My SNES Comeback

SNESArt

Today marks 12 years since I got back into the Super Nintendo. January 17, 2006. Who would have guessed that I would still be going strong with the SNES a dozen years later? It either speaks to my insanity or to the clout of the SNES. Hopefully the latter but the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle. I can’t help but grow nostalgic around this time of the year as it brings back to mind some truly great memories. This is the story of how I began my SNES renaissance. It’s a look back at that fateful first month of January 2006 and all the different crazy stories that came along with it. So kick back and join me on this jaunt down memory lane. This is my story. This is… my SNES comeback.

IN THE BEGINNING…

There was nothing like playing SNES with your buds
There was nothing like playing SNES with your buds

My brother and I had a Super Nintendo from early 1992 to 1998 or so. We owned about 20 games over that time and we loved it. It took everything awesome about the 8-bit NES and injected it with steroids. There were so many great memories forged, from renting SNES games to midnight sessions with your friends on Saturday nights to the simple joy of eagerly anticipating the next arcade translation. It was a great time to be a kid growing up.

Always fun anticipating the next arcade to home port
Always fun anticipating the next arcade to home port

But as it is with these things in life, my bro and I eventually moved on. The system was donated to our cousin, David, in the late ’90s. My brother moved onto the PlayStation and aside from a few select titles, I really didn’t care a whole lot for Sony’s new machine. I was a disenchanted teenage gamer secretly longing for the glory days of 8 and 16-bit.

Damn right I did
Damn right I did

In 1999 I found myself venturing onto planet Sega Saturn. As detailed in my Sega Saturn Saga, I acquired 350 Saturn games from 2001 to 2005. Speaking of 2005…

Cue the flashback montage!
Cue the flashback montage!

JANUARY 15, 2005

MarioJanuary

On this day I found myself at the local Game Crazy by my childhood home. Some guy was playing Super Mario World on the SNES and I stood there watching him play. I still vividly remember he was right at this spot in the picture above. And I stood there thinking to myself, “Should I buy a Super Nintendo?”

Later that night I made a post on a video game forum asking for opinions.

DPSteveSNES

I ended up not buying it. So I carried on sans SNES and concentrated on finishing my Sega Saturn collection in 2005. Then a funny thing happened. My Saturn passion, which at one point seemed endless, gradually faded. In late 2005 I found myself playing it less and less but even more telling, my heart was no longer in it. The burnout was real.

CHILDHOOD DREAMS REALIZED

SteveAct

As a young child growing up in the late ’80s to mid ’90s, I was fascinated by sitcoms such as Full House, Home Improvement and The Wonder Years. I found the art and magic of acting to be really intriguing. In fact, one of my dreams was to one day be in a movie.

FALL 2005

September 2005 I made my on stage acting debut
September 2005 I made my on stage acting debut

That fateful semester in college I saw a dream of mine come true when I was cast in my very first University play. It was the thrill of my collegiate career. Those late night rehearsals, dressing room ribbing and performances will live on forever in my soul. It was everything I expected and more. The cast got along like we had known each other our whole lives. We went out clubbing, grabbed dinner after shows, and even had a sleepover party. I’ll never forget the rush coursing through my veins when I finally made my acting debut on the big stage. I burst out of the curtain with a vengeance and knocked my opening monologue out of the park. I never felt more alive during my college years than those three weeks in late 2005. I’ll always look back on those days with a real deep fondness.

I drove all over town like a mad man just to audition
I drove all over town like a mad man just to audition

Riding the huge wave of momentum following my performance in the play, along with a renewed sense of self-confidence, I drove three hours to audition for an independent movie in December of 2005. It was a childhood dream of mine to one day be in the movies.

My independent movie debut!
My independent movie debut!

Long story short, I was cast two days following my audition. I remember that time well. It was an exciting time that felt like anything could happen. I only had a few speaking lines but I was thrilled for the opportunity. I was only 22 at the time and not many of my peers could claim IMDB.com credit like I could. It made for a great icebreaker!

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One of my favorite things about college were those fat six week winter breaks. I’ve always joked that there’s something about those long lazy winter weeks that does things to a man. During this time my cousins came over a lot and we found ourselves playing a shit ton of 10-player Saturn Bomberman. It was a blast, pardon the pun. Prior to these sessions though, my Saturn laid dormant for a few months thanks to my crazy rehearsal schedule for the play, my independent movie role and also, like I said earlier, I could feel my Saturn passion waning. But all those epic Saturn Bomberman sessions definitely got me in the mood to dig back into my Saturn library.

Wait, is that it?!
Wait, is that it?!

After my cousins left one night in late December, I had the strongest urge to play a platformer. I looked at my Saturn collection and saw some potential choices: Tryrush Deppy, Keio Yugekitai, Steamgear Mash and Willy Wombat just to name four. Yet none of them met my need for a pure old school traditional hop ‘n bop. I suddenly realized precisely at that moment what I had secretly been yearning for. And right on cue, that’s when an old friend from the past came roaring back to mind…

Now that's more like it!
Now that’s more like it!

JANUARY 2006

"FIRE!"
“FIRE!”

I still had about three weeks until the Spring semester would begin. I started entertaining thoughts (again) about whether I should buy a Super Nintendo or not. I had my doubts — was it worth it? Perhaps this was all just a nostalgic trip best kept locked in my box of memories. That’s when fate decided to step in. By mid January I decided I was all in. I posted the following on a gaming forum, coincidentally, almost one year since my last SNES post (as shared earlier).

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January 17, 2006. It was just another ordinary Tuesday night, or so I initially thought. I logged on eBay following dinner. Just for fun, I typed in SNES. And the VERY FIRST item I saw ending was none other than Power Moves. I couldn’t believe it — what were the odds? Power Moves and I go way back; it was the first import game I ever rented back in late 1992. It was ending in 38 seconds. I didn’t even have the system yet but I knew this was no mere coincidence. Nope, this was fate. The very first import I ever rented back in the day would now become the very first game purchase of my SNES resurrection. It was meant to be.

7YearIt19

I didn’t have long to just sit there and get all mushy. Clicking on the seller’s other items, I also won Prehistorik Man, Ignition Factor and Fatal Fury Special all within the next 10 minutes. Now that I had time to digest things a bit, my mind was running at 200 MPH. I really did it. I was back in! One minute I went from having zero SNES games to having four! The next day I bought five more titles. Not one to stop there, I was back at it again two days later with five more. The games were a mix of childhood favorites, games I missed out on, or games I always was curious about but never got to play. It was an exciting time with a want list literally in the hundreds, left-and-right buying and building up my brand new SNES library. But there was one slight problem you see — I didn’t buy the system itself yet! That’s when I found a friend online to sell me one for $39. He also had over 20 games I was interested in, so it became a bulk buy of epic proportions. The final damage? $192. YOU DAMN RIGHT it was worth every last dime!

It all began with this...
It all began with this…

What started out as “Should I or shouldn’t I?” ended up in one simple impulse buy (Power Moves), opening up the flood gates completely. In 72 hours I went from zero SNES games and no SNES to having the system and 38 (!) games. There was no turning back now… a monster was born.

I posted the following on a gaming forum the next day on January 18, 2006.

Saturday night fever? Psst, I had SNES fever!
Saturday night fever? Psst, I had SNES fever!

Like I said, I don’t know what it is about mid January but those long six week winter breaks does things to a man :P

SCHOOL’S BACK IN SESSION

SchoolIoG

Wednesday. January 25, 2006. It was the first day of my Spring semester at University. I only had one class that day (from 9 to 10:15 AM). My SNES was still in transit but that didn’t stop me from buying even more games. After class that day I had a couple girl friends go buy some books with me at the campus store. We ate brunch and talked excitedly about the future. All the while I was thinking about the past in the back of my mind, and what SNES games I might find later that morning to add to my rapidly growing collection. It was an exciting time in my life — an odd but irresistible clash of looking toward the future while also looking back.

A most welcomed sign
A most welcomed sight in those days of 2006

Afterward it was 11:30 and I decided to drive to a nearby Game Crazy to see what SNES goodies they might have that day. Game Crazy was a hub attached to Hollywood Video back when these relics existed. Game Crazy used to carry a solid variety of SNES games in early 2006.

The actual location I went that fateful morning
The actual location I went that fateful morning

On this particular morning, much to my delight I found The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Jurassic Park 2: The Chaos Continues and The Lost Vikings. I got The Lost Vikings free as part of Game Crazy’s buy 2 get 1 free deal. Talk about starting off my final undergrad semester with a bang!

All for under $11? What a steal
All for under $11? What a steal

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Hard to believe it's been nearly 12 years
Hard to believe it’s been nearly 12 years

10 YEAR ANNIVERSARY

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Thursday. January 26, 2006. This was a big day for me. It marked 10 years since I had moved from my childhood home. After my classes ended that late afternoon, I decided to stop by my old stomping grounds for a reunion tour. I loved my old hometown. We lived there from mid 1985 to January 26, 1996. 10 and a half years of my life. From infancy through childhood. Some of my best memories came in my old hometown, my old house and that old neighborhood.

Ah, the vintage train tracks of my childhood :)
Ah, the vintage train tracks of my childhood :)
Hello, dear old friend
Hello, dear old friend

So off I went, revisiting the old sights and sounds. I stopped by my childhood Toys R Us. I dropped by a few Game Crazy locations in the area but found no SNES games of interest. Finally I arrived right around my old house roughly at 6 PM, and I headed straight to my childhood Hollywood Video.

The actual "scene of the crime" in all its glory
The actual “scene of the crime” in all its glory
Another nice haul
Another nice haul

Added Art of Fighting, Clay Fighter, Mortal Kombat II and Super Baseball Simulator 1.000 to the collection. These games represented the crux of my SNES comeback well — two games I loved playing as a kid and two I always wanted to play but never did.

GCRece

They had a glass full of SNES goodies but I decided I’ll just pick these four for now and come back later for the others…

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With another bag full of old childhood favorites and memories, courtesy once again of Game Crazy, I made a beeline toward my old house. There was no way I was ending this 10 year reunion trip without seeing my old house.

I was a man on a mission
I was a man on a mission

By now it was 6:30 and darkness had devoured my old hometown. Driving by I took full inventory of all that assaulted my senses. I remember those old roads… that old street corner… the little hill where my brother, our friends and I used to play tag and flag football. The smell of the crisp cool night air. And the soothing sounds of the grass and leaves swaying gently in the calm of a quiet January evening.

This was more than just a Super Nintendo comeback!
It was more than just a Super Nintendo comeback…

I spotted my house at long last. Memories came flooding back like a tidal wave crashing over me. It was an ordinary house, like any other house in America, in a suburban neighborhood just like any other. But it was home. My home. Or at least, it once was, anyhow. Somewhere in the depths of my heart though, it will always be to some degree.

I took a minute to take it all in
I took a moment to take it all in

I turned off the engine and radio. I sat there for a couple quiet minutes, admiring my house from across the street in the dead still of the night. Has it really been 10 bloody years?! Gawd DAMN.

There she is
There she is. Still as pretty as ever, too

I was lost in a trance admiring the sight that stood before me when suddenly I had a crazy idea. Now I’ve had a few crazy ideas in my life before but this one… THIS ONE might be the craziest of them all…

Before I knew it, I found myself standing at the front door. Like a man possessed, I rung the doorbell before I could talk myself out of it.

