8 Eyes (NES)

8 Eyes Box Art

8 Eyes

System: NES

Release Date: January 1990

Developer: Thinking Rabbit

Publisher: Taxan

Genre: Action

8 Eyes is another release into the NES library by Taxan, who really haven’t impressed me in the past. The 8 Eyes are jewels that when together hold the power of untold destruction within them. The Great King’s 8 Dukes have stolen the jewels and each plans to overthrow the world for themselves! You are Orin the Falconer, and have taken it upon yourself to save the day with your loyal bird, Cutrus.

After reading the manual, I expected a Mega Man type game, but I was very wrong, instead getting a gameplay experience more like Castlevania. You must go through eight castles around the world in order to collect the 8 Eyes. The manual says you must do the levels in a specific order because you are given a new sword at the end of each level that is strong against a specific boss. Your hint is that your starting sword is only good for a country near France. Two choices fit, Germany and Spain.

Most of the levels are linear and involve enemies standing in your way. Some of them are hurt more by Orin, and others are killed quicker by Cutrus. Germany and Africa are annoying maze levels that will try to wear you down with unintuitive level maps. By pressing Up + the B Button, you send Cutrus flying back and forth. You can then press it again to have him return, or Down + the B Button to have him swoop down for an attack. There will be times you need Cutrus to hit a switch and open a door for you to enter. If you’re playing 2 player, the second player controls Cutrus and I imagine makes the game a lot easier. Enemies are standard run at you and attack fare, as well as enemies flying in a wave pattern.

In the walls are hidden items that you find by attacking bricks, usually with the bird. Blue jars increase your maximum health and item power. You’ll also rarely find a C Jar that replenishes some health. The Z Jar that doubles your sword’s power. The G Jar that makes you invincible. And the super helpful S Jar that fully replenishes life. These show up right about when you need them. There are also hint scrolls hidden through the levels that help you decide the right order to put the 8 Eyes in after you beat all the levels.

Defeated enemies typically drop a white cross that increases the item power bar. Rarely, they drop red crosses that replenish health. Set enemies on each stage will drop special weapons. That you can scroll among with the Select Button. I didn’t find the secondary weapons all that useful outside of the ice ball. This was nearly required to put an end to the bosses at the end of each stage. The final level is the Castle of Ruth, which puts you through a boss rush and then the incredibly easy final battle. If you put the jewels in the correct order, you are given a password to take on a higher difficulty level.

Graphics: 3.0

The graphics don’t look particularly good, but there are more colors on screen at once than other NES games at the time.

Sound: 2.5

There’s a lot of different music that ranges in quality. Sound effects are balanced well.

Gameplay: 2.0

The levels are very repetitive and don’t really add new concepts. Use the bird to hit special blocks, switches, and use the ice ball to kill the boss.

Difficulty: 2.5

I used a walkthrough to see the proper order to play levels. That’s a cheap way to increase difficulty in my opinion.

Fun Factor: 2.0

I didn’t really have that much fun. Orin is limited and Cutrus is imprecise to control.

Overall Grade: 2.4

8 Eyes earns a C+. I had always meant to play this game in the past, but I guess I wasn’t really missing out on anything. I’d say it was okay at best.