SNES games

[Review] The Hurricanes (SNES) – It’s Fun… and Maybe I’m Broken

This Fall when I was laid up in bed with a bad back, I had the opportunity to try out a bunch of SNES games on an emulator. One of them happened to be a real gem that I had never heard of; even my gamer husband hadn’t heard of it…The Hurricanes. It was different, that’s for sure. And in playing it, I discovered after repeated attempts that I could not manage to get past the first chapter. I will explain how in a bit.

From what I can gather, The Hurricanes is a soccer / football team that is given the challenge of competing in obstacle courses of sorts – where they have to control their soccer ball while jumping, dodging insects and monkeys and other players who attempt to steal your ball. For example, the first chapter has you play on Hispanola Island; a rocky, dusty, arid island that has you trek around scorpions, cacti, and the occasional opposing player; all the while, you try not to deflate your ball or get yourself killed. As you go through the challenge, you can earn trophies and medals that you gain by kicking your ball at them as they appear on-screen. As you move through the game, the scene changes and you are met with a whole new set of challenges. The game is an arcade style side-scroller, and the gameplay is short (five short chapters). Plotwise, there is probably some subplot surrounding the Hurricanes’ manager that I never got into, because, well, I kept dying…

The game is fun, what I played of it. I ran into trouble at one part near the end of the first chapter. My character basically needed to leap over to the other side of a wide gap, but the TV screen wouldn’t let me see the other side. Essentially, I was taking a “leap of faith”, much making the jump, not knowing if I would land on the other side, and…wouldn’t! I’d do a Peter Pan into the abyss, and that was it – game over. Now I know the game isn’t broken, because I have seen plenty of YouTube videos that show that you do reach the other side of the jump. So, I guess I am broken…

One puzzling thing: the cover of the game has a female soccer player prominently on the front of the game. and unfortunately from what I can gather, the girl you see on the team seems to exist only on the title screen, as you are only able to play one of two dudes – Cal or Napper. Initially, I thought I was playing a female who looked like a guy with a ponytail. Further investigation reveals that the girl is a dude after all. Okay, then…

Anyway, I realize this game is hard to find and really obscure, but if you happen to find it somewhere, it’s fun!

The Hurricanes (SNES)
Publisher: Nintendo
Released: 1994

[Review] Ardy Lightfoot (SNES) – Warm, Fuzzy, Familiar

Last month, I was encouraged by some of my readers to play some SNES games. I went in without any expectations, scrolling through the list of games on the Wii emulator, and came upon an interesting name to a game: Ardy Lightfoot.

Ardy is some type of fox (I think?)…well, he has a bushy tail and ears like a fox…Let’s say he’s a fox. He has a trusty side-kick; a blue penguin named Pec. The story goes that a very important rainbow shattered into seven pieces, and Ardy Lightfoot needs to locate all of them. If he collects them all he is granted a wish. Ardy’s arch nemesis, Visconti, already has one rainbow piece and is looking for more, so Ardy has to act fast.

Ardy Lightfoot is the ubiquitous SNES platformer game, if ever there was one. The mechanics to Ardy Lightfoot are very much like a Mario game, especially some scenes where Ardy travels down a mine shaft and pushes stones out of the way. He can also throw his sidekick at people or at objects to eat them or remove them, like Yoshi can do for Mario. It’s hard not to draw comparisons to Mario – the backdrop, how the characters move, how Ardy jumps on his tail to reach higher ground – is very much what Mario does in his games. Even boss fights where you attack by jumping on the opponent’s head to weaken them is like Mario.

Overall, I enjoyed Ardy Lightfoot’s familiarity and easy controls. Playing this game feels like stepping into a warm relaxing bath that is fast-paced, action-packed, and fun! Not unique, not different: just familiar.

Calgon, take me away…!

Ardy Lightfoot (SNES)
Developer: ASCII / Titus
Released: 1994

[Review] Disney’s Lion King (SNES) – They Can’t All be Winners

Riding on the heels of my last post about Disney’s Aladdin game for the SNES, comes another Disney game – Lion King. Now, I wasn’t as big a fan of Lion King as the other three greats from the 90s (Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin). I mean, it was fine – had some good tunes, and not so bad plot. It just wasn’t really my favourite. So, maybe it’s with this attitude going in that marred my feelings about the Lion King game.

In the Lion King game you lead Simba, the main lion cub from the movie, through the jungle, jumping from one ledge to another, flipping and falling on enemies to kill them. Some would say this is fun. It bored me, frankly, after the first level.

The first cut scene of the game is similar to the Lion King movie and looked great. But, looks and gameplay are not always created equal. I couldn’t help but compare this game with another SNES title I am very much familiar with, released just a few weeks before Lion King in 1994…Donkey Kong Country. The similarities are such that even the sound effects of Simba falling onto a porcupine type thorny-backed animal WERE THE SAME as the sound effect used in DK Country when Kong flips onto a thorny animal. Did DK’s developers Rare and Virgin Interactive share a nice meal before the release of their games and decide to also share sound effects companies??

