Mega Man & Bass (SNES)

Capcom released this Super Famicom game on April 24, 1998
Capcom’s Super Nintendo swan song (April 24, 1998)

Even to this day, a part of me can’t believe this game ever actually happened. Known as Rockman & Forte, Capcom released it on April 24, 1998, well after the SNES was essentially dead. I guess there was a big enough Japanese market still for them to do this. Whatever the case may be, I’m damn glad they did. Because it’s one hell of a Mega Man entry, and a nice bow on the original series.

This is my personal boxed copy
This is my personal boxed copy

The original Japanese version is perfectly playable, but there is a bit of Japanese dialogue. Especially for the item shop and the character bios, it sure helps to be able to read it. Crazed and dedicated fans felt the same way as they worked on an English translation. As a result of that, we have been graced by Mega Man & Bass.

Alternate cover I seen elsewhere
Alternate cover I seen elsewhere
Alternate cover #2
Alternate cover #2

Bass and Treble made their series debut in Mega Man 7. Treble is a wolf and is basically to Bass as Rush is to Mega Man. But for those who don’t want to backtrack to the Mega Man 7 review, here is a quick summary…











Prophetic words indeed from the Blue Bomber. The duo did get their own game and surprisingly it was on the Super Famicom (April 1998). After releasing Mega Man 8 for the Sony PlayStation and Sega Saturn in December of 1996, Capcom wanted to create a new Mega Man game specifically for loyal SNES fans who hadn’t yet made the jump to 32-bit. Further proof that Capcom was the best back in the ’90s.

Capcom felt bad this wasn't on SNES?
Mega Man 8 is GORGEOUS
The sprite work was simply amazing
The sprite work was simply amazing
Apology accepted, Capcom!
Apology accepted, Capcom!









Look familiar? They were bosses in Mega Man 8








Players get the choice to play as either the good old Blue Bomber or the relative newcomer, Bass. Similar to Zero from Mega Man X³, this adds greater longevity to the game as both characters play vastly different. It’s also a blast trying to beat the game with both Mega Man and Bass.







Differences range from small to big. Cosmetically, it’s cool to see the health refills and what not are in the character’s respective color. It’s a nice little touch that I appreciate, even if it’s completely minor.







However, Mega Man as you know has his classic shot. He can only shoot straight ahead. Bass, on the other hand, can shoot in all directions except for straight down. If you’ve ever played a Mega Man game and thought to yourself, “Man, I wish he could shoot up or diagonally…” then you will appreciate Mega Man & Bass. Or at least, Bass anyhow. To compensate for Bass’ shooting ability, he can’t move while he’s shooting (bummer) and his shot isn’t very strong.







Another difference: their personality and disposition. Mega Man is more compassionate and an all-around goody two shoes.







Meanwhile, Bass is a bit more “robotic” [har har -Ed.] and edgy. Hey, he is technically a bad guy. He’s only teaming up on the “good side” temporarily to knock off King.







Checking in with Bass later — for now let’s use good ol’ Megs.







There’s something strange happening at the Robot Museum. Mega Man sets off to figure out what’s going on. I like how the READY sign is big and blue — it reminds me of Mega Man 8.







Museum serves as the standard Mega Man introductory first level you must beat before getting to select from the robot masters. Right away you can see while it’s no Mega Man 8 in terms of visuals (duh), it’s damn impressive for a 16-bit console.







WHEW!! With the whipping rain and wind pushing against you, you manage to barely clear the jump. Make sure you jump at the very edge there.













Proto Man attempts to slay KING — the game’s big bad — but to no avail. OUCH!







Remember the Green Devil from Mega Man 8? He’s back. It’s a different version of the Yellow Devil which appeared in the very first Mega Man title back in 1987.







Reminds me of the bubble boss from Gradius III in that you have to blast away until you expose its core.







Simple, satisfying introductory boss battle that will wet your appetite for the main game coming up. By the way, isn’t it the best feeling in the world to beat a boss with only a health bar or two remaining? Always provides a nice little rush!







WHOA, IT SAVES?!? Yes, it does. It’s the first and only Super Nintendo Mega Man game that uses a save system over passwords.







Purists were a little disappointed when they found out in Mega Man 7 you could only select from four robot masters first instead of all eight. You only get a paltry three here. Once you beat those three, the other five open up. Let’s pay Cold Man a visit first.







Gotta love the animation of Mega Man as he’s zapped magically to the beginning of a stage. It somehow reminds me a bit of Astro Boy. See that CD over there? Throughout the game you’ll find CD’s lying around. Collecting them gives you a character bio card. It’s fun to collect and read (at least if you’re playing a fan translation or if you can read Japanese). Right now you can’t collect that CD since that ice block is, er, blocking your path. But maybe if you beat Burner Man a bit later on and use his Web Burner… hmmm…







Other CD’s are more instantly accessible. They’re not necessary to collect but of course it’s fun to try and collect all 100.







Beginning to look a lot like Christmas [TOYS IN EVERY STORE -Ed.]. No, I mean it’s almost December. That and this gigantic snowman mid boss [Oh, ahem, I knew that… -Ed.]







Slightly tricky bit where you have to time your jump correctly to catch a ride.







Cakewalk city with Cold Man. Jump over his Ice Wall and blast him with your Mega Buster.







Beware of his Sub Zero-esque ice puddle attack, however. He also sends forth an annoying cloud that can really bog you down and leave you ripe for the taking. Best to shoot it down early to avoid that possibility altogether.







Ahhh, what’s better than getting the last shot in and seeing the boss explode with that sweet visual and sound effect? It never gets old, I tells ya!







Speaking of never getting old, I also like seeing how Mega Man earns the boss’ weapon. Just sit back and enjoy.







Alright, we got Ice Wall! But, um, what does it do, exactly?







WHOA!! This game actually gives you a demo preview of each new weapon you steal! Why Capcom didn’t think of this a long time ago remains a mystery.







Ground Man, huh? To Capcom’s defense, after NINE titles you would be running out of ideas too [Oh yeah watch this! Er, um, Cup Man! Hmm, OK, I’ll cut Capcom some slack -Ed.]







There’s a ton of sand everywhere here. You’ll be wondering if there’s an instant death pit or a helpful item hiding in the sand. Find out for yourself…







Creepy robotic worms fall from a pod located up top. Meanwhile, don’t stand still for too long as you’ll sink to your death.







You’ll quickly discover you can’t kill it. So hold onto that ladder there and wait for it to pass by. The ladder doesn’t take you to a new screen. It’s just there for you to safely wait it out. Well isn’t that thoughtful of Ground Man? Helping out the good guys. Just don’t let King know about this…







Better high tail it as the nasty critter quickly reappears. Whew, just barely slid home safe here, eh?







MAJOR FAIL on the first pic there. You can’t run back to a previous screen so get ready to eat some damage. Second pic, the race is on! Who will get to the ladder first? Oh the tension…







Although not the same creature (it would be cool if it was), it’s definitely related. Tough mid boss. Its pattern is somewhat erratic so it’s a bit of a pain to deal with. Close call there, Mega Man!







OUCH. I bet that stings like a you know what. Look at the attention to detail. When your health is low, Mega Man is visibly injured. Nice, Capcom. Nice.







Watch out for its little babies. You can only kill them with the Mega Buster since they’re so small. Gotta love the classic flashing.







SAFE!! Silky smooth, that Mega Man.







Shots sail harmlessly off Sniper Joe’s shield. I’ve always liked the detail of the shots flying backwards. Sniper Joe likes to launch grenades. Give him a taste of your Mega Buster to put him down for the count.













Puzzle time! Each pillar destroyed causes the spikes to fall one more notch. It starts out simple but…













Doesn’t take long before it gets a tad trickier. Sorry about that, Mega Man.







ProTip: Not all treasure chests are helpful. A little RPG-esque here, eh? By the way, see that match there? See what happens when you revisit this level later on with the Web Burner in tow…













Speaking of boss weapons, here’s Mega Man riding the Ice Wall to victory. Sick.







Astro Man, no relation to Astro Guy from King of the Monsters, is next. If he looks familiar to you it’s because he was a boss from Mega Man 8.







Cursory glance and I might believe you if you told me this were a PlayStation or Saturn Mega Man title. It speaks volumes about how gorgeous this game looks and how silky smooth it is.







Meggers giving it the old college try.







Bonjour, Joe. That CD taunts you but after you get your hands on Burner Man’s Web Burner, you’ll be the one who gets the last laugh.







Strange birds and creatures fly out of that inter-dimensional portal screen. Part of me almost expects to see Shredder and Krang!







Interesting bit: study the light pattern and repeat it. If done so correctly, the door magically opens. If not, well, you can figure out what those guns might do…







Tricky bit with the elevating platforms. Keep moving along, Megs!







D’OH!! OK, let’s switch over to Bass now.







Firing off rapid plasma shots for a little “purple rain” action.







Double jump like a ninja. Bass can’t slide, but this is decent compensation.







Shooting diagonally in a Mega Man game? I’m so there.







Reminiscent of Mega Man X, Bass can also dash. It’s fun playing this on a cold rainy December night.







Green Devil is definitely an easier boss when using Mega Man. C’mon Bass!







“THIS IS SPARTA!” Bass battles Green Devil to the very bitter end.








Remember Auto from Mega Man 7? He’s back. He’s sometimes known as Rightot. Whatever you want to call him, call him helpful. He runs this shop where he creates useful items in exchange of bolts (the game’s currency). Throughout the levels you will find small and big bolts. Collect them to buy power-ups. There are lots of items; they range from extra lives to auto charge (!) on the Mega Buster shot. Selecting the right power-up for the right stage is all part of the strategy.








Throughout the game there are a total of 100 CD’s strewn about the stages waiting to be collected. These open up character bios. This is where playing an English translation pays off. I mean, it’s nothing fancy but it’s certainly fun to be able to read the silly little text. It’s a nice piece of Mega Man history, you know?

























Character bios span the entire previous Mega Man universe. Knight Man from Mega Man 6, Freeze Man from Mega Man 7, Frost Man from Mega Man 8, and yes even Saturn from Game Boy Mega Man V! Impressive. True diehards will definitely make it a point to collect all 100. By the way, Saturn hates video games? BOO!


Mega Man & Bass, er, Rockman & Forte, rocks
Mega Man & Bass, er, Rockman & Forte, rocks

I remember when I first found out about Rockman & Forte being a real thing. It was during the mid 2000s and I was thinking, “Seriously? Capcom released this great looking Mega Man game on the Super Famicom in 19-freaking-98?!” That they did. Whatever the reasons were, I’m damn glad they did. It’s easily the Super Nintendo’s second best Mega Man game, only trailing the epochal Mega Man X. Being able to use Bass, with his double jumping and diagonal shooting, brings a whole new dimension to the table. The items present a bevy of strategies one could take and the game presents a fairly decent challenge. The 100 CD’s are fun to collect and read — it’s basically a little Mega Man compendium. Oh and perhaps best of all, you can now save. What a fantastic swan song for the Super Nintendo from the fine folks at Capcom. If it weren’t for 1999’s Sutte Hakkun, I’d say this is easily the last great Super Nintendo game ever crafted.

In a flash, Capcom bids farewell
In a flash, Capcom bids farewell

Stunning visuals, classic Capcom audio and vintage Mega Man gameplay cements Rockman & Forte (or Mega Man & Bass) as one of the best Super Famicom games to never appear in North America. Thank you Capcom for giving us loyal SNES fans one last bang. Capcom’s SNES swan song turns out to be one of the Blue Bomber’s finest 16-bit outings.

Graphics: 9.5
Sound: 9
Gameplay: 9
Longevity: 7

Award4Overall: 9.0
Gold Award 


Quit monkeying around and play this!
Quit monkeying around. Play it!

Mega Man 7 (SNES)

Pub and Dev: Capcom | September 1995 | 16 MEGS
Pub and Dev: Capcom | September 1995 | 16 MEGS

After gifting SNES owners with two high quality Mega Man X games, Capcom shocked the world when it released Mega Man 7 in the fall of 1995. By then the SNES was starting to wane as 32-bit war machines and 3D polygons became all the rage. The PlayStation was unleashed that same month to much hype, and it was clear the SNES had seen better days. But can Mega Man 7 prove there’s life yet in the Super Nintendo and the Blue Bomber? Let us take a trip back in time. The original Blue Bomber is back, but is it a happy homecoming?


Like a horror movie franchise, they kept coming

Growing up in the late ’80s to mid ’90s I was blessed enough to witness the rise of the classic 8-bit NES as well as the SNES. Along with that, my friends and I got to play a crapload of Mega Man games. There were a whopping six of them on the NES. The second one remains one of my favorites to this day; it still holds up remarkably well even 25+ years later and was a defining game for many of us. The rest of the sequels all had their good points. It was nearly a certainty back then that with each passing year there would be a new Mega Man title to play, and eight more robot masters to conquer. It was death, homework and Mega Man for many kids. While the series peaked for me at number two, I can vividly remember playing parts three through six in one fashion or another. There wasn’t a single bad Mega Man title among them. They might not have been as epic as Mega Man 2, but with these games I could always be guaranteed a certain amount of polish. Like a comfy old pair of sneakers, Capcom rarely let me down.

They just keep coming and coming...
Mega Man and Michael Myers have more in common than you think…

In many ways I consider Mega Man as the horror movie franchise of video gaming. Like Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th, it seemed like every year a new sequel was made. Just like Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees, you couldn’t kill Mega Man or his nemesis, Dr. Wily. And just like the horror film franchises I cited, there was usually one stand out in the group, with the following sequels never quite living up to the standards set by the best entry in the series. Still, the sequels nevertheless held a certain charm for the diehard fan. For the Halloween series, it was the original. For Mega Man, it was part 2. In the early ’90s I was clamoring for a Halloween sequel as well as a 16-bit Mega Man. Finally, in September 1995 HALLOWEEN 6: The Curse of Michael Myers came out. And that same month Capcom gave us MEGA MAN 7, bringing the original Blue Bomber for the first time to the Super Nintendo. My wish had come true and I was psyched! [Be careful what you wish for… -Ed.]

HE’S BAAAACK… *heavy breathing*

It was a homecoming for both Michael Myers and Mega Man in the fall of ’95. The Boogeyman returned to the silver screen after a six year long absence while the Blue Bomber made his classic series debut on the Super Nintendo. Yet again the town of Haddonfield is steeped in danger and cold blood as a masked maniac roamed the streets. The film followed the sordid exploits of the Shape stalking his unsuspecting victims both day and night. And in his penultimate role, the legendary Donald Pleasence returned one last time to reprise Sam Loomis — Michael Myers’ former doctor turned boogeyman hunter. The theatrical version was universally panned. Rightfully so, as it was a mess. However, hardcore Halloween fans know there is a producer’s cut featuring 43 minutes of alternate footage (including a different ending). It tied up some of the loose ends of the shoddy and heavily edited version shown in theatres. It’s one of my favorites but the theatrical version, not so much. Michael Myers had a rough homecoming. How did Mega Man fare?

Sadly, not that much better (with the critics anyhow)
Sadly, not that much better (with the critics anyhow)

Mega Man 7 couldn’t have arrived at a worse time. It came out the same month as the PlayStation. While the SNES was very much still alive in the US, it was clear that its best days, commercially, were over. Next gen became all the rage, and in the midst of all this, Capcom decided to resurrect the original NES series. Had it came out two years prior, it would have been hailed as one of the great comebacks of the 16-bit generation. Instead, it got lost in the shuffle and was largely deemed as redundant, outdated and ultimately forgettable. It was seen as a Capcom cheap cash cow attempt to milk a classic franchise for a few bucks from loyal 16-bit owners before moving to 32-bits. Mega Man 7 did garner some solid reviews but no one really noticed as it quietly went as quickly as it came. But one of the great things about this hobby is the ability to explore any game in-depth, even if it flew under the radar back in the day. With that said, let’s take a look at the 16-bit debut of the original Blue Bomber.



