I’ve been a fan of Goonies 2 for a long time. Even renting it I used to be able to get pretty far despite being one of the most cryptic games I’ve ever played. Even though the storyline made almost no sense I used to really enjoy playing through it. It did always bother me that the game had a “2” in the title. I lived in the U.S. so where the hell was Goonies 1? Little did I know that Japan had Goonies 1 for the consoles and we got stuck with the sequel only. Yes there were VS Goonies Arcade games in the US, and the games do have a similar look and feel but it’s just not the same as sitting on your couch and playing in your own home.
Fast forward a bit and thanks to the Internet we are able to pick up a Famicom version of The Goonies and have it at our house within a week! Once we decided that this season of Retro Wednesdays was going to be about Famicom I knew this had to be played.
And for once I was not disappointed!
At first glance The Goonies and Goonies 2 look and sound almost identical. You have the same style of character same Fratelli enemies, similar action platformer and they even used the same music. Nothing is cooler than hearing the 8 bit rendition of Goonies R Good Enough. The other music departs a bit between 1 and 2 but both have very good music that fit the game.
The primary difference I felt playing it, is that The Goonies feels more like an arcade game, where Goonies 2 is like an platform puzzler. In Goonies 2 you have to find items, the other Goonies, and navigate a HUGE map (that’s 2 sided BTW). In The Goonies your goal is to rescue the other members of the Goonies, and collect 3 keys to get out of the map. Some of the maps are large and can seem complicated but compared to Goonies 2 it’s a walk in the park. The Goonies has the Fratellis chasing you but they have more ways to get you. I loved when you see one of them blast out music notes. It was a wonderful movie tie in that I really liked.
And that is the reason to me The Goonies is easily the better game. IT FOLLOWS THE MOVIE. I know most movie games rarely do this so it’s a bit of a shock to see it in a game this old. Almost every part of the movie is represented. The Fratelli’s hideout, the pipe scene, the waterfalls, the Skull Doors, the rock trap that Chester Copperpot gets stuck on, the Pirate ship. Even the octopus makes an appearance which is really surprising since it was cut out of the theatrical release (maybe not in Japan?). You even get to see One Eyed Willy which just blew my mind. It hits on almost every nostalgic note you want it to, and to me that is what makes the game really shine. You are Mikey in this game and it’s a great feeling to play through.
Gameplay wise you have two attacks and a jump. Your attack by default is a kick which is effective enough, and you can find a slingshot which helps a lot. Your goal is to kill rats/mice and collect bombs to break open doors. Doors can halve health, a key or a Goonie. You need three keys to get out of the level. Simple, and enjoyable. I can’t say you won’t get some cheap hits here and there but the gameplay just works for this game. You can’t kill the Fratelli’s and One Eyed Willy can only get hit by a slingshot so often you have to think you way around them. The biggest enemy is the clock. You have a time limit and that was one of the things I learned was the biggest challenge. Getting out of the level in time.
My only real complaint is that in two games I have yet to see a Goonies title with Mama Fratelli as a boss/enemy. Yes in Goonies 2 you see her in the beginning cut scene, but she’s never been in a game as an enemy as far as I know. That is a little disappointing and a little strange. Why was it taboo to have a woman enemy in 2 separate games?
Anyway, this is one of the few times on Retro Wednesdays that I have to say if you don’t have this game GO GET IT. There are American versions out there from reproduction sellers if you don’t want to go the Famicom route (note the game is in English so there is no risk of language issues).