Deadly Towers

Publisher: Broderbund

Year: 1987
Genre: Action Adventure

In Deadly Towers, you’re a knight or prince of some sort (it’s in the opening cinematic, I just forgot and refuse to waste my time reading it again) and everything is trying to kill you. Fortunately, you throw knives. Knives that can kill anything. Fire attacking you? Stab it until it dies! Blue orb? Stab it until it dies!

The attractive title screen is the best feature of the game.
The attractive title screen is the best feature of the game.

The game is, for the most part, a collection of poorly thought out or incompetently executed game mechanics. You have 100 hit points to start with, but it probably wouldn’t help you to have a million hit points. The game has mercy invincibility, for example, but it lasts for less than half a second and paralyzes and knocks you backwards in the process. If you are against the wall, the enemy hits you again immediately, and you’re doomed. If you fall off a cliff, you die, and enemies can and will push you off. And speaking of enemies, it’s also worth noting that the game has, essentially, four enemies with dozens of different skins and palette schemes. Oh, look – it’s the knight guy from the last room, only now he’s inexplicably a dragon-headed man. Oh, look – it’s another kind of bat with the exact same movement pattern as all the other varieties.

I have nicknamed these creatures "Murderbears"
I have nicknamed these creatures “Murderbears”

John’s Rating: 1.5 out of 5. Deadly Towers is a game that has been hailed by some as the very worst Nintendo has to offer, and while I heartily agree that the game is terrible, it sadly wouldn’t even make my top 10 list of worst Nintendo games of all time.


Publisher: Konami
Year: 1987
Genre: Platform Adventure

Few names in the video game world are associated with so rich a canonical history as “Belmont,” the surname of the vampire-hunting family from the acclaimed Castlevania series of games, and though the storied background and heroic legacy of the Belmont family has been expounded in the sequels, prequels, interquels and alternate timelines, this is where it all began.

Castlevania (U) (PRG0) [!]_001
Right here – at the least shitty NES title screen to date.
Continue reading “Castlevania”


Publisher: Data East
Year: 1987
Genre: Action

“In a world without sanitation regulations, one man stands ready to give the people what they want: delicious piping hot burgers. This master chef prepares his creations the only way he knows how: through the power of stepping on food. But when a group of rogue hot dogs and fried eggs threaten to put him on the grill, will he be able to turn the tables on the food rebellion, or will BurgerTime be seasoned… with death?”
-The back of the BurgerTime box, except not actually.

Alternately, this could be "Upton Sinclair's The Jungle: The Game"
Alternately, this could be “Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle: The Game”

Continue reading “BurgerTime”

New NES Games

Just the other day I was lamenting to my old pal The Admiral regarding my apparent inability to keep up with this blog. He patted me on the shoulder in a manner at once condescending and sympathetic and said, “Don’t worry, you’ll catch up – it’s not like they’re making any new games for the NES.” While I appreciate the sentiment, and I certainly don’t think that it’s an altogether unfair statement, what about…

Continue reading “New NES Games”


Publisher: Nintendo
Year: 1986
Genre: Platformer / Zapper

Nowadays, when games experiment with control schemes, it falls into one of three categories: a gimmick, a disaster, or a generally enjoyable novelty. And, if someone does come upon a winner, everyone and their brother wants in on the action. Back in the Nintendo days, however, employing a novel control scheme was a risk that companies – even large companies like Nintendo, were more than willing to take. Frankly, it was one of the most obvious ways to make your game stand out in the crowd – you might not be able, for instance, to make a character as memorable as Mario or even the Battletoads, but you might be able to come up with a unique gameplay element, such as the novel flight control scheme of Joust, and end up being a commercial success despite the absolute absence of any memorable characters whatsoever. Which is why I won’t be too hard on Gumshoe, a game that at least tried to be original.

They just don't make title screens like this anymore. That's a good thing.
They just don’t make title screens like this anymore. That’s a good thing.

In Gumshoe, you control a detective who is looking for the “Black Panther” diamonds, apparently to ransom his kidnapped daughter from some sort of Italian mobster. I’m too lethargic to come up with a racially insensitive joke, so you can just use your imaginations. The diamonds just seem to be lying in street when you come upon them, but that doesn’t seem so important right now. What’s important is that the game is controlled entirely by the Zapper gun, either by shooting obstacles that appear on screen, or by shooting the main character in order to make him jump. There are no other controls. As you progress through the game, you pick up balloons to replenish your ammo, but unless you spam bullets throughout the whole thing, you’ll never get anywhere near running out.

Those balloons, which you cannot shoot, contain bullets. That car and bottle, which you can shoot, contain death.
Those balloons, which you cannot shoot, contain bullets. That car and bottle, which you can shoot, contain death.

John’s Rating: 2.5 out of 5.0. Don’t get me wrong, games with simpler control schemes have been popular even as recently as a few years ago, but, the execution, in this case, is wanting, not to mention the fact that the game digs well into Nintendo Hard territory, with little poison skulls often pressed so close together that there’s no reasonable way to get between them. You might try this game for the novelty or just to have it in your collection, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to get my hands on it.