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7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Vice: Project Doom Review


Project Doom is one of the newer games added to the Nintendo Switch online service. It’s a pretty innovative game for its time as you get some racing levels as well as traditional shooter ones. The mechanics are all on point for both types of gameplay and the story is pretty engaging. Considering that it’s free there is really no reason not to take the plunge on this one. You’ll be glad you went for it. It’s challenging but there are enough quality of life features to make it feel enjoyable at all times. When you die or even when you get a game over you aren’t sent all the way back which I was happy about. That seems to be rare in the NES era.

At first I actually thought this was purely a driving title so I was actually surprised when the level ended and you were suddenly on the ground. When you’re driving you get a machine gun so you blast the other cars away and try to live until you hit the finish line. The controls are pretty straight forward and the whole thing just flows really well. When it comes to the land levels they are just as solid. You’ve got a energy sword that you use to slice and dice away at the enemies in your way. The level backgrounds and general design feel like something out of Mega Man. These levels are difficult, but not downright impossible or anything like that. You’ll be able to make it pretty far either way. Even when you die you don’t get sent back to start as I mentioned before so that helps lower the pressure.

The boss battles are also pretty fun. The first one is definitely original as you’re fighting a giant tank that’s spamming missiles. You have to hit the power core near the top of it, but can’t touch the tank or you’ll take massive damage. I died here quite a bit, but then I figured out the trick which is really just to duck. Ducking allows you to dodge just about all of the tank’s attacks so it’s incredibly handy. I cannot stress enough why this is a technique that you really must use here.

I didn’t make it particularly far in the story, but that’ll be one of the incentives for you to make it all the way across. You’re playing as a secret agent uncovering a conspiracy and there are a lot of twists and turns. I think you’ll have a really hard time guessing the twist about the villains and the whole thing gets very personal to the lead by the end of it. It’s not really the kind of story you’re used to seeing on the NES and it is a shame that this game never got bigger. It seems to me like it should have done exceptionally well back in the day. It holds up really well to the modern day.

The game is technically pretty short at under an hour, but that is really presuming that you won’t die at all and that’s borderline impossible. There’s no way you’ll be getting out of this game with just a scratch so to speak. You’ll die quite a few times as you learn through trial and error what works and what does not. Only after that will you be ready to go on those famous speed runs. The levels are quick and the gameplay is fast paced so I don’t imagine you will have much of a problem replaying the levels over and over again. If anything it’ll just help you map them out even more.

Vice’s graphics are definitely sharp. They wouldn’t feel out of place in a GBA title or on the SNES. It’s really ahead of its time in that regard. The lightsaber sword is also pretty cool and you feel like you’ve got a lot of power on your side. The soundtrack is less impressive, but still good overall. I certainly wouldn’t give that part a thumbs down either. This is the kind of game where you can see how a lot of care would have gone into producing it.

Overall, Vice is one of the best NES games I’ve played through the online service and it’s a solid addition to the lineup. I know at this point we’re all waiting for the SNES games to show up, but in the meanwhile at least I’m getting to see all of these other obscure games. If you’ve got a Switch and haven’t checked this one out yet then I recommend changing that. I think you’ll be hooked on this game before long and then you can be added to the list of people who are ready for a proper reboot/sequel someday.

Overall 7/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Star Soldier Review


It’s time to look at the next title I was able to play in the NES Online collection. Slowly but surely I’m getting around to all of them. It’s definitely been fun to play these classic games. Star Soldier is similar to Galaga although I’d argue that it’s less refined. Certainly a good sci-fi game to dabble around with (especially when it’s free) even if it probably won’t hold your attention for very long. It gets the job done.

There isn’t really a plot although I’m sure one came with the booklet or something. The general gameplay is that of your average space shooter. You’re in a ship and the screen is always moving down. You have to blast away the enemies in front of you so it’s important to keep moving the ship so they’re never out of your range. You can collect power ups from breaking objects or blasting enemies which increases the amount of blasters you possess. After a time you will also get a shield as otherwise a single hit will destroy you. There are a few checkpoints in the level but the downside is that you lose all of your blasters so when you re-spawn it is very hard to stay alive. Best of luck!

