Thursday 10 September 2015

Journey to Silius (NES review)

Developer: Tokai Engineering
Publisher: Sunsoft
Released: 1990

Journey to Silius is a run 'n' gun game that was released in Japan as Rough World.

It contains five stages and your mission is to stop terrorist's from destroying a colony development. Six different weapons are available and you're able to switch between them on the fly. The default weapon is a low-powered Hand Gun but as you progress you can pick up special items like a Shot Gun and a Laser Rifle. Each time you fire a special item it uses up some of your Gun Energy Meter although this can be topped up by collecting blue Energy Capsules. Red Life Capsules can also be found to increase your life meter. In many ways the game is a mixture of Mega Man's precise platforming and the frantic run 'n' gun action of Contra. Lots of memorisation is required and at times the enemy placement is so tough that it's impossible to advance without taking damage. Leaps of faith are sometimes required as you can't always see what lurks below the screen before you jump. Health power-ups are scarce so unless you know the level well enough you'll usually be close to death by the time you reach the boss. If you're in a crouching position there's also a slight delay between pressing the jump button and the game recognising it. The ability to switch weapons is excellent though and it encourages you to experiment. The bosses are also enjoyable with gigantic sprites and diverse attack patterns. The final level doesn't have any enemies and automatically scrolls while you dodge obstacles; it's a nice change of pace and forces you to focus solely on your platforming skills. The music is outstanding and some of the tracks wouldn't sound out of place in Sunsoft's Batman game (1989, NES).

Journey to Silius is a short but tough game that has some decent run 'n' gun action. The controls are a bit wonky and it doesn't have much replay value but if you don't mind a challenge that's 'NES hard' you might get some enjoyment out of it.

Random trivia: The game was originally based on the 1984 film Terminator but the licensing deal ultimately fell through. As a result the graphics and story were changed.

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