Review by Saikyo Ki

"A phenom."

This system really needs no introduction. The machine known as the Nintendo Entertainment System was the catalyst that revived home video gaming in the US. Technically, the NES stayed alive until 1996, making it the longest lasting game console ever. It lasted that long for three reasons. reason. Ample (and scalable) processing power, great marketing strategy and FUN GAMES!

Graphics Capabilities: 9
For it's time, the NES was capable of great graphics. Smooth 2D scrolling @ 60 frames per second in 256x224 resolution. It easily blew systems made in the 1970s away, and was strong enough to be able to compete with every other 80s system. Arcade conversions were 100% perfect in the case of 80s arcade games. Even in the 90s there were great arcade conversions (for instance, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game). Developers kept finding new ways to make cool effects on the screen to dazzle consumers.

One of the most innovative things Nintendo did to keep graphics and gameplay great even if the system wasn't the strongest was introducing coprocessors (usually referred to as ''memory mappers'') that were built into cartridges (back then cartridges were called ''Game Paks''). Some of the very first coprocessors gave the NES the power to perform line by line scrolling in more than one direction, a feature that the NES could not perform by itself unless the scrolling was tile based (Remember Legend of Zelda 1?). Future coprocessors allowed for very cool visual effects beyond this. One of the most revolutionary coprocessors was an artificial intelligence chip inside Dragon Warrior 4, an RPG.

Audio Capabilities: 9
Although the sound system consisted of two square sound waves, one triangle sound wave, a noise channel and a digital PCM channel, some companies were able to make some catchy music. Some game companies actually figured out how to modulate the pitch of NES digital samples and made extremely impressive songs (Journey to Silius arguably has the richest NES soundtrack ever created). Other companies used voices to enhance gameplay (Gauntlet 2).

Control Design: 10
You couldn't go wrong with the standard NES controls. Other innovative peripherals, like the Zapper Light Gun and the Power Pad, added to the fun of many unique games.

Game Library: 10
The NES still has the largest standing home system game library out of all the video game systems in existence (the only system that comes close is the Game Boy Advance, due to the fact that it's backward compatible with virtually all GBC and GB games). This was the system that a lot of great game series started on. To name just a few...Mario, Zelda, Metroid, Mega Man, Dragon Warrior, Final Fantasy. There were games abound in every genre you could think of...Action (Contra, Astyanax), Adventure (Faxanadu, Crystalis), RPG (DUH, see above :P), Sports (Blades of Steel, Techmo Super Bowl), Racing (RC Pro Am, Excitebike), Puzzle (Tetris, Solomon's Key), War Sim (Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Gemfire), and even a few FIGHTING games (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters). No owner of this system was/is unable to have fun...there's literally something for everyone on the planet.

Bottom Line?
Just like this system needs no introduction, it doesn't need that much of a conclusion. Even when the Genesis came out, the NES was great enough to keep a fanbase and stay alive long enough to unleash the SNES...but that's another story altogether. This system is a legend, deservedly so, which is why I give it a 10.


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 06/28/01, Updated 06/28/01


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