Video Game Review Donkey Kong Country Super Nintendo 1994 Developed by: Rare Published by: Nintendo
Donkey Kong isn’t exactly the crown prince of Nintendo’s large cast of mascots. In fact, it’s almost as if he’s the black sheep; the first nemesis of the beloved Mario that was relegated in the 80s to teaching kids about math. When Nintendo enlisted Rare to create a new type of platformer during the mature age of the Super Nintendo’s life cycle, it was curious to see what would be the result. Donkey Kong Country ended up being a renaissance f or the primate character that helped revitalize the I.P. and became, for a while, a solid number two behind Mario in Nintendo’s roster of franchises. Donkey Kong Country is the game that started it all again and despite its age is still one of the best platformers ever.
Video Game Review Adventure Island Nintendo Entertainment System 1988 Developed by: Escape/Hudson Soft Published by: Hudson Soft
Despite Super Mario Bros. creating a renaissance for games after the Video Game Crash of 1983, it made it almost impossible for good platformers to get their moment in the sun. Why play anything else when there’s Super Mario Bros. available. While Hudson’s Adventure Island isn’t anywhere as good as Mario’s first platformer, it still provides as decent experience in the genre. It does have a few problems such as its difficulty level, the weird continue system, and it’s uninspiring level design. Still, the quest of Master Higgins still provides from some decent platforming entertainment that is good for those who like this type of game to give a try.
Video Game Review Super Mario Land Nintendo Game Boy 1989 Developed by: Nintendo Published by: Nintendo
It feels like it is near-impossible for Nintendo to make a bad traditional Mario platformer. Even though Super Mario Land for the original Game Boy looks extremely primitive, it is still one of the best in the series. It might be a bit rough around the edges and looks and handles differently than most Mario games, but it provides one of the best platforming experiences on any system.
Hall of Fame Inductee Super Mario Bros. Original Release: 1986 (NES) Designers: Shigeru Miyamoto, Takashi Tezuka Developed by: Nintendo Published by: Nintendo
Even if we don’t care about Super Mario Bros. twenty-five years after its release, the game is notable for at least one very important reason: it saved the video game industry after it imploded from the crash of 1983. The NES was a hard sell to retailers when it was launched in 1985. Too many garbage games from horrible game consoles had turned people off of video games. When Nintendo tried to break into the market, it was like entering a wasteland. However, Super Mario Bros. changed all that. The game looked and sounded better than anything else available on the home market; it was easy to pick up and play, and it was incredibly fun. Mario singlehandedly saved the video game industry and, even though the game is over a quarter-century old, it still stands up incredibly well today.
Hall of Fame Inductee Ghosts ‘n’ Goblins Original Release: 1985 (Arcade) Designer: Tokuro Fujiwara Developed by: Capcom Published by: Capcom
Many people remember Capcom’s Ghosts ‘n’ Goblins for one reason: underwear. While it probably wasn’t the hook that Capcom was looking for, most people giggled when seeing Sir Arthur run around in his boxers trying to fight off evil demonic creatures. However, what kept players coming back to the game was the interesting game design, nice looking graphics, and addictive gameplay. Even though it was a side-scrolling action-platformer, it still managed to be one of the most popular and profitable games in the arcades in the middle of the 80s. It also proved to have a strong shelf life on the home console front.
Hall of Fame Inductee Pitfall! Original Release: 1982 (Atari 2600) Designer: David Crane Developed by: Activision Published by: Activision
Platforming games were not as prevalent in 1982 as they are today. Video games back then were supposed to be quick experiences that you’d have fun with for a short period of time. This was very important for the arcades which relied on players to pump the machines full of quarters for as long as possible. Adventure games that gave the player a chance to play for an extended period of time were not good for the arcades because people would be spending less money. Home consoles started a different trend. While most people were happy to get home translations of their arcade favourites, many people wanted more from their high-priced machines. While it wasn’t first platform-based game, Activision’s Pitfall! made the genre accessible to the home market. It was fun to play and looked good, even though it was on the Atari 2600 which was a graphically inferior system compared to other home consoles and computers at the time.
Video Game Review Solomon’s Key Arcade 1986 Developed by: Tecmo Published by: Tecmo
Arcade games are supposed to be experiences to last just long enough to keep the player interested and entice them to keep plunking down quarters into the machine. Puzzle-platformers don’t exactly fit into the mold of what an arcade game should be. However, Tecmo did a really good job with Solomon’s Key at creating a frantic puzzle-platformer that is quite difficult but makes the player constantly want to spend their quarters in the hopes of beating the level they’re stuck on. The action on screen is hectic (which at times is a good thing and a bad thing), the puzzles are quite clever, and the game is a lot of fun.
Video Game Review Ape Escape 1999 Developed by: Japan Studio Published by: Sony Computer Entertainment of America
We consider Mario the standard bearer when it comes to platformers. During the Nintendo 64 days, fanboys could hug their Nintendo consoles and say with pride that they had the best platformer available for that generation; Super Mario 64. Not content with stealing away most of Nintendo’s user base from the Super Nintendo days, Sony decided to make a cute looking platformer of their own. Not only was Ape Escape every bit as good as Super Mario 64, it was better. It even borrowed from Zelda which must have really sent fanboys for a loop. The action and platforming are great. The graphics, on the other hand, not so much. However, its innovative controls made this arguably the best platformer on the original Playstation.
Video Game Review Castle of Magic DSiWare 2009 Developed by: Gameloft Published by: Gameloft
The DSiWare service has been home to many cheap titles offering simple thrills ever since the service started in 2009. Every so often among the weekly releases a title comes forward that rivals full retail games in the amount of content in their package and also in the amount of gameplay offered. Gameloft’s Castle of Magic is not one of those titles. While it tries to be a steal-of-a-deal game, it falls flat. The gameplay is mediocre but some of the games mechanics are broken. It’s an appropriate game for its price point but that’s not saying much for a game priced at five bucks.
Sonic the Hedgehog Video Game Review Sega Genesis 1991 Developer: Sonic Team Publisher: Sega
There are some who immediately discount Sonic the Hedgehog because of how the game was created. Sonic was created by Sega to make a title that could be more popular than Mario. Sonic was going to be the poster child for 16-bit gaming whether the final product was any good or not. Luckily for Sega and all the gamers out there, Sonic the Hedgehog is an incredible fun 2-D platformer. The game is built for speed which both helps and hurts at the same time. Sonic the Hedgehog is the pinnacle of gaming for the Sega Genesis.