Ah, the ROM wish born from a MIDI. Back in the day when I had a computer that would play MIDI files at non-earsplit volume, I'd been told about a game that had awesome music. Well, you're reading which game that was... That friend was right, if the MIDI files I found meant anything, this WAS some awesome music. Well, fast-forward a year. I've got a new computer, I've switched to FCE Ultra, and I've found a good NES ROM site. So I find the game, and decide to see what that game part is like. I see the screen above immediately and listen to the music for about three seconds before hitting start. A story sequence pops up. Don't worry, this is the only one you'll see in the entire game.

And that's your story right there (and with only one grammar error to boot, and this was the friggin' NES) Basically, A city is blown up through mysterious means, and Jay's dad dies. Of course, as this is a one-player game, only Jay is able to learn of the cause, a bunch of terrorists (presumably Space Al-Qaeda) that didn't want the city there. Needless to say, Jay is pissed at Space Al-Qaeda and goes out for revenge, wielding a handgun and a shotgun with bullets strangely like the normal gun, but that actually uses ammo. Something that came to mind a few story views in, and a few viewings of Slight Fever Syndrome in, is that Jay from the former looks almost exactly like Mr. Endo from the latter. I'm serious, look below you.

See? Regardless, one blink later, you are told that you're on the first stage (hm, I generally start on three or four- or maybe that's the save-states), and that you have three lives to go. It is here that your mission to shoot the hell out of all the Space Al-Qaeda in sight begins.

Which turns out to be kind of odd, as you never once see the Space Al-Qaeda you are supposedly trying to destroy (which makes enough sense, as Jay suddenly changes from a dead ringer for Mr. Endo in the intro to a short blond guy once the game starts). Not even as bosses. Instead, you run around blowing up random robots that are one of three things...

1) Pointless- There's always one biggish robot on every stage that you seem to constantly run into. It is always an incredibly easy target that you almost cannot miss, and it has no effective mode of attack.
2) Irritating- Likewise, there's always two or three types of robot on every stage that you don't encounter TOO often, but has some way to attack you that isn't easy to avoid in most cases. This also applies to robots you jump into constantly through blind leaps.
3) Midbosses- Does it have a head? Shoot it there.

Of course, you'll fight a few bosses over the course of the game. I'd take screenshots of them all, but I don't feel like save-stating my ass off to show you them all, so I'm sorry, pal. View a gallery if it upsets ya. Regardless, all bosses have a weak point, and only one weak point. Obviously, this weak point itself will never attack you, so it makes perfect sense that the bosses' weak points will always be, or will soon be within perfect jump-shooting range, and always clearly open to gunfire from the front. Space Al-Qaeda always did like to play fair that way. Still, each boss has their way of making it a pain in the ass to get to that weak point. I don't remember what all of them do off the top of my head, but I do remember that the first one drops three exceptionally hyper enemies before flying down into the hail of gunfire (fired from a jump, of course), the second has a claw-thingy that kills the moment it hits (right under the weak point, too), the third has lasers coming out of everything, the fourth has a big laser that you have to jump over (prime time to shoot, by the way), and the fifth doesn't leave many openings for attack. The sixth? More on that one later. (Huh. Maybe I DID rememeber them all off the top of my head. Why can't I do this in calculus?)

I remembered to save-state the beginning of every stage in the game, so I guess I can spend a while talking about each one. Stage 1, you saw a picture of earlier; up there's another. Backdrop: ruined city, presumably part of that city Space Al-Qaeda hit.

Stage two, I believe to be a sewer of some sort. In here, you will meet incredibly slow robots, claw-things that shoot like maniacs and run away, roto-shooters, and robot shrimp whose bullets can only be dodged by hauling ass underneath them.

Stage three is an enemy base. All over the place, you'll see flickering laser barriers (Space Al-Qaeda had a bit of trouble keeping up the payments on those), stationary turrets that are either in 'sitting duck' or 'GODDAMN IT, WHY CAN'T I DODGE THE BULLET PATTERN!!?!'-styled positions. Also to be seen are piston things that must be dodged exactly as you dodged the crushers in stage 4 of the NES Double Dragon 2. I.E., let 'em punch through your hair, then run under.

