Video Game Review: Final Fantasy (NES)

I’ve got to say, Final Fantasy didn’t start off with a bang. At least not in the same way that the Dragon Quest franchise did.

While this is a pretty damn good 8-bit RPG, it seems like it’s really lacking when compared to the first Dragon Quest a.k.a. Dragon Warrior.

Now this does benefit from having a party and not just playing as a sole character. However, managing the party is kind of tedious and cumbersome. It’s not clear which character types are more beneficial and which combos work best. But there are a good amount of options. The only problem, is once you choose your party, you’re locked in.

Additionally, the game design isn’t that great. Everything looks like a basic and watered down version of the original Nintendo Dragon Warrior games. It lacks color, vibrancy and is kind of dull after playing through four Dragon Warrior games in a row.

Also, you have to grind like a MFer. It’s not really clear what levels you need to be at, as you advance, but sometimes you beat a section really easy and then the next portion of the game can have an extreme jump in difficulty.

In the end, it comes down to fun factor and time invested. This wasn’t as fun for me as the Dragon Warrior games, which I also preferred as a kid. Also, this took a lot of time to complete and most of that was spent grinding, which really put a halt on the momentum of the story and my enthusiasm in trying to complete it.

However, this is the first game of many and like Dragon Quest, each chapter would improve things and become better balanced.

Rating: 6.5/10
Pairs well with: other early Final Fantasy games and the superior Dragon Warrior/Dragon Quest games of the era.

Video Game Review: WWF King of the Ring (NES)

The original WWF wrestling game for Nintendo was a piece of shit. I mean, it was passable in 1989 when I first played it but it’s a clusterfuck of buggy controls, strange physics and is limited by its roster and only having one match type.

This was the fourth WWF game for NES, after the three Wrestlemania games. This one took the King of the Ring tournament format and brought it into the game.

Now while this is limited by having basic one-on-one or tag team matches, it does boast a bigger roster than the original Wrestlemania game.

However, what makes this much, much better than Wrestlemania is that it is playable!

This game isn’t hard to figure out pretty quickly and you certainly don’t get as frustrated with it as you do the other early WWF titles. Sadly, there isn’t much as far as move sets go. I’m not even sure if you can do finishers. This is basically a button masher and as long as you can adapt to the patterns of the game, it’s really damn easy.

But because of this being a basic bitch of a wrestling game, it gets repetitive fast and after playing through one tournament, there isn’t much else to keep your attention.

Rating: 5.5/10
Pairs well with: other NES wrestling games: Pro Wrestling, Tag Team Wrestling, WCW Wrestling and WWF WrestleMania Challenge.

Vids I Dig 085: Generation Gap Gaming: ‘Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!’ NES Secrets and History

From Generation Gap Gaming’s YouTube description: I still love learning new secrets and history about my number two game of all-time Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! I wanted to share some of my favorites with you.

Video Game Review: Dragon Warrior IV (NES)

Well, I finally reached the summit! I have finally conquered all of the Dragon Warrior games for the original Nintendo! It was a massive and very time consuming undertaking with a lot of experience point grinding and wandering around aimlessly without the Nintendo Hotline to call.

After my experience playing the two previous games, this one was so refreshing and it didn’t force me to have to grind my ass off for what felt like weeks on end. This installment in the franchise finally got the XP issue fixed, as it is pretty much a perfectly balanced game in that regard.

This is also the most innovative in the series for several reasons.

First, the story is broken out into five acts. That’s right, you play five very different chapters, each introducing new protagonists. In the fifth act, you finally get to play as your self named “hero” character. But as that chapter rolls on, you are joined by new party members, most of whom are made up of the other characters you played as in the earlier acts.

Second, the party size in this game is immense. You now have eight or more characters to rotate into your playing party of four. What’s even cooler, is that when you get XP from battles, the inactive characters also level up. This way you don’t have to do extra XP grinding with a myriad of lineups trying to have everyone maintain the same level.

