Funco Land - A land of

Where kids came to trade in their games for $3 and buy pre-owned ones for $50 with nice colorful cases. The good 'ol days!

Toys'R'Us Video Game Slips Nostalgia

When all it took was a video game slip to purchase your favorite video game

A Re-seller RANT

The days of where we could find NES and SNES games for a few dollars are gone...thanks to the RESELLER. A RANT.

How I let EARTHBOUND slip through my fingers...

My ultimate prize...gone again.

The Ultimate NES Review Collection

Join me as I suffer through every single NES game known to man! Prepare yourself!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Nerdicus NES Review #177 : Digger T. Rock: Legend of the Lost City

Title : Digger T. Rock: Legend of the Lost City

Publisher : Milton Bradley

Developer : Rare

Genre : Action / Puzzle

Players : 1

Release Date : 1990

Estimated Value (as of today's date) : $8 - $12

Before I start, just a reminder that the Let's SUCK videos are flowing now, and I'm actually going to be announcing another contest tonight for my youtube channel. 100 subscribers is the goal, and there are PRIZES to be won! So be sure to keep your eyes open and check it out. Also, don't forget the contest on the contest tabs only has around 2 weeks left to go, so don't forget to enter for your chance to win a NES bundle! FREE GAMES FOLKS!

Surprised yet? Did you catch the name of that Developer? That's right RARE was responsible for this game. Now, I'm not going to say it's bad, because it's not. Well, it is, I lied. Trust me though, there's a lot worse out there for the NES. The thing is, when you think about RARE you pretty much expect some epic gaming. They were after all one of the most unique developers out there in the 90's.

I guess you can call this game one of their forgotten children. You know, the one that you ask someone about, and they avoid the subject.

"How's Digger T Rock doing, Rare? Did he graduate college? Has he started work yet?"

"Oh, Digger? Yeah, he's fine, but I have told you about Donkey Kong and Conker? Did you know that they're making millions!? We're thinking about moving to Florida and retiring thanks to their help."

That's Digger for ya. High hopes, but fell short. And started doing a lot of drugs. It's okay Digger. You tried. I'll blame Milton Bradley. Well, ya ready to dig some holes and find that lost city? Put on your mining helmet. We're going in.

Looks a bit like Calvin, from Calvin and Hobbes, don't you think? Am I the only one that see's that? Especially in the gameplay. Oh, damn, is hobbes hiding somewhere?! That's what they need. A Calvin and Hobbes game. And if you don't think that's the best comic strip, then you sir are mistaken.

With a game like DIGGER, what do you think you're doing? Obviously, you're digging and the concept is simple enough. Each level you'll have the opportunity to find as many treasures as possible that are hidden in various parts of the stage. Dig through areas by the use of your handy dandy shovel or other tools like explosives in order to uncover secrets, but watch out you only have a certain amount of time before the doorway to the next room closes. Oh, and don't forget the hordes of monsters that are trying to kill you. I'm talking giant mosquito, dinosaurs, and zombies. The usual critters you encounter when digging big holes.

And what's treasure hunting without puzzles? Poorly designed puzzles unfortunately. Most of them consist of sitting on switches until a pathway opens up, or figuring out how to get through a wall. Yay, entertainment.

There are quite a few levels in this game, but regrettably they look very similar and are quite bland to look at. Plus, it's hard to tell at some points what you can and cant dig through at some points, but pretty much everything is free game. It's like you're swimming in dirt half the time with your dumb shovel.

Don't even get me started on the designs. I really wasn't impressed by the way the monsters looked, much less the main character. Hell, the only thing I thought was clever was when you die, your body rots away. Sort of morbid considering you're just a kid, but it's funny to see you turn into a skeleton with the only thing left of your body is your helmet.

Finding treasure couldn't be more dull. You get hurt from practically everything, and I just felt like rushing through each level just to get to the next damn door to try and finish the game. Screw the treasure, I wanted OUT. I would have been drawn in more if the level design was a tad bit interesting, but no. Tedious and repetitive. You find that a lot in NES games, don't you.

Here, I'll save you the trouble from playing it.

Yay! We did it! Now we don't have to play anymore!

If you find it entertaining to dig through dirt, and die from monsters that appear out of nowhere and are seemingly impossible to kill at times, then hey, maybe you'll find this game fun. I for one, don't know what RARE was thinking with this one, but you can't win 'em all. Surprisingly, some people liked this game. It just didn't work for me.

Level and character designs are flat. Controls are stiff. And the gameplay is repetitive. Two wrongs do not make a right, much less three wrongs. You know what? I'm going back to playing Conkers Bad Fur Day.

