This week, we are once again entering a monochrome world from year’s gone by – It’s the Retrogaming Chart Show.
You know the drill, old charts from old magazines for old retro gaming consoles – blah blah blah. This week, we’re going to cast our minds back to September 1993 and the 21st issue of Total! Magazine. This month’s chart is the Top 10 UK Game Boy charts, and it’s always fun to look at Nintendo’s portable system during its pre Pokemon period.
A healthy variety of games litter this particular chart, so sit back and enjoy!
10 Looney Toons
There are a lot of platformers on the Game Boy, some are great, but most of them are utter crap. Looney Toons sits safely in-between, in at number 10 this month. With multiple levels based on some of your favourite Looney Toons, this release does a great job of portraying Warner Brother’s finest on such a small screen, and even if it plays a little averagely, it’s not a bad game.
9 Top Rank Tennis
One of two Nintendo-developed sports games comes in at number 9 this month, with Top Rank Tennis, so-called because of its structure that involves you taking on all comers as you rise up the ranks against the game’s toughest tennis players. It’s a solid if simplistic tennis game.
8. Dr. Franken
Spooky adventures abound at number 8 in Dr Franken. Playing as some sort of Frankenstein’s monster, predictably known as Frankie, this side-scrolling action adventure is all about finding the dismembered body parts of Bitsy, Frankie’s girlfriend. This is a mostly forgotten about title that has a little Metroidvania about it, as you explore a multi-floor mansion, finding items such as keys in order to progress further.
7. Joe ‘n’ Mac: Caveman Ninja
An arcade port comes in at number 7 as Data East’s Joe & Mac: Caveman Ninja comes to the very small screen, and it’s been ported relatively well with some great visuals that anyone who has played the original arcade or console ports would recognise. It’s tough, but it’s got plenty of character.
6. Alfred Chicken
Alfred Chicken is our middle of the road entry at number 6. This platform game definitely falls under the category of uninspiring, with slow action and a tonne of repetition. This game is mainly notable as one of its marketing ploys involved the character running in an actual by-election in 1993. He came second from last with 18 votes.
5. Alien 3
At one point in gaming, movie licenses were quickly developed on consoles as side-scrolling action platformers, and the same was true of many versions of Alien 3’s interpretations. At number 5, this Game Boy version is a very different movie license, taking things into a top-down view and focusing on exploration and survival rather than fast-paced action. It’s not terribly amazing, but at least it’s something different.
At number 4 is another port of everyone’s favourite puzzle game – Lemmings. Despite being on a tiny screen, this port is somewhat playable, although you might need to squint to see those tiny pixelated rodents and the collision detection is reportedly a little buggy sometimes.
The second sports game in this chart is at number 3, in Nintendo’s golf. Despite a few appearances from Mario himself, this is ultimately a very simplistic golf game, but it works even if it’s quite barebones. Although, how complicated do you need a handheld golf game to be?
2. Super Mario Land
Mario’s debut on the Game Boy is at number 2 and it’s an excellent example of how to take a full console game, throw it out the window and built a game from the ground up to take advantage of the Game Boy’s strengths and weaknesses. Tiny sprites make the most of the limited screen real estate, but it still feels like a Super Mario game should.
1. Super Mario Land 2
But this month, Super Mario Land has been beaten to the top spot by its own sequel – Super Mario Land 2: Six Golden Coins. A much more impressive game than the original release, this sequel borrows a few visuals and mechanics from Super Mario World and adds some nice chunky sprites that are recognisably Super Mario. Not only does this game take place in a non-linear world map that allows you to tackle most of the game’s worlds in any order, but it also hails the debut of Mario’s doppelganger – Wario, a character that would become a must more significant figure throughout Nintendo’s future released, starring in his own games and cameoing in many others.