Score Rundown


Overall: 5 (Average)

Ratings Explained

The Goonies
(NES/Playchoice 10)









Did you know one of the first NES titles was a movie tie-in? Released in 1986, just as the NES started shipping nationwide, the Goonies was a platform/puzzle game that bared little resemblance to its movie counterpart aside from the fact that you played a kid that was being chased by a mobster who pioneered the American Karaoke movement. The game never made it to the NES and instead was offered on Nintendoís Play Choice 10 arcade system, which let you play NES games on a stand up arcade machine. Why the game was never released in the US is beyond me, though we did eventually get the sequel (Goonies II, duh) but that will be a story for another day. While the movie was based out of the US, Japan got to have fun with this version of the game while we were stuck paying twenty-five cents every five minutes to play it. Gee, thanks Konami.

If you ever played Goonies II, youíre not missing much as this game was a simplified and more dated looking version. You play as Mikey as he battles through six similar looking environments full of platforms, pipes, doors imbued with skulls, and uh, not much else except for the pirate ship at the end of the game. Your goal is to collect keys and your six friends, which one would assume they were the other Goonies except they all look just like you, save for the last level when you actually encounter something that resembles a female. Itís a non-stop, thrilling race against time as you have to uncover every door you find before the timer reaches zero, once youíve found everything, you can unlock the spiked door blocking your way and move on to the next similar looking, yet rearranged stage. Are you a bad enough dude for the job?

Standing in between you and your captured friends are a handful of foes, most of which arenít bent on destroying you as much as they just want to pace back and forth. Your main obstacles are the rats which will either wander back and forth or jump depending on what color they are. Some rats will even turn into something that looks like a weasel or fox after being hit once, which doesnít really make sense, but oh well. Along with the obvious rodent infestation, youíll also deal with walking skeletons, flying skulls, bats, and the ghost of One-Eyed Willie himself. Your most feared foe is the Fratelli brother that will be in almost constant pursuit. He can jump, climb ladders, and sing at you. This would leave one to believe that itís the one brother that sings the really bad opera all the time.

Yup, thatís him all right, though he looks like he should be selling shoes in the 1950ís instead of chasing kids in the sewer, basement, caves, or whatever youíre running through here.

When you defeat enemies, theyíll leave bombs that are essential to get further in the game. Youíll need to place bombs in front of skull doors to get health, keys, weapons, and find your friends. While Mikey can only kick enemies by default, youíll also come across slingshots that will let you take baddies out from a distance, which can be a big help in later levels. Youíll also be able to find hidden items by performing certain actions in certain spots. Talk about a technicality. When found, these items can greatly help you and your limited number of lives, especially since there are no continues here. You can find headphones that will make you immune to the Karaoke styling of the Fratelli brother, spring shoes that will make you jump higher, and a rain coat that will protect you from the steam pipes just to give away half of the secrets.

In addition to the keys and secret items, youíll also be able to find treasure hidden throughout the levels which can give you point bonuses in addition to health when enough of them are collected. You can find these behind doors, or by doing the same kinds of actions as the hidden items, only in different spots on the map. Youíll also be able to pick up crosses that will make you invincible for varying amounts of time going between what seems like a split second and forever. This could very well be the only religious symbol seen in a Nintendo game, since they took up the stance that no cursing, blood, or religious references would appear in games soon after this.

Oh, sweet blasphemy.

Since this is a first-gen NES title, the visuals are obviously dated. The character of Mikey is designed well enough, but given the look of your friends, it could really be any of them. I just imagined being Mouth because he could talk smack in Spanish, plus you canít deny the whole Corey Feldman factor. What a dreamboat he was. Catch me, Iím going to swoon, seriously.

Iíve also mentioned that levels look very similar, but I feel I should reiterate it. While the first level offers some unique scenery, every level from there and up to the end of the game consists of bricks and pipes followed by different colored bricks, only arranged differently with even more pipes. Backgrounds are non existent, since itís just black.

Sound fares better than the visuals, mostly due in part that thereís more variety to the gameís soundtrack. The music changes depending on what area you stumble into and it even features a Nintendo-ized version of that Cindi Lauper song that was on the movieís soundtrack.

Aside from the music, sound is decently done as youíll get noises that sound like rats and opera singers screaming as theyíre defeated.

Not that it was a big deal that The Goonies never made it to the home consoles, but the movie was pretty popular with kids around that time. It didnít make much sense that we had to wait until 1987 for an actual game based off of the movie, which by then, the novelty was lost and kids had stopped doing the Truffle Shuffle opting instead to yell ďThundercats HO!Ē Not like the game was a masterpiece in the first place, as you could have changed the name on the characters and called the game anything you would like from there like ďRat TrapĒ for instance, where you opt to take care of your rodent problem in the basement yourself as opposed to paying the singing exterminatorís astronomical fees, and heís pissed about it. You just end up on a pirate ship full of treasure somehow, which could have an underlying moral that no reward is more satisfying than taking on a problem by yourself. Maybe Iím off topic here, so Iíll continue. The Gameplay grows tiring after a while and the only reason why youíll come back to the game is due to the lack of a continue system. Once youíve beaten it, you wonít want to play again, that is, unless your dream job is on an assembly line, then the tedium will be heaven Ė a black, brick filled heaven.

- Brad Hicks (aka Dr. Swank), SwankWorld Media

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