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Mr. Gimmick

Nintendo Entertainment System

Game Review (by RRThielNC):

Mr. Gimmick is considered to be one of the greatest games in the NES library, which, considering the NES’s gigantic library, is a pretty damned big statement, but I, personally, agree with those statements, for the most part. Why, you may ask? Because Mr. Gimmick is what I consider to be a fantastic game with only a few flaws, so here I am to tell you why and what.

Mr. Gimmick was developed by Authentic Entertainment, and published by Sunsoft, which had already been responsible for some of the NES’s best games, like Batman, Journey to Silius, Spy Hunter, etc. The game was released in Japan(carrying the name ‘Gimmick!’ as opposed to ‘Mr. Gimmick’), and in Scandinavia, of all places. However, due to the game being released very late in the NES’s lifespan, the game was never released in the US. Both the JP and PAL versions of the game are very rare, and will cost you quite a bundle. However, a complete NTSC prototype of the game was found, and the ROM was dumped online soon after. Retrousb.com also released a reproduction cartridge of the game, but they no longer sell it.

The story is as follows. A little girl receives Mr. Gimmick as a doll for her birthday, and he instantly becomes her favorite toy, to the point where she completely ignores her other toys. The other toys become so jealous, they kidnap the girl and whisk her off to an alternate dimension. Now it’s up to Mr. Gimmick to save her.

Mr. Gimmick controls very similarly to how a normal platformer would at the time. A jumps, B attacks, etc. Your main form of attack is a star Mr. Gimmick forms over his head. Releasing the button will have him throw it, causing it to bounce off everything it touches, except for enemies. Not only is the star used for killing enemies, Mr. Gimmick can also stand on top of it and ride it as it moves. If used correctly, the star can allow you to get to certain platforms later in the game.

The level design in Mr. Gimmick is very well thought out. Each of the game’s 7 levels offer lots of challenge and replay value. Lots of points in the game require you to perform well timed jumps with the star ability, so people who like platforming puzzles will go crazy over this game. There can be a steep learning curb, so newcomers to the platformer genre may have trouble with the game’s harder points. But for people who are more familiar with platformers, this game will definitely keep you coming back for more.

The graphics in Mr. Gimmick are very nice. Being that the game is set in a sort of fantasy toy land, you’d probably expect the art style to be very cutesy. And that’s what it is. There’s only one recurring enemy in the game, but the rest is all unique. If you see an enemy, chances are it’s the only time you’ll see it. The art really lends itself to getting something like a comic series, or even a cartoon. I, personally, would love to see a Mr. Gimmick manga, but I’m just thinking out loud.

The soundtrack to Mr. Gimmick is masterful. Each track is totally unique, and sets the mood for each level extremely well. The soundtrack utilizes Sunsoft’s 5B chip, which enhances the music and makes it sound better. Needless to say, the chip makes the music sound fantastic. Believe it or not, the music sounds even better in the Japanese version. Because the JP version utilizes another chip in the Famicom’s hardware, which, for some odd reason, the NES lacked. Here’s a tip: Press Select on the title screen to go to the sound test, so you can listen to the game’s music, or download an NSF or something.

All in all, Mr. Gimmick is a fantastic game. It does everything really well. The music, the graphics, the controls, it’s all great. It’s truly a shame that the game never saw the light of day in the US. So, if you’re looking for an amazing NES game that’s not Super Mario Bros. 3 or Mega Man 2, then give this a try. It just might end up being you favorite game of all time.