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Grief and Rage Prepare Us for Another Motion Pixels — DARKMAN on NES!!



Intro: Throughout the history of videogames, various consoles have served as one of the many pulpits for the gospel of film marketing. Videogame adaptations of movies are a strange breed. Motion Pixels will examine one such game each week, dissecting the basic gameplay, the graphics, and how faithfully it adapts the film on which it is based. Some are good, some are awful, and some are just down right weird, but they are all interesting experiments. We will also take a look at other cogs in a given film’s marketing machine. Grab some popcorn and a joystick and let the games begin!




Game/Movie: Darkman

System: Nintendo Entertainment System

Developer: Ocean Software

Year of Release: 1991



Graphics and Mechanics:

Darkman is an awesome game; actually it sits among the sterling examples of movie licensed videogames. It grabs you from moment one as the familiar, inviting, blue Ocean Software logo appears. Then Darkman’s fantastic poster fills the menu screen and your cursor is in the shape of one of his bandaged, mummified fingers—a finger that coils and stretches between each option for added realism.

The game operates exactly as an adventure platformer should, with each level presenting new layouts and challenges while holding to certain themes that themselves change every third or fourth round. If your wont is to avoid the down and dirty details, I would surmise by saying Darkman is addictively entertaining with immense replay value. If not, please read on.

The graphics are impressive within the context of the 8-bit universe, and I appreciate the inclusion of kinetic backgrounds, interstitial story threads, and villains altered to suit changing level themes. There was an interesting, if unintentionally humorous, “game over” screen featuring a single tear falling from Darkman’s dejected eyes and text below espousing “grief and rage prepare you for another try.” I couldn’t help but laugh each time I saw it because it cast our hero in a less-than-intimidating light and suggested his next move would less likely be fighting back as it would be listening to an Iron and Wine CD and attempting to find himself. On the other hand, as Darkman is a considerably difficult game, this screen poignantly captured my actual grief and rage as I stumbled my way through its levels.

The music is also superb, harboring that 8-bit orchestral mix with some nifty science fiction sounds effortlessly interwoven. It took me back to the days when game soundtracks were limited to only a few notes and sounds and yet artists were able to churn out some wonderful electronic symphonies. This excellence-beyond-means is the reason certain games can easily be recognized by merely humming their techno theme songs; The Legend of Zelda and Super Mario Brothers leap immediately to mind. And while I wouldn’t necessarily assign the Darkman game soundtrack such a lofty rank, its themes compliment the gameplay perfectly. The music in the third level is especially catchy.

As far the mechanics go, I really have only one complaint. One of the beauties of classic gaming—and, more specifically, console controllers featuring two-button setups—is that even a novice gamer can usually grasp the basic gameplay fairly quickly. True to this form, the Darkman NES game offers one button for jumping and another for attacks. While the jumping is moderately consistent in its execution, the fighting mechanics are a bit flaccid. The natural inclination when approached by a baddie in a game is to keep pressing the attack button until said baddie is no more. In Darkman, for the first few frustrating run-throughs, the punching and kicking proved strangely impotent and it became tantamount to battling an end-of-level boss each and every time you encountered an entry-level thug. It wasn’t until after a half a dozen defeats and a gross of smoke breaks that I discovered the unique, if irritating, button-mashing strategy that needed to be utilized in order to achieve victory. Instead of a steady stream of constant taps on the button, I had to make sharp, staccato strikes as if I were playing a piece of music in a 4/4-time measure. It’s an odd idiosyncrasy of the game, but one easily corrected and therefore negligible.


Playing Before Seeing The Movie

Since so many of these games are based on major properties that have to have a wide fanbase in order to effectively capitalize on the licensing, it is very rare that a game in my collection is based on a film I have not seen. Yet, such is the case with Darkman. Like most geeks, I am no slight Sam Raimi fan, but I just never got around to popping in the HD-DVD copy of Darkman. My first instinct was to sit down and watch the film prior to visiting with the long-neglected, dust-gathering NES cartridge on the shelf. But then I considered the more interesting approach of playing the game first and then trying to mine expectations of the film from the game. This would both illustrate how faithfully the game adapts the film and clearly identify the manufactured elements logistically necessary to construct a playable videogame.

So based on what I know of the game, here are the things I expected to see in the Darkman film…


- A plot point about Darkman making masks and assuming the identities of his foes

- Giant, leaping mutant fish

- Kitschy 70s knick-knacks, namely the water-drinking bird

- A superhero who cries at the slightest setback

- Plenty of amateur photography

- Darkman’s attempts to fight crime thwarted by his arch nemeses: ninjas, clowns, and birds

- Angry lumberjacks and a storyline about Darkman’s attempts to save an endangered redwood forest



Playing After Seeing the Movie

So let’s check the board and see how accurate a picture is painted of Darkman from its videogame. The game is actually among the more faithful adaptations I’ve seen and in fact devises its entire structure from the plot of the film…with a few exceptions. Indeed Darkman does make masks of the various henchmen, and this is indeed accomplished via Polaroids he snaps of them. Which is why every fourth level or so is a shooting-gallery type setup wherein you must aim your camera lens at various windows and take photos of a designated goon. The game then has you play as that goon for three to four more levels and effectively alters the landscape of those levels to make a distinctive world for each villain.

