Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Guerrilla War (NES) Review

Guerrilla War is a vertical run and gun game by SNK that was released as an arcade game in 1987. It was heavily influenced by 1986's Ikari Warriors. Guerrilla War was eventually ported to many different consoles including the Commodore 64 and the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). This review is from the NES version.

You and a friend if you have one are freedom fighters trying to remove the Dictator out of his fortress to run Cuba yourselves and I think I just gave away too much of the plot, more about that later.

During your mission, you'll find power-ups that give you a more powerful weapon. All the basics like multi shots or missiles. The enemy will send many tanks after you and surprisingly you'll be able to find and use tanks against them. I had the most fun running over bad guys in tanks. Just like Ikari Warriors, you can play two-player split-screen which I didn't do but I bet I would have fun playing with someone else.

The gameplay was, for the most part, pretty good. When you move forward the screen does as well so you don't have to worry about the bottom of the screen coming for you. You can also move, depending on the level, left and right past the edges of the screen. A mistake I made many times in the game was killing all the bad guys around a hostage but in doing so making it impossible to rescue them because I moved the screen too far up.

The biggest problem I had was aiming with my gun. It is hard to aim at exactly what you wanted to hit and it got on my nerves more than once. This game also had a technical problem that plagued many games for the NES, slowdown. Granted this game puts a lot of stuff on the screen at once including you and a friend, many bad guys, tanks, hostages, power-ups, and of course bullets. All of this causes the game to slow way down when the screen fills with stuff. This did come in handy once or twice when I was fighting a boss and the game slowed down so much making it easy to dodge the incoming bullets.

Besides overthrowing the Dictator your other goal is to free hostages, just like Rambo. Well, let me tell you that the enemy in this game commits war crimes left and right. They use the hostages as bullet shields, they put them out in the open and when you free them they jump out of the bushes blasting away not caring if they hit one. This alone makes your job worthwhile. As far as the hostages go in this game, I believe they have been brought over from the arcade version as points really have no purpose in this game and that's all hostages are worth, game-wise.

Hostage, top left.

My only other issue is both a positive and a negative. The game has unlimited continues which makes it very easy to beat which is a good thing if you want to finish the game without breaking a sweat. Somebody who finds this as a negative could just reset the game if they run out of lives right? Well, let me tell you that's harder said than done. With all the continues I could want I was able to beat Guerrilla War in around one to one-half hours total. I enjoyed the time I played it but it's similar to doing something that is illegal and then doing it when it's legal, it feels normal now and run of the mill.

The game has eight levels to fight through including airstrips, farmland, mines and the city of Havana, have I given away too much of the plot at this point?

Map of the island.

Each level has one to two bosses, usually one-half way through the level and the other at the end. These range from men to trains and up to submarines. Taking down a submarine by yourself is pretty badass, Rambo never did.

Before we finish let's go over the plot of the game. The Japanese game makes it clear who you are playing as. If you are knowledgeable about the 20th century you should already know the answer.

Fidel Castro
I sure if you don't know who Castro is you'll know this guy.

Che Guevara, the favorite poster of every college freshman.
In the US version of the game it's been edited out but the two guys you play as are Fidel Castro and Che Guevara. Some people love these guys and some people hate them, all I'm saying is I understand why they left their names off the US version.

Anyway, I had a good time playing this game but the slowdown and difficult controls brought this one a few pegs more that it should have. I give the NES version of Guerrilla War a 7 out of 10.

And when I was talking about doing illegal stuff and then once made legal it loses its bite, I was talking about Cuban Cigars. I never had one when they were still illegal in the USA but once made legal my brother went on a cruise in that area and was able to buy some and I was saddened to find that they taste about the same as any quality cigar in America. Now if I smoked one before it was illegal it might have been better but we will never know.

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