There was a time before Final Fantasy literally saved the company previously known back in the day as just Square and not Square-Enix. During this time, they made games, but none that did particularly well. There was one known as 3-D World Runner.
This NES game was a interesting one, plus it actually came with 3D glasses! For some real reasons as to why the game is worth your time, the game has a pretty short but catchy soundtrack made by none other than Nobuo Uematsu (the man most famous for those catchy Final Fantasy songs). The soundtrack had maybe two real songs and others were jingles for stage clear and death, ect. Really though, play this game and tell me you don’t get the main stage theme stuck in your head after about five minutes of gameplay.
This game is a third person rail shooter and while this may not make one’s personal list for a great game, it’s a short but sweet game that I enjoyed as a child. It’s a deceptively difficult game if you want to try and beat it. You’re a wild “space cowboy” on a mission to save various planets from these serpent beasts at the end of each stage. That’s seriously all there is to it. Were you expecting a story here?
Moving on, the game is pretty straightforward; literally. The game has you running forward the entire game. You can change the speed that you move forward with up and down and move from side to side with left and right. You mostly jump (with A) or move to avoid various enemies and fire pillars. There are also green or orange pillars which you literally run into, will give you various power ups such as to shoot fireballs (with B), invincibility and even poison mushrooms that will kill you if you get them. The ability to shoot fireballs really helps to actually destroy enemies. The other main thing you are doing is platforming. Sometimes the gaps are really far, so you want to speed up to jump the big gaps. The smaller gaps may require jumping while slowed down a bit so you don’t jump too far ahead. Chances are, until the later levels, you will have more pit deaths than from enemies themselves. This is something you need to get used to, because stages later on literally have you jumping from pillars onto other pillars to proceed. Much like Mario jumps from turtle shell to turtle shell, you have entire sections that require you do this.
Balloons will take you to bonus stages where you have the chance to collect stars for score and sometimes hearts for extra lives. The bosses are all serpent-like and outside of speed and movement patterns, they all play the same way. Move, shoot, win. This game sounds pretty simple, but trust me, it’s not as easy as it sounds. The bosses are actually a breath of fresh air from some of the crazy 3D platforming you end up doing in this game. This is a game that will put a smile on your face with it’s simple tunes, but also has the potential to frustrate you based on how crazy things can get. Just be prepared for a challenge as you proceed further and further into the game. You will be moving forward with speed because you have to, but before you know it, you run straight into a pit or enemy you didn’t see. It’s actually quite the exciting experience if you are willing to give it a shot. Even though the game is frustrating at times, it’s hard to get mad when the music is so happy.
The game certainly isn’t for everyone, but for me personally, it stands out to be at the very least, one of the more interesting games in the NES library.
Here’s a added bonus I talked about on Twitter and Facebook. A video to go with this written review. Enjoy.