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It’s time to take a look at the Mighty Bomb Jack! This game’s pretty interesting. It’s a very unique platformer and I like the gameplay style. There’s a bit of an iffy game design moment near the very end of the title but for the most part this game really doesn’t slow down the pace throughout the whole game. In a way I’d say the closest game I can think of as being like this one would be the Kirby titles since this guy can also float around for a while.
The basic premise of the game is that the King is captured so you need to save him. The levels are mainly long platforming types where you have to float to the end. Unlike Kirby you can’t increase your height once you jump, but by mashing the A button you can keep the same level of height for a pretty long time. When you get to the end of a level you’ll see a gate you can go through. If the gate isn’t open then that means that you will need to collect all of the bombs. This isn’t true for all levels but in some they do make sure you collect them all. You just have to touch the bombs which is easy enough. I tend to skip them unless the game forces me to grab the bombs though because otherwise I figure there is no real point to doing so right?
There are around 17-18 levels in the game which is a good amount for a NES game. I’d say that it’ll take you around an hour. The levels aren’t particularly long and some of them seem to reuse the level design so you’ll already know where to go. For a minute there I actually thought I was in a loop so I quickly had to look the game up online to make sure that wasn’t the case. Fortunately the game does have an ending. The only dicey level as I mentioned is the final one. So, you’ll blow up all of the balloons and will notice that the gate is still closed. Well, there are 3 completely invisible blocks you have to destroy in order to open the gate. There’s no way to tell where they are except to jump on every block which takes a while since you’ve got a ton of enemies on your tail. This is one of those games in which a single hit will meet your doom so confronting the enemies is pretty tricky.
After you do that there is an invisible block in the next room as well. Once you find that you enter the King’s chamber. To break him out you need to jump on the blocks above him a bunch of times. That was difficult to figure out. Initially I thought that I may need the powered up forms which would have meant my doom because there were none left. You can power up with some S tokens along the way but I never really grabbed any. So, the whole game is pretty straight forward except the climax. I don’t think the invisible blocks are very reasonable to be honest, especially since this is a factor that simply wasn’t present during the rest of the game. How is anyone possibly supposed to know where to go or what to do in that situation?
Still, the core gameplay is quite fun. I do like how high you can jump and your movement speed is also on point. The graphics here are very good as well. Everything is very bright and easy to understand right from the start. Additionally, the enemy designs are pretty inspired. The music is all right as well. The length may not be amazing but I’d say that it will do. According to the box art there are 4 endings as well although I’m not sure how to get the others. I got the standard ending I believe which is pretty simple. You grab the king and sink into the pyramid. I don’t imagine that the other endings would be much different but that is a complete assumption on my part.
Overall, Mighty Bomb Jack is a cool game and one of those gems under the rug. I doubt I would have ever come across it if not for the Switch Online. It was a good game to leave til near the end of the batch so I always had something to look forward to. If you like the Kirby games or platformers in general then I definitely recommend checking this one out. It’s a pretty fun experience and definitely a high quality way to spend an hour or so.
It’s time for the newest addition to the NES Online selection. Rygar had an interesting look to it. You don’t really play a lot of games where the main character uses a weapon like this. It’s sort of like a spiked shield. You do get other weapons as the game goes on though. This title had a lot of potential but does falter early on. As with some old games the main issue here was the lack of a map and how you had to solve puzzles to get through. That’s a bad combo because solving puzzles is difficult enough so throw in the fact that you’ll be lost and it gets even trickier.
This is one of those games where there isn’t much of a plot unless you check the booklet. You are thrown into the action and must now try to complete each level. Each level has a ton of enemies chasing after you so you have to beat them back and keep it moving. It’ll be tough but your attacks move very quickly so as long as your reaction times are on point you should be fine. Additionally you can jump on all of the enemies as well which helps a lot since that’ll stun them for a little while. I highly recommend jumping if the enemy numbers start to get a little too crazy.
What ended up stumping me is that I eventually reached a point where the mystical statue told me that I could not get any farther without some new weapons. The problem is that I could not find any new weapons. I back tracked my steps and ran all around but no dice. Without a map this ended up being a pretty futile mission. The game wasn’t quite big enough where I was about to check online and see where I should go. I searched for a long time and after I found no results I called it a day. It definitely was not the most impressive way for things to start on my end.
It’s a shame because the actual platforming is pretty fun. It’s very smooth both in how fast you move as well as in how strong your attacks are. It’s a pretty good blend. I could see myself really enjoying the bosses that would appear. It’s almost like a beat em up to the extent of how well you can fight while keeping in the platforming elements. I don’t understand why so many games want to throw in some puzzles anyway. This game just didn’t need them and would have been better off without these weapon limits.
The graphics are pretty solid. Everything looks to be on point which is certainly good. I like the enemy designs as well as the weapon. It’s all very clear and I didn’t notice any lag either. The music is okay from what I recall. The length is pretty hard to say but it’s likely around an hour or longer depending on how often you get lost. I believe that will end up impacting the replay value of this game but ultimately it will last you for a little while which is definitely a good thing.
