Circuits cleared 2/4
Circuits cleared 2/4
High Score 8676600
No stats this time!
The SNES classics continue thanks to the Switch online. This time I’m looking at one of the old beat em ups for the console. I still think that beat em ups work best in 3D, but 2D ones still have their charm. The quality will naturally also vary with how much effort was put in and how new the title was. This one is a pretty reasonable game, but the fact that there are no save points and you do eventually run out of lives holds it back. You never want to have to try and beat a whole game in one batch. The rewind feature and access points mean that you can beat this game if you really want to, but it’ll certainly take some time.
There was a plot in the booklet I’m sure but the game just jumps you right into the action. Every time you beat a level someone joins your team so just keep going til you save everybody. Each level contains several areas. You have to defeat all of the enemies and reach the end to get to the next level. You have a standard attack which is your best move, but you can also dash attack and jump attack. Finally your character also has a special attack, but I don’t recommend using this unless you are completely desperate. That’s because this attack actually drains your health. Yes….your health actually goes down here. I can’t really see how that would ever be worth it here since health is a very rare commodity and your special attack isn’t even that good. It’s basically a flurry of quick punches.
All of the levels are pretty straight forward except for one where I really have to question the level design. It’s a maze and you never want to see any of those in a fighting game. You’re in the sewers and the goal is to get to the end. The problem is that all of the doors are fake except for one and they have you going through 4 different areas that all look the same. Without looking up a guide online you’ll be here for a very long time. I was beating enemies for about 20 minutes before realizing that something wasn’t right with how the level was still going. Sure enough I was going in circles over and over again. That definitely didn’t feel very legitimate especially since the level never gave any indication that it was going to be a maze. In a game like this you really can’t afford to have a level like that.
Beyond that level the game was good though. I do still like a solid brawler game even if this one definitely does feel dated with how many mechanics it is missing. A simple save feature and the ability to re-start at the level you’re up to would be a game changer. The graphics are pretty solid for its time. The levels look good and so do the character designs. Each level is different the game has a lot of different character models. The soundtrack isn’t memorable though, but you can’t win em all.
The game’s length seems to be about 2 hours since I beat the first half in under 1. It’s a tough game though and if you intend to beat it without save states or the rewind feature then you will be here for an incredibly long time. This title is no cakewalk and it will do everything in its power to take your lives away. The mechanics often make it easy for the villains to get cheap shots on you even if it feels like you were in the right spot at the right angle. Sometimes I would rewind up to 10 times just to get the hit because they would somehow move too quickly. It’s probably unavoidable I suppose. There’s not a whole lot of replay value here since after beating the game there is no post game content. That’s it, you’ve cleared the story and that’s its own reward. Considering that the game is free there is still more than enough content to satisfy you here.
Overall, Brawl Brothers is a game that may not have gotten very well known nowadays, but it did show us what a beat em up could do back in the day. Of course there were many others like Double Dragon which were more popular so this wasn’t quite the one that would change the genre forever. I’d recommend giving it a play. There’s a lot of fun to be had here. You may not clear the game but I think you’ll appreciate the setting and effects. I’m also getting closer to clearing the SNES and then it’ll be time to take a look at some of the other NES games that I skipped.
It’s time to look at my next adventure into the SNES lineup. This one always looked like fun from the Super Smash Bros stage so I was ready to give it a whirl. It reminds me of the toy helicopter game I played for the Wii a while back. It’s about teaching you how to make rescues and perform tricks. Most of the game is a lot of tutorials like that until the very final level where we actually get a plot. Some villains have taken people hostage and we have to get past an entire army to save them. I’m not sure if any of you guys ever played Blackhawk Striker back in the day on the PC, but to this day it is my favorite game in that genre. This final level sort of feels like a chibi version of that and it works out quite well. I was definitely satisfied with the game by the end of my run. There is no replay value whatsoever in this game which hurts as having some kind of post game is pretty important. It’s a good one step playthrough but you’ll likely never play it again.
There are 4 different kinds of gameplay although they all have similarities. The objective of each level is to get a fairly high score like 220. You have 3 minigames to do so which means that on average you want to get a score of roughly 80. One of these minigames puts you in a plane as you fly through some rings and then attempt to make a good landing. It’s a lot trickier than you would expect as you have to land just right and with a good amount of speed to get a good score. This part also feels pretty realistic with how the plane will bounce if you attempt to land too quickly. It took me a ton of tries to get it right and this is probably the most difficult of the modes. It’s also the most fun one though.
Then you have the parachute version which is a free fall through some rings and then you aim for a perfect landing. With the wind and all the turning going on it can be pretty tough to get the landing just right. Then you have the hang glider which is basically the same thing only this time you’re on a parachute. It’s pretty fun as well and since the mechanics are the same for all of the games you should quickly get the hang of it.
The final level switches things up as you’re given missiles and have to fight actual enemies. I’m a little surprised that they went to the trouble of adding in new mechanics for a single level. It was a very nice surprise though as I was not expecting a plot to actually show up. The final level is easily the most epic part of the whole game. Trying to dodge and fire back was just epic.
My advice for this game is to always go full speed near the beginning. Time impacts your score quite a bit and there will always be time to slow down after you grab the rings. This is especially important in the plane levels since getting a perfect landing means almost nothing if you took all day to get there. You need maximum points and the way to do that is to just go full blast right from the start and slow down afterwards. For the final level, I recommend shooting all of the cannons down before even trying to register the hostages. One hit means death in this final level so if you let your guard down for even a moment you will end up regretting it.
As far as the graphics go, the game has aged pretty well. It’s still not the highest quality title out there, but by the SNES standards it has aged pretty well. I like the attention to detail with the character in the free fall turning around and the places to land are marked pretty clearly. I do think they should show up from farther in the map as you can totally miss it in some sections, but all in all that’s a pretty minor thing. The soundtrack is pretty nice. It’s definitely peaceful while still feeling like it has some energy behind it.
Overall, Pilotwings is definitely a fun game. It’s also a very challenging one. Without the SNES Online features it would probably take a little while longer to complete it. The controls are just hard to really master because of the angles. You’ve also got to pull it off 4 times in a row as one bad score can set you back a whole section. It does help to compensate for the short length of the game though as beating them all in one shot would probably result in you completing the game in 30 minutes. We’ll see which SNES game I play next, but I have to say that it will have a bit of a difficult time taking down Pilotwings.
Level 1 88%
Level 2 72%
Level 3 86%
Level 4 91%
Level 5 96%
Level 6 100%
Total Score 53300 88%
My high score for the game was 167800
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.