This collaboration of themes pretty closely charts the plot of the film: going from dingy industrial complexes that echo the dilapidated building in the film that serves as his lair... Chinatown to a carnival funhouse to finally the sprawling construction site that hosts the films climax. Each of these places is present in the game to varying degrees of importance so it was really only a matter of augmenting those locations that served less significant function to the actual plot, tossing in a few environment-appropriate foes, and randomly assigning a henchmen to that level.

The exception to this rule is the rustic woodsy levels that are complete non-sequiturs to the film. 

How bulging, lumbering crony Paulie got assigned to the forest I’ll never---wait, lumbering...lumber…no, that can’t be it. While Darkman doesn’t assume the identity of all the henchmen as he does in the game, and while the 8-bit designs of a majority of said villains are less-than-accurate, it still plays well to one of the film’s central conceits.

The helicopter levels are among the most pitch-perfect film recreations in the game. Identical to the events of the movie, you are suspended from a helicopter and dangled before oncoming traffic. You must avoid trucks, motorcycles, and grenades being launched down at you from above. The added element in the interest of more challenging gameplay would be the maurading, albeit cheerful-looking, birds that were the bane of my existence each and every time I encountered this level.

As absurd as I believed the crying hero graphic to be, it turns out to be downright apt when considering the film. They insert a hackneyed medical explanation for it in the movie, but my good God does Darkman cry profusely! He’s a bit of a whiner, which apparently has something to do with a cerebral compensation for the fact that his body can’t process pain responses. This would all be well and good if the film in any way played up the “he can’t feel pain” element of the story, but since it’s such an abandoned concept, we are left with only the weeping. Cheer up emo Darkman! 



Mission Accomplished?

It is with a heavy, shame-laden heart that I must confess I failed to beat the Darkman game for NES within the seven-day timeframe I give myself. After consulting some online walkthroughs, I learned that I was a mere four levels from the end but it became too arduous a task to again reach that point with enough spare lives/continues to advance. That’s not to say I won’t keep trying, but for now I must wave the white flag.

What about you? If you’ve had the good fortune to play this game, and can recall doing so, were you victorious? What advice can you offer me?


Final Thoughts

Again, the rarity of my playing the game prior to seeing the movie offered a duality of perspectives on each. I had as much, and similar varieties of, fun playing the game as I did watching the film and feel the two benefit each other nicely. The one thing I did notice while watching the HD-DVD is that the representation of the world of the film is probably better served in 8-bit than in high-definition as the hopelessly-dated, budget-confined effects of the film are strikingly more apparent in HD.


License to Sell

I truly miss the days of promotional movie buttons. My good friend Kayla managed to horde a massive collection of them over the years and has made a habit of bestowing them to me one-at-a-time as a reward for knowing inconsequential trivia about the films featured. If she has this Darkman button...

...I must really pester her for one. To obtain it, perhaps I’ll be forced to name the comic book character Sam originally wanted to adapt in the early 90s but couldn’t get the rights to, and therefore settled for creating his own in Darkman. The answer, in case you’d like to someday potentially win this amazing button, is The Shadow


Brian Salisbury 

Readers Talkback
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  • April 4, 2011, 8:42 a.m. CST

    Rip-Off of AVGN

    by Knightsong

    Does the Angry Video Game Nerd know you're stealing his schtick?

  • And only as done by AVGN....irategamer sucks.

  • I remember being impressed by what Sega had done with their Jurassic Park game for the Genesis: you could play as either a human, or a velociraptor. What does Ocean give us? The equivalent of an Zelda-overview of the park, with Doom-style interior graphics when going into a building.

  • April 4, 2011, 9 a.m. CST

    I liked Jurassic Park II on the SNES

    by D.Vader

    I wish I could find that to play online without having to dl an emulator or ROM.

  • Maybe if I gave it more time I could've done something with it. I agree the graphics and music were good for the time though. It seemed to me that all of Ocean's NES games had nearly identical health bars and similar playing style. It's as if they just swapped out one licensed character for another. Most of them weren't very good but I did like their Robocop 2 adaptation. I think I actually preferred the gameplay to Data East's Robocop 1 game, if only for the fact you could jump.

  • April 4, 2011, 9:04 a.m. CST

    This is an awesome idea!

    by Sith Witch

    Thanks so much for this new series, and for a highly intelligent, well-thought out review. As an 8-bit devotee with a peculiar love for the movie adaptations, this is right up my alley!

