Monster Party (There is no party…)

Name: Monster Party

System: NES

Release Date: June 1989

Status: DEFEATED! January 17, 2017

What’s the worst party you’ve ever been to? An aged relative’s birthday who insists on calling you Trevor regardless of your protests? A Smirnoff Ice chug-a-thon in a friend’s unfinished basement? The Republican Party? Well, step aside, because literally the worst party is Monster Party for the NES.

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Look at all these Universal Studio Monster copyright infringements! They can’t wait to start partying! The Creature from the Black Lagoon is about to tell you about all the different types of dip he got on sale at Costco! Dracula is just smirking like a dick, and look! It’s that plant from Little Shop of Horrors! SO RETRO! But don’t be fooled! Let me explain:

The story begins with a boy named Mark walking home late one night after a baseball game, when he looks up and sees a star getting bigger and bigger! This causes him to become moist….

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MOIST

Turns out the star is actually an alien monster named Bert! Bert tells Mark that he needs his help to save his planet from evil monsters! Satisfied that the first person he met is obviously the right choice, Bert flies away with Mark to his planet. This is also known as kidnapping. Mark has put a bit more thought into this however. “I’m afraid to fight the Monsters!” he tells Bert. Bert reassures Mark by saying, “My planet is dangerous, so we must act together!”

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LITERALLY?????

And so your adventure begins right after Bert enters Mark! You control Mark through 8 stages; each stage has a surprising variety of monsters for you to beat to death with your baseball bat.

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Is Ringo on FIRE??

These enemies can drop either health, points, or a pill that turns you into Bert for a limited time, allowing you to fly and shoot lasers which get more powerful as the game goes on! The enemies have a predictable respawn rate so if you find one that drops an item, just leave, come back and grind away!

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Pills are the only way you’ll get Bert to come out and party!

The true highlight of the game are the bosses. There are 3 in each stage (except stage 7 which has one) and you need to defeat them to get a key that unlocks the exit at the end of the level. These are probably some of the most unique boss designs I’ve seen on the NES. The difficulty ranges from a cool Dinosaur…who is dead so you don’t have to fight him…

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To my favourite battle in the game against, The Chameleon!

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6 camouflaged heads float around a camouflaged surface, only one is real, and if you’re not careful it will sneak up and deal serious damage! The only downside is that the majority of the bosses can be fought by standing still and hitting their projectiles back at them, which can make them a little boring.

Though all of these pale in comparison to the FINAL BOSS:

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What in the actual fuck is that???? His only weak spot is when his nose opens up to release eyeballs, because of course it does. I was lucky enough to be in Bert Mode while fighting him, so I beat him easily by hovering near his nose and firing like crazy.

So I won! Huzzah! Now to relax and watch the epilogue! Mark goes home and…what’s this? Bert gave him a present! Beeerrrrt!! You didn’t have to…there’s a Princess inside…not very PC nowadays but human trafficking was legal in 1989, so let’s move on…wait, the Princess is really a monster!?

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She attacks Mark! And…

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What the…

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AAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!

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WHATINTHEHELL?!?!?! HE’S DEAD!!

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Stop GOD stop he’s dead!! AAAHHHHHH!!!!!!

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But…it was a dream!! Suddenly there’s a knock at the door! It’s…Bert???

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“Let’s go again”? Ummmmmmm, I’m good, thanks…

This has to be one of the stranger games that I’ve played on the NES. Some of the enemies are just plain weird! It makes me wish that they put as much time into designing Mark as they did everything else. The Music isn’t anything special; one labyrinth level (which was impossible to navigate without a walkthrough) I had to play with the sound off.

Another great feature is the inclusion of a password system. Maybe it’s just me getting older or getting used to saving whenever I want on modern games, but it made the game a lot more doable, because trust me, after sitting though some of these trippy bosses, you’ll need a break!

The main story is really out there, and I feel is a product of translating Japanese to English a bit too literally (MOIST), some classic copyright infringement and A LOT of drugs! Should you get this? Well, I managed to nab this for $20, and honestly I wouldn’t pay any more than that, and I think it was money well spent for 2 evenings of game play.

So I guess the point I’m trying to make is that this is a really fun game, but a TERRIBLE party! Why is it called Monster Party??? THERE IS NO PARTY!!! Why not call it “Monster Planet”, or “Monster Battle”, even “Monster Get-Together”? It’s like saying, “Have you seen that new party movie? Star Wars???” Great movie, terrible party! Millions of people die, Muppets are everywhere…you get the idea.

But you can never go wrong with surprise face melting!

Till next time, PARTY ON!

Adamus Prime Rating: 4 / 5

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Written by: Adam McNamara

Edited by: Jamie O’Connor

Snoopy’s Silly Sports Spectacular! (Good Grief…..)

