Review by Rick L
"How in God's name did this get obscure?"
Sometimes, a really great game gets obscured by something, for whatever reason. Maybe it's just because it's not the Mario, Link, Sonic, or Mega Man that we're used to. Sometimes it's just extremely rare. Whatever the reason, the game turns out to be a hidden treasure than a mainstream hit. That's definitely the case here with Journey To Silius. Although quite unheard of, this game immediately shoots itself right to the top of the heap when it comes to pure quality.
Created by Sunsoft, this game was actually meant to be a Terminator game, which explains all the post-apocalyptic-type things in the game. However, when for some reason the Terminator license got pulled, it left the guys at Sunsoft scrambling to change the game. I think that Sunsoft really covered their tracks well in the midst of their scrambling.
You play as Jay, who is out to stop a group of terrorists who killed his father. There's a lot of backstory to this in an opening cinema scene, which really works to explain the story and create a dark, brooding atmosphere which does follow throughout the game.
The graphics are top-notch for the NES. Right away, the background keeps right to the mood of the game, and the use of the colors is great. Enemies are detailed and aren't an eyesore to look at. Jay, however, could use a bit of extra touching up since he does look a bit thrown together and blurry in my opinion.
The music is one of my favorite things about this game. It really does a great job in getting a player pumped up, it fits the mood, and it's not the same four-second loop over and over again that some games have. In fact, each of the tunes in the game goes for at least forty seconds, and the second level actually goes for nearly four minutes without truly looping. That, my friends, is an immense accomplishment. However, my only gripe with the music is that there's a tune that's repeated in the final level. They really could've taken the time to create a new tune for that level, since there aren't many levels in the game.
The gameplay is very strong in this game. Jay responds to button presses perfectly. There's no need to worry about bad jumps or not firing right away. While Jay can obviously shoot left to right, you can't have him shoot upwards. That would've made the game that much easier to play since there's a lot of enemies that like to attack you from overhead. Enemies are well placed sometimes and it can be really tricky to avoid getting hit. In fact, you'll probably take quite a bit of damage. However, Sunsoft didn't really do a good job in giving out health, since health powerups only come once in a blue moon. While I kind of don't mind it, it'd be nice if they left some of these capsules lying around for us say, before a sub-boss, or have them drop a wee bit more frequently. It's safe to say that you're lucky if you encounter two health pickups the duration of the game...if you beat it, which really can't be said about the Gun powerups because they appear like candy. You also get a new weapon for each sub-boss you beat, which appears right before a boss. I think it's a bit of a stupid place to have a sub-boss, but it's really not a big deal. The challenge is quite high and really accelerates quickly, even in the first level. This is to be expected, because the game only has five levels. While the game is very, very short compared to other games, you'll still feel like you've really accomplished something after beating the game
However much you want to replay the game after you beat it is really up to you. I think it's hard to give this game a definite replay value score because it's all up to how much the player enjoys the difficult challenge of this game.
Overall, Journey to Silius is a great game in almost all aspects. Aside from my two gameplay gripes I mentioned above, this game is really quite wonderful. This game is just begging to be a classic in every right, but the fact that it's so obscure really shuts the door on the opportunity for people to play it. I definitely recommend to try it out, or get your hands on it somehow to play it once. I guarantee you won't be disappointed at all.
Rick Rating: 9.4/10
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 08/05/04
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