Review by EPoetker

"The Zelda team reunites to create one of the best darn Zelda retreads out there!"

Ah, the art of the yo-yo. Even though you get a ball and chain, and later a plasma mace, this game will still be remembered as the one where you set out to battle evil armed only with a yo-yo. Still, this game was made by the original Zelda team(Nintendo, not Capcom, Konami, or Square, just Nintendo)and it's probably one of the best darn Zelda clones out there, tied with Willow for first place. (Crystalis? You must be joking!) Enough idle prattle. Let's take a look at the

GRAPHICS: Mike is one of those cute little fuzzy sprites. All of the enemies are well-done, with clean lines and a good frame rate, but your hero Mike has the fuzzy lines and features of the first-generation Nintendo heroes. Really weird. The bosses are done par EXCELLENCE! Magma the Fierce, Maxie, Broken Joe, and the incredibly menacing ZODA all have a sharply animated evil demeanor, and as a bonus, they even go through somewhat elaborate death scenes! (It's always nice to guess exactly how the current boss is going to bite the dust.) The backgrounds, unfortunately, are genearlly a little too predictable(palette swapping strikes again!)but it's usually not a major gripe. These are the graphics in the ''underworld,'' that is, the actual playing portion of the game. The graphics in the overworld, where you're just going around talking to people, are somewhat sparser, but still well-crafted and easy on the eyes. And there's *just* enough detail in certain areas for you to tell where essential secret passages lie. All around excellent job here.

MUSIC: Originally, I was going to give this category a LOW score. But when I went back and played through it again, I realized just how much variety there was. Now, the music you'll be hearing the most (the somewhat peppy, somewhat dull main dungeon theme, and the boss theme) tends to get on your nerves after a while. But that feeling is negated with the wide variety of overworld themes: some tropical, some scary(ghost village), some haunting(captain Bell's memorial), some patriotic(the sinking of the English ship)and some just cool(inside the alien ship.) And I REALLY like the ending theme(s!), which mesh with the completion of the story perfectly. In fact, it's probably one of the best endings in video game history, which makes mastering the

GAMEplay all worthwhile. It's a little like Zelda, except for a few things: 1. You're taller. 2. You can jump. The rest borrows HEAVILY from Zelda, with the heart system, the overhead view, and the identical title screen. Then again, this game WAS made by the same team, so they can afford to do that. Unfortunately, there's no second quest! What gives? That fact and too much continuity in the music keep this game from getting a 10. However, the game is SOLID as far as challenge goes; you have to be both tenacious in figuring out the controls and persistent in searching for secret areas(most of which are essential to the game's progression.) You find many other items to help you besides the yo-yo(snicker), like baseball bats, baseBALLS, slingshots, spiked shoes, ray guns, and others. I foresee much tile jumping in your future as well. Much variety and many challenges await you in this quest. Buy it if you ever find it at a used game store, and definitely emulate it if you can't find it, but be warned...if you don't have the little letter that came with the game...screw this, 747 Mhz. Remember that number, you'll need it later. I was lucky enough to have the actual letter that came with the game, so DON'T throw the game away if you arrive at that point:)

Nintendo Logic: Enough on the yo-yo. What's up with the ship blocking the strait? You DO have a submarine; couldn't you just swim UNDER it rather than having to sink it? I'm a little unclear on the concept. And where did Nav-com learn how to translate dolphinese? He's a ROBOT, for crying out loud, and the Japanese have already proven that robots can do just about anything we tell them to. Why does Magma the fierce make his home over WATER, the only thing that can kill him? There were already plenty of perfectly good lava lakes leading right up to his room, but that fiery moron had to sit on a precarious perch right over a roomful of his only weakness. Am I sensing a pattern in the stupidity of video game villains in general? No wonder Mike was able to kill them all with just a smart attitude and a yo-yo!

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 04/02/00, Updated 04/02/00

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