Vice: Project Doom (Switch): COMPLETED!

I’d never heard of this game before, and I only gave it a go as I noticed it on the NES Online service thing on the Switch today. Surprisingly, it was actually pretty good.

I say surprisingly, because it very much reminded me of two terrible games I’ve played recently: ESWAT and Ninja Gaiden. Somehow, though, it’s much, much better than either of those. It has the same sort of platforming, bosses, and even a plot not too dissimilar to Ninja Gaiden, as well as interstitial dialogue like both other games. It plays much better, though, with tighter collision detection and baddies that don’t constantly respawn if you move one pixel back and forth.

As well as the platforming, there are a couple of Spy Hunter-like driving sections. These aren’t great, and actually play out more like a vertical shooter than a driving game, but they’re easy and quickly over. There are also a few Operation Wolf style shooting levels, which are OK but obviously suffer a bit as you can’t use a lightgun.

So yeah, it was surprising. Not the best NES game by any means, but above average and I’m amazed I’d never seen it until today.

TwinBee (Switch): COMPLETED!

A few years ago, I completed this on the Xbox 360. And now I have completed it on the Switch. As in, the NES game in the NES classics thing.

It’s a decent little vertically scrolling shooter with an odd bell shooting system (shoot bells enough and they go blue, collect a blue one to speed up your ship), and I lost my ship’s arms at one point so couldn’t drop bombs.

After beating the end boss the game loops back to the start, so no credits as such. Still, done.

Mappy-Land (NES): COMPLETED!


Mappy is a game I always play whenever I fire up MAME and haven’t anything in mind to actually play. I’m terrible at it, but I play it quite a lot. Imagine my surprise when I found this NES-only sequel existed. Not only that, it’s pretty good too.

Like the original, it’s a platformer where the gimmick is trampolines. You bounce on them to reach higher platforms. It differs from the original in a similar way to how Pac-Land and Mighty Bombjack did over their predecessors – by making it a side-scroller. Sort of.

You collect 6 items in each level then head for the exit. Sometimes, you have to obtain an item from a  sub-level to open the exit. Once you’ve done all 8 levels and given your girlfriend a load of cheese, the game restarts with different level layouts and a different set of items to collect. Run through all the levels four times, and that’s it! Well, the game starts again, but it’s effectively completed. Which is what I did.

Kid Kool and the Quest for the Seven Wonder Herbs (NES): COMPLETED!

Worst game name ever?

As a big fan of the later games by the same developer (Psycho Fox, Magical Hat and Decapattack) I’ve always intended to play Kid Kool. For some reason, it has never worked for me on either OpenEmu on the Mac, or on RetroPie.  I recently rebult my RetroPie image and it now works, so who knows.

Seems I probably shouldn’t have bothered, as it’s awful.

It’s closest to Psycho Fox, unsurprising since it’s an 8-bit title. Like that game, you have a creature that sits on your shoulder that you can throw. Unlike Psycho Fox, you can’t punch, which is where the first frustrating thing comes in. You can still jump on things, but not being able to punch is a massive issue, making some of the game impossible if you don’t have the shoulder pet.

Other issues are present in Psycho Fox too, like the bizarre momentum and ability to just incredibly high but barely horizontal at all unless you’re running. In the later game, this is mostly negated by better level design and the ability to turn into different animals with different physics models, but here – especially with the flick-screen, rather than scrolling, vertical movement – it’s crippling.

Then there’s the bosses, which are repeated (with very minor differences), and are all incredibly easy. In addition, you have to complete the whole game in under an hour in order to “win” properly. And the name! Oh my, what a terrible name for a game.

It’s a shame I didn’t enjoy it due to how flawed it is, but it’s still interesting to see how they improved so many things for the follow-up titles.


Much_too_hard.I’ll say now that I don’t have all 600 (I presume) stars. I also don’t have all of all the stars for the Remix I, II and Bonus Modes. I definitely don’t have all the Three Rainbow Gold Stars for everything either. However, I consider the game completed and everything left is “extra content”.

tumblr_n0quqzdpcy1svmpf2o1_1280No, that’s not a cop-out either. I have managed to 3-star all of all the individual game challenges, netting me a gold frame around each title screen. I even managed to 3-rainbow-star one of the games. I’ve also managed to get at least 2 stars for each game on Remix I, and 2 or 3 stars on all bar one challenge on Remix II. Importantly, I passed the credits screen after finishing Remix I so technically I finished the game there, I suppose.

