6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Donkey Kong Review


It’s time to look at the original Donkey Kong game! This is definitely a title that really helped to put Nintendo on the map. It really had just about everything you could ask for from a classic arcade title. The gameplay was simple but effective and the game actually had a bit of a plot. It’s rather short with only around 3-4 levels but then the game loops so you can keep going to really test your abilities. It’s a solid all around title and definitely a good one to take a look at if you haven’t played it before.

The concept of the game is that you have to climb to the top of the DK level. To do this, you run back and forth across the stage and use ladders to climb up to the next level. DK will throw barrels at you so you have to jump over them as you make your way to the top. Be careful when doing this because a single slip-up will cause you to lose. As you get to the end of the game actual minions will also show up and you can’t touch them unless you have a hammer activated. This does force you to go with a slower, more concentrated approach. Don’t make any move without being absolutely ready for what’s going to come next. Also, you can’t fall from a great height or you’ll die. This got me in the level with the elevators. If you want to make it to the next place make sure that the distance is very short so you will be able to cross with ease.

The graphics are definitely very nice here. It’s got that classic Mario look throughout the game and the colors are pretty vibrant. It definitely looks considerably better than a lot of the other NES games I’ve played. I think what goes a long way to getting this look across are the level designs. It just helps make everything stand out. As for the soundtrack, the main theme is definitely quite iconic and works really well. You definitely aren’t likely to forget it anytime soon. I can’t say the same for most games on the console so that’s another win for Donkey Kong.

Ultimately what does hold this game back from a higher score is really just the fact that it is so short. Of course you do have replay value here for things like increasing your score and such but ultimately that’s it. The gameplay isn’t that different or difficult so it would likely get repetitive quite fast if you’re just trying to stick to this game. It’s free if you have the Switch Online but otherwise I can’t really imagine paying for this game. As such, it is a good title but these factors are holding it back from being a great one.

Overall, Donkey Kong is a game that lives on in the Nintendo legends. Without this game the video game industry would be quite different that’s for sure. It is pretty fun and I had a good time with it. It may not be a game that will last for very long but more importantly, it is a game that you will remember and that’s always a good thing. If you have the Switch Online then you should definitely go and check it out. I’d be game for a modern remake of this someday. I think you could actually make a full fledged game out of this style. You’d just need to add some more stage layouts and minions/obstacles but it could certainly be done. I’d definitely be interested in seeing what ideas they would come up with for that.

Overall 6/10

Editorial

5 Ways Nintendo can fix the Switch Online Service


Nintendo has historically been known as the greatest video game company out there. Certainly they have a lot of great titles. The consistency and unchanging nature of their games is part of why they’re an easy pick for starting someone off on their first console. You know what to expect and the games are pretty high quality. That being said, they have their share of weaknesses though. A big one if their online services. For years Nintendo has lagged behind the other companies. At least they had the excuse that their online product as free though. Now you do have to pay for it so that makes the issue all that much worse. Let’s look at 5 things they can do to fix their online.

1. Make it Free

This is the most unlikely option of course but it is one that would solve a lot of the issues. The online would be terrible compared to the competitors but since you wouldn’t be paying for it you probably wouldn’t mind a whole lot. When things are free you tend to cut them some slack because you aren’t losing anything. Nintendo also doesn’t really need to charge for much. They opted not to go for dedicated servers anyway and their NES/SNES Online catalogue is basically just a bunch of emulators that anyone can download for free online. As such we know that the space for these is tiny and it doesn’t take a whole lot of power to have them online. Still let’s look at more realistic options.

2. Use dedicated servers

This is an easy one. If you boot up a Sony or Microsoft game right now and head online you can expect to have close to 0 lag in your matches. That’s because the connection isn’t peer to peer so even if one of your opponents has a terrible online system it won’t affect your match. Compare that to Nintendo where if one player has a bad connection it will mess it up for everyone. That’s pretty inexcusable. Lag completely ruins an online experience when it’s at its worse. Input Lag can be crazy to deal with and normal lag is just as bad when it comes to trying to nail a solid combo. Nintendo’s really got to shape up in this area because it is very noticeable at this point.