It’s all about being at the right place, right time

Isn’t it amazing how big a role timing plays in life? Today complete copies of Mega Man 7 can reach as much as $700. Back in 2006 I got it complete for a measly $25. How times change. I took this pic on a Saturday morning of April 1st, 2006. I’m thankful I got back into the SNES scene when I did. I was lucky the nostalgia bug bit me a few years earlier than it did for many others, as the retro market began to rise just 2-3 years later. Speaking of timing, it’s a well known fact that Mega Man 7 was rushed; it had a developmental time window of just three months. While the programmers look back on the tight-knitted experience fondly, with designer Yoshihisa Tsuda referring to it as being fun like a sports team camp, they all admitted they had different regrets. Ideas they wish they could have fleshed out more with an extra month of time. It’s easy to see where their sentiments stem from. Mega Man 7 is flawed but plenty of fun with a few twists along the way, in addition to its familiar traits. Plus it had cameos galore from Mega Man’s 8-bit gaming past.

He can now duck! Er, maybe if they had more time
He can now duck! Er, maybe if they had more time





















One by one, these top secret robot masters awoke from their six month long slumber…










With the city lying in ruin and countless casualties, the world needed a hero to step up…



After killing Mad Grinder, you meet Bass and Treble
After killing Mad Grinder, you meet Bass and Treble











Sad but true: his Mega Buster has been toned down. Normally, the charge shot counts as 3 regular shots, but here it’s been reduced to 2. It pissed off quite a few diehard fans.

Wait, where's my eight?
Wait, where’s my eight?

Speaking of pissing off, Mega Man 7 also had another big change in the classic formula that was not very well received by some pundits. Rather than giving you all eight bosses to pick from right off the bat, now you begin with four. Some complained that this killed the strategy component of the original concept. On the other hand, it allowed the four back end levels to be harder… based on the fact that the programmers knew you had to have gained certain skills prior! It’s a give and take. After a while I honestly didn’t mind it one bit.


Yellow, you're mellow. Be near RED, you're DEAD
Yellow, you’re mellow. Be near RED, you’re DEAD
Watch your jumps...
Watch your jumps…







Sliding effectively is the difference between the agony of defeat or the thrill of victory.



I hate to burst your bubble -- [HAR HAR -Ed.]
I hate to burst your bubble — [HAR HAR -Ed.]

Brings back memories of Air Man
Brings back memories of Air Man


Things get international with VISHNU MAN (or not)
Things get international with Vishnu Man (or not)


Everything's bigger in Mega Man 7... even the ladders
Everything’s bigger in Mega Man 7, even the ladders
Those annoying Mets are back in a beat 'em up bit
Those annoying Mets are back in a beat ‘em up bit


And you thought your room was messy...
And you thought your room was messy…













Freeze Man has one seriously, pardon the pun, cool ass boss entrance.






When he said FREEZE, I didn’t think he meant it literally!

Can't hold it back anymore! The cold never [SNIP -Ed.]
Can’t hold it back anymore! The cold never [SNIP -Ed.]



Doc, open your eyes. Stop listening to your heart...
Doc, open your eyes. Stop listening to your heart…








Home to some old “friends,” the Robot Museum is an awesome bit of fan service.











You’re too late. Guts Man is going back to the lab to be reinvented. Wily exits and in his place comes forth the corpulent Clown Robot.

A funny sight gag, it turns into Skull Clown Robot
A funny sight gag, it turns into Skull Clown Robot

Forget shooting it anywhere on its body other than its shrunken head. The Clown Robot can be an annoying mid boss due to its massive size yet small hit box. Once you knock its head off, shoot like crazy as the head will soon reattach and the whole process repeats itself.

Ah, the final four
Ah, the final four

Now that you have beaten the first four, the final four is unveiled. These last four levels are a bit harder than the first four since the programmers knew you’d be coming in with certain boss weapons equipped. I kind of dug this format.


Sonic the Hedgehog defined the summer of '91
Sonic the Hedgehog defined the summer of 1991





Get too high and die [See, games are educational -Ed.]
Get too high and die [See, games are educational -Ed.]


[I hear some call him PRICK MAN... -Ed.]
[I hear some call him PRICK MAN… -Ed.]






You can’t help but miss the awesome Ride Armors from the previous two Super Nintendo entries, Mega Man X and Mega Man X². Perhaps as a result of knowing that, they gave us this. Er, okay. There is no comparison between this friendly robotic dino ally and that of the magnificent Ride Armors, but at least it helps to break up some of the action.









It’s also thanks in part to how it rumbles after you as you desperately flee to the far right. Until it finally corners you into a duel to the death. Attacking with its flame breath and fireballs, it’s easily the best and most memorable mid boss fight in the game. Fusing the best of Mega Man and Jurassic Park, it’s simply awesome.

Care for a mint?
Care for a mint?
The weapon-level interaction doesn't get enough love
The weapon-level interaction is highly underrated





Mega Man meets Strider. It is with the Slash Claw!
Mega Man meets Strider. Nice!

It completely changes the way you approach controlling Mega Man as he goes from gunslinger to a badass killing samurai! There’s something about getting up close and personal to slice robots apart that can’t be beat. One of the best weapons to ever come out of the series due to it fulfilling a childhood dream… what if you crossed Mega Man and Strider? You get the Slash Claw. Pure total destruction at its finest!










Whew, a close call there! This is a neat little section that kind of brings me back to 8-bit gaming. In a lot of ways there is a bit of a vintage feel to Mega Man 7.

Thankfully if hit it's not an instant kill
Thankfully if hit it’s not an instant kill


Well hello there, Optimus CRIME
Well hello there, Optimus CRIME
















Shade Man’s level starts out in the pitch black of night as Mega Man looks out… only for the darkness to slowly peel away, revealing a full moon in the distance. Brilliant stuff. It’s made even better if you did the Ghouls ‘N Ghosts code to get the Ghouls ‘N Ghosts theme going! ^_^


It's a bit shy and doesn't like coming out of its shell
It’s a bit shy and doesn’t like coming out of its shell

Not quite the sinister Pumpkinhead demon from horror movie fame, but nonetheless makes for a solid mid boss battle.

A little liquid courage gets it to open up...
A little “liquid courage” gets it to open up…

Damnit, your shot still bounces off it harmlessly. Guess if you’re gonna go all the way then you’ll need to wine and dine its ass first…


Finally it opens up. But not for very long, so make each time count with a well placed shot. It’s all a matter of patience and being on point.








[Stupid idiot! YOU JUST MADE THE LIST!! -Chris Jericho]



"Damnit. I thought everyone knew Bass was pronounced as Base"
“Doc, everyone knows Bass is pronounced Base!”





"Crap. Something really big is right behind me, right?"
“Crap. Something really big is right behind me, huh?”


Guts Man is trying to turn Mega Man into Rock Man
Guts Man is trying to turn Mega Man into Rock Man



It never gets old stealing weapons off the bosses
It never gets old stealing weapons off the bosses

Like all Mega Man games, the formula remains the same. Beat a boss and gain its powers. One of the unique things about 7 is that the weapons not only serve as offensive tools, but they can also aid you through various levels and situations, too.



You can even fight Proto Man and win his shield!
You can even fight Proto Man and win his shield!
What will this to lead to? It pays to experiment!
What will this to lead to? It pays to experiment!








The Noise Crush bounces off walls and can be caught, giving you a mega blast.

Come on feel the noise crush! Girls rock your boys!
But don't use Freeze Cracker on Freeze Man. Trust me.
You’re going to the junkyard, Turbo Man

Try out the various weapons! Each boss has a weakness but there are also some weapons that will cause different status changes. For example, see what happens when you fire the Thunder Bolt at Turbo Man. But whatever you do, don’t use the Freeze Cracker on Freeze Man. Trust me…











Call on the Super Adaptor for a major boost. “IT’S MORPHIN’ TIME!”

The only downside: no sliding in this form
The only downside? No sliding

Call upon Rush to fuse with you into a super power known as Super Adaptor. This is a combination of powers from Mega Man VI (NES) and Mega Man V (Game Boy). It’s just another example of how Mega Man 7 pays homage to its previous entries.

It helps ease the pain of no dashing or wall climbing
It helps ease the pain of no dashing or wall scaling

The Super Adaptor is a game changer. You can jump and then hover, which allows you to leap distances far away from a ladder and in one smooth motion grab a hold. It turns the Blue Bomber into an efficient killing machine!

When not charged, he fires his Mega Buster as usual
This replaces the Super Mega Buster

Instead of shooting the Super Mega Buster when charged, Mega Man launches his Rocket Punch.

Not so fast! Behold his hovering powers
Not so fast! Behold his hovering powers
Rush Search is a bit lame, though
Rush Search is a bit lame, though






When you activate the Rush Search, Rush appears on the scene to sniff out any nearby goodies. When there’s nothing of use, he’ll dig up a bone. Thanks for the help, bud. But he can also find dolls, dead fish, dentures, robot toys and a Game Boy. Real funny, Capcom.

Rush Jet, on the other hand, is very helpful
Rush Jet, on the other hand, is very helpful


Introducing Eddie's Shop
Introducing Eddie’s Shop


That's just wrong
That’s just wrong
Purists may find the bolt shop "rebolting" [... -Ed.]
Purists may find the bolt shop “rebolting” [… -Ed.]
Hey there, handsome
Hey there, handsome

Even better than buying a 1-UP was killing an enemy only to find a 1-UP left in its place. It rarely happens too, which only adds to the great feeling of when it does happen.

Always a welcome sight
Always a welcome sight

Show of guilty hands here… how many of us have “farmed” at some point while playing a Mega Man title over the years? Yep, guilty as charged here. I try to avoid it for the most part, but there are a few times where I slip back into it.

Beat saves your butt if you have a Beat Whistle on ya
Beat saves your butt if you have a Beat Whistle


After this, hold L + R while pressing start
After this, hold L + R while pressing start



Indeed. Remember how I mentioned that the programmers expressed regret that they were rushed to roll out Mega Man 7? They only had three months to create it. This mode would have been more fleshed out if only they had an extra month of programming time… it’s too bad, eh?


Stuck on Sigma's last form. One of these days...
Stuck on Sigma’s last form. One of these days…
Some claim 7 to be one of THE hardest in the series
Some see 7 as one of the hardest in the series

It is ironic, eh? Mega Man X is considered to be easy while Mega Man 7 is viewed by many as one of the hardest entries in the entire franchise. Somehow I was able to beat 7 but not X (yet). Strange but true.

The ending reveals a fed-up and darker Mega Man
The ending reveals an angrier, darker Mega Man
Damn, son! You done messed him up!
Damn, son! You done messed him up!

For those who don’t wish to be spoiled, skip this block of text. In the end, Wily apologizes for the trouble and grief he’s caused. He also promises to go quietly. Unlike previous adventures, Mega Man knows better this time. He charges his Mega Buster and tells Wily he’s going to do what he should have done a long time ago. It was shockingly violent (and satisfying). Wily counters by reminding Mega Man robots can’t hurt humans. Then, in total action hero movie mode, Mega Man utters the hauntingly brilliant one-liner: “I’M MORE THAN A ROBOT… DIE, WILY!” I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read that. Blew my mind to know the Blue Bomber was about to kill Dr. Wily by blasting him square in the face. But of course, before he can, Bass and Treble come to the rescue. They whisk Wily away, and the whole place starts to blow. In the closing sequence we see Dr. Wily’s Fortress exploding in flames. Mega Man is seen walking away, never once glancing back, like an action movie star. Nice ending.


It didn't quite make the splash it was hoping for
It didn’t quite make the splash it was hoping for

Mega Man 7 received solid, if unremarkable, feedback. EGM gave it scores of 8.5, 7, 7 and 7. GameFan hyped it up big time in previews but never reviewed it. Super Play rated it 79%. While the numbers were certainly respectable enough, the consensus seemed to be along the lines of “Good game but it’s nothing we haven’t seen before.” This was made evident by such remarks as EGM reviewer Danyon Carpenter saying, “Get ready for more of the same.” Al Manuel added, “With all the good things going for it, this game really needs a revamp. The engine is getting old and tired.” On the flip side, Sushi-X defended it. “I can understand some people getting burnt out on the concept, but I love the action and challenge of this classic game with an excellent feel.” It’s hard to deny that by late ’95, the Blue Bomber was looking a bit conceptually outdated…

Rocky times for Rock Man
Rocky times for Rock Man

When the first Mega Man title burst onto the scene way back in December of 1987, it was a revelation. The sequel refined the process and dazzled the gaming world with its visuals, amazing music and non-linear gameplay. But of course, like with the original Halloween or Nightmare on Elm Street films, many years and many sequels later, the once fresh concept has now grown more than a bit stale. Mega Man X managed to reinvent the series by taking it in a different and radical, more mature direction. By the time Mega Man 7 came out in late 1995, for many fans it felt like a step back. People were now used to X’s athleticism, yet here comes the original Blue Bomber without the dashing or wall climbing abilities. It’s easy to see why Mega Man 7 sort of became the black sheep of the SNES Mega Man legacy. When I first played through it in 2007, I, for one, really liked it. Then I went online seeking other people’s opinions of the game and I was mortified to see all the venom people were spewing at the game. The hatred was so thick that it felt like Mega Man was being stoned to death by these vociferous gamers. I can understand the criticism, but it doesn’t change the fact that I still really like Mega Man 7 a lot.

Didn't mind the odd lull -- I like to admire the scenery
Didn’t mind the odd lull. I like to admire the scenery
Someone's been eating donuts and burgers...
Someone’s been eating cheeseburgers

The most common complaint is that Mega Man is too big compared to earlier models, specifically X. 7 is much bigger and less agile than X. If you love X’s faster and more mobile capabilities, naturally, there might be a disappointment with 7. 7 is more of a plodding, methodical adventure. It goes back to understanding each game for what it intended to be. The X series was all about refreshing changes and new gameplay mechanics to go along with a much darker storyline and tone. And the X games do a splendid job of that. But 7 was meant to go back to the original roots of the series — a more cartoon-ish, light-hearted affair. The sprite is full of character; it’s totally Inafune. Sure he’s a bit clunky, but I actually enjoy the way he looks. His size didn’t bother me, and I still had a blast with the game. That’s all that really matters to me. Credit Boxed Pixels for this comparison shot.


Mega Man 7 is a solid game worth sinking your teeth into
This is a solid game worth sinking your teeth into

Mega Man 2 was one of my earliest video gaming memories and a defining game of my youth. I liked Mario growing up but was always more of a Mega Man guy. There was an entire generation of 8-bit gamers who couldn’t wait to see the Blue Bomber make his SNES debut. It proved to be worth the wait when he finally did as Mega Man X is considered one of the finest games in the franchise. Capcom’s decision to continue the original NES series on the Super Nintendo in late ’95 was a bit of a shock. But I love how we can look back on the history of the SNES and say there was at least one classic original Mega Man game made for it. In a lot of ways, it’s close to how I imagined the series would look and feel in 16-bit. Mega Man 7 may have its fair share of critics, but it’ll always have a special place in my gaming heart.

