With all the new systems coming out (360, PS3, Wii)I've decided to go a bit retro and play some of the old NES games again. This decision is mostly based on funds and time. I don't have the funds to buy these systems or the time to make the money for the funds. For those of you in the same boat as me (or perhaps you're just used to the 2-button controller) and if you like the action style games, then this list is for you.

Action In New York - 1991


It may not have been the most popular game but it definitely rocked. A two player scrolling game, this one kind of bent the rules. Not only did it scroll horizontally but vertically as well.




The great thing about this game from Infrogrames was the fighting style - flying while holding a major weapon. But not only did you get this weapon, you also have two strange floating orbs that also fire from different directions. It's difficult, but fun.



Batman- 1989


There were at least 3 Batman games for the NES and this one was pretty challenging but the unlimited continues help ease the pain. The beginning was quite cinematic, including some "video" clips of the Batmobile.



Batman appears to be purple in this game, which is alright, I'm down with purple. Weapons were picked up and included the Batarang, spear gun and dirk. The game contains some great cut scenes with a final battle with non other than the Joker. This Sunsoft game was based on the Tim Burton film and therefore has an excellent Jack Nicholson depiction in certain level intros.


Batman Returns -1993

A more advanced game in terms of graphics and action compared to the first Batman game, Batman Returns is a little bit darker. The game play is similar to Double Dragon, beat 'em up and take 'em out using a selection of weapons (which are selected instead of found)and there are two interesting levels where you drive the Batmobile and the Batskiboat. A cool game but it was no match for the SNES version, both by Konami.





Batman: Return of the Joker -1992


Another Sunsoft release, this game didn't seem to be available too much (at least not where I grew up) but it was on of the best in the series.



The storyline is not based on a movie but is more closely identified with the comics. According to Wikipedia, this game had some of the best graphics the 8-bit system had ever seen. The action is stellar and the choice of weapons is also pretty great. You use a type of gun which has different attachments (like Megaman right?) and you find these attachments throughout the levels hidden in crates.



This game also uses the password option and unlimited continues, however - if you die while fighting Joker in 6-3, you are sent back to 6-2 (CKQG). A piece of advice, get the password for 6-1(FFHG) where you can find more power ups and whatnot.




Bionic Commando - 1988


Ahhh man, this game is it! It is stupendous, I'm telling you. For one, you have the bionic arm which works as your jump fuction, it works as a reacher and it works as a weapon (allowing you to nudge your enemies).



Your weapon is a standard gun (firing a green blast) and it usually only takes a few shots to kill your enemies. The trick is not to get hit, because it's a one-shot deal in this game. There are some neat features to the game. You are able to pick your missions, and your weapons. You can also intercept the enemies calls by wiretapping.



And, the best - as I mentioned, the bionic arm is used as your jump. It pulls you up, swings you around, you can do all kinds of funky shite with it. This game is great the second, third, eighth time around and the ending is stellar, involving a cut scene with Hitler which is a little bloody.



Also, there has been mention of not only one, but two remakes. The first is Bionic Commando Rearmed which seems to be a re imagining of the original using 3D graphics and it will be available for Xbox LIVE Arcade, PlayStation Network and PC.



The second game is an actual sequel to the first one and it looks gorgeous! I'm usually pretty skeptical when it comes to capitalizing on my past, but really - I'm excited for this one.




Contra -1988

Do I have to write up about Contra? If you haven't played it yet, you missed out. Contra was great. Two player side scrolling shoot 'em up and you can jump around and do those weird spiral spin cycle movements. So cool.


You can play as Bill and Lance, but just make sure that person who plays with you isn't an imbecile and that they know how to handle the multiple playing fields that Contra allows for. One takes the high road, the other the low. Personally, I liked to switch it up each round.

The great thing about this game is it's optimism. It's set in the year 2631 or something and there's still green space everywhere and waterfalls - that is a future I want to live in. I believe that the original Contra was FAR better than the sequel, Contra Force.



Contra Force -1992

Yes, I skipped over Super C, but this is a long list and I'm tired. The neat thing about Contra Force is that you have four players that you act as.


You have your pick from Commando Burn, Smith, Beans, and Iron, each with their own set of tools and experience. I like the choice quality, I'm a big fan of choice, but it seems to be lacking something that the original had, I'm not sure what it is. But it's still a great two player rumble tumble action tour de force.




Darkman - 1991

Do you remember the movie from 1990? Directed by Sam Raimi? Starring Liam Neeson and Frances McDormand? It's pretty cool and so is the game.


In this game you have disguises for different levels and each disguise has different abilities. There is Pauly who can climb ladders and carries a club. Skip, who only has one leg (8-bit hopping) and also has a rocket launcher, it's a wonder he never toppled over. Smiley can do a ninja kick and throw stars. And as Durant Darkman has a gun and can climb rails. As Darkman you can scale walls. It's a platform game based on revenge.




