World Games

World Games

Overall Rating: 3/5

NES World Games - Gameplay Screenshot

Of the original batch of launch titles for the Nintendo Entertainment System, many were subpar offerings that were limited or even outright flawed in gameplay, such as Gyromite. Others, however, were classic masterpieces that went on to carve formidable legacies, such as Super Mario Brothers and a title called Track & Field.

Track & Field was so successful, with its simple gameplay formula of offering multiple button-mashing or precison events, that it inspired several similar games, such as its sequel Track & Field 2 or the goofy Caveman Games. One of these imitations was a smaller-market cartridge called World Games, an Olympics simulation with many differing events at multiple difficulty levels for one or two players.

Graphics

NES World Games - Gameplay Screenshot

The looks were standard. As far as NES entries go, World Games was neither spectacular nor terrible. Some events, such as Cliff Diving, looked crisp and clean as the long dive down genuinely did create nervous tension. But other events, such as Slalom Skiing, suffered from crude pixilation and questionable contact detection.

Soundtrack

NES World Games - Gameplay Screenshot

The effects were basic, highlighted by breathing noises in Weightlifting and the occasional breaks and shatters of Barrel Jumping, along with the sickening thud of a cliff diver hitting the cliff. Perhaps the best sound, though, belonged to the country selection screen, where the national anthem of each selectable country could be played.

Innovation

NES World Games - Gameplay Screenshot

World Games did not bring an entirely new formula to the table; as mentioned earlier, Olympics-style games with multiple mini-games had been done before. World Games does deserve credit for coming up with entirely new games, and executing them fairly well, with some better than others. Sumo Wrestling was simplistic and had no real strategy, while others like Caber Toss, Bull Riding, and Log Rolling were actually competitive and required finesse skills.

Bonus

NES World Games - Gameplay Screenshot

One odd side item worth mentioning is a humorous glitch in the Sumo Wrestling game: Although normal gameplay would not reveal it, the wrestling ring level wraps. In other words, what goes off one side of the screen will appear on the other. While it is not possible to walk outside the bounds of the ring without losing the match, there is a move that throws the opposing player backwards. If done at the very edge of the ring, the flung opponent will reach the edge of the screen; or, at least, his head will. This means that his body will be laying still on one side, while his head suddenly jumps over to the other, creating the appearance of a decapitation! Other weird visuals can be achieved with other games, such as the weightlifter who holds the barbells too long and falls through the floor after turning blue.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h8SdQX52Vj8[/youtube]

Overall, World Games does not establish any fantastic new heights for video games, merely doing a solid job of imitating Olympics-type settings. But it is certainly a piece of fun, especially for two players, thus earning a decent three stars out of five.

Hero’s Quest

Heros Quest - PC - Sierra - Gameplay Screenshot

This week I’m  looking at the Sierra On-Line classic, Hero Quest, first released in 1989.  This game was a completely different gaming experience back in the day.  Most gamers were used to adventure games, like King’s Quest or Space Quest, or role-playing games, like Might & Magic.  But an amalgamation of role-playing and adventure games was unheard of! Lori Cole’s game design was unique and the game was a best-seller for Sierra, spawning several sequels over the years.

Heros Quest - PC - Sierra - Gameplay Screenshot

You could play Hero Quest either as a Fighter, Magic-User, or Thief.  The game’s puzzles were designed so that they could be solved in different ways by the different character classes, and you could improve your character’s skills and inventory as you played the game.   It played as an adventure game, where your character completed quests and solved puzzles, moving the storyline to its epic finish.  By today’s PC game standards, the graphics and sound are rudimentary at best, with your hero looking a bit like a stick figure jerkily moving about the screen.  But a good retro gamer never judges an old game by today’s standards!  The storyline is strong, and can still be fun to play today.

Heros Quest - PC - Sierra - Gameplay Screenshot

An interesting side note about Hero Quest is that the game’s name had to be changed almost immediately after it was distributed.  Milton Bradley had trademarked the Hero Quest name for their 3D board game, which apparently no one in the Sierra On-Line team knew – until they were told to remove it or else.  The solution was to simply change the title of Hero Questto Hero Quest: So You Want To Be A Hero.  Of course, this has led to these two games forever jumbled together in google searches as retro gamers look to find them to add to their collections!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b1rJXX5yBcs&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]