Not the best homecoming but good to see him back
Not the best of homecomings, but it still rocks

Though many view it as a step backwards, I found it to be a refreshing return to its roots. Sure, 7 has its flaws. A chunkier sprite means the action is more methodical than fast paced. The charge shot is nerfed. On the bright side: Bass and Treble are great additions to the franchise. It’s cool to see Rush back, and the Super Adaptor is a killing machine. The ability to use weapons in multiple ways was brilliant. Various nods to the past are made giving the game a good bit of fan service. And what’s a Mega Man game without menacing monstrosities? The ones featured here are among the most memorable in Mega Man lore, ranging from a towering T-Rex to a roaring evil big rig. The bolt system and shop added a new wrinkle to the classic formula. It proves handy as you progress throughout the game especially for the final battle, which is hailed by most as one of the hardest Wily fights ever. Despite falling short of its potential, Mega Man 7 is a quality action game. It’s no Mega Man X, but I don’t think it was ever meant to be, and perhaps that’s where the charm lies. Sometimes you want refreshing. Other times you’re in the mood to return to your roots. Mega Man 7 manages to do a bit of both all at once. I’m not saying it’s perfect. But it hits sort of a sweet spot for me. While it isn’t his greatest outing ever, there are a lot of underrated aspects it brings to the table. Approach it with an open mind and you might appreciate it, too.

Graphics: 8.5
Sound: 8
Gameplay: 8.5
Longevity: 7

Overall: 8.5

Double Silver Award
Double Silver Award




[Fooled folks all these years except me. Prick Man! -Ed.]
[Fooled folks all these years except me. Prick Man! -Ed.]
Not the best of homecomings but it still rocks
Good to have the original Blue Bomber on SNES!

Mega Man X (SNES)

Pub and Dev: Capcom | January 1994 | 12 MEGS
Pub and Dev: Capcom | January 1994 | 12 MEGS

The list of must-play SNES games runs long and deep. Over the years there have been hundreds of lists concocted and you could be sure of one thing: somewhere on those lists you would see Mega Man X. Released in January of 1994, it was a long wait coming for fans of the Blue Bomber… but boy, was the wait worth it. Mega Man never looked so good. 20+ years later, Mega Man X is still kicking ass!


Mega Man 2 made many of us blue bomber fans for life
Mega Man 2 made many of us “true blue” fans for life

1989 is a very nostalgic year and holds a special place in my heart. Uncle Jimmy was in his prime, Hulkamania was running wild, Saturday morning cartoons was must-see TV and the 8-bit Nintendo was kicking butt. Thanks in no small part to Mega Man 2. I still remember seeing the game for the first time in ’89 at Ben’s house. All seven of us were blown away by the amazing intro. We marveled at how it scaled up the towering industrial building, the calm and serene city nightlife just below… and that music… THAT EPIC MUSIC. We were instantly hooked. Capcom struck lightning in a bottle as a promising debut morphed into a legendary series the second game on. And so, the Mega Man revolution was born [and milked… -Ed.]


Thankfully, the gameplay didn’t disappoint. It was the total package. What could be cooler than controlling a heroic robot shooting down rogue robots, stealing their weapons and using it against them? It was packed with masterful tunes left and right, along with some memorable enemies and levels.


In a game era where floaty jumps and erratic control was the norm, Mega Man 2 hit us like a breath of fresh air. You always felt in total control of the little blue guy. The jumps were responsive, so if you died, it was entirely your fault and yours alone. The game also gave you a long health bar so you could mess up a bit and still be okay. Granted, this was all done in the first Mega Man but it was the sequel that took everything and cranked it up.

The classic select screen
The classic select screen

Another innovative feature that came from the Mega Man franchise was the player’s ability to pick which level to tackle next. This gave you the freedom and opportunity to go through the game as you saw fit. It was unheard of for its time. It’s yet another brilliant feature that made it stand out and endeared itself to millions of gamers the world over. Each robot ended in MAN, and most of them required a specific robot boss weapon to kill. Part of the fun was figuring out whose weakness was what, and which robot boss to go after next. After beating all eight, you can finally head to Dr. Wily’s Fortress. It was simple yet compelling. And for those who aren’t very good at the game, it even gave you the chance to at least sample the eight various stages, so that you’re never stuck on the same one for days on end. The NES would go on to enjoy a whopping six Mega Man titles. At long last, the SNES came calling…



It was a long time coming, but Capcom finally unleashed the Blue Bomber in 16-bit glory. And what a glorious debut it turned out to be, as MEGA MAN X took everything sacred about the Nintendo entries and cranked it up to the max.

The game felt like a big fat post-Christmas thank you to the loyal fans. Capcom stepped up to the plate and smacked a home run when Mega Man was at last revitalized in a whole new world on the 16-bit frontier. A marriage made in Heaven, it became an instant classic and was adored by everyone in my gaming crew. Mega Man was back, and he was better than ever, jack.







The X-Buster is back and has three different forms. The third being the most powerful and is nearly as DAMN BIG as X himself! This weapon made its debut in Mega Man 4 but it was about the size of the middle shot there. It blew our minds to see how big the X-Buster shot was in this game!


Mega Man games up until this point always started out by allowing you to choose your path. Capcom threw in a slight wrench here. You had to first blow through this intro stage. All it really does is to serve as a “how-to” tutorial of sorts as well as build up the story, which Capcom pulls off really well here.


There’s something really cool about destructible landscaping that makes a level a joy to navigate.


And Mega Man X is friggin’ loaded with them! The first of which is the Bee Blader A.K.A. MECHA MOTHRA.


As we all know by now, you can actually gain access to the fabled Hadoken fireball in this game, and it’s powerful as all hell. It’s one of the best easter eggs of all time ^_^


Not happy to just roll out a standard short intro stage, Capcom took measures to ensure its memorability. One of which includes this awesome bit that sees the decimated bumble bee bot crashing down alongside you as the overpass collapses.

Vile makes his debut into the Mega Man universe
Vile makes his debut into the Mega Man universe
From hero to zero, literally
From hero to zero, literally

You’re no match for Vile. Prior to him you were blasting with the greatest of ease, and it felt like your new X body was all that. But Vile quickly shows you just how much you are still underpowered. After a brief spar, he grabs you to signify the end. When from out of nowhere, a mammoth shot breaks the ride armor’s arm CLEAN OFF!

He gives ZERO f*cks...
He gives ZERO f*cks…

It’s the spectacular debut of Zero, a class-A Maverick Hunter. Vile doesn’t waste time to make a hasty retreat. It suddenly becomes clear that as strong as you are right now, Zero is that much stronger. Zero looks up to see Vile flying away, knowing full well this isn’t the final battle… not yet by a long shot. Meanwhile, X is looking pretty sorry and down and out, so Zero offers the blue dude a few choice words of encouragement…

X is so ashamed; he can't even bear to look at Zero
X is so ashamed; he can’t even bear to look at Zero


What a compassionate chap, that Zero
What a compassionate chap, that Zero


A save feature would have better but oh well
A save feature would have better but oh well

Remember the old NES Mega Man password screens? Yeah, I know you do. I always found them to be a bit cumbersome and clunky. Thankfully, in Mega Man X, like much else of the game, it’s as smooth and user friendly as you could hope for.











Select from any one of eight stages. It’s this wide open exploratory nature about the Mega Man games that I always enjoy and appreciate. If you couldn’t beat one level, you could try another instead of being stuck on the same one for days and days on end. The levels here aren’t innovative or anything, with your standard forest, snow and water levels for example. But they’re all a blast to play through.









For the first time in Mega Man history, the bosses are no longer [Noun] Man. Now they’re all based off some type of animal. I thought this was a cool and necessary change to further separate it from the NES series. Here are the eight robot bosses, respective to the stages above. And yes, they do remind me a lot of my old favorite toy lineup from the ’80s… BATTLE BEASTS. Launch Octopus, Armored Armadillo, Spark Mandrill, Storm Eagle, Boomer Kuwanger, Sting Chameleon, Flame Mammoth and the [Chill] Penguin.






Look, it’s Launch Octopus and Armored Armadillo! Well, not really,  but, well… actually… kinda! The one on the right is actually really  named Armored Armadillo — strange but true. I wonder if Capcom had any existing knowledge of this back when they created their own Armored Armadillo…

They were all the rage back in the late '80s
They were all the rage back in the late ’80s

Remember Battle Beasts? If you grew up in the ’80s then you should. My favorite toy lineup, they sold in packs of two and were miniature two inch animal warriors. Their gimmick? Each beast had a stamp in the middle. When rubbed it’d reveal either wood, fire or water. The idea being that each has a strength and weakness. It essentially plays like Rock Paper Scissors. There was nothing better than walking into KB Toys or Toys R Us back in the late ’80s and seeing an entire wall blanketed by Battle Beasts. Well, one sad day I rushed to the usual spot where they sold them and it was just… GONE. I combed through the aisles to no avail. Finally, I had my dad ask a worker and to this day I still remember his haunting words: “Sorry, Battle Beasts are no more.” NO MORE!?! How could this be, why?! As a kid I just always assumed they would be around forever. I mean seriously, do you know how many different animal species exist? Hell, the brand should still be going strong today. Alas, that day I learned a valuable lesson. Perhaps it was the first time in my young life that I realized… nothing lasts forever. And that all good things must, eventually, come to a bittersweet end… whether you want it to or not. It’s a day I’ve never forgotten.







As silly as this may sound, or maybe not, one of the small pleasures in a Mega Man title is picking a boss and seeing its little introductory bit to said boss. I don’t know why but I swear it’s one of gaming’s sweet small pleasures ^_^

One of the few things Mega Man X didn't quite nail
One of the few things Mega Man X didn’t quite nail


A bit clichéd but it did add a nice wintery atmosphere
A bit clichéd but it adds a nice wintry atmosphere


Remind me of the bats from Wood Man's stage
Remind me of the bats from Wood Man’s stage








X’s ability to jump ON and OFF walls created a brand new experience for the player. This newfound skill opened up endless possibilities. Get to the capsule! [Don’t you mean choppa? GET TO DA CHOPPA!! -Ed.]












Capsules are scattered throughout the game. Each one gives X a major boost. As the game carefully plotted out in the introductory stage, there is a real palpable sense of X growing stronger and stronger, bit by bit, until he’s powerful enough to take on the evil Sigma himself. Capcom did a swell job of building this story.

And of course, the controls were super crisp
And of course, the controls were super crisp









Scaling and jump off walls expanded the game's world
Scaling and jumping off walls expanded the game

So even though Mega Man controlled more smoothly than most other characters of the NES era, I still felt he was a little bit stiff. Sure, he could jump with the greatest of ease and yes, you had a decent amount of control over the direction of his jumps, but he could not duck and at times he felt a bit clunky. I guess you could argue it’s realistic seeing as how he is a robot, but damn if his newfound abilities in Mega Man X doesn’t make him a total flipping badass! The ability to scale walls and slide down them is just too sweet, not to mention practical.


X gazes down at this heart thumping green mile
X gazes down at this heart thumping green mile

The classic boss gate runway of the Mega Man games have always stuck with me. They do a good job of building up the anticipation as well as the tension. I just love the way the doors expand in slow motion while the screen scrolls to the right. One could almost think of this harrowing stretch as a “green mile” of sorts! Hell, it often is for first timers… until you can figure out the boss’ pattern.


Capcom nailed the drama aspect of the boss battles. After the runway, the boss drops out of the sky while a long energy bar fills up. This allows you enough time to sweat it out while the boss throws a taunt or two your way. Your finger is on the trigger ready to fire as soon as the battle commences. Good stuff.


Although the game can be defeated in a non-linear fashion, there’s usually a boss everyone likes to tackle first in any given Mega Man game. For this rendition, the winner is the Chill Penguin. He can be defeated rather easily with the X-Buster. But at least Mister Chill Pill isn’t without some ahem, cool attacks.

[Please, no more bad ice puns. NOT COOL -Ed.]
[Please, no more bad ice puns. NOT COOL -Ed.]
For purpose of effect, I took the hit here to show off this attack in full

[Yeah sure you did -Ed.]

I wish Super Metroid's wall jumps were as easy to do
Yep, the Blue Bomber sure loves Parkour

The ability to jump on and off of walls, as well as sliding down them, created for a host of new gameplay opportunities never before seen in any previous Mega Man title. In particular, it brought a much needed breath of fresh air to the boss battles, as now you had even more strategy and options to evade the frantic enemy onslaught.

Need some good hand-eye coordination here
Need some good hand-eye coordination here

And, not one to just be defensive, sliding down walls also gave you the sweet option of charging your X-Buster for a mega attack upon descending. BOO-YAH!


After toying around with Chill Penguin for a bit, it’s time to put him on ice with a well placed mega charge X-Buster shot. Look at that serious swath.

I made it close for dramatic effect, y'see [Riiiight -Ed.]
I made it close for dramatic effect, y’see [Riiiight -Ed.]


Each boss has a weakness. Find out which to use
Each boss has a weakness. Find out which to use

All of the weapons serve different purposes. Some were ideal for certain situations. You had to tinker with the game to find out the pros and cons. And now having the luxury to switch between them with the Super Nintendo shoulder buttons? Sick!

Stealing boss weapons is a classic staple of Mega Man
Stealing and using boss weapons never gets old
X can also do powered versions of these weapons!
X can also do powered versions of these weapons!


I think I may have a slight affinity for the mid bosses over the regular bosses. I like the fact that they varied in size and shape, usually much bigger than X. I also like that there was no energy bar (it added to the drama). Sure you couldn’t steal their powers, but when they’re as cool looking as this guy here, you don’t really care about that.

Hmm, call it a hunch but... what about that lone eye...
Hmm, call it a hunch but what about that eye…

Your shots sail off his armor harmlessly. You’re going to have to find a different point of entry. I love the visual of your bullets bouncing off his titanium armored body.

Now claim your latest add-on prize: new body armor!
Go get your add-on prize: new body armor!

[Pretty sure Thomas Light doesn't speak like that -Ed.]
[Pretty sure Thomas Light doesn’t speak like that… -Ed.]
I call this enemy "ROCK MAN" [HAR HAR -Ed.]
I call this enemy “ROCK MAN” [HAR HAR -Ed.]
My favorite Mega Man regular enemies are any of the bipedal robots. I kind of wish the series saw more of them quite frankly. There’s something awesome about blasting the holy hell out of them. This guy here being a prime example. PELT AWAY!


Shielded robots were a pain in the arse
Shielded robots were a pain in the arse



Nice try. No mas
Nice try. No mas

Damn indeed. Back in the day my gaming crew used to speculate about how you could ravage the top wall down and enter this boss fight with armor suit intact. It sure was a fun thought. Sadly, that’s all it ever was, but it was a sign of the times. The memories you created with your gaming buddies pre-internet were sacred. Whenever I come to this point in the game part of me can’t help but reminisce of the good old days of early 1994 when life was that much simpler and so too were the video games.

Sting Chameleon is one of my favorites
Sting Chameleon is one of my favorites

A boss fight could go horribly wrong if you didn’t have the right weapon. If you had the right one though, the pendulum swings the other way. It certainly made for some serious note taking jones.


Nice guide that goes for a decent penny
Nice guide that goes for a decent penny

I bought this guide back in 2006 when it was going for peanuts. Now like most SNES items, this strategy guide has skyrocketed in price (costing over $50). It’s a decent and cool little guide but it’s not worth it at that asking price. I love how it’s got my favorite mid boss on the cover there. RT-55J looks a bit like Auto (who was introduced in Mega Man 7) but there’s no proof that the two are connected. Nevertheless, I find it awesome how there’s one mid boss hanging out with all the main bosses on the cover. Maybe ole Stratton was a fan of RT-55J, too?


