Jeff Boyardee

Due to the success of our previous entry:
We've decided to write a part review part "walk down memory lane" type of journal entry.
And the subject of today's discussion is all about the oldest boy in the world, our very own Game Boy.
We received it as a birthday present and it came packaged with a tape (no, not Tetris) which read as "Toxic Crusader". This was when a time when handheld gaming was in it's infancy. Before the game boy, we only had THESE to play with...
Games came in unique cartridges (most of which were ports of it's NES and SNES counterparts).
Sealed in shut inside clamshell casings such as these.
Some came in big boxes(usually packaged with an instructional manual).
While others came in smaller boxes (also packaged with instructional manual and at times authentication cards).
The 90's was indeed a magnificent time to be alive.
With numerous titles receiving HD remakes and are still fresh, relevant and beloved as we enter the new millennium.
or excuse me, WILLenium!

Speaking of not falling into obscurity....
Here are SSM!'s Top 10 Obscure(ok, not exactly obscure)
Underated Gameboy Gems that nobody seems to know/care/talk about.

At #10.
by Meldac.
With two modes available.
With the OLD mode resembling an old Atari 2600 game.
And the NEW mode resembling nothing we've ever seen before.
In it you play the role of a feudal priest during a small scale alien invasion.
Open and seal off portals, trap alien baddies then progress to the next stage.
Despite the simplicity of it's play style/mechanics, it's as habit-forming as any other old school action/puzzler should be.And even though the game plays the same music all thoughout each levels, it never gets repetitive and is actually quite catchy and exciting.
On to the next game...

by Infogames/Tecmo Ltd.

That title screen music has a nice tune to it. We've even had fond memories of recording just that on a cassette tape.
Travel exotic locales, collect bombs/power-ups then avoid birds and mummies.
As simple as that might seem, the game is quite addictive. And collecting bombs in the correct
order adds to the thrill of the game. More lit bombs collected in the sequence
they were lit meant more points for the player and the same play style continues all throughout the entirety of the game.

(Crayon Shin Chan #4)
by Bandai.
Shin-chan or as how most of us will remember to it as Andrew E.'s
best performance/role yet since Megamol.
Uhurm, now back to the game....
CSC#4 is a platformer with the eponymous rambunctious tyke, Shinnosuke Nohara.
Stay idle for quite some time and watch as Shin-Chan and Shiro boogie down and aggressively shakes their booties.
As with most  Japanese games, each stages are divided to several chapters.
And you have this wonderful title card to explain just that.
In the game, you are able to morph as a chicken,
a squirrel,
a bug,
and the strongest form of them all...the Action Kamen form.
Collect batteries (???) and smiley faced tokens, which in turn let's you play a fun mini-game at the local arcade.
These bonus games ranges from:
Bug Collecting.
Slide Jumping.
And our personal favorite, this arcade style shooter where in you gun down crawling
enemy henchmen...Tapper style!
Grab the Action Kamen icon to clear all of the enemies on sight.

The game had more stages and mini-games to offer but we were unable to reach most of them in time
for this recommendation/documentation. Moving right along with...


By Konami/Ultra Games.

The perfect handheld port of the beloved NES classic, Contra. Or Contra II to be exact.
Now, what does the "C" stand for. CANCER, maybe?
This was at the time when the series had to distance itself from the Nicaraguan rebel groups
of the same name. The title made even lesser sense in it's European releases where it is commonly
referred to as Probotector.Gone are the Arnold and the Stallone look-alikes instead, you're
a one man(bot) army taking on other robots.
The game is a bit shorter than your average Contra game.
But you have that iconic Contra music,
 your usual band of enemies,
top-down stages,
mid bosses,
(check out the shadows on that spider boss)
end stage bosses,
and the final boss.
Which was a bit of a snorefest for it basically stood still as you pumped bullets along it's way.

And what's better than a spreader?
A spreader with homing capabilities!
Despite this game having a shorter game duration than Contra Spirits
(Spirit of what, Chirstmas?Hey, which also begins with the letter "C"), the look and feel closely resembles to that of it's NES counterpart.
As opposed to what Spirits was doing, which was poorly emulating The Alien Wars from the SNES.
Boasting opening cutscenes
end stage graphics,
top-down stages,
and a MANIAC mode?
Maniac mode?You mean like THIS???
Surely it does offers the faithful SNES stages but the controls does feel a bit crippled which
amps up an already difficult game such as this.

by Tecmo.
The sole reason as to why we downloaded an emulator in the first place.
Solomon's Club is a puzzle/maze game where in the objective of each stage is to
get a key, get a bunch of gems and orbs then skidaddle out of the said room before the time runs out.
Yep, you don't even have to finish all of the enemies or get all of the items. We're not too sure but
guessing from the key collecting aspect of this game, chances are this game had something to do with
the Lesser Key Of Solomon.Y'know, the book that has spells and chants for you to summon your very own
DEMON : Pokemon style!

