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Silver Surfer (NES) artwork

Silver Surfer (NES) review


"The first thing youíll notice about Silver Surfer is how awesome the music is. Most of my experience with this game has been on the pause screen in the first level listening to the soundtrack. This game embraces the NESí limited sound capabilities; itís like a techno chiptune remix before techno chiptune remixes existed. The drum samples are the most authentic youíll hear on the NES. The melodies are catchy as all hell. These tunes are among the best on the system. Seriously. Obtain a copy of th..."



The first thing youíll notice about Silver Surfer is how awesome the music is. Most of my experience with this game has been on the pause screen in the first level listening to the soundtrack. This game embraces the NESí limited sound capabilities; itís like a techno chiptune remix before techno chiptune remixes existed. The drum samples are the most authentic youíll hear on the NES. The melodies are catchy as all hell. These tunes are among the best on the system. Seriously. Obtain a copy of the game, load up the first level, and leave the game paused in the background as you go about your business. I have now made your life a little bit better.

The second thing youíll notice about Silver Surfer is that itís a scrolling shooter. Some levels are vertical, others horizontal. Assuming you actually play the game beyond listening to the music, you should also notice how frigging hard it is. You wonít last more than ten seconds after the gameplay starts. Either an enemy will hit you, or youíll crash into an object.

It cannot be stressed enough that you canít touch anything in this game. Touch a wall, dead. Touch a bridge, dead. Touch a pole, dead. Most shmups are generous with collision detection, having the playerís hitbox reduced to a few pixels in the center of your ship. Not in this game. If any part of the Surferís body--or his board--touches anything that isnít a powerup or part of the background, heís dead. Youíre brought to a screen of him facepalming you, and then itís back to the beginning of the section of the level youíre on (each levelís divided into three.) The only way to tell the background from an obstacle is to shoot it; if your bullet goes through, itís background. If not, stay the hell away. But because youíre constantly having to fend off enemies, the game is too hectic to be constantly checking whether or not you can touch that rock or those trees. Gameplay quickly dissolves to trial-and-error in Silver Surfer.

Youíll beat this game if you chip away at it long enough; itís merely a matter of memorization. Furthermore, this game becomes a whole lot easier when you get some powerups. Like in Gradius, you can get an option ball that doubles your firepower. You can also get a fireball-shooting ability that doubles the strength of each individual bullet. If you can survive long enough to get both of these upgrades, the game becomes almost too easy. Your weapon, which was so ineffective before, now wipes out enemies like salt on a slug, and because of your wider range of fire, itís much simpler to see which parts of the level you can and canít touch. The game is still pretty obnoxious to play, tough, since you canít hold down the fire button to autofire. Having a turbo controller or an emulator with turbo support is a must for this game.

Silver Surfer just isnít a fun game. The gameplay is as bare-bones as it gets; there arenít any interesting level designs, or any interesting bosses, or any weapons besides your regular gun and a screen-clearing bomb. Even the ending is crap. All Silver Surfer has is its music. And since the sound effects drown out the soundtrack most of the time, the game is best played on the pause screen in the first level. In the background. With you doing something else. Please, listen to the music; it deserves a lot more praise. Just donít bother with the game.

Rating: 3/10

phediuk's avatar
Community review by phediuk (August 01, 2007)

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