Metal Gear - 1988

Metal Gear is a great game for all systems it's been on. The game play is more about stealth and trying to not get caught and killed.



Metal Gear: Snake's Revenge - 1992

Although not as popular as the original it still had some neat functions, like the smoking and selection of weapons or even being able to steal weapons - all very cool but ultimately too difficult? Perhaps.


The funny thing about this "stealth" style game is that Snake's suit is orange. He is completely out of place in the jungle, not dressed for it at all. Not only that but it looks like he has jaundice. I believe that Snake is able to take the weapons from his enemies, a step up from game one.



Mission Impossible - 1990

This was based on the show version of MI and players were Max, Grant or Nicholas, each with their own set of skills. The levels are setup through the canals of Venice to the Switzerland Alps, and the team is to take care of the terrorist group the Sinister Seven and rescue hostages.


Game play is top view and similar in skill to Metal Gear. Player has a gun and some sort of explosive, detention mine or hand grenade. If you harmed a civilian then your character was taken out of the "chase" by a helicopter and replaced by the next character in line.


You may enter passwords to enter different levels. If you'd like to skip ahead, check these out:
Level 2 - HMPR
Level 3 - KMVW
Level 4 - XDGJ
Level 5 - TVJL
Level 6 - QBYZ
This game was also available on DOS and made by Konami.


River City Ransom - 1990

My friend and I loved this game with a passion. I think we wore out the video store copy from renting it so often, we should have just bought it. I just remember loading that game up and getting so excited at the start screen and then selecting our characters, Alex or Ryan.


This game was great for two players because it was a team play side scrolling stellar action adventure. Basic fight controls, Punch and Kick and also weapons. The weapons were dropped by opponents or found in the street (tires, garbage cans, bats, chains, brass knuckles etc).



There were also options to upgrade your attributes and fighting skills by entering the shops in the market streets. In the market you could buy books (like Acro Circus, Stone Hands, Dragon Feet) and these can be purchased with the money you took from the enemies you kill - just like GTA. Also like GTA, your characters could refuel in the market restaurants.


The gangs you encountered before the end of the game included: Generic Dudes, Frat Boys,Jocks, Home Boys, Mob, Squids, Internationals, Cowboys, Plague and Zombies. And now for some help. Check out these passwords:
Passwords
These passwords are meant for one player. For a two-player game, have each player enter their desired password.

Start with full energy, 63 of everything, every book, and $0.15

i q X o k e S f a c i
m K p v c U k Z U z W
R i Q v r q h k T 4 Q

Start with $122, 30 in all attributes, and 99 strength

E M 7 K G A 0 D B D h
W c E t Z h S Q j T Z
f U X Y o f b a Z 7 N

Ivan beaten, high school open

t 1 i z v p d O Z n Z
J x N k J p 7 C p u b
X M P Q g X E r S M F

No one left but the boss, Slick

X f M d Z T H w i R 3
j a j 6 j f R U D E t
t i l m 2 t W R o 8 b

For $300 and full life everything at 63 all the books exept Fatal steps plus a $57.00 dollar game enter:

f n U l h P c X Z v
D X s x P X p c b 8 V
W u X y D l e Z Q U T

Super Password
Start With 63 of all levels, full will power, full stamina, every book, Texas boots, And 550.50

j r Y p l f T g b d j
n O o r L T I Y X w R
s j T u q p i l U H P

And the map:




And now the last game for this article. Of course, this list was done alphabetically and although River City is probably my favourite, I had fond memories playing this one.

Rolling Thunder - 1988


This game was pretty slick! Aside from the fact that it was one of those wicked black and gold cartridges the game play was dang good! You play as a super spy Albatross in the 1960s again going against terrorist organization Geldra. Your mission is to recover Leila, your partner.


The game was so cool for being able to hide in secret rooms, or enter rooms to gain ammunition and also the bullet conservation goal was pretty hard. If you ran out you could only shoot one bullet at a time.


Though the graphics weren't the greatest, the action was fantastic and the jumping and dying images were quite dramatic.



You run through the base shooting masked fiends in order to save the girl - sometimes you get a machine gun. The game was available on Arcade, ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore Amiga, NES, PlayStation and Namco System 86 (arcade). Rolling Thunder 2 was released for Sega Genesis and arcade in 1990 and Rolling Thunder 3 was released for Genesis in 1993. At the end of the first game you must hit Maboo at least 25 times before he gives in.



That is it for the article. Next perhaps I will look at the trajectory of the Simpsons games or maybe great moments in the Ninja Turtles NES game. Hope you found this useful.





-Keith