Speaking of tips and tricks, remember the Hadoken easter egg? It was brilliant. Back in the day this was one of the coolest secrets around. Capcom pulled off some other shenanigans, like seeing ole Chun Li in Breath of Fire, but nothing ever quite topped this one since it affected gameplay.

Throwing a flag. The Power Trip should be maxed out
Throwing a flag. The Power Trip should be at max
Enter this password first
Enter this password first
Then select this stage
Then select this stage
Dr. Light with the karate gi and headband!
You’ll find Dr. Light with a karate gi and headband!
The iconic Hadoken is now yours
The iconic Hadoken is now yours

Not just a mere cosmetic fan service, the Hadoken is death dealt at its finest. It will take out any enemy or boss in just one hit, sans the final form of the final boss. Now that’s what I call playing with SUPER POWER. It’s done with the same down, down forward, forward command as in the Street Fighter II games. There is a half second charge time that leaves you vulnerable, but damn is it worth it. It’s yet another brilliant aspect that only helped to further cement Mega Man X‘s well deserved place in the pantheon of great Super Nintendo games. It’s not quite in that ultra elite Mount Rushmore discussion, but it’s certainly up there.


Mega Man X has etched itself into Super Nintendo lore
Mega Man X has etched itself into Super Nintendo lore

Mega Man X scored rather rave reviews, although a bit lower than most of its fellow classic brethren. EGM made it Game of the Month in their January 1994 issue (#54) when they rated the game with marks of 9, 9, 9 and 9. GameFan was the one that shocked me a bit as they only doled out ratings of 89, 89, 87 and 82. Keep in mind this is the same magazine that gave Clay Fighter a whopping 97%! Super Play Magazine rated it a healthy 88%. In issue #100, Nintendo Power placed Mega Man X on their top 100 games list at #58. The game’s legacy is firmly cemented in gaming history. Fans often cite it as one of their favorite Mega Man games of all time, and it is highly revered in practically every retro gaming circle I have ever seen. Platforming blasters just don’t get much better than this!


[If only you included Mega Man & Bass in that poll, too... -Ed.
[If only you included MEGA MAN & BASS, too… -Ed.]

Several years ago I ran a survey asking which of the four traditional SNES Mega Man games people most prefer. The results weren’t surprising — Mega Man X won by a landslide. It had 55.56% backing it, while Mega Man X³ came in second with 26.67% of the votes. Mega Man X² and Mega Man 7 were tied for last with 8.89% each. While I enjoy all of the games, there’s something about the original that just can’t be beat. And in most circles, that seems to be the consensus. Like Mary, there’s just something about Mega Man X that hits the mark.


Can you stop the sinister Sigma and his Mavericks?
Can you stop the sinister Sigma and his Mavericks?

There’s no denying that Mega Man X is a bonafide SNES classic. Not only did it bring the Blue Bomber back in style but many still consider this one to be the finest hour in the entire Mega Man series. What made this game so epic? We can start off with the spiffy 16-bit visuals — up until that point Mega Man never looked better. While the tunes aren’t Mega Man 2 legendary, they’re still a treat with excellent tunes littered throughout. It plays enough like the old 8-bit Mega Man titles but has enough new features to give it its own unique feel. The control was flawless. Silky smooth and responsive. In a nutshell, take the 8-bit Mega Man which you love so much, add in 16-bit trimmings, and what you get is an absolute classic action title and one of the most beloved Super Nintendo games of all time.

Capcom made us wait a while but it was worth it
Capcom made us wait a while but it was worth it

For anyone who grew up holding an 8-bit Nintendo controller in their hands, Mega Man games have given us countless memories. Mega Man X exploded onto the 16-bit generation with style. From the start, the game puts you in total control of X. He dashes, scales walls and blasts with the best of them. Mega Man and the SNES controller was a match made in Heaven. While the game may lack in challenge, it’s forgivable given how much fun it all is. Like fine wine, Mega Man X has aged gracefully thanks to its timeless gameplay and protagonist. As long as bad robots roam the earth, and Super Nintendos function like the Hondas that they are, Mega Man will always be around to protect and serve. And serve us he has. For nearly 30 years now, he’s been providing us with countless memorable moments. Tunes and images forever etched into our gaming hearts. We can still hum certain Mega Man tracks. We still remember certain boss patterns. And we still love the Blue Bomber after all these years. Thanks for the memories, ye ol’ blue chap. Rock on.

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

Overall: 9.0

Gold Award
Gold Award




To quote the Kite Runner: "It was a way to be good again"
Mega Man X was one of the first titles I picked up
Simply freaking badass
Remember shooting its head clean off? SICK :)

F-Zero (SNES)

Pub and Dev: Nintendo | August 1991 | 4 MEGS
Pub and Dev: Nintendo | August 1991 | 4 MEGS

26 years ago, on a cold morning in Japan, the Super Famicom launched with Super Mario World and F-Zero. Can you believe today marks the 26th birthday of F-Zero? What better time to look back on the game that was than now? I have fond memories of F-Zero — it was the first SNES game I ever played. A futuristic high speed racing game, it blew away gamers with its Mode-7 graphics. Tonight let’s pay homage to an early SNES classic.

And while the graphics were amazing for its time, perhaps it was the incredible sense of top speed that really left us all speechless. I don’t think there was anything like F-Zero on the home consoles back in August of ’91. You had to experience the game back then to truly appreciate it. It’s one of those games you play for the first time and never forget. Ask anyone who played it back in ’91 and they’ll probably have a memory to share with you. And since you asked so nicely, here is mine…

  • The year: 1991
  • The month: December
  • The spot: Beautiful Lake Tahoe, located along the border between California and Nevada, west of Carson City
It was a vacation trip for the ages
It was a vacation trip for the ages

I was eight years old, on vacation with family and friends. You know, back in the good old days when folk had time, my family developed a strong friendship with four families. Together, between the five of us, 10 parents and 16 kids, we had some of the most legendary sleepovers in the history of such. 11 boys and 5 girls, ranging from birth dates of 1977 to 1987. Growing up, those were my brothers and sisters.

In December 1991 the parents wanted to go skiing at beautiful Lake Tahoe. We rented out a huge cabin where all 26 (!) of us stayed. It was insane, needless to say! One of the guys, Tommy, brought along his newly acquired Super Nintendo. He lugged three games along with him: Super Mario World, Final Fight and of course, F-Zero.

I found myself alone. All alone...
I found myself alone. All alone…

That Sunday morning I woke up to an empty cabin, with weird noises coming from the house in every which direction. I tip-toed downstairs timidly and yelled out the names of my family and friends.

No answer… except for the hissing of the house. I felt a chill creep up and down my spine. Some thing felt terribly off.

As I made my way to the kitchen, I found a note on the fridge.

  • Steve,
    We all went out for breakfast. We’ll be back soon. You had a long night last night, and I wanted you to get the extra rest. Make yourself some Honey Nut Cheerios, and don’t watch too much TV.


How could they? Without me? THE HEATHENS!

Ever feel like someone or something is watching you?
Ever feel like someone or something is watching you?

The cabin continued to groan and creak. It was freezing too! And I couldn’t help but feel… a presence in the house. I shivered as I stood prisoner in that cabin from hell.


It was the uneasiest feeling I ever had up to that point in my young eight-year-old life. I sat there in the kitchen and living room section of the house, petrified to go down the hall to use the restroom, much less head back upstairs. Hell, I passed up drinking that ice cold can of 7-UP I spotted in the fridge out of fear of having to use the restroom. Hey, if you saw that demonic hallway, you wouldn’t either…

I was all alone, or was I...
I was all alone, or was I…

I’ve never seen a ghost before in my life. And I hope that I never will. But have I ever felt the presence of one? If I ever did, that cold dreary December morning of 1991 definitely was it.

But I was a resourceful kid. Whenever I was alone and felt apprehensive, I’d turn on the radio or TV. My theory: the spirits would hear that I’m not alone, and therefore, they’d find someone else to mess with. So I turned on the TV and one of the WWF shows came up. It made me think of home sweet home, and for the next half hour, all was good.

Then the show ended.

And the haunted house was back.

Not able to locate any cartoons, I glanced down and saw Tommy’s Super Nintendo. F-Zero was sitting pretty in the cartridge slot. I hit power and was immediately engrossed by its high-end futuristic world. It took my mind from thinking about ghosts to intergalactic racing warfare. I played F-Zero and Final Fight until the gang came home. F-Zero was the first Super Nintendo game I ever played.

And I never looked back

As one might say… the rest is history.



As far as racing games go, F-Zero holds claim to having a pretty nice plot. In the 20th century, mankind was gripped by the fear of being invaded by extraterrestrials. They referred to such space crafts as UFOs. Now, to those of us living in this day and age (the 26th century), this sounds like a fairy tale.

Just what exactly did Ezekiel see on that fateful day?
Just what exactly did Ezekiel see on that fateful day?
Basel, Switzerland. August 7, 1566. These men saw  something...
The men gasped and pointed to the sky

Basel, Switzerland. August 7, 1566. These men saw SOMETHING

Back to the current age we go
Current day

It is now the year 2560, and due to the human race’s countless encounters with alien life forms throughout the universe, Earth’s social framework has expanded to cosmic proportions. Now trade, technology transfer and cultural interchange are carried out on an interplanetary basis.

SILVERHAWKS! Underrated cartoon show of the '80s
SILVERHAWKS! Underrated cartoon show of the ’80s

The millionaires who earned their enormous wealth through intergalactic trade, while satisfied with their rich lifestyles, yearned for new entertainment to stimulate their senses. Their wishes were met by a call for a new project based upon a seemingly simple premise: “Why not hold, on a galactic scale, some competition like the F-1 races once held on Earth centuries ago?”

"The 20th century had some good ideas after all!"
“The 20th century had some good ideas after all!”

Everyone jumped at this idea. Rich merchants from cities in the clouds or asteroids with almost uninhabitable environments immediately invested their wealth in the construction of various racing circuits.


These racing circuits were located as high as 300 feet above ground and held in place by sturdy anti-gravitational guide beams on both sides of the course. The racing machines developed for these tracks used the very latest in super-magnetic technology and were designed to travel without wheels, hovering one foot above the course track.

When the first Grand Prix race was held, people were angered at the brutality of the competition. The organizers had, during construction, placed various obstacles and traps along the raceway. But as time passed and people grew used to these dangers, they soon demanded even more excitement in the race. In time, winning this race meant earning the highest honor that could be bestowed upon anyone in the universe.

People came to call this Grand Prix simply…

















Jump plates make for some major hang time, but sloppy handling here could prove fatal.






These rough spots will deprive your machine of its speed if contact is made.



Careful not to slide out — the special coating blocks your magnetic field.







Talk about cutting it close! Gets the old heart pumping a tick or two faster.








Not all power pit zones are found in the beginning





Some of those right angles are downright BRUTAL!

So was it just me or...
So was it just me or…

Ahhhh, GODZILLA VS. GIGAN. How I remember thee. Back in the late ’80s my crazy uncle often took me to a mom and pop video shop called Video Mart. Next to the horror section was sci-fi. I rented this film once and the cover would forever burn itself into my memory. G-Fans have long debated Gigan’s forehead laser thanks to this cover you see here. It never did appear in the movies, that is, until 2004’s Godzilla: Final Wars. Curiously, it also appeared in Toho’s 1994 Super Famicom brawler. Godzilla: Kaijuu Daikessen.

At any rate, NEW WORLD [Order! For life for life! -Ed.] VIDEO’s logo graced the bottom of the VHS cover, and for whatever reasons it was an image that stuck. When I played F-Zero‘s Silence track, I could not believe the similarity! Take a look for yourself.





Right?! Surely it wasn’t just me… [It was ONLY you -Ed.]








One path sends you down a deadly explosive mine field. Yikes!







While the other path is clear. Make sure you hit that jump plate. Otherwise it’s Molasses City!















Key thing to remember here is ease off the pedal and let your momentum do the work.







Lots of jump plates are strewn about the course, but beware of the magnets that pull your vehicle down.


Well, 544 now. This pic was made November 2007
"Roads? Where we're going...
“Roads? Where we’re going…
... we don't need roads."  [Oh yes we do -Ed.]
… we don’t need roads.” [Oh yes we do -Ed.]





















“No matter how bad you got it, someone somewhere else has it worse.” Yeah, don’t tell that to this guy.


Pretty gnarly and dramatic back in 1991. When your car crashes the camera moves forward briefly, then rotates 180 degrees to show you the burning wreckage. Nice.







You’re given your time results and this nifty option screen at the end of a practice run.







Check the records menu for… er… records. Brilliant! And so forth.



Alright hotshot. You’ve mastered the seven courses in the practice mode. You’ve crushed your rival more times than you can count. Now it’s off to the real deal: the Grand Prix. Choose from three leagues and difficulty levels.














R2: Rendering Ranger is a Super Famicom game that commands a ton of dough. It switches from Contra-esque side scrolling run and gun levels to a space shooter. It’s an impressive display of the Super Nintendo’s capabilities.





Then I think about,

All the years we put in this relationship.

Who knew we’d make it this far…

Then I think about,

Where would I be if we were to just fall apart…

And I can’t stand the thought of losing you.





  • If you start the race with the throttle (B button) held down, you will start off with a powerful dash. However, after the initial boost there will be a momentary stall from which it takes time to begin to accelerate again
  • During a jump, your machine will accelerate as it travels above the course. So to get the best speed don’t avoid the jump plates. Take care, however, to prevent your machine from leaving the side of the course and falling to a crash landing far below!
  • When landing after a jump, press down on the control pad to tilt the nose of your machine upward. This prevents the impact shock of landing from decelerating your machine. You get more lift this way and it’ll help propel you over that extra long and nasty jump on White Land II
  • If a rival machine approaches you from behind you will be alerted by the CHECK mark. Watch for your opportunity to block it from overtaking you
  • If your machine loses its stability and begins to slip or slide you should momentarily release the throttle to restore the machine’s grip. Also keep in mind, for those icy patches simply let your vehicle’s momentum do all the heavy lifting
  • Beat all three leagues on EXPERT and you’ll unlock MASTER. Beat all three leagues on MASTER and a different ending will be revealed…
  • Astro Go Go! is a blatant (and rather poor) F-Zero rip-off. It was slated for a US release under the terrible name of Freeway Flyboys. Having played the game, I can see why it never happened…
  • In their 100th issue (November 1997) EGM ranked F-Zero as the 18th best game of all time



fzero94Alright, maybe I’m the only one
in the galaxy who ever thought
this, but do you know what this
has always reminded me of?












Uncanny, I say…









  • EGM: 9, 9, 8, 8
  • Super Play: 86%


Back in '91 this game was mind-blowing
Back in ’91 this game was simply mind-blowing

There are things in life that stick with you forever. I’ll never forget playing F-Zero on a cold, dreary December morning 25 years ago. It was the first time I played the Super Nintendo. I was completely in awe. Although current gen games have long redefine our idea of amazing, nothing will ever strip F-Zero of its simple magic and intense high speed. Maybe some of the magic is gone, but it’s still a quality game. Some may find the rather straight-laced racing a bit outdated, but for my money there’s nothing like making that long jump by just barely clearing the strip line. Or using the speed boost to barrel ahead at 900 kilometers per hour only to hit a jump plate that flings you across the track like a man possessed. Sure it’s lacking the all-important two-player mode, but there’s no arguing its place in SNES history.

Crazy nostalgia!
Crazy nostalgia!

