Time Lord NES Review


Nostalgia is a funny thing. It can make your views of games you played from yesteryear distorted compared to general consensus, where you could be passionate about a game such as Fester’s Quest which in reality doesn’t deserve so much love and affection. The reason this is noted, and may have been noted before, is that today’s review is a game which from yesterday wasn’t given a fair chance by certain reviewers. Marble Madness yes, Goal! oh yes, even Super Mario Brothers 2 but not this game, Tine Lord. Quick to be dismissed as the type of game that wouldn’t suit myself, after more than 20 years how does this game fair up, is it worthy of such honorable titles as Time Lord or perhaps Lord of the Flies?


Don't watch this in the dark if you're wearing white underwear

Don’t watch this in the dark if you’re wearing white underwear

Time Lord is a game developed by those stalwarts Rare in 1990 (released in Europe in 1991) and published by Milton Bradley, the famous…board game makers. Time Lord is an action game where the plot of the game is that in 2999 Earth is being attacked by aliens and your job is to go back in time, collect 5 orbs from each level (4 of which are scattered throughout the level, the final orb by defeating the level boss) in order to progress from level to level. The levels are set in different periods of time, ranging from Medieval England in 1250 AD to Western USA, the Caribbean and France. Completing those levels then you return to 2999 to face the final boss.


Good Luck Doctor Who! I mean, Time Lord!

Good Luck Doctor Who! I mean, Time Lord!


So you pop the game in, and see the start screen and holy cr*p if you were playing the game in the dark does it look intimidating. In the lightning strikes you see the image of a guy holding an Orb – at first my assumption was that it was a reflection off the TV of myself holding a cup of tea however repeated lightning strikes showed it was of someone completely different – more’s the pity. You start the game in 2999, and the matter of collecting the 5 orbs is a simple affair which doesn’t take long at all. Upon collecting the 5th Orb the message on screen advises you’re going to Medieval England. You’ll notice the view of the game and your character is in a semi-3D perspective which is a nice touch, giving a sense of depth and perspective.


Badger Badger Badger Badger Mushroom Mushroom!

Badger Badger Badger Badger Mushroom Mushroom!


At the bottom of the screen provides useful information such as your health bar, how many orbs you have collected in the level and also the date. Not the current date, but throughout the game you may notice the date going up from Jan 1st 2999 through to Dec 31st 2999. What isn’t explained in game is that there is a deadline for this game, similar to Majora’s Mask on the N64. You need to complete the game in under 25 minutes – if you exceed this (or in game it gets to year 3000) then both you and the time portals used to transport you from level to level blows up and ends the game. What you notice about the game as well is that there is a steep difficulty which isn’t always a bad thing, however you find that you complete the first level quickly but from level two, the difficulty in finding the orbs ramps up. You have to explore every part of the level, collecting mushrooms or making double jumps at random spots in the sky to collect the orbs. If you thought that was difficult on your first play through then holy cow wait until level three (Western USA). It seems that when you first play the game you will have difficulty completing the game in 25 minutes, it would only be through trial and repition that you got a shot at completing the game in under 25 minutes. With no continues but chances to collect extra lives, it really is a game for those who like the initial challenge.


How to catch that orb? Where's Luigi when you need him?

How to catch that orb? Where’s Luigi when you need him?


The graphics on screen are bold and they suit the levels well. For instance, the Medieval England stage looks like it is taking place upon an old castle with rich blues and greens which reflect the level well, whilst the Western USA stage it is set in the Wild West and easily makes you feel you might face off with Dirty Harry at some point, but with orbs which happened in the film, right? The music and sound’s suit the game well so you can out down that vinyl record for now. The controls are simple enough, D-pad to move, A to jump B to use your weapon and the select button switches weapons you may have collected along the way.. Depending on the level you find you can get guns and swords that will help, and my tip – try to find the gun early at Western USA level because what chance you got of having a fist fight with someone who has a gun and fires from far away?


If you complete this in under 25 minutes you certainly deserve a drink!

If you complete this in under 25 minutes you certainly deserve a drink!


Time Lord is a game that certainly is one for the gamers who enjoy a challenge – when you first play the game the first level is exceedingly easy which should help break you into the game, and the next level does this well but where the difficulty ramps up is level 3. Added to this is that although you can earn extra lives, there are no continues so you may find yourself repeating the first few levels over and over again when you get the game down pat and know what you need to do. Added to this AS WELL is the 25 minute time limit so you certainly will get a challenge with Time Lord. That isn’t to say the game is impossible, or even a game not worthy of gracing the console – it certainly has a number of positive aspects, such as responsive controls, bold graphics and that it is a playable game. Copies of the game are plentiful on your favourite auction sites and are reasonably prices so if you like an action game with challenges and a time limit, then do pick up Time Lord. Just stay clear of other games that use trial and repeat methods in order to progress namely Dragon’s Lair…*shudder*



Rating – 3 out of 5

Anticipation NES Review – Review A Bad Game Day

Just before the review, a huge thanks to everyone who has contributed to Review A Bad Game Day, to @nintendo_legend and to 1 More Castle for organising the day, to all the retro guys on Twitter and to everyone reading this – many thanks!

