Sometimes you can look back at something you liked as a child only to find out it was not as good as you remember. Honestly, I don’t feel that way about G.I. Joe the cartoon, but I do feel that way about the arcade game.
Produced by Konami in 1992, G.I. Joe the arcade game was based on the toy and the cartoon of the same name. For the time the game had pretty awesome graphics and looked almost as good as the animation. The game was run and gun with the camera placed behind the Joe as you constantly ran toward your target. You could choose from four Joe’s, Duke, Scarlett, Roadblock and a Snake Eyes who could talk for some reason.
Your mission was to take out a ton of Cobra troops and you only had a machinegun with unlimited ammo and limited rockets to do so. As said the game had you always looking forward and you could only move to the left and right and had crosshairs to shoot at the onslaught of troops and vehicles. The good thing is most of the bad guys had no problem running past you and most of them did not shoot.
You can easily recognize many of the Cobra troops in the game from Vipers to B.A.T.S including vehicles. There are three missions and the first mission his broken into three parts. In part one you are in an oil field and face Tomax and Xamot in tank/helicopter hybrids. The next mission has you on an airfield and you face a rocket resistant Metal Head. Finally, you head to Cobra’s weapon plant and face the Baroness in a huge green bomber. The second mission starts out in a jungle where you face Major Bluud at the end. Next, you find the secret Cobra base and take on Destro. The end comes on Cobra Commanders giant aircraft carrier.
The gameplay is nothing new. You began with a standard machine gun and about three rockets. As you took out soldiers, vehicles and buildings, you could earn health, more rockets and an upgrade to your machine gun making it auto-fire and increasing the size of the crosshairs. If you were hit, you would lose your powered up gun and when you died, you would be given three rockets again. The arcade version allowed you to continue right where you died like most arcade games do. In G.I. Joe, it really did not matter if you killed everyone or just those in your way, but since you could not jump, you had to sometimes shoot obstacles or vehicles coming right at you.
Again, the gameplay itself was not special, but the use of sounds and animation from the television series made it a hit at the time. I always wondered about all those troops and vehicles that got away, but I guess that is how the Joe’s stayed in business.