A lady in her late 30s appeared behind the door. “Can I help you?”

“Sorry to bother you but I really could use a restroom. Do you mind if I go really fast?”

She looked a bit perplexed but perhaps she sensed that I was a safe person. “Yeah, sure, come in come in,” she said warmly.

And I was in. Just like that. I have to admit, in hindsight, this was one of the wackiest things I have ever done. But when you’re caught on a high, maybe you don’t always use your noggin. At any rate, it’s a memory that will last a lifetime.

Its the home where my bro and I fought, played and loved
It’s the home where my bro and I grew up
All the birthday parties and fun we shared. Priceless!
All the birthday parties and fun we shared. Priceless!

Using my old bathroom for the first time in 10 years was a little surreal, as was being back in the house I grew up in. After using the facilities, I thanked her for her generosity.

The house was still in good shape. I couldn’t help but glance around in admiration. That’s when I decided to tell her the whole story. “To be honest with you, this was my childhood home. I spent 10 years of my youth growing up in this house. It is very special to me and I want to say thanks for letting me relive my childhood for even just five minutes.”

And that opened up a 10 minute conversation!
And that opened up a 10 minute conversation :P

We talked about how cold the house gets during the night time, like really REALLY cold. We talked about my old room where her daughter now occupies, and so forth. It was a really nice conversation and an awesome way to end what had been a crazy reunion tour.

Time to head back home. My real new home...
Time to head back home. My real new home…

Finally, we bid one another farewell. I slipped inside my car, took a glance at the new SNES games resting on the passenger seat, cranked up the radio, stole one last glance at my old house and floored the hell out of there.

That night, driving home on the freeway with the windows down and the music blaring, was truly one for the ages. A tale to be retold to my future children. Daddy was a crazy kook :P [Wait, was?? -Ed.]

JANUARY 30, 2006

RainonWindow

I remember this fateful rainy Monday afternoon quite well. It was around 12:45 PM. I was sitting at home waiting for my big SNES package as well as my Advanced Acting class at 1:30. I’ll never forget the sight of the UPS man carrying a huge box to my door through the whipping rain. My baby has finally come home! The raindrops pelted my window and looked like melting silverware. I had 45 SNES games waiting in the wings to be played, and now, after a good seven or eight years, I finally had a Super Nintendo again. Alas, with class beginning in less than an hour, I had no time to delve in. Oh how badly I wanted to just stay home and have one major binge session. Reasoning got the better of me when I decided if I already waited this long, then surely a couple more hours wouldn’t kill me, right?

SNES-Journey

My Advanced Acting class that day ran from 1:30 to 4. After class got out, I drove to Game Crazy by my old house once again to buy the other enticing titles I saw just a few days earlier on January 26.

The actual pic I took on that rainy Monday evening!
The actual pic I took on that rainy Monday evening!
Game Crazy delivers again
Game Crazy comes through again
ActRaiser and Equinox are the best of this bunch
ActRaiser and Equinox are the best of this bunch
What a crazy time it was -- that January 2006 I tells ya!
What a crazy time it was — that January 2006 I tells ya!
Of these 51 games, which one to play first?
Can you guess which game I played first?

Arriving home late that Monday night, I had a whopping 51 SNES games from which to choose. Which one would I play first? It suddenly became clear to me that there was only one appropriate choice. It’s certainly not the best game, but for all intents and purposes, it had to be my first.

You win if you guessed Power Moves
You win if you guessed Power Moves

Yup, it had to be Power Moves. It was the first import I rented back in late 1992 and it was the first SNES game I bought during this whole comeback reunion tour. A reunion tour, mind you, that has now lasted for 12 years and counting. To say that I was nostalgic as Power Moves fired up would be a grand understatement. I felt like I had gone into a time machine and was transported back to my youth for a few minutes. Even though the game was kind of bad, I knew there were tons of great games to beat and that this was going to be a hell of a comeback. As it turns out, my gut was right.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

FotBSNES3

There is something special and sacred about the Super Nintendo. It reminds me of a simpler time in my life. A time in which playing games with your best bud took center stage on a lazy Saturday night. A time where damsels in distress must be saved and red shells and fireballs must be thrown with malice and joy alike. But perhaps best of all… a time where junk emails and bills didn’t yet exist.

stevesnescol

My SNES comeback these past 12 years has been a fun-filled ride down memory lane and beyond. I don’t just play these games for nostalgia. There are many I have yet to play, so many are actually brand new experiences for me. Yes, even 25 years later in the year 2018. I’ve had a blast going through my SNES collection the past dozen years. With many more yet to go, here’s to 12 more years!

FotBSNES2

My dream is to one day pass my love of these vintage classics down to my son or daughter. Maybe they’ll never know what it feels like to stroll through a Hollywood Video on a rainy Monday night. But I hope they’ll get half the joy out of these games as they’ve given to me over the years decades. Call me corny but I like to think of this whole SNES comeback, which started way back 12 years ago in January of 2006, as more than just one big epic gaming adventure. I like to think of it as reclaiming bits and pieces of my childhood and one day being able to share that joy with my children. One thing is for sure… there’ll be no shortage of video games for them to play. Long live the Super Nintendo, indeed.

Switched: How Nintendo Won Me Back

Nintendo made me a believer once more
Nintendo makes a believer out of me once more

In late 2016, Nintendo released a trailer highlighting their upcoming 7th console, the Nintendo Switch. To say that I was skeptical would have been a gross understatement. I had long lost faith in Nintendo, or at least in their current state. My brother and I grew up on the NES and the Super Nintendo. Both systems were amazing, giving us countless memories. The Nintendo 64 came along in 1996 and was a mixed bag. By the time the GameCube launched in late 2001, my brother and I stopped caring. Neither of the two Wii consoles were able to move the needle on my gaming meter. As for the PlayStation and XBox consoles, they surely had their share of gems but I honestly didn’t care enough to ever buy any of those systems. I was content with my SNES collection and assumed that my time buying games had long come to an end. That was, at least, until I finally played the Switch…

With the Switch, gaming has hit new heights
With the Switch, gaming has reached new heights

A NEW ERA — FINALLY

I thought I was done buying games. I was wrong...
I thought I was done buying games. I was wrong…

As it has been well documented here on RVGFanatic, I got back into the SNES scene nearly 12 years ago (January 2006). It’s been an incredible journey and I have played so many amazing games since then. I more or less finished my collection in 2012 and figured I was set for life. I had no interest in modern gaming. Not that I hated them but rather I just didn’t care enough to play them. That slowly began to change as I heard the rumblings for one, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The trailer, released in early 2017, was breathtaking. If any modern game can bring me back to the fold, Breath of the Wild might be it. For the first time in forever, I found myself salivating over a new game.

I was floored. It was the first time in nearly 12 years that I found myself thinking, “It might be time to buy another system.” I remember one night in March 2017 my bro sent me a funny picture of some guy on the internet declaring it was going to be an epic night. Sure looked like it!

Oh hell yeah!
Talk about living the good life

Seeing that pic made me remember all the epic gaming adventures I had long long ago. It was that little seed planted in my head. The Switch launched on March 3, 2017. I didn’t buy one but I remember telling myself maybe Black Friday. Maybe. But I found no deals on the Switch and thus, Black Friday came and went. My brother, on the other hand, struck a bit of gold…

SwitStor12

Despite not owning a Switch, he spotted Breath of the Wild on Walmart’s website for the incredibly low price of $29. He jumped on it because he knew I had interest in buying a Switch. Apparently it was a mistake on the website — it was supposed to be marked down to $49 but he made the purchase before the website could correct itself. They honored their end and shipped the game out to him. Coincidentally, I read this on Reddit a few days ago…

SwitStor1

My brother was one of the lucky few
My brother was one of the lucky few

[SATURDAY] DECEMBER 2, 2017

SwitStor14

After visiting my month old nephew, I hit up the local Target only to be greeted by the last Switch console. I couldn’t resist and pulled the trigger. Final damage following a flurry of gift cards: $267. I walked out of Target cradling the Switch against my chest as though it were Frankenstein’s very own heart! It was my first system purchase in nearly 12 years :D

Oh I'm answering the call. Don't have to tell me twice!
Oh I’m answering the call. Don’t have to tell me twice!

Breath of the Wild arrived at my brother’s place later that day. It was like it was meant to be. I picked it up, drove back home, popped it in and was immediately blown away. Honestly, I hadn’t played a 3D “modern” game in forever. These past 12 years I stuck mainly to the SNES. Well, Breath of the Wild has definitely made me rethink my gaming habits. Although I still love and play the SNES, it certainly won’t be the only system I play going forward. Nintendo had officially converted me. I have, pardon the pun, made the switch.

ZelBotW2

Right away I was flung into the wide open world of Hyrule. It literally took my breath away. Immersive is a word that gets thrown around a lot in gaming circles but I can’t think of a better adjective to describe this game. Best of all, it looks and plays great even on the portable end. In fact, I’ve been playing it only in this format thus far.

The older I get, the less time I have to do this
The older I get, the less I have time to do this

As I get older and busier, I find I have less and less time to sit in front of a TV to play a game. The portability makes it perfect to play for 20 minutes while laying in bed before sleeping. It’s also ideal to play while having a TV show on in the background. It’s truly a game changer. The Switch is a versatile little sucker and it’s portable gaming the likes of which we have never seen before. We have come a long way since the Game Boy and Game Gear, haven’t we?

ZelBotW6

I began going through the shrines and giggling like a little school girl on the inside. I could tell it was the beginning of an unforgettable gaming experience.

ZelBotW7

Acquiring new skills and weapons is all part of the fun. Each new power gained opened up even more possibilities.

ZelBotW5

Hunting for food or shooting enemies from afar became highly addicting.

ZelBotW3

I’m only 12 hours in or so but already I feel like this is easily one of the top 10 (if not 5) best games I have ever played. Quite frankly, maybe even #1.

[MONDAY] DECEMBER 4, 2017

SwiCov

But there was no rest for the weary. A few days later, I went to Best Buy to pick up Doom for $53 following my 20% discount. I haven’t been able to play Doom yet because I want to beat Zelda first. But rest assured, having missed the 2016 version of Doom and hearing what a competent amazing port the Switch version is, I cannot bloody wait to dig into this one!

SwitIm8

[WEDNESDAY] DECEMBER 6, 2017

SwiCov1

I honestly thought I would just have Breath of the Wild and Doom for now. But you know how these things work. There’s a snowball effect when something comes along and completely captures your imagination. A few days after picking up Doom, my brother told me GameStop was selling Rayman Legends for only $25.

SwitIm10

I have Rayman on the Sega Saturn and have always enjoyed it. Plus, the Switch version received rave reviews, so I decided to swing by the local GameStop after work to pick it up. Unfortunately, the GameStop I went to was sold out. But the clerk said there was another location nearby that had 3 copies left. That store happened to be at my childhood mall!

SwitStor10

I can’t count the number of times my mom took me to this mall when I was a kid. Every Friday after school we went. It was sort of a tradition of ours. Rain or shine. Seeing the tall Christmas tree there always brings back memories of the mall Santa back in the day. Although the mall has been renovated over the years, the core structure remains. It never fails to bring back a memory or two.