Final Score (out of 5) :

Until Next Time, Keep On Gaming!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Nerdicus Genesis Review #55 : Chuck Rock

Title : Chuck Rock

Publisher : Virgin Interactive

Developer : Core Design

Genre : Action Platformer

Players : 1

Release Date : 1993

Estimated Value (as of today's date) : $7 - $10

I'll never understand why CHUCK ROCK had gotten so popular back in the early 90's. I wasn't the type of person to fall for slap-stick, gimmicky platformers during the struggling age for developers and/or publishers to define themselves and their mascots. Who would ever in their right mind think a slightly disturbed, Popeye looking caveman with a beer gut could be a good idea? Agh! Sorry, cavemen get to me. Especially when they put Cavemen in games with dinosaurs.


Thinking back there were quite a few caveman games out there. Now JOE & MAC, that was a good caveman game. Hell, even CAVEMAN GAMES was pretty fun, if you find Olympic styled sport games to be entertaining. I feel like two or three are all you need in the grand scheme of things. Okay, okay..CHUCK ROCK isn't bad. In fact it's probably one of the most decent platformers out there, hence why it became so popular. I just can't stand looking at his damn face.

Here we go. CHUCK ROCK for the Sega Genesis. The Boogerman of the prehistoric era.

No, cavemen don't have instruments, and dinosaurs can't play guitar. Unacceptable. Quick, press start and get out of this damn title screen. Here we go, a caveman who likes to belly hump enemies with his beer gut, repeat the phrase UNGA BUNGA, and toss rocks in the air all while chomping down on some raw dino steaks. Oh, yeah, and that band you see on the title screen? Chuck is the lead singer.

I kid you not. What the hell kind of story line is this. Now does Chuck Rock refer to the fact that he's in a rock band, or because he literally likes to chuck rocks? Discuss. And how does he have such a hot wife? Yeah, premise of the game. Your wife gets kidnapped by some arse named Gary Gritter. Guess what? YOU get to rescue her. Yaaay originality.

It's hard to really discuss this game, because if you've played one platformer you've played them all. You battle enemies, you jump on different levels and occasionally use some rocks to position yourself higher. At the end of each stage (stages, in levels...uh..areas..damn I need to write a blog post about proper video game terminology), you'll fight some bosses.

I can say that the controls are very smooth for the game, and the gameplay is a tad too easy for my taste, but you know what it's one of the few platformers that really didn't annoy me with a far fetched difficulty level in certain areas. It progresses enough that while it does get difficult, it doesn't drive you mad.

Oh, and the belly bump is hilarious.

The developers did do an amazing job of creating a full animated world with some impressive stylized characters and backgrounds. I do admit, I'm a sucker for the cartoony look, so the game earns bonus points there. Still, while I love the designs, Chuck's design pisses me off. Not sure why though. He just reminds me too much of Robin Williams when he played Popeye.'s typical platforming music and once again for some reason Sega doesn't sound as good as the SNES. I need to really look into the audio boards for both systems and figure out why SNES always sounded better. Anyone have any info on that? I'm feeling a tad bit lazy now. Not enough coffee this morning, ha!

That's it for CHUCK ROCK. A standard platformer, that at least performs well, but still..enough with the cavemen and gimmicky mascots. Unga Bunga my butt.

Final Score (out of 5) :

 Until Next Time, Keep On Gaming!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Retro Retrospective #3 : Rising Retro Popularity Pt. 3 - Facebook is your FRIEND!

It's been awhile since I wrote one of these, and I figured a lazy day at work is a good enough time as any to whip one up. Here we go folks, Part 3 of my RISING RETRO POPULARITY retrospective, and my tips on how to help get the games you thirst for and beat the man at his own game. Not sure who the man is in this situation, but it's whoever beats you to the retrogaming hauls! Bastards...

It's winter, obviously. We're in the dead freeze zone of February, and my nipples can key a car. Most of you know if you've watched some of my newbie YouTube videos, that my golden time is garage sale season, but seeing how I live in New York, I've been shut in doors. This typically means my retro pick ups have been forced to turn in a new direction, and I can't rely on Thrift Stores. My luck at thrift stores is practically equivalent to that of playing the lotto. Zilch. Zero. Nada. One haul in every 20-30 visits. So what do I do now? 

I figured I would let you guys in on a little secret. Actually, you can't even call it a secret anymore. Maybe 6-8 months ago you could have, but now this market is probably over saturated to the point where you'd be lucky to find a $10 Super Mario / Duck Hunt. I am of course, talking about the infamous FACEBOOK GROUPS!

