I scanned the big list of missing NES games and found 2 licensed titles that came later in the NES’ lifetime (i.e., after the release of the SNES). Titles from this era were generally quite well done by NES standards, even if they were overshadowed by the SNES.
The first is The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, based on the TV show that aired in the early- to mid-1990s. As the title implies, a young Indy travels the globe, collects treasures, fights for what’s right, and rescues hot babes. Actually, I’m just guessing on that last one– the opening for stage 1 implies that there’s a damsel, but the trial and error tedium of the first level became too much for me before I finish off the boss. It’s side-scrolling action where Indy actually has a fairly realistically brief jump — a feature that always makes a gamer curse the times they have called for more realistic games. You don’t have much power in this game, but you can collect trademark Indy hats. If you get hit, you lose the hat, but that’s better than losing your weapon, which is what happens if you get hit without a hat. Back to the fist until you can find another weapon. If you get hit without a weapon or a hat, then you die.
Speaking of weapons, this game has an impressive range– whips, pistols, rifles, grenades, throwing knives, little bouncing rocks. Unfortunately, you can only pick up one weapon at a time and you lose it you sustain a hit.
Throughout the adventure, Indy collects gold. I am not sure what this achieves– it probably has some significance at the end of a level, where I never got to. The gold counter never seems to reset, even after a continue. And the strangest thing about the gold counter is that it wraps around after 99:
Before collecting the icon worth 3 gold points…
After collecting the icon…
Still, it is likely that Young Indy makes for a better gameplay experience than the Temple of Doom for the NES.
Next up is a Jetsons property– The Jetsons: Cogswell’s Caper, to be specific. Take a look at this screenshot and tell me what’s wrong:
Come on– you all watched The Jetsons sometime in your life, you know exactly what’s wrong with that screenshot: there is no way that Astro the Dog is that articulate. It’s well known that Astro pronounced George as “Reorge”.
Putting aside such blatant cartoon canon violations, this game features a curious premise– George Jetson’s employer, Mr. Spacely, has learned that his corporate rival, Cogswell, is oppressing alien workers in order to get ahead in the industry. What’s the best course of action to compete with this threat? How about tasking his laziest and most incompetent employee, one George Jetson, with committing acts of corporate sabotage? Sounds like we have a premise for a game.
So George bumbles through multiple levels of side-scrolling action to achieve this goal, lest he be dinged on his annual performance review. I hesitate to call this a run and jump game because George is too lazy to jump. Instead, he uses a jet pack in short bursts to elevate himself. The offensive action reminds me mightily of Chip ‘N Dale: Rescue Rangers in that George picks up the copious boxes and other items that litter the landscape and tosses them at enemies.
There are also lots of switches in this futuristic game, switches that activate all kinds of machinery (and Rosie the Robot is on hand to tutor you in how to use the switch). A common switch is the gravity reversal switch that causes you to walk on the ceiling for a brief period. I must give the game credit for its internal consistency here:
George is walking along the ceiling. If George walks off the edge, it will have the same effect as walking into a pit.