SwitStor9

Making the walk down this way was something of a spiritual experience, as sad as that may sound. I’ve walked that path thousands of time. It was always visit Suncoast first, followed by Software Etc., KB Toys, Walden Books and Cyberstation. Being here again brought back a ton of nostalgia for me, and reminded me of my early SNES hunting days back in 2006. The thrill and excitement hanging in the air. That feeling of knowing you were going to come away with a brand new game to add to the ole collection. Hopping around town snatching up games left and right like a mad man. It was more than just collecting games. It was reclaiming bits and pieces of my childhood in whole new ways.

How I remember thee, Suncoast
How I remember thee, Suncoast
This was THE place to be on a Saturday night back then
This was THE place to be on a Friday night back then

A montage of these classic childhood sights and sounds suddenly flashed in my mind as I entered GameStop and picked up Rayman Legends at the counter. It was now my 3rd Switch game in nearly as many days. Yep, I could feel it coming. And there was no stopping it. I had Switch fever!

SwitIm11

[SATURDAY] DECEMBER 9, 2017

SwiCov2

I visited Target the next day to pick up a few things. I had absolutely ZERO intentions of buying another Switch game but lo and behold, there I found Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2 on sale for $39.99. Before I knew it, a 4th game was added to my rapidly growing Switch library.

SwitIm6

I texted my brother about my latest purchase and he said I had gone nuts. He was probably right. But damn was I having fun!

Switch collection ASSEMBLE! [Really? -Ed.]
Switch collection ASSEMBLE! [Really? -Ed.]

[SUNDAY] DECEMBER 10, 2017

SwiCov3

After buying Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2, I thought to myself, “OK now I’m really done. For a while at least.” Well, a while turned out to be less than 24 hours later. The following day, my brother texted me that Toys R Us was selling Lego City Undercover for just $19.99. Lego in a GTA (Grand Theft Auto) setting? Count me in!

SwitIm

While Toys R Us was processing my online pickup order, I searched the web on my iPhone only to discover that Fry’s Electronics was selling Resident Evil Revelations Collection for only $29.99. And of course, there just happened to be a Fry’s down the road from Toys R Us. So I drove over to Fry’s to buy Resident Evil Revelations Collection. Then drove back to Toys R Us to pick up Lego City Undercover. I felt like an absolute mad man; I haven’t done this much game hunting in 10 years!

RERBox

SwitIm3

Quite an extreme contrast  between my two latest buys
Quite an extreme contrast between my two latest buys!

While at Fry’s hunting down Resident Evil Revelations Collection, I ran across Axiom Verge for $29.99. I was tempted to add it to my tab. Axiom Verge caught my eye a few years back and I was always curious about it. But a quick search revealed Toys R Us selling it for $29.99 plus a 15% discount. I was hoping to pick it up at the Toys R Us location I just bought Lego City Undercover from, but unfortunately they didn’t have one in stock. The closest pick up location was… *gasp*… the old Toys R Us store from my childhood!

Always wanted to play this. Now I finally can!
Always wanted to play this. Now I finally can!

[MONDAY] DECEMBER 11, 2017

Ah, the vintage train tracks of my childhood :)
Ah, the vintage train tracks of my childhood :)
Come on, let's go! I got a Switch game to pick up!
Come on, let’s go! I got a Switch game to pick up!

Going to my childhood Toys R Us meant passing through this old haunt. My cousins lived in the neighborhood nearby and I spent much of my youth visiting my cousins on the weekends back in the late ’80s to mid ’90s. Needless to say, that whole area is incredibly nostalgic to me. It’s also where I experienced the greatest Halloween of my life back in 1994. The infamous night I met “The Lady in the Haunted House” AKA Becky, who has gone on to become a lifelong friend. I actually just met up with Becky a few weeks ago. Going through the old neighborhood was just an added bonus to my jaunt for Axiom Verge.

SwitStor5

I stood there for a moment to just admire the scene. This was the same Toys R Us my parents took me and my brother to millions of times back in the late ’80s to mid ’90s. It was probably 10 years since I had last been there. At that point, it was one of the few relics from my past still standing in the same spot!

TRUGS

Who doesn’t remember the classic Toys R Us game slips back in the day? Seeing an aisle plastered with them was like a little slice of Heaven. Some of my fondest childhood memories came from simply strolling through the aisles drooling at the game covers all bug-eyed. Nothing topped the feeling of when your parents relented and bought you a game! Taking that slip out of its sleeve, only to discover it’s the LAST one, and taking it to the special game counter to claim your precious pixelated prize. Cue the Final Fantasy victory theme!

I remember seeing NES games like Dr. Chaos
I remember seeing NES game slips like Dr. Chaos
Chakan on the Genesis
As well as Chakan on the Genesis
And Battletoads in Battlemaniacs
And Battletoads in Battlemaniacs on SNES

Sadly, Toys R Us long stopped doing the game slips. Nonetheless, being there brought back the wave of memories. I also ran into two versions of Goldar from the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: OG Goldie and that crappy looking version from the 2017 movie.

What is this mess?
What mess is this?!
Now thats what Im talking about
Now THAT’S what I’m talking about

Ah, Imaginext. In 2004 I ran across a bunch of their sets on clearance from the same Toys R Us location. Huge sets going for literally $5. I remember bringing home a bunch of the sets and my ex being bewildered!

I still have them unopened. Saving for my future son
I still have them unopened. Saving for my future son

After walking around the store for 15 minutes or so just taking it all in, I made my way to the pickup counter. I cannot wait to play Axiom Verge but first I have to beat Breath of the Wild :P

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Not a bad deal at $27! It looks awesome.

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Before pulling out of the parking lot, I stood there to admire my childhood Toys R Us one last time. Even though the inside has long been gutted and rearranged, there were pockets in the store where I remember standing some 25, 30 years ago! R.I.P. Toys R Us.

CHRISTMAS 2017

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It’s been forever since I’ve played a newer Mario game. I know I’ve missed out on many great Mario games since 1991’s Super Mario World, so Super Mario Odyssey will certainly make up for some of that lost time.

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[SATURDAY] DECEMBER 23, 2017

Thanks Cindy!
Jackpot! What a great Christmas present :)

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Earlier in the day I was able to price match Puyo Puyo Tetris and Ninjago at Target. Both were going for $39.99 but Toys R Us was selling both for $19.99. Thanks Toys R Us!

Gotta love that Target price match
Gotta love that Target price match!

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[SATURDAY] JANUARY 13, 2018

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I received a $25 gift card for Amazon and used it on Skyrim, a game I’ve never played before but can’t wait to dig into. It ended up costing only $35.99.

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[SUNDAY] JANUARY 14, 2018

I had been wanting to buy this game badly...
I had been wanting to buy this game badly…

I spent the weekend out of town with my girlfriend. I was browsing Nintendo Switch Deals on Reddit (shout out!) on a lazy Sunday morning when I came across this promising post…

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Lady Luck was on my side as my girlfriend’s town happened to be one of the 63 stores closing down! I was cautiously optimistic but I figured the game I wanted most (Mario Kart 8 Deluxe) would be long sold out. Eh, it can’t hurt to try, right…

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After waiting in line (just to enter the store) for some odd 30 minutes, we were finally in. I made a beeline for the electronics section. Lo and behold, I spotted the last copy sitting before my eyes! I bought Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Arms.

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I was so happy that I was able to get the last copy of Mario Kart. The rush of adrenaline as we snagged the final copy (and picked up Arms as well) lasted all the way on the drive home. A most serendipitous Sunday!

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Thanks for taking care of me, Jennifer!

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Later  that same night, I dropped by Target to buy L.A. Noire. I had a gift card and paid $38.

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Taking place in Los Angeles in the late ’40s, L.A. Noire is another “modern” game I missed out on but can now play thanks to my Switch.

(e)SHOP ‘TIL YA DROP

Ah, my first two eShop purchases
Ah, my first two eShop purchases

On Christmas morning 2017, the floodgates were opened when I made my very first eShop purchase. Here are my 34 digital games in order of purchase.

Stardew Valley (Harvest Moon fans unite!)
Stardew Valley (Harvest Moon fans unite!)
Enter the Gungeon
Enter the Gungeon
Oxenfree
Oxenfree
Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove
Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove
Volgarr the Viking
Volgarr the Viking
Oceanhorn
Oceanhorn
The Mummy Demastered
The Mummy Demastered
Butcher
Butcher
Shock Troopers
Shock Troopers
Shock Troopers: 2nd Squad
Shock Troopers: 2nd Squad
Top Hunter: Roddy and Cathy
Top Hunter: Roddy and Cathy
Spinmaster
Spinmaster
Double Dragon IV
Double Dragon IV
The Count Lucanor
The Count Lucanor
Street Hoop
Street Hoop
Metal Slug
Metal Slug
Pulstar
Pulstar
Blazing Star
Blazing Star
Last Resort
Last Resort
World Heroes
World Heroes
Mutation Nation
Mutation Nation
Robo Army
Robo Army
Rocket League
Rocket League
Steamworld Dig 2
SteamWorld Dig 2
Retro City Rampage
Retro City Rampage
Blaster Master Zero
Blaster Master Zero
Mighty Gunvolt Burst
Mighty Gunvolt Burst
Caveman Warriors
Caveman Warriors
King of the Monsters
King of the Monsters
Double Dragon
Double Dragon
World Heroes 2
World Heroes 2
Celeste
Celeste
Samurai Shodown II
Samurai Shodown II
Magician Lord
Magician Lord

SOME GAMES I’LL BUY IN 2018

Wolfenstein II
Wolfenstein II
Mega Man 11
Mega Man 11
Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection
Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection

Holy shit!

Yoshi
Yoshi
Shin Megami Tensei V
Shin Megami Tensei V
Dragon Warrior XI
Dragon Warrior XI
Metal Slug 2 (or X)
Metal Slug X
Metal Slug 3
Metal Slug 3
Fatal Fury Special
Fatal Fury Special
Sonic Mania
Sonic Mania
Shantae: Half-Genie Hero
Shantae: Half-Genie Hero
Golf Story
Golf Story
Mr. Shifty
Mr. Shifty

And so much more. The Switch’s future is bright and the possibilities are endless. Welcome back to my heart, Nintendo. Welcome back!

CLOSING THOUGHTS

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It’s hard for me to believe that I would ever feel so invested in a system not named Super Nintendo, especially in the year 2017. But the Switch has made a believer out of me. Being able to play all these amazing games on the go as well as on the big screen TV is a brilliant stroke of ingenuity. Its versatility caters to your lifestyle, as it should, rather than you catering to a system’s limitations. As much as I still love my SNES, I’ll admit there are times where I’m just not in the mood to sit by my TV to play. There are times where I wish I could just play it in bed or during a show. The Switch allows you to do so. Nintendo has something big on its hands here, as evident by the Switch recently surpassing the 10 million units sold mark. This is truly the future wave of gaming.

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If you’ve been teetering on the fence with the Switch, it’s time to hop over. It has the same impeccable Nintendo magic that I remember the NES and SNES having back in the ’80s and ’90s. Hell, over time I can even possibly see the Switch overtaking the SNES as my favorite system of all time. Never in a million years did I ever think I would say that. If Nintendo eventually releases some of their SNES classics on the Switch eShop going forward then all bets are off. The Switch is poised for unprecedented success, merging gamers from all generations. Its legacy as one of the coolest systems ever is quickly being etched in stone by the day. Don’t miss out! Nintendo is BACK baby and damnit, they might be better than ever.

