Video Game Review: Batman: Return of the Joker (NES)

I never played this game and I guess I kind of missed out, as I probably would’ve really liked this, back in the day.

I was a fan of the first Sunsoft Batman game for the original Nintendo, as it came out and was tied to the 1989 Tim Burton movie.

I never realized that this one was a direct sequel to it and I guess that makes it exist in an alternate timeline than the cinematic universe of the same era. Granted, these games are very different than the ’89 movie in that they have a very sci-fi/cyberpunk aesthetic and deviate from the film’s story quite a bit.

So in this version of a sequel, the Joker has survived. They’ve also given him more of a comic book look, as opposed to using Jack Nicholson’s likeness. I’m assuming that was because the licensing fees to use his visage once again was too pricey and unnecessary in the grander scheme of things.

The game looks very similar to its predecessor; however, they’ve given Batman a larger sprite and stripped away the mechanics only to replace them with something worse. The weapons system may seem more advanced but it’s kind of confusing, tedious and annoying. Also, you can’t bounce off of walls and scale them like you could in the previous game.

This also adds in a few jetpack shooter stages that play more like a Gradius game than a normal Batman title. It’s kind of cool but I would’ve preferred having more standard levels with some good design. In fact, the levels in this game feel very small and are conquered too quickly.

Most of the bosses are just a big pain in the ass. Additionally, the first time you fight the Joker, he flies around in a pod like Dr. Robotnik from the Sonic games. It’s not cool and it’s pretty lame. The second time you fight the Joker, you basically fight a Joker-themed super computer. It’s also lame.

This game had some promise and I mostly enjoyed it but the improvements just ended up being disappointments. I would’ve rather just gotten a redesigned version of the first game with new levels and bosses.

Rating: 6.5/10
Pairs well with: the previous Sunsoft Batman game for the NES

Video Game Review: WWE 2K19 (PlayStation 4)

It’s 2020, so why am I reviewing WWE 2K19? Well, I only buy the WWE 2K games every few years, as much doesn’t change from game-to-game with each release. But since 2K20 has become legendary for the amount of glitches and bugs it has, I went backwards a year to get a less problematic version.

I didn’t expect much from the game, as these things tend to have really limited shelf lives and because of that, I don’t typically review sports games. However, this had a few bells and whistles that didn’t exist in the previous versions I’ve owned and it’s those bells and whistles that make this one worth talking about.

The most important thing that this game has is the Community Creations option. While the “create-a-wrestler” feature has always been a staple in these games and wrestling games in general, going back to the late ’90s, now you don’t have to create anything, you can just download other people’s creations and add them to your game.

So in no time, I had a roster of 100 extra wrestlers from the ’70s and ’80s and started some old school wrestling shows within the WWE Universe gameplay mode. Sadly, the game caps you at 100 created wrestlers but it still provides you with a load of options and a new, massive roster to exploit.

Overall, the ability to create shows, a unique pay-per-view schedule and also download just about every arena/wrestling pay-per-view from history is a damn cool feature.

As far as the gameplay goes, it’s about the same as these games have been over the last several years. There are a few improvements like in the submission wrestling aspect of the game. However, there are still problems with it and the pacing of matches is terrible for the most part. Sure, some settings can be adjusted to improve this but it doesn’t give it a natural, genuine feel.

I’ve played the shit out of this version of WWE 2K but it’s still a far from perfect game. The only thing that keeps me coming back is the ability to play in the classic NWA, Mid-South, Memphis, Florida and ECW settings with those classic stars. I’ve also dabbled with ROH, AEW, CMLL, AAA, NJPW, AJPW and FMW settings and characters but the game only really allows you to create six weekly shows and four pay-per-views per month.

Otherwise, I may have played this for about a week and moved on.

Rating: 7.25/10
Pairs well with: other modern wrestling games but there really aren’t many.

Video Game Review: Tecmo World Wrestling (NES)

I’ve been trying to playthrough all the old school Nintendo wrestling games. That being said, Tecmo World Wrestling is the title that seems to be at the top of several other bloggers’ lists.

I never got to play this one for whatever reason but it was cool to finally check it out.

Overall, it’s definitely better than most of the NES wrestling titles but I still much prefer the simply titled Pro-Wrestling. Like that game, though, this one has some really cool original characters and it’s not a licensed game trying to bring WWF or WCW wrestlers to the classic console.

