You remember the first time you played Tecmo Bowl for the NES? Man, what a good time! It wasn't exactly a simulation, but it had the same feel for football as NES Ice Hockey had, well, for hockey. This is to say that it was a very simple, but rewarding experience. Both games were cartoon-y as hell, featured great music, and were thoroughly Japanese. It should be pointed out, that neither ice hockey nor football are particularly popular in Japan, ie: the developers had no real grasp of either game. ABC MNF is cut of the very same cloth. Data East, best known for it's NES Double Dragon port and it's obese Russian fireball spouting here, Karnov, developed ABC MNF.
Let's talk about Data East's dramatic opening cinema sequences. This again reminds of Tecmo's classic, Tecmo Bowl, which uncommon to a sports game, featured cinematic sequences kind of like another famous Tecmo game...NINJA GAIDEN! I applaud Tecmo for bringing something fun and new to the table with football cinematic sequences. Heck, they were well done, funny, and entertaining. ABC MNF's opening sequence more or less directly rips off Tecmo Bowl's famous sequences, and manages to do a worse job, despite having been developed with far better technology.
This title follows in the time honored video game tradition of acquiring a license, slapping it onto a sub-par product, and taking a fierce dump on the consumer. In this, ABC MNF excels admirably. The game makes use of the music, logos, and likeness of the famed football broadcast package, painting a thin, shiny veneer over a pile of steaming dung. Once you get past the opening trademark MNF "Dun dun dun dun!" music, you are in for a world of pain.
This game is more 10-yard Fight than Madden: the playbook is minuscule; there are no penalties; there are no rosters; there are no trick plays that I could find... it's just sort of an arcade game that is vaguely football flavored. Which, would be fine if this game had been released in the NES heyday of it's spiritual ancestors, 10 Yard Fight and Tecmo Bowl. The problem with that: Madden had already been released by 1993, was by then in its second iteration, and was already the gold standard of video game football that it is today.
The most memorable part of the game, even more memorable than the "awesome" opening cinematics, is the presentation. I'm not even going to attempt to describe this trainwreck; just watch the video.
But, it has been productive time. Since my last post, I have built a new PC that's pretty badass. As a result, I'm happy to announce that Every SNES Game is now switching to a video review format. Yussss!
Today's review is of the excellent ActRaiser. This is the first installment of hopefully many QUICK reviews of SNES games.
Typically, these videos will be between 5 and 10 minutes long, and I will play each game for either as long as I can stand or until one game over.
This game is called "ActRaiser," and it was released for the SNES in the U.S. in November of 1991. It is a hybrid game of sorts: a hack and slash RPG with a Sim-City-esque town building simulator tacked onto it.
I am currently playing some SNES games. All of them. Then, I'm going to be writing reviews of them. Here's how it works.
I've split the games into 2 lists. I'm going through list 1, then list 2. We'll see how far it gets. So, I'm going to play one game of each game until I hit game over. Or, 5 minutes. (Whichever happens first.)
Now, if the game is a good game, I may play more than the minimum. If it's a stinker, I'll keep to the minimum.
Now, onto the games.
Game 1: 2020 Super Baseball
OK, obviously this was a baseball game...that is going to take place in 9 years. I guess in the 90's they thought we'd all have baseball playing robots, superpowers and shit, because this game has all of those elements. In reality, we just have HGH fueled roid-monsters who kinda have superpowers. This game had some sweet "cinema scenes," which were pretty funny. Example: close play at first? MEGA AWESOME TECHNO CLOSE UP! The action stops, and the players are shown in a weird Terminator 2 vision, with the robo-ump making an emphatic call.
You have theme teams, teams loaded with ninjas, robots, aliens, etc., and each team has its special ability. As you play the game, you earn money for performing well during the game Strikeouts, hits, great catches, and the like all earn $ which you can then use to buy upgrades for your players. Want a hitting boost? Buy your player a robot arm! Want some pitching heat? Buy your player a robot arm! Want some on-base speed? Buy your player a robot arm?!
In 9 years, this is what baseball will look like.
I played one game as the Metal Slashers and I played against some other fucking team. I lost 4-3. My team was horribly balanced; 1 of my pitchers had a 0.11 ERA, and the rest of the pitchers were 8.0 and up. Talk about putting all of your eggs in one basket...