I think we all play games to be awed in some way. We play them to take us far away from the daily grind of our lives, and we play games that are simply fun and evoke a sense of wonder. After all these years, F-Zero has still got it. Though not the perennial classic of a Super Mario World, it is a classic in its own right, especially for its time. I’ll always have a special place in my gaming heart for F-Zero, the first SNES game I ever played. No Super Nintendo library is complete without a copy, if for nothing else, historical value. A great showcase launch title that won the hearts of many, F-Zero is a memorable and noteworthy relic from a bygone era. Happy 26th birthday, F-Zero!

Graphics: 9
Sound: 8.5
Gameplay: 8.5
Longevity: 7

Overall: 8.5

Double Silver Award
Double Silver Award

Super Mario World (SNES)

Pub and Dev: Nintendo | August 1991 | 4 MEGS
Pub and Dev: Nintendo | August 1991 | 4 MEGS

Today marks the 26th anniversary of Super Mario World (based on the Japanese release). November 21, 1990. That was the day the Super Famicom launched in Japan along with Super Mario World, and gaming was never the same again. It’s crazy to believe it’s been 26 years. I figure there’s no better time than now to examine one of the best Super Nintendo games ever created. And sure, there’s nothing new to be said about this game that hasn’t already been said the past 26 years but being a fansite dedicated to all things SNES, it would be a crime not to have a Super Mario World review. So Mario and chums — here’s to ya!


3 of the finest 8-bit Nintendo games around
3 of the finest 8-bit NES games around

If you were like me and grew up in the ’80s, then you too grew up on 8-bit Nintendo. Which meant you got to experience all the joys of the Mario games as a youth. All three titles were finely tuned and fantastic. Mario was beloved by all and went on to become a household name. Together, the faction of Nintendo and Mario dominated the ’80s. But as long as the universe has existed there is one undeniable truth. Time passes, and change is inevitable. As the ’90s approached and our old best friend, the 8-bit NES, began showing its age, the rumblings could be heard. There was a new “super” system just over the horizon. Double the bits, and hopefully double the awesomeness. It was the Super Nintendo. And it’s fitting that the system would debut with a 16-bit version of Mario. The stage was set, then, for continued video game domination. And once again, the fans were the winners.


Mario dominated living rooms everywhere
Mario dominated living rooms the world over

Confession time: I didn’t play through Super Mario World until 16 years after its Japanese release. I remember growing up watching my brother and his friends playing it, but I never really did. I’d just sit there and watch the older kids go at it. Even through just watching it, you could feel the energy in the room. The year was 1991. Things of the old guard were going the way of the ill-fated dinosaur. The future was now. Childhood favorites “The Immortal” Hulk Hogan and “Macho Man” Randy Savage were giving way to younger superstars like Bret “The Hitman” Hart and “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels. Godzilla at the time seemed dead (to an eight-year-old with no knowledge of the Heisei series). And another dear old friend from the ’80s was gasping its final breath. As the 8-bit Nintendo faded off into the sunset, in came riding a brand new cowboy. And with it came Super Mario World. A fitting passing of the torch, the Super Nintendo made its debut with an old portly friend spruced up in 16-bit trimmings. It was nothing short of video gaming magic.

It was a joy to finally play it for myself
It was a joy to finally experience it for myself

10 years ago (November 19, 2006) I sat down to play Super Mario World with the intention of beating it in mind. It was an absolutely glorious experience. What took me so long? This may shock you but I was a weird guy [was? -Ed.]. Sure I appreciated the Mario games growing up, but mainly I would watch my brother play them. I was always a big fan of the lesser known games and have been that way my entire life. But after returning to the SNES on January 17, 2006, I knew this was a second chance at gaming redemption. And I knew it was time to right a 15+ year wrong. I turned off the computer, plopped onto the sofa, kicked my feet up and finally booted up Super Mario World. And what followed was a week filled with some of the best single-player gaming moments of my life. It was a sheer joy to play through. Hey, better late than never!


That blasted princess. Some folks just can't stay outta trouble...
Oh Princess. Some folks just can’t stay outta trouble



Quite obviously, to play classic games like Super Mario World!
To play classic games like Super Mario World!


Mario can do it all, the fat chap
Mario can do it all, the fat chap
Lots of different ways to take out the opposition
Lots of different ways to take out the opposition
Remember when game manuals were awesome?  And in color?
Remember when manuals were great and in color?

New to the Mario universe is this magical cape. It possesses great power. You can spin attack the enemies with it, and you can also take to the skies.

Of course, there's always the good ole hop 'n bop
Of course, there’s always the good ole hop ‘n bop
One might argue that these guys can be tougher than the bosses!
These guys can be tougher than the bosses!
Plenty of items to mess with. I love the Grab Block
Plenty of items to mess with. I love the Grab Block
Happy 26th birthday, Yoshi!
Happy 26th birthday, Yoshi! You getting old…
Variety is indeed the spice of life
Variety is indeed the spice of life
It's cool how there are big and little Yoshis
It’s cool how there are big and little Yoshis
Mario's various powers
Mario’s various powers


Mario and friends came to Dinosaur Land hoping to catch up on their R & R. Instead of course they find themselves in a world filled to the brim with danger.


It’s a long and tough road ahead. But a wise person once said that an arduous journey begins with one step [That was me, clearly -Ed.]


Progress is made in a linear fashion although you can backtrack and even skip ahead, provided you know how! *wink wink*

The Koopalings are back, in addition to evil ol' Bowser
The Koopalings are back in addition to evil ol’ Bowser
One big happy (ugly) family
One big happy (ugly) family
So that's how they prep for battle. I approve
So that’s how they prep for battle. I approve


Note: This pic was created back in November 2010


Indeed, Mario didn’t come alone to this rodeo. Yoshi, a rollicking reptile with an appetite for menacing meanies, will help carry Mario through some tight jams. Though he’ll quickly run for the hills the second an enemy hits back.



Ah, memories of junior high...
Ah, memories of junior high…
Too close for comfort
Too close for comfort

Gigantic Banzai Bills come flying at you in the very first level. You had to listen closely for the warning sound and either duck or jump. We all know what a great game this is, but I feel the visuals don’t get enough love for their time. Pardon the pun but shots like these point to the game being no slouch in the graphic department!



Maybe some day Yoshi will get his own game...
Maybe some day Yoshi will get his own game…

Yoshi wasn’t created simply for marketing cosmetic purposes. He gave you an extra hit and some added offensive firepower as well.

"Damn I shouldn't have eaten that cheeseburger..."
“Damn I shouldn’t have eaten that cheeseburger…”



It's the little details that stay with ya
It’s the little details that stay with ya

Remember how cool it was seeing those little platforms dipping when you stood on them too long?

Mario is a serious headbanger. Good thing for his fluffy hat
It’s a miracle Mario doesn’t have a concussion…

One of the most bizarre enemies on the roster, this smiley cactus dude can be gobbled up by Yoshi piece by piece. Do you remember the sweet sound that accompanied it? Some morbid humor can be found when only its head comes crawling after you, smile fully intact (!)

Mac returned the favor all right...
Mac returned the favor all right…
Mario moonlighted as a ref back in the day
Mario moonlighted as a ref back in the day


At certain points you can switch over to the other side. Definitely added an extra dimension to these parts.

I love the details carved into that huge pillar
I love the details carved into that huge pillar

I’ll be saying this a few times because I feel it bears a little repeating: the visuals have a nice depth to them. Sure it didn’t blow you away back in August 1991 like F-Zero did, but it’s plenty solid in its own right.

Love those red doors. Time for our first boss fight
Love those red doors. Time for our first boss fight

Doesn’t that pillar looks thick like a redwood tree? The convincing sound of them crashing down only adds to its brilliance.

Beating Iggy is no "Biggie"  [HAR HAR HAR -Ed.]
Beating Iggy is no “Biggie” [HAR HAR HAR -Ed.]
Iggy Iggy can’t you see.
Sometimes your words just hypnotize me.
And I just love your flashy ways
Guess that’s why they broke, and you’re so paid.

A tap of Miyamoto's wand and you had gaming magic
A tap of Miyamoto’s wand and you had gaming magic


Part of the “secret” is not showing them your butt
It's a classic formula that somehow never gets old
It’s a classic formula that somehow never gets old
Gotta love those yellow question boxes too
Gotta love those yellow question boxes too
Talk about killing seven Goombas with one shell!
Talk about killing seven Goombas with one shell!

Another example of Miyamoto magic: knocking out a string of bad guys with a single shell. Completely satisfying.




Feet fail me not!
Feet fail me not!

The castle dungeons are filled with hazards galore and will put your hand
eye coordination and platforming skills to the ultimate test. With silky smooth control and stellar sound, Super Mario World set the bar, and set it damn high.



Somewhere Bowser's thinking can't find good help
Somewhere Bowser’s thinking can’t find good help


Big ol’ Morton is boss number two. This time it’s a more traditional boss battle, requiring 3 hits to eliminate him.



Yes Yoshi, I know. At long last the title most synonymous with Super Nintendo gets a review on RVGFanatic. Yoshi’s Island superior? Hmm, we’ll see about that… in due time…





I love me some Vanilla Dome. It’s not as “vanilla” as its name might suggest. Some sweet old fashioned platforming levels with a great atmosphere make it one of my favorite areas in the entire game.

Hey look, it's Luigi! Not really...
Hey look, it’s Luigi! Not really…





Midnight munchies will get you every single time
Midnight munchies will get you every single time
Thank you, Chris Daughtry
Thank you, Chris Daughtry
Talk about having a bullet or two with your name on it
Talk about having a bullet or 2 with your name on it
Lemmy's castle is filled with danger, like this Magikoopa
Lemmy’s castle is filled with danger
Sometimes discretion is the better part of valor
Sometimes discretion is the better part of valor



Brings back some memories of Whac-A-Mole, eh?
Brings back some memories of Whac-A-Mole, eh?


On to the Twin Bridges we go, AKA section 4 of the game. Can you find the two secret stages in this world?



Some folks don't know what rhetorical means
Some folks don’t know what rhetorical means
Quickly now... the spiked ceiling is descending!
Quickly now… the spiked ceiling is descending!



Nice Godzilla impersonation, Ludwig
Nice Godzilla impersonation, Ludwig
Ever heard of a mint before?
Ever heard of a mint before?
Proof that Mario likes to get high

Next up is the Forest of Illusion. Almost every section of the forest maze includes multiple exits.


I’m generally not the biggest fan of underwater stages in platformers, but there’s something about the underwater levels in Super Mario World that does it for me.

After all, he's no hedgehog...
After all, he’s no hedgehog…


The controls are super smooth and responsive
The controls are super smooth and responsive
Not quite a photo finish, but still a tantalizing victory
Not quite a photo finish but still a sweet victory

Even the exit gates serve an extra purpose. Depending on how high you can hit it, extra points are awarded. Miyamoto left no stone unturned.


Pressing "R" to scroll the screen is a lifesaver here
Pressing “R” to scroll the screen is a lifesaver here
Mmmm... Yoshi-flavored ice cream, my favorite
Mmmm… Yoshi-flavored ice cream, my favorite
Oh those crazy Japanese...
Oh those crazy Japanese…
Heard it's on Baskin Robbins' secret menu in Japan
Heard it’s on Baskin Robbins’ secret menu in Japan

Getting the switch block is like carrying around a precious golden egg. Every movement you make is done with extra precision and calculation. Every change in direction, even the slightest shift as you navigate your way through, is critical.

Lions, tigers and BOWSERS, OH MY!
Lions, tigers and BOWSERS — OH MY!

Festive though they may be, with Bowser there’s no such thing as fluff. Everything has its own purpose. This one? Mainly the sole purpose of killing you.

"Yep, I'm stoned out of my mind..."
“Yep, I’m stoned out of my mind…”

A more up close and personal look yields some pretty interesting yelps between the two.




"I don't always kill... but when I do... I prefer MARIO"
“I don’t always kill… but when I do… I prefer MARIO”

Indeed, Mr. Roy thinks he’s the most interesting Koopaling in the world. Why just ask him if you don’t believe me.


"I know you feel like the walls are closing in on you..."
“I know you feel like the walls are closing in on you…”
What a diva Roy is. On the bright side, such lovely sprite scaling!
What a diva, that Roy

Roy’s quite the drama queen. Talk about someone who knows how to ham it up.

Look, it's Rat Mario!
Look, it’s Rat Mario!

At the end of each successfully defeated castle, there’s a little cutscene. Post Roy’s is one of the best. Poor Mario gets charred for all of his hard work!


Said it before and I’ll say it again. I love the way this game looks. More importantly, I love the sense of soul, spirit and adventure that the Nintendo staff carefully infused it with.


Welcome to World 6, Chocolate Island. Here you’ll find dino critters of all shapes and sizes.

Italians are indeed hot heads... *rimshot*
Italians are indeed hot heads… *rimshot*


I guess this settles it. Soccer > baseball [Duh... -Ed.]
I guess this settles it. Soccer > baseball [Duh… -Ed.]
Yeah, and it only took me 250 tries to figure out, grrr
Yeah and it only took me 250 tries to figure out, grrr


Huh, bail money? I have no clue, sorry...
Huh, bail money? I have no clue, sorry…
Hands down, Mario's got one of the best backsides in the BIZ
By far he’s got one of the best backsides in the BIZ
Ahh, those tricky sneaky Nintendo bastards...
Ahh, those tricky sneaky Nintendo bastards…

[And I reckon it's all "downhill" from here... -Ed.]
[And I reckon it’s all “downhill” from here… -Ed.]

These little cheese-esque hills descend, so unless you wish to be lava soup, keep Mario moving!


Finally, we arrive at Wendy’s castle. And what a castle it is. All sorts of traps lie in wait to snag Mario for good.

Somewhere I can still hear Van Halen's JUMP blaring
Somewhere I can still hear Van Halen’s JUMP blaring
This house of horrors is not for the faint of heart
This house of horrors is not for the faint of heart
The SLIGHTEST miscalculation... *slices throat*
The SLIGHTEST miscalculation… *slices throat*

Or perhaps "MAMA MIA!"
Or perhaps “MAMA MIA!”


[You like Super Mario World's visuals? Who knew -Ed.]
[You like Super Mario World’s visuals? Who knew -Ed.]
[What am I paying you? Oh right, nada. Carry on -Ed.]
[What am I paying you? Oh right, nada. Carry on -Ed.]

Without her army backing her she's not so tough is she
Without her army behind her she’s not so tough
Wendy's posse is MIA. What 'chu got now, WENDERS?
Wendy’s posse is MIA. What ya got now, WENDERS?
Ah, memories from a bygone era
Big Bacon Classic >>> Baconator

Back in the glorious late ’80s to mid ’90s, I ran with a group of folks who were my brothers and sisters. Our monthly family friend sleepovers were in a word, legendary. My gaming group gave me countless memories. One that sticks out occurred in 1993. There were about 20 kids that night. My older brother, myself, Sushi-X and his brother Zack were assigned the mission of buying burgers for all. So we hit up a local Wendy’s. The guy we affectionately called Sushi-X (for his intense love of Street Fighter which matched that of the EGM persona) ordered 30 (!) Big Bacon Classics (now defunct). Behind us was a lengthy line of folks. The ones immediately behind us, an elderly couple, shook their head at one another and bickered, “I told you, Hank! We should have gone to Red Lobster!” They stormed off and a couple of the other people behind them left as well. Standing off to the side of the cash register, I watched in bewilderment as Sushi-X single-handedly drove off the customers. We brought the loot back home and crowded around the Sony TV in the living room to watch Saturday Night Live and enjoy our burgers. There was such an abundance of Big Bacon Classics that 10 were left in the fridge for a midnight snack. Every time I drive by a Wendy’s these days, I can’t help but think of that Sushi-X memory and the night of our epic bacon feast. Thanks for all the memories, Game Crew and Dave Thomas :)

WHAC-A-HO! I always wanted to say that  [HUMPH! -Wendy]
WHAC-A-HO! Man, I always wanted to say that…

Before you can pass through to the Valley of Bowser, you must contend with this evil Sunken Ghost Ship.



