Monday, November 3, 2014

Backlog Blitz: NES, Week 2, "Bionic Comman-DOH!"

Yeah, I'm back. I know, I know. I'm shocked too. Usually I don't manage to stick with a project for two whole weeks. It's rather freakish, honestly. Worrying. Anyway, I'm back with some more NES games I played for...somebody's amusement. Certainly not mine. One fun game out of three is not a good ratio. Especially given that I've already cherrypicked these games somewhat. Oh well. You can't have everything, I guess. Anyway. I'm running on caffeine and the massive amount of Halloween candy left untouched by trick-or-treaters, so let's get our retro game review on!

I know the NES was limited in a lot of ways, but why so many platforming beat-em-ups? It’s not like games didn’t exist before the NES. You’d think there’d be more variety. But then again, a lot of licensed games are STILL platforming beat-em-ups, so… Eh. The graphics are kind of cool—the settings look very dilapidated, while Batman sticks out in a tasteful shade of purple. The soundtrack isn’t awful compared to say, Alien 3’s, though it’s rather generic and forgettable all the same. One thing I’m wondering is why I have three functionally identical weapons—one’s a Batarang, one’s some sort of missile-launching pistol, and the last almost looks like it’s firing balls of plasma. Now, I know old-old-old-school Batman was cool with killing (and racism), but even he usually made it look like accidents. Straight-up gibbing a mook with a missile doesn’t seem Batsy’s style. The enemies don’t make much either. Batman from this era didn’t do much fighting against sci-fi militaries that I remember. Overall combat and motion—especially walljumping and wallclinging, remind me of a clunkier Ninja Gaiden. Not the most awful licensed game ever, but… Eh. I’d rather play Ninja Gaiden. 

Not gonna lie. I’m terrible at Battletoads. But I love this game. Especially that thumpy twangy beat in the pause music. … … … Okay, I love most of this game. Getting stunlocked because my punch somehow didn’t connect sucks. But when punches do connect? Or once I have a weapon? I’m cackling like a lunatic who just got out of the straitjacket. Anyway, I’ve definitely gotten better over the years—I can actually make it down the hole now. That first boss fight—inventive as all heck. I don’t think I’ve EVER played a boss battle from the perspective OF the boss. Paused again to write as I descended the second level and—DOES THE PAUSE MUSIC GET HEAVIER AND TWANGIER AND MORE METAL each level? AWESOME! Anyway, I reckon the bike stage will wreck me. *five minutes later* Yep. I’m getting crushed here. With enough practice, I could probably get the timing down, but I don’t have that much free time. This was fun while it lasted, though. The graphics are pleasingly cartoony—especially that super smashing animation, like the foot enlarging. The controls are amazingly responsive for the NES, and the sound…. Well I gushed over the sound already. Would like to hear more of the BIFFs and BOFFs from combat, but the soundtrack makes up for that lack.

Bionic Commando
Y u control so bad? Y? Y ur arm grapple so finicky? Seriously, Bionic Commando? I love the idea you’re going for—navigation with big swingy movements rather than jumps and such, forcing me to keep moving rather than sit and plan—but couldn’t you have implemented it better? Half the time I end up stuck over a pit of spikes, or unable to climb up because I can’t grapple JUST the right area. Maybe that’s my fault. I’ve never been good at games involving this mechanic (such as Hook Champ on iOS, which takes Bionic Commando’s hook-shotting movement and makes that the game’s focus). But I can’t be THIS bad. Also, that weird overworld map I fly around on before starting missions? What’s up with that, yo? I get the idea that I’m fighting an enemy army, I’m supposed to hack radio towers, and find a dude named Super Joe. That’s about all I’ve got. I’m just… Lost. If I could get used to the grapple-swing I think I’d have a lot more fun. But as is… Eh. 

And that's all for this week, folks! Pop back in next week for Bubble Bobble, Boy and His Blob, and Blaster Master!