Konami is back with another movie licensed game for the NES. Last month it was Top Gun, now we’ve got The Goonies II, which takes place after the events of the movie. As luck would have it the Fratellis have escaped prison and have kidnapped your Goonie friends and your pal Annie the mermaid! Don’t ask – we’re still waiting to see that giant octopus that they supposedly fought off in the movie. As Mikey it’s up to you to infiltrate the Fratelli hideout and find all six of your friends, plus Annie of course. It won’t be easy though as there are plenty of rooms to explore that are filled with deadly traps, scary creatures, and the Fratellis themselves! Do you have what it takes to rescue your friends and escape the devious hideout?
If one thing has become clear over the past year, it’s that Konami knows how to make some of the best home console games on the market. That’s why when I saw The Goonies II box at Target and read the back I was sold. Not only am I a huge fan of The Goonies movie, but also knowing Konami’s track record I figured this game should be high quality. I’m happy to report that is exactly the case here, and not only will fans eat this up, so will adventure fiends as well.
You begin in the attic of the Fratelli’s shack armed only with a yo-yo. That’s right, somehow this weapon is imbued with the power to destroy enemy creatures, and that’s exactly what will be necessary to find your missing friends. At first you’re up against small enemies like spiders and snakes, but you’ll soon find yourself face to face with the Fratelli brothers, and they mean business. You’ll have to avoid them as they relentlessly hunt you down. As you move about the hideout you’ll soon discover doors that can be opened. Once you enter a door, the viewpoint changes from a traditional side angle to one as seen through the eyes of Mikey himself! These small rooms don’t have any enemies lurking about, but you’ll have to use your smarts to find your way through the labyrinth of connecting hallways. To make it even more difficult, there can be hidden doors and objects that can only be found by knocking on the walls with a hammer or your hands. Later on in the game you will come across a special pair of glasses that will allow you see invisible areas – very handy indeed!
What’s really innovative here is that the game is made up of the front action scenes and the back action scenes, with these adventure rooms connecting the two sides of the game together. That means that you’ll often come up to a dead end and will need to traverse to the reverse action scene to continue your progression. This all can get very disorientating and it’s easy to lose your way. Luckily there is an in-game map to help track where you are, but it’s almost more confusing than just keeping things straight in your head. I began jotting down some notes and rough drawings to keep track of which rooms I had been in and also which ones I might need to return to later. That’s because I came across some things that required a key to unlock, like a fellow Goonie locked behind bars. Once you successfully rescue one of your friends, they give you an additional life bar so you can take more damage before losing a life. This is reminiscent of the Heart Containers in The Legend of Zelda.
There are many different items that you’ll find as you progress further into your quest. This game is rather large, with vast areas to explore. Some of my favorites were the exotic jungle area, complete with waterfalls and vines, and the winter world where small penguins will slide on their bellies to try and knock you off the slippery platforms. Special magical implements like the Hyper Shoes will allow you to run faster, whereas the Helmet protects you from falling objects. In addition, Mikey can gain new weapons and sub-weapons. Just wait until you find the boomerang – so much fun! There’s a lot to discover in this game, and only by exploring every nook and cranny will you find all of the tools needed for a successful rescue.
Graphically The Goonies II really delivers. Unlike many other NES games, this one doesn’t have too much slow down or flickering of the sprites. There are many different environments to play through, each one with a distinct and unique look to them. The developers even took the time to draw the front and back of Mikey, which you’ll see when you explore the adventure scenes. There are a nice variety of enemies and creatures that really spice up the quest.
Equally appealing is the soundtrack. The first area really kicks it off with a recognizable tune – Cindi Lauper’s “The Goonies R Good Enough”. Who knew the NES could imitate a real song with such success? It’s instantly memorable and one that you’ll definitely be whistling long after you’ve turned the game off. Each new area you find has its own melody set to it, and all of them are very well composed. In the adventure scenes the music does tend to repeat a bit more than I’d like, and is it just me or does it sound an awful lot like The Legend of Zelda’s dungeon music? Still, Konami should be commended for once again penning an amazing soundtrack.
The Goonies II is a big game and one that you’ll likely not beat in a single sitting. Konami has implemented a password system so that you can restart your adventure with all of your magical items intact. This is very helpful and should help prevent kids from leaving the NES on all night long just to continue playing the next day. Although clearly aimed at kids, this one is a bit on the difficult side. There are some pretty tough jumping challenges and the whole adventure scene parts takes a bit of thinking to figure out. Plus, it’s so easy to get lost in this vast world!
The game lives up to the movie’s premise and delivers a fun-filled adventure from start to finish. If you’re itching to play the first Goonies, it’s not currently scheduled to release on the NES (it was released for the Japanese Famicom last year). However, some PlayChoice-10 arcade machines have it as one of the games you can try out. It’s not as good as this one, but it’s there for those who want to play them in order. The Goonies II should not be missed, and this is a great way to close out 1987 – a year already filled with amazing adventure games!