Sunday 28 December 2014

City Connection (NES review)

Developer: Axes Art Amuse
Publisher: Jaleco
Released: 1988

City Connection is an action game that was released in the arcades in 1985 before being ported to the NES three years later.

You're on a journey to explore the world and drive around visiting famous cities such as New York, London and Paris. To prove that you've actually been there you must paint each part of the road white by driving over it; any parts you haven't yet covered will remain blue. You car moves forward automatically (although you can change direction) and it's an interesting variation on Pac-Man from a side-scrolling viewpoint. You can make your car jump between the different platforms but you'll have to build up some speed before you can do so. To make things more challenging the police constantly chase you but luckily you can disable their cars by shooting them with oil cans that are scattered around the level. There are also some roadblocks that can't be shot including spikes that appear if you stay on the same platform level too long and cats that lift off into the air and kill you if you touch them! There's only six stages compared to the arcade originals 12 and these simply loop once you've completed them. The main problem with the game is the controls - it's stupidly difficult to paint the end of each platform without falling over the edge. This is annoying as you'll fall further down and have to work your way back up once you've built up enough speed, all the while trying to avoid the swarm of regenerating enemies. There are a few redeeming qualities though such as the nice rock and roll soundtrack, the different level backgrounds that depict your current location and the end of level artwork while you wait for your score to update.

City Connection's gameplay is limited and it's odd that a basic, three-year-old game was ported to the console in the same year as far more accomplished titles such as Contra and Mega Man II. Some people might enjoy this unique twist on Pac-Man but for me the lack of variety and constant wrestling with the controls really let it down.

Random trivia: In the arcade version you play the role of a female driver; however, for some reason the main character was changed to a male for the NES version.

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