NES/Famicom/FDS Games - Adventure Island/Takahashi Meijin no Bouken Jima
- NES (North America): Yes (as Adventure Island)
- Famicom: Yes (Takahashi Meijin no Bouken Jima)
- Famicom Disk: No
You may find it funny, but Sega had a number of their games ported to the Nintendo system in the 80's. However, this one in particular is very hidden as a Sega title - it eventually spawned life on it's own as a series with it's own characters. Originally created by Sega and Westone (then called Escape), Wonder Boy was a great arcade run & jump game made to compete with the likes of the ridiculously popular Super Mario Bros. However, after porting Wonder Boy to the Sega Master System and various computers, Westone wanted to take advantage of the extremely popular Nintendo console. Sega, owning the rights to the Wonder Boy characters and name, obviously wasn't too keen on having their trademarks on their competitor's machine. The decision was made, Hudson was brought in when Sega left, and the two companies brought us the exact same game with different characters, music and a different name. Famicom owners got a game about the Hudson executive Master Takahashi instead, called Takahashi Meijin no Bouken Jima. When it came to North America, it was retitled Adventure Island, and starred Master Higgins.
The game itself is excellent, being a fast paced arcade game. You run around as Master Higgins/Takahashi, trying to stay alive by eating fruit throughout the levels of the game. The are many obstacles in the way, but you can make short of them by picking up things inside of eggs. In the eggs are tomahawks to throw at enemies, a skateboard to go faster (and give you an extra hit), and invincibility fairies. There are bonus levels hidden in the game, and all sorts of points to be gained and fun to be had - and a princess to rescue at the end. It's one of my favorite games as well, and it's a blast.
It's not perfect - the slippery controls can take some getting used to, but that's just the game being itself in my eyes. The game was so popular (in all its forms) that Wonder Boy/Adventure Island broke off into two separate series - Wonder Boy, an adventure series from Sega/Westone, and the continued Adventure Island arcade run/jump games from Hudson. Both series have stalled since the early 90's (with the exception of a Wii Adventure Island game, which was largely ignored), so let's remember the genius of all three companies with this release - Sega, Westone, and Hudson Soft.
NES/Famicom/FDS Games - Ikari Warriors/Ikari
Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 November 2013 15:46
- NES (North America): Yes (as Ikari Warriors)
- Famicom: Yes (as Ikari)
- Famicom Disk: No
In the FDS KiKi KaiKai review, I mentioned a company called Micronics. There are only three games I enjoyed that they developed: Geimos, Twin Cobra (the NES port of the Taito/Toaplan arcade game), and to an extent Ghosts n' Goblins (the NES port of the Capcom arcade game). Most of the company's output is poorly programmed, low-quality trash. Even worse, companies decided to hire Micronics to port their excellent arcade properties to the Famicom and NES. Games like 1942, Super Pitfall, Tiger Heli and the subject of this review, Ikari Warriors (known as Ikari in Japan) show how companies that subcontracted them learned a valuable lesson.
Ikari Warriors is a great arcade game. It utilized a rotary joystick to provide the player with independent shooting and walking directions. In the game, your Rambo-esque characters penetrate through enemy forces to reach the village of Ikari. You go in guns-a-blazing, with some grenades to back you up. You can also ride in vehicles to reduce the enemy threat and have even more fun. Fun it was, and this SNK classic continues to live on - as an arcade game.
SNK, just entering the home console market, chose Micronics to handle the Family Computer port. I had family who played this game in the 80's, and looking back I wonder how anyone played it. Like other Micronics bastardizations, it's ugly, choppy, slow-paced, flicker-laden and of overall poor quality. The game also suffers from long data transfer speeds, a low framerate and unpolished audio. Believe it or not, this is one of their more fondly-regarded conversions, but I'm pretty sure this is only because a) the game was an early 3rd party title, and has some nostalgic value - b) the arcade version was cool. If you want to play a top-down he-man gunner game like this on your NES or Famicom, look at the SNK-programmed Guerilla War (known in Japan as Guevara, named after the Cuban revolutionary). Other games like Data East's Heavy Barrel or even Capcom's Commando may also feed this desire. Ikari just flat out sucks here.
