Saturday, February 11, 2012

How tough were games in the late 80's? Well, how many NES controllers did I manage to break...hmmm

Aside from Nintendo, Capcom was really the bell of the ball in the 8-bit era. Just look at the franchises they brought to the table in the 80's and early 90's. You have Mega Man, Ghosts'n Goblins, Bionic Commando, and a little game not many have heard of, Section Z. If you haven't heard of Section Z, you're missing out. It was, and still is, a pretty great side-scrolling space shoot-'em-up that was originally released as an arcade coin-op, and was later ported to the NES.

There isn't much to the gameplay in Section Z: Press A and shoot right, Press B and shoot Left. Pretty straightforward really. The real depth of the game is navigating the maze like complex to destroy the two power generators located at different sections, that will open a path to the new sections and eventually the endgame boss. At the end of each section, you are given the choice of entering one of two transporters that will warp you to different sections of the base. Take a wrong turn, and you could be transported to a section a few levels back. Even worse, some transporters are traps that will kill you altogether.

I never managed to beat the game without my trusty Game Genie back in the day, but hey give me a break, I was only 7! Needless to say the game is rather difficult, much like many games that originated from coin-op arcade cabinets. Made it all the way to the third stage having already destroyed two power generators? Well sorry, son. No checkpoints to be found here. You'll need to start all the way back at Section 00, and you'll like it. Sometimes I miss the days of old where games were so much more of a challenge, and consoles had to be left on for days on end out of fear of losing your place in the game...but then again I have broken far fewer controllers as of late, so perhaps this whole checkpoint thing has some merit, eh?

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