It’s definitely one of those arcade games that you would have a very hard time trying to defeat in one shot. Of course, at the arcade you could probably just keep plugging tokens in until you won and on console you’ve got the access point equivalent. Otherwise I suppose you’d need to really memorize all of the attack patterns. Part of what makes this exceptionally difficult compared to other shooters is the fact that it’s hard to tell what is in the background and what is in the foreground. It’s like the Smash Ultimate Stage Builder in that respect as you can be tricked into jumping towards a cannon that isn’t really there. It’s the same with these objects, some of them aren’t there so you can shoot through them and others will block your blaster. Since just making contact with an enemy is fatal here that makes this a pretty dangerous gamble. It’s hard to avoid these objects as well since they take up a good chunk of the screen.

The soundtrack is pretty decent. Honestly you won’t remember most of the tunes, but the main menu theme is definitely memorable. Then you’ve got the graphics which are pretty passable all things considered. I’m assuming the background part wasn’t intentional so maybe that part should have been better, but perhaps that was the intent. Either way you will be able to see enough to be able to follow the action with relative ease and that’s definitely a good thing.

There isn’t a whole lot of replay value here since you’ll likely be dying around level 2 each time. As a result it won’t be quite as super exciting as it would be otherwise and you’ll not want to play for a very long time. After about an hour or so you’ll probably be ready for whatever the next challenge is. Still, it is a fun game at its core so maybe you’ll be engaged for longer than that. Star Soldier is a fun game.

I can’t speak to the various bosses here since I only ever beat the first one, but the enemy designs do seem promising. There’s one level where a mysterious head shows up to follow you around. It’s invincible, but touching it will make you lose a life. Then there’s a big robot that has a lot of blasters which I promptly took down. I don’t imagine there are a bunch of bosses since I saw on Youtube that someone beat the game in 30 minutes, but with that length I imagine they’re all unique which is good. Recycled bosses is the definition of laziness.

Overall, Star Soldier is a game that I hadn’t heard of until I played it, but I’m definitely glad I gave it a whirl. The NES Online has definitely helped me play a bunch of games that I feel like I probably wouldn’t have gotten to play otherwise so that’s definitely neat. I’d definitely recommend checking it out if you’ve got the NES Online as well. I don’t know which title I’ll be checking out next. Maybe it’ll be another alien shooter game or this time I’ll go for a longer title. Either way the review will be popping up here before long.

Overall 6/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Super Mario Bros Review


Believe it or not, I actually had not played all the way through this game before. I almost feel like I need to turn in my Nintendo fan card at this point since the game is so iconic. In my defense, I’ve played bits and pieces of the game on a variety of different systems and equipment so maybe I should cut myself some slack. It’s definitely a fun game that holds up well. Naturally it’s nowhere near the level of the modern Mario games for many reasons, but it’s definitely a title that you can go back to at any time.

You’re thrown right into the thick of the action when you start the game. The basic plot is that Princess Peach has been kidnapped and you have to destroy Bowser 8 times in order to free her. There isn’t much of a story beyond that though as the game didn’t really have cutscenes except for brief text at the end of each world. You must now journey through all of the levels to get to the end. Each of the 8 worlds has 4 levels and they’re all a few minutes long so you can get through the game very quickly. There are also some shortcuts which allow you to skip whole worlds.

I’ve seen some speed runs where a guy beats it in a matter of minutes so the shortcuts in this game are certainly quite legit. I found one by chance during my playthrough which I did use. It’s definitely cool and a nice little Easter Egg for fans who play through the game. The gameplay is pretty straightforward as you run through the level and try to make it to the flag at the end. (Or you touch the axe at the end if it’s a boss level) The controls may feel a bit slippery if you haven’t played it in a while. Mario tends to keep his momentum during the jumps so you can very quickly find yourself flying away.

