Monday, 2 November 2015

Short Order / Eggsplode! (NES review)

Developer: Nintendo R&D1, TOSE
Publisher: Nintendo
Released: 1989

Short Order / Eggsplode! is a collection of two mini-games that require the NES Power Pad (Side B).


Short Order is a memory game where customers request ingredients for their burger and you're tasked with entering the same sequence using two numbers on the Pad. Each game starts with only three layers but additional items keep being added to the burger until the customer is satisfied; fail three times and it's Game Over. The gameplay is slow paced and basically ends up being a glorified version of the electronic game Simon (1978, Milton Bradley). The only thing to do is remember increasingly difficult patterns and then repeat them; as a result it's repetitive and quickly gets dull due to the lack of action. Everything works well enough but the concept is just too simple with no variation to the opening mechanic. The animations are funny though, especially the mouse who suddenly becomes huge after eating your burger! Eggsplode! plays similar to Whack-a-Mole as you have to destroy bombs that appear before they blow up. Strategy is involved as certain coloured bombs activate quicker than others and you must ensure that you don't squash the hen's eggs as you'll lose one of your two lives (if it hatches you get bonus points). 100 points are given for each bomb you destroy but you can wait until they're close to exploding for 300 points! The game is frantic and sees you flailing around the highly responsive Pad trying to press the right button without falling off; it's entertaining and resembles a solo version of Twister! The difficulty increases gradually but it always challenges your reactions and balance. It does drop the egg hatching mechanic too quickly though so there's nothing to stop you from mashing buttons.

While Short Order is a bit of a duffer due to its thin, boring gameplay it's Eggsplode! that steals the show with it's fast-paced action that's guaranteed to get a few laughs. It's the perfect mini-game for a party and it's a good sign when you're having just as much fun watching as you are playing!



Random trivia: TOSE worked on several other NES titles that were released in 1989 including Bandai Golf: Challenge Pebble Beach and Dusty Diamond's All-Star Softball.

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