"Facebook!? What the hell are you talking about Tom? What have you been smoking? What the hell can I find on Facebook?"

Calm down there, buddy. Here's an example...

Yes, that's right. CIB N64 games floating in interstellar Facebook space. Now the price is a little more than what I am willing to spend right now, but I'm currently in talks with this woman on working out a trade / cash combo. And by the way, those aren't the only games she has. There are 12 other ones all CIB, adding up to probably over $500 in games / strat guides. Not bad, right? Trust me, I've seen a LOT better and I have a few people who can vouch for that.

Just ask my brother in law, this guy is known for getting 50 NES games for $10. And that's not an exaggeration. He's a you man..asshole.

Like I said, months ago, no one really knew about Facebook groups, primarily the for sale groups. Think about it as online yard sales where people are trying to get rid of their junk. Some of these people, even consider their old video games to be junk and that's where we get to cash in big time. Hell, right now I am probably in 15-20 "FOR SALE" groups for LONG ISLAND, NEW YORK, and even started moving out to the NJ / CT areas. Haven't found anything over there yet, but if you could just imagine what I picked up through these groups, you'd probably crap yourself. 

When I first started checking out these pages, there was probably only one or two other people browsing the boards. Now, I'm lucky if I can scroll through a days worth of posts and see 5 people putting up ISO's (in search of) video game posts. The run was good while it lasted, but unfortunately, not so much now. Thanks retro craze and re sellers. Thumbs up to you.

Seriously, who the hell would sell to this guy?

But Facebook isn't all about FOR SALE and YARD SALE GROUPS (although they are still damn good if you can get lucky). Facebook is also home to some epic gaming communities where you can trade and sell your games to those that appreciate and know the value of your collection. Now, there is one such group out there that reigns supreme among the rest, and if you have yet to be a part of this I suggest you do so now. It's a group known as the TRADE SELL COLLECT RETRO AND NEW VIDEO GAMES AND TOYS...also known as TSCRANVGAT. Try saying that three times in a row without spitting on your monitor.

Click below if you want to check it out.

There's a lot of reasons as to why groups such as this are a great way to enhance your collection. First of all, the community is filled with people that have one thing in common. They love gaming. Secondly, the admin team is top notch, ensuring that no one gets screwed over (and if someone does, they send the guilty party to the execution chamber). I've worked out some trades with a few people already, and I have to say, it's a perfect opportunity to remove yourself from the evil that is eBay and Craigslist where you are have to deal with fees or creepy stalkers who just want to catch you off guard in a back alley somewhere.

Oh, but I'm not done. Not only does TSCRANVGAT offer some kick-ass services on their main page, but they also have an epic GAME WHEEL. What is the Gamewheel you ask? Picture some of the rarest and most expensive video games out there. How would you like to have a chance to buy them for $3....Oh, don't believe me? Really? Well, I spent $20, and look what I happened to get my hands on.

The way it works, is that they'll post up a game and offer up a limited number of slots at a certain price. Let's say they're posting EARTHBOUND (drool...still have yet to buy it), and they'll offer 75 slots at $3 each. You can buy as many of those $3 slots as you want, to increase your chances of winning in a randomized live drawing. It's basically like the lotto. The more you buy, the better your chances. But trust me, don't let that fool you. I've seen people win games worth hundreds, and spend only a couple of bucks. Myself included....

Although I have yet to win Earthbound or EVO...which are the only two games I really want. Yet I keep winning other games. Go figure, my luck works that way. 

It's a hell of a lot of fun, and watching the live streams of the drawings are even better because you've got some epic hosts including the kick ass Brian "THE SHOW" DeLegado, doing the shows. Good laughs, great fun, and a nice way to kill some time at work, and drain your wallet if you're not careful lol. Trust me though, it's worth it. So do yourself a favor, and check it out AFTER you give TSCRANVGAT a whirl.

Don't let Facebook fool you. It's not all about posting baby pictures, and updating your status to cry like a little baby in order to fulfill your attention craving needs. It's also a great way to try and find some video games, IF you know where to look.

Good luck out there, and happy hunting folks.

Nerdicus NES Review #176: Dig Dug II

Title : Dig Dug II

Publisher : Bandai

Developer : Namco

Genre : Action / Puzzle

Players : 1 / 2 Players

Release Date : 1989

Estimated Value (as of today's date) : $5 - $10

Everyone know's Dig Dug. That cute, little white suited miner, drilling his way into the dirt only to unleash swarms of monsters. Seriously, what a bizarre concept. Then again, we've seen crazier over the years haven't we? I honestly only played the first DIG DUG on atari, and never experienced it in the arcades. That is, up until DIG DUG II came out. I played the hell out of that game, and once again drained my college savings on trying to beat that impossible, headache inducing drill-fest.