To that end, if I am playing a bad DK Country clone, I’d rather just play the real DK, thankyouverramuch!

I didn’t get past the second part of Lion King before giving up the ghost. Apparently, others have the same issue with the game. So the game, geared for kids (and I say that because of the Disney aspect), is a bore to play in the beginning, and then ramps up the difficulty level going into the second part. Why? I also can’t ignore the fact this game is only single player, so no one can share in the suckiness. What kid wants that misery?

I can’t say I recommend the Lion King game when DK Country for the SNES is SO MUCH BETTER!

Disney’s the Lion King
Publisher: Virgin Interactive
Released: December 1994

[Review] Disney’s Aladdin (SNES) – Leaps and Bounds Awesome

I am not the biggest Disney fan. But, the truth is, Disney has released some pretty awesome movies. Aladdin is one of my favourites, behind The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast. So, when I saw there was an Aladdin game on the SNES, I had to see what Capcom made out of it.

Verdict? Seriously, this game is a whole lot of fun. I can see how kids would gravitate towards it, and it doesn’t hurt it’s got “Disney” written on the box.

Scratch that – anyone who enjoys games, INCLUDING kids would get a kick out of Aladdin. For those against the evil corp that is DISNEY, ignore that it comes from “Dis-may”, put in the cartridge and play the game: You are missing something fun!

Aladdin the game follows a similar plot to the movie, where Aladdin plays a pauper thief. You lead Aladdin through this platformer as he jumps, flips around and throws things at sword- and bow-and-arrow- wielding enemies to be able to pass through a level. Aladdin gains energy by collecting tasty snacks along the way, like baked chickens and bread. You are also able to collect diamonds through levels that unlock bonus games at the end of a level. Of course, no Aladdin movie-based game is complete without some familiar characters from the movie, including Jafar, Aladdin’s nemesis, and his love interest, Jasmine.

The game is enjoyable, no doubt. But, playing Aladdin, I couldn’t help but draw comparisons to another well-known platformer….

…especially leaping over barrels. If we turn to compare Aladdin to Donkey Kong even, I can’t help but point out he has his own Diddy Kong in that little pet monkey he keeps.

But the similarities are likely what makes Aladdin endearing too, and adds to its replay value. I’ve never played this game before, and I really liked it, even while very familiar with the Mario and Donkey Kong franchise.

Overall, I would recommend Aladdin. I might even find myself playing it again from time to time.

Developer: Capcom / Publisher: Nintendo
Released: 1998

[Review] Pilotwings (SNES) – Air Canada Won’t Be Hiring Me Any Time Soon

One of my earliest memories of travelling on a plane was when I was almost 6. My family and I took a trip to Florida to go to Walt Disney World. That was a special moment for me, especially since the airline had effed up the seating arrangements and forced me to sit away from my family, next to strangers. So to prevent my Mom from losing it on Air Canada, I got the royal treatment on the plane; I got to go into the cockpit and meet the pilots where they gave me a wings pin, and some Wonder Woman playing cards (FTW!).

Airplanes are amazing. I’ve always been curious as to how people pilot these large tin cans, especially since I don’t feel comfortable driving something the size of a cube-van, let alone a plane. So, when I saw there was an actual flight-simulator type game for the SNES called Pilotwings, I thought it would be a fun (safe?) way to try my hand at flying a virtual plane.

Pilotwings begins on your first day of flight class, where you meet Tony, your instructor. The whole point of the game is to get certified to fly a plane, and the game also allows you to learn to skydive. The first lesson in flying a plane is to learn to land, but, the game gives you no real instructions immediately on the plane’s controls. Going into the menu after dying a few times, you discover that what you thought would move your plane up, actually runs it into the ground (hee hee oops!). You are given the view of the runway, and a series of green dots that you are to follow and hit *just so* to land your plane properly (and not get yourself killed). With each green target you hit, you get points that go towards your certification. I was never successful in landing the plane, and Tony was getting pissed at me.

Skydiving, another thing you can do in this game, was an interesting activity. Essentially, you jump out of a plane hooked up to a parachute. The game gives you the same green targets to hit, and you try to land your butt right in the field it tells you. But, I was not able to hit the targets at all, and even if I could land properly, I could not advance until I got enough points to be certified.

Playing Pilotwings made me realize I’m not fit to fly – nor fit to flop out of – a plane. But, don’t take my experience as any indication not to try this game out; it has some fun aspects to it, and even though I didn’t manage to land my plane, it is not a bad game at all. It’s a rudimentary flight-simulator, but could be fun once you get the controls down pat.

Publisher: Nintendo
Released: 1991