Saturday, December 17, 2011

Game Update 18: 3DS NES Ambassador Games

With the recent release of the Game Boy Advance "Ambassador" games for early adopters of the Nintendo 3DS (which seem pretty cool so far), I realized I never wrote anything about the NES games that were released in the same way a few months ago. There's a pretty good reason for this: four of the games are interesting and probably worth playing through, and the other six are basically garbage and I'll be glad to never look at them again. These are those six games.

Balloon Fight

Essentially a rip-off of Joust, Balloon Fight is a game where you try to pop the balloons tied to enemies on screen while protecting your own balloons from the same fate. Repeatedly tapping the button causes you to rise, and neglecting to do so causes you to fall. Don't ask me how these mechanics are actually supposed to translate to a real world situation involving a man fighting birds attached to balloons. If you are above an opponent when you collide with them, congratulations, you win that confrontation. There's also a mode where you try to float through an obstacle course for as long as you can. Not a bad idea, but the controls are terrible and it's no fun to play.

Donkey Kong Jr.

A sequel to the original Donkey Kong, and probably the only game where Mario is the antagonist. You have to get through a series of levels, trying to reach the top and rescue your father before moving to the next one. The gameplay is pretty familiar, although there's a lot of gripping onto and climbing of vines. Donkey Kong Jr climbs vines slower than any other ape who's ever lived. Not a bad idea, but the controls are terrible and it's no fun to play.

Ice Climber

Although you play as both climbers when they appear in the the Super Smash Bros. series, you only get one in this game's single player mode (none of the Ambassador games actually have multiplayer implemented yet despite the options appearing in the main menu, though Nintendo has said they'll add it in). Your goal is to climb a series of mountains, which are really just vertical platforming levels with bonus areas at the top of them. The way up is often blocked, but you can smash your way through with your hammer. Not a bad idea, but the controls are terrible and it's no fun to play.

NES Open Tournament Golf

A golf game with a few different courses, I'm not sure if it set the standard for pretty much all golf games that would follow but the archetype you're used to is here. You choose the direction to swing in, the speed of your swing, where you hit the ball, and what club to use. It has a swing meter where you press a button to start the swing, press it again to set the power, and press it again to set the accuracy. Unfortunately it's not a very easy to use swing meter. Not a bad idea, but the controls are terrible and it's no fun to play.

Wrecking Crew

A game where Mario is a demolition expert rather than a plumber. Your goal is to smash all of the walls in the level without getting killed by strange alien creatures you don't seem to be able to defend yourself against. There's also a few different types of objects that there's no clear way to interact with. You can't jump, but the levels do wrap around, giving me the impression that they all take place inside silos. Not a bad idea, but the controls are terrible and it's no fun to play.


Yoshi actually isn't that bad, it just doesn't have the addicting quality that all great classic puzzle games are supposed to have. It's a pretty simple set-up, though still maybe a bit more complex than it has to be. Much like Tetris, a variety of objects fall from the sky in pairs, and you have to rotate columns to try to stack like objects and make them disappear. Also two of the objects are the bottom and top halves of an egg shell, and if you manage to get the latter to appear above the former in a column, then they and any other objects between them also disappear. The speed increases over time, and eventually there's too much crap and there's no where to put it and you lose. I actually played quite a bit of a complete rip-off of this game on my scientific calculator in high school. It was just a way to pass the time in study hall though, and I can't say the real thing is any better.

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