I can't say I remember who bought it for the NES, but I do remember having it. Not even sure why, I didn't even like the game that much. Probably because I couldn't even get past the first ten levels. Hell, I was only 6 at the time so I'm not exactly sure I was gamer material back then. It was probably my dad. He liked those Atari-styled arcade games.

Still, gotta love that box art, eh?

DIG DUG II is actually quite different than it's predecessor. Instead of showing a semi-side scrolling view of the main character..who actually had a name did you know that? Taizo are now playing in a top-down perspective. And, unlike the first one, you are actually situated on multiple paradise islands. I guess that explains the title, Trouble In Paradise, eh?

Though the scenary is different, the goal is the same. Kill all the monsters, of which there are only two. Pookas, the goggle wearing red balls who just bounce around like idiots. Then there are the Fygar dragons who can kill you either by touching you or breathing a row of fire in your direction. Oh, the amount of times I've gotten burned alive. Fun stuff. Just like the first game you can kill monsters by making them explode by pumping them full of air. But what's the fun in that when you can drill the land mass from underneath their feet and watch them drown in the ocean waters below! SUFFER YOU DAMN MONSTERS! SUFFER AND LET YOUR LUNGS FILL WITH SALTY GOODNESS!

The game angers me, sorry.

Of course, you can't drill anywhere. You can only use the jackhammer and drill away at designated markers on the map. The best method is to try to lump together as many monsters as possible in an area you know you can drill an entire segment off. That's where the puzzle and strategy elements come into play. Sure, you can be lazy too and just try to spam the inflation button and use that to kill everything but you'll quickly get outnumbered and swarmed by monsters, especially in tight areas of the map.

And don't forget, the more land masses you destroy, the more vegetables you get! Don't ask...that's what happens..carrots appear. I don't get it.

The game is all about racking up points. Monsters will eventually kill themselves if they find out they are outmatched, so try to kill them as quickly and en masse. Still, the game has an incredibly difficult progressive system. By level 5 you'll find yourself crying to your mommy. Or maybe that was just me.

DIG DUG II might not be the most visually appealing game, and it really seems to be ripped straight from the arcade, but that doesn't really matter. The level design is what truly makes the game memorable. You'll have to think, and think fast as to what fault lines you're going to drill in order to take out as many enemies as possible. 

The real kicker to this game? The music. Oh boy, this is some of most catchy tunes you can find on a NES game, and it really doesn't get much better. Prepare to bob your head.

Other than that, it's a simplistic game with a huge challenge factor. Not my cup of tea, but you know what, the game holds its ground in 1989 and continues to bring players to this day. Do yourself a favor and check out some of the record runs for this bad boy. It's insane what people can do with a jackhammer and a balloon pump!

Final Score (out of 5)

 Until Next Time, Keep On Gaming!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Nerdicus SNES Review #60: Chrono Trigger

Title : Chrono Trigger

Publisher : Squaresoft

Developer : Squaresoft

Genre : RPG

Players : 1

Release Date : 1995

Estimated Value (as of today's date ) : $100 - $120

CHRONO TRIGGER. Do I really have to say much more than the title of the game? If you weren't a fan of RPG's, this game turned you into one. Hell, if you never heard of SQUARESOFT, then your eyes were opened to something magical. And I'm not saying "magical" in an attempt to sound corny, but I truly and honestly mean it. There's been hundreds upon hundreds of reviews written about CHRONO TRIGGER. Do yourself a quick favor and just Google some of them. You won't even have to read them to understand what each and every person who has ever played this game has to say about it.

It is an epic masterpiece. It's a phrase I don't like to use often, because just randomly throwing around the word masterpiece is like using the term "love" loosely with some girl you just started dating. If I could put CHRONO TRIGGER into that sort of perspective, well, I would call this game my role-playing soul mate.

From my early teens until my 20's (not so much now, unfortunately), I was HUGELY obsessed with role-playing games, and primarily the ones released by SQUARESOFT. It started with Final Fantasy for the NES, but even that wasn't brilliant by any means. The story admittedly kind of boring, and the game really didn't have the character development that Square is known for. It was only when RPG's started coming out for the 16-bit systems (okay, you can say some for the 8-bit systems like the Dragon Quest series), that storylines and character development were really what the game was about. They were like reading novels, or watching movies, with a few battles in between. Final Fantasy 2 and 3 (4 and 6 in Japan) and basically reeled me in and turned me into an addict. CHRONO TRIGGER, however, sealed the deal. There was no turning back for me. This, was what RPG's were meant to be.

