Overall Rating: 0.5/5 Stars
By the 2000’s, Marvel Entertainment was an incredibly popular commodity in our collective cultural consciousness. With superhero movies being touted as the modern-day equivalent to epic mythology and their comic lines still publishing, the company brought figures like Spider-Man and Silver Surfer from geek obscurity to mainstream success with big-screen films that made hundreds of millions of dollars.But back in 1990, this was not quite the case. So when a humble little cartridge called Silver Surfer released on the Nintendo Entertainment System, it was only the hardcore fans that would have noticed, much less even bother playing. And this was probably for the best, since Silver Surfer was an NES game rife with serious issues. Or, at least, one particular issue that could not be overlooked.
This game was difficult. And by “difficult,” here we mean “among the hardest video games ever created,” “one of the most challenging Nintendo games ever,” or perhaps “so overwhelmingly irritating to play that it is nearly unplayable.”
Silver Surfer follows the scrolling shoot-’em-up genre, such as espoused in the horizontal classic Gradius, although a couple levels travel vertically. In addition, it follows the Mega Man formula of teasingly offering every stage as a playable selection right from the beginning, demanding the player make a choice as to what order they will conquer them in.
But it hardly matters, since one hit kills the Silver Surfer, yet he is a relatively large on-screen sprite, and his weapon can neither fire rapidly nor even reach the other side of the screen. Faced with seemingly endless waves of enemies traveling in unpredictable patterns, this game is nearly, nearly, nearly impossible to beat. The only chance anyone stands is to play it hundreds of times in a row until you master the timing and flight path of every in-game object. Even then, with some areas presenting randomly generated weapons fire, you may need a miracle from God above to complete the quest.
All that being said, the game actually looks pretty decent. The title screen is fun, and the end bosses represents Marvel characters, though not exactly recognizable, popular options. The enemies are imaginative and smooth-flying, and the cartridge impressible juggles many animations on-screen with flickering or slow-down.
The music is passable, but the effects are minimal and could have used more “oomph!” factor. Really, there is not much to say about the sound – bland, boring, yawn-worthy, and produced without polish.
Creativity and Innovation
While the developers (unknown, by the way; rather than choose a good developing company like Acclaim or Konami, apparently Marvel was working on the cheap) did a fair job of making Silver Surfer look like the Silver Surfer in a horizontal scrolling shooter, the rest of the NES game seems to have taken a step backward in progress. There is an astounding lack of power-ups, and the aforementioned difficulty level utterly sours the entire experience.
Overall, there is little fun to be had. This is a cart for hardcore NES masters only, and the only redeeming factor is the fun use of Marvel property. Nonetheless, for its virtually broken and nearly unplayable experience, it narrowly avoid a goose egg by getting a half star out of five.