River City Ransom - I'll start this list strong with RCR, a very well-structured and surprisingly deep side-scrolling beat 'em up. You play as either Alex or Ryan (or both, if you have a friend for some co-op mayhem) as they beat up various gangs and thugs in an effort to get their girlfriends back. Alex and Ryan are both high school students, and the gangs/affiliations you encounter are named such things as the Frat Boys and the Jocks, which further enforces that setting in a goofy way. You can pick up different types of weapons such as rocks and chains to thrash your opponents with, who will often drop cash for you to collect. Cash is used to buy food and other items that not only heal you, but also allow you to power up your character's statistics such as strength, defense, and agility. This gives River City Ransom a sort of RPG/beat 'em up hybrid vibe which strongly influenced 2010's Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game. It's extremely well-made and is generally one of the big ones that are sought after by game hunters, so I'm glad I was able to locate a copy!
|Best enemy death line EVER.|
The Adventures of Bayou Billy - I've never played this game before today, but I had heard of Bayou Billy before. Two things always seemed to come up whenever Bayou Billy was mentioned. First of all, I'd heard that the music in this game was apparently fucking awesome...and this is something I can now confirm as 100% true! Secondly, I heard that the game itself was absolutely brutal and would test the patience of even the most calm gamer. I can also confirm that as 100% true. You play as Crocodile Dundee-inspired Bayou Billy as he...attempts to get his girlfriend back from a smoking gang-leader jackass named Godfather Gordon! Clearly, girlfriend thievery was a pretty big theme back in the days of the NES! There are three types of levels: side-scrolling beat 'em up (like Double Dragon, for example), shooting segments that actually make use of the NES Zapper, and straightforward driving stages. That's a good amount of variety for an NES game, but it's got some issues that result in extreme patience-testing. The enemies in the beat 'em up stages are way faster than you are and take forever to bring down which really decimates the pacing of the game, and the driving stages are far too long for my tastes. If these driving stages were fun enough to merit their length then they'd be great, but that's not the case. That being said, this is definitely a pretty cool game with neat features, so if you can manage to get by the intense difficulty and stop yourself from bursting your jugular vein, I suggest you pick this one up! It's worth it for the music alone! Oh, and you can punch crocodiles in the face. I forgot to mention that.
|I'm not Crocodile Dundee, I swear!|
Legacy of the Wizard - I remember this game from my childhood...one of my friends had it, and we never fully understood it at the time. I always wanted to figure the game out, but he never took much of an interest in it so that was that. Now I've got my own damn copy though, so nobody can stop me! Legacy of the Wizard is a side-scrolling open world game, much like Metroid. There are 6 characters to play as which each have unique abilities, so they all need to be used at certain points in the game in order to access different areas. This allows you to gather items to help you progress on your quest to slay a big ol' dragon named Keela who, if I remember correctly, is magically sealed within a painting or something. So far, this is a sweet game...I haven't had much time to play it yet since I purchased it, but everything I've played so far is as enjoyable and fun as I thought it was when I was younger. Looking forward to getting some time to sit down with this baby!
|Get dat dragon.|
Ninja Gaiden - I doubt I need to say much about Ninja Gaiden. It's a solid action game which puts you in the shoes of Ryu Hayabusa as he thwarts the plans of a demon lord named Jaquio. It's infamous for its difficulty, most notably on the last couple of stages, but the gameplay is so damn solid that you'd be a fool not to at least try it out. It's always felt like a faster Castlevania game to me, and that's a pretty damn good thing. I won't talk much about this one, but be sure to hunt Ninja Gaiden down if you enjoy action games and happen to be a glutton for punishment.
|I can see my house from here!|
Marble Madness - This one's a strange cult classic, created by Milton Bradley. You control a marble with the control pad as you move it through multiple obstacle courses to reach a goal. These courses are littered with tricks and traps, requiring you to memorize the level layouts and make good use of your DEXTROUS FINGERS! There's also a time limit and it's for the entire game rather than the current stage you're on. When you complete a level, you gain a time bonus which adds seconds to your countdown and hopefully gives you the last precious moments you need to get through all 6 courses. It's a pretty neat game, but not mind-blowing. One thing I noticed is the isometric look to the game...a style that Milton Bradley also employed in Captain Skyhawk, which I talked about recently. I guess they were big fans of isometric grid-based geometry!
|Marble Madness gives you blue balls.|
Wizards & Warriors II: Ironsword - I'm reasonably certain that one of my friends either had this game or its prequel when I was younger. You play as a knight named Kuros who's on a quest to assemble the Ironsword. This is an ancient blade capable of vanquishing an evil wizard named Malkil, who has gained control over the world's elements. The game's a side-scroller where you collect various pieces of equipment to aid you on your quest. These are often acquired from locked treasure chests that need keys to open, so it's worth it to gather as many keys on your way through the game as you can. There are also spells you can get that'll help you survive on your way through the game. I...haven't played this one for very long yet because I found it to be sort of irritating right from the get go. The controls feel sloppy and imprecise which I found rather aggravating. I may have just been in the wrong mindset though, as W&W2 is a fairly well-received NES game. I'll pick it up again soon and give it more of a look. Fun fact: Fabio's on the damn cover art!
|Oddly enough, my copy of the game was hit by a goose on the way home.|
The Adventures of Lolo - This game...doesn't work! Damnit! I cleaned the hell out of it and tried it multiple times, but I just can't seem to get Lolo to show me more than a blinking screen. I'll work on it though, and once I get it to function I'll write about it a little bit!
|This is what Lolo would look like if I could get it to work.|
That's it for now, people! Hopefully I'll have some spare time to write up a good post sometime soon, but I can't make any promises. For now though, keep on gaming!