Hello again everybody. I hope you all had a blessed holiday season and are looking forward to some good things in 2017. 2017......can you believe it? Sometimes it feels like all this stuff we write about happened yesterday. Time, man. Such a strange thing...but enough of that. Let's take a look at rental batch number three!
This is one of those games that I remembered almost nothing about aside from renting it and not liking it very much. So I looked it up and discovered that it was also a PC game. Looking at the screenshots below, you can see that, as they have a Commander Keen/Dos platformer vibe to them. I picked it up because the title Captain Comic sounded kinda neat. And I think the back of the box had some sort of critical acclaim on it.
But as I said earlier, I didn't like it very much. And that's because I kept getting stuck. I started the game and headed to the right. I had some trouble but eventually I was able to make enough progress to hit a dead end. Did I miss something? Was there a key and door somewhere? I didn't know. So I headed left, went past the starting point again, and eventually encountered the same problem. . This happened every time I played the game and it didn't do much to help my opinion of it. With that being all I could remember about it, I was curious to see other opinions about it. I didn't get that far, but the playthroughs I looked up all clocked in at less than half an hour. What the heck was I doing wrong that I kept getting stuck then? I don't know. And I don't really care, either, since I didn't think Captain Comic was all that fun to begin with.
Here's another never talked about NES oddity. I'm sure most people who think of Puss In Boots nowadays think of only the DreamWorks rendition of him. I know nothing about the original Puss in Boots story, other than this game was the first I've heard of him. I think this may have been based off an anime, but if it was I had no way of knowing it back then. I just thought the artwork was cool and the game looked fun. When I brought it home, my sister had some friends over and one of them knew who the character was and watched me play it for a little bit.
One thing I can say for this game is it certainly didn't lack variety. Puss went through a number of different locations, such as Western towns, British cities...etc. There was also vehicles stages, placing you in airplanes, boats, and hot air balloons. And judging by robotic frog in the screenshots, it appears there was some steampunk as well. Puss N Boots stands as a testament to just how bad I was at video games when I was kid. I never beat this game when I rented it. Many NES are games are short if you are able to play straight through them, but Puss is even shorter. When you look up playthroughs of it, most of then are just under or over 10 minutes. One comment on youtube even said "How is it possible to not beat this game?" To answer that question, I guess you just had to have been me. ;)
My dad picked this game out and I don't remember fighting him on it. The game looked fun and like the previously mentioned Bump N Jump, Bubble Bobble is just fun to say. Unlike Bump N Jump, Bubble Bobble is also a game I enjoyed playing. If you've never played it, you played as two little dinosaurs who catch enemies in bubbles and then squash them to take them out for good. Once this is done, you move down to the next level and the process repeats. Like most arcade games, accomplishing this is trickier then it sounds. It was a lot of fun to play cooperatively, and the music is very catchy. And that's really all I remember about this rental. I know I was decent at the game and I made serious attempts to finish it during those few days, but I never came close.
As I've said before, I used to have a guide that came with my SNES called Top Secret Passwords. Bubble Bobble was featured in there, and they had a screen shot of the final boss. I thought this was neat, but what really got me was learning how long the game was. There's over a hundred stages by itself, but to get the true ending you have beat a hundred more playing co-op. No wonder I didn't beat it back then. Due to it's inclusion in the NES Classic Edition, I have the game now. Maybe I can attempt a co-op playthrough with my daughter. We'll see. There is a Bubble Bobble 2 on the NES, but I've never played it. The two dinosaur characters, Bob and Bub, have also made cameos elsewhere, most notably the Bust-A-Move puzzle series.
One game a lot of people seem to look back on fondly is Ikari Warriors. I wouldn't play it myself until high school on my friend's NES. Having heard so much about it from other people, I was looking forward to playing it myself. When I finally did, I didn't think it was bad but it did remind me of another game I played and enjoyed a lot more. After a little while with Ikari Warriors, I turned to my friend and asked "Have you ever played Guerilla War?" He said no, and that he hadn't even heard of it. Turns out I was the only one of my friends who had played this game. Unfortunately I had no way of introducing it to them at the time. I came across it when my dad rented it. It's funny because I hadn't heard the word "Guerilla" before then. I was watching my dad play and I asked him what the game was called and I thought he was saying "Gorilla War." You can imagine my confusion. But even though I thought the alleged name of the game was dumb, the game itself was pretty cool.
Machine gun in hand, your goal was to shoot bad guys, rescue hostages, and liberate the country. You've also got grenades and weapon upgrades, along with a nifty tank to ride in from time to time. There were bosses to defeat, most notably a pair of giant muscly guys who show up multiple times throughout the game. One thing guerilla war had going for it, at least for me anyway, is that it had unlimited continues. This may make it too easy for some people, but a kid like me who was almost never able to finish NES games, it was nice to have something I knew I could beat. And beat it I did. In fact I played through it several times when we rented it. If you are like my friends from high school and are a fan of Ikari Warriors and haven't played this game, I highly encourage you to do so. It's very similar in gameplay, but faster paced and in my opinion, more fun in general.