Terranigma (SNES)

Pub: Enix | Dev: Quintet | October 1995 | 32 MEGS
Pub: Enix | Dev: Quintet | October 1995 | 32 MEGS

For years on end I had heard about a Super Nintendo title that was never officially released in the US. A game so amazing that it had to be played to be believed. A game that was supposedly the pinnacle of 16-bit gaming. A game the stuff dreams are made of. Of course, I’m talking about none other than TERRANIGMA. Does Terranigma live up to the massive hype? Is it worthy of being called one of the best on the SNES? Let’s have a closer look…

BLACK FRIDAY 2010

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A little over seven years ago I first played Terranigma. When it comes to game playing, there’s nothing quite like playing an (action) RPG in the months of November and December. Nothing beats playing such games on a cold, chilly winter evening. There’s something about those darkening late afternoons, the wind whipping outside your window and the feeling in the air as you work your way through a magical fantasy world ruled by big eyes and EVEN bigger hearts. Where wise old men pass down their wisdom to the younger generation, where spirits roam, where kings rule and where monsters stalk the land. It was on Black Friday of 2010 that I first began my trek with Terranigma. I remember it fondly as if it happened only yesterday. I had just got back home from spending Thanksgiving with my family. They began discussing their Black Friday master plan around 9 PM while I decided to duck out. I partook in the festivities the year prior — once was more than good enough for me. Instead, I wanted to head home, take in the quiet serenity of the early morning hours and fire up Terranigma for the first time ever. That proved to be the right call — it’s a memory I fondly recall even seven years later. Now there isn’t a Black Friday that rolls along where I don’t think of Terranigma somehow!

LOG IT!

It pays to keep a record. It really does
It pays to keep a record. It really does

I finished it about two weeks later, logging nearly 30 hours. It was incredible. One of those rare magical gaming experiences I’ll always cherish and remember. Ark, renamed Steve, ended on Level 37 (639 HP). As one NPC in Terranigma once suggested, it pays to keep a log. I’ve always been into archiving. Having a record allows me to go back in time to recall past events. Since early 2006, I’ve kept a log of my SNES activities.

One of the best gaming-related decisions I made
One of the best gaming-related decisions I made

I’m so glad I did; I would have forgotten all the quirky details and crazy little stories if I hadn’t. The following will be an account of my Terranigma experience. And on a side note, this marks my 100th SNES review. I had to go big for the magical 1-0-0, and I can’t think of many better choices than this. Surely you didn’t expect Lester the Unlikely, did you? That would be highly unlikely…

[Oh dear -Ed.]
[Oh dear -Ed.]

THE STORY GOES…

TerranPlot

MEET THE CAST

TerranChar

THE JOURNEY BEGINS

[adjusts sleeves] I know I know...  [PUH-LEASE -Ed.]
*adjusts sleeves* I know I know… [PUH-LEASE -Ed.]
Elle: What is it? Steve: You have some eye boogers! Elle: Oh...
Elle: What is it?
Steve: You have some eye boogers!
Elle: Oh…
Elle is such a thoughtful lass
Elle is such a thoughtful lass
Our hero posing by the gorgeous sunset, lovely eh
Our hero posing by the gorgeous sunset, lovely eh?
It's just as weird as Soul Blazer, if not even weirder
It’s just as weird as Soul Blazer, if not even weirder

The Quintet trilogy as some like to call it started with Soul Blazer and concluded with Terranigma. It’s nice to see the odd nod to Soul Blazer here and there throughout.

Times like this that really remind us of our mortality
Times like this that really remind us of our mortality

One of many unforgettable and touching moments from Terranigma. If you’re not moved in the least when you play this, then you, sir, have no heart. No heart at all!

The dialogue was rather deep for its time
The dialogue was rather deep for its time
Eurasia is one of many atmospheric towns you'll see
Eurasia is one of many atmospheric towns you’ll see
Always good to run into that little troublemaker
Always good to run into that little troublemaker

Hey, remember ol’ Turbo? Sure you do! He’s the mutt from Soul Blazer and Illusion of Gaia. That canine sure gets around!

WHAT THE -- !
WHAT THE — !

Who could ever forget this infamous scene in Soul Blazer? The Quintet Trilogy always had some… ahem… controversial moments littered here and there. Some… well… perverse scenes, as you will see a little later on.

Turbo also turns up in Illusion of Gaia
Turbo also turns up in Illusion of Gaia
Note to self: Must cut back on double cheeseburgers
Note to self: Must cut back on double cheeseburgers
That age old belief that man is the real monster...
That age old belief that man is the real monster…

The random things people say ranges from amusing to whimsical to even sometimes downright philosophical. Some statements are rather bizarre, others plain silly, while others ring true in many aspects. In that regard, there is a pulse to Terranigma unlike (nearly) any other SNES game. It was definitely ahead of its time and as a result of that, it holds up well to this day.

[Who knew Steve had it in him, eh? -Ed.]
[Who knew Steve had it in him, eh? -Ed.]
[Or maybe... it's just your corrupted little mind -Ed.]
[Or maybe… it’s just your corrupted little mind -Ed.]
Steve, such an upstanding handsome hero [Riiight -Ed.]
Lend an ear to the local suicidal town drunk…

Brings new meaning to the term room service, no?
Brings new meaning to the term room service, no?
Quintet you devious perverted little scamps you!
Quintet you devious perverted little scamps you!
Did you know he owns a fansite dedicated to SNES?
Did you know he owns a fansite dedicated to SNES?
It really does. Great game to play on a December night
It really does. Great game to play on a December night!

Video games serve as a form of escaping the daily grind and troubles of everyday living. And nothing transports you to another world quite like a good ole adventure game. I especially love playing them on a cold winter’s night.

Can't help but laugh at moments like this
Can’t help but laugh at moments like this

I told ‘cha I’m not imagining these sexual innuendos! I only tell it like it is, you see. Not my fault that Quintet was a bunch of sexual deviants! :P

Terranigma never preaches but it does make you think
Terranigma never preaches but it does make ya think

After playing so many censored RPGs in America, it was refreshing to play one that was true to its core. Look no further than the town of Litz, where a huge statue of Christ proudly hangs. Such an image would have never passed Nintendo of America’s standards back in the mid ’90s. And since Terranigma came out in Japan October of 1995, an English translation would have pushed a potential US release date into the first quarter of 1996, a time period where the SNES was simply no longer a viable market. The game was doomed, then, to never make it to American soil.

It definitely hearkens back to Resident Evil a bit!
It definitely hearkens back to Resident Evil a bit!
Classic moment from a classic game
Classic moment from a classic game
It's nice to see real historical figures incorporated
It’s nice to see real historical figures incorporated

[Please do NOT let Steve take over for Columbus -Ed.]
[Please do NOT let Steve take over for Columbus -Ed.]
Love the skeleton displayed in the background there. There are many great details that helps to bring the game to life, in addition to its memorable characters and epic storyline.

What?! Them Quintet boys are at it again...
What?! Them Quintet boys are at it again…
Chicken Soup for the Heart Broken Soul
Chicken Soup for the Heart Broken Soul

There’s even a few bits about women and how they can break our hearts. Here we see some poor soul comforting our hero. So many ladies have shattered his poor heart; he’s lost count. Makes you feel for the lad. And hey, how many of us, at one point or another, can relate exactly to what the NPC is saying? This moment almost makes you flashback to all the heartbreaks in your life. Maybe even the one who got away. It’s moments like this that really bring Terranigma to life and almost makes you forget you’re only playing a video game. ALMOST.

It's cliché but always just be yourself
It’s cliché but always just be yourself

FRIEND ZONED, ouch. But in life I’ve learned this: you never want to be with someone who doesn’t want to be with you back. Always stay true to yourself and live your life. If the time is right, you’ll meet a suitable match and the rest will be history. Meanwhile, don’t beat yourself up too bad over dates that go nowhere. We live in such a disposable society that you want to take your time to find the right person. I don’t know if this may be speaking to anyone but yeah. If you can currently relate to that guy in the picture above then chin up!

OK surely there is no room for misinterpretation here!
OK surely there is no room for misinterpretation here!

Freaking Quintet…

"Uh, OK. I was just going to ask for the time..."
“Uhhh, OK. I was just going to ask for the time…”

This got a chuckle out of me. It brings me back to the first time I can recall being prayed for. It was at my retail job back in 2004. I was in college and worked at a toy store in the mall. It was a Sunday. I’ll never forget it. This father walks in with his two adorable twin sons. He was dressed in his Sunday best so I figured he just came out of church. I wasn’t anti-Christian but at the time I didn’t pay religion much mind. He bought a couple race cars for his twin boys, then he asked me out of the blue if he could pray for me. I was totally caught off guard. I asked him pray for what? He said good health, wealth and success in my college career. Eh, what the hell I thought. Couldn’t hurt. So he placed his hand on my shoulder as I awkwardly looked ahead at his twin boys standing in the doorway some 20 feet away from the register counter. They both wore the look on their faces that said, “UH OH… DADDY’S DOING IT AGAIN!” Looking back, I appreciated what Francis (still remember his name) did for me over 12 years ago. Even though I was shaved, happy and had no religion at the time, I didn’t mind him praying good health and wealth over me. But some people, like that business man in Neo Tokio, wants no part of prayer. To each his own, right? Just another interesting little moment of many in Terranigma.

I also liked how they broke the 4th wall
I also liked how they broke the 4th wall
Meta before meta became cool
Meta before meta became cool
So has RVGFanatic. This marks SNES review #100!
So has RVGFanatic. This marks SNES review #100!

Was Terranigma originally named Illusion of Gaia 2? From this bit of dialogue it would appear so. Interesting indeed.

The broken English here is rather endearing
The broken English here is rather endearing

Meilin?! What’s up with her and you?

Meilin makes a great point when it comes to love
Meilin makes a great point when it comes to love

Ah, philosophical musings and whimsical introspection are just the order of the day here in Terranigma. It’s times like this that makes one reflect on their own life, or maybe that’s just me. At any rate, it definitely all adds to the pulse of the game. It’s as if you’re really in another world — one far far away yet hits close to home, too.

[No comment... -Ed.]
[No comment… -Ed.]

Alright, not to be sexist. SOME girls…

"God?! Is that you?!"
“God?! Is that you?!”

That Steve, such a ladies' man! [Riiight -Ed.]
That Steve, such a ladies’ man! [Riiight -Ed.]
Elle?! Oh man, all the ladies simply cannot resist the valor and excellence of Steve! ;)

Meilin, find someone who'll like you... FOR YOU
Meilin, find someone who’ll like you… FOR YOU

“There’s a lotta things about me you don’t know anything about, Dottie. Things you wouldn’t understand. Things you couldn’t understand. Things you shouldn’t understand.”

“I don’t understand. And who’s Dottie?”

“You don’t wanna get mixed up with a guy like me. I’m a loner, Dottie. A rebel. So long, Dott.”

“WHO’S DOTT?!”

