The Legend of Zelda! What can I possibly say about it that has not already been said more eloquently than I am able? The game has spawned numerous sequels that range from awesome to bizarre, (to the TRULY UNSPEAKABLE) but the original Legend of Zelda is the one that spawned it all!
In The Legend of Kage, you are a young ninja whose bride was stolen by other ninjas. You need to kill those ninjas and retrieve her so she can be kidnapped again in the bizarre ninja version of the circle of life.
Gameplay is fairly straightforward – some levels require you to move to the end and defeat a sort of one-hitpoint-wonder boss. Other levels require you to kill a certain number of ninjas. Still others require that you just scale to the top of an impossibly tall wall. Whatever the case, Unless you grab the orb-of-lets-you-get-hit-one-extra-time, you die one hit, and hits often happen arbitrarily, owing to the frequency with which ninjas throw shurikens in random direction and your (admittedly realistic) inability to control a jump after you leave the ground.
John’s Rating: 2.5 out of 5. With repetitive and painfully arbitrary gameplay, a dearth of enemy varieties, clumsy controls and poor hit detection, the Legend of Kage might be enjoyable to play through once or twice, but it wears quickly and ages poorly.
Publisher: Data East Year: 1987 Genre: Side-ScrollIn Kid Niki: Radical Ninja, you play the role of the titular kid ninja. Your bird was shot by an arrow and, in proper ninja form, you set out for revenge. The game consists of running along attacking ninjas and other enemies until you get to a boss.
There’s nothing wrong with this formula in general, but this execution is bland. I was a little torn as to whether to call this a “platform” game at all, given that there are no platforms to jump on top of. There are times you jump over pits and the like, sure, but you are always on the ground, with no over or under platforms.
Enemy attack patterns are predictable, but your radical ninja moves are sluggish, making evading most attacks impractical at best. Because of the lack of platforming or powerups in the game, the action is very linear and not particularly interesting. Compound this with the fact that hit detection is sporadic (at best) and you have a recipe for a completely forgettable game that probably isn’t worth your time.
John’s Rating: 2.0 out of 5.0. Kid Niki is dull. It’s not even really good enough to make fun of. The bosses are clearly designed to be silly or zany, but I’m not feelin’ it.
Publisher: Nintendo Year: 1987 Genre: Platform, Adventure, Top-Scroll
As a child, I spent many an hour perusing D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths, reading again and again the legends of tragic heroes such as Theseus, Achilles and Icarus. The moral of every Greek myth has always been, “No matter how awesome you are, you only need to fuck up once to ruin it all.” Kid Icarus? Pretty much the same lesson.
The Karate Kid is based on the 1980’s film of the same name. Karate was (and, I guess, is) a martial arts form developed in Okinawa that rose to enormous popularity in the 1980’s and early 90’s, when it was basically the atom bomb of martial arts forms, capable of defeating any foe or group of foes.
Like nearly all games based off movies, the Karate Kid is terrible.
The game starts with you fighting a bland karate tournament where, as in the movie, jump kicks to the face are against the rules, but still the best way to win. Then, between tournament screens, you travel between tournaments being attacked by tons of nameless thugs who sometimes drop crane kick and drum punch tokens for you to use in the tournament screens or (accidentally) on the nameless thugs.
John’s Score: 1.5 out of 5.0. The game is playable. That’s about the best that can be said for it. Fighting games on the NES are notoriously clunky, as are movie game. This is just about the worst of both worlds.