Friday, April 1, 2011

Review: The Great Gatsby for NES - Fashionably Late to the Party

I know that I am a little late to the party, this game came out about a month ago and made 1UP's 101 Free Games, but I just got around to sitting down with it so sue me.

The Great Gatsby, the F. Scott Fitzgerald classic that pretty much everyone had to endure via high school English class was converted into a game by Charlie Hoey (follow him on Twitter!/flimshaw).  Hoey took some of the concepts of the book and converted it into an NES game.

Of course it isn't really an NES game.  It is an adaptation made for the Web in Flash.

However Hoey went out of his way to try to come up with a storyline to convince players that it was an original NES cart purchased at a garage sale.  The 'About' page is like the Blair Witch Project for the Web.  At first, you want to believe it but then realize it is too far-fetched to be true.

But, the story goes like this, Hoey found the game as a prototype name Doki Doki Toshokan: Gatsby no Monogatari (freaking fantastic fake name).  He picked it up for $.50 and put it online with a bogus (yet impressive) booklet and magazine ads from 1990.  Why would a prototype have a booklet?

I am not going to knitpick his story, it is there just to make the whole experience more real.  On to the game review, as that is what this is supposed to be and I have rambled on for three paragraphs.

This feels very much like an NES game.  The music, the graphics, the bosses, it all plays like an original NES cart.  Major kudos to Hoey for that.  The keyboard controls kind of suck but, it is just something I had to get used to.  I suppose I could have fired up a little Joy2Key to get my controller working but that would have made me have to wait until later to play and I have no patience.

My favorite parts of the game were the cliche 8-bit elements.  Falling chandeliers, jumping from one moving train car to the other, insanely outrageous bosses, coin collection, complete absence of physics are all there.  That, more than anything to me, is what made it an NES game.

The biggest drawback I suppose is there are only four levels so the game itself won't take you long to complete.  Anyway, definitely worth a half-hour of your time.  Graphics: NES Good.  Sound: NES Good.  Classic 8-bit cliches: Loads!

Check it out here.

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