Joust for the NES : Fight for you life and stay on the top!

Developper : Hal Laboratory

Publisher : Hal Laboratory

Year : 1988

Type : Score overflow

Game description

Joust for the NES is a port of the arcade game of the same name by Hal Laboratory. It is notable to have been programmed by Satoru Iwata, years before he became the fourth president and chief executive officer (CEO) of Nintendo. It came on the Famicom at October 30, 1987 and later came out about a year later in North America.  Joust is part of the three american games Hal Laboratory licensed from Atari for the NES, with Defender II and Millipede.

A popular game in the arcade, it was ported to a wide variety of system

  • Apple II
  • Atari 2600
  • Atari 5200
  • Atari 7800
  • Atari 8-Bits
  • Atari ST
  • Lynx
  • Mac
  • DOS

The arcade port was also included in numerous compilations, such as Midway Arcade Treasure or release through the Xbox 360 Marketplace.

According to the NES manual, the story is set in a far future.  During the medieval, Knight was proving their skill by playing the game of Joust. This legendary game evolved into what is known in the current timeline of the game. Instead of horses, knights ride space ostriches in the hyperspace against alien warriors. Unlike the medieval time, you are not fighting for fame or glory, but solely to make sure you stay alive.

You play as a yellow knight riding a flying ostrich. You maneuver around a single screen, fighting other knights. The trick, when collision happens, is to be higher than your opponent in order to defeat him. Doing so cause an egg  to appear, which must be caught or fall out of bound to avoid repaying another ostrich and another knight.

In each level, you must defeat a wave of enemies knight and avoid a near-invisible pterodactyl that appears more often in later level. You can tap to flap faster or press the B button to flap at a consistent rate.  Although simple, precision is the key to be able to play a long session of the game.

In each 5 level, you get a bonus stage. However, this bonus stage can get lethal if you take too long to get all the eggs.

There are three types of alien knight, the Bounder, the Hunter and the Shadow Lord. Each type represents a difficulty, the first being slow and the last one being very fast. These opponents are known as the Buzzard Riders. Beside the previously mentioned pterodactyl, there is also the Troll of the Lava Pits. This enemy only appear as a lava hand on both sides of the screen, attempting to grab the player or an opponent close to him. His first appearance is in wave 3 and stay for the remainder of the game.

Joust playthrough

The playthrough use the North American version of Joust. The introduction screen is shown, featuring a tutorial to play the game. Then, the game is started on Game B, increasing the difficulty right at the beginning.

The goal of this play through is to get to the maximum possible score before an overflow occurs after 999 999 points. You get extra life each time you gain 20 000 points. Since you can get a total of 50 life, the life counter overflow to the letter as soon as it is 9 before going through other characters represent the decimal number. Then, in order to keep the score and end the game, all life is wasted to return to the title screen.

The most viable strategy is to wait right at one of the spawn points and do light flapping in order to kill enemy as soon as they appear in that spot. When possible, many chains are made after catching eggs in order to have bonus point. Clearing waves as fast as possible was prioritized when possible.

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