Bionic Battler

August 10, 1990

A clumsy, primitive, first-person maze shooter. It’s not very fun. But man, that box art is something else, huh?

Paperboy

July 15, 1990

Atari’s diagonal fling-em-up makes the leap from arcades to the Game Boy with rather less-than-impressive results.

Volleyfire

June 29, 1990

A promising premise for a game — two players go head-to-head in a shooting match — crumbles beneath lousy programming. A throwback to an older time, in a bad way.

Burai Fighter Deluxe

June 22, 1990

The fast-paced NES shoot-em-up comes to Game Boy with most of its content and mechanics intact, almost day and date with its console sibling. Pretty impressive!

ZOIDS: ZOID Densetsu

June 15, 1990

Based on the toyline, Zoids Densetsu fails to live up the standard of even that middling property; it was, by far, the worst Game Boy release to that point.

Cosmo Tank

June 8, 1990

A game that brushed with greatness but didn’t quite make the connection. Cosmo Tank spans planets, genres, and play modes—it’s incredibly ambitious, and almost a masterpiece.

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!

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.

Quarth

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.

Nemesis

February 23, 1990

Fans of Gradius might not recognize the name, but they’ll certainly recognize the style and rules of Nemesis. This vertical shooter set a high bar on the Game Boy thanks to its vivid graphics, excellent music, and incredibly flexible play style. A great game then and now.

Solar Striker

January 26, 1990

Game Boy’s first vertical shoot-em-up. Simple and clean, Solar Striker may not impress these days, but that’s by design: What seems painfully limited in 2015 made for a highly playable action game on the original Game Boy hardware. Sometimes, smart design and timeless design aren’t one and the same.