Video Game Review: Chip ‘N Dale: Rescue Rangers (NES)

I used to watch the hell out of Chip ‘N Dale: Rescue Rangers after school, back in the late ’80s. So when this game came out, I was pretty stoked to play it. From memory, I mostly remember liking it quite a bit.

Playing it in 2020, for the first time since probably 1990, I have to say that it hasn’t held up very well. Especially, after having recently revisited the far superior DuckTales games.

It’s a competent game with good controls, simple and sharp mechanics and easy gameplay. However, the level design is overly simplistic and not very exciting. Also, the game is pretty damn easy. At least, I found it to be lacking any real challenge.

The boss battles were pie. Most enemies were just easy to dodge and there didn’t seem to be much incentive in going out of your way to grab items. I just blew through every level and crushed the whole game in about 30 minutes or so.

It’s not a bad game, it’s well built and executed in spite of its basic bitch levels. There are many games that are much worse for the NES.

Rating: 6/10
Pairs well with: its sequel, as well as the other Disney games for the original Nintendo.

Video Game Review: The Lone Ranger (NES)

I have never played The Lone Ranger for the original Nintendo but I went into this knowing nothing about the game and without having any expectations.

What I was really surprised to discover is that this is one of the greatest 8-bit action RPGs of all-time!

Seriously, no one talks about this game, I’ve never heard anything about it and because of that, I have to consider it a real hidden gem among the 600+ titles that were released for the system.

The thing that makes this game so great is that it employs multiple gameplay styles from bird’s eye view world traveling to side scrolling, vertical scrolling and first person shooter action levels. You fight in towns, on moving trains, in caves, in forts, in hotels, on mountains, in the desert and even get to fight on horseback in two different ways.

Man, this game is just cool as hell and a shitload of fun! It’s really damn difficult but it isn’t unbeatable. I did beat the game, even though it took some time, and it gave me a real sense of accomplishment unlike many games from the era that have really underwhelming endings. This game’s ending was pretty superb for the time.

There isn’t a dull moment or a boring mission. The game designers did a fantastic job at keeping every area of the game fresh and unique, always adding new twists and ways to play the game.

For the 8-bit era, this is close to a masterpiece. The only things working against it are a lack of maps in the first-person stages and frustrating controls that switch your weapon when you jump.

Rating: 9.5/10
Pairs well with: other action RPGs and western games for the NES.

Video Game Review: Mighty Bomb Jack (NES)

Man, I haven’t played Mighty Bomb Jack in ages! But I had pretty fond memories of it, even though I remember it being frustrating as hell.

Overall, it’s a really solid, fast paced game that is also tremendously hard after the first few stages. It has strange mechanics that are tough to adapt to but once you do, the gameplay does get a lot more fun. There’s definitely an in-game physics learning curve though.

I like the graphics, the level design (until the last few levels) and the music.

It reminds me of a lot of other scrolling 8-bit platformers but it mostly reminds me of great puzzle games like Solomon’s Key and its sequel Fire & Ice. While this isn’t exactly a puzzle game, it just feels similar to those other ones.

I did beat this game but I had to play it on an emulator with infinite lives. I don’t think I could’ve beaten it otherwise, as it can get pretty maddening towards the end, as some jumps are incredibly difficult and you get easily overwhelmed by enemies.

For the record, I got the bad ending because just getting that one was hard enough.

Rating: 7/10
Pairs well with: Solomon’s Key, Fire & Ice, Kid Icarus and the early Mario games.

Video Game Review: Pro Wrestling (NES)

Pro Wrestling for the original Nintendo is not only the first wrestling video game that I ever played but it is also my favorite wrestling game on the NES. Full disclosure, I’ve never played Tecmo World Wrestling but I’ve heard good things about it.

What I loved about this was the characters, the graphics, the music and the gameplay.

There aren’t any wrestling games from the 8-bit era that had good controls or mechanics. The games of the time were pretty limited and because of that, wrestling games could only provide the player with a few basic moves. But at least Pro Wrestling gave you different signature “finishers” for each character.

This game is easy to play, once you get the hang of it, which should only take a few matches to grasp. You work your way through matches with every wrestler on the quest to win the World Championship. Once that’s achieved, you have to successfully defend it ten times in order to fight the World Champion of a rival league, which gives you the opportunity to unify the two titles.