Stage four is another base. Insane mushrooms shooting at you from all sides (well, all of THEIR sides), psycho pistons, hoppin' robot snakes, powered robot suits that don't fight worth a damn. It's all here.

Level five is one of those levels that auto-scrolls inexplicably. I never understood the whole auto-scrolling thing in any video game. I suppose it makes sense in say, an airplane-based shoot-'em-up where you're obviously in a vehicle that must either continually advance or drop out of the air like a rock, and I could understand it in 'Contra: Hard Corps' when a huge-ass wall of fire was right behind you the whole time the screen scrolled, but I never understood its place in most video games, where all it takes is one pixel of your guy's shoe getting pressed behind the smallest of stationary objects for you to die as if you dropped 50,000 feet into one of those equally-inexplicable 'bottomless' pits. So here, you're running away from nothing while shit falls on your head from all conceivable openings in the ceiling. Giant boxes, pink crab-like blocks, melted steel from epileptic screws in the metal ceilings do NOT want you going through. Oh yeah, did I mention that it makes enough sense for there to be friggin' CONVEYOR BELTS all over this stage, just to make it more of a pain? Luckily, you have nothing shooting at you during this whole stage, until you reach the bosses (that's right, there's TWO). First off is a GIGANTIC BATTLESHIP that takes up two whole screens, can only be hurt by shooting the domes on either end, and you have to run UNDER it and either duck or get crushed, or stand in the wrong place and get exhausted (ha ha, make funny) by the steam vents. IF you survive this... I hope you have your guy's will set to go...

...Mostly because you might find yourself laughing too hard at how utterly pathetic the last boss is to hold on to whatever controller you're using. How so, you might ask? It's a big robot- a little like one of the midbosses you've seen- but, get this... ITS ONLY ATTACK IS TO PUNCH YOU. WHILE KNEELING. WITH A DELAY THAT GIVES YOU ENOUGH TIME TO JUMP OVER HIM. Seriously. I beat this dude, first try, with this tactic. Stand ground by jumping and shooting it in, where else, the head. Once it draws close, RUN AT IT and jump over it before it punches you. Run all the way to the other side of the screen. Repeat until it blows up. 'Congratulation, a winner is you'. Enjoy the shitty ending that lasts four seconds and gives you no clue what the hell has happened.

All jokes and badmouthing aside, this isn't a bad game at all. Some parts try your patience more than your skills, and I hate that, but the game itself is pretty fun. Just don't expect to beat it without save-stating like a cheating bastard. Like me.

Graphics: 7 Someone obviously spent some time on the backgrounds, it's nice how every enemy is stage-exclusive, and the boss designs are really cool. Tradeoff- about half of the normal bad guys suck, and Jay's a pretty forgettable main character when he doesn't look like Mr. Endo.
Sound: 10 Awesome, awesome music. Best on the NES.
Gameplay: 7 It's a fun game, and it's nice that you have a life bar that lasts for a good while. Of course, as said, frustrating parts exist, in the forms of some REALLY cheap foes and foe placement, and anything involving pits or the final stage (minus the last boss).
Life power-ups in the whole game: 1 I know power-ups in this game pop up randomly from beaten enemies. However, for every 10 ammo power-ups I'd find in any given level (which I never need; I don't use special weapons unless I need to kill a midboss fast or kill a boss faster), I'd generally be lucky to find ONE life power-up in the entire game.
Best dance for this game: The 'Time Warp' Let's face it, I used enough save-states to send Jay back in time a total of 640 seconds, when all the time used between save-states and load-states was added up. To be more clear, it's like this. I save-state and get hit a second later. Load state. Total time, 1 second. Go forward, get hit the same way, total time, 2 seconds, and so on.
Swear words muttered: Dunno Is there a number that GOES this high?

I might find your life power-up on the game review page. Lemme search it.

My patience is shot. Take me back to the main page.