Haha__No.There’s only Bonus that I’m missing some challenges on. Most of them are because they’re not yet unlocked (I have 551 stars, and the next challenge unlocks at 560), but two are because they’re impossible. Namely the “beat an invisible opponent” Tennis one (it’s not hard because he’s invisible, it’s hard because aiming is impossible), and the “get a hole in one” Golf one – I can’t even get it on the green, never mind in the hole.

So while I’m sure I’ll attempt and reattempt some of the as-yet not 3-starred challenges, for now I’m calling the game completed. I’m certainly not going to try and get rainbow stars for everything, that’s ridiculous.

NES Remix (Wii U)

Scratch_that._You_just_hammer_the_A_button.I turned my Wii U on to play Super Mario 3D World Woohoo Meeeoow (as it’s called on the title screen) but loaded this instead.

Some of the challenges are getting sillyhard now. I mainly did Super Mario Bros ones, and one of them involves beating all the bosses, another that required you to beat all the bosses with a fireflower (which is actually much more difficult), and another that I’m stuck on where you have to collect all the coins in several sections of levels very quickly. One of the sections is from a later underwater level and it’s full of bloopers and cheep cheeps and fire bars and PANIC.

In other news, Baseball is rubbish.

NES Remix (Wii U)

Luigi_is_the_Nega-Mario.__scottpilgrimWell this was a lovely surprise from Nintendo. No idea it was coming at all, and then suddenly at the end of last week’s Nintendo Direct, Iwata went all Apple and said “Take a look at this…” and “It’s available now!”.

There used to be a game called Game Centre Challenge, which had longer-than-Wario-Ware but still short challenges based on retro games. Except those retro games didn’t actually exist – they were fake retro styled titles. This is real, with real NES games replacing the not-real NES game clones. And, I believe, it’s by the same developers.

You’re given a set of NES titles, broken down into short challenges. Like, collect 20 coins in Mario before the time runs out. Or smash 5 barrels in Donkey Kong. Or beat the first boss in Zelda without losing any health. You’re rated up to three stars depending on how fast and well you manage this, and as you gain stars you unlock more games and challenges.

In addition to the breakdown of old games into what is essentially boot camp for game skills, there are various remix levels which make things different. Like, how about playing Mario like an endless runner? Or Ice Climber with just a spot of light following you, while everywhere else is dark? Or Pinball with invisible flippers? Or Donkey Kong as Link instead of Mario – and Link can’t jump?

Also as you play, you get some sort of score called B. I’m sure it’s a reference to a game but I can’t recall which. The symbol is like that for Bitcoins so I’ve been assuming it’s that. Every thousand or so B you obtain, you unlock stamps of characters and other sprites from the games, which you can use in Miiverse to make hilarious (well, mine are hilarious) pictures. I’ve found unlocking these stamps to be more of a draw to play the game than the stars, actually.

I’ve heard there are about 200 challenges in total, so 600 stars up for grabs. I have just 250 so far, but I do have 3 for most of the challenges I’ve attempted. I’ve not got that many Rainbow Stars (for being even better than 3 stars), although I have fully Rainbow Starred all the Pinball challenges.

Ice Climber and Pinbot (NES)

It’s Retro Week on ugvm! But, it would appear that I’m out almost every night this week. Thank the lord for a spare hour today, and my OneStation.

In case you’ve forgotten, the OneStation is a portable Famiclone, not much larger than a Game Boy Micro.

Anyway – the games. First up was Pinbot. I was impressed that the ball physics were much better than I was expecting. Most 8-bit pinball titles are pretty poor in this regard, but Pinbot felt reasonably realistic. It was still very hard though, and no single game on it lasted more than about 3 minutes.

Then it was time for Ice Climber. I remember, back in 1992-ish, Ice Climber was the second game I ever played on the NES. The first was Golf. Anyway, I was hooked then, and always wanted a NES afterwards. It’s still great, and much easier than last time I played. I made it up to Mountain 9, before finding it impossible to progress as there was a wall I couldn’t jump over. Tch.

