The Goonies II review
Nobody Messes With The Goonies
The Goonies 2 is a bit of an oddball, existing as a video game only sequel to a movie. In this sense it had some advantage over other licensed titles in that it wasn't racing to hit a looming deadline to coincide with any other release.
The story roughly follows on from the movie, where the Fratelli family are on the loose again and have kidnapped all of Mikey's friends. As the last remaining Goonie, it's up to Mikey to save them. Yeah, with that as the backstory and little in the way of story exposition it's safe to say that plot isn't a strong suit here.
The graphics are pretty decent for a NES game. Well, some of the characters look a little odd. Mikey's colour scheme is made up of blue and pink for some reason and they could have probably put in a little more detail in them, but they do move around and act pretty well. The level design is a lot more interesting, covering a variety of different types of areas and having some pretty detailed backgrounds as you explore.
The music is pretty catchy, with some rather rocking beats in more or less every area of the game and a rather good variety in it too. Just listening to this brings back such memories.
So The Goonies 2 is a nice mix of platformer and adventure, where you explore around trying to find your friends and freeing them while trying to not die. During your travels you'll face a variety of hazards mostly consisting of enemies and platforming. Enemies take the range from simple creatures such as snakes and birds to even the Fratelli goons firing hilariously slow bullets at you. These baddies rarely get very complicated (like you're never really having to uncover a weak point or rely on a specific tactic) but there's enough variety to keep it interesting. Mikey himself can pull out a variety of weapons to use against them. At first you'll just have the yo-yo, but as you progress you'll pick up more weapons like the boomerang and bombs that you can use to dispose of critters with. In addition you can find various upgrades that make it easier to get around, like boosting your jumping ability or rescuing your friends increasing your health gauge. It all ties in well together and encourages players to explore.
That's another good element of the game. The areas you find yourself in are immense and cover a variety of locations. You might start off in an average looking house, but soon you descend into caves, artic wastelands, bridges and underwater passages that don't suck, to name a few. There are a lot of places to visit and a lot to find like items and NPCs that it's fun to run around and explore. It's also not set up as typical levels like in Mario games. Rather it's much more closer to Metroid, where every area is simply connected to others (often in more than one place) giving it a much more impressive feeling of scale knowing that despite being in the artic area of the game you can walk or run back to the house area you started in. This is sometimes necessary in order to use a new item to gain access to something previously out of reach, although this kind of backtracking rarely feels dull or forced.
The platforming itself is done well too. You'll find yourself leaping over various gaps and dealing with the usual kinds of things like moving platforms and icy ledges. The game mixes these with safe jumps and instant death ones but throughout it always feels fair. If you plummet to your death because you missed a platform, it's because you misjudged it and not through any cheap tricks by the game. Of course, there are a few areas where the game will throw in enemies seemingly designed to try and shove you to your death, but even these seem fairly done.
The one area that really separates this game from other platformers is with the doors. These are scattered all over the place and can lead to either standalone rooms or act as passageways between areas. However, these switch the gameplay from side-on platforming to first person adventuring. In these areas you can pick from a variety of options, like moving to another room, striking any part of the room and taking items. This is where a large part of the adventuring matters as you collect keys and items to help you track down your friends. There's also a slight puzzle element as striking parts of the room may reveal things like new doors or items, with the idea being that if a room looks suspiciously empty it may be hiding something. You can also use other items to let you progress like scuba gear to dive into that water.I think this system is pretty cool and lets the game feel that much more fleshed out. These areas are also where you can meet NPCs, who may or may not be helpful to you but will be interesting to interact with (and yes, you can totally hit them too - one even gives you an item if you keep hitting them).
The one major complaint I could throw at the game is just how confusing it is. Especially due to the way doorway passages can connect different areas, it can be a trial just trying to figure out where you are and where to go, leading to a lot of aimless wandering around hoping to trip across the next powerup you need to progress or the next friend you need to rescue. Fortunately, that doesn't drag the game down too much. It'll also last a good while too as you explore the game's levels and find new goodies hiding in every corner. The game does offer saving in the form of a password system too, just in case you want to continue your adventure another time.
So that's it. The Goonies 2 is a fun platfomer/adventure game with some unique traits that let it stand out from the crowd and is certainly worth looking into if you're after some retro action. Just don't mind the pink clothing Mikey decided was cool.