13 December 2014

Top 5 Worst NES Games Based on Movies


Following up on the "classic controller" review comes a guest article by Brandon Engel about the top 5 WORST NES games based on movies. Having played a lot of the old NES games I can tell that a majority of them were unplayable garbage platformers with a difficulty level from hell. In fact I doubt that the developers finished playtesting (if they could be bothered to do so) their own product before it was launched on the market. I remember a Simpsons game in particular that left me infuriated as a kid because I just could not make it past the second level and you had no clue what you had to do either. Adding extremely poor graphics did not help, most games looked like something a 5-year old would draw in MS Paint. There are a few gems though, and I may write up an article about the worthwhile NES and SNES games (and Amiga games as well as there were a few really damn good games on there).

Anyway, below you can find a writeup of the top 5 worst NES games that, hopefully, you were lucky enough not to play :-D

Enjoy.


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By Brandon Engel

During the eighties, when video games really began to gain popularity as personal forms of entertainment rather than just ways to pass time and waste allowance at the local arcade, many titles were published for the sole purpose of taking advantage of the expanding and trendy market to advertise popular films. More often than not, these games were rushed into production, poorly designed, and difficult to play. Generally, they held little appeal whatsoever beyond the design of the package, and even diehard fans who have rooms of memorabilia dedicated to their favorite actor or movie (which is embarrassing enough as it is) would be a bit abashed to showcase one of these titles — part of the top 5 worst NES games based on movies.


Total Recall is exactly what this game needs. Despite the fact most video game adaptations of movies back in the day were terrible, the sad truth is that Total Recall may not have been a total failure had it not been for the fact that the developers were given a strict deadline that coincided with the movie's release date. The game seems halfway finished, with a plot that only loosely follows the film's and involves battles with embarrassingly terrible baddies…such as people who punch you in the face straight through a six-foot tall wood privacy fence. There were a number of embarrassing Arnold games for NES (including
Last Action Hero and Terminator) but in terms of general crappiness, Total Recall stands head and shoulders above its peers.




Released in 1987, the NES version of the iconic 80’s film Top Gun is just a lackluster video game adaption of the film that involves four battles, fought by the player as the movie's protagonist Maverick. The player is sent after an enemy aircraft carrier, an enemy base, and then must destroy the enemy spacecraft. The game has two potential endings, though neither are really satisfying due to the dull graphics. Despite these facts, the game was still a small success, having sold over 2 million copies.




Being stranded at the campsite that Jason terrorizes in this horrible spinoff of the cult classic horror film. Players control one of six counselors, and the goal is to find Jason and defeat him three times. The gameplay of the fight sequences with Jason mimics Punch-Out. The cheerful and highly saturated colors of the graphics don't really do much for the fear tactic of the game. Between using a map that has the killer's location and switching counselors to default Jason, combined with the possibility of battling Jason's Medusa like mother who lives in a cave, this game is overall just a mess, though it does succeed in being scary – just not for the reasons it was probably aiming for.




The game based off the movie is pretty self-explanatory, except for the fact that the actual game is extremely un-Rambo and is plagued by such lag and difficult controls that it's nearly impossible to play, and even if you manage to get the hang of what you're doing, the enemies you tackle wind up being, for the most part, bats, killer birds, piranha , and a random floating skull/ghost/apparition/whatever. Perhaps these are battles based on scenes (thankfully) left on the cutting room floor. What’s more: Rambo spends the entire game in bright pink spandex.



Even if you haven't played this game, or even seen the movie, there's no way you've made it this far in life without having at least seen a reference to the iconic 1991 film's star Macaulay Culkin's hands on cheeks, perfect “o”-mouth shocked face. The film was a monster, drawing $477,561,243 in international box-office receipts, and during the month of December, it’s still one of the most frequently watched films across the United States, whether we’re talking about midnight screenings in Cleveland or marathons through Direct TV in Salem. The film franchise inspired a couple of video games — all of them terrible, and none more terrible than the first Home Alone for NES. It kicks off without any back story, so if you haven't seen the movie and/or don’t know the general premise, well, that's not the producer's problem. Good luck figuring out things for yourself.

I'll be nice, and explain things for you. You're playing as Kevin, (Macaulay), who is trapped in the house after his parents have somehow managed to forget him – their son - in their rush to get started on their family European Christmas vacation. While they are away, two bad guys decide to break in.

The game takes about 20 minutes to complete. You are limited to your house and the tree house, and you have to evade the robbers long enough for the cops to arrive. If a realistic survival experience (you know, if virtually experiencing a break-in in all its real life glory is something you're into) is what you're after, you're in for a disappointment. Unless in your ideal break-in fantasy, the thieves are as fast as Olympic runners and instead of actually robbing anything, they just decide to chase you from one room to the other and impressively scale a rope to your tree house hideaway faster that a squirrel could probably scurry up the trunk. Grabbing white boxes with pictures on them to depict the object they represent (graphics clearly weren't the developers' main concern here) you can temporarily immobilize the criminals. After 20 real life minutes are up, the cops arrive, the game ends, and you're left wondering how a game that takes less than a half an hour to play from start to finish can leave such a strong sense of disappointment.

02 December 2014

Classic controllers (USB) review

I stumbled across these at a store called "Cool Stuff" in Malmö, Sweden (funny enough it happened two seconds after having said to my GF "This store is just filled with useless junk"). I just bought these out of pure reflex. I have been playing NES and SNES emulator games, as well as Amiga and DosBox emulators over the last couple of years but the games for Nintendo (NES) and Super Nintendo (SNES) never quite felt right when playing them with a modern gamepad.

With these two classic controllers the problem was solved, they are perfectly sized and feel identical to the classic NES/SNES controllers. Now I can play classic games with the right feeling of control and button layout as well! 

The controllers were a bargain, and they are plug and play, I hooked up my laptop to my TV and the magic was complete - being able to play old console games on my TV made me giggle like a kid. All you need is to download emulator software, recommending Virtual-NES and SNES9x and some roms which can all be found on sides focusing on retro gaming.

Anyway, you can buy similar controllers off Amazon if you type in "classic controller USB" (giving you a list of controllers). So anyone out there interested in some retro gaming done right might be inclined to check it out :-)

29 November 2014

Bolt Action Tournament pictures

Last weekend the guys played a Bolt Action Tournament down at the club. I happened to drop by as I was going to play boardgames when I saw the tables. Naturally I had to snap some pictures of the impressive setups. While Bolt Action is not something that caters to my taste, it certainly is great to see more games beside Flames of War and By Fire & Sword prosper at the club.
 

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