4 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

NES Open Tournament Golf Review

It’s time to look at a classic NES golf game. Golf is one of those games that is hard to make all that fun even in modern titles. The only one where I could say I really felt pumped up was the Mario Golf game for Gamecube and even then it got stomped by the other Mario sports. Needless to say I wasn’t a huge fan of this one either. I do see that some decent effort was put in here but it still wouldn’t be able to keep me in there once I’m done with a tournament.

When you boot the game up you’re given a screen with Mario and Peach getting ready to be crushed by Luigi and Daisy. I assume it’s Daisy at least but admittedly she looks quite different here. After that you see the various game modes. To this title’s credit, there are actually a few different modes when a lot of these games would just have one back in the day. You can jump into a tournament, free play, or a single player run through of all the holes. Naturally I went for that one, I wasn’t about to have to watch the computers throw me around when I was just starting right?

The controls are not too crazy once you get the hang of it. You move the stick in the direction you want to hit the ball too. Once you do that then you tap the a button twice when you’ve got it in the right part of the moving bar. From there you just try to angle your hits and select the appropriate power so that you get the ball to the flag in as few hits as possible. This is one of the few games where you actually want to have the lowest score possible. The higher score you have the worse you played the game. You definitely don’t want to see a +9 as that is about as bad as you can be.

The graphics here are pretty fun. Not surprisingly since Nintendo was really the ones behind this game it looks a lot better than most of the other NES titles. When they throw Mario in it seems like Nintendo really tries to give the game an extra shine to it. The soundtrack is also very peaceful. You feel like you’re ready for action and to have a good time. That’s the ultimate goal of the games right?

There’s a reasonable amount of replay value here since there are a lot of different stages. You will probably need to also replay the stages quite a bit to really get good and to hit your rhythm. It’s not something that will happen overnight after all. I averaged around a +6 for each hole so I got a ways to go. Ideally you want to be around a -1 or -2 for them to really secure the win. The toughest part about golf for me has always been all the different variables. You have to account for the wind and you have a ton of different clubs to hit the ball with and they all have their own range. What this means is basically no matter what you’re going to have to do a lot of memorizing to know what you want to do. Mario Golf handled this well with giving you a preview of how the shot would go while this one plays it a little more on the level. You just need to know the yards left to go and plan accordingly.

This is definitely a tough game so you can expect a good challenge. Of course with the rewind feature you have backup to an extent but either way this is not a game that you can expect to beat very easily. It’ll take some time and you’ll have to see if the game is fun enough to spend that time. At the very least I am glad that Daisy got into the picture a lot earlier than I would have expected. I’m not sure if you can play as her, but I certainly hope so.

Overall, NES Open Tournament is definitely a game you don’t want to miss if you reeeeeeally like Golf. Otherwise I’d say you should just bypass this one. There are a ton of other quality NES games to enjoy on the service so there’s no need to stick with one for very long if it doesn’t hit it out of the park for you. I don’t think there’s a whole lot more they could have done with the concept here so I’ll give them props for the attempt. That being said, Golf just needs something to give the games a little more pop in their steps.

Overall 4/10

4 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Tennis Review

It’s time for another classic NES game. The original Tennis title is one that likely resonated with a lot of people back in the day. It’s a popular sport after all so getting to play it virtually is a pretty cool concept. Unfortunately what ended up holding it back quite a bit here is the fact that the controls aren’t great. It feels like there is always the chance you are just going to hit the ball out of bounds even if it was a clean hit. This just felt pretty fishy to me. Nintendo made the same mistake with their latest Mario Tennis game. Ideally it should be more like Virtua Tennis. The ball only goes out when you know that you hit it the wrong way.

As with most classic NES sport games really the only option here is to jump into a game and test your skills. I played a full best of 5 set with 6 games a piece so it was pretty long. I think one game took around a full 30 minutes which was pretty intense. I managed to get around 6 games I believe, but ultimately I was pretty badly outmatched. The opponent just kept winning point after point while my balls would just end up falling out of bounds pretty quickly. It was at that point that I knew this would be tough to mount a comeback in.