Maniac Mansion (NES): COMPLETED!

Oh! I had everything I needed! All I had to do was show the purple tentacle the police badge, and I had access to the main lab, and Dr. Fred, and the big off switch!

Wendy saved, plot foiled, game overed!

Maniac Mansion (NES)

So it seems the water from the pool can be given to the plant to make it grow, and by getting one kid caught by Ed you get a few minutes to raid his room. That helped me progress a bit, and I even managed to get the meteor arrested, and have access to the lab!

However, I can’t find an envelope (which I think I need to send this demo tape off), and I can’t get into the safe, so I’m stuck again. Bah!

Maniac Mansion (NES)

Isn’t the NES great? Well, aside from mine which keeps resetting, anyway. Thank the baby Jesus for my NeoFami, eh? Anyway.

This is another point-and-click adventure that I never completed “back in the day”. I thought I’d see how I fared with Man Brains. Interesting Trivia about Maniac Mansion: I first played the game in Germany, on my German exchange partner’s C64. He had it on disk, and it took fourtyeightyteen weeks to load. The best bit, was it was all in German, and I kept forgetting the difference between “Gehen” and “Geben”. Amazingly, it probably taught me more German than the rest of the trip.

So I picked Bernard the Nerd (I recalled that you need to fix stuff at some point, and he’d be the man for the job) and Syd the Musician (for no good reason). And I’ve progressed loads. However, I’m now stuck at two points.

Firstly, I can’t get into Ed’s room. I didn’t grab his package in time (I clicked the stamps on it by accident) to I don’t think I can coax him out of his room any more. Also, I can’t get the plant to grow. I suspect I need the chemicals, but I fed them to the green tentacle earlier. Oh, and I’m not sure how to get the arcade machines working either. I’ve fixed the wires in the room next to the plant, I think, but there’s still no power. Tch.

Shadowgate (NES): COMPLETED!

Never done that before! In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever got further than the Room of Fire With The Firedrake In before now. Mind you, I haven’t played it for probably 10 years or more, so I could be putting down my younger self, intelligence-wise.

Some really obtuse puzzles marred it a bit, and the constant burning out of torches (although I found if you don’t die, they last longer) was a pain as I felt rushed, but overall it was enjoyable and I feel like I’ve achieved something in completing it. Not least because I won the King’s daughter at the end. Aces!

Shadowgate (NES)

I recall that this point-and-click adventure game was hard. Mainly due to the lack of logic in the puzzles, and the try-every-item-on-every-object gameplay.

So far, I’ve not been stuck, mainly because I can do some of it from memory. However, I don’t know how to get past the wraith (I thought it was use the slingshot, but no), so I’ve saved for now.

Snake, Rattle ‘n’ Roll (NES)

Ah, Rare. Remember them, back when they were good? Before they’d even started work on Kameo, which was about selventyfourten years ago? When they first became Nintendo game developers? Well, this is the sort of thing they wrote.

Sadly, this hasn’t stood the test of time as well as Rescue Rangers. It looks fine, and the music and title screen is great and all, but the controls are terrible. Most of this is due to the floaty way the snakes jump, and the isometric angle. In fact, the angle causes all sorts of jumping problems, especially when you have to jump round corners but can’t tell if you’re jumping round-and-up, round-and-down, or round-to-your-death. This makes it overly frustrating and not really much fun.

I did reach level 8 though, both properly and using the warp on level 1, but then the NES reset itself again. I switched to using my NeoFami instead of the NES, but the slight speed increase (the NeoFami is 60Hz NTSC, the NES 50Hz PAL) just made things worse so I gave up.

Chip ‘n’ Dale: Rescue Rangers (NES)

Next week on ugvm (the newsgroup, that is) has been designated Retro Week. In preparation, I fished out my NES and some games. This was one of those I decided to try.

And, it’s pretty good. Yeah, it’s a standard platformer, but there’s nothing wrong with is so far as I can see. Well, aside from the nasty limited continues and the go-back-to-the-start-of-the-level when you continue thing, but that’s normal for games of this era. I reached the first end of level boss, but then my NES decided to reset itself. Tch.