Video Game Review: MagMax (NES)

This game is pretty wonky and kind of weird.

There doesn’t seem to be much point to it and playing through it just seems kind of aimless and really repetitive. Granted, it’s a simple ’80s 8-bit side scrolling action shooter but it’s pretty unimaginative, completely lacks any sort of story and looks more like a generic bootleg game than something designed and programmed by a major studio.

While I don’t think that FCI was a massive studio, they did put out other games in the era like Seicross, Lunar Pool, Phantom Fighter, the WCW Wrestling games, the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons games and the Ultima series. But this one feels like it was done half-assed and rushed out to get another coin-op machine into arcades. This Nintendo port of the game is even worse.

The only kind of cool thing about it is that there is an above ground and an underground section of the game and both run parallel. You can hope between the two whenever you want when you come across the gate that warps you from to the other. There doesn’t seem to be any benefit from playing on one plane or the other but the underground section makes it harder to dodge enemy attacks.

As you progress through the game, you collect robots pieces. You go from being a small space ship vehicle to a full walking mecha if you collect the pieces. However, every time an enemy hits you, you lose a piece.

All of the enemies are just generic look metal shapes and pretty f’n basic. The only really cool enemy is the boss, which looks like the three heads of Mecha-King Ghidorah attached to Max Rebo’s keyboard. However, battles with this boss aren’t too difficult and even after beating him, you just keep cycling through levels and have to fight him again. It doesn’t seem as if there is an end to the game, it may just keep cycling forever.

Overall, MagMax is not very fun, it’s pretty monotonous and there are dozens of games far better than this one on the original Nintendo.

Rating: 5/10
Pairs well with: other side scrolling 8-bit sci-fi action games.

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