Guerrilla War (Guevara) (1988/Famicom)
« I will always love this game.  It feels as though it was designed by gamers for gamers.  It also has one of the most creative background histories in the history of the NES.  If you liked Ikari Warrior and its progeny, you owe to yourself to track this baby down. »
« Amidst all the standard computer ports which attempted to replicate the original and often failed to capture the magic, the NES port stands out as the most unique for having done something different. It focuses less on copying the arcade version and more on delivering its own experience, similar to what the first two Ikari Warriors games attempted but much less abominable. If anything, the NES version may be more preferable for its increased length and content, as well as keeping the action far more manageable and less ridiculous. It moves even faster than the arcade game with Che and Fidel rolling along at a decent trot and carrying infinite grenades. There are a few more weapons to grab, like tri-pellet shotguns and missiles which burst into bullets on impact, and they’re also in limitless supply until the next player death.

The game starts out mostly the same for the first few levels before it detours into new locales, such as a fight on a large submarine, a dreaded sewer level, and an underground stage with a bizarre bonus segment where you must save prisoners with a lasso while riding a minecart, a scene which exhibits some surprising rotation effects for the NES hardware. There’s enough new content to effectively double the original arcade game’s length into a solid ten levels, yet it doesn’t feel like it’s bloating the game up with wasted stages but rather adding to the experience and making for a meatier overall run-and-gun deathfest. It also features bright graphics that are even more colorful than the arcade version, and the music is actually quite good this time around, featuring energetic tunes made to go with shooting enemy commandos. It couldn’t replicate the rotating joystick independent fire of the arcade, but it works just as well to simply fire in the direction you’re currently running and keeps things overall simpler.

If there’s any one possible fault, it’s that you have absolutely unlimited continues and can just power your way through the game without really doing any good at it. If you try to play it straight, it’s not a challenging game, but if you’re playing to keep a tally of your score and/or how many continues you use, it becomes quite vicious and can make for a tough point trial. Whatever the case, Guerrilla War on the NES is one of the finest examples of an overhead run-and-gun on the system, and it helps that it was actually developed by SNK themselves instead of notorious shadow developer Micronics, infamous for some of the worst arcade-to-home conversions on the NES including Ikari Warriors. While SNK still had a few years to reach mega-fame with the Neo Geo, Guerrilla War was one of their finer pre-nineties games and doubly so on the little gray box. »

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