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Review Archives (Staff Reviews)

You are currently looking through staff reviews for games that are available on every platform the site currently covers. Below, you will find reviews written by all eligible authors and sorted according to date of submission, with the newest content displaying first. As many as 20 results will display per page. If you would like to try a search with different parameters, specify them below and submit a new search.

Available Reviews
Super Mario Bros. 2 (NES)

Super Mario Bros. 2 review (NES)

Reviewed on January 07, 2004

The story is a departure from standard Mario fare. Bowser's off making kids with a mysterious sperm receptacle of a woman (the guy's like Michael Jackson - he doesn't keep the poor mother around). The demented offspring of the unsavory union would later help him rule with an iron fist in SMB3. So, to amuse himself in his nemesis's absence, Mario enlists the help of his friends: gangly green-clad brother Luigi; the stocky, mushroom-domed Toad, and the ''I can too fight just like the boys - see I'm not the quarry this time'' Princess Toadstool.
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Star Soldier (NES)

Star Soldier review (NES)

Reviewed on January 07, 2004

Right away, fast moving enemies cascade down the screen. You’ll see the inspiration for the follow up game, Super Star Soldier for the Turbografx-16 (well, obviously), but also for Blazing Lazers for that same system. You'll play this game and think, ''the vertical shooter genre hasn't come very far, has it? Star Soldier had it all!'' That's very high praise you're giving out, you know. But other than the fact that variety is lacking, and there’s no real ending, it’s true. Star Soldier does appear to have it all - Hudson Soft be praised.
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Shinobi (NES)

Shinobi review (NES)

Reviewed on January 07, 2004

Tengen makes us laugh right away, however unintentionally. The title screen is supposed to feature the face of our hero, beneath the traditional black ninja mask. His expression should be menacing, confident, his eyes should communicate this to us. Instead, Tengen has him slightly cross-eyed, beady-eyed, and wholly lacking proper pupils. You think to yourself, ''man, if they can’t get this right…''
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Ninja Gaiden III: The Ancient Ship of Doom (NES)

Ninja Gaiden III: The Ancient Ship of Doom review (NES)

Reviewed on January 07, 2004

Ninja Gaiden 2 was as beautiful as NES platformers come! Well, understandably, Ryu hasn’t changed - his sprite is virtually identical in all three games. Most of the enemies are different naturally, and they’re a decent bunch, the mostly mindless menagerie comprised mainly of zombie types and robots. Sadly, there are no high-kicking Karatekas knocking you off cliffs, or afro wearing boxers doing the same. The game has a decidedly futuristic tilt, and as such, it's robots, robots, robots, with a good deal of alien weirdness thrown in for good measure.
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Ninja Gaiden II: The Dark Sword of Chaos (NES)

Ninja Gaiden II: The Dark Sword of Chaos review (NES)

Reviewed on January 07, 2004

Wrestle with darkness, dancing flames and an airborne android in the mysterious Tower of Lahja before beginning the fourth leg of the journey, where waters flow eternally and Naga Sotuva lives on, a blasphemous embodiment of dinosaurs out of time. Defeat him, and face permeating cold and ice and spikes, the unwelcome mat to the seemingly premature placement for the final confrontation with Ashtar. But indeed this is the evil place where he quietly, hermetically awaits your company, as if birthed from his dark womb that crackles with deathly energy.
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Ninja Gaiden (NES)

Ninja Gaiden review (NES)

Reviewed on January 07, 2004

If you’ve played the arcade game with the same name, forget what you’ve seen. The Double Dragon-esque play and look of that somewhat overhead coin-op has been replaced by straight up side-scrolling swashbuckling and a massive dose of taxing platform-leaping. If Super Mario Brothers is your nemesis, you may well forget about taking on the Jaquio and his forces - you’ll be sliced and diced, dropped into bottomless pits and, despite unlimited continues, you will curse and beset upon your controller with intent to kill.
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Magmax (NES)

Magmax review (NES)

Reviewed on January 03, 2004

Magmax allows you to go nowhere fast. I wasn’t aware that the game was one of those simplistic early looping shooters until it registered in my laser-riddled brain that my glazed eyes had been seeing the same backgrounds pass by, over and over and over…
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Life Force (NES)

Life Force review (NES)

Reviewed on January 03, 2004

Take on a massive brain/Cyclops, press through tight spots raining volcanic rock, and reach the famous fire level. It might not look like much these days, but the raging, pseudo-sentient arcing flames were a technological marvel at the time of the game’s release. Was the NES really doing this? Yes, it was, and it still is.
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Kung Fu (NES)

Kung Fu review (NES)

Reviewed on January 03, 2004

The little guys are midgets clad in green, who do an admirable job of keeping pace with the huggers. The first time you see them, you might think to yourself, ''hey, the huggers brought their kids to work,'' or something like that. At least, that's what I thought. I thought the whole idea of having these little guys involved in the fight was slightly disturbing. Are they child soldiers? Or is the game poking fun at midgets? Who can tell?
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Gradius (NES)

Gradius review (NES)

