Congo’s Caper Review


Congo’s Caper is a fairly traditional platforming title. You get to travel through different lands as you jump and fight your way to the goal. You can swing at enemies with your club and duck under obstacles. It’s a fairly short title but a fun one all the same. If you like platformers then you’ll definitely enjoy this and you can’t go wrong since the game is free after all.

The main character was enjoying a nice peaceful day when the heroine gets kidnapped by the main villain. He now has to save her before all hope is lost. The characters are now monkeys but with an item he can turn into a human. It’s an interesting gimmick. Instead of shrinking like Mario when you’re hit, the player turns into a monkey. I can tell you that the gameplay is a lot smoother when you’re a human so I advise you not to get hit. Sure, that’s easier said than done but I recommend that all the same. It’s just way easier to land blows and fly through the stage when you’re a lot bigger.

Each level is fairly different so the game deserves a lot of credit for keeping things fresh. You never feel like the levels are recycled or anything like that. The stages are also at a good length where they don’t drag on or feel too short. It’s actually a rather well polished game considering that you’ve probably never heard of it before. The gameplay is smooth as well and some of the bosses can actually be rather difficult. You’re probably going to have to break out the rewind and access point features a whole lot here.

Now the story is rather basic and by the numbers so you’re definitely here for the gameplay. The heroine getting captured is extremely standard but at least the game has her getting captured more than once which is a little different. Clearly the heroes need some kind of security detail at the ready since the villains can just waltz in and do whatever they want otherwise.

The bosses have cool designs and the boss battles themselves are rather creative. For one boss you have to avoid all of his legs and wings as you try to hit the head in the center. This boss is particularly difficult because he can move so fast and making any kind of contact with him will damage your health. You really need an air tight reaction time and a good plan in order to take him out. Otherwise you’re just doomed.

Throughout the game there were several moments that seemed incredibly difficult. You had to run ahead of some spikes or the ground collapsing. I died so many times to that and had to keep rewinding until I cheesed it. It wasn’t until the final level that I realized what was going wrong..there actually is a run button. It explains why the character was moving so slowly. I was actually walking for the majority of the game. In my defense the game didn’t make that particularly clear. It was fun to finally have this at the ready though.

The graphics look pretty good. I’d say that the style they used is one that ages really well. The colorful animations and character models are still rather sharp and the same is true for the environments. It’s closer to the high end on the side. The soundtrack is more on the forgettable side. Some decent tunes and all but nothing that will keep you up at night. It could have used some more high energy tracks which would have taken this to the next level.

Overall, Caveman’s Congo is a solid game. I won’t overhype it and say that it’s great or anything but you’ll have a good time with it. The game lasts for about an hour so if you need something quick to play then you should just jump on this one. You’ll be glad you did and I think it could do really well with a modern remake someday. Caveman type stories aren’t really my thing but for a platformer the gameplay is the most important part and I think this game proved that it could make this work.

Overall 6/10

Rival Turf! Review


Rival Turf! is a fairly intense beat em up, but it’s the kind that forces you to start all the way from the beginning when you lose all of your lives. This is not completely unheard of within the genre but I have to say that I never liked this approach. To me, there should always be a way to continue until you get to the end of the game. There have to be checkpoints or some place to return to. Not including that feels like an unnecessary hurdle and it’ what keeps this game back.

It’s hard to say what the plot is here at all since there isn’t even an opening cutscene. You beat a lot of dudes up as you go through the game though so I’ll assume it’s your classic gangster story where a bunch of gangs have taken over the city and you have to stop them all. Either way the focus here is definitely just on beating everyone up and it’s fair to say that the villains made a huge mistake in going after the main character’s town. That’s going to come back to haunt them.

Each stage has you beat up a ton of enemies until you get to the end. At that point there is a boss that will show up to fight you in deadly combat. Don’t give the opponent an inch, just keep on going. Now this will be easier said than done though as each of the enemies do have some fairly good attacks to hit you with. One of the toughest kind of enemies to deal with is one that always approaches you with a big flying kick. The only way to effectively get around that is often to try and land the kick first or just stay out of the way.

