Episode 4- Maru’s Mission

Posted: June 6, 2012 in 5DG Plays
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

System: Game Boy

Release Date: March 1991 (Game Boy)/January 18th, 2012 (3DS Virtual Console)

Rarity: 48%

Price/Location: $2.99/Nintendo eShop

I love Nintendo. Nintendo is in my blood. Nintendo has been in my house in one form or another since before I was even born (full disclosure: 1987). So when I am virtually strolling along the Virtual Console section of their 3DS eShop, I tend to take their word for it when they upload classic Game Boy games. A lot of these games I had never heard of. I saw it as a virtual goldmine of material. Classic, unknown Game Boy games hand-picked by Nintendo to be shared with gamers worldwide, all priced at under $5 no less! Some of these games I had played before and were better known like Super Mario Land 2 and Kirby’s Dream Land, but the Five Dollar Gamer likes to keep his game review choices as sight unseen as possible.

Shut up Neil deGrasse Tyson or I’ll give you some stars to look at.

I chose Maru’s Misson from the bunch because it was about a ninja. Ninjas are cool. How could I go wrong with this game? It’s from the early 1990s and it’s about ninjas.

This assertion typically applies only to video games.

Before I discuss the game play I wanted to point out the hilariously inaccurate box art. I mentioned this game was about ninjas, but as you can tell from the American box art, there appears to be an average 1991 kid featured. The screenshots shown on the 3DS VC store show a cute little ninja sprite.

Awwww. :3

Why? Why change it? Would Americans not buy a game with ninjas on it? Is it not American enough? Why must we change the box art for game about a freakin’ ninja into one featuring a character who looks NOTHING like his in-game counterpart. It should have prepared me for what I was about to stumble into.

Yeah. That’s stupid. No kid would want that. Give him a backwards cap and a Walkman.

The opening cinematic gives you the bare-bones basics of the razor-thin plot of this game. You, Maru, are walking with your girlfriend, Cori, in New York when a monster jumps out of the water and kidnaps her. That’s it. No dialogue. I forgive this transgression against storytelling because it’s an early-1990s Game Boy game and hope that like Chaos Legion before this, the gameplay will make up for the forgettable (non-) story. So the controls are pretty straightforward and standard platformer fare. A to jump, B to attack/shoot. If you hold A you can jump higher… all the way off the screen even. You’ll eventually come crashing down though, so don’t think you’ll be pulling a Kirby and flying through the level to avoid enemies.

Chicken.

When you throw your shurikens at an enemy and defeat it, you get an item that refills 5 units of health, which is useful because each hit will cost you 10. Now, these health items I’m assuming are supposed to be the spirit of the enemy you killed, but my dirty mind can’t help but wistfully play in the gutter and think it looks like something else…

I’ll just come (pun not intended) out and say it. It looks like sperm.

At about the same point in each level, right near the start you get a random power up such as bombs, comet-looking things that shoot from left to right wiping out any enemy in your way or a warp to the end of the level. Yes. Randomly it will warp you to the end of the level. I’ll talk more about this in the summary. The levels themselves are not too long and before you know it you’re at the first miniboss, Eyeclops. He goes down easy and gives you an item to help fight the level boss, Insector. Now, I don’t mean, you defeat him and an item pops out of nowhere or you gain access to an item he was guarding. He willfully gives it to you saying it will help you defeat the boss.

I’d thank you if your lack of loyalty didn’t sicken me.

You get to Insector beat him and he tells you Cori has been moved to Romania. So off to Romania, right? Whoa, whoa, whoa! Not so fast there, gamer! You’re going to go kill sharks first! …what?!

Ancient ninja secret. They never tell gaijin about the part of ninja training where they use harpoon guns to kill aquatic life.

So then. After that odd distraction, you’re off to Romania now! … … … I said you’re off to Romania now! … … …

Everyone is familiar with the arid Romanian desert right? When I think “Romania” I think “F*** Dracula! Watch out for that killer cacti!”

Whatever. You fight Wolfman and he gives you some garlic to fight Dracula. At least the 2nd part of this level is true to the image one would ACTUALLY think of when picturing Romania. Kill Dracula and he tells you Cori has been moved to Greece where Medusa awaits. They sure are going through a lot of trouble to keep Cori away from me. Greece is some kind of underground bone dungeon. I made it to the miniboss, Golem. That’s where I stopped. I’ll explain why.

Verdict: BARGAIN BIN

This game pissed me off. The flimsy story, questionable shark killing, and misused environments are one thing, but on 3 separate playthroughs I made it to the Golem and died. What happens when you die? Well, let me show you:

Push Start… to waste your time.

No lives. No continues. Die, and it’s back to the title screen. Remember when I said I’ll talk more about the “warp to the boss” power-up? I wanted to talk about it here because it’s one of the things that pissed me off about this game. I started off one particular level low on health and had planned on meticulously defeating enemies and gaining health so that I had plenty of leeway in battling the boss. Nope. I warped to the end of the level still low on health and soon to be destroyed by said boss. The health power ups are useless since you lose more when you get hit than you gain by getting the health item. In many games it’s a 1:1 ratio or a #>1:1 ratio. In this game it’s 1:2. Sure, it makes it challenging. But when there are so many freaking enemies on screen, they’re hard to avoid. Not to mention, said enemy count causes some significant slowdown. Nintendo may have acquired the rights to distribute a bunch of Jaleco Game Boy games digitally, but that doesn’t mean that should have. I can’t vouch for the other Jaleco games they put up on there, but this game doesn’t make me want to take a shot at them. If you have a 3DS, please, leave this game in the virtual bargain bin. You can do way better for about $3.

Like using that $3 to buy (roughly) a gallon of gas to drive to the store to by a better game.

That does it for Episode 4 of Five Dollar Gamer! If you want to leave comments, praise, criticisms, or suggestions you can leave them here, or on The Official Five Dollar Gamer Facebook Page!

Thanks for reading!

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