Blockbuster Video and SNES, Part 4

Fun with some crap thrown in.
By Bro
July 28, 2015
Welcome fellow retrojunkers to the fourth volume of my Super NES rental memories. With this next batch, we find some good games mixed in with some real garbage. Hey, no console's perfect, right? I don't have an intro this time so let's get right into it.


I'm getting this one out of the way first. Remember how back in part 1 of this series I mentioned that the challenge for me in all this was remembering stories and anecdotes for each game? This is the only game on my list where my memory is pretty much blank. All I can remember is that I wasn't allowed to watch Ren and Stimpy at the time. Heck, even if I was allowed I to, I couldn't have because we didn't have cable. I still managed to convince my parents to let me try it. I brought it home and played it.

Then my neighbor came over and played it with me. That's everything I remember about this game. It was one of a few Ren and Stimpy games released on the SNES, but the one I can remember having a lot of fun with was one my friend had on his Genesis called Stimpy's Invention. As far as Time Warp goes, I can't remember if it's a decent game or not. Therefore, let us move on.


After Donkey Kong Country was released, Nintendo entered it's Play It Loud era. I read somehere that DKC was huge not only in the battle against Sega, but also against Sony's new upcomng playstation. If SNES could do 3D models, consumers wouldn't be in such a rush to upgrade. While that was only temporary in hindisght, Nintendo had big plans for the SNES. The Super FX chip was going to be used in a handful of games like Star Fox 2 and FX Fighter, neither of which ever saw the light of day. Uniracers was one of the first games born in the Play It Loud era. Using the 3d modeling similar to Donkey Kong Country for it's vehicles, Uniracers certainly looked good.

Uniracers was a side scrolling racing game. Players chose from a variety of multicolered riderless unicycles and raced other unicycles on a variety of different colored tracks. There were also stunt challenges to complete. Players could flip, rotate, and twist to rack up points. If you were good enough to beat the silver and gold unicycles, they would be unlocked as well. Something about Uniracers I found out about recently was that it was intended to showcase that SNES could match the speed and framerate found in Sega's the Sonic the Hedgehog games. If this is true, I personally don't think it was necessary. Sonic's 16-bit games remain his best to this day. Sonic 3 is still one of my favorite platformers. But Nintendo had already proven it could make great games without needing to emulate Sonic. At least in my opinion.
Anyhow, I wouldn't go so far as to call Uniracers a classic, but it is fun and hands down the most unique racer on the console.


The first thing that comes to my mind when I remember renting Speed Racer is the timing. I can't recall how the subject came up, but somehow my dad had mentioned Speed Racer and I asked what it was, as I hadn't heard of it at the time. My dad mentioned how he used to watch it and then my mom said her brothers used to watch it. I thought it sounded cool. Then a day a two later, I find it on Blockbuster's shelves. I hesitated at first since I wasn't much into racing games other than Mario Kart, but I ended up taking it home. Conceptually, it showed promise. The game had two different playstyles. The first was racing where Speed used his car and all it's gadgets to win races in various locales. The second was sidescrolling action where Speed would trade fisticuffs with baddies while trying to reach the end of the level.

In theory, this sounds like a good idea. Execution was very different. Anyone who's played Mario Kart or F-Zero knows the SNES could do Mode-7 racing well. In spite of this, racing in Speed Racer was really choppy and needlessly difficult because of it. The platforming segments were also slow and clunky with really crude sprite animation. Since I couldn't make any progress in the game, I started inputting random passwords to try different levels. Occassionally I would find a combination that worked and be transported who-knows-were to a different crappy race or mediocre side-scrolling stage. All I can say is that if you missed this one back then, you didn't miss anything. There were some really great licensed games on the SNES, but Speed Racer is not one of them.


I never watched the Addams Family animated show, but I watched plenty of the original live-action series as a kid so I knew all the characters. My cousin Alan was visiting when we rented this, and I don't recall him being too happy about it. As I've said before, he was a big-time RPG player. He wanted to rent Tecmo's Secret of the Stars, and I didn't. Looking back, I'm not even sure how we agreed on this game. We still played it once we got it home, but I wish I would've just agreed to let him get what he wanted. Oh well.

Pugsley's Scavenger Hunt had the player controlling Puglsey in a quest to find...I don't remember. In Mega Man style, you could pick which part of the house you wanted to play through in any order. At the end of each stage was a boss. All in all pretty standard platforming, but I remember it being fun. I also remember not being very good at it and I think we only ever finished a couple stages. Even though I remember enjoying it, the only time I ever played it was that one rental period so I don't recall enough of it to recommend it or not if you're a collector.


