Night of the Emus #22

Boy, is that just about the worst game cover art you’ve ever seen or what? Continuing with the Shinobi-thon with the Genesis version of Shadow Dancer. Again, other than a small handful of shared regular enemy types, completely different game than the arcade version.

While the levels and bosses are all different, the gameplay is still very much the same. Mildly helpful dog, one hit and you die, and absolutely brutal boss fights. It’s the kind of game that would be way too stressful to play without save states, but with them it’s a fun enough retro ninja romp.

What a strange series this was back in the day. A spinoff game about one of the bosses in Ghosts N’ Goblins that was a Game Boy exclusive and part JRPG? Strange. Oddly enough, it turned out pretty well though.

The RPG elements are admittedly pretty weak. Most of the NPCs in the game are entirely useless, the “shops” sell nothing but extra lives, and random encounters in a side-scrolling action-platformer is a bit out of place. The regular main levels are pretty fun though. Firebrand’s hovering/climbing/shooting abilities make for some pretty good platforming. Despite its flaws, still a solid Game Boy classic.

They can’t all be winners though. Little Nemo is yet another old-timey Capcom classic, but I don’t think it holds up all that well at all. Nemo’s painfully limited move-set makes for a pretty clunky platforming experience. Nemo can only jump and throw candy, and he can’t really do either very well. The game hinges on your ability to feed candy to creatures in order to “ride” them around and use their special abilities, but only the right creatures. The rest will just be briefly stunned, but this can be problematic when your method of delivering the candy is a limp-wristed lob that tends to get blocked pretty often by low ceilings and such.

Some rideable beasts have attacks that you can use to defeat enemies, but others are entirely defenseless. It’s strange because you get a mace weapon that you can switch to, but only in the last few levels of the game. You can even see it on your character’s back through the whole game, almost as if its taunting you for how weak and helpless you are.

That aside, the game is mainly just a scavenger hunt for keys, many of which will require specific animal powers to reach. It sounds like a good idea in theory and it has the usual high quality visuals and sound of a Capcom NES game, but the gameplay just doesn’t meet that usual Capcom standard.

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