  • April 4, 2011, 9:13 a.m. CST


    by RaveX

  • April 4, 2011, 9:17 a.m. CST

    I want to get an NES

    by Wookie_1995

    but the price my friend wants to charge me is...WAY TO MUCH. so anyone know where I can get a cheap one?

  • April 4, 2011, 9:23 a.m. CST


    by alan_poon

    I never had the Raimi blinders on when I watched it and I thought it was brilliant. Boring it was not.

  • April 4, 2011, 9:25 a.m. CST can use the virtual nes emulator...

    by Bobo_Vision

    ....or just search craigslist in your town for one. Maybe ebay has some up for sale.

  • April 4, 2011, 9:26 a.m. CST

    Yeah, just can get one on ebay for 50$ and under

    by Bobo_Vision

  • April 4, 2011, 9:41 a.m. CST

    Jurassic park on Genesis kicked SNES's ass

    by darthderp

    Generally, I preferred SNES to Genesis, but Sega's version of JP had the option of either playing as Grant or a Raptor, great graphics and sound (T-REX FTW!) plus it teased with the raft sequence from the book that was cut from the movie (if you play as Grant). Glad to see this column's back. Hope the idea sticks around; makes for some great nostalgic discussion.

  • April 4, 2011, 9:42 a.m. CST

    ET review has got to be somewhere down the line...

    by darthderp

    That game for Atari all but sounded the death knell for home video games, until Nintendo helped it pull a Lazarus by way of Mario.

  • April 4, 2011, 9:49 a.m. CST

    I worked for Ocean Software

    by Simon Butler

    And did the design and graphics on many of their movie tie-ins. Some were more successful than others but they were always "interesting" to say the least.

  • I'd add Mega Man 2 to that list. That game had some of the best music I've heard; the music for the first 2 parts of Dr. Wily's castle are embedded in my head to this day.

  • April 4, 2011, 10:09 a.m. CST

    Two points

    by vadakinX

    First, the themes for Super Mario Brothers and The Legend Of Zelda were not "techno" themes. Zelda specifically is much as 8-bit technology allowed. I'm sure there are techno versions of the themes but as they are presented in the games, techno is far from the term I would use to describe them. Second, HD-DVD? Poor guy. I hope Harry didn't show you his HD-DVD porn collection and convince you that porn would win that format the so-called war. Third, there is no third. I said two points.

  • April 4, 2011, 10:10 a.m. CST


    by photoboy

    Absolutely, Mega Man 2's music is absolutely fucking epic. It's incredible what they did with the humble NES sound chip in that game. Castlevania, TMNT, Contra and Super C had fantastic tunes too. All oddly enough, Konami games. Konami really knew how to get the best out of the NES. Hopefully Brian will do a comparison of Duck Tales the TV show with Duck Tales (and DT2) on the NES...

  • April 4, 2011, 10:12 a.m. CST

    Darkman and Evil Dead II

    by elsewhere

    My two favorite Raimi movies. Raimi (along with Burton) used to be one of my favorite directors, but after the Spider-Man trilogy and Drag Me To Hell, I can't stand him. Now that he's making a prequel to the Wizard of Oz (lolwut), I don't think my opinion of him is likely to change anytime soon. Whatever happened to that World of Warcraft movie he was supposed to make? That looked promising.

  • April 4, 2011, 10:12 a.m. CST

    loved the game

    by HadWoodenTeethChasedMobyDick

    loved the movie, loved anything tied into the movie, books, comic books, poster. and I had the black t-shirt witht the super heavy, and pink, printing of "who is darkman?" on it. I almost had a heart attack when i found it in the slightlymisprinted t-shirt shop in the boardwalk mall in atlantic city, nj, since i was hoping to get a shirt like that for years, this must of been 1992.

  • April 4, 2011, 10:17 a.m. CST

    @ photoboy

    by darthderp

    Totally agree with you about Konami's games; that excellence carried over to SNES as well - Batman Returns and Super CastleVania, anyone? Oddly enough though, MM2 ain't even a Konami game; that'd be Capcom, I believe.

  • April 4, 2011, 10:30 a.m. CST

    Snes Batman Returns is one of my all time favorite games

    by HadWoodenTeethChasedMobyDick

  • April 4, 2011, 10:36 a.m. CST

    Wow, I never realized there was a Darkman game on NES

    by Nasty In The Pasty

    Funny, as I used to buy/rent pretty much ANY game based off a movie/TV show back in the day, and I loved Darkman the movie. Some of the game aspects look a bit odd (what's with the balancing controls? Do you have to tap the A and B buttons repeatedly?), but the graphics are pretty good for 8-bit. And I don't see how this is "ripping off" the Angry Video Game Nerd. No incessant profanity, no silly photoshop images...