Rise of the Robots had been out for a little while before I finally rented it. It had a notice on the front of the box that said it had 32 megs of power, which was the same as Donkey Kong Country. This caught my attention. However, I've never been much of what you would call a graphics whore so for a long time that wasn't enough to persuade me to rent it. Then one afternoon I had a friend over and my mom took us to Blockbuster to rent something. I remember we considered Contra 3 but passed. We came upon Rise of the Robots and after some talk decided why not and grabbed it. We got it home and started it up.

Immediately we chose vs mode and noticed something strange. The default character of the game is the silvery-blue robot on the game's cover. In vs mode, the first player is limited to this robot and no one else. The 2nd player could choose from any robot that had been defeated in single player mode. We took turns in single player mode to see if by some stupid design decision you had to unlock the ability to select your character. You couldn't. In both single and vs, the first player is stuck with the same robot. To this day, this is one of the dumbest ideas I have ever witnessed in a fighting game. The other robots had some cool designs but the fighting itself was nothing spectacular. It's like the developers stopped working on the game in the middle of production and decided to ship it. I wasn't the only one who thought so. Game magazines were not kind in their reviews. A sequel was released on the PS1 called Rise 2: Resurrection. I never played it, but critics tore that game apart as well. Now when I look back at that evening, all I can do is wish we would have stuck with Contra 3...


When I first heard that there was going to be a Ninja Turtle fighing game, I got really excited. Turtles had a great line-up of characters that to me seemed a natural fit for a fighting game. It was released on SNES, Genesis, and the original NES. Each version of the game was different and with the exception of the turtles, had a different set of characters. When I started the game for the first time, what I noticed right off the bat was that certain characters were missing. There was no Casey Jones, no Bebop or Rocksteady, no Baxter Stockman, no Krang...odd. The SNES had the four turtles, Shredder, Wingnut, Chrome-Dome, Aska, Armaggon, and War. Rat King and Karai were bosses.

Lack of popular characters aside, TMNT Tournament Fighters is one of my favorite fighters on the console. It's not as polished as Street Fighter and it's very difficult by default, but it's still a well made game. The SNES version is also the best of the bunch. My friend had the Genesis version and it had the advantage of having Casey Jones and April O'Neal as playable characters. That version also had more of comic-book look to it. But the gameplay wasn't as good and April played and looked more like Blaze from Streets of Rage. Even though I had noone to play it with, I played the crap out of that game that weekend. It wasn't until 8th grade when I was able to play it against somebody. I met the person who would be my best friend all throughout high school then and he had a copy. Many good time were had. I think this game is cool, but I also think it just begs for a next-gen reboot. Rather than use the popular Nickelodeon cartoon, I think it would great to base it off the relaunched comic that started in 2012. Using the turtles alongside newcomers like Old Hob, Koya, Allopex, and Nobody would be very cool.


Before The Lost World, there was The Chaos Continues. And before we get into that there's something interesting I would like to share with you. Even though Jurassic Park remains to this very day one of my favorite movies, I never played the Super Nintendo version of the first game. I played plenty of the Genesis version (Which is probably the most fondly remembered), and I even played a lot of the NES version. (Which I thought I was pretty good.) Yet even though I came close to renting it several times, I never rented or played Jurassic Park on the SNES. Why? I don't know. Somehow I chose to play this instead. What I remember most about this game is that when I rented it, we had to stop by my grandparents house afterwards. When we left there, my parents decided they had to go to Wal-mart. Wal-mart was a good 25 minute drive away which meant it would be at least another hour or so before I got to play it. I wasn't pleased about this and decided to complain. As a result, I was grounded from playing my SNES for the rest of the evening. Fortunately it was in my room and I just waited until my parents went to sleep. :) (Sorry mom and dad.)

The game had a story but all I can remember of it is some guy in a suit looking out over a city and saying "inGen must be eliminated. I will have control of Jurassic Park." I didn't care. Just get me on the island and let me shoot some dinosaurs! You played as guy who looked more like he belonged in Contra and went through the jungles shooting raptors and such. I don't know what the goal was. At one point, I was riding on a jeep shooting at the T-Rex that was chasing us. I didn't get very far. Levels were somewhat maze-like and I could never tell if I was making progress or not. The screens I posted show lava and pteradactals, but I never saw them. I never played it again once I returned. A friend at school let me borrow the gameboy version of this game once though. It was fun and it had the music from the NES version of Jurassic Park. It makes sense because I think Ocean made all the Nintendo versions of Jurassic Park games. I don't know how this game is remembered by others, but for me I think it's interesting that Jurassic Park got a video game sequel before a filmed one.
Note - After writing this segment, I watched some of a playthrough fro this game on youtube. Turns out it wasn't anywhere near as maze-like as I thought. Guess I just sucked at it. :)


LJN is widely know for making crappy games and I won't argue that their NES movie-based games are terrible. Against all odds though, True Lies is not only a solid overhead shooter, but one of my favorite SNES games. I remember the "T" rating got my attention. The ESRB had just started the new rating systems of "KA, T, M, and A." The only other "T" rated game I saw around was Judge Dredd. I first played this game on a friends Genesis. Nintendo Power had cheats for the game, but I didn't know if they would work on the Genesis version, but my friend wanted to try. Turns out they did. BGWPNS and BGLVS gives you all weapons and unlimited lives respectively. This is the only way I've been able to complete the game to this day. It's hard!!

