Nintendo’s NES Random Double Bill – Pinball & Popeye (Old Review)

Pinball is a fun game, I rarely play a real one, but I mostly play video Pinball, I’ve already reviewed Kiss Pinball and I gave it a 2/5, I now want to change it to 1/5, it’s actually worse than when I played it at the time.

The second video pinball game I played was Sonic Pinball Party (I’ll review that when I have the chance), but today I’m taking a look at the third one I’ve played. Nintendo Pinball, developed and published by Nintendo in 1983, it was released for the arcades but was eventually released in 1985 for the Nintendo Entertainment System as part of the NES launch title list.

You must have been living under a rock (or the underground part of the Internet) if you don’t know the basis of Pinball. You just get one pinball table split into two screens, when the ball goes up, it goes to the top screen, the top screen looks like a basic pinball game, but the bottom screen is far too cramped with stuff, the sides of the table that make you fall are annoying, because the screen is cramped with stuff, you’re somehow more likely to fall in.

The pinball physics aren’t that bad, at least it’s not as horrible as Kiss Pinball, it’s a little floaty but doesn’t break the game play. It has jingles but it has no music, I wished it had some music or at least some more jingles.

Oh and it has a secondary mode should you go into a bonus hole at the bottom screen, you play a Breakout-like mode in which Mario holds a platform to hit the ball to break blocks to earn points, hitting blocks under Pauline will make her drop, catch her and get bonus points, let her drop and you lose, she breaks her legs, she leaves Mario, Mario gets drunk and takes vengeance against Donkey Kong (only joking).

Overall, it’s a fun little Pinball game, but of course it gives little value should you buy the game say a tenner, five or under is a good price, but nevertheless it’s a good game. The level design could have been more bright and colourful, but I don’t expect anything from a launch title released at the time, at least it offers a bonus mode which is god awful due to it being once again cramped and unable to know where it’s going to land on your platform. If you just want some basic pinball, looks like Nintendo have got you covered.

You can get it for the Arcades, NES and Virtual Console.

Rating: 3/5

What’s the sailor who can only see in one eye, talks funny, smokes the pipe too much, has big arms similar to a steroid inducing muscle man and possibly has a severe allergic reaction to spinach, Popeye the Sailor man of course, rescuing the useless Olive Oyl from the fat git Brutus. You know, Popeye could have been the Donkey Kong of today if it wasn’t for King Features Syndicate (Popeye’s creators) refusing to give Nintendo it’s license on time but after Donkey Kong our favourite animated sailor man got a game anyway.

Popeye (or Popai in Japanese) was released in 1982 and developed and released by Nintendo, it’s an arcade game where Popeye has to rescue Olive Oyl from Brutus by collecting a number of items each level, first stage are 24 hearts, second stage are 16 musical notes and the third and final stage are letters in the word HELP.

You will have to avoid Brutus and Sea Hag, they’ll throw stuff at you like bottles (Brutus) and skulls (Sea Hag), but you can punch them to break them because you’re a MAN!!! In fact, there is only an attack button and you don’t jump which was strange for platform games at this period, but only Brutus can jump down a level to crush you if possible and even jump up to hit Popeye when possible.

But Popeye can’t attack Brutus directly, but you can hit Brutus’ and the Sea Hag’s projectiles, eat a can of spinach and you start to turn purple, possibly chocking you, but you can use this to knock down Brutus although he swims back anyway so it’s kind of pointless and in the first stage there is a punch bag, punch it and you can drop a bucket on Brutus if you can actually do it and you get bonus points for it.

The level design look admittedly terrible, it looks very dated what with it’s blocky design and bland textures, Donkey Kong’s graphics were designed in a way that made it feel timeless. The game play is rather boring, trying to collect items falling down whilst avoiding Brutus can be very tedious, you’ll probably be able to beat it if you give it a day but that’s very unlikely. The music is actually varied compared to Donkey Kong, but they’re incredibly dull whilst the little music in Donkey Kong are timeless, the only memorable song is Popeye’s classic theme song.

Did you Know? Ben Falls holds the world record score of 3,023,060 earned in December 20th 2011 according to the Twin Galaxies International Scoreboard.

And like Donkey Kong it got an Education sequel too, Popeye no Eigo Asobi, released in 1983 for the Famicom.

Overall, it’s just a bit boring for me, very repetitive, it’s a classic in terms of golden age games, but it doesn’t hold up to the greats in any way, it’s difficult to recommend this game, it’s for total retro fans only, but then again, there are children games that have this kind of task in those kind of games anyway so that kind of repetitiveness hasn’t gone yet.

You can get it on the Arcade, NES/Famicom

Rating: 1.5/5


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