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NES game reviews

NES game reviews

Breakthru - 82%
Release Date: June 1st, 1987
Review Date: April 10th, 2007
Developer: Data East
Publisher: Data East
Platform(s): NES
Completed: Yes

Breakthru game review

The top secret fighter jet codenamed PK430 (that's the best name they could come up with I guess) has been stolen by a shady organization, and it’s your mission to retrieve it. This side-scrolling vehicular-based game is actually pretty fun, as it's fairly unique and offers players a quick fix (it can be completed in less than 10 minutes, from start to finish).

You pilot a mechanized vehicle—half tank, half truck—as you penetrate enemy bases in locales such as a rocky mountain, a dilapidated bridge, a prairie, a downtown area, and an airport (again, super original). Straightforward gameplay consists of shooting and jumping—the latter of which I found to be infinitely more useful in a jam. The developers put in place a nice balance between speed and jumping distance, a miniature risk-reward relationship.

Periodically, a temporary three-way cannon is parachuted in (if you can catch it) to help you destroy the troops, tanks, armored vehicles, turrets, and rocks impeding your path to victory. Unlimited continues provides frustration-free gaming. The ending sequence is one of my favorites within the NES library, mainly because I like the graphics (and obviously saving PK430 is awesome in it's own right).

Bottom-line: This game flew under the radar when it was released, but I found it to be of the perfect difficulty and length for quick gaming fixes. The side-scrolling vehicular genre isn’t a crowded one, and Breakthru stands stands out as one of the best of the bunch.

Rolling Thunder - 79%
Release Date: March 17th, 1988
Review Date: September 29th, 2007
Developer: Namco
Publisher: Namco
Platform(s): NES
Completed: No

Rolling thunder game review

Rolling Thunder is a slightly stripped-down version of the original Arcade smash hit. Playing as super spy “Albatross,” you must attempt to save your female counterpart held by an evil organization nicknamed Geldra (yes, very intimidating) in New York. Each of the levels takes you through a different part of the city, including Brooklyn, Manhattan, Harlem and Queens, and the Bronx.

The graphics are sharp for the NES, but nothing groundbreaking. Most levels are either crate-filled warehouses or generic caves, so there isn’t much room to shine. The most common enemy you confront is called a “Masker,” who bears a striking resemblance to a member of the KKK. You’ll also face gigantic bats (we're talking six-foot wingspans) and fiery lava men—both of which are everywhere if you’ve ever been to NYC. Two incidental contacts, or one bullet, means Albatross is in a pine box.

You start the game with a pistol, and can upgrade to a machine gun as you progress. If you happen to run out of bullets, you can fire one ultra-slow traveling bullet to help pave the way. Finding ammunition is not rocket science—just look for the doors marked “BULLETS.” The death sequence is very dramatic, as your player sways back and forth before falling to the ground.

One cool feature is the ability to enter doors to either hide, or plan an attack. Incidentally, you can super jump too, whereby your character looks up and then bounces to reach higher platforms. I sure wish you could
shoot while jumping, though. Once you burn through three continues, the final boss appears on the screen and begins laughing at you, that bastard.

Bottom-line: While Rolling Thunder doesn’t bring any new gameplay mechanics or level design originality to the genre, it is a stylish platform-based spy game that does have its moments. If you’re looking for a challenge, and don’t mind the inability to shoot while jumping (argh!), you might end up liking this adventure in Gotham.