In memoriam, Donald Sutherland

Total Recall

Moby ID: 45588
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Description official description

Based on the 1990 Schwarzenegger film of the same name, Total Recall for the NES generally adheres to the movie's plot across its nine levels. Unlike the various PC iterations, this title was created by Interplay and published by Acclaim.

Players control Doug Quaid as he platform hops across Earth and Mars in search of his stolen memories and the responsible parties. A collection of police, soldiers, and creatures will try to stop him. Quaid's default attack is a strong punch, though guns can be knocked away from some guards and picked up for use. Cutscenes between certain levels tell the movie's plot, and feature likenesses of the actors from the film (including Arnold).

Sequences in the film are also replicated more tightly than in the PC versions. Quaid will be chased by henchman Richter in the first level, and must battle his wife inside their apartment. The security x-ray scanner takes up a level, as does the subway battle after. The player will also commandeer a Martian taxi for a driving level inside the colony, and windows can be shot out on Mars, sucking out any unfortunate baddies nearby.

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Credits (NES version)

9 People



Average score: 34% (based on 14 ratings)


Average score: 1.6 out of 5 (based on 21 ratings with 2 reviews)

Totally Should Have Been Recalled

The Good
Total Recall has one thing going for it; the game's storyline and levels do closely follow the film. While their are many problems with this game, at least someone at Acclaim took the time to watch the film or read the script.

The Bad
During the 8-bit era, Acclaim had a reputation for making less then good titles, which did not improve when the bought LJN. For better or for the worse this was a company that produced titles that seemed to have been rushed when it came to graphics, sound, control and overall playability.

Total Recall's graphics and sound are simply average. They are not horrible and you can generally recognize locations and or themes from the film, but the NES was capable of much better.

In terms of playability, Arnold has few offensive or defensive moves, in comparison to the film, and he the suffers from animated stiffness and poor hit detection.

The Bottom Line
Total Recall was a great science fiction film that had lots of potential as a video game. While, the game closely follows the film's storyline its graphics, sound and playability are, at best, average and probably should have been recalled.

NES · by ETJB (428) · 2010

Why did they bother? Oh right, the money

The Good
Arguably the only thing to like about this game is that it reminds one of a much superior blockbuster Hollywood movie. Speaking of blockbuster, the Blockbuster video rental chain used to stock dozens upon dozens of copies of this title when it was released, likely anticipating that it would be a very popular rental.

The Bad
Alas, Total Recall is another in a long line of seriously disappointing video game adaptations of popular movies. The game lends the impression that the people responsible did not take the initiative seriously in the least. Just get the game out the door, ASAP. The graphics are uninspired, the action is just plain dull, the music is practically nonexistent. Indeed, this game actually made me feel cheated even though I forked over a very small amount for the rental vs. actually purchasing it. But still, an awful game can still upset you.

The Bottom Line
Just don't bother, okay? See the movie, see it again and again, but just spare yourself the experience that is this game.

NES · by Multimedia Mike (20663) · 2005



The NES version of the game actually has the likenesses of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Ironside and Ronny Cox, who play Douglas Quaid, Richter and Vilos Cohaagen, respectively. All of them appear in cut-scenes. This may seem strange to some; in those days, there weren't many limitations on the use of actors' likenesses in video games.


  • Electronic Gaming Monthly
    • October 1990 (Issue 15) - Worst Movie to Game
    • November 1997 (Issue 100) - ranked #5 (Worst 10 Games of All Time)


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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by BurningStickMan.

Additional contributors: Terok Nor, Foxhack, Alaka.

Game added March 13, 2010. Last modified May 25, 2024.