"You should reconsider your travel buddy next time..."
“You should reconsider your travel buddy next time…”

Some more interesting dialogue ensues. You can’t help but grin at some of the comments.

Someone say Suncoast? This brings back memories...
Someone say Suncoast? This brings back memories…

You have the opportunity to expand many different towns throughout the course of the game. Suncoast is but one example.

Ah, good times
Ah, good times

Back in the late ’80s to early-mid ’90s, Suncoast was a staple of my childhood. It was always the first store I visited whenever my mom took me to the local mall. It was en route to other classics such as SOFTWARE ETC., Walden Books, B. Dalton, Sam Goody, and of course, the awesome CYBERSTATION arcade hall on the upstairs wing.

This was THE place to be on a Saturday night back then
This was THE place to be on a Friday night back then

Upon hitting Suncoast, I would raid their vast horror and sci-fi section, drooling over the mesmerizing horror movie boxes and reading the back of every Godzilla VHS box. There was a definite sense of idyllic innocence to those olden days that a small part of me still misses to this day. So yeah, thanks Terranigma for conjuring up fond memories of days gone by.

It might cost you in more ways than one...
It might cost you in more ways than one…
Does well to whisk you away to a magical land
Terranigma does well to whisk you away to a magical land

This part exemplifies the great power of a magical world tucked inside a 16-bit cartridge. The game never shows you what the view actually looks like, but you can practically imagine it. Elaborate 3D graphics need not apply. All you need are just some proper words linked together and your own imagination to be swept away.

[No judgment here... -Ed.]
No judgment here…
OH SNAPS! Where's the token Indian engineer at?
OH SNAPS! Where’s the token Indian engineer at?
Don't be THAT guy...
Don’t be THAT guy…
Some comments really caught me off guard
Some comments really caught me off guard!

Unexpected little moments like this bring the game to life and makes it easy to suspend your disbelief for a bit. It’s a real living breathing world that you’re navigating.

I'm sorry to say this but don't be fooled, guy
I’m sorry to say this but don’t be fooled, guy

Poor guy. Little does he know…

OUCH
OUCH

Hurt people hurt people. Word.

WHAT THE CRITICS SAID

TerranSP

Terranigma is a beloved classic. It’s one of those games few people played back in the mid ’90s only to finally experience years and years later. It’s now considered one of the finest games in the SNES catalog, and rightfully so. Many moons ago, I ran a poll on my original RVGFanatic site asking readers which of the Quintet Trilogy they most preferred. Not surprisingly, Terranigma won that vote going away. I love Soul Blazer and Illusion of Gaia as well, but they don’t stand a chance.

The people have spoken! Speaking of the people...
The people have spoken!

Speaking of the people, I’ve compiled a gamut of opinions regarding the awesomeness that is Terranigma.

  • WOW! A masterpiece in every possible way. The gameplay is simply phenomenal. The plot is so amazing that it’s difficult for me to put into words how incredible the story actually is. There are so many interesting twists and turns throughout. -Rbball13

TerranMoYou love me…
You really love me!

  • It holds the greatest appeal to people who enjoy an intriguing, engrossing story that will make one go into contemplation, fans of the style of gameplay, and those who value engaging characters. Terranigma is a rewarding experience that, if one is willing, will enrich one’s mind and soul. A classic that is worth every gamer and story lover’s time. -Nepheliad

TerranHap

  • Terranigma is a unique experience among RPGs. The game has a few jokes, side quests and secrets to keep people busy, and while the plot doesn’t preach any philosophical morals to you directly, it will probably make you think about things differently. -Big Cow

TerranMo2

  • It really is difficult to describe Terranigma with mere words. It’s an experience unlike any other on the Super Nintendo. An adventure every serious video gamer has to go on in order to see what makes this game one of the best Super Nintendo games ever — maybe even the best of them all. It’s the magnum opus of Quintet every SNES gamer should check out. -Darth Julian

TerranMo1

  • Can you remember the last time you loved a game so much that you were actually afraid for it to end? I remember getting this feeling from this game right here. It is possibly Quintet’s finest hour, and a tribute to what these video game developers could and did accomplish during the wonderful and immortal 16-bit era. -PizzaDude371

TerranIoG

  • This game offers the freedom to explore a vast world and continually find new things on a level I have not experienced before in a Super Nintendo RPG –- not with Tales of Phantasia, Final Fantasy III, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past or any other. It stands out in its own right as the richest, most brimming game world I have known. Over nearly 30 hours of gameplay I never failed to be excited when I opened a treasure chest or returned to a village to engage in fresh dialog –- even if it was just for the most elementary update to that NPC. I found that I was growing each town thoroughly, and meticulously inching over the world map so as not to miss interacting with a single character or place. This all amounts to a level of commitment that I did not think I would be able to meet given my busy lifestyle, but Terranigma simply bewitches you in this way. The best praise I can give Terranigma is that it was the last game of my adolescence that truly consumed me. -Midget35

TerranDark

  • This game will enlighten you as much as it will entertain. -MaullarMaullar

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Yeah, what THEY said...
Yeah, what THEY said…

It was on a late, blustery November night that I began my trek through Terranigma. Black Friday (2010) to be precise. Somewhere miles and miles away, my crazy cousins were plotting their great raid. Me? I was warm and cozy gearing up to unravel the marvelous worlds inhabiting Terranigma. The game completely consumed me over the following two weeks. Whether I was searching for the Five Sandstones, deciding to vote for Jean or Louis, or just simply looking out for poor old bloke Bell in Freedom, Terranigma grabbed a hold of me from the very start and didn’t let go until the bittersweet end. Expanding the various towns is always rewarding and tasks such as delivering nine letters for the cause of Nirlake all adds to the game’s greatness. Plenty of NPC interaction and slaying of foul monsters to satisfy even the most jaded of ARPG fans. Terranigma truly has it all.

Oh, the places you'll go!
Oh, the places you’ll go!

It should be noted that the game is on the easy side; it hardly gave me any trouble at all. But that’s easily overlooked (and forgivable) when a video game is as enjoyable and sweeping as Terranigma is. You’re simply too busy having a good time instead. The visuals won’t wow you even though they are top-of-the-line quality. The soundtrack is utterly amazing. This is truly a global adventure. Along the way you’ll see various sights and meet folks from all walks of life. Towns expand, things pass and fade away, love blossoms, evil reigns, hope abounds. Some of the puzzles were a bit tricky but the solution was always right under my nose. The final boss is way too easy and a bit anticlimactic as a result, but the emotional ending left me feeling both satisfied and saddened. Simply put, Terranigma is a special game worthy of its hype. If you haven’t played it yet, what are you waiting for? It’s one of the best Super Nintendo games ever created.

Graphics: 9.5
Sound: 10
Gameplay: 10
Longevity: 9.5

Overall: 10

PLATINUM AWARD
Platinum Award

Few games have moved me much as Terranigma has. It’s a sprawling epic adventure that spans not only the globe but generations. Terranigma delivers like few others can!

 

What a game, Quintet! Any closing thoughts?
What a game, Quintet! Any closing thoughts?
Hey now! That's not nice...
Hey now! That’s not very nice…
ALL HAIL TERRANIGMA
ALL HAIL!

100 SNES reviews in the books!
Here’s to 100 more! :)

Gunman’s Proof (SNES)

Gunman's Proof packs a mighty punch
Pub: ASCII | Dev: Lenar | January 1997 | 24 MEGS

By 1997 the SNES was a long afterthought. The 32-bit era had taken over and most gamers had already jumped ship. Yet this didn’t stop Lenar, a company not known for its epic titles, from crafting one last great Super Nintendo game. Gunman’s Proof is a fast-paced, quirky action RPG that’s loaded with charm, humor, AND personality. So strap on your cowboy boots and throw on your 10 gallon hat — we’re off to the Wild West! As a PSYcho once sang… OPPA GUNMAN STYLE!

Gunman's Proof is a blend of this
Gunman’s Proof is a blend of this
And this!
And this!
Best Western SNES game. Sorry, Sunset Riders and Wild Guns
And for good measure throw in the old west, too!

THE STORY GOES…

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Strange World but also very fun
Strange World but also very fun

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But more on this later...
But more on this later…

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The peculiar Colobutch character will talk your ear off all night...
The peculiar Colobutch will talk your ear off all night…

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“A ghost IS blocking my path… how ‘cha know?”

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Maybe I could turn these lyrics into a top 40 song...
Maybe I could turn these lyrics into a top 40 song…
DAMN RIGHT I DO
DAMN RIGHT I DO

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Like a drifter I was born to walk alone. An' I've made up my mind
Like a drifter I was born to walk alone

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[I C WAT U DID DERE. I'm bustin' a rib laughing over here... -Ed.]
[I C WAT U DID DERE. I’m bustin’ a rib over here… -Ed.]
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Eat your heart out, Thomas Wolfe. HA, you CAN go home again!
Eat it, Thomas Wolfe. You CAN go home again
OK... perhaps Mr. Wolfe had a point after all... who am I to judge
Perhaps Mr. Wolfe had a point after all…

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"AHHHHHHHHH!"
“AHHHHHHHHH!”
So very embarrassing
So very embarrassing

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Was it a homage from Lenar? I like to think so
Was it a homage from Lenar? I like to think so

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Sorry Garo. I haven't uhh, fully mastered the boy yet
“Sorry. I haven’t uhh, fully mastered the boy yet…”

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Robaton was Donkey long before Donkey was Donkey
Robaton was Donkey long before Donkey was Donkey

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"Sumthin queer about him... like he's possessed..."
“Sumthin’ queer about him… like he’s possessed…”
Love especially the bazooka and burner gun
Love especially the bazooka and burner gun

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Robaton's music is catchy as all hell
Robaton’s music is catchy as all hell

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Love the Dragon Punch. Link never had anything like this!
<3 the Dragon Punch. Link never had anything like this!
New skills learned opens up previously inaccessible areas
New skills learned opens up previously closed areas
A little Castlevania fare here
A little Castlevania fare here
All of the dungeons have a simple but enticing look to 'em
All of the dungeons have a simple but enticing look
It's not as puzzle oriented as Link to the Past, though
It’s not as puzzle oriented as Link to the Past, though
I love the decal preview showcasing the big bad bosses
I love the decal preview showcasing the big bad bosses
The dungeons never overwhelm
The dungeons never get too overwhelming
There's a smoothness to it that makes it really fun
There’s a smoothness to it that makes it very fun
Resident Evil deja vu, anyone?
Resident Evil deja vu, anyone?
A haunted house complete with windows blowing open
The windows blow open here. Love the little details
Bazooka cannon is BADASS
Bazooka cannon is BADASS
Brings back memories of Short Round and Indy
Brings back memories of Short Round and Indy
Tenkai, Gantetsu's brother, helps you learn new skills
Tenkai, Gantetsu’s brother, helps you learn new skills
The Burner Gun says you better get the hell outta the way
My burner gun says you best get the hell out the way
Hmm, why does this seem so familiar? *rubs chin*
Hmm, why does this seem so familiar? *rubs chin*
Ah yes, the Pond of Happiness
Ah yes, the Pond of Happiness
Hook, line and sinker
Hook, line and sinker
"I am. Traded in my bat for a gun and my cap for a 10 gallon hat"
“Traded in my bat for a gun. My cap for a 10 gallon hat”
Gunman's Proof never takes itself TOO seriously
Gunman’s Proof never takes itself TOO seriously
WHO YA GONNA CALL?
WHO YA GONNA CALL?
Sadly it can be beaten in around four hours
Sadly it can be beaten in around four hours
To save, use the bed in his house back in Bronco Village
To save, use his bed back in Bronco Village

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God bless English fan translations
God bless English fan translations
Why Peggy, I think you nailed it. Super indeed
Why Peggy, I think you nailed it. Super indeed

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Loaded with humor, charm and firearms, this game rocks
This game is loaded with humor, charm and firearms

1880. A pair of streaking meteors befalls Strange Island. This unleashed a horde of terrible monsters. In hot pursuit of these vile Demiseed creatures were a couple of space sheriffs. Meanwhile, a young boy, often castigated by his very own father, yearns for something bigger. Hungry for adventure, fate steps in when this young boy and two cosmic space sheriffs cross paths. This is where our peculiar story begins. Along the way you’ll earn the respect of your old man, gain powerful skills from an eclectic group of island ragtags, and blast the holy hell out of various baddies while exploring a haunted house, dungeons, mines and more. It’s over way too soon but it’s one memorable and fun-filled ride while it lasts. It’s one of the best “hidden gems” on the Super Nintendo and it makes me wanna shout, OPPA GUNMAN STYLE!

