89 reviews liked by handsomezack

The age old question in NES gaming always seems to be “Is The Guardian Legend a hidden gem?” The phrase "hidden gem" seems to be made fun of more than used as an actual discussion point, but it's interesting to talk about! Was a game from almost 40 years a bit shafted over something else? Was the game ignored for good reason or did it get its limelight taken away because of some unknown factor? I bought Guardian Legend at a convention because my friend Zack said he’s really interested in looking at it as it mixed two different genres. Later, my friend Frank let me know that it’s one of the earliest video games to have a visibly female protagonist. I thought that was interesting, so I moved it to the front of my “backlog” and found out from there that the game had a bit of a reputation with old school gamers. Why exactly? Why, because of that darn sparkling jewel that this game seems to be, of course! That’s all I knew before I went in, so my expectations were pretty nonexistent.

When the Guardian Legend came out, it didn’t seem to make much of a ripple in either the West or the East. It is apparently a sequel to an MSX game called "Guardic". The Guardian Legend is a very unique combination of a shmup and a sort of overworld Zelda-esque action game, making it one of the earlier examples of mixing genres and still having it work. Both Western and Eastern audiences gave it mixed reviews, with some saying its combining of genres results in both aspects (shooting and overworld) being a bit meh, when focusing on just one genre would have made a stronger game. Others liked the mix and saw it as something future shmups might catch onto.. Overall, it seems like the Guardian Legend was a bit overlooked when it first came out, but was definitely not hated, with it getting an average rating of 75 out of 100. It was something that came and faded into history.

Well, how about my opinion? This is my review after all! Do I think the game deserved more attention? I think the mixed general opinion is a valid one, especially if someone bought the Guardian Legend looking for a shoot 'em up. The game is fun, and definitely unique for the NES, but the gameplay is not remotely challenging, and a lot of the final bosses are just recolors, which can understandably be a little annoying. I personally found the mix of genres fun, as I’ve never played anything like it on the NES before. I found the Guardian Legend really hard to put down actually! It had a really nice flow, with you discovering puzzles and secrets, leveling up your abilities, and finding the dungeons. The dungeons themselves are the shmup section, and are a nice way to keep you interested. It helps switch things up from the overworld.

I personally really, really loved the Guardian Legend, but I can understand it not being for everyone, especially those looking for something that’s solely a shoot ‘em up. I’m sad it wasn’t more popular to get a sequel, because I think it would have been an especially fun concept with the SNES’s gorgeous graphics and additional buttons. Even on the NES, the Guardian Legend looks amazing! In my personal opinion, the Guardian Legend is absolutely one of my favorite games on the NES that I’ve played yet, and if you’re a fan of 3rd-generation gaming, you should do yourself a favor and seek it out, as sadly this treasure was buried a little deep.



Yeah so let me put a big sticker here on the front this was the first ever Square (Square in general) game I ever played and I vividly remembered being very hyped by it as an 8 year old. Kingdom hearts actually used to kind of be up there for Zelda with me like I’d literally be that one kid who’d be idk saying weird pretend stuff about keys and try and do the Organization XIII hoodie look lmao. So yeah I may be a bit nice with this one idk you be the judge.

I think it’s a bit important to put this right at the front because I’d say this game has been something I’ve found to be very cool for a large portion of my life (even if I did not finish this until today) and finally I sat down and finished this thing a year after I finished KH1 for the first time wow.

Now that I’ve finished CoM, I think I half find it to be something that very easily could’ve been so crazy if it was done differently but also it is a mess in its own ways (some unavoidable really).

For starters: I’ve at least sunk like 5-8 hours into every pre-KH3 KH game and man these handheld games just do the Disney worlds better lmao like the crossover charm does not overstay its welcome when the movie dump consists of 2 minutes of “here’s the deal, here’s how it ties with the main story now go do your thing” like dang the Disney worlds can actually be neat (I do not like Disney). Second and this may change when I finally finish KH2 next (and me getting very deep into 368/2 made me develop this opinion) wow I just like KH in these spinoff games where it’s like “this is a thing that’s happening to this character and they’re trying to exist in the situation” vs mainline games feeling like they gotta push the story every time there’s non-Disney dialogue because big franchise entry. The combination of memories being represented by the cards, some things being reconfigured because memory, our main cast going deeper into literally losing their dang memories (and these are supposed to be a goofy af kid, a duck, and an individual by the name of Goofy), the introduction of Nobodies just align well to the point I’d say this just worked more than KH1 from a writing perspective and as a standalone game even. I’m also gonna roast KH1 here (in a similar fashion to my review of it really) but wow all the worlds looking like rooms makes sense here for once lmao.