CHRONO TRIGGER was one of those games that you went into school the next day and couldn't wait to tell your nerdy friends what happened the night before.

"Guys, I JUST beat Magus's castle!"

"Holy crap, did you get your ass kicked by the Reptite leader too!?"

"I beat Lavos the first time I encountered in him in NEW GAME+!"

The list goes on and on...and I'll be sure to talk about those memorable moments as we get deeper into the review. However, I can't even call this a review. It's more of a retrospective of the impact this game had on me as a gamer in general. Do you want the score? Then jump to the end of this blog post. You know what it's going to be. Hell, if I can change the score system now I would give it a 100%, 10/10, A+, MUST PLAY rating. Why? Because if there was ever a RPG that came close to perfection, this is it.

Without further adieu, this is CHRONO TRIGGER.

Who can forget that familiar sound of the ticking clock in the opening screen? I don't know about you, but I would get chills just hearing it each time I started up the game. I never even pressed start to skip it, I'd always let it play through and settle down just so I can see the title and that epic music begin. Can you tell I'm obsessed yet? Yes, obsessed to the point where I have bought this game every single time it came out as a remake whether it was the PS1 version, the Gameboy version and hell even the IPAD version. Every time it comes out, I play it again. And what do I think about that?

CHRONO TRIGGER was developed what is now known as the Squaresoft "Dream Team" consisting of Hironobu Sakaguchi (creator of Final Fantasy), Yuji Hori (creator of Dragon Quest), and Akira Toriyama (the mastermind and creator behind Dragon Ball as well as artist behind Dragon Quest). With that sort of combination at the helm, it's almost impossible to think that this game wouldn't have been short of anything but spectacular. And it angers me to this day that they are NOT making more games like this! 

Don't get me started on how the last game we have seen in the CHRONO saga has only been CHRONO CROSS, which is a fantastic game in it's own right, but where are the rest!? Someone start a petition, dammit.

Now if you really want me to get into the story of this game, oh boy, I don't even know where to begin. While not complex is in it's own right, CHRONO TRIGGER has so many characters, side-stories, sub-plots, and twists that it would quite possibly take up the equivalent of three reviews just to explain what's going on. If you haven't played the game (and who the hell are you if you haven't!) I'll sum it up briefly:

You play as Crono (the mute...and that's the only thing I hate about this game), who finds himself on a quest to rid the universe of a vile creature known as LAVOS who landed from space millions of years ago on your planet and is ready to awaken to destroy the world. You travel through time with the most rag-tag team of allies including a cave woman, a princess, a frog, a robot, an evil wizard, and an inventor, each coming from their own specific time period. You'll have to jump back and forth, attempting to uncover the true story behind Lavos and those who seek to control it for their own demonic purposes. A traditional save the world, save the girl, be the hero RPG story line, but the way it is done is so incredibly unique that it feels like something completely different.

Like I said, the amount of twists this game throws at you keeps you guessing until the very last moment. And don't even worry about trying to figure out the ending, because while most of us will only get one of two basic endings there are a whopping 13 other one's that require the player to defeat Lavos at certain times and after certain events with certain characters. It's almost impossible to figure out on your own, so I really suggest using a guide if you want to get each one. As a teen, I spent probably over 300 hours of gameplay getting each one of them, and it was worth it. Well, I think so anyway. Thankfully, you have an advantage as you'll get to use a NEW GAME + functionality so your characters stay leveled up as what they were. I wouldn't have the patience to start at level 1 again.

Getting back to the gameplay, while CHRONO TRIGGER follows a traditional RPG format of leveling up your characters, acquiring new equipment, jumping from town to town and talking to people to discover new plot devices, the game changes things up a bit by introducing a new battle system that really wasn't done that often. Instead of having your characters jump into random encounters like other RPG's, you'll see the enemies on the screen interacting with the environment so you can either choose to avoid them or rush them head on. Of course, some enemies you are forced into battle with, but that's because it's scripted.

The battle menu will appear, and you'll get the traditional ATTACK / ITEM / SPELLS / RUN events like you'd find in every other RPG, as well as an ACTIVE TIME BATTLE system where the enemy will attack you while you are making decisions, and your speed is determined by a meter next to your character. But, here's where things get awesome. Depending on the party you are using (up to 3 characters), certain special skill attacks called TECHS can be used that incorporate one, two or all three of the characters. There are some truly epic attack sequences that your characters are capable of, and it's really up to you to decide who you feel most comfortable using as your primary party. For me, it was usually Crono, Frog, and Magus. Ha, loved having Magus team up with Frog...enemies forced to work together.