  • April 4, 2011, 10:37 a.m. CST

    This is a great feature!

    by SierraTangoFoxtrotUniform

    Just got a Wiz for Christmas. For anyone who doesn't know what that is, it's a portable gaming system that plays retro games. It'll do anything from NES to some PS1 games. Now I can go play this game.

  • April 4, 2011, 10:38 a.m. CST

    This game is awful

    by Samuel Fulmer

    It has terrible hit detection and you slide everywhere when you stop moving Darkman. The only good thing about it is the fact that they actually made a Darkman game, otherwise it's barely playable garbage.

  • April 4, 2011, 10:40 a.m. CST

    SNES Jurassic Park vs. Genesis

    by Samuel Fulmer

    Yeah I owned the Genesis version and it was preaty good. The being Grant or the Raptor thing added to the replay value. The SNES one was a decent Zelda-ish rip-off but suffered from not having a password or battery save.

  • April 4, 2011, 10:40 a.m. CST

    Castlevania IV

    by spire_walk

    It stands in my minds as having the single best score of any SNES game... that and Final Fantasy 6.

  • April 4, 2011, 10:49 a.m. CST

    And this isn't stealing AVGN's schtick. It's the exact opposite!

    by SierraTangoFoxtrotUniform

  • April 4, 2011, 10:49 a.m. CST

    First played this game while on LSD

    by kafka07

    Never made it past the first level but had the time of my life nonetheless. Also, the game was rented from a video rental store owned by James Woods' brother. I think I returned the game about two months late.

  • April 4, 2011, 10:56 a.m. CST

    @ spire_walk re: Final Fantasy 6

    by darthderp

    Was that retitled Final Fantasy 3 on SNES? If that's the one I'm thinking of then, yeah, that had a great score as well - even had a CD soundtrack you could order from a mail catalogue

  • April 4, 2011, 10:56 a.m. CST

    @ Kafka07

    by darthderp

    You from Rhode Island? You mentioned James Woods' brother....

  • April 4, 2011, 11:17 a.m. CST

    Justice has a new face...and squeaky shoes.

    by Kevin Holsinger

    Great music, frustrating controls. No advice on how to play it (especially as the helicopter levels were a nightmare without the NES Advantage on slow-motion). Thanks for this column, though. I appreciate the nostalgia.

  • April 4, 2011, 11:38 a.m. CST

    JP on SNES

    by Aaron

    JURASSIC PARK on SNES was a great game. I used to play it for many hours at a time, doing the old "pause and go eat dinner (or whatever) while turning the TV off because there was no save". I remember after a particularly grueling session, there was a Florida thunderstorm that turned the power off and ruined my mood. I did not continue playing the game on that day. DARKMAN = also great. Watch it again and see how many parts Raimi stole from himself for the Spider-Man series (he also ripped parts off from the other two Darkman flicks, though he did not direct them).

  • April 4, 2011, 11:56 a.m. CST

    SNES JP is underrated.

    by TheSecondQuest

    Yeah, it was cooler to play as a raptor in the Genesis version's action-platformer, but the SNES version was good adventure/exploration game in it's own way. The SNES version was like a merger of the JP movie and JP novel- using movie characters, designs and situations, but expanding it to include stuff from the books like the compys and raptors-on-a-boat. You felt like you were exploring the whole island and the game did a great job at atmosphere. (the desolate buildings were just damn creepy, with the tick-tick-tick door creaks and turning a corner to see a Raptor staring at you from across the room or down the hall is still freaky- a shining example of how low-rez graphics were able to achieve impacts on the player that just cannot be replicated with photo-real HD graphics) It also had a solid challenge- unless you had rockets, if you came across a Raptor, you were fucked- as it should be. And they never got easier. I think the only downside here is that the limited ammo (which, while fitting for the story) was a bit too limited and made the game much more difficult than it perhaps should have been. (They didn't have to break the game's feel by loading you up like Master Chief or anything and unwelcomingly turn the game into a straight-FPS action game, but a few more rounds for some of the guns would have made the game more traversible) Plus there were some neat touches of variety like the switch to controlling the hand for computer typing/hacking sequences. And, finally, while it's a weird move to ignore the iconic John Williams music, the original music for the game is actually quite good- both with some of it's catchy themes (here's a good remix of one track: and it's forboding and environmental tracks that add to the "dangerous adventure" feel to the game. And, honestly? I played the Genesis version a few times at a friends house back in the day. Regardless if you played as Grant or the Raptor, the game kinda got boring pretty quickly after a couple levels. But the SNES game? You kept coming back to it.

  • April 4, 2011, 12:02 p.m. CST

    Just remembered one thing about the NES games

    by darthderp

    For whatever reason, perhaps because of dirt getting in the game cartridge or whatever, there were times I would put the cartridge in and it wouldn't work. Either the picture was scrambled or just didn't come up. My brother and I found that the only thing that would work as a temporary fix (before we discovered the cleaning kits) was by blowing on the connectors in the cartridge, trying to get out any dust or fuzz that might be caught in there. Usually that did the trick. A few years ago, I was walking the Hampton Beach (New Hampshire) boardwalk and a t-shirt shop had one shirt in particular; it was a NES game cartridge and underneath was the phrase, "Blow me." I don't think my wife understood what I found so funny about that shirt....

