System: Nintendo Entertainment System (played on Raspberry Pi)
Developer: Tokai Engineering
Completed: March 6, 2014
I follow a person named Sivak who developed a game recently for the NES called Battle Kid. While going through his YouTube channel, he listed a few hidden gems. One of those games was Journey to Silius, and he played a snippet of the game’s music during gameplay. It isn’t my usual method of selecting a game, but the music was that awesome, I had to find out more!
What was so perfect about this was I was attempting to find a NES game for my little brother as a Christmas present at the time. I wanted to pick one that we did not grow up with so he could get that experience of a new game even though it is an older system. To my surprise, he told me to avoid getting him older games since he recently got the Raspberry Pi. So I did what any brother would have done.
I looked into getting the game for myself!
To this day, I do not own a copy of the Journey to Silius cartridge. However, my brother uploaded the ROM to his Raspberry Pi, further making my idea for a Christmas present invalid. I think I got him a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic collection. That was pretty awesome, too.
The story itself involves Spaceman Spud. Spud likes to run around shooting robots with leg warmers, meaning this is the dystopian 1980s. Apparently, he likes to get shot as well since he constantly throws himself in the line of enemy fire. There may be more to the story, but I skipped the opening cutscene. Also, you get guns! Pew pew!
The other weapons are more powerful and do different things, such as fire in multiple directions like Contra’s spreader. The catch is that they have a limited amount of ammo, though this can be replenished when enemies drop a specific item. I mainly used the hand gun, which has infinite ammo, but the others have their specific use:
The shot gun shoots in three directions.
The machine gun gives rapid fire.
The homing missiles are awesome.
The laser gun fires a laser (sorry, nothing clever for this).
The grenade launcher makes robo-orphans.
You are awarded the special guns from a sub-boss fight right before the boss. Usually, the recently acquired weapon is the most effective against the boss, but the hand gun can suffice.
This is by no means an easy game. When I first looked at it, I thought of Contra with a life bar. The player gets a limited number of lives, and in typical NES fashion, once you deplete all of your lives, you go back to the beginning! Enemies can be relentless, often placed near pits to give that lovely and awkward death. It also doesn’t help that some of the enemies are shielded or hidden except for very brief moments of vulnerability when they decide to fire. One point in particular that frustrated me was in the third level. After Spud ascends in an elevator, an enemy is waiting to shoot. I got hit every time! Spud can lose health quickly, leading to a swift game over…
The first level is more of an apocalyptic level to introduce the game. It’s fun, has a catchy theme, and you get to fight a helicopter as the boss!
The second level is a sewer. I’m assuming this is because the leg warmer robots were getting to be too much for ol’ Spud! I hate those wheel guns that shoot in eight directions… The boss for this level is a tank creature with a glowing spot on his chest. He might want to check that out. Primarily because I exploded it, but also for the glowing.
The third level takes place in a mechanical fortress of sorts. This is when the player learns that this is a game of patience. To successfully clear the level, Spud has to wait until enemies are in position unless he wants to waste all of his special shots. There are also traps that require precise timing since Spud loves to amble at his own pace. Not like anyone is out to kill him or anything. The boss is a wall. Pew pew, dead.
As far as I can tell, the fourth stage is a Japanese dojo. The flying robot that shoots in three directions is a total pain in the rear end. Again, patience is crucial. Except when you get to the falling blocks. Might want to hurry up at that part. The boss is some sort of alien-cannon hybrid that occasionally likes to show you its shiny. If you break it, he dies of sadness…
I don’t know where Silius is located, but getting there was pretty fun! The bosses can be pretty easy, but the stages getting to them lends to the difficulty. With some patience, it can be beat quickly. It only took me about 30-40 minutes to complete the game and there is no real replay value, but overall, it still had a rockin’ soundtrack!
The game can get a little difficult at times, but we’re talking Mega Man hard, not Battletoads impossible. The tunes are great, which is to be expected of Sunsoft, and the graphics are pretty nice. The short length may turn some people off, though.
My arbitrary score based on nothing is 32 out of 45.