Time Travel is an integral part of the game, and in fact the game revolves completely around the fact that you will be forced to jump from era to era in attempt to solve the mystery behind Lavos. At first, you'll only be able to jump through time through scripted events since you have no other means of traveling. You'll find this in various "portal" devices that you discover when you first start the game. There's also an area called the END OF TIME where you can jump into beams of light that send you to different time periods, as well as change party members, and battle some bad ass demon who offers you bonuses if you can defeat him. Man, that guy always kicked my arse.

However, later on you'll encounter Melchior and the Guru's who have developed a time machine called the EPOCH. If you thought the DeLorean from Back to the Future was cool, just wait until you see this thing. You'll find yourself just jumping around and flying over the over world map in each area just to see what new mysteries you can uncover.

Besides the incredible story, the addicting gameplay, and the hours upon hours of exploration you can do in this game, there are two things that really bring this game to life and that is the exceptional artwork and character design of AKIRA TORIYAMA and the outstanding soundtrack YASUNORI MITSUDA.

Each time period is brilliantly designed and stands on it's own with perfection. Even though it is one world, the changes you experience when you jump from one era to another make it seem like you've stumbled upon something completely breathtaking. From the prehistoric era where dinosaurs rage across the landscape, to the end of the world where Lavos has already brought the planet to it's knees and ash rains down from the sky. The atmosphere is so perfect.

Character Design is something that needs not be addressed, as these are some of the most memorable characters in video game history. The primary cast to CHRONO TRIGGER is known by gamers everywhere, and who in their right mind didn't want to cosplay as Robo at one time another. Hell, I would have loved to be Magus with that enormous scythe at my disposal, but I didn't have the funds to create such an epic costume.

Moving on to the soundtrack, it's another time to use the phrase masterpiece. I bought the original from Kinokuniya book store back in the day, and I'm proud to say I still have it. Hell, there are still songs from Chrono Trigger sitting on my phone so I can happily listen to it whenever I want. Do yourself a favor, hop on YouTube and just play through it for the rest of the work day. You'll end up being whisked away into a world you never knew existed.

My words can't really express how much this game meant to me as a gamer over the years. It not only brings back memories of a more "innocent" time of my youth where I would stay up into the wee hours of the morning getting lost in tales of warriors and dragons, but it really makes me appreciate the creativity behind some of the geniuses of the industry. There's a reason why they called them the dream team.

CHRONO TRIGGER, without a doubt, will stand the test of time and continue to set the standards for an epic RPG masterpiece. But, there will also never be a game quite like it.

FINAL SCORE (out of 5) : 

Until Next Time, Keep On Gaming!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Nerdicus NES Review #175 : Die Hard

Title : Die Hard

Publisher : Activision

Developer : Pack-In Video

Genre : Side-Scrolling, Top-Down

Players : 1 Player

Release Date : 1991

Estimated Value (as of today's date) : $60 - $75

All right, I know I promised some Chrono Trigger love, and trust me it's coming (the review is one of my longer ones because I can't get enough the of the game). Also, be sure to check out my YOUTUBE channel, as I have been going back and doing some LETS PLAYS of every....single...NES game.....yup...that's going to take awhile too. So be sure to like, comment, subscribe and all that good stuff. Figured it would be a good addition to the blog. Eh? How bout it! Anyway, back to the games. This past weekend I got a chance to play something I never played when I was a kid based on one of the greatest action flicks of all time starring the kick-ass Bruce Willis, and of course Alan Rickman (screw Professor Snape, this is his best role!). I'm of course, talking about DIE HARD.

Here's a question up for debate. Is Die Hard considered a Holiday flick? I mean, seriously, just because it takes place during Christmas, can we really call it a holiday film? I really feel like it's a tad bit borderline. It's like calling Edward Scissorhands a holiday flick, or Batman Returns a Christmas movie. Just because a film takes place during the holiday, doesn't mean it's a holiday film! Seriously though, debate and discuss...curious to hear what you all think. I think films need to be broken up into two generalized areas then for holidays. STRICTLY holiday films (where the focal point is ALL about the holidays), then the semi-holiday film. Can you guys think of other films that are "technically" holiday films...but not really?

Back to DIE HARD. This game was actually released under a few systems including a DOS game back in '89 as well as a Commodore version in 1990. Wish I could tell you what those other two games were like, but I really have no clue. I'm so out of touch with DOS games besides a few, and commodore I'm basically clueless. Still, even being released in 1991, that's a few years too late considering the movie was released in '89. That probably explains why the game is a bit pricey. Limited release to go along with poor sales.