My grandpa used to tell me all the time that money doesn’t grow on trees. I used to tell him “You’re right. They don’t, because they grow out of thin air, and I know this because Super Mario World told me so.” Then, he’d look at me sideways and say, “Son, you’re a special boy.”

"Y'know, I could always find a new girlfriend..."
“Y’know, I could always find a new girlfriend…”

Once you’ve escaped the Sunken Ghost Ship you’re ready to brave it all and step into the deadly Valley of Bowser. I hope she’s worth all the trouble, Mario.


But in this case they serve a purpose by breaking the wall
But they serve a purpose here by breaking the wall

[GRR, good help is so hard to find these days -Bowser]
[GRR, good help is so hard to find these days -Bowser]



You’ll need Yoshi in Valley of Bowser 4 if you wish to nab the key to the Star Road.

Ah, the legendary Star Road
Ah, the legendary Star Road
Love this artwork!
Love this artwork!
Larry's castle sees the return of an old friend
Larry’s castle sees the return of this old “friend”


Who wants a yummy steaming bowl of Koopaling soup?
Who wants a yummy bowl of Koopaling soup?

The battle against Larry is highly reminiscent of the one with Iggy, way back in the first world. Defeat him and then face the KING.


You can either spin cape the hell out of them or...
You can either spin cape the hell out of them or…
... jump on their head and heave the suckers sky high!
Jump on their head and heave the suckers sky high!
Ooh, so ominous and spooky
Ooh, so ominous and spooky

Isn’t it great how those red glowing eyes peer on in the background there? OK, so they were added in by yours truly. Still, one of my favorite moments in the entire game. It’s just so incredibly atmospheric.

One of the best shots I've ever taken. #MONEYSHOT
One of the best shots I’ve ever taken. #moneyshot
Hey, can you really blame the guy?
26 years later and both this game and SNES still standing strong!
26 years later and still standing strong!
Or Skeletor, Rita Repulsa, Megatron, Cobra, Doctor Wily...
Or Skeletor, Rita Repulsa, Megatron, Cobra, Dr. Wily!
Oh Mario... what a gullible lad you are
Oh Mario, so gullible. Is it really worth it hmmm?
Suddenly it all makes sense. Carry on, playa
Suddenly it all makes sense. Carry on, playa
*cough* I'll uh... just let y'all use your imagination...
*cough* I’ll uh… just let y’all use your imagination…
[You pervert. Tsk tsk. Nothing of that sort here... only a kiss -Ed.]
[You pervert. Tsk tsk. It’s just a kiss -Ed.]


Did you know? Pretty cool stuff. See if you can do it
Did you know? Pretty cool stuff. See if you can do it
It's the game that keeps on giving
It’s the game that keeps on giving


Mario leapfrogged his competition with the greatest of ease
Mario leapfrogged his competition with ease

Super Mario World earned high marks just about everywhere. In EGM’s 100th issue (November 1997) it ranked #11. EGM gave it scores of 99, 9 and 9. EGM reviewer Martin Alessi wrote, “I’ll take 96 levels of Mario over 20 of Sonic any day!” Nintendo Power placed it #16 on their Top 100 list in issue #100 (September 1997) and later bumped it up to #8 in issue #200. Super Play Magazine had it at #4 in their own Top 100 SNES Games list (issue 42, April 1996). Super Play scored it a massive 94%. While fans have long debated whether Super Mario World or Super Mario Bros. 3 is superior, Super Mario World is an exemplary example of the platforming genre done right and then some. It was the perfect game to debut with the Super Nintendo 26 years ago. And it still holds up incredibly well to this very day. You can pop it in now in the year 2016 and still be in awe of its smooth gameplay, crisp control and various nuances. It was a masterpiece then, and remains so to this very day 26 years later.

Super Mario World placed a lofty #11 on EGM's Top 100 List
EGM issue #100 (November 1997)


Super Mario World was, is and forever will be a classic
Super Mario World was, is and forever will be a classic

Early Sunday morning, November 19, 2006. 10 months into my SNES resurrection and two days before the game’s 16 year anniversary, I at long last powered up Super Mario World. I had never beaten it before. Early that Sunday morning I shifted my way through the darkness, determined to atone for past sins. In the riveting book The Kite Runner, Rahim Khan’s piercing words over the telephone haunts Amir. “There is a way to be good again.” I happened to be reading through that novel when I was going through this game for really the first time. As sad as it may sound, it was exactly how I felt about finally playing and beating this masterpiece. “There is a way to be good again.” It was my gaming redemption.

Story of my life!
Story of my life!

Going through Super Mario World for the first time in 2006 was a bittersweet feeling. I wished I hadn’t waited so long to finally beat it, yet I was thrilled at the opportunity to redeem the gaming missteps of my youth. As I waded my way through every castle, fortress and hill valley, it was almost as if I had taken a time machine back to the early 1990s. This game reaffirmed my love for this classic genre, as well as for this amazing system. Over the past 25 years the Super Nintendo has given me a bevy of memories. Somehow, it was always playing in the backdrop of my youth. Getting back into it in 2006 was the greatest decision of my gaming career. Thomas Wolfe was wrong. You can, indeed, go home again. And as I ventured back to the roots of my childhood, I recalled all the characters (i.e. Sushi-X from my Game Crew) and favorite games. It wasn’t just about reminiscing, though. I had another mission firmly set in mind… to travel down the gaming roads I never did back in the day but should have. And these pathways have opened up a whole new treasure chest of gaming memories for me to carry on forever. Super Mario World is a rare gem of an adventure I shall always cherish. Gaming redemption never tasted so sweet.

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

Overall: 10

Platinum Award
Platinum Award

You can’t talk about Super Nintendo’s very best without citing Super Mario World. It’s a timeless adventure that exudes excellence from top to bottom. A quintessential platformer, Super Mario World deserves its rightful due place on Super Nintendo’s Mount Rushmore.



Umihara Kawase (SFC)

Dora the Explorer meets Bionic Commando!
Dora the Explorer meets Bionic Commando!

Before I delved deep into the obscure world of Super Famicom in early 2006, I remember hearing rumblings about a strange Japanese game. Its biggest selling point was it played something akin to Bionic Commando. As a kid the grappling in Bionic Commando captivated my imagination, and I always wanted to play a Super Bionic Commando. Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be. Umihara Kawase isn’t that, but it doesn’t need to be. Imagine a wacky world where you navigate through the levels with your fish grappling hook, latching onto edges and using momentum and physics to push yourself up or across, or even down. It’s a unique experience the likes of which few Super Nintendo games can claim. On top of all that, throw in a distinct minimalist visual style and all manner of ocean “enemies” and you have one weird but memorable game.







Bionic Commando was released on the 8-bit Nintendo in 1988. It became a cult classic to many and it was surprising (and sad) that Capcom never made a proper 16-bit sequel. The closest thing to this on the SNES is probably Umihara Kawase.







Although actually, in 1992 Capcom released Bionic Commando to the Game Boy. It’s a very respectable game and features a password system which the NES game did not. It can be played on your Super Nintendo via the Super Game Boy. I have a copy myself and definitely recommend it as it’s a fun game to play on the go or on your big screen TV using an actual Super Nintendo controller. I consider it a bittersweet experience though. It’s good enough to tease you and make you really ponder what a “Super Bionic Commando” might look and play like.


It's like an acid trip...
It’s like an acid trip…

Right away you’ll notice the game sports a unique look. Compared to other SNES games of the era, Umihara Kawase is not exactly what one would call “bright” or even “cheerful.” It’s sort of a drab almost dreary looking world. No one knows why this Japanese school girl is suddenly forced to navigate this bizarre world containing mutated sea life. All we know is there is an exit and you must help her reach said exit door safely.

To reach your destination, you’re going to have to master the use of your tool. Each level opens up with a short demo to give you a taste.







Right away you can see why people have long drawn comparisons to Bionic Commando. The difference is the physics of the rope allows you to manipulate the ways you can move her around. It’s less “stiff” than Bionic Commando because things here are, literally, much more flexible.

Here’s an example:



















Mastering and getting used to the physics of the rope is all part of the fun.







Level one literally gets your feet wet. Love the detail of the little splashes.







The core of the gameplay is firing your hook at various platforms and ledges, then using momentum and physics of the elastic rope to swing yourself over to the next desired platform. It sounds simple but it’s rather complex and I like how there’s more than one way to solve any given level. It makes replaying the stages a more worthwhile endeavor than your typical platformer.

Go Dora go!
Go Dora go!

The way she pulls herself up onto a ledge is rather adorable. She isn’t the most athletic girl around (her jumps don’t go very high), but she’s got a charm to her.







Enemies litter the stages. Sometimes they’re roaming about. Other times they will appear mysteriously out of nowhere — a quick swirling dust cloud is the only indicator as to where they’ll pop up. The randomness of these enemy placements go a long way to increasing the game’s longevity. Most enemies can be eliminated by firing the hook at them and then reeling them in. She puts them in her pink backpack so she doesn’t “kill” them. It’s very family friendly. It’s a nice game that anyone can play. But few will master. That’s the beauty of the game.







Sometimes reeling in an enemy causes the poor little girl to crash into a platform! I love the detail of her chin literally smashing against the ledge there. It doesn’t hurt her but it sure is a fun sight gag. Gives the game a subtle sense of (black) humor and definitely gives it some extra personality.







Don’t underestimate those little fish bouncing around in that bucket there. You can capture them for points, but be careful they don’t bounce off your head and send you spiraling to an early watery grave.







Some enemies are much tougher, like this octopus which can’t be killed. It can only be avoided. Watch out for its black inky cloud. If it touches you it causes you to be paralyzed momentarily. The worst part though is you wobble about for a few seconds. This can leave our poor heroine stumbling off a ledge to her demise.







Marine life isn’t the only hazard though. Similar to Elevator Action Returns, be careful you don’t get squished to death by the various floating platforms! There’s no blood or anything, but the way she gets squashed is still pretty gruesome looking. The first time I saw this it shocked me a bit to be honest. I just didn’t expect this from a “kid’s game.” When in reality it’s not really a kid’s game as the gameplay mechanics are rather complex!







The objective of each level is to locate the exit and reach it. Locating it isn’t so hard — reaching it may present a stiffer task. It’s so satisfying to finally reach the exit. I love the way she swings the door open. Hey, it’s the little things in life and video games, right?







Here’s a nifty trick. In order to reach that exit down there you can’t just jump down because the angle and law of physics doesn’t allow you to do so. Instead, what you can do is stand at the edge, kneel and drop your hook down. This allows you to use gravity and momentum to safely swing yourself down to the next platform until you finally reach that sweet exit. It’s little tricks like this that make it so much fun. It’s like learning the ins and outs of using a yo-yo. This is a bit like “walking the dog.” Good stuff.







This requires a bit of skill but nothing you can’t get the hang of [I see what you did there -Ed.] after a bit of practice and elbow grease. It’s these little moments that make this game such a pleasure to play.

Get the hang of it. Geddit?
Get the hang of it. Geddit?
Some stages have multiple exits
Some levels have multiple exits
It's fun working your way to the exit
Always a blast solving the puzzle
Look out for bonus items
Look out for bonus items
Pull yourself up and swing over
Pull yourself up and swing over
Close! Wait patiently there
Close! Wait patiently there
Who knows how they got so big?
This is one trippy game…
But it's loads of fun!
But it’s loads of fun!

The first boss you’ll encounter is this creepy looking thing. The way it moves and how abnormal it looks freaks me out a bit. It reminds me of Godzilla’s second form from Shin Godzilla.

It's just weird enough to be a bit creepy
It’s just weird enough to be a bit creepy







The thing lays eggs which quickly hatch. At which point little green frogs come hopping your way.

Oh, they look harmless...
Oh, they look harmless…







You actually can’t kill this boss. The secret to winning is making sure it doesn’t touch you. Eventually it just gets bored and goes away. But be careful its frog babies doesn’t knock you off.


Retro Gamer Magazine blurb
Retro Gamer placed it 10th on their top 10 SNES list


This game is weird and awesome
This game is weird and awesome

Umihara Kawase is one of the best Super Famicom games that never came out stateside. It’s a pure joy to play. Learning how to manipulate the elastic grappling hook makes it different than any of the 976 other platformers on the SNES. I can’t say enough positive things about it, and it’s best you experience it for yourself if you haven’t already. It’s got an interesting soundtrack to boot. The sound effects, music and gameplay all combine to make it one of those nice relaxing and soothing games to play. The kind of game that you can fire up for 15 minutes after a long hard day at work and be completely satisfied by. Don’t let its looks fool you — Umihara Kawase is a true gem that belongs in any SNES recommendation list.

It's unlike any other SNES game
It’s unlike any other SNES game!

Deae Tonosama Appare Ichiban (SFC)

Pocky & Rocky's weird cousin...
Pocky & Rocky‘s weird cousin…

Are you a big fan of the Pocky & Rocky games? Do you appreciate video games that veer off the path of “normal” and spiral deep into the depths of madness? Then Deae Tonosama Appare Ichiban was made for you. Tackle 10 bizarre stages featuring even stranger creatures and enemies in a madcap attempt to save the world. The good news? Two guys are up to the task. The bad news? Those two guys aren’t exactly superhero material. Fortunately, they’ve got heart up the wazoo and the game is a friggin’ blast.


The game doesn’t take itself seriously at all

When EGM issue #66 came out, January 1995, there was a half page preview on a weird looking action game for the Super Famicom. It struck my fancy and it was just something that never left me. Finally, nearly 16 years later, I got a chance to play Tonosama. To me, one of gaming’s greatest pleasures is crossing Game X off the X Year Curiosity list. There’s something really cool about finally playing that game you had studied a half page preview on some 15+ years ago. Games which you thought back then you would never ever play. Such is the advantage of being older, having more resources and know-how. It seemed like a silly game from EGM’s description, and boy were they spot on. Tonosama is strange as all hell!








Mario and Luigi they are not!
Mario and Luigi they are not!

Deae Tonosama Appare Ichiban is a one or two player overhead action game. It’s filled with little cultural items and oddities throughout, and the two “heroes” you can play as certainly are not your average video game good guys, so to speak. In fact their names are Baka-dono, which means Lord Stupid, and Baka-ouji, which means Prince Stupid. I’m not making this up. This comes from the actual game translation believe it or not. It gives you a good idea of its slapstick nature.

Pick your poison, I mean, player...
Pick your poison, I mean, player…

Lord Stupid and Prince Stupid play differently. Fanboy has a close range attack while the Prince’s roses act as projectiles. In a two player game, it’s nice to have the Prince attacking from afar with Baka-dono striking up front. Unfortunately, there is a bit of slowdown, even in the one player game as the screen can get fairly hectic from time to time with all the enemy sprites rushing in and out. These two also have some special moves you can work out. I personally prefer Baka-dono, despite Rose Boy being the better jumper.

I'll explain TGR a bit later
I’ll explain TGR a bit later
As always, save your bombs for the big bosses
As always, save your bombs for the big bosses
Nothing beats seeing % icons after transforming
Nothing beats seeing % icons after transforming

See the yellow % at the bottom there and the 20% icon on the bridge? That’s your TGR. When you press ‘X’ you transform to your father’s muscle bound ways. Every hit you take or deliver drops your %. Once it hits 0 you go back to being Baka-dono or Baka-ouji. Slain enemies may leave behind food, scrolls (magic) or TGR points. The fathers are very strong. Another good thing: as the father, your own health never decreases, only the % points. It’s funky, but it sure is fun!

