P.O.W. Prisoners of War for the NES is a part of the Arcade game of the same name by SNK. Both feature the same gameplay and theme, but the NES version adds more content, such as new enemies and boss. However, the game is single player only. It came out on September 1, 1989 in North America, but came earlier on June 30 of the same year for the Famicom. This is one of the many military games SNK produced at the time, with games like the Ikari Warriors series and Guerilla Wars.
Codenamed Snake in the arcade original, the player character is named Bart in the NES game. He is a captain of the Army Special Force Unit named “M”. He must infiltrate the GOON (Government of Offensive Network), who is looking to disturb the world economy.
In a unexplained scheme, Bart intentionally get caught and is imprisoned in an armed camp. The Cold War theme is prevalent, but is not mentioned by name. However, it is clearly mentioned in the arcade original that it happens during that time.
Knowing that he will be interrogated before being possibility killed, he has hidden some kind of explosive device and proceed to destroy the camp with it. He was put in and fight his way through the GOON’s base. In fact, his strategy to get intentionally catch allow him to know where their HQ might be located.
Bart start unarmed, fighting with his fist, kick. He can also perform a side punch to counter opponent behind him as well as a powerful jump kick that push the opponent away. In the course of the game, he can use grenade, machine gun and knife to defend himself. In the grenade case, it is required in order to fight some of the bosses.
The machine gun is the strongest weapon in P.O.W. Prisoners of War, but has limited bullet. However, you can perform melee hit with it, doing massive damage. The only problem is that the collision box is pretty small and enemies can counter it.
You can also get power ups such as the brass knuckles for double power or the bullet-proof that make you immune to gun shot and knife.
It is possible to enter hut, tunnel, or cave to get a bonus item. However, you must defeat the wave of the enemy there in order to get them and be able to leave the area.
Like in the arcade version, there are four levels. Although similar, some element was changed, such as introducing new boss (including a final one) at an area that didn’t have one in the original game. Music is mostly taken from it as well, but new music was composed for the NES game.
You start at the camp, beating up soldiers until you get to the top and destroy a helicopter. Then, you head the industrial area, defeating one of the GOONS ruthless thug. You then head into a jungle before destroying the communications headquarters of the GOON. After all this, their leader, a giant and athletic man, directly confront you as the final boss battle.
P.O.W. Prisoners of War playthrough
The playhrough use the USA version of the game. The goal is to get to the game’s ending and not get hit once. Bart starts unarmed, but can acquire temporary weapons through the game. The brass knuckle is considered a power-up that last for the entire level. Every optional area is entered to gain the bonus points and items.
Another priority is to clear each level as fast as possible without using glitches or cheats. Cutscene are shown throughout the game.