  • April 4, 2011, 1:09 p.m. CST

    I really liked the judge dredd game on snes I think it was.

    by UltraTron

    Having a blast with Crysis 2 right now. Playing every game out and crysis 2 wins right now.

  • April 4, 2011, 1:24 p.m. CST

    thanks bobo_vision

    by Wookie_1995

    but I am not a fan of the computer emulators but I will be on the look out for cheap ones on the net. I will try to talk my friend down with the price, because I also don't like buying on Ebay. I always get ripped off and I never ever get what I ordered.

  • April 4, 2011, 1:29 p.m. CST

    For you guys looking to buy old NES consoles....

    by Elgyn6655321

    ....DON'T, unless someone is selling them cheap! Why? Because you're going to pay $50 or whatever some guy on Craigslist is charging..... only to find out that the console barely works. The NES was a lot of fun, but it did not have a long life-span. Trust me, you'll end up spending more time trying to get the games to work than you will actually playing them. You're much better off just downloading an NES emulator.

  • ...get a grip. It's the only film I've ever liked Liam Neeson in. Why they didn't make the sequel with Darkman morphed into Campbell is a joke. However, The Evil Dead game for the PS1 was, on the whole, a terrible let down, so difficult to control Ash.

  • April 4, 2011, 2:12 p.m. CST

    Shooting lab assistants in the head during suffocation ...


    Is that in the game??

  • April 4, 2011, 2:14 p.m. CST

    Emulators for the win

    by vadakinX

    I have a Sega Emulator that plays Master System, Game Gear, Megadrive/Genesis and Mega/Sega CD roms and I have pretty much every game released for all of those platforms, all in a folder on my computer. What's it like playing Sonic The Hedgehog with a keyboard? Not great. But you don't have to. Just plug in any controller with a USB connection such as a PS3 controller or a wired 360 controller then set the button commands on the emulator and you're good to go. Calculating jumps with an analogue stick instead of a D Pad makes things so much more precise...OK not really because those games are all designed with 8 direction controls, not analogue but it makes you feel more in control. I also have Nintendo emulators for various Nintendo consoles up to the GBA. Awesome stuff.

  • April 4, 2011, 2:15 p.m. CST

    You do know...

    by micturatingbenjamin

    The screen shots are from an emulator. I don't have Darkman in my collection, and I've got somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 NES cartridges, but I know Jnes when I see it. The bars on the right and left are areas you won't see on your television. Also, no scanlines on the images means that they're pulled by pressing the screenshot button. This doesn't make this a bad review. It just means that the author is perpetrating like he has an NES from back in the oldest of old school days. And bought Darkman. Which mainly Blockbuster and video stores did when it was out. Because the game was a failure. AVGN -- His videos are entertaining because you can see his devotion to his craft of reviewing games, to be precise: BAD video games. This seems like someone said 'I'll write a column about movie based games' and the editors said fine. My problem isn't with a review being written. My problem is that as a reader, I like to know when I'm being told the truth or not. I don't think that this writer has the game. MB

  • April 4, 2011, 2:17 p.m. CST

    Really sweet music for a videogame of a film

    by Smack_Teddy

    Remember Darkman fondly...

  • April 4, 2011, 2:22 p.m. CST

    Buy a top-loading NES or a Game Genie

    by TheSecondQuest

    The main mechanical issue with the original NES is the contacts/connector wore down from that spring-loading VCR-like bay. If you're looking to buy a used NES, from what I've seen, you have 3 options (beyond cleaning the contacts, which you should usually do anyways): 1) Make sure the NES you're buying is a refurb with new connector installed, if you're set on using an original model NES. 2) Use Game Genie. Even if you don't use the cheat codes, the Game Genie's connector was a lot tighter and makes for a more solid connection to the game contacts, which reduces playing problems. However, some games had compatibility issues with Game Genie, so it's a good, but not flawless, option- depending on what games you're looking to play. 3) Buy an "NES 2"- the top-loading revised model that is styled after the SNES's design. The connectors are more reliable as a result of the top-loader, ala the SNES. The only downside is these came out late in the NES's lifespan, so there are are fewer of them and, as a result, tend to be more expensive to aqcuire. Additionally, the system not looking like what most people remember an NES looking like may go against any nostalgia factor or principles you might have/be seeking. But, for a practical option, it's a pretty good one.