NES/Famicom/FDS Games - After Burner
- NES (North America): Yes
- Famicom: Yes (called After Burner II at title screen)
- Famicom Disk: No
No matter which side you picked in the 90's console wars, it's hard not to admire what Sega produces. While I was not a lover of the Saturn or (at the time) Dreamcast, I always liked the earlier console efforts like the Genesis and Master System. On top of a competitive run of home consoles, Sega did something that Nintendo did not do. Where Nintendo largely left the coin-op business in the mid-80's to focus on the NES/Famicom - most of NIntendo's arcade games after 1984 were just NES games in arcade cabinets - Sega continued to grow as a dominating coin-operated force. Sega produced so many high quality and fun arcade titles for many years, and this is one from their Yu Suzuki-led glory days. After Burner just rocks.
Wait a sec... a Sega game on the NES? Believe it, it happened a few times. Sunsoft ported a few of Sega's most popular games at the time to the Famicom, and this was one of them. Titled After Burner on the cartridge but After Burner II at the game's title screen, the Famicom port was dynamite. Get in a jet, take to the skies, and fly around shooting enemies with your vulcan and missiles in this early behind-view shooter on rails. You can perform tricks to dodge enemies such as barrel rolls, and even get a speed boost with the afterburner. That's pretty much all there is, and what else do you need for an awesome arcade game? It worked, and the Famicom port was actually excellent because it kept much of the excitement of the arcade game.
North Americans were also treated to the game, albeit in one of Tengen's unlicensed black carts. Tengen took Sunsoft's code and tweaked things a bit. In addition to removing Sunsoft references and changing some audio, they reworked a few things regarding the gameplay itself. Whereas the Japanese Famicom cart was actually a port of "After Burner II" - a minor revision of After Burner involving different scoring methods and some other minor details - Tengen's changes reverted the game back to the original, prior to II's revisions. Nothing large enough to radically change the game, and both versions are very good conversions - especially given the hardware they were designed for.
NES/Famicom/FDS Games - Super Mario Bros.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 November 2013 09:52
- NES (North America): Yes
- Famicom: Yes
- Famicom Disk: Yes (also as All Night Nippon Super Mario Bros.)
Super Mario Bros. is a phenomenon. It turned Mario and Nintendo from a moderately popular game character by a decent sized toy and video game manufacturer, to one of the most popular characters in any medium created by a gargantuan monstrosity of a corporation. The game was been written about and talked about to death. It's a run and jump game starring a plumber that can grow in size, shoot fireballs, break bricks... all to rescue a princess from a fire breathing dinosaur-turle-freak-monstrosity through eight worlds, four stages each. It's so much fun, controls perfectly, looks good (for an early NES title anyway), and has so much memorable audio that it's still remembered fondly today. It is absolutely one of the greatest games even created, my favorite game for many years as a child, and still fun to play today. If you've never played it, you need to at least try it in some form or another.
Super Mario Bros. was so solid, so popular, and so beloved that sometimes it's given credit beyond what it actually is. It's wonderful, but it wasn't the first at what it did. It wasn't the first scrolling run and jump game - that is a common saying that unfairly snubs earlier pioneers credit. Both Pitfall II on the Atari 2600 and the Pac-Land arcade game predated Super Mario Bros. by a year. It wasn't the first "Mario game" either: Mario was the protagonist in Donkey Kong and Mario Bros. prior to this release. Nor was it the first NES release: while the North American console featured Super Mario Bros. as a launch title, the Family Computer had been out a little over two years before receiving the game.
Matter not, the game did pioneer the amazing series behind it, Nintendo's success in the home market, and more. Furthermore, it was re-released several times on the series of consoles. The Famicom and NES got dedicated carts, while it was also released on the Famicom Disk System. In addition, in North America, it was bundled twice: with Duck Hunt, and with Duck Hunt and World Class Track Meet. The game popularity in Japan caused it to be the prize of a Japanese radio station (All Night Nippon). The game has also been re-released on many systems thereafter, from the Super Nintendo (Super Mario All-Stars), through Nintendo's Virtual Consoles on several platforms. Certainly, it made it's impact on the scene, and will be remembered for al time.
See it told from the view of CGR: