Wednesday, November 27, 2013

GAME REVIEW: G. I. Joe: A Real American Hero (NES)



When I was a little kid, I went to my cousins' house. There, One title that captivated his mind was G. I. Joe: A Real American Hero, by Taxan. It looked cool; soldier-looking dudes running through a jungle punching wild dogs and stuff... I never got a chance to play it on my own until I was about seven or eight.

For those of you who have been living under a rock near the western border of China for the past thirty years, G. I. Joe is a toy line owned by Hasbro. First established in 1964, G. I. Joe was essentially a line of dolls for boys (or rather "action figures"... and yes, this is where the term "action figure" originated) based on the US military. Its initial popularity went in the gutter with the fighting of the Vietnam War. It was revived in 1982 as an elite American special forces unit fighting to topple the COBRA terrorist organization, the incarnation that survives to this day, one of the quintessential pieces of 80's pop culture...


...and, therefore, masturbatory fodder for these two.

Before anyone asks, yes, I saw the original cartoon that was spawned from the toys. Two episodes were recorded on a VHS ("Red Rocket's Glare" and "Cobra's Creatures") along with this one show... Rock N Read (I don't know much about that one, except that it was nursery rhymes set to contemporary arrangements).

Yeah, but enough about all that memory lane stuff... let's get into the game.


The title screen. What more do you want?

In the game you control a team of three Joes (one of which is designated leader of the team at the start of each mission) as you are sent out to destroy a secret COBRA base. You can select from:

 DUKE: His gun has the widest range of the Joes.
 BLIZZARD: Second-highest jumper and second-fastest grenade thrower. His gun is the weakest.
 SNAKE EYES: Best at jumping and throwing grenades. He has no gun, but ki... with unlimited ammo!
 CAPT. GRID-IRON: One punch and he destroys a helicopter!
(He almost looks like a fusion of Samus Aran and Master Chief!)
 ROCK N' ROLL: Worst jumper of the lot, but has the most firepower!


The missions are in:

  • The Amazon (Duke leads)
  • Antarctica (Blizzard leads)
  • The sewers of New York City (Snake Eyes leads)
  • The Black Hills (Capt. Grid-Iron leads)
  • The Sahara Desert (Rock n' Roll leads)
When these five are completed, you go to Cobra Commander's hideout. There, General Hawk leads the team (he has the unique skill of flight).


GAMEPLAY/CONTROL

Each mission is divided into three sections. The first section is typically a side-scrolling stage (though in the case of Snake Eyes and Capt. Grid-Iron's missions, the stage moves vertically rather than horizontally) with a mini-boss at the end. Here are some visual aids (plus little extra bits in regard to game mechanics):



video

video

However, the difficulty tends to skip around... especially in regard to the bosses:

video


MUSIC/SOUND

Hoo-boy, does this game have an excellent soundtrack! I'm sure you've heard the Amazon, Sabotage, Vehicle, and other themes if you bothered to watch the videos above. There's a number of other really awesome tracks, such as the Black Hills theme and New York Sewers theme (which makes me think of surfers on the California coast for some reason... just look it up). But my favorite song from this game is the Antarctica theme.

In terms of regular sound effects, I don't have a lot to say. Pretty much your standard 8-bit video game stock.



GRAPHICS

Graphically speaking, the game's top-notch for its age. I always had memories of the green jungle of Mission 1-1 and the plastic blues and reds of Missions 2-2 and 2-3, respectively, as well as the large COBRA base at the beginning of Mission 2-1... complete with its missiles firing at you from the background. Though there WAS a problem with foreground graphics, particularly in regard to Mission 6; in that stage, you see, it's kinda hard to tell which platforms you can drop through... didn't have that issue with the sabotage sections in the previous five that much.

Sprites are well-done as well. I'm no toy expert, but I'll wager that these would have been how the action figures looked around 1990-91... and pretty detailed at that, too. Other than that, I don't have that much more to add in regard.




VERDICT

A sadly overlooked gem in the NES library. I had tons of fun playing it back in the day. I'd recommend playing it if you ever get the chance, it's worth it!

Also, if you found the main game too easy for you, there is also a second quest. Like the original Super Mario Bros. and Legend of Zelda, you can play GI Joe on a tougher difficulty once the game's finished (only there you have two Joes on your team instead of three). What's more, there's a third quest after that... where Capt. Grid-Iron's punches no longer one-shot the helicopters. =(


I'm DLAbaoaqu. Full on!


  • GI Joe is owned by Hasbro
  • GI Joe: A Real American Hero (1990) was made by Taxan.
  • GI Joe sprites ripped by Theouaegis of The Spriters Resource
  • Seth Green and Seth McFarlane are owned by... themselves, I guess?


2 comments:

  1. Unfortunately, the first time I heard about this game was with the IG's review. He certainly didn't have much good things to say about it, haha. That makes me curious to know what you feel about that episode of his. Anyway, one of the music tracks in the game did surprise me enough to look it up on YouTube. It's the first boss music, I really enjoy it.

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    1. Yes, I wanted to do an ICBINAVGN video on it at one point... but was advised not to. Eventually, I came here to do an alternative: a game review on it done by someone who actually played the whole thing rather than skip around using passwords.

      He didn't even try, basically.

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