Reviewed on January 03, 2004

From deep space and the theme that accompanies it, we fly full tilt into the earthly environs of level one. Dormant volcanoes line the ground, until at last, one volcano proves to be active, and violently so. Hide, and pray, and shoot, and survive the angry magma to fight Gradius' only boss (outside of the final one, snicker. More on him later). A nondescript ship faces off with you on the right of the screen and moves up and down, loosing volleys of slivery blue lasers. The same pattern is necessary for every level when he greets you. Take his eye out for the first time in level one, knowing that it won’t be the last.
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ESPN NHL Hockey (Xbox)

ESPN NHL Hockey review (XBX)

Reviewed on January 01, 2004

I was with a group of friends at a party, the Xbox was set up, and the owner of the system owned the game as well. We settled down, got comfortable, and got ready for some two-on-two action. I'll stop you right there: we were fully clothed. I promise. Back to hockey then?
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Faxanadu (NES)

Faxanadu review (NES)

Reviewed on December 31, 2003

You know this sprite. You’ve seen him brandish a whip in the legendary Castlevania, and bear upon his shoulder a hawk in the not-so-legendary 8 Eyes. He’s the ubiquitous NES adventurer sprite. And he reappears, ready for action, in Faxanadu.
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Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse (NES)

Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse review (NES)

Reviewed on December 31, 2003

Trevor, who powers axe and holy water and dagger and stopwatch with fallen hearts from candles on walls to augment his whipping power; just as Christopher would do before him, and as Simon - the most famous Belmont - would do after him. And then there is Dracula, who is both pitiful and inspirational in his totalitarian rule of despair and depravity, rallying every undead and crumbling and rotting wraith of yesteryear to follow him, to fall in line with him, to encircle his kingdom with grotesque protection and make him whole.
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Castlevania II: Simon's Quest (NES)

Castlevania II: Simon's Quest review (NES)

Reviewed on December 31, 2003

Despite destroying Dracula in game one, stout-hearted Vampire Killer (that’s a proper title, I’d have you know!) Simon Belmont is stricken by a curse at the hands of the dying despot, and desperately needs to find five of the bloodsucker’s body parts in order to be free of what plagues him. A nasty business to be sure - I’m not altogether certain, but hack Thomas Harris might have lent some assistance in developing the gruesome plot.
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Castlevania (NES)

Castlevania review (NES)

Reviewed on December 31, 2003

Could Konami have known? Did they have even the slightest inkling that their clichéd tale of a stout, brave-hearted adventurer up against a haunted house and all its various and typical denizens would spawn over a dozen incarnations? Surely not. Yet, something like fifteen years after the first adventure featuring Simon’s side-scrolling simplicity, we are playing Castlevania in pseudo-3D, jaded as we watch impossibly real polygonal presentations of Simon’s pretenders to his legacy doing their thing, while big budget orchestrations sing along sweetly.
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Cabal (NES)

Cabal review (NES)

Reviewed on December 31, 2003

So you wanna be a guerilla (what, playing as Donkey Kong isn’t enough?). As mentioned, you can take a buddy along, so that the cabal now has two members (and it's a good thing, because I'm not sure that one constitutes a cabal). The two of you are quite deadly and nothing will intimidate you.
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Astyanax (NES)

Astyanax review (NES)

Reviewed on December 31, 2003

Thankfully, the story told here can be skipped by pressing the start button. However, should you care to know, Astyanax is a young blonde high school freshman, selected for a world-shattering mission by fate (what else?) and accosted by a fairy from another world named Cutie (what else?). She drags you into her world to rescue a fair princess (Princess Rosebud of Remlia) - against your will. Despite her constant apologies and her help with magic during the proceedings, you can’t help but hate her for getting you into this mess. You were going to lose your virginity that night, and then this!
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Bonk's Adventure (TurboGrafx-16)

Bonk's Adventure review (TG16)

Reviewed on December 29, 2003

Hudson made a departure from their axe and boomerang throwing Higgins play mechanics, and decided that Bonk would be equipped with all his necessary weaponry right on his person. When you first play the game, and watch your onscreen character in all his cuteness bashing equally cutesy enemies with his noggin, you won’t be able to hide your smile. Much of Bonk’s appeal lies in his ability to be endearing but not nauseatingly so.
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Super Star Soldier (TurboGrafx-16)

Super Star Soldier review (TG16)

Reviewed on December 29, 2003

The challenge in SSS is very high, and very fair. The boss patterns are clever and taxing, and as I intimated earlier, the smaller scale of everything in motion on the screen simply allows for more of everything on the screen. More bullets, more enemies, trickier dodging patterns. And just as important: more bullet slipping on your part: your smaller ship allows you to pull off all manner of godlike projectile-evading mastery.
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Ninja Spirit (TurboGrafx-16)

Ninja Spirit review (TG16)

Reviewed on December 29, 2003

The main character’s name is Moonlight (not the most fearsome moniker, true enough, but full of, er, grace). His father has been killed and Moonlight seeks revenge. The opening scene is nothing special - it certainly isn’t as eye-catching as the one in Revenge of Shinobi, and the fact that it’s unapologetically cliché does not help. The saving grace is witnessing Moonlight’s transmogrifying into a wolf. I know we all have to do it sometime, but it’s so satisfying watching a ninja do it.
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