Overall, Rygar has solid gameplay. It’s really some of the smoothest that I’ve seen on the NES. That said, it’s ultimately hindered by needing to switch weapons at certain points and not knowing where to switch the weapon. That really did the game a disservice. If you like that sort of thing then I’d recommend checking this game out. Otherwise this is a title that you should skip. Other games are on the NES that are just better platformers. In fact, one game coming up is a good example of that. When you just focus on platforming and ignore the gimmicks and extra stuff then you can ultimately end up having a terrific game on your hands.
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 another NES game as I get one step closer to conquering them all. This one is definitely pretty well known. I enjoyed the second one but the original hasn’t aged nearly as well. The platforming can be a little clunky with the controls and the weapons dynamic also hurts. See, there’s a chance you will chose the wrong weapon and then in the final level you are really in trouble. There’s just not much that you can do if anything. I made it up to the boss but my axe wouldn’t deal any damage. It seems like I should have kept more of an elemental weapon or something. If there is a way to beat the boss with the axe then that’s good, but I have my doubts. I tried hitting him many times to no avail.
The gameplay is pretty classic though in the style. Effectively your task is to keep on running til you get to the end of the level. On the way you will pass by a ton of minions and obstacles. Two hits is enough to take down your life so you really need to try and win as quickly as possible. If you don’t then it’ll be all over. I definitely had to rewind quite a lot in this game because the title really doesn’t hold back. Right from the start this game is very difficult. The difficulty level really isn’t a problem if you ask me. It’s very tough but the enemies are still fair and since I can rewind it’s fun enough. The main problem I have with the game is the weapon system.
I never like it when you can find a weapon on the map that is a lot worse than the one you have. When you touch the weapon it swaps out your current one for the new tool. The problem is you can’t switch back so then you are stuck. Particularly on a first playthrough where you don’t know which is the best weapon. It’s just a bit of odd game design if you ask me. I’m guessing there is a purpose to each weapon but some are just so much better than the others that I don’t see any reason to switch. Give me the fireball over the axe any day for example.
Then when it comes to the graphics the game is pretty reasonable. I don’t think it’ll be turning heads or anything like that but at least you always know what is happening which is the important part. The game’s levels go by pretty quickly too so the pacing isn’t an issue. The game seems to be around an hour long I’d say which is short, but average length for a NES title. The difficulty also helps keep the game as a little longer than it would otherwise be. The soundtrack is also pretty decent. Nothing super memorable or anything but it’s fast paced enough to mix in with the gameplay pretty well.
Overall, Ghouls ‘n Ghosts is a fun title that is hampered by some of its design choices. It’s a NES game that has earned its reputation. Ultimately it is still one of the weaker NES titles if you ask me though. The other platformers I’ve played tend to handle the platforming aspects a little better. The SNES version of this game is also a lot better so if anything I would recommend checking that one out instead. It takes the best elements from the first game and then improves them in the second. This is the kind of game that could easily work well in a modern remake as well. With updated graphics and more of a story this could easily sell a ton of units.
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.
It’s time to look at a game I never really got to try back in the day. It’s a fun one though and there are 100 different levels in the game as well so it’ll definitely last a while. None of them are super hard to the point where it’ll take you a while thanks to the rewind feature but the level designs are pretty well thought out. You will probably need a few resets to beat some of the levels. They just aren’t the kind that you can glance at and figure out the answer right away. As there are puzzle elements you also have to be careful what item you break first or it’ll become impossible to clear the level.
How the game starts off is you have to break everything in the level. This ranges from doors to ladders and everything must go as if this is some kind of mega sale. You just can’t afford to leave anything intact and that’s actually what stumped me for a little while on the first level. I just couldn’t figure out how to clear the level and it took a lot of running and smashing things to figure out that ladders counted as well. The gameplay is very simple. You press A to break the object in front of you. You can run from left to right as you go through the stages and climb ladders. You can’t touch any of the enemies or you die in a single hit. Eventually fireballs will also show up so make sure you avoid those as well. You can actually walk off stage so do that in order to avoid the enemies. It’ll at least buy you some time in that way.
It shouldn’t take you very long to master this gameplay. From there it’s just a matter of thinking things through. None of the levels are particularly long either so it’s easy to just boot up the game and start conquering some levels. With 100 to choose from this should definitely take you a few hours. The levels are similar enough where you may want to take some breaks though. Playing through all of them in one shot sounds like a way to get yourself bored of the gameplay style and that’s definitely not a good idea. The game is fun after all. You just need to pace yourself here.
The graphics are pretty solid as well. It’s pretty nice to see all these old versions of Mario. He really got around back in Nintendo’s original days. The enemies are also pretty interesting. It’s like a sort of creature but hard to say exactly what it is. The looks have definitely aged pretty well as with the gameplay. I can’t say quite as much for the soundtrack. It’s a very peaceful background kind of theme but not one that you are likely to remember for very long. It’s so quiet that you may not even hear it at all while you’re so focused on getting through the level.
Overall, Wrecking Crew is a pretty fun Nintendo game from their past. While I always remember Mario Bros and Donkey Kong, this is one game I tend to forget exists at times. It’s got a pretty unique gameplay style though and this is yet another Nintendo franchise that could use a modern revival. I think there’s a lot you could do with a modern take on the Wrecking Crew. Think of everything you could break in a more modern city environment and this time you’d have Goomba and Koopa minions to fight against. In the meantime I’d recommend checking this out on the Switch Online. It’ll at least buy you a few hours to have fun with.