NES AtoZ 86: Joust, Jovial Race, Jungle Book, Jurassic Park, Kabuki Quantum Fighter

Joust – 1/1

HALArcade1991

As far as classic arcade games go from the era of Pac-Man, Frogger, Galaga etc the ones that support two player simultaneous mode are a rare treat. This feature is what makes Joust worth owning on a home console. This port does no disappoint!

The graphics are comparable to the arcade game, and it features the simultaneous 2-player gameplay I love. Sorry I didn’t have a friend or a second controller handy to show this off but I have since tested and I can confirm it maintains a perfect frame rate even with all those sprites flying around.

The controls takes a bit of getting used to but once you get the hang of it this game certainly provides a unique experience. Totally worth playing today.

Jovial Race – 0/1

Thin ChenArcade1989

Speaking of arcade ports here is another one! Jovial Race is a port of the arcade game Rally-X which I have never played. I took a look at some video and the gameplay looks similar, however the graphics are much better and the animation and scrolling smoother.

This is a single player top down “racing” game in which you race to rally flags and once you find a certain amount you win the level. I didn’t play this long enough to fully get it, but you do get some weapons to defend yourself from bad guys like an oil or smoke trail which stuns enemy cars.

It’s a boring game. Not even sure the arcade version is worth it.

The Jungle Book – 1/1

VirginPlatformer1994

How the heck do you beat level one!?

I’ve played plenty of games. I am able to intuit how to win a level. This game sets up the expectation that it’s like every other platform game in which you run from left to right. But somehow when I got to “the right” I couldn’t win. I would consider that a pretty bad user experience. Based on this I had to give it a bad score.

Anyway, the graphics are pretty nice, but that is to be expected from such a late-era NES title. The music is quite good and I could see myself rocking out to it out of the context of the game.

Jurassic Park – 1/1

OceanAction Shooter1993

Jurassic Park is a top down “twin stick” shooter in the vein of Smash TV or Soldiers of Fortune (both great games). I guess it would be even better to compare this to some other twin-stick NES games like Ikari Warriors or Guerrilla War.

The graphics are super good for the NES, at first glance it might even look like an SNES game. It also has great music, at least the menu and the single level I played. I didn’t really know what I was doing playing, but it felt good to run around and shoot dinosaurs. I would definitely play this again.

Kabuki Quantum Fighter – 1/1

THQAction1992

The setting – Earth, the future. The defense computer protecting the entire planet has been invaded by a constantly-mutating, evolving virus. Only one man, Colonel Scott O’Connor, has the courage to risk his life in an untested miracle weapon. Converted to raw data and transported into the circuits of the computer, Col. Scott’s molecular structure is transformed by the untested Image Transfer System. Into the circuits of the giant computer steps an unlikely superhero – the Quantum Fighter.

I know what you are thinking… Why Kabuki though? Why is someone very carefully crafted non-japanese name “Scott O’Connor” decided that his Quantum Fighter image is a kabuki actor? Some questions will never have answers. Maybe this story was augmented for the US audience.

This is an often overlooked action platform game with some pretty cool mechanics like hanging off platforms with his hands, several weapons which can be switched to on the fly. Enemies have interesting patterns and levels have verticality to keep things interesting. This is a great game for NES collectors and I highly recommend it.

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