Title: Dr. Mario Developer: Nintendo, Nintendo Research & Development 1 Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date: July 27, 1990
How we got the game: We got it on the NES Classic
Dr. Mario is one of those games that I have missed over the years. We had never owned it and I wasn’t born when it first released, so naturally, I never got a chance to play it.
Dr. Mario is here to cure some viruses by throwing pills at them. Yep, that’s the gist of it. There’s no story explained really, but Dr. Mario is there to cure viruses and he somehow has an infinite supply of pills.
Before the game starts, you’re able to choose which level you want to start at. There are 20 levels and you can take it easy and start at level one, which is pretty easy. Or you can start right at level 20 if you want the challenge right off the bat.
There are different colored viruses for each level – red, blue, and yellow. Mario’s pills come in those colors and they’re capsules which are broken into two parts. Some pills are two colors while others are one. Still, you need to maneuver the pills and match three of the same color together to a virus of that color. So, if you’re up against a red virus, you need at least three blocks of red pills touching it. Four of the same color in a row – touching a virus or not – will make them disappear.
You can turn the pills left and right to make sure you can get the colors to where you want them to go. However, you can choose what speed you want the pills to fall and something – slow or fast – it’s quite easy to trap yourself. Then you have to dig yourself out of a hole. The good news is, the levels aren’t timed.
The graphics aren’t too bad. There’s not a whole lot of visual representation for the game. The majority of it are the three primary colors in pill form or small virus-like creatures. Dr. Mario stands on the sidelines throwing the pills for you to deal with. He seems awfully happy to do it, too.
The music is pretty good. There’s just a small bit of music you can choose from on the main menu before the game starts. Some of it is catchy but I was too busy yelling at Mario and the viruses to really listen to it.
This is a fun game and it reminds me of a mixture of Tetris and Bejeweled. There’s not much to it, but it’s a fun puzzle game and it’s semi-mindless enough to just pick up and play. I can see myself going back to it from time to time.
Dr. Mario gets… 4 out of 5 lives.
Have you played this game? What did you think? Let us know in the comments!
Title: The Legend of Zelda Developer: Nintendo Research & Development 4 Publisher: Nintendo
Category: Action, Adventure
Release Date: February 21, 1986
How we got the game: We have it on the NES Classic
The original Legend of Zelda video game came out a few years before I existed. Having a chance to play both the Legend of Zelda and The Adventure of Link were a couple of reasons why we were interested in getting the NES Classic.
This is a game we’ve heard a lot about and have seen others played, but we haven’t had the pleasure of playing it ourselves until now.
Being a game for the NES, there are only a few simple buttons for a player to keep track of when controlling Link. The A button swings your sword, the B button uses whichever special item you have equipped from the menu that’s brought up with the start button, and you can move in a whole four different directions with the D-pad.
The controls can be a little wonky at times, but it’s a NES game, so that was kind of expected. A lot of times Link would swing his sword with some delay after we pushed the button which put us in some trouble on many occasions throughout the gameplay. Most of the items you have to buy through random shops you find on the main map while others you get by going through and completing the dungeons.
Your adventure involves exploring the over world map, finding secret locations and dungeons that hold monsters and pieces of the Triforce of Wisdom. Instead of the game having a linear direction, Link is plopped down in the middle of the world and released to go forth wherever he pleases.
The over world map itself doesn’t show where Link is or where anything is, even if you’ve already been there. You just need to explore, find stuff on your own, and remember where it all is. You can do the dungeons somewhat out of order though you might get stuck needing certain items to get through. Plus, the enemies are tougher later in the game. The dungeons are made up of various rooms with a ton of enemies and puzzles to get through. While it’s pretty simple, the enemies are tough and they can be tricky to get through.
It was an interesting dynamic where the controls and environment are simple enough, but there were definitely times where we found ourselves dying over and over again to the same bosses or other enemies. While I love a good story-based game, I definitely enjoyed the openness of this Legend of Zelda. It reminds me a bit of how Breath of the Wild is an open world, allowing you go explore the story however you want.
