Video Works by Jeremy Parish

A pair of arcade shooter adaptations leads us into the second half of 1988 for NES Works, both of which deserve attention for entirely different reasons.

Defender II sees the publishing debut of HAL Labs (via HAL America), a well-deserved turn of events for a studio that was so essential to the early success of this platform. And this conversion stretches all the way back to those early days, speaking once again to the close relationship HAL and Nintendo shared as the latter made its way into the world of selling game consoles—including a bit of borrowed audio that raises the question of who pilfered from whom? Come for the footage, stay for the educated speculation.

Meanwhile, Iron Tank transforms T.N.K. III into a fairly ambitious (if not entirely refined) combat adventure with branching paths, a progressive power-up system, and even some narrative. Finally, we begin to see a glimpse of the quality that fans have come to associate with the name SNK.

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