Reviews Archive
  Shinobi on Master System
  Unfortunately not the most accurate of conversions of the arcade classic, SMS Shinobi is, to be honest a little bit dumbed down. The pacing is noticeably slowed, the tension just isn't there anymore, and you don't even need to rescue the hostages either. Still, the fact that its actually still a pretty damn good game regardless speaks of the brilliance of the original source material, and to be fair on it SMS Shinobi still has a few aces up its sleeve in the form of a few extras such as new weapons and magic, its also the most accessible, easy form of the game due to the inclusion of an energy bar. Overall not great as a conversion, but still good on its own merits.
Dynamite Headdy
  Dynamite Heady on Master System
  I don't like to put downgraded ports too high up in my lists, but Dynamite Headdy is such a commendable port, and retains so much of what made the original great that it needs to be mentioned, full of charm, playability and some of the most impressive Master System graphics in existence. The game (which was only officially released in Brazil) is very good, and very playable, but is unfortunately a little short on levels.
Legend of Illusion
  Legend of Illusion
  This is a Brazil only Tec Toy port from the Game Gear and is the 3rd and final game from the Illusion series of platformers on Master System. Legend carries on the high watermark laid down by its predecessors, but I've placed it a little bit lower than them because I feel that whilst very good, it's lacking some of the more interesting ideas from Land, and is also a little too easy when compared to it's forebears.
Wonderboy in Monster Land
  Wonder Boy in Monster Land
  The sequel to the classic platfomer Wonder Boy marked a big, and important change for the series with a change of scene to medieval times, and the incorporation of many new adventuring elements, you now had equipment, and currency to worry about, as well as health upgrades, and the whole thing entered a new level of depth which would be built on as the series progressed. Wonder Boy in Monster Land was ported to many different formats with varying degrees of success but the SMS version is probably the best, its also the only one to remove the big ugly status bar that took up 1/3 of the screen on the left.
Chuck Rock II
  Chuck Rock II on Master System
  After the lacklustre port of the original Chuck Rock, Core pulled out all the stops for the sequel making it look great and managing to keep all it's best elements intact. The platforming is fun, and there's some wonderfully nice touches with the clever puzzles involving animals. I actually prefer this version to the Mega Drive port as it's much more restrained, with a simple more endearing art style as opposed to the cluttered and ugly looking MD levels.
Ghouls N' Ghosts
  Ghouls N Ghosts on Master System
  The excellent sequel to the arcade game Ghosts N' Goblins. Everything which made the original a classic has been retained (including the difficulty, though it was toned down a little), and on top of this there was a brilliant new gameplay element added with the inclusion of multi-directional firing, which helped to make the game a lot more dynamic than before. Where it comes to the SMS port we have some notable changes worth mentioning. Purists will be horrified to know that in this version you no longer commit to your jumps (you can turn back in mid air), and this, along with a slower pace, and new upgrade items (including one that gives you a permanent extra hit point) have the effect of making the game much more easy and accessible. Those who are fans of the Ghosts N' Goblins series may dislike these changes whilst many who struggled before may find they actually prefer this version. All in all a notable conversion of a platforming classic.
The Ninja
  Ninja on Master System
  This early budget priced top down shooter must've been one of the best deals of the SMS lifespan. What we have here is an excellent early example of the genre (released originally as Ninja Princess in the arcades), with crisp, colourful graphics, varied levels that consistently throw in new elements, great control (unlike other home ports of the time, The Ninja allows you to easily back away whilst firing forwards) and its own original nuances, such as the ability to temporarily fade out (press both buttons simultaneously) to avoid hazards at the last moment. A great game, and (in my opinion) a definite improvement over earlier titles in the genre such as Commando.
Impossible Mission
  Impossible Mission on Master System
  Impossible Mission was one of the genre defining titles of the early platforming adventure games. The game has you exploring a huge non-linear complex evading robots and searching for parts of a code required to finish the game. It was a very important release for its time, and the SMS version has updated graphics and is actually well in the running for being the best of the original versions of the game.
Super Kick Off
  Super Kick Off on Master System
  After weighing up the pro's and cons of all the Soccer games on the SMS, I've decided to go with this, mainly because it was the most important Soccer release on SMS, and the most reflective of the system's library for the actual time (not a game released well after the system's heyday for instance), and because its a more unique experience today. Kick Off comes from the days when developers weren't interested in holding the players hands, and as such requires a lot of skill and practice to play (dribbling in this game is virtually an art form and requires carefully timed button presses), its a hard game to get into, but a rewarding game to master.
  Zillion was released just after Metroid and as such was pretty much immediately labeled a Metroid clone, but what we actually have here is a game clearly inspired by an earlier release, Impossible Mission. Zillion has you searching through a huge complex in an effort to rescue your captured friends, as you search through the screens you discover codes required to open the doors, and power-ups to increase the abilities of your character, as each comrade is rescued you also gain the ability to swap to them, and each character has different attributes allowing them access to different areas. Zillion is a very unique and original game, its strangely reliant on memory as a gameplay mechanic, and is an addictive, well presented experience.
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