Hook review - Nintendo Entertainment System
Peter Pan is back in Never-Neverland, but this time his child-like friends have been kidnapped by the totally evil Captain Hook! Not only that, but the despicable sea-faring pirate has dispatched his hordes of cut-throat chums to take over Peter's native homeland! Pete reckons that enough is enough, and with his fairy pal Tinkerbell plans to disrupt Hook's antics by disposing of the rampaging rapscallions and tracking down his imprisoned friends.
What this all boils down to is a lot of scrolling platform-related malarkey as Peter runs around picking up food and indulging in swordplay with Hook's evil minions. Once enough food has been collected and a few minions have been disposed of, the word EXIT flashes, enabling Peter to make use of the fine portal out of that particular level.
But as you may expect, there are many stages to the game to complete before Peter reaches Hook's pirate galleon, where his infantile friends remain imprisoned.
What the Mean Machines staff thought
Hook starts out well enough with some excellent graphics and smooth arcade action. The problem is that the game itself is just too sedate to be really exciting to play. Getting around each of the (admittedly very large) levels becomes quite a chore and there isn't really much skill to the sword-fights you indulge in as you walk around picking up objects. What I do like about the game is the fact there are loads of levels (just look at all the crosses on the game map) and the fact that each level takes some beating. I also like the mini-puzzles you have to complete in most of the stages. Unfortunately, this doesn't change the fact that it seems to be quite dull to play. Perhaps if the game was faster, with more exciting combat, this could have been a winner. As it is, NES owners are spoiled for choice when it comes to platform games. Unfortunately, Hook just doesn't compare with the likes of Mario or Megaman.
Hook certainly has plenty of things going for it. It's got loads of levels, each a vast playing area in itself, it's challenging and it also sports some impressive graphics. However, it has a big millstone around its neck in the form of its dull and rather uninteresting gameplay. The pace of the action is sedate to say the least, the combat element isn't much fun and there's simply not much variety. Most of your time is spent making your way around the huge map searching for items, which simply isn't much fun. Had there been more combat, more interesting platform environments and lots more different baddies, this could have been quite neat. As it stands it has nothing to make it really stand out of the very competitive platform marketplace, and it's totally eclipsed by games like Mario, Megaman, Blaster Master and Jackie Chan Action Kung-fu.
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