The idea of Tennis is to hit the ball past the opponent. The ball does have to touch the ground though. If you just hit it straight then that’s out of bounds. Each point you win gives you 15 points and every 60 wins you a game. After 6 games you win a set and after 3 sets you win a match. It can still be pretty short if you dominate your opponent but that’s easier said than done. You’ll start to get the hang of when to swing for the ball as the game goes on but it can still be tricky. If you hit the ball a little too hard it’ll end up going out of bounds. It may also depend a bit on where you’re pointing the control stick although I can’t say I’m certain of that point. All I know is that sometimes the ball just doesn’t get the right bounce for me.

Whenever the ball goes out of bounds it just doesn’t feel quite right. It’s fine to lose points because you made a mistake, but it feels like RNG at times. It’s almost like no matter what the ball is going to go out of bounds. Perhaps someone who has played the game more would understand why it is doing that, but to me it just feels like I’m losing out on points for no real reason. Then when I lose it’s less satisfying and more like I gotta give the game the side glance. The graphics aren’t bad. They’ve got that classic NES sprite look that is always nostalgic so I’ll give the game some props there. The ref also looks like Mario so it’s always nice to see that guy participating in all of the sports.

Overall, Tennis was a pretty fun game until it went on. There was a good amount of back and forth for the points and it was all pretty intense. The problem is when the ball would suddenly go out and it would wreck all of the momentum. Now you’re just thinking that the CPU is pulling some strings. If you really like Tennis then you should still check this game out because it is free as long as you have the Switch Online. That’s a pretty big incentive. That said, this is one of the weaker sport titles in the NES online. You would do better with playing almost any of the others that you could find here.

Overall 4/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Volleyball Review

Now it’s time to look at the next sport game on the NES. This time it’s good ole Volleyball which is another sport that I haven’t gotten to play a whole lot in video game format. The best one I can think of is the minigame from Mario Party 4 or 5. I think it was 4, but I’m not positive. I thought that one had really good mechanics and I would go as far as to say that it was the definitive volleyball game. This one also does a good job though and can get quite fun by the end of the journey. Once you get the controls down then you’ll be ready to have some fun.

The whole game revolves around the match of course, but for some reason I wasn’t able to move or change the settings in the main menu. It would only let me enter and then I could move which was odd. It’s almost like only part of the game could be licensed but maybe it was just my controller acting up. You can never really tell sometimes but either way I thought it was pretty odd. Well, in the games I lost the first few rounds pretty badly because I just couldn’t rebound the ball. It’s very difficult to determine where it will land as I found the shadow to not be all that reliable. As you play you’ll get a better eye for it though. Eventually I was able to go on the offensive and score points.

Ultimately I didn’t win any of the matches but I gave them a good run for their money. I found the best strategy was to run up to the net and jump to block the shots at times. It only got dicey when they would change up the timing but it worked better than just waiting for their shot to arrive. Once you have possession of the serve it’s also easier to go on a roll and keep the momentum. When they serve it can be difficult since even returning the opening serve can be very difficult. It is always pretty impressive to see how difficult these old games were. Then when you factor in the no save feature part it would really be dicey. I imagine you would usually be playing this with friends though so hopefully that would force you to keep getting better.

The gameplay is executed pretty well even if difficult though. You feel like the developers did understand the crucial elements of Volleyball as they incorporated them into the game. The graphics are also pretty sound. There are a good amount of details added to the backgrounds and in the game. It all looks pretty smooth and deserves a spot as one of the better NES games that I played. I’d definitely be up for more Volleyball games in the future. A Mario Volleyball would probably be a very fun adventure and Nintendo should go back to making more sport games. If they dabbled with new sports that they hadn’t made a full game for I think they would sell quite well. Bring in Volleyball, Basketball, and Football. None of those have had a full home console release before.