Okay so here’s the bad, this game’s existence is ambitious and brings KH’s action rpg combat to the GBA by having this card system instead of awkwardly trying to cram it into the system but you can tell it presses against the limits a lot. For starters deck building is a bit clunky, acquiring new cards is kind of a pain a little bit (this isn’t entirely an issue that made things hard but still just something I felt was awkward), and I think this concept also would’ve been a lot more interesting if like the character you played as didn’t have an already established weapon (that feels like the game really pushes you into anyways). If this sounds like I’m saying this shouldn’t have been a KH game, lol.

I wouldn’t dare say this game is better than KH1 (none of these bosses and the in-game mechanics come close to that game’s second to last final boss tbh) but it does some things way better and I feel like this was more of a good showcase for how the franchise’s concepts can work well when they’re not crammed into the awkward framework of plot->Disney movie recap->plot

Summary: I’ve indeed loved Yu-Gi-Oh for about 75% of my time on this planet

When I was super young, I used to beg my mom to help me plug in the Atari specifically so I could play this and Keystone Kapers. I loved this game like nothing else (besides Keystone Kapers 🤪) because of how addicting its gameplay loop was. I loved the little details such as different colored cattle being more points than others, and I really loved the little (black?) calf that would RUN towards your character and completely mess up the rhythm you finally start to get down. I remember distinctly being able to see its legs wobble as it ran towards you, but that might have been part of my baby-brain imagination. I also loved how if you got too close to the cows, they’d get scared and quickly scamper towards the front. Stampede is always a game I plop in when I feel the mood to plug in that same Atari (now without Mom’s help!)


I only played this because the music owned, it pulled me in like some sort of magnet you’d see in a weird Star Trek episode that’d get Captain Kirk on his knees saying “oh god”

Anyways don’t show this to the toddlers who complain about MGS2’s control scheme



Played the demo just to check the game out, and it was exactly what I expected: liminal pool walking-simulator. I liked it! There were no monsters, just the eeriness of being able to walk around those off-putting but cool pool photos, essentially. You can even go down a slide at one point! But felt I had my fill from just the demo, so I stopped after that. I didn't feel like paying $10 to experience more of the same thing. Great game to play while high tbh.


>fun beat em up that actually opens up co-op in a genre founded in having co-op
>great animation and vibe
>Mike Patton in the opening


What you see is what you get, folks! You want 20 small mazes? Well, have I got the game for you. What makes this game a little more than just a solid 3 stars is just how fun and unique all the mazes are! All have completely different rules and looks to them, and the way they're scattered about is cute. I like how finishing some mazes gives you a key-item that you may need for completing another maze, but it's rare enough that you don't get annoyed needing to depend on it. Super, super charming game - and the fact that it's free only adds to it! What are you waiting for? Go solve those 20 Small Mazes!



If Street Fighter II made an entire genre of video games go from novelty time waster to at least a somewhat contest where skills felt like an aspect of the equation then Tekken 3 goes the extra mile and makes the contest a full blown sport.

What’s the evidence for this? Well a very direct piece I found while playing this game on my system was how fast the loading times were. There is very little empty time when you play arcade mode and this game is almost 30 years old now, even continuing after losing is so fast you’re always given a chance to come back and get better. Another piece comes with what moves and movement mean here, Tekken feels “realistic” in the sense that your actions change where you are in the space of the map where your opponent can go in other directions because of the 3D with sidestepping being as powerful as blocking at times. With the movement, you could easily be a walking tank fishing out pain or you could full blown spring at your opponent and end a whole round in less than 30 seconds if you’re that fast.

I’m sure there are broken aspects in this game (it is 27 years old at the time of me writing this lmao) and I have not played Tekken 1 and 2 but based on hearing how 1+2 were slow and I’m sitting here playing a game as fast and tense as this I just think the evidence that this is a significant piece of fighting game software because of all these design aspects says enough.

Tekken 3 good, Tekken 3 significant, Tekken 3 addicting, Tekken 3 more like Heckken 3/3, Tekken 3

Okay I change my mind, this is the best one.

Definitely very loose compared to 2 but defined the strong core tense gameplay (and enemies) that makes it great. Everything is very rapid and tight.