While that is technically the title on the box-art and title screen, most people just call it G.I. Joe. I actually played this game before I started this blog, but I thought it would make a good first post. I played this game very little during its original release (1991); all I remembered was that it was pretty fun, but I couldn't get very far. My experience at the time was just dying after about 10 minutes with the various characters over and over.
I will also be using this inaugural post to give a breakdown of my review format. Now let's get started!
Graphics - 5/5
Pretty straightforward, how visually appealing did I find the game... By the NES's standards.
This game is about as good as it gets on the NES. All of the playable characters are easily recognizable from their sprites. The enemies all look great too, no random piles of pixels jumping at you... although I'm not sure why stingrays keep flying out of the water to assault you... There are plenty of cool backgrounds, jungles, military bases, mountains and the arctic. There are also some good foreground effects, with enemies hiding behind trees, and jumping out to attack you. My favorite thing about this games graphics are the larger bosses. The giant planes and gunships look awesome, and are the highlights of the game.
|Might wanna tag out there Snake Eyes.|
I'm not much of a sound guy, but I know people like it to be addressed in reviews. I'm going to go with a scale out of 3: 1 being noticeably terrible, 2 being solid, and 3 being something special (Think Mega Man). This will usually be the shortest section in my reviews.
Nothing wrong with the sound in this game. Good sound effects, some of the areas have great BGM, some not so much. The highlight for this game would be how the frantic bossfight music adds to the experience.
Gameplay - 4/5
This section will usually address two things; was the gameplay interesting enough to keep me going, and how was the difficulty.
Again, pretty much as good as it gets on the NES. There are two main level layouts. The first being your basic side-scroller. Walk from left to right, collect power-ups, shoot bad guys, don't die. These are usually not too difficult, you have enough health to make the mistakes necessary to learn the enemies' patterns as you go. As an aside, I think this is essential to a good NES game. Either giving you the necessary health amount to learn as you go, or to make the process of continuing after death smooth enough that you want to keep trying.
The second level type is a large static area to explore. The goal of these sections is to find all of the bomb sites (red X spray painted on the wall) and plant before time runs out. I distinctly remember these being the levels I could not get past as a kid, even now they can be confusing, but the difficulty is such that they do not become too frustrating to continue on. There are also vehicles available to you for some of these stages, such as this really cool wall crawling mining ball thing. You see it at first and think "there's no way the game is going to let me use that"... but this game actually does, and it's awesome.
The way in which you begin the levels is also somewhat unique and interesting. Each mission contains a few of the level types mentioned above. For each mission, there is a team member who you are required to use, along with 2 other team members of your choosing. At the beginning you can choose from Duke, Snake Eyes, Blizzard, Captain Grid-Iron and Rock 'n' Roll. Duke is required for the initial jungle mission, and you can pick any 2 others. Blizzard is required to lead for the arctic mission, and so-on. All team members keep their accumulated power-ups as you go. This was interesting for me because I had not used Snake Eyes at all, so he was pretty much useless once it was his turn to lead.
And finally we have the boss fights. While not terribly difficult, they are definitely the best part of the game. Classic villain characters, giant aircraft, epic music, all good.
|White men can jump.|
Personal - 4/5
This section will be the most variable on my reviews. While in some cases it will directly reflect the scores above, sometimes I just can't help but enjoy a game that sucks... There are also likely to be a number of games out there that aren't really that bad, I just can't get into them. This has the potential to be both the longest, and shortest section of my reviews. The focus here is entirely on my opinions, and if I think you should give this game a try.
So this game loses a gameplay point for being a little too easy, and a little too repetitive. I can pretty much guarantee that if you like G.I. Joe, and NES games, you will enjoy this game. Personally, I wasn't super into G.I. Joe as a kid, and really have no interest in it anymore (shout-out to Channing Tatum). I still was able to really enjoy this game, I think it shows that G.I. Joe is best left in it's time period. It really surprised me that I was able to get into this game enough to complete it. It is really impressive (and rare) for a game from the NES that is not an established classic to do that. If you like just NES sidescrollers, or just G.I. Joe; I still say this game is worth giving a try... but I would only consider it essential if you are both of the above.
Well that's all for my first review. Don't worry, every post won't just be me gushing, we'll get into the shit later... it is the NES after all... it's only a matter of time... And who knows, maybe we'll uncover some gems along the way.
Keep it Classy!