Typically in games like this what I like to do is wait a little higher or lower than the opponent so when they walk over I get the first hit. In a one on one scenario this does tend to work but it’s hard to set up when there are a bunch of enemies rushing you at the same time. At that point you just have to fight hard and try hitting as many of them as possible. In a lot of ways it feels like a button masher so you just have to get in there and keep on landing blows as quickly as possible. If you get lucky or do really well then you may be able to beat the level without losing too many lives.

There are 6 levels here and I died in the 5th one. You get 6 lives and can continue 5 times so in a way you’ve got 30 lives. Typically I would lose 6 lives in each stage but that number kept increasing as I made it through the game. Ultimately that’s what got me here. The enemies were just too vicious and they really showed me what was going on. This is where I say there should be a way to continue the game from the 5th level. To me that makes sense so you could hat least see how it ends and go from there. This is the kind of game where even rewinding and restarting doesn’t help a lot because of how crazy strong the opponents are. Sure, with enough patience you could probably pull it off but it would take a long while which is probably not worth the hassle for this game. You would need something a lot more high end which should already have that feature anyway.

Aside from that one big feature not being here, the gameplay is solid. 2D beat em ups don’t tend to be my favorites until you reach the 90s and later on where they added a bunch of depth to it. Like I really enjoyed the X-Men GBA beat em up game because of how it incorporated all of the X-Men special techniques and powers into the combat. It wasn’t just any ole beat em up, it felt like a real X-Men game. For a game like this I know powers are off the table, but giving the characters more to do would really help it stand out. Of course this game is fairly old so that critique doesn’t apply as much but this game just doesn’t stand out.

I thought Double Dragon did a much better job of executing on this concept, not to mention it also had more of a plot. Considering that this game is for the SNES, I don’t think there is an excuse not to have some kind of story included in the game. At least if you ask me that seems like a reasonable request. Ah well, at least the graphics are solid, I do think the game still looks good all the way through. There are a good amount of level designs and they all look different so it’s not just reusing them.

Additionally, I would say that the soundtrack is solid as well. So the game does have some things going for it. There’s no real replay value but the game is difficult enough where that shouldn’t be a problem. Even though you theoretically can beat the game within an hour, the odds of you doing that are slim to none with how hard the game is. You really have to learn all of the villain patterns and movements to take them down efficiently. Additionally it’s hard to plan when so many of them are rushing you at once so good luck with that. A lot of it will come down to instinct.

Overall, Rival Turf is a game that has a good combat system but other areas of the game hurt it like the whole thing about not having a way to restart at a specific level. Going back to level 1 is something I never enjoy, it just feels way too harsh of a punishment if you ask me. You should be able to beat the game normally and if needed just have the extra continues destroy your score at the end or void it. Seeing the cutscene as the game ends is the important thing. Either way there are other titles you should check out within the genre for a better all around experience.

Overall 5/10

Breath of Fire Review


It’s time for an old school RPG. This one has definitely been around for a while but I just hadn’t had time to give it a shot before. Well, after playing it I can confirm that the game has aged well. The gameplay style is nice and retro with the story being rather solid. You don’t really see a lot of games like this one nowadays, at least not among the AAA companies.

The game starts with everyone in the village being murdered as per usual with just a few survivors making it out. Ryu’s sister decides she will go out to stop the Dark Dragon Clan in their wild quest to destroy the world. A long time passes and she does not return so Ryu is forced to take up the challenge next. He will need to team up with a lot of skilled fighters in order to make a difference but is he really just setting off on an impossible mission?

As you complete each area you get more and more allies to fight by your side until you’ve got a rather solid roster. It’s all done very methodically which works rather well. While the game may not be very original in some ways like the story and all, the fundamentals are just really strong which is what makes this game a lot of fun. For example the gameplay is just really smooth and in some ways it beats out some of the more modern versions. When you don’t want to fight enemies you can actually use up an item that prevents any random encounters for a little while. I thought that was a really handy item and there were no strings attached. Sure, you do have to spend money to get the item but it’s rather cheap and you’ll be swimming in money later on.