Call me Boss again, toots [Oh this is going downhill fast -Ed.]
Call me boss again, toots [Oh brother… -Ed.]
Tonosama allows you to select your stage order. I always like games that allow you to pick and choose. You can start off with the final boss (blue triangle) first, but if so, you’ll have to run the gauntlet of the purple triangle bosses, with no scrolls or TGR, mind! So I really do not recommend tackling the blue triangle first. Plus, with the cool and crazy locales, you don’t want to miss a thing!








That big guy there is sort of a mini boss. His little cronies try to bum rush you. Later on Baka-dono comes face to face with some angry swordsmen.







Your first mid boss encounter (of many) occurs on this cool little red bridge. Baka-dono then calls on his father for some needed assistance.







Ye standard semi-tricky jumping bits are ever present in Tonosama. As you make your way through this deadly dojo, sumo wrestlers parade around trying to slap you down! By the way, I love how this game is filled to the brim with unnecessary explosions. Japanese shoji screens? They even explode in submission. Gotta love it.

I'm having an E. Honda and Samurai Shodown NIPPON! flashback!
E. Honda and Samurai Shodown NIPPON! mashup

And here is your very first boss fight — a ref and two grandmaster sumo wrestlers! It’s your lucky day — you get to maim three for the price of one. Watch out for their rolling attacks and make sure you take out the annoying referee who cowardly stays back, tossing projectiles at ya.








This is one of my favorite stages just because it has a creepy, ominous feel. Things look so bleak and depressing! Along the way you’ll be ambushed by jumping monkeys, ravenous crows and sprinting, shuriken-throwing ninja demons.







Be patient with this waterfall boulders-falling-down bit. Can get a little tight there toward the end. Near the end of the stage you’ll run into some zombies. I love the way they stagger about. When you kill them, they’ll burn up for a couple seconds before biting the dust! It’s a great enemy design that adds to the foreboding atmosphere of this groovy little stage.

This demon dude is a total badass. Aim for his face!
This demon dude is a total badass. Aim for his face!
Sick! A bit reminiscent of Jason Voorhees, eh?
Sick! A bit reminiscent of Jason Voorhees, eh?
[I'm baffled. This game is weirder than EVEN YOU!  -Ed.]
Let’s just move on…








The enemy roster goes from weird to weirder. I love that water part even though the dashing bald dudes can be fairly frustrating. Just love the way you can see the reflection of clouds in the water. It’s little graphical touches like this that draw you even deeper into a game.







Careful you don’t slip and drown! Poor Baka-dono doesn’t know how to swim (nor does his father, for that matter). Thankfully you just lose a little health and not a life. Mr. Fatso there serves as the mid boss of this level. He swings and chucks some sort of slingshot.







Next up you come to this little beach area where vicious spear-tossing madmen (!) do their damnedest to make sure you don’t advance any farther. Then you find three of them stabbing an innocent dolphin that’s been washed ashore! It’s sick and perverted yet makes you say, “Wow, that was different.” Kill the savages and rescue the dolphin. Free Milly!







Milly the dolphin thanks you and gives you a ride to Ganryujima Island. When necessary, jump from one dolphin friend to the next. It’s your standard force-scrolling section. I really like this one, though. It’s actually kind of fun and more than just tolerable while you wait for the next regular action bit to present itself.







After reaching the island you make your way through this creepy cave. The zombies return from the Cursed Village, and after crossing that bridge you come face to face with a most peculiar… ALIEN!? Sure looks like it… but what’s an alien doing there blocking the bridge passage? Bizarre, but deliciously imaginative and thought-provoking!

This boss is pretty tough. Use your magic or TGR
This boss is pretty tough. Use your magic or TGR
Use your last bomb before dying. Just snuck it in!
Use your last bomb before dying. Just snuck it in!
Now we can make our way to the blue triangle, Baka-dono!
Now we can make our way to the blue triangle
You can pick from two, I'll show the first one
You can pick from two. I’ll show the first one
Just copy the Zangief dude (wearing bunny ears?!) and you'll win
Just copy the Zangief dude (wearing bunny ears?!)







It helps to either have a Super Famicom controller (to know which color button is which) or to do a quick Google image search. Your reward is increased TGR beyond even 100%!


Sorry, folks. Binding contractual agreement. Let's pause
Sorry, folks. Binding contractual agreement…

[Dunno why but I could go for some HVG Tea now -Ed.]
[Dunno why but I suddenly want some HVG Tea -Ed.]
[What program am I watching here?! -Ed.]
[What program am I watching here?! -Ed.]
I love this boss. It’s a fun simple fight and he’s a hoot to pound and punch at. But he’s not the final boss of the game. After defeating him you’ll be transported to the next area where more levels await. Just when you thought things were already bizarre enough, prepare for more wacky strangeness that only the Japanese can seem to muster!


Let's hit up China first...
Let’s hit up China first








Yes, you get to kill, believe it or not, Chinese hopping vampires! Oh goodness, when I first saw them buggers hopping about, I nearly fell out of my chair in disbelief. Anyone who ever saw the 1985 classic MR. VAMPIRE will surely appreciate this. It’s things like this that help make Tonosama something that will stick in your memory vault for a long time to come. Later on there’s a semi-tricky jumping spot to work out.

Such fun childhood memories!
Such fun childhood memories!
Hopping vampires creeped the hell out of me
Hopping vampires gave me the heebie-jeebies
This bastard gave me nightmares
This creepy bastard gave me nightmares as a kid







That mid boss dude is tough. After defeating him, the stones give way falling to the abyss below. Don’t just stand there looking aloof — get a move on it!







Transformed into your overly muscular dead father, a mad flock of hopping vampires and mutant locusts quickly come your way. Now if THAT sentence doesn’t perfectly sum up the weirdness and awesomeness of Deae Tonosama Appare Ichiban, I don’t know what will! A little later on you’ll even run into some Bruce Lee wannabes because, why not?







You even face off against giant turtles (Gamera, anyone?) and bamboo-shooting pandas. At this point, are you even really surprised?

Baka-dono: It ain't QUITE midnight yet, playa!
Baka-dono: It ain’t QUITE midnight yet, playa!
Although midnight's getting awfully close!
Although midnight’s getting awfully close!
Tough bastard. Time to highlight Baka-ouji now
Tough bastard. Time to highlight Baka-ouji now








This might be the most bizarre moment in the entire game. As the little boat carries you along, creepy ladies fly across the screen and some yoga dude is zapping away nonstop. To boot, yes, you can kill the chickens! Very weird but very fun stuff. After reaching land you’ll find a bevy of those yoga laser spewing henchmen strewn about.







Some half-naked dudes start bouncing your way. Later you come to what appears to be the Taj Mahal with wild bulls and curry plate-chucking (!) Indians. Ah, I wonder what the game designers were smoking when they made this?

This is my second favorite mid boss in the game
This is my second favorite mid boss in the game
You bad guy. Me good guy. That's why
You bad guy. Me good guy. That’s why
[At this point, NOTHING in this game shocks me -Ed.]
[At this point, NOTHING in this game shocks me -Ed.]
That's one nasty looking elephant trunk
That’s one nasty looking elephant trunk
I'm a big fan of boss fights where you battle both animal and owner
I love it where you battle both animal and owner

The caretaker tries to whip you, but focus on killing the elephant. Doing so takes out the guy as well. Tonosama‘s bosses flash just like bosses used to in the good old days.

The elephant explodes (yes) and the caretaker is severely humbled!
The elephant explodes because why not?
[Uh, no comment. Let us just move on, then... -Ed.]
[Uh, no comment. Let us just move on, then… -Ed.]








Here you’ll be attacked from all sides by fencers and, yes, what looks to be broom-riding witches and cherubs. Did you expect anything less, at this point?







This mini boss thinks he’s all rough and tough but once you rid of his external, you’ll find a rather limp and sorry guy on the inside. Not so big and bad now are we?

He's literally red with embarrassment  [Pack yer things -Ed.]
He’s literally red with embarrassment [… -Ed.]






This dining hall is absolutely loaded with goodies. However, in the room above, just like in pretty much every RPG, beware of treasure chests masquerading as the real McCoy…

Baka-ouji: Uh oh, I get a bad feeling they don't wanna be friends!
Baka-ouji: I’ve got a bad feeling about this…
Nice try, Prince Stupid!  Points for effort
Nice try, Prince Stupid! Points for effort
Great job, you've pissed him off now!
Great job, you’ve pissed him off now!
Let's see what you're made of, Prince!
Let’s see what you’re made of, Prince



The Fire Dragon is relentless and follows you for a bit
The fire dragon follows after you for a bit

Abra deals out a lot of fiery attacks, but the only way to harm him is to send that drum back at him. It will take 12 hits to kill him. Be patient while you wait for the drum cans and dodge all the various fire tricks he dishes out.

That flaming sprite looks like Metal Slug...
That flaming sprite looks like Metal Slug










You get to kill astronauts on Mars. I know. Later you encounter aliens IN LOVE (!?!!?) and rabbits scurrying around with hammers. The reason for the latter is the Japanese believe, apparently, that sometimes you can see a rabbit and a hammer in the moon. Go figure…

Reminiscent of the twisted bosses from Psychic Assassin Taromaru
So twisted — it’s like an evil alien nun!

This is just an awesome mid boss fight. It attacks with its eyes and even its head which is detachable from its body! The more you hurt it, the more it flashes until it blinks red like you’re at some frenetic rave party. Sweet.









Take the teleporter to this space station-like area. You can see Earth below.







Another deadly mid boss. Stay behind it if you want to cheat and save your life.


He's a tough bastard, the git!
He’s a tough bastard, the git!


Gotta love the old school boss damage flashing
Gotta love the old school boss damage flashing




Even giant aliens aren't immune to the low blow
Even giant aliens aren’t immune to the low blow


Oooh, them spooky eyes...
Oooh, them spooky eyes…
Jump and pray is the best way to avoid this assault!
Jump and pray is the best way to avoid this assault
You know he's weak when he starts to teleport
You know he’s weak when he starts to teleport
A very cool and satisfying moment indeed
A very cool and satisfying moment indeed
Things, naturally, end on a very bizarre note
Things, naturally, end on a very bizarre note

Ah, the alien perishes and what we have left here is actually, according to the in-game text, a monkey! Say WHAAAA?!

Don't worry, the Earth folks are the friendliest bunch around...
Don’t worry, earthlings are SUPER friendly…..
Who knew Baka-dono and Baka-ouji had it in them!
Who knew Baka-dono and Baka-ouji had it in ‘em!

Escorting the monkey, the two of you are magically whisked off back to planet Earth. You’ve saved the entire universe from a dreadful fate and also have handed over the single most precious discovery in the history of civilization. Congratulations, Baka!

A fittingly odd photograph to end a wildly odd game
A fittingly odd photograph to end a wildly odd game



Tonosama features a healthy heap of boss flashing and excessive explosions galore. Watch in sheer joy as mid bosses and end level guardians flash red and white alike! There’s a certain TMNT II: The Arcade Game nostalgic feeling about seeing big bosses flash red as they weaken, and the more they suffer damage the more they blink. Until at long last… KA-BOOM! I always think of Rocksteady whenever I see bosses flashing. There’s something real 1990 about it, and Deae Tonosama Appare Ichiban definitely conjures memories of days gone by. Also, when you’re transformed into your muscular father, each punch dealt causes the screen to erupt in a massive explosion. It doesn’t take much for the screen to start resembling something you would see on the 4th of July! It’s all very over-the-top campy fun, and as you can easily see, the game doesn’t take itself seriously.

One of the most expensive Saturn titles
One of the most expensive Saturn titles

Other than Pocky & Rocky, you know what games Tonosama remind me of? Prikura Daisakusen and Psychic Assassin Taromaru. Prikura is an isometric shooter with smart bombs, huge flashing bosses, a crazy atmosphere and also an option to turn into a big steroid-pumped protagonist. Tonosama also produces shades of Taromaru for me in the sense that both games feature an impressive amount of mid and mini bosses, a distinctively peculiar atmosphere (though Taromaru is more on the creepy side) and some of the bosses from Tonosama remind me of some of the bosses from Taromaru.

Prikura Daisakusen (Saturn, 1996)
Prikura Daisakusen (Saturn, 1996)
It's weird and fun
It’s weird and fun
Taromaru is some kind of trip
Taromaru is some kind of trip


Pocky & Rocky fans will appreciate this offbeat title

I’ve played a few strange games in my career. Some were good while others relied more on gimmick to get by and leave an impression. Deae Tonosama Appare Ichiban might be the weirdest game I’ve ever played, but it’s much more than a mere gimmick. It hooks you in — you can’t help but want to see what outlandish enemies lie just around the corner. Thankfully the game itself is actually quite fun to boot. There’s more to Tonosama than a coat of weirdness. Behind the eclectic exterior lies a rock solid action game. It’s made even better with the two player mode where you and a friend can really complement each other with Baka-dono’s close combat skills and Baka-ouji’s mastery of long distance warfare. Yes, there are bits of slowdown here and there; sometimes there’s just too much going on at once but nothing too crippling. If you’re like me, you’ll be too busy anyway laughing and shaking your head at all the on-screen silliness rather than denouncing the game for its semi-periodic slowdown. The game hovers on the easy side with plenty of lives and continues. It’s definitely not as hard (or frustrating) as the two Pocky & Rocky SNES games. Sometimes you just want to play a fun game and not have to worry about it being overly difficult. This game fits that bill.

If ya thought Pocky & Rocky was bizarre, try this one!
If only Rick Grimes and gang had Baka-dono, eh?

The game’s soundtrack fits nicely with themes appropriate to each unique world. I really liked the sound effects, too. They add to the game’s charm, of which it has plenty. The graphics are the weakest part of the game; they’re not quite up to early 1995 SNES standards. Still, the game has plenty of cool looking enemies for you to slay along the way. What draws you in though is the game’s personality and its insanely self-deprecating lunacy. And that is also exactly what will bring you back again and again. It never set out to be the best action game on your Super Nintendo, but it succeeds at being ridiculously quirky and mega weird. I mean, where else can you kill hopping vampires, astronauts on Mars, giant bamboo-eating panda bears, rotting zombies, aliens, ninjas, knights and Bruce Lee wannabes while transforming into a large steroid-injected muscle maniac who just happens to be the spirit of your deceased father? There’s only one, folks, and its name is Deae Tonosama Appare Ichiban. It’s not as good as Pocky & Rocky, but it’s a uniquely solid game that true diehard SNES fans will want to play with a like-minded friend in tow.

It leaves an imprint with its odd locales and enemies
It leaves an imprint with its odd locales and enemies!

BS Zelda (SNES)

The classic NES game gets a "super" makeover
The classic NES game gets a “super” makeover

The Legend of Zelda is one of the most iconic games in Nintendo history, hell, make that video game history. The NES classic provided countless memories for many of us who grew up in the glorious ’80s. I’ll admit I appreciate the game for what it is, but it’s never been one of my top favorites. Link to the Past, however, is another story entirely. But you got to respect the first one. When I found out several years ago that the original game was “souped up” for the Super Nintendo, I knew I had to get my hands on a copy. It was released as a downloadable game in the late ’90s only via Japan’s Satellaview service.

