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NES Remix 1 and 2
I always view the NES era of gaming through sugar-frosted spectacles, forever unable to uncover much fault in this special time when I started identifying myself as a gamer. Sharing notebooks full of passwords on the bus, the two-month long wait for Nintendo Power in the mailbox, and saving every penny for a year in order to buy Kid Icarus, these are the memories of a wonderful childhood. Honestly, how can anyone really not love Nintendo?
If you have ever left a game on pause overnight so as not to lose progress, you know exactly where I’m coming from. Both volumes of NES Remix were made for people like us, the kids who could beat Castlevania in one sitting or still remember the location of every power up in Bionic Commando. If you can still navigate through the Lost Woods from memory or decimate Ridley without taking damage, you will certainly find something to enjoy in NES Remix.
Think of NES Remix as your Nintendo favorites perfectly packaged for generation ADD. Each game is broken into familiar bite-sized chunks that must be completed quickly in order to succeed. Finishing levels earns the gamer stars, and stars unlock more levels and different titles. You can also earn stamps to place on messages you leave for members of the Wii community, which Nintendo seems to think is better than a point-based achievement or trophy system. Personally I would prefer a traditional ranking system where I could match up and meet with new players, but Nintendo doesn’t want their own army of Xbox Live assholes, and I can’t exactly blame them for that.
Between both volumes of the series, tons of old favorites make appearances. Only a few of the choices are questionable, especially the “what in the fuck were they thinking” inclusion of the obscure and extremely terrible Wario’s Woods. I would rather play through Captain Novalin (the 8-bit train wreck about living with diabetes) than be subjected to one more minute of Wario or his hackneyed woods.
The remix part comes in with 60 plus special challenges that completely change the familiar levels and games around. Playing Donkey Kong with Link (who can’t jump) or plowing through lights-out Excitebike are just two of the awesome tweaks that make this the mode worthy of the purchase. Some of the challenges are downright brutal. For example, imagine playing Balloon Fight (aka C-List Joust) while the screen continually shrinks. The remix levels are hands down the hardest to complete, and they will certainly test your 8-bit mettle.
Besides the palpable ire you will feel for Wario’s Woods, this game will also make you loathe the primitive jumping mechanics in Ice Climbers. I never played it in my youth, but had I, this would have been the first game that made me contemplate unnecessary controller abuse. You can’t float your jumps at all, which makes for an excruciating platforming experience, especially by today’s standards.
The only other major problem I had was with the lack of attention given to Punch Out. Most of the Mario titles get 20 plus levels, but Punch Out only gets seven? And the final level is literally just you watching Doc train Little Mac in the park? Punch Out deserves so much more than some slapped together levels. Soda Popinski, Bald Bull, and Super Macho Man don’t even make appearances. Piston Honda serves as the final challenge, which is like getting a beer half filled with head—it’s still tasty, but it feels so incomplete.
Rumors are swirling that SNES remix is next. If this is any indication of the direction the big N is willing to take with their back catalogue, they can just go ahead and take my ten bucks.