Wrecking Crew (NES)

Wrecking Crew Box Art

Wrecking Crew

System: NES

Release Date: October 1985

Developer: Nintendo

Publisher: Nintendo

Genre: Puzzle

This is another launch title that I had never played before, Wrecking Crew. This game stars Mario and Luigi, but without their most important power, jumping. They are tasked with knocking down walls with their oversized sledgehammers.

Using a bomb.

There’s a one player mode, a two player mode, and a design mode. The one player mode has you walking around, climbing ladders, hitting bombs, and knocking down walls. You have to be careful, though, because if you knock out a removable ladder, you just might trap yourself with no way back up. The stage wraps around on itself from left to right and you need to use that to your advantage.

Spike trapped me down here…

You’re not alone in the condemned structure, you have to deal with the monsters: Gotchawrench Jr., Gotchawrench, and Eggplant Man. But that’s not all, apparently Mario and Luigi have a bad relationship with the project’s foreman Spike, as he tries to impede their progress at every step. If Spike hits you through the wall with his hammer, you may find yourself dropped into an area that you can’t get out of. Luckily, a fireball will shoot out of the floor you’re on every once in awhile, giving you a chance to die by fire.

Death by fireball.

I classify this as a puzzle game, because you have to do things in the right order, or you’ll set the state of the demo site to not conquerable. This happened to me a few times through my playthrough. I also wasn’t able to figure out the proper usage of the bombs. Sometimes it seemed like they’d work as a chain reaction through the breakable walls, other times, not so much. Every four levels you reach a bonus round where you need to break walls and find a coin before Foreman Spike does.

I feel like one bomb should be able to take care of this.

I wasn’t very impressed by Wrecking Crew. There are plenty of other games that were worth your time out of the launch titles. This does not feel like one of them. I’m sure there’s some point of meta understanding where wrecking the buildings becomes zen, but I didn’t reach that state.

Graphics: 1.5

Very much on the low end of the launch titles. This takes us back to the arcade representation of Mario, which is not very detailed. The enemies are plain to me, as well. I feel like this could have been a lot better.

Sound: 2.0

I don’t mind the sounds. They aren’t great, but they aren’t terrible. The gameplay song is kind of memorable and catchy.

Gameplay: 1.5

Smash the walls with your hammer. Don’t get hit by the bad guys, simple, but not very satisfying.

Difficulty: 2.5

You can easily get yourself into a walking dead situation, where you can’t move to the walls you need to wreck. I hate that, but it is certainly a way to increase the amount of time before you can win.

Fun Factor: 1.0

I didn’t have fun while playing. There were times I couldn’t even kill myself efficiently, as you can avoid the fireballs, which I did by accident!

Overall Grade: 1.7

Wrecking Crew earns a C-. I would certainly not go out of my way to play this one. I’d rather play Clu Clu Land to scratch the puzzle itch out of the launch titles.

Wrecking Crew Video Review on YouTube