12th January 2012


Part 2 of the NES January Classic sees 5 more games come under the Retrosection microscope and as always it’s a mixed old bag……


It's not the size of your pad that counts, it's what you do with it that matters


It’s Part 2 of the NES January classic, where 5 more games come under the retro spotlight. The great thing about the NES was at the time you were getting original titles as well as arcade favourites being converted for the home market. We shall see more evidence of that as we proceed, and just for good measure here are those 5 which contain a mixture of the above :


DOUBLE DRAGON II : You cannot deny that the Double Dragon franchise has been hugely successful, if not entirely through the strength of the games. Whilst the arcade originals captured the minds and coins of many a vigilante in the making, the home versions of the original game were something else. Pretty much all the home computer versions – with honourable mention to the particularly awful C64 and 16 bit versions – were awful. The C64 had 2 versions by 2 different developers and they both sucked. Double Dragon II is a different story – literally and gamingly. Whilst it is never going to compete with the original the game at least this time resembles what it is being converted from and you actually get a good game from it. For the side scrolling game of it’s type there isn’t a better example than this, though it has to be said a lot of the competition wasn’t up to much


EXCITEBIKE : Now here is a game that would be great fun if you had a few mates around to play with. As a single player game it lacks any real long term playing appeal, playing only to beat your best times. It’s a cross between Enduro Racer and Kick Start where you have to complete the course as quickly as possible, along the way dealing with big jumps, patches of dirt and the danger of over heating if you go too fast. It’s a fine game in itself but you do really need more players to make a go of it. Fun for a while, but lacking long term gaming appeal if you play it by yourself.


A WEEK OF GARFIELD : This game was only released in Japan. There were issues with the licensing of the cartoon cat in the US and Europe. Whilst that is believable it may actually be because the game is total tosh as to why it was never released on a fuller scale. Horrible controls, really naff visuals (especially considering the source) and a totally useless attack to fend off enemies makes Garfield a truly naff gaming experience. In fact I am struggling to remember a decent game based on Garfield that has ever come out. This is a fine example of how to take a licence and flush it down the khazi.


HOLLYWOOD SQUARES : Based on the quiz where celebrities occupied a large set of boxes designed to resemble a Noughts & Crosses/Tic Tac Toe board, you simply take the place of the contestant trying to win the cash prize and the car. Along the way each celebrity has to answer a question which you can either agree with or pick your own if you think they are wrong. They also give “hilarious” responses to the original questions. If you win the game you get the chance to go for the car – providing the key you pick turns the lock. When this game transferred to the UK it was called Celebrity Squares and didn’t change the format at all. At the end of the day this is a game based on a quiz show and this has it’s limitations i.e. You don’t win any cash or a car. Why anyone would want to have paid £40 back in the day for this is beyond me. Simply played as a curiosity it still can’t be recommended.


IVAN IRONMAN STEWART’S OFF ROAD RACING : This is a more grown up and challenging version of the dusty old arcade classic Super Sprint. Cashing in on the craze of the off road racing circuit,if there was such a thing, you drive through a number of races picking up cash prizes along the way to upgrade your vehicle. Keep winning and you’ll eventually beat the Ironman himself and be crowned King of The Off Road, or something like that. It might not look like much but neither did Super Sprint and that was highly playable. This is the same – great in one player, stupendous when you have a couple of your mates with you. However the one player mode is quite challenging and will keep you occupied for a while. I loved this back in the day and whilst this sort of game has been surpassed since 1989, it still remains a very playable and fun game to spend some time with.


More to come in 7 days time with the third part of the inaugural Retrosection.com NES January Classic.