I just had my fingers crossed that Carl Winslow from Family Matters makes a guest appearance in this game.

They must have grabbed that scene straight from the movie! Check that out! You can't get a better title screen than that. Helicopters, burning buildings, and the title DIE HARD. Ooooh, I've got goosebumps. The game plays out much like the movie. You're John Maclaine, and you have to stop terrorists from killing hostages along with your wife, and making out like bandits by stealing a whole boat load of cash. Curse you Alan Rickman and your devious ways! And of course, the game takes place in the notorious Nakatomi Plaza in LA. No, Nakatomi Plaza isn't real. Real building, fake name.

You can choose from BEGINNER or ADVANCED difficulty, but trust me game is hard enough as it is. Move on to ADVANCED when you actually beat the game once and you want to do a time trial or something. Otherwise you're just going to get frustrated.

What makes the game so hard? Well, a few things. First of all, the game is basically timed. Hans Gruber's hacker, Theo, is busy unlocking the safe and after approximately every 4 minutes, one of the locks is undone. There are a total of 6 locks, so when you think about it that way you only have 24 minutes (actually less) to clear the building of terrorists. So? Why not just rush up to the 30th floor where Gruber is and just take them out? YOU CANT! DIDN'T YOU WATCH THE MOVIE!?

McClane needs to basically work his way through each floor, killing as many terrorists as possible to make the final fight against Gruber a bit easier. I don't think you want to face off against all 40 terrorists and let Gruber escape now, do you? There are a different number of terrorists on each floor, so you'll spend a lot of time taking elevators up and down, crawling through vents, and basically trying to kill as many people as possible before the last lock is undone.

You can slow the process down by destroying a main computer grid on one of the floors, or you can just listen in on Gruber over the walkies to figure out where terrorists are being sent to so you can head them off and take them by surprise. You'll only be able to take advantage of this for the first few locks, so use it while you can.

Of course, McClane will have access to a large arsenal of weapons, however you start off with only a pistol. No worries though, you can take weapons from fallen terrorists including sub machine guns, tear gas, grenades, etc. Guns take a tad bit of getting used to though. They have a limited range, and angle of shooting so you really need to know how to shoot effectively to clear out terrorists without wasting too many bullets. It's not like you have an unlimited amount.

Be prepared for McClane to take a beating too. You'll definitely get shot at, but you can recover by collecting soda cans and snacks from vending machines. And be careful, because each time you're shot you end up dropping some items you picked up. But here's the real kicker. JUST like the movie, if you step on glass, you'll injure your feet and you'll end up moving slower. How AWESOME is that!?

I kid you not when I say this is one of the greatest movie based games for the NES, and it's a damn shame it came out so late because it really is unappreciated. As you can see in the screenshot above, my wish came true and Carl is in the game, as well as every other character from the film. It really does follow the plot quite well, and the cinematic sequences do an amazing job of moving the story forward. I love it when Gruber appears and starts shouting orders, causing me to panic and race to another floor. Hell, even watching the helicopter explode over Nakatomi plaza was exciting, and this is an 8-bit game we're talking about!

The top down perspective works incredibly well, and the level design is varied enough for each floor of Nakatomi plaza to keep you guessing as to where terrorrists are hiding and where you can collect power ups or first aid. You don't want broken glass in your foot forever.

The music is also incredible, and I love it when it changes as soon as you find yourself in a gun fight with some baddies. The sound of spraying bullets and broken glass are like music to my ear!

I really think the only problem I had with this game was the difficulty. It's one of the harder games out there, but it's also a challenge that many people seem to take head on. I've watched a great deal of videos on this game, and some of the better ones are the SPEED RUNS of people absolutely obsessed with this game taking it down in record time. It's incredible. Helped give me a lot of pointers on how to survive the onslaught of terrorists in this game.

Other than that, if you want to experience DIE HARD the way it was meant to in video game form, look no further. Yippe Kai Yay mother fu....sorry, family friendly blog.

Final Score (out of 5):

Until Next Time, Keep On Gaming!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Nerdicus NES Review #174: Dick Tracy

Title : Dick Tracy

Publisher : Bandai

Developer : Realtime Associates

Genre : Action

Players : 1 Player

Release Date : 1990

Estimated Value (as of today's date) : $4 - $6

You know, I was going to end this week with CHRONO TRIGGER for the Super Nintendo, but I figured why not torture myself with one of the worst games on the NES instead. Good choice, right? Go from one of the best games of the 16-bit era, to one of the worst for the 8-bit. But, I really wanted to save Chrono and his pals for the start of next week, because that review is going to be huge. You can thank my obsession with that game as being one of, if not, my absolute favorite. Ha, kidding, you all know that's Earthbound.