The first thing you will notice immediately is the enhanced graphics. While I feel they’re not quite on the “enhanced” level as Super Mario All-Stars, I have to say this will do. To me they strike a healthy balance between 8-bit and 16-bit. 12-bit, if you will. Hey, at least the graphics were enhanced more than what we got with Ninja Gaiden Trilogy!

NES original
NES original
BS Zelda

Pretty cool to see the original world in 16-bit visuals, no? It definitely strikes the eye as simple and pleasing. The colors are much richer (naturally) and the whole world seems to come alive that much more. Here’s one more example:

NES original
NES original
BS Zelda
BS Zelda

Diehard purists may scoff, but I welcome these changes with open arms. The Legend of Zelda never looked so good before!

But enough of the visuals. How does the game play? Pretty much the same classic Zelda you know and love. You can collect more Rupees here, the overworld is altered and the maps are different. But the same weapons and items are there, and the quest remains the same: kill Ganon, restore peace to Hyrule, collect the Triforce pieces and save Princess Zelda. Weapons can now be conveniently switched with a tap of the shoulder buttons L or R. Nice.

Bombs may reveal hidden rooms
Bombs may reveal hidden rooms
Ah, the classic sword scene with the old wise man
Ah, the classic sword scene with the old wise man
The classic overworld never looked better
The classic overworld never looked better
Vintage 8-bit gameplay in a sleek 16-bit package
Vintage 8-bit gameplay in a sleek 16-bit package
Gotta catch 'em all!
Gotta catch ‘em all!
Battle monsters using your brawn and brains
Battle monsters using your brawn and brains
The dungeon music is creepier than the original
The dungeon music is creepier than the original
Gotta love that classic dungeon gameplay
Gotta love that classic dungeon gameplay
It's a 3-for-1 special on aisle 4!
It’s a 3-for-1 special on aisle 4!
Use special weapons to aid your quest
Use special weapons to aid your quest
Think this is bad? Later on you'll face TWO of 'em
Think this is bad? Later on you’ll face TWO of ‘em
Some items aren't weapons but are still much needed
Some items aren’t weapons but are still much needed
Good luck, Link...
Good luck, Link…


An epic final battle for an epic first game
An epic final battle for an epic first game

Although I’m not the biggest fan of The Legend of Zelda, I enjoyed playing this one very much so. The visual upgrade is very pleasing to the eye, the music is as memorable as it was in the original (I find the dungeon music in BS Zelda to be much creepier) and the game plays like classic, vintage Zelda. I wouldn’t play this over Link to the Past, but as far as “remakes” go, this one ranks up there. It makes me wish there was a BS Metroid, BS Kid Icarus, BS Rygar, BS Contra, BS Mega Man 2 and the list goes on and on. But hey, at least we got BS Zelda. It’s definitely worth a playthrough. I can’t guarantee you’ll like it more than the original, but you’ll probably get a good kick out of seeing familiar sights in 16-bit glory.

Graphics: 8
Sound: 9.5
Gameplay: 9
Longevity: 8

Overall: 9.0

Gold Award


Pro Yakyuu Star (SFC)

Culture Brain's 6th and finest baseball game
Culture Brain exits with a HR

Remember the Baseball Simulator games? The first one appeared on the 8-bit Nintendo and was developed by Culture Brain in the year 1989. Two years later, Super Baseball Simulator 1.000 was released on the Super Nintendo. It’s had something of a quasi-cult following ever since. It was a baseball game, sure, but it incorporated “magic tricks” to make the game a little spicier than your average baseball title. Pro Yakyuu Star is the sixth and final Culture Brain SNES baseball game, and I dare say it’s the finest one of the (sand)lot. Let’s take a quick history lesson though before we take a closer look at Culture Brain’s baseball swan song.

BASEBALL SIMULATOR 1.000 (Nintendo, 1989)







Every franchise has to start somewhere. This is it. Don’t recall playing this myself (I was more into Baseball Stars 2, Base Wars and Bad News Baseball) but I recall a few friends who were fans of this game back in the day.

SUPER BASEBALL SIMULATOR 1.000 (Super Nintendo, 1991)







Arriving during the infancy of the Super Nintendo, this developed something of a semi-cult following. It was baseball spruced up with gimmicks like magic trick pitches and the like. It brought a little extra spice to the standard baseball simulations that flooded the market at the time, so it deserves props at the very least for being different.








Culture Brain launched a new baseball series with this game, which only came out for the Super Famicom. Think of it as Super Baseball Simulator 1.000 but with real Japanese ball players and improved visuals. It retains all the crazy Ultra Plays.

SUPER ULTRA BASEBALL 2 (Super Famicom, 1994)







Super Ultra Baseball 2 is the sequel to Super Baseball Simulator 1.000. Released three years later, this is most evident by its beefed up visuals. Never thought I’d say a baseball game looks pretty but this one sure does. All your favorite Ultra Plays are back. Some Japanese to navigate through but definitely a worthy sequel.








Culture Brain didn’t wait even five months after Super Ultra Baseball 2 (July 28, 1994) to release Ultra Baseball Jitsumeiban 2 (December 22, 1994). I really like the super deformed route they took here. There is something charming about an old school 16-bit title featuring slightly deformed ball players. Also, Ultra Plays are still here. The best of the Jitsumeiban series.








Culture Brain released their fifth game in the SNES series, Ultra Baseball Jitsumeiban 3, on October 27, 1995. As you will see, it features the visuals that Culture Brain would go on to use in Pro Yakyuu Star.

PRO YAKYUU STAR (Super Famicom, 1997)







Culture Brain took an entire year off to work on this game (no baseball titles released in 1996) and the effort shows. Although the Ultra Plays are gone, I like the feel of this game a lot. And hey, you’ll always have the five other games if you’re adamant on using Ultra Plays.

*GASP* Players can actually throw!
*gasp* Players can actually throw

One of my pet peeves with these vintage baseball games is that more times than not, outfielders can’t throw for jack squat. The ball ends up rolling to second base or bouncing several times to home plate. It completely ruins the fun of the game but thankfully in Pro Yakyuu Star these professional baseball players are actually, you know, well trained pros! Imagine that!







Speaking of being pros, I also like the numerous nice defensive stops you can do. Take for instance this diving catch in which the defender ends up rolling around for a bit. It’s a small detail but points to the level of craftsmanship Culture Brain was able to achieve after five previous SNES baseball outings.







Couple more defensive gems.







Whatever you do, don’t let the ball roll to the gap. D’OH!

Wow, that wasn't even close
You only missed it by… 15 feet!

I would normally say “good job, good effort” but COME ON, MAN! You’re killing me out there. Tsk tsk…







Other than a home run, one of my favorite sights in a baseball game is seeing the ball smacked all the way to the outfield wall. And then rounding the bases as madly as I can while watching the defenders give chase. Good stuff.







Speaking of satisfying, how about a good old bloop single or double down the left or right field line, just barely inside the foul line? It’s a great feeling to see that white baseball find a vacant spot on that beautiful grassy outfield, just outside a defender’s reach.







Sliding home safely just before the tag is the best.







Swiping second base feels so good. Some baseball games don’t let you steal. Either your runner is too slow or the catcher’s arm is too strong. Culture Brain seems to have struck a fair balance here. The running game comes into play a bit more here than in other 16-bit baseball games. Hell, a fast runner can even swipe third base, which was near impossible for most games from that era.







Rickey Henderson would be proud. After stealing second, I’m off stealing third. NO MERCY! Gotta love the cloud of dirt and dust that gets kicked up as you slide in for the steal.







Those are some of the angriest fans I’ve ever seen!







Attention to detail is on point. Look at the batter digging his cleats into the soft dirt. In the other shot we see the anguish of a batter who just struck out. Somewhere Patrick Stewart is smiling.

*CRACK* "!"
*CRACK* followed by “!”

Speaking of attention to detail, I love how the pitcher sometimes will react with an exclamation mark if the ball is hit particularly hard. It doesn’t always result in a home run or even a hit, but just like in real life sometimes you hear the crack of the bat and you go uh oh.


Take me out to the ball game...
Give it your best shot, pal

Although I like Super Ultra Baseball 2 and Ultra Baseball Jitsumeiban 2 a lot, Pro Yakyuu Star probably does play the best of the (sand)lot. However, it’s missing the wacky Ultra Plays and when it comes down to it, the gap in sheer playability is not wide enough for me to prefer playing those games instead. This was Culture Brain’s final baseball game. They were planning to release Shin Choujin Ultra Baseball and Choujin Ultra Baseball for the Game Boy Advance but that was cancelled.

Super Ultra Baseball 2
Super Ultra Baseball 2

Also of worthy note is that they chose to make Pro Yakyuu Star its own stand alone entity rather than Super Ultra Baseball 3 or Ultra Baseball Jitsumeiban 4. It’s kind of neat to see how the Baseball Simulator series started and ended here more or less. These quirky baseball games deserve a little more recognition. I hope this gives you a few new intriguing oddities to try out for yourself.

Ultra Baseball Jitsumeiban 2
Ultra Baseball Jitsumeiban 2

Gundam Wing: Endless Duel (SFC)

Quite possibly the BEST Super Famicom fighting game
Quite possibly the BEST Super Famicom fighting game

Gundam Wing. It’s a famous anime from the Land of the Rising Sun but quite frankly, it was never one of my “things.” You know, growing up my things were Godzilla, WWF, scary movies and Super Nintendo just to name a few. Never got into Gundam Wing. My only memory of it was buying a toy of one of the super deformed version in the mid ’90s rather randomly at this Japanese hobby shop. I say that to say… I would love this game even more if I had a genuine connection with the Gundam brand. And I already like this game a lot. It’s probably the finest Super Famicom exclusive fighting game ever made. So if you love fighting games and Gundam, then this is a match made in Heaven. Let’s take a closer look.







The game opens up with this rather nice cinematic intro. It is very Street Fighter Alpha 2-esque in its execution and style.







You can spot the similarities, right? I almost expect Sagat to come bursting through any second now!







It gets you pumped up to fire giant laser beams and the like.

Select from one of nine fighters
Select from one of nine fighters

Each fighter has his or her own strengths and weaknesses. For example, some are more agile than others. Others are a bit stronger, and so forth. Before we look at the fighters a bit more closely, let’s review some of the core principles of the game.

Ooh, shots fired! Literally
Ooh, shots fired! Literally

When you’re standing more than halfway across the screen from your foe, you can press a button to automatically fire your vulcan shot. This sends forth a series of bullets that don’t do a tremendous amount of damage, but enough to sway the tide of the battle your way. It’s good for a quick long distance attack. But see that 300 bar up there? Each time you perform a big special, it loses some points. Bigger moves drain more points. To fill it back up, you have to attack with your normal moves. This means you have to strategize — you can’t just go in there with guns a’blazing.

Super specials eat up a lot of points
Super specials come at a cost

Each fighter has a super special (double Hadoken motion plus attack). This can be performed at any time in the match provided you have enough points. This is pretty cool since it means you don’t have to wait for your energy bar to be down to 25%. I guess it’s a variation on the old super move meter but somehow it feels slightly different even though in practice it really isn’t.

No rest for the weary!
No rest for the weary!

One of the neat things about this game is the ability to damage your foe even while he or she is on the ground. This also creates new opportunities for combos that aren’t present in other SNES fighting games. There is a slight juggle system at work here, and you can even block in mid-air in addition to dashing forward or backwards. Seeing as how this was released on March 29, 1996, Endless Duel benefits from some of the more modern fighting game tropes.

The not-so-friendly skies
The not-so-friendly skies

All fighters can also double jump or even TRIPLE JUMP. Being giant flying mechs you figured that this game would somehow bring that into play somewhat. And these features definitely do the trick.

Love the versus screens
Love the versus screens







That’s what you get for ripping off the great name of SHENG LONG!







I love Wing’s Dragon Punch variant. It gives you a chance to string together multiple strikes as he savagely swipes down at his opponent mid-air. Nice!








Heavy Arms lives up to its name. It’s got a whole lot of fire power backing it.







Wing proceeds to show Heavy Arms the finger. Then Wing backs up the trash talking with a CLUTCH victory that is far too close for comfort.


Neat little stage
Neat little stage








Sandrock’s stage is absolutely gorgeous, with that blazing sun popping up over the horizon. I love taking to the air with a double or triple jump to show off the sun in all its burning glory.







Wing’s blast rivals that of the sun’s power. Doesn’t look too good for ol’ Sandrock here…








Sandrock’s beautiful stage is second only to this, which shows off the captivating Northern Lights.







Wing polishes off an amazing 9-hit combo with his super special blast. I love how the colors of the beam and the Northern Lights in both pictures magically match!







Tallgeese (who is unsurprisingly the tallest mech in the game) puts up a good effort, hitting me with his devastating super special move even, but in the end he’s no match for Wing. Mechs flash orange during the final blow. Nice touch.








Mercurius has some nifty special moves, and proves to be a formidable foe.







Well GOT DAMN!  [It’s actually Gundam… -Ed.]








You do know that I am PURPOSELY letting the computer pound on me so that I can capture their special moves, r-right? [Yeah, uh huh, sure thing… -Ed.]







Yup, I really had to hold back from opening a can of whup ass on his, er, ass. [Right, of course… -Ed.]








Whew, another tight battle goes down to the wire. The vulcan shot comes in handy when you need a little push to get you over the edge and nab that W.








And you thought SNK bosses were cheap! Epyon is cut out of a similar cloth. He’s got high priority strikes and easy combos that will turn you into a crying meme.







Please, make it stop. I may or may not be in the fetal position right now. I can neither confirm nor deny.

Gotta love the HUGE text
Gotta love the HUGE text







WHO’S YER DADDY NOW, BITCH!? [Did you tell the readers how many save states and retries you had to go through? -Ed.]. Uhhh, well would you look at the time! It’s a wrap!


Well done, Natsume. Well done
Well done, Natsume. Well done

Mobile Suit Gundam Wing: Endless Duel, or Shin Kidō Senki Gundam Wing: Endless Duel (to give it its full proper Japanese title), is an impressive fighting game for the Super Famicom. The anime ran for 49 episodes — it aired on April 7, 1995 and its final episode aired on March 29, 1996. Fascinatingly enough, the same day it went off the air was when Bandai released the Natsume developed fighting game. It must have been a bittersweet day for hardcore Gundam fans. Their favorite anime ended but they received this little treasure to enjoy.


Endless Duel is a sophisticated “modern day” fighting game. It feels like a “versus” fighter in a very elementary sense. From the little details such as the humongous screen text to the combos and double jumps, it feels like you’re playing a beta version of the first wave of Capcom’s “versus” fighting games. It’s impressive to see such a clash of titans on the Super Nintendo running as smoothly as it does. But that explains why there is ZERO speech samples in this game. They had to save the memory to devote it to the frames of animation. So you won’t hear any announcers screaming “ROUND ONE, FIGHT!” or even the fighters themselves talking trash. It’s just the music and sound effects of steel connecting on steel. It’s not a big enough issue to harp on, but once I noticed it, I felt like something was off, or missing. But you do get used to it, and it was for a good cause: the game looks incredible and moves so fluidly it has to be seen to be believed. It makes me wonder what a port of Darkstalkers or X-Men: Children of the Atom would have looked like on the SNES.


So ask yourself these three questions:

1. Do you like playing the Super Nintendo?

2. Do you like fighting games?

3. Do you like Gundam?

If you answered yes to at least two of those questions, you’ll really like this. And if you answered yes to all three, then you probably already own this game and mastered at least half the roster by now. At any rate, Mobile Suit Gundam Wing: Endless Duel is a fine fighting game, and quite possibly the best one to never hit SNES American shores.