Classic Retro Video Game Reviews

Ultra RollerGames -Nintendo NES
Retro Gaming Review

 Nintendo NES console Classic Retro Gaming Video Game ReviewUltra RollerGames for Nintendo NES Classic Retro Gaming Video Game Review
Title: RollerGames
Manufacturer: Ultra
Platform: Nintendo NES
Release Date: 1990
Part #: NES-U5-USA
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
ESRB Rating: N/A

Rating: Ultra RollerGames Classic Retro Video Game Review Rating
Ultra RollerGames Screenshot:
Ultra RollerGames for Nintendo NES screenshot Classic Retro Gaming Video Game Review

By the time RollerGames was on national television, Konami was a major developer for Nintendo and had created Ultra Games to enable bypassing licensing restrictions from Nintendo. Based on the TV show of the same name, RollerGames took a different route from it's arcade counterpart.

Roller Derby was on the rise and Konami replicated the TV show's unique figure-8 flat track in an arcade game. When it came time to bring the experience home on the NES, Ultra released a version of RollerGames that brought with it some heavy influences from fighting games that were also popular at the time.

For those who follow roller derby, it's a sport that usually takes place on an oval banked flat track. The TV show wanted to jazz up the experience in the form of a figure-8. Konami took that same format to their arcade game, but the NES version tried to capitalize on the popularity of fighting games. So, this roller derby inspired game was set on the streets (not on a track) and stopping for an all-out brawl finalized each stage of the game. Not exactly... roller derby.

Ultra RollerGames Story Arc

Lace up your skates because the underground criminal organization VIPER (Vicious International Punks and Eternal Renegades) has infiltrated RollerGames - the most popular sport of the 21st century. They've corrupted 3 of the skating teams and abducted the games' commissioner, Emerson "Skeeter" Bankhead.

Holy shit! Check this out...
Konami brought the TV show RollerGames to arcades in 1990
and even included the figure-8 flat track. RollerGames mania generated a home version for NES, a pinball table from Williams and a magazine that lasted only one issue!

The CIA and FBI lack the speed, cunning and sheer brute force for this job. So it's up to you and your teams of skaters to rescue the commissioner. You're going to have to take it to the streets, the sewers, the junkyards - just about any place your eight wheels can go. Open manholes, greasy oil slicks, combat helicopters and blood-thirsty dogs are awaiting you.

Ultra RollerGames Game Play

This single player game lets you choose a team to skate with. you can be Ice Box from the Thunderbirds, Rolling Thunder from Hot Flash or California Kid from the Rockers. Your object is to first defeat the 3 evil teams and rescue the commissioner from VIPER. You start with 3 lives and get an extra life at 20,000, 50,000 and 80,000 points. The d-pad controls your direction and the A & B buttons let you jump and punch. Mashing both buttons generates a Patented Punishment Technique - of which you only have 3 per level.

You'll encounter 3 kinds of turf in this side-scrolling derby/fighter. In normal scroll mode, the control pad dictates your direction. At the end of each segment, the scrolling stops for a fight scene and the d-pad moves your character around a static screen while you beat down the enemies. At times you will also encounter auto-scroll where you are moved along while you avoid obstacles and enemies.

RollerGames logo Nintendo NES console Classic Retro Gaming Video Game Review

Being a combo of roller derby and fighter, there are quite a few challenges within these stages: Downtown, The night highway, Auto processing plant, The freeway, The jungle river and The VIPER's pit. Surviving is not a reality unless you have a phenomenal memory or reflexes. Your player is most often centered on the screen with little room for error as things scroll towards you. Fortunately, RollerGames features endless continues. When you lives are gone, you can select continue and go the the beginning of the stage in which you perished.

I was hoping the overall game play would be closer to roller derby as seen in Konami's arcade release, but RollerGames is very unique in being a side scrolling roller derby fighting game. Ultra had a knack for pushing the limits and this outing doesn't disappoint. They've stretched the limits of the NES and created a vibrantly colored game with great sound and smooth scrolling. We dig it despite the lack of a flat track ;)

 Nintendo NES console Classic Retro Gaming Video Game Review
Final Judgement:

Ultra RollerGames

initially turned me off since the controls seemed funky (my fault) and the setting had been removed from the roller derby track and set in the streets. It seemed like a fighting game clinging to the popularity of roller derby.

Once I got over that, RollerGames is a slick combo of genres with great graphics and sound along with an interesting mix of side scrolling obstacles and vicious fights.

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