Review by KasketDarkfyre

"Now...if you can just find a working Power Pad..."

Much to my surprise, this title hasn’t been reviewed before, and I couldn’t understand why. The triple title combination of Super Mario Brothers, Duck Hunt and Track Meet is a game that can be played, but the third title of this combination needs the NES Power Pad! While I haven’t seen very many games that have utilized the Power Pad, one of the better ones that I’ve played using this interesting device has to be Track Meet, with the Aerobics game following a close second. Even though it is extremely hard to find this device and have it in total working order, I’d have to say that you had better stretch a little bit before you play through the game. The Power Pad is probably one of the more innovative and inventive devices that I’ve seen come from the Nintendo Entertainment System, with a close following of ROB the Robot and the U-Force controller. While small things such as this are hard to come by, you’ll find that if you’re lucky enough to find a working Power Pad, that having this title is worth the money you may spend on it to collect! As the Super Mario/Duck Hunt review went, you’ll get the overview of each game, divided up into different sections with the addition of Track Meet.

Game Play: Super Mario Brothers

The game play in Super Mario Brothers is side scrolling action, in which you control either Mario {1 player game} or Luigi {2 player game} through several worlds of enemy bumping madness. The simplicity of the game at this time did not require you to do anything more than bash monsters, collect power up items and make it from one end of the stage to the other before the timer ran out! Through your adventures in these stages, you’ll find different power ups that will help you to attain your goal of defeating Bowser and rescuing the Princess from his clutches. The power ups in question come in the form of mushrooms, fire flowers and star men, all of which will grant you a different power depending on which you pick up. The mushrooms are especially useful for when you’ve taken a hit and need to be transformed back into a larger sized plumber. Fire Flowers allow you to throw small fireballs {seemingly from your nose} at enemies from a distance and can be used to combat the different forms of Bowser through all of the Castle stages. Star Men are what make you become invincible, and you’ll find that the key positioning of these and just how fast you can run, will go a long way in helping you to defeat the game!

Game Play: Duck Hunt

The game play is divided up into two different forms of shooting. The first of these two games is the actual duck hunting in which you and your trusty dog flush out the virtual ducks and then you have to shoot them down. Depending on your ability to track and shoot, you’ll find that the stages you go through with the duck hunting become increasingly more difficult as time passes, so you’ll need to have your reflexes worked up for when the ducks go flying in different directions! The second part of the game is more or less a clay pigeon shooting game that works in the same fashion as the duck hunting. A pair of discs is thrown into the air and away from you, with your only goal being to track them down with the gun, and fire on them before they get too far out of range. While this may not seem difficult, there are times where you have nothing more than a second or two of lag time in between the discs and you may end up missing at least one on the later stages of the game! The game play isn’t meant to be extremely difficult, and is more or less geared towards the younger gamers who were getting into the video game systems back when this was released.

Game Play: Track Meet

Now in Track Meet, you really have to have an understanding of how the Power Pad works and just what you can do with it. Most of the game play itself are running games in which you either race to the finish line, or you have to jump different obstacles in your path {Hurdles}! While that may seem very simple, the game is best played in a two-player format, simply because the computer on the one-player game is very difficult to complete and you may find that the game is cheap in the way it waits for you to slow down. With different games that you can play, the best part of Track Meet is the fact that you can play against your friends in a sweat-inducing race to the finish line, and that you have to use the different buttons on the pad to accomplish certain things. In all honesty, this is one of the first games that you’ll come into contact with that you have to have a good understanding of physical fitness in order to play, and unless you’ve stretched out a little bit, you may end up injuring yourself in the process.

Control: Super Mario Brothers

Control in Super Mario is something that needs to be practiced in later stages. While not the most difficult game that you’ll even play, there are instances where you need to have precision timing and patience to get through some of the more intricate jumping places! One of the most difficult areas in the game, and the point where you will see just how the control reacts, is in the fourth world, where there are small platforms that you absolutely must hit, or you’ll fall to your doom. In these places, you’ll find that the NES control doesn’t make much use of the directional pad, and timing is everything. The first instances of Ghost Control in NES games can be found in this point, in which the controller just isn’t as responsive as you may need it to be later on in the game!

Control: Duck Hunt

The control isn’t taken care of with the NES control pad, but more with the NES Zapper light gun. Unless you have this piece of equipment, then you can't play Duck Hunt. One of the first games and one of a few that I can think of that were a Zapper gun only type of game, you should have no problem picking up a Zapper as it was packed in with the NES system to begin with! The actual accuracy of the Zapper in Duck Hunt is more or less contained to how well you’ve taken care of your equipment and if your Zapper is in perfect condition, then you should have no troubles with playing the title. Because the game is pick up and play, and the only real advanced thing you’re doing is moving the Zapper to point and click at the ducks or clay pigeons, anyone of any age or skill level can pick this title up and run with it.

