’s like a roulette game where you just don’t know what’s going to happen next. I doubt the chain is meant to be a terrible weapon, it just did not click for me.
The graphics are definitely solid although I think you already get the picture from how I was describing it earlier. A lot of effort was put into this game for sure. Then you’ve got the soundtrack which is pretty light but works quite well either way. Couple that with the smooth gameplay and this title’s ready to go. One really fun enemy was this little robot square that would keep circling the stage and trying to blast you. This is one of those games where attacks deal massive damage so let me tell you, you do not want to get hit by that guy. Figuring out the right strategy to beat the various enemies who would show up was half the fun of the game.
Overall, Shadow of the Ninja is a very fun game. The story is definitely solid and the gameplay really holds up quite well. It may be pretty short but the game is really diverse so it feels like they kicked in a bunch of content. This game did take me about an hour which is definitely longer than most NES titles. It’s a pretty challenging experience so don’t expect it to be a walk in the park either. You will definitely have to work at beating this one and mastering those fundamentals quite a bit. This is definitely one of the best NES games available in the service.
No stats this time!