Total time played: 10 hours over 2 months
Short review: Take everything that made Contra great and make it better and you have G.I. Joe. This game should have been a classic shooter but somehow slipped under the radar. I believe it is the best licensed game on the NES and has the best theme song of any game on the NES.
Interesting links related to G.I. Joe
Like all male children of the 1980’s I went through a G.I. Joe phase. Every morning before school I would watch Real Ghostbusters and G.I. Joe while eating Trix or Froot Loops. I had the action figures and knew all the catch phrases. When me and my cousin Chris went to Video East (our local video store) and saw the NES G.I. Joe game it was something we had to play. We went back to Chris’s house and played the game all night only taking breaks to play with our G.I. Joe action figures.
My other cousin Jamie rented the game once and I watched him get to the final level, which me and Chris were never able to do. I’m sure Jamie ended up beating the game although I never saw him do it. Every couple of years I would revisit the game and try to complete it but was never successful until recently. It took me a couple of months but I finally did it only to find out that there are 3 quests with the only difference being the difficulty and number of characters you can play as. I only beat the first quest but at this time have no desire to beat the others.
The game features a killer soundtrack, it holds the distinction as the first game soundtrack that I took the time to record on cassette and listen to while not playing the game (the only other time I did this was for Rambo on NES). The game is a shooter like Contra but instead of one character you choose 3 characters (out of 5 total) to help you on your mission and can switch between them at any time. Each member of you team has an advantage that the rest do not (think the 4 characters in Mario 2). Duke is the most well balanced, Blizzard is kind of a n00b, Snake Eyes can jump the highest, Captain Gridiron has the strongest melee (punch) attack, and Rock n Roll has the best guns. Later in the game you can play as General Hawk who can fly making him the best character in the game. Each level is broken up into 3 stages. Stage one and 3 are very Contra-esque and stage 2 is a scavanger hunt where you must disarm bombs before continuing (think the dam stage in the TMNT game). Each stage features a mini boss and each level has a main boss.
If you were ever a G.I. Joe fan or a Contra fan growing up you owe it to yourself to play this game.