mercenary force

Latest Updates

November 4, 2015

2015 November 20: Oops, time to catch up! Popeye, Snoopy’s Magic Show, and Mercenary Force now are part of the Game Boy World family.

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Now in print

April 11, 2015

I’ve assembled a book compiling the articles on all 1989 Game Boy releases in Japan and the U.S.

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Mercenary Force

April 28, 1990

Designed by the creators of Deadly Towers, crafted in the image of Bokosuka Wars and King’s Knight, Mercenary Force should by all accounts have been awful. But no, it was great!

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Snoopy’s Magic Show

April 28, 1990

Like so many licensed kids’ games of the ’80s and ’90s, Snoopy’s Magic Show had basically nothing at all to do with Peanuts: A generic action-puzzler. Always remember: Capcom’s NES Disney titles were the exception, not the rule.


Soccer Mania

April 27, 1990

A startlingly wretched take on soccer (the other football) whose only interesting points are its bizarrely huge sprites and the fact that it may have been produced by the company that animated Ranma 1/2. Those facts are not enough to justify playing Soccer Mania, though!



April 20, 1990

Nintendo’s Popeye was a memorable but slightly subpar action game from the golden days of the arcade. Despite its deficiencies, it blew away this sad take on the license by Sigma Enterprises.

Daedalian Opus

Daedalian Opus

April 20, 1990

Dear Vic Tokai, if you have to include an IPA pronunciation guide for your game’s title on the box, maybe use a different name? Especially when that cumbersome title could discourage people from checking out a great puzzler that stands out from the teeming puzzle masses on Game Boy.

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April 20, 1990

Based on Diablo—no, not THAT Diablo. Blodia draws its track-arranging concept from a 1983 ColecoVision game which in turn probably took cues from Konami’s Loco-Motion. Whatever its heritage… it’s not very fun.

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Dead Heat Scramble

April 20, 1990

An interesting, albeit failed, attempt to find a workable format for racing within the cramped confines of the Game Boy hardware. This top-down offroad-ish game doesn’t quite pull off its ambitions thanks for fussy controls and annoying track design.


Ninja Boy

April 20, 1990

The first portable entry in Culture Brain’s long-running Chinese Land franchise, Ninja Boy is also the worst entry in the series. Don’t be fooled by those big, appealing character sprites; poor design and terrible controls and collision detection make this a frustrating nightmare.


SD Lupin III: Kinko Yaburi Daisakusen

April 13, 1990

The classic manga and anime comes to Game Boy in the form of… a generic, by-the-numbers puzzler. Because that’s precisely what one of the most beloved (and stylish!) comic franchises deserves, yeah.


Batman: The Video Game

April 13, 1990

Game Boy’s first tie-in to a Western comic (and movie) property came to us in care of the hottest comic and movie property of the time: Tim Burton’s ultra-stylish Batman. Surprisingly, this is not simply a port of the NES game (also by SunSoft) but rather a completely original title.



April 13, 1990

Featuring a profound lack of brick-headed silver space faces and more than enough surreality to make up for it, Cyraid turns out to be a ladder-kicking platform puzzler… and one of the better efforts so far.

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April 13, 1990

Nintendo and Minakuchi Engineering take Taito’s arcade classic under their first-party week to embellish it with multiplayer mechanics and Mario dressed as random ethnic stereotypes.

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April 6, 1990

A curious sci-fi reimagining of the game more commonly known as Snake, Taxan’s Serpent takes the venerable arcade classic Blockade and adds special attacks (as well as some sort of galactic war story) to the whole affair.


NFL Football

April 1, 1990

Game Boy’s first American football release, and its first U.S.-only release. Coincidence? Naw. Konami clings to the outer edges of competence by a thread with this one — it’s bare-bones sportsball in the extreme.


Penguin Wars

March 30, 1990

A head-to-head competitive dodgeball game featuring cute animals, because why not? This is a two-player port of a single-player arcade game, and also the Penguin-kun Wars series’ sole journey outside Japan.

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Space Invaders

March 30, 1990

A bare-bones but admirably faithful rendition of the arcade classic. While Taito made some compromises in order to squeeze the game into the tiny handheld, they did so intelligently, preserving the essence and pacing of the original remarkably well.


Trump Boy

March 29, 1990

Where SD Gundam was offensively awful, Trump Boy is merely unremarkable in every way. A quick and dirty compilation of four different real-world card games, it lacks any bells or whistles to speak of. Better than a kick to the teeth, but much less memorable.


SD Gundam: SD Sengokuden: Kunitori Monogatari

March 24, 1990

Game Boy gets its first strategy game and its first Gundam game… and Kunitori Monogatari is pretty lousy at being either. Rather than depicting a cool Gundam, this is about chubby robot suits in ancient Japan. And the cumbersome strategy interface yields to some absolute rock-bottom barrel-scraping fighting game. Disastrous.

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Flappy Special

March 23, 1990

Another old-school PC conversion. Another Soukoban variant. DB-Soft and Victor definitely were not on a mission to radically change the way we thinking about Game Boy software with this one, that’s for sure.


Penguin Land

March 21, 1990

A real rarity: A Sega game on Game Boy. Pony Canyon converted a computer port of an old Sega arcade game to Game Boy. Sneaky! A fundamentally good game feels fundamentally flawed on Game Boy, however, due to poor line-of-sight distance that makes the action unreasonably hard, and a distracting screen-scrolling pause effect.



March 16, 1990

Game Boy gets a port of Taito’s arcade game Plotting… under a different title for some reason. Popular in Japan and Europe, Flipull only ever came to the U.S. on Game Boy. It’s a tiny little blip in history! A pretty good puzzler… on a platform stuffed to bursting with puzzlers.



March 16, 1990

A pretty solid port of Konami’s oddball shooter/puzzle arcade hybrid, which boasts some serious creative talent (seriously, it’s like the entire future Treasure team). Although this conversion loses the cooperative play feature, it’s otherwise quite faithful. Not a masterpiece, but an interesting novelty to be sure.


Bases Loaded for Game Boy

March 15, 1990

  Bases Loaded for Game Boy isn’t actually Bases Loaded, although it is for Game Boy. The popularity of the Bases Loaded name in the U.S. evidently prompted Jaleco to rename its Little League sim Baseball Kids, though this portable baseball title is much less progressive than the NES game whose identity it lifted.