Monday, July 23, 2012

NES Replay: 8 Eyes

8 Eyes Title Screen
Developer: Thinking Rabbit
Publisher: Taxan
Released: 1990
Thinking Rabbits: The Best Kind Of Rabbits

8 Eyes is a bad game. Let's get that out of the way first.

But unlike some other bad games, 8 Eyes is bad in a noble way. It's bad in the sense that someone tried way too hard to mash up as many different games as they could, and that's a sentiment I can get behind.
8 Eyes is a mixture between Mega Man, Castlevania, adventure games, and co-op gaming. Here's how each part shakes out:
Mega Man: You can select any stage right from the very beginning, but the bosses should be defeated in a specific order, or you're going to have a bad time.
Castlevania: You pick up weapons and ammo, climb stairs very, very slowly, and fight creatures who can kill you every time if you're not careful.
Adventure games: You have to flip switches to open doors and solve mazes in order to advance in certain worlds.
Co-op Gaming: The second player can control the main character's bird, which can be used to solve puzzles easier.
The problem is that 8 Eyes executes none of these particularly well.

For example, in Mega Man, you have the option to choose different stages, but they all are pretty different from each other. The ice stage looks completely different from the fire stage, different from the forest stage, and so forth. By contrast, 8 Eyes' stages all look nearly identical. Quick, look at the below stages and tell me which one is Spain, which one is Germany, which one is Egypt and which is Africa! GO!
8 Eyes Screenshots
Didn't think so.
Next up, while Castlevania may be tough, your whip has a reasonable reach. In 8 Eyes, your weapon only reaches as far as your opponent's weapon does, which means that you're quickly backed up against a wall, getting beaten on like a rented mule.

Not only that, but you know how in most games, when you take damage you flash for a bit and turn invincible for a split second? All of the enemies in 8 Eyes do that. When you hit them, they turn invincible, and yet they don't stop attacking you. It's really unfair.

On to adventure games. The NES just wasn't powerful enough to make real puzzles, so instead you have puzzles like giant mazes that take way too long to get through, loop back to the beginning, and are just plain cheap.

Finally, co-op gaming is great, but if your game must be played co-op or otherwise it's insanely difficult (which is definitely true of 8 Eyes), you need to start over. Someone, somewhere dropped the ball.

These ideas were all cool ideas, but just done in a lackluster manner and on a system that couldn't handle them. 8 Eyes is worth playing as a curiosity. It's a failure, but at least it's a noble one.

Final Rating:

Next Week: A Boy And His Blob: Trouble On Blobolonia
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