  • April 4, 2011, 2:23 p.m. CST

    For the record.

    by micturatingbenjamin

    I have three NES Control Decks at my house. Of those two work intermittently, and one doesn't work all that well at all. I keep buying from this place called 1up games near me, who get lots and lots of parts, and do full deep cleanings of their systems. They take retro gaming seriously. I'm an emulator fiend, however. Whenever feasible, I leave the game systems in their little cupboard, and play them on my PC. MB

  • April 4, 2011, 2:36 p.m. CST

    It doesn't matter if he's playing on an emulator or not.

    by SierraTangoFoxtrotUniform

    I don't remember him saying anything implying he had an original NES. It's like reviewing a movie in the theater as opposed to watching it at home on DVD or Blu-ray: doesn't really matter.

  • April 4, 2011, 2:48 p.m. CST

    If the NES was originally a top loader like the Famicom

    by Samuel Fulmer

    They would've been more durable, but wouldn't have looked as cool either. Still more reliable than Playstation 1 (let's play our system upside down!!) and 2 (lens won't read blue disc games/PS1 games and skips playing DVDs), and X-Box red ring 60. But shit ten years on, the greatest system I ever bought THE SEGA DREAMCAST still works with no problems.

  • April 4, 2011, 2:54 p.m. CST

    The only real accurate emulation I've seen

    by Samuel Fulmer

    Is on the Wii virtual console. Of course you are limited to what they have on there (almost zero licensed games other than maybe the first TMNT NES game). Most emulators I've ever played are off in some way.

  • April 4, 2011, 3:01 p.m. CST

    braindrain-Ocean games made it

    by Samuel Fulmer

    The same people that made a Hudson Hawk for the NES/Gameboy among other movies that should've never been video games. They were like LJN with basing preaty much every game on a movie, except at least the LJN games were so bad that they were slightly entertaining. The Ocean ones just mostly sucked (at least the ones I played on the NES/SNES). At least as bad as something like Jaws and Friday the 13th by LJN were, they at least had decent controls. Ocean games controls were borderline unplayable with horrible hit detection and other problems.

  • April 4, 2011, 3:01 p.m. CST

    Darkman = low budget comic genius!

    by CeejayNightwing

    Would have made a great TV show. Wish Sam Raimi would revisit it!

  • April 4, 2011, 3:01 p.m. CST

    mattman-Must've been thinking the same thing

    by Samuel Fulmer

  • April 4, 2011, 3:45 p.m. CST

    I loved this game! It was really difficult at first due to

    by sweeneydave

    the jump coming one beat after you hit the button. But once you get into the pattern of controls, it was great going through the game. The hanging from the helicopter was one of my favorite parts.

  • April 4, 2011, 3:45 p.m. CST

    I can't wait to see what the NES version of

    by sweeneydave

    the Super Mario Brothers movie was like!

  • April 4, 2011, 3:54 p.m. CST

    samuel fulmer- the revised NES was a toploader

    by TheSecondQuest

  • April 4, 2011, 6:11 p.m. CST

    STFU -- Yeah, you should read the article.

    by micturatingbenjamin

    "My first instinct was to sit down and watch the film prior to visiting with the long-neglected, dust-gathering NES cartridge on the shelf. " Dust gathering NES cartridge on the shelf pretty much alludes to the fact the author has a shelf. Presumably with an NES cartridge on it called Darkman, that he will then put into his NES Control Deck and play on his analog ass television. Read the article, man. And yeah, people lying in a review does bother me. When someone lies, their motives and opinions are suspect. When someone lies about the premise of the article: 'I play shitty old movie licensed games, and do it from my own collection' -- then, I have less interest in the article. Nothing wrong with emulators. Nothing wrong with reviews of emulated games. There is something wrong with pretending to have the cartridge. That's dishonesty. How do you respect the opinion of someone who's dishonest the first go-round? Anyhow, I'd love to be proven wrong. Someone show me the dude holding up his dusty NES cartridge or video of said dude aiming his camera at his analog tv, and I'll gladly eat crow. MB

  • April 4, 2011, 6:28 p.m. CST

    So we get this, but not modern video game reviews?

    by Sardonic

    Kinda silly.

  • April 4, 2011, 6:40 p.m. CST


    by NightArrows

    I read somewhere that blowing on the guts of the cartridge didn't clean the dust off, it simply moistened the connectors to enable a better connection...

  • April 4, 2011, 6:42 p.m. CST

    not a part of the film?

    by mcgillj

    umm.. SHOULD they have had to remind us every 30 seconds Darkman couldn't feel pain? I remember seeing this in a DRIVE in.. during its first run.. the summer after Burton's Batman.. and.. I still actually enjoy Raimi's darker take more than Burton's. As for the.. you didn't notice Darkman in the FINALE being shot with steel rivets? or him more or less just TRASHING his hand as he pulls it off the girder leaving a big GAPING hole in his hand? HALF of what he went through would have left many men in lots of pain.. getting smacked around on the helicoptor? So it was an element of the film.. and the device was with the body no longer feeling impuses of pain, the theory is that emotions would be AMPLIFIED to compensate.. so in the movie, Peyton does almost seem to have a WILD crazy bipolar disorder.. crying for the love he lost.. to being raging murdering PSYCHOTICALLY mad as hell.. remember the carnie and he grabbed that dude's fingers and snapped them like twigs cause he cheated him out of a pink elephant? This was the first movie I'd seen Liam Neeson in.. and have been impressed and followed him ever since.

