A few weeks ago, a package arrived at my home from none other than Rob over at I Played the Game. He had graciously offered me a few of his NES games he was willing to part with and truly, I am so honoured and grateful to have even been a thought on someone’s radar about old games finding a new home, nevermind to actually be the recipient of some very fantastic games! I really owe a big, heartfelt thank you to him (thank you!!!). If you haven’t checked out his blog yet or it’s been awhile, you definitely should head over that way. There are many thoughtful and well-written articles that cover everything from interesting lists with hilarious titles to in-depth and intelligent perspectives on many different games. I spend a great deal of time reading things there, so go. Stop reading this and come back in a while. You won’t be sorry!
The games that were sent to me were from the PAL region. This would normally be a problem because of region locking (I’m part of the North American NTSC region), but thankfully we have a top-loader NES that is able to play games from all regions pretty effortlessly. The downside to the top-loader version of the console is that it only outputs in RF, which is graphically inferior to the composite video output option available on the Toaster style NES. The NES Toasters are region locked with the use of a lock-out chip on the electronic board. The chip makes games from outside the NTSC region blink on and off like a game that’s inserted incorrectly would. Conveniently for us, some other humans on the planet have discovered a lock-out chip modification that can be performed to eliminate lock-out altogether. This is something that we might try in the near future because we can, so why not?
If you couldn’t tell from the photo above, the games that arrived were Burai Fighter, Solar Jetman and The Battle of Olympus. The cartridges were in absolutely beautiful condition with barely any signs of use or age on them! They looked like they could’ve come right out of the box and into my hands the day I pulled them from the shipping envelope. They were also sent over with sleeves, which I’m always happy to have. That’ll help to keep them in their pristine condition while on the shelf between plays! The photos simply just do not convey how well-loved and well taken care of these games were.
Since one of my favourite games on this Earth is Faxanadu for the NES, getting my hands on The Battle of Olympus was a real treat. I’ve often searched high and low for other games of a similar style to Faxanadu. Prerequisites included towns, nonplayable characters that provide cryptic hints, RPG elements, upgrading equipment/armour/weapons, etc. I have only been able to come up with a short list (with some help, of course!): Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest, Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link, and The Battle of Olympus! I’m sure there are others, so if you can think of any, please let me know. I have yet to find something that’s a perfect match! Because The Battle of Olympus is made in the same engine as Zelda 2 with a focus on people and beasts from Greek mythology, it makes for a great little game with a lot of heart. I’ve also heard it’s tough for a first-time player, and since difficult is right up my alley, I think I’ll really enjoy this one!
Speaking of difficult games, Burai Fighter was another game I had never heard of prior to starting up this blog. I believe it was Rob himself who had mentioned the game to me long ago in a comment section far, far away, though I can’t quite recall the context now. Either way, it’s a very difficult side/vertical scrolling shooter that involves precision and practice to master and has often been likened to Silver Surfer for the NES. I’ve watched a few review videos on it and am up for the challenge. I used to be good at the turbo tunnel section of Battletoads as a kid, so if I could make it through that, hopefully I’ll be able to sharpen my skills with this game, too.
Solar Jetman is a game I’ve always been curious about but have never been able to find out my way very easily. The game is praised for its physics mechanics as you play as a little ship that has to use a rocket to propel yourself around different planets while searching for equipment and fuel. In a few review videos I watched, people seemed to maneuver with ease. When I was testing out the game, I think I lasted about 30 seconds before exploding my ship, which was quickly followed by my little spaceman’s death by projectile bombardment. Let’s just say I have some work to do before I even attempt to stream this game so I don’t make a fool of myself on the internet.
So there you have it. These are my first PAL region games, and I can’t express enough how thankful I am to have them in my possession. I’m looking forward to seeing how the NES lock-out chip mod goes. I’ll keep you all posted! In the meantime, I’ll be practicing!
Thanks in advance to the lovely author of I Played the Game for these future gaming memories I will make, and thanks to all of you for reading and supporting me in this retro game collecting/playing endeavour. I’m constantly humbled by this wonderful community.
Enjoy what’s left of your weekends, and thanks for reading!