You get a map along the way and the ability to fly so going through the map isn’t super crazy. I will say that on occasion the game isn’t very clear on what you need to do next though. Because of how the game lets you mess around with the order of things a bit, sometimes you’ll miss out on an item or event that you need in order to go forward. When that happens it can be a bit annoying. It doesn’t happen often but in those moments it would be nice if there was a way to ship the item to a newer location so you didn’t have to run all the way back. Now that would have been ideal.

So it’s not like it’s all perfect here but at the end of the day it’s a very peaceful game. It’s one that you can just sit down and have a good time with at any point. IN general I feel that way about the retro RPG titles because I like the turn based system quite a bit. Beating up on enemies over and over again is a great way to build up your XP but it can also be very soothing at the same time.

For the graphics, I’d say they’ve aged well. The level designs are on point and I like how the characters look. The soundtrack is also decent although I wouldn’t say that any of the themes are very memorable. It could have used a little more energy to the tracks but either way it’s not something where I would give it a thumbs down for that. There isn’t much replay value after beating the game but the campaign’s fairly long so that won’t be much of an issue here.

As to the story, I thought it really took off once Goda and the group of villains showed up. It starts off a little slow as you beat up a bunch of forgettable villains for a while but then once the big villains show up, the game really raises its level. It also made you feel like the game had a good chunk of content left since for a little while there it felt like you were going to end it before a whole lot happened.

Your allies are a bit forgettable though. None of them really stood out for me. They weren’t bad but if you asked me to tell you their personalities I wouldn’t be able to say much more than the one sentence premise of their characters. It felt like they didn’t get to do a whole lot despite being around. The main character was the most interesting and even then he is fairly standard. The villains are definitely the more interesting characters here and the game has some twists and turns at the end of it.

As with just about any RPG you can expect that the final boss here is rather difficult. Make sure you’ve trained a lot and have the best attacks and equipment ready or you will be in for a rough time. If you lose you can always just go back to train of course but it’s always ideal to train first so you don’t have to backtrack for a long while. Particularly for the final boss where you would have to go trough the dungeon all over again.

Overall, I’m definitely ready to check out Breath of Fire 2. If you like a good RPG then you’ll definitely be a fan of this one. You’ve got all of the classic RPG elements here and they’re executed well. While some areas could have been better, I’d say it shines as a bright example of why the genre is so good. It would absolutely be worthy of being someone’s first RPG too as it would get them used to the mechanics. There really aren’t any downsides to this one so just go in and have fun.

Overall 7/10

Earthworm Jim 2 Review


This is one of those games where I can’t say that I knew a whole lot about it but I definitely knew the name. Earthworm Jim is one of those names that just sticks around in your mind from start to finish. You can’t forget it because it’s just way too intense. The game lives up to the hype and is definitely a blast even if the ending starts to get a little on the crazy side. Certainly a very difficult game as well.

The game starts off with Jim on another adventure to save the princess or at least I think she’s a princess. Along the way he has to fight with a lot of different creatures. Get ready for some big plot twists by the end too. This is not a game that spells everything out for you. At times you will really have to connect the dots on your own and also decide how real the ending is. Personally I like to think the whole ending is completely real and just how it appears to be. It’s an ambitious way to end the game and I can definitely approve of that.

As for the gameplay, it’s Fairley standard for a shooter. You blast away at your enemies and keep on moving. Your ammo may not always be great but you slowly recover some if you’re ever totally out. I recommend not wasting your ammo though as it is extremely useful for every part of the game. You don’t want to be running low against a boss or you’re really in trouble. You have different kinds of guns around here too so try and learn how each one looks and feels. The best one is the machine gun style but all of the guns are useful for something or another. Mainly you also just can’t to be good at jumping and dodging so you don’t just eat every attack. Do that and then you’ll really be in a jam.

