tmntiithearcadegamenesboxCost to replace: $9.99 – $49.99

Significance: Well, I’ve written on my attachment to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles before, including how it was their break into video games which first led to me being a fan in the first place. But I stopped short of talking about the second NES game, based on their first arcade game.

I mentioned before that for a time, my parents ran an arcade/pool hall, and this was one of the games in it. Well, the original version. While I’m one of a relative few who did enjoy the original NES game, even I could easily recognize that the arcade game was leagues beyond, like playing the actual cartoon. Hence why I would soon after beg my dad to get it for his own arcade. (I also spoke in a recent Nintendo Force of how I teamed with three strangers to beat the game for the first time. Good memories.)

Back in the day, you could get away with releasing a game that didn’t match the arcade original exactly. While the graphics and sound might not have been as flashy and rich, other changes were often incorporated, some of which arguably made the home experience even better than the technically superior arcade originals. Heck, most people seem to prefer the Super NES version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time to the arcade version, despite having half as many players and fewer animations and sound bytes. To this day, people prefer it to the original and the Xbox Live/PlayStation Network remake, though there are a host of other reasons for that.

What Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game brought to the table were two new stages featuring all new foes to fight. Included among these were jumping robotic snowmen and a wolf-like alien bounty hunter named Tora, who took over a snow-covered Central Park with a deluxe version of the same weather satellite seen in the cartoon’s pilot episodes for one new stage. The other was a Japanese castle filled with blade-chucking henchmen and robotic scorpions, all leading to an encounter with the Shogun before one could tackle the Technodrome. TMNT has had numerous formidable duos over the years, from Bebop and Rocksteady to Tokka and Rahzar to Fishface and Dogpound. Tora and Shogun fit right in, but were only ever seen in this particular version of the arcade game.

Unlike the first NES game, this one supported two players, and while I’ve played it with a few others, I still fondly remember my dad actually joining in to give me a hand against the foes I was facing. Which was kind of fitting, as he also watched those first episodes of the cartoon show with me when I would rent them.

I suppose it might also be worth noting that the game came with a coupon for a free Personal Pan Pizza from Pizza Hut, which tied in to this version’s unique in-game advertisements. Despite otherwise keeping my games, booklets, etc. in the best condition possible, I admittedly felt that a free pizza from the Turtles and Konami via one of my favorite games was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up, and had to plead to my parents for us to go to Pizza Hut before it expired. No regrets.

This is one of those games which today seems unlikely to ever see re-release. The original NES game was released on the Virtual Console– a rarity for a licensed game, which is likely why it had a $1 mark-up over the price of most other NES games. It wound up disappearing before the sequel would ever arrive.

Meanwhile, Xbox Live Arcade had the original arcade game, but it too has since been removed. And while I do have that one and appreciate everything it delivers (including a faulty attract mode), you can see here that the NES version clearly has its own set of unique charms and memories attached to it.

topgunnesboxCost to replace: $7.86 – $29.33

Significance: You know, I’ve never seen Top Gun. It’s on my to-do list, as it’s one of those 80s movies that it seems like everyone– at least, everyone from back then– has seen. The NES game, though? This was one of my first, alongside Rad Racer, The Legend of Zelda, and Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt (naturally). And as yet another licensed game, its chances of appearing on the Virtual Console are approximately nil.

I never got too far into it, just into the third level, as it was a tough game (which has been well documented {NSFW}). Unlike the Angry Video Game Nerd, though, my parents and I could land the plane most of the time; we didn’t use the Power Glove, but the Quickshot joystick (which I’ve managed to hold on to) probably helped.

This was another one both of my parents played, and quite a bit. In fact, they managed to make it to the fourth and final stage, though apparently no further than that. (I’m pretty sure they’ve seen the movie, too. I really need to get on that.)

It’s also worth noting that the game had a rather nice soundtrack, one characteristic of Konami games of the day… well, save for the actual flying part, which is basically just white noise. But as one of my first games, it triggers a sense of nostalgia like few other games can.

topsecretepisodegolgo13nesboxCost to replace: $4.99 – $20.00

Significance: Like Bionic Commando and Code Name: Viper, this was one of those “mature” NES games, featuring all sorts of naughtiness that I hadn’t a single clue about when I was a kid. Of course, at the time, I didn’t know that Golgo 13 wasn’t simply a video game character, but was actually the star of a manga which has run from 1968 to the current day (the oldest still in publication, to say nothing of appearances in anime, movies, etc.). Naturally, that’s part of why a re-release on a service like Virtual Console is unlikely to ever happen. That, and Vic Tokai bowing out of gaming back in 1998 probably doesn’t help matters, either.