2020 Baseball played a lot like the cult classic Baseball Stars for the NES, which is probably due to the fact that both games were made by SNK. Anyway, the play control was good, but the camera angles were kinda whacked out. I had a hard time figuring out where the goddamn ball was going, and where fair territory was. Another thing: there isn't much foul territory. Part of the crowd was covered with some weird plexiglass barrier, off of which the ball bounced upon going into the crowd in seemingly foul territory. It's kind of impossible to figure out when the ball is hit, whether or not it's going foul. You never know until the last minute. Also, the viewing angle seemingly switched from home plate view to center field view spontaneously. I don't get it. Still, I played all 9 innings and it wasn't horrible.
2020 Super Baseball
Game 2: 3 Ninjas Kick Back!
Dude, what the fuck?! As soon as I started this pile up, I thought, "This is definitely gonna be one of those games I do the minimum on." Oh, how right I was.
The game started out with a digital Pat Morita tell me some stupid shit or another. I guess this is "plot development." After hitting "A" a million times, I finally got to play. Oh my. The character select screen shows the titular tweens: Colt, Rocky, and Tum Tum. Sigh...
To no great surprise, this was an uninspired sidescroller with awful play control, miserable music, and no redeeming qualities whatsoever.
I picked Colt and was thrust into the magical world of American tween ninjitsu. I guess this world is populated by semi-sentient boulders, because that's the first enemy of the game. Dreadfully boring. So, I got chased by a boulder, kicked a few things, hit a few things with a little sword, and died. Died a lot, actually, as in 1-hit kills. I don't remember much of the experience, as I've managed to block it out. The best part was the continue screen.
Look at this! What the fuck is this? Did digital Arnold have a digital stroke? Was he wincing about being ashamed to be in this game? Bah! Just hit any button (EXCEPT START) to make the pain stop!!! Sweet mercy!
This game was basically the old video game standard of a publisher acquiring a movie license (a shitty one, at that) and totally mailing it in. I don't know what else to say... it was a bad game... based on the sequel to 3 Ninjas... 3 Ninjas Kick Back!
Game 3: The 7th Saga
I read about this game in Nintendo Power back in the day and almost shit my pants. Finally, a great new RPG from the creators of Dragon Warrior! I scoured the shelves at Electronics Boutiques, Software Etc., Babbages and FuncoLand for a copy. I eventually got my copy, and could barely contain myself. I had to visit my aunt's house during the holidays, and I brought my SNES and prized copy of The 7th Saga, intent on not having my gaming interrupted by pesky family obligations. I was super fired up for this game. I sat down in a dark room and fired up the SNES, while my family celebrated in the other room.
Colossal fucking disappointment. I want you to imagine Dragon Warrior 3, remove the sense of humor, the cute character design, the classic RPG gameplay, the way the game gets progressively more difficult in a sensible way, the replayability, and any incentive to play the game. Got that? Now, add crappy sprite based 16 bit graphics, completely sparse and non-linear story, vanilla characters, and INSANE DIFFICULTY! Got that? OK. Now you get The 7th Saga.
The game stars 7 characters that are seeking out some gems (I think there may be 7 of them?)or some shit, and whoever gets the gems rules the world! Each character has some retarded and vague ambition for getting the gems, and you get to be one of the Asshole 7. Upon assuming your Asshole, you get to run around the world trying to find the gems and the other 6 Assholes. ...and there is no other plot in the game. That's it. So, you run into those other Assholes, and you get to invite 1 Asshole into your party and try to find the gems. (I think there are 7 of them.) This game was almost impossible. As it stands... I hated this game. Then and now.
The Seventh Saga
Game 4: ASP: Air Strike Patrol
I loaded this game up and saw its sweet intro. WOW! Explosions and jets! ASP! Pew pew! So, the mission 1 screen loads up and I see this:
Holy fuck, there's an Italian desert operation! WOW! ...and I'm gonna be blowing it up with a fucking jet...and it's the 90's?! This game is gonna rule!
...Except, I couldn't get the game to progress beyond that screen. I reset it a bunch of times; I fucked around with the emulator; I made sure my controller was hooked up... NOTHING! So, I didn't actually play ASP... I think it WOULD have been a lot like Gradius, UN Squadron, or 1942, but I'll never know.
ASP: Air Strike Patrol 1/5 (I still liked it more than 3 Ninjas.)
NEXT TIME: AAHHH! Real Monsters, ABC Monday Night Football, ACME Animation Factory, Actraiser (One good game, and likely 3 stinkers...)