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#NES

Mega Man 3 Review Rewind

A Robot Boy and his Dog

For years, there has been a heated debate among fans of the Mega Man series regarding which one is the best of the original hexalogy. After the facts have been laid out and philosophical life lessons thoroughly dissected, the debate usually boils down to Mega Man 2 vs. Mega Man 3. Which is the greater of the two? Well, no matter which side you’re on, we can all agree on the thing- the cover art for Mega Man 3 finally got it right! No more awkward stances or that pistol-for-an-arm-cannon nonsense. Of course, he didn’t look as good as on the Famicom cover, but that’s another argument.

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Final Fantasy VI Review Rewind

Heroes of Might and Magicite

As a late bloomer to RPGs, I was mostly ignorant of the Final Fantasy series until 1997, when that commercial for Final Fantasy VII caught my attention in all its epic CG glory. But it would be another two years before I finally saw a demo of the game in action, which sparked my love for RPGs. The point is that I missed out on Final Fantasy VI (originally titled Final Fantasy III in the US) when it was released in 1994. Fortunately, the Super NES Classic Edition's release several years back allowed the opportunity to play Square’s magnum opus of the 16-bit series. And boy, was it worth the wait.

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Thunder Spirits Review Rewind

A thunder redux on the Super Nintendo.

Technosoft’s Thunder Force series is rich with 2D shoot-'em-up goodness. After starting with the fifth game in the series on the PlayStation and then working my way back to Thunder Force II on the Genesis some years later, I have become obsessed with everything related to the Thunder Force series since then. One fateful day at a local game store, I stumbled upon Thunder Spirits on the Super NES. "Nah, no way it's related to the Thunder Force series. Probably just a coincidence of naming", I thought to myself. But after doing some additional research, I soon returned to that store and purchased the game. For, you see, this was no coinkydink.

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Final Fantasy V Review Rewind

Hold on to your Butz.

There are several similarities between Final Fantasy V and its younger sibling, Final Fantasy III. Chiefly of which, both games stayed exclusively in Japan well after the series moved on to the PlayStation in the mid-90s. For a time, Square Enix (formally SquareSoft) was uncertain if western audiences would grasp the deeper gameplay mechanics that drove character growth. But after the global success of Final Fantasy VII, they decided it was time to start bridging the gap in sequels in the US lineup. As a result, Final Fantasy V was the first to be released as part of the Final Fantasy Anthology compilation on the PlayStation in 1999.

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Super Hang-On Review Rewind

A Winning Run

When I was a wee lad in the arcades, motorcycle racers were not often a priority for me to spend my quarters. I was too busy playing After Burner, Galaga, or Ms. Pac-Man. But one day, I saw something that stood out from the usual bunch- Sega’s Super Hang-On, initially released in 1987. As I hopped on the mechanical bike and blasted around that first corner, I knew it was worth every quarter spent. I was one with the road- until I crashed seconds later. While I never won the race or played it in the arcade again, I always remembered how much fun it was. Thankfully, most of the traits that made the coin-op version fun translated well on the Sega Genesis.

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Double Dribble Review Rewind

A slam dunk on the NES.

With the 2022 NBA Finals set to conclude this week (possibly tonight), now is as good a time as any to look back at Double Dribble- Konami’s take on professional basketball initially released in 1986. Like many of their arcade hits arcades, the game was forever immortalized when it was ported to the NES a year later. With its accessible gameplay mechanics and realistic presentation, Double Dribble quickly became known as one of the best sports experiences on the home console.

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The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past Review Rewind

Link’s 16-bit debut still sticks the landing 30 years later.

If there’s ever a time I dread writing a review, it’s when my subject is a highly favored game that has received so much praise over the years that it’s a bit hard not to sound like I’ve just hopped aboard the nostalgic hype train at this point. Check any top 10 list of the best Super Nintendo games, and you’ll be hard-pressed not to find The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past floating somewhere within the top five, if not the number one spot. It’s a testament to its staying power in the minds of the gaming community at large. When I sat down to play this game for myself, I only had one question- is the game really that good? Yes. Yes, it is.

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Knight Rider Review Rewind

KITT turbo boosts onto the NES.

The 1980s was a decade with no shortage of TV action/crime dramas featuring a suave loner with a high-tech vehicle on a crusade to champion all that is good. At the top of the pile was Knight Rider. Each week, David Hasselhoff hit the road to stop criminals with the help of KITT- a super-advanced Pontiac Firebird Trans Am voiced by William Daniels (aka Mr. Feeny from Boy Meets World). A popular show in syndication by 1988, Knight Rider was the perfect candidate to get a licensed video game on the even more popular Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). So now, sit back and join me on this shadowy flight into a dangerous world of a man who does not exist.

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Elevator Action Review Rewind

Tactical Espionage Action

“Elevator” and “action” aren’t words that typically belong in the same sentence. But lo and behold, Taito released an arcade game in 1983 that would pair a mundane function with the trappings of a spy thriller in the game Elevator Action. You play the role of a secret agent that finds himself at the top of everyone’s hit list. Avoiding certain death requires cunning, skill, and riding a lot of elevators. It made a big enough impression to become a cult classic that people remembered fondly.

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Renegade Review Rewind

The Street Fighter

Sometime in May 1986, Japanese arcades saw the release of a brawler called Nekketsu Koha Kunio-kun (roughly meaning Hot-Blooded Tough Guy Kunio in English). It stars Kunio- a miscreant high schooler fighting for a classmate being picked on by rival gangs. The game is notable for being the first brawler to feature an urban setting and introduced many trademarks common to the genre- a tough guy protagonist, themes of street justice, generic thugs, female villains, and so on. The game underwent significant revisions for its Western release and subsequent NES port, including a name change to Renegade and the story wholly disconnected from its source material.

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