Buy me Earthbound....please..ahem.

So here are. Dick Tracy, starring Warren Beatty, Kim Bassinger, Al Pacino, Madonna, Dustin Hoffman..other people. You know, the movie. The movie was actually pretty damn good. Actually, it's only good if you were into that campy, comic book humor that the movie was going for. I think I was really just a sucker for the awesome costumes and make up of all the villains. Mumbles and Flattop freaked the hell out of me as a kid. But we're not watching the movie. We're playing the game. And I really didn't want to.

Last week, I actually started filming myself playing some video games on twitch, and my good 'ol friend Erica Jones (follow her on twitter, she's absolutely awesome - @EREMGEE and over at Erica Jones youtube channel ) happened to suggest "Oh, Tom. Why don't you play DICK TRACY". I already knew what I was getting into, but I can't refuse a request from a fan. So I did it...and I cried....and cried...and cried...and then cheated...because I couldn't stand the damn game anymore. There is no joke here. Dick Tracy can only be summed up by one word, and that's awful. Why? Well, keep reading....and don't suffer like I did.

DICK TRACY starts off normal enough. A clever little title screen, a great opening intro with some decent cutscene animations, and then the game jumps right into the police chief giving you your first case. Well, after that it all goes down hill. You start off in your office, reviewing your notes for the case you just received. Notes that don't really do much besides tell you where you have to go. So you grab your things, head outside and jump in your police car. Welcome to hell.

Driving the car in DICK TRACY is almost as bad as landing the plane in Top Gun (shout out to the AVGN). First of all, it's almost impossible to just turn the damn corner. The car has to be positioned in the appropriate lane to make the turn. So if you're on the left side of the road, and want to make a right, well you can't you have to spin your car around to get into the right side then you can make a right. You'll basically just find yourself spinning the car in circles just to get where you want to go. I found myself screaming 3 POINT TURN at the screen, but it didn't work.

You'll need to drive a hell of a lot in this game too. You're either driving from point A to point B to move on with your case, or you're involved in some sort of "high speed" pursuit. Ha, high speed. Yeah...but have fun with that anyway. You're more than likely to just end up dying by being shot at by one of the eight thousand snipers perched around the city with a single goal of killing you. I found myself dying in the first mission just because of snipers. You share one health for you and you car...GREAT. BULLSHIT.

If by some miracle you manage to survive the car ride to your next location, the game switches to a side scrolling action adventure platformer styled game where you'll be forced to beat the crap out of muggers, or just shoot them from afar. Now, I don't know if I encountered some sort of bug...but some enemies I shot...and I automatically died. Were they civilians? How could they be, they were trying to punch me! Can someone PLEASE explain to me what the hell that was about?

In the platforming segments, you'll have to find clues that you can only collect by punching them. Yup, that makes sense. While you gather clues, you'll also have to interrogate or arrest people that are typically at the end or near the end of the stage. Afterward, you'll be sent back outside to get to the next location. Rinse, and repeat this same process over and over and over again until you can finally arrest someone and close the case. Seriously, I challenge anyone to try this game and not die at least a dozen times on the first case. I know I did, but then again, I truly do suck at retro games.

The game just plays poorly in every way imaginable. Sure you can collect weapons and power ups, but they don't help the fact that you rarely if ever get health boosts, and you'll constantly find yourself on the verge of death. And screw continuing, because you end up getting shafted anyway and forced to start over completely if you didn't get the passwords from beating a case.

Maybe this game annoyed me because of the absurd difficulty level. Or maybe it was because of the fact that the gameplay mechanics made no sense, and were just designed in a way that forces your frustration level through the roof. Perhaps a combination of all of the above, and it's a damn shame too because the game actually looks somewhat decent. I loved the city design, and some of the platforming levels are pretty entertaining looking but nothing mind-blowing.

The music just gets irritating after awhile because it runs on an endless damn loop and blares in your ear. What I did find hilarious though and probably the only thing I actually enjoyed about the game was a power up that lets you punch an enemy which sends them spiraling out of control across the screen, knocking over other baddies in a pretty comical fashion.

Yup, that's the only thing I liked.

Trust me on this one guys and gals. This is one game you don't want to suffer through, and I for one am certainly not looking forward to the LETS SUCK video I have to record of this a few months from now. No one deserves to suffer through one.

Final Score (out of 5) :

Until Next Time, Keep On Gaming!