An amazing game that still flies under the radar
An amazing game that still flies under the radar

From its likable characters to its odd sense of humor, Gunman’s Proof delivers a hellacious trek through the old Wild West. The visuals are bright and vibrant, with decaying dungeons and a unique art style. The music is quite catchy, especially that giddy Robaton theme, but the bulk of the game is blasting hordes of minions to kingdom come utilizing everything from a shotgun to a bazooka cannon. It is one of those games that’s perfect to play after a long day at work. Forget about swords and axes because you don’t bring a knife to a gunfight. I do wish however the game were a bit longer but there’s something to be said about its simplicity and the fact that you can beat it in one (four hour) sitting. Gunman’s Proof is one of the best SNES games you’ve probably yet to play… and I highly suggest you go rectify this. Strafing and incinerating bad guys never felt so good. If you’re looking for a quirky and fun action RPG, then be sure to check out Gunman’s Proof. Like the last cowboy riding out of town at dusk, it just might be the last great Super Nintendo game ever made.

'NUFF SAID!

Graphics: 8.5
Sound: 8.5
Gameplay: 9
Longevity: 8

Overall: 9.0

Gold Award
Gold Award

 

The Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past (SNES)

Happy 24th anniversary!
Happy 24th anniversary!

Today, April 13, 2016, marks 24 years since The Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past graced the North American gaming world. Widely regarded as one of the best SNES titles around (if not THE best in many circles), it’s also considered one of the best video games of all time, period. When I got back into all things Super Nintendo over 10 years ago, I did so with two main goals in mind. The first was to relive my childhood. And the second? To right the wrongs from my past. In many ways it was the closest thing to having a time machine. There were so many SNES games I wanted to play back in the day but never did. Along with Super Metroid, A Link To The Past was atop my list of games to play and beat. I finally played through Super Metroid and finished it on February 10, 2007. It was ah-mazin’. Looking at my collection for the next game to play, I knew it had to be A Link To The Past. So it was. On February 20, 2007, I began my trek to Hyrule, and what a trek it was…

LEGEND HAS IT…

LTTP2It’s a calm and cool night in Kakariko Village. Just like any other night. On the surface, at least. But dig a little deeper… put your head to the ground… stand entirely still and listen to the howling of the wind… the leaves dancing on the twisted tree branches… something is happening. Something is coming. Nightfall quickly approaches and the stars are out tonight in full force. Suddenly the wind whips the weathercock viciously, the elders cease work on their farms and quickly rush inside to take cover. A loud rumbling can be heard from the far distance, getting closer and closer with each passing second. An ominous banshee-like scream cuts through the night sky like piercing sirens.

The gods above give Link a special message
The gods above give Link a special message

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Link arrives but oh woe is he, for the young lad is too late! The moon completes its destiny, shedding tears of pain all over Hyrule, transforming the landscape of the peaceful villages. People turn into monsters. Crops die. Dogs turn into ducks. And so forth.

And the prophecy is coming true…

WAIT A SECOND!

[You got it all wrong, ya git! -Ed.]

Right. Let’s start at the very beginning… the first Zelda on the NES, then…

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[NO, NO, NO! Let’s try this one more time -Ed.]

Alright, I’m sober now. Let’s do this for real…

The legend begins
The legend begins

Although The Legend of Zelda appeared first in the series of Zelda adventures, it actually takes place many years after the third game. In this time, Hyrule had declined, becoming a rustic land with only a few remaining signs of its earlier glory. The land was overrun, and Ganon was to blame. At the heart of the conflict lay a missing piece of the Triforce and Princess Zelda.

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When Princess Zelda discovered that Ganon had acquired a piece of the Triforce, she broke the Triforce of Wisdom into eight pieces and hid them. She knew a hero was needed to challenge Ganon, so she sent her nurse, Impa, to search the land, even as Zelda herself was captured. During her quest, Impa long evaded Ganon’s reach, but in a forest glade she too fell into his clutches and would have been killed if not for the heroic actions of a passing youth named Link. Once the villains had been driven away, Impa told the young man about Zelda’s secret. Then, unable to hold back her tears, she told him how the Princess had been taken captive.

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Link’s heart burned with passion, and he pledged to defeat Ganon and rescue the Princess. He set off at once, knowing only that he had to collect the eight pieces of the Triforce of Wisdom. At every turn in the path he met waves of monsters from Ganon’s unholy army. They challenged him in battle.

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Link’s first task was to find the hidden dungeons where Zelda had secretly hidden the divided Triforce. Many of the entrances were disguised, and only by using all of his wits and the scraps of hints that he picked up along the way was he able to succeed. Inside each dungeon he met countless enemies, for Ganon’s minions had taken hold of even the most remote chambers.

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In the end Link was able to gather all eight pieces of the Triforce of Wisdom, then he scaled Death Mountain and gained entrance to Spectacle Rock. Ganon’s great maze dwarfed any that Link had previously encountered. In a hidden chamber, he discovered a magical Silver Arrow and, taking the prize, he came face-to-face with Ganon himself. The battle between youthful hero and villainous miscreant raged across the chamber, unaffected by the cuts of Link’s sword. As Link began to tire, he tried a last desperate strategy, putting the Silver Arrow to the test. The bowstring sang and the arrow flew straight. Ganon was destroyed!

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With the defeat of Ganon, Link’s mind turned to the purpose that had driven him here — the rescue of Princess Zelda. One final chamber stood before him. Link pushed ahead. Here Zelda greeted him and the pieces of the Triforces of Power and Wisdom were reunited.

A hero's work is truly never done
A hero’s work is truly never done

With the destruction of Ganon and the power of the Triforce restored, peace reigned once more in Hyrule. Princess Zelda now ruled the land, and the country prospered. It seemed as if the shadow of Ganon had been destroyed forever. But Link remained ever vigilant. Wherever Link roamed, he looked for signs of Ganon’s return, for he could not believe that he had truly banished evil from the land.

THE LEGEND CONTINUES

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Zelda II: The Adventure of Link takes place several years after The Legend of Zelda. An older, taller and perhaps wiser Link has seen the country prosper. But peace is a fragile commodity in Hyrule and history has a way of repeating itself.

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Marked by the sign on his hand, Link was destined to become a hero. But in the peaceful days following his first quest, he became restless. He combed through the forests, crossed the deserts and delved into the caverns of Hyrule, looking for clues to explain his feelings of unease. In time he became aware of a whisper that passed between the birds, beasts, and even the blades of grass: there was a new magic in the land… a new magic nameless and terrifying.

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Lying as still as a marble, Princess Zelda slept the dreamless sleep of enchantment. When Link found her in the North Palace, he saw at once that she was spellbound. His greatest fear had come to pass. By refusing to reveal the secret power of the Triforce to a wizard, Zelda had brought on her own downfall. But not all was lost. If Link could somehow unlock the mystery of the Great Palace, then he could save Zelda and the Triforce of Courage to boot.

Savage beasts lurked behind every corner
Savage beasts lurked behind every corner

Again Link took to the fields and forests, but these places had become wild and dangerous, inhabited by enemies of old. Link found himself relying on his wits and swordplay at every step. Creatures he had never before seen also waylaid him: spiders called Deelers that dropped from the trees, tall Geldarms that rose from the sands of the Tantari Desert, and of course the Moblins, armed with spears and hatred.

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Link’s mission? Enter each of the six palaces and restore a missing crystal to a statue. Together the statues created a magical lock on the Great Palace. Only by replacing the six crystals could Link open the final door. In each palace, however, he had to battle a Statue Guardian of great strength: Barba the Dragon, Ironknuckle the Knight, Carock the Wizard and many other nasty surprises awaited our youthful hero.

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Link came across many strange looking statues and structures. Some had switches that only the brave, OR the foolish, would pull.

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As he closed the palaces off one by one, Link crossed the whole of Hyrule, from Ruto in the northwest to Death Mountain in the south, from the Island Palace in the Stormy Straights to Maze Island in the Far Eastern Sea. He helped villagers whenever he could, but he never lost sight of his ultimate goal. Finally, after uncovering the secrets of Old Kasuto, Link pushed on to the Great Palace where he met the Thunderbird.

You are your own worst enemy
You are your own worst enemy

Once the Thunderbird was vanquished, Link thought that Zelda and Hyrule would be saved, but it was not to be… not yet. Exhausted from his journey, Link had one more enemy to defeat — an enemy so unexpected that he did not know what to do, for the enemy was his own shadow.

THE LEGEND GROWS

Eat your heart out, King Arthur
Eat your heart out, King Arthur

Back in the mists of time, before the era of The Legend of Zelda and The Adventure of Link, Hyrule was a land of fabulous palaces and magic. It was also a troubled land, and the divisions of Light and Dark were tearing it apart. The origins of this conflict lay even deeper in the shadows of time, with the coming of the Triforce and the greed of Ganondorf, King of Thieves.

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To comprehend Hyrule and Link’s desperate quest, one must first know the ancient legend of the Triforce. In the Golden Land, where it was placed by the creators of the world, the Triforce beckoned to people. Ganon and his band of thieves long searched for the secret entrance to the Golden Land, eventually stumbling upon it. Then Ganon defeated his fellows for possession of the Triforce.

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In a period known as the Imprisoning War, the King of Hyrule brought seven wise men together to seal the door to the Golden Land, for Ganon’s evil power had been spilling forth, causing corruption and darkness. The once peaceful land became a place of dreadful rumors of the coming of a magical enemy. At this time the Master Sword was forged, but there was no hero valiant enough to wield it.

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Before the wise men could seal off the Golden Land and the Triforce, Ganon’s army surged into Hyrule and besieged the castle. The knights of Hyrule fought heroically, but the power of the Triforce controlled their enemies, giving them inhuman strength. The battle raged back and forth. Many foes fell in the tide of battle, but too many knights perished as well. It seemed that they were beyond hope.

