NES AtoZ 76: Gun.Smoke Gyromite, Gyruss, Gumshoe, Hammerin Harry

Gun.Smoke

This game is actually a shoot-em-up game more inline with Galaga than it is with a run and gun game like Contra. Even though that is completely obvious it actually took me a little bit to get to the realization. That being said, the game is a very competent shmup with a refreshing setting. Thankfully even your basic gun (2 guns) provides some decent firepower and dynamic firing arc. You actually use 2 buttons to fire. The left button firing to the left, the right to the right and holding both together fires upward.

Although there seems to be a lack of cool guns and upgrades in the game, there is a fair variety of enemies. I also like how barrels., sandbags and various piles of junk act as barricades to put you into the setting. I have a feeling that this is one of those games that loops forever, I hope it isn’t. I guess it doesn’t matter much anyway because I would probably never beat it even if I had it.

Gyromite

Gyromite is a quirky 2-player puzzle game in a world before puzzle video games were popular. The game has 2 play modes. In one mode you control the doctor as he tried to collect goodies while avoid enemies. You also control the red and blue pipes which act as doors, elevators and blockades. In the other the doctor is sleep walking and you only control the pipes, kinda like lemmings.

I think the sleepwalking mode is 1-player only. But the first mode, 1 player can control the pipes while the other controls the doctor. I have some fond memories going over to my parent’s friends houses when I was a kid and teaching the little kids to help me play this game. I would let them control the pipes while I controlled the doctor. It was a pleasant experience for everyone.

Gyruss

An interesting take on a shmup, our second interesting take in this batch! Right away I thought of the arcade classic Tempest. But I found out during my research that it’s it’s own arcade game and I played the arcade game. I am shocked at how accurate this NES port is! If you haven’t played Tempest it’s actually pretty tough to explain. Imagine the flat play area is wrapped inside a tube or pipe. Your ship moves around the inside of the tube and so do the enemies.

The controls are a bit tricky because left is left until you hit the top of the pipe. Now right is right. That makes sense, but it feels weird when you are just holding left to keep going in the same direction by the directions flip on you in the meridian. I am sure you just need to get used to it. The music is very awesome!

Gumshoe

This is the kind of game that really wishes the NES blaster had a button on it to go with the trigger. In this game you play an ever-advancing detective who need to both jump to avoid pits, and not get killed by random thrown objects. The player must use the light gun to shoot the flying debris (makes sense) and shoot the detective to make him jump (doesn’t make sense).

You know what control method I would much prefer? If the blaster had a jump button, and the detective was holding a gun. So instead of you being some strange sniper-support unit you would actually be the detective. When you shoot the gun, it was the detective shooting it at the debris and a jump button would jump. Currently you are shooting the hero to jump and it doesn’t make sense, I don’t like it. Oh well, the gun does NOT have a button so I need to get over it. The game is still fun.

Hammerin Harry

Where has this game been all my life? Who the hell is Harry? What an awesome platform, I was blown way! You know a game is good when it makes it into my coveted hidden gems collection. I spend a good amount of time trolling the internet watch hidden gem videos and I have never seen this game ever mentioned in ANY compilation.

Anyway let’s talk about the game. It’s a platform where you are a construction dude with a giant wooden mallet and you go through the construction yard smashing people with it. I found some powers which either make the hammer even bigger, or make you spin it around in a 360 attack. Everything feels right and it is very satisfying to smash people with a hammer.

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