Third, this also adds in part-time party members that help out on certain missions. This is kind of cool as the game sort of throws new allies at you as you progress. It makes this feel like a bigger, more important story as the decent people of the land want to directly assist you.

I really liked the maps and the structure of the overworld, as well as the dungeons and towers. This is the best designed game of the lot and most locations feel unique and also different than what you’ve encountered in the games before this one.

Between the game play and the overall design, this Dragon Warrior is like a whole new game, even if the graphical style is the same as the previous three.

I love old school 8-bit RPGs and the Dragon Warrior games for the original Nintendo are my favorite of the bunch. But this one is absolutely perfect from start to finish. While I gave the first game a perfect score, I wish I could give this one a score higher than that. Where I thought the first one was mostly perfect, this one greatly exceeds it.

Rating: 10+/10
Pairs well with: The other Dragon Warrior a.k.a. Dragon Quest games for the original NES, as well as the NES Final Fantasy games.

Video Game Review: Dragon Warrior III (NES)

My biggest complaint about Dragon Warrior II was the grinding. Sadly, it may actually be worse in this chapter, as I felt like I spent countless hours being forced to grind away for experience points in an effort to progress in the game.

Still, this was a damn good installment in the series and in spite of my fun and the adventure screeching to a halt too often, the game was great when I was able to actually play it and not get my ass kicked.

I like that the overworld map was very similar to Earth and that once you’ve been everywhere and have defeated the big evil, a chasm opens up, revealing a new darkworld where the real big evil lives. So once you think that you’ve beat the game, you realize that there is a whole new world to explore and save from darkness.

Also, the ending of this game leads into the story of Dragon Warrior I. So this is a prequel. Although, that can be figured out if you pay attention to and remember all the details from the first and third games.

Overall, this game felt much larger in scale than the others. The second game felt massive compared to the first but this one feels like it also dwarfed its predecessor since it gave you a second world map. Additionally, this one also took the longest to play. But, again, a lot of that was grinding and grinding hard.

For fans of the series, this is a pretty satisfying chapter. Dragon Warrior always had the edge for me over Final Fantasy back in the early days of the two franchises. However, after I play through Dragon Warrior IV, I do plan to give the 8-bit Final Fantasy games a replay, as it’s been decades and my opinion on which franchise was better, could now be very different.

If it weren’t for all the tedious grinding, this would have been a 10 out of 10.

Rating: 8.75/10
Pairs well with: The other Dragon Warrior a.k.a. Dragon Quest games for the original NES, as well as the NES Final Fantasy games.

Video Game Review: Mad Max (NES)

I hadn’t played this game since I rented it once in the early ’90s.

I remember it being absolute shit. Well, my memories didn’t lie. This is still absolute shit.

The gameplay is terrible, the controls are atrocious and the fun factor puts this somewhere between root canal and rectal exam.

All you do is drive the Interceptor around the Wasteland. There is no clear indicator of what you’re supposed to do, other than I guess dodge road debris and kill enemy vehicles.

There is no information on where you’re supposed to drive to and it really doesn’t matter because you run out of gas pretty damn fast.

My experience with this game can be summed up as short, awkward drives, crashing into crap and running out of fuel.

This is a total f’n disappointment and certainly not worthy of the Mad Max name. In fact, it isn’t even worthy of being placed in the bottom of the toilet that Master Blaster uses down by the pig pens under Bartertown.

Rating: 1/10
Pairs well with: banging one’s head against a porcupine.

Vids I Dig 058: Generation Gap Gaming: ‘Jaws’ NES Secrets and History

From Generation Gap Gaming’s YouTube description: Jaws NES Secrets and History | Generation Gap Gaming – In 1987, just when you thought it was safe to go back in the game room, Nintendo released Jaws on the NES which was published by the company that strikes fear in the heart of every retro gamer more than any great white shark LJN.