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Then, at the end of the day, the wise men finally succeeded in blocking the door to Ganon’s Realm. With the power of their master removed, the enemies fled or threw themselves into the moat. Hyrule was saved and over the years the Golden Land, which then became known as the Dark World, faded from collective memory.

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While the people of Hyrule forgot about the Dark World, the master of that evil land had not. Ganon brooded in his prison, surrounded by reminders of his fall. He grew ever more bitter as the dark years passed like the wailing of cold wind on a winter’s night. Ambition burned in his eyes. He vowed to one day return to power.

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Many centuries passed with Ganon and the Triforce safely locked away. Then the disasters began: plague, drought, quakes and fire. The King sought sage advice and a wizard named Agahnim stepped forth, ending the strange disasters. He became a powerful advisor to the King, but he kept his true plans to himself…

It seemed like a Golden Age, but it wouldn’t last.

“Can anybody out there hear me?”

Once Agahnim had consolidated his power, he began to abuse it. First to fall victim were the ancestors of the seven wise men. The wizard imprisoned six maidens in crystal cocoons, never to be seen again. Then Princess Zelda herself was captured as she sent a telepathic plea into the night. The Hylian gift that enabled Zelda to send her message also allowed Link to hear her.

“Stay back, Link. You hear me?!”

Having received Zelda’s message, Link felt compelled to save her, but his uncle forbade him to leave the house. Link’s uncle thought that the lad’s courage outweighed his common sense, yet he knew that something had to be done to save the princess. Turning away from Link, he gripped his sword. He knew a secret entrance into the castle, although he didn’t know the way out.

What a terrible night to have a curse...
What a terrible night to have a curse…

Link couldn’t tell how much time had passed since his Uncle had left — a minute? An hour? The only thing he knew was that Zelda had spoken to him. He could bear sitting around no longer. Taking a lamp to light his way, Link stepped out into the lashing rain and headed toward the castle.

"Idiot! Aye, here, take my sword..."
“Idiot! You never listen to me. Aye, here, take my sword…”

As Link floundered about in the storm, he heard a second telepathic message from Zelda telling of a secret route into the castle. When he found the entrance, he also found his uncle inside, wounded and unable to carry on. Link took his Uncle’s sword and promised to return…

KEY ITEMS AND ABILITIES

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Here are some of the cool things Link can do. You’ll be doing lots of this, and as you’d expect from Nintendo, the control is crisp and feels spot on. So far, so good!

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And here are some of the items you must find in order to complete your quest. Some have multiple uses, some are one and done, while others act as teleporting devices! Nice.

Even Hyrule is home to some hobos
Even Hyrule is home to some hobos

The Magic Bottle is an awesome item. You can carry up to four and these babies can hold magic potions (recovering health, magic power or both), fairies (which if you have activated when you die, the fairy will escape the bottle and revive you there on the spot), etc. Can you find all four? Here’s my favorite of the four. A hobo trying to just see the light of tomorrow. I love how totally atmospheric this is and it gives Hyrule a real pulse.

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Like I said earlier, many items serve multiple purposes, which speaks to Nintendo’s ability to make such playable games. The hookshot also acts as a potent offensive weapon!

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Here, Link shows off the powers of the almighty Firerod.

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The Goriya can be a tricky foe at first, but his pattern is actually simple, particularly in large open spaces. The green ones are a push over but the red ones are defiant with their scorching fireballs. Be sure you have a set of arrows on you and be prepare to move your feet.

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Hmmm, I wonder what happens when you drop a bomb by damaged walls? Oh look this is just too hard. Back to my Rampage games, then.

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Use your net to capture bees and store them in a bottle. They can be unleashed to help you battle Ganon’s minions. Did I mention how awesome the bottle is? And recall how items can serve multiple purposes. Did you know, in addition to the sword deflecting the magic of Agahnim, that the net ALSO works?  Try it!

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Hyrule is filled with cool legends and urban myths. Is the Tale of the Good Bee for real? Only weary travelers know for sure.

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That little swirly spot is the mark of the Magic Mirror which allows you to go from the Light to Dark World. I love this shot. Just look at the billow of smoke blowing from the chimney, the little swords adorning the exterior, and hey, what would happen if you smash the stake down with the magic hammer?, Could you drop off the ledge into that opening down there… where would it lead? Hmmmm…

RAIN OVER ME

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The opening scene, with the rain lashing down on Hyrule, is considered one of the most awe-inspiring gaming moments in 1992. It was simple, but it has stuck with many SNES players.

Your first goal is to head to Hyrule Castle, but you’ll need to find an alternative route…

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One of the many great things about this game was that it wasn’t just a pure action game. You had to use your wits to progress throughout the game, making it all the more rewarding when you finally do conquer it.

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Rescuing Princess Zelda is no easy job. First you must come to blows with the Ball and Chain Trooper. His demise comes with the prize of a big key. Congratulations, you’ve saved the damsel in distress and the game is over! Of course, wouldn’t be much of a game, so the silly lass gets kidnapped again. That wacky Miyamoto…

THE HOLY GRAIL!
THE HOLY GRAIL!

After you retrieve the three pendants (and solve a host of puzzles while killing tons of enemies), make your way to the Lost Woods and see if you can’t find the mythical Master Sword. Be careful, the Lost Woods is home to weird creatures, thieves hiding behind bushes, and to make matters worse it’s filled with fog and lots of false swords. Can you find the Real McCoy?

*cue classic Zelda sound effect*
*cue classic Zelda sound effect*

The mist clears and the surrounding thieves quickly scramble for cover. No normal being can so easily extract the Master Sword like that. Whoever this Link was, they knew better than to mess with him. And with that, the adventure is only beginning…

THINGS TO FIND AND DO

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In each dungeon a Big Key must be collected in addition to a host of other keys. I love how the Big Keys are kept in these large treasure chests. Therefore, it’s rather satisfying whenever you locate these bad boys.

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Other treasure chests hold not keys, but valuable goodies. Link like, oh yes, Link like a lot.

You gain an extra heart for each boss defeated, but 24 hearts are scattered throughout Hyrule in the Light and Dark World. Collecting four gives you one full heart. Some are hidden underground, others high above ground. Be creative! Push and pull any weird looking tombstones, trees, etc. Can you find all 24 hearts?

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There’s one! Random games can be played, at the price of some Rupees, and you just might find a piece of a heart in the process.

Mini-games are fun and break up the action a bit
Mini-games are fun and break up the action a bit

This is one of my favorite mini-games. It took me like 100 tries before I found the piece of heart! Worth it? YOU DAMN RIGHT!

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Along the Swamp Ruins, Hyrule historians surmised that the civilization must have cultivated crops and practiced an early form of irrigation.

[They what? -Ed.]

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Oh look, in layman terms this is another underground dungeon, but rather than being just another level, they lavished some feeling of history behind it to create its own unique world; such is the love that Miyamoto devoted into the game.

[Oh -Ed.]

Look out for Mumm-Ra...
Look out for Mumm-Ra…

Before you arrive here you must get by the intricate stonework and maze-like garden of the Dark Palace, which features a unique monkey motif. Due to the passage of time the garden has become unpredictable and thus can prove to be difficult to navigate…

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The only way to enter this dark catacomb was to flip a switch up top. But how can Link get up there? Hmmm. Talk about monkey business…

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The very ominous looking Eastern Palace, with twin gargoyle heads adorning the courtyard, is even more frightening inside. Link entered the stark domain where he soon encountered materializing skeletons and slumbering giants. Here lies the almighty Bow, but it’ll awaken the deadly Armos Knights…

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Nowhere in Hyrule was it safe. Agahnim’s guards patrolled the castle walls and even on the Sanctuary grounds.

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Many strange places call Hyrule home. Few adventurers dare make the trek in some of the more suspicious looking entrances. Thieves carved out this opening in a huge, old redwood stump, then tunneled into the earth to create a cave. Rumor has it, no one who has entered has come out alive. Children are advised to stay far away. It’s even said that a man-eating goblin lives deep underground…

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Speaking of ghouls and goblins, the Hyrulian Cemetery was full of legends and rumors. One of which was that the tombstones didn’t always hide bodies, but treasures. Will you go tramping around and risk the chance of disrupting the slumber of the dead? Who knows what spirits you might unleash… or what treasures you might find!

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The lightning laser guards Agahnim’s Tower. Man, if only I could find something to break that pesky magical seal…

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Link can see all over the land of Hyrule atop the pyramid, but an odd sense of clot overcame the young warrior. So he did not linger around for very long. But he also sensed, somehow, that he’d return to the pyramid sooner rather than later…

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A tricky section, this. Rather than floors you have intricate catwalks. Torches could be lit via the Lamp or Firerod, and then Link would have to make haste to the next position where he could relight the flame before it flickers out. You could also use the Magic of Ether to briefly light the way or push a block created by the Cane of Somaria. Or, you could just study this picture.

[Ahhhh -Ed.]

STRANGE BEINGS…

"Come to me, my little sonny..."
“Come to me, my little sonny…”

Across the land of Hyrule there are several fortune tellers. Villagers whisper that these mysterious cloaked figures are not human, and that to enter their shops is to take your own life by the throat. In a quaint cottage near one entrance to the Lost Woods you can find one of them. For a price, she would stare into a magical crystal ball and tell what fate lies in your future. Some people took the predictions seriously and visited often, while others felt it was a waste of money and claimed their crops never grew again after the visit. Link did not believe in such silly superstitions, and knew that with each fortune telling he also had his health fully restored. So, how bad could the fortune teller really be?

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Many trees litter the landscape of Hyrule. In the Light World they don’t present any sort of threat. But in the Dark World some timbers are rumored to speak. Explorers claim they’ve heard weird chants and believe these trees to be Golden Land sentries who were petrified by Ganon’s magic. Link came across hostile trees and could feel the power of Ganon growing by the step.

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This mischievous monkey, known as KiKi, has strange powers and is in love with rupees. In exchange for a set amount, he promises to do a huge favor that will right your quest. But can he be trusted? Will he steal your money and scamper off high in the trees? If you say no, will he summon his primate pals in a revolt? It’s your call…

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Life in the Mire is a nasty place. The Swamolas, believed to be the cousins of the Lanmolas, hid below the muck and slime, surfacing only to snatch a meal [Sounds a lot like my ex-wife… -Ed.]

The chickens are innocent harmless creatures, that is, until you attack one repeatedly. Then, it calls upon its buddies to revolt against you. Useless? Perhaps. Fun to mess around with? You betcha!

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In the Dark World the Ghostly Garden was filled with evil, from the bomb chucking Hinox to the squirming blobs.

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Don’t be fooled by the Hinox’s grin, he is one of the tougher regular baddies in the game. Thank goodness then that they only patrol the Dark World!

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The electro-blobs can cause havoc in packs, especially in close quarters.

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Can you find the blacksmith’s partner? Without him your sword cannot be tempered.

HURRAH!
HURRAH!

Finding the partner will require some wit and cunning skill. Nicely done.

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Sahasrahla the village elder proves to be very helpful throughout your journey.

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Zelda can communicate telepathically with Link through various panels found on the walls of the various dungeons. She offers handy tips to further your progress.

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Fairy Fountains are a Godsend, re-energizing weary travelers to full strength.

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Can you rescue all six trapped maidens?

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Steve, the handsome hero, once again [Yeah, ONLY in video games -Ed.]