3. Time to add GameCube Online

This is a big one, the GameCube needs to be online. There are too many crazy amazing games for them to not be here. I’m guessing Nintendo wants to make us pay 60 bucks for an HD Remaster but that’s not the play here. Putting these games online would be hype and it’s not like Nintendo would have time to port all of them either way. Give us a few big ones like Mario Sunshine and Melee. If those are going to get remasters then give us Pokémon Colosseum and F Zero GX. Either way GameCube games are a huge jump from the level of quality and replay value of the current titles. The NES and SNES games are fun to be sure but they are also very short. Adding in GameCube will really be the ticket to get people buying the online pass. I dare say you could even skip N64 and go back to it later. GameCube is what the people want and trust me, it would definitely go a long ways to getting Nintendo’s online into the big leagues.

4. Time to get Leaderboards

This is a big one that all of the other consoles have. We need some kind of online rankings here. Whether it is through trophies, achievements, or something else it would be immensely helpful. It would also be an extra incentive to get online if that was the only way to see your position. It’s always fun to try and get everything so this would also greatly help the replay value of all the Switch games. It’s never too late to start and this would be a good addition. It’s also worth adding into individual games like Super Smash Bros should have had this at launch along with a few other online features. This editorial is more about general Nintendo Online though so I’m just giving it a small nod here. In general the Switch needs some kind of ranking system.

5. Miscellaneous free stuff

Finally, we just need more freebies. Xbox and PlayStation give you random AAA games for free at times, backgrounds, and other perks. When’s the last time you got anything for free from Nintendo? At best they give you times freebies like ARMS and Mario Tennis which you get to play for a little while and then it’s gone forever. That barely counts as a freebie because you can’t keep it. No sir, I want a freebie that I can actually keep for the long haul. Even small things like new layouts, Switch backgrounds, emblems, etc would go a long way. You need to give people something, by not giving any freebies it definitely makes us feel bad. It’s like Nintendo just isn’t looking out for us. It wouldn’t take very long at all. Nintendo’s track record with reward programs is pretty bad though, I still remember how bad Club Nintendo’s rewards were for a long time.

In short, Nintendo needs to shape up on their online offerings. It is totally within their ability to do so if they really apply themselves. Until they fix these things they will continue to get mocked by everyone all the time. Even recently Super Smash couldn’t make the cut for EVO in large part because the servers are so bad. Make no mistake, that’s absolutely the big reason why it was cut. It’s a shame because it would have been good for everyone to have seen the state it is in on the big screen. That would have been the best chance to get Nintendo to change something ASAP. That boat has sailed though.

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Balloon Fight Review


It’s time to look at another NES game I recently finished playing through. Balloon Fight is definitely a pretty popular one despite the main character not becoming playable in Super Smash Bros yet. Don’t worry, it’s only a matter of time until they fix that. In the meanwhile it’s fun to look back at how the franchise began. The game has aged quite well and does something almost no other NES game at the time had even thought to do….it has 2 modes. In almost all of my NES reviews I have to mention that there isn’t really anything to do in the way of replay value. Well, that’s not the case for this game. In Balloon Fight you’ve got the main mode and an endless score version.

So the main gameplay of Balloon Fight is that you have to try and pop the balloons carrying your enemies. Then you knock them out before they can grab more. The game is endless so you just see how many levels of this you can survive. Each level has around 4-8 enemies for you to beat. At first this is pretty easy as there are no obstacles or elements getting in your way. The game gradually gets harder though as eventually you have lightning bolts being fired at you and things of that nature. It’s a challenging but fun experience. Your main incentive will be to keep trying to beat your old score.

Then you’ve got the other gameplay mode where you’ve got an auto scrolling screen and a bunch of balloons floating around. Every few balloons you grab lowers your ranking. Your goal is to make it to Rank 1 and then you’ll have beaten the mode. It keeps on going endlessly if you want to keep getting more balloons but that is your main goal. It’s pretty fun and certainly different from the main mode so I like the diversity. You can tell that this game had a good amount of development time behind it. This is what I like to see.

The graphics are simple but effective. The enemies are colorful and the background is catchy. The music theme is also pretty iconic at this point. There’s not much else to say on a technical basis but it doesn’t disappoint. Between the two modes this game should last you close to an hour. There’s also a little replay value in trying to raise your high scores although I wouldn’t say that the replay value is too high either. It’s just right considering that this is a free title with the NES Online.

The controls are very smooth as well and I like how the physics are handled. You can’t just turn at the drop of a dime or anything like that. You do have to account for gravity and everything. If you tried going somewhere very quickly then you will not be able to stop as fast as you would have liked. Also, one fun thing about the game is that crossing the edge of the screen actually doesn’t result in you losing a life the way that it does in most games. That’s a fun little element that may seem pretty random, but I think it does serve to help make the game even more unique. It’s all pretty impressive if you ask me.

There’s not a whole lot more to say about this game in part because of how simplistic it is. The gameplay you’ll understand within seconds of playing it because moving and floating is really all you can do. You beat all of the enemies the same way after all. Sometimes it seems like the simplest games ended up being some of the most addicting ones. It’s the same principle behind a lot of current mobile games that hit it big. There’s just something fun about doing repetitive actions. You start to do them real automatic like and it works out quite well if you ask me.

Overall, Balloon Fight is definitely one of the better NES games. This is exactly why I played a bunch of the low budget type games first. I figured that the longer I kept putting off the big games the more satisfying it would be when I ultimately started playing them back to back at the end. Now all I’ve got are the really big games and the marathon works quite well. I’d definitely be up for a big budget sequel to this someday. I think that would really work well since there is a ton that you can do with the balloon setup. You could even throw a plot in as that’s not something you typically saw a whole lot of back in the classic days.

Overall 6/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Double Dragon II: The Revenge Review


It’s tome to look at the sequel to the original Double Dragon. Double Dragon II is a pretty solid followup that handles everything just as good as the first game except for a slightly weaker story experience. At the same time it doesn’t give us any crazy loop levels this time. (Still can’t believe the first one did this) So I’d say that this does beat the original game. It’s really got all the hype you could want from a classic NES game and is a fun way to spend around 30-40 minutes.

The plot of the game is definitely a lot darker than the first one. Instead of being kidnapped, the main heroine is murdered by an opposing gang this time around. The heroes decide to avenge her and head off to destroy the gangs. This will be difficult though as the villains heavily outnumber them by hundreds of fighters. That’s not enough to set these guys back but they’ve also got to find the main hideout which will be tricky. Fortunately they have a lot of henchmen to beat up and one of them ought to know where the villains are. From there it is just a matter of finding the right one.

So I was pretty surprised at the story. I mean, it just seemed really intense for back in the day. That being said, towards the end of the game they start hinting that the heroine is actually alive. We seemingly hear her voice after all. Unfortunately the game cuts out before you can get there. I guess there’s some kind of trick to actually facing the final boss or maybe it’s a difficulty level thing. How the game ended on my playthrough is you fight a shadow clone of yourself. It’s always fun to do that but I never liked the idea of the game hiding the final level behind another difficulty. Cmon, you should let me actually get the ending. Having a bonus for people playing higher difficulties makes sense, but make it in the form of a post game or something instead of cutting out my ending. I thought that was uncalled for.

As for the gameplay, it’s your classic 2D beat em up. You have to keep fighting through scores of enemies in order to beat the level. A lot of them are big bruisers this time so definitely time your punches right or you’ll eat a counter worth a ton of damage. There isn’t much to the controls so you should know how to play the whole thing straightaway without any real problem. That being said, the ninjas will still be a pain to deal with. They move incredibly fast and are constantly jumping. They also like to throw things at you once in a while and I don’t know what the proper strategy is to deal with them. They definitely caused me a ton of restarts and rewinds so these guys are definitely serious business. They were actually even tougher than the bosses to be honest.

The graphics are pretty fun. There is a noticeable improvement which is always good to see. The character designs and stage layouts are all pretty fun. Then when it comes to the soundtrack it’s pretty pleasant. I can’t really say that it’s memorable though but I’d say that the important thing is that it’s not distracting in a bad way. A good soundtrack should enhance the experience and I’d say that it does even if only slightly. The game’s fairly short also so it’s not like you got to experience it for very long. You’ll be through the game in no time.

There isn’t really much replay value though. I suppose if you picked the wrong settings or something then you will need to play the ending again. I’d look up why you don’t get the real ending before you play the game though just to save yourself some time. If it is that you have to beat the game twice no matter what they that’s really forced to try and make the length better. I never support that kind of practice, it just seems a bit underhanded to me. You shouldn’t force people to play your game a lot through gimmicks like that.

Overall, Double Dragon II really shows you what a sequel is supposed to be all about. It grabs the positives from the first game and erases the big negative I had with it. All of the levels here are pretty linear and you don’t have to worry about the game trying to trick you. It’s all about just using your skills here and fighting with great speed and precision. So long as you do that then you’ll be okay. I’m slowly but surely making my way through all of these classic NES games. I think this may have been the last full fighting game left though so it’ll be missed.

Overall 6/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Double Dragon Review


It’s time to look at an old beat em up game for the NES. I’m pretty familiar at least with the title because this was a pretty popular game back in the day. Who doesn’t like a good 2D beat em up right? The only thing holding this game back is that it randomly decides to throw an infinitely looping level at you during the campaign. Why would a game even add that? I feel like there is no real benefit to doing so and it just throws you out of your rhythm. Still, the game is definitely fun and it has an actual plot which is always nice.

The game starts with a girl being kidnapped by a gang of thugs. The main character decides to save her, but to do so he will have to travel across cities and mountains to their base. He is also up against an entire city’s worth of thugs who are out to get him. It won’t be easy to stop all of them, but that’s fine. The main character is ready to do whatever it takes in order to win and he is clearly not opposed to getting into some fights. If anything he looks forward to the action.

The controls are pretty simple. You can punch, kick, and do a flying kick. You can also grab the opponent to get some extra pummel damage in which is pretty handy. To continue to going through the level you have to defeat all of the enemies you currently see. After a few waves of this you will make it to the next level. Most of the enemies are pretty easy to dispatch. I recommend kicking over punching as it has a longer range so it’s just a lot more efficient. They will have a hard time landing a counter hit on you.

The toughest enemies are the big dudes who show up to smash your health away. The trick to beating them is to kick when they are the maximum distance away from you. That way you can unleash all 3 kicks in time to knock them down. That’s absolutely your best bet here and if you do that then you will certainly be in a great spot. It’s easier said than done though so you will likely need to work on the timing a bit. A lot of times enemies show up out of nowhere too and throw things at you which are hard to react to in time. These items take a lot of health away so you’ll likely need a few restarts. Still, eventually you will have beaten the game. There are only 4 levels if I recall correctly so that won’t take you very long at all.

The gameplay is straight forward as I mentioned, but the one thing holding it back is level 3. I don’t see why a level loop was necessary. It’s really just penalizing the player for going ahead and kicking everyone around. There’s no reason you should be looking for a secret exit because you haven’t needed one throughout the game. Up til now all you had to do was just beat people up and that worked really well. I feel like this was just to extent the game a bit and it didn’t really age well.

The graphics are pretty solid though. I like the various level backgrounds. You can use quite a few objects throughout the game and it’s always easy to tell what you’re using. The character models are good and the main music theme is pretty solid as well. I definitely didn’t have any complaints with this. There isn’t much replay value since the game is so short and there is no post game content to try and tackle so this is definitely a game that you just play through once and call it a day.

Overall, Double Dragon is a pretty fun game. It may not be the game of the year material you may expect it to be, but you’ll have a good time. It’s fairly short but should still last you for around 30 minutes. Maybe even longer if you get tricked into the infinite level for a while before realizing what is going on. The levels all have time limits which is the main indicator that something is wrong. The time limit is around 2-3 minutes so if you’re still running and there isn’t much time left then you know that something isn’t adding up. If you have the Nintendo Switch Online then there is no reason not to check this one out. The Switch Online even has Double Dragon II already so then you can see if that one does a good job of following up the original.

Overall 6/10