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The Goonies (Konami, 1986)

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As previous discussed in this space, one of the reasons I chose to go back to the Famicom, as opposed to one of the other very worthy vintage systems, was its ties to my favorite decade, the 1980s. A great example of what made that time in my life so great was Steven Spielberg's 1985 film The Goonies, arguably the best of the seemingly endless list of movies starring at least one of the Coreys -- Feldman in this case. I'm struggling to choose between The Goonies and The Lost Boys as I type this.

One of the things I want to try to do as I relive those glory days is to experience the games in quasi chronological order. I know it won't work perfectly, because I'm not waiting to get every game I want before playing any of them, but I have enough to at least give it a whirl. And, thus, with not a lot of titles that interest me from 1983-1985 and a nod to Devil World, which I have not yet acquired, we fast forward the Famicom timeline to 1986 and Konami's take on the previously mentioned film:

Last weekend, GohanX and I discussed the school yard mystery that once surrounded this game. Lots of kids played Goonies 2 on the NES and wondered what ever happened to the original. Some postulated that it was supposed to be a sequel to the movie. The truth is that The Goonies was released only on the Famicom at home and then ported to the PlayChoice 10 arcade system in the US. Unlike the sequel, the original Goonies did not have any in-game story or any other text to read, which makes it an ideal candidate for a gaijin to import. This also pushes the game fairly solidly toward the action genre more so that its sequel.

The game consists of five levels, which can then be looped. The first two take place in what is likely the villainous Fratelli's hideout. The next two take place in the caves under the hideout. The final level, which is mostly a bonus stage to boost the final score, takes place on the pirate ship belonging to One Eyed Willie. Levels are very much nonlinear, scrolling both left and right and having vines and ladders to move up and down as well. Finally, skull doors allow Mikey, our protagonist, to move to a different section. While none of the levels could be accurately described as a maze, some of them are not easy to navigate, especially the first time through. The objective of the first four levels is identical.

Killing many types of enemies, including rats, octopi, and fish, will yield bombs. These bombs are used to open several doors hidden throughout each level. Within each door is one of several objects. A healing potion not surprisingly restores health. Since the game provides you only three lives without extends or continues, these are quite valuable. A slingshot gives you a finite number of shots, allowing you to kill from a distance instead of kicking enemies. A captured Goonie is noted beneath the health bar once freed. Finally, a key puts you one step closer to the three needed to be able unlock the final door and finish the level.

The final level has the same bomb and door combination, but behind each door is a pirate treasure, increasing the score. I wound up at 123,272, which I believe to be a decent score, since I freed all the captured Goonies and unlocked most of not all of the doors throughout the levels. At the back end of the ship, the final door reveals a girl whom I assume to be Andy, which brings an abrupt end to the game:

While The Goonies is a fairly basic game in terms of technology and gameplay, its low cost, movie tie-in, and lack of Japanese text make it a worthwhile play. For that reason, I give it:

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  1. Low's Avatar
    This is at the top of my Famicom wish list and unlike Hal's equally awesome MIA tie-in Ghostbusters 2 it's not a wallet buster.


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