One level that gave me a lot of trouble is the final level so here’s something to keep in mind about that. You have to stay ahead of your opponent at all times here or you lose. If you make it to the end of the level but he was first then the level just ends with you being stuck until you run out of health. So you have to move really quickly here and it cost me a ton of tries to get that far. Trust me, it definitely was not easy at all especially because you’re never given any indication that the rules around this level were different than the rest. Seriously it just comes out of nowhere which makes the whole thing a bit surprising.

Aside from the gameplay, the soundtrack and graphics are all solid. This is what I would call the complete package because it looks and sounds good while also being a very satisfying play. It’s hard to go wrong here. It’s aged incredibly well for the SNES, you could probably get away with thinking this could even look like an N64 title. Throw in the fact that it had more of a real story than the others and it really seemed to be ahead of its time.

I’m a little surprised there weren’t more 2D platformer shooters back in the day. I suppose Mega Man cornered the market there but they always tend to be a lot of fun and satisfying. This one just proves that even more. It’s probably the last Switch Online game for a bit but I was definitely thrilled to get a chance to play this one. Hopefully the console keeps on updating with more and more solid games. Who knows what other gems are hiding out there just waiting to be played!

Overall, Earthworm Jim 2 is definitely a solid game. I had a lot of fun with it at least and the title really embraced how crazy the whole thing was. It was definitely not trying to be your average shooter game. I’d really be down with a remake of this game at some point. There’s a whole lot you can do here for the future. Some of the gameplay mechanics should be explained better so you aren’t walking around in circles or anything like that but those are easy fixes to make. (Finding out how to open up the flowers to throw around took me forever!) Pull that off and you’re in a good spot!

Overall 7/10

Dig Dug II Review


Dig Dug II is a pretty fun game. I wouldn’t say it quite holds up to the first one but it’s hard to say how much of that is just pure levels of quality and how much is nostalgia. If I were put to the ultimate test though I would still say the first just wins on merit. The underground levels worked perfectly for the series and same with how the gameplay was set up. There’s a reason why it became an all time classic after all. The sequel is still good though and it was certainly good enough where I kept going until I beat all 75 levels.

There isn’t really a story here though so just go in and start blasting all of the enemies. Your objectives will be clear from there. Now there is a tip I found out while going through the levels that will help you out. So you know from that start that you just press A to start plugging the enemies full of air so they pop right? Well, you may feel like pressing A as fast as you can is the way to go but that’s not quite right. It’s actually more effective to be pressing A while moving forward. For some reason that speeds everything up really quickly so you can potentially take out several enemies before they get to you.

The reason why this is huge is because in the latter levels you need every second. You have numerous enemies rushing at you and a single touch will mean that you lose a life. So every enemy you can knock out is one less that you will have to worry about later on. To clear a level you have to beat all enemies so it stands to reason that destroying them all as fast as you can is the way to go right? Beyond that you can also use your drill to make little barriers that the enemies will have to navigate around or try to dig under. Both options still buy you some more time as well.

Just play as fast and hard as possible. Your instincts will quickly catch up and then from there you will know what to do without an issue. The game is very intuitive after all. While I didn’t think the levels or gameplay style beat the original, it’s still a fairly high quality game here. There was a lot of dedication put into the title so you know from the start that this one’s a keeper. It is easy to just plug in and play plus it has a lot of replay value in trying to beat your high score. It may be a little more slow paced than some other arcade games so it can take a while to get to your turn if you’re sharing at an arcade but if you’re just trying to beat yourself then it’s perfect.

As for the graphics, they hold up pretty well. The game is nice and colorful with good minion sprites as well. You always know what is happening nd I wouldn’t say anything is blurry. It’s just a solid experience. The soundtrack is less memorable though. While you’re playing you probably won’t notice a thing because you’re just concentrating so hard. Not necessarily a bad thing though, just means that you’re really invested into the game the whole time.

