Amazing Penguin

August 8, 1990

A charming little puzzler that stands out from the system’s glut of puzzlers thanks to its fast-paced, addictive gameplay.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Fall of the Foot Clan

August 3, 1990

The inevitable arrival of the juggernaut Ninja Turtles franchise didn’t quite live up to Konami’s usual standards, with repetitive play and cheap enemies.

Tasmania Story

July 27, 1990

Based on a Japan-only movie, with gameplay adapted from a Japan-only MSX game, this clunky and primitive creation is tough to love.

Paperboy

July 15, 1990

Atari’s diagonal fling-em-up makes the leap from arcades to the Game Boy with rather less-than-impressive results.

Volleyfire

June 29, 1990

A promising premise for a game — two players go head-to-head in a shooting match — crumbles beneath lousy programming. A throwback to an older time, in a bad way.

Burai Fighter Deluxe

June 22, 1990

The fast-paced NES shoot-em-up comes to Game Boy with most of its content and mechanics intact, almost day and date with its console sibling. Pretty impressive!

Dexterity

June 15, 1990

SNK makes its Game Boy debut with a game remarkably similar to partner developer ADK’s arcade classic Make Trax. Hmm!

Lock ’N Chase

May 11, 1990

Data East arrives on Game Boy by dipping back into its vast arcade archives. But this is no rehash—Lock ’N Chase plays more like a sequel than a port.

Gargoyle’s Quest

May 2, 1990

At long last, Capcom makes its debut on Game Boy, and that game—an RPG-inspired Ghosts ’N Goblins spin-off—raises the bar for quality on the platform.

Mercenary Force

April 28, 1990

Designed by the creators of Deadly Towers, crafted in the image of Bokosuka Wars and King’s Knight, Mercenary Force should by all accounts have been awful. But no, it was great!

Popeye

April 20, 1990

Nintendo’s Popeye was a memorable but slightly subpar action game from the golden days of the arcade. Despite its deficiencies, it blew away this sad take on the license by Sigma Enterprises.

Ninja Boy

April 20, 1990

The first portable entry in Culture Brain’s long-running Chinese Land franchise, Ninja Boy is also the worst entry in the series. Don’t be fooled by those big, appealing character sprites; poor design and terrible controls and collision detection make this a frustrating nightmare.

Wizards & Warriors X: Fortress of Fear

January 1, 1990

The first Western-developed game for Game Boy… and the first Game Boy release never to reach Japan… and the first game of the ’90s! Fortress of Fear had a lot riding on its shoulders, but sadly it proved to be a lackluster companion to the NES Wizards & Warriors games.

Master Karateka

December 28, 1989

Master Karateka The final Game Boy release for 1989 was also, fittingly, one of the final games released in the 1980s. In many ways, it makes for a neat summary of how games had changed over the course of the decade. Master Karateka offered gamers a conversion of a classic, American-developed 1984 PC action game to Nintendo’s Japanese […]

Boomer’s Adventure in Asmik World

December 27, 1989

The vexing thing about Boomer’s Adventure in Asmik World is that, while it’s a perfectly entertaining action puzzler in its own right, it’s best described in terms of a game that wouldn’t hit the Game Boy until several months later. Kind of like the way some people think Shin Megami Tensei is a big ripoff of […]

Castlevania: The Adventure

October 27, 1989

Back in the ’80s and early ’90s, no series could sell me on a platform like Castlevania. I loved the NES trilogy, and when early screens of sequels for Game Boy and Super NES began to materialize, those systems shot right to the top of my must-have list. Once I finally got my hands on […]

Hyper Lode Runner: The Labyrinth of Doom

September 21, 1989

How circular gaming has become. Over the past couple of decades, portable and PC gaming have essentially existed on opposite ends of the medium’s total spectrum; handheld systems lend themselves to low-power, efficient game design, whereas PC developers typically revel in the format’s raw power, sometimes designing games that demand so much processing muscle that […]

The Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle

September 5, 1989

Nyeah, what’s up, doc? Released in September 1989 in Japan, The Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle stands as the Game Boy’s first licensed release (that is, the first to bear a license from another medium). However, the particulars of its license — or rather, licenses — and chronology of its release variants make a compelling case for […]