My biggest issue with the game is that it has the same problem as all the other games. There just doesn’t seem to be anyway to develop a strategy or a real skill set when playing this. It’s mostly a button masher and you have to hope that you get lucky. There are certain things you can try to do to get an advantage but there really isn’t a certain sweet spot in timing or wrestler placement on the screen to make any sort of strategy work all that well.

What I do like about the game is the ring size, the graphics and the action outside of the ring. It’s probably the closest game to Pro-Wrestling in its design and play style but it looks better overall.

I also like the added addition of the commentator box at the bottom but reading it is damn near impossible, as it just distracts from an already difficult game.

In the end, I didn’t hate the game and that’s a real feat for a professional wrestling title made for the original Nintendo.

Rating: 5.5/10
Pairs well with: other NES wrestling games but this one is my favorite and the best I’ve played.

Video Game Review: Predator (NES)

After playing Rambo for the original Nintendo, I figured that I’d revisit that system’s Predator game as well.

While this is similar to Rambo in that it is a side-scrolling shooter and platformer based on an action franchise starring an action movie megastar of the ’80s, it doesn’t quite play as well as Rambo and it has some strange elements to it.

The strangest thing about this is that there are two game modes. I’m not really sure why they did this, other than trying to maybe blow kid’s minds with two modes but both are essentially side scrolling shoot’em up situations.

The only really difference is that the second mode makes the sprites bigger and more detailed but it also forces you to move as the screen scrolls on its own. The second mode Predator alien looks superb, especially for the 8-bit era, but it doesn’t save this mode from being annoying as hell and terrible to play through.

I much prefer the regular mode of the game, which is basically just a run and gun platformer with a multitude of baddies to blast and evade.

One problem with this game’s design, is that it looks like it is trying to emulate the aesthetic of the original Contra. However, it fails to have the great, smooth mechanics of that game and the graphics aren’t really up to snuff. Also, the level design is shit and pretty annoying.

Predator also features a weird final boss battle where you take on the gigantic, disembodied head of a Predator alien. This never happened in the movie but whatever.

This is actually better than I remembered it but even then, it is still a mostly bad game with a secondary mode that kills it.

Rating: 5.5/10
Pairs well with: other action side scrollers of the 8-bit era, especially those based on action movies.

Video Game Review: Rambo (NES)

My memories of this game didn’t paint it in a favorable light. However, I was surprised to discover that I actually quite liked the game, playing it in 2020.

Now this is far from perfect, as the objective and where to go isn’t made too clear, but once you get some time in and get the hang of the game, it grows on you.

It has a very similar playing style to Zelda II in that it is a side scrolling action game where you get experience points by killing enemies. Now the leveling up advantages aren’t as clear as they are in Zelda II but this essentially follows the same concept with roughly the same size character sprites and game mechanics.

That being said, the mechanics aren’t as polished as Zelda II and sometimes it is difficult to duck and shoot or turn and shoot someone coming up behind you. Had these issues been fixed before this was released, this could have been a damn good game. Instead, we get something that’s fairly fun but also frustrating in a firefight with multiple enemies.

Also, the boss battles are all very weak and monotonous. The big helicopter fight isn’t something you can go into with a strategy, you just have to hope you have enough medicine bottles and get lucky enough to inflict enough damage while missiles rain on your head and multiple enemies appear to expose the terrible flaws in the game’s controls.

Still, I had fun playing through this and beating it. It’s far from being a classic but for an ’80s console video game based on a licensed property, it’s not half bad.

Rating: 6.75/10
Pairs well with: other action side scrollers of the 8-bit era.

Film Review: Fatal Fury: The Motion Picture (1994)

Also known as: Garou Densetsu (original Japanese title), Fatal Fury 3 (informal title)
Release Date: July 16th, 1994 (Japan)
Directed by: Masami Obari
Written by: Takashi Yamada
Based on: Fatal Fury by SNK
Music by: Toshihiko Sahashi
Cast: Kazukiyo Nishikiori, Keiichi Nanba, Nobuyuki Hiyama, Kotono Mitsuishi, Tomo Sakurai, Shinichiro Miki

Asatsu, Fuji Television Network, SNK/Playmore, 100 Minutes

Review:

“Worthless fool! How can you ever help to beat me? By the next time I’m done with you, there’ll be nothing but stinking meat!” – Laocorn

I really dug this anime series in the mid-’90s when I was eating up all the anime my video store started getting in during the boom. These were some of my favorites due to my love of the Fatal Fury video games, as well as all the other Neo-Geo fighting games.

