Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Nerdicus NES Review #100 : BreakThru

Title : BreakThru

Publisher : Data East

Genre : Vehicle Combat

Players : 1 Player

Release Date : 1986

Estimated Value (as of today's date) : $3-$5

Wow, so I finally made it to 100 reviews for the NES. First off, a huge thank you to those who actually read these reviews and comment on them. Honestly, I didn't think anyone would look at these. I have been writing these reviews for myself as an excuse to continue to play video games, while at the same time writing consistently during the week when I'm not working on my next novel.

But a few months in, I'm actually getting a following which is insane and highly unexpected. There are hundreds, if not thousands of Video Game review sites out there, but I like to think mine is a tad different from the rest. I go off on tangents, but a lot of it is because I am reflecting on how these games affected me as a child. It's funny how some games I don't even remember playing, but they do rekindle the love I had for games in the 80's when I was just a wee lad. Gaming really did have that much of an influence on me. I wouldn't be doing what I do today without them. Not to mention, It's great to hear everyone's reactions in the comments and reacting in similar ways that I do. Hell, just seeing my site traffic climb each month is making me want to do this even more.

Just to make an announcement, now that I have hit 100 reviews, I have decided to do something a little bit different twice a week. A few years ago, a friend of mine and I used to create a web comic called Porterhouse based on the life of a comic book artist. It was a hell of a lot of fun, but obligations got in the way. But, my lust for being creative artistically has been reborn and I have decided to work on a web comic again based on my middle-grade novel, which is yes, about video games.

It's a side story of COPERNICUS NERDICUS, who in this concept, purchases a video game console at a garage sale that ends up transporting him in to the retro gaming world. Think of the TV show Sliders....with 8-bit video games. That's COPERNICUS NERDICUS : The Web Comic. The first strip is coming out this Friday, so stay tuned.

Anyway, back to the reviews...Who would have thought that a few months back I would actually have the patience to continue doing this, especially with the monstrosities that plagued this system back in the day. I wish I could say I was joking when I said I have been extremely disappointed with the library so far. When I was younger, I loved every game, no matter how bad it was. Now however, I realize just how horribly unbalanced this library is.

The ratio? It has to be 1 good game for every 10-15 bad games. That's not even an exaggeration. But, even the bad games can be good, in a humorous sort of way. You know you've played some games that are just so bad, you can't put it down. Well, there's a lot on the NES. But enough about this reflection, I'll probably do an entire write up later on down the line. Let's get back to gaming.

Up next we have a bit of a vehicle combat game that used to be a hit back in the Arcade. So of course, it was ported to the NES with the hopes that it would measure up. In BreakThru you are shoved into the cockpit of an ATV that needs to, you guessed it, break through enemy lines. 

Seems like a pretty simple concept? Just how well does Data East pull it off?

Apparently, some secret spy plan has been stolen behind enemy lines, and it's up to you to drive in an ATV outfitted with a cannon to blast your way through a bunch of strongholds and recover the equipment. You'll drive through five or so different levels, each based on a different environment such as mountains, forests, deserts, etc. Visually, the levels aren't too bad. They're closely reminiscent of the Arcade version, and holds up pretty well for a game from 1986.

The main objective for each level is to get through it without dying. Ha, yeah, that's a simple way of putting it. In your vehicle you'll be forced to avoid obstacles and make death-defying jumps over enemy soldiers. The game really plays like a side-scrolling shooter, as you're constantly moving and spamming on the fire button to destroy your enemies. The thing is, you'll be accelerating by use of the D-PAD, which compared to other shooters gets a little confusing. Most shooters, you just move at a constant rate across the screen, but in a vehicular game, you usually think of having something to control gas and breaks, but you don't. Your mind is telling you one thing to do, but the game tells you another. But you'll need those other buttons to open fire against your enemies anyway, so it works.

You've got your one basic weapon throughout the game, which is a pellet gun. Most enemies only take one hit to kill anyway, because if you only see them for a split second until you drive right by them. The game is meant to be fast, so blowing by enemies is commonplace. Don't expect to kill something, unless it's in your way.

Of course, you'll have the opportunity to collect power ups to give you a 3 gun spread, instead of one shot. That, and the extra lives (which you really won't need, this game is a breeze). The only time you really die in this game is by the random crap that gets thrown out you that you never see coming. I'm talking about random missiles falling from the heavens and random things....barrels? flying into your ATV.

Cue vehicular explosion.

This is one of those games that tend to be more frustrating because you'll die randomly a lot. It's really not a bad game, but it's not really that good. However, this is one of those games that can give you some sort of mindless pleasure, because it really doesn't take much thought to do well. You're spamming the fire button, while speeding along the screen avoiding the random crap thrown at you.

I would say if you enjoy running over enemy soldiers, and destroying massive tanks in a tiny arse ATV, then you might just enjoy this game. For my hundredth review, I can't say I'm surprised for getting another mediocre game. I'm used to's hoping the next hundred NES games provide a little bit more entertainment, and a tad less frustration.

Final Score (out of 5) :

Until next time. Keep on gaming!



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