Review by antseezee

"The system that invigorated the video game industry to new heights."

The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) is quite possibly the most memorable classic system in the minds of most gamers. It is the system that basically brought the video game market to the popularity that it now stands at. The video game industry has become a million dollar industry, all thanks to one system. The NES was created by a company called Nintendo, which most people consider the king of gaming. The NES was an 8-bit system composed of decent graphics, fairly good sound, a simple yet understandable controller layout, and best of all, a huge library of games. Almost all modern classic games share their roots with the NES, whether it be Super Mario, or the Legend of Zelda. Every one of these games has a story to tell, and the NES was the reason behind their success.

Graphics [9/10]
Back when the NES came out, no other person had ever seen such a beautiful array of colors on their own TV from a user programmed game. Back then, the bland colors of the Atari and Intellivision were quite common, and your RCA computer was probably the most color you had ever seen. The NES system uses a 64 color palette, and utilizes it very well. No other system of its time (besides the Sega Master System) managed to come close to the graphic capabilities of the NES. Character sprites were very detailed, with noticeable features like facial hair, eyes, and muscles. Backgrounds were absolutely amazing. People could almost interact with the scenery of an urban city, or the lush blue ocean. The key to the NES was its ability to animate characters and objects very well. Platform games became popular because characters ''actually'' looked like they were moving.

First person view games became somewhat popular on the NES, whether it be a RPG, or flight simulator. For only using 64 colors, the NES nearly made the best use out of every single color in that palette. Developers could finally make games that depicted the scenario. Despite all this, other systems did have better graphic capabilities (SMS), and the NES wasn't 'elite' at graphics. It had its share of slowdowns when lots of enemies were on screen, or the notorious flashing that occurred when multiple object sprites appeared. Regardless, the NES was a masterpiece of its time, and it still managed to look good into the early 90s. Key games like Kirby's Adventure and Super Mario 3 really showed that the NES could produce high quality graphics.

Sound/Music [7/10]
For the time and place that the NES came out, it had above average sound effects. Back then, most sounds produced were monotone and usually involved single beats. The NES kicked this up a notch with stereo sound and the inclusion of multiple instruments. Now songs could echo with their glorious beats, and gamers would get the full meaning behind a theme song. You'll be amazed at how well music could make a difference in a game. When the gamer hears that patriotic song during a war game, or the Star Wars theme on the Death Star, you know it really brings out the inner self inside of us. Journey to Silius was probably the best example of music, if not the best music ever in a video game.

Sound effects, while varying probably weren't the best they could be. Many clashes, thumps, gun shots, and things of that sort had muffled tones. You can't blame Nintendo for the lack of detail in sound effects, the hardware simply wasn't there back then. Still, the NES was a stepping stone in letting developers know that audio effects did make a difference in how a game put an impression on the typical gamer.

Gameplay [10/10]
Perfection is the best way to describe the gameplay on the NES. This is by far the classic system any gamer should own. It's gameplay was unmatched by any other system of the day, and it still is nearly unmatched by some modern gaming systems. The NES had every type of game possible, from platformers to shooters, to flight simulators, and even RPGs. The success to the NES was quality games made at the right time. The Nintendo Entertainment System launched with a game called Super Mario Brothers, which featured two plumber brothers and their adventure in a ''Mushroom Kingdom.'' Players became fanatics of games like this. An adventure game called the Legend of Zelda inspired most hack-n-slash action/adventure RPG games. The NES brought so many good titles to the table in so many different genres that any gamer would have an equal chance at having fun by testing the system out.

Want to play a fantastic baseball game? The NES has got it. The NES was the epic beginning to what revamped the video game industry. Gameplay and the actual hardware was so simple. Controllers were composed of a simple directional pad, an A & B button, and a select/start button. Gamers could play games simply with the two button functions, and even parents could learn how to play. The ease of use on the NES didn't require fancy tape recording programming, or having to select your settings like the Atari did. Everything was ready to go, and all you had to do was pop a cartridge in and hit the power button. Many innovative accessories like the Light Gun zapper, and Power Pad were brought to the NES. This showed gamers that any game could go beyond the simple controller interface, and now players could exercise and even shoot in their games. No one would have seen where the gaming industry was yet to go, but Nintendo surely did.

Fun [9/10]
Even to this day, many people still play their NES. The old style gameplay, simplistic features, all of these things make it an appealing system even to youngsters and veterans. The NES brings back memories of simple yet fun games like Contra, Zelda, Mario, Castlevania, Metroid, and so on. You can normally play two players in most games with the ability to expand to four players on certain games. The NES has a place in everybody's heart, and most people retain a section of that memory to this day. I've never seen a system that has had such an effect on a person's childhood, but the NES did wonders for most gamers.

Replayability [9/10]
If you've ever been to a flea market, and you saw some Nintendo games, that warm fuzzy feeling inside of you makes you want to play your NES. Nintendo was brilliant at designing their system. With a library consisting of over 750 games, any person will never get bored of the NES. It ranges over so many different cultures, regions, and genres that nobody can pass it up. It can bring back classic fun, or challenge the player to new heights. Many Nintendo games also featured special cheat codes, which could only be earned if you inputted a button code, or beat the game a certain way. With extra accessories like Game Genie, people could ''hack'' their game with new twists. Two players could be a blast on certain games, and if not the best feature of the NES. You can't pass it up; it always lingers around until you decide to play it. So many people have regret selling their NES, and 70% of the time will go out and buy another one. That's how much of an addiction factor it brings to the gaming community.

Difficulty [7/10]
Believe it or not, the NES had its fair share of easy and hard games. Most developers balanced their games out well, with neat ways of keeping gamers occupied. For example, Double Dragon features button combos which had to be performed at certain times in order to perform a special move. Other games forced gamers to use their wits and avoid incoming dangers. Developers really focused on making their games with a challenge, but enough so that the gamer would have an equal chance at beating it. Unfortunately, too many NES games were near impossible to beat, and many gamers suffered from the challenging gameplay.

Final Factor [9/10]
The Nintendo Entertainment System is the system that revolutionized the gaming industry. Nobody else at the time was willing to make a step forward, and Nintendo did. Because of this, the gaming industry is a million dollar industry with competition as common as the stray cat in a populated city. While the NES did suffer from a lack of durability (most systems die out after 10 years), it still is a favorite amongst most gamers. It has a library that spans over 750 games with well over 100s of classics that nobody can forget. It may not be the greatest system of all time, but it's the closest you can get to perfection. This is a must have system for any video gamer.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 07/15/03, Updated 07/15/03

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