Afterwards, I rented the game on my own a couple of times. It followed the movie somewhat closely in terms of using most of the films sets as stages. One stage even had you flying the jet. Something about this game that I think is a particular highlight is that enemies could hurt each other. This made for some hilarious moments. In the games final level for example, two enemies with flamethrowers are stationed behind another with a machine gun. When you approach to shoot them, the two flamethrower guys proceed to torch the machine gun weilding thug in front of them to get to you. I played through this game a few times, but I never got bored of it. Even if you didn't like the movie, this game is a lot of fun and I highly recommend giving a chance if you're able to.


The 90's Warner Bros cartoons are in my opinion some of the finest examples of the Dark Knight and I know there are many who agree with me. This game is also one of the best examples of Batman in video game form. It was released on both the Genesis and the SNES. The Genesis took the form of a run-and-gun shooter, but the SNES was a beat-em-up. The artwork was very good and felt exactly like the cartoon it was based on.

With each stage being titled like a cartoon episode, the player punched and kicked his way through a plethora of henchmen to fight a different villian at the end of each stage. The Joker was fought on top of a roller coaster. Scarecrow was fought on top of a plane. When fighting Poison Ivy, you battled a giant plant. I got as far as the Riddler's stage, but it was a maze and I never found my way through it. There were only a couple gripes I had with the game. The first was that there was no coop. It was a single player game only, with Robin making occasional appearances. The second is that some stages, such as Poison Ivy's, robbed you of all attacks except your batarang. You could use gadgets anyway, but the batarang in these stages always felt a little awkward. None of this prevents it from being one of the best Batman games of the time though and my only regret when renting this was that I wasn't able to finish it.


When it to coms to video games, there's good ones and there's bad. The Adventures of Batman and Robin was good. Batman not. Batman Forever, much like the film that inspired it, sucks. I wasn't ready to believe it that at first though. I really liked Batman as a kid and I wanted to see the movie pretty badly. I remember reading something about it in an issue of Disney Adventures about the various gadgets used in the movie. I wouldn't see it until years later, but I wasn't missing anthing. Since I hadn't seen it, I didn't know how crappy it was at the time so I was still excited about the video game. Reviews for the game were very poor but I would not be dissuaded. I would have my Batman fix, dagnabbit! I rented it and first, I thought it was fun.

Conceptually, I think there was some serious potential here. A side-scrolling beat-em-up that used a Mortal Kombat-ish fighting system. Ok, maybe that's not a good idea. But I think that's also mainly due to execution. There a ton of moves available to both Batman and Robin, but the control was so clunky and bad that they were next to impossible to pull off. Different colored versions of the same enemy were beat-em-up staples back then, but it went beyond overkill here. Bosses were also ridiculous. There was giant muscle-bound Riddler for crying out loud. All that said, if you have a friend to play this game with it is possible to enjoy yourself, if only to laugh at its awfulness.


Once and only once did I dare venture into the world of Mario themed edutainment. Twice if you count Mario Teaches Typing, which I do not. There was another game called Mario is Missing that was out at the time released by the same compnay. I knew that this wasn't a real Mario game. I knew that if I brought this home, I would be disappointed. But I still did. And it was terrible. I know there was some type of story, but I don't remember what it was. Mario had a time machine, and then went to different answer trivia questions.

The first stage was France I think. Mario talked to different people and to make progress, he was asked different historical questions. You could not progress unless they were answered. Maybe there was a decent learning game here but I didn't care. I wanted Mario to squash some goombas and fight some Bowser. The big Mario Hand with the giant ball in the screenshots? I still don't know what that was for. The whole thing feels like a tease to me because with the great games Nintendo was making at the time, who knows what kind of platforming ecstasy could've resulted from titles like Mario is Missing and Mario's Time Machine? Ehh...

There you have it folks. We've reached the end of another installment of rentals. Two more to go. Up next are a lot more licensed titles and a pc port. I have to ask though, are you enjoying this? I made a list of N64 games I rented for another potential series but I don't know if I will write it. Mostly because I don't want to bore any readers. But it's also due to the fact that even though I played the crap out of my N64, just don't remember that time as fondly as the SNES era. But what do you all think? I do this for my own pleasure, obviously, but I also do this for the readers. I've got ideas for plenty of non-video game related things but if you're all interested hearing about N64 games, I will oblige you. Let me know. Until next time, stay retro folks. Thanks for reading.
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