G.I. Joe (NES) review
"G.I. Joe. No, not the upcoming movie, nor the original toy line. You know exactly what I mean when I bring up the name. That's right, I'm talking about the 80s line, A Real American Hero. It had a Marvel comic, the cartoon series, the theme song, a movie, Duke, Snake Eyes, Lady Friggin Jaye, Cobra Commander, the pimp (Destro), Baroness... I'm gonna stop now before the entire review is a list. But yeah, those were some good times. It also had its share of video games, some good... some crap. Fort..."
G.I. Joe. No, not the upcoming movie, nor the original toy line. You know exactly what I mean when I bring up the name. That's right, I'm talking about the 80s line, A Real American Hero. It had a Marvel comic, the cartoon series, the theme song, a movie, Duke, Snake Eyes, Lady Friggin Jaye, Cobra Commander, the pimp (Destro), Baroness... I'm gonna stop now before the entire review is a list. But yeah, those were some good times. It also had its share of video games, some good... some crap. Fortunately, G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero for the NES was one of the better titles.
Unfortunately, the game came out right around the end of the A Real American Hero line, so you get certain characters in some bad outfits. General Hawk is wearing his ugly jetpack uniform, Destro isn't a pimp anymore, and Cobra Commander looks like he wants to go scuba diving. Pickiness aside, it's a good, straight-up action game that doesn't try to do any gimmicks or stupid things that bog down the gameplay. As you start, you'll be able to use three G.I. Joe characters (which you can switch between anytime) from a selection of five. Each Joe has certain strengths and weaknesses, so picking the right people for the mission is very important. For example, Snake Eyes has the ability to jump really high, but he starts out weak in the shooting department. If you want a weapons powerhouse, however, Rock & Roll is your best bet. But again, there's the weakness, his of which is a small lifebar.
Now, each mission has three parts to it, and each follow almost the exact format: the first part is a simple action area, the second part is a bomb-planting maze, and the final part involves you escaping before the timer runs out. You're probably thinking things would get repetitious after only about 15 or so minutes, but it doesn't. There's enough variety in each mission to keep you going all the way to the end. At the beginning of the second mission, you're placed in Antarctica, and things seem to be normal at first. However, you'll notice one or two missiles get launched from the base in the background. You think nothing of it at first... until you see one of those missiles land a few feet behind you. In another mission, you'll find yourself continually jumping up platforms on a mountain, killing soldiers (!) and avoiding minicopters that pop out of nowhere. Eventually, your Joe will find himself grabbing onto the sides of ledges (ala Ninja Gaiden) in order to advance further to the top, where a tricky boss awaits him.
The bomb-planting segments are no cakewalk, either. Well... at first they are, but after the first two missions, they get complicated. It's been years since I've last played this game, so when it came time to go through the third mission's bomb area (which takes place in New York's sewers... how wrong is this picture?), it was tough. What contributed to its difficulty was the fact that a number of paths looked similar to one another, so I found myself thinking "Wasn't I just here?" a couple of times. I finally planted all the bombs, though, and charged towards the exit. But I ran out of time... a foot away from the door. I lost, all three of my Joes' weapon upgrades were stripped from them, and I had to restart the area again. Crap damn. Well, at least it happened early in the game....
I don't want to give the impression that G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero is a hard game. I mean, it's challenging the first time you play it, but after that, it's a breeze. Unless you decide to tackle the second and third quests, that is. Play through these two variations of the original and you'll find yourself with one less Joe, different placements for the bombs, and slightly tougher enemies. Even then, it's not a frustrating game. It's actually fun to replay those bomb segments again and try to track down the different markings on the walls. And overall, it's quite an entertaining action game, whether you're a G.I. Joe fan or just a video gamer looking for something good to play. It would have been cool if you could play with two players, but I'm satisfied with what there is.
Community review by pickhut (May 16, 2008)
Alternative tagline: Hit the Road, Jack.
If you enjoyed this G.I. Joe review, you're encouraged to discuss it with the author and with other members of the site's community. If you don't already have an HonestGamers account, you can sign up for one in a snap. Thank you for reading!