YOU AIN’T THE BOSS OF ME

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Many boss battles take place throughout the adventure and I won’t spoil all of them, but here are some to feast your eyes on.

The Armos Knights look intimidating, but they’re a cakewalk. Three well-placed arrows will dispatch of each one, but the last one is double tough. Defeating them earns you the Pendant of Courage.

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Moldorm guards the Mountain Palace and can be very tricky. If you fall over you must start over. I suffered this such fate several times before I got the best of old Moldy. Once you upset him, he starts slithering really fast. It’s almost disturbing in a “It shouldn’t LOOK LIKE THAT!” sort of way.

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Blind the Thief is very sneaky. Finding him is half the battle. Good luck with that, friend.

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Agahnim guards Hyrule Castle and has captured Zelda, the swine.

[Zelda or Agahnim? -Ed.]

Hmmm, both, really, come to think of it.

Hint: He can only be hurt by deflecting his magic. Why not try out the bug-catching net?

Gotta love that old school NINTENDO POWER art
Gotta love that old school NINTENDO POWER art!

Oh Lord… this doesn’t look too good…

Vitreous guards the Misery Mire. It sees all, har har har. Watch out for the lightning this vile creature emits, and once the giant eye comes after you like such, hack away. Like most of the boss battles, it’s easy but nonetheless very satisfying to kill.

The fall of Vitreous sees you rescuing the sixth and final maiden. Finally, the location of Princess Zelda will then be disclosed.

Looking a bit like the new Godzilla...
Shades of GODZILLA RESURGENCE

Ooooh, that’s one nasty looking bugger.

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The Helmasaur King is a big bad boy all right, and guards the double tough Dark Palace. He starts the battle out wearing a gigantic mask. The first step is to remove it, somehow…

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Can you destroy the evil Ganon and save all of Hyrule? The quest awaits.

MY FAVORITE LEGEND

Link to the Past has plenty of legends, rumors and urban myths. It gives Hyrule a real heart beat, a real pulse. It’s the magic that only Nintendo and Miyamoto seem able to craft. I love almost all of them, but I have to share this one… the good ole LEGEND OF THE FLUTE PLAYER.

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Witnesses have seen animals gather around a fading flute player in a grove in central Hyrule. Others claim they can hear the faint playing of a flute hauntingly swirling from the grove north of the Swamp. They would run in the direction of the sound and then find absolutely nothing. Silence fell over as they approached the stump. Suddenly the music would play again and they ran for their lives, convinced that the grove was haunted by an evil, restless spirit. And ever since, everyone knows of the location simply as THE HAUNTED GROVE.

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One day, Link ran into the Haunted Grove to escape some of Agahnim’s soldiers. There he found one of the strangest sights he had ever seen in all of Hyrule. A ghost-like boy sat on a stump playing a flute. Surrounding the boy was a host of animals. When Link approached, the animals ran away and the boy vanished. Try as he might, he could not catch the animals or the boy. Link later discovered they were ghosts…

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Later in his journey Link came across villagers who indulged the youth on the legend of the Flute Boy.

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In the Dark World, the mystery of the Flute Boy was slowly but surely unraveling…

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The Flute Boy gave Link his shovel. Now if Link could only find the lost flute…

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Link got to work, in hopes he would find the Flute and discover its magical powers…

I won’t say how the tale of the Flute Boy plays out exactly, but it’s pretty sad. I grew quite fond of the bloke. Blast it to all heck.

Boy, clues used to be SO subtle in video games
Boy, clues used to be SO subtle in video games

THE TRUE STORY OF ZELDA — FINALLY UNCENSORED!

Stop the presses! I’ve got the scoop to end all, er, scoops! Hidden in the vaults of Nintendo Headquarters I have managed, through my adventurous and plucky spirit, to secure the DIRECTOR’S CUT of how the story REALLY plays out!

Take a look below.

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Well that escalated quickly...
Well that escalated quickly…

Yoinks! Looks like when the pressure was on, his Master Sword broke… [Oh dear -Ed.]

WHAT THE CRITICS SAID

  • EGM: 8, 9, 9, 9
  • Super Play: 93%

In their 100th issue, November 1997, EGM listed Link to the Past as the 3rd best game of all time.

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH THE SHIGSTER

[Don’t call me that ever again -Mr. Miyamoto]

Credit Super Play Magazine (a UK Super Nintendo publication that ran from 1992-1996) and Onn Lee of Electric Brain fanzine for their conversation below with Zelda mastermind Shigeru Miyamoto! Circa November ’92.

The Man, The Myth, The Legend

Shigeru Miyamoto has the golden touch. He’s directly responsible for both the Zelda and Mario series of games developed at Nintendo’s ‘Entertainment Analysis And Development’ department in Japan, making him perhaps the most important games creator at work in the world today. When a piece of software sells 10,000 copies in Japan it is considered a hit, but many Mr. Miyamoto has been involved with have shifted millions, as well as become household names worldwide. It all puts him rather in the super-league. Here’s a conversation recorded with Mr. Miyamoto earlier this year.

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What exact role do you take in the games development process?

SM: I don’t actually do any of the programming, but I am involved in organizing the programming teams. Instead of imposing deadlines, I find that constant encouragement of your staff is the best way to keep them going. Perhaps it’s one of the reasons for our success.

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Are the Super Famicom and SNES versions of Zelda III the same?

SM: Because the SFC version completely used up all 8 megabits of memory, we originally estimated that we’d need another megabit to cope with the text being translated into English for the American game. That being the case we’d need a 9 megabit cartridge for America, but wouldn’t be using up all the space on it, so we toyed with squeezing in a few of the spare ideas left out of Zelda 1 to fill up the space. In the event, though, we managed to fit the English version onto 8 megabits anyway, so any ideas like that went out the window. So yes, both versions should be exactly the same.

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When was Zelda III originally meant to be released?

SM: We were hoping to release it at the time the Super Famicom itself first came out, back in November 1990 alongside Super Mario World. We couldn’t make that, so after that a March ’91 release was planned, but the project dragged on beyond that, too. Eventually it became a Super Famicom first anniversary release instead.

How many people actually worked on the game?

SM: We started with just a handful for about a year, but then added more as things progressed. Basically the small team works out a rough draft plan, and the large team refines this into a game.

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What kinds of things did you have in mind when planning the new game?

SM: We wanted to improve on all the shortcomings of the 8-bit games that had been imposed on us by the technical limitations of the Famicom. In the 8-bit Zelda the player had to imagine a lot of effects that the graphics couldn’t simulate. Also, back in 1987 Zelda had introduced lots of new features to games, like the ability to save your game and buy items, but in the meantime these had become the bog-standard components of any RPG. We knew that to keep ahead of the pack, Zelda III needed more.

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How difficult did you want to make Zelda III?

SM: On average it takes about 40 hours to complete, but the fastest recorded time at Nintendo is five hours! We’ve actually tried to make it as easy as possible. The way the game is structured you can’t take alternative routes to finish the game, so we’ve made it that, for example, if you come across a blocked passage you will be able to progress further, even if you have forgotten a certain item. If mainstream gamers could cope with less linear adventures, though, we might have made it a lot harder.

Is it true that loads of brilliant ideas had to be dropped because of a shortage of memory space?

SM: No, we dropped the average ideas and picked the best!

And finally, how about the future?

SM: I can’t discuss new games at the moment, but we’ve got lots of plans, at least one of which is along the same lines as Pilotwings [And that, as one might guess, became most likely….Star Fox -Ed.]

Thanks once again to Super Play Magazine and Onn Lee!

Interesting that Shigs [Oh forget it -Mr. Miyamoto] mentioned the average of 40 hours. Here’s how I fared on my first go ever…

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As you can see, Turtle Rock and Dark Palace gave me the most fits. Most Zelda III players complain about Turtle Rock and Ice Palace. Ice Palace wasn’t too bad for me. I had a night class at 7 PM and had an hour to kill. I decided to tackle Ice Palace and ended up beating it just in time before class started. Nothing beats that I tells ya! Ah, good times.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Nothing like righting a childhood wrong
Nothing like finally righting a childhood wrong

On Sunday evening, March 11, 2007, 19 days after I started Link to the Past, I dethroned Ganon and finally liberated Hyrule. It was bittersweet in some respect. Sure it was nice seeing the land blossom again and what have you, but a part of me wanted just one more dungeon to work through, one more boss to decimate, one more item to procure, one more heart piece to discover, one more mini-game to play and one more urban legend to solve. It was 30 hours of bliss, and the more I progressed the more the game grew on me, until it nearly consumed me, making me even all the more shameful I waited 15 years to finally play through this. Ah, to live and learn eh?

Every little touch in this game is just great. The hobo taking cover under the bridge, the tale of the quarreling brothers, the bedridden boy, the legend of the Flute Player, the witch, all the dungeons and bosses… there is so much to do and take in. And take it in you will. Not nearly enough games reach the level that Link to the Past did. And what a shame that is. This is more than a game — it’s an EXPERIENCE. Corny and cliche, but true. Take it from a converted fan of this genre, I am just beginning to discover the joy this type of game can generate. It’s not immediately satisfying perhaps, but it doesn’t take long before the quest takes over your every waking moment. After I beat the Ice Palace I ran to my night class. As my professor lectured on and on about BICS and CALP, I could only find myself thinking about what horrors the Misery Mire would bring, and counting down the hours until class would end. Is this the sign of a truly captivating game, or a truly sick man? Probably both.

Further proof of the latter… something disturbed me deeply regarding the theme of the Dark World. Play through that again and TRY TO TELL ME that the theme doesn’t sound like the infamous Saturday Night Live music skit DICK IN A BOX!

[Uh yeah, reminder to self: edit that out…. -Ed.]

Any complaints? Well, there is a hint of slowdown here and there, like the boss fight with Mothula f’rinstance. And while it’s relatively clear what you need to do next, a few of the puzzles are slightly, in my opinion, obscure and can be tough to figure out if playing guide-free. The incessant beep that plays when you’re on your last heart is annoying. These are minor quips though, quite frankly. Other than that, it’s hard to find a real flaw in the armor.

Until we meet again
For now the Master Sword rests peacefully. For now…

Zelda III was released in Japan on November 21, 1991, exactly one year after the Super Famicom made its debut. The American release was held back for six months. When it finally did appear it sold 250,000 copies in the first six weeks — faster than any other Nintendo game in history! If by some crazy chance you’ve yet to play Link to the Past, then I hope you make it a priority to do so. I still have a lot of classics I need to go through, and I can only hope they’re half as good as this.

You are TRULY one of the best games EVER
Happy 24th Anniversary! April 13, 1992-April 13, 2016

Yes, Link to the Past is worth all the hype. You cannot call yourself a Super Nintendo fan, hell, forget that, you can’t call yourself a VIDEO GAME fan until you’ve played through this fine masterpiece. One of the best games on the Super Nintendo, heck, on any system ever. Magic, mystery, action, loads of multi-purpose items, puzzles, giant guardians, huge sprawling mazes, it’s got the lot! An epic hall of fame adventure you simply must go through at least once, if not twice, before you die.

Graphics: 8
Sound: 10
Gameplay: 10
Longevity: 9

Overall: 10

Platinum Award
Platinum Award