Thursday, September 1, 2011

Review: Nintendo 3DS Ambassador Program! The First Ten Free Games!

So apparently I am one (of about 25) Nintendo 3DS suckers who paid full price for the system at launch. Since mid August it took a rather dramatic $100 price drop, so the sheepish Nintendo have contacted me to assure me that I'm not actually a sucker after all - I'm actually an AMBASSADOR. An ambassador! Well that changes everything! I feel important! Like Ambassador Jar Jar Binks!

But (the sheepish, won't-look-me-in-the-eye) Nintendo are making good by gifting me today with 10 free downloadable classic NES games!

More on this eggplant bullshit later!
Now, we have a lot of old school Nintendo fans that write for the site, but I'm unforgivably not one of them. In fact, most of these classics I have never even played in my life!

So join me after the jump as I review my ten free games after playing them for the first time!

Okay, so obviously there are ten of these, so I'm only going to play each one until I lose all my lives - or get bored- and then I'll give you my impressions in a couple of sentences. That way I won't waste too much of either of our precious time. Let's do the big one first!

1. Super Mario Bros.

Okay, this is one I have played before and it's still pretty great! I'm also still spectacularly bad at it! I aced World 1-1 and then got my fat Italian plumber arse handed to me by malicious subterranean turtles! In fact nothing in this game makes any sense. I don't know who I am or what my deal is and I am eating mushrooms and pissing fire. And then other mushrooms want to kill me. And when I push "down" I do a creepy squat! If you were really in World 1-1, like in real life, then you would seriously freak out. Everything is made out of brown blocks. Who built you World 1-1? Who is your God?

This is definitely one I'll pick up again and put some serious time into. My only gripe - and it goes for all the games - is that I spent extra on a 3DS and half the stuff I'm going to play on it won't be in 3D. These are all pure versions of the classics, but they do look great and crisp on this screen.

2. Metroid

I have definitely never played a Metroid game - not in any of its incarnations. All I know is that there is a hot blonde under that armour and she is sometimes in a bikini. The start screen is telling me that I'm in space and I have to destroy a Metroid, and a mechanical brain, and a life drain. And there are space police. This really shouldn't be a problem because all that stuff sounds like a pushover to me. I was born to defeat Metroids and punch space-brains in their mechanical brain-teeth.

Okay, so I did not expect to wake up in the cavern of spider-hedgehogs that stick to wall and want to kill me. I gave Mario shit for his creepy squat, but why can I not duck or shoot down! All the enemies are low! I made it across about three screens and there was a low passage to the right and I could not get through it. I started to backtrack and everything respawned and still didn't like me! And the middle screen had blocks that looked breakable but because I cannot shoot down, I couldn't destroy them! I'm intrigued as all hell, but I do not know how to play this game. If you know, please send me the relevant scan from an issue of Nintendo Power.

And was it really a surprise that Metroid Man is a woman? She runs like a girl who's trying to regain her balance after tripping on her high heel. This whole game is tripping! Will play again, but will need help.

3. The Legend of Zelda

I have heard of your legend, Zelda! But the only Zelda game I've played is Ocarina of Time, both on the Nintendo 64, and on the 3DS (that and Streetfighter are the only games I bought). I find Ocarina pretty hard, and the start screen for Legend of Zelda is already bombarding me with back-story and picture of blue candles and telling me to consult a manual that I don't even have! The music is awesome though. I have registered my name as "Cockbum".

Okay - this game is really cool, but I died in about three minutes. An old man was giving out free swords in a cave so I instantly got in on that action before the galactic police shut him down. And then I was hurling swords at angry Q-Berts and I seemed to be doing alright for a little while, until I got to a bridge and my swords stopped shooting and started inadequately stabbing and then a thingamajig popped out of the water and pwned my elf arse. I can instantly see the appeal of this game though. Looks like there's plenty of interesting stuff to explore. Another one I will come back to and conquer! (I don't really expect to conquer more than about 15% of it to be honest).

4. Wrecking Crew

I have no idea what this is. I'm hoping its about the crew of the HMS Wrecking sailing around and wrecking things. Like dolphins and seals. No! What?! This is a Mario game? And he fights Muppets?!

Actually, I quite like the mechanics of this game. You have to run around a multi-tiered level smashing crap with your hammer while an angry Elmo chases you (no doubt to protect his stuff). And some of the things you have to destroy are ladders, so you have to decide when you want to do that because it will limit your access/escape routes. So you have to be all like, "How much am I willing to screw myself in order to reach my goal? Who am I kidding, brain! I'm always willing to screw myself!" HAMMER! HAMMER! HAMMER!