Control: Track Meet

Track Meet can only be played effectively with the Power Pad, and you’ll have to learn how to use it correctly. The basis of the Power Pad, is to be able to step on it, and use the oversized buttons with your feet in order to get speed and then jump on other buttons in order to leap over the hurdles that get in your way! An interesting concept to say the least, you have eight oversized buttons that you’ll have to be able to use in order to get anything accomplished. Because the Power Pad is pressure sensitive, you’ll really have to stomp your feet in order to keep your character moving, and you have to do this without hour shoes on. The specifications of the Power Pad are such, that you also have to be within a certain weight limit in order to use the Power Pad and not destroy it in the process. In a way, this is a downfall because if you exceed the weight limit on the Power Pad, you can’t play the game and you’ll risk destroying the Pad in the process!

Visuals: Super Mario Brothers

Visually, the game isn’t anywhere near as expansive as the later Super Mario games, but you’ll find that there is plenty of detail and places to go. When you reach certain stages, you’ll find that the environment changes from wide open spaces, to caverns and even Castles in which you’ll face off against creatures such as turtles and small walking globs of brown material that have eyes! All in all, for its time, this was as detailed as a video game got, and you’ll find that there are small details everywhere that really set the mood. One of the most impressive stages that is visually appealing to look at is the water stage, and you’ll find that even though there isn’t much detail to it, there is plenty to look at and the colorization is done nicely throughout.

Visuals: Duck Hunt

Visually, the game is ancient in the way that it is presented. The animations on the ducks is done in fair style, with the flapping of wings and then the way that they seem to do a nose dive into the bushes is really something to look at when you consider the type of game that this is. The clay pigeon shooting moves fast enough to give you the real experience of the discs moving away from you and when you do happen to shoot them, you’ll find that the flying pieces are done in fair style as well! When you boil it down though, there really isn’t much to the game that is extremely special and the experience is delivered in the fashion that most NES games were back in the day. If you’re really an NES buff, then you’ll find that the Duck Hunt is the prime example of beginning visuals for this age-old system.

Visuals: Track Meet

Visually, Track Meet is an appealing game in a simple sense. All of the games are looked at from a side scrolling view, and you’ll find that your runner basically moves at the speed that you do, with the way that the legs come up and down. The sense of speed is reproduced on the screen, but if you’re really into winning the different races, then you will probably be looking at the pad itself and really not noticing what is going on during the game! The crowds in the background are done just enough to show a little movement, but nothing spectacular, and the stages that you race through are more or less track and field types of places. If you’re really looking for something detailed and overly special, then you’re not looking in the right place, because this NES game is based on technical simplicity instead of visual flare.

Audio: Super Mario Brothers

Audio wise, there are four musical tracks that you’ll find throughout the game, and you’ll find that they tend to repeat the same theme from the start. While the music isn’t all that impressive to listen to now, there is a sense of adventure to some of the tracks {such as the underground scenes} and you’ll find that the overall theme track will stink with you for hours after you’ve turned off the game! Sound effect wise, there is really very little that can be found here, with most of the standard bleeps and bloops being found throughout the game, no matter where you go or what you’re doing. Simple, yet effective, all of these points are what really started out the series and you’ll find that the nostalgic value of the sound alone is well worth playing this title again and again.

Audio: Duck Hunt

The audio here is actually pleasing to the ears with the beginning theme and the ending theme being your only true audio features. The in-between music that you’ll hear with the rounds as they pass is something that will stick in your mind, well after the game has been shut off. Something that does come through on both of the game variations though, is the way that the dog barks and the crash of your gun as you fire off the rounds at whatever it is that you’re targeting. That familiar crash hasn’t changed, even with the compellations that have come with the game, with the combinations that you find in Super Mario/Duck Hunt and Super Mario/Duck Hunt/Track Meet.

Audio: Track Meet

The audio that you find here is pretty sparse, with most of the music being removed from the game and only coming in when the race is finished or otherwise. The sound effects that you’ll hear in Track Meet though come from the crowd as you’re racing, and the Super Mario sounding leaps that you make over the different hurdles and otherwise! Something else that you might hear, is the sound of your own breath rushing out of your when it’s all said and done, simply because you’re not prepared for this type of game, or because you’ve just run your ass off. In all honesty, the audio here is about as simple as it gets, and you really won’t hear too much unless you’re putting in a CD to listen to while you race.

Overall, this is probably one of the most comprehensive collections of games that I’ve played in which I’ve had the most fun. Track Meet is one of the more innovative games, with the Power Pad being a surprising piece of equipment to come with the Nintendo Entertainment System! Packed in with the system and the Zapper during the “Fitness” stage of the original NES release, you’ll be hard pressed to find this title, let alone a working Power Pad to play it with. If you’re fortunate, you’ll be able to find both of these two items in good working order and it really is a collectable piece of equipment worthy of appearing in anyone’s NES collection!

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 01/02/02, Updated 01/02/02

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