It’s certainly a fun game and well done for its time. It seems like such a small, short game, but there’s a lot to do, collect, and explore.
The graphics are nothing to be blown away by these days, but it was definitely charming to see the first appearance of Link and the world of Hyrule as their original pixel-selves. The color palette was enough to be able to distinguish the characters from the environment and it was simple enough to tell what was going on, even if there were a couple of glitches here and there. Nothing to make the game break, of course.
Yes, we did have a couple of glitches throughout the game, but some of them were in our favor, which was kind of nice. The pixels are great and looking at some of the enemies are hilarious because they look nothing like what they would today. Also, watching Link shimmy on the raft is wonderful.
The music is fantastic, being the classic tunes that we know and love from all the other Legend of Zelda games we’ve enjoyed playing. It was a treat to hear where the tunes came from, especially the overworld music.
The music and the sound effects are satisfying. I have the soundtrack in my car so hearing the music and actually playing the game at the same time was great. It was a nice throwback to a game I’ve heard so much about but have never played.
There’s no true introduction to a story in this game. You take control of Link, you find an old man in a cave who tells you to take a sword because the world is dangerous, and off you go. Objectively, you are collecting pieces of the Triforce of Wisdom from the dungeons scattered about the world, presumably in order to rescue Princess Zelda.
Again, since it’s not really explained at all, Link is exploring the world, ultimately preparing himself to battle Ganondorf and save the world. The story is there it’s just not as flushed out as we know and love it today. Which, is kind of cool in a way. I wonder how we would have felt about it if we had no knowledge of the series when the game first came out?
The Legend of Zelda is an oldie but a goodie. While there’s only so many secrets to uncover, it’s a game with a simple enough premise that allows you to play through it many times without getting bored. It’s a classic.
I’m happy we finally got a chance to play this game. It wasn’t easy (even though it’s older and I was expecting it to be) but it’s one I’ll definitely play again.
The Legend of Zelda gets…
4 out of 5 lives.
Have you played this game? What did you think? Let us know in the comments!
Did you all hear about the mini NES that Nintendo is going to roll out in November? We still have the original console but, considering that the original NES came out five years before I was a thought in my parents’ minds, we don’t have too many of those games and my memories of playing said games are a bit fuzzy. However, there were a few that I definitely remembered.
4. Bugs Bunny’s Birthday Blowout
I’m going to wager a guess that we had a Bugs Bunny game mostly because my uncle and Rachel’s and my older sister loved the character. This game was rather simplistic, just running around as Bugs with a giant hammer while attempting to get to his 50th birthday party. I enjoyed playing the game mostly because of the character (and the hammer).
3. Disney’s The Little Mermaid
Disney had quite a few video games with Nintendo. Besides The Lion King for the SNES, we also had The Little Mermaid for the NES. Generally I’m not one for water levels in video games (we can probably blame Ocarina of Time’s Water Temple for that), but I remember enjoying swimming around as Ariel in the game
2. Adventure Island II
I don’t know how or when we had gotten this game. It’s about a guy in prehistoric times who quests through treacherous islands in order to rescue his girlfriend, as far as I recall. Nonetheless, I remember booting up this game often enough, mostly due to the fact that, as the protagonist, you had little dinosaur helpers after you rescued them. Flying with a pterodactyl was pretty neat!
1. Super Mario Bros. 3
Seriously, what else could take the number one spot? That’s right, probably the Legend of Zelda, but alas, we never had the originals for the NES. Therefore, Mario tops this list with his game that has been the third best-selling NES game of all time. Being able to play as Mario or Luigi, it was one of the classic side-scrolling platform games that centered on rescuing Princess Toadstool (way before her nickname Peach became her more familiar moniker) and the leaders of the seven kingdoms from Bowser and his koopalings.
What was your favorite NES game? Or are you too young to remember much of that console?