Total Recall (NES) review
Total Recall is a highly-enjoyable sci-fi film about espionage, self identification, and an oppressed Mars society. Total Recall is also a bewildering NES experience crammed inside a side-scroller structure, and the first stage alone encapsulates this with an awkward mash of ideas, enemies, and video game logic. Barely a few seconds after you take control of a Lego figure that's supposed to resemble Arnold Schwarzenegger, you become a victim of a drive-by shooting, assaulted by men shooting from several trashcans, and are constantly yanked into dark alleys where you literally fight a gang of little people. If you're too slow with moving forward during all this lunacy, a balding man marches in from the left side of the screen and takes away one life with a single touch.
Every obstacle and hazard mentioned above happens within the span of a single minute... You still have to contend with a "SWAT" team jumping out of windows, a mysterious figure throwing bombs down a flight of stairs, a questionable fence, and a very brief timed battle with a gun-toting Sharon Stone. Suffice it to say, Total Recall's first stage is overwhelming to the senses. This isn't the good kind of overwhelming, either; in your first few attempts to conquer this stage, you will constantly witness your health bar and lives rapidly diminish due to a combination of tricky enemy placements, "interesting" hit detection, and having a really small health bar. Doesn't help that your health doesn't refill between stages...
Community review by pickhut (January 18, 2020)
Alternative tagline: Hit the Road, Jack.
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