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The Goonies (NES) artwork

The Goonies (NES) review

"This game is good enough"

The Goonies was adapted from one of the amazing Steven Spielberg films from the 80s, one that sadly never reached American consoles and the only way you could play it was on Nintendo's 10 vs. arcade machines. Nowadays you can satisfy your inner 80s child with emulation, which would probably be the only way to do so since Nintendo never bothered to translate this game into a virtual console that I know of. Although it’s direct to videogame sequel Goonies II sure made that leap.

The game loosely follows the premise of the film, only that in here you must rescue the other kids who are trapped in various subterranean dungeons and caverns below the Frattelli's restaurant, which is your starting point. In order to delve deep into said caverns you must collect a number of keys plus rescue one of the Goonies trapped behind skull doors. Each time you play the game it randomizes the placement of said items and hostages, making the replay value a bit higher and quite enjoyable. The only way to open skull doors are by blowing them up with bombs, which enemies often drop when defeated. You also must be careful not to get caught by the blast otherwise you lose a whole life if you do.

Among other items you also collect gems which can replenish your health automatically when you have enough, health potions, a slingshot with limited ammo, and other valuable items like a raincoat to protect yourself from water attacks. These important power-ups are hidden throughout the game and can become highly necessary as you progress through the dangerous levels below.

Enemies range from rats that take one or two hits to eliminate, bats, witches, and even skeletons. The Fratellis also go around trying to stop you and can only be stunned unlike the rest of the enemies that disappear in a puff of smoke. However enemies can also respawn in mere moments of being defeated thus serving the same purpose as the villainous gang members. The white rats will grant you invisibility when defeated, which can be a saving grace when running through perilous terrain full of obstacles.

The game also graces you with an 8-bit arrangement of Cindy Lauper's "The Goonies-R-Good Enuff" for sheer nostalgia factor, something I found myself humming along as I played through kicking rats and shooting gangsters with my slingshot. Other tracks are also catchy and give the right atmosphere of adventure during gameplay.

The difficult level isn't as high as the level design and enemy placement, the best way to get around is by memorizing the best pathways that can lead you to skull doors faster and avoid any needless backtracking. Some enemies are impervious to attack so strategy plays a part in finding out what works to avoid losing lives.

The Goonies is a game which in my opinion should have been released in America not only because it was based on a great 80s movie but because the game itself is a treasure to play and experience. Perhaps one day Nintendo may get the rights to include it along with its own sequel in a compilation. One can only hope.


CptRetroBlue's avatar
Community review by CptRetroBlue (March 24, 2019)

Cpt. Retro likes old school gaming the most and grew up playing Arcade games in Mexico. He also loves talking about retrogaming.

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hastypixels posted March 26, 2019:

The Goonies games have a powerful nostalgic effect, and you'd think it'd be a shoe in for Nintendo Online inclusion, but it can be hard to obtain rights for these relatively obscure, cult-fan titles. Emulation is fast becoming the best way to experience otherwise neglected or unavailable titles, and even Nintendo is hard pressed to argue the point - or serve their customers.
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CptRetroBlue posted March 27, 2019:

I completely agree

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