I love this game despite its limitations and I’ve always hoped that Nintendo would make a sequel on a more advanced console. But since this is over three decades old now, I doubt we’ll ever get to revisit these characters and their cool wrestling league.

Rating: 7/10
Pairs well with: other NES wrestling games but this one is my favorite and the best I’ve played.

Video Game Review: Gyruss (NES)

Gyruss was a game that could’ve easily been tweaked a wee bit and made to fit within the larger Gradius universe. While those games are made by Konami and this is made by Ultra, you might not know that Ultra was just an imprint under the Konami umbrella and that the arcade version of this game had Konami all over it. The main reason for Ultra’s existence was due to some weird laws regarding licensing in North America.

Anyway, this has a Gradius feel to it, even though the gameplay style is much different.

You play as a spaceship and shoot your way through waves of enemies, progressing from stage to stage. It’s pretty simple and straightforward.

The big difference between this and the more popular side scrollers like the Gradius series is that you control the ship from a first-person point of view, as you movie the ship around the edge of the screen on a 360 degree circular rail.

While the perspective is initially cool and works well in the original arcade version of the game, it makes the controls in the NES port somewhat problematic due to the limitations of the D-pad. It’s mostly just clunky and doesn’t respond as well as you need it to.

Additionally, the game is initially fun but it gets really repetitive. Where the Gradius games are pretty much simple side scrolling shooters, they at least have really good level design and environmental changes that make the stages interesting. Gyruss, on the other hand, just has you starring at a black screen that you roll around while shooting in one small area of the screen.

This is a game that started with a cool idea but had poor, unimaginative execution, especially on the NES port. It just doesn’t work well and there are much better games within this genre.

Rating: 5.25/10
Pairs well with: other spacecraft action shooters for the NES.

Video Game Review: 8 Eyes (NES)

I have never played 8 Eyes but I always thought that the box art and logo were really cool. But it was sort of lost in the sea of other side scrolling fantasy games of the time and I never heard much about it from friends, as to whether it was good, bad or just meh.

But I figured that I’d fire it up and attempt to give it a playthrough because I typically love these sort of games and there are still many old school Nintendo games that I slept on as a kid because my allowance was shit and my choices of what games to rent was pretty limited at the ol’ mom and pop video store.

Overall, I really enjoyed this. However, it was confusing at first, as I wasn’t sure if I needed to beat levels in a certain order and because the controls are pretty complex for a game from this generation. The controls are still simple enough but it took some mental adjustment and a bit of time to understand how to do the falconry stuff.

I though that most of the level designs were pretty good but there was a pretty big variance on difficulty and size of the maps.

There is a gigantic mix of different enemy types and most of them are easy enough but there are a few that are frustrating. Unfortunately, the boss battles are all fairly annoying, not fun and they take away from the overall solidness of the game.

8 Eyes looks good though, with nice sprite design, a good color palate and an environment that uses the best aspects of the Castlevania games without being hindered by wonky mechanics.

Rating: 7/10
Pairs well with: the Castlevania games, which it’s design is very similar to, as well as other side scrolling fantasy games for the original Nintendo.

Video Game Review: The 3-D Battles of WorldRunner (NES)

I remember liking this as a kid but it’s been a really long time since I’ve played it.

As a grown adult in 2020 with over three decades of video game experience under my belt, I now think that The 3-D Battles of WorldRunner stinks!

It’s repetitive, annoying, pretty damn pointless and doesn’t offer up anything worthwhile other than it having a 3D mode that no one ever used, even way back in 1987.

You just run forward in a faux 3D world, dodging random objects, blasting random objects, avoiding poisonous mushrooms and trying not to get stopped by flying disembodied hands while jumping over massive chasms.

At the end of each series of stages, you basically fight the same boss: a flying serpent shaped thing. Sometimes you have to fight multiple in a row. The only difference between them is they have different heads and colors. They also take more hits to kill as the game advances.

In the end, this is pretty basic, very repetitious and not very exciting. I guess the world looks cool but that doesn’t salvage the game from simply being a gimmick that doesn’t deliver beyond that.

Rating: 5/10
Pairs well with: other 8-bit adventure games for the original Nintendo, which is almost every game for the original Nintendo.