Armed with a magical staff,
you are able to make solid blocks appear and disappear.
You are also able to break them with your head, Super Mario style.
Some other upgrades are available via the shop room which appears at certain portions of the stage.
All of these items are quite expensive and to top it all off none of which were labeled
nor explains as to what it does for the player.
Some of these items are necessary for completion of certain stages.
The bell seems to be able to summon a fairy.
Which apparently disintegrates upon contact.
And if the puzzle happens to be way too difficult for you to finish, the game is also courteous enough to offer you an in-game give up button.
If only real life was this easy....

There are no end stage boss battles just 5 levels (with 10 rooms each and in increasing difficulty)
of puzzle solving madness.

by Irem.

From the same developers of the R-Type series and our personal favorite; In The Hunt.
(more gifs over @ http://obscurevideogames.tumblr.com/tagged/In-the-Hunt)
I mean, just look at that!!!
What's not to love?
It's Metal Slug with submarines!

Spartan X or Kung-Fu Master as it is commonly referred to outside of Japan, is a side-scrolling beat'em
up game initially based on the Jackie Chan movie "Meals On Wheels".
But upon actual playthrough, resembles Bruce Lee's Game Of Death(with it's floor by floor end boss and all)instead.
However this version was meant to mirror Spartan X 2 for the NES.
But where the NES version failed, this version succeeded with flying colors.
The game offers two modes,
both modes offering the same ending and equally same level of in game
difficulty. So whichever mode you choose, you are still bound to get your ass kicked.

And as expected delivering a flying kick is equivalent to getting a higher score.
BUT with enemies coming from left and right, it really isn't all that recommended.
Staying alive should be (and your only) top priority within the game.
Several health and weapons items are dropped by specific enemies:
like this chain guy,
this dude with a gun,
this graceful looking ninja,
So where do lonely hearts go?
In this game, apparently.
1ups are a few of the more rarer items in the game, they come in the form of medals.
The game also offers a boss map with their profile images.
Most of which were quite misleading and non-indicative as to how they actually looked like in the game.
Like the first boss, that was supposed to resemble Jason (from the Friday The 13 movies) but ended up looking like the local goons actor Bomber Moran.
The second boss was somewhat more accurate. And for all intents and purposes, closely resembles the late
comedian, Larry "Pipoy" Silva.
The third boss is some dude with a bowl cut.
Orrr an army man with napalm gun.

The fourth and the fifth boss (despite their profile image) is one in the same.
The karate master and the kabuki dancer were both depicted as a more fancier version of graceful ninja.

The profile image of the fifth boss resembles that of a younger Babalu
but attire wise
was a bit closer as to how Jackie Chan looked on the final moments of the film Meals On Wheels.
Well, what do you know?
The film and the game eventually came full circle after all.
Imagine that!

(Tekkyu Fight! The Great Battle Gaiden)
by Banpresto.
Is a platformer game with SD (Super Deformed) versions of your favorite Tokusatsu characters.
RX-78-2 Gundam
Ultraman Great

Kamen Rider Black RX

and Banpresto's very own hero, Fighter Roar.
The game was also one of the original titles from the Compati Hero series which would be released on various other consoles in the years to come.
Although there's really nothing too special with playing a game with a roster of SD characters.
But remember that this was released during the 90's. At a time when both Ultraman and Masked Rider Black were the talk of the town.And on that merit alone, this game deserves to be in number 4.
Get it?
Because there are 4 of them. Number 4, enh-enh????Oh nevermind....

Despite the presentation, this was most definitely isn't a game geared towards a younger audience.
The game doesn't josh around with it's difficulty level.
In between switching for the right item to equip, you had to do it as quick as hell for the enemies attacking at a random pattern/order. Cheap shots and cheap deaths are but expected.  The boss battles were all rather dreadful, they take like a million hits to die.
Play this for the novelty of playing as both Ultraman and Kamen Rider, do just that and
you're sure to enjoy the said experience. Do otherwise and you're sure to have a bad time!

by Bandai.
Now we haven't really played the SNES/Genesis version hence we couldn't offer a proper critique/comparison of that.
Instead,let's focus on this port that we do actually own and had fond memories with.

Yet another one of 'em icon from the 90's!
The series that reintroduced Sentai series to a new generation.
And totally NOT like THIS:
Epic Failllll!!!!!
Everyone wanted to be the Green/White Ranger.
Everyone had a crush on Pink Ranger.
And that's it, that's Power Rangers in a nutshell.