If you read my article "Goin' back to Duckburg," you know Ducktales means a lot to me. This is not the first Disney game I rented though. That honor goes to Mickey Mousecapades. (Which is on this list, but not this installment of it.) The idea of playing as Mickey Mouse in a video game thrilled me, but Ducktales was something else. I loved that show, and playing Ducktales back then really felt like being a part of it. I'm not going to go into the gameplay here since I'm assuming most of you reading this have played this game at some point, so let me just say that running into the various characters from the show was a big treat for me. And I think for me that's what made these early Disney games so special. Yes, many of them were solid on their own, but being a kid and being able to interact with characters that you watched all the time....dare I say that was almost kind of magical. Really showed you what licensed games can be.
The other thing worth mentioning is that I did not beat Ducktales when I rented it. It's not a long game by any stretch, only 5 stages. (And one of those is simply repeated for the finale.) But as I've said before, I was not good at video games when I was a kid. I know I at least beat Magica D'Spell in Transylvania, but I think she was the only boss I beat during that rental. Maybe the mouse on the moon, too, but I'm not sure. My cousin Brent had the game and one time, I think it may have been during the 16-bit era when we didn't have our NES anymore, I borrowed his console and all his games and finally finished the game. It's not the hardest NES game out there, but it still felt good to do it. Take my victories where I can get 'em. ;) And if you still haven't played Wayforward's excellent remastering of this game, please do so. They did a great job with it.
I grew up in Southern California, so naturally we made the occasional family trip to Disneyland. It was significantly cheaper to get in to the park back then, with frequent discounts for SoCal residents. I was fan of the park. There was a show I used to watch on KCAL 9 in the mornings, and it involved teenagers who went around having adventures at Disneyland, and in between they would show old Disney cartoons. It always got me excited about our trips there, but there is a downside to it all. For as much I loved going to Disneyland, I was also too scared to go on a lot of rides. Disneyland isn't known for it's thrill rides, though it certainly has few, so I'm not sure what I was so terrified of. I guess while my sister and my dad went on rides, I kept wanting to go back to the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse. (Which is now the Tarzan treehouse.) Then one day I saw commercials for this game. I remember thinking how cool it was that they made a game about Disneyland. (Or Disney World, but that's not important in this case. ;) In fact, I'm surprised it hasn't really been done since then. They had that Disneyland game for the Xbox Kinect, but that's the only other example I can think of. Anyway, I rented this and I guess I was looking to experience digitally what I was too scared to do in real life.
It featured only five attractions; the autopia, Big Thunder railroad, Pirates of the Caribbean, The haunted mansion, and Space Mountain. Back then, the only one of those rides I had been on was the autopia, so I was looking forward to seeing everything else. What I would do with each level is ask various family members if it was what the ride was like. If you've ever played this game and been on these rides, you know they don't reflect them at all. This is fine. Disneyland is all about storytelling and I think going into the worlds these attractions represent is completely in the spirit of things. And even though I had a lot of fun with this game when I rented it, time has not been kind to it all. The driving stages are extremely clunky and not much fun at all, and the platforming levels are only marginally better. Adventures in the Magic Kingdom still had it's heart in the right place, I think. And I would still love to see this idea done justice. Not a remaster, but a complete reimagining. There's a good game here that's still waiting to come out, and I hope the right people come along and see that it does.
The Little Mermaid kicked off something of a second golden period for Disney. Of course I had no way of knowing this at the time, as I was still just a little kid. Our local mall of Victor Valley had a portable station that included several NES's people could play, each with a different game. But it seemed to show up randomly. It wasn't there every time we went, and the few times it did show up it was never in the same place. It was during the one these rare sightings that I played The Little Mermaid for the first time. It was wasn't for very long, but it was enough to make me want to play more of it. When I saw it at the video store not too long after that, I was happy to make it my next rental choice. It was funny because my mom watched me play it for a little bit, and I remembered a few hidden things I had found when I played it before. But my mom didn't know I had played it before and was surprised by my apparent natural talent. :p
As they usually did with the Disney license, Capcom made a very solid game here. With Ariel being a mermaid and all, you could move anywhere on the screen. This freedom of movement, plus Capcom's knack for good level design, made for something that felt unique for it's time. You could swish your tail to pick up items like seashells and stun smaller fish to throw at enemies. Bosses were taken from the film, such as the shark and Flotsam and Jetsam, as well as new enemies to compliment the new areas featured in the game. And of course, it all ends with a climatic showdown with Ursula. What surprised me was that I was able to beat the game. I wasn't actually trying to, I was just playing and then all of a sudden, there was Ursula. I called my mom and my sister to come watch. I beat her, and then moved on to her final, giant form. When I vanquished her and watched the ending, I felt like king of the world. That might not sound like much to get excited about, but I wasn't accustomed to finishing games back then, and when I did it with my family watching...It was cool. Guess you just had to be there.
