What was the first TV you remember having? Was it a very large one with HD, or something more modest? I can remember playing SNES on a small black and white mini TV at my grandmother’s house, or the huge CRT TV that I had in my room when I was growing up. The good ol’ days of retro gaming, those were nice times. That’s why I enjoy making new posts for this column, even though I skipped a month because of several “system updates” to my life that didn’t give me time to write.
Hope you enjoy the mini-reviews below on some obscure games you may not have heard of! Be sure to check them out as well in the links under the review.
Ice Climbers – 1984, NES 🎮🎮
The first time I had heard of Ice Climbers was from Super Smash Bros., as I had not played the original NES game. Seeing it available to play from the Switch NES library, I wanted to see why this game’s characters made it to that popular fighting game.
This is a platformer where you have to climb up to the top of the stage to progress to the next one. Enemies drop projectiles or get close enough so you touch them to lose. At first, like most games, it’s easy and I found myself going through the first few levels quickly. Later levels bring more challenges, like trickier enemies to get passed and platforms that are more narrow or between enemies to get on.
My main gripe with the game is jumping. When you jump, the ice climber actually goes pretty high which is good, but the controls are terrible. Even planning a proper jump doesn’t always land, though it should. The game seems to not push you forward enough when you jump, so you kind of jump and don’t move enough to land. Messing this up can have you dropping down to the bottom level again if you aren’t careful, which is when I wanted to give up. Give this game a try, but be aware it is not an easy one.
Prehistorik Man – 1995, SNES 🎮🎮🎮
I went to the stone age with this prehistoric platformer on the SNES. I remember playing Super Bonk on the SEGA Genesis which was fun, so I was hoping this one would be as well. You play as a cave man whose village was robbed of it’s food, so he needs to collect bones which are currency in the game, to buy more before winter comes and they have none. The caveman and some of the villagers rally together to gather these bones at a legendary graveyard of dinosaurs. The dialogue was silly in it’s writing, as the game isn’t meant to be taken seriously. It was funny to note that the village elder actually cusses, which I don’t remember seeing in any SNES game!
Gameplay was your typical platform game, where you go through a level and avoid or attack enemies as they appear. You can collect bones, food, or precious jewels that give you points and increase your score when you finish the stage. If you don’t do well, the village elder will scold you for not getting enough. The other characters give you hints and guide you as the levels change, so it wasn’t hard to figure out. I stopped playing where you need to use a hang-glider to get to the other side of the area, but I couldn’t get over this one wall so I will get to it later.
The graphics and music weren’t too bad. It’s a nice game for a child and looks like a SNES-era title. If you want to play something to relax a little with, I would recommend this one but don’t expect anything that will exceed your expectations.
Star Soldier – 1986, NES 🎮🎮
Star Soldier, created by Hudson Soft, is a shooter game about a small spaceship that is attacked by aliens. Similar to games like Raiden Trad where you need to either dodge or destroy as many enemies as possible as the screen moves upward to the stage boss called Star Brain. There is one power up that can improve your weapon or give you a shield which is very helpful. The stages are practically the same as are the enemies including the boss, so there wasn’t much variety to be seen.
It felt more like an arcade game since the gameplay was so similar on every level. The reason I gave it a low score is because of the difficulty and fast pace of the enemies. If you blink, you could be taken out and not even know. Since I have the rewind feature on the Switch, that of course helps but without it I’m not sure how far I would have got. It’s not a complaint about how hard the game is but like a lot of NES games, they are almost unfair. I would recommend giving it a try if you like shooters, if not give this one a pass.
Be sure to check out my other posts in the Retro Gaming Club! Let me know what games you’ve been playing in the comments.