Name: Snoopy’s Silly Sports Spectacular!

System: NES

Release Date: April 1990

Status: DEFEATED! October 1, 2016

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Nothing says innocent family fun like everyone’s favourite Peanuts character, Snoopy!

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I’ve always been a Peanuts fan, both the nut and the comic. So when a friend of mine lent me this game, I was intrigued, though based on the picture and title on the cartridge, I wasn’t expecting anything “Spectacular”…

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Prove me wrong…PLEASE!!

I did some digging before sitting down and giving it a go; turns out this game was originally released overseas as a Donald Duck game!

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It’s $1 on ebay!!

The developer, Kemco, replaced Donald with Snoopy when it hit North America due to Capcom USA holding the rights at the time to create games of Disney properties. Mayhaps you’ve heard of such classic gems as “Chip and Dale’s Rescue Rangers”, “Darkwing Duck”, and the flawless “Ducktales”! But we’re not playing genre defining NES masterpieces…we’re playing Snoopy….The “Story” as depicted in the opening scene, depicts Snoopy flying from America to Italy because “why not”!? Also, America and Italy both now sit on clouds in the sky:

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I’m going to guess that this is meant to represent Snoopy’s imagination? Makes sense to me; my dog probably thinks our 30th floor condo floats on a cloud too! I can’t even guess what he thinks elevators are! The meat and bones of the game consists of 6 different “Olympic” sports:

A Sack Race against Snoopy’s derelict cousin Spike…

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Boot throwing…

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A pogo stick obstacle course…

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A shoving match between Snoopy and Spike on a boat…

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A pizza carrying contest…

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And pole vaulting over a river.

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You can play these games individually for practice, or one after the other in the attempt to win a gold medal! There are 3 rounds where you play the same 6 games, each round requiring you to earn a certain amount of points to move on; 2000 pts for round 1, 5000 pts for round 2, and 10 000 pts for round 3. Getting above 10 000 will nab you a bronze medal at least, but you’ll need over 15 000 points to get gold!

This game would be a fun romp for any kid (or 33 year old married man) if it weren’t for one thing…THE CONTROLS. The controls completely ruin this game; It’s not even “Silly” bad, it’s a “Spectacular” nerve shredding rage contraption. What I think is the most frustrating aspect is that the games consist of pressing 1 MAYBE 2 buttons, and they still managed to make it difficult.

There is a lot of trial and error when approaching the games: the sack race for example has you pressing “A” to jump; though mashing buttons accomplishes nothing. You need to press it in a steady rhythm to have Snoopy jump in a timely fashion. The same goes for the boot toss; press down until your swing builds up speed and then press “A” to let go, but good luck finding the right moment to send the boot flying a good distance! My advice: don’t blink!!

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Then you have games that rely on mashing the controls. I’m still not 100% sure how the boat shoving mechanics work. Sometimes my mashing sends Spike flying instantly off the boat, other times, it did the same to me. I found it’s really just up to chance. The pole vault game sent me into more than one rage! I had to look up the controls on how to get over the freaking river!! (Seen here: http://strategywiki.org/wiki/Snoopy’s_Silly_Sports_Spectacular! ) The Pogo level is no better, the slightest touch will send Snoopy flying into a wall; you need to find the delicate balance between subtle approach and out of control crazy jumps!

But the worst has got to be the Pizza carrying game. Just like in the Pogo game, any fast movement will make Snoopy start power-walking and send your pizzas crashing to the ground. The more pizzas you have by the finish line, the higher your score…but your score also depends on speed. You could have all 40 (40!!!!) Pizzas at the finish, but if you have less than 10 seconds remaining, then you’ll get a measly 200 pts. I found you need at least 20 seconds remaining to get the max 1000 pts. To do this, I had to hold the controller at a 45 degree angle and press the right button in half second beats. If your hand isn’t raw by the end of this level, then congratulations on having well-padded meat hands! This may have been easier if I had the metronome peripheral I assume was originally packaged with the game.

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Just a side note: is it ever a good idea to have a game that relies on you going slow? It’s just so agonizing watching Snoopy painstakingly shuffle along the screen. I honestly couldn’t think of a game that benefits from that…please feel free to enlighten me!

The music isn’t anything fantastic or memorable. Many of the games (the Boot Toss, Boat Pushing and Pole Jump in particular) are so short that you never really get to hear what the music has to offer. One thing that surprised me was the graphics. Though there is the odd moment where part of Snoopy’s body might disappear if he gets too close to another object on screen, the animation was fluid, for an NES game. The sprites are big enough to see facial expressions, and the backgrounds nicely depict famous Italian landmarks in all their 8-bit glory.