Goldar always was our favorite.
We never really understood his design. But something about his golden
armor and dog like face that instantly clicked with us. And speaking of designs that clicked,
Lord Zedd was yet another one of them. His muscle-y and metallic skeleton look was both menacing as it is cool to look at.
Fangasms aside, the game was pretty tight for a Game Boy title.
The objective of every stage was to morph into your Ranger of choice. Kinda like Altered Beast.
You needed to be in Ranger form (again kinda like Altered Beast) to stand a chance against any of the 6 bosses namely:
Morphing could be accomplished by pressing the select button once your power meter is filled.
You fill up your meter by beating up Putty Patrols, cogwheels, mutant toads and metal skeletons.
While in ranger form, you are also rewarded with an unlimited special move in the form of
this elbow rush thingie...
Which you'd be using a whole lot more for it disposes the enemy far more quickly than your standard punch/kick attack.
This move can be executed by tapping the forward button twice on your D-pad.
Filling your meter a second time offers you a special attack ala Golden Axe.
The game also offers weird stage specific challenges:
This was by far the hardest and most enjoyable part of the game.

The game also supports a password system.
And when played on a Super Game Boy, the color of the stage is identical to the color of your ranger.
So t'would be best to pick White, Red or Pink Rangers for these are the colors best suited
for you to play in.

It is also worth mentioning that only Lord Zedd is the only villain to have a mid-boss battle (in
the form of this eagle).
That only goes to show as to how badass his royal highness is!
The final round was a boss rush of sort, requiring you to know the patterns of all the other five bosses.
It's a cheap and effective way to lengthen the game. The final battle was indeed a tedious and unpredictable battle with Ivan Ooze.
There are two form of the Oozemeister to go about with.
And then you are finally treated to a rather confusing/unsatisfying ending.
Well that's that, at least you had fun with the Mechanical Tremor stage.

by Konami.
We did feature Contra hence it would only be appropriate to feature a Castlevania game
as well.
Most of the -vania games on the game boy were all slow as a turtle.
Despite the adorable appearance,
Kid Dracula was indeed THE Castlevania game for your Nintendo Game Boy.

It's fast paced, it's humorous and you get to play as the lead Dracula.
No, not Alucard!
But instead the main bad guy from the -vania series.
Which Dracula?
The "Whatisaman" Dracula,
THAT Dracula!
How badass is that???

The game itself closely resembles a simplified version of Mega Man. With mega boss battles
and techniques to remember like how to walk upside down
 or how to use your father's most beloved umbrella.
The story revolves around the return of Garamoth. Which Garamoth?
But in a much cuter form of course!
In this version, he's an alien. But he's a legal alien. Yet he's no Englishman in New York.
With the aid of your loyal assistant Death, traverse through theme parks
, pirate ships and alien fortresses.

While battling zombies, overly enthusiastic Frankenstein's monsters, Yoricks, Knights,
Salem witches,Kirins
and a Kaiju with a lightsaber.
Crazy seems like an understatement when describing your enemies and this game in general.
The Tetris themed stage was by far the best level we've played. It was cleverly designed and brings the action to a fever pitch.

Like most of the games featured on this list, this game also boast a few mini-games for you to gain
extra lives and extra coins.
Although the Coin game isn't really all that great,
but the Lives game were well worth every penny of it.

So go ahead and play those instead!

The game's ending was a bit of a let down.
We would've preferred a plot twist where in Death was the main
villain but that's a story for yet another journal entry.

and at #1.
by Nintendo.
The game initially starts off like any other Donkey Kong game.
You have Mario ascending the broken ladders to rescue Pauline.
Yadda-yadda-yadda! Been there-done that! Right?

After the first four level, the game quickly morphs into a multi-level, multi-layered puzzle/
platformer worthy of the great ape's video game legacy.
And while playing the said game, we finally caught the Popeye (Popeye=Mario, Bluto=Donkey Kong, Olive Oyl=Pauline) similarities for which the game was initially based off.
The game also contains subtle references to other Mario/Donkey Kong
titles such as Donkey Kong Jr., Super Mario Land 2 (Doki Doki Panic item picking mechanics) to lesser known titles like Wrecking Crew.

This was indeed a solid game from start to finish.
In this game, you'd witness Mario doing non-Mario things like doing backflips, standing upside down, swinging on tightropes, creating your own ladder/bridge,
flipping switches,
controlling conveyor belts, working that mallet and the list goes on and on.
This was one of the first few titles to utilize the Super Game Boy's capabilities.
And use it to their advantage this game shall. This game was so ahead of it's time and
definitely worth the purchase if you'd happen to come across a physical copy of the said game that is!
With end stage boss battles,
between game cutscenes,
more than 90++ stages
and more than 72 hours worth of gametime.
And like many other great Nintendo titles, this game offer a very efficient save system.
It would sure be a while till you pick up another title that could rival this game.
And as the cliche saying goes "Oh, it is on, like DONKEY KONG!"

That's that, all 10 of 'em!
Now your favorites might not be included in this list but then again, it's our list after all.
So get with the program, keep your comments to yourselves or better yet, create your own top 10 list!
That oughta shut you up!
SSM! over and out! Game over, man!

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