The graphics are fairly basic, but look nice. The game has a solid aesthetic. There is a good variety in the levels and there was clearly a good amount of effort put into the game. The soundtrack is also pretty nice. There isn’t a whole lot of replay value here though as once you beat the game I don’t see why you’d go through it a second time. At the very least, you probably wouldn’t do that right away. So this game will probably provide you with about an hour or two of entertainment. Of course, you can play this game for free almost anywhere so that’s not bad.

Naturally there isn’t much more to be said about the game since there isn’t a lot of content. I will say that I’m glad for the NES access points as they do come in handy for the retro games like this. My gameplay style is all about running in first and jumping later so I tend to get hit by the enemies quite a lot. Usually I die in cheesy ways, but in my defense I just can’t wait for the enemies to move. I got to go go go!

Overall, Super Mario Bros is definitely good. It reminds you of how much quality Nintendo always puts into their products. It’s easy to see why Mario did so well. I’m sure the game probably amazed everyone back in the day. If you’re a big Nintendo fan then I’d certainly urge you to play this at least once. You’ve really got to experience Super Mario Bros to see why it’s such a big deal for everyone. It’s a good moment for gaming history in general.

Overall 7/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Dr Mario Review


It’s time to look at the original Dr Mario game. This title was actually pretty iconic back in the day as we got many more Dr Mairo games afterwards. Just look at that mobile title we’re getting soon. Dr Mario is one of those games that is very accessible and just a lot of fun to play. Of course, this one is a lot more limited than the newer ones as there was only so much you could do back then but the concept was sound so I definitely recommend checking this game out.

There is only one mode here of course and that’s the normal destroy all viruses to win mode. There are 20 different levels which determines how fast the board moves and how many viruses are on the screen. I definitely recommend starting with level 1 while you get the hang of the game. I was able to make it to about level 8 and then at that point the viruses overwhelmed me. You can also skip to level 20 to quickly see what it’s like. You’ll certainly feel overwhelmed before long though. It’s just hard to make matches in time before the blocks hit the ceiling. The game is also smart as when you pause the game the screen vanishes so you can’t cheese it out by constantly pausing. It’s one of those things where it seems obvious, but it’s still important that the developers realized this in time.

In the settings you can switch up the speed which is pretty nice. Unlike the Yoshi game you can’t switch the soundtrack though so that part’s a little different. It’s a more complete game than Yoshi, at least as far as content is concerned. The graphics aren’t quite as impressive though. Still, there is less to look at just due to how Dr Mario is set up so in a way this definitely does make sense. It’s not as if it looks bad. The music isn’t quite as good as the Yoshi game either but it is nostalgic to hear the Dr Mario theme.

As for the gameplay, you may already know it, but I’ll mention how it works just in case. You have to clear the board of viruses. Each virus is a specific color like the blocks that are falling onto the screen. To remove a virus you have to match it with 3 other blocks of the same color. Likewise you will do that to get rid of the extra blocks as well. It’s a simple concept, but executing this will get tougher and tougher with each level. By the end of the levels you will need to be doing all of this on instinct without actually thinking about your moves much. If you stop to think about them then you will truly be doomed. You’ll definitely get better at the game the more you play it though. Who knows, play it long enough and these latter levels may even feel easy.

There’s a lot of replay value here. That’s because the levels are quick and fast paced. It’s easy to jump right in and pick up where you left off. The challenge always feels pretty fair without being too lenient. I’d like to see a modern take on this for consoles. I know we have the mobile game coming up, but it’d be fun to see what the game would look like with massive graphics and a cool new soundtrack or something. Maybe someday.

Overall, Dr Mario is a fun game. It’s really got everything you could want in a Connect 4 type game from back in the day. It also reminds you how influential Tetris was as everyone tried to copy it back in the day. Dr. Mario was one of the successful ones and manages to still differentiate itself. He even got himself a playable spot in Super Smash Bros Melee which is no small feat. If you have never tried this game before then you’re missing out and need to change that ASAP.

Overall 6/10