Retro Rewind: Silver Surfer (NES)
Welcome to the very first edition of Retro Rewind, where I take you back to a time where video games were… well… simpler (or, maybe not so much). This time on Retro Rewind, I’ll be reviewing/showcasing one of my favorite NES titles, Silver Surfer. Released in 1990 and Published by Software Creations, Silver Surfer has been known to challenge even the most skilled gamers. One reason why i think I’ve always loved this game is because its based off of Silver Surfer, the cosmic herald of Galactus. So, being a huge comic nerd that I am, of course I’m going to be drawn to a video game based off of a comic character. Well, enough about me, let’s get into what makes this game so great…. or in some cases, not so great.
The backstory of the game states that Galactus summons the surfer to help stop a threat that could destroy everyone. The threat he’s speaking of is none other than Mr. Sinister, who resides in the Magik Domain. In order to stop Mr. Sinister you must retrieve 6 pieces of the cosmic device. They don’t explain what makes this cosmic device so powerful or how it’s going to stop sinister, but oh well, all we need to know is that it’s important and we need it in order to beat the game. Anyway, it’s your mission to track down the device pieces in order to save the universe. And, well, that’s pretty much all there is to the story. I personally think that Galactus should be powerful enough to stop Sinister by himself, but oh well, wouldn’t be that fun of a game to watch that happen i suppose.
Time to finally get into the gameplay. Now, there are gameplay elements that I like about this game and some I don’t like. I love the fact that this game is a scroll and shoot game, by that I mean the screen is always moving and you must shoot and destroy enemies to clear a path for yourself. The game scrolls from left to right showing a side view of Silver Surfer. Some stages provide an overhead view, and scroll upwards. It forces you to react quickly at times and always be ready for what’s next. By simply hitting the A button, Silver Surfer will shoot out 1 cosmic orb projectile. To shoot these out faster, well, hit A faster. Yeah one thing that I need to point out is this game doesn’t allow you to hold the A button down to rapid fire. This is a huge problem with this game, there are times where you have to mash so fast your finger feels like it’s going to fall off. I mean, some enemies and bosses require lots of hits so you better get to mashing or its game over. To solve this problem I recommend using a controller with turbo buttons, it makes the game feel way more how you’d expect. Also note that there will always be plenty of things to shoot at, trust me. In some cases there are too many things to shoot at, which can become a bit overwhelming at times. However, if you grab enough upgrades on your way, you’ll be able to handle whatever is being thrown at you. Which brings me to the powerups of the game. Silver Surfer can gain access to 3 different powerups.
- The F Square
- The B Square
- Cosmic Assist Orb
These are not the official names of the power ups, but if you play the game you’ll know exactly what I’m referring to. Anyways, these powerups are the most important part of the game in my opinion. Although none of these powerups are required in order to beat the game, well, good luck trying to pull it off without em. Early on its not that big of a deal, but as you progress throughout the game, trust me, you’re gonna want these upgrades. Lets go over what they do.
The F Square: Grabbing one of these items will empower Silver Surfer making his projectiles stronger. You are able to get 5 of these before you max out on extra power.
The B Square: Grabbing one of these items will allow the Surfer to perform a screen wipe (by hitting the select button). Meaning, every enemy that you can visually see on screen will be destroyed. Unless of course it’s a boss, in which case it will just damage them.
Cosmic Assist Orb: This orb acts as a helper and gives you an extra projectile. This projectile looks and acts the same as the one Silver Surfer uses. You may obtain up to 2 of these, however, the second one only appears in overhead stages. By hitting the B button you can change the position of the orb on your board. This allows you to shoot enemies beneath and even behind you.
One last important detail about these powerups before i move on. If you lose a life then you will lose all upgrades expect for your B squares. So once you’re all powered up, make sure you don’t get hit.
Now lets get into the different stages, enemies, and bosses you will encounter. There are 6 bosses each assigned to their own area themed around who they are and what they do. Only 5 of the 6 are unlocked to start, once you beat all 5 then you will unlock the final boss, Mr. Sinister. Who are the 5 bosses you must defeat first you ask? Well, here they are along with some details about the first stage they throw at you.
- Reptyl- Bottom half of stage is filled with water, lots of reptilian enemies with some robot fish thrown in there as well.
- Possessor- Takes place in space, lot’s of mechanical weapons and green heads trying to stop you.
- Mephisto- Haunted house themed level. Do you believe in ghosts? Well you will after playing through this stage.
- Firelord- Takes place on a planet where hands come from its surface to try and grab you.
- Emperor- Technology themed stage, heavy duty weapons and tanks will be firing at you from everywhere.
One really cool thing about this game that I really like is that you may fight these bosses in whichever order you’d like (sort of like Megaman). I usually go with reptyl first, however, since he seems to be the easiest and i can quickly max out my upgrades. Once you select which boss you’d like to fight first, there will be 3 stages to get through. Once you beat all 3 stages you receive a part of the cosmic device, easy enough right? Well, some stages in this game can be pretty easy and some not so much. This game can be very hard and unforgiving at times. You see it plays sort of like Contra where once you get hit you lose a life. Just one more thing i need to add though, in this game when you get hit you don’t respawn where you got hit. Yes, that’s right, back to the start of the stage, or checkpoint, if you got far enough. So even though this can be kind of a minor issue for people who have played the game before, it can be tough for new players to progress. At least they give some checkpoints though, but you still lose your powerups so checkpoints can only help so much. Another thing that frustrates me everytime i play this game is that you can’t touch the walls or you die. Apparently not even the cosmic powered Silver Surfer can stand up to the all powerful wall…
To wrap all this up I just wanna give some final thoughts about the game. I really do love this game, yes it’s a challenge, but it’s a fun challenge. It’s one of those games that you gotta play a lot in order to get better so that you can some day beat it. And once you beat it you will feel very accomplished. Well, I actually wouldn’t know how it feels because I’ve actually never beaten it…. But I have gotten close and I still play the game to this day in hopes that I will someday beat it start to finish. That’s the thing about this game though, once you know what you’re doing it becomes addictive and you keep coming back for more. I would highly recommend this game to all players of any skill level. It is hard, but if you find your having trouble then just keep at it and i’m sure you’ll get better. There are patterns in this game so if you play enough you’ll find em, making it much easier to get past the many obstacles being thrown at you. So yeah, if you get a chance to play this game, give it a try. Who knows, maybe it will become one of your favorite classic games like it is for me. If you find it too hard or just not that much fun, then maybe Silver Surfer for NES just isn’t for you. But for everyone who tries and enjoys this game, just remember, keep your upgrades full and watch out for those darn walls!
Thanks for checking out the first installment of Retro Rewind, I’ll of course be making more of these review/showcases so be sure to check back here whenever you get the chance. Any suggestions for future Retro Rewind reviews are appreciated, just put it down in the comments below. Also make sure that while you’re here on AZBros.com that you check out the rest of our content, you won’t be disappointed. I’m Lockjaw, and I’ll see you next time!