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GI Joe NES Review The Atlantis Factor, A Real American Hero

GI Joe (NES) Review
Yo Joe!

The GI Joe Series was mega popular back in the 80s and 90s. I mean they were everywhere, They had the coolest Toys an action packed Cartoon, Heck even a full length movie was released back in 1987. Anything that had the GI Joe name attached to it was an instant money maker. So of course any chance to put the Real American Hero on Nintendo consoles of hundreds of thousands of kids would for sure be a winning formula. Today you’ll find out which of the GI Joe games are worth playing today.

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A Real American Hero!

GI Joe A Real American Hero

The first GI Joe NES game of the two is A Real American Hero. This run n gun action platformer game allows you get to pick a team between five of the joes (Duke, Snake Eyes, Captain Grid-Iron, Rock n Roll, Blizzard and  and get to play as General Hawk in the last stage). Your leading character is set and you get to pick between two other characters as your party.

Each of the characters has a basic melee attack as well as a weapon that can be used at  enemies. You can also fire grenades when in hand to hand combat. Each of the characters have different skillsets that have certain advantages in certain stages.

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Oddly Familiar to Ryu

The gameplay design feels like a hybrid of so many different NES games. From the run and gun action of Contra. To the ability to swap characters in and out when you’re low on health like in the original Ninja Turtles game. Or the hand to hand action that’s similar to Ninja Gaiden.

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So first there’s blizzard, he’s pretty weak overall except for stamina. One cool thing is that he can shoot through walls. Then there’s Rock n’ Roll, he’s got the strongest machine gun. Other than that he’s pretty below average in other areas.
You have captain grid-iron who can punch the daylights out of you! He’s pretty average in other areas. He leads the team in the black hill mission.

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Then there’s snake eyes who can jump the highest and punch or throw grenades faster than anyone else. He’s also the only one who doesn’t use up any of the ammunition that you have to pick up. He leads the team in the sewer mission.
Duke is the most balanced of the bunch. He’s usually in my party if he’s not the party leader.

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The basic powerups give you some pretty cool abilities. First there’s the ammo either the regular that gives you five or the flashing one that gives you thirty.
Then there’s the ration that lets you fill up either one section or full life if it’s flashing.

If you pickup four of these pistols, you’ll upgrade your weapon. It was rewarding being able to gain an extra bit of spread when shooting. There’s also temporary invincibility and a life bar increase.

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Each mission is broken out into three sub stages. The first one is a typical action platformer where you make it to the end and fight a mini boss. Then you’re in a maze stage trying to blow up terminals and in case you get stuck like me finding out how many terminals you have left the counter is displayed in the lower corner. Once you finally find all of them you’ll have to find the exit point to make it to the boss stage.

The boss battles are meh they’re okay. They were definitely NES hard but sometimes a bit generic. I mean could you expect anything different from a GI Joe game?

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The cutscenes are absolutely hilarious, Like in stage 3 where you just flat out dive right into the sewer. Like yeah I’m sure that’s exactly what was supposed to happen. It almost feels like you’re in a cartoon episode of the Joe’s with some of the cheesy punchlines.

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Down Here In the Sewers, You will not find life so easy!

There’s even usable vehicles that you can ride along and shoot at enemies. Thank you for the password system in this one. It really helps to be able to stop playing and pick up at a later point.

You even had a full players guide in Nintendo Power Magazine back in March of 1991. It doesn’t get more amazing than this!

Overall I had a blast playing GI Joe A Real American Hero. If you’re into action platformers and you’ve played the ones that are the well known games then this one will be really up your alley.

GI Joe The Atlantis Factor

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Alright, the Joe team is back and this time it’s got Capcom in it’s corner. The second and final GI Joe NES game is The Atlantis Factor. Cobra Commander is still being mean, trying to take over the world as usual. This one lets you choose your own path. It almost reminds me of the old Goosebumps books where you have to pick your own path to complete. Capcom has used this type of map style level select in the past.

The playable characters are General Hawk, Storm Shadow, Snake Eyes, RoadBlock, Duke, or Wetsuit. You start off with General Hawk and unlock the other amazing characters are in this one. The path you choose determines which characters you’ll unlock and find support characters to upgrade or get health, give you ammo or bring Joe’s back to life.

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The Atlantis Factor borrows a lot of the elements from the first release. You can still switch characters mid way through a stage or if they die. You can now power up either your weapon or your hand to hand combat. When you do level up your Fists you actually unlock different abilities. I’m telling you, this flying kick is unreal when you reach level 3. When you reach level 4 you get a knee drop ability. This knee move is actually the strongest move in the game.

In typical Capcom fashion, The music is catchy as it can be. I found myself humming away to the tunes as I made my coffee the next morning.

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As you progress through the game, you’ll be able to finding new weapons like the laser Rifle. This can also be upgraded by picking up the power ups layered around through each stage.

The game sometimes breaks up into saving prisoners of war in some of the stages before proceeding. It does sway a bit from the first title but doesn’t take away from the gameplay.

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The bosses were well more of what the first game was like. They didn’t wow me by any means but this isn’t a Mario game we’re talking about here.

One downfall is that some of the same sprites and backgrounds were used. Another terrible thing here is the ridiculous password system going on. A Real American hero only needed 9 characters. This one has a fourteen grids like you’re in some sort of connect four tournament. Was this really necessary?

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Overall I did like GI Joe The Atlantis Factor. If you put a gun to my head to choose between the two I would pick GI Joe A Real American Hero over Atlantis Factor.

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Now you know, and knowing is half the battle!

So that is both of the GI Joe games that were released on the Nintendo Entertainment System. A legendary 80’s cartoon and some great NES titles. Now you know, and knowing is half the battle.



Passionate gamer and nostalgia enthusiast. Journeying through the pixelated realms of retro video games, unearthing forgotten gems and sharing the joy. Join me on a nostalgic adventure! 🎮✨