Should you play this? Well, you’d REALLY have to like Snoopy in order to sit through this one. I’m going to go as far as to say that I wouldn’t recommend this for kids…unless you want to have their confidence smashed over and over again. It took me WEEKS to master the awkward controls to get a gold medal, and I’ve beaten some of the hardest games the NES has to offer!

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It seems that the lesson this game is trying to teach you is that you’ll most likely be second best at what you do in life….unless you spend hours and hours and hours honing your skills, fighting off headaches and the urge to blink all while improving your library of vulgar catch phrases! So, it’s a lot like the actual Olympics, except after winning gold you’re too ashamed to tell anybody. Also, you haven’t experienced Italy until you’ve thrown a boot as far as you can in front of the coliseum!

Even after playing this garbage, it’s hard to stay mad at Snoopy; I just watched The Peanuts Movie and let me tell ya, that Beagle’s still got it! But like many games that slap a popular character on the cover, the selling point is the name, not the game.

 

Adamus Prime Rating: 1.5 / 5

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Written by: Adam McNamara

Edited by: Jamie O’Connor

 

 

Total Recall (Quaid’s Quazy Day!)

Name: Total Recall

System: NES

Release Date: 1990 (?)

Status: DEFEATED!

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I can’t think of a movie that has spawned a great video game. They seem to have a difficult time capturing the fun and excitement from the big screen. Total Recall is no exception…though it is “fun” for other strange reasons…Since it’s based on the awesome film of the same name, you play as Arnold Schwarzenegger aka Douglas Quaid aka Carl Hauser aka Man in a Green Onesie…

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Much like the real Arnold, Quaid can walk and jump and punch and shoot once he gets a gun. Right away you notice that the hit detection is out of whack; taking a hit can cause no damage or it could cost you a whole bar of health. You can replenish this by picking up green soda cans that enemies drop, but these will either give you a full bar of health, or do nothing until you collect at least 3, it’s completely random! Just like Arnold!

The game very loosely touches on the main events of the movie, the first level being Quaid on the run after his “memories” are re-activated after visiting Total Recall. Quaid needs to get to his apartment which is conveniently at the top of a building with no stairs; forcing Quaid to walk all the way down the street and hop across roof tops in order to get to his front door. Though along the way you can pop into a movie theatre to watch the games credits. If you sit through all of them you get an extra life!

From there you experience levels based off of Quaid’s fight scene with his incredibly hot fake wife Sharon Stone, to a fun x-ray level where everyone is a skeleton to his escape through the subway. The cut scenes are poorly animated yet entertaining, my favourite being where Quaid needs to put a wet towel on his head and just having it instantly appear!

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“Oh my God! He’s actually doing it…what!? Oh, that’s no one Quaid…now stick this up your nose!”

From here, the game takes a big step away from the plot of the film. The scene where Arnold walks to a phone booth to pick up a brief case is replaced with a level of Quaid massacring a building full of homeless men.

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Homeless Odd-Job isn’t going to stand for that Quaid!

The Mars levels are just as confusing, mainly because there are absolutely no mutants, which was kind of prominent in the film in case you didn’t notice. What replaced the mutants? Australians with boomerangs and cats…

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Are the cats for the Biker Mice problem…?

The worst level by far is a driving level which I guess takes place in the “Red Light District” on Mars. How you can screw up something like that is beyond me, but the car either goes incredibly slow or insanely fast and backing up into anything equals instant death. Your adventure eventually leads to the climactic battle with your nemesis Vilos Cohaagen!

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Who is an incredible jumper!

Basically I just hugged the left side of the screen and shot him till he died, which isn’t the adrenalin filled finale of the film, but at least this strange game is over.

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Speaking of strange, when you inevitably lose a life, this lovely picture of Arnold pops up telling you to get ready to try again. But, wait, what’s that say on the bottom…?

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“I’ll Be Back”…that’s from The Terminator! Surely that’s just a coincidence…until you see the Game Over screen…

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“Your Game has been Terminated”!?! Why are there Terminator references in Total Recall??? I actually watched the movie again thinking that maybe I missed something and there were some fun Easter Eggs hidden throughout the film but, nope, that’s just the game developers really liking The Terminator.

The music consists of two songs, which are not present in the film and are very upbeat and catchy in a “What the hell am I listening too” kind of way. Also, when you get to a new screen, this weird “DodododoDOOO” sound plays…no clue what they were trying to do there…

Should you play this game? Sure it’s good for a laugh, but don’t play this if you are looking for a fun and challenging platformer. I honestly think they missed out on plot points that would have made for a great level, like one where you have to try to get the homing device out of Quaid’s nose, or having to fight the vacuum of the Mars environment to get to the Alien switch, or even a mini game to pick the mutant whose face looks most like a vagina!

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WINNER!!!

Prime Time Rating: 5/10

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