By 1992, the best years of Hasbro’s G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero series were in the past, after enjoying nearly a decade as one of the most popular toy and cartoon franchises to begin in the 1980’s. Although G.I. Joe was not quite as popular as it had been in the mid to late 80’s, 1992 still saw the release of a large number of figures and vehicles as part of the series’ 11th wave of toys to hit shelves. Capcom would also publish and release the second G.I. Joe game for the NES that year, G.I. Joe: The Atlantis Factor, allowing players to assume the identity of some of their favorite Joes and proving that the long-lived series still had some life in it after all.
In Atlantis Factor, Cobra Commander is up to his usual tricks, this time attempting to turn the lost city of Atlantis into a Cobra base. There are a few different paths to take through the game, with branching levels, each ending with a boss battle against a Cobra enemy. One of the best features of this fairly average platformer is the ability to switch between popular G.I. Joe characters from the ’92 series like Snake Eyes, Storm Shadow and Duke on the fly once you discover them in other stages. Each character has a special ability, with Snake Eyes having a high jump while Wet-Suit is able to submerge in water, and so on.
Although it’s nice to be able to play as some of my favorite characters, which are pretty accurately represented in the game, the actual gameplay is not very enjoyable, with repetitive enemies and lackluster level design, combined with some uninspired music. Although it’s an improvement over the original Joe game on the NES, it doesn’t live up to some of the other platformers that were released equally as late in the system’s lifespan.
I never had Atlantis Factor growing up, in fact it’s a game I’ve gotten relatively recently. But I did have quite a bit of experience with the G.I. Joe toys released in 1992. Although it was late in the series and many collectors look down a bit on the Joe toys from the 90’s, as a five year old I enjoyed the bright colors and outlandish characters that the line was turning to at the time. The toy line used a number of gimmicks with great success, with everything from electronic speaking and projectile firing figures, transforming fortresses, a whole sub-line of ninjas and even eco-warriors hitting store shelves in 1992. While the best years for G.I. Joe may have been over, there was still a ton of play value to be had as the series worked its way into the new decade. My personal favorites from that year have to be “Talking Battle Commander” Overkill and Cobra Parasite vehicle, two very eye-catching toys that I still have fond memories of.
I’ve always had a soft spot for G.I. Joe, having spent many hours having battles on my bedroom floor, and today I still enjoy collecting figures that I had as a child. Although I didn’t grow up with Atlantis Factor, it’s still fun to be able to jump on the NES and see some of my favorite characters in video game form. It’s not a perfect game by any means, but still a worthwhile entry. The early 90’s aren’t the most fondly remembered years for many G.I. Joe fans, but for me it’s one of the best, and the combination of a cool NES game and some awesome toys made 1992 a pretty great year.
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