Along with Ducktales, I was huge fan of Rescue Rangers back in the day. Heck, it was my intro to the Disney Afternoon. And also like Ducktales, the idea of controlling Chip and Dale myself through their miniature world was beyond enticing. I'd see the commercial for this game and I would want to play it so badly, it wasn't even funny. I'm not quite sure why it took me so long to be able to play it myself. Maybe the video store didn't have a copy for a while, or there was only one or two and they were always checked out when I got there. I don't remember. But I do remember my excitement when I was finally able to bring it home for a few days. I wasn't disappointed, either. The game was a lot of fun, and even more so when playing co-operatively, which I did with both my dad and my sister.
As the story so often goes here, I wasn't able to beat it by myself. I got further than I did in most games though, which was fine with me. One afternoon while we had it, my aunt and uncle came over for a visit, so I got to hang out with my cousins for a while. Brent said that Matt (his brother) had beaten Rescue Rangers and I asked if he wouldn't mind trying to do it again so I could see the whole thing. He said he'd try and booted the game up. He chose Dale and I watched as he advanced to new levels I wasn't able to reach myself. I enjoyed that, especially seeing the different bosses. After a little while, he reached Fat Cat. Looking back, he doesn't do much to really attack you. He just sits behind his desk and flicks ashes from his cigar. But it was still really cool to see. Matt beat him and I was able to see the ending. Now if only this could get remastered with the same love and care Ducktales did...but even if it doesn't, this one stand on it's own just fine.
Tactical shooting? On the NES? Believe it, my friends. Granted, this is a far cry from Rainbow Six but you'll still find nothing else like it in this console's library. I can't say who exactly, but I'm pretty sure I played this at a friends house. I thought it was neat and I told my dad about it on the way home from wherever I was. Next time we went out to rent a game, this was my target. When we sat down to play it, my dad thought it was a cool game too. The story was very simple; terrorists have taken over the embassy. You must defeat them and rescue the hostages. Where this game stands out is it's gameplay.
It's divided up in four parts. The first part is getting your soldiers in place. This is side scrolling, and you have to make your way past enemy spotlights. If they catch you, they fire at you. It is possible to dodge enemy fire, but not without taking damage. You do have the ability to duck behind objects in the background, thankfully. This is repeated a few times, one for each guy you have. The next phase is sniping. You can see this in one of the screenshots. You have to scan the building and take out enemy snipers before they have the chance to do the same to you. This can be tougher than it sounds. Once that's done, it's on to part 3. This simply involves repelling down the building to the window you will break in through. Control is tricky here, and if you move too fast you will fall to your death. Once you get in the building, you begin the 4th phase, which is also my favorite; room clearing. Just like it sounds, you go from room to room, once screen at a time (this is the NES after all,) find terrorists, and shoot them before they shoot you. Get them all, you win. The more guys you had make it this far, the more chances you have to do it. I don't remember if the whole thing loops around again after or if the game just ends, but I do remember liking this game. Don't know if it holds up to the test of time, but there is still nothing else like it on the NES. Worth at least a look for that reason alone.
We end part three with Lolo. I don't know about you, but the kid version of myself saw a game called the adventures of Lolo, and had to see what was going there. It looked like it might be fun, and I showed it to my dad. We rented it, and here's where things get interesting. After the first level or so, I noticed that if you press the select button, you die. Looking back on it now, I can see what purpose this could serve, but at the time I couldn't fathom why the developers would include a button that did such a thing. I thought it was absurd and hilarious at the same time. Along with that, I wasn't sure quite was I supposed to do. I got stuck after only a few levels. After playing it a little bit, I went outside and my neighbor was in his backyard so I began to tell him about Lolo. He thought the press-a-button-to-die thing sounded weird too, and he wanted to see the game for himself.
My dad, however, said the game had to stay at our house. You can guess what I did next. I snuck the game over to his house, and it really wasn't worth what happened afterwards. We had a few yucks about dying by pressing a button, and he couldn't make any more progress than I could. Having shown him the game, I wanted to take it back to my house quick, but it was already too late. My dad found out and I ended up being grounded from the NES after that. There ended my experience with Lolo. Years later, I saw in my Top Secret Passwords guide that there three Lolo games released for the NES, and in recent years I've learned that Lolo is considered to be a classic series for the console. I shouldn't be surprised, it's made by the same people who made Kirby. Lolo and his lady friend Lala have even made cameos in the Kirby games. So one of these days I'm going to have to play through these games and see what all the hubbub is about.
And thus ends part three. I've really been pressed for time lately so I don't know when part four will get done, but I will do my best. Until then, stay retro folks. Thanks for reading.