Overall, Volleyball is a straight forward game that was executed very well. You’ll be able to jump right into the action and have a blast here. I’d have liked some more stage options and variety but the gameplay is definitely the most important element at the end of the day and it is quite sound. It has more replay value than a lot of the other sport games that I’ve played on the NES. If you’ve got the Switch Online then you should definitely check it out. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much fun it is.

Overall 6/10

5 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Pro Wrestling Review

It’s time for another old NES classic. This time we’re entering the Wrestling sport and I haven’t played one of those before so this was certainly going to be interesting. It’s a fun enough game where you get to really barrel into your opponent and pull off some moves. As with most NES games the only real option is to just go in there and play a few rounds so it all depends on how much fun the gameplay is. It isn’t quite as innovative as the Dodge Ball game but it makes for a reasonable playthrough. It’s fun to run and around and see what the opponent does.

When the match starts the idea is to get the opponent to the ground and keep him there until the ref says you’ve won. You can also throw your opponent out of the ring and try to prevent him from getting back inside for a few seconds. The latter seems really difficult if you ask me but I’m sure it’s possible. I let the opponent do that to me a few times for fun. You can also jump from one of the corners of the stage and fall into the ring for maximum damage and salt. It seems like a fun move to do on an unsuspecting opponent but the computer will never fall for it. The best thing you can do is knock them down first and then do the pounce. Even so, it’s incredibly hard to keep them down.

Perhaps there is a trick to it that I’m missing but my opponent just wouldn’t stay down. He did everything in his power to rise up over and over and over again. There also aren’t a whole lot of different attacks so it can get a bit repetitive very quickly. I found switching characters to help extend the game a bit. You can play as a cool reptile fighter who actually starts biting into his opponents which is pretty cool. The rest of the characters don’t really have fancy attacks like that but even just one of them being like that was pretty cool to me.

To switch things up you can also run into the net and bounce back to try and hit the opponent with an elbow or a flying knee. You can also throw them into the net and as they bounce back land a solid hit. These little gameplay elements help to switch things up and make the gameplay a little flashier so I certainly enjoyed that. The graphics hold up pretty well I’d say. It’s still NES of course, but the colors are bright and you always know what is going on. Those are the two things I always look for in a game and as long as they are there I feel pretty satisfied with myself. I didn’t really notice much of a soundtrack if the game even had music. I’m assuming it did, but I really didn’t notice while going through the matches.

Overall, Pro Wrestling is a pretty decent game. There’s not a lot to do so you will find yourself back to square one pretty quickly. That being said, if you want to duke it out in the ring it’s still a good way to buy yourself some time. Then by the end of the adventure you can say that you’ve now played a Wrestling game. This one is probably overshadowed by the boxing rival Punch-Out which makes sense but does have a bit to offer in its own right. Give it a shot and see if the game holds up well enough for you.

Overall 5/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Super Dodge Ball Review

It’s time for another retro NES game and I have to give this one major props for actually going above and beyond the game. You actually get to travel to another dimension in the final levels and the game gets a bit supernatural. I mean, you’re probably not playing a Dodge Ball game for that, but it’s still a nice addition if you ask me. You get to fight all of the other countries during the Arcade Mode and the final boss takes you into space. Then there is an extra bonus challenge where you fight zombie versions of your characters. It’s like looking into a mirror and fighting your distortions which I was not expecting in a game called Super Dodge Ball.

In a way the retro sprite style helps to build the atmosphere. It’s like how Undertale changed the game for most people with what you could do with sprites because of the atmosphere. It’s possible that if this game was more polished it wouldn’t look quite as intriguing with the backdrops because maybe it’s not meant to be space or your shadows in the final level. It’s all in how you interpret it, but I was definitely impressed. The gameplay took a little time to get used to though. I had to look up the controls online but after that I was ready to dominate. It’s actually a lot of fun and I always thought Dodge Ball looked pretty fun in real life as well.

