The Goonies


Review by Rob "Dire 51"



Graphics: 7

Sound: 8

Gameplay: 8

Overall: 8

Surely everyone that was a kid in the '80s has seen the movie The Goonies. While today it's considered to be one of the great '80s movies, back when it was released it did only moderately well at the box office. It found a second life on video, which is how I first saw it, and as of this writing has been available on DVD for about a year. Right around 1988 I found out that there was an NES game that was a sequel of sorts to the movie, The Goonies II. I knew I had to check it out, as I loved the movie. Once my brother and I got our first NES, The Goonies II was one of the first games I rented for it. I liked it quite a bit, even if I didn't know exactly what to do in it at first. I eventually got my own copy, worked on it and finished it. To this day it's still one of my favorite NES games. After playing it for the first time, though, I found myself wondering something. Did Konami, the creators of The Goonies II, ever make a game based on the movie itself, instead of just creating a sequel to it? My question was answered a few weeks later in a small arcade that I visited one day. Over in the corner sat a Nintendo Playchoice 10, and one of the games available for play was The Goonies. After one play, I was hooked. I spent all my quarters on it that day, and I knew that I had to find the home game. Unfortunately, it seemed that one didn't exist.

Many years later, I learned that Konami DID release The Goonies for a home system - unfortunately, it was only for the Famicom. After searching for it for quite some time, I finally found someone that had it and I was able to play it. Talk about memories... it's just like I remember it.

He wouldn't sell it to me, though. Damn.

At first glance, The Goonies looks vaguely similar to The Goonies II (hereafter referred to as TGII). The Goonies controls a lot like TGII, but there the similarities end. TGII was more like a Metroidesque quest game, and The Goonies is more of a puzzle game, kind of like the early '80s gem Montezuma's Revenge. You control Mikey, who's the last free Goonie. The Fratellis have captured all of the other Goonies and hidden them away inside their multilevel hideout. You must explore the Fratellis' hideout, freeing the other Goonies from the rooms that they've been locked in by Mama and her boys. To open the doors (each one marked by a huge skull), you must get a bomb and set it off in front of the door. The rats running around the Fratelli's hideout carry bombs, as well as other items, so kill them to get the bombs you need. You must also find keys, which are also hidden behind doors. When you have gathered all of the keys in a level and freed the captured Goonie, you can move onto the next level.

The graphics are very similar to TGII, even though the later game has slightly better graphics. For an early Famicom game the graphics, while somewhat plain in spots, are done very well. The game controls extraordinarily well. Mikey's very responsive to your commands, and the controls are quite simple to operate - the A button jumps, the B button kicks and pushing Down and B drops bombs. A word of warning, though: when you've dropped a bomb, GET OUT OF THE WAY! Mikey has a life bar, but a bomb blast will kill him instantly. Mikey can get other weapons to use besides his basic kick, although nowhere near as many as in TGII. The most common one is a slingshot that can put most enemies down with a single shot. Unfortunately Mikey doesn't start the game with it. You have to find it before you can use it. Speaking of enemies, there's quite a few in The Goonies. Besides the aforementioned rats, there's also foxes, pirate ghosts and the Fratelli boys themselves, to name a few. The sound effects are pretty standard early Famicom stuff, but the music is quite good, like most of Konami's other Famicom games. The game even has a rendition of Cyndi Lauper's "The Goonies 'R Good Enough" that sounds just like the one in TGII.

An interesting note: the title screen contains an early promotional drawing for the movie. A silhouette of Sloth and six of the seven Goonies all standing together can be seen, while over to the left you can see Data running toward the group. You can tell it's Data because the trench coat that he was wearing in the movie is visible. The title screen also has the long discontinued early '80s Konami logo, instead of the symbol that everyone is used to seeing.

After all these years The Goonies remains a fun game. If you ever find a copy of the game, it's worth picking up. The more popular Famicom titles are getting harder and harder to find, though, so the chances of actually finding it are slim, but still possible. Every so often the game shows up on eBay, and according to Kurt Kalata it's one of the more common games on those pirate Famicom multicarts. So if you ever do find it, don't hesitate to grab it.



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Last updated: Sunday, December 28, 2003 05:41 AM