This was another game that was more my parents’, and which I would simply watch them play. Mostly, this was due to the game having “backwards” controls (B was jump), and I either couldn’t quite wrap my head around such a bizarre scheme, or I just didn’t want to. So watching them play had to do.

Watching was still fun, though, as Golgo 13, aka Duke Togo, was a pretty badass guy. While being a professional assassin is probably not enough to help him stand out among a number of gaming heroes, how many do you know who do the job using a customized M-16 with a scope? Plus, according to Wikipedia, “The name ‘Golgo 13′ is a reference to the death of Jesus Christ. Golgo is short for Golgotha, the place of Jesus’ crucifixion. The number 13 is considered an unlucky number because there were thirteen participants at Jesus’ Last Supper before his execution. Also, Golgo 13’s logo is a skeleton wearing a Crown of Thorns.”

That’s pretty hardcore.

Too hardcore for Nintendo, perhaps. While the inclusion of cyborg Hitler and a Swastika got by their censorship, they at the very least made certain that Togo would not be referred to as an “assassin.” Rather, he was to be referred to as a “spy,” since that’s a little less evocative of violence and gore. Meanwhile, the resurrected Nazi regime was renamed the “DREK” empire– perhaps a sign that the folks localizing the game didn’t think very highly of such censorship? Still other no-nos of the time, such as smoking, sex, and drug use, managed to somehow sneak their way in.

willownesboxCost to replace: $11.99 – $32.99

Significance: Unlike Top Gun, I have seen this movie (and have been meaning to get a DVD so my wife can see it, too). Like Top Gun, however, it being a licensed game means that a Virtual Console re-release is pretty unlikely, unless Capcom can manage to get the rights again for a song. Maybe then we could see the arcade version finally get a home port, too.

Whereas the arcade version was a platformer, Willow was basically– for lack of a better term– a Zelda clone. A top-down three-quarters perspective was used as you guided Willow all across the land as he seeks to protect the baby girl prophesized to bring about the downfall of the evil Queen Bavmorda, but elements of more traditional RPGs were present, too. For instance, talking to people had framed cutscenes similar to some encounter screens in other games, and you could level up Willow throughout the game.

While not quite as good as The Legend of Zelda, Willow was still a great game that did some things which almost made it feel like a bridge of sorts between the original NES titles and A Link to the Past on the Super NES. For example, though Zelda II brought talking to people into the series, Willow did it from the more traditional top-down perspective (save for the folks living in caves in the original game). Willow’s strikes with his sword were more varied, too, as he could stab in a fashion similar to Link’s own on the NES, or he could swing his sword in an arc, as Link would go on to do on the Super NES and most games thereafter.

wizardsandwarriorsnesboxCost to replace: $7.90 – $41.00

Significance: It’s ironic, in a way, that despite going in alphabetical order to avoid ranking, the game I will likely miss the most would come here. In other words, the best has been saved for last, for lack of a better term.

While some of the other “top” entries on this list at least have alternatives– Bionic Commando has Rearmed, while TMNT II: The Arcade Game has the actual arcade game– Wizards & Warriors was made by Rare, and so now seems to belong to Microsoft, which I lamented a while back as I wrote about properties I wish they’d update. It seems rather unlikely that they’ll ever touch it again, which makes this loss hit hard, but then again, they did outsource Killer Instinct. Personally, I’d love to see WayForward take a stab at reviving it.

One memory that resonates with me about this one is that I remember it being one my mother wanted to play, and joining my dad as we drove around in search of it well before there were GameStops everywhere you look. If I’m not mistaken, we found a copy at a now-defunct discount chain store called Sky City. If memory serves, Sky City wasn’t particularly great as a place for toys, so that they carried NES games would seem to be a sign of how big the NES phenomenon was back in the day.

In any case, I think Rare did a great job with this one, as it became one of my favorite games. It had great graphics and an awesome soundtrack by David Wise, who is well known for his compositions for numerous Rare titles, including the Donkey Kong Country trilogy. It was a little easy, but still fun as you discovered new items and became more powerful, all with a medieval flair.

Unfortunately, sequels became an iffy matter. Ironsword: Wizards & Warriors II was contracted out to Zippo Games, and they turned in a much more difficult product, thanks to the limitations placed on lives and continues. While my parents and I did play that one a bit (though they played it more, but never successfully beat it that I’m aware of), none of us got to try out the third title, Wizards & Warriors III: Kuros: Visions of Power, nor the Game Boy installment, Wizards & Warriors X: The Fortress of Fear (though that’s another story).

Naturally, it’s the fondness and the memories I have for this game combined with the franchise seemingly condemned to Microsoft Limbo that make the loss of this game sting extra-hard. Maybe someday I can get this again, and pursue the sequels while I’m at it.