The goal is of course to tag your opponent with a dodge ball at top speed which will take some of their health away. You win when you’ve tagged all 3 of your opponents enough times for them to be knocked out. When they throw the ball your two options are to catch the ball or dodge. Catching is the best way to counter though because dodging usually lets the ball get back to the opponent on a convenient bounce. Also in this ruleset catching the ball doesn’t tag out the guy who threw it, but it does give you possession back which is very helpful. The controls are also pretty in depth with each character having several super moves.

You can use a running start to throw a softball at the opponent or you can jump and fire a spiral shot. There are quite a few moves but my favorite is the running jump super charge. If you land that you can deal around 30 damage compared to 2-3 for standard shots. It’s also hard for the opponent to dodge. If someone tries it on you I recommend trying to jump out of the way. You can jump really hard in this game but the catch is that you can’t move after jumping so if they pretend to throw but don’t then you could be in quite a bit of trouble there. It gives the game extra depth.

I think you can already see why this is one of the better NES sport games. For sure I can say that it has more personality than a lot of the others and you can really feel the care and passion behind this one. The gameplay is actually a lot of fun once you really get the hang of it so I recommend looking up the controls to make sure you enjoy this one. If you don’t know how to play then there is definitely the chance that you will give it a thumbs down and that would be unfortunate.

Overall, Super Dodge Ball is a fun title. The length and amount of content are naturally quite limited, but even if you just play it for a quick playthrough it’s worth the experience. There aren’t a lot of dodge ball games out there so it’s also pretty unique which is a plus as well. Throw in the fact that there is virtually a story mode and you’ve got yourself a winner here. This is definitely one NES game that I won’t be forgetting anytime soon.

Overall 6/10

5 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Ice Hockey Review

I’ve been playing a ton of NES games lately but to the point where I hadn’t actually reviewed them yet. So it’s time to quickly take a look at what some of those titles were and first up is Ice Hockey. It’s a pretty straight forward game that gets you right into the action. As with most of these old sport games there is a certain charm to it although I don’t expect you would be playing this title for very long with all of the newer editions out there.

When you jump into the game you get to go right into the thick of it. I enjoyed around 4-5 games here although I did lose most of them pretty badly. The game is surprisingly high scoring for Hockey as my opponent scored around 20 in one game. In most hockey games I played previously it would be rare to get into double digits much less 20. I also felt like I was blocking pretty well for most of the game as I must have stopped close to 100 shots. It clearly wasn’t enough, but it shows you how fast paced the game is. You can also effect the speed level which is pretty cool. When it’s on its max setting you’re really flying across the field.

The gameplay has aged pretty well except for the passing. Shooting the ball into the net is easy enough but I just couldn’t get the puck to my teammates. They would eagerly stare the puck down by beyond that they would just end up falling back and I would start to get steamrolled. The graphics have definitely aged pretty well considering how old the game is. There was a good amount of effort put into the game and this is the kind of gameplay that just works pretty well for all times.

What ultimately keeps the game back from more of a positive score is definitely the lack of content here. There isn’t a ton of replay value with only one mode to play and after a few rounds you will feel like you’re pretty much playing the same match. This game is perfect for multiplayer so that’s when you should bump up the score another star or two. If you’re on your own then as I mentioned you’ll probably be tired after an hour or so. Considering that the game is free with Switch Online that’s not really a bad bargain though.

Overall, Ice Hockey is a reasonable game. It’s a good way to spend an hour or so, but in a way you’re just checking off a box as you play through all of the NES classic games. Once it’s gone you’ll forget about it pretty quickly. It’s not exactly Madden or Mario and to an extent some games just aren’t meant to last the long run. Titles like Pac Man and Mario will always be a blast no matter in what era you play them and that’s a testament to the amount of detail and design put behind them. To the average game, once 20-30 years have passed it’s probably just going to feel dated.

Overall 5/10