One of the true classic console action games
It was early in my NES playing days when I was introduced to this masterpiece. It was just so awesome-- you got to cruise around the underworld in a futuristic tank. The stock factory model could already jump, shoot straight upwards, and be armed with heat-seeking missiles and lightning. But the tank (curiously named "Sophia III Nora MA-01") could be powered up to perform remarkable feats such as hovering, swimming, and cruising up walls and along ceilings. And wouldn't you know it? You actually had to use each and every one of these abilities throughout the game.
I even love the story for this game, arguably the silliest in NES history. Boy has pet frog in easy-to-escape-from container, frog jumps on top of box in backyard, grows to enormous proportions thanks to quick-acting radiation from box, falls in deep hole, boy follows suit, doesn't find frog but does find super tank and matching suit. It has become one of the most infamous storylines in history but I think it's top-notch as far as brainless action plots go.
But this game is anything but brainless, mind you. Pilot that tank through all kinds of mazes and then hop out when it becomes clear that your tank can not go where you need to. Hunt down that boss and get the tank part needed to get to the next level.
I really need to give mention to the music-- Excellent music almost all the way throughout (the last level is quite a disappointment, melodically). Some of the tunes still get remixed to this day.
I also appreciate the fact that this game was so difficult to complete. Whenever I purchase games for $35-$50, I like it when the game took some time to complete. This game was just right and made me feel like I really got my money's worth.
I didn't like that darn crab at the end of level 5. It took me forever to beat him, and of course the notorious Blaster Master cheat does not work against him.
Now that I think about it, I still carry a secret shame knowing that I have never completed this game without using the aforementioned cheating procedure.
The Bottom Line
This is one of the all-time action classics that must be experienced on the 8-bit NES. Just be glad that the lead character, Jason, is a master mechanic and that installing all of these advanced weapon and propulsion systems into the tank is second nature for him. Either that, or the hardware represents the ultimate in plug and play technology.