This third film was by far my favorite and even though I own it on VHS, I hadn’t watched it in nearly two decades due to not having a VCR. However, all three Fatal Fury anime films are available on YouTube, at the moment.

Seeing this again, all this time later, this is still my favorite of the lot and it’s actually a pretty good animated movie, from top-to-bottom.

The art is much better than the previous two installments and the running time is longer, as well. But I guess that’s why this is referred to as a “motion picture”. But the extra care given to this production makes it the best installment in the series.

Additionally, this doesn’t try to tell an anime version of a video game story. It actually branches off into a new direction with new characters and I’m not sure if any of the new villains actually made it into the video games.

This also has a very Indiana Jones vibe to it, as the villains are hunting down multiple MacGuffins in ancient ruins and temples in an effort for their leader to essentially become a god.

Fatal Fury: The Motion Picture is just a lot of fun, really f’n cool and is a more refined and perfected version of the two chapters that came before it.

Rating: 7.75/10
Pairs well with: the two other Fatal Fury movies.

Video Game Review: Fester’s Quest (NES)

What a terrible, horrible, insipid piece of donkey shit.

Back in the day, I was kind of excited when this came out. My cousin and I rented it and immediately had renter’s remorse. We were then stuck with it for the whole weekend and tried to make the best out of it but nothing in the game seemed clear and it was a confusing mess where we aimlessly walked around with one of the worst weapons in video game history. We got nowhere and we never rented the game again.

All these years later, I though that I’d try it again. Primarily because there are a lot of games I didn’t like or have the patience for in my youth that I have replayed now and found enjoyable.

This is not one of those games.

While I did figure some things out and did play this game through to completion, it was still tough to get through due to the terrible weapon, the terrible level design and overall repetitiveness of the whole game. Hell, even most of the bosses are pretty much the same with just a sprite change and a modified attack.

It actually boggles the mind how bad this game is. I can’t believe that it ever got released or wasn’t reworked at the design stage. But as I have said before, 8-bit video games of licensed properties don’t have good track records.

This might be the worst thing ever made that is associated with The Addams Family franchise.

Rating: 2/10
Pairs well with: punching yourself in the genitals, which you should not do.

Video Game Review: A Nightmare On Elm Street (NES)

I actually hated this game as a kid. I didn’t really understand what you were supposed to do and it wasn’t made clear within the game. The similar Friday the 13th made some sense and ultimately, I figured out how to beat it.

Well, I fully grasp this game now, thanks to skimming over an online walkthrough, which weren’t available in the late ’80s. So now I’ve played through this and beat it and have more of an appreciation for it, even if it is a pretty flawed game.

I’d actually say that I prefer this a bit more than Friday the 13th but it still isn’t as great as an A Nightmare On Elm Street game could’ve been in the 8-bit realm. However, it is better than most licensed games based on larger properties.

My main gripe with this is that there isn’t much difference between the real world and the dream world. I love that you can play in both but I find the real world to be more of a pain in the ass, even if the enemies seem somewhat weaker. But why are there zombies, monster snakes and giant rats in the real world? Is Elm Street next to a zoo that did insane lab experiments and then released them on the suburbs?

That being said, this game lacks creativity. What sucks about that, is that A Nightmare On Elm Street is a franchise full of some of the most creative slasher movies ever made. I don’t think anyone can really deny that.

Granted, this offers up more boss battles than Friday the 13th, which only really has two. However, the boss battles in this game primarily consist of disembodied pieces of Freddy Krueger floating around a screen or being attached to a chain like Chain Chomps from the Super Mario games.

When you do actually fight Freddy in his normal form, the boss battle is pretty underwhelming.

Additionally, the level design isn’t great and the game is pretty repetitive.

Still, this isn’t a bad way to waste about an hour of your time. While it’s damn difficult, it’s not unbeatable and it does give you a sense of accomplishment once you toss Freddy’s bones into the furnace.

Rating: 5.75/10
Pairs well with: the Friday the 13th game for the original Nintendo.