  • April 4, 2011, 6:51 p.m. CST

    mcgillj - I agree

    by sweeneydave

    I was about 12 or 13 when I saw the movie and I followed all of that as well. I didn't realize they hadn't said it continuously, but they really didn't have to. They mentioned his pain vs. emotions issues once and then SHOWED how it affected him continuously through the movie. I haven't seen the movie since I was maybe the mid 90s, but I still remember all of that.

  • April 4, 2011, 7:55 p.m. CST

    Umm.. lol sorry have to jump in here

    by Briestro

    ::dons composer hat:: "I had to make sharp, staccato strikes as if I were playing a piece of music in a 4/4-time measure." lol man, this statement makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. Please refrain in the future from trying to dress up the article with theory anecdotes unless they actually mean something! hehe, let me rewrite that line for you. "I had to make sharp, staccato strikes as if I were tapping out quarter notes at 150 bpm (or say eighth notes at 75 bpm.)" That's probably about the tempo you mean, not having the game in front of me I can't test it, so it's a guess. A time SIGNATURE (like 4/4) is denoting that the quarter note gets the beat, and that there are 4 beats in the MEASURE. This, even written correctly, has no bearing on what you really mean, since time signatures have no bearing at all on the SPEED in which you are pressing that button, they simply explain how to organize the length of how notation is going to be written for a particular group of measures, and how to count it! Where the friggin 1 is! :) Time signatures do not tell tempo, tempo is either written in another spot up near the top left, or, as in pre-metronome music, simply a general phrase like say... "Allegro", which in modern terms means somewhere between say 120-late 130 bpm (beats per minute). Hope this helps! :) And now onto cool old game composers. Well, half of that old shit from NES and SNES were a major factor in my history, for getting me into writing. People have mentioned Uematsu's stuff from the Final Fantasy series already, FF6/3, which remains to this day one of the most insane collections of old game composing of all time. My first exposure to how good the snes card really really was, also Uematsu, for FF4/2. That opening Red Wings theme absolutely destroyed anything and everything back when it was new. There's a few versions of a real orchestra playing it out there amongst the various modern orchestral game concerts. See if ya's can find it, since with real players that theme is even MORE incredible. I got one for ya's. The SNES (not Genesis) version of Out Of This World! Remember that killer game?? Precursor to Flashback and a contemporary of the old school Prince of Persia. The SNES version of Out of this World might have played a lot slower than the Sega version, but it sounded about 65 times better thanks to the SNES soundcard. SUPER KILLER tunes on that game. I just had to look it up, since I never knew who wrote that stuff, but his name was Jean-François Freitas, originally midi composed for the Amiga. I just read 2 seconds ago that an anniversary edition came out for PC back in 06, which I never knew either, and now I have to go find that!!! With modern samples those tunes would sound ... pun intended... OUT OF THIS WORLD!!! :) There are so many great old school video game tunes, I could write an essay on this. This post is long enough lol. Cool that so many here dig some old gaming tunes! Oh yeah and many Mega Man games had jammin tunes as well as MM2! Capcom stuff usually did. B

  • April 4, 2011, 8:55 p.m. CST

    Oh no!!!

    by Briestro

    Ugh. Looks like all those killer tunes I'm thinking of were added by Interplay for the SNES, Genesis, and Apple 2GS ports ONLY, and also looks like they were written by Charles Deenen. I just found the high rez anniversary edition, and it plays great, but Interplay knew what time it was, and this game isn't half as good without those tunes. Very unfortunate. B

  • April 4, 2011, 9:54 p.m. CST

    Well the fact of the matter is that you don't know if its an emulator or not.

    by SierraTangoFoxtrotUniform

    Perhaps he played it on a NES but used an emulator to pull pics and videos from. I dunno. Aren't there far greater things to worry about? Jeez.

  • April 4, 2011, 9:59 p.m. CST

    I think I got this game in my house somewhere...

    by MrMysteryGuest

  • April 4, 2011, 10:41 p.m. CST

    Eh. Accusations of lying?

    by Larry Sellers

    Some people actually do review the actual cartridge game. But ASSUMING they're not and giving them shit for it...? What's the point? Who gives a shit if they're lying or not? This ain't high journalism, dude.

  • April 5, 2011, 12:33 a.m. CST

    movienut401 FF 3/6

    by spire_walk

    Yeah, Final Fantasy 6 in Japan was 3 in the US. This is the one with Terra, Edgar, Locke, Kefka, General Leo, et al.

