Point harvesting has a glorious and storied tradition among MobyGames contributors. To that end, I sometimes like to go over to TASVideos.org and fire up an emulator to watch a tool-assisted speedrun while gathering plenty of emulator screenshots. This is low effort and high-yield in MobyGames contribution points.
However, nothing disabuses me of my nostalgia for old S/NES games like watching these speedruns. “Did I just watch the exact same level being played 13 times in a row, but with different colored backgrounds each time? Would I have patiently and tenaciously played through this game 20 years ago?” Regrettably, the answers to both of the foregoing questions is a slightly ashamed “yes”.
There are too many of these games to warrant individual posts. Further, I obviously didn’t get a good enough feel for the games to be able to write authoritatively about any of them. Instead, I thought I would do brief capsule reviews and highlight 1 or 2 things that caught my eye about each.
The Mask (SNES game based on the 1994 movie) faces off with a Mask’d Dorian in the finale of his eponymous game. That has to be the most grotesque deviation from the storyline– how can they both be wearing the Mask at the same time?
Zero the Kamikaze Squirrel has a Wolverine knock-off for a boss:
To be fair, I think it’s supposed to be an actual, anthropomorphized wolverine rather than a human with claws.
In Daffy Duck: The Marvin Missions (SNES), the Lava Lakes “Pleasure Resort” sounds a bit out of place for this type of game:
Bart’s Nightmare (SNES) violates Simpsons canon by merely having Bart working hard on homework; everything else that doesn’t make sense about the game is explained away by it all being in Bart’s dream. This is the most dull game to watch.
I didn’t recognize Burns as the boss in this level until I analyzed the screenshots later:
Ghoul School (NES) looks like a terribly annoying game. I should probably read up on the storyline if it’s available online, but it seems like the monsters are doing fine and minding their own business, improving themselves, when this mohawked punk shows up at their school and starts causing trouble. Or it could be that the monsters conquered.
The Goonies (NES) is absurdly short (the TAS is done in about 2.5 minutes). It might make more sense if I ever saw the movie, but then again, probably not.
Watching the TAS for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game (NES), I’m hard-pressed to recall the many Pizza Hut plugs in the original arcade game, but perhaps I wasn’t so in tune with the product placement issue back then. Maybe I noticed but laughed at how lame it looked… just like now:
Final Fight 3 (SNES) includes a section where the “heroes” invade someone’s boat and beat up the captain (who is trained to hold his own, mind you). Then again, the protagonists of these games have never been shy about trespassing on private property in the pursuit of justice.
In Robocop 3 (NES), our mechanized hero has a final face-off with ninjas that auto-destruct once you key in a code while a knowledge worker toils in the background:
The game features a new low in level design when it makes you backtrack over one level (level 4 is the same as level 3 with Robocop walking in the other direction).
Spelunker (NES) — oh, how I hated this game as a child. Thanks to the miracle of TAS, I can finally see what I missed by not being able to get more than about 10 virtual meters from the starting point in this game. Not much, apparently, and the game is still as obnoxious as I remember, and I gave that game an honest try (again, not much else to play, and I had this on loan from a friend).
Did you know there was a Transformers NES game back in the day? Transformers: Convoy no Nazo, as you might have guessed from the title, was a Japanese game (though there was also a Commodore 64 strategy-type game I remember reading about). After witnessing the TAS for Convoy no Nazo, I feel glad I never had a Transformers game to louse up my Transformers-obsessed childhood.
The hero of this game is Ultra Magnus. Bosses include (I think) Unicron (at least, there’s a round thing in the back of the stage) and also a giant Decepticon symbol. Megatron isn’t even the final boss (it’s the giant Decepticon T-rex Trypticon). It’s interesting to learn that video game adaptations in Japan are every bit as half-assed as their American counterparts.
To their credit, they got the “More than meets the eye” trademark musical lick reasonably duplicated with the NES’s limited sound generation capability.
More TAS capsules to come.
- Part 2 of this S/NES TAS capsule series
- Sega CD capsule reviews, in the same spirit as these (and part 2)