Review by Pegboy

Reviewed: 12/20/02 | Updated: 12/20/02

Mario leaves the plumbing business for work in... construction?

His princess rescuin', toilet plungin' days are over (at least for now). As Mario and his self esteemless friend Luigi set off on a new kind of adventure. They have only one goal in the game: to destroy everything in their path as they run around a construction site. In the midst of this frenzy, living wrenches and eggplants are chasing them. You know, the usual thing you find wandering around construction zones. In spite of a rather insane setting, the game allows for simple yet strategic gameplay and is a true classic. It offers a two player mode where two friends can play, although not simultaneously, much like Super Mario Bros. Wrecking Crew also had a feature unique to itself and only a few other games. It had a level design mode, where you can, as the name suggests, design your own level. There are up to four different phases to create, and each was playable upon completion. One thing to note about this option, though, is the fact that you cannot save your levels for future play. When you turn the game off, that's it. You either make new levels from scratch next time, or write down the layout of your level. What's weird is that there is a save and load option in the DESIGN menu, but they do not work. Maybe nintendo was working on implementing them, but decided to drop it at the last minute (perhaps to meet a deadline for the game?). Whatever the reason, it's impossible to save your levels, and that takes much of the fun out of creating your own phases, doesn't it? Still, the game is entertaining in many other aspects and has 100 levels for you to play, so there's not to much to complain about.

Wrecking Crew is an addicting game with simple goals, like most games that came out around that time. Unlike games such as Excitebike and Kung Fu, this game takes some strategy if you plan on beating the entire thing. It is part of the Programmable Series because you can design your own levels and name them, but IMO it should have been in a different series, like a Strategy Series or something. You can't just whiz right through all of the levels. You actually have to stop and think about what to do sometimes (gasp!). In addition, the game is extremely challenging. I don't know a single person who has gotten through every single phase. Try and do that and see if you don't go absolutely insane!

The music was quite repetitive, but not all that bad really. There are only two different tracks in the game, one during normal gameplay, and another for when you have obtained the Golden Hammer. Oh yeah, and lets not forget the little tune you hear when you complete a phase. That right there is why I turn the volume all the way down every time I play it. For some reason it just grinds my nerves. Maybe because it sounds very childish, I don't know. But whatever it is, that small, insignificant tune just aggravates me. The sound effects were limited to the sound of Mario's hammer making contact with a wall, and him getting hit by an enemy. Both are well done and fit this game very nicely. As for that ''You win'' music, perhaps I'm just weird.

Now, everyone knows that Mario is the man in red and Luigi sports his green. That obviously didn't apply to the programmers of Wrecking Crew. Mario is still red, of course, but poor Luigi wears a degrading pink. So, not only is he the Robin of Batman, Arthur from The Tick and Diddy Kong from Donkey Kong Country, he is now officially a pansy. Why did they have to do that? He hardly ever gets any attention being the sidekick and all, but that's just drawing unwanted and unnecessary attention to him. Aside from that little work of art, the graphics are superb for a game from that time period. Very much detail involved and a wide range of colors made the game fun and added to the enjoyment.

Wrecking Crew is fun to play over and over again, and keeps you coming back. For one thing, the age old challenge to beat every level is still there, as it is not an easy thing to do. Secondly, it provides for classic gameplay with a little bit of a twist. On a rainy day with nothing to do, Wrecking Crew can be a method of entertaining yourself for a while. But really, I play it even if I have other things I could be doing because I'm an avid NES fan and love these type of games. A great addition to any NES collection, Wrecking Crew is definitely worth picking up if you happen to come across it on eBay or at GameStop. NES fans should not miss out on any opportunity to own this game.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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