  • April 5, 2011, 1:16 a.m. CST

    This looks like a job for the AVGN!

    by Orionsangels

  • April 5, 2011, 6:17 a.m. CST

    playing 8-bit games, it brings back memories to me.

    by AsimovLives

    Back in the early 80s, when i played games on my ZX Spectrum. You americans might not know what the ZX Spectrum was, but anybody in here who's from the UK will imediatly know what i'm talking about, if they belong to my age group and were teens or kids in the 80s.

  • April 5, 2011, 6:54 a.m. CST


    by SonOfChiba

    DON’T buy a NES – instead, get yourself a Dreamcast (yeah, they’re old but those things are as sturdy as a tank). Then, get yourself on or and buy the emulator discs (NES, MAME – for arcade games, SNES, GENESIS –they’re all out there – 1000’s of games on just a few discs.

  • April 5, 2011, 7:15 a.m. CST

    asimovlives: ZX Spectrum

    by spire_walk

    Programmers on that system regularly performed very dark magic rituals to make unlikely games run on it.

  • April 5, 2011, 7:40 a.m. CST


    by AsimovLives

    You bet! I'm still at awe at the things they could make on that small machine. I mean., they made games which were smaller then most word text pages, for christ's sakes! How did they do that? Must be as you said, it had to be black magic!

  • April 5, 2011, 7:43 a.m. CST

    Since soem of you might have been form th days of the ZX Spectrum...

    by AsimovLives

    ... one of the games that most awed me was "Dan Dare". A friend of mine, through sheer persistence, mannaged to finish it in avery cinematic way, as on, he actually finished the game at literally the last second of it's time. You can imagine how we all felt!

  • April 5, 2011, 7:47 a.m. CST

    NESticle Still The Best Emulator

    by Autodidact

    I first got NESticle in 1997... seems to still run fine on my old XP boxes. Not a lot of problems with emulation in NESticle.

  • April 5, 2011, 9:53 a.m. CST

    braindrain- most were more complex

    by TheSecondQuest

    Those Darkman levels, going by the embedded footage, are abnormally short even for an 8-bit game. Compare that to some of the multi-level levels in Ninja Gaiden 1, for example.

  • April 5, 2011, 10:37 a.m. CST


    by AsimovLives

    Speaking of Ninjas, did you ever played SABOTEUR?

  • April 5, 2011, 10:44 a.m. CST

    Crazier stuff gets made into games. Sneak King anyone?

    by v3d

    A couple years back Burger King released three different XBOX games. The weirdest was Sneak King wherein the player sneaks up on people to deliver burgers, fries, coffee, etc.

  • April 5, 2011, 11:04 a.m. CST

    v3d - my ex actually owned "Sneak King".

    by Elgyn6655321

    Weird game, and it gets old real fast. She had the BK bumper cars game too. I guess she just loved her some Burger King.

  • April 5, 2011, 11:11 a.m. CST

    mattman: I was only speaking from personal experience.

    by Elgyn6655321

    And it was my experience that after a while, trying to play an NES game became a frusterating ordeal of putting the game in, pushing the Power button, getting nothing but a flashing screen, taking the game back out, blowing on the connectors, putting the game back in, getting the flashing screen again, etc etc etc. Now, eventually the game might I guess you are correct, the NES will "last forever"....just not very well. And all my friends who had NES had similar problems as time went on. And seriously man, there's nothing funnier than a nerd getting his panties in a bunch because someone talked shit on his favorite video-game console.

  • April 5, 2011, 12:18 p.m. CST

    asimovlives: Doom on the ZXSpectrum

    by spire_walk

    Do a Youtube search for Doom on ZX Spectrum. Now THAT was black magic.

  • April 5, 2011, 12:38 p.m. CST

    I run NES,SNES and Genesis emulators on my PSP

    by Stalkeye

    for some ol' school goodness. But Darkman will never gather my interest mostly b/c movie videogame tie ins suck donkey dick.

  • April 5, 2011, 1:13 p.m. CST


    by Wookie_1995

    we shall see...I shall take a look around. I am not like most whacky kids these days, I like to look instead of jumping on the first offer.

  • April 5, 2011, 5:45 p.m. CST

    asimovlives- i have not

    by TheSecondQuest

    What platform?

  • April 7, 2011, 11:32 p.m. CST


    by Brian Salisbury

    Sir, I assure you I not only own this game, but tried it on both my top-loading NES and FC Twin systems just to see if there were any differences in gameplay. I don't however have an effective way to connect these in such a way that would allow me to pull screenshots directly from my TV. If the screen shots I found were from the emulator so be it, but I never asserted that they were shots of me playing. They are merely reference points. I admire your integrity, but I don't think it's fair to say I lied. I would take a picture of myself with the game but I don't feel you guys should be subjected to my ugly visage on a weekly basis. Thanks for reading!