Bonus:

casinokidnesboxCost to replace: $1.04 – $25.00

Significance: Okay, this one is admittedly something of a cheat, but I’m including it as a bonus due to the odd circumstances behind it. I’m not quite sure how it happened, but I actually have this game here with me now; the game cartridge and even the instruction manual are here with me, but for some reason, I left the box back at my parents’ place. I guess I only had just enough room left, and opted to go for some of it, rather than none.

Looking on eBay, while I’ve seen numerous boxes being sold alone for games, toys, and more, this is not one of the items for which that is the case. Go figure. Strangely enough, one guy sold the box and all the inserts, but no game, for $23.99– more than getting the entire set can cost you. Weird.

For those who don’t know Casino Kid, it’s basically what you get when you take a Japanese Role Playing Game and place it in a Las Vegas-style casino, replacing turn-based battles with card duels in poker and blackjack. This one was one of my parents’ games early on, and I remember watching them both play it many times over. Strangely enough, though, my parents never checked out the sequel when it was released.

A more thorough look at the game can be found in my HonestGamers review here.

——

And there you have it, my 12 recently-lost classic games. With any luck, I’ll hear some good news about them, but I’m not holding my breath at this point. If that does happen, though, I’ll be sure to update this post.

In the meantime, have you ever lost some games, or even toys, comics, magazines, or something else dear to you in such a way? Then share it in the comments! After all, misery loves company.

——

Addendum:

ninjagaidennesboxSince posting this article, I’ve discovered there were actually two more NES games lost with the lot: Ninja Gaiden and Ninja Gaiden II: The Dark Sword of Chaos.

Suffice to say, these are two classics, and while the Ninja Gaiden games Tecmo are making now are cool and all, these will always be the games foremost in my mind when thinking of the adventures of Ryu Hayabusa, as well as Irene Lew and Robert T.S. As NES games go, these two are fairly iconic.

Fortunately for me, I already have the first on Wii U Virtual Console, thanks to a review I did for Nintendo Force, and hopefully the second will be there soon, along with the third one I never owned. Given how difficult these games are, being able to use the Restore Points is a bit of a blessing here!

Anyway, keeping the alliterative title and just adding these here for my own reference. As for prices… well, these aren’t going to be cheap to replace.

Cost to replace:

Ninja Gaiden – $19.78 – $132.50

Ninja Gaiden II: The Dark Sword of Chaos – $25.95 – $50.00

Addendum 2: And RoboWarrior. Screw it, I’m not looking it up now, and I have no idea how I missed so many. All the more disappointing, though, I assure you.

Share
 
 
  • TheGameroomBlitz

    I do hate it when heartfelt blog posts don’t get the attention they deserve. Especially when it happens to me, but also in cases like this.

    It’s probably worth mentioning that Lunar Pool was designed by Compile, creators of the Puyo Puyo games and one of my own NES favorites, The Guardian Legend. It’s not a bad simulation, by the way, although it takes serious liberties with the sport.

    As for Turtles 2, that was one of my most hotly anticipated NES titles, and it went a long way toward making up for Konami’s mistakes with the first game. Oddly, there was a THIRD game that played similarly, but was designed especially for the NES. New levels, new soundtrack, new everything, really. I got The Manhattan Project for seventy five cents at a garage sale last year, which is… considerably less than the going rate on eBay.

    Codename: Viper was an odd duck; I always wondered if Nintendo “encouraged” Capcom to make a game that was similar enough to Rolling Thunder to steal the spotlight from it. It is a better game, though, so perhaps I shouldn’t complain.

    They really ramped up the gore in the final boss fight in Bionic Commando: Rearmed. It was kind of shocking on the NES, but downright nasty on the Xbox 360. It was an appropriate reward for all the hell you were put through in that final stage, though… all those drop-down platforms against that purple background, augh!

    • http://www.nyteworks.net/ LBD “Nytetrayn”

      Heh, thanks; I appreciate the thoughts! And getting an actual comment!

      I didn’t know Lunar Pool created Puyo Puyo and The Guardian Legend, that’s pretty cool. =)

      The Manhattan Project is a great game, arguably better than TMNTII, just on account of being made from the ground up for the NES, rather than porting down an arcade game. It’s the only numbered TMNT game I don’t have from the NES/Super NES lineup.

      Interesting theory on Code Name: Viper; I wonder if Nintendo has ever said “you know, we could really use…” Maybe they should do that now. ;P

      For BC:R, it’s amazing what an M-rating can do. And agreed, that last stage was the one addition that definitely took away from the game. Glad they offered an option in a patch, but it’s for Easy. =P Text was hard to read, too, but that’s hardly unique to them.