Rare have contributed a lot to video gaming society. They gave us Banjo the Bear, Kazooie the feisty Bird, GoldenEye, R.C Pro Am amongst others. How can you dislike a company that brought us those gems? No-one however is infallible, there has to be some poop in the wilderness to find the diamonds, or as David Brent once quoted, “To see the rainbow, you need to feel the rain”. It just so happens that Rare created a rain full of turds, pee and other unwholesome ingredients without providing the gamers an umbrella to shield away from. How could a game be that bad? Well read on readers…

Board games are designed to be played round tables in log cabins, fire roaring, warm cocoa in china mugs, snow falling outside, families arguing that the dice wasn’t rolled properly. Well in my mind that’s what it should be, albeit with cheesy music in the background. Board games should not be played on consoles in lieu of Mario, Sonic and all our favourite characters. But this is what Rare did in 1988, proclaiming Anticipation to be “Nintendo’s first video board game”. Being the first doesn’t mean it’s bad in anyway, look at Back to the Future, but did it set a high bar for generations to follow?

Anticipation is a set like a board game, the purpose of which is to guess the pictures being drawn on the screen in a dot to dot fashion. If you know what the picture is, you have to guess the word to win the piece and move up a level. Complete the levels to win the game. It really is that simple. And that dull. Turning on this bad boy, after waiting what seems like an eternity to press start to skip to the menu and mashing the controller in the process, your presented with the option of selecting the number of players between 1-4, that’s represented by a teddy bear, horn, shoes or a duck-looking ice cream. Then selecting the computer players, and then finally the skill level from Easy through to very hard and then your on your way. The main difference in difficulty is that very hard for example you don’t even see the dots, you have to guess from the movements what the computer is drawing, which defeats the idea of a dot-to-dot game. I’d rather watch my 3 year old nephew high on e-numbers go crazy on an easel with paint and crayons. It’d be easier to guess what he’s drawing compared to this game.

Subconsciously, it’s reminding everyone to play Space Invaders instead of this

On the game screen you have to guess the word what is being drawn ever so slowly in a dot-to-dot fashion (to which they’re not numbered – a crime against all dot-to-dot puzzles). If you think you know what the crudely-drawn picture is, press the A button to bring up the letters along the bottom and type in the word, again oh so slowly. I never liked NES games that had the whole alphabet along the bottom which you had to select the letters individually, which is why board games never worked well on NES. You only have 30 seconds to write the word so prepared to get your best Track and Field fingers ready and mash that left and right button. Often your likely to mis-spell the word or confuse the word with something else that looks similar, and if you get 3 wrong attempts your blocked from the rest of the round, causing you to sit there whilst the other players enviously look on at you knowing you can do something else other than play this crap, like watch paint dry.

Trivial Pursuit has never looked more appealing


The colours are very bland and very black, and the graphics although bold, are not the most exciting you’ll find in the NES library. There’s lots of olive greens and brick reds, is perfect for the horticulturalists who play the game, but well-educated, professional people will be doing something more constructive than play this, they’ll be playing Trivial Pursuit, not guessing that a cola can is infact a soda pop can, or whatever the hell it is. To be fair, the music is pretty upbeat and jaunty, which is the game’s one redeeming feature, but with the sound effects sounding like something from an Atari game (which back then is no bad thing, but not for now) but if you liked the music you may as well put on a CD and turn this abomination off. The controls, well there is none, just pressing the A button guess your answer and moving the cursor along the row of letters when you guess.

Not even divine intervention can help this game

Since Anticipation came out, there has been a plethora of board games on home consoles, all of which will never do the real games justice. Board games are designed to be played in groups on tables with the physical pieces or drawing things in real life. Having your Nintendo draw the pictures is not as fun as it seems, and as it draws as quickly as a snail having coitus, there are plenty of other things to be doing with your time, like eating sandwiches with sewing needles inserted into it or playing a real game for the NES. This game truely ranks amongst the lowest of all the Nintendo games, for its dullness, crude drawings, fast timing slow writing answer-giving, and its all-round badness that makes you wonder why you brought your friends round to play it. If you have people over and want to play games, stick to the traditional routes of Monopoly or Trivial Pursuit, hell break out the Nintendo for Ivan “Ironman” Stewart or 4-player Tennis, but steer well clear of this, if only to keep your role as entertainment provider at your next dinner party. I’m off now to salvage the friendships of those who had to endure this for the review of this game and placing this game where it truly deserves – at the bottom of the rubbish dump just above soiled nappies.

Rating – 0 out of 5