NES Capsule Reviews

by Kiera Lordens

Written 8/7/99


Abadox: The Deadly Inner War

This is a space shooter that is kind of a rip-off of the Konami Game, Life Force. However, I think this game is done better than Life Force in many ways. I would prefer this review to not be a comparison, though. I'll just review Abadox as-is. This game should appeal to anyone who likes space shooters. It is really, really good, but it is also extrememly challenging (unless you use the invincibility cheat.) The graphics are really great, and so is the music. You pilot a man in some sort of jet-propelled spacesuit as he battles inside an alien creature. The graphics really convey the atmosphere well. For example, you enter the mouth of the beast in the first level, and you come across giant teeth and a BIG tongue! It is unique fron any other shooter I've seen, in that some areas scroll downward, instead of up, like in Lifeforce or Dragon Spirit.

The only thing ludicrous about this game is the idea behind the ultimate goal: Believe it or not, Milton Bradley (the game's publisher) managed to turn the saga of one man against a planet-eating beast, into a "save the princess" story. But that shouldn't ruin the game completely for you. Be warned that it is hard, but I recommend it to space shooter fans.

Overall score: 8.0


Arkista's Ring

I once said this was one of the worst games I've ever played. Having played it again, I found out I liked it more than I originally thought. It LOOKS like an RPG, but it isn't. The basic idea is to kill all the enemies on the screen, so that a key to the next level appears. There is some minor, and I do stress MINOR, puzzle-solving, but most of the challenge comes from increasingly difficult enemies, and more enemies appearing on a given screen. Basically, you play as an Elf Heroine who is trying to save her kingdom, but story elements are completely absent.

The downside of this game is its graphics and lack of depth. The graphics look like Dragon Warrior, but Arkista's Ring lacks cool battle or cinema scenes to make up for that. The game is mildly amusing, but it won't interest most hardcore players.

Overall score: 6.5



This game is like a cross between Ninja Gaiden/Castlevania/and Anime. Unfortunately, it lacks any of the splendour of those things. The story is told in beautiful, anime-style cinema scenes, but the story is another "save the princess" thing. There is a neat surprise twist at the end, but the rest of the story is a little bland. You play as Astyanax, a high-school teenager who has been zapped away to a mysterious world to save Princess Rosebud. He was chosen because he supposedly has great inner powers, even though they aren't very apparent in this game.

The gameplay of Astyanax is choppy. The graphics and music are really good, but the hero is so big it's almost impossible to avoid getting hit. I sort of felt like I was just trudging through the levels, without really doing much more than bashing enemies with my axe. Anime fans may like this game just for the cinema scenes, but it's too bad the rest of the game wasn't done as well.

Overall score: 5.0



When I first played this game, I thought it was really horrible. Then I heard people tell me it's not all that bad. I played it again, and found out I was wrong. It's not horrible....It's just plain despicable!! This is one of the worst excuses of a game I've ever played! The graphics are ugly, the music sounds like it's coming from some kind of broken wind-up box, and the play control sucks big time. You play as Athena, the Goddess of Wisdom, but not much wisdom went into the creation of this game. This game doesn't even deserve to be in the same Game Cartridge Storage Case as my others!

Overall Score: 0.5

(In case you're wondering, I give it at least a .5 for being the only I know of that has an enemy that looks like Cookie Monster!)


Batman: The Video Game

This is another game that uses neat cinema scenes to tell the story. The game was based on the Batman movie with Jack Nicholson and Michael Keaton. The Cinema Scenes, as well as the graphics of the game itself, are all done very well. The animation is quite fluid. This game is very challenging, too. The music is some of the best I've ever heard on the NES.

The only problem I have with this game is a slight delay between the time you press the jump button, and when Batman actually jumps. Other than that, you couldn't wish for a more perfect action-sidescroller title. Batman has use of three special weapons in addition to his normal punch attack. He also has a really cool, and easy-to-perform, wall-spring jump. I highly recommend this title, but be warned that it is challenging, and there's no save feature. (The only thing it needed was a batmobile driving stage!)

Overall Score: 8.5



What can I say that hasn't already been said about this game? This is one of Rare's true masterpieces! The Battletoads are a spoof of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Once again, you set out on a "save the princess" mission, but don't let that minor flaw stop you from trying this game! The levels are the most varied of any NES game I've ever seen, and the graphics are possibly the best of any NES game. The music is good, too. Battletoads has a fun two-player mode, where both players play simulataneously, but you have to be careful not to "accidentally" beat up your opponent. Each level of Battletoads presents an entirely new challenge. It's almost as though you have to "relearn" each time you start a new level, because they're all so different. The play control, in some areas, can be a little touchy, but overall, it is very good. (You just need to get used the extreme jumping capabilities of your toad.)

The only downside (other than the lame plot), is that the game is incredibly challenging with no save features. I still highly recommend this title, though. The characters have a lot of personality, and I think the Battletoads franchise is one that shouldn't have been abandoned.

Overall score: 9.0


Blaster Master

From a pure gameplay standpoint, this game is another masterpiece. It's just too bad they didn't give it a plot worthy of it. You play as Jason, a boy trying to rescue his frog from mutated, underground warlords, with the help of a heavily-armed, spring-loaded tank. Plot flaws aside, this game is a true classic. You drive around in the tank in VERY large areas, shooting enemies for power-ups. But you can also jump out of the tank and play as Jason. As Jason, you can enter doorways to to other areas that contain power-ups, and the bosses. The "tank" areas are sidescrolling, while the interior areas have an overhead view. You have some freedom to explore the world, though you could end up getting lost. The graphics are really good. The bosses, in particular, are quite impressive. The music is some of the best I've ever heard on the NES, or any system.

Once again, the downside of this game is not only a ludicrous story, but that it is incredibly long and challenging, with no save feature. If you have time to sit and play through it (and alot of patience) I still highly recommend it!

Overall Score: 9.0

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