Nintendo has wet my old-school whistle, yet again. I spent a majority of my earlier years plopped in front of the TV screen playing NES games, and blowing into the cartridges to get the games to work (which Nintendo, apparently, does not condone).
When my NES stopped working, I moved on to newer systems, but still kept a special place in my heart for the blocky graphics and repetitive music that made me ignore most of my chores.
Millions of retrogamers everywhere can now rejoice in the newest Classic NES Series for Game Boy Advance featuring, "Castlevania," "Zelda II: The Adventure of Link," "Dr. Mario," and "Metroid."
What I fail to remember from my youth was how difficult these games actually were. I have yet to get passed the fourth stage of "Castlevania," while trying to undo the curse of the evil Count, by first battling his army of ghosts, mummies, bats and zombies with a whip.
And while playing as Samus Aran in "Metroid," I keep dying in the fire pits of planet Zebes. At this rate, I clearly won't complete my mission to keep the space pirates from destroying the galaxy.
"Dr. Mario" is not one of my favorites, since I was never good at "Tetris"-like games. A quick recap for those unfamiliar: You help Mario cure a virus outbreak by matching colored pills.
"Zelda II" is great flashback for new and old Zelda fans. Link is on a quest in this game: find the Triforce, awaken Princess Zelda and save the land of Hyrule.
These E-rated games for GBA are sold separately at $20 each.
Three out of four stars, just because I want my NES back.
"Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude"
First things first, this game is only for adults. If that doesn't scare you off, please, read on.
In Vivendi Universal Games' "Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude," I play Larry Lovage, the nephew of the old-school PC-game star Larry Laffer, who spends every waking hour with sex on his mind.
This time, Larry is on the prowl at a small college campus where he attempts to swoon some college coeds with outrageously horrible pickup lines and coaxes the ones that bite with a few rounds of drinking games, hoping to get them closer to his dorm room.
But help is on the way for the lovable loser. A reality dating show, "Swingles," has invaded campus looking for contestants, and Larry thinks this is a perfect way to make his fantasies come true.
If that was the only premise for the game, it would be over in less than five minutes. Nevertheless, Larry is forced to partake in multiple tasks and mini games, including "Dance, Dance Revolution"-type button pushing and helping the coeds by handing out flyers in the quad or trying to finagle his way into a frat party, just to collect special tokens that will get him closer to a spot on the dating show.
The tasks are somewhat mundane and tedious, but the payoff is a personal triumph for Larry, whose confidence meter goes up with every completed tasked (and visa versa for the failed ones).
With all that was mentioned above, combined with mature humor, nudity, strong language, strong sexual content and use of alcohol, this M-rated game will set you back $50 for PlayStation 2 and Xbox, $30 for the PC.
"LSL: Magna Cum Laude," is graphically better than its original series, and is quite funny if taken at face value. For those familiar with, and possibly fond of, the originals, the game is a must buy. For LSL newbies, it's worth a try.
2 1/2 stars out of four.
-- Associated Press