Welcome to another exciting episode of This Week in Defunct Games! Every Tuesday join Cyril as he reviews the best (and worst) retro releases for the week.
Hey look, somebody released a game. In case you haven't noticed yet, there haven't been a lot of episodes of This Week in Defunct Games in 2012. That's because neither Sony nor Nintendo seem very keen on releasing old games. But the drought has finally come to an end! Today we can take a look at Maru's Mission, the exciting little Game Boy game from Jaleco. Read on and see if it's the first must-own game of 2012.
Maru's Mission (Jaleco)
[ Release: Feb. 9 | Price: $4 | Console: Game Boy | Year: 1991 ]
What Is It?
You've heard the story a million times. Boy meets girl, girl gets kidnapped by a floating samurai and boy has to go out to rescue her. It's Ghosts 'N Goblins with ninjas and Eastern mythology. While that might sound like a dig at Maru's Mission, it turns out to be a great jumping off point for what turns out to be one of the most memorable Game Boy action games on the 3DS Virtual Console.
Forget the simple storyline, this 21 year old platformer takes Maru on an adventure through the mean streets of New York City, a Romanian cemetery, the underground bone caverns of Greece, the sand of Egypt, the party atmosphere of Brazil and the ninja dojo in Japan. It's a wild adventure full of unique gameplay mechanics and crazy bosses. You'll go from walking on the ceilings to battling Dracula, all within a blink of an eye. The game also offers a number of different mechanics, including swimming gameplay that involves you taking down deadly sharks. Maru's Mission has a little bit of everything.
Does It Still Hold Up?
The first thing you'll notice is Maru's impressive jumping ability. While some characters can double jump as high as they are tall, Maru goes about a thousand steps better. He can jump so high that he literally leaves the Game Boy's tiny screen. Beyond the noteworthy jumping abilities, Maru's Mission has a surprising amount of variety in the action. I was also impressed with all twelve of the bosses packed into this tiny game. Unfortunately, like a lot of old 8-bit games, the action tends to slow down when too many characters are on the screen at once. Sadly this mars an otherwise excellent experience.
Is It Worth The Money?
Maru's Mission is the first great Virtual Console game of 2012. Of course, that's not saying much when the only other option is Lock 'N Chase. Either way, this is an attractive little action game with a lot of originality. The game throws just about everything it can think at you, which can be tough given the game's lack of continues. It may not have the star power of other Virtual Console games, but don't let that stop you from taking part in Maru's Mission!