The Goonies 2 is an NES sequel not The Goonies movie (ah, you thought it was, didn’t you?) but to the Famicom/MSX game The Goonies. It was created and published by Konami, the company behind such NES greats as Contra, Jackal, and Castlevania.
As far as gameplay goes, The Goonies II is a lot like Metroid. It is an open-world game that requires you to explore and find power-ups to open new areas. It’s also a lot like The Goonies movie it is loosely based on. The world you find yourself in is the world of that movie, the underground hideout of the Fratelli gang. There are all sorts of Goonies-like areas in this hangout (interior building areas, cavern areas, ice areas, underwater areas, and a suspension bridge area) and there are all sorts of Goonies-like power-ups (football helmets, slingshots, glasses, boomerangs, and jump shoes). Beyond that, the game even used the movie’s theme song, Cyndi Lauper’s “The Goonie ‘R’ Good Enough”. Used it often. Maybe too often. So it has a lot going for it right off the bat.
Unfortunately, it also has a lot going against it right off the bat. The Goonies II was an early NES, a fact that is very evident in the rough graphics. The graphics are definitely a step below those of Contra and even Castlevania. They are so much below the graphics of those games that I often couldn’t tell what I was looking at. For a long time, I thought the yo-yo weapon was the bomb and I couldn’t figure out why it wouldn’t explode. Not only so, but the world and the secrets of Goonies II are incredibly complex and not very intuitive. The world is a maze with separate areas and two sides (a front and back) connected to each other by two-way doors. The secrets have to be revealed by “hitting” certain places in the doorways, and there is nothing to suggest what places should be hit. For example, at one point in the game, you have to hit an old lady over the head five times before she’ll give you a candle. Not just once. Five times! There is no indication that you need to do this, and I can’t imagine why anyone would try without first knowing that they were supposed to do this. Navigating this world and finding these secrets without a map seems to me to be next to impossible. I’m not sure if any kids in the ‘80s ever tried to play this game without such a map; it’s possible that the game originally came with one (I had only the catridge, not the box or the manual or any other materials, so it could be that the game came with a map that suggested certain secrets as The Legend Of Zelda did). If they ever did, though, I feel sorry for them. Very sorry. They can’t have made it very far without a map, nor could they keep their sanity very long. I certainly couldn’t. In fact, if I hadn’t had used The Official Nintendo Players’ Guide which gives a near completely map as well as step-by-step walkthrough, I wouldn’t have gotten anywhere in the game. Unfortunately, even that map and walkthrough were hard to understand. Sometimes the walkthrough skipped steps, and other times it was worded oddly or wrongly. For example, at one point it kept telling me to go through the “Water Stage”. This confused me because I didn’t have access to a Water Stage, nor did I have the equipment to go into a Water Stage. What I finally realized was that The Guide meant “Ice Stage”.
Game progress can be saved by use of a code, but that, too, is problematic. The code which the game gives you after you die is very long and very odd. It has not just numbers and letters but arrow symbols and quotation marks. Not only is the code not easy to remember, but it is also hard to put in. No matter how many times I tried, I could never get the game to accept a code, even after I put it in perfectly. I guess I wasn’t hitting the right button.
Problems aside, though, The Goonies II is pretty good. It could be better, both it its graphics and its design, but it is still pretty good. I could even say The Goonies II is good enough for me. I won’t; I’ll spare us all that. But I could.
Need another opinion on The Goonies 2? Check out Peachy’s Review of the Game.