If there’s something I would have liked to have seen in this game, it would be boss fights. I think a solid boss fight would have been really fun and if you spread them out to once every 10 levels or something, it would be a nice way for you to feel like you’re really making progress. I’m not exactly sure how you’d program the boss fights but feel like there is a lot of potential with how the gameplay is. That may have been the thing to help this one beat the original.

Overall, Dig Dug II is a fun game. There isn’t a whole lot to say about it because of how straight forward the game is. You either get it or you don’t but it’s not like there is a lot to learn or describe. It’s really just the same move that you used over and over again to get to the end of the level or to block off the enemies. Once you’ve learned the ropes then it all comes down to your reaction times and planning. I want to say you’ll get pretty far even without using the access points but defeating all 75 levels without restarting or rewinding once would be extremely difficult. Definitely not a challenge for the faint of heart.

Overall 6/10

Mappy-Land review


Mappy-Land is a fun game and one that manages to have a fairly unique gimmick to it. Instead of jumping on all of the enemies or heading to the goal, each stage is a mini collectathon. You have to grab all of the parts in each level to proceed. Some levels even have a second set of collectibles to grab as well so you’re always on the move here. At times the level’s goal can be a bit too vague for my liking but on the whole this is definitely a fun game that you should enjoy. It’ll be over in a breeze but the level designs are all solid and I have to imagine that if this was before the Switch Online version it would have been extremely difficult to complete. I would have died so many times if not for being able to alter my fate.

There’s not much of a story here but what we do have is told through little cutscenes like Pac-Man. It even follows some of the same story beats as we meet the wife and kid. Definitely an emotional kind of moment right there but it’s safe to say that you’ll really be here for the actual gameplay either way. So with that as the main hook you should have a good time. My advice would be to learn the attack items right away since those help when you’re in a pinch. Also, you can actually jump over the minions which is extremely handy.

At first I would just run away from them whenever they showed up so being able to keep going where you wanted was a game changer. Naturally the risk is a lot greater since if your timing is up even by an instant you will lose a whole life there. You definitely gotta be careful about that but otherwise you’re all set. When you’re on the balloon for the aerial levels, just try not to get too close to the enemies. You can blast them from afar and then move forward. Your weapon has a lot of range.

This tricked me a bit at first so once you get the usual collectables you need to go inside of the Church. That’s where you will find the key item that will let you go further. Without it you will end up being essentially stuck in place so you definitely want to keep that in mind. I remember wasting a bunch of time on the train in one level because I wasn’t sure what to do next.

When you wait too long, an unbeatable enemy will appear. It’s like a floating plate that keeps going after you and any contact means defeat. Of course, that is true of any enemy in this game since Mappy has 0 durability but this thing is extremely fast and can fly so jumping won’t cut it. If you see this enemy in a level it’s fair to say that it may already be over for you. Dodging it or staying our of the way are both incredibly difficult and nearly impossible to actually pull off.

Meanwhile the graphics are pretty fun here. I thought they were nice and colorful and the art style really holds up even to the modern day which I find impressive. It’s not easy for a game to hold up over decades but it is absolutely possible if you play your cards right. The soundtrack is more on the forgettable side though. Not bad…just good luck actually remembering any of the tunes. It’s not as iconic as Pac Man or as energetic as Mario which leaves it in a bad spot. It just doesn’t excel the way that it could have.

The game is reasonably short so you’ll probably beat it in a day or 2 if you’re focused up. Either way there is some replay value. This game keeps going on loop after you beat it so you can still try to work on your high score as you go through. That’s at least something to aspire to right? I don’t see you sticking around for too long on this one as there are just so many other big titles to check out but all in all it’s just a well balanced title.

Overall, Mappyland is definitely a game that I can recommend. It’s just a fun little experience and one of those games that is extremely easy to plug and play at any time. I certainly had fun with it at the very least. A modern remake of this game could be a lot of fun and it’s also a good way to show people how to do a collectathon. A proper one should have the collectibles built into each level so you can’t proceed without them. That way you aren’t suddenly blindsided by having to go back and grab them later. I feel like this series is so forgotten that a remake is unlikely but never say never right?

Overall 6/10