8 Eyes – NES
Developer: Thinking Rabbit
Publisher (NA): Taxan
Release Date (NA): January 1990
Nerd Rating: 3.2 out of 10
Reviewed by Dovahkyle
Talk about mind melting madness. I have seen this one at the top of my ROM list right between The 3-D Battles of World Runner and 10-Yard Fight for quite some time. Right off the bat I felt like I was playing a cheap knock off of Castlevania. From the castle design to the detail of the steps it was definitely a rip off. If I wouldn’t have read the game insert info I would have assumed this to be a dark ages type of game. Zero information is given in-game as to what the player is supposed to be doing. Killing baddies and working through the maze like levels seemed to be pretty self-explanatory. Skeletons, Mutants, Falcons and Swordsman were popping out of every little door and corner in each of the levels. Definitely chaotic and short lived fun with the unforgiving health system.
The cover art definitely sells the game up from the reality. If the game was half as good as the cover art this would have been a killer game. I’m afraid this may be one of my shortest reviews yet because there is just not a whole lot to say about such an unimpressive and repetitive title. Orin and his falcon Cutrus can be controlled by one or two players. If two player mode is selected the second player controls the falcon making one player just a little more difficult. I’d say the difficulty is somewhere between legendary (Halo) and impossible. This isn’t just due to dispatching of enemies, it is mainly due to laggy controls.
Castles, castles…and more castles
I love a good dungeon delving experience as much as the next guy but come on! This is ridiculous. I think the only difference from one castle to the next is some color and staircase variations. The game starts off with a screen that allowed me to choose either one or two player mode followed by a stage selection screen. All seven stages must be completed before entering the final stage to finish. At the end of each stage Orin receives a new sword. The bosses at the end of each stage have a weakness to certain swords, so there is some level of strategy to deciding the order of stage completion. I never figured out the strategy but there are allegedly hints dropped throughout the stages.
Orin the Falconer and Cutrus the Fighting Falcon will battle many skeleton warriors, violent birds of prey, ugly mutants and what seems like an endless supply of swordsman. The enemy birds get pretty obnoxious fairly quickly as they are constantly swooping up and down across every part of every stage. Orin has multiple weapons at his disposal to dispatch these dastardly foes besides his sword:
- Dagger – Orin throws these daggers straight across the screen into the unsuspecting throats of his enemies.
- Boomerang – When this one leaves Orin’s fingers to strike down his foes it doubles back for a second hit.
- Ice Ball – The only magic found in the game. This snowball will freeze enemies in their tracks.
When Orin kills an enemy a little cross goes floating into the air. At best I have figured the white ones fill up the item bar and the red ones fill up the life bar. There are also jars and bowls throughout the game that give Orin temporary powers when broken. Some make Orin invincible while others give him higher damage output.
Or lack thereof…
This game to my surprise is not in the dark ages. No, it is in the future after the world has been ravaged and destroyed by nuclear war. The 8 Eyes are powerful jewels created from the center of 8 nuclear explosions. The Great King is rebuilding civilization with the power of the 8 Eyes, but his eight greedy dukes steal the jewels and send him packing to the wasteland. Hence the game Fallout, ha ha I kid, I kid. Orin and his trusty falcon must conquer these dukes on their own ground and recover the 8 mysterious jewels. Once these jewels are returned the Great King can continue to rebuild the planet.
This story is really reaching. For one it’s proposing that after a nuclear war humanity will return to a monarchy and immediately start building castles for the 8 dukes and their respective countries. Secondly it’s stating that there is some mystery to atomic bombs that we haven’t discovered yet. I’m pretty sure in 1988 when this game was being developed we had vast experience with nuclear weapons already. I am a mild-moderate science fiction fan and the Xena Warrior Princess series was more believable that this storyline. I don’t mean to be unnecessarily harsh, but Hideki Shimura (Lead Designer), what were you thinking?
JUMP! I SAID JUMP YOU FOOL!
I am no longer using my Steel Series 3GC Gamepad as it no longer works. I’m pretty sure I stated it’s short life span in the review. I am now using a Logitech Duel Action Gamepad that I found at the thrift shop near my house for $2.49 and it works great. The controller retails new at around $65 so it was definitely a steal. I played a few of my favorites on it right away to feel out the button response just to make sure it’s up to par. I say all this so you know that the crappy controls on the game are not the fault of my gamepad. I was frustrated more than once trying to get Orin to jump from the current platform to the one he needed to be on. Sometimes he did just what I wanted, other times he seemed to be suicidal. As disappointing as controller lag can be on any game I find that there could have been potential with this Castlevania rip off to be a good once through kind of game if it weren’t for the slow and inconsistent response of the controls.
Castlevania anybody? No? How about this game?
I don’t need to mention again what this game clones. I honestly had no problem with the color scheme besides the door switches. To open a door into the next area Orin must flip a switch, usually by throwing a weapon at it. The problem with them is that they blend in with the wall. I don’t know if this was an intentional camouflage to make the game more challenging (as if it wasn’t hard enough) or if the colors they used just didn’t allow the definition required.
On the brighter side I loved the music. Typical NES MIDI tunes except that each castle visited represented a different country with custom tunes respectively associated with it. When I visited the castle Egypt there were some sick Egyptian style tunes playing. That one had to me my favorite, although the others were just as good. I usually turn off the sound on the NES games because the lack of originality on the music is common and gets obnoxious real quick. Not on this one, instead I cranked it. I’m sure my wife loved it as she was trying to watch her Netflix.
Cutrus! Get back here stupid bird!
Personally I am forever attached to the NES as most of it’s titles can be played over and over again. This title not so much. As disappointed as I was with the controls and overall gameplay I don’t think I will be popping this one in again any time soon. I wouldn’t even suggest popping it in for a first time. The only replay aspect of this game is the fact that it can be played through with two players and that may be worth trying. The falcon is pretty useless on one player as he flies around and attacks at random most of the time. Maybe if I track down another Logitech controller for cheap I’ll get one of my daughters to play it with me. Other than that I don’t think it has much replayability if any.
How the heck to I climb these freakin stairs?
I like the Megaman like stage select at the beginning and the music is killer. The controls are laggy and the story is dry and unbelievable. Overall gameplay is an annoying nightmare of enemy hordes and stupid attack birds. I understand taking a successful series and standing on their shoulders to create something else that’s good, but this is just ridiculous. It looks like someone sneaked into the Konami studios and stole the recipe. I’m not mad at you Thinking Rabbit, but I am disappointed. A line was crossed and it wasn’t done successfully. So pass this one up for now fellow nerds, if anything pop it in and select a level just so you can hear some great MIDI tunes.
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