I was actually doing really well with this one, and forced myself to stop (even though I was winning) so I can review the next game!

5. NES Open Tournament Golf

YES! The exciting, high-stakes, whirlwind world of golf! NES style! Oh shit, and on the start screen Mario and Luigi have scored hot blonde twins who are doting on them! Twin hot blondes! Surely Mario can manage a hole in one! On that note, I'll select "stroke play". The advice I'm given off the bat? "Try to golf well".

OK this shit is like playing a spreadsheet. You know what would make this a more dynamic golf game? Actually seeing the ball move! Disappointed NES Open Tournament Golf! You peaked at your saucy title screen! Can't see myself getting much play out of this one.

6. Donkey Kong Jr.

So, I'm assuming that this is like normal Donkey Kong, but better, because it's probably faster or something and you get to kill his son. Wait! I'm the son?! And Mario is trying to kill me?!

This game is impossible! Mario is attacking me with dry-land vine-piranhas! I have no defences against this shit! I'm just a baby! I'm out of my league! I can't get past the first screen on this one. I can't do anything except jump and eat fruit. Eating fruit won't stop a piranha from latching on to you. I need to train for this one. I need to go to baby monkey donkey school.

7. Balloon Fight.

I'm guessing that this one is the real dud of the batch though, because surely a game called Balloon Fight, released in 1984, is a piece of shit.

WTF am I even doing here!? What is my goal or purpose? I'm a bird who needs balloons to fly, and then I guess I have to try to kill the other balloon birds but it controls like absolute shit. It's like trying to wrangle a greasy camel to sit down at the table and do his taxes. It all happens on one screen, and I have one button and if I fly off the left I appear on the right and the water and clouds are trying to kill me.

How much did this game cost when it first came out? What did people pay for this unpleasant experience?

8. Ice Climber

This sounds much better! My guess is that it's about climbing some sort of ice. Of some sort. And fingers-crossed there'll be penguins!

OK, I think I need some clarification here, because my interpretation of events is that I am an eskimo who is climbing up through the ice because a pterodactyl stole my eggplant. Is that right? Is that really what's happening here? I didn't see any penguins, but I saw some pretty sweet spherical yeti-men. In fact the graphics are quite cute and the whole concept is quite pleasant, apart from the fact that the jump controls lean to the shitty side. I'd play it again. I got nowhere near my eggplant.

9. Zelda II: The Adventure of Link

Even the start screen is more epic than its predecessor. Great music and it looks very promising. It's showing me a sword and saying, "You'd like to have this wouldn't you? You'd like to hit things with it!" And it's right! I'm registering my name as "Tittyvan".

This is kind of a weird game and not at all what I was expecting. It's more "advanced" than the first one but I wouldn't say it's more appealing. It's a 2D side-scroller now, except when you're running aimlessly around a large map and triggering random encounter with little blob men. I went to a town and a fat man told me, "When all else fails, use fire" and then a lovely senorita invited me inside to "rest". Then I set her on fire.

10. Mario & Yoshi

I can tolerate Mario, but I really like Yoshi, so I expect big things from this game. Oh! And it came out in 1991, so I expect really big things! WOW ME, YOSHI!

OH GET THE FUCK OUT!! This is a puzzle game? Enemies and objects fall out of the sky in a Tetris clone, and Mario switches them around at the bottom of the screen, trying to match them up. And what does Yoshi do? NOTHING! There's just a picture of Yoshi in the bottom right of the screen, looking at you apologetically for having to play this shitty game. I thought this was going to be a Super Mario style game where I could ride Yoshi and eat everybody. That totally sucks!

And that's the full ten - for now at least. We get 10 free GBA games at a later date apparently. I think about half of this will be played again, so it's a pretty good offering. I'm sure if I invest more time in them that I'll begin to see the appeal.

Now tell me how to play Metroid!


  1. Tittyvan.

    Some would consider me a lucky lady.

  2. I think you can only smash the big blocky ladders that look like epic filing cabinets - not the normal thin wooden ones.

  3. nice one luke-
    i feel like i've played those games as well, but i had a witty inner monologue while i played them, thats how good your reviews were. fingers crossed you get advanced wars or advanced wars 2 in your GBA pack- they rule.

  4. I'm looking forward to a few of these when I access my ambassador privileges later. Mostly Metroid (which I too have never played) and the Zelda games.

  5. Ok! So when you start Metroid you have to go left. Not right! Left! That's as intuitive as putting your pants on your head!

    If you go left you find the morph ball or something which bestows you the power to roll along the ground like Sonic the Hedgehog. Except I think you still die when you touch things. I die when I do anything :(